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Thread: Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?

  1. #1 Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ? 
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    We already know that almost every human physical or mental traits obeys a bell curve of distribution in the population. That means that humans vary in both, physical and mental attributes.

    However, I have heard mainly three types of opinions about those differences.

    The first one is very unrealistic and it is based almost on just wishful-thinking, pure belief and no evidence. It claims that all people are “equal” and that the different levels of intelligence are due to the fact that some people are privileged and get a fine education while others get a poor education.

    If that was true how they would explain that siblings that belong to the same social class, same family and receive the same education end up with different IQs ?

    And even worst, how they would explain that some people originated in low social classes and had unprivileged education showed high IQ and made great achievements in their lives –and- conversely there are people from upper classes who are underachievers and have mediocre IQ despite receiving privileged education?

    The second type of opinion is: People are born with different genes for intelligence ( or types of intelligence ) and their upbringing and type of education has little influence to the outcome.

    The third kind of opinion is: Yes, people are born with different intellectual potentials ( due their genes and their particular biologic development ) but also the type of education that they receive has a significant influence to the outcome.

    The scientific evidence that I know favours the third opinion.

    However, in societies with almost homogeneous types of educational systems, the differences of outcome should be logically related to their genetic and biologic developmental differences.

    In developed countries like UK , most people ( middle class ) receive almost the same type of education ( with he exception of the upper class ) and yet only a minority has high levels of all types of intelligence ( logic-mathematic, creativity, intuition, etc ). Only a minority have interest on matters that demand high intellectual skills like scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, etc.

    1) In your opinion, in an almost homogeneous educational system, which factors contribute the most for the generation of this small elite of intellectuals ? Genetic and biologic developmental differences –or- different types of upbringing and educational models?

    2) If you consider that both genetic/developmental and upbringing/education influence the outcome, which percentage you credit to each of them accordingly to your educated guess or reliable evidence ?


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  3. #2 Re: Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_cristal

    1) In your opinion, in an almost homogeneous educational system, which factors contribute the most for the generation of this small elite of intellectuals ? Genetic and biologic developmental differences –or- different types of upbringing and educational models?

    2) If you consider that both genetic/developmental and upbringing/education influence the outcome, which percentage you credit to each of them accordingly to your educated guess or reliable evidence ?[/b][/color]
    Fiurstly be aware that there is a difference between accademia and intelligence.

    Having one does not necessaarily guarantee the other.

    I know many 'stupid' accademics. It seems being able to memorise and parott information is not evidence of being able to have an original or problem solving thought.

    Meanwhile

    IMO

    Re small number of intellectuals. This group is likely to get even smaller due to the abortion rate and the 'type' of female most likely to opt for it. Ie: Allegedly clever types who don't want a baby to interupt their career.

    Less intelligent /educated people have more kids overall...I think that's a fair statement, though no statistics to back it up. So we'll say..IMO re that one too.

    Education is helpful if the child is supported at home. Poverty I would say is irrelevant as it depends upon the parents attitude towards the importance of learning.

    I believe Genetics is VERY important.

    Ingredients required to allow intelligence to develop:

    genetics, education, brain food diet, freedom to explore and examine and question

    In what % who can say? And why assume any % would apply equally to all.

    Can you bottle the forumlae for intelligence and sell it?NO

    but nice try


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    I think the problem may lie in the question you ask. Firstly, IQ is based on an average intelligence of a given population, the average score will ALWAYS be 100, and there will be a bell shaped curve f the distribution, some being of very high, others below this mark. However, in the past 50 years it has been noted that it has been necessary to make the tests harder as the actual intelligence of people in many countries has increased, so in that sense, everyone may indeed be great! The generally accepted perception for intelligence is that everyone is born with an IQ range which will be of the upper or lower range depending on their upbringing, education, motivation etc.

    Also, if everyone was to become "outstanding" at everything overnight, nobody would be as it would be taken for granted that everyone is good at the things you mentioned. Brilliance as you called it is by its definition the exception not the rule, and since there is natural variation between one another, some will be more brilliant than others!

