Stop Using Google Search

Google search is heavily politically biased, on purpose. They are much worse than the alternatives. Stop using them. Change your default search engine. They are controlling what information you find online. They intentionally make it harder to find my stuff and the stuff of many right wing people.

This has been revealed by Project Veritas and by many, many examples people have found. I have personally researched it on a few topics including the search results for this website. I just found another egregious example where everyone but Google makes it easy to find my plagiarism post. Even just searching for the book without using plagiarism as a keyword you can easily find it if you aren't using Google. But searching for the exact title of the blog post still won't find it with Google – you have to actually put the title in quotes for it to come up.

I have one computer set to Yahoo search by default, another to DuckDuckGo, and my phone to Bing. Using a variety is safer – there’s less chance that a problem with one site will prevent you from ever finding some info.

Change your default search engine today. Seriously. Stop letting Google's bias influence your understanding of the world.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (12)

Dennis Hackethal, Plagiarist

Dennis Hackethal (DH) published the book A Window on Intelligence: The Philosophy of People, Software, and Evolution – and Its Implications on 2020-03-13. The book heavily plagiarizes Elliot Temple (ET, myself) and David Deutsch (DD, who was ET’s mentor, colleague and close friend for over 10 years). DH repeatedly uses their ideas without giving credit and tries to present them as DH’s own ideas.

DH came to ET in Dec 2018 and initially treated ET like a mentor he was thrilled to have found and be able to learn from. Finally DH found an expert who knew a ton about the topics DH was interested in, and had good ideas instead of bad ones (in DH’s opinion, most experts are terrible, but DD and ET have great wisdom). And ET was actually accessible to learn from, unlike most experts! DH joined ET’s discussion forums and got lots of learning help. DH left after 5 months (DH stopped using the forums and stopped speaking to ET or ET’s associates) and DH refused to say why. That’s around the time DH started writing the book. Later, posting elsewhere on the internet, DH communicated that he has a hateful attitude towards ET and ET’s associates (even though DH still seems to be a huge fan of their ideas and even filled his book with their ideas). Despite cutting contact, DH continued reading ET’s writing.

The below post goes over some examples of how DH’s book plagiarizes ET and DD, and also does some copyright infringement. This is the sort of egregious, extensive plagiarism that gets people expelled from universities. It’s not just a little bit. The book should never have been published and should be withdrawn from the market.

There's also a video where I watch and comment on Justin reading and commenting on this post.

Even though the book has a bunch of ET’s ideas in it, DH provided ET no opportunity to comment before the book was published, did not provide a courtesy copy to ET, and didn’t even notify ET about the book’s existence after publication. This is after DH had personal tutoring sessions to learn from ET, discussed on ET’s forums and his chatrooms, and more. He directly learned material from ET, put it in the book, and didn’t even notify ET, in addition to not giving credit in the book.

Despite relying so much on ET’s and DD’s ideas, DH still introduces a bunch of his own mistakes. The book may alienate readers from the ideas in addition to stealing credit.

Part of the problem is DH’s incompetence. He had no business writing a book. He doesn’t know how to cite things. He screws up badly when speaking about some Richard Dawkins material. He flames Nick Bostrom inappropriately. He gives DD credit in a few places, often inadequately, but then gives zero credit to DD in the majority of cases. However, it’s not just incompetence. DH’s intentional malice is clear because, for example, ET’s name literally isn’t in the book even once, even though it’s packed with ET’s ideas. Details for all of these points are covered below.

DH’s response to the issue is also covered below. He admits he screwed up and expresses his confidence that the book has lots of plagiarism. DH says he’ll fix the plagiarism if ET finds it for him, but then immediately breaks his word and refuses to even read documentation of the problems that he’d just requested. As unbelievable as this is, it’s all documented below since DH put it in writing.

As a likely further response, this website was DOSed (sent extra traffic to break the website so pages don’t load) shortly after DH saw a draft of this blog post, but before it was posted. Whoever did that is a criminal and the timing of the DOS seems unlikely to be a coincidence. The DOS was presumably done by DH or someone he told about his plagiarism. I don’t recall this website ever being intentionally DOSed before, while this DOS was clearly intentional (it’s not just e.g. a web spider ignoring robots.txt). For security reasons, I won’t provide technical details. I’ll just say the attack quickly made the website stop loading for anyone. If DH isn’t involved in this crime, he should provide the evidence he has about the crime, such as who he told about the plagiarism issue and thereby provided motive to. I’ve contacted DH about this. If DH won’t help catch the criminal, all civilized people should shun him even more than they should for his plagiarism. Note as context that DH has a recent history of breaking laws, associating with criminal(s), and lying in defense of criminal(s).

Note: I haven’t read much of DH’s book and don’t plan to. I just skimmed a few parts and searched for keywords. There are probably many other issues which I don’t discuss here. My impression from skimming was that there were a bunch more problematic issues that I didn’t read more about. The parts I comment on were easy to find fast. I did look at all instances of DD’s name (20), ET’s name (zero) and ET’s websites (3), so I know what credit was given to them. I didn’t check if other people like Karl Popper were plagiarized or not. The below is only lightly edited because it’s good enough to communicate the info and I want to get back to educational writing and philosophy research ASAP.

Copied Sentence

Yellow quotes like this are from DH’s book:

Criterion of universality – x is a universal y if it can do all the z’s all the other y’s can do

This sentence comes from when ET was teaching DH what universality is. One part of the educational help DH got was a discussion involving 20 emails. In it, ET wrote (Feb 2019):

X is a universal Y if it can do any Z that any other Y can do.

