October 6th, 2006

Smartest Man Alive

Smith

Who is the smartest man alive, you may be wondering? Well, in 1844 it was Joseph Smith:

But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow; and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him.
—Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse

Using inductive logic, one could then assume that President Hinckley is currently the smartest man. And that’s why I trust and follow the Lord’s think tank.

19 Responses to “Smartest Man Alive”

  1. the narrator
    October 6, 2006 at 3:52 pm #

    At first I thought this post was about me.

    Then I thought that perhaps it was about Socrates.

    Now I know who it is about, but not quite sure why. What do you mean by ‘smartest’? There are several ways in which one could be considered the ‘smartest’. Here are at least 4.

    1. Knows the largest number of true propositional facts.
    2. Believes the least # of false propositions.
    3. A proportional mix of 1 and 2
    4. The ability to utilize propositional facts.

    Now Joseph’s claim can be used to support 1-3, though not necessarily. 1. Has the HG taught him more propostional facts than those around him? 2. Did his relationship with the HG lead him to be skeptical of everything but that which is revealed by the HG? The former, of course, assumes that Joseph Smith actually received more from the HG than others around him. The latter assumes that JS became skeptical of all non-HG ‘truths’.

    If the HG makes JS smarter in the #4 sense, then could one say that JS is really all that smart, or that it is actually the HG that is smart?

    I could go on and on, but i need to go teach my class.

  2. John
    October 6, 2006 at 4:10 pm #

    Seems like he’s more trying to say this:

    me + infinity = infinity;
    :: you + infinity = infinity;

    I don’t think Joseph Smith is trying to build himself up, he’s trying to teach us a principle.

    Anyone can be the smartest man in the world, if he listens to God, right?

  3. Connor
    October 6, 2006 at 5:08 pm #

    Narrator,

    I don’t know what I mean by ‘smartest’. I just thought it was a cool quote. :) I’m liable to think that Joseph statement is based on his definition of truth:

    And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; (D&C 93:24)

    However, he who is ordained as prophet, seer, and revelator has, in my mind, easier and/or increased access to direct revelation on an abundance of issues.

    John,

    I agree that Joseph is teaching us a principle. While I think that the Prophet has greater access to such knowledge than the rest of us, he is teaching us (just as Christ did) that we are all entitled to the same privilege. Indeed, this is the crux of a prophet’s mission.

  4. steven
    October 6, 2006 at 7:25 pm #

    Connor, I think your logic is a bit flawed.

  5. Connor
    October 6, 2006 at 9:50 pm #

    Stephen,

    Am I even supposed to respond to that? Care to elaborate on why you think that?

  6. fontor
    October 7, 2006 at 4:37 am #

    You’ve used some pretty interesting reasoning to show that the current prophet must be the smartest man alive.

    General intelligence can be measured. If intelligence tests on Pres. Hinckley show that he is, in fact, not the smartest man alive, could we then conclude that he’s not a prophet? Or would that just mean that your logic is flawed somewhere?

  7. Connor
    October 7, 2006 at 8:26 am #

    General intelligence can be measured.

    Sure, but this follow’s Narrator’s #1 item: knowing a bunch of facts. If Joseph said he knows more than all the world because he has access to the Holy Ghost which knows everything, that indicates that while he doesn’t know all the facts right now, he can obtain any fact he righteously needs and desires to know through that conduit, whereas the world at large is left on their own to learn it through diligent study and research.

  8. fontor
    October 7, 2006 at 9:29 am #

    Oh, actually not many intelligence tests measure that. There are all kinds — tests of problem-solving skills, short term memory, spatial reasoning, and so on.

    Which makes your claim all the more stupendous. Pres. Hinckley would have to exceed every other human at all these tests in order to qualify as Smartest Living Human.

    This is why I think your claim is very silly.

  9. Connor
    October 7, 2006 at 12:10 pm #

    Pres. Hinckley would have to exceed every other human at all these tests in order to qualify as Smartest Living Human.

    According to the world’s standards, perhaps… :)

  10. fontor
    October 7, 2006 at 6:29 pm #

    Aargh! He said it! :)

  11. the narrator
    October 8, 2006 at 11:10 am #

    According to the world’s standards, perhaps…

    I tell you that I have a blue shirt on. You look at me and say, “No. It is red.” Everyone who looks at it says it is red. You say “Look, it’s not a blue shirt. It’s red. Just ask anyone.” I reply, “According to the worlds standards, perhaps.”

    Have I said anything at all?

    Connor, You are the world’s largest deskchair.

  12. Dustin Davis
    October 9, 2006 at 8:16 am #

    Maybe President Hinckley is the wisest man alive…

  13. fontor
    October 9, 2006 at 8:29 am #

    Now, now, Narrator.

    He was posing the argument sort of jokingly; hence the smiley.

    At least I think that’s what he meant. Right?

  14. fontor
    October 9, 2006 at 8:32 am #

    Ah, Dustin, now you’ve found the right approach. Can’t test for wisdom, so there’s no danger of contradiction.

    As long as religion keeps things in the realm of the untestable, and science handles the facts, I think everyone will get along just fine.

  15. Connor
    October 9, 2006 at 9:19 am #

    Indeed, I was joking by my comment about the world’s standards. But the Narrator can’t seem to laugh at anything I say. :)

    As long as religion keeps things in the realm of the untestable, and science handles the facts, I think everyone will get along just fine.

    Haha, that’s priceless.

  16. the narrator
    October 9, 2006 at 11:08 am #

    I misread the smiley. I’ve just heard that response so many times that I just assumed that it was serious.

  17. Steve M.
    October 9, 2006 at 11:37 am #

    I don’t know why we have to so frequently engage in prophet worship. I hardly think these men want us raving over their superior intellects and wisdom all the time. I believe, or at least I hope, that they would want us to view them in the same manner King Benjamin described himself:

    “And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are.”

  18. Connor
    October 9, 2006 at 11:44 am #

    I believe, or at least I hope, that they would want us to view them in the same manner King Benjamin described himself: “And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are.”

    I’d agree with that, and I think overall they do indeed do this. One such example is Elder Holland’s message this past conference where he prefaced his testimony by saying “As the least of those who have been sustained by you…”

  19. the narrator
    October 9, 2006 at 11:53 am #

    One such example is Elder Holland’s message this past conference where he prefaced his testimony by saying “As the least of those who have been sustained by you…”

    I could preface my comments with “I’m a really nice guy and an intellectual midget compared to the most of you…” But you’d all know what I really thought of myself.

    I think Steve M. makes a good point. This post (and a plethora of similar comments made in church every sunday) point to a sort of idolatry present in much of LDS discourse.

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