Here are a couple of extracts from chapter 2 of my new book 'Embracing the Wide Sky: A Tour Across the Horizons of the Mind'. This chapter deals with the topic of intelligence/iq and the nature of talent/genius.
"If intelligence is, as I contend, a concept too subtle and nebulous to ‘prove’ in any scientific way, what are we then to make of the phenomenon of IQ testing? To help me answer this question, I decided to undergo the process myself – the first time I have ever had my ‘IQ score’ assessed. The test was supervised by a qualified educational psychologist, using a series of one-on-one tasks taken from the most commonly used evaluation of adult intelligence – the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)..."
(From a later section in the chapter:)
"Controversies over the nature of intelligence also extend to its origins: Are examples of remarkable talent or giftedness the result of nature or nurture (or both)? The debate has raged for decades, polarising public and scientific opinion in good part because the stakes are so high, with the different views leading to starkly different social and political implications. If, for example, a person’s talents are determined by his genes then there is little we can do to improve on the minds we are born with. On the other hand, if environmental factors are what count, then education, encouragement, and access to opportunity are more important than who an individual’s parents or grandparents are."
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