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Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (40)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (43)

The History of Taking Children Seriously

This is a history of Taking Children Seriously (TCS), particularly the online community leaders: Sarah Fitz-Claridge (SFC), David Deutsch (DD) and Elliot Temple (ET).

TCS was founded in 1992 by SFC and DD. (SFC was Sarah Lawrence at the time but changed her name in 2003.) It started with a paper journal. When ET joined in 2001, the community had TCS list (an email discussion group with around 1,000 members), a website with articles, and a chatroom.

SFC, a mother of two, did most of the recruiting. She met with homeschoolers and libertarians, networked and gave speeches internationally, and posted at many online parenting and homeschooling groups. TCS advocates frequently got banned from other online groups but did get the word out first.

DD, a theoretical physicist, did most of the intellectual theorizing. He had made significant contributions related to quantum computation and learned about Karl Popper’s Critical Rationalism (CR) philosophy. He and SFC were libertarians with ideas like individual freedom, minimal or no government, and laissez-faire capitalism.

DD’s books are The Fabric of Reality (FoR, 1997) and The Beginning of Infinity (BoI, 2011). They discuss science and CR philosophy. DD also wrote hundreds of blog posts about politics between 2003 and 2008.

A main idea of TCS is that CR – a philosophy about how to create knowledge – applies to parenting and education. DD thought we must understand how learning works in order to know how to treat children. There are no reasonable philosophical positions which imply that punishments are educational. And if punishments aren’t educational, then they’re cruel and abusive, and “coercive” as TCS calls it.

TCS was also based on (classical) liberal values like peace, freedom, cooperation, individual rights and opposing tyrannical authority (be it a king, parent or teacher). Karl Popper shared these values, although he was no libertarian.

CR says all people learn by brainstorming, critical thinking and critical discussion. TCS concluded that even young children, even babies, think and learn this way. People learn on their own initiative with help from others, not as buckets which educators can pour knowledge into like water. Learners are the leaders of their own learning.

TCS’s big claim was that children could be raised well without doing anything to them that they disliked. It’s always possible to find “common preferences” – win/win solutions that everyone prefers. The main obstacle to this kind of rational problem solving is the irrationalities that adults have. Irrationalities aren’t inborn, they come from coercion, so don’t coerce your child and he won’t become irrational.

TCS Activities Timeline

SFC wrote around 1,000 TCS list posts (emails), mostly from 1994-2002. DD wrote around 2,000, mostly from 1996-2002. ET wrote around 3,700, mostly from 2002-2012, though he hasn’t stopped writing about TCS and still answers questions and posts.

SFC secretly began building a separate community unrelated to TCS which she launched in 2003. This partially explains why she reduced her involvement with TCS. Year after year, SFC hid these other activities, while leading people to expect more TCS activity soon and misleading people about her interests and priorities. She avoided transitioning to a new community leader, and blocked messages sharing alternative TCS resources, which left many TCS-attempting parents with little support and fewer resources than they reasonably expected.

SFC stopped creating the TCS Journal in 2000 after 32 issues. She never announced that it ended and left the webpage up where people could pay money to sign up. People were still confused about the matter years later and SFC still didn’t clarify, while still advertising herself as the TCS journal editor.

In late 2002, SFC deleted the TCS IRC chatroom that she’d started in 2000. She said she didn’t know how to run it well and received too many complaints. Rather than solve the problem, she shut it down.

In 2003, SFC discontinued the TCS website. She let the domain name expire without putting a notice on the site telling people about the new site, redirecting traffic, or leaving it up as an archive. She created a new site which had a worse layout and she never even finished transferring over all the old articles. The new site was never very active and SFC mostly stopped work on it after only 3 months. There was an occasional update later, e.g. there were 4 posts in 2004. After trying to be active for one month in 2005, the updates stopped entirely in 2006.

In 2006, SFC announced moving the TCS list from AOL to the new website. People were supposed to be automatically transferred but the new group had no posts and people kept using AOL. This was never explained. Then in 2008, SFC moved TCS list to Yahoo Groups and intentionally didn’t automatically transfer anyone. The result was reducing membership down to around 50 people from a past high over 1,000.

After these disasters, ET created the TCS Google Group in 2009 and Fallible Ideas website in 2010 which included articles about CR and TCS. ET’s TCS list had around double the membership of SFC’s and many more discussions. It became the primary TCS list while SFC’s group went inactive. Meanwhile, at DD’s request, ET also made the BoI Google Group and BoI website in 2011.

ET also became the owner of the Autonomy Respecting Relationships (ARR) forum in 2010 or 2011 after running the group as moderator for over a year. ARR was started by SFC and DD as a way to apply TCS ideas to romantic relationships. Major ARR ideas included that standard romantic relationship patterns are irrational and hurt people, and that freedom implies polyamory instead of monogamy. ET, however, criticized polyamory as well as monogamy.

Elliot Temple Joins TCS

ET read DD’s book, FoR, in 2001, then read DD’s TCS articles and joined the email group and chatroom. DD regularly talked with TCS community members on IRC and on the email group. ET quickly got much of DD’s attention due to energetic curiosity and quickly learning and arguing in favor of CR and TCS ideas. Over the next decade, ET and DD had around 5,000 hours of discussions (the majority were one-on-one, not on the public groups). In 2002, ET started a private email discussion group named curi where DD frequently participated. In 2003, ET started his blog, Curiosity.

After only a few months, ET became TCS’s most active advocate. He was more interested, and wrote more, than anyone else. He’d debate anyone about anything (like DD, ET was interested in ideas broadly, not just parenting), and whenever he had trouble winning an argument, he brought the issue to DD for advice. That way, ET learned how DD would argue each issue and address each challenge. DD heavily influenced ET’s views and arguments. For example, DD converted ET from left to right wing, persuaded him of capitalist and libertarian ideas, and got ET reading Ayn Rand. DD also persuaded ET to favor George W. Bush and the Iraq War politically, to support Israel, and to reject environmentalist ideas like recycling and global warming.

Due to the close association and agreement on so many issues, people, including one of DD’s close friends, accused ET of being DD’s puppet. However, the agreement was achieved by rational discussion, not puppetry. ET argued with DD more than anyone else and persistently followed up on disagreements. It took ET around five years of learning to become skilled enough to win any significant arguments with DD, at which point some disagreements started forming as ET developed more of his own ideas.

ET began providing detailed feedback and editing for BoI in 2004, which continued until publication in 2011. DD and ET routinely discussed topics related to the book. In total, ET wrote around 250 pages specifically to help with BoI, which is enough material to fill a book. That’s why the acknowledgments say “especially Elliot Temple”.

ET was also recognized favorably by SFC. For example, in 2006, ET, SFC and another speaker gave a TCS seminar to a paying audience in SFC’s home. In 2003, SFC tried to persuade ET to “becom[e] a regular contributor to the TCS blog/web site”. She said more articles from ET would help with her goal to “make it more difficult for people to bitch about TCS the way they are now.” SFC had some mixed feelings, stating “In the past, I have sometimes found your posts a bit too harsh and dismissive and lacking explanation, but I have noticed you have written some beautiful posts which are both true and also kind and non-alienating.” Overall, SFC saw ET positively and wanted him to be more involved with TCS including writing official articles because, also, “I really love your writing.” Similarly, in 2005, SFC was also asking ET for more TCS writing: “If you would like to write articles for the site, and if you would like to contribute to a new FAQ for it, that would be splendid!”

TCS Affects Lives

Thousands of people took an interest in TCS. As with many communities, especially controversial ones, the majority quit for one reason or another. Some had major disagreements with TCS from the start. Others liked TCS initially but had major disagreements when they learned more. And others liked TCS but drifted away without planning to – they just never really got around to doing much. But hundreds of people made TCS a major part of their life. TCS affected how many children were treated.

SFC led people to believe that TCS was an important, growing movement that they could join and then get ongoing help and advice. People thought TCS came with resources and support, at least articles, a chatroom and the email group. But then SFC and DD stopped writing articles, SFC discontinued the chatroom and journal, and SFC reduced her TCS list to complete silence. This harmed people who were struggling to live by TCS ideas, as well as preventing other people from joining TCS.

These problems were made much worse by the lack of announcements, clarity, transition plan, etc. The original TCS founders didn’t take responsibility for the movement, what they led people to expect from them, and the consequences of their actions for people’s lives. Instead they broadly kept up public appearances years after ceasing most TCS activity.

The continued availability of TCS materials, and discussion places where people can ask questions, is due pretty much entirely to ET. But ET has done more to take over DD’s intellectual role than SFC’s community leader role, so it’s not a full replacement. And SFC sabotaged the transition to ET’s leadership by preventing many people from finding out that the new resources existed. Even some of the more involved TCS parents were left not knowing what happened or how to continue with TCS.

SFC knowingly poured time and effort into a different, unrelated, non-TCS community, in secret, while misleading the TCS parents that had trusted her. These actions go beyond explanations like merely neglect, failure or incompetence.

DD Quits

DD gradually left TCS for several reasons. First, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, many TCS members sided with the terrorists by making anti-American comments. The political conflict divided the TCS community. Most parents open to TCS were left wing, while DD and his intellectual associates were right wing.

By the end of 2002, DD didn’t write public posts as frequently, although he actively discussed with ET and others. From there, DD’s public posting gradually declined, but it took a decade to stop. Meanwhile, DD often watched ET debate in favor of DD’s ideas, like TCS, and encouraged and advised ET behind the scenes.

As time went on, DD pushed back the publication deadline for BoI but eventually had to face it. In the several years leading up to the 2011 publication, he became increasingly busy and talked with everyone less. He even had to cut a few planned chapters from the book in order to finish.

Although DD hoped and planned for things to return to normal after the book was done, they never did. Instead, he quit every discussion forum, stopped talking about TCS, and decided to focus more on his new physics idea, Constructor Theory.

After gradually distancing himself, DD stopped collaborating with ET and most other active community members around the end of 2011. DD never gave a clear explanation of why, never wrote an article arguing his case, never announced anything had changed, and never even tried to claim that ET had changed in any significant way. It was DD, not ET, who had changed. DD was disillusioned by how little TCS had changed the world, and how few people had learned his ideas. DD wanted to try to get along with the mainstream more, while ET continued developing non-mainstream ideas like TCS and CR.

Looking Back At TCS

From day one, TCS had always offended many people and attracted hateful comments for its unconventional ideas. DD hoped it would spread and gain traction over time, and it did some, but less than DD wanted. Meanwhile SFC ended the journal, chatroom and original website, reduced TCS List membership by 95%, and stopped creating content or recruiting.

ET kept TCS alive as a philosophical theory with some resources to help, but the number of participating parents dropped over time. Eventually, there was little discussion about parents trying to use TCS in their life.

To see quotes from the harsh, offensive side of early TCS, as led by SFC and DD, see this post and the comments under it.

The TCS list grew initially. But SFC said that whenever the list got over 1,000 members, a bunch of people would unsubscribe when there was an active topic causing them to receive lots of emails. Many of the people SFC recruited were not interested enough in TCS to direct the emails to a folder outside their inbox, and just left instead.

The TCS list was moderated. SFC and her buddies blocked whatever posts they wanted, quite frequently and aggressively. It was common for posters to regularly have some their posts blocked and keep participating anyway, though some people left when they weren’t allowed to speak freely. Consequently, SFC had control over the content of the list. If the content alienated people, that was her choice.

At his groups, ET always emphasized free speech instead of controlling what you were allowed to say. He thought this better fit the total-freedom-and-libertarianism-and-maybe-even-anarcho-capitalism type principles of TCS and its founders.

Conflict Between DD and ET

When he quit TCS, DD also quit associating with TCS’s new leader, ET, as well as with active participants in the TCS community. ET wanted to do problem solving. What about CR, common preferences, and win/win solutions? ET wanted to fix things but DD refused.

At the end of 2012, over a year after DD had become unfriendly and withdrawn the help and support he’d led ET to expect going forward, DD had refused many olive branches from ET. ET wrote I Changed My Mind About David Deutsch. This carefully worded piece left out most details to respect DD’s privacy because DD didn’t want the problems discussed and debated openly. Every statement was written so that it could easily be defended and explained if private facts were included in the discussion. DD saw the article prior to publication and made no objection then or later. Others in the community supported the article or didn’t mind; there was no opposition to it because people had seen DD change and leave over the years. ET thought the article was necessary because he’d been such a fan and promoter of DD, so he thought he should update people when he changed his mind about stuff he’d told them. ET was taking responsibility for the advice he’d given other people, as he believed SFC and DD should have but did not.

Although preferring to mostly leave DD alone, ET also wrote David Deutsch Interview Undermines His Philosophy in 2017, Accepting vs. Preferring Theories – Reply to David Deutsch in 2018, and David Deutsch Smears Ayn Rand in 2019. ET thought it was important to defend the ideas he’d learned from DD, even against DD himself. Again DD had no objections, publicly or privately. DD didn’t want to defend or explain his opinions or offer any rebuttal. Although critical discussion and rational truth seeking are major parts of the CR and TCS philosophies, DD didn’t do them nor explain why he wasn’t doing them and how that was compatible with his philosophy. ET’s claims remain uncontested. Meanwhile, DD never said anything negative about ET, leaving him to continue running the BoI, TCS and ARR groups and explain philosophies like TCS and CR to the world.

SFC Destroys FoR Group

Alan Forrester (AF) ran the FoR discussion group, about DD’s book, for a decade. He has a CR blog. Although AF ran the FoR group alone, SFC was the original group creator and never gave AF ownership. This allowed SFC to do whatever she wanted with the group, regardless of AF’s opinions or consent.

After 10 years with no posts or involvement by SFC, she suddenly took over FoR in order to ban ET as revenge for the I Changed My Mind About David Deutsch post. (AF agreed with ET regarding the philosophical issues that ET and DD disagreed about, and didn’t want ET banned.) Then SFC immediately neglected the group and soon everyone stopped using it. She’d been uninvolved because she wasn’t interested in FoR ideas and because she was still involved with her secret, unrelated community; being motivated to ban someone didn’t change that situation.

Just like when SFC neglected the TCS Yahoo Group, everyone interested in discussion moved over to one of ET’s groups. In that case, they went to ET’s TCS group. In this case, they went to the BoI group: since DD’s second book was out now, fans of the first book naturally were interested in the second book too, which covered similar topics.

SFC didn’t attempt problem solving, consent or common preference finding with ET, AF or the FoR group membership. She violated the standard group policy of giving warnings before banning people. And she said nothing indicating that DD himself had any problem with ET’s article. It seemed to be her own personal vendetta, and she didn’t care that she was primarily punishing AF and the FoR discussion group members, not ET who owned the BoI group anyway.

DD and ET had always had a relationship based heavily on explicit communication: if you want something, request it; if you prefer something, say so. DD knew he could make requests of ET and had wide latitude to get whatever he wanted. Several times, DD had asked ET to refrain from saying something or take something down. But this time, DD made no request and expressed no preference, knowing that ET would take that as a go ahead signal. DD, to this day, hasn’t said anything negative about ET or ET’s critical articles.

Fallible Ideas Group

In 2013, ET merged several discussion groups into one, the Fallible Ideas (FI) discussion group. Although the older groups were left unchanged, ET simply asked people to switch and every active poster voluntarily started posting on FI. This smooth transition stands out in contrast with SFC’s disastrous move of the TCS group.

ET merged the groups because the topics are all related. They’re all about understanding good philosophy and applying it. And, over time, under his leadership, the groups had become more philosophically sophisticated. For example, it had become unusual for posters to be unfamiliar with DD’s books. With a smaller membership that was more knowledgeable about all the ideas, and had more consistent ideas, having a single forum made sense.

Thus, the FI group is the continuation of the TCS group from 1994, as well as the ARR, FoR, BoI groups. The FI group also merged some more minor groups: TCS Society (a companion to the TCS group for political discussion), Rational Politics (a newer group by Justin Mallone, which ET and DD participated at), and an Ayn Rand discussion group (by ET).

Where Are They Now?

DD has gone on to work on Constructor Theory. He also became a member of the Royal Society in 2008. DD and SFC seem to no longer like to talk about TCS or be associated with it, but don’t make clear statements or requests about the matter. ET has withheld the older TCS archives posts from the public at DD’s request, even though DD has not provided any public statement about his reasons.

SFC stopped being involved with philosophy, TCS or ARR. She still hasn’t explained what happened or apologized to any parents.

SFC’s two children were friends with DD too, and one was also a friend of ET. They are adults today but never got very involved with TCS or CR. No other child with any sort of TCS upbringing became very involved either.

ET has gone on to improve CR with new ideas like Yes or No Philosophy, Paths Forward, Overreaching, Impasse Chains, Using Intellectual Processes to Combat Bias and Rationally Resolving Conflicts of Ideas. As of today (2020), ET still posts regularly to the FI discussion group and has been a consistent, active poster continuously for 18 years, and he’s branched out to videos and podcasts.

Editor’s note: I made a serious effort to get the facts and dates right. If anyone believes any fact is in error, please let me know.

More info:

If you liked this, or want to learn more about TCS, sign up for the Fallible Ideas newsletter and join the Fallible Ideas discussion group.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (18)

Identification Policy

Due to ongoing harassment and abuse (one example – there have been some smaller issues too), I’m sometimes going to be more strict with people on my forums than I’ve been in the past. I’ve tried very hard to allow free speech and I’ll continue to do that. No one will be blocked for having particular opinions about the issues like philosophy or politics. You’re allowed to disagree.

I also don’t generally care if people say a few dumb or rude things. The problems are either major-line-crossing messages (like doxing) or longterm patterns of causing trouble repeatedly. Longterm patterns can also come from a series of fake names which only say a couple things each, so I’ll be careful with new fake identities (or, basically equivalently, with totally anonymous posts that don’t even give a name).

If I block your messages but you’re innocent, contact me. I probably mistakenly thought your post was from a long term troll, rather than thinking the post by itself was a significant problem.

I may ask you to privately identify yourself to me, especially if you’re posting anonymously. Identification options could include adding me on your Facebook, showing me online presence with a ton of content over years (too hard to fake), voice chatting with me, and/or sending me $5 on PayPal. I would need to see that you’re a person with some sort of identity and reputation, not a freshly-made fake identity for a troll. I may also ask for identification without blocking anything if a fresh anonymous identity is being a jerk. I can keep identification secret (if you won’t trust me with that, I suggest you try someone else’s forum or don’t post stuff at my forum which is trolling or ambiguously might be trolling).

Anonymous accounts will now be held to a higher standard. If you’re posting anonymously, don’t be an asshole. If you establish a positive reputation under a particular name (e.g. years of FI, social media, blog or YouTube history), or prove a real identity to me, then I’ll be way more lenient. If you want to hide your identity from me, and be a jerk to me, I may not let you.

Pseudonyms are fine if you put enough work into them, e.g. 100 blog posts under that name. The point isn’t your real identity, it’s to prevent problematic people from having as many different identities as they want. Identities that are cheap to come by will be given less leeway.

I hope not to use this policy frequently.

If I link you this post without saying anything else, that's a request that you identify yourself.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

Andy B Harassment and Four Strands

The Fallible Ideas (FI) community has been under attack for over a year by an online harasser, stalker, spammer, doxer, IRL-threatener, financial fraudster and liar named “Andy B”. He’s used over a dozen identities including some multi-month projects where his false names pretended to be learning about FI. He’s posted over 400 comments on this blog from over 60 different IP addresses. His fake identities often talk and agree with each other. Some are openly nasty while others hide it for a while to trick people. He has initiated force against four separate people connected with FI. Evidence is later in this post.

Harassers and trolls usually stop much sooner and are best ignored, which is why I’ve been silent until now.

What can drive a person, day after day, to spend his life trying to hurt others? One of the answers is ongoing encouragement from friends and allies. For example, consider an animal rights group where people encourage each other to hate scientists who experiment on animals, fur coat wearers and farmers. Most people will stop at rhetoric, meetup sessions where they complain and share their debating points, etc. But some people will be willing to “get their hands dirty” by committing petty crimes at night or by harassing opposing intellectuals online. When they attend the meetings by day, they are encouraged to feel like they’re standing up for a righteous cause, and it drives their persistent, secret use of force.

Many criminals are alone and isolated. Basically, they know that everyone disapproves of what they do and keep it secret. But when people have a social group which is encouraging them and agreeing with them about the rightness of their cause, it inspires them to more crime. This is a reason some criminals are part of gangs.

Andy B has received ongoing support and encouragement from the FI shadow community (which doesn’t really have a name other than the more recent Four Strands group). Andy is a member of Four Strands both as Andy and TheRat, and he connects with many of them on social networks like Twitter.

I’m writing this post because some of the facts – the ways other people helped and encouraged Andy, and refused to stop supporting him or actually made statements against crime or harassment – are so unbelievable that they must be clearly documented to be believed. The toxic culture and hateful leadership are shocking and they’re utterly unwilling to attempt any sort of problem solving in private. That leaves me no choice but to publicly document everything so that I can link it to people to explain what’s going on. The most I can do, when they will fix nothing, is criticize their actions and explain my case. They won’t leave me alone or stop trying to harm me, but at least I can tell my story so some people will know the truth.

Shadow Community

The shadow community is a group of people interested in FI topics like DD, FoR, BoI, TCS and CR but who don’t participate at FI and hold a grudge about some past criticism. Recently, this shadow community has more organization and leadership with a “Four Strands” group. The leaders include Dennis Hackethal (a software engineer from Cupertino, CA, blog, contact at [email protected]), Bruce Nielson (a computer science student at Georgia Tech, blog, contact at [email protected]), Aaron Stupple (from Springfield, MA) and Allie Pace. (The occupations and locations are from their public Twitter accounts. I’ve left out private info about them that I have.) They’ve put effort into hiding who is a leader of the group, but I have a bunch of sources and I believe this is accurate. The group doesn’t publicly post any rules, policies or description, or say who is actually in charge, which helps them try to dodge responsibility for their involvement in crime. Bruce has also pretended not to be an owner.

Bruce, Aaron and Allie are owners of the Four Strands Google Group, and Dennis is a manager there. The Four Strands shadow community also includes the Beginning of Infinity subreddit, co-moderated by Andy and Dennis, and Dennis’ Crit App forum. Four Strands also has a Slack and Discord.

Dennis and Bruce were notified that their group member, Andy, was a criminal, and that he had joined the Four Strands group under multiple identities. They did not respond. When asked again, Bruce did not respond and Dennis responded with a malicious trick (the emails are later in this post).

It seems that the only way to get a response from this gang of aggressive rights violators is to bring up ways they are personally breaking the law. For example, Dennis did respond when I pointed out to him that it’s against the law to intentionally falsely accuse people of crimes in order to damage their reputation, as he had done. He issued a minimal retraction, refused to apologize, and did not attempt to undo the harm he’d done or set anything right. More on this below.

Similarly, Dennis responded to a complaint that he was violating the Fallible Ideas trademark in a minimal way that didn’t even involve notifying me when he renamed his “Fallible Fun” forum or what the new name was. He was so uncooperative that he wouldn’t even say that “Fallible Fun” was his forum; I had to find out elsewhere. One of Dennis’ Four Strands associates, Logan Chipkin, also violated my trademark with a “Fallible Animals” podcast and has yet to resolve the matter.

When group leaders initiate rights violations under their real names, it encourages and legitimizes Andy’s fly-by-night rights violations. They are telling him with not merely words but also actions that I and others deserve to be aggressed against, and that Andy is fighting the good fight. This makes them partially responsible for the aggressive uses of force that they use their leadership roles to encourage others to commit.

Decent people who accidentally get caught up in crime would attempt to mitigate the harm and distance themselves from it. Dennis, Bruce and the rest have refused to denounce crime, refused to ban Andy, refused to give me access to records that I could review for other rights violations, refused to disassociate with Andy, refused to ask people to stop harassing me, and refused to discourage the hatred they’ve been working to create and which has led to many initiations of force.

Atmosphere of Hatred

What does their group do to create an atmosphere that’s a breeding ground for violating rights? Dennis explained the group atmosphere like this:

I feel the pressure of agreeing with everyone about how much we all dislike Elliot

Dennis also encouraged hatred by posting:

I am now a proud entry on [FI’s] public list of apostates. :)

There is no list of apostates, merely a list of some people who chose to engage significantly in a public debate with FI and then stopped responding without explaining or finishing. Here, Dennis expresses pride, and smiles, about being in conflict with other people, which further promotes hatred and fighting.

Bruce helped lead the the way in establishing hostile gossip as part of his community when he posted:

[ET] has a bit of a history creating bad feelings in forums he doesn't own and causing people to leave. (Or so I am told. I don't have a personal history here.)

Bruce knowingly and intentionally spread rumors that people had gossiped to him. Bruce’s message also suggests that one should believe second-hand gossip without knowing any details, at least if it smears ET. The Four Strands community is full of gossip and shadowy rumors (just like it was before they made the Four Strands group and intentionally recruited a bunch of gossipers and haters for members), rather than being full of accountability, responsibility and civilized values. This is by the design of its leaders. This makes it easier for people to cross lines.

Similarly, Brett Hall (website) is a longtime FI shadow community member, who the Four Strands leadership promoted as a valuable addition to their community. Brett teaches Theory of Knowledge, a mandatory course in the IB diploma program, with a 20% failure rate (failure means no diploma), which requires 100 hours of instruction. According to Brett, what he teaches is “philosophy-lite with lots of lefty relativism and other nonsense“. 100 hours of instruction in mandatory “nonsense” with high pressure and high stakes! Why would Brett be involved with that sort of anti-TCS mistreatment of students? “I teach it because I like it.” (Source: the Fallible Ideas discussion archive.) Contact at [email protected]

Brett said that ET is poison and that ET destroys valuable things (thus helping justifying destructive actions targeted at ET), for example:

FWIW any project that one does decide to undertake will be less likely derailed or poisoned were Curi not involved. Indeed some of us will actively avoid any project Curi is involved with. :)

Poisoning is a violent and often murderous action. Brett repeatedly uses language like that which suggests that something nasty should be done about ET. E.g.:

Does anyone want to go onto FI and save some of those poor souls? Some seem to want actual personal help but are being asked for money by ET. I think that’s beyond the pale. FWIW I’m directing all enquires about the CR community here and to slack and the 4 strands group.

The part about being asked for money is a lie which Brett heard gossip about and decided to spread without fact-checking first. I have documentation of the source and spread of this particular rumor, so I know that Brett changed and exaggerated it when passing it on instead of error-correcting it.

By saying that ET’s actions are “beyond the pale”, Brett encouraged people to take extreme action against ET in order to “save … poor souls” who are ET’s alleged victims.

Brett further accused ET of “coercion”, which both means ET is hurting people (justifying hurting him) and also is intended to smear ET as a violator of TCS principles (and therefore someone who is destroying the great value of TCS by attempting to lead it while contradicting its actual ideas and values). Brett went on to accuse ET of “ruin[ing]” valuable communities and doing “destructions” and “exterminat[ion]”. Would you harass a destructive, ruinous exterminator of valuable ideas about rationality, and feel like you were righteously standing up for good values and justice? Maybe not but some people like Andy would, which is one of the foreseeable consequences of Brett’s hateful comments.

What do the Four Strands leaders do about this sort of incivility from Brett? They praise him as a great thinker and content creator.

Libel and Defamation

The worst that I’ve seen (but I haven’t seen many of their postings, let alone their secret gossip) was when Dennis Hackethal, a group manager and community leader, falsely accused ET of threatening Dennis with violence. There was no factual basis for this dishonest, malicious claim which was given for the stated reason of discouraging people from discussing philosophical ideas with ET. The quote is:

[ET has] insinuated violence towards me in the past.

Dennis, by lying that ET had committed a serious crime (as threatening Dennis with violence would have been), tried to destroy ET’s reputation so that people would stay away from ET, and also his comments encouraged people to violate ET’s rights since a criminal deserves it.

That’s libel and defamation. (Read about them at the link. I am not a lawyer, but I did speak with a lawyer about this.)

When ET later found out about this, Dennis partially admitted his guilt: he didn’t pretend that “insinuated violence” didn’t refer to a threat. Dennis issued a brief retraction because he knew there was no factual basis for his lie, but Dennis did not attempt to undo the harm, apologize, tell people to stop harassing ET, say that he regretted encouraging crime, say that ET was in fact a decent, civilized person and law-abiding person, or anything like that. Dennis’ actions are bad enough to open him up to a lawsuit for libel and defamation, but he refused to even apologize.

Passively letting group members cross lines encourages more people to do it. When group leaders themselves cross those lines, the effect is much worse.

Dennis makes a podcast and postures as someone who is doing important work to develop AGI, promote David Deutsch’s great ideas, and otherwise change or save the world. Dennis is connecting that reputation – as an intellectual and philosopher – with hatred of ET and with it being OK to break laws and lie in order to hurt ET. Dennis is teaching others, not merely with words but with actions, that using aggressive force is good when it’s in favor of a valuable intellectual cause.

Andy is Dennis’ star student. Dennis, by the way, is the only other moderator at Andy’s Beginning of Infinity subreddit which purports to promote David Deutsch’s book and ideas, and Dennis has continued that public association.

Dennis provided the paper-thin excuse that I had once mentioned “destroy[ing]” Dennis socially, and spoke of not wanting to do it and not doing it. (I mentioned it because I said certain bad, immoral social rules encourage it.) Dennis said the word “destroy” is a strong word which, at the time, made him feel unsafe and fear physical violence. That’s a serious issue, but Dennis’ response was unserious: he waited six months then gossiped about it to try to hurt me. He could have asked for a second opinion (and been told by anyone that it’s not a threat), told the police (and been laughed at), asked me or anyone else from FI (he believed my clarification that it wasn’t a threat in on Jan 23, so why not ask for clarification at the time?), or looked the matter up online. For example, if you Google search “Trump destroys Hillary” you will find the term “destroy” is used routinely in ways having nothing to do with threats or violence, e.g. debate victories. On this basis, Dennis broke the law trying to destroy my reputation. My explanation is that he doesn’t really notice when his actions cross lines like what the law is or violating someone’s rights. Sure he’d notice that some actions cross a line, like murder, but he’s not very consistent about it (which makes him dangerous).

Dennis’ retraction from Jan 23 reads:

Elliot has contacted me about this and asked me to retract this statement. He has since clarified what he meant at the time and my comment above was based on a misunderstanding. He was not insinuating violence. I will delete the above comment in the Google group.

This statement suggests that Dennis did nothing wrong, and it was just an innocent and reasonable misunderstanding, which is false. It also does nothing to try to address the harassment by Andy which Dennis’ libel, and other his actions, encouraged.

Here are some of the replies to the retraction which will give you a further understanding of what the group’s hateful atmosphere is like, and which Dennis didn’t discourage. Brett Hall, on Jan 23, replied about:

[ET’s] dishonesty and cruelty and inability to just leave us alone

That’s hateful.

please: just stay away. Yet [ET’s] still tagging me in Tweets regularly (I’ve muted him but often others respond so I see those responses). It’s tiresome.

That’s a factually false attack on my reputation. It’s first of all misleading because it sounds like I had added Brett to a topic on Twitter or started a new topic and included him, which I didn’t do. Rather, I shared one relevant blog post to a conversation he was already in, and then I responded to a few people who responded to me (which automatically sent my tweet to everyone in the conversation). Responding to people who tweet to me is not regularly tagging Brett. The conversation lasted two days. Brett’s problem is with Twitter’s conversation and notification system (which I grant is poorly designed), but he’s falsely and misleading suggesting that I did something wrong. The reason Brett got notifications is because other people, who are not me (and were mostly hostile to me because of the rumors people like Brett have spread) tagged him in their tweets, because that’s how Twitter works by default, but somehow he blames me.

Although upset to be notified about my blog post by the Twitter conversation, Brett was apparently interested enough to read it and flame me for it:

https://curi.us/2282-secondary-david-deutsch-related-discussion-community

And now the attacks on Bruce and Dennis and yet more evidence of his utter obsession with people over ideas: the WHO rather than what, and the questioning of personal motives and psychology and so on. He cannot stand not having control of a place beginning to thrive. The number of times he uses the word “I” in that new flame post is telling. He’s saying everyone on “Alan’s list” is not rational.

So the context is that Dennis libeled and defamed me, and retracted it. Brett apparently thought to himself something like, “ET’s rights were violated. This would be a great time to smear him with flames and falsehoods!” He wasn’t the only one. Aaron Stupple, a Four Strands owner, replied:

Completely agree. It seems best to completely ignore as he has a tendency to use any argument as a means to try to manipulate and slander. And there's just no place for that here and we should do our best to keep things open and enjoyable.

Aaon, as a group owner and leader, completely agreed with uncivil flames as a comment on ET’s rights being violated, and piled on with additional flaming. He’s leading the group in inciting hatred and harassment.

Andy himself replied too, as well as Felix (who is Andy’s ally or false identity). I won’t go into the further nasty comments, which got much worse, except to say that Brett responded positively to Andy saying that Andy’s comment “puts [ET] further beyond the pale. Thanks for highlighting this.” Saying I’m “beyond the pale” means that I’ve crossed a major boundary into completely unacceptable behavior outside the standards of decency and civilization. (Seriously, look it up, it’s a very strong term. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.) This is the kind of idea which inspires Andy to continue attacking me. Brett is egging Andy on.

The Four Strands group is so toxic that they think retracting a libel is a good time and context to pile on and flame the victim. And Dennis’ retraction was clearly in bad faith or he would have objected to this if not blocked/deleted the posts (he’s a group manager).

I have been told second-hand that some Four Strand people want us to leave each other alone, and we see that in Brett’s message too. But they don’t leave me alone. They don’t seem to even know how to leave someone alone. Their idea of us leaving each other alone seems to involve me being disallowed from complaining about their criminal member harassing me, while they spread libel, defamation and hatred which no one objects to, with no regard for the law or my rights. You have to learn to recognize what is and isn’t a rights violation before you can understand how to leave someone alone or how to accurately judge whether someone is leaving you alone or not.

