After the debacle Saturday, I began to wonder. Why do ignorant people seem to do better in life than intelligent people? I read that people that take larger risks, on average, reap larger rewards. The article was referring to the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” The author was noting that contestants rarely went for the million dollars and therefore very few ever received it. If the real world is this way, then the most successful people should be the ones that take the most risks. I note here that those people that take risks and are not successful are therefore not in the media spotlight. Why don't more people take risks even given this stipulation? Mostly because if everyone was assured of getting a large prize, we wouldn't call it a “risk.” So, on to what I want to say because I have to get ready for work:
I submit that the reason we don't see more intelligence in our species is because the smartest among us know more of the risks and see more problems than a less intelligent person. An intelligent person will be risk averse whereas the less intelligent person, not seeing the danger in what they are doing will take the plunge. I propose that if you have a population of 100 people, half of them will be less intelligent than the other half. If the fifty on the less intelligent side take more risks than that fifty on the intelligent side that abstain, then by sheer luck some of the fifty on the ignorant side will do better than the fifty on the smart side. I also propose that given geologic expanses of time, stupid will win. By winning, I mean they will be better able to raise more offspring that can reproduce themselves. To be a hypothesis, this assertion must be falsifiable. I believe that if you take a random sample of a significant number of successful people, the bulk of them will be under average intelligence. I will define successful here as money because I have to go to work and want to get this up so I can see no replies when I get home.

Ok, I have a moment to add to this and tie it up with religion. We atheists are certain that the world is a rational place that can be discovered with science and reason. One of our greatest concerns is that if we are not skeptical, then we will fall for all manner of woo. We would like critical thinking taught in schools and displayed in news outlets. I, myself, have said to people that the reason I read so many books and ask the questions I ask is because I don't want to fall for anymore scams ever again. So, if becoming an atheist provided a shield of resistance against me losing money on bad bets, then I should be able to show that since becoming an atheist, I am better off financially. Why is it then, that I've stagnated? Why is it that yesterday marks the two year anniversary of my being hired to park cars? If the more you know, the more you grow is true, then why haven't I grown? Many factors must be at work here, but taking me out of it, why do people with the least critical thinking skills, the least general knowledge, the least reservation in buying something from the back of The National Enquirer still make more money than I do? I'm not referring to just pastors like Rick Warren, nor am I talking about massive book sales like LeHaye and Jenkins. I mean regular people. I am the armpit of my dealership.

Tying together the tie together, and in simple words here it is. I propose that stupid people continue to live and thrive because there are more of them that take greater risks. Risks like letting Jesus "take the wheel." I submit that they take these greater risks because they are not intelligent enough or have the skills needed to make the safe decisions. On the other hand, people that have a well honed baloney detection kit and the intelligence to make rational decisions will not take the same foolish risks because they know better and therefor don't rise to the same level of prosperity achieved by the stupid.

Just my opinion. I'm not using stupid as a pejorative here, I just lack a sufficient grasp of English to think of a word that fits in better. Comments? Questions?

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Comment by Roger Rotge on October 6, 2008 at 8:36am
I originally wrote this post with a single thought in mind that I will try to sum up quickly. Evolution by natural selection takes different forms. Some animals reproduce once every few years like elephants. Bacteria use the quantity strategy. Bacteria aren't very intelligent, but their survival is guaranteed by their method of reproduction. In this case, the scatter shot, more is better method. In my post, I am proposing a similar human trait. If the majority of humans just push forward like nothing is wrong because they are ignorant of the consequences, then a few will survive and prosper. Similar to bacteria. I just read an article that Brian Dunning posted from Time Magazine that seems related to this observation titled, Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess.,8599,1847053,00.html

In the article they suggest that the Prosperity Gospel that many televangelists encourage could be a main reason for the recent lending disaster America is facing.

I'm still learning to craft words on the computer to match the canvas in my head. I STILL don't feel this is exactly what I am trying to say. Practice will one day allow me, I hope, to convey exactly what I am talking about.



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