dangerous ideas

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on April 17, 2013

There is an easy way to take reason more seriously, and that is to reduce the dependence of your values on it. Or as Taleb would put it, your exposure. But alas that would reduce its utility as a fitness indicator. Because you see reason is a game smartypants like to play while hypocritically not taking the conclusions it produces seriously. And as any lawyer knows, this actually takes a lot of work. As you accumulate more and more insane reasoned conclusions so you would also need to accumulate more and more immune defenses excusing yourself from such conclusions ruining your life. Intelligence likely evolved to help humans handle this mess of a legal system, but it cannot be denied that intelligence is socially impressive as well. This explains why clever nerds prefer to take the hard way of taking reason seriously. Which is to take it even more seriously while increasing their exposure to it. They can afford the excuses smaller minds cannot muster. The more skilled a stuntman the more death defying will be the stunts he attempts. That is simply how we go about showing off our chops.

intelligent rent-seeking design

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on April 14, 2013

Some would criticize the theory of evolution on account of the inexplicability of some feature of some organism having arisen of a continuous process. But that is a strength and not a weakness. The criterion of fitness being clear cut, the means by which it is satisfied is freed from being constrained by our poor lack of imagination. The God of Intelligent Design is first and foremost a rationalist God. Whom if given was once tasked with the design of Life as we see it today, would have come nowhere near the humble ingenuity and imaginativeness of Nature herself.

von Neumann the instrumentalist

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on March 19, 2013

John von Neumann:

As a mathematical discipline travels far from its empirical source, or still more, if it is a second and third generation only indirectly inspired by ideas coming from “reality” it is beset with very grave dangers. It becomes more and more purely aestheticizing, more and more purely I’art pour I’art. This need not be bad, if the field is surrounded by correlated subjects, which still have closer empirical connections, or if the discipline is under the influence of men with an exceptionally well-developed taste. But there is a grave danger that the subject will develop along the line of least resistance, that the stream, so far from its source, will separate into a multitude of insignificant branches, and that the discipline will become a disorganized mass of details and complexities. In other words, at a great distance from its empirical source, or after much “abstract” inbreeding, a mathematical subject is in danger of degeneration. At the inception the style is usually classical; when it shows signs of becoming baroque, then the danger signal is up. (from “The Mathematician”)

why men are intimidated by intelligent women, and why we intimidate them

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on March 12, 2013

Since there is no character limit I’m just going to spam words at you.

People are intimidated by high-status people. Men are intimidated by high-status people. Men are intimidated by high-status women. Men are intimidated by very hot women. Men are intimidated by very intelligent women. Men are intimidated by a woman who is hot and intelligent.

The lower the status of a person relative to the intimidator the more intimidated the intimidatee. The lower the status of a man intimidated by a woman, the more he is intimidated.

The lower the status of a person relative to ourselves the more brazen we are in intimidating them. The man intimidated by hot and intelligent women is likely lower status, which leads to us happily intimidating him.

That’s all I have to say for the moment I think. Thank you for listening. Oh yeah, and all this stems from the anti-ratification of the status a women’s hotness confers upon her. But I’m too tired now to spell out idiot-proofly just what I mean by that.

Oh neophyte.

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on February 13, 2013

No you cannot learn the secrets of our cult from a book. Not because there’s much to learn. But because in our hypocrisy we refuse to reveal to ourselves explicitly just which of those tenets of ours we actually uphold in practice. So, neophyte, I’m afraid you’ll simply have to absorb all of it opaquely via osmosis.


Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on February 3, 2013

Adulthood is when the inhumane marshmallow test of education ends, when we start being able to productively exert self-control in order to select just those situations which don’t require self-control.


HT – @gretchenrubin

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the possibilities are terrifying

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on January 23, 2013

“Land? Land is a ship too big for me, it’s a woman too beautiful, it’s a voyage too long, perfume too strong…. It’s music I don’t know how to make. I can never get off this ship.” —

We cower in refuge within our chosen sport.

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But it’s the best we can do!

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on January 13, 2013

“Clearly, the academics profession consists in playing a game, pleasing the editors of “prestigious” journals, or be “highly cited”. When confronted, they offer the nihilistic fallacy that “we got to start somewhere”—which could justify using astrology as a basis for science. And the business is unbelievably circular: a “successful PhD program” is one that has “good results” on the “job market” for academic positions. I was told bluntly at a certain business school where I refused to teach risk models and “modern portfolio theory” that my mission as a professor was to help students get jobs.” —Taleb

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how rationalists fail

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on January 7, 2013

If rationality is about watching yourself and not letting yourself succumb to biases. Then an easy way to fail in doing this (hence why we do it) is to simply engage in arguments so complex you no longer have the intellectual stamina for self-monitoring.


Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on December 22, 2012

I have always thought it rather interesting to follow the involuntary movements of fear in clever people. Fools coarsely display their cowardice in all its nakedness, but the others are able to cover it with a veil so delicate, so daintily woven with small plausible lies, that there is some pleasure to be found in contemplating this ingenious work of the human intelligence.


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