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To clarify, the previous post showing rudimentary science knowledge by sex and by race, while multiple choice, also permitted survey quiz-takers to choose “not sure”. The online version of the quiz did not contain this fifth possible choice (a by-product of which is the flattering of the online contingent when they see their results compared to the formal survey participants!). My apologies for not pointing that out.

The average (mean) percentage of “not sure” responses among survey quiz-takers was 17%. Cross-tabs by sex and race are not provided at the level of response to individual question so we cannot ascertain what percentage of correct responses were lucky guesses. Some surely were, but it must be fewer than 25%. An estimate of 8% is reasonable enough (25%-17%), so if the mileage is better by reducing scores by that amount, mentally note the adjustment.

As for the question of why post the results at all–is it anything more than dumping chum in the water?–the primary response is that empiricism, like knowledge, is good. Knowledge that is buried or otherwise suppressed by outlets that putatively exist for the purpose of informing the public is even better.

It’s also valuable as a riposte to the lazy and evil assertion that whites and men and especially white men are holding everyone else back by stealing all the knowledge for themselves.

These questions are easy to discover the correct answers to. Anyone with a passing curiosity in basic science should be able to answer them correctly if he devotes a little time to indulging his curiosity, something he and virtually every other person partaking in the survey–male or female, white or not–could have done for free from his cell phone at any time, from anywhere. That’s how I was able to ace the quiz, and I suspect that’s how you were able to as well. Nobody gave that process to you and you’re not keeping that process from being accessed by anyone else.

 
• Category: Ideology, Science 
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  1. It’d be best to pick a real answer.

    • LOL: Nodwink
  2. RSDB says:

    I only knew the tilt-of-the-axis question for general knowledge from grade-school days. It’s actually a fairly common misconception (if one may judge by one of my former science(!) teachers) that the seasons are caused by the Earth’s varying distances from the sun due to its elliptical orbit.

    A fair number of the questions were terminology questions (“fossil fuels”, acids vs. bases, “hypothesis”, “incubation period”, definition of “genetic engineering”). On some of these people did remarkably well, on others remarkably poorly– results reflect exposure to those terms.

    Acids vs bases threw the most people, probably because they assumed antacid was something like formic acid. (There’s an Abbott and Costello episode where Lou mixes up antipasto with ant paste.)

    The most disturbing result is the number of people (even postgrads!) who can’t do basic arithmetic (the 40 mph question). That, the graph-reading question, and the blind-study question were thinking questions, and all had roughly similar results, except that the postgrads did a little better on the study question.

    Erosion and antibiotic-resistance reflect exposure again; antibiotic resistance must be in the news a lot, I guess.

  3. gman says:

    can you talk more about the 2020 Dem field and what are your expectations for next week’s debate? Is it pretty much a Biden vs. Warren match up or could you see a dark horse coming out?

  4. @RSDB

    It’s actually a fairly common misconception (if one may judge by one of my former science(!) teachers) that the seasons are caused by the Earth’s varying distances from the sun due to its elliptical orbit.

    Counterintuitively, Earth is currently furthest from the Sun during northern hemisphere summer.  This makes summer last longer and makes it harder for snow and ice to avoid melting off completely, preventing buildup from year to year.

    The most disturbing result is the number of people (even postgrads!) who can’t do basic arithmetic (the 40 mph question).

    I’d take a look at the subjects of those masters and PhDs (which I notice was data not asked for).  Dollars to donuts the ones who got those questions wrong were “humanities” students and may never have had a math course at university level (and maybe failed algebra in HS).

    Given the rampant politicization of English departments across the West and the emphasis on feelz, it would surprise me if their PhDs had even the rudimentary education required to get such questions right.  We really do have “two cultures”, and the left’s needs to be ruthlessly stamped out or civilization will not survive.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    , @dc.sunsets
  5. El Dato says:

    What is this quiz? This is like being in a TV show where a contestant is stumped by the symbol “2”.

    Everything answered correctly in 5 minutes or less.

    Maybe my Alzheimer’s is not so bad yet.

    NEXT!!!

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  6. Idiocracy is no longer a warning. Now it’s a documentary.

    I am embracing the Clown World meme more tightly every day.

    “How I learned to stop worrying and start betting on when conservatives have had enough.”

    Honk Honk!

