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Nassim Taleb is Retarded

Happy New Year folks, welcome to the 8th (!) year of Bloody Shovel. Let me start this sure to be eventful year with one of these posts which just need writing. A quick internet search didn’t come out with any article with this title; so if I’m lucky this post will at some point become viral on Google. You think Taleb is retarded? You heard this exact phrasing here first.

What am I talking about? Most of you should know who Nassim Taleb is; a finance man turned maverick public intellectual by virtue of a book, called the Black Swan, which basically saved all the western financial establishment from blame about the great financial crisis of 2008. If you read Steve Sailer you very much knew that all those Mexicans buying real estate with no down payments were going to unleash a subprime mortage crisis at some point. Not so! Said Taleb: that was a Black Swan.

A what? Some completely unpredictable scenario, a massive statistical outlier, he meant. He then colored the theory with a lot of fancy math. All those financial traders in Wall Street then could finally look themselves at the mirror again and not feel like evil failures. “It wasn’t our fault! It was unpredictable! Look at all that fancy math in the book. Only a genius like Taleb could understand that stuff”. It helped that Taleb is a Brown Man; hence a genius by default in our modern culture.

I know nothing of Taleb’s theories; although people who I respect intellectually, such as Eric Falkenstein, have written at length that they aren’t buying them. On the other side I see thousands upon thousands of bugmen and cucks who have nothing but praise for the swarthy bearded brown dude who likes to talk like an Italian mafioso because he’s convinced himself that being born close to the Mediterranean makes one white.

I could be wrong and the guy is actually a genius. But the geniuses I respect have a habit of not saying retarded things; at least not in public and when sober. That is not something that applies to Taleb anymore. One could read with some interest his stuff about finance math or “antifragility”, but now Taleb has come out as a full-fledged retard by saying what amounts (in my book) to the most retarded claim anyone can claim.

Taleb went on a Twitter rant (then about how IQ is a “pseudoscientific swindle”). His observation was based on his experience with “quants”, high-IQ math people who work for financial firms. He found them to be good at numbers but lacking at other skills, e.g. LARPing like a New York downtown mafioso or taking instagram pics doing low-weight deadlifts.

Now, to be fair to the guy; he’s right there. IQ explains some things. But it doesn’t explain personality, drive, extraversion, focus, dominance; a lot of stuff. But it doesn’t have to. Quants are quants. If he found them to be bad at making money in Wall Street; well maybe making money in Wall Street is not just about IQ. Big deal.

But IQ is real all the same. All else equal, a higher IQ is a desirable trait in any living thing. A high IQ may not guarantee success at any particular endeavor, but a low IQ absolutely guarantees failure at pretty much any advanced skill.

But of course everybody knows that. Which is why nobody really finds IQ to be controversial in normal life. Yes, it’s better to be smart than to be not smart. But to be smart, but a pussy, or a coward, or annoying, or just weird in personality is a bad thing. Nobody contests that.

IQ and psychometrics in general are only controversial, only a topic of discussion when applied to groups. Most importantly, to racial groups. That’s the only one reason why anybody objected to IQ research. To be put it even more clearly, the only reason IQ is controversial is that black people test low in IQ tests. And that’s why Taleb *had* to come out and say, oh, saying black people have low IQ on average is *insensitive*. After all, northern Europeans weren’t rich until after 1600.

Letting alone the point that the Chartres Cathedral was up by 1220; the very simple point that Taleb here is ignoring is this thing called genetics. Surely those “Meds” he feels so proud of (after all, the concept allows him to claim the glory of the Roman Empire, instead of accepting that the Levant has been a complete backwater for 2500 years) are genetically quite close to those Northern Europeans who, besides beating Roman legions pretty much all the time, were indeed not living in societies as complex as those of Southern Europe or the Middle East. Germanic and Celtic tribes even spoke closely related languages to Greece and Rome.

Not something that Africans can say; they’re the most distant race to Caucasians (and Asians) that lives on earth. And late last year we found very very interesting data on their genetic make up.

We estimate that individuals in two African populations have 6 − 8% ancestry through admixture from an unidentified archaic population that diverged from the ancestors of modern humans 500 thousand year ago.

Does Taleb know about this? Does he know about anything? Of course not. He makes a living by selling books to the soul-less bugmen in the finance industry; and he won’t be able to be able to keep being called to TV if he can’t claim to be part of the Bioleninism racket by hating on white people at regular intervals. He may not like being brown (half his waking hours are spent in loud reminders that he’s not an Arab), but he surely enjoys the privilege of not looking white.

95 responses to “Nassim Taleb is Retarded

  1. Monsieur le Baron January 2, 2019 at 20:19

    >If you read Steve Sailer you very much knew that all those Mexicans buying real estate with no down payments were going to unleash a subprime mortage crisis at some point. Not so! Said Taleb: that was a Black Swan.

    While I do think Taleb is making a fool of himself, this isn’t a fair reading. That something bad happened to Fannie Mae was entire expected because the whole enterprise was founded on nothing going wrong. Taleb’s point is that things go wrong all the time but nerds don’t realize this because they think they know things. But you can’t know the unexpected because then it would be expected. The smart thing to do is to have lots of options when things inevitably go wrong so you can come out ahead. There’s a mathematical statement of this as a power law distribution as opposed to a bell curve. Applied to something like IQ, you would see more profoundly gifted people in the long tails. I think this is actually true.

