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Old January 1st, 2018, 09:41 AM   #1
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Is Intelligence Mostly Innate or Nurtured?

Is Intelligence Mostly Innate or Nurtured?

Now, it is near common knowledge that there is some level of intricate interplay between innate abilities and nurturing. However, which one plays a larger role? Please post your thoughts on the side that you feel is more responsible for various levels of intelligence in the Human population. If you are of the persuasion that it is 50-50, than please come down on either side or both sides of the debate when posting. Also, do you object to the framing of this question?--and rather feel that there is more to be discussed than explored here? Please indicate as such if you deem this to be the case while stating your reasoning.

Note: We are strictly discussing Human intelligence, as the innate differences between a Human and a frog are rather obvious/trivial to reasonably conclude/suppose.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 10:06 AM   #2
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Intelligence is innate. However, there are different types of intelligence I think. Some people have great spatial orientation/relationship capabilities but lesser memory capability for example. A great deficit in either would remove one from the "intelligent" category of course but still, within that category there can be differences. And then there is the complication of whether a vivid imagination leading to the ability to write a great novel or paint a great picture is a subset of intelligence.

Next, even in these types of subdivisions, is it truly innate abilities or is it a matter of personal preference as to which will be concentrated on and expressed. Might it be that the person who appears to not be able to memorize as much as another but shows high intelligence in other areas is just too bored with memorization to put any effort into it.

B U T - of course, if you take a person at any level of intellect and teach them and train them and expose them to science and philosophy and history they will become greater achievers in most cases.

However, you can take a sub 100 IQ individual and train him to do a competent even relatively complex job but you can't make another Stephen Hawking out of him, just like you won't see a 150 IQ individual doing really stupid things.
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Old February 3rd, 2018, 07:59 AM   #3
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A person who is uneducated is very much analogous to stating that they lack physical training. Therefore, their mind is lacks intelligence in a similar manner as ones body would lack strength. Like a muscle, the brain adapts to stimulation and atrophies in the absence of it.

Now in regards to historical figures and intelligence, I will reference a previous post of mine on a separate Forum concerning a connected topic (in hopes that this will contribute to the discussion here):

Now, we need to distinguish between the "hardware" and "software" involved in Human intelligence.

Everybody is born with "hardware" on a spectrum from "lowest grade" to "highest grade", much like height for instance--which is (nearly) entirely out of their own control. Now, unlike height (actually, height can be fiddled with a bit), even the "hardware" can be molded in the positive or negative direction to relevant (although highly constrained) degrees due to neuroplasticity (and Frontal Lobe development or failure to become developed).

As for "software", this is tremendously reliant upon environmental factors and stimuli--including education, study time, ect. ect. Now, there is extremely high reason to believe that average range Human "hardware" is compatible with "software" upgrades beyond what we can currently imagine. That is, we have nowhere near "maxed out". For instance, it is well understood that the modern average Physics Graduate student (who is proficient in their studies) understands Relativity better than Einstein himself did. Moreover, Archimedes, for his time (ca. 287-212 BCE), was an unprecedented genius of the highest degree and it is well understood now that an individual with a BA/BS in Mathematics (that is proficient in the area) has knowledge & abilities so far above Archimedes that if they were to enter a time machine and go back to converse with him, Archimedes would be flabbergasted & almost definitely would struggle mightily to keep up--if he could at all. Archimedes (and others of his time) may well be tempted to describe such a Time Traveler as a "genius", although we know how silly & off the mark this claim would be. Hence, there are differing perspectives at work here as well, and if the Scientific Enterprise continues for centuries to millennia into Humanities future, this dynamic is bound to continue to unfold. This is a strong basis for hope--if humanity is able to "get our act together", then the potential is stupendous.

Also, Einstein (or Newton, ect) would have never been Einstein if it weren't for the extreme grit & tenacity for which they approached problems. Einstein worked on General Relativity continuously for 10 years straight, and in later life ultimately was on his deathbed writing down equations until he died. The idea that it was simply a "gift" is absurd--Newton, Einstein, and others are amongst the hardest-working people who have ever lived (aside from forced labor, that is). This is why comparisons between say Michael Jordan (or other "top" athletes) and Albert Einstein, ect. are truly infuriatingly stupid (amongst many other reasons).

Now, Newton & Einstein were clearly aberrations in the "high-grade Hardware" they were born with--and people with such "hardware" (to that level) seem to be extremely rare indeed (in fact, statistically infinitesimal). However, one should note that they still put in a tremendous amount of work in order to become the top "Genius" level people we know them as today--or else we (likely) would never have known them at all.
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Old February 3rd, 2018, 09:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xMathFanx View Post
Is Intelligence Mostly Innate or Nurtured?

