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Elliot Temple on April 8, 2019

Comments (71)

Example of How Children Are Brutalized

This Facebook post shares how brutally ear-piercing shops are willing to treat children.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/raylene-marks/an-open-letter-to-claires-corporate/10158352387633989/

An Open Letter To Claire’s Corporate.

I am a former employee of one of your Edmonton, Alberta area Claire's locations. I didn’t mind piercing the ears of children who were excited to get new earrings, but nervous about the procedure. I’d do what I could to put them at ease. I had a couple "gray area" piercings, though; piercings where the children resisted heavily, were pressured and intimidated by the parents into settling down, and the children weren't happy with what had happened even after the earrings were in place and the standard lollipop had been dispensed. I didn't feel good about those, and I started to wonder at what point the piercer and the parent are actually violating a child's personal boundaries. Last week was a breaking point.

A seven year old girl came in to Claire's with her mother to get her ears pierced. I was to assist with the piercing, since it was what we call a "double," both ears at the same time. It's reserved for nervous kids who might change their mind after the first earring goes in. The girl pleaded and sobbed for thirty minutes not to be pierced. Despite Mom saying, "Honey, we can go home whenever you want," she was not letting her daughter go home. She was putting a great deal of pressure on her daughter to go through with the piercing. This child was articulate, smart, and well aware of herself and her body. She expressed that she didn't want us touching her, that we were standing too close, that she was feeling uncomfortable. She made it clear she no longer wanted to get her ears pierced. She begged, over and over again, for Mom to please, just take her home. That child's message was loud and clear to me: Do not touch my body, do not pierce my ears, I do not want to be here. I'm inclined to respect a child's right to say, "NO," to any adult forcing any kind of non-medical contact on them, so I told the other piercer I wouldn't be part of the ear piercing for this girl. To my great relief, in the end the mother respected her daughter's wishes, and took her home.

The next day at work, my manager asked about the previous day. I explained the child that refused the piercing and begged to be left alone, and I told my manager that I would not have been able to pierce that little girl's ears if Mom had insisted on it. I was firmly told, "You would have had no choice but to do it."

So I brought up the worst scenario I could think of. I wanted to know how far we were supposed to take this policy of piercing non-consenting children. "So if a mother is physically restraining her daughter, holding her down and saying, 'DO IT,' while that little girl cries and asks me not to, do I do the piercing?" My manager did not hesitate to respond, "Yes, you do the piercing."

I gave my notice that day. I had a choice between facing disciplinary actions (that would eventually lead to my termination) the next time I refused to pierce the ears of children who withdrew their consent, or leaving on my own terms. I chose the latter. My manager continues to assert that the other Claire's managers in this district are in agreement with her, and that our District Sales Manager confirms this policy is correct: Children can be held down and pierced. Children do not have a voice in the piercing process. The associate doing the piercing has no right to refuse to shoot metal through the ears of a child who begs not to be touched.

Your Policies and Procedures Manual offers only one policy, Policy 509, on the right to refuse a piercing. It is this: “We reserve to the right to refuse an ear piercing if a successful one cannot be done.” There is no mention of the use of physical restraint by the parent, or the employee’s right to refuse an ear piercing if their concerns are for the emotional welfare of the child. Basically, if I’m not going to get kicked in the head by that restrained child, or if that hysterical seven year old is unlikely to knock the gun from my hand, I must go ahead with the piercing.

This is, by my point of view, a deeply flawed policy that helps facilitate situations where children can be traumatized or otherwise subject to forms of intimidation and abuse in-store. The employee who refuses to be a party to these actions will be, “coached,” written up, and eventually terminated after enough write-ups.

I believe in upholding a child’s right to bodily integrity at all costs, and I will not be an adult that commits an indignity to a child. Kids who don’t want to endure the discomfort and pain of the procedure should not be forced to because a paying adult comes in, claims to be the legal guardian and insists upon the ear piercing. I cannot be part of a company that teaches a child that their right to say, “NO”, to invasive non-medical contact can be so easily overridden by an adult, and moreover, that they're supposed to accept that. This is about a child’s right to refuse to be pierced. This is also about an employee’s right to refuse to pierce the child that refuses to be pierced.

If you are a company that cares about kids, I implore you to consider changing this policy that blatantly ignores every child who vocally protests, cries, shows obvious signs of distress or is physically restrained by their alleged guardian while they sob and beg to be released. There needs to be something in place that protects both the rights of the child to protect his or her own body, and the right for the employee to refuse to pierce a heavily distressed child that adamantly refuses to have his or her ears pierced.

So I implore you now, as does everyone who shares this letter--Be better. Be accountable. Know what’s going on in your stores, and do something about it. And until you do, myself and perhaps many others have no interest in shopping at Claire’s and helping fund what we believe to be a cruel practice. Our children deserve better. Please do better by them.


Anonymous at 1:06 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12100 | reply | quote

Hello

Hello I'm new here. I'm an aspiring author and artist. I have an Instagram it's Mingmecha where I have some of my work. I'm 23 and manage a restaurant. I'm have many hobbies and interests and am a professional card game player as well. I value philosophy science and rational people. My goal is to meet other geniuses as other people have always dissapointed me all my life I've felt alone my fire is dimming as I have no real social relationships of real value. I fear that my literature will not reach the people I want it to but my goal is to at least have someone else who gets it. I've never accepted anything less then the world that ayn rand invisioned. In my fiction I plan to complete some of her philosophy that she hadn't got to for example music, general artifical intelligence, the role of transhumansism and bionic, discovering a metaphysical altering technology and more. I hope I can find a friend as that's my prime motive in posting here. Thank you for your time. Also I'm a 23 year old male for what it's worth giving the writing an identity.


B at 2:41 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12101 | reply | quote

> I plan to complete some of her philosophy that she hadn't got to for example music, general artifical intelligence, the role of transhumansism and bionic, discovering a metaphysical altering technology and more.

These are ambitious goals. Lots of people try these things and fail. What are you doing to accomplish this, and how does it differ from what's already been tried?


Dagny at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12102 | reply | quote

Hi B,

After learning chess and programming, I read *The Fabric of Reality* by David Deutsch, started having discussions with him, and got into philosophy. I think epistemology is the most important field. Bad intellectual methods harm progress in all other fields.

My studies have included writing/discussing a huge amount (I'm unaware of any philosopher who has done half as much) and these books, which are a list of some of the best: http://fallibleideas.com/books

BTW, regarding card games, I was the best Hearthstone player for a couple months early on. But I got tired of the game and quit. I also wrote guides.

I've found the world's intellectuals disappointing and unwilling to debate ideas or learn/think much. They are fakers pursuing social status. Their problems date back to childhood, where their minds are largely destroyed by around age 7, as Ayn Rand discusses in *The Comprachicos*. David Deutsch explained it in more detail by applying Critical Rationalist epistemology to parenting/education (the result is called Taking Children Seriously ).

Besides advancing philosophy, I've been trying to understand the world's irrationality and how to deal with it, and made some progress. Besides Deutsch's idea of static memes, I've developed the ideas of Paths Forward and Overreaching. Paths Forward is about how to organize ideas and debate so that people can collaborate effectively instead of ignoring corrections and criticisms that other people know and are willing to share. "Intellectuals" don't do this. Overreaching is about how people fail at learning philosophy because they do things which are too hard, and their error rate exceeds their ability to deal with errors. These ideas can help anyone who is trying to learn or advance philosophy.

