A friend recently said to me, “All intelligent people should be required to have children in order to preserve the human race.”

My friend went on to argue if you are intelligent you see how dangerous and rotten the world has become and you would never wish that sort of increasingly Armageddon-like future on your offspring; the intelligent are able to see the future and realize our current evolutionary course is in for a major correctionIntelligent! by deadly force resulting in the removal of the current trough of all bodies from the face of the earth.

My friend believes intelligent children can solve this conundrum of a world at war and that’s why intelligent parents must give birth to them.

My friend understands you want your children to prosper, not perish, and the hatred and destruction of the world isn’t something you want to gift your intelligent children with in life and so — my friend’s theory goes — intelligent people have been consciously making the “smarter” choice, the more human choice, to not birth children into a world filled with emotional and intellectual suffering and a guaranteed, bloody, death by radicals.

The unspoken, provocative, angle of my friend’s argument is that intelligence is inherited and not earned and that only “selfish, stupid people” are procreating and that’s why we’re in such a terrible world situation.


  1. Hi David,
    Your friend’s view sounds that espoused by the film Idiocracy.
    While some intelligence is inherited — biological assets come from inheritance, so having bad genes might affect ones mental capacity — most intelligence is gained through mental challenges, teaching and learning.
    Thinking that intelligence is inherited is a cop-out that consigns many people to the lower echelons of society because low expectations often result in low results.

  2. Hi David,
    Who is “intelligent”?
    Is that measured by accomplishment, education, something else or “intelligent” people are independent thinkers?

  3. That sounds like a funny movie, Chris!
    I think my friend was spinning a couple of issues to see what happens when you shake up the equation.
    The first issue is that people with more money generally have fewer children than the poor. There have been traditional institutional advantages for the poor to benefit from having many children while the richer people do not want the self-inflicted financial burden of a lot of children or to split the wealth too finely between too many offspring.

    Of the city’s births in 2005, 52% of them were paid for by Medicaid, the government health program for the poor. Of women giving birth in New York City, 44% were unmarried.

    The second flip has to do with Race — which some logically tie to economic opportunity, but probably not as effectively to the intelligence argument — where Whites are less likely to have more children than other minority cultures:
    I also know some cultures value intelligence more than others. Asian cultures appear to value the intensive training of the mind much more than say an urban ghetto in Mexico or Philadelphia.
    Do you think that above-average intelligent parents are more or less likely to give birth to intelligent children than, say, average-intelligence parents are likely to give birth to above-average intelligent children?

  4. Katha —
    Here is the Wikipedia definition of “intelligence” which I find perfectly acceptable for this conversation:

    Intelligence is a property of mind that encompasses many related mental abilities, such as the capacities to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. In common parlance, the term smart, metaphorically used is frequently the synonym of situational and behavioral (i.e. observed and context dependent) intelligence.
    Although many regard the concept of intelligence as having a much broader scope, for example in cognitive science and computer science, in some schools of psychology, the study of intelligence generally regards this trait as distinct from creativity, personality, character, or wisdom.

    I don’t think we should pretend we don’t have a shared, cultural, international understanding of what it means to be intelligent. Arguing that definition today is to hide from the real proof of the argument and I’m not interested in spending time re-defining what we already understand.

  5. Dave –
    We all know what intelligence means and if you don’t have an understanding of that word then there’s no need to comment on today’s article.
    The focus of today’s argument is do we get more intelligent people in the world if more intelligent people procreate or not?
    Many of the young, intelligent, professionals I know are choosing not to have children because they do not want their children to suffer in a horrible world. I find that philosophy fascinating and provocative in its employment.
    Here’s an article that makes a similar argument from a different angle:
    Eugenics is a fine medical ideal — it was only ruined after Hitler became associated with it but that doesn’t mean “the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics” as defined by Oxford is an idea without merit.

    1. Whether or not intelligence is inherited or developed, we would have more intelligent people in the world if only intelligent people procreated. Intelligent parents are much more likely to value intellect and to pass those values and their knowledge onto their children.

