Are we smart enough to survive?

IQ bell curve. [From iqtestforfree; link in article]

By JoeAm

Okay, my friends, we have botched earth big time. You and me and our kind, the two-legged homo sapiens who arrogantly brag about our superiority to other animals. The cockroaches will outlive us, the rats, the snakes, the octopi and sea monsters deep in the Mariana Trench just the other side of Benham Rise.

The Philippines is first world at destruction with its clear-cut forests, plastic plugged Pasig River, rampant government incompetence, lack of moral character, and thuggery from so-called ‘leaders’.

Leaders can lead only if people follow, and, in the Philippines, boy there sure are a lot of . . .

But I digress.

I am actually FOR the Philippines. It just seems on most days that it is uphill all the way . . .

We all know that climate change is upon us. Stephen Hawking projected that we have about 100 years of livable life left on this grand blue orb before we start killing and devouring one another, the scene likely to play out like several thousand headhunters trapped on an island big enough for 10.

But that is not even the worst part of the deal. The worst part of the deal is that we seem to be getting LESS ABLE to deal with these matters. We are getting more and more dysfunctional. All this wonderful technology is doing is speeding our demise, the scene not like several thousand headhunters with semi-automatic rifles on an island big enough for 10. If you need evidence, merely look at the presidents of the United States and the Philippines and the people who elected and CONTINUE TO SUPPORT them.

If that is not proof enough, consider this scientific study conducted in Norway, which is nowhere near Norwegia:  Dumbing Down: Decades of Dropping IQ Levels Cancel Intelligence Boom – Report.

Scientists have discovered that, since about 1975, humans are getting stupider. That is not a rumor or a guess or fake news. The science nerds measured it. They estimate we are losing 7 IQ points per generation, verified by a separate study that pegs it at between 2.5 to 4.3 points every decade.

So if you are ‘of age’ and think the millennials are dumber than you are, you are scientifically correct.

Here, in short form, is what the scientists say the reasons are:

“In the research, differences between family groups were also found, suggesting that at least some of the decline may be linked to environmental factors. A change of lifestyle was another possible explanation, with children reading less and playing video games more, as well as generally leaning more heavily on electronic devices. Changes in pedagogical methods, including teaching math and languages, were also identified as one of the possible reasons.”

I don’t mean to scare you, personally, but when is the last time your read a big book? Do you find your attention span is shorter as you skip from tweet to tweet and headline to headline gathering up your emotional satisfaction and chemical endorphins? But precious little knowledge? Precious little reasoning power?

You are likely one with the trend.

If you have the courage, you can test your IQ online. I won’t as I am happy with the score I got in college that says I am not unreasonably impaired even if I am not mensa.

According to this particular group of IQ researchers, the Philippines, as a nation, scores at the lower end of the IQ totem pole with an average IQ of 86, compared to top performer Singapore’s 109. So no, Secretary Cayetano, the Philippines is not like Singapore.

The score of 100 is the centerline about which people are smarter or not smarter than most. The methodology for arriving at country scores is not reported, but we can ask if the particulars matter that much. We for sure have an INDICATION of sub-par performance in the Philippines based on anecdotal evidence. The RESULTS (poverty, weak productivity, poor ethical foundation) suggest a serious problem exists. The nation is not getting the most out of the capacity of it’s citizens to be smart and productive.

The top rated nations (and provinces of China) are in Asia, including North Korea and China herself:

2010 Average IQ by Nation:

  • Hong Kong, 109
  • Singapore, 109
  • North Korea, 106
  • South Korea, 106
  • Japan, 106
  • China, 106
  • Taiwan, 106
  • Philippines, 86
  • Venezuela, 83

We can guess at some reasons why the Philippines resides down the chart with other third world countries. Nutrition, poverty, isolation, colonization, suppression, oppression, rote teaching, a media focused on sensationalism rather than information, the elite claiming all the opportunities, most people working as order-takers, and lack of any introspection.

That last item, lack of introspection, seems to me to be crucially important. The first step to improvement is recognition, but if people are busy making excuses and casting blames, that is not going to get us anywhere, is it?

The main point here is that we are in deep trouble in terms of climate change, aggressiveness of other states, and the Philippine’s intractable, enduring weak performance. The current government’s outputs (division, death, incivility, breakdown of democratic institutions, ethical lapses, poor performing agencies, gifting resources to China, a troubled economy) is a clear indication that there is a whole lot of bad thinking going on.

When human decency is abandoned, it is hard to expect good health and happiness to emerge, much less prosperity.

The key question is whether or not we have enough brainpower left to DO SOMETHING about it . . .

Or perhaps the brain-sucking zombies have already taken over . . .

More in the next article . . .

Have a good day.



87 Responses to “Are we smart enough to survive?”
  1. LG says:

    I love this post. Informing. Thought provoking. As all those before it.

  2. NHerrera says:

    Mind you, the statistics is circa 2010; may it be worse now? But the difference of 20 IQ points with North Korea is very telling. Now excuse me as I check my IQ test to see if it is at least one point above 86. And by the way, no wonder KJU bested Trump in that Singapore Meeting except in Trump’s mind. Oh boy.

    Have a good day to you, too, Joe — notwithstanding you just made my barako taste more bitter than it is. 🙂

    • I tried an IQ test on FB once. It asked for my then mobile phone number. I got strange pro text messages which turned out to cost money. I was billed around 20-30 Euro without my having consented. I found out how to opt out of that scam by googling for it. What about the IQ test? It never really showed up after I entered my phone number. Therefore, the test proved that I was a fool. My finding a solution after around 100 Euro losses showed that I was at least smart enough to get off that train. I didn’t get a lawyer as a felt very foolish.. 😦

    • Hahahaha, sorry about that aftertaste. Try something other than the ampalaya blend maybe. Yes, I agree the data are loose at best, but are good material against which to weigh what we see and think.

    • NHerrera says:

      In imitation of my favorite Government Official — who will remain nameless for purpose of this post — here is my IQ-challenged statistical analysis: socioeconomic classes ABC is 10%; D is 60%; E is 30%. Now take out the 30% and half of the 60% which makes a total of 60% — most of those are non-human drug addicts anyway and should not be counted in the averaging — and we have the remaining 40% who matter and who I bet you have an average IQ of at least 106, at par with North Korea’s.

