Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pais: Pauli aspie?

From The Genius of Science, a portrait gallery of 20th century physicists by Abraham Pais.

So it came about that I met Pauli for the first time in Denmark, in early 1946, at a dinner party in Bohr's home. At that time he had already long been recognized as one of the major figures in 20th century physics ... I witnessed for the first time his chassidic mode, a gentle rhythmic to and fro rocking of the upper torso... "No, perhaps you don't know much, perhaps you don't know much." A moment later: "Ich weiss mehr" (I know more). That was said in the Pauli style, without aggression, merely an expression of a statement of fact.

More from Pais.


MtMoru said...

entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity
If only psychiatrists believed in this. But more disorders means more moolah and a feeling of relevance. 

That sociopathy and Asperger's are even real things is questionable to say the least.

An example: in the US it has been found that those diagnosed as Aspies have relatively low non-verbal intelligence. In Japan no difference has been found and those diagnosed as Aspies score higher on the RPM.

Not only is the multiplication of psychiatry's disorders motivated by greed, ego, and deformation professionelle. Both Asperger's or Autism spectrum disorders and sociopathy serve ideological purposes. To wit: if the individual doesn't fit then this is an INTRINSIC property of the individual rather than an EXTRINSIC property of the individual within a particular society, thus there is nothing wrong EVER with the society. The diagnosis of sociopathy is most often used on criminals, as if the society itself cannot be sociopathic and if only those possessing the intrinsic property of sociopathy could be identified at birth or at least in adolescence then there would be no crime.

All very obvious to someone who is not a moron.

MtMoru said...

At least among the hoi poloi Asperger's reinforces the self-serving nerd stereotype, even among nerds. That is, the stupid can say to themselves with the authority of psychiatry that, "Yes I am stupid but smart people are socially retarded."

Why should g not include people smarts? It should, but people smarts is NOT a behavioral trait. Two people with equal empathy or social insight may behave in totally different ways. My own experience is that it is exactly those people who see through social conventions as such who are the rudest.

matmcinn said...

Pauli was certainly not an "Aspie". He belonged to the other great category of psychologically defective over-achievers, the intensely insecure. Feynman being the prize exhibit in this category, with his carefully tended garden of obviously mendacious "stories" about himself.

Lazy Glossophiliac said...

People smarts definitely exist and different people have them in different amounts, but it's hard to measure them. IQ is easy to measure. People smarts are processed unconsciously. If you ask the people who are good at socializing, at getting what they want from others, at getting others to like them, how they do it, most of them won't be able to tell you. They do it on instinct. In contrast, the sort of intelligence that is measured by IQ tests is processed consciously. You explicitly talk through all the logical steps of a problem in your head. If you have a superior ability to think consciously and logically, you cannot use that ability in social situations. That ability is useless in social situations. They are processed intuitively, subconsciously instead. The typical smoothtalker doesn't explicitly tell himself to wink in a sincere way if certain clearly defined conversational conditions are met any more than he tells himself to keep breathing. Nerds, no matter how smart, come to social situations with the wrong tools.

People smarts and IQ are clearly negatively correlated, but there are people who have both to a very high degree (think of Bill Clinton), and there are people who lack both. The sort of people who're good at both are more likely to succeed in business or politics than in science or engineering because in science it is necessary to spend large amounts of time with books or in front of computer screens. The people who're good at socializing like socializing instead.

MtMoru said...

All just theorizing. No facts. 

"People smarts definitely exist and different people have them in different amounts, but it's hard to measure them."
There are no such things.

"IQ is easy to measure."

IQ is not measured. IQ is a measure.

"at getting what they want from others"

Another word for that is evil.

"good at socializing, ... at getting others to like them"

Who are others? I guarantee that the leader of the pack Hell's Angel wouldn't get people in Steve's circle to like him and vice versa.

"You explicitly talk through all the logical steps"

Who's "you". I've never done that for any problem ever.

"People smarts and IQ are clearly negatively correlated"

So clearly that's it's the opposite of the truth. And people smarts for which people? For other smarties or for coc dealers and pimps?

"Social skills" is used as if it such skills weren't acquired, and skills are necessarily acquired. It's a bad term. But the better "people smarts" is simply too vague to have any meaning. This doesn't mean it is meaningless in a given context. It does mean that it has almost as many senses as situations and therefore to use the term as if it referred to one intrinsic property of the individual is humbug. It serves some other purpose than description. Namely it is an ideological term.

