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Is there "objective" superiority among people

lemonice
Posts: 9
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6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.

To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?

I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.

What do you think?
sdavio
Posts: 1,801
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6/9/2014 12:07:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM, lemonice wrote:
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.

To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?

I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.

What do you think?

The word 'superior' necessarily implies a standard. For instance, your logic only holds if we accept 'having skills which are useful in many situations' as the standard.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
lemonice
Posts: 9
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6/9/2014 12:11:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The word 'superior' necessarily implies a standard. For instance, your logic only holds if we accept 'having skills which are useful in many situations' as the standard.

Yes, that's my point. Is that standard acceptable to you?
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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6/9/2014 3:00:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM, lemonice wrote:
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.

To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?

I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.

What do you think?

Objective superiority is relative to the individual; the individual assesses value, to the extent he, or she, can find meaning in something.
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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6/9/2014 4:54:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM, lemonice wrote:
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.

To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?

I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.

What do you think?

In all cultures power to the one who makes the decisions and has people following them. So the dancer will probably have more power than the analytical thinker.

This is obvious in most cultures by who pays others to do the work.

You may find it interesting that in all cultures a subordinate can be made to wait on the boss.
neptune1bond
Posts: 400
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6/9/2014 6:14:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM, lemonice wrote:
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.

To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?

I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.

What do you think?

Well, the dancer probably is almost always going to have better health than a sedentary person. So, let's say that the analytical thinker is a 500 lb guy who dies of a heart attack before he can finish his education. In this case the dancer may have a better impact on the world simply because of his/her longevity and therefor more time to accomplish more things.

Let's also say that the dancer becomes incredibly famous and uses his/her fame to inspire young children who idolize him/her to believe in their ability to succeed and overcome any obstacle and inspire them to do good and worthwhile things with their lives. In this case the dancer might influence an entire generation to have profound influences in all different areas of study that will have a much better effect than any single analytical thinker could ever have.

Also, artists (including performance artists) tend to have better communication skills and a much better ability to express themselves. If an analytical thinker is completely socially inept, he/she may never succeed in their field, since all areas of success require social ability like getting promotions, getting grants for their research, communicating the results of their analytical thinking to others (in papers or studies), or even getting hired on at a job in the first place. Without success in his/her field of study, he/she may never actually accomplish anything of any worth or may lack the ability to communicate their findings effectively.

Let's also say that the critical thinker is incredibly selfish and hateful and the dancer is incredibly giving and kind. Let's say that they both earn incredible success, but because the critical thinker has such hatred for society he only uses his ability to work for large corporations in order to make himself money rather than doing anything that might make life any better for other people. But, on the other hand, let's say that the dancer makes large amounts of money but donates incredible sums of it in order to help others. In fact, let's say the dancer pays for many critical thinkers to find solutions to the world's problems, like disease, world hunger, human trafficking, etc. In this case the dancer will have far more value than the critical thinker.

All things said, the actual value of people is derived not from the talents or abilities that they possess, but from how they use them. Any skill or number of skills can be used to great affect in the world if used correctly. It does not matter what people may think of the interests that you pursue, the value is derived from what you do with your interests and how successful you are. Obviously an incredible critical thinker with no level of success or achievement and that no one ever hears of will have a much smaller influence on the world than even the world's sh*tiest dancer if the dancer was incredibly famous and successful.

You also are not thinking of the true value of art in order to make any fair comparison. Almost every thought, every phrase, every social expectation and interaction, every moral or ethical idea, every political movement and discussion, was dramatically influenced or first communicated to the public through art. There is probably not one thing that you do in life that is not influenced, at least in part, by music, movies, television, visual arts, poetry, etc. and yes, even dance. So many ideas and perceptions are communicated through art. Nothing and no one else really has the power to alter perceptions and ideas in the public view than the artist and his/her art. In this sense art can have just as much (if not more) importance than other fields. There practically are not and never have been any cultures on earth that do not engage in some form of music and dance (maybe one or so, but I've never heard of them). It is the artist that teaches us from any age how to feel and express and relate and many times even how to think. They teach us what is important in life and their influence is sometimes so powerful that they can lead us to wonderful, ridiculous, and sometimes even horrible behaviors in our imitation of them (or their characters or words) and the effects that their portrayals of various subjects can have on us. Art can cause pain and suffering or it can save and protect many. It can inspire change or encourage people to stay the same. It can give us something to look up to and something to despise. It can inspire and encourage political movements that sweep the country. It can help us to find value in our lives and feel good about ourselves or feel incredible guilt, regret, or even self hatred. Few things ever will have the dramatic effect on all people everywhere that art has had and all artists contribute to that, whether their contribution is positive or negative.

