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  #1  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:03 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

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  #2  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:09 AM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

I see everybody's favorite amateur racist pseudoscientist is back. Yay!
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:16 PM
Meng Bomin Meng Bomin is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

I see that claymisher's trolling behavior has been set on again by the appearance of Razib Khan. Yay!

I mean seriously, if he does promote incorrect ideas, he should be called on it. That's a given. But your approach has been "Razib Khan = Steve Sailer light", therefore nothing he says is worth listening to, so I better spam the Bloggingheads.tv forum with the message that RAZIB KHAN IS A RACIST! OMG!!1!

The only point he made with regard to race is that genes correlate with each other and because of that correlation, you can predict a person's ancestry from a sampling of certain particularly predictive genes, such as the first one mentioned, which has a significant effect on skin color and has wildly different ratios in Europeans than in Africans.

He also claimed that the distribution of gene correlations seemed to group the human family tree as a group that originated in Africa, with one branch that went into Eurasia, roughly separated into eastern and western sub-branches. All this seems to be relatively uncontroversial and could be fact checked. Obviously, if it's wrong, someone should let us know and post a link.

NOTHING, however, in the diavlog suggested that black people are inferior. You can watch it (judging from your posts, I'm not sure you have), but I didn't see so much as a minor insinuation to that effect.

Some people watch Blogginheads diavlogs for the ideas exchanged and not because whatever stereotypes they have of the people speaking are pleasing or displeasing to them. It just so happens that Razib Khan has done a pretty good job as an interviewer and has brought interesting points to the discussion in this and past diavlogs that he participated in here and frankly, I'd like to see more of him if he continues to be a asset to Bloggingheads discussions.

IF he has unsavory views that are incorrect and IF those views come out here, then your commentary may be useful. Until then, pointing out that GNXP has a link to Steve Sailer while insinuating that anyone who defends his presence on Blogginheads is a racist or shelters racists is nothing short of troll behavior.
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Old 02-06-2010, 03:18 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

I love that Razib's defenders all insist than black people are in fact dumber. Keep at it guys!
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:19 PM
Meng Bomin Meng Bomin is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

I love that claymisher doesn't read posts in addition to not watching diavlogs. Keep at it, claymisher!
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:21 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

Look, this is easy. If Razib Khan, unlike his cobloggers, doesn't think that black folks aren't genetically inferior he should just say so. If it pisses off his pals even better.
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:25 PM
Meng Bomin Meng Bomin is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Look, this is easy. If Razib Khan, unlike his cobloggers, doesn't think that black folks aren't genetically inferior he should just say so. If it pisses off his pals even better.
Fair enough, but the point is that if he has those views, I haven't seen them come out here at all. So you seem to have a campaign against HIM, not against what he says on Bloggingheads, which happens to be what this comment section is about.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2010, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

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Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
I see everybody's favorite amateur racist pseudoscientist is back. Yay!
And so glad to hear from our favorite amateur preventive breast cancer expert. Yay!
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2010, 05:13 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Smart political leaders?

I wouldn't worry much about whether political leaders are too "lawyer-like" and not sufficiently trained in science. There are plenty of scientific experts to consult with and rely upon.

The bigger -- and perennial -- problem is how disingenuous a leader may be, how self-interested, how ideologically driven, how Machiavellian.

In a word, character.

Personal ethics matter and so do personality traits like self-esteem (or lack thereof).

Example: It's not so much whether or not Al Gore understands global warming better than Bush. What matters more is how much political expediency figures into Gore's (or anyone's) calculations. Gore might well have been willing to dump a sound environmental plan in order to get re-elected, to win one key state's electoral vote, to enhance or impede a rival's prospects.

Did it take someone smart and scientific to see through GW Bush's lies about Iraq? (I'd expect lawyers to be better at assessing truthfulness than scientists, actually). Or was it that 9/11 hysteria infected even good minds?

Did Hillary Clinton vote for the Iraq war on principle, on brains, on her "gut" or on her ambition? Did lawyer John Edwards support it because he trusted the CIA intelligence (no pun intended), because he couldn't resist the bullying temperament of a Dick Cheney, or because he was distracted by family problems?

