Marilyn Vos Savant writes a column distributed nationwide in the U.S.
(don't know how far beyond the U.S.) in the Parade magazine distributed
with many newspapers. She answers various questions people send in, on
almost any subject. Sometimes she answers little brainteasers but they
are almost always old chestnuts.

Living proof that IQ is, in practicality, useless, or, more to the point, it's not how big it is but how you use it. If she's so smart, what has she invented, created, or done to better the world? All that potential and all she does is run an advice column and spew out answers without much backing-up, and quite often, incorrect. What a waste.

Cecil Adams hates her for many of the same reasons. He doesn't need an arbitrary standardized test to show that he has actual intelligence. Yeah, he runs a similar sort of newspaper column, but he actually gives a full treatment to every question he answers, he doesn't make up shit, he backs up his facts with research, and he's actually witty and creative in the way he responds as well. He answers questions, rather than answering advice, and he doesn't stoop to stupid logic puzzles which third-graders can answer. (The only logic puzzle I've ever seen him run, actually, was a very complicated geometry proof.)

One's having the highest recorded IQ is hardly an indication that one is `the smartest person in the world'. Personally, if I were the smartest person in the world, I think I would dedicate my time to a more worthwhile cause than answering puzzles for a pop culture rag, and writing books full of even more such puzzles. Really. I'm not saying she's not intelligent---she's probably far more so than me. But to say she's the world's most intelligent person ignores that:

vos Savant (at least a few years ago, and probably still today) fails to provide references to the places the puzzles or the solutions she gives were originally published, even when these are academic papers only a few years old. Instead, she advertises her own books. The academic community has a word for that: unethical.

If she is the smartest woman in the world, what does it say about our culture that all we do with her is ask her to perform math tricks and word games like she's a whiz kid, computer, or Rain Man? It's sick - like she's an exhibit at the intellectual zoo.

I have never been impressed with her and often been infuriated by her lack of intellectual depth. She's also made some remarkably stupid comments about art that betray her complete lack of understanding in that area.

So if you're so smart, where's your Unified Field Theory, Marilyn?

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