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View Full Version : The David Sklansky Challenge---Are Christians inherently less intelligent?



Ty McNeely
12-16-06, 08:55 PM
David Sklansky][/b] This is an open challenge to any American citizen who passes a lie detector test that I will specify in a moment.

We will both take the math SAT or GRE (aptidude test). Your choice. We will both have only half the normally allotted time to lessen the chances of a perfect score. Lower score pays higher score $50,000.

To qualify you must take a reputable polygraph that proclaims you are truthful when you state that:

1. You are at least 95% sure that Jesus Christ came back from the dead.

AND

2. You are at least 95% sure that adults who die with the specific belief that Jesus probably wasn't ressurected will not go to heaven.

If you pass the polygraph you can bet me on the SAT or GRE. Again this is open to ANY one of the 300 million Americans.

Also, for those who think I am being disengenuous because I would make the offer to anyone at all, you are wrong. I am now so rusty that at least one in 5000 Americans are favored over me and I would pass on a bet with them. That's 60,000 people. If the number of people who would pass that polygraph is between 10 and 30 million, which I think it is, that means that at least 2000 of these types of Christians are smart enough to be favored over me. Given such Christian's intelligence is distributed like other American's are.

But I'm betting fifty grand they are not. Their beliefs make them relatively stupid (or uninterested in learning). Or only relatively stupid people can come to such beliefs. One or the other. That is my contention. And this challenge might help demonstrate that.

PS Since this challenge is open to any American, anyone who reads this should feel free to bring it to the attention to any smart Christian they know. Any math whiz, any professor, etc. But I need to warn you that they will almost certainly turn you down. And the reason will NOT usually be because they think they will fail the math test. University professors will probably not fear this college dropout. But given they are expert mathmeticians, their real fear, though they won't tell you, is that you will find out how badly they fail the polygraph.


What say you, fine folks of Baylorfans? Are Christians inherently less intelligent?

For the record, David Sklansky is one of the leading minds in the poker world. He is known for his in-depth study of mathematics in poker, and is widely reknowned as a bit of a mathematical genius.

HoustonMedBear
12-16-06, 09:27 PM
[/i]What say you, fine folks of Baylorfans? Are Christians inherently less intelligent?

For the record, David Sklansky is one of the leading minds in the poker world. He is known for his in-depth study of mathematics in poker, and is widely reknowned as a bit of a mathematical genius.

well this cat is pretty interesting. i guess i'm pretty dumb....

in all seriousness, i find interesting that he is saying that he measures intelligence simply by mathematics. i know tons of brilliant minds, christian and not, that don't know math very well at all. his test is biased already to favor himself. besides, it's the SAT. they don't have anything on it past pre-cal. not exactly a good measure of mathematical intelligence. my friend in hs made an 800 on the SAT math, and he self-proclaims to be not that smart.

oh, and private pile = David Sklansky?

HMB

90sBear
12-16-06, 09:41 PM
I did pretty well on the math section of the GRE so I have nothing against math, but I certainly hope that something as broad as "intelligence" isn't completely quantified by something specific as the math section of these two tests. Could I bet him 50 grand that he would lose in the language sections or the analytical writing section of the GRE? Perhaps his atheist beliefs make him too "stupid or uninterested in learning" to have a good vocabulary or be able to make sound analytical statements. I would say the second has already been proven by his absurd notion of a test for intelligence.

As for his lie-detector requirements, he's also limiting out those Christians who feel that they have no idea who's going to heaven because it's not up to them and that "for God, all things are possible."

Ty McNeely
12-16-06, 10:06 PM
Just for the record, folks, I'm not agreeing with anything here, just curious what you all think.

Yogi
12-16-06, 10:08 PM
Just for the record, folks, I'm not agreeing with anything here, just curious what you all think.

I am a Christian, so I don't...

Solan=Christ!!!
12-16-06, 11:16 PM
Polygraphs are completely and totally unreliable.

Sam Lowry
12-16-06, 11:40 PM
What say you, fine folks of Baylorfans? Are Christians inherently less intelligent?

Absolutely not. But Lord knows, they try to be.

