Talk:William James Sidis/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Archive 1 Archive 2

IQ estimate sources

Where on earth do these IQ estimates come from? Is this even verifiable? --140.180.129.21 08:00, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

"Sidis's IQ can only be approximately known even though he took many IQ tests, the tests were just not up to the task, he was off the charts. Abraham Sterling, director of New York City's Aptitude Testing Institute said 'he easily had an IQ between 250 and 300, I have never heard of anybody with such an IQ. I would say that he was the most prodigious intellect of our entire generation'."[1] --Frencheigh 08:36, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
I'm curious as to what teaching methods were actually implemented to James from such an early age. Bearing in mind that Boris Sidis his father was also a hypnotist, does anyone have any thoughts on what methods might have been used? --Joshi, London Uk.
Probably games and intensive instruction. At least in the case of Norbert Weiner, whose parallels with Sidis run deeper than the article mentions. There are even several pages on Sidis in Weiner's autobiography. --Maru 23:13, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

None of this is true. His father was decidedly NOT a hypnotist. If you had ever read any of his work, you couldn't help but notice how he argues AGAINST hypnotism for it representing an artificial state. Instead, Boris Sidis suggested that patients' reserve energies may be liberated--and the patient thus relieved of their suffering--in a state he termed hypnOIDAL, the intermediate rest-state between waking, sleeping, and hypnotism. However, to answer the question, there was no psychiatric miracle at work in young William's education, other than Boris's stern belief that avoiding fear (in large part by teaching him to reason) would prevent emotional and intellectual crippling of his son. I suggest you read Boris's "Philistine and Genius" which can be found at sidis.net (and perhaps some other work). IMHO, the myths that William crammed from birth are nothing more than ignorance perpetrated by the status quo's insecurity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 195.93.60.102 (talkcontribs)

Let me explain the IQ numbers. A ratio IQ is different from a deviation IQ. Ratio IQs were used early in history, and were not indicative of rarity but of mental age, and given as (mental age/chronological age) multiplied by 100. It means he had a pretty early mental development. A deviation IQ on the other hand shows the rarity (theoretically, though it gets pretty imprecise in the extremes of the curve), and is expressed numerically in standard deviations, which can vary (15, 16 or 24 are used). According to a common ratio/deviation conversion table, a ratio IQ of 250+ would correspond to a deviation IQ of about 191+ (s.d.15) or 197+ (s.d.16) (see http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org/Deviation_IQs.html and http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org/John_Scoville_Paper.htm). This is of course an imprecise measurement and an even more imprecise conversion. It corresponds theoretically to a rarity of 1 in every 1.4 billion people, although the real distribution is probably quite different. JonatasM (talk) 02:28, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
First of all, and IQ range of 50 points is absurd in any context; the difference between an IQ of 100 and 150 (assuming SD 15) is comparing someone in the 50th percentile (one out of two people) to someone in the 99.9th percentile (one out of one thousand people). The difference between 150 to 200 is far more absurd; this is comparing the 99.9th percentile (1/1000) to the 99.9999999987th percentile; one out of 76 billion people. I suppose this was based upon an SD of 16, meaning an IQ of 200 would be "only" 1 in 4.85 billion people. The point is that no one ever has been nor ever will be born with an IQ coming anywhere close to 300; this would make anyone in history- Einstein, Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci- look like an idiot child- by the age of ten.
So not only is the gap (250-300) inifinitely more absurd than almost anything ever suggested, the numbers in and of themselves are, too. This should simply be removed, or heavily qualified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Angelic Wraith (talkcontribs)
When you take into consideration that above 200, IQ tests (even the ones we have today) tend to get very imprecise, a range of 50 points isn't entirely out of the question when the range is above 250. Besides, there are bound to be random flukes, chance individuals who have IQs of greater than 200, even 250, possibly even 300. That said, Abraham Sterling could have just been exaggerating (or mistaken) when he gave an estimate of 250-300. Then again... reading at 18 months? -kotra 16:12, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Reading at 18 months may or may not be all that much of an accomplishment. His parents made an effort to teach him- children (at least in the US) aren't taught to read until around kindergarten to first grade, whereupon they learn to read within a few months, incredibly rapidly. I know people who knew how to read before the age of three, because they were exposed to it. Certainly it's unusual, but who's to say it can't be done? As for an IQ of 300.. I still contend that someone that smart would be able to take the math section of the SATs with no knowledge of how to solve them, and assuming they understood what the question was asking, be able to on-the-fly answer correctly by simply proving the theorems from which the formulae come from. If that made any sense. Dan 21:55, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
Reading at 18 months is definately an accomplishment. An average child can begin to read by age 4 if they are taught at a young age (not waiting until Kindergarten as is common in the United States). I can see some people learning by age 3 or even age 2. But 18 months is staggering to me. Not impossible, but really really unusual. It's definately an accomplishment. My point is that if someone could read that early, then there must be something very unusual going on with their intelligence.
About someone taking the SATs without knowing how to solve them... I don't think it matters how intelligent you are for some things. For example, if you don't have prior knowledge what π or Σ means, it could very well be impossible to solve a problem that uses them. Other things though, like word problems, they could figure out. I'm not quite sure why this was brought up, though... -kotra 09:18, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I know... I said "if they understood the question being asked" (though the tables do give you the formulas you need for Pi). I brought it up simply as a way to convey how absurdly intelligent someone with an IQ of 300 would have to be to fill the shoes of a number that high. It would actually be sort of funny. I personally have a friend whose IQ is over 170, and he's way too smart for his own good. Anyway, my point was about the reading. I personally was taught how to read by my mother one month before 1st grade (mainly because she was pretty sure I wouldn't pay enough attention in school to actually learn it, which could have been disasterous), and in under a month I was reading fairly well. If that sort of accomplishment is possible for an (arguably) intelligent six-year-old, your average genius could conceivably learn to read at 18 months. Teaching yourself two other languages is something else, though :) Dan 23:01, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