What I think is far more important than considering the superiority of individuals, though, is to consider the value and affect that people can have when they work together. Let's say that the analytical thinker makes great discoveries that could change the world and the dancer brings public attention and investors to the analytical thinker in order to finance and make the public aware of the critical thinker's work. In this sense two very opposing and almost completely unrelated skills can have amazing results that they might not have alone. No single person can ever achieve what people can when they work together.
lemonice
Posts: 9
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6/10/2014 3:25:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 6:14:15 PM, neptune1bond wrote:

Well, the dancer probably is almost always going to have better health than a sedentary person. So, let's say that the analytical thinker is a 500 lb guy who dies of a heart attack before he can finish his education. In this case the dancer may have a better impact on the world simply because of his/her longevity and therefor more time to accomplish more things.

[and everything in between]

What I think is far more important than considering the superiority of individuals, though, is to consider the value and affect that people can have when they work together. Let's say that the analytical thinker makes great discoveries that could change the world and the dancer brings public attention and investors to the analytical thinker in order to finance and make the public aware of the critical thinker's work. In this sense two very opposing and almost completely unrelated skills can have amazing results that they might not have alone. No single person can ever achieve what people can when they work together.

Hi neptune1bond, I have shortened your quoted post for scrolling reasons.

I understand what you're saying but you're creating situations that can just as easily be reversed in favor of the analytical thinker. For example, wouldn't it be very likely that, being a good thinker, he would already know about unhealthy habits (or at least learn about it down the road) and thus start exercising? I could on with this for a while and address all of your examples, but I don't think it's necessary.

I'm talking about it in principle/theory. It would be very hard to measure in practice as there are many factors involved and people can possess many different talents at once. So I simplified it without putting any person in any specific situation, and judged them on these two skills alone.
neptune1bond
Posts: 400
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6/10/2014 4:57:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/10/2014 3:25:18 PM, lemonice wrote:
At 6/9/2014 6:14:15 PM, neptune1bond wrote:

Well, the dancer probably is almost always going to have better health than a sedentary person. So, let's say that the analytical thinker is a 500 lb guy who dies of a heart attack before he can finish his education. In this case the dancer may have a better impact on the world simply because of his/her longevity and therefor more time to accomplish more things.

[and everything in between]

What I think is far more important than considering the superiority of individuals, though, is to consider the value and affect that people can have when they work together. Let's say that the analytical thinker makes great discoveries that could change the world and the dancer brings public attention and investors to the analytical thinker in order to finance and make the public aware of the critical thinker's work. In this sense two very opposing and almost completely unrelated skills can have amazing results that they might not have alone. No single person can ever achieve what people can when they work together.

Hi neptune1bond, I have shortened your quoted post for scrolling reasons.

I understand what you're saying but you're creating situations that can just as easily be reversed in favor of the analytical thinker. For example, wouldn't it be very likely that, being a good thinker, he would already know about unhealthy habits (or at least learn about it down the road) and thus start exercising? I could on with this for a while and address all of your examples, but I don't think it's necessary.

Actually no, because amazing analytical thinkers do stupid crap all the time. Being able to conceptualize an idea and being able/willing to apply that idea in real life is not even remotely the same thing. Just because someone knows that certain actions will lead to good health, it doesn't mean that they have the willpower or desire to do so. Also, being an amazing analytical thinker doesn't mean that you will always come to the right conclusions and it also doesn't mean that you will have the appropriate education necessary in order to use your analytical skills to the best effect. There is no protection against ignorance no matter how smart a person can be and being exposed to the right information and/or data is really chance. Even the greatest minds in the world may not have been what they are had they not had the same opportunities for education or had not read the right books or learned from the right people.

