IQ, Environment, and Consciousness

Deus Ex Machina (x8h1@MUSIC.STLAWU.EDU)
Tue, 8 Oct 1996 01:06:13 -0400

This may be a bit scatter-brained so bear with me and I hope I don't repeat
anything that someone has already said. This post represents about two
hours of thinking at the computer while I wrote. At one point this post was
about two or three pages long and it fluctuated as I thought, edited,
changed my mind, realized certain things, etc. Anyway here goes...

First things first. IQ as it is used now measures *certain types* of
problem solving and to some degree memory capacity that more specifically
related to academics than anything. I must say also that I see now that
although "IQ" can be measured it is but one aspect of the total whole of
one's intelligence.

I think that this realization may pertain in some way to, what now
seems the defunct "consciousness" thread. Since the developement of one's
intelligence is depedent on the environment one developed in and since from
person to person environments can differ down to the individual level in
the form of experience of that environment each person has a base
intelligence that can be honed but that is slightly different from everyone
else's. So that it really makes it very difficult to come up with a test
that can be used to compare intelligences. You can do it, don't get me
wrong, but there will be a margin of error that correlates back to the
environment. So that while we could reasonably compare intelligence of
those in America and even I think much of the world. You could not
reasonably compare the intelligence of say (this may be a horrible example
but I use it 'cause I couldn't think of anything else) someone from New
York and say a !Kung that lives in a very different type of environment
than you or I. This is NOT to say that they are less intelligent than any
of us or that we are more intelligent just that the environmental
difference means intelligence *TYPE* difference and thus we could not
compare the two. The same deal would be in effect with an ancient Aztec or
Maya or Inka. It is also not to say that they are less aware of their
existence or they couldn't deal with us or our technology which are things
that developed in accordance to factors in our environment. They would have
come up with them too had they the same or similar environmental factors.
What I am getting at is that it is not a matter of superior or inferior
just difference.


Matthew D. Joanis '98
St. Lawrence University
"Ipsa scientia potestas est"