Author Topic: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics  (Read 4074 times)

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Offline Vene

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Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« on: January 16, 2012, 03:03:32 pm »
I read an old blog post called Eugenics doesn't work. Ask why, asshole. which I thought was well written and does a good job highlighting one of the problems with eugenics. There is the issue of selection pressure, culling individuals who are seen as "unfit" from a population only serves to make the population weaker and crueler.

A journal article is cited where the researchers were looking at artificial selection of chickens. Chickens, of course, have economic value so applying evolutionary theory in order to breed productive chickens is something people are interested in. What they did was look at what happens if they moved from picking the chickens that laid the most eggs in a multi-hen cage to looking at larger groups of chickens. Both the lifespan and egg production of the chickens improved dramatically. Instead of selecting for chickens that lay the most eggs, the farmers were originally selecting for the meanest chickens.

The author of the blog compares this to Enron. Enron was a company where they would measure productivity of employees and routinely fire the bottom 10-15% in an effort to recruit the most capable and most motivated people. This is a remarkably Darwinian selection process and, like with the chickens, Enron did not end up with the most productive employees, but the meanest. They retained people who drove down the productivity of other workers and cheated so they looked like they were better workers than they really were. We should all know what happened to Enron.

Eugenicists are the people who want to remove the bottom. If they have their way, they would repeat the same mistakes the farmers made with chickens and that Enron made with employees. It would not lead to a great society, it would fill one with sociopathic assholes. In many ways, this is the society we have crafted. We need to focus more on the group and less on individual performance and competition if we want to live well.

Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 03:45:26 pm »
I remember an argument with some moron who said that if we simply sterilized all the people who got lower than a certain score on an IQ test, then we would have the cure for cancer right now. *facepalm*
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Offline anti-nonsense

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 04:20:01 pm »
IQ tests are meaningless as a test of actual intelligence.
From international relations to religious rivalries, from marriage to athlete's foot, whatever the problem a fundy's first solution is usually violence.

Offline Old Viking

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2012, 05:07:11 pm »
I thought eugenics is the study of guys named Eugene.
I am an old man, and I've seen many problems, most of which never happened.

Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2012, 06:39:34 pm »
IQ tests are meaningless as a test of actual intelligence.
IQ is correlated with some things like academic success and job performance, so "meaningless" is not quite accurate.



More on topic: I could swear I've read someone else use the exact same chickens example to explain why Enron failed. Natural selection does not think like humans do (it does not think at all), the solutions it finds are not the ones humans would think of.
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Offline gyeonghwa

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2012, 06:42:50 pm »
IQ tests are meaningless as a test of actual intelligence.

Some of the dumbest idiots quoted on the main-page boasted a high IQ and MENSA memberships.
That may be the single gayest thing I have ever read on this board. Or the old one. ;)

Offline anti-nonsense

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2012, 10:32:49 pm »
IQ tests are meaningless as a test of actual intelligence.

Some of the dumbest idiots quoted on the main-page boasted a high IQ and MENSA memberships.

they were probably lying, any doorknob can claim to be a MENSA member on the internet.
From international relations to religious rivalries, from marriage to athlete's foot, whatever the problem a fundy's first solution is usually violence.

Offline Vene

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2012, 10:57:40 pm »
IQ tests are meaningless as a test of actual intelligence.

Some of the dumbest idiots quoted on the main-page boasted a high IQ and MENSA memberships.

they were probably lying, any doorknob can claim to be a MENSA member on the internet.
MENSA is pretty stupid, to be perfectly blunt. I don't expect much more than a superiority complex from its members.

Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2012, 11:06:31 pm »
IQ tests are meaningless as a test of actual intelligence.

Some of the dumbest idiots quoted on the main-page boasted a high IQ and MENSA memberships.

they were probably lying, any doorknob can claim to be a MENSA member on the internet.
MENSA is pretty stupid, to be perfectly blunt. I don't expect much more than a superiority complex from its members.

My dad once got kind of drunk in an argument and claimed that he was in MENSA and had an IQ of 180.
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Offline The Right Honourable Mlle Antéchrist

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2012, 02:14:26 am »
I've never really thought about it before, but the parallels between eugenics and the failure of Enron do make a lot of sense. Definitely food for thought. Thanks for posting this.

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My dad once got kind of drunk in an argument and claimed that he was in MENSA and had an IQ of 180.

My dad was part of MENSA for many years. As far as I can tell, his membership never really amounted to much more than getting a nifty little card (or papers, whatever it was) to show off to people. Which isn't to say that there aren't people whose membership has bettered their lives, nor there aren't chapters who are actually using their collective intelligence to better their communities, but I suspect that a lot of people only join for the same reason my dad did -- bragging rights.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 02:39:16 am by Mlle Antéchrist »
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Offline Oriet

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2012, 12:45:25 pm »
... I suspect that a lot of people only join for the same reason my dad did -- bragging rights.

Of the people who are in MENSA that I've met that really does seem to be the reason; being able to brag about being in an elite group. Myself and many others I've met who could easily qualify but never bothered to join see it as a waste of time and consider most members to be morons, as in general they don't seem to do anything beyond brag to others and themselves about being in it, don't do anything all that interesting or challenging, and generally do nothing to help those who aren't members.

I will say it was actually amusing when one person bragged about it to me and a few others, showing off a "difficult" math problem that if you could solve within X many seconds (can't remember how many, but I think it was around 20) meant you could likely qualify for MENSA, and then myself and the other two people in the room solved it in less time than she did while not even paying much attention to it. What made her bragging even more amusing was that she was kicked out of the Cryptologic Linguist training cause she was caught cheating.
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2012, 06:23:45 pm »
...so, what was the problem?
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Offline The Right Honourable Mlle Antéchrist

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2012, 06:50:37 pm »
I will say it was actually amusing when one person bragged about it to me and a few others

I've ran into a number of people who were like that. It's particularly amusing when they try to shoehorn their IQ into an argument, as if you're suppose to throw your hands up and surrender in awe.

Having a high IQ is pretty meaningless if used only as a vehicle for patting oneself on the back. As the saying goes, it's not what you have that matters -- it's what you do with it.
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Offline Osama bin Bambi

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 08:21:17 pm »
I will say it was actually amusing when one person bragged about it to me and a few others

I've ran into a number of people who were like that. It's particularly amusing when they try to shoehorn their IQ into an argument, as if you're suppose to throw your hands up and surrender in awe.

Having a high IQ is pretty meaningless if used only as a vehicle for patting oneself on the back. As the saying goes, it's not what you have that matters -- it's what you do with it.

In said drunken argument, my father was trying to convince us that war video games were a plot by software companies teaming up with the U.S. government (both of which are apparently run by the Bilderberg "elites") to brainwash kids to join the military.
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Offline Vene

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Re: Chicken, Enron, and Eugenics
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2012, 08:25:26 pm »
Only the one.