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Azrael Rand

The Case for Open Objectivism

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On 11/2/2018 at 7:25 PM, Eiuol said:

Right, but my expectation here is that regardless of how good the evidence is, or regardless of what I say, you are going to claim bias about the science.

&

On 11/2/2018 at 9:40 PM, Eiuol said:

It isn't proof, so it would be more accurate then to say "scientists don't study X anymore because..." instead of "scientists don't study X". But if you also study the reasons scientists don't study X, it can be evidence. In science, we usually talk about evidence, rather than strictly "proof".

So at first you're telling me no matter how good the evidence is I would discount it and now we're down to discussing the differences in meaning between "evidence" and "proof."

As previously stated, scientists are not immune from political and cultural influences. Politicians and bureaucrats suppress scientific evidence that doesn't support their views; if you'd like me to list evidence of this I can so on demand. People respond to incentives, and scientists are people. Now I'm not going to claim that scientists not studying the role of genetics on behavior is proof of my assertion because today's culture would consider such research immoral. This is why I listed the following points to support my argument:

On 10/31/2018 at 8:53 PM, Azrael Rand said:

What I can currently provide are my observations of reality and my reasoning:

Facts:

- There are different average IQ values between different ethnic groups.

- These differences aren't limited to one geographic area but persist if members of an ethnic group move from one area to another.

- Groups of mixed race composition have an average IQ range somewhere between the two original group's average IQ range.

- IQ values can vary quite significantly between individuals from retarded to normal to genius level.

- Traits other than intelligence vary between various ethnic groups.

- It is a fact that people are resistant to facts that contradict their belief system.

- Different environments put different evolutionary pressures on its inhabitants favoring certain traits over others.

- Correlation does not necessarily equal causation but it doesn't preclude it either.

Based on the list of facts above how can someone claim that:

- The case for significant genetic differences should be considered to be inferior compared to the commonly held belief by Western nations based on a shared sense of morality.

- It should be dismissed without proof even if prevailing beliefs cannot be substantiated.

- That nature can produce vastly different IQ values between individuals, yet that averages between different ethnic groups cannot be significantly different even if these groups have historically inhabited different environments with different evolutionary pressures.

The only thing you've provided is that scientists don't study genetic influence on behavior anymore because it's not a factor. But what evidence or study/studies made them come to that realization? If you don't know this how can you be sure that this is really the reason they stopped studying it? How do you know this line of reasoning isn't a rationalization vs knowledge of objective facts?

On 11/1/2018 at 12:44 PM, Eiuol said:

My scientific evidence is the studies that show that biological group categories do not account for behavioral differences.

This is your original statement and I'm fairly certain that I've already disproven it by making a reference to differences in average behavior based on gender unless you dispute that gender qualifies as a biological group category or that average differences in behavior exist among the genders.

As Objectivists we should seek out conflicting information because objective truths are the foundation of our philosophy. Given human nature this is no easy task but considering the alternatives, I think a little (or a lot) of emotional discomfort trumps the consequences of ignoring objective truths as proven by history.

On 11/3/2018 at 7:25 AM, softwareNerd said:

On a separate issue: tribalism is not genetic: not in the way you use those two terms. You seem to use "genetic" to mean something specific to one's particular parent... in the sense that if something is genetic I might have inherited it and you may not... because we have different parents. Used in that sense, tribalism is  not genetic.

It could well be genetic in the proper use of the term: i.e. that is is influenced by something in our genes. But, that is a completely different concept.

Aside: People form tribes around all sorts of things... even silly things like the football team that was closest to their middle-school, or the floor they work on in a large corporate office.  

I'm not a scientist by trade so I can't guarantee that my usage of scientific terms perfectly matches the acceptable usage of these terms in the scientific community. Let me restate the quoted material in a different way: Do you agree or disagree that tribalism (and selfishness for that matter) are an inherently part of human nature (to some extent) or do you believe that these attributes are entirely social constructs?

As for your aside, I believe it supports my case that the tribal aspect is an inherent aspect of human nature. I never stated that tribalism only manifested itself around race.

On 11/3/2018 at 9:29 AM, Doug Morris said:

If I acquire a nuclear weapon I am seriously endangering my neighbors and their property, to such an extent that I don't really have a right to do it.  It makes no difference if I paid good money for the nuke and am keeping it on my own property.

The point I was trying to make here is that individual liberties aren't necessarily absolutes in every instance and based on human nature will have to be reigned in by group considerations (for example taxation used for national defense). Having said that I'm certainly not going to run away from a debate I opened the door to so here goes:

The act of acquiring a nuclear weapon in and of itself does not necessarily endanger a neighbors life or property so long as it's transported, handled, and stored in a secure and appropriate manner. Now handling the warhead in a manner that is unsafe would give a neighbor grounds to file a claim in court. Also your scenario presupposes the existence of neighbors. What if said rich individual purchased a remote and unpopulated area of land? You didn't even consider that scenario.

On 11/3/2018 at 9:29 AM, Doug Morris said:

For further clarification, if I own a gun, this does not give me the right to use it in any way I see fit.  If I do something on my land that causes, or is likely to cause, harm on adjoining property, I am violating the rights of the owner of that property. 

Exactly, but that doesn't make it illegal to own a gun in and of itself. It's the inappropriate usage of one's personal property that infringes upon the neighbors rights.

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6 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

Do you agree or disagree that tribalism (and selfishness for that matter) are an inherently part of human nature (to some extent) or do you believe that these attributes are entirely social constructs?

It really depends on what you mean by "tribalism". Since we're on this forum, maybe you're using Rand's concept, which I'll paraphrase as:   the tendency to join group based on something other than reasoned choice

And what does it mean for something to be "inherent" in human nature? For instance, does it mean things that manifest themselves when men do not use reason to their fullest, but allow themselves to be guided by something else?

