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Uncle Martin
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Originally posted by: Tormod

I think you (or typically, the American society) is confusing the term "intelligent" with "skilled".

fully agreed.

 

Differentiating between white collar and blue collar people is invalid in my eyes because...then we are saying that profession determines your intelligence....since I work as a journalist and communication officer I guess I am more intelligent than, say, a metal worker. No! I don't buy that. I simply chose a different career.

fully agreed, though I will assert that intelligence would indicate the range of skills you could be adept at.

By example a person who has to struggle their entire life to learn the intricasies of metalworking, is not as intelligent as someone who mastered the craft in 4 years, then went on to become a programmer, translator, politician, chemist, botanist, etc...

perhapse that was a biased example as the areas of skill overlap.

ex2;

person1(P1) spends the majority of their life concentrating on one sole area of experteise.

person2?(P2) spends an equil amount of time and becomes equally as skilled in 2 areas of experteise

person3(P3) spends an equil amount of time and is only marginally proficient in 3 skills.

 

P1 would likely have more resources than P3 at their retiring age(if P3 ever could retire), while P2 likely amassed much more personal wealth much earlyer than both P1 and P3.

 

Which would be more likely to breed out of need to sustain one's self at an old age?

 

Thease examples of course assume equil ambition/effort between the 3(as ambiguous an idea as that is).

 

Granted, for a lot of people (and this is more obvious in the States) my career choices are out of reach, but that is a financial and social question. I do NOT agree that it is a matter of intelligence. However, it could be a matter of "skill" - being able to learn new things and adapt to your surroundings in a clever way so that a career path opens up. If one does not get any education then that is difficult.

 

Unless I misinterprited you meaning, you've just confused skill and intelligence. Skill refers to something you have learned and remember; skill with metal, skill with wood, skill with linguistics.

 

Intelligence would be what was used to adapt to 'new' situations and surroundings and open up a carrear path. Skills may make it easyer to adapt to that path, or make you more suited to it, but intelligence is the force at work to design a means to get there.

 

Sorry, getting long-winded here - I just don't find any support for social development being due to - what shall we call it - "individual intelligence" and the amount of progeny one has.

 

Well it was and still is good practice to have many children for the sole reason that when you are old and infirm you will have them to take care of you. The more children, the greater your resources in your old age if you yourself are not capable of supporting yourself at that age.

 

I would assert that one of the reasons 'those with poor intelligence or character produc[e] disproportionately more progeny' is simply, as stated above, a means of survival.

 

 

edit; linguistics is a marginal skill in myself

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Originally posted by: GAHD

Originally posted by: Tormod

Granted, for a lot of people (and this is more obvious in the States) my career choices are out of reach, but that is a financial and social question. I do NOT agree that it is a matter of intelligence. However, it could be a matter of "skill" - being able to learn new things and adapt to your surroundings in a clever way so that a career path opens up. If one does not get any education then that is difficult.

 

Unless I misinterprited you meaning, you've just confused skill and intelligence. Skill refers to something you have learned and remember; skill with metal, skill with wood, skill with linguistics.

 

Yes, you misinterpret. I mean the ability to learn and adapt, ie a "skilled learner" who is able to use his experience to get out of a given social situation to get educated or move on from a current situation. You do perhaps need to be intelligent to do so, depending on the situation, but intelligence in itself is not enough. You also need to know and understand _how_ to get out and _where_ to go. That is something you must have learned - ie, skill.

 

Intelligence would be what was used to adapt to 'new' situations and surroundings and open up a carrear path. Skills may make it easyer to adapt to that path, or make you more suited to it, but intelligence is the force at work to design a means to get there.

 

Intelligence is not a force, and it does not work to create any means (I am nitpicking, but that point is important).

 

I would actually rephrase your statement around a bit. You would need "insight", "longing for something better", or "desperate need to solve this situation" - *these* are all driving forces - to realize that you must get out of a given situation. You would need skill(s) to get out of it. I can agree that your level of intelligence will have an impact on the outcome, but so would luck and timing!

