Skip to comments.Theories of Multiple Intelligence
Posted on 05/02/2009 5:59:31 PM PDT by coloradan
The mathematical technique called factor analysis was invented by psychologists specifically to answer the age old question, "Is there more than one kind of intelligence?" We now know that there are two: one called fluid g, measured by culture fair tests such as the Raven Progressive Matrices or the LAIT, and another called crystallized g, measured by culture loaded tests like the Concept Mastery Test or the Miller Analogies Test. What we call g has been defined as the ability to "educe relations and correlates," or in more everyday terms, the abilities for inductive ("relations") and deductive ("correlates") reasoning. Culture fair tests measure the ability to educe relations and correlates using abstract diagrams, and other material that requires only a minimum of formal learning. Culture loaded tests measure the ability to educe relations and correlates using learned and over learned material, such as vocabulary, algorithms for arithmetic or multiplication, recognition of common objects and their uses, etc. Ordinary IQ tests measure both kinds of intelligence, but not necessarily to the same degree; they are generally biased in favor of crystallized g.
The currently accepted relationship between these two kinds of ability is called the investment theory of intelligence. It says, in effect, that we are all born with a certain raw ability, or the eduction of relations and correlates, which can be measured with culture fair tests. As we get older, we "invest" this fluid g in certain kinds of judgment skills, such as those involved in doing a mathematical word problem, or parsing a sentence. When we are young, the theory goes, our formal educations are so much alike that we all invest our fluid g in much the same kinds of judgment skills. That means that our fluid intelligence and our crystallized intelligence are so similar at an early age that it's almost impossible to tell them apart. After we leave school, however, we all begin to invest our fluid g abilities in different things. Measures of fluid g and crystallized g begin to draw apart. Those that invest their fluid g in school-like activities, such as accounting or law, continue to show intellectual growth on conventional (crystallized) IQ tests. Those that put their intelligence to work in other ways, such as becoming ranchers or artists, will not show the same intellectual growth, and may even show a decline in IQ on conventional measures of intelligence.
Many years ago, Mensa was faced by a serious policy decision about the kind of intelligence that it wanted to select for. It turned out that three out of four prospective members who were selected using a culture fair test could not pass a culture loaded test. At the same time, it also turned out that three out of four prospective members who could pass a culture loaded test could not pass a culture fair test. In the end, Mensa chose to use culture loaded tests exclusively in selecting its members. Almost all other high IQ societies, with the exception of Four Sigma and Triple Nine, have followed suit. As a consequence, there are now three qualitatively different kinds of high IQ societies extant. One kind, represented by Four-Sigma and most of the membership of the Triple Nine Society, was recruited with the LAIT--a culture fair test--and is made up mostly of people gifted with fluid intelligence. A second kind, represented by Mensa, Intertel and ISPE, was recruited by more conventional tests, and is made up of those gifted primarily with crystallized intelligence. Some individuals, however, have joined or qualified for membership in both kinds of societies, and are about equally gifted with both kinds of ability. A large minority of Triple Nine members, as well as a majority of those in Prometheus, appear to belong in this category.
None of this would matter except that each kind of ability brings with it its own kind of cognitive style, its own kind of personality, and its own set of values. In fact, the contrast between persons gifted with fluid g and those gifted with crystallized g is so sharp that, with a little practice, most people find that they can learn to tell them apart at a glance. Those gifted with fluid g (LAIT) tend to be socially retiring, independent of the good opinion of others, analytical, interested in theoretical and scientific problems, and to dislike rigid systematization and routine. Those gifted primarily with crystallized g (conventional tests) tend to be sociable, quick in reactions, artistic, and to dislike logical and theoretical problems. And then there are those who are equally gifted with both kinds of ability, and tend to be mixtures of all these qualities--sometimes paradoxically so: Prometheans tend to be paradoxical.
The discovery that there are really two kinds of intelligence was made by Raymond B. Cattell in 1940, and was repeatedly confirmed in the following years. The issue of multiple intelligence, consequently, should have been considered resolved decades ago. Nevertheless, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in these theories among some younger psychometricians who either do not understand factor analysis, or simply refuse to accept its results. One such theorist is Howard Gardner.
