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Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group?

0 Post author: adamzerner 16 February 2016 09:43AM

This sort of thinking seems bad:

me.INTRINSIC_WORTH = 99999999; No matter what I do, this fixed property will remain constant.

This sort of thinking seems socially frowned upon, but accurate:

a.impactOnSociety(time) > b.impactOnSociety(time)

a.qualityOfCharacter > b.qualityOfCharacter // determined by things like altruism, grit, courage, self awareness...

Similar points could be made by replacing a/b with [group of people]. I think it's terrible to say something like:

This race is inherently better than that race. I refuse to change my mind, regardless of the evidence brought before me.

But to me, it doesn't seem wrong to say something like:

Based on what I've seen, I think that the median member of Group A has a higher qualityOfCharacter than the median member of Group B. I don't think there's anything inherently better about Group A. It's just based on what I've observed. If presented with enough evidence, I will change my mind.

Credit and accountability seem like good things to me, and so I want to live in a world where people/groups receive credit for good qualities, and are held accountable for bad qualities.

I'm not sure though. I could see that there are unintended consequences of such a world. For example, such "score keeping" could lead to contentiousness. And perhaps it's just something that we as a society (to generalize) can't handle, and thus shouldn't keep score.

Comments (64)

Comment author: MaximumLiberty 16 February 2016 03:40:28PM 9 points [-]

TL;DR: Group stereotyping, when based on actual group data, is most valuable where it is most unfair and vice versa.

Group stereotyping seems like it would be most useful, and also most unfair, where one uses a proxy for a information that is difficult to obtain. It is hard to come up with an example that is not a political or identity-based mind-killer. So here's a metaphor, with the wariness that a metaphor can mislead as much as it elucidates.

Let's say that we are in the business of basket-weaving. It turns out that the median left-handed person makes baskets worth 5% more than than comparable baskets made by the median right-handed person. As an industry, we have no idea why, but it is demonstrably true, and significant to our business. People invent all kinds of reasons, but no research proves out any of the reasons.

A basket business can test for the value of any individual's baskets by hiring them, having them produce baskets for a couple months, and track the sales price of their baskets. But that is a substantial investment just to get the information. The problem here is the cost of information. Group-stereotyping is the most useful when the cost of information is high. So an approach might be to prefer to hire lefties. But (unless there are asymmetries in the cost of information), it also where it is most unfair to the group member, because it is most costly to provide the information to rebut the stereotype. We end up ignoring the earnest righties who tell us for sure that they can make better baskets than the lefties we are hiring -- and they might very well be correct.

It also seems to me that using group stereotypes is most justified and least unfair where there is high asymmetry in the cost of obtaining (and verifying, if needed) the information, such that the group member can provide at trivial cost the information that is highly costly for the decision-maker to get, and the situation prompts the group member to do so. For example, if our righty basket-maker had a letter from a prior employer that explained how unusually profitable the basket-maker's baskets were, that would defeat the stereotype, because we would know to update our stereotype with individualized data that is actually probative. (An aside: in this situation, we have to avoid being distracted by things that are not probative, such as emotional appeals, irrelevant but positive information, the good looks of the applicant, and all the other things that can lead to an unreliable decision.) In our scenario, the availability of a letter of recommendation doesn't help all the novice basket-makers who are applying for their first basket-making job, so it is not a 100% solution.

One potential solution to this problem is prices, but they have their own problems. If, on average, lefties are worth 5% more than righties in making baskets, the basket industry could adopt pay practices that are directly related to the value of the baskets produced. The problem with that is complexity. That's a broad category, but I can't come up with anything else that holds all the instances. Prices are not determined just by one party; they are determined largely by the market, which means that they are path-dependent, but also evolved. In our particular situation, changing compensation models can run into issues that economists study under the heading of agency or the theory of the firm -- basically, the idea here is that we could have all kinds of unanticipated effects by changing how we put prices on the work of our basket-makers. Still, one could see adopting a test period where lefties got paid 5% more than righties, until the results were in. That doesn't really change things all that much, except that it puts a limit on the period of unfairness, and puts a deadline on updating our information.

