No, actually Luke made a very interesting argument and you kind of steamrolled over it. He pointed out that as far as evolutionary fitness is concerned, adding more intelligence could hit diminishing returns.
I think there's something to that. We already know other areas where that happens. Theoretically, evolving a stronger immune system is an advantage. But human beings don't automatically gain ubermune systems superior to anything animals have (unlike our brains, which are a huge step up from nearly all animals on the planet). Why? Because of diminishing returns. When a system is "good enough," evolution stops promoting it.
Darwinism doesn't make things "better." It just makes them good enough that further change wouldn't have a significant effect on the odds of having children.
I'd argue that left to itself, the likely course of human evolution is going to be something like this.http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2632
If that is true, then all that suggests is that you don't need intelligence for these kinds of tasks. Not that "street smarts"-intelligence is better at them - just that they are constructed in such a way that intelligence isn't necessary and thus not improving your ability to solve the task.
I don't think I'm comfortable with this. Here's why.
It so happens that my old friend Steve (no one you know here) is pretty good at calculus. Now, if I understand you rightly, you'd be saying: "Steve is good at calculus. Therefore Steve is intelligent. Therefore, anything Steve can't do, must not require intelligence."
There are some problems with this.
One is that you are defining intelligence as an on/off switch. Either you have it, or you don't. Why? Maybe intelligence is like physical fitness: you can be fit in some ways without being fit in others. I could be good at lifting things but bad at running. Or vice versa. I could be good at lifting things but have such a terrible diet that I'll be dead of a heart attack in five years. Or I could have a great heart and liver and physically be disabled anyway.
Can we say a marathon runner is "more fit" than a strong weight lifter? Or vice versa? If so, that tells us less about those athletes than it does about our own biases.
Another problem is that you're arguing "I have X, I can't do Y, therefore you must not need X to do Y." You're saying "You must not need intelligence to do these things."
What if we applied this argument to other qualities? Like big muscles? Suppose I know a wrestler who can't do acrobatics. Does that mean you don't need muscles to do acrobatics? No. It means this wrestler probably has poor coordination and agility- even though he has the strength, he doesn't have the other important qualities he needs.
Methinks though doth protesteth too much.
[Twitches at Shakespeare misquote...]
Anyway. Honestly, I think aieeegrunt did seize on one big thing here- motivation counts
. There can be a huge gap in how effective we are at different things, because of motivation.
Take college professors. They're smart, right? If not, pick a field where you have some faith in the professors' intelligence. For most people here, I bet physics would qualify. So physics professors are smart, right? They do head-crushingly difficult mathematics and computer analysis, examine and understand head-crushingly obscure, tiny things, and come out on top. Very smart.
So how come some of them can't teach their way out of a paper bag? Ever had a college class where the professor was just a bad
teacher? I have. Why does that happen? If they're so smart, why can't they teach? Does it mean that being smart isn't an advantage in teaching? No. It does not. It means that this professor's natural interests are the research, not the teaching. Or that his tenure board depends on his research, not his teaching. Or something of that nature. He can screw up teaching year after year and it won't bother him one bit, so he doesn't put in the effort, the skull-sweat, to learn how to do it right.
That happens in a lot of areas of life.
But from a practical point of view, unless I
am a teacher, I don't really care whether this guy doesn't do things right because he's a moron or because he doesn't care. There is no functional difference between a person who is smart enough to tie their shoes but unmotivated, and one who is motivated to tie their shoes but too stupid to get it right. Not in the short run of "why is this fool tripping on his own shoelaces?"