Dorian Gray
12-17-06, 08:06 AM
Two words....Dr. Packard

Yogi
12-17-06, 08:21 AM
Two words....Dr. Packard

Good point. The man is a genius and he knew Jesus personally. In fact, I think it was Dr. Packard and Saint Peter who used to always pull those practical jokes on the other diciples. :)

caseman
12-17-06, 09:40 AM
His book, The Mathematics of Poker, has faulty statistical inferences. He has limited knowledge of probability and real analysis. This is coming from someone who has only had a couple of grad courses in statistics and never studied calculus over the 5 undergrad classes I took at BU.

....and any regular joe engineer can get a perfect score on either the general GRE math section or the SAT math section. Dr Packard would absolutely blow this dip**** away, as would probably every grad student on up in the math dept at Baylor.

Ghostrider
12-17-06, 09:43 AM
Ty, are you a Christian?

El Mariachi
12-17-06, 09:56 AM
I'm a Christian, and I would blow this guy away on a more well-rounded "intelligence test." I am pretty good at math (I made a 750 on the SAT-Math portion), but that is not indicative of the genius that is El Mariachi.

Perhaps I could challenge him to a rousing game of movie-related trivia. If I won, I guess that would make me smarter than this atheist prick.

Ghostrider
12-17-06, 10:10 AM
I have street cred....not sat cred

Dorian Gray
12-17-06, 10:24 AM
Perhaps I could challenge him to a rousing game of movie-related trivia. If I won, I guess that would make me smarter than this atheist prick.

All this genius talk and movie trivia, I thought the next quote would be a suitable beginning to the genius movie quote contest.


Self realization: I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said: "I drank what?"


Name that movie

baylorfan35
12-17-06, 11:03 AM
Yeah, that Isaac Newton guy was terrible at math.

Starr ChamBear
12-17-06, 11:19 AM
Yeah, that Isaac Newton guy was terrible at math.

But he did not take the SAT or this guys challenge... obviously a total maroon incapable of critical thought.

Founding Fathers of our country that read English, Greek and Hebrew indulged in the classics and came up with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers... obviously not the brightest bulbs. What they needed to do to prove their intellegence is take an IQ or college admissions test or at least accept the bet of someone bent only on taunting... then we could consider them "thinkers".

WacoGone
12-17-06, 11:21 AM
This guy may be good at poker, but he's not too bright otherwise. There are so many flaws in his proposal and the "rationale" behind it, it's not even worthwhile to try to list them all. A few:
--A good performance, or even a perfect performance, on the SAT is not necessarily correlated with overall intelligence.
--One may be good at Diff Eq but still suck at lateral thinking, making connections, and taking advantage of the chances that favor the prepared mind; i.e., the things that are actually manifestations of genius.
--Lie detector tests are notoriously unreliable.
--I'm pretty sure C.S. Lewis was not "relatively" stupid or in any other way stupid. Ditto Kierkegaard, Aquinas, Thomas More, Elizabeth I, Bonhoeffer, et al., et al., et al., brilliant Christians throughout history. Puhlease. Stephen Colbert, probably one of the greatest wits alive today, is a Christian who leads bible study, and he can probably think circles around this guy.
For the record, one will find many more Christians among mathematicians and engineers than they will among biologists, but the former generally could kick the latter's asses when it comes the quantitative endeavors.

Solan=Christ!!!
12-17-06, 11:30 AM
I don't think his premise is that there were not genius Christians in the past, but rather, that the modern, average, evangelical Christian doesn't engage in critical thinking as well or as often as a non-evangelical Christian. I don't know about the truth of his statement, but this is an abysmal way to test it.

Added to the list of things WG mentioned:
-Nearly anyone with an IQ over about 115 could easily ace the GRE math portion with enough practice
-Most people smart enough to beat him would be smart enough to fake a polygraph to say they're a Christian and win 50K.

I don't know why he's got a chip on his shoulder about evangelicals. But being a statistician (heh), I'm sure he could find a better way to test it.

WacoGone
12-17-06, 11:33 AM
I don't think his premise is that there were not genius Christians in the past, but rather, that the modern, average, evangelical Christian doesn't engage in critical thinking as well or as often as a non-evangelical Christian. I don't know about the truth of his statement, but this is an abysmal way to test it.

Added to the list of things WG mentioned:
-Nearly anyone with an IQ over about 115 could easily ace the GRE math portion with enough practice
-Most people smart enough to beat him would be smart enough to fake a polygraph to say they're a Christian and win 50K.

