Re: IQ - A cautionary tale (Re: The ways of child prodigies)

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Thu Nov 10 2005 - 16:41:36 MST

Indeed, but I reject the implied suggestion that I was making a mistake
of assuming otherwise. I believe that IQ really is tracking ...
something -- even if that something is nothing more than a correlation
between various areas of skill. I would suppose that in Langan's case,
something else has come unstuck. I'll just take it as fact that his IQ
is what he says it is, on the grounds that even if he's off by a bit,
it's still going to be really high.

I find that with my IQ of 130, I can understand some things more easily
than the average, pick up on things people miss etc, but I'm very open
to error also. In a way, I'm more vulnerable, because I can get a false
sense of security about my reasoning on some issue. Also, I can get led
into traps by my own logic. The errors are often more subtle, but none
the less devastating.

I would be interested in quizzing people of very high IQ (say another
standard dev. above) about what that's like, how their perception of
ideas works etc.

I think it's a quote of Einstein's that "whatever your troubles in
mathematics may be, I assure you that mine are still greater".

The adoption of religion is an interesting case in point. There doesn't
seem to be an obvious correlation between IQ and atheism, for example. I
think that a lot of people's intuitions are dominated not only by IQ, or
maybe I should simply say the ability to observe unusual correlations,
but also by other factors. Some instinctive intuitions, or natural
attractions to kinds of idea are, I would say, idealism, moralism, ego,
mathematicism, individualism, immortality complexes and violence. That
is to say, some people will defend the merits of one of those points of
view above the evidence for its success. Often they will come up with a
valid or defensible position, but it is not their IQ or the facts which
drive them to adopt it.

I would say that religious people, which I would also say most people
are, tend to be idealists with an immortality complex, but this could be
an apocryphal statement based on limited observation. My "inner jury" is
still out on that one, but there you go.


Martin Striz wrote:

>Christopher Langan claims to have an IQ of around 195. Apparently
>that's backed up by some of Hoeflin's tests. He founded the Mega
>Foundation, which has a cut off of the 99.9999th percentile in
>intelligence (IQ of 174+ or thereabouts). More info here:
>He runs a website expounding his "cognitive-theoretic model of the
>universe" (, which adds up to a bunch of
>pseudoscientific nonsense.
>He also criticizes Darwinism
>(, writing "the field
>of evolutionary biology is currently dominated by neo-Darwinism, a
>troubled marriage of convenience between post-Mendelian genetics and
>natural selection." Utterly laughable.
>They say smart people can be dumb. Apparently superintelligent people
>can be retarded.

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