  7. @gman

    Andrew Yang likely will continue slowly increasing his popularity, primarily due to his universal basic income idea and his personality and relative straightforwardness. While not a top candidate — partly due to lacking huge establishment donors or a sufficiently large potential mindless base based on race or sex — he may surprise people and reach ten, then fifteen percent.

    Yang will be one of the last three candidates in the race for the Expressly-AntiWhite Party’s nomination. (the other party being the Afraid-to-be-Not-Antiwhite Party)

    Also, there are still nine months till the dem convention, July 13, 2020. Actuarially, we wouldn’t guess that Biden or Sanders will die before the dem convention, but it’s not terribly unlikely either.

    I think that Yang can beat Trump, whereas Biden, Sanders, and even Warren will lose to him narrowly if we are not in a new war or a recession.

    Yang is the better bet to beat Trump. Especially with a Veep running mate who is a pretending-to-be-moderate white male Governor or Senator from a Midwestern or Mountain West swing state.

  8. @El Dato

    There was no need to look anything up. I got 11/11 on the quiz, but then again I would have gotten 11/11 on this quiz when I was 9 years old. I don’t believe it is a matter of what’s called “education.” Nobody ever taught me this stuff. You have to be interested in it in the first place, and you have to be interested the right way. This is what it means to have the virtue of knowledge.

    A man whose interest in science is largely pecuniary (as is the case with many engineers) or a result of hurt religious feelings (like most science popularizers) may acquire command of a huge body of “facts,” but he will never understand any of them in their depth, nor will he make a real scientist himself. Whereas a man with the virtue of knowledge will be able to say interesting things about any field even if he is largely ignorant of the quotidian details.

    There really isn’t any point in expecting most people to know these things, at least not in any way that is significant to their overall lives. The point is simply to keep them and their opinions out of affairs that require the virtue of knowledge. That which is eternally determinative in the human experience is the why and the wherefore, not the what. The real question is not whether the Earth is round or flat, but for whom is this question important, and why; and the calculus of such importance changes from culture to culture and from age to age, and is by no means the same for all men.

    This is what is usually forgotten today whenever the word “technology” is mentioned, as in “why did this society develop this technology and these others did not?”. The answer is simply that their aims and purposes were not the same as ours. Technology is not some permanent advance down a fixed line, but the side effect of a particular willing and desiring, outside of which it decays like the corpse without a soul.

  9. so we cannot ascertain what percentage of correct responses were lucky guesses. Some surely were, but it must be fewer than 25%.

    A technique I learned from Charles Murray’s “Real Education” (which contains similarly depressing examples of test results to demonstrate what “below average” really means) for estimating the proportion of correct responses arrived at by guessing is to multiply the percentage who didn’t know the right answer by x/(x-1), where x is the number of multiple choice answers offered.

    So using the proportion of post-grads who got the first question wrong, we multiply .13 by 4/3 to get .17. So 17% of post-grads didn’t know that oil and gas are examples of fossil fuels! Given the constant media bellyaching about fossil fuel use, that hardly even qualifies as a science question.

    Perhaps even more astonishingly, .2 x 4/3 = 26.6% of post-grads weren’t able to recognize a “hypothesis” when they were given a fairly obvious example of one. Even if they were humanities students, it’s remarkable that they apparently never came across the concept all throughout their studies.

    I’m not sure how these calculations are affected by the inclusion of a “not sure” option, but one thing does seem for sure: race-deniers will be able to continue deceiving society in perpetuity.

  10. @Intelligent Dasein

    A man whose interest in science is largely pecuniary (as is the case with many engineers) or a result of hurt religious feelings (like most science popularizers) may acquire command of a huge body of “facts,” but he will never understand any of them in their depth, nor will he make a real scientist himself.

    Man, that is such bullshit. Whatever his motives for acquiring the knowledge, he ultimately either has the knowledge or he doesn’t. He’s either able to apply the scientific method in the pursuit of new knowledge or he isn’t. What you think makes a “real scientist,” on the other hand, is between you and your psychiatrist.

  11. @RadicalCenter

    “Yang is the better bet to beat Trump.”

    An Andrew Yang – Tulsi Gabbard ticket would bring in independents, anti-foreverwar people on the right, young Democrats not enchanted with Clintonism and Obamaism, and disaffected, moderate Dems like me who reject cultural Marxism. Right now, I’m pulling for Trump because his enemies are ancient evil and the Dems are going to produce a Stacey Abrams – old whitey ticket.