If you put those two together, the conclusion almost writes itself.

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7 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

As previously stated, scientists are not immune from political and cultural influences.

I'm not disputing that, but that seems to be the primary basis for all of your skepticism. If claims I've made don't conform very well to your claims, you been bringing up that scientists are just being biased. 

They do study genetics and behavior, it happens, particularly with personality, but is not remotely a big deal as you think it is. For instance, is definitely studied when examining schizophrenia or other mental disorders. Sometimes genetics can make one more inclined to behave a certain way (e.g., your sensitivity to alcohol, which is genetic, can contribute to you becoming an alcoholic), but at least with these, scientists start by studying rats, and have a proposed biological construct to study (e.g., certain chemicals and their impact on neurotransmitters). IQ is not such a construct. You could make arguments for simple behaviors and genetics, which is why we can use rats. As far as advanced cognitive abilities, genetics does not do enough work. The concept "race" does even less work. 

So, it's more precise to say that genetics is studied when people know very specific biological constructs or psychological constructs. Broadly speaking, it's not very important. "Important" depends on the scientist, I'm using important to convey understand human behavior in a general way. But for complete understanding, it has value. But -race- isn't going to be used for genetic studies. 

7 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

How do you know this line of reasoning isn't a rationalization vs knowledge of objective facts?

How do I know it's the real reason? Because I study this stuff. Because I studied psychology a lot. Because I'm expected to know these sort of things. I know this might sound like an appeal to authority, is more like an appeal to trust. Clearly, if you have no/low trust in scientists, anything I say won't matter. Are you genuinely interested in reading about developmental psychology? If so, I will mention some books.

7 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

unless you dispute that gender qualifies as a biological group category or that average differences in behavior exist among the genders.

I dispute that in exactly the same way. To be clear, I'm not saying there are no behavioral differences, I'm saying the behavioral differences are not accounted for by things like brain or hormonal differences. There are precise and narrow differences you might be able to find (I usually dispute those studies, for good reasons I don't want to get into right now, but I grant that there are potential hypotheses where there are biological differences that account for some behaviors). But by and large, it doesn't help much. Differences are not as profound as you might think. 

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What, exactly, do you mean by individual liberties being absolutes and who is saying that they necessarily are in every instance?

If I possess a nuclear weapon, there might be a mistake or accident involving it, or vandals might break in and mess with it without knowing what they are doing, or someone sick, malicious, and suicidal might break in and get at it.  If it were an ordinary gun, the potential for harm from these possibilities would not be enough to make me guilty of a physical aggression.  With a nuke, the potential for harm would be much greater.  Your hypothetical rich person might not be committing a physical aggression, depending on how big the nuke was, how far his property extended from it in all directions, and how well he warned people that his property was dangerous.

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22 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

It really depends on what you mean by "tribalism". Since we're on this forum, maybe you're using Rand's concept, which I'll paraphrase as:   the tendency to join group based on something other than reasoned choice.

Yes, that's what I had in mind when using the term.

22 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

And what does it mean for something to be "inherent" in human nature? For instance, does it mean things that manifest themselves when men do not use reason to their fullest, but allow themselves to be guided by something else?

We are selfish by nature, it's how we're born. Someone doesn't teach you to be selfish it's just there. The same is true for our tendency to want to form groups with people with whom we share something in common. We are a selfish and social species.

22 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

If you put those two together, the conclusion almost writes itself.

Does this conclusion of yours account for the fact that humans are led by emotion not reason as part of our natural default behavior? Ayn Rand claimed the opposite by science confirmed her wrong.

 

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I'm not disputing that, but that seems to be the primary basis for all of your skepticism. If claims I've made don't conform very well to your claims, you been bringing up that scientists are just being biased. 

Not at all and I never made a statement to that effect; rather I posted the facts and reasoning I used to arrive at my assertion not once but twice to provide clarity on this matter.

Objectively conducted science and scientific discoveries are the most reliable means of understanding objective reality. As Objectivists we must embrace science not reject it; we're in agreement here. The value of science lies in its discoveries that are then verified by others scientists; that's the best way at arriving at the truth; equating truth with assumptions based upon the behavior of a certain number of scientists in a given time period is not what the scientific process is about. This method does not allow us to properly account for the real biases I make reference to. Peer reviewed studies do. Remember that correlation does not equal causation.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

They do study genetics and behavior, it happens, particularly with personality, but is not remotely a big deal as you think it is.

First they don't, but now they do. I see now how the truth can seem to be unknowable at times. :D

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Sometimes genetics can make one more inclined to behave a certain way (e.g., your sensitivity to alcohol, which is genetic, can contribute to you becoming an alcoholic), but at least with these, scientists start by studying rats, and have a proposed biological construct to study (e.g., certain chemicals and their impact on neurotransmitters). IQ is not such a construct. You could make arguments for simple behaviors and genetics, which is why we can use rats.

Appreciate the background information but both you and I agree that rat studies are not relevant to a discussion of average human IQ differences seeing as you admit they can't be used to study differences in cognitive abilities such as abstract thought something even the most intelligent rat in the world isn't capable of doing (to my knowledge). What I'm getting from this is that scientists would rather spend time on studying rats than humans because of ethical considerations. Which doesn't do us any good here (other than to potentially highlight the point that scientists would rather avoid controversy).

What we're concerned about in this discussion are the potential implication of differences in average group IQ having an effect on abstract thinking, to appreciate concepts such as freedom, justice, free-market capitalism, individual rights, etc ,and the resulting impact on society based on group composition.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

As far as advanced cognitive abilities, genetics does not do enough work.

