Schadenfreude Post


Having just spent a wearying month observing and interacting with the “rationalist” community of SSC, I was somewhat surprised to see Scott Alexander indirectly link this NYT article.  I read through literally hundreds of comments fervently supporting Charles Murray Racial IQ Theory and fuming about no-platforming and “Social Justice Warriors”.  Here’s a part of the article Scott Alexander didn’t RT–

Pinker contends that “an acknowledgment of the possibility of genetic differences is a game-changer for countless specific issues. If people differ genetically in conscientiousness, intelligence, and other psychological traits, then not all differences among people in social and economic outcomes are automatically consequences of a rigged system.”

This means, according to Pinker, that “the discovery that political ideologies are partly heritable points our attention to what the common psychological threads of competing ideologies are – namely temperamental differences such as authoritarianism, conscientiousness, and openness to experience, together with intellectual differences such as intelligence. These could help pinpoint some of the common denominators beneath competing ideologies which cut across the particular hot buttons of the particular era.”

So forgive me if I’m feeling a little shadenfreude here– it will be interesting to see how well conservatives deal with between group differences between the Blue Tribe and the Red Tribe– especially if IQ is involved.

I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.

No wonder the SSC commentariat was so resistant to any discussion of social physics– social physics is empirical.

Welcome to the Campus Wars

Commodore Perry opens Japan to American trade by force.

I keep saying– this isnt really about free speech.  This is about opening the brutal marketplace of excellent ideas (aka academe) to conservative sales pitches.  Is selling stuff covered under free speech?  Milo and Coulter, MacDonald and Murray and Spencer are not academics — they are paid shills for conservative “think tanks”.  The correlation of educational attainment and liberal voting patterns is the single most significant fallout from the 2016 election.  The GOP is shriven of its intellectual capital, and the global science marches this weekend were basically anti-Trump marches.  If conservatism can’t establish a beachhead in blue academe, its pretty much all over but the crying.

Useful idiots like Alice Dreger and Jonathan Haidt are all for letting conservative ideas enter the debate.  They remind me of chinese mandarins and japanese shoguns tittering and smirking behind their fans at the hairy smelly uncouth barbarians at the gate.  They shouldn’t be so sure that intellectually non-competitive conservative ideas cant gain traction when backed by the big guns of nationalism and capitalism.

After, hubris and confirmation bias are the main reasons we wound up with Trump.

Clash of Civilizations

No, not between Huntington-style Western Civilization and dar ul Islam— this is a story about the clash of sub-populations in the US– about red/blue brain biochemistry hypothesis and political polarization, about emergent systems and artificial systems, about social physics and identity and complex adaptive games.

The current assault by the alt-right on college campuses really isnt about free speech or science (ie Charles Murray Racial IQ Hypothesis).  It is about the continuing impenetrability of academe to conservative ideology, and red/blue neurotype/phenotype hypothesis.  You see, Dear Reader…the coming demographic doom of the GOP isnt the hispanic death cross– its education.

No one is talking about this but it is the most salient point coming out of the 2016 electionsthe correlation of educational attainment with liberal voting patterns.  Shockingly (or maybe not) education seems to be able to affect red/blue hereditary patterns (ie children inherit their parents ideology thru symbolic and behavioral pathways).

So having seized the presidency the right is incapable of understanding why conservative ideology still cant penetrate academe to propagate conservative ideas.  And this is partly why–

Call this divergence, polarization or psuedo-speciation, it all means the same thing.  There is no “common ground” or space for compromise.  The elegant Nash equilibrium the Founders set up has failed, and both sides are playing Sinner v Sinner TFT now.  So we will see more university campuses erupt in violent confrontation going forward.  The conflict isnt about actually about science or free speech– its about trying to seize the controls.

According to my knowledge of JMS/EGT maths (Evolution and the Theory of Games) …the attempt will likely fail.

An evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is a strategy which, if adopted by a population in a given environment, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy that is initially rare.

The one thing about the Nash game the Founders built …is the pendulum swings back.  It is likely there will be a dem wave in 2018 and/or 2020.  But what happens when the pendulum sticks, doesn’t swing back?  Thats when we will know the Founders system is truly broken…and my biggest worry for the future.

Why Heather MacDonald Should Not Speak on Campus

It seems we are having a fresh wave of conservative “scholars” trying to break the Blue Wall of acadame.  Perhaps they see the writing on that wall, lol.  This piece on HeatherMacDonald’s abortive attempt to speak at Claremont is emblematic.

Mac Donald spoke via live-stream to a mostly empty room, as protesters banged on the windows and shouted; police cut the talk short and escorted her out of the building.

Here is a rather whiny piece by MacDonald herself, excoriating faculty members for not forcing her on reluctant students.

