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Author Topic: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?  (Read 20377 times)

PILOFOLO_REGIL

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bl825

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009, 09:39:05 PM »
"Smart" doesn't convey a lot of meaning.  Smart for what purpose?
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PILOFOLO_REGIL

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2009, 09:47:23 PM »
"Smart" doesn't convey a lot of meaning.  Smart for what purpose?

fer think'n.

StevePirates

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2009, 10:19:27 PM »
There is a large range of intellectual ability among all of those groups.  People are smart in different ways. 

If I had to guess and make horrible generalizations, I'd put money on "scientists" having the smartest people in absolute terms (Stephen Hawking), but also a very wide intelligence range; doctors* having the highest mean and median IQ; and attorneys and engineers being roughly equivalent in both distribution of talent and intelligence, just in completely opposite areas.

There are certainly a lot of attorneys out there who are smarter than doctors, but there are a lot of doctors out there smarter than attorneys.

*MDs and DOs only.

lawmama09

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2009, 11:43:58 PM »
Most doctors I know are, on average, smarter than most lawyers I know in terms of pure intelligence. My husband is a doctor, and is ridiculously smart. He took one look at my LSAT prep books and could get almost perfect scores right off the bat (very irritating BTW). Just looking at his work makes my head spin.

But I think lawyers tend to be more street smart, and may think more quickly on the fly. I am not sure that being more intelligent at the margins buys you much, since both lawyers and doctors tend to be very smart. And of course, this is all generalizations. I've met dumb doctors and brilliant lawyers, and vice versa.

contrarian

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2009, 03:30:54 AM »
Most doctors I know are, on average, smarter than most lawyers I know in terms of pure intelligence. My husband is a doctor, and is ridiculously smart. He took one look at my LSAT prep books and could get almost perfect scores right off the bat (very irritating BTW). Just looking at his work makes my head spin.

But I think lawyers tend to be more street smart, and may think more quickly on the fly. I am not sure that being more intelligent at the margins buys you much, since both lawyers and doctors tend to be very smart. And of course, this is all generalizations. I've met dumb doctors and brilliant lawyers, and vice versa.

Is this because the training makes them that way, or because people with that qualification are drawn to that profession more so than being, say, a doctor where they need to make life or death decisions quickly on the fly.  (You can probably guess where I'm going with this).

Generally speaking, I would say doctors prove their intellectual chops through strenuous testing and training in order to get their degrees (assuming they didn't go to San Salvador Medical School and are real doctors and not chiropractors).  That isn't to say all doctors are geniuses, as some of them are only slightly smarter than the average bear (follow some of the cases of practitioners with multiple malpractice cases against them).  But still, it's easy to fail out of medical school and the bar is relatively high leaving the cream at the top.

I'd say that bar is lower for lawyers, scientists, engineers, etc.  All of them have their members who could have excelled (and some have) in other fields (the guy who invented the first "home-computer" went on to become a practicing doctor).  They also have their fair share of average quality workers, and those who barely cut it at what they do.  I won't venture to guess which group is smarter because it'd require looking at the subsets within those groups as well to do just analysis (compare an IP attorney to one who does drunk-driving defense, or a theoretical physicist to one who does basic psychology research). 


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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2009, 03:35:17 AM »
The correct answer here is "no."

nealric

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2009, 09:23:15 AM »
This is a prime case of apples to oranges.

I have an engineer friend who can't write a coherent paper (unless the paper is mostly math) to save his life but graduated at the very top of his class. I know some incredible legal geniuses that have difficulty with fairly simple math. Despite those extremes I'm sure there are plenty of people in all those professions who were perfectly capable of doing any one them and simply chose the field they had the most interest in.

I also know a doctor who is at my school. Could he be smarter than himself? 
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PILOFOLO_REGIL

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 01:15:45 PM »
So, nealric, your argument is that the concept of a general "intelligence" is a fraud? That it is completely ludicrous to compare the general cognitive abilities of groups of people?  Or is it just that you think it's completely ludicrous to compare the general cognitive abilities of highly educated people?

I think that could lead to an interesting discussion in its own right.  However, I also think you can do better to support your contention than to merely point out that you know engineers who can't write, lawyers who can't add and a doctor who is pursuing a law degree. 

At least I hope you can do better.

nealric

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Re: Are lawyers smarter than doctors? Than scientists? Than engineers?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2009, 01:33:20 PM »
Quote
So, nealric, your argument is that the concept of a general "intelligence" is a fraud? 

I wouldn't go so far as to call it a fraud, but it is the very least a subjective and amorphous concept. The debate is quite played out in academic circles. Others no doubt support their various theories far better than I ever could.

I'm sure you could do a vast study and compare the IQs of different professional groups. However, I'm not quite sure what you would really learn from that (unless you define one's intelligence as one's IQ score).

My main point is that the different professions attract people with different types of cognitive skill. Asking which profession is more intelligent is like asking who was the better sports player: Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky?
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