View Full Version : Who in your family do you consider more intelligent than you?
08-10-2009, 06:17 PM
I've had some flack recently for posting low quality threads, but I reckon that whenever I had an idea for a thread that was like a poll there was never any criticism aimed at it. So I have decided it's ok to post this one.
If this is about my parents. I'm pretty sure I'm more intelligent than my mother. But I'm not sure about my Dad. When it comes to advice about what to do about a situation he has literally always had better advice than what I had for myself. On the other hand he's computer illiterate. That's not surprising for someone mid-fifties.
If this is about my siblings. I have long known that my oldest brother is pretty damn intelligent. But I think in his case it takes the form of being wise as opposed to being able to work things out well. He also lacks intelligence about computers which I don't.
My other brother is the one who got looks and common sense when people were queuing for qualities. But he also displays intelligence you don't normally find in those who "Got the looks"
My (oldest) brother has three children. All girls. One of them is very smart. Another of them has what a non-biassed person might admit to be the better looks. The third is I think to young to determine whether she got looks or intelligence or both.
Of course I may be biased in all of the above. If it means anything I did learn that intelligent-niece was top of the class in a few subject, and I could be mistaken but I think looks-niece was also top of the class in one or more subjects.
ETA: And please, if this whole thread reads as being rather arrogant? I know it is, but I took that risk because I beleived it would also be a thread worth posting to. I am looking to entertain myself and others.
08-10-2009, 06:23 PM
I'm the dunce of the family. I'm not unintelligent, but my brother, his wife, and both my parents are much more intelligent than I am.
08-10-2009, 06:33 PM
I would like to point out (which I should have done in the OP) that this thread was inspired by Prison break, which has one brother who has all the brains, and another brother who has all the brawn. Clearly genetics work in such a way that a person gets a random, roughly 50% selection of what each parent has.
if it's any consolation [quartz] (and everyone else) I believe intelligent people are nearly always unhappier than those who aren't. I often wish I was blissfully ignorant... Sometimes I even wish I had religion. Many people who have religion seem to be good and/or happy people.
08-10-2009, 06:34 PM
My brother is more intelligent than I am. I'm really wary of making that statement to anybody, though, because they always assume that I'm denigrating my own intelligence and end up trying to reassure me that I'm smart too. Which is really weird, because if I say my brother is smarter than I am, I'm not dicking on myself. I'm bragging about my brother!
I'm very intelligent by any standard. My brother just happens to be even smarter.
(He's Billdo, for those of you who don't know.)
08-10-2009, 06:45 PM
In order to explain why I am being so neglectful I have to admit that I've been drinking. That revelation is for another thread (please, if you intend to bring it up make it another thread)
Now, I have been neglectful. I have neglected to mention why I was explaining my Dad's computer illiteracy. You see it was because there was a context. The context was that I have a certain problem-solving ability with computers that means I (not in the IT industry) am someone who has been known to be approached by people who are in the IT industry when they have a problem they've been unable to solve by themselves.
In other words, My dad, whom I consider cleverer than I, does not have the same 'cleverness' with computers as I.
08-10-2009, 06:46 PM
I don't know...
My parents are much more educated than I am. They both have advanced degrees, and they have both collected a great deal more information than I have. Both of them are knowledgeable in certain subjects to the point where they could go on for great lengths without me having a single idea what they're talking about. There are also many everyday skills and situations in which they will be much more efficient and successful than I would.
My middle brother is more creative than I am. He has a truly artistic eye. He learns to play instruments quickly, and unlike myself is able to devote time and energy to studying them and learning their inner workings. His music and art are both refreshingly original, as in 'I've never seen anything quite like that' original. He has a grasp on design that I can't match. He can point a camera at the exact same thing as me and turn it into a work of art whereas my photo will look amateur. He hasn't had any more training than I have, he just has a natural ability.
My youngest brother is a mathematical genius, nearly a human calculator. His party trick is doing multiplication with large numbers in his head. He also has an extremely large vocabulary for a kid his age (he's a freshman in high school) and writes very well. His current passion in life is video games -- and I don't blame him, the kid's fourteen -- and he racks up high scores and finds all the secret endings and extra bonuses the games contain.
My cat is obviously brilliant beyond measure.
