On 11/30/2003 Wei Dai wrote:
I'm not saying that intelligence is not useful, just that its
social costs can help explain why we're not smarter. Of course
intelligence seems extremely useful, which is what makes our dumbness
puzzling. Is your position that the other known costs of intelligence
(more energy use, more difficult births, what else?) are sufficient to
explain this?

That and the difficulty of creating intelligence.

To make sure we're not misunderstanding each other, you're says that
having higher intelligence is not so bad, because one can either (a) still
be dumb in certain areas, or (b) fake being dumb in all areas, right? I'm
arguing that (a) is not an equilibrium, and (b) reduces the benefits of
intelligence too much.

I argue that (a) can be an equilibrium. We are rather smart in some areas, but the mechanisms in us that allow that are not up to the task of faking being dumb in other areas - we are actually dumb in those other areas. This is/was an equilibrium because people who tried to fake often got caught.

I suggested that people have trouble thinking carefully about economics
because evolution make us bad at that on purpose, in order to protect our
cherished misconceptions about the social world.  There is a distribution
of such abilities, and economists tend to be in the high tail of ability.
Such people cannot typically hide this ability - others see their willingness
to cross sacred moral boundaries and are wary of them.  And in fact on
average economists are probably less trustworthy partners in various ways.
We see this in various experiments comparing economists to others.

Robin Hanson  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Assistant Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323

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