Genetic Determinism & Playing Rock-Paper-Scissors

If you watch the Olympics, you see clearly that certain body types win particular events - always. As sports become more scientific and methods become more widespread, the only variable is becoming genetics. An average person has absolutely no chance of winning gold, no matter how hard he/she trains. If you are not born with right body, you are out of luck.

This is the general dilemma of equalizing opportunities. As you eliminate variables such as nutrition, access to facilities, methods of training etc., you are left with only two important variables: genetic fitness and random chance. Even random chance is not a key factor. We can be morally certain that a person with the nearly optimum genetic fitness will win the event. Random chance serves only to eliminate some of the possible contenders. It does not change the profile of the winners.

We are seeing the pernicious effects of the generally good idea of equal opportunity in society in general in similar fashion. As access to nutrition, schools, universities etc. became widespread, increasingly the only variables that mattered were genetic fitness, culture/habits & random chance. In the past, people who went to the best universities were not always the best and the brightest. A century ago, a stupid man could get into Harvard if he had the right background and a genius without it probably not. We have done such a good job of talent search over the past few generations, that this is now something rare.

The result, however, is not a utopia but rather a bit of a threat to solidarity in society. As talent and intelligence become more and more the determining factor, it creates an elite of talent and intelligence. There have always been elites, but when the sorting mechanisms were not as good, there was more flexibility. Members of today's elites are more and more really smarter, healthier and with better habits. In 1912, you could open a fair competition and there would be a good chance that many or even most of the elites would be replaced by formerly disadvantaged but better competitors. Today that would not be the case. In a fair competition, many, maybe most of the people who currently have top positions would still have them.

It gets worse. As we now understand, much of intelligence and even things like temperament and talents are heritable, so we have multi-generational dominance, almost like a science fiction movie.

This is troubling. The Olympics really don't matter much. We can let the best genes win. But society is more important. IMO, we have to create lots of niches, lots of chances. Ours should be not so much a society of equal opportunity as a society with lots of chances. In a mature ecosystem, there are lots of places for variety and diversity to thrive. This is the best we can do.

Maybe pay less attention to the gold, but have lots of little events. Maybe make more decision by playing rock-paper-scissors.

Posted by Christine & John at August 5, 2012 9:30 AM
Comments
Comment #350005

I refer to this phenomena as ‘having too much democracy’

This really shows up in corporations. People live a while and die but corporations live in perpetuity. Thus corporations are able to gain efficiency to a high degree where nothing is left unused of the pig except the squeal, etc.

It’s up to gov’t to address the well being, balance of the nation, which, at the moment, is sliding back toward Africa, IMO. Corpocracy and all that - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 5, 2012 3:45 PM
Comment #350139

Roy you are right it is the corpratization/globalization of the planet that leads us to the winner take all society. The mindset that tells us business leaders should run the country, treat the government like it is a business. We have watched this type of mentality in action during the GWB years and the dastardly results from this falsehood. Yet now we are being told it is the answer once again.


C&J, are you suggesting that as it sports certain people may also be more college material than others? Doesn’t that sorta dispel the conservative myth of those that worked hard, while others did not, to get to the top. Are you suggesting a hitch in the design of conservutopia?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 6, 2012 11:54 AM
Comment #350142

j2t2

I am suggesting that in particular things work is a necessary but not sufficient condition to success. Nobody gets to be a star athlete w/o lots of hard work. But many people who work hard do not become star athletes. This goes for most things.

We cannot expect and should not desire equality in all things. Instead, each of us should develop the talents most appropriate. That is why I am advocating a society with lots of chances, but not one where we try to create similar results for people with dissimilar effort or talent.

I support diversity which means inequality.

What I am pointing out is that the end result of equal opportunity will be more inequality. I have no trouble with inequality. The thing I worry about is that the inequality will be persistent and inter generational to an extent unknown in the past.

Posted by: C&J at August 6, 2012 5:03 PM
Comment #350198

So what you are doing is suggesting that because the Olympics has room for only one winner we should assume that is the way things are and insist our economical and political systems be set up the same way? Isn’t this what conservatives call the “survival of the fittest” and what I refer to as the “survival of the most trecherous”?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 7, 2012 11:45 AM
Comment #350214

j2t2

I wrote just the opposite. Please read again and write something based on the actual text. Are you trying to pull a Pelosi on me?

