Sunday, April 11, 2010


i found this article about the concept behind an IQ or IQ tests on this blog i follow. very interesting.
it's always a good thing for me when the foundation of a word or concept is disintegrated. here are some excerpts:
"The psychologist Michael Cole and some colleagues once gave members of the Kpelle tribe, in Liberia, a version of the WISC similarities test: they took a basket of food, tools, containers, and clothing and asked the tribesmen to sort them into appropriate categories. To the frustration of the researchers, the Kpelle chose functional pairings. They put a potato and a knife together because a knife is used to cut a potato. "A wise man could only do such-and-such," they explained. Finally, the researchers asked, "How would a fool do it?" The tribesmen immediately re-sorted the items into the "right" categories. It can be argued that taxonomical categories are a developmental improvement—that is, that the Kpelle would be more likely to advance, technologically and scientifically, if they started to see the world that way. But to label them less intelligent than Westerners, on the basis of their performance on that test, is merely to state that they have different cognitive preferences and habits....
For instance, Flynn shows what happens when we recognize that I.Q. is not a freestanding number but a value attached to a specific time and a specific test. When an I.Q. test is created, he reminds us, it is calibrated or "normed" so that the test-takers in the fiftieth percentile—those exactly at the median—are assigned a score of 100. But since I.Q.s are always rising, the only way to keep that hundred-point benchmark is periodically to make the tests more difficult—to "renorm" them. The original WISC was normed in the late nineteen-forties. It was then renormed in the early nineteen-seventies, as the WISC-R; renormed a third time in the late eighties, as the WISC III; and renormed again a few years ago, as the WISC IV—with each version just a little harder than its predecessor. The notion that anyone "has" an I.Q. of a certain number, then, is meaningless unless you know which WISC he took, and when he took it, since there's a substantial difference between getting a 130 on the WISC IV and getting a 130 on the much easier WISC."

i've always thought of intelligence tests as somewhat pointless. i remember my first philosophy class (which was packed with more information than probably all my years of public schooling combined) in which we talked about the idea of a "fact" and how there really is no objectivity or reality to a "fact"...mainly because there is no objectivity or foundation for "reality". we all act (or some of us truly believe) as if these concepts have some basis mainly because it is the only (or easiest) way that we can process whatever this thing is that we have labeled "life".
we all look at IQ's as some stationary level of intelligence that one either has or doesn't, but the whole idea is arbitrary. we all really have our own ideas about what is intelligence. personally, i only hold individuals that have a good deal of knowledge in the areas i'm interested in as intelligent. ha...i think thats a bit egotistical (egotistical in the sense that i take something believed to be an objective concept into one relative one based on my own opinions) on some level....but thats how i feel. people that are knowledgeable in the areas of philosophy, sociology, anthropology, religion (multiple religions), and psychology and sometimes zoology are intelligent to me. all else is...expendable. many other people think that anyone with a degree or doctorate is intelligent, but diplomas mean nothing. intelligence is intelligence with or without a sheet of paper that says so (although i do hold a special place in my heart for people with degrees in philosophy and/or religion).

the same can be said for concepts such as "life", "time", "history", "reality", "knowledge", "moral", and "ethics". none of them really mean anything. what does that mean to you if you come to terms with the lack of foundation in these words? realizing your idea of "reality" has no basis can be scary.

think. think. think. comment.

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