The Instigator
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
Maven
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Intelligence is overrated

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,559 times Debate No: 15611
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)

 

RoyLatham

Pro

What attributes do you want in a person as a friend, neighbor, or leader? The press, intellectuals in academia, and budding students place a higher value on intelligence than is warranted because IQ is important to them. The result is that society as a whole overvalues intelligence relative to other human characteristics. Character, principles, knowledge, and intellectual attributes other than intelligence are as important, and collectively they are more important. Society should change its thinking.

Definition


Intelligence is the ability to score well on IQ tests. That definition seems to avoid the fundamental question of what intelligence really is, but in fact it defines intelligence quite precisely. In science, “time” is defined by how clocks measure it. Special relativity, for example, relies upon concepts of clocks being synchronized and moved around at different relative speeds. The principle in science is operationalism. http://plato.stanford.edu... Intelligence is operationally defined by IQ tests.

IQ tests were pioneered by Harvard in the '30s as a means of identifying students who were likely to do well in school. The Scholastic Aptitude Tests were originally IQ tests. The principle was to identify students who had the potential for academic success even if their high schools were poor at fulfilling that potential. In the early 90s, SAT departed from that principle. This explains why those in academia value IQ highly. it is fundamental to success in academia.

Intelligence is not knowledge. The ability to learn does not guarantee that a person will learn or that a person will be taught correctly. Intelligence can be a limiting factor, and intelligence is important. Certainly one must have some intelligence, but so must a person have some character, principles, and knowledge.

1. Human characteristics beside intelligence are critical

There are other human attributes that compete with intelligence as useful and admirable characteristics. Among them are:

1.1 Character includes honesty, kindness, persistence, optimism, courage, cheerfulness, motivation, flexibility, foresight, and the willingness to work hard.

1.2 Principles. Principles are a person's set of core beliefs, regardless of whether the origins of those beliefs are soundly derived or not. Principles include political ideology (e.g. conservatism, liberalism, etc.), beliefs about nature (validity of natural laws, the scientific method), and religion. One need not know how gravity works to have a belief that it is reliable.

1.3 Knowledge. Knowledge comprises facts learned from school, by independent study, or by personal experience. A super-genius who happens to be born in a remote valley of New Guinea can be proved by culture-independent tests to have a very high IQ, but her broad knowledge of how the world works is likely to be surpassed by an average college student. Knowledge includes skills, like how to repair cars or build things. Some important skills of how to manage and how to invest are not well-taught by schools.

1.4 Intellectual attributes other than intelligence.
One of the key attributes for being a good President or a good manager is the ability to work successfully with large amounts of conflicting opinions and confusing data. There is also problem solving ability, emotional maturity, and artistic ability.

2. Intelligence is only 20% of success.

“A Canadian television program recently tracked down some of the people with the highest IQ scores in North America. One man who has an extremely high genius IQ works as a motorcycle mechanic, hangs out with biker gangs, and is frequently in and out of jail. … Another man interviewed on the program has the highest IQ recorded in North America. He has worked as a bouncer in a bar for ten years, earns minimum wage, and lives in a tiny garage. Clearly, a high IQ is not enough to guarantee success in life.” http://iq-test.learninginfo.org...

Probably the most intelligent politician of modern times was John Sununu, the New Hampshire governor and Bush Sr. chief of Staff. http://en.wikipedia.org... Sununu received an engineering PhD from M.I.T. and was tests showed an IQ of 180. http://www.eskimo.com... Sununu was a whole lot smarter than the Senators he dealt with as chief of Staff, and unfortunately had no problem telling them so.

Our most intelligent president was probably Jimmy Carter, with an IQ score of 176. Carter was one of our worst presidents, noted for micromanaging and ideological stubbornness.

I cite two high IQ politicians, one conservative and one liberal, with confidence no one will proclaim them both great leaders.

There are various measures of success. In the scientific world, we can count published papers. In politics we can, with some trepidation, rely upon the judgment of history, in the perspective of sufficient time. Business people can be judged on their business success. Various measures of success correlate with IQ, but only up to IQ scores of about 130. Remarkable IQ scores start at 130.

“In [his] book, Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman points out that IQ only accounts for about 20% of a persons success. The balance - by far the majority of a person's success is attributable to social and emotional intelligence.” http://hubpages.com...

Goldman, like many others, wants to expand the definition of “intelligence” to include qualities other than IQ. That's probably a worthy goal, but in this debate intelligence has the traditional definition of IQ.

The journal Intelligence published a study on the connection between IQ and wealth. The scatter graph is shown at http://paul.kedrosky.com... there is some correlation for IQ scores below 100, but even that is not extreme. It is not appreciable above 100.

