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Onar Åm

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Everything posted by Onar Åm

  1. In other words, you agree with me. And I agree with you. But as you have just seen, there is often some discriminatory work to do *before* you evaluate an individual, cf the airport where you first pick candidates based partly on group, and then make an individual assessment.
  2. This is an anectdote of which I don't see the relevance to actual biological differences in individuals. Not all statistics boil down to biology. I've never claimed this and never will. Suppose you were in charge of airport security and want to avoid terrorist attack. Would you test all individuals equally thoroughly or would you perhaps give fare more attention to you men of arab looks? It's perfectly rational to use group statistics as a starting point for individual inquiry. Where would you be more cautious of assault, in a home for the elderly or on a gangster street? Well, based on this information alone I would consider it extremely unlikely that you are a potential suicide bomber.
  3. All true, but knowing the biological factors enables us to narrow down what these reasons may be. If there were far more female mathematicians than male, this would tell us something very significant because it is not to be expected from biology alone. True, and therefore you should never judge and individual based solely on group statistics. Again, true, but in this case there is plenty of evidence for the one willing to see them, most of which I did not mention.
  4. The evidence strongly suggest otherwise. For the least intelligent (IQ<85), the effects on achievement are quite dramatic, particularly in a society where manual labour is in much less demand. The opposite is to claim that intelligence is irrelevant to the individual and the society which is clearly, patently false. The individual clearly and unambiguously benefits from a higher IQ, both in himself and in others. Obviously, but that's not what we are talking about here. A crippled person can as a factual statement claim that his physical disability prevents him from becoming a runner. This is not "to blame" his biology for "his failure" to become a runner, it is a mere statement of fact. Life is the standard of value, which obviously means that success needs to be measured by the standard of the biological nature of the individual. If an individual is paralyzed then learning to walk is a tremendous achievement, whereas for a healthy person the same task is quite normal. Failure for one person is success for another. But just because YOU must live with your biological limitations does not mean that you have to blindly accept the cards blindly dealt to your children by evolution. If you could choose to improve your childs health, longevity and intelligence, would you do it? Probably, because you evaluate these as objectively BETTER qualities to possess, enabling your child to live a potentially richer life than yourself.
  5. I think you're confusing the issue. One line of reasoning concerns whether biologically inherited factors can result in predictable behavioral statistics (i.e. overrepresentation in crime statistics etc.). The answer to this question is YES. Not because biology determines character, but rather because biology partly determines what kind of situations/challenges an individual will face during his life time. A second line of reasoning concerns whether IQ is one such limiting factor which affects behavioral statistics, and the answer to this is clearly yes. There is a very strong correlation between IQ and income, especially between *low* IQ and *low* income. There is also a similar correlation between low IQ and crime, not because low IQ makes you immoral, but because it exposes you to more morally challenging situations. A third line of reasoning concerns whether there are statistical differences in intelligence between the races due to genetic factors. The answer to this question is also yes. Combining all these three lines of reasoning you get a partial explanation to the observation that blacks on average are overrepresented in crime, low income, illiteracy and other social statistics. If you DON'T factor in real biological differences between the races you might end up drawing wrong conclusions about the observed facts. For instance, many people explain black overrepresentation in crime with a bad culture (the gangsta culture). Thus, they are claiming that there is an overrepresentation of immoral people among blacks. However, it could very well be that there is no cultural/moral differences between blacks and whites, but rather that the overrepresentation of low IQ among blacks exposes more of them to morally challenging situations which they choose to solve with crime. In other words, it is crucial to know about these biological differences to draw the correct inferences about the observed facts. (In reality there is very likely a combination: blacks are both overrepresented in crime because of overrepresentation in low IQ *and* because of bad culture.)
