November 19, 2010

A thought experiment on intelligence and the presidency.

A hypothetical: The next President of the United States will be chosen from the group of individuals with whom you have worked in your field — your colleagues/co-workers. (I'm especially interested in hearing from law professors!) Assume there is a method that allows these individuals to be ranked from most intelligent to least intelligent. You cannot look at this list, but you are assured that the ranking is accurate. The President will be chosen randomly from one segment of this list, and you have been given the power to choose a segment constituting 10% of the individuals on the list. That 10% will be the pool for what will be a random drawing. What do you choose? The top 10%?

153 comments:

Skyler said...

Character is more important than simply intelligence. You need both, but if you must be low on one, intelligence is the one to be lower on.

MadisonMan said...

No. I have not found the smartest people to be the best at getting tasks done. I'd pick the 2nd or 3rd group -- 10-20% or 20-30% -- they're the ones who learn they have to work harder because they're not blessed with super intelligence.

Unless the 2nd or 3rd group includes Senators. I'm not inclined to include Senators in my list of potential Presidents.

AllenS said...

That person's name is Russ. I worked with him. #1 pressman on a four color web offset press. Could fix anything. The last person we need to be president is somebody chosen by law professors. Law professors seem to act on emotion, and not knowledge or intelligence. Which is why we are in the predictament that we are.

Skyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madAsHell said...

ahhh....can you repeat the question?

Original Mike said...

Define intelligence.

Skyler said...

One time, by accident, a list of all the Marine Corps officers within a certain specialty came into my possession and it had each person's equivalent of an IQ score (GCT test) on it. I have to say that not a single score surprised me. I'm amazed how accurate it reflected my own independent perception of that person's intelligence.

But the best officers were rarely the most intelligent ones. Leadership is a different sort of art that requires intelligence, but the more important factors are the intangibles, such as physical presence, wit, or ability to connect.

Academia seems to think that intelligence is the most critical factor. Aristotle thought that philosophers should run society. He couldn't be more wrong.

wv: waysori, as in I'm waysori I had to rewrite this post because of an error it contained.

Earth Girl said...

The pool I'm selecting from is insurance executive. I'd chose the 10-20%. The eggiest of the eggheads often lacked social and leadership skills. That is a generalization, but based on personal observation.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



(The Crypto Jew)



There was, for me, a telling news article once. A reporter attended a Mensa meeting. And s/he discovered that Mensa had felons as members, drop-outs, middle managers, and entrepreneurs as members, that “success” was not a function of intelligence, but a function or intelligence and other factors.

Althouse, this is silly. Remember what von Moltke wrote about the “stupid”, the “bright”, the “lazy” and the “industrious.” Von Moltke felt the best were the Industrious and the Bright (Staff Officers), the Bright and the Lazy (Commanders), The Lazy and the Stupid (Find some place for them out of the way), but the WORST were the Stupid and Industrious, because these individuals would be busy beavering away, every day, 24/7 but all their efforts would be pernicious, but because they were so persistent and hard-working their efforts would be hard to combat! It was these people von Moltke said we must guard against at all costs!

How Bright you are is only one component of one’s’ desirability. A bright Michael Dukkakis is not someone I want running my nation, a bright Obama is not who I want running my country, I’d take a dull or average Palin or Reagan, over a Bright Dukkakis or Obama. It’s where you’re going, not so much how fast you get there that counts.

Yeah in the IDEAL World I want a Brilliant Palin, running the nation, but I don’t want a Brilliant OBAMA as POTUS….want I want is Palin, Garage wants Obama…Cooke wants Lenin. Cedarford wants “Pik” Botha or Jan Smuts…and we all prefer them because of their POLICY preferences, not their IQ scores.

tim maguire said...

A more interesting experiment would be to make the subject choose just one person to be president without reference to the intelligence list and then see where that person shows up on the list.

There's no evidence of a link between intelligence and leadership skills (beyond some functional minimum, obviously). This is only an issue in liberal elitist fantasies. The irony being that the candidate they glom on to as the smartest is usually not nearly as smart as they imagine and the person they deride as too dumb to lead is clearly quite intelligent (and sometimes more intelligent than the "cerebral" person they rally around).

rhhardin said...

Nobody wants to say that Obama is stupid, I take it.

That's the alternative road.

sol said...

Reagan was Great because of Weinberger, James Baker, GHW Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, William Clark, Donald Regan, Bill Casey, Shultz, Ehrlichman, Deaver and Nancy Reagan.

Lucien said...

Top 10%.

Other things being equal, which is the box you chose to put us in, smarter is better.

I realize that in the very strange and eclectic group of: Politicians who Manged to become President, some apparently more intelligent individuals have been relatively ineffective.

Also, recent memory aside, Jefferson, Lincoln, and T. Roosevelt were no dummies -- and that covers 75% of Mt. Rushmore.

shoutingthomas said...

I'm tired of being run by lawyers.

The only purpose of the law is to produce fat checks for lawyers.

Lawyers are parasites on the economy.

Let's elect business people, builders, etc.

This permanent mandarin class of lawyers is a great thing for you, Ann.

It's money in your pocket.

The problem is how to get lawyers out of office, not how to get them in.

Lucien said...

"Managed", not "Manged". (Not that we haven't had mangy presidents).

Bob Ellison said...

It all depends on how you define "intelligence", of course. If you believe primarily in g, or generalized intelligence, then you might be more inclined to choose the top 10%.

I'm more impressed by specialized intelligences, and I've seen them in action in my work in computer applications. So when I try to rank the "most intelligent" colleages I've had, some of them would be lousy at running a government (and most of those would think so, too).

Administrative talent, multi-tasking talent, and people-reading skills are difficult to measure, and often most present in people who might not typically score high on supposedly objective measures of intelligence.

So I'd not choose the top 10%. I'd probably go for the second 10% (80-90%).

This would, of course, generally be an absolutely lousy way to choose one's rulers.

meep said...

I'm an actuary.

I would pick the 60-70% range from my profession.

AllenS said...

Question #1: "Have you ever changed a tire on a car?"

Question #2: "How many states are there?"

c3 said...

While you want to have an "intelligent" doctor, intelligence, as measured by IQ, does not evaluate judgement, character and interactive skills. Those are all critical in being an effective physician.

And then being a leader among physicians requires skills beyond that.

Do I want a President with an IQ of 90; probably not. But on the flip side do I care if a candidate's IQ is 130? Not much.

Drew said...

I spent most of the last decade being self-employed, so I'd be the only name on the list, and I'm both top 10% and bottom 10%! I win either way. Yay!