      Oops, mea maxima culpa, the 40% still includes Pacquiao and Sotto. But those are only two out of 40 million to be included in the averaging.

      • Very important observation. The well-educated elite of the Philippines can likely compete with anyone, given the right opportunity. The nation’s average IQ is weighed down by a huge component – 60 million plus or minus – of poorly educated people living in circumstances that do not nurture knowledge and critical thinking. If there were a subsistence quotient, the nation would probably top the world.

        • I see two types of Filipino elite today:

          1) the new school that is willing and able to compete at a global level, keep at the top of their game in every way, not rest on their laurels. Not afraid to be confronted, ready to answer.

          2) the old school that is used to lording it over others, in terms of wealth and/or knowledge. Afraid of any real competition from outside, especially non-rigged competition or judgement. More like Admiral General Aladeen of Wadiya (“The Dictator”, 2012) than anything else.

          Now how do these two elites compare in how they treat the poor or plan to treat them:

          Elite 1) (real elite): educate them better, give them a chance – as there is no fear of them becoming new competitors or unraveling any fakery because there is none.

          Elite 2) (fake or backward elite): kill them as addicts, jail them as tambays. Giving the poor more knowledge will just make them realize they are phonies. They have to stop that. This elite will even connive with those who look down on Filipinos to keep their people down.

          • Or will the likes of Harry Roque or Alan Cayetano last a minute in any normal discussion?

            I mean in a discussion where their rank is unknown or irrelevant, their class distinction not intimidating to anyone, where nobody backs them but only facts count? Don’t think so.

            On the other hand, I believe that a Ma. Lourdes Sereno or a Florin Hilbay will not give any person bullshit in any setting, will come prepared. Or ask for the facts if lacking them.

          • A fine, fine distinction.

        • Francis says:


          I would disagree that it is the 60M who are holding us back—very strongly. That 60M are merely concerned with living from day to day and minding their own business—the “unheard” common folk, who are always present in any democracy. I don’t think they’re the guys holding us back; they aren’t the guys driving policy (the elite) or the guys who have the time and interest to actually participate in public discourse (the middle classes, the professional partisans, etc.)—the guys who are actually at the wheel and the guys sitting beside the driver.

          I blame those guys, or rather the system that makes those guys incompetent.

          It has always been a truth that not everyone participates equally in democracy. This is true even in the most mature and best democracies. A useful model I can recall goes along these lines: a good metaphor to visualize participation in a democracy would be the coliseum. In a coliseum, there are gladiators, there is the audience in the coliseum and there are the people outside the coliseum.

          The gladiator are the people who are actually directly participating in politics—the politicians, the elite. The people outside the coliseum are the politically apathetic many who just keep to themselves and mind their own business. The audience refers to those who indirectly or less directly participate in politics—by choosing a gladiator/team of gladiators to support (i.e. party, faction, etc.)—these people are either the middle classes who have the time, resources and motivation (i.e. ideological, religious, etc.) to be seriously involved, the professional “support staff” for the gladiators i.e. grassroots canvassers, organizers, etc. and other people who—by definition of their work—must care about what the gladiators are doing, i.e. academe, NGO workers, activists, advocates, etc.

          I don’t blame the “people outside the coliseum” because they have always existed even in the best democracy, they aren’t the guys at the wheel so to speak. They aren’t the guys crafting policy and directly affecting it—the gladiators. They aren’t the guys who are indirectly shaping policies via public discourse and debate—the coliseum audience.

          A cynic would say that the difference between democracy and all other forms of government is that in more hierarchical, autocratic forms of government, it is just the gladiators who matter—and that the audience in the coliseum are very few. Democracy is measured by how much people you can stuff in the audience in the coliseum, and how many people are free to become gladiators themselves—but not everyone can be a gladiator or an audience member: there will always be an attentive audience inside and apathetic passers-by outside.

          To be a sincere democrat though, is to nonetheless aspire to the ideal that anyone can be an “audience” member at the very least—like chasing limits in calculus, but I digress.

          I hold those guys—the gladiators and the audience—more culpable for the situation of the nation, good or bad. They’re the guys with the power.

          I find the level of public discourse in this country to be immature and shallow. And no—it is not because of the masses; the masses are just minding their own business, the masses are just trying to get by—rather, I would say that it is reflective of people who should know better: the “audience-members,” particularly the middle class people like myself.

          I am…amused whenever middle class Filipinos would complain about smart-shaming.

          They—or rather—We (not referring to people in this blog, but to Filipinos as a whole) seem to think “smartness” is this trait, this thing in a vacuum that you either have or you don’t, a vague attribute that determines whether you are some “higher” enlightened being who is ergo “higher” on the totem pole compared to the “ignorant” sheeple. This is manifested in the attachment to credentials like diplomas: I am smart because I came from so-and-so university, or because I am not entitled to put Atty./M.D./Engr. at the beginning of my name.

          They say Filipinos value education. Do we? Or do we just value the paper credentials they hand out after getting a formal education? Or do we value the prestige that comes with education—but not the subject matter or the learning process itself? This is not to say that similar mindsets pop up in the West, but is this especially prevalent in this nation? I have a hunch that it is.

          The middle-class Filipino blames the poor for the poor state of public discourse in this country—seemingly oblivious to the fact that it is the middle-class Filipino that reads the broadsheets, it is often the middle-class Filipino that writes those English/Taglish viral rants on social and political issues, the celebrities which are so prominent in the minds of the masses often hail from middle-class backgrounds, almost all the prominent bloggers are middle class, many activists hail from middle-class upbringings, those radio hosts are almost always from the middle-class or higher, those comedians on TV and those news anchors probably also hailed from the middle class or higher, those screenplays of those annoyingly cliche telenovelas are likely written by a middle-class graduate thinks that is what the masses want to hear, those priests are likely middle-class or well-off enough for their parents to think that it is alright for them to live a life of simplicity without hurting the family that much, etc.

