Given that Bill Cosby rose from humble beginnings to become one of the richest, most beloved, and most influential people in America, during an era of great racial discrimination, it’s interesting to ask what his IQ is. An article in provides a clue (emphasis mine):

Though Cosby is a prominent education advocate, he was a terrible student in school, opting to be the class clown instead of studying up. Because he never opened his geometry book, Cosby, who had the highest IQ in his grade, once took 12 pages to work out one of four problems on a test. He ended up getting that one right, but failed the test because he didn’t have time to attempt the other questions. The SATs? He scored a 500 total.

Critics of IQ tests (and even supporters like the Lion of the Blogosphere) often claim that IQ correlates with success, not because high IQ people behave intelligently in real life, but because you need to score high on the SAT (a disguised IQ test) to get into a good college to get into a successful career. In other words, test scores become a self-fulfilling prophecy, skeptics charge.

But Cosby is an example of someone who had the highest IQ in his grade and went on to become the richest and most popular African American of his generation despite flunking the SAT and attending a crappy college. In other words, he did well on the IQ test that didn’t matter, yet flunked the IQ test used for college admissions, yet still achieved spectacular success. This would indicate that IQ scores predict success because they predict intelligence, and not because they predict all important SAT scores.

An interesting study would be compare the future incomes of kids who flunked their SAT but did well on a regular IQ test with kids who flunked a regular IQ test but did well on the SAT. If the SAT > regular IQ test group was not more successful, then the “IQ scores are a self-fufilling prophecy” theory is debunked.

Here once again is Bill Cosby talking about his SAT scores: