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Comment author: katydee 30 September 2010 05:36:04AM 6 points [-]

I believe that in one infamous case in Germany, one such person arranged to be killed and eaten by a cannibal, and this actually occurred-- so at least a few of these people are truly dedicated.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 06 August 2013 12:43:45AM 2 points [-]
Comment author: Epiphany 13 August 2012 04:07:54AM *  9 points [-]

Individual intelligence differences are NOT thought of as okay. Try introducing yourself on a random message board with each of these and see what happens:

  • Hi, I'm Joe and the main thing I'm good at is art.
  • Hi, I'm Joe and I'm proud of my Native American ancestry.
  • Hi, I'm Joe and my IQ is 170.

Joe with the IQ of 170 will be called arrogant, a liar, an elitist, treated like a scam artist, or told he has no social skills. That's not telling Joe he's okay. That's telling Joe not to talk about his difference. Let's explore what it means to be told you can't talk about your difference for a moment. Imagine going into a room and saying each of the following:

  • Hey, don't say you've got Native American blood, that's socially inept.

^ This comment will surely be interpreted as racism.

  • Hey, don't say you're good at art, you're a liar.

^ This comment will be interpreted as an extremely rude or even oppressive comment. Making judgments about whether artists are "good" or "bad" is taboo and considered, by many, to be oppressive to self-expression.

  • Hey, don't say your IQ is 170, don't be an elitist.

^ This comment prejudges the person. It assumes that they're an elitist when they're just talking about an intellectual difference that doesn't prove anything about your personality.

So, why doesn't Joe get to have the same freedom to express himself without society oppressing that? Why doesn't he get to talk about his difference without expecting prejudiced remarks that jump to conclusions about who he is?

We have a million excuses for this. "People feel threatened by intellect." Well, they used to feel threatened by black people, but that doesn't excuse society from working on removing their prejudices about black people and it doesn't excuse them from working on removing their prejudices about gifted people.

"That's just not polite." <- This is an interesting excuse. I'll explain why:

Imagine you go into a room and say "Hi, I'm white." (I realize that people of any race may read this comment, I am asking you to humor my hypothetical situation for a moment.)

Your race is evident. This is a neutral statement of fact.

If someone tells you "That's just not polite." why are they saying that? They're probably confusing it with an expression of the white pride attitude that is associated with the KKK. They're assuming that you're prejudiced.

What if you went up to a bunch of random white people and accused them of hating black people? Since this doesn't happen frequently, they'd probably be mostly bewildered. But imagine if random people did that to them every day.

Prejudice is a very serious offense to be accused of. It would stress them out. They'd wonder what kinds of social and career opportunities they might be missing out on. They might become more cautious to guard their physical safety - after all, prejudice is the kind of thing people get really heated about and some people get violent when they're upset. They'd start to hide hints that they're white on things like resumes. They would be oppressed by an assumption that they're prejudiced, just the same way that they'd be oppressed by an assumption that they're all criminals.

Accusing a person of prejudice simply for being part of a certain group is, in and of itself, prejudiced. That's prejudging them based on some trait that they can't control, not on their behavior. Yet, if you claim to have a high IQ, you are very likely to be accused of elitism. People act like this prejudice against people with a high IQ is okay and that gifted people should behave like an oppressed minority by hiding their difference.

I'm glad you think it's okay with the rest of the world for people to talk about their intelligence differences, I think that's okay. But a looooooot of people don't!

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 02 August 2013 09:23:42PM 3 points [-]

I think an obvious difference between the last one and the first two is that the last one includes a number. There is no uncertainty when comparing numbers, no wriggle room for subjectivity. A real number is either smaller, bigger, or equal to another real number. Period. This rigidity does not mesh well with the flexibility that comfortable social interaction requires. I don't think this is the only reason why the third is so inappropriate, but it definitely contributes.

Comment author: Tyrrell_McAllister 19 September 2009 10:39:40PM 29 points [-]

On the whole a very good post. But here --

The reason I bring this up is that intelligent people sometimes do things more stupid than stupid people are capable of. (For example, quite recently, several respected geneticists declared that there was no such thing as race - an idea that not even the dimmest kid I knew back in Detroit would have fallen for.)

-- you misunderstand the position that you're criticizing. The claim of the geneticists is not that race does not exist, but rather that it doesn't map to the joints at which geneticists, qua geneticists, find it particularly useful to carve reality. But when trying to understand the social world, within which your kid in Detroit is steeped, Race is certainly a useful way to carve reality. And this is all that people mean when they say that Race is a social concept, not a genetic one.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 25 June 2013 12:09:46AM *  0 points [-]

And this is all that people mean when they say that Race is a social concept, not a genetic one.

That is what some people mean. Others truly believe there are literally no differences between human populations apart from skin color and bone structure, and of course culture.

Comment author: Desrtopa 23 May 2013 03:06:19AM 0 points [-]

That's a possibility, but it's one under which I would antipredict findings like this.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 30 May 2013 09:47:13PM 0 points [-]

Perhaps HFCS in particular encourages LPS bacteria. Or perhaps LPS bacteria particularly stimulates thirst for sweet liquids. It's impossible to know without (preferably both of) historical LPS and a controlled experiment. Also, your link does not establish a causal link between sugary drink consumption and obesity, merely that they've been correlated for a few decades.

Comment author: Desrtopa 13 May 2013 10:21:34PM 4 points [-]

Different nations may have different gut flora, but my past googling indicates a degree of national weight average and national caloric intake which would be awfully conspicuous if gut flora were the real mechanism at work.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 21 May 2013 09:17:05PM 1 point [-]

Perhaps the presence of LPS bacteria and the corresponding immune response provoke a larger appetite.

