My online arguments with people

Considerations of religious issues in general

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Nick » 16 Jun 2013, 20:05

Dear Joe,

We have moved a long way from "you are remarkably ignorant of religion" to "your knowledge is so deep and formulated with such erudition that I cannot match it." Indeed, eating an elephant becomes much easier if one, while chewing, keeps telling oneself that its slurf, legs and frame are unsubstantiated.

In the Roman Empire, Jews were much more rebellious than Christians ever were. For example the Temple was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times as a result of Jewish rebellions, ultimately ending in the Diaspora. Again, all of this is by mind since I do not have my notes with me, I recall that Josephus and others recorded this.

The teachings that the City of God was not of this world, that the rise and fall of empires was something completely different from the chosen few who entered into God's realm. This is what Augustine teaches, and according to the famous British historian Edward Gibbon the Roman Empire was brought down by the triumph of "Barbarism and Christianity." Many of the most pious first Christians were a bunch of ascetics waiting in the desert for Christ's resurrection.

Then, 1000 years later, this resurrection took so long that the religion gave a new dynamic to time; this is when we get Joachim and Otto of Fleury: the first argues that a new worldly state must be founded to prepare the Second Coming, and that this is the secret meaning of the Testament. The other holds that the sign that more and more lords and nobles are converting to Christianity, indicates that the world has progressed since the prophecy in the book Daniel. German Protestant (convert) philosopher Karl Löwith argued in Meaning and History that this very notion of worldly progress is irreconcilable with the Christian teaching as such. Then Löwith also admitted that the notion that the entire history of the world is shrouded in darkness safe those illuminated by an occurrence in Jeruzalem, is from a scholarly historian's viewpoint inevitably absurd.

Ultimately, using God as the key piece in explanatory gaps solves nothing: "God created matter out of nothing . . . Then who or what created God out of nothing?" ad infinitum.

To round things up, Easter 2011 I heard a priest say on television (Harry Mens) that without absolute faith in the mystery of resurrection the entirety of Christendom is worthless and could be discarded. This was pretty much a backlash against "cultural Catholics" but the point is that pious men declare the Bible useless even as a series of lessons, allegories and guidance-tales that could be applied to life by non-religious.
Nick
 
Posts: 48
Joined: 25 May 2013, 10:58

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Joe » 17 Jun 2013, 05:30

Dear Nick,
I really wish you would read my posts. All that you have offered in the latest epistle is either factually incorrect, philosophically incorrect or a bit of inconsequential twaddle derived from the works of obscure heretics, monks philosophers and catholic priests ) I am bored . Thank you for joining in.
Joe
PS: There have been only two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem the last destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD an event foretold by Jesus more than 30 years earlier.
I believe the medieval monk you are thinking of is Abbo of Fleury.
Joe
 
Posts: 28
Joined: 26 Apr 2013, 02:49
Location: Kentucky, USA

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Elliott » 02 Sep 2013, 15:47

To get this thread back on-topic, I will say that I have been trying to avoid online arguments over these last few months. I've had medical problems and emotional problems so getting involved in arguments just didn't appeal. I also took to heart what Nathan and Nick said at the start of this thread, that perhaps it is pointless to try to "convert" individual liberals on the Internet. But I also think I was right to say that we should put up whatever fight we can, because otherwise we are just ceding the stage to liberals. I think they are so numerous, and so confident nowadays, that they feel they can just say anything, and deal with those pesky little conservatives when and if they dare to put a word in.

Quite separately from any intention to get involved in arguments, a few months ago I joined a Facebook group for INTPs. It's one of the sixteen MBTI personality types, and it's the one that I conform to best, though I'm really not a typical INTP... the others in this group make me well aware of that, both deliberately and accidentally! The important thing to know about the INTP type is that they tend to be very good at debating, good analysers, good at logic, and obsessed with theories.

Given that Facebook is most used by fairly young people, it is no surprise that the INTP group is dominated by liberal idiots in their early twenties. What's more, with youthful idealism combined with INTP talent with logic, they are brilliantly adept at missing the point and at convincing themselves of whatever they want to believe. Now I'm not going to go on again about how I was in my late teens and early twenties; let's just say that I envy these people their youth but despair of their ideas.

Yes, over the last month I have got into quite a few heated arguments on the INTP group, always when I make the first conservative response to a thread propagating some liberal idea. I might describe the other arguments I've been in at a later date but for now, I just have to share this one, because what it shows about liberals is just ridiculous. (I have to say that this argument actually went better than the others I've had in the INTP group.)

Somebody put up this image.

I got in early, with the very first comment.

COLIN: Just typical liberalism. If a truth is uncomfortable, brush it under the carpet and castigate those who voice it.

Interestingly, that got more "likes" than any of the subsequent comments.


JACK: Just typical conservatism. If something has nothing at all to do with politics, just assert that it does and pretend.


