Intelligence – Why the differences?

My Recent Posts

Intelligence – Why the differences?


Looking at average intelligence from around the world one is struck by the stark differences between nations. Although these average IQs need to be treated with some suspicion, and they hide the fact that many people within these countries will have high IQs, they do pose a number of questions that need addressing.


Equatorial Guinea



United Kingdom



Hong Kong



United States



According to this study most of Africa has an average IQ in the 60s while Europe/the USA/Australia is around 100 and China, Hong Kong and Singapore is above 105.

So what causes these big differences in average IQ?

  1. Are they racial differences?
  2. Are they skewed by accumulations of intelligent people in some areas?
  3. Are IQs affected by diet?
  4. Are IQs affected by education?
  5. Are IQs affected by climate?
  6. Are IQs affected by infectious diseases?
  7. Are IQ tests racially skewed?
  8. Are IQs affected by social conditions?


The idea that there is an inherent genetic racial difference is highly controversial and debateable. The majority biological view is that race is of no consequence in terms of intrinsic brain differences. Studies of black Americans, while still showing a lower average than white Americans, show a great increase since the end of segregation and a raise in education and living standards.


b. Singapore and Hong Kong are major centres for commerce which could mean that intelligent people tend to congregate in these regions raising the average IQ. Though this does not explain other regions.


c. There is much evidence that brain development and IQ would be greatly affected by the quality of diet – particularly in the foetus and early years.


d. Education is another major influence on the nurturing of IQ. A baby who receives greater stimulation will have greater brain development. This has implications for the way babies are carried and played with as well as early schooling.


e. One theory is that the harshness of winters has had an effect on IQs. Well it would wouldn’t it? It would provide problems to be solved – clothing, heating, housing, food storage etc.


f. Babies fighting off infections would put resources into fighting diseases instead of developing brains. The more infectious diseases the lower IQ.


g. The racial skewing of IQ tests could well be responsible for some percentage of the differences.


The conclusions seem to suggest that IQ is not an inherent racial characteristic but closely correlates with the level of development of the country. In other words - the better the nourishment, healthcare, living conditions and education the higher the average IQ.


opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 10:24am
Average IQs is not really a comparison of intelligence. IQ tests measure a very narrow band of what passes for intelligence. There are many different kinds of intelligence. 
Now that we have a good idea of what promotes intelligence it seems to me that it is an imperative to put right the things that are preventing so many people from reaching their potential.
It is worth bearing in mind that the bell curve for intelligence will have very wide ranges within any group.
My position has always been to judge people as individuals and not stereotyping them into groups.
I have noticed on this site a tendency to label people. I think that is a laziness. 
Tamara Wilhite Added Feb 14, 2018 - 10:30am
In some of the poorest nations, the average IQ is probably pulled down by malnutrition, diseases like malaria that impede development, and parasitic loads.
Good nutrition and healthcare would raise their IQs, though leaves genetic variability to become the dominant source of variance.
But we need to be careful not to say "Africans are less intelligent by inferior genetics" when malaria, worms and malnutrition probably shaved 20 IQ points off the average.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 10:32am
Exactly right Tamara. The evidence is precisely that.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 14, 2018 - 11:02am
Try and specify the performance of a paper clip with just one number.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 14, 2018 - 11:07am
Right then, let's for sake of argument say your premise is correct.
What factors would you use to explain someone with a 128 IQ in DUHmerica? A full 30 points above the average there?
THEN, what factors would explain that individual having an IQ more than double that of Equatorial Guinea?
Dave Volek Added Feb 14, 2018 - 11:16am
I think there are all sorts of stats to prove that social conditions are a major factor in intelligence. I could spend a half hour to do some research, but those who believe that the poor can easily climb out of their poverty would just deem such research as fake.
Dino Manalis Added Feb 14, 2018 - 11:41am
Economic well-being helps focus on education and intelligence.
Bill Kamps Added Feb 14, 2018 - 11:50am
There is plenty of evidence that much of the differences are environment rather than genetics.  When quality school programs are put  in the inner cities in the US, those students go on the college at the same rate as the suburban kids.  Granted those programs have to make up for the poor home life of these kids, so they need to be more than just 9-5 schools but that is the whole point.  If they have a decent school and support system nearly all kids are capable of higher  learning.
Yes as Tamara says, in many countries other  factors still play a hand like nutrition, illness, etc.
That does not mean we dont have our individual abilities.  But given the same background, most kids can pass a standardized test.  They dont have the  same background and that explains most of the difference.
Tubularsock Added Feb 14, 2018 - 12:54pm
An IQ test?
A “test” in general.
Some people can take a test and know very little except how to take a test.
Others may know a huge amount but don’t know the trick of taking a test.
Of course, the outcomes will be very different but the conclusions made on those outcomes don’t really help much.
The problem comes when tests are used to project out a person’s ability and the conclusions attempt to “pigeon-hole” that individual into a “standardized” metrics.
Some people do well moving from place to place by the ringing of bells. And others do not.
Of course, Tubularsock has an entirely different way to structure education but if it was implemented it would create too many smart independent individuals.
And where is the value in THAT?
THE FORCE IS YOU, keep your light saber dry.
Stone-Eater Added Feb 14, 2018 - 5:52pm
That result is how it is because it's based on Western culture, education and mentality. That's all.
When street smartness would count, Africa would be a long way in front. There's quite a few US$ millionaires here (what counts for a billionaire in local currency) who made their fortune being illiterate.
No joke, I have met some of them during the years.
Stone-Eater Added Feb 14, 2018 - 5:52pm
TexasLynn Added Feb 14, 2018 - 5:54pm
Like various other attributes and abilities, I believe genetics play a role but the sum of environment is king.  I think we are have a genetically predisposition towards a lot of things.  We can overcome them, or nurture them as we choose.  Free will... :)
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 14, 2018 - 5:58pm
I do not believe it has anything to do with one's ability to learn. We all come into this world (except some rare cases) with the same potential to make ourselves intelligent, or perhaps savvy is a better word. 
I think it has more to do with the people one interacts with. 
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:50pm
Jeffry - intelligence is a polygene system with big environmental input. It is a bell curve. 
If we look at the American IQ of 138 that would be in the top percentile for the states. The range in the States might well be from 40 to 170. If we looked at the bell curve for that African country the median might be 68. The range might be from 35 - 150. 
The person with the IQ of 138 will have inherited a set of high scoring genes and had an upbringing that a. gave them good nutrition b. gave them intense mental stimulation c. gave them good healthcare so they were not wasting energy of healing or fighting parasites d. gave them comfortable surroundings so that they could rest, sleep and keep warm/cool. They were able to attain their potential.
