December 18, 2016

Required Reading: The Intellectual Yet Idiot by Nassim Nicholas Taleb


What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They can’t tell science from scientism — in fact in their image-oriented minds scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational” (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule....


READ THE WHOLE THING AT Nassim Nicholas Taleb writing at Medium

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 18, 2016 10:09 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Thanks for posting this, Gerard! I didn't write down the recommendations from Newt's speech the other night.

Posted by: AbigailAdams at December 18, 2016 10:35 AM

"...those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational”..."


Lead by example, asswipe.

Posted by: ghostsniper at December 18, 2016 2:18 PM

Death to ASSWIPES!

Posted by: Jewel at December 18, 2016 2:35 PM

Gem of an article, Jewel.

Thankfully, the IYI's flatus-inflated ego combined with his constipated cortex results in an obvious 'dungkopf.'

Posted by: Howard Nelson at December 18, 2016 4:29 PM

Great article, thanks.
bookmarked for future reference.

Posted by: foodog at December 18, 2016 8:18 PM

A very, very good read is The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Posted by: Terry at December 19, 2016 8:15 AM