  12. @RadicalCenter

    As the cullut folks around here would say, “Yang ain’t fixin to bust a grape.”

  13. @Mr. Rational

    Counterintuitively, Earth is currently furthest from the Sun during northern hemisphere summer. This makes summer last longer and makes it harder for snow and ice to avoid melting off completely, preventing buildup from year to year.

    Yep, the extra 7% or so of Solar energy the Southern Hemisphere gets each year explains why Antarctic ice pack is growing while Arctic ice pack is diminishing … wait … what?

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  14. David says:

    Using the CDC’s data, the rates by state of people diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV are, respectively, 60%, 58%, 41% and 82% correlated with the fraction of the states’ populations that are black. Likely not news to Mr Epigone.

    • Replies: @iffen
  15. iffen says:
    @gman

    a dark horse

    I’m not sure that this wording is still allowed. I’m thinking that you need to change it to a horse of color.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
  16. iffen says:
    @David

    You do not seem to be aware that evil white doctors (is there any other kind?) infect people of color with all sorts of diseases, especially STDs. It all started at Tuskegee in the 1930’s.

  17. @Intelligent Dasein

    I don’t think that you are a fair example. Your first name is Intelligent, after all.

  18. gman says:
    @RadicalCenter

    In my opinion, assuming that the only plausible picks at the top of ticket are Biden, Bernie, or Sanders, I think the hardest to beat / safest to beat would be a Biden-Yang ticket

    With Biden as the nominee, you risk losing the youth vote and Yang is good in that regard. In comparison to Biden, Trump, and Pence, Yang really is a fresh face.

    That said, I think he would end up going with Stacy Abrams

    Biden has already said publicly he’d prefer a woman or person of color on the ticket:
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/28/politics/joe-biden-potential-vp-pick/index.html

  19. @RSDB

    I had to briefly reason through the axis tilt. Distance from the sun obviously isn’t correct since 24k miles is a rounding error relative to the distance between the earth and the sun.

  20. @gman

    My sense is Elizabeth Warren is 2012’s Herman Cain or 2016’s Ted Cruz, but I predicted Kamala Harris before most people knew who she was–and look how silly that made me look.

    I wouldn’t count Biden out. His team’s best bet is to just let Biden be Biden. The gaffes and putative racism don’t really seem to be hurting him.

    Another recent poll asked supporters whether or not they are paying close attention to the campaign. Sanders supporters were FAR more likely than anyone else’s to say they are not paying attention. What that confirms to me is that his base of ~15% support isn’t going to leave him no matter what.

    If Biden is able to hold onto the black wall and old moderate whites, even if Warren maintains her momentum, it probably means a brokered convention.

    Speaking of holding onto black support, there is still an enormous opportunity for someone who is wildly popular among blacks and not objectionable to progressives to jump in and steal a lot of support away from the current crop.

    Hillary Clinton is rising in the betting markets. Could she be behind these attempted take downs of Biden and Warren? She has the infrastructure, doesn’t need to appear in any debates, and has black support. Strikes me as highly unlikely that she enters–but not inconceivable at this point.

    • Replies: @gman
    , @Talha
  21. @RadicalCenter

    I would find Yang/Gabbard very tempting. It would probably do more to (temporarily) calm cultural war tensions in the moribund empire than any other ticket–including Trump/Pence, of course–could.

  22. @iffen

    But don’t you dare call it a “colored horse”!

  23. RSDB says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    Isn’t it 3M miles? But I didn’t know that distance offhand anyway.

    You could reason through the tilt thing, I guess, because of the existence of tropics and the arctic circle and the fact that the two hemispheres have seasons at different times.

    Still, I probably wouldn’t think that hard for some random survey quiz.

  24. @Audacious Epigone

    Earth’s orbit has an eccentricity of 0.0167, so the aphelion-perihelion ratio is (1.0167/0.9833) or about 1.034.  Over 93 million miles that’s a difference of 3.16 million miles.

  25. @Audacious Epigone

    Wouldn’t a more obvious reason to discard distance from the sun as an explanation be that the northern and southern hemispheres have opposite seasons? If seasons were explained by distance from the sun, then summers and winters should occur at the same time for both hemispheres.

    • Agree: Audacious Epigone
  26. Rosie says:

    These questions are easy to discover the correct answers to. Anyone with a passing curiosity in basic science should be able to answer them correctly if he devotes a little time to indulging his curiosity, something he and virtually every other person partaking in the survey–male or female, white or not–could have done for free from his cell phone at any time, from anywhere.

