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Open Thread 51.25

This is the twice-weekly hidden open thread. Post about anything you want, ask random questions, whatever.

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936 Responses to Open Thread 51.25

  1. Deiseach says:

    This struck me as amusing, for whatever reason; it’s the kind of click-bait headline that one feels vaguely ashamed for falling for it, but on the other hand – revenge of the maths nerds? If you can’t get a partner now, you’ll have your moment (and plenty of them) in later life? 🙂

    Maths skill adds up to more sex – study

  2. Jill says:

    Scott, that essay your wrote is stimulating a lot of thought in me. Thanks for writing it. I agree with your basic argument there. Social and conscious power are very much like a variant of noblesse oblige where the nobility endure insults from the peasants, because they know the nobility’s own power, and the peasants’ lack of power, is quite stable. Thus, the idea that social and conscious power of the underprivileged needs to increase until it turns into structural and unconscious power, makes no sense.

  3. Jill says:

    Scott, I notice that essay you wrote that I linked to above, is 3 years old. Yet it’s at the heart of much of what has been discussed on this open thread here and now today. If you have any further thoughts on this important issue, would you do another post on it some time?

  4. Jill says:

    Wow, I just found this that Scott wrote. I am new to the site and haven’t read all Scott’s stuff yet. Some real gems there.

    This essay by Scott relates to a lot of the gender and racial issues people have been discussing here today.

    An analysis of the formalist account of power relations in democratic societies
    http://squid314.livejournal.com/354385.html?page=2#comments

    • Dahlen says:

      It’s nice to hear that I won’t get linked from SSC to Scott’s older writings from now on, as a response to my comments on here.

      I’ve been thinking about getting a blog recently, but worried about the privacy stuff and about hostile commenters (and the small fact of staring at a blank doc and not knowing what to say first and foremost). (Will still stick to a private .docx for now.) Then I thought of browsing Scott’s old LJ for references as to how other people I now read were writing at my age. Encouraging, but still.

      • Jill says:

        “It’s nice to hear that I won’t get linked from SSC to Scott’s older writings from now on, as a response to my comments on here.”

        Huh? People link to Scott’s older writings in here a fair amount, and I like people to do that myself. Since I am new to the board, I often don’t know that Scott has written a post about the very subject we are discussing.

  5. Jill says:

    Some of these issues about people insulting someone who is romantically interested in them, rather than just saying “Sorry, you’re not my type” are more rank issues than gender issues.

    If a person is alpha, or thinks they are, in attractiveness, success, social class etc., then they might feel free to insult someone whom they see as beta. Almost everyone is beta– or not the best looking or most successful person at a large party- so that puts most women and most men in that category.

    “Women, you have to treat ’em like shit”: a new ad turns Trump’s quotes against him
    http://www.vox.com/201/3/14/11224468/donald-trump-women-ad

    It’s abuse of rank, really. This board is predominantly men. And men hate this, so we are hearing a lot about this here. But women hate this too. And they are more often on the receiving end of it than men are, because most aggressive or insulting people are men, even though they may not be a large percentage of the total.

    A lot of social activists of all kinds of stripes try to be aggressive and alpha like and in your face, because they think that will get them to their goals. It doesn’t necessarily though. Sometimes they end up just driving people away, and keeping themselves out of most conversations about the issues of interest to them. Or else they end up shutting up these conversations, so no progress can be made, as things are at a standstill–, and you can’t even speak about the issue, much less move forward on it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please for the love of all that is holy find some other nomenclature than alpha and beta.

      • Jill says:

        What do you prefer? High rank and low rank? Don’t ignore my point here because you prefer different nomenclature.

        In the way the term was originally used, as a strong aggressive ape who could survive and help his tribe to, maybe 0% of people are really alpha. Trump probably couldn’t survive in the wilderness for a day or 2.

        • Sweeneyrod says:

          It is preferable to use BRUTE and BETA CUCKOLD ORBITER.

        • Dr Dealgood says:

          It’s because the Alpha / Beta / Omega heirarchy has been heavily promoted by the manosphere as part of the “red pill” set of beliefs.

          “Alpha fux, beta bux” is a typical formulation. That women generally look for sexually aggressive antisocial personalities for fun in their youth, only deigning to have sex with stable prosocial shlubs after their peak attractiveness has long since past and they’ve accumulated an unacceptably high number of sexual partners.

          I think the original idea, which you mirror, has a lot of value. But it’s been turned into something a bit crasser and less useful over the last few years.

          • Jill says:

            Both men and women can be naive and stupid when they’re young and can date Mr. or Miss Wrong because of that.

            Regardless of gender, a lot of women do tend to long for that one most rich successful guy in their social group. And a lot of men for that one most attractive woman. And then everyone else may not have so many dates.

            But it happens to, and is done by, both genders.

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            I should have made more clear that I was describing the view, rather than endorsing it per se.

            That said, I fail to see what your response has to do with the standard Red Pill view. I could see the argument that both sides settle in middle age and aren’t thrilled with the partners they could reasonably get. But your point about rich men is neither here nor there: the alpha personality is just as often a DJ or violent criminal as a rich guy.

          • Jill says:

            Well, my point is that many or most women prefer rich guys, even if they are not particularly aggressive. Perhaps I should replace alpha with rich, in the case of men. Of course, there are also some women who won’t go out with a rich asshole or a rich guy they consider not aggressive enough.

          • TPC says:

            Most women don’t do that, though. They sleep with a few guys, and then pick from that list to marry. Even women who become single mothers mostly follow that pattern. It’s a Pareto problem, taking what a small percentage of women do and extrapolating that it’s the norm in the face of sex partner and sex life data to different effect entirely.

        • God Damn John Jay says:

          Trump probably couldn’t survive in the wilderness for a day or 2.

          A lot of research into a typical hunter/gatherer society shows that foraging / fishing / trapping is easier than hunting for game. Men who need to support children would actually temporarily restrain from hunting and instead forage.

    • Matt M says:

      I’m not sure this is right – at least when it comes to dating. Dynamics are different. Men are required to be aggressive and make the first move – the risk of rejection is almost entirely borne by them.

      A woman who is sensitive about being rejected can go through life never putting herself on the line like that and still have plenty of opportunities to date. Men simply cannot. Your choice is “face your terrible fear of rejection or be alone forever.” Period.

      We’ve already noted that on dating websites, the overwhelming majority of first messages are sent by men. All a woman has to do is make a profile and wait for hundreds of offers to come streaming in. Men have to beg hundreds of women for attention in order to get it from one or two.

      The dynamics of going to bars or whatever is basically the same. I’ve been described as about average-looking in terms of attractiveness by several friends both male and female. Want to know how many times, in my life (age 30) I’ve been approached by a woman and had the opportunity to make an accept/reject decision? That’s right – zero. I’m not sure my experience is that atypical.

      To be sure, it *can* happen that a girl will make the first move, and a guy will reject her in a rude and hurtful manner. But to act like that’s just as common strikes me as very dishonest.

      I’d also bet that men are far more willing to accept partners “below” their own rank than women are generally. Not quite *as* comfortable with this – but it strikes me that I see a LOT more “high rank guy with low rank girl” couples than I do “high rank girl with low rank guy” couples.

      I’d also say that men who reject women based on rank are generally looked down upon, even by other men (most average guys on a college campus don’t think too highly of the “alpha” types); whereas we’ve already discussed how the term “creep” was invented specifically so women can communicate to other women that they too should avoid this guy for having the temerity to consider himself worthy of affection.

      • Jill says:

        Less than attractive women are put down even when they did not try to hit on a guy. And women are put down and/or not given credit for their intelligence frequently in the workplace. Women are often treated as if we are just bodies that may be desirable sexually if we are attractive, but in many settings, we are not likely to be considered valuable or given due credit in other ways. And a woman who isn’t attractive is often invisible to men. At least most women see men, even men who are not their type.

        Yeah, there’s Sheryl Sandberg for women, and there’s Obama for blacks. But they are not typical. They are just a bit past being tokens.

        Ranks are different for men and women. There is some effect of socioeconomic class. But, at the risk of oversimplification, in American society, a man is his wallet and a woman is what her body looks like, in comparison to women on TV and in the movies. Those are the rank system. People of either gender who don’t fit into at least an average rank within their own gender rank system, often have difficult lives during adolescence and young adulthood.

        • Anonymous says:

          Women are valued, but not respected.

          Men are respected, but not valued.

          Stolen from previous discussion here.

        • TPC says:

          I am well above average in attractiveness and my life was much more difficult during that timeframe than for average or below attractiveness women. This was pre-internet though.

          • Jill says:

            Do you know why that was the case? There are general cultural tendencies, but we all have our own family and peer and community situations, that may not be the average. They can be unusual, or traumatic, or favor some kinds of individuals above others in ways that are not true of the general culture.

          • TPC says:

            It was the general cultural experience for myself and other women above average in attractiveness. Which is why I question the notion that it’s generally so terrible for less attractive women. They tend to get better promotions for example, in my and those other womens’ experiences.

          • Jill says:

            There are a lot of factors at work here.

            If some less attractive women spent most of their time on learning what they needed to know to advance in their careers, and just gave up on being concerned with dating, they would end up with more promotions.

            But then whether they were better off then would depend on how much they wanted or enjoyed promotions vs. dating.

            A lot of things about dating are random too. It’s really a matter of luck. to some extent, given that you are attractive enough, whether someone you are attracted to, is also attracted to you. Maybe you have no common interests, maybe they are already committed etc. Maybe they are looking for a specific type that is not who you are.

            Apparently auto mechanics classes and golf courses are places with good gender ratios for women to meet men. And churches and cooking classes and dancing classes for men to meet women.

            Cities offer more people and more variety usually, unless you live in an introverted city like Seattle.

            And then there’s the matter of how high your standards are, and exactly what you are looking for in a date.

            And then people who have lots of dates aren’t necessarily happy. There’s the matter of whether and to what extent you get along with your dates– which depends on what kind of person you choose to date, and also what your own pattern of relating is.

        • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

          At the very least, as a lonely guy I can console himself with the potential of one day becoming attractive, either through intelligence, lifting or money. A really unattractive woman has no reasons to have hope left.

          • Jill says:

            Sometimes that is so. A couple of guys whom I really liked when I was young, decided to date women who were less attractive than I was, because of having common interests or values with them and not with me. That was unusual though.

            Common interests and values are indeed important for a longer term relationship. And some guys don’t need to have their girlfriend look like the women on TV.

          • ” A really unattractive woman has no reasons to have hope left.”

            A not obviously relevant story.

            A very long time ago I spent a summer in Canberra. One of the other residents of the building I was staying in was a man who had at some point been badly burned. His face looked so horrible that I found looking at it him unpleasant.

            For some reason we got into conversation, he turned out to be an interesting person, and looking at his face was no longer unpleasant.

            I think the pattern holds for dating. The woman you see as homely when you meet her as a stranger becomes pleasant to look at when you know and like her.

            I have seen a similar effect on a much shorter time scale. The same woman who appears rather uninteresting at the moment suddenly becomes attractive when she is looking at her boyfriend and projecting “I love you” in her facial expression.

            And I’m not the boyfriend, just someone observing strangers and reacting to them.

          • Dahlen says:

            Speaking as someone who studies attractiveness for a hobby (that’s one self-flattering way of saying “gawking at people a lot”), you all factor in waaay too high money, muscles, and intelligence for guys, and waaay too low money and intelligence for women.

            FYI: Money and good looks are correlated for both genders. Plastic surgery is a thing, it’s about the most expensive and the most effective way to modify looks (most causes of ugliness are morphological, meaning, not acne or fashion, but bone structure and fat distribution etc.). Most of people who have bad haircuts or clothes owe these things to bad judgment rather than money, but if you use whatever intelligence you have for picking up on cues on what people like in someone’s appearance and what they don’t, which btw is something most if not all humans are very incentivised to do, you can fix your bad judgment as well, by surrounding yourself with enough peers who express disapproval of your fashion choices.

            Physical beauty matters for guys as well, and facial traits also factor into physical beauty. Whoever thinks women have no reason to fuck/form relationships with men unless they’re given material stuff in exchange, or that they do it because they submit to his dominance or something, has very hosed up views about women and should probably stick to prostitutes. As Moldbug says (if that’s a voice you people would respect), if it could be formalised it should be. Yeah, okay, there’s very probably a class of people consisting of guys who aspire to be sugar daddies to get laid, and women who aspire to be golddiggers to earn their living, but that doesn’t constitute the majority and you shouldn’t enter the field with this premise in mind. Muscles count about as much as lack of fat does, too, and generally being extremely physically imposing is more likely to matter in a possible physical altercation with another guy than it is likely to matter in impressing a woman. There’s something in our country which we call a “thick-nape”. You know, when the guy’s neck forms a straight line going from his occipital area to his cervical vertabrae. It’s basically how the high-fat/high-muscle combination looks like. That’s synonymous with “boor”, and newsflash, women don’t like that very much.

            Money matters very much in how attractive a woman looks, for those of us who haven’t noticed. Nice clothes, hair care, makeup, the aforementioned plastic surgery which has the potential of turning an uggo into a passably attractive person (and vice versa) — they all cost something. When a hypothetical golddigger gets money off her sugar daddy, she mostly invests it in looks-related stuff. Not books or stocks or anything of the kind. Because maintaining these sorts of looks costs money. A really unattractive woman, as the parent comment mentions, has loads and loads of avenues for improving her dating prospects through appearance, which I’ve mentioned above. Basically every upper-class woman, no matter her genes, has found some way to presentablility. Ugliness is a fixable problem with enough money for both genders.

            And, of course, when people on the left end of the normal distribution of good looks try to find a date, if they have some sense and no willingness to go through all this shallow process of aesthetic self-improvement, they settle for someone on their beauty level and discover the wonders of a good personality and other non-physical characteristics.

            Then there’s the fact that sex =/= love and fuckability does not necessarily translate into romantic fulfillment (just ask me) and you all manage to discuss the whole matter of male/female coupling without even mentioning love much, which is, how do I put it, missing the essential ingredient of all this. Call me a naive fool, but it still matters.

            This whole open thread is full of incel stuff, which is why I hesitated getting involved until now, despite (or particularly because of) being one. Either follow Scott’s directions of no race/gender discussion in the open thread, or try getting your sources from somewhere other than r/TheRedPill.

            /drunken rant

            P.S. This isn’t directed towards the parent comment as much as towards the tens or hundreds of comments on the topic to this date. The amount of misconceptions people have towards this is downright annoying.

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            @Dahlen,

            I think you should consider the possibility that other posters aren’t idiots, and so not interpret their posts into things only an idiot would say.

            That is, it sounds like a lot of the misconceptions you’re pointing out are things people aren’t really saying here. Like the nape thing: everyone who talks about lifting as a way to improve your looks is implicitly talking about getting cut, not just pure strength training. And if you look above where people are talking about wealth as a factor in attractiveness they weren’t talking about maintaining mistresses, so much as visibly living well.

            As for money and women’s attractiveness, aside from the plastic surgery, the additional money spent on high-end versus discount cosmetics or hair care is not actually contributing very much in my experience at least. I’ve been with women who burn through hundreds of dollars worth of makeup a month and others who are extremely frugal, but the major difference isn’t in the quality of the product so much as the skill with which it’s applied. Someone with an eye for fashion or makeup can easily look good without paying the markup for brand names.

            That said, replacing ‘money’ with ‘class’ would make the statement ring a bit more true. Which is probably closer to how you meant it, now that I think of it.

          • Zorgon says:

            “This is icky [X] talk!” is not, has never been, and will never be a substitute for an actual argument.

          • Dahlen says:

            @Zorgon: Yeah, that’s ’cause arguments are for people who actively want to get involved in “icky [X] talk”. What I said is more of a declaration that I don’t want to participate in it (but I did anyway, because I’m stupid.) There’s a whole world of human communication outside arguments and counterarguments, and if we’re doing the “replace every substance of the discussion with [X]” thing, this is the reason why “[X] is not an argument” is a pet peeve of mine. Maybe I just wanted to communicate something other than an argument towards some point.

          • ChetC3 says:

            @Dahlen: That’s only true for your trivial concerns. The topics I am interested in are of such universal importance that it would be irrational and cowardly for anyone else not to devote themselves completely to debating it whenever I bring them up.

  6. Ruprect says:

    Regarding Ashkenazi Jews.

    “When Britain still had the 11-plus examination, children of professional and managerial parents recorded average IQ scores of 113, compared with an average of around 96 for the children of unskilled manual workers.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/a-social-divide-based-on-merit-there-is-a-demonstrable-link-between-class-and-intelligence-argues-1444881.html

    Is it just that they are an easily identifiable subsection of the European middle class?

    • dndnrsn says:

      This would require an explanation, though, as to why they would be a subsection of the middle classes – that is, disproportionately represented in the middle classes – instead of distributed in the same fashion as the general population. Which comes down to either “they are more suited to it intellectually” (which involves saying they have a higher IQ), “they are more suited to it culturally” (which involves denying the IQ tests), or “it’s a CONSPIRACY”.

      • Ruprect says:

        I was thinking that there might be other groups within Europe with the same average iq which aren’t recognized as races (that the middle class itself might be a race).

        (Like if you took one particular family of dachshunds and then grouped all the other dachshunds in with the other kinds of dog and were puzzling over why this particular family were more sausage like than the average of all other dogs.
        Because they are dachshunds.)

        • dndnrsn says:

          If the sort of trends predicted (as predictive fiction-slash-social-science) in “The Rise of the Meritocracy” and (as retrospective social science) in “Coming Apart” continue you could see classes becoming more and more distinct genetically.

          EDIT: A Scott review of “The Rise of the Meritocracy” would be really interesting. In some ways, it was remarkably prescient. In others, however, it completely blew it (for instance, it completely fails to predict the rise of feminism – in Young’s essentially IQ-as-caste-based society, high-IQ women in 2033 go to university, meet high-IQ men, get their educations, and then become housewives, so they can apply their intelligence to raising hopefully-high-IQ children). In some it’s just sort of off (he predicts a system where everyone gets the same basic income, and more prestigious jobs get more perks, and what he predicts as taking place through a complicated system of IQ tests and educational streaming seems to have taken place relatively organically).

          • Anonymous says:

            in Young’s essentially IQ-as-caste-based society, high-IQ women in 2033 go to university, meet high-IQ men, get their educations, and then become housewives, so they can apply their intelligence to raising hopefully-high-IQ children)

            The returns to marginal improvements in raising children would have to be enormous to have that strategy make any sense.

          • Randy M says:

            Depends on if the alternative depressed fertility. In theory, no reason it has to, in practice, it might well.

          • dndnrsn says:

            It’s the biggest thing he missed, too: that highly educated women would not at any point want to use those educations.

          • keranih says:

            that highly educated women would not at any point want to use those educations.

            …not sure I’m following. Is the implication that stay-at-home-moms don’t/can’t use their university educations?

          • dndnrsn says:

            Use as in professionally. Someone with a PhD – male or female – who is a stay at home parent isn’t really using their PhD as they would if they were a professor, or worked for a think tank, or whatever. There’s no degree requirement to be a parent, stay at home or otherwise.

            My job is entirely unconnected to what I studied in university. Do I use the skills I learned? Yeah, I guess – some of the skills I learned are generic white-collar skills, and there are all sorts of non-employment ways I use what I learned. But I wouldn’t say I use my degrees in the same way I would if I had a job someone couldn’t do without them.

            I’m not trying to devalue being a stay-at-home parent – I probably could have phrased things better – but Young posits a future where the only degree that really matters for educated women is the Mrs., when in fact that changed quite quickly after his book was published.

          • Anonymous says:

            Think about it in the steady state. You’d be forgoing the direct contribution of half your population to art, science, business, politics, etc. forever.

            Even working outside the home depressed fertility you’d still probably be able to come up with a division of labor and economies of scale that maintained population levels without sacrificing that much productivity.

          • Randy M says:

            @Dndrsn: Valid points, to be sure.

            There’s been talk (passive voice used because I don’t recall the source) that part of a doctor shortage is limited slots in medical schools going to females in greater numbers, but many of these women opting to spend time home raising children after relatively few years in the profession.

            I’m fine with all the choices on the parts of the women in principle, but combined with a posited medical school bottleneck it presents a problem.

          • Randy M says:

            Think about it in the steady state. You’d be forgoing the direct contribution of half your population to art, science, business, politics, etc. forever.

            There’s no reason mothers at home can’t contribute to any sort of art, and we suffer from no deficit of politics. Women could contribute to business part time and full time for about a third of their lives even if they all stayed home a couple decades while raising a brood.

            Moving intelligent women out of the breeding population and into the productive population (inasmuch as working full time reduces fertility, and inasmuch as it is under anyone’s societal wide control) seems equivalent to eating the seed corn.

          • John Schilling says:

            Think about it in the steady state. You’d be forgoing the direct contribution of half your population to art, science, business, politics, etc. forever.

            You’re assuming that direct contributions in these areas can only be made by full-time professionals, which is false.

            And even then, the tradeoff is that the other half of the population will be making a greater contribution by virtue of A: having been raised by intelligent, educated parents and B: being supported on the home front by an intelligent, educated spouse. There’s a difference between a stay-at-home mother who can cook, clean, and nurse, and a stay-at-home mother who can teach calculus and arrange social events for a gaggle of professors.

            A factor of two difference in the working spouse’s productivity? The more we learn about how little parenting matters beyond a modest threshold, the more I’m inclined to say not. But a significant positive difference, so even in Young’s day you weren’t losing half your society’s intellectual productivity.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Why are you guys conflating conceiving, birthing and raising children? And why should any of this prevent women from working?

            Through most of history women have continued working their ass off while in their breeding years. I think it’s only post-50s industrial boom, after the diminution in need for domestic labor, that we see an idea that women don’t work.

            Edit: I think I am making a similar point to John Schilling

          • keranih says:

            Someone with a PhD – male or female – who is a stay at home parent isn’t really using their PhD as they would if they were a professor, or worked for a think tank, or whatever. There’s no degree requirement to be a parent, stay at home or otherwise.

            Is “using their degree as they would if they were a non-stay-at-home-parent” the only way a degree can be used?

            I’m serious here – we have this paradigm which is based on how men (who don’t bear babies and don’t nurse) traditionally pursued careers. Is this the only way it can be done?

            Is it possible to create a “woman’s path” or “parent’s path” where – after a brief period (2-3 years?) of intense engagement in the profession, a person on the family track stepped off the fast lane, worked fewer hours/more regular hours (for less pay! They are making a trade!) for a period of fifteen to twenty -five years, and then perhaps shifted back into the profession more fully.

            I agree that a person raising kids (even a non-SAHM) isn’t going to use their degree in the same way as a nonparent.

            Does it follow from that, that they aren’t going to use it at all in that profession?

            (Edit: ninja’d by *everyone*.)

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Randy M, HeelBearCub, John Schilling, keranih:

            There seems to be some kind of confusion? I’m not endorsing keeping women out of the professions or whatever. I’m remarking that Young’s imagined future, circa 1958, completely fails to predict the entry of affluent women into the professions that began within a couple decades of his writing the book.

            EDIT: Basically, his prediction of 2033 had it much the same with regards to gender roles and the workplace/home as in 1958 (working class women work in some jobs, middle and upper class women are generally supported by their parents and then by their husbands). I am not endorsing this! I am merely pointing out that he predicted some things pretty well, but missed other things.

          • TPC says:

            SAHMs do work, it’s just that domestic labor is not recognized as work at all.

          • John Schilling says:

            There seems to be some kind of confusion? I’m not endorsing keeping women out of the professions or whatever. I’m remarking that Young’s imagined future, circa 1958, completely fails to predict the entry of affluent women into the professions that began within a couple decades of his writing the book.

            We understand this, yes. I, at least, assert that you are substantially overestimate the impact of this by assuming that the affluent women who had not yet “entered into the professions” were making no contribution to the quantity and quality of the professional work that was being done ca. 1958.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @John Schilling:

            Somehow I completely misread your last post. That is how Young portrays things – in his 2033 the high-IQ mothers staying home raising the kids, on the basis that they’d do a better job than lower-IQ nursemaids.

            His 2033 does, however, have the resistance to the whole system of constant IQ testing and early streaming being led by young high-IQ women who don’t want to be housewives, leading the lower-IQ masses (who themselves do not have effective leaders among them, due to any higher-IQ kids being peeled off to better schools and higher-powered careers).

            It is odd that he didn’t predict middle and upper class women wanting careers earlier than 75 years in the future from when he was writing.

      • Jill says:

        Why would anyone assume that people are “suited to” the class they are in, rather than than to others? If that were true, there wouldn’t be any social mobility, would there?

        • dndnrsn says:

          Social mobility can, to some extent, be seen as people suited for a higher class than the one they are born into overcoming discrimination (class discrimination, race discrimination, etc) to get to the class they belong in, and as people suited to a “lower” class than the one they are born into fucking up bad enough that the social advantages they enjoy can’t protect them from falling to a lower class.

          In a society that has massive racism and classism, you will see less social mobility. In a society that eradicates racism and classism, you will see a lot of social mobility … until everyone has been sorted, and then you just see individual cases of more intelligent children born to less intelligent parents and vice versa (which happens for various reasons).

          I highly recommend “The Rise of the Meritocracy” by Young. It is dated, but interesting.

        • Psmith says:

          there wouldn’t be any social mobility

          In a society that has massive racism and classism, you will see less social mobility. In a society that eradicates racism and classism, you will see a lot of social mobility

          https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/05/26/compound-interest-is-the-least-powerful-force-in-the-universe/

          • dndnrsn says:

            Are you posting that because it backs up what I’m saying or stands against it?

            Perhaps “a lot” is overselling it.

          • Psmith says:

            Yeah, my point is that Clark’s work (and land-lottery studies, etc.) tends to show that social mobility is pretty much constant and not all that high regardless of institutions–which is compatible with a model where most people are, contra Jill above, pretty well suited to their social class.

          • Matt M says:

            Does anyone have a good answer for what the ideal amount of social mobility actually is?

            I mean, realistically, we shouldn’t expect (and probably not even desire) it to be 100%. But we generally behave as if “more = better”…

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            0%

            Classless society or bust.

          • Jill says:

            “social mobility is pretty much constant and not all that high regardless of institutions–which is compatible with a model where most people are, contra Jill above, pretty well suited to their social class.”

            Or else most people are stuck in their social class, due to barriers that ought not to be there, glass ceilings and such.

            Mobility shifts from time to time, when discrimination becomes less. This doesn’t have to do with the suitability of the population that is no longer discriminated against. Were people “suited for” slavery in the U.S. until it ended, and then suddenly after the Civil War, they weren’t?

            Women in the past few decades have suddenly become able to enter many of the professions in far far larger numbers than they did previously– law, medicine, engineering, sciences etc. Were they unsuited to those professions just a few decades ago and now all of a sudden they are magically suited to them? Or was there significant discrimination against them in those professions decades ago?

          • Psmith says:

            Mobility shifts from time to time, when discrimination becomes less.

            The point of Clark’s empirical findings, which Scott reviewed in the post I linked to upthread, is that it more or less doesn’t. Empirical findings are, of course, subject to dispute.

            Were people “suited for” slavery in the U.S. until it ended, and then suddenly after the Civil War, they weren’t?

            Most descendants of slaves occupy a position in American society pretty comparable to that of their enslaved ancestors, especially if you include the incarcerated population in your analysis.

            Women in the past few decades have suddenly become able to enter many of the professions in far far larger numbers than they did previously– law, medicine, engineering, sciences etc.

            This is essentially irrelevant to intergenerational mobility. Consider the case in which every woman who becomes a well-paid doctor is the daughter of a well-paid male doctor, and all daughters of well-paid male doctors become well-paid doctors themselves. (SES, of course, is not the same thing as having a high-paying job.).

          • caethan says:

            Most descendants of slaves occupy a position in American society pretty comparable to that of their enslaved ancestors, especially if you include the incarcerated population in your analysis.

            Other than the beatings, forced labor, near-starvation conditions, and that inconvenient bit where you get your children sold away from you.

            Gee, I can’t imagine why liberals might think HBD is just a mask for racism.

          • Psmith says:

            TIL: it is racist to notice that the descendants of slaves are disproportionately very poor, incarcerated, harassed by police (and CPS, since you mention children), neglected (see e.g. Jill Leovy’s Ghettoside), generally deprived of autonomy, ….

          • caethan says:

            No, but deliberately equivocating between poor and downtrodden and enslaved with an eye to implying that the former isn’t much of an improvement over the latter is pretty racist, yes.

          • Matt M says:

            How are the descendants of slaves doing relative to the descendants of those who stuck around in sub-Saharan Africa?

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            Given the presence of AIDs, that is hardly fair. However LE is 75 (black Americans) versus 66 (Ghana; no civil wars, low aids rate)

            Other than the beatings, forced labor, near-starvation conditions, and that inconvenient bit where you get your children sold away from you.

            Conditions were not ‘near starvation’; owners wanted living slaves who could put in work, not corpses.

          • Jill says:

            “How are the descendants of slaves doing relative to the descendants of those who stuck around in sub-Saharan Africa?”

            I don’t know the answer to that question, but I am not sure it would be relevant. Because most countries in Africa were colonized. And some areas have experienced long wars and genocide. So they are not some kind of ideal control group, that is likely to be trauma free.

          • Matt M says:

            It may not be an ideal control group but it may be the closest we’ll get.

            Unless you want to try “How are the descendants of hunter-gatherer tribes who were colonized/enslaved doing relative to the hunter-gatherer tribes that remained undisturbed and/or uncontacted?”

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t know the answer to that question, but I am not sure it would be relevant. Because most countries in Africa were colonized. And some areas have experienced long wars and genocide. So they are not some kind of ideal control group, that is likely to be trauma free.

            Just about every people in every region of the Earth experienced “long wars”, possibly also genocide (after all, genocide was the go-to solution to dealing with defeated enemies in ancient times).

            Africa was colonized, yes, but then we would see that regions colonized the least would be outperforming regions colonized more… except the opposite seems true. North Africa has been colonized in antiquity and remains colonized to this day, and somehow does better than pretty much everywhere north of South Africa. South Africa itself, the whitest country on the continent, is pretty much the only other state that is up to any amount of scratch. Meanwhile, Ethiopia, the country colonized least (~5 years, by the Italians, just before WWII), is just about perfectly average in comparison with other sub-Saharan countries.

            I don’t personally see any obvious evidence that ‘colonization’ had anything to do with African underperformance, much less ‘long wars’ and ‘genocide’ which are universal.

          • Nornagest says:

            genocide was the go-to solution to dealing with defeated enemies in ancient times

            This is probably overstating the case. There are a few documented conflicts resolved in ways that might rise to the level of genocide, depending on where you draw the line, and a bunch more legendary ones. But at least in the parts of history I know a lot about, it was a lot less common than killing and replacing only the elite of the society you’ve just conquered, or simply subjugating and co-opting them (the usual Roman approach; Carthage was exceptional).

            As to Africa, Botswana’s doing pretty well, with a per-capita GDP (PPP) comparable to Greece and much higher growth rates. Gabon and Equatorial Guinea have relatively high GDP per capita too, but those are petrostates.

    • Zorgon says:

      It’s probably bad of me to celebrate but I’m doing so anyway.

      • Forlorn Hopes says:

        It’s bad to celebrate the suffering of the employees. Celebrating the fall of a tyrant and a bully however, that’s ok.

    • blacktrance says:

      Let’s buy it and make them produce good content.

    • Nornagest says:

      Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of people.

    • BBA says:

      Ziff Davis, owner of PC Magazine and IGN, is placing a bid. If they win the auction, the tech-oriented sites will probably get merged into the bland corporate media they were meant as a rebellion against. The rest will flounder for a bit and eventually get sold off – the memo talks about keeping those sites to expand ZD to new audiences, but what the hell does ZD know about the readership of Jezebel or Deadspin? Tellingly, Gawker.com and the currently dormant Valleywag aren’t mentioned at all.

      In other words, it looks like the worst tabloid excesses are going away while most of the writers and their obnoxious left-wing commentary will stay around a bit longer. And the latter seems to be what offends most of the Gawker-haters.

  7. onyomi says:

    Was thinking about HBD and why everyone seems to sort of believe it to some degree at a gut level, yet it’s hard to find people to admit they believe it. Or else people hold really incoherent positions like that it applies to things like height and athletic ability, but not intelligence. Of course, I think the average person probably hasn’t even put too much thought into exactly how much of personal outcomes are genetic and how much environmental–they just know there’s some combination at work. Still, it’s still pretty taboo.

    It strikes me that the real problem is that nobody has confidence that other people can handle the implications of HBD responsibly. And perhaps with good reason. I certainly feel like I am able to judge people on their individual qualities and not assume, for example, that every black person is good at basketball or every woman is bad at math, but I also don’t trust others to be able not to act on a bunch of stereotypes (though maybe everyone feels that way? And if so, is it because we’re all better at not stereotyping than we think, or maybe, all overestimate our own ability not to stereotype? Third option, the kind of person who reads SSC is good at not stereotyping, but rightly distrusts Joe Sixpack’s ability not to do so?).

    Anyway, the point is, it feels like information which most people believe, but which most people don’t believe others can handle.

    Is this a particular phenomenon LW et al have discussed somewhere? I feel like I’ve seen something about this on SSC, though I don’t recall where. One might call it {Jack Nicholson voice} “you can’t handle the truth!”{/Jack Nicholson voice}

    Is there a good way to deal with such cases? What are other cases? The idea that global warming is a serious problem but doesn’t spell immediate doom also seems like one (that is, environmentalists perpetually exaggerate imminent threats because they fear a realistic assessment won’t be taken seriously)?

    Is there really such a thing as something which is true but which it’s harmful for people to believe? (some might argue atheism here as well)

    • Matt M says:

      “Third option, the kind of person who reads SSC is good at not stereotyping, but rightly distrusts Joe Sixpack’s ability not to do so”

      Sounds like you just failed the “can an SSC reader avoid stereotyping Joe Sixpack” test!

      “Is there really such a thing as something which is true but which it’s harmful for people to believe? (some might argue atheism here as well)”

      One famous philosopher (might have been Voltaire, but I can’t remember for sure) was hosting a dinner party where all the guests were talking about how God most likely didn’t exist. When the servants came in to deliver the food, he hushed them all right away. After the servants left, they asked him, “Why should we be secretive about this? Don’t the servants deserve to know the truth as well?” and he replied “If my servants didn’t believe in God, they’d steal from me.”

    • keranih says:

      Is there really such a thing as something which is true but which it’s harmful for people to believe?

      Is this not what we make taboos and brightlines/Schilling points(?) for? Because we recognize the grey area/possible negatives, and want to minimize the outcomes by forcing most people to not do this “because I said so” rather than “long drawn out discussion of pros and cons”?

      And I feel like some topics related to this has been discussed earlier upthread and I don’t want to get into that here. I suspect a number of this topics have a high emotional:rational reaction ratio.

      I think that rational consideration of pros and cons will work only so far as people make rational judgements, and when people insist that we make non-rational judgements that taboos work better.

      In the case of HBC, I think we-in-the-USA have worked our way out of a largely irrational acceptance and enforcement of racial-specific laws, and have shifted towards a more rational, judge each person by their own merits sort of assessment. Which is good.

      But then I think we’ve gone too far in trying to push out irrational (say) “anti-black” racism, and now are promoting a nearly equally irrational stance of “you can’t say [that]! That’s racist!” about judgments which can be assessed (and discarded, if they prove false) on an empirical basis.

      Having said that – I don’t think that we as a species are wired to do emotion-free (or: previous-experience-tainted) assessments, and there’s a trade off between making gross-level judgement and saving time to get to other things. We will, a lot of the time, just say “this person is sketchy and creeps me out” and be done, rather than subjecting each stranger to a rigorous examination.

      (In my head this is a clear response building off onyomi. YMMV.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t Scott have a post about true things it is unhelpful to publicize? I can’t remember the examples he used — maybe something about drug side effects?

      Edit: here it is https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/06/14/the-virtue-of-silence/

    • dndnrsn says:

      OK, not really addressing the main point, but something kind of jumps out at me:

      Or else people hold really incoherent positions like that it applies to things like height and athletic ability, but not intelligence.

      Beyond HBD ideas of variation between large groups (such as ethnic groups), even regarding variation between individuals or smaller groups (such as families), there is a difference in how we (“we” being society at large) treat, say, height, versus how we treat intelligence. I am not making any claims as to the correctness or incorrectness of HBD as regards ethnicity and intelligence – I do not think I am equipped with the right tools to have my own informed opinion; I would merely be parroting some expert or other on one side of the fence or other.

      I think three things are going on here: The first is that height is blatantly obvious. It’s obvious who’s tall and who isn’t, it’s obvious that it runs in families, etc. It is also much easier to measure: complicated tests or observing someone’s abilities in an intellectual environment for intelligence, vs. a tape measure for height. Questions like “who is taller?” only arise when two people are quite similar in height, and are easily resolved.

      The second is that height is less inherently valuable. Being intelligent opens more doors for a person than being tall (while, say, taller men earn more money and are rated as more attractive, the jobs where you must be tall or absolutely cannot be shortare few and far between) and being stupid closes more doors than being short. I think most people would prefer to be in the 15th percentile for height (for reference, for an adult man in the US that’s a little over 5’6″) than 15th percentile for intelligence (in the US, that’s IQ 85).

      The third is that we as a society place more value on height than on intelligence (given that intelligence is more inherently valuable, we may be right to do so, but we may be valuing intelligence relative to height more than reality merits), and we often associate intelligence with moral worth. Recognizing that some are smarter than others has all sorts of implications that recognizing the same for height doesn’t – for instance, it might be taken as a reason to support a strictly streamed education system, as exists in Germany (as I understand it, some provinces are stricter than others).

      As a result, it is both harder to ignore height and easier to accept variations in height between individuals and between groups of different sizes (not just ethnic groups, also male/female). Few* would say “all children have the potential to be 6′, that some are taller than others and men are taller than women is due to poverty, bad child-raising, and discrimination”. Of course, someone might not reach their genetic potential for height due to premature birth, malnutrition, sickness, etc – the heights of people in many different parts of the world have increased greatly (the US average was something like 5’6″ or 5’7″ for a man in the 1930s, I think) – but it is generally acknowledged that even with perfect conditions different people will reach different heights.

      However, because it is harder to measure intelligence, and because of all the implications of recognizing differences in intelligence (again, not even just between groups – between individuals, also), you have a lot more people who would say something similar regarding the ability of all children to reach 115 IQ (the same percentile of intelligence, roughly, as 6′ is for height among American men). To say that Alice has an inherently higher potential intelligence than Bobby is far more toxic than to recognize that Bobby has a higher potential height than Alice – even more of a difference to say her family is on average smarter than his than to say his family is on average taller than hers – and even more toxic to say her ethnic group is on average smarter than his than to say his ethnic group is on average taller than hers.

      Further, you have a lot of people who would deny the concept of IQ and related ideas altogether. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever claimed that height is a mistaken concept, and that everyone is equally tall, just in different ways.

      I think that’s why some people’s positions are so incoherent. Saying “Bobby is taller than Alice” means a lot less for society than saying “Alice is smarter than Bobby” and so on.

      To actually address the main point: sort of, in that believing certain things would definitely do harm to the way things currently operate in society. An educational system such as exists in North America where kids are mostly put through the same system, where everyone can apply to university, etc would be seriously harmed by certain beliefs regarding what intelligence is, how it works, how it is developed, how it varies, etc.

      Obviously, there are beliefs of a different sort that are harmful: if your neighbour’s cockatoo convinces you of the correctness of the belief that you should burn everything, that’s probably harmful.

      *I vaguely recall reading about a fairly radical feminist author who claimed that the only reason women were smaller and weaker than men was that parents gave girls less food than boys, which is why “few” rather than “nobody”.

    • Randy M says:

      [edit: beat to it more or less by dndrsn]

      We don’t have problems at least tacitly acknowledging some innate racial differences, or else I missed the big outcry against the racism in the NBA rosters. The difference between that and the suggestions that will lead to imputations of motivations of hatred are that height and athleticism no longer really matter, whereas in a modern capitalist society, one’s usefulness–which is easily confused for worth or value–is directly tied to intelligence. Intelligence as well as characteristics like conscientiousness or time preference which appear to be well correlated with intelligence but also are considered moral virtues.

      I suspect the taboo is due to the fear that a prejudiced response to meeting someone is rational if these hypothesis are believed to be true. To what extent this is right I don’t know, but certainly it makes more sense as man is moved from Imagio Dei to purely economic units.

      • Matt M says:

        “or else I missed the big outcry against the racism in the NBA rosters”

        I’d bet you at least half of the people who acknowledge this would attribute it to something like: “It’s not really a difference in physical ability, it’s just that black people are more interested in and motivated to become athletes than white people, probably because of how society is racist and tells them that they can’t be scientists.”

    • caethan says:

      It’s because most modern people believe that higher intelligence is associated with higher moral worth. Because most folks also believe and want to believe that everyone is of equal moral worth, advocating the belief in different mean intelligence among races (or even between people) is seen as dehumanizing or devaluing those portrayed as less intelligent. And they’re not wrong, it is pretty common for HBDers to go from “these guys are less smart” to “these guys are less morally worthy”. And the last time there was widespread societal acceptance of population differences in intelligence, there were atrocities driven by that perceived lack of moral worth.

      Personally, what I would like to see is a widespread acceptance of the fact that stupidity or intelligence are not moral signifiers, and that we have equal moral rights thanks to being made in the image of God. I think that refusing to accept that some individuals are relatively stupid impedes our ability to help them, and likely the same could be said of populations, but there are very very good reasons for liberals to be suspicious of people going around saying “These guys are stupid, it’s science!”

      • caethan says:

        On a purely selfish basis and speaking as someone at the relative top of the intelligence heap now, I think it’s a very good idea to beat it into society’s head that higher intelligence does not mean higher moral worth and that we have a collective duty to work in the best interests of everyone, stupid or smart, before we end up at the bottom of the intelligence heap in the future, whether by genetic engineering or AI or what have you.

      • Matt M says:

        “Personally, what I would like to see is a widespread acceptance of the fact that stupidity or intelligence are not moral signifiers, and that we have equal moral rights thanks to being made in the image of God.”

