Some metafilosofy

From a discussion on Google+

 

Opening post:

Massimo Pigliucci

28. okt. 2012  -  Offentlig

Philosophy lost its bite, says another physicist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

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Emil Ole William Kirkegaard29. okt. 2012Rediger+1

Dyson might not know what he is talking about, but the LW article linked in the beginning is right on mark. so is www.paulgraham.com/philosophy.html

philosophy really is a diseased discipline. most of it is not very useful aside from intellectual masturbation, much of it is literally nonsense. some of it is interesting.

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Massimo Pigliucci29. okt. 2012

+1

Emil, forgive me, but I think that’s anti-intellectual baloney. You obviously have never read a technical paper in philosophy. cheers.

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Emil Ole William Kirkegaard29. okt. 2012Rediger

+2

You are very wrong. The fact that you think it is “obvious” should make you rethink things.

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Miao Yu, Goh29. okt. 2012

As a current post-graduate student in analytic philosophy, I agree with Emil, and I think you responded to his disagreement very poorly.

Philosophy should only concern itself with questions on which science cannot adjudicate (e.g., “Is it morally acceptable to forcefully take $1 billion from a very wealthy man if it means that millions of African children will receive vaccinations?”), and even then it must take into account realpolitik instead of just placing emphasis on theories that sound nice. (I am sure that many people thought that communism sounded very nice on paper too.) The problem with philosophers, in my own experience, is that many of them confine themselves to their own little circle with no consideration of how the outside world actually works.

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Alexander Kruel29. okt. 2012

+1

+Emil Ole William Kirkegaard If you judge philosophy by its usefulness then what exactly do you mean? What percentage of philosophy would have to be useful and in what sense?

Do you believe that mathematics is also a diseased discipline? If not, then in what sense are most of the 3,000 categories of mathematical writing useful compared to most of philosophy?

Further, what is your definition of “philosophy”? Where do you draw the line? If you call philosophy a diseased discipline then what exactly is lesswrong.com if not philosophy? What exactly are you doing when you talk about what philosophy should do and what should be left to science? Epistemology? Philosophy of science?

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Alexander Kruel29. okt. 2012

+3

And looking at what people associated with lesswrong.com are doing, it rather seems like an offense to accuse academic philosophy of engaging in nonsense and relying on intuition. They do nothing else.

They worry about simulation shutdown, distant superintelligences blackmailing them acausally, post-singularity hells and galactic civilizations.

They talk about how uncomputable methods should guide us yet dismiss their absurd consequences based on intuition. They rely on fundamentally different methods and pretend they are really “approximations”. It’s complete handwaving.

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Matt Perryman29. okt. 2012

+1

+Alexander Kruel exactly that. If they actually engaged with real philosophy instead of writing the whole domain off as “diseased and inferior” (in favor of some bizarre ideas on “rationality” which they accept on the grounds of self-serving justifications, no less) they might not be so ridiculous.

As it stands they’re in a mighty large glass mansion while trying to calculate the best reason to throw stones.

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Emil Ole William Kirkegaard29. okt. 2012Rediger

They (LWians) don’t “write off the whole domain as diseased”. What they are doing is philosophy. Criticism of philosophy from within philosophy is a recurrent theme in the history of philosophy.

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I didn’t think it wud be of much use to respond to Alexander Kruel and others. But ill do it here, just for others who might be interested.

 

Questions 1a+b:

+Emil Ole William Kirkegaard If you judge philosophy by its usefulness then what exactly do you mean? What percentage of philosophy would have to be useful and in what sense?

 

I mean exactly what i wrote. Whatever the goal is aside from mental masturbation, filosofy is not very good at getting to that goal. If one wants to undertstand the world, one is better off reading science than filosofy. Not to say that there is nothing to be gained from reading filosofy, just that the noise-to-signal ratio is much higher in filosofy than in science. If one doesnt know what to look for, just stay with science.

 

i decline to offer any percentages besides that the noise-to-signal ratio shud be much lower. Its difficult to say how low, since whether its worth reading filosofy also depends on other factors, especially how useful the information is that one acquires. It shud be possible to work out some equations for that.

 

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Questions 2a+b

Do you believe that mathematics is also a diseased discipline? If not, then in what sense are most of the 3,000 categories of mathematical writing useful compared to most of philosophy? 

 

No.

 

Supposing those numbers are true (i have no idea). I didnt say most of them are useful. I dont need to believe that. I only need to believe that they are much more useful than most filosofy, and they are.

 

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Questions 3a-f

Further, what is your definition of “philosophy”? Where do you draw the line? If you call philosophy a diseased discipline then what exactly is lesswrong.com if not philosophy? What exactly are you doing when you talk about what philosophy should do and what should be left to science? Epistemology? Philosophy of science?

 

a) i dont use any special definition.

 

b) its fuzzy. one cannot draw a line precisely.

 

c) LW is a mixture of filosofy and other stuff, mostly math and science. that filosofy is a diseased disipline is consistent with there being some good in it. i did not state that all filosofy is useless. i explicitly stated that some of it is useful.

 

d-f) dont understand the question(s).

 

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as for the LW criticism. i dont need to defend them.

Various 23-10-2012

papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1761333
Fatherhood by Conscription: Nonconsensual Insemination and the Duty of Child Support

Abstract:
Nathaniel was a California teenager who became a father in 1995. The mother of Nathaniel’s child was named Ricci, and at the time of conception, she was thirty-four years old. Nathaniel, however, was merely fifteen. Although Nathaniel admitted to having sex with Ricci voluntarily about five times, the fact that he was under sixteen years of age at the time made it legally impossible for him to consent to sexual intercourse. In other words, under California law, Nathaniel was not only a new father, but was also a victim of statutory rape. Nonetheless, in a subsequent action for child support, the court held that Nathaniel was liable for the support of the child who was born as a result of his rape. According to the court, “Victims have rights. Here, the victim also has responsibilities.”

Much of the law relating to child support is based on the fact that it is typically in a child’s best interest to receive financial support from mothers as well as fathers. So strong is this precept that courts will hold a father liable for child support even in the face of wrongful conduct by the mother. Thus, child support is essentially a form of strict liability with the justification being that the child is an innocent party, and, therefore, it is the child’s interests and welfare that the court must look to in adjudicating support. At first glance, such a standard seems eminently reasonable. Few would argue with the proposition that, if a man voluntarily has sex with a woman and a child results, then he should be liable for child support. The problem with the court’s current approach, however, is that the standard is so strict that even those men who never consented to the sexual act that caused the pregnancy are nonetheless liable for the support of the resulting child. These men include males who became fathers as a result of statutory rape and also adult males who became fathers either as a result of sexual assault or having their sperm stolen and used by a woman for purposes of self-insemination. In all such cases, these “fathers” have been held liable for child support.

The purpose then of this article is, first, to underscore the criticisms that other commentators have raised on how the strict liability approach poses a grave injustice not only to the men who are pressed into the obligations of fatherhood but also to society, which has an interest in protecting all citizens from sexual assault. More importantly, however, I also offer a new objection and, on that basis, a proposed solution. Specifically, the courts’ justification that all children are entitled to support from both biological parents has been seriously undermined by the laws regulating artificial insemination. In that context, a man (regardless of whether he is the sperm donor or the non-donor husband of the inseminated female) only becomes the legal father of an artificially inseminated child if he affirmatively consents. I argue that it is incongruous to allow exceptions for formal sperm donors yet wholesale deny similar protections for those who, although not in the setting of a sperm bank, never consented to the use of their sperm. Accordingly, I propose a solution whereby courts adopt an approach similar (albeit narrower) to that used in artificial insemination cases to adjudicate child support claims against those men who were forced into fatherhood as a result of nonconsensual insemination.

O_o

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www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/sewage-mozart-germany

Anton Stucki, Swiss-born chief operator of the sewage centre in Treuenbrietzen, an hour south-west of Berlin, believes the chords and cadences of the compositions speed up the way the organisms work and lead to a quicker breakdown of biomass.
“We think the secret is in the vibrations of the music, which penetrate everything – including the water, the sewage and the cells. It creates a certain resonance that stimulates the microbes and helps them to work better. We’re still in the test phase, but I’ve already noticed that the sewage breakdown is more efficient,” he said.