I'm always looking for people who are interested in ideas enough, and honest enough, to learn what's already known about philosophy and then contribute something new.


curi at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2019 | #12103 | reply | quote

#12102 I plan to figure that out I'm still young and learning, but I know I am capable. Seeing what others have done without an objectivist perspective on these issues have left them hit roadblocks. I plan to express these ideas in my novels in a romantic way. After I have done this I want to focus more on being a philosopher. Right now I don't have the time to dedicate myself to full time research but I will later after I have established my restaurant business more.


Anonymous at 5:55 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12107 | reply | quote

#12103 I take ideas very seriously I think you are the only person I've met who takes them to the ideal extent I'd like to be in. I just learned about popper and David through you I am going to start reading those books as soon as they arrive. I have read all rands books even her old magazine and her letters. Epistemology is something that interests me greatly because my novel right now is about music. Have you read Emotion in Life & Music : A New Science by Johnson, M. Zachary? He is an objectivist and has the best theory I've found on music. It's incomplete but I have some ideas for what's missing but it involves learning more into epistemology.


Anonymous at 6:07 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12108 | reply | quote

A reply of mine on an Objectivism subreddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/baup72/quality_discussion_of_objectivism_is_virtually/ekfrcgz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

>Those Americans who have "independent minds dedicated to the supremacy of truth" are not all perishing, but many are doing what Oism was created to help us do, live on earth.

>In many cases, how we live is not to proselytize or promote Objectivism (or a less well-defined yet honest/independent/productive way to live) with overt acts or plans, but rather through living our lives and potentially the odd conversation every once in a while.

I am all for living on earth. I think careful discussion of ideas helps with that. I am doubtful that independent minds dedicated to the supremacy of truth would be satisfied with "potentially the odd conversation every once in a while." Also, it's not even an issue of promoting or proselytizing Objectivism -- you need to discuss Objectivism extensively in order to have a thorough, first-handed understanding of it *for yourself*. You need to do *thousands of error corrections* in order to understand a hard topic well: http://curi.us/2052-do-thousands-of-error-corrections

Rand pioneered Objectivism and helped us all enormously, but we still have to work -- a lot -- at understanding the details in our own minds. And if people are doing this, there should be some evidence.


Anonymous at 6:23 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12109 | reply | quote

> I plan to express these ideas in my novels in a romantic way. After I have done this I want to focus more on being a philosopher.

That seems backwards. You need to get the ideas right first, as well as you can, before writing novels to share them. When you focus more on being a philosopher, you will find out you were mistaken about some of your previous beliefs, and therefore that your novels contain mistakes that you could have avoided if you'd written them after you knew more.

One needs philosophy, particularly rational methods for thinking and learning, in order to do other things effectively. So one should be competent at philosophy (critical thinking skills, judging ideas, learning methods, understanding how to find and fix errors, etc.) before trying to do much else.

Our current cultural situation is: there are only a handful of competent philosophers. Unless you're at the top of the field, you're incompetent. It shouldn't be that way. It should be possible to just learn the basics and leave the rest to the experts while you do something else like a novel. But we don't live in that world. To get the basics of philosophy right makes you an expert today – and it's hard to get them right because most educational materials will teach you misconceptions. It currently takes extensive, serious study of philosophy, like a professional or expert, just to sort out the good ideas from the crap and become competent.


Dagny at 7:21 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12110 | reply | quote

#12110 I understand that but at what point will I hold off my novels by continuing to pursue being an actual philosopher. I struggle with this because I have put in the work and studied everything not just in philosophy because I believe one must be a polymath to be a writer. After all you are creating another universe just as consitient as the rules that dictate our world. I wouldn't call myself a professional philosopher but I do know a quite alot. I tried going to ocon and talking with everyone and they always gave me this "who do you think you are kid" and I was so resentful that no one wanted to listen or challenge some inconsistencies in there objectivism. Now I'm all for ayn rand being a genius but she died before she could finish epistemology. I guess what I'm saying is I'm not sure how far to postpone my writing for the virtue of accuracy and innovative ideas. But I value the truth more. I don't know the solution to that.


B at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12111 | reply | quote

I replied about Objectivism on Reddit

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/baup72/quality_discussion_of_objectivism_is_virtually/ekfxms5?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

>The threat of jail and being exposed to poor ideas are very different motivations, and I think those who realize the sacredness of their fire rarely let it go out.

Ideas rule the world. The Fountainhead:

>When the agents were gone, Wynand pressed a button on his desk, summoning Alvah Scarret. Scarret entered the office, smiling happily. He always answered that buzzer with the flattered eagerness of an office boy.

>“Alvah, what in hell is the Gallant Gallstone?”

>Scarret laughed. “Oh, that? It’s the title of a novel. By Lois Cook.”

>“What kind of a novel?”

>“Oh, just a lot of drivel. It’s supposed to be a sort of prose poem. It’s all about a gallstone that thinks that it’s an independent entity, a sort of a rugged individualist of the gall bladder, if you see what I mean, and then the man takes a big dose of castor oil—there’s a graphic description of the consequences—I’m not sure it’s correct medically, but anyway that’s the end of the gallant gallstone. It’s all supposed to prove that there’s no such thing as free will.”

Consider the effect a bad culture will have on whether or not people wind up realizing the sacredness of their fire.


Justin Mallone at 7:39 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12112 | reply | quote

#12111 I think you should do what you can to test your knowledge. Talking to people at OCON was a good thing to try. I tried HBL and every other online Objectivist forum I found, instead, as well as several local Objectivist groups.

Do you have essays which people can review to tell you about some of your mistakes or missing knowledge, if they can spot it? (Or, in the alternative, they could agree with you and learn from you.) You should have some accomplishments where you say "I think this is good" and challenge anyone to tell you something you're missing. You should have something to represent the quality of your thinking which people can look at. These accomplishments should begin smaller – e.g. a few essays before a novel – so that you can get feedback more quickly with less work invested. Some of the early ones should be philosophy related so that your philosophy knowledge can be tested.

Also, you should survey all the major philosophies and have positions on them. That doesn't mean studying them all. It means having a general understanding of them (a survey book that covers many philosophies is OK). Then, either judge each philosophy is valuable and learn more, or else if you think it's bad then find a refutation of it written by anyone. That refutation should be held up as a challenge to people – can you refute this? – just like your own personal accomplishments. (And, again, readers may learn from it rather than attempt to knock it down. It gives people both options, a positive or negative reaction.) If errors are pointed out in the refutation you have accepted of a philosophy, then you should give the topic more attention to better understand what the existing arguments on the matter are and what position you should take (and whether you should actually start reading primary sources).

So instead of saying, "Marx? I haven't considered him yet." You say, "Marx? His views were refuted by Mises in his economic calculation argument and his book, *Socialism*. Did Mises make a mistake? Do you know something I'm missing?"

In the case where there are no quality refutations of a philosophy – no one has pointed out what's wrong with it - then it might be right and merits some attention now. It's not safe to ignore it. What if there are many bad ideas which haven't been refuted? Most bad ideas can be refuted in short, simple ways by reusing general purpose arguments. E.g. if philosophy P is subjectivist, then you can point to a refutation of subjectivism in general, rather than something which deals with philosophy P in particular.

These are some of the things I talk about in my Paths Forward material, and which I try to do as part of how I organize my knowledge and deal with the world. I find people don't do this, which means they ignore ideas I consider correct with no reason given, and also they don't put forward some of their own ideas to be criticized (and are actually willing to respond to questions and and criticisms – some people have a book or blog, but challenging the public to point out errors, and actually addressing counter-arguments, is rare.)


curi at 8:06 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12113 | reply | quote

> Have you read Emotion in Life & Music : A New Science by Johnson, M. Zachary?

