Socrates once said, “I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” As for me, I know I’m intelligent, because I know what Socrates said.
But are either of those good metrics for measuring human intelligence? If not, what is? The intelligent folks at Radiolab are determined to find out. Today, Radiolab from WNYC Studios is debuting “G,” a new six-part podcast reported and hosted by Radiolab’s Pat Walters, which explores what it means to be intelligent, how we measure intelligence, and whether or not we even should.
The show will dive into the nature-versus-nurture argument of intelligence and whether some people are simply born smarter than others. As for measuring your smarts, are IQ tests all that reliable or are those Mensa members just smart in a particular way? In typical Radiolab fashion, the show will weave together personal stories, expert interviews, and sweet sound design to look at the biological, sociological, and political debates surrounding intelligence research and testing.
The first episode of “G” is out now (here). It’s a two-part story titled “The Miseducation of Larry P.” (Yes, they get points for the Lauryn Hill reference.) The episode looks back at Larry P. v. Riles, a class-action civil rights case from the late 1970s, which fought against the horrifying practice of using IQ testing as a way of placing African American students in bad schools and worse classes. For the first part of the show, Radiolab tracked down Larry P. himself, while the second half, out June 14, looks at the unfortunate and unintended ramifications of the court decision, the larger question of what IQ tests really measure, and whether they do more harm than good.
Future episodes include the story of the man who tried to steal Albert Einstein’s brain; the connection between a 1920s Supreme Court decision, and the crusade against modern-day legalized forced sterilization; embryonic intelligence prediction; animal intelligence; and more. Subscribe here.