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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Mailvox: Taleb errs on IQ

JC has a Christmas request:
You mentioned Taleb is one of the few people that would make you question things you previously held. Taleb's math is out of my league but it's the same way I feel about your blog posts, i.e. they make me really think about my previously held beliefs. Could you maybe address his IQ thread in your blog or on the Darkstream one of these days?
Knowing my respect for the acumen of NN Taleb, a number of people have emailed me concerning his recent thread criticizing the idea of IQ and its utility in providing a reasonable proxy for comparing intelligence between individuals. I love Taleb's books, I admire his pugnacious spirit, and I do not dismiss anything he says out of hand. However, no matter how much I respect anyone, I do not accept anyone as an authority who cannot be questioned. I have questioned and critiqued most of my intellectual heroes, from Umberto Eco to Thomas Aquinas and Marcus Aurelius, so I won't hesitate to point out the various errors in fact and logic that Taleb makes in his "IQ" Thread.
"IQ" THREAD

"IQ" measures an inferior form of intelligence, stripped of 2nd order effects, meant to select paper shufflers, obedient IYIs.

1- When someone asks you a question in REAL LIFE, you focus first on "WHY is he asking me that?", which slows down. (Fat Tony vs Dr John)

2- It takes a certain type of person to waste intelligent concentration on classroom/academic problems. These are lifeless bureaucrats who can muster sterile motivation.

Some people can only focus on problems that are REAL, not fictional textbook ones.

3- Look at the hordes with "high IQ" (from measurement) who are failures in real world rather than the ~50% correlation between IQ and success in 1) salaried employment, 2) jobs that select for edjukashion.

Yuuge survivorship bias.

37 out of 38 PhDs in finance blew up in 1998!

4- If many millionaires have IQs around100, & 58 y.o. back office clercs at Goldman Sachs or elsewhere an IQ of 155 (true example), clearly the measurement is less informative than claimed.

5- If you renamed IQ , from "Intelligent Quotient" to FQ "Functionary Quotient" or SQ "Salaryperson Quotient", then some of the stuff will be true.

It measures best the ability to be a good slave.

IYIs want to build a top-down world where IYIs have the edge.

6- If you take a Popperian-Hayekian view on intelligence, then you would realize that to measure it you would need to know the SKILLS needed in the ecology, which is again a fallacy of intellectual hubris.

7- Perhaps the worst problem with IQ is that it seem to selects for people who don't like to say "there is no answer, don't waste time, find something else".

Remember the 1998 blowups.

8- IQ is an academic-contrived notion.

And the problem is that in academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Which explains why @primalpoly (while an honest resesrcher) can't see where we are coming from.

9- It is PRECISELY as a quant that I doubt "IQ".
I've spent 34 years working w/"High IQ" quants. I've rarely seen them survive, not blow up on tail events.

Those high IQ who have survived like @financequant /Renaissance happen to be yuuugely street smart

10- #SkininTheGame shows that the only robust measure of "rationality" & "intelligence" is survival, avoidance of ruin/left tail/absorbing barrier, (ergodicity). Nothing that does not account for ability to survive counts as a measure of "intelligence"-- just philosophaster BS.

11- A robust use of "IQ" is for low scores for special needs pple. But then practically ANY measure would work to detect problem & improvement.

Or no measure: just a conversation #Lindy. But then psycholophasters are using it like cholesterol, transferring from tails to body.

12- If someone came up w/a NUMERICAL "Well Being Quotient" WBQ or "Sleep Quotient", SQ, trying to mimic temperature or oth physical qty,  you 'd find it absurd.
But put enough academics w/physics envy on it & it will become an official measure.

That's what happened to "IQ".

13- For a measure to be a measure it needs to be:

+ UNIQUE
+ MONOTONIC
or, at least
+ TRANSITIVE

Hence IQ is not a measure, but something for psycholophasters to BS about.

14- Any measure of "intelligence" w/o convexity is sterile.

https://www.edge.org/conversation/nassim_nicholas_taleb-understanding-is-a-poor-substitute-for-convexity-antifragility …

15-" IQ" is most predictive of performance in military training, w/correlation~.5, (which is circular since hiring isn't random).

QUIZ: translate the correlation into percentage of the time IQ provides a correct answer there.

16- So Far: "IQ" isn't a measure of "intelligence" but "unintelligence"; it loses its precision as you move away from 70 (left tail).

Where it's most hyped (*some* jobs) it predicts ~15- 63% of the time, ~10% if you demassage data.

It it were a physical test, wd be rejected.

17- A graph that shows the synthesis of my opinion on IQ and the "reseasrch" results about it.

18- (continuing graph). So far none of the IQ-psycholophasters seem to grasp that local correlation is never correlation is the commonly understood sense. So when they say  "IQ works well between 70 and 130" it means: "IQ works well between 0 and ~85, maybe".

19- A general problem w/social "scientists" & IQ idiots: they can intuit the very terms they are using.
Verbalism; they have a skin-deep statistical education & can't translate something as trivial as "correlation" or "explained variance" into meaning, esp. under nonlinearities.

20- This Tweet storm has NO psychological references: simply, the field is bust. So far ~ 50% of the research DOES NOT replicate, & papers that do have weaker effect. Not counting poor transfer to reality.

How P values often fraudulent:https://arxiv.org/pdf/1603.07532.pdf …
Same for g factor

21-If you look at my p-haking above all the numbers by the fellow are upper bound -add category selection & the story is grim. Discount the story by >½.

"If IQ isn't a valid concept, no concept in psychology is valid." Sorry but psychology is largely bust.

22- This tweet storm irritated many:

1) Charlatans with something to sell: without IQ & other *testing* psychologists have little to sell society; there is a vested interest in hacking/massaging the stats & defending the products.

2) Pple who want some races to be inferior.

23- Note 1: Why is Intelligence = (long term) survival? Because convexity, missed by IQ tests. You want to make those mistakes with small consequences  NOT those with large ones. Academics ~ always focus on frequency of error not magnitude. Too Gaussianized. See #antifragile
First, while IQ may measure an inferior form of intelligence, Taleb's apparent unfamiliarity with the statistically observed exclusion of the high-IQ cognitive elite means that he finds himself in error from the very start. Whether it was designed to do so or not, IQ observably does not select for "paper shufflers, obedient IYIs" as those who can best be described in that manner tend to be in 1SD to 2SD range. In fact, those in the 150+ range are 97 percent EXCLUDED from the elite professions, including academia, often due to their inveterate intellectual disobedience.

One study even found that the highest IQ among the academics measured at an elite English university was only 139! The fact that IQ proxy tests have not been utilized in the US college admissions process for nearly 30 years now only further obscures the severing of the link between academia and high intelligence.

Second, while it does take "a certain type of person to waste intelligent concentration on classroom/academic problems" those don't tend to be the 3SD+ set. They tend to focus on ABSTRACT problems, because they are the only people capable of, and interested in, doing so. It is the midwits from the 105 to 115 level who prefer spitting out correct answers to questions already answered.

Third, Taleb fails to understand the reason for the correlation between high IQ and failure in the real world, which stems from the communications gap. The correlation between IQ and academic success is only 50 percent for IQs below 140; the rate of real world success for 150+ IQs is higher in the real world than in the academic world. Taleb is looking at too broad a range of "high IQ" rather than at a reasonable gradient of high IQ ranges.

Fourth, Taleb conflates intelligence with survival. But this is just flat-out wrong. Intelligence is simply a measure of intellectual ability, just as size, strength, and speed are measures of physical ability. And while intellectual ability is not necessarily as easily quantified, and while IQ is assuredly not a perfect measure, it is no more correct to redefine it simply because some people with lower IQs have higher incomes than other people with higher IQs than it would be correct to redefine size because some short people have higher incomes than taller people.

The fact that a track sprinter's speed does not always translate to success on the football field, where speed is at a premium, does not mean that the sprinter is not fast. It merely means that there are other, more important factors involved that are less immediately apparent to the casual observer. And given the way in which the most intelligent women are disinclined to reproduce, it should be obvious that intelligence is no more intrinsically advantageous to survival than size.

In this failed critique of IQ, Taleb demonstrates the limitations of the technical mind, which I suspect in this case stems from Taleb's understandable irritation with the shortcomings of the quantifiers used to determine IQ. A better measure would take into account more objectively quantifiable measures such the as speed of accurate reading, and place more importance on the ability to correctly perform logical and mathematical tasks quickly. But Taleb's critique primarily fails due to his false assumptions concerning the correlation of academic success with IQ, which is surprising considering that Taleb probably knows more 1SD to 3SD academics than anyone reading this.

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111 Comments:

Blogger pyrrhus December 26, 2018 7:29 AM  

There is massive amounts of research that show generalized fluid intelligence, "g", to be the single most important factor in success in life...It's the only factor more important than Socio-economic Status, "SES", though the two are highly correlated...In this area, as in Taleb's rejection of "unconventional" medicine, he is all wet, and probably pandering to the Establishment.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 26, 2018 7:44 AM  

My first and second impressions were that he was posing his virtue to the schoolmarm midwits who run the establishment and who really want to run off the maverick high IQ types who embarrass them.

He would impress me if I found him to be a Bill Clintonesque cad who charms the panties off his harem, but more than likely in these crappy years he is a beta cuck true believer, sad.

Blogger Daniel December 26, 2018 7:55 AM  

This is biased because of nnt dislike for academic people. And boy in so many cases he would not be wrong

Blogger Trebor Nosemaj December 26, 2018 8:03 AM  

I got socks for Christmas! Hooray! Happy Christmas Vox, all the best for you and your family in the New Year - thanks for all the knowledge in 2018, it's been a blast.