Since you brought it up, I checked his blog and found some good points, so I looked through some of the book. I like some parts but also find major errors like his acceptance of psychiatry and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in ch. 1. (For my answer to that, see Thomas Szasz's books.) I find some parts vague and fuzzy, like his claim that music is superior to other types of art (ch. 8). There are lots of minor errors like how he views "solipsism" – he doesn't seem familiar with that specific philosophy and then talks about the word like it has a less specific meaning. This stood out to me because solipsism is treated in a much more precise way in *The Fabric of Reality*. For Zachary's book, I don't think he should have mentioned solipsism at all. Another detail error was:

> The culture of ancient Greece, with its incredibly focussed and economical poetic and musical expression, with its exquisitely simple beauty and strangely pregnant melodic-emotional content, was first smashed by a conquest by the materialistic Romans (in the Battle of Corinth, 146 BC).

Athens was smashed by conquest, by Sparta, before that. Also, I object to using the word "materialistic" negatively.

I agree that with lots of what he says about emotions being based on ideas not genes, and often being related to childhood baggage that people haven't untangled. I think he makes it sound much easier to sort out than it actually is, though. I also agree that evil exists and that can be hard for more rational people to comprehend, and there's a problem and danger there. It's also dangerous to declare people evil and stop trying to interact rationally (what if I make an incorrect judgment like that!?), so this is a hard topic.

> The special method of the enemies of reason is relentlessness. Since they are not focussed on any productive activity, all of their energy can be channeled into the war on reason. Reason is a sorting faculty, which deals with incoming data by conceptualizing it and organizing it. Its enemies know the surest way to defeat reason: swamp it, overload it, confuse it, crush it under a weight of nonsense. Never give it a chance to achieve the clarity it needs.

I think the answer to this is developing reusable criticisms which refute entire categories of ideas. I don't think reason, properly organized, gets overloaded. Once you know a lot of criticisms of common errors, it gets hard to come up with new ideas that aren't *already* refuted. To save time, we must criticism patterns of error instead of every error individually. If someone finds ideas overwhelming to deal with, it indicates a problem with their knowledge and thinking methods. I think a harder aspects evil to deal with are, in general, *dishonesty* and *violence*, and, in our current culture, *social status contests*.


curi at 8:32 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12114 | reply | quote

Johnson, M. Zachary. Emotion in Life & Music: A New Science (p. 22). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

> The **intensity** parameter is the force or strength of the music; it is a function of volume or the *amount of sound*, including simple loudness, and two forms of pitch density: the complexity of simultaneous sonorities, and the effect on any given moment of music of the full context that preceded and prepared it.

This is the first time he uses the word "sonorities" in the book. He doesn't explain what it means. I don't know enough about music to know what he's talking about. Maybe what he's saying refers to technical knowledge about music and makes sense and can clearly communicate to someone with the appropriate background. But this is one example of how his communication about music is not suitable for a lay reader.

Looking it up, I find out it means giving sound, or giving a clear or loud sound. If there is a technical meaning so this word communicates some important detail, I'm not seeing it. If it's just a fancy word with a simple meaning, then I don't think he's explaining well. I thought this word would have to have a special meaning for the passage to be meaningful.

Does the passage just mean this?

> Musical intensity comes from loudness, from using multiple sounds at once [somehow], and from interplay [somehow] between sound at different times.

Also, is there a particular passage focused on music which you think is great and which is readable by a non-expert?


curi at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12115 | reply | quote

hitler's beneficiaries

This book is about how the Germans got welfare programs from the Nazis funded by plunder, conquest and murder

https://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Beneficiaries-Plunder-Racial-Welfare-ebook/dp/B01LZYIVZC


oh my god it's turpentine at 11:09 PM on April 8, 2019 | #12116 | reply | quote

https://www.noblesoul.com/orc/bio/merrill.html

Only 36?

Most "capitalists" in the novel were villains but the number seems really small


Anonymous at 9:58 AM on April 9, 2019 | #12118 | reply | quote

Gab's free speech browser extension is being deplatformed by Google and Mozilla. What a world. It just let you talk with other people who use the extension.

https://twitter.com/getongab/status/1116357643172491266

Also Gab seem to be too stupid to have a blog. wtf!? I didn't want to link a tweet with a picture of text.


Anonymous at 1:02 PM on April 11, 2019 | #12122 | reply | quote

Roger Scruton: An apology for thinking

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/04/roger-scruton-an-apology-for-thinking/ :

> I deplore the current use of [the word 'Islamophobia'], since it implies that there is some peculiar & irrational state of mind from which all objections to Islam proceed... I think of ‘homophobia’ as a similar word, designed to close all debate about a matter in which only one view is now deemed permissible.

> We .... are entering a dangerous social condition in which the direct expression of opinions that conflict – or merely seem to conflict – with a narrow set of orthodoxies is instantly punished by a band of self-appointed vigilantes.

💯


Alisa at 3:18 PM on April 11, 2019 | #12123 | reply | quote

#12103

You're not a philosopher and you don't understand philosophy - you're a fraud.

Most of your time is spent lying to yourself about these things.

You'd be disgusting were you not so laughably pathetic.


Anonymous at 12:38 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12124 | reply | quote

oh my god it's turpentine at 12:42 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12125 | reply | quote

#12125 I have. It's nice. Don't see the relevance though.

He spends a lot of effort trying to drag people into his narcissistic delusions. Time to say the truth.


Anonymous at 1:06 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12126 | reply | quote

> #12103

> You're not a philosopher and you don't understand philosophy - you're a fraud.

> Most of your time is spent lying to yourself about these things.

> You'd be disgusting were you not so laughably pathetic.

AS:

>"Senor d'Anconia," declared the woman with the earrings, "I don't agree with you!"

>"If you can refute a single sentence I uttered, madame, I shall hear it gratefully."


Anonymous at 1:15 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12127 | reply | quote

#12127 Are you sure you understand what refutation is?

(BTW curi is completely clueless about that. Doesn't get it. Doesn't get anything really. His parents (or somebody) abused him and he coped with it by becoming this pathetic. It's a life long journey of proving Mama wrong.)


Anonymous at 1:20 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12128 | reply | quote

> #12127 Are you sure you understand what refutation is?

> (BTW curi is completely clueless about that. Doesn't get it. Doesn't get anything really. His parents (or somebody) abused him and he coped with it by becoming this pathetic. It's a life long journey of proving Mama wrong.)

You're boring. If you have something to say regarding refutation, why don't you offer criticism instead of bland hate? I assume it's because you actually have nothing to say and are a poseur. Prove me wrong if you can. Otherwise, fuck off.


Anonymous at 1:24 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12129 | reply | quote

#12129 I'm not boring; you are.

I'm not interested in talking with you. Only to other people reading this. They are far better and smarter than you.


Anonymous at 1:32 PM on April 12, 2019 | #12130 | reply | quote

I replied about Objectivism on reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/baup72/quality_discussion_of_objectivism_is_virtually/ekl2vgw?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x

>But one of my points is that at some level of understanding the law of diminishing returns comes in, and that plus opportunity costs makes me less likely to spend time talking about Oism the more I understand it

I don't think "diminishing returns" applies here, at least not in a straightforward way. If you got world class at understanding Objectivism, that would let you accomplish stuff in a variety of fields that you wouldn't be able to otherwise. Perhaps, given some set of goals, going *past* the point of world class would be unnecessary -- like you wouldn't want to be pioneering the next level of breakthroughs in Objectivism if philosophy wasn't your primary interest. But getting to world class in the first place is totally worth it.

And if somebody's world class at something, there's some evidence. George Reisman, for example, is a great economist, and it shows up in his writing. He studied under Rand and Mises. He's not a professional philosopher, but he's got tons of understanding of Objectivism.