But, nonetheless, you still have only further proven my point. The individual skills do not matter, it is what the person does with those skills that determine their worth (and therefor possible superiority). I simply expanded on the dancers potential to disprove your original implication that the analytical thinker is going to be superior to the dancer. Obviously, the opposite can be equally true.

I'm talking about it in principle/theory. It would be very hard to measure in practice as there are many factors involved and people can possess many different talents at once. So I simplified it without putting any person in any specific situation, and judged them on these two skills alone.

But theory and principle only matter in their application. Theory divorced from application is worthless. It is useless to derive value based on the individual skills alone because that value does not play out in reality. It still is absolutely true that the skills do not hold any value by themselves, it is what the individuals do with the skills that determine their value and therefor potential superiority. So, either skill can be superior depending on how they are used and neither skill will have any innate superiority because that superiority will not necessarily play out in application.
lemonice
Posts: 9
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6/11/2014 10:25:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/10/2014 4:57:16 PM, neptune1bond wrote:

Actually no, because amazing analytical thinkers do stupid crap all the time. Being able to conceptualize an idea and being able/willing to apply that idea in real life is not even remotely the same thing. Just because someone knows that certain actions will lead to good health, it doesn't mean that they have the willpower or desire to do so. Also, being an amazing analytical thinker doesn't mean that you will always come to the right conclusions and it also doesn't mean that you will have the appropriate education necessary in order to use your analytical skills to the best effect. There is no protection against ignorance no matter how smart a person can be and being exposed to the right information and/or data is really chance. Even the greatest minds in the world may not have been what they are had they not had the same opportunities for education or had not read the right books or learned from the right people.

But, nonetheless, you still have only further proven my point. The individual skills do not matter, it is what the person does with those skills that determine their worth (and therefor possible superiority). I simply expanded on the dancers potential to disprove your original implication that the analytical thinker is going to be superior to the dancer. Obviously, the opposite can be equally true.

But theory and principle only matter in their application. Theory divorced from application is worthless. It is useless to derive value based on the individual skills alone because that value does not play out in reality. It still is absolutely true that the skills do not hold any value by themselves, it is what the individuals do with the skills that determine their value and therefor potential superiority. So, either skill can be superior depending on how they are used and neither skill will have any innate superiority because that superiority will not necessarily play out in application.

I was giving an example of how easy it is to say things in favor of anyone, and so it would be best if we didn't do that.

You say they do stupid crap all the time, well so do dancers and everyone alive. But since you make a good point on the application of things, let's say both of them put their skills to good use -- it is fair if we pretend they're on equal footing. Whose (likely) achievements would be superior? The person who inspires people with their dance and entertains others or the person who discovers or creates something new that changes the way people live? We can talk about how that depends on the values of the person doing the judging, but that's the same thing as claiming that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When really, there are some objective criteria you can judge someone's beauty with, symmetry being one of them.
HumbleThinker1
Posts: 144
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6/12/2014 6:36:53 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM, lemonice wrote:
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.

To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?

I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.

What do you think?

"Objective" superiority is based on subjective standards, and how best one meets these standards is completely context-based, so it isn't objective at all. It's like evolution: differential reproduction is the standard for fitness (superiority in this context), yet a trait that makes one population the fittest in one environment is not going to make that same population the fittest in another environment where a completely different trait or set of traits is being selected for.

