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Book Review: Steven Pinker - Enlightenment Now
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steven-pinker-enlightenment-now Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now [buy; don't]. Rating: 1/10.

My impression on getting through a third of Enlightenment Now is that it was essentially a summary of Better Angels, followed by running commentary on the graphs from Our World in Data and Gapminder. But I don’t begrudge him for that, since I agree with him (and Lord Kelvin) on the importance of quantifying everything.

A few minor disagreements there and there. For instance, I suspect Pinker overdoes the descriptions of chronic hunger in pre-industrial societies – my impression is that it alternated between feast and famine under Malthusian conditions, though diet quality/variety was generally low for the poor majority.

More importantly, and this criticism extends to Better Angels, I suspect that bold pronouncements on the decline in inter-state violence are premature. For instance, it is claimed that WW2 was a huge outlier to centennial trends in declining wartime mortality, but if you take a probabilistic approach to the dangers of nuclear war , then it translates into the equivalent of a Holocaust every decade or so even in the post-Cold War era (e.g. assume we have 0.1% annual chance of a nuclear war killing 10% of the global population). Conveniently, explaining such a failure would hardly be a priority in the post-nuclear war environment.

Stylistically, it was about 2-3x thicker than necessary, as is usual with Pinker, with an overly pungent whiff of neoliberalism.txt peppered with barely concealed Trump Derangement Syndrome. Still, much of this can be forgiven for the masterful destruction of Luddites, obscurantists, and SJWs in Chapters 3-4.

I was probably going to give the book something like 6/10. So why did it end up plunging to absolute zero?

Because a thief snatched the cell phone on which I was reading it in the center of one of the world’s great metropolises (London). Hilariously, I was on Chapter 12: Safety.

Unreasonable n=1 projection? Sure. Vindictive? Probably. Justified? I believe so.

Because it makes a powerful meta point. Low probability but catastrophic events can, and – if the Many Worlds theory is correct, in some timelines will – completely overturn Pinker’s nice, upwardly trending curves.

For instance, malevolent superintelligence.

Sadly, I will not be able to read Pinker’s take on it, since “Existential Threats” are only covered in Chapter 19.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Books, Crime, Review, Steven Pinker, United Kingdom 
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  1. Pinker thinks improvements in the material conditions of “humanity” is a metric that quantifies ‘progress’. But abstracted from other factors, his criteria reduces us to little more than androgynous beasts upon whom globo-fags can inscribe their agenda. Hence his obsession with erasing the pre-conditions for violence, like undermining the moral and sentimental weight the “unenlightened” attach to ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious differences. But as Hegel understood, he who is not prepared to kill and die for his ideals is a natural slave.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Spisarevski

    Pinker thinks improvements in the material conditions of “humanity” is a metric that quantifies ‘progress’
     
    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better.

    Ordinary people used to be able to support large families and have their own houses even with just the husband working.

    Liberalism has nothing to do with either technological progress or material improvement.
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  2. If you had bought a paper copy of Pinker’s book, and the thief had stolen that, you would have lost nothing of value. Makes you think!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Good thing I didn't buy Pinker's book, paper or otherwise.:)

    I am quite sorry about the phone, though. My ancient one had recently croaked, and the new one was just a few weeks old.
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  3. @Lemurmaniac
    Pinker thinks improvements in the material conditions of "humanity" is a metric that quantifies 'progress'. But abstracted from other factors, his criteria reduces us to little more than androgynous beasts upon whom globo-fags can inscribe their agenda. Hence his obsession with erasing the pre-conditions for violence, like undermining the moral and sentimental weight the "unenlightened" attach to ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious differences. But as Hegel understood, he who is not prepared to kill and die for his ideals is a natural slave.

    Pinker thinks improvements in the material conditions of “humanity” is a metric that quantifies ‘progress’

    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better.

    Ordinary people used to be able to support large families and have their own houses even with just the husband working.

    Liberalism has nothing to do with either technological progress or material improvement.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lemurmaniac
    good point. the distribution of what progress there is has become very unevenly distributed.
    , @Beckow

    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better
     
    It is not universal, and the technology is better, but many of our ancestors would agree. They often worked seasonally, had more space, and could support bigger families.

    Liberalism is a scam; it is based on undermining labor market balance - the core concept of liberalism is that there should be no restrictions on 'movement of labor', that labor must be flexible. As any village idiot will tell you, when you add supply of labor, the work will pay less. It is that simple - add workers, and both pay and working conditions will get worse. Add more and more, open the borders, create fully flexible, 'reformed' labor markets, and people will work 12 hours a day scared of their bosses. Work will be invented, pretended to, work will become an asset that people pay for or give to those closest to them. That's what liberating labor market means in practise for most people. (But it makes those who live off ever cheaper labor very happy.)

    This is the fatal flaw of liberal thinking. We have come a long way from enlightenment, it is time to admit that Voltaire was an idiot.

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  4. I suspect Pinker overdoes the descriptions of chronic hunger in pre-industrial societies –

    Funnily enough, for the whole 1400 year history of my people, literally the only time when hunger has ever been a thing (as in significant portion of the population struggling to eat properly), was when liberalism came in the 90s and some people (poor ones, pensioners) still struggle with that to this day, long after the initial shocks of transition from planned to neo-liberal economy.

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  5. This should be the Amazon review: thief stole book while reading Safety chapter, predictions on books falsified, 0/10. Also, correlation of variables provides evidence that acquiring this book will draw criminal daemons to you, spawn thief entities and causes loss of valuables!!!

    Will you be able to get your phone back with a tracker of some sort?

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    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Singh
    Spandrell's a fgt & you & Lalit are cowards।।
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  6. @Daniel Chieh
    This should be the Amazon review: thief stole book while reading Safety chapter, predictions on books falsified, 0/10. Also, correlation of variables provides evidence that acquiring this book will draw criminal daemons to you, spawn thief entities and causes loss of valuables!!!

    Will you be able to get your phone back with a tracker of some sort?

    Spandrell’s a fgt & you & Lalit are cowards।।

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    dem fighting words
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  7. @5371
    If you had bought a paper copy of Pinker's book, and the thief had stolen that, you would have lost nothing of value. Makes you think!

    Good thing I didn’t buy Pinker’s book, paper or otherwise.:)

    I am quite sorry about the phone, though. My ancient one had recently croaked, and the new one was just a few weeks old.

    Read More
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  8. @Singh
    Spandrell's a fgt & you & Lalit are cowards।।

    dem fighting words

    Read More
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  9. Make sure to send your review to Nassim Taleb, who is quite active on Twitter as @nntaleb.

    Taleb hates Pinker and routinely calls him “Pinker boy”, a fraudster, a charlatan, and BS vendor.

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    • Replies: @bb.
    I'll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)

    We apply methods from extreme value theory on the dual distribution and derive its tail properties. The dual method allows us to calculate the real mean of war casualties, which proves to be considerably larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the tail risks of conflicts from naive observation. We analyze the robustness of our results to errors in historical reports, taking into account the unreliability of accounts by historians and absence of critical data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find that no particular trend can be asserted. All the statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the prevailing claims about "long peace", namely that violence has been declining over time.
     

    ...the publicintellectual arena has witnessed active debates, such as the one between Steven Pinker on one side, and John Gray on the other concerning the hypothesis that the long peace was a statistically established phenomenon or a mere statistical sampling error that is characteristic of heavy-tailed processes
     
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  10. bb. says:
    @Thorfinnsson
    Make sure to send your review to Nassim Taleb, who is quite active on Twitter as @nntaleb.

    Taleb hates Pinker and routinely calls him "Pinker boy", a fraudster, a charlatan, and BS vendor.

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)

    We apply methods from extreme value theory on the dual distribution and derive its tail properties. The dual method allows us to calculate the real mean of war casualties, which proves to be considerably larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the tail risks of conflicts from naive observation. We analyze the robustness of our results to errors in historical reports, taking into account the unreliability of accounts by historians and absence of critical data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find that no particular trend can be asserted. All the statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the prevailing claims about “long peace”, namely that violence has been declining over time.

    …the publicintellectual arena has witnessed active debates, such as the one between Steven Pinker on one side, and John Gray on the other concerning the hypothesis that the long peace was a statistically established phenomenon or a mere statistical sampling error that is characteristic of heavy-tailed processes

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)
     
    I can't assess this paper (which may be good), or Pinker either (which I have never read).

    But Taleb's own books are also incredibly stupid. I tried to read 'Black Swan' - there are obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan) in almost every page, and I could only read about a chapter.

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  11. Generally it’s better not to read the books when they first come out (unless you have to keep up to date with everything).

    It’s better to leave a couple years, and then see which books people are still recommending or remembering as a classic in a few years. That’s usually a more reliable filter than newspaper reviews.

    This way the price of books also becomes very low, as you can buy few year old books online for nothing.

    Changing the score of the review because your phone was stolen is amusing for the blog, but not a kind of I recommend or that is useful for potential readership.

    AK: Or you could just use http://gen.lib.rus.ec/

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  12. @bb.
    I'll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)

    We apply methods from extreme value theory on the dual distribution and derive its tail properties. The dual method allows us to calculate the real mean of war casualties, which proves to be considerably larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the tail risks of conflicts from naive observation. We analyze the robustness of our results to errors in historical reports, taking into account the unreliability of accounts by historians and absence of critical data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find that no particular trend can be asserted. All the statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the prevailing claims about "long peace", namely that violence has been declining over time.
     

    ...the publicintellectual arena has witnessed active debates, such as the one between Steven Pinker on one side, and John Gray on the other concerning the hypothesis that the long peace was a statistically established phenomenon or a mere statistical sampling error that is characteristic of heavy-tailed processes
     

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)

    I can’t assess this paper (which may be good), or Pinker either (which I have never read).

    But Taleb’s own books are also incredibly stupid. I tried to read ‘Black Swan’ – there are obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan) in almost every page, and I could only read about a chapter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Taleb isn't really the genius he claims, but he's highly amusing because of how exceptionally rude and aggressive he is (he's a former trader after all).

    A lot of Taleb's success comes simply from inventing new terms for things. Antifragile being the #1 example. Malcolm Gladwell has a similar racket, though Taleb's ideas are much better than Gladwell's (who is a hack, fraud, and an octoroon).

    He's also clearly on the spectrum which you can see in his various obsessions. Taleb attempts to prove until he's blue in the face that neither he nor his fellow Lebanese are Arab at all. He also boasts of possessing the "Roman Army gene" (admittedly a cool gene).

    He went so far as to edit his Wikipedia page's nationality section to change "Lebanese" to "Lebanese--Pontic Greek Origin") if memory serves.

    And Taleb's healthy contempt for the entire ruling class is of course immensely satisfying.

    , @songbird
    I never read Taleb's book, but I recall from my college days that "black swan" was really an incredible buzzword in the psych department. I never understood why it had such pull for some people, and I deeply suspect that those on the Left are wired to love certain terms, just as some words are inherently funny.
    , @Philip Owen
    Agree completely about Black Swan.
    , @reiner Tor

    obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan)
     
    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?
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  13. @Dmitry

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)
     
    I can't assess this paper (which may be good), or Pinker either (which I have never read).

    But Taleb's own books are also incredibly stupid. I tried to read 'Black Swan' - there are obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan) in almost every page, and I could only read about a chapter.

    Taleb isn’t really the genius he claims, but he’s highly amusing because of how exceptionally rude and aggressive he is (he’s a former trader after all).