When and where was this confirmed to be true as it relates to human cognitive abilities including the ability to think in abstracts.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

The concept "race" does even less work. 

Again where's the proof. The fact that scientists don't appear to study this particular subject matter is't a strong argument because it doesn't get us past the issue of bias and conflict of interest.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

How do I know it's the real reason? Because I study this stuff. Because I studied psychology a lot. Because I'm expected to know these sort of things. I know this might sound like an appeal to authority, is more like an appeal to trust. Clearly, if you have no/low trust in scientists, anything I say won't matter.

I trust the output of the scientific process more than I do the individual scientists themselves. Not because I think they're bad people or harbor ill will towards others, rather because individuals are subject too subconscious bias as mentioned. I think this is a rational stance to take.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Are you genuinely interested in reading about developmental psychology? If so, I will mention some books. 

If you believe they contain facts that directly discredit the "race realism" case then yes.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

To be clear, I'm not saying there are no behavioral differences, I'm saying the behavioral differences are not accounted for by things like brain or hormonal differences. There are precise and narrow differences you might be able to find (I usually dispute those studies, for good reasons I don't want to get into right now, but I grant that there are potential hypotheses where there are biological differences that account for some behaviors). But by and large, it doesn't help much. Differences are not as profound as you might think.  

If the differences are big enough as to impact the average population's ability to think in terms of abstracts then in my opinion it would affect the calculus of how to best organize society around objective truths, especially when we add our tribal and emotional nature to the equation. To be honest I don't even think the average white person is able to engage in abstract thought to the extent required to form and sustain a truly free society. I would point to the fact that the founding fathers felt it necessary to rationalize their ideology using religion and god. If they thought the average person was able to fully understand and respect their conclusions why go the extra mile? But when compared to other populations, the societies whites tend to produce are objectively better than those of other races with average IQ levels below whites. Again please refer to the list of arguments I previously made. As stated before, genetics alone isn't enough; culture also plays at least as much of a role.

 

4 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

What, exactly, do you mean by individual liberties being absolutes and who is saying that they necessarily are in every instance?

My intent was to communicate that under an objective system, given human nature, that individual liberties would in certain instances be subject to group considerations based on the fact that we are both selfish and groupish in nature.

Edited by Azrael Rand

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2 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

equating truth with assumptions based upon the behavior of a certain number of scientists in a given time period is not what the scientific process is about.

But you don't understand, I'm saying that scientists, generally when discussing human behavior, don't study those things much because they don't matter a great deal. The argument isn't that "scientists do this by tradition", the argument is that scientists do these things because they've tried other things before. When scientists get a PhD, they are expected to refer and discuss previous studies to even get a dissertation approved. I'm not about to get into the entire history of psychology. Your speculations are not enough. It's fine to discuss various possible biases of scientists, but you haven't provided reasons to think that something important is being actively ignored, as if you have the expertise to rely on common sense. 

We were talking about how people try to generally explain behavior, and genetics is not a primary means to do that, but it is a relevant factor to a degree. I'm sorry for imprecision in my wording, the main point is that while genetics tell you something, it's limited and not studied for developmental cognitive psychology (perhaps there are a few, but they aren't groundbreaking studies). It's not that helpful for thinking about human behavior which is almost all cognitive. So, generally, scientists aren't going to study it. (I didn't say never study.)

2 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

What we're concerned about in this discussion are the potential implication of differences in average group IQ having an effect on abstract thinking, to appreciate concepts such as freedom, justice, free-market capitalism, individual rights, etc ,and the resulting impact on society based on group composition.

If you eliminate the presumptions that IQ is highly causally connected to one's race in terms of genetics (keeping in mind what I said way earlier about why IQ would be explained more by genetics when they are much older), I'm fine with much of what you wrote in this paragraph related to abstract thinking, but not about freedom or individual rights. They aren't particularly complex concepts, compared to  concepts in calculus or particle physics.

3 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

I trust the output of the scientific process more than I do the individual scientists themselves.

The scientific process depends on the individual scientists, so you can't really rely on the process of science in whole more than the individual scientists. Well, do you mean that in sum, scientists collaborating and discussing can help deal with individual scientists who might be biased or do bad science? I'm not sure if that helps either, because I'd say people are even more inclined to be biased in group settings. So, I would say individual scientists are the most important - if you're going to trust a given scientific field, you need to trust specific scientists. Good science flows from them (and bad science stems from bad scientists) Anyway, along those lines a specific scientists, I'll tell you more about the science of developmental psychology. Books that is. 

I think we've reached an impasse here. But, I do think you're reasonable enough to explore my book suggestions. I'll also mention some scientists by name, not those I necessarily agree with, names to think about.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 
Dean Simonton
Susan Carey
this book: https://www.amazon.com/Organization-Learning-Development-Conceptual-Change/dp/026257098X
Robert Sternberg
 

3 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

the societies whites tend to produce are objectively better than those of other races with average IQ levels below whites.

It's reckless and silly to not divide up the numerous kinds of white societies. There are so many that the term white basically doesn't mean a thing. Southern Europe and northern Europe are very different, and I would argue that northern European civilizations are objectively worse than any other "white" groups. They didn't come up with Roman society. The careless use of the term white ruins any potential argument you might have for genetics, because it discredits how careful your reasoning is. 

*

3 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

I would point to the fact that the founding fathers felt it necessary to rationalize their ideology using religion and god. If they thought the average person was able to fully understand and respect their conclusions why go the extra mile?