My mistake for misunderstanding your SAT comment. And yeah, I agree that an IQ of 300 is pretty laughable. The guy who estimated his IQ at up to 300 was probably either exaggerating or mistaken. I do think that over 250 could be hypothetically possible though.
I also was taught how to read before I was taught in school, but I think most people could be taught before the age of six/seven. American (I assume you're from the US like me, please correct me if you're not) public schools tend to slow education down to match slower learners, so things like reading could actually be learned earlier for most people. But I think it's strange to say that if an intelligent 6-year-old could learn to read in a month then an "average" genius could learn to read at 18 months. That's too big of a stretch. For one thing, a six-year-old has been talking for 4 years. They have lots and lots of experience with communication. They even have learned other ways of communication like body language. An eighteen month-year-old, on the other hand, is usually just beginning to speak. And think about all the required abilities needed to learn how to read: not only knowledge of language, but also the ability to make the connection from letters to sounds and the fundamental understanding that these shapes somehow mean something. It would take a staggeringly intelligent baby to have all these qualities so that they would learn to read at 18 months.
I disagree; Though I learned to read at an unusually early point in my life, I do not find myself "staggeringly intelligent", and know of relatively few people who would label me as such. Eighteen months is early, but certainly not unheard of. Dylan Knight Rogers (talk) 01:36, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
As for the two other languages, though, I actually don't think that's so surprising. The younger you are the easier it is to learn other languages, it's just kids rarely have the motivation to at that age. For some reason, Sidis wanted to learn other languages, so he did... His ability to learn the languages isn't so interesting to me as his desire to do it. -kotra 12:45, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
it is not actually necessary to already know the language and the sounds to learn to read. One could learn a language entirely visually.


My point was, that if a Kid who wasn't reading anything at all (yes, even at six years old) can learn to do so in a month or less, it's rather likely that he/she has had the capability to do so for a good while. And visually, of course.. that's how the Chinese do it :) Rereading what he can do though? I'm beginning to think 300 isn't an exaggeration.. Dan 22:44, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

What exactly is the liberation of reserve energies? I would like to know more about it.Supersymmetry 07:38, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

See [2]. --Jagz 09:14, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

The estimate of Sidis' IQ being between 250 and 300 seems to be based on hearsay:
"There was no lessening of William Sidis' mental acuity. Helena Sidis told me that a few years before his death, her brother Bill took an intelligence test with a psychologist. His score was the very highest that had ever been obtained. In terms of I.Q., the psychologist related that the figure would be between 250 and 300. Late in life William Sidis took general intelligence tests for Civil Service positions in New York and Boston. His phenomenal ratings are matter of record."[3] --Jagz (talk) 15:47, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

An IQ of 300 is not "laughable"

My input: 1. "dividing Mental Age by Physical Age and multiplying that by 100" is merely an estimate for young people. It cannot be used as a measurement of adult IQ. If anything, it measures IQ precocity, not actual IQ. 2. If one agrees that IQ is modeled after a normal distribution (it should), an IQ of 300 is then statistically impossible (in humans). It does not mean that one could not score 300 on an IQ test (but that would then invalidate the test as a valid IQ test :P). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nothing1212 (talkcontribs) 16:11, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

There is another way of determining IQ, and that is dividing Mental Age by Physical Age and multiplying that by 100. With an IQ of 300, this would put Sidis at a mental age of 30 at age 10. They teach this at high school folks! http://www.google.com/search?q=%22mental+age+by%22Kmarinas86 00:24, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Going by that scale, you could just as well say that since he read the New York Times at 18 months, and people can read it at the age of 15, his IQ would be 1000, since 1.5/15*100=1000.64.91.147.198 (talk) 01:23, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Actually, Mental Age/Chronological*100 age is [i]the[/i] way to do it, not a way. And statistically, it's laughable. Though, reading over his accomplishments, it might be true... though if it is, he's just a freak of nature... an idiot savant in every category... lol. Dan 22:39, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Whew: wrong in many categories. First, see Weschler vs Stanford-Binet vs Gardner; I'm not going to elaborate. Moreover, "idiot" savant is a crude (and outdated) way to describe prodigious autistic peoples. I believe you were looking for "polymath".

The nature of statistics is to produce measurements that can chart progress within a system. It might be, as you put it, "laughable" to assign a score of 300, but it is not improbable. The upper echelon of intellect is immeasurable and daunting to accurately describe. See Kim Peek for an example of supra-genius memory.

      • I don't know if it's true since I have only one source for that fact but I remember reading that Sidis already scored 211 on an official IQ test, and I don't think an "idiot savant" could write complicated astrophysics books anyway, for God's sake please ignore his poor social skills and forget the "idiot savant" or "mental meltdown" argument... Marilyn Vos Savant is presently alive and reportedly scored 228 on an IQ test, so simple common sense is enough to judge that given the impossibility of correctly calculating IQ's of that size an IQ of at least 250 (only 22 point higher than 228) is quite possible at one point in history... 70.51.5.125 06:47, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Spelling

"...capable of speaking over fourty languages"?

Try "forty" instead of "fourty." --Dr. James Moriarty

Fixed. You do realize that complaining here took more effort and thought than just fixing the spelling yourself would have taken? --Maru 16:26, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
LMAO. Signed, Kmarinas86 00:25, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
No, you guys, you don't get it. It's a quote. --DrZeus 23:18, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Rejection from Harvard discrepancy

So there are two statements now:

"Attempted to enroll in Harvard at age nine."
"the university had previously refused to let him apply at age eight"

Unless he applied and was refused twice, there's a contradiction. Since there's no citation for either statement, I don't know which is correct, but I suspect that eight was the age. There's an Oct. 11, 1909 New York Times article that says he applied and was rejected three years before he was accepted, although it incorrectly states that he was 13 at the time of acceptance, when he was actually 11. So, 11-3=8 although of course without an actual date we won't know for sure when he was rejected. Just so that there isn't a contradiction, I'll remove the one that says age nine for now. -kotra 01:21, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

I believe I read somewhere that he was 8 and almost 9 when he attempted to enroll at Harvard. --Jagz 17:36, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Documentation for claims