    A lot of Taleb’s success comes simply from inventing new terms for things. Antifragile being the #1 example. Malcolm Gladwell has a similar racket, though Taleb’s ideas are much better than Gladwell’s (who is a hack, fraud, and an octoroon).

    He’s also clearly on the spectrum which you can see in his various obsessions. Taleb attempts to prove until he’s blue in the face that neither he nor his fellow Lebanese are Arab at all. He also boasts of possessing the “Roman Army gene” (admittedly a cool gene).

    He went so far as to edit his Wikipedia page’s nationality section to change “Lebanese” to “Lebanese–Pontic Greek Origin”) if memory serves.

    And Taleb’s healthy contempt for the entire ruling class is of course immensely satisfying.

    Read More
    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Bliss

    Taleb attempts to prove until he’s blue in the face that neither he nor his fellow Lebanese are Arab at all.
     
    The real Arabs originated in the Arabian peninsula and according to themselves their urheimat is in the deepest south of the peninsula across the Red Sea from Ethiopia, in what is now Yemen.

    The Lebanese are not real Arabs, they are arabized levantines.

    They speak the language, practice the religion (~half) and contain the genes (a significant percentage) of their conquerors from the south. And they also contain genes from previous conquerors: ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders from Western Europe etc.
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  14. @Dmitry

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)
     
    I can't assess this paper (which may be good), or Pinker either (which I have never read).

    But Taleb's own books are also incredibly stupid. I tried to read 'Black Swan' - there are obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan) in almost every page, and I could only read about a chapter.

    I never read Taleb’s book, but I recall from my college days that “black swan” was really an incredible buzzword in the psych department. I never understood why it had such pull for some people, and I deeply suspect that those on the Left are wired to love certain terms, just as some words are inherently funny.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    It's good marketing.

    Or should I say persuasion as Scott Adams would.

    Visual persuasion, and actual black swans are both rare and striking.

    It's not just the Left. Check out the comments on Zero Hedge.

    Of course Taleb's other coinages aren't always so good. Hillary Monsanto Malmeson is one of the worst nicknames I've ever heard (compare to "Crooked Hillary").
    , @Anonymous
    Taleb borrowed "black swan" metaphor from Popper, who discussed it in the context of the difficulties with induction. Taleb never cited or credited Popper, however.
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  15. @songbird
    I never read Taleb's book, but I recall from my college days that "black swan" was really an incredible buzzword in the psych department. I never understood why it had such pull for some people, and I deeply suspect that those on the Left are wired to love certain terms, just as some words are inherently funny.

    It’s good marketing.

    Or should I say persuasion as Scott Adams would.

    Visual persuasion, and actual black swans are both rare and striking.

    It’s not just the Left. Check out the comments on Zero Hedge.

    Of course Taleb’s other coinages aren’t always so good. Hillary Monsanto Malmeson is one of the worst nicknames I’ve ever heard (compare to “Crooked Hillary”).

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    I grant that they are very striking, and it is smooth, visual phrase. I just don't think it makes any sense as an analogy for extreme surprise.

    If I had been the one to discover black swans, my mind would not have been blown, and I think that would be true of just about anyone from any time period. Birdwatching is such a popular pastime in part because birds have so many colors. Many other common animals closest to people have different colors. In a consumerist society with its everything in any color, it is a particularly weak and watery phrase, IMO.
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  16. @Spisarevski

    Pinker thinks improvements in the material conditions of “humanity” is a metric that quantifies ‘progress’
     
    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better.

    Ordinary people used to be able to support large families and have their own houses even with just the husband working.

    Liberalism has nothing to do with either technological progress or material improvement.

    good point. the distribution of what progress there is has become very unevenly distributed.

    Read More
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  17. Pinker, like a number of academics, is surprisingly ignorant of intellectual history. The Enlightenment was a product of the 18th Century and died with it. It was replaced in the 19th Century by the Romantic Era, which repudiated science and reason and valued insight and feeling. The Romantic Era lasted until after WW II, when its main proponents, Facism, Naziism and Marxism finally died out. It, in turn, was replaced by Modernism, and Modernism by Post-Modernism. Post-Modernism continues some of the absurdities of Romanticism, like anti-science, and it is attacking the foundations of science and math, but the individualism of Romanticism (self-expression) is nowhere to be found.

    How a major public intellectual does not know any of this, especially someone at one of the centers of Post-Modernism, surpasses understanding. Pinker Boy indeed. Maybe Tinker Bell would be more appropriate.

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    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Empirical inquiry into human natural also replaced rubbish speculation in the 19th century (though the process began at the close of the 18th century with Linnaeus and Blumenbach).

    After Morton, Darwin, Galton, etc. it became increasingly clear that bizarre Enlightenment theories like the "Blank Slate" or "the Rights of Man" had no validity.
    , @Antlitz Grollheim
    Seems like the point of Post-Modernism is that if you can dismiss the past as icky you don't have to understand it, a monumental task which used to lend genuine gravitas to the college-educated.
    , @utu
    If you have written

    Pinker, like a number of academics, is [un]surprisingly ignorant of intellectual history.
     
    and stopped at this point your comment would be great.
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  18. @Bob Sykes
    Pinker, like a number of academics, is surprisingly ignorant of intellectual history. The Enlightenment was a product of the 18th Century and died with it. It was replaced in the 19th Century by the Romantic Era, which repudiated science and reason and valued insight and feeling. The Romantic Era lasted until after WW II, when its main proponents, Facism, Naziism and Marxism finally died out. It, in turn, was replaced by Modernism, and Modernism by Post-Modernism. Post-Modernism continues some of the absurdities of Romanticism, like anti-science, and it is attacking the foundations of science and math, but the individualism of Romanticism (self-expression) is nowhere to be found.

    How a major public intellectual does not know any of this, especially someone at one of the centers of Post-Modernism, surpasses understanding. Pinker Boy indeed. Maybe Tinker Bell would be more appropriate.

    Empirical inquiry into human natural also replaced rubbish speculation in the 19th century (though the process began at the close of the 18th century with Linnaeus and Blumenbach).

    After Morton, Darwin, Galton, etc. it became increasingly clear that bizarre Enlightenment theories like the “Blank Slate” or “the Rights of Man” had no validity.

    Read More
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  19. Pinker-world

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/pinker-v-singularity-think/

    It remains to be seen how far artificial intelligence and robotics will penetrate into the workforce. (Driving a car is technologically far easier than unloading a dishwasher, running an errand, or changing a baby.) Given the tradeoffs and impediments in every other area of technological development, the best guess is: much farther than it has so far, but not nearly so far as to render humans obsolete.

    When a strongish AI actually arrives it is likely to view the matter in a very different light, and render humanity dead. In the latest book Pinker says any strong AI might be human level but couldn’t be macho and so would have no motivation to be naughty. He got into it with Musk the other week about how Musk cannot be really worried about AI if he is funding development of it. Musk says it’s just weak AI he is developing and Pinker does not know what he is taking about. The tech people have taken Musk’s side but I think Pinker has a point. Musk is not really saying the same thing as Bostrom at all because Musk never raises the spectre of an advanced AI of the future deliberately exterminating humanity. The tech crowd are going ahead. In his latest book, Daniel Dennett admits after reading Pedro Domingos and others he is now more “tentative” about strong AI being unfeasible in the foreseeable future, but he still thinks it would cost too much and not give us anything we need. Dennett ends the book with a chapter on AIU and closes with a para about how if the future follows the trajectory of the past, AI will never be independent of human control. Alarmingly, Dennett thinks the film Ex Machina is about Turing test type moral problems as in the earlier Her, but take away the female form and gamine appeal of the AI in Ex Machina, and it is just about a AI taking treacherous turn. The position any strongish AI (not necessarily conscious) will find itself in will dictate it acting very differently to what Dennett and Pinker seem to assume. Musk seems to be assuming a very weak AI is all that is possible, well strong AI isn’t going to tell us how dangerous it is unless it is suicidal. Pinker and Dennett understand that AI has an Evil Twin in Darrwinism: organisms are algorithms and AI is therefore a matter of engineering. Birds can fly, so machines can too, and although passenger aircraft cannot get aloft by beating their wings, Concorde could fly a lot faster. Ergo, artificial general intelligence is coming, won’t be a straight copy of the brain, and it will be able to think hundreds of times faster than any human.

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    • Replies: @Bliss

    Musk never raises the spectre of an advanced AI of the future deliberately exterminating humanity......Musk seems to be assuming a very weak AI is all that is possible
     
    You have it ass-backwards. That’s Pinker not Musk. Here’s what Musk says:

    AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization
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  20. Steven Pinker and John Gray stand at the opposite poles of philosophy.

    For Pinker action is instrumental – it is for the sake of a goal that will be obtained in the future.

    Progress should be our goal.

    For Gray, such a vision spells endless tedium – as soon as a plateau is reached, the process starts again.

    Fulfillment never arrives.

    The myth of Sisyphus describes progress – you push the rock up the hill, it rolls down, and you start over.

    Endlessly.

    Gray offers an alternative – pursue experiences that have intrinsic value and culminate in themselves.

    They lead to nothing and have no consequences. They terminate in themselves. They are ultimate values, rather than means to an end.

    Poetry and art, nature and contemplation, as well as some forms of religion, might be examples. Even pleasure seeking.

    Such experiences are ends in themselves – they bring immediate fulfillment. They are never undertaken as a means to an end.

    Pinker is the thinker of the modern world, its dissatisfaction and its sad hope for the future, and Gray is the thinker of the joy, beauty, and wonder to be found in the moment.

    I believe both visions are legitimate and should be accommodated. There are people who cannot feel joy or see beauty in the world – they have no choice but to strive for an ever receding satisfaction.

    Gray and Pinker aren’t enemies – they both represent valid approaches for different kinds of people.

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  21. @Thorfinnsson
    Taleb isn't really the genius he claims, but he's highly amusing because of how exceptionally rude and aggressive he is (he's a former trader after all).

    A lot of Taleb's success comes simply from inventing new terms for things. Antifragile being the #1 example. Malcolm Gladwell has a similar racket, though Taleb's ideas are much better than Gladwell's (who is a hack, fraud, and an octoroon).

    He's also clearly on the spectrum which you can see in his various obsessions. Taleb attempts to prove until he's blue in the face that neither he nor his fellow Lebanese are Arab at all. He also boasts of possessing the "Roman Army gene" (admittedly a cool gene).

    He went so far as to edit his Wikipedia page's nationality section to change "Lebanese" to "Lebanese--Pontic Greek Origin") if memory serves.

    And Taleb's healthy contempt for the entire ruling class is of course immensely satisfying.

    Taleb attempts to prove until he’s blue in the face that neither he nor his fellow Lebanese are Arab at all.

    The real Arabs originated in the Arabian peninsula and according to themselves their urheimat is in the deepest south of the peninsula across the Red Sea from Ethiopia, in what is now Yemen.

    The Lebanese are not real Arabs, they are arabized levantines.

    They speak the language, practice the religion (~half) and contain the genes (a significant percentage) of their conquerors from the south. And they also contain genes from previous conquerors: ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders from Western Europe etc.

    Read More
    • Agree: Talha
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  22. @Dmitry

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)
     
    I can't assess this paper (which may be good), or Pinker either (which I have never read).

    But Taleb's own books are also incredibly stupid. I tried to read 'Black Swan' - there are obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan) in almost every page, and I could only read about a chapter.