DH had trouble understanding. He wrote e.g. “I think I'm still confused about universality.”. But after further educational efforts by ET, DH understood the idea enough to copy that sentence into his book and plagiarize the topic in general.

I (ET) recognized this sentence immediately when I saw it. It was a major topic I educated DH about. The sentence is highly distinctive. This isn’t plausibly an accident.

Here’s another example of the plagiarism related to universality:

Whichever way one chooses to define domains in which to look for universality, it is crucial to pick useful qualifiers and determine meaningful domains.

This is an important idea (which is closely related to the Criterion of Universality above) that ET had to explain to DH multiple times before DH finally understood it. And the idea is original to ET, not common knowledge. But no credit is given.

Plagiarism and Copyright

Plagiarism is taking credit for ideas or writing that isn’t yours. Plagiarism is DH’s main offense. It’s the thing that gets people flunked out of university classes for being unethical.

Copyright protects the specific form of a work but not the ideas or concepts. It’s the thing that gets lots of YouTube videos taken down and people get sued over it. It’s a well known law in widespread use.

So DH could write about a criterion of universality in his own words and it would only be plagiarism (if he didn’t give credit) but not copyright infringement. But when he uses ET’s words in his book without quoting them or giving credit, then it’s copyright infringement. To avoid breaking the law, DH has to write his own words instead of borrowing sentences that ET wrote. (The slight rewordings don’t make it OK. You can’t get around copyright that easily.)

Note that copyright has an exception called “fair use”. If DH had quoted ET’s sentence and said ET wrote it, then it wouldn’t be a copyright violation, even without ET’s permission to use the sentence. Fair use allows quoting a little bit of someone’s writing for e.g. critical commentary or educational purposes, but it doesn’t allow taking credit for other people’s work.

Copied Question and Plagiarized Chapter

It is essential to ask, “hard to vary given what constraint?”.

Those quote marks indicate dialog or speech, not a quote from another author. But it’s actually an exact quote from me, without credit.

I wrote it here (2019-06-01) and more prominently in this blog post (2019-07-17) where I was discussing with Bruce Nielson, an associate of DH who is named in the acknowledgments. Even if I hadn’t told this directly to DH’s associate, we know DH kept reading my blog even after he stopped discussing with me because he uses later material from my blog in his book.

Much of the rest of the chapter is paraphrasing ET without credit, such as this sentence:

We want an implementation to be hard to vary while still solving the problem(s) it purports to solve.

ET has said things like this many times, e.g. a 2011 formulation on the FoR email group:

knowledge is information that is hard to vary while solving the problem [that it’s designed or adapted to solve] equally well or better.

Although DH’s phrasing is based on ET’s writing, much of this concept was originated by DD. DD isn’t credited for it either.

The chapter has one footnote about one specific idea:

I first came across the idea of using multiplication as an example of knowledge in computer programs here:, which is in turn based on the concept of structural epistemology, which goes back to David Deutsch and Kolya Wolf.

DH doesn’t give any credit in the main text and doesn’t give my name or a direct link to my website. And DH understates how much material he got from ET’s posts (of which there are three other main ones, on the same topic, that ET emailed to DH, by DH’s request, on 2018-12-24. The posts supplemented the discussion where ET taught DH about it verbally.)

With just this one cite and no mention of ET’s name, DH spends most of ch. 3 explaining ET’s work (some of which, as ET has acknowledged, DD helped with or originated; DH doesn’t credit DD either). DH borrows extensively from ET’s way of teaching and explaining these issues, for a whole chapter, and provides just one endnote mentioning where he got the general idea of using multiplication as an example. But ET didn’t just mention multiplication would be a nice example, ET gave examples and showed how to use them to explain some big ideas, and DH is plagiarizing all that (with, as usual, some added errors mixed in, and some key ideas omitted, so it’s screwed up but still easily recognizable as based on ET’s work).

Other ET Endnotes

The easiest way to find more plagiarism of ET is to check the endnotes. There are two more which indirectly reference ET’s website while refusing to give his name. First:

[33] Hans Hass, “The Human Animal,” as quoted on

You’d never know from this endnote that ET has made multiple videos about this specific topic and had multiple discussions about it. ET’s educational material is where and how DH learned what to say about the Hans Hass quotes he borrowed from ET’s blog post (just like DH was only able to partially understand universality due to ET’s educational efforts, for which no credit was given).

Hans Hass gets his name in the main text of the book too, not just in the note, as is appropriate. But ET’s name isn’t in the book once.

The whole section on ‘Animal “Learning”’ is heavily based on the ideas of ET and DD, including ET’s category of blog posts about animal intelligence. ET also has made several videos on the topic, had several debates, and had many earlier discussions about it on the email forums. They are distinctive ideas which DH plagiarized.

We can explain this easily and well through the existence of an inborn pathfinding algorithm whose results just need to be stored in memory for later retrieval.

DH got this specifically from ET. DH didn’t know it until ET taught it to him personally.

Before learning from ET, DH actually had conventional/mainstream views about animal intelligence. No credit is given for radically changing DH’s conclusions on these matters and teaching him the entire point of view he’s writing in the book.