“But my theory as to why it works is that Mozart managed to transpose universal laws of nature into his music. It has an effect on people of every age and every cultural background. So why not on microbes? After all, they’re living organisms just like us.”
The plant expects savings of as much as €1,000 a month. It has welcomed requests from any scientists who wish to follow the process.

the article doesnt even have criticism of this and how it wont work… i checked the author. she is apparently a foreign correspondant – iow, not relevant.

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer%27s_Law

the most useless law ever?

Jennifer’s Law is a law in the state of Texas, in the United States that permits school districts to award posthumous diplomas to students who die during their senior year of high school.

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_hole
never heard of this (didnt read the novel) – found via this: thunderf00tdotorg.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/the-comments-pz-myers-doesnt-want-you-to-see/

i was curious about the whole bsnss after having watched c. video appeal to PZ Myers. apparently PZM is a moron. www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wmMXiqbD9Dc

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“I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!” – Robert A. Heinlein, Guest of Honor Speech at the 29th World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, WA (1961)

source
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Initiative 502: Legalizing marijuana (via LEAP on Facebook)
www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/oct/20/initiative-502-legalizing-marijuana/

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www.techdirt.com/articles/20121008/14334820644/study-viewing-cat-videos-work-can-make-you-more-productive.shtml
www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0046362

Abstract
Kawaii (a Japanese word meaning “cute”) things are popular because they produce positive feelings. However, their effect on behavior remains unclear. In this study, three experiments were conducted to examine the effects of viewing cute images on subsequent task performance. In the first experiment, university students performed a fine motor dexterity task before and after viewing images of baby or adult animals. Performance indexed by the number of successful trials increased after viewing cute images (puppies and kittens; M ± SE = 43.9±10.3% improvement) more than after viewing images that were less cute (dogs and cats; 11.9±5.5% improvement). In the second experiment, this finding was replicated by using a non-motor visual search task. Performance improved more after viewing cute images (15.7±2.2% improvement) than after viewing less cute images (1.4±2.1% improvement). Viewing images of pleasant foods was ineffective in improving performance (1.2±2.1%). In the third experiment, participants performed a global–local letter task after viewing images of baby animals, adult animals, and neutral objects. In general, global features were processed faster than local features. However, this global precedence effect was reduced after viewing cute images. Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing. For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.

in other words, translated by TD:  I love academic speak trying to basically say “seeing cute animals makes you happy, and helps you focus” and turning it into: “a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.” Either way, while the study really only focused on “cute” images, it didn’t take long for people to (perhaps reasonably) extrapolate the findings to cat videos as well.

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Sad: 75 Year Old Explanation For Why Copyrights Are Bad… Locked Up Behind Paywall
www.techdirt.com/articles/20121016/17553220724/sad-75-year-old-explanation-why-copyrights-are-bad-locked-up-behind-paywall.shtml

While I’ve seen a number of historical arguments along those lines (Fritz Machlup’s economic review of the patent system comes to mind), I had not heard of Plant’s two articles. So I went in search of them… and discovered that they’re locked up behind a paywall. Plant’s key paper, entitled “The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions” can be found on JSTOR, where they want… $43 for the 21 page article. Yes, it’s more than $2 per page. For a 78 (almost 79) year old document. Then there’s his other key article, “The Economic Aspects of Copyright in Books.” It, too, can be found on JSTOR for $43, though this one is 28 pages, so you get a per-page price of slightly under $2 this time… which still seems crazy.

It’s not just ridiculous that these two publications, both published in 1934, are not in the public domain — considering they argue that such locking up of information and ideas is bad for society, it’s particularly ironic that they are so hard to get and and that JSTOR charges such ridiculous fees for them. Though, I guess if you want to keep such prices high so you can act as a gatekeeper, what better way than to effectively hide these works by pricing them out of the market?

i hav access to those papers thru my university – here they are:

The Economic Aspects of Copyright in Books

The Economic Theory Concerning Patents for Inventions
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Dyson on philosophy and the gravitational free lunch
infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/10/dyson-on-philosophy-and-free-lunch.html

See also my comment there:
I agree with the conclusion “Philosophers became insignificant when philosophy became a separate
academic discipline, distinct from science and history and literature
and religion.”. Many people don’t like this conclusion. I think of it as obvious. Philosophers who do not concern themselves with modern information about reality are not particularly interesting.
I think the most interesting areas for modern philosophy are:
First, the area of meta-science – making breakthroughs with things like how to do good systematic reviews, how to set up good peer review systems, designing proper laws for the information society.
Second, the claiming of new ground – the establishing of new scientific fields of study. Working together with scientists to push the limits of human knowledge. Combining their broad knowledge of many fields of science to combine into new fields.
Third, research into rationality, especially instrumental rationality. Working together with logicians, AI designers and psychologists to squeeze the most out of the human brain. And how to improve our cognitive abilities through whatever means we can find.
Fourth, as policy makers, polymaths or science generalists who have a very broad knowledge of many scientific fields and can thus make good decisions about which way to take society. Politicians as they are now are notoriously bad at this.
Personally, I’m trying to get myself into the position of especially #4 above. I’m a board member of the Danish Pirate Party, and I’m pushing for evidence-based policies having to do with whatever. I studied philosophy for two years at university, and thought it was a waste of time. So instead of following classes, I started reading up on a host of other things.

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox (via econstudentlog)

“The domesticated silver fox (marketed as the Siberian fox) is a domesticated form of the silver morph of the red fox. As a result of selective breeding, the new foxes became tamer and more dog-like.
The result of over 50 years of experiments in the Soviet Union and Russia, the breeding project was set up in 1959[1] by Soviet scientist Dmitri Belyaev. It continues today at The Institute of Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk, under the supervision of Lyudmila Trut. [...]
Belyaev believed that the key factor selected for in the domestication of dogs was not size or reproduction, but behavior; specifically, amenability to domestication, or tameability. He selected for low flight distance, that is, the distance one can approach the animal before it runs away. Selecting this behavior mimics the natural selection that must have occurred in the ancestral past of dogs. More than any other quality, Belyaev believed, tameability must have determined how well an animal would adapt to life among humans. Since behavior is rooted in biology, selecting for tameness and against aggression means selecting for physiological changes in the systems that govern the body’s hormones and neurochemicals. Belyaev decided to test his theory by domesticating foxes; in particular, the silver fox, a dark color form of the red fox. He placed a population of them in the same process of domestication, and he decided to submit this population to strong selection pressure for inherent tameness.[3]
The result is that Russian scientists now have a number of domesticated foxes that are fundamentally different in temperament and behavior from their wild forebears. Some important changes in physiology and morphology are now visible, such as mottled or spotted colored fur. Many scientists believe that these changes related to selection for tameness are caused by lower adrenaline production in the new breed, causing physiological changes in very few generations and thus yielding genetic combinations not present in the original species. This indicates that selection for tameness (i.e. low flight distance) produces changes that are also influential on the emergence of other “dog-like” traits, such as raised tail and coming into heat every six months rather than annually.”

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for many news related to prostitution (an interesting area!), neofeminism, blank slatism and the like, see Maggie McNeil’s blog which has weekly link collections and updates:

maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/that-was-the-week-that-was-42/
maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/links-120/

random example: www.metro.co.uk/news/915286-police-use-taser-on-blind-man-whose-stick-was-mistaken-for-samurai-sword

Police use Taser on blind man whose stick was mistaken for samurai sword
Police in Lancashire have apologised to a blind stroke victim after he was hit by a Taser when his white stick was mistaken for a samurai sword.

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www.techdirt.com/articles/20121022/10072320787/italian-scientists-convicted-manslaughter-sentenced-to-6-years-jail-over-earthquake-they-failed-to-predict-properly.shtml

beyond insane

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Review and thoughts: Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences (Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, 2012)

Richard Lynn was so kind to send me a signed copy of his latest book. i immediately paused the reading of another book to read this one. some comments and quotes are below. quotes are from the ebook version of the book which i found on the internet.

