0603: "Idiocracy"

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Faranya
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:15 am UTC

scwizard wrote: Also that argument is flawed because average lifespan doesn't affect population size. Randall could have pointed that out, the comic would have been much better.


It should when that average lifespan for a population falls into a range during which that population is unlikely to successfully produce young, be it physically or in the case of human societies, to raise them to self sufficency. If the average lifespan of a group living in our current society was, say 20, that particular group would be unlikely to successfully rear young (due to various societal restrictions based on age) and as such that group's population should be lower.
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scwizard
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby scwizard » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:43 am UTC

Yeah my bad.

About the argument the movie is making. Demonstrating that less intelligent people died younger in the days of yore doesn't prove that the population growth of stupid people was comparatively less than that of intelligent people back then. It suggests it though, makes me interested in looking into the possibility.

If anyone has statistics of the population growth rate of stupid people in the days of yore, I'd appreciate them :)
~= scwizard =~

FoolishOwl
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby FoolishOwl » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:19 am UTC

Goplat wrote:And, as Malthus understood but most people still apparently don't, that cannot ever outpace an exponential in the long run.

Malthus was not discussing space travel.

As late as the 1940s, in industrialized countries, the majority of the population was engaged in food production; now, it's less than 5%. Population has increased, but food production has increased at an even greater rate.

GoC
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby GoC » Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:43 am UTC

The transmission of stupidity doesn't have to be genetic. In the case of my uncle (cristian fundamentalist, pretty insane and with seven kids) it seems memetic.
Belial wrote:I'm just being a dick. It happens.

henryx
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby henryx » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:14 am UTC

Intelligence is derived from education, genes and health.
Average education has been increasing over the last few centuries, and it is likely to continue to do so for several decades. It might level out (to a point defined by the practical benefits derived from education being outweigh by the time invested in it) at some point, maybe in a century if current rates of literacy growth are sustained.
Health has been also increasing, but in modern societies in first world countries has already begun to level. It is unlikely to continue to push intelligence up for too long.
Genes also influence intelligence, but in a highly complex way. Two main factors affect gene inheritance: mutations and combinations of the parents’ genetics. Mutations are unlikely to provide short term changes (at least upward changes) over short periods. The impact of the parents’ genes combinations on their offspring are complex enough that even if dumb people reproduce more, the short term effect should be unnoticeable. Two intelligent persons can easily have a dumb child, and the opposite can also be true. But there's some inheritability in intelligence, so a long term trend should be inevitable if dumb people do reproduce more. And I think it is easy to observe that in fact dumb people do reproduce more. I have not seen any serious study confirming it, but it is a very consistent thing in my surroundings that the smarter folks have few or no children, while the dumbest one have many, with just a few exceptions (mine, I hope).
So the gene pool should be declining a bit over time. It would take many, many generations to have any serious impact, but in a few centuries there could be an observable decline. As health and education impact in intelligence are not cumulative and those factors should level out by then, what we will likely observe is a slight but measurable increase in average intelligence (not necessarily but probably as well in IQ, as even though IQ is an obsolete and almost useless measure for intelligence, the IQ-children number correlation is almost as consistent as the intelligence-children number correlation) over a few centuries, to then begin seeing a decline over the next few centuries.
But as it is unlikely that the singularity will take less than a few centuries to materialize, it will all be interrupted when the computers start breeding us for traits that are useful to them. And I highly doubt intelligence will be a very useful trait for coppertops.

Aethelric Brandt
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Aethelric Brandt » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:21 am UTC

Edited.
Last edited by Aethelric Brandt on Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:38 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Ghona
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Ghona » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Well, if polywell fusion research stays on schedule, it looks pretty probable that climate will turn out fine as well. Net energy hydrogen-boron fusion would basically solve everything*.




*Well, many things.**


**Probably. Assuming there isn't something stupidly expensive about it***

***And that organizations like greenpeace don't oppose it with "ALARMIST AND ARMAGEDDONIST FACTOID[s]"
If you're taking me too seriously, you probably are making a mistake.

henryx
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby henryx » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:31 am UTC

Asator wrote:What's so great about being "civilized," and "intellegent?" According to Anthropological research (including both archaeological research, and older research of hunter gatherers back when there were more hunter-gatherers left, such as the !kung people of Africa, who are nowadays not really that much of hunter-gatherers anymore) hunter-gatherer cultures tend to be more healthy, more egalitarian and have more leisure time than industrial and agricultural cultures.


That would be a valid point if total population were not increasing. Hunter gatherers might be happier when they have enough to hunt and gather, but if you multiply their density a hundred times they are not so happy anymore. They don't have enough to hunt and gather and they starve to death, kill each other or become something other than hunter gatherers.

As for the definition of intelligence, I'm always surprised when I see definitions that consider only the ability to solve problems, when the people I consider intelligent are mostly those that foresee and prevent problems. Any useful definition of intelligence should account for averting problems as much as solving them. I would go for:
Intelligence: a measure of the ability to foresee, prevent and solve complex problems.
And that's not very etnocentric. It is simply practical.

henryx
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby henryx » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:00 am UTC

Lunch Meat wrote:...there's very little brainwashing going on...

I don't think that's true.
Most religions claim that you MUST believe in their god and all their beliefs, and if they don't, horrible things will happen to you. SOME parent's don't take religion seriously and leave some slack to their kids*, but they are not the majority in my personal observations (and I've lived in five countries around the world, and am talking about several different religions). The religions themselves say that you MUST raise your children in the religion, and that doubting is a sin (that's true for most, though not all, widespread religions today). Those two factors make leaving a religion a highly difficult proposition.


* And I don't understand that. If you believe that what's in a book is the word of God, then you must follow it to a T. If you don't think it is the world of god, you might take it as poetry or tradition, but you shouldn't believe amazing and highly improbable things just because they are written there. I don't see how accepting some things from a book as sacred word, however unlikely they are, but then ignore other things written in the same book by the same authors because they are too strict. If the book says that the world is flat, and you believe that the book is the word of God, you shouldn't get close to the edges.

vrulg
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby vrulg » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:20 am UTC

henryx wrote:As for the definition of intelligence, I'm always surprised when I see definitions that consider only the ability to solve problems, when the people I consider intelligent are mostly those that foresee and prevent problems. Any useful definition of intelligence should account for averting problems as much as solving them. I would go for:
Intelligence: a measure of the ability to foresee, prevent and solve complex problems.
And that's not very etnocentric. It is simply practical.


This is an arbitrary distinction. Prediction and prevention of future problems are types of problems. In other words, you are saying people who are defined to be smart must be good at answering questions like "what problems do you foresee occurring within the next t time units" or "How would you prevent problem X from occurring?" these questions are statements of a type of problem.

Titanium Dragon
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Warning: really long post

Postby Titanium Dragon » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:33 am UTC

There are other problems as well. Genetic engineering on a large scale is likely to significantly reduce human genetic diversity - if people are tailoring their babies to order, then only a very few gene varients are going to be wanted - whichever ones are considered to be "best" for a given trait at the then-current knowledge. The problem is genes are not simple 1 to 1 relationships - the same section of underlying code is often used for several different things. This means that genes can have side effects, and also that certain combinations of positive genes inserted can have overall negative effects due to other impacts those changes make.


Well, obviously there are lots of potential issues with genetic engineering. I don't think this is actually as big of a deal as people think it might be, though, simply because if we have this level of engineering, we probably can deal with pretty much any disease which comes up and we'd probably have some background level of diversity built into the system - possibly genes which are pretty neutral derived from the parents, and I can see a lot of parents choosing for children who resemble them at least somewhat physically. Some won't, but...

Added to that you also have the other potential applications - at some point, I would be unsurprised if we had the technology to alter human physique to fairly large degree, which might in and of itself create some diversity.

While increased susceptibility to disease is a possible outcome, we'll be able to engineer -in- a lot of resistances as well, so I suspect that overall that would be neutral. And if necessary, with engineering we could always re-increase diversity.

Now while we should in most cases be able to avoid the sort of serious problems you find in most pedigree dog strains (as an example of genetic engineering going badly wrong), there are still potential issues - unlike GM wheat, if some combination of genes proves non-ideal they throw it away and try it again, and in nature the bad combination only occurs once at any time and if it is negative enough in effect, it will disappear over time. If the "Michael Jordan's athleticism" gene combined with "Einstein's intelligence" gene turns out to cause some nasty degenerative disease in the kids teens then millions of children might have been given that combination before this is found out.


This isn't a realistic problem, given that there'd be rigorous testing prior to incorporation, and I suspect mass engineering won't occur until after a good number of superbabies have already been produced, by which point such issues would become evident.

Of course this suggests if our goal was to overall increase human intelligence levels the most, we should concentrate on improving access to education and decent nutrition in developing and third world countries (where most of the population is). Compared to the speed of any measured genetic drift in human intelligence this would probably be able to overwhelm that affect for many generations, and it is far more practical than anything we might to try to control who reproduces with whom and how often.


Given that the effect has already ceased in several European countries, we're already past this.

Except you also note how much it is also affected by nutrition/education. Which suggests heritability isn't as important as that in practical terms.


Yes and no. There have been papers written on this very subject; how can the heritability of intelligence be so high if these other factors are so important?

See http://www.apa.org/journals/features/rev1082346.pdf for a discussion of this.

You are of course arguing against a strawman here, I can't really think of anyone that says that all people have the same cognitive abilities (well there are probably a few cranks to espouse anything on the internet).


Including one in this thread. Its not a strawman; a lot of people actually hold this view. My parents do, for instance, as do many blacks.

