On Measured IQ vs Demonstrated Intelligence



Demonstrated intelligence is a subject I work quite hard on so I think I might try to change your mind a bit, by at the very least giving you a different framework and language for approaching it.


I think I understand the difference between DEMONSTRATED intelligence, and the aggregate and commensurable MEASURE of our various intelligences, as well as anyone else. The reason being that it’s not very difficult to understand: the aggregation of the verbal(experiential)-spatial(temporal) measures is so predictive of life achievement that all other measures are all but insignificant.

So for the purposes that we use these measures (the cost of training the individual increasingly abstractly-perceptible skills) they are possibly as good a measure as we we are ever to get, and likely more precise than is relevant. It may in fact be better to reduce IQ to standard deviation from the magic ‘cliff’ of 106, where we begin to be able to articulate ideas and repair machines, since at every six to seven points, individuals display perceptible differences in ability and greater resolution in that measure is just noise. At every fifteen they display substantial differences in abilities allowing them access to different occupations, and at every 30 points of difference individuals begin to have difficulty communicating with on another in similar terms.


We also understand a great deal about variations in personality and moral instinct.

The research into the evolutionary origins of our moral intuitions (versus our learned norms) has progressed rapidly thanks to the conversion of the discipline of philosophy from a subjective pseudoscience measured against an ideal norm (freud), to an operationalist (observable) science measured against the requirements of evolutionary biology.

For the same reason our understanding of personality is shifting greatly. And while the five factor analysis is highly predictive given it’s (pseudoscientific authoritarian feminist freudian) origins, the term ‘neurotic’ should probably be homogenized with the sciences as ‘impulsivity’, the Autistic-Solipsistic spectrum, verbal IQ and Spatial IQ and Gender should be added to those measures. And the remaining four should be reframed as reproductive strategies.

The current error in personality analysis is the attempt to separate out empathy as a separate form of intelligence, rather than describe the influence that the feminine/solipsistic<–empathic–>autistic/masculine spectrum imposes upon verbal and spatial intelligence.

If done, then morality and personality, gender and reproductive strategy would be rendered commensurable. (The unfortunate long term impact of Cantorian, Marxist, Misesian, Boazian and Freudian pseudoscience remains with us and prevents us from unifying what appear to be different fields of inquiry, but that are identical if we reduce them to first principles: genetic expression of our evolutionary biology – a record of our evolution of the intuitions of cooperation which perform in an uncomfortable equilibrium with our self interest: reproductive strategy.

There is a reason the socialists suppressed darwin as heavily as the fundamentalists.) As an aside, we also know what properties make an individual desirable and undesirable as a mate (symmetry, skin, height, etc). And if we were to roughly measure those every seven years we would find that reproductive desirability, personality, cognitive abilities, morality, reproductive strategy would remain in parallel except at the margins. But this borders on ‘too much information’ since few of us want to face such facts.


1) —“a person may be of high intelligence and not have a high IQ score”—

Hmmm…, a person may DEMONSTRATE more intelligent thinking and action than someone with a higher IQ. This is true. But it does not tell us why he demonstrates it. Even though the reason WHY is quite simple: Demonstrated intelligence is largely a factor of general knowledge of the subject and its application with limited error. While IQ is determined only by the rate of pattern recognition. Now it so happens that people who recognize patterns more rapidly tend to make fewer errors, and to accumulate new information with less error.

But say, if one has a high incidence of impulsivity (Neuroticism) this will not be the case. His energies (and time) will be spent in justifications of his impulses, not in acquisitions of useful information). So, for example, Dr Higgs (of the higgs-boson particle) has argued that he would not obtain a professorship today because he works slowly and is unproductive. This does not prohibit him from genius. It merely means that he is disciplined and methodical. (I am of the same temperament, I would never find a dissertation committee that would tolerate my rate of production which like Spinoza will have taken many many years on a very risky hypothesis.)

In fact, most Nobel Prize winners are not actually of exceptional intelligence (merely in the 140’s) – which seems to indicate that the value of IQ declines in utility at some point (all measurements are questionable above 140 really). If for no other reason than it is difficult to find people to work with and communicate with, but most likely because somewhere above that range, the improvement is caused by a corresponding limitation.

Demonstrated intelligence consists of the following criteria:
i) IQ (rate of pattern recognition)
ii) Short term memory (necessary for mathematicians and chess players)
iii) General knowledge (reading a lot on a lot of subjects generally makes you smarter)
iv) Method of inquiry consisting of inputs ( allegory, parable, history, measurement) and methods ( free association, mysticism, reason, rationalism(justification), science(criticism).
v) Wants: Impossible Wants, Impossible Beliefs, Metaphysical Errors, and Erroneous Assumptions
vi) Lack of impulsivity: Discipline, and Time (great ideas are achieved by focused work over very long periods – often approaching a decade or more)

The greater evolutionary problem appears to be that exceptional intelligence is genetically caused by possessing fewer negative alleles rather than any special allele. Just as evolution is a process of surviving. Just as epistemology is a process of eliminating error from free associations leaving only truth candidates.