  6. True. Again true, and on the same note one can use to predict population averages such as GDP per capita. You can also use statistical traits to make assessments about people's behaviors. For instance, men are overrepresented in Nobel Prizes. Is this due to sexism in academia? Not if winning a Nobel prize requires a high IQ and women are dramatically underrepresented in the Nobel prize IQ-level. In 2000 far more black than white votes were discounted in the Florida presidential election. Racism? Not if successfully voting requires a minimum threshold and far more blacks than whites fall below this threshold. Jews are dramatically overrepresented among the exceptionally rich and powerful. A display of power lust and ruthless hustling? Not if becoming rich and powerful requires extraordinary intelligence and jews are significantly overrepresented among the exceptionally intelligent. Every single 100 meter sprint finalist in the last few olympics have been black. Just black sports enthusiasm? Not if blacks are dramatically overrepresented among people of exceptional physical abilities. There are a lot of statistics out there that people are interested in explaining, and statistical biological differences among the races and sexes help provide a more accurate explanation. Fully agreed.
  7. Absolutely not. I am talking about limiting factors. Let me give you an example. Suppose you have 100 immoral people. These are people that when pushed will violate the rights of others. Further suppose that you then take 50 of these immoral people and place them in morally challenging situations: aggrevate them, let them live in poverty, give them hard work. The other 50 immoral people you place in morally relaxing situations: don't aggrevate them, let them have plenty of money, allow them to be able to get by on little work etc. Now, which group of immoral people do you think will have the highest crime rate? A) the morally challenged, or the morally unchallenged? I'd put my money on group A. Thus, even if you have two groups that have an equally bad personal character, one of the groups is going to be overrepresented in crime due to the morally challenging situations they face.Some of these situations are going to manifest themselves due to genetics. For instance, physically strong people are going to face situations where they can beat other people to submission more often than physically weak people. This simple fact alone will make elderly less prone to physical violence than young people, and men more prone to violence than women. The same is true for testosterone. People with high testosterone are more easily aggrevated than others and hence face the morally challenging situation of "losing their temper" more often than people of low testosterone. People of low intelligence more often face the challenge of living with little money than people of high intelligence. People of high intelligence can get away with being lazy, people of low intelligence cannot. Because of the limiting factors of our biology we can make predictions about behavior. Behavior is still chosen, but the morally challenging situations one finds one self in may not be.
  8. The reason I used agility and strength as examples is because this is *precisely* the physical equivalent of intelligence. Intelligence is mental speed/strength/energy, and it is an innate physiological quality largely determined by genes and nutrition. Making statistical claims based on *limiting factors* (such as strenght, height, IQ) must never be confused with making statistical claims about *behavior*. Even though I know nothing about the interests, character and morality of any pygmy, I can make a prediction that no pygmy will ever win the Olympics in high jump, simply because height is a limiting factor. This is precisely why *low* IQ is a much better predictor of behavior than high IQ. Low IQ is a limiting factor which excludes a lot of possible actions, whereas high IQ is not. Well, this goes to show that certain people are anxious to convert language into political weapons. Think about it, how on Earth can facts be racist!?!? Isn't there something obviously wrong with most people's definition of racism if the mere *fact* of racial differences is racist? Such a definition of racism is a false one, used to stigmatise and put labels on people searching the truth about racial differences.
  9. The correlation between income and IQ is quite strong, but it weakens at the top level, and dramatically increases at the bottom. This is precisely what we would expect when IQ is a limiting factor. High IQ-people have a much greater variety of careers to choose from, ranging from low income jobs to high income jobs. This, in combination with free will generates a much greater spectrum of actual choices. For low IQ people, however, mostly low income jobs are available. Hence, the correlation is much stronger at the lower end.
  10. Whether you like it or not I can with great statistical certainty say that you are unlikely to be able to jump 2 meters in height, run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds etc. Why? Because of the specific biological constraints embodied in you. You are not a statistical machine, but you are most certainly constrained by your physiology. Those constrains result in very real statistical behaviors (or absence of them). A person of IQ 75 can choose any pathway he likes, but he is probably never ever going to create something like the theory of relativity. No, I am arguing that brain physiology places limitations on an individuals choices. A very large percentage of the population can never, ever be Nobel Prize winners in physics, even if they wanted to and tried their very hardest.
