Disappointed in the lot of you

For shame! I have to say that TNT does have a point of genuine grievance, in that his initial question was wholly legitimate, and while it was laced with some of the usual assault verbiage, it nevertheless demanded a fair response. And while it’s true that he did not provide the definition of genius that was required in order to reasonably respond to his question, in my opinion the only correct response was: “how do you define genius?”

You can do better than that, people. Have I taught you nothing? As I’ve repeatedly written, emotional and evasive responses that fail to address the relevant issue are inherently defensive and indicative of a low level of confidence in one’s position. FIRST answer the question, THEN mercilessly mock the questioner, his physical shortcomings, preferences in sports teams and sexual inadequacies!

However, I’m also disappointed in TNT’s subsequent responses. Why bother to ask the question if you’re determined not to accept any answers? The question, properly framed, was very simple: name a Christian whose IQ is over 160. I named two, men with whom I am personally acquainted and about whom I know the relevant detail.

The correct response is, okay, thank you, apparently my hypothesis is incorrect and needs to be refined. To sail off into existential questions of “what defines a true Christian” and “how can I be sure that what you believe to be true actually is true” is as silly and indicative of an absence of confidence as the previous example. It’s remniscent of trying to talk to a college freshman after his first Philosophy 101 class. “But how do I know you really exist… wait, how do I know I even exist!” (The answer, of course, is to punch him in the face. If the incipient philosopher is female, removing her bra is recommended instead.)

Now, keep in mind that at no time did I indicate that I accept TNT’s definition of genius. I don’t, and I was simply playing his game by his rules. To me, genius is determined post-facto by the originality and difficulty factor of the intellectual achievement by the individual, while a high IQ, however glorious, represents nothing but potential. I suspect that one reason there are fewer Christians among the openly high-IQ set is that the current system of academia encourages the our finest young minds to spent an inordinate amount of time in an environment that is awash with hostility to Christianity.

However, the fact that this very same group has a powerful tendency to subscribe to obvious economic and political idiocies means that I consider their general disdain for Christianity to be a substantial sign that the intellectual foundation for my faith is strong.

I would even go so far to argue that despite their lack of impressive educational degrees, the average Christian is more literate and historically educated than the average masters degree holder. I know several Ivy Leaguers whose collective libraries wouldn’t add up to more than 50 books. Even your stereotypical Bible thumper has at least read the Bible.

Discuss amongst yourselves

How you like it now?

I saw a bit of a 50’s period piece today. It was Mona Lisa Smile, a movie about Wellesley College girls starring Julia Roberts. After seeing a few minutes of byplay between Kirsten Dunst – the defender of the traditional women’s roles – and the heroine iconoclast Roberts, I was left with the very great desire to engage in a public debate with the writers, or at least the director.

The story follows progressive art history teacher Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), who is starting a new job at the most conservative school in the Northeast. She must battle against the wills of her students (including Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal ) whilst proving herself to the stuffy faculty….

Ultimately, “Mona Lisa Smile” isn’t written for today’s audiences. In this liberated world we have today, preaching against the conservative 1950’s “Leave it to Beaver” attitudes seems pointless. Too many strawmen are used to illustrate the “Stepford Wives” behavior of the characters, which left me feeling uninspired.

I happen to have dated a few Wellesley girls back in the day, as did Big Chilly and a few other friends, and it’s too bad that the movie didn’t explore what actually happened in the decades after those poor oppressed girls of Wellesley were liberated. Sure, perhaps they’re only using their physics degrees to teach courses about Queer Theory in Indian Film instead of using them to estimate the weight of the pork roast after they complete their “highly charged” erotic educations – despite the furious response to the infamous Rolling Stone article, not even the President of the college dared to deny its basic accuracy – and maybe the world really doesn’t need another few hundred lawyers and social scientists, but what’s the matter with a sub-replacement birth rate anyhow. We can always import more third worlders, right? Look how well it’s working for England!

Anyhow, the movie was interesting timing considering the subject tomorrow’s column.

Mailvox: a few differences

Cedarford tries to equate Islamic apologetics with the Christian sort:

1. Despite dozens of centuries of scientific learning, the Book describes the lessons for living life better than any other system. That is why so many believers need only follow the Book’s teachings to enrich their lives. And why so few of our true believers are top scientists. Even our famous mathematicians began agnostic and only embraced faith after their most creative years were done.

This is arguably as true as my statement, but only because life under Sharia is societally healthier and more robust than modern secular culture. See Europe for details; there’s a good reason why childless Europeans have to import Muslims in order to prop up their decaying societies and not the other way around.

2. Despite attempts by Godless scholars, truth after truth has been scientifically revealed. Journeys, events, cities…described exactly as the Book says. As time goes by, the certitude that every word of The Book is literally true rises.

Of course, I gave several historical examples and could have provided dozens more to support my assertion. This one is baseless. When science has attempted to directly challenge the Bible, it has usually turned out to be wrong. As for the most famous counterexample, it’s worth recalling that the Ptolemaic system was not Biblical, it was the modern science of its day.

Ironically, the entire ancient timeline as recorded by secular science is likely wrong because one eminent archeologist equated a certain pharoah with the wrong Biblical pharoah. So, we currently have a situation where secular archeologists are arguing that the Biblical record is mythical based on one Christian’s apparently incorrect interpretation of a single Biblical character.

3. The Book is magnificently written, with the best poetry – surely the authorship was inspired by the One God. Who said this? VD? No, just a typical Muslim commenting on the Koran.

Note that I was content to allow a secular writer or poet to make judgment, as indeed many have, imitation being the most sincere form of appreciation. The Book, on the other hand, is was laid out according to length; try that with any book of fiction or non-fiction and see how it reads. Michel Houellebecq is not the only author to be deeply disappointed with its literary quality.

Mailvox: the search for a Christian genius

TNT wants a more precise answer:

Listen, either you can offer the name of a genius (160 IQ or higher) who is a xtian, or you can’t.

So far you haven’t.

I’m not interested in debating with you how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or how long a day is, or whether domestic animals were created before humans were there to domesticate them, or whether plants were growing on earth before the sun was in existence.

I’m only interested in the existence of a genius (160 IQ or higher) who is a Christian.

I suspect the reason no one offered any names initially is because they were uncertain of your criteria. Anyhow, I know at least two. The 31st Marine Corps Commandant General Charles C. Krulak and my friend and occasional partner-in-crime Big Chilly. Both have IQ’s north of 160 and both are devout Christians. And while I have never had occasion to ask Dr. Gregory Boyd, the author of LETTERS FROM A SKEPTIC and pastor at Woodland Hills Church, about his IQ, he likely possesses one that meets your requirements. I will ask him the next time I speak with him.

I suspect the problem is that while one often knows that an acquaintance is intelligent, one may not know precisely how intelligent. Unfortunately, as you rightly suspected, I’m on the south side of 160 myself. This gives Big Chilly, who qualifies for 999, no end of amusement. “Do you need me to explain that to you?” However, there are one or two blog regulars here, one definitely a Christian, who I suspect are 160-plus.

As for the historical examples with whom you take issue, I don’t see how it’s possible to dismiss Newton given his writings and interest in eschatology. He may not have been, as you say, a Biblethumper, but that is no requirement to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Would you consider me to be a Biblethumper? I don’t think so, but I claim to be a Christian nevertheless.