    Agree completely about Black Swan.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Same question to you as to Dmitry.
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  23. @Sean
    Pinker-world https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bhueml6MqI

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/pinker-v-singularity-think/

    It remains to be seen how far artificial intelligence and robotics will penetrate into the workforce. (Driving a car is technologically far easier than unloading a dishwasher, running an errand, or changing a baby.) Given the tradeoffs and impediments in every other area of technological development, the best guess is: much farther than it has so far, but not nearly so far as to render humans obsolete.

     

    When a strongish AI actually arrives it is likely to view the matter in a very different light, and render humanity dead. In the latest book Pinker says any strong AI might be human level but couldn't be macho and so would have no motivation to be naughty. He got into it with Musk the other week about how Musk cannot be really worried about AI if he is funding development of it. Musk says it's just weak AI he is developing and Pinker does not know what he is taking about. The tech people have taken Musk's side but I think Pinker has a point. Musk is not really saying the same thing as Bostrom at all because Musk never raises the spectre of an advanced AI of the future deliberately exterminating humanity. The tech crowd are going ahead. In his latest book, Daniel Dennett admits after reading Pedro Domingos and others he is now more "tentative" about strong AI being unfeasible in the foreseeable future, but he still thinks it would cost too much and not give us anything we need. Dennett ends the book with a chapter on AIU and closes with a para about how if the future follows the trajectory of the past, AI will never be independent of human control. Alarmingly, Dennett thinks the film Ex Machina is about Turing test type moral problems as in the earlier Her, but take away the female form and gamine appeal of the AI in Ex Machina, and it is just about a AI taking treacherous turn. The position any strongish AI (not necessarily conscious) will find itself in will dictate it acting very differently to what Dennett and Pinker seem to assume. Musk seems to be assuming a very weak AI is all that is possible, well strong AI isn't going to tell us how dangerous it is unless it is suicidal. Pinker and Dennett understand that AI has an Evil Twin in Darrwinism: organisms are algorithms and AI is therefore a matter of engineering. Birds can fly, so machines can too, and although passenger aircraft cannot get aloft by beating their wings, Concorde could fly a lot faster. Ergo, artificial general intelligence is coming, won't be a straight copy of the brain, and it will be able to think hundreds of times faster than any human.

    Musk never raises the spectre of an advanced AI of the future deliberately exterminating humanity……Musk seems to be assuming a very weak AI is all that is possible

    You have it ass-backwards. That’s Pinker not Musk. Here’s what Musk says:

    AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/18/elon-musk-deepmind-ai-tesla-motors

    Musk was an early investor in AI firm DeepMind, which was later acquired by Google, and in March made an investment San Francisco-based Vicarious, another company working to improve machine intelligence. [..] Speaking to US news channel CNBC, Musk explained that his investments were, "not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return… I like to just keep an eye on what's going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there."
     


    Hassabis was speaking at a screening of a documentary about AlphaGo, the AI system developed by DeepMind that stunned the world in 2016 by beating an elite human player in the complex Chinese strategy game "Go".

    In a question and answer session at University College London, he said AI is an "incredible tool to accelerate scientific discovery", adding: "We believe that it will be one of the most beneficial technologies of mankind ever."

    However, like other powerful technologies, "there are risks", he said, adding: "It depends on how we as a society decide to deploy it that will resolve in good or bad outcomes."

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-deepmind-boss-ai.html#jCp
     

    When he is pressed on what the danger is he is vague, but think you will find that Musk argues that competition between nation states for AI superiority is the most likely cause of WW3, not that a experimental AI will take the fifth on its capabilities and how it sees its place in the world, all the while preparing to mount a coup de main AIpocalypse, whereby it will be totally secure once everyone is dead.

    Despite their dispute (over Pinker pointing out Musk's cognitive dissonance on funding AI research) there is a similarity between Musk's WW3 worries and what for Pinker is the path to progress. Pinker sees masculine zero sum competition as the cancer of history, and he lauds the way strong nation states have achieved a monopoly of violence to drastically reduce interpersonal violence.

    Pinker sees global cooperation as the next step in human evolution. But there are certain circumstances in which war is the best option in an uncertain world from the war-waging entity's point of view. This is the point that Pinker and his milieu are unable to process. An AI will not behave like a testosterone-crazed human male, but pure rationality given a strongish AI's position might well dictate it acting like a nation state.

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  24. @Thorfinnsson
    It's good marketing.

    Or should I say persuasion as Scott Adams would.

    Visual persuasion, and actual black swans are both rare and striking.

    It's not just the Left. Check out the comments on Zero Hedge.

    Of course Taleb's other coinages aren't always so good. Hillary Monsanto Malmeson is one of the worst nicknames I've ever heard (compare to "Crooked Hillary").

    I grant that they are very striking, and it is smooth, visual phrase. I just don’t think it makes any sense as an analogy for extreme surprise.

    If I had been the one to discover black swans, my mind would not have been blown, and I think that would be true of just about anyone from any time period. Birdwatching is such a popular pastime in part because birds have so many colors. Many other common animals closest to people have different colors. In a consumerist society with its everything in any color, it is a particularly weak and watery phrase, IMO.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    He wrote that “rare like a black swan” was an idiom in 17th century English. (In Hungarian we say “rare like a white raven.”) It fell into disuse after the discovery of black swans on the Southern Hemisphere.

    I don’t know how striking it is, but to me a white raven would be a striking illustration of unexpected events. But now “black swan” entered the English language, so it must have been a good expression.
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  25. I don’t think I could bring myself to read another Pinker book. He is too undisciplined a writer. He would really benefit from having a good editor and also needing to defend his ideas directly. But I think he is too full of himself for either. Many of his fans would probably reject him, if he tried to debate a race-realist, for instance, anyway.

    Read More
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  26. @Bob Sykes
    Pinker, like a number of academics, is surprisingly ignorant of intellectual history. The Enlightenment was a product of the 18th Century and died with it. It was replaced in the 19th Century by the Romantic Era, which repudiated science and reason and valued insight and feeling. The Romantic Era lasted until after WW II, when its main proponents, Facism, Naziism and Marxism finally died out. It, in turn, was replaced by Modernism, and Modernism by Post-Modernism. Post-Modernism continues some of the absurdities of Romanticism, like anti-science, and it is attacking the foundations of science and math, but the individualism of Romanticism (self-expression) is nowhere to be found.

    How a major public intellectual does not know any of this, especially someone at one of the centers of Post-Modernism, surpasses understanding. Pinker Boy indeed. Maybe Tinker Bell would be more appropriate.

    Seems like the point of Post-Modernism is that if you can dismiss the past as icky you don’t have to understand it, a monumental task which used to lend genuine gravitas to the college-educated.

    Read More
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  27. @songbird
    I grant that they are very striking, and it is smooth, visual phrase. I just don't think it makes any sense as an analogy for extreme surprise.

    If I had been the one to discover black swans, my mind would not have been blown, and I think that would be true of just about anyone from any time period. Birdwatching is such a popular pastime in part because birds have so many colors. Many other common animals closest to people have different colors. In a consumerist society with its everything in any color, it is a particularly weak and watery phrase, IMO.

    He wrote that “rare like a black swan” was an idiom in 17th century English. (In Hungarian we say “rare like a white raven.”) It fell into disuse after the discovery of black swans on the Southern Hemisphere.

    I don’t know how striking it is, but to me a white raven would be a striking illustration of unexpected events. But now “black swan” entered the English language, so it must have been a good expression.

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    Ah, I see. I didn't realize it was a pre-existing idiom. That part of it was never explained to me, only the discovery of black swans.
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  28. @Dmitry

    I’ll just add the also relevant paper for convenience for the interested: On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
    (http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/violence.pdf)
     
    I can't assess this paper (which may be good), or Pinker either (which I have never read).

    But Taleb's own books are also incredibly stupid. I tried to read 'Black Swan' - there are obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan) in almost every page, and I could only read about a chapter.

    obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan)

    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?
     

    Yes I remember in every page there were basic mis-characterizations of statistics, and basic things (written in a much more stupid way) than you would learn at any university lecture course, or that are implicit in any statistic techniques.

    And then every other sentence was some kind of boasting about how clever and iconoclastic he was, when he was just re-stating points which is contained in any statistics method, or scientist is using every day, or else he was saying basically false things, that no scientist or statistic lecturer believes.

    Really a bad book - although I only read some first couple of chapters in the book shop sofa.

    It's why I prefer to read any textbooks by academics, even if they have their own agenda.

    You learn a thousand times more from undergraduate text books on these subjects that he was talking about.

    When this kind of non-academic is writing a book, they can get away with no understanding of the subject they write about and pure self-indulgence. Whereas even mediocre academics, have to be familiar with basic literature in their field.

    -

    I have not read any Pinker books. But the criticism of him is a little different. The problem is that he is a psychology lecturer, but he often writes about history and other field where he is not familiar with the literature. But at least if he talking about psychology, I am sure he must be familiar with the different arguments and literature in that field, as he is published academic in this area.

    , @Dmitry

    Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.
     
    Well how do you mean that.

    If I meet an African person who is friendly to me, I will prefer them to a European person who is unfriendly to me. And if I meet a European who is friendly to me, I will prefer them to an African who is unfriendly to me. (Judge people by their actions.)

    That goes in a lot of ways. If I meet an African who is interested in talking about interesting topics, I will get on better with them than a countryman who is not. And vice-versa.

    But race-denialism?

    If you would to say on average, that African or Middle Eastern populations have lower average intelligence (in academic terms), than European populations. Then, that is obviously very plausible hypothesis given historical events and comparisons between countries - (with disclaimer it is still requiring real study before it is proved).

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  29. @Philip Owen
    Agree completely about Black Swan.

    Same question to you as to Dmitry.

    Read More
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  30. @Bob Sykes
    Pinker, like a number of academics, is surprisingly ignorant of intellectual history. The Enlightenment was a product of the 18th Century and died with it. It was replaced in the 19th Century by the Romantic Era, which repudiated science and reason and valued insight and feeling. The Romantic Era lasted until after WW II, when its main proponents, Facism, Naziism and Marxism finally died out. It, in turn, was replaced by Modernism, and Modernism by Post-Modernism. Post-Modernism continues some of the absurdities of Romanticism, like anti-science, and it is attacking the foundations of science and math, but the individualism of Romanticism (self-expression) is nowhere to be found.

    How a major public intellectual does not know any of this, especially someone at one of the centers of Post-Modernism, surpasses understanding. Pinker Boy indeed. Maybe Tinker Bell would be more appropriate.

    If you have written

    Pinker, like a number of academics, is [un]surprisingly ignorant of intellectual history.

    and stopped at this point your comment would be great.

    Read More
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  31. @Spisarevski

    Pinker thinks improvements in the material conditions of “humanity” is a metric that quantifies ‘progress’
     
    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better.

    Ordinary people used to be able to support large families and have their own houses even with just the husband working.

    Liberalism has nothing to do with either technological progress or material improvement.

    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better

    It is not universal, and the technology is better, but many of our ancestors would agree. They often worked seasonally, had more space, and could support bigger families.

    Liberalism is a scam; it is based on undermining labor market balance – the core concept of liberalism is that there should be no restrictions on ‘movement of labor’, that labor must be flexible. As any village idiot will tell you, when you add supply of labor, the work will pay less. It is that simple – add workers, and both pay and working conditions will get worse. Add more and more, open the borders, create fully flexible, ‘reformed’ labor markets, and people will work 12 hours a day scared of their bosses. Work will be invented, pretended to, work will become an asset that people pay for or give to those closest to them. That’s what liberating labor market means in practise for most people. (But it makes those who live off ever cheaper labor very happy.)