What is usually objected to is dividing all humans into 2 or more groups, getting the IQ of a sample of each group, and then claiming this proves Group A is better than Group B, etc.


Well, the problem is that people are stupid and thus when they hear "whites have more intelligence genes than blacks, on average" they instead think they're hearing "All whites are smarter than all blacks." The reality is that there is internal variation and a curve for each population group.

Long before we are capable of mass genetic engineering we'll be capable of mass genetic sequencing; indeed, I've heard 10-20 year estimates for sequencing everyone at birth being very affordable and, thus, standard as it'd be cheaper than testing for every individual disease at some point.

Given how limited IQ testing is, the conclusion is pretty weak and ignores various issues like hybrid vigor - if Group A and B are genetically distinct, then crossbreeding between them should create more exceptional individuals than in-group breeding would (of course it makes for more individuals that are exceptional on the negative side of things as well, and the average doesn't change).


This is wrong. Hybrid vigor only occurs under specific circumstances; interbreeding between human populations probably won't generate the effect, as human populations are far too diverse. You'd see hybrid vigor breeding English royalty with some other inbred royal group they're unrelated to, but you wouldn't see it in breeding a Scandinavian with a Mayan. You might even see outbreeding depression in certain traits which are strongly selected for in one population but not in the other.

You'd only see more outstanding individuals if the second group almost all had some gene that the first group lacked, and vice-versa. There's no evidence that this would be the case, as if it were, then we'd expect the descendents of American slaves, who have heavily interbred with the white population, to have a larger number of exceptional individuals than the population at large. We don't, and an argument could even be made that we've seen outbreeding depression in them - though I don't feel confident in that conclusion at all, as we have no background African population to compare them to.

And IQ testing is only "limited" in the sense that it only correlates so well with g. However, it correlates better than most people know, and it is a strong indicator for a number of things.

A problem being that this "final solution" for "inferior intelligence" seems to come up sooner or later (i.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization). Especially seeing as it is a solution looking for a problem - the selection for/against intelligence in humans is not a particularly strong one at this point, so it will take dozens of generations before it would become a problem (and that assumes nothing happens in the future to reverse the trend). Considering how flawed our understanding of the human mind and intelligence is at this point, it is something we can easily leave to future generations to sort out once they have a better handle on the issues.


Thing is that there are people today who have children who shouldn't, including people who had cancer when they were very young. Obviously we couldn't select for intelligence, but there are certain traits (hundreds, really) we could easily select against.

To me a far more pressing issue would be how human intelligence can be captured so easily by vested interests (like oil companies, for example) and how trivial it is for elements in the media to turn people selectively anti-science on issues like climate change. Addressing human susceptibility to advertising and propaganda would seem to be a much more worthwhile endeavour than trying to raise IQ a bit.


Except this is simply wrong in every way. The media isn't "anti climate-change" and oil companies hardly capture intelligence.

Exaggeration like this is unhelpful. Yes, the media isn't as helpful as it should be, but that's not because of oil companies, halliburton, or crazy fundies - that's because the media is sensationalistic. If you look at media which doesn't rely on advertising revenue, you see better coverage - the BBC, NPR, and public broadcasting. What drives it isn't bribery or anything sinister, but ratings. Obviously propaganda networks (lots of totalitarian countries possess them, and Fox News and similar Murdoch companies are first world examples) are bad news sources, but this is hardly shocking. And while MSNBC is obviously highly biased, I don't think they're a propaganda network so much as the aforementioned "sensationalism" combined with bias - I don't think they get memos from Bill Gates telling them what to highlight. That said, I wouldn't rely on them for news either due to their extreme and obvious bias.

Do you have any scientific basis for your saying that being good is genetically driven?


"Good person" traits generally involve intelligence in some way or another, not to mention the inverse correlation between crime and intelligence (and thus being good, because crime is generally defined as "bad"). That said, it wouldn't be much of a paper, because its already fairly obvious and we don't have a specific gene locus - probably because it is a polygenic trait and of course the fact that what a "good person" is an arbitrary definition. We'd have to be able to define whether someone is "good" or "bad" to do any such study. That's why we generally study things which aren't arbitrary or of varying definitions.

In a later post you talked about crime rates in low income areas, but I think your correlations here have nothing to do with causation. Higher crime rates certainly do correlate with poverty. And low IQ scores probably do correlate with poverty. But I think it makes more sense to assume that poverty causes both of those than that intelligence has anything to do with crime, or that a stupid person is more likely to give birth to a stupid person genetically.


You're actually looking at it in entirely the wrong way.

All of these factors feed back on one another. An area with a high crime rate tends to drive away those who have more money, as well as businesses, leaving the area poorer. A poor area is less likely to attract those businesses in the first place, particularly ones which create high-paying jobs; likewise with an area with higher crime rates. People who are less intelligent are more likely to be poor and undereducated, and all of those traits feed back on one another. The dumber you are, the less educated you are, and the poorer you are, the more likely you are to commit crimes. Studies have shown all of these relationships.

So in short, the reason you're looking at it wrong is because you're vastly oversimplifying things. All of these factors cause the other factors. And indeed, it seems that the best way to make an area more prosperous, democratic, ect. is to educate it.

And indeed, some studies indicate that, at least among hispanic immigrants, IQ is a better way to guess their SES than their parents' SES, which would indicate that it intelligence may be a MORE important factor than poverty.

Agree'd that education can help people become better people, but not education of just facts and information.


Actually, facts and information are what we should encourage; rationality is what is needed, not emotion.

Acceptance of a calculus theorem or a scientific hypothesis doesn't make me want to be nice to people.


Ah, but you see, it can. If you understand reciprocal altruism, that is far more likely to make you behave in a certain manner than authority figures telling you to be nice to each other.

How many people who understand reciprocal altruism go on shooting rampages?

Smarter people are not always better. Intelligent people can be jerks. There are bullies in high-class private schools as much as in lower-income schools.


Sure, just like poor people are not always criminals. They are trends, not absolutes.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.


Humility IS, in fact, thinking less of yourself. That is the definition of the word. The word you're looking for is generousity, or perhaps selfless, the opposite of selfish.

However, you then go on to make humble statements, so I think you're just confused about how to define the word.

I can accept that I am better than others in certain places, including intelligence. But that doesn't change the absolute worth of a human life. But that doesn't change the absolute worth of a human life. I am no more important than anyone else. Humility is just recognizing your place in the universe. What "all sorts of problems" does it lead to?


Of course it changes the value of a human life. If given the choice between someone killing some random Joe off the street, or killing Dawkins or Hawking, I'm going to choose Dawkins or Hawking every single time. The other person IS worth less than they are, objectively - they contribute more to society and matter more in the end. Yeah, sucks to be that random Joe, but they are in fact more important.

People like you make terrible decisions. We have limited resources, and we need to invest them properly. Saying "All people are of equal value" is useless, and moreover, wrong - we have invested more as a society in some people than others, and some people contribute more to society than others. These define their value.

People don't LIKE putting a value on human life, but we HAVE to in order to make decisions. How valuable is an endangered species relative to the humans who fish that reef? How valubale are 3 hostages who are in trouble now, versus the countless others who will be kidnapped once we've shown that we're willing to pay the kidnappers for them? Its people like you who pay off the kidnappers in South America, encouraging more kidnapping, and people like you who can't make decisions which negatively impact anyone, even though they always will negatively impact at least one person.

You didn't even try to offer justification for why forthrightness is better than circumspection. What's wrong with trying not to offend?


You just said that lying is better than the truth.

If someone is spouting garbage, you should say as much. Saying "I disagree with you" is wrong. They are -wrong- when they say that the Earth is flat, that God will take care of you, that humans aren't affecting the global climate, or that cutting taxes on the rich will help the poor. "I disagree," is a lie. "You are wrong" is the correct statement to make.

Bush's administration tortured people and committed warcrimes. People like you in the Democratic party are the people who aren't prosecuting them because they don't want to offend anyone, they don't want to hurt anyone. But that just allows people like that to hurt others more.

The truth is always better than lies, no matter how much it hurts, because no matter how much you lie it won't change the truth. People can be fooled, but nature cannot.

Are you trying to say that everyone who thinks people should be good and nice is a coward?


No. I'm saying people who say "be humble, be circumspect" are cowards. Humility is to not correctly value your own accomplishments, and is the same as arrogance, but in the opposite direction. It is frustrating and just as unhelpful when the experts won't speak up as when the cranks do, as they have the same effect. Being circumspect means you don't offend people when you need to offend them, not to directly contradict them when you need to directly contradict them. It is cowardice not to put value on people, or not to admit to doing so, when it is necessary and when you almost certainly do so anyway. You aren't doing anything for the Iranians, nor for the people being slain in Darfur, and you could be doing so. Clearly, then, you don't value them as much as other things, but you don't want to admit it, perhaps even to yourself.

It isn't bad to place value on human life; it is bad to do so subconsciously and not admit you're doing so. Humility is a form of self-denial, which is bad. If you understand yourself, you'll come to be a better person and to understand other people better as well.

Is it cowardice to die in a peace protest?


Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. Tank man was no coward, but not every person who dies in a peace protest dies meaningfully.

Is it cowardice to stand up and say, "Hey, maybe we should be nice to people. Maybe that's the answer"?


Sometimes, no, it isn't. And sometimes it is.

At some point, you have to ask the question "Will this work?" It is cowardly to say that everyone can be convinced by peaceful protest, because it is wrong. Not everyone will be. As I said before, some people will happily mow down the hippies until they run out of bullets. Not acknowledging that reality is more complicated, not acknowledging that sometimes, being nice isn't the answer. Its very easy to say "War is never the answer," just as easy as it is to say "War is always the answer." The reality lies in between.

