Tag Archives: evolution

Indian Soldier Is Never On A Holiday

Good God! Mr. Noob!

Aakar Patel’s article “The Martyr Who Cleans Your Drains” is brilliant. Sanitation workers are incomparably more likely to die than soldiers. So, why are they not considered martyrs? Why are soldiers seen as heroes? I think the explanation lies in human evolution. People don’t like the idea of doing a task and getting paid for it because they have such poor personal standards. They have all sorts of illusions about themselves. They don’t have the brains or nerve to think on their own. But, if they are paid to do a task, they think there is something demeaning about this. But, the truth is that most human beings do not have the deep specialized knowledge to be truly creative. The most they can do is to take orders, get paid, and say “Thank You” nicely.

But, if they are led covertly into serving ideals that do not challenge the society’s secular religion, like warfare, they are fine. People value covert conniving and the warrior spirit more than they value real skills and co-operation. Soldiers are also high status—martyrs in the uniform. Aakar Patel once pointed out that Gujaratis are more likely to be traders and less likely to be soldiers. The reason is that the mercenary spirit and the spirit of the trading floor are entirely opposed to each other.

A person who reads this article can’t honestly disagree with it. But, they won’t pay much attention to it. Why? It ain’t hard to admit that sanitation workers die more often than soldiers, and that they deserve more respect. But, once you admit this, it would become clear that what soldiers do is no big deal. People are quite willing to die while getting paid to do a task.

If you really are stupid, I would call that a disease.

Nobel laureate Dr. James D. Watson, Chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.I believe you are the kindest to people when you tell them exactly what you think, in the clearest possible terms, in the most uncompromising manner, without hostility, without manipulative intent. It is sheer evasion and malice that stops people from seeing this. Normal human beings find this very hard to understand, because they are cheap. But, the details of their narrow-mindedness doesn’t interest me at all.

Little people evade the truth because truth is not a great ally in persecuting brilliant, honest men. This is what happened to James Watson. Watson now wants to sell his Nobel Prize to make quick cash. Read what he has to tell you:

“I’ve had strong opinions probably since I was born. It makes you unpopular, but what can you do?”

“If someone’s liver doesn’t work, we blame it on the genes; if someone’s brain doesn’t work properly, we blame the school. It’s actually more humane to think of the condition as genetic. For instance, you don’t want to say that someone is born unpleasant, but sometimes that might be true.”

“People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great….”

“I think it’s irresponsible not to try and direct evolution to produce a human being who will be an asset to the world.” 

“When you interview fat people, you feel bad, because you know you’re not going to hire them.”

“All our social policies are based on the fact that Africans’ intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really. People who have to deal with black employees find equality is not true.”

“If you really are stupid, I would call that a disease. The lower 10 percent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what’s the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, ‘Well, poverty, things like that.’ It probably isn’t. So I’d like to get rid of that, to help the lower 10 percent.”

“If we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we? What’s wrong with it? Evolution can be just damn cruel, and to say that we’ve got a perfect genome and there’s some sanctity?”

“Ultimately, we’ll help the people we discriminate against if we try to understand more about them; genetics will lead to a world where there is a sympathy for the underdog.”

“One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.”

“To succeed in science, you have to avoid dumb people… Even as a child, I never liked to play tag with anyone who was bad as I was. If you win, it gives you no pleasure. And in the game of science-or life-the highest goal isn’t simply to win, it’s to win at something really difficult. Put another way, it’s to go somewhere beyond your ability and come out on top.”

“If you accept that people are the products of evolution, then you have to have an open mind to the truth. Unfair discrimination exists whether we like it or not; I wouldn’t have married a gum-chewing vegetarian.”

“It is necessary to be slightly under employed if you are to do something significant.”

“No one may have the guts to say this, but if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we?”

“Never be the brightest person in the room.”

“I just can’t sit while people are saying nonsense in a meeting without saying it’s nonsense.”

“Constantly exposing your ideas to informed criticism is very important, and I would venture to say that one reason both of our chief competitors failed to reach the Double Helix before us was that each was effectively very isolated.”

Nerds As Liars And Hypocrites

Michael Vassar of Overcoming Bias has a good explanation of why people often brand Nerds and upright men as liars and hypocrites: “Some commentators proposed that “Nice guys” feel entitled to sex, and are liars. Why? Suppose that middle-class American men are told, at an age too immature to examine parental commands critically:  “In dealing with women, be X, Y, and Z” where X, Y, and Z are instructions like “Only express sexual interest in those women who you are confident are interested in you, prior to that, always be polite.”  And middle class American women are told, in a similar fashion, “In choosing a man, look for politeness and respectful non-sexual behavior.” But when women grow up, they find that they aren’t attracted to the men they were told to look for.  Maybe they believe, with reason even, that such men are ‘boys’, not ‘men’, and find this unattractive (ultimately because it was and still is evolutionarily unfit).  Instead, most women spurn the timid advances made by the ‘nice guys’ they think they should prefer.  But since they believe they should be choosing such men, they also decide that the men they reject cannot be the type they were told to prefer.  This may explain why ‘nice guys’ might end up labeled ‘liars’. Nerds tend to be literal, to lie infrequently, to greatly resent being lied to, and to not adjust their behavior based on information their brains have not yet verbalized. Nerds are also reluctant to behave hypocritically, e.g. by verbally condemning a behavior while engaging in said behavior. If this is what is socially demanded of them, they will be unhappy with the situation.”

LessWrong too has an interesting bit on such dishonesty: Steven Pinker has an excellent chapter on this in “The Stuff of Thought”. While there are several reasons we  lie, the most important reason is to avoid mutual knowledge:  “She probably knows I just blew a pass at her, but does she know I know she knows? Does she know I know she knows I know she knows?”  Etc.  Mutual knowledge is that nightmare where, for all intents and purposes, the known-knows can be extended out to infinity.  The ultimate example of this has to be the joke “No, it wasn’t awkward until you said, ‘well, this is awkward.'”  A situation might be a little awkward, but what’s really awkward is mutual knowledge, created when someone blurts out what’s going on for all to hear.

Mencken had a pretty sound observation too: “If, indeed, any individual among them shows an unusual rectitude, and refuses spectacularly to take what might be his for the grabbing, Homo boobiens sets him down as either a liar or an idiot, and refuses to admire him.”