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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

Negotiating the Curve
by Steve Sailer, December 26, 2018

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a prodigious intellectual who has managed to build a significant following with his books on investing and “tail risk,” such as The Black Swan and Skin in the Game. Yet he’s never quite gotten Watsoned out of polite society for his variegated crimethinking. All this despite a cantankerous personality, especially since he has taken up weightlifting and the testosterone has really gotten flowing.

Born in Lebanon to a ruling-class Christian family that was hurt by the horrific civil war of 1975–1990, Taleb, constantly worrying about what could possibly go disastrously wrong, is by nature a man of the right.

In contrast, Taleb’s intellectual archrival, rock-star Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, an optimist who believes that every day in every way the world is getting better and better, would appear to be innately a man of the left.

But things are more complicated than that. Pinker, for example, is an outspoken advocate of the politically incorrect science of IQ and heredity.

Read the whole thing there.

And here are some Twitter exchanges from after I sent in my Taki’s essay early Christmas Eve morning:

Here is a link to La Griffe du Lion’s essays. La Griffe is kind of the anti-Taleb, showing just how much insight into current affairs you can wring out of the basic concept of the bell curve.

By the way, does anybody know of any studies of running speed among children using representative samples rather than high end samples?

 
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  1. Clyde says:

    Émile Coué – every day in every way the world is getting better and better

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @bomag
  2. Ibound1 says:

    The names Taleb and Pinker give them some defense against accusations of crime think. Had their names been Holmes and Watson (or Sailer) I don’t think they would in as secure a position. However, considering the recent fuss over the “women’s march”, Pinker should be looking to his left. Although he certainly could eviscerate any of the “women’s march” leaders in a debate, their accusations do not depend on logic or facts. It is enough they give their exalted opinions.

    • Replies: @Avery
    , @rbbe Brod
  3. Not sure you should write so much about Blacks being fast.

    There’s a belief around here that Blacks are inherently more violent-HBD! But if it’s simply a matter of Blacks being fast then it may not be a matter of inherency so much as a matter of Blacks being able to escape (and knowing they can-environment/game theory). See also: the tendency of violent crime being highly concentrated among young males in general.

    As the old joke goes about campers being attacked chased by a bear. One of the campers says ‘wait we can’t outrun a bear’. In reply the other camper say ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.’

    • Replies: @Anonym
    , @Neil Templeton
  4. NNT seems to have been possessed by the spirit of the late, great Stephen Jay Gould. Temporarily, I hope.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  5. Why does Steve Pinker escape general opprobrium? Maybe appearance has a lot to do with it. He is a fair-haired boy, or, in the lyrics of a 200-year-old pop song, a “holder Knabe mit lockigem Haar” (dear boy with curly hair); see the painting in
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stille_Nacht,_heilige_Nacht

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Edward
  6. You have hit the high IQ bullshitter on the point of his chin. To win your arguments, you must be right, which means your foundation sustains further weight. The bullshitter builds no foundation and his argument depends on keeping up his speed on thin ice. The arguments become more and more wretched and hysterical.

    • Agree: Luke Lea
  7. utu says:

    Very successful Lebanese gest 3 1/2 years in prison
    https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/12/11/alain-kaloyeros-suny-poly-sentence/2207459002/

    Kaloyeros, a Beirut native, immigrated to the United States from war-torn Lebanon to study graduate-level physics, ultimately earning his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    He rose to prominence in New York as the brains behind the 1.65 million-square-foot Albany NanoTech Complex, which houses employees and researchers from some of the giants of the nanotechnology industry.

    Known for his flashy and brash personality, Kaloyeros earned more than $1 million a year from SUNY Poly and the SUNY Research Foundation. His role also expanded to include management of high-tech facilities in Utica and Rochester, including the AIM Photonics Center.

  8. fmillik says:

    My younger brother is a lot smarter than I am. In fact, he is probably the smartest person I know. National Merit Scholar, full-scholarship to college and grad school merely on his SAT and GRE scores, etc. He also lived in my basement a few years after grad school, after living in our Grandmother’s basement, and my parent’s, and my older brother’s…

    Also, a lot of very smart guys were Communists and nearly killed everyone they came into contact with.

    So, though I am somewhere around 130, and he is closer to 145+, and his command of knowledge and information is stunning, it hasn’t done him a lot of good 😉

    • Agree: Philip Owen
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Simply Simon
    , @J.Ross
  9. Neither Sailer nor Taleb can deadlift 500 pounds.

    Some guy named David Pinsen, familiar to Unz Review readers, can deadlift 500 pounds.

    I bet I can deadlift more than Teddy Cruz. But there is no way in Hell I could ever deadlift 500 pounds.

  10. Yes, a lot of these high-SAT charlatans do very well financially by staying clear of the implications of racial differences in the distribution of genetic personality traits, such as but not limited to intelligence. My impression of even Pinker is that he goes into his tush-covering mode when it comes to talking too explicitly about racial differences in this distribution, though his arguments for genetic determination imply these are likely to be real.
    And then there’s Michio Kaku, a genuine smart guy, prodigious bookseller and TV interview dazzler. Kaku was doing experiments with anti-matter in high school, went to Harvard and eventually became head of the physics department at NYU.
    I am reading Kaku’s, “The Future Of The Mind,” which is interesting, if a bit vain about Kaku’s invention of a new definition of consciousness. But when he touches on IQ he says only: 1) no one knows what it is, 2) it’s probably irrelevant to success in life because one early study by Terman eventually found it did not matter much, 3) delaying gratification as indicated by the gold-standard marshmallow test matters much more for life outcomes, and 4) anyway, we will be able to improve people’s brains with new technologies coming in the future.
    So, meanwhile, relax and shut up, and let Kaku rake in the applause and dough.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  11. eded says:

    “His only objection to the book was that Herrnstein and Murray hadn’t gone far enough.”

    Steve, what exactly did your psychometrician acquaintance mean by this criticism of The Bell Curve? What did he feel they left out?

    • Replies: @gregor
  12. Avery says:
    @Ibound1

    {The names Taleb……}

    You are partly right: ‘Taleb’ sounds vaguely Muslim (…Taliban), so he is somewhat protected.
    Most people do not know Nassim is Christian.
    Most people do not know Lebanon was a majority Christian nation not too long ago.

    If it became widely known Nassim is Christian, his Teflon coating would evaporate, and he’d be savaged.

    • Replies: @Ibound1
    , @Anonymous
  13. Marty says:

    I actually remember the results of the 50-yard dash timing in 7th grade at my public school just outside SF in 1970. There were about 20 boys, one of whom was black. The black kid ran 6.5, and nobody else broke 6.9. That summer, in a prequel to the Sprewell incident, that black kid slapped the white coach of our. Pony League all-star team across the face, when he got yelled at for one-handing everything.

    • Replies: @nglaer
    , @Suburban_elk_15
  14. Sean says:

    Robert Plomin’s book

    According to the majority view of intelligence researchers, the core of intelligence is the ability ‘the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience’.

    Plomin says IQ is an “outdated concept” and I suppose Pinker was arguing along the lines of polgenic scores. Taleb hates Pinker, who complained in an interview that Taleb sought him out and started berating him at a wedding they were both invited to. I suppose Taleb is a little hazy on IQ and spoiling for a fight with Pinker, but I wonder If you are on the same page with Plomin and Pinker.

    John Gray (burly, northern working class origin, animadvertor of John Rawles) the retired British philosopher is a huge fan of Taleb’s. Gray also has had bruising clashes of ideas with Pinker . In his 1998 book John Gray was very dubious about the global financial system delivering or even surviving. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/nov/01/false-dawn-john-gray

    In his recent book Pinker eulogizes human ability to get along, scoffing at all the top scientists of the Cold War era who thought nuclear weapons use was inevitable and that nuclear war explained the Fermi paradox. While it turned out that nuclear powers were progressively less keen to get as good as they gave in a nuclear exchange, the paradox remains unsolved. Apart from his dubious assertion that the loyalty to nation states is not a human nature because it was a concept that only came into being with the 17th century Treaty of Westphalia, even some some historians claim that admittedly. The real reason that Pinker has lost a lot of credibility with me because he thinks super AI will not be dangerous as we would have to make it like humans (specifically male humans) for it to be malevolent.

    Bertrand Russel and John von Neumann wanted America to use its nuclear monopoly to demand the surrender of Russia’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Maybe that urging the US to use it or lose it was counter enlightenment Nietzschianism a la Bannon or group selection rather than gene centred selection, but quite possibly if may have been quite logical in a very real sense that only super-brains (and computers) can understand. And Pinker has no explanation for the Fermi paradox except that we are unique in the history of the Universe which is a pretty anthropomorphic cosmological conclusion.

  15. EH says:

    There is reason to be a bit skeptical of IQ, as such. That is, measuring the rarity of a trait relative to a population of a certain age, as IQ does, is not the same as actually measuring the trait. Intelligence can be measured on a proper scale where each point is the same width (allowing + and -) and there is a true zero (allowing multiplication and division.) This “Rasch” intelligence scale also measures the difficulty of questions, so that you have a 50-50 chance of getting a question right that has the same difficulty score as your intelligence score. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the possibility of measuring intelligence must also believe that questions’ mental difficulty is also unmeasurable.

    With regular IQ, measuring standard deviations on an assumed (and incorrectly thin-tailed) normal distribution of intelligence , one can’t say, as Taleb does, that one person has 5% higher intelligence. With the Rasch alternate scores used on the Stanford-Binet and Woodcock-Johnson IQ tests, there is a true zero score, so one can say one person is 5% smarter than another. On a Rasch scale an average 10-year old is defined to have a score of 500. A 130 IQ adult college professor would have a score of 525, 5% greater. The standard deviation after age 12 or so is only about 8.5 points Rasch score. The highest score seen in norming the SB5 was 592, over 9 s.d. out, though, showing very fat tails compared to the normal distribution. (~IQ 245 should be very unlikely to have ever occurred, they found one in a group of a few thousand people).

    The gap between the college professor and the 592 scorer is about the same as between the professor and the average Black four year-old child.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  16. Andy says:

    I usually read and agree with Taleb’s opinions on twitter, but on the IQ issue he really embarrassed himself. Not only was he misinformed, but, for someone who like to advertise himself as unafraid to speak controversial issues, here he seemed to be afraid to break with the conventional blank slate view

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  17. @Tiny Duck

    And we all know what should be done with White men!

    Combat, Glory, the Loot of Empire. What’s not to like?

  18. @Charles Pewitt

    Weightlifting achievements really don’t impress me more than football or basketball achievements.

    Interestingly enough, the sport of wrestling, at least in America, has never been totally taken over by non-whites.

    Wrestling is for the hardest of men.

  19. A lot of high IQ guys have successfully lied their way around the facts, though.

  20. Anon[214] • Disclaimer says:

    Because Taleb has a much higher IQ than I have, the only way I can win an argument with him is by being right.

    Sailer proved Taleb’s point. IQ is overrated. On this matter, Taleb is intelligent-but-idiot whereas Sailer is idiot-but-intelligent.

    For truth, we need III or intelligence, information, integrity. IIIQ is the true measure of truth.

    Taleb has intelligence but could be missing either information or integrity on this issue.

    • Disagree: Cloudbuster
    • Replies: @Sean
  21. JimDandy says:

    iSteve is a national treasure. My one complaint with his writing (it’s actually more of a bemused observation that a complaint) is the way he ends his columns. It often seems as if he reaches a point where he thinks, “Ok, I’ve said pretty much what I wanted to say, and now I’m craving a sandwich,” and then just hits SEND and walks away from the computer. I’m a big fan of a punchy last line. You know, THE ZINGER. Well, Steve, you’ve finally done it. This is a great leap forward for you as a columnist. Kudos!

  22. Coag says:

    So according to his tweetstorm Taleb thinks IQ is overrated because he knows a lot of high IQ quants who got taken to the woodshed in the 2008 crash. I suspect the primary reason high-IQ deniers of IQ deny IQ is that they aren’t personally acquainted with enough people of average-to-low IQs to really intuit the real limitations of having lower IQs. Their only experience with humanity are their camaraderie with their high-IQ friends, and from reading anthropological dossiers, written by high-IQ academics, on how people with low-IQ are made so by racism, colonialism, test anxiety, the bigotry of low expectations, epigenetic stress, junk food, and any number of such tragic misfortunes. If that’s the only patterns of mankind you ever encounter then of course your genius-IQ pattern recognizing brain will spit out such dreck. If they will leave their high-IQ social circle and spend more of their time among the real range of humanity Nicholas Nassem and others might finally feel in their bones the realities that statistics so concisely convey.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  23. nglaer says:
    @Marty

    I remember that too, in Marin County in 1964. A legacy of some Kennedy initiative about physical fitness. I remember my time as well–7.4. I recall it whenever I see a timed stoplight as a pedestrian and have to calculate how far I have to go in how much time. As this was Marin County, there were no black kids.

    • Replies: @Charles Pewitt
    , @Marty
    , @Dan
  24. fnn says:

    With humor in the West groaning under the weight of PC oppression, Muslim Egypt has unexpectedly become the comedy capital of the world:
    https://news.sky.com/story/egypts-president-accused-of-fat-shaming-in-obesity-rant-11591143

    Egyptians have been cracking jokes on social media after the Egyptian president went on a 20-minute televised rant complaining about the country’s obesity crisis.

    Authoritarian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi went on his second tirade against obesity in as many months when health minister Hala Zayed presented new numbers on the weight of Egyptians on Saturday.

    Interrupting her, he asked, “Why are we doing this to ourselves?”

    President Sisi said he sometimes sees people and thinks: “Why is she not taking care of herself?” and “can you walk like that?”

    In response, people have been sharing jokes online – including an image of a woman being taken away by a police officer while saying: “What’s wrong? I only gained two kilos.”

    Another joke told of people in a car sucking in their bellies as they approached a police checkpoint.

    One joke featured a man asking to hide at a friend’s house from police until he loses weight, and another showed a man informing on his overweight wife to the authorities.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  25. eric says:

    Why do you think Taleb is so smart? He’s very confident and portrays himself as an expert in things his audience is expert at. Thus, to traders he’s an academic while to academics he’s a trader. He takes credit for all sorts of prescience, but it’s all unverified and anecdotal. For example, he called the failure of Fannie Mae but warned about interest rate risk, not credit risk, so he was right for the wrong reason. He’s always calling for something unexpected to happen, so when it does, he takes credit, but that’s extremely disingenuous. Of course, he notes these failures very well in other people (eg, Joe Stiglitz), but that’s because he embodies all the vices he most loudly denounces (eg, sophistry, cliche advice, hindsight bias).

  26. The Z Blog says: • Website

    I good thing to keep in mind when reading Taleb is that a great many Lebanese Christians struggle with how Lebanon is not Italy or even Israel. I know a fair number of of them and the failure of Lebanon to get off the mat is a shadow that hangs over them. This is especially true of those in the middle years. It has become popular of late for Lebanese to call themselves Phoenicians, which is a way to re-link with prior greatness.

  27. Anonym says:
    @anony-mouse

    There’s a belief around here that Blacks are inherently more violent-HBD! But if it’s simply a matter of Blacks being fast then it may not be a matter of inherency so much as a matter of Blacks being able to escape (and knowing they can-environment/game theory). See also: the tendency of violent crime being highly concentrated among young males in general.

    As the old joke goes about campers being attacked chased by a bear. One of the campers says ‘wait we can’t outrun a bear’. In reply the other camper say ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.’

    So blacks should really like camping then, right?

    • Replies: @Anonym
  28. Anonym says:
    @Anonym

    You assert multiple times that Taleb is smarter than you are. What is your evidence for it, or are you just making a joke?

    • Replies: @anon
  29. Main thing to remember is that “politically incorrect” does not mean that you are wrong.

  30. anon[166] • Disclaimer says:

    I think saying “Black Swans = Outliers” glosses over the real meaning.

    His argument is more epistemological: the shit your modeling ain’t even Gaussian.

    In many real life situations, you don’t know and can’t know, the deep dark recesses of the space your variable inhabits–because you’ve never seen anything like it. Similar to Rumsfeld’s unknown-unknowns or how you can’t prove a negative.

    I think Black Swans are more applicable to finance than additive genetic variance.

  31. @nglaer

    As this was Marin County, there were no black kids.

    I had never heard of Marin County until Sean Penn moved his family out there after his wife was carjacked by some Black criminals. I presume they were Black because one of them had the first name of Dackery.

    Trump and Jared Kushner and Michelle Alexander and Carter Stewart want to let Black criminals and other criminals out of jail because incarceration and imprisonment are against the so-called “human rights” of criminals.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  32. It seems banal and obvious that the only reason Taleb hates the idea of IQ is that it makes the last crash understandable. Low IQ Hispanics and Blacks created a mountain of debt which ended with an economic avalanche. This goes against his magical “Black Swan” hand-waving nonsense.

    • Replies: @HA
    , @The Cruncher
  33. Yak-15 says:

    The most dramatic argument against disparate impact and racism causing stubborn IQ differences is the profound commonality of these differences throughout the United States. If racism was the cause, surely one would see differing levels of gaps (or the total lack of gaps) based upon the relative levels of racism. Some locations, clearly, are more “racist” than others while others lend more help to poor blacks.

    The fact that we see little difference in educational/etc outcomes is emblematic of the reality that the causes are likely genetic factors. In fact, it’s even more telling, as Sailer notes, that some of the most liberals cities on earth with the most aid for poor blacks (Madison, Palo Alto, Berkley, Evanston, etc), have the largest scoring/outcome gaps.

  34. You’re obviously right about IQ and made that argument well, but you should get rid of your half baked speculation about the Black Swan. For one thing, the title has a much more specific meaning and is more evocative than Outliers. It’s not merely about rare events, but the inherent problems that the human mind has in understanding and weighing risk of these Black Swans (the title refers to the fact that no one had the mental category of “black swan” until they were discovered in Australia).

    More importantly, while I sympathize with the point you’re trying to make about the mortgage crisis, you are completely wrong that it was an example of Mediocristan. The issue was the many trillions of dollars of exposure to MBS, not the mortgages themselves. How is it that a slew of bad mortgages in shitholes like Inland Empire nearly brought down the entire global economy and financial system? Especially when arguing with someone as smart and combative as Taleb, you want to be disciplined and stick to what you really know. Many people who actually understand Taleb’s work will dismiss you when they get to that half-assed free association that reveals you don’t get his point about tail risk, and stop reading before they get to the part where you have the facts on your side.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  35. Rich says:

    Taleb makes some good points, I’d say anyone with an IQ over 100 has a decent chance of being successful. It’s when you got below 95, that things start getting tough in our modern society. Doesn’t mean a guy with a 90 can’t work hard and outearn everyone, just means he’s going to have to be a real grinder.

    My experience with those in the high IQ area, say 130 or better, has also been somewhat varied. I’ve known super geniuses who could barely hold a conversation, got mixed up in drugs or still haven’t finished that novel. If high IQ people get steered the right way, they can be very successful, but those that aren’t, have a harder time than the guy with the 90 IQ.

    • Replies: @gcochran
  36. anonymous[584] • Disclaimer says:

    1. In which we learn taleb is WAY better at book titles: outliers is a garbage title unless the author himself is the brand, and Black Swan is an awesome title. Half-blood prince was a cataclysmically poor title for your book and I can’t believe your friends let you get away with it.

    2. I’ve mentioned this before but there is something weird going on with blacks having a hard wall in super elite high IQ. it’s not explained by normal distribution imo. There aren’t *few* blacks in math/physics/philosophy/computer science/chess, there are *none.* Like you said, Barack Obama was famous for being above average at Harvard law school. Another good example would be Neil Degrasse Tyson, who was famous in *high school* for wanting to be a black scientist and he was recruited for college like he was lebron James. Carl Sagan, probably one of the three or so most famous American scientists at the time, personally begged him to go to Cornell. He went to Harvard for undergrad and then tried to get a PhD in astrophysics–so presumably his interest in science was not feigned–but he failed out of grad school miserably. After being kicked out of his first program he went elsewhere and received a PhD but was never allowed to actually do any astrophysics (no scope time, no papers).

    John McWhorter is a smart black professor. But even he does non-technical linguistics. He wouldn’t have interested, say, Noam Chomsky, who relied on “recent breakthroughs in mathematics” to create abstract theories of syntax and has stuff named after him in computer science: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chomsky_hierarchy

  37. @Clyde

    Émile Coué – every day in every way the world is getting better and better

    Or, he was mocked, in America of all places, “Hells bells! I’m well!”

    Personally, I think Pangloss was right, and a pessimist. This is the best of all possible worlds. Suck it up and live with it!

    • Replies: @DFH
  38. Corvinus says:

    I imagine Taleb will respond to Mr. Sailer’s Taki article. Will it be reprinted here on unz.com?

  39. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Avery

    If it became widely known Nassim is Christian, his Teflon coating would evaporate, and he’d be savaged.

    No, he wouldn’t. It’s because he’s Middle Eastern.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    , @Lowe
  40. @Twinkie

    Is that actually him?

    Yes, that’s David Pinsen deadlifting 500 pounds.

    Holley Mangold, sister of an NFL player, can deadlift 600 pounds.

    NFL linemen must be able to deadlift about 800 or a 1000 pounds or so.

    I bet I could deadlift 200 pounds without any training. Might severely injure myself trying to deadlift 200 pounds, but I’d try it.

  41. Twinkie says:
    @Henry Canaday

    But when he touches on IQ he says only: 1) no one knows what it is, 2) it’s probably irrelevant to success in life because one early study by Terman eventually found it did not matter much, 3) delaying gratification as indicated by the gold-standard marshmallow test matters much more for life outcomes, and 4) anyway, we will be able to improve people’s brains with new technologies coming in the future.

    Some people here fixate on single variables and can’t seem to formulate models of reality that are even mildly complex.

    In my life experience, “success” is usually a combination of IQ, conscientiousness, and, yes, luck. IQ and conscientiousness seem to be correlated, but not perfectly. Obviously when you play the law of the large numbers game, the effect of high IQ is apparent. But, again, it’s not everything.

    My IQ was tested at 159 as a child. I’ve done well economically, but I also know enough people with IQ probably around 115-130 range who are far richer than I am. While I was working on a Ph.D. (or getting shot at overseas), those guys were hustling for bucks. They cared and care about money far more than I ever did and, partly as a consequence, have much more of it than I do.

    • Replies: @TTSSYF
    , @bomag
  42. Similarly, all starting cornerbacks in the NFL have been black since Jason Sehorn retired after the 2003 season. That’s two cornerbacks times 15 seasons times 32 teams, or 960 out of 960 data points.

    That probably didn’t happen by luck.

    I agree that that does not sound like the sort of thing that would have happened by luck. However, it does sound exactly like the sort of thing that was deliberately engineered somehow.

    If you’re going to cite such a statistic as proof of superior heritable athleticism among Blacks, there are several implied premises to which you also must assent, such as these:

    1) The NFL is a pure meritocracy where only the most gifted athletes are awarded starting positions.

    2) The attributes of the athletes selected for are all quantifiable and physical in nature.

    3) These attributes are genetic and are all uniquely or at least predominately associated with a Black phenotype.

    Now, the problem with this is that we already know that, pace Woody Harrelson, White men can jump—and run, and catch footballs—and in general perform all of the functions that are expected of an NFL cornerback. They can do these things with greater or lesser degrees of proficiency in the individual case. But even if there is a slight rightward shift of the bell curve for Black running/jumping ability relative to the White curve, and even accounting for the fact that such a shift magnifies the ratios between the curves at the tails, the pool of White men to draw from is still simply enormous enough that the requisite number of White outliers is almost certain to exist. We should not have too much difficulty finding 960 White men—let alone one—who could match point-for-point all the physical characteristics of the NFL cornerbacks. To put the matter another way, assuming that the physical characteristics are the only salient selection criteria, there exists a potential all-White cornerback corps with which we could replace the NFL’s current all-Black corps, with no loss of talent whatsoever.

    That being the case, we can infer that something must be wrong with one or more of the above premises. I think it’s not hard to see that the NFL is not a pure meritocracy and that the selection of starting cornerbacks does not proceed on the sole basis of those physical attirbutes which you might assume would be most relevant to the game of football, whether heritable or not. Blacks are being selected not because they are the best, but because they are good enough and Black. There is a stealth Affirmative Action program underway to install Blacks into as many NFL slots as possible; and cornerback being one of those expendable positions where nothing but speed and leaps is really necessary, it is among the first positions to be made the bag-holder for the mandatory, ever-increasing quota of Black success stories.

    This is the real reason why Blacks are overrepresented in sports, music, and entertainment. It isn’t because they are better at these things; it is because some combination of patronizing pity, the Peter Principle, and Gresham’s Law simply allocates these spots to them. So long as a Black person is just good enough to succeed at something, he will be allowed to succeed at it without hindrance; and then whatever that “something” is will be elevated to the rank of a major accomplishment. It is as if we were to find the dimmest kids in school, who could excel at nothing but mud pie making, and then decided to dole out Nobel prizes for physics and mud pies. And given this situation, those kids who could excel at the intrinsically more demanding profession would, however unconsciously, begin to shy away from the mud pie prize as something beneath them, leaving that august field of endeavor to be more and more colonized by the group for whom it was the only one within reach.

