Liberal eugenics and social stratification

I have/had this conversation on OKCupid. It seemed shareworthy. I’m red, and the other person is blue.

Your profile mentions eugenics as an interest… is that from a pro or anti stance? Or neutral?

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Pro, although not like how eugenics was practiced in Europe in the 30′s. Big supporter of liberal eugenics, with embryo selection being the most interesting current proposal if we don’t go straight to gene-therapy.

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Hm, liberal eugenics. So you don’t see a problem with social stratification as the practical result? Or is my American capitalistic environment just influencing my thinking on that one?

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There is already social stratification because of better genes among different groups. Indeed, this is the topic of The Bell Curve. :)

Of course, in the beginning this technology will be for the rich people, who will by that have even smarter+healthier children than they already have. The same is true for better schools. But such biotech falls quickly in price (say, logarithmic speeds cf. price of genome sequencing) and will soon benefit large parts of society, in the sense that people can have smarter and more healthy kids. But even when only the rich will get it, this will also benefit the rest, since society as a whole benefits from having smarter+more healthy people (to begin with, it will give society a larger pool of potential leaders).

In practice, one would start by expanding the battle against hereditary diseases for the simple reason that these are the easiest to find the genes for. For instance, screening for certain diseases during pregnancy is already widely practiced, e.g. Down’s syndrome. In Denmark 99% of women who are diagnosed as being pregnant with a Down’s syndrome fetus abort it. This has dramatically lowered the number of Down’s syndrome people in Denmark, thus saving parents from the hassle, and saving society (=everybody) from the economic disadvantage such a person is/would be.

We already know of many such genes for diseases/disease risks, while we don’t know of a single well-confirmed case for intelligence. We will find them in the next few decades. The reason they are hard to find is that there are probably 1000s of genes that affect intelligence, but a single gene has only a tiny effect (positive or negative), say 0.5 IQ. This means that one needs a huge sample to spot them from statistical noise (i.e. high powered studies).

Of course, USA is really fucked up in the relative wealth department. :) I particularly liked this video about that problem: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oOwjN9qV2ls

-Emil :)

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I’m curious about your interpretation of “better genes” and exactly in what way they contribute to one’s social standing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your perspective sounds a bit deterministic if you’re convinced that the dominant influence on where you end up in the hierarchy is genetics, especially if your interpretation of “better genes” is centered around IQ (considering IQs in the very highest ranges are actually negatively correlated with success). It also sounds like you don’t believe environmental factors make much of a dent overall, am I correct?

Tangent: it seems you’re pretty focused on meritocracy, and while that’s a noble sentiment and a nice idea (like Marxist communism), it unfortunately doesn’t exist in the wild (also like Marxist communism). It’s been my observation that under the facade of well-meaning plans, every large community, social structure, organization, etc. is essentially based on a Hollywood mentality: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I’m not arrogant enough to assume that my own experience is representative of the entire range of experiences, but I have yet to find a self-proclaimed “meritocracy” that truly *was* that.

But back on the topic of social stratification, assuming we were able to influence the leadership potential of a given group, is it not true that when an individual or group acquires power they are unlikely to give that power up voluntarily? And will, generally speaking, restrict the ability of other individuals or groups to attain power as well?

And yes, the USA is fucked up in a lot of areas, but wealth is a pretty big one. Also, sorry if I seem a bit contentious, devil’s advocacy is just a beloved pastime of mine. And the better informed your conversation partner, the more fun it tends to be. I don’t need attribution, but if the anonymity was bothering you, my name’s ****** :)

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With better genes, I just mean those that code for higher intelligence, health, and attractiveness. This is not quite what biologists mean by better genes, because they are talking about what fits with the environment. In that sense, genes for intelligence are bad genes, since there is selection for lower intelligence in most western countries (smarter people have fewer children). The movie Idiocracy is a description of what will happen in the far future unless we do something. :) I however, think that we definitely will do something to stop the dysgenic trend (as it is called).Not deterministic, stochastic/probabilistic. No one thinks that such things are deterministic (well, no serious scholar, fatalists of course do!), but the evidence is very strong that it is highly predictable, although not perfectly so.
As for social stratification, yes, since IQ-tests are the best measure of intelligence (=df pure g-factor), that is what I’m referring to. :) No, shared environment has no effect on adult intelligence, unless it’s an extremely bad environment (think really bad inner city black neighborhood). This was a surprise to researchers when they found it. It means that the usual sociological theories about it are all wrong. Perhaps needless to say, I think very lowly of sociology. A pity, since it’s an important field of study. Only the quality of the research is so low.As for environment overall, it accounts for about ~20% of the variance. But this is non-shared environment, not shared environment (like poverty). It is currently unknown what this mysterious 20% non-shared env. consists of. Presumably, it’s things like avoiding diseases in one’s childhood, avoiding head injury, having good friends/teachers in school.You seem to have been inflicted with the Malcolm Gladwell myth about high IQs. It is in fact wrong, higher intelligence is always better for success. We actually do have data for >120 (90th percentile, white population), and intelligence still makes a difference, in much the same way as below whatever hypothetical threshold.

See e.g. infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

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You are wrong about it not existing in the wild. Many online communities are explicitly meritocratic (e.g. Mozilla). ;) Also, in a broader sense, our democracies are somewhat meritocratic. Politicians are generally well-educated compared to the population.

Perhaps you have not looked hard enough? ;) I spent some time researching the issue somewhat thoroughly on Google. There isn’t much academic written on the subject for some reason. Weird. However, China had clearly meritocratic policies for the selection of officials in the past. Cf. Wikipedia.

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Social stratification, in theory, yes. And we also see some of that in practice. For instance, many democracies have a election threshold. The way it works is that any party that receives less than that amount of votes do not get into parliament, even if they ought to have a seat based on the math alone. This helps keeping newcomers out of the political system. It is an issue that surprisingly have not received any notable attention in the academic literature. I’m mentioning it because I did some research on that issue today. :)

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Yes, I normally joke (in seriousness) that the US is the worst western country. It is not wrong. It is difficult to find a single thing the US does better than say, any north European country. Sad especially because the US is the dominant country in the world right now. Although that will change to China in the near future. Not sure that’s much better. :P

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That was a long message. :P Let me know if you need sources for whatever. I have sources, it is just such a hassle to insert them into OKC posts. :P Especially, if one wants to keep it ‘somewhat’ casual (I always fail :D).

(I guess I could use end notes…)

Also hi ******.

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I was actually aware of the data on the impact of environmental factors on IQ. I was addressing the fact that a very high IQ quite often leads to social maladjustment, and that the ability to operate effectively in social situations is a much greater predictor of success than intelligence alone. (prometheussociety.org/cms/articles/the-outsiders) So to say that higher intelligence is “always” better for success as if there were a linear correlation between success and IQ is to leave out a relevant chunk of information that could potentially explain *why* instead of just *how*. Human relationships are essentially based on power dynamics, no? If success can be interpreted as the amount of power one wields in one’s social environment, then it makes sense that the scales would be tipped in the favor of the moderately intelligent, rather than the highly intelligent, who tend to relate poorly to the vast majority of people and thus have a weaker hold on them from a leadership standpoint.

I am not acquainted with Malcolm Gladwell’s myth, would you care to elaborate?

