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Longtime Dakkanaut





We all know that the recruitment process for space marines is mega tough and designed to weed out the weak candidates through killing them off so only the toughest of mind and body can become astartes.

But what about intelligence testing? Recruits are young so not had much education I expect and who knows what standard of education you get on a death world. But some recruits have clearly been absolute geniuses, such as Fabius bile (although he came from an aristocratic family and probably had very good education), and I expect tech marines and apothecaries need to be very clever and to be a leader you need to be tactically excellent.

But I’ve never heard of this testing in the process of selecting recruits. They are always climbing mountains and fighting each other
   
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With the exception of Librarians - it happens after they're fully finished Marines. The 'smartest' ones become Techmarines & Apothecaries, and the faithful ones become Chaplains.
   
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I assume the hypno indoctrination helps deal with some of that, and for SM, physical compatibility with the implantation of various SM organs including geneseed is the most important because it doesn't matter how smart you are if you don't have the ability to even become a SM to begin with. I presume a lot of the intelligence stuff is fostered over the course of aspirants when they are scouts, and various aptitudes for different SM vocations like Chaplains, Librarians and Tech marines are earmarked by the Scout sergeants.
   
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Battleship Captain




Sons Of Dorn shows a lot of the recruitment and training.

Intelligence testing isn't exactly a thing, but the hypno-indoctrination IS an intelligence test - if you don't have the wits and mental flexibility to parse the early downloads of stuff like "how to speak gothic" that they give you, they won't waste time trying to train you.

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Well.

When you need a super loyal no nonsense follow your orders to the letter post human killing genhanced power armoured killing machine you can psychically and chemically indoctrinate?

You primarily need someone with a healthy enough bod to survive the creation process.

If they’re a bit thick? Quite possibly a secondary characteristic in terms of desirability.

There’s also the sociopolitical definition of smart/thick. I shall gently skim the surface of that particular issue for purely illustrative reasons.

I’m naturally gifted in academia. It sees me right in my career of careful judgements and that. But, when it comes to being creative and that? My hands might as well be cow’s udders.

I don’t think I’m dyspraxic, I’m just not manually inclined.

It’s my great luck that I grew up in a society which appreciates my gifts. If I’d grown up a couple of hundred years ago? I’d be the village idiot, because I can’t even cut a log without embedding the axe in my leg.

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Simply put? Intelligence doesn't actually vary that much among humans. If you've got the wits and mental flexibility to climb mountains and fight other recruits you've probably got the wits and mental flexibility to be a Space Marine.

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Longtime Dakkanaut





But in the context of space marines

Apothecary is someone that is essentially a space marine doctor and we have seen example of them (in the HH books I read) acting as scientists and genetic engineers

Tech marines must need to be intelligent to fix and maintain SM gear, even if it is paint by numbers STC stuff

You’d expect a chapter master to outwit even the most devious commmissar

Not sure if librarians are all about natural skill

It would be an interesting story about an SM chapter that had failed to recruit new SMs capable of filling the specialist roles

However I haven’t heard that the psycho indoctrination is a “download” as mentioned above. If it’s just Knowledge that’s pushed into the brain that’s different but weren’t the first primaris marines totally useless becuase they hadn’t had proper astartes training?
   
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mrFickle wrote:
It would be an interesting story about an SM chapter that had failed to recruit new SMs capable of filling the specialist roles
One of the Iron Hands novels mentions that they deal with the League of Blackships to get psyker recruits for their Librarium.

mrFickle wrote:
weren’t the first primaris marines totally useless becuase they hadn’t had proper astartes training?
Not totally useless but they largely lacked any kind of battlefield experience.
   
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Lit By the Flames of Prospero






Spoiler:
mrFickle wrote:
But in the context of space marines

Apothecary is someone that is essentially a space marine doctor and we have seen example of them (in the HH books I read) acting as scientists and genetic engineers

Tech marines must need to be intelligent to fix and maintain SM gear, even if it is paint by numbers STC stuff

You’d expect a chapter master to outwit even the most devious commmissar

Not sure if librarians are all about natural skill

It would be an interesting story about an SM chapter that had failed to recruit new SMs capable of filling the specialist roles

However I haven’t heard that the psycho indoctrination is a “download” as mentioned above. If it’s just Knowledge that’s pushed into the brain that’s different but weren’t the first primaris marines totally useless becuase they hadn’t had proper astartes training?

