Taking Children Seriously

All long lived ideas are spread from older persons to younger persons. If that didn't happen, an idea could not outlive the current generation. The future of civilization depends on its knowledge (including traditions, institutions, ideas about a good society, etc...) continuing to exist over time. Consequently, the future depends on which ideas are passed on to younger persons, and in what way. Any civilization which does a bad job of this cannot last but will die off.

For passing on ideas to younger persons, the most important thing is the behavior of parents. Parenting is by far the biggest influence and factor here. Bear in mind that for a child to attend school, his parents choose to send him, and if they behaved otherwise then the child would not attend. (There are exceptions for some countries with laws suppressing that freedom, but they could choose to emigrate instead of comply, so again the behavior of parents is the most important consideration.)

All the major current civilizations do manage to reliably transmit ideas to the next generation. However, there is a second issue: this needs to be done in a way that allows for improvement and progress. Otherwise the civilization will never change for the better and will inevitably die off when some problem comes along that its knowledge cannot handle (like a meteor impact, or even just a tsunami for a civilization stuck with less technology and wealth).

Western civilization is in a mixed state. Improvement and progress are possible, but they are limited and we could do a better job. Better parenting and educational ideas can address this problem, as well as making family life happier.

Imagine a way of life which is perfectly transmitted to the next generation. They will therefore do the same things their parents did, including the same methods of parenting. So they will transmit that same way of life to the next generation, and this will repeat until external circumstances intervene. But no progress will ever happen. This is the nightmare scenario of a static society.

Western society is not static, but most people do parent similar to how their own parents did, in most respects. Unfortunately, that means passing on many mistaken ideas. What would be better is a method of parenting which can pass on good ideas while selectively not passing on any mistaken ideas.

No method can accomplish that perfectly because that would require omniscience. But we can do a better job of it. The most important issue is how disagreements, disputes and conflicts are approached, and whether it is in a rational and truth seeking way or an irrational way that suppresses innovation.

What most parents in the West do is consider what they think is a good or bad idea. If they judge something is bad, they'll try not to teach it to their children. This is a good start which allows for some progress over the generations. However, it has weaknesses. It misses the opportunity for the child to contribute. Parents make mistakes and those will be taught to their children. And, sometimes parents decide an idea is bad but accidentally pass it on to their children anyway.

Parenting and education can be improved by addressing these weaknesses. How can do we that?

Taking Children Seriously (TCS) is an educational and parenting philosophy. Its most distinctive feature is the idea that it is possible and desirable to bring up children entirely without doing things to them against their will, or making them do things against their will, and that they are entitled to the same rights, respect, and control over their lives as adults.

TCS is the only educational philosophy that draws heavily on the correct philosophy of knowledge (explained by Karl Popper). By applying some of the most important existing philosophical knowledge to this area, and finding its implications, TCS provides important insight. TCS is also the only parenting philosophy fully compatible with (classical) liberalism.

TCS has the philosophical answers for addressing the weaknesses.

TCS proposes that family disagreements, disputes and conflicts be approached by finding a common preference -- a way of proceeding which everyone prefers. This is different from a compromise in which the action taken matches no one's preference.

Common preferences are always possible and are a better approach than compromises, sacrifices, or the use of force. A common preference can be thought of as any solution to a problem. Anything else is not a solution but at best a "partial solution" which means some problems are not solved.

Solving problems is good. When they are not solved, people get hurt and suffer.

Let's now return to the issue of passing on ideas to the next generation while correcting mistakes in those ideas, improving them and filtering out bad ideas. Solving problems is one of the elements of how to accomplish this. It is not accomplished by people being hurt or suffering.

It's important that children use their own minds. Children should only accept ideas they are persuaded of, which is the rational approach to thinking. This will help filter out bad ideas.

As long as parent and child agree, life is easy and a wide variety of parenting approaches are in agreement about what to do: do what both the parent and child agree on. It might not be perfect but it's the best option known to them.