The last endnote related to ET is:

[36] As far as I am aware, the notion of such a meta-algorithm was first introduced in the form of a “fail-safe” (but its significance underestimated) here:

This includes an unargued, unexplained, unreasonable claim that ET made a mistake! ET’s extensive knowledge of an obscure subject is not evidence that ET underestimates it. ET’s bringing up something original (as DH believes it to be) is not evidence that he doesn’t realize it’s significant.

Again ET’s name isn’t given and this is only an endnote so a reader could easily never realize that even this little bit of partial credit was given. DH uses the term “meta-algorithm” 95 times in the book, inspired by ET and no one else (according to DH’s own account), but doesn’t give ET meaningful credit. I actually think DH is confused about the issue and its originality (it’s already in widespread use by programmers, which DH apparently hasn’t noticed, but certain applications of it to animals are original to DD and ET), but I won’t get into it more.

Note that the link here goes to a post ET wrote in Nov 2019, over six months after DH had stopped speaking to ET without explanation. It shows DH was still reading ET’s work and using it for his book, including specifically ET’s posts relating to animal intelligence.

Another plagiarism example is DH’s discussion of golden rice and the precautionary principle. Is it a coincidence that ET wrote about golden rice and the precautionary principle, also in Nov 2019 while DH was reading ET’s work and writing the book? That ET post also explains a non-standard view of Pascal’s Wager and then DH writes something similar about Pascal’s Wager in another part of the book. DH did change it by incorrectly lowercasing the “w” in “Wager”, even though it’s a proper noun.

DD Plagiarism

I skimmed DH’s book and noted a few topics discussed which are distinctively associated with DD. Then I searched for every time DD’s name was used to give DD credit. Subtracting the times DD got credit from the list, the rest are plagiarism.

Topics plagiarized from DD include: Problems are soluble, problems are inevitable, various universality stuff including the jump to universality (using DD’s exact phrase "jump to universality” seven times), reach, and criteria for reality. These are major ideas from DD’s books, especially The Beginning of Infinity (BoI). They are highly original and distinctive ideas which DH gives zero credit for. DH’s book title “A Window on Intelligence” is also based on DD’s chapter title “A Window on Infinity” in BoI, without credit.

Topics where DD got some credit include: Structural epistemology, hard to vary, universal explainers, static and dynamic memes, Church-Turing-Deutsch principle, and "If you can’t program it, you haven’t understood it.”. In the first 3 of those 6 cases, DD’s name only appears in an endnote, not in the main text of the book, so most readers still won’t know it’s DD’s idea. Also there’s no text crediting DD for the Church-Turing-Deutsch principle, it’s just implied by DD’s name being in the principle’s name. But Deutsch is a pretty common name and there’s no mention it’s the same guy and no citation to DD’s book, BoI, where DD talks about is as the “Church-Turing conjecture” (so DH is using material from DD’s book, with no cite to the book or explicit credit, and DH changed the name, which is a typical example of how he distorts the ideas he plagiarizes enough to screw them up a bit while still leaving them recognizable as other people’s ideas).

There’s also an endnote linking to a DD blog post. I didn’t read that part of the book to investigate further.

Besides the list of plagiarized DD topics above, all the other DD topics in the book are also plagiarized, since they aren’t some of the few topics where credit was given.

The appropriate action is to credit DD by name in the main text every time one of DD’s major ideas is introduced, at minimum. As a comparison, in The Fabric of Reality (FoR) DD shares a few criticisms of Thomas Kuhn, who is a relatively minor topic (the index indicates that Kuhn comes up on only 11 pages in a 22 page section of the book, and isn’t mentioned at all elsewhere). Nevertheless, Kuhn’s name is used 26 times, while DD’s name is used 20 times in DH’s book where DD is basically the main theme of the whole book. (I don’t think it makes much difference to this comparison because Kuhn only comes up in one part of the book, but FYI DD’s book is around 40% longer than DH’s.)

Misrepresenting Association with DD

From the acknowledgements:

David Deutsch, whose books were some of the inspirations for this book, for tirelessly answering my many questions over the years.

This isn’t true. I have lots of info about this from both DD and DH. I’d rather not get into personal details about the relationship between DD and DH unnecessarily because I know DD generally prefers his life isn’t made public. I’ll provide more info if DH disputes my claim that his statement is untrue. (I’ll interpret that dispute as DH wanting this to be a public matter and granting permission to share everything he told me about it, so it wouldn’t even be a little bit discourteous to share.)

Speaking generally about info that’s already public: When DD actually tirelessly answers questions over many years, you end up with e.g. ~8000 emails from him (over half private), like I have, as well as millions of words of personal chat logs. DH has nothing like that. If DD actually was interested in talking with DH much, then DD would be credited for reading and commenting on some of the book, too. If he tirelessly answered many questions, why not read the whole book? But surely DD’s unlimited energy would extend to commenting on some book material (which is presumably some of DH’s highest quality writing, so some of the stuff DD would most want to read or respond to). DH hardly knows DD and is trying to exaggerate a name drop in order to climb the social status hierarchy.

DH, btw, contrary to various pro-criticism and pro-reason themes of his book, has actually admitted to me that he’s a social climber who cares deeply about public perception of him. DH doesn’t want anything negative said about him regardless of whether it’s true or false. I’m under no obligation to keep those particular messages private, but am sticking to only a paraphrase as a courtesy since they aren’t currently available by Google search. I’m not exaggerating. If DH denies this, I’ll provide exact quotes.

Feynman the Popperian

Feynman was familiar with Popperian philosophy and even taught it (though not without mistakes).

Source: Me? (Regarding Feynman’s familiarity with Popperian philosophy.)