    Thus, Black athletic success is the product not of “superior” Black genes but of that lordly White noblesse oblige that tries to include them in the ensemble picture of society despite all unfitness for the role, that works hard to find them something—anything—they can do and then, like a doting parent, praises them to the hilt for doing so with no regard to the actual value of the accomplishment; and all of this notwithstanding the fact that there are tribes of sprightly Ethiopians who seem to go bounding down the track like human pogo sticks. At this point the counterargument might be raised that an Olympic gold medal is such a desirable prize that surely there would be many White men who would pursue it to the utmost, and the fact that no White man has yet been found who can beat the 72 Black 100m dash finalists must be proof positive that none are capable of doing it. To this I would answer that doubtless there exists somewhere a White man who could do it, but the effort is no longer worth making. The pogo sticks have so completely claimed the short sprint territory that equivalent honors could be got with fewer pains by any White man with the thirst to pursue them. The question is not whether he could do so but why. Similarly, I could take over the nation of Haiti, or buy a dilapidated record store in Harlem, or wrestle a wild boar for possession of his wallow—but why would I want to?

    Inexorably, the can-but-don’t-have-to’s will yield particular regions to the can-and-only’s. After all, it seems only fair and I have no real desire that it should be otherwise. However, the logical issue of all the foregoing is that Whites must cease this condescending indulgence of Black “success” and embrace that lordly, separate, and aristocratic privilege which is their birthright.

  43. PTT says: • Website

    “How does Pinker avoid getting in trouble”? There’s a fairly vicious woman after him, and he may not come out of this with his glorious scalp intact.
    https://posttenuretourettes.wordpress.com/2018/12/26/how-does-pinker-avoid-getting-in-trouble/

  44. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:
    @fmillik

    He also lived in my basement a few years after grad school, after living in our Grandmother’s basement, and my parent’s, and my older brother’s…

    Like the brother in SERIOUS MAN. I know some very smart people who didn’t do much in life. Just didn’t have the right kind of personality. Either introverted or lacking in social skills. Or too lazy or unmotivated. Some really smart people are like dumb athletic types for whom it’s the NBA or bust. They are so fixated on becoming a star that everything else seems dead or boring. Some smart people feel that way. They want to be the next Bill Gates. While smart people can do pretty well, most will not become the next Gates. So, they just lose heart and would do nothing than have ‘something’ boring and dull.

    Also, you gotta be pushy to push ahead.

  45. @Twinkie

    Holley Mangold deadlifting 600 pounds and David Pinsen deadlifting 500 pounds might put in them same class as NFL linemen.

    An internet search reveals that NFL linemen aren’t deadlifting much more than Holley Mangold or David Pinsen.

    I sure hope that former NFL player Nick Mangold can deadlift more than his sister, Holley, because she’ll give him no end of grief if she can deadlift more weight than he can.

  46. mr. wild says:

    I just started a go at Taleb. I bought Black Swan for myself and Fooled by Randomness for my son. I’m most of the way through, and here’s what I see so far.

    There’s some interesting passages here and there, but he almost studiously in depth examples beyond general allusions to a few of his Black Swan events, usually in the tone of “except, of course, that curious September 11, 2001”. I’m not adverse to a catty writing style, but it just goes on and on like this. I’m still waiting the book to get into second gear. I feel like so far I’ve read a half dozen prefaces strung together.

    Born in Lebanon to a ruling-class Christian family that was hurt by the horrific civil war of 1975–1990, Taleb, constantly worrying about what could possibly go disastrously wrong……

    A good chunk of the writers that Steve profiles are variations on this theme. I wonder if he could propose a polite means of letting them know that sky is not following, or even if he can coin a term for this kind of projecting.

  47. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:

    How does Pinker avoid getting in trouble like DNA researcher James D. Watson or Pinker’s friend Larry Summers, former president of Harvard until he gave a Pinkerian talk on sex differences in IQ?

    Pinker speaks in generalities and keeps the discourse mostly within scholarly discourse.

    Summers got in trouble because he held an administrative position. So, his views weren’t merely scientific but ‘political’. As for Watson, it wasn’t so much what he said but how he said it. Had he surmised lower IQ among blacks, that would have been one thing. The way he worded it sounded ‘insensitive’. You can carefully prod the PC bear with a stick but never step on its tail.

    “Mediocristan,” and “Extremistan,” Normal and Abnormal are better.

    After the financial crash, The Black Swan was acclaimed for its insight. But wasn’t the mortgage meltdown that triggered the Great Recession a classic instance of Mediocristan? It wasn’t set off by, say, Trump Tower defaulting, but by a huge number of moderate-size defaults in the exurbs of heavily Hispanic states…

    Yes, but something abnormal was allowed to get out of control in what should have been Normal America. In a sane, normal, and balanced nation, such policy would have been rejected early on as risky and crazy. In a normal Middle-centric America, those with Middle Class means and middle class values should have owned homes(esp big ones). But the elites at the top sought to expand the Middle to what should normally have been treated as the Underclass. The underclass was artificially boosted to the Middle Class, and this gave the super-upper class an opportunity to play all sorts of financial games. So, even though the problem ballooned out of America among masses of mediocre folks, it couldn’t have happened without manipulation from those with extreme levels of power. Thus, the Normal became abnormal.

    Taleb knows the Middle East and he knows elite America. On some matters, he knows the media are lying because he knows the reality first hand. On the matter of blacks and sports, he may not know the facts firsthand and just rely on media. Most people tend to believe the media narrative unless they have first-hand knowledge of what is being discussed.

    On the matter of IQ, Taleb seems to be discussing the matter AMONG-SMART-PEOPLE. In other words, while IQ is accurate in separating the smart from the dumb, it’s not so good in separating the smart and remarkable from smart and unremarkable. So, if people who attend elite colleges have 130 IQ while those in community colleges have 100 IQ, surely even Taleb know people with 130 IQ have a decisive edge over those with 100 IQ. But what the IQ tests don’t show is WHICH 130 IQ people will do something special while other 130 IQ people do nothing.

    China’s traditional exam system did measure for mental ability, but it created generations of smart but useless minds that could never think outside the box. So, IQ tests for memory, analytical skills, and ability to learn/master proven knowledge. But does it measure the X-factor, the ‘black swan’ of intelligence, the creativity, originality, inspiration? The spark? Generally no. Lots of people who do well in IQ tests have nothing new or original to say. No spark. But then, stuff like IQ tests were not designed to find the rare genius but to identify in a generic way those with faster mental skills.

    We see this in sports as well. While basic athletic testing can tell the strong/fast/tough from the weak/slow/fragile, they have a harder time distinguishing the special athlete from mere athletes. There were many boxers who were fast and even stronger than Muhammad Ali. But they just didn’t have something he had. And, surely there were other ball players who were just as fast as Michael Jordan and could jump just as high. But he had something else that made him special. And this was truer of Larry Bird, who wasn’t that fast and couldn’t jump high. But he was an all-time great player.

    Taleb would have done better to agree that IQ tests are generally true and useful in telling the smart people from dumb people. Where they fail is in telling the special from merely smart. Lots of music majors in elite colleges know music inside out. They have musical understanding and skills. But most don’t have the spark to compose great music. So, while extra-smarts are important, they are not enough. IQ tests measure the ability to memorize and learn and figure problems. They don’t measure the ability to think anew and outside the box.

    Likewise, while it’s true that speed and strength are important in sports — those without speed and strength have no chance — , those measurements alone don’t tell us who will be the next star athlete in sports such as boxing, basketball, and etc. Now, some positions just call for brute size and strength, like offensive linemen. But to be a great receiver, one needs magic in one’s hands and an instinct for ‘reading’ the field ahead of rivals.

  48. Anon[121] • Disclaimer says:
    @eric

    Why do you think Taleb is so smart?

    He had a great run on twitter calling a whole bunch of people ‘intellectual but idiot’.
    Taleb’s shtick seems not to be that he is the smartest person in the room but the one with the means to look outside the box. So, while intelligence is a great asset, more intelligence applied to intelligence-that-doesn’t-think-outside-the-box is useless. A smart person who is PC isn’t going to be any better if his IQ is doubled if he remains inside the box.
    It’s like a batter isn’t going to be any better even if he’s made twice as strong if he only knows how to hit fast balls and never learns to how to deal with curve balls. No matter how strong he is made, he will miss every curve ball.

    • Replies: @gregor
  49. @fmillik

    Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Look what genius has produced, the atomic bomb and computers, just for a start. Be thankful your brother does not possess excess energy.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  50. Taleb knows it’s better to be rich than right.

    I admire Pinker for being smart enough to know how to be both rich and right – or at least to not live by lies.

  51. Marty says:
    @nglaer

    In ’67 I watched a Tam-SR football game in what must have been a 50-year downpour. Couldn’t tell if there were any blacks on the field.

  52. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Cochran vs. Taleb:

    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
  53. @eric

    I read his PhD thesis, which is a book for financial traders. I can easily believe he has a high IQ, despite having some issues you write.

    interest rate risk, not credit risk

    The Fed had been raising the rates for some time before the crisis. If it didn’t cause the sudden increase in delinquencies, it surely accelerated the process.

  54. Jmaie says:

    Why the heritability of IQ is even a question baffles me. Attractive people tend to produce attractive children. Athleticism runs in families as does musical talent.

    • Agree: TTSSYF
  55. @Tiny Duck

    White doctors started cancer in a CIA lab but now they don’t want to stop it from spreading in the ghetto. Say a prayer for RBG. She caught lung cancer from the smoke of a second-hand smoker who was a brother in her ACLU office back in the day. That notorious brother’s brand was menthol KOOLS. White doctors forced him to smoke KOOLS for economic reasons, otherwise it was back to the chains of slavery for another innocent brother, hooked on nicotine by the White devil.

  56. J.Ross says: • Website

    Taleb is a real intellectual and not a media person or wannabe media person. Taleb must benefit somewhere from being nonwhite, but more likely to a greater degree benefits from NPCs not being able to comprehend him. I don’t think I’ve seen a friendly interview; it’s always seemed to me that they’d like to roast him but don’t know how.
    Pinker gets away with exactly the errors that no intellectual should be forgiven for, and is probably much more widely read.
    The case for Pinker as a beneficiary of cultural affirmative action is stronger.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  57. Lot says:
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    Pinker has fair eyes (pale blue) but his hair was dark brown to black when he was young.

  58. DFH says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I think Pangloss was right, and a pessimist

    I think you mean Leibniz. Pangloss definitely wasn’t a pessimist.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @Reg Cæsar
  59. IMHO Taleb is an over-hyped pseudo-intellect. Admittedly, I base this opinion only on the first 100 pages or so of his book Antifragile.

    That’s how long it took me to realize that his whole schtick is simply to coin his own private language of phrases and metaphors — which are always so ill-defined that he can never be pinned down to a definite statement that could be proven false. He then slings his private language around as if he is saying something profound.

    But boiling down his self-referential jargon to distill some sort of objectively verifiable hypothesis yields nothing but an inane, self-evident proposition along the lines of: “important events that were not predicted can be very important.”

    I am not surprised at all to hear Taleb is rich. Persuasively selling bullshit is the highest paid profession in America.

    • Replies: @WowJustWow
    , @Anonymous
  60. TTSSYF says:
    @Twinkie

    Business smarts are different than academic or intellectual smarts. I learned that after getting an undergraduate degree in a hard science and a masters in business a few years later. After business school, I worked for a Ross Perot-type individual…a wealthy entrepreneur hoping to make it big again with another invention he could patent and sell to another big corporation, as he had done previously. He was brilliant at business but an intellectual idiot (I have a certain amount of empathy for Tillerson or Mattis — it’s an oil-and-water thing). I finally made my way to a science and engineering company where I could use my business education for project management but otherwise surround myself with high-IQ, scientific types. I much prefer cool, cerebral people to brash businessmen (Perot? Trump?), but I still do admire the latter.

  61. @anonymous

    David Blackwell was a legitimate African-American (not all that black looking but not Ben Jealous either) who made a legitimate major contribution to the math of statistics, such that his name is included in the Rao–Blackwell–Kolmogorov theorem.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rao%E2%80%93Blackwell_theorem

    But he may be the exception that validates the rule.

    Yet keep in mind that to do Nobel level theory work, you need a lot of Nature and Nurture.

    For example, these kind of high-end theory breakthroughs were rare for white Americans before about the 20th Century. Ben Franklin was the leading physicist of electricity in the world for a few years and kind of came up with the idea of Malthusianism in the 1750s, for example, but had more pressing worldly opportunities and duties to follow up on his break thrus in Theory.

    So it’s possible that the kind of cultural environment that Blackwell experienced in the mid 20th Century — not too bigoted, but not too coddling either — might have produced more African Americans achieving at the very high end like Blackwell.

  62. hmmm says:

    You could have left it at:

    The military believes in IQ. QED.

    Taleb is never going to respond to that fact.

    Also, Taleb’s whole argument boils down to:

    1) Millionaires are the fittest humans.
    2) Many millionaires have IQs around 100.
    3) Therefore IQ is worthless.

    Millionaires are just like the rest of us, only better.

  63. @The Z Blog

    Forbes lists 7 billionaires in Lebanon and 28 in the Lebanese Diaspora. That’s an impressive total.

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @The Z Blog
    , @Anonymous
  64. @Viral Architect

    NNT seems to have been possessed by the spirit of the late, great Stephen Jay Gould. Temporarily, I hope.

    Yep, Tabel’s comments–at least the ones Sailer is highlighting his responses to–are *extremely* stupid, weak … uninteresting. I think “lame” really captures the essence of it.

    One wonders why any even semi-intelligent non-leftist without a globohomo agenda would blather on so stupidly. The fact of intelligence variance and the ability to roughly measure it with IQ tests (or IQ like tests) is one of the great social triumphs of the 20th century essentially gating the big meriocratic sweep up of people and making use of their talents–military, college, employment.

    • Agree: bomag
  65. @Yak-15

    In places like Detroit, “racism” makes no sense as an explanation because there are almost no Whites left to be racist against Blacks and Blacks have held the reins of power for decades. It’s a mystery why Detroit isn’t the Wakanda of North America.

  66. @Charles Pewitt

    Does Marin County qualify as the most artificially under-developed place on Earth, or would that be the 21-mile strip of Los Angeles County known as Malibu? Or maybe Big Sur?

    Steve – sell your Beverly Hills hovel and move to Marin County!

  67. @eric

    One reason people like Taleb tend to get over-rated is that once you realize they are full of BS, you aren’t going to read their work. Then you don’t feel it’s fair to trash them since you haven’t actually read their work.

    So the people that have actually managed to finish a whole Taleb book are a pre-selected group of fan boys. As I mentioned in another comment on this thread, I threw out his book Antifragile after about 100 pages. My new rule is that I don’t have to be a masochist and read hundreds of pages of BS before I make a judgment that the author is running around buck naked (intellectually speaking that is).

    • Replies: @(((They))) live
  68. Sean says:
    @Anon

    Taleb is very bad at explaining himself in real time. However, he says in his book that ‘there are some risks we cannot afford to take’, so perhaps he is dissimulating. Or maybe he just really hates Stephen Pinker and anyone who supports him.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  69. NJNets says:

    Seriously? Comparing Pinker the psychologist fool to Taleb?? This is clearly an attempt by petty Steve Sailer to try and get under Taleb’s skin.

  70. Edward says:
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    Steven Pinker sticks to his script. He’s second-to-none when it comes to driving his point home, but this also means that he excels at not blurting something politically incorrect out.

    When he was taken out of context when talking about the “internet-savvy” alt-right, the three “controversial” examples he used were “capitalism vs communism”, sex differences in tastes and interests, and race differences in crime rates. Not intelligence, crime rates. And of course he then went on to put these observations in context and explain why the alt-right are wrong.

    I imagine that a lot of thought will have gone into the examples he chose. It was very scripted. As were his speech and article regarding Gregory Cochran’s hypothesis concerning Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence. He raises the prospect of a genetic explanation, says that “more research is needed”, and then goes on to explore the ethical implications of this. He also spares a thought for a suitably diverse cast of other middleman minorities who have indeed been persecuted due to their IQ advantages:

    The idea of innate Jewish intelligence is certainly an improvement over the infamous alternative generalization, a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. And attention to the talents needed in the middleman niche (whether they are biological or cultural) could benefit other middleman minorities, such as Armenians, Lebanese, Ibos, and overseas Chinese and Indians, who have also been targets of vicious persecution because of their economic success.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/77727/groups-and-genes

    In any case, Pinker is a liberal, so he won’t be attacked as much as Charles Murray. Plus, he’s talking about the gap between Jews and almost everyone else, not the gap between whites and blacks. Of course, on that topic Pinker may privately hold politically incorrect views, as some commenters speculated on Gregory Cochran’s post close to when Pinker’s new book came out.

    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/private-conversations/

    In public, he claims he disagrees with The Bell Curve, but never explains why. A few people on the far-left seem to have cottoned on to this.

    By contrast, his friend Sam Harris – already heavily criticised for his focus on Islam – has learned the hard way what happens when you talk about race and IQ and even consider the possibility that group differences are partly explained by genetic differences.

    Back in 2007, there was a “Four Horsemen of New Atheism” discussion between Harris, Dawkins, Dennett and Christopher Hitchens, and the topic of The Bell Curve came up briefly. A few minutes later, Harris then brought it up again and tried to delve into the claims of The Bell Curve further, but Hitchens dismissed it with “well none of us believe any of that, do we?”.

    I got the sense that Harris thought there was something to The Bell Curve even back then. Yet, in his podcast interview with Murray, he claimed he was only inviting Murray on because he felt bad for believing all of the accusations levelled against Murray, and that he hadn’t read The Bell Curve until the Middlebury incident. I highly doubt that, but it’s another example of a tactic that popular figures such as Pinker and Harris try to use to prevent them from being Watsoned.

    Robert Plomin does the same. He signed Gottfredson’s letter to the Wall Street Journal, but always stresses that he doesn’t agree with all of the claims made in The Bell Curve. As long as he’s talking about genetically-driven IQ differences between private school and state school kids, or between the different classes, he’s fine: his book even got favourable reception in outlets such as The Guardian.

    Having said that, a few years ago Plomin was pretty controversial, especially when Dominic Cummings (a friend of Steve Hsu’s, the director of the Brexit campaign, and the author of a long essay on education which cited Plomin’s work) arranged a meeting between Plomin and his then-boss, the Education Secretary Michael Gove, along with other officials in the UK’s Department for Education.

    Nowadays, though, the evidence is hard to deny because the genes have been found. The middle-classes in Britain might also be a bit sick of the working-class, due to Brexit.

    Moreover, the middle-classes are naturally very much interested in the intelligence of their kids. When I was at medical school, I had a Communist flatmate who, out-of-the-blue, started to vociferously criticise IQ testing. I patiently explained the evidence to him, and at the end of it he asked me for my IQ. Then, a few weeks later, he randomly asked me how one would go about calculating the expected IQ of one’s offspring.

    • Replies: @Neil Templeton
  71. Sean says:
    @Steve Sailer

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb#Early_life_and_family_background
    Taleb was born in Amioun, Lebanon, to Minerva Ghosn and Nagib Taleb,[16] a physician/oncologist and a researcher in anthropology. His parents were Greek Orthodox Lebanese of Antiochian Greek origin,[17] holding French citizenship. His grandfather, Fouad Nicolas Ghosn, and his great-grandfather, Nicolas Ghosn, were both deputy prime ministers in the 1940s through the 1970s. His paternal grandfather Nassim Taleb was a supreme court judge and his great-great-great-great grandfather, Ibrahim Taleb (Nabbout), was a governor of Mount Lebanon in 1866.[18]

    https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/too-much-education-is-bad-dont-over-educate-the-young-nassim-taleb

    Entrepreneurs, soldiers and investigative journalists rank high in his world view. His model for “soul in the game” is his father. In his latest book Antifragile, he recounts an incident during the Lebanese civil war when a militiaman insulted his father, who refused to obey the soldier’s orders. As his father drove away, he was shot in the back, and the bullet remained in his chest for the rest of his life. Mr Taleb writes: “This set the bar very high for me. Dignity is worth nothing unless you earn it, unless you are willing to pay the price for it.”

    Taleb talks in his book about how he found it easy to pass exams with minimal studying so he spent most his time reading what interested him. He knows his intelligence was inherited, apparently along with a Lebanese tendency to internecine vendettas.

  72. @Yak-15

    commonality of these differences throughout the United States.

    And the world.

  73. syonredux says:
    @Steve Sailer

    For example, these kind of high-end theory breakthroughs were rare for white Americans before about the 20th Century. Ben Franklin was the leading physicist of electricity in the world for a few years and kind of came up with the idea of Malthusianism in the 1750s, for example, but had more pressing worldly opportunities and duties to follow up on his break thrus in Theory.

    Yeah, Anglo-America was pretty weak in terms of theory prior to the 20th century. Lots of noteworthy achievements in technology (Morse-Vail telegraph, revolver, anesthesia, milling machines, phonograph,Hollerith’s tabulating machine, etc), but not much first-class theoretical work…..Josiah Willard Gibbs was just about the only real exception:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah_Willard_Gibbs

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josiah_Willard_Gibbs#Major_scientific_contributions

  74. Avery says:
    @The Z Blog

    { that a great many Lebanese Christians struggle with how Lebanon is not Italy or even Israel.}

    You are joking right?
    Israel?

    Do you know how many times has Israel attacked, invaded, bombed, destroyed infrastructure in Lebanon?
    Beirut used to be called Paris of the Middle East.
    Then Israel was created……and Lebanon was never the same.
    Some of Lebanon’s problems are homegrown, of course, but most of it was outside forces deliberately creating havoc.

    • Replies: @The Z Blog
  75. gda says:
    @Tiny Duck

    Are we talking America?

    White Men – 30% of the population (approx.)
    Black Men – 6% of the population (approx.)

    Black men commit violence at 6X the rate of white men (approx.). My math says they alone got white men beat for TOTAL OVERALL violence.

    And we have not even considered brown/yellow men – 14% of the population (approx.)

    So no, white men do not commit the most violence.

    Wait, you mean you were just being facetious?

  76. Edward says:
    @anonymous

    In addition to the fields you listed, economics is a pretty g-loaded subject, and I’d rate Professor Glenn Loury pretty highly. He doesn’t do Nobel-level work, but W. Arthur Lewis also won a Nobel Prize in Economics back in 1979, and is the only Black to win a science Nobel Prize.

    If we widen the net a little, there are also two Black Nobel Laureates in Literature: Wole Soyinka and Toni Morrison. There are a few Black billionaires, too.

    And Steve already mentioned David Blackwell, the statistician.

    Still, you’re right that it’s quite difficult to explain the dearth of Blacks in g-loaded fields using the normal distribution alone, and culture may play a role as Steve suggests. But consider that, assuming that there are around 1.1 billion Blacks in the world, you’d only expect (assuming a genotypic IQ of 85) there to be ~8084 Blacks with IQs above 150 in the entire world. And remember that the phenotypic IQ of sub-Saharan Africa, due to extreme poverty and associated malnutrition and infection, is likely to be around 75, meaning that we’ll observe even fewer Blacks with IQs above 150.

    Currently, you’d expect there to be ~337 African-Americans and ~286 sub-Saharan Africans with IQs above 150.

    For reference, Terence Tao has a measured IQ (on the Stanford-Binet) of around 180.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  77. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Interestingly enough, the sport of wrestling, at least in America, has never been totally taken over by non-whites.

    Perhaps because the sport pays so poorly. Even Olympic-medal-winning wrestlers usually have to go, hat in hand, to wealthy donors to support their careers.

    Do you know any famous wrestlers who have made a lot in endorsements?

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  78. The Z Blog says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Yet, Lebanon is not Italy or even Greece.

    A year or so ago he did a tweet storm wrestling with what we would call smart fraction theory.

    The Lebanese are a proud people, especially Lebanese Christians. Individually, they have done quite well. Doug Flutie is Lebanese! Yet, Lebanon is just a cross dock for Israeli intrigue and Arab mischief.

    This reality haunts the best Lebanese.

  79. @Intelligent Dasein

    But even if there is a slight rightward shift of the bell curve for Black running/jumping ability relative to the White curve, and even accounting for the fact that such a shift magnifies the ratios between the curves at the tails, the pool of White men to draw from is still simply enormous enough that the requisite number of White outliers is almost certain to exist.

    I think there is one nuance missing in Steve’s point (and your critique) that 960/960 NFL Cornerbacks have been Black.

    The nuance is that the 960/960 stat doesn’t prove that there have been no White players who could have played Cornerback. Rather, it’s a team sport and, given the requirements of the different positions, CB wasn’t the highest and best use of the (relatively few) White players who possessed the raw physical speed to play the position.

    Because they have to periodically cover wide receivers in man-on-man coverage, CB is the most speed-focused position in the game. Safeties, by contrast, tend to play in zone more often and have to read the field more and make coverage judgments and adjustments on the fly. As compared to CB speed is slightly less important and mental judgment is slightly more important. (They also have to come up and tackle in the middle of the field more often which gives a relative premium to size and strength as well).

    Here is an excerpt of a recent interview with Richard Sherman* talking about his potential transition from CB to Safety:

    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman just turned 30 in March, but he has already begun having thoughts and conversations about how the rest of his career might play out.

    During his weekly media session Thursday, Sherman offered the number he has in mind as a retirement age and suggested that a position change from corner to free safety could happen before he reaches that number.

    “I think 35 is probably my cutoff,” Sherman said. “They’d have a hard time getting me out of the bed at 35 to go play, so I think I’ve got about four or five more [seasons] in me. At some point, everybody makes the transition to safety and if you’re smart enough to play that game and I’ll probably do that in a couple of years or whenever the team needs.” http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25472162/richard-sherman-san-francisco-49ers-envisions-switch-safety-cornerback

    Thus, even if, say, 100 White players have had the raw speed to play CB, it would have made most sense for coaches to play them at Safety if they had slightly better mental attributes for that position. In other words, extremely fast White players would — by value-added considerations alone — be systematically shifted from CB to Safety if you assume that: (a) White vs. Black player IQ is similar to the general population; and (b) IQ is a slight advantage for Safety over CB.