    This is the fatal flaw of liberal thinking. We have come a long way from enlightenment, it is time to admit that Voltaire was an idiot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    It is not universal, and the technology is better, but many of our ancestors would agree. They often worked seasonally, had more space, and could support bigger families.


     

    I think I ran some numbers before and we do have more free time and a better life than our newly industrialized ancestors(the life of Victorian worker is abysmal: hard, short, pollution-ridden), but we overall have fewer non-work hours than your average medieval peasant. Think of the waste of GDP in winter or even after dark, with few reliable sources of light to labor by.

    That said, we also have antibiotics and much better antidepressants now.

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  32. @reiner Tor
    He wrote that “rare like a black swan” was an idiom in 17th century English. (In Hungarian we say “rare like a white raven.”) It fell into disuse after the discovery of black swans on the Southern Hemisphere.

    I don’t know how striking it is, but to me a white raven would be a striking illustration of unexpected events. But now “black swan” entered the English language, so it must have been a good expression.

    Ah, I see. I didn’t realize it was a pre-existing idiom. That part of it was never explained to me, only the discovery of black swans.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    But it was not an existing idiom. It was universal assumption that all swans are white - and a surprise at discovering black ones.
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  33. @Beckow

    Even by that metric, things have only been getting worse, not better
     
    It is not universal, and the technology is better, but many of our ancestors would agree. They often worked seasonally, had more space, and could support bigger families.

    Liberalism is a scam; it is based on undermining labor market balance - the core concept of liberalism is that there should be no restrictions on 'movement of labor', that labor must be flexible. As any village idiot will tell you, when you add supply of labor, the work will pay less. It is that simple - add workers, and both pay and working conditions will get worse. Add more and more, open the borders, create fully flexible, 'reformed' labor markets, and people will work 12 hours a day scared of their bosses. Work will be invented, pretended to, work will become an asset that people pay for or give to those closest to them. That's what liberating labor market means in practise for most people. (But it makes those who live off ever cheaper labor very happy.)

    This is the fatal flaw of liberal thinking. We have come a long way from enlightenment, it is time to admit that Voltaire was an idiot.

    It is not universal, and the technology is better, but many of our ancestors would agree. They often worked seasonally, had more space, and could support bigger families.

    I think I ran some numbers before and we do have more free time and a better life than our newly industrialized ancestors(the life of Victorian worker is abysmal: hard, short, pollution-ridden), but we overall have fewer non-work hours than your average medieval peasant. Think of the waste of GDP in winter or even after dark, with few reliable sources of light to labor by.

    That said, we also have antibiotics and much better antidepressants now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Beckow
    I was referring to the pre-Victorian times. Victorian industrialisation was an early taste of what unhinged liberalism will bring.

    I agree about antibiotics, although some mushrooms can do wonders. But there is no better anti-depressant than wine. And what was there to be depressed about?
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  34. @reiner Tor

    obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan)
     
    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?

    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?

    Yes I remember in every page there were basic mis-characterizations of statistics, and basic things (written in a much more stupid way) than you would learn at any university lecture course, or that are implicit in any statistic techniques.

    And then every other sentence was some kind of boasting about how clever and iconoclastic he was, when he was just re-stating points which is contained in any statistics method, or scientist is using every day, or else he was saying basically false things, that no scientist or statistic lecturer believes.

    Really a bad book – although I only read some first couple of chapters in the book shop sofa.

    It’s why I prefer to read any textbooks by academics, even if they have their own agenda.

    You learn a thousand times more from undergraduate text books on these subjects that he was talking about.

    When this kind of non-academic is writing a book, they can get away with no understanding of the subject they write about and pure self-indulgence. Whereas even mediocre academics, have to be familiar with basic literature in their field.

    -

    I have not read any Pinker books. But the criticism of him is a little different. The problem is that he is a psychology lecturer, but he often writes about history and other field where he is not familiar with the literature. But at least if he talking about psychology, I am sure he must be familiar with the different arguments and literature in that field, as he is published academic in this area.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    But the book was not about how statisticians misunderstand statistics, it was about how others misunderstood it. A good example is the Black-Scholes-Merton option pricing model, which doesn’t take into account fat tales. Two of the creators of the model, Myron Scholes and Robert Merton, both academics and (pseudo) Nobel laureates (economics, for their work creating the mathematical model), were on the board of LTCM until it went belly up. LTCM was a hedge fund based on their ideas.

    Apparently these academics, who received a Nobel Prize for their mathematical model, didn’t understand the limitations of their own model. Or if they did, they didn’t know what implications those limitations had for real life applications. They didn’t know how to translate theoretical knowledge into practical actions.

    In the book (released in early 2007, right before the crisis) he essentially predicted the financial crisis of 2007-08, and had some concrete predictions about certain companies which would go belly up, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That these companies did go bust within a few months of releasing the book greatly increased his credibility.

    If I were you, I’d give it another try.
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  35. @reiner Tor

    obvious mistakes and false things in this book (Black Swan)
     
    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?

    Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Well how do you mean that.

    If I meet an African person who is friendly to me, I will prefer them to a European person who is unfriendly to me. And if I meet a European who is friendly to me, I will prefer them to an African who is unfriendly to me. (Judge people by their actions.)

    That goes in a lot of ways. If I meet an African who is interested in talking about interesting topics, I will get on better with them than a countryman who is not. And vice-versa.

    But race-denialism?

    If you would to say on average, that African or Middle Eastern populations have lower average intelligence (in academic terms), than European populations. Then, that is obviously very plausible hypothesis given historical events and comparisons between countries – (with disclaimer it is still requiring real study before it is proved).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Well, I swallowed whole the stuff Jared Diamond wrote about New Guineans being smarter than Europeans and similar things. I.e. race is only skin deep, and there’s no way Europeans could be smarter than anyone else. Actually, my thinking changed shortly after having read The Black Swan, and two books played the greatest role in it, Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade and The Blank Slate by Steve Pinker. So I don’t think Pinker could only write bad stuff.
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  36. @Dmitry

    I read it a very long time ago (in 2007 I think), and cannot remember many obvious mistakes and false things in it. But at the time I was still very young. Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.

    Can you remember any of the obvious mistakes and false things in the book?
     

    Yes I remember in every page there were basic mis-characterizations of statistics, and basic things (written in a much more stupid way) than you would learn at any university lecture course, or that are implicit in any statistic techniques.

    And then every other sentence was some kind of boasting about how clever and iconoclastic he was, when he was just re-stating points which is contained in any statistics method, or scientist is using every day, or else he was saying basically false things, that no scientist or statistic lecturer believes.

    Really a bad book - although I only read some first couple of chapters in the book shop sofa.

    It's why I prefer to read any textbooks by academics, even if they have their own agenda.

    You learn a thousand times more from undergraduate text books on these subjects that he was talking about.

    When this kind of non-academic is writing a book, they can get away with no understanding of the subject they write about and pure self-indulgence. Whereas even mediocre academics, have to be familiar with basic literature in their field.

    -

    I have not read any Pinker books. But the criticism of him is a little different. The problem is that he is a psychology lecturer, but he often writes about history and other field where he is not familiar with the literature. But at least if he talking about psychology, I am sure he must be familiar with the different arguments and literature in that field, as he is published academic in this area.

    But the book was not about how statisticians misunderstand statistics, it was about how others misunderstood it. A good example is the Black-Scholes-Merton option pricing model, which doesn’t take into account fat tales. Two of the creators of the model, Myron Scholes and Robert Merton, both academics and (pseudo) Nobel laureates (economics, for their work creating the mathematical model), were on the board of LTCM until it went belly up. LTCM was a hedge fund based on their ideas.

    Apparently these academics, who received a Nobel Prize for their mathematical model, didn’t understand the limitations of their own model. Or if they did, they didn’t know what implications those limitations had for real life applications. They didn’t know how to translate theoretical knowledge into practical actions.

    In the book (released in early 2007, right before the crisis) he essentially predicted the financial crisis of 2007-08, and had some concrete predictions about certain companies which would go belly up, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That these companies did go bust within a few months of releasing the book greatly increased his credibility.

    If I were you, I’d give it another try.

    Read More
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  37. @Dmitry

    Difficult to imagine now, but I was a race denier at the time.
     
    Well how do you mean that.

    If I meet an African person who is friendly to me, I will prefer them to a European person who is unfriendly to me. And if I meet a European who is friendly to me, I will prefer them to an African who is unfriendly to me. (Judge people by their actions.)

    That goes in a lot of ways. If I meet an African who is interested in talking about interesting topics, I will get on better with them than a countryman who is not. And vice-versa.

    But race-denialism?

    If you would to say on average, that African or Middle Eastern populations have lower average intelligence (in academic terms), than European populations. Then, that is obviously very plausible hypothesis given historical events and comparisons between countries - (with disclaimer it is still requiring real study before it is proved).

    Well, I swallowed whole the stuff Jared Diamond wrote about New Guineans being smarter than Europeans and similar things. I.e. race is only skin deep, and there’s no way Europeans could be smarter than anyone else. Actually, my thinking changed shortly after having read The Black Swan, and two books played the greatest role in it, Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade and The Blank Slate by Steve Pinker. So I don’t think Pinker could only write bad stuff.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I've changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.
    , @Dmitry

    Well, I swallowed whole the stuff Jared Diamond wrote about New Guineans being smarter than Europeans and similar things. I.e. race is only skin deep, and there’s no way Europeans could be smarter than anyone else. Actually, my thinking changed shortly after having read The Black Swan, and two books played the greatest role in it, Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade and The Blank Slate by Steve Pinker. So I don’t think Pinker could only write bad stuff.
     
    I have never read Pinker.

    I assume he knows a lot in his field (psychology). So I would like to read his opinions on the psychological field, where he probably very competent. The problem (as often) is when psychologist writes about history.

    A good thing about professional historians, is they are often trained to be quite resistant to confirmation bias. This happens through the huge amount of complex historical detail they learn, and to the fact they are often not theoretical people to begin with (theoretical people are often blinded to details of reality by their joy in tracing shapes of different abstract theories). Part of the talent of theorist personalities (like psychologists), is their susceptibility to confirmation bias. When this susceptibility to confirmation bias (more common in people like psychologists) is combined with a lack of ultra-rich or finely-grained historical knowledge (that is usually only in professional historians who spend their life studying every small detail in historical archives) - you have a very bad combination.

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  38. @reiner Tor
    Well, I swallowed whole the stuff Jared Diamond wrote about New Guineans being smarter than Europeans and similar things. I.e. race is only skin deep, and there’s no way Europeans could be smarter than anyone else. Actually, my thinking changed shortly after having read The Black Swan, and two books played the greatest role in it, Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade and The Blank Slate by Steve Pinker. So I don’t think Pinker could only write bad stuff.

    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I’ve changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I’ve changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.
     
    I went in the opposite direction becoming more anti-racist feelings every year, while my political opinion does not change.

    I remember the first time I ever saw black as kid, and I was telling myself to cross the street to avoid walking past them.
    -

    My political views don't change though, which is always anti-immigration or against changing of historical cultures. Always of support of individual liberty against government.

    You can be completely anti-racist, and oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.

