Rationality & Low-IQ People

post by kokotajlod · 2014-02-02T15:11:59.505Z · score: 17 (26 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 107 comments

This post is to raise a question about the demographics of rationality: Is rationality something that can appeal to low-IQ people as well?

I don't mean in theory, I mean in practice. From what I've seen, people who are concerned about rationality (in the sense that it has on LW, OvercomingBias, etc.) are overwhelmingly high-IQ.

Meanwhile, HPMOR and other stories in the "rationality genre" appeal to me, and to other people I know. However I wonder: Perhaps part of the reason they appeal to me is that I think of myself as a smart person, and this allows me to identify with the main characters, cheer when they think their way to victory, etc. If I thought of myself as a stupid person, then perhaps I would feel uncomfortable, insecure, and alienated while reading the same stories.

So, I have four questions:

1.) Do we have reason to believe that the kind of rationality promoted on LW, OvercomingBias, CFAR, etc. appeals to a fairly normal distribution of people around the IQ mean? Or should we think, as I suggested, that people with lower IQ's are disposed to find the idea of being rational less attractive?

2.) Ditto, except replace "being rational" with "celebrating rationality through stories like HPMOR." Perhaps people think that rationality is a good thing in much the same way that being wealthy is a good thing, but they don't think that it should be celebrated, or at least they don't find such celebrations appealing.

3.) Supposing #1 and #2 have the answers I am suggesting, why? 

4.) Making the same supposition, what are the implications for the movement in general? 


Note: I chose to use IQ in this post instead of a more vague term like "intelligence," but I could easily have done the opposite. I'm happy to do whichever version is less problematic.

107 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2014-02-02T19:13:18.906Z · score: 44 (46 votes) · LW · GW

Most people go through life using cultural memes that they soak up from their environment. These cultural memes have had lots of selective pressure acting on them, so most of the time they won't be obviously harmful: for example, most cultures don't have memes advocating that you stick your hand in fires. Following these cultural memes is a low-variance strategy: you might not become overwhelmingly successful this way, but you'll also avoid many failure modes.

A basic aspect of LW-style rationality involves questioning and rethinking everything, including these cultural memes. As such, it's a high-variance strategy: you might end up with new memes that are much better or much worse than standard memes. This might be okay if you're quite good at questioning and rethinking things, but if you aren't (and even if you are!), you might afflict yourself with a memetic immune disorder and head towards all sorts of failure modes as a result (joining a cult being the sort of stereotypical thing).

I think most people will be averse to LW-style rationality as part of a general aversion to things that seem too weird, and I think this is probably overall a reasonable aversion for most people to have, as it helps them avoid many failure modes.

comment by DanArmak · 2014-02-02T20:51:57.733Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW · GW

These cultural memes have had lots of selective pressure acting on them, so most of the time they won't be obviously harmful

For the meme; not necessarily for the person who holds it. Dying for one's fatherland can be a very successful meme. And that's exactly why questioning memes is often a good thing for the questioner.

I think the reason most people are averse to questioning is simply due to the social drive to conform, which does not strongly depend on the quality of the norms you're conforming to. And the drive to associate in cliques and dislike outsiders, which sometimes causes people to associate in similar-IQ cliques and dislike those other stupid/smart people and their rationalist/irrational ideas.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2014-02-04T21:17:40.302Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think the reason most people are averse to questioning is simply due to the social drive to conform

I mean, yeah, but my point is most of the time a desire to conform is adaptive.

comment by DanArmak · 2014-02-05T08:54:02.365Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's adaptive, but not just because the common memes are good; it's in large part because others people act against those who don't conform.

Of course questioning memes needn't lead to rejecting them.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2014-02-03T04:53:41.861Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This suggests that instead of trying to influence the behaviors of low-IQ folks, we're better off trying to influence the behavior of folks whose IQs are slightly lower than ours, then, having influenced them successfully, aim for a slightly lower IQ, etc. Figure that the dumber you are, the greater the degree to which you have learned to distrust your own bad reasoning and "go with the herd". So to get to the low-IQ folks, create a wave throughout the population starting with the high-IQ folks.

(Actually a more straightforward implication of this might be to work harder saturating the high-IQ echelons with LW ideas, since they still haven't been saturated, then start working on lower-IQ folks.)

comment by Brillyant · 2014-02-03T15:11:28.244Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Excellent points.

I observe this in regard to religion and it's memes, and I think it applies to the non-rationalist community generally.

I think most people will be averse to LW-style rationality as part of a general aversion to things that seem too weird...

It perhaps makes more sense to replace "too weird" with "too different from the cultural norm". Christianity, for instance, has very weird beliefs compared to what science and common sense tells us. Adherents persist in believing in large part to continue conforming to the cultural norm, despite it's weirdness.

The interesting question (to me) is whether someone who is not predisposed to enjoying LW-style rationality ought to pursue it if they seek to optimize their happiness. If you are a happy Christian who believes God is madly in love with you and can't wait to bring up to your mansion in heaven post mortem, then LW is going to be depressing.

Even if you're just a regular old None or agnostic who likes to believe in warm fuzzy concepts like "everything happening for a reason" and Karm and Serendipity, then LW's deterministic, magic-killing, purely materialist views are a bit of a buzzkill.

