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The Intellectual Yet Idiot

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https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.uj4lqx4iv

The Intellectual Yet Idiot

What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence and fall into circularities — but their main skills is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3th of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats wanting to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They cant tell science from scientism — in fact in their eyes scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they call “rational” or “irrational” comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in many countries, the government’s role is ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and rarely seen outside specialized outlets, social media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many opening for the IYI.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

More of Taleb at the link.

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I never met more idiots in one place than I did at University. The lecturers in particular astounded me with their stupidity. I don't consider myself a genius or anything either, which made it all the more shocking at how little critical thought these people put into tackling and activity or subject matter. The movie "Idiocracy" is a vision of the future, it's not just a comedy film anymore.

I really regret going to University, it was not a place to expand your mind but a place to label it and stick it in a box.

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Economists are perhaps the worst offenders because of their influence on public policy but there are whole classes of Intellectual Yet Idiots in academe:

Economists... economic models that exclude money, banks and debt.

Econometricians... economic models that have 20,000 variables.

Neo-Darwinists... life as information absent metabolism.

Superstring physicists... a Universe without time.

Postmodern critical theorists... cognitive relativism, pseudo-scientific gibberish etc.

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Aren't we all practical people here, with a dab of intellect when required? :blink:

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Think tanks.

One bloke I know from school...affable but complete lunatic. Unable to function socially on any level. Makes a killing of occasional work for high profile think tanks.

P

What qualification or experience does he have that qualifies him for that?

[i knew a quango head during Gordon Brown's Glorious Public Sector years who's qualification appeared to be (1) active in labour party, (2) expensive American university education paid for by rich left wing dad.]

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I think being too rich, vain or stupid to realise the effects of your actions on other is a major qualification for being an IYI. Blair through Cameron were all IYI. I suspect May and Corbyn aren't.

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I'm not sure I really followed the point, but I don't think the problem is intellectuals yet idiots, it is the fact that the bona fide idiots are being put in positions of power. Whoever is the biggest bullshitter gets the job. Knowing stuff seem to be well down on the list. On the other hand, academic types who don't cope particularly well with day to day life is a well know phenomenen. The used to have wives to look after them.

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Being from an affluent background, having several ridiculously expensive qualifications and to be fair, being very bright.

Seriously though, 5 minute conversation with this chap is long enough to think "WTF? They let you out on your own?"

He's often either offensive, or viewed with a kind of amused tolerance by others.

P

A fine candidate for OT? :unsure:

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Think tanks.

One bloke I know from school...affable but complete lunatic. Unable to function socially on any level. Makes a killing of occasional work for high profile think tanks.

Always good to hear about people unable to function socially - or who just have no interest whatsoever in doing so therefore never bothered learning how?

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Always good to hear about people unable to function socially - or who just have no interest whatsoever in doing so therefore never bothered learning how?

PinWorld welcomes you! :unsure:

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Please may I ask for some help with this?

Ergodicity - simple, down-to-earth definition with examples

Hecate and Hecuba - you wot?

Thanks in advance.

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indeed.

did anybody see that richard tudor-wood seminar somebody posted.

it was spookily accurate.

it's the classic "chairman mao" school of arrogance...and anyone who disagrees will be for the gulag.

apparently,according to mao, the sparrows were responsible for stealing china's food production, so he got everyone out in the fields with clackers+rifles until all of the birds literally fell out of the sky from exhaustion or were shot.

problem was, the sparrows were eating all the insects that eat/destroyed the crops , so there was a massive population explosion of insects and creepy crawlies.....and subsequent famine as the crops failed.

lead to the deaths of something like 40 million chinese.

I view the climate change debacle in much the same light-although the MMGW proponents would disagree,the way they are approaching the problem is quite remeniscent of the above, and also other previous "cults" like the salem witch trials

This in my view is extremely dangerous.Not just MMGW, but the fanatical ideaology which is so assured of it's own "rightness", it is not prepared to listen to alternative solutions.

This is how the inquisition happened.We must be vigilant about such things materialising again.

Yes,climate is changing,

but,

1)No humans are NOT 100% responsible(maybe 5-10% at most)

2)the way to deal with it is by study and innovation, not some railroaded diktat from on high,that people will be punished if they disagree with.

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I'm not sure I really followed the point, but I don't think the problem is intellectuals yet idiots, it is the fact that the bona fide idiots are being put in positions of power. Whoever is the biggest bullshitter gets the job. Knowing stuff seem to be well down on the list. On the other hand, academic types who don't cope particularly well with day to day life is a well know phenomenen. The used to have wives to look after them.

they might well be complete idiots to start with, but give them a bit of paper with an "ology" on and they will think they aren't.

they think they are capable of critical thinking,but that "ology" is only proof that they have been able to assimilate and repeat parrot fashion what the lecturers have implanted in their brains.

back in the day when I was at school,acid rain was a big thing, and it was CFC's that are responsible for the hole in the ozone layer.

I since learned a bit more esoteric stuff and realised the ozone layer stuff is linked to celestial physics,and our electro-magnetic field.

the people running business seem to also pick the "successful" countries on the same principles-ie every country has it's own particular "ley line" so to speak, and they will transport their business/technology/knowhow to the latest "hot-spot"...and these are slow moving and change over decades.

it is also fixed into who wins/loses wars, and what sort of casualties will be incurred by each side.

the guys who make a difference are the ones who create patents and/or end up getting sidelined and ridiculed by the establishment schools of thought.

it's been that way for centuries.

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Most of us will be dead before the climate changes for us to notice or make a noticeable difference....funny how they look forward re climate....but no longer than five years re economy......what suits ;)

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Most of us will be dead before the climate changes for us to notice or make a noticeable difference....funny how they look forward re climate....but no longer than five years re economy......what suits ;)

I'm surprised you didn't post Bowie's "Five Years"

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Most of us will be dead before the climate changes for us to notice or make a noticeable difference....funny how they look forward re climate....but no longer than five years re economy......what suits ;)

not according to my model it won't.

if you're any good at maths, I think the climate change model is "tangential"

ie based on trigonometry(electrical fields and magnetic fields are 90 degrees out of phase),regarding our position within the galaxy from it's centre, with a bit of interference thrown in from the outer planets+stars.

in that respect,a 5 year electoral cycle makes feck all difference(if you go into astrology there does seem some correlation with business cycles especially wrt jupiter,saturn,neptune uranus,pluto), but this only really covers periods of 5 to 85 years or so.

I think there are even longer "galactic" cycles as covering periods of centuries/millenia as well.

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not according to my model it won't.

if you're any good at maths, I think the climate change model is "tangential"

ie based on trigonometry(electrical fields and magnetic fields are 90 degrees out of phase),regarding our position within the galaxy from it's centre, with a bit of interference thrown in from the outer planets+stars.

in that respect,a 5 year electoral cycle makes feck all difference(if you go into astrology there does seem some correlation with business cycles especially wrt jupiter,saturn,neptune uranus,pluto), but this only really covers periods of 5 to 85 years or so.

I think there are even longer "galactic" cycles as covering periods of centuries/millenia as well.

Erranta.... is that you?

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Erranta.... is that you?

Hopefully it is mate.

'Cos if that fella doesn't figure it all out for the rest of us - then we're doomed...!

XYY

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Hopefully it is mate.

'Cos if that fella doesn't figure it all out for the rest of us - then we're doomed...!

XYY

Actually Oracle doesn't make any sense at all sometimes. :blink:

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Actually Oracle doesn't make any sense at all sometimes. :blink:

Nah, he's alright is Oracle.

Erranta just spouted gibberish but had an artist's eye for a coloured font.

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