I think people underestimate the level of philosophy knowledge that would be helpful to them in *any* goal by a huge factor, and also overestimate the philosophy knowledge they actually have (especially in terms of how much they've integrated it into their life versus learned it as concepts that aren't well integrated).

Also, regarding the role of discussing ideas in effective thinking, see

http://curi.us/2175-discussing--thinking


Justin Mallone at 6:53 PM on April 13, 2019 | #12134 | reply | quote

If you don't organize your learning/thinking/etc you're kinda wasting your time. You'll do stuff like reinventing incorrect versions of knowledge that is already well-developed and available to read. But inspiration matters too, being free to try stuff instead of just following a plan.

Solution? Organize your learning but also have free time. Aim for a minimum of 50% of your time to do organized/planned stuff every month. The amount of other stuff can vary based on inspiration, but it shouldn't take over a whole month, that's dangerous.


Anonymous at 12:41 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12135 | reply | quote

Soviet Central Planners Relied on the Sears Catalog. lol @ socialism

https://web.archive.org/web/20130419182030/http://www.hrnicholls.com.au/archives/vol23/vol23-1.php

> I referred earlier to the price setting arrangements which were established in the Soviet Union. There, economists located in the Gosplan offices were responsible for this function, and as an understanding of the implications of von Mises' arguments concerning the inherent incapacity of a socialist economy to generate prices for all the goods and services which are characteristic of a modern economy permeated through the West---it took forty years or more for that to happen---the question arose: Where did prices in the Soviet Union come from?

> In the late seventies and early eighties, American economists began to travel to the Soviet Union and Gordon Tullock, an American economist who should have received the Nobel Prize for his work in public choice theory, took the opportunity, on a visit to Gosplan in Moscow, to ask that very question. Rather sheepishly his respondent took out a rather ancient Sears Roebuck catalogue from his desk and handed it over. Tullock didn't know what to make of this until it was explained that the Gosplan officials used the prices quoted for goods in the catalogue to obtain relativities between this and that item. They would then try to match the goods of the catalogue to what was available in the Soviet Union and then fix prices according to the relativities prescribed by Sears Roebuck. Where there was no match of product they just had to guess. So prices in the USSR were determined by Sears Roebuck.

> What is extraordinary about the Soviet Union, in retrospect, was that it lasted so long, and was, for so long, such a very real threat to the West.


Justin Mallone at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12136 | reply | quote

reddit comment about Oism

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bcx0ne/a_super_close_thorough_reading_of_atlas_shrugged/

I agree with all of Objectivism (I mean Rand said, not anyone else), as far as it goes. That is, I think it is contextual knowledge. I'm unaware of any substantial errors where Rand had a worse view than the standard view, or clearly should have known better at the time. I regard Rand as by far the best philosopher.

I'll bring up two areas where I disagree, but in neither case do I blame her. You have to start with what humanity already knows and improve things from there. One can't normally be blamed for not having made even more improvements.

Note, this is not normal. Most people, even some of the best people, have a mix of good ideas and bad ideas. When they try to have different ideas (different than mainstream/standard/tradition), they improve some ideas and they end up with worse ideas in some cases. Popper, for example, made a lot of big mistakes. Lots of his views are far worse than knowledge he had available. He rejected some great ideas like, in short, classical liberalism and economics.

Back to Rand, I think she is wiser about femininity and gender roles than other people in general. She understands them better than regular people who accept them (understanding how they work and which parts are good or bad). And I think the people who just reject gender roles are, in general, clueless radicals. But I think she overrates the value of gender roles for extremely good, rational people like Dagny. I don't accept them as an ideal or a necessary part of life (we're born tabula rasa, not with a gendered mind). I won't go into why because this is a big topic and I don't think it's what you wanted to focus on, and it's not a major part of Objectivism anyway.

As far as epistemology goes, Rand said nothing about CR (Critical Rationalism). She said very little about induction. What she did say was either along the lines of the standard view or better. She said she didn't know all the answers about induction (hadn't studied it), and she was aware of some hard parts, some problems, which she personally didn't know the answers to (having not studied it). I think she believed there must be answers because clearly we do learn stuff, science works, reason works, etc. The parts of epistemology where she had more to say is great stuff. So basically, in epistemology, she improved some things and left some other things alone.

CR says that the problems with induction are insurmountable (and gives improved arguments beyond the prior anti-inductive criticism), and says that the same goals can be achieved by a different method. This can be accepted while changing very little about Objectivist epistemology, because Objectivist epistemology doesn't rely on or talk about particular details about how induction works. It just relies on us being able to learn in a way connected with reality, which uses observation somehow, and results in genuine, contextual knowledge. CR offers that. So you just use that instead of induction and it doesn't change much because the rest of Objectivist is reasonably separate.

I have found some Objectivists don't mind this perspective, but some are really hostile to any disagreement with induction. I'll pause here and see what you think of the outline of the situation, without going into what CR actually says.


curi at 3:03 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12137 | reply | quote

How do I get back in touch with my emotions?


Anonymous at 11:22 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12138 | reply | quote

reddit comment on dispute with binswanger

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bcx0ne/a_super_close_thorough_reading_of_atlas_shrugged/ekxakcc/

>> He says my ideas are wrong. He selected one example to present, but it illustrates his own dishonesty.

> I consider this slander, because I disagree with your premise (explained subsequently in your post) that he evaded your point. In fact, he engaged with you on that point at length (the "eyes are opinionated" topic). In my view, you were completely wrong on that and his position is right. However, if I recall correctly, I didn't think (at the time) he handled that in exactly the right way. I would have agreed with him, but I would have said something a bit different. Anyway, to say that he evaded your point is, in my opinion, completely mistaken.

I appreciate the detailed response. It's too much to debate all at once, and it might be better to try talking CR instead. First, I'm going to respond to one point and see how it goes. I picked this one because it says "slander".

I think you're factually mistaken. I wrote in an epistemology post:

>>> As Popper put it: all observation is theory-laden. You need theories first. Raw observation is both impossible (because e.g. our eyes are opinionated--they let us see green but not infrared) and worthless (because there're infinitely many characteristics and patterns out there that one could observe).

HB quoted a partial sentence and said:

>> Is this serious? As stated, it is wild primacy of consciousness.

Later in that post he also said:

>> (I'm reminded of Quine's gavagai "problem," if you are familiar with that.)

Full post: https://pastebin.com/XJkGUmtm

I responded with point-by-point answers. **HB did not reply.**

Regarding primacy of consciousness, I said:

> How so? There are many different possible designs for eyes, and we have a particular one with various strengths (can see green) and weaknesses (can't see ultraviolet). This isn't a claim about consciousness.

Regarding gavagai problem, I said:

> Do you have a refutation of it? I took a look at it and I thought the basic point is correct (that any finite data set is compatible with infinitely many patterns or interpretations.)

> This is one of the major logical issues I've been talking about. I think it refutes some claims about epistemology. One needs an epistemology that doesn't run into this problem. I have that. You don't.

So here, HB had brought up a named version of one of the major issues we were debating. Despite being tangential to the thing about eyes, it was highly on topic to what we'd been discussing before that. Great. And I asked if he had any answer to that problem he brought up (he'd put "problem" in quotes and his epistemology position requires an answer to it) and he did not reply.

This was not the only exchange related to eyes and perception. Here's another:

ET:

>>>> Also, as a scientific matter, computation is done on the information from our eyes before it reaches our mind.

HB:

>>> No computation is done there. That’s metaphor. There’s no computation done anywhere outside the human mind. Even computers don’t actually compute. In philosophy, we have to speak literally, not metaphorically.

