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IQ-ism

Until not too long ago, racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry were accepted. Then we had the civil war, and later the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and now you aren't supposed to admit having prejudices.
However, human nature demands that we find reasons to look down on people, and to feel we belong to groups that are special and superior. You can sill feel superior because you are a white male, but you have to keep it secret, since otherwise you seem ignorant and unenlightened. You can still feel superior by having more money and demonstrate it with your car, house, clothes, etc. But I think the best way to feel superior in the information age is to decide that you are more intelligent and educated than someone else.
You can look down your nose and act contemptuous and still be perfectly politically correct. Because there never has been a civil rights movement for ignorant dopes.
This brings up a question -- is your intelligence a valid reason to feel superior, and do your ignorant inferiors actually deserve your obvious contempt?
I'm not sure, but I suspect IQ-ism is often taken too far these days. Sure, education is valuable iin the information age and you can't do much without it anymore. But on the other hand, education does not tranform you into an all-knowing god. It just makes you know more than someone else about a limited number of topics.
I am educated mostly because I love learning, but also because it can help you get a job. But there will always be an infinitte amount of stuff I don't know, most of it not even knowable by humans. So I suggest that IQ-ists can be just as bad as racists and sexists, in giving in too much to their need to feel superior.
Since we are human, we will always need to feel superior and special. But we could make an effort to not take it to irrational extremes.

Dr. Real PC
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

(Nope seems to be working).

Surely feeling superior is something that is context sensitive. I feel superior over others in some respects (quite rightly) and inferior in other respects (quite rightly). I may however add these up and determine if overall I have more 'Superiority points' or not.

We are always making judgements. Some people like to pretend they don't judge without full facts but of course we all do; it's human nature.

gwyn
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I agree that IQ, which you are born with and can't necessarily change through education, is no reason to feel superior to another person. Just like your race/color, good looks, family background, etc.

On the other hand, it takes actual work to accumulate knowledge. That's as good a reason as any to feel superior to another (if there are any good reasons), and that privilege is often an effective motivator.

Derek
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I.Q. is bunk. There is no one number that can measure a person's worth.

Example. My wife and I both took a web based IQ test and scored within 10 points of each other. Yet there are types of tasks that I excell at that she does poorly and visa versa.

MilesArcher
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

No one has ever claimed that IQ is a single number that tells a person's worth.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Honestly though, I have a contrary impression.  Outside of a few intellectual fields, I think that intelligence, intellectualism and learning for learning's sake are greatly devalued by our (at least American) society.

I think that schools feel increasingly pressured to explain to students why they should learn something in terms of future earnings potential rather than just accepting that learning is good regardless of the money it can help you earn.

I think that critical thinking is increasingly viewed as a trick of the elite to impose their policies on everyone else and that "feelings" are just as valid for deciding policies as logic.

I think that the idea that there is value to sharing a common "high" culture has been nearly eliminated compared to thirty years ago.  People used to feel slightly ashamed for not liking classical music or Shakespeare.  Today they are more likely to consider people who do as pretentious gits.  Our only common culture is pop culture and even the so-called elites buy into this.

In short I wouldn't worry about it.  The overwhelming majority of people don't care how smart they think you are and many of them think you earn your money by cheating everyman anyway.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, July 14, 2004


There's a saying that goes, "Education is for a life, not for a living."

The end of education is character. True education cultivates humility in your character. It breeds a feeling of service and altruism, those that are quite the contrary of arrogance and snobbery, or being sectarian and judgemental on the basis of IQ. Here again, I am not talking about secular tuition but of education as in personal refinement.

I believe it is a matter of one's spiritual evolution. At the beginining of which, acquisition of more facts, excercise of mental abilities gives rise to a logomanic tendency of communicating, imposing and recieving energy in terms of appreciation. But after one point, the more one learn, the humbler one feels. After that point, one tends to realize the nullity of intellectual gratification. You start to value experience more than mere accumulation of facts. I don't know if this is a generalization, but some individuals tend to get humble to a point where they start to feel they were born to serve those who have been deprived of education, and that alone is the purpose of their lives. You tend to see how futile knowledge in itself is without experience.