What sets people apart more is how they handle disagreement. If the parent and child disagree, what happens next? Does the parent force, pressure or manipulate the child to "listen" (obey, believe) as the parent says to? If so, that is irrational. It is not a truth seeking approach. If the parent is mistaken, his idea is passed on anyway, even though the child initially recognized the potential that this particular idea is a mistake. The child's input is ignored in the cases where it's most important because it could correct a parental mistake.

A rational approach which can do a better job of filtering out bad ideas must, in the face of disagreement, judge ideas based on their merits not their sources. It must not be biased against the child's mind in favor of the parent's mind. When there is a conflict it needs to open mindedly seek the truth. That means that the parent and child each may try to persuade each other and explain themselves. They both have a voice.

So, they discuss it. They explain their understanding of the problem at issue, and how it can be solved, and what they see as flaws in the other proposed solutions. And they explain how their solution can be altered to meet any criticism, or why that criticism is itself mistaken. But they still disagree. What next? They can either agree to disagree and drop the issue for now, or try to come up with better, more persuasive ideas.

Although parents know more than their children in general, that has no bearing on the specific case where the child -- knowing that his parent is knowledgeable -- still thinks he knows something important, or his parenting is missing something, about a specific issue. Because parents know more, children will usually agree with their ideas, but in the case of a disagreement then people must not assume the parent is correct. When a parent says, "Because I said so," or, "I know best, so just listen to me," that is the epitome of irrationality.

Especially crucial is that a parent never coerce his child. And it's in disagreements, disputes and conflicts in particular where parents may be tempted, but must instead rely on voluntary, mutual persuasion (just the same as liberalism's approach to disputes between adults).

All problems have solutions which are best for everyone, and if a parent fails to persuade his child of something -- if the parent is offering something the child does not see as best for himself -- then this indicates a weakness of the parent's thinking, not a character flaw in the child. The child may be ignorant, but if the parent fails to explain the issue to correct the child's ignorance then that is the parent's mistake and he should learn to be a better educator. The child may be mistaken and have bad ideas, but if the parent fails to come up with compelling criticisms of them, that is his own weakness. And if the parent offers something which isn't best for everyone, so the child rejects it, again that is the parent's mistake not to have come up with a better idea that wouldn't compromise the child's well being.

When a parent fails to rationally persuade, this is exactly the sign we need to identify potentially bad ideas being passed on to the next generation. This is the perfect opportunity to stop trying to pass on the idea and reconsider it, and only to pass it on if the parent can improve it to the child's satisfaction.

The issue of parents accidentally passing on bad ideas can also be ameliorated by never making children do anything against their will. If they are in control of their lives, they can resist picking up ideas they don't want to. So at least in some cases we can get a better result.

Although we cannot have perfection, we can recognize disagreements as places where at least one person is mistaken, and therefore as opportunities for learning, progress and improvement. If a child is mistaken, help him understand better instead of becoming frustrated and coercing him. And the more he resists parental explanations, the more unsure the parent should become, and the more the parent should begin to question the quality of his knowledge on this topic which is either mistaken or not good enough to help the child understand.

Normal parenting and educational practices today are routinely irrational. Parents punish and force their children. They coerce and manipulate. Teachers have curriculums and lesson plans and make it their goal that the child learn and agree with the material; they irrationally expect the material to have no mistakes and not to need improvement (despite the evidence that it has plenty of room for improvement: bored and unhappy children getting test questions wrong or, contrary to the irrational assumption, perhaps disagreeing about some test questions the teacher may have gotten wrong).

The irrationality of forcing children to do things applies to brushing their teeth, attending school, having a bedtime, and everything else that parents might want to make an exception for.

Improvement in this area can change lives and change the world. It's a huge opportunity. Join us and help expand and refine TCS. Learn it yourself and explain it to others.

Join the TCS discussion group: http://groups.google.com/group/taking-children-ser...

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Autonomy Respecting Relationships

Relationships normally infringe on autonomy. Romantic/love/sexual/intimate relationships in particular routinely hurt people.

Broken hearts hurt. A lot. This is not something to gloss over or accept. The end of a lengthy relationship can be especially awful; think of bitter, messy divorces.

