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Ask A Genius (or Two): Conversation with Erik Haereid and Rick Rosner (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/10/08


Rick Rosner and I conduct a conversational series entitled Ask A Genius on a variety of subjects through In-Sight Publishing on the personal and professional website for Rick. Rick exists on the World Genius Directory listing as the world’s second highest IQ at 192 based on several ultra-high IQ tests scores developed by independent psychometricians. Erik Haereid earned a score at 185, on the N-VRA80. Both scores on a standard deviation of 15. A sigma of ~6.13 for Rick – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 2,314,980,850 – and ~5.67 for Erik – a general intelligence rarity of 1 in 136,975,305. Of course, if a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population. This amounts to a joint interview or conversation with Erik Haereid, Rick Rosner, and myself.

Keywords: actuarial science, America, Erik Haereid, Norway, Rick Rosner, statistics, Scott Douglas Jacobsen.

Ask A Genius (or Two): Conversation with Erik Haereid and Rick Rosner (Part Two)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Erik Haereid: I do not know if you (Rick) think that I am on Trumps and his person’s side concerning immigration policy. I am not! I want mixed cultures, including Muslims. I think multicultural societies enrich us as humans. What I am afraid of is immigration on a large scale, which will challenge the welfare states’ infrastructure. This will probably lead to far-right movements, and unwanted political situations around the world. The best way to prevent far-right environments, racism and xenophobia, is to understand and respect how people think and react in different situations, as when people feel threatened (if the fear is based on facts or illusions doesn’t matter). Mass migration can be the case; consequences of global warming, sea level rise, more wars and conflicts, poverty, hunger… The number of refugees can increase rapidly in the next few decades. This will cause substantial issues, especially moral ones, and on a larger scale than today. I think we have to prepare for worst case scenarios. The best way to do that, as I see it, is to build temporary homes and environments on available areas, directed by UN and the international community; not camps with simple tents and lack of hygiene.

You mention fear of a potential Muslim majority in western countries in the future, pushing Islam and Sharia Laws on the native Christian people. I guess this is a part of the bottomless well of fear that is established, on wrong conditions, among a lot of people in our cultures. Creating fear to gather votes (politicians) and money (Media) is as old as these institutions. Trump is part of a wave of populism hitting the mainland, not only in the USA but also the rest of the western world, like Europe, where we are not that familiar with populism. Trump and his buddies play with people’s emotions, with a mixture of illusions and reality, as more or less decent rhetoricians have done since Cicero. Sometimes this is right and necessary. Other times, like that Trump has banned immigration from some predominantly Muslim countries, this is wrong.

You mention statistics as a basis for more true facts, and I agree. In Scandinavia, Sweden, we had a professor Hans Rosling that used statistics effectual to illustrate certain topics. You mention your buddy who believes that Muslim immigrants do get more children than the native population, as a strategy, and eventually turn the country into a Muslim majority country. Well, I looked it up, and for immigrants that came from Asia, Africa and Latin America to Scandinavia as adults the birthrate was 3,5 children per woman (from 1990 to 2004) (compared to Scandinavian women; birthrate = 1,9 children, today). For immigrants that came to Scandinavia as children, the birthrate was 2,2, and for women born in Scandinavia with parents from Asia, the birthrate was the same as in Scandinavia. The tendency is that immigrants adapt to the same birthrate as the country they move to. I did not find statistics for Muslims separate though. But the point, as you indicated, is to collect data, and use statistical tools to remove fear rather than create it.

You say that the immigrants are not the big danger in the future, but AI. I agree that there are several threats, like you say uncontrolled technological evolution, but also pandemics, asteroids hitting the Earth, and environmental issues like global warming are major problems we have to deal with. These issues do not make migrant issues less important, I think. My view is based on worst-case scenarios. A vast immigration, or fear of it, implies that more people vote for far-right movements and parties. Statistics will certainly help, but fear seems to follow its own path. Statistics cannot say much about an unstable future unless it is almost a copy of the past; predictable. You can give Trump and his equals facts, true facts, but he can hit back with predictions that no one can prove; the future is to a certain extent steered by rhetoricians.

Statistics will have an importance to some degree, and then the irrational nature of humans takes over. In crises, like war zones, people stop acting rational. Another fact is that humans become irrational and immoral when we feel that our connection to the group is threatened.

A known psychological experiment is the Milgram experiment from the beginning of the 1960’s, which revealed that people obey authorities and authority figures even if apparently causing serious injury and distress. Other experiments show that people tend to be irrational or in lack of basic knowledge, for instance answering “Madrid” as the capital of France if the others answered “Madrid” on that question, when they have the choice between using their cognitive abilities and doing the same as the others.

You mention police violence. Yes, there is a problem if one takes for granted that potential violence is correlated with a person’s skin color, the clothes people are wearing and if they have body piercing or not. If the police get into a situation where they feel threatened, why can’t they use methods and weapons that are harmless and remove the potential danger until they have clarified the situation?

I think that humans become more human if we understand how to live together in different cultures and take the best out of each culture; remove the violent parts (I know this is more difficult than I made it sound like). The problem is the fundamentalism, the lack of will to learn from others and adapt, and not the differences.

