Overreaching Discussion

How can we understand, manage and deal with our error rate and our error correction rate/capacity? How can we avoid being overwhelmed with errors? How can we succeed more? How can we know what we're talking about instead of blundering around lost and confused?


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (13)

Praise from David Deutsch

These quotes give some information about what David Deutsch thought of me and why. They help explain why he chose to spend thousands of hours having discussions with me, primarily one-on-one. I’m providing the quotes to help set the record straight because some people have spread misinformation.

2003: “I'm sure you can do it as well as I”. The context here was writing a reply to someone about physics.

2003: “Yes you did [get it right]. Excellent.” Context is that DD and I had disagreed regarding our mental models of a person in a philosophy discussion. Their new messages made it clear that I was right.

2005: “The reason I liked you right away is that you have a mind like a racing car.”

2006: “as I told you, you remind me of Feynman.” And elaborating on one of the ways I reminded DD of Feynman: "He [Feynman] did have huge energy. But, despite winning the Nobel prize and starting off many fruitful projects, I have the feeling that his mind was like an engine that was never engaged to drive anything worthy of it. Was shaking itself to pieces.”

2007: “he [Feynman] was basically in the same position [as you are regarding boredom]. He had this industrial strength meat grinder in his brain, which was designed to grind up entire oxen every few seconds, but he seldom had any oxen.”

Paraphrase from memory (maybe from 2006-8 range): “You’re the second faster learner I’ve ever met, after Feynman.”

Paraphrase from memory (this was early, maybe 2003): “Are you using software to calculate those derivatives?” Me: “No, I’m doing them in my head.” DD: “I’m surprised you could do them so quickly and accurately.” Context: Derivatives are calculus and DD has seen some of the best physicists calculate (and he’s top tier himself).

Regarding DD writing The Beginning of Infinity, for years he sent me draft chapters of the book and highly praised my responses, saying they improved the book. I don’t want to share what he said about other people or give specifics, so paraphrasing his highest and broadest praise statement: “Your comments on BoI are much better and much more useful than anyone else’s.” This is one of the reasons DD asked me to create and own the BoI website and BoI Forum (BoI Forum discussion was later merged into the FI Forum, which is still active today). It’s also why he wrote “especially” before my name in the book’s acknowledgements.

These quotes are all from one-on-one private written conversations. I’ve shared them, only after careful consideration, because some of DD’s associates have been engaged in a many-year campaign to undermine and attack my reputation with lies, smears and gossip. Part of the false narrative is to downplay the extent of my association with DD, how much he liked me, and why. DD has not publicly contradicted the misinformation nor attempted to set the record straight. So I’ve provided some factual information about the matter. Relevant to that, DD said in 2010: “I am not mad [at you] and do not hold a grudge.” He has never made a contrary statement or withdrawn any of the praise.

Note: Due to extensive interaction for over a decade, DD and I had complex, non-standard, personalized, private policies for handling privacy and permissions. I’ve taken that into account (but won’t explain the policies to protect our privacy). I’ve minimized the quotes to a few that contradict the false narrative.

FYI, the amount Feynman comes up is unrepresentative. Searching for Feynman was an easy way to find quotes.

The purpose of this post is to provide some information that was not previously available and to counter misinformation. For a broader summary see e.g. The History of Taking Children Seriously.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Message (1)

Evaporating Clouds

Topic for discussing Evaporating Clouds (aka Conflict Clouds). Share Clouds and discuss solutions!

Evaporating Clouds are a problem solving tool created by Eli Goldratt. Learn about them from his books: Read The Goal then It's Not Luck (the sequel which explains Clouds). They are easy to read novels. I also highly recommend everyone read Goldratt's The Choice. It's about philosophy discussions with his daughter and it's also easy reading.

You can also learn about Conflict Clouds by signing up for the $5/month Media Posts tier on my SubscribeStar (support my work and get perks – like Patreon). Today I posted a summary of how Conflict Clouds work with a bunch of examples. Here's a preview image showing the info shared:


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (9)

Polyamory, Polygamy, BDSM and Rational Thinking Skills Discussion

From the Fallible Ideas Discord.


