Consummate dilettantism!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

There Is No Difference Between "Luck" And "Hard Work"

Cornell Economist Robert Frank says:
Although people are often quick to ascribe their own success to skill and hard work, even those qualities entail heavy elements of luck. Debate continues about the degree to which personal traits are attributable to environmental and genetic factors. But whatever the true weights of each, these factors in combination explain nearly everything. People born with good genes and raised in nurturing families can claim little moral credit for their talent and industriousness. They were just lucky. And they are vastly more likely to succeed than people born without talent and raised in unsupportive environments.
Hard work "entail[s] heavy elements of luck"? Professor Frank, hard work is entirely luck. There is no difference between the source of hard work and talent, which is of course the brain, however affected by external events. In other words, there is no such thing as free will -- it's a wrong idea and always has been. Even if we disregard modern biology for a moment and say there's some soul that is enabled to make decisions, how does this make sense? We make decisions based on our biases and the data we gather from the world; to say that any action is not perfectly predicted by another is magical thinking. (Perhaps even if you're a quantum physicist.)

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