AFAIK I’m the only person to publicly make that claim (until DD joined my discussion to back me up). And I, unlike DH, gave sources and evidence.

I figured it out from Feynman’s books but DD already knew it from talking with Feynman IRL and also from DD’s knowledge of the physics community. I shared the idea and many people thought I was an idiot until I convinced DD to share part of his knowledge too.

As to Feynman teaching Popperian philosophy, that’s a misleading exaggeration from some little fragments Feynman taught. And, despite being the source of the idea, I don’t know what mistakes DH is talking about and he doesn’t explain or give any source.

Here, again, DH uses me or DD as an unacknowledged source but then screws the idea up some too. He uses enough of our idea that it’s distinctive and recognizable, but also throws in stuff we don’t agree with. So giving credit would be problematic because DH doesn’t separate what he got from us from his own misconceptions.

Sources: I have a blog post Feynman the Popperian from 2008 but the main material is on email discussion groups, particularly the Fabric of Reality (FoR) group based on DD’s book. Yahoo recently deleted the archives for all groups but you can get the archive from my ebooks page.

I also told DH about this directly, e.g. from 2019-03-03 I told him “i think Feynman read and understood Popper well.”

Here’s DD posting to the FoR group, 2011-05-02, responding to one of my critics. The quote DD responds to is cut from the middle of a paragraph in a rant directed against me:

On 2 May 2011, at 3:41pm, John Clark wrote:

There is in fact no hard evidence that Feynman even knew that a fellow by the name of Karl Popper ever existed.

For what it's worth, I happened to mention Popper in the one conversation I had with Feynman, sometime in the 80s, and he did not say "who's that?" but replied meaningfully to the point. So that's evidence he had heard of Popper at that time. What he knew of him, I have no empirical evidence of, because Popper was peripheral to the conversation and I never got round to pursuing the matter.

Wheeler, on the other hand (my boss and Feynman's thesis advisor and subsequently his collaborator), knew a lot about Popper and was honoured and delighted when Popper quoted one of Wheeler's aphorisms as a chapter epigraph. Wheeler and I discussed Popper in detail on several occasions and I tried to persuade him to become a Popperian -- ultimately without success, because he preferred Polanyi (!). Nevertheless there were specific aspects of Popperian philosophy of science that he very much agreed with, especially that scientific theories are not derived from anywhere, that they are conjectural and full of errors, and that science makes progress by correcting these errors.

-- David Deutsch

(For what it’s worth, DD told me what he and Feynman said to each other. I consider that conversation fully convincing that Feynman knew a ton about Popper, but unfortunately DD prefers not to share the details publicly.)

DH Is Incompetent at Citation

[6] Karl Popper, “Back to the Presocratics”

[10] Karl Popper’s translation in “Back to the Presocratics”

These citations do not follow any of the standard style guidelines for cites. Nor, worse, do they provide enough information for someone to find what Popper wrote. DH gives the name of an essay without saying what it is (book, essay, TV show, what) or saying what book it can be found in. DH elsewhere cites books and TV shows using the same format (quote marks around the title) that he here uses for citing an article within an unnamed book. In those cases, at least he’s giving an author and the overall title of the thing in question, so it’s less bad. Here he left out the name of the book he’s citing!

DH even screws up referring to his own writing:

Dennis Hackethal, Misconceptions About Evolution, 2020

Dennis Hackethal, What Is the Difference Between a Person and a Recording of That Person?, 2020

What book, journal or website has those articles? All DH gives is a title but no link or indication of what type of work they are. It’s not enough info to look them up and read them.

People who don’t know how to cite – and are unable or unwilling to learn or to use a tool that creates properly formatted citations for you (those tools are readily available for free) – should not be writing books with 86 end notes and 35 bibliography entries. Maybe if DH had learned the basics of what he was doing before publication, he would have found out what plagiarism and copyrights are in addition to how to cite, but instead he acted irresponsibly and unethically.

DH Is a Jerk

Although large portions of the book are about DD’s ideas, Nick Bostrom, who is brought up as a target to attack (not as a source of ideas DH advocates), is named more times than DD. Here’s a sample of what DH says about Bostrom and his book Superintelligence:

Oxford has produced … some of the worst [intelligence research] (Nick Bostrom).

Bostrom is [a] slave of [irrational ideas]

[Bostrom’s] book is such a nauseatingly pessimistic attempt to snuff out AGI

[Bostrom’s] book is a slaveholder’s manual. To say this is not an exaggeration, nor is it metaphorical

[Bostrom’s book is a] Gestapo-style manual

DH does give some intellectual reasoning related to these attacks. I think the reasons are partially right but I also disagree significantly. The reasoning is unfair to Bostrom and would be inadequate to make these attacks even if DH was right about all the issues. If you read the book to see the context of the Bostrom quotes and understand the arguments, you may agree with DH’s claims somewhat more, but you won’t find they get any nicer.

Lots of the reasoning DH uses for attacking Bostrom on AI alignment and slavery is plagiarized from ET. DH also plagiarized the view of a new AGI as similar to a child needing an education. Comments like “If you build an AGI, you are a parent.” are taken from ET. (The AGI material is easily recognizable and distinctive while also being changed enough to screw it up). BTW, elsewhere DH also brings up parenting to talk about it being an area heavy with static memes, which is again something he got from ET.

DH also slanders the U.S. south and other slave-holding societies throughout history, by implication, by suggesting that slaveholders only ever gave slaves the minimum food/shelter/etc. to keep their slaves alive to get acceptable work out of them.