COLIN: Not at all, Jack. The cartoon is absolutely a demonstration of modern liberal (ie progressive) thought.


MATT: What exactly is the "truth" that this comic sweeps under the rug, Elliott? That it used to be that the intelligent upper classes had more children, and the recent reversal of this trend has dragged IQ scores and general education steadily downward?


COLIN: If unintelligent people breed more than intelligent people, the average IQ score will obviously be dragged downward, and education will be dragged downward in order to suit the new average IQ.


MATT: You're basing all this on a very weak premise, which is the heritability of IQ. Here's the degree of correlation in IQ for:
Same person tested twice: .95
Biological siblings—Reared apart .24
Unrelated children—Reared together .30
Parent-child—Living apart .22


CRAIG: Elliott, I assume you mean the hat-less stick man whose ideas are so easily pulverized is the one meant to represent modern liberal thought.

Note how incredible this is. A committed liberal has wrongly identified which of the two characters is exhibiting modern liberalism. This shows a complete lack of liberal self-awareness. He then proceeds to build a self-defeating defence based on this misconception, with typical liberal self-confidence.

The only problem with that is the author of this web comic comic series (Randall Munroe, XKCD) is a self-identified liberal. So liberal in fact that the old-guard of the US Democratic party is not liberal enough for him.

He provided this hilarious link wherein the cartoonist, writing in 2008, beseeches his readers to vote for Obama, because Obama was committed to government transparency! LOL

So unless you meant to suggest that the hatted stick man who so obviously is the one meant to represent clear-headed rational thought is the example of a modern liberal (which is exactly what I did mean), you're just wrong.
If that's the case, you might prefer to go with Jack's spin on it about it not really being about politics at all. (This is where he has defeated his own point: the cartoon is absolutely political, but masquerades as being "clear-headed" and "rational". And he's fallen for this trick, because he wants to believe that liberalism, his creed, is clear-headed and rational. It's the usual thing. Liberals always claim that they are objective while conservatives are knee-jerk, primitive-minded fools.) Especially since the author clearly states in that piece I linked to that he makes a conscious effort to keep politics out of his comics altogether.


COLIN: Craig, no I meant the hatted stick man was the liberal. He's the one saying that increasing the number of less intelligent people in a population will not lower the average IQ - which strikes me as "hope for the best" self-delusion.


MATT: Humanity is in no danger of following the scenario of Idiocracy.


COLIN: Matt, can you tell me how there is no danger of this? Surely, if you've got a class full of unintelligent kids and a class full of intelligent kids, the latter class will have a higher average IQ?


Then I had a look at the "heritability of IQ" Wikipedia article, and realised that Matt had cherry-picked the data.


COLIN: One other thing, Matt. If we want to compare the effects of genes and environment on IQ scores, surely the comparison should be between these two:

Unrelated children—Reared together .30
Identical twins—Reared apart .76

This would suggest that environment causes a 0.30 correlation but genes cause a 0.76 correlation. Doesn't this suggest that genes are 2.5 times as much of an influence on IQ scores as environment?


MATT: Well, the thing is, it's a complex phenomenon, and while many attempts have been made to explain it properly, so far we don't have a clear conclusion. Of course the parents intelligence has a major influence, but that doesn't necessarily imply a direct correlation. On the whole I think the process is quite chaotic (as in chaos theory flapping butterfly thing), so one thing that can help in a situation, and the same thing harm in another. For example the parents being no-good lowlifes may make the child grow in ambition and try twice as hard, or force the first born take over their responsibilities. At the same time a high-born child may grow complacent and get used to doing nothing but wasting his parents money. I would expect that genes would somehow influence our maximum potential for intelligence, but at the same time I think we're all so far from our maximum potential that it makes little difference overall. Anyhow, I don't claim to understand the process by witch intelligence is formed, but I'm saying it's complex and hardly predictable. But what we can see very clearly is that IQ keeps getting higher and higher (15 points in 50 years, I'd say that's quite a lot), and we can't tell precisely why that is happening either or whether it's due to an actual increase in intelligence or not, but well... at least it's not going down, right?


COLIN: I don't know. When I look at the direction of culture I think that, with a few exceptions (such as the Nolan Batman films), everything is dumbing down. For example I compare today's British TV drama with 1970s British TV drama and the decline is unmistakable. Then it was about themes, ideas and people; now it's about special effects and emotions. There are other examples. Also comparing my own generation with our parents and grandparents, I can see possibly that my generation are quicker at solving concrete problems but that they have much less appreciation of depth.

As for the initial thing, which was the idea that an increase in less intelligent people will not lower the average IQ, I stand by what I said in the first place. Yes it is possible that television and the Internet etc. have introduced people to a much wider range of ideas than their grandparents, but if so this is a force that would counter that of less intelligent people out-breeding more intelligent people. The two forces are opposed, and sooner or later the ability of technology/culture to ameliorate innate low intelligence will cease.

