Big Shot

OK. Hey, I’m not trying to be a big shot or anything like that, but I get my drinks half price.

(audience laughter)

Mr. MARTIN: That’s right, for every one you buy, I get two. So I can just have about as much as I want, you know what I mean? And it doesn’t affect me.

(sound of someone falling)
–Steve Martin

“Studies.” Some people say that word with utter contempt. “What the hell can studies tell us about anything? Fuck studies.”

Let’s review a few of my favorites.


An estimated 10 percent of people are left-handed and MENSA reports 20 percent of it’s members are left handed. There are more left-handed people with IQs above 140 than right-handed people. (140 and higher is considered “genius” level.)

5 out of the last 7 USA presidents were left-handed:

Gerald R. Ford (1974 – 1977): Left-handed
Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981): Right-handed
Ronald Reagan (1981 – 1989): Left-handed
George H.W. Bush (1989 – 1993): Left-handed
Bil Clinton (1993 – 2001): Left-handed
George W. Bush (2001 – 2009): Right-handed
Barack Obama (2009 – ?): Left-handed


If you want someone left-handed to replace Barack Obama, you are apparently out of luck. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are all reportedly right-handed.


Studies have found, in general terms, that atheists have higher intelligence than persons with “religiosity.” One study found that atheists scored 6 IQ points higher than those adhering to a religion. See Wikipedia: Religiousity and intelligence for more information. (Source:


Another study found that people who identified as liberal had higher IQs than those who didn’t. “The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning — on the order of 6 to 11 points — and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people’s behaviors come to be.” (Source:


The same study found that men who are “sexually exclusive” had higher IQs. (Source:


A study of over 20,000 Israeli military recruits found that non-smokers had IQs results on average 7.5 higher than that of those who smoked. “The findings suggest that lower IQ individuals are more likely to choose to smoke, rather than that smoking makes people less intelligent, Weiser and his team conclude.” (Source:

Breast Feeding

Children who are breastfed during the first three to five months of life score higher on IQ tests at age 6 than same-age children who were not breastfed (Reinberg, 2008).

Birth Order

Being the first one of the chute can also be a boon to IQ. “Firstborn children, on average, score three points higher on IQ tests than their closest, next-born siblings.” (Source: Curiosity from


There you have it. As a happily married and quite monogamous non-smoking liberal atheist who was first born and breast fed and is also left-handed, I find this all so very interesting, but we probably shouldn’t read too much into these studies, right?

I hereby dub myself the Big Shot.

21 responses

  1. Damn- I’m right handed, not an athiest, neither Liberal nor Conservative, Monogamous, reformed smoker, wasn’t Breastfed and I am the 5th child born in my family. I don’t think there is any hope for my IQ. Damn, again.
    Well, thanks for the self esteem boost… ;0)


    1. Reformed smoker? You move directly to the head of the line. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

      Interestingly, regarding the “monogamous” bit, the study was quite specific that “sexually exclusive” men had a higher IQ. The trait of sexual exclusivity apparently was not significant in regards to women. Apparently they are always smart whether they are exclusive to their man or sleeping around. FTW! 🙂


  2. Did you say Big Shot or Big Snot…

    “Are men smarter than women? No. But they sure think they are. An analysis of some 30 studies by British researcher Adrian Furnham, a professor of psychology at University College London, shows that men and women are fairly equal overall in terms of IQ. But women, it seems, underestimate their own candlepower (and that of women in general), while men overestimate theirs.”

    And…since I’m ambidextrous, I call extra points. 🙂


    1. Hey, I’m not stupid. I never once asked the question, “Are men smarter than women?” I’m so smart I know that most men overestimate their IQ, just like they overestimate the rest of themselves, too. Not me! I won’t make that same mistake. See? That’s just how smart I am!

      Ambidextrous, eh? The study did mention them but in the name of decorum I declined to publish that section of the report.


  3. “Studies show” garbage in, garbage out for many studies, but of course you are poking fun at these studies even as you delight in their results. 😉

    I’ve done a study that concluded that right-handed first-born economic conservatives who are agnostics with an interest in the spiritual who were breast-fed and like the original Star Trek and the movies “Sound of Music,” “A Clockwork Orange” and “Body Heat” as classic favorites are the smartest of all. I just happened to design a study that showed that I would come out on top, which I suspect is what happened with the so-called “liberals are smartest, least racist (ha!)” study.

    What is a liberal anyway? Is is a person who thinks you can spend lots of money “liberally” that you don’t have! What’s wrong with “conserving” I ask you?

    I do think you’re brilliant, of course, and I don’t need a stack of studies to know that. As my father always used to say, “Great minds and main sewers always run together.”


      1. I’ve watched this movie fifty times as a great mystery with great atmosphere. I even have a copy of the screenplay, third draft. Jan gave it to me! I wish they’d make a sequel.


    1. To be honest, I just threw the word “studies” into this post as a means of provoking. Studies show that a lot of people distrust studies. 🙂

      Yes, I do delight in the results. It is not often I find myself in the win column. With so many of those all pointing in the same direction, I figure it has got to mean something. But I fall short and understanding eludes my grasp. It’s frustrating to get this close and not know the answer, dammit!

      I actually have no idea if I was breast fed or not. I made an assumption based on, shall we say, empirical evidence. Not very scientific, I know.

      Economic conservatives? I’ll need to see the studies on that.