Gardner postulates the existence of seven different intelligences: linguistic, musical, logical-mathematical, spatial, body-kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. He says that he is "...convinced of the existence of an intelligence to the extent that it can be found in relative isolation in special populations (or absent in isolation in otherwise normal populations); to the extent that it may become highly developed in specific individuals or in specific cultures; and to the extent that psychometricians, experimental researchers, and/or experts in particular disciplines can posit core abilities that, in effect, define the intelligence. (Frames of Mind, p. 9.) In defense of his seven intelligences, Gardner offers evidence drawn from studies of "...prodigies, gifted individuals, brain-damaged patients, idiot savants, normal children, normal adults, experts in different lines of work, and individuals from diverse cultures." (ibid.) In short, he offers virtually no statistical or psychometric support for his thesis, but relies instead almost completely on a patchwork of anecdotes and idiosyncratic impressions. The most troubling aspect of Gardner's work is that his theory is at least partially testable with currently available psychological instruments, and yet he makes no effort to obtain the necessary proof. It's true that we have no test for intrapersonal intelligence or body-kinesthetic intelligence, and the only test of interpersonal intelligence available was developed for the mentally retarded (the Vineland Social Maturity Scale), but tests do exist for all the other "intelligences" Gardner postulates. Why doesn't he use them to obtain the appropriate correlations, factor analyze them, and, then show that these abilities are in fact co-equal intelligences? The obvious answer is that Gardner already knows that they aren't. He says on page 284 of Frames of Mind:
"And what of my use of the loaded term 'intelligence'? As hinted at earlier, part of the motivation for using this term is my desire to put forth a more viable model of intelligence: I seek to replace the current, largely discredited notion of intelligence as a single inherited trait (or set of traits) which can be reliably assessed through an hour-long interview or a paper and pencil test. But it should be said here as well that nothing much hangs on the particular use of this term, and I would be satisfied to substitute such phrases as 'intellectual competences,' 'thought processes,' 'cognitive capacities,' 'cognitive skills,' 'forms of knowledge,' or other cognate mentalistic terminology. What is crucial is not the label but, rather, the conception: that individuals have a number of domains of potential intellectual competence which they are in the position to develop, if they are normal and if the appropriate stimulating factors are available."
No competent psychometrician has ever claimed that an intelligence test measured all mental abilities. No competent psychometrician has ever claimed that some of the abilities left out of intelligence tests aren't valuable. What he would claim is that an ability must meet certain other requirements before it merits being called intelligence. In the first place, it must be a mental ability, which leaves out Gardner's body-kinesthetic intelligence. In the second place, it must be an ability. This means that it must be objectively observable under standardized conditions, and that there must be objective criterion of better-worse performance. This seems to leave out Gardner's intrapersonal intelligence. How can one measure a person's capacity for self-understanding? How could you tell the difference between self-understanding and self-deception? And aren't these attributes of personality, in any event?
The most important objection that a psychometrician would offer, however, is that Gardner is attempting to jettison the criterion of "the indifference of the indicator". This principle was enunciated by Charles E. Spearman in 1923, and says, in effect, that the specific content of an item in an intelligence test is unimportant, so long as all persons taking the test understand it. No item can be without content, of course, but the principle emphasizes that the content of an item or a test is merely the vehicle for measuring g, and is unimportant in itself. That's why a test of verbal analogies can be used to estimate an individual's mathematical ability. Or why a test of number series can be used to predict a person's ability to write poetry or solve anagrams. Thats why intelligence is conceived to be a general ability, and why it's given the symbol g. Most of Gardner's "intelligences" are content specific, and not general abilities at all. (It may seem at first glance that the existence of fluid g and crystallized g are violations of the same principle, but this is a misunderstanding. The distinction between culture fair tests and culture loaded tests is often mistakenly thought to be the same as the distinction between nonverbal tests and verbal tests. This, however, is simply not the case. Verbal items (or any other kind of item) can be used, in principle, to measure either fluid g or crystallized g, depending on how much prior knowledge is necessary to understand the item. The verbal items on the LAIT, for example, are very nearly pure measures of fluid g. They make little demand on a person's verbal knowledge, but large demands on his ability to "educe relations.") The fact is that Gardner is little more than an IQ basher. His research on computational modules has merit and promises to be an important contribution to cognitive science, but it in no way disproves the existence of a general cognitive ability, nor does it justify his assertion that IO tests have been largely discredited. Nothing could be further from the truth. As with many other IQ bashers, he deliberately attempts to minimize the scope of what intelligence tests can do. He tries to present the picture that IQ tests can only predict school-like performance, and that none too well. The reality is that a score obtained from a conventional IQ test can be used to predict performance in a profusion of activities outside the classroom, many of them bearing only the slightest resemblance to bookish or puzzle solving behavior. As evidence for this, here is a partial list of activities (and other qualities) that are positively or negatively associated with IQ.