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I will concede your point about online communities, though with no real interaction I’m not sure they qualify as actual “communities”. And the idea that education constitutes merit may not be misguided in the Danish educational system, but it certainly is in the American system. Our difference of opinion here is very likely due to our respective environments. American “democracy” is a dog-and-pony show. I’m sure everything is wonderful and lovely in Denmark though :)

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Ya wonder why there isn’t any research on what’s keeping the little guys out of power, huh? Y’know, even scientists need funding…
(When in doubt, follow the money)

So your idea that the technology would diffuse to those outside the upper class is on shaky ground… the precedent set by other forms of technology doesn’t necessarily apply here, since the affordability of a smartphone isn’t nearly as threatening to the controlling interests as the power shift that would come as the result of making previously scarce abilities (that translate directly into leadership potential) common.

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Yes, it is sad… it’s especially frustrating to live in the dominant country in the world and then go abroad to find that everyone and their mother has a firmly entrenched opinion on your politics :P But I agree, northern Europe is generally a much better place on a number of metrics.

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I am certainly curious about your sources, on principle, and because I’m just curious and like to read. So anything you’d like to pass along is appreciated.

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I’ll respond to this later. I read the message and was impressed. But I’m too drunk to respond intelligently right now. :p

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… drunk at 2pm on a Thursday? That’s Danes for you, I suppose… :P

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Today is a holy day (<a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_of_Jesus” target=”_blank”>This one</a> ), so yesterday I went drinking. And I drank so much I woke up drunk after sleeping. That’s why. ;)

The physics friday bar (my favorite) has this system: Open on all fridays. Every work day followed by a non-work day counts as a friday. So this means that this week there are two fridays (wednesday and friday).

Also, trying to see if links in HTML works…

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That’s a negative apparently. Would make for easier referencing…

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Hi [NAME],

 

Much less drunk now. Hopefully more intelligent (phenotype at least!). :)

 

—- Intelligence and social maladjustment —-

 

I didn’t know that Terman studied social maladjustment in his famous study. So you managed to find something about intelligence that I didn’t know! That doesn’t happen often. :P I knew that high IQ societies have higher rates of social maladjustment, but that could be due to self-selection effects. After all, it seems that socially maladjusted people are exactly the kind of people who would want to be members of high IQ clubs. Socially well-adapted people would seem to have less need for them. No? I think I read a study of that before, but don’t recall the exact source.

 

As for success, I am referring to data like these: infoproc.blogspot.dk/2011/04/earnings-effects-of-personality.html It’s from the same study as before, and it shows that IQ holds just fine as a predictor even within a >135 IQ group. It even seems to be slightly non-linear as in curving upwards, making intelligence even more important at the ultra high end.

 

Anyway, the most interesting thing about that study is how the five personality factors predict income. N very oddly has no effect at all, it seems. Very strange! The others are not too surprising, except for the slightly negative correlation with O. Perhaps that’s due to people with high O selecting less well paying jobs (say, professors), not because they do worse at the same kind of jobs. Testable, but I don’t know of any data.

 

The Gladwell myth is the idea that there is a ceiling effect for IQ/intelligence such that more doesn’t give any benefits. This makes little sense to intelligence researchers and is flatly contracted by empirical evidence as shown above: both income and number of publications and patents. Although apparently not in the humanities… I leave the inference to the reader. :)

 

But since you said you like sources, I tried to locate the precise whereabouts of the original claim. It is mentioned in many places, say, here: www.drjonathanreed.co.uk/wordpress/tag/malcolm-gladwell/ but I downloaded the book and took a look myself. Unfortunately, it isn’t on Bookos.org (deleted by copyright), but it’s on torrent.

 

The claim is in chapter 3, here:

But there’s a catch. The relationship between success and IQ works only up to a point. Once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around 120, having additional IQ points doesn’t seem to translate into any measurable real-world advantage.8

 

The endnote is:

The “IQ fundamentalist” Arthur Jensen put it thusly in his 1980 book Bias in Mental Testing (p. 113): “The four socially and personally most important threshold regions on the IQ scale are those that differentiate with high probability between persons who, because of their level of general mental ability, can or cannot attend a regular school (about IQ 50), can or cannot master the traditional subject matter of elementary school (about IQ 75), can or cannot succeed in the academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school (about IQ 105), can or cannot graduate from an accredited four-year college with grades that would qualify for admission to a professional or graduate school (about IQ 115). Beyond this, the IQ level becomes relatively unimportant in terms of ordinary occupational aspirations and criteria of success. That is not to say that there are not real differences between the intellectual capabilities represented by IQs of 115 and 150 or even between IQs of 150 and 180. But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success in the popular sense than are certain traits of personality and character.””

 

Actually, his reference is to EXACTLY the book that I am currently reading! Not only is Gladwell’s claim not supported by the evidence cited, but it is also contradicted by the evidence from the Terman study. The reason the reference does not help his case is that Jensen is talking about thresholds for getting through education systems. It is true that once you get past, say, 130, college will be highly manageable, even a hard subject like physics. Jensen was not talking about other real life achievements such as patents or income or publications, etc. Obviously, with major advances in science, a higher intelligence than 120 is a great idea. Studies also show that, since Nobel price winners are usually way beyond 120.

 

infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

 

But it seems that I was wrong to say that more intelligence is always better. It seems to be better for the things mentioned and things like them, but bad for social adjustment. It might not make them less happy though. The correlation between intelligence and happiness is an active research question with seemingly contradictory results.

 

dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291712002139

 

—- Power dynamics —-

 

I have no opinion, but it sounds like sociology and I googled it and it was sociology. As someone very interested in behavioral genetics, I am understandably not too impressed by that field of study. There is a reason why psychometricians have coined two fallacies named after sociology. :)

 

occidentalascent.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/the-sociologists-first-and-second-fallacies/

 

—- Meritocracy, education —-

 

Education is a decent predictor of intelligence, so that will make it measure merit if we think that it is a good idea to have smarter rulers. I certainly think so. :p But, of course, in countries where there is no free education, education is also a function of (parental) wealth, which is however also correlated with intelligence of the children, but to a much smaller degree. I like free education systems because it increases social mobility, which is necessary for any meritocratic society. :) By the way, I’m not rich and my social background are ‘divorced’ parents without fancy jobs or educations. I am the first person in the family to attend university. No economic privilege here.

 

Yes, the US democracy is notoriously bad. Actually most democracies are really bad compared to what they could be. Have you looked into liquid democracy?

 

This is a pretty decent introduction.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg0_Vhldz-8

Can of course also just read on the official site:

liquidfeedback.org/

 

There are many faults with the Danish system that I can point out if that area interests you. :P For starters, to be put on the voting ballot, one needs to gather a ridiculous amount of signatures (20,500) in complicated way. This basically means that to be put on the ballot, one needs a considerable amount of money, probably in the order of tens of thousands of dollars (>100k DKK). This is the reason why my party (Pirate Party Denmark) is not on the ballot.

 

Are you familiar with CGPGrey’s great series of videos on voting systems?

www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey

 

The US system is of course FPTP (first past the post), and this always leads to two party systems, which are horrible forms of democracy. Perhaps the worst kind aside from outright corrupt ones or with voter fraud (say, Russia).

 

—- Eugenics’ political aspects —-

 

Things like embryo selection will not make talent non-scarce. It will however improve the general intelligence levels of societies if widely employed. I also don’t think it would be possible to keep such a technology super expensive no matter which power interests want that. There will quickly be a huge demand for such technology, meaning that companies can earn money by making it available, even if illegal (like illegal drugs). The technology necessary for that is not particularly difficult to operate or large etc.

 

In any case, since generations take time, even if the rich have a window of opportunity of, say, 20 years before it’s so cheap as to be affordable for most people, or even free in countries with free health care, that will only be a single generation.

