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Highest IQ?

by Dooga Blackrazor
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Jul8-04, 10:14 PM
hitssquad's Avatar
P: 1,382
Quote Quote by selfAdjoint
There's a neat cartoon in this week's New Yorker. A long line of steps, with on the lowest some animal, and then an ape, and then a neanderthal, and finally a modern man, standing on the middle step visible, looking pensive. And the neanderthal says, "Ah! Now you notice how many steps are still ahead!".
  • If all that matters is producing a higher species, one a quantum leap beyond our own in terms of intelligence and scientific expertise, it should make no difference who they are, or what they are, or where they are. Cattell says we should liquidate our own species in favor of a higher one. If a higher species visited earth and needed our space, would he say we ought to conspire in our own demise? There would be no biological continuity between humanity and them, but surely that is morally irrelevant. They would have done us the favor of providing a short cut to our goal: we could make way for them now rather than wait thousands of years to evolve into something like them. Ethics aside, it is hard to see why biological continuity between our species and another species should have any psychological appeal. Cattell hopes that the next ten thousand years will produce a dozen species so far removed from one another, and from ourselves, that they cannot mate successfully. We must face up to how different these creatures would be from ourselves. As Cattell himself remarks, the gap would be at least as great as between ourselves and a chimpanzee. Olaf Stapledon (1968) in his novel Last and First Men, written in 1931, confronts us with seventeen successor species evolving over two billion years: giants with fused toes, short-lived creatures without humor, big-brained creatures with vestigial bodies and without any emotion we would consider normal, creatures with life expectancies of 250,000 years, and so forth. No matter where they came from, outer space or terrestrial evolution, does anyone really want to sacrifice themselves to creatures of this sort? It is one thing to be kind to species at our mercy, another to be morally obliged to put ourselves at the mercy of an alien species.

    If we must maximize intelligence, there is the option of creating artificial intelligence. Here there would be no biological substratum at all, but again that seems irrelevant, unless Cattell makes the fatal concession that he feels no psychological tie with inorganic entities. At least with them, we could minimize the risk to ourselves by following Isaac Asimov's laws and building into our creations an inhibition against taking human life. I present this option not so much as a realistic possibility but rather to pose the question of how much we would be willing to sacrifice for intelligence, assuming a total absence of psychological rapport with whatever is intelligent. Then there is the likelihood that our experiment with intelligence is not unique, that countless planets have already populated the universe with higher intelligences. Cattell grants this possibility but offers a rebuttal: Why have we not received any communications from outer space? Perhaps all other intelligent species have made the Hedonic Pact: they may have been too weak to do their duty and traded away evolutionary and technological progress for universal cooperation and happiness. So our species may offer the universe its last chance. One must weigh the probability of Cattell's explanation against a certainty: the ten thousand years of suffering dictated by choosing his path. However, it is far more important to note what he has conceded: the obligation he wishes to impose is falsifiable. The first communication received from a higher species (the very fact that we receive it will almost certainly betray the presence of a higher species) will relieve us of our burden.
(James R. Flynn. How to Defend Humane Ideals: Substitutes for Objectivity. pp122-124.)
Jul10-04, 06:27 PM
hitssquad's Avatar
P: 1,382
Quote Quote by selfAdjoint
the folks I call the "tabula rasists" - including Gould and Lewontine but also a lot of vaguely leftist journalists - have for decades tried to tell the public that the good science is bad science, that the people who do it are in the line of the bad old eugenicists, and so on.
  • In sociology, the thin ranks of able researchers, hemmed between armchair, philosophical sociologist colleagues on the one hand, and short-sighted do-gooders with the scientific standards of social workers on the other, can advance but slowly. For the last fifty years it has shown a notorious bias against accepting the findings of behavior genetics and has tried to build a science of group behavior on a _tabula rasa_ theory of the human mind, which was discredited soon after John Locke proposed it two centuries ago.
Raymond B. Cattell. A New Morality from Science. Chapter 2.9.
Jul12-04, 02:16 PM
P: 16
In sociology, the thin ranks of able researchers, hemmed between armchair, philosophical sociologist colleagues on the one hand, and short-sighted do-gooders with the scientific standards of social workers on the other, can advance but slowly. For the last fifty years it has shown a notorious bias against accepting the findings of behavior genetics and has tried to build a science of group behavior on a _tabula rasa_ theory of the human mind, which was discredited soon after John Locke proposed it two centuries ago.
Raymond B. Cattell. A New Morality from Science. Chapter 2.9.