Refusal To Help

Dennis, Bruce or their associates very likely have information about Andy’s identity or ways to pressure him to stop committing crimes. They have refused to say whether they have any information, try to get information, or otherwise participate in a process of protecting persons and rights. They continue to imply, by refusing to lift a finger against crime, that they endorse crime. This is the sort of social approval which encourages Andy to keep spending his life being an online harasser.

Another involved shadow community member is Lulie Tanett, who is a direct associate of David Deutsch. Lulie has a past history of knowingly and intentionally associating with doxers, spam bot users, open anti-semites and a variety of nasty people online, and has confessed to violating people’s privacy with her gossip. Lulie has been an ongoing source of pseudo-intellectual arguments allegedly justifying the hatred and vilification of FI and ET. Lulie has refused to denounce crime, distance herself from Andy’s actions, say whether she has any relevant info about Andy, or use her FI-hating contacts to get info about Andy – even though she and her family all follow Andy on Twitter and have plenty of contacts throughout the shadow community. She ought to be thankful to have been informed she was associating with a dangerous criminal, so she could stop, but her attitude to the matter has been uncivilized.

The shadow community has created such a bad atmosphere that Andy can go on Twitter as Andy or a sock puppet, and lie and smear me, and the community responds by mocking me and disbelieving me when I state facts. This group of people who publicly accept and praise a criminal over his victim is the source of the evil. After being informed about the ongoing crime, Lulie personally participated in that crime-favoring public mocking, as did some of her family members.

Since the problem is coming from David Deutsch’s fans, and is dangerous to his civilized fans, David should say and do something. But he has failed in this duty, preferring (I guess) to pretend that it’s not his problem when the owner of the subreddit for his book is a criminal. Why warn his fans? Instead he occasionally promotes content from people who are directly involved like Dennis and Lulie.

PS Please do not harass anyone or commit any crimes. That’s not a way to defend me or fix anything.

Emails to Leaders

On Jan 22, 2020, I emailed Dennis and Bruce. I would have contacted them sooner if they hadn’t already refused to respond to other communications such as asking whether or not I could join the Four Strands group, and if they hadn’t already refused to do anything when someone else reported a threat and spam to them (this is explained later). I had little hope of a productive response and, in retrospect, I was right.

You should be aware that Andy B (bconecat, kodheaven, heuristicworld) has many false identities, has spammed two people, doxed two, threatened one, posted literally hundreds of harassing messages, and harassed the FI discord on at least 8 accounts. He’s unstable and vindictive against people who annoy him. He’s targeted at least four people so far. I wanted to warn you because you appear to be associating with him in several ways and he’s outside the realm of civilized, peaceful people.

TheRat is a pseudonym of Andy B. This is not speculation, it’s based on technical info like server logs.

He’s been posting a series of troll comments on my blog right now, as I send this, which I’ve been deleting. He’s breaking laws.

I assume your association with him is out of ignorance. Initially, he pretended to be friendly and curious with me, too. I thought you should know.

On Jan 31, after no response, I emailed again:

Since you have taken no action in regards to your ongoing association with an active criminal, and you are running a group which incites hatred and encourages harassment, I’m asking you to respond in a reasonable, civilized way so that we can attempt to fix this major problem. If you don’t respond, I will have to make unilateral decisions about how to defend myself, and I will have to regard you as knowingly and intentionally siding with aggressive force. I would prefer to talk about it and attempt problem solving but so far you haven’t responded so I don’t know how to problem solve with you, but this problem is hurting me so I’m going to have to do something whether you guys will respond or not.

If you wanted a “soft” group with less criticism, and more moderation of tone, and more focus on AGI but no politics – for example (I’m just sorta guessing at the ballpark of what you might want) – that would be a legitimate purpose for a group. You could advertise that on FI, you could stop spreading hatred, people on your group could link to FI materials without that being taboo or something that gets them attacked, people on FI could link to your stuff (instead of you guys hiding CR content from us), we could co-exist. You could have written rules and I could follow them if I want to post on your forum. There are many things that would be reasonable, but you haven’t explained what you’re doing and have contributed to an atmosphere of hatred and rival, enemy factions (some of which predates your group, but you recruited many of the haters and said hateful things yourselves), which is unreasonable and harmful to DD’s legacy. Instead of being a hub of nasty gossip, you could be e.g. an intellectual group with different social rules where people like Andy are unwelcome and it’s made clear to everyone that such actions are unacceptable.

Dennis responded on Feb 3:

Please stop emailing me. I am not one of the group's owners, so this is beyond my control.

This was a malicious trick. Rather than do something anti-crime or anti-hatred, Dennis tried to fool the victim. I never said Dennis was an owner. He is, contrary to what he implied, a manager. And he does have some control over this matter (no one person has total control, but he’s one of the people involved in the decision making). He’s also co-moderator of a subreddit with Andy, which he seems to have conveniently and dishonestly forgotten (rather than e.g. being apologetic and helpful after violating my rights with the libel or due to sympathy with a crime victim).

Jan 18, 2020, I emailed Lulie about Andy. I emailed David Deutsch on Jan 21. I emailed them both again on Feb 1. I have a personal history with both Lulie and David, which I referred to, so I won’t quote those emails. I shared info similar to what I told Dennis and Bruce. There was no response.

On Feb 3, I also received a response from an unknown person, “Doctor Philosophy” ( [email protected] ). Apparently Bruce or Dennis forwarded my emails to them. They said:

Thanks for bringing this problem to our attention. You have sent Four Stands two emails now (below). Your first email warned us of a possible problem so that we could look into it but didn’t ask for any response. We did start to investigate your claim. Before we completed the investigation, you sent a second email that seemed to indicate you were expecting some sort of response within a previously unspecified time frame – though what you were expecting is not made clear.

Your second email makes it clearer that you feel there is some sort of criminal activity going on. If that is true, that would be concerning. We are not qualified to investigate possible criminal activity. So we ask that you please call the police or other authorities right away. When they have reviewed the evidence, if they think that this is worth investigating, they may wish to contact us. We don’t think we have much that can help as this is just an internet group and few of us know each other. People who join the group may express their own opinions and those opinions don't reflect the views of the entire group. But we want to help the police, should they open an investigation, as much as possible.

To summarize: they had no idea that doxing, spamming, threatening, etc., were crimes, so they began investigating – but in secret without notifying me in any way. Their investigation did not discover any laws against those actions, and they expected me to believe, 13 days later, that the investigation was ongoing and that I should wait more for an update. They also said nothing for 2.5 days after my followup email then told me to call the police “right away” as if they knew the matter was urgent. And now that they realize Andy’s actions are seriously bad, they will do nothing.

This is thoroughly dishonest. For one thing, they began investigating 18 days ago, before my email, when the threatened person spoke with Bruce. And from what I’ve been told, the investigation consisted basically of asking Andy if he was guilty and believing him when he said no, as well as finding it implausible that Andy and Rat were the person despite IP evidence they were given, and despite the much more evidence that was available but which they didn’t want (like the table below).

The claim that I sent Four Strands two emails is both false and misleading. It’s false because I sent a third email to Four Strands (Dennis) a few days earlier on Jan 19:

Did you make this or could you tell me who did? I saw you tweeting it. https://www.fallible.fun

And may I join the Four Strands groups?

And it’s misleading because I had also contacted Four Strands by means other than email, e.g. I DMed Bruce on Twitter, on Jan 19, asking if I could join the Four Strands group (he did not reply).

Doctor Philosophy made no attempt to identify themselves or state their connection to Four Strands, so I replied (Feb 3):

You have not identified yourself or explained how you got a copy of my email message below. Who are you and what is your relationship to the Four Strands group? Who do you speak for and who do you not speak for? Are you speaking for Dennis, or not? For Bruce, or not? Aaron? Allie? Anyone else? Please provide some sort of proof that you represent whoever you claim to represent.

What steps did you take to investigate and what were the results so far? At this time, do you intend to take no further action?

What are the proper ways for the authorities to contact the Four Strands group? Names, phone numbers, emails, etc?

They did not reply.

Evidence Against Andy B

I thought carefully about what evidence to provide because the more I share about my knowledge, methods and security, the more it helps Andy learn how to beat my defenses. I’ve decided to prioritize proving my case, which is better for dealing with everyone other than Andy. The data dump at the end clearly shows two of Andy’s alternate identities, TheRat and Augustine, as well as a lengthy record of harassment. I have detailed evidence for everything else too and could provide additional info if there is a request with a reason it’s needed. I’ve provided a lot preemptively below.

Andy was friendly initially and learned about FI for a while before becoming hostile because I support Trump building a wall. He then apologized for getting so mad and soon got mad again because I criticized the moderation policies on the IDW subreddit where he was a moderator. He ragequit and start posting harassing comments (as well as apparently-civil comments and questions designed to waste people’s time). TheRat and the Augustine identities started out pretending to be friendly people learning FI and both created fake backstories and he ran both long cons, at the same time, for months. Andy often tries to draw people into discussion. He’s interested in FI ideas but has conflicted feelings about them. However, while learning on one identity (and even voice chatting) he would post ongoing troll comments anonymously.

Andy keeps making new identities or posting anonymously. If he gets attention, he uses that identity more. If not, he just tries something else. Some of them are openly hostile, harassing or trolling, while others are partially civil while trying to sneak in a few attacks, and others are entirely civil when Andy really wants attention. Andy also frequently talks with himself to make it sound like more people agree with him and to trick people into thinking his identities are separate people. He also will debate someone on one identity and when he doesn’t win the debate, he tries again on another identity. The identities that talk with each other the most are Andy and TheCritRat, particularly on Discord, Twitter and Reddit. In Curiosity blog comments, Andy often anonymously agreed with himself to create a fake crowd, rather than using a longer term identity.

The thing that most often makes Andy mad is his own insecurity about whether he can be a good philosopher like ET or David Deutsch. As TheRat, he rage quit over his concern that he was too irrational. He returned later and confessed that was why he left. He explained that he’d talked to a lot of people and found they were even more irrational in arguments than he was. He’s often desparate for ET’s attention and keeps trying different ways to try to ask questions and get ET to respond to him. He partially hates ET for ways ET is different than him that seem inaccessible to him, e.g. Andy can’t see himself supporting Trump building a wall, so it upsets him that ET supports that. TheRat rage quit a second time after ET said he was able to play chess calmly, without getting upset about losing, at age 4 or 5. TheRat exaggerated that heavily and got really angry because he thought that meant he could never be rational like ET. He’s also brought up these motivations repeatedly elsewhere. Andy’s psychology helps explain why the support, legitimization, approval and sanction of an alternative community of superficially-similar philosophers (also David Deutsch fans, who was ET’s mentor) matters so much for his behavior. It gives him a way to hate ET, feel good about it, and think he has an alternative way to be a good philosopher.

Andy has had four total victims. I haven’t named the other three, two of whom were doxed and one was threatened and spammed. Below I present information about identities and misdeeds.

Andy B, openly:
https://www.reddit.com/user/kodheaven
https://twitter.com/heuristicworld
[email protected]
Discord: Andy B#6964
https://heuristicworld.blogspot.com
http://theidw.blogspot.com
Creator, moderator: https://www.reddit.com/r/BeginningofInfinity/ (other mod: dchacke which is Dennis Hackethal)
Creator, moderator: https://www.reddit.com/r/HeuristicWorld/
Moderator: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheIDW/ (other mod: OursIsTheRepost)
Former moderator: https://www.reddit.com/r/IntellectualDarkWeb/

Andy B, covertly, known from computer security data:
https://twitter.com/TheCritRat
https://www.reddit.com/user/TheCriticalRat
https://medium.com/@thecratway
Discord: TheRat#7635
[email protected]
Discord: Augustine#7267
[email protected]
[email protected]

Andy B or someone working with him:
https://www.reddit.com/user/shittierblogger
Discord: TidalWave#7837
Discord: AnnCoultersDildo#3499
Discord: STB#5154
Discord: ThePhilosopher#9700
Discord: I KanT even#5632
https://twitter.com/anon99cr
https://anon99.news.blog
Discord: Felix The Cat#3929
https://twitter.com/RatCritical/

People have asked me about Anon99, who posted hostile blog comments then created a new, anonymous Twitter account and blog on Feb 1, 2020, for the specific purpose of harming my reputation in just the same sort of ways that Andy tries to. He jumped right into old Twitter discussions that Andy had posted in, and expressed knowledge of FI, CR, Objectivism and IDW (just like Andy knows about, and which is quite a rare combination outside of FI). There was no real pretense that he wasn’t a sock puppet. He shows many indications of being Andy, who has a history of making new identities and lying, but I don’t have a direct proof like I do with TheRat or Augustine. The reason I lack the same direct proof is because I’m now blocking everything with a direct connection to Andy’s past comments, so he’s had to hide his identity better in order to continue his harassment. A downside of active security is that people learn, by trial and error, what gets them caught. Besides a VPN, Anon99’s comments use other, uncommon identity-faking tools, and show common Andy patterns like writing malicious comments from different names in the middle of his conversation. Besides the use of unusual identity-hiding tools and circumstantial evidence, there are several other pieces of evidence regarding Anon99, but I don’t want to give away all my security info. Also there’s zero evidence that Anon99 is not Andy.

Note: Andy often deletes identities when he doesn’t plan to use them anymore. This makes it harder to track him or search for info. For example, TheRat rage quit for a while and then came back, at which point he had to recreate his accounts with the same name, and the Augustine discord account has been deleted.

Might be Andy:

https://www.reddit.com/user/TheWorldOfParmenides
https://www.reddit.com/user/OptimismPedler

These two are speculation based on content, style and behavior. They could easily be wrong.

Recordings of Andy's voice (as TheRat):

https://curi.us/files/recordings/Rat-Justin-Vegan-Debate-2019-12-10.mp3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOG2z-xpuQc

Spam email:

Excerpt:

Mailing list subscription confirmation notice for mailing list
dev-l10n-vi

We have received a request from 72.178.3.189 for subscription of your
email address, “[email protected]", to the
[email protected] mailing list. To confirm that you want
to be added to this mailing list, simply reply to this message,
keeping the Subject: header intact. Or visit this web page:

Andy spammed an FI person by signing them for 25 email lists which caused them to receive emails like this. This spam was done from Andy’s primary IP address on Jan 5, 2020. Andy also spammed me with 18 email list signups from 46.244.28.12 on Jan 9 (in the table below, you can see Andy using that IP address on Jan 10).

Doxing:

In January, Andy doxed two people (not me) in Curiosity blog comments. I deleted the doxing and I won’t name the individuals or say what personal information was shared. It’s confirmed from server data that he did it. Andy is likely also the culprit who tried to reset someone’s Netflix password around the same time that he doxed that person.

Financial Fraud:

Dec 30, 2019, after posing as a young person for months (the Augustine identity), and telling lies about his cruel parents to gain sympathy, Andy fraudulently tricked me into gifting him $400 worth of my digital educational products. (I’m a kind and generous person, sometimes perhaps too much.) Defrauding people for hundreds of dollars of financial gain crosses a major criminal line.

Threat:

On Jan 5, 2020, Andy (as TheRat, on Discord) baselessly accused an FI person (not me) of being “sociopathic” and abusing a child’s trust. Andy verbally abused this person with profanity-laced insults and made threatening statements:

when you hurt children in the process you’ve crossed a line.

and

I am sure there’s ways to make your life difficult, particularly in [name of country]

This was followed by additional flaming along with comments indicating the threat was serious, such as:

you think I am joking around here or something? Fix it. I won’t ask again.

and

you have 24 hours to [obey my demands] […] Fix it. That simple.

There was no factual basis for Andy’s claims. The supposed child in question was Andy himself under the fake Augustine identity, and nothing really happened to him. I’ll tell the story so that you can see how little happened. Let’s call the threatened person Joe. Augustine sent Joe a link by direct message. Joe read it. Later, Augustine sent the same link to a public chat. Joe said roughly (the exact message was deleted to try to accommodate Augustine’s demands), “Oh I read that when you sent it to me Aug, here are my thoughts […]”. That’s it.

The threatened person is on the Four Strands group in addition to FI and told Bruce Nielson about the threat because both Andy and his TheRat identity were in Four Strands. Bruce, as a group manager (though I actually have some evidence that he’s an owner who pretends to be a manager), did nothing about it and let them both stay; apparently the Four Strands group is intentionally choosing an atmosphere where threats like this are acceptable. Bruce also did nothing about the threatened person being spammed from Andy’s IP address.

This verbal abuse was done allegedly to self-righteously stand up for TCS values, and the threatened person was insulted with profanity for allegedly not doing TCS correctly.

Andy Blog Comments Data

Andy’s primary IP address is 72.178.3.189, which appears to be in Texas. He posted around 100 friendly comments from that IP address before he became hostile in Sept 2018. Below are all comments from that IP address and all comments which visitor-match a comment from that IP address. The visitor-matching is done using standard, robust, open source security software (see the Security ID column in the table below). I won't provide the specific security software I use. The basic facts are that it’s imperfect and sometimes gives false negatives (it fails to match two comments as being from the same person), but false positives (where it incorrectly says two people are the same) are very rare and I haven’t found any false positives in extensive review. FYI I’m a professional software developer and have reviewed the security data with another developer. This simplified, limited data set is 316 comments from the over 400 that I know were Andy. If you click a comment link and it doesn’t highlight a comment, that means it’s hidden. Andy did continue posting harassing comments during the time gap in this data set from Oct 2018 through Sept 2019, but not as frequently and he consistently remembered to use a VPN during that time before slipping up and posting from his primary IP address again in late 2019.

IDDateAuthorIPSecurity ID
106562018.08.16Kodheaven72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
107462018.08.22Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107502018.08.22Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107562018.08.22Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107582018.08.22Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107602018.08.22Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107622018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107642018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107652018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107672018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107692018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107712018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107742018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
107762018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108042018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108092018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108122018.08.23Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108212018.08.24Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108222018.08.24Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108402018.08.25Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108422018.08.25Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108512018.08.25Andy72.178.3.1897604c8baaa309cbc9211a37c324fbdd8
108522018.08.25Andy72.178.3.1897604c8baaa309cbc9211a37c324fbdd8
108552018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108562018.08.26Anonymous72.178.3.189255c8b4b908db3c8705d90dcc471fd7e
108602018.08.26Andy72.178.3.1897604c8baaa309cbc9211a37c324fbdd8
108612018.08.26Andy72.178.3.1897604c8baaa309cbc9211a37c324fbdd8
108672018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108702018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108742018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108782018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108802018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108832018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108862018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108882018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108952018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
108962018.08.26Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109012018.08.27Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
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109042018.08.27Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109052018.08.27Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109152018.08.27Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109292018.08.28Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109322018.08.28Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109382018.08.28Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109402018.08.28Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109432018.08.28Anonymous72.178.3.1897604c8baaa309cbc9211a37c324fbdd8
109452018.08.29Anonymous72.178.3.189255c8b4b908db3c8705d90dcc471fd7e
109602018.08.30Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109882018.09.02Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109912018.09.02Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109932018.09.02Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109962018.09.02Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
109972018.09.02Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
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110192018.09.02Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110232018.09.03Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110312018.09.03Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110322018.09.03Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110422018.09.04Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110582018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110592018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110622018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110652018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110662018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110682018.09.05Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110702018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110712018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110732018.09.05Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110742018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110762018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110782018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110802018.09.05Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110822018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110842018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110862018.09.05Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110882018.09.05Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110902018.09.06Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110922018.09.06Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110942018.09.06Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
110962018.09.06Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111002018.09.06Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111022018.09.07Andy72.178.3.18928fff33edd1e1fcb37f073cbf82d2783
111032018.09.07Andy72.178.3.18928fff33edd1e1fcb37f073cbf82d2783
111052018.09.07Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111072018.09.07Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111092018.09.07Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111112018.09.07Anonymous72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111122018.09.07Andy72.178.3.18917192ad62eb78a5ac1b188d15f3554ca
111182018.09.07Andy72.178.3.1895db89841052aff1fe9636e45f706db1a
111362018.09.11Anonymous72.178.3.1890f7450f363d9b50ec3622b7f14a331b8
111372018.09.11Andy72.178.3.1890f7450f363d9b50ec3622b7f14a331b8
111472018.09.13Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111482018.09.13Anonymous72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111532018.09.13Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111542018.09.13Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111592018.09.13Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111612018.09.14Anonymous72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111622018.09.14Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111632018.09.14Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111682018.09.14Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111722018.09.15Andy72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
111812018.09.16Anonymous72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
112002018.09.18Anonymous72.178.3.18931995b9eaad14894ee621ed7159117a4
112022018.09.18Anonymous72.178.3.18931995b9eaad14894ee621ed7159117a4
112032018.09.18Anonymous72.178.3.18931995b9eaad14894ee621ed7159117a4
112152018.09.20Anonymous72.178.3.1890efbb15fcbb2f28afdbb762c6c6a878a
112172018.09.20Anonymous72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112182018.09.20RN72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112222018.09.21David Fapman72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112242018.09.22Anonymous72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112312018.09.23RealRandFansAreAutists72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112332018.09.23Anonymous72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112382018.09.24Anonymous72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112392018.09.24Anonymous72.178.3.18998f6d0f1e4388f49326ec157e222b5af
112492018.09.27Anonymous72.178.3.189eff17d6d1b553865893c5833bb8e84eb
137822019.10.13A72.178.3.189cc4bfb7da66ac7731bb823f2d5c59d58
138312019.10.18Anonymous72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
138452019.10.19Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
138692019.10.21Ask Kant72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
138762019.10.21Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
138892019.10.22Different anon72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
138912019.10.22Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
138942019.10.22Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139022019.10.22Different Anon72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139042019.10.22Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139182019.10.23Anon9072.178.3.189bc871d810a6b8bf53bee65a7f9d9aa5e
139192019.10.23Anonymous72.178.3.189bc871d810a6b8bf53bee65a7f9d9aa5e
139212019.10.23Anon9072.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139472019.10.24A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139512019.10.24A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139602019.10.26Anonymous72.178.3.189bc871d810a6b8bf53bee65a7f9d9aa5e
139652019.10.27Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139672019.10.27Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139702019.10.27Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139722019.10.27Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139742019.10.27Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139762019.10.27Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139772019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139792019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139822019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139862019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139882019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139892019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139932019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139952019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
139982019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140002019.10.28Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140242019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140252019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140302019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140402019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140472019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140482019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140502019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140532019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140542019.10.31Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140562019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140592019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140622019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140642019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140652019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140672019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140702019.10.31A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140712019.10.31B72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
140742019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140752019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140762019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140782019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140792019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140802019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140822019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140942019.11.01A72.178.3.18936ecd25835a26047fa9136bdafd4b600
140952019.11.01Anon909072.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141052019.11.02Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141082019.11.02Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141102019.11.02Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141122019.11.02Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141152019.11.02A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141202019.11.02A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141302019.11.03A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141312019.11.03A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141342019.11.03A72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141362019.11.03Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141382019.11.03Anonymous72.178.3.189bcb0e756f1d204165bc5b8f5594c6210
141422019.11.03Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141442019.11.03Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141822019.11.06Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141842019.11.06Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141882019.11.06Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141942019.11.06TheRat104.194.220.58c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141962019.11.06TheRat104.194.220.40c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
141982019.11.06TheRat104.194.220.40c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142002019.11.06TheRat104.194.220.40c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142022019.11.06Andy104.237.80.174f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142042019.11.06Andy104.237.80.174f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142052019.11.06Anonymous104.237.80.174f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142062019.11.06Considering Veganism72.178.3.1894f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142092019.11.06Andy104.237.80.17c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142112019.11.06Andy104.237.80.17c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142132019.11.07Andy104.237.80.17c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142162019.11.07Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142362019.11.08Learning Marx72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142392019.11.08Augustine104.238.59.444f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142402019.11.08The Lil lion Augustine104.238.59.444f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142432019.11.08Augustine104.238.59.444f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142442019.11.08Augustine104.238.59.444f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142462019.11.08Augustine104.238.59.444f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
142522019.11.09Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142532019.11.09Likes proper commas72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142562019.11.09The Rat104.194.220.40c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142582019.11.09The Rat104.194.220.58c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142592019.11.10Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142602019.11.10Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142612019.11.10Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142652019.11.10Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142672019.11.10Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142712019.11.10Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142722019.11.10Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142802019.11.11Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142812019.11.11Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142852019.11.11Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142862019.11.11Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142922019.11.11Anonymous72.178.3.189c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142932019.11.12Augustine104.238.59.44c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142952019.11.12Augustine104.238.59.44c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142982019.11.12Augustine104.238.59.116c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
142992019.11.12Anonymous104.237.80.71c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143022019.11.13Augustine104.238.59.44c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143052019.11.13Anonymous199.167.137.224c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143062019.11.13Anonymous199.167.137.224c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143092019.11.13Anon22185.217.117.184c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143112019.11.14Anonymous185.192.69.854f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
143132019.11.14actually literate185.192.69.85c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143152019.11.14JLA46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143182019.11.14JaRule46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143202019.11.14YouTube Loves Capitalism46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143232019.11.14Anonymous46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143252019.11.14Anonymous46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143272019.11.14Anonymous46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143282019.11.14Anonymous46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143292019.11.14Sophistry Pwner199.167.137.29c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143312019.11.14Sophistry Pwner199.167.137.224c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143322019.11.14John Galt46.244.28.96c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143352019.11.14Anonymous46.244.28.96c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143362019.11.14Anonymous46.244.28.96c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143372019.11.14Anonymous185.92.25.209c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143392019.11.14The best Anon199.167.137.224c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143402019.11.14Anonymous199.167.137.224c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143492019.11.16Anonymous46.244.28.96c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143502019.11.16Anonymous46.244.28.96c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143522019.11.17Anonymous104.237.80.17c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
143602019.11.18Anonymous46.244.28.50c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
145302019.11.22Augustine104.238.59.179c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
145492019.11.23John Galt would help fight climate change46.244.28.9c4b0c9e4a71adbbb956ecf49bc9e1ed9
145542019.11.24Anonymous46.244.28.164f87d14258e955a9e970ccc7f1f2c402
147062019.12.05Augustine104.238.59.158e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
147252019.12.06TheRat104.194.220.86e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
147322019.12.07Anonymous199.167.137.59e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
147332019.12.07Anonymous199.167.137.59e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
149142019.12.19Augustine104.238.59.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
149372019.12.24Anonymous185.192.69.152e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
149682019.12.29Howard Roark185.192.69.156e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150162020.01.03Anonymous72.178.3.189e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150172020.01.03Anonymous185.192.69.152e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150272020.01.05TW85.203.44.40e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150332020.01.06When the ego doesn't match the skill85.203.44.40e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150362020.01.07Anonymous85.203.44.86e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150462020.01.08Rand would be dissapointed85.203.44.40e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150472020.01.08Anonymous85.203.44.40e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150482020.01.08Anonymous85.203.44.40e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150562020.01.10Shit Tier Blogger85.203.44.111e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150612020.01.10Dying173.239.198.155e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150632020.01.10Perfect46.244.28.12e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150652020.01.10Anonymous46.244.28.12e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150672020.01.10Anonymous46.244.28.12e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150692020.01.10Anonymous46.244.28.12e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150702020.01.10Anonymous46.244.28.12e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150722020.01.10Anonymous46.244.28.12e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150782020.01.12Anonymous46.244.28.66e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150792020.01.12Anonymous46.244.28.66e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150822020.01.13Anonymous46.244.28.52e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150882020.01.14Curi is a hypocrite46.244.28.52e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150962020.01.14Anonymous46.244.28.52e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
150992020.01.14Anonymous46.244.28.66e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151112020.01.16Anonymous104.37.31.141e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151272020.01.17Anonymous104.37.31.141e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151282020.01.17[name removed due to doxing]199.167.137.234e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151302020.01.17Howard Roark199.167.137.32e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151322020.01.17Anonymous104.143.92.9e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151412020.01.18Mr. Sandman185.230.125.155e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151462020.01.19Anonymous199.167.137.32e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151702020.01.20Ayn Rand's Dildo199.167.137.32e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151712020.01.20Anonymous199.167.137.32e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151912020.01.22[name removed due to doxing]199.167.137.32e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151942020.01.22Anonymous37.120.135.167e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
151952020.01.22Anonymous37.120.135.167e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152012020.01.22Anonymous185.183.105.182e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152022020.01.22Jon37.120.135.167e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152032020.01.22Anonymous85.203.44.203e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152102020.01.23Chimes85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152112020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152122020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152132020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152142020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152152020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152162020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152172020.01.23Anonymous85.203.44.185e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152182020.01.23Anonymous104.143.92.9e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7
152192020.01.23Anonymous45.56.142.127e4396c2db04e0a072a5150796f09b3f7

Conclusion

Andy B is an online criminal. Dennis Hackethal, Bruce Nielson, Aaron Stupple and Allie Pace are maliciously encouraging Andy (and anyone else) to harass me. And that group of leaders has personally spread hatred about me and violated my rights. They’re welcoming Andy as a member at their groups, providing him moral support, protecting his reputation while working to damage mine, working with him, preventing me from having access to group messages to investigate, and more. Others like Brett Hall have helped encourage the culture of hatred. David Deutsch has acted irresponsibly by saying and doing nothing. None of these people will make any anti-crime or anti-harassment statement, or even pay lip service to asking their members or fans to be peaceful. This shadow community is dangerous and should be shunned by all civilized persons.

They wouldn’t even ban Andy from their group, or disassociate from him, let alone discourage the culture of hatred they’ve created or oppose harassment in any way.

If anyone involved apologizes and takes reasonable actions to try to make amends, I will update this post.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (27)

Limits of Statistics

This is a reply to an FI post.

Me:

What are some examples people might give [of judging inconclusive arguments and assigning them appropriate weights, choosing both whether it’s positive or negative as well as the size] and what’s wrong with those?

Alisa:

People usually don't give numeric ranges for argument weights, but they may talk about the amount of weight in words, e.g. using the kind of scale Peikoff came up with (I think they were words such as "likely", "probable", "unlikely", etc.). One problem with this is that there's no way to combine those fuzzy weights to get a meaningful total.

People talk about the sign of an argument's weight in terms of whether the argument supports or undermines the idea in question. For example, the idea that the sun has risen every day for the last million years (or whatever) might be said to support the idea that the sun will rise tomorrow. One problem with this is that no one has ever explained what it means for one idea to support another idea.

Someone might try to define "support" more precisely by saying that idea Y supports idea X just when P(X|Y) > P(X) (that is, when knowing that Y is the case makes X more likely than X would be if you didn't know whether or not Y was the case). However, this kind of probabilistic justification suffers from a regress problem, as explained in http://curi.us/1594-regress-problems .

How does one compare:

1) the probability that socialism is a good idea

2) the probability that socialism is a good idea, given that Trump is a good president

?

btw i assume that both statements have an unstated “given the laws of logic, the laws of physics, and a bunch of standard background info like basic facts”.

let’s try a simpler example and see if it helps us figure this out:

1) the probability that Joe has cancer

2) the probability that Joe has cancer, given he took one test for cancer and it came out positive

so you consider all possible worlds that fit the conditions (which include basic background facts like Joe being alive, Joe being the same age he is now, Joe being roughly the same person, the world being roughly the same, same laws of physics, same laws of logic, etc) and then you count how many times Joe has cancer and doesn’t have cancer. which is infinity of each but you figure our proportions anyways like how 10% of the positive integers are divisible by 10 even though infinity are and infinity aren’t.

so it’s kinda like: Joe is age 42 and American. 0.3% of americans that age have cancer (which you estimate based on some published statistics). the cancer is randomly distributed among everyone in the set of all possible worlds so Joe has it in 0.3% of those worlds. you can make it more accurate by considering more factors like whether joe smokes.

but if the test says he has cancer, well the false positive rate is only 10%, so the chance he has cancer is like 50% (that’s just a wild guess, i didn’t bother doing the math, and it depends on numbers i didn’t give like how many people without cancer get the test).

so 50% > 0.3% so "he took one test for cancer and it came out positive” is evidence that Joe has cancer.

there are some things wrong with this, and i’m skipping some steps, and it can’t eliminate explanation and criticism, but there is also some value in it. this kind of method isn’t worthless. (though we do need critical thinking to figure out when and how to use it – without critical thinking, ~everything is worthless).

but this is limited to certain types of scenarios. you look at all possible worlds (given same physics and logic, and if you want a similar number of ppl on earth living in similar countries with similar technologies and so on) and in how many of them is socialism a good idea? i say zero cuz socialism conflicts with physics and logic. the point is, this isn’t a statistical issue. most things people want to know aren’t statistical issues.

one of the worst things the Bayesians do is they can’t seem to tell the difference between pulling colored marbles out of a bag (statistics) and whether Stoicism or Objectivism is a better philosophy (not statistics). they don’t do much to try to find the limits of statistics and avoid going outside their domain of expertise.

lots of stuff isn’t statistics. should i sign up for cryonics? quite possibly zero people who get cryonics with current technology will have a successful outcome. you can’t use statistics to figure out whether it can work at all or not. and saying “well let’s consider how often it works over a range of conceivable laws of physics and logic”, in order to try to more unambiguously get a probability above zero, isn’t going to fix this. how do you count how many different laws of physics current cryo tech works in? how do you put the different laws of physics into a well defined ordering and then iterate over a range of them? no one has any idea how to do any such thing, and i doubt it’s possible at all.

is Trump a good president? i think a lot of them would call that statistical. run a trillion simulations of Earth with Trump as president, see what the outcomes are on some metrics like global wealth, number of people alive, number and severity of wars, etc. And then run some control simulations, i guess just try a million other people as president and average their results..? then see how often trump does better or worse than the control average default metric numbers. and lump together scores on each metric into an overall score. does anyone’s thinking on the matter really resemble this monte carlo method, as an approximation? and how do you know which metrics matter how much, or how to measure them, or how to get them into the same units and weight their importance to combine into a single total? those things are not statistical issues (right?) so even if you could do the simulations the answer you got would depend on a bunch of your non-statistical ideas.

some of the difficulties with combining multiple metrics into a single final score are explained here btw: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/02/14/the-order-of-things

This is nothing like a complete explanation, just some stuff. Feel free to take it further.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

Dear Lurkers

I wrote this privately in Feb 2009. I've made minor edits.


Dear Lurkers (yes, you),

Figuring things out is hard. And fooling ourselves is easy. (This is a paraphrase of Feynman, one of the best philosophers of the 20th century.)

