19 Comments

I posit the position is not Nihilism but “it depends”, because of course situational details matter.

If you were an insurance company, under market pressure, would you settle all vehicle-on-pedestrian incidents as driver-caused? What about fraudulent injury claims?

The intelligent position withholds judgement for relevant details. How did you conclude that Nihilism is the only explanation?

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Nihilism, or materialism? Intelligent people are probably less likely to fault wolves for doing wolf things, maybe more likely to blame parents for their children's actions etc.

Two out of three of the questions on individual responsibility are fairly ambiguous as to whether they're prescriptive or descriptive though. The basic interpretation of those questions might depend on IQ.

Also, being willing to help others might be a third option between individual and government responsibility.

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"Strangely, intelligence also predicts less belief in individuals' own responsibility. It appears then that smart people are more likely to be nihilists."

I think this is incorrect statement. Maybe the more intelligent people consider more often free will an illusion. I mean the notion that we live in a world of an endless chain of causes and effects without any real faculty to make decisions. And if that is the case, what is the meaning of "responsibility" - either collective/external (government) or personal (individual)?

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Einstein's papers have been debunked. Nihilism and IQ Jewish construct. Earth is flat.

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I'm not comfortable with the deduction of nihilism here. the actual philosophy this indicates not clear in my opinion. It might even reflect reflect two or more distinct ideas that does not fit within the frame work of the very small number of questions used.

Take my own view, which is that neither a centralized government, nor an individual are the locus of responsibility, but either the family, or the inherited bio-spirit, depending on circumstances. I doubt that is what is being represented in the data directly, but it is an example of yet another third option.

My personal suspicion is that attention to material details increases with intelligence. It's not nihilism in the sense that nothing matters and no one has responsibility, but a recognition that most outcomes have a large predetermined character. Many actors essentially don't have agency and will act our their roles, whether that is a low-income migrant who is not able to alter his own behavior, or an empire that declines due to changes in weather patterns.

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All the comments here are very interesting, but I would like to point out that at least my type of libertarian (Mises Caucus type) does think that social responsibility to others is important and that a society worth living in has a high degree of cooperation and support, just that it should be voluntary. For most the government is conflated with community when it's really just a bastardization of the concept. As an example, the kind of community that Charles Murray would like to live in (cf. Coming Apart) appeals greatly to me.

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No the reason I don’t believe in individual or government responsibility lies within the maxim that humans are creatures of pure self interest and only in a group of humans with same shared values of pursuing maximum self interest with other humans that believe in cooperation with a similar level of aptitude can co exist peacefully while taking advantage of an inferior group. As long as natural inequality exists, one can walk around circles around inferior people who cannot see the patterns or form opinions of their own. Governments are just a bunch of self interested elites and if you are not useful you get pruned. Now some may be benevolent but ultimately against other groups that are more superior in numbers, intellect or resources, you are likely to be a satellite state or bombed unless you provide value like silicon wafers. The natural law of life is one of hierarchy and dominance. There is no such thing as someone being responsible for the outcome in the sense of moral obligation for you to be happy or to exist but those that do act have a statistically greater chance to enforce their will and they do believe in their own self reinforcing capabilities else it would be a denial of their existence. Everyone will justify their self in accordance with their extrinsic value to others. Ultimately higher intellect comes with a stronger propensity for self determination but not necessarily complete responsibility for all outcomes as it is a mixed of states of others and your actions of which some are controllable and some are not hence why those with intelligence and a keenness for control want more power by the maximum power principle.

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"Nihilism" is an incorrect interpretation of responses to the three individual responsibility questions. Those three questions measure whether someone believes in atomized individualism, which is a stupid belief. Thus faith in it declines with IQ.

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The individual responsibility questions are so poorly worded I don't think you can draw any clear conclusions from them at all.

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I would have at least figured higher individual responsibility with higher IQ, and wouldn't have been surprised by both being higher. This is the opposite of expectations.

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Do we have studies searching the relation between nihilism and IQ?

Are you doing ''my family is intelligent'' because Søren Kierkegaard was a nihilist?

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Seems like part of this should be explained by the positive correlation between stupidity and agreement described in https://www.emilkirkegaard.com/p/write-simple-questions-in-surveys?

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Not surprising at all. All politics are divided most definitively by sex, and more precisely by what to do with the genetically less fortunate. Mother's nurturing disposition is the primer I'm pretty certain. This means, everything is genetic, determined, at very least extremely predictable based on genetics, epigenetics and post-natal birth environment. And the earliest effects (ages 0-2) have the most observable sway over outcomes of post natal.

That being said, best case human thriving is not congruent with highest intelligence. This is accessibly demonstrated by second world isolated monocultural societies. Highest longevity, high rate of self-reported happiness, most often Christians/Buddhists(forgot to mention structured by Shintoism, this is extremely important to note).

contrasted to that the most adaptable (capability to withstand travesty and capability to migrate) and best at social games (game theory) have the highest survivability as well as highest IQ. Ironically this also precludes a necessity to prune the weak genes or mold them faster/better than others. And I can't think of a better fit for that than the Jews.

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"They don't believe in the idea of responsibility. At least, I can't think of another good way to think about it."

People "should be"/"have to"/"need to".... in order to do what though? Without a stated purpose, I have nothing to justify a should/have to or need to. So I'd default to "no they do not".

That does not mean, that I don't believe in individual responsibility being a useful concept. Or that I don't respect people that exhibit it, a whole lot more over those that do not.

But that was not asked ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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The "government responsibility" questions appear not to be included, which is a shame - can you post them please?

I also find that the "individual responsibility" questions don't give a remotely accurate impression of my (strong) belief in individual responsibility. These questions all have strong political overtones independently of whether one thinks people "are" or "should be" "responsible" for themselves, and I find myself balking at their incoherent dichotomies as well.

Re. Q1, it's completely reasonable to both support helping others and to believe that individuals generally have significantly more control over their own well being (making them more "responsible" for it) than other individual people do.

Re. Q2, the only reasonable belief is that people should strive very much to help themselves, but that they inevitably also depend on others, and moreover, that it is usually both stupid and destructive to try to end the positive sum (and hence dependent) relationship that living in a society generally produces.

Re Q3 ... I don't "need" to "look after myself" (conservative / elderly / rural coded language that is both overly prescriptive and suggests minding my own business), but I do think I am primarily my own responsibility. As for being "overly worried about others", obviously I don't think I should be. It would be incoherent to affirm believing I should be be "overly" anything.

So I would code as strongly anti individual responsibility, even though an ethos of individual responsibility is central to my worldview.

I also believe strongly in the use ("responsibility"?) of government for solving problems, incidentally, but very much doubt it would be observable via this survey.

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As a statistician, I find this post interesting.

As far as I know, SEM is a tool for continuous (and non truncated data) modelling, so how much do you think the variances are under-estimated, and how is bias assessed? For example, the regression line in Figure 2 seems to be sensitive to the strange data pattern in the upper part of the plot, it seems like there is truncation which might create the negative slope.

And how well does your model fit or predict out of sample?

What is your population?

Thanks, keep the posts coming!

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