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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. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Well, like I said, I'm talking about research scientists, so those in industry count, while physics phds in finance/economics do not.
     
  2. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    based on gpa and standardized test scores, yes I am smarter than the average scientist

    based on knowledge of science, definitely not because I didn't go that route - considered it, but I prefer the "jack of all trades" type of learning as opposed to specializing in one thing
     
  3. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    Well if you're in a liberal arts major that's not directly comparable, as liberal arts courses are, for the most part, easier to get higher grades in undergraduate.
     
  4. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    Yes, but only because I've met some pretty stupid scientists.
     
  5. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    I took quite a few science courses because I at first was thinking of going the science route. My gpa was actually higher when I was in science courses than later when I was taking only history... should have stayed in science really but oh well
     
  6. uppi

    uppi Deity

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    I agree, that this would be very desirable. But I do not think it is possible within the current system of doing science. There are just too many barriers for the general public to stay current in even one particular topic of science.

    The first barrier is that pretty much all scientific literature about current breakthroughs is behind a paywall. If someone wants to stay current in a topic of science, he needs access to at least several scientific journals. And the cost of this is more than a non-scientist would usually be willing to pay or even be able to afford. Often you can track down a free version somewhere, but this requires quite some effort and will not work in all cases.

    Then even if you could get access to those articles, your chance to understand what the scientist did there is pretty slim, unless you already have a pretty good idea what they are talking about. And the way the high profile papers are written, they are too short to really explain anything and assume that the reader already knows the basics. Furthermore, if the need to publish in high profile journals forces people to present their work in the most positive way and unless you are an expert in the field it is quite difficult to tell, what is a real breakthrough and what would be described by the scientists as "Okay, its useless, but we can still publish it".
    And I admit that I am not innocent of this: Although our papers intended for nature should be for a general audience of scientists, I do not think a biologist would be able to really understand what we did or be able to point out the disadvantages of our approach. And if a trained scientist cannot do that, how is a layman supposed to do it?


    About the pay of scientist: While I think most scientists are underpaid, I do not think it is much of a problem, because scientist are usually not doing it for the money. The greater problem is the temporary nature of most positions in science. If you are planning a career in science, you have to expect a pretty nomadic life from position to position. If you are single and like to live in different locations, this is not a problem, but once you have a family this can create quite some problems. And the positions that are permanent usually come with the danger to be more involved with politics than actual science.
     
  7. StittsvilleJame

    StittsvilleJame Warlord

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    I'm much smarter than the average scientist, if we're talking about IQ. I am also smarter than the average doctor, lawyer, or engineer.

    There's a difference between knowledge and intelligence, though.
     
  8. Zack

    Zack 99% hot gas

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    I'm voting no, simply due to age.
     
  9. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    There's a limit on what people can learn, only so much time to use. The difference between now and the 1930s or 1960s is that the "basics" to start understating any one field of science are now much greater. This serves as a deterrent: why would one invest a lot of time into understanding one field, if that person can only feel some reward (basic understanding of up-to-date science in the field) after months or years of dedication? Few will be inclined to do this - science as an obsessive hobby!

    We all know that the jack-of-all-trades renaissance intellectual disappeared a few centuries ago. Some people still mastered several fields, but this kind of people is becoming increasingly rare.
    I'll argue that popular science dissipated starting the the 1970s, for the same reason: increased complexity. It's gone, and it's not coming back. Up until then, many separate branches of science still had a small enough corpus of knowledge to allow the dilettante to enter it, understand it, and even add to it. Not so any more. The trend is towards ever-increasing specialization of scientists themselves, and this too is a result of the difficulty of learning all accumulated knowledge. If the scientists themselves must do this, what hope can you hold that the general public can ever be interested in an inevitably frustrating endeavor?

    Areas of strong social debate are usually political, and the sole requirement to participate in those is the ability to assess our fellow humans. When scientific evidence comes into play it gets presented as an appeal to authority argument. Even in the case of basic stuff like creationism: do you really expect people do do a careful study of the evidence backing evolution, before deciding?
    In fact, all science is based to some degree on the appeal to authority argument. Sure, published work is supposed to be testable, but how many people actually test it, and how many just assume that it's right unless someone else comes up with evidence again it? Several scientific frauds which took years to unmask should answer that.
    It's a bit like open-source software: theoretically it's "safer" because you can audit the code, in practice it may well happen that nobody, after the original writer, will even look at it. Certainly the vast majority of users just want something "that works" and couldn't care less about the code.
    It's an imperfect world, but we all better get used to it, it's not getting any better.
     
  10. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    I've not met any scientists (or gotten to know them anyway). I scored in the 96th-99th percentile on standardized tests most of my childhood. More important than inate intelligence is actually doing something with your mind so the majority of scientists probably have a leg up on me in that regard. Then again the percentage of scientists actually breakthru type important work is probably fairly low.

    Anyways I'm most interested in getting my s*** together rather than worrying about how big my intellectual dick is compared to... whoever.

    Edit : according to Mise's chart I am smarter than your average person of any profession listed (well according to my last IQ test 15 or more years ago). Not that I think IQ means much. I didn't vote in the poll because intelligence is difficult to quantify.
     
  11. nishant1911

    nishant1911 *hugs*

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    ^ how much was the score?

    is it a co-incidence that higher iq people are attracted to chess?
     
  12. CaptainF

    CaptainF The Professional Poster

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    Not when it comes to the science of their chosen field, no.

    I don't see what this thread is to imply, however. That scientists are the pinnacle of intelligence in our society? Not really. Intelligence is multi-faceted and takes many forms.
     
  13. Elta

    Elta 我不会把这种

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    Word.


    However, I will note that, I've been accepted to grad school and feel I have what it takes to be a good Social Scientist.

    Smarter than the average one?

    What Dawgphood said.
     
  14. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    Well if you were intelligent enough to read the opening post:

    And don't be silly. Scientists aren't the pinnacle of intelligence in our society. Physicists are, statistically speaking, as they have the most well developed analytical talents; it's those biologists that hunker down the average below engineers.
     
  15. Japanrocks12

    Japanrocks12 tired of being a man

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    Nope. I sincerely doubt that I am smarter even than the average person.
     
  16. CaptainF

    CaptainF The Professional Poster

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    Perfectly intelligent enough, but far too lazy.:cool:
     
  17. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    There is zero point in a mind if one refuses to use it!
     
  18. CaptainF

    CaptainF The Professional Poster

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    Au contraire, the entire path of human evolution has been to accommodate our laziness. Technology, anyone?:)
     
  19. Bill3000

    Bill3000 OOOH NOOOOOOO! Supporter

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    A result of the exact opposite of intellectual laziness. I think you're confusing smart people with the dumb consuming masses.
     
  20. CaptainF

    CaptainF The Professional Poster

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    Nah, if you think far back enough in human history, the line between smart folk and dumbass proles becomes blurrier.

    Crog invented the wheel long ago because he was tired of carrying everything on his back. Was Crog a scientist?:crazyeye:
     

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