A truly wise man knows how ignorant he is. (This is a theme of Socrates.)

I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth. (Popper)

Through seeking we may learn, and know things better... (Xenophanes)

If you think you know how to parent without hurting your children, and haven't written a thousand posts about it, then you are probably violating these quotes.

It certainly took me a lot more than a thousand posts to figure out what I know today. David Deutsch too. Do you think you're a lot smarter than us, and a much faster learner?

If you are, that's great, please go invent something better than quantum computers and TCS. Then write a better book than The Fabric of Reality. If you're taking requests, start by defeating aging.

Back to parenting: what I know today is, in my view, insufficient. Parenting and education is a hard problem in the mundane sense of needing a lot of practical knowledge. And it's a hard problem in the sense that most people fail badly. And it's a hard problem in the sense that commonsense gets a lot of things about it wrong and advanced philosophy is required to correct those errors. And it's a hard problem because many mistaken ideas about it are entrenched traditions and seem obviously true. And it's a hard problem in the sense that many people see some of these dangers, and think they can do better, but fail to; it's very common to think you are different and still fail. There are also misconceptions about education built into the English language. And there is also constant pressure from your own parents, and friends, and neighbors, and sometimes Government officials, and school teachers, and well everyone, to do a wide variety of things that your children won't like. Also, sometimes these people will try to coerce your children, so there is the added problem of protecting children.

Parenting is also a hard problem because our own parents hurt us in such a way as to make us bad at parenting, and irrational at thinking about parenting and evaluating our knowledge of it. If your instinct is to deny this, that is a major indication that you will be a bad parent. If you intellectually will admit this, but still have the emotional instinct to deny it, then again you should expect to hurt your children. Just changing intellectual theories, but not intuitive reactions, emotions, and how you live life on autopilot by default, and thus being a person always in conflict, simply isn't good enough.

Fully non-coercive parenting is a harder problem. How many people here could even explain what coercion is accurately and answer questions? Hardly anyone. Few people have been interested enough to think about it a lot and ask lots of questions about it and try to talk about it frequently over the course of years. I also think it's implausible that someone who never tried to write an essay on it actually understands it.

It's easy to think you agree with and understand something. It's easy to miss things and not notice you missed anything. It's easy to fool ourselves. What's harder is to take the knowledge you think you have and apply it, and also explain it to others, and persuade people who disagree. If you really understand morality and epistemology well, you should be able to actually do things in real life that normal people can't do, such as change your emotional makeup from whatever it is to what you actually think is a good idea, or break your bad habits (bad in your view) without feeling bad, and many more things which, if you can't think of them yourself, you still have a lot more to learn.

(If you think some of these things are not desirable, then you definitely ought to post at least a little more. Why don't you write a post to try to settle the disagreement? To be confident in your view, and not feel an urgent need to learn more about our disagreement, you better have some significant and clearly thought out criticisms of my view. So post those, just to make sure I'll concede, and won't have anything to say that you hadn't thought of. If you don't feel the need to post ideas to be criticized, just in case others know something you don't, then you are not respecting the difficulty of finding things out.)

Maybe you are all having wonderful conversations IRL where you learn a lot. But I doubt it (I mean you probably have some, but not enough). Non-coercive parenting is extremely unpopular. It's hard enough to find any conversations about it on the whole internet, let alone in your neighborhood. And that's any serious conversation with interested people at all. Finding people who also know something about Popper and philosophy -- enough to have thoughts about education that actually engage with important questions -- is much harder.

Parenting is of course not the only issue. For example, non-coercive adult to adult relationships are very important as well. You will coerce your spouse unless you have quite a lot of knowledge of how to avoid doing so. I needn't list any more. Try to rattle off a dozen more danger areas in a couple minutes. If you can, you've listed them for me. If you can't, then certainly you don't know enough to avoid harming and wronging people you interact with. (What? You thought you could be a decent, peaceful, nice person without knowledge?).

If you'd like to post, but don't know what to post, then you have a problem. So ask a question about that. Or consider a common problem and try to figure out if you have it and how it can be solved. Or take a post and try to understand it, and if you don't get all of it, then ask a question, and if you think you do get all of it, then post some further implications, or even better ideas on the same topic, or something like that.

If you're bad at writing, don't worry, everyone is born that way. You just need a combination of practice, thinking about it, and educational resources. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • focus on expressing one idea at a time, very clearly
  • short sentences
  • no fancy words
  • short paragraphs
  • simple sentence structure
  • content matters more than form or style
  • don't try to impress anyone
  • omit anything unnecessary
  • avoid meta discussion
  • include an example
  • when in any doubt about the meaning of a word, check the dictionary or don't use it
  • short is better, but harder. don't try for length, but don't worry if it ends up long
  • misunderstandings are very common, and will happen, so don't get discouraged or pessimistic. if someone misunderstands then try to clarify
  • if someone says something abstract that's hard to understand, ask for a simple, practical example
  • above all, never write a list

PS Join the Fallible Ideas discussion group.


FYI, the last item on the list is a joke. Jokes frequently cause miscommunications, and this joke was misunderstood by at least one person who actually said so (people usually don't tell you when they don't understand you). A better tip is to avoid jokes if you want to be understood.

Although this post focuses mostly on parents, the issues apply to everyone. Knowledge helps you hurt yourself and others less. Choosing not to seek knoweldge means choosing to hurt people, including yourself. (I think you should especially care about hurting yourself, but many people think they care more about hurting others. Anyway both matter.)


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (5)

The Taking Children Seriously and Fallible Ideas Communities

This post is about Taking Children Seriously (TCS) and what it was like before my leadership. This is primarily interesting because of the value of TCS's bold conjectures about how to apply Critical Rationalism to parenting and education. I'm secondarily bringing it up because some people today are unfamiliar with TCS and other ideas from David Deutsch (DD) and make ignorant, incorrect assumptions about what it's like. E.g. Bruce Nielson posted to The Beginning of Infinity forum in 2018:

Thanks Elliot for the excellent and thoughtful feedback. I'll try to come up with a new version that improves the problems of the existing version.

I joined [FI]. I hope to be an active participant.

You can read my free DD/CR (David Deutsch and Critical Rationalist epistemology) help, which Bruce was so thankful for, at Critical Rationalism Epistemology Explanations.

Although it's been a year and a half, and Bruce said he would follow up, he hasn't. It appears to have been his first attempt at online DD/CR discussion and it went nowhere due to his own disinterest and inactivity. Fine, but then why is he now a manager at an online DD/CR discussion group that is attempting to splinter the community and sideline FI? He's a newcomer who hasn't yet succeeded at his first productive DD/CR discussion, but now he's taking on a leadership role?

Some people commenting on this problem (which Bruce won't engage in problem solving about, but I have) think I and other FI posters are too harsh. They seem to conclude (without specifically stating and arguing it, and without involving facts), that FI's posts are different than a non-coercive-and-problem-solving focused philosophy like DD's TCS. Therefore FI can't really be a continuation of DD's thought and community. So let's take a look at some posts from before I joined the community. What sort of community did I join, learn the culture of, and am now continuing? I think if people knew what the TCS forum was actually like, and what DD was actually like, they would agree that I and FI are milder successors.

1996, full post from a TCS leader (minus names):

I subscribed to this listserv several weeks ago and have been lurking for some time. The name of this listserv caught my attention because I am a public school educator who is interested in changing my teaching and classroom management methods to a more child - directed approach.

Then your only possible course of action is to

  1. resign at once,
  2. take up a morally justifiable profession,
  3. become good at it, and
  4. be prepared to welcome children into your working environment, answer their questions and pass on your knowledge and skills to them if they ask you to.

Save yourself if you still can, [name]. I'm not joking.

1998, part of a post from a TCS leader:

Or are all of you against public school? My daughter (13 years old) is a homeschooler, but I am studying elementary education. I want to use non-coercive techniques in my classroom--basically because I realize that the idea that a teacher can control any student's behavior is a myth. Behavior can only be controlled by the "behaver" (the person doing the behaving)!

I think you're mistaken. If this were really true, most of the children in your classroom would simply get up and walk out. The fact that none of them do -- until the instant that you give them permission to -- despite the fact that throughout the lesson many of them are painfully yearning to do so, is one token of the fact that you are controlling them.

2000, full post from a TCS leader:

Could someone help me? How do you discipline a child that has got in the habit of throwing temper tantrums, when she doesn't get her way? It's becoming a common practice for my daughter to fallout wherever she is(public, home or daycare), which is very embarrassing. HELP!

That's a tough one, but I think this may be one of those rare cases where a sound thrashing might actually help. You may think that that would be illegal, but not if you arrange things properly. This is what you do:

Visit a bar in the sleaziest part of town, and employ the largest, strongest man you can find. (With a little bit of luck, he may well be willing to do this job without payment.) Introduce him to your daughter and explain to her that this is being done for her own good, and that it will hurt you much more than it hurts her. Explain to her that this nice man's job is to follow you and her around wherever you go. He will be unobtrusive and helpful, unless and until your daughter throws one of her tantrums. At that point he will step politely forward and beat the shit out of you.

Then the tantrums will soon go away.

1996, full post from a TCS leader, italics in original, bold added for emphasis:

People often complain that I lack respect in my posts. They accuse me of not "practising what I preach". They suggest that I should "teach" non-coercive educational theory by "example", and only post "non-coercive" messages. In practice this means that if I post anything other than soothing, dishonest, posts that are "accepting" of tyranny and coercion, I am being "coercive" to those whose posts I criticise. Certain posters have criticised my "lack of tolerance" over and over again, and called me "hateful" and "vengeful" and any number of colourful epithets in their attempts to show me (respectfully, by example, presumably?) the error of my ways.

But whenever I ask them whose rights they think I am violating, they decline to comment.

Perhaps they feel uncomfortable about admitting that logically their criticism of me in such cases amounts to a defence of tyranny.

I respect people whom I consider worthy of respect. I do not respect tyranny; I do not respect organisations like the KKK; I do not respect harmful human institutions whose existence is inimical to the growth of knowledge and thus to human happiness. I think these things are objectively wrong. So when I read posts advocating coercion or proudly detailing vile schemes to manipulate children into states of mind that are bad for them, I wish to express my contempt, and I wish to argue against these proposals. Ridicule is, as [another TCS leader] pointed out recently, an effective weapon against tyranny, and I shall continue to use it. I do not apologise for being honest.

I am often told that in order to change minds, I need to adopt a soothing, respectful tone, and cut the contumely. The thing is, changing minds in that sense is not my aim. I am not interested in placing people into a state of mind pre-determined by me, if the only way I can no this is to mislead them. It is all too easy to lull people into the appearance of agreeing by deliberately equivocating about what the words they are mouthing mean. These are manipulative aims, and I have already said I abhor coercion. Indeed, the whole idea that it might be possible to coerce someone into non-coercion is incoherent.

If someone says something false, or wicked, against which I believe I have a good argument, I want to put that argument to them and to others who might be subject to similar errors. If someone reports horrible things they have done to their children, seeking (and invariably getting) praise, justification and encouragement to do more of the same, I want to say "no, this is wrong". If there is any changing of minds that I am hoping for in connection with my arguments, it is the person himself changing his own mind, through his own thinking.

My purpose in posting (including this little post) is to support those who already feel that coercion is bad. Sometimes one feels something to be wrong but does not know why it is wrong. Sometimes it helps to know explicitly why something is wrong. (Sometimes people think "A-ha! Of course!" when they read explicit arguments against things they already felt in their guts to be wrong.) And of course when I write these scathing, "unacceptable" posts, I nearly always get messages from people saying "thank you so much for saying that" -- so I get to "meet" new sympathetic others. Advocates of coercion can find support everywhere. Those who are struggling to make their relationships consensual can't.

Note that I am never disrespectful in response to posts from people saying that they consider coercion is bad, but they do not currently have the knowledge of how to find consent in such-and-such an area (but are trying to learn). We are all in that position. We are all fallible and we all make mistakes. If someone seems genuinely to want to find consent-based solutions, I am always deeply respectful. That is because I feel deeply respectful. But ask me to be deeply respectful to a tyrant and I'll metaphorically spit in your face. If I did less I might be betraying the child who is suffering behind the tyrant's sugar-coated self-justification, and certainly the readers out there who want to read the truth, for once, unalloyed.

As you can see, some of the recent complaints are nothing new. They are to be expected, as a TCS leader explained in 2001 shortly after I joined:

[A TCS leader] wrote:

[Someone] wrote:

Have you noticed it says ...

the socialists Sarah Lawrence, David Deutsch, and Kolya Wolf

It's not the first time I have been branded a "socialist". Makes you wonder if the person who wrote that was on something when he or she read up on us, doesn't it? You'd think he or she might be slightly embarrassed about being so mind-bogglingly ill-informed, wouldn't you? 8-)

People have described me as "a sad collectivist", "right-wing", "PC", "a fascist", "a Randroid", and "an anarchist" (and no, they didn't mean an anarcho-capitalist). (Also, "subjectivist", "relativist", "moralistic", "amoral", "irrational", "a cold rationalist", and so on...)

Still, never mind, I have also been branded "full of original sin," and "a libertine"... but also "a do-gooder" and according to some interent authorities, I am "on a different planet" and "a joke".

Many have said that I "have clearly no experience of children", "obviously don't have children", "have obviously never come within a hundred miles of any living kid"; others have branded me "a progressive parent".

And then there was the argument about whether I am "a cow", "a cow with udders for brains" or "a cow with BSE".

So if "socialist" is the worst they can come up with, well hey, I think that's a distinct improvement. 8-)

I was informed only last month that I'm "nutty", that I "don't make a lot of sense", that my "philosophy is neurotic", that I'm "hysterical", that my "reading comprehension could use some work", that I have a "hysterical point of view", that my "reading comprehension is really in the dirt", that I am "screwed up psychologically" and:

"pseudo intellectual b.s."
"This is all coming out of your bu*t."
"You just seem to have some kind of... problem."
"You just don't seem to understand anything at all."
"Actual real mature grown ups (unlike yourself)"
"You just seem to have a personal problem."
"You are clearly hysterical and a crack pot."
"You have some other personal problem that you, really, should get help
with"
"your own hysterical interpretation"
"You're on medication, aren't you"
"This is clearly delusional"
"You are either sick or the concepts you are trying to critique are
too deep for you."
"weird neurosis"
"plainly raving"
"From that place you go to when you run out of meds?"
"You are an idiot."
"Hysterical!"
"You just have a chip on your shoulder."
"you don't seem to get anything."
"the keeper of this website is clearly floating around in their own warped
head."
"You spout a bunch of words"
"you don't know what you're saying"
"you don't know what others are saying"
"you're not even aware of how obvious you are. Sad."
"psychotic."
"mentally retarded"
"just some nut with a personal problem."

What provokes this hatred and vilification -- and blind misunderstanding?

I think it's this: someone who is far in advance of most people about an important moral issue is likely not to be understood at first, and in the meantime, to be hated and vilified just as much as someone who is egregiously wrong. How could it be otherwise?

If you don't like DD's ideas like TCS, that is your right. For those who do want to learn about DD's ideas – the ideas of the person who wrote two great books, hundreds of blog posts, and thousands of discussion forum posts – join the FI forum.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (13)

Confusion About Overreaching

I'm sharing this chatlog because if you feel like you're suppressing/repressing to avoid overreaching, something is going wrong. Don't accept that; there's a problem there. (This is from the Fallible Ideas Discord which you can join.)


Freeze: Does overreaching get in the way of you doing what you want to do, or do your wants mostly follow your understanding of overreaching?
Freeze: One thing I've been thinking about is... If someone learns rationality and reason, does that mean they would rarely if ever desire things that would be overreaching?
Freeze: Is the general regret or disappointment I feel at not being able to discuss interesting topics a symptom of irrational ideas I've learnt?
Freeze: In the sense that if I had learnt rationality better, I would find the simple stuff interesting because I'd know that it's required for the more complex stuff
Freeze: So if I find the grammar boring, it might be a sign that I'm not reasoning well
curi: overreaching isn't about goals but methods. you can work towards SENS/immortality, for example, without overreaching, by taking low error rate steps to work on the project.
Freeze: Right.
Freeze: And as part of a well reasoned process to progress SENS, doing something like analyzing sentences wouldn't feel offtopic. It would feel like part of the topic, if one is rational
curi: managing your error rate is your best chance to succeed at a big, hard project. it doesn't take anything away from you. there isn't a downside.
Freeze: So if I'm feeling bad about it, something's going wrong in my reasoning where it seems like a downside even if I logically know it isn't
curi: sentences are really important and useful and people who don't have enough mastery of that tool ought to work on it, ya
Freeze: Right
Freeze: So I need to learn to convince myself so that I'm wholeheartedly doing things like grammar in a way that it's interesting
curi: dealing with questions is another big tool. i posted to FI about it today
JustinCEO: for me grammar stuff was pretty clearly on topic for various things
JustinCEO: first of all i actually have inherent interest in grammar
JustinCEO: i think it's fun, on its own, without needing to justify it somehow
JustinCEO: but also, i like to write stuff, and am a lawyer, heh
Freeze: When I find discussing epistemology more fun than something like grammar, it seems like I'm operating on bad ideas rather than good ones. I don't know how exactly to go about changing those ideas so that grammar becomes more fun first
curi: yeah i developed some interest in grammar too cuz i've written a lot
curi:

Is the general regret or disappointment I feel at not being able to discuss interesting topics a symptom of irrational ideas I've learnt?

what can't you discuss?
Freeze: I find a lot of things inherently interesting, and I tend to get dragged along by whatever is happening in the moment
Freeze: like pasta discussions or cheese
Freeze: Well some discussions would be overreaching
JustinCEO: i don't think you've gotten crit re: food discussions
curi: i don't think the pasta was a reply to me
Freeze: Although I liked the post someone wrote on FI that said something like, This system is designed so that you should never have to discuss less than you usually do and it involved stuff like labelling overreaching
Freeze: and labelling confident statements
JustinCEO: btw i found food an especially easy topic to learn something about
Freeze: well what I meant by that J is that I don't seem well in control of what I find interesting
curi: yeah cooking with recipes is very learnable field. lots of tutorials and shit.
JustinCEO: one thing that helps is that there are tons of people making detailed instructions which include videos and pictures
Freeze: And it's weird that I can find pasta/cheese inherently interesting sometimes, but not grammar
curi: did you read my essay?
Freeze: Maybe because the grammar becomes this obstacle rather than an inherently interesting topic
curi: ppl have preconceptoins about what grammar is like
Freeze: Only some of it curi, like the first half
JustinCEO: grammar has skool connotation
curi: and my essay is pretty atpyical
JustinCEO: skool is cancer for interests
Freeze: I'll read through it tonight. It seems like when I put something up as a barrier to doing something else, it becomes less interesting
JustinCEO: well if u think of stuff as a barrier
Freeze: like I love vegetables today, but as a kid I disliked them, maybe because they were compulsory or a barrier to eating better tasting food
JustinCEO: that means u are not convinced it is necessary
JustinCEO: to do X well
Freeze: Right, or maybe it means I want to do X poorly
Freeze: for some reason
JustinCEO: so you have some disagreement with ppl saying u should do the thing
JustinCEO: or yeah
JustinCEO: right
JustinCEO: u could want to
JustinCEO: e.g.
Freeze: like maybe I think doing X poorly would be more fun than doing grammar well
JustinCEO: social chit chat
JustinCEO: about
JustinCEO: X
JustinCEO: instead of actually do something meaningful with it, learn about it seriously
JustinCEO: i have that issue
Freeze: It's weird but I seem to find failing at CR discussion more fun than succeeding at grammar discussion. But maybe I should try more grammar discussion since I haven't really had much aside from that one comma splice exchange
Freeze: social chit chat is fun, and feels like learning sometimes
Freeze: like when you talk about food
Freeze: or legal stuff
Freeze: I remember something DD wrote about conversation being one of the best learning methods
Freeze:

One cannot make many such investments in one's life. I should say, of course, that the most educational thing in the world is conversation. That does have the property that it is complex, interactive, and ought to have a low cost, although often between children and adults it has a high cost and high risk for the children, but it should not and need not.

Apart from conversation, all the complex interactive things require a huge initial investment, except video games, and I think video games are a breakthrough in human culture for that reason.

Freeze: https://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/video_games_a_unique_educational_environment
JustinCEO: I think it's important to separate the issue of conversation being a good learning method (it is) from the issue of valuing not-particularly-serious conversation over other ways to spend your time that would actually be more productive/helpful for learning and life
Freeze: I have been excited to read The Goal every night, which was interesting to note and observe in myself
Freeze: The story was cool
JustinCEO: i liked The Goal
Freeze: Reading books sometimes seems like a conversation with the author
JustinCEO: well it's not interactive so that's a difference
JustinCEO: you either have to do a bunch of self-discussion or talk about the book with other knowledgable ppl
Freeze: Right, although I find myself asking a lot of questions of the book, to myself
Freeze: Which is self-discussion I guess
JustinCEO: peikoff knew much more of Rand than is in her books
JustinCEO: and Rand knew more of Rand than is in Peikoff but she dead, and Peikoff dead soon :frowning:
curi: @Freeze re overreaching, whatever you're interested in but don't think you should work on, i suggest you make a project planning tree where you clearly lay out the interest, the things you think it'd take to succeed at it, the prerequisites or components of those and so on down the hierarchy a ways. you will then see specifically 1) what skills, tools, resources, etc. you think you're missing before you do X 2) how those things relate to X, what the chain of connections is. and then you can critically consider it, share it, etc., to maybe find out about errors, alternative learning paths, etc.
curi: if you don't care about something np, but if you have regret or negative feeling, it's worth investigating and getting clear in your mind what you think is in your way and why.
Freeze: ty curi
curi: this works somewhat as an example: https://my.mindnode.com/p3ZX6Py8iVnutKEbf9NSnyocjDs1MMERUdg8Qozk

that + more nodes + label which nodes are done/not-done = much clearer idea of what's standing in the way of building a skyscaper


Here's the FI post about asking questions. Note: you can join the FI email discussion group to read emails like this.

Here's the skyscraper related project planning tree as a PDF permalink.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (3)

Secondary David Deutsch Related Discussion Community

The David Deutsch fan community is being split by the creation of a secondary community. In addition to the public Fallible Ideas forums (FI) for discussing topics like David Deutsch’s books, there are now “Four Strands” forums for discussing those topics. This takes a small community and tries to splinter it into separate factions.

Why?

The people behind this, such as Bruce Nielson and Dennis Hackethal have not explained what they’re doing or why. They have not posted any invites or announcements on FI to let people know about the existence of these new forums or to explain the reasons for creating them and their purpose.

I’m not even very clear on who is in charge of the group or what it consists of. I was told it’s a Google Group and a Slack, then I found a Discord. There’s apparently no webpage explaining and linking their stuff, stating rules, policies or purpose, organizing it, etc.

They apparently have a problem with FI, but they haven’t criticized FI or had discussions attempting to solve whatever problems with FI they may have had. They seem to be unwilling to debate whatever the issues are and have no Paths Forward to allow error correction. They don’t seem interested in writing and sharing their relevant claims, criticisms, ideas for improvements, etc. I hope I’m mistaken about these impressions and I invite correction. Let’s talk about this!

There’s also a Beginning of Infinity subreddit from kodheaven and Dennis. Despite it claiming to be for anything DD related, I was banned without ever submitting a post or comment. Meanwhile, a post linking my interview with David Deutsch was deleted and the person who posted it was also banned. No explanation was provided.

Where is the attempt at cooperative problem solving as DD advocates!? What about common preference finding or win/win solutions, as DD advocates?

The FI forum, for those who don’t know, was formed by merging existing DD-related discussion groups, such as Beginning of Infinity (BoI), Taking Children Seriously and Autonomy Respecting Relationships (all of which I owned and ran). I simply asked people to move to a unified group instead of being split up. There were no objections to the merger and all active posters came to FI. Note that I created and ran the BoI google group and website at DD’s request.

This is an established forum community related to DD’s ideas going back to 1994, which I joined in 2001. DD used to actively post and wrote a few thousand emails to the forums. There is a 25 year history here, including a lot of participation by DD himself, but these alleged DD fans are apparently splintering away from the community which has been influenced by over 15 years of discussions with DD. They seem to be rejecting a big part of his legacy. (Note for those who don’t know: that legacy also includes me personally, since I’ve had around 5,000 hours of intellectual discussions with DD in which he played a huge role in shaping my thinking.)

I believe Bruce and Dennis already know most of the facts above, though perhaps not. They never participated in the community much before splintering off. Bruce first posted in the community in July 2018 and Dennis in Dec 2018, and they each stopped participating after several months.

Do Bruce, Dennis and others regard splitting up a small community as a positive thing!? I don’t know. So far, they don’t communicate or explain. Guys, what’s the problem and what’s going on?

There now seem to be a bunch of blog posts, videos and podcasts which aren’t being shared to the main community. This hinders our ability to learn from each other, share ideas, and share criticism.

I asked both Bruce and Dennis if I could join their discussion group. They didn’t reply at all. I tried joining the Discord but was banned with zero explanation.

Just in case anyone doesn’t know or would assume otherwise: Bruce and Dennis never got in trouble on FI. They never even got warnings for anything. They just stopped sending posts. They did later get included on Alan’s list of people who had stopped responding to FI discussions and arguments without a rational conclusion to the discussion, but of course they’re welcome to change that situation.

FI is a free speech platform which is open to the public. The usual reason for splinter communities is that people were having their content blocked or being banned, but that didn’t happen.

What would it take to fix whatever this is? They’ve made no demands, stated no grievances, suggested no changes to FI, etc.

Hopefully this is a misunderstanding or they didn’t realize there was an issue. I invite them to explain themselves and engage in rational problem solving now.


For people new here: FYI I've been writing about CR and David Deutsch stuff (like Taking Children Seriously) since 2002. Find my stuff here. The community also includes people like Alan Forrester, a physicist who knows Deutsch and ran the Fabric of Reality discussion group for over 10 years, and who blogs CR stuff. I'd also suggest this Overview of Fallible Ideas Philosophy video.


Update, Feb 3, 2020: The Four Strands leadership has not responded. I didn't misunderstand. They don't want to even try problem solving. This is unsurprising because if they had some interest in problem solving they could have tried it in the past, but they never did, so why start now?


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (39)

Popper Ignores Hamilton

Karl Popper wrote, in The World of Parmenides, (in Back To The Presocratics, from 1958 but edited again in 1989):

Here are the five fragments (DK B16 and 15; 18; 35; and 34) from Xenophanes’ writings.

The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black
While the Thracians say that theirs have blue eyes and red hair.
Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw
And could sculpture like men, then the horses would draw their gods
Like horses, and cattle like cattle, and each would then shape
Bodies of gods in the likeness, each kind, of its own.
The gods did not reveal, from the beginning,
All things to us; but in the course of time,
Through seeking we may learn, and know things better …

Popper is making a point about epistemology. I cut it off after the part relevant to my tangential comment.

Xenophanes may have be wrong about how other cultures thought about their Gods – which would, ironically, mean that he assumed others were more like himself than they really were. Popper should have known about and addressed this issue because it's part of the published literature:

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, by Edith Hamilton, 1942:

The Greeks, unlike the Egyptians, made their gods in their own image. Why it happened, or when, we have no idea at all. We know only that in the earliest Greek poets a new point of view dawned, never dreamed of in the world before them, but never to leave the world after them. With the coming forward of Greece, mankind became the center of the universe, the most important thing in it. This was a revolution in thought. Human beings had counted for little heretofore. In Greece man first realized what mankind was.

The Greeks made their gods in their own image. That had not entered the mind of man before. Until then, gods had had no semblance of reality. They were unlike all living things. In Egypt, a towering colossus, immobile, beyond the power of the imagination to endow with movement, as fixed in the stone as the tremendous temple columns, a representation of the human shape deliberately made unhuman. Or a rigid figure, a woman with a cat’s head suggesting inflexible, inhuman cruelty. Or a monstrous mysterious sphinx, aloof from all that lives. In Mesopotamia, bas-reliefs of bestial shapes unlike any beast ever known, men with birds’ heads and lions with bulls’ heads and both with eagles’ wings, creations of artists who were intent upon producing something never seen except in their own minds, the very consummation of unreality.

These and their like were what the pre-Greek world worshiped. One need only place beside them in imagination any Greek statue of a god, so normal and natural with all its beauty, to perceive what a new idea had come into the world. With its coming, the universe became rational.

Hamilton may be mistaken, but if so it's something Popper should have addressed. He reads like he's ignorant of the issue.

Wikipedia provides an indication of whether Popper should have known about this idea:

Edith Hamilton (August 12, 1867 – May 31, 1963) was an American educator and internationally known[2] author who was one of the most renowned classicists of her era in the United States.[3]

She got awards in Greece. I independently found her twice. First, other classicists mention her and I've read some books related to Greece. In particular I liked Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization by Bruce Thornton. The title is a reference to Hamilton's book The Greek Way (1930) which had the same theme: that the Greeks are our intellectual ancestors. Thornton's introduction discusses Hamilton and her importance and reputation, and the sources of some current opposition to her ideas in academia: postmodernism and multiculturalism (which are anti-Western ideas that also oppose Popper's thinking and values).

Second, I found Hamilton's Mythology book, quoted above, by searching for the best books to read on Greek mythology (which is the main focus of that book despite the generic title). It was highly recommended in several places.

Popper was an extremely hard and dilligent worker, and extremely well read – or so the reports say from various people who knew him. I would certainly have expected him to be familiar with Greek mythology and culture, not only Greek philosophers (I'd still guess that he was). It provides important context. Popper put so much effort into classics that he learned Greek to do it better. How, then, did Popper miss this? I'm no expert on Greece and I found it.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (3)

Discussion with "Critical Rationalist"

From Discord.

Critical Rationalist:

I’m new to this app. Someone recommended that I come here. I am pursuing an masters degree in philosophy. My undergraduate degree was in psychology (concentration in applied theory and research). I would count myself as a Neo-Popperian (which should be unsurprising given my username). I look forward to tuning into the conversations you guys have.

curi:

What’s a Neo-Popperian?

Critical Rationalist:

Neo just means new or modified. It’s a shorthand way of saying “Popperian with some caveats”

Critical Rationalist:

Karl Popper influenced my epistemology more than any thinker, but I don’t think he was right about everything

curi:

What was he wrong about?

Critical Rationalist:

I think that the demarcation problem (insofar as it is a problem at all) is not best solved by a single criterion. Insofar as there is a correct definition of a term (like “science”), it’s definition will be cashed out in terms of family resemblance.

Critical Rationalist:

That’s probably my biggest disagreement with Popper. In Popperian fashion, I welcome criticism.

Critical Rationalist:

(I’m also happy to explain what I said with concrete examples)

Freeze:

What do you think of Popper's political philosophy?

JustinCEO:

@Critical Rationalist what do you think of Popper's critical preference idea

Critical Rationalist:

@JustinCEO @Freeze Very much on board with both his political philosophy and critical preference

curi:

Hi. Have you seen much of my stuff? I’m an Objectivist.

Critical Rationalist:

No, I haven’t

Critical Rationalist:

Do you have a blog or something?

Critical Rationalist:

(I know what objectivism is though)

curi:

Popper didn’t learn econ or give counter arguments but disagreed with free market minimal govt

curi:

How’d you find this server?

Critical Rationalist:

Someone recommended it to me

Critical Rationalist:

I met them at a party actually

curi:

https://elliottemple.com

curi:

Have you read Deutsch?

Critical Rationalist:

I see that you’ve talked with David Deutsch!

Critical Rationalist:

Yes! I love Deutsch.

Critical Rationalist:

He has never made explicit his ethical commitments, other than the fact that he is a) a realist, and b) not a utilitarian.

Critical Rationalist:

(Not in what I’ve read)

curi:

DD was an Ayn Rand fan and libertarian. He favors capitalism, individualism, minimal govt or anarchism. I got those ideas from him and his discussion community (which this is a continuation of, we had IRC back then) initially.

Critical Rationalist:

Well, no one is perfect.

curi:

What do you mean?

Critical Rationalist:

Sorry, that was a bad attempt at humour.

Misconceptions:

imagine this scenario. a bunch of kids are playing. 1 kid is mean to the others. so the other kids get away from him. the alone kid cries because he's now alone and he wants to play with the rest of the kids. the parent hears the crying of the alone kid and he learns about what happened. he doesn't hear about the part where that kid was being mean though. and the parent decides that the other kids have to include the alone kid. is this utilitarian ethics in action?

Critical Rationalist:

I have immense respect for DD. He was my introduction to Popperian thought. But I am not a Randian.

curi:

Is there a written criticism you think is good?

Critical Rationalist:

Of Randianism?

Critical Rationalist:

None that I’ve read

Misconceptions:

That action is not optimific. It leads to lower overall happiness, kid getting further bullied, and other kids not enjoying this company. Not utilitarian

curi:

of Objectivism. the term "Randianism" is disrespectful FYI.

Critical Rationalist:

Sorry I knew the term objectivism, but was unaware that Randianism was viewed as a pejorative

curi:

np

Misconceptions:

What is wrong with Randian? is Popperian bad too?

curi:

Rand didn't want her name used that way

curi:

Is there something you think would change my mind if I read it?

Critical Rationalist:

I’ve never read any criticism of Rand

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll go further

curi:

why disagree then?

Critical Rationalist:

I actually think egoism (a family of ethical theories of which objectivism is a species) is perfectly defensible

Critical Rationalist:

I think that actions which maximize your own welfare can be called genuinely good.

Critical Rationalist:

Actions which maximize the welfare of others (even when they conflict with your own) can also be called genuinely good

Critical Rationalist:

How do you decide between the two axioms when they conflict (egoism and utilitarianism)? Henry Sidgwick says that although they agree in most cases, there is no rational standard for deciding between them when they conflict.

Misconceptions:

Is your claim that one must not disagree with theories until one has criticism of it? @curi

curi:

Why else would one disagree?

Misconceptions:

There are infinite many theories, you agree with all of them?

curi:

no

Misconceptions:

Henry Sidgwick says

Why should we care what he says?

