The Nassim Taleb thread

Oberrheiner

Pelican
edlefou said:
The ugly truth is that IQ has some predictive power, but Taleb gives statistical proof that its predictive power is embarrassingly low and what it predicts is not meaningful.

Anecdotal evidence about 80 IQ children and gameless 5'6 guys doesn't disprove his statistical analysis.

Imagine this:

There's an amazing "measure" for predicting the area of a rectangle by taking the length and the width and multiplying the two together.

Many build lucrative consultancies for the military and large corporations selling this measurement methodology.

Racists/Eugenists show that certain groups of rectangles are inferior because the multiples of their widths by lengths have values that aren't as good as the multiples of the widths by lengths of certain other groups of rectangles.

However, Taleb comes along and proves that multiplying the length by the width only gives you the correct area of a rectangle only 13% to 50% of the time, and the rest of the time it gives you garbage.

Taleb's point would be that your rectangle measuring formula is not scientific and is poorly thought out.

Taleb would call you a psychometrics peddler looking for suckers and that your rectangular formula matters far less than you think, as he's shown in his analysis.

How would you prove he's wrong? Are his graphs wrong? Has he made a mathematical mistake?

He's not wrong, he's talking about a different thing as I said above.

As for racists/eugenists, that's your problem :
You are the one letting extremists depriving you of a useful concept because of their twisted world view.
You need to reject their bad framing of the discussion - can you ?
 

Fortis

Crow
Gold Member
He's slowly winning me over. Sometimes his writing style is overly complex and pedantic but I do like the sentiments within. Seems like a no-bullshit, old school thinker. I really like his emphasis on trusting people who will be affected by the things they advocate. I've long felt that politicians and our intellectual class suffer 0 consequences while acting like they know everything. It reeks of femininity and weakness.

Beautiful article on what an IYI is for those who don't know: https://medium.com/incerto/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.6ot3305bl
 

Handsome Creepy Eel

Owl
Gold Member
Oberrheiner said:
Handsome Creepy Eel said:

highest mean IQ

Handsome Creepy Eel said:
In those countries, you're apt to hear and witness stupid shit of such magnitude that it rivals anything that cannibal witch doctors in rural Swaziland could come up with

You usually won't hear this from high-IQ people (unless they're propagandists).

Although it's of course possible to brainwash smart people, you just need to invest more resources to do it (and less to undo it).

That's actually my point - we frequently mention how an IQ 150 person just can't relate to and get along with an IQ 115 "midwit" because let's face it - the IQ 150 person is a genius in comparison and their brain works in a radically different way. As soon as there is a large enough gap, communication between them becomes impossible.

In the same way, we compare the mean 100 IQ Brit and a mean 70 IQ Rwandese and declare: yes, the typical Rwandese is a drooling idiot compared to the Brit. Just look at that 30 IQ gap! The poor Rwandese just can't compare.

Yet if both of them are just as capable and of holding and acting on absolutely retarded beliefs as I have illustrated, what difference does it make in the end? If you can be a relative genius yet still relatively retarded, then what's the point of endlessly pontificating about superior IQ? If IQ really extends further than juggling triangles on paper, it should be able to make you smart - but in real life we just don't see it happening.

Ocelot said:
edlefou said:
HCE gets it:

Handsome Creepy Eel said:
The ugly truth about IQ is that the ability to juggle triangles on a piece of paper is an amazing predictor... of the ability to juggle triangles on a piece of paper. Of cunning, common sense, wisdom, willpower, determination and numerous other factors involved in real life? Not so much.

The ugly truth about IQ is that it's the most powerfully predictive measure of human intelligence we've come up with, which is why it has the mystical power to make otherwise intelligent people get so butthurt and indulge in self-delusional bullshit like this.

Go teach a bunch of 80 IQ children how to code and then tell me they're just bad at juggling triangles, or that it's pure coincidence they all take four times as long to reach the same level of proficiency you reached after two months.

That's a strawman. I never disputed that juggling triangles strongly related to a very abstract task such as coding or that the IQ 80 children would be harder to teach coding. Absolutely they will. I just argued that being good at coding doesn't in any way prevent you from being retarded, delusional, violent and generally an utter failure at life.

