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Intelligence is overrated as a metric, from the get-go. Being smart doesn't mean anything - accomplishing something, whether that be writing a book, founding a company, making a new scientific discovery, sculpting a masterpiece, etc., is a much better metric.

Unfortunately everyone seems to be hung up on the "idea" of being smart, as if having a high IQ somehow constitutes an accomplishment.




It does mean something. Specifically it means you learn differently than other people, because you store and process information differently. It is neither accurate to be expected to function the same as other people nor to expect other people to function the same way you do if you are a significant outlier.

Particularly during schooling it can be lonely, isolating and incredibly boring. It is easy, under those circumstances, to either build yourself up as better than people around you or come to hate and hide your intelligence so you can pass as one of them. Both are a loss to society.

It is not an accomplishment, any more than having diabetes is an accomplishment, but it is a fact of life and trying to pretend it doesn't matter is futile.


The point I was trying to make was that intelligence itself is a bad goal - it's a means to an end. Being smart makes things easier, sure, but it's not really something to be proud of by itself. 'Metric' was probably a bad word choice.


Then why does it correlate so high with income, even after being adjusted by the economic background of the measured person's parents?


Probably because the thing it correlates the most with is reading for pleasure, and that's easily done in a household that could afford lots of extracurricular books.

The myth that IQ tests measure any tangible internal capacity (or that they were even designed to do so rather than to justify the exclusion of eastern european immigrants and racism against blacks) will stay as the dominant view because the people who set the dominant view are people who get good scores on IQ tests.


> and that's easily done in a household that could afford lots of extracurricular books.

But that is already adjusted for.

IQ tests highly correlate to a number of factors. More likely to read, less likely to get divorced, more likely to go to university, more likely to eat healthily, etc. But at the end of the day, when you keep trying to control for each of these factors you end up at the null hypothesis simply because there is nothing left to measure.

Just because something is politically incorrect doesn't mean it is wrong.


They adjust IQ scores for income? I missed that.

It has nothing to do with political correctness - it was literally the purpose of general intelligence tests to justify exclusionary immigration, racism and eugenics, and they were designed (or redesigned in some cases, such as when blacks in the military scored better than whites) to do that well. It reified a general intelligence concept that has no actual evidence, and justified that with factor analysis, the leading tool of statisticians for creating a single thing out of a maelstorm of complicated, interdependent factors by just pretending that they are linear.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mismeasure_of_Man

IQ tests correlate far higher with pleasure reading in childhood than any other factor IIRC.

This is not sour grapes - I'm a member of MENSA (which is really a boardgaming club); it's just historically accurate. IQ tests could be completely replaced with a tally of books read for pleasure (and the reading level of those texts), and you would end up with all of the same correlations without all of the self-important mathy-sciency tone.

I accept that there's a difference in the amount of knowledge that people have accumulated, and the amount of familiarity about how to evaluate common classes of questions that a voracious reader will have seen a million times before, and that a lack of those things may create a lot of challenges in college. I have no issue with the SAT. My issue is with the completely unjustified leap to a belief of differences in capacity, and the projection of this onto reified folk theoretical (theory-theory) internal states. This mythology is just another cultural construct to separate humans into "us" and "the others" and to alleviate the cognitive dissonance between our proclaimed ethics and open prejudice. Being a measure of the status quo, primarily, it serves solely to perpetuate it, offering no other benefit.

edit: early intelligence tests actually had questions that assumed you knew details about current baseball teams.

edit2: I also noticed that, other than reading for pleasure, the other examples that you listed for high correlation with IQ are degrees of adherence to cultural norms. Are high IQ people simply better at obedience?


Says tau/2.



I think there is a 'situational intelligence' or a set of schemas you develop for dealing with things within a certain activity; e.g. an old school photographer may not need to use a light meter at all to get well exposed negatives; a Unix administrator will know where to look when a system starts to behave oddly; a nursery nurse will know when a child needs attention and when they can be left.

I wonder what the results would look like if you wrote 'bias check questions' within a knowledge domain and some outside the domain and compared the scores of a group of practitioners and a group of non-practitioners, sort of a four way table.


I'm on the same page. IQ is property of the genetic dice roll, not something that a person earns. Tangible results based measurements seem more appropriate. Pure intellect is the raw material & needs to be refined/applied to be useful.

edit: grammar


The rest of your personality traits that allow you to accomplish great things (diligence, perseverance, focus, empathy, etc), as well as external factors such as being born at the right place and the right time, are also arguably a genetic / environmental dice roll.


I'd argue all of those areas you list are far more likely to be improved over the course of a lifetime than sheer intelligence. Pure intellect is pretty much set at birth, or at the least the ability to improve it isn't statistically significant. I'd argue that genetic dice roll and environmental dice roll are quite different things as well. You have FAR more ability to change your environmental situation than your genetic one. Does everyone have an equal chance to alter their environment? No, but who said life is fair?


The human brain has enormous capacity to develop in a wide variety of areas. Most of these areas are not measured in tests like the IQ tests. IQ tests mainly measure those brain functions we find beneficial in modern western society.

IQ tests, SATs, ACTs and other standardized test like them are improperly named. They should be called "Tests That Predict Success or Failure in the School System From Which the Questions Have Been Derived."


SAT originally stood for Scholastic Aptitude Test...so it seems properly named, even by your own standards. Similarly, ACT stands for American College Testing which doesn't have anything to do with intelligence.

You seem to have a pretty serious ax to grind with standardized testing.


The SAT was created in 1928 with the intentions of measuring a student's aptitude. meaning that the test measured an innate ability, rather than knowledge acquired through schooling. Today, the test administered by the College Board is still called SAT, but the name is just an acronym, with the letters no longer standing for anything. According to the College Board, the SAT now does not measure any innate ability.

the SAT and ACT simply provides a common yardstick for comparing grades at different high schools. Educators use them as way to judge an A at this school or this teacher versus an A at this school or this teacher. Nothing more. At best the SAT is said to predict freshman year grades in college (somewhat).


I'm not debating what they do or where their name comes from. You suggested they needed to be renamed (presumably because they imply they test intelligence). They are (or were) named appropriately.


If I'm born into a millionaire family, I have more purchasing power than someone born into a poor family in Ukraine. This is a result of the genetic dice roll. Following your logic, does this mean Armani should start pricing their clothes adjusting for parental affluence and/or by how many rungs of the social ladder a person has climbed in their life?


That is the result of a environmental/social dice roll. Not even close to the same thing.




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