Technology is another solution to this problem. For example, one could invent the basket-value test. It's a cheap test that is based on an academic observation of a strong correlation between your ability to identify certain visual patterns with the value of baskets produced. Presumably, if businesses are really missing the boat by failing to hire talented righties, then there is an incentive for someone to invent this technology, because it will lead businesses to use a deeper poo of labor (which presumably lowers their wage costs). What we'd really be doing is substituting one group stereotype (performance on the test) for another (handedness). That would be worth doing if the test were more specific or more precise than handedness in predicting the value of basket production.

But until that technology comes along, it does seem unfair to the specific righties to judge their productivity based strictly on membership in a group (even if for a limited period until real data arrives). If you don't agree, steel yourself against mind-killing, then take the metaphor and map it to race and conviction rates.

Comment author: pragmatist 16 February 2016 10:38:49AM *  6 points [-]

Credit and accountability seem like good things to me, and so I want to live in a world where people/groups receive credit for good qualities, and are held accountable for bad qualities.

If this is your concern, then you should take into account what sorts of groups are appropriate loci for credit and accountability. This will, of course, depend on what you think is the point of credit/accountability.

If you believe, as I do, that the function of credit and accountability is to influence future behavior, then it seems that the appropriate loci of credit/accountability should be "agential". In other words, objects of credit and blame should be capable of something resembling goal-directed alteration of behavior. Individual people are appropriate loci on this account, since they are (at least, mostly) paradigmatic agents.

Some groups might also qualify as agential, and thus as appropriate loci of credit and blame. Corporations come to mind, as do nations. But that is because those groups have a particular organizational structure that makes them somewhat agent-like. Not every group has this quality. The group of all left-handed people, for instance, is not agent-like in any relevant sense, so I don't see the point of assigning credit or blame to it. Similarly for racial groups or genders.

Comment author: username2 16 February 2016 12:16:13PM *  6 points [-]

Don't use the word "better", use specific criteria along which you want to measure people. I think that widespread conflation of betterness according to some criteria and some kind of absolute scale betterness (how do you even define it? Is it simply a social status by another name or something different?) is precisely the sort of thing that allows some people to strategically equivocate between the two concepts (or claim that other people are strategically equivocating).

Comment author: fubarobfusco 16 February 2016 10:31:38PM 4 points [-]

It seems to me that "People in Group A are better than people in Group B" is often a piece of rhetoric used to make it harder for people from Group A and Group B to cooperate with each other. This is frequently to the benefit of a small subset of one or the other group.

In short: Who benefits from elevating this sort of hypothesis to consideration? Usually, not you.

Comment author: Lyyce 16 February 2016 11:53:18AM *  3 points [-]

If one is perfectly rational (omniscience would even be better), yes, otherwise I do not think it is a good idea for a lot of reasons. Just on the top of my head :

It is very hard to be accurate, let alone objective, when analysing "impact on society" or "quality of character", and the result is dependent on the criteria used.

When there is a big variability within a group (race, genre or whatever), statistics are not very useful and you should end up with a better model by getting to know the person.

Anchoring effect : People are bad at updating evidence when given a first information, there are already enough problems with stereotypes without making it official.

Given a set of parameters, there would be strong incentives to neglect others parameters or to game the system.

Personal responsibility : One qualities depends on a lot things, what are we taking into account? Nature? Nurture? Nothing?

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 03:26:41PM 2 points [-]

We should not forget that from an evolutionary perspective (if we regard groups as the players) it is advantageous to have at least some bias in favor of the group you belong to. Groups which don't do this, are out-competed by groups who do.

Of course, too much bias leads to extremism. However, no bias at all might lead to the extinction of the group in question.

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 04:01:23PM *  3 points [-]

I know the above statement might have unfortunate implications in the wrong context, but I would like to see it proven wrong instead of just dismissed, if you think you disagree with it. Do you disagree with the factual accuracy of the statement, or are you disagreeing because of the assumptions you made about my intent?

Comment author: SilentCal 17 February 2016 08:10:52PM 0 points [-]

I didn't downvote, but I don't like your statement. I mostly agree with the biological facts, but you state them as if they apply directly and straightforwardly to the post's question about human affairs. If applied in the most obvious way, they lead to the unfortunate implications, but I don't think that application really makes sense. And I can't help suspecting these apparent implications are a result of motivated stopping.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 February 2016 04:25:35PM 0 points [-]

I know the above statement might have unfortunate implications in the wrong context, but I would like to see it proven wrong instead of just dismissed, if you think you disagree with it.