          And at the end of the day—let us be blunt—the way the middle-class Filipino actually approache politics is childish. It is always, always—even in the buena familias, those who can trace themselves to the “old” middle classes—always about people, personalities, factions. You can listen in on many Filipino middle-class discussions on politics—and find little difference from Medieval court intrigue.

          In the West right now, you can clearly sense a struggle of the soul, a struggle between the globalists and the nationalists, between fascist, conservative, centrist, liberal and socialist. You can sense that because over there—people are arguing over policies; should we put up this wall, should we deport, should we nationalize healthcare, should we implement UBI, should we ban burkas, should we allow burkas, should we allow more refugees, should we…

          To argue over policies requires being able to practice minimally competent abstract thinking, the ability to visualize a horizon more than your own network of family and friends. Filipinos, as I have often emphasized, are trapped in their barangay mindset, unable to practice abstract thinking on the political level.

          You place a middle-class Filipino—a member of the Filipino coliseum audience—beside any counterpart from a mature democracy, and you will find that we are very, very dumb compared to our counterparts abroad.

          The question then becomes, “Why are we dumb?”

          We are dumb because there are few ways for the “coliseum audience” (much less the “guys outside the coliseum”) to properly harness their raw brain power. We are dumb because our society has been structured to be dumb. We are dumb because—society is dumb.

          As I have stated in a comment on an earlier article—we lack “intermediate knowledge institutions” (i.e. pop. science books, long form journalism and analysis, e.g. The Atlantic) to translate and pump “specialized” elite or “gladiator” knowledge to the “educated layman citizen” or the “coliseum audience” as it were. I am saddened that I know (and have read) far much more analysis on why the coal workers in Appalachia are unhappy, rather than analysis on our national situation—because really, all that you get about the Philippines is some small column space in the Inquirer or some chain of tweets, and that’s simply not enough.

          Rappler tries—but it is literally the only one outlet that actually gives an effort to consistently pump out interesting analysis from experts translated for the “coliseum audience” of our nation.

          That probably won’t even be understood that well—because the starting point, the reservoir of stock knowledge on the liberal arts (i.e. politics, philosophy, economics, etc.) that an average Filipino “coliseum audience” guy has is quite little compared to what counterparts abroad would likely possess. We don’t even have organizations or networks or common information sources that allow people of similar values/ideals to flock together—i.e, Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Democratic-Socialist groups in the US—which allows for people to “catch up to speed” on grasping Big Issues faster because they can try to see how the sorta “pre-fab framework or model” (ideology—or just a common perspective, if one doesn’t like that word) that can serve as a “quick and easy” grammar to comprehend the world around them.

          No. The lack of ALL that means MOST FILIPINOS (outside of the Left and some pockets one can consider “liberal”) have to be auto-didacts if they want to participate in the public discourse. I’m not saying being required to be an auto-didact is bad—I’m just saying, the ability of public discourse to cope with a rapidly changing world is kiiiiinda limited if everyone and their cousin has to literally re-invent the wheel all the time.

          Dumbness is not an individual problem, but a societal problem—a systemic problem that requires systemic solutions.

          When society is dumb—it doesn’t matter if you have a ton of raw brain power. You will end up being dumbified, if you aren’t careful.

          Just look at Roque. This guy is not stupid. This guy however—instead of using his brain to think about and discuss pressing and complex national issues—is now a guy who says “Siomai” being called “Siomai” doesn’t mean China owns “Siomai,” ergo we shouldn’t be worried about China calling our rightful territories Chinese names. The Supreme Court has affirmed their infamous decision on “Quo Warranto” and Sereno—such a focus on technicality and pettiness, it is odd how this is a decision of the highest court of the land, a body that—more than any other judicial body in society, as the final word on all things legal—is obliged to not just treat law as a matter of objective procedure, but also as a matter of ethical principle.

          In any other society, in a society structured to be “smart,” you would have the likes of Roque providing insightful analysis on key issues of society, you would have the SC majestically debating on the grand, contentious societal issues causing legal fissures. Instead…

          Individual IQ is less important, compared to how society is organized and structured.

          • Francis says:


            Filipino elite (and middle-class) can compete quite well in STEM…

            …but are rather illiterate as a whole in the liberal arts, outside of the academe, some journalists and “civil society/NGO” types.

            What you get are over-specialized people who don’t know what to do when faced with a large problems covering multiple areas, multiple fields. Fixing issue at local level—easy. Fixing issue at national level—impossible, just leave the country!

          • Very eloquent portrayal of the problem, that the Philippines is structurally and, for most, blamelessly lacking the knowledge and awareness to do much but roll with the punches. I agree that the people at fault are the leadership who should have known what an oath meant, but don’t have that admirable kind of personal strength and worldly knowledge to deliver on it, and so go for the gold that is generously gifted to them. I also think the issue is not government, per se, but the rotten values that permeate it. I tried to get it into a tweet today that went like this:

            “The world is dumbing down. The Philippine media are dumbed down. The trolls are employed to confuse and dumb down the nation. The government is determined to dull our objection to pain and unfairness. That’s what I resist. I don’t resist government. I resist being dehumanized.”

            I don’t blame the 60 million for the nation’s predicament, actually, and have repeatedly defended their circumstance. If I said something that suggests otherwise, it was a poor choice of words.

          • Micha says:


            The clue to unraveling this madness can be found in your last line.

            “Individual IQ is less important, compared to how society is organized and structured.”

            Ours is of course a very individualist society where the concept of the community – of the whole – takes second importance to the interest of the individual.

            It has of course not always been thus. There was a time when we still have a stronger sense of community. The ratcheting up of capitalism’s values, however, changed all that, That system emphasizes individual achievement, individual goals, personal well being above all else – a sort of war of all against all. A pattern of social Darwinism emerges and, in a way, accepted as a natural way of doing things where only the strong and the lucky survives and the rest will die out – except that in reality, the weak and the unlucky does not necessarily die out – they just trod along and even manage to multiply.

            And are given the right to vote.

            The madness lies in those who should have known better (your policy makers and your middle class) who nonetheless ignore the fact that this pattern of social arrangement can ever be sustainable.

