DISCLAIMER: *All* of this is now old and I may have changed on certain dimensions.
other thoughts of mine at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Simfish, http://z3.invisionfree.com/Simfish
main blog: http://simfishthoughts.wordpress.com
INTP, RLUEI, Chaotic Neutral
I’m a teenager who is very thoughtful and who has a lot of respect for the natural and social sciences. Also, I’m an UW Academy student (UW Academy for Young Scholars), so I entered the UW 2 years early. I also happen to have been officially diagnosed with both Inattentive ADD and Asperger’s Syndrome. This page is (very) preliminary, and will be updated as time goes on. Traditionally, most of my posts are at HeavenGames/Age of Kings Heaven and College Confidential. However, as they are not presented in any organized format, they do not have a high signal/noise ratio, and are not an encouraging sign for people who happen to be otherwise interested in identifying a thoughtful person out of a morass of random posts (who wish to avoid spending too much time on each person). Consequently, their identification strategies may happen to exclude people like me, even if they have largely worked for themselves in the past. I realize that increases in irrelevant material correspond with drops in readership. Increases in the levels of undesirable outcomes (such as losing time or losing one’s attention span also correspond with drops in readership and in smaller fractions of (what is realized) to (what is possible).
. For my threads on College Confidential, go to College Confidential threads. For some of my silly threads on Age of Kings Heaven, Town’s Crier Topics For my Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Simfish. My favorite books are at Amazon.com recommendations. Finally, one of my favorite websites is Learn in FreedomA lot of my threads are acutely embarrassing. I often find that acting audaciously online can be a learning experience – in a way that espousing “retarded” opinions is one of the best ways to correct one’s “retardedness”. Don’t take anything I say too seriously – just see everything I post as a hypothesis that I’m trying to test.
You can stalk me by googling site:heavengames.com (simfish || inquilinekea), site:collegeconfidential.com (simfish || inquilinekea), site:the-scholars.com (simfish || inquilinekea), etc…
The other thing is that I needed a fundamental change from where I was 2 years ago. I was extremely externally motivated. So I had to rediscover something in myself, and I had to discover it initially through reading about other fields of knowledge (social sciences especially). Eventually it transformed into a visceral desire to Understand, rather than to Earn Recognition. Now the visceral desire to Understand is finally starting to spread to math/science as well. But I had to go through a lot of crap in order to arrive at the transformation.
Compared with most people in the natural sciences, I have a healthy respect for social science. I realize that social science is needed for talent identification in the natural sciences, for example. It also happens that all sciences come under social influences, which need to be adequately studied. All scientists are human beings with psychological and social influences – and need to be understood as such. Meanwhile, compared with social scientists, I have lots of respect for the methods of natural science used to understand the social sciences. For example, neurobiology enlightens psychology, which in turn, enlightens all the social sciences. Moreover, social systems cannot be understood in isolation from physical systems (especially the surrounding environment).
I used to study a lot of history, but I started to tire of the endless rote memorization that history seemed to rely upon. Eventually I quit studying history. However, my respect for social science soon revitalized my history to the point where I’d read history in order to find examples and counterexamples for social theories. I do think that George Santayana’s quote “those who do not study the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat it” is often misinterpreted and used in the wrong contexts, for the fact is that circumstances of the present are not necessarily the same as the circumstances of the past, and that the same decision that works in the present may turn out to be a catastrophic failure in the past, because things change. Ceteris paribus, “those who do not study the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat it”. But alas, things understood across time rarely come ceteris paribus.
My intellectual heroes are Edward O. Wilson and Steven Pinker. I have read several books by each author and have more respect for the objectivity of the aforementioned authors than anyone else I know. Neither of the authors, as far as I know, have had much of a political ax to grind. My favorite blog is the Gene Expression blog (http://www.gnxp.com), which also happens to have a healthy appreciation of the natural and social sciences.
I don’t particularly have a particular ax to grind. I am a socially isolated nerd with Asperger’s Syndrome, but evidently, this has just resulted in my skepticism of most social systems. Rather, I have come to trust my own interpretations of the available literature, which I trust is to be accurate. Much of what I say, of course, is based on the available data that I can find off websites, research journals, and the like.
==- Accessibility. There is often a gap between what is theoretically possible and what is actually realized in practice.. What is actually realized is often a small fraction of what is theoretically possible (often due to the environment – when people are different and have different motivations and distractions).
Theoretically, homeschooling is the best possible education for the student, if for no other reason than the fact that it is more efficient than formal education. the realized outcome, however, can be changed both due to the environmental factors and the student’s constitutional factors. I do realize that external pressures are often powerful initial motivators to provide a “kick” – however – after a while, people do not need more motivation. Autodicdatism is logically possible – for there have been many extremely intelligent autodicdacts in many fields. (currently, they are most prominent in the abstract field of programming). I’m not a particularly big fan of lectures, especially in the Internet age, when students can find all the material they need for high school and college educations off the internet and from reliable sources (most sources off .edu websites are very reliable). In fact, most people more or less have to rely on self-learning after they graduate from college, and many people do quite well in such self-learning. While some may object to homeschooling on the basis of “socialization” – one must remember that public education as an institution was really only a 19th century invention, one that the vast majority of socialized humans did not go through in ages far past.