Freeze:

Some stuff I read today and liked (some of it was re-reading):

Freeze:

https://fallibleideas.com/common-preferences

Freeze:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_preference

Freeze:

http://curi.us/2086--the-choice-passage-dealing-with-conflict

Freeze:

http://curi.us/1539-autonomy-respecting-relationships

Freeze:

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

Freeze:

shared it in the other chat but ppl disagreed heavily

Freeze:

I didn't spend much time or effort trying to explain once they stopped giving explanations

Freeze:

i also agreed with the idea that sex feels good because we put so much effort into making it so

Freeze:

it's interpreted that way by our culture

Freeze:

the main things ppl disagreed with were: Sex doesn't feel intrinsically good, we make it so. People can always find common preferences and get what they want. (at first they argued that compromises ARE common preferences, and that the definition says so. Then I pulled up the definition and showed how a key part of compromises are concessions. Then they said that you can't always get what you want, and I disagreed with that, saying that common preferences are ways of people getting what they want without sacrifice)

Freeze:

I agreed with the following

Freeze:

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

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

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

Freeze:

Confidently I say, "The second obstacle is that people's perception is that conflicts are a given and that the best we can do is to seek a compromise."

Bitterly Father remarks, "In academia we are encouraging that devastating mistake. Under the glorifying title of 'optimization' we invest considerable efforts to teach students, not how to remove conflicts, but how to waste time finding the 'best' compromise. What a waste of talent."

Freeze:

@Wisp looks like you also disagree about some of this. we can make a tree if u want

Wisp:

not at the moment, I am in them middle of solving a problem and it might interfere with it

curi:

i partially disagree with a bit of that fyi

curi:

or at least ppl get misled by it

Freeze:

oh?

Freeze:

are there any common misconceptions you can point out

curi:

1) in general poly = MORE LOVE, MORE ROMANCE. most ARR ppl thot mono bad, poly good

Freeze:

i think you explained that in a post somewhere

curi:

yes

Freeze:

oh i remember a podcast

curi:

in general poly ppl are fucking retarded and dumber than normal ppl

Freeze:

where you talked about poly not always being better

curi:

like way dumber

Freeze:

and it being situational

Freeze:

https://curi.us/files/podcasts/polygamy.mp3

curi:

if u wanna do something non-traditional u need to nkow wtf ur doing

Freeze:

right

Freeze:

because traditions have knowledge

curi:

if ur need a top tier thinker, be alone or mono, those are the normal options

Freeze:

if you dont have good arguments against traditions, follow them

curi:

or like poly hookups when ur young and it's not srs relatinoships. that's normal. im not a fan of promiscuity but whatever.

curi:

ya that podcast should say my current views fine

curi:

iirc

Freeze:

how would it interfere with a current problem @Wisp?

Freeze:

are you worried it might change your mind about something and thus change your approach/desire for the relationship etc.?

Wisp:

curi: in general poly ppl are fucking retarded and dumber than normal ppl

Wisp:

how do you reach that conclusion?

curi:

reading some of their stuff and talking to some

curi:

obviously not 100% applicable but it's a major pattern

JustinCEO:

i thot u might say guesses and crit curi

curi:

and i mean just retarded about relationships, not dumber re other stuff

curi:

not like lower IQ

Wisp:

ah I see

Freeze:

in this podcast curi explains how poly ppl value sex and love

Wisp:

what does retarded about relationships means?

curi:

their ideas are stupid and make their lives worse than normal stuff, cause lots of problems

curi:

and they are unreasonable about it

Freeze:

their error correction is also worse about those ideas?

curi:

their error correctino might just be avg

curi:

so... bad

Freeze:

ah

curi:

not enuf for unconventional stuff

curi:

when u do poly u run into more errors + esp more errors that don't already have well known solutions

JustinCEO:

does "in general" include or exclude religiously motivated poly people

curi:

poly ppl can get less useful advice from most books, magazines, websites, friends, podcasts

curi:

i dont' recall any poly i have exposure to being highly religiously motivated

curi:

don't think i'm familiar with that

JustinCEO:

kk

Freeze:

like polygamous mormons or something?

Freeze:

i think curi is referring to polyamory primarily

Wisp:

What if they dont process jealousy and understand power dynamics more? Thus having a more smoother relationship? For exmaple people in the bdsm community seem to handle these emotions much better.

curi:

i assume the islam version is awful

Freeze:

polygamy secondarily?

