Randoms of the past week

– Check out The Second Estate. They’re looking for assistance.

– The country is run by 24 year-olds. They are, however, very sincere, well-intentioned and well-educated, so there’s nothing to worry about.

– Rich people are moving to Singapore.

Isegoria: "Propaganda from Imperial Japan is surprisingly hard to understand, despite its obvious message."

– National Review, in nice Yglesian style, thinks that the moral of Detroit is largely related to tax policy.

– Don Colacho is tweeting.

– You can radically lower your chances of getting divorced.

– More good stuff from James G.

It’s pretty funny that Mormons used to be persecuted for being polygamists and now they’re being persecuted for not being (de facto) polygamists.

– Is monarchy making a comeback in Europe?



7 Responses to Randoms of the past week

  1. James_G says:

    >You can radically lower your chances of getting divorced

    A very interesting article, but looking at the provisions therein:

    making over $50,000 annually; having graduated college; having a baby after rather than before marriage; marrying over 25 years of age; coming from an intact family of origin; religious affiliation

    it seems to me that apart from religion, these are all likely to be just proxies for intelligence (and the associated trait of low time preference) – so the finding is that intelligent people are better able to navigate the complex world resulting from the breakdown of social rules.

    The resulting disparity in civilisation between high-IQ and low-IQ people in the West is forcing them to live apart, and encouraging cocooning. One solution to this problem would be to try to bring about a general restoration of marriage and social conservativism; another would be to push on through and try to maintain a highly efficient social filter for intelligence, and then encourage religiousity and social conservatism amongst the social cluster of IQ120 (roughly speaking).

    One pre-requisite for this would be a genuinely efficient system of social filtering by intelligence, e.g. by bringing about the replacement of the debased state school system with (if not unschooling) private schools that are actually capable of educating the smarter kids from lower class backgrounds.

    The agent best placed to implement these objectives is, of course, the state. A significant step is therefore in seriously considering the need for a change in the system of government (rather than dancing around the problem of poor governance like these guys).

    • James_G says:

      *and then encourage religiousity and social conservatism amongst the social cluster of IQ-below-120, without impinging on the truthful beliefs and freedom of the IQ-above-120 (roughly speaking).

      • Nyk says:

        How do you encourage religiosity among people who know it in their minds that God doesn’t exist? What is learned cannot be unlearned. And it only takes a small amount of intellectual curiousity in our connected world to read the internet and find enough evidence to conclude that God doesn’t exist.

        Fortunately, there is a religious cult out there tailored for smart people: Singularitarianism (LessWrong also comes to mind as somewhat of a modern Pythagorean cult, with Eliezer as our Pythagoras).

        Singularitarianism is good for science (even “scientific racism”, as the goals are to build a friendly AI that will uplift its inferiors and people will be more willing to approach such study of human intelligence from the explicit angle of helping people improve their intelligence). But if you believe that you’ll become immortal within your lifetime… is there any incentive to have children? Still, it could work if you make people believe that the due date for the Singularity is when they will be very old. Not having smart children and future smart young adults may delay the Singularity to the point when you’ll be dead when it happens. So this way, smart people have an incentive to have children, because any above-average young adult will be able to support society and free up the geniuses to work on biological immortality and AI, or even make useful contributions to Singularitarian goals themselves.

      • James_G says:

        >How do you encourage religiosity among people who know it in their minds that God doesn’t exist?

        We are talking about the IQ-below-120 part of humanity here. That includes people with an IQ of 70. These people don’t have any profoundly internalised scientific beliefs about the non-existence of God; a shiny and oft-sharpened Occam’s razor isn’t part of their mental toolkit. Isolate them in an Amish community for a few years and many of them would become Christians.

        Setting aside existing atheists, it is possible to encourage religiosity (if not religiousity!) amongst new generations of relatively low-IQ people by e.g. replacing the government with a better government that is more tactful in the way it disrupts fragile social structures and influences social equilibria.

        I should add that this is just thinking aloud – I would have to read a lot and think a lot before defending such a policy in depth.

        >Fortunately, there is a religious cult out there tailored for smart people: Singularitarianism (LessWrong also comes to mind as somewhat of a modern Pythagorean cult, with Eliezer as our Pythagoras).

        The idea that Singularitarianism is a “cult” requires some justification. As far as I can see the core ideas are almost common sense:

        – humans are capable of understanding their environment to a very detailed level, and are increasing their knowledge rapidly.

        – the human brain is complicated, but there’s no reason to think it isn’t susceptible to scientific understanding at some point in the reasonably near future. It’s only something the blind watchmaker managed to cobble together.

        – once the brain is thoroughly understood, it will be possible to create a much more intelligent mind. Evolution is a hack, not a precision engineer, and the use of silicon removes profound biological constraints on the intelligence of the human brain (like having to constrain brain-size according to the exit dimensions of the human female)

        – the creation of an intelligence significantly greater than human intelligence has profound implications for life on Earth, for the same reason that the advent of human intelligence did.

        These points all seem very difficult to refute. The idea of recursively self-improving super-intelligence is a somewhat more debatable embellishment, but if someone as smart as Yudkowsky believes this to be a serious possibility then I’m loath to disagree. (NB: I don’t think that agreeing with smart people whilst remaining open to dissuasion => cult mentality).

        >But if you believe that you’ll become immortal within your lifetime…is there any incentive to have children?

        There is no such consensus. The general view is that reasonable probability estimates for the advent of super-human intelligence are in the 20-1000 year range (or perhaps a somewhat narrower range, but certainly not “definitely this century”).

        Obligatory xkcd.

    • I’m probably biased, because I’ve got a longstanding theory on this, but the truth is many of those are also traits of a K-selected reproductive strategy, as defined under r/K Selection Theory in Evolutionary Biology.

      r/K theory basically says nature tends to divide behavior (and the psychologies which drive it) into two extremes, each consisting of a group of related traits, and each suited to a specific environment. It does this, because from r/K’s perspective, there are only two environments, and every environment boils down to one or the other, to some degree, producing it’s respective psychology. The two environments are one which does not favor competitive fitness, usually because the presence of copious resources eliminates competition, or an environment which does favor competitive fitness, usually because of the lack of sufficient resources to go around forcing competition. In humans, we seem to have both psychologies, and they seem to be produced by both a genetic predisposition, and a final adaptation of the predisposition to the current state of the environment.

      The K-strategy, which arises when resources are scarce, and the environment favors fitness, produces a tendency towards monogamy (mate monopolization), and high investment in offspring rearing by two parents (as well as competitiveness/aggression, later age at first intercourse, and in-groupishness).

      I’d focus more on looking for K-traits, myself. Since there is a genetic component, it would make sense to look at your prospective spouse’s family, as well as her feelings towards other r/K traits, such as embrace of free competition in society (good), tolerance for single mom’ing (bad), promiscuous tendencies/history (bad), early age at first intercourse, if you can find itout (bad), manly qualities (r-selection produces masculine traits in females – so that is bad) and in-group-ishness (is she a citizen of the world, or does she say America first, and screw everyone else – very good).

      BTW – I like this blog. I would never even have heard of pejazzling.

      All while Rome burns….

  2. susanawalsh says:

    Thanks for the link, much appreciated!

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