* Achievement motivation
* Analytic style
* Anorexia nervosa
* Aptitudes: cognitive abilities; 'abstractness' of inteprative complexity
* Artistic preferences and abilities
* Creativity, fluency
* Dietary preferences (low-sugar, low-fat)
* Educational attainment
* Eminence, genius
* Emotional sensitivity
* Extra-curricular attainments
* Health, fitness, longevity
* Humor, sense of
* Interests, breadth and depth
* Involvement in school activities
* Learning ability
* Linguistic abilities (including spelling)
* Logical abilities
* Marital partner, choice of
* Media preferences (newspapers, TV channels)
* Migration (voluntary)
* Military rank
* Moral reasoning and development
* Motor skills
* Musical preferences and abilities
* Occupational status
* Occupational success
* Perceptual abilities (for briefly-presented material)
* Piaget-type abilities
* Practical knowledge
* Psychotherapy, response to
* Reading ability
* Regional differences
* Social skills
* Socio-economic status of origin (parental)
* Socio-economic status (achieved)
* Sports participation
* Supermarket shopping ability
* Talking speed
* Values, attitudes
* Conservatism (of social views)
* Hysteria vs other neurosis
* Infant mortality
* Racial prejudice
* Reaction times
* Weight height ratio, obesity
The data in these tables were obtained from studies using conventional (crystallized) intelligence tests. Comparable data for culture fair (fluid) intelligence tests is more meager, partly because culture fair tests haven't existed as long, and partly because much less practical use has been made of them. One useful goal that the Four Sigma and Triple Nine Societies might adopt would be to provide the same kind of validation studies for culture fair tests like the LAIT that already exist for conventional tests. Perhaps tests of fluid intelligence would be utilized more if we knew more about them. Four Sigma and Triple Nine are in a unique position to help provide that knowledge.
Another multiple intelligence theorist is Robert J. Sternberg of Yale University (Beyond IQ; Intelligence Applied; Conceptions of Giftedness; Practical Intelligence: Nature and Origins of Competence in the Everyday World). Like Howard Gardner, Sternberg wants to break intelligence down into its component parts; unlike Gardner, however, Sternberg may actually have discovered one or more new kinds of intelligence. He calls his new theory the triarchic theory of intelligence because, as the term suggests, he believes that he has identified three kinds of intelligence: componential, experiential and contextual.
Componential: This is intelligence as conventional IQ tests measure it. It's called componential intelligence because Sternberg found a way to analyze the thought processes involved in solving IQ test items into components and metacomponents. He not only studied how a person solves an item, but also how a person chooses the strategy he does when attempting an item. People who are good at these things have high IQs, and are especially acute at analyzing arguments, or in situations calling for critical thinking. They are the typical members of the high IQ societies.
Experiential: This is the ability to have new insights. Traditional methods of studying intelligence concentrate on what's going on inside a person's head. Sternberg's approach to insight ability focused on finding out how experience mediated one's internal, mental world, and how one's internal world changed one's experiences. When he and his graduate student Janet E. Davidson began studying insight ability, they found that nobody knew what it was because every one had assumed that it was only one thing. Sternberg and Davidson soon discovered that there are three insight abilities, which they called selective encoding, selective combination and selective comparison.
Selective encoding is the ability to focus on the really critical information in a problem. When one of Sir Alexander Flemings bacterial experiments was spoiled by a mold, he recognized that the mold's ability to kill the bacteria was more important than his ruined experiment. His ability to see the implications of the accident eventually lead to the development of penicillin.
Selective combination is the ability to put information together to get the big picture. Many times the facts in the case may be available to everyone, but it's only the insightful person who can combine them into a meaningful new pattern. The Darwinian theory of evolution is a good example of selective combination. The facts were available to many people, but only Darwin and Wallace saw how they fit together.
