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The Contender
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IQ Tests are not a reliable measure of intelligence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,050 times Debate No: 103255
Debate Rounds (4)
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I will be arguing that IQ tests are not a reliable measurement of intelligence. This means that IQ tests are not sufficient to determine actual intelligence of a person. My opponent will be arguing that IQ tests are in fact a reliable method of measuring intelligence. FIrst round is for acceptance only.


Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate and hope we can have a friendly and productive debate. I will start off by saying that IQ may measure an aspect of someone’s intelligence but does not show the full picture.

The issues with IQ

Some experts say at least three tests are required to get the whole picture and that is a minimum, so I would bet that even then we still couldn’t fully determine the whole range of human intelligence. "When you look at cognitive ability you can't boil it down to fewer than three components – short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component," Dr Highfield said in the Telegraph article linked below. Different circuits within the brain are used for different thought processes, the researchers showed, meaning separate tests of short-term memory, reasoning and verbal skills are needed to measure someone's overall intelligence. “This means that a single test is not sufficient to measure all aspects of someone’s intelligence. [1]

We see some peculiarities when we look at people with what we might call cognitive disabilities. For instance, IQ has a difficult time measuring a savant. They have trouble with things a “normal person” might find easy. They may struggle with certain subjects but in at least one area, they do much better than the average person. The movie “Rainman” while fictional, was partially based on real life person Kim Peek. He couldn’t perform basic tasks, so by conventional standards he was not very intelligent. However he had a phenomenal memory. [2] (also see video) There are many more similar examples as well. With that in mind, how can you get an accurate measure of their intelligence if you are only testing 1 factor?

If we think IQ is reliable then we must conclude that the majority of Africa has severe mental disabilities. Is this reasonable? Couldn’t this actually suggest there is a cultural bias in the methodology? [3] If it is accurate, how do the people in Equatorial Guinea even take care of themselves if the average IQ is 59? [4]

The APA now admits that it might be more cultural then we have been led to believe. Different cultures have different cognitive styles, which when tested can come off as being more or less than average on a test. If someone lives in a culture where they barely have electricity, for instance, can they be faulted when they have no understanding of how electronics work? According to the APA article in February of 2003, “Many psychologists believe that the idea that a test can be completely absent of cultural bias--a recurrent hope of test developers in the 20th century--is contradicted by the weight of the evidence”. If different cultures have fundamentally different ideas of what intelligence even is, then how can we come up with an accurate and objective measurement? [5]

What does it mean to be smart anyway?

Also the very nature of intelligence is a bit subjective. There is a quote I see attribute to Einstein, I don’t know if he actually said it but that is not my point. My point is that it demonstrates a problem if we try to measure everyone by the same standard.

Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.

EQ as it relates to IQ

Another aspect that we should consider is Emotional Intelligence, another aspect IQ tests do not account for. Emotional intelligence is, “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” It effects our behavior. EQ could tell us at least as much about someone as IQ does. [6] So this aspect of intelligence is yet another area where IQ falls short in its measurements. IQ tests are like a 1 size fits all thing that only accounts for a small amount of the elements that makeup intelligence. IQ tests do not prove overall intelligence, rather they prove you are good at taking tests.

The Conclusion

In conclusion, I argue that IQ test, as it is currently administered is not an accurate measurement of intelligence. Can we one day get a test that accounts for all the variables in a way that makes it extremely accurate? I don’t know but that is beyond the scope of this debate as my purpose is to show how our current understanding of IQ is flawed and overly simplistic.

Thanks again to my opponent and I look forward to the response.


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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Johann_Christian_Bach 1 year ago

Posted by BennyW 2 years ago
It's a shame, I wanted to see what my opponent's rebuttals might be, but due to how glitchy this site has become, it will be stuck like this unless they get around to fixing it.
Posted by R603 2 years ago
In continuation of my prior comment, you had better come through on your end BennyW. If you do not I shall step up in place of you, and teach everyone on the opposing side a lesson.
Posted by R603 2 years ago
I know for a fact that IQ tests are not an accurate tool to measure intelligence. I scored about 78, however I have a form of autism known as Asperger's Syndrome. My autism causes my mind to think differently in general. For example: I am absolutely terrible at mathematics, dropped out of ninth grade, cannot pass a GED test, and am naturally horrible at social interaction. [It was even worse for me, because before the sixth grade I was home schooled and never left the house, except for seeing the doctor, and had no one within my age range to interact with, so I kept to myself.] Despite all that, I have taught myself to efficiently utilize any computer program that I have used so far. [Multiple game engines like Unity and DAZ, Photoshop, Gimp, programs most people use, and obviously the internet, where rare Pepes do roam freely.]

My first job was working for a daily work daily pay place, because nowhere else would hire me. I trained myself in social interaction, the psychology of color for business, and how to nail an interview. I got a job at Walgreens soon after. Upon having worked at Walgreens for just shy of two years, I got a nice office job in the precertification department for a health insurance company. I am also really good at cooking.

P.S. A large percentage of famous people and multiple geniuses dropped out of school.
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