Richard Lynn, Tatu Vanhanan – Intelligence, a A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences, 2012

Review

Some general conclusions about the book. All in all this is a typical Richard Lynn book. It has a very dry style, and is somewhat repetitive. On the other hand, it is not overly long at 400 pages. Many of these are long lists of tables, so are not normally read except if one wants to look up specific countries. It would perhaps have been a good idea to just publish them on the internet for the curious and other researchers. The book contains a wealth of citations revealing a very impressive scholarship. The areas investigated on a global level are many, and the results interesting. The people who think that national IQs are “meaningless” and that human races do not exist or are social constructions (whatever that means, if anything) have the difficult job of explaining why, if these numbers are meaningless, do they fare so well in predicting things on a global level? In other words, why do they have so high validity for a multitude of things? One cannot just regard IQ as “academic intelligence” or some such thing if one can effectively use national IQs to predict things like the lack of proper sanitation. Most often national IQs are found to be better predictors than various non-IQ variables. Although one some occasions I would have liked the authors to use some more variables to see whether they made an impact. I think the authors are sometimes a bit too pessimistic about the possibilities of changing the situation for the low-IQ countries, but I agree with them that one should not expect many of these correlations to change drastically in the near future.

 

Thoughts and comments to various things

The introduction of the book neatly and shortly explains what the book is about:

The physical sciences are unified by a few common theoretical
constructs, such as mass, energy, pressure, atoms, molecules and
momentum, that are defined and measured in the same ways and
explain a wide range of phenomena in physics, astrophysics,
chemistry and biochemistry. This has been beneficial for the
development of the physical sciences, because it has allowed the
transfer of concepts from one field to others. It has allowed
interface subjects like chemical physics and biochemistry to
develop their own insights and concepts on the basis of those
already developed in their parent fields. Physics is the most basic
of the natural sciences, because the phenomena of the others can
be explained by the laws of physics. For this reason, physics has
been called the queen of the physical sciences.

Hitherto, the social sciences have lacked common unifying
constructs of this kind. The disciplines of the social sciences,
comprising psychology, economics, political science,
demography, sociology, criminology, anthropology and
epidemiology are largely isolated from one another, each with
their own vocabulary and theoretical constructs.
Psychology can be considered the most basic of the social
sciences because it is concerned with differences between
individuals, while the other social sciences are principally
concerned with differences between groups such as socio-
economic classes, ethnic and racial populations, regions within
countries, and nations. These groups are aggregates of
individuals, so the laws that have been established in psychology
should be applicable to the group phenomena that are the concern
of the other social sciences.
Our objective in this book is to develop the case that the
psychological construct of intelligence can be a unifying
explanatory construct for the social sciences. Intelligence is
measured by the intelligence test that was constructed by Alfred
Binet in 1905. During the succeeding century it has been shown
that intelligence, measured as the IQ (the intelligence quotient),
is a determinant of many important social phenomena,
including educational attainment, earnings, socio-economic
status, crime and health. Our theme is that the explanatory value
of intelligence that has been established for individuals can be
extended to the explanation of the differences between groups,
that have been found in the other social sciences, and in
particular to the explanation of the differences between nations.
Thus, we propose that psychology is potentially the queen of
the social sciences, analogous to the position of physics as the
queen of the physical sciences. (p. 1-2)

It is difficult to disagree with this.

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one of the things that bother me with the Health chapter is that it doesnt try to compare with and adjoin with the data from The Spirit Level. The authors of SPL contend that many of the things that Lynn&Vanhanan (LV) thinks is due to intelligence, is really due to economic (in)equality. unfortunately, LV does not try to control for this. it wud be interesting to see if the effects of high econ. equality goes away if one controls for intelligence. in other words, that the effects of econ. equality is really just intelligence working thru it.

For a video introduction to the SPL, see this:

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one annoying thing about this book, is that it is full of data tables, and the data from these cannot easily be copied into something useful. at least, i have failed to do it in any easy way. it requires a lot of fiddling to get the formatting right in calc/excel. hopefully, LV will make data tables available on their websites where they can easily be downloaded so that others can test out other hypotheses.

many of the tables span two pages but are not that big and cud easily fit into a single table on one page. unfortunately, having to use the image now requires that one either zooms out a lot to fit it all into one screen before taking a screenshot and hence makes the text small, or take two screenshots and edit them together in an image editor. it wud be very nice if they were made available on the website for free use.

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a recurrent thing about the book is that the editor did quite a poor job. there are a lot of easily visible typografical mistakes that are a bit annoying. they dont distract too much from the reading of the book, except in the rare cases where a missing word makes interpretation necessary. for instance, on p. 83-84 table 4.5, the 10th line is missing the prefix “in” which makes it appear as if the data presented varies wildly from a positive 0.61 correlation to three other strong negative correlations between -.52 and -0.60.

there was also another place where a “not” was missing and this left me confused for a few seconds.

as for formatting, look at table 7.1, line 1, the word “All” is strangely located in a line below the other information. look also to lines 10-11 and notice how the two “F” are floating to the left.

these mistakes shud be fixed and a new online edition released. this cant be too difficult to do.

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notice how low the dysgenic effects are. i was under the impression that they were stronger. also keep in mind that the lines 14-17 are those with the best data. the reason for that is that:

Rows 2, 3 and 4 give negative correlations between
intelligence and fertility based on a nationally representative
American sample showing that the negative correlation is higher
for white women than for white men, and higher for white
women than for black women. This study is not wholly
satisfactory because the age of the sample was 25 to 34 years and
many of them would not have completed their fertility.

To overcome this problem, Vining (1995) published data on
the fertility of his female sample of the ages between 35 and 44,
which can be regarded as close to completed fertility. The results
are given in rows 4 and 5 for white and black women and show
that the correlations between intelligence and fertility are still
significantly negative and are higher for black women (-0.226)
than for white women (-0.062). These correlations are probably
underestimates because the samples excluded high-school
dropouts, who were about 14 per cent of whites and 26 per cent
of blacks at this time, and who likely had low IQs and high
average fertility. (p. 201-2)

which is to say that if one gathers the data before women are done having children, one will miss out some older women who get children late. since such women are especially likely to be well-educated (and hence, smart), this is an important bias.

still given that there are some consistent negative correlations, then there is a dysgenic effect – its just smaller than i had imagined. at least on a within population basis.

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It would be interesting to explore to what extent differences
in geographical circumstances and water resources affect the
access to clean water, but unfortunately it is difficult to find
appropriate indicators of geographical factors. However, there is
one indicator for this purpose.WDI-09 (Table 3.5) includes data
on renewable internal freshwater resources per capita in cubic
metres in 2007 (Freshwater). It measures internal renewable
resources (internal river flows and groundwater from rainfall) in
the country. It is noted that these “estimates are based on different
sources and refer to different years, so cross-country
comparisons should be made with caution” (WDI-09, p. 153). It
could be assumed that freshwater resources per capita are
negatively correlated with Water-08, but in fact there is no
correlation between these variables (0.050, N=139). The
correlation between national IQ and Freshwater is also in zero
(0.014, N=147). Access to clean water seems to be completely
independent from freshwater resources, whereas it is
significantly dependent on national IQ (39%) and several
environmental variables. Therefore, it is interesting to see how
well national IQ explains the variation in Water-08 at the level of
single countries and what kinds of countries deviate most from
the regression line. Figure 8.1 summarizes the results of the
regression analysis of Water-08 on national IQ in the group of
166 countries. Detailed results for single countries are reported in
Table 8.3. (p. 246)

Very interesting! Is this a direct disproof of Jared Diamond (1997)‘s environment theory regarding access to water?

Figure 8.1 shows that the relationship between national IQ
and Water-08 is linear as hypothesized, but many highly
deviating countries weaken the relationship. In the countries
above the regression line, the percentage of people without
access to improved water services is higher than expected on the
basis of the regression equation, and in the countries below the
regression line it is lower than expected. In all countries above
the national IQ level of 90, the percentage of the population
without access to clean water is zero or near zero, except in
Cambodia, China and Mongolia, whereas this percentage varies
greatly in the countries below the national IQ level of 85.
National IQ is not able to explain the great variation in Water-08
in the group of countries with low national IQs. Most of that
variation seems to be due to some environmental and local
factors, perhaps also to measurement errors. ( p. 247-8)

in the case of China it seems very unhelpful to category it as one country. it is a HUGE place. it wud be better to split it up into provinces, and calculate these instead. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China altho this will result in many of them having no data. i doubt that there is IQ data for all the regions of China. perhaps those in the regions away from the ocean are not quite as clever as those near the ocean, and near Japan. but surely there is data about Hong Kong, Macau, and some other city or city-like states.

