nhaliday + galton   13

The Ionian Mission | West Hunter
I have have had famous people ask me how the Ionian Greeks became so smart (in Classical times, natch). In Classical times, the Greeks – particularly the Ionian Greeks – gave everybody this impression – in everyday experience, and certainly in terms of production of outstanding intellects. Everybody thought so. Nobody said this about the Persians – and nobody said it about the Jews, who never said it about themselves.

It’s an interesting question: perhaps there was some process analogous to that which we have proposed as an explanation for the high intelligence of the Ashkenazi Jews. Or maybe something else happened – a different selective process, or maybe it was all cultural. It’s hard to know – the Greek Dark Ages, the long period of illiteracy after the fall of Mycenaean civilization, is poorly understood, certainly by me.

Suppose that your biological IQ capacity (in favorable conditions) is set by a few hundred or thousand SNPS, and that we have identified those SNPS. With luck, we might find enough skeletons with intact DNA to see if the Ionian Greeks really were smarter than the average bear, and how that changed over time.

More generally, we could see if civilization boosted or decreased IQ, in various situations. This could be a big part of the historical process – civilizations falling because average competence has dropped, science being born because the population is now ready for it…

I think we’ll be ready to try this in a year or two. The biggest problems will be political, since this approach would also predict results in existing populations – although that would probably not be very interesting, since we already know all those results.

The Ancient Greeks Weren’t All Geniuses: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ancient-greeks-not-geniuses/
west-hunter  scitariat  history  iron-age  mediterranean  the-classics  iq  pop-diff  aDNA  civilization  leviathan  GWAS  genetics  biodet  behavioral-gen  anthropology  sapiens  speculation  discussion  recent-selection  archaeology  virtu  cycles  oscillation  broad-econ  microfoundations  multi  gnon  commentary  quotes  galton  giants  old-anglo  psychometrics  malthus  health  embodied  kinship  parasites-microbiome  china  asia  innovation  frontier  demographics  environmental-effects  alien-character  🌞  debate 
april 2017 by nhaliday
Neurodiversity | West Hunter
Having an accurate evaluation of a syndrome as a generally bad thing isn’t equivalent to attacking those with that syndrome. Being a leper is a bad thing, not just another wonderful flavor of humanity [insert hot tub joke] , but that doesn’t mean that we have to spend our spare time playing practical jokes on lepers, tempting though that is.. Leper hockey. We can cure leprosy, and we are right to do so. Preventing deafness through rubella vaccination was the right thing too – deafness sucks. And so on. As we get better at treating and preventing, humans are going to get more uniform – and that’s a good thing. Back to normalcy!

focus: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/neurodiversity/#comment-88691
interesting discussion of mutational load: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/neurodiversity/#comment-88793

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/blurry/
I was thinking again about the consequences of having more small-effect deleterious mutations than average. I don’t think that they would push hard in a particular direction in phenotype space – I don’t believe they would make you look weird, but by definition they would be bad for you, reduce fitness. I remembered a passage in a book by Steve Stirling, in which our heroine felt as if her brain ‘was moving like a mechanism of jewels and steel precisely formed.’ It strikes me that a person with an extra dollop of this kind of genetic load wouldn’t feel like that. And of course that heroine did have low genetic load, being the product of millennia of selective breeding, not to mention an extra boost from the Invisible Crown.

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/blurry/#comment-12769
Well, what does the distribution of fitness burden by frequency look like for deleterious mutations of a given fitness penalty?
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It’s proportional to the mutation rate for that class. There is reason to believe that there are more ways to moderately or slightly screw up a protein than to really ruin it, which indicates that mild mutations make up most load in protein-coding sequences. More of the genome is made up of conserved regulatory sequences, but mutations there probably have even milder effects, since few mutations in non-coding sequences cause a serious Mendelian disease.

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/blurry/#comment-12803
I have wondered if there was some sort of evolutionary tradeoff between muscles and brains over the past hundred thousand years through dystrophin’s dual role. There is some evidence of recent positive selection among proteins that interact with dystrophin, such as DTNBP1 and DTNA.