08-10-2009, 06:52 PM
My mother is incredibly talented as a motivational speaker. She has two two published books and speaks in 48 U.S. states and all the continents except for Antarctica. She is on tour and planes touring about 180 days a year yet somehow she is jealous of both me and my stepfather who is smarter than she is and we both take subtle jabs at her. She is really, really insecure about it. My stepfather is a college professor and I think I am smarter than he his and he acknowledges it. Oddly enough, my 84 year old grandfather functions like a 50 year old and he is brilliant. My mother's brother is also brilliant but he has terrible social skills so no one acknowledges him. I guess I am #1 intellectually and academically even most though most people in my family are superstars in what they do. My two younger brothers get really pissed when I shoot them down on any type of nonsense however.
08-10-2009, 06:57 PM
[Electric Warrier] My oldest brother is the human calculator in my family. He doesn't even know how he does it, but he can do complex arithmetic with ease. I have trouble adding two sub-100 numbers together.
(but, as if to make myself feel better right now, I can work wonders with many programming languages)
08-10-2009, 07:31 PM
No one in my immediate family yet, although both of my kids threaten to usurp my throne in certain areas. In my wife's family there are probably a few, although I don't have enough exposure to them to know for sure. They certainly have more education although it tends to be specialized.
08-10-2009, 08:20 PM
I spent an unfortunate and inordinate amount of time in my youth defining myself and who I most essentially was in terms of my intelligence. (Turns out that when surrounded by equally and/or more intelligent people there was absolutely NOT any immediate "home at last" kind of recognition).
My Dad is more intelligent. Almost scary more intelligent. Grew up on a rural/semisuburban farm near a town, ancestral family being farmers, his own Dad becoming a policeman in the nearby small town. Despite complete lack of background selecting him for such a career, he obtained a PhD in physics and got a job as Los Alamos National Labs developing new devices to go *boom* in a predictable yet spectacular way down in the Nevada test area.
My Dad, despite the intelligence, has vast portions of his consciousness walled off to any conflicting ideas, and has made a career of being muleheaded and contemptuous of people who did not think exactly as he does on issues ranging from the ideal density of a nanosecond shell of specified density in a thermonuclear device at 37 microseconds to the proper components of a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the right music to be listening to.
My Mom and my sister are both technically less intelligent than me. I am much better than either of them in taking a complicated understanding of something, assigning it temporary axiomatic quality and treating the entirety of it as a noun and considering the relationship (and therefore the implications) of that noun to other similarly-constructed nouns. It's like they can't manipulate the meaning of possible postulates to think out the ramifications in any formal sense.
And yet I have impairments and mental shortcomings that they don't have. Both of them are far more adept than i am at predicting how a social environment of known or partially-known composition is likely to react, and how to position one's self within that milieu for optimum outcomes of several different sorts. Both of them have 1000x times my ability to recognize faces they've seen before and figure out what context they recognize them from.
I am not sure "intelligence" is quite a measure of all that is attributed (formally and informally) to it; on the other hand, it's a factor, a real one; characterizing it may require further thought and info but there's a very real thing that the devised tests do measure. I've got a fair amount of it but not stratospheric performance. I have other talents and mental capacities that are less measured by intelligence tests but which are also "real" in the sense that having those capabilities is a definite asset. My sister and my mom also have some impressive skill sets that I (and to a lesser extent my Dad) are negligibly able to perform in, and those also are meaningful and significant skills.
08-11-2009, 12:29 AM
08-11-2009, 02:02 AM
I am the only Democrat in my family.
08-11-2009, 02:19 AM
My brother. I'm smart, but he's smarter.
And my paternal grandfather. He had practically no formal education, and (literally) couldn't find his way home from the grocery store, but the man was a mathematical and mechanical genius.
One of my cousins is at least as intelligent (in IQ terms) as I am, but he's more cynical, smarter (that is, intelligent in practical terms) and has a more rounded-up life. He's reproduced four times; I'm not going to. His wife is helluva nice; the mother of his first daughter, otoh, is a damn bitch who took advantage of him and of anything and anybody else she could, which is one of the factors that triggered the cynicism. Before he got burned up and smarted up, I would have considered myself both more intelligent and smarter than him.