The person with the IQ of 68 will have inherited an average set of genes, be nutritionally challenged, not had good healthcare so that they suffered illness and wasted energy, lacked stimulation as a child, was brought up in poverty and lacked education, hence they fell well short of their potential. With the genes they possessed they would, in beneficial circumstances, have attained an average intelligence of around 100.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:51pm
Doug - I accept your criticism of IQ tests. They are far too narrow.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:52pm
Dave - the evidence is there if people are prepared to look for it. Immigrant populations into middle class areas show those increases.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:53pm
Dino - that is the crucial factor - economic well-being.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:55pm
Bill - that is correct. In a polygene system environmental factors play a big part though genetics plays a role as well - hence the bell curve for a population all experiencing the same conditions.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:57pm
Tub - yep - there are experts at taking tests and experts at living.
The Tub education experience would be worth implementing I'm sure. It would probably involve light sabres wouldn't it?
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 6:58pm
Stone - yes there certainly is a big cultural bias in the tests but that doesn't account for it all. There are other factors. IQ rises with economic development.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 7:01pm
Lynn - that is true. It is the same with height. We all have a polygene system for that too. Get a good diet, avoid illness and have good healthcare and home and you will reach your full potential. Any of those go wrong and you will fall short.
I am a mere 5'6'' but my sons are 6'. I had a number of childhood illnesses at the wrong time.
opher goodwin Added Feb 14, 2018 - 7:03pm
Stephen - mental stimulation is a big factor. Perhaps the habit of carrying babies on ones back while working in the fields for long hours deprives African children of stimulation?
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 14, 2018 - 7:55pm
Wasn't there some German fellow a few decades ago that wanted to eliminate the lower-intelligent people? As I recall, he exterminated millions of people, some of them quite smart, and all (or at least every one of them that his folks could get hold of) of the "mentally challenged" folks were eliminated.  Certain ethic groups do indeed have a statistically higher I.Q. mostly because their ethnic group has been, over history, decimated. I'm certainly not suggesting that we do away with lower IQ people, sometimes two lower IQ people produce a higher IQ person. I once took an "ethnically biased" IQ test that used references that I was not familiar with but others were, and the purpose was to show the bias of IQ tests.
You probably know that the Army Alpha test, having been given for over 100 years now, is one of the most accurate tests that can be administered. As you adroitly noted, IQ has various aspects. The tests do not reflect everything.
Katharine Otto Added Feb 14, 2018 - 8:06pm
I don't like IQ tests, because they are so narrow, and people put too much faith in them.  To me they are measures of the intelligence and versatility of the test designer.  They are racially biased, culturally biased, vocabulary biased, and they don't measure such non-intellectual abilities as spacial intelligence, musical intelligence, problem-solving, social skills, and any number of important abilities that people don't think of when they think of intelligence.
And, a baby on mama's back in a field is highly stimulated by the environment, not to mention the warmth and comfort of constant contact.  If that mother is communicating with the baby as she works, all the better.  One thing not mentioned above as an impediment to developing intelligence is neglect.  
Doug Plumb Added Feb 14, 2018 - 8:51pm
I just wonder how our best mathematicians would get through a jungle without being bitten by a snake.
Bill H. Added Feb 14, 2018 - 10:27pm
It will be interesting to see how IQ numbers fare after a generation of "smartphone" exposure. I suspect it will parallel with clams and barnacles.
Anti-Limey Added Feb 14, 2018 - 11:32pm
Some of the dumbest motherfuckers I've ever encountered have had advanced degrees, and some of the smartest motherfuckers I've ever encountered have a third-grade reading level. From my experience, there are people who are educated far beyond their level of intelligence, and others whose intelligence far exceeds their level of education.
wsucram15 Added Feb 15, 2018 - 1:00am
Opher..they dont test IQ in US anymore.  I know this because my son has ADHD and had to have a special state test that insurance doesnt pay for and is kind of pricey (we pd 2K). He needed it for a special plan to get him through Algebra at school so he got tested.  We had to force the school to get him special tutoring, a different Algebra teacher and other considerations. Once We proved the disability..he passed just fine.
But on that test, his IQ was 130+, they could not measure the IQ accurately due the math disability (it would be higher).  But felt with the right teacher he would have no issues, he didnt.  But I had to get what is called a 504 or IED.
Often intelligence like that is inherited, my mother was sooo smart as was her father ( he was a walking encyclopedia and was very well off due to some financial savvy).
I agree with Mike.  I have met some very uneducated people that were just smart. Its when you meet one that is like that AND educated...I actually know a few.  I have no clue what they are talking about. I went to dinner a few times with some microsoft management, (I left the room once and went and played VR games with the geeks-so cool) but had no idea what language they were speaking and I took 4 sem of comp thru networking.  But we all ended up in an argument over the brain.  How about that for dinner convo?
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 3:33am
