The Measure of Man*

And here we go with IQ again, and how incredibly predictive it is for…. everything.

And here I go saying “Not that you can see it in reality. And anyway, who do you trust?”

Look, it’s not that you know you’re “smarter” than most people. If you’re a regular on this blog, this feeling has been with you forever. It’s more “what does ‘smarter’ mean?”

Most of us on this blog think faster, more accurately, or at least have more tendency to be correct in our analysis (not always. I giggled at the quote Mary put in about the thinking man and the feeling man. As though we’re only one of those. Humans are both, and there are thoughts we can’t think without disintegrating. Different for everyone, of course, but the most addled human is intellectually right sometimes, and the most thoughtful will be wrong. It’s what humans are, right?)

We’ve known — partly because of public schooling, which — btw — has introduced a bunch of distortions into human thinking and civilization some of which worry me greatly, because …. well, sometimes there isn’t a RIGHT answer; there is no way to do the “work right and succeed” in about 90% of life; and heck, no someone more educated and older than you doesn’t always have the “right” answer. I suspect that’s the origin of “trust person in charge” in our psyches. Or at least it has been reinforced. But that’s a whole post, and that’s not this post — anyway, we’ve known since we entered school that we were faster, more creative, more capable than our classmates. (As kids, this probably also had to do with our nervous system developing, not more rapidly but weirdly. So we had capabilities our classmates didn’t have.)

Some of us didn’t have to learn to study until some ridiculous level of education, like college. I did have to learn SOME study skills in 8th grade because they put me in something that was like a proto IB. I later on found out I had more than Freshman-in-college knowledge of math, physics, chemistry and … well, everything we studied which was a lot. This was inflected on two forms, not the entire class. But to stay afloat I had to learn to study. The amount of things they poured into our heads those 2 years saw me through the second year of college IN MY SPECIALTY. To this day I don’t know if the experiment was to see how much you could teach gifted kids, or an attempt to make troublemakers drop out. The one thing I’ll tell you is that my “form” (that’s how you study in Europe, 20 some, or in our case 32 people who go through every class together) and our rival form had all been the best students in their previous forms, forever. Oh, and also that we were all born trouble makers. How much trouble makers? Well…. We broke up sponsored demonstrations (in solidarity with communists in Africa. I wish I were joking.) And we once hacked the electrical system of the school. And other things. Most of them stupid and harmless.

But after that I didn’t really need to study till I hit post-grad levels.

And I don’t think I ever actually stressed at an intellectual task until I had to write a novel in two weeks. And then I realized it was easier — but that’s another story.

So, it’s normal of course for most of us to value IQ — a lot of us do really well at it, and we know we’re smart and capable, so of course we do — but it’s also important to realize how weirdly it fits into patterns of success and failure. And its limitations, as the limitations of EVERYTHING THAT MEASURES HUMANS.

(*A good place as any to say that “Man” above stands for “Human” but “Human” does not sound as good as “Man” and that by ancient and accepted linguistic tradition of our people (though not of all people’s there are languages in which the words used for humans are all sex-neutral. Humans are weird) “Man” stands for all humans. Don’t like it? Too bad, so sad. After bullshit like womyn and latinx and other linguistic abominations, I am done. Not an inch. You’re not going to achieve any kind of equality of women — and why would women want to be equal, anyway? And to whom? — by raping language. You’re just going to achieve a bastardization of concepts. Shut up. Adults are talking. They’re not at home to the tantrums of people who don’t understand symbolism and that symbols aren’t the thing.)

There is a joke — oh, heavens, I HOPE it’s a joke — in Portuguese that goes something like “Could you eat a whole cow?” to which the answer is “Only with a lot of bread to push it down.”

You know, I’m not sure it’s a joke. Like many cultures recently out of agrarian subsistence, Portuguese EAT. Older son says that oncologic patients who have trouble gaining/retaining weight on chemo should be sent on a gastronomic tour of Portugal. You gain weight. you can’t help it.

(Though I’m not sure about that, even. In fact, Portuguese eat on average ten times what we do, and don’t gain weight. No, there is no other way to explain it. These days most of them don’t walk/exercise more than we do. I have a theory. It’s a stupid theory, but it fits facts, like I gained 30lbs in my exchange student year, and couldn’t lose them till I went back to Portugal. I lose weight whenever I go there, even though all we do is sit around and feed our faces. BUT I don’t lose weight if we take the kids and I spend most time speaking English. My theory is that English speaking makes you gain weight. I told you it was stupid, but it fits the available facts.)

One of the tragic things of Portuguese feasts, mostly weddings, the time comes where even with only getting one bite per course, you stop being unable to eat anymore. At this point, people eat bread, to push it down. And then they eat more.

I’ve tried it, it works. Now, does it work because I grew up in the culture and expect it? I don’t know. Does it work because it’s a certain type/composition of bread? I don’t know. Does it work because there’s some magic to Portuguese bread? I don’t know.

Can a Portuguese eat a whole cow? I don’t know. Logically it’s impossible. There simply isn’t enough room. But eat a whole cow over how long a period, and how prepared? And what if he can?


Measuring humans is hard. Oh, you can probably get inches of height and girth right, maybe. And perhaps weight. Unless you’re dealing with young son who has the magical ability of hiding three inches, somehow, so his measurements diverge over 3 inches depending on the day. And as for weight, sure you can measure that. But try translating that to “prescription” and you go seriously arry. When I was young, and you could count every rib THROUGH MY CLOTHES, I weighed 129 lbs. I once dipped to 110 after pneumonia, and I looked ILL. All the charts at the time said my weight should be TOPS 107 lbs. And my classmates my height (not many) ranged between 90 and 107. It might help that dentists and anyone who has occasion to examine my bones for density say my bones are basically dense as granite, even now that I’m menopausal. (We get that from dad’s side. Mom was osteoporotic pre-menopause.)

And this is why the Feds have been wrong every time — assuming humans are widgets — they make prescriptions for what you can eat, how much you should weigh and what you should do about…. anything.

Because it’s hard to measure humans, and the more abstract the measurement, the harder it gets.

For instance, take the nonsense about eating a pound of meat a month, or whatever the heck the Junta has dreamed up.

It will work for some people. I know many, very skinny/healthy people who eat like humming birds: all sugar and carbs. For a lot of us it will be florid disaster and probably kill us.

Heck, I have to be extremely careful with fold meds and supplements. Remember when one of the doctors who comments here recommended ginger to tamp down my auto-immune. I remember because I came across the jar of ginger capsules the other day. I took it for a week and then had to go on prednisone for two weeks, before I died or something, because there was no part of my body with no eczema, I couldn’t breathe, and every joint felt like it was full of ground glass. Now, I eat (and love) Chinese food. But it was the quantity, I think.

Humans are not one-size fits all. We never were. We never will be.

This is mostly forgotten by those who think instructions from above is how everyone should live. Oh, yeah, and btw, I HAD a laugh when people gave me books like “raising the strong willed child” because none of their prescriptions worked on mine. And heck, what worked on older son would not work on younger. Also they weren’t strong willed. They were stubborn. And they reacted badly to attempted manipulation. (They were also fun, but that’s something else.)

The most abstract what you’re trying to measure is, the more you’ll have to fudge, and the less able you are to figure out exact measurements. Throw in things like despotic governments with a vested interest, or leftist governments also with a vested interest, and what you have is a dog’s breakfast of insanity that doesn’t reflect much of anything except the inside of some dreamer’s head.

Heck, we can’t tell what the worldwide population is, or how many widgets are made in x city. But you think we can trust how smart people are in this or that country? And that they’re smart by our definition of “smart”? Ah. Hey, do you happen to be interested in a bridge in Brooklyn? My cousin got it off a guy for a dollar and I’ll sell it to you, today only, for $1000. It’s a bargain, but I need the money to buy books.

So what am I saying? Don’t we have some idea of how smart people are?

Well, no. Worldwide we don’t. Individually and for those we interact with, we usually do.

I’ll confess when I was very young I thought that each human’s intelligence was infinite. That we could do anything, be anything, each of us a renaissance-man/woman.


Yes, I was a lunatic and should have known better. I knew very well I had hard limitations. Like, despite the fact that rope-jumping or “the elastic game” (Where you jump, touching or not touching an elastic stretched between two people, and create increasingly elaborate jump-patterns) being essential to social standing growing up, I simply couldn’t do it. Stupid kids could. …. EVERYONE could. But me. It was a relief when I found that neither dad nor brother, nor dad’s mom could ever master even the simplest form of rope jumping or riding a bicycle. All of which, of course, argues for it being genetic. (I now know it runs with the lowest “hit” of autism, which is just sensory/spacial/movement issues.)

I also had trouble coloring within the lines, or doing any craft that required small-movement coordination till my late teens.

So I knew there were hard limits on what I could do, and no amount of trying or effort would fix it. But intellectual effort always paid off and you could learn and do and be anything.

Ah! Pull the other one. It plays jinglebells.

But the thing is I didn’t even realize my own limits until my thirties, and then it was often conditional. Like, I could only do so many things in the day while raising two kids and my husband working 15 to 16 hour days. Or I could only draw/write so well with no time to practice. After I hit my head and got severe concussion, I found limits to what I could remember. I often run into things I’ve forgotten which is amazing, because it never happened before.

Since indie came about, I’ve found I don’t THINK visually. The best way to drive me to incoherence is to make me deal with a MAC interface, which is designed for visual people. And dang it all, some of the self-publishing platforms require visual thinking, too. I usually wait for younger son to be free and make him do it.

BTW this means I can do things like draw or sculpt, but I have to do it/make the error/try again. Takes longer. Which is a problem when you’re busy.

Anyway, the point is, I know I have limits, some of them hard like “My mind just doesn’t “bend” that way.” Some of them “that would take so long I could never do it.” And some of them because there’s a flaw in the brain, which is why I am dyslexic and also transpose digits. Oh, and this thing people can do where they tell which direction they’re facing? Must be magic. Never even came near it.

And I know other people have limits. And that some aren’t the same as mine. This is the biggest issue, btw. Everyone assumes that what they do easily can be done easily. But we’re all very different. And educating kids is heck, btw, because you can’t always tell when they’re being lazy and when they “can’t.” Even your kids can be very different from you in what comes naturally.

I think the biggest strife in my marriage was realizing that. Heck, Dan didn’t realize I didn’t move dishes around the cupboards to mess with him, but because I genuinely didn’t remember where they went. Which brings up another thing: culture. Mom had magically moving dish cupboards. Not drastic, but cups could be in one of three places. So I never thought dishes had to be in ONE place. So–

I mean sure, okay, nowadays my dishes still move, but very slowly and usually the less used ones. Like the collander is in one of five places…..

Again that brings us to another thing when we try to measure people: what did they learn growing up?

Sure, Africa is mired in tribalism. But is that because they aren’t “smart” or is it because tribalism is stunningly successful for pre-industrial societies, and they haven’t been industrial that long (or most places at all?)

Historically, it is eschewing tribalism that is weird. And assuming it is an advantage might be …. premature. After all substituting tribe and tradition with government and state caused the long wars of the twentieth century. And might swallow civilization.

Sure, we are stunningly successful at feeding and making the world wealthy. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a fan of western civilization and free trade.

But …. But that also means we’re very different from every other polity which makes evaluating them almost impossible. And as for evaluating individuals who are part of them? Forget about it.

Also when measuring Africa, kindly remember we’ve been screwing with them from when we landed, and that some of the worst ravages were done with good intentions, like submerging them in our cheap goods and food, which killed their local production, or taking their brightest young people into our universities, teaching them victimhood and socialism, and then sending them back home.

More germane is that — like people eating a whole cow — humans are stunningly adaptable, and it’s very hard to take acquired-habits and tell if they’re natural or not.

Sure, traits that correlate with IQ are genetic. We know that from animals, though it’s not allowed to be studied in humans. Traits like conscientiousness and application surely affect learning and therefore IQ.

But humans aren’t just brains floating in space.

For instance, and for a strange example: Portugal is a stunningly ADD country. One of the kids said that on a visit, and suddenly I saw it. Fads sweep through it faster and more crazily than through Hollywood, and are then forgotten never to return. It’s considered normal to be obsessive about “new thing” (which can be a book, a song, or a project) and then move on, never having finished and forget all about it. It’s considered impossible to remember to put in PUNCTUATION with any regularity when writing a book (one of the funniest things was my family’s shock that I don’t “have someone” whose job is to punctuate my writing.) Things like building or writing or making something the same way twice are considered beyond the ken of man.

I’ll mention that even for Portugal I was considered too absent minded for words. And both the kids and I are ADD and at times ADD AF. But is it culture or genetics?

I don’t know. I suspect in our case it’s a bunch of genetics, but my having been raised in the culture can’t have helped. And frankly the culture was probably shaped by the genetics. So, there you go.

We know that it’s possible to change someone’s culture (with extreme difficulty, granted) and that people who come from dysfunctional cultures can have highly functional kids in the west. But we can’t tell where it all links up.

Humans are very difficult to measure.

Sure, we all have limits, but our limits might not be immediately obvious. As Bob pointed out — and most people who study the brain agree — there are impairments that come the higher you go in IQ. And some of them are neurological (the sensory thing seems to be one of them, btw. At least it seems to be); and some of them are because our society reveres intelligence and therefore, when you know you are smart you think you can do anything and it takes years to find out you can’t do some things; and some of them are because you don’t exactly understand other people, and they don’t precisely understand you.

So, very, very smart people aren’t stunningly successful because they often socially miscue. The world was built for people who are just slightly smarter than normal. Slightly enough that normal people instinctively think “very smart” instead of “he’s crazy, get the torches and pitchforks” which is what they tend to think of someone very far off-normal.

Of course, some very smart people learn to imitate normal humans to a high degree of perfection. (I used to be able to do it, I did. Then my giveadamn broke.)

And in the end the truly exceptional rarely have much to do with the development of the future. Because, well– It’s not our future. We’re not normal humans. The world wasn’t designed by or for us.

And Foxfier notwithstanding, (Well done, that Fox. We have great hopes for the kits.) we usually make less of a genetic contribution to the future, too. If at all. Don’t believe me? Look up the exceptional people of the past. Not the warriors, but the intellectual ancestors of the west. If Shakespeare left any descendants who are still around with us, they’re illegitimate and never recorded. DaVinci? Well, ditto, if he felt experimental once in a while. Though probably not, he’d have recorded it, somehow.

So does IQ measure something? Sure. It measures a tightly focused grouping of abilities and tendencies which correlate well to academic success….. uh, unless it’s too high, because teachers are human and humans are social apes.

But you really can’t trust it if it’s measured by people with vested interests. And almost everyone has vested interests.

And even if you are an ATH reader, which seems to be a free-form method of IQ measuring, well…. you know better than anyone that it doesn’t correlate with material success. Some of us do okay. Better than we deserve given how scattered we are. But you know…. it’s not exceptional success.

Now would we trade who we are?

Well, given the amount of fun I can have with an internet search or a bunch of very old books, no. But then again I value that kind of fun, I value what I can find in that, because I’m me.

BTW the easiest way to punish me is to force me to be very bored. My parents never discovered time-out (thank heavens. It would have broken me) which is why mom says I’m so stubborn I’d rather break than bend, and that no one yet found a way to make obey.