08-11-2009, 06:13 AM
If you're defining intelligence by IQ, then I'm the most intelligent in my family.
The rest of my family are probably all at a similar intelligence level to each other. My brothers both performed averagely at school, and have gone on to have successful and rewarding careers and lives. They are both good with their hands and enjoy doing manual stuff around the house.
I performed well-above-averagely at school, was put up a year and was recommended for a specialist school for gifted children, which my parents decided against. I gained a university degree, the only one in my family to do so. Whilst I probably currently earn the least of all my siblings, I've had a more varied career, travelled more and live a more 'intellectual' life than them.
I know I'm just a data size of one, but the difference in my life and goals compared to my parents and my brothers makes me veer towards the genetic side of the genes versus environment debate. I'm adopted.
08-11-2009, 07:18 AM
My older brother is smarter in every way. Way more practical. Far more educated. Clever.
Also better looking but you didn't ask that.
08-11-2009, 08:45 AM
I think my family and I are about equally matched in intelligence, overall.
My dad was like AHunter's - he grew up in a rural area, attended a one-room school house, yet went on to go to college and eventually attained a PhD in strutural engineering. He's very intelligent in many ways, including being a brilliant professor (being able to teach others, IMO, is a very special skill).
My mom was a professional journalist, so her intelligence was manifested in different ways - she also was a musician and photographer. She was exellent at interviewing people; always knew just how to draw them out. She took some damn good photos, too.
My siblings are involved in many different things, and excel in different ways which I'm not going to bore you with the details of. If I had to give the edge to any one of us I would probably say my oldest sister; she's got two bachelor's degrees and a law degree; had a long-running career as a dance instructor and now is an attorney with some Battery Park firm in NYC. Each of us has areas in which our analytical or social skills are better than another's, but nobody really stands out from the pack.
My kids might be a bit smarter than me; again, their interests are varied so that no two of them excel in the same thing.
My husband is more intelligent than I am when it comes to machinery and how things fit together & work together. I am better than he is at abstract thinking and higher math.
08-11-2009, 09:19 AM
I'm the only one in my family with a degree. But I usually attribute that to the fact that I am just "good at school."
My dad's a pretty smart cookie, considering that he doesn't even have a high school degree. I think I am more intelligent than him just because I've had more schooling.
I work with my brother, and when it comes to the things I do at work (programming, server stuff) I am leagues smarter. BUT he is vastly superior in his knowledge of sports and music with a great memory for details.
We both react to problems differently, too. He tends to get frustrated more quickly and I am willing to take on problems head on. I think that's why I did better with schooling than he did. On the flip side, he reads more than I do and tends to read at a higher level. I have a short attention span for a lot of things.
So, I'd probably score slightly higher on an IQ test than my bro - but I am good at taking tests. All in all, I like to think we're equally as smart.
08-11-2009, 09:31 AM
Nobody. Really.Same here. I'm smarter than all them ugly bastards.
08-11-2009, 09:34 AM
I was the first to go to college, no wait, still the only one to go to college. The second to graduate high school, 2 drop out brothers, 2 barely skimming by sisters and 1 sis that did well but went no farther.
DK about Dad, he died when I was 7, but he was a factory worker.
Mom got a GED when she hit 60, no real idea just how smart she is, but IQ has to come from somewhere, she reads constantly. On the standard IQ test I came out 30+ points above everyone in my family.
I also earn more than 3 sisters, 2 brothers, and a couple of cousins all put together.
FWIW, my background is from a tiny East TN tobacco farming community.
08-11-2009, 09:51 AM
I'm a lawyer at a major law firm, which is usually thought to be a good indication of intelligence - but I'm the dunce in my family.
My father was a research scientist specializing in neurology (he's retired now).
My oldest brother is a scientist, in high-energy physics.
The middle brother is in engineering science; he's working at analysing metals.
My mother was a professional artist (retired now), ran her own studeo for decades.
All of them are, I think, smarter than I.
I'm the smartest, funniest, and most talented. Did I mention I'm the most modest too?
08-11-2009, 10:48 AM
I've always thought my older brother was brilliant. He loves reading all kinds of philosophy, physics, mathematics, anything. He'll understand and debate on the meaning of things that I can barely keep up with.