I'll give an example of what I mean. This is from my own personal experience but the principle is general. The educated, financially-comfortable, intelligent couples that I know tend to have only one (maximum two) children. Meantime, I know several unintelligent couples (living on welfare, etc.) that each have four or five kids, because they have little else to do and welfare pays for as many kids as they can produce. In other words the system is encouraging and helping the less intelligent to reproduce whilst making it more difficult (mainly by tax, but there are other more subtle reasons) for the more intelligent to reproduce. Now, eventually popular culture is going to have to adapt to the changing demographics, and, since the less intelligent will vastly outnumber the more intelligent, the new tone of popular culture is going to be lower than it is today. I don't think the effects of this demographic change have quite been seen yet, but I think it is very naive to think that they somehow won't emerge.


Now our naive young liberal, who couldn't see that his politics might be naive, pops up again, still unable to recognise that his politics might be naive. As far as the modern liberal is concerned, if you're "above it all" and not worried about anything, you're correct. Only primitives worry!


CRAIG: The first time I read this comic I interpreted box 3 as categorically denying every statement and implication hat-man makes in box 2. In other words: 'there hasn't been any reversal of this trend, and thus average IQ scores and average education have not been dragged down' as opposed to 'counter to what basic problem solving would lead us to believe, despite the reversal of this trend average IQ scores and average education have not been dragged down.' The first interpretation would be consistent with your points Elliott, but it seems like you interpreted it the second way I described.


COLIN: Craig, I will try to be clear. Indeed, the guy on the right, with the hat, who is supposedly voicing clear-headed rationality, is IMHO obviously a liberal. The guy on the left, without a hat, is supposedly voicing fearmongering drivel. Unfortunately, I happen to agree with the guy on the left, because I think the mindless optimism of the other guy (voicing typical liberal views that everything's just fine and there's no danger and nothing to worry about and only hateful people worry about society declining) is naive and idealistic. I think the liberal is wrong. But the message of the cartoon is obviously that the liberal is right, even though the cartoonist aspires to be non-political.


At this point Craig cracked a joke (which to his credit was actually quite a funny one) and bailed out.
Elliott
 
Posts: 1800
Joined: 31 Jul 2011, 22:32
Location: Edinburgh

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Caleb » 02 Sep 2013, 23:16

Elliott: There was an article I found ages ago (which I can't find now) on one of those reactosphere websites about "trolling" liberals. It was actually more like arguing with liberals.

One point I do remember from the article though was that any response you write should be at least one word less than what you are responding to. Obviously, that's hard if the original comment was a single sentence. The point is that you may write out five hundred well reasoned words but no one will care. In fact, not only will they not care, but the guy who comes back with a two line, snarky retort is going to be received so much better. You have to know your audience. The average internet liberal is a snarky moron, even if appearing on the surface to be relatively intelligent. You also have to allocate your time and energy efficiently. There are dozens of these clowns for every one of us. They can tag team you. Even aside from your personal time, if you see yourself as part of a team, you can't let them tie up massive amounts of your time and energy in one thread, for instance, whilst they'll have the time to comment in dozens of threads or fora.
Caleb
 
Posts: 865
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 04:44

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Yessica » 04 Sep 2013, 19:50

Off topic: I always asked myself if studies of twins reared apart were somewhat flawed... because both twins will be raised in nuturing environments which allow their inborn IQ to flourish.

Sandy (just picking some stereotypical underclass name, IQ 70, no education, no values, six children by five men, three of them in jail, two on drugs) just will not be allowed to adopt a child... but if she was I would expect the IQs of all the children who were adopted by her to be uniformly low.
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Caleb » 06 Sep 2013, 00:38

There would be (considerable) variation between different adoptive families.

Anyway, some of the children would be raised by their natural mothers and some would be raised by those who adopted them. There would, presumably be differences (even if minor) between the two families in each case, which is precisely the point. All you need is two different environments.

The hypothesis would be that the environment in which the child is raised will affect its IQ (i.e. nurture).

The null hypothesis would be that the environment in which the child is raised will not affect its IQ (i.e. nature).

The independent variable would be the environment and the dependent variable would be IQ. To test a hypothesis, you need to manipulate the independent variable (IV). The IV then affects (or doesn't affect) the dependent variable (DV). If the IV affects the DV, then you'd say the hypothesis was confirmed. If it doesn't, then you'd say the null hypothesis was confirmed (at least for now).
Caleb
 
Posts: 865
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 04:44

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Yessica » 06 Sep 2013, 08:02

There is a problem with that.

You cannot really manipulate the environment so much. You cannot say "Oh, let's have the second twin adopted by chavs and watch what happens". That would be cruel from a human point of view.
I do not know if there are cases when one twin was adopted and one stayed with his chav bio-parents. I somehow doubt it. Why give up one kid for adoption but not the other?

My hypothesis would not be: Environment does not matter - as long as it is good enough.

