Thursday, January 28, 2010


I meet very intelligent people every day as I imagine we all do.  The other day, we had a presentation by a man who is a musician and a historian.  He is especially interested in the history of his family and his people, the Acadians.  He mentioned he is invited to speak to classes at the university by genuine PhD's.  He made the comment in a tone that equated PhD's with very intelligent people.

I was impressed with his obvious intelligence and wondered how hard it would be for me to convince him that he was as intelligent or more so than many PhD's.

What is a PhD, anyhow?  I think it is safe to say a doctor of philosopy has taken many courses at a university and passed them.  Normally, a PhD has written a long paper, usually called a dissertation.  The PhD may be very intelligent or not.  There is no guarantee.  They must be able to read, remember what they read and be able to write.   But many people who have not managed to get funded by savings or grants to sit in classrooms and libraries can read well and remember and write clearly.

You can expect that a PhD will be able to question and criticize.  Thus, you can expect that a PhD, especially a group of male PhD's together, will be somewhat grumpy.  No matter what is said or done, some or all of the group can think of objections and alternatives.  Some of those objections or alternative may seem superior to the present course of action.  The dissertation typically contains five chapters, the last of which is usually required to be well-based opinion as to what use the discoveries or revelations of the research might be put.  

Several people who receive this blog by email are PhD's and they may have comments, extensions or objections to these statements.

The definition and possible measurement of human intelligence has been of great interest for a long time, especially since Alfred Binet tried to create a test to sort children for the Paris schools.  So far, the measurement has been pretty much of a failure, althought not completely so.  

To me, the intelligent person is usefully imaginative, sees what opportunities lie at hand and how to make use of them.

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