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Onar Åm

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Everything posted by Onar Åm

  1. Now, which would you say was essentially closer to "many IQ-problems": 1) "some IQ-problems" or 2) "all IQ-tests"? And if you had realized the plurality of my statement you would have understood that there is not ONE formula for all IQ-problems. Probably not, at least not without playing sudoku a lot. HOWEVER, someone could easily TEACH him some of the formulas and he would be able to master them with training. Then his sudoku performance would radically incrase. One such formula is that many simple IQ problems have a linear progression of the type "1 2 3 ?." Have a look at http://www.iqtest.dk/ The first 5-10 problems are of this simple character. Problem 17 and 19 are also such a progression types, but slightly more advanced. Problem 14, 15 and 27 are XOR-formulas, 16 and 18 are OR-formulas. 23, 24 and 26 are typical multiple independent progression type. The first major problem that is not a typical of these standard formulas is number 25, which is a combination of a progression and a state change. 11 and 29 are product transformations. The problems that are truly hard in this test that requires figuring out the formula on the fly are 37 and 39. (I'm not going to give the answer) The point is this: once you've been exposed to progression, XOR and OR problems, they become formulas that you remember and look for. Knowing about these concepts in advance is obviously a huge advantage as opposed to having to discovering them on the fly. My claim is that people are becoming more familiar with logical problems and therefore are better prepared to do the highly formula-based ones. I'm not sure I understand your objection. The Flynn effect probably has TWO independent causes: 1) people are getting better at solving IQ-problems due to better knowledge of IQ-tests, and 2) due to better nutrition people are getting somewhat smarter. We know the latter from the simple fact that people are getting taller (until recently) and IQ is correlated with height. No, just an independent thinker. True, but the Florida election was such a simple task (voting) that it is very hard to see how this could be strongly culturally influenced. I mean that the claims that IQ-tests are designed for whites are vigorously proven false. The difference is not due to racism, measuring errors or culture.
  2. I wrote "some IQ-problems." How you managed to warp that into "all IQ tests" is beyond me. Also, The Flynn effect is not limited to blacks. I can give you an example. Sudoku. From the very start I was not merely interested in solving the sudoku-puzzles, I wanted to discover the solution strategies on my own without reading about them. In the beginning solving Sudoku was quite challenging, partly because I didn't know the formulas. Then I discovered the formulas and this improved my performance radically, but my intelligence is surely not increased. Today I am able to solve very difficult sudoku puzzles without using any aid numbers. I do this deliberately to increase the 'g'-loading, i.e. to increase the IQ-threshold of the task. Otherwise it is too easy for me. Solving Sudoku puzzles for me involves holding a lot of numbers in short term memory. Since my memory is a very limited resource I need to manage it as efficiently as possible. The way I do this is by optimizing my search strategies. Through induction I have learnt to spot the most probable logical paths of the puzzle. This increases search speed and reduces the number of elements I need to hold in short term memory, and thereby increases the likelyhood of solving the problem. Without these formulas and knowledge of this problem I would not have been able to solve these puzzles. IQ-problems are no different. If you don't know the formula upon which the problem is built you first have to discover the formula and this is very time consuming. Knowing such formulas in advance helps to improve the odds and in my view explains the Flynn effect. As to the critique of IQ and Wealth of Nations, Lynn has recently published a new book called "Racial differences in Intelligence" which greatly updates the studies in IQWoN. They all show the same result. Clearly there is an error margin, but this is not so large as to make the differences go away. There are also other very important applications of the threshold theory of intelligence. La Griffe du Lion explores many of them, and two of the most intriguing are these: http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/elec2000.htm http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/g.htm The first of these, "The case of the uncounted ballots" uses the threshold theory to show that the 2000 election in Florida can be regarded as the largest IQ-test performed in modern history. It confirms that the IQ gap between blacks and whites are real. The second of these uses the threshold theory to show that general intelligence 'g' has a bell curve distribution by comparing the differences between the races and genders. The method not only shows that there is a normal distribution but confirms that the IQ-tests are correct. Both these are very creative ways of using real world intelligence tests to show that IQ measures something real that matters in the real world. Based on IQ we can predict who will be able to vote or pass various academic tests.
  3. This is a fairly correct observation. Philippe Rushton's main point is that both Orientals and Europeans have high cultural achievements whereas blacks have low achievements, thereby indicating that for blacks IQ is a limiting factor. Actually you everyday mundane economic growth is not due to geniuses, but due to the smart fraction of the population which is related to average IQ. http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/sft.htm Actually it has more to do with familiarity with IQ-tests. Many IQ-problems are built on a formula and once you have figured out this formula you will always be able to solve these problems. However, *knowledge accumulation* has not increased in society, strongly suggesting that the underlying general intelligence has not increased and that the Flynn effect is a measuring artifact.
  4. This is very unfair. I would claim that we don't really have a very good quantum theory of physics either. The state of theoretical physics is a sorry morass. We know that the equations work (i.e. have predictive power) but that's about it. Nevertheless, to through out such a successful theory as QM just because we don't have a proper interpretation of it is wildly exaggerated. QM still has immense predictive power and therefore deserves to be taken serious as truth. The same is true for intelligence. It has extraordinary predictive power and on this basis alone it must be taken seriously. How on earth can culture impact brain size, gray matter, glucose metabolic rate, and perceptual reaction times and discriminatory power? I have read quite a few studies. Most of these studies are summarized by the works of people like Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn and Philippe Rushton. The link to "Race, Evolution and Behavior" I provided was to the *abridged* popularized version of the much longer and more scholar book. This book is packed with scientific references to the peer reviewed litterature, as are all the other of these books. All of them.
