Is IQ ‘Intelligence?’

In standardized tests and on IQ tests we’re usually faced with problems that test our ability to quickly and accurately manipulate logic tokens, recognize patterns, and solve puzzles.

These tests are usually meant to be taken by “anyone.” In other words: nothing on the test can give the test-taker an advantage over any other.

Solution: Avoid problems with relevance to anything in the real world.

Perhaps this helps explain why “intelligent” in our society means an absentminded professor who can crunch equations with ease but is worthless at doing anything else.

Also, “anyone” means that the test can be administered to people who speak different languages or come from other cultures.

Solution: Use lots of spatial and visual oriented problems.

But what if you’re someone like me who forgets that the right hand of someone across from me is on my left?

The absentminded math professor types also tend to be good at the technical aspects of music. They seem to be strong in just this sort of spatial reasoning.

So is the test for “anyone” or is it just testing for people who fit the typical psychological profile of the people who made the test?

How well does recognizing patterns in shaded squares or deciphering gibberish languages translate into reasoning about less tangible things like concepts, ideas, and meanings?
Does testing for syntactic acrobatics predict aptitude in semantic understanding?

There is obviously some correlation between IQ and intelligence.
After all:
-Average IQ of different nations seems to correlate fairly well with the level of organization of those societies. (Abstract reasoning required for high levels of cooperation in a mass society?)
-High IQ groups such as Ashkenazi Jews, Parsees, or Brahmins highly overrepresented in science, art, music, politics, business and finance, theatre, literature, academia, prestigious professions such as medicine and law… Pretty much any activity that requires someone to think or be creative seems to have some correlation with IQ.

It would seem intelligent people are disproportionately represented amongst those with high IQ(probably why it is still used), but does high IQ actually indicate intelligence?

When I’ve heard people talk about meeting MENSA members or joining MENSA they’ve usually been unimpressed. I’ve heard tales of how the MENSA members were preoccupied with some number they had achieved but seemed to otherwise do very little to demonstrate any unusual ability to think or be creative.

Perhaps more telling is the story of the super elite high IQ associations. The members had achieved scores higher than those of the most famous scientists and they were in a position to associate more closely than most of those famous scientists ever could.

Unsurprisingly, these individuals set out some ambitious goals. Among which were:
-To challenge the power of a corrupt academia and eventually replace it.
-To attract the brightest people and develop their talents under the tutelage of their mental equals.
-To eventually have a world benevolently run by the brightest minds.

Not only did these groups fail in their objectives. Their unity devolved into the same sort of petty infighting one would expect from a group of average intelligence.
The group broke down. Some members left or were kicked out. Impotent splinter cells resulted. And as far as I know that’s pretty much how things have stayed.

So some of the highest IQ people in the world have succeeded in assembling yet the result was hardly a golden age.

Now it’s possible that IQ just indicates a certain potential. Thus maybe there’s a 1/500 chance of someone with 200 IQ of making a groundbreaking discovery.
While virtually zero chance of someone of average intelligence doing the same.
Likewise being an Ashkenazim doesn’t mean one must be accomplished in the creative or logical disciplines but it hugely increases the probability.

However, the story of High IQ clubs makes me think that IQ correlates somewhat with intelligence, but doesn’t come close to being an indicator of intelligence itself.
For instance:
The assumption that a high score on an IQ test would be enough of a commonality between the members to work together seamlessly on a project of world improvement.

Surely anyone truly intelligent would understand that humans are social animals that tend to associate based on visceral emotional responses to:
-race
-age
-gender
-economic class
-ugly or beautiful
-popularity
-commonality of experiences
-personal interests, hobbies
-nationality, culture of origin, language, dialect of language
-psychological profile
-hormonal profile
-clean or messy…

You get the idea.

The people who are better at IQ tests than anyone else were unable to reason through some very basic properties of human nature when trying to form a working organizational structure.