I don't know why he's got a chip on his shoulder about evangelicals. But being a statistician (heh), I'm sure he could find a better way to test it.
Hey, man. That's why I threw in Stephen Colbert. Hell, even Bill Clinton--who, think what you will of him, is admittedly extremely bright--is a Christian. There are so many very very smart people running around today who are Christian that you simply cannot use that as some kind of marker of intellectual laziness or downright stupidity. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in ANYONE's philosophy, and recognizing that fact brings any person closer to God and suggests at least a certain level of higher thought and insight.

You can, however, use publicly issued, badly misspelled, poorly written "challenges" based in hubris and braggadocio as such a marker.

JETHRO
12-17-06, 11:38 AM
A poker champ? Obviously, he sees limits on morality. His whole career depends on his abililty to lie convincingly.

HoustonMedBear
12-17-06, 12:15 PM
i think his point is that belief in something unseen is absurd and a sign of a person who can't cut it on his/ her own.

if that is indeed the case, then why doesn't he mention jews, muslims, mormons, etc?

i am sick and tired of being belittled by people like this and private pile a few weeks back. our beliefs aren't theirs, and that's fine, but they have to go on and on about how our beliefs are inferior. i don't go around insulting people based on what they do or don't believe.

furthermore, this guy is just some prick hs dropout. what does he know about anything? i'm in medical school (note the arrogance :) ). i think i know a little something about something. i don't know math like he does, but that doesn't necessarily make me less intelligent.

it seems the recent shift in political climate is a large cause for the recent trend of bashing Christians. i think politicians have played the "jesus card" way too much and look stupid doing it, and the blind-walking christians that automatically vote for anyone who uses the name jesus in a good way don't exactly help our cause. most strong personalities (ie movie stars, athletes, public figures not in politics) are liberal, and they resent bush and the republican-heavy congress of the past 10 years, and now they see fit to use their superior "intelligence" to degrade christians.....yes, even intelligent ones.

i could be entirely off-base there, but i don't think i am. we just seem to be easy targets because it's "persecution", and we somehow take heart in this sort of thing, but i sure don't.

Yogi
12-17-06, 12:15 PM
To me, he seems merely frustrated that someone could engage in critical thinking and outright reject the conclusions that he would have come to.

It shows a gross misunderstanding of what faith is through a very weak and unthoughtful assumption.

Starr ChamBear
12-17-06, 12:23 PM
I don't think his premise is that there were not genius Christians in the past, but rather, that the modern, average, evangelical Christian doesn't engage in critical thinking as well or as often as a non-evangelical Christian.

I dont see how you could come to that conclusion. He does not distinguish between evangelicals and others. He simply makes the statement:


Their beliefs make them relatively stupid (or uninterested in learning). Or only relatively stupid people can come to such beliefs. One or the other. That is my contention.

His statement would apply to Newton, Washington, Jefferson, etc... as much as Falwell, Robertson and Ralph Reed. His contention is that belief in the Resurrection makes you either relatively stupid, uninterested in learning or that only relatively stupid people can come to such a belief.

Solan=Christ!!!
12-17-06, 12:33 PM
I dont see how you could come to that conclusion. He does not distinguish between evangelicals and others. He simply makes the statement:


Their beliefs make them relatively stupid (or uninterested in learning). Or only relatively stupid people can come to such beliefs. One or the other. That is my contention.

His statement would apply to Newton, Washington, Jefferson, etc... as much as Falwell, Robertson and Ralph Reed. His contention is that belief in the Resurrection makes you either relatively stupid, uninterested in learning or that only relatively stupid people can come to such a belief.

You're right, I'm very much reading in to it rather than just reading his poorly-written challenge. I identified evangelicals perhaps wrongly he's looking for Christians who present that without my beliefs, one will go to Hell.

And apparently, "relatively stupid" means "worse than a mediocre statistician on the GRE math portion."

Ty McNeely
12-17-06, 02:58 PM
The bad thing here is, $50K, for most people, is too large a percentage of their net worth for them to be able to attempt this. He won't do it for less, and it's not like just any random Joe who probably IS more intelligent than him would be able to step up to the challenge.

caseman
12-18-06, 12:29 PM
I did a little reading and research on our good friend David Sklansky. He claims that he would have easily won the Nobel Prize in physics or economics had he not gone into gambling. He thinks this is true since he was able to "master" calculus at age 13.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=scimathphil

the above is a forum where one can witness Mr Sklanksy's pretension on religious issues.