I like — perhaps need — to verify, learn, do, learn new ways of doing things, discover new things to do. It’s part of who I am. Is it better or worse than the conscientious craftsman who can do the same thing time after time with a great degree of perfection? Depends on the thing, right?

Which is why IQ in the end isn’t highly relevant for humanity. It is highly relevant for an individual human — supposing you know that IQ was well-tested — in terms of figuring out his or her inclinations, interests, blind spots, and the way in which they’ll succeed or not. (Also the way to punish him/her.)

But that’s it.

Because you can’t measure humans. And the persist insanity of believing you can and that you can then force them into the pattern you want, has caused more mass graves than anything else in history. If nothing else, because it’s a major component of the statist philosophies of the 20th century, both of which measured humans and then decreed their death, in batch lots, by the numbers.

True liberty, true civilization begins when you accept humans aren’t widgets. And letting each human find that they can do and be the most productive they can at it.

This is best for families, for couples and for society in general.

Now stop staring at me, and go do your stuff.

371 thoughts on “The Measure of Man*

  1. I’m perfectly normal. It’s the rest of you who are crazy. 😆

    1. Perhaps we just lead parallel lives that never intersect. It’s an acute problem, but at least we’re not obtuse.

          1. Trajectory. Launching Ballistic Carp is a 3-dimensional exercise. 😀

    2. Or as my Granny Jessie used to quote an old Quaker saying, “Everyone’s a bit odd, save for me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee…”

    1. Then you pull out the rolling pin and roll out the scraps into a new slab of dough and use it again!

  2. *Bemused* Working on Doing Stuff. Found out the hard way a few minutes ago the Library of Congress is doing everything by telecommuting, so there’s no one to answer the phone to get me into the account I haven’t used since 2019. (I ended up at the reference desk.)

    …Email request is in, it’ll be next week before someone answers. But I have the full cover for Gateway to Fiction now! So I’ll take the time to make sure all the final formatting tweaks are tweaked, and then I’m going to try something I’ve never tried before.

    Plotting – at least roughly – all 3 books of a trilogy.

    ‘Cause I figure if I have the rough plot for all three and get them all drafted, then I can edit first one, publish, edit second one, etc.

    *Crosses fingers, knocks on wood!*

    1. Note: I’ve read some of the material written for this, summarizing information on specific mental illnesses from a writing perspective. Probably some of that was dug out of psychology.

      She seems to be one of the people who can sort through some of the chaff.

  3. Human intelligence is hard to measure, but then again, almost everything is hard to measure. You could argue that science in any worthwhile form is based on the realization that you have to be very, very careful when you measure things, and even then, you’re probably wrong.

    It’s not even tricky things, like the speed of light or the charge of an electron. Years ago, saw a report that certain butterfly population had decreased something like 87.3% and I laughed out loud, thinking about some poor souls counting millions of butterflies in the wild and getting it right to a tenth of a percent. Even if the butterflies lined up and flew by one by one, you’re not getting that accurate in real life. But in the wild? Give me a break!

    Medical data is the worst, with forced categories and no option, in many cases, for ‘I don’t know’. Add in that doctors, as a group, are really not all that smart (dedicated and driven? sure. but raw mental horsepower? average.) and all medical numbers should be taken with a grain of (probably not going to raise your blood pressure) salt. So, even before the current insanity, my confidence in medical reporting was limited – which is why I only care about the raw numbers of dead people, because that’s a category that’s harder to get wrong. Cases? Causes? Pishaw.

      1. And then you have to factor in the individual quirks, to boot, which aren’t likely to be consistent even across the same immediate family group…

      2. True. But “hard to do” is not the same as “…so do not ever do it because you are not certain to get it right” or even “impossible nonsense on stilts.” See also “Unconscious bias tests”

        For large enough groups of people you can get patterns. Assuming those patterns mean something besides “Heyo. We shpuld look into this” is pure foolishness, but very human. Making it taboo to perceive them is foolishness on stilts and vile.

        I was measured with an IQ test over the course of a couple days by people with a vested interest in “proving” to my parents that I was mentally handicapped. They ended up proving that I had been handicapped all right and also that I have a higher than average IQ. Diagnostic tool used correctly FTW.

        But IQ is a proxy measurement for “can learn brain stuff like chess”. What it is proxy-measuring is genetic in some way. And the gene expression is affected by teratogenic and early childhood and puberty environmentmental affects on neural growth and development at these times. *

        So it’s a proxy of a proxy for determining *heritable* IQ masked by cultural artifacts that govern those post-conception environmental factors.

        Also most of what people call IQ tests are approximations of the real deal.

        Proxy of a proxy of a proxy. Oy with a side order of Vey.

        Doesn’t mean the tool isn’t useful for what it’s made to do.

        *And is affected by teratogenic and early childhood and puberty environmentmental affects on the neural growth and development./I> That so few of the people gassing on about IQ and genetics don’t mention this is what makes me so suspicious of their expertise.

        1. Um…. Genetic. Kind of.
          Ask any geneticist. They’re not actually sure how IQ comes about.
          It’s such a weird grouping of abilities, and humans compensate for one lack with a bigger thing and–
          Also they used it and PROVED older son was retarded.
          So we saved a ton of money and had him privately tested wth a test the school couldn’t afford.
          Turns out “profoundly gifted”. The “retarded” result? He’d maxed their test. It only went to “retarded” level though. 😛

          1. Real pshrinks vs. some Dewberry education major working for the school district? Yeah. I can believe it.

            More and more I’m convinced that we’re handed two lies, one of which is a faster path to hell, the other a slow one, and the devil is laughs when we choose either.

          2. Agree on the genetic aspect btw. Based on the sex differences some optimizing genes are suppressed by other *helpful* genes for neural development.

            It slays me that this kind of research can only be done in totalitarian states funded by American traitors now. So of course it isn’t.

            1. Yes. The Nazi thing scared people out of any genetic study of humans, which is stupid.
              A friend who knows from brains says that “autistic” is not our name for “high IQ” but it’s also not far off.

              1. I am starting to suspect that “Autistic” is our name for a *bunch* of different atypical brain layouts. There are Autists who are really…intellectually impaired, and some who are brilliant. Some who are non-verbal, and some who are loquacious.

                1. Yes. This. I don’t think it’s one thing. And there’s son and I who have sensory issues, which puts us “on the spectrum” supposedly but… uh, no.

                2. Nothing new in that. You may hear that consumption was actually TB. No, it was merely mostly TB. The discovery of antibiotics that cured TB revealed a whole slew of diseases that were not TB but were “consumption.”

                  1. Even really bad asthma attacks got rolled in.
                    They never figured out I had TB because they thought “bad asthma attacks Until I got a positive on entering school….

                3. I have a cancer theory analogy I trot out for autism from time to time.

                  The cancer theory in question is that we use the word cancer for some wildly different mechanisms of uncontrolled cell growth.

                  Human brain is very complicated, lot of function involves complicated stuff in different places. So analogy> Why can’t different mechanisms of dysfunction be causing the same symptoms?

        2. The whole chess is for smart thing bugs me. I don’t like chess and I’ve always been better at pattern recognition than strategy.

          1. Then you’d do amazingly well at go, which is all about pattern recognition (though to play really well you do need a decent grasp of tactics & strategy too). Once I learned go I found I had no interest in chess any more: the chess board is just too small.

          2. A great deal of chess is pattern recognition, any chess master will readily admit this. A good bit of it is psychological, too; you don’t just play the board, you play your opponent, too.

        3. For large enough groups of people you can get patterns.

          Patterns & predictability for large groups is one thing — where too many err is in thinking that such predictability applies to individuals within the group. To employ the Bell Curve kerfuffle, the fallacy was people thinking that while – as a group – people of German ancestry performed better on IQ tests than did people of Kenyan ancestry, it DOES NOT FOLLOW that any random individual of German ancestry will out perform any random individual of Kenyan ancestry.

          Yes, the odds favor that result, but it is that failure in comprehension of statistics that makes casinos wealthy and Lotto players unhappy.

          1. Side note: I think some of the worst pattern-making errors come from extrapolating between groups as well.

            One of the few things well-researched (for WEIRD cultures in North America) is stereotypes. One of the results is that normal people in these cultures abandon stereotypes *sooner* than is warranted.

            The fear that pattern-recognition of group behaviour (note caveat above!) won’t be modified for individuals is actually unrealistic.


            1. We should acknowledge that another major problem is the tendency of too many people to look only at the center of a Bell Curve, ignoring the slope and extensions out several standard deviations, as if that was unimportant.

              1. For instance: most women cluster in the center of the bell curve. Okay, most men too, that’s why it’s the bell curve.
                But the extremes for women are much thinner than for men. Men have more geniuses and more morons than women.
                I’ve been in a lot of groups which were half or more than that male.
                It’s very rare to find a male who can either out genius or out moron me (yes, okay, sometimes on the same day, for me.) IN ANY GROUP.

          2. That’s what I was thinking of — the ecological fallacy. The characteristics of the group do not predict the traits of the individuals in it. And it goes the other way, too; with complex phenomena/subjects, you can’t derive accurate group characteristics simply by studying individuals.

            1. Take Germans. By and large I get along with German immigrants in the US. First, second generation, whatever.
              Germans in Germany? Oh, dear Lord, NO. (By and large. There are always exceptions.)
              So, is it a different (much smaller) self selected group in the US? Or is it culture in zee vaterland? Who knows? I just know the part is not the whole.

    1. Yeah, but there are degrees of hard to measure, and the differences of those degrees are important. We err greatly when we willy nilly apply things valid for one category to another.

      You might be even able to divide widget design (which is really simple) into two categories.

      If you are trying to design brackets for a specified loading, the tools for that are fairly mature, and reasonably reliable.

      Compare some of the filtering problems with difficult sensors in noisy environments.

      Biology is more complicated than even the worst sensor design problem. Design of all of the biology for a complex animal is more than human minds can do, I am very sure.

      Animal behavior may potentially be worse than biology. I definitely can not prove it, but maybe.

      Human behavior is a worse measurement problem than animal behavior.

      I’m pretty sure that this is one of the important gaps in human knowledge. Yes, you, the others, and I understand this, but it is so widely overlooked that it is not really knowledge that humans apply.

      1. So right about human behavior, let alone psychological measures. Psychologists want numbers, which = credibility among the credulous, so bad they force essentially uncountable and unmeasurable things (happiness? political opinions?) into HARD categories, and add ’em up, then do math (which is MAGIC!) on those numbers, then make pronouncements.

        Controls? Clear definitions? Double-blinding? Confirmation bias? What’s that?

        They should be laughed out of the room. Instead, they get tenure.

        1. And then there’s “evolutionary psychology.” Honor? Loyalty? Courage? All can be explained by natural selection and the power of evolution, we just know it.

        2. In all charity, it is possible to do good things with training in psychology. Takes qualities not all of them have.

          I’ve gotten information from psychology that proved helpful. The trick is appropriate skepticism, and knowing reliable skeptics willing to do a lot of digging through the chaff.

          If you have theory based in honest sane observation, the observation is subjective, so the sample is limited to a single observer’s working lifetime. They are also forming a theory that can fit inside a single human’s mind, so even if the subjects were not clustered (the way they almost always are), the theory would be an imperfect model for a large population.

      2. How do you measure a human soul? There is undeniable difference between a living person and an unliving one, but how to measure that?

        There seems to be a dimension we are not aware of except by inference – which makes measurement in that dimension difficult.

    2. The problem with “I don’t know”, is the same one as the “Other” category in multiple choice questions. Either the respondent is too lazy, distracted, or busy to consider the specific choices, or they haven’t a clue and choose “other”. I run into that problem ALL THE TIME when building questionnaires or surveys. The best way I’ve found to use it is in automated responses where you can put a conditional logic in the requires the respondent to fill in an explanation field following any response that chooses “Other”. Same with IDK. You don’t know? Okay, explain the situation as clearly as possible before continuing.

      1. I thought our yearly flu count was roughly equal to valid unicorn sightings. Donchknow, it’s all Chinavirus!

    3. While IQ is hard to measure, I still ask anyone making a psychometric claim their view on IQ. Anything less than an acknowledgment that whatever they are measuring is not as well measured as IQ leads me to dismiss them outright.

      Every psychometric measurement technique in use was original developed for IQ. IQ measurements for all their faults have the most rigorous exercise of all psychometric measures.

      Think of IQ what you will, but remember there is no reason to take any other psychometric measure MORE seriously.

    4. At a guess, you determine the butterfly population by establishing a “typical” area, imagine a cube ten (or a hundred) meters on an edge, count the butterflies within that then extrapolate to the world-wide population by standard statistical expansion.

      And if you cannot conceive the flaws in that methodology you ain’t no hun.

    5. It amused/relived me, years after I had taken a dose and found NO EFFECT that it was realized that people reacted differently to codeine. A majority have the Textbook Response. But not all. some metabolize it so slowly that it might as well not even exist (my experience… then).. and process it so fast that the effects are short, but (almost?) an overdose for that time.

      1. One close friend reacted to some common sedatives as though they were amphetamines leading to much fun (years ago) at the hospital when they, although the doctor had been warned, gave her one preoperatively for a routine procedure. First catching her as she jogged off to the smoking area and then a rather extended period getting her sedated.

        On the other side, acetaminophen has absolutely no measurable effect on me. Doesn’t lower fever or affect pain. Aspirin and ibuprofen work normally.

        Given that we still don’t know for certain why acetaminophen works (there are competing theories) it’s not surprising we don’t know much at all about why individuals react to it differently.

        1. I’m married to a man who has that issue.
          It was four in the morning, and he was walking in circles in the bedroom, spitting out equations, like someone on cocaine.

  4. Two points.
    First, any test given to humans has to be created by somebody a LOT smarter than the one the test is given to. This is why we have Doctors of Psychology declaring incorrigible killers to be fully cured and rehabilitated.
    The other is that as I get older I value kindness in people much more than sheer intelligence. It’s easier to live with and produces better results.

    1. YES. Kindness (not ‘being nice’, mind you!) is something I have come to value above pretty much anything else. According to the IQ lovers out there, I am a failure of a ridiculously smart-person (no career–decent job, but not a career, no brilliant works of…whatever.) But kindness–ah! That is something I can aspire to be better at.

      And at this point, barring a couple of things (mostly to do with shared religion), that’s about the only qualification I’m looking for in a husband.

    2. From A Little Princess (remembered) “Miss Minchin could be a hundred times smarter than she is and she would still be hateful”. Good book.

      Of course, being like Sarah Crewe – both clever and kind – would probably…

      Ah. Wait. I just remembered: Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves”


      1. And we so often get that reversed.

        (I can’t quite recall if I read that in Lewis or Chesterton. It’s definitely not original with me.)

    3. My mom tended to tell kids that good manners would get them further than a good education.

      She’d tell you in a heart beat that being able to be polite in a job is going to get you further than being smarter than your boss!

      Pissed folks off, because they wanted the teacher supporting them in telling folks that it was fine to be an incredibly rude ass because you are Smarter and Better Educated.
      …and she generally had a lot more education than the folks doing the pushing.

    4. I find even more valuable than kindness is a sense of humour. ot the kind which employs humour to tear others down, to divide us into “Cool People” and “Others” but the kind of humour which recognizes common traits in all humans and binds us in that recognition.