It is possible that rationality training is a net bad for ceratin individuals because ignorance really is bliss in many circumstances.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-03T07:28:05.067Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

See also

comment by Dr_Manhattan · 2014-02-03T20:18:32.953Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This is a good observation. It still leaves open the question of helping (or self-help advise) for people of sufficient intelligence to perceive that LW-style "rationality" is correct in some sense, but cannot quite put it together themselves into a useful framework from a bunch of blog posts :). I do think CFAR has a role in this, Stanford's Ron Howard took it all the way to (non gifted-) high school level:

http://www.orms-today.org/orms-8-04/teaching.html

http://decisioneducation.org/

The two things this can accomplish is to create better "non-weird" cultural memes than society provides out of the box, and in the long term perhaps establishing priesthood of rationality where people can escalate important/complicated decisions to more expert authorities.

comment by FiftyTwo · 2014-02-02T22:09:39.681Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

Reading this discussion makes me realise I don't have a very good mental model for what a low IQ person's internal processing is like. Most of the behaviours i tend to associate with stupidity in real life are related to rationality (e.g. excessive compartmentalisation, failure to take arguments to their logical conclusion) rather than a lack of processing power or speed.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-03T15:08:37.677Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

David Ogilvy) was a highly successful advertising executive, often called "The Father of Advertising" and he created several iconic advertising campaigns. However, his IQ was very average:

Including intelligence, said he. They both took an IQ test he found in the back of a book. He got a 96 (“par for ditch diggers”), and she (his wife, Herta Lans) got 136. It changed their relationship. “Suddenly she’s pretty and clever and I’m ugly and dumb.”

source: The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising

So if you're actually interested, you could look into his life.

comment by private_messaging · 2014-02-03T18:30:42.987Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

failure to take arguments to their logical conclusion

Informal arguments often rely on perceived lack of alternatives to arrive at the conclusions, and thus even if you don't have any alternatives you can't trust it.

E.g. "we both seen blerg, and the only way blerg could happen is because of blurp, and therefore, blurp must have happened", that's only as trustworthy as your enumeration of the ways blerg could happen is complete, which is usually not at all.

Frequently, otherwise smart (i.e. high IQ individuals), especially those with little training in formal proofs, keep insisting that unless you come up with an alternative cause for blerg, you must believe in blurp, and get rather pissed off at the insolence of being dubious about the blurp without providing an alternative cause for the blerg. (Then when you provide an alternative cause they go on how the blurp must have a probability of ~50%)

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-02T16:36:25.682Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

I have been tossing around the idea of not-high-IQ rationalist fiction. Problem is, it's really hard to write. If they act rationally, people stop identifying the person as unintelligent. You get intelligence creep or an unsatisfying story.

The best route I can see is to make them well-substandard in intelligence. Rationalist!Forrest Gump, say.

ETA: Another problem is that adventures are usually sub-optimal. No one writes about the Amundsen expedition or equivalents (*) - they write about Scott expeditions.

*(except for Le Guin, who managed it because she's amazing)

comment by Desrtopa · 2014-02-03T08:17:05.196Z · score: 20 (20 votes) · LW · GW

If you want to make a character who's actually both a rationalist and not particularly intelligent, rather than simply being intelligent beyond the expectations of their position, I'd suggest having them know just a few basic heuristics, which are simple if not intuitive to wield.

They might not have the smarts to pick up all the subtle signs to know when someone is trying to con them, for instance, but they'll be the first person to think to communicate important information to avoid a conflict. And they understand the importance of being able to actually change their mind, so if they're experiencing doubts about something, their response would be to go to someone they think has good judgment and is likely to be impartial, ask what they think, and then accept that answer, even if it's not the one they would have been most comfortable with.

When it comes to writing, people are generally taught a set of "rules," but are told that really good writers can "break" these rules once they really learn what they're doing. But of course, nobody can really break the fundamental rules of good writing without harming the quality of their work, it's just that expert writers have a better sense of how the fundamental rules differ from the simpler, easier to understand formulations taught to beginners. A not-very-intelligent rationalist would probably be kind of like a beginning level writer. They know that the point of following the rules is to make good decisions, the way that a beginning writer knows that the point of following the rules is to produce good writing. But they would only be able to explain to a very limited extent why those rules lead to better decisions than their alternatives, and they certainly wouldn't be able to grasp the deeper rules underlying them, and understand what sort of situations function as exceptions to the more basic incarnations.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2014-02-04T03:27:37.458Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Keep in mind that a Straw Vulcan is what happens when a character like this is put in a situation that is an exception to their rules.

comment by Desrtopa · 2014-02-04T03:50:11.085Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That's certainly a component of it, but there are usually other elements, such as the character using heuristics that are not very good in the first place, rejecting emotions or intangibles, inability to cope with "illogical" behavior from others, and so on.

comment by RichardKennaway · 2014-02-02T21:25:50.245Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

I have been tossing around the idea of not-high-IQ rationalist fiction. Problem is, it's really hard to write. If they act rationally, people stop identifying the person as unintelligent.

Don't show them thinking, show them doing. If you show their thoughts at all, show their conclusions, not their reasons. They think and reason, but you don't put it on the page. Have them be involved in matters not stereotypically associated with intelligence but which actually have scope for its application: craftsmen rather than scientists, sergeants rather than generals, etc.

In short, have them actually be as intelligent and rational as you like, but omit all the superficial clothing that people mistake for these things, and use the opposite clothing.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-03T15:01:53.509Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

All right. How does this work as pro-rationality propaganda? We're not simply talking about getting rational characters, but getting rationality to appeal to mid- or low-IQ folks.

comment by bbleeker · 2014-02-03T16:26:50.034Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Rationalists should win", right? You could show an ordinary person solving a problem because s/he doesn't fall for some bias or other.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-03T21:57:26.224Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If the rationalists win, but normal people don't realize they're rationalists, or what made them so...

comment by Nornagest · 2014-02-03T22:00:06.669Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

...then they avoid a lot of tedious ideological dick-waving.

