Sunday, January 27, 2008

Books That Make You Dumb

I saw this over at SciFi Signal (who picked up the list at Books that make you dumb) and had to post it. Notice where The Bible fits in. I'm just sayin'..... (click on the link to "books that make you dumb" for a clearer look at the whole chart) I also don't get how "Atlas Shrugged" scored so high in the rankings. Gag. And "Eragon" ranks ahead of "Fahrenheit 451"???? But hey, sci-fi and fantasy seems to do okay overall. Here's how they came up with the list: Get a friend of yours to download, using Facebook, the ten most popular books at every college (manually -- as not to violate Facebook's ToS). These ten books are indicative of the overall intellectual milieu of that college. Download the average SAT/ACT score for students attending every college. Presto! We have a correlation between books and dumbitude (smartitude too)! Books <=> Colleges <=> Average SAT Scores Plot the average SAT of each book, discarding books with too few samples to have a reliable average. Post the results on your website, pondering what the Internet will think of it.Yes, I'm aware correlation ≠ causation. The results are awesome regardless of direction of causality. You can stop sending me email about this distinction. Thanks. Legions of Literature majors harangued about Lolita's categorization as "Erotica" instead of "Classics". Fine. I've already updated the entry and rankings. Tomorrow I'll make a new version of the images with Lolita in "Classics". You all lack any sense of humor. Average SAT (with margin of error) for the 100 most popular books on facebook. The vertical axis doesn't mean anything.

5 comments:

furiousBall said...

yeah that's a pretty flawed list. Atlas Shrugged does not make you dumb.

SQT said...

Er, Furious, Atlas is on the "makes you smart" side. I just commented on it because I can't stand Ayn Rand. It's a personal thing. I don't think she makes her point so much as bludgeons you to death with it.

Carl V. said...

Definitely proves how unscientific a list it is when you look at it and well loved classics are on both sides as are newer 'it' books that may or may not be total dreck. It was a fun idea, but certainly just one of those things that is as arbitrary as they come.

Charles Gramlich said...

A confounding is that many books folks are "forced" to read, either in school or life, and thus these are not selected for and do not represent anything to do with intelligent choice.

Interesting however.

SQT said...

Carl, totally arbitrary.

Charles, yeah, it doesn't seem to take into account what students have to read, or else it just doesn't say so. I read a lot of books on that list because I had to, not because I wanted to.