  5. The fact of the matter is that currently there is no theory of general intelligence. It's more or less on a "we know it when we see it"-level, which is bad. Intelligence is typically defined as the ability to do abstract reasoning, and I think that a more succinct definition is simply the ability to abstract. But while this is fine as a loose definition that we all immediately understand intuitively, a more functional definition is required. Let me attempt this: your brain processes information and presents it for you in your consciousness as mental components -- units. Each mental challenge requires the building of conceptual *relations* between such mental components. These relations then themselves become mental components that can be held in consciousness as units. Let me give you a couple of examples to give you the idea. Suppose you see for objects: 1) a dog standing on a table 2) a glass standing on a floor 3) a cat sitting on a roof 4) a car standing on a street In our mind we may start comparing these four objects, building relations between them and realizing that what they all have in common is the on-ness. All of them are objects that stand in a particular physical relationship to other objects, namely vertically in direct contact above the other -- on. This is an abstract relationship that requires us to know and understand the concept of "on." Being able to understand that this relation is the common denominator requires that we are able to arbitrarily try to combine, compare and differentiate all possible conjunctions of these objects. The key here is the word "arbitrarily." Solving the problem requires exhausting a search space. It involves doing mental work in trying to build hypothetical relations and comparing them in search for coherence. This is essentially a mental brute force job. Those that have efficient and fast brains are able to produce far more such relations and do far more mental computations in some amount of time than those that have less efficient and slower brains. Due to the nature of combinatorics such problem solving is not linear. In fact, they will tend to have threshold behavior. Let me give an example. Suppose you have N components, and solving a particular problem amounts to "connecting the dots", in this case creating a connected network of all N components. How many connections must you create in order to solve the problem? Well, obviously you need at the very minimum N connections. Anything less than N will not yield a connected network. Now, what is strange is that once you have N random connections in this network you very quickly have a connected network. Essentially for the number of connections < N the network is not fully connected, whereas for the connections > N the probability of a fully connected network very quickly approaches 1. N number of connections is here the *threshold*. Thus, if you have a brain that is able to produce less than N connections you won't be able to solve the problem, but if you have a brain that is able to produce more than N connections you easily and effortlessly solve the problem. This is the basis of all IQ-tests. They create problems with threshold-behavior. Either you "get it" or you don't. And "getting it" requires the ability to do a certain amount of mental work in a certain limited amount of time. Thus, solving an IQ-problem amounts to measuring the amount of mental work per time you are capable of performing. The notion of mental challenges displaying threshold behavior is not new. Sadly I am as far as I know the only one that has thought more deeply about why there is such threshold-behavior, and therefore no serious work has been done in trying to actually quantify the amount of mental work required to solve a puzzle. I think this work will be done, however, in the coming years, and when this work is thoroughly fleshed out it should be possible to rank any IQ-task in terms of its complexity, meaning the amount of mental work operations per second needed to solve it. Thus, I predict that in the future general intelligence will be measured in mental operations per second. Interestingly the ability to abstract -- or number of mental operations per second -- is directly related to induction. What is induction if not the ability to compare and differentiate many different units and find their common conceptual denominators? Thus, the ability to reason -- to induce -- is directly proportional to one's general intelligence. 'g' IS the quantification of the ability to reason. Once you understand the nature of intelligence, you realize that ANY mental challenge is an intelligence test. An IQ test simply removes the ability to use existing knowledge to solve the problem by presenting "abstract" problems, meaning problems where all the information needed to solve them are contained within the problems themselves. There's adoption studies, and there's the striking correlation with physiological factors such as reaction times, brain size, glucose metabolic rate etc. Oh absolutely. It's well known that being unrested, tired, sick or exhausted temporarily lowers your intelligence. It's also well known that nutritional supplements greatly affect brain growth. Omega 3 can significantly enhance permanent IQ. The fact that IQ is also correllated with height strongly suggests that caloric restriction during childhood can stunt brain development. It is also known that Omega 3 does wonders for kids with learning disabilities (such as ADHD). Well, there's much less evidence for this. Obviously exercising your brain and reflexes is good, especially during childhood. But just like with any biological system it appears that this is more a limiting factor. I.e. lack of stimuli can stunt your development, but once you have reached a certain treshold there are diminishing returns.
  6. Intelligence is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for achievement. Thus, we can say with great degree of certainty that people of low intelligence will not excel in achievements, but we cannot say that people of high intelligence are bound to excel. In other words, intelligence is a limiting factor for achievement but in addition rationality is required. Differences in rationality easily explain the fact that European cultural achievements are higher than that of Oriental cultural achievements. Some very obvious examples of the importance of rationality is East- vs West-Berlin or North- vs South-Korea, or Hong Kong versus communist China.
  7. Yes, it is. The correlation between 'g' and total brain size is 0.4 and the result is highly statistically significant. The correlation is even greater between specific parts of the brain and 'g' (frontal lobe). There is also a correlation of -0.58 between glucose metabolic rate in the brain and IQ, indicating that smarter brains are more energy efficient. Yes, they do. Orientals have on average larger brains than whites which have larger brains than blacks. Yes, they do. Orientals have a higher average 'g' than whites which in turn have a higher average 'g' than blacks.