Though this is mainly asking about whether intelligence is of utmost importance to the presidency. I can't help but recall the words of that great philosopher Spock of Vulcan: "I object to intellect without discipline; I object to power without constructive purpose."

He could have been talking about our Boy-King Obama.

AlphaLiberal said...

Second 10%. The top 10% tend to be insufferable bores with no appreciation for their personal limits.

But intelligence is still important.

Maguro said...

All things being equal you're better off with a President who's more intelligent rather than less. But all things are never equal and pure intelligence is probably fourth or so on the list of characteristics that are important to me - ideology, character and leadership ability all matter more than raw IQ.

And I agree with rh that Obama's not particularly bright. If he's the smartest guy in the room, what you've got is a room full of idiots.

shoutingthomas said...

You are ever the brutally self-interested woman, Ann.

You think we're not dumping enough money into your profession already?

You need more? Lawyers need more?

This is your official "Give me more money, power and stuff!" post.

Do you plan on leaving anything for the rest of us?

sol said...

Reagan realized the President is the leading man, but needs a good supporting cast, a good story line, good writers, and good costumes and sets.

Obama is a good leading man - but the rest is C or D list.

Original Mike said...

"...but the WORST were the Stupid and Industrious"

:-)

Rumpletweezer said...

I have several highly-educated coworkers. One has a visceral reaction to even the mention of Sarah Palin. Another is horrified at the prospect of Palin running for President. He says that Palin is smart, but lacks the "intellectual heft" to be President. I've not had the opportunity to explore this yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Who, for example, has the "intellectual heft" and how do we know that? Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review. Sounds impressive, but for all I know the job may involve getting coffee for the folks actually writing and editing the thing.

Scott M said...

The only purpose of the law is to produce fat checks for lawyers.

Even Hammaurabi understood the need and benefit of codifying laws. We have taken it to the extreme, but it's quite possible any egalitarian, sophont civilization that exists long enough will eventually turn it's legal system into knots.

prairie wind said...

Nobody wants to say that Obama is stupid, I take it.

Ah, you'd be wrong. I do think O is stupid, and he proves it nearly every time he opens his mouth away from the teleprompter. He is determined, though. Determined to consider only his own ideas and determined not to see anything that shows why they are bad ideas. He is PERCEIVED as intelligent, but that's just more of that "articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" stuff.

Larry J said...

No. I have not found the smartest people to be the best at getting tasks done. I'd pick the 2nd or 3rd group -- 10-20% or 20-30% -- they're the ones who learn they have to work harder because they're not blessed with super intelligence.

They're also less likely to think that possessing high intelligence in one area means they're intelligent about all other areas (cough Obama) or to think their shit doesn't stink.

As the wise man said, "Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects." Wisdom and character are more important that intelligence. Combine that with real-world experience involving leadership and decision-making and you're more likely to get someone who'd make a good president.

As for lawyers, they're going to be the death of America if not the world. I'm not in a hurry to put another lawyer in the White House, nor for a president to have a cabinet full of lawyers "that look like America" (Clinton).

Drew said...

Nobody wants to say that Obama is stupid, I take it.

The chattering classes swooned over his alleged intelligence during the campaign. Even now some of them are still convinced he's too smart, and we don't appreciate it. (Whenever you hear a talking head complaining about an anti-intellectual streak, what they're really saying is "You stupid NASCAR-watching proles can't be trusted to vote properly!" (e.g., for the Democrat.))

But I never saw evidence of Obama's intelligence. And I still don't see it.

I never saw evidence of this marvelous orator that the chattering classes insisted he was either.

Drew said...

Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review. Sounds impressive, but for all I know the job may involve getting coffee for the folks actually writing and editing the thing.

As I understand it from those who were there at the time, that's exactly what the job was, minus the coffee-getting. Apparently Obama would just breeze into the room, say hello, and then float back out. Never did any actual work.

Paddy O said...

85%-95%

For much the reasons MM notes. The most intelligent are the most adept and knowing the most about the most, but they seem to, in my estimation, generally not be able to funnel this in an efficient way. A President isn't a researcher, who can spend every moment absorbing every bit of minutiae. The second tier folks have learned they can't compete with overall knowledge, so in their fields they have to learn efficient effort, to focus on those things which are the most relevant for success. This also makes for a creativity that has to overcome a gap in intelligence.

At the same time, the President isn't just a pure leader or thinker. They have to be able to make connections between often highly disparate contexts, whether it be with an electorate or with global terrorism. Being able to make connections between contexts involves a creative thinking ability that requires fairly high intelligence.

That's why I'd not choose the top 5%, but at the same time I suspect that lower 80 percentile wouldn't quite have the overall capabilities.

At the same time, I'd almost definitely choose someone who is not an intellectual, someone who sees their identity and value through their academic intelligence.

shoutingthomas said...

I might point out that this post treads upon the great dilemma of our rulers:

1. IQ isn't really supposed to be indicative of anything. Thus, Ann's friend, Emile Bazille, argues that standardized tests that promote white firefighters are "racist," and that written tests should not be used in the hiring and promoting of firefighters. IQ is apparently of no importance in deciding who arrives to save your life and your house when it is on fire.

2. In reality, liberals believe that IQ is everything. Attaining status in the mandarin class of lawyers is entirely dependent on passing a series of written tests designed to measure IQ.

So, IQ is a bad thing when it comes to us commoners. It's a good thing when it comes to the mandarin class.

bagoh20 said...

In my profession (business) intelligence is important, but not a guarantee of competence. I would hope the ranking would be by a measure of ones ability to survive downturns and setbacks, adjust and turn it around. this is my measure of intelligence: adaptability.

By that measure, definitely the top 10%.

I consider character very important, and it's included in the above, because in business, no man is an island, and without character, you will not get the help from others that's required to survive tough times, and rebound.

This is the type of person we need now, assuming they have the right world view, i.e. one without a history of failure.

If we are talking commonly measured I.Q., then I would pick those around the top 11% mark. I.Q. above normal tells me nothing about someones competence whatsoever.

The Crack Emcee said...

Skyler nailed it:

Character is more important than simply intelligence. You need both, but if you must be low on one, intelligence is the one to be lower on.

That would be The Macho Response.

marklewin said...

? - as a blogger that regularly exposes unclear writing, how the heck did this hypothetical get through your filter?

What is your point? Wouldn't your sample, in part, determine what decile you might chose? I mean, would it matter if I am selecting a 10% segment from my co-workers at Wal-Mart vs. 10% from the Physics Department of MIT vs. a decile of my colleagues at Fox News?