        Reminds me of when Trump said “I love the poorly educated” and everyone took this as some outrageous and condemn-able statement about how he’s simply appealing to the lowest common denominator, etc.

        Ignoring the implication of “the poorly educated don’t deserve to be loved and their opinions shouldn’t count the same as ours”

      • Samuel Skinner says:

        Personally, what I would like to see is a widespread acceptance of the fact that stupidity or intelligence are not moral signifiers, and that we have equal moral rights thanks to being made in the image of God.

        As long as we have the category of mentally incompetent, that isn’t happening. Also breaks down for
        -genetically engineered people
        -cost/benefit analysis. Turns out people really don’t like having their lives be equal to everyone elses; the elderly complained when the EPA had lives value set on ‘expected years”

        • caethan says:

          The mentally incompetent have moral rights. (Or more accurately, the rest of us have moral duties towards the mentally incompetent.) So do genetically engineered people and the elderly. I agree that what I would like to see isn’t likely to happen soon.

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            The problem is what moral rights contain because the mentally incompetent certainly don’t have political or other rights.

          • caethan says:

            Let’s start with the right not to be murdered and go from there.

          • The original Mr. X says:

            the mentally incompetent certainly don’t have political or other rights.

            Children don’t have political rights. Doesn’t mean they have no rights at all however.

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            Let’s start with the right not to be murdered and go from there.

            Have fun with the abortion question. You just turn this into a fight over defining person. And then you have to deal with animals. Really isn’t a universally agreeable solution.

            Children don’t have political rights. Doesn’t mean they have no rights at all however.

            The same could be said to apply to slaves. I mean it works if your goal is ‘no extermination’, but most people’s moral bar is slightly higher.

      • Lumifer says:

        there are very very good reasons for liberals to be suspicious of people going around saying “These guys are stupid, it’s science!”

        These reasons sound about as good to me as reasons to be suspicious of people going around saying “Men are physically stronger than women, it’s science!”

        In other words, not at all.

        With respect to moral worth, you need to specify your morality first. Descriptively speaking, moralities in the modern world are pretty diverse. Some attach moral value to being smart, some don’t.

        For a society high-IQ people are more useful. Whether it should lead to them having some elevated moral status is an exercise left for the reader 🙂 There will be no test.

        • caethan says:

          As I said, the last time there was widespread societal acceptance of population differences in intelligence, we saw widespread atrocities committed on the basis of that belief, in conjunction with the modern liberal belief that intelligence confers moral worth. Most modern liberals are rightly and correctly appalled by those atrocities and so react very strongly to anyone trying to promote belief in population-wide differences in intelligence. I think right now we’ve got:

          1) Liberals who remember the colonialist, Darwinist, and Nazi atrocities and viciously attack anyone who looks like they’re trying to bring back anything that could start them again.
          2) HBDers who have discarded the equal worth of all as an axiom.
          3) HBDers who have discarded the moral value of intelligence and so think that lies about intelligence make it harder to help people.

          I’m firmly in camp 3, and I think there are others there as well. But there’s also a ton of people in camp 2, trying their hardest to get camp 1 to join them. And if that ever happens, we’ll make the fucking Nazis look like pikers.

          • Jill says:

            “As I said, the last time there was widespread societal acceptance of population differences in intelligence, we saw widespread atrocities committed on the basis of that belief, in conjunction with the modern liberal belief that intelligence confers moral worth.”

            This is the problem. People are understandably scared of going back there again.

            Even if HBD beliefs were true, they would be unnecessary, and perhaps harmful. To characterize some entire race in some way that is unflattering is like calling them all creeps. And even if HBD were true, that wouldn’t be accurate because these would be average characteristics of that race, not ones that every member of the race holds. They are not all identical clones of each other.

            If you have less intelligent individuals of any race, you try to help them to learn and function however they can. There is no need to separate them by race.

            I see no utility in characterizing an entire race as creeps in some way. It just doesn’t lead to anywhere constructive.

            And these people whose families or geographic areas have suffered the brutalities of Naziism, slavery, colonialism etc.– can anyone really expect them to feel empathy for the First World problems of some lucky privileged middle class young person? Someone who has no idea how easy his life is.

            A lucky young middle class First World person who feels frustrated because he can’t admit openly that he thinks a whole race of people are inferior, because his girlfriend or his employer might disapprove of that?

          • Anonymous says:

            Do you really want to start advocating that it’s better for us to not know the truth, if it conflicts with our common sense in this particular case?

          • keranih says:

            Even if HBD beliefs were true, they would be unnecessary, and perhaps harmful. To characterize some entire race in some way that is unflattering is like calling them all creeps. And even if HBD were true, that wouldn’t be accurate because these would be average characteristics of that race, not ones that every member of the race holds.

            Jill, I don’t think you are thinking this through.

            Right now, you assume that it is the fault of racially-oriented bigotry when the average test grades of AA/black students does not match that of Asian or Caucasian students. If this was so, it would be worthwhile to put effort into reducing the racially-oriented biogtry. And if we were successful at reducing this bigotry, then the AA average test score would rise.

            However, if – on average AA students were less intelligent than Caucasian or Asian students, then even if we successfully reduced bigotry the AA average test score would not reflect this. We might waste years and years, spinning our wheels and making people angry and frustrated at society for still being bigoted, when the issue lay somewhere else entirely.

            If you have less intelligent individuals of any race, you try to help them to learn and function however they can. There is no need to separate them by race.

            YES! EXACTLY! THIS IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO. Students who pass the class go on to the next grade, and get tracked for intellectually challenging professions. Students who do less well get extra help and are tracked into less challenging professions where they can still succeed and be productive members of society – working just as hard as they can, and respected for that work.

            And all we need to do is come up with accurate measures of intelligence and performance that everyone agrees on, and angels to oversee the implementation so that no one gives extra “help” to members of their own family/tribe or race, out of a feeling of sympathy for that member – or who hinders someone of a different race because “white boy problems don’t really matter.”

            Which is kinda the underpants gnome plan part of the whole deal.

          • Jill says:

            I think the effects of colonialsim, slavery, Naziism etc. extend through more than the generation that experienced it too.

            And some of these effects could be cultural reasons for characteristics that people think come from genetics– whereas in reality these characteristics some from e.g. being from a family where people were harmed physically and psychologically in numerous ways.

            E.g you get people who survived slavery and were set free but they are stark raving mad from having experienced and also witnessed massive amounts of physical and psychological abuse. So when they parent their kids, they are stark raving mad. And the next generation had parents who were stark raving mad, and maybe they had a teacher or coach at school who happened to be sane, so that generation does a little better but is still severely affected.

            And maybe eventually the effects dissipate, but it could take a very long time.

          • caethan says:

            Half a truth can be worse than nothing at all. It’s good for a man to know if his wife is cheating on him, but you’re not doing him a favor if you tell him that when he’s drunk and put a gun in his hand on his way home.

          • Jill says:

            “However, if – on average AA students were less intelligent than Caucasian or Asian students, then even if we successfully reduced bigotry the AA average test score would not reflect this. We might waste years and years, spinning our wheels and making people angry and frustrated at society for still being bigoted, when the issue lay somewhere else entirely.”

            I don’t see a ton of serious efforts to reduce bigotry, so I don’t think we have to worry about spinning our wheels in that direction. Our wheels are fairly still.

          • Jill says:

            “And all we need to do is come up with accurate measures of intelligence and performance that everyone agrees on”

            A lack of measures of performance isn’t the problem. The problem is assuming that Johnny or Jamal can do fine in school even if one parent is psychotic and the other is a drug addict and there’s nothing to eat at his house.

            We need mental health treatment services, substance abuse services, community services etc. for those who can’t afford them, regardless of their race.

            Our biggest problem with kids who are not learning is that we assume a good teacher can make up for an awful home environment.

            And another huge problem is that we don’t look at the school as a whole system, where kids with behavior problems are all put into the classrooms of the new teachers who don’t have the status to keep that from happening. And then when the students test poorly, the teacher is fired and another new one is hired.

            And somehow we need to get privileged white boys who went to fancy private schools, or to excellent public schools in good neighborhoods, to understand these issues. Because they are the ones who end up in charge of a school system they don’t understand.

            And because right now, some of them think the worst problem in the world is that their girlfriend and their employer don’t want to hear about their beliefs that AA kids are stupid, compared to whites. And so they feel like they don’t have free speech.

          • keranih says:

            I don’t see a ton of serious efforts to reduce bigotry, so I don’t think we have to worry about spinning our wheels in that direction. Our wheels are fairly still.

            Seriously? You’re going to sit here in a country with an AA president, AA generals, AA surgeons and national business CEOS, award winning inventors and writers, celebrities and artists, AA supreme court justices both conservative and not, and say I don’t really see a ton of serious effort to reduce bigotry? Are you really going to try to say that?

            Besides which – you’re not considering the possibility that attempts to blame bigotry – which is a Bad Thing – for the effects of lower intelligence –

            – such as “disparate impact” court findings and fines, and job quotas, and ‘affirmative action’ promotions –

            – are working *counter* to the stated goal of reducing bigotry further? Because it’s one thing to hold someone responsible for what they have done. It’s another thing to fire the coach because the women’s track team runs slower than the men’s.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Jill:

            Oh that is just not true.

            There has been, and continues to be a concerted effort to reduce bigotry, and it has been radically successful within merely one lifetime.

            When Obama was born, Jim Crow laws were still in effect in the South. Now he is finishing his second term as president. If you don’t see that there has been a successful concerted effort to reduce bigotry over the last 55 years, I think you are making sure to look for the bigotry that continues to exist, and ignoring the bigotry you don’t notice the absence of.

          • keranih says:

            The problem is assuming that Johnny or Jamal can do fine in school even if one parent is psychotic and the other is a drug addict and there’s nothing to eat at his house.

            *grits teeth* This is not an assumption held by anyone that I have ever spoken to. In fact, most people seem to hold that there are a multitude of factors which affect childhood growth and adult intelligence.

            It also seems to be agreed on that these factors impact the ability of the adult to perform at genetic levels. So again, we have people of unequal outcomes, not related to racial bigotry.

            We need mental health treatment services, substance abuse services, community services etc. for those who can’t afford them, regardless of their race.

            Yes, and we need to figure out how to prevent those conditions, rather than just try to treat them after the fact.

            Our biggest problem with kids who are not learning is that we assume a good teacher can make up for an awful home environment.

            Be careful with your pronouns. Among other sets of “us”, the biggest problem is that people refuse to acknowledge that a poor home environment maims childern’s learning potential, and thus refuse to follow onto the logical and unappealing step of refusing to let people who have awful home environments to have children.

            Your characterization of the school system is overly simplistic, as Scott has discussed.

            And somehow we need to get privileged white boys who went to fancy private schools, or to excellent public schools in good neighborhoods, to understand these issues. Because they are the ones who end up in charge of a school system they don’t understand.

            Are there no AA principles of schools in your area? No AA senior teachers? No AA school board administrators? It is past time to stop blaming this all on “rich white people” Jill. They are no longer slaves on the plantation, and they can make their own choices.

            And because right now, some of them think the worst problem in the world is that their girlfriend and their employer don’t want to hear about their beliefs that AA kids are stupid, compared to whites. And so they feel like they don’t have free speech.

          • Jill says:

            “They are no longer slaves on the plantation, and they can make their own choices.”

            I do understand that almost no one believes in PTSD, or notices that its effects can be passed down from one generation to another. But it is that way.

            And I guess some people believe in totally free choice, that is not affected at all by your previous environment.

            Have you ever seen 12 Years a Slave? Do you think that the effects of such experiences as were portrayed in that movie, just disappeared after one generation?

            That’s a think in the U.S.– total ignoring of history– as if we all just sprung into life yesterday and were not affected by anything that happened previously.

            I guess many people who watched 12 Years a Slave thought of it as like another Game of Thrones– a story of brutality but just made up for your own amusement–nothing that actually would ever happen to a human.

            Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life

            http://www.vox.com/2016/6/6/11852640/cartoon-poor-neighborhoods

          • Jill says:

            And if there is a black school principal, that doesn’t wipe out the problems of a kid in a home where one parent is psychotic and the other an addict, and there’s no food in the house, and there are no or insufficient community services.

            Just like there being an African American president doesn’t make unarmed black people killed by police any less dead.

          • Nornagest says:

            @Jill — Out of curiosity, what do you think the inter-generational transmission rate for PTSD is? This is probably Googleable, but I’d like your take on it. Ballpark figures are fine.

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            I think Jill is talking about epigenetic changes; we can track those from famines, but I’m not sure there is any type that is related to oppression.

          • Lumifer says:

            the last time there was widespread societal acceptance of population differences in intelligence, we saw widespread atrocities committed on the basis of that belief

            I’m sorry, I am going to call bullshit on that. I have no idea what “Darwinist atrocities” are. Colonialism was based on raw power differentials: broadly speaking, the Europeans conquered Africans because they could, not because there was some theory about IQ differences. And the Nazis wanted lebensraum, land, and incidentally, had no problems going to war with non-IQ-inferior Western Europe.

            On the other hand, Soviet Russia and Communist China committed more than their share of atrocities without any HBD/racism involved at all.

          • Lumifer says:

            @ Jill

            Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life

            I’ve lived in a poor neighborhood. Poor as in 90+% black, burned out houses, gunshots every other night. I lived there because that was all I could afford.

            It didn’t change everything about my life.

            As to PTSD effects passed down generations — give me a break. Go to Europe — they all had PTSD only 70 years ago. And another one 30 years before that.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            This heritable PTSD sounds pretty scary. We’re going to have to keep Syrians out of our country for a lot longer than we thought.

          • Jill says:

            “there has been a successful concerted effort to reduce bigotry over the last 55 years”

            True. But we are going backwards now, with the likes of Trump.

          • Jill says:

            “I’ve lived in a poor neighborhood. Poor as in 90+% black, burned out houses, gunshots every other night. I lived there because that was all I could afford.

            “It didn’t change everything about my life.”

            But you didn’t grow up in one, now did you? That has the largest effect.

            “As to PTSD effects passed down generations — give me a break. Go to Europe — they all had PTSD only 70 years ago. And another one 30 years before that.”

            Yes, and it affected them– not as much as people whose whole race were in slavery but it did affect them. There are different degrees of effect. And a small amount of the effect may be constructive. Europeans are more hesitant to enter into pointless wars than the U.S. is.

            It’s been so long since the U.S. has had a full scale war on our territory that we are reckless sometimes about getting into wars.

          • Jill says:

            “This heritable PTSD sounds pretty scary. We’re going to have to keep Syrians out of our country for a lot longer than we thought.”

            I know you were being sarcastic. However, the crisis in Syria has been fairly recent– which is why millions of refugees have not been pouring out of Syria for generations. It does not compare with generations of slavery experienced by your entire race.

          • Jill says:

            ” the Europeans conquered Africans because they could, not because there was some theory about IQ differences. And the Nazis wanted lebensraum, land, and incidentally, had no problems going to war with non-IQ-inferior Western Europe.”

            Not so. The Europeans thought the races they conquered were savages who were below them. The Naziis did think that Jews and any non-Aryans were inferior races. And they did think it was the place of the German race and nation to rule over other races and nations.

          • Anonymous says:

            What do you have to say about the Balkans, which endured Ottoman slavery operations for hundreds of years? Why don’t the people there live in ghettos?

            Terrible events in history cause multi-generational PTSD which is really bad, except if we can think of a group with terrible events and good outcomes then the PTSD was constructive. That PTSD theory seems like it will be strengthened by any evidence.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Balkans are kind of a shithole — economically, politically, and culturally.

          • Anonymous says:

            An European shithole. First world compared to any other shithole.

            You don’t need the multi-generational PTSD theory to explain why the countries there aren’t G7 currently. If multi-generational PTSD were a thing, why were there functioning governments in the 18th and 19th century in the Balkans?

          • Matt M says:

            “Not so. The Europeans thought the races they conquered were savages who were below them.”

            They thought this but it wasn’t particularly relevant to their motivations in going there and colonizing the lands. The natives were considered “in the way” and all the Europeans really wanted was for them to get out of the way.

            But there was no intentional effort to eradicate them from the globe. Maybe the more committed catholics wanted to convert them – but that was about the extent of it.

          • Jill says:

            Nornagest, I don’t have even a ballpark guess here, but I think it is significant. There are a fair amount of studies being done on inter-generational PTSD.

          • Nornagest says:

            There are a fair amount of studies being done on inter-generational PTSD.

            I know, I hit Google Scholar after I posted that. It doesn’t look like settled science, and a lot of studies find nothing or have obvious methodological problems, but the highest figure I was able to find was 45%, in one of the studies covered here (a survey article covering several studies on the children of combat veterans with the disorder). Given that we’re seven generations out from the Emancipation Proclamation, that would give us a prevalence for intergenerationally transmitted PTSD dating from the slavery era of roughly (0.45 ^ 7) = ~0.004 if 100% of freed slaves showed PTSD symptoms.

            The disorder’s prevalence in the general population is about 0.08, so we’d be talking a relative risk of about 5% over unity given these already very generous assumptions. It strikes me as implausible that that would have much effect on the broader culture.

            More recent trauma could, of course. This study shows a prevalence of PTSD that’s roughly 2% higher in black than in white Americans (9% vs. 7%), though most other anxiety disorders are lower. That’s not peanuts, but it still looks like a rather weak effect. (You should never draw strong conclusions from one study, though.)

          • Jill says:

            “Given that we’re seven generations out from the Emancipation Proclamation, that would give us a prevalence for intergenerationally transmitted PTSD dating from the slavery era of roughly (0.45 ^ 7) = ~0.004 if 100% of freed slaves showed PTSD symptoms.”

            “The disorder’s prevalence in the general population is about 0.08, so we’d be talking a relative risk of about 5% over unity given these already very generous assumptions. It strikes me as implausible that that would have much effect on the broader culture.”

            Regarding PTSD, many of the cases are instances where a person underwent one single terrifying experience. A life time of slavery might magnify the effects of trauma to a very large degree, in that slaves experienced one trauma after another for their entire lives. They didn’t so much have Post-traumatic Stress Disorder as they had Post-tramatic Life Disorder.

            One effect that may have taken place in black culture that would relate directly to tests that are supposed to measure intelligence– but perhaps do not– is the effect of being heavily punished for performance and achievement. What happened when a slave performed well and got a lot of work done? He was given more and more back breaking work and no pay.

            There was a term– I’ve forgotten what it was– it’s sort of like rate buster, except that, of course, it didn’t apply to income because slaves weren’t paid any income. There was a term for the slave that worked harder because they were particularly strong or energetic.

            It was considered an evil thing to do, and the other slaves would really get on the guy’s case. The reason it was considered evil, is because if one slave got more done than the others, then the slave master would come along. He would beat the other slaves to within an inch of their lives, trying to get them to do the same amount of work in the same time– which was impossible for people with more average energy or strength.

            Then after the Emancipation Proclamation, this sort of experience did not entirely stop. There was still Jim Crow, and still a lot of lynchings and other violence against black people. Some violence that was done to black people was done because they were so “uppity” that they tried to learn to read and write, or later on because they tried to apply for good paying jobs that white men wanted.

            So, even after slavery, there continued to be harsh physical punishments, or even death, for black people who tried to achieve and do well. It’s quite possible that the ridicule of studious black children by other black children is an effect of such experiences that has been passed down through the generations.

            Many of us can think of habits or customs or whatever that have been handed down from one generation to another in our families. Some are good habits. Some can end up being destructive.

            They can be habits that worked well for the needs or the survival of past generations, but they don’t work any more. Hopefully, we realize that when it happens. But often we don’t.

            Some of this, people in black culture have to find the way out of themselves. But discrimination and bigotry tend to make these kinds of things worse. E.g. in this situation, continued bigotry seems to reinforce the idea that the time still hasn’t come for most black people to take the risk of trying to achieve, because they will still be squashed, even now, except for a very few token blacks who are allowed to rise up through the white ceiling.

            I mention this because it is relevant to performance as measured by intelligence test. But it is very very far from being the most severe effect of slavery on black culture.

          • What is the evidence that the reason for the various atrocities you mention was the belief in different distributions of heritable characteristics by race or gender?

            The largest atrocities, measured by body count, were committed by communist governments which I don’t believe proclaimed such beliefs, although they may have held them.

            Going back a bit, slavery was common in classical antiquity and quite often owners and slaves were of the same race. In the Islamic world, many slaves were black but not all.

            What, by the way, were the “Darwinist atrocities?”

          • ” To characterize some entire race in some way that is unflattering is like calling them all creeps”

            You are attacking a straw man. Where do you observe that people who believe in HBD make a claim about all individuals of a race? The usual claim is precisely about the distribution of heritable characteristics.

            Let me try to show you why I find your comments here disturbing. Imagine that you posted that you were disturbed at the hostile reception your progressive views got.

            Someone responds: “Why are you surprised? If you announce that you are in favor of shooting everyone who expresses conservative or libertarian views, first torturing the more prominent ones into confessing their sins, and dealing with less articulate rural red tribe members by seizing all of their food so that they starve to death, wouldn’t you expect people to be disturbed?”

            That would be about as accurate a portrayal of your views as your repeated implication that HBD supporters believe that all members of a race are inferior, should not be allowed to vote or get certain jobs or have the same rights as others is of their views.

            Can you find an example of a believer in HBD who thinks Thomas Sowell is of low intelligence? By your account they should all believe it.

          • Anon says:

            I just wanted to point out here that the Nazis didn’t really believe that Jewish people were stupid, or even stupider than Aryans. The Nazi caricature of “The Jew” was perfidious and conniving, not an idiot.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @light purple Anon:

            This is true. Nazi propaganda tended to portray Jews as physically inferior. Anti-Semitic propaganda even before the Nazis – not sure if just in Germany or more generally – made a big deal about how Jews supposedly all had bad eyesight and flat feet (rendering them unfit for military service, and thus unable to serve and truly be a part of the nation). I recall reading something about how a post-WWI German Jewish group put a lot of effort into trying to refute these ideas and show the % of Jews that fought in WWI for Germany was the same or higher as the general population.

            They did, however, present the Jews as intelligent in a parasitic manner: to the Nazis, the Jews were more “clever” or “crafty” than “intelligent”. They didn’t see them as willing or able to create – just to leech off of those who could. They also tended to portray the more assimilated Western European Jews in a different fashion from the less assimilated, ghetto/shtetl-dwelling Eastern European Jews – Nazi propaganda made a big deal about how the Eastern European Jews supposedly lived in filth, etc.

            In contrast, anti-black racism traditionally portrays them as being mentally inferior, but physically equal or superior. The message of the propaganda in the former case is “these insidious parasites are taking over our societies from within and corrupting us”, in the latter case it’s “these intellectual inferiors are strong and numerous and will swamp us with sheer numbers”. There is, of course, plenty of propaganda in which the former target is portrayed as using the latter target as a tool.

    • HeelBearCub says:

      Let’s take this statement, “The reason there aren’t any Asians in the NBA is that Asians are short”. Do I need to point out all the myriad ways this is statement is just factually wrong? Myriad ways should spring instantly to mind. I contend that, roughly speaking, this is the base level of argument that comes out of the people who self label as believers in HBD.

      Uncontroversial statement: “Those who can trace their heritage to Ashkenazi Jews have a higher prevalence of certain genetic traits including specific genetic diseases. They have a higher than normal incidence of individuals with above average IQ. The population of origin for Ashkenazi Jews is believed to have been about 330 individuals in 1200-1400 AD.”

      Controversial statement: “Jews are smart.”

      Uncontroversial statement: “People who can trace their heritage back to Sub-Saharan Africa or the Arabian peninsula may be at risk for sickle cell disease.”

      Controversial statement: “Blacks have sickle cell. Also they have low IQ.”

      It’s not that there is an objection generally to the idea that genetic traits are passed down, it’s that when you try and draw the circle around too large a cohort and make statements that are then too broad about a population, you are making a fairly basic mistake.

      • dndnrsn says:

        I have found that even expressing the uncontroversial versions you present can make people uneasy. A lot of people get antsy when inherent group differences like that are discussed.

      • Nornagest says:

        I don’t even care about the race thing, but do you really expect people to be so bizarrely hyperliteral? By these standards, statements like “oranges are larger than lemons” are wrong or at least “controversial”.

        And what’s the deal with the gratuitous factoids? Your uncontroversial Ashkenazi facts read like the smart kid in a bad cartoon.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          The gratuitous factoid isn’t gratuitous.

          The fact that we can show Ashkenazi Jews trace back to such a small sub-population so recently goes a long way to explaining their relatively high homogeneity.

          Edit: As to the “hyper-literal” accusation, I will just say that is a funny millstone to try and hang on me here, of all places.

          • Nornagest says:

            Yeah, I get that, but why bother? The extra SD of IQ that Ashkenazi get on average is well established on its own, and you don’t need founder effects for a population to have interesting traits, they’re just one possible mechanism. You don’t need the first sentence either; every population on Earth has a higher prevalence of some hereditary traits, usually including genetic disorders.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Define population.

          • Nornagest says:

            Pretty much any group you might be interested in is going to have that quality, unless you specifically design it not to: members of social classes, Mayflower descendents, inhabitants of specific cities are just three examples. You’re more likely to find interesting stuff the more ancestry is shared between them, of course.

          • dndnrsn says:

            @Nornagest:

            What do you mean by well-established? Because I had not heard of that before fairly recently, and it was either here or somewhere a degree or two of separation from here.

            The standard explanation I had heard for the disproportionate number of Ashkenazim in positions that require and reward higher than average intelligence – academia, science, business, law, medicine, a lot of entertainment jobs – was that it was a cultural thing: Judaism is and has been for quite some time a religion with a heavier focus on learning that is the norm in religions (your average rabbi is probably more of an expert on Judaism than your average minister is on Christianity, and is guaranteed to have facility in Hebrew, whereas I would bet most ministers don’t have even the rudiments of Greek or Hebrew). Note that the cultural explanation doesn’t differentiate Ashkenazim from Sephardim or Mizrahim.

            The standard explanation isn’t “+1SD IQ means 15% have 130+ IQ and 2% have 145+ IQ instead of 2% and a fraction of 1% as is the case in the general population, so of course you’ll meet more of them in the faculty lounge”.

            And even the standard explanation can be touchy. It is generally considered rude to point out the disproportionate Jewish presence in those fields – for good reason, because there is decent overlap between “points that out” and “believes in world conspiracy, may start adding parentheses to names”.

            Thinking about it, though, the “+1SD IQ” explanation is arguably less anti-Semitic than the “culture” explanation, because the “conspiracy” explanation is kind of a variant of the latter. “They’re just smarter than the rest of us” is hardly a negative belief to hold about a group of people.

          • Nornagest says:

            What do you mean by well-established?

            I mean that if you Google Scholar “Ashkenazi IQ”, 3440 results turn up. (Some of them aren’t relevant, because “Ashkenazi” is also a last name, but hit 1, for example, is.) Maybe Joe Sixpack or whoever posts on /pol/ has never heard of it. I’m not talking to them.

            I don’t know the shape of the IQ curve, by the way. Since the test is not normed on Ashkenazi, a mean of IQ 115 doesn’t necessarily imply that +1 SD is IQ 130 within that population. (I do know a lot of really smart Ashkenazi, but n=1 and all that.)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            “You’re more likely to find interesting stuff the more ancestry is shared between them, of course.”

            Remind me again why the starting population size for the Ashkenazi is irrelevant?

            This is my whole point, that when you try and say something about, say, “Asians” you aren’t being specific enough in your cohort.

          • dndnrsn says:

            OK, well established factually, not well-established socially. I get it. I thought you might be saying that it’s an “everyone knows” sort of deal.

            EDIT: And yeah I suppose I missed the norming issue, etc.

          • Nornagest says:

            This is my whole point, that when you try and say something about, say, “Asians” you aren’t being specific enough in your cohort.

            My whole point is that you don’t need a huge amount of shared ancestry to get measurable differences.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            Sure we can measure really big groups of people and find some differences between them.

            So, is the reason that there no Asians in the NBA that Asians are short?

          • Nornagest says:

            I can think of a lot of possible reasons there aren’t many Asians in the NBA (don’t know if the number is zero at the moment, though Yao Ming at least means it wasn’t always), but if someone came up to me and said that, I would neither think “zomg wrong” nor “zomg racist”.

            The biggest contributing factor is probably just that it’s a relatively small minority nationwide, so the base rates are low — but do you really think anyone who says that is talking about base rates?

          • Anonymous SSC says:

            The fact that East Asians (Chinese, Koreans,etc) are, on average, shorter than Whites/Blacks is probably the most important reason there are so few Asians in the NBA. Even if basketball culture was as prevalent in East Asia as it is among US Blacks there would be few Asians in the NBA. In fact basketball is fairly popular in China. Wikipedia says the Chinese Basketball Association claims China has about 300 million active basketball players. So China probably has at least 100-200 million basketball players.

          • Nornagest says:

            Very popular in the Philippines, too. When I was over there, my hosts thought it was endlessly funny to see my well-over-six-foot self getting smoked by people a foot shorter and half my weight.

            (Tall American, must play ball, right?)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Nornagest:
            I would think “zomg, not even wrong”. It’s too simplistic an explanation. There are something like 3 billion Asians and they aren’t homogeneous enough to for that explanation to be right or wrong. There are plenty of very tall Asians.

            Yao Ming was born and raised in China, so base population rates in the US aren’t necessarily relevant. NBA players that come from outside the U.S. have never been unheard of and increasingly common. There have been successful NBA players as short as 5’2″, so a its not even like you can at least eliminate from consideration all of the Asians who are short.

            And all this is for a relatively simple, bounded question: “explain the relatively small number of Asians in the NBA”!

            So, simple HBD conclusions about even more complex questions about various outcomes strike me as facile at best.

          • Nornagest says:

            It’s an incomplete explanation, but normal language tolerates incompleteness. This is what I was trying to get at way back with the hyperliteralism thing.

            By the standards you’re proposing, colloquial statements about population differences need the precision — and the detailed support — of academic papers, or be branded as “not even wrong”. I suggest that these standards are dumb. I might even suspect that the bottom line’s already been written here, but that can’t be true, right?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Nornagest:
            onyomi originally said “Or else people hold really incoherent positions like that it applies to things like height and athletic ability, but not intelligence. ”

            What I was trying to point out is that it’s not even coherent to take the simplistic view as dispositively explanatory for “height and athletic ability” translating to “NBA success”, which is a very, very simple example. Based on the number of tall and athletic Asians in the world, we should have seen more than two total in the NBA, one of whom ain’t even very tall. We don’t see Chinese baseball players, even though we do see Japanese and Korean ones, and if you want to sell me an HBD explanation there, I’m going to be even more dubious.

            So, when we hear the same simplistic formulations for even more complex questions, it’s not incorrect to react with significant skepticism.

          • Nornagest says:

            I think you might be looking for deterministic answers while no one’s trying to sell you anything more than a stochastic one.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Nornagest:
            Are you trying to say that the average HBD proponent is not selling the formulation, “Observed black poverty is not due to racism or structural inequality. It is because their genetics make them low IQ”?

          • Nornagest says:

            I haven’t got a clue, I don’t hang out with those guys. Don’t think anyone in this thread is trying to sell you that, though. Definitely not in the strongly causal, if-then formulation you seem to want.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Nornagest:
            I’m trying to answer onyomi’s original question:
            “it’s hard to find people to admit they believe [HBD].”

            What did you think I was trying to do?

          • Jill says:

            Scott, could you get your software to allow an extra layer or 2 of nesting here in the comments section? I am often not sure if I am posting in the thread I am trying to post in, because threads here are so very long.

            “Are you trying to say that the average HBD proponent is not selling the formulation, “Observed black poverty is not due to racism or structural inequality. It is because their genetics make them low IQ”?”

            This question was asked of someone else here. But I want to comment on it, to point something out.

            Whoever it was, scores of comments ago maybe, who started this thread on HBD, said that he couldn’t speak of it, for fear of losing his job and his girlfriend. So it would make sense that the formulation of the question above, might very well be what he was talking about.

            And if it was not, what then would be the statement he would make about his HBD beliefs, that would be so very incendiary that he could lose his job and his girlfriend over it? The formulation above gets my vote.

          • Anonymous says:

            Jill, he doesn’t need to say “black poverty is caused by their low IQ”. All he needs to say is “people from central Africa have lower than average IQ for genetic reasons”. People will fill the gaps by themselves and then blame the messenger, even if he’s just a good old Tarski maniac.

          • Skivverus says:

            @Jill
            It might be that, or, to my mind the more charitable interpretation, the worry is that the knee-jerk reaction to the initial statement will be a rush to judgment, rejection, and ostracism, before the more nuanced position can be explained (presuming there is one).
            Likely? Perhaps not. I don’t know their social situation. But a risk nonetheless, and one with evidently unacceptable consequences.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Nornagest:

            Don’t think anyone in this thread is trying to sell you that, though.

            What do you think of kerinah’s comment?

            That seems like a pretty straight line argument to me.

          • keranih says:

            Well, keranih thinks that test scores are not equal to poverty.

            You know, for what it’s worth.

    • ChetC3 says:

      Thing is, outside of maybe very formal abstract discussions, humans tend to assume bad faith. So “I believe there are measurable biological differences in human populations” gets translated to “I think black people are stupid and ugly but have enough social awareness not to say that out loud.” Similarly, “global warming is a problem but it doesn’t spell immediate doom” reads as a very reluctant concession from someone who still basically thinks global warming is a load of hippy tree-hugger BS.

      • HeelBearCub says:

        “I believe there are measurable biological differences in human populations”

        Either that is so broad as to be trite, or you have some definitions in mind when you say “human populations”. Because the statement is so broad to begin with, the natural assumption is that you are defining each “population” really broadly (whites, blacks, Asians, etc.)

        And those broad categories are too broad to be meaningful.

        • ChetC3 says:

          The natural assumption is that since most people don’t care about population genetics, nobody else does either. So if someone brings it up, it’s taken for granted that it’s an indirect way of getting at what they really care about, ie, the axe they have to grind with the blacks or the jews or whoever.

          • Or, as I have several times suggested, a way of pointing out that an argument routinely offered as proof of discrimination is wrong. If people keep saying “A therefor B” without noticing that the conclusion depends on the further assumption C, it seems natural to point out that they have offered no evidence for C and it is probably false.

            If every time one does that, the response is “you are only saying that because you are a racist/antisemite/misogynist,” at some point one suspects that the people making the argument know it is wrong and want to keep other people from realizing it.

            My current conjecture in Jill’s case, although I could easily be wrong.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            Rilly? Most people don’t care about flower arranging either, but if someone does bring it up the natural assumption would be, here’s one of those people who do.

    • Urstoff says:

      Actual racists ruin it for everyone, and no one wants to be associated with racism, as that seems to be the worst possible thing to be in modern society (maybe a rapist is worse; murderers certainly don’t seem to be viewed worse, except for that whole being in jail thing).

      • onyomi says:

        Well, in a way, one might argue that the existence of real racists is a kind of proof that at least some people can’t, in fact, handle the truth, assuming some degree of HBD is true.

        That said, racism predates any scientific understanding of genes, etc. The problem, it seems, is that scientific HBD, eugenics, etc. in early years played too much into preexisting biases and were therefore terribly abused.

        In other words, maybe truths which can be used as justifications for common biases may be potentially dangerous truths?

        • The Nybbler says:

          Truths which can be used as justifications for common biases may be potentially dangerous truths. A lie, on the other hand, is far more dangerous. It can cause contradictions which result in madness rather like the madness of Clarke’s “HAL 9000”.

          That is, suppose HBD is true but we insist on !HBD. Now, we see some undesirable difference in outcomes that is (in fact) caused by HBD. Since we assume HBD is false, we must look for other reasons for this difference in outcome. We control for as much as we can, but the difference in outcome persists. We decide the factor must be discrimination. We try to eliminate it through blinding and other methods. The difference persists. Eventually we throw up our hands and say we can’t eliminate the discrimination, so we’ll just compensate for the difference in outcome (e.g. by biasing test scores or whatever). But the difference in outcome just moves to the next step. We go through the process again and keep biasing things to make the outcomes equal.. but the process never ends. Sound familiar?

          • Jill says:

            Racial discrimination isn’t a good thing any way. So no problem with eliminating it, even for the wrong reasons.

            But the thing that needs to be done to improve school performance is more mental health, substance abuse, and other community services. This focus on the teacher alone– and the test score alone, as compared to what it was a year ago, is ridiculous.

            All kids/families should get the help they need in order for the kid to live in a situation where they are fed, cared for, and able to learn– as well as have good teachers. And there is no need whatsoever to focus on racial groups, as opposed to what individuals, families, and communities need in order for kids to learn.

          • Anonymous says:

            Jill, that’s not elimination of discrimination. It’s the opposite.

          • onyomi says:

            I tend to agree.

            Certainly there are negative consequences of refusing to accept HBD. I think the problem is many people seem to feel explicitly or subconsciously that the consequences of accepting HBD might be worse.

            Let’s say
            0HBD=weird blue tribe refusal to accept any form of HBD
            5HBD=reality
            10HBD=Nazi white supremacy (or Japanese supremacy or…)

            I think the problem is that people who have a personal or political urge to be in the 6-10 range may use acceptance of 5HBD as support for 6-10HBD.

            But I think most people, maybe myself included, located on the 0-5HBD position, are more scared of the consequences of 6-10HBD than 0-4HBD. Therefore, if making a stand at 0, 1, or 2HBD prevents more people from straying into 6-10HBD, then it might be worth the annoying but less scary consequences of 0-4HBD.

            In other words “if we admit 2+2=4, next they’ll insist it’s 5, so we better just take a firm stand at 3.”

            But if 3 is better than 5, it might make sense?

          • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

            We will just fudge the numbers until they tell the story we want to see. I honestly think that’s not the worst possible outcome.

          • The Nybbler says:

            I’m not sure what you mean by fudging the numbers. You can claim that NBA players aren’t overwhelmingly black and executives aren’t mostly white, but race isn’t subtle; you won’t be fooling anyone.

          • keranih says:

            @ onyomi

            Certainly there are negative consequences of refusing to accept HBD. I think the problem is many people seem to feel explicitly or subconsciously that the consequences of accepting HBD might be worse.

            This could be so – and were we not talking about this wrt normalizing homosexuality, a couple threads back? There are upsides and downsides.

            For my part, I think that if the social code was laissez-faire wrt how other people succeeded or failed – that is, if we had the attitude that if one group did worse or better than another, it was of no-never-mind and there was no social responsibility to change the environment so that all sorts of people came out equally – if that was the case, then it doesn’t matter if HBC is a correct theory or not, and it doesn’t matter if people accept it or not. And in that case, well, we each run into few enough people that we should be judging each person individually.

            However, that’s not the world we live in and I don’t think that I particularly fancy that world.

            Seeing as we do live in a world where we would prefer that the environment is such that – as Jill says – all people have about the same access to resources, etc, and seeing as we don’t live in that world yet, and seeing as people are trying to use common (ie, taxpayer) resources to make those environmental changes, then I think it matters quite a hell of a lot if HBC is correct.

            Because if we can not get an accurate picture of the various things influencing different groups, and we can’t measure and characterize those groups appropriately, then we will have no clue if our attempted “improvements” are working at all.

            On those grounds, I think that it is social engineering/rationalist malpractice to refuse to consider and test the various sub-bits of HBC, to see which actually hold up and which do not.

          • onyomi says:

            “if the social code was laissez-faire…”

            This is a big reason I’m a libertarian: putting any particular issue into the realm of politics turns it into an object of conflict and makes it hard to be objective or dispassionate about when it need not necessarily be that way.

            If one weren’t taxed to pay for public schools, for example, then I wouldn’t worry so much about questions like whether or not other people’s kids are learning evolution in their school. I would only worry about what they teach in my kid’s school. But make me pay for it and suddenly there’s an argument if you’re not teaching something I want or teaching something I don’t approve of.

            Similarly, it seems like the answer to HBD would be less emotionally charged and prone to error if we didn’t have this idea that everyone in society is responsible for making sure everyone else has the opportunity to succeed. Once you decide that, then suddenly the question of to what degree success is determined by genes, culture, upbringing, etc. suddenly becomes very contentious.

    • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

      How come everyone just accepts that they are able to judge a person not by race or gender, and look at them individually. I mean, we know how difficult rationality is, how many subconscious biases we have affecting our perception, but for some reason they are not supposed to apply to judging people by their race?

      We constanly judge people by externalities, and we do so at a quick glance. “Is this guy handsome? Oh, then he must be also nice and smart” (halo effect). This person is a girl? Oh, then she must be wonderful (Women are wonderful effect). Doing this is literally our nature, taking pieces of information and evaluating people, our System 1 does not care that in the specific case of a very visible externality society has decided that it’s reprehensible.

      The Implicit Association Test (though it’s validity is somewhat controversial) regularly reveals that even left wing people sometimes have a strong negative bias against blacks. FWIW, after the Cologne attacks in Germany I have been appaled by the immediate suspicion towards muslims- on my part. If I am in a bar, and I see a muslim walking up to a girl, I can’t shake the association of “muslim” – “sexual molestation”, even when I try.

      That’s why I absolutely endorse our cultural taboo on discussing these differences, especially when it comes to intelligence, and prefer it being blamed on discrimnation and such. It’s a wonderful mantra, whose repeating keeps society in peace.

      • FacelessCraven says:

        @SolipsisticUtilitarian – “The Implicit Association Test (though it’s validity is somewhat controversial) regularly reveals that even left wing people sometimes have a strong negative bias against blacks.”

        It also appears to show that they have a much stronger negative reaction to opposite political parties/ideologies. How worried are you about discrimination, conscious or not, against people who support a different party than you?

        “…That’s why I absolutely endorse our cultural taboo on discussing these differences, especially when it comes to intelligence, and prefer it being blamed on discrimnation and such. It’s a wonderful mantra, whose repeating keeps society in peace.”

        With respect, I do not think you could possibly be more wrong about this. Accusations of racial discrimination require a target, and that target is now well on the way to collective awareness that they’ve been framed. Using white people as a scapegoat for poorly understood, odious demographic phenomena will inevitably result in mainstream white identity politics. From there, a peaceful society seems unlikely.

        • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

          ” How worried are you about discrimination, conscious or not, against people who support a different party than you?”

