These people get into some pretty acrimonious debates.Overweight people, and especially people who feel unfairly stigmatized for being overweight, tend to cluster on the biologically determined side. I sometimes blog about research into IQ and human intelligence.
I hear that pays pretty well.” The best reason not to say that is that we view Ramanujan as intellectually gifted.I can come up with a few explanations for the sudden switch, but none of them are very principled and none of them, to me, seem to break the fundamental symmetry of the situation.I choose to maintain consistency by preserving the belief that overweight people, depressed people, and poor people aren’t fully to blame for their situation – and neither are unintelligent people. Intelligence is mostly genetic and determined at birth – and we’ve already determined in every other sphere that “mostly genetic and determined at birth” means you don’t have to feel bad if you got the short end of the stick.Here it’s would-be hard-headed conservatives arguing that intellectual greatness comes from genetics and the accidents of birth and demanding we “accept” this “unpleasant truth”.And it’s would-be compassionate progressives who are insisting that no, it depends on who works harder, claiming anybody can be brilliant if they really try, warning us not to “stigmatize” the less intelligent as “genetically inferior”.But the very phrase tells us where we should classify that belief. I got a perfect score in Verbal, and a good-but-not-great score in Math.Ramanujan’s genius is a “gift” in much the same way your parents giving you a trust fund on your eighteenth birthday is a “gift”, and it should be weighted accordingly in the moral calculus. I shouldn’t pretend I’m worried about this for the sake of the poor. And in high school English, I got A s in all my classes, Principal’s Gold Medals, 100%s on tests, first prize in various state-wide essay contests, etc.In Math, I just barely by the skin of my teeth scraped together a pass in Calculus with a C-.Every time I won some kind of prize in English my parents would praise me and say I was good and should feel good.My teachers would hold me up as an example and say other kids should try to be more like me.Meanwhile, when I would bring home a report card with a C- in math, my parents would have concerned faces and tell me they were disappointed and I wasn’t living up to my potential and I needed to work harder et cetera. Every time I was held up as an example in English class, I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. I didn’t study at all, half the time I did the homework in the car on the way to school, those essays for the statewide competition were thrown together on a lark without a trace of real effort.