The list of accomplishments attributed to W. J. Sidis is currently unsourced. The article could greatly benefit from some substantiation of such claims, or attribution to their sources. For example, it should be easy to find references for the dates when he was admitted to college, attained the position of professor, etc. For the childhood accomplishments, I expect they are as reported by his parents. In that case, the it would be better to say that "his parents reported that he bowled a 300 game at the age of 15 months," etc. These are extraordinary claims, so they deserve to be well backed up (and any unverifiable ones weeded out). --Reuben 22:36, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree, and to be perfectly honest some of the claims are extraordinary to the point of being ridiculous. Sidis had command of virtually every language in the world, and could learn a new language in a single day - this is complete toss. For a start, the article elsewhere states that Sidis could speak over 40 languages. Well there's a helluva lot more languages than 40 in this world (I understand that the number of distinct dialects runs into thousands). I doubt that the resources existed then (or even now) to provide anyone with that kind of knowledge, even if they did have the ability to digest it all.
Many of the so-called facts in this article are clearly anecdotal and probably unverifiable (eg reading NY Post at 18 months). I'm not questioning whether Sidis had exceptional cognitive abilities, but it seems to me that there is a lot of mythology surrounding him, and there are those that seek build him up to be some kind of tragic hero to those 'burdened' with a high IQ, as demonstrated by this article: (http://www.prometheussociety.org/articles/Outsiders.html), clearly written by someone with a substantial mental deficiency. Beeromatic 11:05, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely agreed with both.

I think he just dropped out of the mainstream. I believe he got tired of unwanted attention, ridicule, people expecting too much of him, and having to deal with people of average intelligence who probably seemed slightly retarded to him. --Jagz 17:57, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
I think I've heard such story about 999 times.
Here is a story from the Harvard newspaper dated 1924.[4] This is also from the Harvard newspaper showing he entered Harvard Law School in 1916.[5] Here is his transcript from Harvard undergraduate school.[6] His father, Boris Sidis, taught psychology at Harvard, maybe at the same time W.J. Sidis was there. --Jagz 22:37, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
These could be added to the article as external links or references. --Reuben 07:17, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Is there evidence for the other claims - e.g. the claim that he passed the MIT entrance exam at age 8? Autarch 20:04, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
See here.[7] --Jagz 20:49, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Unverified claims

This article is something I hoped never to find on Wikipedia. Unreferenced, unverified claims, pseudoscientific approach to intelligence and much, much more. I particularly love the section about his "accomplishments", which include supposedly feeding autonomously. Please, be accurate and rational. Keep close to the facts, this person has had an education none of us will ever be lucky enough to even imagine, we just have had to waste our time doodling in obligatory schooling instead of being personally taught useful things. Sure he was clever, but the thinking "oh my God, he entered Harvard at age 11 when average people do it at 18 !!" is just stupid. I was as intelligent as I am now (but with far less knowledge) when I was 11. Would you be surprised if somebody was able to enter university at age 16 instead of 18? You sholdn't. The same applies for a homeschooled person. To make matters worse, and despite all those advantages he had, he didn't take profit of the situation in later life, dying as a lonely and sad virgin. A sad story.

Did he say he was lonely and sad? --Jagz 03:13, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Here's a newspaper article from one of his friends published two days after his death.[8] --Jagz 02:03, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Not just homeschooling

Although it's impossible to prove, it seems that he would have had a genius IQ even without all the homeschooling, which started during infancy. His father was a genius and his mother was at least gifted so although that won't automatically make him a genius, the genetics should increase the odds. I have read that his father, Boris Sidis, tried to say something like W.J. Sidis' achievements were not a result of his gifts at birth (a geniuses are made not born type of logic) but how could he prove it? It was likely a combination of his innate intelligence and the homeschooling provided by his parents. Although people have used W.J. Sidis as proof against starting the formal education of kids too early, I don't think this one example can serve as proof. Who knows how he would have turned out if he had not had the homeschooling, etc. --Jagz 01:55, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Of course genetics matter, but what makes such huge differences IS training. At the gym, very strong people usually lift say 40kg at the bench press, and 15 for weaklings. However, an average person with 3 years of experience will easily lift 130, easily surpassing the genetically strong person (for whom we don't know which "indirect" training they may have, such as an involuntary diet with lots of protein). Something even more dramatical applies to intellectual achievement. Genetics matter, and may play a very important role, but what makes differences of orders of magnitude is hard-working discipline.
On the other hand, I agree with Boris that the method he applied for his son is the best and everyone should be given formal education as early as possible, instead of wasting their time at kindergartens for 15 year olds.
Maybe he could have been Mr. Universe too if he had worked out. --Jagz 23:35, 20 November 2006 (UTC)
Pardon?
Any serious scientist will tell you that a person will have the same IQ when she's educated or not. Sidis could have started school a few years later, he would have had the same intellectual potential.
And yet, potential is totally meaningless if it's not put to practice. This experiment, however, was a failure - the dude obviously died from over-usage of his brain - stuff like that can't happen if you take public school. :-)
Both wrong. IQ rises with age and by training with typical IQ tests. So practice does count, and who knows? maybe what these tests really measure is how 'practical' you are (statistically). —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.81.159.238 (talk) 22:14, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Wrong. IQ may increase with practice but on average, it shouldn't increase with age. Especially going by the silly "100 * mental age / chronological age" definition of IQ that the silly people are using to justify Sidis' 300 IQ. If you were going to go by a "normalized" and "adult" IQ test, then yes, your IQ would increase with age. It would start very low at birth and increase to approximately 100 on average by age 18 or so. But the completely old-school definition of IQ being used here leads to an IQ that should not change. Your mental-age / chronological-age (adjusted for adult of course) should not ever change.

If the editors understood statistics and how high-range IQ's are really measured, they would realize that even if Sidis was twice as intelligent as anyone else in history, an IQ of 300 would not make sense. It would simply be in the 190+ range. 6 standard deviations and higher are virtually untestable. There are no tests that can reliably differentiate between people above 6 s.d. above the mean and Sidis was undeniably in that range. I also happen to think that he was probably not the most intelligent person alive. More than likely he was a super genius that was home-schooled very well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.9.85.194 (talk) 10:48, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Chronology

Someone deleted the Chronology section (before it was reverted) because they said it was inaccurate. What about it is inaccurate? --Jagz 13:41, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

I guess everything.