Consider Eric Clanton, the communist who tried to murder someone with a bike lock. He's a college professor of philosophy. Can you really see yourself saying "yes, but at least this waste of life has an IQ of 110 and is a genius relative to Africans so that makes him superior"? What does it matter? If someone is inferior scum, they're inferior scum regardless of their IQ, and the same is valid on a national or racial level too.

It's not self-delusional to say that there's much more to life than intelligence.
 

Oberrheiner

Pelican
Handsome Creepy Eel said:
Yet if both of them are just as capable and of holding and acting on absolutely retarded beliefs as I have illustrated, what difference does it make in the end?

In the end maybe not much.
Both have the possibility to hold retarded beliefs, just as both have the possibility to succeed at life.

However regarding how you get to that end, the differences are enormous.
That's why it matters.

Handsome Creepy Eel said:
If you can be a relative genius yet still relatively retarded, then what's the point of endlessly pontificating about superior IQ?

I wouldn't know, I don't believe in "superior" IQ - I even said several times that high IQ is often more a curse than a blessing in my experience.

IQ is just a potential, it says nothing about whether you'll ever reach this potential.
And the higher it is the more complicated it is to reach it (because of a difference in kind not in degree), so that's not helping either.
 

Oberrheiner

Pelican
Also what I should add is that you don't actually see that many high IQ people endlessly pontificating about it.
Those who do are usually social failures trying to compensate that by displaying their number.

But then wouldn't Taleb be guilty of doing the exact opposite of that ?
Namely trying to compensate a not so high IQ* by displaying his social skills** instead ?

* no judgement here, he admits himself in this twitter thread that he was surrounded by people with higher IQ than him during his career.
** "survival street smarts" or however he defined that in the same twitter thread.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
One idea that Taleb has brought up a few times is the idea of FU Money ie. being financially independent so that you can free from people who would constrain your idea and behavior whether it be a meddling HR department, SJWs trying to get you fried, or boycotts that lead you to losing advertisers/customers. He can have the recent spat he is having with IQ and make all the various talking heads explode because he is loaded with FU money. He doesn't have to suffer anyone he doesn't to no matter who they are whether it's a random Twitter guy or someone with more credentials like the various PhDs and professors he's pissing off right now.

Since he can't be intimidated via money the other way to attack him would be to shame or disparage his reputation but it's obvious he doesn't care about that either. He's spent an entire career distancing himself from "respectable" intellectuals so he isn't reliant on their approval. He's in a great spot to be able to do the work he wants to and put out the ideas he wants to spread.
 

Sp5

 
I agree with Taleb on IQ. I was a clerk in the US Army. Over time, I learned the IQs (GT score) of everyone in my unit of about 200 men.

The IQ had little to do with how I had independently judged a soldier's competence, conversational ability, wittiness, or game. Some sharp guys were well below 100, and some dullards were well above it.

The range of GT scores (in those days tracked IQ exactly) in the unit was 78 to 160.
 

Ocelot

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Handsome Creepy Eel said:
That's actually my point - we frequently mention how an IQ 150 person just can't relate to and get along with an IQ 115 "midwit" because let's face it - the IQ 150 person is a genius in comparison and their brain works in a radically different way. As soon as there is a large enough gap, communication between them becomes impossible.

In the same way, we compare the mean 100 IQ Brit and a mean 70 IQ Rwandese and declare: yes, the typical Rwandese is a drooling idiot compared to the Brit. Just look at that 30 IQ gap! The poor Rwandese just can't compare.

Yet if both of them are just as capable and of holding and acting on absolutely retarded beliefs as I have illustrated, what difference does it make in the end? If you can be a relative genius yet still relatively retarded, then what's the point of endlessly pontificating about superior IQ? If IQ really extends further than juggling triangles on paper, it should be able to make you smart - but in real life we just don't see it happening.

IQ isn't a test of wokeness, or how redpilled someone is, it's an intelligence test. It tests their ability to process new information, acquire knowledge, make deductions from that information, reason their way through problems. I think the biggest problem with these arguments is that the anti-IQ folks usually don't know what an IQ test even entails, and think it just consists of a non-verbal reasoning puzzle page.

