• Pseudonym
    1k
    the fact that we speak about intelligence in a discriminating way, prooves that at least the ones who do this have at least some intuitive way of quantification they believe to be true enough to talk about it.Tomseltje

    Not necessarily. This would require a presumption that the intention of the language user is to accurately communicate some fact. Given what we know of human psychology, I think that's probably unlikely.
  • Pseudonym
    1k


    That's essentially the distinction I'm suggesting is confused. I can't really conceive of 'intellugence' as a latent ability to deal with complexity. Both mathematics and music are complex in their own ways yet there are those good at one but not the other. Surely if they were possessed of some abstract ability they would be innately good at both?

    It seems, at the very least, that latent abilities are more diverse than one measure can capture.

    In addition though, I find the traditional distinction between intelligence and wisdom that you've outlined problematic. If we accept wisdom as being the ability to arrive at the 'right' answer to some problem, then 'intelligence' is left defining something that I'm not sure justifies any distinction.

    If we say that an intelligent man will be able to solve a maths problem, but a wise man would be able to work out that the problem itself is a waste of time and instead simply enjoy his day, then all we're really saying is that intelligence is the ability to solve a fairly narrow and arbitrarily defined set of problems.

    The problem "what should I do with my day?" is solved best by the wise man, the problem "what note should follow this one?" is solved best by the musician, the problem "which shape comes next in this sequence...?" is solved best by the intelligent person. This seems to describe how the words are used, but then not the wider meaning attached to 'intelligent',which is always something more than just 'good at solving a specific range of problems'.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    Your theory about IQ (predictable by people's belief about IQ tests) is not plausible.Belter

    Wich theory would that be, and why don't you consider it to be plausible? I don't have any theory on my name as far as I know, I merely refer to scientific theories commonly known within the scientific community that researches iq validity. All I have to add to those are hypothesis at best.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    Not necessarily. This would require a presumption that the intention of the language user is to accurately communicate some fact. Given what we know of human psychology, I think that's probably unlikely.Pseudonym

    Not sure what you are getting at. Of course it's not nessesarily the case at every instance, since people can be dishonest when they speak. One of the assumptions would be that the speaker isn't being intentionally dishonest for instance, if that's what you meant.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    Both mathematics and music are complex in their own ways yet there are those good at one but not the other. Surely if they were possessed of some abstract ability they would be innately good at both?Pseudonym

    Next to intelligence, some education on the subject is required. People who are good at both, and have an interest in their simularities, can give very interesting talks about the mathematical components in music.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    If you think that IQ tests are bad designed, so they are not scientifically valid, you should show some kind of evidence. If your argument is that empirical science is inherently "invalid" in some grade, it is a selection fallacy or a kind of general skepticism equally fallacious.Belter

    I stated none of the sort. On the contrary, I think iq tests have been designed very carefully. I just think that the complexity of something as intelligence results in the iq tests having a greater error margin than for instance measuring cylinders as used in chemistry. Wich has been substanciated by my comparison of the error margins used in both. Since where we have measuring cylinders that measure up to 100 ml with an error margin of only 0,2 ml wich means an error margin of only 0,2% when measuring 100 ml , our best iq test still have an error margin of 15 points, resulting in an error margin of 15% on an iq score of 100.

    Perhaps my formulation has been abit clumsy, but I got my critisism on iq test from scientific sources. My point is that we still have much to improve on iq tests to increase their accuracy, before they are just as accurate as measuring cylinders used in chemistry. Perhaps intelligence is too comlex we ever reach that level of accuracy, but I'm convinced they can be improved at least to the degree that we end up with an error margin that is half of what it is now.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    Three steps you have trained your brain to perform within a second, wich someone unfamiliar with the letter 's' has not. Kids spend years in school to train this skill, so eventually some even can get it trained up to the level that they are able to read up to 500 words a minute accurately.

    Even if it is true that to obtain the skill of recognising an "s" requires measuring (and again, I insist that if it does then a very technical use of the notion of measuring is being used) it does not follow that proficiency in that skill once gained requires continual measuring. See my example of a violin player who at the beginning has to concentrate very hard on the exact positioning of fingers on the fingerboard, but who - when fully proficient - no longer needs to concentrate on the exact positioning of his or her fingers, they just hit the right spot.
  • Belter
    79
    Wich theory would that be, and why don't you consider it to be plausible?Tomseltje

    Scientific theories are supported by empirical data. You have not data (I suppose) of your claim.

    My point is that we still have much to improve on iq tests to increase their accuracyTomseltje

    It is possible, but again you do not show any evidence. You should cite any actual IQ tests, how the are designed, etc. For me the your is not the scientific way of questioning validity (which in addition can be either "internal" -reliability- or "external" -generality-).
  • Dawnstorm
    32


    I'm not sure if, or how much I disagree with you here. A simplification: if we have (taking my rough definitions as a base) antonym pairs of:

    simple-minded -- intelligent

    and

    foolish -- wise

    We get four combinations:

    A simple-minded fool
    A simple-minded wise man
    An intelligent fool
    An intelligent wise man

    Since I don't have problems coming up with stereotypical fictional characters for either of those types, the distinction is meaningful for me. How? That's a difficult question.

