Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying that genius equals inspiration plus perspiration, which implies that genius is to be gauged by accomplishment more than assessments of aptitude. I agree. By that standard, many who are clearly not geniuses still qualify for MENSA membership. But I don't think that one has to be engaged in cutting-edge research to make the cut, either.<quoted text>
I wish. I've met some real geniuses and I am nowhere close to that category.
Ironically, being an actual genius doesn't keep those with lesser accomplishments from calling one an idiot. In this forum alone, I seen Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Jefferson, and even Albert Einstein called idiots. Measured according to accomplishments, all of these are greater geniuses than Christopher Langan, touted as "the smartest man in America."
Moreover, some accomplishments are more valued by society than others, so even the greatest of geniuses may not arise from obscurity--even the greatest composers of rock music are rarely recognized as such. And there may be too many high-order geniuses in the world to fit into the small domain of celebrity status. Probably the least reliable means of assessing comparative intelligence is by self-assessment. I suspect that we've all felt like geniuses at one time or another. Oddly enough, the few who boldly claim to be geniuses in this forum often do so while making apparently idiotic claims.
Are any of the better contributors to this forum geniuses? We really have no way of knowing. But I hope so.