    *In fairness, I’ll note that Richard Sherman playing CB rather than Safety in the first place is arguably counter to my point, as Sherman is by all accounts extremely intelligent. On the other hand, he also possesses the kind of blinding speed that makes him uniquely valuable at CB and which is exceedingly rare among White players.

  80. Lurker says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    But can you deadlift Teddy Cruz? 😉

    • Replies: @Charles Pewitt
  81. The Z Blog says: • Website
    @Avery

    Why would you think I was joking about something you seem to think is obvious? Lebanon is the whore of Israel? The whore of Syria? The whore of Iran? Or just a whore?

    Taleb struggles to figure out how how a people who can produce men like him can’t figure out how to compete with her neighbors.

    • Replies: @james wilson
  82. HA says:
    @TelfoedJohn

    >Low IQ Hispanics and Blacks created a mountain of debt which ended with an economic avalanche.

    But that was only because supposedly high-IQ whites were dumb enough to transact this debt instead of just saying no. And all these groups were apparently smart enough — or fool lucky — to know that the government would eventually play the chump and bail them all out.

    • Replies: @anon
  83. How would Michael Faraday…a young Michael Faraday…7-11 years old…do on a 2018 version of an IQ Test?

  84. @Hypnotoad666

    It works even better on Twitter. You can just drop a bunch of jargon, abbreviations, and references without any hint of how they’re supposed to support your argument. There’s no room to squeeze that in alongside your telegraphic ramblings. Your loyal followers are just supposed to nod along.

    The tweetstorm has got to be the most unbearably smug genre of short form writing since the open letter.

  85. @DFH

    There’s that annoying whooshing sound again.

  86. HA says:
    @The Z Blog

    “a great many Lebanese Christians struggle with how Lebanon is not Italy”

    Wouldn’t you? The MENA region was at or near the apex of civilization since civilization began, and in just one millennium, Islam has managed to turn that historical legacy — encompassing the cultures of not just Phoenicia, but Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Sumeria, etc., etc., — into something it never was in all that time: second rate.

    At least the Copts and the Lebanese can honestly claim that Islam was forced upon them. Whereas the supposedly enlightened West is is welcoming Islamification with open arms, or else buying into the notion that this spectacular civilizational downfall is primarily the fault of the Mongols or some equally silly excuse.

  87. NNT is the Mary Beard of IQ Science

  88. @Hypnotoad666

    Actually, Richard Sherman isn’t all that fast. I watched a white QB, Garrett Green, outrun him on an 80 yard QB keeper for a touchdown in a high school championship game in 2005. The recent Sports Illustrated article on white cornerbacks mentioned that Stanford had a white cornerback of similar elongated body type who was at least as fast as Sherman. But the white guy kept getting hurt and is now a track coach.

    If Sherman were white, he’d probably have been channeled to play wide receiver or free safety.

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Unladen Swallow
  89. With a good editor Black Swan could have been expressed in 3 pages and still be long for the insights offered. I read it years ago. Mostly self promoting verbiage. It obviously worked. Good consulting pitch too, suggesting that he had ways to insulate himself from the damage.

    I was blocked for suggesting that classical physics experiments did not have to be exercises in statistics. N=1 was good enough for Newton, Hooke, Boyle et al.

  90. anonymous[417] • Disclaimer says:

    wwebd a.k.a. middle aged vet said : Taleb is right and Sailer is right.
    Taleb is saying that IQ tests measure a small part of the terrain; and that young people often conform themselves to submissive parroting of the not-all-that-complicated theories and complicated lies of the day.
    So when he says someone with 150 IQ and above is (the word convexity is important here) not, compared to someone else with anything more than a very low IQ, measurably more likely to succeed in anything that happens after that time in our progress through life AFTER the time when we were taught to respect that subset of people who are good at IQ tests – and when he says that the real IQ test is surviving those real world challenges (Lindy effect for memes and ideas, anti fragility for individuals) – he is right.
    Sailer is talking about something else, he is saying that there is a correlation, broadly based, between people who fail in modern life and people who have low IQs, and that, with some exceptions in some fields (in leadership, say, or gambling), there is a lower limit to the IQ, below which someone cannot succeed in one particular field (so no Abel Prize winners below 120, no rich rap stars below 95, no famous actors below 90).
    One person (Taleb) is discussing the inutility of a number to describe much of the specific terrain, another is discussing the utility of the same number to give a general categorization of those who will fail at any terrain, unless they pick the right one for them.

    As for me, I have little interest in IQ studies. Rather, I ask myself, does that person remind me of me?
    To the extent I understand a complicated concept, and to the extent that some other person reminds me of me in the way they approach the complicated concept, I consider them to be intelligent. To the extent they do not, I consider them to be “challenged”.

    And the more you know about the world – in my case, not all that much, a little here about infantry tactics and the training of dogs and horses, a little there about translating from one great and majestic language to another, a little more here about how to talk to beautiful women and make them smile – the more you know about the world, the better your measurements of others will be. It is only through understanding the world and heaven that you can assess the intelligence of others, or your own, for that matter. And as Taleb says, one number, based on those little Mensa application forms, is not all that important – convexity , people, convexity !!!!

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    , @Anonymous
  91. gcochran says:
    @Rich

    Some people with super-high IQs actually understand what “on average ” means.

    • Replies: @Rich
  92. anon[574] • Disclaimer says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Point taken, but….

    “We should not have too much difficulty finding 960 White men—let alone one—who could match point-for-point all the physical characteristics of the NFL cornerbacks.’

    Well, if you were drafting, or enslaving them, sure. But why would they voluntarily do so? What if they hate football, or just don’t like it, or would rather design rocket ships? Someone somewhere made the point that when the Irish “couldn’t get a fuckin’ job” (The Departed) they were boxing champs (Sullivan, etc), then when they could become mayors and Kennedys, the wops took over (LaMotta, Graziano, etc.), then the blacks. Now, the Slavs. The point is, you have to have no other options to make “trying to be the heavyweight champ” a reasonable option.

    Same with dancing. White folks leave it to professionals (Nureyev, Astaire).

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  93. Sean says:
    @Steve Sailer

    There are muscular fast whites Blacks have superior bone density. Taleb is quite keen on weight training for bone density (ie single heavy lift). Bone does all sorts on things, the other year researchers reversed age-related memory loss in mice by boosting blood levels of osteocalcin, a hormone produced by bone cells.

  94. Pat Boyle says:

    A wonderful place to visit in Northern California is the Blackhawk Museum. It is not the biggest auto museum even in the American West but it is probably the most elegant. I had lunch with my girl friend there just about at the time I was reading Taleb’s best seller. We had a lovely lunch outside byy the water pools. The area was filled with swans – black swans. The management had had them imported.

    Black swans are not rare. They are just not common in Europe. John Stuart Mill had never seen one.

    Taleb sounds defensive here. He is ferociously smart but what set him off on this anti-IQ tirade? Did he get rejected by Mensa?

    There is an excellent essay by Gladwell on Taleb that casts some light on his insecurities. For all his tough talk about entrepreneurship, he himself was not a success as a trader. He got out of the market and went into the guru business and struck mother load.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Reg Cæsar
  95. J.Ross says: • Website
    @fmillik

    Jorn Barger was important to the development of the internet but could simply not be bothered to worry about anything he didn’t care about; as a result he was homeless at one point.
    Barger’s definition of “blog” — abbreviating “web log,” as in mapping the infinite online cosmos through records of usage, “today I went to this site” — is superior to the meaningless but much more commonly used meaning (“online diary entry or brief article”). His weblog was an excellent resource of things you would never have seen otherwise and wouldn’t know to search for, as was the home page of J. Orlin Grabbe.

  96. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Pat Boyle

    Malcolm Gladwell? The tobacco industry minion who Writes one Word at a Time like This?

  97. @DFH

    Pangloss definitely wasn’t a pessimist.

    But didn’t he say it couldn’t get any better?

  98. @Hypnotoad666

    I think there is one nuance missing in Steve’s point (and your critique)

    The “nuance” you’re accusing me of missing is part of what I wrote in the first place, which you apparently did not read all the way through.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  99. @Pat Boyle

    …and struck mother load.

    That’s a felony, and could lead to murder or manslaughter charges in some states should the baby die.

  100. @anon

    Well, if you were drafting, or enslaving them, sure. But why would they voluntarily do so?

    Again, just like Hypnotoad, you’re objecting that I didn’t say something which I did, in fact, just say. Did you even read what I wrote?

  101. @The Z Blog

    I good thing to keep in mind when reading Taleb is that a great many Lebanese Christians struggle with how Lebanon is not Italy or even Israel.

    It probably wasn’t going to be Italy just on HBD grounds.

    But, they have some reasonably sharp folks. Lebanon, absent Muslims, would probably be a very, very nice place to live.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  102. anon[408] • Disclaimer says:

    Born in Lebanon to a ruling-class Christian family that was hurt by the horrific civil war of 1975–1990, Taleb, constantly worrying about what could possibly go disastrously wrong, is by nature a man of the right.

    wow, that’s me too.

    is that how i got here?

  103. Twinkie says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    Yes, that’s David Pinsen deadlifting 500 pounds.

    That’s not what surprised me. What surprised me was that he doesn’t look like… a guy who can scale a wall or climb a rope with just his upper body.

    He’s argued with me about fighting in the past, and I must admit I expected him to look like a meathead, not someone with man-boobs.

    • Replies: @keuril
    , @Dave Pinsen
  104. @Hypnotoad666

    I read 3 of NNTs books, IMO Antifragile was the weakest, you should try Fooled by Randomness

  105. anon[408] • Disclaimer says:
    @HA

    But that was only because supposedly high-IQ whites were dumb enough to transact this debt instead of just saying no.

    they didn’t have a choice did they?

    • Replies: @HA
  106. anon[408] • Disclaimer says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    I bet I could deadlift 200 pounds without any training. Might severely injure myself trying to deadlift 200 pounds, but I’d try it.

    don’t do it, man

    messed up my back for 10 years as a novice doing deadlifts

  107. Lowe says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    If you weigh more than 150 lbs, with only some fat, it would only take you a few weeks to get up to a 200 lb deadlift. It would not be smart to just try it.

    Healthy men usually hit plateaus somewhere between 300 and 400 lbs, and it takes a fair amount of effort to break through that.

  108. anon[408] • Disclaimer says:
    @Tiny Duck

    the sky be green today, because i say so

  109. keuril says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Blacks are being selected not because they are the best, but because they are good enough and Black. There is a stealth Affirmative Action program underway to install Blacks into as many NFL slots as possible

    I don’t think it’s Affirmative Action. It’s more along the lines of “no purchasing manager got fired for buying IBM.” There’s enough black dominance at the cornerback position, that if you’re going to start a white guy, he can’t be the 959th best out of 960. He needs to be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. To the extent that such white players exist, they will probably have been trained for more “white guy” positions in college. So the absence of white guys at cornerback looks like the result of systemic inertia. If there were truly great white guys rotting in the fields, somebody would hire them. Just like HBCUs find white kickers.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
  110. @Steve Sailer

    I saw a photo of him when he was pretty old and he looked like Milton Friedman’s younger brother, albeit with a darker complexion. This is ironic because Friedman did some important work in statistics in the WW2 period at Columbia University, which was also the the field of math that Blackwell mostly worked in as well.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  111. @TelfoedJohn

    Yours is the only attempt I’ve seen at explaining /why/ Taleb flies in the face of the data (it’s obviously not because he or his people are dumb). The other, that he’s being PC, he could do just by staying silent on the subject.

  112. @anonymous

    After reading through some of Taleb’s Tweets and Steve’s article, I came to much the same conclusion, except that I think Sailer wants to say something a little stronger about the right side of the distribution.

    My guess is that the solution is that people on the right side of the IQ distribution have an ability to fail that those on the left side do not have–

    People on the right side of the IQ distribution have a lot more options open to them. They therefore have a lot more ways to fail than people on the left side. This is not only true on a global scale (“succeeding at life”) but also on a local scale (“getting promoted in your office job”). For example, mid-IQ Bob is challenged at work and therefore gets some satisfaction from it. He has also never been tempted by the fruit of the tree of chess mastery or of the intricacies of climate science. High-IQ Larry is bored at work and doesn’t want to stay late or come in on the weekend because he is busy doing things that stimulate his brain. Who will get promoted?

    People on the right side of the IQ distribution can follow rules better than those on the left side, and if the rules fail… Machiavelli and Hume are both bracing to read. Do I think all their respectively contemporary devout Christians dedicated to ethics or metaphysics were just stupid? Not at all, but were they led down the wrong paths because of their ability to fully absorb and apply ideology? Probably.

    People on the right side of the IQ distribution are probably more threatening to others than those on the left. This blog focuses a lot on low-IQ threats, like crime. But crime is a problem of the 10 minutes you are walking between the subway and your home. Threats during the 8 hours or more you dedicate to work are more likely to come from competitively-intelligent competitors.

    I’m sure there must be myriad ways higher-IQ people are more able to fail than lower-IQ people.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  113. @Simply Simon

    Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Look what genius has produced, the atomic bomb and computers, just for a start.

    And the French, Russian, and Cultural Revolutions.

    Not that “intellectuals” shouldn’t be sent to work on farms. Might be good for everybody. Cows don’t milk themselves, and crops are rotting in the fields!

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  114. Question:

    I haven’t actually looked into IQ research myself, getting it second- and third-hand. On purely descriptive grounds, do you, Steve, or you-all, commenters, disagree with this graph Taleb posted, which I assume is his summary of empirical research?

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  115. @AnotherDad

    But, they have some reasonably sharp folks. Lebanon, absent Muslims, would probably be a very, very nice place to live.

    They are the “Jews of West Africa”.

    Lebanese in west Africa:
    Far from home

    How Lebanese migrants helped shape West Africa

    From Lebanon to Africa

    Not Quite White? The Lebanese of West Africa

  116. @keuril

    3 for 3 in the “As I was saying” department.

    • Replies: @keuril
  117. Rich says:
    @gcochran

    I went to school with a bunch of these high IQ guys, and I understand it’s anecdotal, but I d say they fell right into the middle as earners. Maybe it’s different in NY, but I don’t see these guys doing better financially than the guys I knew who struggled in school. In fact, many of these high IQ guys can’t function socially. It’s probably over your head, but when you spend a lot of time with high IQ people, you figure out that they might be smart, but they ain’t really that smart when it comes to functioning in society.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  118. eric says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    The world deadlift record is 1100 pounds. I doubt any NFL players can lift 1000.

    • Agree: Lowe
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  119. Lowe says:
    @Anonymous

    Nobody goes after Taleb b/c he doesn’t really say offensive things. It has nothing to do with his name.

    Who is offended by badmouthing academics? Nobody. Taleb never goes off reservation.

    Also, what is there to go after anyway? He sells books. He doesn’t have a real business and he doesn’t trade any more. They went after Larry Summers because he had a genuine position of authority, which Taleb does not.

  120. How would George Boole…a 7-11 year old George Boole….do on an 2018 version of an IQ Test?

  121. @Steve Sailer

    When Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly was drafted in 2012, that ESPN Sport Science show tested him and his top speed in football pads was noticeably faster than Richard Sherman despite being over 40 lbs heavier ( They are the same height ). Kuechly’s combine numbers were virtually the same as his QB Cam Newton’s when he worked out at the combine.

  122. anonymous[584] • Disclaimer says:
    @Edward

    It is hard to account for cultural factors sometimes. Philosophy is dominated by men but compared to, eg, electrical engineering it has relatively few Asians. That’s probably not an IQ thing.

    Btw, which economist had the grad school letter of recommendation that was one line: “This man is a genius.” Keynes? Nash?

    When I was in Cambridge (Mass), the rumor was Noam Chomsky’s recommendation from Nathan Fine was, “He is the brightest student I’ve encountered. I am inclined to believe he is the smartest man we have enrolled in an American college at this time. I strongly suggest his appointment to this program.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Society_of_Fellows

    steveosphere scientist…Steve Hsu was also a junior fellow. Way better than the politicized Rhodes

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Edward
  123. @Marty

    There were about 20 boys, one of whom was black. The black kid ran 6.5, and nobody else broke 6.9.

    We did the 50-yard dash in 6th grade, and not 7th.

    My time was 6.6 seconds which qualified for the our school’s team 4 x 100 relay team at the year-end citywide meet, which event we won.

  124. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Intelligent Dasein

    He read far enough to pretty much see where you were going (see the first lines of his assessment of Antifragile).

  125. @anonymous

    What has Chomsky ever produced other than hot air? He’s the Picasso of words.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @anonymous
  126. Anonymous[357] • Disclaimer says:
    @Unladen Swallow

    Yes, the Friedman Test is a very useful non-parametric test. Only for this, the guy would be recognized as very smart.

  127. Anon[152] • Disclaimer says:

    Then there’s that statistics whiz math professor who has “disproven” Spearman’s statistical factor analysis: It’s just a random artifact of something, says his verbose 1998-era-web-looking website.

    Now comes Talib to DESTROY a century of research, in an almost offhand way, before breakfast, on Twitter. His technique? Environment? Epigenetics? No, a blast from the distant past, the old “IQ is BS” argument tarted up in extra special deluxe sophistry.

    I’m eager to see his write-up for a peer reviewed journal. Or does he specialize in publishing in mass-market New York Times bestselller list books?

    Yes, La Griffe du Lion is a back-of-the-envelope kind of guy, spherical cows in a vacuum and all. Don’t know the exact standard deviation on this reverse engineered data from Texas achievement tests where they are trying to obfuscate things? Well let’s just guess, maybe 15 maybe 12. But it’s weird how everything he does consistently matches everything else and the real world.

    There is precious little data about people with very high IQs. Inputing mean = 100, SD = 15 into a normal distribution calculator, you get 13 out of 10,000 having a 145 or higher IQ, i.e., three standard deviations over mean. Putting in 160 breaks my calculator, which returns zero, rounded to 4 decimals. So how are you going to get enough good results? Who’re going to be the guinea pigs for testing IQ test accuracy for beyond 3 sigma? It’s an unknown area, perfect for know-it-all blowhards to construct any theory they want.

  128. Anonymous[357] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Rao-Asian
    Blackwell-Black
    Kolmogorov-Gay

    Minorities also can do maths !
    LOL

  129. anon[269] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonym

    Talib needed a good editor. Compare Gladwell’s profile to the book Black Swan https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/04/22/blowing-up

    I don’t know how much it hurt him, since I have to wonder how many people bothered to read it.

    People frequently use the term to refer to rare but unsurprising events — more or less exactly what they aren’t.

    After the GFC, he became famous.

    Fat tails aren’t all that easy to monetize.

  130. Tulip says:

    Taleb’s making the perfect the enemy of the good. Yes, IQ is an imperfect measure in many respects. The question is what do we put in its place? Should we go back to examining bird entrails?

  131. keuril says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Except you somehow interpret this as Affirmative Action.

  132. How do you know Taleb’s IQ is higher than yours? He has his share of IYI moments where he poses a seemingly well thought question and then ignores or misses obvious and plausible solutions.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  133. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Charles Pewitt

    If I recall correctly, Taleb deadlifts about 400lbs. He’s also about 58 years old. With the McCulloch age coefficient, that’s like a younger man lifting about 520lbs.

    Taleb was probably over 50 when he started lifting seriously (i.e., when he found Starting Strength). You can get stronger at any age, but the later you start, the harder it is to get stronger. There are guys about Taleb’s age who lift more (his friend Mark Rippetoe, for example), but they started younger.

  134. @Charles Pewitt

    According to these deadlift standards (not taking into account age), 500lbs is advanced for heavier men, but not elite. 600lbs is literally off the charts for a woman.

  135. Yak-15 says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    This missive reads like someone who is very unfamiliar with the game of football.

    All of the players’ measurable attributes are tabulated across multiple dimensions of speed, athleticism, strength, explosiveness, and agility.

    These figures are all quantified and can be (and are) constructed into a matrix with height, leg length, arm length, weight, chest size, etc to create an athletic composite than can be tailored to each position. This score is used to judge whether a person has a good probability of being athletically capable of competing in the NFL. Those who do not pass this minimum composite for their position are almost never drafted and never play in the nfl. This is because they would not be able to compete.

    Tens of thousands of athletes have taken these tests and the results exist in NFL repositories. Over the years, every manner of person who played football at some level aspires to play in the NFL and many spend thousands of hours dedicated to that goal.

    The fact that zero white athletes have been a starting cornerback in the NFL for nearly 15 seasons can only be attributed to two causes: a vast conspiracy or complete athletic dominance by black athletes in that position group.

    The fact of the matter is that if their were whites capable of playing that position in any number, they would be in the nfl.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  136. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:

    Taleb’s IQ is likely unremarkable +2SD and he knows it and it bothers him – which is why he likes to insist that IQ does not matter. His output is thoroughly unremarkable, too: a good exposition of a trivial idea (“Fooled By Randomness”), a confused metaphor that something somewhere is important (“Black Swan”) and a whole lotta of mumbo-jumbo on how to deal with complex world (“Antifragile”). “Skin In The Game”, that I haven’t read, is probably even more trivial than “Fooled By Randomness” but almost certainly is infinitely more pretentious.

    He got lucky in the market for a little while but quickly reverted to the mean of not being able to beat benchmarks. And he is full of utterly stupid ideas (e.g., GMOs are more dangerous than nuclear weapons).

    To summarize, Taleb is a charlatan that does not deserve even 1% of the attention he gets.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
    , @J.Ross
  137. @eric

    Is that without straps? I thought the record without straps was closer to 1,000.

  138. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    I am ~95% certain that Steve’s IQ is higher than Taleb’s. Willing to bet on it.

  139. @Yak-15

    The most dramatic argument against disparate impact and racism causing stubborn IQ differences is the profound commonality of these differences throughout the United States. If racism was the cause, surely one would see differing levels of gaps (or the total lack of gaps) based upon the relative levels of racism. Some locations, clearly, are more “racist” than others while others lend more help to poor blacks.

    It’s absurd as “contact theory” attempts to explain racism. If it were true, southerners would be the least racist people in America.

    You really have to wonder how such gaping logical holes can escape “researchers”.

  140. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    So when he says someone with 150 IQ and above is (the word convexity is important here) not, compared to someone else with anything more than a very low IQ, measurably more likely to succeed in anything that happens after that time in our progress through life AFTER the time when we were taught to respect that subset of people who are good at IQ tests – and when he says that the real IQ test is surviving those real world challenges (Lindy effect for memes and ideas, anti fragility for individuals) – he is right.

    No, he is not right. Terman’s study is unequivocal: very high IQ people tend to earn more, achieve more and live longer.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  141. HA says:
    @anon

    “they didn’t have a choice did they?”

    Of course they did. What, you think every hedge fund manager and qualified investor was strapped to a chair and poked with cattle prods until they agreed to buy or sell MBS and CDS-squareds at whatever crazy price the market was quoting that day? That’s not how it works. Even if your sole mandated instrument was mortgages, so that you truly didn’t have a choice in what asset class you had to transact, you were still free to assign a price to those birdcage liner instruments (i.e. a probability of default) that was in line with reality. And however restricted your own mandate might have been, that excuse doesn’t apply to the supposedly qualified investors who chose to seek you out and to park their money in your fund because by that point they felt entitled to the same rich returns they had enjoyed before the internet bubble collapsed.

  142. Faith in the advantages of high IQ would seem to be an odd faith for conservatives to embrace. I understand conservatism to imply respect for tradition (wisdom that has proven itself over generations). What in modern times is called intelligence is invariably at war with tradition. In other words, it’s smartassery. In his writing, Taleb frequently argues for the superiority of ancient wisdom (acquired through long-term, bitter experience) over the latest clever idea hatched in an interval between calamities and destined to perish when the next one hits. I should think that more closely aligns him with authentic conservative thought than the idea that IQ is determinative of success. In which case, the success of liberalism would be proof of its smartness. And the marginalization of conservatism, proof of its stupidity.

    • Agree: Dtbb
  143. @Yak-15

    Or a high degree of black dominance of what it takes to play NFL cornerback along with a small degree of stereotyping whites away from playing the position.

  144. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    IMHO Taleb is an over-hyped pseudo-intellect.

    boiling down his self-referential jargon to distill some sort of objectively verifiable hypothesis yields nothing but an inane, self-evident proposition along the lines of: “important events that were not predicted can be very important.”

    I am not surprised at all to hear Taleb is rich. Persuasively selling bullshit is the highest paid profession in America.

    Right on target! Taleb is a snake oil for intellectually-challenged.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  145. @The Z Blog

    I don’t know why a Lebanon Christian would struggle to understand the state of Lebanon. Too many Muslims. A majority were Christian before the wars but the writing was on the wall, not so different than American cities. You cross some magic number and it’s only a question of time.

  146. keuril says:
    @Twinkie

    He’s argued with me about fighting in the past, and I must admit I expected him to look like a meathead, not someone with man-boobs.

    Seriously? The dude lifted some serious weight and has evidently overcome some health challenges. He posts under his real name and you’re critiquing his figure? You are pathetic.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @Dave Pinsen
  147. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:

    As a non-native speaker of English, Taleb is a creative neologist, not hindered by preexisting language patterns.

    ludic, while an actual English word, is not used by him in that sense exactly (cf. ludicrous), but in the sense of “of or pertaining to games or sport”. Wikipedia describes Taleb’s “ludic fallacy” here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludic_fallacy

    psycholophaster is a Talebism meaning pseudo-pyschologist. This coinage seems to be based in philosophaster, coined by Erwin Schrödinger (and not used by anyone since). Rather than take the suffix –aster and adding it to the root of psychologist, psychologaster, Taleb decided to include the last consonant in philosophy and delete the last consonant in psychology for some reason.