ET:

>> I was speaking literally. Have you read science about our visual system? Information from the eye is processed in an lossy (irreversible, information-losing) way before it reaches the mind. In short, visual information is simplified according to some algorithms specified by our genes prior to perceiving it.

>> This is just like if you’re writing an iOS photography app but don’t have access to the raw images from the camera, only images which iOS has already modified with some algorithms. (Offhand, I think apps can access raw images now, but couldn’t in the past.)

>> But I don’t know what you’re talking about by saying computers don’t compute. My computer can compute 2+3 and NAND among many other things. I guess you must be using some non-standard definition of computation? To understand me, it’s important to read what I’m saying with my terminology, not some alternative terminology you prefer. (This came up a lot with Popper, too, where words he used were read with an Objectivist meaning instead of Popper’s own meaning.)

HB didn't respond substantively to this. All he said was:

> Read it? I worked as intern for over a year with one of the field's greats: Richard Held.

> I am not up on the the discoveries made since the 60s, however; but I don't think what you reference is anything discovered since then. By the way, Jerry Letvin, who discovered the fact that you cited earlier about frog vision, was also at MIT at that time.

The pattern here is *not* patient explanation from HB for several iterations and then giving up eventually. I never got basic answers about what he meant about some things. Note that my conception of computation is not a Popperian thing, it's standard (today but maybe not in the 60's, I don't know, that's rather early in the field of computers) in our society among people who deal with computation, e.g. among software developers, AI researchers, and physicists (who have a theory of quantum computation, among other things, which btw my mentor David Deutsch helped develop).


curi at 11:39 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12139 | reply | quote

#12138 See http://curi.us/1944-questions

e.g.

> State steps you already took to find the answer yourself, and why they didn't work.

> Give specifics. I don't have a solution to "I am sad". That describes millions of different problems. (If you want a very general purpose answer like "Then do problem solving." you can state that you want a general case answer with no specifics.)


Anonymous at 11:51 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12141 | reply | quote

#12141

I'm don't feel sad though. Rather, I have difficulty feeling anything at all. That is the problem. It makes life feel robotic and detached. It's not fun or enjoyable. How do I get the color back?


Anonymous at 11:56 PM on April 14, 2019 | #12142 | reply | quote

#12142 I don't have a solution to "How do I get back in touch with my emotions?". That describes millions of different problems. You should state steps you already took to find the answer yourself, and why they didn't work.


Anonymous at 12:00 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12143 | reply | quote

#12143

Well, I learned how to meditate except that usually places me further away from my emotions. Most of my time is usually invested in doing hobbies by myself, during which I'm very good at keeping in touch with my mental and emotional state. However outside of this, like with other people, it all goes tits up. I'm unable to feel things or have much thoughts at all that involve people other than myself. Not like narcissistic. It's just an inability to be involved.

So lately I tried cybering with a stranger and it felt mostly awkward and creepy. I basically had to ignore my inner voice and just do what I thought would be the most genuine way to follow the intimacy meme. Interacting this way was like off-and-on feelings, and overall kinda bad.

Some time before this I went to a group event but was unable to approach anyone because my mind kept going blank.

And I recently was hanging out on a discord server for one of my interests and I couldn't relate with anyone. Most of my questions seemed to confuse and annoy everyone. So I ended up leaving.


Anonymous at 12:19 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12144 | reply | quote

It you want to act so that people relate to you, learn social dynamics like Girls Chase. You might like people less, though.

Why do you want to be more emotional?


Anonymous at 12:36 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12145 | reply | quote

#12145

I don't think I'm that interested in cis women tbh. When I was cybering it was with a guy older than me and I thought there was a faint possibility of living with him in the future (quickly realized he was just fishing when his account went inactive the next day). I sort of dated a girl when I was younger. I dunno if I feel the same way anymore. Nearly all social games I want to avoid cause they feel immoral.

The desire to be emotional is to bring back 'the light', if that makes any sense. Life feels empty and pointless without feelings, even if problems are being solved. Which is why I'm suspecting I haven't found the right problems. Except I don't know where to look anymore and a lot of the time I'm finding myself looking for the exit to Life.


Anonymous at 12:47 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12146 | reply | quote

> I don't think I'm that interested in cis women tbh.

The linked social dynamics are relevant to any type of social interaction. It teaches what the social games are and how they work. You can do some of them or you can have poor rapport with most people, your choice.

> The desire to be emotional is to bring back 'the light'

Conventional emotions are shallow and superficial. You were indoctrinated with memes. It never added real meaning to your life.

If you want to get it back, embrace being normal more. E.g. become Christian, that's some heavy duty stuff to reconnect you to tradition/convention.

If you want a rational alternative, learn Objectivism and FI. Objectivism might resonate with you, so try that. If it doesn't work easily, you'd have to learn it via intellectual study, which is a big project which you don't have teh prerequisites for, but you could work towards it over a period of several years if you cared enough and were honest enough.


Anonymous at 1:08 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12147 | reply | quote

#12146

If this isn't the sort of thing to be asking here that's understandable, I guess. It would be helpful if someone could point me in the right direction. Thanks.


Anonymous at 1:09 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12148 | reply | quote

#12148 Your topic is fine.


curi at 1:12 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12149 | reply | quote

#12147

This isn't strictly related to conventions as far as I can tell. I was fairly happy as a child and the world had that full spectrum of color emotionally, regardless of the activity. Also not sure if you're partially or directly arguing something about traditional memes having to do with feeling the impact of thoughts and actions. It's considerably more involved than that.


Anonymous at 1:17 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12150 | reply | quote

#12150 You seem rather lost, unskilled, and now to be trying to argue with me instead of understand what I was saying. You didn't even ask a question this time.

I don't think helping you is in my interest. You haven't shown value and I don't expect you to stay long. I don't think I'll benefit from writing five high-effort comments next, while you say things of the same quality as you have so far, and then you leave without explanation after that.


Anonymous at 1:26 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12151 | reply | quote

#12151

If I didn't feel lost and looking for help I wouldn't be here. I thought a question was implied the way my post was phrased. Sorry if there's miscommunication. I'm not that good at intellectual stuff. Does that mean I'm not worth your time? Like, I said, point me in the right direction if this isn't the place for me.


Anonymous at 1:35 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12152 | reply | quote

continuing the reddit discussion

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bcx0ne/a_super_close_thorough_reading_of_atlas_shrugged/ekxft7e/

> Is it possible that the "eyes are opinionated" issue came up between you and HB more than once (i.e. in separate threads) on HBL?

Not with the word "opinionated" (I searched), but the topic did come up more than the two exchanges I discussed in my grandparent comment.

> But it may be that the "eyes are opinionated" discussion came just as he was in the stage of cutting you off. I strongly suspect that that is exactly the case.

I checked.

Discussion began Oct 17, 2016, and ended Nov 16. I said "eyes are opinionated" on Nov 6, not at the end. It's actually about half way because I initially discussed some other topics and posted criticism of some of Popper's errors. I think debate about Popper and epistemology began in earnest on Oct 26 when I wrote this: http://curi.us/1921-the-harry-binswanger-letter-posts#c7085

So "eyes are opinionated" came around the middle of the debate. Note that in the linked post, rather than simply presenting an alien context, I did translations between contexts.

> P.S. Thanks for keeping things compact and civil so far! After my last post, which ran up to reddit's 10,000-char limit, I was afraid the conversation would spiral out of control.

Ditto. So far you're very easy to deal with, and civil, for someone with such a negative pre-existing opinion about me.

> Assuming that you are not a Kantian and also don't consider computers to be conscious (as a pan-psychic might), you and HB are really just objecting to the way the other uses certain words, rather than expressing an underlying philosophical disagreement.

