Should Space Settlements use IQ tests to select immigrants?

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19 thoughts on “Should Space Settlements use IQ tests to select immigrants?”

  1. I said No, only because the standard IQ test measures nothing (beyond intellect) of the aptitudes which might be most desirable in a space settler. A whole range of tests, not least of all tests for anxiety, would have to be conducted.

    1. Yeah, I agree with this. Personality tests would be very useful, and arguably more crucial than just IQ tests (which could be used too), especially if the space environment is going to be very constrained or have a high population density. One would have to test for impulsiveness, risk-taking, propensity for paranoia, etc.

  2. I voted NO but I meant to vote YES. 😦
    If an IQ test was used I would probably be chosen and I don’t want to go. 😦
    But then you really never said if the smart ones or the dumb ones would be chosen to go. 😦
    Let’s start this topic all over. 🙂

  3. I voted no, because like John mentioned, IQ only measures intellect and not emotional intelligence, which is most definitely necessary if they don’t want the “new” planets they settle on don’t follow the same behavioral patterns we see on Earth, which have contributed to so many social ills.

    Psychopaths tend to have very high IQ’s.

    1. >>Psychopaths tend to have very high IQ’s.

      Sure, they do.

      >>and not emotional intelligence, which is most definitely necessary

      I fully agree.

      >>if they don’t want the “new” planets they settle on

      We prefer to settle free space habitats, rather than other planets. But aside from that your point still stands.

      And we believe in voluntary migration.

      >>don’t follow the same behavioral patterns we see on Earth, which have contributed to so many social ills.

      Very good point. Thanks!

      1. I think your question was excellent and thought provoking. Much like putting more value on money than human well being or the well being of our planet, I do think many societies put more value on certain types of intelligence.

  4. I voted “no” because all human beings have value regardless of their statistical IQ’s. Furthermore, such tests can and have been used for eugenics programs which we all know have a horrific history.

    That said, I would support skills testing for prospective immigrants. If a space settlement needed horticulturists, for example, qualified candidates should always be considered regardless of their IQ’s.

    1. I agree that all human beings have value. On the other hand we should consider whether people with a low IQ could handle an increasingly complex society, and life in a space settlement would likely to be quite complex. Hence the question is whether such people would actually be happy in a very complex world.

      Personally, I believe that with increased understanding of human neural development, there will be a “pill” – or something like that – which would enhance people’s cognitive abilities on a permanent base. Once such pill will be available, there is IMO a moral obligation to supply it all, in particular to those with a lower IQ.

      Yes, particularly skills should be more important than one’s mere IQ, though many skills require a certain degree of intelligence to acquire.

      1. Personally, I believe that with increased understanding of human neural development, there will be a “pill” – or something like that – which would enhance people’s cognitive abilities on a permanent base. Once such pill will be available, there is IMO a moral obligation to supply it all, in particular to those with a lower IQ..”

        How about brain implants — brain chips. It’s already in the making:

        http://io9.com/5943379/for-the-first-time-ever-scientists-have-made-monkeys-smarter-using-brain-implants-could-you-be-next

      2. There’s a very slippery slope here that I hope you would address. A desire to improve human intelligence through nurture, education, and other positive means is one thing. Negatively excluding people from society based on intelligence testing is quite another.

        Please read this article on Henry Herbert Goddard titled “The birth of American intelligence testing:” http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/01/assessment.aspx

        The noted psychologist Steven Pinker (certainly no left-leaning academic) had this to say on the subject (from: http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/books/tbs/media_articles/2002_10_30_upi.html):

        “Your question, of course, alludes to a conventional wisdom among left-leaning academics that genes imply genocide. But the 20th century suffered “two” ideologies that led to genocides. The other one, Marxism, had no use for race, didn’t believe in genes and denied that human nature was a meaningful concept. Clearly, it’s not an emphasis on genes or evolution that is dangerous. It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means (eugenics or social engineering) and the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.”

        Furthermore, a society built upon preselected “intelligent” people is no guarantee that their offspring will have high IQ’s. In such an exclusive society, how would descendant persons of “low intelligence” be treated?

        1. It’s absolutely true that having a pre-selected population is in no way a guarantee for intelligent off spring. Not in the last place because intelligence is only partially the result of genetic make up, and further there is always the issue of mutations.

          >>It’s the desire to remake humanity by coercive means

          The point exactly lies in the coercive aspect. That won’t work as people will resist and the only way to deal (in the perspective of said “reformers”) is to eradicate those resistance.

          >>the belief that humanity advances through a struggle in which superior groups (race or classes) triumph over inferior ones.

          Which is a believe I definitely not share. What constitutes “superior” is highly subjective, and basically each individual thinks he or she is superior to others.

          >>how would descendant persons of “low intelligence” be treated?

          IMO those persons need to be helped with whatever means are available to improve their cognitive abilities, even if it is only a little bit. To be clear the purpose of any such treatment should be that people could live their life as independent as possible from others.

          In other words the quality of life of the individual “low intelligent” person should be the focus of any such treatment.

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