Critical Rationalist:

We shouldn’t

Misconceptions:

so why bring it up?

Critical Rationalist:

I’m giving credit to where I got this idea from.

curi:

Is there a conflict you have in mind?

Critical Rationalist:

Do I give money to life-saving charities. That’s one salient example.

curi:

Like cancer research?

curi:

Or like handing out fresh water in africa? or what?

Critical Rationalist:

Like the latter. The case I have in mind is the Against Malaria Foundation. They make bednets that save lives inexpensively.

Misconceptions:

@Critical Rationalist btw there's multiple Utilitarianism versions. Not all are about GHP.

Critical Rationalist:

Yes. Eg preference satisfaction

Critical Rationalist:

I’m defending the version that is a) most well known and b) the one I agree with

curi:

I think Africa's problems are political and that kind of charity is like pouring water into a leaky bucket. The real issues here are more about tyranny, which isn't a conflict between individual or group benefit, it's bad in both ways.

Misconceptions:

You'd think with that name you'd agree with Popper's version of utilitarianism.

curi:

@Misconceptions hi, how'd you find this server?

Critical Rationalist:

I’m not a sycophant. I agree with theorists when their arguments work. I think Popper got some things wrong. Any fallibilist should expect their heroes to get some things wrong.

Misconceptions:

Did I accuse you of being a sycophant?

Critical Rationalist:

Fair enough. My use of the term was not needed.

Critical Rationalist:

I just wanted to clarify that I am not a Popper devotee or something.

Misconceptions:

Hi, @curi Reddit.

curi:

where on reddit?

curi:

Popper made comments advocating TV censorship and a 51% share of all public companies being owned by the government. I think some of his beliefs contradict others so you couldn't agree with him about everything even if you wanted to.

Misconceptions:

Your post against Ollie's ANTIFA vid.

curi:

ah cool. which subreddit was it posted to? i didn't see.

GISTE:

@Critical Rationalist this line of discussion is still pending: curi said: "I think Africa's problems are political and that kind of charity is like pouring water into a leaky bucket. The real issues here are more about tyranny, which isn't a conflict between individual or group benefit, it's bad in both ways."

Misconceptions:

You didn't post it?

Critical Rationalist:

Oh sorry I was typing and forgot to finish

curi:

i don't recall posting it but possibly i did in the past.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi Yes that’s an interesting factual claim. It might turn out that giving to charities in Africa are on the whole counterproductive. But suppose it factually turned out to be the case that on balance, donating to African charities contributed more to their welfare and did NOT detract from their political progress. Philosophically, what would you say then?

curi:

i think you could help more people, a larger amount, by addressing the political problems, rather than donating to the victims who are being victimized on an ongoing basis (which is why they're so poor). and i think that can be done with mutual benefit – more civilized, productive countries to trade with.

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, and you could be right about that factual claim.

Misconceptions:

Dancing around the question tho

Critical Rationalist:

Do you think there are no cases in which self-interest and benefiting others come apart? It would be a miracle if that was true.

curi:

i don't think conflicts of interest exist in any cases. so if you want me to replace this hypothetical with a different one where i agree there's a conflict, i can't do it.

curi:

this is a standard (classical) liberal position which is also held by Objectivism

curi:

my comments re replacing were addressing to @Misconceptions comment about dancing.

Critical Rationalist:

I’m in a lab that is burning down. I’m dying of a disease x (I’m the only person who has it), and millions of people are dying from disease y. The lab has one room with the cure for disease x (last of its kind). The lab has another room with has the cure for disease y. I only have time to go into one room before the building burns down. Which room should I enter?

Misconceptions:

The point I think the KritRAT was making was that Donating your money in this hypothetical scenario does not further your selfish interests but it does help others. What do?

curi:

i also don't think it's necessarily sacrificial to donate to benefit others. if you value life and want to promote life, and combat mosquitos, i don't see anything wrong with that. i think it's a variety of shaping the world more to your liking.

GISTE:

hmm, i thought Misconceptions was talking to Critical Rationalist when he said the dancing comment

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, so what about the case I just described?

Misconceptions:

That sounds like a rejection of egoism. Value life = value other's lives.

curi:

the lab scenario is an emergency situation which is generally a bad way to understand how to live a good life in general in normal situations. i don't have strong opinions about it. i think an egoist can pick either room. you have to choose values to pursue in life. saving millions of people is a good accomplishment for a whole career. one can be happy with that.

Misconceptions:

That sounds like another tango my friend.

Critical Rationalist:

If you define egoism so broadly so as to include living in accordance with the values you hold, then it becomes empty. Choosing literally any set of values and acting upon them would count as egoistic so long as you hold the values.

Misconceptions:

I am curious about your real answer regarding the lab situation too mr @curi

Critical Rationalist:

By empty, I mean it is not an alternative to other ethical systems. It doesn’t add new content or help you decide in moral dilemmas.

curi:

i don't accept all values, but i do accept valuing human life – it's a wonderful thing.

Critical Rationalist:

It’s not clear to me then in what sense you’re an egoist

curi:

i'm describing Rand's position

Misconceptions:

ok what door would Rand take?

Critical Rationalist:

If I’m not mistaken, Rand thought that altruism was unethical

curi:

yes, as do i

Critical Rationalist:

At least, altruism for its own sake

Misconceptions:

So Rand and curi would take the self cure.

curi:

no

curi:

have you read Atlas Shrugged?

Critical Rationalist:

If the other cure is not altruistic, then nothing is

Misconceptions:

The Plot Thickens

Misconceptions:

my reading of AS is irrelevant to whether you would take x or y door my good man.

curi:

AS contains a relevant scene

Critical Rationalist:

What counts as altruistic according to you curi?

curi:

i guess you guys would consider John Galt an altruist

Critical Rationalist:

I haven’t read as, but I’m curious about your take on this dilemma

Misconceptions:

well it seems that if you do not take the self cure, you're sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others

Critical Rationalist:

Literally

Misconceptions:

and you said you would not take the self cure

curi:

if you want to understand the Objectivist way of thinking, this is a bad place to start.

Critical Rationalist:

Curi, you said self interest and benefiting others NEVER conflict

Critical Rationalist:

And I used this to show why that claim is false

Critical Rationalist:

It is very easy to imagine scenarios where they come apart

curi:

do you agree that i'm right about all non-emergency scenarios? we should start with easier cases before harder ones.

curi:

then you will see the main ideas of the theory.

Critical Rationalist:

There probably are cases in the real world where they come apart, but that’s an empirical question not a philosophical question

curi:

and learn something about how to apply them.

Misconceptions:

To be clear, you would not take the self cure right?

Misconceptions:

your position regarding where to start has been noted

curi:

so for example, a common alleged counter-example is two men apply for the same job, and there's just one spot. do you think that's a conflict of interest?

Misconceptions:

I'd like to conclude the lab scenario

Misconceptions:

before we move on

Critical Rationalist:

Curi, I think it is a sign of philosophical skill to be able to apply your philosophy to fresh moral dilemmas, not just to dilemmas that you have practiced dealing with

Misconceptions:

I agree my critical rodent friend.

curi:

i did give you an answer, but if you want to learn about Objectivism you're taking the wrong approach.

Critical Rationalist:

It’s unclear to me how your answer is consistent with egoism

Misconceptions:

curi how is sacrificing yourself to save the lives of others not altruism?

Critical Rationalist:

I think the egoistic answer has to be self cure

curi:

right, so let's talk about how this works in general before trying to apply it to an edge case.

Critical Rationalist:

Or else it is not egoism except in a trivial sense

Critical Rationalist:

Sure, give your explanation of the General case

curi:

so for example, a common alleged counter-example is two men apply for the same job, and there's just one spot. do you think that's a conflict of interest?

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll grant that there isn’t

curi:

why isn't there?

Misconceptions:

I would not have abandoned your lab scenario to a previously practice scenario so easily

Critical Rationalist:

I could concoct different explanations. eg I would rather live in a society where employers evaluate on merits

Critical Rationalist:

I agree, it is easier to give an account of why self interest and benefiting others converge in those cases

Critical Rationalist:

Misconceptions: I try to be charitable

Misconceptions:

Charity is evil!

Critical Rationalist:

I don’t play debate games, I’m interested in what the other person thinks

Misconceptions:

Get you some bootstraps

Critical Rationalist:

Especially someone who knows David Deutsch personally (that’s very cool byw)

Critical Rationalist:

*btw

curi:

yes, employers evaluating on merits is important. many benefits. and part of the mindset here is wanting good general policies rather than insisting on short term personal benefit in the immediate situation, regardless of overall consequences. right?

curi:

in the lab scenario, i don't see a clear principle (like evaluating job candidates on merit) that would be violated by either choice. yeah dying sucks but we don't have immortality yet anyway and it's a major accomplishment to pursue and helps shape reality more to my (non-arbitrary, i claim) preferences. on the other hand, nothing was specified in the example about me having any obligation to those people. like it isn't my job to save their cure. i don't have a contract making this part of my job duties. i don't know why all these people have allowed their lives to be dependent on this one lab without any backup copies of the info, but it seems unreasonable.

Critical Rationalist:

You say that your preferences for human life are non-arbitrary. Say a bit more about why they are non-arbitrary

curi:

i think promoting and contributing to a beginning of infinity and the growth of knowledge is good. also e.g. i value the kind of society which allows men to live peacefully, cooperate voluntarily, and control nature. is that enough or did you want a different type of info?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes that’s exactly what I want

Critical Rationalist:

Very good. So, you think all of those ends are good and worth pursuing. Furthermore, you think there are good and worth pursuing in a case when they conflict with self-interest. That’s not a problem! I just don’t think you’re really an egoist (but I don’t care much about the terms). You think it is empirically the case that in most cases self-interest and benefiting others converge on the same answer, but in the case where they don’t, you go for benefitting others

curi:

i didn't say what room i'd pick. and i think by your standards Rand isn't an egoist either. John Galt said he'd kill himself if they threatened Dagny's life (to pressure and control him). he didn't put his own life first no matter what.

Critical Rationalist:

Interesting.

Critical Rationalist:

So yes I don’t care what term we use. Rand would (according to that) not be an egoist in the traditional sense.

Critical Rationalist:

The fact that it is even a question for you problematizes your self-description as an egoist. Maybe you should define egoism

Critical Rationalist:

Ben

Critical Rationalist:

Brb

curi:

I guess you'd also think an egoist in the military must betray his country and comrades if he gets into a very dangerous situation where he thinks that'll (significantly? or even 1%?) improve his odds of personally living?

curi:

whereas i think you can sign up for the military. it's risky but it's an option. and if you do, you should follow general policies like your contract with your employer and your duties to your fellow soldiers to follow military strategy instead of getting them killed. If you don't want to risk your life, don't sign up. but if you do sign up and follow the basic rules you agreed to, it's possible to succeed and have a good life. it's not hopeless. it's a way to make a try for it. so it's ok if you don't have a better option.

GISTE:

i don't recall curi calling himself an egoist

curi:

Egoism is a term used by Objectivism. I consider it an overly fancy word but it's OK. The basic point is the self is very important and valuable, and pursuing self-interest is good. But the point is not to maximize years of life regardless of all other considerations like quality of life and the state of the world.

curi:

If that was the meaning, an egoist would have to get all his groceries delivered to reduce the risk of dying in a car accident.

curi:

I don't know anyone who advocates that. Certainly not Rand.

curi:

Egoism means e.g. that it's not my duty to sacrifice my preferences or values to other people's preferences or values. I should reject that. But it doesn't mean rejecting all values broader than my continued physical existence. An egoist is allowed to care about e.g. colonizing the stars and spend money towards that goal even if he doesn't expect to see it, and even though not spending that money on medical care lowers his life expectancy a little.

curi:

An egoist also may value his model trains above additional medical care.

GISTE:

so traditional egoism is nonsense like how the traditional selfishness concept is nonsense?

curi:

@GISTE take a look at info like https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/ and see if you can find it saying to maximize life expectancy over all other values

Critical Rationalist:

@curi thank you for the replies

Critical Rationalist:

I really should go to bed now, but I definitely have more to say

Critical Rationalist:

@curi I read through your comments again. If egoism (for you and Rand) only means that pursuing self-interest is good and worth doing, I’ll accept your definition

curi:

Did someone link squirrels yet?

Critical Rationalist:

But someone could still say “I value what’s in the Bible and want to follow it”

Critical Rationalist:

Egoism (in this broad sense) has nothing to say to such a person

JustinCEO:

http://curi.us/1169-morality

Critical Rationalist:

Was the Carlo Elliot dialogue a response to me?

JustinCEO:

It's squirrel thing curi mentioned, and is relevant to morality discussion

curi:

It’s DD and my view rejecting moral foundationalism. Mostly afk.

Critical Rationalist:

Conveniently for y’all I’m not a moral foundationalist

Critical Rationalist:

Does anyone have thoughts on Popper’s solution to the problem of induction? I think it is very compelling. His approach is to accept Hume’s conclusion that it is invalid to draw conclusions about the likelihood of events in the future based on observations of the past. He says that we instead have various competing theories which are criticized and (when applicable) tested. The theories which best survive our attempts at refutation, we tentatively accept (for the time being).

JustinCEO:

I dont think I really got crit of drawing conclusions on past data until someone explained that the reason we expect sun to rise is not cus we've seen it rise a bunch of times but because we have an explanatory model of sunrises. Change the model or some variables in it (cuz eg sun expanding in later stages of being a star or whatever) and your expectation of what will happen changes

Critical Rationalist:

Yes exactly

Critical Rationalist:

The model is what is held up to empirical tests and tentatively accepted in the absence of disconfirmarion.

curi:

re egosim, Objectivism is a system. i'm not very interested in terminology, but the overall ideas about how to think about morality, what sort of values are good and bad, what sorts of methods of achieving values are effective and ineffective, etc. when you look at the whole picture here, you find substantial disagreements with most people. the exact nature or starting point of those disagreements is hard to discover because most people don't organize their moral thinking much and don't want to go through the issues point by point (and if they do that, it often changes their view, which complicates finding out what they thought before).

curi:

re solution to induction, i think it's important to talk about how conjectures and refutations is an evolutionary process and evolution is the only known reasonable theory of how new knowledge is created. induction never actually offered a rival theory to evolution. also, although I think Popper's idea is good, and adequate to solve the problem of induction narrowly, i think it's missing some things. specifically the idea of best surviving attempts at refutation is vague and leaves people using a lot of intuition to fill in the gaps.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi I’m not interested in terms either, so that’s a fair response. Does objectivism give us a standard by which to decide between values that people hold? For example, if I (as a utilitarian) value maximizes happiness (everyone’s counts equally), does objectivism have anything to say to me? If so, what?

curi:

yes Objectivism has a lot to say about what values to hold. as does BoI, btw: don't hold values incompatible with error correction, don't hold values incompatible with unbounded progress.

Critical Rationalist:

Well... that sounds more Popperian than objectivist

curi:

i think you misread

Critical Rationalist:

But ok, I’m a utilitarian. I believe in error correction and unbounded progress.

Freeze:

i think objectivism might say don't hold values that sacrifice your preferences for others '

Freeze:

because they are counterproductive

Critical Rationalist:

Well, as a utilitarian I sacrifice my happiness for others, but since I want to do that, I suppose in a certain sense I’m not sacrificing my preferences.

Critical Rationalist:

Utilitarianism (and many other ethical systems) seem compatible with @curi’s standards

Freeze:

Jordan

jordancurve:

@Critical Rationalist Any comment as to your alleged misreading of curi's comment on values?

Critical Rationalist:

Where was that alleged?

jordancurve:

https://discordapp.com/channels/304082867384745994/304082867384745994/662830621898571806

Critical Rationalist:

sorry there’s a lot to keep track of

curi:

i'm going to be mostly AFK soon FYI

Critical Rationalist:

Ok sure, I’ll grant that.

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll grant his standards are objectivist

Critical Rationalist:

I maintain that they are compatible with many (maybe most) ethical theories

curi:

my 2 examples were from BoI not Oism

Freeze:

yeah

curi:

they are Oism-compatible though.

Critical Rationalist:

Right that’s what I thought

Critical Rationalist:

Boi=Deutsch

Critical Rationalist:

Anyways, breaks over

jordancurve:

@Critical Rationalist If that's what you thought, then why did you write "that sounds more Popperian than objectivist"?

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll see y’all later

Critical Rationalist:

I count Deutsch as a Popperian (as would he)

Freeze:

i think the misreading allegation had to do with you expecting them to be more oist when curi said them after the BoI part. were you more asking for objectivist values that aren't Popperian or Deutschian?

Critical Rationalist:

But yes Deutschian would have been more accurate

curi:

Oism says the way for individuals or society to get ahead is by the pursuit of individual self-interest in peaceful ways. this is how to help others. trying more directly to help others is broadly (not alway) counter productive and people shouldn't be guilted into it or told it's a moral ideal.

Freeze:

my disagreement isn't about your use of Popperian over Deutschian

jordancurve:

@Critical Rationalist curi said, paraphrased: Boi suggests these values. You replied, "that sounds more Popperian than objectivist". That still looks like a non-sequitur to me, most likely due to a misreading.

curi:

Oism rejects ideas like that the profit motive, or greed, are inherently anti-social or bad for anyone, and rejects the seeing the purpose of my life as being to help others instead of to help myself.

JustinCEO:

re: moral ideal, i think someone said earlier (mb @Critical Rationalist ? i'm not sure, correct me if wrong) that the strong form of altruism was rare. but even holding altruism as a moral ideal has a big effect on ppl's thinking

curi:

Oism broadly thinks each person should look out for himself and a few people who play a substantial, valuable role in his life (family, close friends), and take personal responsibility for getting good outcomes for himself, and people should cooperate especially via the economic division of labor and specialization, and also in other voluntary ways (like friendship) when they want to. this is not how most people see life.

JustinCEO:

even if ppl don't actually practice altruism consistently, it still has a (bad) effect on the world

curi:

Oism says e.g. that Bill Gates did more good for the world as microsoft founder/CEO than with his charity efforts afterwards.

Augustine:

Why is that?

curi:

when you trade for mutual benefit, it's hard to screw that up. both sides think they are benefitting. they can make mistakes but it's a good thing similar to solo actions that you think benefit you. and with business you have tools like profit and loss to help you judge what's effective and efficient. when you do charity you lose those mechanisms to help you get good outcomes. it's hard to know what's a good use of resources. it's hard to measure. the recipients can say "sure this is good for me" but it's hard to tell how good it is for them and compare it to alternative uses of resources. the free market system compares resource uses to alternatives and does optimization there.

curi:

and competition between charities for fundraising dollars are a different sort of thing (more marketing based for example) than competition by companies for customers.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi given your description of oism, I think it is an empirical claim not a philosophical one. It might be true (and likely is to a large extent) that self-interest produces more benefit than being altruistic. But that’s a claim for economists and sociologists to confirm or disconfirm.

Critical Rationalist:

I have to go again, but that would be my initial reaction

curi:

Economics is primarily a matter of logic and math, not empirical

Critical Rationalist:

There is behavioral economics, which is more empirical

curi:

That isn’t where Oism gets these ideas

Critical Rationalist:

To the extent that economics is insufficiently empirical, I would just amend my comment to say “it is for better economics to corroborate or disconfirm”

Freeze:

DD:

The whole concept of bias is a misconception. So-called 'biases' are just errors. Thinking is error correction—which biases are not immune to.

Hence patterns of errors in the outcomes of thinking are not explained by biases but by whatever is sabotaging error correction.

Freeze:

I also thought of behavioural economics when you mentioned sociology alongside economists

Freeze:

but I've been questioning that stuff lately

Freeze:

a lot of it seems based on ideas that contradict CR epistemology

Freeze:

in terms of knowledge and how it's created and the role ideas play in minds

Critical Rationalist:

Have to go again unfortunately. I’ll try to return tomorrow

curi:

Bye CR

Critical Rationalist:

@GISTE “do you agree with these 2 interpretations of your view? (1) a headache has inherent negative value and that it's automatically bad. (2) if i have a headache, and choose to not immediately take pain meds because i prefer to continue philosophy discussion for a few more minutes before taking pain meds, that is a sacrifice.”

Critical Rationalist:

Is this a true story?

Critical Rationalist:

But yes that is a sacrifice. If the pleasure derived from philosophy discussion outweighs the headache, then it would be prudent to make the sacrifice

curi:

Do you think all purchases are sacrifices because you give up money?

Critical Rationalist:

In a trivial sense, sure

Critical Rationalist:

But they are worthwhile sacrifices (sometimes)

curi:

In the same sense as what you just said re headache?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes exactly

Critical Rationalist:

Though the pleasure created could be in others or long term

curi:

I think it’s an error to view all action as sacrifice just because some hypothetical other scenario would be superior.

Critical Rationalist:

No I’m not using sacrifice in that sense

Critical Rationalist:

I would say sacrifice is giving up some good for an end

Critical Rationalist:

The end could be such that it makes the sacrifice worth it, or not

GISTE:

Is that ends justifies the means logic ?

Critical Rationalist:

Absolutely

curi:

All action involves giving up alternatives

Critical Rationalist:

What else could justify the means?

Critical Rationalist:

In other words, I don’t see how one can show that some means are bad unless they have tend to have bad consequences

Critical Rationalist:

People sometimes say “ends justify the means” to defend lying, violence etc

Critical Rationalist:

But those “means” are bad precisely because they have bad consequences

curi:

Busy soon btw.

Critical Rationalist:

No worries

curi:

Not caught up much but:

There are two different ways an idea can be empirical.

1) The idea was inspired by evidence. We used evidence to help develop the idea.

2) The idea makes claims about observable facts, so we could use evidence to test the idea.

The main ideas of economics, as I view it, are neither 1 nor 2. They are about logical and mathematical analysis of abstract, hypothetical situations. The starting point of economics isn't seeing what sort of economies worked well in the past and trying to optimize that. It's theoretical analysis of certain ideas and principles.

Economics is very hard to test because we can't do controlled experiments for most issues. Even if we could test, it's often not the best approach, as DD pointed out: https://curi.us/1504-the-most-important-improvement-to-popperian-philosophy-of-science

Some people try to make economics more empirical. For example, if they want to know about minimum wage, they look at cities, states or countries which created or changed a minimum wage and then look at the results (and sometimes they can find two similar places, and one creates a minimum wage, and one doesn't, and do a comparison). I reject this sort of empirical approach to economics in general. Not 100% useless but generally not much use.

If you want to understand minimum wage, you should consider concepts like supply and demand, and do mathematical calculations to see what they mean in some simplified scenarios.

And when rival economists disagree, the way to resolve this isn't by getting more data. A better approach is to figure out what's different about each of their systems and look for logical errors.

curi:

Applying economics to real world scenarios has various difficulties but can be done to a reasonable approximation. With minimum wage, after figuring out its consequences in a simple scenario, we can play with that scenario. Start adding extra complications and see what changes. E.g. increase or decrease the ratio of workers to employers and see if minimum wage has different results. Or you could add part time workers to your model, or add a simplified stock market, or whatever you think is relevant. That lets you learn about the connections between minimum wage and the other stuff you model.

You can also see how it's a form of price control and follows the general logic of price controls (price maximums causes shortages when low enough to matter; price minimums cause surplusses when high enough to matter – minimum wage causes a surplus of labor (unemployment) by preventing the price of labor from reaching the market clearing price). You can also understand why that is based on simple principles. The principles are things like what a trade is, what the division of labor is, what supply and demand are, what a buyer and a seller are, etc.

For complex real situations, we can see them as similar to an abstract concept – an inexact but pretty good fit – except for e.g. 8 extra factors that we identified as potentially important differences. Then we can consider the effects of each of the factors. And then we can often make some empirical predictions. But if we're wrong, while it can be an error in our economic logic, it's often an error somewhere else, like there was another factor in the real situation, which is important to the result, but which we didn't take into account.

curi:

same issue with Objectivist morality and self-interest. we get conclusions like that by thinking more like this https://elliottemple.com/essays/liberalism rather than by empirical observation.

curi:

8:16 AM] Critical Rationalist: If you all believe so much in the power (and easyness) of rational criticism, I would like to see someone defend @curi’s and @Freeze’s original claims which lead to this.

which claims by me?

GISTE:

@curi, maybe cr was talking about this https://discordapp.com/channels/304082867384745994/304082867384745994/663051081818963991

curi:

I just think as a practice it should be less common. I want @curi to rule out the following claim with philosophy: “everyone would be better off if they were altruistic”.

that claim is too vague to begin criticism.

curi:

it's ambiguous between: each individual would be better off if he did it himself, or everyone as a group would be better off if everyone did it

curi:

it doesn't specify what is and isn't altruistic behavior

curi:

and it doesn't specify what better off means

curi:

also i would expect to use economics in my response and i don't know which economics is accepted or denied.

curi:

like are we accepting the benefits of private property, division of labor, capitalism and trade? or not? if not, what is claimed instead?

curi:

which of the claims about those are errors and why?

curi:

if we accept that stuff, how does altruism interact with it? like are some trades altruistic? which ones?

curi:

@Critical Rationalist

curi:

also if i missed some major point to respond to, let me know, cuz i'm not gonna be reading everything. (this applies to everyone). if you really want my attention you can use curi or FI forums btw. i encourage ppl to do that but some seem to prefer discord without much explanation of why. http://fallibleideas.com/discussion

Critical Rationalist:

@curi

“1) The idea was inspired by evidence. We used evidence to help develop the idea.
2) The idea makes claims about observable facts, so we could use evidence to test the idea.
The main ideas of economics, as I view it, are neither 1 nor 2. They are about logical and mathematical analysis of abstract, hypothetical situations.”

Yes, but those logical models depend on assumptions about the world that are 2. The claim that humans are best approximated as rational self-interested utility maximizers is a claim economists could be wrong about. We might not have evolved to be like that. To the extent that that assumption (the rationality assumption) is violated, economic models will be less than perfect. Surely the point of economic models is to predict real economic behavior. Economic models are not toys for smart people to play with.

Critical Rationalist:

“Some people try to make economics more empirical. For example, if they want to know about minimum wage, they look at cities, states or countries which created or changed a minimum wage and then look at the results (and sometimes they can find two similar places, and one creates a minimum wage, and one doesn't, and do a comparison). I reject this sort of empirical approach to economics in general. Not 100% useless but generally not much use.”

Our disagreement might run deeper than I thought, because that is exactly the sort of economics I’m in favour of. I’m also in favour of abstract mathematical modeling, but if the modeling does not approximate real world exchange of goods, then it is useless. It is, as I said, a toy for smart people to play with. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Critical Rationalist:

“If you want to understand minimum wage, you should consider concepts like supply and demand, and do mathematical calculations to see what they mean in some simplified scenarios.”
There is nothing wrong with those concepts, but those mathematical calculations include empirical assumptions about human nature that could be false. If we evolved to NOT be rational self-interested utility maximizers, the equations will just be false (or at least, imperfect approximations).

“And when rival economists disagree, the way to resolve this isn't by getting more data. A better approach is to figure out what's different about each of their systems and look for logical errors.”
Or look for empirical assumptions that are false. Which of the following claims do you disagree with:
1. The goal of economics is to describe and predict actual economic interactions
2. Actual economic interactions are affected by human nature
3. Economic models make assumptions about human nature
4. Those assumptions could be false for accidental reasons about how we happened to evolve

“that claim (that a world of altruists would be better) is too vague to begin criticism.
it's ambiguous between: each individual would be better off if he did it himself, or everyone as a group would be better off if everyone did it”

You as an objectivist believe that it is the case that a world wherein people were altruistic would be a worse world. What did you have in mind when you asserted that? Tell me what you mean by altruistic, and we will select people who fit the description. No matter what description you give, it quickly becomes an empirical question whether people who fit that description interact better and produce more wealth.

curi:

Semi afk. Didn’t read @Critical Rationalist messages yet but I’m thinking we should narrow down the discussion and pick a specific point to focus on and try to reach agreement about. Make sense to you? Topic suggestion?

Critical Rationalist:

@curi I agree

Critical Rationalist:

I just had left a lot that I hadn’t responded to from 3 people so I just did a volley

Critical Rationalist:

If I had to narrow down what I see as my main disagreement with you, it would be this: the exact form that human nature has taken is a contingent fact of evolution. We are a certain way, and we could have easily been different if evolution had gone differently. Given that, we cannot know a priori what human nature is like (contingent facts have to be discovered through empirical testing). Your claims about which ethical systems will produce more wealth or welfare depend on assumptions about human nature. Therefore (given that assumptions about human nature cannot be know a priori, because they are contingent results of evolution), your claims about the effects of ethical systems cannot be known a priori.

Critical Rationalist:

Everything I said above would also apply to economic theories.

jordancurve:

@Critical Rationalist I don't know what you mean by "human nature". The closest meaningful term that comes to mind is "universal knowledge creator", but since you're familiar with Deutsch, I guess you would have used that instead if that's what you meant.

Critical Rationalist:

No. I mean things like how we respond to incentive structures, under what circumstances we will cooperate or not cooperate, what makes people respond tribalistically or not, whether people develop better under strict parenting or permissive parenting

Critical Rationalist:

Those are all relevant to what the impact of different ethical systems will be

jordancurve:

So... human nature = the way people think about various ideas in Western culture today?

jordancurve:

I don't think that's what you mean, but it's again my best guess at something coherent (to me) that roughly matches (maybe) what you're talking about.

Critical Rationalist:

What do you think I mean?

jordancurve:

idk, the closest match I have so far is "the way people think about various ideas in Western culture today"

Critical Rationalist:

If you think it’s incoherent, point out how

Critical Rationalist:

Did I mention or imply western culture?

jordancurve:

I don't undestand what you're talking about well enough to criticize it other than for being vague (to me)

Critical Rationalist:

I just listed some traits

jordancurve:

Does traits = ideas?

Critical Rationalist:

It is an open empirical question to what extent humans develop better under strict parenting, for example

Critical Rationalist:

Or... to what extent do we naturally feel empathy for suffering strangers

Critical Rationalist:

Some primates are fairly empathetic

Critical Rationalist:

Others are not

Critical Rationalist:

Which kind are we?

Critical Rationalist:

Open empirical question

Critical Rationalist:

I could give examples like this all day

Critical Rationalist:

And the answers to these questions really matter when we try to design societies

Critical Rationalist:

@curi these examples are relevant to our topic

curi:

i regard my main, important ideas about economics or parenting styles to apply to aliens too, not to be human-specific. do you disagree with that?

Critical Rationalist:

I stand by the idea that economic models can only be true to the extent that their assumptions about human nature are true (eg that humans or aliens are self-interested rational utility-maximizers). Whether or not those assumptions are true is an accidental fact of evolution. There is no law of nature that says humans or aliens must be a certain way. It depends what selection pressures we happened to face.

curi:

i think the relevant assumptions about human nature are very limited. e.g.: intelligence. made of matter. have preferences.

curi:

separate individuals

curi:

no magic

Critical Rationalist:

Well, even those are empirical claims (albeit ones that are so obvious that it is not worth challenging them)

curi:

i'm not saying 100% non-empirical

Critical Rationalist:

Good

curi:

tangentially i actually think the laws of logic, epistemology and computation are all due to the laws of physics, and so are technically empirical matteers.

Critical Rationalist:

Do you think the assumptions you listed are premises from which you can deduce logically (ie with no empirical social science data) that egoism works better than altruism in society?

Critical Rationalist:

And are you so confident in this deduction that no amount of empirical social science data could change your mind?

curi:

i probably left out a few premises and i use critical argument in general not strictly deduction, but basically yes.

Critical Rationalist:

Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to spell that out

curi:

big clashes with empirical data would result in me trying to figure out what's going on. lots of the sorts of studies people do today could not change my mind.

Critical Rationalist:

Explain to me the transition from those assumptions to egoism works better

curi:

or i should say, not with the sort of results they actually get. i guess if a minimum wage study found wages went up a trillion times in a city (after inflation adjustments) i'd start investigating wtf happened there.

Critical Rationalist:

Do you mean a trillion fold or a trillion times in a row?

curi:

fold

Critical Rationalist:

Your critical argument is so powerful that you need a trillionfold increase in wages to even consider that your argument is wrong?

curi:

that was an example not a minimum

Critical Rationalist:

What would the minimum be

Critical Rationalist:

Ballpark

Critical Rationalist:

Although frankly

Critical Rationalist:

To me

Critical Rationalist:

What matters more is not the size of the increase

curi:

varies heavily by context. just if something really unusual happened, which does not appear to be explainable by any of the typical factors, i'd be curious what caused it.

Critical Rationalist:

But the number of replications

Critical Rationalist:

If dozens of different natural experiments were done (ie neighbouring states or provinces with minimum wage increases) and all of them found a particular result, that would count more than one natural experiment with a huge effect size

curi:

if they all got 10% wage increases it'd mean nothing to me

curi:

but a trillion percent increase is very hard to explain by any explanations i already know of

Critical Rationalist:

But if it is just one natural experiment

Critical Rationalist:

It could be so many other factors

Critical Rationalist:

Replications are (rightly) much more impressive to social scientists than single studies with big effects

Critical Rationalist:

It is easy to get big effects by chance with a single study

curi:

you're speaking general rules of thumb. i'm not debating that.

Critical Rationalist:

It is much harder to get small effects that replicate really well (and btw, 10% wage increase is huge)

curi:

i understand what you're saying

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, I want you to spell out this critical argument

Critical Rationalist:

Because... you’re hypothetically willing to discount dozens of replicated natural experiments on the basis of this argument

Critical Rationalist:

It better be airtight

curi:

do you have an opinion of minimum wage laws? do you know much econ? is it a good topic to use? may afk any time btw

Critical Rationalist:

Well, I guess I originally had in mind the argument that egoism makes society better

curi:

my arguments re egoism involve econ, that isn't a separate topic

Critical Rationalist:

I figured they’d be related

Critical Rationalist:

Well, I would like to see it spelled out

Critical Rationalist:

I suspect I’ll be able to follow without a technical understanding of Econ

curi:

ok. just to know where to start, what is your current view on min wage?

curi:

yeah my econ arguments aren't especially technical

Critical Rationalist:

Oh I’m very open minded about this

Critical Rationalist:

There are some natural experiments of the sort I’m describing that indicate min wage increases employment

Critical Rationalist:

But they are few in number

Critical Rationalist:

I accept that the models generally predict the opposite

Critical Rationalist:

I’m not here to defend any particular view of economics

curi:

ok

Critical Rationalist:

I’m not even attacking the idea that egoism harms society

Freeze:

around here was a minimum wage discussion between Andy and curi that was interesting: http://curi.us/2145-open-discussion-economics#10988

Critical Rationalist:

I’m attacking the idea that the claim that “egoism helps society” can be known a priori

curi:

to be clear, my claim: not strictly a priori, but approximately. we don't need to do empirical studies about it, and it doesn't depend on parochial details like that our planet has oil or trees on it.