    The Taleb-Pinker feud is backgrounded in this article from last March in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The two academics had books come out at the same time; Pinker’s was praised in the New York Times, Taleb’s trashed.

    https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2018/03/14/taleb-on-pinker-neologism-and-bile

  148. @anonymous

    Another good example would be Neil Degrasse Tyson, who was famous in *high school* for wanting to be a black scientist and he was recruited for college like he was Lebron James. Carl Sagan, probably one of the three or so most famous American scientists at the time, personally begged him to go to Cornell.

    Are the boldfaced statements literally true? It didn’t hurt to be black, but a white kid at Bronx Science giving lectures at age 15 on astronomy would have been a very reasonable recruitment target for Cornell. Professors recruiting scholarly kids they hear about is part of the job. Sagan sent a recruitment letter. “Begging” in this situation would mean Sagan going to NYC to seek out Tyson, or arranging a paid summer apprenticeship.

    went to Harvard for undergrad and then tried to get a PhD in astrophysics–so presumably his interest in science was not feigned–but he failed out of grad school miserably. After being kicked out of his first program he went elsewhere and received a PhD but was never allowed to actually do any astrophysics (no scope time, no papers).

    Given the amount of NdGT bashing here it would be interesting to track down some of these details if you have a source.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  149. @Anon

    I’ve read both their recent books. They are both pretty good.

  150. @Twinkie

    I’m sure you look like Bruce Lee, Twink.

    That you think there’s much of a connection between being able to climb a rope with just your upper body and fighting makes me think less of your claimed expertise. When I took karate, one of the best fighters there was a pudgy-looking Korean guy who I’m sure could not climb a rope without using his legs. He may not have been able to climb one using his legs either, for all I know. But he could definitely fight.

    Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have seen this, because I’ve got you set to “ignore” on Unz, but Santa brought me a new laptop and apparently the setting got lost. I’ll see if I can get you set back to ignore now.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  151. @Anon

    This coinage seems to be based in philosophaster, coined by Erwin Schrödinger

    “Philosophaster” is much older than Schrödinger. It was used, e.g., by Schopenhauer to refer to Hegel in The World as Will and Idea, c. 1818.

  152. @EH

    It’s appealing but no more fundamental than the normal IQ thing. Instead of imposing a bell curve it imposes some other a priori model (logit, in the case of Rasch and IRT). The Rasch idea of a contest between individual ability and question difficulty was done with normal distributions by Thurstone in the early days of psychometry. Logistic regression did not exist in those days and is aesthetically/mathematically more appealing but basically just an update of the same approach.

    There is no evidence that the relationship between question difficulty and ability really follows the assumptions of any of these a priori models, though they are surely good enough for government work.

  153. Twinkie says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    I’m sure you look like Bruce Lee, Twink.

    I’m 6’2” and weigh 185 lbs. So no, I don’t look like Bruce Lee and never have. I go for functional strength (or “wiry strength” as Pavel Tsatsouline put it), as I played a sport that is weight-controlled and worked a job that required me to hump gear and fight in rugged terrain.

    That you think there’s much of a connection between being able to climb a rope with just your upper body and fighting makes me think less of your claimed expertise.

    Straw man. But there certainly is a much greater connection there than there is between deadlifting and fighting. Guess which the military makes you do/tests.

    Don’t get me wrong. Deadlifting is a great exercise. But being a human bulldozer is not the same as being a human tank or a human attack aircraft, if you understand my analogies.

    When I took karate, one of the best fighters there was a pudgy-looking Korean guy who I’m sure could not climb a rope without using his legs. He may not have been able to climb one using his legs either, for all I know. But he could definitely fight.

    I know fat guys who can fight. But they can’t beat guys who also know how to fight and are superbly conditioned.

    Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have seen this, because I’ve got you set to “ignore” on Unz, but Santa brought me a new laptop and apparently the setting got lost. I’ll see if I can get you set back to ignore now.

    Sure – ignore me just as soon as you put your 2 cents in first.

  154. dvorak says:
    @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Iowa is tops in wrestling and fiction writing, two disciplines for pain-lovers.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  155. @Chrisnonymous

    See my Taleb post in the previous thread. The first graph works against Taleb’s point (but he doesn’t understand that, it takes a small calculation). The second is merely “moving the goalposts” and philosophasterly cavilling about when we are allowed to use the word “measure”.

  156. AndrewR says:
    @J.Ross

    Is he really “non-white”?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  157. @Anon

    The last time I saw “ludic” before Taleb’s tweet was in the phrase “ludic loops“.

  158. Twinkie says:
    @keuril

    Seriously? The dude lifted some serious weight and has evidently overcome some health challenges. He posts under his real name and you’re critiquing his figure? You are pathetic.

    Usually I am more polite about this kind of thing, but I’m dealing with someone here who dismissed world class Judoka as “sloppy” because he did Judo as a child for a year (and argued that weightlifters could hang with top boxers in the ring). He’s expounded on strength training and fitness at length and argued about fighting/combat training. Now I see that he – though clearly pretty strong – doesn’t look like a guy who is conditioned enough to be able to do any of those things. So I was more surprised than anything else.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Anon
  159. dvorak says:
    @anonymous

    he was recruited for college like he was lebron James. Carl Sagan … personally begged him to go to Cornell

    Leonard Bernstein recruited André Watts in the same way for the same reason – but seems to have had better judgment or luck than Sagan.

  160. @academic gossip

    One commenter here was in a graduate program with NdGT. He seems to think he’s a fine science popularizer, very good at his job.

  161. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Post physique or confirm yourself as noodle armed tia.

  162. @Anonymous

    Taleb is surely one of those high IQ, ADHD (often Aspergery, which he probably is) math types with the ability but not the sitzfleisch for solid academic work. The appeal of trading to such, beyond money, is that it involves lots of quantitative decisions at high speed, instead of the intellectually deeper but suffocatingly slow perpetual digging involved in research.

    This is why his books are all a series of short observations cobbled together, filled out with a bit of exposition for the general reader. Confucian anecdotes for quants. Had Twitter existed when he wrote Fooled by Randomness he would have published all his thoughts as tweets first.

  163. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    GMOs were introduced into the food supply without warning, achieved full normalization before I was born, and, if you try to get the bastards to just label the damn things, you might as well be promising to cut aid to Israel. Nuclear weapons are not dangerous at all when in stable and peaceful hands, and if one went off (which would be the first offensive use in a human lifetime) it would not affect nearly as many people as unlabeled, normalized, GMO corn or soy.
    >but what about the worst case scenario for nukes
    We’re already there for GMO.

    • Agree: utu
  164. By the way, Dave, I hadn’t seen your achievement. Congrats!

    Glenn Loury strikes me as a genius. Really, really smart guy. Brilliant at synthesizing and from what I understand his economics game is top-tier.

    Lebanon’s problem isn’t so much too many Muslims as it is that it never had one ruling demographic and so had to resort to democracy, but it isn’t big enough to have a powerful military. It’s also placed beautifully for location and horribly for geopolitics. I spent a good deal of my childhood there, and what’s happened to it over the years is a tragedy, but fairly predictable.

    The Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey seem to have only two real government models: brutal tyrannic control by the ruling class, or democracy backed up by the military enforcement. (Yes, it is related to Islam, but the dividing line between Middle East and Muslim is sometimes hazy.)

    (At least, this is what pseudoerasmus sez, and lord knows he knows his stuff.)

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  165. @Sean

    It’s not that hard to decode what he says in real time. The problem is that he is improvising as he goes along, changing the story and the subject every few tweets, and random-walking to wherever the ADHD and crankiness take him. Maybe in this case it is also to save face by overcomplicating the simple, but I suspect he is being honest and is too lazy and confused to make it fully clear even to himself what he is really saying.

    • Replies: @Sean
  166. Polymath says:

    I’ve read Taleb’s technical mathematical work. It’s innovative and rigorous. I’ve also read his books and learned that there is always a way to interpret what he is saying that is correct, but he makes no concessions to readers and has no patience for those unwilling to read him carefully enough to get the point he was making, so he is frequently misunderstood.

    Taleb and Steve are talking past each other to some extent. The core point Taleb is making is that the artificial gaussianization of IQ makes it a bad predictor of success; real-life success is a fat-tailed distribution and it’s simply not mathematically possible to preserve enough relevant information with a thin-tailed measurement statistic.

  167. @Rich

    I went to school with a bunch of these high IQ guys, and I understand it’s anecdotal, but I d say they fell right into the middle as earners. Maybe it’s different in NY, but I don’t see these guys doing better financially than the guys I knew who struggled in school.

    You’re wrong. There has been reams of research on incomes and IQs, and it supports the thesis that, on average, smarter guys earn more money than dumber guys. End of story.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Rich
  168. @Coag

    So according to his tweetstorm Taleb thinks IQ is overrated because he knows a lot of high IQ quants who got taken to the woodshed in the 2008 crash.

    Some people made a lot of money on the 2008 crash. The ones I know of are very high IQ. I suspect an IQ comparison of the Made Money and Lost Money sides of 2008 Wall St would show a difference in favor of the first.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @keuril
  169. @Autochthon

    Lots of laughs.

    I just looked up Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, and can’t find any evidence that either man wrestled competitively at all – not even in high school.

    But interestingly, both men were sought out by professional baseball scouts, and Savage (Randy Mario Poffo) was signed by the St Louis Cardinals.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  170. @Reg Cæsar

    Chomsky’s prose style is intentionally mundane. He’s a real meat and potatoes writer.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @anonymous
  171. @Polymath

    The core point Taleb is making is that the artificial gaussianization of IQ makes it a bad predictor of success; real-life success is a fat-tailed distribution and it’s simply not mathematically possible to preserve enough relevant information with a thin-tailed measurement statistic.

    Which of his papers says something on this? It sounds like nonsense on its face since:

    1. allowing yourself nonlinear functions of the IQ (such as undoing the gaussianization, or using IQ percentile instead of IQ, or some threshold functions for being above/below particular values) is perfectly legitimate for purposes of prediction. If Taleb is saying that some other function of IQ can predict better, that means the IQ correlations to performance are understated in the psychology and economics literature.

    2. prediction doesn’t care what the distribution of IQ really is, or what it “measures”. If IQ works for prediction that is an important and useful fact about the world. If Taleb would like to pick up the billion-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk by building the better (and more race independent) predictor he implies must be out there, what’s stopping him, as an independently wealthy man of leisure? It would be his greatest, most lucrative and most lasting contribution to humankind. His proposed post-dictor, “see how they do after 40 years” isn’t wrong, it’s just the most expensive way possible of acquiring the information (diluted by luck and other noise).

    • Replies: @Polymath
  172. Twinkie says:
    @dvorak

    Iowa is tops in wrestling and fiction writing, two disciplines for pain-lovers.

    Dan Gable is long gone, and nowadays Penn State is the top dog. Its head coach is the legendary Cael Sanderson (who competed out of Iowa State). Even Iowa’s top wrestler today, Spencer Lee, is from PA (his father was a US National Judo coach and his mother was a French national Judo team member).

    Fiction writing is only good at U. of Iowa. A lot of Iowans would argue that Iowa City is not really Iowa.

  173. @Steve Sailer

    Chomsky’s prose style is intentionally mundane. He’s a real meat and potatoes writer.

    Maybe, but does it actually mean anything? A lot of “meat” is now fake, and potato flour is a common, and inadequate, replacement for wheat for the gluten-sensitive.

    Fun With Dick and Jane was also intentionally mundane. See Noam gab. Gab, Noam, gab!

  174. Anon[354] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Taleb has spent all his life with smart people and elites. So, the idea of dumb or low-IQ people is foreign to him. In his world, everyone is high IQ, and so, IQ alone doesn’t indicate who has it and who doesn’t.
    So, IQ is banal to him because it’s so common(like air) among people of his world. He’s met so many high IQ people with no ideas, no sense, no courage, no honesty, no originality. So, he is more interested in the hidden something that separates those with inspired intelligence from those with mere high intelligence.

    It’s like we take air for granted. It’s so everywhere that we never give it any thought. The idea of people dying due to lack of air never registers in our mind. In Taleb’s world, high IQ is banal and mundane. It’s like air. And most high IQ people in government and institutions just do as they’re told. They are bright non-entities like James Comey.

    • Replies: @Anon
  175. @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Wrestling is for the hardest of men.

    I first read that as “hardiest”, but no, you wrote “hardest”. That could easily be misinterpreted in connection with that picture.

    • LOL: Dave Pinsen
  176. Twinkie says:
    @academic gossip

    Some people made a lot of money on the 2008 crash.

    I went all cash before the crash and invested heavily subsequently. I did very well (though not nearly as well as those who shorted or otherwise bet on a significant downturn through derivatives – I know a guy who 30x his money and is insanely rich now).

    Though I’d like to think that I am pretty intelligent, I relied on something extremely simple. I compared the rate of rise in income and that of housing price at the time and concluded the trajectory was unsustainable.

  177. Polymath says:
    @academic gossip

    The point is that all the stats about how predictive IQ is apply to the bulk not to the tails. He doesn’t deny its useful for sorting people who aren’t smart, but it’s the tails of the achievement distribution that you want to get a better measure than IQ for, and redefining the scale to make it fat-tailed isn’t helpful because the IQ tests themselves were developed and calibrated so that the score distribution would be roughly normal.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  178. @Pincher Martin

    There has been reams of research on incomes and IQs, and it supports the thesis that, on average, smarter guys earn more money than dumber guys.

    On average, Americans have one ovary and one testicle. The important wrinkle is the distribution thereof.

    The right tail of the income curve is not the right tail of the IQ curve. Muhammad Ali made more than any of his handlers.

    • LOL: Twinkie
    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  179. @Polymath

    Taleb and Steve are talking past each other to some extent. The core point Taleb is making is that the artificial gaussianization of IQ makes it a bad predictor of success; real-life success is a fat-tailed distribution and it’s simply not mathematically possible to preserve enough relevant information with a thin-tailed measurement statistic.

    Which is complete nonsense.

    We know that smart people, as defined by their IQ scores, earn higher incomes, on average, than do their lower-IQ counterparts. There are confounding factors – age, gender, individual variance in income year-by-year – which dim that clear pattern, but the two factors are still correlated.

    That’s an empirical claim with teeth, and it’s not countered by Taleb’s anti-empirical, faith-based claims.

  180. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Brock Lesnar was a standout amateur wrestler. So when he jumped from fake wrestling to real fighting, he did well. Unlike CM Punk who never wrestled for real. He went from fake wrestling to the UFC and got smashed by journeymen fighters.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  181. @Anonymous

    It’s not snake oil, it’s 100 times too long. He needs to come out with a “STEMlord” summary with equations and under 10 pages (more than enough for the entire content of his books), or most experts will not have the time or patience to engage with his style of writing. Taleb’s online papers are OK and short but not written to normal academic standards of exposition.

  182. @Reg Cæsar

    On average, Americans have one ovary and one testicle. The important wrinkle is the distribution thereof.

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed but the distribution of ovaries and testicles is not parceled out normally, Reg. No knowledgable person claims that all of nature’s bounty has a Gaussian curve.

    The right tail of the income curve is not the right tail of the IQ curve. Muhammad Ali made more than any of his handlers.

    Do you not understand the implication in my words, “on average”?

    BTW, Don King almost certainly made more money in his lifetime than did Ali (or Mike Tyson). Not that it ought to matter to this discussion.

    Here are other classes of people who can make it without the benefit of a high IQ – celebrity singers and musicians; celebrity athletes; celebrity actors and actresses; lottery winners; supermodels; inheritors of a vast estate; etc. Many famous people in these groups can earn well over a hundred million dollars during their lifetimes.

    But the high-earners in these fields comprise but a small fraction of the super-wealthy in the country, and most of the other groups need some brains to get to the top of their respective fields. (Not that brains is all that it takes to get wealthy.)

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  183. @Twinkie

    Twinkie,

    Lesnar was a wealthy man before he ever fought MMA, but he got wealthy in fake wrestling because he looked like a freak, not because he knew how to wrestle. If he could’ve looked the same way by lifting weights, he would’ve gotten equally rich in that career.

    Unlike CM Punk who never wrestled for real. He went from fake wrestling to the UFC and got smashed by journeymen fighters.

    I’ve never watched fake wrestling, so perhaps I will never understand the appeal of CM Punk. But he looks like an ordinary man who should not fit in the fake wrestling world of oversized behemoths.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  184. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    If he could’ve looked the same way by lifting weights, he would’ve gotten equally rich in that career.

    I don’t know much about fake wrestling, but I think you have to be pretty athletic and coordinated (and be able sustain constant injury and pain) to pass through the training and the lower tier of the industry. And of course there is an insane amount of PED use in the industry from what I heard. Lesnar, unsurprisingly, popped more than once for Clomiphene in the UFC.

    Ive never watched fake wrestling, so perhaps I will never understand the appeal of CM Punk.

    I don’t understand the appeal of fake wrestling, period. Why not watch real combat sports?

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
    , @Anonymous
  185. @Twinkie

    I don’t know much about fake wrestling, but I think you have to be pretty athletic and coordinated (and be able sustain constant injury and pain) to pass through the training and the lower tier of the industry.

    Perhaps. But I don’t care to discuss fake wrestling which I find boring and pointless.

    My original point about competitive wrestling, which I made to some commentator upthread, was that it doesn’t pay. Perhaps that explains why many athletic black kids don’t take the sport up and dominate it like they do other sports. If competitive wrestling paid as well as fake wrestling, we’d probably see a lot more black kids in it.

    White men have won Olympic gold medals in wrestling, as did Dave and Mark Schultz in the 1980s, and still struggled to make any money from their accomplishments. One of the reasons Dave Schultz was murdered was because he had to deal with a crazy du Pont multimillionaire who did have the money to help finance Schultz’s bid for another medal. There was no other way for him to get it, apparently, other than dealing with a clinically-insane, homidical man.

    And colleges have been getting rid of wrestling programs for years now, due to the need to meet the requirement for gender balance in sports. That narrows the field for coaching, which is not a lucrative field in wrestling (as it is in NCAA basketball and football), but at least can provide a former wrestler with some income after his wresting career is over.

    If you add those factors together, it’s easy to understand why a young black kid would not choose to become a wrestler. Hell, I bet the average starting running back or wide receiver on a high school football team, but who is otherwise unremarkable in that sport, gets more respect from his peers than would a state champion in wrestling.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  186. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Much wealth is in fact inherited: celebrities and lottery/judgment winners are small beer in the big scheme of things. Often times the inheritance is in a farm or real estate holdings that require management skills to keep or sweat equity to run.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  187. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    Professional wrestling is “sports entertainment” for people who are either pretty dumb or for the ironic hipster types. While there is no integrity to the “sport” in the conventional sense the job is physically pretty brutal and pro wrestlers have a lot of injuries and pain.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  188. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Polymath

    Translation:

    Taleb’s stuff is just too advanced to explain. I’ve read all his technical papers, and what he’s saying is [@Polymath’s 37-word digest explanation].

    If that’s what he’s saying, why doesn’t he say it?

    Skimming his tweats, I see some repeating issues:

    He’s redefining intelligence from the psychological meaning, which is IQ, which itself is an imperfect, noisy attempt to measure g. g itself is “cognitive ability,” which are language and math and other things that have been discovered to correlate with them, such as reaction speed, 3D manipulation, certain puzzles, forward and reverse digit spans, and several other abilities (but not rhythmical sense, for instance, but it might include some plumber street-smart skills). This is intelligence to psychometricians. The word intelligence can mean other things, but not in this context. You’re not allowed to say that psychologists are not using the word intelligence right. Make up your own word if you need a new concept (which he frequently does, anyway).

    He attacks psychological research on IQ-income correlation/causation, replacing it with his anecdotal street-smart plumber “data.” If the many psychological studies correlating IQ with income are wrong, do new studies. As far as I can tell, the studies look at income from any source by any type of person, including street-smart plumbers.

    He is saying that IQ doesn’t correlate with success. Well, define that word strictly in a way that can be quantified. For an example, see how socioeconomic status is formally defined in a quantifiable way. After defining success, there need to be real world studies done, not Talel anecdotal “studies.” SES is defined looking at income of household, highest degree obtained expressed as a weighted number, and job status expressed as a weighted number from a reference table. Over large numbers of people it produces results that ring true. You get a lower paid but highly educated academic or journalist at a prestigious publication ranking up there with a higher paid business person (who might be a plumber). That sounds like success to me. If Taleb needs to reanalyze the data with a higher weighted score for plumbers, fine, let’s see the results. At the end of the day, does IQ correllate with Taleb street-smart successful people? Do the definitions and the studies and we’ll know, which we can’t know from listening to Taleb’s anecdotes. But psychologists have accepted Big Five traits as important factors, as well as nepotism and who you know.

  189. @Polymath

    The point is that all the stats about how predictive IQ is apply to the bulk not to the tails.

    He hasn’t given any evidence for this point (or his other one that prediction works better at low IQs) and certainly has not addressed the possibility of using nonlinear things like Max(IQ – 130,0) to predict on the high side. The SMPY studies are doing essentially that.

    He doesn’t deny its useful for sorting people who aren’t smart,

    Taleb gave no evidence that correlation or sorting should be better at low IQs. The impact of IQ is not symmetric, so you don’t expect IQ > 130 and IQ < 70 to be equivalent sortings of smart/dumb, but you do expect that for specific tasks every high IQ range has an equivalent low range.

    but it’s the tails of the achievement distribution that you want to get a better measure than IQ for, and redefining the scale to make it fat-tailed isn’t helpful because the IQ tests themselves were developed and calibrated so that the score distribution would be roughly normal.

    If redefinition (or adding some more complicated functions of IQ as variables) helps in prediction, then it helps.

    Your earlier comment suggested Taleb has some kind of impossibility principle in mind (“it’s simply not mathematically possible to preserve enough relevant information with a thin-tailed measurement statistic”). Is there a paper where he makes a clear mathematical statement to that effect?

  190. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Polymath

    I’ve read Taleb’s technical mathematical work. It’s innovative and rigorous.

    So have I. Most of it is math for the sake of math, illuminating little. Basically, math porn – present to impress rather than to explain. The less of that stuff is published, the better we all are.

  191. @Anonymous

    Violence is fun to watch but serious violence is too violent, so pretend violence is a good compromise.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  192. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    The situation you describe, though, is amateur wrestling in the U.S. In many other countries, it is well-supported and -subsidized. And Olympic medalists are given pensions.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
    , @Dtbb
  193. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    One point he was making was that IQ is not a normal distribution. But it’s defined as a statistical distribution, not a “quotient,” not a ratio scale. That’s what makes it so powerful. That’s why researchers do not need to give a lot of expensive IQ tests to study it. Any test or anything that contains or correlates with “cognitive ability” (which is most any test), even if noisy, is an IQ test as n approaches infinity, as the number of samples rises. So SATs and AFQTs and educational attainment become IQ scores, and you can simply turn results into statistical bell curves for separate groups and measure the standard deviation between them, no matter what the original unit of the test results is, since any group of numbers can be plotted that way and any such data contains its own standard deviation within itself.

    But he’s right in that it does bottom out, and probably tops out, in practice. At some point your IQ is so low you can only drool, and there is no distinguishing between a minus 100 drooler and a minus 200 drooler. There might be something at the top end also related to the maximum speed and size of the brain. There is the theory that IQ is how many mutations there are messing up your brain (implying a maximum IQ) and the other theory that it is how much “good stuff,” like white matter and axions, there is (implying less of a maximum IQ). The problem for him is that there are so few of these extremes that you can neglect them. Anyone with an IQ below a certain point probably has enough other mutations that his life will be short, and that could be true at the top end too, since polygenetic IQ genes also affect other traits.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  194. @Anon

    One question worth investigating would be aptitude for abstract thought vs. somebody who is cunning but only thinks in concrete terms.

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Anonymous
  195. Anonymous[319] • Disclaimer says:

    Ont thing to keep in mind when looking at black vs white running times amongst teens is that because blacks mature faster than whites, a black is more likely to be after than a white of the same age.

  196. @Dick Whitman

    More importantly, while I sympathize with the point you’re trying to make about the mortgage crisis, you are completely wrong that it was an example of Mediocristan. The issue was the many trillions of dollars of exposure to MBS, not the mortgages themselves.

    Steve’s intuition is, as usual, on target. He is right that mortgage defaults are normally distributed for the reason he gave (many similar size mortgages). The defaults in an MBS tranche are boring old Gaussian every month. The problem in 2007-8 was that the average of that normal distribution was being pushed higher every month as an asset bubble popped. Business as usual based on a parameter that happens to be going into the danger zone is “approaching the singularity”, not fat tails (Taleb’s Extremistan).

    I gave up trying to read Taleb’s books but if this is his canonical example of Extremistan, it would be pretty funny for Steve to have killed it in passing during the IQ battle.

    It could be even funnier to see what Taleb says about this (if he said mortgage losses were fat tailed), because it is very easy to get confused about what it means for the mortgages to be correlated with each other and why that should have made a difference in 2008. Someone prone to overconfidence and a certain sort of impatience might get tripped up in explaining it on, say, Twitter.

  197. @academic gossip

    In a rising market for housing prices, defaults tend to be rare and Gaussian: somebody falls into a deep depression and can’t be bothered to pay his mortgage or to sell his house, so eventually the sheriff has to come around and evict the poor bastard.

    Actuary David X. Li’s “Gaussian copula” was built upon this assumption:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_X._Li

    It worked fine until it stopped working.

    But in a falling market, everything is correlated.

  198. Rich says:
    @Pincher Martin

    When I was a kid, 20 of us were plucked out of our classes and put into special classes due to our “high IQs”. Of those 20, a couple became engineers, one was a lifer in the Air Force, there was a cop who did pretty well a few became drug addicts and the rest fell pretty evenly across the spectrum. One thing most had in common was serious social awkwardness. Do with that anecdotal information whatever you want.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
    , @Edward
  199. Sean says:
    @academic gossip

    You are overthinking it, Taleb is like his father who got shot rather than be talked down to. His feud with Pinker is bitter because the stakes are so low.