To give an example: A breeder is breeding gun dogs and because he is a good breeder he sells them only to people who know how to train them. William buys one, Sebastian buys one, Henry buys one - all are very pleased and conclude that the dogs has a good breeding and knowing each other they also conclude that environment does not matter because all their dogs turned out fine. Sebastian also bought a mullet which proofed to be useless for hunting. He concludes that genes are all that matters.

Now Dwayne, who is a chav, never had a dog and does not have a dog personality steals one, does not train it, in fact beats it whenever it retrieves something or goes for a swim (he stole a Labrador). Now Dwayne goes hunting, the dog prooves useless. Dwayne concludes it must have a lousy breeding. Would he be right?

If there is a study on adoption we only study William, Sebastian and Henry. We do not study Dwayne, since he does not adopt.
Only conclusion we can draw from twin studies (to my mind): Environment does not matter that much as long as all the environmennts are at least average (or may be even somewhat above average). When the environment is lousy it may start to matter much.

Your height may be purely genetical as long as everybody is well fed, but if there is a person that is fed only potato skins environment my start to matter very much.

Anyway, some of the children would be raised by their natural mothers and some would be raised by those who adopted them.


I would expect the chav-children adopted away to turn out better than those raised by their bio parents. After all that is one of the points of adoption: giving the child a better chance in life.*
I have not seen studies yet. If they do not come to that conclusion I would change my opinion.

*By the way not wanting to say everybody who gives a child up for adoption is a chav. There are numerous reasons.
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Yessica » 06 Sep 2013, 20:40

Yessica wrote:My hypothesis would not be: Environment does not matter - as long as it is good enough.


To put it in other words. May be the "real" variable "environment" is just a dichotomous trait: 1 - good enough or 0 - not good enough... and all the adoptive parents would be considered 1, so that there is no variation in that variable at all.
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Caleb » 07 Sep 2013, 00:33

I think you need to look at how these studies are actually done. Firstly, identical twins are going to be more revealing than studies of fraternal twins precisely because the variable of heredity can be isolated. There are only two possible independent variables: genes or environment. By keeping one (genes) constant through the use of identical twins, the other can therefore be measured.

Secondly, the studies are done retrospectively. People don't set out to divide up twins. They look for where this has naturally occurred and then measure the effects.

Thirdly, there are usually large sample sizes involved.

Fourthly, even in the case of William, Sebastian and Henry (we would have to try to make sure the puppies were all identical siblings otherwise it wouldn't be as good an experiment), if there is any difference between them, then we would put that down to environment. The environments may indeed be similar, and you would predict that the more similar they were to one another, the closer the end results would be. The greater the environments, the greater the predicted differences. Regardless, if the variable of genes were controlled for, you could claim any differences in results, no matter how minor, actually were down to environment.

Your examples of the different people and dogs don't work very well simply because in each case, you're not isolating one variable. You are comparing apples to oranges, as they say.
Caleb
 
Posts: 865
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 04:44

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Yessica » 07 Sep 2013, 20:08

Caleb,

Thanks for your comment.

Caleb wrote:Secondly, the studies are done retrospectively. People don't set out to divide up twins. They look for where this has naturally occurred and then measure the effects.


That's true. I re-read what I wrote and realized I made it sound like I thought that identical twins where split-up for experiments which was not what I wanted to say.
I expect all of the twins to grow up in good homes, because child protective services do not give children to lousy adoptive parents, which would be interesting from a scientific point of view, but cruel from a human point of view.
So there is not as much manipulation/variation in this variable as possible.

Caleb wrote:The greater the environments, the greater the predicted differences.


That is just what I wanted to say. In a lousy enviroment I would expect any dog/human being to do uniformly poorly. The good environment allows the dog with the good breeding to flourish.
In humans I would expect the influence of the genes to become greater as the environment becomes "better".

Caleb wrote: Regardless, if the variable of genes were controlled for, you could claim any differences in results, no matter how minor, actually were down to environment.


I agree, but on the other hand it is impossible to say that environment does not matter much if all of the environments have been good and none has been lousy.

Caleb wrote: Your examples of the different people and dogs don't work very well simply because in each case, you're not isolating one variable. You are comparing apples to oranges, as they say.


Unlike people dogs are bred for certain traits which means that the genes are (nearly always) there... and still there are dogs which do not show the traits they were bred for... because the owner does not know how to properly train them.

What would happen to the child with genes for superior intelligence that is born to chavs? I do not know, but I would assume that this child would not live up to his potential.

I think you told me the both of you were trying for a child. You will try to encourage intelligent behaviour in that child, won't you? You will also make sure he reads good books, send him to good schools and so on... why if you think it does not matter?
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Caleb » 08 Sep 2013, 02:45

Yessica: I think you're still missing my points. Genes are isolated from the equation because you have two children with identical genes. Only the environment is different. Therefore, any differences in outcome have nothing to do with genes. If, on the other hand, there are no differences in outcome between identical twins growing up in different environments, then the null hypothesis would hold and we would say that different outcomes do not arise from environmental conditions (i.e. they are genetic). You would then look at people with different genes (e.g. non-identical twins) raised in the same environment. Studies have shown that both genes and environment are a factor, though different studies have produced different results.

