First-Rate Intelligence and the Google Memo

Newsmax | 11/4/2016 | Staff
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"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function," wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in a series of articles named "The Crack-up" for Esquire in 1936. "One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise."

If Fitzgerald's test remains valid today, then I can only conclude that few people with first-rate intelligence are making their voices heard. Instead, firm views from both sides of an argument are more often simply amplified.

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Perhaps that's because it's easier and more entertaining to watch two people debate clearly defined and opposing views than to watch (or read) someone debate with him or herself. But, whatever the reason, purity of thought and clear thinking seem to be valued more highly than are complex, gray thoughts that might more closely reflect reality.

Last Friday's memo by Google employee James Damore titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber, How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion," is an example.

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The memo led the company to fire him on Monday and resulted in heavy media coverage. While the left and right can each use the paper as an excuse to rally their bases, the rest of us have the opportunity to pause, reflect and see if we have first-rate minds.

Damore wrote, "At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices." His paper did just that.

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"Neither side is 100 percent correct," wrote Damore, "and both viewpoints are...
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