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-   -   How Do You Ascertain Intelligence? (http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=2075)

Unsacred Cow 7th September 2009 10:51 PM

How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
I have been pondering the idea of intelligence and how, we as a society, determine intelligence. I've seen it mentioned here many times in relation to theists being so because of lack of intelligence.

I would be interested to hear how others ascertain the intelligence of those they come into contact with? What do you consider signs of intelligence?

SchizoDeluxe 8th September 2009 12:55 AM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
Logic and reasoning, anyone that understands the obvious shows at least some intelligence, those that go beyond that are even more intelligent. Then you could probably break it down by saying that there are those that are academically intelligent and those that are intelligent in other areas. There is also a fine line between sheer ignorance and just plain stupidity. In some cases, I have seen both, we definitly got some loose change floating around.

atheist_angel 8th September 2009 01:15 AM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
That's a very important question. It's so important, I'm not sure people will know how to answer, straight off in a serious way. I had to come back twice. The way I see it...there are many forms on intelligence, and many forms of stupidity...and everyone has their own unique recipe with several ingredients of both.

I can admire someone for their comprehension of science, but be disappointed that they pretend their wife, or kid doesn't have a drug habit. We observe that poise, charisma, and money seem to get listened to more that any kind of sound logic or sincerity. It's disappointing, I know.

I don't have any answers for you, except to say that if the person will listen to sound logic and sincerity, and they don't hold too many false beliefs, then their opinion is probably something worth considering.

c2009 8th September 2009 02:40 PM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
Intelligence is a hard thing to ascertain. Partly this is because of the highly nebulous idea that "intelligence" is, but the other part of it is that there are different kinds of intelligence, at least imho.

Having lots of knowledge =/= having high intelligence overall. It just means you know alot.

I for instance am not domestically intelligent (ie I don't do the homely organisation thing very well). I am however reasonably logically intelligent, having an IQ in the ballpark of 110-120 (seems to depend on who's administering the test), but I'm also not socially intelligent (my social skills leave much to be desired, unfortunately. Blame Asperger's).

I think a measure of overall intelligence would be interesting, and much more revealing.

In addition to this, there's the whole other thing that people think in different ways. My way of thinking would be considered to most, frankly quite bizarre, but it seems to work.

wolty 8th September 2009 03:39 PM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
I like Schizodeluxe's version of intelligence. It was to the point, easy to understand. I think he has nailed it.

VOUSaimezAZZ 8th September 2009 06:11 PM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
I had a maths teacher who would always be telling me when I couldn't solve a problem that "Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do."

wearestardust 8th September 2009 06:13 PM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
This is a really hard one. Along the same lines as Schizodeluxe and Mr Black, intelligence is, roughly, the ability to apply knowledge to achieve desired ends. Nothing in that about being able to work out the next symbol in the sequence.

It also follows from that that people can be intelligent in various dimensions. For example, someone might be very good at applying their skills and knowledge to very practical things eg fixing cars.

As a society we tend to think of intelligence as being related to certain specific skills and abilities - erudition, maths, and quoting stuff. I'm pretty smart, but people probably think I'm smarter than I am because I'm good at that sort of stuff.

Conversely, the academic who is really smart but can't organise herself or himself out of a brown paper bag? In certain senses, no they're not very smart at all.

The upshot seems to be that intelligence is a very slippery thing and difficult to get ahold of. Yet: it seems clear that some people are more intelligent than others. I'm going to escape from this and say: what does it matter? In what field, other than joining Mensa, rather than actual demonstrated abilities, does measuring intelligence matter?

Going back to the original point: I get a bit disturbed when people say people are religious because they're stupid. I've said it myself on these forums, and in part on this forum making this claim it is probably a case of intellectually putting on one's slippers and loosening one's belt in congenial company, but it is actually much much more complex than that and I think we risk going up some blind alleys if we really think it's just because religious people are stoopid.

wearestardust 8th September 2009 06:14 PM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
Quote:

VOUSaimezAZZ said (Post 28136)
I had a maths teacher who would always be telling me when I couldn't solve a problem that "Intelligence is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do."

This was posted while I was typing my last post. That's pretty good I think.

Caio 9th September 2009 01:02 AM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
Quote:

Unsacred Cow said (Post 28043)
I have been pondering the idea of intelligence and how, we as a society, determine intelligence. I've seen it mentioned here many times in relation to theists being so because of lack of intelligence.

I would be interested to hear how others ascertain the intelligence of those they come into contact with? What do you consider signs of intelligence?

Its all relative and depends on the topic and person, their maturity, education etcÖBut put simply I would say intelligence is the ability to convey what they know clearly and comprehensively. I know many intelligent religious people (Iím dating one), but they are mostly university level students and professors, i.e. theologians.

Iíve had many discussions about religion with my girlfriend and ill tell you now they reflect nothing of the sort that one gets from religious people on these forums and the net in general.
Mostly because for one she isnít afraid to say I donít know.

Unsacred Cow 9th September 2009 12:47 PM

Re: How Do You Ascertain Intelligence?
 
I agree with others here that intelligence can manifest itself in different ways.

An evolving level of logic and reasoning would seem to be a fair assessment of intelligence.

I guess I have questioned where my own intelligence was when I was in the depths of xtian belief. I believe I'm of reasonable intelligence so I have attempted to theorise what went wrong. I think some of why it took so long for me to unravel it all was my reluctance to dip my toe into the world of science which I had conveniently tried to live without due to my lack of understanding of it in high school - despised Chem/Physics and wasn't that fond of Maths either - that all caught up with me later to a certain extent. If only Myth Busters had been around in my high school years, perhaps I would have come to appreciate it sooner!

Like Caio, I have intelligent, uni educated friends who maintain a belief in a god. Even very science minded ones. As to that observation, I'm just unable to put religious belief down to the lack of intelligence or even a lack of education. What I've found in these situations is more of a belief in the seemingly humanitarian Jeebus and thus the attraction. I have also found it usually involves ignoring the OT but I'm quite sure (maybe Mr Black can confirm this) that you can't have the New without the Old....due to supposed prophecy in the Old? These types are, however, the moderate believers, who I believe, if push came to shove and they were required to say kill for the cause would quickly turn away from it.


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