BTW, although his ideas are appropriately being challenged, see Daniel Goleman's work on "Emotional Intelligence". He cites several longitudinal studies that examine life outcomes of intellectually gifted vs. intellectually average individuals. In terms of decision making, Goleman would make the case that folks with high levels of emotional intelligence tend to make the best choices.

Big Mike said...

My pool would be very technical, and extremely computer-saavy, where high intelligence correlates poorly with the ability to assemble and lead a team. I'd pick somewhere around the middle -- say te 50% to 60% decile or the 40% to 50% decile.

Brighter than 60% and they're used to solving everything themselves.

Jim said...

The best leaders I have ever met were not known first for their intelligence.

But then, they knew that and compensated. What they had was an instinct for simple and profitable courses of action, and an unerring faith in people.

And that is the essence of why Progressive ideology will never work. It does not have any of those things. It survives only in the minds of academics. In the real world, it is bankrupting us.

Incidentally, that is the same issue with current economics, evidenced by the Fed track record.

The narrative grows ever further from reality.

Can Palin be President? Not a chance. The MSM has not even begun to impale her. No one can survive that. Her unfavorable rating will go even higher.

In fact, it may be impossible to elect any Republican President until the Right changes the election game; they are flat-footed, and will not even succeed at containing spending with their current PR.

Roman said...

Two groups of people who should not be put in charge of anything: lawyers, accountants.

jimspice said...

I like the idea of selecting from the tier second from the top. Selecting from the top could result in a Rainman-esque president, depending on the measure used, and I don't think we need that. There was no rule about the range being limited to strict deciles, though. Can I go with the 85-95th?

Hagar said...

There is no standard definition of intelligence, or even agreement on which components of mental activity do, or do not, constitute "intelligence."

The Scholastic Assessment Test to a large degree assess your facility in filling in little ovals on a sheet of paper with a #2 pencil, which is a necessary skill for promotion in our contemporary U.S. society, but not of much use in other places, or even here at other times.

Pogo said...

It would be simpler and more effective to pick out those who went to Harvard and Yale and the like, and delete their names from consideration.

Their trained fabulists and utopians have been no asset to this nation.

shoutingthomas said...

So, Ann, if you were a firefighter, your friend Emile Bazille would call you a racist.

You think that IQ is an important asset in your profession.

Happy Warrior said...

I'm with MadisonMan... I'd pick someone in the 80-90th percentile.

Too smart becomes a problem as it opens up the big possibility of a Narcissist like Obama who is convinced that he is smarter than any advisor he could possibly find. He's lack of even a question of his comprehensive knowledge is a big handicap in the real world versus the academic world etc he has lived in.

ricpic said...

Haven't we yet learned that A students should be kept away from the levers of power?

BJK said...

The top 10% who I think agree with me on most of the major issues.

(...or just the top 10%, since they can't really be that intelligent if they're on the other side. Isn't that how we all actually think about these things?)

T J Sawyer said...

Here's a practical experiment for the academics in the group. Walk over to the Mathematics Department and spend an hour with the PhD students and faculty.

Quite likely among the most intelligent folks on campus. Find anyone you want to be president? I though so.

Recall that when John VonNeumann was not busy helping with the atomic bomb and developing the concept of the computer he proposed using large patches of dye on the surface of the ocean to warm the earth. We'd have had a tropical paradise here in the north country if only people would have listened.

jerryofva said...

I suspect that our most successful presidents had IQs between 125 and 135. Outside of the founding fathers, only TR could be considered successful and brilliant at the same time.

In my lifetime the three most intelligenct Presidents were Nixon, Carter and Clinton. All failed to one degree or another. I will also throw in LBJ who doesn't usually get put in the same class but I suspect that his IQ would have made him mensa eligible.

Neither Palin nor Reagan were medicocre to dull as I take Joe to mean. Palin and Reagan probably have higher IQs then Obama, just as Bush 43 had 10 points on Gore and Kerry

garage mahal said...

Palin and Reagan probably have higher IQs then Obama,

Hee.

Trooper York said...

Who would you choose?

The one with the biggest tits.

Which would be Sarah Palin of course.

The Crack Emcee said...

bagoh20,

I consider character very important, and it's included in the above, because in business, no man is an island, and without character, you will not get the help from others that's required to survive tough times, and rebound.

That's funny because, when you work with (what we think of as generic "liberal") Democrats, it's just the opposite:

Exhibit character and they'll try to tear it down.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Neither Palin nor Reagan were medicocre to dull as I take Joe to mean.

I make NO claims as to Reagan or Palin’s intelligences. I’m simply stating that IF they WERE dull or average I’d STILL take them over a very smart Obama….That’s all, I don’t care to get into a debate as to whether Palin is “stoopit” or Reagan an “Amiable Dunce” or Obama is a “Lightworker”.

Scott M said...

The one with the biggest tits.

Which would be Sarah Palin of course.


I remember beach pictures of Ron and Nancy. I'm not so sure Palin's got the edge in that area.

garage mahal said...

The one with the biggest tits.

Which would be Sarah Palin of course.


What about Chris Christie?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Palin and Reagan probably have higher IQs then Obama,

Hee.


1) It’s an irrelevant debate, as most agree, so far. Who cares if Obama is “smarter” than Palin? Who’s the more likely to improve the economy?
2) Have you any indication of Palin’s OR Obama’s “intelligence?” The Won has NEVER released any school transcripts. Everyone, on his side, ASSUMES he’s “smart” many that he’s “brilliant.” And yet we have NO evidence one way or another.

jerryofva said...

ok garage tell me why you think Obama is so brilliant and I mean by objective measures not by telling me he went to Harvard Law. I want objective measures like an actual IQ test, SATs grades etc. JFK went to Harvard (IQ a solidly above average 120)

bagoh20 said...

In earlier times, before the false merit of scholarship and accreditation, people had to be successful at the things they were actually asked to lead. They needed to have proven ability at the task, not at some other task that was expected to transfer by magic. Royalty and birthright often replaced this to disastrous results.

Today we replace both with accreditation achieved in a carefully controlled bunker of limited ideas, exposure and experience.

Obviously I have no college degree, which may bias me, but I've hired and fired hundreds of people and some of the most useless had them. They often were smart people who had been poorly educated with old and failed ideas. That's hard to undo, and to watch uneducated people run circles around them is disappointing to everyone.

marklewin said...

