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Old 11-10-2017, 09:32 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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What happened to all the supergeniuses?

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-supergeniuses

The only people that are famous today have publicity agents.
Ability is largely ignored--witness Paris Hilton.

So, there are super-geniuses, but nobody cares.
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  #2  
Old 11-10-2017, 11:18 AM
furryman furryman is online now
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I'm afraid your right. Name three other famous geniuses who lived in the last 100 years.
1. Einstein
2. Turing
3. Hawking
4. Raise your hand if ever heard of Richard Feynman
5. Oppenheimer (Maybe?)
6. Watson and Crick
7. Edison (Maybe?)

Last edited by furryman; 11-10-2017 at 11:22 AM.
  #3  
Old 11-10-2017, 11:28 AM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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How about Michio Kaku (Physics) & Kasparov (Chess Grand Master)?

Isn't Paul Allen reputed to have an extremely high IQ? Not so sure about this one though.
  #4  
Old 11-10-2017, 11:29 AM
Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furryman View Post
I'm afraid your right. Name three other famous geniuses who lived in the last 100 years.
1. Einstein
2. Turing
3. Hawking
4. Raise your hand if ever heard of Richard Feynman
5. Oppenheimer (Maybe?)
6. Watson and Crick
7. Edison (Maybe?)
8.Tesla
  #5  
Old 11-10-2017, 01:09 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is online now
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One of the better columns in a while, IMHO. Plenty of the old Cecil style -- "I wasn't born yet," e.g.
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2017, 02:02 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Who has heard of Ed Witten? The closest thing to a super-genius you are likely to find today. Alexandre Grothendieck, who died a couple years ago, was another. If you have heard of the Kardashians but not of Grothendieck, you have answered the question.
  #7  
Old 11-10-2017, 02:49 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Where Are the Supergeniuses?

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-supergeniuses

Sir Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci, to use two famous examples, were omniscient, or close to it. They knew EVERYTHING- or rather, they knew everything that could be known in their day.

Nicolaus Copernicus knew everything there was to know about outer space in 1500. Neil DeGrassie Tyson knows a hell of a lot more about space than Copernicus did, but he still knows only a small percentage of all there is to know about space.

Newton knew EVERYTHING there was to know about physics in the 17th century. Steven Weinberg surely knows far more than Newton did, but physics is so specialized now that NO modern physicist can possibly be an expert on every part of it.

We know the names of many great inventors of the past. But today, most major tech breakthroughs are made by teams, not by one brilliant individual. To some extent, that was true even a century ago- Thomas Edison gets sole credit for inventions that he had a LOT of help creating.

But the days of a brilliant lone wolf coming up with the biggest inventions and discoveries MAY be gone.

Last edited by astorian; 11-10-2017 at 02:51 PM.
  #8  
Old 11-10-2017, 02:55 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Moved to Comments from ATMB.
  #9  
Old 11-10-2017, 03:56 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Two threads on same column merged.
  #10  
Old 11-10-2017, 06:49 PM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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William Shockley and Gordon Moore come to mind. So does Jony Ive. Possibly Donald Trump (one’s opinions do not have to be widely accepted just because you are super intelligent).

Personally, I have seen what mankind has done with what comes from brains like mine. No one is going to save you from yourselves. So I refuse to cooperate.
  #11  
Old 11-10-2017, 06:52 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Originally Posted by waddlingeagle View Post
William Shockley and Gordon Moore come to mind. So does Jony Ive. Possibly Donald Trump (oneís opinions do not have to be widely accepted just because you are super intelligent).
...
This is the first time I have ever seen anyone mention Trump as a super genius can you cite this in any way shape or form because I am extremely dubious.
  #12  
Old 11-10-2017, 07:53 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor View Post
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-supergeniuses

