The Neuroscience of Intelligence

Jared Taylor reviews a new book by scientist Richard Haier, The Neuroscience of Intelligence, that brings together much of the latest research on the subject.

This is a first-rate introduction to the biological basis for intelligence. It is so good it is astonishing that Cambridge University Press had the courage to publish it. For half a century, serious investigation of the genetics of intelligence has been virtually taboo, and a few scientists quietly wrote heretical articles for obscure journals.

The Neuroscience of Intelligence brings the latest findings out of obscurity, and bluntly lays out the facts: The human mind is not a blank slate; intelligence is biological; it varies in people for reasons that are overwhelmingly genetic; there is no known environmental intervention—including breast feeding and enriched home environment—that raises IQ; we are beginning to understand the biological mechanisms of intelligence, and before long we should be able to change genes and the brain itself in order to raise intelligence.

The author, Richard J. Haier of UC Irvine, has more than 40 years of research experience in intelligence, and is frustrated by the unwillingness of academics and policy makers to understand or talk about intelligence. He points out that intelligence is central to every social problem—crime, poverty, bad schools, drug addiction—and that the usual liberal panaceas are rubbish. In what amounts to a revolutionary proposal, he argues that until policy makers recognize that low intelligence is impervious to every one of their pet schemes, progress is impossible.

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