How about this hypothetical? Consider the following two presidential candidates - Obama and Palin. When selecting advisors for their respective administrations - What advisor skill set would prove to be most useful for each candidate (e.g. level of intelligence, personality style, etc.)? (BTW, Ann, it's tough clearly articulating these thought experiments. Sorry for my snipe).

The Drill SGT said...

Larry J nailed it with Wisdom

Skyler added in leadership and character

I'm with MM and others on on something less than genius material. 80-90 percentile or 85-95

The top group are too smart, overconfident, lack social skills and the wisdom created by failure.

I'll add another criteria. Decisiveness

As Skyler I suspect will atest, we muddy boots types value:

an 80% solution, made promptly, and executed with confidence and forcefullness always beats the perfect choice, made too late and timidly implemented.

look at that statement. I see Bush in the first clause and Obama in the second. Enough said.

garage mahal said...

ok garage tell me why you think Obama is so brilliant

I don't think he is brilliant on his own. But compared to Palin he is.

Trooper York said...

You know you got me garage.

Chris Christie for President!

traditionalguy said...

The highly intelligent include Ted The Unabomber and Barack the Marxist and Anti-colonialist. The measure of your enemy's intelligence is rarely low, but the trick is to eliminate a fifth columnist enemy from the leadership pool. As Crack says, belief in a new age fantasy about a Black Prince from the inner sanctum of Harvard , with NO vetting allowed on his character based on his real world experiences other than brilliant Teleprompter Reading, is what doomed us. As the Jews like to say, our National Motto needs to become "Never Again". Educated fools we can deal with at the next election, but educated enemies should never be elected.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

I don't think he is brilliant on his own. But compared to Palin he is.

Again: it matters “How?” and your proof, please.

shoutingthomas said...

Our incredibly brilliant mandarin class brought us the great Diversity Crusade, the ultimate outcome of which was the mortgage meltdown.

What does that say for our great intellectuals?

edutcher said...

Agree with those who say the second group. The guys in the first may be a little too impressed with themselves.

E.M. Davis said...

Given the current circumstances surrounding this presidency, I would argue intelligence is quite irrelevant when it comes to choosing a leader.

Obama may be too smart for our own good.

Scott M said...

The guys in the first may be a little too impressed with themselves.

We are not. We just expect the rest of you to be impressed.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

We are not. We just expect the rest of you to be impressed.

My question is, “When the zombies are munching on people’s brains, how does being Einstein help?” Really, obviously the BRAINLESS, beat the tool-users, so brains really aren’t that big of an advantage….(Which is why I totally discount the CEZA as a realistic threat, George Romero notwithstanding)

Larry J said...

Our incredibly brilliant mandarin class brought us the great Diversity Crusade, the ultimate outcome of which was the mortgage meltdown.

What does that say for our great intellectuals?


That they're better off pontificating in their ivory towers than implementing policy in the real world. We're better off with them there, too. Orwell was right - there are some things so stupid that only an intellectual will believe.

Larry J said...

Obama may be too smart for our own good.

I've yet to see any evidence of his intelligence other than the ability to read a teleprompter.

former law student said...

All of our Presidents have come from the top 10% in IQ (which falls between 120 and 121), according to work done by psych professor Dean Simonton of UC Davis.

But Presidential success is not correlated that much with intelligence, according to Matthew Atkinson of UCLA. Really bright people are less likely to be duds.

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla
/election-blog.aspx?pgt=bloglist&pg=6

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Well, FLS, then we might argue that intelligence is like money in Pro Sports…”Buying a team” doesn’t produce league championship results, but no low pay roll team makes it all the way….

virgil xenophon said...

Having written my dissertation on organizational theory and bureaucratic decision-making, I will state that the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that "leadership" skills are HIGHLY situational. "Management" skilz can be taught--the qualities of leadership less so, involving as they do many of the "intangibles" others here have already alluded to, i.e., character, wisdom, life experience, etc. My Father, a PhD, Hall of Fame coach in 3 sports, and a combat Inf officer in WWII, held that, excepting for certain narrow scientific applications, in general, when in a pinch, he would rather depend on a B-student who had been a varsity athlete
rather than an A-student couch potato(e).

Scott M said...

in general, when in a pinch, he would rather depend on a B-student who had been a varsity athlete
rather than an A-student couch potato(e).


In general terms, sure. But in general leadership terms, I'd add the caveat that they were varsity team sport athletes. There is a world of difference between the two. You can reach the pinnacle of tennis or golf, for instance, without any leadership skills.

former law student said...

Looking at the scatterplot, Jackson was almost as effective as Wilson, even though Old Hickory's IQ was 30 points lower. And given the same IQ, the Roosevelts were four times as successful as Garfield.

Top ten percent of the population as a whole may be the threshold for the Presidency.

William said...

In my youth, those who suffered bad accidents were not the klutzy. Rather, they were the athletically gifted, the ones who thought that they could take the turn at a high speed or do the back flip off the high board. Such hubris was not common among those of us who backed off hard hit ground balls.....Something similar seems to go on with high intellects, especially those with an academic background. Very few of life's major challenges can be solved with intelligence. Money, good looks, an engaging disposition, a huge penis, influential family connections--all of these solve far more problems than intelligence in our weary passage through life. Who wouldn't shave ten points off their IQ for an edge in any of those areas? Academics, that's who. They live in a cossetted world, a kind of lab maze, where their type of intelligence is rewarded and they come to think that it is the highest form of intelligence and has real world applications. Harding was a better President than Wilson, but since history is graded by academics Wilson is generally given the higher marks.

Pastafarian said...

This is an interesting topic for discussion -- a very well-formed question.

But I'm afraid I'm not able to give a well-formed answer.

In my field, manufacturing, intelligence can mean a lot of things. But let's set that quibble aside and assume that you're talking about scores on a fairly standard IQ test, which typically focuses on verbal reasoning, logic, set theory type reasoning, with some arithmetic, maybe a little abstract spatial reasoning.

If I were to choose the 5 or 6 people that I've known in manufacturing who might make a good president, they're fairly equally distributed across the spectrum in how I think they'd do on such a test.

I think that most would score above average, but that's about it. Maybe two of my best candidates would lie in the same 10% band, somewhere around the 70 to 80 percentile. I guess I'd go with that group.

Moral to the story: If you define intelligence to mean how well someone does on the average IQ test, then in my opinion IQ is almost completely independent of the qualities that make a good president.

jerryofva said...

fls:


We agree on something.
However, FDR was not in the same intellectual class as TR. He was more towards the Kennedy end of IQ spectrum.