But I'm saying maybe it's a good idea to try to be better than we are, instead of giving up and saying there's no value in being nice to others, in sacrificing my comfort for other people.


I am the strongest believer of all in self-improvement.

Part of that is understanding that reality is complicated. Another part of that is understanding the true value of yourself and others, and to acknowledge why you make the decisions you make. Being honest with yourself is a very important part of being a better person, and the humble is no more honest with himself than the arrogant.

Or Glymour's analysis which suggests looking at the data from The Bell Curve should make you liberal:


Glymour is a professor of philosophy who enjoys large words too much. Anytime you say "The incoherence between practice and methodological theory would do little harm were the methods of searching for casual hypotheses that have developed in social statistics, and that are widely taught to social scientists, and widely used to justify conclusions, reliable under any set of conditions that might reasonably be assumed in the various domains to which the search methods are applied." you're a windbag, and using obsfucating language in order to try to make yourself appear more intelligent than you actually are, while simultaneously saying less than could be stated in half the space. It is ironic that he speaks of "muddle", given the language he himself uses. He also manages to misuse "there" and "their" at least once in the paper.

While it is certainly the case that you can use factor analysis to create a huge number of factors, when you can create very few factors, then you're far more likely to be looking at something real and not overfitting to the data. Occam's razor isn't any sort of law, but rejecting it out of hand, as he does, is not a very valid criticism. He also fails to understand factor analysis on another level, which is that while it is possible to create a large number of factors, you can indeed pick between them with various other methods. And people have, and do so, and make predictions using it, and it turns out those predictions are accurate. So, really, the criticism is pretty baseless as while there are certainly issues with factor analysis, this seems unlikely.

The next part of his paper might charitably be described as "I don't like their conclusions and thus will claim that regression analysis can be confused by cofounding factors which aren't accounted for." While obviously true, this criticism would require him to identify a factor which is unaccounted for. He says that "critics" (who he conveniently doesn't cite) have noted that their SES index is "lame", which is always nice. Oh, those "critics". And yet, after all of his charts and such, he fails to actually identify the factors he claims are important and unaccounted for, instead labelling them with magical letters of doubt. I'm sorry, I don't have a problem with complaining about regression, but on the other hand if you fail to really identify the source of the problem, then I'm going to call you out for whining.

And indeed, throughout his paper he does a great job of complaining about what others haven't done, and yet he doesn't do it himself - a clear sign that he doesn't believe in his analysis nearly enough to do anything about it.

He then goes on to complain about inferring casuality from correlation. Whine whine whine. Yes, we know all this. And? Oh no, the difficulties of inferring causality from correlation! Yes, this is difficult! Yes, this is obvious! Everyone who can actually make their way through your massively excessive verbiage knows this!

And here's where you see the point. His complaining is pretty much exactly that. He isn't actually contributing anything useful, and he isn't even demonstrating anything himself.

Thus, you just made me read twenty-odd pages of a PhD whining without actually saying anything.

Then we get to the policy section, where something interesting might actually happen. He points out that their conclusions are the same as those of many liberals, which he says is "perhaps surprising". Of course this is surprising to HIM, because he doesn't like them and he is surprised that they actually agree about something. So really, what is the controversy here?

The controversy is obviously that he disagrees with them. But throughout this meandering paper, he failed to do anything particularly useful.

Yes, you disagree with their policy conclusions. Do you really need those first twenty-six pages? No, you don't. And I never said I do agree with all of their policy recommendations. I don't. Some of them are fine, some aren't, hardly shocking. I actually agree with Glymour that it is worth funding the educational system and instituting national standards.

In short, I'd say his paper might actually be worth reading if it cut out most of the garbage and actually focused on the policy analysis, as that is clearly where he actually is capable of making coherent arguments which aren't basically him blowing smoke to obscure the fact that he has no real point of contention beyond policy analysis, and even there his analysis sucks because he doesn't actually use any real numbers to support his contention. I agree with Glymour in what we need to do (mostly).

Thing is, I think that some of their policy recommendations are overly pessimistic. Others, however, are not. As pointed out by the reason.com article, they advocate treating people as individuals, not as members of racial groups, and their overall policies of doing so are, I think, a very good thing. Yes, obviously I disagree with their position on education and such, and I think their view of us becoming like South America is a bit pessimistic, even if it has come true to some degree in some parts of the country near the border.

The reason.com article criticizes their long droning on about g, which, to be fair, is somewhat fair, though on the other hand I think it isn't. Yes, it isn't necessarily relevant, but I think the purpose of it was basically to justify their use of IQ. They also criticize their discussion of heredity, though I feel it is also relevant to their "bleak future" view, as well as to some of their policy proposals, so it is relevant. And honestly, to some degree this is what the book is about - the science - so I think the article somewhat misses the point as their entire point wasn't JUST the conclusions they drew. Really, they ramble on about it, and honestly, they're wrong. And yes, obviously there is feedback between schooling and IQ, and IQ and schooling; both affect each other. While I do agree that to some degree it is a little incoherent, I think that this is at least in part because the book isn't actually just about what reason.com seems to think it is.

As for Slate, the author obviously has a grudge against Murray, so really, do you trust him? You shouldn't, and not just because of that grudge!

1) g is not nearly as controversial among scientists as he'd like to make you think, and there is good evidence for its existance. Moreover, studies on the heritability of g indicate that it is highly heritable (as the APA acknowledges). Calling this the "mainstream position" in cognitive research is not wrong, and his implication that this is "right wing" indicates some issues with his own understanding of not just this, but of science in general. Hardly surprising, given Slate's slant - it is useful sometimes, but you shouldn't always trust its articles blindly.

2) I do not think it is at all unreasonable to say that the cognitive elite is a relatively new phenomenon. While I agree it is difficult to quantify the change, I do not think it is difficult to state that it has occurred.

3) He complains "What Herrnstein and Murray used to measure IQ is actually a measure of education as well as intelligence." True! However, this is misleading. The reason is simple: education is a factor of intelligence (represented by IQ) and SES, largely. In other words, its not an independent variable. (Of course, none are truly independent variables). The issue with including education is that you're likely to end up with a bad analysis because IQ and SES both correlate strongly with education. While obviously there is flow between them in both directions, omitting it is not nearly as unfair as he makes it out to be. He also complains that they measure something other than intelligence. Had he read the book, he'd understand that they acknowledge this fact; of course, he didn't, so he doesn't. Reality check: they acknowledge that these tests are not g, but simply measures of g with other factors involved as well.

4) His criticism that the book fails to establish a link between IQ and job performance is farcical. The military test is only one part of it. He treats it as the whole thing. Obviously, someone who is trying to mislead you (the reader, who hasn't read the book), and of course it makes all his other statements pretty dubious. Of course, he makes out ALL their conclusions that he criticizes are from single sources, which is, of course, false.

5) Obviously the way you count SES will affect any measure of SES. Some people complained about it, but SES calculations don't really make anyone happy because people calculate them in varying ways. He is correct in stating that if you weigh them differently it can have an effect on your data. However, it does not falsify their hypothesis.

Ect. See also his claim that the heritability is much lower (it isn't; what it is, precisely, is not known, but the consensus on the heritability of IQ is more or less the range in the Bell Curve).

Basically, you can find lots of critics of the Bell Curve, but most of the people who actually attack the data are pretty poor warriors and their "analysis" exists to mislead people who didn't actually read the book.

3. On a more serious note, doesn't this problem already exist? To bring yet another topic into discussion here, religious people generally have more children than non-religious people. Also, strongly religious parents are more likely to bring up their children in their own faith than non-religious parents are. The result is that the religious population rises more quickly than the non-religious population.


The opposite actually occurs, most likely because countervaling trends (increased intelligence, education, and access to the media) outweighs this differential.

Please don't put those adjectives together with 'dark skinned' as if they go together. Thats... well... just.... no. Okay?


Ah yes. "Please don't point out that members of my ethnic group do bad things, because I am unable to differentiate between single individuals and groups of individuals".

Their point was "their parents are idiots, their kids aren't". Of course, one might well point out, again, the fact that these people are uneducated and may have brain damage from drug abuse. Remember, inheritance is genotypic, not phenotypic (though obviously environmental factors can mess them up). That said, getting straight As doesn't necessarily mean you're intelligent; its just a trend. You can be less intelligent and get higher grades if you are highly motivated, and vice versa, though someone who is very intelligent may get high grades and not be very motivated at all.

Disagree entirely, and I'm not religious in the least. Many religions form a socially-acceptable series of guidelines for ethical and moral behavior that when adhered to benefit both the individual and society. I'm even willing to forgive the wonky beliefs (new earth creationism, for example -- provided the person isn't a Senator) as long as the core system are about kindness and generosity towards your fellow man.


Except they're bad for society. See also: young earth creationism and fighting science standards and not giving children adequete science educations.

Also, they don't adhere to them. Atheists are much less likely to be in jail than, say, Christians, though its probably not because of religion but rather because atheists are wealthier, more intelligent, and better educated and thus less likely to commit crimes. Religion obviously doesn't stop these people, and often incites criminal activity - see also: The Middle East.

There's a thick line between cults and religions, and that line is essentially whether or not you're allowed to leave of your own free will.


So Mormons are a cult?

There isn't actually a line at all. They're the same thing. We just call small religions cults. The reality is that there is no clear demarcation. If you leave many "mainstream" religions you will be socially ostracized by your friends, family, ect., whereas some of the more New Agey "cults" don't really do much at all to hang onto their membership.

