Individual Outliers

Dear Scienters:

Judging a species by group-means isn’t an adequate measure of their abilities or potential.
It’s not groups that create, innovate, sparkle. It’s individuals that have the strength, intelligence, talent and wherewithal to rise above, to stand apart, that ultimately demonstrate what the species is capable of.

It’s the Nicola Teslas and the Salvador Dalis who should be evaluated as a measure of what humans are. It’s the dog that has a vocabulary of 1,022 words (Griggs, 2010) that shows us what dogs are capable of achieving in terms of linguistic understanding, not the majority who’ve yet to differentiate between the sound of “sit” and the tone of voice used to say it.

Let’s consider the anomalies rather than setting them aside as outliers that can’t tell us enough about the group to be terribly meaningful. The outliers tell us everything about what the group has the potential to produce and support.

Griggs, J. (2010, December). Border collie takes record for biggest vocabulary. New Scientist, Issue 2792.


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