My last post mentioned IQ and I believe my inherent distrust of the subject peeked through. It’s an emotional subject not the least because some feel it attempts to measure the worth of a person. I view IQ tests as recreational toys. As with other toys it is best to only play with them. In all the years of IQ tests they have only been proven to sometimes correlate with how someone might do in future schooling. That’s it. That’s all IQ tests are good for.
So I think of IQ numbers as ‘kind of lies’. I’m not going to write a whole post damning IQ tests. Indeed there is lower hanging fruit in the IQ game. I am talking about the “science” of giving historical figures IQ rankings.
Every time I hear the opening of the network show Scorpion say that Einstein only had an IQ of 160, I want to smash the TV. I take that back. What I really want to do is smash the network that put this crap on the air. It is for one inviolate reason that I say this. Albert Einstein never wrote an IQ test.
What the psychology hacks behind this “stat” are doing is claiming that from the writings of these historical figures and what they accomplished in life we can attach an accurate number to their IQ. I don’t think this is a science at all. What I think this is is psychologists finding an area to use their biases on.
If a ranking by physicists of all the best physicists were to take place, I ‘d bet that Einstein would be in the top two. The two most dominant physicists of all time were Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. These two scientists had a huge effect on many areas of physics.
C’mon, its in the very culture around us. In this culture if you want to insult someone you can simply sarcastically call them “Einstein”. Yet Einstein gets ranked at 160. Newton I’ve heard gets a huge 190 rating. That is despite devoting a large chunk of his life to the pseudoscience of alchemy.
Although 160 is considered a high IQ, many in today’s culture get rankings above this. And all these people accomplish so little when compared to Einstein.
Yet those obscenely high IQ people remain slackers, lollygaggers, and ineffectuals. Almost none of them can come up with something of import like Einstein did over and over again.
The simplest explanation will say that Einstein had a higher intellect than psychologists are admitting. This idea of giving someone an IQ ranking without testing them seems to me to be a kind of lying on top of the kind of lying of the IQ test. So I just view the IQ tests of historical figures to be simply lies.