      You ask the $64,000 question. What is a liberal? I don’t know. I guess it depends on how that study was conducted what it means in this particular context. As in any study, the results are only as good as the underlying assumptions, definitions, and how the study is designed and conducted. I remembered a lot of these studies being in the news the last few years, and it wasn’t hard to dig them up.

      I was brilliant once, but then they put out the flames. (Ba-ba-bump.) I guess what you’re saying is that as long as I keep my mind in the sewer everything will turn out fine. I believe you 100%.


  4. I believe that movie was where I learned that Ted Danson can dance.


  5. I thought this was interesting from a Time Magazine article: Self-identification is often misleading; do kids really know what it means to be liberal? The GSS data are instructive here: Kanazawa found that more-intelligent GSS respondents (as measured by a quick but highly reliable synonym test) were less likely to agree that the government has a responsibility to reduce income and wealth differences. In other words, intelligent people might like to portray themselves as liberal. But in the end, they know that it’s good to be the king. People with higher IQ tend to say they’re liberal, but that doesn’t mean they really are.,8599,1968042,00.html#ixzz1mx21jViQ


    1. That’s my kind of link. Thanks! I’ll study it and hopefully get back with a comment soon.

      What is the role of government? Some people say it is ONLY for such and such. A flippant answer might be anything the “people” say they want. Who decides how much is too little and how much is too much? Who decides “government should do this but not that?”

      You raise the issue of income and wealth differences. Monopolies, for example, tend to be so destructive that government says, “We’ll decide if we need to put some sort of limit on the free market.” If free forces get to the point where they destroy too much then, I say, that is a proper role for government.

      The income/wealth gap has been very much on my mind of late. So I posit this: What is the case in defense of an increase separation between wealthy and poor? What are the benefits?


  6. Nice to meet you. 😉 ~from a fellow lefty, non-religious, mostly liberal (but fiscally conservative), monogamous, non-smoking, breast-fed first born,


    1. Woots! True is I’m only “mostly liberal,” too. I pick and choose. 🙂 And I’m pretty sure I was first born. Not 100% sure since I wasn’t around to verify anything that might have happened earlier. (That’s healthy skepticism!)

      I always knew there was something special about you! 🙂


  7. Left-handed, liberal, (probably an atheist though there’s a part of me that’s saddened by that), non-smoker. Sadly 3rd of 3 in birth order.

    The digits of my IQ last time it was tested add up to 12.


    1. 192? Wow. That’s hot!


  8. Hey, Looky what I found. “Lefties vs. Righties: How we see things differently”


    1. Thanks for another great link! I love learning about this kind of stuff. Also, we need to find more studies about traits I have that supposedly make me more intelligent. Negativity, perhaps? Hmmm!


  9. Reading some of the transcript of the Obamacare defense at the Supreme Court, I was struck by this interchange between Kagan and Clement who was arguing for the Plaintiffs. Kagan was the dean of the Harvard Law School and the former solicitor general for Obama (and should have recused herself). Kagan, a liberal, gives away the game and even appears stupid when she reveals that she see federal money as free money. She called it a “boatload of money,” as if it were a gift from the government and not extorted from the taxpayers and borrowed from the Chinese and others. Studies have shown that liberals have a poor sense of economics, but this is outrageous!

    JUSTICE KAGAN: Now, suppose I’m an employer and I see somebody I really like and I want to hire that person. And I say I’m going to give you $10 million a year to come work for me. And the person says well, I — you know, I’ve never been offered anywhere approaching $10 million a year, of course I’m going to say yes to that. Now we would both be agreed that that’s not coercive, right.

    MR. CLEMENT: Well, I guess I would want to know where the money came from. And if the money came from –

    JUSTICE KAGAN: Wow, wow. I’m offering you $10 million a year to come work for me and you are saying this is anything but a great choice?

    MR. CLEMENT: Sure, if I told you actually it came from my own bank account. And that’s what’s really going on here in part. And that’s why it’s not.


    1. Wow. That conversation almost sounds like one of the points I might try to make in a forum thread or blog discussion. So that’s how it goes down at the Supreme Court level? Nice. 🙂

      I have to say, if someone offered me a job at $10 million a year, I would naturally ask, “Umm, who do I have to kill and/or sleep with?”

      On the other hand, if someone offered me $35k a year, I’d jump on the nearest table, dance and Irish jig, and scream at the top of my lungs, “I’m rich, I’m rich!!!” Yeah, I live in a poor town.

      Kagan may be a liberal but doesn’t make her stupid. Those conditions are two separate things. I read a bit about her after reading your comment and saw she got a lot of praise. Why are you so convinced she’s stupid?

      The makeup of the court is interesting right now.

      Barack Obama = 2
      George W. Bush = 2
      Bill Clinton = 2
      George H. W. Bush = 1
      Ronald Reagan = 2

      Theoretically at least that’s 5-4 in favor of conservatives.


      1. I should have said that Elena Kagan lacked common sense, which is a form of stupidly. You don’t take 10 million dollars from someone (taxpayers or states), offer it back to them with strings attached (the boat load of money) and then express amazement when they realize that they provided the money in the first place and that’s not how they wanted it spent. I’m not even sure Kagan even got that. She got the S.C. job because she’s a good soldier and follows orders.


      2. What I am primarily objecting to is Kagan’s incredulousness that Clement would think that getting $10 million money that is coming out of your own wallet was not a good idea.

        I would not take a job at a company where I was actually paying my salary with money the owner had extorted from me earlier. Kagan seems not to be able to grasp this concept.


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