Saturday, 12 May 2012 07:27

Intelligence Tests Measure The Acceptance Of This World’s Reality

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This paper points out that extant intelligence tests do in fact test people’s ability to understand science and technology; it says that those who tend to do well in science and technology are those who desire to adapt to the existences of this world.  It says that there are those who are not interested in the things of this world; it says that extant intelligence tests do not test the brand of intelligence that finds this world not interesting.  It concludes that we ought to find a way to make people loving rather than stop at merely talking about what enables them to understand and adapt to this world, a world that some people find disgusting!

Intelligence Tests Measure The Acceptance Of This World’s Reality

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Those who claim ability to measure human intelligence (see further reading) tell us that they have observed differences in how the supposed different races of mankind score on their standard intelligence tests.  They tell us that Africans (black Americans included) score lower than other races on their tests.  According to them, their claim has empirical validity and test retest reliability.

Black folks either shy away from the debate on human intelligence or react to it defensively.  Many black folks keep quiet on the controversy and hope that in the future when black folks have become more middle class, that is, more like white folks they would score the same as white folks. Some black folk react defensively and dismiss the tests as not measuring them.

Some black militant scholars call attention to the master-servant, colonial nature of the whole intelligence testing business. Whites (slave masters) measure blacks (slaves); white colonialists’ measure colonized Africans.  The powerful measure the weak; the weak do not measure the powerful.

Can you imagine black folks measuring white folk’s intelligence? Why not?  It would seem odd to you because you unconsciously assume that white folks are in a position to measure black folk’s intelligence and not the other way around. In so thinking, you have made some assumptions, such as the presupposition that whites have what it takes to measure black folk’s intelligence and not the reverse; that preconception is based on your social experience; the experience of masters knowing what is good for their slaves.

Masters and slaves is not a natural phenomenon; it is a social construct. The situation could easily be reversed and black folks become on top and at which point it would be assumed that black folk have what it takes to measure white folk’s intelligence. In other words, the whole idea of measuring folk’s intelligence is rooted in socially constructed reality not reality itself (what is reality, your opinion?).

Black folks have ideas on what constitutes intelligence but those ideas are not taken into consideration in the whole business of measuring intelligence; it is assumed that what white folks consider as intelligence is in fact what intelligence is. Who said so? The power relationship of whites and blacks say so.  Thus, radical black folks offhand dismiss white psychologists’ apparent arrogant claim of ability to measure black folk’s intelligence.

From the perspective of radical black folk, white psychologists are suffering from delusion disorder, grandiose type when they claim ability to measure black folk’s intelligence. They do not know what intelligence is, or construe intelligence from a white perspective, not black perspective. Any white psychologist who claims ability to test black folks’ intelligence is deluded and need to be placed on medications for psychosis.  (I am waiting on Africans to tell us what they mean by intelligence and how to measure it; we need to hear from them if only to use it as a counter balance to white folk’s idea of intelligence.)

In sum, middle class black folk keep quiet on the intelligence testing controversy while militant black folk dismiss white tester’s ability to test black folk’s intelligence. This is pretty much where things now stand.

In the meantime, white psychometricians go about believing that their test instruments have validity and reliability and can test folk’s intelligence. They tell us that there is a fifteen point difference in the average score of black and white folk (whites 100; blacks 85).

While they shout themselves hoarse telling the world that black folks score lower than white folks, they generally keep quiet to the fact that Asians score higher than white folks; Asians score by fifteen points more than white folks  on the average. If their thesis is that, based on IQ scores, white folks are superior to black folks then they must necessarily accept that based on IQ scores (and performance on Standardized Scholastic Tests...Asians on the average also score higher than whites and blacks here) Asians are superior to white folks!

I am supposing that many white psychologists may not agree with the hypothesis that Asians are superior to white folk; they would probably come up with reasons why Asians score higher than black folks. While their reasons may or may not be true, it is curious that generally they do not accept the reasons some black folks present as explaining the differences in black and white scores; they insist that the perceived differences is genetic (as Arthur Jensen and the writers of the Bell Curve told us).

What exactly is intelligence and do present test instruments measure it? Are there only one type of intelligence or many?

As I see it, if you teach English language you can measure how your students learned English; if you teach mathematics, physics etc. you can measure whether your students learned what you taught them. Surely, different students learn what they are taught at different rates and teachers have a right to find out whether students have learned what they were taught. First teach students and then measure what they learned from your teaching; do not speculate on whether they can learn or not, just teach them and then test whether they learned or not and if they did not learn all that you taught them then teach them some more to improve their learning.