    It’s true that bugmen love him, but given how he spends four books railing against nerds, this seems to be fueled by the same masochistic tendencies behind Ta Nehisi-Coates. It must make them feel good to have a deadlifting brown man telling them they’re all idiot cucks.

  2. Matthew Walker January 2, 2019 at 21:17

    NNT seems intelligent, in part, because he stumbled on a very effective heuristic for dealing with public intellectuals on Twitter: Just call them imbeciles. You won’t be wrong often enough to matter, until you bump into a smart dissident like Sailer.

    In general his one insight seems to be to search for dumb heuristics that allow lazy, arrogant, impatient people to get away with their laziness and impatience. I have a lot of sympathy with that approach to life.

  3. egosphere (@egosphere3) January 2, 2019 at 21:20

    >he won’t be able to be able to keep being called to TV if he can’t claim to be part of the Bioleninism racket by hating on white people at regular intervals. He may not like being brown (half his waking hours are spent in loud reminders that he’s not an Arab), but he surely enjoys the privilege of not looking white.

    I don’t think that’s true at all. He had a positive opinion of Trump during the election, the most unhandshakeworthy of positions. He’s also been a champion for fractal localism or local fractalism, or whatever, which would be in accordance not just with tight borders, but an outright ethno-state. If you implement his political values, you’d arrive at the same end sought by many on the right.

    His failure in this tweetstorms stems from confining intelligence to the ability to earn money on wall st. and not blow up. Everything else is IYI to Taleb. That’s the reason for the retardation.

  4. jsolbakken January 2, 2019 at 21:47

    Defining and measuring “IQ” is complex and a certain amount of subjectivity is unavoidable. IQ doesn’t mean nothing and it doesn’t mean everything either.
    I’m more concerned about hearing about Mr Taleb calling the 2008 debacle a “Black Swan.” Black Swan my ass!!! Any bird brained nit wit could have seen it coming. Millions of people incurring loans they could not afford at a risk level they could not withstand is not a Black Swan. The guy is not stupid, though. Believe me when I tell you, there is no doubt that he is working for The Banksters. He is a sock puppet of the Globalists. His job is to baffle as many gullible dipshits with his bullshit as he can.

  5. Pingback: Nassim Taleb is Retarded | Reaction Times

  6. Steve Johnson January 3, 2019 at 01:43

    But IQ is real all the same. All else equal, a higher IQ is a desirable trait in any living thing. A high IQ may not guarantee success at any particular endeavor, but a low IQ absolutely guarantees failure at pretty much any advanced skill.

    That this doesn’t occur to him is astonishing.

    He argues that “street smarts” are more important than IQ. This is off in crazy land – he compares “Fat Tony” to “Dr John” but the right comparison is “Fat Tony the successful mob boss” to “Jimmy who’s doing 10 years for breaking into cars and stealing car stereos”. The key is that Fat Tony is also high IQ compared to men who are as street smart. This really isn’t that complicated. That he digs up math to adorn his awful reasoning points more in the direction of him using intentional deception rather than sincere confusion.

    Here’s NNT-perfect natural experiment. Northern Italy vs Southern Italy. Southern Italy is better on every metric that Talib cares about – they’re lower trust (more “street smart”) and lower IQ – by his reasoning southern Italy should be the developed center and northern Italy the provincial backwater. How does this prediction hold up?

    • jsolbakken January 3, 2019 at 15:31

      I’m sure it’s just a coincidence I’ve been reading about how chimps are smarter than humans because humans waste so much brain power processing abstractions like language. And this story tells us that dogs are yet smarter than chimps.
      https://nypost.com/2017/03/03/your-dog-is-actually-smarter-than-a-chimpanzee/

      Mr Taleb is not making his point very well, but the fact remains that what we think of as “intelligence” is about as complex a subject as they come. This is why I go with what Forest Gump’s mother said about it, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  7. Damon Verial January 3, 2019 at 05:41

    I think Spandrell is making the same sort of mistake Taleb is making: Making judgments across fields. Taleb’s understanding of statistics and its application to the market is solid. Being an expert in your field gives some experts carte blanche to make their opinions across fields public, portraying them as knowledge from an expert (though most people neglect that the expert is from a different field than the discussion topic).

    Spandrell is an expert but not a finance expert. Taleb’s books have never been dismissals of the financial institution for 2008. Instead, his books criticize institutions – banks included – for not understanding statistical distributions.

    To prepare for a worst-case situation, institutions look to the largest disaster in the past, completely ignoring the future probability space. They essentially cut the statistical distribution (which is usually erroneously modeled as a Gaussian distribution) off at an arbitrary extreme, make preparations for that extreme, and thereby confine themselves to working in a bubble. They are blind to kurtosis.

    I am not here to defend Taleb. I think Spandrell is correct on everything he has said here outside his comments on Taleb’s field of expertise, which is statistical finance and statistical finance exclusively. Spandrell’s article today is a bit of a disappointment in the same way an article on an actor’s political opinions or a politician’s movie criticism would be.

    Let’s confine criticism within our fields.