    There's something repulsive about racism, but not much less repulsive is to see people trying to harness a natural (spiritual) anti-racist sentiment for pushing destructive policies like the open-immigration policy.

    The anti-racist sentiment is as natural in more spiritual developed persons, as pro-racism in spiritually undeveloped ones. But in either case when people try to exploit spiritual sentiment for their political agenda, is where we experience problem.

    , @reiner Tor
    Neither of those books were exclusively about IQ, especially since Wade’s book was dealing with human prehistory, and only a few pages dealt with the human races, which he said were human subspecies and with the modern definition of species, would probably be called species, like the Himalayan wolf vs. Indian wolf. He also mentioned Jews there. (Okay, that’s part IQ, but I don’t think he even used the expression, and it was also about business acumen, which I knew to be different from IQ.)

    But I think it’s a bit different in my case. First, I don’t think it’s impossible I’m on the spectrum, like many other commenters or authors here.

    But the main thing is probably that I always had lingering “racist” feelings. I was always uneasy about stories of East Asian ascendancy. I wasn’t very happy that Jews were always better, but I knew that anti-Semitism was irrational. My grandparents also told me a few positive personal stories about Jews and some personal sob stories about the holocaust.

    I was always uneasy about the fact that smart people barely have children while dumb people (especially Gypsies) had many. Regarding blacks, I never had any personal experience with them, so my views were largely influenced by Hollywood propaganda.

    But I read a lot of anti-racist or anti-antisemitic literature, and I believed already at an early age that such uneasiness etc. was surely irrational. I don’t know how long it would have taken for me to figure it out.

    After reading a few respectable books applying standard evolutionary biology arguments to humans, the floodgates broke open. I realized there was no reason to treat humans differently.
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  39. @Bliss

    Musk never raises the spectre of an advanced AI of the future deliberately exterminating humanity......Musk seems to be assuming a very weak AI is all that is possible
     
    You have it ass-backwards. That’s Pinker not Musk. Here’s what Musk says:

    AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/18/elon-musk-deepmind-ai-tesla-motors

    Musk was an early investor in AI firm DeepMind, which was later acquired by Google, and in March made an investment San Francisco-based Vicarious, another company working to improve machine intelligence. [..] Speaking to US news channel CNBC, Musk explained that his investments were, “not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return… I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.”

    Hassabis was speaking at a screening of a documentary about AlphaGo, the AI system developed by DeepMind that stunned the world in 2016 by beating an elite human player in the complex Chinese strategy game “Go”.

    In a question and answer session at University College London, he said AI is an “incredible tool to accelerate scientific discovery”, adding: “We believe that it will be one of the most beneficial technologies of mankind ever.”

    However, like other powerful technologies, “there are risks”, he said, adding: “It depends on how we as a society decide to deploy it that will resolve in good or bad outcomes.”

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-03-deepmind-boss-ai.html#jCp

    When he is pressed on what the danger is he is vague, but think you will find that Musk argues that competition between nation states for AI superiority is the most likely cause of WW3, not that a experimental AI will take the fifth on its capabilities and how it sees its place in the world, all the while preparing to mount a coup de main AIpocalypse, whereby it will be totally secure once everyone is dead.

    Despite their dispute (over Pinker pointing out Musk’s cognitive dissonance on funding AI research) there is a similarity between Musk’s WW3 worries and what for Pinker is the path to progress. Pinker sees masculine zero sum competition as the cancer of history, and he lauds the way strong nation states have achieved a monopoly of violence to drastically reduce interpersonal violence.

    Pinker sees global cooperation as the next step in human evolution. But there are certain circumstances in which war is the best option in an uncertain world from the war-waging entity’s point of view. This is the point that Pinker and his milieu are unable to process. An AI will not behave like a testosterone-crazed human male, but pure rationality given a strongish AI’s position might well dictate it acting like a nation state.

    Read More
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  40. @German_reader
    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I've changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.

    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I’ve changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.

    I went in the opposite direction becoming more anti-racist feelings every year, while my political opinion does not change.

    I remember the first time I ever saw black as kid, and I was telling myself to cross the street to avoid walking past them.
    -

    My political views don’t change though, which is always anti-immigration or against changing of historical cultures. Always of support of individual liberty against government.

    You can be completely anti-racist, and oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.

    There’s something repulsive about racism, but not much less repulsive is to see people trying to harness a natural (spiritual) anti-racist sentiment for pushing destructive policies like the open-immigration policy.

    The anti-racist sentiment is as natural in more spiritual developed persons, as pro-racism in spiritually undeveloped ones. But in either case when people try to exploit spiritual sentiment for their political agenda, is where we experience problem.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    You can be completely anti-racist, and still oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.
     
    That doesn't really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.
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  41. @Dmitry

    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I’ve changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.
     
    I went in the opposite direction becoming more anti-racist feelings every year, while my political opinion does not change.

    I remember the first time I ever saw black as kid, and I was telling myself to cross the street to avoid walking past them.
    -

    My political views don't change though, which is always anti-immigration or against changing of historical cultures. Always of support of individual liberty against government.

    You can be completely anti-racist, and oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.

    There's something repulsive about racism, but not much less repulsive is to see people trying to harness a natural (spiritual) anti-racist sentiment for pushing destructive policies like the open-immigration policy.

    The anti-racist sentiment is as natural in more spiritual developed persons, as pro-racism in spiritually undeveloped ones. But in either case when people try to exploit spiritual sentiment for their political agenda, is where we experience problem.

    You can be completely anti-racist, and still oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.

    That doesn’t really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    That doesn’t really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.
     
    Not really, because since when is anti-racist, to say all those points.

    I assume different populations have different distributions in traits like IQ test scores (possibly others), which has partly a hereditary basis. That doesn't judge individuals in a racist way, but just a statement about large agglomerations of individuals categorized by race.

    I also know for fact, that culture has huge influence on things like the kind of politics, languages, and social norms supported by different groups.

    And I also know that whether a country needs immigration, and a particular kind of immigration, - is dependent on all kinds of other considerations (such as workforce requirements, landspace, etc).

    And, as a democracy believer - that a government has a duty to represent the interests of existing citizens who pay for it through their taxes.

    Therefore, whether to make decision on allowing or opposing immigration, is really quite irrelevant to the anti-racist position.

    By the way, I don't think my position is an uncommon one. I doubt most 21st century Japanese people who find that their immigration model is a successful one, are doing from a position of racism. They simply find that their country is a successful one, and that their culture is better not changed, and that immigration policy should reflect their preference for those things.

    , @Daniel Chieh
    In a world of clones of myself, I might still not approve of having too many of my other clones in the same area as myself. Scale brings its own difficulties, after all.
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  42. @reiner Tor
    Well, I swallowed whole the stuff Jared Diamond wrote about New Guineans being smarter than Europeans and similar things. I.e. race is only skin deep, and there’s no way Europeans could be smarter than anyone else. Actually, my thinking changed shortly after having read The Black Swan, and two books played the greatest role in it, Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade and The Blank Slate by Steve Pinker. So I don’t think Pinker could only write bad stuff.

    Well, I swallowed whole the stuff Jared Diamond wrote about New Guineans being smarter than Europeans and similar things. I.e. race is only skin deep, and there’s no way Europeans could be smarter than anyone else. Actually, my thinking changed shortly after having read The Black Swan, and two books played the greatest role in it, Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade and The Blank Slate by Steve Pinker. So I don’t think Pinker could only write bad stuff.

    I have never read Pinker.

    I assume he knows a lot in his field (psychology). So I would like to read his opinions on the psychological field, where he probably very competent. The problem (as often) is when psychologist writes about history.

    A good thing about professional historians, is they are often trained to be quite resistant to confirmation bias. This happens through the huge amount of complex historical detail they learn, and to the fact they are often not theoretical people to begin with (theoretical people are often blinded to details of reality by their joy in tracing shapes of different abstract theories). Part of the talent of theorist personalities (like psychologists), is their susceptibility to confirmation bias. When this susceptibility to confirmation bias (more common in people like psychologists) is combined with a lack of ultra-rich or finely-grained historical knowledge (that is usually only in professional historians who spend their life studying every small detail in historical archives) – you have a very bad combination.

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  43. @German_reader

    You can be completely anti-racist, and still oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.
     
    That doesn't really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.

    That doesn’t really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.

    Not really, because since when is anti-racist, to say all those points.

    I assume different populations have different distributions in traits like IQ test scores (possibly others), which has partly a hereditary basis. That doesn’t judge individuals in a racist way, but just a statement about large agglomerations of individuals categorized by race.

    I also know for fact, that culture has huge influence on things like the kind of politics, languages, and social norms supported by different groups.

    And I also know that whether a country needs immigration, and a particular kind of immigration, – is dependent on all kinds of other considerations (such as workforce requirements, landspace, etc).

    And, as a democracy believer – that a government has a duty to represent the interests of existing citizens who pay for it through their taxes.

    Therefore, whether to make decision on allowing or opposing immigration, is really quite irrelevant to the anti-racist position.

    By the way, I don’t think my position is an uncommon one. I doubt most 21st century Japanese people who find that their immigration model is a successful one, are doing from a position of racism. They simply find that their country is a successful one, and that their culture is better not changed, and that immigration policy should reflect their preference for those things.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    In large parts of Western Europe you'd be considered a racist for what you've written above.
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  44. @Dmitry

    That doesn’t really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.
     
    Not really, because since when is anti-racist, to say all those points.

    I assume different populations have different distributions in traits like IQ test scores (possibly others), which has partly a hereditary basis. That doesn't judge individuals in a racist way, but just a statement about large agglomerations of individuals categorized by race.

    I also know for fact, that culture has huge influence on things like the kind of politics, languages, and social norms supported by different groups.

    And I also know that whether a country needs immigration, and a particular kind of immigration, - is dependent on all kinds of other considerations (such as workforce requirements, landspace, etc).

    And, as a democracy believer - that a government has a duty to represent the interests of existing citizens who pay for it through their taxes.

    Therefore, whether to make decision on allowing or opposing immigration, is really quite irrelevant to the anti-racist position.

    By the way, I don't think my position is an uncommon one. I doubt most 21st century Japanese people who find that their immigration model is a successful one, are doing from a position of racism. They simply find that their country is a successful one, and that their culture is better not changed, and that immigration policy should reflect their preference for those things.

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

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    • Replies: @Dmitry

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

     

    Sure. because pro-immigration activists want to shut down opposition to their agenda, and they found most effective way by calling us racists. And calling people racists as insult, only works against people who are not actually racists.

    I would not be surprised if my feeling is quite close to a majority view in our time. Many people don't feel racist towards anyone, and are even repulsive by an unpleasant person's racism. But that doesn't mean they support open immigration policy or not conservation of cultures.

    Anti-immigration activists also do on the other side as well. For example, the Steve Sailer blog. I would say I probably agree with all his politics if I was American, and his idea to stop immigration into his country, is a suitable one (why would America want to change the culture and demographic composition that brought them so much success?). But if you read his blog, the author actually does have an unpleasant sense of hostility to Mexicans and Jews and tries to propagandize to create this feeling in his readership (at first I did not notice it, but after reading a few months, it is very contained there).

    Karlin's actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn't have this in his blog and he doesn't try to propagandize us at all.


    -


    In my life, I have a more positive experience with Latin Americans and Mexicans, who I met of doing English language summer courses - than I have with Americans.

