The Seventh Tribe

A writer at Unz attempts to describe what he calls the “seven tribes of intellect” but fails to get either side of the Bell Curve right. And fair warning: I’m going to annoy some of you here by failing to hide how I actually think about these things. But it appears I’ve officially reached the age where I see no point in bothering to veil these things anymore.

Eminent (or Scary Bright) the top 0.01% (1 in 10,000) There would be one such person in our town. The town’s progress might depend on whether they are able to contribute their ideas and see them implemented. More likely, they will leave town and search out other eminent people just for the fun of exchanging ideas. Their vocabularies will be above 40,000 words. They are unlikely to believe in gods or superstitions, and can calculate coincidences. (Dick Feynman used to begin his lectures by saying: “As I parked my car today I noticed that the licence plate of the car in front of me was 79346229. What’s the chance of that?”). They may be seen as unconventional, and can be difficult to understand. In IQ terms they are 155. Call them the Three Sigmas.

When such eminent intellects leave town, they soon learn that they are not that bright. After all, even the United Kingdom has 6,500 of them, and they soon work out which the really bright ones are. So, for really interesting minds, we are looking at those who, in open competition, tested on very hard subjects, can show other scary bright people that they are closer to 1 in a million. In IQ terms this would be 160, but it would be simpler to say that they are well above conventional testing limits. Call them the Four Sigmas.

Think of Bertrand Russell going up to Cambridge University and finding very few intelligent people there, but later observing that every conversation with John Maynard Keynes was exhausting, and noting he always came away feeling defeated. Or consider John Von Neumann, (from Steve Hsu’s very good account) who made fundamental contributions in mathematics, physics, nuclear weapons research, computer architecture, game theory and automata, and also had formidable powers of mental calculation and a photographic memory. Laureate Eugene Wigner who knew Planck, Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, and Albert Einstein ranked von Neumann the highest in intellect, and the aforementioned luminaries did not question this judgement. A little uncharitably, Enrico Fermi said to Herb Anderson, with whom he ran the first ever nuclear reaction: “You know, Herb, how much faster I am in thinking than you are. That is how much faster von Neumann is compared to me”. Laureate Hans Bethe, whom I revere, went so far as to say: “I always thought von Neumann’s brain indicated that he was from another species, an evolution beyond man”.

Now, my literal spatial relations retardery leaves me just short of these proposed general limits. However, both VHIQs and UHIQs tend to immediately recognize each other, which is why I’m accepted as a peer despite my obvious limitations by fellow Eminent intellects like Steve Keen and Martin van Creveld, and why I get along instinctively well with musical prodigies like Paul Sebastien and CCK despite my near-complete absence of musical talent. Light recognizes light.

If you are capable of recognizing the pattern, you will recall that despite there being several VHIQ and UHIQ readers here, you never see them dismissing my conclusions out of hand. If you think about it, you can probably figure out why. A fellow 150-IQ friend once observed that he was frightened to think what my functional IQ is if the spatial relations element was left out of the equation; I figure it would probably work out to around 183 depending upon how bad the spatial relations were and how heavily they were weighted, which strikes me as a reasonable approximation in light of how I always felt our friend, who had a confirmed 175 IQ, was a little on the slow side.

Also, to be clear, I do not believe genius is a quantifiable measurement. Genius can only be measured in terms of genuine accomplishment, not in terms of fame, reputation, awards, or a number. Many, if not most, of the reported “genuises” of intellectual history, such as Darwin, Ricardo, Edison, or Einstein, are nothing more than useful frauds who benefitted from marketing campaigns.

I haven’t gotten my hands on the records yet, but I was part of a Harvard IQ study when I was very young and reportedly tested absurdly high in one particular area, which area I would now assume to have been pattern recognition, or at the very least, something that encompassed pattern recognition. Not to go all grandiose and Miles Mathis on you, but the simple and observable fact is that there are very few minds in history capable of developing two conclusive mathematical disproofs of theories that have survived for nearly 300 years or a predictive model of human behavior such as the socio-sexual hierarchy, never mind all three.

Note that no one has yet managed to put so much as a dent in either the Labor Mobility critique of Comparative Advantage or the Mutation Fixation critique of Evolution by Natural Selection. And while scientistry studiously ignores them, neither history nor reality will.

The account of Fermi’s behavior rings absolutely true, because just as the midwit can see that he is more intelligent than the sub-average individual, UHIQs and VHIQs tend to have a very good idea of where they stand vis-a-vis each other. Fermi wasn’t being arrogant or dismissive of Anderson, he was actually being humble and attempting to communicate to Anderson how superior von Neumann’s mind was because he knew Anderson was not capable of grasping the difference between Fermi and von Neumann.

And the fact that the author is not himself a member of the Eminent community can be seen in his erroneous belief that Scary Bright people “are unlikely to believe in gods”. To the contrary, most of us not only believe in gods in one form or another, but our thoughts on the subject are considerably more esoteric, and exotic, than most of us would ever share in public. The conventional dogmatic models simply do not suffice to explain the available evidence; there is a reason I repeatedly tell you that the world is not only weirder than we believe, it is considerably stranger than most of us are even capable of imagining.

Frankly, I’m dubious that anyone beyond high midwit level can manage to genuinely cling to atheistic materialism any longer in light of the clear evidence of supernatural evil at work everywhere in the world around us. And the idea that “nothing instills dread in a smart person like knowing that they are not the smartest” is an intrinsically midwit proposition; every VHIQ and UHIQ not only knows he is not the smartest, but can usually rattle off a list of people that he knows is smarter than he is, and whom he admires.