All of LessRightToo's Comments + Replies

I'll see if I can find the books I referred earlier regarding intelligence testing for people interested in delving further into this topic.

EDIT: One interesting factoid I recall - IQ tests were originally developed to detect impaired mental function only. However, performance on these tests is now used to justify claims of superior mental function. As I recall, among experts this use of IQ testing is controversial.

IQ testing is controversial in some ways but supported in others. In support of IQ, some forms of IQ tests ('g' loaded tests) tend to reproduce similar scores for the same individual. Further, this score is linked to various life outcomes - higher numbers of patents created, higher academic success rates, higher income, less time in jail, etc. As well as all of this, IQ has been found to be hereditary through twin studies. Lots of literature on this suggest that whatever IQ measures, even if it's not intelligence, it's useful to have in western societies. But here's why it's controversial: Firstly, there is a potential gender and racial bias. Certain races tend to do better than others on average even controlling for socioeconomic status and the like. Men tend to be at the extreme ends of the scale, with many more falling into the high scoring ranges (2+ standard deviations) than women as well as in the low scoring ranges. Secondly, langauge barriers are another large problem with any verbal-based IQ test, which restrict those tests ability to accurately gauge a test taker who is writing with English as their non-native tongue. Thirdly, there are arguments about how a single number could accurately represent all of human intelligence. In tangent with this, there is debate about what constitutes intelligence, and how we should group it. Should emotional intelligence count? Should physical (kinetic) intelligence count? Should math count as much as verbal? Should problem solving count? Etc. Against the last point, ignoring the less traditional sorts of intelligence (e.g. kinetic [bodily movement] intelligence), 'g' loaded tests support the idea that even if you're bad at math, if you've got a high 'g' score you'll likely be above average at math if you're high above average in 'g' loaded verbal or logical reasoning tests. So it seems that even if you're deficient or exceptionally good at one area, there is some sort of underlying factor that does help explain at
That depends a lot on who you call expert. There are people with an ideological agenda against IQ and you may have read books arguing against IQ. That doesn't mean that's the psychometic community doesn't still consider IQ test to be valuable. It doesn't mean that IQ isn't a tool valued by organisation like the EPA. The usage of the EPA is clearly not standard usage of what the test was desgined to do. If you want to argue that you oppose the usages of the test for purposes besides what the original purpose of the tests you attack the basis on which the EPA decision against mercury pollution rests.

Do you oppose the EPA decision to reduce mercury pollution because it lowers children's IQ on the grounds that IQ isn't a good measurement of intelligence?

The possible effect of environmental pollutants on human health (mental and/or physical) is another fascinating and extremely complex topic. I'll avoid venturing into these deep waters on this particular thread.

It's not another topic. It the same topic of expanding effort making decisions to increase IQ. Mercury poluttion doesn't kill or decrease lifespan significantly but it reducdes IQ. If you don't accept the existance of IQ as a valid measurement the EPA case for regulating mercury falls flat.

Over the years I've read several fascinating books on the nature of intelligence in both human and nonhuman animals; sadly, I don't have the titles at my fingertips. There is no agreement among experts on how to define intelligence, and it is widely recognized that standard IQ and aptitude tests do not encompass all aspects of the topic. It seems pointless to me to expend much effort in increasing human intelligence until the topic is better defined. I think that providing people with analytical thinking skills and the encouragement to use them is likely t... (read more)

Actually IQ has broad support from a lot of experts. IQ doesn't need to encompass all aspects of the topic to be a quite useful metric. Do you oppose the EPA decision to reduce mercury pollution because it lowers children's IQ on the grounds that IQ isn't a good measurement of intelligence? They should rather not increase the average IQ of the population through regulation?

An objectively verifiable indication that an animal has pair-bonded would be a visible indication of distress when forcibly separated from his/her mate. I'm not suggesting that this is the best way to determine whether an animal has pair-bonded. For example, an elevated level of some hormone in the blood stream (a "being in love" hormone) that reliably indicates being pair-bonded would be a superior objectively verifiable indication (in my opinion) because it doesn't involve causing distress in an animal.

I'm not a biologist - just an occasional recreational reader of popular works in biology. So, my opinion isn't worth much.