Jeff - it seems to me that we have an obsession with intelligence as if it is the most important quality of a human being. I believe there are many other more important human attributes - compassion, caring, friendliness, sociability, optimism, happiness, helpfulness, team working, motor skills are just a few.
Hitler's programme was partially eugenics but ultimately racist. He had plans to remove all races he considered inferior or problematic (Jews, Romanies, Slave, Negroes) as well as the disabled, criminals, mental patients and those with low IQ.  A scary prospect. The holocaust was merely the first step. If he had won that war we would be seeing a continuing programme of mass genocide.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 3:36am
Katharine - thank you for those comments - all very pertinent.
It was a passing thought of mine to think of the habit of putting a baby on one's back. I wonder how much stimulation they do get. Babies do require a lot of face time, speech and playing with. I don't know.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 3:37am
Doug - yes. Intelligence is varied isn't it. A good observation.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 3:38am
Bill - that would be an interesting study wouldn't it. I wonder if smartphones will take a lot of mum/baby time and leave babies less stimulated?
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 3:39am
Michael - my observation, as an educator, too. Sometimes I wonder just what IQ tests do measure.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 3:45am
Jeanne - you don't think they do any IQ testing in schools? Under any guises? We seem to be obsessed with testing over here. There is a good segment of the population that want to test kids with a basic crude IQ test at ten years old that would separate them out into different types of schooling. The brightest ten percent would go forward to an academic education and the rest would receive a technical education.
I think that is an abomination. I am not opposed to children following different paths - ones that they choose.
That sounds like quite a lunch. Computer geeks astound me with what they do. My IT guys at work were amazing.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 15, 2018 - 4:39am
I think that Stoney is quite right.  The IQ test is a reflection of the culture that created it.
I am sure that there are other forms of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence, which are difficult to test.
Probably the most valuable form of intelligence us the type that allows you to pull different streams of input together... not pure spatial, numeracy or whatever.   But I don't think there are tests to measure that... or are there?
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 5:04am
Robin - I'm not sure it is quite as simple as that. While I do think there is a cultural bias I think that factors such as poverty, nutrition, education, healthcare and stimulation come into play. Intelligence is a complex beast with many faces.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 15, 2018 - 7:20am
I remember teachers and science making a big damn deal about brain size back half a century ago when I was in school. I'd bet dollars to donuts natives of Equatorial Guinea have much smaller brains than Whites anywhere. Except maybe the author's. 
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 15, 2018 - 7:37am
Perhaps over population is also a factor. The more children the less interaction with parents in the beginning at least, and the more time spent on just surviving and not having the time for mental stimulation. Could that be a reason that many Chinese immigrants are so intelligent? The one child law and all? 
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 8:04am
Jeffry - thank you. I'm touched. Well I expected a racist comment or two. I got one.
Brain capacity is possibly a factor in IQ. It is also possibly the result of diet and other factors.
The Asians show the largest brain capacities and IQ of humans so perhaps we should ask them?
Neanderthals had bigger brains than us. But unfortunately we wiped them out so we can't ask them. But we have left a few whales. The Sperm whale has the biggest brain of any animal perhaps we should ask them? Their brains are over 6 times as big as ours.
8,000 cubic centimeters. Our brain is about 1300 cubic centimeters.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 8:06am
Stephen - I hadn't thought of that. It might well be a factor as it would impact on many other environmental issues. Thanks for that.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 15, 2018 - 8:13am
 Well I expected a racist comment or two. I got one.
Having been to Africa on several occasions I observed and was shocked by the over all smallness of the indigenous heads. I'd be surprised if there were many larger than required a size six hat. Most ball caps plastic sizing straps had only two tabs locked and a long tail. I also noticed this in the Caribbean and at home in the Bronx. 
Thanks for conflating observation with racism. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Feb 15, 2018 - 8:35am
The largest part of our brain is concerned with carrying out functions of which we are scarcely conscious.  These include functions such as walking, talking etc etc.   Should a comprehensive intelligence measurement cover our facility with these functions as well?   Especially when related to higher forms such as dancing and singing?
I guess that, from an evolutionary point of view, you should expect hunter gatherers (neanderthals) to have highly developed "motor" intelligence to help them be more agile and highly skilled hunters.   Those who became successful in city states may have had to be more skilled in numeracy and language maybe.   Perhaps one reason for Hong Kong residents to score higher IQ?
There is also the question of whether IQ is an absolute thing that you are born with or whether it can be trained.    Does living in a fast moving, multicultural, society lead to you becoming more intelligent than a hermit living in a cave (or watching daytime TV)?