For the majority of specialisms, an Astartes will be singled out once they reached full Battle-brother, sometimes prior if they show particular aptitude although this is rare. All Astartes are more "intelligent" in a scholarly sense than most baseline humans and they are also enhanced with photographic memories so knowledge learned is not soon forgotten. Most of their "training" does come from the hypno-indoctrination so basic tasks become instinct.
The most important distinction to make is the difference between intelligence and being knowledgeable. Any Astartes can be intelligent but that doesn't mean they're going to be better at something than a Veteran member of the Chapter. Anyone can fire their weapon at an Ork but a Veteran will likely know weak points and will be more likely to anticipate retaliation and reaction better than a newly inducted Battle-brother. This is what happened with the first wave of Primaris troops, they had the intelligence and training but lacked the practical knowledge of dealing with the Imperium's many enemies.
It is important to note, however, that this didn't mean the Primaris just died in droves like hastily armed conscripts. They were still highly effective troops and are at their core, Space Marines. They just needed guidance from combat Veterans of the Firstborn to help them become knowledgeable.
   
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On specialists.

For us modern humans? It takes many years education and/or experience to become a Surgeon or Mechanic.

I used Surgeon specifically, because that’s a further qualification you need to gain once you’re MD.

In our technologically competent society, the mechanic probably takes less time, unless they’re super duper specialised, mostly because you can’t kill a device the way you can another person.

By comparison, our lifetimes are short. We’ve a global average of 76.2 years, with national averages and indeed regional averages varying widely.

Astartes kind of avoid that limitation.

Our entire educational base is founded on strict timescales. Primary education, secondary education. Both age limited. Higher education? Well, anyone of any age can achieve a doctorate. Even then, the course still has some kind of time limit.

Astartes? A full Brother is so far as is practical immortal outside a violent death.

That brings an entirely different timescale to get your specialists up to snuff.

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Exactly. If we take Fabius as an example, he was inducted into the 3rd Legion on Terra and became an Apothecary, at which point he dedicated his entire life to studying the Blight and attempting to eradicate it from the Legions genetic code. By the time of the Heresy, Fabius has been an Astartes for about 200 years and is Chief Apothecary of the 3rd. He's reached the apex of what he can do as an Imperial Apothecary, its one of the reasons for his joining the Traitors, boredom.
When you have the roughly three times the lifespan of a modern human, not being an Apothecary or a Techmarine within the first 10 years of ascension to Battle-brother isn't really an issue.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/24 00:34:40


 
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut





If it was just a question of time you could train all your marines in a specialist role, it would be very advantageous to have all the marines trained with apothecary and tech marine skills.

Also Fabius seems to be far above the most intelligent person ever to become an astartes, no other apothecary seems to have achieved the level of ability he demonstrated pre heresy regardless of how much time they have.
   
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Well, we can reasonably assume most Marines have some knowledge when it comes to field dressings and very basic maintenance.

You don’t really need your Warriors to know that much more.

And again it boils to down to how we define intelligence.

The majority of Imperial citizens are likely illiterate or barely literate, because the Imperium doesn’t require them to be educated. That is not to say they’re incapable of achieving academic heights, just that they’re never given the opportunity.

Astartes Recruits are, in theory, the best of the best. And you can’t become a decent fighter without some understanding of the theory behind it. How to throw a punch, quick ways to disable, cripple or kill your opponent whilst remaining as pretty as possible yourself. Those can easily be said to be based in intelligence. Not strictly academic intelligence, which is what our society values, but intelligence all the same.

And of course, not all trials are the same. Every Chapter is free to set its own recruitment standards.

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mrFickle wrote:
If it was just a question of time you could train all your marines in a specialist role, it would be very advantageous to have all the marines trained with apothecary and tech marine skills.
The Red Scorpions train a lot of their Marines as Apothecaries (with some serving as Sergeants), and the Primaris have the Vanguard Helix Adept.
   
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U.k

I think it’s important to separate intelligence and education, you can have one without the other. An uneducated recruit from Baal say could easily turn out to be very intelligent and thrive in a specialised role for example.

I imagine each chapter has its trials, many of which will have problem solving and mental adaptability built into them to find troops with the kind of intelligence the chapter wants.

Some chapters, like the space sharks wouldn’t be trying to find the guys who have the tact and diplomatic traits that say the ultramarines would be looking for. So their trials would be different.