 

I don't know - I may come across here as having a fundamental problem with the term "intelligence" in the first place. That may inhibit my ability to be reasonable here. I don't mean that as a joke. I am severely opposed to using IQ as an indication of anything. Intelligence is something we all have. IQ is a socially created thing. There is a huge difference.

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Originally posted by: Tormod

However, I don't see how being born with a certain "mental capability" would impose a limit. I would ask, limit on what? The ability to play music? Paint a house? Learn mathematics?

Yes, I find that the specifics of an individual's intellectual capabilites can establish specifics limits. Just as someone born taller would have one inherent advantage in Basketball, some are born with "Perfect pitch", the ability to recognize exact frequencies. I have never herd of a single person that "developed" the talent just by desire, at a later time. Some people just can not sing on key, Bob Dylan comes to mind. Or can play a guitar better, Neil Young comes to mind.

 

These two examples show people that have spent their lives in the related area. Dylan does not sing off key as a show gimic, that is just what his born ability allows. Neil has played guitar professionally for decades, yet his playing is very simplistic. Even when he "tries" to get fancy, he shows he just does not have the innate talent to really "jam".

 

I was an assistant math teacher in college. Some just "got it" and others didn't have a clue. But I would be willing to bet that each had other strengths and weaknesses.

 

During a parent teacher conference for my 2nd oldest, his Science teacher told me that my son not only had the highest text average of any student he had ever had, but unlike EVERY OTHER high performer he had taught in his decades, my son just UNDERSTOOD things rather than memorizing the correct answers.

 

My 2 oldest just seem to have an ability to REASON/ understand things. My youngest just seems to have problems making those same connections. He tries, and at times does well, but just does not display that same basic skill.

 

Each of these things would establsh limits. Neil will just never be a Hendrix on guitar.

And again - is this limit measurable in any way? If not, I fail to see the scientific value of this idea. If IQ tests are the only way to test someone's "limit", then I don't buy it (since I have already stated that I do not accept IQ tests as scientific evidence).

Again, an IQ test is valid in establishing different abilities in things it is testing for. Other tests could/ should be designed to test for OTHER abilities. No test could be perfect or all encompassing. But they can serve a purpose if properly applied.

If something can be proved to establish a "functional limit", then we should be able to spot the future world champions in anything from chess to pole vault simply by doing genetic tests.

Ah, now you are changing the subject. Yes the topic is related to gentically inhereted abilities. This specific discussion was about NATURAL abilities of an INDIVIDUAL. Yes something they were or were not BORN with. But not specifically a genetically inheritted trait.

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Originally posted by: Freethinker

Originally posted by: Tormod

I was an assistant math teacher in college. Some just "got it" and others didn't have a clue. But I would be willing to bet that each had other strengths and weaknesses.

 

I would be willing to bet that another teacher would have the same experience, but with a different grouping among the students. Teaching is after all an interaction between the teacher and the students (NOT to imply that you're a bad teacher!!!).

 

Neil will just never be a Hendrix on guitar.

 

See, this is the kind of quote that kills me. Why is that a qualification of any kind? Do you seriously believe that Hendrix was born a guitar player? Of course not! He practised his *** off. He established a skill! Come on, this has *nothing* to do with the concept of intelligence.

 

If something can be proved to establish a "functional limit", then we should be able to spot the future world champions in anything from chess to pole vault simply by doing genetic tests.

 

Ah, now you are changing the subject. Yes the topic is related to gentically inhereted abilities. This specific discussion was about NATURAL abilities of an INDIVIDUAL. Yes something they were or were not BORN with. But not specifically a genetically inheritted trait.

 

No, I am not changing the subject. Unc was saying he believe that we are born with limits. You started writing about specific skills like pole vaulting. I question that these things are something we are born with. You mention height - but not every tall person becomes a basketball player. I wouldn't argue that intelligence is what it takes to turn someone into a great basketball player. There are exampes of famous basketball players who were significanty shorter than 6 feet! Obviously height is a good thing if you want to become a basketball player, but it is not the only requirement.