  6. David,
    I didn’t pretend that I didn’t understand the definition of being” intelligent” nor did I try to sidetrack.
    My inquiry was enmeshed in your topic.
    Instead of being born in a middleclass family if I was born in a so called poor family back in India, no way I could reach the here today. My upbringing which groomed my so called ‘intelligence’ is earned, I am not sure of the inheritance part. If I was switched/ born in a poor family, 99% chance I couldn’t reach this point. If a child from a poor family was raised by my parents? Well, I think the result would have been more or less the same – he/she would become independent, successful, accomplished etc.
    If we are talking about the “mass intelligence” then I think upbringing and grooming is the key.
    Geniuses are exceptional.

  7. Eugenics gets dangerous because the people controlling the breeding usually do it to other ends than to increase average intelligence.
    Paradoxically, intelligence is usually rated (via IQ tests and the like) on which percentile you’re in, so average intelligence cannot in fact be increased.
    I think you touch on a important point: elites cannot be self perpetuating if the average number of children per “intelligent” couple drops below 2. But then where will all the poor intelligent people be able to go if they aren’t left space to be upwardly mobile?

  8. One look at my kids convinces me intelligence is not inherited. I’m just kidding. My serious answer is that our need for intelligent people able and willing to tackle the world’s challenges does not justify any type of procreation mandate. I feel we need to embrace and protect choice and free will, and reject discrimination and the urge to play god. The clever, inquisitive, motivated people of the world will step forward and work on solving problems. Hopefully, we’ll get a handle on spiraling problems before it’s too late. But I don’t think you can, or should, force the issue.

  9. Katha!
    Now you are making a provocative argument!
    Your parents were intelligent to recognize your intelligence and ability to comprehend and frame the world in context at a young age. They then, as I understand it, sacrificed their personal immediate selfish happiness and shared future financial security in order to ensure the intelligence you showed as promise became a realized fact by paying lots of money to educate you in India.
    Now the table turns to you. Your mind is ready and ripe. Your parents did their job well and realized their dream of creating another enlightened mind in the world. You shine that intelligence wherever you go. You are highly gifted and provide great value to the world and those around you.
    I won’t reveal your age unless you reveal it but do you plan to have children and if yes, why haven’t you had them yet, and if not, why not?
    Fertility has a timetable and even science and eugenics cannot always save intelligent intent and hope forever.

  10. freuy —
    I don’t agree that being intelligent means you are elite.
    We practice eugenics every day and especially those who choose to create children — traditionally or artificially — also play in the realm of selective creation by requirement of the process. Finding the right mate for creating children is a self-determined method of eugenics and using a fertility clinic absolutely leads one down the eugenics path of choosing science over nature.
    If we truly wanted randomization in procreation, we’d all put on blindfolds and go into a dark room and start having at it without worry about race or age or culture or Race or ethnicity.

  11. icedmocha —
    Did you choose to have your children?
    If yes, how did you choose their father and when did you decide to get pregnant?
    Do you not think those conscious decisions concerning timing and environment and gene selection were made in your best interest and in those of your unborn children?
    You weren’t intending to give birth to ordinary non-intelligent children, were you?

  12. Hi David,
    I hate to say this, but is there a benefit in having a huge number of people who aren’t necessarily stimulated by intellectual activities?
    Maybe having one percent or two percent of the population as “elite” and the rest as worker drones makes it easier for the elites to keep control?
    Sometimes it seems like our society is set up to keep people at a minimal level of intelligence, but discourages the development of too much intelligence.
    Could there be an advantage to making sure that there is a permanent class of semi-skilled people who can function at minimal levels?
    See also:

  13. That’s why I asked the question first.
    I don’t think it was my parents’ intelligence to send me to a good school; it was a ‘middle class’ norm.
    I would do the same. In fact, if you had a kid you would do the same.
    Being a mother is not just a biological act for me, it’s about creating a bond with the person I decide to get pregnant. I think the concept of a single parent doesn’t fulfill a child’s life; the parenthood has to be shared between the two.
    I wanted to be with the right person to share parenthood, that’s why I waited. Being a mother is not a big deal, staying a mother is.
    I do plan to have children because I know I will make him/her/them a good, responsible citizen but I don’t want to be a single mother.
    Moreover, my intention was probably misinterpreted when I told someone “every relationship doesn’t have to culminate in marriage” – another example of my callous honesty. I didn’t want to create a pressure in that relationship; but probably it was interpreted as I didn’t want to get married.
    A child is supposed to be a bond between two strangers but I wanted to create a bond with my partner first – because a child detects a very slight rift between its parents pretty easily and that’s the ultimate misery of his/her life.