Blogger camcleat December 26, 2018 8:09 AM  

"A better measure would take into account more objectively quantifiable measures such the as speed of accurate reading, and place more importance on the ability to correctly perform logical and mathematical tasks quickly."

Question: How has IQ testing changed in the last three decades?

I had my IQ tested in the late 1970's for participation in a program that was definitely selecting on "high IQ" - which was never given an actual number.

I remember the test being a few word related things like "select the opposite of ...", a few math related things but mostly what stands out in my memory are the timed visual processing / logic portions of the test.

For example, time to give correct answer when

(a) shown a picture with something wrong in it and stating the problem

(b) given a picture and a set of colored (red/white) blocks, reproduce the picture

(c) others I don't specifically remember.

Also, I remember taking the GRE in late 1980's and it had a math and verbal like the SAT, but also a "Logic" portion. One thing the logic test had on it in addition to puzzles was pattern recognition. I loved the GRE test. During breaks, I recall hearing others take it complaining about it and how poor they did on it.

I know the SAT has been renormed and all that; how much have these other tests changed?

Blogger The Cooler December 26, 2018 8:15 AM  

Why Taleb did this on Twitter is a mystery. The medium lacks all potential for the necessary prolepsis, for one.

Anyway, Taleb could have just as easily used his premises to critique the transience of the inorganic system(s) that deselect for high IQ. Further, the concentration on IQ as it relates to social and financial success, while axiomatically convenient and in serving with Taleb's conclusion, is arbitrary. The Earth still goes round the sun whether or not it doing so gets anyone rich or laid.

IQ's utility as "[a measure of] an inferior form of intelligence" is true in and only in the context of a broken accounting system that, as pointed out by Vox, excludes the high-IQ cognitive elite as well as those who opt-out and create their own system(s), the latter being the World Engine set -- many, if not most of whom, remain unnamed, yet balls deep in respect, women and money.

Blogger John rockwell December 26, 2018 8:18 AM  

@pyrrus

''There is massive amounts of research that show generalized fluid intelligence, "g", to be the single most important factor in success in life''

Escape rooms or tests like it( like trying to coax a cork out of a bottle) prove to be very good test of fluid intelligence.

The speed of adaptability and ability to think that is required to effect an escape based on no prior information.

Blogger John rockwell December 26, 2018 8:21 AM  

Ideally the escape room test is to be done solo without any help from the outside. The time it takes and the efficiency of the problem solving helps to evaluate the fluid intelligence.

Blogger RC December 26, 2018 8:27 AM  

@Camcleat

They dropped the analytical section in 2002, replaced with analytical writing or some such. Most everything in academics has been renormed to hide systemic failure from pre-K to post-grad.

Blogger camcleat December 26, 2018 8:28 AM  

"Ideally the escape room test is to be done solo without any help from the outside. The time it takes and the efficiency of the problem solving helps to evaluate the fluid intelligence."

Interesting.

Wouldn't "cooperativity" be an excellent measure of fluidity though?

In my observation, those I view as "intelligent," and especially contextually intelligent (*), are those that adapt to good ideas in others vice stubbornly clinging to their own tunnel visioned idea/way of doing something.

(*) Ie, those that may not score well on an academically motivated IQ test but are very intuitive in their field, like how good machinists "know" a lot of metallurgy, etc but not through book larnin' but from decades of hands-on work.

Blogger pyrrhus December 26, 2018 8:30 AM  

O/T Lind replies to Yale (((Professor's))) claim in NYT that cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School are conspiracy theories...https://www.traditionalright.com/the-marxism-that-must-not-be-named/

Blogger camcleat December 26, 2018 8:33 AM  

@9

"They dropped the analytical section in 2002, replaced with analytical writing or some such. Most everything in academics has been renormed to hide systemic failure from pre-K to post-grad."

Thanks. That's shameful they dropped that part of the test.

No wonder the quality of post-grad admissions in the hard science I've directly observed has severely declined.

Blogger pyrrhus December 26, 2018 8:35 AM  

"Wouldn't "cooperativity" be an excellent measure of fluidity though?"

I doubt it..Fluid intelligence is highly correlated with reflex speed, and hence brain speed, as Michael Woodley has pointed out..Cooperation tends to be the option for midwits, or worse, who go along with the group without thinking.
And the dirty little secret of Academia is that most academics are midwits or worse, sometimes much worse.

Blogger dienw December 26, 2018 8:37 AM  

Glad you could interpret Taleb; as for me what he meant is obscured by insider jargon (convexity) from his industry and what I assume are complex neologisms;the key one of which is a poor use of Latin:

Taleb also calls Pinker a psycholophaster. (The neologism, incidentally, is an inexpert portmanteau based on philosophaster, a word derived from postclassical Latin and meaning “pseudo-philosopher” or “person engaging in shallow or pretentious philosophizing.

I understand from his first few comments at whom he directing his critique: those who are intelligent and cunning enough to fill an institutional position and sociopathic (sales/financial, self-advancement, self-promotion, ethically agile) enough to succeed monetarily and move up the ladder of positions; especially, those who do not suffer serious consequences from being incorrect (why would they in a population identical to themselves?); yet, that does not justify his bending the general meaning of IQ until it is contorted beyond recognition.

Blogger camcleat December 26, 2018 8:38 AM  

"Cooperation tends to be the option for midwits, or worse, who go along with the group without thinking."


Yeah, the social dynamics of a group would likely mask whatever intellectual adaptability that was happening. A "charismatic" low IQ person could sway the group, for example.


"And the dirty little secret of Academia is that most academics are midwits or worse, sometimes much worse."

No doubt. Fortunately, it is becoming more and more mainstream known that this is true.

Blogger Avalanche December 26, 2018 8:57 AM  

@2 "My first and second impressions"

My first and second impressions were: was even written BY Taleb? Did someone hack his site and post garbage, pretending to be Taleb!?

I'm not in Vox's SD, and maybe not in Taleb's -- but dayum!! That was some apparently ill-informed sperging (a skill I do have!) about small, and some incomplete, details that do NOT constitute the whole, with apparent non-comprehension of either the whole or the applicability of the details!

Wow. I think I'm seeing some feet of absolute clay! And maybe some shins too?!

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 9:00 AM  

"If you take a Popperian-Hayekian view on intelligence, then you would realize that to measure it you would need to know the SKILLS needed in the ecology, which is again a fallacy of intellectual hubris."

This is the key phrase of the critique. All of it depends on the purpose of IQ measurements. As far as I can tell, Taleb's critique is valid insofar as one desires a utilitarian metric.

Blogger Avalanche December 26, 2018 9:00 AM  

@8 "Ideally the escape room test is to be done solo without any help from the outside."

Kobaiashi (sp?) Maru.

Blogger Avalanche December 26, 2018 9:11 AM  

@10 'how good machinists "know" a lot of metallurgy, etc but not through book larnin' but from decades of hands-on work."

But is that "intelligence" or merely experience? A guy with deep and broad machining/metalwork experience may APPEAR smarter than someone with high fluid intelligence and less experience -- but still be down a half SD. If presented with a car engine run by a computer chip or ten -- his experience will not fit him to do the repair, and all his hands-on work will not suffice.

The pygmy in Africa may be really well suited to his surroundings (well, except for getting eaten by bantu) -- but intelligent? No. He will not, CANNOT, fit into or succeed in an advanced civilization: his IQ is just not sufficient!

The frequent objection that "IQ only measures how well people do in academics" is wrong; it is, in fact, a pretty GOOD measure of how well any member of a population will do in a OUR) highly technological society -- hence Vox's discussion of the generationally dropping IQ / lowered base intelligence leading to, e.g., a burned/dropped highway bridge in Atlanta; and Pakistani idiots smoking while sweeping up / stealing the gasoline from a tipped-over gasoline truck.

I think a really important aspect is 'fitness for purpose.' General IQ, and area-specific IQ, do in fact measure fitness for purpose. Doing well in academia (well, in real, old-time academia, not today's trashpits) IS a fitness for purpose metric for a highly technological civilization -- as witness all 'our' useless eaters and the degradation of our civilization. No IQ, no success. And the outliers, the "I know a guy who"s DO.NOT.COUNT!

Blogger Doktor Jeep December 26, 2018 9:15 AM  

Whereas it's cited that high IQ does not spare people from failure or that dumb people can be successful, that may be where inertia and environment come into play. I liken this to the situation in the book "Wizard of Linn" where rather "primitive" humans mastered different technologies on different worlds - and this was after some collapse of civilization occurred. That is, on some worlds they still had space travel, in others they were able to command still these special orbs, and on some they had still mastery over telekinesis. They simply did not know how to do the other stuff. So people who can build sailing ships might go to Africa and then have a hard time with dealing with the animals there, which comes easy to the people who can't build a ship.
But the points about IQ really shine when we notice - with all the regalia of evil racism of course - that whites who went to Africa eventually improved it while blacks who go to Europe rapidly destroy it.
So yeah someone with a 155 IQ working in finance can still screw the pooch when the data set he's working with and the culture he's working within is crap. Dump people who take it on themselves to take the time to do the most sensible thing for an outcome that they cam live with - like not crushing others under usury and gotcha games to make a living - can be successful. For the latter case we should have broken out the rope the minute the "intellectuals" started trashing religion.

But seeing that David Hogg has officially virtue-signalled his way into Harvard tells us as much as we need to know about how civilization is currently using IQ and the environment set around it.

Blogger Avalanche December 26, 2018 9:17 AM  

@20 "the points about IQ really shine when we notice - with all the regalia of evil racism of course - that whites who went to Africa eventually improved it while blacks who go to Europe rapidly destroy it."