Everyone knows that breakups are common. But they also say, "Not me! My relationship is special! It's different."

People also bring up love. "We're in love, and love conquers all, so that will solve our problems and prevent a breakup."

Since most relationships are deemed special, different or loving, none of those claims actually make one's relationship different. They've been tried and don't work effectively.

Anyone getting into a romantic relationship, without some good explanation of what they will do differently, is setting themselves up for immense suffering. A good explanation of how one will avoid suffering will have to be something that hasn't been tried a thousand times without solving the problem or else we can't really expect it to work. It will also have to be exposed to critical evaluation and pass.

There's room for improvement here because people have no answer to this, but go ahead anyway, and commonly delude themselves into thinking they are different. So they're acting irrationally and consequently suffering.

Once in relationships, people have expectations of each other. Certain actions are deemed "betraying the relationship" -- for example having sex with someone else, or "not making an effort" consisting of doing things one doesn't want to. These expectations infringe on autonomy. They reduce one's ability to control his own life however he considers best.

Autonomy is a good thing. Any losses should be minimized or avoided. They shouldn't be accepted of a matter of course, or casually assumed to be necessary without a specific and compelling reason that each instance is needed.

Non-romantic relationships also routinely infringe on autonomy. People say things like, "You should have told me because I'm your friend." Or, "You have to come in on Saturday because I'm your boss." Or, "You have to take out the trash and do your homework because I'm your parent." In each of those cases there are rules one is expected to follow about what he does and doesn't do.

There are different sorts of rules in life. One set of rules is the laws of physics. You can't violate those. They don't infringe on your autonomy. There are other rules we might call *artificial*. They add extra restrictions that aren't necessary but could be avoided. Those are the ones that harm autonomy.

Correct moral rules do not reduce autonomy. It's not a loss of autonomy or liberty or freedom that one isn't permitted to be a mass murderer. Morality makes one's life better by one's own standards and violating that is hurting oneself (and others), so that is off limits.

The restrictions that come with relationships in our culture are largely parochial, cultural customs. They should be questioned and people should seek ways to solve the problems they cause such as loss of autonomy and heartbreak.

Our culture presents of a model of a romantic relationship which virtually everyone follows in important ways if not every detail. The model involves dating and monogamous marriage, with accompanying life roles. This model is not the only possibility and is not something to take for granted as beyond questioning. Especially because it's not working: it hurts people, a lot, frequently.

It's not just the breakups that hurt. It is generally believed that if one only fights with one's spouse a "small" amount then that's good and above average. So some amount of ongoing suffering is taken for granted in what is considered a successful relationship.

Non-romantic relationships also have well known models like "friendship", "family", or "boss". And these also have well known flaws like peer pressure, unwanted visiting relatives, and unfair and unreasonable boss decisions.

How come people keep doing these things even though it hurts them? The traditions also hurt them for not participating. For example, it makes non-participants feel lonely, there's social stigma, it's hard to have a satisfactory role in life and society when one doesn't obey the cultural rules.

Underlying these persistent problems, mistakes and blindnesses people have is irrationality caused by static memes (see the book _The Beginning of Infinity_ by David Deutsch for an explanation of memes). Our culture's sexual traditions especially are not "human nature" but static memes -- old and bad traditions.

Autonomy Respecting Relationships (ARR) is a philosophy which applies good philosophical ideas to these problems. It has a particular focus on ideas from Taking Children Seriously, as well as Karl Popper (especially for epistemology), and a certain conception of (classical) liberalism. Understanding relationships from the perspective of this worldview is the purpose of ARR.

ARR has room for refinement and advancement but has also reached a number of conclusions and figured some things out.

For example, monogamy is not rationally defensible. Nor is love. Nor the way people approach sex, and sexual relationships. These things are mistakes as well as static memes, and they have been refuted by ARR's criticism.