As for silly beliefs, well beliefs are rarely a product of intellect to begin with, they're predominantly socialised—that goes for most individuals of all levels of intelligence. The greatest socialisation pressure to adopt ridiculous beliefs today is coming from the institutions most captured by insane ideologues: universities and the media. People who are most plugged into either or both of these will have been indoctrinated more thoroughly. This is largely orthogonal to intelligence.

Note that you could just as easily use your own argument to claim intelligence as a feature doesn't exist at all, because people who have it in abundance still do stupid things sometimes. It's not a metric-dependent argument.

Handsome Creepy Eel said:
That's a strawman. I never disputed that juggling triangles strongly related to a very abstract task such as coding or that the IQ 80 children would be harder to teach coding. Absolutely they will. I just argued that being good at coding doesn't in any way prevent you from being retarded, delusional, violent and generally an utter failure at life.

It doesn't prevent you, it just strongly correlates. At least until you get to the extraordinarily high 150+ range, when it starts to create alienation problems, which feed into a variety of other negatives. This isn't a fault in IQ tests' ability to correctly measure intelligence: it's simply that there are many problems attendant with high intelligence. Go ask Isaac Newton.

Again, to use height as an analogy, substantial deviation from the median has poorer average results than slight deviation (unless you want to play basketball). Being 7 foot tall has far more disadvantages than advantages. But being 6'1-6'4 is all advantages. That doesn't mean a ruler that clocks 7 foot as 'really fucking tall' is broken: it's working precisely as intended. And certain activities, like basketball, are going to be filled almost exclusively with people from the extreme right tail of the bell curve. Likewise, men like Galileo, Newton, or Mozart don't come from the mid-upper quartile of human intelligence.

Handsome Creepy Eel said:
Consider Eric Clanton, the communist who tried to murder someone with a bike lock. He's a college professor of philosophy. Can you really see yourself saying "yes, but at least this waste of life has an IQ of 110 and is a genius relative to Africans so that makes him superior"? What does it matter? If someone is inferior scum, they're inferior scum regardless of their IQ, and the same is valid on a national or racial level too.

It's not self-delusional to say that there's much more to life than intelligence.

This is immense goalpost shifting. IQ tests are not "life tests", otherwise it would be called your LQ. They are intelligence tests. I don't know what this "inferior scum" business is about. Retards are retards, that doesn't make them bad people. An IQ test is also not a morality test.

You're damn right intelligence isn't everything, note even close, but the question is whether IQ is a reliable and meaningful way to measure it. The answer is you betcha.

When I was a kid I was helped by a charity that used to operate in the UK that offered aid to gifted children who weren't being catered for by the school system, and I ran some classes for them some years later. All the children had been properly IQ tested by psychs and had to be over 130 to be eligible for support. At the lower end of the spectrum, there were a few kids that I'll grant you were probably just "bright", and from privileged backgrounds with parents who were education-oriented and who put a lot into their kids.

But there was not a single child in the 150+ range who wasn't profoundly gifted—we're talking ready for university at 12 years old. And most of these kids were not privileged in any way. They were from working class families, they weren't all white/asian/jewish, but they were all male (standard deviation, the bane of feminists). And a commonality is that they were usually extremely precocious even as babies. They learned to talk 6 months early. They skipped crawling altogether and were walking several months early. They could read and write fluently as toddlers. Same story every time. Their parents were often uneducated, but without exception highly intelligent too.

There was no one similarly gifted getting scored a mere 130. The test does its job.

Oberrheiner said:
Also what I should add is that you don't actually see that many high IQ people endlessly pontificating about it.
Those who do are usually social failures trying to compensate that by displaying their number.

But then wouldn't Taleb be guilty of doing the exact opposite of that ?
Namely trying to compensate a not so high IQ* by displaying his social skills** instead ?


* no judgement here, he admits himself in this twitter thread that he was surrounded by people with higher IQ than him during his career.
** "survival street smarts" or however he defined that in the same twitter thread.

Disagree on this one, there is no way Taleb scores below 140, he's likely in the 150+ range, so at the very least I wouldn't dismiss his argument as him having "skin in the game" (i.e. REEE I scored low, the test must be bad).