>We are always making judgements. Some people like to pretend they don't judge without full facts but of course we all do; it's human nature.

You're right. We judge. But we do not judge because it is _natural_. We judge because it is a tendency; one layer of abstraction above nature. And tendencies, albeit extremely difficult to win over, are yet possible to abandone or change. On the other hand, nature is given. What I'm trying to say is that even judgement of good and bad is the excercise of a mode of passion. And the fondling of the sensory modes of passion can be overcome, although with years of practice, by Yoga, or simply put, sense-mortification. Patanjali calls it, "by the cessation of modifications to the mind-stuff".

And intellect is not constant. It can be changed or augmented (or whatever the word is).

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, July 14, 2004



Uh...  have you been ignoring what's going on?

There is a "civil rights movement for dopes".

Look at how many high schools across the country (US) are getting rid of valedictorians.

Look at the rampant grade inflation going on in post-graduate programs.

Look at how many (elementary and high) schools are no longer focusing on problem solving, but instead on self-esteem.

It doesn't matter if you can't solve the math problem... as long as you tried.


This is fundamentally dangerous and destructive too.

Do you want to go to the doctor who barely made it out of medical school?

What about who gets A's and B's all through elementary and high school and then gets a 700 on the SAT and/or fails out of college during their first semester?

KC
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

If you've been to a U.S. high school, then you know that intelligence is NOT valued by the masses; social and athletic ability are.  Watch any TV show for kids or otherwise, and the intelligent people are always portrayed as antisocial, anti-athletic losers (except for our hero, *Professor* Indiana Jones, of course!).  It's actually quite annoying. 

sir_flexalot
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

EQ (emotional quotient or emotional intelligence) is the latest trend and seems to a better measure of a person.

Chris Peacock
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

seeing as how there's no evidense that shows any correlation between IQ and income/power/social status, and by nature, being in a higher IQ bracket means you're part of a minority, there is no way that higher IQ people can leverage themselves into positions where they can practice bias against lower IQ people...

Ken
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Of course theres IQ-ism.  It's the foundation of the democratic/liberal idealology.  The dumber/ignorant you are the better you are controlled and the more you want the gov't to make decsions for you; from health care, education, your job, etc.

It's the voters ignorance about the economy, the role of gov't, and foreign affairs that the libs rely on in order for them to succede.

Yo
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I am neither "SUPERIOR" nor "INFERIOR" to anyone,
I am what I am ...

It's me ...
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

So far no one understood what I meant. I am not against education. That would be like being against art or music or sports. Intelligence is one of the traist that makes us belong to the human species.
But if a person is very talented in music, they don't necessarily believe they are therefore qualified to direct the lives of non-musicians.
It's true that being in a high position requires knowledge and intelligence, and it makes sense to look up to people who know and understand more. What is not rational are the ideas that education and knowledge make you an intellectual, or that being an intellectual makes you wise.
I am  an intellectual because I like to think, have a lot of ideas and have read a lot of books. But there is stilll an immense amount I don't know, and there always will be. There will always be an immense amount that humans in general will never know. The smartest person alive is not really all that much smarter than any average guy. It's a myth of our civilization that IQ makes a great difference between individuals (and I consider IQ an education to be approzimately the same thing).
IQ-ism, if you ask me, is partly responsible for some of the  most serious problems facing our civilization. I would summarize it as the dangerous idea that humans are smarter than nature.
A current example of IQ-ism is the contempt that many non-Republican Americans feel for George W Bush, because he doesn't talk like a snooty professor. All the complex problems faccing the US now are blamed on the president's lack of intelligence.
I did not vote for Bush, am not going to this time either, and I never thought the Iraq war made a lot of sense. On the other hand, the country is still more or less intact, and hardly any of the serious problems can be directly blamed on Bush or his administration.
My point is that it's easy to feel contemptuous and superior and judge others as inferior because they don't share your taste in literature and music, can't speak Latin, or whatever. But these judgements are very often wrong and unfair. Furthermore, the smartest and most educated person in the world would not, all things being equal, be a better leader than someone with a decent education and good common sense.

