IQ tests are a poor way to judge people's abilities

elinor

Senior Member
Mandarin
He believes that IQ tests are a poor way to judge people's abilities, failing as they do to account for magic, which has its own importance, both by itself and as a complement to logic.


1. What does "magic" mean here?
2. What does "complement" mean here?
3. Would you explain the sentence?

Thanks.
 
  • Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    3) In his opinion, people's abilities consist of more than just what can be measured by an IQ test. People's abilities also consist of 'magic', which IQ tests are unable to measure. 'Magic' is important in its own right. It is also important in the way that it interacts with logic.

    2) to complement something is to go well with something. My wife hates doing dishes but doesn't mind doing the laundry. I hate doing the laundry but don't mind doing the dishes. We complement each other, and our house stays pretty clean. In your example, IQ measures rational intelligence which allows people to achieve things, but it's not nearly as powerful on its own as when it is joined with 'magic'.

    1) it's unclear what 'magic' means, but it may be something like 'genius' or 'emotional energy'--some kind of vital force that lies outside the definition of 'intelligence'. I think the text basically says that some people are not particularly intelligent (have a low IQ) but manage to achieve great things (because of this genius or emotional energy or whatever else).

    PS: the text reads more easily if you stick in dashes in the following way: 'failing--as they do--to account for magic'.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Aupick said:
    PS: the text reads more easily if you stick in dashes in the following way: 'failing--as they do--to account for magic'.
    That's interesting. To me, the commas are sufficient. I would read that part without pausing: "failing as they do to account for magic." It's rather akin to expressions like "Snowy as it was yesterday, I managed to arrive on time." I would not place dashes around "as it was."

    Just a thought.
     

    Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Granted. I wouldn't have written the sentence with the dashes, but wanted to show that 'to account for magic' is a complement of 'failing' (not of 'to do') and that 'do' is effectively a repetition of 'fail'. (I was guessing that this was a source of confusion--imagining a secondary question: 'what does "they do to account" mean?'. I may have been wrong, of course.) But you're right: the dashes are unnatural and break up the flow of the sentence.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Aupick said:
    Granted. I wouldn't have written the sentence with the dashes, but wanted to show that 'to account for magic' is a complement of 'failing' (not of 'to do') and that 'do' is effectively a repetition of 'fail'. (I was guessing that this was a source of confusion--imagining a secondary question: 'what does "they do to account" mean?'. I may have been wrong, of course.) But you're right: the dashes are unnatural and break up the flow of the sentence.
    Ah - of course. :) Sorry, I missed the foresight in your response. You are, of course, completely right. Between the two of us, I hope we've shown Elinor both what the sentence means and how it is to be read. :)
     

    elinor

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thanks to elroy and Aupick.

    I understand Aupick's expressions and his good intention to let me know the sentence structure by means of breaking up the flow of the sentence. It is much clearer to grasp the meaning.

    And the second question refers to the last part of the sentence "as a complement to logic," so Aupick does realize my question. Anyway, thank you all.
     

    Yang

    Senior Member
    Taiwan /Traditional Chinese
    elroy said:
    "failing as they do to account for magic." It's rather akin to expressions like "Snowy as it was yesterday, I managed to arrive on time."
    The example is very helpful, make people who can't understand the sentence understand it very well.

    Aupick said:
    that 'to account for magic' is a complement of 'failing' (not of 'to do') and that 'do' is effectively a repetition of 'fail'.
    Wonderful analysis. Simple but clear.


    :thumbsup: Now I can understand the sentence, too.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Try using the word "intuition" in place of magic. I don't know if it was the original author's intended meaning, but it sure ties it all together for me.
     
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