ARR also has some things which may seem like its own conclusions, but which are really conclusions of TCS or the general worldview behind ARR. For example, it rejects compromise and sacrifice, and insists that conflicts should be resolved in a rational, truth-seeking way. It says human interaction should be non-coercive and people should seek common preferences. It says problems are soluble and not a part of life to simply accept, and that people can change and improve their preferences.

Applying epistemology can quickly reach notable conclusions. For example, sex is not inherently super pleasurable as everyone claims. Rather, the enjoyment is an interpretation according to people's ideas. This follows directly from a Popperian understanding.

People will object that this is contradicted by experience, even though it literally isn't since it explains their experience. Further, a keen observer will see that experience contradictions the conventional perspective on this matter. People put effort into making themselves enjoy sex. People regard insufficient desire for sex as a problem which they try to fix. They are under pressure to like sex, so they do their best to make themselves like it. The evidence is readily available and the reason people miss it is because they misinterpret it.

From a sophisticated rational perspective, criticisms of so much of people's lives are not very hard to come by. Join us and move beyond the stage of clinging to these mistakes. The real project is reforming the traditions and finding non-Utopian replacements. This requires critical discussion.

For example promises are irrational (because either the promise turns out to coincide with morality, in which case it serves no purpose, or it does not, in which case it is a promise to do wrong). And one can refrain from ever saying, "Promise you'll never leave me" or demanding promises from friends or family or employees. But this creates problems. Promising served a purpose and without it you'll have to find a new way to communicate that the issue is important. But more than that, you'll need a new perspective which takes more personal responsibility instead of trying to shift responsibility onto others as promises do. This is the bigger issue than simply pointing out that promises are irrational.

Promises are just one issue. There's bigger things. We can recognize that the unpleasant nervousness people feel when asking someone out on a first date is bad. But there's no straightforward solution. Just don't feel nervous? How? People have already put a lot of effort into figuring that out that without success. Just don't ask people on dates? Well, then how will you get to know people? Some kind of replacement is needed, and it needs to work with conventional people who aren't yet aware of the new way of life.

The unexamined life is not worth living. Join us and think these things through instead of mindlessly conforming to conventional, cultural rules, and rationalizing them in accordance with one's static memes. Help solve these important problems instead of wasting your life suffering through another non-ARR relationship. Participate in progress.

You should join the ARR discussion group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Autonomy-Respecting-...

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MacRuby and the Mac App Store

I wrote a MacRuby platformer game called Gruesomely Hard Platformer and it is now for sale in the Mac App Store. I made the graphics myself. I'm not an artist :) But I think it's fun. I wrote the physics and gameplay and everything from scratch, it doesn't use any game making framework or engine.

Click here to see screenshots or buy it.

Click here to see a demo video on youtube.

I wanted to record some tips and tricks for how to get a MacRuby app to work. There's a few problems that are not user friendly at all. I had to find solutions in a bunch of different places. Hopefully this compilation will be helpful to some. This is what worked for me October 2011 with Xcode 4.1 and OS X 10.7.

- MacRuby version 0.10 (the latest stable) will give you an error about symbolic links when you try to validate for app store submission. Download and install the latest nightly version.

- You need three certificates for code signing. In the Certificate Utility, download the WWDR certificate from the Overview section. Then go to Certificates and create two distribution certificates. Do not select both checkboxes. Choose Distribution then only check the first box. Then create a certificate following the instructions. Then do the same thing again using the same CSR (Certificate Signing Request) file, but with only the second checkbox checked. Double click the certificates after you download to add to your keychain.

- You need an app ID. You do not need a provisioning profile unless you're using specific features like Push Notifications or iCloud.

- In Xcode, add your app as a build target to the deployment scheme.

- In Xcode build settings, remove the i386 architecture.

- In Xcode build settings, add 3rd Party Mac Developer Application as the code signing entity.

- For testing your app, use the scheme named after your app and click Run.

- Use NSBundle.mainBundle.resourcePath.fileSystemRepresentation instead of File.dirname(__FILE__)

- To test the standalone app you will submit to the app store, change to the Deployment scheme and choose Archive from the Product menu. Then choose to share and the Application radio button and you can save it to disk.