Dr. Rupert Green Added Feb 15, 2018 - 9:35am
South Sea youth can navigate the sea at night using the stars, which American youth can do so? Aren't they more intelligent than Americans in that regard? Now, who did the script on intelligence?
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 9:36am
Jeffry - just the way you put it Jeffry.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 9:40am
Robin - there is much evidence that the brain is much more plastic than we ever thought. If we do new things we end up  developing new pathways and brain areas. I have no doubt that our way of life impacts on our brain development. You can see it the way kids use technology. It almost seems inherent.
Back when I was young if you wanted to type you had to be a typing course. Kids these days seem to absorb the skills by osmosis.
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 9:40am
Doc - that is true. The measuring of IQ is indeed a blunt instrument.
Stone-Eater Added Feb 15, 2018 - 11:10am
Head size got nothing to do with intelligence. Otherwise women would be...erm....let's change the subject LOL
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 12:01pm
Stone - brain capacity may make some difference. It is which parts of the brains that are developed that is important. Women's brains are different to men's and smaller. It is worth noting that the highest recorded IQs are female.
mark henry smith Added Feb 15, 2018 - 2:15pm
Thanks Opher, love this topic, it's so controversial.
I will form my comment in a Haiku.
Oliver Cromwell
largest cranium ever
son was not so smart
highest IQ known
woman with small head big thoughts
from a piece I read
intelligence bee
a measure of whatever
floats you boat to stars
brain convolutions
supply vast solutions when
rightly connected.
Haiku de Marko all rights reserved. (C) 2018  
opher goodwin Added Feb 15, 2018 - 6:44pm
Mark - your series of haikus says it all and encapsulates it in few words. What more needs saying. Thanks.
Dale Murrish Added Feb 15, 2018 - 9:37pm
Interesting discussion. I agree with the consensus opinion of commenters that average IQ has more to do with a country's economic development than anything to do with race.
No doubt people in North Korea suffer from effects of malnutrition, stunted growth, and low average IQs caused by their tyrannical government.
Agree with your assessment:
"The conclusions seem to suggest that IQ is not an inherent racial characteristic but closely correlates with the level of development of the country. In other words - the better the nourishment, healthcare, living conditions and education the higher the average IQ."
The Owl Added Feb 15, 2018 - 10:21pm
The Owl Added Feb 15, 2018 - 11:03pm
IQ tests can be designed and redesigned to put premiums on the types of "value judgments" a segment of society might make or might not make.  You can alter the test to address the value judgments that another segment of society might hold.
Those from Group 1 can score really well on Test 1 even in their sleep.  But when given the test designed for Group 2 who have greatly different sociological and cultural bases, the test takers of Group 1 struggle, while the Group 2 test takers do well.
This is a known design flaw of the IQ test development and the elements they expect to measure.
It also greatly changes the efficacy relying on IQ test score comparencies since the apples and oranges, elements we are practised at reconciling are replaced with quarks and fee photons, and, people are still quibbling about how the Plancks Constant shifts us from Netwonian mathematics on the relations of objects to one found in quantam physics.
These issues leave us wrestling with how we are to use the information derived by taking measurements knowing full well that the uncertainties induced by the mere observation my render the data more useless.
Long way around to my conclusion here, but...
With the ready manipulability of the standardized test, little is to be gained except for repeated studies over a significant amount of time to determine delta values that occur because of social, learning, or process changes to the group.
If you want me tomorrow my thinking more directly...
You'll have a much better chance of improving the lives of those with lower IQs with welcoming arms, open discussions, on-going debate an dialog.
Mumbo-Jumbo is so yesterday when it isn't needed.
opher goodwin Added Feb 16, 2018 - 4:33am
Dale - I am glad that you agree. It is an interesting debate.
opher goodwin Added Feb 16, 2018 - 4:36am
Owl - I agree with your conclusions. Open arms, warmth, acceptance, good care and openness are the ways forward in a compassionate society.
opher goodwin Added Feb 16, 2018 - 4:38am
Owl - in my school testing was diagnostic to see how we can assist students to learn rather than try to place them in a pecking order and make failures of most of them. We put the emphasis on effort scores and awarded prizes for effort not attainment.
Rusty Smith Added Feb 16, 2018 - 8:44am
opher goodwin when I look at you numbers I remember what I thought many years ago when I was tested, the test really has little to do with how smart a person's brain is, but rather a persons interests, focus and experince.
I was blessed with a very scientific upbringing and exposed to an unusually wide range of mechanical and electrical challenges at an early age so when I was tested, (a few times), I tested very high.  However even as I took the tests I was asking myself how anyone with out my experince could be expected to answer some of the questions as well as I did, if it was the first time they had thought about those types of things.  I think I'm gifted in spacial relations and problems involving complicated interrelationships because I have the experince to see and connect dots that other people rarely if ever think about, not because I have a better brain or am more intelligent.  I even remember thinking how similar some of the questions were to many of my real life problems.
