"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
The development of intelligence testing early in the last century facilitated the identification of people with high intelligence. Intelligence has become nicknamed IQ, which stands for intelligence quotient. IQ in the early years related intelligence to age. This is now an outdated concept but the jargon has remained. Modern IQ tests are meaningful not in raw numbers but in percentile. This is because different IQ tests use different numbering scales but IQ test results from all tests can be understood in terms of where the IQ of the person tested stands in relation to the overall population.
One test is the Cattell. In terms of numbers, fifty percent of the population attain between 95 and 105. This is the bulge of the bell curve. 98 percentile scores 148 to 154 and 99 percentile scores 155 to 161. These scores are for adults. To satisfy your curiosity, your editor comes in at 99 percentile. There seems to be no pattern to the emergence of intelligence in this highly gifted range. People with extremely high IQs come from various backgrounds and their emergence can be unpredictable.
Unfortunately there is extremely little in the way of recognition and resources for the highly gifted - both children and adult. High IQ societies such as Mensa have made some efforts but to date these efforts are pretty thin and not widely applied. School programs touted to be for gifted children do not have much for the highly gifted. Mensa itself has many, many members with tragic childhood and career stories.
There have been recent attempts to dilute the value of high IQ, particularly by saying that emotional, artistic or other forms of intelligence are at least as important. Many highly gifted people do not have, and perhaps cannot have, the kinds of social skills taken for granted by those who inhabit the bulge of the bell. Yes, you can do all kinds of things to maximize a person's potential. But high IQ is a bit like an engine's displacement in drag racing. There is no substitute for cubic inches! A garnet, no matter how polished, will always be a garnet. But a diamond, no matter how rough, will always be a diamond. (And some high IQ diamonds can be pretty rough!)
I feel a need to comment on race. This is because racism is as cunning as it is harmful and it finds its own ingenious ways of influence.
A recent book with the title of The Bell Curve might give the impression that black people are genetically less intelligent. The quick reply (retort) to this is that there are black people in Mensa and there are an awful lot of white folk who aren't. We don't know if the authors of this book would themselves qualify for membership of Mensa. As noted above, the very high IQs emerge from all over the human spectrum and as yet no study has identified reasons for this. Conversely, we know that an IQ of 80 percentile or better usually emerges from stable, properly nourished, properly nurtured middle class families. Most of these families provide optimum or close to optimum conditions for maximizing the intellectual development of the child. Also important is the cultural meme into which these fortunate children are born. From their earliest days they are mostly in an environment of personal ambition where such ambition can have a realistically entered pathway and achievement can be expected to come with moderate application of moderate talent.
Such is not the case with black people, particularly black people in the United States, Great Britain and Brazil. In these western nations black people were transported from Africa in the most appalling of circumstances with their cultural meme utterly destroyed. In places like Jamaica and Brazil the treatment of black slaves was even harsher than in the United States and this harsh treatment has added to the slavery cultural meme. Black culture has become its own self-organizing system. In the United States and Great Britain black culture has come a very long way from the days of slavery. In this context it is prejudice in the extreme to say that blacks are less intelligent than whites. Racism sadly remains a powerful force in society and raises its head in many disguises.
Apart from the cultural meme influence, nutrition plays a vital role. Some research has shown that with children in slum conditions their IQs can be raised by as much as several percentile. On the Cattell a child's IQ in a nutritionally deprived home and environment can be elevated from 90 to 110. An IQ of 110 is more than sufficient to attain a university degree. However, children with adequate nutrition generally do not show this kind of improvement.
An interesting side benefit of nutritional studies is the improvement of behavior. Where institutions have allowed, studies have shown that simply by giving inmates a good daily vitamin/mineral supplement the incidence of violent or anti-social behavior can be reduced consistently by about 40%. It should be noted, however, that most institutions don't want to know anything about this, preferring (as does most of society) to punish. From the Christian viewpoint we need only to read the words of Paul to the Corinthians: "authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down" (2 Corinthians 10:8) "and the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down" (2 Corinthians 13:10)
The building up/ tearing down dichotomy makes a useful masque for seeing instantly what drives people with authority. Prisons particularly are not noted for building up. And justice, in stark contrast to the justice we receive in Jesus, is, mostly and increasingly, thinly disguised hatred and revenge.
Visitors who wonder if they have a high IQ may wish to make contact with Mensa
Mensa was founded in 1946 and there are lots of links about its history if you want to do a web search. For Christian purposes, it was your editor's personal trek through life, starting as an unrecognized and unsupported highly gifted child that led finally to my taking an intelligence test at the age of 49 and learning I had been in the top one percent all along. Rather than go over and over previous years I thought it would be more useful if some of the highest IQ Christians on the planet could be identified and connected. Without apology it has long seemed to me that the men (not too many women allowed, you see) who run Christianity - and make no mistake, they do run it - are not very bright. Sadly, many are as pushy and controlling as they are dull. Mensa has provided the opportunity for linking highly gifted Christians and since early 1996 a global community of highly gifted Christians has developed. It is still early days but to my knowledge this kind of thing has not previously been done.
As mentioned on the first page, this website is not academic but intellectual. And there is a difference. Academic work follows new thinking and our hope is that our thinking might be the catalyst for new approaches as this millennium unfolds. With changes occurring at breathtaking speed and the worst traits of human behavior being elevated globally to ideals, the world is more than ever in need of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have committed our intellectual gifts to this.