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-04T02:58:51.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

See your post's great grandparent... sure, tedious dick-waving is tedious and dick-waving, but if we're trying to get a point across... maybe I should drop that metaphor.

If we're trying to cultivate appreciation of rationality, it seems inefficient to beat around the... aargh.

Take 3: It seems inefficient to completely neglect to mention rationality.

comment by Lumifer · 2014-02-03T22:07:30.201Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

...and go off to wave their dicks at some other issue :-D

comment by bbleeker · 2014-02-04T08:50:00.592Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's why I don't agree with "don't show them thinking, show them doing". Of course, you'd have to show the thinking in ordinary words that a person of normal intelligence who hasn't had a lot of formal education might use. Proverbs might help; they could be part of the way your rationalist thinks, they could be part of the way /she explains things to others, and they could help your reader to remember it later, if/when they encounter similar situations in their own life. And you wouldn't call them a rationalist, that's a 'big word'. Other people would call them 'wise', and they themselves would probably say 'it's just common sense'.

comment by kokotajlod · 2014-02-02T18:14:35.157Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. I expect not-high-IQ rationalist fiction would involve a lot of sitting and thinking and making lists and remembering rationalist sayings, instead of just doing it all in the head on the fly.

Do we have any examples of not-high-IQ rationalists in real life? We could model fiction on how they handle things. Maybe they exist all around us, and are called "Practical."

comment by James_Miller · 2014-02-02T21:51:59.993Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There are probably autistic LW readers who would score relatively low on IQ tests because they would do poorly on some subsections.

comment by Fhyve · 2014-02-03T08:03:48.985Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Depending on the IQ test, I don't think your overall score will go down much if you don't do well on a subsection or two. This is low confidence, and based off one data point though. I have scores ranging from 102 to 136 and my total score somehow comes out to be 141.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-02T20:29:44.042Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

What about a protagonist of standard-to-high-IQ but an obvious cognitive defect? (e.g. innumeracy, illiteracy, prosopagnosia, any dissassociative disorder, severe mood disorders).

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-03T15:00:05.271Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, that could be effective fiction but it doesn't really help connect to the everyman.

comment by syllogism · 2014-02-03T09:06:10.684Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

You'd go pretty far just telling the audience the character was unintelligent, by giving them unintelligent status markers. Give them a blue-collar career, and very low academic achievement, while also coming from a stable family and average opportunity.

It's been a while since I watched it, but do you think Ben Affleck's character in Good Will Hunting was rational, but of limited intelligence?

There are scattered examples of this sort of "humble working man, who lives honest and true" throughout fiction.

comment by shokwave · 2014-02-03T17:04:06.688Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

It's been a while since I watched it, but do you think Ben Affleck's character in Good Will Hunting was rational, but of limited intelligence?

Yep, a pretty good example, I think

Look, you're my best friend so don't take this the wrong way, but if you're still living here in 20 years, still working construction, I'll fuckin' kill ya. Tomorrow, I'm gonna wake up and I'll be fifty, and I'll still be doing this shit. And that's alright, that's fine. But you're sitting on a winning lottery ticket and you're too scared to cash it in, and that's bullshit. Cause I'd do fucking anything to have what you got. Hanging around here is a waste of your time.

So far, so normal, you don't need to be a rationalist to say these sorts of things to make your friend start using their talents.

Every day, I come by your house, and I pick you up. We go out, have a few drinks, a few laughs, it's great. You know what the best part of my day is? It's for about ten seconds, from when I pull up at the curb to when I get to your door. Cause I think maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye, no see-ya-later, no nothing. You just left.

Now this is what it looks like when a rationalist actually believes in something. You actively enjoy imagining your friend's left without a word, a horrible thing for a friend to do - because you knows that your friend starting to use their potential is so important as to drown out even being totally abandoned by them.

strong language

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-03T14:58:16.524Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We didn't see enough of his character to really judge how rational he was. You need to get a good sense of the available information.

comment by learnmethis · 2014-02-08T18:40:57.867Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Keep in mind that people who apply serious life-changing ideas after reading about them in fiction are the exception rather than the norm. Most people who aren't exceptionally intellect-oriented need to personally encounter someone who "has something" that they themselves wish they had, and then have some reason to think that they can imitate them in that respect. Fiction just isn't it, except possibly in some indirect ways. Rationalist communities competing in the "real-world" arena of people living lives that other people want to and can emulate are a radically more effective angle for people who don't identify strongly with their intellectual characteristics.

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2014-02-03T15:14:39.627Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Fool

Also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao_of_pooh

comment by khafra · 2014-02-03T16:25:59.710Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Ivan achieves good outcomes despite his lack of overt strategizing. But I'm not sure whether that's because he's instrumentally rational in a low-IQ way; or whether it's because his behavior is virtuous, and his story's creators want to endorse virtuous behavior. However, I'm also uncertain about how far low-IQ instrumentally rational behavior diverges from folk virtue.

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2014-03-17T11:08:18.767Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"Virtue" is doing things like cooperate on PD. "Virtue" is sort of folk rationality -- if everyone were virtuous outcomes would be pretty good.

comment by TheAncientGeek · 2014-03-19T12:50:28.828Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Aren't detective/mystery books and shows an example of middlbrow rationalist fiction?