          A lot. I droped out of psychology partly because of the field’s discrimination against conservatives (DAE conservatives have a low iq, right!?) and I am extremely concerned about it being a growing problem in Western Europe.
          Austrian elites have been trying to deal with their emerging right-wing populist party with ridicule and manipulation for twenty years: The result was a recent presidential election where the green candidate supported by all(!) the mainstream parties managed to etch out a victory over the very right wing candidate by a margin of .2 percent amid a very abusive campaign. This development is not at all surprising, smug self affirmation just leads to resentment.

          Having said that, you have to see that you can hide your political affiliation when you apply for jobs or are in public making friends.

          I disagree with the presumption of racial discrimination necessarily requiring a target group, if one is consistent it’s actually an obvious contradiction in itself. It remains to be seen if the American model, where being progressive means attacking white people, is inevitable. In Germany, I see no sign of white people being under attack, there are no places on university campuses where caucasians are not allowed and, more importantly, there are no collective attirbution of guilt towards white Germans. When progressives cite discrimination for bad educational outcomes of migrants, they don’t blame a specific group.

          • Sweeneyrod says:

            I think part of the difference is that the claim that Jews are basically white and have always been in a position of privilege is likely to meet a rather different reception in Germany than in the US or UK.

      • The Nybbler says:

        Peace like the Cologne attacks?

        • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

          I guess this is a very strong point against my argument, that an awareness of middle eastern cultural norms not being compatible with Western sexual mores might have prevented the Cologne sex attacks simply by Germany not letting the refugees in.

          Still, the question of new immigration is an entirely different one from how to deal with minorities already here. I do not see how discussing racial inferiority will lead to anything but increased resentment by the migrants already here.

    • Philosophisticat says:

      Part of it may be due to the thought that people ‘can’t handle’ certain beliefs about average racial differences, but I think more of it is just due to what communicating those beliefs signals about the rest of your politics. Making a big deal out of genetic racial differences is part of a cluster which has, on the extreme edges, the sort of reprehensible attitudes towards minorities or racial purity that were common historically, and in the less extreme cases, various political commitments most liberals disagree with (that people should be really concerned about immigrants from other countries coming in and destroying the country in some way, or that there are few if any significant negative effects of racism on minorities and we shouldn’t make a big deal about it). There’s nothing inconsistent about expressing the relevant beliefs about race and intelligence and standard liberal beliefs elsewhere, but that’s how they tend to shake out as a matter of social fact, even, I’d guess, here at SSC.

    • windmill tilter says:

      Related: Evidence for (very) recent natural selection in humans. I would really like to know if there has been selection on IQ in the past 2k years. If so, I might decide to have a higher IQ child since it is less likely their genes will wash out of the gene pool.

  8. What are people’s go to meals they cook? I feel like I’m bouncing between taco meat based dishes, pastas of various types, and some Asian dishes.

    • John Schilling says:

      An hour or two ago I put a pot of sausage stew on the slow cooker, which should be ready for dinner and last through the weekend. This, for a broad range of stew-like dishes, is a fairly common thing for me to do on weekends where I don’t have anything planned to take me away from home.

      • Is that a case of exactly what is sound like? Cut up sausage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and spices simmering? I’d like to do more of those, but I make too much at once for two people to eat and my fiancĂ© gets mad. Do you make it in smaller quantities or does it not bother you to eat the same thing many times in a row?

        • Randy M says:

          Left-overs are a great way to avoid a few meals work of cooking and cleaning. Seems a bit of a lack of empathy for your fiance to object to this unless they simply don’t like the meal to begin with, though there’s no reason you can’t put a few other dishes in-between the soup days. Soup will keep for a week just fine ime.

          • Loquat says:

            Some people just really hate food repetition. My husband doesn’t even want to see the same meal twice in 2 weeks, with a few narrow exceptions.

          • You make enough of a dish for two or three meals. Eat one meal worth, freeze the rest. Wait however long is necessary, put the frozen food in the microwave, and you have dinner without the need to cook.

            It depends on your cooking the sort of thing that is still good after being frozen and reheated, but there are a fair number of things that qualify.

          • I intended that to sound more self-deprecating, as my version of “too much” is usually enough for a dozen meals. She is fine with meal repetition but not in the same way that I can eat the same meal for half the meals in a week, but she gets tired of it or its variations after 3-4 times in a week. I am also much more willing to push the boundaries of how long food can be stored for (I think in part because her nose and stomach are more sensitive than mine).

            I do freeze meals, after reading an excellent blog on just how to do that with various staples. The limitation for that is our single freezer that also stores bread products, frozen meat, frozen fruits, and frozen veggies.

        • John Schilling says:

          Cut up sausage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and spices simmering?

          Yes, but if you’re using a slow-cooker or crockpot you need to brown the meat first, as the “simmer” part won’t get hot enough for the Maillard reaction. And you’ll need more liquids for a slow-cooker than you would on a stovetop. The convenience of having the meal cooking while I am at work is nice, but get a cookbook or some recipes specific for slow-cooking until you get the hang of it.

          Does it not bother you to eat the same thing many times in a row?

          I’ll make enough for a weekend; if I get truly bored I can go out for dinner and have a lunch or two’s worth of leftovers for next week.

        • JayT says:

          I personally can’t eat the same meal more that twice in a short time. So, I’ll have dinner one night and leftovers for lunch the next day, but if there are more leftovers than that, it will almost certainly end up in the trash.

          • I’m almost the opposite, I can keep eating the same thing or with minor variations (taco meat into enchiladas or 7-layer dip) for a while without getting tired of it.

            What would you say makes you dislike eating the same meals in a row, if you can pin it down?

    • dndnrsn says:

      My day-to-day cooking is boring, literally the same thing every day, and screams “caloric deficit”, but stuff that’s actually nice that I find myself returning to:

      -Steak. Steak is the easiest thing to cook. Get quality meat (if you need to save money, a cheaper cut of good meat is the best choice – there are cuts that are a bit tougher than the best cuts but still work for steaks), pat it dry with paper towels, season it with some kosher salt and some pepper or stuff, let it sit at room temperature for a couple hours, pan fry or grill it for a few minutes a side. Done.

      -Mashed cauliflower. Less work than mashed potato, and you can feel virtuous because it’s low carb. Boil a bunch of cauliflower, drain it, throw in some salt and pepper and a fat of some sort, mash it up with an immersion blender. You can blend in some fried onions and garlic. I’ve done it with butter and butter and cheese as the fat, but palm oil and coconut oil work too – virgin coconut oil gives it a nice flavour while palm oil and refined coconut oil are more neutral.

      -Not something I’ve done a lot, but for people who require a vegan option, there’s a nice red lentil soup with lemon recipe in the Silver Palate cookbook originally. There’s a bunch of Google recipes for it.

      • Randy M says:

        Our go to is pretty much this, although salmon, while more expensive, isn’t any more difficult to cook.
        Also shepherds pie, which is basically the same thing with ground beef.

    • Psmith says:

      Eggs with stuff in them (chorizo, spinach, onion). Grill a bunch of chicken thighs on the weekend and eat them with whatever vegetables I feel like through the week.

    • Most of mine come out of my hobby of cooking from very old cookbooks. That includes rishta, a noodle dish from a 13th c. Middle Eastern cookbook (about fifty years before Marco Polo supposedly brought pasta back from China), Icelandic Chicken, which I got out of medieval Icelandic medical miscellany but is probably a southern European recipe from a lost cookbook which survives as several northern European daughter manuscripts, of which that is one. My wife usually does the lentil dish from a 13th c. Andalusian cookbook.

      I also make fruit salads, have a couple of medieval Islamic frying pan pastries, bake bread, sometimes make cinnamon buns.

    • caethan says:

      Stews and soups freeze extremely well. Get some single serving containers, make a huge batch and freeze most of it. Then you don’t have to eat it over and over again for a week. You can just pull them out a month later when you’re too tired to cook. Good stews/soups:
      * Lamb stew (sear the lamb, add carrot and leek, some rosemary and salt, simmer)
      * Chicken stew (Tear apart a rotisserie chicken ($5 from costco!), add celery and carrot, sage and oregano, simmer)
      * Miso soup (Simmer dashi stock (available in powdered form from Asian markets) with kombu (dried seaweed) and miso. Add chopped firm tofu and leek/green onion/carrot/daikon and simmer. Can also add that thin-sliced pork they have at the Asian markets for a more filling stew).
      * Ham and white bean stew (I do this every Easter with leftover ham. Simmer the hambone for a few hours to make a stock, then add dried white beans (presoaked), chopped leftover ham, salt, pepper, and spices.)
      * Taco soup (presoak a bag of pinto beans in a slow cooker, drain and rinse. Cook with a bag of frozen corn, canned tomatoes, and 1 lb seared ground beef. Spice with BBQ sauce, salt, and garlic. Great with tortilla chips.)

      I also figured out last year that you can freeze pre-cut homemade baking powder biscuits and cook them one at a time, so I keep a freezer stash of them. (2c flour, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp salt, mix, cut in 1/2 c fat (butter or shortening), stir in 1 c milk into a dough. Roll out, cut into squares, and freeze in ziploc bags. I bake them in the toaster oven at 350F for ~15 minutes.) Stew + biscuits is a great meal and very quick in the evenings if its coming straight from the freezer.

      I also buy huge cuts of meat from costco and break them down into ~1lb servings to freeze. Generally the big chuck roasts for beef, pork tenderloin, legs of lamb, and chicken thighs (seriously, thighs are way better (moister) than breasts, and they’re cheaper to boot). Then the night before, move what I need for dinner into the fridge to defrost and it’s ready to cook the next day. Combo with the frozen steam-in-bag vegetables you can find at every grocery and you can do a lot of simple meals quickly. A rice cooker helps too, if you like rice. Things that work well this way:
      * Curries (sear pork/chicken in oil for a few minutes, add the cooked vegetables, pour over ~1 cup water, steam, then add the curry paste. Serve over rice)
      * Asian stir frys (sear pork/chicken/beef, add veggies (I like broccoli and snow peas), add a bit of oil and your favorite sauce (lemon & teriyaki are favorites here))
      * Oyakodan (this is a new favorite – sear chicken and onion in oil, pour over a bit of dashi stock, crack egg into it, cook until egg is as cooked as you like it. Serve with bok choy over rice.)
      * Simple stews
      * Steaks & veggies. Sear your lamb/beef/pork steaks for a minute or two on each side in a cast iron pan, move the pan to a 350F oven for 10 minutes, serve with steamed veggies.

      Other meals we like that are more involved:
      * Pulled pork. (Take a ~lb of pork (beef/lamb can work well too), sear in an electric skillet on all sides, cover with ~2 c water and some BBQ sauce, salt and garlic. Heat the water to boiling, then bring down to a very slow simmer. Simmer for 4-6 hours (I do this on days when I work from home). Pull to pieces and serve with veggies over hamburger buns.)
      * Hamburgers! (1 lb ground beef, bread crumbs, 1 egg, and spices (salt, pepper, garlic, BBQ sauce). Mix, pat out, fry.)
      * Pasta (I’m sure you can cook pasta, but you can make it more interesting. I make my own white sauces, they’re really easy. Mix up a roux (heat 2 tbsp butter to just browning in a saucepan, whisk in 2 tbsp flour, cook until light brown, mix in 2 c lukewarm milk, whisk until thickened. Add whatever spices/flavorants you like. With chicken I add broccoli and a light garlic white sauce. For fish, try dill. For homemade mac & cheese, add some gouda or sharp cheddar.)
      * Fish tacos (marinate tilapia filets with cilantro, coriander, and lime juice for ~30 minutes. Sear in an electric skillet on both sides. Crumble into tacos with sliced mango and red cabbage)
      * Shepherd’s Pie (Make a beef hash (sear 1 lb ground beef, add ~1 cup water, salt, pepper, and a bag of frozen peas.) Add a bit of cornstarch and cook it down until it’s a little thick. Pour it off into a pyrex baking dish. Make some mashed potatoes (chop into 1-2″ cubes, boil until soft, pour off water, mash with butter, salt, pepper, and milk). Dab the potatoes onto the beef hash evenly, then scrape a fork over it all to make raised bits. Bake for ~20 minutes at ~350K until it’s brown. Freezes well in single-serving portions)
      * Fish pie (Poach some tilapia filets in milk with some salt and dill. Take ~2 c milk and bring up to just under boiling in a skillet, add the fish and simmer until flaky. Flake the fish up into small pieces. Add in a golden roux (equal parts butter and flour cooked until light brown) and stir until thickened. Pour into the bottom of a pyrex baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes and bake just like the shepherd’s pie.)
      * Roast salmon (Take a fresh salmon filet (again, I get mine from costco) and put it in a costco baking dish. Dab with pats of butter and add some salt and dill. Bake for ~25 minutes at ~350 or until the fish flakes. Serve with veggies and rice. I also like it with a baked pecan teriyaki sauce.)

      General tips to make cooking easier:
      * Keep a list of meals your family likes somewhere handy on the fridge. We’ve got ~30 or so. That’s big enough that you don’t feel like you’re always eating the same thing, and we add new ones as we discover them (usually from youtube or trying them at restaurants) and take off ones we don’t feel like anymore.
      * Keep your pantry stocked with what you need to make a couple of the above meals at all times. Go shopping not when you’re out of food, but when you’re low.
      * Do some meal planning on the same schedule you go grocery shopping (weekly for us). Just make a list of 7 things you’ll plan on having for dinner that week. It doesn’t have to be rigid, you just want to make sure you have the pantry stocked with enough food for the week and that you’re not home going “Whadda you want for dinner?” “I dunno, whadda you want?” Instead it can be “Do you want chicken stir-fry or burgers tonight?”

      • brad says:

        * Pulled pork. (Take a ~lb of pork (beef/lamb can work well too), sear in an electric skillet on all sides, cover with ~2 c water and some BBQ sauce, salt and garlic. Heat the water to boiling, then bring down to a very slow simmer. Simmer for 4-6 hours (I do this on days when I work from home). Pull to pieces and serve with veggies over hamburger buns.)

        For pork the cut you should use is shoulder, sometimes also called butt. It’s quite inexpensive. If you want to be able to leave it unattended you can cook it in a slow cooker, my usual process is dry rub over night, stick in the slow cooker before I go to work, and then roast the outer skin in a very hot oven with a salt and sugar mixture to develop that bark when I get home. I serve it with a vinegar / hot pepper sauce (eastern NC style) or a thinned out ssamjang sauce inspired by a David Change recipe I saw once.

        Unfortunately it doesn’t freeze too well, so I don’t think it’d be a good choice for people cooking for just themselves. But if you want to feed a bunch of people cheaply and without too much effort it is a great choice.

      • Thank you for this! I actually do some of these or their variations already, but I will be checking out the others. Sounds like we should do an SSC certified cookbook! (I’m only partially joking)

    • smocc says:

      My wife and I eat some minor variation on each of these pretty much once a week. New recipes drift in and old recipes drift out:

      * Rice and black beans. My wife and I have different ways of cooking the beans. She uses some packaged seasoning, I simmer them with sliced tomatoes and a bunch of cumin. Takes about 15-20 minutes either way.
      * Pasta with sauce and some sauteed vegetable and onion. Orange bell peppers, green beans, zucchini, whatever we have on hand. Sometimes we follow a recipe I found on marthastewart.com where you cover the vegetables in Italian dressing and garlic first. We have pasta more than once a week most weeks. Pasta is one thing our two-year-old will reliably eat.
      * Mujadara – a lentil and rice dish I learned from my aunt. Incredibly easy if you don’t get fancy. All you need to do is sautee some onions, lentils, and rice, then add the right amount of water, let it boil and then simmer for like 40 minutes.
      * Broccoloni, a dish invented by my mother to get us to eat vegetables. It’s mac and cheese but with broccoli. You boil pasta and broccoli together until they’re both done, then you add some cheese and milk and that’s it.
      * Roasted vegetables with rice. Chop up a bunch of vegetables, potatoes, broccoli, onions, peas, etc. and put them in a baking dish. Coat them with some vegetable oil and seasoning (Italian dressing works well!), cover the pan with tin foil and put it in the oven for around 40 minutes, maybe stirring once.

      We eat other things too when we have more energy or when guests come. My wife will make interesting breads occasionally and she makes really good chili for Sundays sometimes. My special ability is making cheese sauce from scratch. We have meat once every one or two weeks, usually chicken breasts or ground beef.

      I am proud of our ability to cook tasty and not terribly unhealthy meals every day without too much money or time. All of the dishes above take 15 or 20 minutes of attention at most.

      • dndnrsn says:

        How do you do cheese sauce? I made mac and cheese the other weekend. Just a simple roux (melt butter, let cool, whisk in flour), heat up again, add shredded cheese, salt, pepper, some drippings from the steak I was cooking, milk.

        I’d be interested if there’s a different/better way.

        • smocc says:

          No, pretty much like that. I was taught to do it with a white sauce. Melt the butter, add milk and flour and whisk until it starts to thicken, then add shredded cheese. Steak drippings in your mac and cheese sauce sounds amazing.

          • dndnrsn says:

            According to my mother (who is a far better cook than I, and can bake, which is harder than cooking) letting the butter cool before you whisk the flour in keeps it from getting lumpy.

            She also told me to use less butter and more flour than I would have otherwise.

          • smocc says:

            Excellent. The cheese tends to cover a multitude of errors, but I’ve been branching out to other uses for my white sauce and that advice might prove helpful.

          • dndnrsn says:

            …cheese tends to cover a multitude of errors…

            I feel that this is profoundly true.

          • I’ve also done cheese sauces using sour cream as a good base and adding in parmesan to give it a saltier/more umami flavor. But then I’ve also experimented with a parmesan-miso white sauce (really good), so your tastes may vary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hard-boiled eggs.

      Bread + onion + meat + cheese + tomato sauce + spices + yellow cheese. Cooked in the oven.

      Jasmine rice + fried onion + fish + canned peas and carrots.

      Vegetable soup made with any vegetables lying around the house.

    • JayT says:

      My wife and I are both avid cooks, so we tend to have a pretty diverse menu. however, my go-to meals when I don’t feel like thinking about making something fancy are:

      Italian sausage cooked with peppers and onions. Just about the easiest thing you can make, and very delicious.

      Gyudon. It’s almost as easy to make as the sausage, and is extremely satisfying. I mainly eat this in the winter.

      Carbonara. If you can fry bacon and boil pasta, you can make this dish. It’s another super satisfying meal, though it’s probably not the most healthy thing in the world.

      • brad says:

        Re: carbonara
        My egg, cheese, butter mixture never seems to transmogrify into a creamy sauce like it is supposed to. Instead I end up with butter pasta with bits of cheese and bacon in it. Tastes pretty good, but still a disappointment.

        • JayT says:

          Do you add some of the pasta water into the dish after you’ve mixed it all together? That helps melt the cheese and give it a creamy texture. This is a good recipe for carbonara, and while I don’t follow it to a “T” any more, it is how I originally learned to make it.
          http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/spaghetti-alla-carbonara-recipe.html

          • brad says:

            Yes, I’ve done that.

            How important is the “freshly grated parmigiano reggiano”? I buy real parmigiano reggiano instead of the parmesan, but I don’t have a cheese grater (not that they are particularly expensive now that I look at it).

          • JayT says:

            I never buy pre-grated cheese, so I can’t really answer that. I would definitely assume that if you are using Kraft green can parmesan that there’s a good chance it wouldn’t work right, but it doesn’t seem like that’s what you’re doing.

      • dndnrsn says:

        A good way to do Italian sausages with onions (I imagine peppers would be good too) involves chopping up the onions, seasoning them, microwaving them a bit. Then, spread them over the bottom of a big pan of some sort. Put the sausages on top. Cover with foil. Put that on the grill for a while, until the sausages are mostly cooked and their fat is rendered, take the top off, let the onions continue to cook, and finish the sausages on the grill so there’s some browning.

        • JayT says:

          The way I usually do it is to fry the sausages in a pan to brown them, then I add in the onions and peppers (sometimes I’ll add garlic and canned tomatoes) with a little oil and cook the whole thing while covered until the onions and peppers are tender. All the flavors mix together nicely and it works great as a sandwich.

      • Ooh, I’d be interested in that Gyudon recipe. I’ve tried it but I can’t seem to get it right. Also, what sort of beef do you use?

    • Loquat says:

      I’ve been doing mostly sauteed vegetable with tofu, meat and/or cheese lately. Or baked chicken, with the picked-over carcass then turned into broth for various soups. That reminds me, I should make some lentil-beet soup soon – saute onion, then add beets, lentils, and broth, then puree. It’s good with plenty of dill, and maybe some garlic.

      I used to do more elaborate meat, like slow-cooked pork shoulder for pulled pork, but ever since I got pregnant my appetite for meat has really decreased.

      • Do you use canned lentils and beans or do you find it easy to remember to pre-soak/boil them the day before?

        • Lentils don’t require preboiling or soaking–they cook just fine in an hour or so. Dried beans are more of a problem.

        • Loquat says:

          Canned beans – yes, frequently. I do sometimes use dry beans if I’m thinking ahead enough to pre-soak them, or if I have all day to throw them in the slow cooker (you don’t really need to pre-soak most varieties if they’re going to be cooked all day anyway).

          Canned lentils I have never touched in my life. Like David Friedman says, the dry ones really don’t take that long to cook – I’d estimate closer to 30 minutes than an hour, myself.

  9. onyomi says:

    This may sound ridiculous, but a significant reason I hope Hillary Clinton loses is because I don’t want to endure eight years of this after having endured eight years of the race equivalent.

    A lot of the differences between mainstream presidential candidates actually come down to style and setting the tone. And I totally expect to be harangued about this sort of thing for eight years if Hillary wins. Is there any way we can just… not?

    I mean, I’ll make you a deal Democrats: Hillary wins but you never get to complain it’s because of gender when people oppose her policies? Please?

    Only half joking.

    • Anonymous says:

      I more baffled by lah-di-dah over Trump than the rapturous enthusiasm. In what way is he a “mainstream candidate”?

      • onyomi says:

        Well I get the sense he’s actually very moderate in terms of his actual positions, though stylistically he certainly is a big departure. Maybe that’s actually why I hope he’ll win? Just to see something different at all the insufferable press conferences.

        Voting for Johnson, though. I wish Ron Paul would stop being a curmudgeon and endorse him. Could make a real difference at this crucial point when seemingly a lot of people in both parties are less than happy with their candidate. The libertarians seem downright reasonable by comparison.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think he has a full set of actual positions. And unlike most politicians I don’t think he’ll defer on an issue he doesn’t know or care much about to his party’s consensus. Instead he’ll just do that thing where he blurts out whatever comes into his head and then be stubborn and double down if challenged. Those inspirations might be moderate but they might not be. Depends in no small part what he had for breakfast.

        • Matt M says:

          The people in both parties who don’t like their candidates are at opposite ideological extremes though.

          Social conservatives hate Trump because they think he’s a closet liberal.

          Berniebros hate Hillary because they think she’s a closet neocon.

          Gary Johnson will get neither of those groups with his “fiscally conservative socially liberal” nonsense.

          • onyomi says:

            “Nonsense”?

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            “fiscally conservative socially liberal”

            I guess we’ll see Billary apply it again.

          • Matt M says:

            Libertarianism is not a hodgepodge of compromises from the terrible “major” parties.

            It has a proud and dignified philosophical tradition of its own. Libertarians should be promoting and defending that, not desperately trying to point out things they have in common with two organizations that almost every average person hates.

          • onyomi says:

            Well, but I think “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” is a decent, reasonable-sounding, non-scary version of weak libertarianism in a nutshell.

            Clearly Johnson and Weld are trying to run on a platform of being the “reasonable,” “sensible” alternative this go round.

            Normally I’d say that if you’re going to basically be an ideological protest candidate then don’t water down the message, since the message is the point.

            On the other hand, this might be a good chance to expand the mainstream appeal of libertarianism, given how many people are currently dissatisfied with the big party nominees. In fact, one could argue that Trump already IS the right wing protest candidate, potentially leaving a real vacuum for the “reasonable,” fiscally responsible, not-super-religious conservative.

            I’m not sure I agree that the never-Trump Republicans and the Bernie Bros would never vote for a libertarian, either. Obviously most of them will vote for Trump/HRC or else stay home, but Johnson has both the experience and even-handedness Trump seems to lack, as well as Bernie’s anti-war, socially liberal positions.

            In other words, at a time when both major party candidates seem kind of scary, offering an un-scary version of libertarianism might be a good strategy, especially if we can get a lot of celebrities like Penn Jillette and Bill Maher talking about it (not sure it is, but I can see the thinking).

        • Urstoff says:

          I don’t know how you can actually tell what his positions are.

    • Matt M says:

      Do you think that you WON’T hear a bunch of complaining if she loses about how it’s proof positive of how we live in a sexist patriarchy?

      • onyomi says:

        Yeah, but it will die down pretty fast, ironically, relative to the case in which she wins.

        Consider how much more we had to ironically hear about how racist we all are during the first black president’s tenure than ever before.

        • Zorgon says:

          True. His victory granted a large constituency the apparent mandate to declare anyone that wasn’t with the program to be Unamerican Traitors.

          Wonder where they could possibly have gotten that idea?

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            anyone that wasn’t with the program to be Unamerican Traitors.

            Wonder where they could possibly have gotten that idea?

            Zing!

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            Why, I couldn’t possibly imagine, Zorgon. Where do you think they got that idea?

        • Matt M says:

          We’re dealing with a counter-factual here. I’m not at all convinced that had McCain won, we wouldn’t have spent the next eight years constantly hearing about how every piece of bad economic news was a direct result of America being too racist to elect the obviously superior other guy.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            Eh, people forget about the loser pretty quick.

          • Matt M says:

            Maybe in your circles they do.

            My blue-tribe friends still can’t go more than a week without reminding us all that the Supreme Court rigged the 2000 election for GWB… they’re still bitter over the defeat of moderate white guy Al Gore… I can’t even imagine what they’d be up to if Obama had lost…

          • BBA says:

            2000 was an unusually close election decided under highly irregular circumstances, on par with 1824 and 1876. No other election in recent memory inspired such lasting bitterness. Certainly if you look at state and local elections, there’s nobody blaming racist New Yorkers for electing Bloomberg over Thompson in 2009, etc.

    • multiheaded says:

      eight years of the race equivalent

      Bullshit. I scarcely remember seeing much any of that past 2011.

      (DAE remember the Boondocks episode about the first Obama campaign? That was such a fun show.)

    • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

      I’m gonna go ahead and speculate, that it will not be as bad as the race equivalent.

      Two reasons: You will hear criticism of Clinton attributed to sexism, but not in center mainstream media(NOT Salon or Vox). The sort of feminism that labels every criticism of a woman sexist is extremely uncool and low status. Clinton, unlike Obama, had very low and unethusiastic support from young voters. Even more, Albright, an old-school feminist, had to apologize after saying that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support Clinton.

      Second reason: They had a point about the criticism of Obama. If 20% of the population actually believed that Obama was secretly a muslim, it’s not totally unreasonable to suspect racist motives. While this obviously does not suggest that most of the opposition to Obama was because of racism, the mental association between ‘Not liking Obama’ and ‘Being racist’ was strengthened by this. I do not see this happening with Clinton, as there is no part of the Republicans who hates women.

      • Jiro says:

        I do not see this happening with Clinton, as there is no part of the Republicans who hates women.

        There may not be many who actually hate women, but surely you’re aware that “the Republicans hate women because they oppose (insert name of policy promoted as helping women)” is a very common accusation?

  10. Samuel Skinner says:

    Anyone else read Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better?

    • Jill says:

      I found myself agreeing with one of the Amazon reviewers who said “A bunch of information is thrown together and justified by some source to support the premise the author wants to promote.”

  11. Miller Lite says:

    What are inexpensive alternatives to psychotherapy/psychiatry/etc.?

    I know someone who is depressed and has chronic anxiety. She has health insurance but even with that, each session with a therapist looked like it was going to cost her about $300 out of pocket. Technically she probably could afford a session or two, but going for any length of time would probably eliminate her ability to save money or pay off debt early–both of which are very important goals and not something it would be wise for her to push aside.

    (Before you recommend that she just smoke a joint once in a while, she is not willing to break laws.)

    • Jill says:

      Support groups, like AA, Al Anon, Codependents Anonymous or any other kind of support group that local hospitals, clinics, churches, or community centers offer. Some community clinics have free or low cost therapy. Some therapists use a sliding scale.

      She may want to join a social group or 2, or a church, just so she won’t be too isolated.

      • Jill says:

        There are also relaxation methods on the Internet, although they are not a substitute for psychotherapy. Still, many people find them helpful.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DALbwI7m1vM

        If you like the sound, keep it. If not, turn off the audio part.

        This is just one of the EMDR youtubes. Just type in EMDR or eye movement therapy into youtube.com to get others, if this one doesn’t suit you.

        Here’s an article about EMDR.
        http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/07/emdr-trauma/399650/

        There’s also self tapping of acupressure points—Emotional Freedom Technique—a different technique for the same purpose, here.

        http://bradyates.net/videos.html

        If you like the sound/affirmations, keep them. If not, turn off the audio part.

        • Miller Lite says:

          I’ve recommended support groups to her before. Her answer was basically “You’re going to tell someone with anxiety to go sit in a room with other anxious people?” That was the end of that.

          I emailed her the Atlantic article and the Youtube link and encouraged her to try it out (“It’s worth ten minutes to try, right?”) so we’ll see how it goes. Thanks.

        • Bone Man with Shiny Hat says:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DALbwI7m1vM

          Don’t click it! It’s a Cylon trick!

    • Dahlen says:

      Talking to a friend. Exercising. Meditating. Medicating (but you said no psychiatry; come on tho’, it’s not very expensive). Hanging out in quiet, pleasant areas and getting very gradual exposure to uncomfortable social contact. Minimising job/family stress and seeking out situations in which she could feel comfortable, safe, and in control. Taking her out for fun, getting random gifts or pleasant surprises from family or friends, maybe; something to make her feel loved.

      Not very professional advice, just racking my brains here. Do you think any of this could work/is applicable?

    • houseboatonstyxb says:

      @ Miller Lite
      (Before you recommend that she just smoke a joint once in a while, she is not willing to break laws.)

      Try a weekend in Colorado, Washington State, etc?

      • Miller Lite says:

        From what I gather, those states have made drug tourism illegal.

        • The Nybbler says:

          It is legal by Colorado state law to go to Colorado and smoke a joint. The amount tourists are permitted to buy is smaller than the amount residents are permitted to buy, but it’s not zero.

          Unfortunately it’s still technically Federally illegal though unenforced. So forget it if you object to breaking any law, or if you have a security clearance or want to get one in the near future.

          • Matt M says:

            Or if (as is more relevant to many people) your job tests you on a regular basis.

            Also I read an article several months ago about how it’s easy to buy marijuana in Colorado as a tourist, but nearly impossible to find a place you can actually legally smoke it. Perhaps this has changed since, but at the time it was illegal to smoke it in public outside places, illegal to smoke it in bars/restaurants/hotels. Pretty much the only legal place to smoke it was in a private individual’s backyard, a place that many tourists will not have access to. (A side effect of this was that it was nudging people towards edibles, which are significantly more potent and can make you pretty sick if you’re a newbie who doesn’t really know what they’re doing)

          • Devilbunny says:

            @Matt M, an acquaintance recently returned from a business trip to Denver in which he indulged, and according to him the solution was a hotel with private balconies. Apparently one has acquired a reputation for being friendly to the smoking tourist. No idea whether this was strictly legal or simply politely ignored, but it does seem to be the consensus solution.

    • Urstoff says:

      exercise and mindfullness exercises are good things to try first

  12. SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

    Long shot, but whatever: Anyone following the football Euros here? Of all the teams, I am looking forward to England the most, seeing as their young players would facilitate exciting attacking football quite well. Watching the technical perfection of Spain and to a lesser degree Germany can get quite boring.

    Related: Is there any reason, to not consider the odds for Mario Gomez from Germany being the top goalscorer bascially being free money?

    Ronaldo 7/1
    MĂĽller 8/1
    Griezmann 8/1
    Giroud 14/1

    Gomez 25/1 (!!)

    Gomez is the only real striker in a team considered to be at least among the top three candidates to win the title. Since the World Cup, Germany has been relieing on set pieces quite a lot, and Gomez is great in the air.
    He has had a very good season in Turkey, and while his performances can be lackluster at times, he is an incredibly consistent scorer. His only disadvantage is that he does not take penalites, MĂĽller does that for Germany, but that can’t justify these odds.

    Source for the odds:
    http://www.oddschecker.com/football/euro-2016/top-goalscorer

    • Matt M says:

      I don’t follow football that closely, but I’m taking a trip to Europe this summer and an planning on seeing a match live, just for the experience of it. It’s the Quarterfinal match taking place in Lille. I believe most people are projecting that it will likely be England vs Portugal. Should be fun, I hope!

      • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

        If it indeed ends up being Portugal- England you are in for quite a treat. The last, now notorious, match up of those teams was in the the quarters at the WC in 2006, which made almost literally all of England hate on Ronaldo and the Portuguese team, because they were looking to blame somebody accused him of manipulatiing the ref into sending off Rooney, then England’s best player.

        • Matt M says:

          Yes – I do follow football somewhat casually, remember that particular match well, and have been a fan of Ronaldo ever since 🙂

    • Waring says:

      I’ll be watching. I expect France will be fun to watch, but I generally wait to see how the teams play before following any in particular. (Aside from England).

      Reasons against Gomez odds: in general, I wouldn’t expect the bookies to be wildly off. In particular: it’s not (overwhelmingly) probable that he starts (vs Goetze, Draxler, Muller, depending on formation), and his good season was in an inferior league.

      Also: Germany have tougher opponents.

  13. Anonymous Comment says:

    I feel like I don’t have “free speech.” It is pretty clear that I would face sever social and economic repercussions for expressing my views on race and gender publicly. For example I believe in HBD. Among other things my girlfriend’s family would probably become extremely hostile and I could actually lose my job. Being able to express my political views publicly is pretty important to me.

    So I find it hard to care about threats to free speech for other people. Why should I cry that some other people might have to walk a mile in my shoes. The obviously example is Trump. On some level I don’t want him to stifle criticism. But on the other hand I can’t really manage to emotionally care.

    Maybe on some level I understand the Black Lives Matter style protesters. They feel like society has screwed them over hard. So they find it hard to care about society screwing over others.

      • “Human bio diversity”, in this concept. Attempting to describe without endorsing or condemning: significant genetic differences exist between identifiable racial clusters, and these genetic differences lead to meaningful phenotypical differences in abilities, temperaments, and measurable qualities and outcomes.

        • TheAncientGeek says:

          How is that politics? Isnt politics about what a society ought to do?

          • Evan Ăž says:

            Well, yes. A lot of the idea’s proponents and opponents strongly believe that endorsing it would lead to certain courses of action (to put it dispassionately and neutrally).

          • TPC says:

            Except (to Evan) a number of people have pointed out to those proponents that we already live in a world where those ideas are practically speaking applied to the population at large.

            To wit, one of their main policy implication views is that people with really great test scores would have a leg up in the job market and especially higher level administrative goverment work (policy setting and the like) and yet when it’s pointed out that this is already the case to HBD proponents, well, that tends to be met with silencia.

    • Jill says:

      Yes, Anon Comment, if you think certain races are inferior, people of those races would be pretty pissed off at you, and the friends and relatives of people of those races would be pretty pissed at you. You are, of course, free to say it, but there are consequences.

      Most people do not believe in HBD. But most people believe in something that, if they said it, especially to certain people, it would piss those people off. That’s the typical human experience. In many neighborhoods, a guy can’t say “Your mother is a ____” even if she, in truth, is one. But few people consider that a hardship. You just don’t say it, at least not to him.

      Talking about politics at all often has negative consequences in American society today.

      If this is what constitutes a big problem in your life, you are very very lucky.

      Free speech does not mean that you are free to say any thought that comes into your head, and that other people are required to not be pissed off, or not to have their feelings hurt, and then are required not to react to you in a negative way.

      I am sure there are other people you could talk to about this, who also believe in HBD. But you also might consider how likely it is that you may be wrong.

      You might consider how it would be for you if whatever race or weight or ethnic group or whatever you are– whatever your characteristics– if people said that you and all others in some category you are in, are inferior– and said or implied that people in your category ought not be allowed to vote or go to a university or own property or have certain types of jobs or have various other rights etc.

      • Ruprect says:

        I think you’re right on a personal level – that we shouldn’t go out of our way to personally antagonise people by talking directly to them about things that they find offensive – but I’m not sure that is a rule that you can rightly apply to public discourse in general. There really seems to be no end to the things that people might find offensive – and I think people have to have the freedom to make general points (i.e. “single parenthood has worse outcomes than couples” should not be censored, whereas “you are awful because you are a single parent” perhaps should be).

        Anyway, on the point of race, I read recently that the Igbo tribe of Nigeria has a higher average IQ than indigenous British whites. As a white British person I didn’t find this news to be particularly upsetting, just as I’m not upset by the idea that European Jews have a higher average IQ than other Europeans.
        I guess that’s because I don’t fear that I will be dehumanised because of these facts(?).

        • Jill says:

          “I guess that’s because I don’t fear that I will be dehumanised because of these facts(?).”

          Yes, if you were getting discriminated against in the job market, if there were videos all over the Internet showing police killing unarmed people of your race, if people of your race were in prison in droves for nonviolent drug offenses– offenses which people of other races were committing but almost never getting arrested for– then it might have a different effect.

          • Miller Lite says:

            I’m being slightly pedantic here, but there is a well-understood (among those who know the issue well anyway) explanation for the disparity in non-violent drug offenses you mentioned.

            Often, gang members are caught committing serious crimes. The police, already overstretched, know it takes a lot of time and work (not that it’s impossible, just that it takes a lot of time and work) to collect the evidence needed to prosecute them for those crimes, and their incentive is to bust up drug gangs anyway. So, they get the gang member to plead guilty to a non-violent drug charge that carries a lighter sentence (the gang makes money by selling drugs, so the gang member usually has a drug charge along with whatever else) in exchange for some information about his higher-ups. It’s a win for the cops who don’t have to do as much work and get information out of it, and it’s a win for the gang member who gets a lighter sentence. (See “The Wire” for a nice realistic illustration of this pattern.)

            Whereas the random white person who gets busted for drug possession/use usually isn’t in a gang, and he can usually get off by promising not to use/buy drugs anymore and take a drug education class.

            This has been going on for decades upon decades, contributing heavily to the racial disparities seen in prison.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Does the lack of videos all over the Internet about it make it better that cops are killing unarmed people of my race?

          • Jill says:

            Re videos: Of course not, but when you see the videos, then you know cops are killing these unarmed people. And many people did not know that before. When the videos do exist, it is information about what is going on.

          • John Schilling says:

            If cops are killing unarmed members of Nybbler’s race, and nobody else knows or cares about that, and Nybbler knows that nobody else knows or cares about that, does that make it better?

            When the videos do exist, it is information about what is going on

            There are so many other sources of information about what is going on, that the videos are of little value there. Where the videos are valuable, is as information about what people care about.

        • Jill says:

          Ruprect, the single parent issue certainly may have some different interpretations. If single parenthood has worse outcomes than couples, then that does not necessarily mean that it would always be better if parents would marry, or if they would stay married if they already are.

          It’s possible that the explanation is that some people find a compatible, responsible, caring partner and they wisely marry the person, or stay married if they are already. And any kids there benefit.

          And other people may find a partner, have a kid, and then realize that the partner is irresponsible, or abusive, or criminal, or consistently spends more than the household income each month etc.

          In that case, the more responsible partner wisely chooses not to marry– or not to stay married to– the irresponsible or abusive partner. But that does not mean that the kid would be better off if these parents were married.

          Similarly, with race. Many American black intellectuals have discussed their growing up years in their books or speeches– and said that they were put down and ridiculed a lot by their peers, for being studious and interested in school.

          So if American black kids, on average, score lower on scholastic tests, it could have more to do with this practice of ridiculing studiousness, or with other environmental situations that are more common with blacks than with whites, rather than being due to genetics. Most kids stop doing things that bring ridicule from peers.

          • Ruprect says:

            Definitely. But I think it’s a discussion we should have.
            I like to think of this as the holocaust denial problem. Throughout my life, I’ve always equated holocaust deniers with mad racists. A few months ago I watched a video on youtube by a holocaust denier and I realised I had absolutely no idea whether what they were saying was true or not, and that I’d never actually heard any of their arguments before.
            I have no idea if holocaust deniers have a legitimate point, and I’m pretty sure most people have even less idea than me, but I’m pretty sure that if people started denying the holocaust they’d face some pretty severe social consequences (and perhaps in the UK, criminal charges).
            I’m guilty of that kind of mob mentality. I also suspect that whatever we might gain in avoiding thinking about the fantasies of mad-men, we lose more in submitting to an illogical group-think.

          • Jaskologist says:

            In my day, we occasionally had actual holocaust survivors come into school and talk about their experiences. I realize that this is probably no longer an option, but in that context, it would have seemed silly (putting it very generously) to also address mythicists.

          • Matt M says:

            Ruprect,

            On a similar note, I just finished reading “Blacklisted By History” – essentially a conservative revisionist work on the career of Joe McCarthy which largely presents him as someone who was mostly correct, concerned about the security of the nation, and destroyed so liberals (and “moderate” conservatives) could score some political points and cover up for a lot of their friends (many of whom totally were communists).

            I tried to discuss the book with some of my liberal friends and they were having nothing of it. They wouldn’t even listen to the arguments. It was an immediate shoutdown – “Everyone knows McCarthy is evil, therefore any book that portrays him as non-evil is an obvious lie.”

            For the record, the book is 600 pages and is very thoroughly footnoted, and relies upon many sources that have been de-classified and made public AFTER the majority of the standard histories of “McCarthyism” were already written. This information did not seem relevant to them.

          • keranih says:

            If single parenthood has worse outcomes than couples, then that does not necessarily mean that it would always be better if parents would marry, or if they would stay married if they already are.

            No, it means that on average the child of a single parent is worse off than if that child’s mother had gotten married when she realized she was pregnant.

            Population stats don’t say anything about individuals – they talk about general trends.