    Personally, I would have considered that cheating. I wonder if that by itself might not be revealing of something about men and women.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
  27. gman says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    1. I agree with you that you can’t count Biden out. He is likely being underestimated in prediction markets as his voters don’t have much clout in the media/online.

    2. I’d be cautious about comparisons to the GOP primary. I just think GOP voters are much more in the “flavor of the month” mindset than Democratic voters. As much as I don’t I like Neera Tanden, I remember her tweeting that Democrats are not Republicans after predictions then Marianne’s debate performances would cause her to jump in the polls. I think the Herman Cain analogy to Warren doesn’t make sense as Cain was kind of a fun goofball without political experience (think 9-9-9). If anything Yang is the Herman Cain of 2020. I do think the Cruz parallel makes more sense. At some point making comparisons (X is the Y of 2020) doesn’t help as every moment in history only happens once (i.e. there was no Obama before Obama, etc.)

    4. The only people that meet your criteria I think are Michelle Obama and maybe Oprah (but I can’t see either of them running)

    5. It’s certainly conceivable Warren makes inroads with black voters. She doesn’t have to win them but if she improves, she certainly could win.

    6. It is interesting that people like Steve Bannon and Willie Brown have been pumping up Hillary

    7. Call me crazy but I think it is not nothing that Tom Steyer has qualified for the November debate. He qualified before Andrew Yang did. Sure he spent a lot of money on early states but Delaney has also blown a lot of money for his campaign and Yang has the benefit of a ton of free, mostly online, media.

  28. Talha says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    Speaking of polls (this is off topic but related to that one Saudi post you did)… I recently asked a question on Twitter among the Muslims I know on whether Saudi Arabia and its (internal and external) policies are a net positive for Islam and the Ummah or a net negative. Just posed a simple question and I didn’t lead them in any direction. The results I got were 125 votes:

    Net positive – 13%
    Net negative – 70%
    It evens out – 17%

    Another brother posting on UNZ said this was right along his experience as well.

    If my poll is representative (obviously it’s not a professional one and the sample size is small), we Muslims are far more negative on Saudi than any other US demographic. That says a lot about how much foreign policy influence Muslims have in the US – again, if the results are actually representative.

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
  29. @The Alarmist

    Let me state right up front that it is painful to think down to the level of indoctrination I have to unpack and refute to explain what is actually going on here.

    Yep, the extra 7% or so of Solar energy the Southern Hemisphere gets each year

    It actually doesn’t.  It gets about 6% more intense sunlight at the peak of its summer, but southern summer doesn’t last as long; Earth is moving faster in its orbit then.  From the spring to fall equinox (2019) is 20 March 21:59 to 23 Sep 07:50 (GMT), roughly 186.5 days.  That is more than half a year, and what prevents snow/ice from accumulating is the number of hours above freezing.  More longer summer days offsets sheer but brief warmth.

    Hours above freezing affect northern ice disproportionately because the northern hemisphere has huge amounts of circumpolar land.  The southern hemisphere has almost no land close to the antarctic circle save Antarctica itself; all the ocean surface receives heat transfer from points north.

    explains why Antarctic ice pack is growing while Arctic ice pack is diminishing … wait … what?

    Okay, let’s unpack this.  Why are you talking about Antarctic ice pack (sea ice) when the critical measure is grounded ice, aka glaciers?

    Antarctic ice pack is big because Antarctica is losing 275 cubic kilometers of glacial ice to the sea every year.  The Larsen B and A ice shelves are gone, and the erosion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is well under way and may be irreversible.  Every bit of grounded glacial ice which becomes floating ice raises sea levels whether it melts or not.  Archimedes would have understood this; if you can’t because of your indoctrination, you literally have less of a clue than someone who lived over 2000 years ago.

    That is as much pain as I can tolerate this evening.  I’m posting and quitting this thread until later Friday.

  30. It appears normal to assume that others have the same ability.

    Anyone with a passing curiosity in basic science should be able to answer them correctly if he devotes a little time to indulging his curiosity, something he and virtually every other person partaking in the survey–male or female, white or not–could have done for free from his cell phone at any time, from anywhere. That’s how I was able to ace the quiz, and I suspect that’s how you were able to as well.

    I assumed you had aced the quiz in a minute or two, without resorting to “open book.”

