Is anyone really that smart?

Sometimes I feel like... it's not really that the capability between people is as different as we think it is.

It's more about one person maybe getting better education, or better opportunities.

For example, let's say there is a child who is educated at a private school (best in the country) they will most likely be more capable than the average student. Or if someone who is really smart doesn't go to University, the person who has gone will be more book-smart more often than not.


Most Helpful Guy

  • You are incorrect. Genetics represent about 80% of a person's intelligence capability. The more research in this area, the more the findings are to strengthen that correlation, to the point that many people are becoming uncomfortable. What does equality mean when genetics is 80% or more of the outcome?

    The reason why it seems like those who grew up in affluent public and good private schools are so much smarter is because their parents were smart enough to do well. Smart parents means it is more likely to have smart children.

    The reason why it seems like those who grew up poor are not nearly as intelligent is because their parents are probably not smart and they are not likely to have smart children.

    60 years ago, the limiting factor was opportunity and hunger. There was not as much correlation between innate intelligence and wealth because smart people may not have the opportunity to develop it and dumb people had to work too in order to eat. Now, everyone has the chance to attend higher education regardless of ability to pay and there are no more racial barriers. The result is that smarter people migrate to high paying careers and dumb people are not working at all. The new segregation by intelligence means smart people are marrying smart people and dumb people are not getting married at all, amplifying the difference in income.

    It is easy to prove you are incorrect. Imagine picking any random slow child. There is no way you can turn him into a rocket scientist or doctor. Therefore, your assertion is wrong.

    On the other hand, bright kids show their stuff at an early age. There is a smart gene among Ashkenazi Jews and many east Asians. There is a math gene. (technically, these are more than one gene, it is a collection).

    Your confusion is probably that success has several factors: Intelligence, motivation, and opportunity. A person with average intelligence and high motivation can do very well, and a person with high intelligence and low motivation may do poorly.

    What we need to do is to identify those individuals who are genetically very capable and get them the opportunities they need to develop it at an early age. On the flip side, we need to stop wasting resources on those who are lower than 2 sigma below mean.

    • Well. Your post is pretty fancy with the 2 sigma below mean and all.

      Look, I remember not liking studying as far as I can remember. My dad is a doctor by the way.

      I went to shit schools and that reflected in my lack of motivation to study because I wasn't used to it.

      However when I went to University, I realized I was pretty 'smart'. I'd study like 4 days before an exam and get near perfect grades whereas my friends would study for a month and still do worse than me.

      I loved my life. I thought I was soo smart.

      And then I went through a horrible depression and got laughed at because I took a leave from school. It just made things so much worse, to the extent where I was 2 years behind everyone who already graduated.

      I simply couldn't study the same way. I just couldn't concentrate. I started failing classes.

    • I got better and went back to being good, but it did make me realize something.

      I was a proven above-average student. I took those exams and got near perfects on them, and yet there were students who didn't get near perfects who were doing better than me while I was failing those classes.

      No one is really as clever as we make them out to be. University requires a large amount of effort it's not really about someone just being so smart that you give them a course outline and a textbook and voila they get an A+.

      It was a learning experience for me because it taught me not to judge others. There may be a guy who might have been smarter than I was but he didn't have the income to go to school and that renders him to work a minimum paying job whereas I'd go on to be a corporate robot with a hopefully decent pay cheque

    • Sounds like you proved my point exactly. Genetics.

      Whether you were motivated or not is a separate question.

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What Guys Said 3

  • smart is a flexible concept... what you are talking about is opportunity. For all we know, we have the next Einstein or Tesla or Gates but they are in some third world country and have to milk cows in the morning. That doesn't make them dumb, they just didn't have the opportunity to shine.
    So yeah, there are very many smart people, I've always thought that the ones we know now, are not even "smart"... the true smart people are undiscovered. popular or famous doesn't mean smart.

    • I agree. I also feel as though it's a step by step process.

      For example, I know a girl who got an 80 something in math which is by no means amazing. Instead of trying for business school she went for something pretty ordinary.

      But that girl did well in what she was good at, which was communication etc. and she ended up going to law school. Where there may be a business student whose worked their ass off and didn't get to go because their grades are not as good.

      Our system is so fucked up

    • the world is fucked up.
      there are also different kinds of smarts... I've managed to bring it down to 3 but they have other branches. and you can't just have one. gotta have at least two.
      I knew a girl who was a straight A+ student (dated her)... but she blows a tire one day and freaks out... and i had to go all the way out to change a tire. Book smart... no street smarts.

  • If we all had similar capabilities and achievement was simply a matter of educational opportunities, then students who all attended the same school would get the same grades and there would not be a wide range of abilities among those students. That is not, of course, the way it works because your premise is not true.

    • Hmm.

      No I think there are other reasons why people who all attend the same school don't get the same marks. A large part of that is things like how much effort they put in, how much parental support they get, their liking of the material etc.

      Plus, it's not like children stay at the same school for years and years lots of people move schools etc. that also would affect your academics.

      Now that's not to say that someone who didn't like math for example would automatically be good at it if they went to private school. However, their ability to be at least above average would go substantially up if they had.

      This is why I hated University. it's a never ending comparison about whose smarter than whom but really you don't know who is studying more, who is getting their friend's help on assignments, who has had work experience in x industry to help them with the coursework.

      It's really not a fair comparison

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    • Get that B, move on with your life, take an upper year finance course and get an A.

      That's sometimes as simple as it gets.

      At least that's what I learned

    • With people going to law school, I make the simple observation that even if they graduate in the top 10% of their class, 1 out of every 10 students will have done the same thing. Therefore, if they want to distinguish themselves from the others, they should focus on getting work experiences while in school so that they have practical knowledge to combine with their classroom achievements.

  • Our level of intelligence is something we are born with. With a very few exceptions there is pretty much nothing that can be done to increase it.

    Regardless of a person's education it is pretty easy to identify intelligent people simply by listening to them for a few minutes.

    • I don't agree with that.

      I know for me for example, I was doing pretty well in school after some awful things happened in my life and then I simply stopped. I just couldn't concentrate anymore. I went so below average I started failing my exams.

      That doesn't mean I wasn't smart it just means I stopped being good at school because it takes a LOT of effort to be good at school.

      Also, while I was going through this phase of failing exams, my ability to verbally outshine others was top notch. I'm sure most people based on how well I speak, thought I was really clever when in fact they were doing better than me on the tests that we were meant to take.

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    • Having a strong short-term memory does not make a person intelligent. Understanding what they have put in their head is intelligence at work.

    • Isn't that project work?

      It's interesting, because after my debacle from school when I came back, I was amazing at the project work. As in, textbooks would scare me so I would put in all of my effort into projects and do way above average on them.

      But I never felt smart. My overall grades were not really that great compared to the average student because a large part of a course is determined by exams.

      I felt like a poser sometimes. As in someone who everyone thinks is smart but is actually not that bright. Which I know logically is a little ridiculous because I used to outshine others on the tests.

      But that was in the past and that bothered me

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