            In terms of race and gender, we have simple tests to see if someone is academically inclined and will succeed in school – they are called grades. These are much better indicators than skin color of the ability of a particular student to succeed, and so we should look at grades, and not skin color – as so unfortunately generally happens – to see if a student is succeeding or not. And we should look at averages of grades – not skin color – to see if a school system is succeeding at educating its students.

            We don’t, right now, have good ways to test individual women to see if they can raise children at a level equal with the average quality of a two-parent household. Failing to have that test, it makes sense to use the more general metric and urge her to get married to the child’s father (and failing that, to the best option she has to hand) in order to best provide for the child.

          • Anonymous says:

            If single parenthood has worse outcomes than couples, then that does not necessarily mean that it would always be better if parents would marry, or if they would stay married if they already are.

            No, it means that on average the child of a single parent is worse off than if that child’s mother had gotten married when she realized she was pregnant.

            Population stats don’t say anything about individuals – they talk about general trends.

            No, Jill is correct. You are selecting from separate populations. Without carefully and comprehensively correcting for that, you can’t draw the conclusion you do.

          • keranih says:

            Not so. You assume that Jill’s caveats apply to a majority of unmarried women – that their only options are criminals who beat their wives.

            Again, it is not true that every child of an unwed mother will do better with the mother marrying her lover (or anyone else.)

            It is, however, so that more children will benefit from this than will be harmed.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, that’s just one example of a possible confounder. Not the only one. Until and unless you correct for drawing from separate populations you can’t connect the different outcomes to the treatment. This is stats 101.

          • keranih says:

            Demonstrate to me that when studies control for everything else and still show a difference in outcomes between children of single parents and children of two parent households, that they are “drawing from different populations”.

            They are not.

          • Anonymous says:

            If you have such a study at hand, that’s a horse of a different color. That’s not what jill mentioned, nor have I laid eyes on such a thing myself.

          • Douglas Knight says:

            There are no perfect studies. The IRB is not going to approve killing fathers. Draft randomization is pretty good, but the casualty rate is too low to make good studies. Other studies of widows are pretty good. The children of widows do better than the children of other single mothers but worse than the children of intact families. Part nature, part nurture.

          • Johnjohn says:

            “I also suspect that whatever we might gain in avoiding thinking about the fantasies of mad-men, we lose more in submitting to an illogical group-think.”

            I can’t see how that could possibly be true. If you had to, in any meaningful way, evaluate the claims of every mad-man out there, you would not have time left to spend on anything else.

          • Ruprect says:

            “I can’t see how that could possibly be true. If you had to, in any meaningful way, evaluate the claims of every mad-man out there, you would not have time left to spend on anything else.”

            Yeah… that’s true. I guess we should aim to treat ‘offensive’ fringe beliefs as we treat ‘harmless’ ones. I don’t feel inclined to check out the latest research on astrology, but I’m not too bothered by people discussing it and don’t demonize those who do so. Theoretically, you might reach a point where an idea is so damaging to society that it has to be suppressed, but I think in practice, where severe social sanctions for ideas have been tried, it hasn’t really been effective, instead simply encouraging bad ideas to proliferate.

          • Sweeneyrod says:

            @Ruprect

            I think you might underestimate how many bad ideas have been stopped from spreading by social sanctions. It’s a difficult thing to notice because the whole point is that the bad ideas aren’t visible.

        • Anecdote:

          I was a grad student in physics at Chicago in the theoretical group. There was one black in that group. He was an Ibo.

          • dndnrsn says:

            Of the black people I met in university (fairly high-level undergrads plus fairly high-level grad students of all stripes), something like half were Nigerian or of Nigerian ancestry, and that group is majority or entirely Igbo.

          • Matt M says:

            I just completed a graduate degree at a Top-20 level business school. This was also my experience – we had very few black students – maybe 15 at most (out of a class of like 150), at least five were of Nigerian ancestry and three were Nigerian nationals.

      • Miller Lite says:

        Anonymous Comment said he believes in HBD, not that he thinks certain races are inferior. Andrew Hunter gave a pretty good short definition of it, which you can refer to if you’re confused.

        I think what Anonymous Comment might have been getting at is the fact that a lot of people (especially on the Blue Team, in my experience) are able to speak candidly about their political beliefs without any consequences, because those beliefs are aligned with and protected by the officially endorsed dogmas and those “in the drinking water” so to speak. People who have beliefs at odds with those ideas are in a precarious position because there is no official ban on their ideas but they know they could be arbitrarily punished for expressing them anyway.

        (Libertarianism is an exception; libertarians seem to mostly enjoy the freedom to express their views without punishment, so long as they avoid talking about freedom of association.)

        I’m going to take a wild guess that Anonymous Comment is white, so he probably has indeed heard lots of people expressing the belief that white people are inferior–or evil, or at least collectively responsible for the problems of the world–and has witnessed the fact that other racial groups are given institutional and cultural privileges that are denied to white people (for example, the right to form their own student unions at universities, hiring or admittance preferences at jobs and schools, more leniency with regard to how they can talk and behave in public, and having their race downplayed in the news if they commit crimes).

        Anonymous Comment never said that people of other races ought not to be allowed to vote or go to university or own property or have certain types of jobs/other rights. In my experience there are a few rogue voices in the HBD commentariat who suggest these things, but for the most part they really aren’t part of HBD, which instead is a paradigm adopted mostly by people earnestly trying to think and talk about race in a realistic, informed way.

        • Jill says:

          I wasn’t saying Anon Commenter said those things that he didn’t say. I was just giving examples, to try to be specific about what might offend people, since he didn’t specify exactly what he might say that he thinks might lose him his job or his girlfriend if he said it.

          Anon Commenter never said those things you said above either, as I am sure you are aware also.

          Anon Commenter, are those the kinds of opinions you were referring to, that you feel you can’t say in public? The examples I gave? Or the examples Miller gave? Or something different?

          • Miller Lite says:

            Yes, I prefaced my comment with “I think what Anonymous Commenter might have been getting at” rather than just put words in his mouth.

          • Jill says:

            And I myself said “IF you think certain races are inferior.” Not SINCE or BECAUSE or anything of that kind.

            There are a lot of good people here. But also a lot of people who love to criticize others constantly. If you didn’t say anything incorrect, they just make something up, claim you said that, and criticize you for it.

          • Miller Lite says:

            Fair enough. But I’d say your “if” is a pretty big leap given the starting point of Anonymous Comment’s comment, though I’m familiar with HBD and some of the major voices/core ideas in that area. To someone who isn’t as familiar, your if is probably not a big leap.

          • Skivverus says:

            There are a lot of good people here. But also a lot of people who love to criticize others constantly. If you didn’t say anything incorrect, they just make something up, claim you said that, and criticize you for it.

            Par for the course for humanity, no? “You have the right to remain silent: anything you say will be misinterpreted, and then used against you.”

            More seriously, though, language is a fuzzier concept than it looks, with everyone having their own minefield of slightly-to-drastically-different definitions (aka “idiolects”), in the same way everyone has their own minefield of cultural assumptions (that American Civil Religion comes to mind, for one).

          • gbdub says:

            Certainly, most people hold some beliefs that at least some other people would find offensive. There is a difference though – some people’s offense is deemed to matter, and some isn’t. This seems to be getting worse as “I am offended!” increasingly becomes the strongest assertion of power someone can make (if they’re in the favored group).

            For example, at your average American university, if a white person were to say “I am offended by your assertion that white people invented racism”, they get laughed at. “Too damn bad, that’s your privilege talking!” Whereas if a black person says “I find your factual discussion of relative violent crime rates among racial groups offensive!” he will be supported and the crime discusser will be told to shut up and be more sensitive.

            Jill the fact that you don’t seem to get this vis a vis HBD kind of illustrates the point – HBD, when done well at least, posits testable hypotheses, and deals in verifiable data (for a flip side controversy, consider AGW). Uncomfortable or not, it is either a fact or it isn’t, but you write the whole field off as an offensive opinion not even worthy of being discussed.

            But anyway this whole discussion is just reinventing the concept of an Overton window, isn’t it? If you’re outside it your ability to easily engage in free speech is certainly curtailed.

          • Anonymous says:

            What about if you aren’t talking about a university, but your girlfriend’s family? They aren’t entitled to be offended by what offends them? They have some sort of moral duty to be polite to an edgelord?

          • gbdub says:

            Nobody has a “duty” to be polite to anyone or any idea, except insofar as we are attempting to promote a culture of truly free speech. That doesn’t mean you can’t have standards of etiquette, and it’s certainly reasonable to consider “dinner with potential in-laws” as a more restrained environment.

            I do think it’s fair to expect reciprocal politeness / freedom though. If you’re in “free speech zone” that should apply to all ideas, even if some people consider them offensive or “edgelord-y” (especially if they are offensive but plausible, as HBD is). Likewise with a “no politics zone”. Don’t spout off on your political beliefs regardless of my feelings, unless you’re willing to give me a fair hearing too.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most people do not believe in HBD.

        Source? My impression is that most people totally do, on a gut level, believe in HBD. They’re not scientific about it, but they do know that race is genetic, and most if not all traits are genetic.

        • JayT says:

          I’m not so sure that is true. For example, I think there are a lot of people out there that think that the difference between a smart person and a dumb person is the quality of school they went to, or how much their parents taught them growing up.

          • Randy M says:

            Most people’s beliefs are not self-consistent. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is a common expression indicating traits are largely hereditary, but it coexists with attitudes that consider parenting styles almost determinitive.

          • JayT says:

            It is definitely true that most people aren’t always intellectually consistent. Even then though, I still think most people lean more towards nurture rather than nature. Perhaps it’s different in other countries, and the US is an outlier because our culture is more anti-monarchy than most.

        • Matt M says:

          Most people who argue about politics online do not believe in HBD.

          Most people who exist in the world almost certainly do.

          • JayT says:

            Even there I don’t know if I agree with that. If people truly believed that most traits were genetic, then why is there so much focus on raising your kids “right” or “wrong”? If people really believed that a person’s outcome was mainly genetic, then why would they worry about things like spoiling kids or things of that nature?

          • Matt M says:

            Doesn’t like a third of India still (unofficially) operate under a caste system?

            I think the notion of your family determining your eventual worth is probably quite common in the developing world.

            The fact that Chinese “tiger moms” devote so much energy to their children doesn’t mean they think “most” factors are nurture rather than nature… it may indicate that they think nature is so dominant that a ridiculous amount of effort must be put towards proper nurturing in order to give their middle-class child even the slightest bit of chance at competing with the elites.

          • “If people really believed that a person’s outcome was mainly genetic”

            Where does the “mainly” come from?

            I expect most people believe that heredity is one important factor in what people are like. If you combine that with “and the distribution of heritable traits is different in different populations” you are making a claim that some will regard as offensive.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think nurture notions are largely a leftover of the days before mass education. In those days, education really did make a large difference, because there is a large difference between being literate and illiterate. Nowadays just about everyone in the first and second worlds is sent to school; we have reached the point of diminishing returns from education a long time ago. And since that variable has been largely made the same for almost everyone, other variables – such as genetics – are now relevant towards outcomes.

          • JayT says:

            @David Friedman

            In the original post the commentator said “They’re not scientific about it, but they do know that race is genetic, and most if not all traits are genetic”, and I was saying that I don’t think that the average person thinks that genetics make up more than 51% of a person’s traits.

          • Matt M says:

            Does the 50% figure really matter here?

            I’d guess that nearly everyone agrees that genetics make up somewhere between say, 30% and 70% of a person’s traits. Whichever way you swing on that, it’s still significant (yet still not the ONLY significant thing)

          • JayT says:

            Well, that was the original point that I was objecting to, and pretty much the whole point of this conversation. I don’t disagree that people think some part of who a person is is genetic. I just disagree that at any level average people think genetics are the majority factor.

        • TheAncientGeek says:

          Motte =/=bailey. In asmuch as HBD is a political movent it is not some purely descriptive, value neutral thing.

          Remember that Anonymous Coward described HBD as a political view. Several people then tried defend HBD as some value neutral thing,.,.well, value neutral or political, you can only pick one.

          And we already have a term for the descriptive science of genes…its called genetics.

        • TheAncientGeek says:

          Which HBD?

          • Anonymous says:

            I meant the “genetics determine outcomes to a large extent” idea.

            Jill said that most people did not believe in HBD. If she meant the political-scientific movement based on internet blogs, then her statement has no substance – almost nobody, in human population terms, has even heard of it. So I took it to mean the underlying argument, rather than the movement itself. Jill’s replies so far indicate that I have interpreted her correctly.

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            You can speak prose without knowing that you are speaking prose, and you can disagree with right wing race..sorry genetics…based politics without knowing that anyone ever called it HBD.

            Genetics determines outcomes isn’t a political argument. Genetics determines outcomes more than environment is a bit closer, but the gap still needs to he closed.

            If you give a purely scientific statement of HBD then you can portray your opponents as ignorant, which serves some purposes…but then how can it be a political opinion? Don’t be surprised if people fill the gap out of their darkest imaginings.

      • “if people said that you and all others in some category you are in, are inferior– and said or implied that people in your category ought not be allowed to vote or go to a university or own property or have certain types of jobs or have various other rights etc.”

        Do you have any reason to believe that the poster you are responding to believes, or wants to say, any of that?

        The usual HBD claim is that the distribution of characteristics is different in different populations. That does not imply or even suggest that “all others in some category are inferior.” Nor does it imply the rest of your list. The claim that the distribution of height is different in men than in women, with men on average taller, is true and uncontroversial. It does not imply that I am taller than you are, and I’m probably not.

        It sounds as though you are rejecting a wildly distorted parody of the views the poster feels not free to express.

        Suppose he stated what I conjecture are his real views, something along the lines of “the distribution of IQ’s is wider for men than for women, with a larger fraction of men at both the high and low end,” or “The distribution of IQ is higher for East Asians than for Europeans, higher for Europeans than for sub-saharan Africans.”

        Do you regard those views as obviously false? Obviously wicked to hold? Implying that some people should not be allowed to “vote or go to a university or own property or have certain types of jobs or have various other rights etc.”?

        How would you describe someone whose image of those who disagree with her is wildly distorted in a negative direction?

        • TheAncientGeek says:

          If HBD has no practical consequences, why proselitise it? There is information the fact that someone chooses to say something, as well as in wh is said.

          Remember that Anonymous Coward described HBD as a political view. Several people then tried defend HBD as some value neutral thing,.,.well, value neutral or political, you can only pick one.

          • Anonymous says:

            Belief in HBD as a political issue among the decision-making class, if HBD as a scientific argument is true, is likely to lead to better choices regarding, for example, education. Less wasted money.

          • The Nybbler says:

            If HBD is true, it should be accepted. To reject a true statement is likely stunt the growth of affected fields. There will be research you cannot do (or cannot report) in the fields of genetics because it would support HBD. This could spread upwards to (valid) techniques of research which would be rejected because they lead to studies which support HBD.

            The statement of HBD is value-neutral; the question over whether it should be allowed to be accepted is political.

          • I think the most neutral application of HBD is that if we are trying to root out things like sexism, racism, etc. then we should know what the actual base rate of things are. If Pacific Islanders are SD higher in IQ or improved social skills but are not proportionally represented in high IQ or high social skills professions, then that is evidence of some sort of problem or confounder. If Spaniards are not represented proportionally in soccer team rosters but their height and lung capacities are on average much lower, then that should be applied as a confounder for how much of their lack of representation is due to other factors rather than directly related ones.

            HBD is a basic premise I agree with, but statistical trends of different populations are only useful in population level analysis. Any info you might glean from population trends are blown out of the water by the information you get just by seeing how they carry themselves, their personal hygiene, etc. A first visual impression’s information is an order of magnitude less information than you’d get by seeing how they act, how they interact with other people, and how they talk. This is still orders of magnitude less information than seeing their direct performance over time on the given task or criteria. The only time when race should matter among individuals is when you don’t have enough information and your actual first step should be to get more.

          • John Schilling says:

            If HBD has no practical consequences, why proselitize it?

            HBD has significant practical consequences, which do not include disallowing people to vote, go to a university, etc.

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            Nothing thar is purely descriptive has any poltical consequence unless you add some values into it.. that’s how you get across an is ought ga.p.

            Plugging unknown value X into HBD, doesn’t lead to any particular poltics, furthermore. Someone who bases some particular politics on HBD has some particular but unstated values in mind. Thats a problem.

            The sanitised version of HBD, that genetically defined populations differ genetically, is not sufficient to tell you anything about education.
            You at least need the further claim that genetics sets a ceiling n achievement.

            We have already had examples of people saying that the obvious response to failures is to a/ spend more money AND b/ stop wasting money. Preteding that it is somehow all just science is incredibly unhelpful.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            If (accepted moral premise)+(truth of sanitized HBD)–>(one political policy), while (exact same moral premise)+(falsity of sanitized HBD)–>(completely different and incompatible political policy), then sanitized HBD has political consequences.

          • Anonymous says:

            You can say HBD is value-neutral and scientific and non-political, but that ain’t gonna defend you when you start making claims that displease a political majority. No amount of “but I’m not a politician” will save you from the politics.

            If you refuse to plug in any value into HBD, people will assume you’re plugging it in implicitly and penalize you anyway. They have no way of knowing if you’re honestly being clueless or if you’re stirring the pot feigning innocence since we’re pretty good at ambiguity.

            Maybe you were even filling the gaps for me and assuming what political group I’m making implications about with my neutral-value statements, as you were reading my comment!

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            Sanitised HBD can have political consequences without determining a unique political stance.

            I am not saying HBD is anything in particular, just noting mismatches between how it is presented, and what people do with it.

            Suspcions that HBD is a trojan horse fr some far right philosphy can be allayed by putting forward an explicitly political, explicitly non right wing version,…for some values of ‘can’.

      • keranih says:

        You might consider how it would be for you if whatever race or weight or ethnic group or whatever you are– whatever your characteristics– if people said that you and all others in some category you are in, are inferior– and said or implied that people in your category ought not be allowed to vote or go to a university or own property or have certain types of jobs or have various other rights etc.

        We could do that. Or maybe we could focus our attention to things that are actually on the table, and not get distracted by side projects.

        For instance, maybe we might want to provide a good education – one that pushed each student to the limits of what they themselves could learn. We know that this will vary from student to student so we don’t expect every student to equally excell. And if we have a system where one subgroup of students repeatedly doesn’t do as well as another, it’s worth our time to see if the system is failing to educate this group as well as the others. And if the shortcoming is in the system, then we need to adjust the system, so that all student groups are treated the same.

        But if this one group of students is actually different from other, better performing groups of students, then it would be a mistake to treat all the students the same, because they’re not. In order to meet our goal of getting the best outcome for all students, we’d have to treat the groups that were different, differently. Maybe they need hearing aids. Maybe they need more classes in English language. Maybe they need individual prescriptions for eyeglasses. Maybe this group has had FAS and we need to understand what the likely top performance is.

        HBC is a means to grapple with various causes of different outcomes in order for us as a society to reach the outcome we want. Refusing to consider HBC’s implications traps us into the false notion that all people are just alike in strengths and weaknesses.

        The only people I can think of who would rationally want everyone to be thought of as the same would be the sort of people who have come to the conclusion that they have more strengths under the current system than other people, and don’t want the other alternative strengths of other people to be acknowledged or valued – nor for additional assistance to be available to those people who need it in order to succeed (*) in the current system.

        To which I can only say, what mean-hearted selfish racists.

        (*) Note that I say “succeed” – not “be equal”. We’ve already established that one person differs from the next, and when society tries to impose attribute equality – instead of, say, equality under the law – it never ends well.

        • Jill says:

          Why look at average racial differences when you could be looking at individual characteristics? It seems that when people do this, they often want to stereotype every individual with the average characteristics of their race.

          Education can be done by looking at individual kids’ needs.

          This kind of stereotyping is most crazy in the case of gender. Do you realize that around 50% of the people in the world are male, and around 50% are female. There is great variation within each group, of course. To treat an individual in school a certain way because of their gender, rather than their individual characteristics, is absurd.

          • “Why look at average racial differences when you could be looking at individual characteristics?”

            And goes on to talk about the case of gender.

            One obvious answer is that people routinely make factual claims that hinge on the unstated assumption that there are no relevant differences in the average characteristics by gender (or race).

            When you read a claim about the male/female wage difference or how much less blacks make on average than whites, it is taken for granted that it demonstrates the existence and scale of discrimination. That claim depends on an assumption about average racial (or gender) characteristics–an assumption which there is no evidence for and lots of evidence against.

            And if anyone points that out he gets the sort of response Jill recently demonstrated–the assumption that anyone who points it out want to ban blacks or women from certain jobs, not let them vote, … .

            The obvious explanation for that behavior is that people making the discrimination claim know that the evidence they offer does not support the conclusion they reach without the assumption that average characteristics are the same, and so want to shut up anyone who points out that the assumption is false.

            Perhaps Jill can offer an alternative explanation more flattering to her and those who share her views?

          • Jill says:

            You’ve heard about racial and gender discrimination before, I am sure. And decided that all evidence for it that you’ve ever heard was invalid. I expect that nothing I can say will change your mind.

            Why do you think such huge percentages of women have gone into professions such as law, medicine, science and engineering in the last few decades, as compared to the previous few? Are you thinking these professions were totally open to them all those previous years, and there was never any discrimination at all, but they just suddenly decided to go into them recently? Because female genetics changed? Or what?

          • dndnrsn says:

            I think that Jill is right about gender discrimination. There are a lot of women since, say, the 1970s or so (as I understand it, the 1970s saw the first generation of young women who really got a chance to enter the professions in a big way) who entered professional/managerial careers in large numbers (less affluent women always worked – they had to) who previously would have only had secretarial jobs open to them.

            To put it another way, women who had the capability to be doctors, lawyers, etc, were previously confined to jobs they were overqualified for, and “jobs” not “careers” – the assumption was usually that they would quit their job when they got married and had kids.

          • Ruprect says:

            After her children were grown, my grandmother had the opportunity to go back to work, and my grandfather forbade it, because he would have considered it a comment on his ability to provide for his family.
            So, there was discrimination and social pressure preventing women working. Then again, when my grandfather was made redundant he fell into a deep depression and believed that he was worthless – he only snapped out of it when my grandmother threatened to leave him – then he cheered up and enjoyed early retirement.
            So… maybe the best way of looking at it is that there was a social system where gender roles were fairly strictly defined, but actually men were equally “locked-in” to their roles as women, and there was always a degree of give and take in terms of how men and women interacted with each other on a family level.
            Also, even now, there are certainly professions, which, as a man, I would hesitate before getting into (nursing, primary school teaching), even though there might no direct discrimination, in exactly the same way as women might feel discouraged from entering certain professions.

          • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

            @Jill:

            David obviously did not imply that there is and never was discrimination against women or blacks.
            His point was:

            P1:There are racial differences in some form of accomplishment .
            P2:We know there are no differences between races.
            C1: Therefore blacks are being discriminated against.

            He is criticising the whole reasoning , based on questioning P2. Just because there are differences in outcome, we cannot say that they are based on discrimination.

          • “You’ve heard about racial and gender discrimination before, I am sure. And decided that all evidence for it that you’ve ever heard was invalid.”

            Your ability to predict my views is about as bad as your ability to understand other people–you are living in a world created by your own imagination.

            When my sister went to Bolt (Berkeley Law School) in the late sixties, women were about ten percent of the class. One year, of the two top students in each of three classes, five of the six were women. That’s pretty strong evidence that, for one reason or another, it was much harder for a woman than a man to end up in a top school, hence that the ones who did were, on average, abler than the men. Currently, law schools are about 50/50, and there doesn’t seem to be a big difference in how well male and female students do.

            That’s good evidence that the reason for the earlier situation was not a difference in the distribution of innate ability, although one can’t tell if it was discrimination in the admissions process or social pressures such that only women who really wanted to be lawyers and were good at it end up in top law school.

            My point is not that there was no discrimination. Your insistence that I must believe that is evidence that you are unable to understand views different from yours. To repeat:

            One observes a difference in outcomes by race or gender. That difference might be due to discrimination (broadly defined–I’m including the social pressure case), it might be due to innate differences.

            Jill and those who agree with her confidently announce that the difference is due to discrimination.

            In order for that conclusion to follow from the evidence, they have to believe that there are no relevant innate differences. They have no evidence to support that belief.

            When someone points that out, hence that they don’t know how much of the difference in outcome is due to what, they attack him as a racist and insist, as Jill has just done, that he must believe that none of the difference is due to discrimination.

            Is it true:

            1. That people with your views routinely attribute observed differences in outcomes to discrimination?

            2. That in order to do so, one needs to be confident that there are not innate differences that could explain them.

            3. That there is no good basis for such confidence, hence

            4. No good basis for the conclusion. The difference might be due to discrimination, it might be due to innate differences, they don’t know which it is but pretend they do.

            Which of these four claims do you disagree with?

          • Jill says:

            David, what evidence do you have that the racial differences in performance are innate? If the gender differences were not innate– those differences in the percentages of women vs. men in professions– percentages that shifted hugely in recent decades– then what reason do you have to believe that the racial differences are innate?

            There could I suppose be innate differences. But there could be cows jumping over the moon too, in their space suits, coming from other planets. What reason do you have for positing innate differences between blacks and whites?

          • “What reason do you have for positing innate differences between blacks and whites?”

            What reason to you have for positing that there are no such differences ? Your argument depends on that assumption, since you are the one who claims that differences in outcome are due to discrimination. I don’t know what innate differences there are, so don’t know how much of the difference in outcomes is due to discrimination. Similarly for gender.

            My grounds for positing that some differences exist are pretty obvious. We believe, or at least I believe, in Darwinian evolution, which implies that humans are “as if designed” for reproductive success. The characteristics that are optimal for reproductive success depend on the environment. Sub-saharan Africa is a strikingly different environment from Europe or East Asia, so we would expect a different distribution of optimal characteristics for each. That fits what we see for easily observable characteristics such as skin color, build, facial features. Why would you assume that all of those differ, but less easily observable characteristics don’t?

            Yet your argument depends on that assumption. Do you have any reason to make it other than that assuming it leads to conclusions you like?

            Your position is even less defensible in the case of gender differences. We are as if designed for reproductive success. The essential difference between male and female is their role in reproduction. It would be an extraordinary coincidence if the characteristics, physical, psychological, or whatever, that were optimal for the male role in reproduction were identical to those optimal for the female role.

            And, of course, observable physical characteristics are noticeably different, not only in ways directly linked to reproduction. As we would expect.

            I am repeatedly struck by the fact that people on the left make fun of people on the right because some of the latter say they don’t believe in evolution–and then refuse to accept the most obvious implications of evolution when those implications don’t fit their ideology.

          • Jill says:

            I don’t think it follows from Darwinian evolution that average genetic differences between races are necessarily the reasons for average differences in social or economic status between/among races.

            Certainly it’s possible. But not likely, in my view.

            My concern is that such views are very very often used for the purpose of justifying discrimination against certain categories of people. I happen to be more concerned with the effects of beliefs on our society than with the actual beliefs themselves.

            Everybody has their right to their own opinions. But it makes a BIG difference whether certain views are typically used to harm certain categories of people.

            The belief that average genetic differences between races are necessarily the reasons for average differences in social or economic status between/among races– or that they should be– this belief has a troubled history. It’s been connected to ethnic cleansing and all kinds of other brutalities.

            Look at this article. It happened only 10 years ago.

            https://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/jan/18/educationsgendergap.genderissues

            “The president of Harvard University has provoked a furor by arguing that men outperform women in maths and sciences because of biological difference.”

          • “I don’t think it follows from Darwinian evolution that average genetic differences between races are necessarily the reasons for average differences in social or economic status between/among races. ”

            I am not sure it has gotten through to you yet that nobody in this conversation says that such differences are necessarily the reason. Why do you keep talking as though that’s the position you are arguing against?

            As I have said over and over again, I don’t know how much of the difference in outcomes is due to what cause. You pretend that you do.

            “Certainly it’s possible. But not likely, in my view.”

            And your reason for thinking it is not likely is? So far you have only given a reason to want to say it is not likely–whether true or not.

            You might want to look at what the president of Harvard actually said. You will discover that in that case as in this, you are misrepresenting “X is a possible explanation for Y” as “X is the explanation for Y.” Or, more probably, believing other people who misrepresent it in that fashion because that fits your prejudices. You are thus supporting the idea that if someone makes a true statement you disapprove of, he should be punished for doing so. As in that case.

            I offered four statements and asked which you disagreed with. You did not answer.

            If your real view is “for all I know racial and gender differences are responsible for the difference in outcomes, but we should pretend to know they are not and attack anyone who disagrees as a racist” you might at least have the honesty to say so. At this point, that’s the only sense I can make of your position.

          • Jill says:

            I don’t think our communication is working here, David. And I am at a loss to guess how/if it might be able to work. I think we have different goals and values about what a conversation is.

          • ” I think we have different goals and values about what a conversation is.”

            That’s possible. You keep attacking a position nobody is arguing for and ignoring the position actually being argued for–straw manning at the extreme. I can’t tell if you are unable to understand the views of people who disagree with you or if your real position is one you are unwilling to defend in public.

          • erenold says:

            I did not believe in HBD until I read @David Friedman’s summary above. When stated as above, I have to say I find HBD’s conclusions quite disconcertingly convincing.

            Can I ask a question in good faith, as someone with little to no knowledge of evolutionary biology whatsoever. I would presume that a minimum number of generations must pass before tangible differences would arise both within (gender differences) and without (racial differences) a population. I seem to recall that in yeast experiments, the required number of generations was in the many tens of thousands. Have there been anything like enough generations for something like human diversity to take form, since our racial populations diverged?

          • Richard says:

            @erenold
            The most striking example is perhaps the russian fox experiment (eminently googleable). The short version is that given sufficient selection pressure, ten generations is enough to give major differences. There has been plenty of time for humans.

          • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

            David, I think Jill is being honest here. They literally said that even if HBD is true, it’s better to pretend that it’s not. Maybe they are just following through on that statement.

            Besides discrimination and HBD, there is another explanation for different outcomes: Cultural conditioning. Obviously the female gender role is different from the male one, so they behave differently and make different choices. However, I don’t see how this is something that is unequivocally bad because there are trade-offs. Women earn less than men, but are more satisified with their life.

          • Anonymous says:

            Can I ask a question in good faith, as someone with little to no knowledge of evolutionary biology whatsoever. I would presume that a minimum number of generations must pass before tangible differences would arise both within (gender differences) and without (racial differences) a population. I seem to recall that in yeast experiments, the required number of generations was in the many tens of thousands. Have there been anything like enough generations for something like human diversity to take form, since our racial populations diverged?

            I seem to recall an experiment on rats that showed significant effects after four generations.

            As others have mentioned, divergence rate varies with selection pressure. Sufficiently deadly environments would cause rapid changes in any surviving populations – consider the prevalence of Black Plague immunity among western Europeans. To this day, there are regions where bearers of the mutation that immunizes them are like 80% of the population, where in unaffected regions of Europe, it’s approximately 0%. (Overall, about 10% of modern day Euros bear the immunity gene. It also immunizes vs AIDS.)

          • Anonymous says:

            David, I think Jill is being honest here. They literally said that even if HBD is true, it’s better to pretend that it’s not. Maybe they are just following through on that statement.

            That’s a strange definition of honesty.

            Besides discrimination and HBD, there is another explanation for different outcomes: Cultural conditioning. Obviously the female gender role is different from the male one, so they behave differently and make different choices. However, I don’t see how this is something that is unequivocally bad because there are trade-offs. Women earn less than men, but are more satisified with their life.

            Women earn less because they work different jobs. The calculation used to show the wage gap is about as dishonest as statistics can get.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.” — Megan McArdle

          • keranih says:

            @ Jill –

            You said:

            Why do you think such huge percentages of women have gone into professions such as law, medicine, science and engineering in the last few decades, as compared to the previous few?

            To me, the far more interesting question is why are there huge differences in the percentage of women who have gone into medicine and health-related professions vs the percentage who have gone into (equally male dominated) professions such as physics, construction, and truck driving? We can agree that there were social pressures that across the board limited the number of women in the work force. When those pressures lifted, why did women only enter some professions, and not all of them?

            Edit – forgot to add this link to a 1970s to 2010 comparison of occupation segregation.

          • John Schilling says:

            I seem to recall that in yeast experiments, the required number of generations was in the many tens of thousands. Have there been anything like enough generations for something like human diversity to take form, since our racial populations diverged?

            Yeast reproduce asexually, which tends to greatly reduce the rate of evolutionary adaptation. They do have an alternate mode of sexual reproduction that emerges under environmental stress, but even then they aren’t very good at it and don’t do it too often. Possibly on account of the inherent creepiness of being fungi.

            So, a thousand or so yeast-generations, but only a fraction of those are the evolutionarily-useful sexual type. As others have noted, mammals under stress can show significant evolutionary adaptation in ten generations or so.

          • John Schilling says:

            “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.”

            You’ve also lost the power to learn from them, because why should anyone try to teach you anything new when you are doing such a good impression of not listening?

            All you can do is live in your bubble, and maybe wear yourself out preaching at the “ignorant masses” outside. The bubble is more comfortable.

          • Jill says:

            “You keep attacking a position nobody is arguing for and ignoring the position actually being argued for–straw manning at the extreme. I can’t tell if you are unable to understand the views of people who disagree with you or if your real position is one you are unwilling to defend in public.”

            Interesting. I would say the same about you. I also find you to be rather insulting and demanding. And I’m hearing you accuse me more than once, of accusing other people of being racist, which I have not done.

            There are lots of people on this board who aren’t insulting, demanding or accusatory– or at least not very often. So I prefer to converse with them instead.

            If you want to entice someone into a discussion with you, you have a strange way of doing it. However, I don’t imagine you are aware that you are doing these things at all. So there’s nothing that can really be communicated here, as usual.

            The best of luck to you and those who get something out of discussing matters with you. I don’t think I am ever going to be one of them.

          • ChetC3 says:

            Once you start going on about Truth you’ve already convinced most people you’re a hopeless zealot.

          • “And I’m hearing you accuse me more than once, of accusing other people of being racist, which I have not done.”

            The beginning of this was your explanation of why someone who believed in HBD and said so might get a hostile reception. That explanation took it for granted that “believe in HBD” meant thinking that some races were inferior, should not be allowed to vote, should not be allowed to hold some jobs. I think most people, including you, would describe that view as racist. You don’t have to use the word.

            You then repeatedly attacked the view that every member of a race was inferior, a view nobody here was proposing. Probably also within your definition of racist.

            But if you are unwilling to respond to my arguments, for whatever reason, not arguing with me may be prudent.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            For a very knowledgable academic, you can be surprisingly uncharitable in debate/discussion.

            Sometimes I think it’s because you can’t imagine where the other person is coming from. But much of the time I feel like it’s motivated by a desire to “crush your enemy” … or something.

            Here is the question, then. Is the following a central example of a position held by those who ascribe to “HBD”?

            “1 in 5 American blacks are borderline retarded and the average Sub-Saharan black is borderline retarded.”

          • @HeelBearCub:

            It’s possible that your explanation is correct, but from my side if feels like frustration at someone who refuses to respond to the argument. Over and over again. Possibly linked to my being an academic and so not expecting people to behave like that.

            So far as your question, I don’t know what makes something qualify as a central position. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people who believe in HBD would say that.

            But even if every believer in HBD believed that it would not justify Jill’s version since it does not imply anything about all blacks.

            I’m waiting for someone to point at a believer in HBD who thinks Thomas Sowell is of below average IQ.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            Jill seems to me like she is not familiar with many of the “standard” conservative arguments. I think she some times glosses over points because of this. (Sorry to talk about you in the third person, Jill. This is just my impression, I could be wrong.)

            “since it does not imply anything about all blacks.”
            I assume you are saying it doesn’t imply anything about any individual black person.

            All, I can say is that, assuming -2SD IQ among Sub-Saharans is a central HBD position, it is certainly saying something about the vast majority of people. Saying 95% of Sub-Saharans aren’t as intelligent as someone in the lowest 6% of American whites is a pretty large claim. I mean, that would put a huge chunk of Africans in group homes if they lived here.

            And I have seen the 2 SD claim not infrequently. I believe it is bog-standard in self-described HBD circles. Do you have some evidence to the contrary?

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            2 standard deviations isn’t the HBD position. 2 standard deviations is what the current IQ tests results are.

            That doesn’t mean the genetic IQ is 2 standard deviations below; I don’t think the HBDers (or mainstream genetics evidence) has come up with a definite value as much as a range.

          • “Jill seems to me like she is not familiar with many of the “standard” conservative arguments.”

            Or libertarian arguments. Or, so far as I can judge, any serious arguments against her standard model progressive orthodoxy. A few days ago I described her to someone else who reads the blog as pleasant but naive.

            That explains the first time that she responded to someone by explaining that it wasn’t surprising if people reacted negatively to his telling them that members of some racial groups shouldn’t be allowed to vote or have the same rights as other people. That, presumably, is what people on the left believe that people on the right believe.

            But she kept on ignoring straightforward arguments, never responding to them, imputing to other people arguments they hadn’t made. At some point naivete becomes an inadequate explanation.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            In reading back, Jill’s position seems to (roughly) be that a) every child should be treated individually and as close to optimally as possible, b1) this is not happening, b2) and poverty disproportionately affects black children c) therefore, the deviations in outcomes pointed to by HBD advocates aren’t good evidence of innate differences, d) therefore, saying there are innate differences is to call blacks inferior, e) which sounds an awful lot like arguments that were made in the recent past.

            But, people want to concentrate on (d) and (e) rather than the whole chain.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Samuel Skinner:
            If the 2 SDs isn’t the genetic difference, and we don’t know how much of the difference is genetic, then why would one claim to know that there is a genetic difference at all? The whole argument (we know blacks have innately lower IQ) falls apart, doesn’t it?

          • Anonymous says:

            a) every child should be treated individually and as close to optimally as possible, b1) this is not happening,

            It’s not happening because it’s impractical, unless you want to advocate homeschooling. (Which is a decent proposition in its own right.)

            b2) and poverty disproportionately affects black children

            If we take “whites” as the standard, AFAIK, every racial grouping is going to have a different rate of affectedness vs whites.

            c) therefore, the deviations in outcomes pointed to by HBD advocates aren’t good evidence of innate differences,

            How does that follow? White children aren’t being catered to specially here – they attend the same mass education facilities as black children, Asian children and Hispanic children.

            d) therefore, saying there are innate differences is to call blacks inferior,

            Inasmuch one considers differences in intelligence grounds for the “inferior” label.

            e) which sounds an awful lot like arguments that were made in the recent past.

            Guilt by association, eh?

          • “therefore, the deviations in outcomes pointed to by HBD advocates aren’t good evidence of innate differences,”

            This has the argument backwards. The claim isn’t “deviations in outcome are good evidence of innate differences.” It’s “there is evidence for innate differences and there are reasons to expect them, hence differences in outcome are not good evidence of the existence or magnitude of discrimination.”

            I thought I had made that point several times over already. The bog standard argument assumes that differences in outcome must be due to discrimination. Once you recognize that innate differences may exist, that assumption becomes indefensible. You then have to either provide evidence that, in this case, innate differences are too small to explain much of the difference in outcome, which nobody seems prepared to do, or concede that you do not know how much, if any, of the cause of different outcomes is discrimination. Which Jill and those who agree with her seem unwilling to do.

            Or insist that differences in outcome must be due to discrimination and anyone who denies it is a bad person.

            Jill mentioned the controversy over a talk by Larry Summers in which he discussed why there were relatively few women professors in fields such as math. He suggested that one possible reason, in addition to discrimination and women being less willing to make the commitment in time that success in such fields required, was that the variance in relevant abilities was greater for men than for women, hence more men at the very high (and, although I don’t know if he said, low) end of the distribution.

            And for offering that possibility he was ferociously attacked. The position isn’t “You can’t be sure innate differences are responsible,” which is true, it’s “You can’t consider the possibility that innate differences might be responsible.” And, if you do, should be punished.

            Even when, as in that case, there is evidence for the relevant difference.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            No, I don’t think I have the argument backwards. We see large differences in outcomes between blacks and whites and HBD advocates assert this is essentially due to innate differences.

            This is very different than asserting that some portion, perhaps very tiny, perhaps large, we don’t know, and we can’t draw an conclusions is due to innate differences in some sub-population which we can’t precisely define.

            Do I need to go find some examples of the people who are asserting the measured 2SD deviation in IQ in the Sub-Saharan population is due to innate differences? Would that change your position?

            The Larry Summers brouhaha is perhaps not so illustrative because he was (more or less) speaking off the cuff and therefore has no prepared speech text to fall back on to show what he meant one way or the other. But my understanding is that he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop. In addition, he said multiple times that he was “trying to provoke”, which suggests that he was trying to be offensive (in some way). Acting surprised when people were then offended seems , well, asinine.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            HBD advocates assert this is essentially due to innate differences

            gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences

            Can you see the difference between these positions, and why one who speaks the latter may be displeased at being accused of the worst behavior of those who speak the former?

            How likely is someone who says “I think there are statistically significant gender and race differences in preference and innate ability” to be labeled an HBD advocate, despite not saying all that other stuff you object to and not self-identifying as such? How might this contribute to a usage different than the one you’re proposing?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            You should parse what I wrote as “might be completely the result of innate differences”.

            Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

          • @HBC:

            “We see large differences in outcomes between blacks and whites and HBD advocates assert this is essentially due to innate differences.”

            What you wrote and I responded to was:

            “therefore, the deviations in outcomes pointed to by HBD advocates aren’t good evidence of innate differences,”

            Which implies that the HBD advocates claimed the deviations in outcome were good evidence of innate differences. That was what I described as getting the argument backwards.

            Can you point at someone who deduces the innate differences from the differences in outcomes?

            A different claim would be “Here is the evidence for innate differences. They are large enough to fully explain the differences in outcomes.” I don’t know if anyone says that, but it wouldn’t astonish me. It doesn’t prove there is no discrimination, but, if true, it proves that the outcome differences are at most weak evidence for discrimination.

            The case where such an argument might be doable, at least approximately, is gender. You could calculate what percentage of math professors at top schools were female, somehow estimate how far out on the tail of the distribution math professors at top schools are, use the data on the IQ distribution to estimate the m/f ratio that far out on the tail, and compare. There are a lot of problems with that argument, but it would at least tell you whether it was plausible that that explained much of the difference.