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one thing that bothers me a bit is that when LV discuss outliers to their correlation, they use some seemingly arbitrarily picked number. heres a random example (p. 258):

Table 8.3 shows the countries which deviate most from the
regression line and for which positive or negative residuals are
large. An interesting question is whether some systematic
differences between large positive and negative outliers could
help to explain their deviations from the regression line. Let us
regard as large outliers countries whose residuals are ±15 or
higher (one standard deviation is 13).

they note that the sd is 13, but instead opt to use 15 without an explanation. this is the same every time they adopt such an analysis, which do they every chapter. normally, they choose some number slightly larger than 1sd. in p. 155 sd = 1.7, and they use 2. in p. 146 they use 11 while sd = 10.1. in p. 103 they use 12 while the sd is 12.017. the general rule seems to be: choose an arbitrary but nicely looking number just a bit larger than the sd. i dont think this skews the analysis much, but i wud have prefered just if they used 1sd as the border for counting as an outlier.

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one odd thing is that when LV finds that a relationship between national IQs and some other variable is curvilinear, they still go on to use the linear model in their explanation. they do this time and time again. it results in some bad points of analysis, for instance:

It is remarkable that this group does not include any
economically highly developed countries, Caribbean tourist
countries, Latin American countries, or oil exporting countries.
Most of them are poor sub-Saharan African countries (17). China
is not really a large positive outlier for the reason that its
predicted value of Water-08 is negative -6. The other eight
positive outliers are poor Asian and Oceanian countries. Most of
them (especially Afghanistan, Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor-
Leste) have suffered from serious civil wars, which have
hampered socio-economic development. (p.259)

if they had made a proper model, one where negative values are impossible, then they wud have avoided such details. its not that LV doesnt know this, as they discuss on page. 79:

Rows 13 through 18 give six correlations between national
IQs and various measures of per capita income reported. The
author analyzed further the relationship by fitting linear, quadratic
and exponential curves to the data for 81 and 185 nations and
found that fitting exponential curves gave the best results. His
interpretation was that “a given increment in IQ, anywhere along
the IQ scale, results in a given percentage in GDP, rather than a
given dollar increase as linear fitting would predict” (Dickerson,
2006, p. 291). He suggests that

exponential fitting of GDP to IQ is logically
meaningful as well as mathematically valid. It is
inherently reasonable that a given increment of IQ
should improve GDP by the same proportional ratio,
not the same number of dollars. An increase of GDP
from $500 to $600 is a much more significant change
than is a linear increase from $20,000 to $20,100. The
same proportional change would increase $20,000 to
$24,000. These data tell us that the influence of
increasing IQ is a proportional effect, not an absolute
one (p. 294).

heres as example of a plot where LV acknowledges that it is curvilinear:

i wud replicate this plot myself and fit an exponential function to it, and then look for outliers, but i wud need the raw data for that in a useable form. see the previous point about how it is difficult to extract the data from the PDF and the need to publish it in some other format, preferably excel/calc.

-

Some systematic differences in the characteristics of large
positive and negative outliers provide partial explanations for
their large residuals. Most countries with large negative residuals
have benefitted from investments, technologies, and
management from countries of higher national IQs, whereas
most countries with large positive residuals have received much
less such foreign help. (p.260)

tourism is not the only way to receive money from the rich countries. it wud be interesting to look at the effects of foreign aid to poor countries. is there any discernible effect of it? perhaps it has had effects on water supply, for instance.

-

Table 8.4 shows that the indicators of sanitation are a little
more strongly correlated with national IQ than the indicators of
water (cf. Table 8.2). The explained part of variation varies from
41 to 60 percent. Differences between the three groups of
countries are relatively small, although the correlations are
strongest in the group of countries with more than one million
inhabitants. It should be noted that the correlations between
national IQ and Sanitation-08 are negative because Sanitation-08
concerns the percentage of the population without access to
improved sanitation services (see section 2). (p. 261)

i understand their wish to stay true to the sources numbers, but i wud have prefered if they had multiplied the numbers by -1 to make them fit with the direction of the other numbers.

-

Row 7 gives a low but statistically significant positive
correlation of 0.18 between national IQ and son preference. This
may be a surprising result, because it might be expected that
liberal and more modern populations would not have such a
strong preference for sons as more traditional peoples. (p. 273)

surprising indeed.

-

Consistent with Frazer’s analysis, it has been found in a
number of studies of individuals within nations that there is a
negative relationship between intelligence and religious belief.
This negative relationship was first reported in the United States
in the 1920s by Howells (1928) and Sinclair (1928), who both
reported studies showing negative correlations between
intelligence and religious belief among college students of -0.27
to -0.36 (using different measures of religious belief). A number
of subsequent studies confirmed these early results, and a review
of 43 of these studies by Bell (2002) found that all but four found
a negative correlation. To these can be added a study in the
Netherlands of a nationally representative sample (total N=1,538)
that reported that agnostics scored 4 IQs higher than believers
(Verhage, 1964). In a more recent study Kanazawa (2010) has
analyzed the data of the American National Longitudinal Study of
Adolescent Health, a national sample initially tested for
intelligence with the PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test) as
adolescents and interviewed as young adults in 2001-2
(N=14,277). At this interview they were asked: “To what extent
are you a religious person?” The responses were coded “not
religious at all”, “slightly religious”, “moderately religious”, and
“very religious”. The results showed that the “not religious at all”
group had the highest IQ (103.09), followed in descending order
by the other three groups (IQs = 99.34, 98.28, 97.14). The
negative relationship between IQ and religious belief is highly
statistically significant. (p. 278)

the Bell article sounds interesting, but after spending some time trying to locate it, i failed. it seems that im not the only one having such problems.

regardless of that, there was a similar article: “The Effect of Intelligence on Religious Faith,” Free Inquiry, Spring 1986: (1). There is an online parafrase of it here.

-

one of the interesting datasets that id love to see a nonlinear function fitted to. i want to know how much we need to boost intelligence to almost remove religiousness. perhaps one can discover this from using high-IQ samples. at which IQ are there <5% religious people?

-

another of those tables that have problems with the direction. Legatum and Newsweek shud be positive with each other, right? since they are measuring in the same direction, that is, the one opposite of HDI and IHC (which correlate positively).

-

LV mention the 2008 study by Kanazawa: Temperature and evolutionary novelty as forces behind the evolution of general intelligence. The interesting thing about this study is that it sort of tests my idea that i wrote about earlier. Kanazawa goes on with his novelty hypothesis using distance from Africa to predict national IQs. However, compared with Ashraf and Galor (2012) paper, he just uses bird distance instead of actual travel distance (humans are not birds, after all!, nor did they just sail straight from Africa to populate America). So im not really sure what his computed r’s are useful for. It wud be interesting to add together the data from the Ashraf and Galor (2012) paper about distances, and genetic diversity to the climate model. LV does mention at one point that lack of genetic diversity make evolution slower:

A further
anomaly is that the Australian Aborigines inhabit a relatively
warm region but have small brain sizes and low IQs. The
explanation for this anomaly is that these were a small isolated
population numbering only around 300,000 at the time of
European colonization, so the mutant alleles for higher IQs did
not appear in them. (p. 381)

consider also the criticism of Kanazawa’s paper in Why national IQs do not support evolutionary theories of intelligence, Wicherts et al (2009):