  14. Chris —
    Your comment is dangerous and fascinating.
    There are those who would argue we need “drones” do to the work that others will not do and if we had a society of 100% intellectuals some might think the more necessary mundane work might never be done.
    The anti-intellectualism movement is grounded in religious systems where it is considered dangerous to independently think. Controlling a religious society demands “blind faith” and following a predestined path that cannot be questioned.

  15. Katha —
    I think we’re talking about two different things.
    I am talking about your parents choosing to educate your mind because their minds understood the value of education, not because it was the thing to do in the middle class caste system in India.
    Do you feel a responsibility to continue your intelligence on in a child of your own? If yes, why and if not, why not?
    Do you have any sense at all of your biological clock ticking and if you do feel that pull, is it affecting your current and future decision-making?

  16. Yes, methinks too.
    There is nothing ‘hush..hush’ about my age, I forgot to mention it in my previous post.
    I am over 30, dangerously close to the child bearing age and yes I understand my so called ‘biological clock’ is ticking but being with a right partner is much more imporatnt to me than just being a mother and I am doing just that.
    Moreover, right now my situation doesn’t allow me to be a mother – I am busy with other things in my life.
    I want to have my own child but if in case I can’t be a mother of my own I will adopt and share my fair share of ‘intelligence’.
    I want to have kids because I know I have some good qualities in me which I want to share.

  17. Hi Katha!
    Do you believe you can breed your intelligence into children that are not your own?
    I’m completely with you on doing what you wish now and on your own timetable. It is unfortunate, though, that as women age their ability to effectively bear children also decreases.
    I guess it’s safe to say you have not and will not build your life around the need to pass on your own genetic intelligence into the future in the body of your genetic child – and that’s a big trend I see in many young intellectuals your age, and that fact was the inspiration for today’s post.
    Do I think the world would be a better, less bloody and awful place in the future if the intellectual Kathas of the world dropped their lives in order to have children with similarly valued and intellectualized partners? Yes.

  18. Yes, I did choose to have children. I chose their father long before I decided whether I would have children, and I chose him based on friendship, love, and respect. I didn’t ask to see his IQ test or SAT scores. We decided when to have children based on our psychological and financial readiness. All of these decisions were personal; we did not calculate the ‘if’, the ‘who’, and the ‘when’ in order to produce ‘superbabies’ or for the greater good of society. I’m simply saying it feels right to me that people decide for themselves. Society’s perceived needs should not override individual freedoms.

  19. icedmocha!
    If the father of your children were not your intellectual match — or above your perceived intellect — you would not have selected him in the first place.
    You don’t think you were practicing eugenics in your mate selection? Do you have all your senses? Were you able to intuit unspoken meaning between the two of you? Are you arguing the father of your children was a totally random act with no rationalism or intellectual thought processes on your part?
    I’m not talking about superbabies — I’m talking about smart people deciding to have children and how that trend is declining as society moves forward in time.
    I believe part of that decline is due to the sad state of the world.
    There was a Baby Boom after WWII for a reason.

  20. Yes, I do believe that I can breed my intelligence to the kids who are not my ‘own’. It may not be authentically genetic but that doesn’t matter.
    I can go out, get married and have children right now with the help of ‘match.com’ or whatever but that’s not the point. The grass always looks greener and will always, but how many times I am going cross the fence?
    I understand what you are saying and I appreciate your compliment but first I need to earn enough to take care of my child, which is not possible being a PhD student. There are other priorities too.

  21. I hope it all times out for you in the favor of your wishes, Katha.
    I do disagree, however, that one is able to breed their intelligence into children who are not of their body. Not possible.

  22. Thank you David!
    I agree to disagree here, I think right upbringing is the point, the kid doesn’t have to be my own.
    He/she may need much more attention of my own though!

  23. “Are you arguing the father of your children was a totally random act with no rationalism or intellectual thought processes on your part?”
    No, of course not. I’m just saying the choice was driven by personal, not societal, needs. I don’t know what you’re driving at anymore. The statement you quoted at the beginning of the post was: “All intelligent people should be required to have children in order to preserve the human race.” I’m simply not in favor of that position.

  24. It’s not a matter of intelligence or stupidity, both these groups help the wars, polution and world insanity. It’s a matter of “morality.”