Critical Rationalist:

Not those parochial details

Critical Rationalist:

But details about the kind of creatures humans are

Critical Rationalist:

How empathetic are we

Critical Rationalist:

How rational are we

Critical Rationalist:

Do we engage in systematic errors of reasoning

Critical Rationalist:

How selfish are we under normal conditions

Critical Rationalist:

(not “how selfish should we be for optimal results”)

Critical Rationalist:

We are primates. The product of an unguided process. It really matters what kind of creatures we are.

curi:

yeah, my arguments don't use claims about those things are premises in the usual sense. however, i do have some claims about the irrelevance of standard claims along those lines.

jordancurve:

I regard people's degree of empathy and rationality as a product of the ideas they hold, not as some kind immutable property of humans.

jordancurve:

Contra "the kind of creatures humans are"

curi:

yeah that. it's part of the universal knowledge creator view of BoI.

Critical Rationalist:

The extent to which empathy is caused by their ideas is a question of psychology and neuroscience

Critical Rationalist:

In fact, I think there is good reason to think that most of our responses are the result of automatic unconscious processing

Critical Rationalist:

But even if you don’t agree with that, how can you rule it out? It is certainly possible that unconscious automatic processing (NOT ideas) leads to empathy. How can you rule that possibility out?

Critical Rationalist:

How can you rule out that empathy is not in the non-idea part of unconscious processing

curi:

This internet is cutting out. The quick outline is you do epistemology first and then use that to evaluate models [of] minds. I’ll give some details but not today.

Critical Rationalist:

I definitely want that spelled out when curi comes back

Critical Rationalist:

Our minds could have evolved many different ways

Critical Rationalist:

Evolution is a contingent process, with lots of random events and shifting selection pressures

Critical Rationalist:

There is no way to sit on your armchair and figure out how evolution happened

Critical Rationalist:

And our minds are products of evolution

jordancurve:

Empathy involves understanding other people. If our ability to empathize were limited by non-universal hardware (which I take to follow from the hypothetical that empathy is part of "the non-idea part of unconscious processing"), then there could exist situations in which it would be impossible for us to understand the other person enough to empathize with them. This would contradict the unbounded reach of human understanding that is argued for in The Beginning of Infinity. Therefore our ability to empathize is not controlled by non-universal hardware.

jordancurve:

Or at least, the final sentence follows unless there's some other objection I didn't think of, which is quite possible. 🙂

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, maybe there are some situations in which our current empathetic capacities (which we’ll suppose are constituted of non-universal hardware) cannot empathize with others

Critical Rationalist:

But maybe our rational capacities do have the unbounded character Deutsch speaks of. I’m willing to grant that

Critical Rationalist:

But I see no contradiction between supposing that a) empathy is non-universal and b) rationality is unbounded

curi:

Do you think you understand and agree with what BoI says about universality and jump to universality?

jordancurve:

To the extent that empathy is a matter of ideas, any hard-wired limitation on human empathy contradicts the universality of human thought argued for in BoI. @Critical Rationalist

Critical Rationalist:

The claim that empathy is a matter of ideas is precisely what I’m challenging

Critical Rationalist:

I have not read Boi in its entirety. The universality chapter was one of the ones I skimmed

jordancurve:

If you're looking for things to argue with or learn about, curi has collected a list of unrefuted and potentially controversial ideas here: http://curi.us/2238-potential-debate-topics

Critical Rationalist:

@jordancurve I went through that page and identified around 50 claims. I disagree with around 35 of them (quite strongly in most cases)

curi:

Most of these things don’t have an explicit Popper view, have to apply Cr principles

Critical Rationalist:

@curi If you know which claims on your list are DDs views, I’d be interested in knowing

Critical Rationalist:

These are my core commitments, and the thinkers who influenced me:

Critical Rationalist:

Critical rationalism* (epistemology): Karl Popper, David Deutsch, Alex Rosenberg (helpful critic)

Utilitarianism, moral realism* (ethics): Henry Sidgwick, Joshua Greene, Peter Singer

Metaphysical naturalism (metaphysics): Sean Carroll, Dan Dennett, Alex Rosenberg

Social democracy, centre-leftism (politics): Karl Popper, Noam Chomsky, Thomas Sowell (helpful critic)

Compatibilism (free will): Dan Dennett, David Hume, Giulio Tononi

Panprotopsychism (consciousness): David Chalmers, Christopher Koch, Giulio Tononi

Evolutionary psychology* (human nature): David Buss, Steven Pinker, David Buller (helpful critic)

* with caveats

curi:

Most are. Is there a particular thing you’re curious about?

Critical Rationalist:

Trump, romance, global warming

curi:

No, yes, yes

Critical Rationalist:

Global warming... are you sure about that?

curi:

Yes

Critical Rationalist:

Because I seem to remember hearing him say in a ted talk that the right response is to trust the experts

Critical Rationalist:

In this context

curi:

He was trying to be diplomatic and choose words very exactly to not literally lie

Critical Rationalist:

Has DD ever been married?

curi:

I don’t discuss my personal life let alone his

Critical Rationalist:

Haha fair enough

Critical Rationalist:

Anyways, there is obviously lots to talk about

Critical Rationalist:

I will probably have to push away in a week or so when my next semester starts

Critical Rationalist:

But this will be a looming temptation

curi:

Re romance there was an Autonomy Respecting Relationships forum

Critical Rationalist:

Next semester I’m working on finishing my MA in philosophy, but I’ll also be volunteering as a research assistant for that horrid discipline of psychology

Critical Rationalist:

😉

curi:

DD supported Bush but has been gradually shifting more politically left

Critical Rationalist:

I think Popper is left wing to a first approximation

curi:

Yeah but not far left like Hillary, Bernie, SJWs

Critical Rationalist:

Hillary is left in your book?

curi:

Yes!?

Critical Rationalist:

*far left??

curi:

Yes she is an Alinskyite who called a hundred million Americans deplorables

Critical Rationalist:

She’s centrist even by the standards of the Democratic Party

Critical Rationalist:

And by international standards, the democrats themselves are quite centrist

Critical Rationalist:

Bernie, Warren, the squad, they are squarely in the left

Critical Rationalist:

But they’re a minority in the dems

Critical Rationalist:

In terms of Hillary’s concrete policy proposals, she’s quite centrist

curi:

I don’t agree

Critical Rationalist:

Foreign policy she has a long history of being hawkish (arguably Center right)

Critical Rationalist:

Calling 100 million Americans deplorables is elitist and dismissive, but not leftist

curi:

She did it because she’s far enough left of them to hate them

Critical Rationalist:

How do you know that’s why she said it?

Critical Rationalist:

Btw just to be clear I’m not a Hillary fan

Critical Rationalist:

I’m just a little surprised

curi:

I have read a lot of political info that you probably haven’t

curi:

Leads to perspective differences

Critical Rationalist:

That’s... not a good way to engage in conversation

curi:

? It shouldn’t be surprising to reach significantly different conclusions based on different info

Critical Rationalist:

I might have been reading more into that comment than was there

curi:

Just on phone not giving details. Around more tomorrow probably

curi:

Almost done traveling

Critical Rationalist:

Ok @curi, here is one issue from the list of debate topics: genes have no direct influence over our intelligence or personalities. That is a empirical conjecture. As Popperians, what do we do when we make empirical conjectures? We try to test them. If genes had no influence over those traits, then people who share all of their genes but none of their environment should not be similar. Identical twins raised in separate adoptive families fit this description. They are in fact massively similar. In terms of IQ scores and personality tests (which I am sure you’re skeptical of), but also behavioral measures: how much education they get, income, even political values (yes, really). Just go to google scholar and look up “heritability estimate twin studies” and then any trait. These heritability estimates are derived from the kind of twin and adoption studies that I’m describing.

Critical Rationalist:

To make this concrete, suppose John and Bob are identical twins raised in separate families. They would be similar in terms of cognitive ability (as measured by IQ tests), political beliefs (though of course not 100% identical), and measurable behaviors. Get massive samples of “Johns and Bobs”, and you find similarities like this replicate well. What is your explanation for this?

curi:

While I have some empirical comments on that issue (e.g. re low data quality), I think the important issues are primarily theoretical. We need a complex theoretical framework with which to interpret the data. We need models of how genes and minds work, explanations of causal mechanisms, rival ideas, criticism, etc. Popper says observation is theory laden, and fairly often there is a lot of theory involved, a lot of background knowledge that makes some difference.

curi:

So e.g. I think the theory points in http://bactra.org/weblog/520.html are important to interpreting the data correctly. They explain e.g. what "heritability" is. One needs an understanding of that to know what to make of the data. They also explain in general some limitations of correlations and statistics.

Critical Rationalist:

Well, on the data quality issue, the findings of behavioral genetics are VERY well-replicated. See https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1745691615617439

Critical Rationalist:

I've taught AP Psychology (which contains a chapter on heritability and individual differences) several times, and took psychology statistics courses during my undergrad. Heritability has a precise meaning: the percentage of population variance in a trait that is caused by genetic differences. For example, people in the population differ on height (i.e. height is variable). What percentage of this variability is due to genetic differences? Around 90%. That means 90% of the differences between people are due to genes. We can estimate this with twin and adoption studies.

curi:

the percentage of population variance in a trait that is caused by genetic differences.

that is not the meaning.

Critical Rationalist:

So, if your article has a different account of heritability than the one I've described, I can say with some confidence that it is at odds with contemporary behavioral genetics. I've read summaries of the literature from Eric Turkheimer, Steven Pinker, and the article above (which was written by 4 leading experts; they summarized dozens of studes).

Critical Rationalist:

Oh it isn't? Please give me the definition.

curi:

the article is by an geneticist expert FYI

curi:

To summarize: Heritability is a technical measure of how much of the variance in a quantitative trait (such as IQ) is associated with genetic differences, in a population with a certain distribution of genotypes and environments. Under some very strong simplifying assumptions, quantitative geneticists use it to calculate the changes to be expected from artificial or natural selection in a statistically steady environment. It says nothing about how much the over-all level of the trait is under genetic control, and it says nothing about how much the trait can change under environmental interventions. If, despite this, one does want to find out the heritability of IQ for some human population, the fact that the simplifying assumptions I mentioned are clearly false in this case means that existing estimates are unreliable, and probably too high, maybe much too high.

curi:

the term "associated with" is not, and does not mean, caused by

JustinCEO:

"associated with" is more like "correlated with" if my understanding is correct

curi:

i've read mostly looked at the actual literature instead of summaries of the literature FYI. i think this is a better method.

Critical Rationalist:

I actually agree with that definition. But the best explanation of the pattern of associations is that the genes are playing a causal role. This is not just my view. Here is a quote from an article from Nature (written by leading experts): "IQ heritability, the portion of a population's IQ variability attributable to the effects of genes"

Critical Rationalist:

https://www.nature.com/articles/41319

Critical Rationalist:

But yes, the data are logically compatible with other causal explanations.

GISTE:

i guess most people (including most "experts") agree with you, but that doesn't mean that's the right position. @Critical Rationalist

curi:

your ideas about what is a good explanation in a particular case are not a matter of heritability. they are something else.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi What is your rival theory for why identical twins raised apart are similar on every trait we can measure.

Critical Rationalist:

@GISTE He was citing the definition given by a geneticist. I agree with everything in the definition, but it was incomplete.

Critical Rationalist:

Or at least, it is compatible with a causal explanation. The causal explanation is the theory which (I would contend) best survives theoretical criticism.

Critical Rationalist:

If someone disagrees, they better offer a better theory.

GISTE:

@Critical Rationalist i was referencing this: "But the best explanation of the pattern of associations is that the genes are playing a causal role. This is not just my view."

Critical Rationalist:

It is true that that explanation is not just my view, but I am willing to defend it on its own terms.

Critical Rationalist:

The fact that experts believe it does not make it true.

Critical Rationalist:

Here is my explanation for why identical twins raised apart are similar for psychological traits: genes influence them. Does someone have an alternative explanation?

curi:

i don't agree with your take on the dataset, but setting that aside the basic explanation is gene-environment interactions, e.g. a gene for height can be correlated with basketball skill but it doesn't provide basketball skill, that isn't the kind of thing it does.

betterbylearning:

@Critical Rationalist I find it easiest to think about this matter of genetic causes by way of example. Suppose our culture regards red-haired people as volatile, easily angered and less rational personalities. And so when people, generally, encounter a red-haired child they treat him or her differently from other children. They try to explain stuff less and invoke violence / control over redheads more quickly. So then someone comes along and does a twin study. They find that, in fact, genes are associated with adults who are less rational and more prone to violence. But it could be (likely is) that genes cause red hair, red hair causes cultural mistreatment, and cultural mistreatment causes less rationality and more violence. Not that genes directly cause less rationality and more violence. If the culture changed, the result would change without the genes changing at all.

Critical Rationalist:

"i don't agree with your take on the dataset" Please be more specific. Are you denying that identical twins raised apart have similar IQs, similar personalities, etc.?

curi:

i think you're overstating that.

Critical Rationalist:

They much more similar than strangers, but not 100% the same.

Critical Rationalist:

I can give you precise numbers if you want.

Critical Rationalist:

I'm still waiting for an alternative explanation.

curi:

the basic explanation is gene-environment interactions, e.g. a gene for height can be correlated with basketball skill but it doesn't provide basketball skill, that isn't the kind of thing it does.

betterbylearning:

@Critical Rationalist I intended to suggest an alternative explanation via my example. There could be some trait genes cause, which people culturally decide means they should treat people differently. The different treatment then causes outcomes like IQ (or basketball skill).

curi:

DD's example is an infant smiling gene, which causes infants to smile more and does nothing later. This could end up associated with all sorts of stuff because it leads to different treatment by parents in our culture.

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, these would all (for me) count as ways that the genes can cause human differences.

curi:

a gene which causes infant smiling is quite different than a gene which causes intelligence, right?

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, so now you want to have a specific empirical discussion of HOW genes cause intelligence.

Critical Rationalist:

Maybe they do so by structuring the brain differently

Critical Rationalist:

Maybe they cause more height

curi:

no, i don't want to discuss empirical matters, i want to discuss how to view a simplified example

betterbylearning:

I think it comes down to what problem you're trying to solve with the "genes cause" explanation.

Critical Rationalist:

maybe they cause smiling (which in turn causes more attention)

curi:

suppose by premise it's the smiling thing. that is very different than a brain structure gene right? worth knowing the difference? worth making statements which differentiate the two cases?

Critical Rationalist:

So my original question was what your explanation was for the fact that identical twins raised apart are similar in terms of personality and IQ scores

Critical Rationalist:

and your response is: it is possible that genes cause this difference by making children smile more

Critical Rationalist:

I agree

curi:

ok so have the twin studies differentiated between these two scenarios?

betterbylearning:

If you're trying to enumerate all causes, including indirect ones, then I don't have an objection to including genes. But if you're trying to figure out what you'd have to change to get greater IQ, genes don't make that list, culture does.

Critical Rationalist:

the twin studies do not establish HOW genes cause intelligence

Critical Rationalist:

to be clear, you both have only established that one possible way that genes cause intelligence is through eliciting cultural responses

curi:

if you agree the twin studies might be about infant smiling genes, and that one should be careful not to make statements talking about genetic intelligence when genetic infant smiling is the actual thing, then you should not make statements that studies have shown genetic intelligence. right?

curi:

they'd just be inconclusive

Critical Rationalist:

they are inconclusive about the exact mechanism by which genes have their effects yes

Critical Rationalist:

but

Critical Rationalist:

your page said something to the effect of genes do not influence intelligence

Critical Rationalist:

you claim to know that this is true

Critical Rationalist:

not that "it is possible that genes have their influence indirectly"

curi:

yes, so there are multiple issues involved with that

JustinCEO:

Does a study consistent with very different causal mechanisms tell us anything more than that a correlation exists?

curi:

one is: some people think twin studies refute my position. you brought that up. they do not. they are compatible with it.

curi:

another is my actual reasoning

Critical Rationalist:

you believe (correct me if I'm wrong) "genes do NOT directly influence intelligence"

curi:

my comments re twin studies were just trying to defend my view from refutation, not tell you the positive reasons for it

curi:

do you agree that i've succeeded at this limited goal?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, actually I would agree that your view is not logically incompatible with the results of twin studies.

curi:

ok great

Critical Rationalist:

The DD example is a possible explanation of the twin studies findings which would be such that the genes have an indirect effect on intelligence

Critical Rationalist:

So, how do you rule out the possibility of direct influence?

Critical Rationalist:

The quote from the website is this: "Genes (or other biology) don’t have any direct influence over our intelligence or personality."

curi:

to understand what ways genes may effect intelligence, one needs a model of how minds work and an epistemology.

Critical Rationalist:

Make your case

curi:

for example, if we model minds as buckets, then we could imagine (without knowing all the details, that's ok) that there is a gene which causes a brain to be a larger sized bucket which lets more knowledge be poured into it total.

curi:

similarly there could be genes that make the entrance to the bucket wider or narrower, allowing knowledge to be poured in at a higher or lower rate.

Critical Rationalist:

Sure, I'm willing to discard the bucket model

Critical Rationalist:

I've read Objective Knowledge (which you seem to be alluding to)

curi:

in this model, it's fairly easy to propose genetic mechanisms. however the model has problems.

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, so we've ruled out the bucket model

Critical Rationalist:

go on

curi:

my model says that brains are universal classical computers. they're Turing-complete. this highly limits the relevance of hardware differences. minds are a type of software. basically we get an operating system pre-loaded which grants us intelligence (the ability to conjecture and refute) and then we develop our own apps/ideas during our life. intelligence differences, in the sense of thinking quality differences, are due to better or worse ideas.

Critical Rationalist:

"brains are universal classical computers. they're Turing-complete."

Critical Rationalist:

And you established this without the smallest amount of neuroscience data, right?

Critical Rationalist:

You're going to have to spell out how you know that brains are universal classical computers

curi:

i wouldn't say zero. but not much.

Critical Rationalist:

And also, I assume you mean that only human brains are like this. Chimpanzee brains are not classical computers, right?

curi:

do you know what a universal classical computer is? They are covered in FoR. not sure if you've read that.

curi:

no, chimpanzee brains are also universal classical computers.

Critical Rationalist:

I've read maybe half of it

Critical Rationalist:

A turing machine? Capable of computing anything that can be computed

curi:

yes

Critical Rationalist:

but classical as in non-quantum (only 0s and 1s)

Critical Rationalist:

Interesting, how do you know that human brains are classical computers

curi:

do you mean classical as opposed to quantum?

Critical Rationalist:

no classical as opposed to whatever chimpanzee brains are doing

curi:

i said chimp brains are also classical

Critical Rationalist:

oh sorry I misread that

curi:

so are PCs and iphones

Critical Rationalist:

yes yes those definitely are

Critical Rationalist:

now... you also think chimpanzees are less intelligent than humans...

curi:

i don't think chimps are intelligent at all

Critical Rationalist:

so it is possible for brains (which are classical computers) to differ in their intellectual capacity, yes?

curi:

it's important to differentiate differences due to software from differences due to hardware

Critical Rationalist:

well, I think there are several more steps you must go through before you can rule out that genes directly influence intelligence

curi:

sure, i gave an outline

Critical Rationalist:

where?

curi:

my model says that brains are universal classical computers. they're Turing-complete. this highly limits the relevance of hardware differences. minds are a type of software. basically we get an operating system pre-loaded which grants us intelligence (the ability to conjecture and refute) and then we develop our own apps/ideas during our life. intelligence differences, in the sense of thinking quality differences, are due to better or worse ideas.

Critical Rationalist:

"are universal classical computers. they're Turing-complete. this highly limits the relevance of hardware differences."

Critical Rationalist:

but wait... chimpanzees also have universal classical computers which are turing-complete

Critical Rationalist:

are the number of hardware differences (that are relevant to intelligence) between humans and chimpanzees "highly limited"?

curi:

yes

Critical Rationalist:

so if a chimpanzee was raised with the same software as a human, it could be as intelligent?

curi:

not all software comes from parenting

Critical Rationalist:

by the way

Critical Rationalist:

this isn't limited to chimpanzees I assume

curi:

right

Critical Rationalist:

but I won't even go there

Critical Rationalist:

you think if a chimpanzee was raised in the same parenting (and wider social) context, it would be as intelligent as a human?

curi:

no

Critical Rationalist:

what other sources of software are there?

Critical Rationalist:

in your view

curi:

genes do something roughly like an operating system install disk does

Critical Rationalist:

ok so genes can influence software?

curi:

initially

Critical Rationalist:

and install software that makes an organism more intelligent, initially?

curi:

if you drop the "more" then yes

Critical Rationalist:

so you know that human genes produce the exact same intelligence software in each human

Critical Rationalist:

how do you know that?

curi:

no

Critical Rationalist:

so... do you think that human genes produce different intelligence software in different humans?

curi:

so, genes do not produce the exact same hardware brains in each person, but small variations in hardware, such as having 1% more neurons, have only limited importance. they don't change certain key issues like being a universal computer or not. (setting aside cases of major brain damage and people who can't hold conversations, learn math, etc.)

variations in intelligence software don't matter much either for the same basic reason: the important issue is whether a universality is present or not present. for the software, either it is or isn't a universal knowledge creator.

Critical Rationalist:

does the software in chimpanzee classical computer brains have universality? I'm inferring "no"

curi:

it doesn't have universal knowledge creation. (there are different types of universality)

curi:

in my view, the term intelligence has two separate meanings. one is binary: intelligent or not. this refers to universal knowledge creation or not. the second is a matter of degree, and relates to thinking quality. this is the kind of difference we see between people healthy people, and is due to different knowledge especially methodology stuff.

Critical Rationalist:

I'm skeptical of your account of the human mind, but I'll grant it and see if what you're saying follows or not

curi:

ok

Critical Rationalist:

Here is an empirical possibility that seems compatible with your accont

curi:

btw i may afk soon but will continue later

Critical Rationalist:

Well, actually, multiple possibilities

Critical Rationalist:

The software could come prepackaged with ideas already in place. It could come into place with certain ideas encoded unconsciously (and thus, inaccessible to deliberative reflection and change). If the latter is true, then the ideas IN PRINCIPLE could be changed (with technology) but not with pure thought. Absent dramatic changes in technology, if that were true, some people would be more limited if bad ideas were encoded into the unconscious by our genes

Critical Rationalist:

Let's start with that possibility

curi:

what sort of limit? would this limit limit the repertoire of knowledge they could create, or not?

Critical Rationalist:

suppose empathy turns out to be harmful

Critical Rationalist:

but suppose its effect on conscious thinking is unidirectional

Critical Rationalist:

empathy affects our conscious thinking, but not the other way around

Critical Rationalist:

but the underpinnings of empathy are unconscious, and determined by our genes

Critical Rationalist:

suppose it prevents certain people from becoming objectivists

curi:

objectivism is a type of knowledge. so you're talking about a person who is not a universal knowledge creator, right?

Critical Rationalist:

their unconsciously caused empathy overrides their conscious thinking or at least strongly influenced it

Critical Rationalist:

they in principle could be

Critical Rationalist:

their linguistic capacities are capable of conjecturing objectivism and criticizing it

Critical Rationalist:

but they refuse to accept it, because their empathy overrides it

Critical Rationalist:

(empathy being, ex hypothesi, somethign unconsciously caused and built by genes)

Critical Rationalist:

This is obviously very hypothetical, but this is the kind of thing you need to rule out

curi:

this empathy is an extra, unnecessary complication tacked onto a simpler model, and without clear details about where it fits into the conjecture and refutation model.

Critical Rationalist:

but it is a possibility

Critical Rationalist:

we could have been selected to have this empathy

curi:

i don't think one can see whether it's a possibility without clarifying the thing being claimed.

Critical Rationalist:

whenever we think of people who are suffering

curi:

but in any case it's a possibility that we're all puppets of advanced aliens, living in a simulation, etc., etc.

curi:

that sort of possibility is the wrong way to make judgments about what to tentatively, fallibly believe

Critical Rationalist:

we have a software program that says "be concerned about this for its own sake"

Critical Rationalist:

and it overrides the outputs of conscious deliberative thinking

Critical Rationalist:

but it itself is outside the reach of deliberative thinking

Critical Rationalist:

there is nothing contradictory about this hypothesis

Critical Rationalist:

but your theory (seems to) require that it is false

curi:

people aren't born knowing what suffering is conceptually and how to recognize it in other people, so how could an preloaded software deal with it? that's similar to proposing preloaded software for doing calculus even though we aren't born knowing arithmetic or algebra.

Critical Rationalist:

"people aren't born knowing what suffering is conceptually and how to recognize it in other people"

Critical Rationalist:

how do you know that?

curi:

do you think they are?

curi:

i conjectured they aren't and considered the matter, and alternatives, critically.

curi:

i didn't seek an airtight proof, i used CR methods.

Critical Rationalist:

the preloaded empathy software program could be one that is ready to develop as soon as the organism develops the concept of suffering

Critical Rationalist:

you said earlier that the preloaded software admits of individual differences

Critical Rationalist:

as long as it is possible that some of those individual differences are realized as unconscious programs (which are not amenable to being changed with reflection), then it is possible that those individual differences are consequential

Critical Rationalist:

(consequential by your standards)

curi:

busy

curi:

what does software being ready to develop mean? develop in what ways by what means?

curi:

and what, if anything, prevents a person from simply not running this software?

Critical Rationalist:

However you think the universal knowledge creation software develops in brains, this software develops the same way

Critical Rationalist:

What prevents the person from not running the software is that it is inaccessible to conscious reflection

curi:

but i don't think that develops. more like it's there, fully formed, when the computer is first turned on.

JustinCEO:

kinda like a BIOS?

Critical Rationalist:

Does a zygote have the universal knowledge creation software?

Critical Rationalist:

Obviously not

curi:

your conception of conscious reflection is not specified in terms of the things in this model. i think it's a higher level issue.

Critical Rationalist:

Do adults have it? Yes

Critical Rationalist:

Somewhere in the middle it develops

curi:

if you're talking about development in terms of e.g. creating and attaching proteins that form the brain, then do you think people's brains grow at age 10, or whatever, re empathy?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes that’s an empirical possibility that you haven’t ruled out

curi:

do you believe that?

Critical Rationalist:

But no, I was just responding to your assertion that the universal knowledge creation software doesn’t develop

Critical Rationalist:

Which... of course it has to develop

Critical Rationalist:

Somewhere between zygotehood and adulthood

curi:

do you think macos develops at some point in the imac factory?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes they are built

curi:

what is "they"?

Critical Rationalist:

You mean macs right?

curi:

no i said macos

JustinCEO:

macOS, mac Operating System

Critical Rationalist:

Oh sorry

Critical Rationalist:

I think I have a way to make this more concrete (in terms of your system)

Critical Rationalist:

You think the universal knowledge creation software is innate

Critical Rationalist:

How do you know that there are not other softwares that a) sometimes override the universal knowledge creation software, and b) cannot be overridden by the universal knowledge creation software because they are unconscious

Critical Rationalist:

*Unconscious and insulated from inputs from the universal knowledge creation software. This is just (on my hypothesis) how the brain is designed

curi:

is there a proposal of that nature which you find convincing?

curi:

i think the key issue here is that i'm judging by critical thinking, not by airtight proof that logically covers every possibility

Critical Rationalist:

Good.

Critical Rationalist:

I would say that it is perfectly possible that evolution could have produced such softwares, and I wouldn’t put confidence in any theories that hadn’t been subjected to experimental tests

Critical Rationalist:

My analogy I used yesterday was this: imagine that there was a theory that people had conjectured about the sun

Critical Rationalist:

In the absence of any data at all

curi:

is there a specific proposal which you find plausible, which explains the nature of the software, the selection pressure to create it, gives details about what it does, etc., which you think stands up to criticism?

Critical Rationalist:

I could tell a just so story

curi:

but i'm not asking for just so stories, i'm asking for ideas which you think survive criticism. a just so story is a story you have a criticism of.

Critical Rationalist:

That’s not the definition of a just so story

JustinCEO:

is there a specific proposal which you find plausible

If you're calling something a just so story that's a pretty good indicator you don't find it plausible, so bringing up just so stories is non-responsive

Critical Rationalist:

I don’t have a view about what is plausible in cases like this. My view is that what we should not settle on a perspective with much confidence in the absence of data

curi:

do you see some major flaw in my model?

curi:

g2g

Critical Rationalist:

It is logically possible and internally coherent

Critical Rationalist:

Whether or not it is true ought to be settled with empirical tests

curi:

is there a specific alternative model which you think can stand up to criticism? that we need a test to differentiate btwn it and my model?

Critical Rationalist:

Sure. I’ll put forward this as an alternative model

Critical Rationalist:

I don’t believe it, but I think it is also internally coherent and logically possible

Critical Rationalist:

There is other software that a) sometimes override the universal knowledge creation software, and b) cannot be overridden by the universal knowledge creation software because the (occasionally) overriding software is unconscious

Critical Rationalist:

If you want it to be more specific

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll say that the software is “empathy for kin”

Critical Rationalist:

There are plausible reasons why there would be selective pressures that favour it

Critical Rationalist:

And we’ll suppose that the empathy for kin overrides the universal knowledge software, but the reverse cannot happen (because of how the brain is built)

curi:

When I asked about a flaw in my model, I meant any type of flaw. Anything bad about it. But with emphasis on a problem with the model itself and its application to the world, not an issue in its ability to exclude alternatives, which is a somewhat separate matter. Just lacking logical errors isn't the whole question.

For the alternative empathy model, I think it's too vague to begin serious critical analysis. For example, you've introduced unconsciousness as a concept which is connected to the ability of software subroutines to write to certain locations in memory. Something like that? A lot more details would be needed to know what's going on there. Similarly, empathy for kin is underspecified. And simple examples of what you have in mind are underspecified. Like does this empathy for kin software take over my muscles and control my arm motions in some situations, and i'm like a puppet who watches helplessly as I can't control my limbs? If not that, what is it like? it somehow (how?) controls my conscious opinions, like mind control rather than puppetry? is the empathy for kin software able to create knowledge?

Critical Rationalist:

I’m going to bed now, but I’ll just say this. You are asking for a level of detail in my theory that you have not provided for your own. I can make similar requests for specificity. It will be easy to make my account as detailed as yours. So tell me, how do our classical computational capacities give rise to the creative ability to create new explanations? What selection pressures gave rise to that ability?

curi:

moving from #fi @Critical Rationalist https://discordapp.com/channels/304082867384745994/304082867384745994/663953331714261002

i'm open to more questions. i don't know what areas you find problematic or want to know more about. i think if you provide details for your ad hoc theory, you will run into problems just like how fleshing out the theory that DD will float when jumping off a building, in FoR ch 7, led to difficulties.

the selection pressure for intelligence may have been the value of better tool use, for example. we don't know the exact mechanism but there are several stories that work ok and, afaik, no criticism for why this wouldn't work. DD presents one in BoI re meme replication.

curi:

another possibility is it helped with communication and language, which enabled more effective group hunting

curi:

Yes, but those logical models depend on assumptions about the world that are 2. The claim that humans are best approximated as rational self-interested utility maximizers is a claim economists could be wrong about.

That isn't one of my claims. Think of a claim more like "everything else being equal, when demand for a product increases and supply stays the same, then the price must be raised to avoid shortages". there are premises here like that each buyer will pay up to a certain price for the product, rather than e.g. be willing to pay any even number of dollars but not an odd number of dollars. i'm aware that has non-zero connection to the empircal world. it is nevertheless different than doing a bunch of studies and science experiments to try to figure things out, which is my point. the empirical aspects of this claim are more limited than the empirical aspects of the claim that force equals mass times acceleration. the actual debates that take place re economics claims like my example are primarily non-empirical. do you agree there's a notable difference there? if so, what terminology would you like to use to keep this distinction clear? just calling my idea re demand and shortages "empirical" doesn't differentiate it from an issue like whether a particular vaccine works for humans and to prevent a particular parochial disease from earth.

you are welcome to try to point out empirical problems with economic models when you have them, but i don't think you'll have many empirical complaints about my core economic claims. i don't expect you to say "maybe Joe likes buying things with prime numbered prices. we better do a big study to see how many people buy in that way".

curi:

  1. Actual economic interactions are affected by human nature

i think a claim like my example above is approximately (but not literally 100%) independent of controversial conceptions of human nature like how empathetic or rational people are.

Your claims about which ethical systems will produce more wealth or welfare depend on assumptions about human nature.

What sort of human nature do you think would make not having division of labor be more productive than having it? Got anything plausible enough to merit a study to try to test what people are like?

curi:

[re human nature] I mean things like how we respond to incentive structures, under what circumstances we will cooperate or not cooperate, what makes people respond tribalistically or not, whether people develop better under strict parenting or permissive parenting

It is an open empirical question to what extent humans develop better under strict parenting, for example

I stand by the idea that economic models can only be true to the extent that their assumptions about human nature are true (eg that humans or aliens are self-interested rational utility-maximizers). Whether or not those assumptions are true is an accidental fact of evolution. There is no law of nature that says humans or aliens must be a certain way. It depends what selection pressures we happened to face.