Both Jackson and Wilson were poor Presidents regardless of IQ. Jackson's war on the Second Bank of the United States led to the first great Depression in the nations history while Wilson brought Jim Crow to the Federal Government and his arrogance brought set the conditions for collapse of Germany and the Second World War.

traditionalguy said...

A new area of study is into the Attachment Styles of followers as it affects whom they see as a good leaders. Leaders have to draw followers, and followers want only good leaders or they will refuse to fully follow, so what followers deman to see in their leaders is of interest to Armies. The favored characteristics are usually tall males who dress very sharp and give clear orders (which was George Patton's style) but that differs among the men being lead and knowing how each one sees the leader can be very helpful. I have learned much about this because my wife's Phd who was a dissertation on this subject. She has been getting book orders from the American Army and the Israeli Defense Force, as well as many inquiries from researchers who are now following her lead. And the beat goes on.

Scott M said...

The topic of Wilson's woeful presidency could fill 10 threads.

Mycin said...

This is a nice discussion, and I find much above that I agree with. To add to it, I'd like to throw out a term that you hardly ever see or hear anymore: wisdom.

That's what I think we need more of in our leaders. I don't expect a latter day Solomon to arrive on the scene, but shouldn't we want to at least use his example to gauge our current crop of clowns? Consider Carter vs. Reagan, thinking of them in terms of wisdom.

But how can we expect wise leadership if we've collectively decided it's not even worth talking about? Sure, we discuss "intelligence", "common sense", "character" and "experience", all of which overlap wisdom to some degree. But here we have a word that, I think, sums them all up very elegantly which had been expunged from modern usage.

Anyway, that's something that's been on my mind lately.

traditionalguy said...

Mycin...Wisdom is found where it is found often among the near retarded and, once in a while, among the super intelligent. So where does wisdom originate? Solomon wrote in Proverbs that, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom". Was he correct, and if so what does that mean for our selection for President?

HDHouse said...

Whichever segement Sarah falls into...that's the one I want.

I therefore vote for "other".

bagoh20 said...

It seems that most here agree that the problem with high intelligence is the effect it has on the person's wisdom. An obviously smart person is told throughout his early life that he has a gift that makes whatever he thinks automatically superior. I call it the golden child syndrome. Obama, got that, and so did Bill Clinton and Jethro Bodine. It's a curse created by family and friends that needs reigned in early before adulthood. Such a person needs a major setback that they don't solve without help. Help that they truly recognize they needed.

I hope November 2nd was that for our current President as it was once for Clinton. It greatly improved Clinton's effectiveness.

Jethro when fashioning himself as a playboy Hollywood producer chose to name himself "Beef Jerky". Reminds me of "The Lightworker" or "The First Black President" (Clinton),

Scott M said...

I don't know what intelligence is, but I know what it ain't.

It ain't showing up to a climate change eco-meeting in Portugal riding around in a huge, fossil-fuel crunching Caddy lemo (huge motorcade in tow), while the European leaders and Russia's are using electric vehicles.

Smart...

One wonders if he's going to call an emergency press conference at the Victory Column in Berlin to apologize for it.

bagoh20 said...

Of course wisdom is THE measure. It is proven ultimately by results; which is why experience and an actual resume matter. Of course all successful people once had no resume' and likely were failures at some point. But leader of the free world? We gotta have something to go by.

Think about whoever you feel was a great President. Now what course in his college career do you think was most responsible for that?

I have two: History and whichever one he failed most miserably.

jimbino said...

I choose anybody who has an advanced degree in economics, hard science, math, engineering (STEM) or maybe medicine, as well as a non-lawyer, like Angela Merkel, Michelle Bachelet or Margaret Thatcher.

Also one who is at least bilingual in important world languages.

That would exclude, as far as I know, all of our POTUS in this century (did Hoover speak Chinese fluently?), all of current SCOTUS and all but maybe one or two of current COTUS.

And, while we're at it, how about a non-superstitious atheist and a person who has not been sexually mutilated at birth?

I think that leaves only Merkel and Bachelet, whose wikipedia entry says:

"Bachelet, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic. She speaks Spanish (her native language), English, German, Portuguese and French. In 2009 Forbes magazine ranked her as the 22nd in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world (she was #25 in 2008, #27 in 2007, and #17 in 2006). In 2008, TIME magazine ranked her 15 on its list of the world's 100 most influential people."

I guess none of them can run for president, right? What a dumb country we live in!

traditionalguy said...

Bagoh20...Your comment is a well stated version of a recognition saying that we use in church work, "A beat up and mangy sheep is a sheep, but a perfect in every way sheep is a wolf in disguise. Real sheep are not perfect".

Mycin said...

traditionalguy, I don't have time right now to debate the source of wisdom (or of intelligence, character, or any other desired leadership trait). Indeed, we could probably spend megabytes just trying to arrive at a generally-accepted definition of the term.

It just keeps occurring to me that most of the traits we claim to desire in our leadership fall within the scope of the broad term "wisdom" as it was once understood, but no one ever discusses it as a desirable trait anymore. I wonder why. Is it because of our youth-obsessed culture (I think this is a big part of it)? A side-effect of the secularization of society, as "wisdom" might carry a religious implication to some (probably contributory, IMHO)? Is it because the term is too general to be of practical use (I don't think so; YMMV)?

Again, just something that's been on my mind.

traditionalguy said...

The education in then inner languages and precepts of differing fields of research and knowledge can be a safeguard from a President being easily fooled. But It can also enable him to fool others. Hmmm. The old saying may apply, that an uneducated thief will only steal a train car, but that an educated thief will steal the whole Railroad.

Clyde said...

So do you want Sheldon Cooper to be president? As others have noted, the extremely intelligent often have personalities that might generously be described as 'quirky'.

Personally, I'd rather have someone of slightly above average intelligence who also has a lot of common sense, which is often sadly lacking among our 'best and brightest', as shown by the Obama administration.

bagoh20 said...

Jimbino, Those types would not be on my list. I would prefer someone like General David Petraeus. Learning language, science, etc - while helpful - does not indicate either the ability to handle difficult decisions, or possession or wisdom.

When in a tough spot being asked to make a difficult life and death decisions, a panicked confused pants pissing is not any better if done in multiple languages while reciting the periodic table.

Hagar said...

As the old saying goes:
B students work for C students;
A students teach.

jimbino said...

Right Bagoh20, but don't you think it strange that, for over 100 years, we have found almost NOBODY from STEM or medicine to serve in POTUS, SCOTUS or COTUS?

Or that the last uncut president went out with Gerald Ford and that atheists, like Clinton and Obama, are still in the closet?