If there is a correlation between intelligence and wealth, it is a weak one. Considering this is a nerd webcomic and thus a nerd forum, I'm surprised not to see a greater vocal backlash against claims that smarter people are more often than not richer - technicians, engineers and teachers would certainly like to weigh in on their high-education low-remunerative professions.


I think a lot of people don't have an understanding of what "average" income is in the United States. ESPECIALLY smart people. Engineers make above-average amounts of money.

And even after all this, the overarching problem - there are too many people and resources are being wasted / used inefficiently - is not a question of intelligence but of wealth and consumerist societies. The solution, at its very basic, is not a eugenics program but a economic revolution - one that wholly restructures the economic model we've been working on. After all, we're not out to tie the tubes of every African and Chinese mother; we're trying to find an efficient production/distribution/conservation system that keeps Ohio from turning into a dustbowl.


Except, of course, not. People who say this are consistantly wrong.

Capitalism, for all the complaints about it, works and is fairly meritocratic. It is the job of government to ensure that we observe certain standards which 1) preserve basic human dignity and 2) preserve the meritocracy. As they say, it sucks but its the best we've got. Certainly some level of socialized healthcare and similar is helpful, but non-capitalistic societies simply do not function as well as capitalistic ones do.

I'm not stupid. I'm not ignorant. I'm not brainwashed. I don't present a danger to the free-thinking world.


Of course, isn't that what any brainwashed cult member would say?

Stupid people don't reproduce more. Poor people reproduce more. Stupid rich people like saying that's the same thing.


They are to some degree.

Actually, the problem is that many people (on the Internet) think they're superior to others because they believe they're more intelligent than them based on select criteria (for example, "I don't watch American Idol" or "I read Umberto Eco" or "I vote Democrat") of their own devising


I would wager that the last one actually has a negative corellation with IQ due to the concentration of minorities in the Democratic party and their poor performance on IQ tests.

As a result, breadth and depth of knowledge is no longer as effective as a hallmark of intelligence; Wikipedia as brain extension makes us all "equal". As technology continues to expand, what ultimately will distinguish the intelligentsia (for lack of a better word) will be problem-solving and application skills. And many people that have what most would consider an "average" intelligence may have killer problem-solving skills, and they will be the ones in high demand, not those who know which month a beetle lays its eggs.


Except this is in fact wrong.

You see, knowledge actually translates into intelligence. Learning makes you smarter. This shocks a lot of people, who dichotomize "learning" and "intelligence", but it is so - education actually makes us smarter (some studies indicate as much as 2.5 IQ per year). That said, not all of that is DUE TO learning; people who are more intelligent are more likely to educate themselves more, so it is a more complicated feedback loop and the gains are probably much smaller than 2.5 per year.

Instant recall WITHOUT using a computer is very helpful, and moreover, this ability makes you smarter anyway as you are more capable of drawing conclusions from varied areas. It doesn't matter that you can look up where the clay is from, if it doesn't tell you what you really need to know. Maybe that clay is found in a certain part of the UK, which means obviously the killer is from there! But someone who actually has knowledge might know that the clay is used by a certain group of potters, which means that really, the killer was a potter, or was in a potter's shop, or delivered their clay. The ability to look up anything SOUNDS awesome, but in actuality one of the great skills of problem solving is the ability to incorporate diverse knowledge and bring it together.

Moreover, the people with this ability tend to be the people with lots of esoteric knowledge in the first place due to their increased intelligence (or vice-versa), so realistically, while Wikipedia is useful as a brain extension, it is only useful in a somewhat limited way, and actually learning from Wikipedia is probably a far better use of it as it allows you to make those cognitive leaps.

Intelligence more or less IS problem solving skills, so saying "people of average intelligence with killer problem solving skills" is an oxymoron; by definition people with killer problem solving skills are intelligent. IQ tests, like the Raven test, basically are tests of problem solving skills.

This same concept goes deep into the internet, where the resources are there, but few people actively utilize them, (keeping in mind again that this is merely the people I see in my personal daily experience) instead heading towards the networking, gaming sites, and the like.


Not true, though. Wikipedia is the eighth most popular site on the internet, and search engines (Google and Yahoo) are #1 and 2. This indicates that people are in fact using the internet well. I suspect the reason is simple: You're looking at people in certain situations wherein they are more likely to be doing things you deem less intelligent.

I might also add that gaming is probably good for cognitive development and problem solving skills, so whereas you decry it as non-intellectual, it in fact is far MORE intellectual than most other pasttimes. Indeed, it is a far more mentally stimulating thing than watching TV, what the last generation did, and the internet in general is a far more interactive place. And social networking sites develop social skills to some degree, as well as increase knowledge of the lives of others.

The prior system set since the 1920s generally worked for the situation, but that has changed if only very slightly, but enough to cause problems for this generation in terms of meeting the expectations of teachers, employers, and those who will generally be above them on the business ladder.


This is what is known as "Those kids and their music". No sign whatsoever of this exists. The people who spread this myth are the baby boomers and their ilk, little realizing the irony. It certainly isn't a realistic view. Quit spreading this falsehood. I know its difficult for people to accept that the next generation is even better than the last, but it is so. We've adopted technology and are integrated into it in ways the previous generation wasn't.

First of all, I see the whole Idea of measuring "intellegence" as being somewhat ethnocentric. Who decides what "intellegence" is?


Ah yes. "Intelligence doesn't exist, its just a way of justifying white supremacy!"

It correlates well with success. It is basically a measure of cognition, problem solving skills, ect.

Its a word describing something which does, in fact, exist and has been found, measured, and pointed at. We do not know its cause and we have no perfect means of measuring it, but we can measure it and look at how well our measures correlate with reality.

According to Anthropological research (including both archaeological research, and older research of hunter gatherers back when there were more hunter-gatherers left, such as the !kung people of Africa, who are nowadays not really that much of hunter-gatherers anymore) hunter-gatherer cultures tend to be more healthy, more egalitarian and have more leisure time than industrial and agricultural cultures


Ah yes, the golden age myth.

Its not true.

They weren't hunter-gatherers (they worked for wages sometimes and were accustomed to picking up food from mission stations), what "leisure time" was was badly defined (by that definition, virtually all of a Westerner's time would be "leisure time"), and it only lasted a few weeks to boot.

Sorry to burst your anarcho-primitivist bubble, but the life of a hunter-gatherer sucked.

TiPerihelion wrote:
halplm wrote:wow, and statistics show that people who know how to read other people's posts can actually talk intelligently about them.

The fact you call others ignorant, racist, and classist assholes without actually presenting any idea of why you think such a thing is an ad hominem attack of the worst (and most common) form.


Wow! And incidentally, reading people's posts is exactly what gave me that impression! Take a look:

Ignorant:
halplm wrote:Then to flat out state that we've screwed up the climate is beyond absurd in its idiocy.

Esn wrote:I registered just to reply to this... it seems that the comic, at least as it relates to Britain, is actually wrong, as British IQ levels have been declining for 30 years: (link to BNP -- apparently the British version of the U.S. Republican Party)


Racist:
Titanium Dragon wrote:That there is a difference in the average IQ of whites and blacks in the United States is completely, totally, and utterly uncontroversial. Many people claim this is due to racism in the IQ tests. These people are wrong. This is because the IQ tests are meant to act as predictors, and as it turns out, the IQ test results of blacks predicts their success as well as it does for whites, indicating it is actually working properly.


Classist (and delusional):
Titanium Dragon wrote:Indeed, the more intelligent you are, the fewer crimes you commit, and the #1 way to make people "better people" is to educate them, which increases their intelligence (and wealth).


The problem is, of course, that you didn't actually understand those posts (or, perhaps, reality in general).

1) Yes, halp is ignorant.

2) Esn is somewhat ignorant, though he's not entirely wrong that there is evidence that the IQ in Britain has fallen over the last 30 years. However, it isn't clear exactly when it peaked, so really it was probably less than 30 years of decline, and the cause of the decline is unknown.

3) I'm sorry, you just said that reality is racist, that everyone in the APA is racist. That blacks in the US have lower IQs than whites in the US is fact. I'm sorry, read papers on IQ differences between races. Read any paper which talks about it by anyone credible. They will ALL tell you about this gap. Every single one of them. The CAUSE of the gap is more controversial, though, contrary to what some people say, IQ tests themselves are not, in fact, racist - they are equal at predicting the success of blacks and whites, which indicates that what they are measuring is in fact really the same thing within and between both groups. Some portion of this gap is due to environmental factors - inferior/less education and SES. Some people believe there is a genetic component to it as well, which is not unreasonable - there are known genetic differences between population groups, and there is no particular reason to believe intelligence couldn't be one of them. No one has confirmed this yet, and it won't be confirmed until the genetic basis for intelligence is better understood, most likely. That blacks score lower on IQ tests is reality, and reality is not racist any more than it is sexist, classist, or anything else ist.

4) Again, reality isn't classist any more than it is racist, and that poor people are more likely to commit crimes than wealthy people is not only uncontroversial, but something we actively try to deal with continually by bringing people out of poverty.

Does it help that I created an account to praise the author for this comic? Though the proportion of posters who accept the eugenics idiocy is disheartening.


The problem is that you don't actually understand eugenics, and have fallen prey to "Hitler liked eugenics, Hitler was bad, therefore eugenics was bad" logic (which is, of course, nonsense).

Eugenics is basically artifical selection on humans. We perform "eugenics" on animals all the time via selective breeding programs, and there is no reason why we couldn't apply them to humans, nor is there any reason why it would be pseudoscientific.