Or take an issue like same-sex marriage: A smart constitutional law professor like Obama may be capable of reasoning that opposition to gay marriage is mainly based on superstition and fundamentalist religious beliefs. But he may also continue to oppose gay and lesbian rights for a variety of reasons: cowardice, influence of others, the idea that his health care reform agenda is too important to jeopardize by supporting an unpopular civil rights issue.
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2010, 11:17 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I wouldn't worry much about whether political leaders are too "lawyer-like" and not sufficiently trained in science. There are plenty of scientific experts to consult with and rely upon.
I don't completely disagree with you, especially as you expand upon this in the part of your comment I didn't quote, but I would say that there is at least something to this worry. One can imagine a political leader so insufficiently familiar with science and scientific thinking that he or she is overly swayed by emotional, rhetorical, religious, etc. appeals on topics that ought to be much more rationally considered.

Also, one has to have some basic appreciation for a given field even to be able to decide in the first place who should be picked as advisors, who should be trusted as experts, etc. See, for example, Stalin and Lysenko.

I hasten to add that I have no wish to be ruled by scientists. The arrogance of physicists ("because I am smart about this, I can derive everything from first prinicples") is quite familiar to me. I am just saying that I think there is something very real and quite serious to worry about when a political class is innumerate.
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:07 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

Quote:
I would say that there is at least something to this worry. One can imagine a political leader so insufficiently familiar with science and scientific thinking that he or she is overly swayed by emotional, rhetorical, religious, etc. appeals on topics that ought to be much more rationally considered.
Agreed. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for emotions as assets. We value compassion in leaders (a high E-for-empathy Quotient). Some of us suspect, in fact, that -- everything else being equal -- women may make better political leaders because they generally tend to be more empathic and less aggressive.

On the other hand, a tendency toward sociopathy, for example, which I believe we've seen in leaders like Kissinger and Nixon, is an obvious liability to good governance, even if the leader has an off-the-charts IQ.
Quote:
Also, one has to have some basic appreciation for a given field even to be able to decide in the first place who should be picked as advisors, who should be trusted as experts, etc. See, for example, Stalin and Lysenko.
Not so much danger in a democracy, I'd say, although I'd have to read the "Republican War on Science" to see how close we really came to going down that road.

Quote:
I hasten to add that I have no wish to be ruled by scientists. The arrogance of physicists ("because I am smart about this, I can derive everything from first prinicples") is quite familiar to me.
Just from this dialogue? Or in general?
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  #12  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:35 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Agreed. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for emotions as assets. We value compassion in leaders (a high E-for-empathy Quotient).
Yes, I quite agree. This is what I was driving at when I went on to say that I had no wish to be ruled by scientists. And it's not just the emotions, either. There is a lot to be said for different kinds of smarts.

Quote:
Some of us suspect, in fact, that -- everything else being equal -- women may make better political leaders because they generally tend to be more empathic and less aggressive.
I am unsure about that. I don't know how much of this is due to cultural conditioning -- of women, or of me and my impression of women.

I would also point to, for example, Katherine Harris, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin, who seem quite aggressive and not empathic, except possibly to their own kind.

While I'll grant you said "everything else being equal," this is probably not a realistic assumption. For one thing, humans are so complex it's virtually impossible to have everything but one thing be equal. Second, and related, I don't think aspects of human personalities are that well-compartmentalized.

Quote:
On the other hand, a tendency toward sociopathy, for example, which I believe we've seen in leaders like Kissinger and Nixon, is an obvious liability to good governance, even if the leader has an off-the-charts IQ.
Yes, although a tendency toward sociopathy would seem independent of IQ. But I've already bashed Bachmann and Palin enough for one post. ;^)

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Not so much danger in a democracy, I'd say, although I'd have to read the "Republican War on Science" to see how close we really came to going down that road.
I didn't read all of Mooney's book, though I did read some excerpts, but I tracked this war through a variety of other sources, and let me tell you, we went pretty far down that road. The good news is, being a democracy, it wasn't a one-way street. The bad news is, we wasted eight years, plus some amount of money, and the cost of getting back on track and catching up will be non-trivial, as well. There's also the worry that the next Republican to occupy the White House could well drive us right back down that wrong road.