Dr. Real PC
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

"You're right. We judge. But we do not judge because it is _natural_."

Um... Actually it is natural, and we do it with everything, not just other humans.  Your brain takes the billions of inputs given to it and tries to simplify the situation before storing stuff into memory.  If your brain didn't work that way, you would have information overload.  Who wants to remember the 8 hours of airconditioning noise you heard today at work?
I would call "judging" taking way to much information about someone and throwing it into a limited number of categories that you remember about people in general.  The problem isn't making a judgement, the problem is acting on the judgement like it is a fact about the real world, instead of something subjective you can up with.

Steamrolla
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Well I guess I've shown my low IQ by responding to all of this idiocy. I loved the guy who said education leads to the wonderful goal of altruism. He must have read Atlas Shrugged in kindergarten.

Personally I feel superior to everyone buy my children. How do I judge that? Because their lives are worth more than mine. You can be sure I'd not give up my life for anyone else. That said, I would risk my life for an ideal. I'm damn glad we've got soliders who feel the same.

How you measure someone will often depend on your context. In lieu of a context Character is king. Nothing compares to character (as in honor, fealty, integrity, etc.).

me
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Off Topic, but yes, I'm glad we have soldiers willing to die in order to line the pockets of Haliburton and Associates, too.

: /

muppet
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

A lot of very educated people tend to make the mistake in thinking they are superior in all fields because they are superior in one field. A PHD in physics, an MD, or a kernel developer who has very detailed and highly specialized knowledge is not an expert in politics or current events or election law or the stock market unless they also have spent some time and energy in those fields.

Yet these highly educated people believe they do not need to study or exert any critical thinking in these other fields because they have proven their superiority in one field and thus must be able to pick the right answer for any new field of study by reading a magazine or website or hearing a radio program.

This is one reason why propaganda works on the very educated even more effectively than on the uneducated. The educated do not question their own conclusions.

dmart
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

+++The educated do not question their own conclusions+++

Are you certain you're not just evaluating yourself?  This is a nonsensical generalization.

muppet
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

okay that last statement was too broad. My mistake.

What I should have said (and what I was implying):

The educated folks that fall into the mistake I was talking about tend to not question their conclusions on topics they have no knowledge about.

dmart
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

IQ ism is just another instance of rankism. See this recent NY Times article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/10/arts/10RANK.html?ex=1090036800&en=232286fbc3c554bc&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE

Ronk!
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

There is a lot of difference between "highly educated people " and "highly literate people". Isn't it!
A person may have a PHD or a MD but this doesn't mean he is a highly educated person. It is literacy, just literacy and nothing more than that!
Literacy is a part of education!

Am I right...
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

+++The educated do not question their own conclusions+++

This is a generalization, but like most generalizations there is some truth in it. A person who sees himself as smart has more faith in his own ideas and opinions than a person who sees himself as average. The smart guy might know nothing about history except what he learned in high school and one college elective. In high school and college, we are likely to believe whatever professors say, especially when they say it authoritatively. So the smart guy has some one-sided picture of history, or whatever, based on what Dr. Knowitall said 20 years ago. The smart guy doesn't recognize how little he actually knows, and since he is smart (in biology, astronomy, whatever), he has complete faith in his own biased opinion.
Smart guys think the world is being destroyed by morons. They think they could control and manage the world and correct the problems, just like you can correct computer programs.

Dr. Real PC
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The only thing I'm sure of is that God must love stupid people, because he made so many of them.


(Insert obligatory smiley here)


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

In response to KC's statement, "Do you want to go to the doctor who barely made it out of medical school?" there's the old joke, "What do you call a person who graduated last in medical school? Doctor."

