Ben’s World: On Negative Externalities
by Ben J.
Externality- an effect of a decision by one set of parties on others who did not have a choice and whose interests were not taken into account. In short, an unwanted and unintended effect caused inadvertently by one’s actions.
This article is devoted to externalities of the negative kind. A classic example of a negative externality is The Club. The Club is a machine one places around one’s steering wheel that prevents the wheel from being turned more than a few inches unless The Club is unlocked. The Clubs intended use is to tell potential car thieves “This car is hard to steal.”
However, it has the negative externality of telling [potential car thief] that your neighbor’s car is a far better object of your kleptomania. This, my readers, is a negative externality.
Now, to the point, you see, back in October, I was wrong. I was horrified to find it. As I perused old comments, fondly remembering my discrepancies with Kit’s emoticonism, my agreements with Ivan and the Short Person (Miranda) about P.E., Ganging up on Mr. Molotov, and all that good stuff. When reading Cole’s article, What is “Smart,” I was horrified to see that I had said, blatantly and shortsightedly, that IQ had no bearing on intelligence, knowledge or wisdom. This would be true, but for the evils of externalities.
For those of you who don’t know, I barely made it into the gifted program. I scraped by with an IQ so close to the limit it boggles the mind of anyone who thinks that 1 is small. Actually, I scored a 128 on my IQ test, or just below the cut-off line for the gifted program. Fortunately, my interviewer noticed that I really, really hate tests, and didn’t actually pay any real attention to the IQ test. Consequently, she took the legal liberty of adding a modifier of three to my score, an act of understanding that has probably saved my social and intellectual life. So my new and improved IQ was 131. I had made it into the gifted program.
Now, imagine if that tester hadn’t done that. I would be just as intelligent, but so much less knowledgeable. If I hadn’t been put into the gifted program, I wouldn’t have learned algebra in second grade. I wouldn’t have been put through the ordeal of ThinkLab© (darned if I don’t remember it fondly.) And wouldn’t of looked into careers at age 8. In short, I would know far less. I would be, by my own standards, an idiot, who was forced to listen to books I already read three years ago in my fifth grade reading class. But instead I got my hands on The Riverside Shakespeare, and a college level trig book.
So you see, those crucial three points played a huge roll in my life. Now I am challenged…. I am given tasks I find ridiculously difficult…
(Editors note: there used to be some crazy looking math symbols here unfortunately they did not appear.)
And enjoy it. I love the gifted program, and love being challenged. But if those three points hadn’t been added, I might easily have forsaken an intellectual life, even music. And so, I conclude, IQ isn’t an accurate form of measurement. But because people think it is, it does accurately predict knowledge. If we were to forsake IQ tests all together, and integrate children into the gifted program based off of their score on all tests and projects, versus a single test, that would become an equally effective and far more accurate method for measuring this thing called “intelligence”
Up next on Ben’s World: Mathematics for [all] equations!
To Francesca, Keanan, Elliot, Kate, Maddy and all of the others who experienced Ryan’s teaching at Monte Vista, do you agree? I think that IQ is only effective because people think it is… I think that it is a self-reliant, circular method of measurement that has no real bearing on life. Do you? Feedback is always appreciated.