  11. True. But they are. Look at math, physics, chess, economics, philosophy, chemistry etc. The overwhelming majority of achievers are men. This is a well-known fact in psychometrics. Women are on average slightly less intelligent than men, and more significantly, their distribution is narrower than that of men. I.e. there are fewer idiots and geniouses among women.
  12. Agreed. Again agreed. But drawing conclusions about the *statistical* behavior of many individuals from a specific race or group is not immoral. It is a fact that women are dramatically underrepresented in the area of intellectual achievements (cf Nobel Prizes). This statistical fact can be easily explained by the statistical fact that there are far, far fewer women of high intelligence than there are men. There is to my knowledge only one legitimate evaluation where we need to use race, even if we know all the biologically expressed qualities of the individual. This is in relation to the traits of the *children* of the individual. Here the entire genome of the individual comes into play and understanding the genetics of the children requires race.
  13. I'm well aware of this kind of error, and it's always good to be reminded of it, even though I don't think I'm making it now. Actually it doesn't. I specifically say that "nothing lies beyond this point," and unless you objectify nothingness as a kind of existent there is no reification, merely a statement about the limitations of space at a particular point. This is not a trick question. It is a very real problem. Is space inifinite? If not, there must be an end point. What is the behavior of reality at this end point? Yes, finite absolutism. Agreed, but that is not what I am talking about either. I am talking about the behavior of existence when pushed to a particular boundary. What this means is that if you inquire existence persistently in one of its properties (e.g. time, space, scale) you should sooner or later bump into its end -- if existence is limited.
  14. I didn't ask if there was a place outside of existence (obviously there isn't), I asked if there is an *end* of existence, a point beyond which there is nothing. If you think this makes little sense, then think concretely. Is space infinite? If not then it must be finite, which means that there must be some end to space.
  15. This may or may not be true. But there are obvious candidates for such limits. Is space infinite? Is time infinite? Is scale infinite? If not, obviously there is a boundary to existence. I agree with this statement, but it doesn't really address the question at hand. Obviously the law of non-contradiction holds in all places, because all places are part of reality. But what happens when we reach the end of space? Is there such a place? What happens there? We know there is nothing *beyond* this limit, so it must represent some kind of limitation on reality. Exactly how does that limit work?
  16. No it is not. It is essentially the task of identifying the boundaries of existence. It is finding the corners of reality where you must say "nothing exists beyond this point. This is the end of existence." No, but the axioms do describe the fabric of existence.
  17. People are able to overcome the limitations of their biology with technology, but this does not make the limitations of their biology any less real. Where do you get this from? I'm discussing genetic realities NOW. Obviously genes are as changable and moldable as anything else in reality. Facts can never be racist. Facts can never be immoral. If it is a fact that blacks on average have a heritably lower IQ than whites, then this cannot be immoral nor racist.
  18. The metaphysical axioms of Objectivism. That too, infinity of any kind. No, at special aspects of the physical universe (time,space, scale). One possible candidate would be scale at the quantum level. One way of interpreting QM noise is that one approaches the end of existence and the principle of non-contradiction therefore starts to break down.
  19. I've run into an interesting metaphysical problem. Obviously we cannot deny the axioms of metaphysics without contradiction. The axioms represent the minimum solid ground on which we can base knowledge. The question is: do the axioms need to have infinite extent, or could they be finite truths? For instance, is existence infinite in extent or a finite quantity? Are we always free or is our time line of free will like swiss cheese, full of holes? What about identity, does the principle of non-contradiction always hold, or is there a boundary to existence where the principle starts to break down?
