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Topic: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Replies: 20   Last Post: Nov 5, 2004 1:11 AM

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Kirby Urner

Posts: 4,713
Registered: 12/6/04
Genetics Versus Economics (was aptitude vs. achievement)
Posted: Nov 2, 2004 12:08 PM
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On 2 Nov 04 01:12:25 -0500 (EST), you wrote:

>The fundamental principle I'm adhering to is this: If we are to judge,
>then I'd usually prefer that we go by what a person can help rather
>than by what a person can't help. I accept the claim that aptitude is
>something that we can't help. And so I'd usually prefer that we judge
>on some other basis.
>
>Paul

I don't think we'll be able to completely ignore genetics without imposing some
sort of oppressive dictatorship. The resulting society would likely be quite
distopian. Science fiction (a genre for simulation) would be a good place to
explore your proposed policies (insofar as you become explicit about them -- so
far, you've raised "fairness" as an issue, but given little indication of what
your preferred rule book would be).

However, even if way give ample weight to genetics and the diversity of
aptitudes it provides, increasing fairness is still possible. You've used the
words "judge" and "punish" in the same breath a few times. It doesn't have to
be that way.

When I look at an animal, vegetable or mineral and judge it to be this or that,
I'm simply sorting.

There was a time in the USA (today is election day) when women weren't allowed
to vote. That was a punishment, or depravation, that we overcame. Increasing
women's access to economic opportunity and positions of responsibility and power
is still something to work on. By the same token, we're giving men more
opportunities to parent, become nurses, perform other roles traditionally played
by women.

There was a time when the common prejudice was women didn't have the "aptitude"
to be CEOs or whatever. Such stereotypes are changable, but it often takes a
generation or more to accomplish the change (or really powerful television).

Obviously I could run through all the same points regarding "race" (which is a
far more suspect concept to begin with, than male vs. female, in the eyes of
genetic science).

However, I also think we need to work with the grain that genetics contributes
to the picture.

If someone has an aptitude for X, and will be able to perform the job in 2
weeks, I shouldn't be forced to provide 30 weeks of training to "help" someone
with no aptitude, and who's performance, after all that, might still not be on a
par with the high aptitude candidate's.

That's if there are no off-setting advantages -- and there may be (e.g. the
person needing more training is a joy to be with, whereas the high aptitude
person pisses everyone off big time (OK, 30 weeks training it is)).

Nor should society as a whole have to pay the price of artificially leveling the
playing field. If someone has no aptitude around visualizing machinery and how
car engines work, or has no manual dexterity to speak of, why should we squander
resources trying to turn these two into car mechanic or surgeon respectively?

Do you want your brain operated upon by someone with no aptitude, just lots and
lots of compensatory practice (practice on whom)?

What I think the world needs are more venues for people to audition. They go to
temp agencies, do a typing and 10-key test, maybe a personality profile, then
get sent to a cube to do some clerical stuff. The Hollywood and TV venues are
cram packed with aspirants, many of them quite talented. Theater languishes (I
just saw a guy play all parts in King Lear, and do it well, with only about six
people in the audience).

Off stage, we have huge numbers of humans given no chance to audition
whatsoever. A kid is born in Sudan, has plenty of IQ, could really go places.
He gets insufficient nutrition (no fault of his parents, who desperately do what
they can), and dies. Even a temp agency job would have been far far better.
Besides, some companies use temp agencies to provide audition opportunities --
even with the finder's fee it's an easier way to select new staff.

So when it comes to fairness, I think our humanly-contrived economic system has
a way poorer track record (in terms of achievement), than the genetic system (in
terms of aptitude). I'd rather pay attention to genetic aptitudes, and use the
various diverse talents nature gives us, to fill meaningful jobs that'd work at
implementing major changes in human affairs, especially with regard to death by
starvation still being such a huge factor.

I'm hungry to employ all the natural talent I can get, and I really don't have
time to provide a lot of compensatory training. The situation is too urgent,
too ugly. The kind of fairness you're talking about is just unaffordable right
now, in light of all those global university students who get no opportunity to
audition whatsoever. Their situation takes priority.

The curriculum is broken (witness Sudan). Let's recruit the most creative,
imaginative, and talented people we can to fix it (and just because you're
already a college professor doesn't necessarily mean you have the most aptitude
for this work (but you should have ample opportunities to audition, certainly)).

Kirby

PS: in breaking the model down to genetics vs. economics, one might wonder
where I'm leaving room for those who see karma operating on other informational
planes. Just bear with me -- I'm sure you'll find a way to squeeze your meaning
between the lines somehow.

PPS: I'm blogging excerpts of this post.
See:
<a href="http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2004/11/campaign-begins-recruiting-talent-now.html">http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2004/11/campaign-begins-recruiting-talent-now.html</a>



Date Subject Author
10/30/04
Read Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Paul A. Tanner III
10/30/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Michael Paul Goldenberg
10/31/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Paul A. Tanner III
11/1/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Michael Paul Goldenberg
11/2/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Paul A. Tanner III
11/2/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Michael Paul Goldenberg
11/2/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
jason knep
11/2/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Michael Paul Goldenberg
11/2/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Kirby Urner
11/3/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Michael Paul Goldenberg
11/3/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
jason knep
11/3/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Michael Paul Goldenberg
11/3/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Paul A. Tanner III
10/31/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Kirby Urner
10/31/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Paul A. Tanner III
11/1/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Kirby Urner
11/2/04
Read Re: Achievement testing vs. aptitude testing (was Re: NCLB: Benezet/Whitney Thinking)
Paul A. Tanner III
11/2/04
Read Genetics Versus Economics (was aptitude vs. achievement)
Kirby Urner
11/4/04
Read Re: Genetics Versus Economics (was aptitude vs. achievement)
Paul A. Tanner III
11/4/04
Read Re: Genetics Versus Economics (was aptitude vs. achievement)
Jp Leroy
11/5/04
Read Re: Genetics Versus Economics (was aptitude vs. achievement)
Paul A. Tanner III

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