Don't you think we have way too many lawyers in government?

jerryofva said...

Clyde:

You accept the false best and the brightest accolade for Obama.

Obama isn't without intelligence but his IQ probably is at the Kennedy level except that Kennedy was educated while Obama is not.

The Democrats learned in the 2000 campaign not to release their academic records if they aren't outstanding. Gore did it and as MSM stalwart Michael Isakoff noted that by all indications Bush was much more intelligent then Gore.

In 2004 campaign Kerry buried his military records because it contained all his academic credentials and tests. When he finally released his records it showed that he too fell 10 IQ points short of George Bush.

Does anybody not believe that if Barak Obama had a 1400+ SAT score, high grades as an undergraduate and actually earned his position on the Harvard Law Review that this information wouldn't have been all over the MSM by now? His academic record is the dog that does not bark. If we ever get to see his records I am sure that he was well below average in relationship to his peers at Columbia and Harvard.

Bottom line: Like Kerry and Gore, Obama is 10 IQ points below George W. Bush.

Clyde said...

Actually, Jerry, I was really talking more about the people with whom Obama has surrounded himself, more of the Ivy League elitists who would fall under the 'best and brightest' rubric.

Ah Pooh said...

(I'm especially interested in hearing from social psychologists!)

David McClelland joined the Harvard faculty in 1956, where he taught and conducted research for 30 years.  He was the Chair of the Department of Social Relations from 1962-1967. David McClelland is listed at number 15 on the American Psychological Association’s list of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century.

In 1961 McClelland published The Achieving Society, which articulated his model of human motivation. McClelland contended that three dominant needs –  for achievement, for power, and for affiliation – underpin human motivation. McClelland believed that the relative importance of each need varies among individuals and cultures.

Arguing that commonly used hiring tests using IQ and personality assessments were poor predictors of competency, McClelland proposed that companies should base hiring decisions on demonstrated competency in relevant fields, rather than on standardized test scores.  Iconoclastic in their time, McClelland’s ideas have become standard practice in many corporations.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Well, Jimbino, if by “COTUS” you mean Congress of the US, I’m afraid that though you have an amazing intellect, no doubt, YOU’RE DEAD WRONG..Tom Coburn, Bill Frist and several Members of the House are all MD’s….which might suggest that INTELLIGENCE without knowledge is NOT the most useful thing….

As to STEM, why does that matter? Government is NOT “business” and it’s NOT STEM…STEM is about falsifiable hypothesis, evidence, and validity things government is NOT about. You sound like a bitter technocrat, to me, and a bit like a cranky atheist…or a crank atheist. But I freely admit I am reading a bit between the lines.

The problem with gub’mint is NOT that it doesn’t have engineers or Physicists in it, but that people who AREN’T scientists are making Scientific Policy. But please don’t think that a bunch of Engineers or MD’s would run government better than the current crop.

Julie said...

Eh, this is going to make me sound like an asshole in so many ways, but what the hey?

Just going by IQ, I would be well within the top 10%, and I have some college degrees to look pretty hanging up my wall, too.

But I think bagoh20 is mostly right. I think I'm pretty smart, but it's not becuase of my IQ or because of my pretty diplomas. I think I'm smart because I know when I don't know and I'm smart enough to ask someone who does. I married a man who barely finished high school (in Japan, though) and I'm smart enough to know that he knows lots and lots of stuff that I don't know, mostly the kinds of things I wish I knew, the practical kinds of things that most people in the top 10% frankly don't know at all.

Also, and I think this is important for leadership positions, people with really high IQs tend to get bored very easily, at least in my experience, and it's not a very good characteristic; we often lack follow-through and (often, but certainly not always) self-discipline. I would completely reject this system of choosing by intelligence. I'd rather see a resume of what the people had done.

Alex said...

I have several highly-educated coworkers. One has a visceral reaction to even the mention of Sarah Palin. Another is horrified at the prospect of Palin running for President.

Right away they betray their lack of intelligence at such a visceral reaction. It's another case of specialization leading to intellectual atrophy in other areas. I bet your coworkers are lowly-educated on history.

Scott M said...

I have a visceral dislike for Hillary and freely admit that I don't put any rational thought into it. I actively cheered for Obama over her in the primary. See? No rational thought...just knee-jerk loathing of one of our country's great mis-speakers.

TMink said...

Intelligence is just a measure of how much brain power someone has. It has nothing to say about that person's work ethic, core beliefs, ability to work with others, communication skills, mental stability, or dozens of other things that are important when picking a leader.

Intelligence is just one of many aspects. And someone only has to be smart enough. I think that is about a 110 IQ. More would not help if the other important aspects of a person like bravery, consistency, and ability and proclivity to tell the truth are impaired.

Trey

LordSomber said...

Who would Dilbert choose?

edutcher said...

HDHouse said...

Whichever segement Sarah falls into...that's the one I want.

I therefore vote for "other".


My guess is her percentile is a lot higher than HD's.

jimbino said...

Also one who is at least bilingual in important world languages.

That would exclude, as far as I know, all of our POTUS in this century (did Hoover speak Chinese fluently?),


Hoover and his wife spent considerable time in China at the turn of the century and were caught up in the middle of the Boxer Rebellion. So, you have a point.

He was also an engineer.

LordSomber said...

Who would Dilbert choose?

My guess is somebody without pointy hair.

Daniel said...

Well any good Buckley conservative would tell you to take a random sample -- also called the first 2000 names in the Boston* telephone book.

Sarah Palin would tell you to take the 10% between 45% and 55% because being average is the sole necessary quality for leadership. Actually, she would suggest between 40 and 50, just to preclude anybody above average from sneaking in.

George Will and Charles Krauthammer would choose the top 10%, on the condition that they only talk about the merits of the bottom 10%.

Law professors would ask for a list of the most obnoxious 10%.

* Since I'm a New Yorker, I should point out that I know what the meaning of the quote is, even if I also know that a random sample of Bostoners constitutes a group of morons.

Scott M said...

Intelligence is what happens when you don't know what to do next.

former law student said...

don't you think it strange that, for over 100 years, we have found almost NOBODY from STEM or medicine to serve in POTUS, SCOTUS or COTUS?

Be careful what you ask for. Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer, and Jimmy Carter had a BS in physics.

Freeman Hunt said...

Out of stay-at-home moms, I'd take the 60-70th percentiles.

There are some excellent, highly intelligent stay-at-home moms, but also some incredibly misguided, highly intelligent stay-at-home moms. They are less likely to appreciate the limits to human planning.