You have a different model of how minds and personalities work than I do. Deciding which model is correct will initially involve specifying the models more, specifying our epistemologies more, and doing philosophical debate about those sorts of issues. Depending how those discussions went, it's possible an issue would come up where doing an empirical test made sense, but I doubt it. I wouldn't expect our discussion to get stuck over disagreeing about an empirical fact. (This does not mean we'd never mention anything empirical. I would expect some simple, uncontroversial empirical facts to be mentioned.)

(I'm now caught up. If i didn't respond to a specific thing you want a reply to, feel free to quote it and ask for a reply.)

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll stick with the issue of the empathy software for now. I’ve read chapter 7 of FoR several times, and I do not think my model suffers from the same problems. Very powerful kin empathy software could arise from selection pressures. Genes that favour altruistic Behavior towards kin at (almost) any cost actually make good evolutionary sense.

Critical Rationalist:

The reason for an overriding kin empathy software is clear: it gets more genes into the next generation. By contrast, all you have said is that “maybe it helped with tool use”. But why not just have tool creation software? A universal knowledge creation software seems wasteful.

Critical Rationalist:

I think this whole approach is backwards. In evolutionary biology (which Deutsch is not an expert in) what you are supposed to do is empirically discover what traits an organism (in this case, humans) have, and then reverse engineer those traits.

Critical Rationalist:

Crucially, I did not see in your response an explanation of how a classical computer could instantiated creativity. I asked “how do our classical computational capacities give rise to the creative ability to create new explanations?” You do not have a detailed account of how this happens. Do you see now that it is unfair to ask for a similar level of detail in my account? I will provide details for mine when you provide details for yours.

Critical Rationalist:

As it stands, I can tell an evolutionary story that is at least as plausible as yours. Neither of us have spelled out the details about how such software will be instantiated.

Critical Rationalist:

I guess I might as well give my two cents about your response to my economics arguments. The one example of an assumption you gave is instructive. It says “all else being equal, this will tend to happen”. There is an implicit claim in there about human nature, it is just one that is so uncontroversial that it is rational to accept it without doing an empirical study. But crucially, it’s connection to the real world is mediated by the “all things being equal” clause. Widespread errors in thinking or other elements of human nature could systematically prevent such a claim from mapping onto the real world. Don’t get me wrong, the kind of economics you’re describing has its virtues. I just think the possibility that human nature is such that our behavior is systematically different from the predictions of economics models is a possibility. @curi

GISTE:

@Critical Rationalist Selection pressures are not responsible for creating new genes. They are instead responsible for selecting the (already existing) genes that cause their hosts to have more grandchildren than compared to rival genes. (Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert on this.)

Critical Rationalist:

Yes that’s true. Random mutations create the genes, and then selection pressures eliminate the harmful ones and keeps the beneficial ones.

Critical Rationalist:

But natural selection is also a cumulative process. So you can get new traits over time with repeated instances of variation and selection.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi after this weekend I’ll probably have to stop commenting for the sake of school. There’s one topic I really wanted to ask about: All Women Are Like That. How can you hold to this in light of your belief that people have free will, are not determined by genes, and have universal knowledge creation software? Are women not people? Or is it just a coincidence that all women have used their unbounded free will incorrectly?

Critical Rationalist:

I’d also like you to share what specific traits you think all women share.

Alisa:

The AWALT phenomenon is due to things like culture and the prevalence of certain static memes, not genes

curi:

I was planning to make a discussion tree to organize our discussion but I'll drop that and try to do some quicker replies today. AWALT vs NAWALT is a specific debate about redpill/PUA ideas that you can google. the shared traits of women in question are related to romance and relationship behavior. the overall issue is what alisa says: culture, including static memes, are major forces in life.

Critical Rationalist:

And not a single woman has escaped the grasp of these static memes? Despite the fact that they have free will and universal knowledge creation software?

curi:

the all means something more like "i'm not convinced that a single NAWALT sighting posted to a redpill forum is actually true"

jordancurve:

Critical Rationalist: You seem to be unaware of what the word "all" means when used outside of a formal logical context

Critical Rationalist:

I’m confused. You’ll have to be more precise. Does “all” mean most?

Critical Rationalist:

Precision of hypotheses is a Popperian virtue. It makes them more amenable to rational and empirical refutation

curi:

there is an ongoing problem where people fool themselves into thinking their gf is different. AWALT is pushback against that. and i don't think any documented exceptions exist.

Critical Rationalist:

Loose and vague hypotheses are impossible to criticize

jordancurve:

You can criticize them for being vague.

curi:

you're wrong to call something loose and vague when, as i said, there are ongoing discussions about it. you can read tons more info about what it means if you want to.

curi:

the proper noun does not precisely summarize all the meaning.

curi:

this is typical of proper nouns

curi:

such as Critical Rationalism

Critical Rationalist:

Also, speaking of precision, give me precisely what traits all (whatever that means) women share in common

JustinCEO:

That just means being rationalistic critically rite

curi:

you can read about the traits if you want to learn. if you are expecting to learn this topic by being told a list of 10 traits each given 3 words of explanation, you're dramatically underestimating the complexity of the issiue

Critical Rationalist:

Why don’t you give me the most well-evidenced example, and as thorough an explanation as you want

curi:

because you need the redpill/PUA intellectual framework first before interpreting an example

Critical Rationalist:

Just as a basis for discussion

Critical Rationalist:

I have some passing familiarity with it. Try me. See how far you can get

curi:

were you already familiar with AWALT?

Critical Rationalist:

No that particular term was new to me

Critical Rationalist:

Totally serious

curi:

that sounds like near-zero familiarity

curi:

do you know what AFC is?

Critical Rationalist:

Hence “passing”

curi:

shit test? neg? hoops? two-set? DHV?

Critical Rationalist:

Haha wow I’m definitely less familiar than I thought

curi:

mystery method?

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, do you at least think that this is the kind of theory that should be put to empirical tests?

curi:

yes it's extensively field-tested.

Critical Rationalist:

Awalt is extensively field tested?

curi:

yes

Critical Rationalist:

Interesting

Critical Rationalist:

I’m genuinely curious, name me just one trait that “all” women share in common

curi:

all this stuff was developed with a heavy empirical testing emphasis. lots of the theory was created to explain observed patterns.

Critical Rationalist:

Ie not one documented exception

curi:

valuing social status as she perceives it (not everyone is into actors as high status).

curi:

if i said all parents were coercive, it wouldn't mean that there was any single thing (e.g. playing with matches) for which all parents coerce.

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, but in this case you said “all women are like that”. “Like that” has to mean something.

Critical Rationalist:

As far as your example, sure. I would wager that’s true of all humans (not just women). Completely innocuous

Critical Rationalist:

Sure, all women value status.

Critical Rationalist:

Completely banal

curi:

the issue ppl are debating is roughly: is there a woman who is immune to PUA?

Critical Rationalist:

Ok that’s more interesting

Critical Rationalist:

Since you’ve agreed that this is an issue that should be subject to empirical tests

Critical Rationalist:

This is what Popper said we must do before an empirical test: specify in advance what observations would falsify the theory (in this case “no women are immune to PUA”).

Critical Rationalist:

So, what empirical observation would falsify the claim that “no women are immune to PUA”? If you’re going to do an empirical test Popper-style, you have to answer that question.

Critical Rationalist:

If you systematically reinterpret the results to make them consistent with your theory, you’re doing what Popper (rightly) accused Freud and Marx of doing.

curi:

you seem to want a single decisive test to settle this conclusively. no one has done one or knows how to do one.

curi:

hence the ongoing debates

Critical Rationalist:

You said you believe this issue should be subject to empirical tests.

curi:

PUA approaches have been broadly testing on many women to help refine them, they aren't ivory tower speculation

Critical Rationalist:

So you believe the theory has been subject to tests, but can you explain to me what an empirical test is, in Popper’s theory?

Critical Rationalist:

To be clear, I’m not asking about the relative advantage of PUA. It might be on average better than other methods

Critical Rationalist:

Im talking about testing this theory: no women are immune to PUA

Critical Rationalist:

You admit that this is the sort of claim that should be tested empirically

curi:

people have said over and over "my gf is different" and they seem to be wrong every time. and ppl keep saying it. that's the issue AWALT is about.

Critical Rationalist:

So, explain to me how, according to Popper, we empirically test theories

Critical Rationalist:

you also said the issue is “are any women immune to PUA”

Critical Rationalist:

Implying that this was part of the meaning of awalt

curi:

right: different than the other girls who PUA works on.

Critical Rationalist:

Good

Critical Rationalist:

You believe that issue should be empirically tested

curi:

no one on either side has any idea for how to test it in the way you want. some things are hard to test.

Critical Rationalist:

How does Popper believe we should perform empirical tests?

curi:

nevertheless, there is nothing even resembling a documented counter example AFAIK

curi:

and there are many, many documented examples where AWALT turned out corrected

curi:

and ppl don't respect this situation and are super biased

Critical Rationalist:

I would like an answer to my question

curi:

a test is an observation aimed to potentially refute an idea. the best tests address a clash between 2+ ideas, such that at least one has to be refuted by any outcome of the test.

Critical Rationalist:

Good, exactly. For Popper, an empirical test only counts as a test if it is a genuine attempt at refutation

Critical Rationalist:

So... if you have not specified in advance the conditions for falsification, then for Popper, you have not actually empirically tested a theory

curi:

no

Critical Rationalist:

So, given that you and PUAs have not specified the conditions for falsification in advance, you have not actually performed empirical tests

Critical Rationalist:

No? Are you alleging that I’ve misunderstood Popper? I’m happy to provide quotes

curi:

you said "So" like you're following on what I said, but then you introduced a new thing: specifying conditions in advance.

Critical Rationalist:

Do you think Popper thought you could specify the conditions for falsification after the experiment?

curi:

we never fully specify anything, as Popper explained

curi:

if you mean that the conditions for falsification have to be partially specified in advance, i'll agree, but that's a different claim.

Critical Rationalist:

I’ll brb with quotes.

Critical Rationalist:

Also, it goes without saying you can disagree with Popper on this issue

curi:

do you agree that "we never fully specify anything"?

Critical Rationalist:

In a certain sense. But I’ll get the quotes

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, there is a certain sense in which we cannot fully specify anything (I'm interested for you to spell out why that's relevant).

Critical Rationalist:

But here's the quote. "Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory."

Critical Rationalist:

So, have you (or the PUAs) made "serious...attempt(s) to falsify the theory" that no women are immune to PUA?

curi:

i don't understand why you dug up a quote that doesn't mention specifying falsification conditions in advance. also please only post sourced quotes at my forums.

curi:

and yes PUAs have searched widely for NAWALTs

Critical Rationalist:

It is from Conjectures and Refutations. Page 36 http://www.rosenfels.org/Popper.pdf

Critical Rationalist:

So they have made genuine attempts to falsify theory and have failed to do so?

Critical Rationalist:

So... what kind of observation would count as falsification?

curi:

a NAWALT

Critical Rationalist:

What observations would count as observation of a NAWALT

curi:

that's complicated and involves understanding a bunch of theory with which to interpret data

Critical Rationalist:

As far as specifying in advance, this quote comes from the next page.

Critical Rationalist:

"Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers--for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status."

curi:

if you can point to that ever being done with AWALT, i'd be interested

JustinCEO:

Right ad hoc stuff bad

JustinCEO:

Ppl want to find a NAWALT tho

Critical Rationalist:

NAWALT is too broad

Critical Rationalist:

I'm talking about an observation that would refute this theory: "no women are immune to PUA"

Critical Rationalist:

You said that^

Critical Rationalist:

as a concrete example of what AWALT means

Critical Rationalist:

Don't give me jargon. Tell me what observation would refute this claim "no women are immune to PUA"

curi:

read the Girls Chase book if you want to begin to understand what we're talking about

Critical Rationalist:

If you have subjected your theory to Popperian tests, then you should be able to answer that question

Critical Rationalist:

Does the Girls Chase book explain what observation would falsify the theory that "no women are immune to PUA"? What chapter explains that?

curi:

i don't think you're trying your best to understand my perspective. you're trying to shoehorn the discussion into your preconceived notions of how to be Popperian.

curi:

while neglecting issues like the use of complex theoretical frameworks to interpret data

Critical Rationalist:

@curi you're doing exactly what GISTE was doing

curi:

and you seem to want to be able to test and debate something without understanding the topic.

Critical Rationalist:

refusing to answer questions when it gets difficult

Critical Rationalist:

you told GISTE that he should answer the question

Critical Rationalist:

you should abide by your own standard

curi:

i've just spent a while answering your question. you don't like the answer.

curi:

the specifications re the testing are complicated and you don't have teh background knowledge to discuss them.

curi:

that's your answer.

Critical Rationalist:

Really? I missed it. What observations would count as a falsification of this theory: "no women are immune to PUA"

JustinCEO:

If a complex theoretical framework is required to interpret data then pointing out that fact and a concrete place where you can get info with which to develop such a framework is not a dodge

Critical Rationalist:

you said at one point "a NAWALT". That's not an observation.

Critical Rationalist:

That is too flexible.

curi:

it gets less flexible if you learn the field. you just aren't familiar with the constraints involved and can't be told them in 5min while adversarial.

Critical Rationalist:

Adversarial? I'm asking genuine questions. I am willing to hear you explain it in detail. I place no time limits on your explanation (it doesn't have to be within 5 minutes).

curi:

but if that was true you'd read multiple books as part of the conversation.

Critical Rationalist:

Remember what you said to giste, and remember what you said on your page: picky arguments matter

JustinCEO:

CR u seem unwilling to let curi incorporate a book as part of his explanation so your length claim seems false

Critical Rationalist:

Sometimes recommending a book is a way of avoiding conversation.

Critical Rationalist:

I will read the book if you can tell me which chapter answers my question. Which chapter (or chapters) answer this question: What observations would count as a falsification of this theory: "no women are immune to PUA"

Critical Rationalist:

I doubt the author of the book even considers a question as technical as that

Critical Rationalist:

If I'm wrong, I want page numbers

curi:

there is no chapter with a direct answer to that question, it provides some of the framework with which to discuss tha tmatter, as i told you.

JustinCEO:

CR you seem to be implicitly conceding that your no time limit claim is false by raising arguments against reading books

Critical Rationalist:

@curi if during our debate about the software of the mind, I required you to read all of "How the Mind works" by Steven Pinker (without specifying which parts were relevant), would that have been a fair request?

curi:

i routinely respond to books during discussions

Critical Rationalist:

Do you read the books in their entirety?

Critical Rationalist:

Would you read all of "How the Mind Works" if I asked you to?

curi:

you're welcome to propose a better way to become familiar with the field, or to point out problems with Girls Chase.

curi:

it's up to you whether you're interested in learnign about this. idc

Critical Rationalist:

@curi that isn't answering my question

curi:

you seem to want a really short version containing certain specific things, which i don't have to offer you.

Critical Rationalist:

I'm wondering if you think it is legitimate to require a conversation partner to read a whole book

curi:

i didn't require you to

Critical Rationalist:

You can't apply a standard to someone else if you won't apply it to you

Critical Rationalist:

ok

curi:

https://curi.us/2235-discussions-should-use-sources

curi:

and i proposed the book as a potential way to make progress. if you have a better one, feel free to suggest it.

Critical Rationalist:

Well, I have a different rival theory of how women work

Critical Rationalist:

It is explained in How the Mind Works (which does deal extensively with sexuality)

Critical Rationalist:

I propose that you read that book before we continue

curi:

does it cover shit tests?

Critical Rationalist:

No...

Critical Rationalist:

I'm just saying, for you to understand my perspective, you have to understand the details of my theoretical framework

curi:

since shit tests have been observed many times, why aren't they covered and explained?

Critical Rationalist:

And I can't explain my theoretical framework in conversation, so you have to read How the Mind Works

Critical Rationalist:

Unless

curi:

do you mean that or are you just trying to mirror what you think i said?

Critical Rationalist:

you can propose an alternative way

Critical Rationalist:

Evolutionary psychology (my own view of how human sexuality works) is a complicated theory that takes time to understand

Critical Rationalist:

if I'm going to be expected to read a book (or a comparable alternative), I think this would be fair

Critical Rationalist:

we would both have a better understanding of each other's approach

curi:

i'm already familiar with evo psych

Critical Rationalist:

what is the evolutionary psychology explanation for sex differences in human jealousy?

curi:

the evo psych framework is compatible with more than one explanation for that.

Critical Rationalist:

(you asked me questions about the PUA theories to see how familiar I was)

Alisa:

I don't know evo psych, but I would say: the asymmetrical resources each sex invests in child rearing

Critical Rationalist:

Name one that has been offered for jealousy

Critical Rationalist:

Alisa: not quite

Alisa:

Fair. Was just a guess.

Critical Rationalist:

That is an explanation of many sex differences tho

Critical Rationalist:

So it was a good guess

curi:

i don't read much at that level of detail b/c it's irrelevant to my (DD's) criticisms of evo psych

Critical Rationalist:

right, so just as I don't have a detailed understanding of PUA, you don't have a detailed understanding of evo psych

Critical Rationalist:

so... if it is fair for you to propose a book, it is fair for me to propose a book

curi:

if you were familiar with some higher level PUA theory and had a refutation of it, and skipped some details, that would be comparable.

curi:

it would still not put you in a position to debate AWALT vs. NAWALT given PUA/redpill premises though

curi:

i haven't tried to jump into a debate between different applications of evo psych

Critical Rationalist:

right, in order to do that, I need to know details. Well, in order to understand what I deem to be the correct explanation (i.e. the rival theory for why women do particular things), you need to know details about evo psych

Critical Rationalist:

Becoming familiar with higher level PUA theory does not require details.

Critical Rationalist:

by "in order to do that", I mean AWALT and NAWALT

curi:

i don't know what you want to get out of this. you seem to want to call me Wrong about an issue you don't know or care about.

curi:

b/c you didn't like the choice of words that make up a particular jargon

curi:

which were, i will readily grant, not chosen in a way to make friends with the mainstream, and aren't normally used for outreach

JustinCEO:

Perhaps a different topic would be more fruitful to discuss??

Critical Rationalist:

@curi you listed this as a debate topic on your page. I read through your list and this issue jumped out at me. I am deeply interested in human sexuality (I mean, who isn't?). You are trying to read into my behavior bad motivations. And now you are saying "you just want to prove me wrong". You are doing exactly what Giste did when he accused me of being in debate mode

curi:

if you're deeply interested then why don't you begin reading material from this school of thought?

Critical Rationalist:

Also like him, you are refusing to answer my questions. When Giste did this, you (rightly) called him out on it (no hard feelings giste).

curi:

until you find some objection to it

JustinCEO:

Ya read to first objection

curi:

you're trying to jump into the middle of an internal debate you aren't familiar with

Critical Rationalist:

@curi by affirming PUA, you are implictly rejecting evo psych. You are thus taking sides on an issue when you don't understand the rival theory. You're in the same position as me (but a mirror image)

curi:

what are you talking about? PUAs routinely use evo psych explanations.

Critical Rationalist:

I guess I should say your version of pua, they are compatible

Critical Rationalist:

yes I've actually heard that, that's fair

JustinCEO:

You guys could both read to first objection on a suggested book

Critical Rationalist:

I think this matter though

curi:

my objections to evo psych have nothing to do with PUA

Critical Rationalist:

Let me use an analogy

Critical Rationalist:

Let's think about Einstein's theory

Critical Rationalist:

The paradigm case of a falsifiable theory

curi:

wait slow down

curi:

by affirming PUA, you are implictly rejecting evo psych

do you retract this?

Critical Rationalist:

Oh yes 100%

Critical Rationalist:

Anyways like I was saying

Critical Rationalist:

The theoretical details of Einstein's theory are very hard to understand

Critical Rationalist:

much harder to understand than PUA or evo psych

curi:

You are thus taking sides on an issue when you don't understand the rival theory.

do you mean that i don't understand what NAWALT means?

Critical Rationalist:

No, I meant the rival theory, evo psyc. But I retracted the implication that they are rival theories

Critical Rationalist:

Anyways

Critical Rationalist:

Despite the theoretical sophistication, Einstein was still able to say "this is the observation that will refute my theory" in clear terms.

curi:

yes because he was dealing with stuff that's much easier to measure and do math about, etc.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi I won't talk by implication. I do not think you have a clear understanding of what observations will falsify this claim "no women are immune to PUA"

curi:

other fields, like those involving human behavior, have a much harder time measuring things. takes more theory to do that.

Critical Rationalist:

I strongly suspect that you do not have an answer.

Critical Rationalist:

I was texting someone else in the group, and I am not the only one with this suspicion

Critical Rationalist:

When you don't answer a question, it makes you look bad.

curi:

can you quote a question i didn't answer?

Critical Rationalist:

What observations would count as a falsification of this theory: "no women are immune to PUA"

curi:

i did respond to that

Critical Rationalist:

So, tell me what the observations are?

curi:

do you remember me responding?

Critical Rationalist:

well, you did say NAWALT. But that is not a statement about what you would observe. Let me say something about that answer. It is actually just a tautology. A NAWALT is just "a woman who is not like that". In other words, you are just answering by saying the observation that would falsify the theory is the observation that the theory doesn't predict

Critical Rationalist:

That would be like Einstein saying "an observation that is not predicted by general relativity would falsify the theory"

curi:

do you remember me responding?

Critical Rationalist:

But what Einstein actually said was "if you see the points of light here rather than here, that falsifies the theory".

Critical Rationalist:

Yes I do now remember, you said NAWALT

curi:

you didn't remember before?

Critical Rationalist:

But I'm explaining why that is insufficient

Critical Rationalist:

No I forgot about that answer when I was typing. Thank you for helping me remember.

curi:

do you agree that a response you consider insufficient is different than no response?

Critical Rationalist:

yes of course

curi:

do you retract everything you said comparing me to GISTE?

Critical Rationalist:

Well, during the earlier part of the conversation

Critical Rationalist:

I followed up to your NAWALT answer by insisting on something more specific

Critical Rationalist:

that was approximately when you started proposing that I read a book

Critical Rationalist:

(if I remember correctly)

Critical Rationalist:

Which is still not answering the question

curi:

AWALT and NAWALT are jargon terms which refer to many books, articles and discussions. thousands of pages of material. is there a particular part of that literature which you think is inadequately specific?

Critical Rationalist:

But I am asking for specificity in terms of what observation counts as an instance of a NAWALT in a Popperian test. I bet that none of the material you mention gives specificity in that sense

Critical Rationalist:

And if they do, just quote it or point me to page numbers

curi:

you want physics-like specification. the field doesn't have that.

curi:

do you think evo psych has that?

Critical Rationalist:

Not physics level, but evo psyc theorists make predictions and test them.

Critical Rationalist:

They do say in advance what would count as falsification of their specific hypotheses

curi:

PUAs have made and tested many predictions.

Critical Rationalist:

I'm more than happy to give examples

Critical Rationalist:

Ok great!

curi:

e.g. "I think X would be a good opener". then try it 20 times.

Critical Rationalist:

Tell me what predictions follow from this theory (the original topic): "no women are immune to PUA"

Critical Rationalist:

Remember, if that theory is empirically testable in a Popperian sense, if the predictions are not corroborated, the theory should be considered falsified

curi:

it predicts things like e.g. Joe Newbie will never find a NAWALT, and if he claims to have found one he's fooling himself.

Critical Rationalist:

"if he claims to have found one he's fooling himself" this sounds suspiciously like an ad hoc hypothesis designed to save the theory from refutation

Critical Rationalist:

but again

curi:

if you review the literature and find inappropriate use of ad hoc hypotheses, feel free to point them out.

Critical Rationalist:

that is not an observational prediction I can test. I need to know what observations count as an instance of a NAWALT

curi:

you will find in most cases that Joe is fooling himself in highly repetitive ways that were already written about at length.

Critical Rationalist:

in most cases?

curi:

that's the typical discussion

curi:

the concepts AWALT and NAWALT are not specified as exactly as you'd like (like physics). i already told you this but you keep bringing it up. i don't see the point.

Critical Rationalist:

let me give you an example of how evo psyc works

Critical Rationalist:

so you can see what I mean

Critical Rationalist:

one evo psyc explanation of male homosexuality

Critical Rationalist:

was that genes for being gay also lead to increased giving to kin. This means gay uncles invest more in nieces and nephews than straight uncles.

Critical Rationalist:

Because of kin selection, those genes can be selected for

Critical Rationalist:

This theory lends itself to a prediction: gay uncles should be measurably more generous to kin than straight uncles

Critical Rationalist:

That turns out to not be true

Critical Rationalist:

So the theory is falsified

Critical Rationalist:

Now, let me give you this

Critical Rationalist:

your example of "this pickup line is superior"

Critical Rationalist:

that is DEFINITELY testable

Critical Rationalist:

I would never dispute that

Critical Rationalist:

it is very easy to run natural experiments on that

curi:

PUA is a body of knowledge that has used lots of testing

curi:

that's all i said

Critical Rationalist:

but this claim "no women are immune to PUA"

Critical Rationalist:

I think it should be testable

curi:

i also said there were no known documented counter examples to AWALT

Critical Rationalist:

what would count as a documented counterexample?

Critical Rationalist:

tell me

curi:

if you have one you think qualifies, let me know

Critical Rationalist:

no, you have to explain what observation would count as someone qualifying

Critical Rationalist:

maybe your explanation won't be complete

curi:

it's explained in a very roundabout, complicated way for thousands of pages

Critical Rationalist:

but get me started

curi:

that's all u get, sorry

curi:

that's what exists for that debate

curi:

also i think a evo psych example with a passed test would be more enlightening.

Critical Rationalist:

a different theory of male homosexuality is this

Critical Rationalist:

there is a gene on the x chromosome (males have one, females have two) which causes increased attraction to men. In males this makes them gay, in females it makes them extra fertile. This would allow the gene to continue to exist.

Critical Rationalist:

This theory makes a prediction.

Critical Rationalist:

Female relatives of gay men (who share that gene on the x chromosome) should have more children on average

curi:

that prediction doesn't follow

Critical Rationalist:

For now, this theory has in fact been corroborated

Critical Rationalist:

Why not?

curi:

how do you get from increased attraction to more children? could easily result in fewer children.

Critical Rationalist:

You might have misunderstood

curi:

do you mean the gene does different things for the different genders?

Critical Rationalist:

one way of reading it is that the gene makes the holder want to have sex with men more

curi:

what does that have to do with fertility?

Critical Rationalist:

I mean fertility in the sense of producing more children

Critical Rationalist:

in women, wanting sex with men leads to more children (in our evolutionary past, no condoms)

curi:

that's what i'm saying doesn't follow

curi:

wanting sex and getting sex are different things

Critical Rationalist:

ok good, so a good followup experiment would measure the number of sex partners

Critical Rationalist:

now, as you know

Critical Rationalist:

when observations occur as the theory predicts

Critical Rationalist:

it doesn't prove the theory, it only corroborates it

curi:

are you going to respond to me?

Critical Rationalist:

which is why you try to do as many tests as you can

Critical Rationalist:

what question?

curi:

the non sequitur issue

Critical Rationalist:

well, given evolutionary dynamics, there are always men who want to have sex with women (for reasons having to do with differential parental investment, which @Alisa mentioned)

Critical Rationalist:

so increased desire for sex (in women) would reliably lead to more sex

curi:

do you think it reliably leads to more sex today?

Critical Rationalist:

because they are the gatekeepers (as a PUA I'm sure you believe this)

Critical Rationalist:

yes, if women want more sex, they will usually get it

curi:

can you think of any reasons they wouldn't? any ways this can go wrong?

Critical Rationalist:

of course! hence the need to do followup experiments! corroboration does not equal proof

Critical Rationalist:

just like with Einstein

curi:

hold on

Critical Rationalist:

the fact that the starlight was where it was does not PROVE he was right

curi:

when you have a problem with the logic of your theory, testing it more times doesn't help

Critical Rationalist:

there are other explanations

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, lets compare this with Einstein

curi:

the tests are all premised on that logic

Critical Rationalist:

his theory predicted that starlight would be here rather than here

Critical Rationalist:

but there are other possible reasons for the light to be in that location

curi:

you're saying something like "X will cause Y which will cause Z so we'll measure Z to learn about X", right?

Critical Rationalist:

no

Critical Rationalist:

we say "x will cause y which will cause z"

Critical Rationalist:

we look to see if there is z

Critical Rationalist:

if there is no z, theory is falsified

Critical Rationalist:

if there is a z, the theory is not proven right

Critical Rationalist:

same with Einstein

curi:

so if Y would cause Z or not-Z, then the test doesn't work right due to the theory being logically confused?

Critical Rationalist:

"x (Einsteinian gravity) will cause y (curved spacetime) will cause z (star light here rather than here)"

Critical Rationalist:

if by y you mean "increased sexual desire", then we have other theoretical reasons for believing that (in women) increased sex drive will cause more sex partners (z)

Critical Rationalist:

parental investment theory

Critical Rationalist:

As I've said, I'm sure you already agree with that anyways

curi:

i asked if there were reasons it could lead to less sex. you said yes. but then instead of investigating this problem you suggested running extra tests which are premised on the idea that more attraction would lead to more sex.

Critical Rationalist:

are there possible reasons that spacetime could lead to the light NOT being where Einstein predicted?

Critical Rationalist:

yes, there could be other forces acting on the light that we don't know about

Critical Rationalist:

there are always possibilities like that

Critical Rationalist:

(which you can test on their own)

curi:

suppose, hypothetically, that increased attraction reduces the amount of sex a woman has by 50%. then would the results of your proposed tests be misleading?

Critical Rationalist:

you mean if women who wanted sex more had 50% less sex?

curi:

yes

Critical Rationalist:

yes, then the prediction would not follow

curi:

ok and could you solve this problem by doing more tests?

curi:

test it 100 times instead of 10

Critical Rationalist:

no

Critical Rationalist:

you would test that claim

curi:

2:36 PM] curi: can you think of any reasons they wouldn't? any ways this can go wrong?
[2:36 PM] Critical Rationalist: of course! hence the need to do followup experiments! corroboration does not equal proof

Critical Rationalist:

I mean followup experiments with different methodologies

Critical Rationalist:

i.e. test for a relationship between female sex drive and number of sex partners

Critical Rationalist:

Ok

Critical Rationalist:

Everyone who is watching

curi:

ok do you think that testing has been done?

Critical Rationalist:

I want you all to take note of something

Critical Rationalist:

(before I answer @curi's next volley of questions)

Critical Rationalist:

I do not know if that testing has been done or not

Critical Rationalist:

I asked @curi for specific observational predictions based on his theory. He said "NAWALT". When I asked him to explain what observations would count as an instance of NAWALT, he said "it's explained in a very roundabout, complicated way for thousands of pages. that's all u get, sorry". When he asked me for specific observational predictions based on evo psych, I answered. I gave real world examples from real experiments. I gave one example of an experiment that FALSIFIED an evo psych hypothesis, and I gave one example of an experiment that CORROBORATED an evo psych hypothesis. He asked a followup question about whether the corroborating experiment actually counted as corroboration, and I explained why it does by comparing it to the case of Einstein. I tried to use as little jargon as possible. If @curi asks me to explain any jargon I left unexplained, I will be happy to do so. There is a clear asymmetry here.

Critical Rationalist:

If anyone thinks my account of this conversation is inaccurate, I encourage you to read it for yourself.

curi:

do you think there exist examples of PUA openers or concepts which were falsified?

Critical Rationalist:

I stated (and never disputed) that the relative efficacy of openers is falsifiable.

curi:

ok so some evo psych ideas and some PUA ideas are relatively easy to test. so what?

Critical Rationalist:

You have not explained how "no women are immune to PUA" is falsifiable.

Critical Rationalist:

If you think there are some evo psych ideas that are not falsifiable, please tell me what you think they are.

Critical Rationalist:

I don't think there is an analogous unfalsifiable claim.

curi:

i asked for an example of an evo psych idea that passed some testing. the example you gave depends on an untested (as far as you know) premise which one can immediately think of major flaws with. why do you think that constitutes meaningful corroboration?

Critical Rationalist:

What did I say in response?

Critical Rationalist:

Did you read my Einstein analogy?

Critical Rationalist:

Einstein's prediction that starlight would be "here rather than here" requires untested assumptions

Critical Rationalist:

You always need auxiliary assumptions to get from a theory to a prediction (this is well understood in philosophy of science). You then can test those assumptions after

Critical Rationalist:

Do you disagree with Popper? Do you not think that Einstein's theory was meaningfully corroborated by the 1919 test?

curi:

how do you differentiate your method from the following: i think there is a gene which makes people like to eat fish. i assume, without testing, that liking to eat fish gives people better skin quality which leads to being more attractive which leads to more sex. i measure babies and correlate it to that gene. i say my whole theory is corroborated.

Critical Rationalist:

how would that explain male homosexuality?

curi:

it doesn't. it's a different theory.

Critical Rationalist:

... that is the reason the explanation was conjectured

Critical Rationalist:

so I would criticize you theory because it doesn't explain what it is supposed to explain

curi:

i'm giving a toy example to discuss a concept. does that make sense to you?

Critical Rationalist:

No. The claim that there is a gene on the x chromosome that leads to increased attraction to males was postulated to explain male homosexuality

Critical Rationalist:

that is why it was postulated

curi:

do you know what a toy example is?

Critical Rationalist:

your theory does not explain that datum at all

Critical Rationalist:

so it would be criticized on that basis

curi:

busy?

curi:

do you think any untested assumptions are allowable and it's still corroboration, or only certain categories?

Critical Rationalist:

I tested assumptions are allowable so long as they can be tested later

Critical Rationalist:

And as long as they’re consistent with other theories etc

curi:

anything which can be tested later is allowable?

curi:

oh, consistent with which other theories?