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture - doesn't mean that I have any feeling that America should not pursue an anti Mexican-immigration policy. It's very clear, for large number of reasons we can list here, that Americans need to stop the illegal immigration (all countries should stop illegal immigration), and to only allow legal Mexican immigration in a case where it clearly demonstrated that it will benefit their country.

    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

    , @for-the-record
    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

    And obviously North America.

    This of course is the problem. I see myself as the original "multi-culturalist", eager to preserve all cultures and languages (from Amazonian to Westphalian). I believe that there should be no racial discrimination in admissions, employment, etc. Fifty years ago these positions were considered strongly "anti-racist", now (in the US and no doubt elsewhere) they are clearly "racist".

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  45. @German_reader
    In large parts of Western Europe you'd be considered a racist for what you've written above.

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

    Sure. because pro-immigration activists want to shut down opposition to their agenda, and they found most effective way by calling us racists. And calling people racists as insult, only works against people who are not actually racists.

    I would not be surprised if my feeling is quite close to a majority view in our time. Many people don’t feel racist towards anyone, and are even repulsive by an unpleasant person’s racism. But that doesn’t mean they support open immigration policy or not conservation of cultures.

    Anti-immigration activists also do on the other side as well. For example, the Steve Sailer blog. I would say I probably agree with all his politics if I was American, and his idea to stop immigration into his country, is a suitable one (why would America want to change the culture and demographic composition that brought them so much success?). But if you read his blog, the author actually does have an unpleasant sense of hostility to Mexicans and Jews and tries to propagandize to create this feeling in his readership (at first I did not notice it, but after reading a few months, it is very contained there).

    Karlin’s actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn’t have this in his blog and he doesn’t try to propagandize us at all.

    -

    In my life, I have a more positive experience with Latin Americans and Mexicans, who I met of doing English language summer courses – than I have with Americans.

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture – doesn’t mean that I have any feeling that America should not pursue an anti Mexican-immigration policy. It’s very clear, for large number of reasons we can list here, that Americans need to stop the illegal immigration (all countries should stop illegal immigration), and to only allow legal Mexican immigration in a case where it clearly demonstrated that it will benefit their country.

    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader

    Karlin’s actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn’t have this in his blog and he doesn’t try to propagandize us at all.
     
    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn't exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer...the one thing I dislike about his blog - which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times...if it's conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time...if there still are any historians then - is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees - admittedly the argument was along the lines of "But they're our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the "citizenism" line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding "racism", your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you're certainly a racist too...sorry :-)
    , @Greasy William

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture
     
    So you like evil?

    Do you like child molesters and serial killers too?
    , @Hippopotamusdrome


    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

     

    LOL. Americans wanting to move to Mexico.
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  46. @German_reader

    You can be completely anti-racist, and still oppose bad or stupid immigration policies.
     
    That doesn't really make sense imo, if people are completely the same everywhere, with all differences just superficial (not just racial ones, the same is argued for culture, religion etc. as well) and not of much importance, open borders is a logical consequence.

    In a world of clones of myself, I might still not approve of having too many of my other clones in the same area as myself. Scale brings its own difficulties, after all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    Isaac Asimov used to have this funny little song where he proposed making a female clone of himself.

    I think it is a really funny scenario to contemplate. Would a female clone be irresistible? The best sister ever? Or the worst? A really uncomfortable reminder of one's flaws? Anyway, I almost wish we could do a lot of unethical experiments to find out. Just setting up some on blind dates with their sister-clones, having others grow up together in the same households with their normal siblings. Having others lead armies against each other, etc. Answering some of these men vs. women questions in the most ultimate way possible.
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  47. @Dmitry

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

     

    Sure. because pro-immigration activists want to shut down opposition to their agenda, and they found most effective way by calling us racists. And calling people racists as insult, only works against people who are not actually racists.

    I would not be surprised if my feeling is quite close to a majority view in our time. Many people don't feel racist towards anyone, and are even repulsive by an unpleasant person's racism. But that doesn't mean they support open immigration policy or not conservation of cultures.

    Anti-immigration activists also do on the other side as well. For example, the Steve Sailer blog. I would say I probably agree with all his politics if I was American, and his idea to stop immigration into his country, is a suitable one (why would America want to change the culture and demographic composition that brought them so much success?). But if you read his blog, the author actually does have an unpleasant sense of hostility to Mexicans and Jews and tries to propagandize to create this feeling in his readership (at first I did not notice it, but after reading a few months, it is very contained there).

    Karlin's actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn't have this in his blog and he doesn't try to propagandize us at all.


    -


    In my life, I have a more positive experience with Latin Americans and Mexicans, who I met of doing English language summer courses - than I have with Americans.

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture - doesn't mean that I have any feeling that America should not pursue an anti Mexican-immigration policy. It's very clear, for large number of reasons we can list here, that Americans need to stop the illegal immigration (all countries should stop illegal immigration), and to only allow legal Mexican immigration in a case where it clearly demonstrated that it will benefit their country.

    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

    Karlin’s actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn’t have this in his blog and he doesn’t try to propagandize us at all.

    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer…the one thing I dislike about his blog – which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times…if it’s conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time…if there still are any historians then – is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees – admittedly the argument was along the lines of “But they’re our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the “citizenism” line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding “racism”, your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you’re certainly a racist too…sorry :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer…the one thing I dislike about his blog – which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times…if it’s conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time…if there still are any historians then – is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees – admittedly the argument was along the lines of “But they’re our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the “citizenism” line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding “racism”, your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you’re certainly a racist too…sorry :-)
     
    Thanks - it is an interesting post.

    As I understand the story with Sailor.

    He is a very talented journalistic writer (in kind of American journalistic writing style). But his career has been failure as a result of his controversial views, which led him to be ostracized by establishment colleagues (which is of course an unacceptable thing to do to person in free-speech utopia of America).

    Probably partly because of this he carries around some degree of artist manqué bitterness, which is hidden under blasé American 'happy go lucky' writing style.

    I agree that this could be interpreted as attempt to create a moderate writer's persona (although I don't actually think this is the case).

    There's a phrase I read somewhere in Russian (I can't remember who says it) - that the more talented a writer is, the worse they are able to hide their trues selves in their writing.

    And in this case, he would be talented enough at writing, that he could not hide some less pleasant feelings which are very unlike the moderate writer's persona that is outwardly presented. And the discordance between his agenda and his moderate persona, would give some readers of his blog the feeling that they are being propagandized.

    Someone might argue he trying to 'hide' his agenda under moderate persona, which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour. But (and this is my interpretation) it's possibly more like he is not doing this intentionally, and he actually has this kind of double-aspect in real life. The moderate persona is perhaps actually part of his real views, like in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - where you cannot say which of two is real person, and have to conclude that both of them are.

    -

    Yes, Karlin is refreshing contrast, because I haven't really seen any attempts to propagandize us in his blog. Probably a function of his personality, that he is not interested in manipulating people. I actually think his views are a bit eccentric. But it also comes across that he is a fundamentally civilized and one who likes open discourse and debating.

    .

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  48. @German_reader
    In large parts of Western Europe you'd be considered a racist for what you've written above.

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

    And obviously North America.

    This of course is the problem. I see myself as the original “multi-culturalist”, eager to preserve all cultures and languages (from Amazonian to Westphalian). I believe that there should be no racial discrimination in admissions, employment, etc. Fifty years ago these positions were considered strongly “anti-racist”, now (in the US and no doubt elsewhere) they are clearly “racist”.

    Read More
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  49. @Daniel Chieh

    It is not universal, and the technology is better, but many of our ancestors would agree. They often worked seasonally, had more space, and could support bigger families.


     

    I think I ran some numbers before and we do have more free time and a better life than our newly industrialized ancestors(the life of Victorian worker is abysmal: hard, short, pollution-ridden), but we overall have fewer non-work hours than your average medieval peasant. Think of the waste of GDP in winter or even after dark, with few reliable sources of light to labor by.

    That said, we also have antibiotics and much better antidepressants now.

    I was referring to the pre-Victorian times. Victorian industrialisation was an early taste of what unhinged liberalism will bring.

    I agree about antibiotics, although some mushrooms can do wonders. But there is no better anti-depressant than wine. And what was there to be depressed about?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh

    And what was there to be depressed about?
     
    Scabies.
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  50. @Dmitry

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

     

    Sure. because pro-immigration activists want to shut down opposition to their agenda, and they found most effective way by calling us racists. And calling people racists as insult, only works against people who are not actually racists.

    I would not be surprised if my feeling is quite close to a majority view in our time. Many people don't feel racist towards anyone, and are even repulsive by an unpleasant person's racism. But that doesn't mean they support open immigration policy or not conservation of cultures.

    Anti-immigration activists also do on the other side as well. For example, the Steve Sailer blog. I would say I probably agree with all his politics if I was American, and his idea to stop immigration into his country, is a suitable one (why would America want to change the culture and demographic composition that brought them so much success?). But if you read his blog, the author actually does have an unpleasant sense of hostility to Mexicans and Jews and tries to propagandize to create this feeling in his readership (at first I did not notice it, but after reading a few months, it is very contained there).

    Karlin's actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn't have this in his blog and he doesn't try to propagandize us at all.


    -


    In my life, I have a more positive experience with Latin Americans and Mexicans, who I met of doing English language summer courses - than I have with Americans.

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture - doesn't mean that I have any feeling that America should not pursue an anti Mexican-immigration policy. It's very clear, for large number of reasons we can list here, that Americans need to stop the illegal immigration (all countries should stop illegal immigration), and to only allow legal Mexican immigration in a case where it clearly demonstrated that it will benefit their country.

    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture

    So you like evil?

    Do you like child molesters and serial killers too?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    So you like evil?

    Do you like child molesters and serial killers too?
     

    I did English summer courses abroad when I was growing up, and have a great impression of Latino classmates.

    In particularly I have some great memory in English summer course (in England), of playing table tennis every day with a beautiful brown Mexican (I think she was Mexican) girl from my upper-intermediate class.

    Very difficult to conjure up any negative feelings in me for Mexicans and Latinos. I also have friends right now with Spanish colleagues. But enough about me.

    That doesn't say anything about the correct view on American immigration. The more the Americans can kick out illegal immigrants, and create a system where they only allow immigration which is guaranteed to benefit country and culture, the better for them.

    It's not an issue of personal feelings, but of rational decision making. When I was tourist travelling in America, I feel personal identification with immigrants and foreigners, who I am part of. But emotional sentimentality has nothing to do with what correct decision is for the American people themselves. And which is one which they should be quite ruthless in deciding based on their personal interest - especially when looking at the failures of immigration, and balkanization, in other countries.

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  51. @German_reader

    Karlin’s actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn’t have this in his blog and he doesn’t try to propagandize us at all.
     
    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn't exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer...the one thing I dislike about his blog - which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times...if it's conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time...if there still are any historians then - is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees - admittedly the argument was along the lines of "But they're our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the "citizenism" line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding "racism", your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you're certainly a racist too...sorry :-)

    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer…the one thing I dislike about his blog – which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times…if it’s conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time…if there still are any historians then – is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees – admittedly the argument was along the lines of “But they’re our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the “citizenism” line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding “racism”, your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you’re certainly a racist too…sorry :-)

    Thanks – it is an interesting post.

    As I understand the story with Sailor.

    He is a very talented journalistic writer (in kind of American journalistic writing style). But his career has been failure as a result of his controversial views, which led him to be ostracized by establishment colleagues (which is of course an unacceptable thing to do to person in free-speech utopia of America).