A slaveholder needs to keep his slaves alive so that they continue to work for him. He improves their wellbeing only to the point where they can perform the work to an acceptable degree. This degree can be much lower than what promotes comfort or health, resulting in tremendous suffering.

Although I’m not a fan of slaveholders, this is an unfair attack that doesn’t accurately represent slavery throughout history. There have been many times that slaveowners were kind to slaves and even voluntarily freed them. Not all slaves were horribly mistreated (some were horribly mistreated, e.g. in the silver mines of ancient Greece, including too often being mistreated to the point that they didn’t stay alive, contrary to what DH says). I suspect DH is thinking in terms of game theory but hasn’t read about slavery in actual societies.

Richard Dawkins

Another odd use of the concept of slavery is:

the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins discovered that organisms are protective shields genes build around themselves. Organisms are the slaves that genes use to spread through the population.


Like all organisms, human bodies are the slaves that genes use to achieve this purpose.

First of all, the term “survival machine” appears 96 times in Dawkins’ book, The Selfish Gene. That’s why I still remember it even though I haven’t read the book for many years. Why doesn’t DH use the right term? The term “shield” is only in the book once in a different context (DNA membranes). Dawkins’ term is more accurate and descriptive, and somewhat different (a machine does more than a shield, e.g. machines have moving parts and could plausibly hunt for food, while shields don’t). DH has distorted Dawkins’ viewpoint and is getting stuff wrong even before the stuff about slaves.

The stuff about slavery is confused, is a poor explanation of survival machines, and is being unfairly associated with Dawkins, who never said it. To make it harder to tell that Dawkins never said it, DH gives no cite here, not even mentioning which of Dawkins’ books he’s talking about.

Not being plagiarized by DH is a mixed blessing because he misrepresents people’s views when he does name them.

Dennis Hackethal’s Comments

I contacted DH when I first saw a major issue in the book, which was the criterion of universality issue. He responded agreeing that he was in the wrong and that the book should be changed. He also informed me of his belief that his book had many more problems of a similar nature. He asked me to do the work of documenting them for him and send him all of the problems at once.

In my reply, I provided DH with what he’d asked for. He wanted a bunch of problems at once instead of one by one. He had said he would review what I sent him. I sent him a pre-publication copy of this blog post which wasn’t very different than the final version.

DH replied that he wouldn’t read or review any of the plagiarism problems with his book because he didn’t have time – which means because there were too many problems with his book, so it was too much to read. But he’d asked for everything at once, and I didn’t even send him anything near a comprehensive review of the book’s errors. Rather than read whatever amount he’d been willing to read (e.g. only 5 problems for the whole book?), he decided to read none of them.

Besides breaking his word about reviewing the problems I sent him at his request, DH’s reply also said he’d consulted a lawyer and implied that he would only deal with copyright violations not plagiarism. The unstated reason is that copyright violations break the law while plagiarism is unethical but is not generally against the law. So DH is knowingly and intentionally a plagiarist. I tried to double check this with him but he didn’t reply.

I know this is shocking beyond belief so here are quotes. Here is DH agreeing that he made a mistake about the criterion of universality:

it looks like you did tell me that [sentence], in which case the right thing to do is to credit you

He then proposed to add an endnote, with no mention of mentioning ET’s name anywhere in the book, and while still leaving ET’s sentence in the main text of the book with no quotation marks, as if DH wrote it.

Here’s DH stating his belief that the book has more issues of a similar nature (copyright violation and plagiarism) based on incorrect speculation about how ET was reading it:

judging by the passage you're at, it looks like you're still pretty early on in the book. As I'm sure you will find more issues

DH continued with his request for information about the copyright and plagiarism problems to be sent all at once in one long document covering the whole book:

I suggest you finish reading the book so I can review your suggestions and make any applicable edits in one go.

Note how DH is “sure” there are more issues in the book, but intends to do nothing about them unless and until ET explains them to him. In the meantime, DH won’t even try to fix the issues in his book that he’s “sure” are there. (Of course it’s not ET’s job to point out DH’s plagiarism to him. ET did DH a huge courtesy by sending him lengthy documentation of some of the many plagiarism issues.)

In DH’s second email, he began by forgetting that he’d asked for all the info at once, and expressing his disinterest in revising his book to fix the plagiarism:

I don't have time to read your blog post.

He then brought up his lawyer and changed the subject to only be copyright, not plagiarism.

ET’s reply asked:

You only replied about copyright. Are you saying you’re unwilling to address plagiarism issues?

DH did not reply.

Want more proof? Here are screenshots of DH’s two emails. Email 1 and email 2.


DH’s book is full of plagiarism. He tries to pass off other people’s ideas as his own in order to manipulate public perceptions of him. He plagiarizes heavily from at least ET and DD (who have a bunch of important and original ideas that aren’t very well known, so they are particularly good targets to plagiarize). It also has at least two copyright infringements where it uses ET’s writing (as DH’s words, no quote or credit) instead of just copying and paraphrasing ideas from ET and DD without credit.

Although some of the problems are due DH’s incompetence, it was his responsibility to learn what plagiarism is and how to give credit before publishing a book. And surely he’s heard of plagiarism and could have investigated the matter before acting so unethically. And DH has done this partly maliciously and partly in an attempt to climb the social status hierarchy.