            They still seem to ignore the possibility that the excluded will, as a matter of spite, chip away the stones of the foundation and cause the whole coliseum to collapse.

            • Micha says:

              If we want to avoid further institutional collapse, assuming the whole infrastructure is still worth saving, we need to, at the very least, reform the economic system.

  3. “Nutrition, poverty, isolation, colonization, suppression, oppression, rote teaching, a media focused on sensationalism rather than information, the elite claiming all the opportunities, most people working as order-takers, and lack of any introspection.

    That last item, lack of introspection, seems to me to be crucially important. The first step to improvement is recognition, but if people are busy making excuses and casting blames, that is not going to get us anywhere, is it?”

    Lack of introspection has to do, I think, with the fundamentally medieval/colonial attitude to knowledge that is still very much present in the Philippines, linked with the “face and power” dynamic that you, Joe, have often described. I summarize things as follows:

    1) Knowledge is not about knowing but seeming to know more than others. Apparent sophistication is used to intimidate others into submission, much like Latin was used to cower peasants before.

    2) Mistakes mean losing status, so it is more important to cast blame and avoid blame than to learn.

    3) Nearly everything is about not looking bad. Honest mistakes like those Sereno might have made in her SALNs are assumed to be dishonest mistakes. Probably those better at cover-ups are the ones respected as nearly everybody is busy covering up the reality of incompetence and cheating.

    4) As a consequence, people do NOT develop problem-solving capabilities. One major requirement to learn that is openness with mistakes – to look for solutions, not to find someone to burn at stake.

    5) MRT, Dengvaxia, Mamasapano, Marawi, WPS – all examples of an immature, bumbling polity.

    6) If anyone shows any introspection or admits to even a small mistake, the others are gleeful and already have the rope, or the tar and feathers, in their hands – as they have avoided being blamed. The best and the brightest get sent to hell for trifles, while idiots and scoundrels usually get off free.

    • Very interesting, Irineo. Nice pulling together what we have discussed here. I’ve been contemplating ‘ethics’, what they are and mean, how they are used in the business community to reach a more fair and honest way of working. I suppose there are also ‘social ethics’, or the framework for our behaviors, and what you have recited is how Filipino standards emphasize hiding from the truth (failure to recognize fault or apologize) and deceit (blamecasting). In that context, government is what would be expected in a non-transparent social set of ethics. And voting is as expected. So we ought not be surprised or dismayed, but might want to consider how to change the ethical framework to something more forthright. Forthright being essential for good problem-solving.

  4. Ron Z says:

    Ever see the movie Idiocracy? It happening before our eyes, and not just in the third world – Trump is the best proof.

    • Idiots who manage to get into power usually are run by someone else smarter.

      In Trump’s case it is probably Putin, a highly rugged upstart who grew up fatherless in a “communal apartment” (3 families sharing bathroom and kitchen in the dreary poor part of St. Petersburg where many Dostoevsky novels play) and made it to the top via a KGB career. Duterte is very clearly run by Xi Jinping and for all we know Bong Go was the unofficial watcher for China all along, making sure the running dog does not go his own way?

      • Whereas Trump is a spoiled heir, not a resourceful entepreneur who built his own fortune.

        Just like Duterte is an heir, not the rugged streetsmart fellow he pretends to be all the time. In that respect Duterte and Bongbong Marcos are twins.

        Cultures or groups that get too comfortable go decadent and eventually stupid. Trump seems to symbolize the decline of a once strong and resourceful American group – the entrepreneur. The Filipino elite is for the most part degenerate because of a false sense of superiority (we speak American English, therefore we are smarter than the whole world = Alan Cayetano) due to being big fish in a small pond and having servants to do everything.

        • In the rich countries, it is the mechanical/electronic helpers that make us too comfortable and in the long run stupid if we don’t watch out.

          The plague of every civilization is that its comforts can lead to decadence, enjoying the comforts of what was built by more enterprising generations but losing the capability to protect and enhance what was built.

          Of course the decadent tend to fear the newcomers (refugees, immigrants) who may have less of the self-indulgence of the established and more drive to learn and to succeed – this can even be an issue for established migrants who have grown fat, comfortable.. stupid (?)

          “I don’t mean to scare you, personally, but when is the last time your read a big book? Do you find your attention span is shorter as you skip from tweet to tweet and headline to headline gathering up your emotional satisfaction and chemical endorphins? But precious little knowledge? Precious little reasoning power?” I am reading one now. Review coming.

          But I must admit, the last time I read a big book to the end was maybe FIVE (!) years ago. In fact not quite to the end as the bookmark is still where it was back then. Social media does tend to shorten attention span. Plus consumerism makes us infantile, lowers our frustration tolerance. We want everything and want it NOOOOWWW! (red Trump face) including the quick fixes like sugar (or worse, even maybe shabu) to feel strong and awake instead of talking a walk with one’s dogs like Will does. Taking a walk or running, or reading a book takes the patience we have forgotten due to our instant gratification consumer society. Even learning a new language, a new skill takes that patience. Buying something at the mall, sitting down with chips to watch Netflix, staying on Twitter to long.. all way too easy.

          • NHerrera says:

            … comforts can lead to decadence, enjoying the comforts of what was built by more enterprising generations but losing the capability to protect and enhance what was built … the decadent tend to fear the newcomers (refugees, immigrants) who may have less of the self-indulgence of the established and more drive to learn and to succeed …

            How true!

    • I’ve not seen the movie, but, yes, the anecdotal evidence of the great dumbing down of humankind is striking.

  5. Andres 2018. says:

    No joke, IQ test as per link is not free. Did it, and it required my credit card info to see my result.

  6. NHerrera says:

    Here is a high IQ, thinking man’s view. Acting CJ Antonio Carpio on nomination by the JBC to the post of CJ: he declines to be nominated. He said:

    ‘I have to be consistent with my position, that the quo warranto is not the proper way to remove a sitting member of the Court. So I don’t want to benefit from the decision to which I disagreed.’

