Who do you think has the higher IQ, the black man on the left or the white man on the right? Race has been said to have an influence on intelligence. Before it was considered racist, race was often claimed to be a factor in the calculations of IQ. Ashkenazi Jews are reportedly the highest IQ subgroup among Caucasians. While IQ scores of Caucasians vs. Asians are very similar, but Asians universally outperform Caucasians in grade point averages and SAT’s. Is that because Asians have a higher IQ or because their parents push them harder in school? Caribbean blacks are one-third more likely to graduate from college than African-Americans as a whole, and their median household income is also one-third higher.
I have always been fascinated with intelligence. In German academic parlance, the highest title you can achieve is “Herr Professor Doctor so and so,” for example, Herr Professor Doctor Sigmund Freud or Herr Professor Doctor Albert Einstein. Neither of these gentlemen ever took an IQ test in their life, but from their sum total intellectual output, it has been claimed that Einstein’s IQ was 160 and Freud’s was 156. Both scores are well above the level of genius. I, too, achieved that German title of Professor and Doctor, so I would assume my IQ is similar. Unfortunately, when I was in eighth grade, I happened to be in the Principal’s office at the time the Stanford Benet IQ test we took came back. I snuck a peek at mine. Although I was well above average, I was still disappointed as it was not as high as I think it should have been, given my German academic title, which I eventually did attain, my life’s achievements, my net worth, my output of both scientific and non-scientific literature and my self-assessment as an intelligent human being.
I have seriously questioned the tests that claim to measure your intelligence. Much of the content of these tests look at learned knowledge, obviously an environmental trait and ability, to figure out problems, especially pertaining to finding patterns in language, math, and design, often adding another factor of how quickly you can do it, all more likely to be a genetic trait. Having been rather slow in those traits, I attribute my disappointing IQ score to that.
Some people are smarter in math, while others have a way with words, an artistic bent, or a natural ear for music. Some of us just know how to dance or throw a ball while others look like they behave very uncoordinated on the dance floor or couldn’t hit a ball with a baseball bat if their life depended on it. Howard Gardner, a Harvard Professor, claimed in his book, Multiple Intelligences, that there are nine divisions of intelligence. He has a point.
I have always considered bees to be the smartest insect. By indirect measures of looking at their ability to navigate by the sun, gather honey, transmit knowledge through very sophisticated dance moves, I would have placed their IQ at genius level. It came as a shock to me that most of the insects that drown in my pool are bees, not as smart as I thought. Perhaps there is a separate intelligence for gathering honey.
My own theory of intelligence is that the mind is compartmentalized into more than Freud’s superego, ego, and id, but there is a chessboard, a physics black board, a music chamber, a cooking nook, a surgeon’s operating room, a tailor’s quarters, an author’s writing desk, a linguist that speaks only cat or dog, etc. etc. The trick is to find the space to which each of us has been assigned and live our lives accordingly.