  200. Sean says:
    @Steve Sailer

    One thing that Taleb and Pinker have in common is that they are both anti nation-state.

  201. @Anonymous

    Much wealth is in fact inherited:

    Yes, but the portion of that group which inherits vast wealth without a high IQ is small. The Jobs’ and Gates’ kids, for example, will eventually inherit vast wealth, but given their high-IQ parents (both father and mother) they will do so with the benefit of a high IQ.

    On the other hand, Lynsi Snyder, the sole inheritor to the In-N-Out chain, seems dumb as a rock. She’s only in her mid-thirties and already been married four times. Her father was a drug addict who died from an overdose. Her uncle died childless. She inherited vast wealth without the benefit of a high IQ.

  202. @Twinkie

    Twinkie,

    The situation you describe, though, is amateur wrestling in the U.S. In many other countries, it is well-supported and -subsidized. And Olympic medalists are given pensions.

    Yes, but I was responding to a comment about wrestling in the U.S., unless you know of any countries with significant black populations which subsidize wrestling. I know of none.

    Here is the comment by John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan:

    Interestingly enough, the sport of wrestling, at least in America, has never been totally taken over by non-whites.

    Which is true, but like I said: Why would any athletic black kid want to wrestle?

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @anon
  203. Whiteshitties are the all human vices on highest expression… such nutz stupid, intellectually lazy and stupid people, just like stivi…

  204. Bitfu says:

    Idiots! You just don’t get it, and it’s all so simple: Convexity at a lower bound (~13.4-65%) means asymetrical variance with a log-normal delta. Gabbish?

  205. @Rich

    When I was a kid, 20 of us were plucked out of our classes and put into special classes due to our “high IQs”. Of those 20, a couple became engineers, one was a lifer in the Air Force, there was a cop who did pretty well a few became drug addicts and the rest fell pretty evenly across the spectrum. One thing most had in common was serious social awkwardness. Do with that anecdotal information whatever you want.

    I don’t need to do anything with your anecdotal information. We have much better quality info on the relationship between income and IQ, and it shows you’re wrong.

    That means you’re either 1) mistaken or lying about what happened in your school or 2) you happen to be one of those few people who by chance stumbled upon a rare situation in which the averages didn’t hold up.

  206. Rich says:
    @Pincher Martin

    The problem with you lower IQ people, is that when those of us who actually have the high IQs you guys revere, try to offer our experiences, you act very rude if our stories don’t line up with what you believe. It’s one of the reasons I rarely participate in these IQ debates. Anyway, best of luck in all your future endeavors.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  207. Sean says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Taleb got famous with Black Swan. Fantastic as it might now seem, when the book came out political and economic establishments were openly saying that the problems of growth had been solved, that we could quantify the risks and thus knew the unknowns. Taleb said the risks remained uncertain, there were unknown unknowns and thus risks we could not afford to take.

    Pinker thinks the problems of war have been solved too; we know how to avoid war and why we ought to. For him, war is a type of backwardness, and countries are abandoning it as they got more democratic and intellectually advanced (the Flynn effect is part of Pinker’s argument). There is no question that the world is more democratic, and one might wonder whether rising popular appreciation of how the world actually works led as much as supposedly mad Fuhrers. Anyway Taleb took issue with Pinker’s statistics on a decline in violence.

    http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/pinker.pdf

    Unless you are going to do a Mearshiemer and give full bore rationales for the aggression of Wilhelmine and Hitlerian Germany, you have to deny that people in that country had got smarter by the 30s. (Pinker also is loath to admit that calculated violence by democracies is an intelligent decision, so he blames democracies’ vulnerability to being infected by romantic nationalism and Nietzsche). Taleb thinks he has shown there is no decline in state violence.

  208. Anonymous[364] • Disclaimer says:
    @fnn

    Egypt is probably the only country in the world where fat women are considered attractive. It’s an old cultural thing.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  209. @Pincher Martin

    The correlation that you are so enamoured is relative to a particular pattern of ec0n0mic organization that you just happen to found of……economic inequality is justified by a superior IQ….but actually force and violence is used to maintain gross economic inequality…….

    Bill Gates has his billions…because his billions buys him massive control over the STATE…..

  210. Anonymous[170] • Disclaimer says:

    But surely, by now there have been enough good, well conducted, well constructed longitudinal IQ studies of enormous cohorts of children over long time periods. Doubtless the record keeping and the statistical analysis as good.

    To settle the question, one merely needs to analyse the final destinations/ and or worldly success of the cohorts in later working life – and to measure the correlation between IQ, or lack of it, and ‘successful’ life.

    This is the only way the question at hand can be definitely settled – quibbles and cockfights aside.

  211. Anonymous[170] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The word you are looking for is ‘psychopathy’.

  212. @War for Blair Mountain

    Then there is the signal to noise issue…..Think of all the odd correlations that could be found with IQ Test scores…that would possibly contradict…or render meaningless the IQ Test Score-wealth correlation….

    Lots of noise…throw out 99 percent of the noise…..pick the signal favorable to your economic reactionary world view……

    IQ Psychometrics is not a scientific theory of the mind…

  213. @Pincher Martin

    You just prefer the statistical anecdotes that favor your reactionary economic worldview….

  214. @Reg Cæsar

    Most intellectuals don’t have the skills to be good Milkers or fruit and vegetable pickers unfortunately.

  215. RW says:

    How does Pinker avoid getting in trouble like DNA researcher James D. Watson or Pinker’s friend Larry Summers, former president of Harvard until he gave a Pinkerian talk on sex differences in IQ?

    Pinker is incredibly popular. You try to take him down and you risk creating a martyr around whom smart deplorables can rally to bring in fresh recruits. That’s f-ing dangerous.

  216. keuril says:
    @academic gossip

    I gave up trying to read Taleb’s books

    I find him more tolerable if I picture the words being read by David Brent in “The Office” (UK original version).

  217. rbbe Brod says:
    @Ibound1

    Its as if they could exile him from the bubble.

    I think its important for all the mensa autistics here and in the harvard bubble to remember that in populations, most of the fight is between 80 and 120 with above and below much less relevant and functional.

  218. gregor says:
    @eded

    The Bell Curve is really very restrained. And now it’s about 25 years out of date (so missing lots of DNA and neuroscience results). Murray wrote an afterword for later editions of the book in 1996 where he talks about the approach they took.

    “If there is one objective that we shared from the beginning, it was to write a book that was relentlessly moderate—in its tone, science, and argumentation.”

    In other words, they didn’t go out on a limb with any of their results. They didn’t probe the frontiers of the literature. They stuck with the best established and most obvious results. Things that aren’t controversial at all to intelligence researchers but that much of the public was completely unaware of or in denial about.

    Murray also says that because of all the controversy, many scholars will “start to examine evidence they would not have looked at otherwise and discover that the data are interesting. Some of them back off nervously, but others are curious, and they look further. And it turns out not just that The Bell Curve’s initial arguments were right but that there is much more out there than Herrnstein and I try to claim.”

    https://publicism.info/psychology/curve/25.html

  219. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    unless you know of any countries with significant black populations which subsidize wrestling. I know of none.

    Cuba.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  220. @Lurker

    But can you deadlift Teddy Cruz? 😉

    I could deadlift Teddy Cruz and drop him off at the headquarters of the GOP CHEAP LABOR FACTION in Swamp City DC.

    Teddy Cruz once supported legalizing illegal alien invaders. That is AMNESTY.

    Legalization is Amnesty!

    Teddy Cruz pushes nation-wrecking mass legal immigration.

    I could deadlift Teddy Cruz and rhetorically smash the Hell out of him in a debate too!

    Give me a 4 hour debate and 2 12-packs of Sierra Nevada porter, and I would rhetorically pulverize that Canadian bastard Teddy Cruz! Teddy Cruz would drink Molson. Why? Because that bastard Teddy Cruz is a Canadian!

    • Replies: @Lurker
  221. keuril says:
    @academic gossip

    Some people made a lot of money on the 2008 crash. The ones I know of are very high IQ.

    High IQ always helps, but I feel like the bubble leading to this crash, or at least some aspects of it, was pretty obvious in advance to anybody with common sense. For example, in the mid-2000s the historically pretty stable ratio of median household income to median house price got extremely out of whack, going from 3-4x to like 10x+ in bubble states like California. Every day it seemed like there was a story about some pizza delivery driver in Riverside buying a $700K starter home, or a homeless (or, sometimes, dead) man in Florida buying five houses.

    Of course, recognizing the bubble is one thing; profiting from it is another. It was also easy to recognize the 90s tech bubble based on nosebleed PEs, price-to-sales*, etc. But if you shorted that market in 1998, you blew up in 1999 when the Nasdaq was up 85% or whatever. Very dangerous times. I remember hearing about this or that short-only firm closing up shop back then, and I don’t think any hedge funds made billions of dollars shorting tech stocks the way John Paulson cleaned up during the GFC. Not to mention the scrappy players who had huge percentage returns and got made into minor celebrities thanks to “The Big Short.” As I see it, just as many smart people were aware of the bubble in 1998 as in 2007. But in 2007, thanks to credit default swaps, there was a relatively safe way to short the market. Billion-dollar bills rotting on the EMH street, as it were 😀

    * Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, had a famous quote about paying 10x revenues for an established business: “what were you thinking?” https://thefelderreport.com/2017/10/26/what-were-you-thinking/

  222. We must come together as a nation and admit that Teddy Cruz is a Canadian.

    We are reluctant to plainly state the clear truth about Teddy Cruz: Cruz is a Canuck!

    Tweet from 2015:

  223. Edward says:
    @Rich

    Look at the findings of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth and the Duke Talent Identification Project, which follow the life trajectories of those with IQs in the top 1% all the way to those in the top 0.01%.

    Look at Jonathan Wai’s publications, in which he concludes that a very large fraction of judges, politicians, Fortune 500 CEOs and other high-earning and influential people are in the top 1% of cognitive ability.

    A large majority of those in my own high school gifted program in the UK (top 28 out of roughly 370 students, so around the top 7.5% or so) went on to study at excellent universities and ended up in high-earning professions. There are a couple I can think of who didn’t do quite as well as one would have expected.

    At the end of high school, we held votes on who was more likely to end up where, and I was voted to be the most likely person to end up a millionaire. Haven’t achieved that, but nor has anyone else I know, and I’m much closer than most other people I knew. Illustrates that most people know that a high IQ pays off on average, despite the outdated stereotypes regarding high-IQ individuals.

    • Replies: @academic gossip
  224. gregor says:
    @The Z Blog

    Yeah, this is a sore spot for Taleb. In the West, people tend to lump Lebanon in with Arabia because of religion and language. Taleb is Greek Orthodox and he sees his Levantine peoples as having affinity with Greece and Cyprus and the Mediterranean and goes to great lengths to distance his people from Arabia. I suspect he is something of a Med-supremacist. Some of these ethnic concerns might be coloring his views on IQ.

  225. bomag says:
    @Clyde

    … the world is getting better and better

    By harvesting Europeans and their accomplishments.

    We’re not allowed to think how much better things would be if there were more Europeans around, instead of the various Others.

  226. Dtbb says:
    @Twinkie

    Ever hear of Mike Potts? A former co worker and wrestler and judo expert. A very large and strong man. Nicest guy in the world.

  227. @War for Blair Mountain

    Probably fairly badly, plus testing as learning disabled. Faraday was notoriously un-mathematical and likely had some sort of abstraction blind spot. He was curious and incredibly meticulous in his work and recording his observations but his models where pure English making it about as hard to learn the subject from his work as actually doing the work he did over again. There is a reason they are called the Maxwell equations.

    Of course there is also another reason they aren’t called the Heaviside equations.

  228. @Steve Sailer

    The times of day on which individual people in Japan died were not correlated, until they suddenly were in 1945. Our lifespans are mildly correlated (by medical technology) until they become extremely correlated in a planetary catastrophe. Insurance companies are highly interested in questions of this sort but it is absurd to describe the situation as retroactively discovering a correlation that had been there all along. But that’s what the “unforeseen correlation blew up the banks in 2008” narrative amounts to. We Have Always Been Correlated With Oceania.

    The correlation of mortgages when they are viewed over time comes from regional or national processes affecting large classes of mortgages in similar ways, such as booms, bubbles, recessions and lending standards. This was always true before 2008. One of the fallacies in talking about it as “correlation” afterward is that if the banks had foreseen the problems years earlier, the main correction to their MBS risk models would not have been some subtle mathematical complexity to better model correlations, but allowing for the underlying default rate to be much more variable, and a lot higher, than they had assumed.

  229. @Twinkie

    Good one. I’d forgotten about Cuba.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  230. @Rich

    Rich,

    I don’t know anything about you, but based on my brief experience with you here, I highly doubt your IQ is as high as you would like it to be.

    In any case, high IQ or not, you’re wrong. It’s as simple as that.

    Averages matter. I live in a city where I daily see various women who are taller than 5′ 9″, which is the average height of a man in the U.S. Do you think that proves women are, on average, just as tall as men? Based on how you interpret your personal anecdotes here, I would say you think it does.

    • Replies: @Rich
  231. @War for Blair Mountain

    Bill Gates has his billions…because his billions buys him massive control over the STATE…..

    I really hate when someone makes me defend these tech billionaires. who I have no wish to defend at all, but … Bill Gates made many of his billions before he even had a serious lobbying effort in Washington D.C. It was only after D.C. went after him for various peccadillos that he began arming up with lobbyists.

    Then there is the signal to noise issue…..Think of all the odd correlations that could be found with IQ Test scores…that would possibly contradict…or render meaningless the IQ Test Score-wealth correlation….

    Like what?

  232. @Edward

    Look at Jonathan Wai’s publications, in which he concludes that a very large fraction of judges, politicians, Fortune 500 CEOs and other high-earning and influential people are in the top 1% of cognitive ability.

    “Taleb [is the son of] Nagib Taleb, a physician/oncologist and a researcher in anthropology. … His grandfather, Fouad Nicolas Ghosn, and his great-grandfather, Nicolas Ghosn, were both deputy prime ministers in the 1940s through the 1970s. His paternal grandfather Nassim Taleb was a supreme court judge and his great-great-great-great grandfather, Ibrahim Taleb (Nabbout), was a governor of Mount Lebanon … His family saw its political prominence and wealth reduced by the Lebanese Civil War, … Taleb holds an MBA from the Wharton School … and a PhD in … mathematics of derivatives pricing.”

    Now he tells us “my offspring was enrolled [in the SMPY study]”.

    It’s almost as if mental ability is highly hereditary, predictive of real world outcomes, and can be detected by tests like the GMAT that Taleb took to get into Wharton, competition-style math puzzles he likes to solve on his Twitter, and the SAT his offspring took for admission to SMPY.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  233. gregor says:
    @Anon

    To some extent, you could read his IQ dismissal as a continuation of his IYI bashing. What do IYIs care most about? Demonstrating their intellect, education, and sophistication. While I heartily endorse any and all mocking of IYIs, it’s ill-advised to attack IQ more broadly. He just sounds uninformed on the topic (or he’s just playing word games, redefining intelligence, etc.)

  234. @Pincher Martin

    Pinchar

    You could make one up…look for it…and you with with how probability find it…IQ test score-thickness of toenails….something similar occurs in high energy….stuff-noise gets thrown out….Theory determines what correlations are kept…..High Frequency Trading exploits this fact about the world all the time…..finding lots of wierd…..odd correlations….

    I want to be very clear about something: My critique of IQ Testing Psychometrics does not commit me to vacous Paul Enrlich Environmentalism…I really do believe genes and biololgy highly constrain what’s possible in the phenotype realm…..knowing and understanding how to go from genes to phenotype when it comes to brains and intelligence is in the black box realm….at the moment….

    The devil is in the details….but what details? Theory tell us what details to look at…..it’s not a trivial question…..

  235. Jack D says:
    @academic gossip

    I wonder whether he is related to the Ghosn who was head of Nissan and is currently in a Japanese prison?

    The Lebanese Christian elite was very small and intermarried. It wouldn’t shock me if he was related to Slim also.

  236. AKAHorace says:
    @Andy

    I usually read and agree with Taleb’s opinions on twitter, but on the IQ issue he really embarrassed himself.

    Someone who has views about many unrelated things should accept that there is a good chance they are wrong about some of them. Not Taleb. The Black Swan was good but he has become increasingly over confident with time. He now has strong opinions on a range of issues such as GMOs, how to stay fit, is Lebanese Arabic and seems unable to disagree civilly about them.

  237. Jack D says:

    Taleb is overselling what the lack of correlation means. Most jobs don’t require superhuman IQ because there are very few people who have it. Ordinary jobs are designed for people with a normal IQ or you wouldn’t be able to fill them – only 15% of the population is above IQ 115. Having more than a normal IQ is not necessarily helpful, might even be harmful for those jobs (too boring) or else what is needed is normal IQ PLUS some other attribute which has little or no correlation with IQ (say strength, social skills, etc.). So, once you need the minimum threshold needed for the job (say IQ 100 for all but the most intellectually challenging jobs), more is not necessarily better. However, once you fall BELOW the minimum needed to do a particular job, your competence falls off very rapidly. And once you get to a low IQ (say below 70) there is almost perfect correlation – 100% of people with 70 IQs can’t be say bank tellers – this is exactly what Taleb’s graph shows:

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  238. Darin says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    What’s interesting to me is how smart cornerbacks are. Even at a position with so much emphasis on footspeed, the average Wunderlic score for NFL cornerbacks is 18.

    The conversion between Wunderlic score and IQ is a bit vague, but it sounds like a score of 18 is a tad under an IQ of 100. American football is a very cerebral game.

    It makes even more impressive the absolute dominance of blacks. I.e., if at least a moderate IQ is needed to play cornerback, then the pool of blacks is even smaller relative to whites. Until you factor in speed.

  239. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    I’d forgotten about Cuba.

    I am sure you know about Yoel Romero, an elite middle weight in the UFC. He medaled multiple times at the Words and won silver at the 2000 Olympics, and place 4th at the 2004 Olympics where he lost to the great Cael Sanderson. Sanderson went on to beat the South Korean standout Moon Eui-Jae in the finals and won gold.

    The thing is, wrestling (like Judo) is a much more multi-attribute sport than something like basketball or football where a few attributes are crucial. So people of different races/ethnicities bring different advantages and do well. Japan, for example, is a wrestling powerhouse (as it is of, obviously, Judo, which is a form of jacket wrestling). Japanese wrestlers frequently beat blacks.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  240. @academic gossip

    You’re still missing the point entirely. Taleb does not say that mortgages are fat tailed. He says that the massive overexposure to derivatives such as credit default swaps that were built off of mortgages but totalled many times the value of the underlying assets, and the dangerously interdependent global financial system that could be brought to its knees as a result of a relatively small number of defaults in obscure places, is a fragile system, and the crisis itself was a fat tail event.

    Give his books another shot– antifragile is his magnum opus, so if you only read one make it that one. It’s clear that a lot of commenters here don’t understand Taleb’s points and are constructing strawmen to argue against. Steve is right on IQ but he’s also not giving Taleb’s core ideas a fair representation.

  241. anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The cognitive revolution?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_revolution

    The biologist John Maynard Smith referred to him as “one of the half-dozen or so commanding intellects of the 20th century.”

    The NYT argued, “judged in terms of the range, power, novelty and depth of his ideas, Chomsky is arguably the most important living intellectual.”

    Both of those quotes are from people who were criticising him in those same articles; they were not from friends at his birthday party.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  242. bomag says:
    @Twinkie

    Agree here in general.

    IQ is one of the better “single variable explanations” in the social sciences, so it will tend to be overused.

    Some people here fixate on single variables and can’t seem to formulate models of reality that are even mildly complex.

    The other side is probably worse in that they’ve seized upon racism as a single variable explanation and are flogging that forevermore unto some poor societal decisions.

  243. Anonymous[248] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    ……and an awful lot of ‘illicit narcotic’ sales to stupid whites.

  244. Maciano says:

    you’re too kind, Steve.

    Taleb is a liar, a scammer.

    He needs to get a good hard ego-wash.

  245. @Twinkie

    I am sure you know about Yoel Romero…

    I do, and Romero strikes me as the model of what the best black athletes would do in the sport of wrestling if more of them took it up. His explosiveness is otherworldly. He makes other world-class athletes in MMA look like they are standing still. If he hadn’t come to MMA so late in his life, he would have dominated the sport in Jon Jones-like fashion.

    Jon Jones is another example. Here’s a guy who has two older brothers who played in the NFL as defensive linemen, but whose slender frame was not as well-suited to that position. So he focuses on wrestling. But he has impulse control problems and, unlike football, wrestling doesn’t have professional baby sitters who try to watch talented prospects and keep them from getting into trouble. So he goes to a junior college, where he dominates the competition. He drops out of school after learning about MMA, and once again he dominates the competition.

    Daniel Cormier, on the other hand, strikes me as more of a drudge. He fights hard and well. And he’s an incredible fighter. But while he’s very athletic and deceptively strong, I don’t think he’s any more athletic than a lot of his competition. It’s simply amazing watching this Olympic medal-winning wrestler get out-grappled when he locks up with JUCO-champion Jon Jones.

    The thing is, wrestling (like Judo) is a much more multi-attribute sport than something like basketball or football where a few attributes are crucial. So people of different races/ethnicities bring different advantages and do well. Japan, for example, is a wrestling powerhouse (as it is of, obviously, Judo, which is a form of jacket wrestling). Japanese wrestlers frequently beat blacks.

    Yes, but how many talented black athletes go into judo? Not many. Probably fewer than go into wrestling. Most of the great Brazilian and American judoka, for example, are white. Cuba is an excellent counter-example, but it is fairly small.

  246. Edward says:
    @anonymous

    It is hard to account for cultural factors sometimes. Philosophy is dominated by men but compared to, eg, electrical engineering it has relatively few Asians. That’s probably not an IQ thing.

    Probably not entirely an IQ thing, but East Asians have average verbal IQs but significantly above-average spatial IQs. They probably gravitate toward fields such as engineering, physics, mathematics and computer science as a result.

    Indian-Americans appear to be all-rounders, which explains their presence in business, economics and finance, as well as medicine (which, as per the SMPY findings, is what the all-rounders tend to go into the most) and STEM. Even then, though, there aren’t many Indian-American philosophers that I can think of, though there are a good deal of writers and journalists.

    Btw, which economist had the grad school letter of recommendation that was one line: “This man is a genius.” Keynes? Nash?

    I believe Nash did have a letter of recommendation which included those words.

    junior fellow

    I know a fair bit about Chomsky, but I didn’t know he was in the Harvard Society of Fellows. He’s in good company there, it seems, with Marvin Minsky (who the 160-IQ Isaac Asimov claimed was one of only two people he knew who were smarter than him) and Edward Witten (often labelled the smartest physicist alive).

    Looking at the full list of Harvard Junior Fellows, that’s a great list of physicists. I do indeed see Steve Hsu there and, pertinent to the discussion of Blacks in g-loaded subjects, Sylvester James Gates, the first (and only?) African-American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major university, is present.

  247. Dan says:
    @nglaer

    I took the 50 yard test in 1962 while in 7th grade. Don’t remember my time but I do remember a black girl named Renee ran 6-something, beating me and most of the boys.

  248. @Steve Sailer

    In a rising market for housing prices, defaults tend to be rare and Gaussian:

    The less rare, the more Gaussian (say each month in a tranche of 10000 mortgages), as long as the decisions to pay the mortgage or not are made independently by different households. Exceptions are things like the closing of a factory that employs hundreds of homeowners, or people who own multiple properties.

    But in a falling market, everything is correlated.

    The decisions to not pay the mortgage are still made independently (and now more Gaussian-ly, now that there are more of them being added up). The cumulating loss and number of defaults in a Credit Default Swap, which are what trigger the payouts, are even more Gaussian since they are sums of the monthly numbers.

    This idea of fat tails from mortgage correlations is similar to Larry Summers purporting to be talking about variances when his logic and examples all point to a difference in means as the more important part of the explanation. For mortgages the losses are Gaussian but the means of the monthly loss distributions were rising in 2008. Usual stuff with higher parameters, not mysterious new stuff.

  249. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Pincher Martin

    Daniel Cormier doesn’t look like he can climb a rope with just his arms. MMA champ though. His last win was impressive.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
    , @Twinkie
  250. Rich says:
    @Pincher Martin

    And here I thought I was dazzling everyone on this site with my great genius…

    It is possible I’m wrong, my wife and eldest daughter claim I’m wrong all the time, but in the world in which I live, these are some observations I’ve made. I certainly agree that having a high IQ is a plus and can help a person succeed, but I’ve also seen where a high IQ, or at least a very high IQ, isn’t always helpful.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  251. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    I think you’re right about this. Pro wrestling has enough danger in it to keep it interesting. MMA sometimes can look like a slaughterhouse.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  252. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @keuril

    I appreciate the support, but I really don’t care what Twink thinks. He’s had his panties in a twist since I said Olympic judo wasn’t entertaining to watch a couple of years ago.

    As for my weight, I’ve been working on losing it while trying to maintain strength. It’s been slow-going, but I’m down about 16lbs from when that video was taken.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @keuril
    , @Anon
  253. anonymous[417] • Disclaimer says:
    @Chrisnonymous

    wwebd said:

    when people post comments like that, I think there may be
    a greater number of people who understand this world as well or better than I do
    than I had heretofore thought likely

  254. @War for Blair Mountain

    Educated people then might do rather well. The idea was that the knowledge base was the person not his ability to look up works of reference. My G G G Grandfather was doing trig and algebra at 11. His notebooks are also far neater than mine. They didn’t hold clever pupils back in those days.