    My IQ makes me somewhat baffled by that logic. Let us not be shy about it — Duterte through his Knight Calida petitioned the SC to oust Sereno via Quo Warranto and the 8 Justices, lead by the Five who appeared at the Impeachment Hearing in the House, obliged. Carpio among the 6 opposed, so Sereno was ousted and ousted with finality after the MR filed by Sereno’s lawyer was thrown out. So why will Carpio be rewarded by Duterte? To give a show of some principle, or an effort of pabango since anyway Carpio is due to retire on October 2019? After which Duterte’s ultimate choice may be installed?

    The calculus seems — at least to me — to be the one left unsaid by Carpio. If his name is among those nominated by JBC, he may be thrice spurned, first by GMA, second by Aquino, and third — which to me is very likely — by Duterte.

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. A good mind is certainly important. The world and the country are faced with complex problems and good minds are needed.

    2. I believe that more than any other species humans are not functionally hard-wired to perform repetitive life-sustaining functions like the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. We are blessed with “soft” brains that each of us can turn to learn and master a field of learning such that we become specialists.

    3. And in trying to solve the complex problems that we face, we can gather specialists from different fields to arrive at solutions. We need economists, bankers, managers, scientists, architects, engineers, programmers, and laborers of all sorts to implement and maintain a given solution.

    4. Thus, it is not necessary for any one man to master all trades. A polymath, a Renaissance man, like Leonardo da Vinci, only comes once in a hundred years.

    5. Given then a choice between a good mind and a good heart, I would choose the latter.

    5.1. A good heart may not solve a complex problem but certainly, a good heart with a good enough mind can contribute much to a solution. More importantly, while the good heart can be part of the solution, in the main, he will not be a major part of the problem. Nor will he exacerbate the problem.

    5.2. It is true the path to hell is paved with good intentions but were the good intentions truly from a good man?

    6. When I meet children with Down Syndrome, I am touched by their humanness. They have frail minds but stout hearts. And I think they are reminders to us that high IQs are not worth all that much.

    6.1. Some of the most terrifying serial killers have genius-level IQs.

    6.2. And then there is Duterte who took 7 years to finish high school.

    7. To me, the question — “Are we smart enough to survive?” – is incomplete. I have no doubt that in a world of Duterte & Company – heaven forbid! – man will survive. They will survive in a world of brutality and bloodshed. After all, they are throwbacks to our ancestors who lived in caves.

    7.1. So I would ask instead, “Are we smart enough to survive with kindness?”

    • Although I agree that heart is an important part of our ability to construct a hopeful future, I think the trouble in the Philippines is not heart, for ’emotional intelligence’ is reportedly high, and we can see a lot of emotionalized thinking going on, but problem solving remains weak, and ethical awareness and discipline is virtually non-existent except among those who know western lifestyles. Introspection is a part of the solution, and hopefully the nation would start connecting heart and mind more productively.

      • edgar lores says:

        I am not sure that “emotional intelligence” equates to a good heart.

        Filipinos are emotional. Semi-colon not period.

        But the ability to emote and read emotion does not necessarily equate to a good heart… in particular when the “reading” is done for purposes of manipulation or advantage.

        Filipinos present a smiling face to visitors and tourists — which is emotional intelligence — but the sunny exterior hides an evasiveness of purpose. They will ransack your luggage and pick your pocket.

        What I mean by good heart is your “ethical awareness and discipline.”

        I agree that problem-solving is weak.

        • Ah, okay, thanks for the elaboration. We are on the same page.

        • There is the capability to read others, but not necessarily empathy.

          Empathy would mean seeing the other not as potential enemy or victim but as a fellow human being – that sense of kapwa is quite restricted I think among Filipinos.

          There is not much compassion for example for those whose pockets are picked, the rationalization being “mayaman naman sila” – they are rich. Or looking at how “yellows” are picked on nowadays. The notion is they are advantaged anyway, while “kami” are “dejado”.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I get Edgar’s pont.

            I do not know if somehow Duterte has a high EQ, but his psy-war leadership is beyond manipulative.

            And the polce leadership lacked ethics and discipline for arresting tambays just like that.
            I am not forgetting ejks,etc.

            For people who lack compassion.
            Sometimes we see footages where people just do nothing when one is beaten up, or shot.
            It is survival instincts, but maybe at least reporting it to authorities would help.

            • That people care less about others and do nothing is common over here now as well. At least it is easier to call authorities and they usually act quickly and actually do something.

              Why do people care less? It could be an effect of excessive violence in movies, possibly.

              And maybe people see what happens around them more like a movie than real, don’t know. What shocked me during the Munich amok nearly 2 years ago was the Youtube footage of the shooter outside McDo Olympia mall and on a rooftop parking nearby. Movies don’t tell you how loud the report of a Glock 9 mm is in reality. All the action movies make shooting look like a game. Does that help make people desensitized? Do people need to experience real war again in order to know how bad it can get? Well, if another dark ages are coming..

              • karlgarcia says:

                Remember Joe’s tabloid journaliism, aside from movies too much violence in the news makes people think, that it is bussinessas usual.
                War? Marawi was just more than a year ago, people care, but as you said, they care less.

              • Marawi and Boracay are clear examples of how little the Philippines is one nation.

                In one place, a ruined city and internal refugees, In another, ruined livelihoods and spoiled DSWD goods. Was all the “care” about Yolanda just anti-Aquino drama? I wonder.

        • Francis says:

          Perhaps—this is just a little quibble, and I am just feeling pedantic—but I cannot help but feel an itch:

          My view is that before identifying what a “good heart” is—it is worth asking what we mean by “heart” in the neutral (neither “bad” nor “good”) sense. My opinion is that the “mind” is objective faculty of reason—which understands the world via logic which is clear and comprehensible by nature—whereas the “heart” is the subjective faculty of beyond-reason (including, but not limited to emotions) which understands the world via intuition, the logic we cannot directly see nor comprehend.

          The heart is merely what allows us to see subjective truths—in the parallel fashion that the mind merely allows us to see objective truths.

          A good mind is a mind that is good at analyzing the objective aspects of reality. A good heart is a heart that is good at feeling the subjective aspects of reality. Understanding is when one analyzes and feels—this is thawt.