  8. No, it was taken from memory. Well, I did define extremely intelligent as 130+. The average IQ of the listed 21 was 128. That's pretty close to 130+, wouldn't you say? I'm actually quite happy with getting the number so close purely from memory and glance. However, I don't understand what you are trying to achieve. It seems to me that you are more interested in quarreling than in the main point, namely that the highly irrational nazi philosophy didn't make the leadership stupid as measured by IQ. IQ is largely independent of philosophy.
  9. Let me rephrase retaliatory initiation in terms of my definition: retaliatory initiation is deliberate use of force against an innocent party in the context of retaliation. Now, would you call this a "flat contradiction"? I would certainly hope not because there is not even a hint of contradiction in that statement. Thus, the only thing you are reacting to is the use of the word "initiation." I.e. you are bickering over words, not actual contradictions in reality. But I am open to suggestions. What term other than "initiation of force" would you use as a name for the concept defined as "the deliberate use of force against an innocent party"? Do you agree that this is a valid concept which distinguishes it from "the accidental use of force against an innocent party"? Do you also agree that "the deliberate use of force against an innocent party" captures all instances of the term that is normally referred to as "initiation of force"? Rather than giving in to apoplexia, how about producing some good ol' fashioned arguments?
  10. In the interest of not engaging in what you rightly call unintegrated sprawl I'll let you respond again, based on the consideration of that second post. It should be clear from that post that I am not simply de-contextualizing the concept of force. I define initiation of force as the *deliberate* use of force against an innocent party. The reason this is a valid concept is because we need a concept to distinguish it from the *accidental* use of force against an innocent party. Now, initiation can take place in a retaliatory context, such as breaking into your neighbor's home to escape a killer, but it IS initiation because it is done on purpose and is different from accidentally shooting an innocent third party in self-defense against an initiator. What I have done is not de-contextualization but rather conceptual decomposition of force into its objective constituents. Ayn Rand has correctly argued for such decomposition in avoiding the frozen abstraction fallacy. Just like there are different kinds of morality, as Ayn Rand pointed out, there are also different kinds of initiation of force. In most cases initiation is illegitimate, but in some cases of retaliation it IS legitimate. Notice that this does not materially change the concept of initiation of force. It is a specification of the concept, not a total reorganization. In other words, most cases remain the same. It is only in the very narrow gray zone between retaliation and initiation that the concept of retaliatory initiation applies. It is nevertheless extremely important since proper governments employ it all the time. Is it legitimate to break into someone's home in order to save your life? Clearly. Is it legitimate to deliberately kill 10 innocent people in order to save your own life? Clearly not. Somewhere in between these two very obvious cases there is a limit in which illegitimate initiation transforms into legitimate initiation. What is that limit? Is it legitimate to deliberately kill 1 innocent person in self-defense to save your own life? I'm not sure. One innocent person is going to die, and it is either going to be you or another innocent person. Which should it be? From my viewpoint this appears to be the fuzzy boundary between legitimate and illegitimate use of retaliatory initiation. Thus, I would say that if the retaliatory initiation is clearly less than the avoided direct initiation then it is clearly legitimate. Does this discussion belong in a thread on the constitution? That's not up to me to decide, but clearly this issue has a profound impact on the constitution. In my view no proper modern constitution can avoid defining these concepts in detail, and a constitution that does not deal properly with retaliatory inititiation is incomplete at best. As to this being a debate on an Objectivist constitution I would like to say that Objectivists should not be museum guards. Whenever new concepts are required they should be created, even if that means updating Ayn Rand. To my knowledge Ayn Rand never wrote anything systematically about retaliatory initiation, except in the concept of emergency law, where she approves of it. She also very clearly approves of imprisonment based on probable cause, which is another case of (statistical) retaliatory inititiation. Hence, there is nothing that indicates that this is in violation of Objectivism, although it is clearly an extension of it.