JustinCEO:

fundamentalist mormons and muslims are the two examples that i'm aware of, ya

curi:

wisp i think a lot of them claim something like that but just aren't aware of what's going on and have bad self-understanding

curi:

i think the bdsm community is awful too

curi:

normal ppl also generally have bad self-understanding too. it's just they are following safer default lifestyle so it does less harm.

curi:

islam is really sexist, idk how sexist mormons are today

Freeze:

so it's like one of the best ways to improve the lives of lots of people is to improve the general, default traditional knowledge quality?

Wisp:

default life style according to you is just social conditioning, what is the guarantee that is it actually safer?

JustinCEO:

the mormons that do poly are a small splinter group afaik

Freeze:

it's been through lots of error correction wisp

Freeze:

traditions embody a lot of knowledge

curi:

it's safer b/c ppl have spent millenia fixing the worst ways it hurts ppl

Freeze:

they have been criticized over time and improved

Freeze:

there are some static memes in traditional knowledge that make things worse afaik

Freeze:

but yeah, the worst issues have been improved

Freeze:

if u start from scratch, it's far more likely u'll do worse

Freeze:

that's why it's better to make incremental improvements

curi:

Wisp what's ur background or profession? do u happen to know programming?

Wisp:

do you really think social rules are that easily fixable? they have only improved through thinkers actually protesting and trying to fix stuff. BDSM on the other hand is not as bound by social norms and people are free to invent and re-invent rules that work

Wisp:

very quickly

Wisp:

I am a PhD candidate, computer science

curi:

ok cool. it's like if u have very big, complex computer software that is 20 years old. over those 20 years ppl fixed a million bugs. if u start from scratch u will make a million new bugs. rewrites tend to be bad.

curi:

and it's much, much worse to rewrite when the code is live in production the entire time and u have no test server and no dev environment, which is how IRL works

Wisp:

starting from scratch but in a new environment that makes it easy to de-bug

Wisp:

the conditions are different

curi:

the idea of BDSM community u present is like "we are more rational, so we can use our rational problem solving to do better than tradition". in practice they are in fact just as dumb as everyone else and do worse.

curi:

IME

curi:

and it's predicted by theory too

Freeze:

IME = In My Experience

Wisp:

ah ok

curi:

if they were any good at reason why don't they discuss Popper or something and write some good philosophy essays

Wisp:

because that is not their objective?

Freeze:

it is though

curi:

b/c u need to test ur actually not just an arrogant fool. try to objectively test ur knoweldge qualty and skill

Freeze:

error-correction is their objective

Freeze:

Popper revolutionized that field

curi:

rational ppl don't just assume their self-judgment is true

curi:

they look for ways to find out it might not be

curi:

and if ppl are are actually god tier at rational problem solving, they could be superstars in philosophy just be writing it down a bit

Wisp:

I am not calling them rational or philosophers , I am saying that their unique environemnt lets them change rules much faster, so even if they use a dumber algo to do it (not popper's method) they might have a better success rate through random walks

curi:

if they can get it practical and approachable enuf to work for sexual relationships, it should also actually work for ppl thinking about easier shit like doing a startup and getting rich

curi:

changing rules faster doesn't help nearly enuf if u have no clue what to chagne to or how to think well or how to tell what is working or not

Wisp:

then how is it different from the emprical stuff PUAs do? how do they have more merit?

Wisp:

trying and changing things

Wisp:

and seeing what works

curi:

some PUAs had scientific attitudes and put in a lot of work over years at ... figuring out how the status quo works, which is much easier than changing how ppl live.

curi:

i'm unaware of any BDSM material with similar rational quality

Wisp:

I see, makes sense

curi:

and even if they had equal skill they'd still fail

curi:

cuz their thing is harder

Wisp:

so there is a threshold of hardness where this kind of method fails?

curi:

PUA community is really exceptional and unusual, even for that level of difficulty most attempts fail

curi:

it's from usenet

curi:

usenet and its culture is dead now 😦

Wisp:

what is usenet?

curi:

it's basically the old school internet forums when the internet was full of early adopters

Wisp:

I see

curi:

it died in sept 1993 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September

curi:

or began dying then

Wisp:

a few months after my birth

curi:

it died to what is essentially analogous to mass immigration

curi:

they couldn't assimilate the AOL users fast enuf

curi:

the FI google group is usenet legacy. it's similar forum style (and it started in 1994...)

curi:

nowaways it's very very hard to get anyone to join that sort of email forum instead of facebook, reddit, twitter, discord, etc.

