Should the acquisition of a skill be a prerequisite for admission to the intelligentsia?

I've already decided that only atheists may be admitted to the modern intelligentsia. But should mastery of a skill be another criterion? If somebody's extremely smart, does that necessarily imply that they will master a skill? Which skills are suitable? Is it possible that somebody's really smart but really lazy and they never bother learning how to do anything?

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Good point. Deception is a skill.

Depends largely on how you define intelligentsia, whether belonging to an intelligentsia is necessary, how you define skill, and other questions. If you simply look around you are aware that some individuals possess the necessary smarts and talents to be taken seriously on a great variety of topics; they show a blind spot only as regards belief-versus-science. Not everyone is Einstein, and even he, when pooh-poohing the new science of particle physics, was heard to utter the immortal line, "God does not play dice." (Yes, I know, he meant Nature and its laws -- NOT to be confused with what the clerics like to characterize as "Natural Law" meaning God-design.) This type of individual is our greatest challenge. But belief has been shown to be both hard-wired (almost as if Lamarckian "selection" were a fact) and nurtured-in. They cannot escape their belief. But "intelligentsia" sounds elitist, and I am just enough of a humanist to despise elites.

But "intelligentsia" sounds elitist, and I am just enough of a humanist to despise elites.

It also sounds like a club to which anyone is supposed to belong who is atheist and has a certain minimum of intelligence/skills. 

But being in that club does not mean that everyone else in that club is going to think your thoughts are worthy of respect. 

I respect people's thoughts or don't respect them, based on a variety of reasons.  A lot of my reasons are the things I mentioned - are they honest?  Are their thoughts psychologically motivated, or are they fairly rational?  Do they rely on argument by insult, as a lot of people do?  Do they think for themselves?  Are they open-minded?  Intelligence and creativity are wonderful, but by themselves they don't make someone's thoughts worth respect. 

I experience this cognitive dissonance, Joan, when I got to my skin cancer surgeon and have to listen to Joel Osteen CD'S during procedures. I keep thinking, wait a minute!, you're a scientist. You took biology and obviously excelled in it because if one does excel at biology one really has little business trying to be a doctor. You were taught that our species came from microorganisms millions of years ago and gradually adapted by a process of natural selection into the homo sapien of today. How in the world can you believe myth and fantasy over the findings of Darwin? Much less play recordings of an uneducated, unctuous, narrow-minded snake oil salesman like Osteen?

James, do join us in the Cancer group on Atheist Nexus. We would like to know more of your story and treatment. 

Happy to. Thanks.

Well, to be honest, though I do not agree with it, I can certainly see the idea of a god-thing having put the whole of reality into motion, and maybe even poking it every so often, or some other variation on the idea. We cannot rule it out completely. We CAN on the other hand disprove almost every religion out there based on its own teachings.

But that is beside the point, as long as they do not 'disbelieve' in the scientific method and accept the laws of nature and just chose to think that there is something behind it. (E.G. someone who believes in evolution as the tool used), then I can't complain too badly.

...Although, when I wrote that, I was under the impression that this guy was a religious singer, not a televangelist, that does change things, I would seriously consider looking for a new doctor, if it were an option (just so as not to have to hear it myself, but many of us do not get a choice, if we are lucky enough to have one to go to at all in that situation, though I may finally get to see one for it one of these months, & I might even still be alive by then, lol)... You buy into that that type of religion, and I can't imagine seeing a doctor, never mind becoming one (that goes way beyond even the Ken Hamm line of crazy). Just lay on hands, right? XD

The important thing, it seems to me, is just to remain sane in a society where about 80% of the people believe in an imaginary being. The god talk is only exacerbated by perceived threats to its existence, as Fanon figured out. In other words, the more vocal we are, and the more we advocate for anything but theism, the more desperate they will become to make certain that their belief is encased in law. When that sap Huckabee bowed out of the penultimate presidential election, he said he would "go on fighting" to see to it that the courts interpret the law "according to the Scriptures."  I thought he was a lone loony. Now, I know that his ilk -- including all Dominionist evangelicals -- are legion. And through their "family" Super-PACS, they are amassing money like crazy to fight those who disagree with their madness. If you don't believe it, recall that a recent burglary at Joel Osteen's church in Houston opened the books to a take of $800,000 a weekend. These megachurch confidence men, making money by selling myth and superstition to fearful congregants who probably bring guns to church, support positions taken by the Tea Party. Theocracy is alive and well in America!

No doubt about it, it is always a challenge.

Personally, I am an anti-theist, in my opinion, without religion we would be thousands of years ahead of where we are now, scientifically speaking, and they are trying to drag us into yet another 'dark age' once again. Nothing has done more damage to our progress as a species than religion. All I was saying there was that I could see how someone (other than me) could reach a place where they could be 'religious' and still ascribe to the scientific method. (although it would require ignoring most of what is involved in the texts of the religion, but most people do that anyway, especially x-ians, it is almost impossible not to ignore most of it and still believe, it is crazy and rather evil stuff).

It truly is a sad place in which we have arrived. Ms. Clinton just came out claiming to us that her 'favorite' book was the bible (not bothering to mention which one). You cannot run for president without pushing your 'faith' down our throats. The last 'non-theist' president we had was Lincoln, and it is still illegal for us, as non-theists, to hold 'any' office in many states.

It also doesn't help that almost every hospital claims some sort of religious affiliation. Send me to 'Our Lady of the Evening' Care facility...

As Mark Twain once said, "Religion  was invented when the first conman met the first fool."

James, powerfully, wonderfully stated. To "play recordings of an uneducated, unctuous, narrow-minded snake oil salesman like Osteen", gives one pause to submit to treatment from such a person who imposes that superstitious balderdash on others. I do hope your treatments are finished, and that if you must have further care, that there is a rational physician providing it. 

I don't want to be admitted to the intelligentsia - or rejected. And I don't want to be sized up for it either. What I am and what I can do will come out in time. I'll admit that I really hate labels, exclusive clubs and other ways to divide us. What will you do when you've labelled everyone? Will it make you feel more secure?

Whether or not you approve of it, the intelligentsia exists, and arguably has existed ever since the dawn of civilization. And whether you are a member of this social class is something you have no control over. Either you make the cut or you don't. Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion about what it takes to be a part of the intelligentsia, and so ones perceived membership in this social class may appear subjective. Whether or not you like your intellect being judged has no bearing on whether your intellect will be judged. I'm asking for input from people I have respect for in my own judgement of people. I'm asking what atheists think it takes for somebody to be in the absolute upper crust of human intelligence. Is there ever a case where a brilliant person wisely and correctly decides never to earn a skill? Does this person remain brilliant? Do brilliant people invariably pursue skills? Is this a feature of the upper echelon of intelligence?




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