Any novel environment where higher intelligence can accrue more caloric energy than brute strength alone (see: the invention of the bow) should relax the selection pressure for muscularity. The Neanderthals didn’t fare so well with the brute strength strategy.
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Sure: that’s what you might call an inevitable tradeoff, a consequence of the laws of physics. Just as big guys need more food. But because of the way our biochemistry is wired, there can be tradeoffs that exist but are not inevitable consequences of the laws of physics – particularly likely when a gene has two fairly different functions, as they often do.
west-hunter  discussion  morality  philosophy  evolution  sapiens  psychology  psychiatry  disease  neuro  scitariat  ideology  rhetoric  diversity  prudence  genetic-load  autism  focus  👽  multi  poast  mutation  equilibrium  scifi-fantasy  rant  🌞  paternal-age  perturbation  nibble  ideas  iq  quotes  aphorism  enhancement  signal-noise  blowhards  dysgenics  data  distribution  objektbuch  tradeoffs  embodied  speculation  metabolic  volo-avolo  degrees-of-freedom  race  africa  genetics  genomics  bio  QTL  population-genetics  stylized-facts  britain  history  early-modern  pre-ww2  galton  old-anglo  giants  industrial-revolution  neuro-nitgrit  recent-selection  selection  medicine  darwinian  strategy  egalitarianism-hierarchy  CRISPR  biotech  definition  reflection  poetry  deep-materialism  EGT  discrimination  conceptual-vocab 
february 2017 by nhaliday
Information Processing: Darwin, Mendel and statistical fluctuations
Freeman Dyson discusses Darwin's failure to discover Mendelian inheritance. Had Darwin a stronger grasp of statistics (then under development by his cousin Francis Galton), he might have discovered the properties of the basic units of inheritance, so central to his theory of natural selection.
hsu  scitariat  history  bio  evolution  science  curiosity  galton  thinking  probability  giants  early-modern  innovation  novelty  the-trenches  oscillation  discovery  bounded-cognition  info-dynamics  ideas  old-anglo  darwinian  pre-ww2  the-great-west-whale  gnosis-logos  psych-architecture  stats  math  language  apollonian-dionysian 
january 2017 by nhaliday
Galton–Watson process - Wikipedia
The Galton–Watson process is a branching stochastic process arising from Francis Galton's statistical investigation of the extinction of family names. The process models family names as patrilineal (passed from father to son), while offspring are randomly either male or female, and names become extinct if the family name line dies out (holders of the family name die without male descendants). This is an accurate description of Y chromosome transmission in genetics, and the model is thus useful for understanding human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups, and is also of use in understanding other processes (as described below); but its application to actual extinction of family names is fraught. In practice, family names change for many other reasons, and dying out of name line is only one factor, as discussed in examples, below; the Galton–Watson process is thus of limited applicability in understanding actual family name distributions.
galton  history  stories  stats  stochastic-processes  acm  concept  wiki  reference  atoms  giants  early-modern  nibble  old-anglo  pre-ww2 
january 2017 by nhaliday
Generalizing From One Example - Less Wrong
My old professor, David Berman, liked to talk about what he called the "typical mind fallacy", which he illustrated through the following example:

There was a debate, in the late 1800s, about whether "imagination" was simply a turn of phrase or a real phenomenon. That is, can people actually create images in their minds which they see vividly, or do they simply say "I saw it in my mind" as a metaphor for considering what it looked like?

Upon hearing this, my response was "How the stars was this actually a real debate? Of course we have mental imagery. Anyone who doesn't think we have mental imagery is either such a fanatical Behaviorist that she doubts the evidence of her own senses, or simply insane." Unfortunately, the professor was able to parade a long list of famous people who denied mental imagery, including some leading scientists of the era. And this was all before Behaviorism even existed.

The debate was resolved by Francis Galton, a fascinating man who among other achievements invented eugenics, the "wisdom of crowds", and standard deviation. Galton gave people some very detailed surveys, and found that some people did have mental imagery and others didn't. The ones who did had simply assumed everyone did, and the ones who didn't had simply assumed everyone didn't, to the point of coming up with absurd justifications for why they were lying or misunderstanding the question. There was a wide spectrum of imaging ability, from about five percent of people with perfect eidetic imagery to three percent of people completely unable to form mental images.

Dr. Berman dubbed this the Typical Mind Fallacy: the human tendency to believe that one's own mental structure can be generalized to apply to everyone else's.

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my favorite comment:
Interesting illustration of mental imagery (from Dennett):

Picture a 3 by 3 grid. Then picture the words "gas", "oil", and "dry" spelled downwards in the columns left to right in that order. Looking at the picture in your mind, read the words across on the grid.

I can figure out what the words are of course, but it is very hard for me to read them off the grid. I should be able to if I could actually picture it. It was fascinating for me to think that this isn't true for everyone.
ratty  lesswrong  yvain  thinking  psychology  rationality  essay  dennett  cog-psych  operational  biases  pre-2013  gedanken  visuo  spatial  galton  neurons  giants  early-modern  big-peeps  quiz  stories  experiment  empirical  old-anglo  pre-ww2  wordlessness 
october 2016 by nhaliday

bundles : peepssci

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