Comments on: Libertarianism for Luck Egalitarians Free Markets and Social Justice Sat, 20 Jan 2018 02:22:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Konrad_Lorenz Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:01:00 +0000 Rekt.

By: Konrad_Lorenz Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:20:00 +0000 If the society has institutions that obligate those whom the storm does not affect to aid those whom the storm does affect, then that society does have storm insurance. So you do already have insurance, with no incentive needed. Worry not.

If you don’t prepare for the storm then the result was not a pure matter of luck. So the social insurance can maybe deny your specific claim after their claim investigators discover you failed to enact best practices.

By the way, if you deliberately chose to accept the risk of storm damage in exchange for satisfaction of some other preferences (e.g. you really like Florida beaches) then te result of the storm is also not a pure matter of luck. So your storm insurance is maybe not as cheap, doesn’t pay out as much, or isn’t even available if you choose Florida.

By: Konrad_Lorenz Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:13:00 +0000 All the other big fortunes come from monopolies too, though. It’s not possible for humans to accumulate giant fortunes any other way.

By: Peter from Oz Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:20:00 +0000 The elites fight each other more than they give a toss about mistreating the poor. The economy is not a zero-sum game. The rich don’t get rich at the expense of the poor.

By: Sean II Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:46:00 +0000 Oh, I meant to mention this but I forgot: if you’re interested in the evo way of thinking, the blogger Jayman has a reading list he updates now and again called “HBD Fundamentals”. Just search that term + Jayman and you’ll find it easy. Very thorough list.

By: R.Levine Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:52:00 +0000 Great – thanks again for taking the time to share citations. This is a pretty thorough reading list, which is exactly what I wanted. Not that I’m eager to get into acrimonious big-picture arguments with my more left-leaning friends, but at least on the occasions someone mentions an isolated point about (for example) the need for more education interventions to address racial disparities I hope I can be a little more confident I’m nudging in the right direction.

The Kahneman quip is great too – seems perfectly obvious in retrospect, but it was completely lost on me when that book was a topic of active discussion.

By: Sean II Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:08:00 +0000 1) “I’ve always assumed that the IQ test measures g, and g is a measure of one’s facility with abstract reasoning. Is that right?”

Not quite. Strictly speaking, G is just the correlation in performance between different cognitive tests. Even more strictly: it’s the thing which must exist, in order to explain that correlation.

So abstract reasoning would be part of G, but not the whole of it, not synonymous with it.

2) That’s currently the most plausible account of the Flynn effect: that it measures a increase in familiarity with certain tasks, which would’ve seemed quite exotic to people in 1900, but which are somewhat old hat today.

Classic example: tangrams. If you take someone who’s never seen colored blocks of wood with different shapes, and ask him to arrange those some specific way in a timed exercise, he’s probably not going to do as well as someone who can look at the same task and say “Ah, tangrams. I know these.”

Think about the culture of the last 200 years and you can make a list of similar things: detective stories, boards games, legos, puzzles, Kracker Jack decoders, etc.

Take a simple example: digit string, the ability to remember numbers and repeat them in correct order. In 1800 most people probably NEVER performed this task or anything like it. But telephones and social security# and banking/credit have changed that, so that hardly anyone can go through life without performing the trick, at least occasionally.

Likewise for anything involving time. Remember what Gletkin said in Darkness at Noon: “I was 16 when I learned the hour could be divided into minutes…”

I sometimes wonder if part of the Flynn effect is people simply getting better at understanding what a statement like “you have 30 to complete this task” means in practical terms.

But note the problem: explanations like this mean the Flynn effect is just measurement error. We’ve been overestimating scores because, in effect, the kids have gotten an advance peek at the exercises, in a way their parents and grand parents could not.

3) “If this is what’s going on with the Flynn effect, then it seems to me that it could be…”

Probably not. Much hope has been hung on the Flynn effect, but it always disappoints by leaving the big gap intact.

This is a major problem for optimists, because an environmental cause of the gap implies big opportunities for catch-up growth, which ought to kick in once a level of basic sufficiency is achieved. I should say: “ought to have kicked in by now”, because we’re long overdue.

4) “Have they done twin studies where one twin grows up in a high crime area and the other doesn’t, and if so, do the IQ scores differ?”

I don’t know of any study done with just that variable in mind, but the experiment has been run all the same.

B=>W trans-racial adoption by its nature moves children from high crime to low crimes areas. Recall that one of the most famous such studies was conducted in Minnesota. The adopting parents were carefully chosen, and they had a mean IQ of 115. The Ashkenazi of north country Lutherans, if you will. So you know they weren’t living anywhere near the one high crime area Minnesota ever had.

Even so, the adopted kids still ended up with an 89 at the close of high school. And since heritability increases with age, that implies the usual suspect score of 85 by age 30.

By: Rob Gressis Mon, 16 Oct 2017 03:43:00 +0000 I’ve always assumed that the IQ test measures g, and g is a measure of one’s facility with abstract reasoning. Is that right?

If it is right, then could the following be true: people who grow up in places/times where abstract reasoning isn’t important won’t do well on the IQ test. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t do well if they had grown up in places/times prizing abstract reasoning, but it does mean that, after a while, they’re just not going to be able to do well with abstract reasoning.

I suspect that this is what’s going on with the Flynn effect, rather than that, say, the average person in 1900 USA was mentally retarded.

