Dr. Wysong's Blog - 11/12/2010
When human intelligence is normally discussed, it is common to refer to IQ. But let’s use intelligence to see whether that’s an accurate measure.
IQ tests score on things like vocabulary, remembering who the 16th president of the US was, the ability to put puzzles together, finding a word in the letters CARNEF, and determining the arrival time of trains. A person’s history and education can dramatically affect scores. A good memory can as well.
Idiot savants can have IQ scores off the charts and be able to put libraries of books to memory, but be quite unable to function well in day to day life. This is because the IQ measure is biased toward the notion that intelligence has to do with bytes in our neural hard drive. This, in turn, is based on materialistic bias, i.e., the idea that we are nothing more than an elaborate computer.
But, as Solving The Big Questions As If Thinking Matters proves, we cannot be defined by matter, but are something other. So, if the premise of IQ is wrong, its results, in terms of true intelligence, are as well.
True intelligence has to do with creating a better life and better world. It requires reason and judgment in real life situations. One must be able to critically weigh information with the overriding motive of getting to reality. It means doing the hardest thing of all, setting aside short term self interests and intuitive cognitive biases (a form of “common sense”), and guiding life toward the best possible long term goals. For these rational skills, there is simply no effective test other than the results of experience.
In this regard, all children are unintelligent. They think only in the moment and are preoccupied with whatever will bring them the most pleasure the quickest. Kids don’t have to make meals, buy clothes, clean the house, or pack for a trip. They just get up in the morning and run after fun. They jump in the car expecting all their needs will be cared for when they arrive—they won’t even go potty first before a long trip without reminding. They, like animals, seem to have no concept of future consequences.
Problem is, too many adults never get out of this child-like and animalistic mode. For example, they expect a big daddy government to care for their needs, or big daddy anthropomorphized god (not to be confused with the true creator—see Solving the Big Questions) to forgive them all their failings, while they go about trying to have fun for the day. They are unintelligent because they refuse to grow up by taking responsibility for themselves and the future of the world.
IQ may predict academic and some forms of work success. Society is filled with really smart educated people who can build machines, put men on the moon, and break atoms apart. Yet in the day to day course of things, our world is really quite insane.
Our high IQ technocrats spend billions to develop weaponry that can annihilate all life on the planet and create industry that compromises the very environment upon which our health depends. We idolize foul mouthed, crotch grabbing, drug gobbling, money awashed pop and sport stars, eat ourselves into oblivion, fill our days talking about American Idol, and spend trillions on a medical system that focuses on treating symptoms rather than addressing causes. Government spends beyond its means and prints money to cover the debt. Politicians are voted into office based upon their charisma even if they are so deluded by ideology and ignorant that, by so doing, they would destroy the best benevolent dictator the world has yet to have, the Constitution.
I could go on and on about our high IQ stupidity. And I have. That is what the Thinking Matters books are about in large part.
So what is true intelligence? It is the ability to act today as if tomorrow matters, to see failure as opportunity, to respect and learn from history and experience, to discern reality and live in tune with it (not with how we wish the world to be), to be led by reason and fact (not by unexamined beliefs and faiths), and be open-minded with only one allegiance: the pursuit of truth. I encapsulate this in the SOLVER principles discussed in the two Thinking Matters books: Self responsibility—Open-mindedness—Long view—Virtuous intent—Evidence—Reason.
These principles of intelligence have little to do with IQ, and even less to do with technology, political correctness, group think, and heady philosophies. They have to do with our core being, that part of us that tells us we are more than an amalgam of the Periodic Table, that nudges us to do what is right, that calls us to reason in order to carefully measure what we do in terms of its future impact, and to achieve our only purpose in being, to love.
Word: amalgam - \ə-'mal-gəm\ (click for pronunciation) noun: a mix or concoction of things put together as a single thing; an alloy of mercury with another metal that is solid or liquid at room temperature according to the proportion of mercury present and is used especially in making tooth cements
Thought: The unintelligent are fixated on short cycles, the intelligent have their eyes on the horizon.
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