Right now, it seems that "passionate love" is measured in a discrete scale based on answers to a questionnaire. The "Passionate Love Scale" (PLS) is mentioned in this blog post [] and was introduced by this article in 1986 [] . In my other reply to my original comment I showed a study [\] %20Reduced%20cognitive%20control%20in%20passionate%20lovers.pdf) that finds that "high levels of passionate love of individuals in the early stage of a romantic relationship are associated with reduced cognitive control", in which they use the PLS.

New material added to this thread uses the phrase being in a relationship rather than being in love. I found the latter phrase problematic because it involves a poorly defined mental state that has changed meaning over time. The former phrase is objectively verifiable by external observers.

I have read a book or two on the Design of Experiments over the years purely for intellectual curiosity; I've never actually defined and run a scientific experiment. So I don't have anything worthwhile to say on the general topic of the relative value of objective vs. subjective measurements in scientific studies.

A study that relies only on self-reported claims of 'being in love' might be interesting to read, but such a study would be of higher quality if there was an objective way to take a group of people and sort them into one of two groups: "in love" or "not in love." Based on my own experience and experiences reported by others, I wouldn't reject the notion that such a sorting is possible in principle, although it may be beyond our current technological capability. The pain associated with being suddenly separated from someone that you have... (read more)

Why do you think "a person being primed for feeling pain when being separated from their new partner" matters here? Are you thinking about studies that, at the very least, suggest the possibility of such a separation being an option that the subject will experience based on the outcome of some action/decision being studied? :( that's horrible ):
No, not automatically. An objective measurement can be both worse and be better than a self-reported measurement. There no reason to believe that one is inherently better.

In its purest form, giving is intentionally impoverishing yourself in order to enrich another (the terms impoverish, enrich, and another can be as defined as narrowly or as broadly as you'd like). A person who makes some gesture for the sole purpose of self-elevation is not actually giving, no matter how generous the gesture may appear to casual observers. The most effective campaigns I've seen in the charitable giving domain emphasize positive outcomes for others rather than appealing to a donor's vanity or encouraging narcissism.

Ah, thanks for clarifying. So it's a matter of purity of motivations. As a consequentialist I am mainly concerned with the outcome of people caring about effective giving and therefore giving to effective, evidence-based charities, and if getting them to desire self-elevation will motivate donors, then I'm happy to use that to achieve the outcome.

Superdonor conveys a feeling of superiority, as in better than other donors. In other words, even if you donate less, if you donate more effectively, you can still be better than other donors by donating more effectively.

My personal preference is that you promote honorable reasons for donating, while recognizing that dishonorable reasons exist. Donating so that I can feel superior to other donors who give less or give differently does not strike me as particularly honorable. I admit that I am using the term honor without ever having given much thought as to what it means.

I'm confused by your use of the term "honor." Let's taboo that term. Can you explain what's wrong with desiring to be better than others?
Whether donating to a super-effective charity should make you feel "superior" to other donors is largely a matter of personal choice. But I don't think that pointedly conveying the message that charities vary widely in effectiveness is persay dishonorable.

No - just a reminder to myself that sometimes my attempt to be less wrong has the opposite effect.

This is a fascinating and complex topic. To make the question tractable, I suggest first clarifying "you". Are we discussing a graduate student selecting a research topic for his/her PhD program? Are we discussing a professor who already has tenure? Are we discussing someone performing R&D in a corporate environment? Are we discussing a 'citizen scientist'? The four individuals I've identified here face very different situations.

I'm not an economist, but my understanding is that there exists a small subset of economists who are challenging th... (read more)

Love your name. Are you alluding to trade-offs between false positives and negatives with it?

(1) I read the paper carefully, and enjoyed it. Thanks for publishing it! (2) I only noticed one typo - a missing period on page 3. There may also be an accidental CR at the same location that unintentionally splits a paragraph. (3) I'm skeptical whether a useful theory of machine intelligence safety can be developed prior to the development of advanced machine intelligence capability. Instead, I think that safety and capability must co-evolve. If so, then a technical research agenda which fails to include monitoring and/or participating in capability deve... (read more)

Thanks! Typo has been fixed.

Re: (3), I think that computer chess is a fine analogy to use here. It's much easier to make a practical chess program when you possess an actual computer capable of implementing a chess program, but the theoretical work done by Shannon (to get an unbounded solution) still constituted great progress over e.g. the state of knowledge held by Poe. FAI research is still at a place where unbounded solutions would likely provide significant insight, and those are much easier to develop without a practical machine intelligence on hand.... (read more)