Just to add, this isn't really true. Some of them thought that, others didn't. Jefferson did that. Hamilton didn't. The better founding fathers actually referred to Roman law and British law practices more than anything. And yeah, I'm saying Jefferson is not one of the better founding fathers. 

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7 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

... humans are led by emotion not reason as part of our natural default behavior? Ayn Rand claimed the opposite by science confirmed her wrong.

If Rand claimed that people don't let emotions influence them, she was wrong.

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11 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

Does this conclusion of yours account for the fact that humans are led by emotion not reason as part of our natural default behavior? Ayn Rand claimed the opposite by science confirmed her wrong.

Ayn Rand did not claim the opposite.  She said that human consciousness is volitional and that reason is not automatic and requires effort.  

Anyone who does not put forth much mental effort will be guided by emotions and/or the path of least resistance.

11 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

to appreciate concepts such as freedom, justice, free-market capitalism, individual rights, etc

I'm skeptical of the notion that there is anyone who is truly unable to do this except for the mentally retarded, or at least some of them.

11 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

To be honest I don't even think the average white person is able to engage in abstract thought to the extent required to form and sustain a truly free society.

As I said, I'm skeptical.  If it's true that the average person is unable to engage in abstract thought to the extent required to form and sustain a truly free society., we'd better hope that they'll at least be willing to go along when there is enough of a consensus among the more able thinkers.  If even that isn't true, we may be screwed, but I'm not worried.

12 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

I would point to the fact that the founding fathers felt it necessary to rationalize their ideology using religion and god.

To what extent were they pandering to the masses, and to what extent did they truly believe in some sort of God?  My understanding is that at least some of them were deists, which is a halfway house on the road from traditional religion to unbelief.

12 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

My intent was to communicate that under an objective system, given human nature, that individual liberties would in certain instances be subject to group considerations based on the fact that we are both selfish and groupish in nature.

This is vague.  It reminds me of someone I saw posting on a liberal blog who said we are not "totally free" because we are not free to rape, rob, and murder.  Can you clarify?

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The April, 2018 issue of National Geographic has articles on race that may be helpful.  In particular, the genetic differences within sub-Saharan Africa are greater than the genetic differences within a group that includes some people in eastern Africa and all of the people that left sub-Saharan Africa.

Edited by Doug Morris
clarification

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On 10/23/2018 at 2:13 AM, Eiuol said:

...because race is defined by perception of other people, not actually genetics...

Race isn't defined by perception. It's defined by lineage.

For example, this random girl (Pooja Gantra) is Indian / South Asian no matter what she looks like, because that's her lineage:

cropped_pooja-red-hair-casters.jpg.544c4c2a10a306a0eaf728acaeb5d4d8.jpg

 

Also, some Indians can look black (if you exclude the hair). Again a genetic test would prove that their (recent) ancestry is Indian / South Asian, not African. Besides, there are plenty of genetic tests commonly available (AncestryDNA, 23andMe) that are way more accurate than perception.

Finally, there's a reason your perception of different people are usually different. If people's genetics were the same, you wouldn't be able to tell them apart (mostly). The fact that you can tell people apart implies some consistent (although complex) genetic differences between races (race needs to exist [in addition to perception] before you can perceive it. You can't perceive something which doesn't exist). Geneticists probably don't use race because it's probably useless to them. But "racists" definitely need to use genetics as race depends on genetics.

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3 hours ago, human_murda said:

Race isn't defined by perception. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_categorization) vs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup

3 hours ago, human_murda said:

because that's her lineage

This is a family tree or a genealogy, not race. 

3 hours ago, human_murda said:

Geneticists probably don't use race because it's probably useless to them.

Like the geneticists at Ancestry.

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6 hours ago, Eiuol said:

This is a family tree or a genealogy, not race.

Lineage applies to both race and family tree. Family tree is just a more detailed form of race. It applies to a scale of 10  - 100 people. Race applies to a much larger scale of millions and even billions of people. They're both the same concept at different scales and aren't mutually exclusive. 'Proxima Centauri' and 'human race' are mutually exclusive concepts. "Family tree' and 'race' aren't mutually exclusive concepts. Lineage can even be defined wrt. species.

 

And what genes do all humans have in common that we don't have in common with chimpanzees? Do humans exist?

 

6 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Like the geneticists at Ancestry.

Nah. That's their entire job.

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On 11/7/2018 at 6:22 PM, Azrael Rand said:

We are selfish by nature, it's how we're born. Someone doesn't teach you to be selfish it's just there. The same is true for our tendency to want to form groups with people with whom we share something in common. We are a selfish and social species.

On 11/6/2018 at 8:18 PM, softwareNerd said:

If you take an introductory ethics course, you may be introduced to two basic propositions: One is called psychological egoism, the proposition that we do in fact act in our self-interest by definition. The other is called ethical egoism, the proposition that we ought to act in our self-interest.

These are two different propositions. One is about the scope of what our actions are motivated by, and the other is about the scope of what our legitimate concerns ought to be. One can be a psychological egoist and an ethical egoist, but in being an ethical egoist one need not necessarily be a psychological egoist. Note that simply stating the position of psychological egoism is not to advance one over the other. Or if I simply said "everyone is selfish" that doesn't constitute an argument. Also simply saying that we are motivated by some concern it does not follow that said concern is actually in one's self-interest.

And again, since Rand held that people are social (although she had actual arguments for human sociality, not just simply assertions) it's hard to see how that ("people are social") constitutes an objection, rather than component of, Rand's version of ethical egoism.

Edited by 2046

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I once looked at, but did not read, a book on philosophy (by Friedrich Hayek, I think - there are at least two such books).  I looked up what he said about Ayn Rand.  He mentioned her once, as the only exception he knew of to a general statement he was making about philosophers, that egoists are psychological egoists and altruists are ethical altruists.

