Responses to My High IQ Article

I posted my article criticizing an overvaluation on high IQ in some high IQ groups. I was just curious. I don't read all of the comments on my articles anymore because the internet seems to be a place for hostile interaction rather than discussion, and if I do read them I don't usually respond because no one seems to want to have a reasonable discussion online. But, I did a little bit this time, just to see what would happen. Here it is.

In the first few hours six people commented on my article in a Mensa group. Four people liked it and one person wowed it. Two of the commenters either deleted their comments or blocked me, which we'll get to in a minute. Two of the comments were good. Let's look at those first. (Note that I also posted this in the EPL High IQ Society, which I've found to be a more reasonable group, and received no interaction at all. My site stats say that 81 people have been on my site to see it so far.) Here's the article link too.

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N - I agreed with everything you said until you started insulting people. What group is this where people are frequently doxxed? I'm in a lot of Mensa groups, and I've never seen more than maybe one doxxing (not that I think any doxxing is justified).

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Her criticism about insulting anonymous Paul is fair enough. That was just my internal reaction to his comment. Maybe doxxing has died down in the Mensa groups, that would be good. Some of them were always good anyway, some of them weren't.

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M - Some of this reminds me of my first exposure to Taoism - The Tao of Pooh. This book helped shaped my values and how I think. It discusses the differences between wisdom and knowledge, which is kind of what I think you’re ultimately discussing here.

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This is interesting. I've never heard about this before. Just recently I was talking to a friend who has some success about whether I could turn the subjects that I write about on my blog into something more oriented towards worldly success. His recommendation was to connect it to something that is already popular. I already have articles on Harry Potter that dive into philosophy, so it's not hard to make the leap there. The author of this book did exactly that. Also, it's useful for the readers, as M points out.

There were little follow up replies on these comments, but they were nice and reasonable conversations, so not that exciting. Now, on to the attacks on the article. I'll give my replies here too.

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E - To the writer, Paul is a troll. Your not recognizing this calls your intelligence and your practical social skills into question.

Jeff - This is a great example. This person, E, thinks that by calling someone a name, Paul = troll, it completely dismisses anything they say. They move from a full human being to this other identity that doesn't require moral engagement. Albert Bandura talks about dehumanization as one of the eight ways of disengaging morality. But why do this? I'm not exactly sure. Because it's more comfortable than thinking about the statements, maybe. Who gets to choose who's a troll and who's not? E does. Notice that literally the same thing can be done here. My entire comment could be, "E is a troll." It would not be wrong. Then E tries to do an ad hominem / name-calling attack in a somewhat indirect manner. It's just a beautiful example of why high IQs aren't that impressive.

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E either blocked me or deleted the comment after my response. This is common if someone can't refute your argument. It's also a good thing to do if you can't have a reasonable discussion. I've had to block some people when they were threatening me and such. I usually give it a few weeks and then unblock them. I don't like having people blocked, and I prefer to be overly transparent. I have no one blocked on my Facebook right now, even the people that have threatened to kill me.

Paul gave no indication of speaking in an ironic or sarcastic manner in his comment in the original article. There is some use to ignoring what other people say and dismissing those you disagree with though. This isn't usually discussed, but it's important for getting things done. The next one was a little longer.

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D - Like yourself, I too get my insight into IQ's predictive value from blog posts that don't cite authoritative sources.

Jeff - Another good example. Rather than talk about any of the issues proposed in the article he tries to dismiss it in whole by using the argument from authority as criteria of truth. He tries to do it in a witty and clever way, so that's something. The proposal that my insights are from blog posts has no foundation, he's just trying to through criticism spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Another nice example of why a high IQ isn't that impressive. I'm guessing he'll probably delete his comment after this reply, like the others.

D - I base my assessment of the claims that g/IQ scores have high predictive value from authoritative sources. Neither the blog post, at top, nor your narcissistic response constitutes an authoritative source.
"IQ testing has been shown to have excellent test-retest reliability and to demonstrate various types of validity, including convergent and predictive validity. IQ strongly predicts learning ability.
Specifically, IQ scores predict complex job performance (Schmidt & Hunter, 2004)."
See also

Jeff - This is a beautiful example. There isn't a contradiction or refutation here. The guy is literally making proposals and citing sources that don't contradict anything in my article. IQ predicts learning, of course, it's pattern recognition ability. These are almost synonymous. IQ predicts complex job performance, of course, because complex job performance requires increased rates of pattern recognition. The guy doesn't seem to realize that he isn't disagreeing with me. It's so weird, but these types of conversations happen all the time in high IQ groups. It still astounds me.

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Here's the thing, all of the people in this group have an IQ that is at least in the top 2 percent, but it would be difficult to tell if you were just communicating with them. If they weren't in the group I would guess some as having a high IQ and others as having a low IQ. I would be wrong a lot. The people that you think are smart probably do have a high IQ, but some of the people that you think are stupid probably have a high IQ too. It's a weird phenomenon. And these are just a few quick examples.

I'm guessing that part of what is happening here is that people with high IQs often base part of their identity on their high IQ. I know that I did. And it seems like that is being attacked when I question the value of IQ, but I'm proposing more than that. I used to think of myself as an intelligent adventurer. Then, I lost both of those things. I lost my intelligence and my memory and I lost my physical health. I've regained many of those abilities again over the last few years, but that's highly unusual.

There's something important that I'm trying to point out here. A high IQ is good, but it's not everything. I would say that morality and meaning in life are more important than IQ. Some people would say that happiness is more important. Maybe, although I see happiness as an effect from engaging in meaningful activity. I would say that using IQ to acquire knowledge and knowledge to acquire wisdom is more important than happiness too.

There are different kinds of values. A high IQ can help you to create more because you can learn faster, but creative values are not everything. Experiential values and attitudinal values may be more important than creative values. The psychologist Viktor Frankl says that attitudinal values are the most important, and I tend to agree with him because they are the only value that can't be taken away.

On a long enough timeline we will all lose our physical health, our memories, and everything else that we have. This is a major problem and it doesn't get better by ignoring it. The stance that you take towards that is far more important than your IQ. It can be hard to change your identity from valuing something like IQ to something else, but by not doing it you are setting yourself up for an immense identity crisis in the future.

And here's the thing, your IQ doesn't really matter that much to you, because you can't really change it. There's just what you can do and what you can't do. If you can try something you can learn, if you can learn you can make progress, and if you can make progress you might succeed. Maybe you don't, maybe you fail, maybe that's because you weren't able to recognize the patterns that you needed to fast enough. So! You engaged with something of value, and by trying to change the world you were also transforming yourself. There is nothing more important than that.


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