Were There Dark Ages?

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The fall of Rome was not associated with a decline in wealth and population. The fall of Rome was not associated with a loss of capacity for things like urban living or large-scale infrastructure 3. The intellectual output of the period was exactly as high in quality and quantity as the intellectual outputs of other periods 4. Civilization always proceeds in a nice Whig History straight upward line with no risk of catastrophic collapses.

Surely people can get caught in different bravery debates here. If they live in a bubble where everyone falls prey to the first set of misconceptions, it can be tempting to try to rectify that by saying the Dark Ages never happened. And then there are political implications that will work for the benefit of one group or another. If there was a Dark Age:. And finally, there are signaling aspects. Maybe a Muslim likes it because it helps contrast the poverty of Christendom with the glory of al-Andalus, and shake the myth that Europe has always been on top.

Although I sympathize with the feelings behind both positions, I say the Dark Ages happened. I think the best evidence we have suggests the fall of Rome and the period just before was associated with several centuries of economic and demographic decline, only reaching back to their classical level around AD. Ireland was not overrun by Germanics and instead developed a high literary culture during the Middle Ages.

Though never part of the Roman Empire, she acquired Latin through trade with Europe. And Europe goes all the way to the Bosphorus. While Irish monks were converting Germanics, St. Methodius were converting Slavs.

This is really the thrust behind what people mean when they bring up objection 1. There were really quite not that bad things happening at that time, my native Bulgaria was doing quite well for example. The Irish are responsible for the Carlovingian Renaissance, which restored high culture and learning to Western Europe — leading to the greatness of the Holy Roman Empire. People who are ignorant of these facts, look to Al-Andalus Moorish Spain , which was actually irrelevant to the Carlovingian Renaissance.

Byzantium and the East did hold on to a lot of progress, but they also remained at a particular level the local politics they were forced to engage in saw to that. What we get is a swathe of barbarians dividing the two halves of the Empire in the middle of Europe, and the collapse of the West. And the point about Ireland is that it was never part of the Empire, so never had access at first hand to the Glory That Was Rome.

And yet — remnants out of the wreck were saved, cherished, and re-transmitted back to the West. They kept things afloat, and without them, would Petrarch even be able to sit in Avignon and complain? All we can do is keep the flame alive and hope for better days to come when scholars like us get our rightful recognition and rank in society. Petrarch has an idealised notion of a Roman and Greek Golden Age that is all dignified philosophers and poets in togas sitting around discussing High Ideals, and of course every modern era falls short when compared to the Golden Age.

A Description of Caesar here Caesar, now, was a man angry, valourous, fair, bulky, madly-bold, high-spirited, very difficult, haughty, dour and grievous, vehement-natured, firm, strong, contemptuous, self-willed, unsimple, severe, keen, unloved, famous, wrathful, cunning?

A king in kingship and a soldier in deeds of valour and bravery, a battle-tower in courage, a soldier in activity. In the floodtide of his grace and his age was he then. He used to fawn on no one.

No empty fame was his celebrity, but force of his hand and hardness of his heart. Never befell him aught that he deemed a shame, save the non-defeat of his enemies in battle. He spared neither friend nor foe; but when his wrath would arise he would day by day greaten and increase his deeds of valour and bravery. Thus it was his pleasure to wend every way that he would go, through rout of armies and pouring of blood: Thus then was it with Caesar, for a bright thunderbolt of fire in lustre and beauty and size was afflicting?

The coming of the thunderbolt from above towards earth, that is, Caesar coming out of the rooftree and the upper part of the world, that is, out of Rome into the lands of Gaul. The darkening of daylight by the thunderbolt, that is, Caesar surpassing Pompey the Great in fame and distinction. The great slaughters caused by the thunderbolt in coming and turning were the great slaughters committed by Caesar on the people of Gaul when he came from Rome, the great slaughters on the people of Italy when he turned on the plain of Thessaly.

Its strewn fires collected by the thunderbolt were his armies and his fiery soldiers collected by Caesar out of Rome and the lands of Gaul and the island of Britain, towards the Civil War. The Carolingian Renaissance kind of fizzled out with the breakup of the Carolingian Empire after the death of Luis the Pious though. High culture and learning did not take for good until the Renaissance of the 12th century. Hell the Holy Roman Empire was really founded by the Ottonian Dynasty, who were crowned Emperors over a century after the Carolingian realm started collapsing under its own weight.

Certainly the Carolingian Renaissance laid the groundwork for what came later, but in all it was a false dawn. The Byzantines also experienced a ruralization, demographic and economic decline, and cultural ossification in the aftermath of Late Antiquity, actually, just not as severe as that in western Europe.

