Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Art, Culture Enable a Culture of Knowledge
Just quick and dirty, subject to modulation on my part later on, the book attacks some basic
facts about intelligence "known to all members of the intelligence research community" such
as "positive manifold" of corrrelations among test scores (subjects rank roughly the same on
different batteries of cognitive tests) which suggests a common source of intelligence
underlying various intellectual efforts and that correlations exist between a statistical
construct known as "g" (general intelligence) and accomplishments in academe and society.
Furthermore that studies suggest that "g" is genetic. (02)
Those facts justify the use of testing as predictor of academic accomplishments and,
consequently, to a large degree slotting people for life. Ceci attacks especially the
cognitive and genetic implications of psychometrically defined "g" and suggests believers in
the current practice of psychometry may be putting the cart before the horse. In his words,
"persons with low IQ [an artifice parading as measure!] may have the cognitive architecture
needed to appreciate advanced mathematics, language, and science, but they lack the relevant
background experience [bioecology]." In other words [mine], there is more nurture going into
"g" than psychometrists are willing to admit. A SAT score, for example, can become an
intellectual prison. People are sorted like one sorts raw materials for a manufacturing
process - the school. (03)
Personally, I have been subjected to fairly severe psychological mistreatment, not
intentionally, just out of ignorance. (Otherwise I was well cared for.) This has ruined my
youth and put me intellectually behind during an important growing period. In the end, I have
done quite well in life (in fact, I have had three fairly satisfying careers in the
intellectual domain - a short one in radio, a longer one in the paper industry and
publishing, and a quarter of a century in education), but it has been a psychologically
lonely, uphill fight - lonely because of personal divergence from mainstream paradigms. (I
understand Doug very well when he talks about being up against paradigms.) I know myself to
be no exception. I imagine the problem is widespread, but not very visible because victims
adjust to their environments. But such a life does take its toll, on the person and, as one
eventually learns, even on those in his environment. (04)
As a teacher in an inner-city college, I was sensitive to the gap between middle-class
teaching staff and kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. But it was hard to verbalize this
effectively among colleagues because of run-of-the-mill attitudes and procedures. I should
think this is the basis for a lot of frustration and non-normative behavior and that much of
the notion of genetic inheritance should be replaced by a better understanding of cultural
inheritance. Unfortunately, no well-meaning treatise will substitute for experience. My worst
experience was a black, unmarried mother who went back to school and was in my chemistry
class. She had a 13-year-old daughter. I knew she was not prepared to make it in college and
pondered the effect of the regard the child would have for her mother. Unqualified students
were admitted to satisfy a government-set student-teacher ratio and the savings of teaching
jobs. In the balance were the good of preserving jobs (i.e. feeding mouths of staff's
offspring) and psychologically maming students. Preparatory courses were introduced to take
in the lesser prepared, but overlooked was that teachers were not prepared to conduct them.
Then teachers were put under pressure to make students succeed, i.e. standards were subtly
lowered. The pressure used was teacher evaluation questionnaires filled out by students. For
a story that came from this environment, see http://www.fleabyte.org/flb-6.html (05)
I see Ceci's work as a successor to Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man," which is a history and
condemnation of putting numbers to people. (06)
Rod Welch wrote: (08)
> Some follow up on your letter dated 020212 that relates plans to review Stephen
> Ceci's "On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on IntellectualDevelopment"
> (Harvard U. Press). You say that Ceci's book is "dead-on." If time permits, can
> you explain what Ceci says that is "dead-on" about intelligence.
> This group, as with many others around the world, has wrestled with the
> "intelligence" issue for several years, beginning with the record on 000120....
> ...see particularly line 330532 asking about the role of "intelligence."
> While intelligence is defined in POIMS.....
> ...there has been no other explanation advanced, and no effort to apply POIMS,
> with the result that there is no progress on KM.
> Getting a workable explanation of intelligence and other cognitive issues to
> guide software programming would enable advance beyond information technology to
> a culture of knowledge. Therefore, it would be helpful to see Cici's ideas.
> For perspective, many prominent writers and thinkers and countless web pages
> have been cited by the team, but review always seems to show there is no actual
> work product that demonstrates any of it is, as you say, "dead-on." Now we seem
> to have something concrete, so look forward to your comments.
> Henry K van Eyken wrote:
> > Rod.
> > I can't very well fault you for omitting that tiny word "not" when looking back at my
> > own sloppy writing!
> > In re KM, I am digesting "A survey of the real-time economy" in The Economist of Feb. 2,
> > which you will find on the net at
> > http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=949071
> > A worthwhile read, but maybe you Silican Valley guys already know all about that stuff.
> > It also puts things written about on on this forum in perspective. It keeps on hitting
> > me how truly personal computing (and with that lifelong education of the digitally
> > augmented kind) is treated by the industry as a whole as table scraps. Some decades ago,
> > we used to talk about "organization man"; before that of the "man in the grey flannel
> > suit." Now look at that picture of modern man in that Economist article. Pretty well
> > seems to sum up much of modern life: on and off the job.
> > There is a small, but, to me, significant error in your page
> > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/00/11/05/140021.HTM
> > Not your fault, just a communication error between us. I did not take an advanced degree
> > in chemistry; just a bachelor's. I had diplomas and some career in chemical technology
> > as control chemist, resp. control engineer in the pulp and paper indusry. Then went to
> > Pulp & Paper Magazine of Canada. At age 40 I decided to go back to school to prepare for
> > teaching. Received a BSc, then a teaching diploma and an M.Ed. Spare-time studies while
> > teaching at an inner-city college. (I was hired as a college professor two years before
> > I received my B.Sc.) These data may not be significant, except that it is my overall
> > upbringing as a child and "educational history" that made me interested in digital
> > augmentation as soon as I had my first 0.25-K pocket computer. I learned the importance
> > of environment on educational achievement. As a teenager I was a total failure (war;
> > irrational home environment), but later, when serving on a radio station in Indonesia, I
> > borrowed books from a local High School and it took me three months spare time to get my
> > High School diploma (had some physics and math under the belt, though, but no biology,
> > history, geography, English, and some other stuff). The environment was just so
> > stimulating. Same later, when I compressed a five-year program into two before migrating
> > to Canada. My personal experience was somewhat in conflict with the way I had to view my
> > role as a college teacher, something hard to understand by people who have grown up
> > through the system, which is just about everybody. One of the books I want to review for
> > Fleabyte is Stephen Ceci's "On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual
> > Development" (Harvard U. Press). As far as I am concerned, he is dead-on.
> > It is from this background that Doug resonates with me. (Being of about the same age is
> > also a factor.) Right now, working on Fleabyte is often quite discouraging - little
> > stimulation from environment - but I sort of feel that the lessons life has taught me
> > would go to naught if I don't give it a try. Who else is going to perceive its
> > significance unless I demonstrate it instead of just talk about it.
> > Henry
> > Rod Welch wrote:
> > > Henry,
> > >
> > > Thanks for drawing attention to an error in my letter on 020209, which said that
> > > "...intelligence does guarantee success," since this was intended to say that
> > > "intelligence does not guarantee success," but merely increases the chances of
> > > success, since, as you know, variables that impact life exceed the capacity of
> > > any one faculty from guaranteeing anything, under the general rule there are no
> > > guarantees in human enterprise.
> > >
> > > I was a little surprised there is not more support from this venue to report, &c., &c. (09)