23 Comments

The remark about football teams hit home. At my elementary school graduation, student achievement was recognized with stickers attached to their diplomas. Each individual sport had its own sticker. There was precisely one sticker for academic achievement. Result: athletic kids had a paper full of stickers, nerds got one. At the time this struck me as grossly unfair (why not have a sticker for each subject?)

On the other hand, sports can be watched and enjoyed by anyone. It doesn't require intellect. The achievements of the highly intelligent, however, are typically difficult to grasp for those lacking the same faculties. Hence the dynamic where communities are willing to support the varsity football team without even thinking about it, but balk at the notion of putting similar resources into a scholarship team. Both are elitist, but one has a natural broad appeal and the other does not and cannot.

On another note, one thing your analysis leaves out is population genetics. In the current environment the highly intelligent tend to have a low birth rate, and the population therefore gets a bit stupider with every generation. Gifted programs and lifetime genius grants may help to address that, by setting up a natural dating pool in which highly intelligent young people can find equally intelligent mates that they can communicate with at the same level, and then freeing them from the extended professional training that tends to delay childbirth. Society is better off if the gifted make the most of their abilities, but society is also better off if gifted women start having children in their early 20s and go on to raise 4 or 5 of them, rather than waiting until they finish a doctorate and finally having 1 in their mid-30s.

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Thanks, John. Insightful as always. Nothing to say other than I agree!

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I didn’t know about Lorenzo de' Medici. That’s incredible.

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Please delete me

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To see how a genius can score 102 on an IQ test, go to youtube and watch the short video called Top 10 Chess grandmaster Hikaru takes an IQ test

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Not sure he was really paying attention!

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He had time problems in the end. You can see the whole test in another video. His main problem is he overthinks the problems, making them harder than they really are

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Indeed, he would surely do considerably better if someone told him not to overthink.

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Overthinking can lead to more than being a Grandmaster.

Underthinking is oversubsribed.

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I was only a genius in sociology of culture. No soup for me!

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Keep in mind that Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, maybe the two greatest geniuses in American history, had between them less than three years of formal education. Also, that genius and super high IQ are far from the same, else the world would be crawling in geniuses.

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How do they differ? Or is genius to be categorized, like God's Ways, as mysterious. You don't know one when you see one, if you're even looking...

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Genius is identified by its fruit: the greater the accomplishment the greater the genius. Most super high IQ people produce nothing of lasting value. Hence, they are not geniuses, probably because they are not outliers on a number of other important personality traits. Plus, there is the element of luck: the right person at the right place at the right time, with many other contingencies thrown into the mix.

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First off, I am sorry to hear David Graeber died, mainly because he was such a colossal asshole and so entirely wrong about almost everything he opined on and I never got to tell him to his face. He was a graduate student in the Anthropology Department of the University of Chicago while I was an undergrad. He went on to such bottomless lows as creating the idiotfest known as Occupy Wall Street. Those smelly losers ruined our quality of life in lower Manhattan for months on end for no reason at all. The scumbags he encouraged urinated on my kids' stroller, defecated in the street in front of passersby and held fucking drum circles all night so that at least a dozen families I know had to MOVE OUT of their apartments near Zuccotti Park.

All of his work that I read is offensively off-base, starting with his crap about "bullshit jobs." I never understood how the London School of Economics could have hired such an idiot. I have been trained not to speak ill of the dead, so I'll leave it there - those sentences are the NICEST ones I can craft about such a nasty fuckhead who ruined thousands of people's lives in Lower Manhattan without a single damned consequence to him personally. I don't even know why you included him here - if the idea is that David was a "genius," I would suggest that you need to seriously recalibrate your understanding of the term.

Secondly, you meant to reference Hairer's work on regularity structures - quick typo. You lost an "L" along the way...

Thirdly, geniuses need to make their way in the world, too. They have done and still do make life work for them. Who knows where the inspirational spark comes from? One of the most brilliant men of all time, the RamBam - known to the west as Maimonides - worked tirelessly as a physician to the Egyptian sultan and in the evenings adjudicated cases of Halakah. He also wrote the Mishneh Torah in his "spare time." This superlative code of rabbinic law is still today a core source of understanding of Jewish law. He didn't need a "genius grant" to spare him the "tedium of daily life."

What you call tedium, generations of Zen Buddhists have called the essentialness of being in the present. Every task has value.

Fourthly, you are spot on about the difficulties faced by highly intelligent children in dealing with poor educational structures. Most schools make attempts to provide accelerated tracks and even when they do not, a good chunk of schooling is about socialization rather than education. I've been privileged in my life to know, study and work with a great many geniuses. As is the case in the general population - IQ speaking - there are no generalities to be had. Some are highly introverted - some highly extroverted and everything in between. Oftentimes, the challenges and grappling with irritations are part of what makes someone a successful human being. Your idea of taking away all stress so geniuses can flourish in pure thought would likely dull the sharpest edge, rather than result in the sharpness which comes from conflict, negotiation and just plain dealing with the morons and idiotic structures of society. If we hope geniuses will help us end some of those stupid policies and structures, how would they even be inspired to do so if they were not impacted by them, having been insulated and coddled by genius grants?

An interesting rumination which I appreciate your taking the time to consider, research and write. The American educational system can use some serious overhauling, no doubt about it. But that is a vast generality - I see tremendous work done in our schools in my Florida county - catering to every kid from the one who wants to leave high school with a specialist certificate in nursing, water treatment or aviation maintenance, say, with which they can get a real job at 18 years old, to highly advanced curricula teaching very smart - often genius - kids to indulge their enthusiasm and excitement about learning and exploration.

I will never think letting someone live "for free" is a good idea. Too much potential is squandered when there is no pressure to survive and perform.

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Peevish, selfish and predictable.

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Firstly, I don't allow Anonymous Cowards to post on my account. So what is your name, O Self-Proclaimed Genius?

Secondly, the most basic hallmark of even average intelligence is communicating effectively. You fail. WHO is "peevish, selfish and predictable?"

You get one more chance.

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Financial support for geniuses need be no different than for the destitute. UBI is the Carlin American dream, wherein a living wage lifts all boats above poverty, requiring only a golden stairway to that heaven. Of course, a negative income tax (NIT) for taxpayers - universal tax reform - can be as simple as granting the OAP to anyone reporting a low income year. Just one more truth that dare not speak its name, by a genius or narrow savant, lest the UBI pipedream be compromised.

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Communism is its name. Paraphrasing Gandhi: "We should try it sometime."

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Jensen said that the probability of seeing genius output (for genius is about production, not some abstract definition) is limited by:

Ability x Conscientiousness x Creativity

IQ is not even in the equation, allthough it clearly affects the ability part when it comes to abstract problem solving.

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Then it's in the equation. Jeez!

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For some types of geniuses IQ is a requirement, but for others it is not. Painters or musicians does not need IQ

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140 is not a conservative estimate for the requirement to produce genius. Read 300 geniuses by Cox (1926) and you will find geniuses with an estimated IQ of below 130.

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Cheers, will do.

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