Such elementary shortcomings strongly suggest that IQ doesn’t mean what we think it means.
That at best it tests for ability to shuffle meaningless data around by rote.

And as it happens, most of the people who can think for themselves are better than average at shuffling around data. Because their process of reasoning inevitably involves working with data and drawing conclusions from it.

Now why would so many people with high IQs lack the ability to apply their logic skills to more than a few specific applications?

I will hearken back to a previous post; Human Husbandry.

Since the dawn of agriculture, kings, dictators, power elites have only ever shared their grain with people who are useful to them.
These power wielders have always wanted inventive people who can come up with shiny new weapons or methods of production to give them an edge over competing landlords.

Kings are comfortable with a harmless geek squad that takes orders and mindlessly delivers the goods, whether it be a catapult, a steam engine, or an i-phone. Paradoxically, the same people who can assemble such miraculous contraptions are blithely oblivious of the human suffering or social strife that might result from their creations.
Consider the shock and disbelief of some of the scientists who worked on the Manhattan project when their handiwork was unleashed on the world. Just what did they think they were doing? Did they think it was all just a game?

Meanwhile, there is the person who can apply to social structures and orthodox beliefs the same principles required to build a siege engine or electronic gadget. This person is no asset to the king but a threat to the state itself.

So is it any surprise that after generations of pyramidal civilization that the archetypal whiz kid almost seems to have certain neural pathways soldered shut? To be bright and capable but to mysteriously lack the complete and highest intelligence?

Lateral Thinking

Most types of logic problems i.e. algebra, sudoku require you to reason out what follows next from incomplete information.

Yet when I try to discuss social or philosophical issues with people who are far more talented than I am in logic disciplines I’m frequently given excuses:

-The “studies”, “research”, “experts” haven’t proven it yet. Therefore we can’t have a productive discussion about it. (If it’s already proven, why discuss it?!!)
-You’re just speculating. You have no proof.
-There’s not enough information.

I’ve tried hard to demonstrate to these brilliant people that they’re making excuses, but I’ve rarely managed to get past this stonewalling behavior.

It is very frustrating. It feels as though I’m dealing with a dog in the manger… or the dragon Smaug, just sitting idly on a hoard of treasure, never using it.
I feel that with their talents they could accomplish much more than I can.

Is their development somehow lopsided or do they simply lack the ability to think in a certain way? Shouldn’t it be obvious that problems outside of one’s immediate discipline are also logic puzzles? Shouldn’t it come naturally to play with different hypotheses until something makes sense?

The best I can figure:
-The raw ability to manipulate logic tokens.
-The ability to correlate logic tokens with meanings.

Are two different things.

Obviously one first requires some ability to work with logic. Yet one can satisfy the precondition and not have a glimmering of the ability that follows from it?

Yet it seems it’s quite possible to be a mathematical prodigy and still buy into simplistic demagoguery and political jargon. Or perhaps more common to have no real beliefs or opinions at all about matters outside a certain field.

I’ve fantasized about applying incredible logic-based skills to applications that might be considered outside “the field.”

-A schematic for a machine, electrical circuit, or logic circuit that represents the workings of a human society. (I’ve envisioned ‘orthodoxy’ as a module that can be switched around or replaced but necessary for a society to function)
-Computer programs that can help train the mind in new ways, break mental habits.
-Designing social models using calculus to figure out where the point of diminishing returns lies in the application of any given policy.
-Use of the scientific method to invent new ways of training the human mind.

Fatal Shortcomings of Enlightenment Thought

What is enlightenment thought? It’s pretty much a core set of ideas that began to catch on in 18th century Western Europe.
These are the ideas that grew alongside and helped inspire the development of the modern sciences, the industrial revolution, of human rights.
It’s the emergence of these guiding ideas that marked the decline of monarchy, traditionalism, and religion in the West.