The other point you are still missing is that not all of the environments actually are the same. They go and find a whole bunch identical twins who experienced different environments growing up. There are actually lots of such cases, certainly enough for statistical validity. They can then measure the effects of environment because, once again, the other variable (genes) is controlled for.

Your examples (of dogs, children born to chavs) not living up to their potential would actually prove the case that the environment did matter. The problem was though that it would be difficult to determine that from your example of the four guys who had dogs because you wouldn't have been able to isolate any variable in that case since all of the dogs would have been different genetically and raised in different environments.

Anyway though, I am not arguing either for nature or nurture. I am arguing that you misunderstand what twin studies involve and how they control for genes so that they can therefore measure the degree to which, if at all, environment makes a difference. My original criticism of you was that you did not believe twin studies were valid.
Caleb
 
Posts: 865
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 04:44

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Yessica » 08 Sep 2013, 07:53

Caleb wrote:Yessica: I think you're still missing my points. Genes are isolated from the equation because you have two children with identical genes. Only the environment is different. Therefore, any differences in outcome have nothing to do with genes.


I understand that very well and never doubted it.
I just said that those differences are most likely small in the studies, because the environments all the twins grow up in are very similar.

Caleb wrote:The other point you are still missing is that not all of the environments actually are the same. They go and find a whole bunch identical twins who experienced different environments growing up. There are actually lots of such cases, certainly enough for statistical validity. They can then measure the effects of environment because, once again, the other variable (genes) is controlled for.


But wouldn't you agree that none of the enviroments would be lousy because child protective studies just do not place children with lousy families? There are home studies done, they receive home visits once they have adopted and so on.

Caleb wrote:Your examples (of dogs, children born to chavs) not living up to their potential would actually prove the case that the environment did matter. The problem was though that it would be difficult to determine that from your example of the four guys who had dogs because you wouldn't have been able to isolate any variable in that case since all of the dogs would have been different genetically and raised in different environments.


Imho the example with the dogs might be better than you think because genes are controlled for in the dogs. Dogs you buy from a breeder are not like human siblings. They have been bred for certain traits since for a long long time. They have been selected for this trait again and again.
That is why people pay an arm and an leg for buying a puppy with a pedigree certificate while you get puppies from the animal shelter for free. The trait they are looking for may be somewhat smaller or somewhat bigger but it is always there and strong under normal conditions.
Thus dogs who have been bred for a certain trait are nearly as good as identical twins. Their genes are controlled when it comes to that trait they have been bred for.

Caleb wrote:My original criticism of you was that you did not believe twin studies were valid.


I do believe that twin studies give you some valid information about people growing up in different good environments and that they show that when conditions are good genes do matter a lot but I do not believe they say anything about people growing up in lousy environments.

I did not look the Wikipedia article up before because for a number of reasons I do not believe in Wikipedia but I did now and realised that this concern of mine has already been adressed.

some Wikipedia authors wrote:Stoolmiller (1999) argued that the range of environments in previous adoption studies were restricted. Adopting families tend to be more similar on, for example, socio-economic status than the general population, which suggests a possible underestimation of the role of the shared family environment in previous studies. Corrections for range restriction to adoption studies indicated that socio-economic status could account for as much as 50% of the variance in IQ.[27]

On the other hand, the effect of this was examined by Matt McGue and colleagues (2007), who wrote that "restriction in range in parent disinhibitory psychopathology and family socio-economic status had no effect on adoptive-sibling correlations [in] IQ"[28]

Turkheimer and colleagues (2003) argued that the proportions of IQ variance attributable to genes and environment vary with socioeconomic status. They found that in a study on seven-year-old twins, in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in early childhood IQ was accounted for by the shared family environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero; in affluent families, the result is almost exactly the reverse.[29]

A study by Nagoshi and Johnson (2005) failed to replicate Turkheimer and colleagues' findings. They concluded that the heritability of IQ did not vary as a function of parental socioeconomic status in the 949 families of Caucasian and 400 families of Japanese ancestry who took part in the Hawaii Family Study of Cognition.[30]

Asbury and colleagues (2005) studied the effect of environmental risk factors on verbal and non-verbal ability in a nationally representative sample of 4-year-old British twins. There was not any statistically significant interaction for non-verbal ability, but the heritability of verbal ability was found to be higher in low-SES and high-risk environments.[31]

Harden and colleagues (2007) investigated adolescents, most 17 years old, and found that, among higher income families, genetic influences accounted for approximately 55% of the variance in cognitive aptitude and shared environmental influences about 35%. Among lower income families, the proportions were in the reverse direction, 39% genetic and 45% shared environment."[32]


I did not look up that studies now, which to my mind always should be done before you trust Wikipedia.
There is a person I am highly knowlegdeable about and I noticed that the article about this person was full of "facts" that puzzled me. Looked up the "sources" and realized that none of the facts was backed up by the source. Looked up the history and realised that the article had been factually acurate before but had been manipulated by a person with too much freetime on his hands (looking at the discussion page I learned that other people has noticed before, but they seemed not to have enough freetime to argue with this person who would revert any changes to the article).