In the past, eugenics programs were based on very primitive science and in many cases pseudoscience. I might add that it wasn't actually always wrong - many forms of mental retardation, for instance, are genetic in nature - but it was also phenotypically driven because there was no other metric they could use. Now we have the ability to genotype, and thus we could implement a sound, scientific eugenics program.

The issue is that we can only select for traits we understand, which really means mostly we can only select -against- traits, particularly disease traits, of which we know several hundred. Indeed, we already practice a form of voluntary eugenics, genotyping people and telling them whether or not they're carriers of certain genes - if both parents carry a gene which, when homogenous, will cause a nasty trait, they may choose not to breed or to abort children who will have these issues. There is nothing immoral or unethical about this.

A more formal program at this juncture in time is probably premature because we don't understand enough to really select for positive traits. Thus, we can only engage in negative eugenics, and we already do so on a voluntary basis, with some degree of success. With socialized healthcare, this will probably increase, and that's not a bad thing, though I doubt it will become mandatory for a long time, if ever, even if it is probably more humane and economically efficient to abort these fetuses.

Positive eugenics (that is to say, selecting for positive traits) occurs to some degree already, but we cannot really select for it in non-phenotypic ways, which limits its value and means that implementing such a program mandatorially at the moment would be inadvisable for scientific reasons, let alone social ones.

You can trace it back to Malthus, at least, with his silly argument that poverty is inevitable because population expands "geometrically" but food supply expands only "arithmetically," so improving conditions for the poor would just make things worse. (Malthus was just pulling this out of his ass. People produce more than they consume, so food supply expands more rapidly than population -- and that's before considering improvements in agricultural technology.)


This is wrong, actually. Malthus was absolutely correct that resources are limited whereas population growth is exponential, and ergo eventually food (or some other resource) will become the limiting factor. He was wrong about WHEN it would occur, but that it WILL occur is inevitable as there are only finite resources in the universe, which will eventually constrain human population growth - and Earth is a likelier constraint. Of course, human population growth itself will probably cease in the late 21st century, only to level off and decline due to increasing affluence, without us hitting that barrier. If we were to continue to expand indefinitely, we'd run out of arable land, fresh water, breathable air, energy, or some other resource. Indeed, we're already close to peak oil, if we haven't already passed it.

The pseudoscientific nature of eugenics theory needs emphasis.


Of course it does, because that's your entire argument against it. Well, that and Nazis and racism. Unfortunately, you are wrong. There is nothing inherently pseudoscientific about it.

It's generally based on a fallacious analogy with animal husbandry.


Its not, actually. Its based on a correct analogy.

You see, humans are animals, and therefore, anything we do to animals, we can, in theory, do to humans as well.

And on the class issue: workers are not less intelligent than other social classes, in general. Most labor, even "unskilled" labor, requires extensive training and complex decision making. In most of the working class jobs I've had, it was a perpetual problem that managers simply had no idea how their workplaces operate, and would refuse to listen to workers who tried to explain that their workplace procedures were more complicated than the managers knew.


False, actually. Menial laborers have lower average IQs, and thus are less intelligent.

And of course, it is easy for the worker to complain, but if you have to explain, time and again, that things are more complicated than they seem... maybe they only seem complicated to you, or maybe you just aren't capable of explaining it well enough to your boss.

Most managers are not raging incompetants.

I beg to differ. It is a well-known fact that the IQ test is culturally biased because it tests for abilities and skills that do not necessarily equate to intelligence, but are merely valued by Western, Anglo-Saxon culture


Except, of course, that you are absolutely, 100% wrong.

It is a well-known fact that people who are very Basically Decent, as well as many members of minorities who do poorly on IQ tests, make these claims.

It is much less well-known among anyone but the competent that this is, of course, wrong.

You see, the APA, as well as everyone competent in the field, says that this is all bullhonkey.

You see, the IQ test is meant to be a predictor. As it turns out, it is a good predictor, by the APA's own admission, which means that what it measures is a real phenomenon. It is equally predictive regardless of race, which means that it isn't racially sensitive.

You have fallen prey to listening to idiots.

Modern IQ tests are culture neutral and measure g, the general intelligence factor, fairly well.

This is such common knowledge that it is taught to undergrads in Psych 101


Ah yes. "I learned it in school, thus it must be true!" Never believe idiots.

They may teach it in Psych 101, but I'll tell you this: they're wrong. Every competent researcher knows this.

The argument that the test is merely a "predictor of future success" also tacitly assumes a definition of success that is culturally biased and fails to acknowledge its own role in instigating what is most likely a self-fulfilling prophecy. The above paragraph reads like any bigoted, apologist propaganda posing as a proof that this or that oppressed group really is "dumber" than the privileged minority (which is a great reason to continue oppressing them). It's racist bullshit.


You are assuming, without prior knowledge, that the races ARE equal, so any test which shows a difference is biased.

Of course, what if there was a difference? Then the tests SHOULD show a difference. But you reject that possiblity out of hand, despite it being what ALL evidence points towards. ALL of it. Is everyone in the APA a racist? I don't think so.

Which indicates you aren't a scientist at all, but rather a zealot. You have created your conclusion, then interpreted everything to match it.

Its a conspiracy man!

Or its how things really are.

We aren't all conspiring against black people. There really is a difference.

The cause of the difference is controversial, but it isn't that IQ tests and standardized tests are racially biased. There would be indicators of that bias in their predictions of success, but there aren't, and we'd expect a difference between people with the same IQ of different races, because there's no way to tell someone's IQ by looking at them. But we don't see that; we instead see whites with an IQ of 85 performing the same as blacks with an IQ of 85.

I highly doubt that intelligent people commit fewer crimes (and I'm not the first person to call him out on that).


You can "highly doubt" it all you want. That doesn't mean its not true. As it turns out, it is true, as revealed by numerous studies. However, whether this is the direct result of intelligence is more questionable, as it is more likely the result of what intelligence causes (SES, education) than of intelligence directly. There may be some correlation, but it is probably small.

Why would you "highly doubt" it? Because you don't consider yourself to be in the in group?

Bah, the 100 year outlook for climate isn't nearly as bad as Randall thinks. Life flourished thousands of years ago when the planet was five or so degrees hotter than it is today. I've seen environmentalists write absurd things such as "bird migration patterns changing are proof of warming" move to a different topic and then sometime later say "all the birds are going to die." I hope you can see the contradiction here.


Actually, the real issue with climate change is weather issues, as well as coastal flooding. A huge portion of the world's population lives in coastal areas, and if New Orleans is any indication of how people will react to being flooded out, we're going to have an exponentially larger issue on our hands in a hundred years when sea levels rise enough to flood a number of these areas. Weather becoming more random could cause more droughts, and many new "arable lands" probably won't be arable because their soil is poor, whereas prior arable lands will become less suitable for farming due to changing climactic conditions. The possibility of another ice age being triggered (obviously not The Day After Tommorrow style, but a shift into another one could possibly be triggered according to some scientists) or of changing oceanic pH (due to additional atmospheric CO2) are probably more problematic, but none of this will cause humanity to go extinct (unless they trigger a world war over resources, anyway), just be a major inconvenience.

Also these so called "smart people" are too stupid to realize that family is more important than wealth.


Except we are programmed to protect our family, so they're actually capable of overcoming their instincts.

There's no reason we should value family members over random members of society objectively, though of course objectively, morality is a construct anyway.

And there are many cases wherein it is good to value non-family members over family members.

Finally I haven't read the previous posts and don't plan to, but I'd like to say that if anyone is making an argument for eugenics, they should look at the arguments people made for eugenics around the turn of the century or so, and make sure that they're making different arguments.


You mean back when they didn't even know what DNA was, and Mendel's paper was in an obscure publication?

In my experience, the issue is not so much that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate the notion that all humans might not have equal inherent potential, but rather, have seen so many charlatans hawking poorly or fraudulently supported bullshittery to the effect that the charlatan's group (usually already socially dominant) has a tremendous and insurmountable advantage in terms of inherent potential, and as such have become rather cynical about such claims from future charlatans, no matter how loudly said charlatans insist that THIS TIME they've got a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, really, we SWEAR...

...and the accusation that people are a priori unwilling to contemplate some proposition about demographics-linked differences in cognitive or related abilities is one of the clumsier and more prevalent tactics used by charlatans to try to weasel out of having to provide a coherent explanatory model consistent with all observed facts and supported by methodologically sound research, by putting the skeptics on the defensive and trying to shift the burden of proof.


Oh, I agree that skepticism is always required.

Thing is, though, modern research on IQ, at least, isn't putting white males on top in the US. We see:

Jews
Asians
Non-hispanic whites
Hispanic whites
Blacks

And this isn't some inconsistant, random stuff that racist hacks put out; we see this pattern in IQ, SATs, military tests, tests for rescue workers, ect. across many studies. One has to question the "white supremacy" of people who put asians ahead of their own race (though by only a small amount), and many people suspect that once Hispanics become an integrated indiginous population that they, too, will have their difference disappear (as when the Chinese and Irish first came in, they, too, scored lower on IQ tests; they don't anymore, and IIRC they're actually both above the national average).

This isn't to say that only non-racists work on this stuff, but I think citing racism as the reasoning behind it is, at this point, misguided. Moreover, accusing the authors of the Bell Curve of being racists when they are actually worried about this societal stratification and its potential negative consequences is, again, I think trying to turn scientists who produce results people aren't comfortable with into moustache-twirling villains. I don't think they're racist, and even many of their critics who actually read and understood the book agree with me on that point.

Now, while we have a good way of measuring IQ, we can't directly measure g and we don't know what genes are responsible for intelligence (at least, for making people smarter; we do know some which can make people developmentally disabled).