  11. I've been thinking about more closely about how to explain initiation in a retaliatory context, and the best way to do so is by properly defining the simple concepts of force. Initiation, retaliation and collateral damage The classic case of initiation and retaliation of force is the cross-fire: an initiator shooting at the retaliator. Here the intention of the initiator is to shoot at the retaliating party, and the intention of the retaliating party is to shoot at the initiator. The classic case of collateral damage is the innocent third party injured in the cross-fire. Here the intention of the initiator or the retaliator is not to hit the third party, but is an accidental outcome. Retaliatory initiation But there are other kinds of force that fall outside these simple cases. What if the retaliator breaks into someone's house to gain protection from an initiator? Here the retaliator deliberately initiates force against an innocent person's property in order to retaliate/protect himself from the initiator. In other words, this is no accident. It is a calculated and intentional use of force towards an innocent third party for the purpose of self-defense/retaliation. This action is what I call retaliatory initiation. That is, initiation of force against an innocent third party in the context of retaliation. Can such retaliatory initiation be legitimate? Yes, it is closely related to emergency initiation. So long as the initiation against the third party is not excessive it is indeed legitimate, and the responsibility for this retaliatory initiation then rests entirely upon the ultimate initiator, i.e. the party that caused the retaliator to use retaliatory initiation. What then do we mean by "excessive" in this context? Clearly, if one person in self-defense kills 1000 other innocents to save his own life this is excessive use of force. What emerges is a notion of proportionality. Retaliatory initiation is legitimate if this clearly reduces the overall level of initiation. In the above example the total amount of initiation is clearly reduced and therefore this usage of retaliatory initiation was legitimate, and the resulting damage is collateral damage. Witness duty is clearly an example of government retaliatory initiation. The witness has done nothing wrong, yet is forced to testify to solve a crime. Thus, the government deliberately forces an innocent third party to do actions against his will in order to retaliate. Statistical retaliatory initiation An even more complex concept is statistical retaliatory initiation. Consider imprisonment based on probable cause. Here one imprisons a person based on the probability (typically more than 50%) that he is guilty of some crime. If he's guilty then the imprisonment was correct, and if he's not guilty then it was an honest mistake -- collateral damage. On the face of it this seems like a simple case, like the innocent third party that gets caught in a cross-fire. And for each individual case this is true, but when probable cause is used as a matter of policy to be applied consistently over time over numerous cases, the collateral damage ceases to be accidental. We know for a fact in advance that a policy of imprisonment based on probable cause will result in systematic collateral damage. The fact that we know this and yet still deliberately choose to enact this policy that is guaranteed to result in collateral damage makes it retaliatory initiation. For each individual case the collateral damage is accidental, but as a policy it is deliberate -- statistical retaliatory initiation of force. Already today we make heavy use of statistical retaliatory initiation in the government (e.g. wrongful imprisonment or surveilance) so clearly this is legitimate. It is precisely on the basis of this concept that I argue for the use of social laws formulated as standard (default) contracts. The requirements of the law to get out of the standard contract can be considered statistical retaliatory initiation, and hence legitimate if sufficiently weak. By the same token mild taxation can also to some extent be justified. statistical collateral damage Suppose everyone payed their taxes, amounting to 5% of GDP, voluntarily. This would then *still* be collateral damage, because people would not have payed taxes to sustain a government unless there were real threats of crime and/or invasion. Thus, even when the taxes are apparently completely voluntary it is still statistically forced because without a government crime would blossom. The same is true for a lot of private actions: people buy alarm systems, they install firewalls on their computers, they install heavy doors with intricate locking mechanisms, they put up security cameras, they don't walk in dark alleys alone at night etc. Why? In order to protect themselves from crime. If everyone were nice and never did any violations none of this would be needed. Hence, this too is collateral damage, even though all the actions appears to be done voluntarily. This is no more voluntary than the retaliator that fires a gun at an initiator in self-defense. The only difference is that the retaliation is *statistical*. Most people are never robbed or raped, most houses aren't burgled etc. These costs incurred are thus statistical collateral damage. There are other categories as well, but I hope this serves as a start to clarify a bit.
  12. I have listened extensively to the rest of it, and I understand your reaction to it. Most of it is in my opinion not very memorable. I've learned over the years that actually being able to remember a piece is a good indication of whether it is *worth* remembering. If a song or piece is not quickly recognizable or memorable, then it is usually not a good piece.
  13. Hitler was never IQ-tested, but many of the closest people around him were tested and scored very well. http://www.eskimo.com/~miyaguch/grady/nazi.html
  14. Are you seriously suggesting that there will be no situation in which an individual can greatly impact the rescuing of another individual in an emergency situation!? If so this is easily shown to be false by a simple example: you are alone in a park and discover another person who is having a heart attack. If you call 911 he will be saved, if you don't he may die. This is a perfect example where emergency law applies. In this situation it would be legitimate for him to threaten you with a gun to call 911 for him if you refused to do so voluntarily. But instead of having a gun to threaten people with in emergency situations it's far more efficient and effective for the individual to threaten with government actions. The obvious way of implementing this is to make it illegal not to help people in an emergency situation. Collateral damage belongs to the greater category of damages resulting from initiation of force. There are essentially two kinds of initiation damages: 1) direct damage by the initiator on an innocent party or 2) indicirect initiation damage caused by the retaliator on an innocent party. In both cases the responsibility rests upon the ultimate initiator. This is not an argument. Violation of privacy most certainly is use of force, applied to the domain of knowledge. Here you had a wonderful opportunity to show that you are interested in discussing the underlying concept of collateral damage, but you just make a blunt claim, with no argument. IF conscription can be considered a kind of emergency action and/or collateral damage, then clearly it is legitimate. You have to explain WHY it is neither. In a situation where you face annihilation, is it ok to force others to help you avert it? This is not unlike Ayn Rands example where someone is holding a gun at your head, forcing you to shoot an innocent third party. The moral responsibility of that action rests upon the initiator, not on you, the one being forced to shoot another to save your life. How is facing total annihilation not similar? First of all, whether a "nation" is worth saving is irrelevant because it is a collectivist mode of thought. Individuals in that nation have a right to self-defense and in the face of total annihilation actions that are otherwise not legitimate would be acceptable. One of those desperate actions involves emergency conscription, should this prove necessary. Again, I stress that this is not a very likely situation, precisely for the reasons you site, but this does not mean that a situation could arise where conscription might be the only way to survive. For instance, one of the reasons that people may hesitate to volunteer for war may be that they know that it would be suicide if not the whole nation volunteered. When you are faced with unavoidable initiation damage (both directly and collaterally) you still have the freedom of trying to minimise it. Again I fail to see an argument. You are just making statements. Again you seem to be extremely hung up on the usage of the word initiation, rather than discussing the concepts at hand. If it makes it easier for you, think "collateral damage." Question: will contracts be breeched? Yes, and this is an example of initiation of force. All contract laws are designed to deal with the eventuality of contract breeching, and hence is collateral damage. This is different. A *private* standard contract is still something that needs to be *signed* by the parties. A law as a standard contract is a contract that applies by default, even when no signing takes place. Essentially laws as standard contracts defines and specifies voluntary action. In what way? I don't understand this. Every single day the government causes collateral damage, and much of this is unavoidable as part of crime fighting. *Obviously* this is a necessary evil. What else would you call it? Virtuous? Again this has a collectivist feel to it. The individual has a right to life, liberty and property, but only if "society" figures out a way to make it practical? Does a word have intrinsic meaning? It does not. A word is defined by the context of its definition, usage and relation to other concepts. Thus, before you pass judgment on a concept you cannot simply look at the words used, but the context in which they are used.
