Intelligence

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Intelligence is the degree of our ability to cope with changes in our environment. This is a simple but succinct definition. This analysis represents a view of intelligence from different perspectives.

Excerpt from Book: "How Life Really Works"

Chapter 06.00 Evolutionary Psychology

Chapter 06.07 Intelligence

Due to space limitations, sections in Red are accessible only in the Book or CD "How Life Really Works".

 

Intelligence:

        An Overview

        Intelligence and Heredity

        Intelligence and Race

        Intelligence and Culture

        Intelligence and Money

        Intelligence and Religion

        Intelligence and Discrimination

        Intelligence and Happiness

 

Intelligence: An Overview

Intelligence is the capacity of our rational mind to consolidate and evaluate external stimuli by integrating sensory input with our memory and our programming.

Both the quality and the quantity of our memory banks and our central processing unit, our cerebral cortex, depend on the genetic material passed on to us by our ancestors. These essential components are part of the hardware of our brain and express themselves in the number and connectivity of our neurons.

Secondary to our genetic inheritance, our environment can affect our intelligence. Both our prenatal physiological development and our postnatal mental environment exert considerable influence on our intelligence.

Genetic and environmental factors have a bearing on the quality of the hardware of our brain and thus on our ability to compute accurately and successfully. Severe nutritional deprivation and the resulting deficiencies in brain tissue are a known cause of mental sub-normality.

Environmental factors are more apt to degrade than to enhance our mental processes. There is no evidence to indicate that our environment can increase intelligence more than 15%. The built-in degradation of mental processes is the result of entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This Law of Nature stipulates that all physical and physiological processes exhibit a constant degradation of order and a constant increase in randomness.

The Law of Entropy demands that any energy-driven process must increase the randomness of its energy sources and is therefore predestined to diminish its efficiency. The same natural law also decrees that an engine will trend to break down but will not randomly eliminate defects and increase its efficiency. In short: Nature makes it easier to reduce complexity than to enhance complexity.

It is inherently easier to degrade brain tissue than to create more complex brain tissue. Enhancements in brain structure require long periods of evolutionary selection, in addition to the availability of extraneous sources of energy.

Our temperament effects our emotions and is part of our genetic heritage. It, too, asserts a definite influence on our intelligence. Laziness or lethargy are commonly inherited factors and consequently determine the input available from our environment. A person who is too lazy to study will not benefit as much from education as a highly motivated person with the same level of intelligence.

Other genetic predispositions range from alcoholism to schizophrenia, from musical talent to color-blindness. Our genes are responsible for almost everything and anything that establishes the essence of a particular human being. Almost all human diseases are the result of our genetic predisposition, with the exception of infectious diseases or accidents. We even inherit part of our immunity, our resistance or susceptibility to some infectious diseases.

Our brain, including hardware and software, is analogous to a computer, because we have designed computers with the human brain as a model. The methods used by our brain to process information have evolved over eons of time and can thus serve as the basic paradigm of computer technology. No information-processing method that might be superior to the basic architecture of the human brain has offered itself to computer designers. All processing of information involves sensory input, memory, the integration of both, and output.

The quality of the output of our biological computer system, our brain, depends approximately 80% on inherited factors, on our genes. The remaining 20% are attributable to environmental elements. This 20% factor may be overstated because our genes determine even our ability to interact with and to benefit from our environment.

People often assume that the quality of the output of our brain is dependent on the quality of the input into the system. Actually, it is our brain, governed by our inherited hardware and software, which determines the quality of the input available to the processing unit. The quality and structure of our brain determines what sources of input it will allow to enter our mind and what input it might reject before processing it.

The same analogy applies to the importance attached to the quality of our education and other environmental factors. It is not our educational system but it is the processing capability of our bio-electronic brain, which determines the quality of information input.

 

Intelligence and Heredity

Our genes determine the quality of our intelligence, our ability to integrate and process information. The level of our intelligence determines how well we cope with changes in our environment. We express the processing capacity of our intelligence by a unit of measurement called the Intelligence Quotient, IQ for short. Our IQ represents the ratio of the measured level of intelligence to the physiological age of the subject, multiplied by 100.

Some people are very smart; some people are not very smart. If we compile a large number of individual intelligence measurements, it is statistically inevitable that the graphic display of such results appears in the shape of a bell curve. The bell-curve represents a cross-section of the intellectual capacity of a population group.

Caucasians of predominantly European ancestry were the first subjects of standardized intelligence tests. The mean achievement level of these tests was set at 100 and this arbitrary level represents the norm against which the intelligence of individuals and groups is measured.

