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July 28, 2011



Ehhhhh I think this IQ thing is going a bit far.

Physicians, like most doctors, tend to be a-holes, because they make a ton of money, drive a nicer car, and often times "associate" with hotter women. It's a big part of the reason people get into the field (cmmon let's be honest). And I can also say as someone closely tied to the medical field, that the majority of these types aren't "SuperIQ", not by a long shot.

Same with academia although somewhat to a lesser extent -- you can usually tell if they're the types who insist on being called "Dr" because they have a PhD.

As far as "sympathizing with mediocrity" -- first I have to say this sounds almost creepy, like you're about to go into some rant about the "chosen race" or Übermensch. Second, I don't think this has anything to do with IQ either. It has more to do with perspective.

Try growing up in a small town, try having family members who work in a convenience store for a living, try having parents who didn't even complete highschool. Often times these sorts of things can really show you how "lucky" we all are in life to make it somewhere, and how the guy working the checkout line at the grocer might be a "98'er" as well, but god forbid wasn't afforded the same opportunities.

Which again is why IQ isn't all that exciting as a means to evaluate people. If you want to determine who is going to be successful in life, take 10 parts upbringing, add 3 parts luck, mix with 1 parts IQ, shake well + serve chilled.

Doug T.

Oh puhleeze. I happen to be a professor at a research university. (I don't think I'm better than anyone else -- but we all need some sort of job.)

I have yet to meet a faculty member at any American university who insists (or even prefers) to be called by a honorific. (Things are a little different in Europe -- especially Germany -- but I'm talking about the US here.) I don't know what sort of conversations you think academics have among themselves, but in my experience we don't sit around comparing IQs or talking about how we are better than the masses. Instead, we do our jobs -- teaching and research -- just like you do your job.

As far as physicians making a job choice to "make a ton of money, drive a nicer car, and often times 'associate' with hotter women" -- that's complete BS. With the HMO-ing of America and the massive student loans most physicians have, being a medical doctor is definitely *not* the way to get get rich. And yes, there are many female heterosexual physicians, who presumably can avoid the temptation to "associate" with hotter women. In my experience, physicians get to mostly "associate" with -- well -- sick people. (By the way, I address my physician, my dentist, my surgeon, etc. by their first name too, and they don't seem to have a problem with it. And my dentist and surgeon are both women.)

As far as social adaptability is concerned -- this just goes to show you that the general theory behind IQ is flawed. Obviously, ability to adapt socially is a highly prized intellectual skill. If it were the case that mathematical problem solving ability were negatively correlated with ability to lead others, that would argue that there is no single variable "g" (commonly called IQ) that is correlated broadly with intellectual abilities.

However, I think that Jeff is here confusing a certain stereotype -- namely good problem-solvers who have mild cases of Aspberger's syndrome -- with "98s." Of course, there are instances of socially awkward bright people, but there is no evidence that they are common. (In fact, a really smart person will not come off as arrogant or awkward -- just like the best haircut is one that you do not notice.)

I would never know Jeff's IQ if he had not shared it here. And frankly I don't care what it is. Even people who think that IQ exists admit that IQ tests show huge variance in reporting individual scores -- and that IQ tests do poorly at the extremes.)

Let me be as clear as I can be: an IQ score by itself has about as much significance as an astrological sign. Can we focus on accomplishments instead? Let's leave discussion of IQ scores to members of "Mensa." (I have no interest in "Mensa," but I have a membership certificate somewhere for "Densa.")

I read this blog because I am interested in what he has to say (mostly about radios and watches.) Jeff is a good writer and commentator. I don't care how tall Jeff is, or what his astrological sign is, or what some childhood test claimed about his intelligence. The bottom line is that Jeff is worth reading.


Doug T: I was just thinking some of the same things you wrote: Most of the doctors I know or have been to as a patient are down to earth, friendly and don't seem to think they're better than other people. Yes, they are highly educated (particularly the Oncologist who graduated from Stanford and treated my wife), but I haven't seen that education and training manifest itself into a snooty personality. Yes, there are probably doctors who are jerks----and there are pro athletes who are jerks, and college professors who are jerks (not you Jeff) and people who work in shoe stores who are jerks, along with couriers, advertising executives, bus drivers, painters, astronomers, etc.

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