Thursday, June 28, 2012

Linguistic Torture Follow-up and Epiphenomenalism

Epiphenomenalism thinks it is dualistic but it can't possibly be. It is inconsistent. Either it is a species of physicalism or it isn't epiphenomenalism.

(Similarly, selfishness is either egoistic or not selfish.)

I found this out by thinking about the mechanics of an epiphenomenal consciousness. The problem is that our consciousnesses in particular think that they are in control of material objects; to whit, my cellular body. Epiphenomenalism is the hypothesis that this isn't true.

However, how does the epiphenomenal mind know which things to think it is in control of? The only way is if the physical causes it to know; one-way causation. You think of picking up a phone, your cells indeed pick up a phone, which means the physical brain, which decided to pick up the phone, informed your epiphenomenal mind that it was going to do so. Otherwise, you'd immediately notice the fact of epiphenomenalism, because you'd decide to pick up the phone, but you wouldn't actually do it. The mind has no effect on the physics, but the physics happily chains the mind.

This means the mind just is the physics. The mind does whatever the physics tells it to do, and nothing else. The mind is simply another aspect of the physics.

Which means that epiphenomalism cannot be true, as it is self-contradictory. (Just as selfishness cannot be the opposite of altruism, as that would be contradictory.)

Epiphenomenalism is proposing something which is part of the physics but doesn't do anything. If you remove the epiphenomenal mind from your model, the model's predictions do not change, which means if you removed the epiphenomenal mind from a world, the world would not change.

It is trying to tack something onto the physics, but it doesn't work. Its descriptions of the proposed thing all boil down to mean nothing.

For me, this is a longer and parochial proof that existence means interaction. If you can poke it, it can poke you back. If you can't poke it, it cannot exist in any meaningful sense.

Of course you're welcome to be wrong, but if you think epiphenomenalism is coherent, that altruism isn't selfish, or that things can exist yet be immune to experiment, you're simply wrong.

"James (1879), who rejected the view, characterized epiphenomenalists' mental events as not affecting the brain activity that produces them “any more than a shadow reacts upon the steps of the traveller whom it accompanies”."
Shadows affect the traveller. Specifically, it has an effect like a slight pressure. Light has energy, which means mass. By blocking the light, the traveller will feel a small gravitational pull everywhere except from the shadow, which amounts to a slight pressure. More transparent travellers will feel less pressure.

While this pressure is probably below the noise threshold, it is inevitably associated with other events which are not, such as the appearance of the shadow. I claim that James did not simply err in his choice of example, there are no such examples anywhere.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Don't Ride the Pendulum: Power

This is, if you know what to look for, a transparent power grab.
"I don't like the anything-goes liberalism implied in Tylenol's "whatever your normal is." No—get back to a very specific standard of normal!"
Invariably, this means 'impose my standard of normal.'

In rejecting the wrong and bad, it does no good to leap into the arms of a different wrong and bad. Why your normal? Why not impose my normal? If you can prescribe a better culture like a culture doctor, I can too.

There's a specific thing wrong with the proggy anything-goes normal. They don't acknowledge (out loud) that some normals are better than others. What Charles Murray just said, basically.

The people who proggies have in their sway are no more idiotic than the people previously under the sway of monarchy etc. Proggressivism works for them about as well or better than the previous option, or they wouldn't have taken it. (Either that or 'sheeple' is an exact and correct term, meaning the peasants have no will of their own to override. Let me know if you prefer this option.)

What makes a normal better is that it achieves goals better. While most share the same goals, not all do. Using the standard of some normals being better, it depends to some extent on who is using the normal. As with economies, normals are a tool, they should serve the user, not the reverse.

In particular, imposing a specific normal rejects eccentric goals - it alienates elites, the exact fatal mistake the monarchies made.

Guys! Even disregarding that it's mean and selfish, it's not a good idea to work towards an order where the optimal strategy for the very smart is to destroy you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Juxtaposition: Pattern Hunting

There's a pattern here, so I'm going to start writing and see if that helps me put my finger on it.

Should I be tactful, or should I just call this guy (via) a moron?
"Cooksey first heard from the state board just a few days after he attended a diabetic nutritional seminar at a local church. During the question-and-answer session, he expressed his disagreement with the view of the speaker—the director of diabetic services at a nearby hospital—that diabetics can eat anything they want, but should focus on whole-grain carbs and avoid fat. Someone from the seminar filed a complaint with the state board, charging that Cooksey was acting as an unlicensed dietician."
Heh, 'somebody.' I'm going to have to think real hard to come up with who.

Trusted authority.
Insulted a noble.

How do you get through public school without realizing that the anointed are legally immune to criticism? Sure they talk a fine line, but never, ever mean it. There's any number of posts on this blog that would bring 'the process' down on my head, if they're waved in front of the wrong person's nose. None of them are formally illegal, but Cooksey is a moron for acting like that matters.