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On 11/7/2018 at 10:37 PM, Eiuol said:

But you don't understand, I'm saying that scientists, generally when discussing human behavior, don't study those things much because they don't matter a great deal. The argument isn't that "scientists do this by tradition", the argument is that scientists do these things because they've tried other things before. When scientists get a PhD, they are expected to refer and discuss previous studies to even get a dissertation approved.

&

On 11/7/2018 at 10:37 PM, Eiuol said:

We were talking about how people try to generally explain behavior, and genetics is not a primary means to do that, but it is a relevant factor to a degree. I'm sorry for imprecision in my wording, the main point is that while genetics tell you something, it's limited and not studied for developmental cognitive psychology (perhaps there are a few, but they aren't groundbreaking studies). It's not that helpful for thinking about human behavior which is almost all cognitive. So, generally, scientists aren't going to study it.

I understand what you're saying. However a factor to consider is that you're referring to behavior studies in general whereas I'm referring to very specific behaviors based on differences in cognitive abilities. Do the lessons learned from a generalized field of study apply equally to the specific subsection we're discussing? There's no guarantee that this isn't an exception to the rule type of scenario. Can't even imagine how you would go about proving that one without directly studying race and IQ and then comparing it to the more generic behavior studies.

On 11/7/2018 at 10:37 PM, Eiuol said:

If you eliminate the presumptions that IQ is highly causally connected to one's race in terms of genetics (keeping in mind what I said way earlier about why IQ would be explained more by genetics when they are much older), I'm fine with much of what you wrote in this paragraph related to abstract thinking, but not about freedom or individual rights. They aren't particularly complex concepts, compared to  concepts in calculus or particle physics.

Having a basic understanding is one thing, whereas fully understanding and appreciating their importance as it impacts society as a whole, especially at the ballot box is another.

On 11/7/2018 at 10:37 PM, Eiuol said:

The scientific process depends on the individual scientists, so you can't really rely on the process of science in whole more than the individual scientists. Well, do you mean that in sum, scientists collaborating and discussing can help deal with individual scientists who might be biased or do bad science? I'm not sure if that helps either, because I'd say people are even more inclined to be biased in group settings. So, I would say individual scientists are the most important - if you're going to trust a given scientific field, you need to trust specific scientists. Good science flows from them (and bad science stems from bad scientists)

That sounds very reasonable to me. Like I said before I like scientists that decide to pursue a topic even if studying it has the potential of landing them in the dog house. At last then I know they care more about objective reality and the scientific process than self-promotion. Now if I had said what you said in that quote you would have replied by saying, "so any scientist I quote you'll simply dismiss as a bad scientist because what they're saying doesn't support your side." Admit it ;D

Thanks for providing a list of scientists and the book recommendation. The question I have about the book is as follows: Does reading the book in its entirety actually disprove the race realism argument or does it make an indirect case against it similar to the argument you've been making? The problem with this line of argument is that it requires us to assume that certain variables transfer over from the cases discussed in the book to a different case that is similar but not necessarily the same.

On 11/7/2018 at 10:37 PM, Eiuol said:

It's reckless and silly to not divide up the numerous kinds of white societies. There are so many that the term white basically doesn't mean a thing. Southern Europe and northern Europe are very different, and I would argue that northern European civilizations are objectively worse than any other "white" groups. They didn't come up with Roman society. The careless use of the term white ruins any potential argument you might have for genetics, because it discredits how careful your reasoning is.

Don't disagree but if you compare say European countries to African countries in general there is still a distinct enough difference between the two categories to have meaning. Of course race isn't everything, culture matters at least as much. I'm confident I have my bases covered here.

On 11/7/2018 at 10:37 PM, Eiuol said:

I think we've reached an impasse here.

Yes and no. I think I have a good enough understanding of your side of the argument and you know where I'm coming from. From what I understand your case is that in order for you to present the next level of your case I'd have to catch up to your level of knowledge in terms of psychology and its history.

Seeing as we're doing closing arguments (kind of sort of) I'll present two more exhibits of evidence. Exhibit A follows in line with my previous arguments based on facts, reason, and evidence (includes references) and Exhibit B is an unapologetic appeal to emotion acknowledging the impact of emotion to human cognition. If it's true that certain people are resistant to facts, reason, and evidence at certain points in time in their lives then it makes sense to present this type of evidence once all traditional resources have been exhausted.

Exhibit A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TffVVcfnaBE

Exhibit B: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1PL3xQu16w

Edited by Azrael Rand

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2 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

Does reading the book in its entirety actually disprove the race realism argument or does it make an indirect case against it similar to the argument you've been making? The problem with this line of argument is that it requires us to assume that certain variables transfer over from the cases discussed in the book to a different case that is similar but not necessarily the same.

I don't think a direct case is possible, because I think the race realist argument can only be defeated by a multi-perspective approach. That is, it's an entire epistemological argument where conceptually, the concepts just don't hold up. Statistically and theoretically, it doesn't hold up, but only if I convince you that there are in fact better ways to think about all this. The books and people I recommended focus on cognitive psychology in a way that brings attention to highly complex and cognitive behavior. They bring more attention to the way thinking works, rather than only the outwardly visible behaviors. They don't make arguments like I am, because they don't address the questions you are asking me. 

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On 10/20/2018 at 9:12 PM, Azrael Rand said:

People that are less intelligent are easier to scam; Marxism is a scam on a societal stage. It only took a few decades for Marxists to win over the black community (they vote roughly 90% Democrat).

Isn't liberalism more prevalent among college educated people in USA? (And the cost of college education in USA is possibly one factor in this).