          “What I mean by good heart is your ‘ethical awareness and discipline.’”

          This is not in conflict with the definition you have given @Edgar, but it is meant to offer another way of looking at the definition. To translate “ethical awareness and discipline” (a static trait) to an action (the act of seeing “subjective” truths).

          • Our minds gather data all the time, even if we are not consciously quantifying it.

            Intuition is simply the mind’s assessment based on its data gathered from experience.

            Seems that dreaming plays an important role in putting that data together. Even dogs are known to dream, to twitch in their sleep while processing things that happened to them. People who lack sleep often have impaired judgement, I think due to lack of “REM sleep”.

  8. madlanglupa says:

    OT: Now that we had the so-called “war on drugs” and the “war on tobacco”, here comes “war on sugar”.

    • President Duterte wants warning labels revealing sugar content. Sugar is already being taxed. For me, that is not a big issue, as my problem is with salt. But I think such warnings are probably a good thing. Arresting people on the streets without warrant or cause is a bad thing.

      • madlanglupa says:

        If there’s anything I note about this move to label anything sweet, it’s aiming at the wrong target, because (1) nobody drinks soda or artificial fruit juice all the time, (2) rice consumption is significant, (3) it feels like a quick-fix nanny-state measure when the government should be supporting and subsidizing production and distribution of nutritious food, specifically fruits and vegetables.

        • Yes, that makes great sense.

        • edgar lores says:

          It seems that the government is poor in problem-solving because it ignores a basic step.

          In IT disciplines, a basic step is defining the problem. This means understanding what the true problem is and thereby categorizing it, scoping it, and looking at true alternative solutions.

          There is a tweet going around that says:

          “How to solve poverty?
          Kill the poor.

          “How to solve unemployment?
          Jail the tambays.

          “How to solve disputed territories?
          Give ’em away.”

          I might add:

          “How to solve pollution?
          Ban smoking.

          “How to solve GDP?
          Borrow from China.

          “How to solve injustice?
          Oust the Chief Justice.

          “How to solve ousting the Chief Justice?
          The Constitution says impeachment is a ‘may’ and not a ‘shall.'”

          It is kinda funny but it points to a serious shortcoming — framing the problem properly.

          • karlgarcia says:

            How to solve pollution.
            Ban plastic bags, use paper bags.
            Try doing that in the wet market.

            • There are still a lot of plastic bags (and plastic packaging) over here in Germany.

              Most of that plastic gets recycled because people throw it into neighborhood “plastic bins” and not into the river or the sea. Same thing with glass which has its recycle bins for white, brown and blue glass, or paper where each house has own paper bins..

              Somewhere in Africa, there is an inventive man who makes new slippers out of discarded plastic fished from everywhere. Asia, Carribean, Africa: plastic is already in most waters.

            • NHerrera says:

              karl: back to bayong made from weaved palm leaves [my mother used to carry when going to the market].

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yes, NH we will need to go back to using the bayong and the basket.

                Yes NH, we need to use the basket and the bayong.
                But even in supermarkets, thiose who do not want to bring bayong or buy reusable bags.
                Have to use paper bags for light items that can be hand carried.
                Just a drop of rain will prove that paper is indeed biodegradable.

              • Many shops in Germany no longer give you plastic bags. For a long time they have been not for free, costing 10 cents so a lot of people reused them or brought linen bags along – linen is durable and waterproof, all you have to do is take it along when you plan to buy stuff.

                Some now sell very thick and durable plastic bags for around one to three Euros, these are the kind you keep and reuse the next time you go shopping. I for my part have an old backpack which I use to carry the food and other stuff I buy on Saturdays.

                The EU by the way is planning to prohibit plastic spoons, forks and knives. Yes it will be a bit anti-poor, just like the mandatory deposit on cans of softdrinks and beer, as it is the same crowd that uses cans which also uses paper plates and plastic cutlery to picnic in parks etc.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Irineo,
                Can I digress to another form of banning?
                What is this about EU banning memes?

              • It is the content lobby’s influence once more. It isn’t mainly about memes, it is about copyright infringement. Again we have the old debate about copyright versus fair use.

                There will be an EU Parliament vote on this. Let us see where these matters go.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    Here is another way to look at Filipino resilience, we laugh of our problems.
    In the past blog we hoped we could dance away our problems.

    We talked about swimming sideways.
    Swimming sideways is a smart way to survive, Coughing after a deep breath might save you from a heart attack long enough for you to ask for help.

    Our so called resillience or laughing out our problems shows our lack of introspection.
    Introspection is not just recognizing the problem within, it is also about being part of the solution and not the problem.

    We must face and solve our problems.


    I am still in awe about Nort Korea, did KJU’s dad switch scores with other countries like the Philippines?
    70 percent of their population is undernourished.
    Are the 30 % well-fed mensas?

    Oh well.

    • NHerrera says:


      That is an interesting and good point about NK scoring an average IQ of 106. We don’t know the exact reason for that. But it does bring out the puzzle. Are the top 30% so high in IQ it pulls up the average as you asked? Or partly because being in dire poverty does not necessarily equate to the poor reasoning power that we attribute to the Filipinos? There may be some general character innate in the Korean that make them reason well — poverty notwithstanding. But I am speculating.

      • I think the methodology is not published for a reason, and the reason is data may be a little ‘loose’. maybe just a compilation of the self-test scores originating from different countries, and there were four from North Korea, and they were fairly smart. I dunno. I just use it as a thought starter, and it is definitely clear that the Philippines is not working when people don’t even recognize how abuse of human rights and law is ultimately going to be harmful to THEM.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks NH,
        You are correct, poverty does not equate to ones aptitude.
        China too has many poor people.
        Surprisingly I can not find India which has a space program.( and many poor people)
        I tried other sites and I found out that we rank higher, they scored 82.

      • chemrock says:

        For me IQ test has credibility if the subject is doing it for the very first time. It is their very first encounter with such a test.

        If a person has done it before, his next and subsequent test contains way too much bias from familiarity. Thus the results are not credible.