 

With the price curves for similar technology, it won’t take long before it’s dirt cheap. Actually, the time is somewhat predictable already. Since embryo selection would at least require a number of genome sequences, any number >1 will do, but more is better of course (larger variety to select from). Right now such full genome sequences are pretty expensive, but the 1,000 dollar mark is close. In 10 years, it will be very cheap so that everybody can afford it. For efficient embryo selection, one would need something like 100 or so. So, it will have to be very cheap. But it will be. :)

 

Then comes the price of egg extraction or some other method of getting eggs (grow them perhaps? stem cells?). I don’t think it’s very expensive even now. Sperm is obviously easy to get a hold of :P. Then they have to be combine separately. Can’t be too expensive.

 

In general the only expensive thing will be the sequencing, and it is falling logarithmicly in price.

 

I don’t think my belief is on shaky ground at all. I think it is more or less certain, but we can make a bet on it, and you can come find me in 30 years or so. :P

 

I got the idea from Richard Lynn’s Eugenics: A reassessment. It’s on page 252ff. I quote the beginning:

 

”Embryo selection consists of growing a number of embryos in vitro, testing

them for their genetic characteristics, and selecting for implantation those

with genetic characteristics regarded as desirable, while at the same time

discarding those with genetic characteristics regarded as undesirable. This

procedure is also known as embryo biopsy, which entails growing several blas-

tocysts (embryos grown in vitro to eight cells), removing one of the eight

cells, and testing it for genetic and chromosomal defects. Verlinksy, Pergament,

and Strom (1990) reported the use of this procedure to screen out embryos

with genes for Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and Down’s syndrome, so an

embryo free of these disorders could be implanted in the mother. At about

the same time, another use of this technique was reported by Handyside and

his colleagues at London University. They used IVF (in vitro fertilization) for

two couples in which the female was a carrier for an X-linked recessive dis-

ease, which is expressed only in males. To avoid the potential birth of a boy

with the X-linked disorder, the physicians tested for the sex of the embryos

and implanted only females. This technique allows couples to choose the sex

of their babies, whether this is to avoid having babies likely to inherit serious

disorders, or simply because they prefer one sex rather than the other.”

 

So, actually, it has already been tested, just without sequencing. One can of course detect other problems without a full genome sequencing.

 

I got the term ”liberal eugenics” from Wikipedia and from the book mentioned on Wikipedia which I also read:

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_eugenics

Agar, Nicholas (2004). Liberal Eugenics: In Defence of Human Enhancement. ISBN 1-4051-2390-7.

 

Lynn’s book is much better. Liberal here is just non-coercive eugenics. I dislike coercive eugenics — I’m a freedom kind of person. :)

 

Also, since we don’t actually know the genes for intelligence yet, but do know a lot of genes for genetic diseases — genetic diseases will be the first thing to fix with this kind of selection. And actually it was, as seen above. Genetic diseases are more common among the poor/dumb people, so they will benefit the most of this technology. Societies with free health care have an interest in making this technology available, for the simple reason that it saves money in the long run. It is very expensive to treat many chronic diseases (say, diabetes), but this technology is once per person.

 

Eugenics is also becoming more mainstream, just under other names. See e.g.: www.ted.com/talks/harvey_fineberg_are_we_ready_for_neo_evolution.html

 

—- US compared to real countries :P —-

 

You don’t have a state church, or a monarchy. Denmark has both, but not too much trouble in practice. Still, there are some things. :P

 

—- Sources —-

 

I have an e-library here: emilkirkegaard.dk/books/. Probably there are many things on that that should interest you. At least if you share any of my interests, which it looks like. :) You can also take a look at my Goodreads profile if you didn’t already.

 

www.goodreads.com/user/show/8884040-emil-ow-kirkegaard

 

Some of the links are broken due to a flaw in the php-script that I don’t know how to fix.

 

Of course, you can also just ask me. I have tried to list the major works I got the ideas from above.

 

PS. You should share some pictures with me. :)

Social maladjustment in high IQ societies may be due in part to self-selection, yes, particularly in the case of Mensa and the “2 percenters”, who one could argue are not qualitatively different from those of average IQ, and whose IQs do not create an intrinsic barrier to communication with the 98 percent. However, I do not think it is unlikely that there exists a threshold above which some degree of social maladjustment is unavoidable; a person whose intelligence is in the range of 160-170 would relate to a person of average IQ in much the same way a person in the 130-140 range would relate to a mentally retarded person. It seems to follow that an individual who relates to 98% of their peer group the way “gifted” people relate to the mentally retarded faces probably insurmountable obstacles in their social development. (Tangent: forgive me for presuming to diagnose a stranger over the internet, and also for presuming that the stranger in question has any interest or need for my diagnosis, but your self-described “mild case of Gregory House” sounds a bit like a manifestation of this very phenomenon, no? That is, assuming you are above the 2 percent mark :P)

I don’t think this conversation can progress until we reach a mutually satisfying definition of “success”. Are you emphasising earnings as an indicator because this is the easiest to quantify? Or do you actually believe that earning power is synonymous with success? For the record, I don’t consider this discussion a “debate” in that I am not neccessarily looking for tangible proof. In fact, it is my belief that constraining the terms of the conversation to only that which can be tangibly proven is unneccesarily restrictive, and even detrimental to creative problem solving. Not that statistics should be ignored… but the skepticism with which you regard sociological research should perhaps be extended more broadly, as bad science is not the exclusive domain of sociology (and even interpreting “good” science can be tricky).

On the personality factors front, I would suggest that “O” might translate into higher usage of recreational substances, particularly in the college years that are so formative to one’s career path (in the US, anyway), potentially leading to lower academic success rates. Alternately, people with high “O” scores may be prone to boredom and would be less likely to specialize, specialization (supposedly) being key to success in modern society.

Yes, Gladwell sounds like an idiot. An idiot or a politician. The contempt with which you regard sociology is similar to the contempt with which I regard politics.

Hm, happiness… I believe the notion that happiness is objectively quantifiable is a mistaken one.

Your refusal to engage any argument that smacks of sociology does not render it moot, it simply narrows your field of vision. I do not suffer under the delusion that the vast majority of sociological research is devoid of fallacy, or even particularly useful at all in an academic sense (more often than not, anything politically useful is actually academically harmful). But I also don’t allow the absence of reliable statistics to preclude any sort of observation or speculation, because absolute certainty is not always possible. And also because leaning on figures as a crutch is the hallmark of those incapable of original thought :)

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This article may interest you, and will also probably seal your judgement of America as the Worst Western Country (TM):

www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-myth-of-american-meritocracy/

As a disclaimer, I do not regularly read the American Conservative, nor do I identify as a conservative.

Your educational system is probably my favorite aspect of Scandinavian style socialism. At least it sounds good from an outside perspective, and apparently it’s worked well for at least one member of your society :)

Liquid democracy is an interesting form, but it does not solve the real problem: there are too many people, and too many of those people are idiots. The average person can’t be trusted to deliver my mail properly, let alone make national policy decisions. Populism is in vogue right now, and while I am not an elitist, I don’t particularly trust any populist philosophy on its face, as populism is often anti-intellectuallism masquerading as some “noble savage” ground-swelling. As presented by your video, liquid democracy has a significant populist component.

I understand your frustration with the Danish system, and I believe you that it has its faults, but the US’s system is closer to the Russian system than you might think. Indeed, for all our posturing, American and Russian culture are not too dissimilar (I and a Russian friend of mine have fun comparing and contrasting our respective backgrounds, and we are often shocked). For instance, both Kennedy and Bush faced charges of voter fraud that were not without substance… but corruption in American politics is deep-rooted and generally not an appropriate conversation topic in polite company, so I will merely say this: whatever your woes up there in your nordic bubble, they do not compare with the clusterfuck that is American politics.