  8. WowJustWow January 3, 2019 at 08:15

    “Now, to be fair to the guy; he’s right there. IQ explains some things. But it doesn’t explain personality, drive, extraversion, focus, dominance; a lot of stuff. But it doesn’t have to. Quants are quants. If he found them to be bad at making money in Wall Street; well maybe making money in Wall Street is not just about IQ. Big deal.”

    When I read that part of the tweetstorm I couldn’t help but think of the asinine observation at the beginning of Guns, Germs, and Steel; roughly: “All peoples are obviously equally intelligent, so I’ll waste no ink on that subject in this book. Having said that, the tribesmen of New Guinea are clearly more intelligent than Westerners. I can tell because I’ve noticed they are clever and resourceful at dealing with life in the rainforests of New Guinea, and Wall Street quants would probably die if they had to fend for themselves there for more than a week.”

  9. Aldon January 3, 2019 at 10:24

    It’s embarrassingly obvious that Taleb’s hostility to IQ roots in him being from a racial/ethnic background that leans him towards lower intelligence than actual Whites. Taleb has what’s called on anthropological/race realism forums as OWD (Off-White Dilemma) where he insults other MENAs in the hopes that the White Man will accept him. Levantines like him having much lower IQs than Western to Northern Euros is offensive to his image of himself, so he goes on the warpath against IQ (denying it, asserting that it “isn’t really important”).

  10. The Righful King of Finland January 3, 2019 at 12:02

    Does Taleb think that his tweet about ancient Nordics is supposed to be an impressive own? Ancient Egyptians or what have you would have been completely justified in calling ancient Nordics stupid. Then they stopped fucking their cousins and introduced manoralism. Things change, my genetically Arab brother.

    • Aldon January 3, 2019 at 15:44

      There’s also the point that lands like Egypt and Sumeria are significantly genetic different today than millenniums ago. Egypt has West and East African mixture it didn’t have in the days of Egypt’s founding combined with extra inbreeding. Sumeria has extra inbreeding and Arabian blood courtesy of needing to repopulate the region after the Mongol’s slaughters.

      • Aldon January 3, 2019 at 15:49

        Old Kingdom sculptures. None of their looks are reliably Negroid or Semitic.

        • Eli January 4, 2019 at 04:49

          I have a Copt at work. He looks very much like the sculpted guy. In essence, Copts are the last, purest representatives of ancient Egyptian stock (even though I think they might have some Nilotic admixture in them)

          • Spandrell January 4, 2019 at 19:35

            Copts likely have significant Greek ancestry too.

            • Eli January 5, 2019 at 21:41

              Greek communities were present in Egypt since at least Ptolemaic days. However, I’m not aware of intermixing with the locals. I’m open to being presented with solid evidence to the contrary.

              Btw, I got a good chuckle out of your comment regarding his weight lifting and mafioso LARPing.

              I disagree with him on this whole IQ issue, just as I disagree about his stance about GMOs.

              He also doesn’t see any value in nationalism, being way too Levantine about this. To him, only the indivdual, family, tribe, and humanity make sense. No layer in between tribe and humanity. Maybe from a personal level he is right. I can definitely understand lack of enthusiasm for a bureaucratic machine and some non-embedded abstractions. But what if there was a King? Wouldn’t a sense of loyalty to a dynasty be de facto nationalism? I’d say so.

              • spandrell January 6, 2019 at 10:09

                Thanks.

                Early in a dynasty, the king derives his power from the loyalty of his army, i.e. his feudal vassals. Later on, the noblemen are too removed from the old conquest days, and the King tries to play the peasants against the nobles, styling himself as protector of the people at large. That’s embryonic nationalism.

                • Eli January 15, 2019 at 07:13

                  I agree.

                  Ironically, under that standard the Jews should be considered one of the most nationalist people ever. Jews had always relied on Kings to protect them, including the majority/local populaces.

                  Jewish liturgical texts contain prayers for kings. According to well-respected historian SD Goitein, Cairo geniza points to existence of such prayers all the way to pre-11th century CE

      • Wency January 3, 2019 at 18:50

        I’ve heard Greg Cochran argue that MENA Christians are much closer genetically to the ancient populations, with significantly higher IQs. Thus it could be said that Taleb’s exercise in setting himself apart from Arab Muslims is not really erroneous. Though I agree with others he does appear to have an insecurity about it.

  11. ahegao profile January 3, 2019 at 15:58

    >”Taleb went on a Twitter rant (then about how IQ is a ‘pseudoscientific swindle’). His observation was based on his experience with ‘quants’, high-IQ math people who work for financial firms. He found them to be good at numbers but lacking at other skills”

    IQ is a general score, right? Someone can have high arithmetic IQ; but low communication, creativity, and whatever IQ. Taleb’s observation implies high arithmetic IQ is insufficient and not that IQ is worthless. His observation is basically the classic one of the high IQ Northeast-Asian society with low creativity, inventiveness, and high conformity.

  12. ahegao profile January 3, 2019 at 16:06

    >”After all, northern Europeans weren’t rich until after 1600… [who] were indeed not living in societies as complex as those of Southern Europe or the Middle East…”

    This is a common “Dark Ages” myth.
    It usually goes like this: “Northern Europeans were unwashed barbarians who smelled funny and lived in mud huts. Meanwhile the Arabs/Chinese were having an enlightened super golden age and basically we wuz inventors!!”