    Yes few people are polymaths but the fact is in society today, nobody really needs to be in the majority of cases.
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    Exactly what constitutes "intelligence" is still often debated. IQ tests assume there each person has one general intelligence, but Howard Gardner believes that each person has 9 separate intelligences, and people vary in which areas they excel at. (Gardner's 9 intelligence types) I think we can all agree that different people have different talents, so drawing the line between who is and who is not "smart" can be very difficult.

    In general, though, I think the consensus at this point is that intelligence is between 50 - 60% genetic. So the other half of our intelligence is determined by individual experience and, as ToR said, nutrition. Brains require a lot of energy, and if not fed well enough, they most certainly won't grow to their full potential.

    Now, individual experience is most certainly not limited to the "homogeneous" school system. From the moment you're born your brain is growing and learning, making and remaking synaptic connections. Your experience encompasses the way your parents brought you up, the friends you have, the places you lived, probably your personality even, if you're more prone towards curiosity, etc. And even school systems are far from homogeneous. A rich child in a private school probably stands a better chance of getting a quality education than a poorer child in an ill-funded public school.

    Long story short, intelligence is a very complex thing that's influenced by a great many factors, and still lacks a solid, consensus definition. As such, it can be very hard to predict.
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    IQ tests measure the ability to take IQ tests; since people get better at them with practice and the IQ is normalised to 100 every few years (four?) the number is a relative standard, not an absolute measure. The normalisation of the IQ scores makes them fall comfortably around a normal distribution curve, with the mean values always at 100.

    I don't think we can reach any consensus on genetic contribution since prenatal nutrition, womb learning, exposure, diet and stimulation are also covariates that have unknown and possibly confounding effects.
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    Most estimates on the genetic component of intelligence have been made using twin studies. In fact, I got the 50 - 60% number from a quote by Robert Plomin, who's famous for twin studies. For example, identical twins separated at birth have the same genes but different environments; and paternal twins raised together probably have more or the less the same developing environment, at least for the first few years of their lives and certainly in the womb, so they have different genes but the same environment. Obviously it's not a perfect system for a variety of reasons, but it's as controlled as you can get these days with human studies.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  8. #7 Re: Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue_cristal
    In developed countries like UK , most people ( middle class ) receive almost the same type of education ( with he exception of the upper class ) and yet only a minority has high levels of all types of intelligence ( logic-mathematic, creativity, intuition, etc ). Only a minority have interest on matters that demand high intellectual skills like scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, etc.

    1) In your opinion, in an almost homogeneous educational system, which factors contribute the most for the generation of this small elite of intellectuals ? Genetic and biologic developmental differences –or- different types of upbringing and educational models?

    2) If you consider that both genetic/developmental and upbringing/education influence the outcome, which percentage you credit to each of them accordingly to your educated guess or reliable evidence ?[/b]
    The assumption is that education leads to higher intelligence. I've seen no such reports. I have seen research that shows you can raise the IQ of a person by putting him in a special program. The same report also stated that the increase in IQ disappeared when these children were put back into the normal educational program.

    Of course, I have to note here now that intelligence does not equal IQ.

    Other studies show that the genetic component of intelligence lies within the range of 30-60% influence depending on which report you believe in. In the worst case scenario you only have 30% influence of the genetic component and 70% environmental. Note that environmental DOES NOT equal educational environment. It simply means all of the environmental influences. The womb, nutrition, stimulation of the brain, experience, education, disease, etc.

    Note that IQ mainly measures how well you will do in the Educational system. It doesn't really measure intelligence as such. Just the potential that there is that you do well in the western orientated educational program.

    Some of the factors that really matter for the development of the brain and therefore intelligence are the environment of the womb, early development as a child and maintenance of the brain.

    Technically it is impossible for all of us to be brilliant since brilliance would then be the norm, and hence normal. And since we are not clones, there will always be variation in genetics, and in environment. Variation means that brilliance will exist. And so will stupidity. And sometimes brilliant stupidity or stupid brilliance.
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    Last I recall from my genetics class this past summer is that there are no genes that code for 'intelligence', only those continuous traits that can affect it. I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that these are the genetic components that can help mold 'intelligence'. I would also agree that fetal development is crucial to intelligence as well as continuous nutrition during the development of a human being. As always, eating well, exercise, and consistently challenging the brain can lead not so much to increased 'intelligence' but to allowing yourself to have a more healthy mind that can adequately access the information needed to perform well that would perhaps in the end consider you more 'intelligent'.
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  10. #9  
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    Why are "brilliant" people in the minority? That's like asking why exceptions are exceptional.

