Re: [Fwd: QOTD: Moderately Gifted.]

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Apr 10 2001 - 12:42:27 MDT

On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 12:36:03PM -0400, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Well, I'm glad that someone understands the difference between the shock
> troops that take the beach and the stolid regular army that follows in,
> mops up resistance, builds fortifications, and holds the beach. I can't
> help but think that you're underestimating the importance of the shock
> troops, though. Sure, it could be that, without Einstein, General
> Relativity would have been invented anyway, just five years or twenty
> years later. But you'll never know because there *are* Mozarts in this
> world, people who are more than moderately gifted, and these are the
> people who wind up actually taking the beaches most of the time. Just as
> you'll never know whether the scientific Mozarts are perfectly capable of
> filling in all the blank spaces left behind, because there's always
> another beach, and so few Mozarts to take it...

Well, given my impression from reading biographies of various scientists
I would say the Mozarts are in general bad at the filling in part. Much
of science is unglamorous stamp collection, sorting and number crunching
- important to build a solid system, but frankly not very exciting. If
you are a Mozart, you quickly tire of this and rush on to find your next
beach (OK, the metaphors are getting stacked here), while the Salieris
remain to do the rest. Without them, the resulting structure would be
rickety and uncertain, a mesh of brilliant observations and guesses but
with no stringency and likely plenty of mistakes remaining as flaws
that would later dog further investigations.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:45 MDT