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Re: Everything is amazing...

Postby Lomax on June 2nd, 2016, 9:17 pm 

Braininvat » June 2nd, 2016, 6:10 pm wrote:
More generally, there is a remarkable average to human intelligence the world over - that could just be the consequence of how big a head can be pushed through a birth canal.


I always take that birth canal theory with a grain of salt.

Good news. There'll always be a demand for a narrow birth canal.
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Re: Everything is amazing...

Postby uninfinite on June 2nd, 2016, 10:49 pm 

Braininvat » June 2nd, 2016, 6:10 pm wrote:More generally, there is a remarkable average to human intelligence the world over - that could just be the consequence of how big a head can be pushed through a birth canal.


I always take that birth canal theory with a grain of salt. Bearing in mind that head size doesn't precisely correlate with intelligence. If you google "famous people brain size," you find autopsy results in various articles, indicating that Lord Byron's brain was something like 30% larger than Einstein's. And there was some remarkable disparity between the brain of, IIRC, Byron and Anatole France, I think France's was half the size of Byron's. Just stand in a crowd of people, and you will notice quite a range of head sizes, dimensions that often, quite dramatically, do not relate to an individual's intellectual capacities.


Maybe. But variations from average intelligence measured by IQ tests are relatively small and/or few. The average is 100 - and while Einstein was 160, and the highest ever IQ was 190 or so, these are freakish - like being 9 feet tall. Looking around a crowd you'll see many variations in height but there's a remarkable average. Also, in comparison to most animals, humans beings have a large brain to body mass ratio - and then there's the folding of the surface of the brain, that increases surface area...in a confined space. That confined space, i.e. the skull - is what must be pushed through a birth canal, and that places an upper limit of the size of head, and size of brain we have. In the context of the evolutionary development of homo sapiens, therefore - taking complicating factors into account, the birth canal theory is not unreasonable.

My theory is we are slightly too intelligent for our own good, and would be happier if we were complete morons; because we're just about smart enough to live in anticipation of a million problems, we're nonetheless too stupid to solve!


If you have tongue planted in cheek here, then my following comments may be unnecessary.

This is a very popular theory, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's that cultural meme of the "happy idiot." If you are unable to do your tax returns, then you are spared a certain misery. However, morons, in my experience, often suffer considerably from their limited intellectual resources and tend to be more often prey to fears and dark emotions which they cannot resolve by thinking things through and interacting skilfully with others to solve problems. It might be a bit better, for them, if we were all morons, but I suspect the impairments to problem-solving skills and coping with irrational fears would still generate a lot of misery, albeit with more company. If only we could test your theory by slipping through a wormhole to a couple millions years ago, and finding quantitative measures of happiness to compare modern humans and, say, Australopithecines. Their lives were certainly simpler. But if simplicity were a measure of happiness, then homeless people would be the happiest people on the planet.


Tongue has visited cheek, for sure - but I said what I meant to say - or rather, ask. I'm really just throwing the happy moron meme out there, so your comments are welcome. I haven't had much personal experience with people who are intellectually impaired - and what you say is interesting. It does rather confirm what I said, though it's couched in terms of disagreement, it seems to me much the same dynamic - of being able to spot problems we're not smart enough to solve.

It's difficult to explain the sort of determined discontent I'm trying to understand - but I write here and on another, politics forum, and maybe there's some selection bias going on - but it seems to me people are remarkably unhappy when you consider how relatively peaceful and prosperous society is, how living standards have increased over the past 200 years say, and more generally - what a beautiful place the world and the universe is in reality, and even in comparison to the fond illusions we adopt in place of plain truth. I'm asking - What is this discontent we have in us? on the assumption that asking why are we discontented will illicit a million different answers - but it's always something.
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Re: Everything is amazing...

Postby Lomax on June 2nd, 2016, 11:15 pm 

uninfinite » June 3rd, 2016, 3:49 am wrote:
Braininvat » June 2nd, 2016, 6:10 pm wrote:More generally, there is a remarkable average to human intelligence the world over - that could just be the consequence of how big a head can be pushed through a birth canal.


I always take that birth canal theory with a grain of salt. Bearing in mind that head size doesn't precisely correlate with intelligence. If you google "famous people brain size," you find autopsy results in various articles, indicating that Lord Byron's brain was something like 30% larger than Einstein's. And there was some remarkable disparity between the brain of, IIRC, Byron and Anatole France, I think France's was half the size of Byron's. Just stand in a crowd of people, and you will notice quite a range of head sizes, dimensions that often, quite dramatically, do not relate to an individual's intellectual capacities.


Maybe. But variations from average intelligence measured by IQ tests are relatively small and/or few. The average is 100 - and while Einstein was 160, and the highest ever IQ was 190 or so, these are freakish - like being 9 feet tall.

Is there any substantial evidence that Einstein's IQ was 160? I hear it a lot but I can't find a reliable source, or the important details - such as whether it's 160 on the Wechsler or Stanford-Binet scale, nor at what age, nor whether this estimate accounts for the Flynn effect. My understanding by the way is that Einstein's superior spatio-temporal reasoning derives not from the size of his brain but more specifically from the size and development of his prefrontal cortex and corpus callosum.
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Re: Everything is amazing...