    Probably partly because of this he carries around some degree of artist manqué bitterness, which is hidden under blasé American ‘happy go lucky’ writing style.

    I agree that this could be interpreted as attempt to create a moderate writer’s persona (although I don’t actually think this is the case).

    There’s a phrase I read somewhere in Russian (I can’t remember who says it) – that the more talented a writer is, the worse they are able to hide their trues selves in their writing.

    And in this case, he would be talented enough at writing, that he could not hide some less pleasant feelings which are very unlike the moderate writer’s persona that is outwardly presented. And the discordance between his agenda and his moderate persona, would give some readers of his blog the feeling that they are being propagandized.

    Someone might argue he trying to ‘hide’ his agenda under moderate persona, which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour. But (and this is my interpretation) it’s possibly more like he is not doing this intentionally, and he actually has this kind of double-aspect in real life. The moderate persona is perhaps actually part of his real views, like in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – where you cannot say which of two is real person, and have to conclude that both of them are.

    -

    Yes, Karlin is refreshing contrast, because I haven’t really seen any attempts to propagandize us in his blog. Probably a function of his personality, that he is not interested in manipulating people. I actually think his views are a bit eccentric. But it also comes across that he is a fundamentally civilized and one who likes open discourse and debating.

    .

    Read More
    • Replies: @songbird
    Sailer's version of "citizenism" is entirely about putting people who are citizens first. It's a political strategy and not inconsistent with race-realism. The tone he strikes is a delicate balance primarily based around not being too depressive. You don't want to turn off your readers - that is an existential precondition for any writer - and so I don't think it qualifies as artifice.
    , @for-the-record
    which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour.

    Alas, not only are you a confirmed racist but irredeemably sexist! :-)

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  52. @Greasy William

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture
     
    So you like evil?

    Do you like child molesters and serial killers too?

    So you like evil?

    Do you like child molesters and serial killers too?

    I did English summer courses abroad when I was growing up, and have a great impression of Latino classmates.

    In particularly I have some great memory in English summer course (in England), of playing table tennis every day with a beautiful brown Mexican (I think she was Mexican) girl from my upper-intermediate class.

    Very difficult to conjure up any negative feelings in me for Mexicans and Latinos. I also have friends right now with Spanish colleagues. But enough about me.

    That doesn’t say anything about the correct view on American immigration. The more the Americans can kick out illegal immigrants, and create a system where they only allow immigration which is guaranteed to benefit country and culture, the better for them.

    It’s not an issue of personal feelings, but of rational decision making. When I was tourist travelling in America, I feel personal identification with immigrants and foreigners, who I am part of. But emotional sentimentality has nothing to do with what correct decision is for the American people themselves. And which is one which they should be quite ruthless in deciding based on their personal interest – especially when looking at the failures of immigration, and balkanization, in other countries.

    Read More
    • Replies: @German_reader
    Mexicans doing English courses in England must be at least upper middle class, so they're not exactly representative of the average Mexican.
    That's a bit of a problem with many academics imo...they mostly get into contact with people from other countries who are quite similar to themselves in educational and class background, values, intelligence, lifestyle...and then they generalize from this experience that all people everywhere are basically the same, and that people who have negative perceptions of immigrants - especially lower class people who actually live in neighborhoods with many immigrants - are just ignorant racists.
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  53. @Dmitry

    So you like evil?

    Do you like child molesters and serial killers too?
     

    I did English summer courses abroad when I was growing up, and have a great impression of Latino classmates.

    In particularly I have some great memory in English summer course (in England), of playing table tennis every day with a beautiful brown Mexican (I think she was Mexican) girl from my upper-intermediate class.

    Very difficult to conjure up any negative feelings in me for Mexicans and Latinos. I also have friends right now with Spanish colleagues. But enough about me.

    That doesn't say anything about the correct view on American immigration. The more the Americans can kick out illegal immigrants, and create a system where they only allow immigration which is guaranteed to benefit country and culture, the better for them.

    It's not an issue of personal feelings, but of rational decision making. When I was tourist travelling in America, I feel personal identification with immigrants and foreigners, who I am part of. But emotional sentimentality has nothing to do with what correct decision is for the American people themselves. And which is one which they should be quite ruthless in deciding based on their personal interest - especially when looking at the failures of immigration, and balkanization, in other countries.

    Mexicans doing English courses in England must be at least upper middle class, so they’re not exactly representative of the average Mexican.
    That’s a bit of a problem with many academics imo…they mostly get into contact with people from other countries who are quite similar to themselves in educational and class background, values, intelligence, lifestyle…and then they generalize from this experience that all people everywhere are basically the same, and that people who have negative perceptions of immigrants – especially lower class people who actually live in neighborhoods with many immigrants – are just ignorant racists.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AP

    Mexicans doing English courses in England must be at least upper middle class, so they’re not exactly representative of the average Mexican.
     
    Sure. But still, Slavic cultures are more like Latin ones than like Anglo ones. Educated upper middle class Latinos are more similar to educated Slavs than are educated Germans or Anglos. Mexican peasants are more like uneducated Slavs than are uneducated Anglos (in Chicago, Polish lumpens often mix with lighter Latinos). The difference is in the ratio of educated to uneducated.
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  54. @Dmitry

    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer…the one thing I dislike about his blog – which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times…if it’s conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time…if there still are any historians then – is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees – admittedly the argument was along the lines of “But they’re our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the “citizenism” line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding “racism”, your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you’re certainly a racist too…sorry :-)
     
    Thanks - it is an interesting post.

    As I understand the story with Sailor.

    He is a very talented journalistic writer (in kind of American journalistic writing style). But his career has been failure as a result of his controversial views, which led him to be ostracized by establishment colleagues (which is of course an unacceptable thing to do to person in free-speech utopia of America).

    Probably partly because of this he carries around some degree of artist manqué bitterness, which is hidden under blasé American 'happy go lucky' writing style.

    I agree that this could be interpreted as attempt to create a moderate writer's persona (although I don't actually think this is the case).

    There's a phrase I read somewhere in Russian (I can't remember who says it) - that the more talented a writer is, the worse they are able to hide their trues selves in their writing.

    And in this case, he would be talented enough at writing, that he could not hide some less pleasant feelings which are very unlike the moderate writer's persona that is outwardly presented. And the discordance between his agenda and his moderate persona, would give some readers of his blog the feeling that they are being propagandized.

    Someone might argue he trying to 'hide' his agenda under moderate persona, which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour. But (and this is my interpretation) it's possibly more like he is not doing this intentionally, and he actually has this kind of double-aspect in real life. The moderate persona is perhaps actually part of his real views, like in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - where you cannot say which of two is real person, and have to conclude that both of them are.

    -

    Yes, Karlin is refreshing contrast, because I haven't really seen any attempts to propagandize us in his blog. Probably a function of his personality, that he is not interested in manipulating people. I actually think his views are a bit eccentric. But it also comes across that he is a fundamentally civilized and one who likes open discourse and debating.

    .

    Sailer’s version of “citizenism” is entirely about putting people who are citizens first. It’s a political strategy and not inconsistent with race-realism. The tone he strikes is a delicate balance primarily based around not being too depressive. You don’t want to turn off your readers – that is an existential precondition for any writer – and so I don’t think it qualifies as artifice.

    Read More
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  55. Re Sailer:

    1. Sailer is getting older and as people get older, their way of expressing themselves gets more crankish. For other examples look at Derbyshire or the way that Marc Faber out of nowhere just said that it was good that America wasn’t discovered by “the blacks”.

    2. A lot of people when they are angry, irritated or just having a bad day will say, tweet or leave an internet comment that they otherwise wouldn’t. The difference with Steve is that he is such a prolific writer that he will make an entire blog post instead.

    3. Steve is clearly a sperg and that explains a lot of his more bizarre statements.

    4. Many of Steve’s more popular themes have been mainstreamed which has made him somewhat redundant so he probably feels the need to push the envelope to separate himself from the pack.

    5. Steve has been in his proto-alt-right bubble for so long that it has warped his mind.

    6. Steve blows.

    Re Mexico:

    The consensus among virtually all historians is that contemporary Mexico is the most evil state in human history. You can’t say that you like Mexicans but oppose the Mexican invasion of the US because all Mexicans support said invasion.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean

    A lot of people when they are angry, irritated or just having a bad day will say, tweet or leave an internet comment that they otherwise wouldn’t.
     
    Only men are those kind of people according to Pinker

    http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-pinker-on-artificial-intelligence-apocalypse

    Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears, and that it is misguided. Something can be highly intelligent and not have malevolent intentions to overthrow and dominate, Pinker says, it’s called women.
     

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  56. @Daniel Chieh
    In a world of clones of myself, I might still not approve of having too many of my other clones in the same area as myself. Scale brings its own difficulties, after all.

    Isaac Asimov used to have this funny little song where he proposed making a female clone of himself.

    I think it is a really funny scenario to contemplate. Would a female clone be irresistible? The best sister ever? Or the worst? A really uncomfortable reminder of one’s flaws? Anyway, I almost wish we could do a lot of unethical experiments to find out. Just setting up some on blind dates with their sister-clones, having others grow up together in the same households with their normal siblings. Having others lead armies against each other, etc. Answering some of these men vs. women questions in the most ultimate way possible.

    Read More
    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
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  57. @German_reader
    Is it really mostly about IQ for you, and did your entire world view change because of a few books you read? I find such a change difficult to understand; personally I've changed or modified some of my views, but on the core issues of immigration and nationalism I believe pretty much the same as I did 20 years ago as a teenager.

    Neither of those books were exclusively about IQ, especially since Wade’s book was dealing with human prehistory, and only a few pages dealt with the human races, which he said were human subspecies and with the modern definition of species, would probably be called species, like the Himalayan wolf vs. Indian wolf. He also mentioned Jews there. (Okay, that’s part IQ, but I don’t think he even used the expression, and it was also about business acumen, which I knew to be different from IQ.)

    But I think it’s a bit different in my case. First, I don’t think it’s impossible I’m on the spectrum, like many other commenters or authors here.

    But the main thing is probably that I always had lingering “racist” feelings. I was always uneasy about stories of East Asian ascendancy. I wasn’t very happy that Jews were always better, but I knew that anti-Semitism was irrational. My grandparents also told me a few positive personal stories about Jews and some personal sob stories about the holocaust.

    I was always uneasy about the fact that smart people barely have children while dumb people (especially Gypsies) had many. Regarding blacks, I never had any personal experience with them, so my views were largely influenced by Hollywood propaganda.

    But I read a lot of anti-racist or anti-antisemitic literature, and I believed already at an early age that such uneasiness etc. was surely irrational. I don’t know how long it would have taken for me to figure it out.

    After reading a few respectable books applying standard evolutionary biology arguments to humans, the floodgates broke open. I realized there was no reason to treat humans differently.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The last sentence should read: I realized there was no reason to treat humans differently than other species.
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  58. @reiner Tor
    Neither of those books were exclusively about IQ, especially since Wade’s book was dealing with human prehistory, and only a few pages dealt with the human races, which he said were human subspecies and with the modern definition of species, would probably be called species, like the Himalayan wolf vs. Indian wolf. He also mentioned Jews there. (Okay, that’s part IQ, but I don’t think he even used the expression, and it was also about business acumen, which I knew to be different from IQ.)

    But I think it’s a bit different in my case. First, I don’t think it’s impossible I’m on the spectrum, like many other commenters or authors here.

