More typical than the average bear:
Autism is a condition in which people tend to be systematizers, to try to understand things in more detail than typical people (Simon Baron-Cohen Autism and the Technical Mind SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN vol. 307 no. 5 November 12, 2012 page 72)  That can be disruptive if it impairs the ability to maintain cordial relationships and if it diverts minds into memorizing useless lists.  On the other hand it does seem to crop up among mathematicians engineers and others with advanced technical skills.  It is empowering in that it promotes intense concentration as well as a sharp eye for the anomalous.  And it is more common among men than among women.

It manifests itself on a sliding scale.  A test has been devised to distinguish how far a person leans toward being “autistic” or “typical.”  The score goes from 1 to 50.  No one scores zero, which would be “perfectly typical.”  Higher scores reflect a greater tendency toward autism.  Typical men score about 17.  Typical women score about 15.  Those with autism typically score over 32.  Some acquaintances of mine took the test and the results seemed valid enough.  So I took the test myself.  I scored 5.


Where does that leave us?  Well men score higher than women and I score lower, a lot lower.  So I shouldn’t be very manly, should I?  Well that’s news.  Modesty discourages and good taste forbids going over the measures I can think of, but let me assure you I am alarmingly butch, so to speak. 

Then there is speed, accuracy and attention to detail.  I do my best, but I am a plodder, far more comfortable making mistakes and correcting them than trying to get it right the first time.  Details do get into my mind to be summoned when they become useful which may be years and sometimes decades later.  But most things just float past me unnoticed. 

Well I used to kick myself for not being a mathematician.  I could have done it.  But it seemed like a lot of hard work.  It would be enormously useful nowadays when I am trying to analyze just what produces infertility and where the data I can get to fits in.  But I didn’t go that path and I suppose I would probably not have been very good at it.  Besides mathematicians generally burn out and stop having new ideas far younger than I was when I caught the scent I am now following.  

As for accuracy, I would have no reason to implore you to think about what I write unless there was a chance I might be right. 

So what use is a mind that is abnormally typical? 

I must ponder this.  I’ll probably not do it in a systematic way.

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By the way, on Saturday October 27, 2012 I shall be lecturing for two hours at the Necronomicon 2012 science fiction convention, Hilton St. Pete., 333 1st St. South, St. Petersburg, FL Lecture Hall “St.  Pete 3 starting at 3 PM.  The first hour will be on the fitness of the universe for life.  In due course that will be posted here on this web site.  The second hour will be on infertility, mostly summarizing what I have posted here.  However, there will be some unpublished material that extends the concept.  I do not intend to post it in the near future so if you want to be among the first to learn by all means come to the lecture.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll like the rest of the convention, too.