Authentic Signs of Intelligence That Can’t Be Faked

 

Intelligence is your brain’s capacity to deal with a wide range of thoughts and ideas.

Like most things, therefore, intelligence is a process.

It is not a static state.

It is not something you either have or don’t.

Your brain is something you cultivate.

Intelligence stems fundamentally from thinking.

Thinking is a choice. It requires one essential thing: effort.

Thought is work. Thought is effort.

Thinking develops your brain. It increases your intellectual power and range.

Non-thought, corollarily, is something you can change.

You become brilliant.

You learn to be smart.

You are not afraid of new ideas because you know your brain can measure and weigh and test these new ideas — in the same way your brain can create new onomatopoeias.

A cultivated mind is an intelligent mind.

It is also beautiful and strange and rather difficult to find.

Thought is both the source and also the end result: it is the goal. It is the driving force.

It is an end in itself.

Intelligence is your ability to think.

This ability can be habituated and developed, or not, depending on what you prefer to do with your time.

You know you’re in the presence of a brain that’s been cultivated when you see some of the following:

Fast, fluid handwriting that’s legible.

There’s a misbegotten notion that illegibility is a sign of a smart person when in actuality it’s the other way around:

People who write legibly want to be understood. Thus they make an effort to present themselves clearly, which takes brain power. Quick, clear handwriting shows practice and patience, which in turn shows development.

Quick wit almost invariably signals that someone’s mind has been cultivated:

Wit is mental sharpness. It is cognitive acuity. It is keenness.

Similarly — and for the same reasons — people who like to laugh, and who in turn like to make others laugh, are frequently smart.

A sharp sense of time and direction show brain power.

Why?

Because a sharp sense of time and direction indicate attention and focus.

The choice to focus or not is the seat of human thought.

The choice to pay attention is where it begins — and ends. It is the locus.

Smart people, virtually by definition, are also more curious.

They are thus more tolerant of ambiguity, just as they are also more tolerant of differences in others — grasping, as they do, what for many of us is blindingly obvious:

The brain is a complicated place, and largely, for this reason, no two people are alike. This basic act of apprehension gives any person who performs it a more complex and more subtle and more sophisticated mode of thinking.

Obsessive worry is a strong indicator of intelligence because it discloses a racing mind that’s never at rest but always thinking, always considering.

This is why some of the greatest thinkers and innovators in world history were monomaniacal ruminators.

Smart people like to read for fun.

People who take active pleasure in reading, rather than doing so out of duty or reading purely for information, unquestionably have brains they’ve worked to cultivate — which means, among other things, “avid readers have better memory function, communication skills, and focus” (source).

Truly intelligent people like to often be alone.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re introverted (although they can be), nor does it mean they don’t like spending any time with friends and other people.

Rather, intelligent people prefer a lot of privacy and space, just as they prefer to pick and choose the time they spend among others because they are independent and they value their independence, in part because it gives them time to think, as well as time to relax.

Smart people, understand, genuinely smart people, as against the book-smart and the pedantic and all the other imposters, are autonomous and have the authentic confidence that can only come from thought and the comprehension that thinking fosters.

Smart people are self-aware.

And because they are self-aware, smart people recognize their mistakes and failures, and they learn from them.

Self-awareness and insight into self is, incidentally, one of the few foolproof signs of intelligence.

People who can argue articulately and convincingly — and from many different angles — have, to that extent, clearly cultivated their brains:

Their minds through practice are able to move nimbly from one idea to another, like a long-legged river-spider skating upon the water.

Yet they are often slow to speak and swift to hear:

Genuinely smart people almost invariably consider what they’re going to say before they say it. Their brain is honed in such a way that it’s quicker than their mouth.

What, after all, does it mean to be smart?

It means to stylize your brain, like a work of art.

It means to cultivate your thoughts for as long as you’re alive — cultivate your thoughts as if they’re the plants of a living garden.

Cultivate them, yes, before your ideas, only partially thought through, ooze into dogma and then fully harden.