Rosner: Having read Erik’s reply, I think that the Venn Diagram of how we feel about things is a couple of circles overlapping by 90% if not more. Sorry if he thought that I thought he was on Trump’s side. I do not think that at all. I think that comes from me arguing against the opinions of a conservative friend whom I have been arguing with extensively about this stuff. No, I do not think Erik holds those Trumpian views at all.

And Erik’s done an excellent job at laying out good arguments for not demagoguing immigration. He has some excellent statistics showing that immigrants are generally not trying to take over countries by making a zillion babies. He does not have those statistics for Muslims, but the hope of any country welcoming immigrants is that the immigrants become part of the fabric of that country.

Newcomers embracing a country’s values while adding cultural input of their own makes for that whole rich melting pot kind of deal, and the US has generally been successful as a melting pot. You let people in and you find that for the most part they embrace American values. We are a successful country of immigrants (successful for immigrants and their descendants at least; less so for people who were already here when Europeans arrived).

About the H-1B visas – the smart and talented people visa – it is scary that we might begin turning away people from other countries with skills and some education who want to expand their training or use their talents in this country. They get special visas because, hey, they can contribute. If we scuttle that and if we make the US look inhospitable and unfun for talented people from elsewhere in the world, we are screwing ourselves.

There are other countries – I said this elsewhere – who are very happy to admit smart, skilled people who would have otherwise come here. China seems as if it could be super fun if you are a high-level entrepreneur or engineer. In its industrial cities, you can be a giant of industry.

If you do not mind crappy air quality in places, you can probably live an NBA player-type jet-setty life in Guangzhou or wherever. If the US loses tens of thousands of talented people from around the world to China, maybe India and Europe – I do not know, wherever else people think they can build great lives for themselves, then we will end up being a dumber, less technically nimble nation, and we will eventually cease to lead the world in technology.

We will eventually become a slightly silly, semi-backwater, like Portugal or Spain – countries that used to dominate and are still modern but not at the very forefront of stuff. Not to mention, matters of international dominance aside, that it is straight out dickish to, in an automatic way, deny American values for purposes of fear and demagoguery, and political advantage.

Haereid: Thank you for endorsing my arguments. I agree that the USA is a successful country of immigrants. It’s not easy, and you have done an excellent job the last 200 years. The complications you have had is minor compared to what it could have been. There are victims. But overall you have shown the rest of the world that one can handle a cultural crucible; in less than a couple of dozens of decades.

“About the H-1B visas…”

I agree. That doesn’t seem like a good idea. In competition with the newcomer China you will need all the capacity you can get. It’s not politically smart to prevent know-how, thirsty young people and bright brains helping the business to evolve; including persons from abroad. We are dealing with the butterfly effect. A few brains in a garage or at the boy/girl room can start companies that survive and grow beyond imagination, like GM, Microsoft and Apple. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and their mates did something spectacular in the 70’s and 80’s. They used their eagerness and intelligence to investigate new sides of life; they were at the cutting edge of information technology. Maybe they were smart and lucky; they were first. One should not prevent that kind of people, wherever they come from in the world, to live and nurture inside the USA if they want to.

9/11 was not only a catastrophic act of terror and violence, but also a lack of US intelligence. I don’t think we can remove this kind of action from the future by closing our borders. There are several western native boys (and girls) that, because of their lack of affiliation, and despair, go into ISIS/Daesh or other fundamentalist groups to fight against whatever, or just do the violence on their own (like Anders B. Breivik in Oslo in 2011). It is not Islamic beliefs per se that makes violence, even though the text in some ways inspires to kill and get paid after death, but the fundamentalism that is attached to it and to all beliefs, all cultures, and all humans. Humans seem to exaggerate everything; we are so damn dramatic! It’s not what we believe in that’s the problem, but why we become narrow-minded and hateful. Our brains seem to take a bunch of shortcuts and easy tracks and forget some basic moral rules that our brains also try to establish. It’s Dionysus against Apollo, Id contra Superego.

We forget that there were a lot more terror in the 1970’s and 80’s than today, which we forget because there was less terror in the 1990’s. Then 9/11 in 2001 came as a chock to us all. You can say that 9/11 erased the terror in the 70’s and 80’s from our memories. A new era began; the Islamic fundamentalist-period. The difference between then and now is that the terror is more global; it can hit you anywhere. I remember the IRA (North Ireland) and ETA (Basque Country, Spain). I also remember the Baader-Meinhof Group (RAF) from Germany. These organizations dominated the news 30-40 years ago. Now it’s Islamic extremists that spread fear around the world. I don’t think it’s clever to use fear as an excuse for closing borders and giving birth and nurture to demagogues. Terrorists want to push some buttons more than kill innocent people.