The only people that are famous today have publicity agents. . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by furryman View Post
I'm afraid your right. Name three other famous geniuses who lived in the last 100 years.
1. Einstein
2. Turing
3. Hawking
4. Raise your hand if ever heard of Richard Feynman
5. Oppenheimer (Maybe?)
6. Watson and Crick
7. Edison (Maybe?)
More than half of the people on this list were well aware of their PR and sought out celebrity.
  #13  
Old 11-10-2017, 08:08 PM
Clothes Clothes is offline
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Wile E. Coyote.
  #14  
Old 11-10-2017, 08:18 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
This is the first time I have ever seen anyone mention Trump as a super genius can you cite this in any way shape or form because I am extremely dubious.
Well, there is such a thing as an "evil genius", I suppose.
  #15  
Old 11-11-2017, 09:01 AM
CelticKnot CelticKnot is online now
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I thought they all worked for Global Dynamics.
  #16  
Old 11-11-2017, 09:16 AM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
This is the first time I have ever seen anyone mention Trump as a super genius can you cite this in any way shape or form because I am extremely dubious.
Trust me. You donít defy all odds and become a billionaire, stay a billionaire, run a primary campaign where everyone, and I mean everyone, predicts you will finish dead last out of a field of more than twenty, then go on and win an election against the most powerful and corrupt political machine in US history without having some smarts.
  #17  
Old 11-11-2017, 09:33 AM
Steken Steken is offline
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So does Jony Ive.
This is a truly bizarre statement. Were you joking?
  #18  
Old 11-11-2017, 09:51 AM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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waddlingeagle, some smarts is a far cry from super genius. Your post is unsubstantiated and impossible to believe.
  #19  
Old 11-11-2017, 01:31 PM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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Originally Posted by waddlingeagle View Post
Trust me. You donít defy all odds and become a billionaire, stay a billionaire, run a primary campaign where everyone, and I mean everyone, predicts you will finish dead last out of a field of more than twenty, then go on and win an election against the most powerful and corrupt political machine in US history without having some smarts.
You know Trump inherited his money, don't you? It's hardly defying the odds if your dad is a billionaire and leaves it all to you in his will.
  #20  
Old 11-11-2017, 02:27 PM
furryman furryman is online now
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The Godwin's law post:
SPOILER:
I've always had a suspicion that Politically speaking Hitler was a genius.
  #21  
Old 11-11-2017, 04:19 PM
Steken Steken is offline
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Originally Posted by furryman View Post
The Godwin's law post:
The results do not really bear that out, do they?

Last edited by Steken; 11-11-2017 at 04:20 PM.
  #22  
Old 11-11-2017, 04:56 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waddlingeagle View Post
Possibly Donald Trump (oneís opinions do not have to be widely accepted just because you are super intelligent).
Moderator Note

waddlingeagle, keep this kind of political nonsense out of this forum.

Moderator Instruction

Let's drop further discussion of Trump in this thread.

Colibri
Comments Moderator.
  #23  
Old 11-12-2017, 08:45 AM
RitterSport RitterSport is offline
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I'm going with Wesley Clark, the poster, not the general, assuming our poster is not the general. It takes some kind of genius to be answered directly by Cecil himself. Congrats on getting your question answered!
  #24  
Old 11-12-2017, 09:12 PM
Powers Powers is offline
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Originally Posted by furryman View Post
I'm afraid your right. Name three other famous geniuses who lived in the last 100 years.
1. Einstein
2. Turing
3. Hawking
4. Raise your hand if ever heard of Richard Feynman
5. Oppenheimer (Maybe?)
6. Watson and Crick
7. Edison (Maybe?)
Watson and Crick were not particularly geniuses. They made a revolutionary discovery, but where did their supposed genius come in?

The real problem, of course, is defining "genius". Cecil mentions Beethoven in his column, so artistic genius must be on the table along with scientific genius. Elvis Presley? John Lennon? Leonard Bernstein? John Williams?

I guess I might define "genius" as the ability to develop novel creations of great value. Is Spielberg a filmmaking genius? Jackson Pollock a painting genius? Barack Obama a political genius? Thurgood Marshall a legal genius? Warren Buffett a financial genius? Why not?

If we limit the discussion to science, we run into precisely the problems Cecil lays out.


Powers &8^]

Last edited by Powers; 11-12-2017 at 09:12 PM.
  #25  
Old 11-13-2017, 01:05 AM
sweepkick sweepkick is offline
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It really strains the credibility of Cecil's column as well as this thread that Marilyn Vos Savant hasn't even been mentioned.

(ducks and runs for cover)
  #26  
Old 11-13-2017, 05:56 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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It really strains the credibility of Cecil's column as well as this thread that Marilyn Vos Savant hasn't even been mentioned.

(ducks and runs for cover)
Being right once does not a genius make you.
  #27  
Old 11-13-2017, 07:03 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I think Cecil missed the simplest explanation: Supergeniuses have always been really, really rare. To find a physicist the likes of Einstein, you have to go all the way back to Newton. To find another, you have to go all the way back to Archimedes. And you can't find a fourth. Now, I'm not sure how to compare a genius in other fields to a physics genius, but it's at least safe to say that it's unremarkable if, at any particular time, there isn't one, because there usually isn't one.

Or, of course, one could draw the line of "supergenius" lower. But lower it enough, and it starts getting really easy to name plenty.
  #28  
Old 11-15-2017, 12:59 AM
tavaritz tavaritz is offline
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Here's few from a 20-century discipline:

Edsger W. Dijkstra https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djikstra
Donald Knuth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Knuth
Bjarne Stroustrup https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjarne_Stroustrup

And what comes to high IQ I've always wondered about MENSA: Does it prove to have high IQ if you pay for the proof of high IQ? Eg. stupidity and intellect are not opposites.

