Wikipedia lists many attempts to define intelligence.
They essentially boil down to this:
“[Intelligence is] ... the ability to perceive or infer
information, and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards
adaptive behaviors within an environment or context.”
"Adaptive behaviors" is the operative expression here. Intelligence is
about applying knowledge to solve problems.
According to this definition, climate change is the ultimate test of
intelligence because the adaptive behaviors that it implies are
existential. Either we appropriately apply knowledge about climate
change to adaptive behaviors or we destroy ourselves.
We humans like to flatter ourselves by emphasizing our superior
intelligence, but our failure to get climate change under control
merely proves how unintelligent we are. We are not even smart enough to
realize and admit that the previous sentence is true.
To avoid offending the deniers (i.e. almost everyone), we resort to a
paradoxical concept called “emotional
intelligence”, “the capacity to be aware
of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal
relationships judiciously and empathetically”. As a result,
things are considered true if they feel good. Our only hope may be to
trick sub-intelligent conspecifics into enjoying environmentally
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