The area encompassed by Middle Romania started from a higher point and did not fall as far, but it certainly fell. It also recovered in a similar way, with Constantinople in probably being more populous than it was in When the Plague of Justinian hit in the 6th century Constantinople had around half a million people.

It started to decline again after the reign of the Bulgar Slayer in the 11th century. People often cite Manzikert as the turning point, but the reason Manzikert even happened was due massive political instability that had been building for decades. By the time the Fourth Crusade arrived in early in the 13th, the city is unlikely to have had more than a quarter million inhabitants, and it may have been as low as It must have been something else.

People often cite Manzikert as the turning point because after Manzikert the Turks conquered Asia Minor. Fleeing refugees had a low opinion of the traitor dynasty founded by the guys who betrayed Asia Minor so they could seize Constantinople.

Venona transcript media has a high opinion of that dynasty, fellow sophisticates above mere loyalty. The Crusaders took a low view of that dynasty, partly from refugees, partly from frictions between Crusader warlords and dynasty warlords, partly because Constantinople was wealthy and booty calls.

Though certainly the battle made things much worse. The Emperor Manuel in particular was oft called the Great by his subjects for long after his death. The betrayers at Manzikert were the Doukas family, and while they were related to and closely allies to the Komneni, they are not the same. And afterwards the Seljuks just entered Asia Minor without any resistance from the Byzantines.

I think this is mostly a good explanation of prior problems: Ireland totally was overrun by germanics. It gets complicated, though, because apart from the slaughtering and plundering they also settle down to trade, farm, and intermarry with the natives. So you have the kingdom of Dublin which is kinda Viking and kinda Irish and looks mainly to Britain and the other Viking cities there, but also has alliances with the local Leinster tribes, and gets a king Sitric Silkbeard who is the son of Gormflaith , ex-wife of Brian Boru.

Deiseach, Exactly, the Vikings in Ireland — or as the are more aptly named, the Hiberno-Norse — were speaking Irish Gaelic by this time and in manners and customs were very similar to the Irish, except they were mostly traders. Irish Y-DNA lineages were spread with the Hiberno-Norse, meaning that not only were they taking wives from the Irish host population, but that Irish lads were becoming Vikings also.

In an age of darkness. Yes, the Dark Ages occurred in the largely Christian part of the world. The preserved antique writings also mostly, I think came via the Islamic world. As far as I recall, Ireland is more famous for exporting actual living, breathing philosophers than for books. The Byzantine Empire may well have had more to do with it, there the ancient Greek-language tradition was uninterrupted and needed no translation. I am no expert, however.

What came to Western Europe from the Islamic world was very important however: As for the Irish, they definitely exported books. There are copies of Late Antique texts and Irish texts in Britain and on the continent written by Irish hands. Of course, the story is muddied somewhat by the number of Irish IN Britain and on the continent. The oldest surviving copy of Lucretius 9th century , for example, contains corrections in an insular Irish hand probably of the Irish monk Dungal.

A very long academic read on this: Books from Ireland, Fifth to Ninth Centuries. There were East Romans and dhimmis to preserve the books. Although the period between the two Western emperors was a dark age for Latin Christendom as a whole, it was along with the Carolingian period the golden age of indigenous Irish art, literature, philosophy, and spirituality.

So even though these centuries were a golden age for Ireland, Ireland is too small to move the average for Latin Christendom as a whole: So Ireland had enough scholars to kickstart a Renaissance all by itself. This is no anomaly of course, Ireland still has one of the highest PISA scores in the world for Reading — despite getting a recent monstrous influx of non-Native speakers, which would drive down their scores.

And so I will boldly say that I think the end of classical civilization and subsequent multi-century stagnation of demographic, economic, and intellectual progress in Christian Western Europe — was a bad thing.

We have created Modern Civilization, with the scientific method and religious tolerance and factories and everything, exactly once. I feel strongly that anything that delays that creation is a bad thing. Societies that look like the Roman empire — forced-labor economy, enormous amounts of territory, fights bloody civil wars a lot — did not only fail to create Modern Civilization, but they proved highly resilient to converting to it.

China, Russia, Ottoman Empire. We have one example of the society that created Modern Civilization — northwest Europe, or so , and it seems very unlikely that we could have had Modern Civilization in anywhere near the same time period if the Roman Empire never fell. I think the Dark Ages may be a price required to create the society that created the world where huge numbers of people live about three dollars a day.

Now, I admit this is kind of pedantic, and possibly a Fully General Argument against all historical events.

And if you believe in the butterfly effect theory of history you could make the argument to almost anything. If some terrible catastrophe had destroyed Norman England, we might have said good — it would never industrialize anyway.