If you look at modern special forces selection they are designed to test you physically and mentally and find those people with the mental skills and resilience you need. All the soldiers in the SAS for example undergo extensive medical or engineering training and selection weeds out those who don’t have the intelligence to operate they way they do. But it is nothing to do with education, just innate intelligence.
   
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Sure education does not equal intelligence but without intelligence you can’t absorb a specialist education.

I don’t think marines are recruited as they are the best of the best, I think they are toughest, and resilient but I doubt they have had any martial training, it’s more natural talents.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that most imperial citizens are illiterate and uneducated as I think that’s going to be governed by each planetary governors many of who will see the value in a population that has received some level of quality education. Some of course will treat the whole population worse than cattle
   
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Recruitment depends on the planet of origin and the culture of a Chapter. A barbarian child from Nemeton or Fenris isn't going to be book smart but will have hard baked survival and combat skills. A child taken from one of the many Ultramarines recruitment centres will have a more balanced palette of academic and practical skillsets. Being able to speak or read Gothic isn't even a requirement, like with the Emperors Spears homeworld of Nemeton where the barbarians almost exclusively speak their own language. Hypno-indoctrination takes care of this last part.
Intelligence isn't any one thing and a large amount of skills and knowledge that an Initiate will aquire are when they are already with the Chapter.
As a side note, Astartes (like all humans) still have a limited memory capacity and it just isn't practical to train them in more than one specialism. That and those who become part of the Apothecarion, Reclusiasm, etc are usually chosen for a specific set of skills or character traits such as zealotry for the Chaplains or natural affinity with machines for the Techmarines.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/24 11:52:14


 
   
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Id say with 10k years of genetic manipulation they get a idea who likes to fiddle with tech, keep brothers alive. Maybe theres a genome like a ork, where its just ingrained.
I remember reading a sergeants report about a scout intake. One had +.02 reaction speed over his brothers, so was marked as possible assault squad member.
Every one knows some dude that loves cars, maybe a friend that likes helping his hurt friends. During training id guess that a affinity of traits would expose itself.






   
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We can also turn to Necromunda for further possibilities.

See, Vat Born Goliaths who are sort-of clones, come out fully grown. And that process is somewhat short. But as a fully grown body with no knowledge is pretty useless, they use data slugs to upload whatever knowledge is needed.

There’s no reason the same kind of trick isn’t done with Astartes. At that point, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a slow learner or a genius - you just Get The Knowledge.

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While the science babble of creating and training marines is mostly just handwaving to justify them having lots of transhuman abilities and associated trauma that render them apart from general humanity, the details of their selection vary mostly depending on chapter culture.

For example, Alpha Legion used to test their aspirants in teams that either passed as groups or failed together, weeding out not only the weak but those too dim to understand the value of shared burdens and teamwork.

Like you'd get in current armies, after the recruitment selections you put the grunts through basic training to then see who's particularily adept in various specialist roles.

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mrFickle wrote:
If it was just a question of time you could train all your marines in a specialist role, it would be very advantageous to have all the marines trained with apothecary and tech marine skills.


The problem with teaching "techmarine skills" is that Chapters don't teach that. Techmarines spend years with the Mechanicus to learn how to be a Techmarine and thus be fully inducted into the Machine Cult. Sure, marines probably have some level of basic field repair knowledge(first generation Primaris even more so since they were partially raised within the cult), but any further than that they wouldn't even be allowed to learn due to not belonging to the correct club.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/11/26 14:25:39


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I believe that it was Mark Twain that said "Dont let your education get in the way of your intelligence." I would expect that some of the initial testing is essentially an intelligence test in one way or another. We always think that the training and indoctrination that a Space Marine is all physical and subliminal. I am not so sure that it is all based on one of the two. I would suspect that training to be a Space Marine is like going through one an advanced and rigorous Military School. Anyone who watches the movie "Soldier" with Kurt Russell would know what what I have in mind.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/11/26 15:20:18


 
   
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Another thing your gnoring is how many of these survival and physical tests also require intelligence. The practical skills in wilderness survival and hunting that aspirants use are also a mark of intelligence. Surviving the sort of clashes with apex predators that are a part of most induction ceremonies involves inteliigence as much as pure strength.