5. Migration and geographic distance
Kanazawa (2008) was concerned with the relation between lev-
els of general intelligence, as they were distributed geographically
thousands of years ago, and the degree of ‘‘evolutionary novelty” of
the relevant geographic locations. Lacking data regarding evolu-
tionary novelty, Kanazawa proposed, as a measure of evolutionary
novelty, the geographic distance to the EEA, i.e., a large region of
sub-Saharan Africa. The idea is that the greater the distance from
the EEA, the more evolutionarily novel the corresponding environ-
ment. There are several problems with this operationalization.
First, Kanazawa operationalized geographic distance using
Pythagoras’ first theorem (a2+ b2= c2). However, Pythagoras’ theo-
rem applies to Euclidian space, not to the surface of a sphere. Sec-
ond, even if these calculations were accurate, distances as traveled
on foot do not in general correspond to distances ‘‘as the crow flies”
(Kanazawa 2008, p. 102). According to most theories, ancestors of
the indigenous people in Australia (i.e., the Aborigines) moved out
of Africa on foot. They probably crossed the Red Sea from Africa to
present day Saudi Arabia, went on to India, and then through Indo-
nesia to Australia. Thus the distance covered on foot must have
been much larger than the distances computed by Kanazawa. This
suggests that the real distances covered by humans to reach a gi-
ven location, i.e., data of central interest to Kanazawa, are likely
to differ appreciably from the distances as the crow flies. One
can avoid this problem by using maps that exist of the probable
routes that humans followed in their exodus from Africa, and esti-
mating the distances between the cradle of humankind and various
other locations accordingly (Relethford, 2004).
Third, it is not obvious that locations farther removed from the
African Savannah are geographically and ecologically more dissim-
ilar than locations closer to the African Savannah. For instance, the
rainforests of central Africa or the mountain ranges of Morocco are
relatively close to the Savannah, but arguably are more dissimilar
to it than the great plains of North America or the steppes of Mon-
golia. In addition, some parts of the world were quite similar to the
African savannas during the relevant period of evolution (e.g., Ray
& Adams, 2001). Clearly, there is no strict correspondence between
evolutionary novelty and geographic distance. This leaves the use
of distances in need of theoretical justification. It is also notewor-
thy that given the time span of evolutionary theories, it is hardly
useful to speak of environmental effects as if these were fixed at
a certain geographical location.
People migrate, and have done so extensively in the time since
the evolutionarily period relevant to the evolutionary theories by
Kanazawa and others. A simple, yet imperfect, solution to this
problem is to use data solely from countries that have predomi-
nantly indigenous inhabitants (Templer, 2008; Templer & Arika-
wa, 2006). However, Kanazawa used national IQs of all
countries in Lynn and Vanhanen’s survey, including Australia
and the United States. This casts further doubt on the relevance
of Kanazawa’s data vis-à-vis the evolutionary theories that he
set out to test. Given persistent migration, it is likely that many
of the people, whose test scores Lynn and Vanhanen used to cal-
culate national IQs, are genetically unrelated to the original
inhabitants of their respective countries. In at least 50 of the
192 countries in Kanazawa’s (2008) study, the indigenous people
represent the ethnic minority.

Some links and quotes

www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513898000452

Abstract

 

We recruited two groups of women who differed in their number of lifetime sex partners in order to investigate several hypotheses related to female sociosexuality. Specifically, we explored whether women who engage in casual sex have low mate value, are especially likely to have come from stressful family environments, or are masculine in other respects besides their interest in casual sex. Women with many partners were not lower than other women on direct or indirect indicators of mate value. Nor were they more likely to recall adverse family environments during childhood. On several measures related to masculinity, women with many sex partners were elevated compared with other women.

-

www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02

Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples

Yes, bad source, but its more a collection of other sources. Its a xtian org. that tries to convince ppl of the dangers of homosexuality. I was just looking for some numbers on the average number of partners by sexual orentiation.

-

online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443768804578034331419449540.html

The Folly of Appeasement

appeasing muslims will never work – offense is in the eye of the offended.

muslims want to be offended. sucks to be them.

-

www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289612001018

Abstract

 

The current study tests if the type of children’s daily main meal (slow versus fast food) mediates the association of socioeconomic status (SES) with cognitive ability and cognitive growth in childhood. A Scottish birth cohort (Growing Up in Scotland) was assessed at ages 3 (N = 4512) and 5 years (N = 3833) on cognitive ability (i.e. vocabulary and picture similarities), SES, and the frequency of having slow and fast food main meals per week. SES was highly correlated at ages 3 and 5 years, while intelligence and the type of meal were only moderately associated across ages. SES at age 3 was positively related to ability at age 3 but not at age 5. The type of meals partially mediated the effects of SES on cognitive ability at ages 3 and 5, with more slow meals being associated with better cognitive performance. Furthermore, a higher frequency of slow food meals were positively related to cognitive growth between ages 3 and 5 years, after adjusting for SES and prior cognitive ability; however, they only accounted for a negligible amount of the variance in cognitive change. Overall, slow food was associated with better cognitive ability and cognitive growth in childhood, albeit corresponding effect sizes were small.

 

I read the paper. Maybe. Its a pretty small effect. I dont like the lack of control of parent IQ.

-

Testing the Affiliation Hypothesis of Homoerotic Motivation in Humans: The Effects of

Progesterone and Priming

 

The frequency of homoerotic behavior among individuals who do not identify as having

an exclusively homosexual sexual orientation suggests that such behavior potentially

has adaptive value. Among both male and female nonhuman primates, affiliation,

broadly defined, is one of the main drivers of homoerotic behavior. Correspondingly, in

humans, both across cultures and across historical periods, homoerotic behavior

appears to play a role in promoting social bonds. However, to date, the affiliation

explanation of human homoerotic behavior has not been adequately tested

experimentally. Here, we first develop a measure of homoerotic motivation. Next, we

find that, in women, homoerotic motivation is positively associated with progesterone, a

hormone that has been shown to promote affiliative bonding. Lastly, we explore the

effects of affiliative contexts on homoerotic motivation in men, finding that men in an

affiliative priming condition are more likely to endorse engaging in homoerotic behavior

compared to those primed with neutral or sexual concepts, and this effect is

pronounced in men with high progesterone. These findings constitute the first

experimental support for the affiliation account of the evolution of homoerotic

motivation in humans.

 

related to my proposed theory of the origin of homosexuality. found it via the Evolutionary Psychology group on facebook.

-

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212992/University-atheist-society-ordered-freshers-fair-displaying-blasphemous-pineapple-called-Mohammed.html

-

www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=wronger-than-wrong

I was reading about the frase “not even wrong”. I didnt know that Shermer was a race cognitive difference denier, and also apparently a denier of a g factor ability difference between the sexes. Its kinda dumb to use such examples to suggest how science got it wrong in the past, especially if one is a historian of science and self-described skeptic.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wronger_than_wrong

-

 

blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/03/13/sugar-sweet-taste-cats-dolphins-carnivores-genes/

 

-

 

infoproc.blogspot.dk/2012/10/my-controversial-views.html

 

www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9480372/Genetically-engineering-ethical-babies-is-a-moral-obligation-says-Oxford-professor.html

 

“”Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.” “

 

Amen to that. It is just irresponsible not to do so.

-

There certainly are a lot of eugenicists and heraditarians among my favorite authors. I also feel compelled to mention that Philippe Rushton passed away very recently. But Richard Lynn seems to be going strong still. Art Jensen is also alive. Certainly the heraditarians are not going to go away. Well, there will be some change in the ranks, surely, but the position will become increasingly more popular as the evidence becomes even more obvious than it already is.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Philippe_Rushton

 

Here is a much more mainstream eugenicist speech, at a TED conference. Apparently, the rule is just that one doesnt mention the word, then everything is fine.

 

www.ted.com/talks/harvey_fineberg_are_we_ready_for_neo_evolution.html

 

-

 

Apparently a sample of a standard retarded leftist treatment of Rushton:

www.salon.com/2012/10/06/leading_race_scientist_dies_in_canada/singleton/

 

It hurts to read.

 

-

 

www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/love-sex/marriage/i-do-as-long-as-you-don-t-play-the-piano-1.1397489

-

“A calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics

 

-

 

-

www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/9

Abstract:

The principle of “a calorie is a calorie,” that weight change in hypocaloric diets is independent of macronutrient composition, is widely held in the popular and technical literature, and is frequently justified by appeal to the laws of thermodynamics. We review here some aspects of thermodynamics that bear on weight loss and the effect of macronutrient composition. The focus is the so-called metabolic advantage in low-carbohydrate diets – greater weight loss compared to isocaloric diets of different composition. Two laws of thermodynamics are relevant to the systems considered in nutrition and, whereas the first law is a conservation (of energy) law, the second is a dissipation law: something (negative entropy) is lost and therefore balance is not to be expected in diet interventions. Here, we propose that a misunderstanding of the second law accounts for the controversy about the role of macronutrient effect on weight loss and we review some aspects of elementary thermodynamics. We use data in the literature to show that thermogenesis is sufficient to predict metabolic advantage. Whereas homeostasis ensures balance under many conditions, as a general principle, “a calorie is a calorie” violates the second law of thermodynamics.

 

interesting.

Thoughts about Ashraf and Galor (2012)

Via Steve Sailer.

The Out of Africa Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development

Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor

Abstract
This research advances and empirically establishes the hypothesis that, in the course of the prehistoric exodus of Homo sapiens out of Africa, variation in migratory distance to various settlements across the globe affected genetic diversity and has had a long-lasting hump-shaped effect on comparative economic development, reáecting the trade-offs between the beneficial and the detrimental effects of diversity on productivity. While intermediate levels of genetic diversity prevalent among Asian and European populations have been conducive for development, the high diversity of African populations and the low diversity of Native American populations have been detrimental for the development of these regions.