If this is what’s going on with the Flynn effect, then it seems to me that it could be that black people in the ghetto have a lower IQ than they would have if they weren’t in the ghetto. Is that true? Do we know if growing up in a high crime environment has any effect on people’s IQ? Have they done twin studies where one twin grows up in a high crime area and the other doesn’t, and if so, do the IQ scores differ?

By: Sean II Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:38:00 +0000 Yes, but not recently. I’ll read it again now though.

If memory serves: no doubt, he gave some valid examples of Flynn-like score improvements in populations previously thought feeble.

My own people, the Irish, are one such case. Our genotypic IQ is lower than that of other Europeans, but at times our phenotypic IQ has seemed even lower. Many arguments to be made, on both sides.

Some stories like that are probably measurement error, some are cases of environmental improvement, and some – like the urban vs rural gap – are explained by task familiarity of the kind many suspect for a culprit in the Flynn effect.

My main response is: whatever they are, cases like that don’t remove the ceiling on what nurture can change.

“Look what happened when we stopped poising kids with lead” does not get us to “expect big things from pre-natal Mozart”.

Also, “Group Y tested low then tested better” doesn’t justify hanging much hope on “Group X will break through any day now”.

Indeed it’s rather the opposite: once we have the scientific means to pick up on past mistake or detect secular changes, it’s bad news for anything that fails to look different under the new, better microscope.

“It took us a awhile to find Pluto” doesn’t justify “I believe there’s a 10th planet yet undiscovered in the heavily studied space between Mars and Saturn”.

The correct answer here is: “No, if such a thing existed, the very tools we used to find Pluto would by now have found it.”

The main gap we’re concerned about has been massively studied and tinkered with.

If it was measurement error, we’d know by now.

If it was susceptible to nurture improvements, we’d know that too. There would at least be pockets of success. Compared to the average poor kid today, John von Neumann was a victim of deliberate perinatal stunting. And yet…

By: Sean II Sun, 15 Oct 2017 14:25:00 +0000 Thank you very much! And sorry for the delay in getting back. This just ain’t my month when it comes to finding free time.

You have plenty of company in harboring such doubts. The old consensus is falling apart pretty fast. When I started talking about these issues four or five years ago, hardly anyone was. Especially not among the kind of libertarians who spend time talking about Rawls! Now it’s everywhere, as payments long deferred finally and massively come due.

The Left is saying: we demand the social equality (black-white, male-female, muslim-euro, etc.) which ought follow from the basic human equality you on the respectable Right have always claimed to believe in. We demand social war is waged until equality is achieved, with things like 12% black prisons, 50% female tech firms, 95% Muslim employment, etc.

So life on the respectable Right has become untenable. Anyone who isn’t Left MUST try to explain why prisons aren’t 12% black, tech firms aren’t 50% female, why so many Muslims can’t find work in Europe, etc.

That means explaining where the inequality DOES come from, if it DOESN’T come from the evil of white male discrimination. The old bedtime stories – culture of poverty, collapse of virtue, fix the schools, drug war, hair braiding, etc – worked well enough when the Left was treating identity as a back burner issue. A weak argument is okay when you’re facing a weak challenge. But now that the Left has gotten serious about the constituencies of its future, it’s no longer possible to avoid giving serious answers.

Anyway let me answer your questions. Going in order of your original bullets:

1. Great start for basic info on heredity: Blank Slate, Pinker. Also good is Bryan Caplan’s Selfish Reasons… If, after that, you’re hungry for more technical stuff, just follow the trail of sources Pinker used.

2. Actually it’s worse than that. IAT results vanish when you simply take the test again. The test is neither reliable nor valid. I myself scored “slight preference for black” on once occasion, then “moderate preference for white” like two weeks later. What could have happened in that fortnight?

Anyway here’s a good recent summary with lots of links to big critiques:

3. “Has it been demonstrated that knee-jerk reactions to stimuli tend to be just as good from a judgements perspective as more careful / thought-out reasoning?”

Like Rob said, check out stereotype validity & stereotype accuracy. The big name in that business in Lee Jussim.

(Also worth mentioning: Daniel Kahneman. Although many people have gone out of their way to misunderstand it, Fast and Slow contained a robust defense of stereotype validity, and heresy of heresies, even linked it to an evo-psych explanation. The popular reading of that book – “System 1 NO!, System 2 YO!” – misses a very important point (oft repeated by me here) that System 2 is costly and prohibitively so in most of life. Which of course is how we ended up with System 1. Because it solves a lot of problems, at a price we could evolutionarily afford.)

3b. But I take your larger point. Even if the IAT were reliable and valid, we’d still have to ask another question for each finding. Say it turns out people are slow to associate the positive word THRIFTY with the group SAILORS. Now the IAT folks assume – rather implicitly, ahem – that this closes the case for people being irrationally biased against sailors.

The Jussimite response would be: first let’s go out and determine if sailors really are as thrifty as anyone else. Because maybe they aren’t. Maybe the expression “spends like a sailor” didn’t just come out of nowhere…

We should be asking that question of each and every stereotype.

4. Your man here is Arthur Jensen. (Also search Spearman’s Hypothesis.) It was Jensen’s work on IQ sub-tests that confirmed the opposite of what everyone hoped and predicted: the gap is larger on more g-loaded tests, smaller on more culturally-biased questions. E.g. black test-takers are more likely to know that glass can be out of sand (real question btw), than they are to crack a Raven’s matrix of equivalent difficulty.

4b. “Likewise, for the correlation between IQ and outcomes that we care about in modern society”

The best source for that hasn’t changed in 20+ years. It’s still The Bell Curve.