Lazy Glossophiliac said...

"...thus there is nothing wrong EVER with the society."

I think you've set up a straw man here. The mainstream, politically correct view is that most negative outcomes are society's fault, that there can rarely be anything congenitally and irrevocably wrong with the individual.

"...the multiplication of psychiatry's disorders motivated by greed, ego, and deformation professionelle."

That is correct. But you're losing sight of a much greater source of greed and ego. If everything can be declared to be society's fault, if the problems of individuals are never viewed as being congenital and untreatable, then gigantic government programs whose purpose is to change society can be justified. The people who can establish and run such programs can get power and huge opportunities to exercise their greed. Compared to this, psychiatrists' desire to gin up some extra business for themselves by making up more diseases that they could then pretend to treat is small potatoes.

"That sociopathy and Asperger's are even real things is questionable to say the least."

Public stereotypes say that they are. People have been talking about nerds and bad apples forever. How can stereotypes (folk wisdom) ever be wrong about human nature? Can you give any examples where they are? 

MtMoru said...

"The mainstream, politically correct view is that most negative outcomes are
society's fault, that there can rarely be anything congenitally and irrevocably
wrong with the individual."

That's just conservative truthiness. Did Rush Limbaugh tell you that? It is the opposite of the truth, though such a point of view is often feigned out of politeness. And besides, ideology needn't be mainstream.

"People have been talking about nerds and bad apples forever. How can stereotypes (folk wisdom)..."

There are nerds and bad apples. The question is why are such as they are? 

"If everything can be declared to be society's fault..."

It isn't a question of fault. 

Maybe that's a subtle point. If I fit and thrive should I think myself essentially virtuous? If I don't fit or if I have had disadvantages which really are disadvantages for me should I blame society? Not necessarily. 

The best society for you may not be the best for me may even be among the worst for me and what are disadvantages for me may not be for you may even be advantages. Then whoever wins thinks themselves virtuous "in all possible worlds", thinks virtue is essential to what it is to be who he is. And whoever loses can blame, find fault with his society or he can think himself merely unfortunate not to have landed on fertile ground.

"...then gigantic government programs..."

Sort of. 

I believe there are essential difference between people. That is, differences which would exist in all possible worlds. But I don't thin I am well justified in believing such. 

But it's irrelevant. Concern for the welfare of children should be a gigantic government program AND that concern should express itself in the form of sterilizing stupid people and taking poor people's children from them and then sterilizing those same poor people. THAT'S compassion. Whatever the causes of the stupidity and poverty DON'T actually matter.

Whoever bitches about poor stupid lazy people taking their hard earned money and doesn't advocate real eugenics is evil, that is, doesn't give a damn about other people's suffering as long as those people are stupid or lazy..

Lazy Glossophiliac said...

 "Those who cannot read people, who cannot predict other people's behavior, who cannot see what real motivations are are stupid..."

By that definition Newton, Erdos and lots of other famously smart nerds were stupid. It's a stupid definition. We're dealing with two kinds of intelligence here - the intuitive, unconscious social intelligence and the conscious intelligence for dealing with inanimate objects and ideas. If you read up on Newton, for example, you will discover that he had a lot of the latter and very little of the former.

"Who are others? I guarantee that the leader of the pack Hell's Angel
wouldn't get people in Steve's circle to like him and vice versa."

Mr. Jobs has been in the news recently. He became rich and famous to a large extent because of his ability to lead and inspire nerds, even though he's not a nerd at all. He's simply super-charismatic. That works on almost anyone. He's not an engineer. He doesn't even give off the typical engineering vibe. And yet he's been the leader of many very successful packs of engineers. And even of artists.

"Even beauty so far as it is not in the eye of the beholder can be measured."

How do you propose to measure people smarts? Asking people questions about their own personalities is an inadequate approach. People lie about themselves, even to themselves. If you can design a test of people-smarts that's as objective as tests of abstract-ideas-smarts (regular IQ tests), then please describe this design.

"Who's "you". I've never done that for any problem ever."