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Just because something “should” happen doesn’t mean it will. I think you underestimate the ability of those in power (be it political or economic) to abuse that power… but perhaps that is tempered in a socialistic system. It is also important to keep in mind that taboo is a powerful tool. Many cultures, especially those with strong populist sentiment, harbor an innate distrust of scientists and, by extension, technology. The industrial revolution eradicated feudalism and created the middle class, and what thanks did the scientists get? Luddites burning down the mills! The strongest form of control is not necessarily the most direct one. Look at what religion has done for the past 10,000 years.

Your point about fixing genetic diseases (especially in the case of state-subsidized health care) does seem to be more solidly based in reality, though. And by reality I mean money.

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You have quite a collection there…

A Billion Wicked Thoughts is fascinating, definitely pick that up if you haven’t. Also, if you haven’t read Sex at Dawn, that is fascinating as well. Gives us poly people some ammunition when the monogamists start moralizing or telling us it’s “unnatural” :)

And I suppose it’s only fair…

[Pictures]

The causes of high g social maladjustment

I’m thinking that the high g social maladjustment is due to loneliness, lack of similar friends and stuff like that. Although it could be a case of ‘direct’ pleiotropy as well (one gene with multiple phenotypic effects).

The trouble with IQ’s as a measure of intelligence is that it is not a ratio scale. So one cannot conclude that a, say, person at 70 IQ is twice as unintelligent as a person of 140, and the other way around with twice as smart. This bothered Jensen who wanted to make psychology a regular hard science (a branch of biology/physiology), so he spent much of his career trying to establish a connection with something that does use a ratio scale: reaction times. It turns out that reaction times are related to g, and in systematic ways. This of course fits with conventional wisdom with the bright people being “quick-witted” as well. Although this technical aspect of intelligence research does not interest me particularly.

I cite: Jensen’s Clocking the mind: Mental Chronometry and Individual Differences (2006), which I read some parts of. It is also discussed at length in Jensen 1998.

But I agree that there is a kind of communication barrier between people of different g levels, but perhaps it is not linear. Suppose there is a barrier between, say, 140 and 100 such that persons that different almost never get along. It seems to me that it doesn’t follow from that, that there must be a similar barrier between ex. 140 and 180.
The cause of such barriers, IMO, is that the normal folks lack academic interests and simply don’t know much about anything academic. This makes conversation difficult. A person of 140 is surely capable of great knowledge of academic interests, although a 180 is without a doubt much better at it. But still, there is a good chance of mutual interests.
Self assessment of intelligence is very difficult. Not just because we are naturally inclined to overrate ourselves (self serving bias, men especially), but it is also known that ‘smart people’ 75 percentile) tend to underestimate themselves in experiments (cf. Dunning-Kruger effect). But we also know that the higher we put the number, the lower is the base rate, which makes it more difficult to have convincing evidence (cf. base rate fallacy). Together with the above, there is a lack of good, high ceiling IQ tests on the web for free. It is also not wise to rely on friend’s judgments as they are also biased (in one’s favor). University grades don’t correlate too well with IQ (0.3ish), so not too useful of a guide either. General achievement in life is also the function of things like motivation, creativity, opportunity and chance. So, difficult to use that too.

But I did take Mensa’s test and got a passing grade. :p I’m not a member though.

Success
I am of course not defining success as earnings. I just picked an example of something that is usually regarded as one measure of success (because people want money), and which there is correlational data about with IQ. I also mentioned patents and STEM publications. In any case, my goals are polymathy (very difficult), and leading the Pirate Party to election in Denmark. Both are going well IMO. I did create a spelling reform proposal that multiple respectful people said nice things about, so I’m pretty proud of that. Especially because it was something I did alone+without help, before entering university, before studying linguistics in a more serious way. I also created an innovative logic system, although much of that work is unpublished sitting on my desktop because I lost interest in it. I think it’s cool and useful for philosophy, but philosophy no longer holds my main interest.
I looked up “success”. Wiktionary just reports “The achievement of one’s aim or goal. [from 16th c.]“. So, being a high earner can be a success, if that was one’s goal. I don’t care too much about money. I tend to donate it. For instance, to Wikipedia, Wikileaks and the like.

Personality and earnings
I checked our suggestion on O and drug usage, well, drinking. It is borne out by what appears to be a decent study. Decent sample size. Higher O does correlate with more drinking. Also as expected higher C correlates negatively with more drinking. Higher N also positively.
postimg.org/image/pjpgryhml/full/
emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Trajectories-of-alcohol-and-drug-use-and-dependence-from-adolescence-to-adulthood-The-effects-of-familial-alcoholism-and-personality.pdf
Well, more work is needed for path analysis. I didn’t read the study, just checked the statistics.

Happiness
How come? Anyway, it seems it is. Although it is not so simple as previously thought. The heritability of happiness is also known with some certainly from twin studies and the like. It is usually put in the 50-80% range. Similar to IQ. Height is something like 90%.
www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahneman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_memory.html
blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/06/heritability-of-behavioral-traits/#.UZMeSso_Qe4

Sociology
I don’t disagree with what you say, but I don’t really know enough about “power” as thought about in sociology to say anything. I read much of the Wikipedia article on power. It has 14 sections for “Theories” the last of which is called “Other theories”. I knew of some of the research though (ultimatum and dictator games), because these are employed in evolutionary psychology in studies of cheater detection.

Meritocracy in the US
I already read that article. :P I read texts from all over the political spectrum. Something about now being narrow minded? :p Being in an information bubble is a bad idea, as it leads to confirmation bias.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble

Education in Scandinavia
Free education is the best meritocratic system for the reason that it being free maximizes the chances that a poor/bad SES but gifted person gets the best education. It is the best way to have social mobility. According to the equality people (of The Spirit Level fame), social mobility is good. From an intelligence research perspective, it is a good idea because the variance in human abilities is so large, even within families (average sibling IQ difference is 12, compared with 15 in the population).

Liquid democracy
You say you’re not an elitist, but then you say elitist things. :P Actually, I think (hope) that liquid democracy can solve a problem not possible to form with regular representative democracies. It is connected with the thing we were talking about earlier: the communication between different g groups. The idea is that one has a certain range where one can see who is the smartest/best leader. I would explain it, but someone explained it here:

news.yahoo.com/people-arent-smart-enough-democracy-flourish-scientists-185601411.html
The study is here: emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/A-Mathematical-Model-of-Democratic-Elections.pdf

His assumption of complete inability to judge who is a better leader than oneself is without a doubt wrong, but there is truth to the idea that there is a range based on oneself, which doesn’t extend too far rightward. Given that, the results should be somewhat mediocre (to fit with reality). However, if people could delegate votes recursively, one could see a delegation of votes from a person at x level, to someone higher at y, who would delegate it to someone higher at z, and so on for a few delegations. That would enable the vote to go to someone much higher than x could ‘see’. In theory, that should work very well.

I have no idea how well that idea would work in practice. Worth a try?

As for too many dumb people, yes. See e.g. this for depressing reading.

emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Deliberative-Democracy-and-Political-Ignorance.pdf

It does have a populist component, if only because there is no way else to get such a system implemented. It will also benefit the current system for other reasons than the above. For instance, the majority of the Danish population supports cannabis legalization, but the politicians are against it. With LD they could vote on it themselves. Similar for e.g. active euthanasia. Might also give other bad results though… As with other large changes, it is too difficult to predict with certainty, and the best way is to try it out. My idea is to get it implemented in some local governments, and then see how it goes. The more near-term goal is to get it implemented in the Danish Pirate Party.