Even in India, liberalism and communism are more popular in places that were historically more well-off and educated, like Kerala (and West Bengal). Communism is extremely popular in Kerala, where I'm from (although I'm grateful that I was born in Kerala and not somewhere else in India because it's better off than most other states in India in pretty much every aspect [except unemployment] ).

A communist is seen as a man of integrity and principle in Kerala. Thinking individuals usually turn out to be communist, in Kerala (many of my friends are and I would say that they're pretty intelligent. Many of them have read Atlas Shrugged as well). Communist parties (for eg, CPI(M)) are also less corrupt than other political parties in Kerala (although it's not as good in West Bengal).

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On 11/8/2018 at 7:35 AM, Doug Morris said:

Ayn Rand did not claim the opposite.  She said that human consciousness is volitional and that reason is not automatic and requires effort.  

Anyone who does not put forth much mental effort will be guided by emotions and/or the path of least resistance.

The part about requiring effort is correct. You're pretty much quoting word from word from Capitalism the Unknown Ideal. The reason I said that she believed that we were led by reason not emotion is because she believed that by releasing Atlas Shrugged statism and the mixed economy would end within a few years after it's publication. I think Stefan Molyneux mentioned this during one of his presentations about Ayn Rand. I think she underestimated how hard it is to make the "decision" to think when it comes to areas we are fundamentally emotionally invested in.

On 11/8/2018 at 7:35 AM, Doug Morris said:

I'm skeptical of the notion that there is anyone who is truly unable to do this except for the mentally retarded, or at least some of them.

Considering that the median IQ for certain ethnic population is considered borderline retarded by Western standards you would be correct (see the IQ chart in the first video from my previous post). Also worth pointing out is that we are biased towards the world based upon our lived experiences. If you find something easy to do you'd likely assume it's the same way for other people around you as well. Doesn't necessarily mean it's true though.

On 11/8/2018 at 7:35 AM, Doug Morris said:

As I said, I'm skeptical.  If it's true that the average person is unable to engage in abstract thought to the extent required to form and sustain a truly free society., we'd better hope that they'll at least be willing to go along when there is enough of a consensus among the more able thinkers. 

What you're describing worked pretty well for America during its earlier years but not so much more recently. I think so long as we live in an environment where resources are relatively scare, giving people an incentive to understand these principles, and the broader population is at least smart enough to grasp these principles at a functional level in part due to a minimum level of intelligence, incentive structure and persuasive skills of the more intelligent in society, a more rational and free society shouldn't be out of reach.

If you were to examine all of the countries the US has tried to export its signature political and economic system to you'd likely find that the experiment worked better for those societies that had a higher average IQ level. African, South American, and Middle Eastern countries fared poorly while European countries and Japan fared much better.

On 11/8/2018 at 7:35 AM, Doug Morris said:

To what extent were they pandering to the masses, and to what extent did they truly believe in some sort of God?  My understanding is that at least some of them were deists, which is a halfway house on the road from traditional religion to unbelief.

Hard to know for sure. Some of the ones that where considered religious may or may not have just gone along with the idea for social appearances. However rationalizing the constitution as receiving a thumbs up from god was good enough to keep the true believers on board with the principles for a time. Almost all of the Christian Conservatives of today still fall into this category.

On 11/8/2018 at 7:35 AM, Doug Morris said:

This is vague.  It reminds me of someone I saw posting on a liberal blog who said we are not "totally free" because we are not free to rape, rob, and murder.  Can you clarify?

What you're referencing to would be absolute freedoms removed from a frame work built upon acknowledging human nature and advocating for positive outcomes based upon our nature and environment. The ethics I would advocate for would be built around a complete understanding of human nature as opposed to a system that rejects one or more aspects in favor of a dogmatic approach. I guess you could call it Objective Utilitarianism: The greatest good for the greatest amount of people given the constraints of human nature.

On 11/8/2018 at 7:59 AM, Doug Morris said:

The April, 2018 issue of National Geographic has articles on race that may be helpful.  In particular, the genetic differences within sub-Saharan Africa are greater than the genetic differences within a group that includes some people in eastern Africa and all of the people that left sub-Saharan Africa.

My local library might carry back issues of NG so I'll check on my next trip. Thanks for the tip.

 

On 11/9/2018 at 9:13 PM, 2046 said:

If you take an introductory ethics course, you may be introduced to two basic propositions: One is called psychological egoism, the proposition that we do in fact act in our self-interest by definition. The other is called ethical egoism, the proposition that we ought to act in our self-interest.

Before going any further I would ask how self-interest itself is defined here in the first place. Are we talking Randian style rational self-interest in which case I would endorse ethical egoism. Compliance with any standard is a choice. The only way to get to psychological egoism is to include emotional self-interest and reflexive action in the definition of self-interest in which case the distinction between the two concepts looses all meaning.

 

22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

They bring more attention to the way thinking works, rather than only the outwardly visible behaviors. They don't make arguments like I am, because they don't address the questions you are asking me.  

That's what I suspected. If you have a chance let me know what you think of at least the first video I posted. Definitely enjoyed the debate with you up to now.

Also if you get a chance I'd be interested to hear your opinion of the other article I posted here. Haven't received any feedback for it yet: https://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/31384-refuting-stefan-molyneux’s-the-art-of-the-argument-the-moral-case-for-influence/

 

2 hours ago, human_murda said:

Isn't liberalism more prevalent among college educated people in USA? (And the cost of college education in USA is possibly one factor in this). 