            In the general case, I don’t see how you could do anything much more than demonstrate the existence of substantial innate differences.

            Perhaps you can point me at web pages that provide evidence of exactly what argument people who identify as believers in HBD make? I’m judging by what arguments I have seen online.

            I don’t think I have seen anyone say “we observe that black students have SAT scores two standard deviations below white students, that shows us how large the innate difference in ability between the races is,” which I think would correspond to the argument you are attributing to them.

          • (about Larry Summers)

            “But my understanding is that he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop. ”

            According to the summaries I saw, he offered three possible explanations. That was one of them. Presumably if that’s a possible explanation, it could be the entire explanation.

            Why do you find that offensive, assuming you do? Do you disagree with the factual claim that for some measurable traits (I think the example is IQ) the female distribution is tighter than the male distribution? If that is true, wouldn’t it provide an explanation for fewer women than men who were very good mathematicians? If so, is there some reason people should pretend it doesn’t?

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            If the 2 SDs isn’t the genetic difference, and we don’t know how much of the difference is genetic, then why would one claim to know that there is a genetic difference at all? The whole argument (we know blacks have innately lower IQ) falls apart, doesn’t it?

            This may shock you, but there are black people who don’t live in Africa.

          • Anonymous says:

            The case where such an argument might be doable, at least approximately, is gender. You could calculate what percentage of math professors at top schools were female, somehow estimate how far out on the tail of the distribution math professors at top schools are, use the data on the IQ distribution to estimate the m/f ratio that far out on the tail, and compare. There are a lot of problems with that argument, but it would at least tell you whether it was plausible that that explained much of the difference.

            La Griffe du Lion did just that.
            http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math.htm
            http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math2.htm

          • Anonymous says:

            You should parse what I wrote as “might be completely the result of innate differences”.

            I believe that HBD is true, and that statement is wrong. “Mostly” is as far as it goes.

            If you want to read someone who believes in HBD (indeed, advocates it) and isn’t a Death Eater, look up JayMan’s blog.

            https://jaymans.wordpress.com/jaymans-race-inheritance-and-iq-f-a-q-f-r-b/
            https://jaymans.wordpress.com/hbd-fundamentals/

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            “Why do you find that offensive, assuming you do?”

            I was talking about how people at the conference reacted and potentially why. You can’t just ignore the part where I pointed to Sumners being intentionally offensive (he indicated that his intent was to provoke people). No one should be surprised if he succeeded at offending people.

            This is one of the things that drives me up the wall when having a conversation with you. You take one sentence and ignore everything else and then pound it like you are on debate team.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            You should parse what I wrote as “might be completely the result of innate differences”.

            Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

            I was talking about how people at the conference reacted and potentially why. You can’t just ignore the part where I pointed to Sumners being intentionally offensive (he indicated that his intent was to provoke people). No one should be surprised if he succeeded at offending people.

            He offered three explanations, phrasing it as solely advocating for the one you like the least is disingenuous. Yes, some people behave irrationally (i.e. ignoring the other explanations), a rational person should expect that some people will behave irrationally. That does not excuse the irrational behavior, however. Bad things are still bad even if they’re predictable.

            One of the three explanations (the limited pool of women to draw on) is so empirically strong as to be beyond arguing. One of the three (women focus on raising children which harms their ability to compete) is ostensibly sexist (innate gender difference in preference), but is again borne out by the evidence, to the point that feminist lobby groups advocate for maternity leave and support for children’s day-care to help women have careers. Even the third explanation has evidence supporting it, though not to the degree the other two do.

            Additionally, you are repeatedly focusing on “HBD” as it is practiced by the most objectionable group of people who adopt the term (“1 in 5 American blacks are borderline retarded and the average Sub-Saharan black is borderline retarded.”). However, none of the people in this thread have advocated for that particular brand of “HBD”, and the existence of people who ascribe to “HBD” and do not agree with the aforementioned highly objectionable people is sufficient evidence for the category “HBD but not absurdly racist” to exist. Furthermore, you have not answered the question about people accusing others of being proponents of “HBD” for holding positions far less objectionable than the ones you keep pointing at.

            Finally, I posit that there is an important difference between believing in “HBD” and holding one’s belief in “HBD” to be a central identity, and that focusing on the latter category of people is deliberately weak-manning the concept of “HBD”. That’s like criticizing science because science fans keep getting science wrong.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            “He offered three explanations, phrasing it as solely advocating for the one you like the least is disingenuous.”

            You seem to be ignoring some of the words I am using, which leads to you incorrectly parsing my statement. First you ignored “full stop”, now you are ignoring “might”. Clearly if I have the word “might” it admits that there are other possibilities (although I didn’t explicitly say they were discussed). I also said I didn’t think the Summers flap was particularly illustrative. I think it depends too much on reported impressions, and Summers can’t point at an actual text of his remarks.

            IOW, the Summers flap is not a very good example of a central position on HBD. I’m not even sure he describes himself as an HBD proponent.

            As to your point about me arguing against HBD positions not being advocated by anyone here: a) The question is not whether anyone here is doing it, but whether it is the central position of those who label themselves HBD proponents, and b) the OP that onyomi wrote was asking why there was a reaction against the term or a reluctance to use it, which necessarily depends on the central perception of the phrase, not even the central use.

            Finally, I want to point out that in this sub-thread I came in mostly because I thought Friedman was doing a bad job of parsing Jill’s argument. A fair amount of the conversation confuses my summation of what I presume to be Jill’s position as if it was my own. My position would be more nuanced than Jill’s.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            You seem to be ignoring some of the words I am using, which leads to you incorrectly parsing my statement. First you ignored “full stop”, now you are ignoring “might”. Clearly if I have the word “might” it admits that there are other possibilities (although I didn’t explicitly say they were discussed). I also said I didn’t think the Summers flap was particularly illustrative. I think it depends too much on reported impressions, and Summers can’t point at an actual text of his remarks.

            No, I didn’t ignore your words, I picked the verb “to phrase” and the adjective “disingenuous” very carefully. Firstly, “full stop” wasn’t part of the sourced article, and the fact that he proposed 3 mechanisms suggests that he thinks the outcome is a result of all 3 mechanisms. Secondly, what you chose to omit in your summary matters, and that your word choice technically allows for the truth does not justify the spurious focus.

            In fact, a direct quote of Summers from the article: “The real issue is the overall size of the pool, and it’s less clear how much the size of the pool was held down by discrimination.”.

            You were framing for heat instead of light.

            a) The question is not whether anyone here is doing it

            Bullshit, this whole comment chain started because Jill implied that Anonymous Comment believed some races “are inferior– and said or implied that people in your category ought not be allowed to vote or go to a university or own property or have certain types of jobs or have various other rights etc.”.

            whether it is the central position of those who label themselves HBD proponents

            Then the people you are defending are begging the question, because it has not been determined that “1 in 5 American blacks are borderline retarded and the average Sub-Saharan black is borderline retarded” is a central HBD position. I have seen the assertion, but not the evidence to back it up, beyond pointing to the non-zero number of people who hold said position (contrasted with the non-zero number of people who don’t hold the position).

            You have again not answered the question regarding the label “HBD” being weaponized against far less objectionable positions. I assert that it does get weaponized that way, and people who don’t have prior exposure to the term, because they do not hang out with horrible racists on the internet, will understandably adopt a definition that denotes something far less objectionable than “horrible racism”.

            Finally, I want to point out that in this sub-thread I came in mostly because I thought Friedman was doing a bad job of parsing Jill’s argument. A fair amount of the conversation confuses my summation of what I presume to be Jill’s position as if it was my own. My position would be more nuanced than Jill’s.

            In case you missed it, Jill didn’t know what HBD meant, so Jill couldn’t have been confused by a non-central usage of “HBD”, even assuming your definition of central “HBD” is correct. The definition given was not the highly objectionable version. Your constant references to the highly objectionable version are irrelevant.

            Jill implied Anonymous Comment thought certain races “ought not be allowed to vote or go to a university or own property or have certain types of jobs or have various other rights etc.” because they said they believed that “significant genetic differences exist between identifiable racial clusters, and these genetic differences lead to meaningful phenotypical differences in abilities, temperaments, and measurable qualities and outcomes.”.

            If Jill did not mean to cause such offense, she may wish to choose her words more carefully in the future. For example, if she wishes to communicate that other people are making assumptions, she should say “they assume you also hold [MEAN BELIEF]”, not “if you hold [MEAN BELEIF]”. A conditional statement is only explanatory if the antecedent is true or the consequent is false, and we know the consequent is true (that people are upset at Anonymous Comment for his beliefs); therefor, by Grice’s Maxim of Relevance, Jill was asserting the antecedent.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            “therefor, by Grice’s Maxim of Relevance, Jill was asserting the antecedent.”

            OK, I actually laughed here.

            I don’t think Jill is very good at argument. I don’t think she parses statements very carefully. I don’t think she has absorbed the source material of what she is arguing about. I don’t think she uses language carefully. I’m not sure if my opinion on that matters to you or not.

            But, none of that should necessarily prevent us from steel-manning or strong-manning what she is saying.

            As to your problems with my statement about Summers, let me go back and repeat the sentence in full: “But my understanding is that he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop.”

            So, I put lots and lots of caveats in that statement. I wasn’t even referring to the article that Jill linked. Just to my understanding of the the origin of the brouhaha. Further I said (twice now) that I didn’t think it was a good example of anything!

            As to the quotes directly from Summers, those are given to the Globe after the whole thing has become an issue, so they don’t tell us what he actually said in the conference.

            As to whether the phrase “HBD” is “weaponized”, I don’t know. My suspicion is that the people who say “HBD” (probably on both the pro and the con side) the loudest have turned it into a polarizing and simplistic term.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            Steel-manning is not done to excuse the behavior of less thoughtful commenters. An insult is still an insult, even if the argument can be made without it. Insulting language is still objectionable even if the commenter doesn’t consciously realize it’s insulting; to forgive ignorance first requires acknowledgement that there was an offense to forgive.

            You’re correct that you did not literally say that Lawrence Summers said that gender differences in Academic field selection are be the result of innate differences. On the other hand, can you understand how phrasing “Dr Summers offered three explanations for the shortage of women in senior posts in science and engineering” as “he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be completely the result of innate differences” might give the impression to some that you were asserting fault with Summers and not with the people who ignored the other two explanations?

            Edited to add:

            Transcript of Summers

            Vindication!

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ anonymous

            Thanks for posting that link. Here is what
            Ctl-C found when I searched for ‘provo’.

            I asked Richard, when he invited me to come here and speak, whether he wanted an institutional talk about Harvard’s policies toward diversity or whether he wanted some questions asked and some attempts at provocation, because I was willing to do the second and didn’t feel like doing the first. And so we have agreed that I am speaking unofficially
            ….
            And I think one sees relatively little evidence of that. So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is
            ….
            I will have served my purpose if I have provoked thought on this question and provoked the marshalling of evidence to contradict what I have said.

          • “You can’t just ignore the part where I pointed to Sumners being intentionally offensive (he indicated that his intent was to provoke people). No one should be surprised if he succeeded at offending people.”

            Being provocative doesn’t translate as being offensive.

            We know about what he said. Whether or not he thought it would offend people, the question is still why people would be offended at it.

            “This is one of the things that drives me up the wall when having a conversation with you. You take one sentence and ignore everything else and then pound it like you are on debate team.”

            If I give a detailed response to everything in your comment and you give a detailed response to everything in my response and … the length of our comments will grow exponentially. Also very fast.

            I respond to what I have something I want to respond to. So far as “hammering,” when I make an argument I think important and get no response, I keep trying. Either the other person didn’t follow my argument, in which case I should explain it again, or he is deliberately evading because he has no response, in which case he should be (verbally) hammered.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @houseboatonstyxb
            Some selected excerpts of said “provocation”:

            That’s not a judgment about how it should be, not a judgment about what they should expect. But it seems to me that it is very hard to look at the data and escape the conclusion that that expectation is meeting with the choices that people make and is contributing substantially to the outcomes that we observe. […] Now that begs entirely the normative questions-which I’ll get to a little later-of, is our society right to expect that level of effort from people who hold the most prominent jobs? Is our society right to have familial arrangements in which women are asked to make that choice and asked more to make that choice than men? Is our society right to ask of anybody to have a prominent job at this level of intensity, and I think those are all questions that I want to come back to.

            So my sense is that the unfortunate truth-I would far prefer to believe something else, because it would be easier to address what is surely a serious social problem if something else were true-is that the combination of the high-powered job hypothesis and the differing variances probably explains a fair amount of this problem.

            The most controversial in a way, question, and the most difficult question to judge, is what is the role of discrimination? To what extent is there overt discrimination? Surely there is some. Much more tellingly, to what extent are there pervasive patterns of passive discrimination and stereotyping in which people like to choose people like themselves, and the people in the previous group are disproportionately white male, and so they choose people who are like themselves, who are disproportionately white male. No one who’s been in a university department or who has been involved in personnel processes can deny that this kind of taste does go on, and it is something that happens, and it is something that absolutely, vigorously needs to be combated.

            First, it would be very useful to know, with hard data, what the quality of marginal hires are when major diversity efforts are mounted. When major diversity efforts are mounted, and consciousness is raised, and special efforts are made, and you look five years later at the quality of the people who have been hired during that period, how many are there who have turned out to be much better than the institutional norm who wouldn’t have been found without a greater search. And how many of them are plausible compromises that aren’t unreasonable, and how many of them are what the right-wing critics of all of this suppose represent clear abandonments of quality standards. I don’t know the answer, but I think if people want to move the world on this question, they have to be willing to ask the question in ways that could face any possible answer that came out.
            […]
            Second, what about objective versus subjective factors in hiring? I’ve been exposed, by those who want to see the university hiring practices changed to favor women more and to assure more diversity, to two very different views. One group has urged that we make the processes consistently more clear-cut and objective, based on papers, numbers of papers published, numbers of articles cited, objectivity, measurement of performance, no judgments of potential, no reference to other things, because if it’s made more objective, the subjectivity that is associated with discrimination and which invariably works to the disadvantage of minority groups will not be present. I’ve also been exposed to exactly the opposite view, that those criteria and those objective criteria systematically bias the comparisons away from many attributes that those who contribute to the diversity have: a greater sense of collegiality, a greater sense of institutional responsibility. Somebody ought to be able to figure out the answer to the question of, if you did it more objectively versus less objectively, what would happen. Then you can debate whether you should or whether you shouldn’t, if objective or subjective is better. But that question ought to be a question that has an answer, that people can find.

            Let me just conclude by saying that I’ve given you my best guesses after a fair amount of reading the literature and a lot of talking to people. They may be all wrong. I will have served my purpose if I have provoked thought on this question and provoked the marshalling of evidence to contradict what I have said. But I think we all need to be thinking very hard about how to do better on these issues and that they are too important to sentimentalize rather than to think about in as rigorous and careful ways as we can. That’s why I think conferences like this are very, very valuable. Thank you.

          • “I’m not even sure he describes himself as an HBD proponent.”

            I’m pretty sure Summers doesn’t. But Jill offered his case as evidence of the terrible consequences of HBD beliefs. That’s where he came into the argument.

            “As to your point about me arguing against HBD positions not being advocated by anyone here: a) The question is not whether anyone here is doing it, but whether it is the central position of those who label themselves HBD proponents, and b) the OP that onyomi wrote was asking why there was a reaction against the term or a reluctance to use it, which necessarily depends on the central perception of the phrase, not even the central use.”

            If I remember the sequence correctly, someone posted that he couldn’t describe his (HBD) beliefs without getting attacked, and was bothered by that.

            Jill’s reply assumed that the beliefs he expressed included people of some races not being allowed to vote or to take some jobs, and pointed out that it wasn’t surprising if he was attacked for expressing those views.

            That struck me as a wildly distorted picture of HBD beliefs, so I said so. I offered Jill a similarly distorted picture someone might have of progressive beliefs to try to convey how wildly and unfairly distorted I thought her picture was, but she didn’t respond.

            If my memory of the sequence is correct, the question is either what views the original commenter had expressed, which we don’t know, or what views one might reasonably think he had expressed. I don’t believe the view Jill described in explaining why people would react negatively to it was anything close to a plausible guess at the latter. It was as if Jill described herself as a progressive and someone responded on the assumption that that meant a Stalinist.

            At a later stage in the argument, Jill was interpreting the view she was arguing against–I’m not clear if it was supposed to be mine or some generic HBD believer’s–as being that all individuals of a race were inferior. I never did get a response from anyone pointing me at an HBD supporter who thought Thomas Sowell had a below average IQ, which is what that would imply.

          • ” Clearly if I have the word “might” it admits that there are other possibilities (although I didn’t explicitly say they were discussed).”

            I think I, if not ID, read that correctly. The obvious question is why saying “here are three possible explanations, for all we know any one of them might explain the entire difference” would offend anyone.

            So far as your view that Summers was trying to offend people, what he said is perhaps relevant:

            “Summers opened his remarks by saying that he had been asked to be provocative, and he noted that women in science are not the only group “whose underrepresentation contributes to a shortage of role models for others who are considering being in that group.” For example, he said that statistics would reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture.”

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ InferentialDistance

            Maybe I should have added my personal opinion to my quotes from Summers.

            Ctl-F found four instances of ‘provo’. Three of them were things like ‘provoke discussion’ or ‘provoke gathering of evidence’. The fourth did not have that kind of predicate noun. It could be read either in the same way as the other three, or as an outlier indicating ‘annoy’ or ‘anger’ instead. The latter seems very unlikely (though there may have been a shade of it, suggesting ‘ get you interested’, ‘motivate you’, ‘challenge you’ to give him the arguments/evidence he is requesting.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            To all, re Larry Summers:
            First, thanks for the transcript. Second, I don’t think there is vindication in there for you, Inferential Distance.

            His three reasons for female underrepresentation, he summarized as (at the beginning): the job is “high powered”, “aptitude”, and finally “socialization” and “discrimination in search”. And then he says, “And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.”

            So he starts off by saying, he isn’t speaking as the Harvard president because he wants to be provocative, and then he says his opinion is that discrimination is the least of the issues (and implicitly says that discrimination once hired isn’t an issue at all).

            No one should be surprised that some people at the conference took that as “women don’t want to work hard, they aren’t smart enough, and, sure, they get some unfair discrimination”.

            I will just say that if you are trying to get people to listen to what you are saying this is a remarkably bad start. And some people at that point stopped listening to him.

            And this is not just a problem with the summary, because in the part of the speech where he addresses socialization and discrimination, he is essentially dismissing it as a possible explanation. Where he discusses the high-power part of the job, the entire thing is predicated on the idea that women innately can’t work as hard without being childless. The entire speech, taken as a whole, really does give the impression that he thinks that women, on average, have a lower ability to excel in the fields in which they are underrepresented, and if their is anything to be done about it, we will need to make the job somehow easier. But he very much wishes that this is not so and that he should be proved wrong, of course.

            And this could be true! I happen to think that both overt and unconscious discrimination plays a bigger part than he thinks, but that’s neither here nor there. However, to say his speech wasn’t fairly characterized is just plain wrong.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub
            For a self-identified charitable reader, you can be surprisingly uncharitable in debate/discussion.

            Sometimes I think it’s because you can’t imagine where the other person is coming from. But much of the time I feel like it’s motivated by a desire to “crush your enemy” … or something.

            Here is the question, then. Is the following a central example of a statement that might give the impression to some that one is asserting that gender differences in Academic field be completely the result of innate differences?

            “The most controversial in a way, question, and the most difficult question to judge, is what is the role of discrimination? To what extent is there overt discrimination? Surely there is some. Much more tellingly, to what extent are there pervasive patterns of passive discrimination and stereotyping in which people like to choose people like themselves, and the people in the previous group are disproportionately white male, and so they choose people who are like themselves, who are disproportionately white male. No one who’s been in a university department or who has been involved in personnel processes can deny that this kind of taste does go on, and it is something that happens, and it is something that absolutely, vigorously needs to be combated.”

            ——

            I mean, you’ve literally walked back from “gave the impression that gender differences in Academic field might be completely the result of innate differences” to “gave the impression that discrimination might account for less than 50% of gender differences in Academic field”, but without acknowledging the distinction.

            I will just say that if you are trying to get people to listen to what you are saying this is a remarkably bad start. And some people at this point will stop listening to you.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            And some people at that point stopped listening to him.
            […]
            However, to say his speech wasn’t fairly characterized is just plain wrong.

            Are you asserting that refusing to listen to what a person says is fair and charitable interpretation?

            Edited to add:

            No one should be surprised that some people at the conference took that as “women don’t want to work hard, they aren’t smart enough, and, sure, they get some unfair discrimination”.

            Again, bad behavior does not magically become good merely because it is predictable. That’s victim blaming, and you should know better.

            And this is not just a problem with the summary, because in the part of the speech where he addresses socialization and discrimination, he is essentially dismissing it as a possible explanation.

            No, he literally says that discrimination is absolutely, 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a thing that exists and needs to be addressed. What he does is dismiss it as the majority contributor to outcome. As in, he asserts that discrimination accounts for less than 50% of difference in outcome. To phrase that as “dismissing it as a possible explanation” is incredibly uncharitable.

            The entire speech, taken as a whole, really does give the impression that he thinks that women, on average, have a lower ability to excel in the fields in which they are underrepresented

            because that’s what the evidence says! Leaving out that part is super, mega, insanely unfair. Deliberately leaving out the evidence is mischaracterizing the speech, because it makes “he’s a horrible sexist” as likely as “he followed the evidence” (more likely, given most people’s priors). “The evidence shows this outcome is to be expected even in the absence of bias” is extremely non-central sexism, and framing it as central sexism is the height of bullshitting.

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ HBC

            I very much disagree with you, on many points. Here are a few of the shortest.

            You are using the word ‘hard’ for what he called ‘high powered jobs’. That’s mischaracterization. He is not talking about difficulty of the work, but about the long hours required (including home time on call). Remember the striking junior doctors?

            “Where he discusses the high-power part of the job, the entire thing is predicated on the idea that women innately can’t work as hard [ie as long hours] without being childless.”
            For this there is good evidence: a survey of women at the higher levels that showed that very strong pattern (Summers may have cited it).

            “and if their is anything to be done about it, we will need to make the job somehow easier.”
            ‘Easier’ is parallel with ‘hard/harder’, but distorts Summers’s meaning of ‘high-powered’ jobs even worse. ‘Hard’ is sort of a generic referring to any sort of difficulty or problem, so ‘long hours’ may fit under it. But ‘easier’ does not stretch that far that, er, easily

            “And some people at that point stopped listening to him.”
            There, I agree with you. As a 1970s feminist, I disagree with them. As professional women, they should have listened and got the right version (to rebut as requested).

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            I am trying, perhaps unsuccessfully, to say two separate and distinct things:
            1) Larry Summers should not have been surprised by people taking offense and being unreceptive to the message of his speech. He started out in a way that was highly likely to prime some chunk of his audience to reject his message. That was my suspicion based on what people said after the fact and now that I have the transcript I view this suspicion as confirmed. This is essentially a stylistic critique, and therefore doesn’t make it actually a very good measure of any substantive arguments about “HBD” .

            2) Now that I have a full transcript of the speech, it appears that it is not even correct to assert that Summers views discrimination as an important or substantive factor in determining gender ratios in STEM academic representation.

            The part of the speech you quoted the beginning of is fairly explicit on this. The part you quote condemns discrimination when it occurs. I don’t think it is fair to say that Summers agrees with or condones discrimination. If that is what you understood me to be saying, I apologize for not being clear enough.

            But let’s quote the conclusion of that section:
            So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.

            Clearly Summers is saying that discrimination and socialization pressures exist, but that they don’t matter much compared to the other issues. Note that he says that factors 1 and 2 are “by far” responsible for gender imbalance. He repeats the phrase “to provoke you”, which indicates that he is being deliberate in causing anger, annoyance or some other strong emotion, by the dictionary definition. He is dismissing discrimination as an important factor and he knows that will make people mad. But he isn’t being provocative by saying something he doesn’t believe but thinks needs to be addressed. He specifically rejects that by repeating several times that he believes what he is saying.

            I’m not trying to “crush” Larry Summers. I admitted that what he is saying is possibly true! (although I don’t find it likely and I think is contraindicated by other evidence). I’m trying to accurately parse what he said.

            Am I trying “crush” you? Probably a little bit. I am human after all.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @houseboatonstyxb:
            You reject the word, hard, and I’m fine with that. I don’t think “high-powered” is any less an emotionally loaded term, though. I just think it’s just loaded in a way that Summers wanted and thought was in his favor.

            But changing the word “hard” to some other word, doesn’t, I think, actually change anything about what I wrote. Summers clearly views innate differences between males and females as responsible, “by far”, for the gender imbalance in representation in the field.

            Again, I admitted this might be true! But it’s not correct to say it is not the view Summers is espousing.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            I am trying, perhaps unsuccessfully, to say two separate and distinct things:
            1) Larry Summers should not have been surprised by people taking offense and being unreceptive to the message of his speech. He started out in a way that was highly likely to prime some chunk of his audience to reject his message. That was my suspicion based on what people said after the fact and now that I have the transcript I view this suspicion as confirmed. This is essentially a stylistic critique, and therefore doesn’t make it actually a very good measure of any substantive arguments about “HBD”.

            No, I get what you’re saying. There are indeed people who will take offence at phrases like “the evidence seems to indicate a conclusion you find abhorrent”. I just don’t think “X believes abhorrent conclusion” to be a charitable phrasing of the prior statement.

            For example, from the first paragraph, before he has said anything about innate differences between men and women:

            “To take a set of diverse examples, the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture. These are all phenomena in which one observes underrepresentation, and I think it’s important to try to think systematically and clinically about the reasons for underrepresentation.”

            Which seems quite clearly to me to be priming for “follow the evidence” and “not all difference in outcome are the result of vile discrimination”. And rather than disagree with the evidence (e.g. assert Jews are kept out of farming by the anti-semitic agriculture corporations’ discriminatory behavior), people choose to cherry pick the most objectionable statements.

            2) Now that I have a full transcript of the speech, it appears that it is not even correct to assert that Summers views discrimination as an important or substantive factor in determining gender ratios in STEM academic representation.

            The part of the speech you quoted the beginning of is fairly explicit on this. The part you quote condemns discrimination when it occurs. I don’t think it is fair to say that Summers agrees with or condones discrimination. If that is what you understood me to be saying, I apologize for not being clear enough.

            But let’s quote the conclusion of that section:
            “So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.”

            Clearly Summers is saying that discrimination and socialization pressures exist, but that they don’t matter much compared to the other issues. Note that he says that factors 1 and 2 are “by far” responsible for gender imbalance. He repeats the phrase “to provoke you”, which indicates that he is being deliberate in causing anger, annoyance or some other strong emotion, by the dictionary definition. He is dismissing discrimination as an important factor and he knows that will make people mad. But he isn’t being provocative by saying something he doesn’t believe but thinks needs to be addressed. He specifically rejects that by repeating several times that he believes what he is saying.

            “Lesser” does not mean “irrelevent”, “by far” does not mean that the other is insignificant. If different willingness to work obscenely long hours accounts for 40% of the outcome, and different ability at the extreme end of the ability curve accounts for 35% of outcome, that leaves 25% of the outcome to be determined by discrimination and sexists socialization. This breakdown satisfies the first two factors being “by far” more significant (three times as much effect, 75 = 3 * 25), shows the last as the lesser (40 > 35 > 25), would mean that sexism is not dominant (25 < 50), and show the first two factors as dominant (75 > 66 > 50, greater than even a two-thirds majority). And sexism accounting for 25% of difference in outcome would still be significant, would still be important, would still be in dire need of being addressed.

            Treating “X is much more important than Y” as equivalent to “Y is not important” is wrong. It is doubly wrong when the person explicitly says “Y is also important”.

            Following up on this, Summers mentions:
            “Second, what about objective versus subjective factors in hiring? I’ve been exposed, by those who want to see the university hiring practices changed to favor women more and to assure more diversity, to two very different views. One group has urged that we make the processes consistently more clear-cut and objective, based on papers, numbers of papers published, numbers of articles cited, objectivity, measurement of performance, no judgments of potential, no reference to other things, because if it’s made more objective, the subjectivity that is associated with discrimination and which invariably works to the disadvantage of minority groups will not be present. I’ve also been exposed to exactly the opposite view, that those criteria and those objective criteria systematically bias the comparisons away from many attributes that those who contribute to the diversity have: a greater sense of collegiality, a greater sense of institutional responsibility. Somebody ought to be able to figure out the answer to the question of, if you did it more objectively versus less objectively, what would happen. Then you can debate whether you should or whether you shouldn’t, if objective or subjective is better. But that question ought to be a question that has an answer, that people can find.”

            As in, “here are two mutually exclusive methods to decrease the difference in outcome between the genders; one requires that women and men have no innate difference in ability, and compensates for subjective bias against women; one requires that there be no subjective bias against women, but compensates for any innate difference in ability. Which method actually decreases in difference in outcome?” As in “the possibility that there are innate differences in ability between men and women is an important question that needs to be answered even if we want balance outcome despite there being innate differences”. As in “we need to draw an accurate map if we actually want to navigate the territory”. As in “it is incredibly unlikely that you will decrease difference in outcome if you’re wrong about what causes the difference in outcome”.

            Finally, regarding the “provoking offense” assertion you keep making:
            “I will have served my purpose if I have provoked thought on this question and provoked the marshalling of evidence to contradict what I have said.”
            No, summers was not trying to provoke offense, he was trying to provoke epistemological rigor. He explicitly said so! At the start of his speech (“I think it’s important to try to think systematically and clinically about the reasons for underrepresentation.”)! At the end of his speech (see above)! In the middle of his speech (“First, most of what we’ve learned from empirical psychology in the last fifteen years has been that people naturally attribute things to socialization that are in fact not attributable to socialization. We’ve been astounded by the results of separated twins studies. The confident assertions that autism was a reflection of parental characteristics that were absolutely supported and that people knew from years of observational evidence have now been proven to be wrong. And so, the human mind has a tendency to grab to the socialization hypothesis when you can see it, and it often turns out not to be true.”)! Characterizing that as desiring to cause offense, rather than to dispel mistaken assumptions, is uncharitable!

            I’m not trying to “crush” Larry Summers. I admitted that what he is saying is possibly true! (although I don’t find it likely and I think is contraindicated by other evidence). I’m trying to accurately parse what he said.

            Just like how Summers admitted that what he was saying was possibly wrong? How did that work out for him? How do you expect that gambit will work out for you?

            Am I trying “crush” you? Probably a little bit. I am human after all.

            Just so long as we’re clear that none of us are without sin.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:

            “Lesser” does not mean “irrelevent”, “by far” does not mean that the other is insignificant. If different willingness to work obscenely long hours accounts for 40% of the outcome, and different ability at the extreme end of the ability curve accounts for 35% of outcome, that leaves 25% of the outcome to be determined by discrimination and sexists socialization.

            This doesn’t follow. The percentages you used mean that I could say that obscenely long hours and discrimination outstrip aptitude “by far”. You are positing that he meant last in rank among rough co-equals. It’s a little silly to assign specific numerical percentages to this, anyway, as he didn’t do so himself. “By far” means what it means and it is fair to assume he used it for an intended effect, which was to minimize the contribution of discrimination to the disparity in outcomes.

            Tilt at that as you will, but I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

            No, summers was not trying to provoke offense, he was trying to provoke epistemological rigor.

            It’s fair to say he was trying to induce epistemological rigor. But he was doing it by being provocative. He knew he was being provocative. He says it right at the very beginning.

            Let me ask you this. Why do you think he made a point of saying he wasn’t speaking as Harvard’s President at the beginning? And why did he say that if he did speak as Harvard’s President he could not be provocative? Can Harvard’s President not attempt to induce epistemological rigor?

          • ” And then he says, “And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.””

            What are you quoting from? I don’t think that’s in the excerpts that ID posted.

            I was able to find articles about the speech but not a full transcript.

            The closest I could find in what ID posted was that the claim that the hard jobs problem plus the different distribution of ability problem accounted for a fair amount of the outcome, which doesn’t tell us whether either of those is more important than discrimination.

          • “Larry Summers should not have been surprised by people taking offense and being unreceptive to the message of his speech.”

            I agree. He probably wasn’t, although he probably underestimated the size of the effect.

            But that doesn’t say anything bad about Summers, it says something about people who react hostilely to being offered arguments they don’t like.

            If you get up at a Trump rally and announce that Trump University was a scam, you shouldn’t be surprised to get a hostile response. Doing so is evidence that you are imprudent.

            And honest.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            This doesn’t follow. The percentages you used mean that I could say that obscenely long hours and discrimination outstrip aptitude “by far”.

            No. 40 is only 14% larger than 35 (40/35 ~= 1.142857); 75 is 200% bigger than 25;

            You are positing that he meant last in rank among rough co-equals.

            No. 40 is 80% larger than 25, that is not “rough co-equals”.

            “By far” means what it means and it is fair to assume he used it for an intended effect, which was to minimize the contribution of discrimination to the disparity in outcomes.

            The combined effect of the first two explanation “by far” outstrips the effect of the third.

            Tilt at that as you will, but I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

            Pot, meet kettle. The point, in case you missed it, is that the actual numbers matter. Like, seriously, you just said an 8 is “by far” bigger than 7, but then turned around and said that 8 is “roughly co-equal” to 5. And I’m the one trying to tilt that as I will?

            If I really wanted to tilt, I’d have used 34/33/32, which is technically correct because 32 is less than 34, even if it’s a non-central example of lesser (and 67 is more than twice as big as 32). You’re the one assuming something like 55/40/5. Or, at the very least, you’re defending people who made such assumptions without consideration for other possible breakdowns.

            It’s fair to say he was trying to induce epistemological rigor. But he was doing it by being provocative. He knew he was being provocative. He says it right at the very beginning.

            He was doing it by challenging sacred values, and there’s no way to improve epistemological rigor without causing offense to a person who has made a wrong conclusion into a sacred value. Summers was not roasted for saying that women are idiots, he was roasted for saying that the evidence indicates that discrimination may not be the largest source of difference in outcome between the genders. Because there are a significant number of people who will mentally edit the latter into the former.

            Let me ask you this. Why do you think he made a point of saying he wasn’t speaking as Harvard’s President at the beginning? And why did he say that if he did speak as Harvard’s President he could not be provocative? Can Harvard’s President not attempt to induce epistemological rigor?

            Because he wanted to make it clear that his talk there was about epistomological rigor, not Harvard’s actual hiring policies. As in “I’m not going to stop our efforts to increase the percentage of women in our academic positions, but it seems there is evidence that some of the proposed policies depend on faulty assumptions”. Because if he didn’t, the headline Jill linked wouldn’t have been “Why women are poor at science, by Harvard president” but “Harvard president refuses to hire women because they’re bad at science”.

            @David Friedman
            Both HeelBearCub and I are quoting from this, which a helpful purple anon linked earlier in the comment chain.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            Purple anonymous posted a link above to a transcript on Harvard’s website: Remarks at NBER Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce

            The link above is called “Transcript of Summers”.

          • “Can Harvard’s President not attempt to induce epistemological rigor?”

            Not in any way that will be seen as politically incorrect by a substantial number of influential people. Not and remain president.

            As demonstrated.

          • @HBC:

            Thanks for the link–I somehow missed it. The only link to the transcript that I found online didn’t work.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:

            75 is 200% bigger than 25;

            Yes, and 60% (35% + 25%) is 50% bigger than 40%, i.e. the effect of “long hours and discrimination” is bigger than aptitude, “by far”.

            If you actually read what I am writing and parse it either correctly or honestly you would stop trying to catch me in some sort of … I don’t know what.

            When you say that “A and B more important than C, by far”, it is highly suspect and disingenuous to suppose that I could group A and C (bigger than B) or B and C (bigger than A). If he meant something like that he wouldn’t have used the language he did.

            Jeebus.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            Yes, and 60% (35% + 25%) is 50% bigger than 40%, i.e. the effect of “long hours and discrimination” is bigger than aptitude, “by far”.

            If you actually read what I am writing and parse it either correctly or honestly you would stop trying to catch me in some sort of … I don’t know what.

            When you say that “A and B more important than C, by far”, it is highly suspect and disingenuous to suppose that I could group A and C (bigger than B) or B and C (bigger than A). If he meant something like that he wouldn’t have used the language he did.

            My mistake. However, 50% bigger is still factor 4 less than 200% bigger, (factor 3 is factor 2 times larger than factor 1.5). That is to say, my “by far” is by far bigger than your “by far”.

            It is disingenuous to say that “A and B more important than C, by far, but C is still important” means “C is not important”. And he wouldn’t have used the language he did, of explicitly and repeatedly calling C important, if that was not what he intended.

            Jeebus.

            Pretty frustrating to have your position misrepresented and then the misrepresentation used to criticize you, neh?

            Like, I get your complaint. I’m not being charitable and forgiving to the people who criticize Summers. But they’re not being charitable nor forgiving to Summers. And in your attempts to be charitable and forgiving to the former, you become uncharitable and unforgiving to the latter. And given that the latter is the one who bothered show up with some empirical evidence, I am displeased about how these isolated demands for charity result in decreased epistemological rigor. And I am relentless in my attempt to get you to admit that you’re being uncharitable to Summers.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            “Can Harvard’s President not attempt to induce epistemological rigor?”

            Not in any way that will be seen as politically incorrect by a substantial number of influential people. Not and remain president.

            As demonstrated.

            No, I think the entirety of his problem is that he posed it in a way that assumed he already knew the answer, and that it was that women were less capable of doing the job.

            There are plenty of ways to ask that the question be investigated, and that science demands we do so, without assuming you know the answer. You can fight the premise that we already know what the effect size of aptitude is, that we already know it is negligible, etc.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            “explicitly and repeatedly calling C important”

            Now, I think you are conflating two different meanings of important.

            Can you point me at where Summers explicitly said that discrimination was “important” in the effect size it has on gender ratios in STEM academia? I think what he said is that stopping discrimination is important because discrimination is bad/repugnant/etc.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            No, I think the entirety of his problem is that he posed it in a way that assumed he already knew the answer, and that it was that women were less capable of doing the job.

            There are plenty of ways to ask that the question be investigated, and that science demands we do so, without assuming you know the answer. You can fight the premise that we already know what the effect size of aptitude is, that we already know it is negligible, etc.

            Ah yes, he assumed he knew the answer, as can be clearly seen in the following passages:

            “I think it’s an area in which there’s conviction but where it doesn’t seem to me there’s an enormous amount of evidence.”

            “Let me just conclude by saying that I’ve given you my best guesses after a fair amount of reading the literature and a lot of talking to people. They may be all wrong.”

            “Yeah, look anything could be social, ultimately in all of that. I think that if you look at the literature on behavioral genetics and you look at the impact, the changed view as to what difference parenting makes, the evidence is really quite striking and amazing. I mean, just read Judith Rich Harris’s book. It is just very striking that people’s-and her book is probably wrong and its probably more than she says it is, and I know there are thirteen critiques and you can argue about it and I am not certainly a leading expert on that-but there is a lot there. And I think what it surely establishes is that human intuition tends to substantially overestimate the role-just like teachers overestimate their impact on their students relative to fellow students on other students-I think we all have a tendency with our intuitions to do it. So, you may be right, but my guess is that there are some very deep forces here that are going to be with us for a long time.”

            “It’s not clear at all. I think I said it wasn’t clear. I was giving you my best guess but I hope we could argue on the basis of as much evidence as we can marshal”

            “I don’t presume to have proved any view that I expressed here, but if you think there is proof for an alternative theory, I’d want you to be hesitant about that.”

            “All I’m saying is one needs to ask the question”

            Now, I think you are conflating two different meanings of important.

            Can you point me at where Summers explicitly said that discrimination was “important” in the effect size it has on gender ratios in STEM academia? I think what he said is that stopping discrimination is important because discrimination is bad/repugnant/etc.

            Can you point to where he says the opposite, in an absolute sense? Because the quote I have is:
            “The most controversial in a way, question, and the most difficult question to judge, is what is the role of discrimination? To what extent is there overt discrimination? Surely there is some. Much more tellingly, to what extent are there pervasive patterns of passive discrimination and stereotyping in which people like to choose people like themselves, and the people in the previous group are disproportionately white male, and so they choose people who are like themselves, who are disproportionately white male. No one who’s been in a university department or who has been involved in personnel processes can deny that this kind of taste does go on, and it is something that happens, and it is something that absolutely, vigorously needs to be combated. On the other hand, I think before regarding it as pervasive, and as the dominant explanation of the patterns we observe, there are two points that should make one hesitate.”

            The phrase “vigorously needs to be combated” does not distinguish between “because it is repugnant” and “because it is of significant size”. Note, also, he uses the phrase “No one who’s been in a university department […] can deny”, suggesting that discrimination is so obvious that mere inspection (in the mathematical sense) is sufficient to prove it, which seems to me to suggest an effect size not just visibly large, but so large that it is unthinkable that anyone who’s had a chance to see the situation could deny it was happening.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:

            I have already given you the quotes, you just don’t want to accept my interpretation of their meaning, which I believe is their plain English meaning:
            One is what I would call the-I’ll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.

            So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.

            And then there are the statements he makes within the section that ostensibly is talking about the problem of discrimination and how consequential it is. It’s worth noting that in the other two sections, the thrust of his comments are in support of the idea that inability to perform “high-power” jobs and lower aptitude are in fact consequential. He doesn’t attack those theses, he supports them.

            But in the section where he is talking about socialization and discrimination he makes a number of statements like:
            [T]here’s a real question as to how plausible it is to believe that there is anything like half as many people who are qualified to be scientists at top ten schools and who are now not at top ten schools, and that’s the argument that one has to make in thinking about this as a national problem rather than an individual institutional problem.

            if there was really a pervasive pattern of discrimination that was leaving an extraordinary number of high-quality potential candidates behind, one suspects that in the highly competitive academic marketplace, there would be more examples of institutions that succeeded substantially by working to fill the gap. And I think one sees relatively little evidence of that.

            So he consistently downplays the possibility that the are very many candidates capable of doing the work that aren’t already doing it.