From my schooling experience I concluded that different students have different interests and aptitudes for different subjects. Therefore, teachers can identify those who are good at certain subjects and encourage them to explore studying them more intensely.

Not all of us are interested in mathematics and physics, whereas some students right from the get go of their schooling days are interested in those subjects.

I assumed that since some students are gifted in physics, which I was not, that people are different and left it at that. Those who are good in the physical sciences are good in the physical sciences and I said good for them. However, I did not believe that we should make much ado about differences in people’s interests and aptitudes.   I did not pay much attention to so-called differences in how the various human races did at tests until this subject was brought to my attention by a  third rate professor at my Alma Mata, the University of California wrote a book claiming that black folks are intellectually inferior to black folks. I paid attention. As a result of that attention I have developed some thoughts on the subject, thoughts that are not based on scientifically rigorous study; let us say that they are heuristic and ought to be looked into some more.

My thesis is that extant intelligence test instruments test certain type of intelligence; they test people’s interest in adapting to the exigencies of this world. Those tests do test peoples wish to understand the world they live in, to understand the nature of space, time and matter. These tests do tests people’s ability to study the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, and their language, mathematics).  The tests do test folk’s ability to study science and technology (engineering).

These tests test people’s adaptability to the realities of this world.  The so-called IQ tests figure out an individual’s desire to accommodate himself to the realities of this world. They do a good job in testing the intelligence of those individuals who want to adapt to the realities of this world.

On the other hand, they do not test the intelligence of those who reject this world and want to transcend this world. These tests do not test and cannot test the intelligence of individuals who have no interest in adapting to the realities of this world.

Or have the so-called testers not noticed that there are people who are not interested in the exigencies of this world? Have they not noticed that there are children who from the get go of their lives are not interested in this world and want to transcend this world?

If the testers have not noticed this reality then they are not psychologists and must immediately stop referring to themselves as experts on the human mind. If they are experts on the human mind, psyche, they must have or should have noticed that there are people who from childhood are not interested in this world, people who are seeking alternatives to this world (idealism) and or want to transcend this world (as in spirituality).

There are children who take a look at this world and see it as nauseating and either want to improve it (as in idealistic thinking) or transcend it (as in spirituality).

It takes a different type of intelligence to reject this world and seek a better alternative to it, or transcendence of it.

As a child, I totally rejected my body and the material world.  I did not find the material world interesting. This awareness was in my consciousness at age six.

If I wanted to engage in biological reductionism, I could very easily say that I rejected my body because it caused me loads of pain. I inherited a disorder of the mitochondria (cytochrome C oxidase deficiency).

Children who inherited serious biological disorders tend to feel their lives threatened. They tend to be in a state of fear more than children with healthy bodies. They tend to have elevated fear level, aka anxiety.  In fear and anxiety the body elicits excitatory neurotransmitters such as adrenalin and those arouse the body and make it tense and engage in fight or flight responses. Fear and anxiety excite the human body and make such persons conscious of their bodies as troublesome.

In sum, my body felt irritated at most times and I did not like it.  I could therefore say that I rejected my body because of my physiological situation. But that is reductive thinking for I do not know that it was the biological disorder that produced the psychological state.

Was this rejection of one’s body and the world of matter a result of childhood depression?  That question presupposes that one must like one’s body and to not like it means to be depressed.

Should people like their bodies? What exactly are the bodies that one should be proud of made of?  Bodies are composition of matter, which in turn is composed of the various elements, especially nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon and traces of potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, and others.  These elements are made of electrons, protons and neutrons. Those particles are made of quarks and photons. Ultimately, all particles came from the heat and light of the Big Bang explosion, 13.7 billion years ago. We were told by astrophysicists that out of nothing and nowhere something exploded and gave rise to space, time and matter.  That is to say that our bodies evolved from nothing (and when we die decay back to nothing).

Should we be proud of that which came out of nothing, lives for a while, dies and smells like feces and then return to nothing?  Is the human body something we ought to be proud of?

Psychologists have been making a great deal of noise and folks let them pass.  Because they let them pass without challenging their simplistic views of existence they are able to fill the world with mumbo jumbo and pass them out as knowledge.

