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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Overconfidence

I recently got the following comment on the post Do Blasians = whites?:

I am Blasian and MENSA clocked my IQ at 197.

You're a racist, you are obsessed with outdated stereotypes of African people, and you are thoroughly disgusting.

I ought to send your page link to Jezebel so they can destroy you.


My guess is, this commenter does not have an IQ of 197. If she did, she'd be more familiar with the statistics on racial disparities in IQ and crime, and be able to look at them objectively. Plus she would have more faith in her own ability to "destroy" me, and not have to rely on the folks at Jezebel, who undoubtedly average less than 197. (I'm using the female pronoun to refer to this anonymous commenter because men rarely read Jezebel.)

She would also be the first person in history -- herstory? -- whose IQ has been "clocked" rather than "measured."

(I do seem to have attracted a troll, though, as per today's comments on "Jewelry" and "Rumor mongering.")

In any case, the comment does bring up the subject of IQ and how it relates to self-image.

One question you used to hear debated a lot is, should parents tell children their IQ's? The arguments against basically boiled down to: if the number is low, the child's ambitions and confidence might be limited, and if it's high, the child might be tempted to coast.

My IQ tested well above average as a kid, and I was told my score. I honestly don't know whether that was a good thing. I suspect it has caused me to coast at times, since I never felt a need to prove myself academically. On the other hand, it has given me a lot of intellectual confidence -- probably much of it misplaced.

One of the results of my confidence is that I don't mind harboring -- and expressing -- minority opinions. Most people are reluctant to express offbeat opinions for fear that people think them somehow off-kilter.

My attitude is, so what? Let them go ahead and think I'm crazy. I don't really care, since I know I'm not. I also know I'm smarter than the people who think I'm crazy, so I care even less.

The confidence is probably good, but going through life with people thinking me odd has probably not been beneficial. (Not that I care enough to change.)

I don't know how many people have snickered at me after I've made the case for sasquatch. I do know how little I care.

I also don't mind expressing politically unpopular opinions. Go ahead and call me thoroughly disgusting, as the commenter above did; I know I'm right.

My confidence in my intelligence is pretty much unshakable. You can be right about five things in a row, and I can be wrong about all five, but I still know I'm smarter than you. (If that sounds incredibly obnoxious, I can't argue.)

You can be a world-renowned expert in some field that I know nothing about it. But I'll still feel I have a more well-rounded intelligence.

You can be more quick-witted than me. But that's okay, because I know that given the time I could come up with an even better line.

I can say the stupidest things, things I realize are stupid as soon as they leave my mouth, and write them off as temporary aberrations, not indicative of my intelligence. I can say stuff where even I am put off by my own stupidity or egotism (this post is not a bad example); so I can only imagine how others react. Yet it will not shake my belief in my own intelligence.

All of this makes me sound awfully narcissistic, but I actually don't have the other hallmarks of narcissism. I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong. And I know there are all sorts of things I positively suck at, and readily admit to those. (Type "Confessions of a beta male" into the search box of this blog and read about my low self-image.)

It's just my intelligence I'm so confident -- and quite possibly overconfident -- about. Is that good, or bad?

I honestly don't know.

(In the case of the commenter quoted above, however, I do have an opinion: it's neither good nor bad, since she's simply lying.)

6 comments:

bluffcreek1967 said...

I suspect that your confidence is due, in part, because you actually know what you're talking about (e.g., subjects such as Sasquatch, political matters, race IQ, and of course the issue of socio-paths). You're not just spewing an opinion based on your 'feelings' or scattered information here and there, but on matters you've actually taken time to think through.

So, when you hear others dogmatize on things, you can immediately discern whether they even have a clue about what they're talking about.

Knowledge is power, true. But it can also build confidence and provide a sense of healthy pride because we're able to make sense of the world.

One last thought. I too have always been open to alternative views so long as they were reasonable and based on facts or evidence. Like yourself, this has kind of placed me out of the mainstream of how most people think. I used to be slightly embarrassed by it because people think you're crazy or odd. I no longer even care - maybe because I'm much older now and because I'm beyond trying to persuade everyone that I'm not nuts?

You'll have to forgive me if my comments don't quite exactly comport with your post. I've had a long day and I'm quite tired. Still, there were a couple of sentences in your post that compelled me to write because they reflected my own thoughts.

John Craig said...

Ambrose --
Thank you, you're very kind.

It does seem that you and I have gone through the same evolution, and it's always reassuring to hear a like-minded soul. Like you, I'm still a little dismayed when people refuse to go where the facts lead and prefer an opinion which is either safely mainstream or safely non-controversial. Oh well.

There does seem to come a point where we just get too old to want to bother paying lip service to the usual pc pap.

I actually do think that being told what one's IQ is as a youngster has an influence, for better AND worse.

Glen Filthie said...

IQ does not equate to ability, or morals or ethics.

I did a few out-house IQ tests on the internet and I seem to score out at a dull 117-ish. Not overly bright, not too dumb either. Even if my IQ were down in the double digits I strongly suspect I would be too smart to be caught dead at the Jezebel website. One blogosphere wag referred to it as a 'femc**t enclave'. I feel truly sorry for the women stupid enough to take that idiocy seriously. It's fit for hags and harridans and little else.

As for YOUR intellect John, how can anyone doubt your intellect? That post about lip-plumpers is the stuff of a Pulitzer prize winner! I am still laughing about it!

John Craig said...

Glen --
I have to agree with your assessment of Jezebel. It's all about being pc, and the troll who commented on the "Jewelry" and "Rumor mongering" posts yesterday seems typical. Among other things, she called me "a mysogynistic pig." Original, that.

Thank you very much. Unfortunately, lots of people have doubted my intellect over the years, probably with good reason. And as for that Pulitzer, well, please feel free to nominate me. I highly doubt the committee will select me, but as they say about the Oscars, the nomination IS the award.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what my IQ is and really don't care. Didn't go to college and don't think I missed much. Have been described as "very smart" (whatever that means.) Everything I know comes from hard work and living. Can't beat that. I don't give a damn how many "facts" someone has stored in their brain or give as a reason for doing something. We see today how well that maneuver is working. Common sense has nothing to do with predefined studies that produce these so called facts. I have an uncle who my dad describes as having the IQ of a genius but the common sense of a moron. Filling your head with nonsense will do that to you.

So, even though I haven't had the schooling you've had, I still enjoy reading your thoughts here. I don't pick up on a learned state of mind with you, but one full of common sense, and humor. Your reasoning always seems to conclude in truth, or at least boils down to a truth I'm familiar with.

That knucklehead stating his IQ was a red flag to me.

John Craig said...

Anon --
THank you, that was actually a really nice compliment.

You do sound smart, and also, reading between the lines, tough. (That's a compliment too.)

Remind me not to get on your bad side.