Superior in "the widest possible context" or "understanding the world/universe" may arguably be the "most objective" standard, but I'm not sure there's a lot of meaning to this position beyond its trivial meaning.
Adam_Godzilla
Posts: 2,487
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6/12/2014 6:58:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/9/2014 11:56:34 AM, lemonice wrote:
I put objective in quotes because I don't mean fully objective, but as objective as one can subjectively get, i.e. in the widest possible context.
still subjective bro. no matter how much you like to say it's objective, there are still 7 billion individual opinions on this matter which still makes this issue a subjective one.
To elaborate: pretend there's 2 people, one is great at analytical thinking and the other is an exceptionally good dancer. Neither possesses a lot of talent/skill in the area the other does. Would you say the analytical thinker is superior to the dancer, not just in that one aspect, but overall?
Nope. They're both just being human.
I would say he is superior because he has a trait common in people who increase our understanding of the world/universe (example: astrophysicists), advance people as a species, are good at problem solving, and whose thinking skills are useful in more situations than dancing. These reasons make up the widest possible context previously mentioned. If I try to get past them, like "what's so objectively great about understanding the world/universe", I'll hit a wall and my argument would most likely fall apart.
Advancing people is a skill that only few can say is superior to other traits. One could say a dancer is more superior because she is able to entertain a lot of people. Whereas most don't care if the species advances or not.
What do you think?
There can't be a objective superiority among people because everyone is different. Doesn't mater how much you categorise people, but we are all made of matter and atoms and that's it. We are all the same chemically. No matter how much we expand, it doesn't matter because we'll still end up being made of matter. Objective superiority is purely subjective, and there's no way to prove what the majority of 7 billion people think is the most superior trait.
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lemonice
Posts: 9
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6/12/2014 10:29:24 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/12/2014 6:36:53 AM, HumbleThinker1 wrote:

"Objective" superiority is based on subjective standards, and how best one meets these standards is completely context-based, so it isn't objective at all. It's like evolution: differential reproduction is the standard for fitness (superiority in this context), yet a trait that makes one population the fittest in one environment is not going to make that same population the fittest in another environment where a completely different trait or set of traits is being selected for.

Superior in "the widest possible context" or "understanding the world/universe" may arguably be the "most objective" standard, but I'm not sure there's a lot of meaning to this position beyond its trivial meaning.

Yes, it is arguably the "most objective" standard, and I am arguing it but people seem to be stuck on the idea that it isn't truly objective, which I've already addressed in the OP. If you're not sure there's a lot of meaning to that position beyond its trivial meaning, state why.

At 6/12/2014 6:58:12 AM, Adam_Godzilla wrote:

Advancing people is a skill that only few can say is superior to other traits. One could say a dancer is more superior because she is able to entertain a lot of people. Whereas most don't care if the species advances or not.

There can't be a objective superiority among people because everyone is different. Doesn't mater how much you categorise people, but we are all made of matter and atoms and that's it. We are all the same chemically. No matter how much we expand, it doesn't matter because we'll still end up being made of matter. Objective superiority is purely subjective, and there's no way to prove what the majority of 7 billion people think is the most superior trait.

That's only an assumption. In reality, it's easy to observe that many, if not most, people do care about the advancement of humans, otherwise they wouldn't adopt better ways of doing things.

Again, I've already admitted that we're aren't truly objectively superior.

Nice avatar by the way.
neptune1bond
Posts: 400
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6/12/2014 4:15:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 6/11/2014 10:25:41 PM, lemonice wrote:

I was giving an example (etc.) symmetry being one of them.

There are many problems with your questions. For one thing, I cannot avoid my original point of how it will always depend on exactly what is done with the skills. The skills in and of themselves have absolutely no value whatsoever. Being good at dancing or analytical thinking, in and of themselves, hold absolutely no value at all. If someone said they were good at dancing I absolutely cannot assess any value until I know EXACTLY what it is they do and accomplish with their dancing, same thing for analytical thinking. I also cannot say whose achievements are more "likely" to be superior, because people in general are very unlikely to achieve anything at all. There are amazing analytical thinkers the world over that will, unfortunately, never actually achieve anything with their skills that will ever affect many people's lives. In fact, analytical thinkers have about as much chance of actually doing anything worthwhile that might affect the world's population as a dancer has of actually becoming famous. But, no matter how I look at it, both skills have about as much chance as the other of achieving more value depending on how they are used, as we have both already demonstrated. I do not believe that anyone can come up with any actual honest and definitive assessment of value between the skills alone. I cannot agree with any assignment of value to these skills until I actually know specific scenarios of their application, and even then any assessment of value would apply to that scenario only. So, in answer to your question, I do not believe that either skill, in and of themselves, has any more inherent value or superiority over the other. I simply cannot give any opinion of value without considering specific scenarios.

Also, there is another point about value and superiority that can be made, and that is that there cannot be any objectivity whatsoever about either. Unfortunately value and superiority does not actually exist without the observation of that value by living beings. When there are no living beings to assess value, then value has no meaning. Value only exists in the minds of those who determine value in the first place and it therefor is completely and utterly opinion and is based completely on perspective. Even if we are talking about what most people will find value in, it is still only opinion and this fact is inescapable. My opinion and your opinion truly have no more validity than anyone else's and so concepts like "inherent value" and "inherent superiority" cannot ever be quantified because the very concept of value and superiority is determined completely by its effect on people and is relative to each person individually and its individual effect on that person. If dance pays my bills, it might have more importance and therefor more value than almost anything else. No matter what you or I might decide, it cannot erase that there are some people's lives who completely revolve around dance and therefor dancing is the most important factor. Even if other things have more "popularity" in our society and therefor more value to more people, that doesn't actually mean an "objective" superiority, because a different society with different values could easily cause the situation to reverse.

I also think it's necessary to point out that there is an inevitable crossover that cannot be avoided. I happen to be a person who has great appreciation for the arts, and although I don't know everything about dance, I can tell you that I do know a thing or two. Although we all are aware of the stereotypical image of the ditsy stupid petite little girl who is a fantastic dancer, you will actually find that almost all really great artists are of superior intelligence and have above average skills in analytical thought. In fact, it has been shown time and again that engaging in artistic activity actually encourages superior thinking abilities, creativity, and superior abilities for social interaction with others. (In other words, there is reason to believe that a scientist who dances is more likely to be smarter than the scientist who doesn't.) The general public also cannot usually assess art in any intellectual way existing outside the realm of "I like it" or "I don't like it" and so there is a disconnect between popular "artists" and truly skilled artists. Being a truly great dancer requires far more than some idiot who can get on a stage and move their body. A dancer must be able to instantaneously and consistently analyze their body position and placement in relation to everything and everyone around them. Every movement, every gesture, every expression must be analyzed and planned with an awareness of how such things might be perceived by the observer. Every line, every curve, and every position must create a shape in relation to the placement on stage, the objects on stage, and the other dancers and this will be heavily judged by any critic of any merit. It requires considerable attention, focus, and awareness. Most dancers of any awareness will tell you that the greatest dancers almost always tend to be the more intelligent ones as well. A lack of ability for analytical thought will set you up for failure in dance. Intelligent people of similar artistic aptitude will always surpass those of limited intelligence. It is true that there are the "idiot savants" in dance, but there are similar people who can do incredible mathematical feats in an instance without batting an eye. There are also incredible scientists that can barely cook on a stove without injuring themselves. Usually such people cannot actually achieve success in their field because their basic lack of functioning makes them completely unworkable in any real world application. "Idiot savants" never really become all that famous. So, in other words, great dancers tend to be superior analytical thinkers and great analytical thinkers tend to make superior dancers.

I think it's also important to note that you are not making a fair comparison of skills. One is essentially a single skill with limited applications and the other is a made up superpower with unlimited application that never actually manifests in real life and also applies to almost every other skill in existence. The reason I say this is because dance is only one skill and a limited number of applications of physical ability that can only be used in so many ways to be called "dance". But, what you've implied with the analytical thinker is a transcendent being who is good at absolutely every single skill, ability, or application involving the mind or thought (or, in other words, almost every skill, ability, or application that exists). Basically, in this you've created a person who is good at absolutely everything, including dance! Such a person does not exist. Most people (or I should probably say everyone) only has an aptitude for certain areas involving analytical thought like math, chemistry, baseball, piano performance, psychology, etc. By saying "analytical thinking", you've basically implied a person who is good at absolutely everything. It's like comparing a mythical god to an ordinary human being. The only way to make it somewhat fair and on equal footing (as you've asked of me in your previous post) is to compare godlike skills to godlike skills and human skills to human skills. So, we'd then have to compare a person who is good at any and all analytical thought in any area to a person who has some other similar and somewhat equal godlike power. If you want to compare dance to something, you would have to compare it to a single ability, like math. In which case, I'd still only be able to assess value based on an actual scenario that explains how they are applied and their relative level of success.