Neuropsychologists now tell us that some people’s brains do not produce sufficient serotonin. They give such persons the so-called serotonin reuptake blockers and those supposedly help them accumulate that neurotransmitter in their brains.  They are doing the same thing to schizophrenics who are given dopamine elevating drugs; and to manic persons who are given neuropiniphrine reducing drugs. None of these drugs heal any of the mental disorders they are used in treating. In the meantime the medications addict folks to taking them and in time destroy parts of their bodies and eventually kill them!

Caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamine and other somatically stimulating drugs elevate people’s mood and momentarily make them feel good but in the long run do not eliminate their awareness of the nothingness of being.

We cannot stimulate ourselves out of the awareness that our existence stinks; Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft may momentarily excite your nervous system and make you feel chemically induced cheerfulness but they have not eradicated the reality that we are born to die hence are nothing (unless we can prove that there is something in us that transcends matter, space and time). Philosophy was and is the consolation to the nothingness of being.

I was not depressed, but I was deeply aware of the nothingness of being in body.  Some persons have similar orientation towards existence on earth; these are the people that traditionally asked why questions and produced philosophy (a subject I gravitated to like fish to water).

Some people take their bodies and this world seriously.  Such persons love their lives in body and by generalization love material things.  It is such people who tend to do well in the study of material things.

Such persons are, as it were, asleep and dreaming and take their dreams as meaningful; they have not begun the awakening process that sees this world as utterly meaningless and purposeless hence reject life in human body.

Some people are cognizant that life in body is totally meaningless and pointless; such persons may present what seems like depression (dysthymia) but they are not depressed as in clinical depression where folks lose interests in all the activities of daily living such as work, schooling, sports, socializing, self-grooming and are filled with thoughts of suicide.

What characterizes such persons is perception of the pointlessness of life on earth and desire to find out if there are alternatives to it. This type of mind tends to turn towards philosophy and spirituality in search of meaning.  Such persons cannot accept life in body as meaningful, as so-called normal persons do.

As it were, so-called normal persons are asleep and take their sleep-dream state and the dream figures they see in their dreams, people in bodies, as real.  As Helen Schucman pointed out in her book, A Course in miracles, normal persons are totally deluded for they take the unreal as real (to her the real self is formless spirit; the ego self in body is an unreal self).

And they are perhaps best left where they are: in the delusion that life in body is fine for it would be devastating for them to realize that there are those who see life in their much cherished bodies as worthless and useless and want nothing to do with it.

Deluded paranoid persons seek to make life in body (the ego self) seem important; spiritualized persons want to get out of life in body and return to what they think is worthwhile life, life outside body.

I sought ways to improve the world (idealism) and eventually gravitated to the study of the various religions of mankind (and found them our ancestors’ prescientific efforts to understand our being but not true).

Science asks how questions, not why questions. Because science asks how questions it did not ask questions that interested me; its answers were only tangentially interesting to me (hence I could not do well in science).

In so far that the physical sciences interested me it is those aspects of it that attempts to shade light on the origin of the universe and the future of the universe (I think that my understanding of quantum physics, astronomy and astrophysics is up to their current state of knowledge).

Physics is the study of nature, the study of what exists in the temporal universe: matter, space and time. Physics does not go beyond the empirical, perceptional world hence could not answer the types of question that interested me.

The point is that my mind was not interested in studying what adapts to the reality of this world but wanted to transcend this world. I paid tangential attention to what was taught at schools; my mind was always elsewhere, preoccupied with efforts to understand where we came from and whether there is meaning to our lives in bodies. I went through the motion of being at school, including writing a doctoral dissertation but was really not there at school.

There are people like me whose minds do not adjust to the exigencies of this world hence so-called intelligence tests cannot test our type of intelligence, unless we are going to limit intelligence to only what tests adaptation to the realities of this world, to physics and mathematics.

(I did take IQ tests.  I did not find the questions relevant to the issues that my mind considered interesting. I do not find doing well or poorly on these tests as accurate measure of my intelligence or lack of it. Nor am I defensive towards these tests since I scored in the top one percent.)

I explain Albert Einstein thus: he was totally interested in this world; he wanted to understand how the empirical world works. His estimated IQ of 160 merely shows his interest in the affairs of this world.

Mother Teresa, on the other hand, had interests that transcended this world; she was interested in love. She was not overly interested in understanding the material world. She wanted to transcend this world. So, what was her IQ?  What IQ testing instrument could test her type of intelligence?  Or was she not intelligent? Did Einstein do more important work than what mother Teresa did? Really, are you sure?