Selective comparison is the ability to see an old thing in a new way, or a new thing in an old way. When the tyrant of Syracuse suspected that his goldsmith had cheated him when making a gold crown, he asked Archimedes to find out if the crown really was made of pure gold, but forbade him to destroy it in the process. Archimedes solved the problem when he suddenly realized that the water overflowing from his bathtub when he stepped into it demonstrated a method of measuring the volume, and thereby the density, of any irregularly shaped object. He saw that if the density of the crown was different from that of an equal weight of gold, then the crown had to be an alloy. He immediately leaped from his bathtub, and ran through the streets naked, yelling, "Eureka!, I've found it!" (Having insights tends to do that to people.)
Contextual: This is the ability more commonly called street smart. It's learning how to play the game, and learning how to manipulate the environment. Most definitions of intelligence include environmental adaptability in them, but ordinary IQ tests don't measure this very well. Sternberg calls this kind of ability contextual because it involves tacit learning. This is knowledge that is not explicitly expressed or taught, but is only implied or indicated. It has to be learned directly from one's environmental context. People who are good at this tend to come out on top in almost any real world situation, even if they are not especially intelligent in terms of IQ or insight. The head of General Motors or the President of the United States are good examples of people with this kind of ability. The Psychological Corporation in San Antonio, Texas, is now developing the Sternberg Multidimensional Abilities Test. It will be based completely on Sternberg's triarchic theory, and will provide measurements of all three intellectual abilities. Once published, studies using this test will quickly tell us if Sternberg's experiential and contextual abilities genuinely qualify as new intelligences. On the face of it, there's good reason to believe that his experiential (insight) ability has a good chance. It is a mental ability, it is a mental ability, and it appears to meet the principle of the indifference of the indicator; all good signs. The status of Sternberg's contextual ability is harder to evaluate, but in any event, we will soon know; factor analysis will tell the tale.
Interpreting the results of a factor analysis is a bit like attempting to read the entrails of a chicken, as the ancient Roman priests once did to discover the will of the gods. It is more difficult than actually carrying out the mathematical procedures, which are quite difficult in themselves. It takes a lot of practice, and even a skilled interpreter can easily go wrong. The trickiest part of the problem, but also the most fun, is naming the factors that the procedure reveals. Sometimes factors can't be characterized verbally at all. The safest procedure, and one often followed in the investigation of intelligence, is to assign letters to the factors discovered instead of just names. This is why the general factor is called g, and why special factors such as verbal comprehension is called v, verbal fluency called w, spatial ability called k, and so on. How does an investigator tell if he has discovered a g factor? The rule of thumb is that he has found a g when one of his factors accounts for at least twice as much variance as any other factor in the same analysis. In the case of intelligence tests, it usually turns out that one factor alone accounts for more of the variance than all the other factors combined. What is often misunderstood by laymen, and sometimes forgotten even by experts, is that all a factor analysis can do is cut up the data in a mathematically parsimonious way. In order to detect a factor, at least two of the tests in the battery must load on that factor. If there aren't two tests in a battery that load on verbal ability, for example, no verbal factor will be uncovered. That's why it took so long to discover that there were two g factors, fluid and crystallized. Conventional IQ tests measure both kinds of intelligence, but the loadings on fluid g are so small that at first it took a special trick to identify it. Once Cattell suspected its existence, he made up new tests that loaded heavily on fluid g, and used them to prove that there definitely was another form of intelligence than that measured by conventional IQ tests. A similar situation presently exists with reference to the new theories of multiple intelligence. It may be that there really is a third form of intelligence not yet confirmed simply because no test has yet been invented to measure it. As things stand now, only fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence are definitely known to exist. I joined the high IQ societies looking for people with strong insight abilities. Instead, I found an army of logical analysts who wanted to nitpick everything to death. I really shouldn't have been surprised at this, as this was the very quality they were originally selected for. Nevertheless, I not only felt disappointed with the high IQ societies, I also felt I didn't belong in them despite my IQ. The fact is, I don't enjoy arguments of any kind, and logical puzzles bore me. What I do enjoy, more than I can say, are insight puzzles like this one:
A hunter went hunting for bear. He walked five miles east of camp, but couldn't find any game. So he walked five miles north, where he saw a bear and shot it. Then he walked five miles directly back to camp. What color was the bear?