You treat the the theory group selection as fact when a lot of established biologists don't think that group selection has strong effects.

Furthermore people who speak against group selection like Steven Pinker and Richard Dawkins have a higher esteem in this community than people speaking in favor of group selection.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 16 February 2016 05:57:07PM 1 point [-]

I have a vague memory of e-mailing Dawkins a decade or so ago about group selection and getting a response which more or less summed it up to my satisfaction: There's evolution of evolvability (or something like that, he had an interesting phrase for it), which is to say, group selection can take place based on individual-level selection pressures. The example, IIRC, was the tendency for certain kinds of species to grow larger with longer reproductive cycles, then go extinct as their reproductive cycles extended out to the point where they couldn't evolve fast enough to keep up with changing conditions. Other types were individual adaptations whose dispersement gave their groups massive advantages, outcompeting all other groups; the example there, IIRC, was sexual reproduction.

Which is to say, it's wrong to say that group selection doesn't exist, but it's also wrong to say it trumps individual (or genetic) selection. Rather, the entire concept of "group" selection is wrong in something the same way "individual" selection is wrong, because it is genes, in the context of other genes, which are selected.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 February 2016 06:49:42PM 0 points [-]

The example, IIRC, was the tendency for certain kinds of species to grow larger with longer reproductive cycles, then go extinct as their reproductive cycles extended out to the point where they couldn't evolve fast enough to keep up with changing conditions.

That evolution is about a species. That's not what Val means with group.

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 04:51:21PM *  1 point [-]

Maybe we are not talking about the same thing in this case.

If I understood correctly, the evolutionary biologist's criticism against group selection is that the group selection of individuals who sacrifice their own fitness for the fitness of the group, would not work, as their genes will quickly be out-competed by cheaters. This, however, views "group selection" as a theory where the group is responsible for developing biological traits in the individuals, and as a theory which tries to explain altruistic behavior inside the group. I was not claiming any of the above.

I was not talking about an evolutionary pressure on the individual caused by the so-called "group selection theory". I was only talking about support for one's own group in contrast with support for other groups, not in contrast with support for oneself.

Also, if "group selection", as per definition, means that biological traits in individuals develop on the group level, then I was not supporting the group selection theory at all! I was talking about the competition between different groups. Where one group competes with another group.

Would you say this competition doesn't exist, and that groups didn't go extinct during the course of history because other groups were more successful?

Maybe I used the term "evolution" in a way which might be misunderstood? I'm not claiming that biological traits spread among the individuals of a group for the good of the group. I'm claiming that general cultural or social principles of one group might make the group more competitive against other groups, and we can see plenty of historical proof for it.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 February 2016 05:08:06PM -1 points [-]

If I understood correctly, the evolutionary biologist's criticism against group selection is that the group selection of individuals who sacrifice their own fitness for the fitness of the group, would not work, as their genes will quickly be out-competed by cheaters.

Modern discourse about genetics isn't an ivory tower exercise where you can reason your way to the right answer without looking at empiric reality.

Would you say this competition doesn't exist, and that groups didn't go extinct during the course of history because other groups were more successful?

I'm not sure what "group" goes extinct is supposed to mean. Species go extinct or not.

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 05:20:13PM 1 point [-]

without looking at empiric reality.

The empiric reality I'm looking at is that during the course of human history there were many groups, tribes, nations, civilizations which disappeared, and there are several in existence now, which might soon disappear if current trends continue. I doubt it would be too illogical to say that it was not only random chance, but it also played a role what values and goals those groups had, and how did those work out in comparison with the values and goals of other groups.

I'm not sure what "group" goes extinct is supposed to mean. Species go extinct or not.

Sorry for not being pedantic enough.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 February 2016 05:38:35PM 0 points [-]

The empiric reality I'm looking at is that during the course of human history there were many groups, tribes, nations, civilizations which disappeared

The fact that a nation disappear doesn't mean that there aren't any descendents of members of that nation.

Is is an topic where you can argue both the pro-group selection and the contra-group selection position based on arguments like you are making. But academics actually engaged more deeply with the subject and focused more strongly on the empiric predictions that various theories make.

As a result no argument that doesn't cite any papers will convince me.

I doubt it would be too illogical to say that it was not only random chance, but it also played a role what values and goals those groups had, and how did those work out in comparison with the values and goals of other groups.

