More background on common epithets

The prejudice for IQ is worked almost inextricably into the language:

“From an educational perspective, Binet and Simon posited three levels of feeblemindedness: idiots, who could not communicate either verbally or in writing; imbeciles, who could speak, but not read or write; and morons, who were delayed in school studies by a few years, never attaining to much higher than a twelve-year-old level of intelligence. Meanwhile… Stern (1871-1938), revised the Binet-Simon test and introduced a ‘constant’ intelligence quotient (IQ) that correlated the mental and chronological ages of the test-takers… it was widely accepted, given the confidence in science during this period of time… Still, Stern ‘unwittingly encouraged the simplification of the extraordinarily complex concept of intelligence… [since such tests] assumed that the intelligence quotient was analogous to, if not synonymous with, native intelligence.’

“…This classification was given further specification through an adaptation of the Stern IQ by Lewis Madison Terman (1877-1956)… Terman’s IQ test, also known since as the Stanford-Binet Test… basically remains in effect even today.”

(Yong, Amos. Theology and Down Syndrome. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007. pp. 51-52)

One thought on “More background on common epithets”

  1. Just wait until you read the literature on the early eugenics movement that, eventually and in German hands, led to the Final Solution.

    Start with eugenicsarchive.org. But then there’s Kevles’ In the Name of Eugenics and Black’s War on the Weak. Nasty stuff.

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