A very interesting paper. As can be seen in the link, it receives the usual backlash of dumbness.

The interesting thing about this that wasnt explored – even if it screamed to be explored – is how it works together with Lynn’s world wide IQ data. Lynn’s theory of cold climate has difficulties explaining why the arctic people are not smarter than they are. They are by no means dumb like africans, but they shud be smarter than they are going by the latitude theory and climate theory. I suggested that this might be due to inbreeding due to small populations. Perhaps. Perhaps its due to less genetic variation. It shud be possible to run a multiple regression analysis, and see how these two together explain IQ and income per capita.

The theory behind this is: First humans were in Africa, then they migrated out to live in other places. These other places differed in environment by coldness among other things. Those that lived in colder places were under (stronger) selection pressure for intelligence. How fast this adaptation happens is controlled by population size and genetic variation in the populations.

Very strange that the paper does not even cite Lynn, or mentioned IQ anywhere. These seem obvious to explain differences in income per capita.

Review of Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis (Bob C. Cleckler)

Let’sEndOurLiteracyCrisis,2ndRev download ebook free

This is an okay book about spelling reform. It includes argumentation for why spelling reform is needed. Some useful literature overview and references. Its tone is not very academic, and its style somewhat bombastic at times. I wud have prefered a more serious book. Still, this may be what is needed to convince some people. I will also be looking into some of the mentioned material. In particular:

 

  • Diane McGuinness, Ph.D., Why Our Children Can’t Read (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997)
  • Dr. Mont Follick, Reform English Spelling (London: Jason Press, 1946)
  • Sir James Pitman, Alphabets and Reading (New York: Pitman Publishing Company, 1969)
  • Traugott Rohner, Fonetic English Spelling (Evanston, Ill.: Fonetic English Spelling Assoc., 1966)
  • Lounsbury, Thomas R., LL.D, L.H.D. English Spelling and Spelling Reform. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1909.

 

Amazon reviews: www.amazon.com/Lets-End-Our-Literacy-Crisis/dp/1589824970/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_4

 

Below follows from quotes from the book, and some comments, and at last, an analysis of the system.

 

—–

 

Page 61 of the 2002 report shows that the percentages of Levels 3

through 5 adults who were in poverty were 12, 7.67, and 4.67, respective-

ly (averaging the prose, document and quantitative literacy data). When

these percentages are multiplied by the number of adults in each level, it

shows the number of adults in each level who were in poverty. Adding the

total number of adults in poverty in Levels 1 and 2 and Levels 3 through 5

and dividing by the total number of adults in those two groupings of levels

shows that 31.2% of Levels 1 and 2 were in poverty, but only 10.1% of

Levels 3 through 5 were in poverty. Although there are many reasons for

poverty, since the report statistically balanced the interviewees by age,

gender, ethnicity, location, etc. and since there is no obvious provable

differences other than literacy level, if 10.1 percent is taken as being the

poverty not resulting from illiteracy and is deducted from the 31.2 per-

cent, the resulting 21.1 percent due to illiteracy, when compared to 10.1

percent, provides strong evidence that illiteracy causes more than twice

as many adults to be in poverty as all other causes combined.

 

Besides obivously intelligence?!

 

-

 

“Statistics Canada, which carried out the same kind of testing in the

United States, Canada, and five non-English-speaking European countries,

replicated these findings for the United States [in 1994]. The study also

showed that U.S. high school students and young adults (16 to 25 years

old) were six times more likely to be functionally illiterate (Level 1) than

those in Sweden…. Only 13 percent of today’s 16- to 25-year-olds [in the

U.S.] scored at Levels 4 and 5.” 10

 

If you think that the above does not apply to college graduates and

graduate students, on December 26, 2005 the Washington Post stated,

 

“Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of

a recent adult literacy assessment, which shows that the reading pro-

ficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no

obvious explanation….

The test measures how well adults comprehend basic instruc-

tions and tasks through reading—such as computing costs per ounce

of food items, comparing viewpoints on two editorials and reading

prescription labels. Only 41 percent of graduate students tested in

2003 could be classified as “proficient” in prose-reading and under-

standing information in short texts—down 10 percentage points since

1992. Of college graduates, only 31 percent were classified as profi-

cient—compared with 40 percent in 1992.”11

 

The obvious hypothesis, is that it becus colleges began drawing on a larger pool of people, and thus decreasing the intelligence of those admitted. This is testable. Compare 2003 and 1992 in college admissions. This number is rising a lot in Denmark, and i seem to recall it rising in the US as well. I googled around but cudnt find any data from the two years ago. For some reason its difficult to find.

 

I did find some circumstancial or imperfect data, like these:

howtoedu.org/college-facts/how-many-high-school-graduates-attend-college/

chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/the-great-college-degree-scam/28067

 

See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_inflation

 

Overall it seems that im right about that. At least, thats part of the reason.

-

 

Anyone who has doubts about [that there are many illiterates living among us] should read John

Corcoran’s book, The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read. Mr. Corcoran graduated from Texas Western College in 1961 with a degree in education. He admits that he cheated on tests in college—although

he states in his book, “I am not advocating cheating.” He had gotten into college without taking entrance exams because he had an athletic scholarship.

Amazingly, he became a teacher of tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades in California, where he taught for eighteen years, without being able to read! He taught social studies, typing, history, physical education, and one year he even taught English. Although his wife thought for twenty-five years that he could read, even if he couldn’t read well, she didn’t know that he could hardly read at all until she overheard him trying to read a simple child’s story to their three-year-old. It was not until then that she came to understand the emotional pain he had been living with all those years. He suffered emotional pain caused by feeling there was something wrong with him which prevented him from learning, by having to develop so many coping methods to hide his illiteracy, and by feeling alienated from his associates who could read.

 

-

 

I take it you already know

of tough and bough and cough and dough.

Others may stumble, but not you,

on hiccough, thorough, lough and through.

Well done! And now you wish perhaps,

to learn of less familiar traps?

 

Beware of heard, a dreadful word

that looks like beard and sounds like bird,

and dead: it’s said like bed, not bead

for goodness’ sake don’t call it “deed”!

Watch out for meat and great and threat

(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt.)

 

A moth is not a moth in mother

nor both in bother, broth in brother,

and here is not a match for there

nor dear and fear for bear and pear,

and then there’s dose and rose and lose

just look them up and goose and choose,

and cork and work and card and ward,

and font and front and word and sword,

and do and go and thwart and cart.

 

Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!

A dreadful language? Man alive.

I’d mastered it when I was five.

 

T. S. Watt

 

BRILLIANT!

 

-

 

Most Americans are surprised to learn that pronunciations are usually

omitted from foreign language dictionaries. They are not needed because

the spelling adequately represents the pronunciation. They are even more

surprised to learn that students of other languages do not have spelling

classes throughout most of grade school, as our students do. “As ex-

plained by a Spanish student: ‘In Spain the teacher tells us the sounds of

the letters and then we can write or read any thing we can say.’” 7

 

I think all the scandinavian countries have pronunciation data in their dictionaries. But its a good point. Pronunciation data is superflouos if the spelling is regular.

 

-

 

Edward Rondthaler of the American Literacy Council points out, “A

1986 round table of British linguists called by eminent scholars to discuss

the underlying pattern of English spelling concluded, not surprisingly, that

only one rule in our spelling is not watered down with exceptions: No

word in English ends with the letter V.” 9

Since Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary lists the words rev and spiv, there are therefore NO invariable English spelling rules. If you cannot learn to spell by rules, then you

must learn by memorization and repetition. Many inconsistencies could

be highlighted, such as the different sounds of the double Cs in occa-

sional and accident (pronounced like K and like KS, respectively) or the

double Gs in egg, exaggerate, and suggest (pronounced like G, J, or GJ,

respectively). Perhaps the most impressive English spelling inconsistency

is the following:

 

-

 

Comparative Difficulty of English vs. Other

Alphabets

Noah Webster argued against the effort to freeze spelling in the introduc-

tion to his 1806 English dictionary. On page vi he states,

 

Every man of common reading knows that a living language must

necessarily suffer gradual changes in its current words, in the signifi-

cations of many words, and in pronunciation. The unavoidable con-

sequence then of fixing the orthography [spelling] of a living lan-

guage, is to destroy the use of the alphabet. This effect has, in a de-

gree, already taken place in our language; and letters, the most use-

ful invention that ever blessed mankind, have lost and continue to

lose a part of their value, by no longer being the representatives of

the sounds originally annexed to them. Strange as it may seem, the

fact is undeniable, that the present doctrine that no change must

be made in writing words, is destroying the benefits of an alphabet,

and reducing our language to the barbarism of Chinese characters

instead of letters.11

 

Some linguists may consider this an overstatement, but English is by

far the most inconsistent and illogical of the alphabetic spelling systems

and therefore the hardest to learn.

