Monday, June 13, 2011

Degrees without intelligence

The more I see people the more obvious it becomes: the idea of degrees, advanced degrees even from 'good' colleges mean quite little, in terms of intelligence.

There are PhD biologists from top schools (I believe it was Stanford) who claim the Earth is 6,000 years old and evolution is false. Engineers -- well, don't get me started on them. Philosophers likewise, can be the epitome of stupidity despite it being a, supposedly, extremely intellectual pursuit. These are the 'good' majors, mind you, lets not plunge into the stupidity that is business/economics/marketing.

The problem is that intelligence is simply not the primary role in getting these degrees. I'd say that the vast majority of people I speak to on a regular basis -- excluding my family -- are above average in intelligence to some degree. I think most of those people will scoff at how easy... well, lets go with high school, was.

I have little doubt that any one of those people who put in the smallest amount of effort in high school could have easily obtained a GPA of 4. It really is absurd how simplistic everything was. The fact is, even the biggest dolts could have (and no doubt, many have) obtained these grades not by virtue of their intelligence but by virtue of their effort.

And that's the problem, intelligence doesn't get degrees, effort does. The creationist who wanted to get a PhD in biology so he and other dolts could constantly use the appeal to authority fallacy? Obtained not because his intelligence allowed him to, but his effort.

Likewise, it's the same for all degrees, in reality, and that's where the real point comes into play:

Never confuse education for intelligence. Many people do because many people lack one or both of the previous properties. A degree in say, chemical engineering, makes you (one would hope) knowledgeable in the field of chemical engineering, but it does little outside that. A degree in economics tend to just make you a moron. The point is a degree tends to only give you the knowledge that you would be required to have to earn the degree (or with economics, lack of knowledge) and nothing else. It does not imply, either in the logical or common sense, intelligence. However, if you do in fact believe it does, it strongly implies the opposite.

I know more about almost every topic than, say, Plato or Socrates. I would be a fool to say that the knowledge I've obtained makes me more intelligent.

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