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Are you smarter than the average scientist?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Zelig, Jan 20, 2011.

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Are you smarter than the average scientist?

  1. I am smarter than the average scientist.

    40.3%
  2. I am not smarter than the average scientist.

    59.7%
  1. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    Notably, most historians themselves are not the ones who are doing the applying. (They tend to know better than that.) Neither are the theoretical physicists, really.
     
  2. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    No, but I'm probably a better shot.
     
  3. Souron

    Souron The Dark Lord

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    I don't compete with professors to find out who's smarter. So I don't know.
     
  4. CurtSibling

    CurtSibling ENEMY ACE™ SLeague Staff Supporter

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    "Are you smarter than the average scientist?"

    You'll find about three people on CFC who are even remotely in that ball park.

    And no, am would not be so arrogant as to count myself more clever than a professional scientist.

    :)
     
  5. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I've never done an actual, proper IQ test, but I reckon I'm above the average for a natural scientist.
     
  6. CurtSibling

    CurtSibling ENEMY ACE™ SLeague Staff Supporter

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    I can see this thread becoming "ego-massage" central.

    :lol:
     
  7. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    i'm wrangling over the idea of a historical engineer here
     
  8. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Yet you keep coming back...
     
  9. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I would've thought that although the average scientist is probably smarter than the average person in general, it wouldn't be a huge and dramatic difference. "Scientist" doesn't necessarily mean "good scientist". Scientists would definitely be better at, well, science, than non-scientists, but that doesn't necessarily correlate with intelligence anymore than anyone else being good in their particular field does.

    That said, I would think that there is some difference in the average, because science does seem to take brains. Mine isn't all that good at it.
     
  10. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I think that some people are biased to take other people's opinions into account, and other people are biased against taking in other opinions. Scientists are perceived as 'human', and very many people believe false things that they believe 'scientists have gotten wrong'. As well, people don't really know how to find a 'scientist's opinion' and tend to think that an opinion from a scientist is not scientist-dependent; there's a feedback loop there, of course.

    I think that scientific consensus should be a component of policy. Society plays with scientists, because we don't understand the way scientists couch things to each other; qualifying words are seen as wriggling or aren't noticed. So, scientists need to use different words with 'citizens' than with each other, which can lead to confusion regarding consensus.

    An individual scientists is only as good as her peer review: especially in her main field of work. An established scientist tends to be really good at spotting holes in other people's work, but selectively blind in their own. Again, consensus matters.
    It's a labor of love, so it's hard to discuss monetary compensation. With regards to their intellectual peers, scientists are woefully underpaid. Not just a little. A lot. But that's supply/demand, and not entirely unfair. You need to be very clever to figure out how hydrogen bonds with chicken feathers, and you need to be clever to figure out the tax code. One gets you paid more than the other. You need to be clever in finding all the evidence regarding a question, and finding holes in other people's evidence. You also need to be clever to fool a judge into thinking a question is sufficiently discussed to be decided upon. One gets you paid more.

    The one group that does not get paid enough, or compensated, are the ones that get death threats. Remember, it's a labor of love, and the wages are enough to slowly grind out a lifestyle. But once they start receiving death threats (because they publish on, say, global warming issues), their compensation is not at all sufficient. As well, they have no where else to go, they're too specialised.
    What scientists need is increased scientific understanding in the populace. The whole system screams for this. People need to find science that they enjoy, and keep up on it, and follow it. They need to gain some type of useful knowledge, that they can apply and share.

    There're breakthroughs all the time, but most people don't know very much more than adults knew in the 30s or 60s. This really requires that people spend time consuming science literature. What would be nice is if someone was able to read an BBC, FOX, CNN science article (on their topic of interest) and realise that the article was too basic to really explain what was going on.

    There're many areas of strong debate in society, where people have very strong opinions, but there's almost no one incorporating the scientific information into the debate. Hells, a majority of people seem to be ignorant (in a debate they care about) of simple, foundational stuff.
     
  11. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Well the graph I posted (found the source: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/cde/cdewp/98-07.pdf ) indicates that the average scientist is within 1 standard deviation of the average person in general (overall IQ has a mean of 100 and s.d. of 15; the graph says that the average IQ of a natural scientist is 111-ish). So you seem to be right.
     
  12. CurtSibling

    CurtSibling ENEMY ACE™ SLeague Staff Supporter

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    Yet not claiming to be as smart as a scientist...Which is nerd-hubris.
     
  13. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    In terms of IQ, I suppose I am smarter. I'd also imagine I know more about comic books than the average scientist, and if there's one thing I've learned from comic books, it's that the average scientist is perfectly willing to test potentially lethal and likely mutagenic procedures on himself. I'm smarter than that.
     
  14. nocho

    nocho Deity

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    The average scientist is not necessarily incredibly smart, he's well, uh, average after all. :) In many cases real interest in whatever his/her speciality is and dedication are more important than being particularly brilliant. A typical scientist is usually not stupid of course, but needn't be overrated either.
     
  15. CurtSibling

    CurtSibling ENEMY ACE™ SLeague Staff Supporter

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    If half of you were as clever as you claim, you'd be the scientists.

    Not a bunch of pringle-munchers on an internet board.

    (I include myself here too)
     
  16. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    What exactly is a scientist for the purposes of this poll? Do engineers count? Or are we only talking about high energy physicists, biochemists cloning people, etc? And if engineers count, what kind make the cut and what kind don't? Bachelor's degrees okay, or only master and above?
     
  17. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Thanks to El_Mac, for being the only person who responded to any of the non-titular points in the OP.

    I would generally not count engineers, although some specialties have skill sets which are comparable to scientists in the same field. (I'm thinking petroleum, chemical, etc.)

    I'm generally talking about research scientists, so that's masters/phd most of the time, but feel free to count undergrad students who are getting free rides through school to work on research.
     
  18. CurtSibling

    CurtSibling ENEMY ACE™ SLeague Staff Supporter

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    Perhaps we should have a poll about who has a degree around here!
     
  19. Atticus

    Atticus Deity Retired Moderator

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    I'm going to answer only this. Scientists are in general well respected, but of course no one knows them by name or what they do, with very few exceptions.

    I'm happy that very few scientists seem to be complaining about their salaries. Teachers and doctors moan all the time, although they get notably more money. However people in university management complain sometimes that talented won't become researchers because they won't earn much money that way. I don't agree with them, or that it's a problem. In my opinion science is something you should do out of vocation, not for money. Also, being talented is not enough for being a good scientist. Effort and being genuinely interested is more important.

    Some time ago they started paying better to researchers here in Finland, they thought that it would lead to more "efficient" universities. Most people I knew who ere affected by it thought it was stupid, as it meant just more bureaucratic paperwork for them, which was away from them doing actual research. Also the economies of universities are going down hill because of that.

    I think that's a sad reflection of what happens when business oriented people decide on science. Some more consequences is ridiculous focus on the degrees produced by the university or papers published by a researcher.

    Also, I'd guess these opinions do not apply to America, since there are actually big money universities, and competition among them makes more sense.,
     
  20. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    What about scientists in industry? They don't necessarily need Masters or PhDs -- I've interviewed for a few jobs with a Bachelor's.

    Incidentally, I'd be wary of taking PhDs as indicators of intelligence. Lots of people who had substantially worse grades than me at uni are doing PhDs now. Engineers, for example, don't do PhDs normally, but are no dumber than scientists, who tend to go the academic route.
     

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