Comment by Christopher_Monsour on Friedman's "Prediction vs. Explanation" · 2008-09-29T06:37:56.000Z · LW · GW

Is it cheating to say that it depends hugely on the content of the theories, and their prior probabilities?

Comment by Christopher_Monsour on Competent Elites · 2008-09-27T04:59:14.000Z · LW · GW

pdf: No, of course, by definition, people who are less power-loving have less desire to manipulate the world on the medium-to-large scale. (At least that's my working definition of "power-loving.") And so it's not surprising that they do so less.

Depending on what kind of ideas you have, and also what you want to do with them -- refine them, put them into the zeitgeist, get them implemented on a mass scale, enjoy having them praised, whatever -- you will want to introduce them to different audiences, and intelligence is only one of the relevant variables.

Eliezer: I think the Jaynes post probably got more backlash because it violated a social convention about not talking in positive terms about one's own intelligence. (The convention is more complicated than that -- I'm just identifying it, not trying to describe it here.)

Comment by Christopher_Monsour on Competent Elites · 2008-09-27T03:52:09.000Z · LW · GW

Eliezer, thanks for sharpening the point for me. Still, I'm used to your posts catalyzing so much insight that this one continues to strike me as remarkably banal, even naive. I'm probably missing something. Do all that many educated people really think that CEOs of mid-to-upper-level corporations and hedge-fund managers are not generally more intelligent than average?

Equally importantly, the question that this point raises but doesn't address at all: do you think that intelligence dominates driving force behind ascension through corporate hierarchies? My instinct is to think that you've got to be smart to succeed, but you've also got to have a certain kind of power-loving personality, and be charismatic, and have at least a few other qualities.

To put it another way, when you say, "There's another world out there, richer in more than money," that's obviously true; but isn't it just as obvious that plenty of people with that kind of riches aren't in business, government, or the power-focused professions?

Comment by Christopher_Monsour on Competent Elites · 2008-09-27T01:39:51.000Z · LW · GW

I don't know what to make of the claim that everyone who writes "books," or "reporters," or any group of great interest, generally acts as if CEOs, the "world's upper echelons," and the "power elite" are a bunch of mental defectives. It doesn't seem remotely plausible to me.

Is this really a critique of academic intellectual culture? Academics probably do routinely underestimate the intelligence & competence of businesspeople. I don't have the sense that most of the rest of the civilized world does.