I will look up those studies one day and then come up with an opinion.
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Caleb » 09 Sep 2013, 02:50

Yessica wrote:
Caleb wrote:Yessica: I think you're still missing my points. Genes are isolated from the equation because you have two children with identical genes. Only the environment is different. Therefore, any differences in outcome have nothing to do with genes.


I understand that very well and never doubted it.
I just said that those differences are most likely small in the studies, because the environments all the twins grow up in are very similar.


If the environments are too similar, then you would say the IV was not sufficiently different to be able to comment. I don't think the scientists themselves would claim them as the be all and end all in such cases. That is not an argument against twin studies, but one for further investigation with larger differences between the environments. It's a sampling problem, essentially.

Caleb wrote:The other point you are still missing is that not all of the environments actually are the same. They go and find a whole bunch identical twins who experienced different environments growing up. There are actually lots of such cases, certainly enough for statistical validity. They can then measure the effects of environment because, once again, the other variable (genes) is controlled for.


But wouldn't you agree that none of the enviroments would be lousy because child protective studies just do not place children with lousy families? There are home studies done, they receive home visits once they have adopted and so on.


You're still missing the point. Firstly, scientists don't go to child protective services and ask them to split twins up so that they can run an experiment in twenty years. It doesn't work going forwards. It works going backwards. They look at a whole lot of twins who have been separated or given up for adoption. You're right that those children going to new families would probably end up in good families. Those remaining with their biological families would grow up under a variety of conditions (some good, some bad). Those who grew up under similar circumstances (regardless of whether they were with biological or adoptive families) would be more likely to end up with similar outcomes. That is because the IV in each case would be very similar. However, some pairs of twins would grow up in very different families. As such, you could say that the IV had been sufficiently varied/manipulated. Therefore, any differences could be put down to environment.

You keep arguing that these differences in environment do not exist. In some, or even many, cases they do not. Yet if you have a large enough sample size, then you can find enough such cases. These have existed in many, though probably not all, studies. As I addressed above, in those cases where they did not, then you would say the studies are invalid because of statistical sampling problems.

Caleb wrote:Your examples (of dogs, children born to chavs) not living up to their potential would actually prove the case that the environment did matter. The problem was though that it would be difficult to determine that from your example of the four guys who had dogs because you wouldn't have been able to isolate any variable in that case since all of the dogs would have been different genetically and raised in different environments.


Imho the example with the dogs might be better than you think because genes are controlled for in the dogs. Dogs you buy from a breeder are not like human siblings. They have been bred for certain traits since for a long long time. They have been selected for this trait again and again.
That is why people pay an arm and an leg for buying a puppy with a pedigree certificate while you get puppies from the animal shelter for free. The trait they are looking for may be somewhat smaller or somewhat bigger but it is always there and strong under normal conditions.
Thus dogs who have been bred for a certain trait are nearly as good as identical twins. Their genes are controlled when it comes to that trait they have been bred for.


Not exactly. There will still be genetic variation between any non-identical twins that will confound any study. Not all puppies from any litter are deemed to be of pedigree standard, either because of physical traits or behavioural traits. You still need to completely isolate this variable in order to accurately attribute any results to environmental factors. Again, I'm not saying it's one or the other, merely that if we don't isolate one of the variables, we have a problem. You either need identical twins raised in different environments (to make the environment the IV) or you need two dogs that are not identical twins to be raised in the same environment (in which case genes become the IV). Different genes and different environments make it much more complex and difficult to attribute results to either variable.


Caleb wrote:My original criticism of you was that you did not believe twin studies were valid.


I do believe that twin studies give you some valid information about people growing up in different good environments and that they show that when conditions are good genes do matter a lot but I do not believe they say anything about people growing up in lousy environments.


You would not be comparing two twins growing up in poor environments though, as I have stated above. Another way to formulate this idea might be this:

Family A and Family B, Twin 1 is raised by his biological family, Twin 2 is adopted.

Thus, you have four subjects: A1, A2, B1, B2.

You then examine the difference between pairs in terms of the IV (environment) as follows: IVA2-IVA1 = IVAD, IVB1-IVB2 = IVBD

You then measure the difference in pairs in terms of the DV (intelligence, height, whatever you're trying to measure) as follows: DVA2-DVA1 = DVAD, DVB2-DVB1 = DVBD.