In response to Closet survey #1
Comment author: sjs 15 March 2009 12:59:50AM 2 points [-]

I don't believe in male bisexuality, though I do believe in it for women.

In response to comment by sjs on Closet survey #1
Comment author: AndyCossyleon 10 April 2013 01:51:29AM 2 points [-]

From your other comments, I believe you're confusing "I don't believe men who say they are bisexual" with "I don't believe men can be bisexual."

It's clear to me that, in American society at least, the majority of bisexual men are to be found among the ranks of men who would never identify as anything but straight, sometimes even to the men they have sex with(!). Conversely, many of the men that DO identify as bisexual are merely finding a graceful way to transition to a homosexual love life.

Thus, that a man who identifies as bisexual is mostly likely gay may be true (though I doubt it--especially among men who have been out as bisexual for more than, say, 5 years) is not an indication that male bisexuality doesn't exist--only that self-professed bisexuality is scantily coterminous with a bisexual orientation in males.

Being wrong in the way that you are wrong will probably not damage the accuracy of your insight when conversing with individuals about their sexuality (you'll correctly assign a high probability to his being gay if he says he's bisexual), but it probably WILL damage that accuracy when analyzing human populations in the abstract (you'll incorrectly assign a low probability to the existence of large ranks of males who engage in and enjoy sexual relations with both men and women).

Comment author: AlexSchell 25 September 2012 11:21:32PM 1 point [-]

The decriminalization of drugs in Portugal has seen a scant increase in drug use. QED

So you think an increase in drug use following decriminalization supports your view? And you were upvoted?

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 27 September 2012 10:19:12PM *  4 points [-]

AlexSchell, "scant" is essentially a negative, much like "scarce(ly)" or "hardly" or "negligible/y". Rewriting: "The decriminalization of drugs in Portugal has scarcely seen an increase in drug use." I'd argue that these sentences mean the same thing, and that together, they mean something different from "The decriminalization ... has seen a small increase ..." which is what you seem to have interpreted my statement as, though not completely illegitimately.

Comment author: DanielLC 28 December 2009 08:51:38PM 1 point [-]

The problem isn't that it can't be meaningfully defined or quantified. The problem is that it hasn't been. I have no idea how hard it is to do that. It may very well be beyond anything any human can do, but it's theoretically possible.

In the hypothetic universe, addition certainly could be defined, it's just that nobody in that universe knew how.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 11 July 2012 08:06:53PM 0 points [-]

Intelligence is a multidimensional concept that is not amenable to any single definition or quantization. Take for instance the idea of "the size of a tree." Size could mean height, drip radius, mass, volume of smallest convex polyhedron that contains the whole organism, volume of water displaced if the tree was immersed in a tank, trunk girth at 6 feet, etc. The tallest redwood is taller than the tallest sequoia, but isn't the sequoia bigger? Why is it bigger? Because it has greater mass? But what of the biggest banyan? It has a greater mass than both the redwood and the sequoia.

The problem with intelligence is not that it's not quantifiable, but that different researchers use different mapping functions all the while pretending they're measuring the exact same thing, heaping up the confusion. If you pick one specific mental activity (arithmetic, visual memory, music-compositional ability, language processing), it is rarely very difficult to measure and rank people by their adeptness. If, on the other hand, you try to come up with a "good" way to map many different intelligences together onto some scale, you're going to be terrible at using this scale to predict individual performance at specific tasks. Further, individuals with low IQ (or other attempted measure at general intelligence) may be brilliant at specific tasks because of their low IQ in that because much of their brain is dedicated to that task, they have little left over for anything else. This is especially true of many autistic individuals.

In the end, intelligence is rather easy to define if you recognize it as the multifaceted phenomena that it is.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 11 July 2012 04:46:21PM 1 point [-]

I find it much more convenient to, instead of lying, simply using ambiguous phrases to plant the false idea into someone else's mind. The important part is to make the phrase ambiguous in such a way that it can be plausibly interpreted truthfully. Say you don't want someone to know you went up the stairs, then you say "I didn't walk up the stairs" because you in fact ran up the stairs. Even if your lie is found out, this reduces the social cost since, if you are political enough, you can convince others that you didn't actually lie. And if you are very good at it, you can tailor the deception so that only a minority of people (which includes the addressee) would interpret it falsely; and you can then let the majority construe it as misunderstanding on behalf of the deceived.

Comment author: shokwave 25 May 2012 08:30:56AM 0 points [-]

doesn't the fact that these scenarios include self-referencing components bring Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem into play somehow?

Self-reference and the like is necessary for Goedel sentences but not sufficient. It's certainly plausible that this scenario could have a Goedel sentence, but whether the current problem is isomorphic to a Goedel sentence is not obvious, and seems unlikely.

Comment author: AndyCossyleon 20 June 2012 07:14:01PM 0 points [-]

Perhaps referring directly to Goedel was not apt. What Goedel showed was that Hilbert/Russell's efforts were futile. And what Hilbert and Russell were trying to do was create a formal system where actual self-reference was impossible. And the reason he was trying to do that, finally, was that self-reference creates paradoxes which reduce to either incompleteness or inconsistency. And the same is true of these more advanced decision theories. Because they are self-referencing, they create an infinite regress that precludes the existence of a "best" decision theory at all.

So, finding a best decision theory is impossible once self-reference is allowed, because of the nature of self-reference, but not quite because of Goedel's theorems, which are the stronger declaration that any formal system by necessity contains self-referential aspects that make it incomplete or inconsistent.

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