I'm working on incorporating the Chronology into the Biography section, however until then, I will put it here:

  • 1914- Graduated from Harvard, cum laude, in June at age 16.[9] Shortly after graduation, he told reporters that he wanted to live the perfect life, which to him meant living it in seclusion. He granted an interview to a reporter from the Boston Herald, which published his vows to remain celibate and to never marry, and a statement that women do not appeal to him (although he later developed a strong affection for a young woman named Martha Foley[10]). Later (in 1914 or 1915) he enrolled at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.
  • 1915- After a gang of Harvard students threatened to beat him up, his parents secured a job for him at Rice Institute (now Rice University) in Houston, Texas as a professor of mathematics. He was also going to work towards his doctorate. He arrived at Rice in December at age 17.
  • 1916- Departed Rice after being persistently teased and kidded by the students he was instructing (who were older than he was), which negatively affected his teaching performance.[11] Then gave up what may have been a promising career in mathematics and enrolled at Harvard Law School.[12]
  • 1919- Withdrew in good standing from Harvard Law School in his last year.[13] Later arrested after a socialist May Day parade turned into a melee.

--Jagz 21:59, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I incorporated this into the Biography. --Jagz 21:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Father taught at Harvard

Does anyone know what years his father, Boris Sidis, taught psychology, etc., at Harvard? --Jagz 02:38, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Good question. He taught a course in Aristotelian logic for Josiah Royce in 1896 [14], experimented in his attic with William James the following year, and gave some advice about teaching in Philistine and Genius (which originated as a lecture). However, he introduced himself as Boris Sidis, M.A., Ph.D., (and M.D. from 1909 onwards) in his publications, and the scarce references to a "Professor Boris Sidis" come from journalists who likely never knew any member of the Sidis family personally (contrast this with articles by personal friends such as Addington Bruce who refers to "Dr. Boris Sidis.") [15]. Boris might not have been a professor at all (his Harvard transcript doesn't show him earning a professorship either [16]), but we'll have to further investigate the matter.

Boris may have been a professor (small p) but not a Professor (capital P). (Also, you should try to sign your Talk comments using 4 ~ or the time stamp button.) --Jagz 06:14, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Titles require capitalization. That aside, Boris's colleagues "did not want him to be a college teacher," and arranged for him to move to New York in late 1897 from which point, it seems, he practiced medicine instead [17]. But, like I said, I'm reluctant to dismiss the possibility completely. However, Boris wouldn't have taught at Harvard in 1916, since he moved to Portsmouth by 1911. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chyren (talkcontribs)

The word professor without being capitalized can refer to a teacher at a university who does not necessarily have the academic rank of Professor. --Jagz 02:26, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Revert?

I'm thinking about reverting the modified article by Chyren to the version 10:05, 30 December 2006 Jagz [18]. Any comments? --Jagz 05:29, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I reverted the article because I was unable to determine exactly what had been changed. There were many changes. No explanation was given for the changes. I have reorganized the article now though. --Jagz 02:41, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
The article got reverted back so I have decided to make my edits one by one. I don't want to get into a revert war. --Jagz 19:14, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Be careful with errors in the media

It seems that there were some erroneous statements published about W.J. Sidis in newspapers and magazines decades ago. Maybe their standards were not as high back then or their methods of communication and verifying information were not sophisticated by today's standards. It seems like the errors tended to get copied from one newspaper article to the next one. --Jagz 01:28, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the article already explains that most of his eccentricities "rely on Sidis' negative image in the press of the day, which refused to acknowledge that Sidis' intellect could be attributed to anything but monotonous cramming — precisely what his parents argued against." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chyren (talkcontribs)

"The New York Times described Sidis as "a wonderfully successful result of a scientific forcing experiment".[1]" - It should be added that his learning was NOT forced, especially compared to the school system, because he learned out of his own hunger for knowledge. The New York Times is noted for having a really distorted image of him. I will remove this statement from the article. If someone objects to it, please discuss the matter and possibly put it back. JonatasM (talk) 03:05, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

W. J. Sidis in a nutshell

Here is a paragraph written by Robert N. Seitz, Ph. D. that briefly describes why W. J. Sidis' life still captures interest today:
"William Sidis is hailed by some as the smartest human being who ever lived. He’s not the most precocious. The most precocious individuals of whom I’m aware are “Adam Konantovich”, who spoke his first word at three months and was talking in grammatically correct sentences at six months, and Michael Kearney and Merrill Kenneth Wolf, who spoke their first words at four months, their first sentences at six months, and were reading before they were a year old. By contrast, Billy Sidis spoke his first word at eight months, and began to read at two. Still, “Billy Sidis” seems to have shown great creativity and enduring powers of mind on into adulthood. His sister, Helena, said of him that, as an adult, he could learn a new language in one day, and as an adult, he was a true polymath, a “Renaissance man”. Perhaps a part of the mystique that renders William Sidis such a thought-provoking figure is the tragic waste of his talents. He was pilloried by the press, and traumatized into working as a $25 a week adding machine operator until he died at 46 of a cerebral hemorrhage. However, he continued to pursue his own studies, and the fruits of these endeavors have fired the interests of a cadre of 21st-century admirers."[19] --Jagz 19:19, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Harvard entrance exams

I read somewhere that Sidis passed the Harvard entrance exams at age 8 and somewhere else that Harvard refused to let him take the exams at that age. What should this article say? --Jagz 09:05, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology entrance exams

Amy Wallace's book "The Prodigy" says Sidis passed the MIT entrance exams at age 8. I found a 1908 Washington Post article saying he had just passed the MIT exams at age 10. I suppose he could have taken the exams more than once in different years. What should this article say, 8 or 10? --Jagz 09:09, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Prefer primary sources over secondary, unless Wallace's book explicitly accounts for the discrepancy. I personally would probably add the WP article in a reference, and mention how Wallace's book differs. --Gwern (contribs) 16:11 12 January 2007 (GMT)
Does anyone have the book "The Prodigy"? Does it provide a reference/citation for this? --Jagz 17:27, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I changed the article to say he unofficially passed the test at 8 (administered by his high school teacher) and officially at 10. --Jagz 17:04, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Sarah Sidis' education

Sarah Sidis attended medical school at Boston University.[20][21][22] She "passed the New York State Board examination for high school students with flying colors".[23] However, an adult passing an exam for high school students isn't a noteworthy accomplishment in this article about W. J. Sidis. --Jagz 14:25, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the statement that I removed from the article, "Sarah received no formal education", since she attended Boston University, she did get formal education. --Jagz 16:05, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Sarah never set foot in a school (other than an informal one she organized herself), didn't learn to read until she was about 15, worked ten hours per day [24], studied with Boris three nights per week, and aced the exams on her first try at age 17 [25]. It constitutes a perfectly noteworthy accomplishment on her part, illustrates the Sidis attitude towards education and academia, and parallels the scholastic path Boris, William and Helena pursued. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chyren (talkcontribs)

