Monday assorted links


Re: 1 - Kelvin Wong's stuff looks interesting but I don't see any way to get ahold of the papers (yet).

5. "Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine." In other words, supporters of Donald Trump.

Alternative medicine? Paranormal beliefs? Sounds like downscale Democratic voters, actually. The kind of people who watch Margaret Cho get "shaken to her core" on the Lifetime Network:

Religion? That's Ben Carson.

The other traits however, yea, Donald Trump.

Many right-wing outlets, like and Newsmax peddle alternative medicine and anti-vaccination nonsense to their gullible readers.

Don't bother responding, those comments will be gone by morning and yours will end up on the bottom of the page without context.

Presumably the stalker will eventually get the picture.

Probably not all. And I'm no stalker.

Physicists should work with Cho to find out how to contact the paranormal force that lifted her in her bed with *her* in it.

This is not a small feat.

If we can tap that force then * way* better than nuclear fusion.

Long way to go for a lame fat joke.

yeah, OK.. And I like Margret Cho - she is cool - but the bed thing.... anyway, Margret and Tyler are about to lose serious weight when they take NR.

"Religious and paranormal beliefs..."

My guess is most blue-staters read this phrase, and mentally conjure backwood Pentecostal hicks, rolling on the ground with snakes. The Tribeca-based yoga instructor who blabbers about chi-alignment, toxin-cleansing diets, dream-interpretation and gluten-free diets is considered eccentric at worst. There's fairly good evidence that people's level of super-natural beliefs are relatively invariant to the level of their community's organized religion. For example Western Europe is undergoing a profound decline in church attendance, but its largely accompanied by a rising belief in ghosts, faeries and psychics.

I think both kinds of paranormal believers are pretty susceptible to bullshit. It's almost tautological.

I completely agree. Even if they don't subscribe to their beliefs, people tend to be more forgiving to the nonsense spouted by their ideological and cultural allies. My friends' bullshit is harmless fun, my enemies' bullshit is dangerously insane lunacy.

I will add though, that there's a minor wrinkle between the supernatural bullshit stemming from organized religion and that from personalized spirituality. The former tends to be very rivalrous of competing sources of bullshit. Most young-Earth creationists reject ghosts, psychics, and Eastern medicine as blasphemous. That raises high barriers for the entrepreneurial entry into bullshit production. A bullshit monopoly most likely under-serves bullshit.

How does our brain determine bullshit?

Actually this is only marginally connects but wanted to point to this talk by Jeff Hawkins. Particularly like the part at 19.20 when he was asked if machines will feel or be self aware.

His take was that the information we take in through touch, our eyes and ears is really received through nerves and by the brain as the same data - whether seen, heard or touched. So our perception of the world is completely fabricated in our head, which decides what we see and hear.. Why couldn't a machine fabricate a world and their place in it as well?

So they're stupid? Sounds like [people who disagree with me politically]!

Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Are 2) and 5) related?

So, what's your opinion of Montreal Protocol?

I am biased, but I am less biased than everyone else.

1. How do you find job market candidates? Are you just getting them directly from each department's website? If so how do you choose which departments to go to?

Going around to basically the top fifteen schools, google "[school name] economics job market candidates"...

What happens to candidates at programs that aren't top 15 (including, presumably, those graduating from the GMU program)? Are they headed to satellite schools and liberal arts colleges to work their way up?

I don't mean to imply that GMU should look at their own grads; no one does that. I just mean what is someone from a top-100 but not top-25 school aiming for?

Well, they do look at them--nobody else wants a GMU grad, other than their equally-Koch-funded receptor schools. What other economics department would want a candidate whose only marketable skills are writing political screeds?

Koch! Koch! Koch!

#2 - Same old, same old Paris commenters. Much better: @BjornLomborg @MichaelBTI @narendramodi @arvindsubraman @glloydtwit

#3: Officials of the so-called caliphate dislike the term “tax,” preferring the Islamic term “zakat,” which refers to the alms Muslims are required to pay. Although the norm would be 2.5 percent of a person’s wealth under typical interpretations of Islamic law, the militants are taking 10 percent, justifying the high rate by saying they are a “nation in a time of war,” according to a citizen journalist in Raqqa who asked for his safety to be identified only as Abu Mouaz.

If only I could convince the state of Maryland to settle for that much.

10% of your WEALTH? I don't think MD takes that much. Or maybe you don't have much in net assets.

I was assuming the author meant income rather than wealth, but perhaps not. And yeah, I bought a house not long ago, so I'll probably have negative net assets for, oh...I don't know, the next 15 years or so.

Ugh, bought in 2006 eh? Hang in there...

No, it was just last year. Real estate is just reeeeeally expensive 'round these parts.

Well then your net worth is fine, you owe the bank a lot but presumably the property you now own is worth more that that debt.

Zakat is actually not a fixed amount. Different asset classes have to pay at different rates. It is more or less unworkable and Muslim governments dropped it early on. They relied instead on taxing non-Muslims, various illegal taxes and various forms of feudal land control that would out source the violation of Islamic law to someone else.

Iranian Shia did move to taking a percentage of your income - I think it is 20% - but that was directly to the religious authorities, not to the government.

Basically Islamic law on taxation is unworkable. Even in historic times.

If you had any guts you'd post under the actual name your parents gave you. Presumably if you kept it clean you wouldn't get deleted, and anyone who reads here who met you IRL would know how brilliant you are.

Why would you?

