What is intelligence? It's not IQ

Sat, 29 Oct 1994 20:57:24 +0000

It seems to me that once again, spiralling around this particular debate ad
nauseam, that we are once again dancing around the real issues of the
race-intelligence "debate."

Now that D. Read has set us straight on "what is race?" question (and given
us the proper answer: "nothing useful for our research.")

The real followup question, as asked, is "what is intelligence?" and it
deserves an answer. And yes, in answering this, I believe it can further
all kinds of research, whether scientific or humanistic.

1. We can say what it is not. It is not IQ. It does not strike me as
politically incorrect or humanistically invalid, but simply contrary to
reason and evidence (and the data of cognitive neuroscience) that we could
encapsulate all human cognitive abilities into one quantitative index
variable, e.g. "IQ," say that this represents sufficiently and completely
your "intelligence" and furthermore your ability to succeed academically
and economically, as Murray does.

IQ may or may not be heritable; it probably does make some predictions
about your academic performance because it does measure such things as
logic and test-taking ability; it is not the accurate measure of a person's
total intelligence. Thus, even if "IQ" is heritable, this says nothing with
regard to "intelligence."

2. If intelligence can be said to BE anything, it is a multiplicity of
cognitive abilities, many of which are unfortunately not measured on the IQ
test. Some of these cognitive abilities may be heritable and others may be
acquired. I am afraid that cognition/intelligence is based on a lot more
than speed of neural processing. My handheld Newton does thousands more
calculations per second than I do; but unlike me, it cannot recognize my
handwriting. Or, for that matter, write a prayer.


! Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request) !
! CyberAnthropologist, TechnoCulturalist, Guerilla Ontologist, Chaotician !
! Discordian Society, Counter-Illuminati Operations Branch !
! "One measures a circle beginning anywhere." -- Charles Fort
USE PGP! Finger me for my PGP public key.