    But the main thing is probably that I always had lingering “racist” feelings. I was always uneasy about stories of East Asian ascendancy. I wasn’t very happy that Jews were always better, but I knew that anti-Semitism was irrational. My grandparents also told me a few positive personal stories about Jews and some personal sob stories about the holocaust.

    I was always uneasy about the fact that smart people barely have children while dumb people (especially Gypsies) had many. Regarding blacks, I never had any personal experience with them, so my views were largely influenced by Hollywood propaganda.

    But I read a lot of anti-racist or anti-antisemitic literature, and I believed already at an early age that such uneasiness etc. was surely irrational. I don’t know how long it would have taken for me to figure it out.

    After reading a few respectable books applying standard evolutionary biology arguments to humans, the floodgates broke open. I realized there was no reason to treat humans differently.

    The last sentence should read: I realized there was no reason to treat humans differently than other species.

    Read More
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  59. @Dmitry

    AK is pretty open and honest about his views (e.g. Ukrainian nation doesn’t exist) which I appreciate. I actually agree with you somewhat about Steve Sailer…the one thing I dislike about his blog – which is very good in many ways, an apt chronicle of the insanity of our times…if it’s conserved, it might be of real historical interest in 200 years time…if there still are any historians then – is that Steve tries hard to come across as a reasonable moderate, but sometimes lets slip crass comments through that seem rather more extreme (e.g. he once had a post which could be interpreted as comparing US blacks to chimpanzees – admittedly the argument was along the lines of “But they’re our chimpanzees, so we should treat them well -, also recently a fairly bitter post about Meghan Markle which he eventually deleted). I think his blog can best be described as soft white nationalism (which I regard as legitimate btw), the “citizenism” line he once adopted seems a bit like a pretense to me.
    Regarding “racism”, your definition seems to be more restrictive than ones currently dominant in the West (and according to the latter you’re certainly a racist too…sorry :-)
     
    Thanks - it is an interesting post.

    As I understand the story with Sailor.

    He is a very talented journalistic writer (in kind of American journalistic writing style). But his career has been failure as a result of his controversial views, which led him to be ostracized by establishment colleagues (which is of course an unacceptable thing to do to person in free-speech utopia of America).

    Probably partly because of this he carries around some degree of artist manqué bitterness, which is hidden under blasé American 'happy go lucky' writing style.

    I agree that this could be interpreted as attempt to create a moderate writer's persona (although I don't actually think this is the case).

    There's a phrase I read somewhere in Russian (I can't remember who says it) - that the more talented a writer is, the worse they are able to hide their trues selves in their writing.

    And in this case, he would be talented enough at writing, that he could not hide some less pleasant feelings which are very unlike the moderate writer's persona that is outwardly presented. And the discordance between his agenda and his moderate persona, would give some readers of his blog the feeling that they are being propagandized.

    Someone might argue he trying to 'hide' his agenda under moderate persona, which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour. But (and this is my interpretation) it's possibly more like he is not doing this intentionally, and he actually has this kind of double-aspect in real life. The moderate persona is perhaps actually part of his real views, like in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - where you cannot say which of two is real person, and have to conclude that both of them are.

    -

    Yes, Karlin is refreshing contrast, because I haven't really seen any attempts to propagandize us in his blog. Probably a function of his personality, that he is not interested in manipulating people. I actually think his views are a bit eccentric. But it also comes across that he is a fundamentally civilized and one who likes open discourse and debating.

    .

    which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour.

    Alas, not only are you a confirmed racist but irredeemably sexist! :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    Ageist too. Its almost certain that the median age of Mr. Karlin's commentary crew is one generation younger than that of Sailer's group, and to an extent this is evident not only in values but also in the attitude toward technology, entertainment consumed, even speaking style and parlance.
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  60. AP says:
    @German_reader
    Mexicans doing English courses in England must be at least upper middle class, so they're not exactly representative of the average Mexican.
    That's a bit of a problem with many academics imo...they mostly get into contact with people from other countries who are quite similar to themselves in educational and class background, values, intelligence, lifestyle...and then they generalize from this experience that all people everywhere are basically the same, and that people who have negative perceptions of immigrants - especially lower class people who actually live in neighborhoods with many immigrants - are just ignorant racists.

    Mexicans doing English courses in England must be at least upper middle class, so they’re not exactly representative of the average Mexican.

    Sure. But still, Slavic cultures are more like Latin ones than like Anglo ones. Educated upper middle class Latinos are more similar to educated Slavs than are educated Germans or Anglos. Mexican peasants are more like uneducated Slavs than are uneducated Anglos (in Chicago, Polish lumpens often mix with lighter Latinos). The difference is in the ratio of educated to uneducated.

    Read More
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  61. @Greasy William
    Re Sailer:

    1. Sailer is getting older and as people get older, their way of expressing themselves gets more crankish. For other examples look at Derbyshire or the way that Marc Faber out of nowhere just said that it was good that America wasn't discovered by "the blacks".

    2. A lot of people when they are angry, irritated or just having a bad day will say, tweet or leave an internet comment that they otherwise wouldn't. The difference with Steve is that he is such a prolific writer that he will make an entire blog post instead.

    3. Steve is clearly a sperg and that explains a lot of his more bizarre statements.

    4. Many of Steve's more popular themes have been mainstreamed which has made him somewhat redundant so he probably feels the need to push the envelope to separate himself from the pack.

    5. Steve has been in his proto-alt-right bubble for so long that it has warped his mind.

    6. Steve blows.


    Re Mexico:

    The consensus among virtually all historians is that contemporary Mexico is the most evil state in human history. You can't say that you like Mexicans but oppose the Mexican invasion of the US because all Mexicans support said invasion.

    A lot of people when they are angry, irritated or just having a bad day will say, tweet or leave an internet comment that they otherwise wouldn’t.

    Only men are those kind of people according to Pinker

    http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-pinker-on-artificial-intelligence-apocalypse

    Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears, and that it is misguided. Something can be highly intelligent and not have malevolent intentions to overthrow and dominate, Pinker says, it’s called women.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    It sounds like a compelling case into increased funding for sexbots.
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  62. @Dmitry

    In large parts of Western Europe you’d be considered a racist for what you’ve written above.

     

    Sure. because pro-immigration activists want to shut down opposition to their agenda, and they found most effective way by calling us racists. And calling people racists as insult, only works against people who are not actually racists.

    I would not be surprised if my feeling is quite close to a majority view in our time. Many people don't feel racist towards anyone, and are even repulsive by an unpleasant person's racism. But that doesn't mean they support open immigration policy or not conservation of cultures.

    Anti-immigration activists also do on the other side as well. For example, the Steve Sailer blog. I would say I probably agree with all his politics if I was American, and his idea to stop immigration into his country, is a suitable one (why would America want to change the culture and demographic composition that brought them so much success?). But if you read his blog, the author actually does have an unpleasant sense of hostility to Mexicans and Jews and tries to propagandize to create this feeling in his readership (at first I did not notice it, but after reading a few months, it is very contained there).

    Karlin's actually a better blogger (in the sense of less propagandist), as he doesn't have this in his blog and he doesn't try to propagandize us at all.


    -


    In my life, I have a more positive experience with Latin Americans and Mexicans, who I met of doing English language summer courses - than I have with Americans.

    The fact I like a lot the Mexican people, their personality and their culture - doesn't mean that I have any feeling that America should not pursue an anti Mexican-immigration policy. It's very clear, for large number of reasons we can list here, that Americans need to stop the illegal immigration (all countries should stop illegal immigration), and to only allow legal Mexican immigration in a case where it clearly demonstrated that it will benefit their country.

    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

    And if Americans were illegally immigrating to Mexico, and causing problems there, I would be the same view to support Mexico stopping it.

    LOL. Americans wanting to move to Mexico.

    Read More
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  63. @for-the-record
    which would be ignoble and womanly behaviour.

    Alas, not only are you a confirmed racist but irredeemably sexist! :-)

    Ageist too. Its almost certain that the median age of Mr. Karlin’s commentary crew is one generation younger than that of Sailer’s group, and to an extent this is evident not only in values but also in the attitude toward technology, entertainment consumed, even speaking style and parlance.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
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  64. @songbird
    I never read Taleb's book, but I recall from my college days that "black swan" was really an incredible buzzword in the psych department. I never understood why it had such pull for some people, and I deeply suspect that those on the Left are wired to love certain terms, just as some words are inherently funny.

    Taleb borrowed “black swan” metaphor from Popper, who discussed it in the context of the difficulties with induction. Taleb never cited or credited Popper, however.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I can’t remember if he mentioned Popper in the context of the title expression, but he was quoting and referencing Popper extensively in that book.
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  65. @songbird
    Ah, I see. I didn't realize it was a pre-existing idiom. That part of it was never explained to me, only the discovery of black swans.

    But it was not an existing idiom. It was universal assumption that all swans are white – and a surprise at discovering black ones.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Taleb wrote it was. Of course he could have been wrong.

    In Hungarian there’s still an idiom “rare like a white raven” meaning nonexistent. So I find it easy to believe that, before the discovery of black swans, there was an expression “rare like a black swan” in English.
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  66. @Anonymous
    But it was not an existing idiom. It was universal assumption that all swans are white - and a surprise at discovering black ones.

    Taleb wrote it was. Of course he could have been wrong.

    In Hungarian there’s still an idiom “rare like a white raven” meaning nonexistent. So I find it easy to believe that, before the discovery of black swans, there was an expression “rare like a black swan” in English.

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  67. @Anonymous
    Taleb borrowed "black swan" metaphor from Popper, who discussed it in the context of the difficulties with induction. Taleb never cited or credited Popper, however.

    I can’t remember if he mentioned Popper in the context of the title expression, but he was quoting and referencing Popper extensively in that book.

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  68. @Sean

    A lot of people when they are angry, irritated or just having a bad day will say, tweet or leave an internet comment that they otherwise wouldn’t.
     
    Only men are those kind of people according to Pinker

    http://bigthink.com/videos/steven-pinker-on-artificial-intelligence-apocalypse

    Pinker believes an alpha male thinking pattern is at the root of our AI fears, and that it is misguided. Something can be highly intelligent and not have malevolent intentions to overthrow and dominate, Pinker says, it’s called women.
     

    It sounds like a compelling case into increased funding for sexbots.

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  69. @Beckow
    I was referring to the pre-Victorian times. Victorian industrialisation was an early taste of what unhinged liberalism will bring.

    I agree about antibiotics, although some mushrooms can do wonders. But there is no better anti-depressant than wine. And what was there to be depressed about?

    And what was there to be depressed about?

    Scabies.

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  70. Was it a moped thief team (phone grabber + driver on a single moped) who stole your phone? They are very talented and prolific here in London, sometimes grabbing a phone every 50 yards or so.

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    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Not quite, it was a single man on a bicycle.
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  71. @James L
    Was it a moped thief team (phone grabber + driver on a single moped) who stole your phone? They are very talented and prolific here in London, sometimes grabbing a phone every 50 yards or so.

    Not quite, it was a single man on a bicycle.

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    • Replies: @James L
    It has become very common here & I'm reluctant to display a phone in public anymore. At least 2 people who work in the same office as me on Baker St have had their phones stolen outside the building in the last year.
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  72. @Anatoly Karlin
    Not quite, it was a single man on a bicycle.

    It has become very common here & I’m reluctant to display a phone in public anymore. At least 2 people who work in the same office as me on Baker St have had their phones stolen outside the building in the last year.

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