Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creature Creation: Animal Intelligence and IQ.

The Chimps' emotional response to death caught on film is something that gets me wondering about Non-human races that are not as smart as we are. What I find exciting about this is that a "little" more intelligence could mean a very basic culture (communicate collective knowledge and pass on successful strategies), the ability to use a greater variety of tools, and insight to creatures that can give that Non-human threat but enough room to cause a character's or player to rethink or re-examine their personal codes.

The study of Ethics is something basic and should be compulsory (IMO). My not-so intimidating description of ethics is: the knowledge of learning if what I do harm people in any way. RPGs are one of the best medium to explore it harmlessly. Now and then cultural and personal biases and conscience needs some good-ol' re-evaluation if I'm taking a certain assumption for granted. Which leads me to the scary next topic.

Scary Revelation about IQ. There is something quite shocking about the history of IQ. Summarizing it quickly: it was intended to help French students catch up, it was carefully made clear that it was never meant to "measure" intelligence.
Some recent thinkers seem to have given their moral support to these deplorable verdicts by affirming that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity that cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism; we must try to demonstrate that it is founded on nothing . - Alfred Binet
What is scary about IQ is that it was used in Eugenics. Henry H. Goddard used it to promote his Ideology. It was where the terms Moron, Imbecile, and Idiot came from. It was instrument in Buck vs Bell 1927 where there was compulsory sterilization!

YIKES!!! I mean, after finding that out, I'd stay as far away from IQ as a Measure of Intelligence as much as possible (just learned it TODAY!). I know IQ tests have changed much today, but still: using it to discriminate between people gives me a lot of negative association signals. I guess thats why they have targeted Proficiency and Intelligence exams instead. Good thing there are no organizations that use IQ tests to choose its members (/sarcasm).

Multiple Intelligence theory is not just the prevailing hypothesis it is a factual Theory (like Evolution, Germ, Gravitation). Savants with intelligence specializations like Spatial, Mathematical, Language, Music, etc. all point to several different intelligences.

Personally, I think most working intelligence comes from Environmental. I would put it at about 2/3rds. Obviously education and learning habits are environmental. Multiple Int. theory, and the questions still left unanswered is a strong argument of the possibly we have yet to uncover so much. I think society has a way to go in eliminating the natural bias and overvalue of a small number of abilities for the appreciation of the diversity of it.

I guess I have a personal bias in such an assumption. I find it better to assume people are smarter than I used to or others would give them credit for. It just seems to be a better diplomatic strategy over all. Even when people may not appear as intelligent, just because they ask questions about assumptions I take for-granted should not and other possible habits should not be a measuring stick. Especially since I don't have access to all aspects of their lives.

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