      Of course, failing that, puns, wisecracks and double entendre will do just fine. Strategic deployment of metaphorical whoopee cushions is also approved.

  5. I don’t generally buy funny-books (as my mother calls what I call Comics, and what I understand are now called ‘graphic novels’), but for you, dear, I made an exception. I simply can’t afford the bridge, and I have nowhere to put it anyway.

      1. My polyglot younger brother SWEARS by fotonovelas as a learning tool. He worked for Credit Lyonnaise, was interviewed in French, and was asked if he could learn Spanish. (It’s our family’s second language). But can you speak English? ‘Like a native’. So they sent him to Moskva.
        True story

    1. Let me know where and when you want it and I can make you a bargain deal on an n-dimensional bridge — fits anywhere, only one user, factory second but fine for light industrial use.

    2. Amazing what happens when you start by collecting comic strips in books and then the idea takes off on you. . . .

      Though the original Superman was a wise-cracker just to fit in

  6. Sarah, is there any chance I could send you info about a book a friend of mine wrote and published, and have you post about it on Instapundit? Or since you’re a very busy writer, have a friend of yours read it, then get it posted on Instapundit somehow? Or is there someone else I could write to, to see if they’d post on Instapundit about it? I think the readers there will appreciate it a lot. (It’s available on Amazon.)

    1. Take a look at the ATH blog posts for Sundays (although sometimes Monday, or Tuesday, depending on how wrapped up our hostess gets in other things).

      Hate to say it, too, but positive Amazon reviews (by verified purchasers) are far more effective.

        1. The insty link has resulted in good sales for me, depending on the book. Another outlet might be worth participating in might be the Ace of Spades HQ Sunday morning book thread. I mean, don’t be crass and barge right in with a plug in the thread, but check out the thread, participate in discussions. Oregon Muse runs it.
          Of all the books that I have bought in the last couple of years, a handful were for research purposes for my own books, but all the pleasure-reading came from books mentioned at AoSHQ book thread.

    2. Pat — reading it is unlikely.
      But can you send to the book pimping post on Sundays (if your friend doesn’t object to being seen with my crowd) and if the Huns like it, I’ll consider putting it at insty anyway.

  7. Also, very important to recognize that intelligence and wisdom are two very different things, and intelligence without wisdom can be a very dangerous thing. I suspect that a lot of what makes those with both seem odd to others is the inability of some to not grasp the wisdom thing or they assume because they are “intelligent” (although many who claim to be so are not) they must be wise, when in fact they don’t have a shred of wisdom in their body.

    Re eating a whole cow-there are 2 answers to that 1) how much time is there to eat the cow; it can be accomplished given enough time; or 2) of course you can’t eat the whole cow; some of it is simply not edible. 🙂

        1. Reminds me of this which has been attributed to several*over the years Stephen Hawking being the latest and Daniel J. Boorstin before that.

          “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

          Our educational system has become a factory mass producing illusion.


          1. “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you do know that ain’t so.”

            Will Rogers, as I recall.

      1. “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.”

        Saw the truth of this many years ago in grad school, where I studied in close proximity to some of the same people who are now filling college students’ heads with cultural Marxist/critical theory insanity.

    1. The best way I ever heard Wisdom versus Intelligence explained was as follows:

      Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
      Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad.

        1. “Guys, I found the bard!”

          INT: knowing tomatoes are a fruit.
          WIS: knowing not to put tomatoes in a fruit salad.
          CHArisma: Selling someone a fruit salad with tomatoes.

          Old D&D joke.

          1. It just reminded me of the time that the occasional healthy food eating daughter wanted me to try her new salsa recipe.

            “Number one – you know quite well that I do not eat anything but thoroughly cooked tomatoes. Number Two – I only eat avocado as thin slices on top of chicken tortilla soup. Number three – I cannot stand mango in any form whatsoever. Ah, three strikes! Go bother your mother.”

            1. thoroughly cooked tomatoes

              Tomato sauce regardless of reason to use in recipes used in, fine. Stewed or otherwise coked tomatoes (mostly stewed) – Gross …

              I would say cultural. But … both sides of the family can tomatoes, which resulted in usage of said canned tomatoes, resulting in epic childhood battles. Almost as epic as the creamed corn ones … Gagging and cookie-tossing-were encountered multiple times. Difference was couldn’t blame the latter on the flu, which happened multiple times with cream corn. Didn’t cause the flu. But definitely herald the flu was happening.

              Canned (whole) tomatoes are not on my shopping list, ever (nor is creamed corn, or liver).

              1. Creamed any vegetable. Although I do like cream of potato soup. (Cream of leek soup, too, but I rarely find those at a reasonable price.)

                Middle of last year, I found myself buying the stewed whole tomatoes, as those were the only things people didn’t clean out at the store. Turned them into puree and sauce with my hand blender.

                Sauteed beef liver and onions, mmmm… (Associated undoubtedly with being held close as an infant while being fed pureed beef liver.)

          2. STR: how far you can throw a tomato
            DEX: How well you can dodge a thrown tomato
            CON: How well you can stand eating a rotten tomato

            (Fairly good explanation of the stats.)

  8. I’ll confess when I was very young I thought that each human’s intelligence was infinite. That we could do anything, be anything, each of us a renaissance-man/woman.

    Anime was what helped me get over this assumption.


    It is really true that working out can improve your physical strength. But in Dragonball Z, getting stronger is only a matter of learning to lift more mass in higher gravity.

    Human flesh is made out of chemicals, and chemical bonds have a limited force that they can hold without rupturing. So we can infer that some limit exists.

    If one is very intelligent, very observant, and very careful, one can make some shrewd guesses about limits of human intellectual ability.

    Death Note was one of the things that showed me that people can deeply overestimate human intelligence.

    Now, I am not fast on my feet, I am not a clever planner, or an effective social manipulator. I know very well that there are achievable levels of human ability in these areas that are beyond me.

    Light Yagami is basically authorial fiat. He is only plausible if you buy the author’s handwaving about elite college students. I think I am actually more skeptical about ‘high level’ college students than I was when I first lost interest in Death Note.

    Everyone assumes that what they do easily can be done easily. But we’re all very different.

    *raises hand* This takes me down some spectacularly wrong paths of analysis sometimes. My intuitions are a result of the things I have practiced thinking about before. And they are sometimes wrong. So, when I assume that others have the same intuitions I have, and they state disagreement because they are lying, my thinking is a crazy mistake. Other people have different intuitions, and sometimes people disagree with me because they have worked out from their own experience that my intuitions are wrong, before I have had time to sort my intuitions out.

    As Bob pointed out — and most people who study the brain agree — there are impairments that come the higher you go in IQ.

    There was another thing I was trying to say about impairments, and measurement.

    This was one of the bits I owe ESR for. I tend to ignore the question of different population means, and think he is wasting his time thinking about it. However, what if populations D and E have a different mean IQ, and it legitimately had to do with the mixture of non-lethal high IQ alleles in each population?

    If the difference was significant, then the lower IQ examples of the higher IQ population are more likely to have a condition that causes more CNS impairment than just IQ impairment. So, same IQ samples of each population would not necessarily represent each other well.

    My feeling is that for things we are trying to use IQ, there is so much other noise that it mostly does not matter whether there are IQ differences between extant populations.

    If you are trying to use it for public policy, culture is so very powerful that it is better to ignore IQ.

    If you are trying to use it privately for selection of individuals, most tasks are not that purely demanding of IQ. For the ones that are, the demands are very specific, so you are also looking for extremes of other gifts, and the individual costs of the alleles driving the intelligence matter. I have known reasonably intelligent people who are much too crazy to apply it to any but destructive ends.

    It is actually possible that I am one of them. (Okay, I say I am stupid, but…) I am a little bit older, and it will be decades before I can have empirical evidence about the measurable results of what I have attempted to apply my abilities to. If I have done any good in my life so far, it is not measurable good; one of the things that keeps me going is knowing that one can accomplish positive things without even realizing it, much less being able to measure it.

    I’ve seen some of the folks from my short bus cohort around town. The ones with Down’s gainfully employed. My personal life experiences is a little to personal for here.

    I am resolutely unimpressed with “They have Down’s, do not fit the university profile, and hence are a waste.”

    1. Years ago when the Subase had a McBurger joint, they used to hire some of the “special people”. If one was working that day, I always tried to get in their line because a) they were happy, and interfacing with someone who was happy makes me happy and was something I needed by lunch time, and b) they always got my order right, unlike the high school and college-age kids.

      I’ve also dealt with two people who don’t have Down’s but do have the single palm crease. My father freaked out his fellow academics in the staff common room when the biologist/medical types were discussing it and he asked if “This is what you’re talking about?” and showed them. The other was a guy I went out with in Dublin, who got a 1st class degree in Philosophy. At least the latter had common sense too. My father doesn’t. He’s the man whom my crazy sister describes as “one of the few who seems to understand the entire theory of relativity” and yet it took him over a decade to figure out how to use the universal remote for both the TV and the cable box. /sigh (I think it was about two decades to figure out how to heat a frozen dinner in the microwave.) It will probably surprise no one that his first degree was in engineering.

      As for what is easy? My mother spent most of my 5th-year maths trying to tell me that calculus (in particular rates of change) was easy. I learned quickly to just look at her and snarl “moles!”. Apparently, she never grasped the concept of moles in chemistry, which made getting a C in her required college course quite difficult. I always thought moles were a really easy sort of thing to grok. So I’ve known for years that what is obvious to one person is clear as mud to another. Sadly, my parents don’t seem to have ever grasped that concept, and so they really don’t know what to think about or how to deal with me. (Of course I suspect they are both on the spectrum, so that could explain an awful lot too.)

      1. To be fair, the universal cable box remotes are doing crazy things six ways to Sunday to sidejack their other peripherals. I find them annoying as anything too.

        On the otherhand, I’m probably not a normal sample either…

        1. Daddy could handle most of the remote. He just couldn’t handle the idea that if you pressed the power button and the wrong thing turned off/on you just had to push the button a second time, hit the button for the equipment you wanted and hit the power button again. You’d think that would be obvious?

          1. There really are a number of people out there so smart they’re approaching dumb coming from the other direction. I know, I’m one of them some days. I spent two hours going back and forth with a company rep this morning over some maps–I was SURE they were missing something that they said elsewhere in the documents was there.

            Turns out there were actually 2 pages in the maps document, and I hadn’t even twigged to it. So yeah. I’m fairly sure that a lot of people I know think I’m a not-very-bright scatterbrain 😀

            (Although I did figure out my universal remote. But I only need to use 4 buttons it, so…)

      2. Funny, when I was in my intro chem classes, I could never manage to figure out moles. Irritated me to no end. Hated feeling like there was something I couldn’t get…

        1. That indicates a terrible teacher, since moles are one of the simplest concepts in chemistry.

          To demonstrate this, I’ll explain what a mole is in less than 100 words.

          One mole = the molecular weight of a compound * 1 gram.
          E.g., molecular hydrogen (H2) has a molecular weight of 2, since hydrogen has an atomic weight of 1.
          Thus, one mole of molecular hydrogen is 2 grams.

          1. A dozen is 12 of something.

            A score is 20 of something.

            A mole is 6.02 times ten to the 23rd of something.

            1. True but almost completely useless. What people actually need to know for chemistry is the mass of a mole of a particular molecule, and the answer is “1 gram * the molecular weight”.

              1. Avogadro’s Number is also important. How much borax would a Farnsworth-Hirsch-Bussard Fusor consume to power one of those mega-cruise ships? Start by determining how many molecules in a gram of borax…

                I got between 200 and 300 pounds a year, depending on how passenger behavior affects energy use. That sounds like a lot, but there is a huge borax mine in California that produces about a million tons a year.

                Of course, only 80% of the boron is B-11 so you wind up with some leftover B-10. How much? Back to Avogadro’s Number.

  9. After bullshit like womyn and latinx and other linguistic abominations, I am done.

    Halleluia, Sister! I have no idea why it is that those who think women are perfect and should run the world also think we’re all going to collapse on our fainting couches if we see the letters M, E, N in sequence like that. As for “latinx,” don’t get me started. “Well, we can’t possibly call them latinos, because the -o ending implies male, and we’re just certain that there are thousands of zes and zirs who feel left out by that. We couldn’t call them the gender neutral English word Latin, because that’s normal and doesn’t show off how special we are that we know all about Spanish. I know, we’ll make up a new, completely unpronounceable word that pisses off every “latinx” person who hears it. That will show how kind and culturally sensitive we are.”

    (The worst example of this I saw was in the Spanish section of our library, a big sign that said “Las bibliotecas son para todxs.” I must have stared at that thing for 10 minutes before I realized what they were trying to say and why.)

    1. English doesn’t have gendered words (by which I mean every noun has a gender, and adjectives have to agree with number and gender), but Spanish absolutely does. You’d think that someone *actually* wanting to be inclusive of other cultures would twig to that, but no, they want to practice their cultural imperialism in ways that make them feel good rather than actually doing the work.

    2. My new thought about the word latinx?

      “Excuse me. X in Spanish is usually a sh or ch sound, archaically, or a velar fricative, throat-clearing sound in other contexts.

      “So, is that X pronounced like the one in xingada, or the one in caxón?”

      (Probably not etymologically correct for medieval Spanish spelling, but I don’t know bad words in medieval Spanish.)

      Joder is Spanish from Spain for the f verb, and you could spell that with an initial x.

  10. My giveadamn broke when I was…twelve? Or so? When it came about that my sister and I were remanded to supervised visits with our abuser in the interests of “reconciliation,” rather than having had him removed from our lives. Because that was what conventional wisdom at the time said: children needed their parents, and even an abusive b***ard was better than nothing.

    I’d realized, much earlier, that I was smarter, and thought more clearly than the people “in charge of [your] best interests.” And then, I started looking around at my teachers at school (and school as my “safe space”) and realized the entire world was FUBAR, full of a******s and mouth-breathers, and it would best to either try to go along…or stop caring.

    Try to “go along” would have broken me. I’d already been broken a couple times. I won’t break again. And I will not be a party to doing it to myself.

  11. what does ‘smarter’ mean?

    It means you’re more likely to bump your head reaching too hastily for a conclusion.

  12. Ok, it’s me again, so feel free to take this with a pound of salt. But I think I might actually manage to really shock you for once, because…

    I agree with everything you say.

    One thing I don’t care for about the establishment Right is just how all in they are on IQ. Yeah, I get that there is a correlation between the *average* IQ of *groups* of people, and I realize that the Left, by making it all about race, can make a right-leaning intellectual dig his heels in.

    However, I also realize that this is essentially an argument over angels on the head of a pin, as seen by the average person. A factory worker does not want to support a political movement that seems to be saying, “Your worth as a person is directly proportional to your ability to pass an abstract test.”

    The truth is that the Right, if it is to be successful, absolutely must have the overwhelming support of the working class. Even if the working class is shrinking, its talents and habits make it disproportionately influential.

    ( And, frankly, I think that shrinking is a temporary phenomenon, brought on by a glut of prosperity that enables people without strong work habits to do well at easy jobs).

    Actually, I suspect that the dislike of nerds that was so evident in the middle and late twentieth century may have been a perfectly reasonable reaction to the excesses of the Progressive movement.