It means to observe the universe around you, as well as the one within: to introspect, as thoughtful people do.

It means to be intelligent, like you.

[This is excerpted from a free video course I recently taught, which you can download here. Please do!]

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  1. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Ray (View Comment):

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):
    he’s pretty handsome and the hair definitely adds to the mystique. But I’m assuming that’s not the bias you’re referring to.

    Alas, no. God, no. Unfortunately, no.

    Just incidentally, when I was growing up, my spooneristically minded father used to call them Phistle Wigs.

    Sounds like how my family has always called Bichon frisée dogs “Bitchin’ Frisbees”.

    • #61
  2. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Sounds like how my family has always called Bichon frisée dogs “Bitchin’ Frisbees”.

    HaHaHa!

    • #62
  3. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Great pep talk.  Good for children.  Too bad it’s only half-true.  One definitely must exercise one’s brain to reach one’s potential, but to deny that intelligence varies among individuals in in-born ways is tantamount to believing the earth is flat.

    This kind of feel-good anybody-can-do-anything pap is how elites justify equality-of-results family intervention policies in lieu of the simple freedom of equality of opportunity.  “If children are stupid, it’s the parents’ fault — take ’em away and let the state educate them.”

    Someone needs to go back and read the Bell Curve again, and follow it with the rest of Charles Murray’s oeuvre.

    Ricochet is better than this.  It’s sad that the bulk of the comments are about hair, instead of the absolutely evidence-free assertions in the OP.

    • #63
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    • #64
  5. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Arahant (View Comment):
    these factors can easily vary the adult IQ by fifty points.

    Yes, indeed. Easily.

    • #65
  6. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    One definitely must exercise one’s brain to reach one’s potential, but to deny that intelligence varies among individuals in in-born ways is tantamount to believing the earth is flat.

    The old nature vs. nurture debate. Yes, innate intelligence based on DNA is a thing. It is one factor. Nobody is ever going to teach my cats calculus. They don’t have the mental equipment.

    Nutrition is also a factor on the nurture side. But I have seen the results of a rich mental environment on families and young children. There is no doubt that it makes a huge difference. And as kids are going through school and become adults, the biggest factor in how smart they are and how much they learn is the self-talk based on what their parents and teachers have told them (and how much of it they have believed) through years. Given reasonable mental equipment, these factors can easily vary the adult IQ by fifty points.

    You’re gonna have to cite some research to back this statement up.  It directly contradicts the mountains of evidence summarized and analyzed in The Bell Curve, which has held up against all comers for 20+ years.  Extreme malnutrition, deprivation, and outright abuse are the only environmental effects that have ever been shown to lower IQ.  Nothing has ever been shown to permanently raise IQ.

    In The Bell Curve, Murray and Herrnstein estimated that intelligence, the basically fixed, measurable capacity to learn, was somewhere between 40% and 80% inherited.  Current research suggests that the minimum is over 60%.  That genetic reality has consequences in the real world that us well-educated, isolated elites are rarely exposed to.

    Anyways, it does matter how people apply themselves to acquire knowledge, but one’s raw cognitive ability is roughly constant from the age of three onwards.  Intelligence definitely impacts how quickly one learns, and is also a cut-off for some cognitive skills.  I suspect that I will never be able to visualize multi-dimensional and quantum physics.  I don’t have the IQ for it, and a lifetime of curiosity and enthusiasm for the topic hasn’t changed that.

    • #66
  7. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Ray (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    these factors can easily vary the adult IQ by fifty points.

    Yes, indeed. Easily.

    Fifty IQ points is an enormous difference in ability to learn — more than three full standard deviations.  That’s like the difference between the moron who struggles to learn his multiplication tables and the engineer who builds bridges.  Or between a normal person (IQ = 100, by definition) and the quantum physicist.

    Seriously, y’all need to cite some evidence to back up your wishful thinking on this topic.  Y’all sound like progressives and their blank slates.

    • #67
  8. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Ray (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    these factors can easily vary the adult IQ by fifty points.