Where are the faculty? American college students are increasingly resorting to brute force, and sometimes criminal violence, to shut down ideas they don’t like. Yet when such travesties occur, the faculty are, with few exceptions, missing in action, though they have themselves been given the extraordinary privilege of tenure to protect their own liberty of thought and speech. It is time for them to take their heads out of the sand.

Sorry, Heather.  You don’t have tenure and never will.  You don’t have tenure because you are not a scientist, and not a professor, and not an academic.  You are a paid shill for a conservative “thinktank”.  But the reason Heather should give up on trying to wedge crackpot conservative ideologies into universities is the internet is forever, as Razib Khan found out.

So anyone that cares to can research the Secular Right blog, where Khan and MacDonald blogged alongside John “Sun People/ Ice People” Derbyshire, and can sample her writings.  Or just google her old postings.  Probably the craziest imho is Heather’s defense of anti-same sex marriage laws because “foo-foo gay weddings caused unmarried black fathers in the ghetto to flee marriage”.  No data, no science, no support for Heather’s wack-a-doodle hypothesis…which is observably both racist and homophobic.

Heather doesnt have a free speech right on campuses that circumscribes the students’ free speech rights to protest her, or the faculty’s tenured right to ignore her.  She can hire an auditorium off campus and sell tickets, pay for her own security and venue.  The reason conservative ideology is rare on campus is its mostly crap.  Conspiracy theory, grievance and victimhood wrapped in a free speech cloak.  University campuses are a place for the excellence of ideas and competitive fitness selection, not conservative propaganda.

So conservatives, here’s my advice.  Get some better ideas, and data and research to back them up– and if you want to be treated like a public intellectual and a social scientist– get a phd in social science instead of political “science”.

You’re welcome.

You Are All Gunna Have To Learn To Do The Math

Honest, I’m just trying to help.  This is truly the best (and most accurate) of all the sociology slogans I read today.

Kim Weeden quipped  “Sociology: we studied it first” for her entry.  But…so what if you studied it first?  Its all about to change.  The revolution is Data Science.  The soft sciences, like social science and political “science”, are about to undergo radical tranformation.  If you want to know what old school political science is all about, both Heather MacDonald and Charles Murray are “political scientists”– a discipline seeming to me to primarily consist of subjective history informed by Dead White Guy Philosophy with a heavy gloss of anglo-saxon cultural chauvinism.

I completely understand why students and faculty wont support Heather Mac and Murray on their campuses– they arent academics, they arent scholars– they are are not even social scientists– they are paid claquers for conservative alternative universities (ie “thinktanks”).  No street cred.  Its not a free speech thing, its a legitimacy thing.  But of course the students have free speech too.  Amirite?

Kim also tweeted this at me–

LOL!  Kim is a harbinger of the fight to come– where social science luddites will try to pretend that Big Data and Machine Learning arent going to totally transform their “discipline”.  Data sets of millions or hundreds of millions collected by ebadges or data mining– computer languages like Python and R– deep learning for pattern recognition– cognitive genomics–influence matrices.

Business World has been using this for market analysis for years– see MIT social machine project.  There are already commercial products available, and trust, these products are already being explored and fitted for predictive analysis of the 2018 midterm elections.

Heres the textbook for the course im taking now.  What is happening in science world right now is what MIT calls “antidisciplinary culture”–like “small-world” networks in cognitive genomics, EGT and Competition Cooperation Paradigm in cancer research,  and neural nets informing physics and math.  

So Kim, I’m not reinventing the wheel– I’m just fitting it with a warp drive.  Please try and keep up.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Polarization, Charles Murray and the Evolutionary Theory of Games

I think the interwebs dont really understand what is happening with the anti-Charles Murray protests that are sweeping campuses across the country.

From this otherwise excellent article by PHarden–



“Is there any academic more widely reviled by mainstream social scientists than Murray?”

People have forgotten that Murray is a paid think-tank “scholar” and strictly speaking NOT an academic.  Nor is Murray a social scientist– he is a political scientist.  So actual social scientists certainly have the right to critique him.  And I think students have every right to exercise their free speech rights against him.

Universities are supposed to be bastions of freedom of speech and ideas.  To conservatives this presents as a deliberate banning of conservative ideology.  But it is actually darwinian selection for merit in academe coupled with rejection of outgroup memes.  Conservative ideology fails with liberals, because it simply doesnt appeal to them, and thus it has no scientific validity.  I have no problem with stating facts: academy is painted blue.  Why is this?  I think its largely because universities select for IQ which correlates with factors of blue brain biochemistry (exploration, SES, educational attainment of parents, etc).

AEI was deliberately constructed to present an alternative to perceived liberal academe, much as the Breitbart organization started out as Big Hollywood in 2009, an attempt to “take back” Hollywood from liberal “bias” .  It is not, and never will be, a university.