It is not unfair to ask why it is that blacks have stayed down at the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak, when Asians, who were also heavily discriminated against, have since risen up and become the equals (and in some way, superiors) of whites in the United States. Some people think that genetics are to blame, and this is not an unreasonable hypothesis. However, I do agree that it is far from certain that it is so, and it is also far from certain that American blacks are reprsentative of all blacks - maybe being white/black mixes, or being the descendants of slaves, or being a nonrandom selection of Africans is the cause. Maybe it has nothing to do with genetics, and is instead a cultural thing - probably including the culture of many blacks. When you accuse successful blacks of "selling out" or of being "Uncle Toms", are you really promoting your people's success as a culture? Is cutting off professional blacks wise? Now this is to some degree exaggerated, but it is also a real phenomenon to some degree - I heard some blacks, early on, accuse Barack Obama of not really being black at all because he wasn't the descendant of a slave!

I don't think that we can close the book on "American descendants of slaves have lower IQ due to their genetics" either way. But that people refuse to even contemplate the notion is bad, and when people's knee jerk reaction is "You're racist!", that's throughly unhelpful. It also leads some to believe it is justified. People have pointed out, correctly I think, that affirmative action and equal rights programs which discriminate for blacks (and sometimes hispanics) on the basis of race create resentment among members of "non-favored races", and I think rightly so - when we are taught so well these days that it is wrong to discriminate on the basis of someone's skin color, and then we do so, that sends an inconsistant message and encourages tribalism, as well as resentment towards the very groups these policies are meant to aid. This in turn probably increases rather than decreases racist sentiments, though I feel that racism in the United States is actually far lower than many blacks like to think it is - it is far easier to blame the culture at large than it is to blame yourself for failure.

This is not to say it doesn't still exist - white on black racism still occurs, and obviously some people who promote eugenics are nothing but neonazis.

But lumping them all together is the same as lumping all blacks into one group, and that's wrong.

Science should not be politicized, and the APA itself notes with great sadness that oftentimes people look at the various IQ studies not for their science, but for their politics. And that's a bad thing.

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Sorry for the double post, I exceeded the 60,000 character l

Postby Titanium Dragon » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:33 am UTC

I think such a thing is impossible though. I'm sure it's already been pointed out ITT that intelligence is not a single number, unlike Dungeons and Dragons would have you believe.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G_(factor)

People do claim that intelligence isn't just one number, but one of the (if not the single) leading theories regarding intelligence is that, in fact, a single factor (g) which influences intelligence, with some other factors beneath it in importance and effect.

So really, D&D might not be as far off as one might think.

The implication was that they often died before having the chance to reproduce themselves, so in that context it would matter. I suggest watching the movie. You could also watch Disney's Wall-e, as it actually has a similar point.


Wall-E has a different message; it was one of responsibility.

As late as the 1940s, in industrialized countries, the majority of the population was engaged in food production; now, it's less than 5%. Population has increased, but food production has increased at an even greater rate.


This is totally misleading. Yeah, only 5% of the population is engaged in food production - but we use up even more land today for agriculture than we did in the 1940s. So while it requires less manpower, it doesn't require less space (though it does require less space per capita, to be fair).

The limiting resource isn't humans, its the resource consumed. Food production is limited by the amount of land, but moreso by the amount of fresh water (which we are, incidentally, running low on - while a renewable resource, we're consuming it at an ever-increasing rate, and at some point we might exceed production - at which point bad stuff happens. We've seen this happen on a lesser scale with Lake Chad). Petrochemicals may be a more pressing issue - we'll run out of them sooner and we use them for pretty much everything.

You can only have as much population as you can feed, power, ect. and the more people you have, the less you can give each one after a certain point.

As for the definition of intelligence, I'm always surprised when I see definitions that consider only the ability to solve problems, when the people I consider intelligent are mostly those that foresee and prevent problems. Any useful definition of intelligence should account for averting problems as much as solving them. I would go for:


That's a form of problem solving. You've solved the problem if you prevent it from ever occurring.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby bbctol » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:44 am UTC

andrewclunn wrote:But you see, that's a straw-man argument. The stick figure does say that, but the premise of Idiocracy was never that intelligent had once had more kids, it's that the natural forces that used to "thin the heard" were gone so that now the uncontrolled reproduction of the uneducated would cause the decline of society. This comic purposefully mischaracterizes the argument so that it can be outright dismissed. This is a very low and backhanded tactic and I'm HOPING that it was done unintentionally.

Randall isn't specifically attacking Idiocracy, he's attacking people who believe that society has gone downhill in terms of intelligence. People who like Idiocracy tend to believe that life was so much better way back when when the unintelligent were weeded out, and thus it's fun to present fictions to them that are the opposite of the truth, and have them explain why your evidence supports their theory. The comic really isn't about Idiocracy the movie specifically, despite the title. As for the premise of Idiocracy, why are these natural forces gone? The nature of human civilization means that we constantly expand to outstrip our supply of natural resources, and people die every day who are not fit to find work. If anything, the requirements for survival until reproduction have changed to favor the intelligent more and more over time, rather than the strong or the fast.
Of course, a much more relevant and important argument is over the relative intelligences of one population compared to another. It's much easier to make the case that the United States has become less intelligent compared to other nations over time, although that's not really correct either.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby hitokiriilh » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:10 am UTC

Now I've respectfully disagreed with Randall's philosophy in a good number of comics, but this was just retarded. Anyone who resorts to the perfunctory comparison of some militant group to religious zealots usually has no idea what they're talking about.

Oh gee, scientists are pretty insistent on the classical validity of electrodynamics! They're just being elitist and capriciously decrying the supporters of the alternative 'classical electro-gnomism' as uninformed, new-agey idiots! They're just as bad as the religious zealots touting their moral brand as superior and delcaring all other demographics morally bankrupt!

Or if hyperbole doesn't suit your taste: it's like comparing evolutionists to the religious zealots they insist are uninformed regarding evolution. It's just simply retarded. Sometimes one side is just simply right. IT HAPPENS. And resorting to knee jerk attacks berading them is pathetic. At most, attack the militantism, not the platform. Shame on you for glorifying a horrible argument style that amounts to nothing more than ad hominem attacks, Randall. Seriously.

Other than that, read about "IQ and the Wealth of Nations." It's controversial (as is anything that makes any demographic feel bad), but it offers an actual plot on just this topic. In all honesty, basically all IQ tests are either inaccurate or capable of only measuring a single mental trait. But they usually do make some indication to the truth - a qualitative, ballpark estimate, even if the ballpark is the size of a football stadium.

Edit: In the spirit of making unjustified remarks, I think people who think those who speak against certain social trends actually do more societal damage than those who speak against certain social trends. Not only am I mocking the baseless assertion in the comic, I actually do think that in some situations - it's relative to who you are, what the situation is, and who you ask. Can I justify this with facts? No.
So point #2: Randall, don't make stupid sweeping statements, especially when it's making similarly baseless assertions the group the statements are mocking make.

Edit #2: If the comic were actually funny the above wouldn't have bothered me. Alas, there was barely a punchline and the only group I can imagine it would appeal to are the fratboys or high school jocks who take a sadistic glee in and yell "OHHHH YOU GOT SEEERVED" at the emasculation of some nerd. :roll:

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby MichaelJ » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:01 am UTC

I like it. It don't think it actually has alot to do with whether a cultural/intellectual elite actually exists, it's attacking people who assume THEY are part of that elite.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Kaijyuu » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:25 am UTC

I only read a few posts in this thread and the first thought that entered my mind was "oh look, squirrels!"

What exactly are we debating here? Superiority of philosophical ideas? Whatever it is, it doesn't look any more coherent than a religious debate. Buncha sheep pretending to be shepherds and spouting opinion as fact.


But I may be wrong. After all I didn't read the whole thread.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby hitokiriilh » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:41 am UTC

MichaelJ wrote:I like it. It don't think it actually has alot to do with whether a cultural/intellectual elite actually exists, it's attacking people who assume THEY are part of that elite.


But that's the problem. You can't attack someone who 'assumes' they are part of the elite. Who you attack an evolutionist for assuming they're more informed of the facts than anti-evolutionists? That was my point: sometimes someone is part of a group they KNOW is right/[elite]. The problem becomes figuring out which group actually IS right. When the problem is pretty objective (e.g.: things you can put plots, numbers, and notable trends to), it just comes down to being smart enough to figure things out. When the problem is subjective (like in the case of moral superiority), THEN trying to act elite can be likened to religious zealots looking down upon the morally deprave. For the case of the comic, I'd say the problem is definitely more on the objective side. I see people sling around the zealot comparison when it doesn't even make remote sense to do so.

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Re: Warning: really long post

Postby littelbro14 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:21 am UTC

Titanium Dragon wrote: 13 page essay...


Dude....it's a comic. Breath.

And also, this:

http://xkcd.com/386/

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby MichaelJ » Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:27 am UTC

Who you attack an evolutionist for assuming they're more informed of the facts than anti-evolutionists? That was my point: sometimes someone is part of a group they KNOW is right/[elite].


But the character isn't. They've gotten the idea from watching Idiocracy, and from their dislike of some aspect of popular culture. That he immediately accepts the White-hat guy's lie, shows that his opinion to be based on his own predjudices, and he's willing to accept any explanation going as long as it confirms his beliefs.

When the problem is subjective (like in the case of moral superiority), THEN trying to act elite can be likened to religious zealots looking down upon the morally deprave.