        1. Yeah, but he’s burned me.
          Dude, I know you don’t know this, but I’ve seen Joel Solomon on blogs since Joel was in HIGH SCHOOL. No one ever got him to swear. That includes Chlamydia, the wonder troll.

    1. One thing I don’t care for about the establishment Right is just how all in they are on IQ.


      *skims down*

      Oh. You then conflate “high IQ” with “not working class”.

      :eyeroll: Dude, look at the average education for farmers some time….

      1. Cute. This reminds me of the chick who told me the only reason I didn’t like “If you were a Dinosaur” is because I ‘identified with the working class.’ Well, no. I don’t think the working class are criminals, because in my life as a writer, I’ve shopped and eaten at their hangouts (AKA cheap ones) and I know most of them are as smart — or more — than idiots with literature degrees.
        What does IQ have to do with ANYTHING?

        1. This reminds me of the chick who told me the only reason I didn’t like “If you were a Dinosaur” is because I ‘identified with the working class.’

          (There were plenty of reasons to dislike that particular book. It not being nearly as clever as the “If you give a mouse a cookie” books is only one of them.)

        2. Identify with, I is…..

          Well, unless they use some crazy definition of “working class” like “65 and never worked but for minimum wage, and usually only bit work.”

    2. … the establishment Right is … all in … on IQ.

      Objection! Assertion of facts not in evidence.

      Not for nothing is the GOP known as The Stupid Party.

      Beyond that, the GOP is less concerned about “groups of people” and far more committed to the rights of individuals.

  13. I’ve got, allegedly (I was tested at the age of 6 or so, and have questioned it ever since, heh), an IQ that probably puts me very near the edge of “total disaster of a human being.” The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve found it a hinderance than any kind of a blessing. For one thing, I spent most of my teen/young adult years feeling like an utter failure, because…I hadn’t done anything of note. Or brilliant. I still feel that some days, but I’ve gotten better at ignoring it. Instead, what it brought me was…I think too quickly, and miss important details. I jump to conclusions too quickly (try not to do that with people–it’s a hard slog, that). I never truly had to learn how to study–and wasn’t ever forced into situations (sadly) where I would have had to. (ie, advanced math. The undiagnosed discalculia made it so I avoided anything requiring advanced mat as soon as I possibly could.) I’m a natural speed-reader of the ‘sees whole paragraphs at a glance’ type…which is great when it comes to novel-reading, because I can reread novels any number of times, and often come across “new” stuff (because reading like I do means I miss stuff) but it is pure hell when trying to, say, STUDY. And I’ve got an addictive personality, and the only reason I didn’t end up on drugs or an alcoholic is, I am fairly sure, my religion (and the fact that I take its rules seriously). (And thankfully, I found out a few years ago that the usual gateway–prescription drugs–don’t really work on me like normal, and I don’t enjoy it when they do.)

    The one thing I did manage, at least to a minor extent, was successful social camoflauge. Not to the point that I achieved the desired spouse, alas (maybe someday? Though kids aren’t likely at this stage, unless adopted), but at least that I could “pass” at least semi-tolerably. For short periods of time, and so long as I’m not too stressed. (There’s a reason I’m a hermit, sigh. Also coming to realize, over the insanity of the last 2 years, how it is some people end up never leaving their houses again…)

    So yeah, I’ve really come to loathe the attitude of “high IQ means you can do anything/should be in charge of everything/must be listened to and kowtowed to!” Because no, all high I

    1. Gah. WP delenda est. That last sentence should be “Because no, all high IQ means is that you’re more likely to bugger things up in new and interesting ways than not.” Which is sometimes a great thing for humanity, but more often a disaster for the individual involved.

      1. We have much in common, including the near-disastrous IQ level, the speed reading, and the failure to develop study habits because (almost) everything came to me immediately without much effort.

        However, at the relatively advanced age of 45 I did find the desired spouse, after a first mistaken marriage caused partly by my conclusion that I never would find her. I’ve also had a fairly lengthy career in computer programming, a field in which it’s hard to have too high an IQ.

        And now at the absolutely advanced age of 72, I’m in the process of starting a new company that can overturn long-held preconceptions of what is possible in data retrieval from large unstructured databases (“hash tables”), and *possibly* make me wealthy.

        So it is possible for things to work out even for us.

          1. I suppose that is true although of course I don’t have any direct experience with any other way.
            If someone told me I could trade 20 IQ points for an easier time in life, I wouldn’t do it.
            Not now, anyway; I would have at some earlier points.

            1. No, I get that. And by the way my comment is from 20 years of running the informal Hoyt Home For Wayward writers. And from being a mother and watching not just her own kids. Not from my own subjective valuation and watching my own life, though seriously, I know myself enough to know that I mostly seem to use my mind to invent new and excitng ways of failing.

              1. There’s no success like failing but failure’s no success at all….

                On Sun, May 2, 2021 at 10:40 AM According To Hoyt wrote:

                > accordingtohoyt commented: “No, I get that. And by the way my comment is > from 20 years of running the informal Hoyt Home For Wayward writers. And > from being a mother and watching not just her own kids. Not from my own > subjective valuation and watching my own life, though seriously,” >

    2. Sounds like me. I never got a formal IQ test, but supposedly my GRE results from 1984 map to about 155/160. All that and I still need a fiver to buy a large latté anywhere. I view it as fun, pointless trivia. I also don’t think I’ve ever really learned to study. I’d take notes in class, read them before the test, and that was an A.

      I know my father’s IQ is someplace up around there too, and I’d never want him in charge of my life again. He knows things, and that they don’t correlate with the thing under consideration doesn’t matter, he’s always right. And then when he isn’t, it never happened.

      1. Mine was circa 1985/1986, and apparently put me at 169. Yippee.

        It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s/early 30s that I finally came to terms with the fact that “gifted” means “gifted in a few specific areas” and either utterly average–or in some cases below average–in others. Once I had that revelation…well. I felt like less of a failure, but also realized that thanks to buying into the IQ is all garbage, I’d probably taken all the wrong scholastic paths in life, heh. Had I a time machine and could do it over…

        1. I had parents who had decided that I was going to go on and become a university prof, because, to quote daddy “You’re to fragile to handle the real world.” This from the man who got the call in Puerto Rico on the first day of his first vacation in five years saying “Hey, you know how you are up for tenure in October? Sorry, you’re position is being eliminated in May.” Departmental politics at its finest. They couldn’t understand why when he got a job offer which required he start in February, he didn’t turn it down and stick it out there until the end of the academic year.

          In my experience, the backstabbing in academe makes most of the “real world” look like a kids’ playground with no one else there.

          1. Oh yeah. For a few years, my father was surprised I wasn’t going into teaching, whether at the grade school OR collegiate level. It took a number of times of explaining to him that after all those years of listening to what Mom (who was a very good special ed teacher) went through, I wasn’t about to put up with the insanity of grade school teaching, and higher levels were a cesspit of backstabbing insanity, so far as I could tell. I liked going to school (ie, univeristy) to take interesting classes, but I wasn’t about to try and make a *career* there.

            1. I thought I wanted to have a career as an academic…until I went to grad school and *lived* in academia. There is a massive excess of TERRIBLE people in the academy, especially (ironically?) in the humanities.

            1. Haven’t read those (so many books and movies and podcasts, so little time….), but I’ll put them in my long list of things I hope to get to. Eventually. 🙂

              I don’t know that I’d want immortality, but I could certainly use a bit more time than we are normally allotted to get to even half of what I’d like to.

        2. Should add that at least I had the gumption at 17 to stand up to my parents and my math teacher and not go into a science subject. I realized that no matter how much I loved the field and how good I got, I’d always have daddy over my shoulder telling me, as he did when we showed him my GRE scores (750 verbal, 720 quantitative after no maths for 6 years, and 800 analytical) “I did better than that”. (Of course my SATs taken when I was 14 in 10th grade were a combined 1390 were greeted with “You’ll do better next time.”) My mother had the decency to point out to him that a) they didn’t have an analytical section when he took them, and you can’t do better than 800. Logic problems are fun!

          I took the GREs with some fellow students at Trinity who had college scholarships and next to whom I felt like an idiot much of the time. hen they wereH moaning about the two analytical sections afterwards I remember thinking that that I probably shouldn’t tell them that I’d finished them and gone over everything with tons of time to spare both times.

          1. I need an edit button. I’m also putting off the paper and presentation due tomorrow at midnight for my marketing class. Yay marketing. /and there was great rejoicing….

              1. I took some marketing courses (as well as business management) as business school requirement for my Accounting degree. Because many accountants work for corporations and have to learn how to hide their disdain. My major impression of their content was that they were primarily useful for maneuvering in a corporate marketing job and had very little to do with actually marketing products.

          2. I am grateful that Dad was/is, by and large, fairly supportive of what I chose to study (even if I know now I should have done something else, heh.) Granted, I’m sure some of that was Mom threatening to murder him if he wasn’t (my years in grade school with him were…trying. He was not a good tutor, bless him–and he no more knew I had discalculia than I did at the time). But even so.

            He’s always been more on the “why aren’t you married and have kids yet” spectrum of “PITA parent.” Though after a few blunt remarks regarding my sisters’ methods of finding significant others/having kids, he largely backed off…

            1. Baby sister now has her PhD in archaeology (bronze age Cyprus) and is working for BCG making more than Daddy did at the end of his academic career. She and her now husband were talking about kids a few years back, but she’s now probably too old, and claims she loathes small children. (which I think is a self-defense mechanism so she doesn’t feel bad about not being able to have any.) Middle really crazy sis has had one, and only ever planned to have one. I have produced two grandchildren, so I’ve sort of been forgiven. On the other hand, he still sees me as a child, and treats me as younger than my younger daughter…

              1. I’d really liked to have had kids, but age and hereditary issues (and being single, heh) means it’s really, really unlikely at this point. I’m still pretty sad about it, but…I can find other means of being a fulfilled human. (Coming from a religious culture that puts such a premium on marriage/families, though, has a whole lot of baggage with it, heh.)

                I think most dads never fully grok that their kids–especially maybe their daughters–are actual adults at some point 😀 Though it is a bit weird to treat a grandkid like an adult, but not the grandkid’s mother…

                1. I think he treats her as a kid too, but just a more functional one than I am. 🙂

                  It’s probably also that he spent the most time with her starting her last year of high school (she lived with them that year). Both of my parents also treat both my sisters as more adult than I am, and I’m the eldest. They always have.

                  My family is probably a little more on the dysfunctional side than most.

            2. Yeah, I’m afraid I’m going to be in the camp of recommending ours to, if she ever wants kids, to plan on marrying and having them on the early side, and chase a degree and career later.

              Having small is about the most physically demanding thing a modern human is likely to do in their lifetime. And you can run without sleep for days when you’re in your 20’s. 30’s, 40’s, not so much…

              On the other hand, I’ve found my discipline gets better the older I get.

              1. We really need to start pushing women to have their children early and then, if they wish, get that”career”. They’ll have the same number of actual working years, but they won’t have to worry as much about infertility or the energy needed to look after the little ones, and then in the career world, they won’t have to worry about the Mommy Gap (or whatever the PC term is now).

                It saddens me how many have bought the lie that you can have it all and have it all at the same time, and now that they can’t have that family that deep down they know they want, they keep selling the lie to the next generation.

                1. Or maybe back off from the idea that a person MUST have “A Career(tm)” in order to be considered a successful and complete human being. Most of my feelings of failure over the last couple of decades have been because I never really wanted “A Career(tm).” I’ve always worked to live, not lived to work 😀

                  1. This. The whole “you are only worth your out-of-the-house job” bit irks me. Says who? I’ve had two careers (three if you include writing stuff), but that’s not my value or identity. Being a mother is far more important than a lot of “high value” jobs. Staying home and raising happy, healthy, blessedly ordinary small humans should be considered right up there with, oh, discovering a new chemical family, or a new planet, or designing skyscrapers. Especially if your husband is also generally happy, and the kids have healthy role-models.

                    *looks down at stealth soapbox* Nope, I see you sneaking up on me. Shoo!

                    1. It’s not like society is running on a surplus of healthy well-adjusted adults; the lack of fathers has been a crisis for decades.

                    2. I envied those able to stay home and raise the kids. When our son was growing up, he had friends where one parent was home all or most the time, and it wasn’t always mom, sometimes it was dad. It is even more common now. We talked about it, especially when I was between jobs. Then the other half would have another extended layoff period. My working kept the finances going, when he didn’t work. His working kept the finances going when I didn’t work. My career path wasn’t something that one can be not employed in for years, without major *consequences (a year is almost too long). Our best option was for each of us to keep work hours to a minimum and keep the overlap even shorter. I’d have loved to have been able to work from home. There is no way I’d be going back into an office after the pandemic was over, had we been our kid’s ages now.

                      * I personally know people that this happened to from early 2000’s, again in 2008. This isn’t counting the people who have said they haven’t been able to get programming or tech gigs who are on this blog. I was lucky. I know I was.

                    3. The B ugbear and I are trying to get some buns baked,(Hrr. Hun Buns, they’ll be), but we foudn each other so late in life it may be difficult. I’ll be 41 in September, so the possibility exists, though a bit more difficult.

                      I’ll be Navy retirement-eligible in a couple of years, though, which means that he may well be the stay at home (he works at home, as a craftsman anyway) for a couple of years, but then I will be able to stay home and raise them and home school them, if possible, and still have money coming in. And health insurance, even with writing and coaching as a second career/hustle. Thst future security is worth all the hassles of the military. Which fortunately are not that huge an issue right now anyway. And will shortly be done with, if we can just hang on.

                  2. Thank you! That’s part of what I meant, but you said it much better than I did. But if someone does want a career, they need really know the tradeoffs, and it’s considered misogynistic or something to lay them out truthfully.

                    Anyway, why isn’t having a happy family life considered successful anymore?

                    1. My greatest success was having happy children. My family of origin was profoundly dysfunctional, and I was determined not to let that happen to my kidlets. By the grace of God and several hundred (sometimes a few thousand) miles, it didn’t. I may have had a high IQ, but there’s only so much crazy making one can live in over a long period of time before it affects all sorts of mental functions. I still reverse numbers on a regular basis. Left and right have little meaning for me, even now in my mid 60s. Even colors act funny; a black square with white edges and a white square with black edges will appear the same if I’m stressed. I never invented anything, discovered anything. I did write one book but I’m not thrilled with my English lanugage publisher (long story).

                      But our kids grew up happy and knew they were loved; they both have happy marriages and their kids are happy too. And that is a success, a great success, although one not valued in today’s western society, alas.

                  3. You’ve really covered my feelings about the whole marriage and family in your last few comments. And since I’m also a Latter-day Saint, I get the pressure there.

                    1. Thanks. 🙂 (Alas, the other feelings of failure have stemmed from being a Latter Day Saint woman and not having a husband/children. However, I’ve been *really* grateful the last few years for what the church leaders have had to say to us Singletons, ie, that not having spouse/kids does NOT diminish our value, and that it’s time we all stop looking at it that way.)

        3. Gifted meant for a few years in JHS I got to take a few classes that were not dog slow. But in HS there was no gifted track per se – they used those funds for classes like AP English, so I took those.

          I had eventually taken the “office aide” course and snuck a look at my file, so I actually know what my scores were from my IQ testing way back in second grade.