Now, it is near common knowledge that there is some level of intricate interplay between innate abilities and nurturing. However, which one plays a larger role? Please post your thoughts on the side that you feel is more responsible for various levels of intelligence in the Human population. If you are of the persuasion that it is 50-50, than please come down on either side or both sides of the debate when posting. Also, do you object to the framing of this question?--and rather feel that there is more to be discussed than explored here? Please indicate as such if you deem this to be the case while stating your reasoning.

Note: We are strictly discussing Human intelligence, as the innate differences between a Human and a frog are rather obvious/trivial to reasonably conclude/suppose.
It is mostly nurtured...since we come into this world with an undeveloped brain, and the brain is not even fully developed until we're in our early 20's...but don't tell that to rightwing determinists like libertarians and conservatives, who want to justify whatever station in life people occupy in our increasingly hierachical system.

Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity and see how elastic and changeable (for better and worse) the human brain is, and all of the arguments that IQ scores define intelligence and determine people's potentials from generation to generation and can be used to racially and culturally categorize worthy and unworthy "races," is revealed to be conclusion-driven research.
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Old February 8th, 2018, 08:07 AM   #5
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I agree nurture is the most important. Stopping at saying this is so for humans without saying it is also so for other animals, makes no sense to me. A thorough-bred horse has little value without training. It is observed among hyena and chimps, the alpha animals is trained for that position. It is very much about social position. Those in the royal line are like thorough-bred horses, with no value unless well trained.

Parents who can give their children advantages will have children who can do better than children who do not get advantages. Head Start is all about dealing with that reality and giving poor children some advantage, but we are falling way short of understanding the bigger picture. It is not just about teaching reading skills, but also life skills, and we are not doing the job that needs to be done. The rich who can provide tutors for their children and professional writers to prepare college entrance papers will certainly have advantages low-income parents cannot give their children. But it is more than this. A child who grows up enjoying fine, high-class restaurants will do better than a child who eats at McDonald's but never experiences high-class restaurants. The difference is an important difference in identity and the idea of where one fits into the larger society and how one needs to behave to hold that position.

Last edited by Athena; February 8th, 2018 at 08:09 AM.
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Old February 8th, 2018, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RNG View Post
Intelligence is innate. However, there are different types of intelligence I think. Some people have great spatial orientation/relationship capabilities but lesser memory capability for example. A great deficit in either would remove one from the "intelligent" category of course but still, within that category there can be differences. And then there is the complication of whether a vivid imagination leading to the ability to write a great novel or paint a great picture is a subset of intelligence.

Next, even in these types of subdivisions, is it truly innate abilities or is it a matter of personal preference as to which will be concentrated on and expressed. Might it be that the person who appears to not be able to memorize as much as another but shows high intelligence in other areas is just too bored with memorization to put any effort into it.

B U T - of course, if you take a person at any level of intellect and teach them and train them and expose them to science and philosophy and history they will become greater achievers in most cases.

However, you can take a sub 100 IQ individual and train him to do a competent even relatively complex job but you can't make another Stephen Hawking out of him, just like you won't see a 150 IQ individual doing really stupid things.

Oh yes, you will see 150 IQ people doing really stupid things. Plenty of these people need someone to care for them because they do not do well with mundane thinking and taking care of themselves. In some cases, religious or superstitious beliefs can be a serious problem for them. Here is a tragic case of that, but for sure he is not the only one. Especially math geniuses seem to have a problem managing life.

Quote:
The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Mathematician's Life Comes To The ...
http://defendingthetruth.com/science...-comes-movies/
The movie The Man Who Knew Infinity is about Srinivasa Ramanujan, who is generally viewed by mathematicians as one of the two most romantic figures in our discipline. (I shall say more about the other romantic later.) Ramanujan (1887–1920) was born and died, aged just 32, in Southern India.
But in one of the most ...
Quote:
A Beautiful Mind (film) - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Beautiful_Mind_(film)
A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva Goldsman. It was inspired by a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1998 book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar. The film ...
‎A Beautiful Mind (soundtrack) ‎John Forbes Nash Jr. ‎Vivien Cardone
John Nash....

Quote:
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/25/s...ies-at-86.html
But early in 1959, with his wife pregnant with their son, John, Dr. Nash began to unravel. His brilliance turned malignant, leading him into a landscape of paranoia and delusion, and in April he was hospitalized at McLean Hospital, outside Boston, sharing the psychiatric ward with, among others, the poet Robert Lowell.

It was the first step of a steep decline. There were more hospitalizations. Dr. Nash was injected with insulin and fled for a while to Europe, sending cryptic postcards to colleagues and family members. For many years he roamed the Princeton campus, a lonely figure scribbling unintelligible formulas on the same blackboards in Fine Hall on which he had once demonstrated startling mathematical feats.

Last edited by Athena; February 8th, 2018 at 08:27 AM.
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