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-03-19T17:46:13.115Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Possible, if the detective isn't particularly smart but uses good methods. I'm not aware of any such.

comment by TheAncientGeek · 2014-03-19T19:58:51.292Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There's an episode of columbo where he catches a member of a high IQ society who thinks he has committed the perfect murder, whilst remaining very modest about his own intellect.

comment by JoshuaFox · 2014-02-02T20:22:57.106Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know about "low" IQ, but plenty of people who don't necessarily have genius IQ have very strong instrumental rationality.

Things like stable family life, network of friends, community, conservative approach to money, religion and charity with a social component, work ethic, temperate living, exercise, etc.

Doing these things may correlate with IQ on the low end; but it has little to do with the genius-level IQ which is so common at LW.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-03T15:23:58.581Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Seeing how common akrasia and all that is on LW, I would go as far as to say that many "normal" people are better at instrumental rationality than the people here. If you look at it from the point of view of instrumental rationality, many things here are probably just a waste of time. They might be useful at some point, but focusing on more practical things will very likely be far more useful.

edit. But this is for an individual, I think LW could be really useful for the society as whole. Raising the sanity waterline and popularizing things like effective altruism will be irreplaceably valuable.

comment by falenas108 · 2014-02-03T18:53:02.161Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I think you're underestimating how common akrasia is among the rest of the world. It's just not seen as that bad of a thing if people spend their time off watching TV, eating unhealthily, or spending hours on the internet.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-02-03T21:18:50.469Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

This would be interesting to know: Do we (however we define the "we" group) really have more akrasia, or are we just more aware of it?

comment by Emile · 2014-02-03T22:07:55.964Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I think others are just more likely to call it "laziness" or "procrastination". The word "Akrasia" seems like some weird lesswrongian turn of language that doesn't really shed much more light.

comment by Creutzer · 2014-02-04T02:04:40.501Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Actually, I'd argue that it's the word "laziness" that obscures matters. It suggests someone who just doesn't want to work and thinks that's alright, or is at least ambiguous between that and akrasia. And procrastination is specifically postponing things all the time; not all akrasia is like that. You can acratically fail to make use of a one-time opportunity.

comment by Emile · 2014-02-04T09:09:43.825Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"I hate myself for being lazy" has 36.000 results on google, which suggests some people at least don't think it's alright (i.e. don't use the same definition as you).

But even if the term "Akrasia" was clearer than "lazy" (I agree it may be), you could say:

  • "Akrasia" is clearer than "Laziness" because it has a more precise meaning
  • "Laziness" is clearer than "Akrasia" because much more people know what the word means

I don't really think our use of the word is a problem tho, it's just worth keeping in mind that we're trading off a little bit more precision for being less understandable to the outside world. But that's always going on with jargon.

comment by wedrifid · 2014-02-04T10:39:50.283Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW
  • "Akrasia" is clearer than "Laziness" because it has a more precise meaning
  • "Laziness" is clearer than "Akrasia" because much more people know what the word means

Also:

  • "Akrasia" is clearer than "Laziness" because the things people believe about laziness tend are often false and so not what is being referred to.
comment by Stabilizer · 2014-02-04T01:30:32.117Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But Viliam_Bur is referring to akrasia and all of it's related phenomena.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2014-02-04T03:42:57.087Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

(however we define the "we" group)

It heavily depends on how we define "we". None, measure implicitly that weighs people by frequency of comments will find that "we" have much worse akrasia than one that doesn't.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-08T22:17:46.739Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As of the last survey 6.4% of LWers were unemployed; how does that compare with people in the same age group (mean 27.4, st.dev. 8.5, quartiles 22, 25 and 31)?

comment by gwern · 2014-02-08T23:03:04.412Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

With young people, employment numbers are a little tricky. I think it's better to look at >=25yos with college degrees, for which FRED provides a data series from the BLS where the values range from ~1.4% to ~5.4% and currently is 3.3%. Depending on how you interpret the survey responses (only explicit "unemployed" or non-responses too?), LWers in the same group (>=25yo, with a bachelors or higher degree) seem to have ~5-7%:

R> survey2013 <- read.csv("http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/182368464/lwsurvey/2013.csv", header=TRUE)
R> age <- survey2013[survey2013$Age>=25,]
R> degree <- function (x) { x!=" " & x!="2 year degree" & x!="High school" & x!="None" }
R> bachelors <- age[sapply(age$Degree, degree),]
R> length(is.na(bachelors$WorkStatus) | bachelors$WorkStatus==" ")
[1] 700
R> sum(!is.na(bachelors$WorkStatus) & bachelors$WorkStatus!=" ")
[1] 691
R> levels(bachelors$WorkStatus)
[1] " "                                "Academics (on the teaching side)"
[3] "For-profit work"                  "Government work"                 
[5] "Independently wealthy"            "Non-profit work"                 
[7] "Self-employed"                    "Student"                         
[9] "Unemployed"                 
R> sum(bachelors$WorkStatus=="Unemployed",na.rm=TRUE)
[1] 38
R> sum(bachelors$WorkStatus=="Unemployed" | is.na(bachelors$WorkStatus) | bachelors$WorkStatus==" ")
[1] 47
R> c(38/691, 47/700)
[1] 0.05499 0.06714
R> binom.test(38,691, p=0.033)

    Exact binomial test

data:  38 and 691
number of successes = 38, number of trials = 691, p-value = 0.002649
alternative hypothesis: true probability of success is not equal to 0.033
95 percent confidence interval:
 0.03921 0.07470
R> binom.test(47,700, p=0.033)
    Exact binomial test

data:  47 and 700
number of successes = 47, number of trials = 700, p-value = 6.492e-06
alternative hypothesis: true probability of success is not equal to 0.033
95 percent confidence interval:
 0.04975 0.08829

(I wonder if I'm using the best BLS data-series, though; they record a lot of data and there can be subtleties that outsiders don't appreciate.)