What makes me laugh is that his belief that his mathematical "genius" he presents in his book, Theory of Poker, and his rules of playing the odds that anyone with an affinity for mathematics and only a rudimentary knowledge of probability theory could propose is all that special. People have been playing the odds ever since poker has been around. Same with blackjack, baccarat, etc. While one could earn a decent living playing the odds and only the odds, poker is also about reading your opponent, bluffing, etc.

Hs ridiculous claim that since he "mastered" calculus at 13, he could have become a Nobel Prize winner in physics makes me laugh. Manuallly cranking out answers to calculus exercises is really simple, once one learns the "calculus" language. Pretty much anyone with an affinity for abstract learning could be taught the manner to integrate by parts, including plenty 13 year olds. The difficult part of calculus is analyzing why and how those properties of calculus work. This involves chaos theory in math, sequences and limits.

Seriously, read some of that forum I posted above and bow in awe to his self-professed genius....


....btw, Ken Jennings has supposedly taken him up on his offer. Even though Jennings is a Mormon (and therefore probably couldn't qualify for his offer) I would love to see him wipe the floor with this clown. What I would like even more is to see is someone along the lines of Pat Robertson beat this guy.

eastdallasloco
12-18-06, 01:01 PM
I did a little reading and research on our good friend David Sklansky. He claims that he would have easily won the Nobel Prize in physics or economics had he not gone into gambling. He thinks this is true since he was able to "master" calculus at age 13.

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=scimathphil

the above is a forum where one can witness Mr Sklanksy's pretension on religious issues.

What makes me laugh is that his belief that his mathematical "genius" he presents in his book, Theory of Poker, and his rules of playing the odds that anyone with an affinity for mathematics and only a rudimentary knowledge of probability theory could propose is all that special. People have been playing the odds ever since poker has been around. Same with blackjack, baccarat, etc. While one could earn a decent living playing the odds and only the odds, poker is also about reading your opponent, bluffing, etc.

Hs ridiculous claim that since he "mastered" calculus at 13, he could have become a Nobel Prize winner in physics makes me laugh. Manuallly cranking out answers to calculus exercises is really simple, once one learns the "calculus" language. Pretty much anyone with an affinity for abstract learning could be taught the manner to integrate by parts, including plenty 13 year olds. The difficult part of calculus is analyzing why and how those properties of calculus work. This involves chaos theory in math, sequences and limits.

Seriously, read some of that forum I posted above and bow in awe to his self-professed genius....


....btw, Ken Jennings has supposedly taken him up on his offer. Even though Jennings is a Mormon (and therefore probably couldn't qualify for his offer) I would love to see him wipe the floor with this clown. What I would like even more is to see is someone along the lines of Pat Robertson beat this guy.

you know, mormons consider themselves christians. i spoke to some of those bike mormons once and they believe in salvation thru christ and the whole 9. they just also believe the book of mormon. these mormons told me we believe everything in the bible is the truth but that there is more to be told in the BOM. so ken could pass the lie detector.

caseman
12-18-06, 02:29 PM
Whatever the case may be, the dude needs to be knocked off his high horse. I am sure he is an excellent poker player, but his atheist views are far from analytical. In fact, it is hard to imagine ANYONE who "understands the general theory of relativity" (one of his qualification for someone who is an analytical smart person) would also deny the existence of a higher power. I can't wrap my mind around G=8(pi)T with complete assurance, but in my opinion, the existence of a higher, more intelligent power at work falls hand in hand with the general theory of relativity.

One other thing I find completely hilarious is that the ridiculous clown appears to think that those with faith in a higher power, namely the Judeo-Christian God, have smaller amounts of intelligence than "smart" people while he intends to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a statement of belief made by someone using such complete pseudoscience as a LIE DETECTOR TEST. I guarantee there are people, Christians and atheists alike, that are smart enough to fool a lie detector test. The more I read about this guy, the more I wish I had an extra 50 grand sitting around.

Starr ChamBear
12-18-06, 02:57 PM
You're right, I'm very much reading in to it rather than just reading his poorly-written challenge. I identified evangelicals perhaps wrongly he's looking for Christians who present that without my beliefs, one will go to Hell.

And apparently, "relatively stupid" means "worse than a mediocre statistician on the GRE math portion."

I think we could define "relatively stupid" as one who thinks himself a quant jock, but does not understand that a sample size of 1 means absolutely nothing about a population of 1.2 billion or so.