But in fact it did. This should make us wary of saying that about Rome. Industrialization was pretty much a done deal in Western Europe by the time it happened. Anglo-Norman England just got there first. Barring some continent wide catastrophe, the Netherlands, Western Germany, and Northen Italy were all going to get there eventually. On the other hand we have no evidence of Roman-like civilizations industrializing, all of our closest examples resisted modernity pretty hard.

I think the Dark Ages are important as a lesson for the modern day; there is nothing that guarantees our current civilisation is going to continue on, saecula saeculorum , with no end in sight.

Look at Rome, look back at today. Deiseach, I think you are being a bit unfair to Petrarch. Look at his Italia Mia, which is talking about the horrible state of Italy.

It has nothing to do with literature, or patronage. Verdelot did a beautiful musical setting of the first part of that poem you can find it on UTube two centuries later—and all the stuff Petrarch was grieving over was still true. Norman England, even factoring in the family holdings in France and the hegemony over the Atlantic Isles, is comparatively compact.

Norman England is the sort of civilisation to have a bright future, Imperial Rome the civilisation to have a bright past. I think you overestimate the centralization of the Roman State. By and large, the Empire just had local elites ruling their own cities and sending taxes to Metropole. The empire was more bound together by trade than it was by the legions. Slavery was already on the way out in Rome after the adoption of Christianity though I guess this contradicts my previous point about lack of centralization pre-Diocletian.

It always seemed like something honored more in the breach. My point is that is bodes well when a regime that starts off by abolishing slavery, as the Normans did in England. See here for the virtues of chivalry: Or if Rome does fall and we have a civlization with time travel, we get a civilization derived from the Ostrogoths, with time machines.

I think it very likely that the world required a period of centuries in which mulitple states and free cities exist and no one can crush ideas globally.

And this is incomaptible with a unified Roman or Hellenistic empire. Empires can fission in all sorts of ways. Though my money is on the Indonesian archipeligo, in either its Muslim or Buddhist incarnations. Much of what is culturally impressive about the Dark Ages tend to be mythological works, Beowulf or the poems from the Poetic Edda, for example.

The mythologies of many forager societies are quite impressive. Even the Greek mythology used by later poets like Homer was largely created during the Greek Dark Ages, after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization. From that perspective, the Norse are scary horn-helmed invaders that helped make the dark ages so dark.

Horn-helmed only from a modern perspective, not from the perspective of people who actually saw them. FYI, this is actually a meta-myth. Traditionally, the Ring principals, Brunhilde included, wore winged helmets, not horned ones. The stereotype of the horn helmeted Brunhilde only arose because the stereotype of the horn helmeted viking had independent currency.

Roman era Celts and Germans did have horned helmets for ceremonial purposes, but they had long fallen out of use by the Viking period. While the story is set in Germany and its characters are German, the opera highlights the connections between Germanic and Norse heritages by drawing from elements of Norse mythology.

God damn, JohnofSalisbury is completely right. It was bugging me though, and my intuition told me that i should look into into it more. Now that is a deep rooted myth right there. The most likely origin is still some kind conflation of Roman era Celtic and Germanic helmets with those of the Vikings era Norse. Archeology of the former in the 19th century was much more developed than archeology of the latter.

But now i have idea who first did it first. Hunding and a number of background characters have horns, in the latter case quite prominent ones. They depicted Migration era Germans wearing horns, and the public transposed that into the Vikings.

So your troops know who to follow, and not kill. Horns, feathers, wings were readily available. At D-Day the US officers had a white streak of paint on the back of their helmets, same reason. Having two rigid blade-catchers sticking out the side of them kind of defeats that purpose. After having his head and neck wrenched painfully from blows to the horns about five times in rapid succession, he quickly came off the field and took the stupid thing off.

A second reason not to have horns on your helmet is that they get in the way of your hand or sword when swinging the latter. The Dark Ages were a religious age in some ways, but it is important to note that large parts of Europe, especially Northern Europe, were not Christian at this time. Currently humanity is de facto pushing its brightest members out of reproduction for whatever reason.

Those who are creative and brilliant are likely to have a very low fertility rate. However efforts to drastically increase such fertility rates some people propose is intellectually very harmful and curbs prosperity, reason, freedom and science.

Are we humans doomed to degenerate into a population of woo-believing and irrational people again? Is history necessarily cyclical?

Are a lot of intellectualism and social stability necessarily incompatible? Does reason necessarily lead to increased antisocial behaviors? Do we have to have shared lies and nonsense to have a stable society?

We have this one. Weak enough that increased assortative mating will probably lead to an increase in the number of high-IQ individuals even if the overall population average declines slightly. Once birth control is free for everyone, and the most effective, hands-off kinds are widely used, I doubt there will be much if any association.

One way that might not work out: Probably the women on the more demanding career tracks are smarter and probably they tend to marry smarter men. Almost certainly, smarter women are more likely to pursue more education college, grad school, professional programs like law or medicine. That means delaying kids.

