How to change the world properly

Jordan Peterson (Prof. in Psychology & clinical psychologist) gives a great lecture on how young people should change the world.

Young people want, rightly, to change the world. But how might this be properly done? Dr Jonathan Haidt recently contrasted Truth University with Social Justice University. Social Justice U has as its advantage the call to social transformation. In this video, Peterson outlines why Truth is the proper route to societal improvement – and why that starts with the individual.

Are too many people going to college? A look at IQ distributions tells us why this is the case

This post is not meant for politically correct egalitarians who believe that everyone can be an Aristotle, a Goethe or a Michael Jackson through hard work.

Our education is suffering heavily from many things, but there is one thing that has barely been discussed that I will address here. I believe that the educational world is living a lie. The lie is that every child can become who he wants to become. There is almost no one who believes this, but still we are too afraid to say out loud that children differ in mental capacities. The belief that everyone, through hard work and good educational assistance, can become what he wants to become is doing more harm than good. We demand too much of people with low mental capacity, demand the wrong things from people with average capacity, and demand too little of those with high mental capacity.

Charles Murray has laid out in his book, Real Education (2008), the following four simple truths about education:

  1. Capacities vary;
  2. Half of the children are below average;
  3. Too many people are going to college;
  4. The future of our country is dependent on how we teach the intellectually gifted.

The first two truths are self-evident. I will focus on the third truth, as that requires more explanation, and I will save the fourth truth for a future discussion.

Too many people are going to college
We have to ask ourselves what percentage of the population have the mental capacity required to understand college material. This percentage, I think, is significantly lower than the percentage of people that are pursuing a college degree.

The average IQ of the population is 100. It is very difficult to obtain a college degree with an IQ of 100. If you are mentally average, you can understand some simple algebra in maths, but you will have difficulties with differential calculus. This is no life-devastating deficit. You are still intelligent enough to perform well for hundreds of jobs, but you will likely be unable to succeed in gaining a college degree. It is possible for the student to attend Macro Economics 1 classes with an IQ of 100-110, to read the textbooks and to do the tests. However, the student will probably only take in a hodgepodge of ideas. It’s also very well possible that the student will have the illusion that he possesses reasonable knowledge of Macro Economics. One way these students can pass the test is by focusing strategically on how they can pass tests instead of truly understanding the material. I have seen many student peers passing tests through strategic learning. Instead of reading and understanding the material, they can for example, learn previous tests by heart.

There is no magic IQ number with which a person can go through a reasonably good college education, but an IQ of around 110 is quite problematic for most college degrees. College majors differ in difficulty level. I looked into the IQ distribution of different majors and have found that the majors that have the highest average IQ scores are:

  • Physics & Astronomy (133)
  • Mathematical Sciences (130)
  • Philosophy (129)
    Materials Engineering (129)
  • Economics (128)
    Chemical Engineering (128)
    Other Engineering (128)
  • Mechanical Engineering (126)

This would put the average college student in the above majors (almost) acceptable for Mensa – the high IQ organization that only accepts people within the highest 2 percentiles (IQ of around 132).

The majors with the lowest average IQ scores are:

  • Administration (107)
  • Home Economics (106)
    Special (106)
  • Student Counseling (105)
  • Early Childhood (104)
  • Social Work (103)

For a full list of average IQ’s per major, look at this article.

Our education has degenerated
If we assume that a college degree requires an average IQ of 110-115, then it would be reasonable, looking at the IQ distribution of the population, to assume that around 15% of the population should pursue a college degree.

If you stretch it somewhat, maybe 25%. However, at the moment 45% of everyone above the age of 30 has a college degree.

I think that this is only possible when education has degenerated – that the level of education has decreased. The consequence is that more students have been able to get a college degree, and that a degree doesn’t represent a person’s mental capabilities well anymore. One way through which we can see that our education has degenerated is by looking at grade inflation, which is utterly shocking!

Grade inflation in the USAI think that Murray’s statement that too many people are going to college is very reasonable. If ‘Higher Education’ becomes more accessible for people with lower mental capabilities, then the term ‘Higher Education’ becomes more of an oxymoron.

Black Women are not the most educated group in the United States

Several news media have published in the past weeks that Black Women are the most educated group in the United States or that they are the most educated according to race and gender. I decided to look into the statistics, ran some numbers, and found out that this is not the case. Black Women don’t perform as well as Caucasian and Asian Men and Women.

Here are examples of articles that wrongly claim that Black Women are the most educated group:

These media outlets have misrepresented the statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics and have misunderstood the report’s finding that

“From 1999–2000 to 2009–10, the percentage of degrees earned by females remained between approximately 60 and 62 percent for associate’s degrees and between 57 and 58 percent for bachelor’s degrees. In contrast, the percentages of both master’s and doctor’s degrees earned by females increased from 1999–2000 to 2009–10. Within each racial/ethnic group, women earned the majority of degrees at all levels in 2009–10. For example, among U.S. residents, Black females earned 68 percent of associate’s degrees, 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Black students.”