Last edited by tavaritz; 11-15-2017 at 12:59 AM.
  #29  
Old 11-15-2017, 10:55 PM
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Paul Erdős is a pretty clear example of a 20th century mathematical genius.
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  #30  
Old 11-16-2017, 01:16 AM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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I think the answer is simply that supergeniuses are very common now, so none stand out.

Take the example of Newton. Fantastically smart guy, and using the relatively new Scientific Method (at least some of the time) he was able to make great strides.

Now, if you're fantastically smart, and familiar with the scientific method, join one of the queues.

The era of Einstein is probably when the change happened. He was still able to trigger a scientific revolution (although we do something of a disservice to some of the other great minds who made contributing insights). But then he lost plenty of arguments on QM, most famously the set of debates with Niels Bohr.
The era of the "mega-sage" if it ever really happened, was drawing to a close.

Sadly the popular imagination still wants to imagine some eccentric dude in his shed becoming the master of many fields of science at the same time, and cobbling together a warp drive.

Last edited by Mijin; 11-16-2017 at 01:18 AM.
  #31  
Old 11-16-2017, 02:07 AM
Go_Arachnid_Laser Go_Arachnid_Laser is online now
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Watson and Crick were not particularly geniuses. They made a revolutionary discovery, but where did their supposed genius come in?
Not to mention that the (maybe even bigger) role of Rosalind Franklin in the discovery of the DNA structure has been largely ignored simply because she died before the Nobel Prize was awarded, and Nobels aren't awarded posthumously.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:02 AM
sweepkick sweepkick is offline
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The results do not really bear that out, do they?
Political genius maybe. Military genius, not so much.
  #33  
Old 11-20-2017, 07:54 AM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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Sorry, guys. I didn't mean to offend anyone. I know you don't want to catch my political cooties and that is why I generally keep them to myself.

My point is not political, however. What I am trying to say is that super-geniuses, generally thought to be the people with IQs over 175, are rare only in proportion to the rest of the world's population. There are still some 7-10 million of us, so welcome to our not-so-exclusive club. I suppose most of them are hiding out in China. For reasons.
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:35 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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What in the world do you mean by "IQ over 175", and how is that a useful criterion? There's no IQ test in use that can distinguish between IQs over 160. Anyone who says they have an IQ higher than that (and most of those who say they have one in the 130-160 range) is deluding themself.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:14 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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In any case, using the definition of I.Q. scores in which a standard deviation is 15 points, there are only a couple thousand or so people with an I.Q. of 175 in the entire world today, not several million. Using the definition in which a standard deviation is 16 points, it's a little over ten thousand people. So, waddlingeagle, your calculations are off. Incidentally, it's not true that over half of the world's population live in China either, so it's not true that most of them are in China. The population of China is only about a fifth of the world's population.

https://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqtable.aspx

https://www.theatlantic.com/china/ar...ion-is/278691/
  #36  
Old 11-22-2017, 10:14 AM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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In any case, using the definition of I.Q. scores in which a standard deviation is 15 points, there are only a couple thousand or so people with an I.Q. of 175 in the entire world today, not several million. Using the definition in which a standard deviation is 16 points, it's a little over ten thousand people. So, waddlingeagle, your calculations are off. Incidentally, it's not true that over half of the world's population live in China either, so it's not true that most of them are in China. The population of China is only about a fifth of the world's population.

https://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/iqtable.aspx

https://www.theatlantic.com/china/ar...ion-is/278691/
You assume IQ is evenly distributed around the world.
  #37  
Old 11-22-2017, 10:16 AM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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What in the world do you mean by "IQ over 175", and how is that a useful criterion? There's no IQ test in use that can distinguish between IQs over 160. Anyone who says they have an IQ higher than that (and most of those who say they have one in the 130-160 range) is deluding themself.
So <ahem> newspaper columnists who claim extraordinarily high IQs are deluding either themselves or the public, or both?
  #38  
Old 11-22-2017, 01:59 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Yup.
  #39  
Old 11-22-2017, 07:23 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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First point: waddlingeagle, do you have any evidence that intelligence is not evenly distributed around the world? No, it doesn't count if you show that people in one society where people are much richer and hence much more educated and well nourished and free of disease than those in a second society score better on I.Q. tests than the people in the second society do. In other words, you have to show that the difference is genetic rather than environmental. If all you're saying is that the people in some societies score better than the people in other societies on I.Q. tests, that's true. It's not clear that that fact proves anything about actual intelligence.

Second (unrelated) point: Marilyn vos Savant claims to have once been tested as having an I.Q. of 228. That's because the test she was measured on used a different definition of I.Q. score than the modern definition. The old definition of I.Q. scores used quotients, while the modern definition uses standard deviations. The scores aren't really comparable for extreme values.
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