A priori there's nothing illogical about saying it was random chance. The only way to know whether or not it was random chance is to actually studying empiric reality. That's a subject studied by experts.

it also played a role what values and goals those groups had, and how did those work out in comparison with the values and goals of other groups.

Values can chance fast culturally in a way that has nothing to do with genes. A few hundred years in which a nation forms has creates little distinct genetics that produce long-term evolutionary effects.

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 06:04:09PM *  0 points [-]

Do you never consider yourself part of a group which is smaller than "all humans"? Would you lose nothing if that group became smaller and less powerful?

The fact that a nation disappear doesn't mean that there aren't any descendents of members of that nation.

Biological descendants, yes, but they were usually much worse off (usually enslaved, having a higher chance to be genocided, or just having fewer rights or fewer possibilities)

Is is an topic where you can argue both the pro-group selection and the contra-group selection position

If you define group selection as the theory that genetic traits in individuals develop for the main purpose of making the group fitter, then I was never talking about group selection at all.

As a result no argument that doesn't cite any papers will convince me.

If you only consider hard sciences as being exclusively important, and believe that all we know about and can infer from history and culture to be completely useless, than I doubt we have much chance to speak the same language in this case. People before the last century or so didn't write much scientific papers in the modern sense, but they did write down what they've seen happening, and while there might be inaccuracies, it would be a waste to throw away everything which was ever written down which is not an article in scientific journal. The information content of old historical documents (and even the information content of myths) is not zero.

Values can chance fast culturally in a way that has nothing to do with genes. A few hundred years in which a nation forms has creates little distinct genetics that produce long-term evolutionary effects.

Of course, I completely agree with that. But I was never talking about genetics in the first place. I used the term of evolution as ... I can't find a better word... not strictly as a metaphor, but you get the idea. Would you also attack the term "stellar evolution" as it is used in astronomy because evolution only means genetics? If not, than think about that my usage, while still distinct from the genetic meaning you were talking about, is still closer to it than the term of "stellar evolution".

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 February 2016 06:37:17PM 0 points [-]

People before the last century or so didn't write scientific papers, but they did write down what they've seen happening, and while there might be inaccuracies, it would be a waste to throw away everything which was ever written down which is not an article in scientific journal. The information content of old historical documents (and even the information content of myths) is not zero.

In cases where modern science disagrees with what's written in historical documents, there are usually strong reasons to prefer the conclusions of modern science.

Notice also that you used very definite language when you said "We should not forget that from an evolutionary perspective". That's a phrase to use when refering to established knowledge and not for positions for which there are arguments in favor but that are not established.

Of course, I completely agree with that. But I was never talking about genetics in the first place.

Okay if you didn't mean it, then that's fine.

Would you also attack the term "stellar evolution" as it is used in astronomy because evolution only means genetics?

If someone uses that term in astronomy they usually communicate in way that's clear that they did't mean genetic evolution. Your post didn't have that clarity and thus deserve to be voted down for it. It's motte-and-bailey.

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 08:32:40PM *  1 point [-]

In cases where modern science disagrees with what's written in historical documents, there are usually strong reasons to prefer the conclusions of modern science.

Do you know of any modern scientific results which would prove that if members of a group stop supporting their group, than that group will not have reduced chances of survival?

It's motte-and-bailey.

Don't worry, I will not "go back to claiming" that "genetic traits in individuals develop for the main purpose of making the group fitter" after the discussion is over. :) I honestly didn't held that belief. I only held (and still hold) the belief that the survival of the fittest can also apply in the case of competition between groups, which is not something which is disproved by the arguments against group selection.

On the other hand, this discussion made me think about the possibility of people confusing the above with the term "group selection", and having read that "group selection is obsolete, not supported, and wrong" might conclude that it's not true that groups adapt, change, and get stronger or get destroyed based on how fit (how well group members are supporting the group also making part of the fitness of the group) and how adaptive they are compared to other groups, although this is not what group selection is about.

Comment author: 9eB1 16 February 2016 05:16:59PM 1 point [-]

I recently read an interesting article that touched on this The Three Lessons of Biological History which was extracted from The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. I believe this is what you are talking about, not the strictly biological perspective others are inferring.