Wisp:

I think these kinds of problems instead of having linear difficulty levels are more like different types of problems, so saying something is harder is not as useful?

curi:

there's some of that but some types (going against tradition) are broadly much harder than others (not challenging tradition)

Wisp:

but polygamy and probably bdsm has been tradition in societies? Its not a new concept. I will have to check my claim though

curi:

the atheists doing poly today are not following ancient polygamous customs and don't live in a society where polygamy is normal

curi:

i'm not very familiar with history of bdsm. i think actual cruelty was common and men had power over women. that's pretty different than what ppl are trying to do today.

curi:

i think a bit of bdsm play isn't necessarly a big deal at all but when it's more of a lifestyle one is involved in then it's a bad subculture and kinda similar to and overlapping poly

curi:

A theory of why ppl like BDSM and related is they (esp the girl) don't want the responsibility of choosing to have sex, for which they feel shame and guilt. It helps remove that by fooling themselves (it doesn't rationally take away responsibility). This explanation doesn't fit with the BDSM ppl being rational and good at solving problems.

curi:

long term mono relationships and marriage are also good at removing the shame and guilt of having sex, anyway.

curi:

(far from perfect tho)

curi:

(it's a hard thing to remove)

curi:

it's also often not just the shame and guilt of sex itself but of particular sex acts, fantasies, weaknesses (revealing imperfect physical characteristics) etc.

curi:

poly is also fundamentally harder than mono b/c more ppl involved is more complicated

curi:

very similar to how i advise ppl to only have one child. every added child is more complexity and they will fuck up enuf with just one.

curi:

mixing poly + any kids is a mess

curi:

also btw tons of young ppl think they don't want kids and never will, then a few years later they do. the belief they will never want kids is one of the things that can make their poly ideas seem viable to them.

curi:

ppl who fuck around with poly stuff for a few years when they are young isn't so important, it's kinda just like promiscuity in general, but trying to make it a lifestyle for decades is different.

curi:

and doing it for a few years while expecting it to last a lifetime, but then stopping, is generally bad. ur wrong about how ur life works. ur plan didn't work.

Wisp:

A thought comes to mind vis a vis mono vs poly relationships, there are two kinds of sexually reproducing species "gladiatorial" and "par bonding". After observing humans, we seem to show behaviour from both, including physical features associated with both. a lot of variation is observed. And I agree that maintaing a long ploy relationship is very hard. i have seen one healthy poly relationship among a friend of mine but eventually it did not last beyond a few years. Five years I think.

Wisp:

But that also seems to be the failure or success rate of mono relationships, considering the dataset of poly is much smaller

curi:

i don't think animal behavior is relevant to humans b/c we think in ways they don't. i've got a lot of material on animal intelligence fyi.

Wisp:

I would not say its completely irrelevant, after all there are besides creating new knowledge every other system is the same

Wisp:

you cannot dismiss physical reality when discussing human behaviour

curi:

knowledge is the dominant factor

Wisp:

but you said most people are dumb and not rational, which means knowledge is not the dominant factor and biological behaviour is

curi:

no, dumb and irrational are types of knowledge. they are bad ideas, not no ideas and letting biology dictate.

Wisp:

I see

curi:

like uhh scientology is irrational knoweldge

curi:

nothing to do with animals

curi:

or biology

Wisp:

what about the skinner box and how they are used in casinos, works on both animals and humans

Wisp:

means there is a commonality

Wisp:

knowledge of how other spices work can be applied in understanding humans, is my point

curi:

i think ppl are badly wrong about how they analyze that stuff and a lot of "neuroscience" stuff

Wisp:

why treat the mind or studying humans as different from studying say photons

Wisp:

the methodology

Freeze:

photons don't have knowledge

curi:

there's so much complexity it's more enlightening to look at higher level

curi:

like not reading machine code for complex software

Wisp:

at some point you need to look at the lower level to re-create it

Wisp:

or alter it

curi:

not necessarily but often ya

curi:

it's good to study neurons

curi:

but ppl trying to base psychology conclusions on neurons today are getting it wrong

Wisp:

thats ok, error correction will fix that

curi:

well they don't have rational philosophy or methods

curi:

it's not being fixed currently. broken field.