-Emil

Pyrrho on selfishness

I was looking for something else.. and found this instead… From here: able2know.org/topic/151812-1

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LittleMathYou

I think a 9 year old killing himself is a good representation of suicide as a whole. Selfish,short-sighted, and always looking for an escape. Although it seems insensitive for me to say this, I think we just need to realize that those things are apart of deciding to end your life.

Pyrrho

It is funny that people who stay alive because they want to, call people “selfish” who kill themselves because they want to. (It is like those who have children because they want children calling childless couples selfish for not having children because they don’t want to have children.)

And it is absurd to call a solution to all of life’s problems forever a “short-sighted” solution. The 9 year old could not possibly have come up with any other solution to his problems that would have been so complete and long lasting.

 

Kennethamy on voluntarianism about beliefs

From here. btw this thread was one of the many discussions that helped form my views about what wud later become the essay about begging the question, and the essay about how to define “deductive argument” and “inductive argument”.

Reconstructo

 Do you know much about Jung’s theory of archetypes? If so, what do you make of it?

Kennethamy

 I don’t make much of Jung. Except for the notions of introversion and extroversion. Not my cup of tea. As I said, we don’t create our own beliefs. We acquire them. Beliefs are not voluntary.

Emil

 They are to some extend but not as much as some people think (Pascal’s argument comes to mind).

Kennethamy

 Yes, it does. And that is an issue. His argument does not show anything about this issue. He just assumes that belief is voluntary He does talk about how someone might acquire beliefs. He advises, for instance, that people start going to Mass, and practicing Catholic ritual. And says they will acquire Catholic beliefs that way. It sounds implausible to me. It is a little like the old joke about a well-known skeptic, who puts a horseshoe on his door for good luck. A friend of his sees the horseshoe and says, “But I thought you did not believe in that kind of thing”. To which the skeptic replied, “I don’t, but I hear that it works even if you don’t believe it”.

 

Kennethamy on ordinary language filosofy, and ‘deep, profound questions’

From here.

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Kennethamy

Frankly I cannot answer your question about Lancan because I really don’t understand what he is saying. However, let me ask you, in turn, what you think about the following quotation from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. I think it is relevant to this discussion.

We are under the illusion that what is peculiar, profound, essential in our investigation, resides in its trying to grasp the incomparable essence of language. That is, the order existing between the concepts of proposition; word, proof, truth, experience, and so on. This order is a super-order between – so to speak – super-concepts. Whereas, of course, if the words “language,” “experience,” “world,” have a use, it must be as humble a one as that of the words “table,” “lamp,” “door.” (p. 44e)

Emil

It is funny that you bring up W. in this, Ken, as he wrote most incomprehensibly! Perhaps he was doing analytic philosophy but it is certainly extremely hard to understand anything he wrote. It’s not like reading Hume which is also hard to understand. H. is hard to understand because the texts he wrote were written 250 years ago or so. W. wrote only some 70-50 years ago and yet I can’t understand it easily. I can understand other persons from the same era just fine (Clifford, W. James, Quine, Russell, etc.).

Kennethamy

W. wrote aphoristically (Like Lichtenstein) so you have to get used to his style. But what of the passage. Do you understand that?

Emil

No, I have no clue what it means. I didn’t read PI yet so maybe that is why. I read the Tractatus.

Kennethamy

Well, he says that philosophers should not think that words like, “knowledge” or “reality” have a different kind of meaning than, and need a different kind of understanding from, ordinary words like “lamp” and “table”. “Philosophical” words are not special. Their meanings are to be discovered in how they are ordinarily used. (That does not, I think, suppose you have read, PI).

Emil

Alright. Then why didn’t he just write what you just wrote? I suppose this is the paradigmatic thesis of the ordinary language philosophy.

Kennethamy

First of all it was in German. And second, it wasn’t his style. But I don’t think it was particularly hard to get that out of it. Yes, it is ordinary language philosophy. But, going beyond interpretation (I hope) don’t you think it is true? Why should “knowledge” (say) be treated differently from “lamp”?

Emil

I think it is. Especially for a person that hasn’t read much of W.’s works. You have read a lot more than I have.

I agree with it, yes.

Kennethamy

There are lots of people who think that words like “knowledge” and “information” are superconcepts which have a special philosophical meaning they do not have in ordinary discourse (and which it is beneath philosophy to treat like the word, “lamp”) That’s why they are interested in what some particular philosopher means by, “knowledge”. They think there is some “incomparable essence of language” that philosophers are “trying to grasp”.

Emil

Ok. But some words do have meanings in philosophical contexts that they do not have in other, normal contexts. Think of “valid” as an example.

Kennethamy

Yes, of course. But in that sense, “valid” is a technical term. “Knowledge” is not a technical term in the ordinary sense. It doesn’t have some deep philosophical meaning in addition to its ordinary meaning, nor is its ordinary meaning some deep meaning detached from its usual meaning. What meaning could Lacan find that was the real philosophical meaning? Where would that meaning even come from? Heidegger does the same thing. He ignores what a word means, and then finds (invents” a deep philosophical meaning for it. But he uses etymology to do that. It is wrong-headed from the word “go”. If you read Plato’s Cratylus you find how Socrates makes fun of this view of meaning (although, Plato here is making fun of himself, because he really originates this idea that the meaning of a word is its essence which is hidden).

Wittgenstein’s positive point is, of course, the ordinary language thing. But his negative point (which I think is more important for this discussion) is that terms like “knowledge” or “truth” do not have special meanings to be dug out by philosophers who are supposed to have some special factual for spying them. Lancan has no particular insight into the essence of knowledge hidden from the rest of us which, if we understand him, will provide us with philosophical enlightenment. Why should he?

Jeeprs

@kennethamy,
There is a risk in all of this that by excluding the idea of the ‘super concept’ in W’s sense, or insisting that it must simply have the same kind of meaning as ‘lamp’ or ‘table’ that you also exclude what is most distinctive about philosophy. Surely we can acknowledge that there is a distinction between abstract and concrete expression. ‘The lamp is on the table’ is a different kind of expression to ‘knowledge has limits’.

When we ‘discuss language’ we are on a different level of explanation to merely ‘using language’. I mean, using language, you can explain many things, especially concrete and specific things, like ‘this is how to fix a lamp’ or ‘this is how to build a table’. But when it comes to discussing language itself, we are up against a different order of problem, not least of which is that we are employing the subject of the analysis to conduct the analysis. (I have a feeling that Wittgenstein said this somewhere.)

So it is important to recognise what language is for and what it can and can’t do. There are some kinds of speculations which can be articulated and might be answerable. But there are others which you can say, but might not really be possible to answer, even though they seem very simple (such as, what is number/meaning/the nature of being). Of which Wittgenstein said, that of which we cannot speak, of that we must remain silent. So knowing what not to say must be part of this whole consideration.

Kennethamy

“Lamp” is a term for a concrete object. “Knowledge” is a term for an abstract object. But the central point is that neither has a hidden meaning that only a philosopher can ferret out. The meaning of both are their use(s) by fluent speakers of the language. It is not necessary to go to Lancan or Nietzsche to discover what “knowledge” really means anymore that it is to discover what “lamp” really means. As Wittgenstein wrote, “nothing is hidden”. Philosophy is not science. It is not necessary to go underneath the phenomena to discover what there really is. It is ironic that interpretationists accuse analytic philosophy of “scientism” when it is they who think that philosophy is a kind of science.