            Look, pulling individual quotes is, of course, suspect. But the entire thrust of his comments, when read in totality, is aimed at minimizing the hypothesis that discrimination is a substantial driver of the gender difference in employment.

            Read the whole thing. In it’s entirety. It’s very hard to take away that he thinks discrimination contributes to the gender gap in a substantial way. He wishes it were so, but he doesn’t think it is so (to the extent we can believe him when he tells us that this is his actual opinion).

          • InferentialDistance says:

            I have already given you the quotes, you just don’t want to accept my interpretation of their meanin, which I believe is their plain English meaning:
            “One is what I would call the-I’ll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.”

            “So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.”

            And you don’t want to accept my interpretation of their meaning! Which I believe to be their plain English meaning! How incredibly convenient that when I refuse to accept your interpretation, I am being uncharitable, but when you refuse to accept my interpretation, you are being completely fair.

            Note, again, I said “absolute”, which is not “relative”. 1000, 999, 998 is ranking of importance in “exactly the order he described”; 998 is “in fact lesser” to both 999, and 1000. You have not unambiguously demonstrated your interpretation.

            And then there are the statements he makes within the section that ostensibly is talking about the problem of discrimination and how consequential it is. It’s worth noting that in the other two sections, the thrust of his comments are in support of the idea that inability to perform “high-power” jobs and lower aptitude are in fact consequential. He doesn’t attack those theses, he supports them.

            But in the section where he is talking about socialization and discrimination he makes a number of statements like:
            “[T]here’s a real question as to how plausible it is to believe that there is anything like half as many people who are qualified to be scientists at top ten schools and who are now not at top ten schools, and that’s the argument that one has to make in thinking about this as a national problem rather than an individual institutional problem.”

            “if there was really a pervasive pattern of discrimination that was leaving an extraordinary number of high-quality potential candidates behind, one suspects that in the highly competitive academic marketplace, there would be more examples of institutions that succeeded substantially by working to fill the gap. And I think one sees relatively little evidence of that.”

            So he consistently downplays the possibility that the are very many candidates capable of doing the work.

            Yes. Downplays. Pay attention to that word. Downplays from what, however? The prior that innate differences account for a sizeable but less than majority amount of difference in outcome? Or the prior that innate differences are inconsequential and humans are blank slates entirely determined by the pressures of society?

            Summers said: “I think before regarding it as pervasive, and as the dominant explanation of the patterns we observe, there are two points that should make one hesitate.”

            Look. Really look. He said “before regarding it as pervasive, and as the dominant explanation”. He says “should make one hesitate”. What does it say about his audience, that he chose to frame it like that? Perhaps that they think discrimination is the dominant explanation? Perhaps that they do not hesitate when they make that declaration?

            Look, pulling individual quotes is, of course, suspect. But the entire thrust of his comments, when read in totality, is aimed at minimizing the hypothesis that discrimination is a substantial driver of the gender difference in employment.

            Read the whole thing. In it’s entirety. It’s very hard to take away that he thinks discrimination contributes to the gender gap in a substantial way. He wishes it were so, but he doesn’t think it is so (to the extent we can believe him when he tells us that this is his actual opinion).

            When your audience starts from an extreme assumption, such as “difference in outcome is almost entirely determined by discrimination”, the assertion “difference in outcome is partially determined by discrimination and partially determined by innate ability” looks like minimizing discrimination and maximizing innate ability, because pushing discrimination down to 50 from near 100 is heavily downplaying, and pushing innate ability up from near 0 to 50 is heavily emphasizing. The more extremely wrong a position is, the more extremely hard you have to push back at it to get to the truth.

            You keep imploring me to read between the lines. But you refuse to pay attention to the audience. The audience members are not blank slates, they bring their own biases and assumptions in with them. Summers challenged some of those assumptions, to the audience’s outrage.

            Pay closer to attention to the Q&A:

            Q: You know, in the spirit of speaking truth to power, I’m not an expert in this area but a lot of people in the room are, and they’ve written a lot of papers in here that address ….

            LHS: I’ve read a lot of them.

            Q: And, you know, a lot of us would disagree with your hypotheses and your premises…

            LHS: Fair enough.

            Q: So it’s not so clear.

            LHS: It’s not clear at all. I think I said it wasn’t clear. I was giving you my best guess but I hope we could argue on the basis of as much evidence as we can marshal.

            Q: It’s here.

            LHS: No, no, no. Let me say. I have actually read that and I’m not saying there aren’t rooms to debate this in, but if somebody, but with the greatest respect-I think there’s an enormous amount one can learn from the papers in this conference and from those two books-but if somebody thinks that there is proof in these two books, that these phenomenon are caused by something else, I guess I would very respectfully have to disagree very very strongly with that. I don’t presume to have proved any view that I expressed here, but if you think there is proof for an alternative theory, I’d want you to be hesitant about that.

            Is this the behavior of a man who thinks knows the answer? Or is it the behavior of a man who thinks he knows the question, and believes his audience does not want to ask it?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            If you have 1000 things, and their absolute value is in some way evenly distributed such that they are very similar, then you won’t be talking about the rank order of the top 3 as “exactly that order”. “Exactly that order” implies clear and unequivocal differences between the sizes of the effects. If you think they have similar effect sizes you won’t describe it like this.

            When you retreat to pedantry like this to try and make your point, and it is similar to the pedantry to which you retreated in trying to make an earlier point ( A+ B >> C), yes, I don’t think you are parsing the clear English meaning correctly.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            If you have 1000 things, and their absolute value is in some way evenly distributed such that they are very similar, then you won’t be talking about the rank order of the top 3 as “exactly that order”. “Exactly that order” implies clear and unequivocal differences between the sizes of the effects. If you think they have similar effect sizes you won’t describe it like this.

            When you retreat to pedantry like this to try and make your point, and it is similar to the pedantry to which you retreated in trying to make an earlier point ( A+ B >> C), yes, I don’t think you are parsing the clear English meaning correctly.

            An accusation of pedantry? From the person who cannot stop talking about Summers’ singular usage of “by far” from his speech? But continually ignores phrases such as “I don’t presume to have proved any view that I expressed here” and “that the combination of the high-powered job hypothesis and the differing variances probably explains a fair amount of this problem”? Again, pot meet kettle. I have devolved into pedantry because you refuse to acknowledge Summers’ explicit claims as adequately illuminating of his position. The pedantry is to force you to acknowledge that an inoffensive interpretation is allowed by the text, and thus get you to consider whether such an interpretation is a better fit than the one that directly contradicts several of his explicit statements.

            Yes, I do not think a relative importance of 1000/999/998 is what Summers intended, which is why I first gave out 40/35/25, which I think is in the neighborhood of what he intended. And also clearly supported by statements such as “fair amount”. Do you think he would refer to the combined effect of innate aptitude and willingness to work as explaining “by far” more of the difference in outcome than discrimination in one place, but only a “fair amount” of the outcome in another, if he secretly believed it to in fact explain “almost all”? Or that, perhaps, he believes it to be somewhere in between those positions, and in some cases he ends up overstating the amount, and in some cases understating it? Do you think my paying attention to both these statements is somehow a less thorough, less comprehensive interpretation than the one you have offered?

          • houseboatonstyxb says:

            @ HBC

            I very much disagree with you, on many points. Here are a few of the shortest.

            You are using the word ‘hard’ for what he called ‘high powered jobs’. That’s mischaracterization. He is not talking about difficulty of the work, but about the long hours required (including home time on call). Remember the striking junior doctors?

            “Where he discusses the high-power part of the job, the entire thing is predicated on the idea that women innately can’t work as hard [ie as long hours] without being childless.”

            For this there is good evidence: a survey of women at the higher levels that showed that very strong pattern (Summers may have cited it).

            “and if their is anything to be done about it, we will need to make the job somehow easier.”

            ‘Easier’ is parallel with ‘hard/harder’, but distorts Summers’s meaning of ‘high-powered’ jobs even worse. ‘Hard’ is sort of a generic referring to any sort of difficulty or problem, so ‘long hours’ may fit under it. But ‘easier’ does not stretch that far that, er, easily

            “And some people at that point stopped listening to him.”
            There, I agree with you. My image of the women who didn’t listen but did go to others not present (including iirc the campus paper) and spread a version similar to HBC’s … fits the stereotype of women who really shouldn’t have important jobs. And I feel like going after those with a codfish with my smoldering bra.

            (I hope I’ve put enough disclaimer words in here, but note I won’tI follow anyone down a rabbit hole lined with mirrors reflecting distorted straw men back and forth.)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @houseboatonstyxb:
            I already said that I was perfectly fine with your objection to the word hard. Not sure why you are bringing it back in.

            @Inferential Distance:
            I have been fairly clear that I thought Summers was stating his opinion, what he thought was true. I never said he claimed to have proven it.

            Summers put lots of caveats in his speech. “I might be wrong about X, I could be wrong about Y, I’d like to be wrong about Z”. I did not say he wasn’t epistemologically humble, nor have I even said he was necessarily incorrect. I have multiple times admitted he might be correct.

            It’s clear that Summers thinks that discrimination exists and that he thinks it is bad and that he does not condone it.

            But it’s also clear that he does not hold much hope that eliminating discrimination will do much to close the gender gap in STEM academics. Sure, he thinks that it will do some good, but not very much. The gender gap will still remain and will still be large.

            Do you think, after having read that speech, that Summers thinks a significant portion of the gender gap can be eliminated by addressing discrimination? Or, is his best guess that there are not anything like enough qualified women to be STEM professors at top 10 schools (as the job is currently constituted)?

          • InferentialDistance says:

            Summers put lots of caveats in his speech. “I might be wrong about X, I could be wrong about Y, I’d like to be wrong about Z”. I did not say he wasn’t epistemologically humble, nor have I even said he was necessarily incorrect. I have multiple times admitted he might be correct.

            Would you say “Summers says the lower frequency of female geniuses might be significantly due to innate difference, and he could be right?” is a fair summary of the speech? That substituting “women are poor at science” for “women produce absurdly brilliant scientific minds at a lower rate” is uncharitable? That leaving out the “he might be right” part is uncharitable? That phrasing “discrimination is the third most significant cause of difference in outcome” as “discrimination is no longer a career barrier for female academics” is uncharitable?

            That, when you read between the lines of an article like this, it seems like people aren’t giving Summers’ evidence a fair shake? That they are, perhaps, jumping to conclusions? That while their behavior is understandable, it cannot be described as “charitable” nor as “fair”?

            Do you think, after having read that speech, that Summers thinks a significant portion of the gender gap can be eliminated by addressing discrimination? Or, is his best guess that there are not anything like enough qualified women to be STEM professors at top 10 schools?

            Define “significant”. I am absolutely certain that Summers believes that there is a non-trivial (as in, sufficiently greater than zero so as to be worth the effort of fighting) portion of the gender difference that is still caused by discrimination despite all the ongoing attempts to reduce discrimination (e.g. discrimination in the 1970s accounts for 80% of difference in outcome; implement policies to reduce discrimination, discrimination falls by half over 10 years; discrimination in 1980s accounts for 66% of difference in outcome; implement more policies to reduce discrimination, discrimination falls by half over 10 years; discrimination in the 1990s accounts for 50% of difference in outcome; 33% in 2000s; 20% in 2010s; 12% in 2020s; etc…). Whether that number counts as “significant” appears to be highly subjective, though I would say any number sufficiently high so as to be worth spending the effort of fighting would be “significant”.

            Similarly define “enough qualified women to be STEM professors at top 10 schools”. Enough for their to be at least one? Enough for there to be at least one at each school? Enough for there to be at least one for each qualified man? What is “qualified”? Is it IQ above a certain cutoff, in which case we could use IQ tests to determine the availability? Is it IQ higher than all the competition, in which small differences in average ability would be magnified by the focus on the outliers?

            Summers certainly seems to think that the possibility that there are “enough qualified women” is sufficiently high so as to justify “the many things we’re doing at Harvard to promote the crucial objective of diversity”…

            From the speech:
            “What should we all do? I think the case is overwhelming for employers trying to be the [unintelligible] employer who responds to everybody else’s discrimination by competing effectively to locate people who others are discriminating against, or to provide different compensation packages that will attract the people who would otherwise have enormous difficulty with child care. I think a lot of discussion of issues around child care, issues around extending tenure clocks, issues around providing family benefits, are enormously important. I think there’s a strong case for monitoring and making sure that searches are done very carefully and that there are enough people looking and watching that that pattern of choosing people like yourself is not allowed to take insidious effect.”

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:

            “[A] 1994 graduate of Harvard Business School … reports that of her first year section, there were twenty-two women, of whom three are working full time at this point.”

            “If you do that calculation-and I have no reason to think that it couldn’t be refined in a hundred ways-you get five to one, at the high end.”

            “And there’s a real question as to how plausible it is to believe that there is anything like half as many people who are qualified to be scientists at top ten schools and who are now not at top ten schools, ”

            That last quote is Larry Summer saying he doubts it is plausible that there enough qualified [female] scientists to close the gender gap at top-10 schools. Yes, he would like to be proven wrong, but he currently doubts it is true, and he doesn’t think there are anything like the numbers required to close the gap.

            And, let’s be clear here, that means half as many as are currently there, because that quote is in the context of how trying to increase diversity will necessarily be a competition between the top 10 schools. This means he thinks there aren’t anything close to half as many of the very small percentage of women that were there at the time, which if I am inferring correctly, was about 12.5%

            That means he puts the ceiling for additional STEM faculty at top-10 schools at well under a 6% increase.

            The first two quotes are illustrative of why he thinks that is so. Women drop out because they do not want to do the “high powered job”. Men plausibly outnumber women 5 to 1 at the high end of the IQ scale. He would like to be proven wrong, he hasn’t proven this, but this is his best guess at why the gender gap exists (and will continue to persist).

          • InferentialDistance says:

            Yes, Summers does not believe there are enough genius-level women who want to be professors for the top 10 schools to achieve gender parity without compromising on qualifications. Are you calling an up to 50% increase in the number of women working as professors for top 10 schools insignificant?

            Would you say “Summers says the lower frequency of female geniuses might be significantly due to innate difference, and he could be right?” is a fair summary of the speech? That substituting “women are poor at science” for “women produce absurdly brilliant scientific minds at a lower rate” is uncharitable? That leaving out the “he might be right” part is uncharitable? That phrasing “discrimination is the third most significant cause of difference in outcome” as “discrimination is no longer a career barrier for female academics” is uncharitable?

            Would you say “HeelBearCub thinks women might be innately poor at science” is a charitable and fair summary of your position in this discussion?

          • InferentialDistance says:

            Like, look at the passages you quoted:

            “If you do that calculation-and I have no reason to think that it couldn’t be refined in a hundred ways-you get five to one, at the high end.”

            Five to one is 16.6%.

            “And there’s a real question as to how plausible it is to believe that there is anything like half as many people who are qualified to be scientists at top ten schools and who are now not at top ten schools, ”

            16.6% / 12.5% = 1.328; A 32.8% increase. And note, he does not say “there are only enough smart women for a 32.8% increase in female professors”, he says “it’s a real question” (we don’t have enough evidence) “as to how plausible” (we are wildly overconfident) “that there is anything like half as many people” (that we can even get to 50%, let alone the 300% the consensus assumes). This is literally asking the question: “No really, how many qualified women are there?”

            Like, from an earlier post of yours:

            There are plenty of ways to ask that the question be investigated, and that science demands we do so, without assuming you know the answer. You can fight the premise that we already know what the effect size of aptitude is, that we already know it is negligible, etc.

            Such as suggesting that there’s a possibility discrimination might not be the dominant explanation (“My best guess is that discrimination is the third largest factor”, “I may be wrong”, “Yes, everything could be the result of socialization”)? Such as challenging the assumption (“real question as to how plausible”) that there are enough qualified women to increase the hiring of women by a factor of 4? Such as:

            “Let me take a second, first to just remark on a few questions that it seems to me are ripe for research, and for all I know, some of them have been researched. First, it would be very useful to know, with hard data, what the quality of marginal hires are when major diversity efforts are mounted. When major diversity efforts are mounted, and consciousness is raised, and special efforts are made, and you look five years later at the quality of the people who have been hired during that period, how many are there who have turned out to be much better than the institutional norm who wouldn’t have been found without a greater search. And how many of them are plausible compromises that aren’t unreasonable, and how many of them are what the right-wing critics of all of this suppose represent clear abandonments of quality standards. I don’t know the answer, but I think if people want to move the world on this question, they have to be willing to ask the question in ways that could face any possible answer that came out.”

            Where he literally says we don’t know the answer, but that we need to do the research honestly and face the result, even if we don’t like it?

            Summers literally did the thing you suggested would be inoffensive, and you call him offensive for it!

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            You keep claiming things for Summers that he doesn’t actually say.

            He thinks that even a 50% increase is highly implausible, that there aren’t anything like the numbers to make that 50% increase. Now, you are claiming him saying a 50% increase is possible (and then claiming significance for it).

            Let’s be charitable and say he thinks female STEM representation can increase by 3% of the total faculty from 12% to 15%, which would be a 25% increase in female representation, but still wouldn’t really change the overall mix. Hell, let’s be super, super charitable and say it can increase from 12% to 18% and use that 50% increase number that he specifically says he highly doubts is plausible to believe.

            That means, being quite charitable and ignoring that he specifically said he thought it wasn’t plausible to get a 50% increase, he thinks the maximum female STEM representation of females at top 10 schools is 18% or 19% (assuming that the requirements of the job don’t change).

            Do you have a problem with my estimation of that top percentage based on Summers speech, assuming that 12% was the base rate at top-10 schools at the time?

            Because the claim I originally made was that Summers left people with the impression that STEM under-representation of females might be completely based on innate differences, which is what you objected to, saying the claim was was being uncharitable to Summers.

            But how is that substantially different than this:
            “Larry Summers believes that by eliminating discrimination against women in Academia we might raise their representation to as high as 20% of the STEM faculty at top 10 schools”

            Would you say “HeelBearCub thinks women might be innately poor at science” is a charitable and fair summary of your position in this discussion?

            I’ve said repeatedly that, although Larry Summers could be right, I don’t think that he is. I don’t believe those positions. Larry Summers repeatedly says that he does believe the the innate factors he cited were the cause.

            So, no, not charitable.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            You keep claiming things for Summers that he doesn’t actually say.

            Pot, kettle, round three. And remember, you’re the one who constantly implores me to read between the lines, to take the general thrust of his arguments, to not limit myself to the mere literal interpretation of the text, but to see that which lives beyond it.

            The general thrust of his argument is that he is worried that his audience is wildly overconfident in their assumption that gender difference in outcome is driven almost entirely by socialization and discrimination. He downplays socialization and discrimination heavily because the limited evidence indicates that it plays a much smaller part than the assumed all-of-it, he heavily emphasizes preference and aptitude because the limited evidence indicates that it plays a much larger part than the assumed none-of-it, he repeatedly says that he might be wrong and that it is important to investigate thoroughly because the evidence is limited and the issue is too important to do shoddy work on. He cites a recent paradigm shift in psychology, multiple times, where people went from assuming that almost everything about human behavior was determined by socialization and almost nothing by biology, to the very opposed position that the majority of human behavior is determined by biology with a minority determined by socialization, because new evidence came to light that overturned the old assumptions. And he thinks it’s important to look for that evidence, and to seriously consider the risk that their assumptions are wrong, and not just a little wrong but extremely wrong, like in psychology.

            To reduce this to merely his concern that discrimination plays a significantly smaller part of difference in outcome than the consensus assumes is disingenuous. That some people would walk away from the above with the reduced view is true. That those people are uncharitable is also true.

            He thinks that even a 50% increase is highly implausible

            No, he thinks that it is highly ambiguous (“serious question”) as to the how likely (“how plausible”) a 50% increase is. In that we don’t have the evidence. Saying “we don’t have the evidence for this position” and “the evidence we do have does not exclude this extremely different conclusion” is the same as “there is a serious chance the situation is in fact the opposite of what we think it is”.

            that , that there aren’t anything like the numbers to make that 50% increase.

            MAY NOT BE anything like the numbers to make that 50% increase. You keep projecting significantly higher certainty onto Summers than he actually states his positions with. That is uncharitable.

            Let’s be charitable and say he thinks female STEM representation can increase by 3% of the total faculty from 12% to 15%, which would be a 25% increase in female representation, but still wouldn’t really change the overall mix. Hell, let’s be super, super charitable and say it can increase from 12% to 18% and use that 50% increase number that he specifically says he highly doubts is plausible to believe.

            That means, being quite charitable and ignoring that he specifically said he thought it wasn’t plausible to get a 50% increase, he thinks the maximum female STEM representation of females at top 10 schools is 18% or 19% (assuming that the requirements of the job don’t change).

            Do you have a problem with my estimation of that top percentage based on Summers speech, assuming that 12% was the base rate at top-10 schools at the time?

            Because the claim I originally made was that Summers left people with the impression that STEM under-representation of females might be completely based on innate differences, which is what you objected to, saying the claim was was being uncharitable to Summers.

            But how is that substantially different than this:
            “Larry Summers believes that by eliminating discrimination against women in Academia we might raise their representation to as high as 20% of the STEM faculty at top 10 schools”

            I do not have a problem with your estimation. However, your last summary still lacks “and he might be right”. And I think choosing to frame it in an absolute sense “to as high as 20%”, instead of a relative sense “by as much as 50%” is a deliberate choice to provoke outrage. Compare:

            “Larry Summers believes that there is a fair chance that eliminating discrimination against women in Academia might increase the number of female professors of STEM faculty at top 10 schools by 50%, and he might be right.”

            to

            “Larry Summers says that women probably aren’t competent enough to make up more than 20% of female professors of STEM faculty at top 10 schools”.

            Compare:

            “Larry Summers gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be completely the result of innate differences.”

            to

            “Some people assumed that Larry Summers was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be completely the result of innate differences.”

            Larry Summers could be right

            Can you understand how saying that might leave some people with the impression that you think that it’s possible that by eliminating discrimination against women in Academia we might raise their representation to only as high as 20% of the STEM faculty at top 10 schools?

            I don’t think that he is. I don’t believe those positions. Larry Summers repeatedly says that he does believe the the innate factors he cited were the cause.

            So, no, not charitable.

            Then we are agreed that cherry-picking quotes to exaggerate a position is uncharitable?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            There is a difference between epistemic humility, which I have consistently maintained that Summers showed, and being neutral on the question of what you believe to be true.

            Summers doesn’t say “Here is a possibility we can’t dismiss” (which would be a neutral statement). He consistently says, “Here is what I think to be true.”, “This is my best guess.”, “Please prove me wrong because I would like to be wrong” (with an implied “but I don’t think I am”).

            I do not have a problem with your estimation. However, your last summary still lacks “and he might be right”. And I think choosing to frame it in an absolute sense “to as high as 20%”, instead of a relative sense “by as much as 50%” is a deliberate choice to provoke outrage.

            I think you are agreeing that Summers’ position can be accurately summarized as “Summers best guess is that even if we can eliminate all discrimination, which he believes will result in as much as a 50% improvement in female positions in Top-10 STEM programs, 80% of the faculty will still remain male due to innate differences between men and women”

            So, I think what you are objecting to is pointing out in the summation that a 50% improvement in female representation doesn’t move the needle very much. This is what you are describing as “a deliberate choice to provoke outrage”, yes?

          • ““And there’s a real question as to how plausible it is to believe that there is anything like half as many people who are qualified to be scientists at top ten schools and who are now not at top ten schools, ”

            HBD: “That last quote is Larry Summer saying he doubts it is plausible that”

            “There is a real question as to how” does not translate as “I doubt that.” The former means “I think it might not be” while the latter means “I think it is not.”

            If the probability of the claim is 70% there is a real question whether it is true, but you don’t think it is false.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            Yes, he adds lots of epistemic humility and caveats. But taken as a whole it’s clear that his best guess is that the numbers don’t exist. That why he keeps repeating that this is best guess and he would like to be proven wrong. It’s also why he adds more reasons why we shouldn’t expect the numbers to exist.

            Otherwise, what is it that he would like to be proved wrong on? Clearly he is indicating that he is making a claim about truth (that he wishes were not true).

            And certainly if a number of people came away from the speech thinking that he believed that the vast majority of the gender gap was due to innate differences, they did not do so unwarranted.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            So, I think what you are objecting to is pointing out in the summation that a 50% improvement in female representation doesn’t move the needle very much. This is what you are describing as “a deliberate choice to provoke outrage”, yes?

            Pointing it out is absolutely correct, so long as you also point out and Summers was epistemologically humble and very careful with the evidence. Leaving out the latter part is like talking about race and crime by presenting a long list of black criminals without even mentioning the much longer list of non-black criminals; literally true, but deliberately misleading.

            Like, I think it’s fair to say that the progressive left has a pretty strong association between someone who says “there are significant innate differences between men and women” and someone being a sexist bastard. And when a person goes to great length to say “I still think sexism is bad, I still think it exists, I still think we need to fight it, and I could be wrong about this, but the evidence seems to point to, on balance, there being significant innate differences between men and women”, removing every part that would possibly stop a person on the progressive left from immediately concluding the speaker is a sexist bastard looks mighty fucking suspicious.

            Jill’s article described the speech as “Why women are poor at science”. And yeah, that’s technically correct. It’s just that it’s an absurdly non-central version of “Why women are poor at science”, to the point where I start to wonder if the author of that article has some agenda influencing the decision to phrase it in such a manner…

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            I already said a bunch of (unfriendly-ish) things I thought about Jill’s style of argument up thread. I won’t repeat them here.

            But that doesn’t change the basic facts of what I originally said about the Summer hubbub, which is that some people at the conference came away with the impression that he thought the gender gap (in certain STEM faculties) was primarily/centrally/essentially caused by innate differences. I didn’t originally say anything about my position on the issue, only that people at the conference came away with that impression.

            And I always maintained it was not a good example of a central position on HBD.

            So I really don’t know why it’s taken you this long to admit that Summers really did take this position, or at the very least that people coming away the impression was warranted.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            I never said that Summers didn’t say those things, I always said that it was unfair to phrase it as him only saying those things. My very first post in this chain was asking you if you understood why David Friedman might be displeased (upset, insulted, understandably hostile) to Jill’s deliberate juxtaposition of Larry Summers’ speech with ethnic cleansing in response to Friedman’s assertion that there are innate differences between races and genders.

            You complained that David Friedmen was being uncharitable, to someone who had just insinuated that he supports genocide. Merely for being insufficiently gentle in rebutting the claim. That’s what angered me. Your glib dismissal (“But much of the time I feel like it’s motivated by a desire to “crush your enemy””) of completely valid ire.

            Yes, it is motivated by desire to crush, to crush those who would accuse me of terrible evil for woefully inadequate cause. Why should I leave them more than a shattered pile of assertions, those who would do me such damage over such trivialities? Why should I let them have any weapon to hurt me, when they have shown such a willingness to do so? Am I to allow such slander to pass unchallenged? Am I to smile as they spit upon me, too?

            And lest you think I’m overreacting, in stepping in to defend Jill you assumed the burden of her claims. And at no point have you admitted that implying that those who believe in the existence of innate differences between races and genders support ethnic cleansing is a hostile and insulting act. At no point have you agreed that people should not assume that those who believe in innate differences between races support racial genocide. Instead, you repeatedly tried to assert that such is completely fair and valid behavior by referencing a particular group of HBD blogs you think define the central component of HBD. The closest you ever came was admitting that Jill is naive and careless, but even then you did not acknowledge the insult itself.

            At no point have you admitted that anger about being accused of supporting genocide is valid. You have repeatedly asserted that it is invalid, that we are being unfair to Jill, unfair to the critics of Summers. Yet you have gone to great lengths to defend the anger of those offended by Summers’ assertion of innate differences between genders, and you have held them to a much lower standard of behavior. Of them, you ask, is their anger allowed by what was said? But of us, you ask, is our anger required by what was said? The hypocrisy raises my ire, and I think it a righteous anger.

            You would not let us read between Jill’s lines, to the meaner view we saw that lurks beneath. But you insisted we let you read behind Summers’ lines, to the meaner view you saw that lurks beneath. I leave you no weapon you refuse me, but forgive you all trespass you forgive me.

          • “And certainly if a number of people came away from the speech thinking that he believed that the vast majority of the gender gap was due to innate differences, they did not do so unwarranted.”

            I would have said entirely unwarranted. He said that two causes, of which that was one, were the main cause of a fair amount of the difference. How do you get from that to one of the two being responsible for the vast majority of the gap?

          • “It’s just that it’s an absurdly non-central version of “Why women are poor at science””

            It isn’t even that. It’s a version of “why fewer women than men are extraordinarily good at science.” He didn’t offer any claims about lower means.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            If your main complaint was about how Jill was treating David, you should have been clearer about it and we would not have had a long, long (apparently pointless) conversation about Mr. Summers. I understood that your initial claim was that it was unfair to say HBD claims about racial differences and Mr. Summers claims about gender were similar.

            I have been clear several times that I don’t think Jill argues well. I don’t think it is fair to claim Friedman supports genocide (did she he accuse him of that?) It is, frankly, ridiculous. But this is the first time you have brought this up.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:

            He said that two causes, of which that was one, were the main cause of a fair amount of the difference.

            He gives two separate causes, each of which he believes are innate. One is IQ/higher variance in males(which is what I think you are referring to).

            The other is the inability of women to perform in a “high-powered” job (unless they are unmarried and childless.) They will not choose to dedicate themselves completely to the job. He also says he thinks the jobs perhaps should not be so high-powered, which is why I have been careful to try and talk about the faculty positions as the they currently are, or as currently constituted. One of his proposed solutions here is changing the job.

            Later he reinforces this by talking about his observations at a kibbutz and how the girls would treat the toy trucks like a daddy truck and a baby truck. He is talking about this in reference to innate differences in what jobs women and men will choose to do.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            If your main complaint was about how Jill was treating David, you should have been clearer about it and we would not have had a long, long (apparently pointless) conversation about Mr. Summers. I understood that your initial claim was that it was unfair to say HBD claims about racial differences and Mr. Summers claims about gender were similar.

            I have been clear several times that I don’t think Jill argues well. I don’t think it is fair to claim Friedman supports genocide (did she accuse him of that?) It is, frankly, ridiculous.

            Well I’m glad that’s settled…

            But this is the first time you have brought this up.

            Oh no. Oh no. You were doing so well. But you just had to get that last barb in, didn’t you? I wouldn’t have even replied, if you had left it to the prior statements. But alas, my pride is wounded! So, my very first comment in this thread, recreated in full:

            ————

            HBD advocates assert this is essentially due to innate differences

            gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences

            Can you see the difference between these positions, and why one who speaks the latter may be displeased at being accused of the worst behavior of those who speak the former?

            How likely is someone who says “I think there are statistically significant gender and race differences in preference and innate ability” to be labeled an HBD advocate, despite not saying all that other stuff you object to and not self-identifying as such? How might this contribute to a usage different than the one you’re proposing?

            ————

            Two quotes, both from your posts. One about HBD, one about Summers’ speech. David Friedman had come to the defense of HBD, as he understood it, and also to the defense of Summers, as he understood Summers’ position.

            Note, by this point you had already asserted that a very vile view was central to HBD (“1 in 5 American blacks are borderline retarded and the average Sub-Saharan black is borderline retarded.”). This is the post where you chided David Friedman for being uncharitable to Jill.

            And I asked if you could understand (sympathize, empathize, acknowledge) that someone who says things such as Summers did, that there is evidence for innate difference, and evidence for those innate differences possibly explains differences in outcome, these things that David had also defended prior to your comment, that such people may not enjoy being accused of supporting the worst behavior of self-identified HDB advocates. I asked if you understood why asserting that “1 in 5 American blacks are borderline retarded and the average Sub-Saharan black is borderline retarded.” is a central position to HBD may upset people, that people might have a different definition of HBD. A definition that many people, including both Jill, David Friedman, and I, were operating under.

            You didn’t answer.

            I had also asked if you had considered other definitions of HBD, such as those caused by how people apply the term to others. I had to offer it a second time, pointing out that no one in the comment thread appeared to be using the version you preferred. You said that didn’t matter. You still hadn’t answered about the possibility of a definition of HBD different from the one you pushed. I pointed out that Jill couldn’t be using the version you were arguing for, and for a third time asked if you had considered how people apply the label to others affects the meaning of HBD.

            That entire exchange was to get you to admit that perhaps David Friedman has a definition of HBD that is substantially less offensive than the one you use, that he may think the label applies to him, that in fact the less objectionable label does apply to him, and that he may take offense when you suggest that the label he thinks applies to him means something much more objectionable than he thinks it does. And that it is perfectly reasonable for him to do so, because from his perspective, you have accused him of supporting “1 in 5 American blacks are borderline retarded and the average Sub-Saharan black is borderline retarded.” merely because he asserted “there are innate differences in ability between races”, and the former does not logically follow from the latter.

            And I tried to leave you a line of retreat. I tried to let you acknowledge that David’s less-than-charitable response to Jill was because, from David’s view, Jill’s response was a severe accusation far out of line with what David had actually said. That Friedman was not doing what he was doing out of any maliciousness, any desire to crush, but out of the discomfort of being accused of holding an abhorrent position. That David’s response was completely on point, given Jill’s assertions.

            And it’s true, I was not entirely clear. I was not blunt. I did not drag the issue back to the original point. I tried to chase you after every evasion and leave you no other choice but to follow that one path. In so doing I allowed you to get lost down long chains of inferences and forget what was originally at stake. It was a mistake. I should have been far more repetitive.

            But I did ask. You just didn’t answer.

            ————

            I have been clear several times that I don’t think Jill argues well. I don’t think it is fair to claim Friedman supports genocide (did she accuse him of that?)

            Yes. Everything I said about Anonymous Comment applies equally to David Friedman. Miller Lite made a similar interpretation. So did David Friedman. TheAncientGeek seems to find it likely that people would impute the darkest of their imaginings on those who merely state the existence of innate differences. I am not alone in this interpretation.

            The exchanges between Jill and David corroborate this. Where Jill accuses Friedman of believing that discrimination does not exist, and that he is unfairly stubborn to boot. Where Jill is “more concerned with the effects of beliefs on our society” and how David’s belief has “been connected to ethnic cleansing and all kinds of other brutalities”.

            You said:

            I don’t think Jill is very good at argument. I don’t think she parses statements very carefully. I don’t think she has absorbed the source material of what she is arguing about. I don’t think she uses language carefully. I’m not sure if my opinion on that matters to you or not.

            And I said:
            “Steel-manning is not done to excuse the behavior of less thoughtful commenters. An insult is still an insult, even if the argument can be made without it. Insulting language is still objectionable even if the commenter doesn’t consciously realize it’s insulting; to forgive ignorance first requires acknowledgement that there was an offense to forgive.”

            To forgive ignorance first requires acknowledgement that there was an offense to forgive. And what did you have to say in response to that?

            Nothing.

            I did mention it. Twice. But you didn’t respond to it. Twice. And the second time was blunt: an insult is still an insult.

            So I mention it a third time. And this time you respond. And it was almost enough. I was nearly satisfied. I almost allowed the bit questioning Jill’s insult slide, because it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Because you made effort towards reconciliation and I wanted to respect that.

            But you made a claim. A claim that flatters you, that shames me, that makes it look like I was stubborn and unclear, that I didn’t give you a chance to defuse the situation before I escalated, that I didn’t give you adequate opportunity to properly defend yourself. The claim that I hadn’t mentioned my complaint.

            Your claim was wrong.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            You seemed to have misinterpreted what I initially said about Summers statement and I corrected it. I was not sure if that made a difference in what you were arguing, and I apologized if my wording was unclear.

            At which point you jumped into trying to prove that my statements about what Summers was saying were incorrect, rather than re-assert that your objections was to trying to refer to Summer as an HBD advocate, or Friedman as an HBD advocate or whomever it is that your real objection is about.

            I had already said that I did not think Summers was a good example of an HBD advocate. I pre-admitted it was not a good thing to refer to Summers as an HBD advocate and I have repeated this over and over in this conversation.

            At one point I did attempt to steelman why Summers arguments and other arguments about innate differences can be linked in a general conversation about HBD advocates. If this was your objection it was not clear to me. If you find it offensive that I tried to steelman a position, that is to your detriment.

            Edit: On reflection, it should have been clearer to me why you were objecting to the steelman. Although, the idea that you can’t/shouldn’t steelman an argument that you take offense to seems deeply wrong to me.

            But, at no point did you reference David Friedman until last night, (nor, in fact did you reference genocide before last night). That was the claim I made, not any other. If that was not clear to you (that I was making a statement about Friedman being accused of genocide), well, that seems to be the heart of the problem.

            Edit:
            You also seem to have missed where I said the following:
            As to whether the phrase “HBD” is “weaponized”, I don’t know. My suspicion is that the people who say “HBD” (probably on both the pro and the con side) the loudest have turned it into a polarizing and simplistic term.

            So your accusations that I said nothing about the unfairness of being linked to “HBD” when you mean “not the things that the worst people believe” seems off as well.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            Let me also say that, in re-reading the thread, I acknowledge that I did not pay very much attention to your arguments about people feeling insulted or falsely accused.

            Perhaps that was an error on my part, in terms of understanding your central objection, if I now do understand your central objection.

            On the other hand, I acknowledged frequently that I did not think Jill’s arguments were very good. You had a long post about how objectionable Jill’s pattern was, I laughed at something I thought was perhaps hyperbolic and acknowledged I did not find Jill’s posts to be well argued. I actually had already said this to Friedman up thread, before I said it to you. I’m not sure why that wasn’t satisfactory to you in terms of acknowledging Jill’s fault in this.

            You seemed to be accusing me of doing something objectionable, and you seemed to be accusing me of trying to crush Larry Summers for a position which he did not hold. You also seemed to be trying “weaponize” your umbrage.

            Taking all that together, I consciously did not respond to the emotional content arguments very much.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            Taking all that together, I consciously did not respond to the emotional content arguments very much.

            Thank you. That means a lot to me.

            It was not enough to acknowledge that Jill’s argument was poor, because Jill’s conduct was both mean and threatening. It hurts to be called evil. And to leave such an accusation unaddressed may give the impression to some that it is true; that we do not fight it because we cannot. Between the two, Jill’s argument needed to be rebutted, and we have a vested interest in making it thorough enough that it does not come back later.

            What I found objectionable from you was how lenient you were to those on your side of the political spectrum, and how harsh to those outside it. That you could take the time call David Friedman uncharitable, but could not take a moment to address Jill and her usage of segregation and genocide to make her point. That no amount of epistemic humility could protect Summers from being offensively provocative; that his detractors’ outrage was beyond reproach. And yet, though I asked several times, you wouldn’t even engage on whether anyone might have find your assertions about HDB offensive.

            I admitted I wasn’t being charitable to Summers’ detractors, and challenged you to admit the converse. You didn’t. I made the first move, I ceded ground, and you ignored me. How was I supposed to interpret that?

            You accuse me of pedantry, for behavior you started in your prior comments. I even admitted I was being pedantic, though not more than you. And you didn’t acknowledge it, nor admit any pedantry of your own. How was I supposed to interpret that?

            You were not trying to crush Lawrence Summers, you were trying to crush me. Summers’ speech was merely the tool. You admitted no fault in your interpretation, admitted no truth in mine. That all fault was with Summers for not capitulating that discrimination accounts for more than half of difference in outcome; that his audience brought no biases in with themselves that caused them to react with more outrage than was merited by Summers’ actual words.

            That I am a pedant, that I assume things Summers didn’t say, that I am uncharitable. That you are holistic, that you are modest, that you are fair. Of your interpretation, you ask, “is this allowed by the text?”. Of my interpretation, you ask, “is this required by the text?”. You give me a foot, but take a mile for yourself. The hypocrisy raises my ire, and I think it a righteous anger.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub
            Like, I cannot stress this strongly enough, you accused me of claiming things for Summers that he doesn’t actually say. We have a word for that in English. It’s “interpretation”. Interpretation is literally the act of combining your assumptions with the words someone said to generate things they did not say. Reading between the lines is claiming things for Summers that he doesn’t actually say. Your priors and your diction are the assumptions you make when getting at the general thrust of someone’s message.

            You keep accusing me of doing the very same things you do. But you do so in a manner that suggests I am illegitimate when I do it, but you are not. You interpret, I assume. But these things are the same. You are not better than I. You do not get to make assumptions and deny me the same right. I leave you no weapon you refuse me. My wrath is righteous, my cause just: fight me fairly, or not at all.

            This whole argument comes down thus: what is a valid prior for interpreting Summers’ speech? Your argument is: nature much smaller than nurture. My argument is: nurture smaller than nature. My whole point is that some of the audience has a poorly evidenced, extremely overconfident prior in favor of nurture, and that is what caused outrage, and that it isn’t fair because it isn’t well-informed, isn’t careful, isn’t unbiased. That to speak ill of another, you need more than hurt feelings, they need to be wrong. The moral response to pain caused by truth is to plead for sympathy, not to accuse others of maliciousness.

            And I can still forgive the latter behavior, so long as it is understood that it is a trespass to be forgiven. That to forgive is not the same as to excuse. That to be forgiven is not the same as forgotten; that one is expected to learn to do better in the future. That in being lenient about this trespass, I do not invite further trespass in the future.

            Like, what kind of person attends a Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce? Would you say it is extremely likely that some members of Summers audience, if asked to put a number on the nature/nurture split, would give 0/100? 1/99? 5/95? 10/90? Would it be unfair to say, that for some of these people, even saying “the evidence indicates IQ is at least 50% nature” would cause outrage? Is it fair to Summers that he gets shot for daring to be the messenger? Even if you disagree, do you at least understand why David Friedman and I find it unfair?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferential Distance:
            I understand why Friedman and you get irritated or angry if you are accused of desiring genocide or being malicious. Certainly Jill made unfair claims, including saying Friedman must have decided all claims for discrimination were invalid.

            The original claim by Friedman that I responded to was that it was unfair to characterize HBD advocates as saying blacks are “inferior”. Which is why I made my original point about what I thought the central example of an HBD advocate claimed about the IQ of blacks. And when I said he can be “uncharitable” I mean in the debate sense, not in a “David is a mean person” sense. And I think almost everyone here likes to win an argument, which is how I was using “crush your enemies”.