 

You cannot be born with anything that is not genetically based - except the influence your time in the womb has on you (for example, drug abuse by the mother) or events during the birth (like our new friend kate wrote in a recent post). Unless one would argue that traits can be "given" to a child in any other way, which would imply a god, which I assume the two of us agree is not a part of the equation.

 

The environment you grow up in will have a tremendous impact on what kind of person you turn out to be, what skills you attain, etc. Like people with musical parents, who happen to grow up on tour or in a recording studio, an eventually become famous musicians - is this intelligence? I'd put it down to a mix of inherited musicality and pure chance.

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You have all posted alot here today. Some very good points that deserve my full attention. It would not do your well thought out posts justice for me to try and reply without considering your thoughts carefully, so it will likely be this weekend before I get to say all I'd like.

 

Something that I wuold like to bring up now, Tormod, what is a reasonable measurement of intelligence? There are different levels of it, as I think you've said. How do we rate someones ability in a satisfactory way? Also, please disregard white and blue collar from my posts, that was a poor metaphor for sure. Economics and race play no role here, I apologize for my lack of eloquence. Doesn't the word potential imply limits? I'm rambling, as I said, this weekend. Thanks for your patience.

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Originally posted by: Tormod

No, I did not miss it. In fact, even asking the question whether education can supersede intelligence implies to me that either we are talking past each other or I am not understanding what you are trying to say.

OK, misunderstanding no. 1, I think. It was not intended as a question. I assumed that your position was that education was a greater factor than genetically inherent intelligence. It was a statement intended to refute that position.

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Originally posted by: Tormod

I frankly don't buy the argument that there is a trend in evolution which is dumbing down a generation of human beings. There are more people on this planet now than ever before. So the average level of skills and cleverness is bound to go down.

This statement bothers me. Why is the average level bound to go down? Why not remain static or rise? This actually seems to support my original proposal, that dysgenics is increasing the proportion of less intelligent humans. I really don't understand why it is "bound" to go down if not for dysgenics.

 

You then say; "I'd say the best way to counter it would be to reduce the differences between the developing countries and industrialized world", which implies economic or social factors that you deny in other posts. You can't have it both ways, which is it?

 

Well,....it is your website, so maybe you can have it both ways.

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Originally posted by: Uncle Martin

Originally posted by: Tormod

 

I frankly don't buy the argument that there is a trend in evolution which is dumbing down a generation of human beings. There are more people on this planet now than ever before. So the average level of skills and cleverness is bound to go down.

 

This statement bothers me. Why is the average level bound to go down? Why not remain static or rise? This actually seems to support my original proposal, that dysgenics is increasing the proportion of less intelligent humans. I really don't understand why it is "bound" to go down if not for dysgenics.

 

Remember I am saying "no trend in *evolution*". Well, I could be more clear: there are more people than ever, and there are more people living in poverty than ever.

 

Since *the idea of dysgenics* (thus, not MY idea) is based upon the "problem" of stupid people having offspring (simplifying for the sake of argument), then the logical conclusion would be that the more people there are on this planet, and the fewer of those who can get an education or be born from "intelligent" parents (let's get back to that particular issue after my vacation) then the average level of skills and cleverness will go down. That *is* what they argue, and I actually agree with their conclusion.

 

I just don't agree - and this is the point I am trying to make - that this is a "dumbing down", because I don't relate intelligence and smartness with people's social situation. So in fact the world could be smarter than ever before - in which case the entire theory of dysgenics fails!

 

You then say; "I'd say the best way to counter it would be to reduce the differences between the developing countries and industrialized world", which implies economic or social factors that you deny in other posts. You can't have it both ways, which is it?

 

Well,....it is your website, so maybe you can have it both ways.

 

No, I don't expect to get it both ways.

