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Are We Really the Most Intelligent Species?

Are We Really the Most Intelligent Species?

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Published by Bill Allin
Science tells us that we are the most highly developed species of life on the planet. Is this hubris or does evidence support it? Find author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com
Science tells us that we are the most highly developed species of life on the planet. Is this hubris or does evidence support it? Find author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Bill Allin on Sep 06, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Are We Really the Most Intelligent Species?
Intelligence is not only difficult to define, some people claim that it is a construct withno validity in nature. Albert Einstein himself claimed that all babies are born geniuses,then we overcome that potential in the following years of childhood.- Bill Allin, Intelligence and Unhappiness: Likely, But Not Inevitably Linked
Depending on the literature you read or the media sources you use,you may find yourself assaulted a few times each week bystatements claiming that humans are the most intelligent species onthe planet. I say “assaulted” because they happen so frequently.We are brainwashed into believing that we are the most intelligentspecies. But are we?The sources of this information are ourselves. Our sources never giveevidence because none actually exists. It’s a tautology: we are themost intelligent species because we are the only species that can saywe are.Speaking of saying, we partly determine the intelligence of otheranimals according to the number of human words they canunderstand or speak or otherwise communicate. How many words (orother method of communication) of another species of animal do youspeak (or concepts can you communicate)?For that matter, what can you do better than any other animal doesas part of its regular life habits? Pick an animal, any animal, thinkabout something it does, then consider if you could do it better. Theanswer inevitably is “No.” We can’t do anything that any other animaldoes that is not part of regular human experience.Science generally agrees that dolphins are very intelligent. But notquite as intelligent as us, most say. They can’t carry on aconversation with us. But then, we can’t carry on a conversation orany other form of extended communication with dolphins either. Butwe claim we are smarter.Dolphins live in a water environment, yet breathe air as we do. Wecan swim under water, but only briefly. At this point, we areincapable of living in any environment that lacks air, or even lastingfor more than a few minutes. [NOTE: It is technically possible for ourlungs to take oxygen from water, but it’s not something you shouldattempt.]We understand that ants and bees have their own forms of intelligence. But we excuse them from the intelligence competitionbecause they are exclusively a social species--their collective
 
intelligence is shared among all members of the hive or nest.According to science, shared intelligence is different from individualintelligence. Why? Because it’s convenient for us.Now, about individual intelligence. Are humans intelligent as aspecies, or is it true that just a limited few are as intelligent as weclaim our species is as a whole? Remember, it’s only the most highlyeducated and (likely) those with the highest IQ among us who claimour superiority.Next time you go to a supermarket, stop for a few minutes andobserve people shopping in the aisles. Or looking for a parking spacein the lot. Or trying to find their car in the lot after they have finishedshopping. Did any of those people have anything at all to do with theorganization or the technologies they use in those situations? Someneed to use their remote devices to make their car horn sound justso they can find their vehicle.When it comes to IQ (Intelligence Quotient, the most commonmeasure for human intelligence), does it seem right for us to claimintelligence as a species because a few of us excel at taking IQ tests,or at publishing university study papers?Though we still hear about IQ once in a while, the concept has littlerecognized value these days (unless you happen to be a member of or qualify for membership in Mensa). The Stanford-Binet test of IQwas written by educated white men of the middle class, wherequestions that applied best to the lives and experiences of educatedwhite men of the middle class could best answer them.Lo and behold, when the test was administered to everyone else,including those from different cultures and with different forms of education and people whose first language was not one in which thetest was created, they performed at lower levels on the scale. Thisserved the racial prejudice of educated white middle class Europeansin the early 20th century well.In general, the form of intelligence evaluation preferred by any oneperson tends to be one composed by the same language and culturalgroup as that person. And they stick to it as if were religious gospelor political idealism. In other words, my way is best; other ways arenot as good because......my way is best.Those who perform well on IQ tests give little credit to EQ (EmotionalQuotient intelligence) or any of dozens of other forms of tests of personal knowledge, talents or skills because the test which givesthem the highest scores is their favourite. That includes tests for

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