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The Best Real-Life Examples Of 'You Can Have A PhD And Still Be An Idiot'

Reddit user mariababexoxo asked: '"Never confuse education with intelligence; you can have a PhD and still be an idiot," stated Richard Feynman. What are some real-life examples of this?'

test tubes
Talha Hassan on Unsplash

The saying "it's not brain surgery" hasn't meant the same thing to me ever since Ben Carson took his place on the national stage.

The saying "it's not rocket science" doesn't hit the same with me ever since one of my life-long friends became a rocket scientist.

I don't know Ben Carson—just his many public blunders—but in the case of my friend, he's an absolutely brilliant guy.

However I often wonder how my friend managed to survive this long and apparently this isn't an unusual phenomenon.

But more about my friend later at the end of this article.

Reddit user mariababexoxo asked:

"'Never confuse education with intelligence; you can have a PhD and still be an idiot,' stated Richard Feynman. What are some real-life examples of this?"

Chemical Engineer

"I had an intern with a PhD once. She was trying to be a chemical process engineer. VERY book smart."

"I spent the Summer teaching her how to use basic tools like screwdrivers and wrenches for simple tasks like opening containers and adjusting clamps. She had zero practical skills and couldn’t figure anything whatsoever out on her own."

"She’d get lost in a building and call me and I’d tell her to find the exit, but she’d get lost inside and we’d have to go in and get her. This routinely happened, and she would just find somewhere random and sit until we collected her."

"When her car’s GPS lost signal once she didn’t know what to do so she stopped in the middle of the road and texted me where she was and that there was something wrong with her car and to come help. I figured there was a breakdown or something based on the text and drove out to check on it because she wasn’t responding."

Space GPS GIF by LumiGiphy

"She was crying sitting on the side of the road and a cop was yelling at her to move her car which was still in the lane."

"If you told her to pick something up from a store she’d ask where it was and if you didn’t know, she would never find it "She refused to ask an employee because she knew they weren’t as smart as she was."

"She’d just walk in random directions looking for things. For example if you said 'go to Walmart and find some work boots because you lost yours' she would send me pictures of random aisles in Walmart with 'is this close? which way from here?'.”

"Book smart but utterly dim."

~ captainofpizza

It's The Milk That Makes Them Healthy

"My wife once had a roommate who was working on her PhD."

"At one point she went on an Oreo diet because they're vegan."

"She was later surprised to find her health wasn't improving."

~ educational_palmeira



"I am a graduate student at the University of Oxford."

"I recently had to explain to another grad student the concept of animals hibernating. She's British and English is her first language, so it wasn't a vocabulary issue. She just didn't know that animals did that."

"When I explained it she said 'Oh! like squirrels!' Squirrels actually don't hibernate, but I just nodded."

~ slider501

Have You Tried Turning It Off...

"Ask literally anyone who's ever worked for a university's IT department. I've never met a group of people more unwilling to learn anything new—outside of their small specialization—than university professors."

"These people would rather argue with you for 10 minutes that 'I did restart my computer' than just spend the 2 minutes to restart the computer when the logistics software is showing the machine with a 45 day uptime and all of us can see that sh*t."

"Department heads do this."

~ Mammoth_Clue_5871

It Crowd GIFGiphy

It's One Banana, Michael

"My roommate in college was/is an academic genius, 35 ACT in med school right now."

"I brought him to Walmart with me because he wanted to buy an 8-pack of Gatorade. At the self checkout he scanned one, saw the price was 7 bucks, and decided that must have been the price for EACH Gatorade."

"He ended up scanning the pack 7 more times and paid 56 bucks for some Gatorade, all while thinking that was a fair price."

~ Royal-Character-2035

And Vampirism!

"The nurse I used to work with during the pandemic was constantly bragging about how rich and important and highly educated she was.

"Only for her to suggest to our director of nursing that the kitchen start putting extra garlic in everyone's meals because garlic cures COVID."

~ GlassPeepo

vampire GIFGiphy

History ≠ Geography

"I know someone with a PhD in History who went to the Caribbean with only long trousers and jumpers/sweaters to wear."

"He was so hot he had to cut his jeans down to shorts."

"Then, as part of the same trip, he went to Washington DC, and had to wear jean shorts the whole time because he cut up all his trousers."

~ RexEverything_

And On The 7th Day...

"I met a PhD molecular biologist who was an evolution denier. I found out years later that he was somewhat infamous."