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-04T12:16:56.033Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you look at it from the point of view of instrumental rationality, many things here are probably just a waste of time.

As opposed to extremely useful activities "normal" people spend lots on time on such as watching TV?

comment by TheAncientGeek · 2014-03-19T12:27:35.772Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Being entertained isn't a possible terminal value?

comment by [deleted] · 2014-03-30T07:21:55.967Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but that applies to reading LW too, not just to watching TV.

comment by fortyeridania · 2014-02-03T20:39:37.667Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

people who don't necessarily have non-genius IQ

Did you mean this double negative?

comment by JoshuaFox · 2014-02-04T06:26:34.594Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks, fixed

comment by Prismattic · 2014-02-03T05:49:11.001Z · score: 16 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Assuming you want to convince anyone outside our base demographic of anything, it is highly inadvisable to refer to people within 1SD of mean IQ as "low-IQ people".

I understand that on a website where the mean IQ is about 140, people with an IQ of 100 might seem dumb. But the vast majority of the population will be justifiably offended at using the term "low-IQ" to mean "people of average intelligence."

comment by wedrifid · 2014-02-03T06:09:27.818Z · score: 6 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I understand that on a website where the mean IQ is about 140, people with an IQ of 100 might seem dumb. But the vast majority of the population will be justifiably offended at using the term "low-IQ" to mean "people of average intelligence."

Fortunately, as you observe, most of them are not here to be offended.

comment by Prismattic · 2014-02-03T06:14:21.420Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know that we can rely on obscurity forever.

But mostly I'm advising him not to use that phrasing anywhere else.

comment by wedrifid · 2014-02-03T08:22:39.665Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Don't disagree. I don't even recommend he use it here, assuming a suitable alternative is available. In part because it is usually the incorrect word to use for the practice being attempted. For most part "only slightly high IQ people" are the ones being referred to.

comment by kokotajlod · 2014-02-03T14:18:27.827Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. Perhaps I should have said "Normal-IQ people?" That still sounds a bit bad though.

comment by falenas108 · 2014-02-03T18:49:39.554Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe something to the effect of "Rationality and the Average Person," which doesn't have a reference to ideas of intelligence or IQ, but keeps the idea of "How can this best be applied to the rest of the world?"

However, I don't particularly like that phrasing.

comment by 9eB1 · 2014-02-02T20:07:26.377Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

The popularity of LW rationality among high IQ people is probably strongly influenced by a quasi-aesthetic judgment that being correct is valuable unto itself. Most people (of all IQs) would also prefer to be right, but they also want to be successful, and they probably want to be successful more than they want to be right. Being successful and being rational both require effort, and the most efficient way to become successful for a low IQ individual is probably not through rationality training, but through more direct and applicable prescriptions, like reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, learning money management skills, networking, or whatever else is well-known and directly applicable to their situation. Thus, it is likely rational for low IQ people not to highly value direct rationality training, which doesn't appeal to their comparative advantages.

comment by chaosmage · 2014-02-03T12:35:26.412Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Everyone appreciates decreased effort, right? Much of rationality could easily be reframed as methods to avoid wasting effort. The rest should follow kind of naturally, if rationality is indeed a coherent system of thought.

comment by Brillyant · 2014-02-03T15:15:40.624Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. There is some low-hanging fruit that helps you avoid wasting effort. But that is largely covered in books like Win Friends and Influence People and other such self help-y titles. LW is much deeper dive into rationality and I don't think it would benefit some large % of the population in terms of avoiding wasting effort or increasing wealth or happiness.

comment by chaosmage · 2014-02-04T10:59:46.023Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not talking about the low-hanging fruit. As you say, those are covered. My reasoning is this:

  • If rationality is systematized winning, every rationality technique can be described as a method for winning. Preferably with a group of examples from wildly unrelated contexts, to emphasize the universality of the method.
  • Every win can be reformulated as an avoidance of loss, which makes it gain subjective importance due to loss aversion.
  • Effort is loss.

So I think any aspect of rationality should seem more valuable if reframed in this way, which would help people who do not have that "quasi-aesthetic judgment that being correct is valuable unto itself" 9eB1 mentioned appreciate rational methods.

If you disagree, give me three elements of rationality that you don't think can be reframed as methods to avoid wasting effort, and I'll try to do just that.

This is not my idea. Rolf Dobelli did something very similar to that, and wrote an international bestseller this way.

comment by Brillyant · 2014-02-04T14:48:42.335Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what that you are responding to. In the context of this article, I meant only that some huge chunk of the population will likely never experience increased wealth, happiness, etc. by reading deeply into LW or other intensive rationality training because they don't have big IQs. Simple heuristics and common biases are useful to know... beyond that, I see limited value.

For example, there is a rational way to dunk a basketball -- avoiding wasting effort & optimizing to a successful outcome -- but it isn't particularily useful to 99.X% of the population.

comment by Eugine_Nier · 2014-02-05T07:02:55.075Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If you disagree, give me three elements of rationality that you don't think can be reframed as methods to avoid wasting effort

The problem is a lot of irrationality can also be reformulated as avoiding wasted effort.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-02-02T16:56:41.517Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Based on three sets of experiences, I'd say there is a strong overlap between people who do not value intelligence and people who have little of it (in three different ways).

First, I've worked with deaf people who are acquiring language late in life. Second, I've worked with young children. Third, I've worked with homeless people. Some of each of these are blindingly intelligent by any measure. Some are not depending on how intelligence is measured. Among the later, higher intelligence is mistrusted and seen as making trouble.