The book should be withdrawn from the market and would need massive revisions to be ethical. Ethically, it’d need to be withdrawn from the market while those revisions were made, otherwise DH would be intentionally committing plagiarism during that time. The revisions would also need to be documented so people would know what was changed and could check whether that was acceptable; hiding the version history of the book or being vague about the revisions would be unacceptable.

If you’re considering a business or personal relationship with DH, or an intellectual collaboration, or even just reading his book, I suggest you reconsider. If you’re already involved with DH, I suggest raising the plagiarism issue with him and then disassociating from him if you reach the conclusion that his plagiarism is extensive and indefensible.

DH received credible information that the book contained plagiarism, agreed that it did, stated he believed his book contained more plagiarism, asked to be told problems, received that info, and refused to read it. This is all on purpose.

I will update this post if anything substantial changes, e.g. if Dennis Hackethal stops being a plagiarist or helps investigate the DOS crime.

There's also a video where I watch and comment on Justin reading and commenting on this post.

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Making Idea Trees

Idea Trees are a tool to help think about and organize ideas and discussions. Use them for brainstorming, outlining, project planning, debates and more. This Idea Tree teaches how to make Idea Trees:

Click the image to expand, or view the PDF which allows copy/pasting text.

More Tree Info

Idea Trees blog category

Discussion Tree Article

Disucssion Trees with Example has info in the discussion below the post, too.

Tree creation software suggestions: MindNode (Mac, iOS), XMind (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux), or iThoughts (Windows, Mac, iOS). (If you can't pay, get XMind.)

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Weinstein vs. Veritas

Comments on podcast: The Portal 26: James O’Keefe: What is (and isn't) Journalism in the 21st century

i listened to Eric Weinstein spend 2 hours talking to James O’Keefe (of Project Veritas) and beat around the bush the whole time. (I listened in Overcast at 2.5x or 3x base speed for different parts, with SmartSpeed automatic silence removal adding an additional speed boost too).

lots of stuff was interesting in the small picture, locally interesting, but Weinstein was supposed to be sharing his disagreement and criticism. Which was basically:

i think what you’re doing is way less effective than it could and should be because my social circle sees your name and then irrationally ignores every fact associated with it.

he never quite said that clearly, and he never really got to step 2: what specific actions should O’Keefe do differently to avoid that problem? is that the fault of O’Keefe or the social circle? what downsides would the alternative actions have?

he brought up a few specifics: he’d like O’Keefe to pixelate more faces, leave out more names, and focus more on companies/organizations not individuals.

he thinks normal people, who aren’t the problem, are scared of veritas.

O’Keefe said how body language, facial expressions, and other details help paint a more vivid picture that communicates more to people

Weinstein mentioned briefly something about how O’Keefe could start milder and escalate. like do pixelated video, then if ppl don’t care enough, release non-pixelated. this struck me as just clueless about marketing. veritas has access to limited public attention and uses it well. can’t afford extra versions (except in appendixes for ppl who want extra details). can’t just lead with something 50% effective and then try to get more attention later when ppl don’t care.

Weinstein was extremely arrogant and kept talking himself up and how advanced and smart and shit he and his audience are. He was hard to listen to. I only put up with it because i liked listening to O'Keefe.

and that was pretty much it for 2 hours.

basically Weinstein just wants O’Keefe to somehow make stuff more acceptable to Weinstein’s (bad) social circle. and O’Keefe doesn’t know how to do that without ruining it, and Weinstein had no substantive suggestions, and the social circle has bad taste.

Weinstein seems to think that maybe if O’Keefe added more appendixes explaining the tough choices he makes, and how he worries over the right actions and the balance between informing the public and avoiding hurting anyone unnecessarily ... then that would make things better. i doubt it. i think Weinstein’s social circle would come up with other complaints and excuses if some of their current ones were changed. i think he’s friends with a bunch of elite social climbers and social climbers who want to be elite, and they are invested in The System (the powers that be; the status quo cultural leaders; the power of the mainstream media; the deep state; etc) that Veritas is a threat to. I think Weinstein himself is in a mixed, confused position of disliking The System in some significant ways but also having partial allegiance to it and being friends with lots of people involved with it. He’s just confused.

I knew almost zero about Weinstein going in, just that he's Intellectual Dark Web associated. Have followed O'Keefe and Veritas for a while and like them.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

Fallible Ideas Community Overview

The Fallible Ideas (FI) community is for learning, philosophy, rationality and critical thinking. These can be applied to all topics (science, economics, politics, gaming, etc.), not just traditional “philosophy” topics. The central topic is how to think and learn well.

Favored thinkers at FI include Elliot Temple (aka curi, the owner), David Deutsch, Ayn Rand, Karl Popper, Ludwig von Mises and Eliyahu Goldratt.

Resources to learn about FI.

The FI community has three discussion places. They are the Curiosity website (blog/forum hybrid), the FI Google Group (email), and the Discord chatroom.

You can support Fallible Ideas with a monthly subscription. SubscribeStar is like Patreon with reward tiers. I refuse to use Patreon because of all the people they've deplatformed.

Sign up for the Fallible Ideas newsletter for 2-3 email updates per month. You'll get notifications about new articles, YouTube videos, podcasts and more.

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Don't Cut Corners On Coronavirus

This post shares and comments on quotes from Hold the line, a coronavirus article by an infectious disease epidemiologist.

