Is a 12-Year-Old Smarter Than Einstein?

Don’t Be Stupid.

By Tom Scocca

Time magazine did a light rewrite this week of a feature the Indianapolis Star had run about a 12-year-old boy named Jacob Barnett, who has a form of autism and who is unusually good at math and physics, and now the Los Angeles Times blogged about it, this kid who "may be about to disprove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity." Where, the Times’ Michael McGough asked, are the prodigies writing "a sublime sonnet or the great American novel"?

McGough proposed an answer:

Producing great literature requires experience and reflection, not just an IQ of 170.

Whereas, you see, advanced physics requires no experience and no reflection.
Here’s another theory: the reason you see stories about the math-and-physics whiz kids, rather than about literary prodigies, is that the majority of American journalists and readers of journalism are so slack-jawed in their ignorance of math and physics that it seems plausible to them that a 12-year-old might be about to disprove Einstein, but they do consider themselves competent to judge whether a 12-year-old’s writing is a work of genius or not.

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