    I figure that anyone with a modicum of science background found it easy, while realizing that English Lit or Wymyns Studies majors (and other dimwits) would struggle. I guess it never even occurred to me that someone would bother looking up the answers if they didn’t already know them; it’s a silly little quiz, the results of which are meaningless.

    Miles Mathis’ critique of Modernity might actually shed light here:

    Only in modern Western societies do average people read and recite and believe that people are equal. And it is this belief that feeds their insecurity. They read that they are supposed to be as good as the next guy, but they can see with their own eyes that the next guy is prettier or more clever or taller or thinner or richer or plays the banjo better or makes funnier jokes or beats them at badminton. If they weren’t force fed a constant line of equality, they could pass these things off as the way of nature. But because they were weaned on equality, raised on equality, and daily drowned in equality, they must think something is very wrong with them. According to equality, they should be able to learn the piano with ease, achieve a scratch handicap in a matter of weeks, and earn six figures with little effort: by putting post-it notes on the refrigerator and chanting the correct twelve-step mantras each night before bed. When these things inevitably fail, they feel very pathetic indeed. Not unequal, but truly cursed and clueless. Someone with average ability might be expected to fail at difficult endeavors, but since everyone is believed to have an infinite capability, only the misguided and misplaced could fail.

    I think this explains why anyone would “study” to ace this quiz.

  31. @RSDB

    Answer this quickly:

    A bat and ball together cost $1.10 and the bat costs a dollar more than the ball.

    What does the ball cost?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Most people will get this wrong. I could also ask how many 1″ cubes does it take to build a 2″ cube. Lots of people get this wrong. Our brains are funny things.

    • Replies: @RSDB
    , @Hippopotamusdrome
  32. @Mr. Rational

    We really do have “two cultures”, and the left’s needs to be ruthlessly stamped out or civilization will not survive.

    Naw…just make the other culture’s members fly exclusively on aircraft engineered by, built by, maintained by and flown by their fellow members.

    Problem. Solved.

  33. @Intelligent Dasein

    Technology is not some permanent advance down a fixed line, but the side effect of a particular willing and desiring, outside of which it decays like the corpse without a soul.

    Paraphrasing your line: Human experience is not tautological. Sadly, people high and low believe it is, which is part of why the future promises to become quite difficult at some point.

  34. RSDB says:
    @dc.sunsets

    5c and 8?

    I’ve seen the first one before, but it’s generally intended as a trick question.

  35. The first one isn’t intended to be a “trick question.” It’s a useful illustration of the two basic systems of cognition in use by human beings. I took it directly out of Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.

    In my view, it’s highly relevant to life to grasp that our minds do not work as we think they work, and that there are defects in our cognitive processes against which we must be on guard. Digging further into this (than does Kahneman) is fertile soil for understanding personal and interpersonal challenges many of us face.

    The latter question is my fav for thinking about abstractions. A lot of people answer 4. They don’t automatically “see” the four 1″ cubes in back, so to speak. One person I asked had a novel (to me) way to arrive at the right answer; being a math-oriented person he simply did 2^3 . He’s a mechanical engineer, so I guess that’s understandable.

    Some flowers fade quickly.
    Roses are flowers.
    Some roses fade quickly.

    According to Kahneman, 80% of college freshmen sampled found this syllogism valid (although obviously it is not.)

    Again, recognizing the errors of cognition to which we are innately prone is, in my view, useful.

    • Replies: @RSDB
  36. @dc.sunsets

    I agree, DC, and I’d have aced it in that minute and a half, if it hadn’t recorded my answer wrong on that genetics question (maybe I fat-fingered it, but then it highlighted my pick, so ??).

    This is why you can’t bet people easily on things that you both are sure you are right on anymore. I lost 20 bucks to my wife for saying California was bigger in area than Japan. I knew it’d be close, but I thought I knew, and was wrong. The thing is, my wife was right there and not touching her phone. Lots of the time, people start reaching for the phone, well before “yeah, you sure about that? $20 says you’re wrong.”

    It’s a shame, because there’s no money in knowing details anymore. I wonder what is the effect of these “smart” phones are on people’s long-term memory capacity.

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  37. RSDB says:
    @dc.sunsets

    It’s a “trick”, arguably, because it is expected given the qualifier “quickly” not to think the question through, not because, as in other sorts of trick question, there is not really a right answer. That there is value in studying the ways people can be tricked or can trick themselves isn’t something I’m denying.