          Being ahead of the pace all the way through public school in the end just meant I had assembled near-zero study skills by HS graduation, which almost sunk me the first couple years exposed the faster pace of college. I managed to figure it out, but it was not pretty for a while there, and very well reinforced the “you don’t get to cruise through forever” lesson.

          1. Um. In spades. My overall GPA sits at around 3.5-ish. My Forestry GPA, 210 hours, *2.33 … do you realize what kind of grades it takes for 110 hours to pull a GPA from 2.33 to 3.5? All because I coasted through HS. Of coarse college was going to be easy … Um, no. Obviously I figured out to be at the top of a bell curve, or screw it up, YMMV. But dang.

            * My grades jumped from “C”‘s once classes hit the “Now that we’ve ran off the ‘C’ and ‘D’ students, everything is graded on straight percentages, no more bell curve.” At least in the Forestry department classes. I think I’ve mentioned I was too stubborn to quit.

            1. I eventually figured out that my challenging out of all the lower division English required classes due to my AP English test score ended up nuking my lower division GPA – all those writing-heavy classes that I would have aced I skipped, so they contributed nada to the math-heavy engineering school 6am-calculus-class freshman class schedule GPA.

              Later in my career I interviewed engineering grads from schools where an entire annual cohort in a degree program got assigned a set class sequence of courses together in lockstep. That would have been a vastly different experience than mine, where getting in a specific class session depended on the students priority by year, so when I most needed prerequisites or general-ed junk to proceed in my major as a sophomore my priority was the lowest – and it was all done in person on signup day in one of the gyms, clutching your punch cards and repeatedly having to sign up for the wait list hoping enough seated students dropped.

              And even in California we had to walk to class barefoot in the snow, uphill both to and from, during the blizzards.

              1. I dealt with punch cards too.

                First degree pretty much took classes as undergrad on scheduled. Frustrating only a couple of degree classes available to undergrads the first two years. Then second two years, OMG if you got out of sequence, or had a conflict. There were classes that were only offered Fall or Spring, and a few only offered Winter. Taking Fall Term to work start of my Jr. year did not help. FYI, it has gotten worse since then.

                Second round ran into what you did (still punch card FYI). But I’d already done all the undergrad non-degree university requirements. Further complicated working full time, taking one class a term. Oh, well, had to get those 6 prerequisite math classes done 18 months straight (included summers). When I finally got to the Computer Science higher undergrad level, it’s not like I had an backup class option. Didn’t need anything else. Someone said “well that is when you work on your minor’s class requirement” … I didn’t have a minor requirement, or rather my “minor” was my prior degree.

                Our son spent summers in class, and an extra year, all because of inability to get classes only offered on a specific schedule with no alternatives. He wasn’t the only one. It was a common complaint passed on by parents of HS classmates, and his cousins, attending local universities (a problem at both University of Oregon, Western Washington, and Oregon State; son went to OSU).

              2. I made the same mistake when I was excused by examination from 8 courses on entering college at age 16. I could have aced those courses without opening a book but instead I got courses that I didn’t know much about, so I would have had to have spent some time studying. Since I didn’t do that, I barely graduated, but I did have the most positive social interaction I’ve ever had in my life, which may have saved me from serious emotional harm.

              3. This (priority determination for class admission) is the sort of information that is critical knowledge for applicants to a school and which is nearly impossible to gain. Even if you ask during application/admissions they’ll likely lie to you and later declare that such policies are changeable at will for the school.

                Daughtorial Unit got a second major idling around her college waiting for a necessary class to be available again in sequence; the first & second courses of a particular unit were offered simultaneously every third year. They were required to be taken sequentially instead of simultaneously but nobody addressed that during the intake process.

    3. So, you’re as high IQ as older son.
      Who is very happy the circumstances of pregnancy makes him “retarded.”
      “Otherwise, I’d be like my brother, poor bastard.”
      I won’t say he’s wrong.

      1. “Otherwise, I’d be like my brother, poor bastard.” This made me laugh; it’s such a sibling thing to say!

  14. given too much power human leaders try to make people conform … they try very hard to bend you to their will … but at a certain point when too many people are non-conformist, in order to maintain THEIR power, they stop trying and just start shooting/gassing/hacking the non-conformists …

  15. My wife and I are both former members of Mensa. It was a truism at most Mensa gatherings that IQ was primarily a measure of how well you did on IQ tests. In any case, while my IQ is supposedly up in the genius range, hers is just ridiculous. On the test where I scored 153, she scored 170+, aka we don’t know how smart she is – this test isn’t hard enough to measure her IQ. So when she had trouble with a basic stat course in nursing school, I was puzzled. I live and die with stats in my job, and have taught basic stats, with good success, but I was having trouble coaching her, to our mutual frustration. Then it came to me. The concepts were so intuitively clear to her, things like p value, confidence level, etc., that she was having trouble with the formalisms. Once I could show her that the course was following a winding road down one mountain, and then up to the next peak, where she was just leaping from peak to peak, she easily aced it.

    1. I spent years assuming that I would never be very good at maths because I couldn’t grasp the rate of change concept in calculus. How do you have a rate of change at a single point? And everyone kept telling me how easy it was. It’s not easy if it makes no sense.

      35 years later, I took an advanced algebra class (15 years of uni, 2 undergrad and 2 grad degrees, I’d taken no math since high school, and this place wouldn’t let me skip it like all the others) and it finally made sense, as the slope of the tangent to the curve at that point. I have no idea why my math teacher, the text book, and neither of my parents thought to try to explain it that way.

      Now if I’m still here when I get old enough to audit classes at the local colleges for free I’ll have to take a few more math classes to see if it’s really as basic as that. And to keep my brain from freezing up.

      1. Heh. I think that were I to go back to school (not gonna happen what with the lunacy infecting the unis), knowing NOW that I truly *do* see numbers wrong/jumbled/etc…I’d do a heck of a lot better in math. Well. That and so long as I had a good instructor (which, alas, are rare)

        1. The guy teaching the advanced math at the local community college where I was doing my first accounting degree (’14-’16) was great. I actually asked him flat out after that session if that h was the rate of change in calculus and he seemed quite pleased that I’d figured that out. As I said, if the masking idiocy ever goes away and we’re still here, I definitely want to take more classes from him if he’s still there.

          1. What hurt me in Math was English as second language instructors. Muddled through pre calculus, first term calculus, the linear math (did way better here). Then when went back for programming had to take Discrete Math (one of which was Linear Math by another name, sigh), which required ALL 3 calculus levels, plus two graduate level math classes. All required before I could take the 6 computer classes … more math than computer classes!!! At one class per term! It’d been 10 years, so I started back at first term calculus. Wow. Not just a 10 year difference. But the math professors and TA’s spoke English as their first language and had no accent. Suddenly Math was Fun, again, like it had been in HS. I had to work at it, but it was FUN. I mean the first round of professors probably were just horrible math instructors, accents aside, but dang it, not understanding what they were saying sure didn’t help … I’m also not one to retain upper math without using it regularly. Standard, algebraic, most areas, no problem. Calculus, or matrix math now, not so much.

            1. That sounds like a geology prof I had once. I think he did really know the subject, certainly well enough for the level of the course, but his English needed a lot of work. Thank heavens it wasn’t my major and we had a good section TA.

              I’ve had some great ESL teachers to, though having my first semester German instructor be Icelandic and the second semester Dutch probably had an interesting effect upon my accent…

              1. Doesn’t help that I have trouble with ESL accents, period. Frustrating. Even work environment. All I could say of our French or Spanish counterparts at one job environment was that their English was a whole lot better than my French or Spanish … I don’t speak either.

                At the time I was having problems at college, I never blamed anyone except me. Still don’t. If I’d had recognized the problem then, I could have figured out how to work around it, maybe. There was also a component of I can do this myself. Dang kid anyway. Second time around? I was a pest until I understood the math. Plus I always found a small group I could work with for homework sessions. This setup sessions where I could learn it, get tutored if needed, and set me up (usually) to be a tutor too. Learn, Practice, Teach.

            2. I did have to drop a math class once upon a time because the instructor spoke English so poorly that there was no way I could have survived a subject I was already having issues with.

              1. Part of the trouble that younger son got into, is that he didn’t realize he COULD (i.e. that we wouldn’t be upset at) drop classes. And so many STEM professors have accents. Which he doesn’t understand AT ALL.

                1. Bless him, that had to suck.

                  I can do accents, even somewhat heavy ones. What I can’t do is completely garbled syntax/grammar ON TOP of a heavy accent, sigh.

                  And let’s face it: even some of the English language accents get pretty incomprehensible. ::eyes some Scots/Welsh folk speaking at full-speed::

                2. Part of the trouble that younger son got into, is that he didn’t realize he COULD (i.e. that we wouldn’t be upset at) drop classes.

                  I might have had that problem too. Complicated by if I had dropped classes I’d have heard “See you can’t do this career!” Or so I thought. Probably not. Tell that to my 17 & 18 year old self!!! Plus trying to do a 4 year program that took most 5 years, in 4 years, plus working, did not help.

                  Son had a similar problem, both with accents, and dropping classes, when the professor was a bad fit (it MATTERS). Sometimes one just has to power through. But sometimes one shouldn’t.

                3. many STEM professors have accents.

                  Teaching math and science appears to be one of those jobs Americans are not willing to do.

                  1. Consider the pay, not surprising.

                    Like drug dealing and Hollywood, the big bucks of the superstars means that the low level folks are mostly paid in hope.

                    1. There is also the likelihood that any American understanding math sufficiently to teach it can probably earn more money (or at least the equivalent money) doing that math … which is probably more rewarding than telling little Jenny’s mother that you don’t care how many hours Jenny put in on her homework, she is still getting graded according to her ability to perform the assigned problems.

                      “I certainly appreciate the intricate illustrations of her problem sheet but, unfortunately, she completed not ONE single problem correctly.”

                  2. Or, those actually competent in subjects where there are objective standards and definite wrong answers either can’t endure the faculty environment, or the ‘ethnic studies’ professors won’t tolerate their ‘racist’ insistence that facts exist independent of how you ‘feel’ about them.
                    Jordan Peterson: “If I told you to cook in the bathroom and shit in the kitchen, that would be a new idea. Doesn’t make it a good one.”

        2. This is me. Once I figured I was scrambling the numbers things became much easier, and the kids and I evolved strategies to prevent the same issue marring their lives.

      2. “I spent years assuming that I would never be very good at maths because I couldn’t grasp the rate of change concept in calculus. How do you have a rate of change at a single point? And everyone kept telling me how easy it was. It’s not easy if it makes no sense”…there was a similar comment from the late Neptunus Lex, USN captain and fighter/attack pilot and an outstanding blogger.

        “It was not until my junior year at the Naval Academy, when we started to do differential equations, that the light came on. Eureka! Drop a wrench from orbit, and over time it would accelerate at a determinable pace, up until the moment when it entered the atmosphere, where friction would impede the rate of acceleration at an increasingly greater rate (based on air density, interpolated over a changing altitude) and that wrench struck someone’s head at a certain velocity, that any of this applied in the real word. By then it was too late, I was too far gone, and an opportunity was lost.”

        1. Yep. Nearly 40 years too late for me. Though it made it easier for me to explain to the maths teacher why I didn’t want to go on to do a pure maths degree at uni. (I also hated doing proofs.)

        2. I did well in math in HS and didn;t learn to study. Calc I and II were medium horrible. I could do the differentiation/slope, but integration was a mess. The Diffie-Q course was miserable, but three months later, we started usinf it in EE classes. Then, a barely OK turned reasonably good. Seems I was 3 months gestation time to get the concepts. The text didn’t help, either.

          Senior year, I took a complex variable course to show myself I could get it at the class rate. Did it.

          Grad math was OK, would have been better if I had my hearing issues diagnosed/corrected earlier. I still don’t handle Asian accents well, but that’s kind of moot here in flyoverland.

      3. They didn’t explain it that way because neither the textbook writers nor the teachers actually understood it; they were just regurgitating what they’d been taught.

  16. Sarah, I suspect you’d have broken your family with time out rather than the other way around.

    You see, time out is time when you get to think without them bothering you! You’re ‘punished’ by being set in a corner and left alone. If your folks are particularly oblivious (or clever) they send you to your room.

    Sure, send me to my room. Please. All the books, no interuptions with “Holly, do you . . .?” No, I’m not sorry, are you kidding me?

    1. This is where knowing your kids becomes very important. For my oldest brother time outs were the worst form of psychological torture ever devised. He would agree to -anything- to get out of a time out. Next oldest brother and myself spent so much time in our own heads that time outs would have had zero effect, since we could happily sit in the corner and dream up worlds without number and people to have adventures on them until bed time and beyond.

      1. My parents took away the power cords for Sib’s electronics, then sent Sib to bed early. All those boxes, and no juice . . . Worked very well.

      2. Yeah. Mine tried to ground me a few times from books. that never lasted long, because THEY would have found it tortuous, and caved, and anyway they knew I had books squirreled away all over the house…because they did too…

    2. My parents never did it. We never did it.
      Older son needed spanking. I know that sounds awful, but he’d charge ahead giggling, and you couldn’t distract him. He’d wait till your back was turned and go back to melting his crayons on the stove or whatever.
      Spank him once, and he’d move off and go do something else.
      His brother, OTOH is SUPER ADHD. So if you could find something shiny to wave in front of his face, he’d follow that.
      ….. which is how he ended up reading Bradbury before 10 and solving adult-level mathematical puzzles….

      1. Sarah, I am old enough and experienced enough to know that spanking isn’t awful. I have helped raise more than a dozen kids now and some of them needed a swat, just to get their attention. Some of them just needed a stern look and a shaken finger. It sounds like you knew exactly what your kids needed. It’s the people who treat all kids as identical and try to make a single approach into a one-size-fits-none solution who screw things up by the numbers. Will the kid listen if you pull their hand away from the stove and say, ‘careful, honey. Hot!’ Or do you need to let them reach up there and learn for themselves?

        And this all comes back around to your point that people are not widgets and don’t all react the same way to the same circumstances or stimuli.

        1. Yep. That was older son. He needed a couple of swats on the behind.
          I’ll note that if I was really angry at him, I made it a point of NOT touching him. both times that happened, though, he was terrified.

        2. HEAR HEAR, yes, 100% to all of that

          I swear, I think parents are just 100% convinced all the time that they’re doing everything wrong and ruining their children FOREVER that they’re willing to seize upon darn near any rule to give themselves assurance that they really can’t be THAT bad. (I’ve got a… relative of a friend? who seems to have seized on *so long as the child is still rearward facing*, clearly she cares, clearly she’s not doing the worst job. Said child was five when they moved out of state and I lost contact.)

          Also a lot of this brilliant skycastle creation Our Hostess has spent a great deal of time ripping apart. Violence is caused by experience of violence, and thus we can make the world peaceful by removing any semblance of physical force! Any conflict with reality means that you’re not interpreting reality correctly.


            1. So that’s why the “progressive” movement is so dehumanizing! If violence is *always* wrong, AND it’s part of the human condition, the only way to remove it from society is to remove humanity from all the humans. Perfectly logical (except for the part where the process inevitably gets violent…but let’s not talk about that).

        3. We never had to use either swats or timeout for our son, at least no timeouts at home. Did have a couple of meltdowns in the store. We didn’t leave. Someone asked why not. Answer. “That is what he wants. He is not in control. I am not having a conversation with a 2 year old, and lose.”

