I would enjoy reading your views on intelligence (human intelligence).

Can intelligence be measured or determined?

A person’s IQ (intelligence quotient) is the ratio of tested mental age to chronological age; a measure of a person’s intelligence as indicated by an intelligence test. Can an IQ test conclude which human is smarter when compared with another individual? If intelligence has some sort of measurement, it winds-up indicating that intellect can equal zero. Is it possible for a person to have “zero” intelligence?

In my opinion, I think that an IQ test just illustrates how well a person can do certain subjects such as math or how well the brain processes certain tasks such as pattern recognition. But why does that mean that people who can comprehend certain material on the IQ test better than others indicate they are smarter?

Is a brilliant philosopher smarter than an astounding mathematician?

Is Amadeus Mozart, with an IQ of 185, more intelligent than you? Is Isaac Newton?

Is a Harvard graduate brighter than a high school dropout?

Intelligence is the faculty of thought and reason. However, thought and reason are limitless and immeasurable.

Intelligence is determined by your capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. Each person has a life span. Throughout their life they acquire unique knowledge that differs from every individual. A college graduate might have more knowledge in school subjects (i.e., math) compared to a dropout. However, if the two of them have existed the same amount of time, each have extremely different experiences acquired throughout their life. “Life experience” for each person is interpreted and applied to their knowledge. So how can one person’s knowledge be deemed more valuable or superior to another’s?

What is your opinion? I’m too unintelligent to figure it out. . .

  • Eric

Intelligence is imposible to rank, people think in diffrent ways and have diffrent cappacities. The person who fluncks out of high school, because they were to busy reading novels is not stupider than someone with a Phd in Physics, they just prioritize diffrently and use their brains for diffrent things. So, the kid who can’t write an essay, but could explain a complex philoshical theory is acctually smarter than the kid who can get an A but doesn’t have an orriganal thought in there head.
So, inellegece is completely subjective and has nothing to do with what people acctually know.

For those interested on what my take is of IQ, please refer to the essay forum, the thread called ‘IQ’. My take on it is a little bit longer than a normal post; so I decided to post it there.

Furthermore, throughout my discussions with Polemarchus, I paid heed to a detail I found years ago when I first wrote the piece on IQ, and that is…that words must be used to define words and that it goes in a circle; in disagreeing with Polemarchus I did find a version of two words where Polemarchus is right. Ie. Reason and Logic

According to the dictionary, the definition of Reason is…

the ability to think logically

and the definition of logic is…

consistent with reasoning, inevitably following from the application of reason.

For those who do go onto the essay forum and read my analysis of IQ, I hope you find it interesting and intriguing.

Have patience with my IQ post, it was written a long time ago, it does tend to jump, even to skip, and sometimes to ramble. It is copied from it’s original writing, I think I wrote it about 7 years ago; so I was about 16. I do think it worth the read, and many may find something new they never thought about before.

What’s your take?

Intelligence isn’t subjective, it’s irrelevant.

Brad stated:

First off, who are you arguing with when you say that intelligence isn’t subjective? I can’t seem to find anyone saying that it is. But I guess you were obtusely responding to my post that indicates I have a take on IQ, I guess as far as you go, no one is to say anything, because it’s irrelevant. Unless you actually have studied IQ, say in a psychology class, in which case your response would not have been five words, but more like five hundred, I am led to believe you get off on just telling people something is irrelevant. Instead of being a wise ass, why don’t you support your statement with some weight, anything, I’m not even asking for facts here. But surely, a rational person can come up with a little more than…“Intelligence isn’t subjective, it’s irrelevant”, one doesn’t just leave a statement like that. Your statement assumes you know everything there is to know about intelligence, and hence your modest answer is that it is irrelevant. You could have had some respect, and provided an essay of your own EXPLAINING why intelligence is irrelevant. But then again, a person who states a sentence like that, I shouldn’t be surprised to find an explanation missing.

As far as I’m concerned the only thing irrelevant, is what you said.


