Re: Brian, Life of

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 20:19:53 MDT

Carl Bonzer wrote:
> First, about Brian.
> He's smart, *very* smart. ultra-whiz-kid type smart.

Heh. Not on this list, kiddo. Half the membership of the Extropy
Institute could eat him for breakfast. I'm a whiz kid even by Extropian
standards, and I don't recall asking anyone to excuse insulting behavior
because of my youth, back when I first joined the list at age sixteen.
As for excusing it because he's smart, forget it! Being smarter means
you get held to *higher* standards.

I don't care if you grew up knowing that everyone around you was a
moron. If you have any bad habits acquired from that, unlearn them!
What the hell else are you using all that intelligence *for*?

Frankly, I think Delaney's a moron. (*Delaney*, people! Not *Brian*!
We already have a Brian on this list!) In fact, he appears to be that
highly specialized type of moron that results when someone of "high
intelligence" devotes that intelligence to rationalizing arbitrary
positions. I use "high intelligence" in quotes because I see no
evidence that Delaney is any smarter than, say, your average scientist
or science-fiction fan.

It does appear that he's contracted that particular disease of growing
up smarter than the people around you, in which you automatically assume
that you know what's going on inside everyone else's head. I have that
disease too, but at least I back down and apologize when someone calls
me on it.

> More than that, he takes intellectual disagreements very very seriously and
> assumes other people do the same. He also assumes people are smarter than
> they actually are. You often hear people with IQs of 170 (or whatever
> Brian's is) constantly talking about how stupid people are.

I don't constantly talk about how stupid people are, and I'm a hell of a
lot smarter than Delaney. I reserve accusations of stupidity or mention
of my own intelligence strictly for deflating people who have the cosmic
nerve to try and pull rank on me or the Extropians list.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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