The Instigator
MoonDragon613
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
wingnut2280
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points

Is the assumption that the intelligence of Africans the same as ours (Americans) justified?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,214 times Debate No: 2461
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (12)

 

MoonDragon613

Con

There is no logical foundation for assuming that the intelligence of Africans is the same as the intelligence of Americans.

Premise 1: Intelligence has a genetic component.
Of course intelligence is genetic. If intelligence is not genetic, then the only distinguishing characteristics between Homosapiens, Neanderthals, and Homo erectus would have to be limb length and face structure. If we know Homosapiens are smarter than Homo erectus, then intelligence must have a genetic component.

Premise 2: The ratio of institutions of higher learning to population in America is significantly higher than that in many African nations.
If challenged on that statistics are avaliable. But frankly, in e.g. Ethopia, there are 77 million people and 60 private colleges. We have about 4-5 times the number of people, and private institutions in the thousands.

Premise 3: Colleges allow people predisposed towards intelligence to congregate and socialize (and meet)
To get into college, you have to at least do moderately well at lower institutions of higher education. Thus, colleges allow people with a moderate predisposition towards intelligence to meet, interact, socialize, e.g. (congregate)

Premise 4: People are more likely to generate progeny with people they meet
Ever tried creating spawn with someone you haven't met? Well yes there are sperm banks ... but I doubt that seriously detracts from my premise.

Conclusion: Therefore in America, in contrast to nations in Africa, our intelligent people are more likely to meet other intelligent people. Therefore our intelligent people are more likely to fornicate with other intelligent people. And since intelligence is genetic, in America we produce more intelligent offspring. Thus the assumption is unjustified.
wingnut2280

Pro

I only need to make one argument to win this round. You assume that intelligent people, upon meeting each other, mate. The fact that we stick intelligent people together at a school more than they do doesn't effect reproduction rates. Intelligent people in Africa have an equally likely chance of mating with someone of intelligence. Simply because they don't go to school together doesn't mean that they don't mate at equal rates.

To sum, your conclusion is preconditioned on the fact that reproduction amongst students is somehow more likely than in any other facet of society.
Debate Round No. 1
MoonDragon613

Con

Mmm, I regret to inform you that hinging your entire counterargument on a misinterpretation of my argument was a poor strategic move on your part.

First of all, although I used institutions of higher learning, my conclusion is hardly preconditioned on just that. I chose it because it was easy to illustrate but as long as you accept the first premise of intelligence being genetic, then my conclusion is logical. Institutions of higher knowledge not only allow students to meet, but also professors and researchers. The abundance of hospitals allows doctors to meet. The abundance of investment firms allows finance analysts to meet. In short, unlike in most African nations, in America intelligent people are more likely to meet other intelligent people because of the existence of a wide array of institutions that collect intelligent people, such as institutions of higher learning.

Secondly, at no point did I say going to school increases the rate of child production. What I said was going to school raises the probability of intelligent people mating with each other. Your statement: "Intelligent people in Africa have an equally likely chance of mating with someone of intelligence" is unfounded, unsupported, and illogical. Of course they do not. Intelligent people in Africa because of the lack of institutions we find in America, are less likely to meet other intelligent people in the course of their lives. Thus they are less likely to mate with other intelligent people. Thus less likely to spawn intelligent individuals.
wingnut2280

Pro

Thanks for the advice...

Anyway, saying that doctors are more likely to meet doctors and students are more likely to meet students is ridiculous. I go get coffee every morning. Does that make it more likely that I will mate with someone who also likes coffee. My point is that there is no more of a chance of me mating with someone I meet at school than any other place I happen to be. The fact that intelligent people all go to school together is irrelevant unless you can show that this makes them all mate with each other.

Since I am just as likely to mate with someone that I meet at a bar or grocery store, the fact that I associate with intelligent people at times is irrelevant.

This means that intelligent people are no more likely to mate with each other here than in African nations.

Your argument cuts both ways. Since Africa doesn't have areas where dumb people all gather together, than dumb people would be just as less likely to mate than smart people, leveling the genetic pool.

Additionally, your argument, even if correct, doesn't prove that America is smarter as a whole, just that our intelligence is more polarized. For instance, smart people mate with smart people meaning that dumb people would mate would dumb people and we would have super dumb people and super intelligent people (comparatively), making our society no more intelligent on the whole. Again, this all assumes that you are right about mating habits, which I disputed above.

In sum, people hang out in countless locations. While some do mate as a result of intelligence, people, on the whole, are just as likely to meet and mate with someone they meet anywhere else, like the coffee shop. Unless you can prove that intelligent people who hang around other intelligent people are more likely to mate, than your argument hold no ground. Additionally, if we buy your premise, it would just mean that America's intelligence is more polarized, not any greater. In order for us to be smarter, you would have to prove that we have a greater predisposition to be more intelligent than Africans from the outset.
Debate Round No. 2
MoonDragon613

Con

Ahh, about time you mentioned the issue of polarization. I did not expect to have had to waste time debating the fact intelligence in America is polarized, but if you insist on wasting yourself on a futile struggle then so be it, there I shall begin.

Since you refuse to accept the argument in the abstract form, I'll put in a concrete example.
Let's say your currently attending college.
Are you more likely to marry Jane who is attending the same college as you are
or Jane2 who is a high school drop out?
Let's say you currently work at Meryl Lynch as a market analyst.
Are you more likely to marry Jane who is also working at Meryl Lynch or Jane2 who works at the McDonalds from which you sometimes go to buy lunch when in a rush.