But that's just it, it is subjective. It's not a reasoned opinion based on any evidence, it's just his bias against something, combined with watching a comedy film.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Alcazabedabra » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:49 am UTC

In six panels, I'd say it's difficult to do better than a straw man argument. Actually, there would have to be two or more writers.

Take Galileo's Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo. This was, to anyone sympathetic to Galileo's solar-centric universe, a straw-man argument weighted against geo-centrism. Hell, the Church saw it that way. They put the man under house arrest for writing something they saw as a promotion of solar-centrism.

What if the entire argument of whether or not society is declining or progressing - or which breeds of humanity are better suited to a civilized world - what if the entire discussion has got a straw man somewhere?

Where's the benchmark? What defines the sane human being? Does a perfectly sane human being listen to Bach, wear a suit and tie and take a neutral stance to religion? Maybe the model of the sane human being is the guy who parties every night, listens to anything if it's performed well, speaks his mind whenever he feels like it and punches every statistician he meets?

That's what we're talking about, right? Sanity? Civilization? Intellect and ethical sense?

Define your terms. What is optimum, here? Is intelligence a choice, or a function of genes and brain chemistry? Is a man responsible for the state of his own mind?

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby jeszjesz » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:36 pm UTC

Is it true to say we've screwed up on climate change when the human race contributes only 0.28% to global warming, which is part of a natural, cyclical process? I normally go along with the great global warming swindle only because I'd be very happy to see humans pollute their own nest just slightly less than the sickening amount they do now.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby MichaelJ » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:18 pm UTC

A swindle by whom? For what purpose?

I can't dispute your figures, but it does seem a rather bizzare conspiracy.

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Re: Warning: really long post

Postby Caswin » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:20 pm UTC

littelbro14 wrote:Dude....it's a comic. Breath.
The people on this forum are a comic? Breath?

Actually, that's an interesting idea...

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Flewellyn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:51 pm UTC

jeszjesz wrote:Is it true to say we've screwed up on climate change when the human race contributes only 0.28% to global warming, which is part of a natural, cyclical process? I normally go along with the great global warming swindle only because I'd be very happy to see humans pollute their own nest just slightly less than the sickening amount they do now.


If you're going to suppose some kind of deception, you have to demonstrate sufficient motive. Deception is hard work, and the effort involved means people don't do it when they have nothing to gain. In this case, what do climatologists have to gain by deceiving the public? Absent global warming, they would still have plenty to study, as the world's climate is a fascinating topic of research in and of itself. And there's no profit motive in climatology, either: climate research isn't sufficiently lucrative for it to have any corporate backers, and government funding is often woefully inadequate. It's not a flashy science, not one that produces nifty new gadgets or miracle drugs. And global warming is not something that the scientists wanted to find; ask any climatologist, they'll tell you that it scares them to death.

On the other hand, consider the people and organizations which deny that global warming is happening. Many of them are either large energy companies, coal and oil interests who sell the fuels that we consume to generate energy, and which are responsible for global warming. Or, they are political groups, corporations, or other interest groups that have interests in common with those companies. To them, global warming represents a massive threat to their business interests, their political viewpoints, or just their sense of what should be.

What motive would there be for deception, in this question? Which side has the motive to deceive?

As for your numbers and your "natural cyclic process" thing, that's been rebutted numerous times. Here is a good starting point for information on the current state of climatology and global warming: RealClimate.org's "Start Here" page. They've set up a "one-stop shop" for links and resources on the subject.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:16 pm UTC

There should be a term that refers to the point at which a thread exceeds the length at which people are willing to read it, resulting in the necessity of repeating old points and debates that were covered a mere few pages back. That term would summarize what this thread has become.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:29 pm UTC

Yes it does. It demonstrates that the position the guy is taking is wrong, because it's based on an incorrect premise.

The argument the guy was making was:
In the past intelligent people had more children->society flourished
This is no longer the case->society is doomed

He said that the first premise is untrue, and therefore he's wrong, then went on to insult him about it.


And he says the premise is incorrect because it's wrong :-)

Actually I think the comic doesn't do that. It says the conclusion is wrong because we haven't been seeing IQ dropping in the United States, but quite the contrary.
I think Randall's opposition is rather moral than factual. He doesn't really care if IQ will eventually drop to a level incompatible with modern society. He just feels it is wrong to oppose the breeding of underpriviledged groups. It's a Liberal concern.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby andrewclunn » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:40 pm UTC

Hey Titanium Dragon!

I just read your super long post and I have to say that you're a heartless bastard :twisted:

... and I agree with you entirely :D
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby athelas » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:43 pm UTC

scwizard wrote:Yeah my bad.

About the argument the movie is making. Demonstrating that less intelligent people died younger in the days of yore doesn't prove that the population growth of stupid people was comparatively less than that of intelligent people back then. It suggests it though, makes me interested in looking into the possibility.

If anyone has statistics of the population growth rate of stupid people in the days of yore, I'd appreciate them :)

I'd recommend A Farewell to Alms, which provides strong evidence that the rich and middle class outbred the poor in the past, and is mindblowing on a number of issues besides. The 10,000 Year Explosion is an strong exposition on the idea that human genetic change has been accelerating since humanity left Africa (because of adaptation to different climates and lifestyles). And of course let me plug again http://www.gnxp.com, a blog on similar topics.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby halplm » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:05 pm UTC

Flewellyn wrote:
jeszjesz wrote:Is it true to say we've screwed up on climate change when the human race contributes only 0.28% to global warming, which is part of a natural, cyclical process? I normally go along with the great global warming swindle only because I'd be very happy to see humans pollute their own nest just slightly less than the sickening amount they do now.


If you're going to suppose some kind of deception, you have to demonstrate sufficient motive. Deception is hard work, and the effort involved means people don't do it when they have nothing to gain. In this case, what do climatologists have to gain by deceiving the public? Absent global warming, they would still have plenty to study, as the world's climate is a fascinating topic of research in and of itself. And there's no profit motive in climatology, either: climate research isn't sufficiently lucrative for it to have any corporate backers, and government funding is often woefully inadequate. It's not a flashy science, not one that produces nifty new gadgets or miracle drugs. And global warming is not something that the scientists wanted to find; ask any climatologist, they'll tell you that it scares them to death.

On the other hand, consider the people and organizations which deny that global warming is happening. Many of them are either large energy companies, coal and oil interests who sell the fuels that we consume to generate energy, and which are responsible for global warming. Or, they are political groups, corporations, or other interest groups that have interests in common with those companies. To them, global warming represents a massive threat to their business interests, their political viewpoints, or just their sense of what should be.

What motive would there be for deception, in this question? Which side has the motive to deceive?

As for your numbers and your "natural cyclic process" thing, that's been rebutted numerous times. Here is a good starting point for information on the current state of climatology and global warming: RealClimate.org's "Start Here" page. They've set up a "one-stop shop" for links and resources on the subject.


Well, lets see, the energy companies don't have a problem selling their product. People WANT energy. They want to drive their cars, they want to play their computer games, they want to read silly comics on the internet. People want to live the lifestyle we've all come to enjoy... you know ease of travel, good healthcare... limitless cheap entertainment.

So you see, people that don't like people having such ways of life, have to show those people that enjoy it why that energy being cheap and accessible by pretty much anyone is a BAD thing. The way they have chosen to do this is to scare the uneducated into thinking that cheap energy will destroy the planet. They cooked up some bad pseudo science 30 years ago, and have been twisting and turning every piece of data to fit the results they want to "prove."

You link to realclimate, which is about the worst possible resource to understand anything about the climate. There's so much bad science there it's disgusting. For a site to poke holes at every single paper ever released by those clowns, try "Climate Audit." But if your ideology precludes you from accepting any "truth" other than the one that fits your goals of anti-corporateism and anti-capitalism, you probably will deny the facts right in front of you. Science shouldn't have to be "sold" to you. You shouldn't have to "believe" it. It should be black and white, and no matter how many times you all try to say it is, that doesn't make it true. But I've found many on the left think if you repeat something enough people start to believe it (which is true, just intellectually dishonest).


And back on topic of the thread. I find it interesting, having watched Idiocracy now, how similar it is to Wall-E. Granted, it's a terrible movie, and Wall-E was pretty awesome, the concept of a helpless stupid populace in the future ties the two together. The interesting thing is, I have found that those on the left of me (which is quite a few of everyone, granted), have serious problems with the basic premise in Idiocracy, but think the basic premise of Wall-E is brilliant.

The obvious question is why. I think the point that this comic, and this thread has missed entirely, is that in Idiocracy while they gave lipservice to the idea of "intelligent people don't have as many kids, and kids of stupid people survive more," the principle cause for the truly disgusting nature of the future created in the film was the complete MORAL decay of society. Yes, they were stupid, but even stupid people don't forget that water is needed to grow plants. However, everyone's obsession with the vulgar and obscene was what seemed to really destroy things (at least according to the film, IMHO).

In Wall-E, the ultimate bad guy is greedy corporate nanny-statism. It's not the people's fault, they were just duped into being lazy and ignorant (there is a minor element of this in Idiocracy as well, but it's understated).

So, it's fine to blame evil corporations that are just greedy, and will exploit everyone to make another buck... but start to blame the "intellectual elite" or claim they have any responsability in our modern day moral decay... and well that's just ignorant, classist, racist, whatever else you want to call it. We can't have that!

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:24 pm UTC

So, it's fine to blame evil corporations that are just greedy, and will exploit everyone to make another buck... but start to blame the "intellectual elite" or claim they have any responsability in our modern day moral decay... and well that's just ignorant, classist, racist, whatever else you want to call it. We can't have that!