  20. Correct. Whoa! Intelligence is a *biological* property, like height. Character on the other han is a *moral* property, i.e. one chosen by the individual. Mixing these in the same definition of racism misses the mark. Assessing someone's intelligence exclusively based on race would be racism, because the variation in intelligence is large within a race. However, note that this is induced from facts, not deduced from definitions. If it were true that intelligence varied very little within a race it wouldn't be racism to judge someone's intelligence by race.
  21. Yes, but elementary biology states that there will be regression towards the mean. That is, Thomas Sowell's children will on average be smarter than the *black* mean, but not as smart as Thomas Sowell. Similarly, dumb whites will on average have children that are dumber than the *white* mean, but not as dumb as their parents. This regression is so strong and the difference between the race means so large that Thomas Sowell's kids are likely to be less smart than the kids of dumb whites. Education does not influence general intelligence significantly, but nutrition place a major role, particularly for malnourished or undernourished Spot on.
  22. I don't understand why this is any more determinism than the fact that we cannot fly or breathe under water. We are limited beings, our biology places limitations on us, including reproductive ones. As to your second factor, sure I think we can overcome some factors not under their voluntary control. We can build airplanes to fly, we can use diving equipment to breathe under water, and we can educate our kids and thereby let them reap the benefit of hundreds of years of progress by the most eminent and intelligent thinkers. In the long run there is most definitely things we can do to improve our biology. In the future we will be able to identify "smart" genes and "dumb" genes, thereby enabling parents to make a rational choice about how their children's biology should be. Remember, two parents with completely ordinary intelligence can produce an exceptionally smart kid by lucky random combinations of genes. Think about the possibilities if one could take control over random reproduction and make it part of the volitional process. That is within our grasp right now, and in a generation it could be common. That's taking free will to its ultimate logical conclusion.
  23. Can you perhaps explain why this is irrational? Regression to the mean is one of the best observed phenomena in biology. Would you be very surprised if an unusually tall pair of pygmies produce lower kids than unusually short pair of europeans? Would you call this irrational?
  24. Well, it doesn't. The latest research shows that the Flynn-effect is waning. Correct. Yes, at some point education exhausts the general knowledge of IQ-problems, and improved nutrition exhausts the increase in brain size. That point seems to have come now in the developed world. Are you seriously suggesting to me that university graduates are never exposed to anything resembling abstract, logical problems!? You don't actually have to see an IQ-test in order to learn the formulas. All you need to is to be exposed to similar type logical problems. University should provide plenty of that. There has been no increase in the genetic basis of intelligence. There is some evidence that improved nutrition has improved the underlying general intelligence somewhat, but not anything near the 30 IQ points of the Flynn-effect. Most of this secular rise in IQ has nothing to do with an underlying increase in 'g.' Causality IS established: a common factor, namely nutrition. Improved nutrition makes people taller, but it also makes their brains bigger and smarter. Yes, on average, because shorter people have smaller brains on average. Well, we are talking about such miniscule effects here that you can't really get a lot of useful information from just the height alone. There has been done a lot of studies on heritability of IQ. It is very high, probably higher than 80%. If we include nutrition the number probably rises to well above 90%, leaving less than 10% to be explained by culture. One such convincing study is twins reared apart. They show that monozygotic twins raised by completely different families will have very similar IQs. Typically the IQ will be much closer between the twins than between the twin and its parents and siblings. Another important piece of evidence is brain size. Culture doesn't affect brain size. (nutrition may though) And there is significant differences in average brain size between the races. The third and perhaps most convincing evidence against cultural influence on IQ is the fact that the children of the 10% richest blacks have a lower IQ than the children of the 10% poorest whites. Basically, white trailer trash red necks produce smarter kids than the Thomas Sowells. This completely demolishes any shred of cultural explanation and points very strongly in terms of genetics. Why? Because of the genetic phenomenon known as regression to the mean. If two parents are taller than average then they will statistically have kids that also are taller than average, but not as tall as the parents. We say that the children have regressed to the mean. Now, low-IQ whites will tend to have children that regress *upwards* toward the white mean of 100, whereas high-IQ blacks will have children that tends to regress *downward* toward the black mean of 83. The differences in means between blacks and whites are so large that dumb whites will statistically get smarter kids than smart blacks.