- For submitting to the app store, first get your app in the "Waiting For Upload" state not preparing for upload. You have to click a button in iTunes connect that sounds like you're going to upload it now, even though you aren't actually going to upload via your browser. Then go back to Xcode and do Archive, then deal with code signing (see next item), then choose Validate followed by Submit. You cannot validate it before getting to the ready to upload state in iTunes connect.

- Xcode will code sign your app, and it will pass validation, but it doesn't work. You need to manually sign it. Right click the archive and pick Show in Finder. Then type "cd " (with the space) into a terminal window and drag the archive in, then enter. That gets you to the archive folder. Then I did this:
cd Products/Applications/; codesign -f -s "3rd Party Mac Developer Application: Elliot Temple" Gruesomely\ Hard\ Platformer.app/
- If Apple automatically detects problems with your app submission, such as code signing issues, they will email you with the errors. But in Apple Mail the email may appear blank (it did for me with my Google Apps email). If so, read it in webmail.

I still got a bunch of code signing warnings emailed from iTunes. They were for files inside the app, but not the main bundle. I don't know how to fix them, but Apple accepted my app anyway, so they can be safely ignored. Hopefully a future version of MacRuby or Xcode will fix it.

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How to Disable VLC Crash Reporting

VLC crashes pretty often. For me it usually crashes jumping forward or back, like with the skip ahead 60 seconds command. Then when it reopens, it brings up a crash dialog that you have to dismiss. It's annoying. I looked through the many preferences, and googled, and couldn't find any known way to disable it.

I tried solving this myself and found a simple solution that works!

On Mac, open /Users/YOU/Library/Preferences/org.videolan.vlc.plist

Find the field LatestCrashReportYear and change it to the future like 2020. Save. You're done.

Presumably there's something equivalent on Windows.

I don't know exactly why this works, I assume it's trying not to send out of date crash reports, only a new one.

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The Beginning of Infinity

_The Beginning of Infinity_ by David Deutsch is out. It is the best book ever written.

I have made a website with information about it such as an excerpt, a review, and an interview with the author.

http://beginningofinfinity.com/

At least read the excerpt from the book and my interview. And when you're very impressed, then read the whole book.

I have also made a discussion group for it. My good writing mostly goes there. Join!

http://beginningofinfinity.com/discussion

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Rolling Back Technology

[I]t ought to be possible to establish a coordinated global program to accomplish the strategic goal of completely eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say, a twenty-five-year period.
Al Gore in his book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, pp 325-326.

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Bible Stories Passage

This is a section from the preface of Bible Stories by William Godwin, 1802. It is a rare book. I typed this in from microfiche.
3. These modern improvers have left out of their system that most essential branch of human nature, the imagination. Our youth, according to the most approved recent systems of education, will be excellent geographers, natural historians and mechanics; they will be able to tell you from what part of the globe you receive every article of your furniture; and will explain the process in manufacturing a carpet, converting metals into the utensils of life, and clay into the cups of your tea-table, and the ornaments of your chimney: in a word, they are exactly informed about all those things, which if a man or woman were to live and die without knowing, neither man nor woman would be an atom the worse. Everything is studied and attended to, except those things which open the heart, which insensibly initiate the learner in the relations and generous offices of society, and enable him to put himself in imagination into the place of his neighbour, to feel his feelings, and to wish his wishes.

Imagination is the ground-plot upon which the edifice of a sound morality must be erected. Without imagination we may have a certain cold and arid circle of principles, but we cannot have sentiments: we may learn by rote a catalogue of rules, and repeat our lessons with the exactness of a parrot, or play over our tricks with the docility of a monkey; but we can neither ourselves love, nor be fitted to excite the love of others.

Imagination is the characteristic of man. The dexterities of logic or of mathematical deduction belong rather to a well regulated machine: they do not contain in them the living principle of our nature. It is the heart which most deserves to be cultivated: not the rules which may serve us in the nature of a compass to steer through the difficulties of life; but the pulses which beat with sympathy, and qualify us for the habits of charity, reverence and attachment. The intellectual faculty in the mind of youth is fully entitled to the attention of parents and instructors; but parents and instructors will perform their offices amiss, if they assign the first place to that which is only entitled to the second.