But this would be a terrifying way to choose a leader.

And I agree with Crack that Skyler nailed it: character, character, character. I'd take a near moron of exceptional character over a genius of poor character for sure.

Freeman Hunt said...

Of course, that's of the stay at home moms I've come into any contact with. Probably not a group representative of the entire population of stay at home moms.

So, stay at home moms excluding those who stay home because they are drug addicts or some similar thing.

Famous Original Mike said...

10% - 20% range.

jaltcoh said...

I don't think many people think intelligence is a sufficient condition to be a good president or even a serious candidate. It's just an important and necessary condition.

former law student said...

If we ever get to see his records I am sure that [Obama] was well below average in relationship to his peers at Columbia and Harvard.


That's a funny thing to be sure about, especially because we know that Obama did better than 90% of his peers at Harvard Law School because he graduated in the top 10% of his class -- Magna Cum Laude.

Gabriel Hanna said...

A President doesn't need to be intelligent, he has a staff for that. He needs to be wise, principled, decisive, and loyal.

Of those four traits only wisdom has any correlation with intelligence; I think that it is most likely found in the 50% - 75% quartile of intelligence--which rules out nearly everyone I work with.

Famous Original Mike said...

"* Since I'm a New Yorker, I should point out that I know what the meaning of the quote is, even if I also know that a random sample of Bostoners constitutes a group of morons."

Can you please explain? I'm a New Yorker as well, but I didn't know there's anything particularly derogatory about Buckley's choice of Boston...I just figured it was a relatively neutral city choice.

jimbino said...

Crypto-Jew,

The first thing you've got to do is read correctly. I said "almost NOBODY" and I admit that there are about 6 members of the old congress who are/were skilled in at least medicine, like Ron Paul. Isn't that sad?

Former Law Student,

While Jimmy Carter was indeed a trained engineer, he definitely was NOT bilingual, having had to take lessons in speaking standard English. Furthermore, he was probably the first president of the United States to be sexually mutilated at birth.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

Be careful what you ask for. Herbert Hoover was a mining engineer, and Jimmy Carter had a BS in physics.

And Margaret Thatcher was a chemist and is a Fellow of the Royal Society; to you that supports your point and to me it works against it.

MadisonMan said...

Also one who is at least bilingual in important world languages.

Isn't Bush fluent in Spanish? (Maybe I'm confusing him with one of his brothers).

former law student said...

Margaret Thatcher was a chemist

All too soon she abandoned science for law. Now, if she'd abandoned law for chemistry...

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

and I admit that there are about 6 members of the old congress who are/were skilled in at least medicine, like Ron Paul. Isn't that sad?

Jimbino, did you know that of almost all members of the surgical staff at my favourite hospital there are almost NO politicians or lawyers? Did you know that on the New England Patriots O-line there are NO members of Congress?

You’re point makes NO point….since when is Public Policy better decided by Doctors than someone knowledgeable about Public Policy and Administration?

You confuse Scientific prowess with overall prowess, in short you confuse INTELLIGENCE, with SUCCESS….when the thrust of comments made has been that an “intelligent” POTUS is not necessarily the intelligent one….

“Sexually mutilated”? You mean CIRCUMCISED? Oh I dare say there’ve been a few snipped willies in the White House prior to Carter…and again, this is a joke, right? Who cares, but with your extensive concern for STEM research would you run a multiple regression to determine how success at POTUS is related to circumcision? I’d be intrigued at the results….

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

All too soon she abandoned science for law.

I don't think you know what a Fellow of the Royal Society is--you only get to be one by being distinguished in science. So I don't know what "too soon" means in this context--it's like saying that an athlete who goes into advertising after winning a gold medal at the Olympics quit "too soon".

former law student said...

Thatcher became a FRS under Statute 12, not because of her scientific achievements.

Prior to 1996 there were no Honorary Fellows, but there was a way to be elected to the Fellowship under the Statute 12 arrangements.

Other Statute 12 Fellows are John Palmer, Earl of Selborne [1991], Sir David Attenborough [1983], and HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh [1951]

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

Thatcher became a FRS under Statute 12, not because of her scientific achievements.

Excellent point, I did not know that. I should have bothered to find that out.

Benjamin Disraeli was an honorary FRS as well. Distinguished company, certainly, but not for scientific achievement.

Well, as long as her degree in chemistry wasn't honorary, I suppose my argument remains, though considerably weakened. :)

former law student said...

Per the article in New Scientist when she became a Fellow, Thatcher had "worked for an Essex-based plastics firm on PVC and adhesives before taking a job developing emulsifyers (sic) for ice cream for Joe Lyons from 1949 to 1951."

Gabriel Hanna said...

@fls:

Per the article in New Scientist when she became a Fellow...

Right, so she was a real working chemist for a while, but not a distinguished one--a worker bee in the sciences, not unlike myself or my wife (who has a BS in chemical engineering).

jimbino said...

Yo Madison Man,

Whether Bush is fluent or not in Spanish, he sure can't speak proper English.

Crypto Jew,

Congress is charged with representing the American People, while football players and the folks at your favorite hospital are not. And I am not saying that "public policy [is] better decided by doctors or scientists, only that our country seems to set itself apart not only by the stupidity of the electorate, but by the incompetence of the elected.

I guess 90% stupidity is entitled to be represented by 90% incompetence. Only the electorate was a lot less educated in 1776, making the sophistication of the Founding Founders that much more awesome. I guess if I were in the business, it would be interesting to run your regression analysis in an attempt to explain the pervasive ignorance of the Amerikan electorate, the incompetence of the elected, and the pervasiveness of child sexual mutilation. Maybe compared to Chile, Canada or Germany?

Anyway, I use STEM to refer to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math--all notably missing in our leadership.

c3 said...

Who, for example, has the "intellectual heft" and how do we know that?

Chris Christie has heft,
intellectual and otherwise.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Jimbino, why don’t you measure along the pathways of Holistic Medicine, New Age Beliefs, Pro Sports, or Breast Size. You have ARBITRARILY chosen some set of knowledge fields to represent the “optimum” and as far as I can see you have provided no basis for listed them as optimum, for the issues at hand.

But please continue to ‘diss” the American electorate, because nothing says “I’m an elitist who knows better than you” than that….

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jimbino:

The Founding Fathers "elected" themselves by violently overthrowing the current government, which wasn't really much less representative than the one they replaced it with--and they overthrew THAT government in 1789, peacefully through consensus.

How many times in history did it work out that way? We got very, very lucky--in France Washington would have been made an Emperor.

virgil xenophon said...