Hmm, apparently Cattell possessed a unique dictionary in which "discredited" was defined as "among the most influential ideas of all time." Of course, whether an idea is given "credit" by others has no direct relationship to the validity of that idea. Locke probably was wrong about the "tabula rasa," but his idea was certainly not "discredited"--among other things, it was the basis of the American education system in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. See Gillian Brown, The Consent of the Governed: The Lockean Legacy in Early American Culture. (Harvard University Press). Despite what you might think based on the title, the book focuses more on Locke's theories of mind than on his social contract theory. Is it ironic that Cattell derides Locke, when Locke was one of the first proponents of empiricism in the study of human beings, which is the basis of modern social sciences such as psychology? I always have trouble figureing out what qualifies as real irony.

It's also funny, and perhaps ironic, that Cattell would bash others for being "armchair, philosophical sociologists," since his own career demonstrates how an otherwise intelligent person can become so infatuated with a set of clever but absurd ideas that he gradually drifts away from reality. He would have made a good science fiction writer. His weird ideas about the future "evolution" of the human species seem similar to Samuel R. Delaney's stuff, though of course since Cattell was a racist if he had written any novels they wouldn't have been very enjoyable to read.
Sep3-04, 05:21 AM
hitssquad's Avatar
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Quote Quote by BlackVision
This site is using a standard deviation of 15. The most common standard deviation is 16.
Paul Cooijmans has recently presented (2003) a concise argument for adopting a standard deviation of 15 (a caviat is that Cooijmans is directing his comments to readers concerned about SD values used by ultra-high-IQ societies):

  • Reasons to Express IQ with a Standard Deviation of 15

    Paul Cooijmans, 2003

    Scores on high-range IQ tests are mostly reported on a scale with a standard deviation (SD) of 16. This is inspired by the Stanford-Binet, a childhood test. I see however a number of reasons to prefer a scale with an SD of 15, similar to the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS):

  • High-range tests are mostly taken by adults, and in any case report scores according to adult norms. This fits in better with the convention of the WAIS - a test for adult intelligence - to use a 15 SD.
  • In scientific and other literature on intelligence, IQ is almost always expressed on a scale with an SD of 15, except where one is explicitly talking about childhood scores on the Stanford-Binet.
  • A 15-scale gives lower numbers, which is good to counteract possible high-IQ snobism and inflation of high IQ numbers.
  • With a 15-scale you avoid the eternal confusion of mental/chronological age ratio IQ and deviation IQ that you have with the Stanford-Binet/16 SD scale.

    To further explain the last point: originally the Stanford-Binet IQs were obtained by dividing the subject's mental age by the subject's chronological age and multiplying by 100. These ratio IQs had a standard deviation of about 12 in the first version of the test, and in later versions went up to about 16. The distribution however was not "normal"; in the "gifted" range scores were far overpresent. Studies of the distribution of these scores have shown that for instance a ratio IQ of 160 only corresponds to about 150 in a normal distribution with SD = 16, and IQ 170 corresponds to about 156 in a true normal distribution. The latest version of the Stanford-Binet, Revision IV of 1986, has dropped the concept of mental age, and expresses the IQs directly on a scale with SD = 16 (such IQs are called "deviation IQs"). As a result, IQs in the "gifted" range are markedly lower than in the past.