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Human intelligence is a very complicated thing, and every attempt to quantify it is really just grabbing a part of it. IQ tests measure different things, including some aspects of general knowledge, working memory, and processing speed. Generally, IQ is a better predictor of ability to learn than anything else.

Given how astartes are selected, favoring those that become successful warriors at a young age, that's going to include a strong component of intelligence.


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I wouldn't say a strong component of intelligence and by that I mean while there's a harsh pass/fail on a minimum of intelligence to survive as a warrior. That's not the same thing as having the intelligence to craft strategy and tactics needed to lead soldiers. However I would say in the case of space marines they're continuously tested real world in real battle. You don't really need incomplete test to make guesses when you can just evaluate real world performance. I'd expect that each company commander knows the strengths and weaknesses of every Sgt in his company and knows exactly who the next Lt will be when an opening occurs.
   
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U.k

This boils down to definitions of intelligence. And that’s a boring chat really. But regardless it’s clear what ever form selection tests take, the test fir marines rigorously select those with the best suited traits to be a marine. Including intelligence. They not might sit a written paper, although I like the thought of it and can imagine ultramarine aspirants having to present essays on politics etc, but will be tested and selected on intelligence to some extent. Be it more problem solving and reasoning maybe more than emotional intelligence, as that is removed from them to an extent in the fluff, but if you read the Hersey books they are a right bunch of emos.
   
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Oh for sure Ultramarine Aspirants have to write essays and the like. There are academies all over the 500 Worlds that take children to prepare them for service with the Chapter. Something like:
"Roboute Guilliman is the greatest of the Primarchs and is considered the spiritual leige of all Codex Chapters: discuss why this is 100% accurate."
   
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Going back to Ian Watson's Space Marine novel, one of the three main characters (hive gangers inducted into the Imperial Fists) is "low born", uneducated, poor grasp of language, and generally not the sharpest tack in the drawer. But he had faith in the Emperor, fighting spirit and aptitude, and genetic compatability. He "made the team", so to speak.

I think being "trainable" is the key thing. Not all Space Marines have to be highly intelligent individuals, they just have to meet some minimum requirement of "trainable" to make a valuable battle brother. The really bright ones might go on to move up the ranks or become specialists, but most of the organization is still just warm bodies in power armor with lots of training.

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The other aspect to bear in mind is the effect of privation on neurodevelopment. Privation during an individual's formative years (particularly the very earliest ones) can lead to permanent neurological deficits that cannot be overcome with education. At the extreme end, this is because the developing human brain has pruned off entire sections it did not think it needed, and it becomes too late to grow them back.

For example, a child that is never spoken to from birth will never be able to learn to speak as an adult- they have literally removed the section of their brain that relate to speech (sadly, there are real-world case studies demonstrating this following extreme neglect and abuse). A more mundane example is what occurs with an untreated strabismus (squint). If a child ha a squint, they will see double. In order to prevent this, the brain will choose to prioritise one eye over the other, and will effectively destroy the nerve pathways from the deselected eyeball. This ensures that the person does not see double and as greater vision function as a result, but the unused eye can never be used again. Modern medicine can correct a squint, so once an eye is chosen by the brain, it is deliberately covered up most of the time to force the brain to use the other eye until the child is old enough for surgery. If this is not done, or is done badly, the child will lose ome or all of the function in the eye even when the squint is corrected.

Why is this relevant? Well, many of the recruiting environments for Space Marine chapters are extreme and will doubtless cause varying degrees of privation on their youth. This will absolutely affect their neurodevelopment- some aspects will be positive for Marines, such as the focus on survival skills, but other aspects will affect their mental abilities in other ways that are negative for an adult working in a complex modern environment.

I think it is highly likely that the geneseed implantation is able to reintroduce some neuroplasticity and repair some of the damage that may have been caused by harsh upbringings, because we know it already affects the memory of Marines, but this is obviously conjecture. However, we know Primarchs are nowhere near as susceptible to environmental impacts on their neurodevelopment, because several of them were dropped into environments that should have left them profoundly mentally disabled if they followed typical human neurodevelopment (Konrad Curze, Lion El'Jonson, or Leman Russ, for example), but instead they were emotionally scarred but broadly fully-capacitous mentally. This suggest Primarch neurodevelopment was programmed to be independent of environmental triggers. Extrapolating from this, geneseed being able to introduce neuroplasticity is not a stretch.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/11/27 18:05:00


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