  255. anonymous[417] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    I agree with your comment about tendencies, I misworded what I was trying to say.

    Taleb’s point though is that there are more challenges than we can list, and above a certain level (Taleb is wrong in putting the level too low – for example, there is no way his cherished little Fat Tony is not at least 110 in IQ, for reasons of plausibility (the rheumy horse with the weird conformation is not gonna win the race, no matter how built the filly is to exceed well in the mud, no matter how much rain there is today at the track, if the rheumy horse, when given a simplistic test like the Terman IQ tests, is not, despite its rheumy look, at least half a standard deviation above average….trust me, whoever you are)

    High IQ people probably also tend to deal better with the mysteries of love and religion, from most people’s point of view.

    But from my point of view – and I am a very intense person, and your mileage might vary – I wonder —– how sad to be, say, a religious leader with acute insight into the wonderful mysteries of theology, but to be at the same time a distant person in one’s own little circle of friends!

    I sometimes …. not often, but sometimes …. what it would be like to be gifted with a very high level of understanding of whatever problems or challenges you wanted to understand, but to at the same time not have an intense love of life …..

    then I think of lots of movies and popular music and memes and successful politicians, and I then think of something more interesting …..

    fireflies of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, the genius musicians of my grandfather’s day who loved the music of Mozart even more than I ….

    blue and purple Christmas lights on that street deep in the middle of the middle of the great Saharan desert, in that city where the Magi – or at least one of them – were once young, and full of good-hearted hope for future wisdom.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  256. anonymous[180] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    wwebd said –

    slight correction of earlier comment, hopefully worth reading —–
    I sometimes …. not often, but sometimes …. “wonder” what it would be like to be gifted with a very high level of understanding of whatever problems or challenges you wanted to understand, but at the same time not to have an intense love of life …..

    say what you want about Taleb, he seems to have an intense love of life – maybe even at my level, or more, hence I respect him, despite his faults

    (and yes I have spent at least one Christmastime with friends, far away in the Arabian desert)

  257. @Dave Pinsen

    Daniel Cormier doesn’t look like he can climb a rope with just his arms. MMA champ though. His last win was impressive.

    Yep. He can beat the crap out of anyone not named Jon Jones. His early run through the heavyweight division of Strikeforce was impressive. Almost all the guys Cormier beat were significantly bigger and more experienced than him.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  258. Bliss says:
    @Pincher Martin

    but how many talented black athletes go into judo? Not many. Probably fewer than go into wrestling.

    Teddy Riner of France, 8 time World Champion (and two time Olympic Gold Medalist), is considered one of the greatest judokas of all time:

    Clarisse Agbegnenou, 3 time World Champion, also of France:

  259. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    I do, and Romero strikes me as the model of what the best black athletes would do in the sport of wrestling if more of them took it up. His explosiveness is otherworldly.

    And yet he never won gold at the Olympics.

    Jon Jones is another example.

    First of all, Jon Jones has otherworldly wingspan at 85 inches. It’s an incredible advantage in fighting (the last time he fought someone with a similar frame – Alexander Gustafsson – he had a rough time). But what’s really interesting about him is that he has exceptionally good fight IQ while he clearly has judgment (or IQ) problems in real life. I’ve never seen a guy be that smart and adaptive in the cage while being so incredibly dumb outside.

    It’s simply amazing watching this Olympic medal-winning wrestler get out-grappled when he locks up with JUCO-champion Jon Jones.

    Straight-up wrestling and MMA wrestling are different games. The moment you have to worry about punches, elbows, knees, and kicks, a lot of takedown opportunities open up.

    Yes, but how many talented black athletes go into judo? Not many. Probably fewer than go into wrestling. Most of the great Brazilian and American judoka, for example, are white. Cuba is an excellent counter-example, but it is fairly small.

    Like I wrote, Japan is a wrestling powerhouse. It often wins the most medals at the Worlds (though often that is a function of their female doing really well).

    Wrestling is much more multi-attribute/multi-dimensional than, say, boxing (you don’t have to worry about your lower body in boxing). It’s therefore a higher IQ sport with a lot more ways to win (or lose). Blacks aren’t athletically more gifted across the whole spectrum of human physical ability than people of other races. For example, whites and East Asians probably have higher reaction time than blacks do on average. So y0u can’t just translate black American sports success in, say, basketball or football (where they enjoy genetic advantages) into thinking they’ll do well in others that favor other attributes.

    Although financial incentives play a big role in American athletics, that is less so in other countries with lower levels of commercial athletic development. And so you see athletes flock to sports where they have genetic advantages (such as shooting sports in East Asia, grappling sports in Central Asia/the Caucasus, etc.).

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  260. Twinkie says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    Daniel Cormier doesn’t look like he can climb a rope with just his arms.

    I bet he can. He doesn’t have man-boobs. And he can move pretty fricking fast.

  261. Lurker says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    A Canadian informed me of an alarming phenomenon known as the ‘Molson mudslide’. The result of drinking one too many Molsons.

  262. Twinkie says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    MMA sometimes can look like a slaughterhouse.

    As anyone who has ever fought knows, the head/face bleeds easily with the littlest of cuts. That kind of bleeding looks a lot worse than it actually is. It’s superficial. The really dangerous things are hard hits to the head, especially with kicks and knees. Someone holding on to blood chokes too long is also exceptionally dangerous. I’ve seen guys not wake up for a long time, because someone held a choke too long. Both can be and often are completely “carnage”-free.

    I’ve been cut in the face in both fighting and sparring, and most of the time it was like a faucet. After I was cleaned up it was rarely that bad of an injury and healed pretty fast if scarred (although during the fights, the blood going into the eyes and obstructing my vision was a problem).

  263. Twinkie says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    He’s had his panties in a twist since I said Olympic judo wasn’t entertaining to watch a couple of years ago.

    1. Yes, but my panties aren’t obscured by my gut spilling over.

    2. Stop engaging in revisionism. You wrote that the top athletes in Judo were “sloppy” and implied that you and your peers in the junior program were better. That was complete jack-assery along the lines of some fat guy implying he was a better basketball player than Michael Jordan in middle school.

    I find you ridiculous, because you clearly have no clue about fighting and combat sports, but keep insisting that weightlifters (such as yourself, I guess) with no training can do well against actual experts in them. I hate to burst your bubble, but they get smashed. And so would you, “500 club” or no.

    I’m glad you are training to be healthier and, sincerely, kudos to you for your weight-lifting accomplishment, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that makes you an expert in fighting.

    • Replies: @anon
  264. @Pincher Martin

    But Jones was in a weak field in wrestling and didn’t dominate at all. The first thing that comes to mind is the photo of a sulking Jones standing on the third place podium beneath Matt riddle, white former UFC Welterweight and current “fake wrestler”.

    I think you’re also discounting the benefits of elite doping, which has been a big part of the careers of both Jones and Romero, and had more than a little to do with Jones being able to outlast the stronger wrestler Cormier. It’s doubtful Romero could have been as dominant without the benefit of years more wrestling experience and peaking while other elites of his division were aging out or breaking down from wear and tear (or competing clean because of enhanced testing?). With two losses to the undersized and less athletic Whittaker while still being in top form, fantasies about a hypothetical young Romero dominating the sport are dubious theories at best.

    Also as to your theory about the poor pay driving away afletic black youfs, then why doesn’t it drive away the aforementioned white and Asian athletes? Whites and asians certainly have better prospects for non-athletic careers on average than blacks (i.e. they’ve got a lot better paying things they could be doing, black athletes, even if they are the supposed “b-tier”, not so much). Whites and asians will put up with it but it doesn’t meet the higher standards of negroids? More likely they just wash out a lot more, don’t have the benefit of juvenile “athlete development” programs which favor the early-maturing blacks, and don’t have a thuggish black sport-culture to drive away ethnic rivals like in football or basketball.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  265. @anony-mouse

    Corollary is that you don’t have to pack a pistol big enough to stop a grizzly, only big enough to stop your hiking partner.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  266. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Yep. He can beat the crap out of anyone not named Jon Jones.

    Jones is on record as stating that at heavyweight Cormier would be a tougher fight. Cormier’s cut to the light heavyweight saps his power and stamina a lot. He definitely moves better as a heavyweight. He also had weight-cutting issues in amateur wrestling. It’s really too bad for his career that he left the heavyweight division earlier in consideration for his friend and training partner (then the heavyweight champ) Cain Velasquez. But I understand it.

    You know what’s amazing? Cormier talks about how Khabib Nurmagomedov will give him a run for his money (especially grip fighting) in wrestling sessions. Khabib fights at 155 lbs.!

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  267. Twinkie says:
    @Bliss

    Both superb athletes and great champions.

    Now let’s talk the larger numbers. Which countries get the most medals in Judo?

    • Replies: @Bliss
  268. Bliss says:
    @Bliss

    As for African-American success in wrestling (despite lower participation rate):

    First American to win 3 World Championships, Leroy Kemp:

    Jordan Burroughs, 4 time World Champion and one time Olympic Gold Medalist:

  269. @Edward

    IQ tests mean everything…until you fall in love with a beautiful woman.

  270. @Rich

    It is possible I’m wrong, my wife and eldest daughter claim I’m wrong all the time, but in the world in which I live, these are some observations I’ve made. I certainly agree that having a high IQ is a plus and can help a person succeed, but I’ve also seen where a high IQ, or at least a very high IQ, isn’t always helpful.

    Rich, what you ask is a scientific question and ought to settled scientifically. We can take data on IQ and compare it to data on income. We can do this in many different ways.

    And indeed it has been done many different ways. What’s been found in most studies is that the correlation between IQ and income is modest at the individual level, but becomes much stronger the more you control for age, gender, and year-by-year variance in income.

  271. @Bliss

    And what is the black population of France? Two percent?

  272. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @education realist

    By the way, Dave, I hadn’t seen your achievement. Congrats!

    Thanks, Ed.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  273. Twinkie says:
    @Neil Templeton

    That’s nonsense spewed by people who don’t know jack about bears. A grizzly will kill you both.

    Black bears kill more people in the U.S. than brown bears, but that’s because black bears are far more numerous and their habitat coincides much more with that of humans. Black bears are pretty shy creatures and sometimes even abandon their young to avoid people. I spend a lot of time in black bear country and typically carry a snubbie in 357 mag on person when traveling lightly. (If going heavy, I carry a long gun).

    It’s different in brown bear country. I’m far far more cautious and am more heavily armed. They are much more aggressive.

    • Replies: @Neil Templeton
    , @Anonymous
  274. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Dave Pinsen

    You can lift five hundred pounds, but your hands are not large. You still do not possess the very large hands which can easily palm a Ballester Molina like it was a Whitney Wolverine. Men of smaller hands cannot know what they are missing. The smaller-handed can try to hide, but really, they cannot, because if they try to cover their eyes with their small hands, they will merely discover their small hands are less able to block out the world than are large hands.

    • LOL: Twinkie
  275. Bliss says:
    @Twinkie

    Japan continues to win the most golds in its national sport. But the gap is shrinking. In the 2016 Olympics:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judo_at_the_2016_Summer_Olympics

    1. Japan…..3 gold medals
    2. France…2
    3. Russia…2

    For all the Olympics in the 21st century:

    1. Japan…..19 gold medals
    2. France…6
    3. Cuba……5

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  276. @Twinkie

    And yet he never won gold at the Olympics.

    But Romero did win gold at the 1999 World Championships, which is just as hard. And the guy he beat won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

    First of all, Jon Jones has otherworldly wingspan at 85 inches. It’s an incredible advantage in fighting (the last time he fought someone with a similar frame – Alexander Gustafsson – he had a rough time).

    It’s an advantage, but you shouldn’t make too much of it. Reach by itself does not come close to making Jon Jones the most feared fighter in MMA. There are many fighters with large reach advantages who go nowhere special – Stephan Struve, Neil Magny, Jason MacDonald, David Branch, Patrick Holohan, etc.

    James Vick is 6’3″ and fights with a 76-inch reach at welterweight. He’s pretty good, but he’s not a killer like Jones.

    George Roop is 6’1″ and fights at 135 pounds with a 72-inch reach. Yet he’s just a middle-of-the-road fighter in the UFC.

    It’s an advantage, but NOT an “incredible” advantage.

    But what’s really interesting about him is that he has exceptionally good fight IQ while he clearly has judgment (or IQ) problems in real life. I’ve never seen a guy be that smart and adaptive in the cage while being so incredibly dumb outside.

    I don’t see that IQ in the Octagon so much as I see a guy who just straight-out devastates people. He has such an athletic advantage over everyone he’s faced, and he fights with confidence, that it’s easy to look smart.

    The Gustafsson fight was remarkable in that it was the first fight where Jones was truly tested – and that took place twenty fights into his career. And it wasn’t so much the lack of a reach advantage for Jones that made the difference in that fight as it was Jones was surprised he couldn’t take Gus down. Going into that fight, Jones must’ve assumed he could easily take the fight to the mat if it wasn’t going the way he wanted on his feet. Well, much to the surprise of everyone, Jones was unable to do that. He was 1 for 11 in takedowns during that fight.

    Jones had coasted to decisions before, and he lost a round in one fight (to Machida) but he’d never been beaten up as he was by the Swede.

    Straight-up wrestling and MMA wrestling are different games.

    Yes, they are, as anyone who has watched Dan Henderson get taken down multiple times by BJJ specialists can attest.

    But there’s a large crossover between the two. Far more so than Judo and more so even than BJJ, wrestling has proven to be an excellent first step to building a MMA career. Guys who are great wrestlers can easily become great mixed martial artists so long as they learn how to take a punch. (And Brock Lesnar has shown that even without that ability they can still become a UFC champion.)

    Like I wrote, Japan is a wrestling powerhouse. It often wins the most medals at the Worlds (though often that is a function of their female doing really well).

    Yeah, I never count females. There’s not enough depth to build a truly competitive pool of talent. I prefer to keep the discussion focused on men’s sports.

    Blacks aren’t athletically more gifted across the whole spectrum of human physical ability than people of other races. For example, whites and East Asians probably have higher reaction time than blacks do on average. So y0u can’t just translate black American sports success in, say, basketball or football (where they enjoy genetic advantages) into thinking they’ll do well in others that favor other attributes.

    I agree. But in any sport where speed and quickness matter to a significant degree, they will excel. The complexity of MMA almost certainly dilutes some of that advantage, however. I also believe that the brutal practice of cutting weight deters some lower-IQ athletes from participating in both wrestling and MMA, since it requires patience and planning and discipline – and the payoff usually isn’t large.

    Although financial incentives play a big role in American athletics, that is less so in other countries with lower levels of commercial athletic development. And so you see athletes flock to sports where they have genetic advantages (such as shooting sports in East Asia, grappling sports in Central Asia/the Caucasus, etc.).

    Yes, but Cuba aside, most countries with large African populations won’t have states which subsidize athletics to such a large degree. They don’t have the money for it. So then dominance in a sport becomes a matter of culture/tradition (e.g., Japan in judo; South Korea in taekwondo), unless that sport is less capital-intensive, like marathon running.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  277. @Athletic and Whitesplosive

    But Jones was in a weak field in wrestling and didn’t dominate at all. The first thing that comes to mind is the photo of a sulking Jones standing on the third place podium beneath Matt riddle, white former UFC Welterweight and current “fake wrestler”.

    He was a latecomer to the field, and didn’t get great training early on.

    But even with those disadvantages, Jones still excelled. He was a state champion in both high school and junior college. He then immediately steps into MMA and it’s almost impossible to get the man down, while Jones usually takes his opponents down at will.

    Jon Jones has fought 24 times in MMA, including multiple times against the best wrestlers the sport has to offer, and he’s been taken down only twice over a span of nearly ten years. Once by Daniel Cormier and once by Gustasson (who, ironically, isn’t even a wrestler). Both times Jones was taken down he got up without difficulty. That’s unprecedented. By comparison, Randy Couture has been taken down as often as four times in a single fight.

    I think you’re also discounting the benefits of elite doping, which has been a big part of the careers of both Jones and Romero, and had more than a little to do with Jones being able to outlast the stronger wrestler Cormier.

    A lot of people dope in MMA. Josh Barnett, for example. That’s not what makes Jones so tremendous a fighter.

    It’s doubtful Romero could have been as dominant without the benefit of years more wrestling experience and peaking while other elites of his division were aging out or breaking down from wear and tear (or competing clean because of enhanced testing?).

    But Romero rarely even uses his wrestling in MMA, and he almost never uses it effectively. In fact, when I first saw Romero fight in the UFC, I assumed he would go nowhere because his first few opponents were taking him down more than he was taking them down – never a good sign for an elite wrestler in MMA. (The only wrestler I’ve seen get away with that is Dan Henderson.) He corrected that problem, but still underutilizes his wrestling in MMA.

    No, Romero has become a complete MMA fighter and he didn’t do that by doping. Doping doesn’t make you a better puncher and kicker, for example.

    Also as to your theory about the poor pay driving away afletic black youfs, then why doesn’t it drive away the aforementioned white and Asian athletes?

    Because they can’t excel at football and basketball like blacks do. So they don’t have that out.

    Many standout wrestlers I’ve known had father-coaches who drove them to it. It’s a blue-collar sport with blue-collar guys who don’t expect to play professional sports. It’s what their dads did, and so it’s what they do.

  278. @Twinkie

    You know what’s amazing? Cormier talks about how Khabib Nurmagomedov will give him a run for his money (especially grip fighting) in wrestling sessions. Khabib fights at 155 lbs.!

    Khabib is an incredible grappler. I’m not surprised he rag-dolled Conor.

  279. @Twinkie

    It’s a joke, Twinkie, not serious advice. Point taken, though. If he’s of a mind, Old Ephraim can make a mess out of you. And the missus with cubs is worster.

  280. Twinkie says:
    @Bliss

    Japan continues to win the most golds in its national sport.

    Take a look at wrestling which is not Japan’s national sport.

    But the gap is shrinking.

    Aside from Japan, France, South Korea, Germany, and Russia have been traditional Judi powerhouses. The biggest growth, though, has been in the Caucasus and the steppes, i.e. Georgia, Mongolia, the ‘Stans. Not African countries or others with high African demographic.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  281. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

  282. keuril says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    I think your lift vid is great and as others have mentioned, that is a crazy amount of weight. I’ve been lifting for a couple years and am just now switching over to Starting Strength. I like the simplicity. Were you able to maintain your strength on the deadlift and other lifts after the weight loss? I dropped about 10% body weight this year while doing a bunch of traveling with irregular training. When I got back to the gym I was surprised at how much weaker I was.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  283. Bliss says:
    @Twinkie

    France, South Korea, Germany, and Russia have been traditional Judi powerhouses. The biggest growth, though, has been in the Caucasus and the steppes, i.e. Georgia, Mongolia, the ‘Stans. Not African countries or others with high African demographic.

    The biggest challenge to Japan comes from France. Judo is very popular there. Both of it’s gold medal winners in the 2016 Olympics are african. And so are both of it’s silver medal winners.

    Brazil’s sole gold medalist is black. So is one of it’s two bronze medalists (going by the north american definition of black).

    Cuba and Colombia won a single silver medal each. Both winners are african. Netherlands won a bronze medal. The winner is african.

    The Caucasians are very impressive considering their small numbers. Both of Russia’s gold medalists are muslims from the northern Caucasus:

    Plus 3 silvers and a bronze for the southern Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  284. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    A Pennsylvania possum sheriff was being interviewed about a pair of bear poachers who were poaching them for the Chinese market. The actual kill was done with a .22 WMR rifle, most of the time. If the bear was not instantly killed the other guy had a bigger gun. It turned out when this pair were busted the other guy had a Westley Richards droplock double rifle, best grade, in some suitable heavy African traditional chambering. They figure it had to be stolen, but it turned out the guys had bought it cash from a famous dealer, nearly six figures the price was.

    Of course both guns were confiscated, and I presume destroyed.

    It was then the possum sheriff realized just how profitable bear poaching could be. Nevertheless bear populations are still excessive in the Northeast, particularly in anti-hunting, anti-gun New Jersey. Not enough people want to hunt and not enough licenses or tags are issued due to the PETA twats and suchlike.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  285. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    But Romero did win gold at the 1999 World Championships, which is just as hard. And the guy he beat won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. He was a phenomenal wrestler. Some wrestlers consider the Worlds harder than the Olympics. But in terms of the Cuban incentive system, an Olympic gold matters more and he didn’t quite make it. No shame in losing to Cael Sanderson though (or to a host of elite wrestlers from the Caucasus, to whom he lost the top prize frequently).

    It’s an advantage, but you shouldn’t make too much of it.

    I know that there are long-winged fighters who don’t make as good use of their reach as Jones does. But, holding all other variables equal, reach IS a tremendous advantage. Machida tagged him good and hard in the first round of their fight and he has a 74″ reach vs. Jones’s 85″. That’s an 11″ difference, which is just HUGE. Imagine if the two guys had the same reach. He might not have made it out of that first round.

    I don’t see that IQ in the Octagon so much as I see a guy who just straight-out devastates people. He has such an athletic advantage over everyone he’s faced, and he fights with confidence, that it’s easy to look smart.

    There is no such thing as “just devastating” the opponent. Jones is an incredible combination of athletic ability, skills, and, yes, excellent fight IQ. I will give you two quick examples: the aforementioned Machida fight and the Glover Teixeira fight.

    At the time of their meeting, Machida was close to his peak. He has a very simple, but also extremely tricky counter-striking game (also has a very underrated Sumo- and Judo-based takedown game, with which he easily took down Tito Ortiz and Dan Henderson). His Shotokan-based counter and blitz style striking initially confused Jon Jones. He got cracked hard in the first round by Machida’s Sen-no-Sen left. But he figured out Machida eventually and countered him beautifully. See a good analysis here: https://youtu.be/smDFsF3PY4I

    That’s an excellent in-fight adjustment/adaptation. Very high fight IQ.

    In the Teixeira fight, the initial game plan for Jones was to fight a distance game and pepper Glover, who is a chinny power puncher, with outside kicks and punches. It was thought that Glover would have the advantage in boxing exchanges in the pocket. But in the middle of the fight, Jones realized that Glover was only winging hooks. So he abandoned the game plan and collapsed the pocket and brutalized Glover with inside-the-phone booth strikes while deflecting the winging outside hooks. Again, excellent mid-fight adjustment and a demonstration of very good fight IQ.

    it was Jones was surprised he couldn’t take Gus down

    After Gus was wrestle-f’d by Phil Davis in his UFC debut, Gus has trained extensively in wrestling… with Phil Davis.

    But even that “surprise” aside, the reason why Jones struggled in the fight wasn’t just that he couldn’t take Gus down. Jones is not a power puncher or even a power kicker (notwithstanding that kick that brought down Cormier). He wears down his opponents with a barrage of long distance strikes that maximizes the effects of his reach (including, yes, illegal finger jabs to the eye, which he often uses to create distance and jam opponent’s advances). A vast majority of his opponents have to close the distance to land their own strikes, and in the process, have to absorb a lot of those jamming strikes. Jones does most of his significant damage – after he’s worn down his opponents with such strikes – by using unorthodox power strikes such as spinning elbows, strikes which utilize the torque he generates due to his lanky frame, rather than from natural hip power/thick wrist bones.

    He’s struggled twice to implement his usual game plan. Once with Gus and the other against Ovince St. Preux, another tall, long fighter with 6’3.5″ height and 80 in reach. Basically, with the two guys whom he could not bait into running into his jamming strikes, he struggled, because they took away a big part of his setup game.

    Far more so than Judo and more so even than BJJ, wrestling has proven to be an excellent first step to building a MMA career. Guys who are great wrestlers can easily become great mixed martial artists so long as they learn how to take a punch. (And Brock Lesnar has shown that even without that ability they can still become a UFC champion.)

    Agree. Much of that has to do with the fact that wrestling relies on cupping grips, because of the lack of grip-able clothing, which translates well to shorts-only MMA game. Both Judo and BJJ are gi-based and grip-fighting with lapels and sleeves are hugely important.

    Still, at the HIGEST level, those with the best MMA grappling are those who mix wrestling with Judo/Sambo techniques. Wrestling is without peer in pickup techniques. But it is relatively weaker/deficient in foot sweeps. Pickups can be countered easily if you are proficient in Ashi-waza (foot techniques of Judo and, by extension, Sambo). I used to be a national-level Judoka when I was young and often trained with wrestlers from an elite Midwestern Division I team during off-season. They’d pick me up and dump me all the time, but I would get them back with foot sweep and trips, with which they were not as familiar. One technique I used very successfully was Sasae Tsurikomi-Ashi (https://youtu.be/H8imPoRAz9Y). So I smiled when Machida pulled that on Dan Henderson: https://youtu.be/atqpl_ZDEJM?t=1m21s

    Probably the best example of someone who mixes up wrestling and Judo/Sambo techniques well is Khabib Nurmagomedov.

    Yeah, I never count females. There’s not enough depth to build a truly competitive pool of talent.

    In wrestling, no. In Judo, yes.

    But in any sport where speed and quickness matter to a significant degree, they will excel. The complexity of MMA almost certainly dilutes some of that advantage, however.

    Agree.

    most countries with large African populations won’t have states which subsidize athletics to such a large degree. They don’t have the money for it. So then dominance in a sport becomes a matter of culture/tradition (e.g., Japan in judo; South Korea in taekwondo), unless that sport is less capital-intensive, like marathon running.

    West Africa doesn’t produce long-distance runners. East Africa (esp. the highlands) does. Genetics.