THIS is eternal truth!

Blogger Solaire Of Astora December 26, 2018 9:22 AM  

@2 Except he thinks those schoolmarm midwits are the high IQ people he's criticizing. He likes the mavericks but apparently buys into the notion that this is unrelated to IQ for the reasons Vox stated. The idea that Fat Tony doesn't have a high IQ like Dr. John is a cliche that needs to die.

@16 It's definitely written by Taleb. He's made references about this before but never went off this explicitly. I don't remember which of his books it was in but he wrote something to the effect that his character Dr. John would outscore Fat Tony on something static like an IQ test but that he would be inferior in handling the complexities of the real world. Taleb is right that IQ doesn't measure the full extent of the human intellect. Vox has shown time and again that certain character traits allow people to outperform those with higher IQs even in strictly intellectual terms. I'm talking about things like curiosity and a ruthless devotion to the truth. Also, if you're not in Vox's SD you're not maybe not in Taleb's, you're certainly not. Taleb is allowed to be wrong sometimes. This doesn't devalue his positive contributions or his character.

Blogger camcleat December 26, 2018 9:29 AM  

@19

"But is that "intelligence" or merely experience?"

Certainly a fair question.

I consider this: not everyone with 20 years experience doing the same job has a similar intuitive feel for the field. So, there is some underlying difference, which I think does relate to "intelligence," especially when we are including the fluidity as a key aspect of IQ.

I've observed too many times a real difference in "the way they think" in true craftsmen in various fields. I used metalworking as one example, but the effect is the same in chemistry and physics as well.

There are technicians that are very skills based in every field. Then there are the very, very abstract thinkers, those that just see the problem differently than everyone else. True in chemistry; true in metalworking.

So, I agree with you that it is easy to conflate experiential skills with "IQ," but do contend that in a few, even in skills based fields, IQ can play an important role.

One issue is that we don't tend to push IQ testing on machinists and the like, even at a high level of performance. So, we don't really know. The IQ testing is geared mostly for academics, which I think is part of Taleb's rant: the data is selection-biased.

Blogger Lovekraft December 26, 2018 9:42 AM  

In the context of pushing a political ideology, there is use for varying intellects. Some serve as scouts, some probe the enemy, others compile the data to provide overall strategy/statrep.

That said, because the alt-right needs, at present, to be fluid and leaderless, it results in a lot of stepping on toes. But I do think we have a pretty good blend that also resists co-opting by the globalists.

Blogger Hammerli280 December 26, 2018 9:48 AM  

Vox has discussed previously that there seems to be a break somewhere between +2 and +3 SD, a shift in the quality of thinking. I've seen it myself...I have an ability to see the whole of a problem, zooming in on details or out for the whole picture. Most other people - smart ones, too - can't do that.

And I honestly think that the really high performers don't find the academic environment congenial. They are too unconventional, too cranky.

I'll add one other point. When Really Smart People blow it, it makes a big mess. Because they don't hand Really Smart People small problems.

Blogger Gregory the Great December 26, 2018 9:56 AM  

has anybody ever tested the ability to see through frauds and sniff out evil? I had to learn this the hard way.

Blogger Zander Stander December 26, 2018 9:56 AM  

So muh 115 IQ is irrelevant, must be some mystical attribute beyond quantifization that explains disproportionate influence, therefore completely fair. Just philosophasterin' here.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 26, 2018 9:57 AM  

#22 Vox critiques the midwit harem cult, Taleb screwed the pooch, in the funhouse mirror reality of our vagina bearing overlords Taleb's reasoning will be used to D&D the high IQ creative thinkers.

So after reading Taleb's twitter thread do you think Charles Murray's position at Harvard is safer than Hogg's?

Women ruin everything, it is what they do and academia is no exception.

Blogger VD December 26, 2018 10:01 AM  

As far as I can tell, Taleb's critique is valid insofar as one desires a utilitarian metric.

You're absolutely wrong. Even if we accept that definitional bait-and-switch, in which case nothing Taleb is saying is really relevant to the ongoing discourse on IQ, it would not change the fact his assumptions are based on false foundations.

You're semi-salvaging one minor point and using it to try to rescue the entire thread. That won't fly.

Blogger Doug Cranmer December 26, 2018 10:27 AM  

Y'all understand a topic here on IQ is just Mr. Day's Christmas present to us.

Merry Christmas, Vox.

Blogger dienw December 26, 2018 10:38 AM  

Gregory the Great wrote:has anybody ever tested the ability to see through frauds and sniff out evil? I had to learn this the hard way.

That is wisdom which is of the spirit. Make proverbs, especially the Bible's proverbs, your guide.

Blogger pyrrhus December 26, 2018 10:38 AM  

@28 Basically Taleb has conflated being an academic with being intelligent, a very wrong assumption in general, and because he rightly disdains academics, he applies that disdain to IQ.

Blogger MJ Meyers December 26, 2018 10:39 AM  

Understanding IQ makes certain professions immeasurably more tolerable and helps one retain a sense of empathy (though this is often tested). A lawyer must manage communication with people anywhere from multiple standard deviations lower to multiple higher and everything in between (even a high-powered corporate lawyer may have to depose sub-85 IQ individuals). Without knowing when to switch gears, it's hard to be successful.

Non-corporate lawyers regularly communicate with ~85 IQ individuals. For example, a person with assets looking to file a bankruptcy case will get frustrated with the concept that they're not allowed to keep everything they own. When the tell-tale signs of confusion on a face are seen, this old standby works: "If you were the judge, and a person had a pallet of gold bricks in their basement, would it be fair to let the person get rid of all their debt and keep the whole pallet?" Even a mentally retarded individual understands. But a shocking minority of inferably low-IQ individuals will then conclude fraud is the correct answer. To which this old stand-by sometimes works: "The Greeks considered perjury a greater crime than murder. Why? Because while murder harms one individual and its family, lying harms society as a whole? Why? Because people need to be relied upon to tell the truth in order for judges to rule justly. If too many people lie, you can't have a justice system. The reason you live in such a wealthy country is because we have a relatively high number of honest people. When you get pulled over in many other countries, the police will require a bribe from you. They may even kidnap and hold your children ransom for payment. Why not as often here? Because we more commonly value the truth here. And while people aren't executed for perjury any more, the judge still takes it very seriously."

Sometimes they still don't get it... and one must reply: "I could also lose my license for lying for you. If you're caught lying once the other side pulls your records, not only will you not get rid of your debt, not only will your bankruptcy case be dismissed, but you will be arrested and charged with fraud." At which point, some get the bright idea of not using the attorney they're talking to and going to a different firm but keeping their mouth shut about that particular question.

One often wonders if the high number of suicides within such a profession are related to the belief that all brains were born of equal capacity and the inferred conclusion that hope for humanity is thus lost. An experienced high-volume lawyer with decades of experience, noticing a downward trend, may be the canary in the coal mine for noticing the end of its civilization.

Blogger Tars Tarkusz December 26, 2018 11:06 AM  

IMHO, he showed his cards with this line:
2) Pple who want some races to be inferior.

Getting someone's view on race is revealing. When certain people find out just how strong the evidence is for unequal distribution of IQ between the races, they attack the IQ tests or the idea that intelligence exists or can be measured.

Next thing you know he'll start talking about lead paint, bad schools and slavery.

Blogger bob kuk mando ( me so tarded ) December 26, 2018 11:09 AM  

16. Avalanche December 26, 2018 8:57 AM
Wow. I think I'm seeing some feet of absolute clay! And maybe some shins too?!



ain't nobody right everytim bout erryting.


i think i may need to post up "The Stupidity Problem" essay.

Blogger Colin Flaherty's baby momma December 26, 2018 11:16 AM  

A common mistake people make with IQ is believing it's a hard objective infallible metric, when in reality its correlations & predictability are unreliable over half the time in many cases/parameters.

Also, using a single number to represent general composite abilities is way too much of a simplification, and then to correlate that to widely varied achievement measures is more devious. Intelligence is multi-dimensional and fluctuates with time of day, age, health, other factors.

People talk as if Bob 128 IQ means he is absolutely smarter & better performer than John 122 IQ; in real life Bob is superior to John at some things at certain times, but John is probably better at others.

Blogger Zaklog the Great December 26, 2018 11:18 AM  

No offense intended in this question, Vox, but is Taleb significantly aware of you? How likely do you think he is to hear of this and reply? I know he's not the only reason for you to write this. I was just curious.

Blogger VD December 26, 2018 11:29 AM  

is Taleb significantly aware of you? How likely do you think he is to hear of this and reply?

He is insignificantly aware of me. There is a good chance someone will bring it to his attention. In the unlikely event he elects to reply, he will probably dismiss it in the manner that scientists always - usually wrongly - dismiss philosophers.

The technical mind is very, very good at trees and very, very unaware of its own incompetence with regards to forests. Those who are excellent with regards to details tend to find it difficult to grasp that the details can be both a) entirely correct and b) irrelevant.

Blogger VD December 26, 2018 11:30 AM  

IMHO, he showed his cards with this line:
2) Pple who want some races to be inferior.


Unfortunately, that is probably true. I noticed the same thing.

Blogger Patrick Kelly December 26, 2018 11:36 AM  

FWIW I'm likely a 120-130 midwit (based on 1970's SAT scores)

As a code monkey I work with higher IQ real engineers and designers. My strength are in implementing their design/specs, fixing problems, making incremental improvements etc.

They often have difficulty writing code that builds, runs without exceptions, works well with other code, or even does something an end user will likely want or appreciate.

