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By John White

The character of intelligence and the way it may be measured has occupied psychologists, educationalists, biologists and philosophers for centuries. However, there has been little research into the increase of the normal dominant academic ideology that intelligence and IQ have innate limits and are unchanging and unchangeable. This ebook lines the roots of this state of mind again to early puritan groups on either side of the Atlantic, drawing parallels among puritan dogma and the improvement of the conventional curricula and choice methods which are nonetheless firmly embedded in class perform at the present time. Drawing at the paintings of Galton, Pearson, Burt, Goddard, Terman and others in his look for the reality approximately intelligence checking out, John White appears on the own histories and socialised spiritual backgrounds of those key psychologists and casts a wholly new gentle on education in Britain and the us nowa days. This paintings additionally indicates how we will go beyond this background and base our instructional approach on values and practices extra in song with the twenty-first century.

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Their next is with the least able – the ‘feebleminded’ or the ‘backward’. The rest – those close to average intelligence – come a poor third. The highs and the lows are often described in evaluative language, as good as opposed to bad. For example, Goddard’s work ‘Kallikak’ is his own invention, formed from the Greek words kallos (beautiful) and kakos (bad). These match the two contrasting branches of the Kallikak family. Galton’s own work is full of ethical epithets. In his 1865 work the more able and the less able are distinguished not only by intellect but also by character.

The eternal life that the individual enjoys is one in which one’s own spirit is ultimately part of the divine spirit in general. A note, finally, on Terman. His evolutionary hopes refer more explicitly to salvation. In a late unpublished manuscript called ‘My Faith’, he writes about the devastating effects of ‘the increased tempo of cultural change’, especially in technological innovation. ‘If we are to be saved from chaos it can only be by increasing the tempo of man’s social and moral evolution’ (Seacoe 1975: 237).

Philosophical analysis reveals serious difficulties in this conception. For want of an adequate justification of it, it makes sense to ask instead for an explanation of how the notion arose in the first place. Interest in eugenics provides part of the answer. Most of the early intelligence pioneers, in Britain and in the USA, were eugenicists; and the seeds of eugenics go back to Galton’s first publication in the area in 1865. But this satisfies the demand for explanation only to a point. Why was intelligence identified with intellectual ability, especially of an abstract sort?

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