Marxism offers different things to different people; this is something I do plan on writing more about in articles to come. For those that are poor it offers food, shelter, and basic medical care. For the materially well to do it offers a cause whose pursuit aids people in their quest for self actualization. For the highly intelligent it offers opportunities to intellectually distinguish yourself by furthering the Marxist doctrine along the lines of the existing incentive structure using new and complex rationalizations. And for those looking to excuse their bad behavior it provides cover. In a sick and twisted way it offers just enough to keep everybody content in the here and now to muck everything up in the long run.

As far as Communism and the link to integrity, the only thing I can say about a Communist is that at least he/she is honest about their belief system and doesn't seek to hide it in an effort to deceive others into adopting it. I respect the communist that is willing to give others the last shirt he owns even if I personally disagree with his way of life.

Also thanks for providing us with insights into the moral workings of your society. It's interesting to see how different segments of a society rally around different sets of beliefs. All comes down to incentives though if you ask me.

Edited by Azrael Rand

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1 hour ago, Azrael Rand said:

If you have a chance let me know what you think of at least the first video I posted.

A: Sounds like an undergraduate presentation. Has a little bit of science, but mostly comes across as an op-ed piece. It's mostly an appeal to racism with the guise of science (i.e. lacks scientific expertise or qualification to talk about the complexities of the statistics). 

B: I don't know why you linked this, it isn't evidence of your arguments and makes me inclined to think that you would rather use shortcuts of reasoning. 

I think Molyneux is a hack, even if he might say something interesting sometimes, so I don't think it's worth evaluating the quality of your argument against him.

Edited by Eiuol

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3 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

Also worth pointing out is that we are biased towards the world based upon our lived experiences. If you find something easy to do you'd likely assume it's the same way for other people around you as well. Doesn't necessarily mean it's true though.

The IQ study of various nations gives India an average IQ of 82 (but the data is really old anyways and has a very small sample size). Based on the people that I meet it Kerala, I would disagree with this and say that the intelligence of people in Kerala aren't low on average. Also, Indians living in America apparently have a different IQ (link) and incomes (link).

Also, Ayn Rand is gaining more and more popularity in India over time (the number of people who join this forum that come from India should attest to that fact). This is completely random: there's no organization representing or promoting Objectivism in India.

 

3 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

Considering that the median IQ for certain ethnic population is considered borderline retarded by Western standards you would be correct (see the IQ chart in the first video from my previous post).

Actually this should be sufficient reason to suspect the validity of IQ scores. People who are not clinically mentally retarded show up as mentally retarded in their scores, invalidating the ability of the test to identify mentally retarded people. One way around this would be to claim that IQ scores mean different things for different ethnic groups. This would again invalidate IQ scores: it would mean that IQ scores are not comparable between ethnic groups.

Another thing is that Lynn and Vanhanen only collected data for 81 nations, but reported it for 185 nations (link).

There are also other problems with his studies. For one he selectively ignored data from Africa showing high IQs (link, link). He apparently discarded data above 75 IQ points. He therefore sought out individuals who were uneducated or illiterate or had malaria (link) to give the test to. Even if this may be done to get a more representative sample, what this means is the IQ scores of different nations are not comparable (since more than one variable is involved). Also, Lynn subjectively (inconsistently) determined what constitutes a representative sample (he didn't look for a representative sample in terms of the distributions of mental health, nutrition, etc). They were very unsystematic.

There also seems to be reporting error with his South Asian data (link). More claims regarding Italian incomes and some other links can be found here. It also shows that the various methods that he uses to determine IQ gives inconsistent results (although he reports them as though they were consistent). There's also the question of adoption.

Ultimately, IQ tests measure how well you take the test. The question of how that depends on your intelligence is a different one. Even if you're simply uninterested in the test, that would lower your scores; but that doesn't mean you're less intelligent (Western test takers who have heard of the IQ test and want to prove themselves using the test, would be far more eager to take the test than someone who has never heard or it, or who is selected to take the test because of illiteracy). A more accurate test of intelligence that doesn't depend upon your effort would probably require brain scans.

Edited by human_murda

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5 hours ago, human_murda said:

Actually this should be sufficient reason to suspect the validity of IQ scores.

Yes.
The IQ scores aren't worth the paper they're printed on when they're used outside their planned context. There are pretty string assumptions about schooling that are built into IQ scores above the elementary-school age level. 
Of course they do measure something and that something is meaningful. The point, however, is that it is not some raw "IQ" that is free of the context of any input (in fact, that notion is a contradiction).

Edited by softwareNerd

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22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

A: Sounds like an undergraduate presentation. Has a little bit of science, but mostly comes across as an op-ed piece. It's mostly an appeal to racism with the guise of science (i.e. lacks scientific expertise or qualification to talk about the complexities of the statistics).

When I first listened to the video it was obvious not even 30 seconds in based on the speaker's tone of voice that he isn't neutral on the issue but I referenced it since it does compile a number of relevant points on the issue. Like you said before even among scientists you have the good and the bad so authority in and of itself isn't a sign of credibility. What he says is either true or false regardless of his position/bias.

Having said that I don't think the area of disagreement between the two of us is a scientific one as I believe you admitted that it's not impossible for there to be (small) differences. I think the disagreement is based around the moral implications caused by differences that could be judged to be more than just minor. If the only thing different between different races are physical attributes then we should be able to overcome race using cultural controls. But if there are significant differences between the races that aren't just limited to superficial differences then a multiracial society becomes a much harder sell considering our tribal nature. From an objective utilitarian perspective, why would you sacrifice unity, social stability, and cohesion for the sake of ideological consistency (of individualism). If individual rights, limited government and a homogeneous society work why put it at risk for dogmatic consistency?

22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I think Molyneux is a hack, even if he might say something interesting sometimes, so I don't think it's worth evaluating the quality of your argument against him.