My younger brother can fix ANYTHING. He fixes cars, installed my parents entire sprinkler system, wired our house for some internet thing, did all the electricity for his in-laws place, it's amazing. If something breaks, I call him. And he's only 22, he's been like this for years.
My dad has an advanced degree and has always been defined to our family as the extremely smart person with few social skills. We joke that he could not survive without my mom, but I fear it's actually true. He's a genius about law and business, but can't heat soup.
My mom is artistic. She throws pottery and creates beautiful mosaics that cover our kitchen, bathrooms and various other areas in the house. And she has all the social and survival skills that my dad lacks.
I'm not sure where I fit in with them. I've achieved more than my brothers in many ways, but I always feel like I'm the dumb one of the family.
08-11-2009, 10:50 AM
My father and grandfather are both far more intelligent than I am. I believe I have more horsepower than my sister, but she's a much better driver, if you take my meaning.
08-11-2009, 10:59 AM
It's not intelligence my family lacks, but wisdom.
Of the intelligent people in my family, I am the academic, the one whose intelligence has always been reflected by her grades in school. Most of the smart folks in my family either did well or average in school, but my academic performance has been superior. I'm not necessarily convinced, though, that this makes me the smartest. I have always been the black sheep intellectually because I am highly creative, an excellent writer, a fairly talented musician, and into poetry and fiction and philosophic literature. The rest of my family is gifted in the field of math, science, business management, and a number of things that give me a headache to think about. They regard the arts as worthless and impractical. I'm not saying my family was unsupported in my intellectual pursuits... just that they were rather bemused and teased me a lot for doing silly things like reading dusty old books. It's really hard to compare our respective abilities in such strikingly different fields, since my intelligence is predominantly verbal and theirs is predominantly mathematic and spatial. It is arguable that I am the most intellectually well-rounded, since I have a wider variety of interests and have had a broader education. But again, that is not the same as being smarter.
My mother has a degree in mechanical engineering from a large state school. She has an excellent understanding of mathematics and physics, she successfully operated a business for 12 years and is an organizational/efficiency genius. She is hands-down the most dysfunctional person in my family (which is saying a looooooot.) The vast disparity between her academic intelligence and her emotional/social intelligence is mystifying.
My biological father has a verbal intelligence to rival mine, as the only person in my family who gives me a run for my money when we play Scrabble. It is really difficult to tell how intelligent he actually is because his brain cells have been completely obliterated by years and years of alcoholism. He barely graduated high school, doesn't have a driver's license and has worked the same factory job for over a decade. But there is absolutely no question that he is intelligent.
My uncle may in fact be the smartest person in my family, said to possess a superior understanding of mathematics and physics, (he supposedly, according to my mother, derived calculus from one of his lower-level mathematics textbooks, and was disappointed to learn that his new idea was already an existing field of study.) But he's also paranoid schizoaffective and frankly I can't tell the difference between his insane rambling and actual tenable scientific ideas. He is probably the only one of us who would test with a genius IQ, but that genius is tragically not accessible in any practical way due to his severe mental illness.
My grandfather is yet another engineering smarty. He has little formal education but for a very long time as I kid I always assumed he had a Ph.D. because he exudes a refined intelligence. He wears a pocket protector. He is razor sharp, worked in an upper-level management position at a power company (now retired) and can fix just about anything broken on a car. His home life is a dysfunctional mess.
Then there's my Aunt, who made average marks in school but possesses such a unique blending of organizational and creative abilities that she has her own kind of genius. She does some crazy Martha Stewart home project shit that will just blow you away. She also excels in biology and is a talented musician, photographer, and artist. I think of her as the most gifted in our family, since she's quite smart AND quite creative AND quite wise, independent, socially adept, etc., so I view her as generally the best all-around person. (I'm a close second, but not nearly as interesting socially.)
I'm guessing all of our IQs would test at about the same, with the exception of my uncle who would probably trounce us all. So I've never really had to wonder where I got my intelligence from. My family is full of smarties. The issue though, is that with the exception of my Aunt, most of these people are so dysfunctional and self-destructive that it renders their intellectual ability almost completely meaningless. Of everyone in the family, I am far and away the one who has done the most with my gifts to improve the quality of my own life and the lives of others, and that's gotta count for something.