Everyone including people who live in places where they aren't exposed to the types of problems I grew up with starts with a good brains, but not everyone has life experiences that make them think about things the same way.  A hunter gatherer might never see complicated mechanical problems, but be expert at noticing the signs of a passing animal, picking up clues I wouldn't even notice, to follow an animal I didn't even realize had passed by.  In his world my experience would make me look pretty unintelligent.
Very recently I followed behind 3 teams of people from different companies, who had all "blessed" a large project, to see if it looked ok to me and found disastrous flaws that were glaring deficiencies to me but invisible to everyone else until I pointed each out and told them why each was a problem.  I've often been asked how I can do that and always reply it's because I have the experince to see interrelationships other people don't notice, I never claim it's because I'm smarter or more intelligent than they are.  I've even told many that if you had the same experince and focus I do, you could do it too.
Things like malnutrition do affect our brains, but even extreme starvation and other brutal conditions like what many holocaust survivors, including very young children, were put through, did not stop most of them from being very healthy and successful later in life.  
I do think our ability to understand the world around us, solve problems and make intelligent decisions is based much more on our experince and focus than how "intelligent" we are.  If we spend our days watching TV and drinking, of course we won't have practiced developed mental skills like those IQ tests measure our ability to see.
opher goodwin Added Feb 16, 2018 - 12:43pm
Rusty - thank you for that. That is a very lucid report about the reasons we should not trust what IQ tests are telling us. They are very skewed towards experience. You also illustrate how upbringing and experience can make such a difference. Thanks for your contribution.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Feb 16, 2018 - 5:23pm
No woman is prettier than another woman? Thus, all who watch beauty contest, to choose the most beautiful woman in the world, are fools. Because the event has been long lasting and lucrative, perhaps my premise is false. if so then some people are intelligent than others. But what about cultural imperative. I do not want an American book intelligent person in the bush lands of Africa, I want a bush intelligent person to prescribe healing bush instead of killing ones. Yes that book intelligent american would be useful in parts of Africa where railroads are being built. asssoh, intelligent is situational.
opher goodwin Added Feb 16, 2018 - 5:56pm
Doc - there certainly are different types of intelligence. IQ tests measure a narrow range.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Feb 17, 2018 - 4:21am
"Panel Study of Income Dynamics to show that children
(1–12 years old) with relatively wealthier
neighbors performed better on the standardized
Woodcock-Johnson cognitive tests controlling for
individual-level variables." (NEIGHBORHOODS, SCHOOLS,
Jondou J. Chen and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn)
Jeffry Gilbert Added Feb 17, 2018 - 8:15am
awarded prizes for effort not attainment.
And thereby did them and society a huge disservice. 
Way to go HRH Head Teacher. 
mark henry smith Added Feb 17, 2018 - 12:56pm
I find this talk about all of us being pretty much the same as far as intelligence to be nonsense. It's clear when you meet children that there are exceptional minds among them and patently unexceptional and no amount of nutrition or instruction will make an unexceptional mind into an exceptional mind. I don't think this quality of exceptionalism is restricted to one race or ethnicity. I think there are exceptional minds in primitive African villages being exceptional at living within their environment.
Think about this. You cannot ever tackle challenges that you are not faced with. I can train all I want to kill a lion with my bare hands, and convince myself that I have exception lion killing skills, but until I actually meet a lion, all of my intellectual  and physical lion-killing prowess is silly. Just as me training to dunk a basketball was silly, but I was able to touch the rim on a ten-foot basket.
Do you get my point? Thinking that kids who do not have an innate aptitude for gathering, organizing, and experimenting with complex concepts are going to ever do it at the level of someone who does is ridiculous. The way we are spending a limited pool of educational dollars in this country is ridiculous. Why should we be paying upwards of $30,000 a year to educate special needs children?       
opher goodwin Added Feb 17, 2018 - 2:33pm
Jeffry - don't talk ignorance. My kids were among the highest performing in the country and my school got top honours. I was called to London by the Secretary of State three times to win honours as one of the best schools in the country. I was called in to Oxford and Cambridge University to celebrate the excellence of my school. Perhaps you shouldn't comment on things you know nothing about?
opher goodwin Added Feb 17, 2018 - 2:36pm
Mark - that is true. We are talking about average intelligence. The Bell Curve will splay out to both extremes. But you can maximise your potential and shift the Bell Curve upwards with diet, education and stimulation. That does not change a weak student into an exceptional one. It merely enables all students to reach their potential. 
Yes there are different types of intelligence and different experiences will develop particular types.
opher goodwin Added Feb 17, 2018 - 2:37pm
Mark - we spend money on special needs kids to help them achieve their potential so that they can have a productive life. All kids are important.
opher goodwin Added Feb 20, 2018 - 7:14pm
Bill - it certainly seems to mirror the level of development.