Re: "Sound and Fury" over enhancements

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Jan 09 2002 - 18:29:31 MST

On Wed, Jan 09, 2002 at 05:41:46PM -0500, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> Brian D Williams wrote:
> >
> > >From:
> >
> > >For Mike and his fellow conservative ideologues, consider an
> > >intelligence enhancement for your children which has an observed
> > >side effect: almost all of them become Socialists. Quel horreur!
> >
> > Then clearly the intelligence enhancement was a failure, give Greg
> > Burch or one of his associates a call.
> Not to mention Hal's claim is false. Just heard on the radio today of a
> British study of the impact of wealth on health and happiness, which
> found that increased wealth correlated directly with an increase in
> mental health and happiness/self esteem. This obviously contradicts the
> popular socialist notion that wealth does not equal happiness, so it
> follows that those continuing to adhere to socialist mindsets are of
> lower intelligence, and are therefore those who need the upgrade.

You can probably guess what Spock would say about that chain of
reasoning ;-)

To my knowledge the studies that have been done have not shown any
correlation of happiness with wealth; it seems to vary a bit with which
society you are a part of, and direct poverty of course seriously
impacts happiness. Health has a measurable social factor, but apparently
not (unless we are talking about countries with very bad conditions) due
to marked differences in treatment but likely due to differences in
education, coping strategies and likely stress. It seems to correlate
more with power distances than actual wealth levels - poorer people are
healthier in low power distance countries than in high power distance

There was one study of gifted students showing that there were a fairly
good correlation between intelligence, health, success and happiness. Of
course, that is a biased sample of people who have been told that they
are special and will do great, but there does seem to be some links

All in all, the evidence seems to suggest that 1) low power distances
are health promoting, 2) it is good to be smart and educated, or at
least think that you are smart and can be educated.

> > >It's not implausible: in fact in many of the most difficult and
> > >esoteric branches of science and mathematics, branches which
> > >require the highest levels of sheer abstract intelligence to
> > >thrive, Socialism and allied political philosophies are
> > >widespread. I remember reading an obituary in The Mathematical
> > >Intelligencer which went to some length to apologize for the fact
> > >that the deceased was not a Socialist. He was still a decent guy,
> > >the obit hastened to explain, he just had this one little
> > >political blind spot.
> I'd have to contest this. While the particular political agenda of the
> Mathematical Intelligencer only indicates its own blind spots, in my
> experience it is those scientists who practice in the real world: i.e.
> engineers, who overwhelmingly are anti-socialist (and they generally
> have a dim view of scientists who spend their lives in the Ivory tower.

Broken record time again: see Hayek's _The Intellectuals and Socialism_.

My experience is that mathematicians are not particularly political,
while the social sciences broadly speaking have a noticeable left
leaning - partly likely due to the decline in social status of the
Swedish humanists, partly due to not biting the hand that funds, and
mainly because the discourse of the entire field has been steeped in
socialist ideas for a long time here.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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