Where do you stand on intelligence enhancing drugs?

In summary, I think it would be hard to take part in the market for intelligence enhancing drugs because the value of being intelligent would change depending on the perspective. Some people may see it as a disgusting and pointless practice, while others may see it as a fantastic opportunity to level the playing field and become even more productive.
  • #1
disregardthat
Science Advisor
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First of all, I know the rules about discussions of drugs, but I am not talking about illegal drugs here.

I've read some articles about intelligence enhancing drugs, and it got me thinking. I had very strong opinions on either side of this case, and that surprised me.
Let's say that the market opened for effective intelligence enhancing drugsm, would you take it? From one perspective you could think of it to totally unethical, and that the property of being intelligent has gone from being some respectful and highly admirable, to something that depends on how much drugs you take. Think about it! It's a disgusting thought. If the practice and training excessively is futile in some science, and that you would achieve the same results from taking drugs, how, and in what way would we take part of it. Intelligenet people, mostly, have very strong ethical bounderies, and I don't see it very impossible that many would choose not to take any kind of drugs. Other people, that may not have that boundary, may choose to take the drug, and then be on the same level as the others who have chosen not to. The values will totally change, and I find that repulsive.

But let's look at it in another way. If many people decided to take these drugs, and to specialize in some field, to succeed and being on the level of the top researchers nowadays, wouldn't that be fantastic. If genious minds would start to produce in every field we would have a enormous rise in technology. This would of course be fantastic, but I find it hard to take any side of this.

This is only what I had laying on my mind for the minute, but I have been thinking a lot about it. I cannot help but admit that we live in a time where this is not happening, at least not in the way I was describing.

So, I'm interested in knowing what you think about it, and how you would take part of it.
 
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  • #2
Theres a difference between intelligence and knowledge. a person that takes an intelligence enhancing drug isn't going to immediately compete with the top researchers, since those researchers have vastly more knowledge. this is quite a common misconception even among the brightest of us if one is to believe that Chris Langan has the highest IQ.

Of course it depends how the drugs work as well. If everyone levelled off at a certain level then that would be very different to a drug that worked linearly and that would be different to one that worked exponentially.

Personally I don't really know. Intelligence doesn't equate to productivity, so the world you've envisioned probably wouldn't materialise.
 
  • #3
Yeah, I know the difference between intelligence and knowledge, but I also know that an intelligent person would grasp concepts, and absorb knowledge in a much faster, and perhaps better way than another person without the same level of intelligence. Bear with the on the definition of my terms though.

I have no belief in IQ, in the purpose of measuring intelligence. The IQ value only shows how good you do on an IQ test. I have a friend who is scoring up to 145 on IQ tests, and (by all due respect) he is not as clever as the IQ would predict.

I didn't mean to make it like I meant that intelligence equate productivity, but I know, and you can't argue, that there is a link between the two, and the intelligent person has much larger ambitions to produce than a person of lesser intelligence.

I am not talking about a drug that slightly increase you creative and intelligent capasity, but the raise the whole scene to a new perspective. This is only a hypothetical drug of course, but I don't see the impossibility that the drug some day might see the morning light
 
  • #4
So what is your measure of intelligence then? I think before you start having a hypothetical discussion you should define that explicitly.
 
  • #5
I'm not a dictionary, so I can't give a good definition of it. Perhaps "Ability to absorb and apply knowledge and ideas in original and creative ways". I don't know, it may have many flaws..
 
  • #6
Jarle said:
I've read some articles about intelligence enhancing drugs, and it got me thinking. I had very strong opinions on either side of this case, and that surprised me.
Let's say that the market opened for effective intelligence enhancing drugsm, would you take it?
I bolded the part that made me laugh. I'll explain at the end.


First of all, What is intelligence? IQ tests, not those stupid internet ones, are a measure of your logic and spatial reasoning. A higher IQ will generally mean someone is more capable of doing math, physics, engineering, or something else that has very explicit logical instructions. People with a low IQ might be fun, interesting, and artistic, but they'll still suck at math.

