So who is smarter?

THE Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman was once celebrated as the “smartest man in the world.” His mother’s response? “If that’s the world’s smartest man, God help us!”

Who are the most intelligent people on the planet? Depending on which survey you read, it could be the Germans, the Japanese, the Chinese or maybe the Pakistanis.

Our IQ, according to one recent survey, may be powerfully affected by our genetics. Another suggests that breasfed babies are more intelligent. And another that intelligence is linked to meat eating.

Yet another survey concludes more intelligent children grow up more likely to drink alcohol heavily and have less sex as adults than less intelligent children. The reasons aren’t quite clear.

These sort of surveys are fraught with danger. Intelligence is so subjective.

British scientist Sir Francis Galton thought there was an obvious, common sense link between a person’s intelligence and his or her head size. The bigger the head, the more intelligent you were, he said.

Musician Ernest Newman said the higher the voice the smaller the intellect. There is no truth in either theory.

There is no standard definition of intelligence. The word comes from the Latin verb “intellegere”, which means “to understand”. .

And there’s more than one way to be smart. Many researchers now subscribe to the idea that there are multiple intelligences, including the hard to define social intelligence and the even harder to define spiritual intelligence.

A few years ago, a study tried to establish the IQ levels of American presidents and concluded that the leaders who acted more decisively were the ones at the mid-to-lower end of the clever scale. The “smarter” presidents considered too many options to act decisively.

Albert Einstein said he wasn’t that smart. “It’s just that I stick with problems longer,” he said.


22 thoughts on “So who is smarter?

  1. I seem to remember one of Reagan’s aides said that he was the easiest president to work for because he could think about only one thing at a time.


  2. Intelligence isn’t everything, in the present age anyway. To be ‘successful’ in life needs application, which many genius and near genius people just don’t have.

    Then, yes, there are so many different types of intelligence. My guess was the most important to be EQ, Emotional Intelligence, but I hadn’t heard of Spiritual Inyelligence.

    So I’m off to read about it now –


    • OK, so then I googled for SI tests. Fascinating, as there are a number that seem to have a limited similarity. Have to say I scored a slight amount above the average on most of them. (Very slight!)


      • Good! Now let me drop you in the middle of the rainforest with only a knife, and the clothes on your back. Let’s see how long you last before you succumb to disease, hunger, thirst. Many cultures who thrive in harsh environments actually fail IQ tests simply because these tests depend on factors that are irrelevant to them.


      • Experience would be a big factor there Davinci, rather than intelligence. Yet certain types of intelligence would surely be an advantage. In the following list I can see some to rule out, but would think others might help in that circumstance.

        Visual-spatial Intelligence
        Verbal-linguistic Intelligence
        Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence
        Logical-mathematical Intelligence
        Interpersonal Intelligence
        Musical Intelligence
        Intra personal Intelligence
        Naturalistic Intelligence


  3. Three-year-old Alexis Martin has the same IQ as Einstein

    A THREE-year-old just became Arizona’s youngest Mensa member after she memorised world geography and taught herself Spanish.

    Alexis Martin’s parents first realised their toddler had smarts when she began reciting her bedtime stories verbatim at 18 months old. Then she memorised every state capital and taught herself Spanish on her parents’ iPad.

    According to ABC, she’s scored so well on IQ tests that doctors have been “unable to calculate her true score,” but estimate she’s around a 160 — the same score as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

    News com


  4. Clearly, animals possess what we might call intelligence. They have emotions, the ability to communicate and perhaps even some so-called psychic awareness. But what seems to distinguish humans from the other species is our ability for spiritual awareness.
    Mary Austin wrote of letting her subconscious nature – she called it the nature of God – become more prominent in her outlook when she was facing death. “There are two halves to the mind, the intelligence and the subliminal, and there must be fluency between them,” she wrote.
    “It is wise to establish control over the interactions in an emergency – such as being thrust suddenly into the hereafter – in which the submerged consciousness is likely to be forced sharply to the lead.”
    Writer C.S. Lewis wrote that, for many years, he blocked himself from committing to faith because of his keen, uncompromising intellect.
    Sceptical of easy answers, Lewis was unable to picture how Christ’s life and resurrection could have happened. He saw commitment to faith as somehow selling short his freedom. He was repeatedly challenged by his Christian friend, Lord of The Rings author J.R. Tolkein.
    One evening, Tolkein told Lewis: “Your inability to picture for yourself the mysteries of Jesus’s life is a failure of imagination on your part.”
    The remark stung Lewis, but he appreciated its possible truth – that faith is intellectually-enhancing.
    “God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers,” wrote Lewis. “If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all.”
    Then he realised that happiness and freedom were paradoxical. You could only have them by giving them away.
    “The essence of love is a certain obedience, a free acquiescence, a giving over of one’s freedom, a laying down of one’s life for love, morality and duty, ” he said.
    Writer Hy Sherman said the definition by psychologists of intelligence as the capacity to learn was nonsense. Intelligence is the capacity to wonder, he said. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”


    • In dogs the ones who are most easily trained, (learn faster) are not the most intelligent, just moderately intelligent and very compliant, obedient, wanting to please. Or so I’ve been told.


  5. Nothing compares to experience. If you are stuck in the jungle who do you prefer to help you ? A mentally challenged person like Tarzan or a graduate with a degree in field science ?


    • Tarzan, who taught himself to read who spoke several languages, established supremacy in the jungle by living on his wits and was able to successfully manage his household estates as Lord Greystoke as well as his extensive African interests.

      That’s your idea of “mentally challenged” ?

      As to experience well if it was vital there would never be a person who was the first to do anything.


      • “It is a bit hard to debate the mental capacity of a fictional person”

        Of course I’d imagine that’s why you started by using him as an example.

        Keep this up and it won’t be Tarzan’s capacity that’s at issue 😉


      • What about Bomba the Jungle Boy?

        Did I ever go for him in a big way. Don’t tell me he wasn’t real? Oh no, my life will never be the same now. 😯


      • “It is a bit hard to debate the mental capacity of a fictional person.”

        Right….. so that’s why you used him for you initial comparison.


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