I post anonymously because this is just a silly diversion for me. And when I get banned I just go away (hasn't happened yet but that's what I would do)

Ah well, Time to move on, pardner.


English due to its various roots is an interesting language for this study. My guess is that heavy use of latin/french derived words is heavily correlated with bullshit. Saxon words are the medium of skepticism/cynicism. Even "bullshit" itself is a great example. Shit is simply the saxon equivalent of the french defecate. Its become crass and crude, but also no-nonsense. In terms of construal level theory, French most likely puts us in "far-mode" and Saxon in "near-mode". Whether this is due to the innate floweriness of the French language, or the historical English linguistic class divisions is matter of debate.

There's a healthy genre of (mostly spoken) American bullshit that draws on simple words and heavy use of profanity to claim authenticity. The written form can be sampled on any city's craiglist rants&raves.

French provides us with dismissive expressions that are great for expressing cynicism, like "plus ca change..." or "manque"

Hard to choose between shit and merde or to get much grimmer than "si vis pacem par bellum."

I call bullshit...

This is how Tyler learns what it's like to have a lunatic stalker. Day in the life of a rock star.

Were you persuaded by the article? If so, how would you describe yourself? -

1. No.

2. Mildly dismayed by the use of vulgarities in academic literature.

5. Am I susceptible to bullshit (that's the question posed by Cowen)? I suppose I am, as I tend to believe what I want to believe (or believe I already know). Since my best friend has opposite political views, I also like to believe that I can learn something from those who disagree with me (even if what they believe is bullshit they learned from those who agree with them). I suppose I am in the bullshit business (I am a lawyer), and bullshit was a big part of my persona on Friday nights for many (somewhat productive - and that's charitable) years. I am also a believing Christian, believing in the sense that there must be a point to all of this besides random events. Having spent much of the past 20 plus years in the low country, the definition of believing Christian has taken on a whole new meaning. Is God really my personal friend, who watches over me day and night, answers my prayers, rewards my favorite football team on Saturdays, gets me the promotion (or client), protects me from harm, and looks out for my children? And does it all the while millions of children are suffering throughout the world? What is bullshit?

Most of the time, isn't the more appropriate question "What flavor of bullshit do I prefer?"

"I am also a believing Christian, believing in the sense that there must be a point to all of this besides random events."
So think Muslims, Shintoists, Jews, Spiritists (my Grandma was one of them). Even Marxists would say it has nothing to do with random events, but with the laws if History discoved by Marx.

I enjoy believing new things at least for a little while. I try not to indulge myself for too long though. At some point you have to sort which things are really true, and which are ... well there are lots of reasons to hold beliefs, aren't there?

Many more than things being actually true.

>How will climate change affect China?

The same way it does everyone else, and always has -- unpredictably, and in ways nobody can do a damn thing about.

#1. Tyler, knowing you a bit, albeit from a distance, I know that there was no ill intent in singling out this guy's teaching philosophy. But someone could get a bad first impression of the guy which is not a good thing for a job market candidate. Especially because his philosophy is very faith related which unfortunately may turn off some academics who fancy themselves as enlightened and tolerant--but actually may be very intolerant of someone professing faith plays a big role int heir teaching philosophy.
Bottom line, more carefulness in discussing job market candidates so as to not affect their chances negatively may be a good thing.

Well, not my line of work, but I actually hope people who do the hiring at least have the trouble of reading applicants' texts (this is the reason people are told to be wise when using social media among other things), CVs, etc., and it is not exactly like Mr. Wong is (or should be) trying to hide his religious beliefs (and truth is, one does not know which "deviations" from the median will turn hirers off--being an anime fan detracts from the gravitas one expects from a professor? What about believing in Rhabdomancy?).
For what is worth, I, an agnostic, liked Mr. Wong philosophy, I would just point out that the qualities he is striving for would be good things--and some people would have championed them (and some did)-- even if Christ had not/did existed.

#5. "Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy)..."

Cognitive reflection, verbal intelligence, fluid intelligence and numeracy are among the most rigorously measurable individual difference characteristics. The profound-sounding bullshit generator is a smart manipulation. Finally, this result is consistent with some new research on the relationship between belief in fate and forecasting ability. So, yes, I find the methods defensible and the results believable.

I know it when I see it.

Enjoyed 3, but amused at the lines about: 'The fighters who man the border post treat the payment as an import duty, not a bribe. They even provide a stamped receipt, with the logo and seal of the Islamic State, that Mr. Kirayfawai, 38, needs for passing through other checkpoints on his delivery route.

Refuse to pay and the facade of normality quickly falls away. “If I do not,” Mr. Kirayfawai explained, “they either arrest me or burn my truck.'

Either being arrested or losing your stuff when you refuse to pay sounds like it continues the facade of normality. How does the NYT think that import (or other) taxes normally work?

"Either being arrested or losing your stuff when you refuse to pay sounds like it continues the facade of normality. How does the NYT think that import (or other) taxes normally work?"
I was to say it.

For what it's worth, a day late and a dollar short:

"Beliefs that conflict with common naturalistic conceptions of the world have been labelled epistemically suspect"

I call bullshit.

"Susceptibility to bullshit is correlated with what other personality traits? (pdf)"

First and foremost, the belief that you can attribute the associated undesirable personality traits to people you disagree with about politics. My psychic noted that if you assign numeric values to the letters in the author's names, line them up to create a single number, take the square root of that number and assign letters to the numeric values, it says "paging Dr. Sokal". Also "I buried Paul" if you hold it up to the mirror.

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