  25. I disagree. It IS accurate to say that a person subjected to retaliatory initiation IS being initiated against. This person is innocent. He has done nothing wrong and thus is not subject to retaliation. Someone is initiating force against him. Hence, the correct category of force applied to him is *initiation*. However, in this case the person physically performing the initiation is not the one responsible for it. The responsibility rests with the original initiator that caused the retaliator to deliberately use physical force against an innocent third party. I use the modifier "retaliatory" to provide the context. This is no different from using a term such as "criminal" to modify "business man." Viewed in isolation a criminal is incompatible with a business man. A criminal is one who uses initiation of force, whereas a business man is one who engages in trade. Yet, it is still not a contradiction to say speak of a "criminal business man." It is obvious from this term that we are talking about a person who engages in trade, but also uses initiation of force in his operation. The same goes with the term "rational egoist" versus "irrational egoist." An irrational egoist doesn't actually act in his own self-interest, but we understand from the modifier that he is acting from self-interest as a motivation, but in an irrational manner. Now, you are perfectly free to argue that we shouldn't be able to use terms such as "bad morality", "criminal business man" or "irrational egoist," but to me it is linguistically efficient to use modifiers in order to add well-defined context to a concept. It transmits real, unambiguous information. I would also argue that the DEFAULT value of a term (i.e. no modifiers) should be the proper usage of the term. So instead of "good moral" we simply say "moral" for short, or instead of "honest, law-abiding business man" we simply say business man, or instead of "rational egoism" we simply say "egoism." (Culturally speaking it is too soon to remove the "rational" modifier in the latter example.) The same goes, I argue, with the term retaliatory initiation. Here we modify the term "initiation" by the term "retaliatory" to show that it IS an initiation, but that it occurs in a retaliatory context, meaning that the person actually performing the initiation is the retaliator, not the original initiator. And the term "retaliatory initiation" properly respects that chain. The third party IS being initiated against, not retaliated against. Yes, it provides context for the initiation. To me the term is perfectly clear as to the moral character of the action. "Initiation" implies that the person acted upon IS being violated. "Retaliatory" implies that the person performing the action is acting in self-defense and is therefore not morally responsible for the violation. How is this not a clear concept? It perfectly identifies a very unique and well-defined relationship in a chain of events. But rather than handwaving with "outside morality" I am actually trying to codify this unique moral situation and bring it inside morality so that it can be objectively understood and analyzed. I completely agree, but this does not change the fact the neighbor IS being initiated against, and this is captured in the term "retaliatory initiation." But that was the whole point of introducing the term. By properly identifying a situation that frequently occurs in government one brings into the realm of crisp language situations that otherwise would be blurry. I guess the major distinction is that I define the concept in terms of its end result, i.e. in terms of the "doee" instead of the doer. Initiation of force IS clear cut. Is the party being applied force upon non-initiating? If so, then it is initiating of force. In other words, it depends on where you put the emphasis of the concept, on the doer or the doee. And as I have shown, in terms of the person acted upon I am using the concept completely distinctly. Retaliatory initiation means that the object is initiated upon whereas the subject is acting retaliatory. The point with making such a term explicit is that we now can start to think clearly and coherently about when it is legitimate and what the limits are. There can be TWO sources of collateral damage, 1) retaliatory accidents and 2) retaliatory initiations. From a legal perspective it makes all the difference whether the act was deliberate or accidental. Killing 10 people by accident and killing them intentionally to save your own life is not the same thing. This is not just a topic that should be confined to court rooms. The lawmakers also need to be familiar with this concept and understand the limitations so that they can make laws that are not thrown out by the supreme court. It is not merely a technicality, but rather a way of thinking. Once you fully understand the concept of collateral damage and start to identify the various situations where retaliatory initiation is used, it becomes much clearer and easier to design objective law.
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