Re: Ethics, IQ

From: David Clark (
Date: Mon Feb 07 2005 - 18:45:35 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randall Randall" <>

> What could you possibly mean by a statement about having
> the mental capacity to increase mental capacity? The
> idea that one could increase one's intelligence by an
> act of will, likewise, seems so obviously wrong that it
> seems to indicate that you and others on this list are
> not using the term "IQ" to mean the same things.

I have written a number of IQ tests and an IQ tests your knowledge and then
compares your score to others who are about the same age and educational
background. This is not the best kind of test for intelligence but it is in
wide use. My use of the word IQ is simply how intelligent a person is. I
was not trying to split hairs over what IQ technically means or whether a
standard deviation of 50 was possible or not. I took Phil's comment about
50 to just mean that the IQ's were separated by a lot.

I *personally* believe that I increased my intelligence enormously by an
overt act of organization while I was a teenager. Before grade 8, I was
considered quite average in intelligence and somewhat less than my fraternal
twin. By grade 12, I was considered one of the smartest in the school and
much smarter than my twin. When I went to University and studied Computer
Science I was considered one of the best in Computer Science even though
there were some photographic memory, very fast thinking students who were
definitely considered genius. When looking at patterns and systems in
programming however, I often saw the forest instead of just the trees. I
had better algorithmns and could program my solutions quicker than those
obvious geniuses. There was no scientific study in my case but I can tell
you that I have report cards from grade 6 that said I might make it through
grade 12 if I worked hard enough. I just finished my Computer Science
degree in 2001 (continued from 1978) and in my final year, my grade point
average was over 3.8 (4 would be straight A's) in Economics, Anthropology
and Computer Science while working full time.

I think I could actually show the technique I used when I was a teenager to
accomplish this. I was never considered to have an exceptional memory when
I was young but I remember the syntax of every computer language I have ever
programmed in. Some of these languages I haven't seen since the 1970's and
I think I could be at full speed within the day.

Your *obviously wrong* comment, I obviously disagree with.

> In any case, Phil's question is apparently predicated on
> the assumption that there is some technology available
> to perform the narrowing or boosting required, as is
> the nature of a thought experiment.

I responded to emails that I read on the list. Sometimes the topic changes
slightly while the subject title doesn't. In one of my emails I said that I
was responding to his hypothetical case with real world replies because I
believed those comments were relavent.

> For everyone involved in this argument and others
> recently: Please make an effort to understand what
> your opponents are trying to communicate. Even where
> I agree with one side or the other of some of the
> ongoing debates here, it's clear that you all spend
> much of your time talking past each other rather than
> discussing differences of substance.

I see you have made posts since August 17, 2000. Does this mean that you
understand all arguments and that other *new comers* don't? Even if Phil
was assuming some method of increasing or decreasing peoples IQ, my comments
would still stand. Most people (in my experience) don't like or want to be
smart people. When I discovered this, I was obviously shocked, such is the
bias of people who value intelligence. If you gave them the choice to raise
their IQ 20 points, they would decline it.

-- David Clark

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