I think that would be a good phrase. Whenever somebody blatantly lies, we can say he is running a Reid and whenever somebody says something really stupid, we can say they are pulling a Pelosi.

Posted by: C&J at August 7, 2012 7:35 PM
Comment #350219

C&J,

“Whenever somebody blatantly lies, we can say he is running a Reid and whenever somebody says something really stupid, we can say they are pulling a Pelosi.”

So what you are saying is that without a shadow of a doubt, you are 100% certain that Reid lied, and you have the proof that he did.

From what I understand, Reid said that someone told him that Romney hadn’t paid any taxes.

Is it even remotely possible that someone actually did tell him that?

I also understand that Reid made this claim during debate over a bill in the Senate.

Did any of the opposition rebuke him on the spot, or is all of this just harrumphing after the fact?

Just curious.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 7, 2012 9:21 PM
Comment #350224

Rocky

I am 100% certain that Reid is employing dishonest McCarthy tactics. I am not 100% certain that Reid is not making lots of money from his investments in bordellos.

Somebody told me Obama was born in Kenya. I don’t believe it and would not quote it on the Senate floor.

We have two option and no more. Either Reid is dishonest or really stupid.

If I were a Democrat confronted with this kind of thing, I would just lay low. There is no way to defend either Reid or Pelosi.

Posted by: C&J at August 7, 2012 9:42 PM
Comment #350237

C&J,

“If I were a Democrat confronted with this kind of thing, I would just lay low. There is no way to defend either Reid or Pelosi.”

I am not attempting defend anybody here.

But what I am reading here and on other blogs, is a lot of hyperbole, and not many facts.

If, and that is a big if, Reid was told this then how exactly is he a “dirty liar” to quote Reince Priebus?

And how exactly is this any different than what Rove did to McCain in South Carolina?

Politicians say things all the time, and I find it hilarious that the right has it’s collective panties in a wad over a meaningless statement from someone they have vilified for years.

Politics is a bare knuckles sport, and just reading the reactions from the conservatives here, I’d say Reid scored a direct hit.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 7, 2012 11:24 PM
Comment #350240
I think that would be a good phrase. Whenever somebody blatantly lies, we can say he is running a Reid and whenever somebody says something really stupid, we can say they are pulling a Pelosi.

For really stupid we would need to call it a Bushism wouldn’t we. How about one for both lying and stupid C&J? Something like “He pulled a Reagan on us”

“I have opinions of my own - strong opinions - but I don’t always agree with them.”
- George Bush


“History shows that when the taxes of a nation approach about 20 percent of the people’s income, there begins to be a lack of respect for government…. When it reaches 25 percent, there comes an increase in lawlessness.”
—Ronald Reagan, in Time, April 14, 1980.

(History shows no such thing. Income tax rates in Europe have traditionally been far higher than U.S. rates, while European crime rates have been much lower.)

“Because Vietnam was not a declared war, the veterans are not even eligible for the G. I. Bill of Rights with respect to education or anything.”
—Ronald Reagan, in Newsweek, April 21, 1980. (Wrong again.)


Posted by: j2t2 at August 8, 2012 12:51 AM
Comment #350250

Rocky

Reid made a very dishonest statement. If you or I made such a statement, it would not matter much. But he did it in his official capacity and he is a high level Democrat. Pelosi backed him up with a really stupid statement. Again, if I said that or you, so what?

A proper response from Dems would be just to say nothing or admit that these guys said stupid things. Just as I distance myself from birthers, Democrats should distance themselves from statements like Reid’s.

j2t2

When Bush was in office, you called them that. He is no longer. Now we have Reid and Pelosi.

Posted by: C&J at August 8, 2012 7:00 AM
Comment #350254
When Bush was in office, you called them that. He is no longer. Now we have Reid and Pelosi. Posted by: C&J at August 8, 2012 7:00 AM

But Reid and Pelosi cannot compare to the great one and W., Reagan had teams of liars working for him to help him become the best. Think Alexander Haig. Reid is “bush” league compared to Reagan when it comes to lying. But if these guys are to far in the past for conservatives I would suggest Romney for the liar as he has worked hard lately to achieve new heights. For just plain stupid remember your the party of Palin, Bachmann and a host of others that raise stupid in politics to a new level. Pelosi cannot hold a candle to BAchmann.