Many arguments can scarcely be necessary to recommend the object of the particular selection which is here submitted to the judgment of parents. The following narrations surpass in interest and simplicity any specimens of narration which can be found in the world. Scenes of pastoral life and patriarchal plainness are the fittest that can be imagined to form the first impressions which are to be made upon the memories of children. There is a style now in fashion, and which more or less infects every book for children which has been written for the last hundred years, stamped with the ultimate refinements of a high civilization, and full of abstract terms and universal propositions. Why should we debauch the taste of our children by presenting this as the first object of their attention and admiration? Why should we confuse their little intellects and vex their little hearts with words and phrases, and paragraphs, and chapters, which they cannot comprehend?

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David Deutsch Began Using Youtube

Watch his video about the rationality of different election systems.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0pZ9LTZW1g

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Hayek and Socialism

Advocating liberty while having the wrong philosophical ideas -- as Hayek did -- has serious consequences. Philosophy matters. Some people say the liberty movement should have a "big tent". That is fine as long as we recognize when the people we let in are mistaken and do not let those mistaken ideas speak for us. We must recognize the difference between principled advocates of liberty like Ayn Rand or Ludwig von Mises and socialist sympathizers like Hayek who make concessions the liberty movement should repudiate.

Here are quotes of Hayek followed by commentary.

http://mises.org/resources/4015/Individualism-and-...

from chapter 8: Socialist Calculation II: The State of the Debate
the same must be said of the hope that such a socialist system would avoid crises and unemployment. A centrally planned system, although it could not avoid making even more serious mistakes of the sort which lead to crises under capitalism, would at least have the advantage that it would be possible to share the loss equally between all its members. It would be superior in this respect in that it would be possible to reduce wages by decree when it was found that this was necessary in order to correct the mistakes. But there is no reason why a competitive socialist system should be in a better position to avoid crises and unemployment than competitive capitalism.
But at least the decision cannot be made before the alternatives are known, before it is at least approximately realized what the price is that has to be paid. That there exists still so much confusion in this field and that people still refuse to admit that it is impossible to have the best of both worlds is due mainly to the fact that most socialists have little idea of what the system they advocate is really to be like, whether it is to be a planned or a competitive system.
No pretense is made that the conclusions reached here in the examination of the alternative socialist constructions must necessarily be final. ... No one would want to exclude every possibility that a solution may yet be found [a solution to how to implement socialism without destroying the economy too much]. But in our present state of knowledge serious doubt must remain whether such a solution can be found.
From Hayek on Hayek: An Autobiographical Dialogue by F. A. Hayek, edited by Stephen Kresge and Leif Wenar (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994)
I have always said that I am in favor of a minimum income for every person in the country.
And Hayek in a 1978 interview:

http://blog.mises.org/9657/the-ucla-interviews-wit...
At first we all felt he [Mises] was frightfully exaggerating and even offensive in tone [in his 1920 economic calculation paper and 1922 Socialism book]. You see, he hurt all our deepest feelings, but gradually he won us around
Mises’s was a book with which I struggled for years and years, because I came to the conclusion that his conclusions were almost invariably right, but I wasn’t always satisfied by his arguments.
Hayek got some other stuff right, but here is where I disagree:

I do not think it is right to "share loss equally" -- men must take responsibility and gain profits or losses on the merits of the ideas/projects they pursue. When another man makes a mistake, I should not share the loss with him. Sharing loss equally is morally wrong and also economically harmful because it is incompatible with capitalism.

I do not think that the possibility of the Government reducing wages by decree is a good thing.

Hayek speaks of the "best of both worlds". He sees the economic consequences of capitalism as ideal, but the morality (or ethos) of socialism as ideal. He is conceding that socialism is the best world in one way. What way does he have in mind? He doesn't fully specify here but I think he has in mind standard stuff about capitalism being too mean and selfish and unfair. Hayek wants to accept capitalism anyway. But that is different from Ayn Rand who does not want to accept capitalism *despite some disadvantage* but whole heartedly. Capitalism is the most moral *and* economical system, not a consolation prize because socialism has a fatal flaw.