Postby Natural ChemE on June 2nd, 2016, 11:45 pm 

uninfinite » June 2nd, 2016, 9:49 pm wrote:But variations from average intelligence measured by IQ tests are relatively small and/or few. The average is 100 - and while Einstein was 160, and the highest ever IQ was 190 or so, these are freakish - like being 9 feet tall.

The IQ scale is a ranking system, not a measurement system.

Example:
  1. Make up an intelligence test. It can be any sort of graded exam; whatever you feel tests "intelligence".
    • Test a population of people, e.g. a class.
      • Grade everyone's exam, assigning them a grade based on how many questions that they got right.
        • Example: If someone got 40 out of 50 questions right, they get an 80%.
      • Give everyone a class rank based on their grade.
        • Example: Suzy got 85% of the questions right, which was better than 90% of the class. Therefore, Suzy's class rank is 90%.
      • The IQ scale is normally distributed with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. So, do a reverse cumulative distribution function to determine IQ.
          Example:
          • Suzy's IQ, relative to her class based on this exam, is about 119.2.
          • To confirm, open Excel and type =NORM.INV(0.9,100,15).
            • Should return 119.2232735, which is Suzy's IQ.
            • 0.9 is for 90%, which is Suzy's class rank.
            • 100 is the by-definition mean for the IQ scale.
            • 15 is the by-definition standard deviation for the IQ scale.
      So, what's the highest IQ on Earth? Well, let's say that the smartest person on Earth - which we define as whoever gets the very best score on whatever intelligence test is being used - gets a class rank of about
        ,
      which equates to an IQ of
        =NORM.INV(1-1/(7.4*10^9),100,15).
      So, the highest IQ on Earth is about 194.7 by definition. It doesn't matter if that smartest person is slightly smarter than average or an ultra-intelligence, their IQ is the same either way.

      Anyway, the point's that IQ is just a ranking system. No person, no matter how smart they are, can have an IQ over 200 right now.

      If Einstein's IQ was 160, then he was the estimated to be on the
        =NORM.DIST(160,100,15,TRUE)
      percentile. If the world's population was about 1.5 billion at the time, then they estimated that he was smarter than about 1,499,952,493 of his contemporaries, while about 47,507 people were smarter than him.
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      Re: Everything is amazing...

      Postby uninfinite on June 2nd, 2016, 11:55 pm 

      Lomax » June 3rd, 2016, 4:15 am wrote:Is there any substantial evidence that Einstein's IQ was 160? I hear it a lot but I can't find a reliable source, or the important details - such as whether it's 160 on the Wechsler or Stanford-Binet scale, nor at what age, nor whether this estimate accounts for the Flynn effect. My understanding by the way is that Einstein's superior spatio-temporal reasoning derives not from the size of his brain but more specifically from the size and development of his prefrontal cortex and corpus callosum.


      I know of no reliable source - but then I'm perfectly happy to qualify my remarks about Einsteins IQ with the phrase 'was widely purported...' It does raise an interesting question about the epistemic status of IQ scores - are they facts? Estimates? I'm sure I don't know. But I do notice a remarkable variation in my own cognitive abilities between day and night, and depending upon what I eat, and how I'm feeling. Stressed, sad, hungry or tired I'm a virtual cabbage!
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      Re: Everything is amazing...

      Postby Lomax on June 3rd, 2016, 12:12 am 

      uninfinite » June 3rd, 2016, 4:55 am wrote:I know of no reliable source - but then I'm perfectly happy to qualify my remarks about Einsteins IQ with the phrase 'was widely purported...' It does raise an interesting question about the epistemic status of IQ scores - are they facts? Estimates?

      I think - with particular regard for Natural ChemE's last post - that they are factual reports of a person's skill at taking IQ tests, but only estimates of anything else.

      uninfinite » June 3rd, 2016, 4:55 am wrote:But I do notice a remarkable variation in my own cognitive abilities between day and night, and depending upon what I eat, and how I'm feeling. Stressed, sad, hungry or tired I'm a virtual cabbage!

      Agreed. For the first five hours of my day I'm incapable of saying anything which would be passable outside of a philosophy forum.
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      Re: Everything is amazing...

      Postby uninfinite on June 3rd, 2016, 12:34 am 

      Lomax » June 3rd, 2016, 5:12 am wrote:Agreed. For the first five hours of my day I'm incapable of saying anything passable outside of a philosophy forum.


      Natural ChemE's post was interesting, and kind of answers the question I asked before I asked it. I would like it noted, ChemE posted his remarks while I was reading your links and writing my post. I haven't looked at this subject before - and it's not immediately obvious they are grading on a curve.

      I also looked up symptoms of disorders of the corpus collosum to get an idea of what it does. It's a bundle of nerves via which the two hemispheres of the brain communicate - and apparently Einstein's was very well developed. Interestingly however, Kim Peek - who inspired the Rain Man film, had a corpus collosum disorder - and consequent emotional problems, and social anxieties.

      Another point I picked up on is that IQ's have increased consistently over time; generation after generation - I wonder why. Hardware or software - or something else?
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