Reconstructo

@kennethamy,
I interpret Wittgenstein as saying that the philosophical language-game is not a privileged language game. To say that something isn’t hidden is not to say that everyone finds it. This is just figurative language. Wittgenstein should be read by the light of Wittgenstein. His game is one more game, the game of describing the game. I interpret him as shattering the hope (for himself and those whom he persuades) for some unified authority on meaning.
Also he stressed the relationship of language and social practice. He finally took a more holistic view of language, and dropped his reductive Tractatus views. (This is not to deny the greatness of the Tractatus. Witt is one of my favorites, early and late.)
I associate Wittgenstein with a confession of the impossibility of closure. I don’t think language is capable of tying itself up.

Kennethamy

To say that “nothing is hidden” is to say that words like “truth” or “knowledge” do not have, in addition to their ordinary everyday meanings, some secret meanings that only philosophers are able to discover. There are no secret meanings. There is no, “what the word ‘really means’” that Lacan or Heidegger has discovered.

————————-

Jeeprs

Well my reason is that a lot of what goes on in this life seems perfectly meaningless and in the true sense of the word, irrational. Many things which seem highly valued by a lot of people seem hardly worth the effort of pursuing, we live our three score years and ten, if we’re lucky, and then vanish into the oblivion from whence we came. None of it seems to make much sense to me. I am the outcome, or at least an expression, of a process which started billions of years ago inside some star somewhere. For what? Watch television? Work until I die?

That’s my reason.

Kennethamy

Just what are you questioning? (One sense of the word, “meaningless” may well be something like “irrational”. But that is not the true sense of the word. What about all the other senses of the word, “meaningless”? ). By the way, I think that “non-rational” would be a better term than “irrational”. And, just one more thing: what would it be for what goes on in this world to be rational? If you could tell me that, then I would have a better idea of what it is you are saying when you say it is irrational or it is non-rational. What is it that it is not? What would it be for you to discover that what goes on is rational?

Jeeprs

Have you ever looked out at life and thought ‘boy what does it all mean? Isn’t there more to it than just our little lives and personalities and the things we do and have?’ You know, asked The Big Questions. That’s really what I see philosophy as being. So now I am beginning to understand why we always seem to be arguing at cross purposes.

Dunno. Maybe I shouldn’t say this stuff. Maybe I am being too personal or too earnest.

Kennethamy

In my opinion, it is the belief that philosophers are supposed to ask only the Big Questions that partly fuels the view that philosophy gets nowhere and is a lot of nonsense, and is a big waste of time. And that would be right if that is what philosophy is.

Where would science have got if scientists had not rolled up their sleeves and asked many little questions.

Jeeprs

@kennethamy,
from what I know of Heidegger, I very much admire his philosophy. There are many philosophers I admire, and many of them do deal with profound questions; and I know there are many kindred spirits on the forum. But – each to his own, I don’t want to labour the point.

Kennethamy

How about “deal with seemingly profound questions”? But one of the philosopher’s seminal jobs is to ask whether a seemingly profound question is really all that profound, and what the question means, and supposes is true.Philosophers should have Hume’s “tincture of scepticism” even in regard to questions.

Kennethamy on the analytic principle of analyzing questions

From here.

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Kennethamy

So many threads ask whether this or that is logical. Is probabllity logical? Are moral arguments logical? And so on. I never know what it is being asked by such questions. Is there something clear and specific that is being asked by the question, is X logical? What is it?

Kroni

@kennethamy,
Maybe they’re asking if it can be identified through premises and conclusions…Or maybe they are trying to figure out if abstract concepts like morality follow some kind of mathematical pattern or have a logical purpose for existing.

Emil

What does “logical purpose” mean?

Kennethamy

I imagine it might be asking whether the purpose is something that can be accomplished, or whether the purpose is worth accomplishing. The trouble is that it can mean so many different things that the question, is it logical? does not convey anything really being asked.

So, rather than simply ask whether X is logical, why not, instead, ask about the problem you have in mind when you asked the question. And, maybe if you think about what the problem is, and cannot come up with anying specifice or clear, maybe you will wait to ask the question, or maybe not ask the question at all.

Emil

Basically the analytic principle of questions. Always start by analyzing the question.

Kennethamy

It was a great advance in philosophy when it was understood that philosophical questions had to be analyzed to determine what they were asking, or whether they were asking anything sensible, before trying to answer them. In the sciences, it is taken for granted that the important thing is to answer the questions. But it took some time to recognize that was not true in the case of philosophy.

 

Metafilosofy: excerpt from a discussion

I used to discuss alot of filosofy, especially on internet forums. One forum was philosophy boards, i think. it changed its name and merged with another forum, and its software is now trash. however, by fortuitous coincidence, i stumbled upon an old discussion of mine on Google. too bad the forum software makes it difficult to save the entire discussion (i tried), but here is the excerpt:

Reconstructo

@kennethamy,
I suppose I take a pretty holistic view of humans. What they associate with the word “intelligent” is tied in to their value system. Fred likes Jims values and calls him intelligent, which some might view as an abuse of the word. I suppose “intelligent” can function as a word of praise. I also take a holistic view on words. So many types of people out there. If we are “networks of beliefs and desires,” which I think is a good phrase if not the whole truth, then it all get’s tangled up. For some people, their idea of human decency is intelligence. For others, it’s all about the heart. For these heart-types, intelligence might as well mean wisdom or feeling. I think persuasion swallows everything. It’s just that objective science is so persuasive that there’s not much disagreement. But ethics, politics, this sort of philosophy we are doing now..all of these are tangled with ethics, and self-conception/self-ideal. Or such is my current view.

kennethamy

@Reconstructo

I imagine that objective science is so persuasive for a pretty good reason. Don’t you? I expect that this sort of philosophy that I do is not all that tangled up. After all, you seemed to think that what I wrote about the term “exist” as denoting a meta-property (what did you say?) made sense. I think a lot of philosophy can be done so that it makes sense, and give sensible answers that can be supported by reason and by argument. Sounds like a plan to me.

Reconstructo
@kennethamy
Oh yes, your brand of philosophy sticks near the rigor of objective science, and I respect that. It’s not my favorite part of philosophy, but I respect it.. I came to philosophy from a literary background/obsession It’s very much an aesthetic pursuit for me. My ethics are tangled up with it. Anxiety of influence and all that. I want to create, ultimately. Therefore the emphasis on metaphor and the creation of concept. I don’t know if you’ve look at the thread “subversive absolute christianity” but that’s the sort of thing that fascinates me. Much of what interests me could be put away in other genres, but much that influences me is called philosophy. Many Germans. And many of them are myth-makers, poets. Rigorousness is a virtue, yes, but not the only virtue.
kennethamy
@Reconstructo
I thought that the point of philosophizing was to clarify and find out things. Not to entertain. How can philosophy be an aesthetic pursuit? What is it that you would be pursuing? Rigor is a virtue only because it is a necessary means in inquiry. I don’t care about rigor in itself. Why should I? It is not as if I were in the pursuit of rigor, you know. If you want to create then why are you interested in philosophy? Why isn’t writing short stories, or poetry occupying you?
Reconstructo
@kennethamy
I don’t know how much continental philosophy you have enjoyed, but there is plenty of opportunity for creativity in philosophy. Many concepts are invented by means of metaphor. Also a holistic view of “first science” is not one that’s going to put everything in its own little box. I’m interested in connecting the dots. I hope this does not offend you. Whether you want to understand where other human beings are coming from is of course your choice. To me, this too is part of philosophy. Sure, we could chop it up into psychology/aesthetics/ ethics/epistemology/religion, but this is to chop up the living human being for whom all of these are a lived unity. I’m willing to explain my perspective but it’s nothing I want to argue about. I want to hear other people’s enthusiasms (however different than my own) more than their objections.
mickalos
@kennethamy
I think good philosophers are more than capable of being rather literary. Quine’s web metaphor is the obvious example, but this is primarily done in search of clarity rather than in writing an article that people want to read. On the other hand, Bernard Williams wrote what I believe is one of the finest philosophy articles ever written, called ‘The Self and the Future‘; it hardly creates serious difficulties with conventional beliefs about personal identity, as Quine’s article does for anyliticity, nor is it particularly convincing. It certainly makes you think that there may be something more to personal identity than psychological continuity, but lots of articles do this with lots of philosophical problems, so it’s no great achievement. The brilliance, or at least the thing that makes it such a wonderful article to read, lies not so much in the argument, but in the ingenuity and imagination of the thought example used to convey the argument. Presenting a situation that shows certain things to be the case, then offering an apparently different situation that shows opposing things to be the case, before allowing it to dawn on the reader that the appearance of a difference between the two situations is merely that, an appearance. Certainly one of the ‘must read’ philosophy articles.