And the effect comes partly from smaller families, but also from longer generations—if Alice has her two kids at 18 and 20, and Barbara waits to have her two kids at 38 and 40, Alice is going to end up with more descendants down the line, and Alices are going to seriously outbreed Barbaras.

Quite a few women who end up without children seem to actually want children, so another mechanism may be stronger:. The traditional gender role for men was that they had to be financially secure, mature, etc before thinking of starting a family. At that point, there is a substantial risk of not being able to find a partner or having their current partner be unwilling to become a dad, especially since women probably have a tendency to misjudge the quality of man that they can attract with an offer of starting a family.

Even if they do find a man who wants to be a father to their child, the declining fertility makes the chance of failure a lot higher than if they started trying to get pregnant earlier.

Furthermore, starting a family late means that there is less opportunity to have more children. In contrast, women with less education seem to prioritize differently, probably in no small part because the high standards that many of the well-educated women adopt are completely and obviously unfeasible. So you get large differences between mothers based on education:. In comparison, the median age at first birth for women with a high school diploma or less is just More illustrative than the difference in the median age when mothers got their first child is the graph showing the distribution of ages, where you can see that a huge number of well-educated mothers got their child in the fertility danger zone, compared to very few less-educated mothers.

Now, these figures are only for women who managed to get a child, but they logically point to many more well-educated women failing to get pregnant due to fertility issues than less-educated women. With no endorsement, due to being unqualified to judge: Was intelligence decline the cause of fall of Rome? What evidence is there that 5th century Romans were, on average, less rational and dumber than 1st century Romans? Bit of a reach, I think: Afaik the Roman lead-poisoning argument is now less about lead pipes than the fact that common food sweeteners in Rome included sapa a syrup made from boiling down grape juice in vessels that were often made of lead and actual lead acetate!

As I understand it, historians believe calcium deposits would have made lead plumbing relatively harmless. That does sound more plausible.

For reference, the first Punic War, which established Rome as the dominant power of the West Mediterranean Basin, was fought between BC, the maximum territorial extend of the Roman Empire was reached in AD , and the dethronement of the last Western Roman Emperor, the customary end of Clasical antiquity, occurred in AD After the discovery of the Americas the pattern breaks: Europe quickly recovered and flourished, while the Little Ice Age continued until the mid 19th century, possibly until being reversed by anthropogenic global warming.

I would have to disagree with this. Among those people, are smart people falling behind? Even without a formal study, it seems unlikely to me. Who will be more reproductively successful — a smart couple which wants a lot of children or a dumb couple? From my perspective, believing that the world was literally created in 6 days is about as rational as believing that men and women are equal in inherent math ability.

The doubling time for the Amish is about twenty years. And in fact it would be pretty funny if the main legacy of feminism was a race humans where the men were far more intelligent than the women. But that would take a lot longer than years to occur. So perhaps I should put my argument a different way: The dysgenic effects of smart people, especially smart women, underbreeding is pissing in the ocean compared to the genetic consequences of ultra-religious types out-reproducing everyone else.

I have no idea what the average IQ of Amish is. Orthodox Jews are probably Ashkenazi, so higher than average IQ. No idea for the Mormons either. Mormons are pretty typical American white average IQ, except their floor is lower, i. Catholics are pretty much average Americans, which makes sense because of their large numbers in the population. Which is that the long term effects of dampening the fertility of smart people in the West is pretty minor compared to the looming tidal wave of the ultra-religious.

And even ignoring that, one can make predictions based on current characteristics of these groups, which are mainly of European descent.

I think that with some digging, we could probably even quantify how many points it is worth, based on life outcomes. Keep in mind that religious people who have a lot of kids very often lose at least half these kids to other worldviews. Beliefs are somewhat heritable, but the more awful, the less heritable, generally. This is a completely valid strategy. Of course some more reasonable people have large families as well. I have four kids and am raising them to be curious and question everything.

Also keep in mind that, while this is true in the West for the last few generations, this was not true for most of history. I would be curious to know how you dressed; what types of schools you attended; who you associated with and so on. Because a lot of these ultra-religious groups act, dress, eat, and live in such a way that they are isolated from the rest of society. I expect that makes leaving the community a good deal less common. There are sometimes other factors.

For the Amish, the usual estimate is that they lose ten to twenty percent of each generation. That still gives them a population doubling time of about twenty years. So it seems we are selecting for religious faith and the ability to sit through long, boring religious services. This goes double for weirder LW-adjacent positions. Note that none of the groups you mentioned are closed to any significant extent. They constantly bleed people in particular males into the larger societies they are embedded into.