Critical Rationalist:

Well, yeah you could put additional constraints. Consistent with other corroborated theories etc

Critical Rationalist:

You still haven’t engaged with my Einstein analogy

curi:

your premise (female more attracted to men -> more sex) is inconsistent with many theories.

curi:

that's why i objected to it

Critical Rationalist:

Oh yeah no i meant to theories that are well corroborated thank you for the objection

Critical Rationalist:

Allows my to clarify

curi:

it's inconsistent with many high quality theories, not just arbitrary junk

curi:

i'm not talking about the space of logically possible theories

Critical Rationalist:

@curi this line of questioning is important and interesting

curi:

it's inconsistent with a variety of things that i and many other people believe and have extensive reasons for

curi:

there are many books about such things

Critical Rationalist:

But I’m going to have to remind you of the asymmetry

Critical Rationalist:

When you asked for a specific experimental test of an evo psyc theory

Critical Rationalist:

I gave you an example

Critical Rationalist:

A concrete example of how an observation can rule out an evo psyc theory

Critical Rationalist:

For any evo psych theory

curi:

i think it's a good example of the quality of the work in the field b/c it assumed a very questionable premise.

Critical Rationalist:

I’d be happy to do this for you

Critical Rationalist:

But when I challenged a specific PUA theory

curi:

AWALT is like a meta study

Critical Rationalist:

you only said “NAWALT”, and couldn’t tie it to a concrete observation

curi:

it's a belief about the overall state of many other tests, ideas, debates, etc.

Critical Rationalist:

You could not specify what observations would falsify the theory

Critical Rationalist:

Even though you think the theory is testable (in Popper’s sense)

Critical Rationalist:

When I explain how my theories are testable

Critical Rationalist:

I give details

Critical Rationalist:

I answer followup

curi:

but your details are problematic

Critical Rationalist:

You think so

Critical Rationalist:

I explained why they aren’t with the Einstein analogy

Critical Rationalist:

Which you haven’t responded to

curi:

want me to give details that you consider problematic? would that satisfy you?

Critical Rationalist:

But you haven’t even BEGUN to do the same for your theory

Critical Rationalist:

Well, it’s not just enough for me (or you) to consider something problematic

Critical Rationalist:

What matters is arguing for their problematic nature

curi:

you seem to think saying stuff i consider bad quality research is a good start. i don't know why you think that should count for a lot.

Critical Rationalist:

You tried, and I responded (my response has been left alone)

Critical Rationalist:

It doesn’t matter what you consider to be bad

Critical Rationalist:

You have to argue that it is bad

curi:

i asked if you could think of reasons your premise is false

curi:

you said yes

curi:

instead of asking for mine

Critical Rationalist:

I criticized that argument

curi:

so we didn't go into those details because you conceded

Critical Rationalist:

The same is true for Einstein’s prediction

Critical Rationalist:

Which Popper thought was a paradigm case of empirical testing

Critical Rationalist:

Again, still waiting

curi:

can you think of reasons that matter that the premise would be false, not just picky logically-possible stuff? this is what i meant in the first place.

Critical Rationalist:

The reasons in the Einstein case also matter

curi:

what is your best argument that the premise is false that you know of?

Critical Rationalist:

There really could be other forces interacting with the curvature of space time

Critical Rationalist:

And don’t forget

Critical Rationalist:

“Picky” isn’t bad

curi:

you're trying to dismiss infinitely many possible objections b/c there are always infinitely many possible objections. this was not the point i was making

Critical Rationalist:

No that’s not the response I made.

Critical Rationalist:

At a later point I will explain my Einstein response again if you wish. For now I have to go. I recommend that you read my Einstein response as I originally put it, and really try to understand it.

curi:

i already know what you're saying but you aren't following me and you keep trying to fix this by explaining CR to me.

curi:

You always need auxiliary assumptions to get from a theory to a prediction (this is well understood in philosophy of science). You then can test those assumptions after

Critical Rationalist:

Note again that you have not even begun to do something analogous for your theory. I think I’ve explained the problem.

curi:

that comment deals with the infinity of possible objections

Critical Rationalist:

But yeah I really do have to go for now. Take a look at the passages about x causing y which causes z

Critical Rationalist:

Your argument against the corroboration of the evo psyc theory would work almost exactly the same way against the corroboration of Einstein’s theory

curi:

you don't know what my argument is

curi:

you made incorrect assumptions about it

curi:

i don't have an objection re Einstein. while your assumption contradicts ideas bordering on common sense.

curi:

that's a difference. it's not "something could be wrong" but actual known criticism. like if someone assumed 2+2=5 as a premise, that has known criticism in a way Einstein's premises did not.

curi:

i illustrated this with a toy example where i put an intentionally dumb premise in the middle, but you didn't understand it and also wouldn't followup and try to clear up the issue.

curi:

curi:

i'm giving a toy example to discuss a concept. does that make sense to you?

CR:

No.

curi

do you know what a toy example is?

CR

[no answer]

curi:

you switch topics frequently without resolving them. however one asymmetry in the discussion is that we've established and mutually agreed that you made mistakes. while you have not established any specific mistake by me.

curi:

my guess is you will lose patience and stop discussing prior to https://curi.us/2232-claiming-you-objectively-won-a-debate

curi:

you will give up without an impasse chain https://elliottemple.com/essays/debates-and-impasse-chains nor provide some other written methodology by which you think you won any specific debate point.

curi:

i hope i'm mistaken about this. i haven't given up. curious what you think about discussion goals like those.

curi:

i think you're overly focused on making inconclusive comments re big picture instead of resolving specific small conversational branches.

Critical Rationalist:

One quick point of clarification. When I said "no" in response to your toy example, I was not saying that I didn't understand your example. I understood your toy example, I just thought it was inadequate as a rival theory to mine.

curi:

i asked a direct question, and you gave a direct answer, but you weren't answering and then ignored me when i tried to clarify further?

Critical Rationalist:

I understand your toy example.

curi:

your prior comments had indicated you did not understand it.

curi:

you kept trying to relate it to homosexuality, which it did not mention.

curi:

and you persisted in that after i clarified that it wasn't related to homosexuality

curi:

I understood your toy example, I just thought it was inadequate as a rival theory to mine.

this statement is self-contradictory. the second half shows you don't understand it.

curi:

b/c it wasn't a rival to yours.

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, I see. So your example is meant to criticize that the link between the theory (a gene on the x chromosome causes homosexuality) and the prediction (female relatives of male homosexuals will have more sex partners)

Critical Rationalist:

The link between the theory and prediction is called an auxiliary assumption. Do you know what an auxiliary assumption is?

Critical Rationalist:

You are essentially saying "you haven't corroborated the auxiliary assumption (in this case, that women who want more sex will get more sex as a result)"

curi:

that is not what i'm saying, no

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, please clarify.

Critical Rationalist:

Here is my claim

curi:

i said i think the assumption is bad.

Critical Rationalist:

So you agree that it is legitimate in principle to use untested auxiliary assumptions? You just think this particular auxiliary assumption conflicts with other (well corroborated) theories?

curi:

i didn't say how well corroborated the other theories were. we often use non-empirical criticism, e.g. logical points.

curi:

i agree it's legitimate in principle, but you have to use critical thinking to limit it, not do it arbitrarily.

Critical Rationalist:

Ok sure, so you just think that this particular auxiliary assumption conflicts with other well corroborated OR logically unrefuted theories?

curi:

is this the research you're talking about? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691850/pdf/15539346.pdf

Critical Rationalist:

Yes. More than one experiment (to the best of my memory) has been done in this area.

curi:

does one of the other papers talk about attraction to males?

Critical Rationalist:

No, strictly speaking they are agnostic to the exact mechanism by which the gene on the x chromosome causes increased female fecundity.

curi:

so the claim you made, as an example of something corroborated, is not part of the research?

curi:

and the assumption i doubted is also not part of the research?

Critical Rationalist:

Strictly speaking, the claim made by the researchers is that the gene on the x chromosome causes homosexuality in males but increased female fecundity in females. It is agnostic as to mechanism. The idea that the gene causes increased attraction to males strikes me as plausible. However, if you think that the fact that this mechanism is not described by the researchers, I'm happy to use a different example of corroborated evo psych theories.

curi:

you're not speaking strictly, though. e.g. you speak of "the gene" but they don't. right?

Critical Rationalist:

Oh yes they have localized a gene

Critical Rationalist:

One second

curi:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6519-survival-of-genetic-homosexual-traits-explained/

Camperio-Ciani stresses that whatever the genetic factors are, there is no single gene accounting for his observations.

is Camperio-Ciani wrong or misreported?

Critical Rationalist:

When I say they have localized a gene

Critical Rationalist:

I do not mean "the" gene that explains homosexuality.

Critical Rationalist:

It is a gene which makes a male more likely to be homosexual.

Critical Rationalist:

Complex traits like homosexuality are polygenic.

Critical Rationalist:

One gene that was localized by this kind of research was Xq28

curi:

is Xq28 a gene?

Critical Rationalist:

yes

Critical Rationalist:

Now, I'm not particularly interested in the details of this example (if it happens to have a false auxiliary assumption, I can give many other examples of corroborated evo psych theories: patterns of male vs female sexual jealousy, sex differences in preference for casual sex)

curi:

https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2164-7-29

Well known for its gene density and the large number of mapped diseases, the human sub-chromosomal region Xq28 has long been a focus of genome research.

why would a gene contain gene density?

Critical Rationalist:

The point is to say that this is how you are supposed to test theories.

Critical Rationalist:

Make a theory, use some auxiliary assumptions (you still have not indicated if you understand what these are) to form predictions, then test the predictions.

curi:

curi:

why would a sub-region of a gene contain at least 11 genes?

Critical Rationalist:

There are competing definitions of "genes". I found one article which said "the study hypothesized that some X chromosomes contain a gene, Xq28, that increases the likelihood of an individual to be homosexual."

Critical Rationalist:

Maybe that article had a different definition of gene, maybe it was a simple mistake.

curi:

what definition of gene are you using, and what is a competing definition that you disagree with?

Critical Rationalist:

I have no opinion on the definition of gene. I will use whatever definition you want me to.

Alisa:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xq28

Critical Rationalist:

It makes no difference to the content of the prediction whether we define Xq28 as one gene or 11 genes.

curi:

you aren't reading carefully even though i'm talking about details. that's inappropriate to productive discussion

curi:

no one said Xq28 had 11 genes.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi my point is that it does not matter how many genes are in Xq28.

curi:

my point is that you were factually mistaken. i think getting facts and statements correct matters. you don't seem interested. i regard this as an impasse.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi this is not an impasse (in the sense of a deadlock in debate). However many genes you think are in Xq28, I will grant that fact to you.

Alisa:

That is not responsive to his point that you were mistaken and that getting facts and details correct matters.

curi:

the impasse isn't the number of genes in Xq28. i don't think you understood what i said. your repeated misreadings of what i say, along with lack of clarifying questions or interest, is a second impasse.

Critical Rationalist:

What is the impasse? Please explain it to me.

Alisa:

you were factually mistaken. i think getting facts and statements correct matters. you don't seem interested.

curi:

your disinterest in focusing on making correct statements and caring about errors in them.

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, I also want to make correct statements. If you know how many genes are in Xq28, I will be happy to find out (so I can be correct).

curi:

do you agree that you made an error?

Critical Rationalist:

This particular fact (how many genes are there) does not have relevance to the debate (unless you can show otherwise). But I agree that correct statements are better than incorrect ones.

Critical Rationalist:

Which statement of mine was an error?

curi:

that's a yes or no question.

Critical Rationalist:

If you can show me which statement was an error, I'll agree.

Critical Rationalist:

I am a fallibilist, so I expect that sometimes I will make errors.

curi:

that's not an answer to the question. your unwillingness or inability to understand and answer questions is an impasse.

JustinCEO:

Taking a position on whether you made an error is sticking your neck out. If you're wrong in your evaluation that would warrant further analysis re why you missed that error

Freeze:

are these impasse chains in action?

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, I don't think I made an error.

Critical Rationalist:

Show me one, and I'll concede that I made one.

curi:

@Freeze not exactly, no clear chains

Freeze:

ah

Alisa:

is Xq28 a gene?

yes

For one

Freeze:

just unconnected impasses

curi:

4:40 PM] curi: is Xq28 a gene?
[4:41 PM] Critical Rationalist: yes

Freeze:

still interesting

Critical Rationalist:

Some people define it as a gene.

curi:

what definition of gene are you using, and what is a competing definition that you disagree with?

Critical Rationalist:

But actually the more reputable sources (from my glancing) define it as having more genes,

Critical Rationalist:

So sure, I concede that was an error. It is actually many genes.

Critical Rationalist:

A "gene complex"

curi:

why did you change your mind even though i didn't give new information?

Critical Rationalist:

Because you pointed out an error that I made.

curi:

i don't think you understood my question

curi:

when you say "you pointed out an error that I made" you seem to be referring to me giving you new information, contrary to the question.

Critical Rationalist:

I couldn't think of any error I made.

Critical Rationalist:

Alisa pointed one out. And I double checked the sources, and confirmed that it was an error

curi:

You forgot about the issue of whether Xq28 is a gene when evaluating and making a claim re whether you had made an error?

Critical Rationalist:

I also wasn't sure earlier because one source said it was a gene

Critical Rationalist:

But the more reputable sources said it was multiple genes

Critical Rationalist:

So I now concede that it was an error

Critical Rationalist:

These are all fair things to be saying.

curi:

i've asked a yes or no question. i'm still waiting for an answer.

Critical Rationalist:

No, it was not in my mind when you asked about whether I had made an error.

curi:

do you mean "yes"?

JustinCEO:

curi:

You forgot about the issue of whether Xq28 is a gene when evaluating and making a claim re whether you had made an error?

Critical Rationalist:

Sorry, yes.

curi:

it's hard to organize and make progress in discussions with frequent errors. because you're talking about one thing and then an error comes up, and you talk about that, an another error comes up. this can happen a lot if the rate of errors is faster or similar to the rate of error corrections. does this abstract issue make sense to you?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, the abstract issue makes sense to me. I concede the error, and agree that errors make conversations harder. I said Xq28 is one gene when it is in fact many genes. You are free to continue with any line of argument you had.

curi:

ok. i appreciate that. many people quit around here if not earlier.

it's hard to answer some of your complicated, bigger picture questions and points, in a way that satisfies you, when communication about some of the smaller chunks is breaking down often. that's my basic answer re AWALT. does that make sense?

this discussion community has been trying to examine issues rigorously for 25 years. it has developed some complicated ideas about how to do that. if you're interested in learning the methodology, that'd be great. if not, it's possible to have discussions but expectations have to be lower. do you think that's fair?

Critical Rationalist:

I think this will be my last comment for the night. Given that I only have two days left before I leave my family for Georgia, it might be my last comment for a while. Here is why I do not think that is fair. Debates about evo psych have also gone back decades (longer than 25 years). There are also complicated ideas about how to do that (in fact, more complicated: they involve statistical analysis and genetics). Despite the fact that t7he debates about evo psych theories have been going on longer, and have more complicated methodologies, I was still able to explain (in plain English) what observations would falsify specific evo psych theories. I think it is reasonable to expect you (as a Popperian) to be able to do the same. You have a hypothesis (no women are immune to PUA) and you have been unwilling to explain what data would falsify it. You have said (and I agree) that some PUA hypotheses are testable, but I started this conversation by contesting that particular claim (i.e. the AWALT claim). I don't think there are any evo psych hypotheses for which I could not explain (in plain English) what evidence would count as falsification of the hypothesis. But if there were, I would just admit "yes, that particular hypothesis is not falsifiable". I am not claiming in any way to have "won the debate". I view this more as a conversation. I am merely saying that @curi held me to a different standard. He extensively criticized my examples of how to test evo psych hypotheses, but was unwilling to give his own example of how to test the hypothesis which was the subject of debate. I could not even begin criticism of his position, because he flatly refused to answer the crucial question.

curi:

your explanations re evo psych contained errors which have not yet been untangled, so you did not yet succeed at doing that.

curi:

that = " was still able to explain (in plain English) what observations would falsify specific evo psych theories."

curi:

you're also comparing research into evo psych using standard methodology with research into discussion methodology. and doing it after i just gave several demonstrations of how your discussion contributions were inadequately rigorous, hence my suggestion better methodology is needed to deal with that ongoing problem.

curi:

the standard i was trying to hold you to was not being mistaken. i do hold myself to that too.

curi:

i did not agree to debate AWALT with you (you call it the subject of the debate) and you didn't seem to listen to me about that.

JustinCEO:

CR seems more interested in showing curi has some purported double standard than in trying to achieve mutual understanding

curi:

AWALT is an all X are Y claim, similar to "all swans are white". you can test it by looking for counter examples. in order to judge what is a counter example you have to learn and use the redpill/PUA theoretical framework to interpret the data. i don't know a simple summary to redpill a bluepill person in a couple paragraphs so that they could do that, especially not when they're argumentative and not asking questions to learn about PUA.

curi:

the data is much messier than physics b/c e.g. no PUA has a 100% success rate

curi:

so 10 guys can try to get a girl using their flawed PUA, all fail, and that doesn't imply she's a NAWALT

curi:

this is dangerous b/c ppl could make endless excuses to get rid of counter examples, as CR said. nevertheless it's the situation. i asked if he knew of that danger happening but he didn't. which makes sense because he's unfamiliar with the literature and not in a position to join the AWALT debate.

curi:

AWALT is not 100% rigorously defined. worse, it's considerably less airtightly specified than many other existing ideas. nevertheless it does have some content, and if data started clashing with it in big ways the reasonable people would start changing their mind.

curi:

people mean stuff by it that has limited flexibility

curi:

but no single field report could refute AWALT

curi:

no more than observing one family for one day could refute the idea that they are coercive parents.

JustinCEO:

do lesbians use PUA?

curi:

no idea

JustinCEO:

i wondered cuz lots of lesbian relationships fall into gendered patterns where there's like the boy lesbian and girl lesbian

JustinCEO:

so i was wondering if it'd work for the boy lesbians

curi:

you could try to RCT whether PUAs have better pickup results on average than ppl without PUA training, but that won't tell you whether AWALT or NAWALT.

curi:

you can't directly test whether a particular woman is a NAWALT b/c any number of PUA attempts failing on her is compatible with AWALT

curi:

that doesn't mean those failures would be meaningless. we'd try to come up with explanations of the data.

curi:

it could indicate e.g. a systematic error in PUA training that many PUAs fail on that women. which would be unsurprising. no one thinks PUA is perfect as understood today. the issue is whether that kind of stuff works.

curi:

CR was uninterested in the problem situation this debate stems from

curi:

which is ppl actually want to find a NAWALT and other ppl think it's a hopeless quest

curi:

this has consequences like MGTOW, which believes AWALT and consequently rejects women

JustinCEO:

ya i mentioned that earlier i think re: wanting to find NAWALT

curi:

the actual nature of the debate is kinda like, stylized:

MGTOW: u'll never find a unicorn, RIP
Joe: my gf is GREAT, why u dissing her? i totally understand that redpill is right in general and > 90% of girls are like that, but she's special, just look harder
MGTOW: link me her facebook
Joe: ok
MGTOW: here are 8 examples of AWALT behavior i found on her wall
Joe: fuck you

curi:

then, after consistently dealing with challenges like this, CR comes along and says AWALT theory is not subject to empirical testing.

JustinCEO:

i think if u assume PUAs are like misogynists or something (which is a conventional view) you would have the opposite expectation, that they want to say AWALT

curi:

b/c it's hard to tell him how to find AWALT behaviors on an FB page

curi:

there's no simple formula for that

curi:

i can't write a bot to scrape that data

curi:

i can't get that data from a survey

curi:

it takes creative, critical thinking

curi:

note this debate is btwn ppl who think redpill is 99% right and ppl who think 100%, NOT btwn ppl who think redpill is 50% right or 5% right or 0% right. the debate with them is different. CR didn't seem to understand this when i explained earlier. but then blames me for not being able to give a short explanation, just cuz he didn't understand the one i gave? meanwhile he did not give one that satisfied me, but claimed asymmetry b/c he gave one!

curi:

anyway the big thing, to me, is he makes lots of mistakes, he admits he makes lots of mistakes, he ought to be super interested in talking with someone who can catch and correct his mistakes (and who he can't do that to, as yet). but it's not clear that he is.

curi:

curi:

and now he's leaving, probably for a while, without trying to do those things or explain alternatives or concede he has a lot to learn and express interest in learning it.

curi:

[4:26 AM] GISTE: Before I address your question, I have a point to make and a clarifying question about what you said:
(1) I think you’re implying that all of your previous comments are compatible with Popperian epistemology. I’ve been reading your comments and I disagree with many of them re epistemology. So that means that you and I disagree on what Popperian epistemology really is, how it works, and how it applies to the non-epistemology topics we’re discussing.
(2) To clarify, are you saying that you have to look at data (observe) before coming up with a theory? @Critical Rationalist
[4:31 AM] Critical Rationalist: I don’t hear a question from 1).

This is a misreading by CR. GISTE clearly stated that he had a point and a question, then provided a point and a question. CR assumed not only without it being said, but directly contrary to the text, that it would be two questions.

curi:

[5:00 AM] GISTE: (1) You’ve seen me disagree with Popper on stuff re epistemology, so I don’t get the “sacred text” comment. (Recall that we talked about Popper’s critical preferences idea and I gave you a link to a curi blog post that explains that Popper’s idea is wrong and incompatible with the rest of Popperian epistemology, while curi’s correction to that idea is compatible with the rest of Popperian epistemology.)
(2) Ok. I recommend that you engage with @curi or @alanforr about this because they are experts on this and I’m not. For now I’ll explain something that I’m not sure will help you understand my view. (This is my vague memory and these are not actual quotes.) Popper once gave a lecture where he said to his students “Observe”. The students said, “observe what?” Popper replied with something like, “Exactly, you have to have an idea (theory) about what to observe before you can observe”. This was to point out that theory always comes before observation.
(3) selective pressures cannot “give rise” to anything. I tried to come up with an interpretation of your question that makes sense from my perspective (which includes my understanding of epistemology) but I did not succeed. I could try to come up with a question that tries to get at what I think you’re trying to get at, and then answer that question. So here’s my question: what selective pressures could have possibly selected for the genes that made flying dinosaur bones lighter? Answer: flying dinosaurs that had genes that made their bones lighter resulted in those dinosaurs being able to fly more, higher, longer, etc, which resulted in those dinosaurs having more grandchildren than compared to the dinosaurs that had rival genes.

@Critical Rationalist
[5:04 AM] Critical Rationalist: I agree, the “sacred text” comment was unnecessarily provocative. The passage you cite is roughly what I had in mind.

This is an error because GISTE did not cite a passage.

curi:

[6:18 AM] Critical Rationalist: Children can only learn language during a certain period of time. If they try to learn a language after a certain age, it is virtually impossible to attain full fluency. Furthermore, learning a language as an adult is incredibly effortful, whereas doing so as a child is effortless.

How do you know it's effortless for children?

The reason you think this data contradicts my view is that you don't know what my view is. You're trying to argue with it before understanding the basics. This isn't an issue we overlooked.

These data seem best explained by specialized language acquisition capacities (which only function for a limited time), not a general learning capacity.

this claim contradicts some theories in epistemology, which are in BoI, which CR hasn't learned or found any flaw in. if theory and data are incompatible you have to say "i don't know", but the data is compatible, the only issue here is the theory-violating explanation of the data seems more intuitive.

curi:

[6:30 AM] GISTE: AFAIK = as far as i know
[6:31 AM] Critical Rationalist: Lol typed it into google incorrectly

here CR thinks making an error is funny.

Measure the degree of corruption by society (however you define it) and see if if predicts the difficulty of learning language.
[9:19 AM] Critical Rationalist: Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and make that prediction?

CR doesn't understand the things he's trying to argue with. you can't just measure that. our concept doesn't map to a measuring device. he's dramatically underestimating the complexity of the human condition by proposing (in later messages) very naive, simplistic proxies for corruption which are very dissimilar to our thinking on the matter.

more broadly he's dramatically downplaying the role of philosophy and critical thinking compared to KP and DD.

curi:

[9:54 AM] Critical Rationalist: Both my theory and his lack theoretical specificity

this comment on me comes from misreading what i actually said. he's glossing over the details and specifics of the points i made. could go through it in detail but he won't thank or reward me, or start trying to learn FI.

[10:26 AM] Critical Rationalist: There is no account of how a universal classical computer could creatively conjecture new explanations

KP gave one. P1 -> TT -> EE -> P2. Also known as "evolution" or "conjecture and refutation". that doesn't mention computers. is the problem/objection related to some imagined limit of computers? what?

Critical Rationalist:

@curi as I said, I’ll be stepping out for a while. I’ll just say one thing. Since you’re holding my words to a very high standard, it is only fair for the same standard to be applied to you.

Critical Rationalist:

The reason you think this data contradicts my view is that you don’t know what my view is.

Critical Rationalist:

Did I say that this data contradicts your view?

curi:

Freeze:

"very powerful evidence against curi's account"

Freeze:

the evidence is the data?

Critical Rationalist:

Does “powerful evidence against” mean the same thing as “contradicting”?

Freeze:

i think so

curi:

do you think that data is compatible with my account? why, then, would it be very powerful evidence against? i myself think that the data, as you present it, refutes my account.

Critical Rationalist:

I do not think data needs to logically contradict a theory to be evidence against it. The point is that you misrepresented what I said. I elsewhere explained that what I meant was that the data are better explained by an alternative model.

Critical Rationalist:

That might not be your epistemology, but you made an error when presenting my position.

curi:

in the quote, i didn't make a statement about what you said.

Critical Rationalist:

You presented my position. You said > The reason you think this data contradicts my view is that you don’t know what my view is.

curi:

since your presentation of your data does contradict my account (IMO), and you thought it was strong evidence against, and Critical Rationalism considers evidence against something to be contradicting data, and you said you were a Critical Rationalist, i made a reasonable guess given incomplete information.

Critical Rationalist:

Ok, but it was an error nonetheless

curi:

no, making a reasonable guess using incomplete information is not an error. it's a correct action.

Critical Rationalist:

You are presupposing an incorrect definition of error. Error means mistake or false statement

Critical Rationalist:

Error: “the state or condition of being wrong in conduct or judgment.”

curi:

was my conduct wrong?

Critical Rationalist:

No, your statement was wrong

curi:

was my judgment wrong, meaning i should have made a different judgment in that situation?

Critical Rationalist:

Wrong as in factually wrong, not ethically wrong

JustinCEO:

That's the very definition I would have chosen to contradict u CR

Critical Rationalist:

No, it was wrong in the sense that it was factually incorrect

curi:

so i didn't make a conduct or judgment error?

Critical Rationalist:

The first definition of wrong is “not correct or true; incorrect”

Critical Rationalist:

Your statement was incorrect, therefor it was an error

JustinCEO:

The very definition that you first chose doesn't talk about factual correctness

curi:

you're moving the goalposts

curi:

and what do you think is evidence against a theory which doesn't contradict it? how does that work?

Critical Rationalist:

Furthermore, if we accept your definition of error, then my claim that Xq28 was a single Gene was not an error: it was a reasonable guess based on incomplete information (I looked at a source which said it was a gene)

curi:

i don't agree

Critical Rationalist:

That’s besides the point

Critical Rationalist:

The point is, your statement was incorrect. It was an error

curi:

why did you manage to find a source that's worse than wikipedia or reading link previews on google?

JustinCEO:

CR imho u r scrambling badly while trying to catch curi out

curi:

seems like an error

JustinCEO:

You should be less adversarial

curi:

and why did you double down on it by making a claim re differing definitions of gene while being unable to provide any definitions?

JustinCEO:

Night

Critical Rationalist:

I’m not revisiting it in detail

curi:

i think if i restate something you communicated, and then you call it factually false, the error is yours for communicating it, not mine for talking about your views in terms of what you said.

curi:

further, you're claiming i'm factually wrong but have yet to explain the real state of affairs, as you claim it to be, which differs from what i thought it was.

Critical Rationalist:

Then the same is true for you

JustinCEO:

There he goes again

curi:

i haven't yet explained that Xq28 is more than one gene?

Critical Rationalist:

You accused me of not understanding your view. In that case, the fault is yours

Critical Rationalist:

If we use the same standard

curi:

where did i miscommunicate?

Critical Rationalist:

Where did I miscommunicate?

curi:

i told you where i got my interpretation of your position. you have yet to point out any error in my way of reading.

curi:

did you forget?

Critical Rationalist:

I did not forget. It is a rhetorical question. I do not believe that I miscommunicated

curi:

i gave an account which you have not responded to

curi:

so that's an asymmetry

curi:

asking where you miscommunicated, while remembering that i already told you and it's pending your reply, is unreasonable

Critical Rationalist:

I believe that data can decide between two theories when one theory predicts it, but the other does not.

Critical Rationalist:

That is not the same as the data contradicting the latter theory, but it does constitute evidence against it

curi:

i think you're too tilted to continue, and are just trying to win a pedantic point to save face because you lost a bunch of points, and that you can't actually win but are just going to keep throwing nonsense at me without regard for the quality of your arguments, and this is an impasse.

Critical Rationalist:

No, I just explained what I mean by evidence being against a theory without contradicting it

Critical Rationalist:

Which is what you asked for.

curi:

asking where you miscommunicated, while remembering that i already told you and it's pending your reply, is unreasonable

curi:

among many other things

Critical Rationalist:

Alright, this will actually be my last comment. The reason i did this little exercise is because your own accusations of errors are levied against me when they were clearly good faith misunderstandings. For example, I admitted that I mistyped something into google and you called this an error. I am showing why that approach is problematic. I think you’re projecting. You accusing me of being combative is odd coming from someone who criticized me for mistyping something into google.

curi:

asserting they were "clearly good faith" is an unreasonable way to speak to me. you can't reasonably expect me to agree with that.

Critical Rationalist:

Do you think I mistyped something into google in bad faith (I was referring to the errors you pointed out in your volley, eg when I mistyped something into google, or when I said giste “cited” something when he only alluded to it. Those were clearly not in bad faith).

curi:

someone who criticized me for mistyping something into google.

i didn't do that. you're lost b/c you keep misreading things and getting facts wrong. then you build conjectures using those errors.

curi:

Alright, this will actually be my last comment.

false

curi:

(I was referring to the errors you pointed out in your volley,

you didn't specify a limit on which errors from today you meant.

curi:

i was criticizing you for laughing, not for the typo.

curi:

i was criticizing your attitude not your mistyping. again you're too tilted, incompetent or whatever to read.

curi:

that's common and fixable if you want to work at improving. it takes effort to gain skills. but it doesn't sound like you want to make progress.

curi:

re epistemology, does he mean that observing my desk is powerful evidence against evolution, which did not predict it? or only if i propose a theory of intelligent design which includes a prediction of my desk?

curi:

i wonder why he thinks "effortless" learning doesn't contradict my model. does he know that contradicts Popper?

curi:

he thinks my model merely fails to predict that some learning will be effortless? odd misconception.

curi:

conjecturing and refuting is effort.

curi:

there's no actual data that anyone learned anything effortlessly.

curi:

he was ignoring that my model interprets the data differently

curi:

1:20 PM] Critical Rationalist: Let me try to spell out the contradiction with a concrete example

curi:

there's also the dictionary meanings

curi:

curi:

curi:

curi:

I'm not contradicting you, I'm just saying you're totally wrong. - CR, 2020

curi:

A general learning capacity would work equally well through the life span, but language acquisition works optimally during a particular period of life

isn't he saying: curi's model would predict X, but the data is Y. isn't he referring to contradiction?

curi:

i still read this as as a misprediction issue where my model allegedly differs from empirical reality, and i think he was being dishonest to try to catch me in an error.

curi:

he wasn't talking about something where my model has no predictions, so that was an unreasonable elaboration. he gave a case which, besides the direct problems with it, doesn't apply here.

curi:

he had just stated a prediction himself (which is correct as a first approximation, though fails to consider some factors)

curi:

it was a poor claim about what my model predicts, but he did make such a claim and contradict it.

curi:

right after mentioning something, which i highlighted, that does contradict my model (the idea of effortless learning, which tbh i don't think any serious school of thought claims).

curi:

i don't think he thought his point through beyond his initial statement that he hadn't said contradict, and i said contradict

curi:

but he wasn't even paying enough attention to notice i didn't say he said that word.

curi:

i was describing his thinking, not making statements re his word use

curi:

note that none of the errors he made were rescuable by saying e.g. "oh i was speaking loosely, and reasonably, and meant..."

curi:

no additional clarifications of his statements would help them

curi:

they were actually wrong

curi:

it wasn't stuff like typos where he'd say "oh i didn't mean that, that text doesn't represent the ideas in my head perfectly"

curi:

they were all substantive thinking mistakes

curi:

he's partly trying to smear my criticism by making low quality criticism and then calling it parallel.

curi:

i wasn't trying to hurt him by correcting him about several things in a row. in retrospect i did hurt him. i avoided those sorts of corrections for quite a bit of discussion b/c i know most ppl dislike them and can't handle them, and he broadcast plenty of the usual signs that he would dislike it. however, he kept pushing me in picky ways, trying to get more details, etc. he was basically bluffing aggressively by pretending he wanted that sort of discussion to pressure me. he thought it was a game of chicken whereas, actually, i simply can discuss carefully and rigorously.

curi:

he pretended he was OK with it at first, and pretended it had been successful, but after these later comments he clearly wasn't.

curi:

he interpreted correction re social status and wanted to do this back to me:

curi:

He had turned to go. Francon stopped him. Francon’s voice was gay and warm:
“Oh, Keating, by the way, may I make a suggestion? Just between us, no offense intended, but a burgundy necktie would be so much better than blue with your gray smock, don’t you think so?”
“Yes, sir,” said Keating easily. “Thank you. You’ll see it tomorrow.”

curi:

  • FH

curi:

but i didn't want to let him b/c he accused me of an intellectual error instead of using something unimportant to save face with

curi:

he wanted to save face in a more substantial way that denied the meaning of what had happened, as well as detracted from my intellectual reputation, whereas Francon didn't do that, he was just saying he's not a total pushover and he's still the boss.

curi:

both of which are true

curi:

anyway i didn't offer him a way out where he gets to be a competent person capable of rigorous intellectual discussion with an adequately low error rate to make progress. i don't think he's there yet. but he's too attached to already being there to try to fix it, so he's maf.

curi:

by trying to tear me down he was trying to show my criticisms were trivial and unimportant, no one is immune to that standard of pedantry, no one lives up to the standards of competence i propose, etc.

curi:

but when he tried to have that discussion, he was tilted to the point of making a lot more errors than before

curi:

and his judgment of what point he could safely win was grossly unreasonable

curi:

b/c he wasn't updating his thinking regarding the new info he had. he just kept trying to do what worked in the past.

curi:

sadly his career is posturing and social climbing re this stuff, he's really invested in that game

curi:

mb he'll come back and say i'm making erroneous assumptions, he's going to be a rich socialite, the phil MA with TA work is just a hobby

curi:

the thing i was actually trying to communicate re his thoughts was something i thought his perspective (as judged by his msgs) was not taking into account.

curi:

when he said Xq28 is a gene, and doubled down on it, he was trying to say it is in fact a single gene. which is wrong.

curi:

he was saying this in service of his claim that he was speaking strictly correctly

curi:

he chains his errors together – defending each with a new one

curi:

they aren't random. they're systematically biased

curi:

ppl don't like being outclassed. it's so fukt. i did like it when i talked with DD initially.

curi:

he's still in school and i've been a professional philosopher for a long time, and i have the best education/credentials in the field, but he can't take losing to me. he can only take (maybe) losing to ppl who he perceives as higher social status than he perceives me.

curi:

he did not discuss his social status judgments and their accuracy or relevance

curi:

the alleged asymmetry re AWALT and evo pscyh was interesting

curi:

i gave a short statement which he didn't accept. he gave one that i didn't accept.

curi:

the asymmetry was that i accepted that he hadn't accepted mine, and talked about how to solve this problem, how to make progress, what can be done. meanwhile, he did not accept that i hadn't accepted his.

curi:

so his ideas are better than mine because he denies reality.

curi:

he repeatedly tried to invoke this asymmetry, as if i'd accepted his examples in some significant way, when i hadn't.

curi:

he like couldn't face that his short, simple summary info was not convincing to me.

curi:

it works on everyone else!

curi:

despite the fact that he doesn't know the basic facts of the topic

curi:

which are, in his experience, not relevant to getting most ppl to agree that he's clever.

curi:

he thinks everything in evo psych is readily testable. but how would you test whether being more attracted to men in general leads to more children? survey questions will not measure degrees of attraction accurately. how does anyone know how their attraction levels in their head, on average, compare to those of other people? his general policy, which we saw re measuring mental corruption, was just use terrible proxies to measure things cuz testing > not testing.

curi:

it's bad enough trying to survey to accurately measure a mental state that we have no good way to quantify. it's much worse trying to get people to make relative comparisons between their mental states and other people's non-quantified mental states.

curi:

when we quantify attraction normally we do it relatively to our own experience. i was much more attracted to sue than sarah.

curi:

ppl will pick words to communicate. they will say "i am super attracted to Nadalie". but this reflects 1) relative comparisons to their other attractions 2) social incentives to brag about this, play it up or down, etc. 3) how much they use strong terms in general. and, ok, 4) some crude estimates re behavior. e.g. they were willing to put effort into a date, so they should be using stronger language than someone who isn't putting in effort. roughly like that.

curi:

these behaviors are affected by tons of factors other than attraction.

curi:

including: attraction can result in putting in less effort b/c of playing hard to get

curi:

this also all neglects different types of attraction. treats it as a single trait which it's really not.

curi:

this was covered in BoI re happiness

curi:

The connection with happiness would still involve comparing subjective interpretations which there is no way of calibrating to a common standard

curi:

etc

curi:

So how does explanation-free science address the issue? First, one explains that one is not measuring happiness directly, but only a proxy such as the behaviour of marking checkboxes on a scale called ‘happiness’. All scientific measurements use chains of proxies. But, as I explained in Chapters 2 and 3, each link in the chain is an additional source of error, and we can avoid fooling ourselves only by criticizing the theory of each link – which is impossible unless an explanatory theory links the proxies to the quantities of interest. That is why, in genuine science, one can claim to have measured a quantity only when one has an explanatory theory of how and why the measurement procedure should reveal its value, and with what accuracy.

curi:

but he reads BoI, likes it, doesn't notice it contradicts a field he likes, doesn't notice the field in general has no rebuttal, and then is surprised when a DD colleague doesn't make concessions re his claims about it

Critical Rationalist:

There is a lot to talk about in your last volley, including some very important issues related to philosophy of science. May is when my upcoming semester in grad school ends. When I come back, I might return to those issues.