          They did use timeouts in daycare. Couple of cute baby/toddler stories where the 3 musketeers (same age, within days) where one would get put on timeout the other two would go sit and wait out the timeout, with the inflicted. Wish we’d stayed in contact with the families, but it wasn’t to be. Then too, our son would get overwhelmed and put himself on timeout. When ready, after a short period, would rejoin.

      2. When the Daughtorial Unit was small all the Best Practices declared TIME OUT the route to a happy, fulfilled child.

        It not only didn’t work with the D.U., the battles to get her into the damned TO Chair were epic EPIC. The fallacy in the TO theory was that a disobedient child would obey instructions to go to the chair. By the time we wrestled manhandled D.U. into the chair the escalation it entailed exceeded any any benefit from having a child sitting contemplating the tyrannical, of her parents.

        Spanking was even worse, creating such furor and outrage that the cats were so embarrassed they meekly submitted to baths. If it had been effective I swear we’d have beaten her bloody and faced down the Child Protective Services scolds – but it didn’t work.

        What WAS effective was reasoning with her. By which I mean subjecting her to long boring lectures that would have made Fidel gasp, “Senor, senora, you lecture that child too long.”

        Boredom – it’s what’s for punishment.

        1. For us it was “Consequences”. Ranging from irritating for us, and harsh to the kid. We also never, ever, failed to follow through. Which meant we never warned something we couldn’t or weren’t willing to follow through on … not 100% true, but by then the kid was a *believer.

          Already mentioned the tantrum at the store. Throw a tantrum and you don’t get what you want that you are throwing a tantrum for, no matter how easy it would be to give in to. Fall rollerblading down the “ramp at the school” (not handicapped sidewalk ramps, a ramp otherwise known as the school slide). Compression fracture of forearm … there goes Fall Little League and a chance for playing on the team in the Spring. Harsh? Yes. But not a punishment we put on him. He couldn’t play baseball with his arm in a brace and sling. Consequences. The other part of the punishment was he had to explain when someone asked “what happened?” (Okay, we’re not nice.) Compared to when, a year later, he had the same type injury to his other forearm, only this time he wasn’t doing something stupid. Riding his bike, in a reasonable location, when his front tire snared something (a rock, stick on path) that caused it to stop unexpectedly. We learned what we needed to that would allow him to participate in Fall Flag Football, even with his arm in the same splint and sling. If he couldn’t have played, still harsh consequence (life isn’t fair?), but we’d have found an alternative option. Answer to “what happened” became “Learned physics lesson. Bike stops abruptly. Rider doesn’t.”

          * When he hit middle, & high, school: 1) starting riding the bus – “If you miss the bus, you are walking to school.” 2) “if you cut classes, mom will go to class with you … or will send Grandma or Great-Grandma, and they will be in their house dresses, with curlers.” He never tested us. Don’t know what the insurance agent said to him after he had to watch the driving safety video, but the kid is almost 32 and hasn’t even had a driving violation ticket, let alone an accident. The damage to his car when it was sitting parked at home was not his fault.

  17. Thanks, Sarah.

    I only learned I was living as someone else about two years ago now. Most of the foundation on which I built that false life has been eroded. My understanding of IQ just went down the stairs with the rest of the junk. Hallelujah.

    It will be fun to have a talk about all this when that time comes. I’ll bring the Midleton.

    1. Keep in mind that being slow is only a handicap in college/measured time tests.
      There are people who come to the answer slower, but are way more accurate.
      And boy, do I GET you. You see, I thought I was retarded because my brother memorized ALL SORTS OF THINGS I didn’t. So he was smarter.
      Turns out I was eidetic or nearly so. I am also severely ADD, which means…. you can’t remember what you neer heard because you were chasing mental rabbits, so–

      1. Sometimes, people learn slowly not because they are incapable, but because they don’t know *anything* until they know *everything* about a subject. It’s something about really needing to understand something from all the way from first principles to application in order to be able to regurgitate it for a test.

        1. I had something like that problem with maths, stuff didn’t “click” until I had to apply it to the next level stuff.

      2. You see me! 🙂

        Gosh, this helps. You’ve clarified a lot for me.

        1. I have some little attention issues that get in the way of being able to do some stuff that it would be helpful to do well at.

          Example, manual machine tools. I don’t pay attention to the lathe or the mill well enough to be a good machinist. I had an opportunity to learn, and it would have opened some doors to me.

          In theory, I could just spend time on CNC machine tools, and get a job working with those. In practice, I don’t trust myself not to stop paying attention. If I fade out, and don’t catch a problem in time, I waste the material, ruin the tooling, or both. I have learned some frustrating lessons trying.

          Instead, I try to find work where they can wait for me to figure out if I have really done things correctly, and fix it if I haven’t. That has been a very challenging journey.

          There are variations in personal ability that are really helpful to understand.

          I’m approaching a dozen years of hard lessons in that, /after/ I thought I had everything sorted out with training, and merely needed to find any old position, and start work. (*Hahahahaha.* ‘No.’)

          And that is only that part of the mistakes which I am willing to share in public. Catch me in a private somewhere, and there is a lot more to chuckle over. Assumptions I should have known better than make led me astray, along side blind trust in standardized tests. Lots of wasted time and energy.

          And the core theory, that I have something to offer in this broad area, is probably sound. If it isn’t, I am actively doubling down on some of the same mistakes. 🙂

          I would have forever regretted not trying this if I had decided not to, so these years of attempt, if they fail, are the price I pay for not regretting the thing I didn’t do. If I try for longer than I should, it is because I am stubborn, and need a 2 by 4 to understand very simple things.

          1. “I’m approaching a dozen years of hard lessons in that, /after/ I thought I had everything sorted out with training, and merely needed to find any old position, and start work. (*Hahahahaha.* ‘No.’)”

            It’s like we’ve walked parallel paths. Trying to force myself into “any old position” for the thousandth time in my life finally didn’t work. At all.

            What a blessing truth is, though, however hard-won.

            I only hit the crash and burn a couple of years ago this part March. I went to a conference focused on temperament, which required the test beforehand in order to be sorted into the table according to your strongest type. I sat all day at a table with people who shared my work experience but not my heart. It felt awful.

            So much more to talk about. I’ll wait till it’s in person. 🙂

  18. Creativity, inventiveness and IQ are all very different traits. Some of the most creative and inventive people I’ve met over the years never went to college and in one case never graduated high school.

      1. A guy who seemed to be smarter than me in HS flunked out of college, freshman year, first semester. My second semester was rough because reasons. There’s never a good time to lose a parent, (barring horrific corner cases) but that one was a doozy.

        1. I’ve mentioned him before. Our top HS student flunked out of school freshman year … don’t know which term. Joined the Army. Our 20th Class reunion he was finishing up his 4th PHd, an officer (Colonel I think) stationed in DC (I think … hey our 50th is close, that was a long, long, time ago).

  19. A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow. – Kay, MIB.

      1. People _can be_ dumb, panicky animals. Or they can be smart and vengeful. MIB really, really needed a sequel about the wrath of the electorate.

  20. AFAIK IQ has to do with ability manipulate abstractions. The abstractions may or may not map to anything real.

    “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”

  21. Whenever I hit a “Gee, I wonder why people do that” I think about the hunter-gatherer bands – what was selected for as a survival advantage over the millions of years of pretty-much-the-same ‘gather shellfish at the beach and watch out for the leopard’ in tiny bands of protohumans is not something that a few thousand years of reading or a few hundred of firearms or a few tens of telephone and radio and computers can possibly change.

    There’s stuff hardwired in to hoomun brains that worked great for “get on the good side of whoever is dominant in the band while not getting eaten by a leopard” that is utterly useless in the modern world, but that wiring is still in there.

    It’s amazing we do as well as we do – and that’s probably because of those weirdos who do well on IQ tests, who can figure out different patterns, or new patterns when things change.

    1. “d that’s probably because of those weirdos who do well on IQ tests, who can figure out different patterns, or new patterns when things change.”
      OR the weirdos who don’t DO well on the IQ tests.
      Look, seriously, it correlates very poorly to creativity and innovation.

      1. Agreed – On a long enough time scale conformity kills, with all of your remaining genotype living in the dwindling patch of old jungle like the lowland gorillas.

        Its the outliers and different ones and weirdos that tried eating that other critter or gathering that other plant or wandered around enough to already know the safe way over the don’t-go-there hills who were the ones that allowed a displaced band to survive change.

      2. One could argue that a box of plain old ordinary Legos (not all the fancy specialty ones to make an X-Wing fighter or Joe Biden’s portrait) is a better evaluation tool for IQ.

        1. I would argue that while that could be a useful test, it’s measuring something quite different than IQ.
          Some high IQ people have decent design/construction skills (raises hand), many have none. And while I can manage most home repairs, I am not nearly as skilled as a lot of tradesmen who wouldn’t have graduated high school without Vo-Tech.

  22. ” “Man” stands for all humans. Don’t like it? Too bad, so sad.”

    Give it another year or two and the acceptable word will be “Mxn”.

  23. And Foxfier notwithstanding, (Well done, that Fox. We have great hopes for the kits.)

    I couldn’t have done it without my Elf……

  24. Not the warriors, but the intellectual ancestors of the west. If Shakespeare left any descendants who are still around with us, they’re illegitimate and never recorded. DaVinci? Well, ditto, if he felt experimental once in a while. Though probably not, he’d have recorded it, somehow.

    That may be changing– for the same reason that my grandfather was an only, but got a pretty good haul of kids; he found a Keeper, and things were prosperous enough that having the head half in something Really Interesting didn’t mean they starved.

    When I was a kid, you’d have the Fanatic and their Helper (football, farming, geeky stuff– whatever). The Helper was at least willing to act interested, but had other priorities, such as “make sure the Fanatic remembers to eat, and goes to work on time.”

    Now, you get a lot of geek couples, because there’s enough wiggle room in even a rather young person’s resources to be ABLE to, oh, spend 10 hours a week on a video game.

    Which means you don’t have to commit to either Family, or The Intellectual Life. You still have to work your butt off, but you CAN have kids and have the time to do, oh, research on middle ages fore-arm guards, because that’s easy, now. (Actual example from today. Friend wondered if an actor was wearing them backwards. Short version: only if they were archery guards, but they’re pretty clearly Look Cool rather than functional, anyways. Took me all of like three minutes, because I knew some of the right words.)

  25. IQ doesn’t determine success or failure in life, but it can determine success or failure in particular fields. Someone with an 85 IQ could become a great salesman or business owner, especially if possessed with great people skills. But success as a physicist or nuclear engineer? Not going to happen. Now a 140 IQ won’t guarantee success as a physicist or nuclear engineer- but it does increase the likelihood of success in those fields. Combined with people skills- which can be learned, someone with a 140 IQ can become a great salesman or business owner…

    Average group IQ also means things. Many of the young idealists who head off to Africa with grandiose thought of helping the people there come back somewhat convinced that it’s a useless endeavor. Especially if they return to show others what they did. “We helped a village dig a well so they have clean water!” And they go back and people have been throwing trash down the well ever since the aid team left. Or they’ve installed a solar array with batteries to provide light to the village- and come back and the copper wire has all been stripped out and sold.

    In the USA and most of Europe- engineers go travelling down the tracks of rarely used sidings and branch lines with confidence the tracks are there. Not so in Africa and Asia. They proceed slowly so they can stop in time if they see the track has been torn up and sold for scrap.

    A problem with electrification in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s not enough power generated for all areas to get power 24/7, so power is rotated. Well, if the lines aren’t electrified, the wire is sometimes stolen during the downtime. Average IQ Iraq- 87, Afghanistan, 84. On one site. Differs slightly on others, but below 90 on all of them.

    And speaking of third world conditions like that- that is now occurring in inner city Detroit and other USA inner city areas with lighting areas. During daytime, wires are torn out of conduits. Low IQ? Or high criminality? Or are they correlated? My rural town has two lighting districts. The lights come on every night as expected, as they should. Even vacant houses are safe here- for a while. If it gets a condemned symbol on the front door- no telling what’s going to happen next. Whether it’s in the village area or the middle of nowhere, which encompasses much of the town. I don’t know who does the vandalism, but there’s never a shortage of vandals.

    South Africa once had a fairly modern well oiled electrical system. Then- they kicked out the whites running it. Average IQ South Africa- about 70. Grid reliability has been going downhill for years.

    Individual success in any field is determined by a number of things- and field dependent- IQ is one of those things. Long term societal success by culture and IQ. And they seem to go hand in hand.

    BTW- I don’t believe the IQ numbers from China and North Korea. Why? Both countries have a large peasant population. As does South Korea. They don’t test the lower classes. If you only test those that are likely to score higher- you’re going to have higher scores. High IQ China is known for massive modern engineering failures. We have had a few smaller affirmative action engineering failures in the USA, such as the Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse.

    1. Are you for real? Seriously?
      I guess you’re living in such a Marxist-poluted world it’s got in your head.
      Criminality has NOTHING to do with IQ. I mean, it’s not even on the same Axis. This is like some bizarre Victorian (or Marxist) idea that the problem of criminality was the lack of education. Or inbreeding. Or whatever. Or of course, for Marxists “poverty.”
      Criminality is on a completely different personality axis.
      Now it has a ton to do with CULTURE, but that has nothing to do with IQ or for that matter African ancestry. That is ALSO crazy cakes, honestly. Most European cities that experienced similar devolution (Usually do to socialism) would suffer the same problems.
      Detroit has become a low-trust society. Low trust societies aren’t NECESSARILY criminal, but those with criminal impulses/personality are encouraged to act out in them.
      The problems in Africa have to do with tribalism, which looks a bit like gang culture, but is just another form of “low trust society” (Though tribal culture, in a halfway healthy tribe is preferable to gang culture.)

        1. I allus lacked the Chad Mitchell Trio

          and the fact they were not afraid to call out Librul hyperocrisy.

        2. “… cause there’s a meetin’ here tonight! There’s a meetin’ here tonight! I know you by your friendly face there’s a meetin’ here tonight!”

          I still love them all, especially the Limeliters because they were funny and irreverent and made me laugh.

  26. A good place as any to say that “Man” above stands for “Human” but “Human” does not sound as good as “Man” and that by ancient and accepted linguistic tradition of our people

    Ancient MATRIARCHAL tradition of our people. In older forms of our language, there were three terms: man for humans in general, woman for female humans, and werman for male humans.

    Women wanted to strip the unique identity of men by transitioning the werman to wereman and then to various weres such as werewolves, a totem of their hatred for masculinity expressed by reducing it to its worst features which they now call toxic masculinity. To escape from this attack wermen had to become just men, generic humans stripped of their uniquely masculine traits.

    1. Which probably explains the nasty look I once got from a wo-person at the pistol range. I was doing my thing, in a Victorian-style dress, then tidied up, and swept up my brass (and some of hers. Her semi-auto tossed brass a bit wide, as they tend to do). When the RSO thanked me, I smiled and said, “You’re very welcome, sir.” I could feel her glaring at me. Didn’t bother me at all.

  27. Sometimes I wish I could trade intelligence for emotional stability. Unfortunately I think it would end up being a monkey’s paw type wish.

