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The foolishness of trying to represent the human mind by a single number (as is done in the IQ concept)




   Different people's minds work in different ways.  Everyone is 
   intelligent in a different way.  There are many different 
   abilities, strengths, weaknesses, aspects, slants, tendencies 
   and inclinations of the human mind.  Trying to assign an "IQ" 
   to a person is analogous to the following:  Suppose we have 
   four baskets.  The contents of the four baskets are as follows: 

              Basket 1  ---  3 apples, 8 oranges, 5 pears, 1 
                              banana 
              Basket 2  ---  4 apples, 2 oranges, 2 pears, 9 
                              bananas 
              Basket 3  ---  1 apple, 5 oranges, 10 pears, 2 
                              bananas 
              Basket 4  ---  10 apples, 4 oranges, 1 pear, 1 
                              banana 

   Now suppose a number of people are arguing over which of the 
   four baskets is better, worth more, or superior.  How silly 
   would be such an argument!  For whether one prefers one basket 
   to another depends on whether he likes apples better than 
   oranges, how much better, how much he likes pears and bananas, 
   etc.  The whole answer must necessarily be purely subjective, 
   purely opinion.  From a logical standpoint the four baskets are 
   incommensurate with each other; they can't be compared.  And 
   just as you cannot lump all the contents of a basket together 
   (i.e. "add them up") to obtain an single measure of worth for 
   the basket even so you cannot lump all the different types of 
   powers, aspects, tendencies, and inclinations of the human mind 
   together and represent them by a single measure of "worth" or 
   "superiority" for the mind.  You cannot lump all the various 
   kinds of abilities together, "add them up", and represent them 
   by a single number.  To pretend to do so is foolishness!  With 
   the IQ concept all the various kinds of intelligence and mental 
   ability are lumped together to get a single number representing 
   "general intelligence".  It is ridiculous nonsense.  The IQ 
   concept is simple foolishness.  We live in a society that has 
   been grossly duped!

   I believe the IQ concept, the concept itself, the idea itself, 
   is one of the main contributing causes of a serious and 
   prevalent mental problem of our society: the inferiority 
   complex.  And it is modern psychiatry that invented the IQ 
   concept.  So if I am right, what does it mean?  It means that 
   much of the blame for all the misery and suffering of all of 
   the huge number of people who have been pulled down by the 
   inferiority complex through the years can be laid right at the 
   feet of modern psychiatry; that modern psychiatry, instead of 
   solving mental problems, has played a big role in causing them.  
   And there is another party that has played a big role, also, 
   and shares in the blame: the modern education system.  By 
   endorsing the IQ concept, popularizing it, and propagating it, 
   the modern educational system has done terrible damage to a 
   huge number of children --- in a great number of cases ruined 
   their lives.  I would call that a real crime!  And everyone who 
   has endorsed the concept and had a part in the process bears 
   part of the guilt. 
  

   Oct 1977


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