In the past, considerable conflict existed regarding the proportional importance of hereditary factors versus environmental factors, in determining the level of intelligence displayed by individuals or population groups. From the 1960s to the 1990s, a trend prevailed among sociologists in the United States to attribute 80% or even 100% of measured intelligence to environmental determinants, with negligible ascription to heredity.

This anomaly was the result of political concessions, demanded by some members of the non-scientific academic community. These persons insisted on a strict interpretation of the Jeffersonian pronouncement that "all men are created equal".

However, only politically motivated sociologists in purportedly egalitarian societies, such as the United States and the Soviet Union, adopted this unrealistic view. Scientists in all other countries of the world accept the irrefutable fact that men are not created equal.

Parallel to the unrealistic attitude of American politicians, a political trend persisted in the Soviet Union in the form of the state-approved teachings of the Russian biologist Lysenko. Similar to the Jeffersonian position, the Soviets invested all people with equal human attributes, including equal rational thought processes.

Jefferson pronounced the equality of all men but, simultaneously, he subjugated many of the same human beings he referred to as equal, in a state of severe slavery for his own gain. Russia, as the successor to the Soviet Union, abandoned the politically motivated position that all men are born with equal attributes. Eventually, rationality prevailed in the United States, where such untenable positions disappeared towards the end of the 20th century.

 

Intelligence and Race

The reality and validity of IQ measurements lies in the fact that different people have different IQs. Different population groups, races or ethnic groups exhibit different statistical levels of intelligence as measured by standard IQ tests.

Blacks consistently score 15% lower than Whites on standard IQ tests, even after adjusting for environmental exposures. This deviation occurs without regard to the geographical area of the world or the society where we administer such IQ tests.

The Japanese population has a mean IQ level of 110, Mexican mestizos score in the low 90s. Indeed, it would be truly astounding if all people of the world had the same level of intelligence, because it might indicate that all people where produced in the same mold and had identical genes.

The graphical display of normal population statistics invariably produces bell-curved graphs with regard to human characteristics. The bell curve merely reflects the fact that all humans are different. It is difficult to conceive of a reason why this well-established attribute should not apply to human intelligence. Indeed, human intelligence displays results in the shape of a bell curve.

Intelligence levels of groups of people conform to the law of evolution and do not change rapidly. Significant change might occur over time spans measured in thousand or tens of thousands of years.

However, evolution can accelerate dramatically in the face of violent societal upheavals. Such tumultuous and dangerous periods encourage the survival and subsequent propagation of only those members of a population group who are best equipped to survive. Intelligence is a crucial survival factor.

It is illuminating to consider the two opposites of American societal IQ levels: African American Negroes, as opposed to American Jews. These population groups have sorted themselves out into different occupational structures based on their respective IQs.

Black Americans prevail in occupations that require limited intellectual acuity but a high level of physical prowess, such as manual labor or sports activities. The opposite holds true of Jews who predominate in intellectual and artistic pursuits that require a higher level of intelligence than physical activities.

It is therefore not surprising that IQ levels for both groups diverge drastically. The peak of the bell curve charting IQ level of American urban Blacks falls in the 80-85 range. Jews consistently score in the 115-120 range.

Since IQs do not exist in a vacuum but are broad predictors of financial success in life, the income levels of Blacks and Jews are similarly representative of their different intellectual capacity. Earnings of Jews are almost twice as high as the earnings of Blacks and are slightly ahead of the Japanese.

These facts confirm the old expression: The dull people of this world do not run the world, the smart people run this world. The highest standard of living does not accrue to the unintelligent people of this world; it is the smart people, the people with the higher IQ, who are affluent. This fact is self-evident.

The explanation for this discrepancy in IQ levels becomes obvious when we refer to the source of all innate human faculties. The evolution of man over a millions of years resulted in a variety of innate traits that reflected survival characteristics demanded by differing environments.

Negroes developed in a benign tropical environment where nature readily provided sustenance without substantial competitive pressures for natural resources. The lack of a need for higher intellectual accomplishments did not encourage the elimination of the intellectually disadvantaged from their society.

After the transfer of Negroes to the Americas, slave owners further discouraged intellectual activities by slaves and placed higher value on the physical prowess of slaves. Manual field labor provided no evolutionary impetus for high levels of intelligence.

The reverse situation applied to Jews. Their religious beliefs and their shrewdness set them apart from most other population groups with whom they interacted. This separateness frequently placed them into the position of scapegoats and consequentially subjected them to pogroms. In order to survive they had to live by their wits, not by their brawns. The harsh atmosphere of such persecutions favored and honed their intellectual ability to survive constant onslaughts of malevolence and violence.

After thousands of years of pogroms, the weaker and less adroit elements of Jewish societies gradually diminished in numbers. The surviving Jewish population groups attained a higher standard of living due to the constant rise in IQ levels required by their survival needs. This evolutionary process resulted in the survival of the more intelligent Jews.

