Did you see these headlines?
Study: Dumb People Use Internet Explorer (PC Magazine)
Those conclusions came from a study done by AptiQuant.
AptiQuant did a self-selected, non-scientific study of 100,000 people who took a version of an IQ test online. There are all kinds of problems with their methodologies. They ‘discovered’ that people who use Internet Explorer and who participated in their survey scored lower on their test than people who use other browsers. Internet Explorer users scored slightly over 80 (an IQ of 100 is considered ‘average’). Those who use the Opera browser scored the highest at slightly over 120.
Hence, they concluded that Internet Explorer users are ‘dumb.’ They used that word in their own press release.
And of course nobody wants to be dumb! Dumb = less than another, unworthy, outside of desired privilege. Implied in the articles and headlines: unless you behave as we do, you are not worthy of us.
Oh, and the study also suggests that if you use Internet Explorer you are also resistant to change. Two strikes! One more and you are definitely out.
Consider how this study could have been presented if people of all intellectual capacities were actually considered as having equal standing in this culture. Might some of the headlines have reflected that in our desire to improve certain technologies, we have left some of our friends and neighbors behind, even unintentionally, and this is a wake-up call to offer a helping hand? Or that we have made some of our vulnerable friends even more vulnerable (earlier versions of Internet Explorer have been exploited by evil people to do evil things, like steal people’s identity) and we need to offer appropriate protections to those who might be exploited?
I didn’t see any headlines or comments like that.
There were a few commentaries that poked at the cultural assumptions, like this from Chris Matyszczyk of CNET:
IQ is a very dangerous construct, created largely to make those who have a certain type of intelligence feel that theirs is the only type of intelligence worth having.
But reflections like that were rare.
God praises those who behave wisely, and he obviously has created people to live with different kinds of intellectual abilities in this present age. But the cornerstone of wisdom does not appear to be raw intelligence:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever! Psalm 111:10
God knows our own hearts can be drawn toward the arrogant:
For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Psalm 73:3
But he also warns us what will happen to them (or us):
Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors! Psalm 73:18-19
Claiming to be wise, they became fools. . . Romans 1:22
The cultural air that we breathe doesn’t take any of that into consideration. And because church-going people read those same headlines and breathe that same air, they will be tempted to put our Christian brothers and sisters with cognitive disabilities into that ‘less-than’ column.
Thankfully, the same God who grants faith (frequently to those who have IQs less than 80!) also has very high regard for his children. He will help us see these kinds of evidences of what the culture really think about our brothers and sisters with cognitive disabilities. And he will help his church stand against it, even if at times that same church doesn’t seem to be paying attention.