Does a degree measure intelligence

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Smart but dumb

Before i can answer that question i want you to consider the next few stories:

  • I was kidnapped by Aliens: Bob, who completed masters in computer science, strongly believes he was kidnapped by aliens who made experiments on him. Sadly, Bob doesn't know that his mind made up this story and he believed it because he was too ashamed to admit that he has problems with his sexual life. Instead of trying to seek treatment he fooled himself by blaming the aliens for his sexual impotence
  • Its OK to kill people David, who has a PHD, strongly defends the acts of the political leaders of his country who kill innocent people in other countries. David believes its too bad to kill somebody but his double standards always help him find an excuse for killing people who aren't citizens of his country.
  • They are conspiring against us Sam who is a very smart student, gets A+ and As all the time believes anything he sees on TV. the media fooled him to believe that the government is secretly working on a project to make the lives of poor people more miserable. He didn't just believe what he saw but he actually gathered his friends and decided to protest against the government. Did he make sure of that news first? no he just believes everything on TV is correct (see also The psychology of conspiracy theories & the Solid Self confidence program )

Does a degree measure intelligence

I can go on with hundreds of examples that show that even though some people have very powerful minds they still have a very irrational way of thinking when it comes to certain life areas.

No matter how powerful a person's brain is, how many degrees he holds or how high his IQ is still he would turn out to be really not smart if those powerful resources were directed in the wrong direction.

Our brains are very powerful but if they were allowed to work in the wrong direction then we will not just have a low level of intelligence but we will have a negative intelligence.

Here is why a person with a powerful mind can still be really stupid:

  • 1) Emotions affect thinking: A person can be very smart but when it comes to taking a serious decision he emotions might hold him back or force him to act irrationally (see also How your emotions change your perception of the world
  • 2) Your are as smart as the inputs you receive: No matter what your brain power is this power will still be useless if you collect wrong information through your senses. Your perception can be altered greatly by your mind and as a result you might make wrong conclusions about life even if you were smart (because you are receiving incorrect data)
  • 3) False beliefs limit intelligence: A smart person can still think that all successful people made it by luck. That false belief won't just prevent him from succeeding but it will make his mind almost useless when it comes to career and achievements (see How your beliefs and concerns affect your perception
  • 4) Psychological problems make you less smart: As you saw in the beginning of the article a simple problem such as lack of courage resulted in imagining an unrealistic scenario such as an alien abduction

The conclusion

A person can have a really high degree and the most powerful mind ever yet his level of intelligence can still be very low just because of the reasons described above.

If you want to be really smart then you need to read more about the way your mind works and how the perception of events and the formation of false beliefs can lower a person's intelligence.

Without such a knowledge you will fall pray to your mind's tricks and you won't be intelligent even though you have the ability to be really smart.

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