  25. Morality doesn’t propel forward science and medicine and the advancement of the human genome, fred.
    Morality is, by its definition, staid, standard, universal and unchanging.
    There’s nothing universal about intellect, though stupidity may be another matter…

  26. David- Morality propels forward the human genome by keeping it alive by not engaging in war. i am not talking about the morality of organized religion. Morality can override instinct and heredity. If one had to be locked away with a smart, stupid or moral person i’d take the moral one anyday. There are many smart and stupid killers, but no moral ones. Please don’t switch back to pseudo moral organized religious hypocrites to disprove this point.

  27. I am not sure if it is scientifically proven, but I think gene provides the ability to accept/use/utilize further grooming and education is the base of it.
    I think it is one’s environment that helps to groom a person’s intellect.
    With my inborn genetic intelligence if I was raised by a low/below poverty level parents, no way I could interact with you today.

  28. You can have Kissinger, Oppenheimer, Hobbes and many more- i don’t want them. “Intelligence” is political. i remember being taught in college “intelligence is what an intelligence tests purports to measure.” Is Bobby Fisher intelligent? How about Hitler? It takes a certain intelligence to almost conquer the world and kill millions, but no morality. True morality is ordained by what is sacred, assuming one is not an atheist.

  29. Hi Katha —
    I understand what you’re saying, but I think intelligent people have a way of rising to the top and making themselves known beyond the restrictions of their environment.

  30. Intelligence is only political if you label it that way, fred, and I don’t believe in IQ tests or examinations that quantify intellectual ability unless you want to use it to sever and stratify pure human intelligence.

  31. An intelligent person is “moral.” Not one who can do puzzels, get rich, control people, or invent things, or even create art. Howard Zinn is an example of an intelligent person to me because of his morality, and he is saying the same things i just said.

  32. Fred —
    Morality is learned, not inborn. Our natural state is animalistic and selfish. It takes time and teaching to become moral. Non-intelligent people can certainly be of higher moral value than the intelligent.

  33. I completely understand David, in fact I understand more from your reply to the others.
    Is there a rivalry between morality in intelligence?

  34. I hate it when I come in late to a discussion and have to try and put all my thoughts together and into some semblance of order.
    Firstly I am speaking as a lay person without the scientific knowledge or data to refer to. I can only speak from my personal experience.
    I am in the interesting position of being adopted. I have some knowledge of my birth mother and her circumatances. She left school at 14 and was a farm hand. My father I believe was a local lad who ran away to sea as soon as he could and I was conceived on one of his returns at the end of a tour of duty.
    The family I was adopted into very shortly after I was born were of a very different class and intellect/intelligence. Both had been officers in the war, my father was also a chartered accountant – more importantly (I feel) they had the good old fashioned work ethic . They also had a quality that is hard to define exactly – an open- mindedness, encouragement to explore ideas and concepts and most of all, time – and a great example to follow.
    I was also educated privately – from the age of four to sixteen.
    I know my life would have been very different if I had not been adopted.
    I would say that unless there is an identified problem that we ALL have the potential to be intelligent , if that intelligence is unlocked and nurtured.
    As to my marriage and my kids – my first husband was 20 points lower on the numeric IQ scale much to his chargrin – but he has a degree and I do not.
    What I didnt know then was that children of third generation engineeers tend to have a higher percentage of dyslexic children. Mine are lucky in the fact that they have the intelligence and support to work with it and overcome it.
    I do not think narrowing the gene pool is a good idea ………. I think diversity in the gene pool is the way forward. To much inbreeding has never worked.

  35. Hi Katha!
    No, I don’t think there’s any conflict at all between being moral and intellectualism. There is a giant crevasse, however, between intellectualism and stupid.
    I think it’s easier to be intellectual and moral than it is to be stupid and moral.