    This is stuff from outdated documentaries or dumb YouTube popscience/popeducation channels. It’s only repeated ad nauseum as a coping mechanism or for political purposes.

  13. jamienyc January 3, 2019 at 17:14

    On iPhone, so I’ll keep it brief:
    – you don’t understand what black swan is about
    – you don’t seem to know any people who actually work in finance
    – Taleb identifies as non – white
    – he is a curmudgeon, so he has a need to be against everything and everyone
    – he is saying stupid things about IQ and race, I agree. Not clear what he actually believes.

  14. J January 3, 2019 at 20:54

    To describe the levant as a backwater for 2500 years is a pretty dopey thing to say. It was definitely a very important and prosperous part of the Roman Empire.

  15. grey enlightenment January 5, 2019 at 01:03

    Taleb is a liberal of the social justice variety, has no original ideas, and is not a genius although he does do a reasonably good job pretending to be one. he uses the same rhetorical arguments as the left does. He denies absolute truth such as IQ as postmodernists do. been saying this for years. glad more people on the ‘right’ are seeing Taleb for who he truly is.

  16. lalit January 5, 2019 at 07:02

    Not sure you got the point. The point that Taleb is arguing is that High IQ does not correlate to High intelligence and it has about a 10% correlation with success, which is basically worse than useless. Richard Feynman, another great physicist had an IQ of 126 and basically flunked MENSA. The point Taleb is making is that IQ has never been stress-tested for robustness. He is saying A good intelligence test is something Einstein, Ramanujam, Feynman, Bohr, Tesla etc would do very well in and Bureaucrats, HR Types, political commissars would do very poorly in.

    While it is true that much of the anti-IQ crowd hates the IQ test because some politically favoured groups score badly at it, Taleb has better reasons for heaping contempt on it. Taleb is basically saying, OK, so you think the IQ test is so great. Then show me the Data.

    • Aldinto January 5, 2019 at 12:54

      >Richard Feynman, another great physicist had an IQ of 126

      Myth. Feynman has no reliable IQ testing scores.

      >flunked MENSA

      Do you even have a solid source for this?

      >He is saying A good intelligence test is something Einstein, Ramanujam, Feynman, Bohr, Tesla etc would do very well in and Bureaucrats, HR Types, political commissars would do very poorly in.

      In other words, IQ tests don’t count since the “wrong” men can excel in them. Regardless of whether “heroes” can or not.

      >While it is true that much of the anti-IQ crowd hates the IQ test because some politically favoured groups score badly at it, Taleb has better reasons for heaping contempt on it.
      >better reasons

      He’s just a mud who’s sore that his kind (Levantines) are accepted as not especially intelligent among honest/non-cucked intelligence researchers.

      • lalit January 6, 2019 at 07:57

        Several sources for Feynman’s IQ test. Feynman himself talked about it and used to make fun of it. Here is just two I got from some very quick google searches.
        https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/11/08/richard-feynmans-iq-score-was-only-125-and-he-loved-joking-about-it/#7656452c2c42
        https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/finding-the-next-einstein/201112/polymath-physicist-richard-feynmans-low-iq-and-finding-another

        It was probably there in his books as well. Been a long time, I can’t remember. But it would be just like Feynman to disparage something like the IQ test. He would have thought it pretentious.
        As we Engineers say, RTFM (Read the &*%#@ manual), I’m gonna ask you to DFGS (Do a %^&*** google search)

        2. MENSA members need to have an IQ score of 130+, so a score of 125 would have flunked Feynman. DFGS

        3. A test that gets it Yes-No type answers right about 50% of the time is as good as Random guessing. At any rate, Taleb criticizes the IQ scores and what they imply with regard to scores that are 100+, not so much the scores that are 100- Do you understand a via negative? DFGS. While a low Iq score might well indicate lower intelligence, a high IQ score does not indicate higher intelligence, infact the correlation is around 10%. Seriously, look up via negativa. It is necessary to fix the meanings of words as Spandrell says. Do you understand gaussians, means, standard deviations and probabilities. If you do not, this discussion is beyond you.

        4. The other criticism is that IQ tests measure first order reasoning power but not beyond. Hence it’s tendency to fail to correlate with intelligence at the higher scores. Again, he is not criticizing what it is supposed to imply at lower scores, since low scorers are failing even tests of first order reasoning ability.

        Basically, what Taleb is showing is, show me that Data that I am wrong. Till date, I have seen no challenger actually come up with the data showing that higher IQ scores correlate to higher intelligence better than 50% (Random guessing) at scores of 100+.

        I’m asking you the same, show me the Data!

    • iWeird January 5, 2019 at 14:33

      Nobody finds it funny how everybody seems sure they know what “success” is, and the hard-to-define term in the equation is IQ/g/intelligence, not “success”.

      • iWeird January 5, 2019 at 14:38

        To me, IQ/g/intelligence are easy to pinpoint and size, at least intuitively.
        I read a blog post, a blog comment, I view someone’s Twitter, or the first chapter of the book they wrote or their profile on a dating site, and I can foreknow with good approximation how they’ll score on an IQ test — the best assurance of IQ being a real thing.

