Intelligence is not wisdom

Here is a n exercise in how intelligence is no vaccine against stupid.

We see smart people selling the integrity for fame and money all the time–but are intelligent people less vulnerable to irrational or at least stupid behavior–maybe, maybe not–are they immune to error or fallacious thinking? I say no. Otherwise we would have so little to do here at

Exhibit one is the magnitude of scientific fraud related to climate and public policy/science when big money is in play.

Those of us who are pushing back on the ruling class/expert army know well the allure of academic promotions, connections, prosperity.

And, most important how intellectual passion and hubris can result in cargo cult science and chatter box advocacy of fraudulent research in the service of some master.

Enough money can buy a “consensus.”

A good scientist is his most severe critic and he tests his hypothesis with tough questions, and experimentation intended to disprove the hypothesis. (Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in physics, said all that and more in his commencement address at Cal Tech)

First the essay on intelligence and stupidity:

The more important lecture with pics of Feynman talking to CalTech graduates about scientific integrity and cargo cult science. How smart people fool themselves because of intellectual passion and tunnel vision–terrible afflictions that bring down the mighty intelligent.

I personally know that I am a sorta smart person–not really that intelligent, but I can be wise or hope to be wise because i understand the importance of humility, and curiosity.


3 responses to “Intelligence is not wisdom

  1. Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge and has very little to do with intelligence. I know a lot of people that are not highly educated that exhibit great wisdom and I know a lot of intelligent, highly educated, people that clearly lack any wisdom at all. Who do you think is the best target of a scam artist? The little old lady you see on TV that has lost her small life savings to a scam artist? No. Their favorite target is someone who thinks they are so smart and intelligent that they can’t be scammed. Why? Because once they have been scammed, they will not call the police or go on TV and let the world know they had been scammed.

  2. “Common sense is not so common.” — Voltaire

    It is the one quote by a noted historical figure I’ve always remembered because it is, without question, absolutely true.

  3. A fool is not determined by his IQ or his education. He may have a very high IQ and a lengthy string of degrees. But what determines the difference between a wise man and a fool is that a wise man will listen a fool will not. You cannot tell a fool anything! Also a fool will never learn from observation or experience, he will repeat the same mistakes over and over because he “knows best!”

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