[Ed. Haereid Addendum]

May 7 I read in a newspaper (CBS News) that the 97-year-old prosecutor from the Nurnberg process in 1946, Benjamin Ferencz, said that “war makes murderers out of otherwise decent people”. Several people, including philosophers like Hannah Arendt, have written about the Nazism, and asked necessary questions. Arendt meant, as I have read her, that evilness is (primarily) not based on sadism but rather obedience. Are human monsters, or are we obedient? The psychological Milgram experiment from 1961 implies that we are obedient and not sadists. But does it matter for the victims?

Why do humans act evil, not only on macro-level as national or religious leaders, but also on micro-level in the school yard (bullying), as mass murderers, psychopaths, sociopaths…? Is it because of one person’s lack of love from his/her parents? Is it because of brain damage? Is it because of a potential destructive pattern we all have inside us? Is it because we get an ecstasy, a rapture that prevents us from acting rational and makes us un-empathic? Is it because of revenge?  Or is it because this is the natural and best way to evolve as a species? Is it because we think this is what the authority expects from us?

Is there any way that we can control our monstrous side?

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Erik Haereid: “About my writing: Most of my journalistic work I did in the pre-Internet-period (80s, 90s), and the articles I have saved are, at best, aged in a box somewhere in the cellar. Maybe I can find some of it, but I don’t think that’s that interesting.

Most of my written work, including crime short stories in A-Magasinet (Aftenposten (one of the main newspapers in Norway, as Nettavisen is)), a second place (runner up) in a nationwide writing contest in 1985 arranged by Aftenposten, and several articles in different newspapers, magazines and so on in the 1980s and early 1990s, is not published online, as far as I can see. This was a decade and less before the Internet, so a lot of this is only on paper.

From the last decade, where I used more time doing other stuff than writing, for instance work, to mention is my book from 2011, the IQ-blog and some other stuff I don’t think is interesting here.

I keep my personal interests quite private. To you, I can mention that I play golf, read a lot, like debating, and 30-40 years and even more kilos ago I was quite sporty, and competed in cross country skiing among other things (I did my military duty in His Majesty The King’s Guard (Drilltroppen)). I have been asked from a couple in the high IQ societies, if I know Magnus Carlsen. The answer is no, I don’t :)”

Haereid has interviewed In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal Advisory Board Member Dr. Evangelos Katsioulis, some select articles include topics on AI in What will happen when the ASI (Artificial superintelligence) evolves; Utopia or Dystopia? (Norwegian), on IQ-measures in 180 i IQ kan være det samme som 150, and on the Norwegian pension system (Norwegian). His book on the winner/loser-society model based on social psychology published in 2011 (Nasjonalbiblioteket), which does have a summary review here.

Erik lives in Larkollen, Norway. He was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1963. He speaks Danish, English, and Norwegian. He is Actuary, Author, Consultant, Entrepreneur, and Statistician. He is the owner of, chairman of, and consultant at Nordic Insurance Administration.

He was the Academic Director (1998-2000) of insurance at the BI Norwegian Business School (1998-2000) in Sandvika, Baerum, Manager (1997-1998) of business insurance, life insurance, and pensions and formerly Actuary (1996-1997) at Nordea in Oslo Area, Norway, a self-employed Actuary Consultant (1996-1997), an Insurance Broker (1995-1996) at Assurance Centeret, Actuary (1991-1995) at Alfa Livsforsikring, novice Actuary (1987-1990) at UNI Forsikring, and a Journalist at Norsk Pressedivisjon.

He earned an M.Sc. in Statistics and Actuarial Sciences from 1990-1991 and a Bachelor’s degree from 1984 to 1986/87 from the University of Oslo. He did some environmental volunteerism with Norges Naturvernforbund (Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature), where he was an activist, freelance journalist and arranged ‘Sykkeldagen i Oslo’ twice (1989 and 1990) as well as environmental issues lectures.

He has industry experience in accounting, insurance, and insurance as a broker. He writes in his IQ-blog the online newspaper Nettavisen. He has personal interests in history, philosophy, reading, social psychology, and writing.

He is a member of many high-IQ societies including 4G, Catholiq, Civiq, ELITE, GenerIQ, Glia, Grand, HELLIQ, HRIQ, Intruellect, ISI-S, ISPE, KSTHIQ, MENSA, MilenijaNOUS, OLYMPIQ, Real, sPIqr, STHIQ, Tetra, This, Ultima, VeNuS, and WGD.

Rick G. Rosner: “According to semi-reputable sources, Rick Rosner has the world’s second-highest IQ. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writer’s Guild Award and Emmy nominations, and was named 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Registry.

He has written for Remote Control, Crank Yankers, The Man Show, The Emmy Awards, The Grammy Awards, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He has also worked as a stripper, a bouncer, a roller-skating waiter, and a nude model. In a TV commercial, Domino’s Pizza named him the World’s Smartest Man. He was also named Best Bouncer in the Denver Area by Westwood Magazine.

He spent the disco era as an undercover high school student. 25 years as a bar bouncer, American fake ID-catcher, 25+ years as a stripper, and nude art model, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television.

He lost on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire over a bad question, and lost the lawsuit. He spent 35+ years on a modified version of Big Bang Theory. Now, he mostly sits around tweeting in a towel. He lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife and daughter.

You can send an email or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.”

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2018:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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