That's why they need minions of midwits like me. That's fine with me as I have little motivation to do what they do.

RE: "..want some races to be inferior".

WTF? You'd think with his utilitarian analysis that would be obvious. Outliers and exceptions are no way to establish correlation.

Blogger Up from the pond December 26, 2018 11:41 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Up from the pond December 26, 2018 11:52 AM  

Taleb's Twitter rant, which seems almost incoherent with rage, is merely a fancy restatement of the old saw: "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"

By Taleb's reasoning, Jay-Z is more intelligent than Issac Newton, because Jay-Z makes more money than Newton ever did. Jay-Z also has three children and Newton had none. Therefore, Issac Newton wasn't intelligent. What we need are fewer Newtons and more smart, money-getting hustlers like Jay-Z!

The problem with this is that it's how First World nations become Third World nations. You end up in a world filled with "men with gold chains."

Also notice the consequentialist bias in Taleb's reasoning: a chief marker of intelligence is bringing in the cash. But what brings in the cash? First, it differs from polity to polity. For example, what brought in the cash in the former Soviet Union was graft, pull, and corruption. What would make millionaires under a Hillary Clinton administration would be similar. If Taleb is proposing the introduction of a normative principle in intelligence testing, then "how much cash does one pull down?" is clearly not the best one that could be introduced. Second, it neglects the problem of time preference. Newton's physics didn't bring in any cash for a long time, not even in Newton's lifetime. Newton himself lived with his mother until he was 50, then was taken care of with a sinecure, which he nevertheless executed vigorously. Any "man with gold chains" would regard Newton as a failure and a mental retard. And yet, much of the modern scientific and technical world is built on the foundation of his physics. If you don't like Newton, and there are good reasons not to like him, then substitute Aristotle. The point is that you can't measure intelligence on a strictly consequentialist or evolutionary standard, and even if you could, you would have to base the measurement on long-term consequence to see the value of the mind being evaluated, making this test useless to evaluate any living person.

Blogger DonReynolds December 26, 2018 11:53 AM  

1- When someone asks you a question in REAL LIFE, you focus first on "WHY is he asking me that?", which slows down. (Fat Tony vs Dr John)

REAL LIFE is not so simple minded.

When someone asks me a question, I immediately have several questions of my own......

1. Do I know this person or is this person a stranger planning to mug me?

2. Is it part of their routine or prepared speech or rhetorical or satirical? in which case no answer is expected or required....or is the question an actual request or invitation? Do I actually have one of what they want and do I want them to have or use it?

3. Are they a police officer or deputy?

4. Is it appropriate for them to ask this question? Are they old enough to ask? Is this question above their pay grade? Are they capable of understanding a correct answer? Is the question a warning or alert to something that escaped my notice? Some people only speak in the form of a question.

5. What may be the penalty or consequences of my answering the question? and am I willing to pay that cost?

6. Is the question actually a question? Is it coherent and rational and have an answer that can be known, with any degree of certainty? Otherwise, they get a blank stare and "I don't know what you mean".

7. Do I know of someone or a book or a resource that can better answer the question? in which case they are referred.

8. Is this an single question is this person one of those Socratic creeps that turn a single question into an third-degree interrogation? In which case the answer is to go suck a bruise on someone else and back off. Get your hands off of me.

Blogger Mocheirge December 26, 2018 11:56 AM  

Taleb has a couple of blind spots; this IQ dismissal and his hatred of nationalism. He indulges in some wordthinking when he declares that nationalism is bad because city-states are better than nation-states.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener December 26, 2018 11:58 AM  

I've spent 34 years working w/"High IQ" quants. I've rarely seen them survive, not blow up on tail events.

I'm surprised to see this argument coming from the author of Skin In The Game. Are quants less likely to be held accountable for mistakes if they've mimicked the crowd? I strongly suspect so, in which case quants' failure to avoid tail risks could often be explained by the existence of perverse incentives.

Blogger Phelps December 26, 2018 12:08 PM  

You cut to the core of it in the Fourth. Taleb is redefining "intelligence" the same way that JP redefined "false" and everything else flows from that.

This is also a cautionary tale on why high IQ people should tread lightly when they leave their fields of expertise.

Blogger Bultz December 26, 2018 12:18 PM  

Jordan Peterson not missing a trick, trying to set up a discussion with Taleb

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 12:30 PM  

"You're absolutely wrong. Even if we accept that definitional bait-and-switch, in which case nothing Taleb is saying is really relevant to the ongoing discourse on IQ, it would not change the fact his assumptions are based on false foundations.

You're semi-salvaging one minor point and using it to try to rescue the entire thread. That won't fly."

I'm also looking at it on the basis of an earlier statement he made on the subject:

'The real non-datamined (i.e. w/potential cherrypicking) IQ study is the Terman study. Shows "geniuses" fare no better (or only slightly better, there was a debate) than socioeconomic peers.

Epi-style studies in Medicine are now rejected (85% don't replicate). Only cohort.'

He also stated today:

'25-
For IQ idiots too slow:
-If a 70 IQ is certain to fail but a 150 IQ has a significant probability of NOT succeeding, the ASYMMETRY has SEVERE statistical conseq. & "correlation" is BS term.
-If variance is lower at some states & higher at others,"Bell Curve" is an illusion.'

IOW, his critique is centered on IQ not being predictive past the left tail. This is correct.

I'm less certain on his discussion of "correlation" as a bad term, but I'd have to look up the definition used by statisticians. However, Taleb also said:

'Takes correlation of existing pple in profession w/IQ (even assuming no bias & stats were replicable).
Now take a cohort of "high IQ" pple and correlation with a category called "failure".
What does it show?'

So from what I've read of his posts on the subject (there are others that are less relevant), his take is that the term "measure", applied to IQ, is not just misplaced - it's actually a lie.

So in all likelihood he would take your forest paragraph of disagreement as agreement.

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 12:30 PM  

*first paragraph

Blogger Up from the pond December 26, 2018 12:31 PM  

"Pull down the white man. Pull down Western civilization. We are just as smart, because we can make it in the souk and those soft-handed p*****s can't." The eternal drumbeat of barbarism.

Blogger kurt9 December 26, 2018 12:32 PM  

Talib has a point, however. A lot of high IQ people believe stupid things like the market for securities based on dodgy mortgages growing to infinity as well as multi-culturalism and the like. Not every high IQ person is as tuned into the real world as you are, Vox

Blogger Daniel December 26, 2018 12:46 PM  

I happen to know three people at one state university with IQs north of 150: two are non-tenure eligible cannon-fodder instructors who are on semester-to-semester contracts, are barred, by contract, from doing research or publishing, and clear about $30,000/year. The other is a library janitor who speaks six languages and scans .pdfs of books to himself after he clocks out after work, since he is not permitted to check them out.

The big thing that Good Will Hunting got wrong regarding high IQ is that the main character was a math savant, but very obviously below a 130 IQ.

No one smarter than that would fall for the texts he lionized.

Blogger Genghis Khan December 26, 2018 12:51 PM  

Maybe I missed something, but I had a hard time understanding point 3,

"Third, Taleb fails to understand the reason for the correlation between high IQ and failure in the real world, which stems from the communications gap. The correlation between IQ and academic success is only 50 percent for IQs below 140; the rate of real world success for 150+ IQs is higher in the real world than in the academic world. Taleb is looking at too broad a range of "high IQ" rather than at a reasonable gradient of high IQ ranges."

What exactly did Vox mean with "the rate of real world success for 150+ IQs is higher in the real world than in the academic world"?

Also, did he mean 150+ IQ individuals do really bad in the academic world, hence a lack of correlation between IQ and success in that range? And that they do better in the real world?

Blogger Eincrou December 26, 2018 12:53 PM  

I sent VD an email a little over a week ago about another Twitter statement from Taleb, one that touches on a topic near and dear our hearts. I'll repost it here.

Hi, VD. Taleb had something interesting to say on Twitter tonight. I wonder what he has in mind when he says globalism and nationalism are a “reduction in dimensionality.” Compared to what? Is he being excessively abstract in his way of thinking about this?

https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1074447088459616256

“I view both globalists and nationalists as the same crap: a reduction in dimensionality, a destruction of the variegated intermediate fractal layers between individual and humanity. Both aim at monoculture.”

Blogger The Cooler December 26, 2018 12:57 PM  

It can help to think of Taleb as a brain, in a jar, on a Hoveround mobility scooter.

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 1:00 PM  

@Eincrou - Taleb elsewhere said that the polis is more adaptable and that Localism != Nationalism. That steps partway into the realm of preference.

Blogger VD December 26, 2018 1:02 PM  

I'm also looking at it on the basis of an earlier statement he made on the subject

You're digging yourself in deeper. Stop. None of that helps the observable fact of his erroneous assumptions.

What exactly did Vox mean with "the rate of real world success for 150+ IQs is higher in the real world than in the academic world"?

150+ IQs are almost entirely excluded from academia. The same is not true of other fields where independence of mind is more valued, or at least not actively penalized.

Blogger DonReynolds December 26, 2018 1:05 PM  

Correlation does not mean causality. The observed fact that the rooster crows when the sun rises, does not mean that the rooster causes the sun to rise.

When I was in engineering school, we were told that the A students always get the best jobs, in companies managed by the B students, which are owned by the C students. So the brain-power and raw intellect and determination to do well in school does not translate well into bigger paychecks or income. After all, the "scholars" who are later professors at the universities may be terribly bright or well-read in the confines of a narrow sub-field, but professors seldom make much money. Mostly, they are paid in leisure time...to pursue their vocation outside the classroom.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 1:22 PM  

"“I view both globalists and nationalists as the same crap: a reduction in dimensionality, a destruction of the variegated intermediate fractal layers between individual and humanity. Both aim at monoculture.”"