Yoey
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Somebody mentioned EQ - hang on a minute!! Isn't that just a touchy feely load of HR buzzword-compliant bollocks? ;-)

TheGeezer
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Err... I think you're making a big mistake when you equate IQ with intelligence.

IQ tests measure a very specific area of intelligence.

Ken
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Hmm, if this IQ-ism things catches on I'll be able to sue Joel for discrimination because he will not hire me based on the fact I am IQ challenged!

Bill Rushmore
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I think it would be a big mistake to go too far with the idea of IQ-ism or rankism, and to say we should stop judging or discriminating. My point was something different. I mean that people tend to over-estimate themselves and to under-estimate others. This is natural, of course, but it goes too far.  Especially now when intelligence is becoming a status symbol, since you can make money in technology.
I think that intelligence and success are more related to motivation and confidence than anything else. They should NOT stop giving grades and awards in school so no one feels inferior. On the other hand, they should NOT make kids think their intelligence is carved in stone.

Dr. Real PC
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I disagree with the person who started this thread. The person who complains about intelligence is one who wants popularity (or office politics) to triumph over knowledge. It is the grownup version of the complaint in the the essay in the link below:
http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html

You can read the board here to see our dispute with popularity and how we, as developers, would prefer intelligence over popularity.

So, Dr. Real PC, I reject your claims.
>do your ignorant inferiors actually deserve your obvious contempt?
Yes, you do deserve our contempt. As obviously as we can demonstrate it.

One may discriminate if and only if one can demonstrate it as a bona fide occupational requirement. Intelligence will always be one. At least for developers, lingerie models need something different.

Peter
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

>Example. My wife and I both took a web based IQ test and scored within 10 points of each other. Yet there are types of tasks that I excell at that she does poorly and visa versa.

You are absolutely right when you say this.
I have taken an IQ test (the WAIS-II) the pyschologist never actually gave me my overall figure. He wanted to point out how little the overall figure meant. Instead the test is broken into eleven sections, and he discussed my results in each section.
eg My general knowledge of current events is dreadful, but I have incredible lateral thinking skills etc.

He actually talked to me alot about people who had scored genius level IQs, however were far far below average on some sections of the test. It was very interesting.

Aussie chick
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Yuose ar al jelus of mi soupeareor intuleckt

180 IQ
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

It's strange that when a company advertises itself as an equal opportunity employer they don't treat idiots equally. I think this is unfair and is a major cause with the unemployment rate. If we can unite and be as one we can live happily ever after.

Tom Vu
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

my IQ's around room temperature. Kelvin.

macEroni
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Is it true in India your social rank is also determined by from where did you graduated? I mean everywhere it is usually happens but much more so in India.

Pete
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I think it works exactly the opposite way you describe. Truely smart people are usually the most open and accepting of people. But stupid people are ofte n resentful of this and it is they who look down on and discriminate against the smart people.

Yu can see this principle in action every day where you work, whereever that may be.

Cheers,

Dr. Frederick Johaness
Thursday, July 15, 2004

There is an idolization of stupidity, and it is only getting worse. "Equal opportunity" changed into "Equal result". What should be challanging learning environments are replaced by mindnumbing, least common denomiter, lobotomizing youth prisons. An undercurrent of suspicion and even hatred towards any activity that is not geared towards the nuckle dragging level is actively fed.

Yes "Dr." Real PC, discrimination in what iconically can be labaled as IQ does exist, but not in the way you are trying to portray.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, July 15, 2004

May I strongly recommend Stephen Jay Gould's "The  Mismeasure of Man"; essential reading if you want to talk about IQ testing.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, July 15, 2004

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0575074191/qid=1089894041/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i2_xgl/026-3647563-4060464

For anyone too lazy to follow a link - "Incompetence" by Rob Grant (2003) - discrimination by competence outlawed by the European Union. 