The exception in life is clergy, who are granted smarts as a good. The exception in fiction is 'nerd on a leash' - the doctor or navigator or smart guy kept for his use by a barbarian horde.

comment by Stefan_Schubert · 2014-02-02T23:31:22.704Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

True. The same goes for other prestigious qualities - beautiful people value beauty, for instance. Generally people tend to acquire metrics for judging people according to which they are highly valued. Cf Nietzsche's theory that slaves were inclined to adopt Christianity because it "reversed the values" the Romans had in a way that benefited the slaves (e.g. poverty was seen as a virtue, wealth as a vice).

comment by Prismattic · 2014-02-03T05:53:07.307Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with this in part. But there seem to be two distinct types of dim people. Self-aware dim people go the Nietzchean route and devalue the virtue of intelligence. But there are also what you might call Dunning-Krueger dim people. These people don't devalue intelligence; they just don't realize how little of it they possess.

comment by shminux · 2014-02-02T23:40:17.992Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

This post is to raise a question about the demographics of rationality: Is rationality something that can appeal to low-IQ people as well?

This question is best answered if you look from the other direction: do people 10-15 IQ points higher than you benefit more from "rationality" than you do?

comment by pianoforte611 · 2014-02-05T00:32:15.248Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes they do (Scott H. Young is way smarter than me and he has developed a method of soaking up really complicated ideas in a matter of weeks or days).

I don't think this is a useful question though, there is no reason to think that the gains in ability to utilize LW-style rationality are linear. I think its more likely that there is some threshold level of intelligence that is needed to make use of the techniques then the gains get smaller. Other skills are similar - calculus, basketball (where the property is height rather than intelligence), physics etc.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-02-02T22:36:17.741Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

If it is possible to write successful stories of highly intelligent people who consistently fail (just think Big Bang Theory; there obviously needed to make them likeable for a general audience) then it should be equally possible to write the opposite where an average huy wins by just applying the rules.

It is a story. You could have a protagonist which in each episode applies just one rationality method (exploit one bias, apply one routine). Say he reads one chapter of the sequences at a time and is presented as unable to grasp them all at once and has to learn and concentrate a lot to get it. But then win big by .- by plot chance - applying just this method in the right circumstances.

Example:

Overconfidence and/r Planning fallacy. Story: Protagonist is middle manager. Big project is comming. Boss calls meeting to estimate project. Protagonist meticulously collects all the outside view evidence beforehand. Meeting attendees give their estimates of all the steps and sum. He gives outside view estimate but is looked down upon. Guess who is right in the ende?

comment by jkaufman · 2014-02-03T20:33:29.646Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Protagonist is middle manager. Big project is comming. Boss calls meeting to estimate project. Protagonist meticulously collects all the outside view evidence beforehand. Meeting attendees give their estimates of all the steps and sum. He gives outside view estimate but is looked down upon. Guess who is right in the end?

Being right because you expected your team to do badly and work slowly doesn't make you look very good. In fiction we tend to see the opposite: someone is way more confident than they have any right to be, and they manage to pull it off (just barely) making themselves and their team-members look admirable.

comment by Vulture · 2014-02-02T17:38:02.033Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I think that a lot of our traditional rationality memes (like "lose your faith in intellectual authority", "figure everything out for yourself" and "take an idea seriously if and only if you are personally convinced of it") could be especially dangerous for people who aren't very smart.

comment by Emile · 2014-02-02T22:14:34.733Z · score: 18 (18 votes) · LW · GW

I don't consider those as "our" memes, except if you meant Western culture in general. Those seem like bad ideas, smart or not smart. I would prefer something like "Distinguish intellectual authorities that have reasons to be correlated with truth (because of the incentive structures) from authorities who derive their status from other things (success in unrelated fields, good communication skills, saying what people want to hear), and take the first kind seriously."

"Trying to figure everything out yourself" is something I associate with smart-but-not-rational people who are likely to waste a lot of time or even get things completely wrong because they noticed they were smarter than their primary school teacher, and extrapolated to deduce they were smarter than established experts, which is certainly pleasant to think!

comment by buybuydandavis · 2014-02-02T23:09:14.283Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In a social species, believing authority is probably quite adaptive to the less intelligent just for getting things right. And then there is the adaptive value of going with the herd, because the herd likes that.

Epistemic rationality is really only valued by mutants with a fetish for it, and the capability to be relatively good at it. And while they get some benefits from their fetish, they pay a social cost for it too.

comment by ThrustVectoring · 2014-02-02T18:13:10.084Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

There's a certain conflation between being viewed as intelligent and being viewed as high-status. People who don't have the smarts to play the intellectual status game have a couple of obvious choices to increase their perceived status. They can either reject the whole "thinking well is a valuable skill" set of ideas, or they can reject evidence that says that they aren't smart and pretend to be better at the whole thinking thing than they really are.

Both of these are very big stumbling blocks for becoming a more rational and better person. In order to want to join the rationalist community, you need to have the beliefs that you aren't as capable as you could be, that thinking better is good for you, and that you can admit to mistakes without undermining your position. These beliefs are much more present among high-IQ people for what I think are obvious enough reasons that I don't need to enumerate them.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-02-03T08:23:57.457Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.

When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.

Selected part from the Kalama Sutta. Seems like a good rule of thumb; combining virtue ethics, deontology, and consequentialism. This would be my first instrumental rationality lesson for the low-IQ people. The rest of the lesson would be specific examples and discussion.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-02-02T21:36:50.713Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

The low-IQ people would probably benefit from non-meta advice.

