Objectivism Online Forum

# Onar Åm

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1

1. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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.

6. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Rewriting the constitution

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. ## Rewriting the constitution

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. ## Rewriting the constitution

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. ## Classical Music

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Rewriting the constitution

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. ## Classical Music

It was obviously well past my bed time when I wrote Wagner.

17. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

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. ## Rewriting the constitution

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. ## Rewriting the constitution

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. ## Racism or Correlations of Race with IQ / Physical Attributes

"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. ## Proto-Objectivism

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.