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Good old smart people

india Updated: Jun 13, 2008 21:22 IST

There are a lot of myths surrounding the brainy ones in our midst. An old chestnut is that they tend to attract better-looking partners than their dimwitted counterparts (think Marilyn Monroe with Arthur Miller). Now there are reports that the smart ones outlive others by an average of 15 years. And, they tend towards atheism than the ‘more gullible’.

What is the theory behind these claims? It’s all in the genes: goes one argument. Out of a sample of 115 elderly people, those with the ‘good’ version of this gene were likely to live to 100, while a few of those with a less smart variant lived beyond 85. Since this sample had those between 65 and 85 years, the best way to test it is to follow this group over time and check whether they really know their differential calculus or not.

Then there’s the claim that the intelligent tend to question more — thus the veering towards non-belief. Gallup polls have indicated that those with higher IQs tend to be atheists. Here again, the simple way to check this piece of information is to take a sample of believers and check their IQs. If they are geniuses who think that hallucinations are the religion of the masses, well, we must be stupid. Or young. Or probably both.