The danger is, that when one becomes too concerned with how one says something, one loses sight of what one is trying to say. Indeed, you might find yourself spewing beautifully worded, meaningless nonsense, and if you lack the gift of being a good writer, simply nonsense. Not good philosophy. Of course, if you are too concerned with philosophical questions when attempting to write literature, your work risks sounding contrived, abrasive, and often even comical. It’s one of the reasons I think Orwell’s fiction is grossly overrated; the sound points he makes about socialism (or rather particular types of socialism) mask a lack of literary merit. Being too concerned with philosophy is certainly one of the many reasons why Ayn Rand writes terrible novels.

Of course, there’s a difference between employing literary techniques and writing literature, just as there is a difference between exploring philosophical themes and writing philosophy. Great literature is usually subtle in meaning, great philosophy makes meaning explicit and clear. But back to ethics.

Reconstructo
@kennethamy,
The ten commandments are poetry. Plato’s republic is poetry. VCR instruction manuals are poetry. Profanity is poetry. “Self is illusion” is poetry. “Philosophy is poetry” is poetry. Tautologies are poetry. Sure, this is to bend to current use of certain words, but that’s how abstract concepts are made in the first place. Just as concept comes from conception, the fertilization of the egg. A dead metaphor. Dead metaphor rubbed together to make live metaphor. Taste varies. Its the risk one runs. But if a writer doesn’t enjoy his/her own lines, he’s in the wrong business. Poetry is child’s play, sure, so what? And perhaps much of the serious business of philosophy is the child playing a game of grown-up. Soft science is generally made of poetry/trope. But to understand what I mean takes a leaning in, a sincere openness. And that statement is rich with metaphor. I can’t write it off, that language is primarily made of metaphors and philosophy of language.

We’ve got laws and churches and traditions. It’s no big deal if a foolosopher sees that ethics is made of air.

mickalos
@Reconstructo
I assure you, understanding what any of this means would take a great deal more than a leaning in, no matter how sincerely open a lean it might be. I think you’ve managed to strike an unhappy medium of writing nonsense in a comically contrived way. Really now, ‘Dead metaphor rubbed together to make live metaphor’? Do try not to beat us over the head with your metaphors.
Reconstructo
@kennethamy,
Ah now, that’s not so silly as it sounds, I assure you. Crack open a dictionary. Examine etymology. There you will find the birth-metaphor of words that have since changed their meaning. —If you don’t understand, that’s fine. There are those who do. I think you overestimate the strangeness of what I’m saying. I certainly have my influences. I didn’t make it all up myself, although I wish I could claim that. Do you know Joyce? It’s a wide wide world. Lots of new teeth coming in.
Finnegans Wake – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Punstuff

[11:19:25] Jens Arhøj – Strawb: Tfw reading Game of Thrones
>The author doesn’t use commas as often as I would like
>I really pick the wrong things to focus on
[11:19:34] Emil – Deleet: yes
[11:19:36 | Edited 11:19:52] Emil – Deleet: commas, suck
[11:19:55 | Edited 11:20:06] Jens Arhøj – Strawb: Damn, you

 

Conversation with Miao about guidance, selection of students, epistemology of getting rid of bad meme complexes

[11:22:42] The Midget – Miao: Who the fuck is Isstsidwmnh?
[11:23:09] The Midget – Miao: [05:52:19] Isstsidwmnh: We have no capacity to falsify the existence of reality. That does not mean we throw away reality. In fact… that means we embrace it!
[05:52:32] Isstsidwmnh: If something is too obviously true, then my only criticism is that it will get boring too soon.
[05:57:04] Isstsidwmnh: But, anyway, all this seems to be scientific values projected onto what can be acceptable described as a non-scientific work.
[11:23:12] The Midget – Miao: WTF.
[11:23:35] Emil – Deleet: its I said stupid things so i dont want my name here
[11:23:37] Emil – Deleet: -guy
[11:24:11] The Midget – Miao: At least he knows he said stupid things
[11:24:17] The Midget – Miao: I stopped reading after that part
[11:24:22] Emil – Deleet: dont do that
[11:24:30] Emil – Deleet: u need to stop stopping reading too early
[11:24:45] The Midget – Miao: You are very patient with him!
[11:25:15] Emil – Deleet: im a very patient person
[11:25:16] Emil – Deleet: err
[11:26:02] The Midget – Miao: In that conversation you actually sounded very nurturing and patient
[11:26:15] The Midget – Miao: which is quite different from my impression of you
[11:28:17] Emil – Deleet: im a guiding light for lesser minds
[11:28:39] Emil – Deleet: if i had zero tolerance like u, then they wudnt develop at all
[11:28:49] The Midget – Miao: Yes, but you are also very selective of who you talk to
You don’t talk to ALL stupid people who happen to cross your path
[11:28:56] Emil – Deleet: ofc not
[11:28:58] Emil – Deleet: waste of time
[11:29:05 | Edited 11:29:09] The Midget – Miao: Yes, so what are the selection requirements?
[11:29:11] Emil – Deleet: it isnt even high iq
[11:29:12] Emil – Deleet: :P
[11:29:26] Emil – Deleet: those two filosofy students that i know, they arent high
[11:29:47] Emil – Deleet: but they show tremendous progress
[11:29:53] The Midget – Miao: Yup, what I meant was:
Why are you more kind towards a Freud supporter than a Christian (for example)
[11:29:54] Emil – Deleet: what they needed was guidance
[11:30:09] Emil – Deleet: and a bit of open mindedness and willingness to read a lot of stuff
[11:30:17] The Midget – Miao: Hm.
[11:30:21] Emil – Deleet: xtians are usually hopeless
[11:30:21] The Midget – Miao: Fair enough
[11:30:28] Emil – Deleet: freudian supporters not always
[11:30:49] Emil – Deleet: the freudian complex (HAH!) is more easy to get rid off
[11:31:23] Emil – Deleet: in terms of web of belief, its becus it doesnt integrate so well with the persons other beliefs
[11:31:45] Emil – Deleet: hence, easier to reject – becus it requires a smaller number of changes to beliefs and their connections
[11:32:07] Emil – Deleet: a smaller overhaul of the web of belief, to say it in a more figurative way
[11:32:20] The Midget – Miao: Understandable. If you look at philosophers of religion like Platinga and an Inwagen you’d realise that their arguments are often very convoluted
[11:32:37] The Midget – Miao: because their religious beliefs are very inconsistent with what they know
[11:33:03] The Midget – Miao: So they come up with a lot of very twisted arguments to try to weave a coherent whole
[11:33:26] Emil – Deleet: i think Plantingas modal ontological argument is rather easy to deal with – it ‘only’ requires some understanding of equivocation, alethic (S5) modal logic !
[11:33:42] Emil – Deleet: thats little compared to some other arguments.
[11:33:54] Emil – Deleet: say, arguments from design require a lot of biology, cosmology etc. to deal with
[11:34:26] The Midget – Miao: I forgot the exact contents of his modal ontological argument
[11:34:48] Emil – Deleet: analyticabstraction.blogspot.dk/2007/11/philosophy-of-religion-2-natural_14.html