    In your anecdote, I see the homesteader as a simple-minded wise man who sees Einstein as an intelligent fool (and who doesn't make the distinction I make).

    None of that says what intelligence or wisdom actually is, much less that it is a single trait, or a latent ability. If I take the anecdote at face value, though, and I only have "intelligence" to work with, I find the anecdote much harder to read. "Intelligence" turns into a measure of success, and success is abstract enough that it encompasses both coming up with the theories of relativity and finding contentment in life. I'm not sure what to do with that reading.

    Part of my motivation to reply in the first place, is a problem I had with many posts in this thread: a focus on success as a measure of intelligence. I'd like a definition of intelligence that allows me to ask questions like "Under what circumstances does higher intelligence make you more successful? When does higher intelligence become an obstacle?"

    For example, if intelligence does have something to do with complexity, then an intelligent person is more likely to mistake a simple problem for a complex one than a simple-minded person, which makes the simple-minded person more likely to successfully solve a simple problem, or be more efficient at solving that problem (because no unneccesary thoughts get in the way).

    Now, if we view intelligence as a measure for problem-solving success, we can't meaningfully address these questions. That's my prime problem with IQ tests: they predict success, but don't allow me to look at the relationship between intelligence and success because of that.

    Of course, the problem might be that my conception of intelligent is... highly ideosyncratic to begin with. Take language: never mind being a "good" writer; even using language the way every five-year-old does is a highly complex activity. If I ever get serious about "intelligence having something to do with handling complexity" I have to address this distinction between using a complex system and holding its representation in your mind - praxis vs. analysis. It's definitely not a simple task. I'm not convinced yet it's a worthwhile task.

    To the topic at hand, I'm highly skeptical of IQ tests, but I've never got the impression that the IQ was supposed to be a metric scale, more like an ordinal scale with huge overlapping categories. I mean, IQ tests come in modules, and everyone who's ever taken such a test has probably found some of those modules easier (I suck at the ones which require spatial perception). Two people with the same score do not have the same abilities in the same way that two people of the same height are equally tall. And I don't think anyone's ever pretended it did. So even if we're talking about IQ tests as they are, we're not talking about a single measure - at least not in the same sense as height or weight.
  • FLUX23
    76

    Why are you assuming it is me who doesn't understand statistics? As long as you don't provide a decent argument for your assumption, you are just poisoning the well.
    I might just as easily assume that it is you who doesn't understand statistics to the degree required to understand me correctly, and don't know enough about how iq tests are made and applied to give an accurate response. An assertion that at least is substanciated by the fact that you failed provide any actual counterargument to my statements, but instead opted for an ad hominem fallacy.
    Tomseltje
    Well, I am not assuming you don't understand statistics. I am assuring you that you don't understand statistics.

    I am a photochemistry/photophysics guy who uses quantum mechanics and statistics for life, with a formal education. Plus a PhD if you are not convinced. Of course, I am not saying I am absolutely right (I can be wrong), but I have a good background to say you are wrong.

    But fair enough, here's why:

    If by accurate you mean there is no error margin, they are inaccurate, but the same goes for measuring liquids in a measuring cylinder. The only difference is that measuring cylinders used in chemistry are less inaccurate than iq tests.Tomseltje

    I used the common definition of "accuracy" meant for laymans. There is a difference between "precision" and "accuracy". To give you the answer, I was talking about BOTH "accuracy" and "precision" and these two are different. However, you confused "accuracy" with "precision". Being unable to comprehend this correctly based on my post, even though these two are are explicitly explained in my post, shows that you either do not have definitive concept to understand this, or just simply not well trained.

    The concept of accuracy and precision is one of the most basic things you learn in statistics. It is most likely one of the first things you learn in statistics classes as well. That is the level of understanding you will need to be able to talk about something like IQ tests, because IQ test is based on statistics.

    (It seems like in psychology, terms like "validity" and "reliability" are being used to talk about "accuracy" and "precision", but of course I am not a psychology guy and I don't think these terminology is relevant here.)

    Odd that you seem to think I don't understand statistics, while we at least seem to agree on this statement. Perhaps your reply was adressed at someone else?Tomseltje

    Well I agree with the specific statement you referred to in the quote. But that has nothing to do with what I said above.
  • creativesoul
    2.8k
    So...

    I just wanted to scrutinize the earlier claim about IQ testing and what the results warranted. Someone claimed that doing well on an IQ test only showed that that person was good at taking IQ tests, but it does not necessarily show any measure of intelligence...

    Am I the only one here that finds that objectionable?