3. Intelligence is subservient to ideology

Professor Michael Shermer explains a problem with high high intelligence in his book “Why People Believe in Weird Things.” http://www.michaelshermer.com... He devotes a chapter to Why Smart People Believe Weird Things.

Smart people have the ability to rationalize weird beliefs. Whether you tend to side with libertarian Milton Friedman or extreme anti-capitalist Noam Chomsky, you must agree that both are highly intelligent and one or the other is dramatically wrong.

4. Intelligence leads to the danger of hubris

Smart people, like college professors, often know a whole lot about something. Ask a question in their field of endeavor, and they will either know the answer or say why it is an unsolved problem. 99.9% of the time they are right about their specialty. This leads to the error of assuming that since they have figured out something, they are therefore likely to have figured out everything. As a result we see professors with foolish political opinions, Nobel prize winners embarrassing themselves with pronouncements outside their expertise, and the general phenomenon of intellectuals pronouncing anyone who doesn't agree with them to be stupid.

William Buckley said he would rather be governed by the first hundred names in the phone book than the faculty of Harvard. Ordinary people have a better sense of their limits, and they are more likely to accept counter-evidence as convincing, rather than rationalize it away. They will accept things that work rather than demand, on ideological grounds or errant personal conviction, something that does not.

Summary

The low correlation of IQ to success shows that IQ is not as important as most people think. Few of us want friends who are mean or dishonest. Employers do not want employees who are untrustworthy or unmotivated; a less intelligent person who is focused and diligent is far more valuable than a detached and unreliable genius.

The resolution is affirmed.

Maven

Con

The intelligence is not overrated, is necessary in this highly competitive world.
The world is amazingly overcrowded; theres a huge number of people studying,working and specializing in their work fields now jobs that people used to do with a Bachelors Degree or even with no degrees at all are done by Phd and Masters. Hiring the most capable ones is the only option of the best companies.

The intelligence is not only how well you score on an IQ test; it is much more than that:
Intelligence is a term describing one or more capacities of the mind. In different contexts this can be defined in different ways, including the capacities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving-Wikipedia.
And even more; Music,math and Literature creation are also types of intelligence.

People who develop well in their jobs and socials lives, most likely have develop their intelligence on some level, but is sure that the people who had wrote the history and made big contributions to their fields were gifted with great intelligence, work hard and will to improve will make you great for sure, but only those who work hard and improve their natural intelligence are able to write their names in history, the history itself is the clear prove of that, Beethoven,Mozart,Davinci, all born talented.

The intelligence is an exepcional value of a person, now in a crowd world, any value offers execption and differentiation from the rest.



Debate Round No. 1
RoyLatham

Pro

Definition

I gave the definition of intelligence for the purposes of this debate, It is "the ability to sore well on IQ tests" and I gave the reasons for using that definition. That is the definition that relates to success in academia and it is what is popularly embraced. Without that simple definition, we could spend the whole debate arguing about what constitutes "intelligence." For example, we could argue whether or not what is called "emotional intelligence" is really part of "intelligence" at all.

Con's dispute of the definition by saying "In different contexts this can be defined in different ways," would destroy the debate. If Con did want to debate the resolution as proposed, including intelligence as defined for the purpose of the debate, he should have declined the challenge, not have accepted and then tried to change the meaning of the resolution.

Human characteristics beside intelligence are critical

I made four claims in my opening arguments. on did not dispute any of my claims, so they all stand. Con seems to only be saying that intelligence is an important characteristic, and I never disputed that. I said:

The press, intellectuals in academia, and budding students place a higher value on intelligence than is warranted because IQ is important to them. The result is that society as a whole overvalues intelligence relative to other human characteristics. Character, principles, knowledge, and intellectual attributes other than intelligence are as important, and collectively they are more important. Society should change its thinking.

I began by posing a question, to which I now challenge con to answer. Which attributes do you want in a person as a friend, neighbor, or leader? I ask Con to rank the following human attributes.

a.) Intelligence

b) Character. High intelligence is compatible with all manner of immoral behavior. Someone noted that serial killers tend to have above-average intelligence, including killer IQ scores Albert DeSalvo "The Boston Strangler") 170, Brian James Dugan >140, Andrew Phillip Cunanan 147, Carroll Edward Cole 152, Charlene Williams 160 (The Gallego Sex Slaves Killers ), Jeffery Dahmer 145, http://www.kids-iq-tests.com... The IQ scores appear collected from the Wikipedia articles on each person.

c) Principles.

