If anything, I think you could argue that the Holocaust contributed to a
higher than average Jewish IQ rather than the other way around.  I'm sure
Jews able to avoid fatal persecution in WWII and in the USSR have several
qualities highly correlated with intelligence.  An environment which values
education and teaches what is being tested helps explain lots of the
results of the cited paper (chess in particular is very much a learned
game, not one of raw general intelligence) as well as the tendency for
small groups in a population to engage in all types of preferential and
assistive behavior towards members of the same group (in particular,
academia as in the cited paper).  Where am I going with this?  Perhaps
several of the social psychological cognitive biases (in group/out group
bias, attribution theory, etc.) are good examples of advantageous
"evolutionary stupidity" as biases add no or even detract from relevant
information yet help guarantee irrational or even rational outcomes (even
if for uncalculated reasons) that may benefit the group and individual.

As for the original post -- I would imagine the selection going on outside
of the game would help guarantee that the situation described does not
usually occur.  But finding examples of say, the "dumb" players all
together having chased the "smart" players out due to coalition or other
behavior would be interesting.  Ideas?  (Maybe penny stock traders?)

At 08:01 PM 11/26/2003 -0500, you wrote:
On Wed, Nov 26, 2003 at 04:47:17PM -0500, Robin Hanson wrote:
> There certainly do seem to be some situations in which it can pay not be
> seen as "too clever by half".  But of course there are many other
> in which being clever pays well.  So unless the first set of situations are
> more important than the second, it seems unlikely that evolution makes us
> dumb in general on purpose.

Perhaps the first set of situations is more important than you think. For
example, could the Holocaust (and anti-semitism in general) fall into that
category, given that Jews have a higher average IQ than gentiles? (116 vs
100, according to http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/ashkenaz.htm.)

> The question instead is whether evolution
> was able to identify the particular topic areas where we were better off
> being dumber, so as to tailor our minds to be dumber mainly in those areas.

I'd argue no, at least beyond a certain degree, because if you have
sufficient general intelligence, you can apply it to any area but still
fake being dumb in particular areas. The only way to convince others of
actually being dumb in those areas is to be dumb in general.

> Yet most educated people actually seem
> to understand physics better than economics.

Do you have any evidence for this? At least personally I find economics
easier to understand than, say, string theory, or even electromagnetism.

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