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Nuff said.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby mheney » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:49 pm UTC

Silly me - I thought it was just a guilty pleasure movie being referenced in a comic strip.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Fat Zombie » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

...Um.

I liked Idiocracy. This comic was okay, but not up to the standard of most comics. Not that I have any particular side to take (I don't really mind that much which side is correct, for my own reasons); I just find preachy webcomics to be fairly irritating.

See also: Subnormality.

So can we get back to the nerdy jokes, please?

PS. My own reasons:

  • If the decline is happening, I'll probably be dead before it gets to Idiocracy-style levels.

  • It it isn't happening, then it's moot anyway because in the FutureTM i'll be a crochety old man who will find new stuff mindless and far inferior to like it was In The Good Old DaysTM.

  • Most likely some other malady will eradicate us long before anything like this occurs. Then it'll just be the cockroaches, who (I naturally assume) will become the new rulers of the Earth, create civilisation, and spend their time arguing about stuff like this. So it sucks to be them! Hah!

Anyway. Please continue.
...And before you ask: yes, I do like to listen to myself talk!

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby 5th Earth » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

While I don't really have a stance on the argument that "only stupid people are breeding" I do believe that may of the problems in the world are being caused by overpopulation in general, leading to the stance that some sort of population control would be a good thing, excepting the "people are complicated" issues and the fact that no one would ever agree to it.

Personally I currently plan to have no biological children, or at least, not more than one or two (I'm 24 and currently in no financial situation to be having kids). My family has a long and sordid history of genetic and genetic-linked issues like heart disease, diabetes, bad eyesight, addiction, depression, etc. I don't have the right to impose eugenics on other people, but the logical side of me says it would be personally irresponsible to transmit my own genetics into the world, at least on a large scale. Call it conscientous eugenics.

On the other hand, I do plan on adopting if possible, because I feel that my non-genetic traits--my cultural ideals and so forth--are worth passing on to the next generation. I consider myself relatively high on the intellectual hierarchy and make no particular bones about it. I don't say my beliefs are better than other people's, but I figure an IQ of 159 has to mean something, and that's IMHO primarily an acquired, not genetic, trait. To adopt is to ensure memetic continuity without genetic propogation, and without increasing the environmental burden of people in the world, plus some kid who needs love will get it. It's a win-win scenario all around.

Sure, it may not as fast a shooting all the sick and stupid people, but I like my system better.
Last edited by 5th Earth on Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:24 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby the_phoenix612 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:21 pm UTC

5th Earth wrote:While I don't really have a stance on the argument that "only stupid people are breeding" I do believe that may of the problems in the world are being caused by overpopulation in general, leading to the stance that some sort of population control would be a good thing, excepting the "people are complicated" issues and the fact that no one would ever agree to it.

Personally I currently plan to have no biological children, or at least, not more than one or two (I'm 24 and currently in no financial situation to be having kids). My family has a long and sordid history of genetic and genetic-linked issues like heart disease, diabetes, bad eyesight, addiction, depression, etc. I don't have the right to impose eugenics on other people, but the logical side of me says it would be personally irresponsible to transmit my own genetics into the world, at least on a large scale. Call it conscientous eugenics.

On the other hand, I do plan on adopting if possible, because I feel that my non-genetic traits--my cultural ideals and so forth--are worth passing on to the next generation. To adopt is to ensure memetic continuity without genetic propogation, and without increasing the environmental burden of people in the world, plus some kid who needs love will get it. It's a win-win scenario all around.

Sure, it may not as fast a shooting all the sick and stupid people, but I like my system better.

more lies.

Global birthrates are already declining, and industrialized nations are going to actually shrink over the next 20 years.

*see UN statistics on national birthrates*
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby 5th Earth » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

the_phoenix612 wrote:
5th Earth wrote:While I don't really have a stance on the argument that "only stupid people are breeding" I do believe that may of the problems in the world are being caused by overpopulation in general, leading to the stance that some sort of population control would be a good thing, excepting the "people are complicated" issues and the fact that no one would ever agree to it.

Personally I currently plan to have no biological children, or at least, not more than one or two (I'm 24 and currently in no financial situation to be having kids). My family has a long and sordid history of genetic and genetic-linked issues like heart disease, diabetes, bad eyesight, addiction, depression, etc. I don't have the right to impose eugenics on other people, but the logical side of me says it would be personally irresponsible to transmit my own genetics into the world, at least on a large scale. Call it conscientous eugenics.

On the other hand, I do plan on adopting if possible, because I feel that my non-genetic traits--my cultural ideals and so forth--are worth passing on to the next generation. To adopt is to ensure memetic continuity without genetic propogation, and without increasing the environmental burden of people in the world, plus some kid who needs love will get it. It's a win-win scenario all around.

Sure, it may not as fast a shooting all the sick and stupid people, but I like my system better.

more lies.

Global birthrates are already declining, and industrialized nations are going to actually shrink over the next 20 years.

*see UN statistics on national birthrates*


Straw man. I said nothing about global birthrates or the populations of industrialized nations. I just said I think that having lots of people in the world is a bad thing. if anything, you've just argued that lots of people agree with me.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby the_phoenix612 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

5th Earth wrote:
the_phoenix612 wrote:
5th Earth wrote:While I don't really have a stance on the argument that "only stupid people are breeding" I do believe that may of the problems in the world are being caused by overpopulation in general, leading to the stance that some sort of population control would be a good thing, excepting the "people are complicated" issues and the fact that no one would ever agree to it.

Personally I currently plan to have no biological children, or at least, not more than one or two (I'm 24 and currently in no financial situation to be having kids). My family has a long and sordid history of genetic and genetic-linked issues like heart disease, diabetes, bad eyesight, addiction, depression, etc. I don't have the right to impose eugenics on other people, but the logical side of me says it would be personally irresponsible to transmit my own genetics into the world, at least on a large scale. Call it conscientous eugenics.

On the other hand, I do plan on adopting if possible, because I feel that my non-genetic traits--my cultural ideals and so forth--are worth passing on to the next generation. To adopt is to ensure memetic continuity without genetic propogation, and without increasing the environmental burden of people in the world, plus some kid who needs love will get it. It's a win-win scenario all around.

Sure, it may not as fast a shooting all the sick and stupid people, but I like my system better.

more lies.

Global birthrates are already declining, and industrialized nations are going to actually shrink over the next 20 years.

*see UN statistics on national birthrates*


Straw man. I said nothing about global birthrates or the populations of industrialized nations. I just said I think that having lots of people in the world is a bad thing. if anything, you've just argued that lots of people agree with me.

you did say "I do believe that may of the problems in the world are being caused by overpopulation". I am just pointing out, in the theme of the thread, that it is another "phenomenon" that doesn't really exist.
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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby Shale » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:35 pm UTC

halplm wrote:Well, lets see, the energy companies don't have a problem selling their product. People WANT energy. They want to drive their cars, they want to play their computer games, they want to read silly comics on the internet. People want to live the lifestyle we've all come to enjoy... you know ease of travel, good healthcare... limitless cheap entertainment.

So you see, people that don't like people having such ways of life, have to show those people that enjoy it why that energy being cheap and accessible by pretty much anyone is a BAD thing. The way they have chosen to do this is to scare the uneducated into thinking that cheap energy will destroy the planet. They cooked up some bad pseudo science 30 years ago, and have been twisting and turning every piece of data to fit the results they want to "prove."


Everybody who's worried about climate change hates capitalism, modern technology and modern healthcare? Do you think we eat puppies too?

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby mootinator » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:55 pm UTC

The globe has cooled over the last 10 years despite rapidly increasing CO2 concentration and a growing mountain of evidence that most of the observed warming trend has been due to incorrect 'adjustments' by sleazy bureaucrats and the urban heat island effect, and that solar variation, currents and clouds play a much bigger role in controlling temperature variance than CO2 does. If you don't hate capitalism, modern technology and modern healthcare, it's time to stop worrying about climate change.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby halplm » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:57 pm UTC

Shale wrote:
halplm wrote:Well, lets see, the energy companies don't have a problem selling their product. People WANT energy. They want to drive their cars, they want to play their computer games, they want to read silly comics on the internet. People want to live the lifestyle we've all come to enjoy... you know ease of travel, good healthcare... limitless cheap entertainment.

So you see, people that don't like people having such ways of life, have to show those people that enjoy it why that energy being cheap and accessible by pretty much anyone is a BAD thing. The way they have chosen to do this is to scare the uneducated into thinking that cheap energy will destroy the planet. They cooked up some bad pseudo science 30 years ago, and have been twisting and turning every piece of data to fit the results they want to "prove."


Everybody who's worried about climate change hates capitalism, modern technology and modern healthcare? Do you think we eat puppies too?


I didn't say any of those things. I do believe that people that push any "scientific" conclusion as "absolute truth" and claim a complete concensus when there isn't one... have an agenda they are pushing, rather than letting the science speak for itself. Anyone with a political agenda is not a scientist.

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Re: "Idiocracy" Discussion

Postby the_phoenix612 » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:57 pm UTC

mootinator wrote:The globe has cooled over the last 10 years despite rapidly increasing CO2 concentration and a growing mountain of evidence that most of the observed warming trend has been due to incorrect 'adjustments' by sleazy bureaucrats and the urban heat island effect, and that solar variation, currents and clouds play a much bigger role in controlling temperature variance than CO2 does. If you don't hate capitalism, modern technology and modern healthcare, it's time to stop worrying about climate change.

whether there is truly a global warming effect or not, the point remains that we really should do a better job of not shitting all over our planet. Eventually, its gonna bite us in the ass one way or another...
Vi verborum omnia superabo



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