First, we are in the very infancy of this epidemic’s trajectory. That means even with these [social distancing] measures we will see cases and deaths continue to rise globally, nationally, and in our own communities in the coming weeks. This may lead some people to think that the social distancing measures are not working. They are. They may feel futile. They aren’t. [...] We need everyone to hold the line as the epidemic inevitably gets worse. This is not my opinion; this is the unforgiving math of epidemics for which I and my colleagues have dedicated our lives to understanding with great nuance, and this disease is no exception. I want to help the community brace for this impact. Stay strong and with solidarity knowing with absolute certainty that what you are doing is saving lives, even as people begin getting sick and dying. You may feel like giving in. Don’t.

I agree.

While social distancing decreases contact with members of society, it of course increases your contacts with group (i.e. family) members. This small and obvious fact has surprisingly profound implications on disease transmission dynamics. Study after study demonstrates that even if there is only a little bit of connection between groups (i.e. social dinners, playdates/playgrounds, etc.), the epidemic trajectory isn’t much different than if there was no measure in place. The same underlying fundamentals of disease transmission apply, and the result is that the community is left with all of the social and economic disruption but very little public health benefit. You should perceive your entire family to function as a single individual unit; if one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the unit is at risk. Seemingly small social chains get large and complex with alarming speed. If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.

This is a key point. If a family is staying home together, then if anyone in the family takes a risk, it's similar to your whole family taking the risk. That’s because one infected family member is likely to infect the rest of the family.

Also, if everyone in your family individually thinks they can get away with small risks, the risks will add up. Suppose you have 5 people each taking 3 tiny risks in a month. That's less than one risk per week. And suppose they’re 2% risks (1 in 50 odds of getting infected). Then the total risk for the family is a 26% chance of getting infected. That means over 1 in 4 families get infected from taking those tiny risks – every month. It doesn’t take many families doing this to keep the disease spreading. People acting anything like this scenario are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

In contrast to hand-washing and other personal measures, social distancing measures are not about individuals, they are about societies working in unison. These measures also take a long time to see the results. It is hard (even for me) to conceptualize how on a population level ‘one quick little get together’ can undermine the entire framework of a public health intervention, but it does. I promise you it does. I promise. I promise. I promise. You can’t cheat it. People are already itching to cheat on the social distancing precautions just a “little”- a playdate, a haircut, or picking up a needless item at the store, etc. From a transmission dynamics standpoint, this very quickly recreates a highly connected social network that undermines all of the work the community has done so far.

He's right. Don't cut corners.

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Coronavirus Solution

Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance explains what everyone should know about governmental and societal policies for dealing with Coronavirus. Millions will die needlessly unless we change policies. (Some Asian countries have good policies. North American and European countries don't.)

Summary: Absolutely don't give up and intentionally let everyone get the disease. And we don't need total lockdown for 18+ months to wait for a vaccine, either. Instead, we must immediately do roughly 4-6 weeks of lockdown to get the disease under control (every day counts against an exponential pandemic). Once it stops spreading exponentially, we can manage it using testing and contact tracing, and ongoing mild and cost-effective lockdown measures while awaiting a vaccine. Any time spent on half-measures right now is condemning people to die and hurting the economy without solving the main problem. If we don't get this right, the hospital system will be overwhelmed and millions will die as hospitals turn them away. We're already on course for disaster, in a matter of days, if we don't make this policy change.

Do we really need to take drastic measures? Yes. Read about how harmful the disease is: A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients (the article is about a hospital in New Orleans, in Louisiana, in USA).

In Wuhan, the disease peaked a month after they did a full lockdown. In Italy today, despite the ongoing disaster (they've passed China in deaths), their lockdown is still inadequate.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (33)

What To Do About Coronavirus

We can stop the pandemic if we slow it down plus heavily ramp up testing. We don’t need to give up and accept that everyone will get it. And we don’t need to stay home for over a year until there’s a vaccine. We just need to do enough testing to figure out who to quarantine. Once we mostly know who has it, the rest is pretty easy, and we’ll be able to manage it when a few cases initially sneak by us. Until testing gets things under control, we must do a lot of social distancing. We can probably get this under control in one month if we take it seriously, which will save hundreds of thousands of lives in USA alone.

To prevent exponential growth of the pandemic, the average person needs to avoid around 70% of their regular contact with other people. That’s a reasonable, achievable number even if most people keep their jobs and go to the grocery store. (70% is a rough estimate based on several sources. Maybe the correct number is actually 80%, but it’s not 99%, it’s something achievable.) People who can isolate extra are a big help who will bring the average down. They’ll make up for some people, such as medical workers, who stay in contact with a lot of people. I’m staying home now.

Don’t go outside for non-essential reasons. Don’t congregate in groups. Stay home as much as you reasonably can. Do your best to leave public spaces for people who need them, e.g. utility workers who keep the water, sewers, power, internet, and phones working. Some people have really good reasons to go outside like healthcare workers, police, firefighters, delivery people, grocery workers, and pharmacy workers. Everyone needs to stop going out for entertainment, luxuries or socializing.

If you can cut down your going out just to work (if you can’t work from home and are in a bad situation to take a break from work), getting medicine and getting groceries when you actually run out (stay home and get stuff delivered if you can), it’ll be a big help to everyone. Get more food at once and eat non-perishables so that you have to shop less often. If you go out, shower when you get home and put all your clothes in the laundry. And don’t place unimportant orders for deliveries right now.

Once the pandemic is under control – we stop it from spreading exponentially, most currently infected people stop being contagious, and we do a lot more testing to find out who has it and who doesn’t – then we can go out more.