Also, many Christians are self-prohibited from taking the man up on his challenge because we will not wager/gamble/bet. If he knew anything about the people he is challenging, he should know this.

Ty McNeely
12-18-06, 03:13 PM
http://ken-jennings.com/blog/?p=287


The link to Jennings blog where he talks about it. I don't read anywhere where he actually takes him up on the offer and agrees to the challenge, but it's a very interesting read nonetheless.


There's a bit more discussion on his message board (linked on the blog) as well. Good stuff by Ken.

BaylorBabe
12-18-06, 04:00 PM
Whether we as Christians think that Jennings qualifies as one or not, I think that he as a Mormon could still answer those two questions truthfully. But I don't know much about Mormonism, just the stuff from that one video they show you in youth group with the holy underwear.

Ty McNeely
12-18-06, 04:06 PM
Whether we as Christians think that Jennings qualifies as one or not, I think that he as a Mormon could still answer those two questions truthfully. But I don't know much about Mormonism, just the stuff from that one video they show you in youth group with the holy underwear.






It’s true that I couldn’t pass the second polygraph question. (Latter-day Saints don’t believe heaven will be some all-Mormon church social. According to Mormon belief, all the great philosophers and religious teachers were inspired by God, and good-hearted people of all faiths, or no faith at all, will be saved.) Sklansky clarifies in a follow-up post that the exclusionary belief targeted by this second polygraph question is what really gets his goat. “Catholics and Jews don’t believe that,” he says, presumably referring to Purgatory-like doctrines in those religions that give nonbelievers a shot at heaven. This is meant to reassure us that he’s just after dumb Protestants.



Interesting, IMO.

BaylorBabe
12-18-06, 04:12 PM
Thanks Ty, I hadn't checked out the blog, I might go back when I get home tonite and read more.

caseman
12-18-06, 04:44 PM
More genius from Mr Sklansky:


Some people are misinterpreting the point of some of my posts. Here is a cold hard fact:

If you are almost sure that X is true.
AND

100 randomly chosen, extremely intelligent, (even by your definition) people are all almost sure that X is false.

THEN

It is still possible that you are right and X is true.

BUT

Almost impossible that you are extremely intelligent.

www.forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=8473435&an=0&page=0#Post8473435

LOL. Idiot.

caseman
12-18-06, 04:48 PM
A lot of people are wondering why I am singling out those who think believing in Jesus's divinity is an absolute prerequisite to "avoiding hell". (I prefer to state it that way rather than "gettng into heaven" because my point becomes even stronger.)

As personally distasteful as that belief is, the $50K challenge and other posts of mine are saying that such beliefs are not only distasteful but also intellectually stupid. And that any one who holds that belief is in fact either stupid or under the hold of psychological delusions.

Unless his beliefs do not include a belief that God is "just" by human ways of thinking anyway.

The argument is simple. If God is just and God requires belief, with no exceptions, to avoid hell, then it means that the objective evidence is clear and persuasive. At the very least the objective evidence should be such that a theoreticaly perfect evidence evaluating machine would say that the resurection of Jesus is mor likely to be true than not. But 99% of smart people, including most religious people don't agree with that assessment. Analysing all the evidence dispassionately, including Baye's theorem, magician's tricks, etc should not lead anyone to think the Jesus story is probably true. If you think it is for other reasons. personal or whatever, then fine. But if you think that the objective evidence should lead you to this conclusion you are a dumbell.

People like Not Ready get confused because they harken back to biblical times when (supposedly) people rejected the God or Jesus story when there was overwheming evidence that he existed. In fact they didn't even dispute it in many cases. But they rejected God anyway. So in theory, those "disbelievers" deserved hell. But nowadays, at least some disbelievers disbelieve soley for evidence evaluation reasons. Many of them disbelieve with a heavy heart. But they can't be blamed because the evidence forces them to. Those sane people who don't understand this point have to be relatively dumb. Unless they think God doesn't care.

woooooooo!

caseman
12-18-06, 04:51 PM
one last post...I'd love to see William Dembski debate and/or compete with Sklansky. Talk about a butt whipping of major proportions.....and I guarantee Dembski could run circles around Sklansky's mathematical prowess (PhD Univ of Chicago [most prestigious math grad program in world], several theories, theorms, lemmas, postulates that have been published, etc)