    Yes, engineers understand powers of 2, and sometimes apply them even when inapplicable, though I’m a little surprised that that would be the default for a mech. e. specifically –though then again a mech. e. would probably think about volumes of things more than I would.

    Two more questions of the same kind here (possibly also from Kahnemann? I haven’t read him so don’t know): http://hertzlinger.blogspot.com/2006/01/cognitive-reflection-test-and-william.html

    I lost 20 bucks to my wife for saying California was bigger in area than Japan.

    Isn’t it?

    I wonder what is the effect of these “smart” phones are on people’s long-term memory capacity.

    There was a similar debate about writing and partisans of the oral tradition certainly had good points. Certainly a certain degree of thinking for oneself is replaced by thinking through others; for example, there are any number of engineering graduates who would have difficulty with a non-trivial integral. Is this lost capacity being reapplied to questions of a more difficult nature? I’d like to think so, but I don’t.

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  38. @Achmed E. Newman

    It’s a shame, because there’s no money in knowing details anymore. I wonder what is the effect of these “smart” phones are on people’s long-term memory capacity.

    That’s not the problem.

    The problem is, we now have a world full of people who (1) think that because they can “look it up” instantly, they are literally all-knowing, and (2) because those same people don’t realize just how much mis- and dis-information, not to mention OUTRIGHT LIES, exist throughout the Web.

    What is worse, knowing you are ignorant or thinking you know when the knowledge you embrace is false?

    Today on the Web you can find “support” (aka rationalizations) for every single mutually incompatible notion that exists. This is not a means of discovering truth, it’s a prescription for ideological warfare that will not cease until it piles dead bodies to the sky.

    Even George Orwell couldn’t have imagined a Ministry of Truth where instead of the Memory Hole we just have a delete key, followed by system refresh. Perhaps the most wicked form of propaganda imaginable is Wikipedia, where falsehood can replace truth with a few keystrokes, and “power editors” (shadowy figures who camp on “their” pages) are the editors of what is True and Real.

    Just so as I’m plain: Truth and Reality do not need editing (they require discovery.) FICTION needs editing.

    Never in history has there been a larger quotient of people who are not just ignorant (knowledge on much equals zero) they embrace anti-knowledge (the sum of their knowledge is a negative integer.) And in this environment we have various versions of democracy.

    Idiocracy was not a comedy. But everyone today knows that Brawndo is full of electrolytes.

    I’m reminded of an axiom: Fools are certain where the wise are cautious. Look around; we’re surrounded by people pounding the table in certainty.

    • Replies: @A123
  39. A123 says:
    @dc.sunsets

    The problem is, we now have a world full of people who (1) think that because they can “look it up” instantly, they are literally all-knowing,

    Also, “look it up” can generate a fact. But, it cannot generate understanding of interrelated facts. Better questions can be very hard to look up.

    Most brutal standardized test ever, the Engineer In Training [EIT]. Some years ago, you could bring textbooks with you. Without understanding… No chance.

    I don’t know what resources are allowed today.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  40. @RSDB

    Two more questions of the same kind here (possibly also from Kahnemann? I haven’t read him so don’t know): http://hertzlinger.blogspot.com/2006/01/cognitive-reflection-test-and-william.html

    At least the widget question is included by Kaheman. Possibly the lily pad one, too.

    I still disagree with your terms. This isn’t about who is reflective and who isn’t. If you buy Kahneman’s premise (I do) then this is literally about different parts of your brain, one of which is always on, and the other is invoked only when encountering computational difficulty.

    Have you ever driven somewhere and suddenly realized you don’t recall any of the last 5 minutes or 5 miles? Your System 1 cognitive system was running the show (and it doesn’t “do” time.) Ever been involved in something and suddenly realize that hours passed in an eye-blink. Ditto. System 1.

    All of this (and much more) has been elucidated in recent years. I find it fascinating, because I find that it explains so much about human behavior. For me, every human attribute exists on a spectrum of the possible, and each of us is genetically predisposed to exhibit our phenotype behavior on a segment of that spectrum. A massive part of this is the predisposition toward impulsivity. People clearly vary in this predisposition, and someone who is highly impulsive will struggle to live well across a host of life’s measures.

