The foibles of testing for intelligence

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I took one of those dumb IQ tests on the Internet this week.

Obviously, I have far too much free time.

Regardless, the test itself was a slam dunk:

Q: If you have five apples and someone takes three, how many do you have left?

A: Why would someone take three of my darned apples?

So I finished the test. The results showed I was smarter than a rock, but the margin was fairly close.

I fell somewhere between a rocket scientist and a shoe salesman -- no offense to either profession intended.

Well, this little test turned out to be a come-on to buy some product or another that would provide additional testing on my intelligence.

I must have passed because I was intelligent enough not to buy the product.

So I did a little research -- thank you, Google -- on IQ testing.

My eyes were opened.

Our national problem became abundantly clear: We have far too many dumb people in this country.

I won't bore you with the details, but, generally speaking, IQ tests range from a high of 150 to a low of 50. The average on the Simon-Binet Scale is 100. Roughly speaking, those above 100 are of higher intelligence, and those below are less intelligent.

Even I could figure that out.

So anyway you look at it, one-fourth of our population is in the low average, borderline or extremely low intelligence category.

And these people vote. That's the problem.

I got a chuckle out of the job classifications that fit the intelligent category.

The top intelligent category jobs include professors and research scientists. I would agree.

But it also includes -- are you sitting down? -- top civil servants! That's right, politicians and government officials are listed as job types in the high intelligence category.

I beg to differ.

The other end of the intelligence spectrum in populated with laborers, farmhands, factory packers and sorters. Take that for what it's worth.

My fear is that those 25 percent of the population in the bottom category can be woefully misled by the top category of intelligence.

That can change an election in a heartbeat. In fact, it often does.

Here's one interesting sidelight of this IQ study. A large group of children from low-intelligent homes was placed in a study group. Half were given extensive one-on-one care, while the others remained in their current environment.

In short order, the chosen group raised their IQ substantially -- above 120 -- while the remaining group stood pat at around an 80 IQ. Then, when both groups were brought back to the same classrooms, the superior group quickly regressed.

Researchers said the classroom was geared to the lower level, and the advanced students simply were not challenged. Therefore, they slipped back into familiar patterns.

So here's the bottom line:

An overwhelming portion of the dependent population in this country falls into the lower ranks of IQ testing. They are either unable or unwilling to raise the intellectual bar enough to change their fortunes.

Politicians recognize this fact, so they pander to this population. With empty promises that go unchallenged, they garner massive votes from those who lack the skills to question those promises.

Most of our problems and our challenges stem from issues that affect this lower scale of intellect.

Changing education is part of the solution.

Changing home environments is a much more important key.

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