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Just from this dialogue? Or in general?
Heh. Not from this diavlog at all, but from long work experience in a previous chunk of my life.
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  #13  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
I would also point to, for example, Katherine Harris, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin, who seem quite aggressive and not empathic, except possibly to their own kind.
This is like saying that AGW isn't true because we have a lot of snow in New Jersey today, and brrrrr.... it's very cold!

Get over those women, Brendan. They are not all there is to Heaven and Earth. I don't know about Hell because I haven't been there, only close...
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2010, 04:02 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
This is like saying that AGW isn't true because we have a lot of snow in New Jersey today, and brrrrr.... it's very cold!
No, I don't think so. If the claim is "women may make better political leaders" and one of the reasons given is "because they're less aggressive and more empathic," even if the claim is made in the spirit of "on average," I do not think listing three obvious counterexamples, who are among the most prominent female political figures this country has had recently, is at all the same as picking out one point from an enormously larger and much more noisy data set.

Quote:
Get over those women, Brendan. They are not all there is to Heaven and Earth.
I am not saying they are. But they are, or were, the latter two especially, powerful, even disturbingly so.

I also object to the sexism inherent in the original pronouncement. There is no good data to support a belief that women will make better political leaders, just because they're women, any more than there is to suggest that they'd be worse.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
No, I don't think so. If the claim is "women may make better political leaders" and one of the reasons given is "because they're less aggressive and more empathic," even if the claim is made in the spirit of "on average," I do not think listing three obvious counterexamples, who are among the most prominent female political figures this country has had recently, is at all the same as picking out random points from an enormously larger and much more noisy data set.
Look at Wonderment's original comment:

Quote:
Some of us suspect, in fact, that -- everything else being equal -- women may make better political leaders because they generally tend to be more empathic and less aggressive.
You objected to "everything else being equal" because it isn't literally possible, however, I think it was written to mean "all other relevant attributes being equal". Of course you can argue what those are, but that is a different topic.

The rest of the comment states that women "generally tend to be more empathic and less aggressive". Do you disagree with that?

Then you bring in an example of three women who happen not to come across as empathic and do come across as very aggressive. Is that supposed to counter the statement about women in general? Don't you think that they aren't the most typical examples of womanhood?

Quote:
I also object to the sexism inherent in the original pronouncement. There is no good data to support a belief that women will make better political leaders, just because they're women, any more than there is to suggest that they'd be worse.
I agree that there is no data. I also think that it is legitimate to want to examine whether Wonderment's statement about women potentially being better political leaders is true. Politics have been shaped for male leadership. Women would have to adapt to those rules and become men-like to succeed in that world. At most, over time, the sum effect of many women participating in political life can start changing how the game is played. It's only after that kind of transition that you could assess the quality of leadership. In the meantime everything we say is a more or less educated guess.

My take on this is that women are better leaders in some areas and men in others, generally speaking and with many exceptions. The usual, overlapping but not identical distribution curves.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:40 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Look at Wonderment's original comment:



You objected to "everything else being equal" because it isn't literally possible, however, I think it was written to mean "all other relevant attributes being equal". Of course you can argue what those are, but that is a different topic.

The rest of the comment states that women "generally tend to be more empathic and less aggressive". Do you disagree with that?
As I said in response to Wonderment when he originally made that statement, I am unsure. I would say further that as our culture continues to change, so that women continue to approach equality in competing for jobs like elected office, I am inclined to believe that this will not be true, at least for the women who pursue those jobs.

I probably do tend to think, following what you go on to mention, that if we could draw distribution curves for things like empathy and aggressiveness, the ones drawn for men and women would not completely overlap. However, if we were to draw those curves for men and women inclined to pursue a career in politics, I think the overlap would be quite close, at least for US society and politics as they now stand.

Quote:
Then you bring in an example of three women who happen not to come across as empathic and do come across as very aggressive. Is that supposed to counter the statement about women in general? Don't you think that they aren't the most typical examples of womanhood?
No, I don't think of the three counterexamples I offered as representative of women in general. However, I don't think "typical examples of womanhood" are likely to run for high political office.

Quote:
I agree that there is no data. I also think that it is legitimate to want to examine whether Wonderment's statement about women potentially being better political leaders is true. Politics have been shaped for male leadership. Women would have to adapt to those rules and become men-like to succeed in that world. At most, over time, the sum effect of many women participating in political life can start changing how the game is played. It's only after that kind of transition that you could assess the quality of leadership. In the meantime everything we say is a more or less educated guess.
Agreed. But then we're really talking about a quite different environment.