If your going to tell me that the probability of marrying Jane is equal to the probability of marrying Jane2, than clearly something is inhibiting your thinking.

Now about polarization, when did I say ALL Americans were smarter than ALL Africans? As I recall I said we produce more intelligent offspring, and as I also recall the topic of the debate is about whether the respective intelligences are the SAME. If the polarization exists, as demonstrated by my arguments repeatedly, then the intelligence of Americans is not the SAME as the intelligence of Africans. Ergo your attack on polarization is irrelevant.

Not part of the argument, but a point I want expressed anyway:
Because the polarization does not exist as strongly in Africa as in America, the climate is not suited for a Democracy. Too many people of average intelligence means that there is a dearth of a population of very intelligent individuals might result in too few people to form a viable bureaucracy of gifted politicians. This is a possible impact of the lack of polarization.
wingnut2280

Pro

Your example assumes that the workplace is the only place people meet. The investment banker is just as likely to marry the coffee shop employee as he is his coworker. There is no reason why we should believe otherwise. What proof, analytical or concrete, do you have that I am more likely to marry a coworker or fellow student? There is no reason to believe your argument is any more likely than any other dating scenario. People meet at bars, the super market, and countless other places unrelated to intelligence. Your argument doesn't hold water. The only thing inhibiting my thinking is the lack of reason I have for believing your claim whatsoever. Saying it is so, doesn't make it so.

Polarized inteligence would be the same intelligence. I'll give you an elementary example. Say two people from Africa have 6 'intelligence points' each, while two people from America are a 9 and a 3. While individually their intelligence may not be the same, their cultures, on the whole, are of equal intelligence, which is what the debate is about. It would be ridiculous to assume that every member of each cultures intelligence is equivalent. But, thats not the topic.

Your last point isn't relevant at all.

So, we have no reason to believe that smart people have any more chance of mating with each other at a higher rate in America. While we do have areas where intelligent people congregate, we also have areas of congregation not associated to intelligence. Furthermore, you give me no reason to think that when smart people congregate, they mate more frequently than when dumb people do. This is necessary to prove that we have smarter people than Africa. Even in the event that you do this, which you don't, it simply proves that our intelligence is more polarized, not greater on the whole. While I would not disagree that there is a range of intelligence in each region, you haven't provided any kind of logic or proof that would make it reasonable to believe that we are smarter as a society.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
Read the book "The Bell Curve"
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
MoonDragon,

Acceptance into, or the graduation from an Ivy league college is not a sign of innate intelligence. There are many Africans who weren't given the opportunity, either, yet they have turned out to be quite intelligent human beings.

The fact that Harvard graduates are more likely to date and marry other Harvard graduates is not a question of the eventual polarization of intelligence, rather it is a manifestation of a caste system of society. I'm sure you would find high levels of institutionalized ignorance in many of these Harvard graduates, but that doesn't mean ignorance is genetic either.
Posted by panthercub21 9 years ago
panthercub21
Mmm, MoonDragon, you don't seem to be answering my point of educational opportunity is not equal to nor a reflection of intelligence.
P.S. I wasn't talking about college, where people apply to get in. I was talking about high school, where people are legally mandated to go.
P.P.S. You must admit there is a difference between book brains and street smarts.
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
Mmm, panthercub, you don't seem to get the point do you?
Of course enrollment in college depends on a wide array of factors such as income of parents, family connections, opportunity, but be that as it may, you CANNOT discount the importance of innate intelligence. Occasionally Harvard and Yale takes in a Bush, but the vast majority of students who enter these institutions enter because of innate intelligence.

And since these institutions allow innately intelligent people to meet and socialize; after all, Harvard graduates are most likely to socialize, date, and marry other Harvard graduates, or at least other Ivy graduates, this results in an eventual polarization of intelligence. Therefore intelligence is different in America.
Posted by panthercub21 9 years ago
panthercub21
Education does not equal or measure innate intelligence. All it does is mirror opportunity. Those who go to inner-city schools are no less smart than those who attend private academies- the private school kids just have more opportunity.
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
The official measure of an intelligent society is given as a percentage of literacy. Are we then to assume that Cubans are more intelligent than Americans because of their genetics, or is the number higher because Cubans are REQUIRED to perform at certain levels and are REQUIRED to learn to read and write, while Americans are simply presented with the opportunity to do so?
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
Wingnut,

Many non-blacks "hate how any issue involving race is suddenly racist and politically incorrect" (I am not assuming you are non-black, rather that is a philosophy many non-blacks adhere to). The fact that you dislike it doesn't make it Not-racist. The fact that someone assumes the genetics of a race can be affected by the lack of access to education is racist. What does his premise say about African-Americans who descended from the same Africans he is referring to? Are we, by proxy, not as intelligent as other Americans because we started in areas that didn't have schools at the same time there were vast educational institutions in Europe? I think not. There is no sound scientific approach in this premise, and it is completely racist.
Posted by wingnut2280 9 years ago
wingnut2280
I don't see hwo he is racist at all. I hate how any issue involving race is suddenly racist and politically incorrect. Its not as if he came out and was like "All blacks are retarded!" Give me a break. If we can't handle issues of race in a mature way, how are we supposed to get past it?
Posted by Mangani 9 years ago
Mangani
Moondragon you are a racist pig...
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