Taleb is wrong via a form of binary thinking. Any given struggle between two competitors means that one must emerge as superior over the other. It does not mean that one must emerge as superior over every system outside the struggle as well. Even more, it does not mean that one must emerge as incomparably superior to other system, which is what Taleb is implying.

Nationalism does not aim at monoculture. More, it by definition of the very word aims at a state that is not and cannot be monoculture.

Blogger Resident Moron™ December 26, 2018 1:41 PM  

So, what Taleb is saying is, Jesus was dumb?

Man’s got to know his limitations.

Blogger Jeroth December 26, 2018 1:46 PM  

My take was that Taleb was saying "IQ does little to predict skill in risk taking", but in the most convoluted and confrontational manner possible. Unlike his book writing, he intentionally tried to make that thread obscure. This is just a hunch, but I think he wanted to create a wedge between himself and the twitter race realists who enjoy his work.

Blogger DonReynolds December 26, 2018 1:48 PM  

Azure Amaranthine wrote:"“I view both globalists and nationalists as the same crap: a reduction in dimensionality, a destruction of the variegated intermediate fractal layers between individual and humanity. Both aim at monoculture.”"

Taleb is wrong via a form of binary thinking. Any given struggle between two competitors means that one must emerge as superior over the other. It does not mean that one must emerge as superior over every system outside the struggle as well. Even more, it does not mean that one must emerge as incomparably superior to other system, which is what Taleb is implying.


Just because two sides are seen as competitors or rivals does not mean that they insist on the opposite of the other...or that they disagree in every way. If they exist in the same culture, they probably agree more than they disagree and where they disagree, the difference may only be in degree and not in kind.

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 26, 2018 1:54 PM  

I can't speak much to Taleb's positions on this or other areas, but I think I can safely say that he's rather lacking in the humility department. Seriously lacking.

Or maybe I'm wrong and my assessment is only a result of the rather limited exposure I've had to him.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 1:57 PM  

Agreed. All it really means is that they diverge at some juncture, and that one of the two must have superiority there.

Blogger xevious2030 December 26, 2018 3:21 PM  

Economics (“finance”) PhDs failing is not a big surprise. The assumption of rational, reasonable, best interest is false, coupled with the reality finances are manipulated, which crashes any notions of honest economics. If economics is not honest, finance isn’t either. And if the fundamentals of economic theory are off, it cascades.

Also, judging intelligence by dollar income is intellectually weak, and I’m being nice in terms. Especially since materialism may tend to decline as intelligence rises to the threshold of seeing the material as transient and that the best place to find the ideal is in one’s head. It is not uncommon for the really bright to say FU to the world, enjoy little pleasures, and waste so much less time in the trivial pursuit of acquisition. You make enough babies to repopulate and to keep the natives from killing each other too much or blowing up the world, and you just live, generation to generation. Or they’re too crazy and unstable to do anything.

As for the example 4 and 5, to read correctly, 100 would have to be the high score, with deviations above and below being a lesser value indicator. And if the test is an indicator of being a good slave or by financial value, and not of intelligence, then at face value, he is redefining intelligence as a matter of material prosperity, whether he argues he is or isn’t. Unless he is making the suggestion that being a slave is a sign of intelligence, and that intelligence can not think its way out of an elementary and troubling situation. Though that is not entirely improbable, as during periods of stability, the academic prevails due to specialization in the monotony of repetition and static cycle (high returns, little risk/investment), while the innovative tends to prevail in periods of paradigm shift where the conventional model breaks down and where the cost of risk/investment is more likely to yield returns over static cycle models that continually fail.

And also taking into account why IQ tests were officially innovated to begin with. He (Taleb) is both right and wrong, because he mixes measures and also outputs, along with conditions (risk/gain). He is likening things to applied math versus real math.

His problem is that he is being in the like state of the Galactic Empire of Asimov’s Foundation, of a failing empire that increasingly sees improbability and impossibility. After all, PhDs also go through an intensive indoctrination program, to detach them from reality and guide them into insanity. To take the higher IQ and brainwash them into pointless oblivion.

Item 15 is dumb, because no hiring is random, nobody draws lots. Employers may make due, but they hire the person they consider most desirable, with likely demographics applying. “Chance” among those selections, but not random overall. Even taking into account he may have considered that, it’s still dumb.

As for 16, leaves out human material and their distribution, in terms of the time and creation of the IQ test at a different point in time than today. Rural versus Urban, rudimentary education versus standardized education, communication methods, reliance on memory, general breeding, survivability (outhouse versus plumbing, sink or swim versus welfare, in other words consequence and sloth).

18 is just mean. It is. Though it is based on a pre 1980s average capacity, and he’s essentially right, though probably more along the lines of 65-90 in such pre time period capacity.

Blogger Lance E December 26, 2018 3:30 PM  

I love Taleb's writing, but have found that the less formal the medium for him (books vs. blog vs. tweets), the more he tends toward rambling and failing to address very obvious objections.

In this case he's committing a fundamental fallacy (appeal to probability):
- IQ sometimes predicts outcomes incorrectly;
- Therefore, IQ always predicts.

Or:
- IQ predicts less accurately beyond 2-3SD to the left/right;
- Therefore, IQ is a totally inaccurate measure.

He doesn't come out and say this directly - one reason why I find the rambling style so irritating - but it is his essential point once you strip away the rhetorical excesses.

The objections I'd have liked to have seen addressed:

1. "IQ idiots" admit that IQ is an imperfect proxy for g, but the world is full of such imperfect measures that are still useful by Taleb's own criteria: survival. Other examples include grip strength as a proxy for all strength, caliper measurements to estimate body fat %, white blood cell count to detect various diseases, and marriage as a predictor of both happiness and income.

We don't use these because they're perfect 100% of the time, we use them because they're good and have withstood the test of time.

2. It's not interesting to say, in isolation, that "many" millionaires have average IQ and that "many" functionaries have high IQ. This is literally the same argument that Progressives make informally: "many" whites are violent criminals while "many" blacks are just like Thomas Sowell. More formally it's the Lewontin fallacy: "differences within groups are greater than the differences between groups". Our answer should always be: "So what?" High intragroup variation does not mean that intergroup variation is nonexistent or unimportant.

To put this in more concrete terms: if your chances of being successful - by some arbitrary but consistent definition of the term - are 50% at IQ 100, 80% at IQ 130, and only 10% at IQ 70, then clearly IQ is still a very useful and important metric for society.

3. He's confounding different categories. IQ is an individual measurement; Skin In The Game is a system characteristic. Taleb of all people knows this, because he's explained to many people, many times, that SITG does not work by improving individual outcomes, but rather eliminating the people who cause poor outcomes.

It's essentially a Hardware vs. Software argument. SITG is part of the software; IQ averaged over the entire population is part of the hardware. These both matter! Running a SITG system in Sub-Saharan Africa is still going to produce worse outcomes than running a corrupt and nepotistic system in Europe or the USA.


IQ compares to IQ. It's just a measurement. Adding all of these other confounding factors like SITG and reproducibility of psych experiments isn't an argument, it's misdirection. It's kicking up a cloud of dust in order to obscure what's actually being discussed, which is that general intelligence is real, heritable, mostly immutable, measurable with high accuracy, and important for success in the majority of human pursuits.

Blogger dienw December 26, 2018 3:32 PM  

Phelps wrote:You cut to the core of it in the Fourth. Taleb is redefining "intelligence" the same way that JP redefined "false" and everything else flows from that.

This is also a cautionary tale on why high IQ people should tread lightly when they leave their fields of expertise.


Yes, this is true: Taleb is replacing Peterson's term "survival" with "success."

Blogger xevious2030 December 26, 2018 3:36 PM  

@59 Azure Amaranthine

Essentially you’re correct, on superiority. As for monoculture, what you have described of Taleb is a macro-monoculture for the globalist, and a micro-monoculture for the nationalist. Globalism being a single monoculture, and a world of nations being a collection of separate and distinct monocultures, a matter of scale. But on the nationalist side, it isn‘t fractal, there are different gradients and tend to be different absolute values, even direct difference. With globalism, there is a reduction, and given the difficulty in controlling disparate locations, a watered down superficiality, in order to manage, artificial conflict (much more prevalent of the account, if not the intensity).

Blogger My Dead Gramps December 26, 2018 3:41 PM  

Taleb being from the Levant,and big on the ole Phonecian/Med/Near East pride has a hangup on everyone to the NW of italy claiming Greco-Roman philosophy as part of their heritage.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia December 26, 2018 3:44 PM  

VD wrote
A better measure would take into account more objectively quantifiable measures such the as speed of accurate reading, and place more importance on the ability to correctly perform logical and mathematical tasks quickly.

I'd argue that IQ testing quantifies quite well the ability to think logically, with a focus on the logic of manipulating symbols in a coherent fashion.

VD also wrote
Intelligence is simply a measure of intellectual ability, just as size, strength, and speed are measures of physical ability.

Correct.

Like Vox, I admre Nssim -- he is one of my intellectual heros. I have read all of his books, including Dynamic Hedging -- required reading for anyone playing in the options markets, as I have. I have corresponded with him on occasion.

One of Nassim's admirable qualities is his sharply controlled rage against the credentialism that infects the elite, which he conflates mistakenly with high IQ. IQ is a very useful measure of intellectual capacity, but it doesn't mean you're going to do smart things, or act intelligently. It's just a measure of capacity.

