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I've never heard of this before, and Google suggests it seems to be mainly a component of NLP, with little supporting evidence. Still, I can't find anything that puts paid to it either way, and it's an interesting idea. Has anyone done a reputable study on it? Scholar yields nothing relevant.

It's a bad analogy because there are different kinds of games, but only one kind of small talk? If you don't think pub talk is a different game than a black tie dinner, well, you've obviously never played. Why do people do it? Well, when you beat a video game, you've beat a video game. When you win at social interaction, you're winning at life - social dominance improves your chances of reproducing.

As for rule books: the fact that the 'real' rules are unwritten is part of the fun. Of course, that's true for most video games. Pretty much any modern game's real tactics come from players, not developers. You think you can win a single StarCraft match by reading the manual? Please.

do you personally find these status and alliance games interesting? Why?

They're way more interesting than video games, for example. Or watching television. Or numerous other activities people find fun and engaging. Of course, if you're bad at them you aren't going to enjoy them; the same goes for people who can't get past the first stage of Pac-Man.

I think there is probably no relation. My guess is that red signalling probably precedes variation in skin colour, perhaps even loss of body-wide hair. It is a thoroughly unconscious bias, and does not apply to pink, or orange, or peach, but red, especially bright, bold baboon-butt red. In any case, I hope the sporting tests were controlled for skin colour, because that does seem like a weighty factor when considering scoring bias.

IIRC Hanson favours panspermia over abiogenesis. Has he reconciled this with his great filter theory?

This is not the best example because a president's institutionally granted power is a function of how likable and popular he is with the people.

The President of the US is probably the highest status person in the world. The fact that roughly 20% of Americans voted for Obama is far from the only thing that gives him that status. Keep in mind that it takes extraordinary public disapproval to affect a President; Bush 43's lowest approval rating was one point higher than Nixon's. On the other hand, Clinton's lowest rating was 12 points higher than that, and he was impeached. Public approval is not very meaningful to the Presidency.

Imagine, however, that the president was more of a dictator and didn't need his citizen's approval. In this case, he'd be lowering his status by chatting with regular folk.

Or he'd be signaling that he's a benevolent dictator who, while not requiring the approval of the regular folk, wants them to think he's on their side. Having popular support would obviously raise a dictator's status, domestically and internationally. The people might think that their dictator wasn't such a bad guy if he was willing to talk to them. Anecdotally, when a dictator goes to ground and doesn't make public appearances, it's usually a sign that his regime is in trouble. Don't underestimate what a high-status move it is to be secure about your status.

What Lesswrongers may not realize is how bothering to change your behavior at all towards other people is inherently status lowering. For instance, if you just engage in an argument with someone you’re telling them they’re important enough to use so much of your attention and effort—even if you “act” high status the whole time.

People of high status assume their status generally cannot be affected by people of low status, at least in casual encounters (i.e. not when a cop pulls over your Maybach for going 200). To use an extreme example, when the President of the US goes into a small-town diner and chats with the "regular folks" there, he's not lowering his status. He's signaling, "My status is so high, I can pal around with whoever I want." Yes, this raises the status of those he talks to. (It also raises the President's status.)

If people of high status thought they had something to lose in engaging with someone of low status, they wouldn't engage with them. Of course, that would make them look afraid to lose status, which in itself would lower their status. So they engage with people of lower status in order to make it seem like status isn't important to them, which is a high status signal. In short, engaging with people signals higher status than ignoring them.

I wonder what will be in the random theory hat next time I reach in!

I submit that the idea of 'race' is based solely on bad science and doesn't have any real meaning such that it can be related to anything else.

Nevertheless, the word "race" remains a useful shorthand for "populations differentiated genetically by geographic location" or what have you. If you don't think there are genetic differences between, say, Northern Europeans and Sub-Saharan Africans, you are literally blind. They obviously belong to groups that evolved in different directions. That does not have to include intelligence, but it's not reasonable to refuse to consider a hypothesis just because you find it repugnant.

Do you have any reason to believe Lynn is a racist, or is that just a knee-jerk reaction? Lynn is too contrarian and I am too unqualified to agree or disagree with him, but I believe his work is done in good faith. At the very least, it's unreasonable to label any research into race and intelligence 'racist' just because you don't like the conclusions.

I think it ought to be something unimaginative but reliable, like clean water or vaccines to third world countries. I can't find it at the moment but there's a highly reputable charity that provides clean drinking water to African communities. IIRC they estimated that every $400 or so saved the life of a child. A billion dollars into such a charity - saving 2.5 million children - isn't a difficult PR sell.

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