Relative Intelligence

by A Professor of Philosophy Department
(Standford)

An IQ test works by testing relative intelligence. I am a professor at Stanford in the philosophy department. For years students have asked me the meaning of an IQ test. The answer is much more difficult than it seems.


The IQ test is a test that compares one individual to another. This is the same method behind standardized testing in schools. An IQ test does not by any means test all of the talents of the mind. Instead, it works by comparing arbitrary talents. Therefore, it is an extremely ineffective way of measuring intelligence.

Let me show you by example. Let's say there was a very good tennis player. He won all of the tournaments in his town.The tennis player was measured in terms of how hard his serve was, how fast he could run, and how fluid his forehand was. The results came back that he was an average tennis player. The empirical evidence suggested that he was the best tennis player. The problem is that the test did not measure every component of tennis. There can be no way to measure the player unless you place him in a competitive environment with another player.

Although my life is in academia, I think there exists a large disparity between school and the "real world". Testing is often proven wrong with real world examples. Albert Einstein himself was a poor standardized tester contrary to popular belief. He never took an IQ test, but many scholars that are familiar with his mind estimate it to be lower than one would expect.

Hope this helps

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