Most of the time, and we can go through almost every thinker in history, great or small, the reason for failure is not intelligence or short term memory, or even impulsivity, but impulsivity, wants, and method. It is rarely intelligence. The failure of intelligence is one in which we observe that the individual does not identify patterns extant in the knowledge available. We do not fault Aristote for his failed innovations. We fault marx for continuing to take money from Engels once he had discovered that the marginalists and proved him wrong, and that all his work and fame was fallacy. He stopped writing. Did nothing. Continued taking his income from Engels until he died. A simple ‘capitalist’ motivation kept him from admitting his errors.


So I think that we understand demonstrated intelligence enough to say that one can demonstrate intelligence in any sphere in which one can master the subject matter, apply scientific reasoning (criticism), insulate one’s study and practice from error, bias, wishful thinking, and deceit (including self deception), and spend sufficient time on the subject that others cannot.

Some of us cannot even master ourselves. Some of us can barely master simple duties. Some of us can do it only through imitation of others. Some of us can do it only with experiential subjects. Some of us can do it with abstract subjects. Some of us can do it with purely theoretical subjects. And some of us can do MANY OF THESE AT ONCE. In fact, Polymathy and theoretical polymathy are probably the best test of demonstrated intelligence because polymathy demonstrates both rate of acquisition AND limited error in acquisition, and theoretical polymathy demonstrates that the individual can add a original insight (Hayek says he had two) to human knowledge.


2) –“…on the nature of scientific thinking as it should be..” —

This paragraph is reducible to the statement: demonstrable intelligence requires the construction of a model that corresponds to the extant reality, and survives attempts to falsify it.

What you don’t mention, and which will conflict with your own mode of inquiry, is that such scientific thinking requires that the model be sufficiently complete that one need not appeal to introspection for the evaluation of results. This is where I generally see you get into trouble with your own work. Any model that requires introspection rather than correspondence by definition lacks sufficient information and means of decidability such that one can claim one’s observation or testimony to be free of error, bias, wishful thinking and deceit.

Now, if by some chance your intuition corresponds to reality (and in many cases yours does) then this correspondence can be used to provide comfort to your priors, but may cause you error in bias in matters wherein you rely upon introspection rather than correspondence independent of introspection (decidability).

(But I am struck with the question of why you feel the need to retain your expertise in introspection? Why do you seek to justify it? When we know that this introspection merely results in confirmation bias?)

Man: need to persist. need to acquire, need to cooperate as a disproportionately rewarding means of acquisition. need to reproduce. need to cooperate as a disproportionately rewarding means of reproduction. need to defend kin. need to cooperate as a disproportionately rewarding means of defending kin. need to produce cooperate to produce common assets since cooperation on commons is disproportionately rewarding compared to individual production. To act one must engage in perception, intuition, awareness, searching, reasoning, remembering, deciding, acting. But all that complexity is reducible to we must act to acquire, and cooperation that is non-parasitic (imposes no costs on others) is disproportionately productive.


3) –“understanding is not quantitative but qualitative” —

This statement demonstrates confusion between means of measurement rather than epistemological differences.

Understanding : general rules or general principles (of arbitrary precision) one uses for categorization, properties, methods and relations for some subsequent action – even if that subsequent action is merely consequent understanding.

Qualitative relations: the ability to stack relative to one another even if we cannot articulate the reason for stacking, and even if stacking is merely a preference.


Quantitative Measurements: the ability to define relations against a constant. These two forms of measurement serve two purposes. That is all.

So when you say ‘understanding’ you mean that any rule of general utility must be constructed with arbitrary precision equal to the context of application. (That’s a mouthful, I know. So we need examples.)

For example, I understand how to bake, but I bake a cake and bread differently by using recipes. Baking is a level of precision useful only for communication with others, while a recipe is necessary for the baking of a cake or bread. But, yet, it is not necessary that I understand the chemical transitions that occur during the process of preparation and baking and cooling in order for me to bake a cake.

So while in casual conversation we may use these terms loosely: baking, baking a cake, and the chemical transformations that occur through the combination of substances and the application of heat; each of these is a level of precision, just like predicting the trajectory of a ball you throw by commons intuition, firing a projectile using newtonian physics, or explaining the evolution of the universe using quantum mechanics – if we wish to reason from them, we must use that level of precision that we need for such reasoning – else we are just making excuses and calling them reasons: justification.

So ‘understanding’ requires general rules that help us evaluate explore and hypothesize within some useful context (arbitrary precision), not recipes that allow us to construct individual instances, nor too general to allow us to decide between actions in that context.

I understand the basics of carpentry but I am not capable of deducing the construction of a modern home from that. Most economists specialize in some field of inquiry but since the rules of economic specialties are interesting for their counter-intuitiveness, economists cannot generalize – which is why large groups of economists are non-predictive: at any given point only a few people possess the specialized knowledge to understand a current model. Meaning that the Dunning Kruger Effect is always with us – maybe more so for smart people.


I follow you. Don’t comment often. I like the Christian loading. Not crazy about method of doing it. I tend to just get to the central proposition of Christianity: extension of kinship love to non-kin as a means of increasing trust, increasing the velocity of cooperation, economic velocity, rate of innovation, and prosperity. We will never have a restoration without another dark age.  So we must take from christianity the truth, and launder the error, bias, wishful thinking and (rather plentiful) deception from it.

Love, Truth, and Commons, are Enough.

Curt Doolittle
The Philosophy of Aristocracy
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

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