Re: Fwd: We Can Understand Anything, But are Just a Bit Slow

From: Charles D Hixson (
Date: Wed Apr 12 2006 - 14:41:02 MDT

On Wednesday 12 April 2006 07:18 am, Chris Capel wrote:
> On 4/5/06, Russell Wallace <> wrote:
> > On 4/5/06, Philip Goetz <> wrote:
> > > Let me rephrase: The perceived difference between humans of low
> > > intelligence and education, and humans of high intelligence and
> > > education, can be used as a lower bound on the difference between
> > > humans, and these hypothetical superintelligent species.
> >
> > Not necessarily. Perhaps there's a threshold of intelligence required to
> > understand this universe, such that human intelligence spans that
> > threshold (and once you get above it, it's quantitative rather than
> > qualitative from then on, at least as far as activity within this
> > universe rather than in the Land of Infinite Fun goes); one could argue
> > that this is not a priori improbable, even.
> Given the Flynn effect and the amount of time since the industrial
> revolution, I think if humans do straddle the threshold, the threshold
> would still be below the average IQ. Even in human beings, the main
> component of intellectual accomplishment is dedication and energy,
> leading to steady, long-term progress, not raw processing power. Ask
> any bright person with ADD.
> Chris Capel
> --
> "What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it
> like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?"
> -- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)

To me it appears that there is something analogous to stack depth that renders
some concepts unintelligible to many people, even though some others can
understand them. This doesn't appear amenable to teaching or solvable
through interest. I'll grant that for many concepts this doesn't apply, but
for some it appears to.

It's actually even worse (more extreme) than that...sometimes, e.g. when my
allergies are acting up, I cannot understand thoughts that I had's as if there is a step involved in processing that is a
variable, and it must allow a certain depth of recursion or stack or
something. Somedays I can't understand things that I couldn't on other days.

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