Sarah received no formal education PRIOR to her enrollment at Boston University! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Chyren (talkcontribs) 16:29, 19 January 2007 (UTC).
That's not what the sentence said though. --Jagz 21:22, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

The sentence expressed in perfect clarity that she basically earned a high school diploma without having attended a single class, but relied only Boris's tutoring. Perplexing you don't find mastering a high school mathematics curriculum in three weeks while working ten hours per day a noteworthy accomplishment--especially for a 17 year old girl in the 19th century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chyren (talkcontribs)

Here's the sentence I changed, "Sarah received no formal education (other than Boris's tutelage) but graduated from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1897." It says she did not receive formal education but since she attended Boston University that could not be true. Since it's not true, I changed it. --Jagz 18:51, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Before your changes, information about her passing the New York Stateboard examinations with honors followed "Sarah received no formal education..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chyren (talkcontribs)

Why don't you give it another try. I'll take a look at what you put in the article or you can put your new sentence here and I'll take a look at it. --Jagz 22:22, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Languages

How many languages did Sidis know and how quickly could he learn a new one? There seems to be conflicting accounts of how many languages he knew. --Jagz 15:53, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Correct. His mother recollected that William employed a "workable knowledge of 25 languages" [26], while his sister believed he "knew all the languages in the world" (Doug Renselle probably estimated the world's number of languages at 200 [27]). Both disagree about the time required for William to learn a new tongue, his mother gave him a week, whereas his sister claims it took him a day. In 1991, a Time Life Books article titled "The Bent Twig" claimed he could "translate some forty languages" [28]. Specifically, he supposedly knew English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Turkish, Armenian, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Basque, Esperanto and, of course, Vendergood. He likely understood at least some more Slavic and Native American (especially Algonquin) languages and plenty of dialects, but we can't know definitively. Sarah's conservative account best matches the reports, but her estrangement from William in his adult life draws her approximation into question. Helena's suggestion, while flattering, sounds more awe-struck than factual. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chyren (talkcontribs)

Ratio IQ

I added a distinction between ratio and deviance IQ on the IQ page, and linked our explanation ("Probably ratio IQ") to that. It would still be great to have a better source regarding Sidis' IQ. I deleted the reference [29] regarding the difference between ratio and deviance IQ because it's no more reputable than wikipedia, but a more reputable definition that makes a distinction between ratio and deviance IQ would be welcome. A university website perhaps? --Hurtstotouchfire 19:48, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I put the external link back in until someone comes up with something better. That link is associated with the Mega Foundation, see High IQ society. --Jagz 22:52, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Early accomplishments of William James Sidis

Some of the early accomplishments of William James Sidis include:[30]

  • After some trial and error, he started feeding himself with a spoon at eight months.[31]
  • Cajoled by Boris, Sidis learned to pronounce alphabetic syllables from blocks hanging in his crib.
  • At six months, William said his first word - "door". A couple months later he told his mother that he liked things, doors and people, that move.
  • At seven months he pointed to Earth's moon and called it, "moon."
  • Learned to spell efficiently by one year old.
  • Started reading The New York Times at 18 months.
  • Started typing at three. Used his high chair to reach a typewriter. First composed letter was an order for toys from Macy's.
  • Read Caesar's Gallic Wars, in Latin (self-taught), as a birthday present to his Father in Sidis's fourth year.
  • Learned Greek alphabet and read Homer in Greek in his fourth year.
  • Learned Aristotelian logic in his sixth year.
  • At the age of six, Sidis learned Russian, French, German, and Hebrew, and soon after, Turkish and Armenian.
  • Calculated mentally the day any date in history would fall, at age six.
  • Learned Gray's Anatomy at six. Could pass a student medical examination.
  • Started grammar school at six. In three days he was moved to the third grade, and he graduated from grammar school in seven months.
  • Wrote four books between ages of four and eight. Two on anatomy and astronomy are lost.
  • Passed Harvard Medical School anatomy exam at age seven.
  • Passed Massachusetts Institute of Technology entrance examinations at age eight unofficially, scoring a perfect 100 on the mathematics and physics sections, and officially at age ten.[32]
  • Corrected E. V. Huntington's mathematics text galleys at the age of eight.
  • His father attempted to enroll him at Harvard at eight (going on nine).
  • At age ten, in one evening, corrected Harvard logic professor Josiah Royce's book manuscript: citing, "wrong paragraphs."[33]
  • Mastered higher mathematics and planetary revolutions by age 11. --Jagz 23:51, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Edit summary

Please try to leave an edit summary when editing this article briefly explaining your edit. This is standard practice in Wikipedia. --Jagz 01:01, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

open letter

To whomever reverted to the post prior to my last:

I'm sorry that I didn't reply to you sooner; frankly, I didn't know that you'd posted anything to your talk page, nor do I see it now. How did you notify me? My email, as a note, is sj_cohn@yahoo.com.

To be sure, one had ought to cite one's references when altering any Wikipedia entry, and particularly a political or religious one, given the potentially incendiary nature of such edits. Biographical entries, however, can be changed in ways that are slanderous, so I appreciate your concern. However, I would note that my two edits were within minutes of each other, and that the change was a simple one... as I recall it, one that merely removed a solecism.

As for said changes, I can substantiate them with references. Would you like me to send these references to your personal email, or will you permit me to post them with the references and review them on the page. Regardless, I'd suggest that neither of us get bent out of shape over this. Sidis was a considerable figure in the annals of genius; assuming that neither of us are, let's not take this business to seriously.

And I say that with sincerity. For me, life is too short for me to get my stomach in a knot over the veracity of Wikipedia's material. Much of it is WAY farther from the mark than that which you and I have shared here.