    "Brilliance" is an attribute assigned to the "extraordinary" (meaning "out of the ordinary"). Using IQ as an example, if suddenly the average IQ should jump to 200, then "brilliance" would be redefined by looking at even higher IQ's. Extreme outliers are few in number in any natural distribution. In any event...

    ...brilliant people are a minority by definition!

    DUH!

    :-D

    To comment on the actual question, the correlation between education and intelligence is far stronger than any perceived correlation between genes and intelligence. That doesn't mean genes don't matter... they do, especially in extreme cases like mental illnesses. However, intelligence is primarily a question of education and environment.
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    It works the same for the existence of intelligent peeps, too.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    To comment on the actual question, the correlation between education and intelligence is far stronger than any perceived correlation between genes and intelligence. That doesn't mean genes don't matter... they do, especially in extreme cases like mental illnesses. However, intelligence is primarily a question of education and environment.
    It's also important to remember that all humans share about 99.9% of their DNA. So while genes may play a relatively large role in determining intelligence in general, they probably play less of a role in determining the variance in intelligence across individuals. That variance probably has more of an environmental component to it.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
    cause if it was the majority, it would be the norm
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    exactly - any bell curve will have its outliers which by comparison with the norm are either called stupid or brilliant
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Purely looking at IQ values doesn't say a thing about a persons mental capacities. It's merely a correlation.

    Intelligence and Creativity determine your affinity to process information properly thus harvesting knowledge. Also knowledge is an important pool to feedback to and compare, filter useful info from to use for the matter at hand.
    But these factors are nothing. They are all meaningless. The most important variable is still left out.
    Willpower or Discipline is, to me, the most important of all factors that make you brilliant. Ofcourse a born retard would have troubles here so you have to have a good start given to you by your parents (genetics).
    The never ending hunger to learn and train your mental abilities. Brilliant people are wise and know as a kid that the choices they make, make them the man they will be in years to come. Their discipline to not make the same mistakes and end up as a mediocrity like the class bully, the slacker only wanting to play games, name it. Brilliant minds have a dream and they are so disciplined that their dreams mean more than for example the desire to know what is wrong (curiosity, wanting to be popular by smoking or all other silly(?) examples).
    To me Brilliant minds are a minority because humans often tend to make the easy way, get a life which they can control easily. Cruise control through life. Get a simple job with no complexities and just wanting to be normal and live life getting the most fun out of it. Brilliant minds are often a bit autistic always chasing the dream to be a scientist and do self studies, whereas other kids rather go swimming or whatever it is kids do.
    Some kids are addicted to videogames but I think Brilliant minds are addicted to learning. The never ending desire to harvest knowledge as fast as possible. I know a lot of people but most humans I know are just mediocrities wanting to be popular and social and understood by others easily. To become brilliant takes a bit of courage to take some distance from the mainstream of where 'normal humans(mediocrities)' walk their path of life. It takes courage to become a bit different and thus giving up a bit on social life.
    To most the choice is to be normal like the rest and follow the herd if you will. That is why, I think, brilliant minds are mediocrities.
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    That is why, I think, brilliant minds are minorities.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazyrichie
    That is why, I think, brilliant minds are mediocrities.
    Freudian slip?

    I wouldn't be presumptuous enough to answer this question, but I do suspect that many of the world's great thinkers didn't prescribe to this notion of supreme discipline.

    I think you'll find that a lot of brilliant minds were also brilliant drinkers, for one thing. Some spent substantial portions of their time preoccupied by their own insanity. Some were happily married and had very active social lives.
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  18. #17  
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    Youre right. I wasn't saying one way or the other. They were merely examples (albeit silly ones).

    p.s. i somehow knew people would fall over that flaw It was a freudian slip yes :P happens to me a lot
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?
    cause if it was the majority, it would be the norm
    I think this pretty much sums it up.
    Whence comes this logic: no evidence = false?

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