A group of studies reported today supposedly demonstrate that support free speech is strongly correlated with intelligence and “cognitive ability.”
- If true, there sure are a lot of unintelligent people taking control of society and the culture right now.
- The study’s definition of intelligence is based on IQ scores, which are blunt measures of intelligence at best. Since it is well-known that the inventor of IQ scores violently objected to the test being used to measure above average intelligence when the device was designed to measure sub-normal cognitive ability, the fair definition of what the IQ test measures is that it measures what the IQ test measures. I spend much of every day reading allegedly brilliant people’s astounding opinions and analysis on every topic imaginable. They may have high IQ’s, but their reasoning is derailed by ideology, ego, bias and rationalizations. One of the many revelations I have come to accept over the years is that intelligence is an unfathomably complex concept, and I understand it less today than I thought I did when I was 18.
- Worse than the dubious non-definition of “cognitive ability” is the vagueness of “free speech.” Is someone supportive of “free speech” when they support the punishment for someone daring to utter an opinion that doesn’t conform to mob cant as shunning, firing, and perpetual hostility? What about those cognitively gifted individuals who have decided that “hate speech,” as they define it, of course, isn’t covered by the freedom of speech? The smart people who run the Washington Post decided to doxx a woman who wore a politically incorrect Halloween costume at a private party two years ago . They claim that “democracy dies in darkness,” which is lip service to free speech. Do we judge them on their stated beliefs , or their actions? How does the study categorize those intelligent people who want to make it as difficult as possible for those they disagree with to have their opinions read and heard, by persuading social media to ban or block them, for example? How many people, because they are so darn smart, use lawyerly distinctions to justify non-government censorship as not offensive to “free speech” as defined in the Constitution?
- At least the researchers have the integrity to state their bias up front: “We expected that people with higher cognitive abilities would be more inclined to embrace the open exchange of ideas, wherein viewpoints can be scrutinized and challenged in order to foster informed decision making and knowledge.” This is confirmation bias, and the foe of any reliable research. What a surprise: they expected their research to find that intelligence correlated with belief in “free speech,” and it did!
- Rather than demonstrating that those with higher cognitive skills support free speech, I’d argue that the study is a wonderful example of why people with higher cognitive skills have a healthy distrust of allegedly objective scientific studies, even though such people are commonly called “anti-intellectual” and “deniers” by the smart people, a surprising number of whom, despite believing in “free speech,” still advocate denying such skeptics the opportunity to state their objections in various forms.
- Ann Althouse’s son, who blogs now and then, wrote about this study, and one of the commenters responded,
I recently saw Angela Davis give a talk at a nearby university. During the q and a portion, someone asked her what she thought of “cancel culture.” I think a lot of people in the audience would presume that she supported it, but she said no, and went on to stand up for free speech instead.
Angela Davis is a Communist, which immediately calls her reasoning ability into question, and was complicit in the murders of four innocent people, which she will still rationalize to this day. The fact that she was willing to “stand up” for whatever in her dark and poisoned mind constitutes “free speech” does not raise my opinion of her intellect one bit.
Conclusion: These studies, which have been enthusiastically hyped on conservative websites all day, are worthless.