You then plot all of the points on a graph with IV_D on one axis and DV_D on the other axis. You can then determine the strength (if any) of correlation, as well as the direction (if any) of correlation between the two variables. Pretty standard statistical practice.

I did not look the Wikipedia article up before because for a number of reasons I do not believe in Wikipedia but I did now and realised that this concern of mine has already been adressed.


Not sure what to say on this one. The mathematics/scientific articles on Wikipedia are pretty spot on. This is not the article on the EDL we're talking about.

some Wikipedia authors wrote:Stoolmiller (1999) argued that the range of environments in previous adoption studies were restricted. Adopting families tend to be more similar on, for example, socio-economic status than the general population, which suggests a possible underestimation of the role of the shared family environment in previous studies. Corrections for range restriction to adoption studies indicated that socio-economic status could account for as much as 50% of the variance in IQ.[27]


That's not an argument against twin studies. It's an argument that environment is a bigger contributor (than previously thought). You're still conflating two ideas here. Once again, I have taken no real position on which is the more important variable in intelligence. In fact, having already read the objections you have posted, my position (which I stated in my previous post, I believe) was that intelligence is probably multi-variable and varies according to study.

On the other hand, the effect of this was examined by Matt McGue and colleagues (2007), who wrote that "restriction in range in parent disinhibitory psychopathology and family socio-economic status had no effect on adoptive-sibling correlations [in] IQ"[28]


Again, not an argument against twin studies. You do know that scientists are allowed to have more than two options -- A or B -- right? They are allowed to say that evidence is inconclusive or conflicting, and that either 1) more research needs to be done or 2) something may be multi-variable.

Turkheimer and colleagues (2003) argued that the proportions of IQ variance attributable to genes and environment vary with socioeconomic status. They found that in a study on seven-year-old twins, in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in early childhood IQ was accounted for by the shared family environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero; in affluent families, the result is almost exactly the reverse.[29]

A study by Nagoshi and Johnson (2005) failed to replicate Turkheimer and colleagues' findings. They concluded that the heritability of IQ did not vary as a function of parental socioeconomic status in the 949 families of Caucasian and 400 families of Japanese ancestry who took part in the Hawaii Family Study of Cognition.[30]


So then they would need to try to reformulate hypotheses and perhaps test very particular aspects of environment, or run more studies based upon the two above. Again though, science can be inconclusive. Or maybe there were problems with the method of one study?

Asbury and colleagues (2005) studied the effect of environmental risk factors on verbal and non-verbal ability in a nationally representative sample of 4-year-old British twins. There was not any statistically significant interaction for non-verbal ability, but the heritability of verbal ability was found to be higher in low-SES and high-risk environments.[31]


So then you would conclude that verbal ability was probably environmental and non-verbal ability was genetic. I'm not sure what the problem was there. There were two different things being measured and they got clear results for both of them.

Harden and colleagues (2007) investigated adolescents, most 17 years old, and found that, among higher income families, genetic influences accounted for approximately 55% of the variance in cognitive aptitude and shared environmental influences about 35%. Among lower income families, the proportions were in the reverse direction, 39% genetic and 45% shared environment."[32]


So it's multi-variable, according to them. That does not surprise me at all. What this and the Turkheimer et al study seem to suggest is that there's probably a base level of environment required, and then after that, genes kick in. They're actually looking at two different kinds of environmental variables, I suspect. The first is the presence of anything detrimental to physiological development of the brain (e.g. malnutrition, consumption of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs by the mother whilst pregnant, etc.) and then the rest of the environmental factors that would be social. They would need to isolate those two variables from within "environment" before they could realistically compare either to genes. Again, that's not a problem with twin studies per se. It's a problem with people conducting (some) badly formulated twin studies.

I did not look up that studies now, which to my mind always should be done before you trust Wikipedia.
There is a person I am highly knowlegdeable about and I noticed that the article about this person was full of "facts" that puzzled me. Looked up the "sources" and realized that none of the facts was backed up by the source. Looked up the history and realised that the article had been factually acurate before but had been manipulated by a person with too much freetime on his hands (looking at the discussion page I learned that other people has noticed before, but they seemed not to have enough freetime to argue with this person who would revert any changes to the article).

I will look up those studies one day and then come up with an opinion.


Of course, but as I have already argued, you're conflating two things here. A badly conducted study is not an argument against studies in general. Once again, my position on the issue you're talking about is that it probably is not either nature or nurture, but a combination of both. How much, I do not know. Some studies probably have flaws with their methods or even their statistical treatment of the results. More (precise) research may need to be done.
Caleb
 
Posts: 865
Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 04:44

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Yessica » 09 Sep 2013, 05:59

Caleb,

I haver to be short, because I do not have much time today. I think there was some kind of misunderstanding.