These people and their children are no longer consider part of the group. Of course, this mechanism can work only as long as these groups are very small minorities. As soon as they start to become a sizeable minority, their outflow of low quality genes, mostly carried by unsuccessful men, will upset the broader society, lowering its capacity to absorb more.

Belief in 6 days creation, the Noachian flood, etc. It may lower the quality of scientific education, and thus harm biological research, but does not directly affect the day-to-day family and professional life of most people. Believing falsehoods about gender, on the other hand, has far-reaching policy implications, such as massive intrusion in the workplace to correct a non-existing bias, which lowers economic efficiency and causes resentment between men and women men think that women are stealing their jobs, women think that the Pathriarchy is holding them down.

Religious beliefs exist to signal allegiance and enforce social norms. This is a feature, not a bug: Creationism is technically not completely supernatural: It is a minimally intrusive belief. Modern secular religions lack this sophistication. Turn your beliefs about how to do agricolture and run a government into religious dogma and tens million people will die.

Turn your beliefs about gender into religious dogma, and well, we will see. All of the ex-orthodox Jews I have met were female. I would guess this is because the gain in personal freedom for women by leaving the community is a good deal bigger than that for men. If we assess the rationality of a belief by looking at the policy implications, then I would agree with you.

But when I assert that a belief is irrational, my point is not really about policy implications. I think that was pretty clear from the context but if not, please be more charitable. The downfall of Shakerism would seem to support it. Another possibility is that traditional wisdom developed at a time when societies were poorer and lived more on the edge.

So they lacked the resources for some of the follies our modern age can support. It sounds like you think that failing to forcibly exclude women from the professions is functionally equivalent to Mao starving tens of millions of peasants.

If those resources had instead been put into scientific and technological research, probably medicine would be a good deal more advanced than it is now, alleviating quite a bit of human suffering. Anyway, I think they still have lots of attrition, but not enough to offset their high fertility.

I mean, in order to consider evolutionary fitness of a population you have to count all the descendants of some ancestral group. If you look only to the descendants that are still considered part of the group according to some arbitrary social criterion and this criterion happens to correlate with high fitness, you will get an overestimate of the actual fitness of the population. From an epistemic point of view, the Flood is arguably more irrational certainly it is more bizarre , but from an instrumental point of view the Patriarchy is more irrational.

Instrumental rationality is what matters for social viability. Just imagine me gesturing to the first phrase, then to the other, repeatedly. Fertility is about urbanization and, to a certain extent, wealth.

Barring a very kinky memeplex, this is true just about everywhere. Women would still have education, careers and short-term sexual gratification—kinda like men have been getting all these years, those scamps!

If those resources had instead been put into scientific and technological research. If more women had followed the traditional pattern of marrying, producing and rearing children and running a household, what extra resources would have been available for research? But humans consume as well as produce.

I tried to answer the more general question in a piece I wrote forty-five years ago, and concluded that I could not sign the sum of positive and negative effects. If smart people reproduce less, then they free up resources for the dumb people to reproduce more. In fact, when smart people pay their extra taxes into the welfare system compared to what their net contribution would be if they had children , or donate to help-the-poor charities, they actively fund dumb people to breed. Intuitively this should have a dysgenic effect.

Maybe it will take several generations to become apparent, but in the medium-long term it can become a major issue. How much resources do dumb people need to reproduce? My claim is based on common sense: When women go to college and grad school, they are generally NOT marrying and having children. The same thing goes for short-term sexual relationships.

In reality the vast majority of talented people are male, especially in science and technology. Failing to encourage women to pursue these areas, or even actively discouraging them, would not only not reduce the talent pool, it would free up spots for more men.

Not only that, if the smarter women had more children, and did so at a younger age, it would increase the number of talented men to innovate and create and increase the number of women to make more innovative men. That the vast majority of people who are capable of important achievements in these areas are male. That when you put your thumb on the scales to get more women into these fields, you are necessarily undermining the average competence.

Probably on your college campus, anyone who dared make such a suggestion would get shouted down at best and punished at worst. Which is pretty much my original point. If we are going to recognize that religious people have irrational beliefs, e. For one thing, spots at top research universities for men.

All the way from undergraduate level to professors. So every time a medical school slot is given to a woman over a man, resources are being lost. Society is getting far less return from the substantial investment in training that doctor.

Perhaps because the distinction is more of a continuum. Please try and be quantitative when you can. Greater urbanization means greater job opportunities and liberal culture; greater wealth means less subsistence farming and need for children to till the soil. I think I can imagine your model: You have a pool of a million men and a million women.

As mentioned above , re childcare. The evidence linked to is quite unclear, but it looks as though fertility is eugenic for men and dysgenic for women. Actually, I agree that greater wealth has made it easier to ignore some of the destructive aspects of feminist flights of fancy.