In fact, I'd argue it's an especially important metric for people you DON'T want around, like, say, the 1 million plus migrants from North and Sub Saharan Africa recently welcomed into the European continent.

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 4:00 PM  

"Taleb is wrong via a form of binary thinking. Any given struggle between two competitors means that one must emerge as superior over the other. It does not mean that one must emerge as superior over every system outside the struggle as well. Even more, it does not mean that one must emerge as incomparably superior to other system, which is what Taleb is implying."

Claiming that someone who disagrees with the pretense of a binary (nationalism vs. globalism) is guilty of binary thinking is a bit odd. Especially given that he compares it to a localization gradient.

Note, also, that those familiar with Mediterranean civilizations (including Vox) have commented on how Localism is a more fundamental aspect of the culture there than it is in America. There are historical and cultural reasons for this, which go a long way towards explaining the hang-ups certain individuals get in being unable to parse beyond the level of "race".

Blogger Meimou December 26, 2018 4:03 PM  

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
@nntaleb

I mute/block all pple comparing IQ to a physical measure s.a. height of basketball players.

IQ as presented is NOT a measure.

Reminiscent of risk charlatans insisting on selling "value at risk" & RiskMetrics saying "it's the best measure".

Metrics need to have properties


Average try to sound intelligent and it's a disaster. This what it looks like when a intelligent person trys to sound intelligent.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 4:31 PM  

"a world of nations being a collection of separate and distinct monocultures, a matter of scale."

Different cultures are literally not monocultural. Pattern and culture are not synonymous words. That things differ from each other is the opposite of them being identical or unified. The word you're looking for is "polyculture" at best, and that only when looking at it from a globalist perspective.

You can also say that all humans are united in their humanity. It is a tautology. For any given definition of human, some entities are more human than others, being disunified in those characteristics.

"But on the nationalist side, it isn‘t fractal, there are different gradients and tend to be different absolute values, even direct difference."

Yes it is fractal. If it weren't or ceased to be, it would not be a nation. Larger systems cannot exist unless their components are stable and significantly coherent. Components cannot function unless their subcomponents are quality and significantly coherent.

Fractals are not identical at all levels of scale. That is not an encompassing definition of a fractal. They are similar at similar levels of scale in similar locations. Even at the same level of scale in different locations they may be entirely different.

If you have an objection, you need to be more precise and thorough in your language. Particularly if you're hypothesizing something like a memetic nation system of overlapping nations based on different characteristics, which would fly in the face of your claim of nations as "micro-monoculture".

You don't include enough "attachment points" to what you're talking about to make it clear in which direction you are going. For example, "But on the nationalist side, it isn't fractal," To what are you referring as it? The easiest assumption is the nations themselves, but you don't actually include enough context to indicate.

"One of Nassim's admirable qualities is his sharply controlled rage against the credentialism that infects the elite, which he conflates mistakenly with high IQ. IQ is a very useful measure of intellectual capacity, but it doesn't mean you're going to do smart things, or act intelligently. It's just a measure of capacity."

This would bring a lot of what Taleb is saying into much clearer contrast.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 4:38 PM  

"Claiming that someone who disagrees with the pretense of a binary (nationalism vs. globalism) is guilty of binary thinking is a bit odd."

He's binarily assuming that nationalism and/or nationalists contain or are contained by no other pertinent scales/metrics/patterns, or intense/extense to nothing hence calling it a "reduction in dimensionality" (read: "flattening").

“I view both globalists and nationalists as the same crap: a reduction in dimensionality, a destruction of the variegated intermediate fractal layers between individual and humanity. Both aim at monoculture.”

His mistake can also be viewed as taking his own conception of the word "nationalism" and assuming that it is everyone else's as well. His conception or definition is wrong, and thus he is wrong.

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 4:40 PM  

One can easily argue that there are many forms of globalism. Do you think that also makes opposition to globalism a binary fallacy?

Blogger The Cooler December 26, 2018 4:42 PM  

An aside not logically relevant but nonetheless interesting: It takes a VHIQ or UHIQ to compose an anti-IQ argument that is in any way compelling.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 4:44 PM  

"Note, also, that those familiar with Mediterranean civilizations (including Vox) have commented on how Localism is a more fundamental aspect of the culture there than it is in America."

And movement of labor per free trade per globalism destroys localism and thereby any emergent nations or cultures of localism.

Obviously the people saying "nationalism" in the face of globalism are not of a mind that there is to be no interaction between nations. To assume that is to assume that:

#1: The nationalists are stupid.
#2: And thus produce a stupid argument.
#3: Which you then can refute.

Textbook strawman from Taleb.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 4:50 PM  

"One can easily argue that there are many forms of globalism. Do you think that also makes opposition to globalism a binary fallacy?"

One can argue that.

One can also argue that there is one, or few, predominant forms of globalism, and those predominants are the significant part of your objection to globalism per definition.

This does of course depend on what we are assuming the "-ism" prefix means.

If we take it to mean that the ism is thought to be the sole significant entity or scale, or otherwise necessarily omni-predominant in all ways and all means to everything, then Taleb would be correct.

If on the other hand we take it to mean a cognitive bias or preference, particularly within a specific context, his line of argument disintegrates.

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 4:52 PM  

'And movement of labor per free trade per globalism destroys localism and thereby any emergent nations or cultures of localism.

Obviously the people saying "nationalism" in the face of globalism are not of a mind that there is to be no interaction between nations. To assume that is to assume that:

#1: The nationalists are stupid.
#2: And thus produce a stupid argument.
#3: Which you then can refute.

Textbook strawman from Taleb.'

This is... Not at all Taleb's argument. Here are some of the other comments he made on the subject:

'NATIONALISM: there is an individual, then nation, little above. Causes Wars: outside lives don't exist.

FRACTAL LOCALISM: individual ⊂ various tribes (family, friends...) ⊂ tribes ⊂ ... Humanity.
NEVER exclusive: One (me) can ⊂ Greek & Lebanese tribes+US +Mediterraneism.'

'The Nation-State is an agricultural concept made by a ruler to control & better own his peasants. It is highly inimical to the Mediterranean mind. The Polis is a more adapted unit.'

One can certainly disagree with this presentation, but it's simply not possible to assign to Taleb the arguments you claim.

Blogger Daniel December 26, 2018 5:07 PM  

I really do wish that more of the ultra-high IQ individuals would apply their gift to an analysis of the human biological system. A lot of people are hurting out there. We need the insights that can be discovered through their talent.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 5:22 PM  

"This is... Not at all Taleb's argument. Here are some of the other comments he made on the subject:

'NATIONALISM: there is an individual, then nation, little above. Causes Wars: outside lives don't exist."


You literally just provided a quote of him doing exactly that to try to prove that he isn't.

"One can certainly disagree with this presentation, but it's simply not possible to assign to Taleb the arguments you claim."

He literally provided his own definition of the term and then decided that everyone using the term was using his definition. I really don't know how you even think you have feet to stand on, considering you're basically standing in an uncowled lawnmower that you thought looked nice.

Blogger artensoll December 26, 2018 5:59 PM  

Vox, did you wish really, REALLY hard?

Blogger VD December 26, 2018 6:42 PM  

Vox, did you wish really, REALLY hard?

For what? I don't like to see a brilliant intellect like Taleb making mistakes like these. It doesn't bode well for his future insights. I feel a bit like I did when I read Umberto Eco's debate with the cardinal. Neither upset nor shaken, just a little disappointed.

It shouldn't be surprising to discover even the greatest men have limitations, and yet, it often is.

Blogger DonReynolds December 26, 2018 7:22 PM  

"The Road to Greatness is long, dark and lonely...lighted only at intervals by other great men, who frequently turn out to be your enemies, but they are about the only luxury you get."

Theodore Roosevelt

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 7:41 PM  

"He literally provided his own definition of the term and then decided that everyone using the term was using his definition."

Really? Point out where he claimed that. I'll wait.

Alternatively, acknowledge that his position is constructed using *a definition* and that it is consistent with that definition.

You don't get to have it both ways - either Taleb should construct his position using his definition, a right that you grant to everyone else, or he doesn't, in which case neither does anyone else.

Finally, I note that his stance is less definition and more observation. Which which, once again, you may disagree, but at that point you're arguing the validity of the observation, not a definition.

Blogger John rockwell December 26, 2018 7:52 PM  

@VD
''It shouldn't be surprising to discover even the greatest men have limitations, and yet, it often is.''

All men are mortal and finite. Therefore such is an inevitability.

Blogger VD December 26, 2018 8:12 PM  

either Taleb should construct his position using his definition

No. Taleb is criticizing something already very well-defined by others. He should use THEIR definition. He's better than this Jordan Peterson-level nonsense.

Blogger S1AL December 26, 2018 8:40 PM  

"No. Taleb is criticizing something already very well-defined by others. He should use THEIR definition. He's better than this Jordan Peterson-level nonsense."

Whose definition should be used then? Does the argument change? I've seen so many definitions from so many eras that I couldn't pick one and say "yes, this is the real definition of nationalism".

Moreover, "nationalism" has been used to justify both secessionist and anti-secessionist movements. In the same region. At the same time. I've had Spaniards give me exact opposite uses of nationalism regarding Catalonia.

Heck, even in your own comments there's a virulent set of people who, arguing from a nationalist standpoint, have lined up exactly as Taleb says.

How many self-proclaimed nationalists accept the 16 points?

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 26, 2018 11:16 PM  

"Whose definition should be used then?"

The definition of people whom actually claim the doctrine that belongs to that "-ism"? The people whose ideology he's attempting to critique?

This isn't freaking difficult. He's providing his own definition of a commonly used term, that differs from the common definition, and is not an antiquated definition.