 

I wonder how one compares english to danish in this regard. DA spelling system is pretty fucked up as well. Im not completely confident the english one is worse.

 

-

 

The plan, though thoroughly thought through, was all for nought

when the rough trough full of cough and hiccough medicine made from

a hemlock tree bough floated down the shough into a Scottish lough

and sank to the bottom.

 

another gem

 

-

 

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes.

But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.

 

Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese.

Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

 

You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,

but the plural of house is houses, not hise.

 

If the plural of man is always called men,

why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

 

The cow in the plural may be cows or kine.

But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.

 

And I speak of foot and you show me your feet,

but I give you a boot—would a pair be called beet?

 

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

 

If the singular is this and the plural is these,

should the plural of kiss be nicknamed kese?

 

Then one may be that, and three may be those,

yet the plural of hat would never be hose.

 

We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,

but though we say mother, we never say methren.

 

The masculine pronouns are he, his, and him.

But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim!

 

So our English, I think you will all agree,

is the trickiest language you ever did see!

 

 

and another, altho this one has not to do with spelling, but with irregular plurals. these are harder to fix, but one shud still try. just make all the regular forms ‘correct’ as well. so goose and goooses/geese.

 

-

 

Wood yew believe that eye didn’t no

about homophones until too daze ago?

That day inn hour class inn groups of fore,

we had two come up with won ore moor.

 

Mary new sicks; enough too pass,

butt my ate homophones lead thee class.

Then a thought ran threw my head,

“Urn a living from homophones,” it said.

 

Aye guess eye joust sat and staired into space.

My hole life seamed two fall into plaice.

Hour school’s principle happened too come buy,

and asked about the look inn my aye.

 

“Sur,” said eye as bowled as could bee,

“My future rode aye clearly sea.”

“Sun,” said he, “move write ahead,

set sell on you’re coarse. Don’t bee misled.”

 

Aye herd that gnus with grate delight.

Eye will study homophones both day and knight.

Fore weeks and months, threw thick ore thin,

Aisle pursue my ghole. Aye no isle wynn.

 

 

this is the absolute best! and very difficult to read as well.

 

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There is no question that English spelling reform is long overdue. The pre-

sent practice of attempting to teach all American youth to read and spell

English is the foremost example of conspicuous consumption of a nation’s

resources since the building of the pyramids. Unfortunately for many chil-

dren, the belief is still widely held that our economy can still afford this

cruel waste….

It would be unbecoming of educators not to attempt hundreds of

new and devious approaches to the problem rather than advocating the

one logical (and eventually inevitable) solution.1

 

Arthur W. Heilman, Ph.D.

Phonics in Proper Perspective

 

 

Nice comparison.

 

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Figure 8

NuEnglish spelling rules

Format to use on Magazine and Book Title Pages

and on Newspaper and Newsletter Mastheads

 

This shows how to read the simplif ied spel ling system, NuEnglish, you may see in this

reading material. The 14 vowels and 24 consonants (in bold, italicized capi tals, for high-

lighting) have only ONE pronunciation. (No emphasis—capital, bold, ital ic, underline, or

color—affects pronunciat ion in NuEnglish.)

 

1. The A, E, I, O, and U are pronounced as in “That pet did not run.”

2. The AE, EE, IE, OE, and UE are pronounced as in “Mae Green tried roe glue.” These

vowels may, instead, be spelled with a macron (a straight line above a, e, i, o, or u) as

in “Thā .ēt frīd tōfū.”

3. The AU, OI, OO, and OU are pronounced as in “Haul good oil out.”

4. The 18 single consonants are pronounced as in “YeS, VaL ‘ZiP’ KiM HiD ouR BiG FaN-

JeT Win.”

5. Six consonant sounds are spelled with two letters:

(1) CH is pronounced as in “chip.” This is the only way the letter C is used in NuEnglish.

(2) SH and (3) NG are pronounced as in “wishing,”

(4) ZH is pronounced as in muzhik. (Muzhik is an English word for a Russian peasant

in which the zh is pronounced the same as the S in treasure.)

(5) TH is pronounced as in “then,” and

(6) TT is pronounced the same as the TH in “thin.” This is because English spells the

sounds in “thin” and “then” the same.

6. Two letters represent more than one basic sound.

(1) The X is used only for the KS blend.

(2) The Q (not QU) is used only for the KW blend. All the other sounds of X and Q are

spelled out.

7. Traditional English spelling does not distinguish between the vowel sounds in “sue” and “fuel.”

NuEnglish spells the vowel sound in “sue” as ue and the sound in “fuel” as yue—sue and

fyuel in NuEnglish. (This is equivalent to placing an F sound before the word “Yule”).

8. The initial sound in words like “which” are actually pronounced as HW. Air is expelled

before the W sound, so it is spelled that way: hwich.

9. Sometimes the same letter is used at the end of one syllable and the start of the next

syllable. For example, the two Gs in the NuEnglish spelling “fingger” (finger in tradi-

tional spelling) are in two syllables. This is not a violation of the next rule, Rule 10.

10. There are no silent letters and no double letters having a single sound except OO and

TT. (If macrons are not used, the EE is also used for a single sound.)

11. All sounds are shown except the NG sound in NK and NX as in “bank” and “jinx.”

12. To show the accent, an asterisk is placed before the vowel in a primary accented syll a-

ble, but an asterisk is not used if the primary accent is on the first syllable .

13. Numbers are used instead of spelling out the number unless numbers are required to be

spelled out. Numbers must be spelled out on some legal documents, such as on a check.

Numbers should be spelled when numbers could be confused with letters such as I, L, or O.

 

There are other spelling rules to standardize your spelling if you want to be very sure that

what you write in NuEnglish will be easily understood. These rules can be found at

YouCanReadNow.com and in the Spelling Rules section in Chapter 6 of Let’s End Our Liter-

acy Crisis, (Revised Edition or Second Revbision) by Bob Cleckler.

 

 

So, a table like the one i produced for New Spelling wud look something like this:

 

Sound (in IPA) Spelling Examples
consonants
p p pin
b b bin
t t tin
d d din
k k kin, cat→kat
g g got
f f fat
v v vat
s s sin
z z zest
j y yes, fuel→fyuel/fyul
l l van
m m mint
n n not
w w win
ʤ j jinn, gin→jin
h h him
ɹ r run

ʧ

ch chip
ʃ sh wish
ʒ zh vision→vizhun
ŋ ng (nk, nx) thing (tank, jinx)
ð th then

θ

tt thin

ks

x ax

kw

q quit→qit
short simple vowels
æ a that
ɛ e pet
ɪ i did
ɒ o not
ʌ u run
long vowels and diphthongs
ae/a Mae/ma, may→mae/ma
i: ee/e green/gren
ie/i tried/trid, try→trie/tri
əʊ oe/o roe/ro
u: ue/u glue/glu, noon→nuen/nun
ɔ: au haul, draw→drau
ɔɪ oi oil, coin→koin
ou count→kount, town→toun
ʊ oo good

 

Some comments.

 

1) Most strange is the choice of overlines instead of some symbol that is already found on a normal keyboard, like ´, `, ^, ¨, ~.

 

2) Inconsistent with the authors claims around the book, this system is not one-to-one, since it has both the redundant Q and X that complicate the rules for /k/ and /w/ fonemes. They are spelled K and W except when they are together in a syllable, then they are suddenly Q.

 

3) System is pretty much identical to New Spelling. Which is good, since it shows that there is generally agreement about which way to move the spelling.

 

4) The choice of TT for /θ/ is odd. Especially given the author’s dislike of doubled letters.

 

-

Review: Particle Physics, A very short introduction (Frank Close)

It’s pretty decent. I definitely learned a lot of quarks and squarks and other strange entities!