As a part of raising the sanity waterline, it could be useful to compose a textbook of good advice for average people. But we probably shouldn't expect to make them able to create such books for themselves.

It's like a division of labor -- the people who are good at thinking (i.e. intelligent and rational) should do the thinking. The others are more efficient when then follow such advice. Yes, this has a lot of problems. I just don't see a way to avoid them, if the person has a low IQ. And the low-IQ person is probably going to follow someone else's advice anyway, because that's all they can do. Giving them some good advice at least gives them a chance of picking a good advice to follow; because the bad advice is already there.

We should see people as what they are, not as we wish them to be.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-02-02T22:41:24.512Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The thing that "average" people need isn't so much a textbook as a recognition that maybe intelligent people are better role models than the latest football star or rapper.

If you don't have the status the advice that you are giving won't be heard.

comment by AndyWood · 2014-02-11T19:40:20.119Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Rappers are probably a bad example. Most if not all of the great rappers are notable for being extremely intelligent, especially in the sense that IQ measures.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-03-02T18:21:05.645Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Most if not all of the great X are notable for being extremely intelligent. For any X to arrive at the very top you probably also need to be smart.

comment by AndyWood · 2014-03-17T08:35:08.697Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Rappers are much more cerebral than football players, as a class, as a profession, as an endeavor. There's no rationalizing around this.

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2014-03-17T11:02:16.552Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Rap battles reward quick wit as few other things do (maybe improv theatre/comedy also?)


People need to stop equating single parameters with anything, like Villiam Bur does in the original post.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-02-03T08:13:28.865Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

maybe intelligent people are better role models

Some people use their intelligence to do intelligent decisions; those would be good to follow. Some people use their intelligence mostly for signalling intelligence (see your local Mensa for examples); those would be bad to follow.

The necessary part of the low-IQ person's strategy would be to recognize the former from the latter. Unfortunately, those good role models often don't fit the popular stereotype of an intelligent person. They often even don't consider themselves to be highly intelligent.

Some anecdotal data: Despite me generally expressing contempt for Mensa in LW forums, I actually do recommend people I consider smart to go take the Mensa IQ test. Not to join the Mensa, only to do the test; to calibrate on their own intelligence. A few people who later did the test successfully at first completely denied the idea of being highly intelligent. And it's actually those people I would recommend as the best role models. But if they don't recognize themselves and even actively deny their intelligence, how should their neighbors recognize them?

comment by chaosmage · 2014-02-04T11:06:25.794Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I chose to use IQ in this post instead of a more vague term like "intelligence," but I could easily have done the opposite. I'm happy to do whichever version is less problematic.

I suggest we change focus from IQ to working memory.

Since working memory is a better predictor of ability than IQ, it is more relevant. A state of less (especially verbal) working memory is more easily modeled. And it makes testable predictions about what kind of presentation of information would work for people with it. Repetition becomes very important, as well as multimodal presentation (i.e. figures and graphs). You need working memory to integrate information, so if you don't have much you're grateful for summaries, not just at the end of a chapter but at the end of every subsection. And without much working memory you get lost in a sea of text more easily, so you want frequent reminders of why you're reading this, where this is going and what exactly you're trying to understand in the specific subsection you're in.

comment by gwern · 2014-02-04T20:35:24.725Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't believe that interpretation of Alloway's research and if you read her results, I think you'll see why.

comment by drethelin · 2014-02-04T19:04:49.173Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

IQ has the added benefit of being deducible from standardized tests and also something that far far more people have had already done.

comment by Tedav · 2014-02-23T20:28:08.595Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Intelligence" is one of my favorite examples of Reification - a cluster of concepts that were grouped together into a single word to make communication easier, and as a result is often falsely thought of as a single concept, rather than an abstract collection of several separable ideas.

Knowledge of relevant facts, algorithmic familiarity, creativity, arithmetic capabilities, spatial reasoning capabilities, awareness and avoidance of logical fallacies, and probably dozens of others are all separable concepts that all could reasonable be described as intelligence, but that correlate with each other to an unknown degree, and the effects of which can be observed in [near] isolation.

While intelligence remains useful as a word, it is a troublesome one.

IQ is no less troubling. It measures only a small fraction of the skills that could be described as intelligence. In addition, it appears to measure significantly more than just intelligence, with variation as big as 20 points being subject to cultural, or unknown environmental factors. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1987-17534-001

One problem I remember reading about was the "odd item out" style of question historically found in many IQ tests - four objects were presented, and subjects were supposed to decide which one didn't belong. Unless 3 out of the 4 objects were identical, this task is ambiguous - and one anthropologist [citation needed] found that different cultures can have a different generally accepted "correct answer" to such a question.

TL;DR "Intelligence" isn't only vague, but it is an abstract combination of many semi-correlated skill-sets IQ on the other hand is a well-defined test, but it is not free of bias. It measures only a subset of what we would call "intelligence", and really only reliably predicts how well someone will do on future IQ tests.

comment by JQuinton · 2014-02-04T22:33:00.557Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe I'm a bit of an idealist, but I don't see any reason that rationality can't be taught to the average person.

Surely learning the basics of rationality (e.g. use Bayes Theorem) can be learned and applied by everyday folk, if memes like PEMDAS can be learned and remembered by average people (I think I learned PEMDAS in junior high school). I think it just takes changing the education curricula found in most primary education... which is, admittedly, a much harder goal.

I vaguely remember elementary school in the 80s and in history lessons learning how great America is. Imagine if, instead of that sort of education, we learned about cognitive biases (like why we would think America was so great).