All you are saying is that such policies are inevitable. But that misses the point that men are also just more intelligent than women, certainly when it comes to STEM. But it really does seem that for you, it is literally unthinkable. Yes, because of the Patriarchy. Or some other mysterious, vague force. Face it, your arguments are fundamentally no different from those of the biggest bible-thumping Jesus freak.

Which may very well be the case given the rampant gynocentrism in the West […]. These trends are universal across cultures, across races. There was a whole scientific revolution and everything.

Women generally take time off from work to raise children, which impacts their productivity. I mean, you can, but you sound kinda silly.

Now more fathers men are leaving the work force instead of women to raise their children. I have actually met four househusbands or stay-at-home dads in the past year.

The evidence suggests that very smart women are probably less common than very smart men, but the difference is not nearly as great as you apparently imagine. So my point is correct. Encouraging women in the West to spend the majority of their most fertile years pursuing education, jobs, and short-term sexual relationships has a big impact on demographics, more than starving 10 million peasants.

You are simply trying to change the subject. I would have to disagree. For example, I know that men are taller than women even though I have never seen a scientific study confirming this. Are you claiming that my knowledge of this point is unreliable? So you are saying that in your experience and on average, the math ability of the men you meet and interact with is about the same as that of the women?

What I am saying is that, in my experience, highly intelligent women are not strikingly less common than highly intelligent men. On your point about observing height …. You can easily observe the height of vast numbers of strangers, so can have at least rough information on population averages. You directly observe the intelligence only of people you interact with pretty closely—closely enough to have an extended argument with, or discuss the solution to some technical problem with, or something similar.

The people you interact with are a very non-random collection, so your information on population averages is much worse. But you get that result with equal means and a slightly greater standard deviation for men, which is my guess at the actual situation. You keep trying to dodge the uncomfortable truth by changing the subject of discussion from math ability to general intelligence.

But I was responding to the claim that simple observation is inherently unreliable. And the example of height is a relatively uncontroversial way of showing that this claim is false. You have people agreeing that at the tails of the intelligence distribution you will find more men that women, and yet you feel compelled to insist on men being smarter than women as some kind of absolutionist position.

Fact is inteligence differences between men and women are not like height differences. Heights have differing means which are far enough apart there is very little overlap between the two distributions. Intelligence on the other hand ia different distribution widths centered on the same mean.

Therefore whereas you would expect none of the tallest humans to be female, you would expect some of the smartest humans to be so. Moreover i am intensely skeptical of the socioeconomic policy you seem to be advocating.

Given that it would require Soviet levels of command and repression to implement, it seems unlikely that it would be superior to that yielded by self-sorting in the pseudo-free market of modernity. Frankly your implication that modern society is inefficient and if only we implemented this other superior schema things would be better reminds me of s Communists crowing about how collectivized agriculture will blow away inefficient private farming.

Ten million is a lot of peasants, but of course urbanization and prosperity are going to change things. I think that morally , comparing people getting wealthy and moving from dirt-encrusted shacks into spiffy apartments to millions of peasants starving is kinda silly, and if you evaluate everything solely in terms of its demographic impact, your reasoning process is at best incomplete.

First off, the distributions for male and female height are far more separate , like, almost 2 SDs between means. As opposed to a third of an SD, if they even are different at the means, for intelligence. Say you want to hire people over five foot seven. Roughly the average human height in the United States. About two thirds of men and one third of women will pass this bar. SD about three inches, means five-five and five-ten.

The sixth virtue is empiricism. The tenth virtue is precision. Lillian , I appreciate your perspective. You will note that your claim was not about math ability but about intelligence in general and STEM in particular. Hence I was not saying what you claimed I was saying. As this sequence shows, I was not the one who kept trying to change the subject of discussion.

Your original claim was about intelligence in general and STEM ability in particular, not math ability—you then pretended it had been about math ability. My claim was that the difference probably existed but was not as great as you supposed. You then pretended that I was saying that the two were about the same.

Law and custom requires that anyone other than their own parents who comes near a child be trained and vetted and investigated six ways from Sunday, children must be closely supervised at all times, if anything happens to a child an investigation must be done to find the culprit and new regulations instituted to stop it from ever happening again. All this is high cost. Absolutely not, are you allergic to reality? I ask you this because you seem to be trying to change the subject.

Actually I have been focusing on a narrower claim — that men are better than women at math. And yet people feel compelled to try to shift the discussion to intelligence in general; or to policy prescriptions. Especially when it comes to math ability. Unfortunately, studying the question in a rigorous way is a bit like studying evolutionary science in a hypothetical theocracy where there is a taboo against questioning religious dogma.