Do psychologists who focus only on testing what adapts to the exigencies of this world and not on love really know what matters most in people’s lives?

Listen. There are two ways of living our lives on earth. One is the approach of the ego; the other is the approach of love.

The ego seeks power; power enables the ego to master this world hence adapt to it;  the ego is the force that enables us to understand how this world works, master it and adapt to its realities.  That approach to being is useful for without it we would not adapt to the exigencies of this world.

But when we have adapted to the realities of this world don’t we ask: what is this life on earth all about; what the hell are we doing here, anyway?  How should we relate to each other?

Love emanates from the understanding that we are more than our bodies, that there is something in us that transcends our bodies, something that we do not know what it is but that does not seem mere matter.

Love is that which makes us accept other people and treat them as we treat ourselves. Love is that which unifies people.  Love affirms the oneness of all people (black, white, yellow). Love is what makes us care for each other.

If all that one does is try to understand physics, how the world is put together and one does not have love one is a robot.

So you understand the world, a universe that astronomy tells us came into being 13.7 billion years ago and at some point in the future would go out of existence. In a few trillion years to come, the galaxies, stars, planets, plants and animals would decay into the elements that constitute them and those to the particles that constitute them and those would decay to photons and that to whatever existed before the physical universe came into being (supposedly nothing). So is this all there is to existence?

If all there is to us is physics, the material universe, as Arthur Schopenhauer observed, we ought not to exist; man is a mistake that ought to not have been made.

Many people believe that our greatest attribute is our ability to understand the universe. Now, if the universe came out of nothing and will end in nothing, what is the point of its existence or even bothering to understand it?  Considering the pain and suffering that characterize human existence, birth and inevitable death, it is better people and the universe did not exist (there is no doubt that with the march of science in a few centuries we would have improved our understanding of nuclear physics and have the ability to destroy the earth and end all life on earth and end human suffering!).

There must be something more than physics that makes life worth existing.  In my judgment, love is that something.   Love gives this world whatever meaning it seems to have.

Intelligence tests test only those aspects of our mental functioning that understand physics but not what matters most in our lives, love.

If so, how exactly useful are those tests? For too long we have allowed childish psychologists like Arthur Jensen who pretend ability to test intelligence to make noise without telling them that they are doing exactly that, making noise; we have refused to tell them that  what they test is not exactly the most important things in our lives. The most important thing in our life is love and they do not test our love quotient.

Of course, we all have to study science (if your knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology is not up to college level you ought to go back to school and take courses in them) but beyond that we must focus on what really matters, love.

Look, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that so-called intelligence tests are useless. Alfred Binet, Wechsler and the other folks who designed these tests are useful; they enable us to understand a type of intelligence, the type of intelligence that wants to understand matter, space and time, understand material things and make the most of them.

We need to test all children’s so-called intelligence. We need to ascertain how good they are at understanding the physical universe.

Nevertheless, there is another side to intelligence, the aspect of intelligence that extant intelligence tests do not test. It so happens that that aspect of intelligence that is not tested by IQ tests is the most important aspect of our lives, what matters in our lives.

If you really want to teach people to be peaceful and happy you have to figure out a way to teach them to love one another (and do it not as current religions do for those were invented in our primitive past).

We must study science; I cannot emphasize this need enough; so-called intelligence tests enable us to figure out those who do well in the physical sciences and for doing so they are useful. On the other hand, we must study love (aka spiritual matters) and figure out a way to teach them in a non-religious, non mumbo jumbo manner.


Body and ego self-concept is really the same phenomenon.  The ego self-evolved to seek to understand this world, the world of space, time and matter.  The aspect of body that tries to understand body and the world of bodies is the ego mind.

The ego is the consciousness that identifies with body and makes body seek importance and wants to seek importance in body.

There is an aspect of us that says: I am an important body; it makes body swell up with pride and do what it does to adapt to the exigencies of this world.

But if we think about what our body is we shudder!  Body will die, rot and smell worse than feces. If all we are is body we are not important, we are nothing.  Therefore, we seek to understand if we are more than body.

Some children, for whatever reasons, right from the beginning realize that their bodies are nothing; and that as bodies they are nothing. They reject their bodily selves and seek to be something better than their bodies; they seek ideal self or spiritual self that is more than body.

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176