Next question is: what causes intelligence? It might be shocking to know that scientists do have some understanding as to what affects intelligence and memory.

Dopamine
Dopamine is your personality, your attitude, and how you interpret data. It controls your cognitive thinking. Dopamine is who you are, and that's what makes it fun to play with. Dopamine plays a key role in imaginative thought, which is useful when thinking of ideas (genius), or when you're convinced the devil is trying to kill you (schizophrenia). Children who have ADD are given amphetamine as a treatment because amphetamine works to increase dopamine activity, and it really does improve their ability to do schoolwork and pay attention. Dopamine makes you smarter.

All/most performance enhancing drugs work either directly or indirectly on dopamine. The most widely consumed is caffeine, which is consumed by something like 90% of Americans on a daily basis. Caffeine is an adenosine inhibitor. Blocking adenosine causes an increase in dopamine activity, and this is why coffee makes you more alert, faster, and more intelligent.

Anyone who says they are against intelligence enhancing drugs is a liar. This is why I laughed at the bolded part.

Intelligenet people, mostly, have very strong ethical bounderies, and I don't see it very impossible that many would choose not to take any kind of drugs. Other people, that may not have that boundary, may choose to take the drug, and then be on the same level as the others who have chosen not to. The values will totally change, and I find that repulsive.
My friend showers all the time and uses toilet paper but I like to go weeks without bathing and I don't wipe. Why does he get more dates than me? This is so not fair that his choices affect the outcome!
 
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  • #7
My brain can bench 250! Rrrargh! Some mornings it's tough to put my glasses on, my head has bulked up so much. Sometimes it wrestles my stomach. My stomach usually wins, though.

I wonder if there are stupidity-enhancing drugs? I hope I haven't taken any of them.
 
  • #8
CaptainQuasar said:
My brain can bench 250! Rrrargh! Some mornings it's tough to put my glasses on, my head has bulked up so much. Sometimes it wrestles my stomach. My stomach usually wins, though.

I wonder if there are stupidity-enhancing drugs? I hope I haven't taken any of them.

Alcohol?
 
  • #9
ShawnD said:
Alcohol?

Oh, I know what you mean. Sometimes after I drink a lot it's like I've got mental superpowers of stupidity.
 
  • #10
I think that's why others are asking him to define what he means by "intelligence enhancing." That could mean anything from a completely fictitious "smart pill" that suddenly makes your head full of knowledge to something as simple as a drug to improve alertness or attention, which improve your ability to learn, and which already exist (i.e., Ritalin).

The issue that really influences whether something would be used widely or not is what are the side effects? If someone who is a talented artist, but not great with academic stuff, takes the pill and finds their creativity is stifled (common complaint of people prescribed Ritalin), that may not be acceptable to them. Likewise, if you're going to develop cancer, heart disease, die younger, etc., the risk:benefit ratio is too high (this is the problem with the performance enhancing drugs abused by athletes).
 
  • #11
I really didn't want this to become a discussion of definitions, and you have interpreted the way I hoped.

I think that's why others are asking him to define what he means by "intelligence enhancing." That could mean anything from a completely fictitious "smart pill" that suddenly makes your head full of knowledge to something as simple as a drug to improve alertness or attention, which improve your ability to learn, and which already exist (i.e., Ritalin).
Of course I am not talking about a pill that would directly make you more knowledgeable, which is irrational, but rather the kind of pill, drug or whatever that gives you the attributes I have described before.

Dopamine
Dopamine is your personality, your attitude, and how you interpret data. It controls your cognitive thinking. Dopamine is who you are, and that's what makes it fun to play with. Dopamine plays a key role in imaginative thought, which is useful when thinking of ideas (genius), or when you're convinced the devil is trying to kill you (schizophrenia). Children who have ADD are given amphetamine as a treatment because amphetamine works to increase dopamine activity, and it really does improve their ability to do schoolwork and pay attention. Dopamine makes you smarter.
A perfect example. Consider a drug that might one day be created, which works in a similar way as dopamine, have no side-effects, and "works" linearly. Meaning that the more you take, the smarter you get. A argument against such a drug would be; How on Earth would we estimate someones ability after performance in a test? The person may score way over than he usually do after taking loads of such a drug. Before every exam you would see people popping pills, injecting drugs into them to get top score on a test such as math or physics, which require more mental skills than any subject.

