Re: IQ - A cautionary tale (Re: The ways of child prodigies)

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Fri Nov 11 2005 - 01:06:57 MST

Martin Striz wrote:

>On 11/11/05, Tennessee Leeuwenburg <> wrote:
>>That is also different in Australia.
>Actually I retract my retraction and stand by my original statement.
>The Mensa (International) web site clearly states that the
>organization exists "to identify and foster human intelligence for the
>benefit of humanity" as its first goal, ahead of "to promote
>stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members." I
>also know that the founders had this purpose in mind, and read
>somewhere that on the 50th anniversary, one of the founders said that
>he still had hope it might turn in that direction in the future.
>That's backed up by lots of commentary in the (American) Mensa
>Bulletins that I have and can dig up.
The Australian website is in concordance with that. I would not
interpret "identify and foster human intelligence" as "Mensa states that
it wants to provide a forum where intelligent people can work together
to solve the world's problems." In Australia, the practical emphases
that relate to the indentification and fostering of human intelligence
are encouraging appropriate schooling, dealing with social issues,
helping young and clever people to fulfil their goals, provide the
mailing lists for discussion amongst the group, etc etc.

It is a far cry from trying to bring about wider change, or solving the
world's problems. They certainly do not relate to science research,
although the exploits of any individuals are always met with interest,
and usually result in some interesting magazine articles and conversations.

I realise that the Australian experience might be different from that of
the U.S., where I understand the organisation has many more members, and
possible also has a different character. However, I don't believe that
I have been misleading or even incorrect in my presentation of
Australian Mensa.

There is probably room for both of us to be correct. Certainly it is a
regular occurence than mensans will wish to become a part of an action
group working towards goal X, where goal X is not one of the particular
goals currently being pursued by the committee on behalf of the

However, such a specificity of goals tends to isolate those individuals,
and these endeavours seldom get off the ground. Mensa Australia lacks
the funding to become a research institution, and an IQ in the 98th
percentile is simply not the major prerequisite for success in such an

As you say, people who are interested in technological development tend
to pursue that in the context of industry groups. Since IQ is very
useful generally, the leaders in these areas will often be very smart
also. The interesting thing about Mensa is precisely the weakness you
identified -- its lack of consensus, its variety of membership and its


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