Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'm not sure the lack of meaning here would just apply to intellectuals. It talks about finding a job in the world that is something that makes them happy. That would seem to apply to everyone, and I'm not sure has much to do with intellectual ability.

It talks about expectations placed on gifted children and what that 'might' do, but failure for anyone else can be terrible too.

I'm just not sure when you get to the outcomes being gifted or intellectual or whatever term they want to use, is all that different from anyone else.




I think, and I'm generalizing, when we start discussing people in the higher percentages of intelligence, they are more apt to be able to more accurately conceptualize the scope of their life and the lives of those around them within the greater fabric of existence.

I've always been a believer in the idea that belief in a higher power was the genetic mutation that allowed humans to gain significant higher intelligence than other animals, as well as language, while still functioning productively and altruistically. People with significantly higher levels of intelligence are much less likely to believe in a higher power.

I also speculate that this is why there tends to also be a hard upper bounds of intelligence and why we have such a significant amount of people in the middle of the bell curve with very similar levels of intelligence.


> this is why there tends to also be a hard upper bounds of intelligence and why we have such a significant amount of people in the middle of the bell curve

This is true by definition for any randomly-generated trait which can be measured on a single dimension.


Yes, but the question is in part of why is the bell curve centered where it is today? Time was not against our side in the past, in that we had plenty of time to evolve for stronger intelligence criteria. Thus there must be a counterbalance for intelligence for general populations. Today I am curious as to what the average IQ of parents, weighted per number of children the parents have, is in comparison to the average IQ of the population.


You don't evolve for the sake of it, thats not how natural selection works. Evolution, espeically in the short order time spans it takes for things like humans to evolve from our last common ancestor with chimps, requires strong environmental pressure to see rapid change such as the development of language or our large brains.

We evolved until we outcompeted our relatives (its why we are the only homo left) and until we were the apex species of our biosphere. After that the pressures were much more diffuse over the nebulous optimization space of "what makes humans have more babies".

It should be completely unsurprising that our brains are functionally only as smart as they need to be to be able to handle complex language, social interaction, planning, and spatial / self awareness. With some slight bias upwards over the millennia - probably moreso from more caloric availability, in the same way we have gotten markedly taller in 300 years mostly from just being food rich and nutrition aware, than from genetic drift from natural selection.

To evolve substantially larger brains past what we already had would have been evolutionarily contrary to fitness. Bigger brains require more calories, moreso endanger the mothers in child birth (and our births are already extremely dangerous due to just that), required more developmental time to mature (15-25 years is insane in terms of developmental maturity in nature) and would have had minimal or no competitive advantage (complex reasoning skills aren't really valuable when all you are born into or will ever have is a tiny tribe and the tactic of exhausting gazelle all day for dinner).


The only problem that I have with this line of reasoning is why we ended up being capable of complex thinking processes at all, though I do suppose then that is answered by how rare such an evolutionary line is (with a 'success state' of one).

Going back to the second question of mine, is it feasible to see a divergence on the genetic basis over time amongst humans, in that the top academics tend to marry amongst themselves, and we have the strongest meritocratic system available that has been ever known to man? Looking at the Nobel Sperm Bank, there is some evidence of such a divergence already in place.


> Yes, but the question is in part of why is the bell curve centered where it is today?

Answer: it isn't [0]. It's been steadily increasing (and pretty rapidly, at a couple points per generation).

[0] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect


Though one could debate about the "hardness" of the upper (or lower) bound. Gaussian RVs have some "softness" there, though of course the double exponential falls off rather quickly. (To which extent intelligence is well described by a Gaussian at the extremes is yet another can of worms.)


You are probably right, in the larger picture. On the other hand, this is focused on intellectuals, and further, the study's control group implies that intellectuals feel the problem more.


I was listening to a podcast which says that a lot of men in US have stopped looking for jobs, as there is no manufacturing jobs available. I wouldn't count them as searching for intellectual jobs(no offense). Sometimes, meaning is what we attach to it.




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: