ITT we talk about our experiences with the MENSA community. Mind you I am not some resentful snob who is angry that I can't join their club, I've never taken an IQ test and it's mostly 40 somethings anyway. Regardless, these people seem all too ready to whip out their MENSA card and show it to you at the slightest provocation and then explain how their IQ score ought to have been higher, but they had a headache or something.

You can't even count on them for an intelligent conversation either. I have met global warming deniers, ex-fundies, conspiracy theorists, and other quacks who are all thrilled to show me their MENSA card. It's not like anything productive is being accomplished at these meetings either. If your in the 98th percentile then why not use your intellect to make the world a better place instead of solving 100/100 sudoku puzzles?

I had a beer with one of these chumps the other day, and I'd like it if we could all rant together.

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My sister and I both qualified for Mensa membership as I daresay most of the people on A/N do.
My sister joined Mensa but I did not, to be quite honest I couldn't see the point.
Who cares whether I have a high IQ or not except me.
Another reason for not joining was the fact that you can improve your IQ by doing mental exercises (puzzles, crosswords etc). Which made it appear to me that anybody who wanted to join Mensa could probably do so without much difficulty just by exercising their brain for a few months before the test.

One thing I'd like to point out is that no matter how gifted you are in the IQ department, it does not mean you are wise and I think wisdom is far more important than being able to solve a few hard puzzles.
And I don't mean that to be disrespectful to any Mensans, I just wish wisdom could be measured as easily as IQ.

And yes my sister used to flaunt her Mensa card in my face gleefully until I pointed out to her that I had a bigger house and more money than her. Not that I think that's a measure of mental agility, but just to shut her up (bit of sibling rivalry you know ;)).
I too qualified for MENSA decades ago, I declined membership for the same reason I declined joining the Mormons, the Elks, the Masons and all like groups. I (like Groucho) refuse to join any club that will have me as a member, and I don't care to dip into my wallet to be accepted. I can be an Atheist without ever showing a membership card, very minimal dues, no roll call, and I don't need to show up to meetings.
My son and I are in MENSA, though we have never attended any meetings. After reading through their mag, we quickly realized that though many of the members are supposedly bright, they are equally deluded. The religious fanaticism expressed in that particular issue was enough to turn me off.
Hmm. After reading through this thread, a few thoughts occur to me. Foremost, beware statistical conclusions drawn from the personal, casual gathering of data, because of the myriad selection biases involved. Second, beware stereotyping based on means, medians, or modes, because the bell curve is always wider than that.

In other words, it may certainly be true that every self-professed member of some group has struck you as less than wonderful in some way, but you may not be remembering the ones that weren't so bad, and in any case, you're not including any un-self-professed members in your sample. And while it's awfully tempting to boil a population down to a single number, that is never truly representative of the population.

Also, it is unseemly for people who have self-selected into A|N, a social club for people who share a common attribute, to be slamming on another self-selected social club for people who share a common attribute. But then, the in-group/out-group dance is intrinsic to human nature, so it's to be expected.

Having said all that, I also grew up in a profoundly anti-intellectual culture (semi-rural United States) and found myself struggling to pass as stupid in order to fit in socially while recognizing that I needed to maintain good grades in order to succeed in life and secretly taking delight in knowing things for the sake of knowing things. I was not entirely successful.

The last IQ test I took was probably in high school. Based on that, I believe I would qualify for Mensa. I've fleetingly considered taking the actual Mensa test, but for some reason have never felt compelled to do so, probably because I'm not sure I'd have much to gain. Or maybe just because I've conditioned myself to a life of semi-clandestine enjoyment of intelligence and don't want to blow my cover.

Regardless, it's not clear to me what it is that IQ tests measure. It's not clear to me that it's clear to anybody what IQ tests measure. I'm not sure we have an ironclad definition of intelligence. I don't think intelligence is truly distinguishable from knowledge, for example, since you really can't have either without the other. I suppose it's like obscenity, though; we know it when we see it. And of course, I prefer the company of people who can keep up their end of an intellectual conversation. Small talk is painfully boring.

And I will refrain from commenting on anybody's penis size. That way lies madness. Though, perhaps surprisingly, there is more objective statistical information concerning penis size than IQ.
That was the smartest comment so far.

I have had no contact with Mensa, or any of their members or even an IQ test, so I cannot have any personal judgment on them. But even if I had, it's not really smart or fair to judge an entire group by the attitudes of a few of their members, even if they seem arrogant or elitist. By the way, arrogant and elitist is precisely the way I felt about atheists before I became one.

What I can say on the group as a whole I can only support by the main tenets of the group itself. I understand the need to have a space for like-minded people, but seriously, there's got to be a better way than an IQ test. As far as I know, IQ tests only measure IQ, and IQ is only that which is measured by an IQ test. As Chris pointed out, your score [supposedly] can be improved by practicing the test.

I don't think I'd ever want to join, it does seem a bit elitist. Also, where I come from, 'mensa' means, literally, 'stupid'.
Too late. Your cover's blown, dude.
I'd much rather win at Jeopardy. I could use the money.
We actually had a phrase in our high school debate group: "Mensa Dicks". (Being from the US, the word "wankers" wasn't in most kids vocabularies. Much to their loss.)
We weren't in any way implying everyone from Mensa were dicks. We weren't even implying half of them were. There was, however, *always* that one guy/girl that was going to find a way to work their Mensa card into a debate. Usually tossing it out there as a trump card.
e.g. "You lack the evidence to back up your assertions and you refuse to counter my evidence." "Well, as a member of Mensa..."
There was even one guy that insisted on being introduced as a Mensa member, which began a long argument from authority that started before he'd even walked up to the bloody podium.

Are all Mensa members like that? Of course they aren't. I'd bet the vast majority of them aren't. That was debate on a competitive level. I'm sure the vast majority of the people there were either members or qualified to become members.

Is arguing about Mensa sucking anti-intellectualism? Probably not. No one seems to be bothered by the intellect. It's the percieved attitude that annoys people. Mensa, whatever they'd like people to believe, does not speak for the world's intellectuals. Just the ones that are in their club.
Are all Mensa members like that? Of course they aren't. I'd bet the vast majority of them aren't.

Perhaps the discussion could be renamed Mensa Dicks are Losers?
I'm a member of DENSA, but I misplaced my card, so you'll just have to trust me at my word ...
I'm not going to be impressed unless you wave your card at me.
I left it on my other desktop ...


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