    You are ignoring genetics. A quick example: blacks, specifically West African-descended, will dominate boxing (where power and explosion matter a great deal; also note that a boxing “ring” has corners where you can be trapped and have to exchange power strikes in the pocket). They will have much harder time in Shotokan Karate or Tae Kwon Do, which are reaction-heavy games (rather like ping pong) that takes places in open space (intricate footwork dominant) with multiple levels of attack to worry about. East Asians with their fast reaction time and cognitive processing speed as well as high visuo-spatial IQ are going to excel in those types of sports. Blacks, not as much.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  286. Twinkie says:
    @Bliss

    I watch just about all the high-level international Judo matches, not just the Olympics. If you actually watch the recent world tour matches, Caucasians – from the Caucasus – and those from the steppes (Mongolia and the ‘Stans) are doing extremely well and are rising as a force to be reckoned with in Judo.

    There are some notable black athletes in Judo (whose achievements I applaud), but they are a small handful in the larger scheme of things. They are more outliers than the general pattern.

    by the north american definition of black

    That’s not scientific in genetics terms. Someone who is 25% black in the U.S. might identify himself as black, but he is mostly something else.

    • Replies: @Bliss
  287. Twinkie says:
    @Anonymous

    The actual kill was done with a .22 WMR rifle

    Shot placement, I guess.

    Of course both guns were confiscated, and I presume destroyed.

    I weep for that Westley Richards.

    heavy African traditional chambering

    My Navy helo pilot cousin is a complete gun nut like I am, but when he went hunting in Africa for the Big Five, he had to buy all new guns. They are unpleasant guns to fire for fun to say the least.

    In North America, you can do pretty much everything with a .308 or .30-06. And they are pretty fun to shoot (esp. out of self-loaders in military equivalent calibers).

    Nevertheless bear populations are still excessive in the Northeast, particularly in anti-hunting, anti-gun New Jersey. Not enough people want to hunt and not enough licenses or tags are issued due to the PETA twats and suchlike.

    Forget bears, man. Everywhere deer have overrun the landscape. They cause landscape/crop damage, spread disease, and cause car accidents that kill people. And they themselves often die horribly due to over-population and crowding. But what do the leftists in charge do? Catch-and-sterilization-and-release. That’s their plan. Argh.

  288. Rob McX says:
    @Anonymous

    If that’s the case, it’s not because fat is exotic in Egypt, as many people might think when you mention a Third World country where food may be scarce. Egypt ranks 17th in the world in obesity (the US is 18th).

  289. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @keuril

    Thanks.

    It wasn’t a lot of weight in percentage terms for me, and I don’t think it’s affected my strength. I back slid a little on the deadlifts this year due to a minor back problem, but I’ve been working back.

    In your case, the lack of training may have been a bigger factor than the weight loss. The good news is that regaining strength is usually a lot quicker than gaining it.

  290. anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    legitimately.

    one of his friends, the obstreperous Norman Finkelstein, once said that even if he had lost his faith in Marxism he wouldn’t be so vulgar as to admit it.

    Well, if I don’t agree with Chomsky on contemporary politics, I wouldn’t be so vulgar as to attack him when we have targets like Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz and Thomas Friedman around.

    Another great Cambridge story about Noam: as a Harvard Fellow he was pretty much developing linguistics on his own–his adviser from Penn, Zelig Harris, never forgave him for breaking away–and sometime in the 50s he went to a major conference where he was absolutely crushed by consensus of the profession.

    When they got back to Cambridge his colleague Morris Halle was despondent. Noam was more sanguine: “Who cares if they accept it? 1000-1 doesn’t matter when I have the arguments on my side. Besides, I’ll get people more important than the professors: I’ll get their students.”

    • Replies: @keuril
  291. anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    At a symposium for the “cognitive revolution” (Pinker may have hosted) you can see how Chomsky is thought of.

    Pinker or someone asked the great psychologist George Miller a question and he answered by saying, “Well, what we thought was….uhh…Noam? What DID we think?”

    Daniel Dennett was a student of the greatest philosopher of his time, WVO Quine, and asked him the clever question, “what critics of yours should I be studying?” And Quine responded immediately, “Chomsky.”

  292. anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    And not because he wasn’t quick.

    William F. Buckley was pretty verbally slick and good at TV debate. I never saw him annihilated the way Chomsky did him. I’m guessing WFB didn’t see it coming either.

  293. anon[397] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    Why don’t you two settle this like men?

  294. anon[397] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    Twink’s a fantasist and a liar.

  295. @Twinkie

    Machida tagged him good and hard in the first round of their fight and he has a 74″ reach vs. Jones’s 85″. That’s an 11″ difference, which is just HUGE. Imagine if the two guys had the same reach. He might not have made it out of that first round.

    I doubt it. After seeing Gus light Jones up for five rounds and still lose their fight, I suspect that a few of Machida’s punches were not going to be enough to finish Jones.

    Machida’s foot movement is what separates him from other fighters. He rarely gives his opponent the opportunity to hit him. But Jones hit Lyoto with a short hook, a knee to the midsection, and then finished him off with a guillotine.

    In other words, Machida lost the fight to Jones up close and not at distance.

    There is no such thing as “just devastating” the opponent.

    What I mean is that it doesn’t seem to matter where the fight takes place, Jones always wins.

    For example, you think Jones’s range is key to his fighting prowess, but I see Jones as equally dangerous up close with his elbows, knees, and ability to grapple in the clinch.

    So you can’t beat Jones standing, and you can’t beat him on the ground. You obviously can’t beat him at a distance, and you can’t beat him in the clinch.

    And unlike Conor McGregor, Jones doesn’t seem to fade as the fight goes on. Jones won both the championship rounds against Gus, a feat he duplicated later in his first fight against Cormier and in his fights against OSP and Teixeira. But Jones has also won more than half his fights in either the first or second rounds, meaning he can blitz you, too.

    How do you beat a guy like that?

    In the Teixeira fight, the initial game plan for Jones was to fight a distance game and pepper Glover, who is a chinny power puncher, with outside kicks and punches. It was thought that Glover would have the advantage in boxing exchanges in the pocket. But in the middle of the fight, Jones realized that Glover was only winging hooks.

    The key to the Glover fight took place in the first round when Jones wrenched Glover’s shoulder out of its socket when the two men were in the clinch. Glover never recovered, and Jones dominated the fight.

    Again, like the Machida fight, that damage was done not at a distance because of Jones’ superior reach, but in the clinch where most people assumed Glover had the advantage.

    Still, at the HIGEST level, those with the best MMA grappling are those who mix wrestling with Judo/Sambo techniques.

    I don’t disagree, but I think many of those techniques are successful in MMA because few fighters use them – much the same way that a handful of fighters are finding success by using kicking techniques from taekwando. Nobody gave TKD any respect in MMA and then someone like Wonderboy Thompson came along and few fighters were prepared for his innovative fight style. But if you fought that TKD style as often in MMA as you fight some fighter who trains in Muay Thai, you’d most likely adapt to it.

    So there’s a tradeoff in which some martial arts are more effective the fewer participants use them. I think that’s LESS true of Judo than TKD, because Judo is a far more serious martial art than TKD, but still somewhat true.

    Matt Hughes, for example, apparently has a story where he entered an American judo tournament and won it without knowing any judo.

    I’m trying to think of judo practitioners I’ve watched in MMA. They include Karo Parysian, Hidehiko Yoshida, Satto Ishii, Kazuhiro Nakamura, that creep Ogawa, and the medal-winner from Poland whose name I can’t remember but who got his ass handed to him by Big Nog. As you can tell, I really enjoyed watching the old PRIDE fighting championships.

    I’m sure there are many others, but those are the ones who come to mind. (I don’t consider Fedor to be a Judoka because his main fighting speciality outside MMA was sambo. But of course he still used many judo techniques in his fighting; he was especially good at trips.)

    Probably the best example of someone who mixes up wrestling and Judo/Sambo techniques well is Khabib Nurmagomedov.

    Yes, but like GSP, Khabib’s incredible speed, strength and endurance are what makes his grappling techniques work.

    West Africa doesn’t produce long-distance runners. East Africa (esp. the highlands) does. Genetics.

    Of course. I was speaking generally. Running at any length doesn’t require large capital expenditures.

    You are ignoring genetics.

    Not at all. Genetics is foremost in my mind in my discussion.

    I just don’t think that many of these combat sports have seen the best athletes yet. That doesn’t mean blacks would dominate them in the same way they do American basketball or football, but I strongly believe their participation would still be disproportional.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  296. Bliss says:
    @Twinkie

    There are some notable black athletes in Judo (whose achievements I applaud), but they are a small handful in the larger scheme of things. They are more outliers than the general pattern.

    A small handful? Outliers? Lol. What “general pattern” are you looking at? I am looking at the champions. Who are you looking at, and why?

    There have been many more African champions (from France, Brazil, Cuba etc) in this century than Caucasians and Turks. One reason being that the Turks and Caucasians are mostly Muslim so fewer of their women compete.

    The general pattern is this: fewer and fewer champions will emerge from previously dominant ethnicities whose wins were largely a result of weak competition. What happened to South Korea in Taekwondo will eventually happen to Japan in Judo. Any number of countries could replace Japan at the top. Right now it looks most likely that it will be France. Second most likely is Russia.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  297. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    I doubt it. After seeing Gus light Jones up for five rounds and still lose their fight, I suspect that a few of Machida’s punches were not going to be enough to finish Jones.

    Gus is a volume striker. Machida is a “glass cannon.”

    Machida’s foot movement is what separates him from other fighters. He rarely gives his opponent the opportunity to hit him.

    His foot movement is pure Shotokan, but more than that he has excellent timing. You can’t do Sen-no-Sen without exquisite timing. I pretty much agree with about 95% of what Jack Slack writes about MMA fighting. He has a very good break down of what made Machida special: http://fightland.vice.com/blog/weidman-versus-machida-the-illusion-of-speed

    In other words, Machida lost the fight to Jones up close and not at distance.

    Did you watch the YouTube video I linked on how Jones baited Machida’s left and countered the counter?

    What I mean is that it doesn’t seem to matter where the fight takes place, Jones always wins.

    He’s not good everywhere. You know Vitor Belfort snapped his elbow with an arm bar from the guard, right? That was razor close. These days, pulling off an arm bar from the guard requires a pretty significant disparity in grappling skills. Jones himself is aware of this, and has spent a lot of time doing BJJ recently.

    For example, you think Jones’s range is key to his fighting prowess, but I see Jones as equally dangerous up close with his elbows, knees, and ability to grapple in the clinch.

    That’s a mischaracterization of my view. Jones uses his reach game and straight strikes to jam opponents’ attempts to close the distance and wears them down. But he does most of his damage with high torque elbows and kicks usually AFTER he wore them down. In the last dozen fights or so, his only first round finish was an overmatched Chael Sonnen. Before that Vlady Matyushenko. In last five fights, all but one went to decision (5 rounds), the sole exception being taking advantage of Daniel Cormier’s bad habit of dipping and timing a kick to hit that dipping head (overturned to NC for drug testing failure). His game plan is pretty consistent.

    I don’t disagree, but I think many of those techniques are successful in MMA because few fighters use them

    Yes, but the reason few fighters use them is because they are harder to master. You can teach the basics of single leg easily… And you will be able to take down people with little experience. The problem is that at high levels, no one is going to fall for a clumsy single… or even a decent one. Ashi-Waza in Judo (something like Sasae Tsurikomi-Ashi), on the other hand, requires precise timing and balance disruption that takes a very long time to master. There is the same dynamic at work with the Karate-style striking that fighters such as Machida, Wonder Boy, Justin Scoggins, Kyoji Horiguchi, and Gunnar Nelson utilize.

    Fedor to be a Judoka because his main fighting speciality outside MMA was sambo.

    Sambo draws heavily from Judo.

    Yes, but like GSP, Khabib’s incredible speed, strength and endurance are what makes his grappling techniques work.

    GSP’s wrestling prowess comes from his distance-management and timing, which he himself will tell you he acquired from his… Karate training.

    Khabib is not just fast, strong, and durable (there are other fighters who have all those traits in spades). His grappling is HIGHLY technical and esoteric, excellent mixture of wrestling and Judo/Sambo. His chain wrestling and ground control is something else, too. This is a very good break down of his mix of Ben Askren-style rides and Demian Maia’s tripod passing:

    (Askren is another one of those highly technical/esoteric wrestlers, who does not rely on strength/speed).

    That doesn’t mean blacks would dominate them in the same way they do American basketball or football, but I strongly believe their participation would still be disproportional.

    Probably so.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  298. Twinkie says:
    @Bliss

    Right now it looks most likely that it will be France.

    France has always been no. 2 after Japan in Judo. Not only that, France actually has more registered Judoka than Japan does.

    But French Judo is different style than Japan’s. To simplify grossly about it, the national style in Japan is for two combatants to get proper grips and see who is a better thrower. You can see this pretty clearly when you watch All-Japan contests.

    The national style in France is to prevent your opponent’s grip and get your dominant grip quickly and do the whole Teru Ippon (grip and throw) before your opponent gets a chance to grip. It’s a more opportunistic style of Judo.

    Any number of countries could replace Japan at the top. Right now it looks most likely that it will be France. Second most likely is Russia.

    You are going to wait a while longer.

    Here is some more data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Judo_Championships#All-time_medal_count

    Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total

    1 Japan 153 92 109 354
    2 France 56 36 79 171
    3 South Korea 29 10 61 100
    4 China 21 13 22 56
    5 Cuba 20 24 41 85

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_World_Judo_Championships

    Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total

    1 Japan (JPN) 8 5 4 17
    2 South Korea (KOR) 2 0 2 4
    3 France (FRA) 1 2 2 5
    4 Georgia (GEO) 1 1 1 3
    5 Iran (IRN) 1 0 1 2
    5 Ukraine (UKR) 1 0 1 2

  299. Steve, I know I’m late on this, but Derb tells me you’re an avid comment reader so I wanted to offer a point in support.

    Taleb points to the fact that 130+ IQ quants ‘fail to identify tail events in the market’ as evidence that they aren’t as smart as they think they are. This is emblematic of Academics who see trading as a series of snapshots and ignore the ‘time’ dimension. No one call Schrodinger an idiot because he doesn’t know if his cat is dead or alive. The data required to predict market tail events is equally ‘known’ but inaccessible.

    Give me a statistic which tells me what the average ‘cost of information’ is for everyone trading the market, and I will successfully predict every future market crash. Tell me who is making the ‘buy-sell-hold’ decisions, and how long it takes for them to perform the private analysis required for them to change their mind. If you know that, and you know that their ‘average holding period’ for an asset is is now shorter than that, you know that they are making decisions based on public information instead of ‘private analysis’ and the individual conditions for an information cascade have been met. Find the moments when a propensity of people are in this situation, and you have your tail event predictor.

    In the case of the 2008 crisis, this can be thought of as the ‘house flipping rate’. If you knew exactly how many people were only buying houses because they intended to flip them before the teaser rate expired, then you have all you need to know in order to determine when the ‘tail event’ will arrive. In fact, a great many people did that very thing (I reference the lucky guys in ‘The big short’.)

    But none of that matters because that isn’t what’s really going on. The way it really works is that each person trading the markets makes a continuum of decisions. if you trade a specific strategy and make a billion a year for 6 years, then lose 3 billion on a single day of trading, have you won or lost? Would you prefer not to lose the 3 billion? Of course, who wouldn’t. But if it’s timing is unpredictable then you can think of it as the cost of doing business. Even if it wipes out your entire firm, thanks to how we manage accounting rules, you get to keep the money from prior years.

    I personally find this to be unethical and had a strict ‘no shorting volatility’ policy everywhere I’ve ever worked, but I don’t make the rules. And I can tell you from first hand experience that a great many otherwise highly respected money managers pursue this tactic.

    I don’t think it’s dishonest of Taleb to present the information in the way he has. I think he’s simply mistaken. In my experience, most academics are. (I also found his book to be a shallow, pedestrian ‘popularization’ of risk management ideas than never got to any of the real issues regarding tail events.) But that core assumption – that all the smart high IQ quants are all struggling to predict market crashes, is an assumption that misrepresents the facts on the ground. They aren’t trying to predict the tail event, they’re trying to make money in the face of unpredictable tail events. To assess that, you need to treat trading as a continuum and not a snapshot.

    It’s also worth noting that the only thing that made the 2008 so serious was the same thing that undermined the ‘portfolio insurance’ idea that caused the 1987 stock market crash. As an individual decision it works fine, it only falls apart when everyone else is doing the same thing. Those assumptions about systemic weakness are now being carefully considered by leading risk managers.

  300. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    Neither Sailer nor Taleb can deadlift 500 pounds.

    Why would you name Sailer who never claimed to be a lifter or strongman. He’s an odd 6’4 person who calls himself a ‘dweeb’ and dreams of winning medals in the Plunge.

    Maybe he could play sidekick to Aquaman. The Manatee.

  301. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Twinkie

    I’m dealing with someone here who dismissed world class Judoka as “sloppy”

    Judo is sloppy. It’s all about grabbing and pulling at clothes. No clothes, no Judo. It’s why judo is inferior to wrestling where it’s body to body. Judo is hands on clothes. A Judo guy is helpless against a naked opponent.

    (and argued that weightlifters could hang with top boxers in the ring)

    Well, that is clearly wrong. But if super-strong guys got into the ring with boxers, they might win if they lunge for the body and take down the boxer. There’s no way a super-strong guy can outbox an boxer, but he can outmuscle a boxer. He could win IF he doesn’t have to stick to boxing. If he has a strong enough chin and can take a few blows while lunging in, the boxer may be helpless when taken to the mat. It’s like spears are superior to swords at a distance but now when the swordsman gets in real close.

  302. Anon[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    2,000 Pinsens vs 20,000 Twinkies

    Most insane thing I ever did see:

    Why would Jesus fight them physically? He would use spiritual power.

  303. keuril says:
    @anonymous

    When they got back to Cambridge his colleague Morris Halle was despondent.

    Chomsky and Halle coauthored a great book on generative phonology (i.e., the system of rules governing how sounds are used in a particular language). Basically the book teaches you how to analyze the sounds presented in a language’s words (such as particular conjugations or declensions), and infer the rules by which these sounds emerge from a deeper set of underlying forms. Things that look like irregular conjugations, for example, are often just a reflection of some sound change accounted for by these rules (which are unconsciously employed by all native speakers of a language). It turns out that this approach to sound systems is pretty handy when learning a new language.

  304. @Twinkie

    Gus is a volume striker. Machida is a “glass cannon.”

    You put “glass cannon” in quotes, so I assume you are quoting someone, but that’s the first time I’ve heard that remark about Machida and it’s hilarious.

    His foot movement is pure Shotokan, but more than that he has excellent timing. You can’t do Sen-no-Sen without exquisite timing. I pretty much agree with about 95% of what Jack Slack writes about MMA fighting. He has a very good break down of what made Machida special: http://fightland.vice.com/blog/weidman-versus-machida-the-illusion-of-speed

    Very good article.

    Did you watch the YouTube video I linked on how Jones baited Machida’s left and countered the counter?

    I’m sorry. I somehow missed the video last night, but I did watch it this morning.

    It’s okay, but I disagree with one major interpretation it has of the fight.

    In the decisive exchange, Jones is much closer to Machida than he had been in any of the previous so-called setup kicks, and it’s hard for me to believe that Machida didn’t notice that. Some of those setup kicks were made from so far away that the distance between Machida and Jones must’ve been at least six to seven feet. Some of Jones’s kicks didn’t even land, but even the ones which did land were from a much greater distance than was the final exchange, where the two fighters were three to four feet apart at most, and two feet apart as they were in the middle of their swings (see the 4:00 mark in the video).

    You can’t attribute that to Jones’ superior reach, as the video parenthetically does, although I do agree that Jones’s straighter punch (which I mistakenly remembered as a hook) helped him beat Machida in the exchange.

    Did Machida make a mistake because his back was closer to the fence than it had been in the previous exchanges? Perhaps.

    Or did Machida think he was faster than Jones, and would win the exchange? Perhaps.

    But given Machida’s sensitivity to controlling distance, it’s hard for me to believe he didn’t notice Jones’ closer proximity to him in that final exchange and made the mistake of thinking that another kick was coming. Perhaps he did. The left counter is what a fighter would do when he thinks that kick is coming.

    But they were so much closer in distance than in the previous exchanges, and I have a hard time believing Machida didn’t notice that.

    He’s not good everywhere. You know Vitor Belfort snapped his elbow with an arm bar from the guard, right? That was razor close.

    Jones is not good at all times in all his fights, and he’s not equally adept at all the major aspects of the fight game. What fighter is?

    But are you going to be the fighter who gets underneath Jon Jones and his razor-sharp elbows, as Vitor Belfort did, for a chance at an arm bar? Good luck.

    In the last dozen fights or so, his only first round finish was an overmatched Chael Sonnen. Before that Vlady Matyushenko. In last five fights, all but one went to decision (5 rounds), the sole exception being taking advantage of Daniel Cormier’s bad habit of dipping and timing a kick to hit that dipping head (overturned to NC for drug testing failure). His game plan is pretty consistent.

    Yes, but Jones has played it safe in his last few fights. He’s content to dominate the scoring in each round and get the decision victory. The Glover and OSP fights were five rounders, but they weren’t close and there wasn’t a real exciting moment in any of them. Even Jones’s first fight against Daniel Cormier, while much more competitive than Jones’s fights against Glover and OSP, wasn’t ever really in much doubt.

    The only five-round fight where Jones was tested from beginning to end was against Gustafsson, and we’ll find out soon if that was just Gus’s lucky day or not. Other than that fight, Jones has had a scary moment against Belfort, a scary moment against Machida, and a couple of lost rounds against Cormier. And that’s been pretty much the extent of his competition.

    Perhaps Jones is now content to fight for points because he doesn’t want to get hurt (or worse – get caught and lose a fight he was winning) by pushing for a finish.

    GSP’s wrestling prowess comes from his distance-management and timing, which he himself will tell you he acquired from his… Karate training.

    Yeah, I’m not buying that. If Karate led to GSP-style wrestling, we’d see many more Karate practitioners taking down wrestlers in the Octagon.

    GSP has fast-twitch muscles to rival Romero. It’s shocking how fast – at least in his younger days – he could close the distance and just bowl through high-quality wrestlers like they weren’t even there. He did it to Koscheck, Fitch, Hughes, Sherk, Trigg and Parisyan.

    Khabib is not just fast, strong, and durable (there are other fighters who have all those traits in spades). His grappling is HIGHLY technical and esoteric, excellent mixture of wrestling and Judo/Sambo.

    I like your use of the word “esoteric” here. There are a handful of fighters in the UFC who, because they practiced a particular style for many years in their youth which is not commonly used in the Octagon, present great difficulties for their opponents.

    Most UFC fighters practice a combination of wrestling, bjj, muay thai, and to a lesser degree boxing. They will sometimes drill a throw from judo or a kick from TKD, but they don’t know anything about the art to the same degree they do about wrestling, bjj, muay thai, and boxing. And 90 percent of the guys they spar with have largely the same background.

    So when some fighter comes along who is really athletic and knows a lot of what I’ll call the four traditional bases of MMA (wrestling, bjj, muay thai, and boxing), but has a particular base which is much different from what most UFC fighters know, he can cause a lot of difficulty for even high-level opponents.

    Machida was like this. So is Wonderboy. So was Sakuraba in his heyday. And so is Khabib.

    The major difference between Khabib and the other three guys I mentioned above is that Khabib is so strong and athletic he could probably wrestle many a top-ranked all-American wrestler using their own rules and techniques, and still beat them. Machida and Wonderboy are not going to outbox a boxer.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  305. Jack D says:
    @The Z Blog

    As others have pointed out, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the cause – the demographic tipping of Lebanon away from a Christian majority and especially toward rural Shiites who are a particularly violent and fanatical sect of Islam. To the extent that they have any brains, they seem to put all of their energy into plotting violence.

    BUT, there also seem to be certain nationalities that are very clever individually but don’t have what it takes to create a functioning society collectively. Modern Greeks and Armenians come to mind. Usually these nationalities have a history of being a subject people (especially under Islam) which teaches you bad habits of trickery and viewing the government (indeed anyone outside your family) as the Man from whom you should take or steal but never give. Even after these nationalities get their own country, they cannot break their old habits. So the end result is a society that resembles what you would get if Gypsies had a high IQ.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  306. anonymous[180] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Chomsky is at least two standard deviations less intelligent than he could be, and for that reason not a great man, he is an embarrassment to those among us humans who have been gifted with extreme intelligence. In my humble opinion, he is one standard deviation dumber than Trump and Trump’s best advisors (one of whom, in an indirect way, is well known to the people who read this comment), and two standard deviations dumber than poor general-in-a-rat-maze Napoleon and three standard deviations dumber than the sort of people whom I, as someone who understands the world fairly well, potentially respect as potential intellectual mentors (if I needed such a thing, which I don’t, anymore, anyway).

    Solzhenitsyn, a great man, fizzled out at the end.

    Little Chomsky, the Herodite, fizzled out in his 30s, but, to be fair, sent out sparks for quite a while afterwards.

    Smart people are stupid, to, quite often.

    (Herodite , if you do not want to look it up, is an adjective appropriate to December 28, the Feast Day of the Holy Innocents, on whose side Chomsky sometimes is, but mostly isn’t, being a fairly stupid man, unable to raise his head over the waters of the liberal lagoon in which he lives and prospers in his slimy way, and who supports abortion on demand, because he JUST DOESN’T CARE – even though he had a good education, and in his youth was mentored by some people with good hearts, and even though he therefore should care.)

    • Replies: @anonymous
  307. anonymous[417] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    wwebd a.k.a. middle aged vet said: “Few delights can equal the presence of someone whom we trust utterly”. (G. MacDonald, the writer whom CS Lewis appreciated the most) ….