  36. Ok, one more question –
    Why would you choose an intelligent/intellectual person over a moral one?

  37. Hi Nicola —
    I come from a family of teachers and farmers and that gives me special pleasure in responding to your fine comment.
    Farmers — and by extension their farmhands — are some of the most intellectual people on earth. They are the first scientists. They are forced to blend unbending nature to their fragile will to toil the land for profit. No stupid person could work so hard and fight for so little without a greater understanding of service to others in the merit of the land.
    Your birth parents gave your intelligence and your adoptive parents exploited the ability of your outstanding mind. Their great gift to you was in the recognition and devotion to your promise.
    I guess the reason I come down so hard on this division between intellectual and — for lack of a better opposite term… “stupid” — is because I have taught. You quickly learn by the example of the students before you that not all minds are created equal — even though we are brought up to believe that everyone is equal.
    You fast identify and connect with those intellectual minds that catch what you’re throwing. Then there are those who sort of understand what’s being taught and then there’s the inevitable third layer of consciousness where nothing sticks and you have to pity them for an effort they will never win — not for not trying — but because they do not have the mental capacity to rise to the intellectual level of their peers.
    Grade inflation consecrates not the ability — but the illusion — of equality and capacity for learning where all strata of the student population have been brainwashed to expect an “A” grade for just showing up while those shining, white-hot, minds are forced to find other ways — and they always do — to express their individual unique ability to contribute to the positive future of human thought and discovery.

  38. Katha —
    Morality by itself offers no challenge or insight. Morality is predictable and dead and people find great comfort in the very real insulation from the reality of a changing world.
    Intelligence, when properly fostered and unleashed, is dynamic and unpredictable. You never know what you will learn from an intelligent person whereas a moral person is always in stasis by definition.
    Now there are times when intelligence can be just as easily used for criminal activity instead of the greater human good but that is price we pay as a society for freedom of thought and the ongoing expansion of intellectual capacity and scientific discovery.
    With intellectualism you risk the bad to gain the brilliant. With morality you risk nothing to remain status quo.

  39. I wish we could find a different way of educating – and maybe different ways of recognising individual talents – so that our children can be encouraged to find their niche.
    We need all kinds of people in this world, we need bricklayers, musicians, nurses, Doctors, dustbinmen, gardeners, factory workers.
    We also need a more flexible learning system to cope with the late starters.

  40. Thanks David!
    Brilliant explanation! You made my day!!!
    Is it ‘every one is not equal though we think so’ or, ‘every one is equal but can’t/ doesn’t exploit the mental capacity to reach a certain level for whatever reason’?

  41. I don’t think a job has anything to do with intelligence.
    I’m with you all the way, Nicola, and the first step is to stop grading students and begin using a “Pass” and “No Pass” system of education instead. That sort of teaching environment encourages risk-taking and you only fail if you don’t show up and refuse to try.
    That’s why it’s hard to teach the right way — because you need to meet the individual needs of each student on their level — too many educators just do “farm teaching” where basic information is sown and the students are treated like grazing cattle.
    I’ve had many students who were much more intelligent than me. They knew it and I knew it –- and most adults are threatened by that kind of young brainpower so they have to be wary and careful not to be crushed by their inferior position of power — but I always loved those opportunities to learn from my students. The first thing you do with them is to make yourself a blank and tell them “I don’t know anything. Teach me the truths.” Then you’re off!
    Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is planning to run for president. He’s a Democrat. He was interviewed on the Imus show this morning and he was a thrilling breath of fresh air. He said the first thing we need to do as a nation is to add back Music and The Arts as required areas of study for all children everywhere. He said the future economy of the world is going to be creative thinking — considering and inventing new ways to get us to better places — and we get there through The Arts and Music because they teach kids how to liberate their minds in ways they never before imagined. What a great guy! Love him! He has a new book out he’s promoting with all these new ideas…

  42. David- You are a teacher. I am self taught. 9 out 10 teachers considered me stupid because they considered what they had to say as having meaning and value. i could pay no attention to 90% of it because i realized instinctively from day one of Pre-K it was merely promotion of a Machiavellian scheme. Farmers are inteligent because they are artists. Everyone is an artist until the school system takes that away, as decribed by William Blake. i agree with the Macrobiotic view of the levels in ascending order. 1. Mechanical. 2. Sensual. 3. Power and Emotion 4. Art, Science and Intellect. 5. Social or Moral 6. Philosophical 7. Satori, Nirvana, or Free. This is in no way saying that mechanics are stupid and intellectuals are smart- quite often it is the reverse. Howard Zinn changed from being a bomber in WW2 the “good war” to being moral. His morality was no static. Everones morality hopefully changes as she/he/it learns from past “mistakes.” Everyone is beyond brilliant. A person with downs syndrome is no less brilliant than Kissinger in fact i would consider him more so. Then again i don’t take the dictionary and encyclopoedia at face value.