Qadgop the Mercotan
08-11-2009, 11:07 AM
More intelligent than me?
My eldest daughter.
Now, if she can only acquire a little wisdom, maybe she'll get a little more traction in life.
Intelligence is vastly overrated, and I'm speaking as one who has tested very highly on multiple "intelligence" tests. My brains never made me happy. Wising up (which I began to do in my 30's) finally helped me achieve that goal.
08-11-2009, 11:08 AM
Between my parents, my father is more educated but I'd consider them roughly equally intelligent.
I think that my sister and I started with the same raw material as far as capacity for intelligence. She dealt with our ridiculous childhood by keeping her head down and getting straight As, excelling in music, and never giving anyone any trouble. She got a full scolarship and completed her undergraduate degree in three years. She holds 3 advanced degrees.
I never tried at school. I got As without trying in a few classes that interested me, and Bs in the rest. I fumbled slowly through 2 different colleges over the course of 10 years to finish my degree, and that was enough for me. Ever.
We both read voraciously, and quickly. We both retain information well. She tends to be drawn to "smarter" subjects than I am. If you turned us loose in the library with the directive to pick out 2 non-fiction books to read she'd grab a volume on the history of the Episcopal church in the US, and perhaps something about the lives of women in the border states during the Civil War. I'd grab a cookbook and Steve Martin's autobiography.
I'd say we're equally intelligent, but she makes more use of it. Great...now I'm depressed over my own non-acheivement...
OM4th is onto the crux of the matter.
It's not the smarts, but what you do with it. There's all kinds of factors that come into play, and perceptions are a big part of it too. Knowledge is indeed power, but to wield it is another thing entirely.
Being a storehouse of facts and trivia is completely useless if you can't make interesting, and even novel connections. Becoming an expert in some esoteric field, for some reason, is the appearance of intelligence, but really is nothing more than memorization, experience, skill, and practice. Any of those, on their own, is not intelligence; merely a facet thereof.
I believe intelligence is taking those things described above and combining them in ways that create and construct solutions that move yourself, if not those around you, to a better state of either understanding or lifestyle. The areas where one can practice intelligence is vast. It's unfortunate that typically only the "booksmart" get most of the accolades.
08-11-2009, 11:26 AM
Theres only the two of us left alive and I'm the bright one.
Worrying isn't it..........
08-11-2009, 11:58 AM
It all depends on what you mean. I've always been able not just to pick up information, but to be able to explain it -- which made me appear to be really smart. My father had the same ability, and he was far better at math than I, so he appeared to be even smarter.
But my father paled against his older sister (a genuine mathematician) and his baby brother (a physicist) so he looked like the underachiever in his family.
On the other hand, both my mother and my wife had to work longer and harder to learn their professions. As a result, their depth of knowledge in their fields was far more impressive than anything my father or I, with our "mile wide, inch deep" style of learning could ever hope to match.
For better or worse, I'm seeing the same pattern in my children. My daughter is an amazingly fast learner, one son seems to have been born smart, and the other son wants to mine deeply in a specialized field.
08-11-2009, 12:01 PM
I'm pretty sure my uncle "Ted" used to be. He graduated high school two years early (which no one in the family bothered to notice until they got around to asking him what he was still doing at home the following September), got hired a year later by a contracting company to manage some sort of electrical installation projects in California, and invented new techniques that led to him making six figures (in 1970's dollars) by the time he was twenty.
Of course, that was before the stress and drugs that came with that lifestyle caused his paranoid schizophrenia to progress to a state where the treatments now leave him too doped up to concentrate on anything. He's still no simpering idiot, but he's barely a shadow of what I'm told he once was.
Now, it'd fall to me, which isn't as boastful a claim as you might think; the only real competition is my dad, and he's too complacent to be bothered to keep up nowadays. The family tells me that I remind them of uncle Ted, but without the ambition (and the drugs). Seeing where Ted's ambition landed him, I take all parts of it as a compliment, but still, I'd have loved to meet him back in his heyday.
On preview: by "smart", I'm referring to the ability to process and make connections between facts and abstract ideas. I keep forgetting there's a contingent that thinks memory capacity equals intelligence. If that were the case, I'd put my dad about a half-step above me; he's the only one in my circle that can regularly defeat me on Trivial Pursuit night.