        But “success”? Success is how well one sleeps at night, probably.

        • Eli January 5, 2019 at 22:04

          Well, there is an objective, yet not necessarily personally satisfying way to define “success:” how successful is one’s lineage.

          One can argue, there is an alternative way: how used is one’s contribution (be it literary/technological/scientific etc) to future progeny.

          Both are not easy to gauge within one’s lifetime. Heck, just because a Negro from ghetto ends up fathering 10+ children, doesn’t necessarily imply that he’ll have any surviving descendants in a century. Life can be funny/cruel like that.

          Vice versa, say all you want about Schopenhauer, who left no descendants and was a misanthrope generally, but his claim to fame via his works is still with us. A fact, by the way, that he himself anticipated.

          But on a more personal level, I think our social engagement , be it via family or work, is our gauge to ascertaining whether we are on our way to achieving any of the above two types of successes. Hence, can be proximally defined as “success” also.

          In the Talmud, there is the concept of curse of being disinherited from receiving share in the World to Come. Pure Rationalist Judaism’s perspective on the “World to Come” is not dissimilar from Sadducean (for whom afterlife was a vacuous concept), ie it’s all about this very world, but placed in the future. So, someone who leaves no descendants and whose entire existence is erased from record is, effectively, disinherited from said share. This, I would say, is the very opposite of success.

          • lalit January 6, 2019 at 08:02

            Right, the definition of success is as murky or as straightforward as the definition of intelligence. We have some idea, some feel for it, but no precise definition for either of those terms at the end of the day.

            • Eli January 7, 2019 at 22:53

              That’s not what I said. I said that there are two valid definitions of success, with a primary one and a secondary one. And then, because these definitions are not personally satisfactory, due to inability to ascertain firmly within one’s lifetime, there are proximal definitions of success that kinda do the trick. I said nothing about IQ, but: these proximal definitions of personal success can be affected by IQ, both negatively and positively.

              IQ is a measure of something that’s pretty objective — ie intelligence. This still holds even if the score is fuzzy, but I don’t think that it’s that fuzzy. I think that IQ measurement is fairly accurate, just as SAT scores are/were pretty informative. IQ is not the only thing that goes into success, *obviously*

              • lalit January 8, 2019 at 03:37

                IQ is not a measure intelligence. It is a measure of retardation. IQ is reliable only at low scores. Taleb has shown data that high IQ scores (>100) and high SAT scores are correlated at less than 10%. This is very poor. Via negativa states that while a low IQ might well be an indication of retardation, a high IQ is not an indication of intelligence.

                Feel free to use IQ as a Schelling point against immigration by all means, but the data is just not buying it when it comes to scores > 100.

        • lalit January 6, 2019 at 08:01

          Well, success and intelligence are about equally well defined or equally poorly defined. There is no clear definition for intelligence as well. If there is, please let us see it. Taleb’s criticism is that a lot of these high IQ guys are basically just pencil pushing bureaucrats with little drive, little initiative, little creativity which does not equate to intelligence as per his understanding of the term.

          IQ might well be a real thing, but it might just not have a whole lot to do with intelligence, that’s all. You need to attack Taleb on the points he is making. You can’t misconstrue what Taleb is saying and then attack him on that.

          • Aldon January 8, 2019 at 04:08

            Tell us more on how Kunta Kinte’s crimnality and lack of accomplishment has little to do with his IQ compared with Whiteys.

    • spandrell January 6, 2019 at 10:10

      He had a point until he compared black Africa with Germanic tribes.

      • lalit January 6, 2019 at 23:35

        Are you talking about these tweets? https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/1079537894086361088
        If so, not sure he did that. The point was more that if you want to prove that Africans are irredeemably backward, then IQ is not the way to go. He’s trying more to shit on IQ tests than raise Africans.

        Still, he agrees that low IQ scores do indicate retardation (90% correlation) while high IQ do not indicate high intelligence(10% correlation), what is called via negativa. Yet he does not take this thought to it’s logical politically incorrect conclusion. So Spandrell, it appears that you do have a point. I too was not very happy with the use of the word “insensitive”. That word has no place in discussions of an analytical nature.

        He’s a man after all, subject to the same weaknesses as other men. Can’t expect Gods here on earth. I still say a lot of his ideas have merit.

    • jsolbakken January 6, 2019 at 15:23

      “I’m asking you the same, show me the Data!”

      James Anthony Froude once said, “Morality, when vigorously alive, sees farther than intellect ….”

      Knowledge of the Data is necessary but not sufficient to obtain understanding and achieve wisdom. Even smart people can get it wrong when they jump too quickly to conclusions. That’s why Forest Gump’s mom said, “Stupid is as Stupid does.”

  17. mitchellporter January 5, 2019 at 08:10

    I don’t care about Taleb’s opinions on IQ, but I am kind of interested in Lebanese and Syrian racial theories. Apparently a significant fraction of Lebanese say they are racially “Phoenician” rather than Arab, and a lot of these people support the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which dates from the heyday of fascism, and which aims to recreate a Greater Syria that includes Lebanon and Israel.