    To me, the impulsive mind is almost synonymous with System 1. Without training, it will see food and act to eat, see a sexually attractive person and act to have sex, be angered by insult or restriction and act to physically attack, etc. This is what we see (except the sex part) in small children whose System 1 is learning to hold a spoon and to control impulsive behaviors that are unhelpful. We now see lots of people who reach adulthood who have not properly tamed their impulses, and we’re surrounded by enabling behavior of our vices (which are impulsive actions taken with an expectation of pleasure/satisfaction/etc. but that predictably yield self-harm, e.g., gambling, hedonistic sex, intoxicant abuse, etc.) The state now even runs the Numbers Racket (rechristened the “Lottery”) and is expanding the list of approved ways to get STONED.

    I find today’s world grotesquely fascinating. Never have people been more encouraged to destroy themselves under the banner of “self-actualization.” Never has it been more useful to master one’s own impulsive mind, and to exert conscious control over what one allows one’s mind to think about. We master ourselves or we’re others’ slaves. Most people are slaves.

    Of course, this isn’t new. Reading about Roman times 2000 years ago suggests to me that many of the same problems people encounter today were around then, too. The masses with their versions of Sportsball (bread and circuses.) Sophistry was the dominant activity of the well-educated. Then as now, I think Stoicism offers a lot of value and is worthy of study. Just my 2 cents.

    • Replies: @RSDB
  41. @A123

    I could ask one of my kids. He passed his Professional Engineer exam a year or two ago…

    Smart kid.

  42. 216 says: • Website

    o/t

    We will be relegated…printed newsletters and postal money orders

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Audacious Epigone
  43. iffen says:
    @216

    We will be relegated…printed newsletters and postal money orders

    If this happens, will something irreplaceable be lost?

    • Replies: @216
  44. RSDB says:
    @dc.sunsets

    When did I say somebody was reflective and somebody else wasn’t? Certainly some people are more contemplative than others, but I don’t think I was getting at that.

    I don’t think the kind of impulses we have to master in life can by and large be put under the category of guesses at problems we don’t fully understand (which seems to me to be the mechanism behind these kinds of questions). Some certainly can, of course. (Though, of course, there’s a whole interesting category of theology along those lines.)

    Thanks for introducing these sorts of exercises in relation to those sorts of problems. Again, as I just said, I don’t think that one can draw a direct line from the one to the other– I mean, I know from my own life in general that my generally being at least average at doing these sorts of exercises does not mean much about my yielding or not to badly-directed impulses (again, in general)– though here I am getting rather too personal. But the analogy is, I think, a very good one and well explained.

    That said, I don’t really disagree very much at all with the rest of your essay, especially your conclusion.

    If frequent commenters Talha or Twinkie are reading this, I’d be interested in their comments also; that is, if the subject interests them at all.

  45. 216 says: • Website
    @iffen

    I’m not sure it will.

    Relying on BigTech platforms is untenable, and anyone that still uses them is IMO trying to have their cake and eat it.

    It would take major inversions of both antitrust and labor law to bring them to heel. Imagine where YouTube’s monopoly status is dependent on making content creators represented by SAG-AFTRA with a contract that forbade demonitization and partisan bans.

    The left won’t push to ban us from using obsolete technology, and that’s a blind spot our people should exploit.

    • Replies: @iffen
  46. AaronB says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    This is what is usually forgotten today whenever the word “technology” is mentioned, as in “why did this society develop this technology and these others did not?”. The answer is simply that their aims and purposes were not the same as ours.

    Finally, someone says the obvious.

  47. b1 + b2 = 1.1
    b2 + 1 = b1
    (b2 + 1) + b2 = 1.1
    b2 + b2 + 1 = 1.1
    2b2 + 1 = 1.1
    2b2 = .1
    b2 = .05
    Ball = $.05

    c1 = 1^3
    c2 = 2^3
    c1 = 1
    c2 = 8
    8 ÷ 1 = 8
    8 1″ cubes

  48. @dc.sunsets

    b1 + b2 = 1.1
    b2 + 1 = b1
    (b2 + 1) + b2 = 1.1
    b2 + b2 + 1 = 1.1
    2b2 + 1 = 1.1
    2b2 = .1
    b2 = .05
    Ball = $.05

    c1 = 1^3
    c2 = 2^3
    c1 = 1
    c2 = 8
    8 ÷ 1 = 8
    8 1″ cubes

  49. @Intelligent Dasein

    This is what is usually forgotten today whenever the word “technology” is mentioned, as in “why did this society develop this technology and these others did not?”. The answer is simply that their aims and purposes were not the same as ours.