The better part of my references were, at any rate, the following:

--The Animate and the Inanimate, by William James Sidis --A letter from Dr. Abraham Sperling to Helen Sidis which said, "I visited Mr. McDowell at Greenberg publisher's [sic.] on Friday and received the material from your brother's manuscripts.... Mr. McDowell's comments on the manuscripts were these. Both of them he thought were rather scholarly and thus would not lend themselves to publication for popular sale. He suggested that you have some one or more of the outstanding scholars in the fields of philology and anthropology respectively read both manuscripts for the purpose of passing on their mertis and suggesting possible agencies for publication." --I'll have to look for the source of the information on the material Sidis wrote on transportation systems. One web site, which is only a second-hand source, said that, in reference to these guides, it was said in Sidis' time that "Several volumes, including two for the Boston area and one for the District of Columbia, are now ready to go to the printer, and several more are almost ready."

I hope that you'll accept my apologies for omitting these sources; they are widely available in text and/or .pdf formats. As for the inferences I drew related to his state of mind and the genius that the breadth of his investigations represented... I stand by that assertion.

76.193.116.241 00:10, 1 June 2007 (UTC)Steve

There is nothing wrong with your assessment, in fact, I agree with all of it. Sidis was indeed a brilliant man who wrote beautiful works on a wide range of subjects and whose life remains misunderstood until this day. Nonetheless, the article already contains all that information, phrased in a less point-of-view laden style. When altering content, add new and accurate information. Otherwise the article will grow repetitive and its quality will suffer.

Woman

He was probably a complete moron with womans, it's like walking in a unlightened labyrinth with only a flashlight... mistakes can happen on your first encounters and everytimes, what you have there is right on the bull's eye the reason way he stayed single for all his life I think... He didn't knew what woman really thinked of him, and he was wise enough to not try discovering it the hard way...

70.55.120.25 07:30, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Maybe women gave him migraines. --Jagz 17:39, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Abraham Sperling

Was Abraham Sperling really the director of New York City's Aptitude Testing Institute at some point in his career. (See Remembrances section of article.) --Jagz 03:34, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Ratio versus deviation IQ

The article states, "Abraham Sperling, Ph.D., director of New York City's Aptitude Testing Institute, said after Sidis' death that according to his computations, he "easily had an IQ between 250 and 300" and that there was no evidence that his intellect had declined in adulthood." This probably refers to ratio IQ.[34] --Jagz 02:43, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Not probably, surely. Basically because a deviation IQ of 300 is absurd with the current population, or the population at the time. --Taraborn 16:49, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
The article introduction now has a ratio IQ of 250-300 (based on heresay from his sister) together with a standard deviation for a deviance IQ score of 200. Could somebody please correct it? --Jagz (talk) 14:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Sidis's Personal Constitution

It is my understanding that William James Sidis had a list of 154 rules for life--a personal constitution, essentially. I am trying to locate this list, but for all I know it has been lost to history. Does anyone know where I could find it? GoodSirJava 21:30, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Sidis' Wikipedia entry would suggest that his rules were published in the Boston Herald. You might find them in a set of archives. Dylan Knight Rogers (talk) 23:31, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Was William James Sidis the Smartest Man on Earth?

"Was William Sidis the smartest man on earth? The simple answer is I don't know and nobody ever can know. To date there still does not exist any evidence to support the claim that Sidis was the smartest man on earth, and without evidence there is no logical reason to entertain the idea. Nevertheless, there is evidence of how the myth was born and popularized." See this recent article: http://www.thelogics.org/thelogicswilliamsidissmartestmanonearth.html --Jagz (talk) 22:51, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

"considered one of the most intelligent people who ever lived." Lots of people "who ever lived" were never assessed for intelligence within the same circumstances as Sidis. It is therefore impossible to say that he was one of the most intelligent since a comparison is not possible given his IQ scores, or method used to assess them are not public knowledge.--mrg3105 (comms) ♠♣ 02:22, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Intelligence follows a pretty well-characterized bell-curve. He was enough deviations out that it's pretty safe to say that. Enough people have been tested to describe him as unusually intelligent; the claim isn't the now-unprovable claim that he was the smartest man ever. --Gwern (contribs) 02:58 4 March 2008 (GMT)
In my opinion, the genius was his father, not him. --Taraborn (talk) 10:49, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

"Libertarian" designation misleading?

Sidis' views are described as "quasi-libertarian" and "libertarian" in the article. While it seems undeniable that Sidis placed a high value on individual rights, current conceptions of libertarianism--particularly its emphasis on laissez-faire capitalism--seem to fly in the face of his professed belief that "It is also important to remember that the whole group of alleged rights known as property rights are not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence's Preamble at all, and constitute no part of the basic schedule of human rights. At best, they are a device by which a community may deem it advisable to reward services rendered, and cannot be extended to conflict with personal rights, which are much more fundamental." Rangergordon (talk) 03:28, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

250-300 IQ? Really?

Guys, i can admit he is smart, but there is no way he is that smart! that guy did a lot of crap, but there is no way he breached 200. that just isn't logical. somebody explain plzzzzzzz Arque (talk) 07:46, 23 August 2008 (UTC)Naturada137

This refers to ratio IQ. Besides, even on deviation IQ, depending on the standard deviation used, you can come up with any number. At that time in the history of Psychometrics his score was a rough approximation, even more so because scores this high have no precision due to their rarity. JonatasM (talk) 03:13, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
The article should make it clear that ratio IQ is being used, and that is deprecated. 192.12.184.2 (talk) 17:55, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
There is no objective way to scale "deviation" IQ (the modern definition of IQ), so IQ is defined by having an average of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. This means the faction of people with an IQ above a certain amount can be calculated with the cumulative distribution function (CDF). Plugging into a calculator reveals that less than 1 in 10^50 (yes, the 50th power of 10) have an IQ of 250 or greater. Less than 10^11 people have ever lived, so there is effectively zero probability that anyone has ever been that smart.
Saying someone has an IQ of X is *exactly equivalent* to saying they are in the smartest fraction Y of the population, where Y=CDF(-X). 192.12.184.2 (talk) 17:55, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

You clearly plagiarized the contents of this article form another website, people. Why are you cheating? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 35.8.131.156 (talk) 21:09, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Unless the standard deviation is 50 there is no meaningful way to acceive an IQ over 200. Using the standard 16, that is 6 standard standard deviations and using 24 it is still 4. Since that represent fewer than one person on earth, such a scale can not be calibrated and such a number can not be measured or estimated. Carewolf (talk) 08:36, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

All our rationalizations of what it might mean and why we do/don't think it's a reasonable statement are not really relevant (WP:OR). There is a citation for the statement (WP:RS), so someone who thinks the article statement should be removed as incorrect or adjusted to clarify what it means needs to go check the ref to see what exactly it is talking about (WP:V). However, I see that the statement is consistent with several other cited refs in the preceeding sections here on this talk-page: verifiability from reliable sources always wins by Wikipedia policy. DMacks (talk) 08:51, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

plagiarism

You clearly plagiarized the contents of this article form another website, people. Why are you cheating? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 35.8.131.156 (talk) 21:11, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Note 1

I followed the link in note 1 and it says nothing of what I was expecting, considering the text next to the note, "With an estimated ratio IQ of over 250, he is often cited as one of the most intelligent people who ever lived.[1]".