But there is one distinction I want to make. It will be helpful when you and I have future conversations. There is a difference between not addressing something and refusing to address something. For example, you said “he did not discuss his social status judgments and their accuracy or relevance”. This is me not addressing something. I agree that there I things I did not address.

However, this is normal. For example, here are is one question of mine that you never answered:

The link between the theory and prediction is called an auxiliary assumption. Do you know what an auxiliary assumption is?

Make a theory, use some auxiliary assumptions (you still have not indicated if you understand what these are) to form predictions, then test the predictions.

Now, if I had failed to answer a question two times in a row, you would have been very critical of me. But again, that is still just not addressing something. When you failed to answer my question about auxiliary assumptions, I decided to be charitable and assume you had just not gotten around to it (you are free to answer now if you want). I would never criticize someone for simply not addressing something (as you did with the auxiliary assumption question). In a conversation this complex, people will sometimes get sidetracked, or other things happen.

It is not reasonable to condemn someone for not addressing something. What is reasonable is to expect people to not flatly refuse to address something. A blanket refusal to answer a question (i.e. a statement to the effect of “no, I will not answer your question”) is a hindrance to progress in a conversation. Crucially, at no point did I do this.

jordancurve:

It is not reasonable to condemn someone for not addressing something.

Unless I missed it, you didn't quote anyone doing this.

curi:

https://my.mindnode.com/tvuTuLmRpf7YbREDvBAhKDoFvi4wkBcPfDXje3bB @Critical Rationalist (should work on desktop. if on android, ask for a pdf export. if on ios, download the free mindnode app and open in that)

jordancurve:

I think it would be clearer to refer to him as CRist and reserve CR for critiical rationalism.

curi:

did i refer to him as CR?

curi:

oh the title

curi:

i didn't even think of the filename as something that woudl be shared

curi:

it's not part of the tree

Critical Rationalist:

I was trying to explain that evo psych makes testable predictions. How does would it help my case if Xq28 were a gene instead of a series of genes? I grant that it is a set of genes. Does that show that evo psych is not making testable predictions? If not, what does the fact that Xq28 is a set of genes show?

curi:

that is non-responsive to BoI c12

curi:

it's also non-responsive to the biased errors problem

Critical Rationalist:

How is it a biased error?

Critical Rationalist:

Does this error favour my side?

curi:

it says how in the tree

Critical Rationalist:

@curi did you understand my distinction between "not responding" and "refusing to respond"?

curi:

yes

Critical Rationalist:

I read the purple part of the tree.

Critical Rationalist:

I did say when explaining the evo psych theory that it talked about a specific gene. It in fact was about a set of genes. But that is still a testable prediction. It doesn't help my case to say it is one gene: saying "a set of genes" is still a testable prediction.

Critical Rationalist:

that is non-responsive to BoI c12

Critical Rationalist:

I agree. I haven't responded to that yet, just like you have not responded to the auxiliary hypothesis question. Note again the difference between "not responding" and "refusing to respond".

Freeze:

I think non-responsive in this context means something more like, This doesn't address the arguments that criticize it or offer better explanations

curi:

@Critical Rationalist did you delete messages from the log?

Critical Rationalist:

I deleted one of my messages that said "my last mistake"

curi:

Please don't delete anything here

Critical Rationalist:

Sounds good

Critical Rationalist:

I await a response to my above messages.

curi:

https://elliottemple.com/debate-policy

Critical Rationalist:

Since @curi has shared that tree here, I will say what I said in "Slow". I was trying to explain that evo psych makes testable predictions. I said this to @curi

Critical Rationalist:

I did say when explaining the evo psych theory that it talked about a specific gene. It in fact was about a set of genes. But that is still a testable prediction. It doesn't help my case to say it is one gene: saying "a set of genes" is still a testable prediction.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi has not responded in "slow". So I'll ask the question again here.

Critical Rationalist:

How does would it help my case if Xq28 were a gene instead of a series of genes? I grant that it is a set of genes. Does that show that evo psych is not making testable predictions? If not, what does the fact that Xq28 is a set of genes show?

jordancurve:

How does would it help my case if Xq28 were a gene instead of a series of genes?

It would help the case that you are familiar enough with the topic to discuss it without making blatantly false statements.

jordancurve:

Does that show that evo psych is not making testable predictions?

No, that's in BoI ch. 12.

jordancurve:

what does the fact that Xq28 is a set of genes show?

See above.

Critical Rationalist:

@jordancurve Does it have any relevance to my claim that evo psych makes testable predictions? What matters is not how familiar or smart I am, what matters is the ideas I put forward.

jordancurve:

Does [the fact that Xq28 is not a gene] have any relevance to my claim that evo psych makes testable predictions?

jordancurve:

Not that I know of.

Critical Rationalist:

The claim that evo psych makes testable predictions is what I was arguing for.

Critical Rationalist:

So you don't know of any way that my error was relevant to that^ claim.

jordancurve:

No, and I don't think anyone said your error was relevant to that claim.

Critical Rationalist:

In slow, this conversation happened

Critical Rationalist:

I asked this:

Critical Rationalist:

How is it (my gene mistake) a biased error?
Does this error favour my side?

Critical Rationalist:

@curi said this

Critical Rationalist:

it says how in the tree

jordancurve:

Indeed.

Critical Rationalist:

That was a direct response to me.

Critical Rationalist:

So, he thinks that this error favours my side.

jordancurve:

Yes.

jordancurve:

One of your "sides", to be more precise.

Critical Rationalist:

Please explain.

jordancurve:

It says so right in the purple node of the tree!

jordancurve:

Do you want to try to re-read it once more before I explain it?

Critical Rationalist:

But it does not favour my side in the sense that it shows that evo psych is testable.

jordancurve:

No it doesn't, but no one (except you?) thought it did

Critical Rationalist:

Xq28 is a set of genes. Granted. Does that mean evo psych isn't testable?

Critical Rationalist:

Does that count against my claim that evo psych is testable?

jordancurve:

I think I answerd this earlier. No. That argument comes from BoI ch 12

Critical Rationalist:

Good.

jordancurve:

Not that I know of, but I'm no expert.

curi:

@jordancurve check IMs

Critical Rationalist:

So my error (claiming that Xq28 is a single gene, instead of a set of genes) does not count against my argument that evo psych is testable.

jordancurve:

Again, not that I know of.

Critical Rationalist:

The Boi chp 12 argument is an interesting argument, one that I'm willing to answer.

jordancurve:

It counts against your claim that you didn't make any errors.

Critical Rationalist:

Yes 100%

Critical Rationalist:

But surely, what matters is not me, but the ideas I'm putting forward.

jordancurve:

If you make a claim about yourself, then you matter.

Critical Rationalist:

We all agree, don't we, that the ideas are what matter?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, I've retracted that claim.

JustinCEO:

Truth is what matters. Errors lead one away from truth and have to be dealt with in a serious and systematic way in order to get at the truth effectively. Concessions and retractions of errors are not a serious and systematic solution to the thing giving rise to the errors in the first place. The errors CR has made in the discussions with curi are not mere unavoidable byproducts of human fallibility and will sabotage making discussion progress if not rigorously and thoroughly addressed

curi:

https://curi.us/2190-errors-merit-post-mortems

Critical Rationalist:

"Second, an irrelevant “error” is not an error... The fact that my measurement is an eighth of an inch off is not an error. The general principle is that errors are reasons a solution to a problem won’t work."

Critical Rationalist:

That's from @curi's post.

Critical Rationalist:

So, by his standard, this error has to be relevant. It has to be "a reason a solution to a problem won't work". Why does my error qualify as relevant in @curi's sense?

jordancurve:

It's relevant to your claim about not having made an error.

curi:

you don't understand the standard in the post. this is another example of the same kind of lack of rigor that the xq28 error was

Critical Rationalist:

"The small measurement “error” doesn’t prevent my from succeeding at the problem I’m working on, so it’s not an error."

Critical Rationalist:

The problem I was working on was showing that evo psych is testable

curi:

is "is Xq28 a gene?" a problem?

Critical Rationalist:

It was not the problem I was working on, no.

curi:

when i asked that question, and you answered, you were not working on that problem?

Critical Rationalist:

The problem I was working on was "is evo psych testable"

Critical Rationalist:

Not on the problem "is Xq28 a gene".

Critical Rationalist:

That is not a problem I'm working on.

jordancurve:

!

curi:

so your answer that it's not a gene was not an attempt to solve the problem "is Xq28 a gene?"?

JustinCEO:

Problems have subproblems and you can make mistakes at the subproblem level and that affects your ability to claim you have solved the higher level problem

JustinCEO:

Like if I make an addition error in a complicated mathematical expression

JustinCEO:

Boom answer wrong

Critical Rationalist:

No, it was an attempt to solve the problem of whether evo psych is testable. I try to answer all questions when having conversation about a topic.

Critical Rationalist:

So, by your standard, the gene mistake does not qualify as an error.

Critical Rationalist:

Now look. I don't care what you call it.

Critical Rationalist:

Error, mistaken definition, whatever

JustinCEO:

Hang on nobody's conceded

So, by your standard, the gene mistake does not qualify as an error.

Critical Rationalist:

I was trying to argue that evo psych was testable.

Critical Rationalist:

That is the problem we were trying to solve.

JustinCEO:

Don't try to move on before that gets thoroughly resolved

Critical Rationalist:

The problem I was trying to solve was whether evo psych was testable.

Critical Rationalist:

Whether Xq28 is one gene or many genes does not affect THAT^ claim.

curi:

you clearly don't understand what the post means re problems and problem solving. so you haven't understood the standard in the post. that would be ok if you weren't then trying to use your misunderstanding as a bludgeon to win a debating point.

Critical Rationalist:

@curi the post does not define the term "problem" or "problem-solving". The word "problem" only occurs twice.

jordancurve:

It's written for people familiar with CR

Critical Rationalist:

The problem that I was trying to solve was this: "is evo psych testable".

Critical Rationalist:

I am familiar with CR

JustinCEO:

Why didn't CR ask something like "Ok then what am I missing?" re: the post and curi's comments about not understanding the standard

Critical Rationalist:

Because sometimes when I ask @curi a question he refuses to answer.

Critical Rationalist:

But I will try with this one, since you've recommended that I do so.

curi:

http://fallibleideas.com/problems

curi:

among many other things. your denial of subproblems or working on multiple problems at once is contrary to the mainstream, quite bizarre, and not something you can expect to be covered preemptively.

curi:

anyway you interpreted something i wrote, using your intellectual framework assumptions, to conclude basically that i was contradicting myself. the more reasonable conclusion is different framework.

JustinCEO:

Ya I found the replies in that vein shocking

JustinCEO:

Shocking re:

among many other things. your denial of subproblems or working on multiple problems at once is contrary to the mainstream, quite bizarre, and not something you can expect to be covered preemptively.

curi:

among many other things

i meant that the link is one of many pieces of literature.

curi:

I am familiar with CR

right you were familiar enough with CR to know that a question is a type of problem, but some of your other comments had nothing to do with CR

jordancurve:

Because sometimes when I ask @curi a question he refuses to answer.

Yesterday you made a similar claim ("When you [curi] don't answer a question, it makes you look bad") and yet, when challenged, you were unable to quote a single question that curi didn't answer. Has that changed?

Critical Rationalist:

When I first heard about this group, I was excited to talk with other people who were familiar with Karl Popper. Despite being in a masters program in philosophy, I rarely encounter people who know his work closely. But the quality of discourse is on the whole negative (though there have been some exceptions). You have been obsessing over the fact that I said Xq28 is one gene instead of many genes, despite the fact that it is not relevant to the problem I was trying to solve (is evo psych testable). @curi will criticize me for failing to address things (despite the fact that I try my very best to answer every question). When it is pointed out that everyone (including him) sometimes fails to address things, he ignores it. For example, this is the fourth time I have prompted you to answer this question: "do you know what an auxiliary hypothesis is?" And as I have already pointed out several times, when I challenged him to provide a testable prediction that followed from his theory, he refused to do so. He claims that this claim "no women are immune to PUA" is testable" has been subject to empirical tests. However, in order to be an empirical test, it has to be a genuine attempt at falsification. I read @curi's most recent volley on this topic. What a Popperian should be able to say for his theory is this "if we observe x, then the theory is falsified". In the case of Einstein, he could answer this question concretely: if we see the starlight here, then the theory is falsified. I could do this for evo psych: "if male homosexuals do not invest more in their nieces and nephews, then the theory is falsified".

curi:

you aren't using this method or proposing a different one https://curi.us/2232-claiming-you-objectively-won-a-debate

Critical Rationalist:

@curi said that "any number of PUA attempts failing on her is compatible with AWALT. that doesn't mean those failures would be meaningless. we'd try to come up with explanations of the data." This is exactly the strategy that Marxists and Freudians used (which Popper criticized). When Marxist and Freudian predictions did not come true, they would explain away the apparent falsification. They would systematically protect their theory from refutation. The way to avoid doing this is to specify in advance what observations would count as falsification. @curi has not said what observations would count as falsification. Until he does so, he cannot claim that his theory is testable in a Popperian sense.

Critical Rationalist:

This forum is no longer worth my time. I will be deleting my account. If any of you want to contact me for one on one discussion, please email me at [email protected]

jordancurve:

jfc

curi:

[redpill] rationalization hamster

curi:

he doesn't want to debate to a conclusion in an organized way. he just wants to declare victory and hide.

jordancurve:

C R, you didn't have to go out like that!

Critical Rationalist:

It is too bad. I heard from people who were glad I had joined this group.

curi:

after conceding he made a bunch of errors, and never establishing any error by me, his conclusion is not "wow someone who is better at not making errors than me, amazing!" (which is a part of how i reacted to DD initially), it's just to ignore all the objetively established facts and be [redpill] solipsistic

Critical Rationalist:

I had moments where I enjoyed it do.

Critical Rationalist:

But it is not longer worth my time.

curi:

got any paths forward to go with that?

curi:

if you're wrong, how will you find out?

Critical Rationalist:

Yes, finish my masters degree in philosophy (where peer review is a part of the process of writing, so errors are caught), and then pursue a doctorate degree. That is my path forward. I thought this would be a fun outlet. I was wrong.

Critical Rationalist:

I'm not directing this at anyone personally. You are all free to email me with questions or discussion topics.

curi:

that's not a path forward

JustinCEO:

How will you find out if you're wrong about your judgment of this group and whether it's worth your time

JustinCEO:

Why not try discussing a small discrete and less controversial issue to conclusion instead of giving up totally

Critical Rationalist:

I'll have to live with that. I have ways of spending my time that I know are productive.

jordancurve:

That doesn't sound very critical rationalist.

Critical Rationalist:

My hypothesis that this group is a good use of my time has been falsified by the evidence.

jordancurve:

lol sigh

curi:

there are arguments the ways you're spending your time are not only not productive but counter-productive. you have not refuted them nor cited any refutation, but wish to ignore them with no way to fix it if you're wrong.

jordancurve:

Well, C R, I wish you would just take a break. Don't delete your account. Maybe you'll want to say something else some day. Why not leave the option open.

jordancurve:

Okay, we have your email if we want to contact you in the mean time.

jordancurve:

Like people say "delete your account" but I've never seen someone actually do it.

curi:

2:20 PM] Critical Rationalist: The Boi chp 12 argument is an interesting argument, one that I'm willing to answer.

I guess that was a lie?

JustinCEO:

😦

curi:

his parting shot included further statements ignoring the existence of those arguments

curi:

as if the state of the debate was me not answering him, rather than us waiting for his answer

curi:

he seems to be criticizing me for admitting duhem-quine applies to AWALT, on the implied basis that he doesn't think it applies to evo psych. he should read more Popper!

curi:

you will notice he has no solutions

curi:

no ideas about how to solve this problem

curi:

no reading recommendatiosn to fix us

curi:

no discussion methodology documents he thinks we should try using

curi:

popper says we can learn from each other, despite culture clash, by an effort.

curi:

but he just gives up with ppl who are willing to try more and in fact are bursting at the seams with dozens of proposed solutions

curi:

but he won't read ours nor suggest his own

curi:

that's a big asymmetry

jordancurve:

My hypothesis that this group is a good use of my time has been falsified by the evidence.

Come on. Really? He has to know, when he's not tilted, that evidence admits of multiple interpretations. Observations are theory-laden.

curi:

that's a bitter social comment which means "these guys aren't adequately falsificationists like real CRs"

jordancurve:

He didn't even seem to try to establish that the rival interpretations of the evidence were false.

JustinCEO:

"fun outlet" sounds like maybe he wasn't expecting tons of pushback and crit, given conventional views on what's fun

jordancurve:

*any rival interpretations

curi:

that's one of his main rationalizations to preserve his pretense of self-esteem

curi:

he didn't quote any unfun msg

curi:

he wanted to use unsourced paraphrases to attack msgs

curi:

[redpill] nothing personal, teehee

JustinCEO:

What are the [brackets] doing there exactly

curi:

tagging the msg. i'm gonna write a blog post to explain

JustinCEO:

Okay 👌

curi:

expressing a redpill perspective is different than expressing something i fully agree with

JustinCEO:

Ah

curi:

but i think worthwhile to consider

curi:

a little like /s is not your usual voice

JustinCEO:

Rite

curi:

@curi has not said what observations would count as falsification. Until he does so, he cannot claim that his theory is testable in a Popperian sense.

does he not know enough about BoI c12 to know that's covered there?

curi:

if so, why did he say BoI c12 is interesting and he'd be willing to answer, as if he knew what it said?

GISTE:

CRist makes a particular mistake repeatedly. He thinks that an interpretation of data using one theoretical framework can be used as evidence contradicting another theoretical framework. He did this a bunch in the discussion about the BOI model of the human mind, and in the discussion about PUA/AWALT. we tried to explain his error many times, but he did not get it, nor did he ask about it, nor did he criticize it.

curi:

think he'll learn about and fix the error from his MA + the peer review process?

GISTE:

well those things are not focussed on finding and fixing mistakes, so i'd guess no.

GISTE:

if he did learn about and fix that error, it would be despite his MA + peer review process, not because of it.

curi:

https://curi.us/2278-second-handedness-examples#15054

curi:

there was something else he said about other ppl telling him to join or msging him about his participation here but i didn't find it when searching

curi:

https://curi.us/2279-red-pill-comments#15055

curi:

OT C R dared claim familiarity with red pill and PUA while not knowing what a neg is, or AWALT, or a bunch of other standard terms

curi:

similar to how he didn't finish either of DD's books but initially presented himself as a knowledgeable fan

curi:

he has really low standards for knowing about something

curi:

shit test? mystery method? AFC? no? what have you heard of? no answer.

JustinCEO:

think he'll learn about and fix the error from his MA + the peer review process?

Peer review in fields like Philosophy is currently more about signaling a certain sort of conformity in language and method than it is about error correction

JustinCEO:

And also

JustinCEO:

There's political stuff like eg:

Metaphysics, traditionally a highly abstract and impractical area of inquiry, is the area of philosophy that has had perhaps the most high-profile political scuffles in the past few years. This is because there are significant political overtones to questions about the nature of race and ethnicity, or the nature of sex and gender. The Hypatia affair, which I wrote about for this magazine two years ago, crystallized many of the dynamics surrounding these issues. My contention is not that questions about race/ethnicity and sex/gender are improper for philosophical inquiry, but that philosophical inquiry is threatened by the political fervor that surrounds these questions. In the debates between gender-critical feminists and their detractors (who call them “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”), for instance, it is often taken as a given that the political demands of feminism should determine our views on the metaphysics of sex and gender; at issue is which version of feminism is given pride of place.

JustinCEO:

https://quillette.com/2019/07/26/the-role-of-politics-in-academic-philosophy/

curi:

sex, gender, race and ethnicity are not metaphysical issues

curi:

philosophers so confused

curi:

1:58 PM] Critical Rationalist: I agree. I haven't responded to that yet, just like you have not responded to the auxiliary hypothesis question. Note again the difference between "not responding" and "refusing to respond".

curi:

2:05 PM] Critical Rationalist: I await a response to my above messages.
[2:07 PM] curi: https://elliottemple.com/debate-policy

curi:

hen it is pointed out that everyone (including him) sometimes fails to address things, he ignores it. For example, this is the fourth time I have prompted you to answer this question: "do you know what an auxiliary hypothesis is?"

curi:

i did answer right there

curi:

not the first time he confused 1) not liking my answer 2) me not answering


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (9)

Red Pill Comments

The red pill and pickup artist (PUA) perspective on life, particularly on social dynamics, is interesting, valuable, worthwhile and broadly accurate. People can benefit tons from learning it and rejecting their bluepill social conditioning.

I sometimes want to share red pill/social dynamics/PUA perspectives and insights. But I don't fully agree with and endorse them, so I may tag messages with [redpill] or [rp] to indicate their perspective.

Making a social comment doesn't mean I endorse the social game itself. I disclaim that.

The social game is pervasive in life. Despite being irrational, it merits critical commentary, analysis and attention because of how much it affects people's lives.

In discussion, I often focus on the physical/logical/rational world and don't talk about the social world. This is problematic when other people make social statements and treat discussion like a contest between rival social hierarchy climbers. I want to address these social behaviors more and share insight about the social world with my audience.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (2)

Second-handedness Examples

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow Lyrics

For he's a jolly good fellow [...] which nobody can deny

Phrasing it in terms of what other people can deny is second-handed. It views the world in terms of other people's opinions instead of truth.

Please post dozens examples of second-handedness in the comments below. It'll help you be a better person.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (45)

Static Memes Are About Social Dynamics

This post shares recent conjectures. I’m less confident than usual. I’m confident there’s something important and irrational about social dynamics (which is not a recent or original thought), but I’m less confident about the connection with static memes in particular (which is an original idea covering specifics that David Deutsch left mostly unspecified).


The core static memes (see Third Type of Meme: Static Companion Memes and comments, which I'm following up on) are second-handedness (see The Fountainhead) and related social orientation instead of reality orientation. The way static memes suppress critical faculties is by getting people to judge in terms of the opinions of other people, and their social status, rather than in terms of facts, logic and reality. Static memes get people to replace their connection with objective reality with a connection with social dynamics.

Static societies are similar to what Elsworth Toohey described to Peter Keating in The Fountainhead (emphasis added):

“ ... A world of obedience and of unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought in the brain of his neighbor who’ll have no thought of his own but an attempt to guess the thought of the next neighbor who’ll have no thought—and so on, Peter, around the globe. Since all must agree with all. A world where no man will hold a desire for himself, but will direct all his efforts to satisfy the desires of his neighbor who’ll have no desires except to satisfy the desires of the next neighbor who’ll have no desires—around the globe, Peter. Since all must serve all. A world in which man will not work for so innocent an incentive as money, but for that headless monster—prestige. The approval of his fellows—their good opinion—the opinion of men who’ll be allowed to hold no opinion.... Judgment, Peter? Not judgment, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeroes—since no individuality will be permitted.... I want power.... Let all live for all. Let all sacrifice and none profit. Let all suffer and none enjoy. Let progress stop. Let all stagnate. There’s equality in stagnation. All subjugated to the will of all. Universal slavery—without even the dignity of a master. Slavery to slavery. A great circle—and a total equality....”

Static companion memes, then, are socially calibrated behaviors – they compete to better fit into the social game instead of being useful or reality-oriented. Most of the social rules (in detail re particular things) and behaviors don’t create or cause the social game itself, they just make sense within it. An example is being passive-aggressive (or more specifically a particular insult like saying something is a “bad look” or “weird”). That’s something which is adapted to the selection pressures of social games instead of the selection pressures of dealing with reality. Wearing fashionable clothes, learning recent jargon for a subculture, trying to please others, and all sorts of social climbing are static companion memes. They’re evolved not to directly suppress thinking but to be effective in the social world created by the core static memes to shut down creative thought about reality.

Consequently, it’s informative to analyze many things in two ways: in terms of reality (facts, logic, science, literal meanings of word, etc.) and in terms of social reality (what people think of it, its meaning in social status contests). Many misunderstandings and clashes between people in our mixed society are because one person, at this time, is focusing on real reality while the other is focusing on social reality.

David Deutsch described in The Fabric of Reality how (in his experience) scientists only have a scientific mindset at certain times and use a social mindset at other times. Italics are DD’s, bolds are my emphasis:

I have sometimes found myself on the minority side of fundamental scientific controversies. But I have never come across anything like a Kuhnian situation. Of course, as I have said, the majority of the scientific community is not always quite as open to criticism as it ideally should be. Nevertheless, the extent to which it adheres to ‘proper scientific practice’ in the conduct of scientific research is nothing short of remarkable. You need only attend a research seminar in any fundamental field in the ‘hard’ sciences to see how strongly people's behaviour as researchers differs from human behaviour in general. Here we see a learned professor, acknowledged as the leading expert in the entire field, delivering a seminar. The seminar room is filled with people from every rank in the hierarchy of academic research, from graduate students who were introduced to the field only weeks ago, to other professors whose prestige rivals that of the speaker. The academic hierarchy is an intricate power structure in which people's careers, influence and reputation are continuously at stake, as much as in any cabinet room or boardroom — or more so. Yet so long as the seminar is in progress it may be quite hard for an observer to distinguish the participants’ ranks. The most junior graduate student asks a question: ‘Does your third equation really follow from the second one? Surely that term you omitted is not negligible.’ The professor is sure that the term is negligible, and that the student is making an error of judgement that someone more experienced would not have made. So what happens next?

In an analogous situation, a powerful chief executive whose business judgement was being contradicted by a brash new recruit might say, ‘Look, I've made more of these judgements than you've  had hot dinners. If I tell you it works, then it works.’ A senior politician might say in response to criticism from an obscure but ambitious party worker, ‘Whose side are you on, anyway?’ Even our professor, away from the research context (while delivering an undergraduate lecture, say) might well reply dismissively, ‘You'd better learn to walk before you can run. Read the textbook, and meanwhile don't waste your time and ours.’ But in the research seminar any such response to criticism would cause a wave of embarrassment to pass through the seminar room. People would avert their eyes and pretend to be diligently studying their notes. There would be smirks and sidelong glances. Everyone would be shocked by the sheer impropriety of such an attitude. In this situation, appeals to authority (at least, overt ones) are simply not acceptable, even when the most senior person in the entire field is addressing the most junior.

So the professor takes the student's point seriously, and responds with a concise but adequate argument in defence of the disputed equation. The professor tries hard to show no sign of being irritated by criticism from so lowly a source. Most of the questions from the floor will have the form of criticisms which, if valid, would diminish or destroy the value of the professor's life's work. But bringing vigorous and diverse criticism to bear on accepted truths is one of the very purposes of the seminar. Everyone takes it for granted that the truth is not obvious, and that the obvious need not be true; that ideas are to be accepted or rejected according to their content and not their origin; that the greatest minds can easily make mistakes; and that the most trivial-seeming objection may be the key to a great new discovery.

So the participants in the seminar, while they are engaged in science, do behave in large measure with scientific rationality. But now the seminar ends. Let us follow the group into the dining-hall. Immediately, normal human social behaviour reasserts itself. The professor is treated with deference, and sits at a table with those of equal rank. A chosen few from the lower ranks are given the privilege of being allowed to sit there too. The conversation turns to the weather, gossip or (especially) academic politics. So long as those subjects are being discussed, all the dogmatism and prejudice, the pride and loyalty, the threats and flattery of typical human interactions in similar circumstances will reappear. But if the conversation happens to revert to the subject of the seminar, the scientists instantly become scientists again. Explanations are sought, evidence and argument rule, and rank becomes irrelevant to the course of the argument. That is, at any rate, my experience in the fields in which I have worked.

DD describes a world in which social behavior is the norm, but some men temporarily set it aside to think like scientists capable of learning something about reality instead of about who thinks who has a higher social rank than who.

See also The Law of Least Effort as an example of insightful analysis of social dynamics. While some basics about social status and interaction are well known, lots of the details and rules are not well known (or there are well known myths about them).

The core static memes are things which cause this situation and create the social game in the first place, rather than the consequences and details of it. It's whatever makes people second-handed rather than the latest fashion which isn't responsible for the situation. The law of least effort is something deep enough it could be closely related to a core static meme instead of being a superficial consequence like men holding doors open for women, but it's hard to tell.


In response to the basic idea that social dynamics are the essence of irrationality, there's a question one should ask. What about some other candidates for major irrationality issues? For example, superstition, religion and coercive parenting. How do those things fit into this picture?

Religion is a mix of social interaction and superstition (and some useful life advice), so let's turn to superstition. When people are oriented to social reality instead of physical reality, they lose touch with facts and logic. They judge a superstition not by whether it's true but by whether high social status people believe it.

For parenting, a lot of what parents do is socialize their children. They make them learn to defer to parental authority. They make them learn the social hierarchy of society and how to get along with others. When they say "Because I said so..." they mean because a higher status person said it to a much lower status person.


The problem I've been thinking about, which this post is in response to, is what's going on with people who won't/can't read literally, think logically, get facts right, be precise, etc. Why can't we have some common ground, as a basis for discussion, using standard dictionary English and some simple facts?

It's because they read and write sentences in terms of the loose gist for the reality meaning and focus mostly on the social meaning. While I read and write in terms of the reality meaning while paying only a little attention to the social meaning (overall, I do a lot better than random chance at e.g. not being rude – that shows some awareness of social meanings).

When I ask people to meet me, as common ground, at facts and logic – try to get some little details correct and focus on correctness and go step by step – it doesn't work because they're so oriented to the social world.

When I talk about problems like overreaching or lack of paths forward, those don't work with most people because they are reality/facts/etc oriented. They seem fundamental to me from my perspective, but they aren't designed to have the right social meanings to work for socially-focused people. Overreaching is not the fundamental problem of an overreacher. Living in social reality instead of actual reality is their fundamental problem.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (49)