I thought it was partly a terminology issue at the time, but I struggled to get others to acknowledge that and let me clarify what I and Popper meant by things. I found it was an ongoing problem. Hence HB attacked me for the earlier "opinionated" statement when he banned me, rather than accepting my clarifications of my view.

I have no interest in defending the way I used the word "opinionated". I can say that in other ways. But my use of "computation" is important in many fields, is precise IMO, and I don't know of any replacement terminology. What *do* computers do? What should "quantum computation" be called? And, related, are AGIs possible to build in principle?

---

I'm open to going into additional detail about the HBL exchanges or to discussing CR at this point. I think you see now that I have detailed reasoning for what I wrote about HB, so maybe, without persuading you, that is enough to set it aside for now. If you want to discuss CR now, you could reply to my HBL post linked above, or ask a question or say whatever else.


curi at 1:44 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12153 | reply | quote

#12147

So I read a bunch of articles on that girl chasing site and everything about it seems alien and unwanted and totally unlike anything I have ever thought about wanting or even witnessed personally. I'm not looking to become a predator.

Also wondering if the lack of reply to #12152 means I'm unwelcome here. Since I'm too dumb to understand your perspective.


Anonymous at 2:41 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12154 | reply | quote

#12154 You haven't pointed out a single error. It explains how social dynamics actually works, in fact, whether you like it or not. It does not advocate being a predator; you shouldn't slander things without quotes or knowledge; your message is low quality.


Anonymous at 2:47 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12155 | reply | quote

#12155

It's an explanation from a particular perspective I am not interested in learning. Obviously this is not true for all people and cultures across the planet. Not sure why I have to spell out 'errors' in something I don't want or need.

I dunno. The material is being presented in a way like I would be preying on normal people by studying their ways and patterns. To my knowledge it's not slander to give my impression of what something makes me feel.


Anonymous at 3:01 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12156 | reply | quote

You repeated your slander, gave no specifics, and basically said "I don't want the help you offered, because I'm hostile to your ideas."


Anonymous at 3:03 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12157 | reply | quote

btw Is it possible to tone down the conversation? I don't think it's beneficial being this aggressive.


Anonymous at 3:04 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12158 | reply | quote

#12157

I'm saying it's not for me. I don't like it. Sorry?


Anonymous at 3:06 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12159 | reply | quote

#12158 You were being super aggressive, I asked you to stop, then you did it more. If you want to tone it down, then do so, as I asked.

> I'm saying it's not for me. I don't like it. Sorry?

Your views are false and unargued. If you want help you have to learn better ideas, not reject anything you don't already know.


Anonymous at 3:09 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12160 | reply | quote

Why do you want to make me feel worse than I already am?


Anonymous at 3:13 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12161 | reply | quote

Is this your first time posting here? And why did you come here? What do you know or like about FI?


Anonymous at 3:14 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12162 | reply | quote

A friend introduced me to this place when I was younger and learned some things that broke a lot of normal functioning behaviors. They were also broken well before introducing me, apparently. But they're now better off and I'm not and I don't know how to fix the connection between my head and heart. So I thought I'd try coming back to where stuff started getting a lot worse for me. To be extra clear, I don't know the extent of blame for how things got worse. I just know stuff happened here. It could be all my fault.


Anonymous at 3:23 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12163 | reply | quote

Who are you? Are you Canadian? Can you reference some of your old posts?


Anonymous at 3:24 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12164 | reply | quote

I currently reside in canada but I do not identify as canadian (I don't know or talk to any natives except for small things like ordering food). I doubt I could find my old posts, especially given the state I'm in.


Anonymous at 3:30 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12165 | reply | quote

I'll check back here tomorrow. Hopefully in a better mindset. Have a good day.


Anonymous at 3:41 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12166 | reply | quote

a sentence diagramming worksheet on sentences using "there" as an expletive https://www.k12reader.com/sentence-structure/diagramming_grammar_expletives.pdf


Anonymous at 6:38 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12167 | reply | quote

reddit comment on how eyes work

re HBL, yes I think that's part of it. I found lots of the debate topics unpredictable because they weren't about things Rand wrote. The math, big numbers, measurement error and computers stuff aren't part of Objectivism. They also aren't something I'd run into at any other Objectivist forum, online or IRL. And the rejection of fallibilism contradicts Rand.

I think we have disagreements about physics and computers. It's not just terminology.

In this post (and going forward, unless you refuse) I'll use my terminology re "compute". I think this is important. "Compute" will refer to what computers do (computers also "process" "information" or "data", and "run" "algorithms" or "software", all of which is equivalent to math). For what consciousnesses do which present-day computers do not do, I'll use the word "think" (also: guess, conjecture, hypothesize, brainstorm, conclude, figure out, judge, ponder, surmise, believe, conclude, etc.)

With that said, I'll try to explain eyes and see if we can agree there or not.

Our eyes have a particular nature or identity which was developed by biological evolution. E.g. they can see green but not ultraviolet. Our eyes give us some information about reality but not all information. Our eyes are a type of camera and work similarly to artificial cameras we've built. There's no fundamental difference. It's not like computers vs. minds (consciousness is a fundamental difference there).

The information from our eyes can be misleading *if* interpreted incorrectly. This is not the eyes' fault. The error is in the thinking about what one saw, not in the eyes. E.g. if my table looks blurry, that doesn't mean it is blurry – actually my eyes are physically deformed. Our eyes just follow the laws of physics and give us information. Using that information correctly can be complicated. Eyes can be damaged or broken just like a car motor. You'd never call a motor "wrong" or "misleading", but you would blame it as the explanation for why your car isn't moving and get it repaired. Similarly, I can blame my eye being partially broken or damaged for why the table looks blurry, and repair it with laser eye surgery or fix the issue with glasses.

Understanding the information from our eyes can be hard even when they're in perfect working condition. A straight stick looks bent when partially in water, but isn't. Men 10,000 years ago could learn it's not bent, and to be wary of what they see underwater, but a scientific understanding of what's actually happening was way beyond them. This is because our vision is related to how photons travel. Similarly, desert mirages are due to complicated properties of how light works (blue light from the sky travels beneath eye level and then back up, which is why people think they see blue below them. Then they assume it's water because of the color and apparent location).

This means: the correctness of our observations of reality depends on the correctness of the ideas by which we interpret the information provided by our eyes. If we make conceptual errors regarding the nature of our eyes, we can reach incorrect conclusions like that a smooth table isn't smooth, that a straight stick is bent, or that there's something blue below eye level when there isn't.

Furthermore, our minds do not have access to raw image data. I'll begin with iPhone cameras. The camera captures raw data, then the CPU computes mathematical/software algorithms with the raw image data as input and a different image as output. The goal is making the photos look better. The photo I see on screen and save on disk is different than the raw data the camera had. It's impossible, in principle, to reconstruct the raw camera data from the saved image.

So to understand what is really there in reality, using an iPhone photo, you must consider not only the nature of the camera it uses, but also the nature of the computations done to the image data.

Human vision works this way too. After the eye captures raw data, that data is processed and changed before one's mind gets it. Irreversible computation happens. To correctly interpret what is really out there, we must know something about the nature of our eyes *and* know something about the nature of the mathematical/software algorithms which take the raw vision data and input and output modified data.

There are many possible cameras and data processing algorithms. Some are better than others. Some are more useful. Some show the world upside down, and some show it right side up. Some see green light and some don't.

I regard the factual claims I've made as part of science.

None of this prevents us from using our vision to learn about reality. The nature of our eyes, and of the computation done on the raw image data, is not chaotic or arbitrary. It's consistent and understandable. Vision follows the laws of physics and the nature of the physical objects involved (table, photons, eye, optic nerve).

