Estimating intelligence

Most people are very, very bad at estimating their own intelligence or the intelligence of others. Except, unsurprisingly, for the highly intelligent, who tend to correctly grasp exactly where they stand.

One feature stands out:

F: 124.47 (self-estimate) 94.48 (actual)
M: 126.10 (self-estimate) 95.89 (actual)

Dwelling on this a moment, one thing becomes clear: many people are immensely deluded. They think themselves two standard deviations brighter than they really are.

In fact, the scores on the Raven’s Matrices were corrected for two decades of Flynn Effect. Without the correction, the scores would still be 1.5 standard deviations too high. Lake Wobegon on steroids.

Back to the main point: people seem to be over-estimating their intelligence by 30 IQ points and their partner’s IQ by 38 points in the case of women doing the judgments, and 36 points in the case of men doing the judgments. People are deluded about their abilities, and deluded about their partners’ abilities. Delusion plus 7 points. This is dreadful, but also highly illuminating. No wonder so many people hate actual intelligence tests.

No wonder people react so negatively to being confronted by genuine intelligence. The experience tends to puncture their self-delusion bubble.


Scientists don’t understand statistics

Which is why it’s good that hundreds of them are signing on to an effort to abandon the concept of “statistical significance”:

Let’s be clear about what must stop: we should never conclude there is ‘no difference’ or ‘no association’ just because a P value is larger than a threshold such as 0.05 or, equivalently, because a confidence interval includes zero. Neither should we conclude that two studies conflict because one had a statistically significant result and the other did not. These errors waste research efforts and misinform policy decisions.

For example, consider a series of analyses of unintended effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. Because their results were statistically non-significant, one set of researchers concluded that exposure to the drugs was “not associated” with new-onset atrial fibrillation (the most common disturbance to heart rhythm) and that the results stood in contrast to those from an earlier study with a statistically significant outcome.

Now, let’s look at the actual data. The researchers describing their statistically non-significant results found a risk ratio of 1.2 (that is, a 20{2b1141b7891b3a9a6e789b6011ce7f6b4c83be08b36e8974656edf3aca7b95b9} greater risk in exposed patients relative to unexposed ones). They also found a 95{2b1141b7891b3a9a6e789b6011ce7f6b4c83be08b36e8974656edf3aca7b95b9} confidence interval that spanned everything from a trifling risk decrease of 3{2b1141b7891b3a9a6e789b6011ce7f6b4c83be08b36e8974656edf3aca7b95b9} to a considerable risk increase of 48{2b1141b7891b3a9a6e789b6011ce7f6b4c83be08b36e8974656edf3aca7b95b9} (P = 0.091; our calculation). The researchers from the earlier, statistically significant, study found the exact same risk ratio of 1.2. That study was simply more precise, with an interval spanning from 9{2b1141b7891b3a9a6e789b6011ce7f6b4c83be08b36e8974656edf3aca7b95b9} to 33{2b1141b7891b3a9a6e789b6011ce7f6b4c83be08b36e8974656edf3aca7b95b9} greater risk (P = 0.0003; our calculation).

It is ludicrous to conclude that the statistically non-significant results showed “no association”, when the interval estimate included serious risk increases; it is equally absurd to claim these results were in contrast with the earlier results showing an identical observed effect. Yet these common practices show how reliance on thresholds of statistical significance can mislead us…. The trouble is human and cognitive more than it is statistical: bucketing results into ‘statistically significant’ and ‘statistically non-significant’ makes people think that the items assigned in that way are categorically different. The same problems are likely to arise under any proposed statistical alternative that involves dichotomization, whether frequentist, Bayesian or otherwise.

Unfortunately, the false belief that crossing the threshold of statistical significance is enough to show that a result is ‘real’ has led scientists and journal editors to privilege such results, thereby distorting the literature.

It’s important to remember that most scientists have no more training in statistics than any other college graduate. And even if they did sit through an extra class or two devoted to the subject, that doesn’t mean they are any good at it.


A race, not a religion

This news should conclusively end the long-running shell game:

Judy Maltz reported in Haaretz that the Israeli Rabbinate, which controls conversion, marriage and divorce in Israel, is using DNA testing to verify a person’s Jewishness. Since a person who isn’t Jewish can’t marry a Jew in Israel, which has no civil marriage, the rabbinate is using the DNA test to deny people they consider non-Jews the civil right of marriage.

As if it wasn’t already obvious when Ben Shapiro was bragging about being 100 percent racially pure.


Help end Crohn’s disease

The development of the vaccine that many members of this blog have helped fund is at last entering human trials. If you’re in the UK, you’re healthy, and you’re willing to put your body on the line to help cure Crohn’s disease, please consider volunteering for the trial.

HAV001 Vaccine Trial
What is the purpose of this trial?

The purpose of this study is to assess the new MAP vaccines, ChAdOx2 HAV and MVA HAV, at different doses. The study will enable us to assess the safety of the vaccines and the extent of the immune response in healthy volunteers. We will do this by giving participants one or two vaccines in addition to doing blood tests and collecting information about any symptoms that occur after vaccination. This is the first trial to use these vaccines in humans and we plan to recruit a maximum of 18 participants to be vaccinated.

What’s involved?

Number of visits: 7-12

Trial length: 3-5 months

Location: OX3 7LE

Am I eligible to participate?
You must:

Be aged 18-50 years old
Be in good health
Refrain from blood donation for the duration of the study

One Darkstream listener has already volunteered. This is a big step, as once the vaccine is proven to be harmless to healthy adults, they’ll be able to test its ability to eradicate the disease from those suffering from it.



Those nefarious Russians

First they got Drumpf elected and now they’re messing with the magnetic North Pole:

Earth’s magnetic fields are shifting – and scientists are unsure why.

Researchers say the magnetic North Pole is  ‘skittering’ away from Canada, towards Siberia.

The problem has got so bad, researchers around the world are scrambling to update a global model of the fields.

Called the World Magnetic Model, it underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones. The most recent version of the model came out in 2015, and it was supposed to last until 2020.

However, researchers say the  magnetic field is changing so rapidly that they have to fix the model urgently.

It was due to be updated on the 15th January, but due to the US Government shutdown, that has already been delayed until the 30th.

The magnetic field is in a permanent state of flux.

Magnetic north wanders, and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so that a compass would point south instead of north.

Is it just me or is everything getting weirder faster these days?


Invasive species in Europe

It’s strange that scientists expect people to be concerned about the threat invasive species pose to the native squirrel population, but not the native human population.

Meet 9 Creepy Species That Pose Greatest Threat to Europe

Scientists have identified 66 species of plants and animals that pose the greatest threat to biodiversity and ecosystems. These species, entering and falling into new territories, displace the local flora and fauna.

Scientists considered eight species to be the most dangerous, another 40 to be high-risk, and 18 others to be medium-risk.

Species considered by the team of researchers included plants, terrestrial invertebrates and some marine and freshwater vertebrates and invertebrates.

This is just additional evidence that even those who affect to believe in evolution by natural selection don’t really believe in it.


No one went to the Moon

Owen Benjamin makes the case. Feel free to criticize it, if you are a Moonie, but don’t bother with either the fainting or shaming routines. Because if there is one thing that has become eminently clear over the last 20 years, the one and only thing we can be ABSOLUTELY SURE did not happen is the Official Story.

As with all things for which there is no clear historical consensus, I remain entirely agnostic on the issue. To the extent that I lean one way or the other, I tend to assume that the landings were faked due to the means, motive, and opportunity heuristic and because I am a confirmed cynic when it comes to Official Stories narrated by the U.S. government.


Even fake science is unreproducible

The most famous experiments in psychology are no more reproducible than flipping a coin:

Over the past few years, an international team of almost 200 psychologists has been trying to repeat a set of previously published experiments from its field, to see if it can get the same results. Despite its best efforts, the project, called Many Labs 2, has only succeeded in 14 out of 28 cases. Six years ago, that might have been shocking. Now it comes as expected (if still somewhat disturbing) news.

In recent years, it has become painfully clear that psychology is facing a “reproducibility crisis,” in which even famous, long-established phenomena—the stuff of textbooks and ted Talks—might not be real. There’s social priming, where subliminal exposures can influence our behavior. And ego depletion, the idea that we have a limited supply of willpower that can be exhausted. And the facial-feedback hypothesis, which simply says that smiling makes us feel happier.

One by one, researchers have tried to repeat the classic experiments behind these well-known effects—and failed. And whenever psychologists undertake large projects, like Many Labs 2, in which they replicate past experiments en masse, they typically succeed, on average, half of the time.

Ironically enough, it seems that one of the most reliable findings in psychology is that only half of psychological studies can be successfully repeated.

Science is not, and has never been, a relevant vehicle for determining the truth. It is a philosophical category error to believe that it is. This is one of the many reasons for the failure of the New Atheists to make any substantive impression on society, as their entire worldview was based upon a false assumption.

It’s particularly amusing to recall that Richard Dawkins actually wanted to revise the legal system and establish its foundation for evidence upon science rather than eyewitness testimony, which despite its flaws has proven to be considerable more reliable than science. It is probably due to their social autism that the New Atheists did not realize that science will never be more reliable than the scientists who make a living from it, which means that science is no more intrinsically reliable than accounting, proof-reading, or used-car sales.


Warming is not the problem

It’s going to look mighty strange when all of the climate scammers abruptly change course and begin screaming about the need to warm up the planet again:

Professor Valentina Zharkova gave a presentation of her Climate and the Solar Magnetic Field hypothesis at the Global Warming Policy Foundation in October, 2018. The information she unveiled should shake/wake you up.

Zharkova was one of the few that correctly predicted solar cycle 24 would be weaker than cycle 23 — only 2 out of 150 models predicted this.

Her models have run at a 93{72cf27ffdac1ec816f49e283bd4617ffdd8df37c3501aa744a12e9a9c4d5faff} accuracy and her findings suggest a Super Grand Solar Minimum is on the cards beginning 2020 and running for 350-400 years.

The last time we had a little ice age only two magnetic fields of the sun went out of phase.

This time, all four magnetic fields are going out of phase.

Even if you believe the IPCC’s worst case scenario, Zharkova’s analysis blows any ‘warming’ out of the water.

Lee Wheelbarger sums it up: even if the IPCC’s worst case scenarios are seen, that’s only a 1.5 watts per square meter increase. Zharkova’s analysis shows a 8 watts per square meter decrease in TSI to the planet.

On the plus side, this should significantly reduce the trend of migration from the global south to the north. Perhaps it will even put some steel in the spine of Northern Europeans again.