Friday, August 08, 2008

Intellectually Discouraged

The ways that I find the word intellect often being used does not describe much more than arbitrary judgments that has more to do with a cultural or societal bias. I see this judgment often leading to inappropriate and wrongful treatment.

There are so many attributes to different types and different sources of intelligence that it is completely irresponsible for any person or group that arrogantly claims to be mainstream to define so many potentially alternative resources as inappropriate and/or invalid.

This is Wikipedia's definition of intelligence:

Intelligence (also called intellect) is an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. There are several ways to define intelligence. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. However, some psychologists prefer not to include these traits in the definition of intelligence.

I think it's fair to say that the broad range of ways this term is used and the amount of all that is included in this umbrella term is an indication of how much potential damage can be done to any person or group being described as unintelligent.

Also, regardless of this broad definition there are still many who make many quick, inappropriate wrongful judgments about what they see as intelligence. Attitudes need to change to really allow for broader acceptance of what people already know but often ignore.

On that Wikipedia page there is also this:

Intelligence comes from the Latin verb "intellegere", which means "to understand". By this rationale, intelligence (as understanding) is arguably different from being "smart" (able to adapt to one's environment), or being "clever" (able to creatively adapt).

At least two major "consensus" definitions of intelligence have been proposed. First, from Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns, a report of a task force convened by the American Psychological Association in 1995: Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person’s intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of "intelligence" are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen somewhat different definitions.[1][2]

This would explain why the term mental retardation is so ill-defined and such an ineffective method of evaluating a person's strength. What someone can or does adapt to includes too many nebulous factors to attach some one with the label to describe their speed and capability for adapting.

AND on that page there is also this:

A second definition of intelligence comes from "Mainstream Science on Intelligence", which was signed by 52 intelligence researchers in 1994: A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings-"catching on", "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do.[3]

The number of ways that these abilities can be discouraged is unlimited. Discouraging of a skill is a pattern just as the promotion of an ability is.

People get conditioned to believe that bad behavior is expected from them and this can be a very difficult pattern to break. In order to effectively help people to make this alteration to better behavior along with overall better thinking patterns and more adaptability is partly teaching them to see themselves and their interest as valid and maybe even how and what they think is interesting to others.

People also get conditioned to believe that what they have to offer is unworthy of others attention because of the standardized tests they fail. The standardized test aren't just academic. The way that academic test are designed and evaluated are both reflective of the ways that society evaluates people as well as being a method by which society learns to make such evaluations.

There is no question that many autistic people as well as many others who are deemed academically, psychologically, and behaviorally unfit are very capable of moving beyond these inappropriate judgments once they understand how unfairly prejudicial they are or they don't hear or listen to them in the first place.

However, in order to teach the greater society at large how we who have been unfairly judged as intellectually inferior need to be individually evaluated based for a broader set of standard skills and abilities that may then become what is described as standards. If we the people (rather than just we the government) provide more to people with individual interests and skills that may be unique according to their need that would make us all more independent people with more contributions. We need to stop only promoting what unfair judges see as being our shiniest and best.

It's not necessary to conform in ways that prevent others who have traveled along similar paths to be excluded just because our particular abilities and circumstances have allowed us to "pass" as valid rather than invalid. Individual self promoting conformist were who excluded us. Some types of overcoming promote the sale of what no one can afford to give up.

From this article A mental hospital's breakdown I found this paragraph:

In the 1940s and 1950s, mental hospitals around the country began using electroshock therapy to dull the intellects of the patients and quiet the wards of mental hospitals. Doctors also began using experimental prefrontal lobotomies, the surgical removal of a frontal lobe of the brain, to try to cure mental illness.

Is it any wonder that these hospitals would also use what they call chemical restraint in the form of pharmaceutical medicines for doing nothing more than making those whom they already see as weak even weaker and more manageable. They don't need no stinking research to peddle their wares or force consumption of them.

Here is a part of an article called The History of Eugenics in
the United States

Eugenicists believed genetics were the cause of problems for the human gene pool. Eugenics stated that society already had paid enough to support these degenerates and the use of sterilization would save money. The eugenicists used quantitative facts to produce scientific evidence. They believed that charity and welfare only treated the symptoms, eugenic sought to eliminate the disease. The following traits were seen as degenerative to the human gene pool to which the eugenicists were determined to eliminate: poverty, feeble-mindedness-including manic depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism, rebelliousness, criminality, nomadness, prostitution.

They believed that charity and welfare only treated the symptoms, eugenic sought to eliminate the disease.

If the pitiful type of charity and welfare that is most widely used in the U.S. is the only alternative to elimination of all these behaviors/problems through eugenics, I think it's time to start being creative and finding some other alternatives.

Poverty stricken nomads??!! If that's how a group of people in another country were seen, some people may feel less empathetic about their lives being lost in a war. If you think such wars that are fought on foreign soil that are promoted with such attitudes won't affect your home, you might want to reconsider how strong you really are.

I've heard it said that the average American is three paychecks away from poverty. If government sponsored banks buy enough houses during a mortgage crisis, there may eventually be a larger population of nomads including people that now live in your neighborhood.

If we don't find more neutral ways to define peoples abilities and skills, all skills and abilities that are considered superior or inferior will ultimately be overly scrutinized and unfairly judged.

Until society is willing to put into place a system of evaluation that no longer creates the illusion of scarcity of resources and begins to make more of an effort to provide people with equal opportunities by providing each person (that doesn't abuse that privilege) according to their need, I think it's completely impractical to expect anything other than unfair cultural bias (officially enforced or otherwise) toward those who are deemed intellectually unfit.


At 7:11 PM , Blogger concerned heart said...

Older fathers lead to de novo autism, schizophrenia, autism etc. etc.

At 7:38 AM , Blogger Ed said...

Concerned Heart,

The basis of this claim seems to be that older men have damaged sperm.

Certainly the biological clock attributed to women and the complications they have when giving birth at an older age seems well documented and I agree men should show equal responsibility with such decisions in regards to family issues.

There are plenty of options for birth control with all the safe methods of contraception today that are available.

Based on the article about eugenics in this post being what I'm guessing was what your comment is refering to and how eugenics has been used, forced sterilization could likely be the result of this "older fathers" claim .This is potentially problematic to see older mothers as likely to have disabled children also.

This could be the case weather it is scientifically based or not. I think all genetic research holds equally potential dangers.

Forced sterilization/vasectomy's for men by a certain age may be further encouraged once started.The reason I can think of that is unique to men rather than women is based on men being traditionally less responsible partners and not the ones who carry the child or give birth.

Any forced sterilization of men or surgically altering women based on the chances them of having disabled children could easily lead to that being forced on more people based on the chances of them having children with an even broader range of disabilities.

This is clear to me as the rise in the encouragement of abortion for children who doctors claim will be disabled seems more prevalent during this age of designer babies and the rise in number of types of disabilities and disabled people along with fewer types of assistance being offered to them.

Due to autism being described as a hormonal issue and more boys being diagnosed on the autism spectrum, there are drugs given to autistic boys that cause them to be sterile.

I have heard children who are seen to have behavioral problems being called a "bad seed".

I think people need to careful of the social repercussions of claiming people with developmental disorders, mental illness, or another disability the result of "bad seed".


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