Comment author: Lyyce 16 February 2016 04:38:11PM 0 points [-]

Group are very fluid entities, and can be defined by pretty much any parameter, which make your statement a bit vague. But even without considering that, there are shortcomings in your theory.

On an individual point of view, being biased towards one group will reduce your own possibilities, it will also reduce the incentives for your group to adapt and better itself. To be fair, it has nothing do with your theory, but still is worth saying imo

Your proposition could also be interpreted has a prisoner dilemna, with each group as a player, not being biased is to cooperate and be biased is to defect. The rational decision for every group is to defect, but everyone would be better if everyone is cooperating. One solution is to have a higher authority impose cooperation, with non-discrimination laws for example.

Comment author: Val 16 February 2016 05:08:09PM *  1 point [-]

everyone would be better if everyone is cooperating

I agree with this view. And as I was not claiming that it would be good to be too much biased and always (or too often) defect. However, if there is a general tendency of how often / how likely do all the groups defect and cooperate, then one group who pledges to never ever defect no matter what, will see that the other groups will defect against it, solely because they know they will always win. The solution of the prisoner's dilemma requires the possibility, or at least the ability for you to defect, even if you don't choose it. Otherwise your opponent will always defect.

Comment author: AlexMennen 17 February 2016 04:20:29AM 1 point [-]

Humans are already biased towards thinking that various positive characteristics are correlated with each other. Keeping track of an explicit "goodness" variable would make that even worse. So while I don't see anything wrong with comparing specific characteristics between people or groups of people, I endorse the norm that it is not acceptable to make statements of the form "Person A is better than Person B" or "Group A is better than Group B". "Quality of character" is nowhere near specific enough.

Comment author: HungryHobo 16 February 2016 05:13:12PM *  1 point [-]

Define qualityOfCharacter and impactOnSociety.

I mean someone else might score you very low on qualityOfCharacter because your family has totally failed to provide a sacrificial infant for the yearly solstice ceremony. (Failure to support important social traditions)

Another might rate your qualityOfCharacter as very low because you reported a neighbor to the police for selling weed on the street corner. (betrayal of member of ingroup to a member of the outgroup)

Another might rate your impactOnSociety as terrible because you eat meat and thus help increase the suffering of creatures around you.

Though if you can come up with a definition of impactOnSociety() that almost everyone from a wide range of backgrounds can agree on then you're probably half way to a utility function for a friendly AI.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 February 2016 04:19:34PM 1 point [-]

Basically your question is whether it makes sense to reduce the judegment of the value of a person to a single dimension.

In practice that's what China is reported to be planning with social credit whereby your credit score will also be shown on your dating profile to make sure that all the high quality people get dates while the low quality people have it harder.

Such a system provides a lot of accountability for individual actions. Is that what you want to have?

Comment author: OrphanWilde 17 February 2016 02:54:35PM -1 points [-]

Persons, yes. Nobody is seriously bothered by the suggestion that Bill Gates is a better person than a serial child murderer. Groups...

Well, that's more dangerous territory. There are places where this is acceptable - declaring that football team X is better than football team Y is generally acceptable, and doesn't appear to cause any harm or real ill-will. (Unless we're talking non-US football/soccer, where the sport stands in for otherwise carefully concealed racism and nationalism.)

However, when you get into the carefully-avoided territory of gender or "race" the discussion gets convoluted, precisely because historically people have been absolutely terrible at making accurate judgements of the relative merits of groups. If it's fair to say that heuristics about race can be useful, it's far more fair to say that heuristics about beliefs can be useful, and all our heuristics on beliefs about non-trivial groups say - don't have them, and certainly don't say them out loud.

Which is to say, even if it's accurate to say that X group is more prone to criminal behavior, it's equally accurate to say people who say that a group is more prone to criminal behavior are more prone to engage in criminal behavior themselves. Decision theory conflicts on what you should do here (as this is more-or-less another formulation of Solomon's Problem or whatever that problem about cancer and chewing gum is called).

Comment author: Old_Gold 17 February 2016 06:16:19PM 6 points [-]

and all our heuristics on beliefs about non-trivial groups say - don't have them, and certainly don't say them out loud.

Of course, if you refuse to discuss race and crime, someone will point out that more blacks get arrested than whites and claim that this is due to police racism. More generally, once you start lying the truth is ever after your enemy.