Therefore he's necessarily, in order of severity:

A: Eating someone else's dishonest definition up, and then serving it out.
B: Talking out his ass.
C: Intentionally being deceptive.

"Does the argument change?"

What is your major malfunction? Of course it changes!

"I've seen so many definitions from so many eras that I couldn't pick one and say "yes, this is the real definition of nationalism"."

So deception being heavy in or around a term legitimizes using obviously stupid definitions of it?

"Moreover, "nationalism" has been used to justify both secessionist and anti-secessionist movements. In the same region. At the same time. I've had Spaniards give me exact opposite uses of nationalism regarding Catalonia."

We've all been here and watched the bullshit fly over that one. If you believe in democracy, it's defined by the common vote. If you believe in manipulation or power, it's defined by whoever can force the definition on the most people. If you believe in God, "nation" is defined by him, and "nationalism" is delineated as per its suffix modification of the thing he created.

So, "-ism". I'll go with the Dictionary.com definition, as the Merriam-Webster version is now converged and made intentionally vague along the lines of "hate speech" and "extremism":

"a suffix appearing in loanwords from Greek, where it was used to form action nouns from verbs (baptism); on this model, used as a productive suffix in the formation of nouns denoting action or practice, state or condition, principles, doctrines, a usage or characteristic, devotion or adherence, etc. (criticism; barbarism; Darwinism; despotism; plagiarism; realism; witticism; intellectualism).

Most simply and originally, it conjugates for an action. More recently it has come to conjugate for a larger range of things.

Next, "-al":

"a suffix with the general sense “of the kind of, pertaining to, having the form or character of” that named by the stem, occurring in loanwords from Latin (autumnal; natural; pastoral), and productive in English on the Latin model, usually with bases of Latin origin (accidental; seasonal; tribal). Originally, -al1 was restricted to stems not containing an -l- (cf. -ar1); recent lapses in this rule have produced semantically distinct pairs, as familiar and familial.

From these we can see that the most immediate definition of "nationalism" would be "practice, condition, principles or doctrine pertaining to or having the form or character of a nation". Or, more simply, "doctrine and practices pertaining to the character of nations".

Our extended context specifically places nationalists in conflict with globalists. Taleb is clearly aware of this conflict, given his tweets. Taleb's given definition is:

"NATIONALISM: there is an individual, then nation, little above. Causes Wars: outside lives don't exist."

Which is clearly, plainly, and obviously completely absurd.

I assume these actions on his part are a little of column A talking out his ass, a little of column B him partaking of a helping of lies from his colleagues and associates. What's your excuse?

Blogger S1AL December 27, 2018 1:06 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger S1AL December 27, 2018 1:11 AM  

"The definition of people whom actually claim the doctrine that belongs to that "-ism"? The people whose ideology he's attempting to critique?"

Up to and including, say, Richard Spencer?

Except that you know he's a "white nationalist" and that his definition is not Vox's definition, which is not my definition, which is not your definition.

That's the primary issue that you can't actually address - there is no standard definition of nationalism. And based on what I've read from the 1800's and the 1900's, there never was. In large part that's because the entire concept is internationally messy and subject to ongoing mitosis and recombination - when you have a working definition of "nation" that applies to the English, get back to me.

"We've all been here and watched the bullshit fly over that one. If you believe in democracy, it's defined by the common vote. If you believe in manipulation or power, it's defined by whoever can force the definition on the most people. If you believe in God, "nation" is defined by him, and "nationalism" is delineated as per its suffix modification of the thing he created."

I'm not talking about here. I've spoken to Spaniards, including Catalonians, about this. They're very, very divided on the issue, and both sides appeal to some form of nationalism.

As for "God's definition" feel free to point me to where that's spelled out.

"Or, more simply, "doctrine and practices pertaining to the character of nations.""

See, here's my big issue with this entire discussion: this isn't a meaningful definition. Taleb's description (not a definition) fits perfectly well inside this umbrella. Unless you have *specific* doctrines and *specific* practices to discuss, this is so abstracted and arbitrary that it's virtually impossible to say what is or isn't "nationalism".

"Which is clearly, plainly, and obviously completely absurd.

I assume these actions on his part are a little of column A talking out his ass, a little of column B him partaking of a helping of lies from his colleagues and associates. What's your excuse?"

On what basis? Taleb provided background and context for his statement. His descriptions and observations are internally consistent. Your critique so far boils down to "I don't like what he said". The definition you provided can't be used to contradict his statements. As mentioned above, that description is perfectly fitting as "a doctrine and practice associated with nations".

In fact, given the general practice of nation-states since they developed, it's not even an unfair description. Melodramatic and extreme? Sure. But you don't have to go very deep into comment threads here to find people *saying exactly what Taleb had claimed nationalism leads to*.

The fact that you have denied that is evidence that he's found a solid point of contention, and one "nationalists" are currently unprepared to address (our host partially excluded, since he's indicated that he leans more towards Taleb's Localism with his comments about Lombard Independence).

Note: if you read Taleb's Twitter, you will find that he addresses alternative definitions and descriptions of nationalism in different ways and on their own merits, meaning that your core assertion is plainly false.

Blogger Up from the pond December 27, 2018 1:20 AM  

@91 "Up to and including Richard Spencer?"

Spencer, ever the idiot, sided with Taleb's position on IQ.

"There is no standard definition of nationalism."

Ask the enemies of nationalism for theirs. They know what they hate.

Blogger S1AL December 27, 2018 1:39 AM  

Food for thought: Why did Vox see for to specifically describe himself as an "omni-nationalist"?

The answer has important implications regarding Taleb's statement.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 27, 2018 1:49 AM  

"That's the primary issue that you can't actually address - there is no standard definition of nationalism."

I just gave one. Stop talking out your ass.

The thing you keep avoiding is the obvious that Taleb's definition is retarded.

"when you have a working definition of "nation" that applies to the English, get back to me."

Literacy. You don't have it.

"I'm not talking about here. I've spoken to Spaniards, including Catalonians, about this."

Whom have also been sighted here. We know. Stop trying to hide behind the existence of stupid people and liars.

"See, here's my big issue with this entire discussion: this isn't a meaningful definition."

Which is exactly why I pointed out that there is also a context to this, nationalists vs globalists.

"Taleb's description (not a definition) fits perfectly well inside this umbrella."

Not even a little bit.

"this is so abstracted and arbitrary that it's virtually impossible to say what is or isn't "nationalism"."

Are you playing dumb? Definition round two: "Preference for organization along national lines over organization along global ones."

"On what basis? Taleb provided background and context for his statement."

All of which amounts to a straw man, which I pointed out quite a while ago.

"His descriptions and observations are internally consistent."

And externally retarded in the literal sense.

"Your critique so far boils down to "I don't like what he said"."

Lie.

"The definition you provided can't be used to contradict his statements."

Lie. It contradicts his definition in many ways.

"As mentioned above, that description is perfectly fitting as "a doctrine and practice associated with nations"."

No, it's perfectly fitting as an absurdity well below his cognitive level. It is a massive overspecification on his part that clearly does not fit anyone else's definition. Not mine, not Vox's, not even Richard Spencer's. Seriously, I'm not letting you run with the stupid act.

"In fact, given the general practice of nation-states since they developed, it's not even an unfair description."

The "causes war" part is functionally equivalent to saying that separate entities existing causes conflict. It's also a stupidity, because "causes" has to be compared to the alternatives, which in this case is globalism, which causes much more war and conflict due to being a significantly more ill-fitting system.

It does not cause wars. Wars were much less common under said conditions. And lest you resort to trying to claim some version of imperialism as nationalism... they aren't. All forms of imperialism are at best globalism-lite.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 27, 2018 1:49 AM  

"But you don't have to go very deep into comment threads here to find people *saying exactly what Taleb had claimed nationalism leads to*."

Imperialists. Yes, we know. Your dumb act does not hold air.

"The fact that you have denied that is evidence that he's found a solid point of contention"

I know you're smarter than this. Man up.

"and one "nationalists" are currently unprepared to address."

Lie.

"Note: if you read Taleb's Twitter, you will find that he addresses alternative definitions and descriptions of nationalism in different ways and on their own merits, meaning that your core assertion is plainly false."

I've made several assertions.

#1: Taleb's statement about nationalism and globalism both being crap oversimplifications is a binarily constructed straw man drawn from his personal definition that matches no actual nationalist's (no, imperialists are no form of nationalist. If they were they would not think it wise to forcibly merge and destroy nations).

#2: Taleb's statement that both are monocultures is f***tarded by definition.

#3: Taleb's definition of nationalism is a ridiculous strawman that no nationalist believes.

Look. Has anyone ever called a group to which you belong or belonged nazis? Was it true? You have now implied that nazi-wannabes are the real nationalists.

Put up or shut up. No more vague implications, no more loaded assumptions. Do you wish to continue digging?

Blogger VD December 27, 2018 3:03 AM  

That's the primary issue that you can't actually address - there is no standard definition of nationalism.

Read a bloody dictionary. You're just embarrassing yourself. All the modifiers exist because the meaning is right there in the root of the word: birth.

Nationalists are entirely prepared for, and easily deal with, these nonsensical word-game attacks on nationalism. Imperialism is not, and can never be, nationalism, whether it is race-based or city-based.

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 27, 2018 6:11 AM  

VD wrote:Neither upset nor shaken, just a little disappointed.

It shouldn't be surprising to discover even the greatest men have limitations, and yet, it often is.


Yes, this is my feeling here. Very disappointed.

And it's disheartening to have such a smart guy working against us. And frustrating.