You know people say the same thing about Ayn Rand. I clearly don't agree with Stefan on everything he says; UPB and his philosophy on persuasion being two such instances. But he does cover a lot of different topics and he does so from a perspective using facts, reason and evidence. When he makes a mistake it's easy to catch precisely because he has done a good job of sharing his reasoning with the audience. Having said that if you don't like him then you don't like him, period.

Even if you don't really care for him all that much I would still recommend reading the article I wrote as it is really two articles in one; a rebuttal to Stefan's book, followed by the moral case for influence. If you do decide to read it I would be interested in hearing your opinion seeing as you are both an Objectivist and someone with expertise in the field of psychology; you more than any other layman should be able to appreciate the point I'm trying to make.

20 hours ago, human_murda said:

The IQ study of various nations gives India an average IQ of 82 (but the data is really old anyways and has a very small sample size). Based on the people that I meet it Kerala, I would disagree with this and say that the intelligence of people in Kerala aren't low on average. Also, Indians living in America apparently have a different IQ (link) and incomes (link).

I honestly couldn't say whether the figure is right or wrong and compared to other racial groups I don't really know enough people originating from India to even attempt to take a stab at comparative average IQ. I do know that there are a lot of Indians working in tech which is positively correlated with IQ and I do know that people from India appear to do very well for themselves when they come to the US. You don't hear about corporations offshoring IT jobs to Africa but you do hear about them offshoring them to India. Again none of these observations actually prove anything as there could be other factors involved to account for these trend but you could be right with your assessment.

Regarding your analysis of Lynn and Vanhanen, I agree with what Eiuol previously said: There are good scientists and bad scientists. There are likely good and bad scientists on both sides of the argument. Proving the existence of one or more bad scientists doesn't automatically disprove an argument itself. Your reasoning is persuasively correct but not necessarily factually correct.

20 hours ago, human_murda said:

Ultimately, IQ tests measure how well you take the test. The question of how that depends on your intelligence is a different one. Even if you're simply uninterested in the test, that would lower your scores; but that doesn't mean you're less intelligent (Western test takers who have heard of the IQ test and want to prove themselves using the test, would be far more eager to take the test than someone who has never heard or it, or who is selected to take the test because of illiteracy). A more accurate test of intelligence that doesn't depend upon your effort would probably require brain scans. 

I've never taken an IQ test before (but plenty of regular tests) so assuming everything you said is accurate then all you would need to do is to properly incentivize all the test takers using desired rewards. I don't think you'd need a brain scan to get the job done.

Edited by Azrael Rand

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2 hours ago, Azrael Rand said:

Having said that I don't think the area of disagreement between the two of us is a scientific one as I believe you admitted that it's not impossible for there to be (small) differences. I think the disagreement is based around the moral implications caused by differences that could be judged to be more than just minor.

That actually only means that I think the differences are insignificant, or that it's not measuring what you think it measures. This is only further a problem when the category of race is not even a concept used for genetic analysis. It has so many conceptual problems that you won't be able to make conclusions.

And even if I assumed you are correct on this, why would the moral implications even bother me? There are in fact no new moral implications if that were the case, because all my ideas about individual rights and individualism and standing against "collective unity" don't depend on IQ or any genetic differences that all for that matter. Do you mean you think black people should be deported from the US? Are your "moral implications" that east Asian people should be kept out so whites don't feel inferior? Should black people be banned from medical school? What about people who are half black - what do you do with them? Should we call Thanos and make half of the nonwhites in the US disappear with a snap of the finger?

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21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

That actually only means that I think the differences are insignificant, or that it's not measuring what you think it measures.

Right. You take a more reasonable approach than most in that you don't insist that the averages between races absolutely have to be the same. The only reason something in reality absolutely has to conform to a certain standard (other than objective truth) is in support of a person's emotional investment that relies on a certain assumption being true. Leftists believe in racial egalitarianism and that belief acts as a foundation in their advocacy for anti-racism. Having said that I still think you fall into the same pitfall as the leftists because minor differences by themselves (which you would concede to) wouldn't shake the moral foundation of Objectivism; a tribal component to human nature in conjunction with non-minor differences in characteristics that aren't just superficial however would. And it is the latter two that you would and do challenge.

21 hours ago, Eiuol said:

And even if I assumed you are correct on this, why would the moral implications even bother me? There are in fact no new moral implications if that were the case, because all my ideas about individual rights and individualism and standing against "collective unity" don't depend on IQ or any genetic differences that all for that matter. Do you mean you think black people should be deported from the US? Are your "moral implications" that east Asian people should be kept out so whites don't feel inferior? Should black people be banned from medical school? What about people who are half black - what do you do with them? Should we call Thanos and make half of the nonwhites in the US disappear with a snap of the finger?

Looking at a society that is objectively organized, I would advocate a solution quite similar to the one your would likely advocate for and that is the freedom of association within the borders of any given country. It's just that based on my current understanding of human nature I think society would look a lot more homogeneous than it does today assuming people were allowed to live their lives according to their own free will. People like Ben Shapiro insist that free-market capitalism would eliminate racial discrimination due to the profit motive. I think the gay wedding cake fiasco alone has proven him false on that assertion. Culture can and will overrule profit motive depending on how strong cultural cohesion and incentive structures are within a society.

As far as how we should approach the issue from a practical perspective in our currently unfree society (focusing only on political means for the sake of practicality), I would deport all illegal aliens, revoke birthright citizenship for the children of illegals then deport them, and finally reinstate the freedom association. Obviously there has to be a cultural shift to precede the politics but that's a discussion for another time.

Still interested in hearing your opinion on my other article ;D

Edited by Azrael Rand

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