ScottM/

While you're generally correct about team v. "individual" sports I would point out that at the college level tennis and golf are very much a team sport in terms of scoring match points and in tennis doubles is also very much a "team" effort. I can assure you, having played and both team (Football, Basketball) and individual sports (tennis) at the HS level and played tennis at the college level as well as well as coaching tennis & BB at the college level, the election of the team captain is a significant
leadership position which does NOT usually go to simply the best athlete on the team (although certainly not the worst either.e.g., the Capt of my tennis team in college was our #3 singles player.) But your overall point does hold true. Tennis, golf, etc., are very egotistic sports with lots of spoiled prima-donnas. (I should know--I was one :) )

jimbino said...

Gabriel Hanna,

You should be aware that in 1800, Thomas Jefferson was ELECTED in a knockdown-dragout fight against another smart, sophisticated and muli-lingual founding father.

Even inventor and actor Hedy Lamarr, like R Reagan after her, was far better qualified than what we've got generally. Can we all at least agree that some way should be found to bar lawyers from trying to represent the people?

MadisonMan said...

Enough with the fat jokes.

jimbino said...

Oh Gabriel Hanna,

Did I mention that Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson were not mutilated at birth?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Even inventor and actor Hedy Lamarr, like R Reagan after her, was far better qualified than what we've got generally. Can we all at least agree that some way should be found to bar lawyers from trying to represent the people?

And we want this Why? You continue to make it axiomatic, i.e., an ASSUMPTION, that lawyers equate to poor representation. Flesh your thesis out more fully, please provide definitions for “better” make explicit your hypotheses, provide falsifiable hypotheses, and please make testable predictions in re: your arguments…in short, Do Some Science to back Up Your Claims. IF, Science is so all-fired vital or preferable to the current system….

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jimbino:

You should be aware that in 1800, Thomas Jefferson was ELECTED in a knockdown-dragout fight against another smart, sophisticated and muli-lingual founding father.

Yes, he was--under the system established by the illegal and violent revolution of which he had been a ringleader.

Not saying they weren't great men, but they got to where they were by self-selection. They put themselves forward in a highly illegal way. If you want people who work their way up from within the system, you get a different class of people.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jimbino:

Did I mention that Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson were not mutilated at birth?

I was (though I can't say I miss it), and I have a Ph.D in physics. Am I qualified or disqualified to be President?

Scott M said...

Even inventor and actor Hedy Lamarr, like R Reagan after her,

That's "Hedly".

Gabriel Hanna said...

@ScottM:

"You will only risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor."

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

I was (though I can't say I miss it), and I have a Ph.D in physics. Am I qualified or disqualified to be President?

Are you sexually mutilated, apparently that counts against you too, for reasons that are not at first obvious.

Scott M said...

@GH

"Shhhh...just a man and a horse being hung out there."

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Joe:

Are you sexually mutilated, apparently that counts against you too, for reasons that are not at first obvious.

I wouldn't describe it as "sexual mutilation", but like virtually every other American male my age I was circumcised shortly after I was born.

I have no idea where he was going with that--but these guys with hobbyhorses can't help riding them into every conversation. Cf Mick.

jimbino said...

So what is this hobbyhorse, Gabriel Hanna?

Is it that our leaders are overwhelmingly multilingual lawyers, ignorant of STEM and sexually mutilated at birth?

You have to realize that Freakonomics won kudos linking abortion rights or the 70s to decrease in crime in the 90s.

I leave it to greater minds like yours to do the analysis in this case.

jerryofva said...

FLS:

Since Obama has never released his academic records how do you know he was in the top 10% Please cite your source.Are you Bara k Obama in disguise?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Is it that our leaders are overwhelmingly multilingual lawyers, ignorant of STEM and sexually mutilated at birth?

Please demonstrate, with logic, precision and EVIDENCE have any bearing on the ability or inability to govern, effectively. Thank you for your contribution.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jerryofva:

Since Obama has never released his academic records how do you know he was in the top 10%

That's what graduating cum laude means. It says it on your diploma, you don't need to have a transcript to know that.

jerryofva said...

Well Gabby have you seen the diploma?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jerryofva:

Well Gabby have you seen the diploma?

If I told you I had, you'd say it wasn't enough.

Meade said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I'd take a near moron of exceptional character over a genius of poor character for sure.

"I Will Ben, Yes."

Gabriel Hanna said...

@jerryofva:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/09/barackobama.uselections20081

At the age of 27, Obama was accepted to Harvard University's law school, where he graduated magna cum laude...

But if you don't believe he was in the top whatever percent that gets that, then why do you believe he graduated at all? After all, you haven't personally SEEN any of his diplomas.

If that's the standard you actually want to apply, that makes you a looney. And that only helps Obama because it means your criticisms are not worth taking seriously, and you discredit others trying to make a better case.

Christy said...

I call B.S. on the entire question. A president needs an entire skill set of which a decent IQ is but a part.

I've been blessed to have worked almost exclusively with highly educated and intelligent (not always the same, I'll admit) people, mostly hard science and engineering Ph.D.s, M.D.s, people with both M.D.s and Ph.D.s, and including a couple of Nobel Laureates. My top 40% is probably 4 sigma. My bottom 10% are lawyers, most of them working for the EPA.

My selections for President would come from throughout that entire IQ range. Top of the list is a college physics professor (and I'm perfectly willing to generalize and say that Physics professors are the craziest, most out-of-touch people on the planet.) This guy had been part of the Manhattan Project, and was the first teacher to say to me, "I don't know the answer to your question. Let's find out." I want a president smart enough to know when he doesn't know, but has a plan for finding out.

I also know an exceedingly intelligent politician of good character and amiable manner with deep knowledge of financial issues. He earns the esteem of colleagues through hard work and intelligence but he lacks the spark to break out as leader to those who have not worked with him. Sparks! How do we quantify them?

Someone earlier noted that the top 10% are insufferable bores without perspective. I submit that if one is surrounded by those of equal or higher intelligence, that does not happen as often.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Christy:

I'm perfectly willing to generalize and say that Physics professors are the craziest, most out-of-touch people on the planet.

Do we work with the same people?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Someone earlier noted that the top 10% are insufferable bores without perspective. I submit that if one is surrounded by those of equal or higher intelligence, that does not happen as often.

Are you suggesting then, that the very smart POTUS, MUST be surrounded by equally bright folks, because I have news for you....

Christy said...

Joe, are you telling me Clinton did not bring in the brightest?

Gabriel, ;D

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