I don’t have good numbers on this, but I often get the feeling that bright people are particularly susceptible to moderately complicated intellectual scams, like Marx and Freud and foot reflexology. By the way, I would guess that you all have noticed that foot reflexology teaches that each part of the body has an image on the sole of the foot – logically this must include an image of the foot itself! Brouwer! Quaker Oats Box!
I would like to have more certain, more quantitative knowledge about this (about clever sillies, although the foot thing is also interesting)
Anyhow,I was reading a post by by Scott Aaronson (a smart guy) about silly nomenclature in the “social sciences”, which touched upon past delusions of this sort- but with the implication that Scott probably wouldn’t have succumbed to such nonsense. But I kinda think he would have, considering that he takes modern feminism seriously, enough so to have asked a therapist to chemically castrate him, since he was such a threatening, yet miserable, tool of the patriarchy.
But, as I said, he’s a bright guy: why did he ever believe any of this shit? Why would he ever have taken feminism seriously? Roughly speaking, you can factor an ideology into a statement of preferences and a theory of the world, usually one that can be inscribed on a 3″ x 5″ card: I cannot think of any example in which feminism’s index card ever showed any predictive power at all (male rhesus monkeys prefer toy trucks, for example) . I mean, Andrea Dworkin, really?
I’m pretty sure that an unusually high fraction of high-achieving types in math and physics show a funny, low-fitness personality, but that’s something different, I think.