For those who struggle to retain an interest in foreign politics, what better tonic than the sight of the President of the United States challenging his Secretary of State to a duel?
Admittedly the weapon of choice was an IQ test, rather than the more thrilling pistols or swords, but if the head of state believes a member of his administration has called him a moron, then why shouldn’t he demand satisfaction by means of a multiple choice questionnaire?
Well, if he really wanted to let Rex Tillerson know how he feels about this slight to the awesome capacity of his brain, he should perhaps have just shared a firm cock punch, but instead he’s opted for the intellectual route.
However, President Trump’s attempting to restore his imaginary honour via a series of logic puzzles may in fact reveal his faith in his own smartitude to be a little misplaced, because…
Trump’s logic is the logic of the playground
“Call me a moron would you, Rex? Well get your pencil and I’ll show you…” Confident of his ability to best the old oil man in an IQ joust, a higher score would enable him to say “Who’s the moron now, huh?” nod his head vigorously and pull one of his delighted-with-himself faces. However, this brand of settling of scores is not known to carry much public opinion with it.
IQ tests are unreliable
A colleague once took several different tests in a day to see what happened, and got a variety of wildly differing results. Naturally he decided the best score was the most accurate one, but a nimble lawyer could probably sow reasonable doubt if Trump tried a similar trick.
They don’t measure anything worth measuring
Trump may fancy himself as a man who knows “all the best words“, but IQ tests were originally designed to identify which children were educationally disadvantaged – ie failure was the significant outcome – whereas “success” in an IQ test is not a predictor of anything.
The “genius” label they confer on the highest scores is bogus
These upper percentiles are clearly where President Trump feels his domination of the shaded triangles is going to land him, but genius is for others to confer. In other words, Einstein will be remembered for his contribution to theoretical physics, not his IQ score. Big scores alone are for those MENSA herberts.
IQ tests are an inadequate definition of intelligence
As intelligence is a concept that defies simple explanation, an IQ test is the wrong tool for confirming whether a person is a moron or not. The cleverest people in one field may be among the slower ones in another. An individual might be a genius at employing an elaborate hair sculpture as part of a self-promoting personal brand, say, but utterly clueless at crafting a clever economic policy.
They are fallible
Different motivations can produce different scores which wrecks them as objective tests. “A number of studies have found that subjects who are promised monetary rewards for doing well on IQ and other cognitive tests score significantly higher,” says sciencemag.org.
Even the inventor of the test wouldn’t use them to predict intelligence
“The scale, properly speaking, does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not superimposable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are measured.” – Alfred Binet
And psychologists aren’t having it either
“… the scores on such tests are meaningless unless they are interpreted by sophisticated clinicians who are totally knowledgeable in pertinent research on child and adult development,” says Psychology Today.
So it’s really just a boasting tool
…and everybody loses in a boast off.
And more importantly
You’re the President of the United States – the world issues you’re expected to grapple with don’t often come in a “Choose the missing shape” format. Wrong skill set, Sir!