    So, not Chomsky, but Bernanos. (on the question of what is wrong with the world)

    Not Jordan Peterson, George MacDonald. (on the psychology of the individual, as Jeeves used to say)

    Not Taleb on a bad day, Taleb on a good day. (self-explanatory)

    Not Coppola, Rohmer.

    Not Bach, Mozart.

    (angels – trust me on this – angels listen with tears in their eyes to Bach, but listen with their hearts full to the point of breaking to Mozart – it is not just the chord changes, or the exultant and best use of each instrument, and it is not even just the divine inspiration – it is simply the more than angelic genius of it all ——— and what compliment is better than this: the very angels, listening to what you say, remember how much love and love of all that is good and beautiful they have in their hearts?)

    Not Proust, Peguy. (I remember, and you should too, those days long ago, in the Garden of Eden, when our guardian angels first knew the meaning of friendship – Peguy explains this, Proust only hints at it ….as Hans Urs von Balthasar, of all people, explained)

    Not Schiltz, PBR.

    And yes I have a Joint Unit Meritorious medal or two or three and a Commendation Medal or two ( I don’t remember how many) — and trust me, I know what I am talking about …. Not Schiltz, PBR.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  308. anonymous[417] • Disclaimer says:
    @anonymous

    wwebd a.k.a. middle aged vet ….. said – by the way, Steve, thanks for approving these comments long after most commenters have left.

    A few months ago I cleared 2 million words – lots of them on this site, thank you, and lots more elsewhere – in my idiosyncratic style, and years from now there will likely be either

    (a) AI Bots who have read all millions of my words, not to mention the extra hundred thousand or so words from commenters who echoed my ideas, and the ten or so thousand of words directly replying, with intelligence, to my words: as I was saying, AI Bots who have read all the millions of my words (and yes that was a lot of work!), and who, like me, want to get our friends into heaven , real heaven, not silicone heaven , and who riff, in their rather intelligent (but not quite as good as it could be – I remember) style, on all these topics of conversation, here in this world
    or

    (b) no AI Bots in this world, and maybe nobody will notice or remember a single word I said.

    Both (a) and (b) make me laugh, I am a faith healer at heart, not a writer, today through prayer I did so much to make the life of someone I talked to so much better; not miraculously better, but better.

    If we all knew what we could achieve through prayer, we would all pray much more often.
    It is so easy to be what God wants us to be.
    Philippians 1-4.

  309. It sounds correct to link cheery v/s gloomy views of possible future events with an individual’s gravitation to the right or the left side of the political spectrum. It explains why, though many people can see the reasoning and / or emotional content of arguments from both sides, there is a gravitational pull to one side or the other, which might be inborn. Life experience probably affects it, too. If you experience the trauma and human chicanery that complicates rose-colored progressive ideals on the front end of life, like a kid with a front-row seat in a civil war zone, it might shift your fundamental way of looking at things, overcoming any innate tendency toward progressive idealism. Artificially programmed progressivism can also be defeated by experience. Too bad politicians do not stay within any of these theoretical frameworks; they are creatures of opportunism and expedience. They are not academics or creatives. What is good for politicians, personally, is not always what is good for the country. Take politicians who benefit economically from a continuous stream of cheap, welfare-boosted immigrant laborers. Opportunism-overriding-all is one big reason why conservatives are often right, but then, conservatives have their own idealistic faith in the purity of markets. I can see the point, but has there ever been a pure-market economy?

  310. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    You put “glass cannon” in quotes, so I assume you are quoting someone, but that’s the first time I’ve heard that remark about Machida and it’s hilarious.

    I don’t remember. It might have been the aforementioned Jack Slack. But it fits, eh?

    But given Machida’s sensitivity to controlling distance, it’s hard for me to believe he didn’t notice Jones’ closer proximity to him in that final exchange and made the mistake of thinking that another kick was coming. Perhaps he did. The left counter is what a fighter would do when he thinks that kick is coming.

    Machida has excellent distance management and timing, but he isn’t perfect. Basically, he fell for the superman punch (hoping to land a KO counter punch) and clothes-lined into that punch. He basically got out-Machida’d. In fact, his Sen-non-Sen is normally Karate-style straight reverse (left) punch, but uncharacteristically he really loaded on that punch, so much so that he threw a hook he rarely does (he has pretty poor boxing). Being backed-up against the fence and wanting to land something decisive played a role. In an interview some time afterwards, he admitted that he made a mistake and compressed the distance when he should have not.

    Yes, but Jones has played it safe in his last few fights. He’s content to dominate the scoring in each round and get the decision victory

    I don’t think that’s the reason. Most of his first-round stoppages were early in his career, against less than stellar opposition. He rarely, if ever, lands a one-punch or -kick KO. As I mentioned repeatedly, he wears down opponents from long-range, jamming strikes and then unleashes high-torque attacks as a surprise. Thwart those early attacks, and he has a harder time with the power attacks.

    Yeah, I’m not buying that. If Karate led to GSP-style wrestling, we’d see many more Karate practitioners taking down wrestlers in the Octagon.

    It’s not that “Karate leads to GSP-style wrestling.” It’s that Karate, especially Shotokan, is a very much distance management- and timing-based striking art. So if someone who masters those elements then does high-level wrestling training, he is going to do very, very well. It’s not just GSP, but Machida used to have a very underrated takedown game, which he used to throw Tito Ortiz and Dan Henderson (and he grappled pretty well against Rashad Evans, who supposedly often bested Jon Jones in wrestling when the two trained together).

    The major difference between Khabib and the other three guys I mentioned above is that Khabib is so strong and athletic he could probably wrestle many a top-ranked all-American wrestler using their own rules and techniques, and still beat them. Machida and Wonderboy are not going to outbox a boxer.

    That’s a faulty comparison. American collegiate wrestling and what Khabib does share much more than what Shotokan Karate or American kickboxing does with boxing. Machida would actually do pretty well in kickboxing and Wonderboy WAS an undefeated kickboxing champ. For that matter, all types of wrestling use the basically same venue whereas something like Shotokan Karate and Kickboxing (and boxing) use venues that present very different conditions (open floor vs. four corners that can trap).

    There are athletes just as “strong and athletic” as Khabib, even in his own weight class. Undoubtedly they are a component of his success, but what distinguishes him from other powerful wrestlers in his division is his eclectic mastery of techniques. He is a lot like Ben Askren (“Funky”) in that regard. Ben is not exactly a physical specimen, but, my gosh, his chain wrestling is incredible. That’s why Tony Ferguson and Khabib would have been a fascinating match. Ferguson has a very unorthodox 10th Planet Jiujitsu game and is amazing in scrambles. I would love to see those two fight. From a technical point of view, it would be very interesting, indeed.

    I am a Judo and BJJ blackbelt who has trained with high level Div I wrestlers as well as Sambists (I have a good leglock game), so I actually understand much of what these guys do at the technical level. It’s really “kinetic chess” at the highest level.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  311. @Twinkie

    I am a Judo and BJJ blackbelt who has trained with high level Div I wrestlers as well as Sambists (I have a good leglock game), so I actually understand much of what these guys do at the technical level.

    If true, that’s an impressive resume which would qualify you as a genuine badass.

    Who awarded you your blackbelt in BJJ? How many years of training did it take you?

    I don’t think that’s the reason. Most of his first-round stoppages were early in his career, against less than stellar opposition. He rarely, if ever, lands a one-punch or -kick KO.

    But Jones never loads up on his punches and kicks. He doesn’t overcommit to any of his strikes. But I can tell from how his opponents react that those strikes still hurt, even when he’s just flicking them out there.

    So he has plenty of power to finish a fight. He just doesn’t use it until there’s an obvious opening. And in those five-round fights with OSP and Glover, even when there were openings he could’ve taken advantage of, he didn’t pull the trigger. He cruised.

    In his last two fights, Jones has knocked out both Daniel Cormier and Gustafsson in the third round. Those are impressive finishes, even if the one against Cormier is tarnished (and officially overturned) by Jones’s bad habits with banned substances.

    I don’t even like Jon Jones. I hope he gets beat someday soon, and I’ve usually cheered his opponents. But there’s no denying he’s one of the best fighters ever, even if we should wait until his career is over before anointing him the GOAT.

    It’s that Karate, especially Shotokan, is a very much distance management- and timing-based striking art.

    But Karate isn’t what makes GSP and Machida such amazing grapplers (considering they are both fighters whose primary martial art is focused on striking).

    In the case of GSP, his freakish speed in closing the distance from where he is standing against his opponent at striking range to pushing through that opponent’s legs for a takedown in unparalleled. You can’t train that speed. Not in karate and not in anything else.

    And then you combine that speed with GSP’s incredible strength. Many fighters are quick and can close the distance on an opponent’s legs with surprising speed, but it’s like they hit a wall when they try for the double-leg takedown against an opponent who’s hard to take down. You can see the energy leave their body as they lock up their opponents legs and they realize he isn’t going down. They usually come right back up into either the clinch or their standup stance.

    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Machida’s sumo wrestling. Machida actually credits sumo for his grappling ability and many of his takedowns in his MMA. He supposedly won some sumo tournaments early in his career. Sumo also explains why Machida and GSP’s grappling looks totally different and why it’s not appropriate to stress their common background in Shotokan as being the key to their grappling success.

    That’s a faulty comparison. American collegiate wrestling and what Khabib does share much more than what Shotokan Karate or American kickboxing does with boxing.

    Perhaps. But only because Khabib actually wrestled in his youth before he did sambo and judo.

    But how many sambo and judo champions could participate in an American collegiate wrestling tournament and find success? I’d say zero. Fedor, for example, was a multiple-time sambo champion, but he would not have won any American wrestling tournaments.

    By the way, American kickboxers routinely spar with boxers to improve their boxing ability. That was even common back in the days before MMA became a thing.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  312. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Who awarded you your blackbelt in BJJ? How many years of training did it take you?

    One of Carlson’s top students. If I mention the name, you are going to know who I am. It took me over a dozen years, but note that I was a competitive Judoka already. I’ve trained in Judo 40+ years and BJJ over 20 years. I got my leg lock game start from Erik Paulson.

    I don’t even like Jon Jones. I hope he gets beat someday soon, and I’ve usually cheered his opponents. But there’s no denying he’s one of the best fighters ever, even if we should wait until his career is over before anointing him the GOAT.

    Agreed.

    In the case of GSP, his freakish speed in closing the distance

    GSP is undoubtably hyper-athletic, but don’t forget the “illusion of speed” that comes from excellent distance-management and timing. Have you ever heard of “Karate blitz”?

    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Machida’s sumo wrestling.

    I did, briefly, above. He also did a lot of Judo training later in life. Also, he trained under Antonio Inoki in Japan, so I’m sure he learned some catch wrestling, Karl Gotch style. But his momentum throw is pure Sumo.

    But how many sambo and judo champions could participate in an American collegiate wrestling tournament and find success? I’d say zero.

    In the U.S., it’s actually pretty common for Judoka to wrestle. The prime example is Jimmy Pedro, who was a wrestling standout at Brown while juggling an internationally elite a Judo career. He later coached Amerca’s first Judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison, who is slowly building an MMA career (so far she has smashed her two opponents). The number one collegiate wrestler in America today is probably Spencer Lee out of U. of Iowa – his father was a national Judo coach years ago and his mother was on the French national team. His background is no that unusual and you see athletes like this sometimes: http://www.5050bjj.com/david-terao/

    Also, there are many Russian and former Soviet bloc wrestlers who did Sambo and Judo growing up.

    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican
  313. @Twinkie

    OT: Twinkie, in case you missed it, I answered you at length here.

  314. One of Carlson’s top students. If I mention the name, you are going to know who I am. It took me over a dozen years, but note that I was a competitive Judoka already. I’ve trained in Judo 40+ years and BJJ over 20 years. I got my leg lock game start from Erik Paulson.

    That’s impressive. The Gracies (and their top students) don’t hand out those black belts like candy. You have to earn them.

    If you had told me that you got a blackbelt in BJJ in something like five years, I would’ve been highly skeptical of your claims.

    Speaking of BJJ, I saw BJ Penn fight last night and it was another sad reminder of just how quickly a great fighter’s skills can diminish when he relies almost exclusively on his talent than on hard work and skill. The poor guy isn’t even a shadow of his former self. Young guys today don’t believe me when I say he was a phenomenal, almost otherworldly, fighter, and that his progress as a beginning student in BJJ was unprecedented.

    BTW, have you seen the video of a young BJ Penn, as a BJJ white belt, taking on black belts in judo at a tournament? Technique is important in MMA, but occasionally there are talents who are so impressive they roll right through someone else’s superior techniques.

    GSP is undoubtably hyper-athletic, but don’t forget the “illusion of speed” that comes from excellent distance-management and timing. Have you ever heard of “Karate blitz”?

    Sure, but not for changing levels and going at another man’s legs for a takedown.

    In the U.S., it’s actually pretty common for Judoka to wrestle. The prime example is Jimmy Pedro, who was a wrestling standout at Brown while juggling an internationally elite a Judo career.

    I don’t know much about judo, but I can believe your comment that it’s “pretty common” to find wrestlers among those in the U.S. judo community. Wrestling is still in many American high schools, where it’s often the only martial art available. So if you’re interested enough as a kid in a martial art like judo, which you can’t even find in school, it makes sense you would also be interested enough to take a martial art that a school makes available and supports. Especially when they both involve grappling

    But I was thinking more about stylists who excel and train in one particular style in their youth and then only seriously take up another style later in their life. GSP never wrestled until he started MMA, but despite that late start I believe he could have successfully competed with some of the top wrestlers in the U.S. Maybe not with the very best wrestlers. But among, say, the top ten or fifteen at his weight.

    There are very few fighters in MMA one can say that about. Perhaps Nick Diaz and boxing. But even then I believe Nick would’ve been at best a middle-of-the-pack boxer. In other words some guy you never hear about unless you are very deep in the boxing world.

    But after that, who?

    I didn’t know, though, until after I got into this discussion with you that Khabib was a wrestler before he took up judo and sambo, and that he had seriously trained in all three arts before he turned eighteen. That’s a different situation.

    Still, I would love to see him and GSP grapple in a MMA contest.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  315. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    That’s impressive. The Gracies (and their top students) don’t hand out those black belts like candy. You have to earn them.

    Thanks, but when I started it wasn’t as hard as it is today. Back twenty years ago, you could get a blue after a year or so. Some advanced blue belts of today can probably beat poor black belts from my time. And that lineage/side of the Gracie family also strongly emphasized strength-and-conditioning. The “professor” who gave me my black is particularly notorious for grinding out his students with intense “warmups” (which, knowing what I know today, I would disagree with).

    On the other hand, I was a high-level Judoka, so I could have earned my black much earlier (Judo and BJJ are basically the same thing with different incentive structures/rule sets), but whereas I already achieved a high level in Judo by the time I reached adulthood, I had other obligations when I started doing BJJ, so my training was not as consistent and sustained (I worked overseas many stretches, which severely restricted my training at different points in my early adult life). So it took a while despite my advantages.

    If you had told me that you got a blackbelt in BJJ in something like five years

    I am not Travis Stevens!

    I saw BJ Penn fight last night

    He fought Ryan Hall. He’s the owner/head coach at 50/50 (where David Terao, whose bio I linked earlier, is the wrestling/Judo coach). Ryan Hall can do that to probably 99% of UFC fighters in his weight class (145 normally). If you let Ryan do an Imanari Roll into you, you are going to get your knee torqued (that was also an inside heel-hook, and it’s much faster). There is a reason why nobody would take a fight with Ryan for two years (after he won the TUF show). They all saw what he did to Gray Maynard. He’s not going to find many takers.

    he was a phenomenal, almost otherworldly, fighter, and that his progress as a beginning student in BJJ was unprecedented.

    BJ Penn was, seriously, a “prodigy.” He also packs a wallop with his right hand. Do you know that crazy guy took a fight with Machida as a “heavyweight” in Japan? How insane is that? Randy Couture used to train with him and would marvel at not being to take him down.

    Wrestling is still in many American high schools, where it’s often the only martial art available.

    Keep one thing in mind. Judo in the U.S. is a niche sport and is mostly recreational. It doesn’t draw the best physical talents like wrestling. I don’t know whether it’s true or not Matt Hughes won some Judo tournament in the U.S., but even if true, that says very little except that the level of Judo in the U.S. is not very high. We have had a grand total of ONE gold medalist at the Olympics, and a female at that. It’s not the same story in other countries where Judo and wrestling draw similar talents or sometimes where the former draws better talents than wrestling. Those Judoka are world class, elite athletes and could probably do very well in wrestling:

    (If you have seen Khabib’s fights, you should recognize this technique; by the way, one of the footages is the aforementioned Judo and BJJ star Travis Stevens getting spiked on his head.)

    As for GSP, don’t forget that a lot of ability to change levels successfully comes from his excellent jab. His MMA wrestling is superb, but I am not convinced that he’d be competitive against elite wrestlers in actual wrestling matches (unlike Khabib who probably could). In pure wrestling, Khabib smashes GSP, in my view. In MMA wrestling, who knows? I’d like to see that fight (though the smart money should still be on GSP – he’s substantially bigger).

  316. Ryan Hall can do that to probably 99% of UFC fighters in his weight class (145 normally). If you let Ryan do an Imanari Roll into you, you are going to get your knee torqued (that was also an inside heel-hook, and it’s much faster). There is a reason why nobody would take a fight with Ryan for two years (after he won the TUF show). They all saw what he did to Gray Maynard. He’s not going to find many takers.

    Hall was phenomenal. But I don’t understand how one can train to be that effective at heel hooks and leg locks when the damage is potentially so grave. Who the hell would roll with Hall full-bore in the gym? You could get injured for life. But if you can’t roll full-bore, how does Hall know (as he obviously does now) if his holds will be effective in the Octagon? I’ve seen many good BJJ specialists try those holds in fights and fail at them because they don’t practice them enough, which I assume is because they don’t want to hurt their training partners.

    Rousimar Palhares was also wickedly good at leg locks, but he injured a handful of opponents and eventually was sanctioned by a couple of organizations, including the UFC, for his failure to release those holds. I read that he had similar problems in the gyms back in Brazil, and that no one wanted to roll with him because of it. He developed a bad reputation.

    Palhares obviously had mental problems, and Hall seems like a gentleman, but he still might’ve injured Penn last night with that heel hook. Training for those holds at such a high level seems like a difficult proposition in which you and your training partner better fully trust one another before even getting on the mat. But even then … tricky stuff.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  317. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Leg locks are no different than any other twisting-type joint locks (e.g. Kimura/Ude Garami). If you have considerate training partners, it’s pretty safe. If I roll with someone with less experience and I lock one in, but my training partner escapes the wrong way, I let it go. In all my years of training, I only accidentally hurt ONE training partner with a leg lock. And it wasn’t even a heel hook or a figure four. It was a stupid straight Achilles lock (reverse version, i.e. left wrist on my partner’s left ankle on my right side, with my left hands on my right bicep and my right hand behind my neck). Unfortunately, my partner tried to escape ballistically and snapped his own ankle.

    On the other hand, I’ve suffered and inflicted numerous significant injuries doing throws and getting thrown in Judo. Takedown training is a lot harder on the neck, hip, knees, ankles, and even hands and arms than any leg lock training. Once, one of my Judo training partners tried to base out of a throw from me with his arm (instead of taking the fall correctly with Ukemi and conceding the Ippon), his arm snapped in half the wrong way at the elbow. He was out for a long time after the surgery. Another time, I nearly snapped my own knee in half going for Tani Otoshi. My partner fell on my knee with his hip while the knee was sort of twisted behind him. It bent side ways. Crunch. That hurt massively and I was out for months.

    Before 2011, my Tokui-waza was Te Guruma (now no longer allowed in IJF Judo competitions). Numerous training partners of mine were knocked out falling the wrong way. Injuries are a part of life when you do combat sports competitively.

    See an example of Te Guruma (officially Sukui Nage in Kodokan curriculum) here:

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  318. @Twinkie

    I’ve heard training in high-level judo is pretty brutal. I was thrown in a jujitsu class many year ago, landed the wrong way, and seriously hurt my back. But, as you say, that’s part of combat training.

    Leg locks seem different, though, if only because getting really good at them, in the way Ryan Hall is good at them, requires training to that point where your opponent almost immediately taps out because the pain is immediately unbearable for him and the damage to his joint potentially life-changing. And practicing that seems difficult, which perhaps explains why few high-level MMA practitioners get really good at them. I can count on one hand the number of guys in MMA who are effective enough at leg locks to consistently end a fight.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  319. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    I’ve heard training in high-level judo is pretty brutal.

    Yes, much like high-level wrestling training. Anything that involves high impact throw is going to be dangerous to begin with. Add powerful athletes with a high competitive drive, and you get A LOT of often catastrophic injuries.

    For a flavor of this, see:

    I can count on one hand the number of guys in MMA who are effective enough at leg locks to consistently end a fight.

    For a long time, research into, and training of, leg locks were not systematic. The only people practicing it were catch wrestlers and their derivatives (Shooto in Japan) and Sambists. And because those sports were very “high paced,” what leg locks they developed and practiced were of the “fast and loose” types. Combined with the fact that grabbing someone’s leg exposed one’s head for a good pounding, most people – sports or MMA – who did leg locks were opportunistic and were not high percentage in their success rates.

    Things have changed since then. Cerebral trainers such as John Danaher (of the Danaher Death Squad fame out of Renzo Gracie’s school in NYC and former philosophy Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University) have developed a much stronger “control-based” leg attacks that minimizes the need to be ballistic in applying leg locks successfully and improves their safety and odds in MMA. Because of that leg attacks are HUGE in today’s BJJ competitions (except of course, those old school diehards at IBJJF).

    There has been a huge paradigm shift. I remember back years ago when I started to do leg locks in BJJ. The reaction was usually quite negative and often hostile. Now it is avidly practiced in many BJJ schools. I became fascinated by leg attacks earlier, so I was a bit ahead of the curve (and I realized pretty early on that, in order to apply leg locks safely both for me and my opponent, immobilizing my opponent first, usually by entangling and control the leg that was not being leg locked, was a must, something Danaher also articulates).

    So you will see more and more leg locks in MMA. Ryan Hall is hardly the only Jujiteiro who does them well in MMA. If you watch Dillon Danis (former Marcelo Garcia pupil and grappling trainer/partner for Connor McGregor), who arguably has the best BJJ in MMA, he will do them in a snap. Eddie Bravo (the 10th Planet JJ founder and coach of Tony Ferguson) is determined to beat the Danaher Death Squard, so I have no doubt he and his guys are intensely studying Danaher’s leg attack methods and devising improved versions and counters.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  320. @Twinkie

    For a flavor of this, see:

    Yeah, and that doesn’t even deal with those who have numerous serious injuries that they can work through at the moment, but which persist throughout the rest of their lives.

    I remember Kevin Randleman throwing Fedor on what I thought was the Russian’s head in the old PRIDE Fighting Championships in a suplex that would’ve killed most mortal men. Fedor was later asked about it and said he was thrown like that in judo all the time. If I remember his explanation correctly, he said he just tucked his head and landed on his shoulders.

    I’m sure that sounds much easier than it really is.

    *****

    The rest of your post on the evolution of leg locks is excellent. I have watched John Danaher on Joe Rogan’s podcast discuss leg locks and his evolving ideas on jujitsu, which he claimed were spawned by a brief exchange he had with Dean Lister after Danaher complimented the fighter on some leg lock he pulled off in a grappling match. Lister responded, “Why would you ignore half the body?”

    Which makes sense. Why would you ignore half the body? And, of course, the answer, as you have already put eloquently it was that, in MMA at least, the downside to not pulling off a leg lock was substantial – often a loss of dominant position and/or punches raining down on your head.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  321. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    I remember Kevin Randleman throwing Fedor on what I thought was the Russian’s head in the old PRIDE Fighting Championships in a suplex that would’ve killed most mortal men. Fedor was later asked about it and said he was thrown like that in judo all the time. If I remember his explanation correctly, he said he just tucked his head and landed on his shoulders.

    He was either being modest or arrogant (I’d wager on modest). It was some combination of Fedor’s toughness, good technique, and pure luck. That was a horrendous looking fall, and it was quite shocking that Fedor just dusted himself off and submitted Randleman shortly thereafter.

    By the way, I am very much of a “fundamentals” kind of a guy, and my children and I all practice Ukemi everyday for about 15-20 minutes before we start our drills.

    I have watched John Danaher on Joe Rogan’s podcast

    Pure. Gold. I linked to it here after I watched it, but I doubt more than a handful watched it.

    Thanks for the nice conversation, by the way. It’s good to exchange comments with someone who understands what I write about. Whenever I write about combat, combat sports, personal defense, etc., there is always a contingent of people here who criticize me as a fraud, fantasist, Walter Mitty, etc. who claim that I have no clue what I am talking about. It’s clear as day to me (and to anyone with even a small modicum of training) that much of what I write make sense (though of course I don’t mind, indeed welcome, knowledgeable disagreements) and that these people are absolutely clueless about the topics at hand, but that’s what usually happens. I know. It’s the Internet.

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  322. @Twinkie

    I highly enjoyed the discussion as well. And thanks for the many videos. Great stuff.

    As for the ignoramuses, ignore them. “The dogs bark; the caravan passes on.”

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  323. Twinkie says:
    @Pincher Martin

    By the way, this is what happens to people not named Fedor when they fall badly from Ura Nage:

    • Replies: @Pincher Martin
  324. @Twinkie

    Ouch.

    Reminds me a little of what Frank Shamrock did to Igor Zinoviev.

  325. anon[166] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pincher Martin

    Olympic wrestling favors a low height/weight ratio. A low center of gravity. This disadvantages blacks as they on average have longer legs.

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