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2014-02-02T16:31:55.189Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You might want to look at The Millionaire Next Door books-- they're about people of average or slightly above average intelligence applying rationality to accumulating money.

comment by WalterL · 2014-02-03T22:28:20.005Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I sort of thought this was the idea behind Star Trek. You get lofty principles expounded by Team Good Guy, with a Straw Vulcan to assure you that this isn't just for nerds, but for popular kids like you, dear viewer!

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-02-07T09:39:19.010Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Did Star Trek get watched by people who aren't nerds?

comment by WalterL · 2014-02-07T17:23:48.680Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Alex the jock knows that everyone after him is a nerd, he doesn't watch star trek. Bob the slacker knows that everyone but him and Alex is a nerd, he's seen an episode or two of star trek. Carl the marching band guy knows that the club members are the real nerds, he watches the current Star Trek along with the rest of his tv schedule. David the Debate Club president knows that Chess club is where the nerds are, he knows every version of Star Trek. Eric the Chess Club president knows that the Math club is where the nerds are, he is a star trek fanatic. Fhomas (typo on his birth certificate) is in the Math club, and knows that nerds are the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. He's watches star trek and empathizes with the straw vulcans.

Now that I typed it, this is a gross simplification. I guess what I was trying to say is lots of different folks watch(ed) Star Trek, and most of them would be called 'Nerds" by others, but admitting that oneself is a nerd is a more recent phenomenon. The classic response is to simply move the cutoff one step down the nerdiness ladder.

comment by Lumifer · 2014-02-03T22:13:57.892Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do we have reason to believe that the kind of rationality promoted on LW, OvercomingBias, CFAR, etc. appeals to a fairly normal distribution of people around the IQ mean?

I think it appeals to some subset, notably those who want to win and have enough self-discipline to apply proper tools.

Otherwise it seems to me that the stupider you are, the harder it is for you to consciously use rationality and so you will value it less.

Ditto, except replace "being rational" with "celebrating rationality...

I don't know what "celebrating rationality" means. Stories like HPMOR attempt to popularize rationality and spread it. That's not celebration, that's pushing a meme.

what are the implications for the movement in general?

Which "movement"? There ain't no movement.

comment by kokotajlod · 2014-02-04T02:16:12.065Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think it appeals to some subset, notably those who want to win and have enough self-discipline to apply proper tools.

I think that conflicts with our evidence. That subset is fairly large, yet (it seems) very few of them if any are on LW.

By "celebrating rationality" I meant something like what you meant by "popularizing rationality." The difference isn't important, but for what it is worth it has something to do with the intended effect of the art on people who already like the ideas it popularizes.

Which "movement"? There ain't no movement.

What would you call it then? A trend? A faction? A meme? Any of those classifications would satisfy me; my question still stands as-yet-unanswered however you choose to phrase it.

comment by Lumifer · 2014-02-04T02:31:01.852Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That subset is fairly large, yet (it seems) very few of them if any are on LW.

You don't imagine that LW is the only source of valid information about how to win at life, do you..?

What would you call it then?

Depends on what "it" are you talking about.

comment by TheAncientGeek · 2014-03-19T12:19:23.660Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know low IQ people aren't being instrumentally nationalist already? Maybe it is beneficial for them to play along with the religious beliefs of their neighbours, etc.

By rationalist, do you mean instrumentality rationalist, epistemically rationalist, atheist, or what?

comment by TheAncientGeek · 2014-03-19T12:45:53.066Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It struck me the other day that conservatism could be a rational adaptation to low intelligence. If you can't figure out which new or foreign things are a threat, it is safest to treat them all as threats

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2014-03-19T11:06:34.580Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

http://www.philosophersmail.com/290114-what-whoarewe.php

Seems relevant. The dude behind this idea was on NPR.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-02-02T17:44:35.181Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As a kid I loved watching Ally Mc Beal because of the way it presented interesting moral dilemas that stimulate myself to think about what's right and wrong.

I know other people who liked Ally Mc Beal because of the way it presents office gossip. You can easily add a love subplot to a rational story.

Perhaps people think that rationality is a good thing in much the same way that being wealthy is a good thing, but they don't think that it should be celebrated, or at least they don't find such celebrations appealing.

A lot of people find the story of badman quite appealing. There are also various TV series who try to present characters who are labeled as intelligent. The problem is that those characters often win because they have an amazing insight for which they don't really have the necessary information and turn out to be right.

The look to the low intelligence person to be rational but not to the high intelligence person who actually expects that smart people make smart decisions for smart reasons that make sense.

A lot of people also like MacGyver. Not because they identify with his intelligence but because they think he's cool.

4.) Making the same supposition, what are the implications for the movement in general?

21st century movements should not focus on trying to appeal to everyone anyway.

comment by Thomas · 2014-02-02T15:27:47.080Z · score: -5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

No matter how intelligent one is, he or she has to obey the rules of arithmetic as well as rules of rationality.

As much as possible.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-02-02T17:28:41.855Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think there a plenty of people who are successful despite ignoring a lot of "rules of rationality" that don't have to do with "make the winning move".

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2014-02-02T16:32:31.549Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Rather, one is subject to the consequences of one's irrationality?

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2014-02-02T20:25:33.394Z · score: -11 (19 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer's IQ is only (IIRC) 130-ish, so yes, low-IQ people can obviously be attracted by rationality. If anything, they need it all the more, in the same sense that poor people must be more frugal than rich ones.

comment by Kawoomba · 2014-02-02T20:51:33.671Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

143, tested as a teenager.

Standard tests don't really discriminate well in that region and upwards.