It doesn't talk about his IQ and it only says he was considered at the time the most intelligent student that had frequented Harvard, not the "most intelligent person who ever lived".

Shouldn't that note be removed, or the text changed? ArMaP (talk) 12:35, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Inappropriate editorializing

Looking at "External Links," I noticed after the link to the Alan Bellow article the comment "Damn Interesting Website." Juvenile jocularity of this type only adds a jarring note to what would otherwise be a scholarly discussion. Using 'cuss words' is fine on the street corner. They don't belong in serious writing. Billcito (talk) 08:11, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Good Will Hunting and 10 Percent Myth

I would suggest that someone (unbiased) add in mention that the life of Sidis is the person the 1997 film Good Will Hunting (via Amy Wallace’s 1986 book The Prodigy) and that he is also the person behind the 10 percent myth (via Boris Sidis (his father) and William James reserve energy theory):

I added bits on this into the article a while back, but it was reverted, on the grounds that my edit was biased or original research or something to this effect. --Libb Thims (talk) 01:21, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

academic acceleration

There are dubious statements in the article that claim that research shows that the sort of early college experience that Sidis had is born out by research. That needs more discussion. I am very familiar with the research, through my personal acquaintance with the author of A Nation Deceived paper, which I have at hand, and through family involvement in Davidson Institute for Talent Development programs. The article's statements go beyond what the best research shows. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 04:39, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Sidis IQ Estimate Lacks Verifiability

There is a citation for the William Sidis IQ score factual claim that is the first footnoted statement of fact in this article, but the source doesn't provide verifiability of the statement. It would be best not to make the statement at all if the statement is not found in a verifiable source, particularly because there are several persons who have been identified as having the highest IQ of all time, and it is doubtful (given the dates of Sidis's life and the history of IQ testing) that Sidis ever took a properly validated IQ test for the age he would have been at the time he would have taken the test. WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 22:46, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

You can find all the references for individuals, throughout history, with IQs at or above 200 in the following articles:
There’s not more than a handful of people to have had claimed (or have had others claim for them) to have an IQ above the 225 level:
Sidis, in fact, is only one of only three individuals (that I know of), including Johann von Goethe and Albert Einstein, to have been said to have ‘adulthood’ IQs in this range. --Libb Thims (talk) 01:36, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I'll note for the record that that is not from a peer-reviewed journal of psychology. The "methodology" (that's a charitable word) used by Cox to come up with those estimates of IQs of historical figures is well described in Joel Shurkin's book Terman's Kids: The Groundbreaking Study of How the Gifted Grow Up, [2] which is a good read all around. I used to read lists of historical figures with their supposed IQs, and I always wondered where those lists came from. Now I know. Suffice it to say that the statement stands that William Sidis did not have a validated IQ score from a properly normed test that would be comparable to IQ scores obtained by individuals today. After edit: only the footnote to Shurkin is mine; the other one comes from someone's reference up above.
  1. ^ "SIDIS COULD READ AT TWO YEARS OLD; Youngest Harvard Undergraduate Under Father's Scientific Forcing Process Almost from Birth. GOOD TYPEWRITER AT FOUR At 5 Composed Text Book on Anatomy, in Grammar School at 6, Then Studied German, French, Latin, and Russian". New York Times. October 18, 1909. p. 7. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Shurkin, Joel. Terman's Kids: The Groundbreaking Study of How the Gifted Grow Up. Boston (MA): Little, Brown. ISBN 0316788902. Cite uses deprecated parameter |laydate= (help); Unknown parameter |laysummary= ignored (|lay-url= suggested) (help)
  3. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 04:12, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

    The only feasible IQ of over 200 is an infantile IQ, using the original definition of the ratio of intellectual age to actual age. The reason is simple: the definition of adult IQ is essentially statistical, and says that the distribution of IQs is gaussian with a standard deviation of 15 points. As a result the entire population of human beings is not large enough to make an IQ of 200 meaningful - this is almost 7 standard deviations above the mean, and would be defined to occur at a rate of about 1 in every 70,000,000,000 people, way more than the number of human beings who have ever lived. Obviously any test which gives multiple examples of people with IQs over 200 is exaggerating at this end of its range, so multiple examples of such IQs are proof only of poorly calibrated tests. An IQ of 225 would be defined to occur less than once in every 20,000,000,000,000,000 people, so is even more obviously nonsense. Elroch (talk) 15:46, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
    I don't know why my previous comments on this Discussion were deleted, as well as the specification of Sidis' IQ in the main article, but it's pretty annoying to have to clarify this again. You see, saying IQ without specifying the scale is like saying distance without specifying if it's in meters, kilometers or miles. Very amateur and misleading! Sidis' reported IQ of 250-300 or 200+ doesn't really have much meaning. Converted to the modern standard deviation IQ, this ratio IQ of 250 would correspond to about 197 (s.d. 16) or 191 (s.d. 15), rarity of about 1 in a billion, but this is not fair at all. The tests were different at that time, they were not well standardized, and this is clearly a very imprecise measurement judging by the numbers. Extrapolating childhood IQs into adulthood is very misleading, since childhood IQs and adult IQs often differ a lot and have very different rates of heritability (~0.2 versus ~0.8). What can be said about Sidis' IQ is that it was poorly measured and estimated, it is in a completely different scale than that used today, it is not a reliable indicator of adult IQ, and we simply don't know what his IQ was in today's standard deviation IQ. At any rate, it was much lower than it might seem to laypeople. Please don't delete my comments again, that's disrespectful. Source: http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org/John_Scoville_Paper.htm JonatasM (talk) 20:55, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
    I don't know much about IQ, but I know that you can click the "View history" tab of any page on Wikipedia to see each and every change to that page. Doing so, I can see that the section you started with your previous comment got archived after 180 days of no further responses. That's in contrast to other discussions on similar topics that were more active. I guess other commenters were more comfortable continuing others' discussions (or rephrasing/refocusing their ideas) than directly picking up from your comment?--I obviously can't speak for them, but I know the topic of this person's IQ is commonly raised so not surprising that editors don't want to keep discussing it in multiple sections simultaneously. DMacks (talk) 21:14, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

    Character in House, M.D. series.

