Carrefour Cultureyal: The carrethree of Christianity, Intelligence, and American Culture

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sex differences in certain aptitudes? Probably so...

It's been over a year since Lawrence Summers was tarred and feathered for his remark that one of the many possibilities for women not being well represented in the sciences is because of sex differences in mathematical aptitude.

Charles Murray addresses this in his article for Commentary, and this article has a great quantative/probabilistic perspective about male/female variance in mathematical ability.

Of course, the question comes down to whether the difference in variance is culturally determined, and how early in life. This paper posits that the variance difference might not be culturally determined, at least in terms of education, early in childhood.

IQ's Corner has many great posts on this topic here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New Developing Intelligence series on cognitive enhancement

Developing Intelligence: Distributed Processing: Is cognitive enhancement overhyped?

DI looks to have started a good series on cognitive enhancement. I research the cognitive enhancement apropos of working memory. I think it could turn out that if you improve working memory, you can improve fluid intelligence. Check out this paper. I hope this is a promising area for future research - if it shows long term improvement, I think this could become a part of our education program.

Favorite Blogs

Here are some of my favorite blogs that I check frequently:

IQ's Corner is a great blog run by Dr. Kevin McGrew. He looks for anything related to psychometrics, intelligence, etc., and is up front when posting about particular biases he might have vis-a-vis certain cognitive batteries.

Developing Intelligence has started a new series, Distributed Processing, on cognitive enhancement. I am interested in this area apropos of working memory enhancement. I'll be commenting his posts.

Eideneurolearning has great information on the brain and intelligence in reference to many things such as education.

This August I'll start my first year of grad school for philosophy at Mizzou. The philosophy grad department has a great blog, Show-me the Argument, to which philosophy grad students contribute and run. See it here.

Last but not least, Gene Expression has a great interview with Charles Murray, coauthor of The Bell Curve, here.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Welcome and Enjoy

We live in the information age. How fortunate for knowledge seekers; how unfortunate for the unwise knowledge seekers. It should be apparent that epistemic wisdom is the invaluable tool that aids us in demarcating good knowledge from bad. I believe there is no better way to cultivate that wisdom than by studying philosophy. I say studying philosophy because when one is properly trained in philosophy, one is properly trained in reading critically, thinking logically (formally and informally), understanding the nature of arguments, being able to explicitly reproduce them, and being able to pay close attention to the subtlety of a thesis as well as its panoramic scope. Philosophy as a discipline can aid the Christian.

Christians feel attacked by the media, academia, and society. Sometimes these feelings are unwarranted, sometimes they are warranted. What are Christians to think about the multitude of issues - apparently inconsistent with their beliefs - incumbent upon the survival of contemporary American culture? What can they say about evolution, intelligent design theory, economics, politics, etc., vis-a-vis their beliefs? They feel they know the truth about the matters, but many times cannot explicate why. Enter the role of the Christian philosopher: ambassador for Christian truth, explicator of ideas. The Christian philosopher can shed light on today's important issues such as intelligence theories and their role in our society.

Intelligence theories are playing a greater role in American culture. Look at the controversy following the debut of The Bell Curve. It seems that as a society how we view intelligence will affect our educational system, our economic system, and most importantly - because we are able to directly determine through public policy the course of our country - our government.

This is the purpose of my blog: not to teach American Christians pseudo-apologetics; or what to say to so and so in such and such situation; but to give them the tools and wisdom needed to better understand the world they live in, and how to make sense of it apropos of their faith. Consequently, better understanding begets better reasoning; better reasoning begets greater faith.