    • Aldinto January 5, 2019 at 12:40

      There isn’t a huge genetic gap between Phoenicians and Arabians.

      • Rhetocrates January 5, 2019 at 16:27

        Okay, but this misses the point, doesn’t it? The interesting thing here is the narratives of nations. If a large percentage of Syrians are pulling away from the Arabian legacy, that’s intriguing.

    • lhtness January 6, 2019 at 02:09

      Of the language varieties in the Arabic family, there are many mutually unintelligible ‘dialects’ that are all considered to be the same language (Arabic). A noteworthy exception is Maltese. Why? Because they’re mostly Roman Catholic, and so have no interest in a pan-Arabic identity.

  18. iWeird January 5, 2019 at 14:19

    But to be smart, but a pussy, or a coward, or annoying, or just weird in personality is a bad thing. Nobody contests that.

    I contest that. “Normal” “regular” just mean assembly line like and, among other things, for humans, they mean culturally/psychologically programmable.

    Weird is all what isn’t in line with colonies hives and packs.

    • iWeird January 5, 2019 at 14:23

      As to that tweet, it opening on “insensitive” qualifies the whole of it, as well as of the author.

      Nothing to be added to that “insensitive” placed there.

      There’s an art videogame where the firts enemy boss is masked. When the player hits it enough times, a mask fall. Behind it there is yet another mask. When the confrontation approaches its end, the mask falling becomes frantic:it’s a shower of masks, always followed by one more.
      And when the enemy boss is destroyed, all what is left of it on the ground is… one of those masks.

      Other wording: status maximizers.

      • iWeird January 5, 2019 at 14:24

        “Insensitive” is one of many words humans use, in this age, to say “true” while quarantining it.

      • lalit January 6, 2019 at 08:06

        That was Taleb’s mistakes. Using the word “insensitive”. He could have made the exact same entire argument and been correct without using that damned word which basically stole all the attention as regards to people who do not understand mathematical probability and statistics.

        He’s human. He can’t get it right all the time.

  19. Richard Nikoley January 6, 2019 at 00:32

    Introduced to your blog in reading your first essay on Bioleninism this morning. Shared it all over the damn place and can’t wait to get to P II and III. Nice ah-ha’s. I know a fair bit of the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin, etc. Always kinda saw it as a top-down, “money where mouth is” sort of thing. Never considered it as a bottom-up thing too, where money, comfort, and financial opportunity are traded away for social status at the cost of loyalty.

    …Anyway, on Taleb, I did like his first book, “Fooled by Randomness.” Have never been able to get through any others, since.

  20. james January 6, 2019 at 03:32

    Great post takedown.

  21. Gabriel M January 6, 2019 at 15:50

    I like the title, and personally I never *got* Talib and I’m inclined to think he’s overrated until someone proves otherwise. However, this post illustrates the single worst tendency of the far-right blogosphere, which is to assume that everyone already agrees with you and has some align motive for pretending otherwise. My analysis of this spat is that Taleb has never thought about race and IQ before, gave a stock opinion and is now doubling down in response to criticism. The more he is attacked the more he will double down. He won’t look at the evidence until the dispute is over and someone presents it to him in a way that evades his crimestop (which is somewhat different to most people’s version of crimestop).

    Meanwhile, the smart set on the Right celebrate about outing another fake rightist, since the dopamine high they got from outing J Peterson has worn off. The fundamental problem you have namely that 99% of people think your ideas are false and wicked has only been made worse, but you did maximise your status within a shrinking circle of the already converted.

    • jsolbakken January 6, 2019 at 15:56

      “The fundamental problem you have namely that 99% of people think your ideas are false and wicked has only been made worse, ”

      We don’t care about what is popular, we only care about what is good and true and right. Which is why a stupid dirt bag like you doesn’t get it.

      • Gabriel M January 6, 2019 at 22:23

        We don’t care about what is popular, we only care about what is good and true and right. Which is why a stupid dirt bag like you doesn’t get it.

        Rightey ho. Definitely no problem of an ill defined movement cannibalizing itself through status maximising right wing virtue signalling here to the detriment of achieving … anything here. Seriously, though, a Spandrellian analysis of two year trainwreck that has been right wing politics since 2016 would be nice to read.

    • grey enlightenment January 6, 2019 at 17:48

      Jordan Peterson is further to the right than Taleb and is not fake. I think that some of the guys who tried to ‘out’ Peterson were shooting themselves in the foot. Jordan Peterson acknowledges the predictive value of IQ not just at the individual level but also for the wealth and success of nations and socioeconomic disparities between groups. He is speaks out against postmodernist interpretations of gender and sexuality, which Taleb ignores or covertly agrees with (which would not surprise me).

    • spandrell January 6, 2019 at 20:28

      What, I’m supposed to not attack a man who says that black overpopulation is cool because they will turn out to be as smart as the Franks and the Goths?

      He has outed himself as not one of us, period. He’s the enemy, and by pretending to be of the right through his aesthetic choices he does more damage than outright liberals.

      If he has never thought about IQ and race, he should have shut up, learned about it, and then keep shutting up about it.

      And again, please, concern trolling is trolling. A blog post by the likes of me is not going to influence Taleb’s behavior in the slightest.