  15. It was obviously well past my bed time when I wrote Wagner.
  16. I'm a neo-classical composer and have always been fascinated by classical music. My favorite classical piece must be Carl Orff's O Fortuna: http://youtube.com/watch?v=lF7_PhB9coo The text is also quite profound, written by a German monk in the middle ages, where he damns the goddess of fortune for governing the lives of humans. I interpret it as the first uttered longing for atheism. I am also very fond of Richard Wagner's Also Sprach Zarathustra -- my favorite sunrise, here interpreted by Stanley Kubrick in the famous scene "Dawn of Man" from "Space Odyssey" where proto-man discovers how to use a tool for the first time: http://youtube.com/watch?v=pZqp79FOJB0 But my absolute favorite piece of music through all time is modern, and it is Oxygene, particularly part 1 and part 2, by Jean Michel Jarre. Unfortunately there are no good recordings available on YouTube, but there are a few fairly decent recordings of another masterpiece by Jarre, namely Equinoxe, particularly part 2-4 and part 7. Part 2 is my favorite night song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwuYbx2tBvA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wegkPVYrK8 Notice that Oxygene was recorded in 1976 and Equinoxe in 1978, prior to the advent of digital synthesizers. At the time they were like alien music dropped onto Earth, and even today they sound surprisingly timeless. Virtually all music from the 70s really sound like they are from the 70s, but Jarre's Classics sounds like they could have been made today. Sadly Jarre never produced anything that rivaled these two albums later. There is also no way around Vangelis, particularly his epic "1492 - Conquest of Paradise" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJdsCm2PV80 His "Chariots of Fire" is also definitely worth mentioning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWWACvR299Y
  17. I didn't say so. Impulsiveness, aggressiveness and short planning horizon clearly have a genetic component though. I was now not speaking about race, just about genetics. Race obviously matters in terms of genetics, but not all people of some race share the same genes. If you are weak and frail you are less likely to end up in barfights and other directly physical expressions of violence, because your weakness is a limiting factor. If you have low testosterone level you are also less likely to become aggrevated, and thus prevents you from getting into moral dilemmas. Old people have lower testosterone levels than young people. Men have higher testosterone levels than women. And blacks have *on average* higher testosterone levels than whites (which in turn on average have higher testosterone levels than orientals). I find it likely that low testosterone level is a limiting factor in presenting an individual with situations that requires dealing with aggression and impulsiveness. Therefore *on average* you will find old people less violent than young people, men less violent than women, and orientals less violent than whites and whites on average less violent than blacks. Notice here that high testosterone level does not *cause* one to be violent, it merely causes one to be more likely to respond aggressively. This is highly unlikely. IQ is not affected by irrationality. The nazi leadership were extremely intelligent (130+) and socialists are smarter than average. Leftist intellectuals are just as intelligent as rational intellectuals. Irrationality is a specific kind of idiocy, namely one pertaining to value judgments. IQ tests don't present you with value judgments and are therefore not affected. The fact of the matter is that most violent people have a low intelligence, but not the other way around. Only statistically. No-one is claiming that there is an immorality gene. As I have stated elsewhere, if you correct the statistics for intelligence most racial differences disappear. Clearly here *low intelligence* is the predictor, not race per se.
  18. I have a little problem understanding the problem of using statistics and genetics on crime. No-one would be surprised if pygmies statistically performs badly in basketball, and it's obviously genetic. Why then not crime? Our behavior is determined not only by our free will, but also by antecedent factors. I can without hesitation and doubt state that elderly are severely underrepresented on the violent crime statistics. Does this mean that people become more moral with age? No, I would think that physique has a lot to do with it. If you're weak and frail you obviously can't be violent. From this it also should be pretty obvious that men are more likely to be violent than women: they are stronger and have a greater capacity to enact violence than women. This does not mean that men are less moral than women, it just means that men have a biology that enables them to confront moral dilemmas with respect to violence more often. I argue that this is the same reason that people of low intelligence statistically are more criminal. They face moral dilemmas and hard choices more often than more intelligent people.