  43. David- School is replacing instinct with false morality to brainwash children to join the Machiavellian system. Once they work for nothing but hopes and dreams, they will surely join the quotidian world for paper with no real value except that it perpetuates the rich and their slaves, and the supposedly “intelligent” who have lost their morals and art, philosophy and freedom..

  44. Hi Katha —
    In the educational system we are forced to pretend everyone is equal in order not to create lawsuits and to help along the idea “all men are created equal.” We protect our financial stakes by risking nothing out of the ordinary.
    The problem with that sort of thinking is that the intellectual minds suffer the most as they are leashed a middling mindset that cannot begin to understand the scope of what they see and feel.
    I’ve written about that conundrum here before and argued that the middling mind only recognizes mediocrity while the genius mind recognizes everything. There is a great disconnect between the two because the genius mind understands the point-of-view of the middling mind, but the middling mind can never begin to comprehend the genius idea.
    There is never equality in a classroom. You’ll always have one person who is smarter than the rest. How do you handle that situation? Most school tamp down the genius to meet the middle because that mind can understand the crushing down while the middling mind would begin to scream “unfair” when special opportunities were granted the intelligent mind.

  45. fred —
    We have a lot of stupid teachers. I suffered most of my life in public schools that were prisons. I never tested well on standard exams because I could see several answers when only one was wanted. It was only later as a freshman at the University of Nebraska where I took graduate level courses my first year and learned “it was okay to hate your mother” that I began to feel intellectually comfortable in a classroom setting.

  46. fred —
    You know true intellectualism is not false and cannot be hidden. It is those who fake intelligence with certificates and degrees and pontification of a changeable morality that confuses the true identity of the intellectual experience.

  47. Going back to your previous comments as I missed it –
    You are right, I don’t feel the ‘need’ to pass on my own genetic ‘brilliance’ ( ;-)…if any ) to my genetic child…a genetic/adopted child will be the proof that I had a strong enough connection with my partner to enter into parenthood.
    If it doesn’t happen? Well I can’t be a mother on my own – so why worry? 🙂
    Regarding equality…I do agree some people are always smarter than others – is it because they exploited the opportunity presented to them or they were born with it?

  48. Hi Katha —
    I know your life will work out ask you wish and I appreciate your honesty. There are a lot of people, I’m sure, who are awed by your disinterest in the propagation of your own DNA.
    Intelligence has nothing to do with schooling.
    Intelligence is a charring marked in the electrical explosion between egg and sperm.

  49. I am not against being a mother; I am against being a mother for just the sake of being a mother.
    You prepare the garden in a proper way if you want the flowers to bloom wonderfully, right? You need the right soil, watering, sunlight, fertilizers or whatever…and you get rid of weeds, right?
    A kid is like a flower to me.

  50. David- Would you accept that morality doesn’t change but people change their acceptance or rejection of morals at different times in their lives.
    i only had one teacher who seemed alive and was intellectually stimulating. It later turned out that he was impersonating his twin brother who had a PhD and written some books. He got fired after one semester.
    To me an intellectual is someone caught up in her/his head and uses her/his brain as if it were a machine. Tons of logic, rhetoric, argument etc. like Socrates who had such a great intellect he literally argued himself to death for the minor crime of speaking freely to the youth of his day.

  51. David, my dear man. I’ve come your site and this topic very late, so perhaps I have missed crucial nuances along the way. Please though: What do you mean by this statement?
    ” The first thing you do with them is to make yourself a blank and tell them “I don’t know anything. Teach me the truths.” Then you’re off!”
    While I agree to there being students who are more intelligent than the teachers, surely the teachers have acquired some life wisdom and must have a body of information to dispense. How can we hope for advancement in our schools if we as teachers slump into the pupil’s desk and turn the lectern to our charges?
    Help me here. Surely I misunderstood you.

  52. Thank you David for these links. I have read all the pieces.
    Certainly I believe we have truths to learn from both young people and older ones, but I must think the teacher has more to offer than do the students. If not, why are they in university? In your Passionate Mind piece, I did not see you allowing the young Muslim to assume the stance of teacher. Quite the contrary, you withdrew the authority from him, and did a sterling job of directing the class to a point you (perhaps sub-consciously) had in mind.
    Is it possible that our schools would function in a superior way if teachers knew “the way” and led the students in that direction.
    Enjoy reading here tremendously.