    As the general public is mostly not well informed in these matters, there is much confusion of ratio IQs and deviation IQs in popular talk about IQ. Astronomic ratio IQs are often quoted in relation to famous persons, without realization that these cannot be compared to adult deviation IQs. There are in fact even quite a few "high-IQ" societies who accept Stanford-Binet scores by the same norm as deviation scores, apparently not realizing they are thus selecting far below their intended level.

    The WAIS has from the start only used deviation IQs, so there is never confusion with ratio IQs and overpresence of high scores. If high-range tests are supposed to extend the range of regular tests upward, the 15-scale is the most appropriate.
Sep3-04, 07:41 AM
P: 424
LOL. Hitssquad you're still on this? I retract my previous "most common standard deviation is 16" statement. SD16 however is still very common even if not most.
Sep5-04, 08:10 AM
P: 15
My IQ changes every time i take the test, it depends how i feel that day, lol, i think ill just take an average and stick with that.
Sep5-04, 12:21 PM
P: 199
Quote Quote by hitssquad
Mensa seems to be set up to strike a happy medium between exclusivity and inclusivity. Mensa may not be meant to be purely exclusive. There are other high-IQ societies that cater to exclusivity, and the fact that a sizable proportion of persons who qualify for those other societies join Mensa also or instead evidences the value of inclusivity.
There are some plusses to Mensa, mostly with respect to their size. The more exclusive societies are, IMO, more attractive to those who meet the entrance requirements, but of those who do, most also belong to Mensa.

Some years ago, there was an interview with Dr. Ware in the Mensa Bulletin. He explained how the entrance requirement happened. When the group was formed, they used a self-administered test, that was distributed by mail. The intent was to screen at the top 1%. After some time, they came to realize that the acceptable score that had been used was actually screening at about the 98th percentile. Instead of revising the testing to establish the intended 99th percentile, they just changed the entrance requirement.
Sep5-04, 12:25 PM
P: 199
Quote Quote by Tasthius
Speaking of the "higher IQ societies" (those more exclusive than Mensa), here is an interesting history done by a fellow who knows more than one of the prominent members of the community: Highly suggested for entertainment value.

A Short and Bloody History of the High IQ Societies
Anyone who reads this should look for and enjoy the discussion of the Cleo Society! This thing was a masterpiece created by a master creator of such spoofs. It may not be as funny to some, but I know the people involved and find the thing to be hilarious.
Sep5-04, 12:55 PM
P: 199
Quote Quote by Tasthius
Type this name into Google: Christopher Michael Langan. He is a 40-something year old bar bouncer who has only made $6K a year for most of his adult life. He was featured on 20/20 and was subsequently administered a supervised IQ test by a psychologist that was hired by 20/20. Afterward, the shrink reported that it was the "highest score he had ever seen in his professional career," and estimated Langan's IQ to be somewhere near 190 (S.D. 16)"
Chris is off the charts, but unfortunately had life situations that prevented him from obtaining a formal education. His skill with language is truly impressive.

This would make Langan a little smarter than Marilyn Savant. One must remember that Savant's score of 228 was a ratio score, not a deviation score.
And for that reason the score often quoted is meaningless.

Esquire magazine did an article on Langan, his gifted girlfriend, Dr. Hoeflin, and a couple of other members of the "Mega Society." Interesting and eccentric characters indeed.
The November 1999 article discussed 4 people: Langan, Dr. Gina LoSasso, Steve Schuessler, and Dr. Ron Hoeflin.

For those who have access to Gift of Fire (Prometheus Society Journal), the current issue (150) has an article titled: "The Nature of the Ego" by Dave Garrett, that has some discussion (and a picture) of Chris.

How many know that Mensa has one of the lowest cut-offs of any such club?
What happened to High Five and Camelopard?

P.S., the next time you go to your favorite local bar, just remember that the bouncer in the corner may just be manipulating equations for M-theory in his head.
Yes, that may be true, but the bouncer is not going to be Chris. He and Gina bought a farm out West. If he is bouncing anything, it is more likely to be cows.

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