 

I have never denied that social and economic factors play a role! I very much think they do. But as opposed to what the dysgenics theory claims, I think the real issue here is not whether people are being stupid or smart, but whether most people in this world actually are given a fair chance at developing their skills through learning. Like I wrote before, lots of kids never get any kind of serious schooling - often due to living in a poor country. Most of the people in this world live in poverty.

 

I may be moving away from the issue (my upcoming vacation is slowly putting my brain on hold) but I think there are some issues here that are surfacing and which are much more interesting than just the "dysgenics angle".

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Originally posted by: Tormod

I may be moving away from the issue (my upcoming vacation is slowly putting my brain on hold) but I think there are some issues here that are surfacing and which are much more interesting than just the "dysgenics angle".

I couldn't agree more!!! I was only going to make you wait till the weekend, you're making me wait 'till next month. That's hitting below the belt buddy.

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Originally posted by: Tormod

Originally posted by: Freethinker

Originally posted by: Tormod

I was an assistant math teacher in college. Some just "got it" and others didn't have a clue. But I would be willing to bet that each had other strengths and weaknesses.

I would be willing to bet that another teacher would have the same experience, but with a different grouping among the students. Teaching is after all an interaction between the teacher and the students (NOT to imply that you're a bad teacher!!!).

Actually, most of my effort was in the hardest to teach students. Those that coyuld not keep up with the class. So actually I was being more succesful than the regular teachers. I would provide one on one tutoring.

Originally posted by: Tormod

Originally posted by: FreethinkerNeil will just never be a Hendrix on guitar.

See, this is the kind of quote that kills me. Why is that a qualification of any kind? Do you seriously believe that Hendrix was born a guitar player? Of course not! He practised his *** off. He established a skill! Come on, this has *nothing* to do with the concept of intelligence.

No, wrong. Mozart showed musical gifts at a very early age, composing when he was five and when he was six playing before the Bavarian elector and the Austrian empress. And you are trying to say that any kid could do this if they just wanted to! Anyone can be a Leonardo da Vinci if they'd just get off the couch?

 

What about idiot savants? A guy can do math in his head faster than anyone can put it into a calculator, but can't read a book or tie his shoes. Your saying he could sculpt David if he just wanted to!

 

Yes learning a SKILL makes you better at something. But there are just some things some people are inherently superior at.

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Originally posted by: Tormod

I have never denied that social and economic factors play a role! I very much think they do. But as opposed to what the dysgenics theory claims, I think the real issue here is not whether people are being stupid or smart, but whether most people in this world actually are given a fair chance at developing their skills through learning. Like I wrote before, lots of kids never get any kind of serious schooling - often due to living in a poor country. Most of the people in this world live in poverty.

Alright, I think I understand your position on this now. I do agree that had you and I been born in some third world village, with no hope of an education, we would both be very different individuals than we are.

 

I think what this argument boils down to is which is dominant,...nature or nurture? They both have an obvious influence,....agreed?

 

I'm beginning to see your point of view. There are ferrel children that do behave as wild animals, but is this due to a lack of education or intelligence? There are so few examples it is difficult to ascertain. The whole of society provides a good data set, if we can come to an agreement as to how we determine intellectual ability.

 

I still maintain that genetics is the greater factor in intellectual ability and limits. I believe that the factors you present limit ones chances of reaching the potential they inherit. I don't think they decide what that potential will be. I will study the subject as much as time permits, and we will continue this when you return.

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I think this can be considered part of a larger thought process. One that I ahve been thinking about quite a bit over the last few years because of a couple of big issues in front of us right now.

 

The larger one being the omni-present chest pounding response of "United we stand"/ "Proud to be an American" to 9/11. Yes I was born in the US and am very glad of it. There obviously are many far less desirable places to have been born/ be living. But what is it *I* have done to claim the "honor" of being an American? Yes I am socio/politically active. But I did not have any involvement with my having happened to have been born in the US. And perhaps my continued residence here is based more on lack of action, than positive effort.