When Hayek says "no one would want to exclude" the possibility of finding a way to make socialism work, he is denying the existence of e.g. Ayn Rand. He's in opposition to people with *thoroughly* capitalist values. He must think there is something wrong with capitalism, that there's some kind of valid grievance -- but there is none. He thinks that trying to reform socialism is a reasonable project to pursue, but it is a philosophical dead end.

From the minimum income position we can learn something about why Hayek liked about socialism. He liked the idea of providing for everyone, regardless of their merit, and regardless of his ability to persuade the men he takes the money from to give it as voluntary charity.

The interview touches on another subject which is that Hayek's economic arguments made concessions to socialism too. Mises in 1920 (correctly) argued that socialism makes rational economic calculation *impossible*. Hayek later made *weaker* arguments. Why? Because he thought Mises' criticisms of socialism were "exaggerations". But they were not; Hayek was overestimating socialism. The difference is on the one hand Hayek deemed socialism *inefficient* (a matter of degree) while Mises said that when the State owns the means of production then there is no way to rationally plan economic activity. It's not just inefficient but impossible and attempts will lead to the destruction of society into chaos or syndicalism. (See: http://mises.org/books/socialism/part2_ch6.aspx )

Hayek did accomplish some good but he also told a lot of people that socialism has various merits it does not have. That is dangerous; it slows the spread of correct, principled and fully capitalist ideas like Rand and Mises put forward. I don't hate him; he made a serious effort to understand these matters; he did better than most people and contributed some good ideas. But his positions have flaws including sympathy with the ethics behind socialism, and I think the liberty movement should be careful about who it chooses to represent it. Considerable harm can come from telling people stuff like that socialism with a non-broken economy would be the ideal if it were possible -- as long as people are yearning for *that* we are going to have a hard time persuading them to implement thoroughly capitalist policies.

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Rand on Nurture

men are born tabula rasa, both cognitively and morally
Ayn Rand, _The Virtue of Selfishness_, p54

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Responsibility

If you aren't anything, you can't be accused of anything.

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How Inductivists Think About Bias

I just saw someone making an argument that something is unbiased because no one tried to bias it or designed it to be biased.

In other words, he thinks that not being biased is the automatic default.

I think this is what many inductivists think: that all the theories they make up and claim to have induced are not just bias talking. And why do they think it's not bias but rather a hint coming from the evidence itself? Because it can't be bias because they didn't intend any bias or do it on purpose. Simple as that.

But actually epistemology/reality is the other way around: everything is biased by default (a lot, not a little), and it is only with great care and effort that we can get anything that isn't biased.

It's as Feynman said: it's easy to fool ourselves, and science is what we've learned about how to not fool ourselves. Or in other words, bias is the default and the scientific method consists of doing everything we know how to in order to reduce bias.

You can tell there is a lot of bias to overcome because of how careful scientists have to be to get good results. It's not that the scientists are bad people or anything like that, it's simply that avoiding bias takes skill and effort not just a lack of bad intentions.

David Deutsch says about this (quoted with permission):
It's the intentional fallacy. If something is bad, a bad person must have done it. If something is biased, a biased person must have done it. And therefore if we are all pure and unbiased, we are infallible.
That reminds me of *early* induction. According to Popper (with textual evidence and good arguments), Bacon's conception of induction was a bit different than what you usually run into today. The main idea was to *purge your mind of bias*[1]. Then you can read nature like an open book and make zero mistakes and finish learning all of science in a few years.

This is (again via Popper) building on the *original* meaning of induction which comes from Aristotle (who falsely attributed it to Socrates) which was about maieutics. The idea is, very roughly, that the truth is trivial (and already inside us, I think) and the only obstacle to the truth is therefore bias.

[1] How do you know what is a bias and what isn't? Easy. It's all bias. Just empty your mind completely. That's Bacon's way.

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