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View Poll Results: Is unattractiveness a boon to scientific discovery?

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  • Yes

    10 26.32%
  • No

    28 73.68%
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  1. #21
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Well attractiveness is relative.

  2. #22
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Ah.

    Well, then I think you are marginalizing the motivational aspects of superior intelligence (a somewhat innocuous phrase unto itself), when mobilized in spite of external distractions to contemplation and production.

    You are offering what could otherwise be considered a 'Slippery Slope' rationale. There are multitudinous other factors that corroborate to assist not only in the initial development of the intellect, but in the subsequent application of intellectual capability. No man is an island, as they say.

    The way one looks (or doesn't look) is probably not nearly as important as what one wants or has the ambition to obtain.
    Jonnyboy may had a point if he amended his statement:

    "If Einstein, Bohr, Hawking, Newton, etc. had been very physically attractive... would they have had such an impact, or made such discoveries? My guess is no."

    To possibly. An economist for the FT, Tim Harman, made similar contentions about why very good looking women are disproportionately under-represented in the Arts, Academia and Industry. The premiss is that most people are driven by economic security rather than vocational goals, at least as an initial priority. A good looking woman may find herself married and not see academic advancement as necessary to achieving those goals, should a latent talent exist.

    The roles don't quite switch over with men marrying wealthy older ladies, alas.

    But we could suppose for a moment that if Einstein - a rather small and physically unimposing fellow - had been exceptionally handsome, he may have encountered the kind of distractions that would have prevented him pursuing a career as an academic. The complex chain of events that led to him excelling in science, it might be argued, were more likely to yield to the charms of carousing, hard liquor and a busy blonde. However, one could equally argue that any event may have similar outcomes to Einstein's future (being bitten by a wasp, or slipping on a banana skin, for example). The argument becomes hypothetical with the premiss not justifying the conclusion.

    However, anecdotally, if one works in a scientific environment with not many good-looking folks, it is tempting - but irrational - to conclude the are there because they are ugly. Maybe good-looking, potential, scientists who were distracted never pursued science. The proportions may be less because the good-looking would-be scientist simply never went on to become a scientist.

  3. #23
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Jonnyboy may had a point if he amended his statement:

    "If Einstein, Bohr, Hawking, Newton, etc. had been very physically attractive... would they have had such an impact, or made such discoveries? My guess is no."

    To possibly. An economist for the FT, Tim Harman, made similar contentions about why very good looking women are disproportionately under-represented in the Arts, Academia and Industry. The premiss is that most people are driven by economic security rather than vocational goals, at least as an initial priority. A good looking woman may find herself married and not see academic advancement as necessary to achieving those goals, should a latent talent exist.

    But we could suppose for a moment that if Einstein - a rather small and physically unimposing fellow - had been exceptionally handsome, he may have encountered the kind of distractions that would have prevented him pursuing a career as an academic. The complex chain of events that led to him excelling in science, it might be argued, were more likely to yield to the charms of carousing, hard liquor and a busy blonde. However, one could equally argue that any event may have similar outcomes to Einstein's future (being bitten by a wasp, or slipping on a banana skin, for example). The argument becomes hypothetical with the premiss not justifying the conclusion.

    However, anecdotally, if one works in a scientific environment with not many good-looking folks, it is tempting - but irrational - to conclude the are there because they are ugly. Maybe good-looking, potential, scientists who were distracted never pursued science. The proportions may be less because the good-looking would-be scientist simply never went on to become a scientist.

    Yes:

    The addition of that particular phrase would have changed my response from what was essentially a 'No' to what could be considered 'possibly'.

    As you mentioned, there are any number of stimuli that can/do alter our perception of the world around us. As perception itself is invariably a recreation of previous experience, the frequency and intensity of the stimuli will certainly influence what we get out of it.

    It is in this cooperation of influential stimuli that we jacket our understanding of our place in the world. Things like physical attractiveness and quality of intellect certainly factor in to our global impressions of ourselves. To what extent is variable to the individual.

  4. #24
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    Newton was totally hot. But alas for women, wasn't he also totally gay? (Maybe for this guy.)

    Tesla was hot, hot, hot!

  5. #25
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    I see what you're saying, but I'm not sure it really applies to intellectual interests. I would guess that most people who have a great aptitude for, and interest in, academic pursuits, wouldn't be distracted from those pursuits by social success and attention.

    I do think that a lot of people develop other aspects of their personalities if they perceive themselves in childhood/adolescence to not be one of the "pretty people." When I was in junior high, I remember actually thinking that I had more of a shot at success capitalizing on being the smart girl or the funny girl. And I have definitely seen people who got a lot of attention for looks from childhood who never bothered to develop their intellects or personality or senses of humor.

    I just don't think that a genius-level scientist would let social approval be "enough" for him/her.
    Something Witty

  6. #26
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    I do think that a lot of people develop other aspects of their personalities if they perceive themselves in childhood/adolescence to not be one of the "pretty people."
    Given what we've seen of you in the 'Picture' thread, I think you might be off the mark with this particular self-perception.

  7. #27
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    I dunno. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Niels Bohr or Einstein looked too bad. Hawking though? ...yeah, may have something to do with it.

    Young Thomas Edison looks like he totally has it out for you.

    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  8. #28
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I think Einstein and Hawking both were pretty worldly guys. The rest,not so sure. I remember Hawking telling some story once where he and some colleague had a bet on some theory or something.. And whoever lost was forced to pay for a subscription to porn. Hawking won, and still had a big smile on his face.

    Einstein is also famous for the quote "Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves." He knew what was important. ;D

  9. #29
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    Wasn't Einstein a player?

    New letters shed light on Einsteinís love life - Science- msnbc.com

    John Forbes Nash was a womanizer too from what I understand.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ragingkatsuki View Post
    What are you on about? If I were a woman I'd find Newton plenty attractive... I think.
    HA HA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA
    AHAHAHAH

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