 

As I sit here at my computer "Proud" to be a compilation of atoms composing a US citizen, in fact a particular US citizen, I have to wonder "why I am not a compilation of atoms composing someone about to die of starvation in Africa". There is not "reason" behind it. It just IS that way.

 

Why am *I* NOT Irish or Unc or Telemad or Bo or Tim or ....

 

Just "lucky" I guess? :-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

For those unaware of the definition; "Dysgenics refers to the problem of those with poor intelligence or character producing disproportionately more progeny. The result is a steady genetic deterioration in human populations."

 

In order for the problem of Dysgenics to actually result in a genetic deterioration of the human population, wouldn't large numbers of relatively intelligent people have to procreate with large numbers of abhorrently stupid people? I'm finding it hard to believe that there are enough fraternity parties taking place worldwide to cause alarm on that front.

 

 

 

Personally, I find the idea of one class of humans looking down on another class of humans and thinking “Their numbers are growing too great – something must be done”, both disturbing and remarkably similar to several precedents familiar to most any resident of Central Africa or Bosnia.

 

 

 

This post may appear to contradict one I made while discussing stem cell research – here is the difference, as I see it. Dysgenics appears (from the description given) to state that certain people should not be reproducing as much as they do; that represents a problem. My view is that the problem is not that stupid people are reproducing at an alarming rate, it is that intelligent people are refusing to let the stupid people die. Every successful ecosystem on this planet revolves around the idea that the weak will be weeded out to make room for the strong – thereby improving the species and allowing for the continued existence of said species. Until relatively recently, disease, starvation and war kept the human population in check. We have now progressed to a point at which diseases have cures, second-tier celebrities send food and medicine to people who don't have it, and war is no longer popular unless the world agrees on an easily identifiable 'bad guy' and nobody gets hurt. I don't think we should exterminate any one group of people* - I just don't know why we are not letting nature take its course. Why has it not occurred to the world that any segment of the population that uses “Betcha I can” as a battle cry might not hold the virtue of self-preservation as close to the vest as they should?

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Originally posted by: nemo

Personally, I find the idea of one class of humans looking down on another class of humans and thinking “Their numbers are growing too great – something must be done”, both disturbing and remarkably similar to several precedents familiar to most any resident of Central Africa or Bosnia.

Dysgenics is based solely on intelligence. No socio-economic, racial, skin color, country of origin, religious, etc,...factors apply. The examples given above are a bit off target. I don't "look down" on those that I percieve to be less intelligent than I, any more than I look up to those that are apparently more so. I don't advocate exterminating stupid people, but when someone that is too stupid to survive in our complex society has 13 children that the society feels obligated to feed and support, we do have a very real problem. With the potential for disaster.

 

 

 

My view is that the problem is not that stupid people are reproducing at an alarming rate, it is that intelligent people are refusing to let the stupid people die. Every successful ecosystem on this planet revolves around the idea that the weak will be weeded out to make room for the strong – thereby improving the species and allowing for the continued existence of said species. Until relatively recently, disease, starvation and war kept the human population in check.

I agree with this completely, except that isn't the rising reproduction rate of those less intelligent, a direct effect caused by not allowing stupid people to die? If we had let nature take its course, there would be less stupid people to multiply.

We have now progressed to a point at which diseases have cures, second-tier celebrities send food and medicine to people who don't have it, and war is no longer popular unless the world agrees on an easily identifiable 'bad guy' and nobody gets hurt. I don't think we should exterminate any one group of people* - I just don't know why we are not letting nature take its course. Why has it not occurred to the world that any segment of the population that uses “Betcha I can” as a battle cry might not hold the virtue of self-preservation as close to the vest as they should?

YES!! We have interfered with natural selection. No longer is there competition to survive and procreate. Not only the strongest or smartest succeed now, everyone succeeds, and those that are less able to excel are those that are having disproportionately more offspring.

 

I think smart people should start procreating more to combat dygenics. I may start right away. I'm sure there are many people that would consider me to be one of the stupid people, I wonder who gets to draw the line?

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