The evolution of the Jews gained momentum during the extermination of Jews in World War II. During those calamitous times, Jews of innately higher intelligence had a better chance of survival than intellectually less endowed Jews. Einstein survived because he had the intelligence to foresee the looming catastrophe; a Jewish street vendor in Berlin lacked this acuity and perished.

This perspective on the formation of intelligence levels is statistical in nature. It does not imply that only bright Jews survived and that only dull Jews perished. When faced with a disaster that is largely beyond ones personal control or anticipation, even the best and the brightest can perish where a less intellectually capable person may survive.

In any analysis of evolutionary characteristics, statistical results determine the outcome, rather than individual abilities. In this statistical arena, results speak for themselves: Jews have become a super-race.

Evolution has no moral connotations. It does not concern itself with the sufferings of individuals or even vast numbers of people. Evolution is not a selective factor with a preordained purpose.

The process of evolution is the prerequisite of all life on earth. It follows only one principle: The survival and the perpetuation of those persons who are most fit to adjust to changing environmental conditions. Evolution has no moral or political agenda; it is merely a manifestation of the fact that some persons have superior survival mechanisms than others. Evolution has endowed human beings with intelligence because intelligence is the most potent survival mechanism.

Bright black professionals, who were capable of achieving success without the crutch of affirmative action, are strongly opposed to Affirmative Action laws, because these laws provide for preferential treatment of Blacks. Affirmative Action makes it impossible for other persons to judge whether the accreditation of Blacks is due to merit or to preferential treatment based on their color.

The high esteem attributed to many Jewish professionals may in part be due to the quota system that elite colleges maintained in order to reduce access by Jews. The public has learned that, if a Jew graduated from a prestigious medical school, he had to have superior qualifications than even the average white applicant.

Instead of fighting rampant discrimination against them in the employment market, and instead of clamoring for preferential treatment, Jews simply proved their superior abilities. They overcame racial prejudice in employment by becoming very successful professionals and artists.

 

Intelligence and Culture

An apparent puzzle pertaining to societal IQ levels is the rise and fall of civilizations. Societies that flowered into supreme artistic or intellectual achievement subsequently subsided and returned to the previous level of accomplishments common to the particular population group.

The Greek and the Roman civilizations displayed such societal intellectual turbulence. In all instances of temporary societal greatness, the supreme rise in accomplishments in a society was not commensurate with a genetically perpetuated intelligence structure. Instead, such excellence was the result of the accretion of artistic or scientific elements within a society due to the temporary confluence of environmental factors.

We can find an analogy to this rare societal phenomenon in nuclear explosions. As long as individual particles within a radioactive substance are widely separated, they merely participate in ordinary chemical processes. However, if the same particles coalesce and interact intimately with each other, they first generate heat and then proceed to avalanche into a chain reaction that generates a disproportionate amount of energy and upheaval.

At the apex of the Greek civilization, an extraordinary confluence of artistic elements occurred which resulted in the explosive birth of architecture and art during the Age of Pericles. The Golden Age of Greece eventually culminated in the birth of Western Civilization.

However, this unique societal event did not perpetuate itself because it did not involve a permanent, genetic change of the Greek population. The explosive intellectual development of Ancient Greece was the temporary manifestation of an artistic chain reaction.

This cultural explosion resulted from the unique confluence of artistic and scientific minds within the city of Athens during this specific period. A few hundred years later, after the aggregation of great minds had faded and had lost critical mass, the history of Greece shows no repetition of this extraordinary period in the history of the Greek people.

The occurrence of such spontaneous, creative pinnacles illustrates another formative aspect of human existence. A new structure or organism can increase its complexity and it will then exhibit drastically different qualities than the sum of its component parts. The intellectual chain reaction that triggered the artistic explosion of the Greek civilization two thousand years ago is also evident in the vast cultural accomplishments of Rome during the era of the Pax Romana.

We can find further evidence of such cultural explosions in the vibrant Islamic art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the seventeenth century. The supreme technological accomplishments in the United Stated of America marked the technological supremacy of the American Society at the beginning of the third millennium. America attracted the greatest scientific and technical minds from around the globe.

If a society is not involved in self-destructive adventures, such as wars or other dissipations of societal wealth, it will encourage the confluence of large numbers of persons with artistic, intellectual or technological tendencies.

Temporary technological or artistic chain reactions can take place even during a period when the general intelligence level of a society is declining due to population shifts. The influx of large numbers of less intelligent persons will decrease the average level of intelligence within a group of people. A society may experience further decreases in average intelligence because less intelligent persons commonly replicate more rapidly than mentally more advanced persons do.