      • Gabriel M January 6, 2019 at 22:30

        What, I’m supposed to not attack a man who says that black overpopulation is cool because they will turn out to be as smart as the Franks and the Goths?

        No you should, but you shouldn’t attack him based on the assumption that he already secretly agrees with you, but is pretending not to because of mercenary motives, or even more absurdly that he is ‘pretending to be of the right’. If you stopped to think about it you would know that’s not the case, but your current status maximising behaviour makes it impossible for you to see the obvious. Physician, heal thyself.

        • spandrell January 6, 2019 at 23:22

          That’s facile. Taleb obviously is basing his persona in being this edgy right-ish guy who talks like Tony Soprano, lifts weights, and writes clever takedowns of Jewish influence. He’s not a man of the left. He obviously knows better.

        • iTheCathedral January 7, 2019 at 01:58

          I am with you in your claims that certain rightist blogs have, well, highlighted some status jealousy directed at very popular right-leaning figures (like Peterson, who, to be sure, can be an annoying hypocrite at times).
          We recently had criticism leveled at Ron Unz that he be a “traitor”. Lol.

          But never anything of the sort at this blog, so far.

  22. Helo January 6, 2019 at 19:14

    > What am I talking about? Most of you should know who Nassim Taleb is; a finance man turned maverick public intellectual by virtue of a book, called the Black Swan, which basically saved all the western financial establishment from blame about the great financial crisis of 2008. If you read Steve Sailer you very much knew that all those Mexicans buying real estate with no down payments were going to unleash a subprime mortage crisis at some point. Not so! Said Taleb: that was a Black Swan.

    > A what? Some completely unpredictable scenario, a massive statistical outlier, he meant. He then colored the theory with a lot of fancy math. All those financial traders in Wall Street then could finally look themselves at the mirror again and not feel like evil failures. “It wasn’t our fault! It was unpredictable! Look at all that fancy math in the book. Only a genius like Taleb could understand that stuff”. It helped that Taleb is a Brown Man; hence a genius by default in our modern culture.

    That’s not what Taleb was saying. He wasn’t making excuses for Wall Street. He was blaming them for stupidly creating an obvious house of cards.

    And Black Swans subjective. There’s no problem with Sailer predicting the crisis.

    Read at least a wikipedia article on a book that you’re shitting on.

    • spandrell January 6, 2019 at 20:25

      I have no duty to be fair to a man who is lying and spreading shit about the most important problem mankind is facing today.

      • Helo January 6, 2019 at 21:42

        You’re only hurting your credibility.

        Why should anyone that read Taleb take your bioleninism seriously?

          • Bartolo January 6, 2019 at 22:02

            I thought the article’s title was an astute way to bait clicks and help this fantastic blog the popularity that it deserves…
            Bloody Shovel, yes, truth is on your side.
            But I agree with Helo: you are shooting yourself/us in the foot.
            After all, what do we want: to be purists of the truth every single time or to win people over, to think strategically (like the Left) and finally f****** start winning? Taleb readers tend to be right-wingers who would be quite open to our cause.

      • iTheCathedral January 7, 2019 at 02:14

        You belittled the guy talking of “transcendence”, but I am not sure his stances warranted belittling.

        In the early 20th century, Jung wrote that nearly all his patients were people who had lost their… faith in the transcendent. And that they only truly healed when they got such faith back.
        It’s true that people are self-centered status-seeking entities (for lack of a better word), but this doesn’t mean there isn’t something else in the far back of their minds.
        Self-centered status-related matters motivate them, but to a point. They don’t motivate them to beget a genetic legacy, for one.

        You think Israel was made out of self-centered status-related incentives?

        Sometime it’s the idea that everyone in the world persecutes you.
        Sometime it’s just “the Homeland”.
        Sometime it’s this, sometime it’s that, but you do rarely see upheavals and landmarks without something that transcends the money-and-status thingy at play.
        Man has an insanely strong need for that. That in our time it doesn’t even know this need of his doesn’t mean the need’s vanished.
        People are starved for strong emotions. For lofty goals. For thrills.

        But before you can do any of that you need a cohesive populace. Otherwise a lot of energy (and narrative-making capacity) gets used up in internecine jockeying.
        It shouldn’t have had to have been (lol) racial cohesion, but it seems it has to be, because, it seems, soon as you have different races together some status maximizers seize on the change to sow jealousy mistrust and rivalry — disunion.

        Surely communism achieved tremendous traction without transcendent promises. But it did bet on hunger (a few types of hungers indeed). Now you no longer have hunger.

        The West is dream-less, like the old at heart. You need myths, tales, and absolutely cohesion, to turn about its conditions.