            I do have to say that I look suspiciously in general at claims of extreme umbrage in debate. It maps to an argument that goes “I am offended, therefore you are wrong”.

            One of the things you are very offended about is that I said you claimed things for Summer he did not say. When I said that I should have quoted what I was referring to, especially as you seem to have posted a second time while I was composing that reply.

            Are you calling an up to 50% increase in the number of women working as professors for top 10 schools insignificant?

            I think the price of milk could rise 50% next year.

            I doubt it is reasonable to think the rise in the price of milk next year could be anything like 50%.

            Those are two different claims. Do you agree with that?

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            I understand why Friedman and you get irritated or angry if you are accused of desiring genocide or being malicious. Certainly Jill made unfair claims, including saying Friedman must have decided all claims for discrimination were invalid.

            Thank you.

            I do have to say that I look suspiciously in general at claims of extreme umbrage in debate. It maps to an argument that goes “I am offended, therefore you are wrong”.

            THAT’S WHAT SUMMERS’ DETRACTORS WERE DOING HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THIS ASJKBDK;BJFG;KBJS;KBJRI

            This is what I mean. This right here. My umbrage is suspicious. Theirs is beyond reproach. Stop that. You get no weapon you take away from me. You don’t get to justify their behavior because Summers’ argument hurt, and turn around and tell me that my pain buys nothing.

            I think the price of milk could rise 50% next year.

            I doubt it is reasonable to think the rise in the price of milk next year could be anything like 50%.

            Those are two different claims. Do you agree with that?

            Yes.

            I think discrimination accounts for a small but significant contributor to gender differences in outcome.

            I think discrimination might account for none of the gender differences in outcome.

            These are two different claims. Do you agree?

            Here, let me explain why I’m so angry about this.

            But my understanding is that he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop.

            “my under standing is” means “I believe this, but with low confidence so please be gentle if it turns out to be wrong”

            “that he gave the impression to some” means “that he deliberately phrased his views so with the goal of leading some of his audience to this exact conclusion”, which you have tried to substantiate by asserting that Summers self declared attempts at “provocation” meant “offense”, despite the literal text of speech saying “provoked thought on this question and provoked the marshalling of evidence to contradict what I have said”.

            “that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop” means “that discrimination might account for none of the gender differences in outcome in Academic field selection”.

            I have dragged you, kicking and screaming all the way, to finally admitting that “third among three” means “between zero and one third”, that “not dominant” means “less than half (or less than a third, for a super-majority)”, that “not pervasive means” includes “medium or small”, that “not large” means “medium, small, or nothing”, that “discrimination exists” means “not zero discrimination exists” means literally the exact opposite of “that discrimination might account for none”.

            This is basic fucking predicate logic. “Might be none” means that zero exists among the range of values, that zero exists in the solution space. The exact fucking opposite of that is that for all values, each and every single one of them, that value is most definitely not fucking zero.

            Summers’ explicitly rejected the possibility that discrimination might account for none of the difference in outcome. He literally could not phrase that any stronger. He said it multiple times. Text trumps subtext. Anyone who walked away from his speech thinking otherwise is either too incompetent or too malicious (assuming Summers had malicious intent counts). Which do you prefer?

            You weren’t even attached to this interpretation when this whole thing started! You could have bowed out by saying your sources were misinformed, and lost zero face! Instead, you chose to come after me for implying that the raw text of Summers’ speech supported my claim that he was misrepresented. You have been relentless in pursuing this. You have no moral high ground, you are no better than me, you are no more charitable, and you are incorrect to boot.

            And lest you think it a smart move, “small enough that it might as well have been zero” is still.
            Not.
            Fucking.
            Zero.

            Admit your mistake, the mistake of trusting someone who turned out not to be worthy of that trust, that I was right and Summers’ was misrepresented, say not one thing else, make no attempt to salvage your pride at my cost, and I will thank you for it and say nothing else and close this tab and make no more comments here.

            You: “I was mislead, Summers’ was misrepresented.”
            Me: “Thank you.”

            And it ends.

            But so long as you continue to fight, so will I. I will not bow down. I was right. You will not take that from me.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @Inferntial Distance:

            You claim umbrage that I said you claimed things that Summers did not say. I prove that Summers did not say the thing you said he did. I find your claim to justifiable umbrage to be lacking.

            Let me ask you this, is it fair to say that Jill should not be surprised if someone gets angry if she implies or states that she believes that person is a racist who thinks black people are inferior?

            I have other thoughts on your last post, but I’d like to stick to those two points for a second. If you would humor me.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub

            I answered your question. You did not answer mine. I am growing increasingly suspicious that your refusal to do so is because you are in fact malicious and deliberately refusing to acknowledge me when I am correct. It is a pattern. You call me pedant, and I assent. I assert that you too are a pedant, and you are silent. This is not the behavior of someone who is cooperating with me. This is not someone who is seeking truth. This is someone looking to score points, who refuses to acknowledge their opponent’s correctness, because to be humble is to be weak.

            I admit it when I make a mistake. I call myself prideful, I call myself wrathful, I call myself greedy, because these things are true and I do not pretend otherwise. I am not posturing, I wear my failings openly. I am trying to be cooperative, trying to illuminate the truth. Trying to explain why I will not stop, will not give up, will not let this go no matter how small it seems. Because it matters to me, small as it is. Because I am small. But I am right, and I will not have that taken from me. I will not be made smaller than I am.

            I take pride in my correctness. There are times I pit my knowledge against others in the crucible of debate, where I risk being visibly wrong, where I make claims or predictions that may be false, and may be called to account for being wrong. That I may have to admit that I was overconfident. I pick small gambles, small risks, because I am cautious. I predict that one’s enemies will not present one fairly, because I observe this to be true far more often then it is false. You picked the opposite, that Summers’ enemies would be fair to him. You hedged your bet, that it was merely your understanding, from what others had told you, that you were not confident, that it should not cost you much face to be proven wrong. The evidence came, and showed me correct. It did so in text, not subtext, but you refuse to acknowledge it. You say, when he says plainly that discrimination is the third in import of that which causes of outcome, what he actually meant, what he meant to communicate, that the secret meaning behind his words, that his true beliefs, were that it was not an explanation at all. You call Summers’ a liar every time you make that interpretation. You deny the text. You are ignominious in defeat.

            And the part that should bother you most is that it is plain to see to all who do not share your biases. That the entire discussion is logged here. That every time you refuse to answer a question, anyone reading can see that you did not answer my question. That you insult me, and I accept the insult because it is true, but I ask that you accept the insulting truth, that you acknowledge that you are not doing better than me, not behaving better. And you say nothing. Because to deny it would be to lie, and to acknowledge it is to lose face. But everyone can see you retreat from that choice. And you keep doing it. Again and again and again. It does not make you look right. It makes you look petty.

            I am greedy of my victories. They are little things, small risks, plainly such for all to see. But with enough of them you can build something grander. With enough of them and you can say: lo, you can trust what I say, for my reach does not exceed my grasp. For it has been so in the past. And it is so now. And it will be so in the future. Because I do not lie, and admit my mistakes, and any can see my conduct and judge for themselves whether I am wrong. My victories are mine and they are precious to me.

            And I am wrathful against any would steal them from me. To any who would lie about me and call it the truth. That any would pretend their predictions were different from the ones they made, that I am mistaken in the claims they made. To any that would think I would forget, that I would not remember what was said, that I would not point it out to others. Others do not have to trust my words, do not have to trust my judgement, my anger is no impediment for it touches nothing but the reason that I care. They can look for themselves and judge my claims on their merits alone. And they will see that my wrath is righteous, my cause is just. That I was right, and you tried to steal that from me.

            You claim umbrage that I said you claimed things that Summers did not say. I prove that Summers did not say the thing you said he did. I find your claim to justifiable umbrage to be lacking.

            No. You have not proven what you think you have proven. What you have proven is that your interpretation is possible. And not even all of them, only those where you concede that Summers’ believes, believes and said so, that discrimination accounts for some of the difference in gender outcome. To say otherwise is to deny the text itself, to call Summers’ a liar, to prove to all that you do not care about being charitable, you do not care about being fair, you are not to be trusted, you will lie about your opponent if it serves you.

            An interpretation is valid if it is allowed by the text. To be allowed, an interpretation must not contradict any facet of the text. That is all. If the text says these things go in this order, that the order is so. That if the import of each is arranged such the first two are both much more important the third, but that they only account for a fair amount, then the truth lies between, that both statements are true.

            To be charitable, it must assume that the text is not malicious, is not misleading, is not meaner than is necessary for the truth. In Linguistic Pragmatics, this is called Grice’s Maxims, or the cooperative principle. This means that a charitable interpretation must assume that the text is true, that if one says “the sky is blue”, one means exactly that. That to assume that the sky is green is to call speaker of the text a liar, that they are not cooperating, so you are not cooperating, that the contradiction between their statement of blue but the sky being green is that they are uncharitable liars trying to mislead, that they violate the Maxim of Quality.

            To be charitable, it must observe the Maxim of Quantity. That if what was meant was that the third was nothing, then the text would have said it more plainly. That if the text required that third be nothing, than the text would have spoken plainly. That such was left out of the text, because it was not required by the text. Therefor, the text allows both that the third be nothing, and that third be something. Either interpretation is true.

            But that is not the only statement. There are other statements. Statements that say, this third thing, it is not zero. This third thing, it must be fought, because it is immoral, and it is, undeniably so. The text requires that the third be more than nothing. That the third be nothing is not allowed. That the third be something is required. That any interpretation that says the third is nothing is invalid. That any interpretation that says that the third might be nothing is invalid. It is not might be something, but is. That it be nothing is not allowed.

            That all those who interpreted Summers’ words as allowing that the third be nothing, that the third might be nothing, were uncooperative. They call Summers’ words lies, they misrepresent his intent to others, they are not charitable, they are not to be trusted.

            You deny Summers’ text, you call him a liar, you say he violates the Maxim of Quality, and yet you say your interpretation is charitable. This is not so. Your interpretation is uncooperative, is uncharitable, you are lying when you say it is charitable, you are being malicious to Summers. You are being malicious to me, misleading me about Summers’ words. And this is plain for all to see, your words are there, you cannot take them back.

            My victories are precious to me, and I was right. If you did not try to take it from me I would not be fighting you so hard. But you tried to steal my victory, to take it for your own. That I gambled my pride against yours and won, but you refused to pay.

            If you pay, it will end. I will stop. But you are trying to crush me, and I will not be crushed. I will not be moved by lies. Speak the truth, and speak it plainly. Believe that others speak the truth, and speak it plainly. Assume that others speak no more than is necessary, but no less either; that if they have said a thing is so, it is because it is required to be, that it cannot be other. Be charitable, and I will thank you for it.

            Let me ask you this, is it fair to say that Jill should not be surprised if someone gets angry if she implies or states that she believes that person is a racist who thinks black people are inferior?

            That depends. Does the person think that black people are inferior, and only black people? Or that black people are inferior, and white people are inferior, and asians are inferior, and jews are inferior, and hispanics are inferior, etc…? Is Jill violating the Maxim of Quantity, has she said less than is necessary, has she said allowed for a possibility that is in fact not possible, by leaving out all the rest? Has she denied this person their context? Has she taken “there are innate differences in ability between races” and reduced it to “black people are inferior”? Because that is unfair, and the person will be angry at the misrepresentation of their view, and Jill should expect that anger.

            But if the person believes that black people are inferior, but one or more other races superior, that is indeed racism. And it is not unfair, it violates none of Grice’s Maxims to say so. Jill should not expect anger in such a case.

            Context matters. What is said matters just as much as what is not said. What is thought matters just as much as what is not thought. To ignore the silences is to violate the Maxim of Quantity, that only as much as necessary was said. If Jill says “thinks black people are inferior”, and nothing else, that she means that and exactly that; that “thinks white people are inferior” may be true and “thinks white people are superior” may be true; that the person may or may not be racist. But if a person is not racist, if they do not think white people are superior, to say that they may be racist, this violates the Maxim of Quantity, that Jill would say less than is necessary, that Jill would allow for an interpretation that she knew she is required to forbid.

            It is akin to saying that you are a human or a racist. Because it is truth that you are human. And disjoining a truth always results in truth. So even if you are not a racist, you are still (a human or a racist). But to say so, to say you are (a human or a racist), and nothing else, is to say that I am not saying anything unnecessary, that it is possible you are a racist, that I am not violating the Maxim of Quantity by saying “or a racist”. But if I know you are not a racist, than I am violating the Maxim of Quantity.

            So tell me, HeelBearCub, is it fair to say, is it charitable, is it exactly necessary, does it contain no superfluous clauses, does it obey the Maxim of Quantity, to say that you are a human or a racist?

          • HeelBearCub says:

            I’m going to ignore everything that has to do with how jealously you guard your wins and losses. I have no interest in that conversation.

            You state that you have answered my question, but I have not answered yours. I assume you are referring to the demand that I admit that I was mislead about Larry Summers. Is that what you mean?

            Here is what I said originally:
            “But my understanding is that he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop. ”

            In that sentence, I’m talking about the impressions people came away with. I don’t even make a claim about what Summers said, other than it seems to have led to some people forming those impressions. The only particular claim I make at that point is that Summers himself said he was trying to be provocative. I say Summers should have expected some people to be angry.

            So, from the standpoint of what I was lead to believe, I only believe at that point that Summers should have expected some people to be angry after the talk. That’s my only claim at that point.

            Now, did Summers claim zero effect of discrimination. No. If you want claim that as a victory, go ahead.

            But that wasn’t my claim. My claim was that people came away with that impression. And people can come away with that impression if Summers can be fairly characterized as minimizing the effect of discrimination on the gender gap, especially as they are not reading from a transcript. Grice’s maxims do allow implicature (according to Wikipedia. I do not claim to be a linguist) and I think it is certainly fair to imply from Summers speech that he was minimizing the effect of discrimination on the gender gap in STEM. Not minimizing how bad it was, nor even, necessarily, how pervasive, just minimizing it’s effect on the gender gap.

            And with that I am done with this conversation. I find the amount of venom you have put into your last several posts to be highly inconducive to productive discourse.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            I’m going to ignore everything that has to do with how jealously you guard your wins and losses. I have no interest in that conversation.

            This is to your detriment, because it was honest communication, it was exposure of vulnerability, admission of weakness. This was not to say, I am angry therefor I am correct, but to explain, I will not back down because I am angry. I am angry because my pride has been wounded, my victory denied me. My greed will not allow me to let go: I was right, my pride was just, and it was mine.

            I do not pretend my motives are noble. I only say what they are, in the hopes that you may understand why I do what I do. This is charity. This is kindness. This is cooperation. To lay my vulnerabilities bare, in the hopes that you will not turn them against me, but walk away wiser.

            But you call me jealous and turn away. This is how you meet my hand, outstretched in an offering of peace: with disdain.

            I speak it thus, you are mind-killed, and I am not. You cannot see the blood on your hands, the wounds you have inflicted on me. But I can see the blood on my hands, the wounds I have inflicted on you. You cannot see the rage on your face, but I know it matches my own.

            The truth is thus, that you cannot see yourself, that no mirror will hold your gaze. The truth is thus, that you are too busy feeling to know yourself. The truth is thus, that I both feel and know what I am. The truth is thus, I cannot be moved by mirrors, for they only show me what I already know.

            The truth is thus, that you are as jealous of your wins as I, or you would not fight back with such force.

            You state that you have answered my question, but I have not answered yours. I assume you are referring to the demand that I admit that I was mislead about Larry Summers. Is that what you mean?

            No.

            Here is the question you asked:

            I think the price of milk could rise 50% next year.

            I doubt it is reasonable to think the rise in the price of milk next year could be anything like 50%.

            Those are two different claims. Do you agree with that?

            Here is the answer I gave: “Yes.”

            Here is the question I asked:
            “I think discrimination accounts for a small but significant contributor to gender differences in outcome.

            I think discrimination might account for none of the gender differences in outcome.

            These are two different claims. Do you agree?”

            You gave no answer.

            If you cared what I said, if you meant to communicate, if you were charitable and fair and just, you would have answered. You would not have asked for more from me than you would give of yourself. You would not be so unfair as to deny my what you ask for yourself. But you did, because you are, and I name it thus: unkind. You take advantage of me, that I keep reaching out for reconciliation, that I drop my guard a moment. A moment for you to find another means of attack.

            Here is another question you asked:

            Let me ask you this, is it fair to say that Jill should not be surprised if someone gets angry if she implies or states that she believes that person is a racist who thinks black people are inferior?

            Here was my answer:
            “That depends. Does the person think that black people are inferior, and only black people?[…]”

            Here is the question I asked:
            “So tell me, HeelBearCub, is it fair to say, is it charitable, is it exactly necessary, does it contain no superfluous clauses, does it obey the Maxim of Quantity, to say that you are a human or a racist?”

            You gave no answer.

            My words were there, if you cared to read them. It would have been easy to find my questions. Ask yourself, then, why did you miss them?

            Here is what I said originally:
            “But my understanding is that he gave the impression to some that he was asserting that gender differences in Academic field selection might be the result of innate differences, full stop. ”

            In that sentence, I’m talking about the impressions people came away with. I don’t even make a claim about what Summers said, other than it seems to have led to some people forming those impressions. The only particular claim I make at that point is that Summers himself said he was trying to be provocative. I say Summers should have expected some people to be angry.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that what is is what ought to be. This is the lie you tell yourself, that the positive is the normative. This is the lie you tell yourself, that because you can predict their behavior, they are infants who cannot be held accountable for their actions.

            The truth is thus, that explanation is not justification.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that because you lose control you are not to be judged. This is the lie you tell yourself, that it is not your fault that you lose control. This is the lie you tell yourself, that the harm you do is the fault of those you harmed. This is the lie you tell yourself, that your wrath is a righteous wrath.

            The truth is thus, you choose to let go. The truth is thus, you choose to be angry. The truth is thus, you choose to lash out in your anger. The truth is thus, your anger is unjust.

            The truth is thus, you find the truth painful. The truth is thus, you turn your pain to anger. The truth is thus, your anger is misplaced. The truth is thus, you seek to hurt others where you should ask to be healed.

            The truth is thus, that it is not Summers who hurt you. The truth is thus, that it was the the truth itself. The truth is thus, that the world is unfair. The truth is thus, that we could make it more fair.

            So, from the standpoint of what I was lead to believe, I only believe at that point that Summers should have expected some people to be angry after the talk. That’s my only claim at that point.

            No. You claim he provoked offense, that he desired anger. He did not. He wanted to provoke thought. He wanted to provoke debate. He wanted to provoke the desire to ask the questions. He wanted to provoke the desire find the answers. He wanted to provoke doubt. He wanted to provoke truth.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that you see all possibilities when you only see one. This is the lie you tell yourself, that if your interpretation feels right, it must be true. This is the lie you tell yourself, that the only thing that can be provoked is anger.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that Summers wanted the audience’s anger. The truth is thus, Summers wanted their doubt. This is the lie you tell yourself, that Summers is to blame for what they did to him in their anger. The truth is thus, they chose to turn their fear into anger and lash out, and it is their burden to carry.

            Yes, Summers knew they would be angry. And Summers spoke the truth anyways. Not because he wanted their anger. Not because desired to cause offense. Not because he wished to appear brave. But because Summers knew that humans are fallible. Summers knew that some would turn their doubt into anger. Summers knew that some would speak ill of him for what he said. Summers knew that some would not listen. But Summers knew that some would listen. And that the truth was important enough to give to those that would listen, to endure the anger of those that would not.

            But it is still their fault for not listening. Summers endures the consequences of their choices, but he does not take the blame of making them. Summers did not make their choices for them. They made their decisions, they made them poorly. They are not children, to be coddled when they throw a tantrum.

            But that wasn’t my claim. My claim was that people came away with that impression. And people can come away with that impression if Summers can be fairly characterized as minimizing the effect of discrimination on the gender gap, especially as they are not reading from a transcript. Grice’s maxims do allow implicature (according to Wikipedia. I do not claim to be a linguist) and I think it is certainly fair to imply from Summers speech that he was minimizing the effect of discrimination on the gender gap in STEM. Not minimizing how bad it was, nor even, necessarily, how pervasive, just minimizing it’s effect on the gender gap.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that small means the same thing as minimal.

            People can come away with any impression at all, depending on what they thought before Summers spoke. This is called bias. This is called prior. This is called knowledge. Evidence moves you from where you stand, where you end up depends on where you started. To you, he was minimizing discrimination, because you assumed too much. To anyone who assumed no discrimination, to a true sexist who thinks that women are idiots incapable of keeping up with men, Summers’ speech would appear to emphasize discrimination, to play down innate (in)ability. To a true sexist, Summers would be too generous by far.

            Evidence moves you towards the truth, and the farther from the truth you were, the farther the evidence will move you. And the direction you move is from where you stand relative to the truth.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that you have no biases that lead you astray.

            That Summers’ audience had the impression that he minimized the effects of discrimination is true. Because they assumed it. Because they stopped listening. Because in their doubt and their fear they exaggerated Summers into a more monstrous form. So that they would not have to feel their doubt, feel their fear. So that they could name him monster and name him liar and ignore his words and ignore his evidence. So they could ignore the truth. Because the truth was painful, and they could not face that pain.

            It is not Summers fault that they misrepresent him. He should not have to be uncharitable, to assume that they are hostile, that they will not listen. He should not have to say, “might be more” when the evidence is “quite possibly much more”.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that Summers must be unkind to be kind. This is the lie you tell yourself, that Summers should lie to tell truth. This is the lie you tell yourself, that this will make the world more just.

            Now, did Summers claim zero effect of discrimination. No. If you want claim that as a victory, go ahead.

            Alas, those were not the terms I offered. You had to take this one step back, and no steps forward: that I was right, that you were wrong, that Summers was misrepresented. You would have to make one pure act of kindness, that I could thank you for it and set aside all animus. That we could salvage any trust at all.

            You make no concession without barb, admit no fault without insult, give no ground but to spring forward with fresh assault. No compliment that is not backhanded. You are ignominious in defeat.

            And with that I am done with this conversation. I find the amount of venom you have put into your last several posts to be highly inconducive to productive discourse.

            This is the lie you tell yourself, that there is no venom in your words. This is the lie you tell yourself, that you are willing to be moved by the evidence. This is the lie you tell yourself, that you are without fault.

            The truth is thus, that none of us are without sin.

            But at least I was right.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            Having gotten that out, I leave you the following.

            May your future be kinder to you than your past.

          • InferentialDistance says:

            @HeelBearCub
            Though your words hurt me, there was still truth in many of them. Facing that truth has made me stronger, and I thank you for that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Being able to express my political views publicly is pretty important to me.

      What’s with the millennial obsession with authentic self expression? Seriously, this isn’t intended as a dig, I genuinely don’t understand this or some of the related things around “identifying as”.

      • gbdub says:

        “Identify as” is my pet peeve. Not in the sense that people can define themselves as they wish, I’m fine with that.

        But increasingly we seem to be encouraging people to turn their opinions into their identity (no wonder we’re taking more politics personally! Now you’re not just attacking my opinion, you’re assaulting who I am). Or the behavior whereby we’ll take some aspect of you, say your sexual orientation or race, and assume it should define other unrelated things about you (e.g. calling Condi Rice an “Uncle Tom”).

    • Earthly Knight says:

      It’s important to distinguish between government-imposed restrictions on speech and social or economic pressures constraining speech. I would prefer that there not be much of either, but the government cracking down on speech poses the far greater threat, as it marks the first step down the road towards autocracy. So even if we endorse your if-I-can’t-have-it-no-one-can line of reasoning, your frustrations should only lead you to become indifferent towards others who face social consequences for speech, not those who are threatened with libel suits for daring to criticize the god-emperor. At any rate, I am sorry you find yourself in a milieu that doesn’t value free inquiry. Social pressures have a way of blowing over with time, though, and I hope you will continue to avail yourself of internet anonymity in the interim.

      • Matt M says:

        “but the government cracking down on speech poses the far greater threat, as it marks the first step down the road towards autocracy.”

        If we postulate that under our current system of government, things that the majority clearly wants usually end up happening, and that the government finds ways to re-define laws such that they conform with common cultural norms, isn’t the culture rejecting the ideals of free speech the FIRST step?

        I’ve gone on the record in other places predicting that hate speech laws will be on the books and enforced and survive a Supreme Court challenge in America within the next 20 years (and that this will not require any sort of new amendment to the constitution). Because most people want them and the job of the Supreme Court seems to be to find some esoteric way to allow the people to have what they want.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          The decision in Snyder v. Phelps was 8-1, with Alito the lone dissenter. So I’m not too worried about the near future. The supreme court understands the value of the first amendment, even if most of the public does not.

    • Zorgon says:

      As much as I sympathise, you never have had free speech and you never will. No civilisation provides its citizens with genuinely unrestricted speech.

      The Bad Box was always there, it’s just that you’ve wandered into it.

  14. Jill says:

    BTW, I don’t have time find the thread up above where this was mentioned now, but if you decide to go to a therapist for social skills issues and you have a lot of anxiety, you may want to look for a psychologist who specializes in “social anxiety”– not just any nice therapist you hear about who might know very little about this particular area of psychotherapy.

    You can call the state psychological association in your state and ask for names of psychologists who specialize in this area. Some have had quite a lot of training in it and it’s one of their primary areas of specialization.

    • Matt M says:

      Does “social anxiety” cover things like “I’m just not good at talking to women?”

      I always got the idea that it was basically a “I’m too terrified to leave the house because of all those scary people out there” sort of thing.

      I’ve been getting a ton of Facebook ads for this online-therapy sort of company about social anxiety, but never really looked into it much because I wasn’t sure it was the same sphere of problem.

      • Jill says:

        I would never advise going to online therapy for any sort of social problem. They can’t see you in person and see how you appear, talk etc. Even if they use Skype, that is not good enough.

        “I’m too terrified to leave the house” is agoraphobia.

        “I’m just not good at talking to women” could possibly be social anxiety.

  15. Ruprect says:

    Re: male privilege

    Am I the only one who has been given a bit of a confidence boost by all this talk of male privilege?

    Also, if we must counter it, wouldn’t a bit of agree and amplify be in order?

    “Yeah, you’re damn right I’m privileged – that’s why YOU have to shut up and listen”

    • brad says:

      Reminds me of an old Jewish joke.

      In the late 1930s, a Jew is traveling on the subway reading a Yiddish newspaper, the forward. Suddenly, to his shock, he spots a friend of his sitting just opposite him, reading the local New York Nazi newspaper. He glares at his friend in anger, How can you read that Nazi rag? Unabashed the friend looks up at him. So what are you reading? He asks. The forward? And what do you read there? In America there is a depression going on and the Jews are assimilating. In Palestine, the Arabs are rioting and killing Jews. In Germany, they’ve taken away all our rights. You sit there, and read all about it, and get more and more depressed. I read the Nazi newspaper. We own all the banks. We control all the governments. We are all rich and powerful.

      • Jill says:

        LOL. A good one there.

      • Sweeneyrod says:

        From the Russian jokes Wikipedia page: “Rabinovich calls pampas headquarters, speaking with a characteristic accent:” Tell me, is it true that Jews sold out Russia?” “Yes, of course it’s true, kike-schnabel!” “Oh good! Could you tell me please where I should go to get my share? “

    • The Nybbler says:

      If you just want to piss off intersectional feminists, that works fine, but annoying them is simple anyway. But they will attack you for bragging about privilege; that’s the same thing that got Justine Sacco in trouble, after all (with her tweet ‘Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just Kidding. I’m White!’)

      I have a counter-line “The only privilege I’ve had as a white male is the unshakeable assumption that anything bad that happens to me is all my fault.” I’ve seen others with similar formulations, some saying explicitly that this really is a positive and not (entirely) sarcasm.

      • Ruprect says:

        I think your argument demonstrates disagreement rather than exposing contradiction – the key to destroying your opponent is to get them to disagree with themselves.

        If anyone criticises my position I can just shrug my shoulders and say “listen, I agree with you – that’s the society we live in” or something to that effect – “I’m a man, you have to listen to me, it’s called “male privilege”, look it up on the faqs”

        edit: I think it’d be a lot better if it was “greatest” privilege rather than “only” – then they’ll actually listen to what you say.

        • suntzuanime says:

          You don’t destroy your opponent in a conversation. You can either persuade them or humiliate them. The former requires them to be receptive, and the latter requires a receptive audience. Telling an uppity woman to go make you a sandwich will only “destroy” her in a context already favorable to you.

          • Jill says:

            Rather than persuading or humiliating someone, you might actually seek to understand them. You might ask for examples of what they are talking about, for example, and seek to understand where they are coming from.

            Everything in life does not need to be a battle. I know it’s not a popular practice in our bashing society, but people really can strive to understand one another. And people can also be aware that they do not have to agree with one another.

            There is a form of conversation called Bohm Dialogue where the goal is to progress from clarity to confusion. The idea is that most of the time, when we think we understand some complex issue, we really don’t. So we can benefit from listening to others, so that we are no longer “clear” and are more “confused” because we are learning things about the complexity of the situation, by considering other points of view. Again, you don’t need to agree– just to look from a different perspective and see if you notice anything new about the situation.

          • Nornagest says:

            Call me a cynic, but I’ve never seen a problem solved in the long run by that sort of language game. Most of the time it successfully masks the problem, but it sneaks around the back and emerges in a new and invariably more sinister form.

            (This includes the rationalist custom of “Taboo”, unfortunately.)

          • Ruprect says:

            I think you can reach the point where you are in the deep dark forest, 2+2=5, and the only way out is to reject your own central beliefs.

            Maybe I’m just regurgitating the plot of inception here, but I think it is possible to plant the seed of doubt in someone’s mind, to persuade them something is wrong, and if that ‘thing’ is central enough to their identity – uh… destroy them (in a manner of speaking).

            Sure, no-one is going to break down there-and-then, but people change their minds after exposure to the arguments of others. I’ve had my mind changed before.

            And, if you don’t trust me and I tell you a fact, you won’t believe me. But if your own statement provides the initial grounds for my argument, there is less room for doubt.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Anyone using the language of intersectional feminism can be presumed with high probability to be both anti-rational (that is, they do not believe in the use of logic and reasoning to find truth) and not persuadable by argument (particularly not argument from someone who is ‘privileged’). Therefore there is really no point in trying to persuade them of anything.

            You can show them contradictions in their worldview, but this will not shake them because they do not accept the reductio ad absurdum.

          • James Bond says:

            Trying to destroy your opponent in a conversation is a risky, risky game. Only attempt if you have significantly more social status than the other person ,and you are sure that you can crush them in an insult contest. Also make sure that you dont engage with someone whos social status is low enough that there are no winning situations for you. In high school the people who took the most shots at my social status were those who were sufficiently low in the chain that they lose nothing if they lose the status game.For them a draw was a win , since they managed to siphon some social status away from me and towards them.. For me it was a no win scenario, since even if I win against the low status opponent, well there is no real gain in social status.Plus i look like an asshole, and lose some social status in that. The social status games between me and people of similar status were very interesting, because they involved multiple levels of thought, and the ability to be best-buddyish , friendly, and still competitive. But the general moral of the story is that if you are trying to openly humiliate someone ( a blatant social status grab), be sure as fuck you have you cards lined up.This is why i generally dont recommend blatant humiliation as a social status enhancing strategy , its way too risky, and there is very little gain. Being nice is not just a good thing to do, but it is often best practice for social status and winning friends. Open insult wars please Moloch. Dont please Moloch.

    • Eggoeggo says:

      “Holy crap, white men must be gods to do all this! No wonder they should run the world!”

    • gbdub says:

      The thing about being told to “check your privilege” is that it’s deployed mostly in situations where the target is actually at a disadvantage. Privilege is very context dependent, and the sort of people who complain loudest about male privilege (and explicitly name it as such) don’t typically frequent the sort of environments where male privilege is abundant.

      • Bone Man with Shiny Hat says:

        it’s deployed mostly in situations where the target is actually at a disadvantage

        What if someone claimed the opposite: that it’s deployed mostly in situations where the target is indeed at an advantage? How would you determine which statement is true? Could you even do so?

        Having said that, yeah, mostly when I’ve heard it it’s functionally equivalent to “Shut up!” I just don’t have any basis to generalize my personal experience very far.

    • Pku says:

      Damn, I have to try that sometime. Though there’s a decent chance I’d get punched.

  16. Waring says:

    One reason not to read newspapers, and to a lesser extent magazines and blogs, is that you only get a surface-level understanding of the issues. It would be far more useful for a layperson to read 100 pages of an economics textbook than 100 pages of the Economist.

    Unfortunately, reading standard textbooks is tough. Partly because they can be dull, but mostly because it’s a huge chunk of text that is hard to get into. By contrast, reading (relatively) short posts, via RSS feeds, is simple and easy. (And even slightly gamified; crossing off things you’ve read).

    Question: is there a simple way of breaking down (ebook) textbooks into short chunks and delivering them via RSS?

    I could split them manually and set them to upload to a free blogging platform, but that’s too much effort and has potential copyright violation issues. If it makes a difference, I use feedly.

    • “Unfortunately, reading standard textbooks is tough.”

      Part of the reason is that the decision of what textbook to buy is made by the professor who assigns the book, not the student who will (or won’t) read it. That gives the author an incentive to write for the professor, who is a very different audience. I remember one horrible example in my field, where the first chapter consisted, so far as I could tell, entirely of hooks to hang references on, with nothing that would actually teach anything to someone who didn’t already know it.

      I was struck by this point when writing Hidden Order, which was my price theory text rewritten for the intelligent layman market. It occurred to me that if at any point the reader lost interest, I would lose him. So I designed each chapter to start with a hook, some interesting question or idea that would hold the reader’s interest to the end of the chapter. Measured by sales, it was my most successful book.

      So instead of looking for books to be broken up and delivered online, you might look for books aimed largely at the intelligent layman market, people reading the book for fun and curiosity not because it was assigned. My standard example is The Selfish Gene.

      • Waring says:

        Thanks for the advice! I’m in academia (law too), so I’m certainly aware of some of the systemic problems with textbooks.

        I’m reasonably confident that I can find relatively interesting texts – I had a look at Mankiw’s intros to economics, for example, and had no trouble staying for a chapter. The problem is delivering the chapters (or parts, if long) into chunks as if it were a blogging platform.

        Having said that, the idea of middle market books is helpful. I found Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow revelatory at the time (and was one of the things that lead me here), so I should probably go further in that direction. (And will look up Hidden Order!)

    • miko says:

      Short answer: Learning requires time, failure, and hard work. In that order. There is no short and easy way.

      Also, textbooks are not always what they seem. I wouldn’t call history textbooks reliable sources of information, for one. Plagued with cultural framing, false information, omission, and censorship. Anything that condenses information is robbing you of perspective. That is why good teachers bring in lots of outside sources of perspective and information, to help fix and fill the holes in textbooks. They are mostly reference tools promoting further study. Which is definitely useful.

      Look into how the big textbook corporations write their textbooks. Sometimes it is low paid English majors copying information from Wikipedia “in their own words”, sometimes it is genuine people trying to make a difference in education. Big corporations are not exactly known for the quality of their work, and that is who dominates the textbook market. Figuring out which textbooks are good quality and which are poor quality is an enormous task in itself.

      It definitely depends on which subject you study. I would call most math textbooks reliable, for example. That would be pretty hard to mess up it seems.

      I agree with you that people need to broaden their perspectives though. Textbooks is a good suggestion, though super expensive.

      I like your idea of gamified learning.

      • Waring says:

        It’s fairly easy to find university reading lists online. From there you can figure out a rough consensus as to what’s useful, and what’s not. (E.g. discount endorsements by people from the same university). (I also work at a collegiate university, so I can talk to people in various fields for further advice if need be).

        I take your point that textbooks are not an end point – I tell my students exactly the same thing. But all those problems you mention are generally worse for newspapers and magazines. In particular, my usual sources tend to involve simplified presentations of new research findings, rather than covering a base of knowledge. This is true of even the best outlets (e.g. Scott on ketamine vs. an intro to molecular biology). My aims are modest: I’d just like to have a rudimentary feel for the lay of the land.

        (As to expense, I was assuming that you can find more than reading lists online…)

  17. Ruprect says:

    Much of my time is spent thinking about doing things I don’t really want to do because other people tell me I should be doing them. Probably spent more time in my life on things like this than anything else (edit: not true, spent more time pretending to be doing these things than anything else)

    My question – is it possible to identify your own “sour grapes”? It feels bad that I’m not having sex with a thousand women a year, because I fear that the only reason I don’t want to, is I can’t. Same with having a high-flying managerial position.
    How can I tell if I’m bad at these things because I don’t want to do them, as opposed to not wanting to do them because I am bad at them?

    Same with belief – am I a Christian because I can’t stand the heat of reality, or does Christianity make reality more bearable because there is some truth to it?

    • HeelBearCub says:

      I think this is a fairly common experience, certainly I have spent periods where I had similar thought patterns.

      For me, the issue frequently revolves around two things. One is just that I have ADD, and so the boring but most “productive” things I could be doing is a huge mental labor.

      Second, is that from childhood into my 30s, I did not read social situations very well, and consistently under estimated how well received I was in any particular social situation. This is not a happy place to be, as almost all of us are social creatures. That leads to overestimating what you “need” to do in order to be happy (socially).

      I could try to structure my career to get a CIO position, and I would have a very good shot at being successful at attaining that position somewhere at a small company. I have come to realize I would be miserable in that position, at least at this point in my life. I really just want to write code. It makes me happy. I still have ADD and depression, but I’m managing those or accepting them, day by day.

      So, as sappy as it sounds, you have to figure who you are, and accept it.

    • Anonymous says:

      My question – is it possible to identify your own “sour grapes”? It feels bad that I’m not having sex with a thousand women a year, because I fear that the only reason I don’t want to, is I can’t. Same with having a high-flying managerial position.

      You very probably can’t have sex with a thousand women a year, short of being Genghis Khan or very unafraid of STDs while nomadically roaming the land in search of cheap prostitutes who you haven’t yet slept with. The high-flying managerial position might be more achievable, but it’s still probably out of reach without dedicating one’s life to the goal or having a heaping of natural advantages.

      I don’t see what’s so bad about not wanting to do these impractical and/or nearly-impossible things. It would be much worse if you wanted this and still couldn’t, like a personal hell. If you don’t want to, then you don’t want to; there’s no reason to drill this matter.

      How can I tell if I’m bad at these things because I don’t want to do them, as opposed to not wanting to do them because I am bad at them?

      IMO, you would be trying and failing anyway if you really wanted to.

      Same with belief – am I a Christian because I can’t stand the heat of reality, or does Christianity make reality more bearable because there is some truth to it?

      Why not both?

    • Peter says:

      So all I wanted in the end
      Was world domination and a whole lot of money to spend
      A little place to call my home, like a planet that was all my own
      Well that’s not much to ask, it’s really not
      It’s not much to ask, just the same as anybody else

      I suppose things divide up into various categories, the examples are for me.

      “Things that would be pretty sweet if I could have them, but realistically, it’s not happening, and I’m not worried about it.” – eg having ÂŁ1 billion.
      “Things I think I genuinely believe aren’t actually good, but other people might call sour grapes.” – e.g. immortality. Christians and transhumanists alike might be alarmed by my point of view, but there it is. Also, world domination.
      “Things where I have a sour grapes reaction and know it.” – no example here, evidently I’m not self-aware enough in the right ways
      “Things which are kind of ambitious, but I’m still a bit cut up about not having access to.” – e.g. becoming a scientist in academia making big important discoveries.
      “Things which don’t seem that ambitious but which I’m still a bit cut up about” – e.g. not pairing up, when I’m in the wrong mood.
      “Things which don’t seem that ambitious but which still seem out of reach for me, would be kind of sweet but meh, whatever” – e.g. not pairing up when I’m in the right mood, not being able to dance, not being able to keep up with my friends on a bike.

      Possibly I’m mis-reading your “sour grapes” – I’ve always read “sour grapes” as “thinking the thing out of reach is worthless” rather than merely not setting your heart on it.

      Being modest in your ambitions I think is a virtue, even if parts of society think otherwise. Stereotypically, Americans are less likely to think this than Brits, I don’t know what it’s like in reality.

    • Jill says:

      I guess I wouldn’t worry too much about why I am a Christian if I tended to be overly worried or obsessive anyway. If you worry too much anyway– then if it works, don’t fix it.

      As for wanting things that you can’t have– and that the vast majority of other people can’t have either– I agree with Peter that being moderate in your wishes, or at least your expectations– is a virtue.

      Ask yourself: What are all the many things I would get out of being a manager or having sex with a lot of women? E.g. money, sex, confidence, feeling socially accepted and not isolated etc. etc. Are there other ways you can get at least some of whatever your needs are, met, maybe just a little bit?

      How could you get at least something similar to what you want? E.g. maybe you could take a business class or 2 that would help you if you ever get a promotion at work, or get a better job. Or you could develop skill in a hobby unrelated to work, to boost your confidence.

      E.g. If you can’t have sex with 1000 women, why not talk to 1000 women? You could go to churches, or to Conversation Cafes or Socrates Cafes or other social groups or organizations in your area. Then you could practice talking to women. And to men too. And see what it’s like to not be socially isolated, sitting there locked into your own thoughts and feelings of frustration.

      Sometimes people want something huge and incredible, partly because they are not getting their more common and smaller needs met. The more frustrated they feel, the more they fantasize about something better and better and more and more out of reach. Not a productive cycle there.

      So, rather than focusing on wanting big big things that you are not getting, why not look at what smaller things you can get or do in your life?

      And if you find you have major problems functioning, you might consider going to a coach or counselor or psychotherapist for help with that. Some people go, even if they have only minor problems functioning. It can be very life enhancing to get individualized help, focused on what you as an individual need, rather than following general advice.

      We’re all flying blind here to some extent, trying to answer your concerns, because we don’t know you as an individual, so your needs aren’t really clear to us.

  18. James Bond says:

    As someone who is off to college in a few months, what tips does SSC have for college and life in general ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Study something employable/marketable.

      Don’t take student loans.

      Get employed (in the field) during college, drop college once with enough experience (you can always finish it later if you really need to; experience trumps education).

      Oh, and find a marriage candidate. Higher education tends to have a fair bit of women who want to earn a Mrs Degree. 🙂

      • HeelBearCub says:

        Try and find something you enjoy that also has a clear path to employment.