    Yes, indeed. Easily.

    Fifty IQ points is an enormous difference in ability to learn — more than three full standard deviations. That’s like the difference between the moron who struggles to learn his multiplication tables and the engineer who builds bridges. Or between a normal person (IQ = 100, by definition) and the quantum physicist.

    Seriously, y’all need to cite some evidence to back up your wishful thinking on this topic. Y’all sound like progressives and their blank slates.

    I think that Ray’s point is: too many normal kids get told they are dumb by adults they look up to. Therefore, they don’t try.

    I  had a friend in HS who was told by college counselors that she wasn’t college material. She went on to graduate from USCD, (Revelle College) and went on to complete a Master’s degree.

     

    • #68
  9. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Tabula Rasa is dead — and, anyway, it’s hardly confined to progressives. In fact, it can be traced clear back to Ancient Greece and Aristotle, and many venerable thinkers on either side of the political spectrum have subscribed to it.

    I, however, do not.

    Mendelian genetics are also dead. My stance is the antithesis of elitism.

    Here are some of my sources, from a book I’ve been working on, anent this very subject. Many of these sources argue both sides:

     

    Abrams, Michael. “Biology of … Perfect Pitch: Can Your Child Learn Some of Mozart’s Magic?” Discover, December 1, 2001.

    American Institute of Physics. “Slam Dunk Science: Physicist Explains Basic Principles Governing Basketball.” November 1, 2007.

    American Psychological Association. “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns. Report of a Task Force Established by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association.” Released August 7, 1995.

    “Intelligence: knowns and unknowns.” American Psychologist 51, no. 2 (February 1996): 77–101.

    Andersen, J. L., H. Klitgaard, and B. Saltin. “Myosin heavy chain isoforms in single bres om m. vastus lateralis of sprinters: influence of training.” Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 151 (1994): 135–42.

    Anderson, Jesper L., Peter Schjerling, and Bengt Saltin. “Muscle, Genes and Athletic Per- formance.” Scientific American, September 2000.

    Anderson, John R. Cognitive Skills and eir Acqu ition. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1981. Angier, Natalie. “Separated by Birth?” New York Times, February 8, 1998. Anuar, A. H. “Leonardo vs. Michelangelo,” November 30, 2004.

    Arai, J., S. Li, D. M. Hartley, and L. A. Feig. “Transgenerational rescue of a genetic defect in long-term potentiation and memory formation by juvenile enrichment.” The Journal of Neuroscience 29, no. 5 (February 4, 2009): 1496–1502.

    Baker, Catherine. Report on Eric Turkheimer’s presentation “ Laws of Behavior Genetics and What they Mean.” Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, & Religion, April 10, 2003; published on the American Association for the Advancement of Science Web site.

    Baltes, Paul B. “Testing the limits of the ontogenetic sources of talent and excellence.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21, no. 3 (June 1998): 407–8.

    Bamberger, J. “Growing Up Prodigies” In Developmental Approaches to Gi edness and Creativity, edited by D. H. Feldman. Jossey-Bass, 1982, pp. 61–67.

    Bannister, R. G. “Muscular e ort.” Brit h Medical Bulletin 12 (1956): 222–25. Barlow, F. Mental Prodigies. Greenwood Press, 1952.

    Bate, Karen. “‘Dora the Explorer’ Shows Pupils the Way.” Salisbury Journal, Sept. 30, 2006.

    Bateson, Patrick. “Behavioral Development and Darwinian Evolution.” In Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution, edited by Susan Oyama et al. MIT Press, 2003, pp. 149–66.

    Bateson, Patrick, “The innate and the acquired: useful clusters or a residual distinction om folk biology?” Developmental Psychobiology 49 (2007): 818–31.

    Bateson, Patrick, and Paul Martin. Design for a Life: How Biology and Psychology Shape Human Behavior. Simon & Schuster, 2001.

    Baumrind, D. “Child care practices anteceding thr patterns of preschool behavior” Genetic Psychology Monographs 75 (1967): 43–88.