I would say we don't "directly" see a table, in my terminology, because the visual information that gets to our mind has causality like this: table -> photons -> eyes -> computation -> mind. It's not just table -> mind. (BTW we could actually break it down in more detail with more steps.) However, there is a real connection between the vision information my mind has access to and reality. I don't see illusions or delusions or what a trickster demon wants me to see. I see what it looks like when a particular type of camera, with particular data processing algorithms, is hit by photons coming from that table.

What do you think?


curi at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2019 | #12168 | reply | quote

#12166

Back again. Here's another badly done post I'm monitoring on roughly the same issue from a different culture sphere.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Psychonaut/comments/bd0pxn/how_do_i_escape_long_established_isolation/


Anonymous at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12169 | reply | quote

#12169 There are no quick fixes for you here. If you want to learn how to think, begin doing that.


Anonymous at 2:37 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12170 | reply | quote

#12170

Ok thank you for your time.


Anonymous at 2:51 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12171 | reply | quote

good reddit discussion

> Agreed. Though, as an aside, my view is that mistakes are possible in general, but some things are simple enough to be certain about in a given context, such as 1+1=2 (which I don't think you need sophisticated mathematics to reach, or to prove). I presume HB agrees with that, as far as that goes.

I don't see what simplicity has to do with it and I find your statement ambiguous.

Is the issue: Can I get a 100% guarantee that this idea is the best possible idea given the current context? No. I could have been dishonest or unreasonable. I could have made a mistake when evaluating the available evidence and conceptual understanding. There's no way to absolutely guarantee those things didn't happen. This is the same whether it's something simple or complicated.

One doesn't need a 100% guarantee. What one needs is a judgment or conclusion. Thinking has to reach a point where you accept an idea, reject alternatives, and move forward. It can reconsidered in the future if new arguments are thought of or new evidence is found, but that's uncommon. At any given time, most conclusions stand and are not currently being reconsidered (so our ideas are largely stable, not in constant chaos).

So is the issue: Can I reach a conclusion? Can I stop pondering further and decide something and move on? Can I attain *knowledge* and act on it? Yes. And this doesn't depend on whether the issue is simple or complicated. We do this with complicated stuff too, e.g. judging that Rearden Metal is good was a complicated judgment but it was nevertheless possible to reach a conclusion about that matter. Simple stuff isn't special.

If "certain" means: "qualifies as knowledge, is good enough to form a judgment and proceed" then we have that not only with basic math but with many complicated things too. But if "certain" refers to 100% guarantees against error, then I don't think we can have that even with very simple stuff. So I don't see what fundamental difference simple vs. complex makes. It's just easier, as a matter of degree, to acquire knowledge about simple stuff. It takes less thought to reach a conclusion.

> Those two perspectives are equally valid.

and

> there is no one canonical representation of the table

You're not wrong, but: Some perspectives/representations are convoluted. Some are less useful for biological evolutionary survival value. Some are less useful for the pursuit of human values. Just because one can mathematically convert between two things shouldn't make one indifferent between them. (Also some perspectives are actually incorrect, but I think we're just discussing correct ones.)

I believe a lot of what Objectivism and CR are actually about, and the quest for knowledge in general, is how to break symmetries, how to prefer some representations or perspectives, how to differentiate things, how to get away from "there are infinitely many representations, which are compatible with all the data, and aren't wrong" (something CR uses against induction, because we think induction fails to solve that problem, and it has to be handled a different way) or "there are infinitely many places you could put the origin on that graph. with a different origin, that point at 2,2 could be at 3,3, or 7,42, or -20,-999, or at any other coordinates" or "there are infinitely many possible aliens who could be tricking us, in any of infinitely many arbitrary ways using infinitely many different logically possible advanced technologies". Each of the ways aliens could be tricking us is a perspective which is not factually, empirically wrong nor does it violate the rules of logic. Each alien scenario, if complete enough, comes with a representation of each table, sometimes as a hologram or anything else instead of as wood, and that representation is logically compatible with all our sensory evidence. Nevertheless, that kind of thinking is dangerous and can lead to postmodernism, skepticism, etc. FWIW I find the attitudes of some Objectivists like "just dismiss the arbitrary" as not a good enough answer, I think a more detailed rebuttal is merited and that CR has it. And, technically, there is no easy way to exactly define which things are arbitrary – that's a big part of the problem is actually figuring out, in a principled and comprehensive way, which things are arbitrary junk ("I know the arbitrary when I see it" is inadequate).

> We just need to form non-contradictory beliefs about our existence, in the widest possible context. For all intents and purposes, we just call that reality, but we don't actually know that there isn't a wider context beyond the one we have.

>

> So for instance, it "could be" the case (but it's arbitrary to assert that it either is or isn't) that all of our perceptions are merely simulated (like in the Matrix).

I *know* that I'm not living in a solipsistic dream world in the same way that I know 1+1=2. I used rational thinking to reach a conclusion. There are no counter-arguments that I irrationally ignored; all known counter-arguments have known refutations. I believe there are no known flaws, today, with my claim, and no reason to reopen it for further investigation. That is my judgment. (The arguments against solipsism which persuaded me are in *The Fabric of Reality* by David Deutsch.)

I also *know* that I don't live in the particular simulation presented in The Matrix. It's ridiculous. I'll omit the arguments though.

I think Rand would call this knowledge and would disagree with your "don't actually know". You don't need a absolute 100% proof to know something.

There are some simulation scenarios for which I'd say I don't know, I haven't reached a conclusion. (I know some anti-simulation arguments but I haven't spent a lot of time considering it, and I haven't decided they are conclusive, I'm not yet ready to make a judgment.) Then what? I consider: *Given that I haven't reached a conclusion about that issue, what should I do, what should I believe, and how should I act?* I reach conclusions about that. So while I may be stuck on some intellectual puzzles, I'm not stuck regarding living my life. What to believe is easy: that I don't know. How to act is: the same as if I wasn't living in a simulation. There are no behavior changes that would make sense. I have reasoning for that, but I'll omit it.

> To me, the fact that there is further transformation of the raw data after the eye makes an initial impression is of interest to science, but not particularly of interest to philosophy.

I agree.

> I object to this. Ancient humans (e.g. Greeks) were able to know a lot about what is out there, and they didn't know anything about the "algorithms" that modify the raw impression formed by the eye before the sense data is available to the mind.

They did know a lot about how to interpret the vision data which reached their minds so that their interpretation matched reality – which means, it correctly accounted for the nature of photons and of the human vision system.

It doesn't have to be scientific style knowledge, or written out as computer code or math, to be knowledge. They knew that water and smoke can distort vision, that blurry vision or blindness in general are faults of the visual system not of the external world (but that there are exceptions like fog and blindfolds), that human vision is orderly but can be unreliable in low light conditions, that an apple looks like an apple regardless of which country you're in or which day of the week it is, and so on. They knew their vision didn't make many special exceptions, and they knew some of the exceptions. That's a good understanding of the situation. I imagine they knew that accurate depth perception is hard in some cases, and much harder if you only have one eye. They knew their visual system was limited by distance, and that this was an issue of vision not reality (if they walked closer to a distant farmhouse, it's their vision which changes as they get closer, not the farmhouse itself). They knew, roughly, how light works: it goes in straight lines, does not go through most objects (opaque) but does go through some (transparent). You can't see what's on the other side of an object which is directly in front of you if it's large enough to block your field of vision, but you can look from a different angle. If you go further back from something, it looks smaller even though it's the same size, and now you can see some things past that were blocked before. Another vision limitation, which the ancients may well have known about, is the time delay between something happening and seeing it. This comes up in e.g. baseball. (I think they must have known about reaction times, which matter in combat. When you both stand still and swing a practice sword at someone, there is a delay before they start moving to block it. But I don't know if they realized that part of it was a delay in seeing things. They could maybe have thought vision was instantaneous and attributed the delay to the mind deciding to block or to the muscles being slow to act.)