  19. I did argue against excessive and baseless force. I also argued in my last section that the government should be constitutionally obliged to minimize force. Finally I argued that collateral damage should not be considered more (or less) acceptable than crime. Thus: if a terrorist resides in Denmark and he could *potentially* kill thousands of people, preventing this obviously doesn't justify killing millions of innocent people as collateral damage. Saving, say, 1000 people by killing 1 million is bad math. It increases the total use of force in society, which should be unconstitutional. Here you are indirectly weighing colateral damage against crimes, which is precisely what I am advocating. Normally compulsory testimony only creates minor collateral damage, and this collateral damage is far less than the initiation of force prevented by putting a bad ass criminal behind bars. However, if the consequences for the witness (and his family) is too dire the collateral damage is too great compared to the crime fighting gained and would not be acceptable. This would be an example of the minimalization of force. You still lose valuable time of your life, time completely wasted and you will never ever get back. And even if there should be possible merit to the suit then you could STILL be without blame, in which case an innocent man is dragged to court. This is most definitely collateral damage. The child is not a fully free individual and the government is acting as its guardian. This is not initiation of force. ...in which case the government is not doing its job. Hernando de Soto has in "The Mystery of Capital" and "The Other Path" shown how government bureaucracy can amount to such extremely high collateral damage to poor people that they choose to live outside the law -- at great loss. In these cases the government is clearly standing in the way of individuals to have their property protected. Therefore this overhead is collateral damage. It could possibly be crazy talk, but if it is there shouldn't be a problem. The government would never come into the position where it would need to use coercion to finance its operation or save the nation form invasion.
  20. If the government imprisons an innocent person it is certainly acting retaliatory, but force has nevertheless been initiated on the innocent. This is collateral damage. I think this completely avoids the main issues addressed in my article. The main bulk of the article is devoted to collateral damage, and you don't say a word about it. This BTW, is true for David's response too. Arguing what words to use to describe an action does not resolve the underlying issue.
  21. "Genetic clusters" is perhaps a technically more accurate term. Mapping out these clusters you find that they in turn divide into sub-clusters. I.e. there is a tree structure, just like you have with species. In other words, just like climate can be viewed at different time scales, so can races. Thus, when you speak of whites, you can specify what kind of whites you are talking about and thereby increase granularity, e.g. germanians and hispanics. As long as such increased (or decreased) granularity provides useful information (i.e. predictive power) there is a valid basis for it. Indeed, the preferred term is genetic or population clusters, I believe. However, there is no question that there is a very strong correlation between geography (and language/culture) and these genetic clusters. The driving force behind clustering is geographical and cultural isolation, hence it makes perfect sense to name the clusters after their geographical origin. Sometimes the isolation mechanism is strongly cultural as is the case with Jews, especially European Jews or Ashkenazim, originating from a few individuals some 1000 years ago. The genetic evidence shows that they have a Middle Eastern origin, with some influx of European genes. This influx is so small as to suggest strong cultural isolation and intermarriage. Evidence also shows that this category has strong prediction value, meaning that it is reasonable to name them a separate cluster -- or race if you like -- namely Ashkenazi/European Jews.
  22. This is very possibly so, although I'm not going to take your word for it. I haven't read Kant up close, and am not familiar with the material where he reveals that he is doing his distortion on purpose.
  23. Ok, the pdf worked. First let me say that I think this is great work. With respect to individual rights it's the most robust piece of legal document than any constitution I have ever seen. However, I'm still not satisfied. I think it is possible to do a lot better than this. Here I am not talking specifically about the text, but the concepts and institutions. Based on our experience with the justice system, police and military I want to throw everything up in the air, and rebuild the system from scratch based on new, fresh abstractions. It's quite possibly everything ends up identical with the way things were, but I doubt that a thorough reengineering of the government would result in status quo. Allow me to start with some broad principles that I myself have abstracted based on the existing system and principles: On force There are essentially two kinds of force: 1) initiation of force and 2) retaliation (justice/self-defence). Force can also be divided into two legal categories: a) legitimate use of force and illegitimate use of force. These two categorization schemes largely overlap. Generally speaking retaliation is legitimate use of force and initiation is illegitimate. But there are a few grey areas, however, where there is no overlap and these need to be addressed. Illegitimate use of retaliation 1. excessive retaliation 2. baseless retaliation Shooting a kid for stealing a candy is excessive use of retaliation. Arrest without probable cause is baseless retaliation. Arguably baseless retaliation is a special case of excessive retaliation, applied to the domain of knowledge. Legitimate use of initiation of force 1. emergency damage 2. colateral damage In the case of emergencies mild uses of initiation of force against others may be used in order to save one's life, health or material property. E.g. if your house is on fire it is legitimate to break into your neighbors shed to get at firehose. Colateral damage means the initiation of force on an innocent third party in the execution of legitimate retaliatory force. Excessive or baseless emergency damage and colateral damage are illegitimate, based on the overarching principle that excessive and baseless use of force are illegitimate. Now, by far the most interesting case to discuss above is that of legitimate use of initiation of force. Emergency damage If your boat sinks you may need to swim to land to save your life. If the only land available happens to be private property you should legitimately be able to trespass in order to save your life. But what if the owner of the property tries to stop you from trespassing? Again, in order to save your life it is legitimate to now initiate force against the owner in order to survive. This may mean you need to struggle with him in order to get to safety. You may even threaten him with a gun to allow you to save your life. (but killing him in order to save your own life is not legitimate) Now, in order to get the usage of this kind of force under objective control, just like with retaliation it is desirable to let the government exert this kind of force on your behalf. The way to do this is to