“Wtf?!” was my first reaction upon reading Terence P.Jeffrey’s headline on cnsnews.com. It’s about how Obama’s top science advisor, John P. Holdren, believes that children from larger families have lower IQs. Now, my siblings and I have never had our IQs tested, so I can’t say from personal experience that this belief isn’t true. And I personally don’t believe that having a high IQ necessarily makes a person smarter or a more productive member of society. However, I can say that the context in which Holdren’s statements regarding large families and low IQs were made, were meant to suggest that people with low IQs are worthless, unproductive members of society. And I’d like to put a halt to that statement right there. (And by reading through the comments left on this article, I can tell that other members of large families feel the same way.)
In the words of Holdren and his co-authors, Paul and Anne Ehrlich: “It surely is no accident that so many of the most successful individuals are first or only children; nor that children of large families (particularly with more than four children), whatever their economic status, on the average perform less well in school and show lower I.Q. scores than their peers from small families.” The question I’d like to have answered is, honestly, what does an IQ score have anything to do with how many siblings a person has? How is knowing “which item doesn’t fit in the rest” affected by the number of kids your mom gave birth to? I could almost say that I agree with the thought that a family with fewer resources may produce less productive children (in some instances; I recognize that I’m generalizing and this doesn’t pertain to everybody), but I absolutely disagree with the thought that having four or more children is what causes lower IQ scores. There are some large families out there that are very wealthy and can afford to put all the best resources and care into their kids. And there are some parents who only have one or two children that they can’t afford to take care of and are raised with sub-par educations and expectations.
That being said, I’d like to bring up a different version of this debate. Large families don’t automatically produce low-IQ children. Another way to twist these beliefs are to say that people with lower IQs tend to have and raise more children that then turn out to be like their parents. So, to turn this irritation into something a little more laughable, I’d like you to watch the first 4 minutes of the movie, Idiocracy, a 2007 Twentieth Century Fox production, starring Luke Wilson. This satiric film, directed by Mike Judge, mocks the human race by demonstrating how stupid we’ve become as a whole, by the year 2505. The first few minutes of the movie explain how the vicious cylce of stupidity got started.