What Makes Us Clever? A Horizon Guide to Intelligence (2011)

TV Movie   |  Documentary



6.4/10
18

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Director:

Diana Ellis-Hill

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26 January 2021 | JurijFedorov
2
| Well, this is a huge letdown. Another BBC dud - they have too many of them.
For the first 15 minutes I was bored out of my mind as the doc just mentioned a ton of fluffy statements like "intelligence is a complicated concept", "we don't know much about intelligence", "we are more clever than other animals". It was on a level that even a 5rd grader would find it to be too simple.

Then the doc started to become more and more pseudoscientific instead of just boring. Largely it just consists of clips of old BBC docs. They try to use videos that attack intelligence research and use Nazi "eugenics" to attack IQ. That's kinda expected from these layman intros to IQ that are never fully scientific. But they largely just interview a lot of people from outside psychometrics. So most statements are made by people who don't trust any IQ research at all. And the few times researchers are seen on screen are in roles where they were interviewed for videos criticising IQ research. So it's very much an anti IQ doc. That's also not an issue in itself if it could just remain scientific, it doesn't. It goes full head on into pseudoscience territory using any tools imagined to disprove IQ measurements.

Below are some of the many, many false claims made in the documentary. At best all these are very misleading statements that may not be factually wrong in 100% of cased, but are still pseudoscience as they try to confuse the viewer:

Intelligence is likely not heritable (completely and utterly wrong. BBC even has podcasts episodes and docs where the facts are stated. Actually, they disprove the statement later on so you have to hand them that) We don't know if intelligence is heritable (wrong, we have thousands of studies on this. They also show this later on) The IQ test has remained the same for 99 years (it hasn't, completely wrong, they even show their own IQ testing methods in the doc that weren't used 99 years ago) The IQ test has not changed for 99 years, it would be like math or chemistry not changing for 100 years, hence it's outdated (we also measure height the same way as 100 years ago, yet we know more about the heritability and genes in height now) Galton's ideas were wrong because he himself didn't find great evidence for them (they were proven true later on with bigger datasets, we now know intelligence is heritable and that brain size and IQ correlates - they never tell us about the modern brain studies) Heritability of intelligence is not proven as we haven't found all the genes influencing it (you know how this goes, it's a loose assumption from them though and they never state it directly, as with many other claims) Dogs don't look at art, this made scientists understand that they needed to find prehistoric evidence of intelligence in art and they therefore started searching for art in graves and caves (what?) Intelligence is 50% heritable (50% is the lower bound, you do have studies showing a 50% estimate, but many studies show 80% estimates) Parents influence intelligence (no, they don't - this statement alone made me subtract like 2 stars by itself) Old IQ tests are bad, they are only used because some think they are fascinating (no...) We have 7 intelligences not one general intelligence - or there about (they even say they can't test them yet they DO test them and use those results to show that the IQ test is wrong as the other tests don't fully correlate with IQ... what?) IQ tests only measure 1 single intelligence, it's very narrow and it's not useful to only test 1 single trait (this is wrong, it just needs to be a valid test, which it is) IQ can increase as we grow older (what does this even mean? IQ decreases as we grow old. They show old people and act like some of them became super clever in old age for some reason? There are about 100 of such statements in the doc that are just so misleading that they are wrong.)

The worst thing is that every single expert they interviewed in this doc would disagree with 80% of their statements even though all these experts disagree with each other. They just made sure to find interviews where they experts didn't talk about the research itself, smart propaganda. They at least should have gotten the basics right. It seems like the doc maker just decided to find a ton of small clips from other docs without thinking about what story they tell or if they are valid statements. That way the doc ends up being pointless and tell us very little about anything. It's not useless though. The old Arthur Jensen interview, where he criticises Cyril Burt is used to attack heritability of intelligence, is actually not found anywhere else online or in stores. That interview just does not exist as far as the public is concerned so it's nice to have a small clip of it here. We also see a scene where actors show how Cyril Burt met Galton. Great stuff! Though that is used to show the connection to eugenics and then Nazis, of course, and we don't even hear about any of their ideas anyhow. We just know they are bad as we see Nazi videos.

This doc is a waste of time at best. But it's misleading if you understand English.

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Storyline

Genres

Documentary

Details

Release Date:

6 January 2011

Language

English


Country of Origin

UK

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