The problem with your thinking C&J is kinda like telling us Maury Wills should be the all time home run king in baseball when you have Ruth, Bonds and McGuire on your team.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 8, 2012 11:11 AM
Comment #350310

J2t2

IF you have Ruth on your team, you could talk about it. But it is not much use bringing up the past in order to justify the bad deeds of the present.

It works the other way around. If we compare a great man of the past -like Reagan - to a mediocre man of the present - like Obama - we can see how Obama falls short. But since we are presumably not interested in making the people of the present worse by giving them examples of the past, it doesn’t matter what Bush did.

We can only make decisions about the future.

In any case, I never recall Bush doing something as low and rude to another American politician as Reid did to Romney. Do you have such an example?

Posted by: C&J at August 8, 2012 10:28 PM
Comment #350339
IF you have Ruth on your team, you could talk about it. But it is not much use bringing up the past in order to justify the bad deeds of the present.

Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it C&J. You bring up the past on a regular basis when it suits you, in fact your quite the scholar when it comes to history so this doesn’t ring true for me.

It works the other way around. If we compare a great man of the past -like Reagan - to a mediocre man of the present - like Obama - we can see how Obama falls short. But since we are presumably not interested in making the people of the present worse by giving them examples of the past, it doesn’t matter what Bush did.

But it matters when we want to use their names to suggest lying and stupid. Why settle for Reid and Pelosi when in the recent past we have Reagan and Bush? It seems we agree that Reagan was great, a liar but a great liar. And books have been written about Bush’s stupid comments. We can’t even agree on Reid and Pelosi.


In any case, I never recall Bush doing something as low and rude to another American politician as Reid did to Romney. Do you have such an example?


First of all C&J I don’t accept the conservative falsehood that Reid has done anything wrong. But to answer your question-
McCain, black baby, out of wedlock ring any bells C&J?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 9, 2012 9:52 AM
Comment #350389

j2t2

Bush himself never said it. We expect lots of silliness from campaigns, as we have seen from Obama’s. I don’t know that Obama put Reid up to the lie, so I do not attack Obama on this. Reid, however, is a supposedly honorable man. He showed that he is not.

You must, if you are even reasonably intelligent”buy” the line on Reid. Why? The outrage is not whether or not the underlying facts are right or wrong. The outrage is that Reid makes a comment like this based on hearsay from a source he will not reveal. That is where he showed his base and dishonest nature and that he did this is not in dispute.

As I predicted, you guys are indeed trying to change the subject. We can talk about Romney’s wealth separately, but the fact is Reid did a dishonest thing.

Posted by: C&J at August 9, 2012 4:19 PM
Comment #350411


You must, if you are even reasonably intelligent”buy” the line on Reid. Why? The outrage is not whether or not the underlying facts are right or wrong. The outrage is that Reid makes a comment like this based on hearsay from a source he will not reveal. That is where he showed his base and dishonest nature and that he did this is not in dispute.

Reid told us the source was someone from inside Bain. It seems others have confirmed this. So it seems you owe Mr. Reid an apology, C&J for your outrageous comments. Were he to name names the source could suffer from the same unwarranted conservative attacks Reid has been subjected to.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/harry-reid-romney-tax-source-_n_1735729.html


As I predicted, you guys are indeed trying to change the subject. We can talk about Romney’s wealth separately, but the fact is Reid did a dishonest thing.

What? I have changed nothing C&J. Responding to the false allegations you have concocted regarding Reid have been and continue to be the subject of my ramblings C&J.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 9, 2012 6:33 PM
Comment #350414

j2t2


Reid has a “secret source” who would not be in a positions to know the truth, since the only one who would know from actual data would be Romney’s tax accountant. Working at Bain would not provide that information. Do you know how much tax your boss and co-workers pay? Could you testify to that? I am just asking you to use your brain on this one instead of your emotions.

So the facts are this -

Reid claims that a secret source within Bain has told him that Romney paid no taxes. Anybody reasonable intelligent would know that a source within Bain would not be in any greater position than others and that it would be hearsay. So either Reid is being dishonest or he is really stupid. I don’t think he is really stupid. He is not Pelosi after all. That leaves dishonest.

Posted by: C&J at August 9, 2012 7:02 PM
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