Re: IQ versus common sense

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 21:42:50 MDT

Robert Coyote wrote:
> Is it intelligent to join Mensa ?

Speaking as a member of said organization, it's a cost/benefit decision
that seems to have different weights for everyone. For me, the cost
was practically zero - thanks to my parents, I was already in by the
time I was old enough to decide if I wished to stay, and further
membership was a negligible financial cost. Back during the 'Net
bubble, I invested some of my excess earnings (which would probably
have vanished into nothingness by now if I hadn't used them then) into
a long membership period (either 5 year or life, I forget which). The
benefits are minor - for instance, an excuse to host one of their
events, and a slight authority status in any intellectual debate with
someone extremely vulnerable to appeals to authority (like, say,
weak-willed venture capitalists) - but larger than the cost, so I keep
my membership.

For most people I have heard from, the benefits are likely to be minor
and social. If you go in expecting unceasing, stimulating conversation
with the world's best intellectuals, prepare to be dissappointed -
doubly so when (and if) you realize that this *is* their normal
conversation, despite their intelligence. It's just a random sample of
normal people, differentiated from most human beings only by their
ability to score highly on a certain type of test (which may or may not
have some correlation with ability to learn stuff quickly, and apply
any such knowledge already possessed...though not necessarily the
actual possession of said knowledge).

It is partly from my observations of Mensa that comes my belief that
intelligence, even what most people currently regard as "genius" level,
can be learned by almost anyone (the sole exception being people with
certain classes of brain trauma at a high enough degree that they are
usually unable to function in modern society). Genetics, and thought
patterns learned as a child, may give some people an edge when they
reach adulthood, but any ultimate potential difference that invokes is
far in excess of how good even most "geniuses" really become today.

Which, in turn, gives hope that a properly written AI may well surpass
actual human general intelligence levels, and even be able to upgrade
any uploads...

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