        From that observation, then it follows that scores from city dwellers cannot be compared to those in the backwaters. In all likelihood, city dwellers are all too familiar with IQ tests compared to their cousins in the provinces who are unlikely to have been exposed to such tests. If the test were to be conducted on subects only in the city of Manila, it is possible Philippines’ average score would be comparable to Singapore and Hongkong.

        As regards Norkor, the mystery is easy to solve. Whoever conducted the test would not have permit to travel out of the capital Pyongyang. Thus the scores came from city dwellers with high scores in conformity with above observation.,

  10. Sup says:

    Are we smart enough?

    Not ”one” Filipino university in the top ”75”

    Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities – 2018
    David M. Ewalt

    (Reuters) – Every scientist hopes for a “Eureka” moment — the jolt of sudden insight when a discovery becomes clear. But great advances always follow regular progress, and while individual researchers might strive for disruption, institutions are most successful when they’re consistent and steady. That’s one conclusion of Reuters’ annual ranking of Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities, a list that identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries.

    The most innovative university in the region, for the third consecutive year, is South Korea’s KAIST. Formerly known as the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, it is the nation’s oldest research-oriented science and engineering university, with campuses in Daejeon, Seoul and Busan. Established in 1971 by the Korean government, KAIST was modeled after engineering schools in the United States, and offers most of its courses in English.

    Recent KAIST research highlights include the development of a highly durable platinum-based fuel cell catalyst that removes particulate matter from the air while it is in operation, an innovation that could lead to more efficient electric vehicles that reduce pollution when driven. KAIST once again earned its first-place rank among the APAC’s most innovative universities by producing a high volume of influential inventions. Its researchers submit more patents than any other university on the list, and those patents are frequently cited by outside researchers in their own patents and papers. Those are key criteria in Reuters ranking of Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities, which was compiled in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, and is based on proprietary data and analysis of indicators including patent filings and research paper citations.

    Japan’s University of Tokyo takes the runner-up spot, moving up one rank from 2017. Korea’s POSTECH takes third, also moving up one, and Seoul National University comes in fourth after dropping two. Tsinghua University (#5) is the highest-ranked university in China, up one from last year. Osaka University (#6), Kyoto University (#7), Sungkyunkwan University (#8), Tohoku University (#9) and the National University of Singapore (#10) round out the top 10.

    Only three new institutions appear on the list this year, all of them based in China: the China University of Mining & Technology (#56), Shandong University (#67), and Xiamen University (#74). The region exhibits a remarkable consistency, unlike Europe and North America: In contrast, Reuters’ 2018 ranking of Europe’s Most Innovative Universities featured 15 new entries.

    Overall, the same countries that dominate Asian business and politics dominate the ranking of APAC’s Most Innovative Universities. Chinese universities account for 27 of the 75 institutions on the list, more than any other country. South Korea comes in second with 20 institutions, and Japan is third with 19. Australia has 5, Singapore has 2, and India and New Zealand each have 1.

    In addition to adding the list’s only new universities, China saw its domination of the list increase slightly, from 25 institutions in 2017 to 27 in 2018. They’ve done this by increasing their patent input dramatically. In 2016 ranked Chinese institutions filed an average of 128 patents during the list’s five year window; in 2018, they filed 160. That’s a 25% increase in just three years. Still, the nation continues to be held back by how rarely it files patents abroad. On average, Chinese universities on the list filed just 6.7% of all their patents with global authorities in the U.S., Europe and Japan, compared to 34.9% for Japanese universities and 20% for all non-Chinese universities in the ranking. Experts say Chinese academic and commercial institution are filing more patent applications than they used to. “Twenty years ago China was viewed as a pirate nation when it comes to IP, but that is changing,” says Mark A. Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School and director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology. “The Chinese government has decided to push innovation, perhaps for economic reasons and perhaps for strategic ones…. [and] patenting follows from that.”

    Some nations underperform on the ranking because of the way they organize their university systems. Despite boasting the world’s second-largest population (more than 1.28 billion) and one of its largest economies, only one Indian university appears in the top 75, the Indian Institutes of Technology (#71). IIT is a network of 23 universities which centralizes its patent administration, so it’s not always possible to identify which constituent university was responsible for what research. As a result, Reuters ranked the entire system as opposed to individual universities. World-class campuses like IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay may have ranked much higher on the list if they weren’t grouped in with smaller and newer institutes like IIT Tirupati and IIT Palakkad.

    To compile the 2018 ranking of the Asia Pacific region’s most innovative universities, Clarivate Analytics (formerly the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters) began by identifying more than 600 global organizations that published the most articles in academic journals, including educational institutions, nonprofit charities and government-funded institutions. That list was reduced to institutions that filed at least 50 patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization in the period between 2011 and 2016. Then they evaluated each candidate on 10 different metrics, focusing on academic papers (which indicate basic research) and patent filings (which point to an institution’s ability to apply research and commercialize its discoveries). Finally, they trimmed the list so that it only included universities in East Asia, South Asia and Oceania, and then ranked them based on their performance.

    Of course, the relative ranking of any university does not provide a complete picture of the scope of its researchers’ work. Since the ranking measures innovation on an institutional level, it may overlook particularly innovative departments or programs: a university might rank low for overall innovation but still operate one of the world’s most innovative computer science laboratories, for instance. And it’s important to remember that whether a university ranks at the top or the bottom of the list, it’s still within the top 75 in the region: All of these universities produce original research, create useful technology and stimulate the global economy.

    To see the full methodology, visit

    (Editing by Arlyn Gajilan and Alessandra Rafferty)

    • NHerrera says:

      Good reference. Thanks, Sup.

    • India’s secret seems to be a network of technical and polytechnic universities.

      In an older article,, I noted that Bavaria built a network of (few) technical universities and (many) polytechnics to complement the already excellent dual system for vocational training. Popoy’s older comment about the Luftwaffe succeeding because of lazy geniuses on top, hard-working average people in the middle and very hard-working and compliant simple people at the bottom has some truth.

