Cognitive Assessment

The Rise and Fall of g and the End of Bigotry

Anyone who knows the least little bit about history knows that before 1904, there was no such thing as bigotry. There was no racism, no sexism—no elitism of any kind. Diverse societies lived in loving harmony for centuries. People did not insult each other with nasty labels because there were no tests. Consult any history book if you don’t believe me.

This peace was tragically disrupted by an evil man named Charles Spearman. In 1904, he invented the cruel notion of g (general intelligence) and this notion was accompanied by the infamous instrument of torture, the IQ test. Almost immediately upon learning about g, majority groups, previously unaware of their power, started to use Spearman’s notion of g to oppress minority groups. For the first time, conflicts between groups became so severe that a terrible new word was invented to describe the unprecedented destruction: WAR!

A few brave souls tried to withstand the believers in g, but they were lonely voices crying out in the wilderness. These were the dark days. Egalitarians wanted to believe that people should be kind to one another but the notion of g left us without any reasonable arguments. It seemed that all hope was lost.

One day, decades later, a brilliant researcher had a revolutionary idea: g could be defeated with research! The researcher knew that nothing was more persuasive to people than data (especially to bigots, who respect science more than anyone). Our hero worked feverishly for months until the data showed conclusively that g does not exist. The researcher took the data to a local pub and struck up a conversation with a bigot.

Researcher: Why do you think that you are better than other people who look, dress, and behave differently from you?
Bigot: I know that I’m better than people who are different from me because I believe in g.
Researcher: My research shows that g does not exist. Look at these data.
Bigot: Holy cow! This is amazing. You mean, all this time my faith in g has led me astray? I’m no better than other groups of people I’ve been hating all this time?
Researcher: Yes. Since g doesn’t exist, there is no reason to keep all this hate in your heart.
Former Bigot: How could I have been so wrong? Now that the non-existent g is no longer clouding my vision, I guess I should love all of humankind.

The researcher went from pub to pub, from library to library, from barber shop to barber shop, and all through the land in every public place talking with everyone about g. In the face of conclusive data about g, bigots everywhere saw the error of their ways and asked forgiveness of everyone they had ever wronged because of their belief in g. Diverse groups no longer had any reason to be in conflict so peace was restored and justice prevailed…

…until years later a man even more evil than Spearman had a wicked, wicked idea. Howard Gardner proposed to the world that although the existence of g had been disproved conclusively, there was not just one intelligence but multiple intelligences.  Immediately bigots everywhere rejoiced. They said to each other, “People different from us are not inferior in just one way but in multiple ways!” Bigotry flourished once again and, if anything, was worse than it had been before.

At first, we egalitarians had no defense against Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.  There were just too many ways in which people could feel superior to one another. Soon, however, we came across the perfect solution: get rid of the tests! If no one is ever tested, people will stop labeling each other. It took a long time and many sacrifices were made, but eventually all the tests were destroyed.

Once the tests were gone forever, people found themselves unable to figure out who was superior to whom. Labels disappeared. Gradually, peace was restored. It is because of the courage of these anti-testing heroes that we enjoy the blissful state of harmony in which we now find ourselves.

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