However, artistic or technological developments do not depend on the intelligence level of the masses. We can always trace great accomplishments within a society to a relatively small number of persons with supreme intelligence or artistic talent. This thin layer of 5 or 10% of the population exerts an influence far beyond its proportional representation.

 

Intelligence and Money

A direct correlation exists between IQ and personal income. The measured IQ of a student is a statistically accurate predictor of his academic success. The IQ is also a rather precise predictor for financial success. There is a direct and inevitable correlation between IQ and income: The higher the average IQ level of a group, the higher the statistical income level of the group.

This relationship is self-evident because it requires only an IQ of 90 to be a truck driver but it requires an IQ of 120 to hold a college degree. It is beyond dispute that persons with a college degree have substantially higher lifetime earnings than truck drivers: The higher the IQ, the higher the earnings.

The high IQ people of this world run the world and earn high incomes. The higher the IQ of a person, the greater will be his rationality and his ability to see Objective Reality clearly and without blinders.

 

Intelligence and Religion:

Due to space limitations, sections in Red are accessible only in the Book or CD "How Life Really Works".

 

 

Intelligence and Discrimination

Evolution favors higher degrees of specialization in order to deal more efficiently with a change in human environments. Evolution achieves specialization by encouraging higher degrees of complexity. The increase in complexity of the human cerebral complex from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens enabled man to achieve ever-higher levels of intelligence.

With higher levels of intelligence, man could deal more successfully and predictably with the ultimate objective of all living organisms: To enhance pleasure and happiness by the rational manipulation or elimination of adverse advents that originally manifest themselves as pain or unhappiness.

Large segments of the population have different IQ levels and thus present diverging performance criteria. This knowledge allows us to be more efficient in allocating our resources to a specific task.

We can save much time and effort if we know, on a statistical basis, that a Jewish practitioner of medicine or law has a higher level of performance than a Black practitioner has. The Black professional may have attended the same institution as the Jew. However, the dictates of Affirmative Action laws, rather than the merits of his intelligence and competence may have propelled the academic progress of the Black person.

We have no means of determining the qualitative differences between professionals because we must rely on the graduation certificate issued by the university. Alternative Action has made it impossible to use this criterion. As a result, we must use another criterion: We eliminate the degrees of Blacks from our evaluation because their degrees may reflect high standards, or they may reflect Affirmative Action preferences.

Some persons may view this position as racial discrimination, which it is. If we stick our heads in the sand, adopt a politically correct stance and insult our intelligence by pretending that all men are equal, we fail to recognize the true attributes of Objective Reality. We will be unable to achieve our desired objectives.

If we want to be efficient in our search for a happy life, we must pre-judge a large number of people and events in our life. The terms racial prejudice and discrimination have acquired negative moral connotations. However, opportunistic attempts by demagogic politicians to manipulate the populace have never deterred people from engaging in discrimination. Therefore, politicians had to devise Affirmative Action.

Efficient people, successful people, people of discriminating taste, uniformly and expediently apply panoptic filtering criteria during any initial screening process. This discriminatory selection process is the reason we prefer to buy products with established brand names. We know from experience that a particular brand-name product is most likely to be superior to an unknown brand that has not established a reputation for quality.

It is inefficient to waste time by exploring the merits of all brand-name products and unbranded products that may be available in a store. If we indiscriminately buy all potential choices that present themselves to our decision-making process, we may suffer from the results.

If we base our choices on the belief that all people, or all products, are equal in quality or performance, we will experience a high degree of inefficiency in the allocation of our limited resources of money and time. It is imperative that we utilize discriminatory screening in any preliminary selection process. If we do not discriminate, we will inevitably reduce the likeliness of being successful in our endeavors, including our effort to achieve happiness.

The ability to discriminate is the ability to choose. The opportunity to choose is the essence of freedom. This posture coincides with the term Adam Smith coined: The Invisible Hand of the Free Market System.

The economic non-structure of the Free Market System has evolved as the supreme economic system of the world because it complies with the evolutionary nature of man, including his need to discriminate. Only bureaucrats can afford not to discriminate because they are not part of the free market system; they are part of the government monopoly.

 

Intelligence and Happiness

If we desire to enhance our ability to achieve happiness, we need to rely on our intelligence, our rational mind, to help us understand how life really works. It is inefficient and unworthy of our intellect to hope that, somehow, we may bump into happiness just by aimlessly running around in circles.

We have to use our intelligence and our acquired knowledge to find ore deposits and to mine them successfully. Only if we use our intelligence to understand the nature of happiness, will we have the opportunity to achieve happiness.

A clear understanding of the role intelligence plays in our lives, is an extremely important part our knowledge of how life works and thus, in our achievement of success and happiness.

 

Due to space limitations, sections in Red are accessible only in the Book or CD "How Life Really Works".

 

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