It is precisely items of this kind that Sternberg is using to construct his test of experiential (insight) intelligence. I dont know if his test will turn out to be a measure of a genuinely new kind of intelligence, or whether it will turn out to be a special factor like verbal fluency, and frankly I don't care. What I know for certain is that whichever way it turns out, it's of immense personal importance to me. You see, it's the source of almost all of the essays I write for the high IQ societies. (But not this one, however.) I know from personal experience that the three kinds of insights identified by Sternberg and Davidson really do exist, because I use them all the time. I can even point to specific essays I've written and tell you which kind of insight sparked it. I don't claim that my insights are profound, only that I seem to have a lot of them, and that most of my readers seem to find them interesting. I am not, of course, the only individual in the high IQ societies who writes this kind of essay, but we do seem to be spread exceedingly thin. So thin, in fact, that I really don't believe it. I think there are many more people with this "knack" in the high IQ societies than have ever appeared in the journals. I think we see so few of them because most of them realize what kind of harsh treatment new ideas receive in the journals, and don't want to run that gauntlet themselves. And to be quite candid, I can't say I blame them very much.
I get so tired of this. Reality consists of what we have developed the ability to measure. (Or more accurately, what we believe we can measure.)
If we cannot measure it, it does not exist. This is remarkably like looking for your car keys under the streetlight even though you dropped them in the shadow.
Brain drain read........;o)
I like it !
Lol, I quit Mensa... because they were boring!
IQ tests measure something. But what?
Why is it that people who do very well on verbal analogies tend to do well on tests like the Raven’s Progressive Matricies, an example of which was posted above?
Well, the only condition for membership in the Prometheus Society is an IQ of rarity 1/30,000 or more, or IQ above >~160. There’s also the Triple Nine Society (1/1000 rarity, IQ >~150, and the Mega Society, rarity 1/1,000,000, or IQ >~176.) If you found Mensa boring, maybe one of these others is just a barrel of monkeys in comparison.
With you I can believe that ..........almost done with the review my friend.
...long 5 weeks of interference I have to apologize for !
“If we cannot measure it, it does not exist.”
Shirley you jest.
I agree that IQ tests measure something.
But is it intelligence? Intelligence tends to be defined in practice as what is measured by IQ tests, as good an example of circular reasoning as I can think of.
FWIW, I signed up for Mensa some years ago. Took two IQ tests, and they came back with an over 40 point difference. Turned out the higher one was a test where the tester read a long complex essay about an obscure subject, in this case priests of the classical Greek (pagan) religion, and then I answered a lot of questions about the subject.
I guess I aced that one. What nobody asked me about was my reading habits. I’d read a book on the subject about a week before and could probably have gotten about the same IQ score if they hadn’t read me the essay!
BTW, attending Mensa meetings will do a dandy job of convincing a person that if IQ measure intelligence there are a lot of stupid intelligent people out there, or at least at Mensa meetings!
LOL. It appears I qualify for the Prometheus Society and dang near for the Mega Society.
See post #11 for the reason why.
It’s not so much a case of circular reasoning as it is a matter of definition: intelligence is defined as whatever it is that IQ tests measure. But, (in the article) you can see that there are a bunch of things that correlate (and that anti-correlate) with IQ, that seem not directly related to whatever it is that IQ tests measure.
I need to see what my scores are pout after going through The heart-lung machine for blood circulation
The correct answer is 42.
I find it hard to value the opinion of an writer upon this subject who confuses fundamental terms. As anyone with any sort of classical education would know, these terms are reversed. Induction evaluates correlations and deduction evaluates relationships.
The use of strongly correlating positives to indicate a likely truth is the very meat of the inductive process. If a brief review of recorded rainfall fairly matches my personal recollection of coming home to find a wet front lawn, then tomorrow's discovery of a wet lawn would, inductively, suggest that there had been rain (though there is a remote possibility that the wife watered the lawn). Pure induction does not consider relationship. The best demonstrative example to which I can point is Al Gore's famous CO2 chart. He graphically plots a parallel between CO2 levels and global temperatures without considering the relationship (causative, with CO2 chasing temperature). He uses an inductive argument to suggest a relationship which his induction does not actually indicate. Such is the nature of the inductive method.
