Some of the very best nerds, the Top Nerds, the ones who are superb programmers, share important traits that are identified with that rapidly spreading "disease," autism.
Recent studies are starting to measure the differences between those with autistic traits and the majority who are mentally weaker.
...most people regard autism as a disease, a straightforward example of an impaired mind. But there's compelling evidence that autism is not merely a list of deficits. Rather, it represents an alternate way of making sense of the world, a cognitive difference that, in many instances, comes with unexpected benefits.
That's the lesson, at least, of a new study from the lab of Nilli Lavie at University College London. A few dozen adults, both with and without autism, were given a difficult perceptual task, in which they had to keep track of letters quickly flashed on a computer screen. At the same time, they also had to watch out for a small gray shape that occasionally appeared on the edge of the monitor.
When only a few letters appeared on the screen, both autistic and normal subjects could handle the task. However, when the number of letters was increased, subjects without autism—so-called neurotypicals—could no longer keep up. They were overwhelmed by the surplus of information.
Those adults with autism didn't have this problem. Even when the task became maddeningly difficult, their performance never flagged.
What explains this result? According to the scientists, autism confers a perceptual edge, allowing people with the disorder to process more information in a short amount of time. While scientists have long assumed that autistics are more vulnerable to distraction—an errant sound or conversation can steal their attention—that's not the case. As Prof. Lavie notes, "Our research suggests autism does not involve a distractibility deficit but rather an information-processing advantage."
It is well-known that history is written by the victors. It is also true that what is considered "normal" is determined by the majority, who simply describe themselves and call it "normal." People not like them are, by their definition, ab-normal or disabled.
The medical and intellectual establishments have firmly established their views: people who don't interact socially like they do are lacking something important, and must be labeled in a way that indicates the deficiency. There is a simple way to describe people who think this way: they are fools.