Mob Intelligence

I love reading Terry Pratchett, for the humor, but I just discovered an extremely useful mathematical equation in Maskerade to calculate the intelligence of any mob.

“The IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters.”

Now if only we had an accurate definition of what a mob is – a definition that catches mobs even when they are not wielding clubs and other weapons.

2 comments for “Mob Intelligence

  1. May 21, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this too recently. (Although, unfortunately, not in a Pratchett sense. :-)) It seems to me that those who would have us jump on a bandwagon without careful consideration of all the facts available would constitute a mob. I arrived at this thought after reading some of Micheal Crichton’s non-fiction work. For context, see ‘aliens cause global warming’ at (No, he doesn’t really believe that – but the title gets your attention, no?)


  2. May 21, 2007 at 9:43 pm


    I like that definition of “mob.” I certainly can’t think of a more accurate one.

    And thanks for that link. Aside from the fact that we know which one more people would believe, I would love to put that up right next to An Inconvenient Truth and let people really think about what they are being fed.

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