    Benard, Bonnie. Resiliency: “What We Have Learned,”  2004.

     

     

    • #69
  10. Chuck Enfield Inactive
    Chuck Enfield
    @ChuckEnfield

    Ray (View Comment):
    Tabula Rasa is dead

    Oh my god!  What happened to him?

    • #70
  11. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Budge , R. “ABC of sports medicine: the overtraining syndrome.” Brit h Medical Jour- nal 309 (1994): 465–68. Burke, Ed. High-Tech Cycling. Human Kinetics, 2003.
    Campitelli, G., and F. Gobet. “The role of practice in chess: a longitudinal study.” Learning and Individual Differences 18, no. 4 (2008): 446–58.

     

    “Language and Politics: Agonistic Discourse in the West Wing.” Published on Ctheory.net, an online journal edited by Arthur Kroker and Marilouise Kroker, November 12, 2001.

    Charness, Neil, R. . Krampe, and U. Mayr. “Thee Role of Practice and Coaching in Entrepreneurial Skill Domains: An International Comparison of Life-Span Chess Skill Acquisition.” In e Road to Excellence: e Acqu ition of Expert Performance in the Arts and Sciences, Sports, and Games, edited by K. A. Ericsson. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1996, pp. 51–80.

    Charness, Neil, M. Tu ash, R. Krampe, E. Reingold, and E. Vasyukova. “The role of deliberate practice in chess expertise.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 19 (2005): 151–65.

    Chase, W. G., and H. A. Simon. “The Mind’s Eye in Chess.” Visual Information Processing:  8th Annual Carnegie Psychology Symposium. Academic Press, 1972.

    Chen, Edwin. “Twins Reared Apart: A Living Lab.” New York Times Magazine, December 9, 1979.

    Choi, Charles Q. “How Epigenetics Affects Twins.” News om e Scient t, July 7, 2005. Clark, Mayhew.

    “How Tiny Jamaica Develops So Many Champion Sprinters.” Christian Science Monitor, June 27, 2008.

    Clarke, Ann M., and Alan D. Clarke. Early Experience and the Life Path. Somerset, 1976.

    Coetzer, P., T. D. Noakes, B. Sanders, M. I. Lambert, A. N. Bosch, T. Wiggins, and S. C. Dennis. “Superior fatigue resistance of elite black South A ican distance runners.” Jour- nal of Applied Physiology 75 (1993): 1822–27.

    Colangelo, N., S. Assouline, B. Kerr, R. Huesman, and D. Johnson. “Mechanical Inven- tiveness: A  Phase Study.” In the Origins and Development of High Abili , edited by G. R. Bock and K. Ackrill. Wiley, 1993, pp. 160–74.

    Crabbe, John C., Douglas Wahlsten, and Bruce C. Dudek. “Genetics of mouse behavior: interactions with laboratory environment.” Science 284, no. 5420 (June 4, 1999): 1670–72.

    Cravens, H. “A scienti c project locked in time: the Terman Genetic Studies of Genius.” American Psycholog t 47, no. 2 (February 1992): 183–89.

    Csikszentmihályi, M., and I. S. Csikszentmihályi. “Family in uences on the development of giftedness.” Ciba Foundation Symposium 178 (1993): 187–200.

    Csikszentmihályi, M., Kevin Rathunde, and Samuel Whalen. Talented Teenagers: The Roots of Success and Failure. Cambridge Universi Press, 1993.

    Dalla Bella, Simone, Jean-François Giguère, and Isabelle Peretz. “Singing pro ciency in the general population.” Journal of the Acoustical Socie of America 1212 (February 2007): 1182–89.

    “Thought and Choice in Chess”. Walter de Gruyter, 1978. Denison, Niki.

    “The Rain Man in All of Us.” On Wisconsin, Summer 2007. Deutsch, Diana.

    “Tone Language Speakers Possess Absolute Pitch.” Presentation at the 138th meeting of the Acoustical Socie of America, November 4, 1999.