Meantime, I am all for the best-qualified people getting elected, independent of gender. I am open to the idea that more women holding office may have a net benefit solely due to whatever we might agree upon are characteristics more likely to present in women, but I think just putting it the way Wonderment did at the start of this subthread is not even as good as an educated guess. It seems more like wishful thinking than anything else, to me.

Quote:
My take on this is that women are better leaders in some areas and men in others, generally speaking and with many exceptions. The usual, overlapping but not identical distribution curves.
I don't think I agree. I think the "many exceptions" are many many, so much so that what we're really down to nothing better than evaluating individuals and their performance on a case-by-case basis. Which is, in the end, as it should be.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

I tend to agree with most of what you said in this comment.

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
As I said in response to Wonderment when he originally made that statement, I am unsure. I would say further that as our culture continues to change, so that women continue to approach equality in competing for jobs like elected office, I am inclined to believe that this will not be true, at least for the women who pursue those jobs.

I probably do tend to think, following what you go on to mention, that if we could draw distribution curves for things like empathy and aggressiveness, the ones drawn for men and women would not completely overlap. However, if we were to draw those curves for men and women inclined to pursue a career in politics, I think the overlap would be quite close, at least for US society and politics as they now stand.
If I understand what you are saying here, it's similar to my comment about current political rules shaped to be for men. So, women who enter that race have to become more men-like.

Quote:
No, I don't think of the three counterexamples I offered as representative of women in general. However, I don't think "typical examples of womanhood" are likely to run for high political office.
OK. Same as above.

Quote:

Agreed. But then we're really talking about a quite different environment.
Yes, indeed.

Quote:
Meantime, I am all for the best-qualified people getting elected, independent of gender. I am open to the idea that more women holding office may have a net benefit solely due to whatever we might agree upon are characteristics more likely to present in women, but I think just putting it the way Wonderment did at the start of this subthread is not even as good as an educated guess. It seems more like wishful thinking than anything else, to me.
It is wishful thinking in the same way that anything for which we don't have data, but seems to be desirable, is. He was projecting how it could be in a future when the rules have changed and women can be women in positions of leadership, without having to become a man to succeed.

Quote:
I don't think I agree. I think the "many exceptions" are many many, so much so that what we're really down to nothing better than evaluating individuals and their performance on a case-by-case basis. Which is, in the end, as it should be.
Well, yes, when you look at the individual level, people have to be evaluated for what they are and not what they represent for belonging to a certain group. Unless there's a good reason to have a representative of a certain group, and then belonging to the group becomes an asset for the job.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:16 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
If I understand what you are saying here, it's similar to my comment about current political rules shaped to be for men.
Practically speaking, I agree.

However, to be picky (as unusual as that is for me), I would say the political rules are shaped for men as men have traditionally been socialized to be. I think this is a distinction with a difference, and I think it is one worth making, repeatedly. Even leaving aside the women for the moment, there is already a problem in this country with attitudes about how politicians are supposed to be. Recall "John Kerry, metrosexual" and "Obambi," just to pick two recent example bits of CW found, among other places, on the op-ed pages of eventheliberal NY Times. Think of the non-stop drumbeat about Democrats being "weak" and "wanting to offer terrorists therapy," to name another.

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So, women who enter that race have to become more men-like.
Yes, this is sadly true. And even worse, when they do, the labels immediately come out: "cold," "shrill," "emasculating," "bitch," etc.

Quote:
It is wishful thinking in the same way that anything for which we don't have data, but seems to be desirable, is. He was projecting how it could be in a future when the rules have changed and women can be women in positions of leadership, without having to become a man to succeed.
I'm not saying it's not an appealing idea by any stretch. I'm just trying to be (perhaps hyper-)rational about it.

Quote:
Well, yes, when you look at the individual level, people have to be evaluated for what they are and not what they represent for belonging to a certain group. Unless there's a good reason to have a representative of a certain group, and then belonging to the group becomes an asset for the job.
Yes, there is something to this last bit. As you probably already know, I support making exceptions, allowances, extra efforts, etc., in situations of under-representation. I think to do so is good for everybody, generally speaking.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:29 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

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However, to be picky (as unusual as that is for me), I would say the political rules are shaped for men as men have traditionally been socialized to be.
Right.

