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Dec. 25th, 2004 | 09:10 pm
mood: sadsad
music: The Shamen - Best of All Possible Worlds

Sitting around the Christmas tree, with grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, and watching my 3-year-old nephew running around and around the house with his toy truck, yelling "hello, everybody!" and "goodbye everybody!" every time he comes around again. I'm touched (and amazed) that he's made a special effort to learn my name and greet me with it. You can see him pause and concentrate for a second when he does it.

It does seem a little strange that I don't have 2 little ones of my own. But in this universe I have no children and no wife. I'm pretty sure that this is one of the less probable universes. But here we are. I'm sure if I concentrated just a little I could remember their names. A boy, and a girl, I think. Ehh, let it go.

Maybe they show up later in this life. I'll be a silly old Dad at any age, so it could be. ....I guess there's still the better part of a decade (or two?) to figure it out. There're enough people in this world, I don't _need_ to make more. At least I think.

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Comments {17}

Jenmarie

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from: jenmarie
date: Dec. 26th, 2004 04:29 am (UTC)
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I have no doubts whatsoever that someday you'll make a wonderful parent, if that is what you want and choose to be.

Don't know that it'll be in the trad you+wife=kids nuclear family kind of gig, of course... I have a hard time seeing you in that scenario. You have a lot of love to share.... :)

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Triple Entendre

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from: triple_entendre
date: Dec. 26th, 2004 12:20 pm (UTC)
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Thank you. You are very sweet to say all this. (My exes say the sweetest things!) ;-)

I'm the oldest of six, so I _can_ claim to have raised my share of babies. But I haven't had that burst of hormones that you get with a baby that tells you that it doesn't matter that you don't know what you're doing, it's your baby and you'll figure it out together. I do, however, sort of remember the part where I was the baby.

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Triple Entendre

you give me ideas, and butterflies

from: triple_entendre
date: Dec. 26th, 2004 12:37 pm (UTC)
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I feel reasonably comfortable with my genes -- at least one person on my friends list has a standing offer from me if she comes to a point later in life where she needs to make a baby on her own, but wants a non-anonymous biological father....

But the appeal of parenting, to me, is like what you're saying, a curiousity of what the moppets would be like and having the honor of knowing these newly-minted people.

I've got the themes from Marble Madness echoing in my head now... I played quite a bit of that arcade game during some of my formative years. Some strong sense-memories there.

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Dec. 26th, 2004 12:42 pm (UTC)
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It's kind of funny to me now: I live in a child-friendly, somewhat communal situation, but with only long-distance, non-primary relationships, no baby-making ones. Always figured it would work the other way around.

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Chef Monkey

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from: chefmonkey
date: Dec. 27th, 2004 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Which one made kids? Daniel?

I have a philosophy that the smart people need to at least replace themselves, since the rest of the population seems to be rather aggressive in reproducing. If you allow population growth to come exclusively from the bottom of the inteligence spectrum, the human race will be back to beating rocks together for heat in another thousand years or so.

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Triple Entendre

I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: triple_entendre
date: Dec. 28th, 2004 06:21 am (UTC)
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Um. I can't agree with any part of this, even in jest.

I seriously doubt that intelligence breeds true. Or, if you mean to be more nuanced, I also doubt that it nurtures true.

Is a word to the wise sufficient, or do I need to get down to cases here?

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Chef Monkey

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: chefmonkey
date: Dec. 28th, 2004 12:39 pm (UTC)
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I'd like to buy an argument, please.

As far as I can discern, intelligence is innate. I suspect it's largely a brain structure issue. Of course, like all genetic traits, the chances of it being passed on from ones parents is merely probabilistic, not guaranteed. However, if you want to reinforce a trait in the general population of a species, you need to mate members of that species who exhibit that trait.

The probabalistic nature of genetics means that anecdotal counterexamples don't prove anything. I can correctly assert that a desire to breed brown eyes into a population would best be served by mating brown-eyed individuals with brown-eyed individuals. Citing the fact that both of my grandparents have brown eyes, but that they have children with blue eyes, does nothing to discount that assertion.

To support my argument that intelligence is genetic, I'll cite as evidence numerous species of animals which have been bred for various traits, with intelligence being one. Dogs provide an excellent example: herding breeds are universally more intelligent than (for example) show breeds. This is by design: in the creation of herding breeds, mates were selected by intelligence, reinforcing that trait. The products of such unions that didn't result in intelligence were not bred back into the line. Over time, this led to a distinct increase in the intelligence of the breed (and, consequently, an average inteligence increase of the species).