Grades often only contain signal value on the potential utility of a student (based on comparisons with the grades of other students). Signal value valculations are usually based on group memberships and correlations with such group memberships that an institution has dealt with in the past (in this case, a GPA of X to Y indicates group membership in X to Y, as according to the institution’s definition of such a group). If all intelligent students suddenly stopped trying hard in their classes, grades would no longer be a good proxy for intelligence. They may not even be the best proxy for work ethic, if all the hard workers started to stop working hard in their classes. This thought experiment serves only to illustrate that grades are signals with fiat value relative to all the other signals in any particular pool.
On matters of religion, I am a Permanent Agnostic in Principle. there is no reason a priori to expect that a purely materialistic world is the only one that exists, and that a materialistic description is the only one that is credible. I respect the null hypothesis – that one should assume agnosticism until there is some reason to permit one explanation over the null hypothesis. At first, our null hypothesis is pure chance (dependent on the number of possible outcomes one can choose from).
While statistics is inevitably a simplification of all the factors involved – there is obviously a reason for simplification – for all informational processing systems (I count the brain as one) are constrained by attentional and resource constraints.
Philosophically, I am a rational egoist, in that I realize that my own well-being is my own primary interest (for now). I defend those who progress to “improve the world” through their advocacy for a single issue – for they are oftentimes the best qualified people to advocate for that single issue – and not as well-qualified to argue for other issues. Similarly, I do not see myself as the best person to be altruistic, but rather, I see myself as more well-qualified to analyze the world objectively. As I do not have an infinite amount of time, I will stick with analyzing the world objectively, which demands all of my time (time I cannot use to be altruistic). My form of rational egoism is based on a sort of sustainability/stability – for one can only derive extended pleasure from what is sustainable. Thus, I still see it as best for the individual to avoid actions with temporary benefits but extreme long-term risks. I see morality as having a consequentialist non-transcendental basis, much like the one Edward O. Wilson described in “Consilience”.
There are a couple of measures of well-being that I strongly abide by (for now). One of the measures is fluid intelligence. As fluid intelligence has been known to decline with age, I have been very age-conscious. The other measure is blood glucose. Many biologists consider diabetes to be a form of accelerated aging. It does reduce life expectancy by 10 years on average, and it is directly or indirectly related to most of the top 10 causes of death. I have not been so concerned with other biomarkers, since I have been a vegetarian since i was 13 (although I ultimately realized that abstaining from omega-3 fish oils just for the sake of an ideal that would change nothing was a preposterous idea). I also have a lot of interest in the nature of time perception, as I do not like the pace at which time passes (I wish I had more time to do everything, especially before my fluid intelligence declines).
When one analyzes things as social trends, one has to distinguish between “active” and “potential”. For every active factor, there are usually many potential factors, some with more potential than others. Each non-active potential factor probably has an expected influence/additional factor that is probably lower than influence/active factor – however, cumulatively, potential influences often have the power to change more than do active influences. It’s also true that there are “current friends” and “potential friends”, “current interests” and “potential interests”, “realized ability” and “potential ability”. It is often assumed too much that “realized ability” is an accurate proxy for “potential ability.”
I’ve also thought a lot about IQ tests and the heritability of IQ in general. IQ tests are only a way to measure your IQ, and moreover, IQ test results are biased towards a particular arbitrary type of IQ tests. Even more so, James Flynn notes that IQ tests one’s ability to think as according to Western scientific standards. And finally, IQ tests can never predict the behavior or potential of an individual, for all individuals have deviations between predicted performance and actual performance. Nonetheless, the heritability of IQ tests among identical twins reared apart is surprisingly high – at 0.8, moreover, the heritability of IQ only increases as the person grows older (this is counterintuitive for those who accept environmentalist accounts of IQ).
==On judging people as individuals as opposed to groups:
Categorizations are arbitrary. Nonetheless, categorizations largely define demographic and attitudinal data that social scientists tend to collect. Our choice to associate with one group rather than another is based upon our preliminary calculations of how likely we are to meet an individual in a group with members who are compatible with our ideals.
Mental illnesses are one means of categorization, as are most personality tests. They are usually biased towards Western society in general, even though one may act differently in totally different contexts (contexts different from the ones one normally faces in Western society). For example, people may be introverted with respect to the population at large, but they may be more extroverted in a population that they feel is more in tune with their own interests (however, the introversion measure of their scores tends to show them as introverted, as their responses are biased towards test questions catered towards the situations one normally faces in Western society). One must never assume that a mental illness is a perfect fit for a person’s traits, for all people have unique traits. Nonetheless, it is frequently a far-better-than-average predictor of a person’s behavior on multiple dimensions, if the person has been diagnosed with a mental illness (this is why correlational studies find positive correlations between mental illnesses and supposed factors).
Productivity is largely a function of reducing input per net unit of output. It is not only about increasing the amounts of input. This makes economical sense as well. “make-work bias”. Inefficiency is often attributable to (a) overlap or (b) wasted inputs.
1492 words, 4 pages word, 7:05-7:43 AM
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