Sp5 said:
I agree with Taleb on IQ. I was a clerk in the US Army. Over time, I learned the IQs (GT score) of everyone in my unit of about 200 men.

The IQ had little to do with how I had independently judged a soldier's competence, conversational ability, wittiness, or game. Some sharp guys were well below 100, and some dullards were well above it.

The range of GT scores (in those days tracked IQ exactly) in the unit was 78 to 160.

None of these things except competence are related to IQ, and that one's only by proxy. A low-conscientiousness 120 IQ individual will of course be outperformed by a hard working 90 IQ guy, particularly when the parameters of the work are already familiar.
 

Oberrheiner

Pelican
And that was a solid post by our friend Ocelot :)

Ocelot said:
Disagree on this one

It's just the impression his twitter rant gave me, I don't know the guy so I can't judge really, hence the interrogative form in the two sentences of mine you bolded.
 
Ocelot said:
Sp5 said:
I agree with Taleb on IQ. I was a clerk in the US Army. Over time, I learned the IQs (GT score) of everyone in my unit of about 200 men.

The IQ had little to do with how I had independently judged a soldier's competence, conversational ability, wittiness, or game. Some sharp guys were well below 100, and some dullards were well above it.

The range of GT scores (in those days tracked IQ exactly) in the unit was 78 to 160.

None of these things except competence are related to IQ, and that one's only by proxy. A low-conscientiousness 120 IQ individual will of course be outperformed by a hard working 90 IQ guy, particularly when the parameters of the work are already familiar.

Yeah, this is the first I'm hearing that IQ is supposed to correlate with game. When I think of a 140 IQ guy in a musty library somewhere, pouring over books for his doctoral examination in some obscure field of insect biology, I don't usually think "Man, there's a guy who's getting a lot of pussy."


Taleb's a very similar personality to Vox Day, who's been discussed to death in other threads. He loves to set traps: making bold statements that seem to say more than they actually say, and are easily misinterpreted. Then, when somebody criticizes the misinterpretation, he comes down on them hard and makes them look like an idiot. It's a hobby of his. It doesn't help that he speaks entirely in brief tweets and dense statistical language that's impenetrable to outsiders. I'm honestly reluctant to say anything about his arguments until I'm a little clearer on what his arguments actually ARE.

That said, I think a lot of the issue might have to do with the fact that Taleb is a trader, which is a fairly unique field. Trading has very little to do with IQ, and far more to do with emotional control, humility, boldness, and a number of other traits that really don't have a lot to do with intelligence. I learned this lesson pretty quickly when I started trading, 'cause I went into it thinking something along the lines of "Aha, I am a very smart person, so I'm going to be really good at this. I'll use my superior intellect to determine the course of the markets, and make a fortune!"

Several thousands of dollars of losses later, I got THAT dumb idea bitch-slapped out of me, in much the same way that the high-IQ quants that Taleb talks about blew up and lost all their money when their models failed in the bond crash in the 90s.

But I don't think you can generalize from that one, very unique field, into the wider world. I haven't met a lot of IQ80 oncologists or IQ95 assembly programmers.
 

joost

Kingfisher
SamuelBRoberts said:
I'm honestly reluctant to say anything about his arguments until I'm a little clearer on what his arguments actually ARE.

But I don't think you can generalize from that one, very unique field, into the wider world. I haven't met a lot of IQ80 oncologists or IQ95 assembly programmers.


What's considered smart? Someone successful? How can we define successful? Or smart?

Someone who gets pussy? Who makes loads of money? Who invent something? Who discover something?

As you mentioned a 140 IQ guy might be in a library looking at numbers but maybe he'll prefer to be having sex with a nice girl instead? Couldn't he use his "intelligence" to get girls? Maybe to get rich?

So 80 IQ is certainly a failure but after let's say 110 IQ you get less successful after every increase? What kind of fucked up measurement is that? That's what Taleb is presenting. So according to him, you can't measure intelligence.
 

Ocelot

Kingfisher
Gold Member
joost said:
So 80 IQ is certainly a failure but after let's say 110 IQ you get less successful after every increase? What kind of fucked up measurement is that? That's what Taleb is presenting. So according to him, you can't measure intelligence.

It's not the measure that's fucked up: intelligence and success simply don't correlate beyond the upper-mid quartile. Taleb is choosing to frame it this way deliberately.

