Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Mario V. Farina
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Please understand that what follows are merely the opinions of a nonagenarian. At 93, I have lived a long life and learned a lot. What I say here may have some merit; but, on the other hand, it may simply be drivel. I offer it here for whatever worth it may have.
IQ tests are for the birds. What do I mean by that? What I’m saying is that, in my opinion, IQ tests tell little, if anything, about a persons’ intelligence.
Most of us, I think, have taken an IQ test at some time in the past. You may recall that there were questions that had to do with words. You were asked how does this one word differ from three others, or what is the most accurate meaning for this word. Essentially, this was a vocabulary test. If you knew the meanings of a lot of words, especially the fine shadings, you were on your way to receiving a high IQ.
Another part of the test may have had to do with numbers. You were given a series of numbers and were to find what was the next number in the series. If you were good with numbers, especially numbers that were in series you had seen or heard about, you would do well with this part of the IQ test.
Another part of the test may have been where you were given illustrations where you needed to have a good imagination in order to have an idea what was behind the portions of the illustrations that you could not see. As before, if you had been exposed to many real life objects, where parts of them could not be seen from some angles, you would do well.
How well you did on an IQ test would generate a number that may have begun with zero and reached several hundred. Certain numbers, like 100, would indicate that your intelligence was average. Another number like 125 indicated that your intelligence was superior. Still another number like 150 showed that you were a genius. The more your number was above 150, the greater genius you were.
I don’t understand how certain numbers like 100 could be assigned average, others superior, and others genius. Who does the assigning, what is the methodology used, how accurate it is?
It was no secret that this kind of test does not accurately indicate how intelligent you actually are. The reason you may have received a high score may have been because you were good with numbers, words, and puzzling illustrations. I, personally, don’t see how these kinds of abilities label one as having some level of intelligence. I don’t believe that these kinds of abilities, especially those with the higher numbers, allow a person to be more valuable in society then others whose numbers are lower.
It is acknowledged by many that IQs with different people is not the same throughout their lives. As one goes through life, he or she learns to do things and gains a great deal of knowledge from many sources. As IQ tests are taken throughout life, they invariably get better and better. It must be concluded, therefore, that an IQ test that one takes in childhood may give little, or no, information as to what will be later IQs of the same person. How can IQ measurements that vary through life have any meaning?
It is also acknowledged, I think, that some people are good at taking tests. The more the number of tests they take, the better they become at doing this. If a person learns what to expect in a test, the better that person becomes at taking IQ tests. If true, this fact indicates that a particular measurement of a person’s intelligence, cannot be relied upon to accurately show what is the true intelligence of the person. All the tests show is that the person is good at taking tests.
If what I am saying about IQ tests has validity, then what is intelligence, and how does one measure the intelligence of an individual?
At the beginning, I feel I must say that I believe most healthy people are born with intelligence levels that are much the same as that of everyone else. Yes, I do think that the genes some parents give to some people give them a slight edge. I also believe that the health level of some newborns is greater than that of others, and this gives some people a slightly higher intelligence level than others. However, if a baby is born from healthy parents under healthful conditions, I believe its intelligence level could not possibly be more than a few percentage points above other babies. As a pure guess, I would say about 10%. Another way to say what I have just said, is that the innate intelligence of most people at birth is within 10% of that of all others.
I must admit that there are certain people who are true prodigies. These are people that seem to have been born with computers in their heads instead of brains. They can perform activities that boggles the mind. Scientists are not able to understand how what they can do is so far greater than what others can do. I have no explanations for prodigies nor any theories. I believe that the number of prodigies in our midst is such a low percentage that it cannot be measured. I believe, also, attempting to understand how their minds work, could provide a great deal of information that would be useful to the rest of us.
I think it would be acknowledged that animals, as well as humans, have levels of intelligence. It seems obvious that the intelligence of certain animals is less than that of other animals. For example, a cat has more intelligence than a flea. An elephant has more intelligence than a cat. That a human has more intelligence than any of the animals just mentioned. However, I think most people would agree that even a super genius flea will never match the intelligence of even a dumb cat; that the intelligence of a super genius cat will never match the intelligence of a dumb elephant. I also believe that in the universe there are creatures that have far more intelligence than we humans on earth. It may be true that somewhere in the universe there is a dumb being whose intelligence is far more than a super human genius. What I am attempting to say in this paragraph is that there are limits to the intelligences of all the different kinds of creatures on this earth.
It may be startling for us humans to learn that the intelligence capacity of certain animals could be beyond that of humans. Some animals have much larger brains than humans. An elephant’s brain is an example. So is the brain of a whale. Is it possible that these animals have the capacity to build greater intelligence levels than humans? Let’s consider elephants as an example. An elephant doesn’t need to do a great deal during an ordinary day. It roams around, eats and drinks, tends to its family, loves and is loved, rejoices or grieves, perhaps even plans for its well-being and its future. However, it does not need to think about saving money, driving to work, using a drill press or a computer, writing letters, watching television, or doing any of the multitude of tasks that humans do. It seems, therefore, that if elephants needed to do these things, they would have the capacity to do them better because their brains are larger. Happily, we need not fear that elephants will want to do these things because there are physical limitations that limit what they can do. An obvious example is that humans have hands that allow them to do delicate work that elephants could not possibly attempt; also, humans are of a size that allow them to fit in airplanes in large numbers, whereas elephants might have trouble just fitting a few. There are many other examples I could give.
Consider whales. We need not worry about them either. They are masters of the sea but would have few abilities on land.
So what is intelligence? In my view, intelligence is knowledge. The more knowledge a person has, the more intelligent that person is. The more knowledge there is in the brain of a man or woman, the more useful that person is to society.
Knowledge, of course, is gained through various activities. One obtains knowledge in school from teachers and books. One also obtains knowledge from actual doing. The brain has enormous capacity for storing knowledge. One does not need to fear that if a person attempts to learn something, he or she will necessarily have to push some knowledge out of their brain. I believe it is also true, that knowledge once gained, stays in the brain forever, or at least, until the brain begins to wear from age, and begins to decline, in its capacity to learn, to retain, and to use the knowledge that was stored in its brain.
I don’t believe a number can be devised that will indicate how much knowledge there is in a person’s brain. All of us learn by simply living. Some of us are more interested in what we do and will retain a larger amount of what we learn that others. This interest also allows some of us to use what we know more than others. Many of us store a great deal of knowledge in our brains but that knowledge may vary greatly from person to person. Who can say whether a brain stored with information about astronomy is more or less intelligent than one that stores information about germs.
The sense of curiosity differs from person to person. One individual may be satisfied to simply let the mind idle many times during the day, while another, feels that the mind must be constantly learning at all times. There is far more to be learned in the universe then can fit in a human’s brain. Further, there is not enough time in a person’s life, to learn all there is to know about the world and the universe. I believe that the more a person puts into their brain, the more intelligent he or she is. It follows that the more of this kind of intelligence that is in a person’s brain, the more useful that person can be to society.
It must be said, that some individuals have more of a desire to use the knowledge that is in their brains than others. Some people will crowd their brains with information but have very little incentive to use it. They are highly intelligent, yes, but not as useful to the welfare of society as they could be. Some people want to be inventive, want to be useful, but don’t have the knowledge allowing them to be as inventive and useful as they wish to be. It is my opinion, that a good citizen of his or her community, world, or universe would be one who, not only, crams his or her brain with knowledge, but also, has a strong desire to use that knowledge for the benefit of the world. I would deem this person to be a genius.