    1. Hmmmm… A bit less wattage for a better control gauge? I’d go for that as long as the range wasn’t changed.

      I think the emotion is part of what makes up one’s self. But a better ability to control their expression would be choice.

  28. Hey– I can’t ride a bicycle or balance on a skateboard, but when I was tested I had great balance. Now that is a conundrum. Put me on a boat and I walk straight. Make me walk a straight line and I trip and fall. 🙂

    I also can’t tell you what direction I am facing unless I think about it … I have to remember where the sun was in the morning before I can tell you. So it is a mental exercise every time.

    As for my good qualities? I’m Odd. I’m Creative (always been writing something). Oh yea– the other thing was I am an Odd in a family of Odds. Even my two sisters wouldn’t sit next to me when we went to the church dances. If someone asked if we were sisters, they would tell them that I was a distant cousin. Yep- we are NOT close still. ha– I laugh now…

  29. I tested high when I was in grade school, but my parents refused to tell me and then life happened. The first time I had to study was when I joined the Navy and went through the accelerated electronics course. Once I got the hang of it, I ended up in the top of my class. However, I didn’t take an IQ test later until I was sick and on chemo and prednisone. I don’t know how accurate the test was, but I took it because I could feel my brain shed intelligence day by day. It reassured me that I was still above average. It took five years off prednisone before I felt my brain respond to remembering. At my worst (100 mg pred), I couldn’t read a sentence and remember it. It took two years to start writing again when I was weaned from 100 to 20 mg. Even then, my brain wasn’t good.

    I worked hard to get some brain power back. I’m pleased I was finally able to write. The blessing (and curse) from the meds– new life– but it also stopped me from my adventures… and I had to do something else with my brain. Yes, I get bored easily when I am well. Writing and reading stories keeps my mind active.

    I sometimes miss my brain– especially when I re-read quantum mechanics. I can’t quite grasp is like I did before chemo/prednisone.

  30. I’ve always thought that it should be STQ – Survive and Thrive Quotient. Still highly subjective, but at least more determinable through observation of the subject.

    (I’d be about in the middle there, maybe slightly above, but not much.)

    1. dear me– if there was an STQ I’d be high and survive.. I’m not sure about the thrive because it depends on what you mean by thrive… doesn’t it…

  31. Some of us didn’t have to learn to study until some ridiculous level of education, like college.

    In North Carolina a few decades back some clever parent got the state to recognize that “Extreme Giftedness” was a disability, one requiring special classes to avoid just the type of problems you identify. Putting such students in ordinary classrooms was the intellectual equivalent of putting a 6’4″, 225-lb kid on the Jr. High football team’s front line. It does the “gifted” student no good, denying the challenges which enable progress, and harms the “normal” for the grade kids.

    Of course, over the subsequent three=-plus decades the school systems and the parents who think their kids are smart have whittled away at the “privileges” of kids who “will do fine without special attention.” Never mind that this wastes their gifts, often causing them to get frustrated when eventually reaching that level at which their failure to learn studying skills produces failure and dropping out. That’s just helping those “smart” kids who learned to work back in k-6.

    Madness… Madness

    1. That’s what Mr. Brown, my grade school Special Ed teacher did.

      Basically, the two or three who were “gifted” were no trouble as long as we were allowed to check out anything we wanted (with parental limits) at the high school library each week, no book limit, and we could ask for help if we needed it.

      The kids who needed special teaching didn’t get crud from us, which made them feel better, too. (From adult viewpoint.)

  32. I’m amazed so many people know their IQ number. I don’t.

    Lousy at trying to retain lots of facts unless I’m extremely interested in the subject.
    Great at looking at the big picture and condensing it down to thinkable size.

    Started school in Engineering, because people said I should. Hated it, switched to Business as it could lead to several roads and I didn’t know what else to take.

    When I was already on the financial treadmill of life, I took some aptitude and interest tests that told me I should be a psychotherapist. It ranked Business dead last. So, I spent my entire working life exactly where I didn’t belong. I always wished I was one of those people who knew exactly what they wanted to do as their “career”.

    My offspring is “gifted”, creative, but bipolar. Sigh.

    1. > aptitude tests … psychotherapist.

      There was probably a shortage of shrinks at the time. When I was in school they kept telling me I should be a forest ranger. Which was pretty close to the bottom of any list I might come up with. Much later, I found they were pushing “forest ranger” on just about everybody…

      1. ound they were pushing “forest ranger” on just about everybody…

        Oh that is what happened. 🙂 Then why when I actually tried that route, just about everyone told me “You’re a girl, you can’t do that!” 🙂 I liked being in the woods. There were times I was muttering “I want to be here. Dang it!” Usually when I was soaked to the skin and cold to the bone (in adequate clothing and outerwear, M O N E Y, or lack of, for decent outerwear). Must admit when I was programming there were times I was glad I was forced into an office … when it was a scorching 95 degrees or higher, or freezing rain was falling.

  33. So what am I saying? Don’t we have some idea of how smart people are?

    That would require we first be able to define “smart.” The idea that we can employ a one-dimensional measurement, such as IQ, seems idiotic. Smart can mean Quick, it can mean Deep, it can mean Broad and it can mean several additional dimensions we don’t even know to measure in.

    One constant measurement for Smart should include how much of a pain in the [butt] a person can be.

  34. Aptitude tests can be interesting. I took an aptitude test in grade school which was based on matching your interests as shown on several hundred vague questions with the same tests taken by people in many different jobs. I matched best with the answer is given by lawyers, park rangers, performing musicians and librarians. I eventually went to work as a corporate lawyer at a manufacturing/software concern. For vacations I like to camp. I also collect music. I’ve been happy doing this, but work related stress Caused problems that lead to a psychiatric hospitalization. I am now happy that I’m done with school and I’m happy I’m retired from work. Walks in nature, reading books and following this blog give me pleasure. Family, with 3 kids, gives me purpose. I am slowed down, though, by medications caused by six level spinal fusion.

    1. Yes, but they told me I should be a park ranger or a dance instructor.
      I HATE camping and in genera raw nature. And I can’t walk without tripping on my own feet.

      1. A good friend said her idea of camping is bad room service. I camped a lot when young, and the love of nature stuck with me.

        1. My idea of camping is Embassy Suites.
          I grew up in the middle of nature. I find it dangerous if you’re out there alone, inconvenient to spend the night in, and generally a pain. The lack of bathrooms is the last straw.
          I DO love nature, provided there’s a bathroom available.

          1. That’s a good standard. E. Suites are always a good place to stay. Also, you grew up in the midst of nature. I grew up among suburban homes, but nature was one block away by going down the bluff to Lake Michigan. At the wooded lakefront people were rare and nothing was dangerous. Cities are more dangerous. For camping, I believe in dry comfort, and it has worked.

              1. The lake here is great, but it has not warmed up enough yet. In a month…..

              2. Only 70-odd million years from now there was oceanfront property in Colorado. But you’re only a little late, by geological time.

          2. What you want is one of those Northern Italy or Cottswald hikes, where you leave at a comfortable time in the morning, amble to the next Scenic Ruin for a light picnic, walk a bit further to the next village for lunch and a leisurely stroll out of town, until the next Scenic bit for ora de cafe and a nap under the sky, then a light doddle to the village inn (where your luggage is waiting) and supper by the fire with books and wine and conversation after.

            Now *that’s hiking.

            1. I got a kick out of someone’s idea of backpacking. Carry light day packs with rain gear, water, and a few JIC emergency supplies. All other gear is packed on horses or mules, and a guide deals with them, including being ahead enough later afternoon so that tents are setup and dinner is ready when they get to camp. I mean they could go 10 – 12 miles a day that way. Then tells horror story on how the party got caught in a thunderstorm after the gear had gone ahead to setup camp, and they ended up most the night separated on the trail from camp gear.

              (In my head) Um. I wish. Let’s see, last trip was 80 miles, navigated over 7 days, carrying 35#’s, fully loaded, not “emergency”, light day pack (my pack dropped to 30#’s when hubby was along to share tent, cooking supply weight, but maxed out at 35# when carried everything). Had trips where hunkering down due to thunderstorms, then just pitched camp where needed. But then the group had their shelters, bags, cooking gear, and dinner. Just made up distance the next day for the next targeted stop, or rather gradually made up distance over time to meet the extraction deadline.

              Someone else. “My spouse’s idea of rough camping is the Hilton.” (In this case the guy meant his wife, but I have also heard the same from a women who camped and her husband wouldn’t.) My quip to that was “You mean I don’t have to come camping?” I thought my husband was going to die laughing. My dad and mom later when they were told. I *get no pampering at all. I mean our solution to getting older was to make sure the backpacking tent had two doors … so one of us didn’t crawl over the other to get up in the middle of the night.

              Now car camping, must admit, for our personal, especially 2 week NP, trips, we cheated and towed our (tiny version) hotel, at least until recently. We’ll see how this spring and summer goes, if that holds.

              1. I mean to cast no shade on the wilderness camper types. The get to do things like rainbow trout out of the water 20 minutes ago and out of the pan 5. Mmmmm… Or splashing about in waterfalls onto a shallow stream. But not for me, thanks!

                1. You sound like my sisters and their spouses. 🙂 You’d never guess that the three of us girls grew up in the same household, when it comes to camping. About the only thing Hubby and I don’t do is meat hunt. Got out of the habit when coming to deer hunt meant an out of state license, and drawing for tags. We do camera hunt, but that doesn’t fill the freezer.

                  What is really hilarious is the youngest sister’s two oldest, both girls, are avid campers and hikers. They’ve done a 3 week trip to various national park with a rented camper van with 2 or 3 common HS classmates. They camp and hike two or 3 days in a national park, then spend a night in a hotel, and repeat. Camping they take turns on who sleeps in the camper van and who sleeps in the tent, with the two sister’s paring up. Last year it was Glacier, Yellowstone, and N. Cascades. 2019, the Utah parks.

                  Middle sister’s youngest did the Utah parks in 2018, with friends, but pretty sure they used hotels.

                  None of the nieces have been camping except with grandma and grandpa in their Motorhome. By then dad wasn’t hiking (stroke in ’86, oldest 3 grandchildren were born in ’89).

      2. Dance instructor? Isn’t that a guy who shoots his six-guns toward your feet?

    2. You’ve put your finger on the inherent problem of aptitude tests. Given an array of “several hundred vague questions” requiring me to choose between two items to which I am equally indifferent my default is to try to at least be consistent in my choices, preferring like options … except on my contrary days when I attempt to offset responses by balancing them against similar choices.

      But then, most tests run into problem trying to evaluate people whose reflexive response to such tests is to treat t hem as games to be decoded.

  35. Historically, it is eschewing tribalism that is weird. And assuming it is an advantage might be …. premature.

    Tribalism tends to emplace limits on how complex a civilization can become — but since the more complex a civilization is, the greater the disaster seems to be when* it collapses, perhaps tribalism is a “necessary” limiting factor?

    *Collapse, arguably, is inevitable.

  36. Humans are very difficult to measure.

    But (and I say this as a ((retired)) accountant) if you cannot measure you cannot control.

    Which tells us something about those insisting on measuring everything.

  37. I love this post. It is so delightfully meandering and weird, yet cool. ~:D

    “True liberty, true civilization begins when you accept humans aren’t widgets. And letting each human find that they can do and be the most productive they can at it.”

    Let us all bow our heads and give thanks to the Almighty for Samuel Colt, who made men equal.

  38. From what I can tell, standardized IQ tests measure one thing, and one thing alone – pattern recognition. That’s about it. Whether it’s questions like “complete the picture sequence” or “find the odd word”, the mechanism is the same – see a pattern, and either complete it or remove what doesn’t fit. Now, that’s a great skill to have for most of the STEM fields, or stuff like business and economics analysis and whatnot. But it’s not the be-all, end-all of what intellect is about. There’s also emotional intelligence and empathy – that is, recognizing other people’s emotional state and figuring out how to proceed about it.

    Or, for that matter, responding quickly to fundamentally unpredictable situations – the kind that just about every high-level business field faces every day. Because it’s one thing to have five pictures and be asked to find the odd one. It’s something completely different to have five dozen pictures, thirteen newspaper clippings, and a greasy sandwich wrap, and then being able to decide which of them even form a pattern to begin with. And it’s this ability that marks the difference between an otherwise highly intelligent but mentally unstable conspiracy theorist, and a successful businessman who doesn’t wear a tinfoil-wrapped armadillo for a hat.

    Finally, there’s also the matters of interest and feedback. It’s hardly groundbreaking to state that people would be more knowledgable and capable in fields they’re personally interested in. And any educator can tell you that proper feedback can drastically alter the consistent results from any series of tests – including intelligence, which is popularly considered to be static. I suspect this is the main driver of stereotypes such as the “smart Asians who can do math” – it’s not that they’re inherently more capable, but that their culture doesn’t consider it “nerdy” or otherwise socially detrimental to have and showcase this capability, or a personal interest to develop it further.

    1. Part of things, skill at taking an IQ instrument, or familiarity with it, can improve the results. I have heard the instruments are not really valid unless you only do a few over the course of your life, instead of taking them over and over.

      So, if you have a population that /should/ have a consistent distribution of intelligence related characteristics, as in a common culture and a common nutritional experience, etc, you have some of those test opportunities to validate the instrument, and some of them to be considered good measurements.

      If the instrument developers overlook something important, then the validation is not as good as they say it is. So certain results match a wider range of possibilities with respect to the population distribution.

      A test that tells me that I am between 0% and 20%, or 80% and 100% is so broad as to be useless, unless it is specifically measuring something obscure enough that I cannot work out a rough estimate on my own.

      I don’t have very many situations where knowing my IQ estimate specifically matters all that much.

      It is like taking the LSAT, if you do not want to become a lawyer. I have no interest in lawyering, so I could take the LSAT, but would how well or poorly I did matter to anyone?

      Exams are for selling evidence of mental qualities to bureaucracies. If you work with individuals, they can do a more specific evaluation of your qualities for their purposes.

      1. Regarding “skill at taking IQ tests.”

        I recall reading about a study in which (grade school?) students Group A were repeatedly told “How smart you are!” while Group B was consistently complimented on “How hard you must have worked!”

        In the log run the students in Group B far outperformed those in Group A by pretty much all measures, including resilience.

        1. I was thinking about that very incident when writing the part about proper feedback above. In both cases, the student receive positive feedback, but only the latter case offers positivity towards their methodology, rather than just the results. Meanwhile, the first group, as I recall, eventually began avoiding any difficult tasks, so as to maintain their outside-imposed image of being “smart”.

          The bottom line is, people aren’t just hard to measure, but the measured values themselves are too dynamic to put down. If anything, attitudes that overestimate the importance of IQ test results tend to belie an unhealthy superiority complex, that tries to frame everyone within some strict vertical hierarchy, without really producing anything of worth out of it. One would think we’re about 250 years past that idea…

          1. Yep. I can work to improve my methodology but “getting smarter” requires steps it is best to not encourage.

            They might not end well, and you might wind up getting too big for your hat.

            Bragging Rights to all who can identify the actor, the TV show and the episode

            1. OK, it’s been long enough. Episode ‘Double Helix’ from The Outer Limits.

            2. Oh, nuts, I got the wrong series. It was ‘The Sixth Finger’ in the ORIGINAL The Outer Limits.

              1. You failed to name the actor, but I assume that was a oversight as it is unlikely anybody would recognize the episode but not the base of those prosthetics.