        If the choice is to take student loans, or not go to college, take student loans. Keep in mind what the monthly payment on that is likely to be after college and what that means for your cash flow. Don’t take them unthinkingly.

        If you like college, finish your degree. Not having a degree lets the person in a hiring chain who knows the least about the job (HR) keep you from even being interviewed.

        Form relationships when you are in college. You may find that you form friendships that last a lifetime. We still go on our annual vacation with the same four couples/families, all of whom met and lived on the same floor of our college dorm.

        And for God’s sake, don’t use the term Mrs Degree unless you know how to spot, on sight, the kind of person who would be intentionally looking for one and does not mind being referred to as that kind of person, and you know that this is what you are looking for. In other words, don’t use the term Mrs Degree unless you are trying to offend someone.

        • Anonymous says:

          If the choice is to take student loans, or not go to college, take student loans. Keep in mind what the monthly payment on that is likely to be after college and what that means for your cash flow. Don’t take them unthinkingly.

          I struggle to imagine a situation where it is impossible to study without taking student loans in the contemporary west.

          If you like college, finish your degree. Not having a degree lets the person in a hiring chain who knows the least about the job (HR) keep you from even being interviewed.

          Fair point. It’s a good idea to guard against insane bureaucracy; chances are, you’re going to encounter insane bureaucracies.

          And for God’s sake, don’t use the term Mrs Degree unless you know how to spot, on sight, the kind of person who would be intentionally looking for one and does not mind being referred to as that kind of person, and you know that this is what you are looking for. In other words, don’t use the term Mrs Degree unless you are trying to offend someone.

          Also a good point. Some people think there’s something wrong with using college as a marriage market.

    • Zorgon says:

      The US university system isn’t exactly like the UK, so I’ll go for the most general advice I can:

      – It’s very likely going to get a bit crazy in the first few months. Accept it, enjoy it, and for crying out loud don’t try to eke it out over your entire college career or it’s gonna screw you over.

      – There’s a non-zero chance that any mental health problems you have will become significantly worse in the next few years. If you start coming off the rails for reals (not just partying too hard and having the occasional crash), then do not be afraid to seek help. Support networks exist and you should use them.

      – Student politics feels like it’s the entire world. It’s not, it’s just that there are some people who have built entire empires within academia and they have no intention of letting the icky outside world get in… but you’re gonna be leaving that world relatively quickly, so don’t let them fuck with your life too much.

      – Keep fit. Most universities have excellent facilities for sports and fitness and you’ll likely never have such easy (and inexpensive) access to them again. Getting yourself a good base of fitness by your early twenties will do a lot to offset the Mid Twenties Collapse when the hormones start dropping off. (Also it helps with the mental health stuff I mentioned earlier).

      Can’t think of anything else I’m sure crosses the Pond. Hope it’s helpful.

      • Randy M says:

        Student politics feels like it’s the entire world.

        You mean “informal interpersonal relations between groups of students”, right? Rather than referring to the people elected to student office? Because Student body president never felt like anything remotely important.

        • Zorgon says:

          Gawd no, I mean things like activism and tribal tonality of the kind you mention.

          • James Bond says:

            Actually I plan to compeletely can politics in college. I am a libertarian however Im not gonna advertise that fact using a massive banner. As far as I can tell, having a strong political opinion can only cause you to lose connections, status, or friends. So I think that I will be as apolitical as possible in college. No need to shoot yourself in the foot for no reason by telling everyone how much you love absolute freedom of association.

      • Jill says:

        Acting apolitical sounds like an excellent idea– maybe not just in college but maybe most places. It seems that usually not much constructive happens in the current atmosphere as a result of political discussions/arguments.

    • eh says:

      Talk to people whenever possible. Talk before a lecture starts, after it ends, when you’re in line for paperwork, and when you’re doing a lab. If someone is offering you free pizza at a meetup or event, then they’re already interested in talking to you, and if you’re at all interested you should go.

      If you’re introverted, talking to people will suck at first, so make sure you start off with non-threatening small talk in a public place or course-related chitchat, where both of you can easily walk away.

      I didn’t start consciously seeking out conversations until my last year, but it improved the experience tremendously.

    • Jaskologist says:

      Prefer classes with professors you like to classes with topics you like. A bad prof can spoil any class.

      Meet people. Networks are one of the most valuable resources you can have, and college is a good place to build them.

      • Matt M says:

        While this is true, I would throw in the caveats that just because you meet a professor and like their personality does NOT mean they will be a good teacher.

        And taking the advice of classmates is generally a bad idea. One of my favorite teachers had a terrible reputation among the rest of my classmates. Don’t listen to anyone else’s feelings on this unless you know them REALLY well and trust that they have the same tastes and preferences as you.

    • dndnrsn says:

      Watch your diet, get some exercise, try to balance socializing and schoolwork (remembering that if you’re not learning something of direct use, socializing might help your future more than study), don’t drink too much (either all at once or chronically – getting blasted at every opportunity is bad, but so is having several drinks in the middle of the day, by yourself, just because), don’t smoke too much pot, don’t do anything harder, don’t have unsafe sex, don’t put yourself in any positions of liability, and try to take classes where you’ll be graded by professors instead of TAs.

    • Sweeneyrod says:

      “Do not go to places where people binge drink” excludes all UK universities, not sure if that was your intention(!)

      • Zorgon says:

        Something is definitely sick in the UK’s culture. Unfortunately no-one can really agree on what it is, let alone what to do about it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mark Atwood: reifying prejudices into laws of the universe for more than forty years!

      • John Schilling says:

        Something is definitely sick in the UK’s culture. Unfortunately no-one can really agree on what it is, let alone what to do about it.

        From what I’ve seen, heard, and read, much of the UK is pretty clear on binge drinking being a big part of the problem. What’s causing the binge drinking, yeah, they don’t much agree on that.

      • Zorgon says:

        I’m willing to put a significant amount of figurative money on it having an awful lot to do with the near-complete absence of venues for informal social interaction which don’t involve alcohol.

        Now, whether that’s caused by Thatcherite “no such thing as society” ideology or de-industrialisation or post-imperial malaise… that’s where everyone dissolves into pub brawls.

      • Sweeneyrod says:

        I think it is at least partly because we hit the sweet spot between the European culture of drinking moderately with meals from a young age, and American social disapproval of alcohol and high drinking age.

      • Ruprect says:

        Hmmmm… I dunno… that *is* our culture.

        I would be more inclined to say that modern society causes problems for our binge drinking than the other way around.

      • John Schilling says:

        To be fair, I’ve seen lots of Europeans drinking moderately with meals. I’d even say most of them stop drinking not long after the meal is over.

      • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

        My experience with yuros is that they drink moderately with meals and drink not moderately afterwards.

    • Pku says:

      If at some point you find yourself considering grad school, make sure to get some undergraduate research done. It’ll help you get into a good grad school, but more importantly, it’ll help you decide if that’s something you can really see yourself doing professionally.

      • Samuel Skinner says:

        Even easier- attempt to attend the meetings the professors have every week where they talk about the latest research in the field. They might not be willing to have additional people, but if you can get in, you get a good idea of what the current stuff people are expected to be studying is.

    • keranih says:

      What Mark said.

      Set your alarm in the am to a standard time and get up every day then. Don’t stay up all night playing video games and don’t let your roomie do it either.

      During regular work hours – whenever that is for you, schedule at least eight hours a day doing school work – if you are not in class, go study. Like people say – take breaks, chat at people, enjoy the weather when its good and the warmth of the library when its not. But remember that your job is to study.

      If you focus on working during “work hours” and spend half an hour cleaning your place/cooking/laundry and making the list for the next day, you will have HOURS every day for gym/wandering in the sunshine/watching movies.

      But not if you don’t put the first things first.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually go to class, actually do the reading, actually do the homework, actually take practice exams. Getting really good grades in good classes is not superhuman, it just takes ordinary diligence.

      Less than ordinary diligence if you are reasonably intelligent and haven’t sought out the toughest classes. Grade inflation is real and massive.

    • Cheese says:

      The fact that you’re on here suggests to me you’re probably going to be reasonably studious, and not have any illusions about chasing dreams in a field where there are no jobs.

      Although I would suggest talking to recent grads (tutors, lab demonstrators, etc) about job options/markets with reference to whatever you’re doing. It can be hard to discern what things are actually like outside the garden.

      The main advice I have would be socially: join clubs that interest you, talk to people in class/outside of class. Go to events. Participate in them. University is basically your last chance to (easily) make friends outside of small, confined circles. The wider a social network you can create (and then maintain), the better. This will help you with career/relationship/general well being later on.

    • orangecat says:

      For the average student, the advice from Mark and keranih is correct. (And won’t be followed 100%, but will definitely steer you in the right direction).

      But given that you’re on SSC, there’s a decent chance that you’re like me (mumble) years ago: very introverted and sufficiently book-smart so that classes are relatively easy. In that case, here’s what I wish I could have told myself: put a strong emphasis on developing your social life. Go to clubs, parties, study groups, etc, ideally with a reasonable gender ratio. If you don’t drink, learn to do so (RESPONSIBLY). Take any opportunity to date (again, responsibly). Of course take your coursework seriously, but don’t kill yourself going for a 4.0. Once you’re out of college, meeting people is much harder than learning stuff.

      And the obvious universal advice: pick a economically reasonable major, get relevant work experience if you can, and actually finish your degree so you can have the employability ticket.

      • James Bond says:

        Actually im a bit odd for SSC in that im a massive extrovert. I love to talk to people, and I have above average social skills ( at least in my Silicon Valley bubble). People tend to describe me as charismatically douchey. On the nerd to jock spectrum of high school most people at my school would put me squarely in the jock category. I am concerned for my academics though, because although I am reasonably intelligent (still well below SSC average), I have fairly massive ADD. I get distracted super easily and my library study sesh ends up with me and my friends accidentally going on a hike. I am definitely gonna work on the social aspect of college, make sure i date , get in even better shape, and overall have a blast. But I also want to make sure that I get a good gpa ( trying for above 3.5) so that I have access to well paying jobs and stuff in the future. My parents are sinking a lot of money into my college and I want to make sure that I make the most of it.

        • keranih says:

          But I also want to make sure that I get a good gpa ( trying for above 3.5) so that I have access to well paying jobs and stuff in the future.

          Pardon me for a sec whilst I put on my old cranky person hat:

          Nobody, but nobody gives a fuck what your grades are out in the real world. Nobody. Freaking forget grades.

          Instead, focus on:

          – mastering the material
          – learning where and how to gather more information
          – how to learn the skills (ie coding, article analysis, etc) to complete assigned projects
          – finishing projects in a steady, timely manner
          – understanding projects and material well enough to step back and look at it from a holistic perspective, so you can ask the next question
          – interacting well with others in your field – learn to form working attachments and to push back on group think

          To do all that, in my (non-universal) experience, you need to put in the sweat equity at your desk, computer, and library, and you will generally get good grades as you go. But grades themselves? *snort* Nobody will care. Employers will care if you can do the job you’re hired to do. Co-workers will care if you can do the job without being an ass. Subordinates will care if you can do the job and teach them how to do the job.

          • Anonymous says:

            Nobody, but nobody gives a fuck what your grades are out in the real world. Nobody. Freaking forget grades.

            Can confirm. People care if you have a degree or not, sometimes, but never what grades you had.

          • smocc says:

            Except grad schools. Which maybe aren’t the real world, but they are a real option.

            However, doing the things in that list will get you good grades and you’ll learn the important things.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            The difference between a 3.55 and a 3.45 is essentially nil. The difference between graduating with some honorific title and not is bigger. The difference between graduating with a 3.5 and 2.0 is actually consequential.

            Mostly it’s consequential for what opportunities you get in college and what opportunities you get right out of college. After that, a degree is a degree.

            But I agree that if you put in the work to learn, everything else flows from that and stressing about grades in particular doesn’t matter.

            One way that I dealt with my ADD (undiagnosed at the time) was that I used my AP credits to let me drop classes that were not taught well or that I did not find interesting. I always registered for a full course load, but I dropped courses 5 out of 8 semesters. That’s one way to help avoid having too many things on your plate that are just a grind.

          • Matt M says:

            Yes, what they said. GPA will only matter for:

            The VERY elite-level employers in your particular field (this will typically manifest itself as a “don’t bother applying if you’re below 3.5” kind of cutoff, rather than a “we’re going to take the 3.9 guy over the 3.8 guy” final decision)

            Grad school admissions – but it’s just one of many factors. You can get away with a lower GPA if the school you’re going to is highly regarded, and/or if most of the bad grades happen in your first year or so (helps you tell a “I was lazy at first and then got motivated and improved” story, which tends to go over well)

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            I’ve had one employer insist on seeing my college transcripts, and then ding me for them. (They were doing what would later be called negging.) But those were Russian entrepreneurs and Russians are extremely hard negotiators, and they gave me so much bullshit in offer letters and on-boarding that I quit before I start.

          • JayT says:

            I’ve had to show my transcripts once in my life. It was when I was right out of school and I applied to the NSA.
            Unless you are thinking of going to grad school, I recommend focusing on classes that will pertain to what you plan to do for a career, and put less effort towards the general education classes. Mastering your subject will be a lot more useful in life than an “A” in your underwater basket-weaving class.

          • James Bond says:

            I want to make sure that the jobs in fields like finance and consulting stay open. Consulting looks very interesting to me and I wanted to make sure that stays an open door. And most of those jobs care quite a bit about GPA. That is why I am concerned.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            “I want to make sure that the jobs in fields like finance and consulting stay open.”

            Probably the better way to put this is in terms of tilting the odds in your favor, rather than simple open/closed formulation.

            But you are correct, a high GPA will affect how likely a firm is to want to interview you and hire you right out of school. After that GPA is pretty “meh”, but you still have to get to that point.

          • Matt M says:

            I know a guy who was recently hired by McKinsey who insists nobody ever asked him about his GPA (note that this was a graduate-level, not undergad, position).

    • Matt C says:

      Others have said this already, but don’t make drinking into a hobby. Sometimes this can be easy to do. One of my big life regrets is deciding back then that getting drunk was a cool and manly way to pass the time.

      I wish I had tried harder in college to be more social and outgoing, but it sounds like you have that under control.

      Be intentional about what you’re there for and think ahead. If you think you want to get into consulting, start working toward that early on. Seek out internships and the like. Don’t wait until you’re about to graduate to start working on your post-college options. (This is obvious to clued-in people, but a lot of college kids aren’t.)

      • Homo Iracundus says:

        Yeah, the difference between “people who arranged summer internships freshman year” and those that didn’t eclipsed all the variance between majors.

      • dndnrsn says:

        The question is whether a given person is able to consistently drink as much as is needed to reduce nerves when socializing a bit, without messing up their judgment and so forth – or whether once they start they can’t stop at the right amount. The latter people shouldn’t drink.

        • Homo Iracundus says:

          ^Can confirm as someone who needs to have strict rules about drinking. The first and only drink always makes a second drink seem like a much better idea.

          • dndnrsn says:

            I quit drinking, besides periodic occasions where I’m in circumstances where I can’t go overboard, in large part because 4 to 6 beers makes me feel amazing, but while Sober Me is great at planning to stick to 4 to 6 beers, 4 to 6 Beer Me is not great at sticking to those plans.

          • keranih says:

            “The man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.”

        • Matt C says:

          When I first started drinking it wasn’t too bad for me. I didn’t get drunk all that often, I didn’t usually get wasted, and often it was a lot of fun. It took a few years to get to the point where I was drinking at least every weekend, sometimes way too much, and mostly wasn’t even enjoying it any more. You can gradually get yourself into a bad way with booze.

    • Bone Man with Shiny Hat says:

      Normally, I’d read everyone else’s reply first, but I don’t have time right now, so sorry if this is repetitive.

      1) You don’t have time for the news. None. I wasted at least an hour a day reading the New York Times and sometimes the Wall Street Journal in college, and I wish I hadn’t. They weren’t even as interesting as my textbooks, for crying out loud. If you want to be an informed citizen of the world, you can always start in four years. You don’t have time for TV, either, but I’m not sure if that’s still a thing for present-day 18-year-olds.

      2) Work during the day on weekdays. You’re likely to be in a 40-hour-a-week job after graduating anyway, so you might as well start getting in the rhythm. Figure 2.5 hours of lecture or lab a day, plus 5.5 hours of reading, problem sets, papers, and study groups. Nights are for bull sessions.

      3) Never plan to do work on the weekends (which I define as 6:00 PM Friday until 6:00 PM Sunday). If there’s a giant paper due and you’re behind, the weekend will be the slack that saves you. If you feel like you should be making some academic progress on Saturday afternoons, use it to do supplemental reading, or peruse journals related to your major.

      4) Distractions are distracting. Go study in the library. I didn’t do this until my final year, which was a mistake. If the main library’s full, go find an unpopular library on campus (the Engineering library worked for me). Only take one or two subjects’ materials with you, and nothing else. Disable WiFi if you can, or maybe rig up some kind of portable Faraday cage for yourself.

      5) Extracurriculars are great, but you can’t do three or four like you did in high school. Stick with one, try out some new ones, and don’t make commitments you can’t keep. A program house counts as one extracurricular.

      6) The main advantage college has over reading things yourself is not the professors—it’s the students. Study socially. Join your major’s student society, if only for the free pizza and beer. Get advice from older students about what courses to take when.

      7) Start saying “Hi” to people you don’t know the first day you’re on campus. It’s a good time to start the habit, since all the freshmen will be new and won’t know many people yet either. In college, I rarely struck up a conversation with someone I didn’t know, but those conversations always went well, and gained me not just a couple of friends, but some very interesting acquaintances.

      8) Don’t plan to party during the week: that’s what weekends are for. Lower-key social stuff is fine: getting together to see a movie or a lecture, bull sessions (seriously underrated), dinners.

      9) If you find yourself getting anxious, withdrawn, or with low mood, get screened for depression. Somehow despite multiple contacts with campus counseling services, and concerned deans, nobody diagnosed mine. I basically wasted half of what I could have gotten out of college (and several subsequent years).

      10) You’re probably wise to avoid politics. Consider forming a secret libertarian society, though. You can publish anonymous pamphlets with cool pseudonyms, like those Federalist Papers guys. If you completely cease thinking about politics, the pervasive miasma of campus leftism will probably penetrate your brain, like that thing Khan puts in Checkov’s ear in the first good Star Trek movie.

      I’m sure I’ve forgotten some stuff; hope this is helpful. (And bookmark this thread and put a note in your calendar to re-read it the first week of college.)

  19. Lately, it’s really feeling like society considers any method I might have to meet women a critical security flaw in need of immediate patching.

    People always advocate social dance events (“There are always way too many girls to go around, everyone will want to dance with you, it’s great!”) First off, it’s flatly not true, at least on the west coast these days: I’ve literally never been to one of these mythical social dance events with a good ratio. I’d be thrilled to see 1:2. Hell, I went to a contra night a while back where there were more men in dresses than women, and no, there’s not an ambiguity in that sentence. But the real knife to my gut was when I started seeing sneering blog posts talk about how awful it was that men went to {blues, swing, contra} with the intention to dance with women and maybe even chat with them. How the community needed to put in safeguards to stop this menace. One commenter recommended expelling or even calling the cops on single men who showed up and approached strange women. As soon as losers started trying to use dance events as a way they could possibly interact with girls, everyone freaked out.

    Okay, dance is out. Another thing you’ll see recommended: volunteer at your local animal rescue, or homeless shelter, or other charity de jour! Volunteers skew women (and, some of the advisors will point out, they’re obviously kind women too!) I’d always dismissed volunteering as an inefficient source of utilons, more about resume-padding and virtue-signaling than doing good, but sure, this is a good point–I can spend time doing low-value volunteer work and still donate to AMF. Certainly I yield more utils than just going to a bar, and if I treat it as a substitute for that…

    And then I start looking for volunteer opportunities in Seattle. I immediately find an event announced by $PROMINENT_CHARITY, sounds fun, I look for details–and realize the description spends fewer words (yes, really) on what we’d be doing or why it’s goo than on warning us (in caps) that this was NOT FOR MEETING PEOPLE and that ANYONE HITTING ON OTHER VOLUNTEERS WOULD BE EJECTED WITHOUT WARNING. Again: someone found out I might be able to talk to a girl there and, before I even did, freaked the fuck out.

    This happens again and again. Anywhere people tell me is a good place to meet girls, I find that first it’s already common knowledge and swarming with other men, and second that our presence is the biggest problem in the whole community. What’s more, let’s not fool ourselves: at all these dance events, people meet potential partners and flirt and sometimes exchange numbers (or saliva…). I’d bet some coffee dates are planned every time $CHARITY has a meeting. But that’s OK for some people and not for others, and we all know which ones are allowed to do this and which aren’t.

    Honestly, it makes sense. Take a Hansonian perspective: we want to signal mate fitness, and our potential mates want those signals kept honest. So we build societal infrastructure so that the men given access to good situations to meet women have, by getting that far, provided good evidence that they’re good mates. Any of this infrastructure I can access is, ipso facto, not doing its job, and needs replacement. This is the real reason most people hate the idea (not any particular unpleasant implementation) of PUA-type skills, and it’s why people say things like “just be yourself”: the entire goal of romancing someone is demonstrating that you’re a good mate, and if you can learn to produce these signals without actually having the qualities they signal, that’s dangerous.

    But still at this point I’m feeling somewhat akin to the protagonists of the “Untitled” post: I know I don’t have a right to dates…but can we may stop treating my wanting them an unforgivable sin? Is that too much to ask?

    • The Nybbler says:

      I think your pond might be overfished and polluted; the Seattle male-female ratio is very high. I’d suggest you get off the left coast (which will help some with the pollution — that is, anti-male culture warriors) and find somewhere the male-female ratio is more in your favor.

    • Jill says:

      Your problem is that you have no social skills. How do I know? Because you live in Seattle, and no one there has social skills. I used to live there.

      Have your heard of the Seattle Freeze? Makes it very hard for people to meet one another. Also, a huge percentage of the population seems to have depression due Seasonal Affective Disorder but doesn’t know it. Almost everybody is depressed and socially withdrawn and trying to pretend that they feel just fine.

      I met someone from Maine who lamented how non-social people in Seattle are. Maine.

      I agree with the Nybbler that you definitely ought to get out of that place. It’s a fantastic place for an introvert. But for someone who is trying to make social or dating connections, it s**ks big time.

      When we lived there, my husband and I were amazed that any single people ever met and eventually got married at all. We couldn’t introduce single people to our single friends of the opposite sex, because we didn’t have any friends either, when we lived in Seattle.

      If you want to make social connections of any kind, it really helps to be in a place where people speak and make eye contact. That’s not exactly the way it is there– no speaking or eye contact– but almost.

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

      http://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/our-social-dis-ease-beyond-the-smiles-the-seattle-freeze-is-on/

      BTW, I don’t think the social group mentioned there is still going on. It’s hard to keep anything social continuing, in Seattle. Most things social just fall apart.

      People do meet in groups that go on and on sometimes. But they are task oriented groups, not social groups.

      A fellow psychotherapist from the midwest, then living in Seattle, once proudly announced in our peer consultation group. “I’ve finally figured out the Seattle culture. Socializing is a means to an end here– not an end in itself. “

      • How do I know? Because you live in Seattle, and no one there has social skills. I used to live there.

        This is true. I too used to live in Seattle, and will attest to the fact.

        (Except in college. In college I met lots of people and had girlfriends. I have no idea how I would have had anything like that success after college.)

    • God Damn John Jay says:

      What is the worst thing that could happen if you made an advance at someone? Like just started talking to a woman you come into contact with (not at work).

      You linked to your Google Page and you seem to have a reasonably handsome face and are in really good shape. I can’t imagine you making an advance would be a huge deal.

    • Peter says:

      For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath.

    • sohois says:

      The issue you face is that your thinking is dominated by ‘meeting girls’. Think about the first few people who went to dance clubs and found they were good places for potential dating; chances are they went in the first place because they were interested in dance and it just happened that they could also meet people with similar interests. It would thus be easy for them to interact and flirt with others since their primary interest is not flirting, and this is obvious. It’s fairly natural that people with an interest in dancing would be able to hook up and have a relationship, however even if the well wasn’t poisoned and you yourself could go to these events to meet people, chances are you would find it considerably more difficult just because you don’t share the common interest. The people that initially recommended such ideas likely did so because it worked very well for them, and perhaps a handful of early birds, but most wouldn’t get anything from it simply because they aren’t dancers or whatever.

      In the end, the real reason these events have become hostile to single men isn’t really to do with keeping out ‘losers’ or preventing men from hitting on women, and is about preventing these events being filled with people that have no interest in them. Let me give you a hypothetical: imagine if, for some reason, rationalist meetups were described as an excellent place to meet potential dates. The events would become filled with boorish people with no interest in discussion, solely looking for a mate. How awful would that be for the few people generally interested in rationality?

      When people go online saying that dance events, or volunteering, are an excellent way to meet people, the advice to take is not to just imitate them. The advice is that social events in general are a good place to meet people, assuming you have a genuine interest.

      Now, I’m sure at this point there are some crying out “But all the things I’m interested in are dominated by males! It’s impossible.” OK, obviously you’re not going to have much luck with a [insert your nerdy hobby here] meeting. All I can recommend to you is to find a new interest and work at it. Do you think if you went to a bunch of dance lessons and got really good at it, that anyone would have an issue with you flirting at some social dance event? I’m gonna say no. You would be there for a legitimate reason. You would be an actually interesting guy with a range of interests that you pursue actively. Anyone that has several social hobbies that they enjoy would have no trouble meeting partners.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m told there used to be social events arranged by the local (parent) community with the primary purpose of exposing their kids to each other, and arranging marriages between the mutually acceptable. I wonder if anyone resurrected them yet under some business venture yet.

      • Peter says:

        Anyone that has several social hobbies that they enjoy would have no trouble meeting partners.

        Hahahahaha hahahahaha hahahaha. This is not my experience. It might work for some, but not for others.

      • houseboatonstyxb says:

        Groups of people who get together to volunteer for a political candidate shouldn’t be that picky.

      • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

        I do think that these events, definitely volunteering activities and most likely also general social events, are hostile to male sexuality. I volunteer at my university, and it’s quite apparent that some people go to our events to find friends or engage in social activity. This is often even explicitly advertised as one of the reasons to join by similar events or groups. For some reason, people assume that a person who considers a group of people to be good potential friends has the right personality for the cause, but a person who considers a group of people to be good potential mates is creepy.

      • The Nybbler says:

        When I was in Philadelphia, quite a few people went to dance events to meet people for potential dating. Both men and women. Those who succeeded were of course interested in dancing (I tried it and unfortunately it turns out I’m terrible at dancing, but that’s not a problem with the event), but going into it with the social/dating factor first and the dancing second wasn’t a disqualifier. The great advantage of dance in particular, is you’re expected to ask women to dance and to dance with them; this gives you a chance to check each other out in a setting that isn’t explicitly dating.

        • Tibor says:

          I completely agree. I think I am mediocre at dancing, but I enjoy it. With practice I could (and hope to) become reasonably good, probably not great though, but that’s fine. I don’t share the experience Andrew has with dancing events at all. Of course, I live in a different city, different continent even and sometimes go to a local salsa party. I also attend a dance course. I met a girl that way with whom I have/had kind of a romantic relationship (it is more complicated than I would like it to be or would care to explain 🙂 ) and met a lot of other people, mostly women, with whom I am in regular contact with (I live in a relatively small town though, around 100 000 inhabitants, even though it is a university town, i.e. more people in their 20s and early 30s than average, if you go to a salsa event, you know you will meet a lot of the people you know). I also really like hiking, so I organized some trips and met some other people that way..and through those people I met others.

          What is important is that while meeting people (and particularly women) was one of the objectives of those activities, I would not try to figure out “the best way to meet women”, I would just try to do stuff I like anyway which involves other people and which does not necessarily involve the same old group of people I know from work for example. That way, you meet a lot of people in a short time and then you get invited to some of their events and there you meet even more new people. This is generally the best recipe to meet a partner I think – just be exposed to people enough and try to do it while doing something you like anyway. That has two advantages. One is that you actually enjoy yourself in the process instead of regarding it as a chore and therefore you are more likely to do it often (I also just tried going to bars and talking to strangers, but that was quite stressful for me, I had no idea what to talk about and given the rather random nature of the people who you meet at a bar, probably not the best way to find a good match either). The second is that you have both a topic to talk about (the activity you are doing) to people and a common interest. Both make making friendships/romantic relationships easier.

          And as mentioned, the great advantage of dancing, especially if you are rather shy with women (like me) is that you are actually expected to come a to a woman you don’t know and ask her out to dance (of course, I am talking about the kind of music which you dance in pairs to). Then the conversation starts in a much more natural way than if you try to start it with a stranger in a bar. Also, for me at least, the feel I get from the dance with a particular woman also has an influence on how I feel about her, I feel that you actually can tell something about the personality of your dancing partner from the way he dances (obviously not as much as by actually getting to know him but it provides more information than you usually get in the first few minutes).

          • Anonymous says:

            the great advantage of dancing, especially if you are rather shy with women (like me) is that you are actually expected to come a to a woman you don’t know and ask her out to dance (of course, I am talking about the kind of music which you dance in pairs to)

            You and I clearly have very different definitions of the word “shy”.

          • Tibor says:

            @Anonymous: Ok, so the difference between this and between coming to someone random in a bar and starting a conversation is that here you have sort of formal way to do that where it is entirely clear how you start – you just come to her and ask if she’d like to dance. So in this sense, it is definitely easier.

      • “Think about the first few people who went to dance clubs and found they were good places for potential dating; chances are they went in the first place because they were interested in dance and it just happened that they could also meet people with similar interests.”

        As it happens, I met my current wife at folk dancing. The reason I was there was that a friend’s wife had suggested that it was a good place to meet girls (this was after my first marriage had broken up).

        One of the ways in which my second wife was better suited to me than my first was that she rapidly figured out that I couldn’t dance. We did, however, have other and more important things in common.

    • Anonymous says:

      In general, it seems to me that we have largely lost the social/cultural ability to matchmake for fairly boring average people who just want to find a tolerable mate, have some kids and grow old together. The requirements to successfully find a partner in life seem to have been grossly inflated.

    • Ruprect says:

      “I know I don’t have a right to dates…but can we may stop treating my wanting them an unforgivable sin? Is that too much to ask?”

      All that stuff about these social systems acting as some sort of effective selective mechanism is rubbish – the society we live in (particularly the dating aspect you are talking about) is very recent – it’s a mutation that hasn’t yet been subjected to selective pressure.

      I don’t think anyone thinks it’s a sin – you’re probably just over-sensitive about what people might think of you (and that’s what people are talking about when they say “be yourself”). Check this out -http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3koh9x
      I dunno… maybe try a dating agency?

      • Jill says:

        Yes, a lot of people seem to have success with on line dating.

        • Anonymous says:

          Really? What sort of success?

          • Peter says:

            I’ve heard of people getting married as a result. Even I have managed to get the odd second date off it. Then again, I’ve heard of people winning the lottery.

            All that said, it’s a lot of effort and a lot of heartache for most likely not very much reward; it’s probably a better strategy than buying lottery tickets and hoping to flaunt your millions, but only probably. I’ve also heard it said that people who get success from online dating are also the sorts of people who can get success offline but who just want to speed things up a bit.

          • Matt M says:

            Online dating is pretty much the only way I can ever get any dates at all. So in that sense it has been “successful.” But it has not led to anything even remotely resembling a functional, long-term relationship – so in that sense it hasn’t been successful.

            And what Peter says is absolutely correct. Don’t enter online dating thinking that you’re only competing against others like you who have no other recourse. The “normal” guys who don’t “need it” are there too, and they can out-compete you there too. The only real viable strategy for making it worth your time is coming up with a reasonably clever introductory message, and copy-pasting it to literally every girl the site matches you with. Any reasonably cute/interesting girl is getting hundreds of messages a day – mostly from guys you can assume are more attractive and better at talking to women than you are.

          • Jill says:

            > people who get success from online dating are also the sorts of people who can get success offline but who just want to speed things up a bit.

            Probably so. So if a person doesn’t have social skills, then they need to go to a community college course, or to a coach or therapist, or somewhere to learn social skills. If a person doesn’t have social skills first, then here is where they are going to be able to find a romantic partner is: nowhere.

            Social skills are essential.

          • Salem says:

            I met my wife through online dating, and have several friends who did likewise. I also found online dating to be incredibly helpful in improving my ability to deal with women.

          • Peter says:

            @Salem

            Good point – I may have been unnecessarily bitter about the whole thing; I was writing with tunnel vision about the end goal and forgetting to remark about the good stuff to be had along the way. My bad.

            It does indeed seem to teach something. I could feel my skills getting noticeably better, year on year… for a while at least. That’s strong motivation to keep at it. And the experiences to have along the way can be quite nice too. Putting too much pressure on myself to get The Result I think was what made it hard for me, every now and again I think of going back to it.

            In my bitter moments I had the thoughts, “I’m learning social skills here, and if we extrapolate, success is at the end of the line – however, it looks like dying of old age is likely to happen first.”

          • Jill says:

            Regarding social skills, here are some social communication classes that might be helpful for those willing to put in the effort. For those who are not willing to put in any effort though, of course, it’s not the thing.

            It’s important to realize, in our desires or goals
            —which ones we just want to fantasize about
            — which ones we just want to get a few tips about and try them out and see if we get any results
            –which ones we are willing to put in the time, effort, and possibly expense, to try to make some substantial progress.

            Nonviolent communication workshops, classes, and practice groups
            https://www.cnvc.org/

            And here is an communications expert of a sort, where maybe the web site could help you find a workshop, class, or coach in your local area.
            http://www.susancampbell.com/

          • JayT says:

            I would have to think more carefully about it to know for sure, but I would guess that half the people I know in long term relationships got there through online dating. I never tried it (I probably should have), but from what I’ve seen, it’s been very effective.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            I met my wife online. But not on a dating site. I got zero results from any place I paid a membership to.

            By zero results, I mean zero in-person dates.

          • Loquat says:

            I met my husband on a dating site, and we’ve been married over 5 years. It definitely didn’t happen instantly – I was on the site for a few years and had unsuccessful dates with several other men I met there before I met him.

    • Zorgon says:

      I advise you make several million dollars as soon as possible. That’ll fix all your dating problems right up.

      • Peter says:

        Well, that’s about as practical as most of the impractical practical advice out there, but at least it’s honest about it.

        • Zorgon says:

          I don’t have any good dating advice for him. My entire romantic life, pretty much, has consisted of “sit in rock clubs being pretty and get hit on by aggressively sexual women”. I don’t know how transferable I can make that…

          (Also, since I’m not 21 any more, I really REALLY plan on keeping hold of my current partner. I would hate to try to meet new people now I’m no longer a pretty boy.)

          • Peter says:

            Sometimes the acknowledgement that there’s no good advice to be offered is all that’s needed.

        • ChetC3 says:

          It’s also not as much of sure thing as people tend to assume. Unless you use that several million to just buy “dates” outright, but he could probably afford that already.

          • Matt M says:

            I’m actually legitimately curious about this. I’m not nearly at the “several millions” phase but I recently accepted a job over six figures in my early 30s. Generally frugal – good with money – no debt, so my expenses are low.

            How do I start transforming this money (such as it is) into dates, short of activities that are obviously illegal?

          • Jill says:

            If I were you, I would shop around to find a highly competent life coach or therapist, and use this money to work on my social skills. It would be best if the person had experience in helping people in that particular area. And if one can’t help you, it’s very possible that another one will be great for you. Different therapists and coaches work in very different ways.

            I would also make sure I join social groups and organizations, so I have somewhere to practice social skills.

          • Dr Dealgood says:

            @Matt M,

            It’s about presenting yourself as successful. The money per se isn’t the big draw, although it is a pretty big one, but rather that it signifies that you’re a winner.

            Ironically, that means your frugality is working against you. If you had a sleek car and tastefully expensive tailored wardrobe it would advertise you as a man who can afford to drop money on luxuries. But by not indulging in those luxuries, the money you save doesn’t really impress anyone.

            Think about it as if you were a medieval lord rather than an accountant. You’re supposed to be doing to modern equivalent of throwing lavish feasts and scattering jewels amongst the peasants from your carriage. Visibly watching your expenses makes you seem like you expect to suddenly lose your wealth, and makes you look more boring.

          • Anonymous says:

            1) Live in a place where six figures puts you reasonably close to the top. I.e. not the Bay Area, NYC area, or LA.

            2) Put photos in your dating profiles that subtlety but unmistakably signal wealth. A picture in front of your Ferrari is gauche, a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower is perfect.

            3) Be open to dating women in their late 20s and early 30s. Bonus points if you are open to women with a child from a prior relationship.

            4) There is no four.

          • @Jill:

            Do you have any evidence that life coaches actually work, provide useful help? My casual and cynical impression, based on very little data, is that “my coach” today is the equivalent of “my shrink” forty years ago, with the only advantage being that the coach doesn’t have to acquire expensive degrees before going into business–and that neither was/is terribly useful. It’s someone you pay to pay attention to you.

          • The Nybbler says:

            @Matt M
            Buy a Porsche. Be seen in it. Carry the key visibly. Include it (with you in it, not in front of it) in your profile pics.

          • Matt M says:

            It’s not quite the same scale – but I bought a (used, but only a couple years old at the time) Lexus when I was 25 at a time when everyone in my relevant peer group was driving beat up Subarus. Didn’t do me any good whatsoever. Seemed to make zero difference.

          • The Nybbler says:

            Lexus sends the wrong message (except the sport coupes, maybe). A used Lexus a very wrong message. A Lexus is a more or less sensible luxury car. Boring. The idea is to get attention. A sports car is better. New. In a bright color. I don’t guarantee it will get dates, but it will get female attention. Parlaying that attention into dates is up to you.

            Of course this works best in areas where you can be seen driving it; not so well in NYC (but in NYC you’d be competing with multi-millionaire bankers anyway)

          • Matt M says:

            Just curious – but do any of you personally know someone who traveled this path? (socially awkward – near zero success with women, became wealthy, and was then swimming in available dates)

            It seems like one of those “conventional wisdom” things that people just tend to believe must be true.

            I also feel like wealth and social skills probably correlate well enough that it’s something of a confounding variable. Basically – even if you’ve noticed rich guys having a ton of dates, it’s entirely possible that they also had a ton of dates before (I’m more willing to believe that being rich increases the “quality” of the women who will consider you, just not necessarily the quantity)

    • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

      Unrealistically optimistic suggestion: I’ve heard fan fiction communities being recommended to rationalists, because women are in the majority and also of the nerdy type. Due to the format, you can demonstrate your value by your writing before being labelled a creep, whereas at a dance or volunteering event it’s more difficult to prove you are not a loser. I have, however, no idea how these communities work and how you are supposed to meet them in real life.

      Realistic, but depending on your circumstances maybe impossible, suggestion: The only thing that reliably still works for the average guy (sadly only for white people): go to Asia. Since from your google profile it seems that you are quite decent in shape and practice martial arts, I presume a little self confidence and less worry about being shamed might be useful. You will have no trouble getting female attention in China or Japan. If you are a student, you can maybe join some exchange program, if you graduated already you will find a job teaching English easily. The biggest surprise will be how it’s like to have people (including girls) just be *nice* to you, even without any sexual interest.

      • Anonymous says:

        Realistic, but depending on your circumstances maybe impossible, suggestion: The only thing that reliably still works for the average guy (sadly only for white people): go to Asia. Since from your google profile it seems that you are quite decent in shape and practice martial arts, I presume a little self confidence and less worry about being shamed might be useful. You will have no trouble getting female attention in China or Japan. If you are a student, you can maybe join some exchange program, if you graduated already you will find a job teaching English easily. The biggest surprise will be how it’s like to have people (including girls) just be *nice* to you, even without any sexual interest.

        Since you appear to know something about this – what do you think is the upper age for a white male to get that sort of attention from pre-Christmas Cake women there?

        • SolipsisticUtilitarian says:

          Can only speak for China, but one teacher I was friends with was in a serious relationship with a girl who just graduated from college. He was in his mid 40s. Since that is the concern coming up most often: She was not out to get a visa out of China, quite to the contrary, their relationship ended when the guy was not willing to commit to settle down in China.

          • Anonymous says:

            Very interesting. My boss recently divorced and moved to HK, and told me that the parents of his new Chinese wife were annoyed at his globalist, lots-of-flying job – that he wasn’t settled down enough.

            How common is that notion – that moving to China is the vastly preferred solution in mixed marriage?

          • Emile says:

            I don’t know how much it’s vastly preferred, but I also know of cases where the parents live in China and would prefer the whole family to come live in China rather than having their daughter live in some faraway land. I don’t think *that* big a proportion of Chinese people want to move out.

          • Anonymous says:

            How common is that notion – that moving to China is the vastly preferred solution in mixed marriage?

            I am by no means an expert, but my uneducated impression is that the expectation is for children to take care of their parents in their old age, and this is the reason the one-child law led to a superabundance of boys in China. Presumably the same circumstance would lead the parents to strongly disapprove of their one child leaving the country entirely (and no doubt many old Chinese people would look upon the prospect of moving to a Western country as only marginally better at most, even supposing the daughter and the in-law were to make the offer).

        • h says:

          Over 60 definitely. I remember attending a restaurant opening party and having my mind blown by meeting this international school teacher with a girlfriend who was around 30, spoke very good English, had lived in England and gotten a Master’s degree while living there. That’s in Shanghai. A different guy, who I know more than glancingly met and had sex with multiple girls on a two week holiday in Japan. He was a balding early 30’s nerd with bottom quartile social skills. A friend told me last week about meeting a 19 year old Filipino girl whose boyfriend was 70.

          In the Philippines there does not appear to be an upper limit. The same is true for Vietnam/Thailand/SEAsia but there appear to be a lot more mercenary girls.

          Personally I’d recommend the more first world Asian countries or the first tier cities in China. It is only a little harder and you won’t be dating peasants.

      • Emile says:

        I also think that “go to Asia” is sensible advice, and a disproportional number of geeks seem to have Asian girlfriends/spouses (including myself, tho I didn’t meet her in Asia).