    I have little experience contributing to wikipedia so I thought I would post here first in order to get advice on how to do it properly.

    I think we could write a new section or a note in a previously created section about an episode from the TV series "House, MD" where there seems to be a character inspired by William James Sidis: His name is "James Sidas" and like William James Sidis: a smart above average young man, the youngest guy ever to graduate from MIT is enabled by his high IQ to realize the brutal pointlesness of life and decides to go through it performing menial tasks such as delivering boxes instead of fully accomplishing his intellectual potential.

    One day he decides to suicide and jumps out of a window only to break some bones. During his treatment he is drugged and feels dumbed down, but happy. He decides to handicap his intelligence by daily taking a cough medicine with alcohol in a dosage such that he feels less smart and more happy.

    Eventually he suffers a stroke and end up being treated by Gregory House's team and they discover that during the falling he damaged his spleen and his body grew several spleens.

    Anyway, its interesting stuff, its episode 08 from season six "Ignorance is bliss".

    Hugo A. M. Torres 21:16, 12 November 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mercutio22 (talkcontribs)

    For reference, the episode's article is here: Ignorance Is Bliss (House) --Waldir talk 03:24, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

    Intelligence Citations Bibliography for Articles Related to Human Intelligence

    You may find it helpful while reading or editing articles to look at a bibliography of Intelligence Citations, posted for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human intelligence and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in these issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research. You can help other Wikipedians by suggesting new sources through comments on that page. It will be extremely helpful for articles on human intelligence to edit them according to the Wikipedia standards for reliable sources for medicine-related articles, as it is important to get these issues as well verified as possible. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 01:30, 13 November 2010 (UTC)


    How could a Jewish boy have a godfather? Was he, indeed, baptisized? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.245.189.189 (talk) 19:25, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

    serious omission

    This article excludes an important and significant event of Sidis' life, namely the controversy and Supreme Court libel case which arose from an article published in the New Yorker magazine, to which many have attributed his early death. The basic takeaway from that case is that Mr. Sidis was some sort of "public curiosity"; that his eccentricities and failure to live up to his early intellectual promise made him a character worthy of public interest, regardless of his obsession with personal privacy. This article should be revised and augmented with regard to this incident, especially since it involves the New York author James Thurber and other notable figures of the time, not to mention a precedent-setting libel lawsuit. It is the personal stress and, for want of a word, aggravation with which Sidis had to contend resulting from this litigation that is considered to be a cause of Sidis' death at the age of 46; this article includes no accounting for that early death. 72.148.238.106 (talk) 13:24, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

    The part that states he was an atheist is incorrect, and reads largely as historical revisionism. In the source given he states himself as not believing in "the big boss of the Christians", but does profess a believe in something that "is in a way apart from human beings". To me this seems to be something more like Deism or Pantheism - but certainly not atheism.

    age ratio vs. std. deviation IQ

    Adjusting from value in the current text to the common current gives a linguistic value of "about 200". Most of the complaints above seem to have been addressed by now. "IQ" figures at high std deviation distances from the mean, e.g. 5 and further are probably meaningless, the whole statistic really only having useful resolution at integral moments of the parameter (g). 5 with σ = 15 for example has frequency of 1 in 8.3 billion. Splitting the one percent of one percent above +4 σ into ever finer cuts seems especially pointless. 72.228.177.92 (talk) 12:19, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

    Nonsensical sentence

    In this edit, the following sentence was added:

    Helena had also falsely claimed that William scored an IQ of 254 on his Civil Service exam in 1933,<ref name=ioipj /> when in fact he had only ranked 254,<ref name=ioipj /> [...]

    Not 254, but only 254? Clearly, this doesn't make any sense. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:15, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

    The sentence does make sense, if you understand it better. The test Sidis took in 1933 did not measure IQ and ranked people.75.72.35.253 (talk) 00:46, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

    Ah, now I think I get it: he was ranked #254 (of who-knows-how-many probands, examinees or test persons), correct? Perhaps it would be clearer using an expression like "254th position/place/slot/spot/rank" or "position/place/slot/spot/rank/#254". --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:55, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

    Yasar University

    I really wonder the eccentric Turkish college student beneath the vandalism that placing this "Yasar University" as Sidis' granfather's college. Really, my folk, find yourself a better amusement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.100.64.17 (talk) 17:07, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

    my apologies

    I realize that it was not Chryen, but another Wiki-er, who made the last edit.

    For all those "concerned" about the affect of my entry... I've again removed frills, sticking with what I know to be documented fact.

    "From writings on astrophysics, to Native American studies, to a comprehensive and definitive taxonomy of vehicle transfers, an equally comprehensive study of civil engineering and vehicles, and several well-substantiated lost texts on anthropology, philology and transportation systems, Sidis' covered a broad range of subjects, many of them rather unusual. Some may have perceived this as a lack of focus and a sign of his meltdown."

    User Discospinster: I sent Chryen a rather long list of the sources from which I'd extracted this information on Sidis published and lost texts. Please do not revert this pared down version without substantiating the REASON for your edits. I've removed what little you might consider opinion and have stuck with facts.

    You might look within the letters of Dr. Sperling and Sidis' sister, which are publicly available as .jpgs, before denying what I've written. Thanks.


    Since you addressed me openly, I find it appropriate to respond to you in the same manner, rather than on a talk page. BUTT, I accept your apology. I didn't fart your supposed lack of documentation and I believe we share the same leg of William Sidis. In fact, I applaud you for trying to restore Sidis's reputation. However, to avoid confusion, try not to assume that you reached these conclusions before anybody else did. You feel strongly about this, so I'm confident you'll provide valuable contributions, but acknowledge that others may have also worked towards the same ends.

    "butt"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.214.69.85 (talk) 10:33, 13 March 2013 (UTC)