~ whittlingcanbefatal

"I’ve met two PhD students who worked on bacterial evolution and one who worked in biochemistry."

"All three believed that human evolution was not a thing, all three were religious."

~ D-g-tal-s_purpurea

Creationism GIFGiphy

Nobel Disease

"Nobel Disease."

"There are a ton of laureates that go conspiratorial batsh*t later in life."

~ hacktheself

"Kary Mullis is the worst one and he really emboldens other conspiracy theorists."

"He won the Nobel prize for helping invent the PCR test... then he denied AIDS existed while in a government position leading to 330,000 deaths and said climate change wasn't real because his astrologer told him so."

"Oh, and ghosts."

"Anti-vaxxers love him."

~ AstonVanilla

Members Around The World

"Heard about a mechanical engineer who is a flat earther."

"So yeah, him, or any engineer, physicist, or astronomer that believes in that."

"The fact that a single one can get their degree and then turn around years later and believe in something fundamentally incompatible with the BASIC physics required to make sense of their degree is baffling."

~ QuanticWizard

flat Earth GIFGiphy

What Did They Do With The Couch?

"Helped some mates move house. One was a Uni Student doing a double degree in Computer Science and something else very challenging."

"While we were packing boxes he asked if he could could borrow a saw. When I asked why, it was so he could shorten the legs on the dining table so it would fit out the door."

"The look on his face when I grabbed one of the legs and started unscrewing it was priceless. As was the look when I asked him how he thought they got it in the room in the first place."

~ cruiserman_80

New-Fangled Gadgets

"In my old university in Germany in the early 2000s. The university was old, really old."

"And when I started they just began modernising the lecture halls etc... The German department got a new, fancy, state of the art lecture hall with any kind of technology you could wish for."

"The professors got extensive training on how to use it."

"There were some of them who after three months still didn’t know how to switch on the lights. Don’t even talk about the microphone or how to open and close the blinds on the skylight."

They didn’t originally plan on having an old-fashioned overhead projector there, but after a few weeks they relented and provided one because the professors didn’t know any other way."

"In their defence, the other lecture halls were so old that they still had the hole for the ink well in the tables."

~ moosmutzel81

overhead projector GIFGiphy

Do No Harm

"I work in mental health and have known sooo many healthcare professionals with advanced degrees who I wouldn’t trust to take care of a goldfish and can’t believe counsel people on a regular basis."

~ DeadSharkEyes

What's That Burning Smell?

"My MIT PhD. friend complained his dryer was taking forever to dry his clothes."

"I asked him if he was cleaning the lint trap—'it doesn't have one'."

"Spoiler alert: it did have one, way in the back and I took out a sweater's worth of lint."

~ arbiterror

dryer lint GIFGiphy

It's Not Rocket Science...

I chuckle whenever someone uses this saying to indicate something isn't complex like rocket science ever since my friend became an aeronautical engineer.


Well, we'd have to go back to the mid-1980s when we were both teenagers in high school. As many teens with cars in rural America did, my friends liked to drive around on the back roads as a form of entertainment.

One sunny, Summer day two of my friends came to visit me with a tale to tell.

It seems they were driving on a stretch of road with a speed limit of 35mph [56kph] because of a cluster of homes and farms. When the car slowed to this speed, Mr. Future Rocket Scientist looked down at the pavement passing by below his window on the passenger side.

Upon studying the passing blacktop for several moments, he came to the conclusion he could easily run as fast as the car was moving, so...

...he undid his seatbelt, opened the car door and STEPPED OUT of the moving car.

According to the driver, one moment our friend was sitting next to him and the next he was gone. Or mostly gone.

After a brief moment of panic during which he slowed then stopped the car, he noticed Mr. Future Rocket Scientist's right hand gripping the door's armrest and his left hand gripping the side of the passenger seat.

He was probably only dragged for a few seconds which wasn't long enough to do more than scuff up his jeans, jean jacket and the toes of his shoes.

He escaped with only minor road rash and a few bruises.

After the driver told me what happened from his perspective, Mr. Future Rocket Scientist interjected:

"It worked!"
"I was doing really well until I tripped over that rock."

Luckily an understanding of things like velocity, speed, trajectory, friction, drag, inertia and gravity aren't needed for aeronautics.

facepalm GIF by HULUGiphy

Needless to say, we've never let him forget his "experiment."

He still claims the only problem was that rock on the road.

And I now use the saying "it's not rocket surgery" instead of either of the original sayings.

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.