Personally I'd be surprised if we noticed the difference.

a cynic writes...
Thursday, July 15, 2004

It's way back in the thread but someone asserted that IQ has no correlation to social status and power.  Are you sure, or do you just "feel" this is true?  I have read papers by experts who provide evidence that IQ does, to some extent, correlate with how much money you will make at least.  I wonder where this contrary assertion comes from.

As for the person who stated that the brightest guy in the world isn't much smarter than the average, this is either meaningless (i.e. you mean in the grand scale of possible intelligence from nematodes up through hypothetical space gods) or stupid (You either haven't spent much time around really smart people, or, more likely, haven't spent much time around people with 100 IQs).

What many people in our field fail to appreciate is that the average IQ they deal with is higher than 100.  If you are used to dealing with 120 all day and then have to deal with someone whose IQ is 100 or 90 or 80, I dare say you would notice the difference even if you never bothered to correlate it with IQ.

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Higher IQ's don't correlate with higher salaries WHEN SOCIAL CLASS IS TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.

Yea, the brightest guy from the Hamptons set may make millions, but the upper class twerp who just scrapes past 100 is going to do better than the guy from a blue collar background with an IQ of 130.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I have to agree...a rich mommy and daddy can buy a stupid kid a degree from a respected university.

A smart kid from a poor family will find it nearly impossible to even get in.

Aaron F Stanton
Thursday, July 15, 2004

In addition, success is partly determined by being in the right place at the right time, having the right social network.
Extreme success, as with famous entertainers, has a big luck factor.
In the case of someone like Einstein, even though he may have had a high IQ, getting the right idea at the right time, and being an independent thinker, probably were more important than IQ (did Einstein ever hava an IQ test, by the way?)
Consider all the many scientists who never make a great discovery, yet they have high IQs and academic tenure, etc.

Dr. Real PC
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I'm not sure what country you guys are living in but in the US social class and economic class tend to be the same.  That upper-class twerp with the 100 IQ isn't necessarily going to be  better off than the blue collar guy with the 130, unless you assume that his parents leave him some dough.  Anyway we aren't talking guarantees here; we're talking statistical correlation and real studies show the correlation between IQ and future earnings as an independent variable.  Are there such studies about parent's social class as an independent factor from IQ and if so do they show it to be a bigger correlation than IQ, or are you, more likely, just making things up because this is how you perceive the world?

As for the the smart kind from the poor family not getting in to a prestigious university and the rich parents buying their kid's way in-  you cannot be from the US because the opposite is actually the case here.

Except for the tiny minority of really rich really elite, nobodies wealth gets people into prestigious colleges these  days.  Colleges do make an admirable effort to reach out to high-potential students from disadvantaged backgrounds

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, July 15, 2004

It is not IQ ism. I thought we lived in a meritocracy. Smart and gets things done, right?

Doug Withau
Thursday, July 15, 2004

No, I'm not making things up. It was long considered a fact that IQ meant higher earnings, with studies to prove it, until somebody went along in the seventies and factored social class into the equation and found the results very different.

The upper class twerp does better precisely because he gets left money, and more importantly, connections.

Another survey was done only a few years back to find out why blacks were still economically inferior. They found that at every level the Caucasian guy had better connections and less people responsible than the black guy; he was better networked and his family was more likely to be a financial asset than a financial drain.

This is not to say that a high IQ is not generally better economically than a low one; just that inherited wealth and connections still count.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Boy, oh boy.  This thread has the highest concentration of confused belief of any I've read on JOS.

First, to the original poster... figure out whether you're talking about intelligence or education.  Since your title is IntelligenceQuotientism, you either need to stick to talking about "feeling superior because you're smarter" and drop the "feeling superior because you know more", or else change the title to something like Ignorancism.  Your confusion of these alone is enough to explain why this thread meandered incessantly.