    You forgot “abilities”.  A society which has gone down a religious, moral, conceptual or mathematical blind alley will be unable to develop anything lying beyond the possibilities of that alley.  Ditto a society composed of people whose capabilities or intellectual toolkits are simply not up to the task of satisfying their desires, no matter what their purposes are (think “Green New Deal” here).

    Leonardo da Vinci drew ornithopters and helicopters, but he could not have built a successful flying machine because he did not understand torque and conservation of angular mometum.  He was a genius, but his toolkit was inadequate to the task and he did not have the specific gifts to expand it.  No matter what his aims were, he couldn’t have gotten as far as a flying machine.

    Ditto the Victorians trying to develop television.  They needed at least one each of a Maxwell and DeForest, who weren’t available.  Being open to discovery is probably the biggest factor in technological and scientific advancement… and Western Man is definitely the best at it.

    Just one more way that the White Man makes everyone else feel inferior.  At least it’s deserved.

  50. iffen says:
    @216

    Relying on BigTech platforms is untenable, and anyone that still uses them is IMO trying to have their cake and eat it.

    I agree but with qualification. BigTech is a crucial component of the “enemy.” We should use it until we can’t, and then switch to our back-up plan that is in place and ready to go because we knew that it would be needed at some point. I have pointed out before that it seems that it is an indication of ignorance to complain that the Borg is censoring me and won’t help me bring itself down.

    I am sensitive to your use of “us” and “our.” I take it that you are referencing the menagerie of alts, dissidents, iconoclasts, and the disillusioned. I am disappointed that you seem to blanket “the left” as the enemy.

  51. @Rosie

    Not while taking the survey, but beforehand. People who are generally curious will have stumbled upon the answers to most or all of these questions over time.

  52. @Talha

    Very encouraging. If only you could get a hold of a larger megaphone.

    • Replies: @Talha
  53. @dc.sunsets

    I didn’t need to verify anything online.

    My point was that to the extent that there are any barriers to obtaining this sort of basic knowledge, they are cultural and/or to some extent biological. They have nothing to do with ‘systemic oppression’ or any other such nonsense.

  54. @216

    Who is this person?

    • Replies: @216
  55. 216 says: • Website
    @Audacious Epigone

    Patrick of AIM formerly known as Id. Evropa

  56. Talha says:
    @Audacious Epigone

    It’s tough. Again, a lot of the reason Muslims are mute about Saudi publicly has to do with the fact that they have control of the Holy Sanctuaries – they can deny you rights to perform Hajj or visit the Prophet (pbuh). This is very real; I know this is a major reason why I wouldn’t ever give a sermon on Friday lambasting them in a large mosque, I still need to take my wife and kids to the Hajj.

    If they were some place like Bangladesh or Libya or Senegal – no problems.

    Again, major reason why I would love for Turks and Pakistanis (or someone) to toss the Saudis out of (at least) the Hijaz region.

    https://5pillarsuk.com/2019/08/04/qatar-accuses-saudi-arabia-of-denying-hajj-pilgrims-visas/

    Peace.

  57. @Intelligent Dasein

    A man whose interest in science is largely pecuniary (as is the case with many engineers) or a result of hurt religious feelings (like most science popularizers) may acquire command of a huge body of “facts,” but he will never understand any of them in their depth, nor will he make a real scientist himself. Whereas a man with the virtue of knowledge will be able to say interesting things about any field even if he is largely ignorant of the quotidian details.

    So very true.

    Thus a Richard Dawkins (a supreme example of your “scientific popularizer”), undoubtedly burdened with thousands of misunderstood facts, writes book after book, each repeating the same sophomoric message that the “selfish gene” proves that there is no God, while a Benedict XVI, who has learned none of these facts, nevertheless once averted to them, understands immediately that they cannot mean what Dawkins wants them to mean because, all too simply, they have no relevance whatsoever to the question at hand.

    Thus someone with the virtue of knowledge will laugh at the physicist who scornfully denies transubstantiation because “modern physics has taught us that the structure of bread is not as the medieval mind supposed it”. He will know all about those discoveries of modern physics, but he is incapable of knowing, or learning, the difference between the physical and the metaphysical.

    And he who sees a dog and sees no more than a unit of a particular species has not seen a dog at all, but only a picture in a book.

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