Particle Physics – A Very Short Introduction

-

The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) is 2070 metres below
ground in a nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario. Its heart is an acrylic
vessel filled with 1,000 tonnes of ‘heavy water’, called deuterium, in
which a neutron joins the single proton of ordinary hydrogen. In
SNO, electron-neutrinos interact with the neutrons in the
deuterium to create protons and electrons, and the fast-moving
electrons emit cones of Cerenkov radiation as they travel through
the heavy water. The Cerenkov light forms patterns of rings on the
inner surface of the water tank, where it is picked up by thousands
of phototubes arrayed around the walls.

Thats not right. Deuterium is not heavy water. But heavy water usually contains deuterium. At least, if one is using “heavy water” as any water molecule heavier than normal, that is, which contains either deuterium or tritium or a higher isotope of oxygen (17 or 18). See also Wikipedia on heavy water. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_water#Other_heavy_forms_of_water

-

This is the first fortunate circumstance. Humans are the pinnacle of
evolution and it has taken almost all of those 5 billion years for us
to emerge. Had the Sun burned faster, it would have died before
we arrived.

Biologists hate such talk. Assuming that life only started once on Earth, then every single nonextinct lifeform is evolved to the same degree. At least, if that is what one means by having used the same time evolving since the first life.

-

“The naturalistic fallacy” as used in the science literature…

“It goes without saying that our contention that beautiful people are more intelligent is purely scientific (logical and empirical); it is not a prescription for how to treat or judge others. To derive a behavioral prescription (what one ought to do) from a scientific conclusion (what is) would be an example of what Hume (1964/1739) calls the ‘‘naturalistic fallacy.’’”

Why beautiful people are more intelligent

How annoying it is to read stuff like this is the scientific literature. The phrase mentioned was introduced by GE Moore, not Hume. Hume didn’t even call it “fallacy”. Besides, Moore’s use of the phrase is different from what the author is talking about, which is inferring is from ought, i.e. is/ought fallacy. And lastly, since Hume was an ideal observer theorist, he would be inconsistent to claim that “ought” can never be deduced from “is”, since that is precisely what he is claiming that it can. Although from a special kind of “is”.

Review and thoughts about The g Factor (Christopher Brand, 1996)

The-g-Factor-General-Intelligence-and-Its-Implications-Chris-Brand

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_g_Factor:_General_Intelligence_and_Its_Implications_%28book%29

The g Factor: General Intelligence and Its Implications is a book by Christopher Brand, a psychologist and lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. It was published by John Wiley & Sons in the United Kingdom in March 1996. The book was “depublished” by the publishing house on April 17th, which cited “deep ethical beliefs” in its decision to remove the book from circulation; it is generally agreed that material in the book that covered racial issues in intelligence testing was responsible for the withdrawal. Wiley argued that after “inflammatory statements” Brand had made elsewhere, it was possible to “infer some of the same repugnant views from the text”.

According to economist Edward M. Miller, “While Wiley has not been specific as to just what views that were trying to prevent the dissemination of, one presumes they have to do with racial differences in intelligence and the implications for economics and educational policy.”[1]

 

6. A last doubt about IQ-test validity is that ‘measured’ differences may be little but the products of

other people’s expectations, ‘labels’ and self-fulfilling prophecies. Once more, there are two

versions of such a claim.

 

m (a) One is that differences in expectations (e.g. by children’s teachers) may have real

effects on intelligence. This is a claim for which no evidence has ever been offered other

than from IQ-type testing; and, if IQ-test evidence is considered relevant, the claimant is

accepting IQ-test validity.

 

m (b) The other version is that expectancies may particularly affect only IQ scores. Such

invalid scores may eventually become reality via subsequent differential provision of

educational opportunities. The idea is that differential treatment, in response to initial IQ

scores, may yield real, ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ effects on intelligence itself. Fortunately,

though it is now well recognized that one-off perceptual judgments and children’s

achievements in swimming, athletics and laboratory learning can sometimes reflect initially

erroneous expectancies (of teachers, parents or pupils), hundreds of studies in the past

twenty-five years(22) have found little general effect of such ‘labelling’ effects on IQ. In the

most systematic study in a normal school setting (Kellaghan et al, 1982), expectancies of

teachers supplied with IQ information about pupils did not generally change children’s IQ’s

or attainments over a school year. (There was a slight boost to the end-of-the-year

achievements of those (genuinely) higher-IQ children who came from relatively low-SES

families: the teachers may have been trying to discount background SES and to ‘bring on’

such children towards the attainment levels normally expected from children of such IQ’s.)

Far from labelling or self-labelling themselves giving rise to IQ-type differences and so to

spurious correlations and a g dimension among mental tests, it is noticeable that many

genuinely bright people have a misleadingly modest impression of their own abilities –

often claiming on TV shows to be ‘poor spellers’, for example; while vanity amongst people of mediocre intelligence is probably easier to find (see Brand et al. , 1994).

 

An early indication of the Dunning-Kruger effect? The cite given is:

BRAND, C.R., EGAN, V. & DEARY, I.J. (1994).

‘Intelligence, personality and society: constructivist versus

essentialist possibilities.’ In D.K.Detterman, Current

Topics in Human Intelligence 4, pp. 29-42. Norwood, NJ :

Ablex.

 

which is a book i dont have access to.

 

I have written an email to Dunning and informed him about this possibly earlier statement.

-

 

The author is an interesting fellow en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Brand. He also has a blog here: gfactor.blogspot.com

 

-

 

(2) True mixed ability teaching would be much easier if only the Government spent more on

education to reduce class sizes. Yet class sizes in Britain are now typically a third of what they

were before 1939. Meanwhile Britain’s position in most international educational league tables has

sunk from third to twenty-third: in mathematics, at age 13, British children now lag German children

by 1 year and Japanese children by two years; and a MORI poll of British adolescents found that a

third of them could not calculate a weekly wage from an hourly rate, and a quarter could not identify

which direction on a map was north (Green & Steedman, 1993, pp.9, 31). Anyhow, research

repeatedly finds children’s educational outcomes quite unrelated to class size – as the Educational

Secretary for England and Wales must repeatedly to explain to teachers who understandably find

mixed-ability teaching a strain (see Eysenck, 1973/1975, p.134; Walsh, 1995): even a class size of

six will be difficult for a teacher if children span the normal range of IQ. Small classes do not in fact

lead to teachers adopting the acclaimed ‘interactive’ teaching methods;(23) and class sizes in Japan

average over 40 while those of around 55 in communist China apparently work well (Walsh, 1995).

For England and Wales, Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools reported their conclusion by 1977 that

mixed-ability teaching (at least for mathematics) primarily required “exceptional” teachers. Parents

often seem to favour the small class sizes maintained by private schools; but such schools are

streams in their own right – usually having no pupils of below-average intelligence.

 

-

 

Practical reasons: bowing to

convenience. A third reason for

psychology’s tendency to lose touch with

intelligence is practical. Psychology’s

perennial problem is that of finding

subjects who can be tested relatively

cheaply. Medicine solves this problem

by using patients in hospital beds who

will often co-operate with research while they hope for treatment. Behaviourists

solved the problem by studying rats;

Piagetians solved it by studying infants;

and cognitivists and the more advanced

constructivists of social psychology

solve it by hardly studying people at all –

just building their computer ‘models’ or

‘analysing’ passages of ‘discourse’

selected for their ideological

convenience. Clearly, differerential

psychology should have followed Burt

down the road to regular involvement in

schools that he had opened up: most

psychology departments should

probably be located in or near a school –

just as most medical faculties adjoin

hospitals. But differential psychology

and personality psychology rejected

Burt’s lead and chose for too long the

superficially academic route of keeping

up with the latest alleged advances in

conditioning theory, ‘social perception’ or

fissiparative neuropsychology. Thus

differential psychology lost its natural

subjects. This was disastrous for the

study of g differences. It is only in

normal schools that it is at all easy to

study anything like the full range of

human mental abilities. Many kinds of

merely academic psychology can be

done in the laboratory or in projects with

handy collections of patients or

employees (where selection, self-

selection and resulting range-restrictions

may be positive assets to the researcher

of group effects).

 

some interesting ideas. especially about psychology being near schools, so that one can avoid WEIRD problems, cf. blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/2011/12/07/the-weird-evolution-of-human-psychology/

 

-

 

Overall i definitely learned alot from reading this rather short book. The authors endless complaining about leftism, socialism etc. can get tiring. Especially if one looks at his blog as well.