make it illegal to actively prevent someone from trespassing in order to save their life. Notice that this is a highly anomalous usage of the law: deligated emergency damage. But what if you can't get to shore? Is it then legitimate to use a gun to threaten the owner on the beach to help you onto land if it does not endanger the owner or cause him material damage? I would argue that this is a special case of initiation of force that is legitimate. Using the same argument as above, we want to have this kind of force under objective control. By this standard it will also be illegal not to actively try to help someone in an emergency if it does not cause danger or material harm to the onlooker. Again this is deligated emergency damage. The government exerts the emergency initiation of force on your behalf. Colateral damage Colateral damage resembles emergency damage in that both results in damage to innocent third parties in the act of saving one's life, health or property. The only significant difference is that in case of emergencies it is the forces of nature that threatens your life and property, whereas colateral damage occurs when a second party threatens your life and property with the initiation of force. From a legal point of view colateral damage is much more interesting since emergencies are exceptional and accidental, whereas colateral damage is far more common and systematic. Legal responsibility for colateral damage rests entirely on the second party that initiated force and thereby triggered retaliation. Most people immediately think of civilian casualties of war when they hear the term colateral damage, and rightly so. It is a vivid image of the principle of legitimate use of initiation of force. Most recently Israel's war on Lebanon illustrates the principle most lucidly. It was their bombs but the legal and moral responsibility completely rested upon Hezbollah. But there are other far more subtle examples of colateral damage that are rarely classified as such, and I want to bring special attention to them: - wrongful surveilance, search, imprisonment and punishment - jury and witness duty - wrongful lawsuits and juridical inefficiency - governmental obstacles in compliance with the law and execution of rights - tax for financing the legitimate functions of government - emergency conscription in the threat of annihilation or invasion All of the above are examples of varying degrees of legitimate use of initiation of force. I am sure I am going to meet a lot of resistence on some of the examples listed, particularly tax and conscription. Therefore I will go through each one of them and explain why they are examples of initiation of force and why they are legitimate. wrongful surveilance, search, imprisonment and punishment On a regular basis completely innocent people are under government surveilance, searched, imprisoned and even punished for crimes they didn't do. This of course is not the intention of the government. In fact, it is design to minimize this kind of damage. (I'll come back to this principle later) In all cases the initiation of force against these innocent people are prompted by real suspicion or real crimes. The government doesn't initiate such actions without a court order, which means that they need to have probable cause. However, built into the very notion of "probable cause" is the fact that there will be force used against innocent people. This is colateral damage. It is also legitimate use of initiation of force because the legal and moral responsibility completely rests on the purpetrator, not on the government that is acting retaliatory. The colateral damage on innocents needs to be weighed against the government's duty to protect the rights of its citizens. jury and witness duty In some countries there is a jury duty, a clear case of initiation of force, but legitimate since it is accidental and part of the execution of the functions of the government. Witness duty (and the obligation to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth) is a similar case. Obstruction of justice is a legal offence. Colateral damage. wrongful lawsuits and juridical inefficiency You may at any time be sued by someone. If so you will be dragged against your will, at great expense, to court. This is initiation of force too, occuring on a systematic basis, and is built into the system as a legitimate evil necessary to fulfill the functions of the government. The lawsuit may be completely without substance, but you still need to meet in court. Juridical inefficiency is similar to wrongful lawsuits, but going the other way. If you are in some way violated by another individual or organization justice does not just commence magically and effortlessly. You are required to go through painful legal actions which costs a lot of your time and money. This is forced upon you by judical inefficiency. Ideally every case takes zero effort and justice is reached in zero time, costing zero. Anything more than zero is colateral damage -- part of the damage caused by the execution of the functions of government. governmental obstacles in complying with the law and execution of rights There are some cases where there are certain regulations imposed on you or bureaucratic overhead in executing your rights. One example are the laws regulating activities for minors, e.g. selling alcohol or drugs to minors. These laws forces the seller to ensure that the buyer is of legal age. This requrement is a mild form of initiation of force and is colateral damage in assuring that the rights of children are not violated. Second, in aquiring new property (e.g. land or natural resources) governmental registration may be needed. This is also the case for personal information such as registration of names, the overhead with issuing a birth certificate and so forth. Again these are mild cases of colateral damage. tax for financing the legitimate functions of government What happens if the government runs out of money due to lack of voluntary gifts? Does the government just say "sorry, got to shut down the operation. No more protection of individual rights here" ? Of course not. The government then collects taxes by force in order to ensure the continued protection of rights. Again this is colateral damage -- in this case a systematic one, just like wrongful search or imprisonment. Notice, however, that tax can ONLY be collected if no voluntary alternatives exist to ensure the operation of the legitimate functions of government. emergency conscription in the threat of annihilation or invasion What happens if the nation is threatened by invasion and there is not a big enough voluntary army to resist the attack? Does the government just say "sorry, guess we lost this war. We can't protect you from this danger." Of course not. The government then issues emergency conscription to ensure the protection of rights. Again this is colateral damage -- and in this case an accidental one. Notice, however, that emergency conscription can ONLY be executed if no voluntary alternatives exist to ensure the survival of the free, sovereign nation. This excludes conscription in peace times and for operations abroad such as the Iraqi war. The principle of minimization of force Ok, that just about covers the bases. Now I turn the attention to the overarching principle that bridges all of the above special cases, namely the government's obligation to minimize force in society. The obvious example of this is that the government is obliged to try to