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Thread: Presidential IQ

  1. #11
    morose bourgeoisie
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    So...do you have a girlfriend?

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    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Wasn't all of this famously discredited years ago?:rolli:
    Not sure. Are you thinking of the presidential IQ hoax that had George W Bush's IQ listed at less than 100, and all recent democrats bordering on genius while all recent republicans were significantly lower?


    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Not only does this study seem a little nuts, but I don't see how IQ can be correlated with performance. First how do you objectively measure performance? Two people can look at the same president and one can think he was great while another thinks he's terrible.
    I don't think it seems nuts at all; perfectly sane actually. You can objectively measure performance the same way you can objectively measure distance: by defining a standard metric. Others do not have to agree that the metric encompasses all the positives they associate with a good president, but for the purposes of a correlative study, they needn't agree. For example, if I am seeing whether or not presidential greatness is correlated with a diet high in fiber, and I define presidential greatness as the number of dumps taken in a day, it is a perfectly legitimate study. The person interpreting the study, however, must be sure to note that in this context presidential greatness is defined by amount of dumps taken in a day. I wrote the title of the study so that those interested individuals could seek out the metrics for themselves.


    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    So...do you have a girlfriend?
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  3. #13
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    Not sure. Are you thinking of the presidential IQ hoax that had George W Bush's IQ listed at less than 100, and all recent democrats bordering on genius while all recent republicans were significantly lower?
    Yeah, I'm afraid I wasn't paying too much attention when I typed that....still, I'm doubtful as to the veracity of the study you did link to (though the supposed IQ for GWB is about the same as my unscientific guess), particularly concerning the older Presidents who lack relatively objective evaluations such as SAT scores. I think its safe to say, based on the evaluations of contemporaries, that John Adams was a genius and George Washington possessed greater wisdom than intelligence, for example, but trying to get more specific than that is pretty much just whistling in the dark.

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    Senior Member Trentham's Avatar
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    Add me to the skeptics list. IQs in excess of 150 represent an exceedingly rare level of intelligence. Being President is a tough job, no question, but I'd be very surprised if 1/4 of them were bona fide geniuses.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trentham View Post
    Add me to the skeptics list. IQs in excess of 150 represent an exceedingly rare level of intelligence. Being President is a tough job, no question, but I'd be very surprised if 1/4 of them were bona fide geniuses.
    The average IQ for US presidents, according to the study, was approx 134. Given that 1 in 85 people will have an IQ of at least 134, and given the population of the United States is approx 310 mil, there are approx 35 mil people alive in the US at this moment who possess an IQ of at least that of the average president of the United States. Does this still seem so unreasonable?

    Also, looking at the data, if we consider all estimates (4 per president) approx 10% of all estimates are above 150; if we consider the average for each president (the average of their 4 estimates) approx 8% of presidents have an average above 150.
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  6. #16
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    I would expect the IQ of presidents as a group to be at least one standard deviation higher than that of the general population. Regardless of party and politics, it's just downright hard to get elected president if you're stupid... so the job pre-selects for intelligent people.

  7. #17
    Senior Member LunarMoon's Avatar
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    Mark me as one of the skeptics, especially in regard to the older presidential estimates. Historical I.Q. estimates have always been little more than random guesses without any stated evidence. At least these are better than the I.Q. estimates of writers and scientists, in which I.Q.s topping 170 are gauged to be the norm.

    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I would expect the IQ of presidents as a group to be at least one standard deviation higher than that of the general population. Regardless of party and politics, it's just downright hard to get elected president if you're stupid... so the job pre-selects for intelligent people.
    I agree, though I believe that it's necessary to bring up the oft-stated fact that a leader cannot be too much smarter than his or her followers without alienating them. So one standard deviation is what I would expect. I'd also like to bring up the fact that many of the skills demonstrated during an individual’s presidency are not measured on the I.Q. evaluation, which very often seems only to test how effectively one can take an I.Q. test.
    Surgeons replace one of your neurons with a microchip that duplicates its input-output functions. You feel and behave exactly as before. Then they replace a second one, and a third one, and so on, until more and more of your brain becomes silicon. Since each microchip does exactly what the neuron did, your behavior and memory never change. Do you even notice the difference? Does it feel like dying? Is some other conscious entity moving in with you?
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  8. #18
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    United States is approx 310 mil, there are approx 35 mil people alive in the US at this moment who possess an IQ of at least that of the average president of the United States.
    You mean, 3.5 mil. That's a big difference.
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LunarMoon View Post
    I believe that it's necessary to bring up the oft-stated fact that a leader cannot be too much smarter than his or her followers without alienating them. So one standard deviation is what I would expect.
    I'm skeptical about your fact, especially in the context of the political arena. I would say alienation takes place to a greater degree when one of lower than average intelligence is in a position of power; and furthermore, when the superiority of another is obvious, there is a desire for most to support and follow that person. That being said, I cannot speak for the validity of the estimates within this study, and my only suggestion would be to look up the article for your own reference so that you may better pass judgment. Personally, I find the JFK estimate to be much higher than I would have thought, especially because I have heard in the past that he did in fact take an IQ test, scoring around 116.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member LunarMoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    I'm skeptical about your fact, especially in the context of the political arena. I would say alienation takes place to a greater degree when one of lower than average intelligence is in a position of power; and furthermore, when the superiority of another is obvious, there is a desire for most to support and follow that person.
    I would agree as well, which is why I mentioned that the most popular leaders are going to be those with an intelligence one standard deviation above the norm. Anything less than average, or too great above the norm will result in increased alienation amongst the general public. As for your second statement, that unfortuanately just isn't so. The vast majority of U.S. presidential elections have been contests of proving how average each of the opponents are; anything else is regarded as "elitist", a word that has become increasingly stigmatized. Joe Sixpack doesn't want an enlightened despot, represented by the fact that there has never been a successful technocracy in the U.S.
    Surgeons replace one of your neurons with a microchip that duplicates its input-output functions. You feel and behave exactly as before. Then they replace a second one, and a third one, and so on, until more and more of your brain becomes silicon. Since each microchip does exactly what the neuron did, your behavior and memory never change. Do you even notice the difference? Does it feel like dying? Is some other conscious entity moving in with you?
    -Steven Pinker on the Ship of Theseus Paradox

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