Anyone who says they are against intelligence enhancing drugs is a liar. This is why I laughed at the bolded part.
I consider the argument above a good reason to be against intelligence enhancing drugs. I'm not a liar, but I keep tilting back and forth from both sides.

My friend showers all the time and uses toilet paper but I like to go weeks without bathing and I don't wipe. Why does he get more dates than me? This is so not fair that his choices affect the outcome!
I fail to what this has to do with ethical boundaries :P
 
  • #12
Jarle said:
I fail to what this has to do with ethical boundaries :P

My point was that you can't cry fowl when your outcome is a direct result of the choices you make. You said it would not be fair for a person taking a drug to have better test scores than someone not taking a drug, so I used that same logic to state that it's unfair how someone bathing properly would have better dating opportunities than someone who smells like feces. You could use that same reasoning to state that people not studying should get the same test scores as people who study their asses off. Even more on-topic would be to say it's unfair that stoners get lower test scores than non-stoners.

If you are the one making the choices, good or bad, you are the only one who can be blamed for the outcome
 
  • #13
A person who bathe himself make an effort in doing so, and reap the harvest.
A person who doesn't wash himself does not make any effort, and gets little.

A person who study long and excessively make an effort in doing so, and reap the harvest.
A person who doesn't study much(but take drugs), does not make any effort, and reap the harvest.

Not comparable IMO.

Choices can be made, and my opinion is:
whether they are ethical and morally justifiable is the question, and you shall not base your choices purely on the outcome of them.
 
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  • #14
Jarle said:
A person who study long and excessively make an effort in doing so, and reap the harvest.
A person who doesn't study much(but take drugs), does not make any effort, and reap the harvest.

But what about the person who studies hard and takes the drug?
 
  • #15
He would of course gain more from it.
 
  • #16
Jarle said:
A person who bathe himself make an effort in doing so, and reap the harvest.
A person who doesn't wash himself does not make any effort, and gets little.

A person who study long and excessively make an effort in doing so, and reap the harvest.
A person who doesn't study much(but take drugs), does not make any effort, and reap the harvest.

Not comparable IMO.

Some people just like to take better care of themselves, and they deserve to be rewarded for it. Saying somebody who takes drugs does not deserve the resulting good grade is like saying people who don't eat at McDonalds should still become obese.

If you take care of yourself, you will be rewarded.
Or if you're religious, taking care of god's creation gives the benefit of god's rewards. Damn I should have been a minister.
 
  • #17

Related to Where do you stand on intelligence enhancing drugs?

1. What are intelligence enhancing drugs?

Intelligence enhancing drugs, also known as nootropics or smart drugs, are substances or supplements that are believed to improve cognitive function, memory, focus, and overall mental performance.

2. How do intelligence enhancing drugs work?

The exact mechanisms by which intelligence enhancing drugs work are still not fully understood. However, it is believed that these drugs can increase the production of neurotransmitters, enhance brain cell metabolism, and improve blood flow to the brain, all of which can lead to improved cognitive function.

3. Are intelligence enhancing drugs safe to use?

While some intelligence enhancing drugs have been approved by the FDA for medical use, many are not regulated and their long-term effects are not fully known. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using these drugs and to carefully follow dosage instructions.

4. Who can benefit from using intelligence enhancing drugs?

Intelligence enhancing drugs may be beneficial for individuals who have cognitive deficits or disorders, such as ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, or traumatic brain injury. They may also be used by healthy individuals looking to boost their mental performance, but the efficacy of these drugs for this purpose is still being studied.

5. What are some common side effects of intelligence enhancing drugs?

Side effects of intelligence enhancing drugs may include headaches, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and changes in blood pressure. It is important to carefully monitor the use of these drugs and discontinue use if any adverse effects occur.

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