Also, you, Ocean and I are working here under the premise that being more empathic is a desirable trait among politicians. But male-dominated political culture emphatically disputes that premise.

Leaders should have balls; they shouldn't be sissies; they should be resolute about pulling triggers and dropping bombs; they should not be "touchy-feely;" they should be more like stern daddies than nurturing mommies.

Of course, women vote (more than men), so you can only take such lunacy so far, even with an electorate frightened by criminals, terrorists or "illegals", and as you've mentioned, females can be marketed as tough as nails with brass balls.

Much of Hillary's campaign, in fact, was based on feminizing Barack (Ivy League sissy who can't be trusted to stand up like a man at 3 a.m.).

And then there's the marketing of Palin -- such a cluster-fudge of gender stereotypes and cliches as to defy all rational analysis.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Practically speaking, I agree.

However, to be picky (as unusual as that is for me), I would say the political rules are shaped for men as men have traditionally been socialized to be. I think this is a distinction with a difference, and I think it is one worth making, repeatedly. Even leaving aside the women for the moment, there is already a problem in this country with attitudes about how politicians are supposed to be. Recall "John Kerry, metrosexual" and "Obambi," just to pick two recent example bits of CW found, among other places, on the op-ed pages of eventheliberal NY Times. Think of the non-stop drumbeat about Democrats being "weak" and "wanting to offer terrorists therapy," to name another.
Yes, I agree that part of what we may be seeing is a transition out of the stereotypical roles of the past. All good so far, but we need more.

Quote:
Yes, this is sadly true. And even worse, when they do, the labels immediately come out: "cold," "shrill," "emasculating," "bitch," etc.
True. This just reminded me of Sam Bee on the Daily Show, on February 3rd, when she is trying to learn to be a man. Sorry couldn't figure out how to link that section of the show.

Quote:
I'm not saying it's not an appealing idea by any stretch. I'm just trying to be (perhaps hyper-)rational about it.
OK.

Quote:
Yes, there is something to this last bit. As you probably already know, I support making exceptions, allowances, extra efforts, etc., in situations of under-representation. I think to do so is good for everybody, generally speaking.
Yes, and sometimes the only way to start changing centuries or millennia of over- repression/ under-development / under representation.

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  #21  
Old 02-06-2010, 05:50 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
[...]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
[...]
I am sure we all share the same hopes on this, and probably the same assumptions, too.

I'm going to leave it here because I have been adopting a stance more in contradiction to you two than I really hold (in part because I'm somewhat paranoid about my own assumptions in this area, so I tend to argue against them when I see others expressing them, to test them), and more importantly, because I don't think I have anything to add.
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  #22  
Old 02-07-2010, 12:40 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Smart political leaders?

Addendum:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Even leaving aside the women for the moment, there is already a problem in this country with attitudes about how politicians are supposed to be. Recall "John Kerry, metrosexual" and "Obambi," just to pick two recent example bits of CW found, among other places, on the op-ed pages of eventheliberal NY Times. Think of the non-stop drumbeat about Democrats being "weak" and "wanting to offer terrorists therapy," to name another.
Some woman you may have heard of, last night:

Quote:
9:18: "We need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern."
==========

(I never heard of this blog before, though Robert Farley linked to it, so that's a little something. A quick Google seems to confirm that this was said.)
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  #23  
Old 02-07-2010, 06:33 AM
dieter dieter is offline
 
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Default I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
I wouldn't worry much about whether political leaders are too "lawyer-like" and not sufficiently trained in science. There are plenty of scientific experts to consult with and rely upon.
I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians. The issue is not expertise, but about the way lawyers approach things. Lawyers deal with social constructs of their own making (contracts, laws) all the time. They achieve their goals by being convincing to juries and judges, by finding inconsistencies between contracts and laws, loopholes in them and by crafting laws and contracts. They are about making stuff up and bamboozling you into believing something. Much like theologians actually.

Scientists, Engineers and many other professions on the other hand have to test their hypothesis and realize their own limitations and that reality imposes limitations on us.