Wisp:

do you think most scientists dont have a rational philosphy?

curi:

yeah

Wisp:

then how has so much progress been made in 2k years?

curi:

minority have been productive, not majority

curi:

the ratio was better in the past when there were way fewer scientists

curi:

now we draw too many ppl into the field who are dumb and think university will teach them to think well (it mostly doesn't)

curi:

and a lot of them chase grants and prestige and promotions for their careers

curi:

social climbing instead of real science

Wisp:

which I think was done even before

curi:

yes some. it's been expanded a lot with e.g. massive govt funding of science which i think offhand is mostly post WWII

curi:

and university being for ~everyone now instead of just early adopters

curi:

it's not just individual cleverness at issue tho. lots of smart ppl believe common, mainstream ideas like induction which lead them wrong.

curi:

philosophy is the ~worst field and is hurting the others by spreading really bad ideas

Freeze:

greg is an inductivist :FeelsBadMan:

curi:

most scientists are not philosophers and have not carefully investigated the correct philosophy ideas themselves. they outsource that thinking to philosophy experts who have failed the world.

curi:

most philosophers lack a scientific mindset and are less rational than the avg scientist but nevertheless are allowed to be deemed experts on philosophy of science and spread methodology

curi:

there has been pushback. many scientists now disrespect philosophers. but the stuff they believe came from philosophy anyway. they broadly don't understand its history and the alternative philosophies.

curi:

it's hard to sort the mess out

curi:

just disrespecting philosophers won't fix it for ppl

curi:

if u just don't listen to the latest crap philosophers say and believe the stuff in science books ... ur just getting stuff philosophers told scientists a while ago

curi:

with ppl being mis-educated to believe the wrong ideas, most scientists aren't effective. plus parenting destroys most ppl's minds by age 10 anyway so they aren't cut out to be scientists without a lot of help/fixing that we don't currently know how to do...

Wisp:

wait a minute how do philosphers actually help creating knowledge/

Wisp:

they are just arm chair scientists

Wisp:

where is the work?

curi:

philosphers write about topics like what the methods of science are

curi:

how learning works

curi:

how to think rationally

curi:

these ideas are used by all other fields

curi:

u can't do anything without ideas about critical thinking, avoiding bias, etc

Wisp:

ok yeah , agreed

curi:

when philosophers fuck this up then it screws everyone else who is accepting their crap

Freeze:

all knowledge is created thru guessing and criticizing

Freeze:

empirical testing is only one form of criticism

Freeze:

plenty of criticism happens in human minds

JustinCEO:

grass cures colds etc

curi:

lots of ppl think they are ignoring philosophers but lots of philosophy ideas are common sense or spread around anyway, even if u aren't getting them directly from a philosopher

Freeze:

wait a minute how do philosphers actually help creating knowledge/
they are just arm chair scientists
where is the work?
this shows some serious misconceptions imo

Freeze:

about how knowledge is created, what "work" is, and where the value is in philosophy

curi:

maybe it just shows he knows what most philosophers are like today

Freeze:

i guess

curi:

they earned that disrespect

JustinCEO:

:\

Freeze:

many scientists are like this too though

Freeze:

even if they do experiments

Freeze:

they're wasted experiments

curi:

Now some of you might say, as many people do: “Aw, I never think in such abstract terms—I want to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems—what do I need philosophy for?” My answer is: In order to be able to deal with concrete, particular, real-life problems—i.e., in order to be able to live on earth.
You might claim—as most people do—that you have never been influenced by philosophy. I will ask you to check that claim. Have you ever thought or said the following? “Don’t be so sure—nobody can be certain of anything.” You got that notion from David Hume (and many, many others), even though you might never have heard of him. Or: “This may be good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.” You got that from Plato. Or: “That was a rotten thing to do, but it’s only human, nobody is perfect in this world.” You got it from Augustine. Or: “It may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” You got it from William James. Or: “I couldn’t help it! Nobody can help anything he does.” You got it from Hegel. Or: “I can’t prove it, but I feel that it’s true.” You got it from Kant. Or: “It’s logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality.” You got it from Kant. Or: “It’s evil, because it’s selfish.” You got it from Kant. Have you heard the modern activists say: “Act first, think afterward”? They got it from John Dewey.
Some people might answer: “Sure, I’ve said those things at different times, but I don’t have to believe that stuff all of the time. It may have been true yesterday, but it’s not true today.” They got it from Hegel. They might say: “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” They got it from a very little mind, Emerson. They might say: “But can’t one compromise and borrow different ideas from different philosophies according to the expediency of the moment?” They got it from Richard Nixon—who got it from William James.