1. I never said that no studies should be done, studies are %&$&$ and so on. What I said was: There might be a systematic flaw in most of the studies (total lack of twins raised in lousy environments)
1b. I understood that twin-studies are done respectively. What made you think otherwise.
2. I did not do this since secondary school, but I know what a correlation is. If my memory serves me right, I learned that using that method makes only sense if the variance in both the explanans and the explanandum is big enough.
To take an example: It would make no sense to compute the correlation of body-height and ability to play basket-ball in NBA-players, because they have been selected for height. You have a pre-selected sample.
Once you reached a critical threshold body-height may not matter any more... but that does not mean that it does not matter at all. It may matter very much, but you do not learn it if your example involves NBA-players instead of the general population.
I know that a) the correlation between quality of environment and IQ is small in twin and adoption studies and b) the correlation between twins IQs is strong but may be only because there is not much variance in "quality of environment".
Thus the "motivation to play basket-ball" may be the strongest predictor of "success at basket-ball" for NBA players, but in the general population body-heights might be the better predictor. The motivation may play only a minor role. You just never learn this if all your studies involve only NBA-players.
3. You argued that twin studies envolve big samples, but how many cases of identical twins reared apart do exist? I do not know, but what I would expect would be that those are few because child protective services place sibling groups together. I would expect that tendency to be even stronger when they have to place twins.
I would expect the number of identical twins reared apart to be very low and I would expect the number of a twin reared in a bad environment to be zero.

Not sure what to say on this one. The mathematics/scientific articles on Wikipedia are pretty spot on.


They may be, but I was talking about the article about heritability of IQ here. A highly controversial subject that involves strong emotions.
I typically trust Wikipedia-articles like this only if I had a look at the sources (do they exist? Do they say what the author claims they say?) and if I do not have the time to do this I do not read the article in most cases.

A badly conducted study is not an argument against studies in general.


I never said that, did I?
Yessica
 
Posts: 426
Joined: 22 Mar 2013, 17:11

Re: My online arguments with people

Postby Elliott » 16 Nov 2013, 23:35

Here's a new online argument between me and a liberal.

The conversation, on Facebook, began when somebody who thought he was very clever said:

I hope everyone agrees that nationalism is a simple way to lead all the sheep in the herd?


Partly out of mischief, partly to see what people would make of it, I said:

What about Islam? Doesn't it lead people like a herd? Are you going to criticise Islam? Or just nations?


Now my adversary shows up...

Danish 20 year-old liberal male: Islam is subjected to western imperialism.

Elliott: That doesn't answer my question, and is no more true than that the West is subject to Islamic imperialism.

D20YOLM: 1/4 of the entire human population consist of muslims. It is ridiculous to say it at least to subject all those people to the prejudices based on a few fundamentalists.

(At this point I realised he was Danish.)

Elliott: They're raping women in Denmark.

D20YOLM: And is that because of their religion, culture and race or because they cannot use their education, are isolated into ghettos, treated as shit and not given psychological counselling?? From a social scientific point-of-view it is pretty obvious that that happens when you take all the poor people and situate them in one spot.

Elliott: It's incredible how liberal guilt can be used to make people blame themselves when they are being destroyed.

D20YOLM: Danes and Europeans should feel guilty that they allowed their governments to import cheap labor from the countries they invaded. There is little to no difference from what we're doing today compared to what we did during the 19th century in Africa.

Elliott: Oh my God, you are so naive. In Britain, 75% of Muslim women are on the dole. Yet they keep coming. They are not coming to work. They are coming here to take our lands over. That is what Islam has always done. Yet, when they rape your women, you blame yourself...

D20YOLM: And you are ignorant and under the influence of cognitive dissonance. You didn't even read or respond to anything I just said. I know it is a problem when people don't go to work, but you apparently want forced labour... Many immigrants are not suitable for work. How do you expect someone with no proper education (meaning education they can use in the country they immigrated into) to work? Most of them end up doing all the shitty work Danes feel too "good" to do (and there are thousands of Danes on the dole). On the whole rape matter, it is obviously, seen from a social scientific view (and not the ignorant prejudiced view), the result of placing all the poor and unuseful people in the same place. In order to fulfill the needs described in Maslow's hierarchy of needs (psychological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization) many of them end up in the downward going spiral of immorality crime leads to. There is nothing new to this it has happened so many places, America being a noteworthy one, and it happens regardless of religion or race.


I gave up at this point. Social science and feel-good psychology were blinding him to the fact that barbarians are bringing their barbarian ways to his civilised country, and are making it as barbarian as the lands they left.

He even blames his own people for their rape by barbarians. You can't beat a university education...
Elliott
 
Posts: 1800
Joined: 31 Jul 2011, 22:32
Location: Edinburgh

PreviousNext

Return to Religion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron

User Menu

Login Form

This site costs £100 per year to run and makes no money.

If you would like to make a small contribution to help pay for the web hosting, you can do so here.

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 175 on 12 Jan 2015, 18:23

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest
Copyright © Western Defence. All Rights Reserved.