Remember: You can spread the disease before you have symptoms or even if you never get symptoms! This appears to be common and is part of why the disease is spreading rapidly.

The best time to get things under control is now, not after the bodies start piling up like they are in Italy.

More Info

Slow the coronavirus spread so we can test way more.

Coronavirus info thread (multiple updates per day; anyone can share info or ask questions)

My Coronavirus video

I tweet coronavirus info. Follow me or read my tweets directly at @curi42.

There is a coronavirus channel on the Fallible Ideas Discord

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (24)

Slow the coronavirus spread so we can test way more

Johns Hopkins March 17 Coronavirus update:

The researchers concluded that efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in each country—defined here as slowing transmission to reduce the peak of the epidemic—would be expected to still result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and overwhelmed health systems. Subsequently, they argue that efforts to suppress the epidemics—defined here as lowering transmission to bring R0 less than 1—are necessary to ensure the continued functioning of health systems. These measures, however, would likely need to be implemented for 18 months or longer. The study considered multiple interventions, both alone and combination with others: case isolation at home, voluntary quarantine of those living with cases, social distancing for individuals over the age of 70, social distancing of the entire populations, and school closures. The model indicates that a combination of these measures would be sufficient to suppress the epidemic and preserve the health system, but the disease would be expected to “quickly rebound” after the interventions are lifted. In order to maintain their impact, the measures would essentially need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available, which could be 18 months or longer.

Study link. And FYI R0 means the average number of people that an infected person infects.

This info is dangerously wrong. Specifically, the 18 month claim is very discouraging (the rest is fine). People, including policymakers, will give up and think stopping the disease is hopeless. We're not all going to stay home for 18+ months (and there's actually no guarantee we'll have a working vaccine in 5 years – unpredictable scientific progress is involved). That won't work. But we shouldn't be planning to wait for a vaccine. That's the wrong plan.

We need to buy time to do way more testing to see who's infected. When we test enough, we can control the disease. Proof is logical and explanatory thinking about how diseases work (if we know who's infected, we can isolate them), as well how well heavy testing is working in e.g. South Korea and Vo, a small Italian town which got the disease completely under control with lots of testing.

See also my coronavirus info thread with multiple updates per day. You can share info there, too.

And see What To Do About Coronavirus

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (5)

The CCP Coronavirus

This is a discussion topic for posting info and questions about the CCP Coronavirus. Check back regularly for updates and share important info. This is a serious pandemic and we all need to educate ourselves and stay home. Don't go out for non-essential reasons. A lot of people are going to die, and our behavior today (March 15, 2020) will still dramatically affect how many die.

March 23 update: Although diseases are commonly named after locations, I edited the post title from The Wuhan Coronavirus to The CCP Coronavirus to reflect the fact that the fault lies with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), not the city of Wuhan.

Below is the original post.

I'm not a medical expert and I haven't given my full attention to the Wuhan Coronavirus. But I've looked into it some and I have a few guesses, below. Summary: It's a real danger, which might kill millions, and China is lying about containment.

  • Coronavirus is spreading in mainland China outside of Hubei province.
  • The Chinese government is lying heavily.
  • China reports fake coronavirus data.
  • Experts could and should have known the above points a month ago.
  • There's a significant chance, let's say >= 20%, that coronavirus kills a lot of people, let's say over a million.
  • If the virus infects 25% of the world and has a 1% mortality rate, that's 19 million dead. The 25% and 1% figures are both plausible. Worse is not unreasonable.
  • Things might not turn out all that bad, but people ought to be concerned and take it seriously.
  • The virus is a bigger threat than the government measures to contain the virus.
  • Many measures to stop or slow the virus' spread are being done too late to have a large benefit.
  • Many people with coronavirus show no symptoms, but can still be contagious.
  • Individual quarantine measures are frequently inadequate. Self-quarantined persons are told e.g. to keep their distance from their spouse ... who can still live with them and go to the grocery store.
  • A 14 day quarantine is inadequate for a person who is around healthy family members or roommates. E.g. they could infect a family member on day 6. Then the quarantine ends too soon (8 days, not 14) after that person got sick.
  • Although we may still slow the spread down, we can't realistically expect to stop the virus from spreading to most of the world. It may not spread that much, but if it doesn't, that will be luck more than skill. We don't know all the details of the virus and how good it is at spreading. Also, the potential exception would be if someone comes up with a major medical breakthrough to protect us.
  • Politicians and others still going around shaking the hands of dozens of people are fools or bastards.
  • The people mocking those who do "social distancing" like not touching other people (e.g. no handshakes) are second-handers disconnected from reality, and they will be responsible for many deaths.
  • Literal life and death threats are inadequate for most social-reality-oriented persons to start focusing on facts, science, details and logic. They can't snap out of it and will continue to be dangerously careless, and to make decisions based on e.g. not wanting to show weakness. People deal with situations by social dynamics like acting tough instead of fearful, and not wanting to be reactive or high effort, and it doesn't matter if coronavirus has no social behavior and cannot act on social interpretations. People will e.g. stock up on supplies if and when other people stock up, and do whatever they think others are doing; they don't want to be different and that matters more to them than their lives.

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Goal of Life

The goal is to live a life guided by good ideas. Good ideas come from ongoing improvement – learning new things and error correction – while avoiding systematic blockers. So the goal of life is unbounded progress for your ideas.

Discuss below. Ask questions, express objections, try to elaborate on what this means or how to do it.

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