Just look at the California electric vehicle debacle. You can't just pass a law and expect technology or even the laws of nature to adapt to it. Many of the proposed future emissions standards for cars that I have seen are physically impossible, given what we know about wind resistance, road resistance, thermodynamics, etc.

Last edited by dieter; 02-07-2010 at 06:37 AM..
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:45 PM
wreaver wreaver is offline
 
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Default Re: I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

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Scientists, Engineers and many other professions on the other hand have to test their hypothesis and realize their own limitations and that reality imposes limitations on us.
Eliezer Yudkowsky says...
"The standard scientific training does not appear to me to produce much in the way of sanity. Computer programmers seem to, or at least good computer programmers seem to me to be saner than scientists, possibly even saner than good scientists."

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/258...8:59&out=49:12
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  #25  
Old 02-07-2010, 02:42 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

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I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians. The issue is not expertise, but about the way lawyers approach things.
Maybe. He'd have to clarify to find out. He certainly didn't say this:

Quote:
They [lawyers] are about making stuff up and bamboozling you into believing something. Much like theologians actually.
That's a pretty over-the-top caricature. Sounds like one of those lawyers-are-evil-scumbag jokes.

Quote:
Scientists, Engineers and many other professions on the other hand have to test their hypothesis and realize their own limitations and that reality imposes limitations on us.
Also true of the rest of humanity.

I thought Eliezar's theory of why computer programmers would make excellent political leaders and/or are better thinkers was hilarious. I'm amazed he said it with a straight face.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:14 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

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I thought Eliezar's theory of why computer programmers would make excellent political leaders and/or are better thinkers was hilarious. I'm amazed he said it with a straight face.
Yes, I had the same reaction. Naivety or professional deformation? I think it has something to do with the belief that computers and human minds are similar, a belief Eliezar has defended.

Singular.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:20 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default software and government

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Yes, I had the same reaction. Naivety or professional deformation? I think it has something to do with the belief that computers and human minds are similar, a belief Eliezar has defended.

Singular.
Are we talking about good programmer or a crap programmer here? Because it makes a difference.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:30 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: software and government

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Are we talking about good programmer or a crap programmer here? Because it makes a difference.
Eliezer was specifically talking about good programmers. His point was that programmers are accustomed to seeing their hypotheses fail on testing - something that he asserts happens with a greater frequency for programmers than for "scientists" (he wasn't too specific as I recall.) I guess he's generally right about that, in the sense that testing hypotheses is probably cheaper for programmers in some circumstances. Still, that depends on a lot of things, and I don't really think that programmers' life experiences, or the lessons available from their professional experiences are particularly exotic, especially as compared to unspecified "scientists."
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:54 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: software and government

Quote:
Eliezer was specifically talking about good programmers. His point was that programmers are accustomed to seeing their hypotheses fail on testing - something that he asserts happens with a greater frequency for programmers than for "scientists" (he wasn't too specific as I recall.)
Yes, it was failure feedback that supposedly made them especially bright or more rational than "mere" scientists who only had sporadic failure rates. Quite a conclusion to leap to!

"In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.
"

-B. Dylan
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: software and government

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Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Yes, it was failure feedback that supposedly made them especially bright or more rational than "mere" scientists who only had sporadic failure rates. Quite a conclusion to leap to!
But can it refuted by more than a Dylan lyric?

Quote:
"In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly
,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all."

-B. Dylan
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:05 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: software and government

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Eliezer was specifically talking about good programmers. His point was that programmers are accustomed to seeing their hypotheses fail on testing - something that he asserts happens with a greater frequency for programmers than for "scientists" (he wasn't too specific as I recall.) I guess he's generally right about that, in the sense that testing hypotheses is probably cheaper for programmers in some circumstances. Still, that depends on a lot of things, and I don't really think that programmers' life experiences, or the lessons available from their professional experiences are particularly exotic, especially as compared to unspecified "scientists."
That is a really good point about the narrowness of the programmer experience.

Yeah, the thing that makes being a programmer so great is the instant gratification. I can't imagine being a megaproject structural engineer and waiting eight years to see the result of my work. I quit one company just because their development environment was so bad that builds took over an hour!