  53. David- If what is commonly called intellectuals like Newt Gingrich and all the congressmen and senators in Washington who voted for the war are intellectuals, give me a “dumb hippie,” who has the morality to treat me like her/himself because she/he has expanded her/his consciousnes and seen i am her/him, anytime. There is no such thing as an intellectual, pro-war, period in my book. Even you, a few pages back were telling me how war strengthens the species and may be good in the long run at the cost to the present, and how i was pro war because i argued with everone on your site. Even Al Gore was calling Bush his “commander in chief” who he “follows” after 9-11, even though this great intellect doesn’t realize that the commander in chief only commands the military and not Al Gore. Most intellectuals are too easily led around by appeals to their supposed intellect. Hippies are “dumb” because they would rather do anything than join the war mongering, prince and Machiavellian following herd of intellectuals who are running the world. Radical intellectuals who are against war and have morality are put down worldwide. Call it static or whatever intellectual put down serves your purpose, but the “times they are not a changing, and never will till we see we can only kill ourselves (this is eastern philosophy or enlightenment).” Intellectuls are merely one step above the herd and fleece the sheep whose neck they stand on with their double- talk.

  54. Hi Shirley —
    There are many ways to learn from students. Bad behavior is never tolerable but to take the position one cannot learn from students in the same manner they learn from you is to claim you know everything.
    When you are discussing interpretive things like stories and plays and writing there isn’t a right answer and that scares a lot of students because they want to be right and they want to have a simple solution.
    The harder, move involved task, of the teacher is to say — “There can be 100 right answers — but you are being graded on the quality of the defense of your logic defending your argument.” That’s where the real learning starts.
    I now take the position the longer I live, the less I know. When I was 15 I knew everything.

  55. Fred —
    The colloquial common misuse of the word “intellectual” does not interest me. I have no curiosity about the vocabulary mistakes of others.
    We are still not agreeing on the definition of “intellectual.” Your definition is much more elitist than mine.

  56. David:
    With one point I totally agree: I know little, and the older I become, the more positive I am of that statement.
    When I go to school, however, I want to believe the teacher knows more than I.
    Good night, David.

  57. Hi Shirley —
    The best kind of teacher, I have learned is one who says, “You tell me what it means.”
    Students learn best from each other not through the lecture of a professor. It took me a long time to learn how to get out of the way of real learning and that asking the right question and nudging the conversation in certain directions when it gets stuck is the key to opening up everyone in the classroom.

  58. fred —
    Yes, Chris posted the same sort of Anti-Intellectual link to the same sort of article and identical cartoon here earlier in the day.
    As I told Chris earlier, Anti-intellectualism is based in religious ferocity and blind-faith belief against the advance of science and technology and I find it unfortunate you so readily enjoy identification with such an unfortunate and hateful mindset.

  59. David- Slow down- A few sentences ago you were telling me how the “intellectuals” in college taught how it’s O.K. to “hate ones mother, and how this made you feel comfortable.” i was educated macrobiotically about how everything is a gift of God and how we choose our own mothers and how existentially we are responsible for everything as we are creating it, and if we “hate our mothers,” we are sick and scapegoating and need to get out act together. i “hate” nothing. One minute you say “negative words” should be eliminated- i agree. Then you talk of “hating your mother” as a positive. i’m getting some contradiction there.

  60. No contradiction here at all, Fred — the idea of being allowed to “hate your mother” as an 18 year-old kid in Republican Nebraska where even thinking that phrase is tantamount to spitting on a grave or being a “Commie” was releasing and enlightening as the opposite to the expected and required mode of behavior and being and living a dead and unthinking existence.
    I am happy to accept that lesson of my life, and I certainly don’t see it as a negative, but my greater concern is how you will never live down your glorifying of, and self-identification with, the Anti-Intellectual movement.

  61. David- i am merely attemptin to balance out the “intellectual ” movement by pointing out that these intellectuals should embrace the “hippie movement” who to me are the real intellectuals because they are pro art and anti war, even if they aren’t “smart” enough to see the name of the game is “follow the Machiavellian leaders, for that’s what “reality” is, and that’s who will feed you. i am forever on strike against the twelve people who determine the flow of currency. i came to this planet to point this out, but the intelligensia doesn’t seem to get my point.i have shown photographs that should open ones eyes but very few really see. We have overlooked a lot more than shadows.