    De Vany, Art. “Twins.” September 9, 2005.

     

    • #71
  12. Chuck Enfield Inactive
    Chuck Enfield
    @ChuckEnfield

    Sorry Ray, but Phil is right.  To the extent that your musings are about untapped potential, I’m inclined to agree.  People can be successful, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and wise without being especially intelligent.  But intelligence, properly defined, is a measure of potential.  You’ve got what you’ve got.  Try to make the most of it.

    • #72
  13. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    I have much more in the way of sourcing, but unfortunately Ricochet’s 500-word limit in the comments is proving a little difficult.

    The above, however, makes for quite a bit of reading and should get anyone who’s interested started. It is, for the record, an incredibly complicated subject, and much of the biological science is still processing its data. I would specifically cite as noteworthy the botanist Dr. Enrico Cohen and his team’s fascinating studies on the Peloria Toadflax and the Ordinary Toadflax and the ramifications of that, which are extraordinary.

    Also particularly interesting to me, as a runner, the studies on African runners, some of which you can find here:

    Hamilton, Bruce. “East African running dominance: what is behind it?” British Journal of Sports Medicine 34 (2000): 391–94.

    And Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent article called “Kenyan Runners.”

    I’d also like to single out as a watershed study: “A Comparison of the Physical Growth and Development of American-Born and Native Japanese Children,” by Walter Greulich, in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, which is a fascinating and utterly persuasive read.

    My friend Dr. George Gil, professor Emeritus at the University of Wyoming — and, incidentally, a staunch right-winger — has also done similar studies. 

     

    • #73
  14. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Chuck Enfield (View Comment):
    Sorry Ray

    There’s no need to be sorry. The truth is, I have this debate with people every other day, and I regard it at this point as 101 stuff.

    In fact, it’s part of what prompted me to want to right a book on the subject, and why I’ve gotten so involved in the evolving research. Also a contributing factor was the success of American runners who’ve gone and trained with the “untouchable” Kenyans and Ethiopians, and what that training yielded. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that the results might surprise…

    • #74
  15. Whistle Pig Member
    Whistle Pig
    @

    Ray (View Comment):

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):
    he’s pretty handsome and the hair definitely adds to the mystique. But I’m assuming that’s not the bias you’re referring to.

    Alas, no. God, no. Unfortunately, no.

    Just incidentally, when I was growing up, my spooneristically minded father used to call them Phistle Wigs.

    That sounds like what I would need if I was ever to want long hair again.

    • #75
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    .

    • #76
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    ..

    • #77
  18. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Played it for my 15 yr old.   He says you’re part of a grand conspiracy to keep him from video games

    • #78
  19. Chuck Enfield Inactive
    Chuck Enfield
    @ChuckEnfield

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Because the reality is that IQ doesn’t add up to a hill of beans. Remember Dilbert’s garbage man? Goals, attitude, and willingness to work hard are much better indicators of success. Are those affected by IQ? Somewhat, up to a point. If you don’t have a minimum IQ, you probably won’t succeed, but past a certain point, perhaps 125, the IQ only matters in a few limited fields. I have seen TV salespeople and law enforcement officers with IQs above 150. And I have seen Presidents of the United States with considerably lesser IQs.

    I agree with this, but you changed the subject.

    • #79
  20. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Arahant (View Comment):
    I have seen TV salespeople and law enforcement officers with IQs above 150. And I have seen Presidents of the United States with considerably lesser IQs.

    heheh.

    • #80
  21. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Played it for my 15 yr old. He says you’re part of a grand conspiracy to keep him from video games

    He’s on to me!

    Smart kid, that one.

    • #81
  22. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Chuck Enfield (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Because the reality is that IQ doesn’t add up to a hill of beans. Remember Dilbert’s garbage man? Goals, attitude, and willingness to work hard are much better indicators of success. Are those affected by IQ? Somewhat, up to a point. If you don’t have a minimum IQ, you probably won’t succeed, but past a certain point, perhaps 125, the IQ only matters in a few limited fields. I have seen TV salespeople and law enforcement officers with IQs above 150. And I have seen Presidents of the United States with considerably lesser IQs.