I've often thought that our laws could stand for some refactoring. Refactoring doesn't change what your code does or how it works but it makes it easier to read and most importantly easier to change. But just like in software nobody pays for you to clean up old code. If you're lucky you can do it without anyone noticing.

I think a lot about being a good programmer is being able to crank out crap code that gets the job done while also having the skill to dial up the level of abstraction, and the wisdom to know when which is called for. I think smart politicians already familiar with that issue.

Last edited by claymisher; 02-07-2010 at 04:17 PM..
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:45 AM
dieter dieter is offline
 
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Default Re: I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

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That's a pretty over-the-top caricature. Sounds like one of those lawyers-are-evil-scumbag jokes.
It wasn't intended that way. My point remains.

I've always felt that American politics is different. American politicians constanly hold grandiose speeches, they refer to principles, the constitution, they make a great and compelling case for this or that.

European politics is more messy, real world, ad hoc, concerned with empirical considerations, hands on, ...

I wasn't aware that american politics is heavily dominated by lawyers but I think that explains a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Also true of the rest of humanity.

I thought Eliezar's theory of why computer programmers would make excellent political leaders and/or are better thinkers was hilarious. I'm amazed he said it with a straight face.
I disagree with Eliezars hypotheses. It seems to me that lawyers and computer programmers actually have more in common than not. A programm crashes, if it is not internally consistant and coherent, much like a law, a contract or a case needs to be coherent and logically sound.

But a bug free program can be completely useless and cumbersome to use.
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Old 02-11-2010, 11:08 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

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...

I disagree with Eliezars hypotheses. It seems to me that lawyers and computer programmers actually have more in common than not. A programm crashes, if it is not internally consistant and coherent, much like a law, a contract or a case needs to be coherent and logically sound.

But a bug free program can be completely useless and cumbersome to use.
I think your're right in the above, to some extent, especially if we're discussing contract law, or drafting legislation. I'm unsure what you're trying to say in that last sentence, though.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:05 PM
themightypuck themightypuck is offline
 
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Default Re: I think you misunderstood Razib's objection to lawyer-politicians.

I think the last sentence is the salient one. You don't learn just because your program runs. A good program needs more than internal consistency to actually be a good program.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:23 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Gulping Down the Potion of Health

I'm sure Sir Charles is freaking over his brand image, not whether he's authentic. What the average person - duped into believing s/he needs a trademark, because s/he wants to wake up with Jessica Alba - thinks is probably going to be much more interesting.

Anyone who can juggle multiple-digit-and-character terms in their head deserves respect, and I know it won't be me. I guess that relegates me to the pool of morons stuck describing women with primary colors.

My question is: what is it about humans and human evolution, that we fixate on these secondary characteristics?

Last edited by Baltimoron; 02-06-2010 at 07:29 AM..
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  #36  
Old 02-06-2010, 07:27 AM
JonIrenicus JonIrenicus is offline
 
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Default Charles vs Snoop video

This important documentary footage was missing from the links, so here it is.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T59G76NE6KY
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Old 02-06-2010, 01:21 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Charles vs Snoop video

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Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
This important documentary footage was missing from the links, so here it is.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T59G76NE6KY
ROFL! That was just wonderful -- thanks for digging it up. Two of my favorite personalities.

I really liked the observation Kenny the Jet made at the end, too.
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  #38  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:10 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default What Razib didn't realize...

.... is that Eliezar* doesn't have the faintest idea who Charles Barkley, Jessica de Alba and Snoop are.

*Perhaps to his credit.
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  #39  
Old 02-06-2010, 03:56 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: What Razib didn't realize...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
.... is that Eliezar* doesn't have the faintest idea who Charles Barkley, Jessica de Alba and Snoop are.
Is the "de" correct? I've never heard that, and Wikipedia seems confident about her early biographical details.

Quote:
*Perhaps to his credit.
YOU TAKE THAT BACK. Sir Charles rules; Snoop is, at minimum, highly welcome as a court jester; and even leaving her obvious surface qualities aside, there is this, which makes JA a worthy human all by itself.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:10 AM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: Charles vs Snoop video

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonIrenicus View Post
This important documentary footage was missing from the links, so here it is.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T59G76NE6KY
That is so cute. Thanks, archive dude.
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