Second, to those who bark about IQ not measuring intelligence... ignoring the fact that such a claim is little more than a salve for people who have measured poorly on objective tests, you're just confusing matters even further by harping on an irrelevant corner of how the poster expressed his question.  If he asks something in terms of IQ, you can safely assume he's just using that as a two-letter proxy for the concept of intelligence.  Quit whining and come to terms with your weaknesses.

Next, EQ.  The people who coined that term are deceivers trying to sell snake oil.  By appropriating the 'Q', they hope to sell the idea that emotional sympathy stands on equal ground with intelligence.  That's nearly as bad as the "Multiple Intelligences" party, who by using a linguistic tactic, hope to convince a world that values apples that an orange is a "citrus apple", and win prestige for other gifts by riding the coattails of intelligence.

Next, on to the observation that "The educated do not question their own conclusions."  That's a load of baloney.  If you spend any time around groups of educated people, you'll find the more people know, the more they doubt they have all the answers yet. That doesn't mean they'll quickly defer to the howls of the grossly ignorant. But knowing people tend to also know they still have much to learn, and in the company of other knowledgeable people they express great doubts about their own beliefs.

Finally... when I take the great leap of assuming, despite the original poster's wobbling between the subjects of intelligence and education, that he was mainly concerned with the question regarding intelligence... I come to this:

Racism is stupid, because it claims inferiority goes hand-in-hand with skin color or some other racial trait.

Sexism is stupid, because it likewise claims that opposite gender implies inferiority.

The poster appears to hope the now widespread abandonment of those clearly deficient assumptions will lead us next to abandon belief that inferiority itself implies inferiority!

Aghast
Thursday, July 15, 2004

-----"That's nearly as bad as the "Multiple Intelligences" party, who by using a linguistic tactic, hope to convince a world that values apples that an orange is a "citrus apple", and win prestige for other gifts by riding the coattails of intelligence."----

Multiple intelligences are now accepted by nearly everybody. IQ was always an amalgam, and I suggest you study Gould's book where it is clearly explained that it is statistical smoke and mirrors.

Stephen Jones
Friday, July 16, 2004

Stephen:

I certainly didn't mean to imply that there aren't advantages to having rich parents.  Yes blacks and anyone else who start out with poor parents have a hole to dig themselves out of.  Guess what, people who are ugly, short or fat have holes to dig themselves out of as well.

The fact that "economic success" is the result of many factors, including luck, doesn't mean that intelligence or IQ is not correlated with it.  If you have studies that show that IQ has no influence independent of how rich one's parents are then I would have to conclude that high IQ is highly correlated with having rich parents.  If then, High IQ is correlated with having high IQ parents, one begins to suspect that the parent's dough was also a bit related to their high intelligence.

In any case the number of people who have rich parents who can leave them money and give them connections is quite small.  My parents were upper middle class (or as the demcoratic party called them - "the rich") and yet have never been able to help me with a connection when I needed one and don't really seem to have much to leave me.  Besides, I am already earning decent money and there was nothing my parents were able to do to get me into college- I had to use grades and test scores.  I suspect most other children of upper middle class suburban white people are in the same boat.

name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, July 16, 2004

"Watch any TV show for kids or otherwise, and the intelligent people are always portrayed as antisocial, anti-athletic losers (except for our hero, *Professor* Indiana Jones, of course!). "

Actually, Peter Parker and Harry Potter and his pals are refreshing counter examples to this (yes, Harry is an import, but was still quite popular here in the U.S.).

Jim Rankin
Friday, July 16, 2004

"Next, EQ.  The people who coined that term are deceivers trying to sell snake oil.  By appropriating the 'Q', they hope to sell the idea that emotional sympathy stands on equal ground with intelligence."

I'm uniformed about the tenants of the EQ movement.  But I will say that hacking people is a much more complex and useful skill than, say, solving logic puzzles or hacking code.

People with a high ability to win friends and influence people (or conversely, stab them in the back and not get caught) end up running the world.

Jim Rankin
Friday, July 16, 2004

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