In terms of nurture versus nature, I am fairly certain that intelligence is almostly completely the expression of a phenotype, whereas wisdom and judgement (both often confused with intelligence) are necessarily learned.

I'll admit that this kind of genetic predetermination of traits is a crappy, unfair sort of thing that has been imposed on us by the universe. The same holds true to genetic predispositions for high cholesterol or Tay-Sachs. There is nothing to be gained by ignoring any of these phenotpyical expressions of genetic patterns under the ruse of egalitarianism.

Or do you actually beleive that we are so different from other animals that the effectiveness of our physical neural processes, unlike theirs, is somehow tied to the ghost in the machine instead of the machine itself?

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Triple Entendre

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: triple_entendre
date: Dec. 29th, 2004 05:06 am (UTC)
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You're really chewing up the scenery here.

I'm not sure I can give you a real "argument" but I'll try to at least give back enough material (eventually) that you may be able to derive one. I'm two or three weeks off the Adderall right now, and not really for any good reason, so my thinking -- or more likely, the connection between thinking and expression -- moves slowly. Hard to convince myself to type. Faaaar too much work to show you the outline of my restatement of your argument with all its branches out potential dialogue, most of which are not fruitful. Wish we had the telepathy, so I could just say "you know, like THIS!" And then your brain would melt. Um, maybe that wouldn't work so well.

So forgive me for throwing five or six rough drafts at you rather than arguing.

Anyway, intelligence is a process or a tendency, and I suspect we wouldn't agree on its definition, but consider this: whatever it is you define as intelligence is likely an unstable combination of recessive traits. Even the gentlest of eugenics programs would reduce to breeding either "people like you" or "people you like".

Whatever line you draw between "intelligent" or "not intelligent", I'm pretty likely to be on the wrong side of it.

I'm not all that smart, yo.

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Chef Monkey

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: chefmonkey
date: Dec. 29th, 2004 04:14 pm (UTC)
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Ugh. Get back on your regimen. By your own admission, you're much better off that way.

The core of your argument seems to be that intelligence is a subjective evaluation, like "beauty," as opposed to an objective evaluation, like "has blue eyes."

I don't completely disagree, but I'll point out that there are a number of tests designed to measure some aspect of intelligence (typically, problem solving abilities), and that they generally produce results within a reasonable margin of error of each other. So, at least for some aspects of intelligence, there are empirically-derived, defensible rankings that can be applied. (I'll also note that, even for more subjective traits like beauty, you can get reasonably consistent evaluaitons from neutral third parties about relative rankings of individuals.)
    I'm not all that smart, yo.
I'm not talking about "smart." The term "smart" muddles intelligence in with wisdom and judgment. You are intelligent, and I'm reasonably certain that you (or, more likely, your parents) have some test results from circa 1978 to prove it.

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Triple Entendre

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
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No, it's nothing to do with subjective vs. objective, that's just a bias you're expecting me to have.

You used the word "smart" in your original statement, which is the one I object to, because I can't find any axioms that would lead to it.

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Chef Monkey

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: chefmonkey
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
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    No, it's nothing to do with subjective vs. objective, that's just a bias you're expecting me to have.

No, that's just me trying to make sense of the words you're handing me. The phrase "whatever it is you define as intelligence," which you emphasized, would imply that you are referring to my subjective evaluation of a trait.

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Triple Entendre

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
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I emphasized it only to make it a unit. I could have put dashes between the words instead.

I meant it literally, for once. We don't need to argue the definition, since I'm making a blanket assertion about whatever definition that may be.

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Triple Entendre

Sideline: an argument by analogy

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
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Ever been responsible for interviewing and hiring people? I have, only a little, but it taught me that there's almost nothing in the known variations on that process that can tell you whether someone will be effective as an employee.

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Chef Monkey

Re: Sideline: an argument by analogy

from: chefmonkey
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I spend an inordinate amount of time interviewing people at the moment. You know I started my own company, right? I also did quite a bit of this when I was at Ericsson. After a while, you actually do get to a point where you can tell with a reasonably high degree of accuracy the effectiveness of a candidate.

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Triple Entendre

Re: I have a philosophy that the smart people need to stay off my lawn

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 3rd, 2005 02:27 am (UTC)
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I'd like to buy an argument, please.

I'm sorry, it's being-hit-on-the-head lessons in here.

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Triple Entendre

I know, it's a typo, but really

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 09:37 pm (UTC)
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you misspelled "intelligence"...

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Chef Monkey

Re: I know, it's a typo, but really

from: chefmonkey
date: Jan. 2nd, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Not part of my definition. :-P

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