Average Cops Only?

English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...
English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. Watson. Illustration by Sidney Paget from the Sherlock Holmes story The Greek Interpreter. Français : Sherlock Holmes (à droite) et le Docteur Watson (à gauche), illustration de Sidney Paget pour la nouvelle intitulée L’interprète grec. Русский: Шерлок Холмс (справа) и доктор Ватсон. Иллюстрация Сидни Паджет к рассказу “Случай с переводчиком”. עברית: שרלוק הולמס וד”ר ווטסון כפי שצוירו על ידי סידני פאגט (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the web site, Fractured Paradigm.


A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high  on an intelligence test has lost an  appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New  York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate  against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who  took the test.

“This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against  people of a certain class,” Jordan said today from his Waterford home. “I  maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye  color or your gender or anything else.”

(Jordan scored over 125 on the IQ portion of the test disqualifying him from being a police officer under that department’s rules. jp)

Below are my comments:

When I was fourteen, I read the complete Sherlock Holmes, all of the stories and all of the novels in four days. I have been reading about crimes and about solving crimes ever since. Here we are presented with a conundrum not about a crime but about police practice.It seems that every fictional sleuth from Sam Spade to Phillip Marlowe to Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are unable to join a police department at any point during their lives because they are too smart. Apparently, every single policeman, detective etc. can never rise above Lestrade of Sherlock Holmes fame, a purely average member of law enforcement continually baffled by Holmes’ methods. 

I disagree with the court. The law simply doesn’t make any sense. Where is the evidence that high IQ people find police work boring and unrewarding? I think the law fails the “rational basis” test and should be declared unconstitutional.

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, 21st Century Theater


have always been rumors about police departments not hiring people who
were too smart.  Not only does this story confirm the rumor, it shows
how low they set the bar – and how our courts uphold low standards in
sick system. The lame excuse the cops offer is that people who are too
intelligent would get bored and quit. This is obviously bullshit. They
want people they can easily indoctrinate and control who don’t ask

From the web site, Perez Hilton.


So get this!

A man in Connecticut had a simple dream — to become a cop. But unfortunately for him, he’s too smart! Sorry buddy, you’re just too—wait, what!?! Seriously?? Really??

According to Robert Jordan, he was rejected from the badge because he tested too high on his intelligence test. …huh?

He sued for discrimination, but he lost after the court ruled “the same standards were applied to him as everyone else.”

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Can We Engineer Students to Where They Learn Without Teachers?

I was reading Norman J. LaFave’s Web site, Alterworld: Norman LaFave’s Science Fiction Musings on Writing, Science, Technology, Education, Philosophy, Politics and Policy. 

His current article, The Future of Learning and Education…  tells of his thoughts on the future of education. He’s pretty imaginative, but I don’t think he’s wrong. I have been telling my Criminal Justice students that our ability to modify human genetics, alter human behavior with chemicals and change the structure of our bodies with implants is going to radically change the field. I think they only half believe me but the changes are coming anyway.

I am particularly interested in the experiments with brain chemicals that appear that appear to raise intelligence. The average intelligence in prison measured by IQ is about 70. That’s not much. What if we could raise that intelligence to that of an average citizen? Studies show that criminals suffer from poor judgment. One set of studies show that the process they use to make judgments is only partial the pattern used by law abiding citizens. Could we radically reduce crime by increasing inmate intelligence? We are likely to able to use this kind of technique not in some science fiction future, but probably in five or six years. It will be the first wave in new treatments for criminality not by prison but by altering the way their brains work.

The future may also hold direct transference of data from computers to the human brain. That might make much of college teaching obsolete. I can tell you I’m not looking forward to this, I’m a teacher and I enjoy it. However, I suspect the changes may be just far enough ahead for me to close out my teaching career with some dignity.

Both chemical treatment to raise offender IQ’s and direct transfer of information both present moral problems. However boosting intelligence in prison populations is hard to criticize ethically unless you can make a good case that an increased intelligence is a detriment some way. I think it is more akin to providing exercise facilities to build muscles than a punishment.

Direct transfer of information is going to be much more of an ethical dilemma. Will the machine evade the judgment centers of the forebrain and deliver the information without any moral screening? Will humans simply become skill bundles with only a limited humanity? What exactly are we putting in and how does it affect the whole system? As long as it is theory and their are no facts to work with, questions over what is right or wrong become more numerous the more you think about it.

I think raising intelligence by chemical means will be common in the next thirty years. I do not forsee direct knowledge transfer until minimally fifty or sixty years. But technology is not as predictable as when I was a child in the sixties, so we will have to see.

James Pilant

English: Computer tomography of human brain, f...
Image via Wikipedia
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