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Why You Shouldn’t Be Surprised That Prisoners Crushed Harvard’s Debate Team

Last month, a debate team of three inmates with violent criminal records defeated a team of three Harvard University undergraduates.

It sounds like an underdog story plucked from the pages of a yet unwritten Walt Disney screenplay — and in some ways, it is.

But it’s also worth pointing out the fallacy of our underlying assumptions about such a matchup — the first (and most pernicious) being that criminals aren’t smart. If a definitive link between criminality and below-average intelligence exists, nobody has found it.