JustinCEO:

LOL

JustinCEO:

curi

JustinCEO:

i had the window open, was reaching for the paste

curi:

from Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand, chapter 1. highly reccommend reading chapters 1-2

curi:

and maybe 11

Freeze:

someone from the other discord who is training to be an experimental physicist, when i brought up the value of epistemology

I have done zero philosophy of science, and plan on doing none
I don't think it's useful as a physics/math double major, as a physicist, or as a person

Freeze:

i said i don't give a flying fuck about philosophy because it doesn't create a quantum computer or solve the many body problem or create better telescopes to learn more about space

Freeze:

>_<

Freeze:

i think philosophy does all these things

curi:

that means he will pick up philosophy ideas secondhand (or third or fourth), here and there, and never think about them much. disaster!

Freeze:

i have zero reason to learn more, or to learn it "correctly"
because philosophy doesn't advance science
research does

Freeze:

my response

Freeze:

philosophy governs research

curi:

it's maybe the word "philosophy" he hates

curi:

mb switch to: critical+rational thinking methods/skills

Freeze:

we can sit in dark rooms and discuss your many worlds shit all day but that doesn't mean anything until someone mathematically or experimentally proves it true or false

curi:

which is one branch of philosophy which not everyone even associates with philosophy

Freeze:

yeah disgussing methods of thinking doesn't solve problems freeze

JustinCEO:

wtf

Freeze:

doing an experiment or doing the math does

Freeze:

he's like a hardcore experimentalist

curi:

see with scientists like that a lot of ppl waste their careers... he'll have to get lucky to accomplish much

Freeze:

you can sit on a high horse all day and discuss how philosophically correct something is but that doesn't advance the science

curi:

(or change his mind)

JustinCEO:

does he think learning is relevant to doing science?

curi:

what he's saying to you are ARGUMENTS. how does one evaluate whether an argument is correct and should be believed? with critical and rational thinking methods and skills...

curi:

he's trying to use those RIGHT NOW

JustinCEO:

cuz lots of learning is learning how to think about and approach various kinds of problems

JustinCEO:

well he's not convincing freeze so that just proves philosophy is useless curi

JustinCEO:

qed

Freeze:

so how does philosophy solve open problems in science and math then
how does philosophy demonstrate the temperature dependence of the decay of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 nanowires

curi:

it's a tool not a full solution...

Freeze:

yikes

Freeze:

an argument is correct if the math or experiment backs it up

JustinCEO:

you could say like

curi:

yeah freeze there is a LOT of this in the world

JustinCEO:

how does language per se demonstrate the temperature dependence of the decay of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 nanowires

curi:

shut up and calculate skool as DD calls it

Freeze:

it doesn't have any sort of relevance if it doesn't

JustinCEO:

and then use that and say there's no value in knowing a language

curi:

and anti-conceptual inductivism etc

Freeze:

philosophy is a tool the same way a spoon is a tool
a spoon doesn't help me prove a theorem

Freeze:

geez

JustinCEO:

and just be like "well show me how comma rules help demonstrate the temperature dependence of the decay of LaAlO3/SrTiO3 nanowires, motherfucker"

Freeze:

Wisp:

pyro I think freeze is just trying to change your definition of philosophy to what it actually is

curi:

yeah the world is fucking broken and desparately needs the stuff i work on...

Freeze:

i guess so

JustinCEO:

:\

curi:

it's a good example

curi:

he's hostile not just wrong

curi:

makes it harder

JustinCEO:

ya


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

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 (9)

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: http://web.archive.org/web/20190701184215/https://curi.us/988-structural-epistemology-introduction-part-1, 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 http://web.archive.org/web/20190702162345/https://curi.us/272-algorithmic-animal-behavior

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: http://web.archive.org/web/20200207181124/http://curi.us/2245-discussion-about-animal-rights-and-popper

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.

and

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.

Conclusion

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.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (18)

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Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

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.)


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (4)

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.

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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.


Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (0)

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.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Messages (354)