Of course I'm also a moron.
"That last link, by the way, is exceptionally data-rich, and well worth bookmarking for reference—if you are among the 0.0000001 percent of us who care about data." (Via. I bookmarked, as suggested.)
There's a lot of commentary regarding proggies and facts. Or logical consistency. Unprincipled exceptions. Hypocrisy.

Only, it is perfectly normal for human being to ignore facts. Conservatives do it all the time, at any rate. Alt-right version. (Via.) For example, the fact that haranguing proggies about facts has never accomplished anything.

Almost everyone claiming to care about facts or science is trying to pull a fast one on you, and the correct response is laughter and ridicule. (Including scientists; "For no reason I know, works of philosophy are compromised by even a typo in the introduction, but in science you can open with a golden shower anecdote and no one notices." Naturally scientists can't keep up with a philosopher's standards. Most philosophers can't either.)

Similarly, I've earned a lot of ridicule for not testing this assumption earlier. Reality's really had to beat me over the head with this one; looking back, I've had many, many previous opportunities to put this together.
"The facts are clear. This cruel austerity experiment has failed."
I'm sorry sir, but I'm not going to take your word as proof that you care about the facts, and I was a fool for ever having done so.

(Link is an utterly predictable propaganda piece. You could write the whole thing yourself given a few disjointed words: SWPL, austerity, Guardian, Greece, facts. But, is it any wonder proggies want to reform Man? That this kind of propaganda is effective certainly makes me want to resign in shame from being human.)

While on the subject of morons, they make gulls (earlier) destructive even without liars.

The ignorant, ignorant of their own deficiency, spout nonsense of various kinds. Gulls believe them. Gulls then vote. The gull's depleted resources are then refilled by skimming the coffers of the responsible and capable. Then we vote again.

You can attack the ignorant for being ignorant, but on average they won't hear about it. However, attack the gullible for being taken in, and they'll likely buy it.

Talking about gulls, how do I know I'm personally gullible? Because I bought the idea that the Enlightenment changed things. Haha, nope. It changed who the nobles were, and changed almost nothing about the lot of the peasants.

Come to think, our rich peasants are credited to science, which is attributed to the Enlightenment. That's probably propaganda. Do I have any evidence it isn't propaganda?
No, instead I have several reasons to believe it is. First, the exponential wealth growth line goes back to at least the Black Death. Second, science clearly worked just fine under monarchy and Christianity. Third, attributing it to the Enlightenment is flattering to the current ruler class.

I agree that science is a prerequisite for more wealth, but the Enlightenment philosophy is not clearly better for science in overall effect. At least, to wring something useful out of it, I had to do serious editing.

I seriously can't think of any anti-propaganda evidence. Weird. I recall forgetting something important here, though.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Notes on Byzantium vs. America

Spandrell reviews a book in at least two parts.

Emphasis mine:
"Byzantium died from suicide, not murder. Infighting between the army and the bureaucracy in Constantinople ended with the victory of the capital and the hollowing out of the Anatolian army, leaving the territory undefended."
Sounds familiar. America? This is your future. In this case, I suspect it will be a suicide cascade. An attempt to bandage one self-inflicted mortal wound will spark the final conflict between State and Pentagon, between Brahmin and Amerikaner, and the Brahmins will win a Pyrrhic victory. If you're lucky, the Pentagon will surrender without shooting too many people first. I suggest having an alternative already lined up. During a crisis, the peasants get open minded.

"Byzantium might have been an autocracy, but there were no clear rules of succession and court intrigue was a staple: [...] because in principle the Roman Emperor was selected by common acclamation of the Senate, the People and the Army."
Good to know America's studied its history. It would sad if I wasn't able to predict how it will fall. Thanks, Americans!

The rest of Candide's quote is facepalm inducing too.

"It was a constant struggle between the Constantinople-based bureaucratic noble families who actually ran the country, and the army leaders from the provinces who ensured there was a country to run."
Surely, America didn't copy all of Byzantium? I'm sure there's a difference somewhere.
"The army tended to win, which means there was a sort of tradition of ambitious generals revolting and seizing the throne for themselves."
Ah, I feel much better. Nowadays it is considered gauche to seize rule by force, so the bureaucracy wins instead.

I wonder how much effect the mass media has? Would the army have stormed Washington already if it wouldn't have been instantly reported to everyone? In Byzantium, lacking telegrams, by the time most the empire learned there had been a coup, the thing would already have been done and over with, all organized resistance wiped out. Or would the modern units simply refuse the command, by common agreement of its illegitimacy?
"They were cowardly and unwarlike and appeared to be unserviceable for anything brave."
Perhaps modern bureaucrats are waiting for the un-braving of the armies to finish before they make any overt moves.

Oh hey, new possible reason for the middle eastern wars. Peacetime training is bad. Without action, your army's skills will atrophy. With bureaucrats incessantly threatening their power base, generals can't afford a badly trained army.