  39. When I took aptitude tests– I was always pointed towards the sciences– mostly researcher. BUT it never took into consideration creativity. So I think aptitude tests are missing a big chunk of human qualities.

    1. The tests also don’t take in to account intuitive. To take in all the clues present, but not all the clues needed, and make the correct conclusion … but stare like a deer in headlights when asked “How did you know?”

      1. stare like a deer in headlights when asked ‘How did you know?’

        I generally found “It was obvious” served.

        Not as answer to their question but as a way of forestalling further inquiry.

        1. There are two kinds of people:
          1. Those who can reach conclusions with insufficient evidence.

          1. Nonsense, everybody can reach conclusions with insufficient evidence, or none at all. We see them do it every day.

            Reaching USEFUL conclusions, even with overwhelming evidence, is much less common.

            1. Yes, I should have been more specific. Of course it’s also a joke…

          2. By definition, if anyone can deduce the truth from the evidence, it is, in the absolute sense, sufficient.

  40. About the spatial orientation thing… The whole family is what we refer to as spatially intelligent. Not to assume any kind of superiority, but that’s our specific thing. We’re visually oriented. Gpa was a surveyor. All Mom’s generation worked in the shop. Uncles Newt and Dave were aviators (bomber crew in WWII). Aunt Chris was a painter and an architect/general contractor/interior designer when women didn’t do that because it entailed swinging a hammer. Mom was in the theatah and a photographer. Dab hand with a pencil, too. I made a career in the graphic arts at a world-class level.

    My memory of my earliest training — or maybe just the earliest that “took” — was in spatial orientation. Which way is North? Always know that. Watch the sun. The direction of light-fall. All of that. I’m attempting now to start a second career as a fine art photographer with the intention of eventually spreading out into illustration.

    Your comment that you have trouble with spatial orientation struck a chord. I’ve observed that many of … the groundlings, let’s say … have trouble with that. If I say, “do you want the north entrance?” they’ll look puzzled and ask, “Which way’s north?” Like it never occurred to them not to know. And, I must admit, it puzzles me why not? I always assume that it’s some educational deficit. Like some educrat somewhere decided it wasn’t important, so it became a subject of non-emphasis.

    But that it may simply be a variation in brain makeup is a new idea to me. And a fascinating one.

    1. No. It has ZERO to do with education. Or intelligence.
      Have you ever noticed that some of us can’t tell our right from our left? It’s a fundamentally different brain, is all.
      It’s not that they didn’t try to get me to instinctively “know” right from left. They did. I still have to look at my hands and see where the wedding ring is, to be sure.
      My husband keeps telling me “We’re in Colorado. The mountains are always to the west.” And when I tell him “there’s mountains all around” he’ll say “No, those are hills.” The only way I can tell where North is is look on a compass. Or memorize where it is. If I know where the sun rises, I can tell, but heck, in this house I never figured it out (it doesn’t hit my eyes when rising, so it’s one of the other three directions.
      This is what I mean by people with a natural ability ASSUME other people are being stupid/stuborn/maleducated/whatever. Not true. Human brains vary a lot.
      I grew up in a family where dad could always know which direction he was going. Mom? On a good day she can find her way in the village, where she’s live her whole life.
      I’m not as bad as mom, but if you tell me, “no, turn South.” I’ll pull over to the side of the road and tell you you can damn well drive.
      Look, I don’t expect people to have my word-sense, nor do I marvel when people confuse say capital and capitol. I assume they’re not stupid, they’re just not word oriented. I’d got there by the time I was five. I’m waiting for the rest of you to catch on.

      1. There’s the problem that “they’re not dumb, they’re just looking at something else” gets abused.

        A LOT.

        Usually to drag down something that you’re good at, or worked hard for. 😀

        1. Sure. But things like a sense of direction? You can’t teach someone. And those who have it naturally…. well, it took Dan years to figure out I wasn’t punking him.

          1. Yep.

            Had those discussions.

            “You’re just not trying hard enough!”

            Especially when it’s something where, if you could just manage it, it would make your life SO EASY?

            Yeah, very annoying.

            1. “You’re just not trying hard enough!”

              Or that big sigh … I love him to pieces, but sometimes …

              FYI. Where GPS systems like Google Maps or Waze (freeway exits for instance), it is a marriage saver … trust me. Not so much which exit to take (this was never the problem), but which Lane to be in to take the exit, so you can get the correct connecting exit or on ramp. We’ve had a few “that is the wrong lane!” followed by “why didn’t you tell me”, “Map doesn’t say”, “You should be able to tell!” (Really? Haven’t managed it in 10, 20, 30, 37, years! Try doing this towing a trailer!)

              Worse I’ve seen in Oregon is the I-5, 405, and 80, interchanges, as one is coming out of downtown or navigating the bridges over the Willamette. One place in the entire state!!!!

              1. THIS.
                And btw, it probably kept older son from becoming a recluse. At one point, in his first apartment, he called with an emergency: his GPS had broken. He didn’t know how to get to the grocery store. Or the school. We drove through the night to take him a GPS, 3 hours away.
                He was five minutes from the grocery store and 10 from the school and had driven there regularly for 6 months.
                BUT he genuinely did NOT know how to get to either.

                1. Like I’ve already said. I LOVE Waze. Better than Google Maps in that it provides more information on what is in your direction of travel, including police, accidents, stalled cars parked on freeway side, construction, reported by fellow travelers. Best we’ve done is respond Yes/No said report is still accurate. I have an Android phone. IDK what the iPhone equivalent is. Presume there is one. But then DogScroll is only available on Android, so IDK.

          2. 42 years and my husband can’t understand how I can’t know my own *hometown … He grew up in a small town that is part of the greater San Diego metro.

            * I do know parts. The parts I biked, the immediate neighborhood where I grew up. He forgets I didn’t have a car, until two years after I left for college. By the time we moved back I’d been gone, except for visits where we weren’t exploring, for 11 years.

    2. I’m partly educable on that, and partly not.

      I’m not outside enough to watch the sun. While I can perceive shadows, I do not notice them.

      If I stopped, looked carefully, and had a watch, I might be able to work out a guess for north from a shadow.

      Mostly, the way I figure out North only works because I have lived long in the same town, and have a lot of stuff memorized. After I have the approximate route down to a place in town, I can reason out the spatial relationship, and say “I am facing roughly this direction.” Many years ago, someone told me which directions were which relative to a building in town. I’ve also looked at maps..

      But if I was blindfolded, and you took me to a location I didn’t know, and I didn’t know the buildings, I would be disoriented.

      If I started out disoriented, in a new to me town, I could at least retrace my path using the street signs. And once I had seen enough street signs, I could compare to a map, and figure out cardinal directions from that.

      But I know someone without as much memory and spatial reasoning, and they get lost pretty easily. Basically, they navigate by rote or by GPS.

      1. Heck. Town I grew up in, and still live in. It drives me nuts. Beltline has E/W exits. East Beltline heads to Springfield. West Beltline heads to N/S Hwy 99, and W 11th. N/S Hwy 99, into/out of downtown is really E/W 6th & 7th. Head spinning yet? Easiest way to explain it, is as Beltline crosses Hwy 99, it has a wide arch turning south, by the time it intersects with W 11th, it is south. Where 6th and 7th have a more gradual sweep N/S as Hwy 99 diverges into each. I mean one gets the weirdest looks when one gives direction to take Hwy 99 south until it splits into (not intersects with) W 7th … and continue east (not turn east) … I don’t know how many times I’ll get corrected on saying downtown sections of numbered streets are north/south. They aren’t. Everyone of them are east/west orientation. It is just that 6th and 7th are continuation of Hwy 99, and Hwy 99 is north/south.

        FYI. I use Android Auto and Waze if I’m going to parts of town to a new location. At least to map it out. Does not help if places off of Crow and Pine Grove roads don’t are the “don’t use GPS to find us” it will get you lost … less that 5 miles from where Crow Road intersects with W 11th/Hwy 126 west. (Agility Arena for class.)

  41. A day late, so many comments. My first degree was in clinical psychology — an attempt to figure some of this stuff out. I met many interesting people who were also unable to do that so moved on.

    My question: intelligence and wisdom are certainly different but related. How about clairvoyance? I have “seen clearly” since I was very young. Have no control over it — just comes and goes. More frequent with age.

    Am I the only one? (No problem; I’m used to it!)

    1. You’re probably not the only one but there doesn’t seem to be anyone who can do it on demand or we would know it.

      Or would we?

    2. No. You’re not the only one. But we’re not sure what IT is.
      I call it getting the Irish up. which has been causing me serious issues…..

  42. “So, very, very smart people aren’t stunningly successful because they often socially miscue.”

    <- Is not very smart. But. I am more and more certain, the more I see of these so-called "social cues," that there is no cue at all, and everybody is just making it up as they go along.

    No commonly accepted mores, no delicate dance of courtesies exchanged. Cues? What cues? There was no cue. Of this, I am certain. *grin*

    1. This is part of what underlies the concept of “Systemic Racism.” Those who best fit into the majority culture are going to be more successful due to superior communication and intuitive grasp of social cues. The more diverse the organizational culture the lower the value of such subconscious reading of situations and the greater the probability of such cues being misread.

      The (probably) most famous instance of mismatched social cues comes from WWII when English complaints arose over American boys stationed there were knocking up English girls at a remarkable rate. Investigation determined that English Rules were that a lad wet no further than he was willing to accept responsibility for, while American Rules dictated that it was for the gal to draw the line.

      Social cues.

      1. Maybe the real problem was that “knocking up” doesn’t mean the same thing in England as it does in the US?

  43. Um… I’m normally in agreement with your writings, Sarah, but on IQ you’re just off-base. But I’ll let an expert go over it. Here’s 13 minutes of Jordan B. Peterson on the subject for you.

    1. Dear Lord. Of course Peterson is forced to say that. It’s part of the cannon of his profession.
      I admire him, but you know he’s very conventional, right? In fact, that’s his appeal.
      I speak as someone who moves in the high IQ circles, and also someone who has studied how the sausage is made.
      MOST of the “World map of IQ” is as reliable as any other world map, where locals report.
      For instance the one in sub-Saharan Africa? Taken under apartheid by a politician who wanted to “prove” black people were subhuman.
      No, I’m not wrong. You’re uninformed.
      You’re also dismissed.

      1. This seems conveniently timely:

        The Coming War over Intelligence
        … I did not plan to write about a book my partner and I have come—over the last month—to call “the bad book” or “the naughty book,” as though it were a bodice-ripper to be wrapped in brown packing paper before one can safely read it on the tube. The Bell Curve came to my attention because it forms the basis of one section in another book I reviewed for the wonkish British magazine CapX: British commentator David Goodhart’s Head Hand Heart: Why Intelligence Is Over-Rewarded, Manual Workers Matter, and Caregivers Deserve More Respect.

        Goodhart contends that much of the developed world requires a major change in the way we measure and reward social status. Part of this involves stripping cognitive elites of both wealth and power. “We have reached Peak Head,” Goodhart argues. “All too often, cognitive ability and meritocratic achievement is confused with moral worth.” He is upfront about the fact no great ethical tradition going back to antiquity considers high intellect a per se good.

        I expected Goodhart to disagree with the arguments set out in The Bell Curve, to make claims for long-debunked ideas like “multiple intelligences” or “emotional intelligence,” but he doesn’t. He accepts the core of the earlier book. What he does do is demand a change of educational emphasis. Like my parents (and like Herrnstein and Murray, as I discovered) he argues that because so much of an individual’s IQ amounts to unearned merit, the intellectually gifted “owe one” to everyone else. We should not be in the business of rewarding people materially or socially simply because they are clever. That—to pinch one of Adam Smith’s insights—is like holding people in high esteem simply because they’re rich.
        [END EXCERPT]

        1. long-debunked ideas like “multiple intelligences” or “emotional intelligence,”


          Gotta wonder, debunked HOW?

        2. The academic speak in that gives me the immediate emotional reaction of “fuck them”.

          Head up the ass so much on economics and societal forecasting makes me think that their cognitive science is junk also.

          Also, ‘and the horse they rode in on’.

          Suppose I was unusually intelligent. That does not automatically translate to owing anybody else anything.

          We can do a soft proof of that by contradiction. If people owe something to others, that implies some ability to deliver. Given that high intelligence, non-functional poor can exist, the wealth to service the debt is not necessarily generated. Ergo, this is one of those proposals that is a vast bureaucratic scheme trying to run contrary to entropy.

        3. Meh. I don’t think I owe anything to anyone. think people should recognize High IQ is different not better and certainly doesn’t confer much in the way of advantages. Then we can start with teaching young high IQ people how to COPE without becoming either maimed or snoots.
          BUT OWE? Like hell. I don’t owe anything for what I was born with.

          1. I owe people courtesy and polite respect until they void that obligation through their own behaviour.

            Which most of them manage to do amazingly quickly. Then all I owe them is two middle fingers.

            But it is a coming war we will have to face, from pagans who will quote Jesus, asserting “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.”

            To which I say, I will render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s but the rest he’d damned well best keep his grubby minion’ paws off.

        4. So, tall people ‘owe’ something to short people? Fast runners ‘owe’ something to slow ones? Women with big—

          OK, not going there. 😛

          1. *tugs tall person’s coat sleeve* Hey, ‘scuse me, can you reach that thing up there, please? Thanks……

            (was joking, but is real version of “owes” junk in reality– you CAN do something so I CAN ask you for stuff you CAN refuse to do)

            1. sure. And in that sense I do things for people all the time. I used to be the designated “talker to old people” at our grocery store. Because most of the time the kids were at school, and I COULD.

              1. It’s on par with the whole “heaven and hell are folks at a feast with spoons that are five foot long” story, isn’t it?

                In hell, they all starve, because they can’t feed themselves. (three minute long argument about “uh, grab spoon further down the handle” omitted)

                In heaven, they feed each other.

                1. Maybe they’re hyperdimensional spoons with nothing to grab between the handle and the bowl? 😛

                    1. The problem with analogies is that they inevitably bring in details that were never intended to be part of the analogy.

                      Then everyone has to argue whether the extra bits are relevant or not.

                    2. Hey, I don’t *have* to argue, I… Well, OK, maybe I do. 😀

                      But you gotta admit, hyperdimensional spoons would be pretty cool.

                    3. Sure – until your hand wobbles ad you spill a spoonful of hot French onion into the Dark Dimension and have to go mop up Dormammu’s lap. Face it, you do not want to think about where those croutons have been.

            2. I expect all here recognize this, but it often those things that are implicit that most require pointing out to the willfully blind:

              There is a world of difference between asking “Can you please reach that down for me” and “Because you are taller you owe it to me to pluck things from the high shelf.”

              Similarly, as a person of altitude with bad knees, I would never insist some short person grab something off a bottom shelf no matter how much re-erecting myself hurts. But I would ask politely.

              1. In the spirit of excessive honesty spoiling The Point– I often see folks who drop stuff and there is no way they can pick them up, not without Issues.
                So I pick it up and restock it, it’s not like it’s HARD. But sometimes it embarrasses folks…..

    2. ….got primary sources that don’t require me to watch a video and guess?

      Because last time I did that, I got stuff that made folks go nuke…..

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