Monday, July 12, 2010

The Nnylf Effect

From Steve Sailer's blog, a discussion of creativity:
Anyway, I do want to explain why IQ tests are more useful than creativity tests. We use IQ-like tests for all sorts of predictive purposes, such as law school admissions. The LSAT is pretty good at predicting whether you are smart enough to not flunk out of law school and to pass the bar exam. So, the LSAT can help you avoid disastrous life choices -- spending years studying a subject that's not really that much fun and is very expensive and end up still not being smart enough to be a lawyer.

The AFQT/ASVAB helps the Air Force figure out if it's worth sending you to avionics school or truck driving school. Neither one is all that much fun

In contrast, there isn't much need for tests to see how good you'll be at playing the guitar or playing tennis or whatever. Why not? It would be useful to have a genetic test that would tell the parents of young athletes how tall they'll end up being. But for most fun things, the best test of how good a guitar player or basketball player you'll be is to pick up a guitar or basketball, get some coaching, and practice, practice, practice. You'll figure out soon enough if you in the top half or the bottom half of the population distribution. And if you don't like playing tennis, it really doesn't matter if you have a high TQ score on some hypothetical test because people who do will be better at it, and why play a game you don't like? As for figuring out if you are in the 99.9999th percentile or 99.99999th percentile of tennis players, well that's what they hold Wimbledon for. Not test you take as a little kid is going to predict that.

Creativity is similar. The way to show you are creative is to be creative. The last thing we need are people claiming sinecures on the grounds that they have the proper creativity credential.

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