A conversation about pseudoscience, psychoanalysis, clarity of language

a conversation with “I said stupid things so i dont want my name here”

[04:22:58] Isstsidwmnh: Did I tell you I read “Civilization and its Discontents” by Freud?
[04:23:07] Isstsidwmnh: It seemed like a work of good quality.
[04:23:17] Isstsidwmnh: I dont understand why individuals (like I suspect you) dislike freud.
[04:39:10] Emil – Deleet: becuz its pseudoscience
[04:39:49] Isstsidwmnh: What is pseudoscience? Lots of good things are not science.
[04:39:57] Emil – Deleet: google
[04:40:51] Isstsidwmnh: I know the word. Its an invitation to be percise.
[04:40:53] Isstsidwmnh: “Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method”
[04:41:24] Isstsidwmnh: So you are saying Freud is bad because he is dishonest representing himself as science?
[04:41:42] Emil – Deleet: <pseudoscience> is not a precise term
[04:42:01] Isstsidwmnh: I mean, I am inviting you to be more precise.
[04:42:05] Isstsidwmnh: Given your term.
[04:43:43] Emil – Deleet: its a family resemblence term. i use it like Martin Gardner – Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science does
[04:47:27] Emil – Deleet: but see also Popper on psychoanalysis
[04:47:37] Isstsidwmnh: Popper!
[04:47:41] Isstsidwmnh: Do you like Popper?
[04:47:42] Emil – Deleet: Popper, K. R. (1990). “Science: Conjectures and Refutations”
[04:48:37] Emil – Deleet: sometimes his thinking seems simplistic, but he has impressed me b4
[05:39:24] Emil – Deleet: keck.ucsf.edu/~craig/Karl_Popper_Science_Conjectures_and_Refutations.pdf
[05:51:00] Isstsidwmnh: I am reading this now. I dont know how to take these criticisms. I feel that Freud is perhaps greatly misunderstood.
[05:52:19] Isstsidwmnh: Supposedly psychoanalysis lacks falsifiability. Such a statement implies some silly things to begin with, but given that it lacks falsifiability… so what? We have no capacity to falsify the existence of reality. That does not mean we throw away reality. In fact… that means we embrace it!
[05:52:32] Isstsidwmnh: If something is too obviously true, then my only criticism is that it will get boring too soon.
[05:57:04] Isstsidwmnh: But, anyway, all this seems to be scientific values projected onto what can be acceptable described as a non-scientific work.
[05:58:02] Emil – Deleet: spoken like a true first year student in filosofy
[05:58:19] Emil – Deleet: im sure u can find writings about that specific objection
[05:58:30 | Edited 05:58:36] Emil – Deleet: must be the most common one
[05:58:49] Isstsidwmnh: Haha, yeah. I am sorry. I know my comments are foolish.
[05:58:59] Isstsidwmnh: I hope it is healthy to make them.
[05:59:03] Emil – Deleet: me too
[05:59:07 | Edited 05:59:24] Emil – Deleet: otherwise they wud annoy me for no good reason!
[05:59:11] Emil – Deleet: :D
[05:59:40] Emil – Deleet: srsly tho, u must really get into the habit of not writing like that
[05:59:42] Emil – Deleet: clouded thinking
[06:01:14] Isstsidwmnh: I am not quite sure what “writing like that” is but I am developing a sense when I am  “writing like that”. In the last few days I have written a lot of personal notes. And I think I making great progress in clarity of statement.
[06:01:37] Isstsidwmnh: I dont even quite remember what it was like reading Freud, so I should read everything before making any real statements.
[06:03:35] Emil – Deleet: <We have no capacity to falsify the existence of reality.>
reality isnt a theory, and were talking about theories. u shud have written <the theory of the existence of reality> or somesuch. but even then its a bad move since were talking about scientific theories as opposed to pseudoscientific theories, not what might be called filosofical theories.
[06:03:54] Emil – Deleet: altho i dont think thats a theory at all, since theories are just explanations.
[06:04:16] Emil – Deleet: what is the supposed theory of the existence of reality supposed to explain?
[06:05:44] Emil – Deleet: <That does not mean we throw away reality. In fact… that means we embrace it!>
nonliteral language in an inappropriate way. since the writing can also be taken literally, and together with the previous sentence makes it rather difficult to interpret. at the very least, it makes confusion due to language use likely.
[06:08:04] Emil – Deleet: i also think that psychoanalysis can be tested, and has failed tests. it also doesnt fit with other scientific theories at all – it doesnt fit into the grand web of belief of an informed person. this shud make us suspicious, becus either it means that it is a great new area of research, or it means that its not true. of the two options, the first one is MUCH more likely. great leaps forward in science are very rare. most attempts are wrong.
[06:08:44] Emil – Deleet: i also think that falsifiability is often misused, the concept. ppl claiming that things are not falsifiable, when they are indeed. it annoys me.
[06:10:18] Emil – Deleet: fx, Miao wrote somewhere that she didnt like string theory for the usual falsifiability reasons. i immediately thought that perhaps she just wasnt aware of any way to test it. this doesnt mean that its untestable, especially not untestable in principle. a quick search reveals that it seems to be testable, altho perhaps not at our technological level -  yet. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory#Testability_and_experimental_predictions
[06:11:01] Isstsidwmnh: What would be a psychoanalytic hypothesis?
[06:11:13] Emil – Deleet: the stages of childhood
[06:11:32] Emil – Deleet: interpretation of dreams
[06:11:36] Emil – Deleet: repressed memories
[06:12:02] Emil – Deleet: neuroscience will eventually figure out how the mind/brain works
[06:12:15] Emil – Deleet: which has so far not revealed anything related to psychoanalysis
[06:12:30 | Edited 06:12:49] Emil – Deleet: and psychoanalysis gives comically bad explanations for some things – or at the least, psychoanalytic inspired explanations.
[06:14:13] Emil – Deleet: Ramachandran mentions it in one of his talks

www.ted.com/talks/vilayanur_ramachandran_on_your_mind.html

[06:14:46] Emil – Deleet: i think Lilienfeld also discusses it in his book about pseudoscience in psychology, altho i havent read the book.
[06:14:48] Emil – Deleet: (yet)
[06:16:06 | Edited 06:16:49] Emil – Deleet: the theory he mentions in this case is also testable. one can just test for sexual arousals for the mothers of people with the imposter complex.

and the theory doesnt generalize to cases where it isnt the mother or father (but someone else). R. mentions a case with a pet poodle.
[06:21:40] Isstsidwmnh: I dont mean to defend Freud anymore, because I agree, stuff like the stages of childhood are stupid. But, I remember in Civilization and its Discontents, it never seemed like he was literally talking about sexual lust for one’s mother.
[06:22:58] Isstsidwmnh: If he did make such claims, which I know he is famous for making, then I agree its non-sense. I have always ignored those criticisms because they have been consistently been made by people who use science as a vessel for self-satisfaction.
[06:23:38 | Edited 06:25:43] Isstsidwmnh: What I liked about CaiD, was its depiction of internal struggle between individuals and society. Which, I never felt was a scientific depiction to begin with.
[06:25:31] Emil – Deleet: i dont know about that particular work
[06:26:02] Emil – Deleet: given his bad reputation, i rather not read anything by him
[06:26:22] Emil – Deleet: since in the meanwhile i cud hav read somthing else more likely to be good