From this, they conclude that Black Women are therefore necessarily the most educated group. What it shows however, is not that Black Women are the most educated, but that they have the highest proportion of graduates in comparison to their male counterparts by race. See here the data from the NCES:

Number of degrees conferred to females

The data shows the following:

  • of the total Black population with an Associate Degree, 68% are female and 32% are male;
  • of the total Black population with a Bachelor’s Degree, 66% are female and 34% are male;
  • of the total Black population with a Master’s Degree, 71% are female and 29% are male;
  • of the total Black population with a Doctor’s Degree, 65% are female and 35% are male.

These findings indicate that Black Women have been much more successful in their educational endeavors in comparison to Black Men, but tell us nothing about the educational performances of Black Women compared to those of other or similar sexes of other races.

What is striking about the statistics of the NCES is that women far outperform men for all races. This graph is a clear depiction of that finding:

Percentage of degrees conferred to females

We can therefore conclude that women are more successful in obtaining degrees in Higher Education than men, but the gender gap is nowhere as wide for other races than for Blacks.

In order to have more insights in how well educated Black Women are compared to other groups, I have looked at statistics from the NCES on the educational level of people that are 25-29 years old:

Bachelor's degree or higher conferred by race

According to the NCES, 60.1% of Asians aged 25-29 have at least a Bachelor’s Degree. Hispanics are the lowest performing group with 15.7%. Blacks have 20.5% and Whites 40.4%. Since the obtainment of Bachelor’s Degrees decreases the obtainment of Associate Degrees, it is more meaningful to look at the percentages of Bachelor’s Degrees or higher than to the percentages of conferred Associate Degrees. This graph however, has not specified the proportion of degree holders by gender. To approximate the degree holding male-female proportion, I have looked at table 1.

I have not found statistics that indicate the proportion of exclusively Asian degree holders by sex in Higher Education so I will make the assumption that the percentage of conferrals to Asian Women among the Asian population is approximately the same as that for Asian/Pacific Islander Women at around 55%. Hence, among the Asian group of which 60.1% aged 25-29 hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher, 55% are female: 33% of the total Asian population is female and holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher. 20.5% of Blacks aged 25-29 hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher of which around 68% is female. This means that around 14% of the total Black population is female and holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher. We can thus conclude that Asian Women perform much better educationally than Black Women with a ratio of almost 2:5.

How do Black Women perform in comparison to White Women? If we say that around 58% – this may not be entirely accurate, but from the NCES statistics it is reasonable to assume this number – of Bachelor’s Degrees and higher conferred to Whites are conferred to Women, we can assert that approximately 23% aged 25-29 of the total white population that have obtained these degrees are Women. According to my calculation, White Women thus perform far better than Black Women as well.

What if you would compare Black Women with Asian Men? According to my calculation, around 27% of all Bachelor’s Degrees and higher that have been conferred to the Asian population were conferred to Asian Men. Asian Men hence outperform Black Women with an approximate ratio of 1:2.

If you would compare Black Women with White Men, we can find that around 17.4% of the white population aged 25-29 that have obtained a Bachelor’s Degrees or higher are Men. This again is higher than the 14% of Black Women.

You can find a clear overview of my findings in the following table:

Group by gender and race Percentage holding Bachelor’s or higher degree w.r.t. their race
Black Men 7%
Black Women 14%
White Men 17%
White Women 23%
Asian Men 27%
Asian Women 33%

Black Women are by far not the most educated group within the United States. According to my calculations Black Women proportionally hold fewer Bachelor’s Degrees or higher compared to White Men, White Women, Asian Men, and Asian Women. An Asian Woman aged 25-29 is almost 2.5 times more likely to hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher than a Black Woman aged 25-29. Asian Men are almost 2 times more likely to hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. White Women more than 1.5 times more likely. I have not included Hispanics into my calculations, but I can see in one glance that Black Women do perform better than female and male Hispanics. Comparing Black Men with Asian Women, I find it shocking that an Asian Woman is almost 5 times more likely to hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher than a Black Man.

I find it a shame that many news media have misinterpreted the data from the NCES and have spread the untruth that Black Women are the most educated group in the United States. Lastly, I would like to add that in order to gain more insights in how much better educated a group is we should also look into the type and quality of the courses and universities where these degrees were conferred. This is something I have not looked into.

Black Women Are Now The Most Educated Group In The U.S.
National Center for Education Statistics
Report: Black Women Have Become The Most Educated Group In The U.S.
Study: Black Women Most Educated in U.S.