It's worth remembering that many of the greatest minds humanity has produced were not "successful", financially, with women, or just in general popularity, but their contribution to the world was irreplaceable. Tesla died an impoverished incel: his intelligence certainly didn't lead to personal success.
 

pitt

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Replying based on the last few posts.

I think if you have a really high IQ (over 140), that will probably affect in how you deal with women, your social skills may not be so sharp. You won’t be the funniest guy in the room unless you are a high IQ guy that can dumb down your intelligence. The best guy I know in the game is not that smart, far from that, but he totally understands game, he knows the dynamics of getting laid, I have seen way smarter dudes that totally don’t get it.

I also don’t think anybody with an IQ under 100 would be a good trader, matter fact these type of work don’t interest people with low IQ, they tend to gravitate towards hands on stuff.
 

Wutang

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I'm guessing Taleb is somewhere in the 130-40 range which make him at least top 5%. He clearly has high level mathematical skills based on what his PhD was in and the work he is doing now and he's a good writer as well so his verbal skills are high. But he can still relate to the average taxi-driver on the street (and he criticizes IYIs who aren't able to do so) so he probably doesn't have autistic level high IQ.
 

Ocelot

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Wutang said:
I'm guessing Taleb is somewhere in the 130-40 range which make him at least top 5%. He clearly has high level mathematical skills based on what his PhD was in and the work he is doing now and he's a good writer as well so his verbal skills are high. But he can still relate to the average taxi-driver on the street (and he criticizes IYIs who aren't able to do so) so he probably doesn't have autistic level high IQ.

This is a common misconception: high IQ and autism are not even remotely synonymous. Hell, the majority of autistic people have low IQs. Idiot savants are called that because... well, they're idiots—outside of the limited type of intelligence they extraordinarily excel at.

The downsides I mentioned before about being in the 150+ range is not something intrinsic to being that intelligent, it's just a trend because of the developmental effect of growing up around people who learn everything three times slower than you, and from going through an education system designed for them, not you.

This leads most children in this bracket to avoid peer socialisation, since they have nothing in common with their peers (when you were 15, would hanging around with 6 year olds sound like a fun way to pass time?), and instead socialise with adults for stimulus. Except adults are not their peers, until they're grown up, when suddenly they are and they don't know how to socialise with them because they've never learned how.

And then there's school. Imagine, as an adult, having to sit and learn long addition, and what nouns are, for an entire year. It's not "easy", it's torture, and the fact you can still coast through all the exams means you're not being stretched or forced to exert yourself, so by the time many of these kids reach actually challenging levels of work, they don't have the grit and discipline of their peers, and often have simply lost interest in education. They're easily smart enough to understand the material, but can't keep up with the workload. I've seen it a million times. I don't intend to dox myself here, but let's just say I was spared this outcome because of extraordinary circumstances, and the intervention of my parents.

The point is, bad socialisation and lack of discipline are not autism, and neither of them is a necessary consequence of high intelligence. There are plenty of well-socialised men with great minds, who are also able to interact with ordinary folks just fine. In fact they often seem to display the greatest love for the ordinary man—look at Richard Feynman, or Donald Trump.

The problem with most people's idea of what "high IQ" means, is that people who build an identity around their intelligence usually have very little else going for them, so there's a selection bias in who they're being exposed to. For a start, well-socialised people tend to realise that telling someone your IQ is a bit like telling them your income, it's not something people appreciate... except gold diggers... and there are no IQ diggers. I've said it before in another thread, but Mensa is basically an organisation of trainspotters for this reason. There's also a selection bias in the kinds of fields people specifically associate with "high intelligence". If I tell you a theoretical physicist has an IQ of 145, you won't be any more surprised than if I tell you he's autistic. Some guy who built a location-independent income from drop shipping and teaching English abroad, and spends his days gaming in SEA might happen to have an IQ of 160, but he's unlikely to factor into your image of what "high IQ" constitutes, because it's not his defining characteristic.

Anyway I'm ducking out of this thread until Taleb gets animated about a more interesting topic again. No matter what your opinion of its efficacy, I think we can all agree IQ is one of the most boring things to debate.
 
Top