08-11-2009, 12:03 PM
I choose to define intelligence in as simple a way as possible. I.e. how intelligent you are is how short a time it takes for you to solve a typical problem. And how novel your solution is.
Again, sounding arrogant here. But when myself and another 'brain' are simultaneously thinking about a problem. It tends to be my solution that gets picked. And my solution tends to arrive first.
My lack of arithmetic abilities is not down to intelligence, it's down to laziness now, and laziness back when my classmates were learning their times-tables. If such a think exists, I have a kind of number-dyslexia.
I can damn sure make an SQL query do sums for me. Why would I do them in my head? Why would I use a washboard when I have a washing machine?
08-11-2009, 12:28 PM
I choose to define intelligence in as simple a way as possible. I.e. how intelligent you are is how short a time it takes for you to solve a typical problem. And how novel your solution is.
Hmm, that's an interesting definition. By purely academic standards I am therefore one of the stupidest people in my family. I am the last person to solve for x -- I'll be right, but in the most traditional and probably inefficient way possible.
On a practical level, though, creative problem solving is where I excel. My capacity for personal growth is enormous, and I attribute that to the systematic and creative way I approach everyday life problems.
Even though I completely understand Qadgop's point, I personally don't think intelligence is overrated. I think it's entirely devoid of merit, but those lucky enough to be intelligent usually get a lot of breaks in life. I know I did.
08-11-2009, 12:42 PM
Everybody, including the cats.
08-11-2009, 01:34 PM
My mother is something of a math genius. She just...gets numbers. She does not, however, understand people, or want much of anything to do with them. She's also a hardcore fundamentalist Baptist and the most conservative person I have ever met. She is not open to new ideas. She is math smart.
My older sister is a big book fan and very clever with words. She reads all the time, loves grammar and the structure of sentences, and expresses herself in odd ways. Watching her with children is like watching some bizarre sociology experiment - she's deliberately condescending and acts strangely toward them as if to see if they'll call her out on it. But she has no confidence in herself, and doesn't believe she can accomplish much.
My younger sister is smart enough to do well in school - she's a hard worker. Her talent is that she can read people as they enter a room, and make them remember her. She has a lot of social connections this way, and will likely be the most successful of us all.
I enjoy science and math (though not like my mother) and I'm the most artistic of the family. But, like my older sister, I often doubt my abilities and end up shorting myself out of accomplishments.
My father is practical, hard working, and a good organizer. He doesn't really shine in one subject, but he keeps everything moving forward, which is a kind of brilliance in and of itself.
So there really can't be an answer.
08-11-2009, 03:26 PM
My uncle is chairman of the physics department at a fairly major university.
Or I should say, "was". He's since retired.
08-11-2009, 04:25 PM
My maternal grandfather. He was brilliant, but if you'd ever called him that he would have thought you were nuts - as far as he was concerned, he was just a small town mechanic. When he was 16, he built his own race car from scratch, and when he was 19 he and two friends built an airplane and flew it. I repeat: at 19, with no formal training, he built a freaking airplane and flew it. As an adult he was the chief of the volunteer fire department and built the town's fire truck. He also had some inventions he sold.
08-12-2009, 03:19 AM
[snip] If such a thing exists, I have a kind of number-dyslexia. [snip]
Dyscalculia. Wikipedia has an article, if you're interested: Yum. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyscalculia)
08-12-2009, 01:40 PM
I'm about on par with my mom and dad, who were both quite intelligent. I'm smarter than all of my blood siblings and about in the middle of the pack in my Family of Choice.
Never Say Dice
08-12-2009, 02:06 PM
Growing up we kids figured both our parents knew everything, butt Mom's answer would always be safer, accident-wise. As teens we learned Mom would do the math for the family finances, balance the checkbook and pay the bills, etc. And she was always sharper about book facts.
Dad was sharper about how the world worked.
I wasn't until my third house that I stopped asking for their advice on that sort of major purchase.
On politics, I used to think Mom was the detail person, because she was an avowed independent, who would always vote for the person, not the party. But once I realized she and I always picked the Democrat, and approved of the platform, and knew the Republican would vote with his party, it was hard for me to figure why would even consider the Republicans any more. She still does, and always rejects them, but can't see the pattern.
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