Relax, relax, I wasn’t responding to you, I was responding to Mauve’s point:

If you take this seriously, then intelligence becomes irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are (however you measure it), it matters what you do with the abilities you have. Now, it may not pay to take it seriously but it’s been my experience that many share this view. Why? I guess it makes them feel better, but it’s a hollow feeling.

Magius, you say no-one says that intelligence is subjective. But what mauve was saying was that what people percieve intelligence to be is subjective.

I never said intelligence isn’t subjective. I think you are confusing Brad’s quoting Mauve with me - don’t worry I got confused too.


You said to me:

TheIdiot said:

And you replied:

This is very difficult to understand. So, you are saying that intelligence is subjective. Do you mean that in the same way as Mauve? Now, Mauve is painfully contradictory:

Note the ranking implicit in the example.

Two questions:

  1. Do you think intelligence is subjective?

  2. Does that mean the same thing to you as it does to Mauve?

I’ve briefly skimmed your essay, I’ll check it again for answers to these questions and get back to you. In the meantime . . . :laughing:


Brad stated:


  1. Yes. But that is not the whole story. To me, nothing is objective in the entirety of the word. All things we experience are tainted with our bias. But there can be objectivity in the sense that you can make subjective experience objectified to others. If there was no objectivity there we would have no means of communicating experience or even of communicating in general. No one has come up with an all-encompassing explanation for how to view reality, so we can only continue to advance our objectifications of our subjective experiences.

  2. No. Not exactly.

Mauve stated:

With this I disagree.

Mauve stated:

Just because someone can explain a complex philosophical theory doesn’t necessitate them being smarter than a student who get’s A’s but doesn’t have an original idea in their head. Althought there is a point to this. I personally have had many experiences in life with people who were straight A students in highschool and university, but their creative application ability was very low. This is why I wrote the essay, because there is a distinct need to demarcate the differences in intelligence. Furthermore, I think it is a stretch to say that someone who gets A’s could actually lack a single original idea; that statement Mauve made has very little merit for me. Speaking of little merit, the last statement is the final kicker for me, if intelligence is completely subjective as Mauve states then he wouldn’t be able to communicate his opinion with us. Furthermore, if intelligence is completely subjective, how does that make Mauve conclude that it has nothing to do with what people know? Is ‘knowing’ and ‘intelligence’ two different things?

The two sentences Mauve wrote that I didn’t quote, I agree with, given what I assume he means.

What’s your take?

I second Mauve.

IQ tests are a misnomer. They measure something that nobody can define. They certainly do not measure creativity, imagination, depth, profundity, experience, special talent (music, art, writing, math), curiosity, enthusiasm, reach, a nose for the truth, a nose for the relevant, intellectual honesty, daring, and so on.

It is hard to demonstrate that IQ tests measure any cognitive skill that contributes to the advancement of society.

Bertrand Russell claimed that IQ tests measure average intelligence only. Looking at Jimmy Carter with his IQ of 160+, I can see what Russell meant.

This is the same Jimmy Carter who, at a nationally-televised press conference, expressed genuine surprise that Brezhnev had lied to him.

Clearly, there is no correlation between IQ and sophistication.

In sum, I don’t see that IQ tests do anything but satisfy the mania of science for a number.

Although I understand and agree with Imagistar’s last post, I do believe, that it is possible to measure one’s intelligence, I have a few of my own ideas, but I also think that in the future we will not only be able to measure intelligence, but we will also be able to control it (genes). Most, I think, would argue that gene manipulation doesn’t really affect one’s intelligence, it affects how much one can take in and other factors as well. Personally I think gene manipulation can affect one’s intelligence. My statement will have to stay as that, for I don’t have much evidence to support that claim, but I ignorantly believe it. I also believe it because I believe that all knowledge is hidden away in our brains, and life is just about finding different ways of getting at that knowledge. This isn’t suppose to have the presupposition of idealism, though it may seem that way.

What’s your take?

What does it mean then ?