    I agree with this, but you changed the subject.

    Arahant is one of the smarter people you’ll ever interact with in your life, pray you don’t trigger his inner Lex Luther.

    • #82
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Chuck Enfield (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Because the reality is that IQ doesn’t add up to a hill of beans. Remember Dilbert’s garbage man? Goals, attitude, and willingness to work hard are much better indicators of success. Are those affected by IQ? Somewhat, up to a point. If you don’t have a minimum IQ, you probably won’t succeed, but past a certain point, perhaps 125, the IQ only matters in a few limited fields. I have seen TV salespeople and law enforcement officers with IQs above 150. And I have seen Presidents of the United States with considerably lesser IQs.

    I agree with this, but you changed the subject.

    I always do.

    • #83
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Arahant is one of the smarter people you’ll ever interact with in your life, pray you don’t trigger his inner Lex Luthor.

    Being a super-villain is hard work. So far, I have been far too lazy to bother.

    • #84
  25. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    One final thing I’d like to note (not quite parenthetically) — and this is to anyone who would trot out before me the obligatory “genetic partitioning” and The Bell Curve, which I hear roughly 500 times a week — yes, I’ve read and reread it — you’re about two decades behind, which is a lot in scientific years, especially when it comes to the cutting-edge science of the genome.

    “Genetic partitioning” represents a fundamental misunderstanding of a number of studies, so that psychologist Richard Herrstein and political analyst Charles Murray concluded that 60 (or so) percent of human intelligence comes directly from a person’s genes. (Note my emphasis.)

    Genes, we now know beyond any real doubt, don’t actually work that way. To be fair to Herrstein and Murray, the science in 1994 (when their book came out) hadn’t yet culminated to this point.

    As explained by one of the world’s leading experts on genetic development, Dr. Michael Meaney:

    “There are no genetic factors that can be studied independently of the environment, and there are no environmental factors that function independently of the genome. Traits emerge only from the interaction of gene and environment.”

    This interaction — and this is arrantly critical to understanding the latest science — begins at the moment of conception.

    So that in a certain sense nature-nurture is also dead — insofar as the interaction is so immediate to the formation of life and also so complex (many genes that we have are never even activated) that the process is completely symbiotic from the moment of conception: nature-and-environment are utterly bound-up from instant it starts.  So much so, in fact, that “even in the case of eye color, the notion that the relevant gene is the only cause is misconceived, because of all the other genetic and environmental ingredients” (Dr. Patrick Bateson). This is why, as Johns Hopkins geneticist Victor McKsick explain, “two blue-eyed parents can produce children with brown eyes.”

    The new genetic model is called “development systems theory” or “interactionism.”

    It is what has supplanted Mendelian genetics.

    • #85
  26. Chuck Enfield Inactive
    Chuck Enfield
    @ChuckEnfield

    Arahant (View Comment):

    DocJay (View Comment):
    Arahant is one of the smarter people you’ll ever interact with in your life, pray you don’t trigger his inner Lex Luthor.

    Being a super-villain is hard work. So far, I have been far too lazy to bother.

    I bring that out in people.

    • #86
  27. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    MLH (View Comment):
    I think that Ray’s point is: too many normal kids get told they are dumb by adults they look up to. Therefore, they don’t try.

    Check the first two sentences of my first comment (63).  We agree.  The message in the OP is good for children.  Simple, positive, inspiring message good for motivation.  It is especially good for gifted children who haven’t yet had to really work at a topic.  On the other hand, it is an extremely depressing message for hard-working, extremely motivated children who try to tackle the toughest material but can’t quite seem to “get it”.  It tells those kids that they must be lazy and/or worthless in some way.  Unintended consequences of good intentions.