    It works from the presupposition that intelligence isn't needed to do well on an intelligence test. It also works from the presupposition that one may be intelligent and yet not do well on one.
  • FLUX23
    76

    Our disagreement seems to be based upon your more narrow definition of the word 'to measure', You seem to apply it as something that only is about determining quantity. Perhaps if you reconsider my statements under this definition of measure : the act or process of ascertaining the extent, dimensions, or quantity of something;
    In case of determining wether an 's' or a 'z' is spelled, you made a measurement of what you saw. Otherwise, how could you tell the two apart?
    Tomseltje

    This, I must wholeheartedly agree.
  • FLUX23
    76
    I refer you to my final reply to FLUX23 - I believe you must have a very specific theory of mind-brain identity involving a very specific definition of "measurement" and probably some representational view of perception such that merely in seeing something, a measurement is always being made. Under any run-of-the-mill notion of "measurement" seeing and "s" on a page and measuring an "s" on a page are entirely different kinds of activities.MetaphysicsNow

    Well you didn't mention anything about my reply after your final reply, which I assume you just simply missed.

    However, the measurement thing is a well established theory. Your brain is basically a computer with machine learning capability ("machine learning" is a term btw), although not as precise. It is probably your definition of "measurement" which is too specialized and specific compared to my definition of "measurement" which is more general (and is more often used).

    Human brain is quite dynamic and smart in a sense. The fact that you don't remember every single details of what you see, for example now, is because your brain automatically filters out unnecessary information the moment you look at something, because when you look at something you have an objective to look at that certain "something". A great deal of measurement and processing is going on in your brain. Interestingly most of the time it is done instantaneously and unconsciously.

    For example, because of scotoma, certain detail of your vision is not available. However, your brain automatically processes the blind spot with surrounding details. This is pure measurement and is a fascinating fact.
  • SophistiCat
    422
    Sure it works. It works for bodylenght, so why not for intelligence. If we want to determine whether someone is short or tall, we compare them to the average height. Next to this we can express their height in cm or inches, the latter doesn't tell whether someone is tall or short without a known average.

    In case of children we even correct the measured lenght for age, same as with iq tests. Why assume it won't work if the same appraoch clearly works for other things we measure?
    Tomseltje

    So how about if we measure weight with a thermometer? (We'll just call it a "weight-measuring device"... for good measure.) We are measuring something, we can do comparisons, calculate average, etc. We should be good, right?

    Where am I going wrong with this? Your entire argument is that intelligence is adequately measured by intelligence tests because "intelligence tests" measure "intelligence" - what else could they be doing? Boom, done!

    Don't you see how empty and useless such talk is? Look, you can't contribute meaningfully to a conversation about IQ tests if you don't want to get into the substance of the matter. What is intelligence? Is it something that can be measured on a scale? How can it be measured? Are existing tests adequate for the purpose? And what are such tests good for, anyway? These questions cannot be answered with wordplay alone.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    However, you confused "accuracy" with "precision".FLUX23

    You are probably right on this part, however, that doesn't mean it's an indication of my level of understanding statistics. More likely it's just a translation error, since I'm not a native english speaker.
    My mathematical training was in my native language. So thanks for pointing it out.

    My apologies for causing confusion on this, I didn't think the difference was that relevant to the subject in this case. Since on a single measurement the precision influences the accuracy. Wich applies in this subject, since generally the individuals only get tested once for iq.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    Your entire argument is that intelligence is adequately measured by intelligence testsSophistiCat

    Nonsense, in order to consider something to be adequate, you will have to state your reference. Adequate for what?
    I don't recall mentioning the word adequately. Nor did I mention an application of what an iq test can be used for. My argument is that its the best way to measure it that is available, not that it can't be improved. Nor that it's adequate to substanciate conclusion x. Whatever x you may think of. Not to say that there are no conclusions to be derrived from iq tests, I just didn't make any claims about them here.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    My final reply to you was that you had a very specific and itself philosophically contestable theory of mind, and that discussing that was for another thread (of which there are plenty, by the way) not this one.
  • Tomseltje
    140
    See my example of a violin player who at the beginning has to concentrate very hard on the exact positioning of fingers on the fingerboard, but who - when fully proficient - no longer needs to concentrate on the exact positioning of his or her fingers, they just hit the right spot.MetaphysicsNow

    That is what we call muscle memory, wich is separate from what we attempt to measure in iq tests. The measuring is only required when training muscle memory (when the violin player still has to look at his hands).
  • Tomseltje
    140
    Scientific theories are supported by empirical data. You have not data (I suppose) of your claim.Belter

    wich claim I made are you referring to? At best you could make a case that I didn't present the data, you are merely assuming I don't have it since I didn't present it yet. Since I don't know wich claim I made you wan't me to defend, I don't know wich data you are asking for.

    It is possible, but again you do not show any evidence. You should cite any actual IQ testsBelter

    Why do you want me to cite an iq test as evidence? Even if I could post the symbols used in iq tests here (no idea if that is even possible here) I don't see how that is any evidence for my statements. What I'm talking about are statistical results of great numbers of filled in iq tests. Now I don't have those piles of filled in iq tests, I have to rely on the scientists who do, and published their research. I could post some links to their papers if that satisfies you.
  • MetaphysicsNow
    315
    OK, but the general point holds: activities required to gain a skill are not required to maintain a skill. Recognising an "s" is a skill, perhaps measuring is required to gain that skill (although I am still unconvinced of that, you seem to have a model of human cognition that is generally contestable), but even so it does not follow from that that measuring in any way shape or form is required to maintain it.
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