Blogger sysadmn December 27, 2018 8:32 AM  

Thread Reader Version for those who have given up on Twitter. It would be nice to see a discussion with Jim Thompson.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia December 27, 2018 10:20 AM  

VD Wrote:
It shouldn't be surprising to discover even the greatest men have limitations, and yet, it often is.

Because they are men.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia December 27, 2018 10:31 AM  

VD wrote:

Nationalists are entirely prepared for, and easily deal with, these nonsensical word-game attacks on nationalism. Imperialism is not, and can never be, nationalism, whether it is race-based or city-based.

The obtuseness of the critics of "nationalism" never cease to amaze me. They just don't get it.

I was in Bavaria earlier this year, and despite the influx of the mongrels, there are large swaths of the place that remain truly German. The German-ness of it all is beautiful and magical -- there's an unmistakable purity and cleanliness about the place you can't deny. That the Stasi bitch Merkel wants to throw it all the way is an evil betrayal.

Yet it is easy to see to how this innate understanding of your great cultural virtues can morph into a vicious imperialism -- we're great, and we should be great everywhere. But a great nation becomes truly great when it keeps to itself.

The globalists will never understand this. It's hopeless.

Blogger Random #57 December 27, 2018 10:42 AM  

@80 Daniel:

I really do wish that more of the ultra-high IQ individuals would apply their gift to an analysis of the human biological system.

Review the comments, as well as the previous discussions, on how these people are systematically excluded from academia, and I'm sure non-academic research centers as well, they're all part of the same hive mind including most importantly the grant dispensing institutionas. There's very few if any conventional places where they can do it anymore, unless they follow the old English wealth gentleman model of doing science, or find another method of patronage, as Gary Taubes did, but that won't get them published.

I had the odd fortune to spend some time with several Nobelist biologists, and can attest that the by far oldest, a Sephardic Jew, and a gentile he offered a position to in the mid-1970s, were definitely ultra-high IQ.

The Ashkenazi Jew born between them, David Baltimore, you just have to listen to him speaking extemporaneously to realize he's a mid-wit, and if you know your history of science, a sociopathic fraud. According to one of the NIH "fraud busters", Walter Stewart and Ned Feder, possibly including the work for which he got his Nobel.

And politically ambitious in science, although he was forced out of his position as president at Rockefeller University in only 2 years, it's the highest prestige biomedical research university in the US if not the world, and you can see why when too many of the faculty absolutely refused to allow him to keep that post, or they'd leave. A credible threat, just about anyone there can write the own ticket.

MIT welcomed him back, and in a few years he became president of Caltech for 8 years. The very public facts of his career are quite enough to tell you how the deck is stacked. Which we're seeing from another angle, as drug companies find it impossible to reproduce most "high impact" biomedical research, the sort that should be publicly smoked out in the formal system of science because other scientists try to build upon it.

Blogger Random #57 December 27, 2018 10:51 AM  

I should add that inside some scientific communities, word gets around that certain "scientists" are frauds and that you should ignore their papers and not try to build on them, but they still get grants, still are allowed to publish.

Blogger S1AL December 27, 2018 11:08 AM  

I'll attempt to keep this short and coherent because the argument is beginning to wander afield.

Referring to Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and Random House, the three primary definitions of nationalism *do not agree with each other*. Therefore, going by the dictionaries, there is no standard definition of nationalism. Going off the basis of self-proclaimed nationalists, there is no standard definition.

Moreover, in all three dictionaries, the primary definition given for imperialism does not conflict with nationalism in the same dictionary. You have to go to a third-order definition for nationalism before you find one that conflicts.

Now, if one wishes to make the argument that genuine nationalism is omni-nationalist, therefore necessarily opposed to imperialism, that's fine - but it's not a standard or common definition, including amongst commenters here (paging: Nate).

Therefore, Taleb's comments cannot be criticized on the basis of not conforming to the standard definition because there is, demonstrably, no standard definition.

Heck, even Vox's definition of nationalism (extending it to city-state divisions), behind to overlap with Taleb's definition of Localism.

Blogger S1AL December 27, 2018 11:14 AM  

As regards IQ, I do not see the initial comments in Taleb's thread as being the core - those are window dressing in comparison to the core assertion, which is that *IQ is not a metric*. And given that IQ is, by definition, a multi-variate average with a broad range even at the individual level, he is absolutely correct.

Now, the assertion that it best measures the ability to be a good slave - I can't defend that without a heck of a lot of context, and I'll probably end up disagreeing. It is, however, noteworthy that psychologists commonly state that IQ is "difficult to measure" and "not particularly useful" beyond 3 SD. And 3 SD is a reasonable limit for where Taleb's comment would cease to apply. But that's a side-note to the larger issue.

Blogger Christopher Willson December 27, 2018 1:02 PM  

Oh yeah. He seems to be driven primarily by the desire to appear smarter than everyone else and he's very bad at taking criticism. He attacks people all the time and is notorious for blocking thousands of people, even if they disagree politely.

Sam Harris did a good job describing what's so off about the guy.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CX5_62PUwAAYTrF.png

Blogger Up from the pond December 27, 2018 1:33 PM  

S1AL wrote:There is no standard definition (of nationalism). Even Vox's definition of nationalism (extending it to city-state divisions), behind to overlap with Taleb's definition of Localism.

There is no standard definition of "love." All the definitions begin to overlap with "friendship," "lust," and "nurturing."

There is no standard definition of "chair." All the definitions begin to overlap with "sofa," "stool," and "bench."

There is no standard definition of "red." All the definitions begin to overlap with "orange," "yellow," and "pink."

All the definitions begin to overlap, and blur, and blend.

How can we know what anything is? How can we know anything?

... That's the usual Talmudic shtik. Very aggressive, and characteristic of philosophy departments since circa 1900, for example.

What is nationalism? First, what is a nation? A nation is a polity formed by members of the same extended racial family and is constituted of such members. What is nationalism? It's China for the Chinese, African nations for the Africans, and the Anglosphere for whites. (Jews can have Israel.) Nationalism includes the recognition of the fact that no part of internationalism, globalism, imperialism, invasion, immigration, and ginning up wars is other than anti-nationalist. If you read *behind* the words of the various definitions of nationalism, you will see that the above is the gist of them all, no matter if they obscure it, oppose it, or even invert/"overlap" it (e.g., "nationalism is imperialism").

Blogger Lance E December 27, 2018 1:58 PM  

Meimou wrote:Nassim Nicholas Taleb

@nntaleb

IQ as presented is NOT a measure.
...
Metrics need to have properties


This is a baffling statement. He may not agree with the way it's measured; it's definitely hard to measure accurately, and of course many progressives don't like it, with their accusations of cultural bias. But it is a measurement.

It's not clear at all what "properties" he believes an ounce has that an IQ point doesn't have, so without a much clearer definition, this statement has to be dismissed on its face.

For god's sake, he even acknowledged that it was a measurement in his very first tweet:

"IQ" measures an inferior form of intelligence...

So now he's just moving the goalposts. First he tried to redefine intelligence, and now after being forced to retreat from that position, he's making a sloppy technical argument that contradicts his original fundamental argument. I say sloppy because everyone who studies this knows and acknowledges that the correlation of IQ and g is at most 0.95 and possibly as low as 0.8.

Blogger Dirk Manly December 27, 2018 8:19 PM  

Every once in a while, when reading this blog, somebody obnoxiously demonstrates that he's just not smart enough to understand, let alone partake in the conversations here.

Today, that person is S1AL.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 27, 2018 11:23 PM  

Merriam-Webster and Oxford provide nearly identical definitions of nationalism, S1AL, as you'd know if you'd actually looked them up. I don't know about Random House, except that it's a version of Webster's.

Going off the basis of self-proclaimed nationalists whom you perfectly well know are not nationalists? Very nice. You understand the concept of a false flag? You're currently trying to utilize things that you perfectly well know are false for your argument. I could argue that humans are a breed of dog based off of some furries and otherkin whom identify as both, but I know they're idiots/liars, so I don't.

As regards imperialism vs nationalism, straight question: Is it or is it not your understanding that empires necessarily damage and/or destroy the involved nations?

"Therefore, Taleb's comments cannot be criticized on the basis of not conforming to the standard definition because there is, demonstrably, no standard definition."

Standard definition, common definition, mechanical definition, actual definition. Playing the game "well there's no standard definition" IS a word game, one you should well know is set up precisely for that reason. Liars try to claim that words are vague and have no definition and can thus be defined any way you want. It can still be criticized based on its dishonesty, just as you can be.

"As regards IQ, I do not see the initial comments in Taleb's thread as being the core - those are window dressing in comparison to the core assertion, which is that *IQ is not a metric*. And given that IQ is, by definition, a multi-variate average with a broad range even at the individual level, he is absolutely correct."

Merriam-Webster "metric" definition 2: "a standard of measurement ". A multi-variate average is a standard, regardless how broad the range. If it is used to measure it is a standard of measurement, and therefor fits the definition of a metric.

Blogger Dirk Manly December 28, 2018 10:33 AM  

" A multi-variate average is a standard, regardless how broad the range. If it is used to measure it is a standard of measurement, and therefor fits the definition of a metric."

A case in point -- Gasoline octane ratings in the U.S.

What's listed on the pump is the average of the Research Octane number, and the Mechanical Octane Number. (which is why most states require a sticker saying that the octane is determined by the "(R + M)/2 method"

Blogger de Ruyter December 28, 2018 1:45 PM  

Taleb is proud of his East-Med heritage. But his fellow East-Meds have an average IQ score of 84.

It is easier for him to discredit IQ test than to accept reality.

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