As increasing polarization in America divides americans into two camps we can observe increasing radicalization on both sides of the debate fueled by social media.  On twitter for example accusations of “Red Guards” or “Torquemadas” leveled against liberal university students and professors protesting Murray are becoming as common as accusations of “Nazi ” or “Brownshirt” against campus Republicans and the tiny cohort of conservative geneticists and political scientists.  If we simply consider US universities as Culturally Stable Strategies that evolved over hundreds of years by selection for IQ, EGT and Social Network Theory predict that conservative ideology will never penetrate.

An evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is a strategy which, if adopted by a population in a given environment, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy that is initially rare.

So according to John Maynard-Smith conservative ideology and conservative researchers, scientists, and professors cant make much headway in penetrating the CSS of liberal universities.

The big reveal post-election is the correlation of educational attainment and liberal voting patterns.  Much has been written about the supposed “liberal bias” of academe– very little has been said about the voting patterns of the election and how they project into the future.  The GOP is facing a double whammy of demographic doom– from the hispanic deathcross and from the correlation of liberal voting patterns with educational attainment.  How did we get here?

The Founders set up their version of a Nash equilibrium in the US constitutional republic– its really very clever.

In game theory, the Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a non-cooperative game involving two or more players in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy.

But the US equilibrium system began to fail in 2008, with the election of Barack Obama, and the first ringing of the demographic timer.  In 2008 (for the first time) white kids under five became a minority.  Republicans began to play a two-person zero-sum game against democrats in congress– a profound change in strategy culminating in the refusal to honor Obama’s SCOTUS appointments in his final term.

But the US equilibrium system is not just challenged by demographic disparity, but also by economic disparity.  Jobs and SES in the 21st century are increasingly dependent on college educations.  Currently 70% of US pop has no college degree, but there are 20 million or so new college freshman every year.

So what happens to a large non-equilibrium system (or as my beloved John Von Neuman termed it, a “non-elephant”) ?  It becomes vulnerable to sandpile collapse, according to another hero of mine, Per Bak.  This is observably happening in MENA, and in the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, and in the French Revolution.  Indeed, in America Trump’s election is a sort of the Postman Always Rings Twice avalanche– the first avalanche being Sarah Palin’s insane popularity with the GOP base– a populist avalanche.

Again, there is no certainty that US will undergo full collapse– currently the Founders’ protections against an elected demogogue seem be holding– the constitution is WAI.  But is collapse such a bad thing?  Collapse brings emergence of new forms.  Collapse brings chaos and self-organizing criticality.  Collapse brings new scales of complexity.

I personally think liberal democracy is a Terrible Lie.

Maybe we can do better.





Is Razib Khan Cracking Up?

Roughly two years after the New York Times terminated Razib Khan’s contract after a single day, Khan has severed all visible connection with Unz and VDare, and shut down “The Secular Right” –the weblog he shared with John “Sun People/ Ice People” Derbyshire.  Quarantining himself has not led to the NYT proffering a new contract.  And Khan seems to be growing increasingly incensed over the treatment of conservative quasi-scientists like Charles Murray at American universities.  He claims that university students are acting like the “Red Guard” in China’s cultural revolution, showing a profound lack of understanding of the Cultural Revolution and Chinese history from that period.  And this presumes that Murray Racial IQ Theory is indeed science, when its actually a dusty 20+ year old hypoth that has been serially discredited and is of little contemporary value.  I have no problem with Murray speaking on behalf of AEI, a known white nationalist “think-tank”.  And Murray is a political scientist, not a social scientist or a geneticist.

But the craziest thing I saw today was this treatment of John Maynard Smith’s tremendous Evolutionary Theory of Games.  EGT is something that is very current today, in complex adaptive game theory and in the wonderful EGG research project, for example.

Right.  But if Khan “forces himself” to talk about JMS concept of ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy) isnt he going to have to give up on “reforming” Islam?  Because Islam is actually a CSS (Culturally Stable Strategy), a term contributed by Richard Dawkins himself (mirable dictu) to JMS book.

If Khan actually understands the ESS/CSS concept of EGT, then he knows its not possible to “reform” Islam without rewriting the Quran, a book soon to be read by a quarter of the world’s population– and that doesnt seem possible.

An evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) is a strategy which, if adopted by a population in a given environment, cannot be invaded by any alternative strategy that is initially rare. It is relevant in game theory, behavioural ecology, and evolutionary psychology. An ESS is an equilibrium refinement of the Nash equilibrium. It is a Nash equilibrium that is “evolutionarilystable: once it is fixed in a population, natural selection alone is sufficient to prevent alternative (mutant) strategies from invading successfully.

I think he’s cracking up.