Deduction, on the other hand, consists of describing and evaluating the relationship of the various objects of study through a series of propositions. The discharge of a deductive argument, in fact, is a process of evaluating the relationships existing among the propositions themselves. If I know, priori, that there is a causative relationship between water and grass such that water makes grass grow (oversimplified of the purpose of argument), then the evaluation of that causative relationship by way of modus tollens (hey, it didn't rain and you didn't water the lawn - now the grass is brown) and modus ponens (I don't know if you watered the lawn or if it just rained, but the grass looks great) indicates that I should probably tell the wife to water the lawn on dry days IF I desire grass growth.
This article altogether reads as though it were written by someone with Aspergers, which it likely was.
The allegation that Mensa uses ONLY “culture-loaded” tests is simply false!
As a Mensa test Proctor, I administered a “CULTURE FAIR” test battery (3 tests) to two candidates on the morning of April 25, and a colleague tested 3 more candidates with the standard test battery in the afternoon. This was the second time I administered a CF battery this year.
We do not allow any candidates to re-take any test, but they can be admitted based on a qualifying score on any ONE of over 200 different tests of general intelligence - including the 5 that we administer.
Any candidate can elect to take the culture fair test, or (for a new $40 test fee) can take the alternate test battery for a second attempt to qualify. However, the CFB takes longer and is more expensive for us to give, so we prefer to offer the standard battery.
Please note that this article was written in 1988. Things might well have changed since then. However, I found the article laden with gems, especially including his shredding of the pop-culture “multiple intelligences” guy, Gardner.
Yeah right. The use of extended vocabularies is often to exclude those who are not in the ‘inner circle of knowledge’. This is the kind of crap that passes of ‘real science’. Linguistic specialties, game theorists, educators, politicians ....they all love to sound much brighter than any of them really are. None of them could find their rear end with both hands in their back pockets.
Things may have changed??? SUch as their definnition of terms. It is not as if they discovered a new particle or a frequency that had not been measured before. This is all smoke and mirrors pretending to be’a hard science’.
Ah, as I have long suspected, and you have now proven, the immeasurable property of sarcasm does not exist. I shall proclaim the truth of your profound insight to four corners of the world!
Attention one and all! Sarcasm ain't real! It can't be measured and doesn't exist!
I will now devote the remainder of this day's studies to the hopeful detection, by weight or volume, of humor.
Congratulations, you have achieved a 6.3 out of a possible 10.0 sarcasm score.
Things related to which criteria Mensa uses for admission may have changed - that’s what I was talking about. Psychometrics hasn’t changed much in that time, so far as I know.
You write as if you have an axe to grind. It’s my experience that smart people tend to have larger vocabularies than others, not because they want to be exclusive, but because (1) they just happen to know more words off the tops of their heads than others do, and (2) they are often more exact in what they say, and they choose words carefully to convey the precise meanings they intend, drawing from their large vocabulary.
Science is the process in which different people can get reproducible results, if the science is sound. Psychometrics may be an inexact science, but it is still a science.
It sounds like one of the tests was more standard and the other more weird. Unfortunately the weird test probably has less correlation to other tests than the other one. The three higher-level societies require high performance on standardized tests.
The bear was white.
The only place you can walk 5 miles east, 5 miles north, and return to camp is at the North Pole. (Spherical geometry versus planar geometry). At the North Pole, the bear would have to be a polar bear, and I believe they are white.
I think this is a trick question.
I’m sure you’re right.
I’m certainly not as smart as the wierd test would imply.
If the higher level societies have as high a proportion of wierdos as Mensa, I wouldn’t be interested anyway.
I have no ‘ax to grind’. I WAS a MENSA member. Drifted away to do more productive things with my life. I have an a sufficiently large vocabulary that I read the article and comprehended it without having to open another reference source. Precision is not the issue. More often than not the word choice is associated with their specific field (usually in a derived and jargon based fashion). This happens in all fields and is in fact a sign that you have failed to fully communicate with the rest of your audience. Inexact science is indeed and oxymoron.
I thought it was said that IQ is defined as whatever it is that IQ tests measure. Intelligence is a concept temporally and logically prior to the IQ test.
Aren’t intelligence tests limited by the intelligence of the people who create them?
It’s not a trick question, it’s an insight question. And yes, the bear was white.