This stuff is a body of knowledge. It has to be passed on culturally, or be inborn, or be reinvented by children. In each case, errors are possible both in transmission (or reinvention) of the knowledge and in the body of knowledge itself.


curi at 5:56 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12172 | reply | quote

If you read the reddit discussion and like it, please *post a comment saying so on reddit*. The guy I'm talking with probably estimates that zero people care besides me and him.


curi at 7:36 PM on April 15, 2019 | #12173 | reply | quote

What is your opinion on people who abuse mechanics in games to be the best at X hobby, sport, gambling, etc? For example I’m one the the best yugioh tcg players in my state, and I often have to create decks that involve “unfair” or “broken” strategists like winning on my first turn by creating a field that is so impossible to break that my opponent would have to forfeit. Or for example if anyone knows super smash bros melee pro player hungryhox, and his controversial playing style where he plays jiggly puff and abuses him by ledge stalling. Are these actions “immoral”? I’m inclined to believe what’s true in your work is true in your hobbies as in knowledge is contextual and interrelated. Perhaps it’s not explicitly the same as committing fraud or manipulation of someone but there is a fuzzy line and I don’t like haveing contradictions in my life. I don’t want to accept a middle of the road thinking. What’s wrong with my thinking?


B at 2:20 AM on April 16, 2019 | #12174 | reply | quote

> What is your opinion on people who abuse mechanics in games to be the best at X hobby, sport, gambling, etc?

I'm not curi but here are some disorganized thoughts. What people consider "abuse" is often fine. I think using game mechanics effectively is fine. What would not be fine is stuff like DDoSing someone during an online game or breaking into someone's hotel room so you can get a look at their deck or something like that.

If a tournament wants to restrict some characters or technique because they are considered too game breaking, or if people want to agree to House rules for a similar reason, that can be okay. People are often bad at judging what's game breaking though. Lots of games (like SSBM) have had extensive discovery of techniques that would not have happened if people had been playing in narrow, self-limiting ways where they caved to every accusation of being abusive or cheesy. It takes some real skill -- the kind of skill that figures out potential game breaking stuff in the first place -- in order to be able to judge issues like whether something is too game breaking.

In general, if you're doing some activity, you should play to win, and not care about people calling stuff abuse, cheesy, whatever. Don't be a scrub http://www.sirlin.net/articles/playing-to-win

>For example I’m one the the best yugioh tcg players in my state, and I often have to create decks that involve “unfair” or “broken” strategists like winning on my first turn by creating a field that is so impossible to break that my opponent would have to forfeit.

That sounds fine. Though I'm curious what determines outcomes when first turn wins are possible. Is it a Rock Paper Scissors game of trying to guess what sort of deck the opponent will use, and if you guess right you're good and if you don't you're fucked?

Incidentally I had some mild interest in yugioh years ago, did not realize it was still played.

>Or for example if anyone knows super smash bros melee pro player hungryhox, and his controversial playing style where he plays jiggly puff and abuses him by ledge stalling. Are these actions “immoral”? I’m inclined to believe what’s true in your work is true in your hobbies as in knowledge is contextual and interrelated. Perhaps it’s not explicitly the same as committing fraud or manipulation of someone but there is a fuzzy line and I don’t like haveing contradictions in my life. I don’t want to accept a middle of the road thinking. What’s wrong with my thinking?

Not wanting to accept contradictions is good. Are you an Objectivist? Can you say more about what immorality you think is potentially involved?


Justin Mallone at 6:06 AM on April 16, 2019 | #12175 | reply | quote

#12174 The point of a game is to figure out the most effective strategies and to win. Games are maximization problems. If you think a game is bad, don't play it or modify it. SSBM should try out some ruleset changes.

Asking people to play "nice" gives a disadvantage to the "nicest" people. It's essentially asking each person to make up game rules and follow those. But then different people play by different rules, which is unfair and punishes the "nicer" people who restrict themselves more. And, anyway, people disagree about what kind of gameplay is desirable. Instead, a single clear ruleset for everyone is needed.

Are you going to continue our previous discussion? E.g. #12113


curi at 1:05 PM on April 16, 2019 | #12176 | reply | quote

criticism of a view on limited govt

https://www.reddit.com/r/Trueobjectivism/comments/bdnp1d/how_to_show_that_taxation_is_robbery/

> Ways to fund a proper government without taxation could include fees for government enforcement of contracts, voluntary donations, fines for lawbreakers, small fees for “losers” in civil trials, and lotteries.

I'll share criticisms of two of these.

If the government runs a lottery, it's competing with private businesses, no different than if it runs a steel mill or grocery store in order to fund itself. Or else the government has prohibited anyone else from running a lotto, which is even worse. I see no solution to taxation here and I don't see how any free market advocate could want governments to be involved with lottos.

Contract enforcement fees are a similar issue. If you are prohibited from fully enforcing your own contracts (the alternative being anarchy), then the government has a monopoly on a core part of life, and you have no real choice but to pay the government what they demand. That's not *voluntary* government funding. A tax or "fee" on people who interact in contractual ways is like a tax or "fee" for people who earn an income. It's essentially different than a use fee for a small, optional part of life like crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.


curi at 1:21 PM on April 16, 2019 | #12177 | reply | quote

What caused the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes

In October 2018 and March 2019, two Boeing 737 Max 8s crashed, killing 346 people. On April 15, 2019, Vox published a 6-minute video which, aside from some editorializing about capitalism at the end, does a good job explaining what caused the crashes.

Here's my summary of the video:

In 2010, Airbus, Boeing's main competitor, announced an upgrade to the engines on their most popular plane, the A320. The upgraded model, called the A320neo, would be 15% more fuel-efficient while flying essentially the same as the A320.

In response, Boeing rushed to make update their corresponding model, the 737. The result was called the 737 Max 8.

Due to differences in plane height, the 737 Max 8's engine didn't fit neatly under the wing like A320neo's engine. The higher location of the 737 Max 8's engine caused the plane's nose to tilt up during full thrust (e.g., during takeoff).

This uptilt was a significant departure from the flight behavior of the original 737. It would have required expensive pilot retraining. Rather than re-engineer the plane itself, Boeing added software, which they called the MCAS, to *automatically push the nose down if the pilot flew at too high of an angle*. The 737 Max 8s MCAS appears to have engaged at the wrong time, causing the two crashes.


Josh Jordan at 12:49 PM on April 17, 2019 | #12180 | reply | quote

A Reddit commenter who claims to have worked at Boeing from 2008-9 agrees with the explanation in the Vox video and made some scathing comments about Boeing as an organization:

> I worked at Boeing for about 1.5 years in the 2008-9 time period and I can absolutely guarantee this happened... Boeing's corporate culture is the worst shitshow I have ever experienced. ...


Josh Jordan at 12:56 PM on April 17, 2019 | #12181 | reply | quote

http://www.autoadmit.com/thread.php?thread_id=4243293&forum_id=2#38099750

> vouchers could be used for one-bedroom apartments renting at up to $2,648 a month

> Tenants with vouchers pay 30 percent of whatever income they have toward rent, with the city subsidizing the rest.

DC moved a bunch of homeless into nice a nice apartment complex, at taxpayer expense. What could go wrong!?!? Read and find out.


Anonymous at 9:33 PM on April 17, 2019 | #12182 | reply | quote

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)