Then you're weird. There are many, many kinds of logical, mathematical, technical problems, which only seem solvable to me if I have a pen and paper at hand. I break the problem down into smaller chunks, I try to solve the first one on paper, then the second one, etc., then try to see whether these solutions fit into any kind of a coherent whole. If a problem is solvable without resorting to scribbling, without consciously thought-through "if, then" decision trees, if it's entirely solvable though unconscious intuition, then it's probably a pretty simple problem. Of course, the above is true most of the time, not all of the time.

"So clearly that's it's the opposite of the truth."

You're not just contradicting my observations here. You're contradicting folk wisdom, the golden standard of accuracy in anything sociological.

MtMoru said...

"By that definition Newton, Erdos and lots of other famously smart nerds were

1. I think the nerdiness of these people is exaggerated 2. Yeah. That's right. They were "stupid". That is, had lower IQs than but Steve especially gifted in one area to which they dedicated all their time. A great example: Fischer vs Capablanca. Fischer lived for chess. Capablanca never studied. Yet Capi in his day was more dominant than Fischer and was a lady's man, athlete, bridge player, bon vivant, etc. Fischer might be a genuine example of Asperger's OR he might just not have been as smart as Capi. Fischer's supposed school IQ of 183 I don't believe.

"How do you propose to measure people smarts?"

First I don't think people smarts is a coherent concept. It is a term used to DO something rather than a term used to DESCRIBE the world. But if I were forced to I'd say something like the expensive asking people to determine if someone else is lying or guilty of some crime when the fact is known but not known to the tested. More generally, "How well can you see through people? or intuit they're desires if they have any?" should be the question. Again, the ability to do this REQUIRES intelligence AND tells nothing about BEHAVIOR.

"You're contradicting folk wisdom"

I explained that folk wisdom on this point is "ideological", meaning it is a story people tell themselves and others in order to justify the way things are, make them seem more just. In this case to make the dispensation of ability seem more just than it really is. You should read about the Termites. Terman was biased, but he found that the near-sighted, slight, unathletic, socially awkward genius was a myth and the opposite of the truth.

"Then you're weird..."

Your second description of how you think doesn't sound to me like "You explicitly talk through..."

Lazy Glossophiliac said...

I believe non-coercive eugenics to be the most moral position. Coercive eugenics is immoral in my eyes, as is doing nothing while the world is moving in the dysgenic direction. Non-coercive eugenics would involve giving felons, recipients of public assistance, etc. monetary incentives for sterilization. If they don't want to take the money, they can have as many kids as they want, though of course they would have to support them themselves. If they can't support them even minimally, if the kids are going hungry, the government would have take them away in order to improve their condition. But Children's Services departments do that even now.

Lazy Glossophiliac said...

I would think that over time non-coercive eugenics would shrink government enormously. That's not the primary reason to do it - the primary reason is the future of humanity - but it's relevant to the issue of gigantic government departments discussed above. It would be many times cheaper to buy people off at the outset than to house their offspring in prisons, etc. later on. 

MtMoru said...

I responded here at some length but must have made some mistake because it isn't here.

1. Yes they are stupid. If they they really are as described which I doubt. Fischer and Capablanca are a great example. Fischer lived for chess, Capi never studied and was an athlete, bridge player, lady's man, etc. Easy Capi was smarter than Fischer. 

Your second description of how you think doesn't match the first and IQ tests don't have any long and hard problems requiring serious thought. Try Wechsler's picture completion. 

The folk wisdom was provd to be the opposite of the truth by Terman.

Mr jobs is a con man douche. I'v always wanted to not buy his icrap.

How can something which doesn't exist be measured? If I were forced to I'd say, "Here are some peops. Which ones are lying."

MtMoru said...

Somehow my responses aren't showing up. Noy going to type them again.

I'm ashamed to say I do sometimes watch tv. Two characters who have very high social intelligence, but who might also be characterized as rude, inconsiderate, or neurotic are House, MD and Larry David; Davidmay be like that in real life.

That I have claimed 1. "people smarts" is an incoherent concept and 2. that smart people have people smarts may seem contradictory, but I'm opposing my use of the term (the bility to read people, predict other people's behavior, see what other people's real motivations are, see social conventions as conventions, etc.) and the everyday use which is meaningless, focused on behavior, ideological, etc.

botti said...

@ Lazy,

Just make contraception a condition for ongoing eligibility to welfare.@google-b3f6e49dab8fd6757e1426fa4ae29fca:disqus

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