    What’s worse is that Ray admits that tabula rasa is dead, but chooses not to see that his OP depends upon it.  I’ll tackle Ray’s reading list as I can, but his summaries of new research suggest there’s more nuance added to the field since The Bell Curve, not any real upsets.  In much the same way that Relativity was more true than Newtonian physics, but it certainly wasn’t useful in daily life.  That it is possible for two blue-eyed parents to have a brown-eyed child doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be prudent for the father of that child to verify paternity.  It would be a far more likely explanation.  If I toss a rock across my yard and something throws it off the normal, Newtonian parabolic trajectory, I won’t be writing it off as a relativistic effect.

    I’m not even going to address @arahant‘s ramblings, other than to suggest he review the statistical mechanics behind regression to the mean.

    • #87
  28. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    it is an extremely depressing message for hard-working, extremely motivated children who try to tackle the toughest material but can’t quite seem to “get it”. It tells those kids that they must be lazy and/or worthless in some way.

    That does not follow: it tells them no such thing. And I certainly don’t. I tell them just the opposite: at any level or age or stage, work your ass off and it will pay off. For you to imply that I’m telling those kids to be lazy — and my article, incidentally, wasn’t written just for kids — is wildly misbegotten.

    Ray never said tabula rasa was alive to begin with — and you will search my words in vain for any such proclamation or suggestion — so that for Ray to “admit” that it’s dead is a strawman, which I hope you have fun beating the crap out of. And you’re incorrect, anyway: developmental systems theory doesn’t depend upon tabula rasa.

    “I’ll tackle Ray’s reading list as I can.”

    Yes. And when you finish, I’ll send you another batch of the sources you demanded.

    As an aside, I’ve never even met you, and you come onto this thread without introducing yourself or without even the courtesy of saying hello — indeed, without any sort of  pretense at civil discourse and debate, which I always welcome (and I debate this subject all the time) — and you choose instead to come at me swinging with this sloppy and insulting tone, saying, among other things, that Ricochet is better than my post.

    It is my opinion that Ricochet is better than your discourtesy — and this is totally apart from whether you agree with my position on this particular subject, or not.

    • #88
  29. Ray Inactive
    Ray
    @RayHarvey

    Also, newly discovered truth doesn’t contradict already known truth — you’re correct on that point — and in fact this is a critical epistemological principle, which undergirds every discipline: newly discovered truth only elaborates on already known truth; it doesn’t controvert it.

    The vital point to make here, though, is that the already known must be true to begin with — because newly discovered truth does contradict false or incorrect theories.

    Richard Herrstein and Charles Murray’s theories are wrong. They always were. They weren’t true to begin with. (I have nothing against them, by the way: I think they were honest in their studies and believed in their conclusions; but their knowledge was insufficient and therefore shortsighted.) That’s precisely why I emphasized the word directly in my earlier comment:

    “Richard Herrstein and political analyst Charles Murray concluded that 60 (or so) percent of human intelligence comes directly from a person’s genes.”

    This notion is incorrect. It is false. It was not true to begin with. The gene-environment interaction is so dynamic and so complex and starts so early on — i.e. at conception — that we now know it can’t come directly from genes alone.

    For this reason, their theory is not analogous to Newton’s principles.

    It’s far more than just a nuanced update, and reading through the sources you demanded, including all the others I’ll send you when you’re finished with this first batch, will, I assure you, concretize the point more firmly.

    • #89
  30. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I am a fan of Howard Gardner’s “multiple intelligences” theories.

    I do not trust the existing IQ tests to be accurate. Until someone comes up with a neuron-counting synapse-measuring objective test, I’d rather put my faith in a person’s interests and demonstrable skills.

    Existing IQ tests are very limited assessment instruments. For one thing, there is a relationship between emotion and reasoning that we know exists but cannot replicate in paper-and-pencil verbal intelligence tests.

    Furthermore, all tests can test only what we know now, not what we will know in the future. In the nooks and crannies of the human mind are all kinds of potential we cannot begin to imagine.

    Achievement tests are wonderful. Tests of potential are destructive to the human psyche, and I do not take them seriously.

     

    • #90
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