Re: Crank Science

From: stencil (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 10:51:07 MDT

On Wed, 15 Aug 2001 06:10:04 -0600,
in extropians-digest V6 #225,
Miriam English <> observes:
>Yes, IQ tests measure something... but what? About the only answer that
>anybody has been able to come up with that makes any sense to me is that IQ
>tests measure how well someone does at IQ tests. I am not being sarcastic

Amen. My sense, based on the US DOD Basic Battery,
Mensa's proctored exam, and Chris Whiting's Skyscraper
exam, is that they reveal the kind of puzzle-solving
ability that involves pattern perception within a field of
abstracts, as opposed to, say, the ability to to assemble
senory impressions in the wild - the hunter's 'field
sense' - or or to the ability to sense the gestalt of
another individual or group - the politician's or
entertainer's ability to 'read' a room accurately.

> So
>what does IQ measure? I don't think it really measures how smart someone is.

What Terman and his associates were looking for when they
started the process in ?1916 was a tool that would let
them select a trainable cadre of technicians - gunners,
logistics types, and the like - from the herd of draftees.
The thing that frets me about it is that it has fostered
the meme that intelligence - or, rather 'IQ' - is a moral
quality akin to courage or loyalty but superior simply
because it can be assessed, quantified, and compared - and
used for prediction of behavior. Earlier cultures were
aware of intelligence too but their perceptions of its
value - embodied in tales of Trickster, Loki, Monkey,
Odysseus - were a lot more equivocal.

I think the IQ scores certainly are use*able* in limited
ways but they never should have become escutcheons.

stencil sends

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