  62. David- ” The test for justification of an act is not its legality but its morality. ”
    ” The ultimate test is not law but justice.” ( both quotes from Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn p. 128).
    i have nothing against intellectuals, just intellectuals with no morality which trumps their intellect.
    The ” intellect” Kissinger whose immoral secret bombing of Cambodia plan, stimulated the anti-intellectual movement of Pol Pot. This is typical both sides against the middle, immoral politics as usual.
    Please seriously reconsider your stance against morality or please read Zinn’s books and consider his side, and that of , Martin Luther King and Daniel Berrigan who were moral, as opposed to mere intellectuals who have no strong belief in morality as being the more important factor. Before i read Zinn, i too looked at morality as a herding technique used to subvert instinct, but now i see the light (and darkness).

  63. HI… I NEED HELP!!!
    i did not read all the comments posted here but read most of it.
    I hv something Personal to ask.. which is bothering me for a long time. It would be really nice if Someone could help me out with Suggestions……
    I was always the ‘intelligent kid’ in school and college.. my grades would always be high and i did pretty well throughout school and college.
    In school, one of my seniors really liked me and askd me out.everyone in school pushed me to get into a relationsghip with him.i didnot think of it as a big deal and started dating him..
    Now, he wasnt really intelligent.he worked really hard but got pretty poor scores.actually very poor scores… it was clear he wasnt intelligent.
    I dint pay much attention to that.. besides he was a senior and i didnot get into the details of his study.We started liking each other alot.. but i took it to be fun dating.i didnot realise that he was extremely serious and by the time we were in college he decided that wanted to get married to me.
    My father doesnot like him at all and kept tellin me that he was quite dumb and he couldnt comprehend how i could like him.but Y wud i look into his grades.. we could make good conversation with each other,take care of each other.i Didnot think beyond that.
    FOR the past few months i hv been thinkin about what my father told me and im worried that if we do get married in the future and have kids.. my children are not going be intelligent and academically will be very poor and wont be able to do that well in life! i Donot want to live with that frustration.
    Another thing is that I donot know what he is going to do for his future himself.he doesnot have good grades to take him far in the future though he has worked really hard.now hes almost done with college.Im scared and dont know what to do.
    He wants to marry me and will do anythin for it.. he has never done anything wrong to me and treated me like a princess.If i leave him he might do anythin crazy.. he is very attached to me and cannot see any future without me. i know he will be shattered if i leave him and he will not be able to take it at all.he aint a strong person.
    Im lost and confused.i dont even know whether im being foolish by thinking this way but i wanted to share it with someone who can help me out. dunno what to do.Im hoping someone reads whatever iv written and Helps me out.im really depressed and need correct advice.
    I will visit this site time and again.Hope to get some advice and suggestions soon.

  64. Can some one please give me some advice… ?? i have been waiting for long now. my story has been posted above.

  65. Rhea,
    Here goes my two cents:
    Intelligence can’t/ shouldn’t be measured by score or by money. ‘Intelligence’ reflects on its own, in someone’s behavior/ attitude/ maturity /ability to cope/ ability to foresee things/ ability to decide and act on it.
    If you are that anxious about a prospect ask yourself about it – you will get the answer. No one is perfect, not even you. It’s when you are sure enough to accept one’s shortcomings – then only you can take a decision.

  66. Just goes to show how bad the world really is when kids who aren’t born with the lucky dip of intelligence,always get the lousy jobs,struggle all their lives while the lucky ones get great jobs and get put on pedestals.

    Intelligence is a thing you are born with.

    I read books and struggle sometimes to understand and have to read the same paragraph 5 times before I get it.

    You are either born lucky or not.

  67. Not commenting on whether intelligence is inherited or earned, but the institutional systems that are shaping our children’s minds are doing a very poor job in teaching them to think for themselves. To avoid what seems to be inevitable disaster, we need outward thinkers.

  68. Suppose there is this guy who can recite back fifty numbers in a row and he has a baby with this girl who can recite back 50 numbers in a row. Will the baby they produce be more likely to recite back fifty numbers in a row than children produced from parents who were able to recite back onlyhalf as many numbers. ALL THINGS EQUAL

  69. Regardless of whether intelligence is inherited or not, i believe that at least intelligence capacities are inherited, if intelligent people have children then their children are more likely to develop their intelligence because of the environment they will be raised in and although this may not always be the case but im sure there will be an overall increase in intelligence.

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