No science is exact, that's reserved for mathematics. There are errors in any physical measurement, so you give "error bars" and statistical interpretations, even when what you are trying to measure is elementary, e.g. distance, weight, or energy. Essentially all the fundamental physical constants are themselves uncertain.
Going deeper, the quantum uncertainty principle states that your knowledge of some things are limited by your knowledge of others; fundamentally, you cannot know both the momentum and position of a particle, and neither can you know the energy associated with and the time of occurrence a certain event. Quantum mechanics is steeped with mystery and "paradoxes" (which merely depend on violating your preconceptions of how the world works to be mysterious or paradoxical). Are you going to argue that quantum mechanics is not science? The laws of QM can be written down, and different people get the same (statistical) answers to the same questions. Let me put it another way: please state something you consider to be an exact science and I will try to show that it isn't.
A reasonable criticism of Mensa is that its members spend an inordinate time doing puzzles, instead of spending their intellect on useful problems - actually this criticism was launched by the founder of Mensa.
Air pressure is what pressure gauges measure, and pressure gauges measure air pressure. But, “air pressure” as an entity in and of itself existed prior to the invention of pressure gauges, and there is nothing circular about the logic of air pressure gauges. Now, maybe the gauges aren’t all calibrated correctly, and some might be sensitive to temperature in addition to pressure, but that doesn’t invalidate the concept pressure nor of pressure gauges.
Consider a Rubik's cube: You can mess it up in a few moves a lot more easily than you yourself can solve it, in the same number of moves. How many moves deep can you solve it, using only that many moves? (That is, if it's three moves deep, can you solve it in three moves only?) Anyone can give the cube twenty random moves, but very, very few people could solve it in 20 moves, or say "This configuration is exactly 20 moves from the start."
There's more to intelligence than Rubik's cube, but I myself have thought about your question before, and I find it interesting.
Triple Nine has a pretty good discussion list.
To declare by fiat that this number is and henceforth shall be the measure of what we call intelligence isn't the idea at all, I would hope.
Intelligence isn’t as concrete a concept as “the distance between to points” or “the frequency of this signal” which have clear, objective definitions. Indeed, the whole point of the article I posted is that there are in fact several different kinds of intelligences (but which aren’t the ones popularized by Gardner).
I don’t think anyone claims that if you take a single IQ test, that the resulting numerical score is the end-all, say-all final word on the subject. Mensa, for example, accepts certain minimum scores on some 200 tests, and all you need is a qualifying score on one of them - you could fail 199 of the tests and still be admitted. The other societies, except possibly Mega, also accept a number of different tests.
Even beyond this point, some IQ tests (e.g. the WISC) gives several distinct numerical scores, with different names and interpretations (”verbal,” and “reasoning” IIRC).
This article doesn't need a 160 IQ to comprehend it, it's not designed to test the limits of anyone's verbal comprehension.
With respect to verbal items being on an IQ test, the following is from Ron Hoeflin, who has written several high-range tests including the widely-known "mega test" that appeared in Omni magazine about 15 years ago.
"A comment on verbal intelligence: Some people wonder about the value of verbal items as a measure of "intelligence," since trying such items seems to involve little or no intellectual effort. From the purely statistical standpoint, many studies repeatedly showed that verbal intelligence, including the sheer size of one's vocabulary, has one of the highest correlations of any type of test item with overall intelligence as measured by tests containing a wide variety of test items. See for example the book Intelligence in the United States, published around 1958, for ample documentation. On the purely intuitive level, one might say that learning a language, including vocabulary, is for the child like decoding hieroglyphics. The brighter child will master this decoding process far more readily than the average child. Later, of course, one can artificially boost the size of one's vocabulary, but cleverly designed tests of verbal intelligence can get around this problem by relying on somewhat atypical verbal items that one would be unlikely to pick up through a "vocabulary improvement" course but that a gifted child would be likely to have picked up if he has been reasonably inquisitive -- and isn't inquisitiveness an important part of intelligence? Finally, to use a computer analogy, a powerful computer without adequate software (analogous to verbal intelligence in humans) would be relatively unproductive no matter how powerful the hardware. -- RKH"This comment appears with his "Ultra Test" located here:
The Ultra Test is the lowest-range test of all his tests, other high-range tests including some by Hoeflin and many by others are located at Miyaguchi's site, "Uncommonly difficult IQ tests," linked at the bottom of the above page.