Enlightenment ideas, once revolutionary, have become the orthodoxy– So ubiquitous and deeply entrenched that we take most of its assumptions to be self-evident.

I think the enlightenment had a lot of things right, that it was on the right track. But sadly, it never developed far beyond its origins.
Its proponents never grew beyond their rage at the excesses of the previous system and continue to destructively overcompensate to this day.

Now, in the 21st century blind adherence to this fossilized body of thought has not only become a hindrance to the development of civilizations. It has proven itself a threat to the survival of entire peoples and races.

Most of these problems can be traced all the way down to the axiomatic level:

1. The vehement denial of meaning and driving purpose.
Treating the universe as if anything that cannot be measured or categorized doesn’t exist. (Helps explain why AI research has been stuck for decades when it comes to artificial minds?)

2. Inability to confront, understand, and resolve the nihilistic implications of a meaningless universe. Refusal to separate the relevant concerns from the irrelevant in the absence of meaning.(i.e. Relativism)

3. Failure to understand that reason is but a useful tool. It can no more offer direction, meaning, values or a purpose in life to the individual or society than can a hammer or a nail.

4. Inordinate focus on precision for its own sake, phobia of infinitude. Obsessive compulsive drive to put everything in exactly its proper box. (Only to discover that there’s always another subatomic particle within particles. Or yet another gradation of gray between A and A’.)
(Follows from 3)

5.Contempt for, misunderstanding of intuition and the subconscious faculties.
(Good use of these faculties is how scientific discoveries actually get made)

6. Contempt for human perception, regarding it all as a misguided illusion there to “fool” us.
(Perhaps this helps explain why we seem to have hit a wall at the quantum level)

7. Naive over-valuation of ‘choice’ and ability to act ‘logically’ in human beings.

8. Shallow understanding of ‘rights.’ Inability to understand that unregulated ‘freedom’ for the individual can mean insanity on the civilizational level.

9. Obsession with order and regimentation at the expense of all things human. Tendency to vastly overestimate the ability of humans to order the universe around us.

10. Tendency to attach excessive importance to grinding through isolated ‘facts’ while forgetting that the ultimate goal is to recognize patterns.

Genetic and Memetic Legacies

Scientifically speaking, the purpose of life is to make babies and ensure that they have babies in turn.
This is our legacy.

But so too can our memes reproduce, recombine, and perpetuate themselves long after we’re dead.

Because our behaviors, impressions, and ideas are not easily tangible or measurable they tend to be relegated to the realm of things that are subjective and more or less unreal much like art, beauty, or meaning.

But consider a man who has fathered a family but cannot relate to his own children. He has succeeded genetically, but failed utterly to pass on his world view, his perspective, his memes to the next generation.
In a way, his flesh lives on but his mind and very soul perishes. And as many a father has found, there is something nightmarish in this.

Let’s also consider the great luminary who leaves behind no children but creates ideas that echo through the centuries.
Their spirit lives on, but their ideas are twisted by the great majority who do not have it in their nature to understand.
The greatest ideas accomplish little if there are not those of the right flesh to receive, understand, and enact them in subsequent generations.

I would suppose then, that a complete legacy is both genetic and memetic in nature?

Sexual Repression And Social Productivity

If the main instinct that spurs men to action is the drive to reproduce, then perhaps competitive societies are those that strategically repress their male populations?

Without easy access to reproduction, perhaps men become like desperate drug addicts looking for the next fix. They will invent anything, build anything, explore anywhere, risk their lives in battle, risk their life savings by starting a business all so they can be recognized by society and become one of the winners.

For the formula to work, I’m supposing the carrot has to be big enough and the stick only as long as it needs to be, to keep that carrot tantalizingly out of reach.
-The rewards must be sufficient and certain (reproduction must be guaranteed in the event of success)
-The goal cannot seem too hopeless or defection seems to be the better option. There
must be well defined routes to success and there must be willingness to accept those who succeed by trying out new routes.