21 July 2013


One measure of intelligence is the intelligence quotient, or IQ.  Relying on IQ measures alone can be limiting, since "IQ tests only examine particular areas embodied by the broadest notion of 'intelligence', failing to account for certain areas which are also associated with intelligence such as creativity or emotional intelligence."

Broadly, intelligence is the relative capacity for "logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, learning, emotional knowledge, retention, planning, and problem solving."  An IQ test attempts to measure these traits, among others.  One limitation of standardized IQ tests is that they may fail to take into account regional differences in culture, in exposure to a full range of educational opportunities, or in socioeconomic background.  One can be highly intelligent, yet possess little skill or practice at test-taking.

With those caveats in mind, IQ remains the measure with which most people are familiar.

All of which is prologue to two provocative articles ~

Caution ~ studies like these provide approximate information only.  Not all conservatives are racist or stupid.  Not all liberals or atheists are brilliant.  What they do describe are the tendency of traits to cluster in association with one's political or philosophical leanings.  

Hence the title of this post.  Assume for the sake of discussion that conservatives are, broadly speaking, less intelligent than liberals ~ does that imply that one's level of intelligence leads to a choice in political stance, or does it imply that a choice in stance raises or lowers one's intelligence?  I make no assumptions, though it is tempting to think that my liberal, atheist, anti-racist views and my reasonably high IQ are no coincidence.  The question is, which came first?  Or is it a perpetual feedback loop, with intelligence informing choices, which may in turn broaden or limit intelligence?  

I know some pretty bright conservatives, and some pretty dim liberals.  Are they merely statistical anomalies amid the throngs of bright liberals and dim conservatives?  Or is the continuum more complex?  I throw this out as food for thought and discussion.  

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