  23. Bartolo January 6, 2019 at 21:55

    Yes, Peterson is pretty sound on IQ. But Peterson is also adamant that Europeans having a collective identity is pathological, that there are only individuals and yadayada. He is our enemy by his own admission.
    To me, this is much, much worse, infinitely worse than ignoring or denying the importance of IQ.
    If we are allowed to keep our countries and continue to exist as peoples (is this so much to ask?), I am perfectly happy to let Africans believe they are as intelligent as we are.
    It could be argued that IQ-based arguments lend weight to our fight. But I am not sure it does. Of course, arguing that you don’t want to be swamped by low-IQ, unproductive people sounds more than reasonable. But, like it or not, it also sounds “supremacist” to modern ears, for it obviously implies we are smarter (which we are). People (of the kind wecwaht to win over) will feel compelled (happy?) to denounce you in order to be handshakeworthy as soon as they hear IQ-based arguments.
    Going forward, I think the most astute strategy is to insist that all we want is to continue to exist and keep our lands and cultures. This argument: (a) Is clear, straightforward, intuitive and impossible to rebut in good faith and (b) appeals more to the modern sensitivities of the people we have to convince.
    Let them feel as smart as they like… in the Congo.
    As for Taleb, I had only heard him say sensible, wise stuff until now. He has denounced universalism because it destroys differences; he has spoken up against rules that are applied asymmetrically (to one group but not to the other, such as hate speech laws); he has warned against intolerant minorities imposing their will upon sleepy, dopey majorities; he constantly denounces the chattering classes as charlatans; he attacked “feminist” historian Mary Beard when she defended the idea of a multiracial Roman Britain; he clearly attributes great value to genetics (at least when it comes to ancestry); he strongly opposes the US interventionism that is bleeding Americans dry for the sake of you-know-who and aggravating refugee problems; he wrote an article called “No, Jesus was not a Non-White who would have voted for …”.
    I don’t know what his beef with IQ is (probably the supposed IQ of Lebanon being 82), but I am willing to cut him a lot of slack in view of all of the above.

  24. Quizzical January 7, 2019 at 00:38

    The Black Swan book looked really TL:dr so I watched the movie instead. Great flick, but no idea how psychotic bisexual ballerinas have anything to do with Wall Street, economics, or even HBD.

  25. Sylsau January 7, 2019 at 15:21

    Again and again, people are definitely not talking to each other. And it’s getting rather tiring.

    Taleb’s analysis on finance can surely not be summed up the way you did it. And no, for 70% of it, it’s not because of these bunch of bad loans given to idiots by other idiots that the crisis happened. But anyways that’s off-topic (still it’s nice to be familiar with what he is saying because he likes to generalize the lessons he learned from his experience).

    Take our high-IQ elites in the West : what makes them intelligent or “successful”? What makes the West, which is dangerously on the decline, a successful part of the world anymore? Taleb pretty much can’t stop shitting on this class of people (who also happens to run Wall Street), IYIs, and it’s probably the core of this problem.
    Concrete accomplishments are more likely to be correlated (actually correlated) to a person’s hypothetical “worth” than a standardized test like IQ. It can only be a tool, and only up to a certain point as the “correlation” drops when looking at the higher ends of the data — it seems to be a predictor of “unintelligence” (say from 60 to 100 points [maybe]) but not of actual intelligence. The argument is mainly about the statistical significance of vulgarized measures like IQ, which actually does seem to be pretty low.
    This is where the argument needs to happen, and it’s not happening — whether the IQ crowd don’t want to respond or genuinely don’t understand what is at stake, I don’t know. Taleb hasn’t been so clear about it all that’s true. But his recent article was rather clear though.

    • jsolbakken January 7, 2019 at 16:01

      “Again and again, people are definitely not talking to each other. And it’s getting rather tiring.”

      I can explain what the problem is to you, if you like:

      See, the Left has a general policy of “Dirt Bag Supremacy.” The Left gains power by manipulating the stupid, the degenerate, the perverted, the disgusting, etc. The problem here is that the Left denies “I.Q.” not because they honestly believe it is wrong, but because it is inimical to their wicked and Satanic narrative.

      I’m of the opinion that neither “intelligence” nor “stupidity” can be boiled down to one simple little
      1 or 2 or 3 or 4 digit number, because neither intelligence nor stupidity can as of yet be defined with sufficient quantitative accuracy. But what Taleb said was Leftist, and therefore not to be taken seriously and definitely not to be trusted or taken at face value.

      The most useful thing I’ve heard yet about this subject was expressed by Forest Gump’s mom, “Stupid is as Stupid Does.” We may not be able to define “Stupid,” but we can know it when we see it.

  26. Boswald Bollocksworth January 8, 2019 at 09:41

    When these “northern Europeans lived in mud huts” arguments come up, the thing to do is bring up the fact that the Yamnaya invented the bloody wheel and tell them to image search Hallstatt Culture bronze work. Northern Europeans lacked mass organization, population density and had barbarous religions. This is why they weren’t building aqueducts, not because they weren’t smart. Obviously the stock that yielded 19th century Britain and Germany must have had potential. The more interesting question is what happened to e.g. Greece, Anatolia, Syria and Egypt. I have hypotheses.

    • Aldon January 9, 2019 at 00:41

      Syria with the rest of Mesopotamia can just be addressed by having big enough populations to punch above their weight class. Greece had Steppe mixture at its peak. Egypt at its peak was less Negro and Arabian and less inbred.

    • Alex January 10, 2019 at 14:23

      And let’s not forget that the low population densities were the result of how many people the land could support on short growing seasons and less hardier breeds of animals or plants. Civilizations are built on surplus calories.

  27. Pingback: Translation from IYI speak – Finance and Morality

  28. Pingback: ON RACE | PARALLAX OPTICS

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