Monday, July 31, 2006

IQ in General

People tend to think that a barrier to breakthroughs in science is IQ, or sheer intelligence. Lets consider physicsts for example, people seem to think that simply because a physicst has a high IQ or is brilliant somehow he/she will have direct access to the mathematical formulations of the laws of nature, but if you look at history you'll see otherwise.

Just how many brilliant physicsts worked on "ether theory", Rutherford's model of the atom, or on Bohr's theory of the atom, only to find out later that they were on the wrong track. It couldn't have been that only Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, etc. were the only competent physicsts of their time, there must have been hundreds if not thousands of other equally brilliant minds working on similar problems. So what distinguishes Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein from regular brilliance? It wasn't sheer intelligence, but ideas. They had the right ideas at the right time, what does this mean?

They lived at a time when the nacent ideas which were to become groundbreaking theories reached full maturity within their thought. This means two things; the ideas which reached maximium maturity in their thought existed in a certain form before they created their groundbreaking theories and they had the insight to see how to unify these ideas in a coherent and consistent whole.

It almost works in a dialectical process they (Newton, Einstein, Maxwell) could see/create the unity "above" the different ideas. Take note the "unity" occurs "above" the ideas, or better said outside the ideas, outside the old paradigm that's the key. Very rarely has a groundbreaking theory come from nowhere, most groundbreaking theories are firmly based on the hard work of people before oneself, they developed the nacent ideas from the old perspective to a point where someone with an open and creative yet rigorous mind could see the unity behind the ideas, from a new perspective.

Nearly everyone one of those physicsts relied on previously existing ideas to construct their new theories, so we see that groundbreaking theories require more that sheer intelligence, or research, or brilliance, they require philosophical maturity.

John G.


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