For example, you may have heard that social science is in the midst of a replication crisis, well there is one area of social science where that isn't the case, namely IQ research and its correlates. Of course, for most social scientists openly stating that differences of race or gender are significant, or really anything that makes a black, woman, LGBT, or other member of a protected category look bad is career-killing. Hence social scientists are reduced to doing data dredges which unsurprisingly don't replicate. The current state of social science is like what astronomy would be like if astronomers weren't allowed to say anything that might imply the earth might not be flat.

Which is to say, even if it's accurate to say that X group is more prone to criminal behavior, it's equally accurate to say people who say that a group is more prone to criminal behavior are more prone to engage in criminal behavior themselves.

Of course, history also says that people who spread false beliefs about equality are much much more prone to criminal behavior (or at least behavior that would be criminal if the people doing it weren't in charge of the state). This is a special case of the danger posed by people committed to readily falsifiable and false beliefs.

Comment author: WalterL 17 February 2016 07:01:57PM 0 points [-]

It's really funny to me that your "terrible" quote and your "doesn't seem wrong" quote are mostly the same things, just with the second emphasizing over and over that you'd be willing to change your mind.

But what's going on here is just our old familiar dilemma of justice vs. truth. It SHOULDN'T be profitable to use someone's skin color as a quick proxy for what's inside their heads. That would be monstrously unfair. People can't help their skin color. It would totally be bullshit that certain shades of human would turn out to be more likely to be late every morning. Imagine if that was also applied to gender? Holy information asymmetry Batman!

Thing is, though, these beliefs will save you money. Extend more trust to folks with the 'good' characteristics, less to those with the 'bad' ones. Hiring a clerk for your urban youth patronized Footlocker? Got 50 applicants? Odds are, the white girl isn't in a gang. She could be, of course. If Warriors has taught us nothing else it is that anyone might be in a gang. But she probably isn't. What about the 30 black dudes? They probably aren't either. The majority of hu-nams aren't. But each of them is more likely to be than she is.

So, you've got a simple set of rules (which I'll snidely sum up as 'Always prefer white dudes for everything'), which seems like, by the numbers, it would save you money. You like money. As Danny DeVito said in that movie, "Everyone does, that's why its called money!". But there's a cost. You don't want to be known as a racist/sexist/age-ist/mental health-ist (even though, you actually would be if you did this).

Solution: Use these rules and rigorously deny that you do. Call it the Silicon Valley strategy, or the Patriarchy, if you are being mean about it.

Comment author: Old_Gold 17 February 2016 10:12:38PM 6 points [-]

But what's going on here is just our old familiar dilemma of justice vs. truth. It SHOULDN'T be profitable to use someone's skin color as a quick proxy for what's inside their heads. That would be monstrously unfair. People can't help their skin color.

People largely can't help what's inside their head either.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 18 February 2016 08:21:09AM -1 points [-]

I was about to nitpick your point before I remembered it'd be even easier to nitpick WalterL's. :-)

Comment author: Lumifer 18 February 2016 07:35:04PM 0 points [-]

That would be monstrously unfair.

I am sorry, do you expect our universe to be fair? 8-0

Comment author: gjm 16 February 2016 12:46:18PM -1 points [-]

Based on what I've seen, I think that the median member of Group A has a higher qualityOfCharacter than the median member of Group B. I don't think there's anything inherently better about Group A.

Having a higher median "qualityOfCharacter" seems to me like it is an inherently better thing.

Aside from that, I basically agree completely with Lyyce except that I think "one" near the start of that comment should be replaced with "everyone".

Comment author: Dagon 17 February 2016 02:58:15PM 0 points [-]

What's the outcome of this measurement and acknowledgement? How will you use the belief that a median member of a group has some better qualities than a median member of another group?

Why focus on groups rather than individuals, and why on qualities rather than accomplishments?

Comment author: Viliam 17 February 2016 01:52:14PM *  0 points [-]

One day if we'll have the explicit formula for human Coherent Extrapolated Volition, it may become possible to measure one's impact on the society on a single scale. Until then, there is no such thing as a scalar "a.impactOnSociety(time)".

Also: there are many sources of evidence about a person. Some people stop immediately after taking one piece of evidence (such as race) into account, even if there are other pieces available. Of course such motivated thinking is a mistake separate from mere "using evidence about people / groups".