finance the operations of the government by voluntary means and decrease the cost of operation, recruit a voluntary army etc. But there are some non-obvious consequences too. Let's first consider a special case of the principle, mentioned earlier: Baseless and excessive uses of force (both retaliatory and initially) are illegitemate. This naturally limits the scope of force used and tolerated by the government. Second, and equally important: All use of force should be considered symmetrical This means that one kind of force is not objectively worth more than another. Thus, if the overall use of force can be decreased, then internally in the equation one kind of force may be balanced against another. In particular this means that colateral damage should be considered equally good/bad as crime. Thus, if crime can be reduced by increasing colateral damage, so long as the overall use of force decreases, then this is not only legitimate, but an obligation of government. Notice also, that an increase in crime is acceptable so long as colateral damage is reduced more. Both are initiations of force and should therefore be viewed as equal. One obvious example of this would be crime versus government surveilance. Surveilance leads to colateral damage, infringement on people's privacy. However, if this increased infringement is smaller overall than the reduction in crime that results from it then it is legitimate. Another and more interesting example that is hardly ever mentioned is to replace laws governing social relations with standard contracts. A standard contract is a set of premises that applies by default in society unless otherwise specified. Thus, rather than requiring everyone to make a contract for every single social interaction (lots of bureaucratic overhead) one eliminates all this by letting one standard contract apply by default. The standard by which all standard contracts should be evaluated legally is of course the standard of life, i.e. individual rights. Any law that regulates the relation between legal persons needs to specify two things: (a) the standard contract that applies by default ( the requirements needed to change the contract Now, the second term here, b, can be considered a legitimate initiation of force, namely colateral damage. Two people are forced to meet certain requirements in order to escape the default contract. Such a standard contract is ONLY legitimate as long as the overall use of force is reduced. (and that there is not an imbalance between the involved parties) The most clearcut example of such a standard contract is the most basic one, namely the right to life: (a) by default it is assumed that people want to live. The standard contract is thus to consider killing a severe breech of this contract, leading to severe punishment. ( but some people want to die, and need help in assisted suicide. In order to be allowed to do this the government needs to ensure that the person really wants to die and is mentally sound to make such a decision. Therefore very strong requirements amounting to significant uses of force is imposed on anyone who wants to change this standard contract. Notice that initiation of force in b is much less than the reduction in initiation of force by requiring everyone to making contracts that they don't want to die. Such a standard contract is thus valid. Essentially, standard contracts help define and "lubricate" the process of making voluntary choices. If there is a very clearly defined standard contract, then the legal resolution of disputes are minimized. Some examples of standard contracts: (a) by default banks are required to abide to 100% reserve banking ( deviations from this standard are required to be properly announced to the customer. (e.g. a sign saying "30% fractional reserve banking") Another possible example of a standard contract: (a) all restaurants are non-smoking by standard ( deviations from this standard are required to be properly announced to the customer (e.g. a sign saying "smoking allowed") In both cases the requirement of a sign or something similar is such a minor use of force compared to the reduction in swindle and wasted time in discovering that the premises of the deal were not met. Notice that it is not obvious which way the standard contract goes. If 90% of all people are typically non-smokers then a "smoking allowed"-sign requirement would perhaps be justified, whereas if 90% of all people are typically smokers then the opposite "smoking not allowed"-sign may be required. Notice also that the standard does not always go in the favor of the customer. A specification of the law could say that coffee served at restaurants by default is scorching hot. If this is the case then no sign saying "coffee is hot" is required. In fact, a sign (or oral announcement) saying "coffee is not hot" would be required in this case if the restaurant does not serve hot coffee. Further notice that such common knowledge *may* be specified in the law, but needn't. If the judge deems some requirement to be common knowledge this will be assumed to be the default contract unless otherwise stated. Here specification means some bloating of the law, but with the very real gain of dramatically increased judical efficiency. All disputes relating to standard contracts can be very quickly processed, thereby reducing the colateral damage of the judical process. Standard contracts also give slight political wiggle room in the use of initiation of force, but the constitution should require any such law to minimize the use of force, and the standard by which all standard contracts need to comply is the standard of life, i.e. individual rights. You can't have murder be a standard contract since this violates the right to Life. Ok, that was a brief summary of this topic. Comments are appreciated. Edit: formatting
  24. I think efforts such as these are great. However, I think that a more thorough rewriting of the constitution is needed. Merely tweaking the old one will not suffice. A constitution without the appropriate institutions is worth nothing. All this needs to be taken into account. Thus redesigning the constitution is not enough, a redesign of *government* is needed. And while we're at it we should put everything on the table. Everything should be questioned according to the principles of individual rights as we understand them today. Thus, rather than starting with actually tweaking the constitution I'd want a brainstorming process on all the accumulated experience in the last 230 years of how the constitution and government has been weakened, undermined and attacked. By listing and discussing these weaknesses it is possible to device a more generel defence. Also discussing the various forms of uses of force that the government needs to be discussed, specified and debated so that general principles of government based on them can be formulated. Don't forget that when the founding fathers wrote the constitution they did precisely this: taking the experience of roman law and creating something entirely new based on it (also based on the discussions of e.g. John Locke). I think that a similar process is warranted. Let me start by stating something that obviously should be in the constitution: a meta-constitution, i.e. principles of how the constitution should be understood so that future modifications of the constitution don't lose the original intent. Thus, the constitution needs to be self-contained.
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