I think iq tests measure types of intelligence, but the assumptions underpinning the definition in a technical sense can be inaccurate. For example the means to evaluate a person’s innate capacity. There is a number of problems with that type of thinking.

Aphelion asked:

If I am correct that all knowledge is within each of our brains, it doesn’t mean that there is no matter. The one and the other do not negate each other. You also mentioned innate capacity, I don’t see how we will ever be able to measure that, accurately. Remember, I agreed with Imagistar and my claim was a futuristic one about what I believe is possible and what I believe will be possible.

Aphelion stated:

I’m not sure what type of thinking you are refering to, but please feel free to show me the problems in any of my thinking and logic.

What’s your take?

The lesson I have learned from all this is that the terms, “subjective” and “objective” ought to be banned from any intelligent discussion unless people who use them let us in on what they mean by them.

Blue Matter said…

i think this is rather straight forward to awnser. for me, knowledge can be classified in two groups; knowledge that helps me to gain and knowledge that doesnt. so therefore, the more knowledge that helps me to gain that is in my possesion, the better. the smarter - the more valuable.

remember, for some thing to be valuable it has to be wanted by others…

when a teenager devotes his time to a computer game, he can understand all the situations he may encounter within that certain game and know the best move to make untill to a point where he masters this game and can beat anyone he plays. you can say he now has aquired knowledge with gain - pleasure.

however, lets say this same teenager has neglected time he could of spent learning/studying his education sylabus on which he will eventually be tested on to attain essential qualifications. these qualifications which will help him and the society he is in to progress. he know lacks what the local education board deems vital.

now lets say another student who didnt play games all day and got straight As. this student recognized the importence of education and applyed him self to do the best. even if the other student is actually “smarter” then the straight A student what use is it if his skills are not put to use or developed?

one student has a aquired tempuary pleasure through one single computer game medium, the other has moved to a point where hundreds of career paths are open, as well as the opportunity to move to a higher level of learning in what ever intrests him. not to mention a satisfactory understanding in maths, science, english. this student is aware and can now apply him self in many different situations - he can potenially cure disease and save lives, solve engineering problems and most importently make tons of money :evilfun:

to me, part of being inteligent is being able to apply it. what use is to be inteligent and not express or show it any form - that person may as well stay in the dead brain half-wit sterotype.

creativitry, imagination, depth, profundity, experience, special talent (music, art, writing, math), curiosity, enthusiasm, reach, a nose for the truth, a nose for the relevant, intellectual honesty, daring ( copy and pasted Imagistar here ) are all accounted for. each one of these can ultimately be useless if no gain is gained ( hehe ).

for me, a true genius is a person who has understanding and skills in a wide range. and applys this to reach “high places” and accomplish goals.

Ha! Tell me about it. I used to think that we should just do away with these terms, but no one listened so I gave up.


I think an error many people make is mistaking intelligence for knowledge. They have very little in common. Intelligence is your ability/capacity to learn, and knowledge is the actual information you aquire with your intelligence. A person with a high IQ does not necessarily know more than someone with a low IQ, it only means that they are ABLE to know more. However, if you have no intelligence at all, then it is impossible for you to aquire any knowledge because you have to means by which to aquire it.

Well if it is not idealism, is your point related to Plato ? That is all I was actually asking, your statement sounded peculiar and I was simply interested in what it meant. No more no less :slight_smile:

I was talking about the assumptions underlying iq testing. That is the test is primarily focused on testing innate intelligence.

Until someone can objectively define intelligence IQ will be no more than a number… I don’t believe that anything can be objectively defined. So IQ tests are not useless, but limited in scope.
The point someone raised earlier about “knowledge that helps me gain and knowledge that doesn’t” is interesting, but… who defines what is the greatest gain? Who decides what is to be gained? Is, say, a millionaire automatically intelligent because he has gained in material terms? Is someone happy with a harmonious family automatically intelligent? Is someone who acheives their goals (regardless of how poorly chosen they may be in themselves) intelligent?
Personally I value the ability to think independently and rationally most, but that does not mean I consider it the whole of intelligence.