Are you able to show compelling evidence that average math ability is the same between men and women? Keep in mind that any research study which focuses on children would have to look at people above the age of 13 or 14 since boys and girls mature at different rates. Given that it would require Soviet levels of command and repression to implement.

Exactly what socioeconomic policy do I seem to be advocating? Because I think you are just making stuff up in an attempt to shift the grounds of discussion. No good has ever come from the pompous declarations of those who think they know better than the market. I take it you would be comfortable dismantling all government policies and funding aimed at increasing female representation in higher education, job markets, scientific research, and so forth?

To quote from you comment that started this argument:. In reality the facts suggest that women going into the professions in general and STEM in oarticular is due to market forces. Iran, no bastion of feminism, can only stem the tide through authoritarian policies like enforced gender segregation, college quotas, and flat out forbidding women from some fields.

While they justify the latter two policies by pointing to low rates of employment among female graduates, that is itself partly a result of the first policy.

Given more liberal laws it seems evident they would eventually have plenty of female engineers even absent feminist folly. Thankfully Scott has made things easy for us by already covering the subject. Looks like efficient resource allocation to me! And yes, i do in fact oppose government affirmative action policies.

I think that morally , comparing people getting wealthy and moving from dirt-encrusted shacks into spiffy apartments to millions of peasants starving is kinda silly,. Lol, you are the one who made the comparison in the first place. Which you now apparently admit is silly. And I would have to agree. Umm, again you are trying to change the subject.

The example of height shows that you are wrong in your claim that knowledge based on simple observation is generally unreliable. By the way, since you now concede that I am probably right about the demographic impact of encouraging women to pursue higher education etc. Whether it is possible to reverse this trend, or if it is like turning back the ocean. It is very difficult to turn back a tidal wave, but if you wait, it will recede on its own. So too with feminism.

Any anti-natalist ideology is unlikely to last absent some radical change in technology. There are various subcultures in which women are encourage to spend their fertile years reproducing, and surprise surprise those subcultures are growing at a very fast rate.

Hence my incredulity at the analogy. Are you not following links? A little less of the Dank Truths schtick, please. How about SAT scores? SD is points on the SAT per component , which means that the difference in mean on the math portion only is… a third of a standard deviation, the same as what we started with. Your prejudices may be somewhat correlated , unevenly, with reality. But empiricism is better correlated. I recommend some foundational reading in probability and empiricism; I think you have an intuitive way of looking at things which could benefit greatly from some of the advances made since the sixteenth century.

And, I would venture to add, a firm grounding in basic statistics and probability. See below , re China, Ireland, Brazil and Iran. If you are not trying to change the subject, then you should have no problem laying out the socioeconomic policy I am supposedly advocating and quoting me where I do so.

Failing that, please just admit that you made something up in an attempt to change the subject and apologize. Sure, I invited you to supply compelling evidence that average math ability is the same between men and women. I take it that you are unable to do so? You said, and i quoted you, that what you consider to be feminist folly has cost civilization in technological advancement. This implies that we would be better off if it had been stopped or at least not happened.

So i pointed out the real costs of forcibly stopping it, and that women going into the professions is a market driven effect.

Taken together this suggests that your hypothesis is incorrect. If markets are efficient, and markets are driving women into the professions, then having female scientists and engineers is in fact efficient and is not holding us back. Also nobody, and i mean nobody , in this thread has claimed equal math ability between men and women.

We are claiming the difference is smaller than you think, we have provided evidence to the effect. You have provided nothing beyond your assertions. Debate cannot and will not continue until you defend your position. We have defended ours. But if you want to assume that I was, the most charitable assumption would be that I was advocating for taking the government and societal thumb off the scales, i. I also note that you have declined to offer even a shred of evidence — let alone compelling evidence — for the position that, on average, men and women are equally good at math.

This exchange is over. So you dispute that political correctness has a large impact on whether certain taboo subjects are the subject of scientific studies? I have no idea what your point is here. I asked if there is compelling evidence that average math ability is the same between men and women and you link to an article about a math test where male test-takers consistently perform significantly better than female test-takers.

You clearly implied that knowledge based on simple observation is generally unreliable. So interpreted, your claim may very well be correct. Please stop weaseling and just admit that what you said earlier was wrong. There do exist subcultures, for example Amish and Orthodox Jews, where 1 women are encouraged to spend their most fertile years reproducing; and 2 the population has been rapidly increasing for some time.

Not exactly, I expressed certainty when it came to one and by implication uncertainty as to the other. So you are saying that in your experience and on average, the STEM ability of the men you meet and interact with is about the same as that of the women?

The negative correlation between IQ and fertility stopped or significantly dropped around the time of the sexual revolution. In a broader sense, Robert Goddard , Abe Lincoln and Henry Ford all came from long lines of dirt farmers, the trailer-park inhabitants of their day. Norman Borlaug was born on a farm. Stephen Fry was a small-time crook and credit-card fraudster as a teenager.

Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs were both illegitimate children given up for adoption. March 15, , grew up in Homs, Syria and was born into an Arab Muslim household. The least urbanized and poorest continent, exactly as one would predict given the relationship between fertility, poverty and urbanization everywhere else.

The relationship holds within Africa , as well. Totally nothing to do with class and legitimacy. The relationship holds within Africa, as well. Across various cultures, geographies and ethnicities, prosperity and urbanization reliably did the same thing. Maybe sub-Saharan Africa is somehow special; perhaps their fertility rates are due to black people simply being that much prettier than white people or something.

But I have my doubts that things are really so different there than everywhere else in the world. On the graph you are citing, 36 million is the population in A.

The fall of the Western Empire is commonly dated to about A. Population continued to fall for another hundred and fifty years before it started back up. It passed its Roman high in about A. My rule of thumb for very poor societies is that the growth rate of population is a proxy for the average standard of living. That growth rate, the slope of the line on Figure 1. The population figures we are citing are very uncertain. So are the GDP figures. As you may have noticed, your two sources differ, in the early period, by about a factor of two.

A few other points. You mention the horse collar. In classical antiquity, horses were harnessed with a strap running around the neck, and a team of horses had to be in line abreast—consider a chariot race. The invention of the horse collar substantially increased—I think the estimate is doubled—the amount of work a horse could do, and increased by much more than that the maximum pull, since you could now have your horses in line ahead, with all of the force going forward instead of much of it to the side.

Admittedly, this was only relevant to horses and mules—oxen were yoked—but it was still a big increase in available power. If I could find my copy of Lynn White I might be able to offer a few other inventions. I will leave you with one of my favorite examples of the high level of arts in the early Middle Ages. In classical antiquity, horses were harnessed with a strap running around the neck.

The inefficiency or Roman horse harness, compared to medieval one, seems to be greatly exagerrated. By the bye, horseshoes are a big deal.

The population peak on the graph Scott and I are referencing is in A. The traditional date for the fall of the Roman empire is A. If those numbers on metal production and other metrics of economic success; IIRC analysis of shipwrecks also shows a similar peak in marine transport around 1AD and decline thereafter are correct, then the fall of the Roman Empire might have been somehow inherent in the transition from Republic to Empire, and all the conquest and plunder in between might merely have bought them time.

The ancient equivalent of Soviets putting up Sputniks while simultaneously putting down starving Hungarians. I find the fact that roman maritime shipping peaked in 1ad highly dubious, do you have a source for that? It was a lot like rivalry among Mafia families with entire armies and fleets under their control. The original source of the claim about shipwrecks is Parker. The Republic was reasonably good in its town terms — i. It also still an empire by our modern meaning of the term , one which subjugated foreign lands and extracted resources out of them for the benefit of Romans.

And this put power into the hands of the generals who lead that work, this in turn lead to civil wars that were temporarily quelled by Augustus and his Empire. So the Republic was in fact doomed by its own imperialistic sins. And those sins i. Above is the tale of one coincedence. Causality is more complicated, it took centuries for the Empire to fall, and many other empires have lasted a long time. The picture is more complicated for the colonial empires of Europe.

Also worth pointing out that an unknowable but possibly significant proportion of the seeming fall is probably due to the use of more perishable materials e. It is precisely because the Early Middle Ages were in fact a Dark Age, that i have long contended that the real Renaissance is the Renaissance of the 12th century.

Sure the Italian Renaissance ushered in the Early Modern Period and paved the way to the Enlightenment, it was genuinely a big deal, but it was also in many ways a continuation of an already existing trend. A trend that started with the final defeat of the Saracen threat to Europe in the late 10th century, and came to full bloom over the course of the 12th the Crusades provably played a role in this.

The Italian Renaissance brought back the classics of Antiquity, but the Renaissance of the 12th century marked the end of the Dark Ages. It was by far the bigger deal.

I wish it was easier to find sources on the social changes between the European 4th and 11th centuries or so. There is, however, this book:. While the Arab world did indeed have unique discoveries and advances of their own, they also were not sui generis ; they too were the heirs of the Ancient World and got as much from say Classical Alexandria, the Middle Eastern provinces, and Rome-and-Greece-via-Byzantium.

There was a lot of cultural exchange and bringing it all back home all over Europe and the Near East. A trend that started with the final defeat of the Saracen threat to Europe in the late 10th century. Perhaps my use is non-standard, but Turks are not Saracens in my estimation. The term refers mainly to Muslim Arabs and Moors. Though i will admit i was playing it a bit fast and loose with the timeline there.

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