      You need to properly train and mobilize people at DIFFERENT levels of natural talent. Josephivo once noted that in Germany you have the people with Doctorates who develop concepts, people with Masters who transfer concepts into real development.. and i could add you have the polytechnic grads who are excellent at taking care of a certain level of detail while you have the vocationally trained people who do the nuts and bolts level. Or like Sun Tzu wrote, use different types of wood in different ways when you are building a house.

      • BTW an old criticism of Philippine Science High School is that there is no Science University to complement it. A top-flight Technical University like in Munich (separate from the Ludwig-Maximillian University) or like KSIA in Korea has the advantage that the “mundane” science, technology and engineering stuff is the main priority and is not looked down upon by the humanities and social sciences people (often politically colored) who dominate traditional universities. See also the success of places like MIT and Cal Tech in the United States.

        In my alma mater (Bonn) the scientific and technical stuff ranked lower than history etc., while within the joint math/informatics faculty the theoretical mathematicians ruled and for a long time looked down upon the computer science people as mere nuts and bolts folks..

    • LG says:

      I love info like this, Sup. Much thanks.

  11. NHerrera says:


    BSP raised interest rates twice by 25 basis points back to back: May 10 and June 20, yesterday. While the Economic Managers are focused on Build-Build-Build Program, the BSP, thank goodness is trying hard to steady the Economic Ship. Thank goodness, we have good men — level headed, experienced, and I bet above average IQs — at the Central Bank.

    Unfortunately for the Administration, the BBB Program financed significantly with non-cheap Chinese Loans, is caught by circumstances they cannot bluster away as it is wont to do: Fed’s own interest rate hike, the US-Chinese-EU Trade War a fait accompli, increase in oil prices, deteriorating Peso value.

    While the Stock Market is not the best indicator, it still is some measure of the state of the economy in the short term; people — wise or foolish, with high IQ or low IQ — voting with their money where their mouths are. On an intraday basis, the PSE index reached a low of 7115 today as against the intraday Peak it reached in January 29 of 9078 a decrease of 21.6%. The market labels a decrease of 20% in the index as entering a “Bear Territory.”

    • NHerrera says:

      I know someone famously said he will be protected by Xi who he “truly loves,” but will the PH be protected from a floundering economy?

    • karlgarcia says:

      If you invested in bonds, good.

    • Micha says:


      There’s only one broad purpose for raising interest rates – to control inflation.

      It is only done when the economy is on the verge of overheating, that is to say, there’s full employment, full production capacity, and rising consumer demand.

      Given that none of these metrics currently exist in Pinas economy, the action of the central bank can only be viewed as being justified by something else – it is trying to control inflation driven not by an overperforming economy but by higher taxes on consumer goods and the devalued peso due to the Fed’s action to raise its own interest rate.

      Overall, it’s a double whammy for the ordinary Pinoy consumer. The rich, as always, will not feel the squeeze.

      • Micha says:

        And we wonder why despite this abnormal monetary and fiscal policies in an abnormal economy run by an abnormal President there’s still abnormal support from (seemingly now) abnormal folks.

        To top it off, the political opposition has no credible narrative on what it can offer as an alternative.

      • NHerrera says:


        I am afraid I am not much of an economist to make a good comment on your note. I hope the explanation by the Monetary Authorities — like BSP Governor Espenilla and BSP Deputy Governor Guinigundo — contained in the link below explains enough of the rationale for their back to back interest rate hikes. Chemrock who has authored several economy-related articles in TSH, I am sure can make a more sensible comment. Thank you for your note, nevertheless.

  12. edgar lores says:

    Incidentally, the last big book I read — over 1,000 pages — was Ken Follet’s “Edge of Eternity.” 1,005 pages.

    • Congratulations. A couple of years ago I came up about 100 pages short of finishing Don Quixote. I.. just.. couldn’t.. do.. any.. more. But I read something like 18 Ian Rankin books I found at a used-book bookstore that got wiped out by Yolanda. I figure that must be part way through “War and Peace”, and Inspector Rebus became my hero. I’ve read two Follett books during the past 10 years, “Eye of the Needle” and “Pillars of the Earth”.

    • NHerrera says:

      Enjoyed reading Ken Follet’s “door stops” — Pillar of the Earth, Fall of Giants, World without end; and Eye of the Needle, not quite a door stop. Also read several Ian Rankin’s, the latest being Exit Music. I see we have a common denominator.

  13. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: B.O.H.I.C.A. and a thousand choice colorful words to describe this.

  14. StandeMan says:

    The problem isn’t IQ’s are falling, the problem is high IQ folks don’t necessarily find or pursue endeavors that would afford them opportunity to make changes – case in point I regularly score 127-134 on the wechsler test, I graduated my BA Summa Cum Laude, and MBA top 1% of my class…I pursued my degrees later in life, after serving in the Army as an infantry soldier, I work for a global automation company and after 10 years finally have fought my way into leadership position – I say fight because the cadre of those who attended college after high school, then established a clique of protected fellow leaders, all with very paltry IQ’s (we’ve had to take as group through employer) defend their positions of privileged incompetence from any like myself who “threaten” to dethrone them from 6 figure incomes and enclaves of literal stupidity and complete lack of actual leadership skills – the ones who climbed fastest, are truly the worst of the lot. Our current CEO is a prime example and by the time the herd realizes his incompetence, the company (and many careers) will be ruined – likewise there’s a gaggle of Directors, VP’s, managers who want to “be just like him” – not because of his innovation, ethics, leadership, etc but the sole fact he played angles and politics and now runs the company, even if fired he would leave multimillionaire and the small minority like myself, are viewed as threats – we seek change for good, encourage change and innovation, inclusion and ethics and those are all direct threats to the cacophony of incompetence they thrive on. The real issue is preexisting deficient IQ’s, seeking only survival, claw to the positions in a modern, “civilized” society that to their small minded views provide the best means of survival – and they’ll do anything to keep it, animals defending the best watering hole, beasts savaging anything that tries to feed off the carcass they brought down, savages driven by the most base, reptilian level of human consciousness, the ego, claiming, then maintaining the most influential and powerful positions society has to offer…and people wonder why there needs to be term limits in Congress…imagine a world where a job, or political position could be denied, or at least limited based on how ignorant a perspective candidate wished to remain in life?

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