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April 11, 2014 / JayMan

More Twitter Wisdom

Courtesy “misdreavus,” “cold russian,” and HBD Chick:

To which (correctly) responded “cold russian”:

And HBD Chick:

I for one am fully aware that a big part of the backlash against behavioral genetics and HBD (from both the Left and Right) comes because it clashes with the self concept of some people. One issue is the degree of “control” one feels one has in one’s life. This is part of reason I’m given a hard time when I talk about the nonexistence of free will. Another aspect is that we all have a worldview of some kind, one which is not entirely based on facts. Some people are emotionally invested in certain pre-conceived notions about how the world is – specifically, how we are. This is through no fault of their own; that’s how they are. However, unfortunately, many of these individuals don’t take too kindly to the facts. But what can you do?

There is one thing I can say, to counteract one charge I frequently get:

 

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20 Comments

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  1. Sisyphean / Apr 11 2014 2:21 PM

    Quite the conundrum. Upton Sinclair said “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” The same can be said for one’s genetic predispositions. Some might have little to no emotional investment in the idea of a higher power, or free will. However those people likely have their own cognitive biases that are nigh to impossible for them to see. That’s the real trick. It’s one thing to value objectivity and another to fully practice it (which may be impossible as long as we are physical beings). That’s not to say that some world views aren’t closer to objectivity than others. The scientific method is the best we have so far and it works very very well, when correctly applied.

    ~S

  2. Mark F. / Apr 11 2014 7:36 PM

    Reality has no ideology.

    • JayMan / Apr 11 2014 7:38 PM

      @Mark F.

      Precisely.

  3. msharmila2013 / Apr 12 2014 4:25 AM

    If determinism holds does that mean we could, with enough data and computing power, predict every single event that will ever occur?

    Presumably not because randomness is still a factor and even tiny probabilities could throw any model way off course in the long run.

    Anyway, I don’t get the whole free will debate. I make the choice to do X, I make it based on prior experiences and relationships (both genetic and personal). Since there is not much more to me-ness than that amalgamation of experiences I am not sure what else could feed into that? Even if you bring spirit into it (and I *am* kinda wired that way) – all that can add is another set of past events and relationships to the mix of experiences that make up the totality of the history of this “me”.

    What else would there be? Completely arbitrary choices that somehow are defended on the basis of self expression? But they still have to come from somewhere or they are even less yours than if you were an automaton fulfilling your programming – at least the programming is *yours*.

    • JayMan / Apr 12 2014 11:02 AM

      @msharmila2013:

      If determinism holds does that mean we could, with enough data and computing power, predict every single event that will ever occur?

      Presumably not because randomness is still a factor and even tiny probabilities could throw any model way off course in the long run.

      Well it’s “probablistically deterministic”. If you had sufficient knowledge and computing power, you could predict the probabilities at any past or future time. Not any more precise than that.

      What else would there be? Completely arbitrary choices that somehow are defended on the basis of self expression? But they still have to come from somewhere or they are even less yours than if you were an automaton fulfilling your programming – at least the programming is *yours*.

      Precisely. Well said!

    • Sisyphean / Apr 14 2014 9:44 AM

      @msharmila2013 “Since there is not much more to me-ness than that amalgamation of experiences” Actually there is. There’s how you respond to new experiences. Some people respond to a stressful event by ruminating on that event, they can’t let go of the stress, while others forget about it right away. The first person has more trouble dealing with the event after it happens but they are more likely to be prepared next time. This has to do with both how many receptors you have for a given hormone and the amount of processing your brain has dedicated to coping with it and it varies, a lot, between people. You don’t have control over the first one, but there is some interesting research (Richard J. Davidson’s work) that shows that the brain can be reconfigured to deal differently with things. The question Davidson doesn’t ask though is ‘should we?’

      ~S

  4. msharmila2013 / Apr 12 2014 4:29 AM

    On second thought though, I think the disconcerting nature of genetics playing an extremely determining role in peoples behaviour is less to do with “am I free” and more to do with “but then how can I control the people around me to make them act the way I want?!”

    • JayMan / Apr 12 2014 11:03 AM

      @msharmila2013:

      Wait until an upcoming post.

    • Ed the Department Head / Apr 12 2014 1:15 PM

      “I think the disconcerting nature of genetics playing an extremely determining role in peoples behaviour is less to do with “am I free” and more to do with “but then how can I control the people around me to make them act the way I want?!””

      Well done! I think you have gotten to the heart of the matter. If leftists can’t turn underclass NAMs into middle class Whites/Asians or create their utopias because nature won’t let them, they become hissing angry. Likewise, if tradcon types can’t turn gays straight, promiscuous heterosexuals into prudes, and fat people into thin people because of what is predetermined than the tradcons throw anti-nature tantrums.

  5. Luke Lea / Apr 12 2014 12:33 PM

    Hi Jayman, You are still a young man. It will be interesting how your world view will change over the coming decades. My prediction: you will become less the empirical scientist/ philosopher on topics like “free will” and “determinism” and “atheism” (I assume you are an athest, correct me if I am wrong) and that you will become more of a pragmatist: the truth is what works. The truth of an idea lies in the influence it has on the world, especially the world of society, of other people. This was an evolution that Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin both went through, for instance. They were wise men, surely you will grant them that? Anyway, I may be wrong. This is just a guess.

  6. intuitivereason / Apr 13 2014 9:02 PM

    My thoughts on this are that you are dealt a hand of cards at birth. How well you play them is still up to you, noting that the cards you are dealt also determine how well you can play the cards you are dealt.

    It’s a recursive system, it doesn’t take away from the capacity to make choices, but your capacity to make choices is set.

    • JayMan / Apr 13 2014 9:09 PM

      @intuitivereason:

      That’s it in a nutshell. Very well put!

      Of course, the cards others have also effect how well yours play.

    • intuitivereason / Apr 13 2014 9:56 PM

      The question that strikes in terms of taking this further is whether it is possible to draw new cards from the deck, either temporarily or permanently. It’s obviously possible to lose cards.

    • Staffan / Apr 15 2014 7:16 AM

      But it can’t be up to you how to play your hand in a deterministic world. The idea of making a choice is an illusion when there is only one possible outcome.

      The problem is that our brains are built to think in terms of us doing things, having goals etc – not circumstances having inevitable consequences. While determinism seems to be a fact, we can’t implement it in our lives or in society in any meaningful way. Which I’m guessing is what Luke Lea is getting at, that it’s fruitless to think in this manner, at least on certain issues. Although that would be to accept irrationality which has its own existential consequences.

    • JayMan / Apr 15 2014 7:44 AM

      @Staffan:

      To be fair, it seems the world is indeterministically deterministic. It’s deterministic, but only on the level of probabilities. That means that there isn’t one set outcome to a given event, but many (perhaps an infinite number). But, that makes no difference to us, because what “choice” we make in the bounds of the range of possible choices is still decided by the roll of the dice, not us, so it is effectively the same as you describe.

    • intuitivereason / Apr 17 2014 5:08 PM

      No, it remains up to you how you make each decision. There is a probable outcome, not a predestined one. But having a probable outcome is a sufficient condition to direct the broad course of your life.

    • Staffan / Apr 18 2014 7:33 AM

      I doubt there is a probability space of possible outcomes at all. I rather think that notion is an artefact of probability theory. But even if that’s the case, there is nothing to say that this uncertainty would give the individual free will to make choices.

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