The Raising of Intelligence: A Selected History of Attempts to Raise Retarded Intelligence

The Raising of Intelligence: A Selected History of Attempts to Raise Retarded Intelligence

The Raising of Intelligence: A Selected History of Attempts to Raise Retarded Intelligence

The Raising of Intelligence: A Selected History of Attempts to Raise Retarded Intelligence

Synopsis

The history of attempts to raise the intelligence of mentally retarded individuals is wrought with controversy. Spanning the years from 1800 to the present, this book offers a critical review of the methods and philosophy behind these efforts. A fascinating contribution to the long-standing debate on the malleability of intelligence and the influence of heredity and environment.

Excerpt

In 1962 a little-known chemist, Nikolai Fedyakin, working in a small technological institute in an isolated region of Russia, produced from ordinary water a fluid that had some extraordinary properties (my discussion of this incident is drawn from Franks [1981] fascinating book, Poly water). While studying liquids sealed in very narrow glass capillaries, Fedyakin discovered that after a few days a small amount of liquid separated from the rest of the liquid, and over a period of about a month this secondary column of liquid grew to about 1.5 mm in length. This new liquid had a higher density than the presumably pure liquid from which it had spontaneously separated, and it had other remarkable properties as well.

After Fedyakin had published his finding we hear little more about him. a well-known Russian scientist, Boris V. Deryagin, took over Fedyakin's work and published a number of additional experiments describing this remarkable new anomalous water, or polywater (a polymerized form of water), which was said to be a new and more stable form of water; for even when removed from the capillary tube, polywater continued to exhibit its peculiar properties and somehow must have retained its unusual molecular structure. It did not boil at 100°C, solidification did not occur until -30°C, and the solid that did form was not ice. One possibility that was repeatedly raised was that impurities—from the glass capillary, for example—modified the composition of the water and consequently this was not a new form of water at all. But Deryagin and others were extremely careful and dismissed the idea that the results were due to impurities. From 1962 to 1966 Deryagin and his colleagues published 10 papers, refining their methods and using quartz capillary tubes to assure the water's purity.

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