Nazis, authoritarian Communists, religious fanatics, and racists may have high intelligence. The prominent members of the Third Reich had IQs of 120-140. (Tabulated at http://www.vnnforum.com... which references the sources.) As to Hitler himself,"Tests he took showed that he had an IQ of 141." http://www.imdb.com...

d) Knowledge

An intelligent person without education is of little use to a modern society, and even a primitive society depends upon learned-skills to survive. In fact, the main use of IQ tests is to assess a person's ability to learn. What is important is the end product of learning, useful knowledge. The ability to learn is only a means to that more-important end.

e) Intellectual attributes other than intelligence

Research on leadership qualities are summarized as follows:

"In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision—are required for success, they are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

"It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. But my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader."
http://hbr.org...


Evidence of intelligence being overrated


In the first round, I cited the very low correlation of intelligence with wealth. here is something of a "threshold capability," but it's low. For average intelligence and above, the correlation is slight.

Failed US Presidents Nixon and Carter were two of the most intelligent presidents.

A recurring theme of recent elections is that accusations of low intelligence are widely considered a substitute for concerns about ideology, character, experience, and leadership ability.

" Perhaps because the perception of George W. Bush having low intelligence is common and had been cited by the media as well as by politicians, including a spokesperson for Tony Blair The hoax report was widely taken to be true. The British newspaper The Guardian, for example, quoted the report in its diary section of July 19, 2001 and used it to belittle Bush, although the paper published a retraction two days after the Associated Press drew attention to the error. Other mainstream media news outlets to fall for the hoax included Bild (Germany), Pravda (Russia), and the Southland Times (New Zealand) as well as a few small U.S. newspapers. The hoax came back to life in March 2007 in Spanish-language media when the Press Agency Efe distributed a piece referring to it. Dozens of media (primarily in their online versions) reproduced Efe's text. Among newspapers publishing the hoax were El País (Spain's leading newspaper) ABC and La Vanguardia"
http://en.wikipedia.org...

It turned out that Bush had a slightly higher IQ than Kerry, his opponent, and both had the same grades at Yale. http://mypetjawa.mu.nu... The point is that the press, and much of the public, made a very big deal of IQ, and many people wrongly judged Kerry to be smarter because they agreed with his ideology.

A practical consequence of intelligence being overrated is that some young people come to believe that unless they have a genius IQ, they ought not to expect to amount to much. There are many counter examples. "
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco. John has been hailed as the best boss in America. ... John admits that he nearly flunked out of grade school because he couldn't keep up with the work. He had dyslexia and was slower than other students to comprehend the assignments. Most people considered him the dunce of the class, yet John went on to become a billionaire and one of the most successful corporate leaders of our time." http://www.evancarmichael.com...

For many pursuits there is a threshold intelligence needed to succeed, but for most enterprises the thresholds are low. For a career in academia, the threshold is higher than most, but still well below genius level. "
The famous Nobel Prize Winner Francis Crick (The man who found the structure for DNA) had only an IQ of 115! So, with hard and dedicated work it is possible to compensate for a lack in intelligence."http://www.aceintelligence.com...


Intelligence is important, but in general it is overrated.

Maven

Con

Maven forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
RoyLatham

Pro

In the comments, my opponent conceded he did not read the definition of intelligence in the challenge.

My arguents are unanswered.
Maven

Con

Maven forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by CorieMike 1 year ago
CorieMike
This was a good read
Posted by Beginner 2 years ago
Beginner
Thank you for a good read, RoyLatham. 'Twas very enlightening.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Okay.

I originally wrote "OK" but the ddo software rejected that as being in all caps!
Posted by Maven 6 years ago
Maven
Roylatham, i didnt read closely the definition. Sorry for wasting this time.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Maven, No problem, just post your concession in place of your argument. I went on at length not only what the definition was, but why it had to be nailed down for the purpose of the debate.

The definition was absolutely clear and unmistakable in my opening argument. If you chose to either not reaqd it or to ignore it, that's not my fault.
Posted by Maven 6 years ago
Maven
Sorry, i cannot argue with a false definition of intelligence, :(.
Posted by dinokiller 6 years ago
dinokiller
Maven gonna forfeit, lets just wait off ^^
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Okay, that's fine. I had a major problem squeezing the opening into 8000 characters; it's a big subject.
Posted by darkkermit 6 years ago
darkkermit
I will accept this debate, but just give me a few days to research it.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
RoyLathamMavenTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 6 years ago
darkkermit
RoyLathamMavenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: win via forfeit
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
RoyLathamMavenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by boredinclass 6 years ago
boredinclass
RoyLathamMavenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeit