Monday, December 9, 2013

Mining the Anti-Reactionary FAQ

I may edit this post.
Cited Source: Pinker, via hbdchick
The overall violence rate kinks up twice. First time, just before 1800. The second kink is the first time all the component curves move in unison. It looks like it starts in, what, the 60s? It's as if a long-term global decline in violence was overwhelmed by something, in every country, at the same time.

This may be just a coincidence. At some point the parade of coincidences must be taken seriously.

Does anyone know why Italy and Scandinavia responded to the revolutions? Or perhaps did they respond to the same causes the revolutions responded to?

Notably, because we have this kind of graph, we can use it to proxy propensity-for-violence. Using this factor, we can adjust historical war deaths downward, just like we adjust historical dollars upward to adjust for inflation. Given our lower propensity to kill each other, how many wars should we have had, or how big should they have been?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Less Wrong vs. Evidence and Scholarly Virtues

It is not surprising LW went off the rails, because respect for authority and voting are both scholarly anti-virtues. Authority is a time-saving hack for non-scholars, and the only vote that counts is Reality.

Global warming is a better test of irrationality that theism. (No quote necessary.)

Trusting Expert Consensus. (Via: 1, 2.)
"Sometimes I regret not knowing the climate controversy as well as I know the evolution controversy, but what I've seen so far makes me think it's extremely likely that if I did study it in greater depth, doing so would just confirm the evolution-climate change parallel."
Meanwhile, because Reality loves the skeptics,
Carbon emissions have been higher than expected. Measured temperatures have falsified every model. The measurements have simplified the argument - it isn't necessary to think enough to understand how the models could never work. In retrospect, this was inevitable. There is only one way to get any kind of measurement match out of the crude things it pleases climate 'scientists' to call models. Overfitting. Every climate model will reliably diverge in the short term, and due to the pro-warming bias, they will all diverge upward.

Being wrong is not a scholarly anti-virtue. The usual scientific practice is to shower false models with jeers - see phlogiston, etc. This is not only unnecessary, it is counter-productive; a large part of secular anti-consciousness is due to consciousness smelling like vitalism.

Failing to correct, however, is not just an anti-virtue, it is a crime against the laws of epistemology.

Carbonic warming's spectacular flaming crash has undermined not only LW's argument for AGW, but its respect for evolution, and doubtless other fields as well. To be clear: the current correct answer for Hallquist, if asked whether he believes in evolution, is "I don't know." He needs more data or analysis.

The scholarly virtues are deriving things for yourself and voting via experiment. Just as macroevolution follows from things like thermo #2, the impossibility of modelling climate follows from chaos theory. (Have you done the derivations? If not, then your correct response is either "I don't know" or to renounce scholarhood.)

If there was ever time for drastic correction, it is now.

We will not see drastic correct. We probably won't even see slow correction. Even hoping for an embarrassed evasion of the topic feels optimistic to me.

I'm posting this to challenge Reality to prove me wrong. Show me that LW converges on the truth. Perhaps it is I who will have to drastically correct.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Two Envelopes Paradox

Just for spice, let's look at academic philosophy getting it right.
"We want to compare the amount that we would gain by switching if we would gain by switching, with the amount we would lose by switching if we would indeed lose by switching. However, we cannot both gain and lose by switching at the same time. We are asked to compare two incompatible situations." 
And yet,
"God help us if, after the fourth round of drinks, someone brings up the two envelopes paradox." (Here, via
La Wik's phrasing needs work, so in my own words:

When first looking at switching, it seems I must switch, as the expected payoff is 5/4 A. However, now I've switched, I can't re-define the amount in the new envelope as A - it's still 5/4 A, and thus switching back must be a loss. At first this feels like I've unjustifiably broken the symmetry - before I pick an envelope, the expected value must be equal - but since I've added an assumption asymmetrically, it would instead be weird if the symmetry remained.

The second version, where I actually open the envelope, also breaks the symmetry. Sadly this one is still best analyzed by throwing all the academics in a lake.

Your daughter has some terrible eye-melting but curable disease, and you are poor. The opened envelope has $10 000 in it. Do you switch? Obviously not - it's not risking five grand, it's risking your daughter.

Your daughter is fine. You're thinking of buying a new car. The opened envelope has $10 000 in it. Do you switch? Obviously so - no matter what, you get a nicer car, we're just haggling about whether you also get to pad your retirement fund.

Seems clear to me. But why the lake? Have fun trying to find even one academic who will make this clear. The real world and applications are low status, don't ye know.

Second, I've tried to respect intuition. Nobody analyzes these things entirely abstractly. It is passed to the subconscious and the subcon uses concrete examples, usually whatever the availability bias spits out. (E.g. think of a cat - no no, not a cat with fur, an abstract cat. [Mine's an adult tabby. {Side view, facing left, tail erect, front right paw (white) lifted, looking a bit surprised.}]) This will naturally lead to very different intuitions based on things like how rich you currently are or how secure you currently feel.

Additionally, expected value is not the whole story, and one other consideration is whether you can absorb the possible loss. Your intuition will consider this and you can't tell it not to without training.

Completely unrelated, this article taught me a new rule of thumb. "Though Bayesian probability theory ..." The translation: "We are now going to talk out of our ass." Any paragraph or section explicitly calling itself Bayesian is not worth reading. Presumably one calling itself frequentist would be just as bad, but I haven't seen one of those yet.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Self-Reference, Logical Positivism, and Existence

It would appear Reality wanted to spot-confirm my hunch, as per my last post, that respect for self-reference is too high.

Logical positivism has been discredited by feeding itself to itself.
"Logical Positivism is the view: "The only meaningful statements are those that can in principle be verified empirically.  Logical Positivism fell because it cannot itself be verified empirically thus it is meaningless by it's own standard."
Or what I found:
"Therefore, LP is meaningless. I don't know what you mean when you say that meaning can only be ascertained by the possibility of an experiential proof as that statement has no possibility of an experiential proof." [1]

Let LP be f(proposition) = 1 if proposition is meaningful, and 0 otherwise.
Solve for x: f(LP) = x.
Substitute f(proposition) for LP, but proposition = LP, so f( f(LP) )) = x. Et cetera.
In other words, Green, Brown, and everyone who thinks like them have made a critical logical misstep when they concluded that LP self-disproves. Properly appreciated, the argument looks like this:
  • Assume LP
  • biowhjtn4ali;buah.wevkjask;rbhafb
  • Therefore, f(LP) = 0. 
  • Therefore, by contradiction, LP is false. 
This doesn't prove that LP is not meaningless. Similarly, Godel's first incompleteness theorem is true, despite having a faulty proof. A system cannot prove its own consistency, as that would be circular reasoning - and it cannot prove its own inconsistency, either.

I'm not a logical positivist and had to look this stuff up. Instead I believe something, generalized from my formal study of physics, that can apparently be confused with logical positivism. I believe existence is defined by interaction.

As it can be confused with logical positivism, I can be certain LP should have been repaired, not discarded, and as a result this corner of philosophy has been in a blind alley for several decades.

It has come to my attention that philosophers don't understand existence. Let's pretend I can change that.(Again. [2])

Because a system cannot prove or disprove itself, we can be certain that we need an external framework to evaluate any system, and the framework will necessarily be strictly more powerful, as it contains the system in question. The problem is there's a strictly most powerful framework: existence itself.

We can be certain of this even using only diction. Look at how I must start the proof: if a strictly more powerful framework than existence existed... I call this the principle of existence. It seems to have the property of being self-justifying, indeed it seems that a self-justifying framework can be defined as existence.

Though proving this is impossible.

First problem, existence is the most powerful framework. Second problem, since everything is subject to the principle of existence, logic is inherently less powerful than existence. Existence is the framework by which I evaluate logic; it is not valid to use logic to evaluate the statement 'existence is the most powerful framework,' or that 'existence is self-justifying.' (It bemuses me that I can even state or communicate the idea.) Conversely, I can't use logic to invalidate the ideas either, and both these restrictions also apply to evidence.

So, have I tried to put 'existence is interaction' though the wringer of itself? I have. I found it's a bit stupid and felt silly.

Despite this, I will pretend to argue for it. If you can figure out how this relates to the fact that arguing is invalid, kindly let me know. (I'll probably understand eventually, but it would be nice not to have to do it all myself.)

Because it isn't an argument, it isn't unreasonable to hold a contradictory axiom. However, it is unreasonable to think any alternative can be logically defended.

The purpose of truth is prediction. I don't really care about truth per se, I care that when I go to make tea, the tea leaves and hot water are where and how I think they are. The purpose of prediction is to control my own subjective state. (How this invalidates caring about BIVs and the external world is left as an exercise.) For example, being able to experience tea when I want to experience tea. As another, experiencing nourishment so that I don't experience starving to death and thus termination of experience. Truth allows me to predict and thus fulfil these goals.

Something that cannot interact with me cannot affect my goals. If it cannot affect my goals, as far as I'm concerned, it does not exist.

Nevertheless, existence is the ultimately axiomatic axiom. As it's not an argument, this is a suggestive story. (Mmm, tea.)

Ironically, Brown says, "it is the hope and intent of this work that once people come to really understand Hume and the Bullshit Nature of Rational Philosophy, they can start working on an axiomatic philosophy," apparently unable to see that LP only functions as an axiom.

Rack this up as another place where philosophy has gone off into the weeds so deeply that a single individual can outflank the entire academic class. Of course, I don't actually think I have some superhuman insight. I think anyone can do this if they have enough dedication. It's a process of discarding chains more than acquiring skills, and not giving up by concluding it must be impossible. Having a PhD in philosophy is such a massive millstone that even the middlebrow can pass them if they set their mind to it, and lesser qualification are merely lesser millstones to be overcome. 

In this case, I apparently independently re-derived a better version of logical positivism. (I certainly didn't read any Wittgenstein or Russell.) I can tell because my phrasing is different and the logical geometry is just a bit off. Sadly you can't tell - I might have deliberately rephrased it specifically for the purposes of foisting this metric off on you. But, were you to embark on a similar expedition, you know what to look for in yourself.

By the geometry, I mean I don't seem to need empiricism or meaning as concepts. If they appear, they appear as consequences of the principle, rather than having to be injected. Interaction-existence and LP as concepts can't quite be superimposed neatly. I don't use the idea of statements either, and though I tend to have to add that to get any use out of interaction-existence, because it isn't native it becomes modular - if you don't like statements and can come up with an alternative, it works fine.

[1] Careful, Brown's mean free path between contradictions in this piece is maybe 20. Go here if you want to see him inside his domain of expertise. It's the detail view of what Moldbug mentions about models. In the LP piece, roughly all the implications he ascribes to LP are embarrassing misunderstandings. Or sheer mendacity - I found one insult he flings that he later straight-up contradicts the basis of. Unfortunately, this sort of thing seems typical of modern academics.

[2] I like repeating myself, because if I've made a mistake, every repetition increases the likelihood I'll make a different mistake which will show up as a detectable contradiction. It also allows the reader to do logical diffraction if I'm correct: each slightly different iteration has slightly different interpretations, and you can eliminate the possibilities that don't overlap and reinforce.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Self-Referential Sentences such as the Liar Paradox

I appear to have a novel solution.

In mathematics, some numbers may be consistently defined recursively, though they must pass convergence tests. In logic, it seems convergence is impossible.

Let f(x) = 0 represent 'this statement is false.' To resolve what it means, I must substitute the statement, 'this statement is false' into 'this statement,' or f( f(x) ) = 0. Trying resolve this new statement, I get f( f( f(x) )) = 0. And so on.

The liar paradox is not a statement. It is nonsense. It can be neither true nor false.

As I've mentioned before, I should not be able to outflank the whole of professional philosophy. Their combined brainpower should find all the solutions my single brain can, just by chance. Their mistakes alone should outweigh my contribution, even if they had systematic bias against it.

Considering that both Godel's incompleteness theorems and the halting problem proof depend on these kinds of non-resolvable statements, I expected scholars to at least address the objection in passing. I expected to find I took the idea more seriously, not that I am apparently the first it has occurred to.

Explaining this bungle demands some strange ideas. Do I have superhuman insight, or are professional philosophers capable of seeing the real solution well enough to avoid it?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sophist Theory Predicts No Enemies to the Left

Jim describes how proggies will betray anyone to the right of them, and will happily lay down to be betrayed by those to the left. Or equivalently, that the holier should rule - should rightly enslave, really - the less holy.

Sophistry is the art of using the tools of philosophy to gull those dumber than you into believing lies that empower you. This implies a clear linear hierarchy. Lesser sophists, dumber, more gullible, less sophisticated, are pwned by greater sophists. The lesser sophist's use of the framework essentially backdoors him; he cannot credibly say even to himself that that the greater sophist is objectionable without also condemning his own actions. (As opposed to e.g. a warrior hierarchy, where lesser warriors gain skills to better resist greater warriors, if necessary.)

Similarly, it is probably consistent with Jim's observation that elite leftists appear dumber. Those higher in the sophist hierarchy will tell a wider variety of more complicated lies. In other words, they'll be wrong more often.

Here's an interesting wrinkle about who rules whom: who gets to decide what's holy? Who gets to decide what is most leftward in Jim's left-right definition?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Juxtaposition IX: Attention Psychology

Last Psychiatrist: (Via: 1; 2; 3; 4.)
Negative affect has long term consequences, duh, but short term no affect is completely intolerable. Observe (start at 25s):
The temptation is to view the baby as upset, but in fact what he is doing is trying anything to get her attention, including screaming. This is why what he is is frustrated, and why it is called acting out.

This dumb statement is huge news because the player is white [...] The following crimes are (by this metric) less noteworthy than a racist statement (the utterance of a word) [...] child abuse, gun possession, DUI, drug possession, missing a court date, stealing from a casino, public intoxication, resisting an officer, assault, battery, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, fighting, solicitation, street racing, and (last but certainly not least) attempted murder.

Also worth considering: given no affect, what does the baby conclude about themselves? Children have a disturbing tendency to think what does happen to them is what should happen, and reason accordingly.

Monday, August 5, 2013

AutoEngineering: I Turned Off My Psycho-Social Development

In adolescence I noticed I was becoming extra susceptible to conditioning, and that school was aggressively trying to condition me.

This post is subject to editing, because I don't know if I'm getting my point across or not.

It felt roughly like this. I don't know why it looks like a tumour. Also the feeling was slightly outside my skull.

I knew I was being conditioned because I noticed my natural reactions getting changed. (Sadly, I forget which reactions.) I knew it was due to highly impressionable psycho-social development because the feeling of being conditioned was very similar to the feeling of thinking about dealing with the other students.

I still wanted good grades (foolishly) but rather objected to being conditioned.

So I willed it to stop. I recalled the feeling of the network, and added the idea of eye contact to get it to sit up and pay attention. I imagined myself telling it to shut down. It did. 

Once I escaped school, I needed to get it to wake up again. 

I repeated the recall image and then nudged it awake. 

It turns out you can in fact delay developmental benchmarks if you want. The downside is you need to know, as a stupid kid, which benchmarks to play around with. I got lucky with this one, I broke some things playing around with this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Big Bang is Unphysical

I've worked out how to articulate the problem with the Big Bang theory.
"Extrapolation of the expansion of the Universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past."
Works out fine working backwards. It's not-infinite in the moment before it gets infinite, and being compressed. Well, works out enough, I suppose.

The problem is going forward. How does the infinite state know it is supposed to become not-infinite? How does it run out of energy? The past doesn't know the future. Mathematically, infinities can't know how big they are. Technically speaking, math never deals with infinities per se, but with limits. Problem is, an infinite physical state can't use l'Hopital's rule on itself. It doesn't know what function it is the limit of. Which means it's not the limit of a function, but a real, honest-to-goodness infinity.

Or, put another way, when your model assumes the infinity is the limit of some function, I can counter with an identical particle that's the limit of some other function, which is the classic test of 'undefined' in mathematics.

Which means it can't run out. An infinite state should stay infinite forever.

Or, it is strictly speaking undefined.

I should stress I have no real issue with the Bang in general terms. However, specificity is critical to physics. Fixing this infinite is likely to have wide-ranging consequences, not at all subtle.

Hopefully a theme is becoming clear: physicists do not think about their theories anymore, and it is causing serious issues. They do the math, trust they've done the right math, and haven't.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Progressivism Diagnostically

This post is subject to updating.
July 5: bit about the host's flaws constraining the rulers.

Progressivism is an atheistic religious cult bent on political domination for the purposes of parasitically living off the host culture.

I'm about the call the host culture shallow, easily manipulated, and gullible towards even mediocre authority. Possibly I'll also reference that its historical literacy is negative, that curiosity is slightly frowned on, and that two of the most respected kinds of jobs are politicians and actors - both of which have 'excellent liar' on the want ad.

Progressivism uses lies/bullshit and social pressure to spread behaviours that uphold progressive power structures. As a result, while Progressivism is historically rooted, proximally all of its professed beliefs are those which support its own power.

For example, Progressivism thought of vegetarianism because it is a child of Puritan Protestantism, which hates the idea that anyone might be enjoying themselves, because they're sure not. But, it amplified/bandwagoned and upheld vegetarianism because meat is warrior food. Meat promotes honour, independence, and self-reliance by supporting the underlying endocrinology. As another example, Progressive's atheism most likely stems from the injunction about separating church and state. Much easier to pretend not to be a church if nobody goes to church, rather than trying to reverse the injunction. 

Progressivism exploits the limited inferential distance of the layhuman. For example, it supports lies by opposing it to a more obvious lie.

Creationism. The Progressive take on evolution would be autoaphyxiating if they seriously believed it. However, it is portrayed as the alternative to creationism. Creationism seems obviously crazy; Progressive evolution, only crazy once you think one or two implications down the road.

Progressivism uses emotional vulnerabilities. Using rhetoric, sympathy is spun into power. Using rhetoric, power anoints the sympathetic. The ruler who rules for the downtrodden is considered legitimate. Even if the downtrodden are made worse off, as is the case.

The poor were once a useful club to beat various groups with. Now they're not, so their sympathy status was revoked and given to somebody else. 

Women were not historically oppressed. Women had a set of imposed obligations that matched the obligations men had to care for them. However, "That's mean to girls!" is a highly sympathetic statement, and so now women are so privileged in divorce court that no man would marry one unless they absolutely have to. (I exaggerate. Slightly.) 

See also: China aborting girls. Because pensioners are legally obliged to support their unmarried daughters, whereas sons are legally obliged to support their parents. Attempting to privilege women falls afoul of market effects and game theory.

It doesn't matter whether 'for the downtrodden' is a good idea or even possible. It doesn't matter who in fact deserves sympathy.

For the layhuman, that they feel sympathy is strong evidence that sympathy is deserved. Having to admit a mistake is much worse than sympathetically supporting or sacrificing to someone undeserving.

Progressivism has successfully appointed itself arbiter of evidence. Any fact contrary to its pathetic rhetoric can be suppressed by fiat.

It is not only by inspection that we know that men are different from women, we know it scientifically. (Via.) This paper will of course never be mentioned in any American Empire newspaper, and I highly advise you to not bring it up at the watercooler. If it does somehow get a public showing, it will be denounced as crimethink, and a combination of loyalty and fear will immediately send it to the memory hole. 

Tragically for science, what these differences mean, in terms of face-to-face and lifelong outcomes, will not be investigated. Presumably some male-female difference is cultural and thus up for debate and experimentation. How much? Which ones? Wouldn't it be cool to be able to choose from an array of archetypes to try to live up to? 

Many progressives live only for Moldbug's 'impact.' The point of gay marriage isn't marriage, much less gays. The point is to pick a fight and then win it, because that's fun.

Welfare makes the poor poorer. Do you think the blacks in Detroit have profited by the measures used to ethnically cleanse the city of whites? If you do, isn't it kind of racist to say they would be even worse off if the state hadn't sided with them? 

Progressivism jealously despises all other forms of power and influence.

Is Progressivism Marxist? No, in its opposition to e.g. the family, Marxism is Progressive, and thus progressives adopted it. Are Progressives Keynesian? No, Keynesianism justifies the economic fuckery the progressive was doing anyway, and so it was adopted by Progressives. Is Progressivism equalist? No, Progressivism grew up in democracy and in the minds of demagogues. The people by and large are consumed by envy, and thus envy leads to sympathetic arguments for 'equality' and thus equality is Progressive.

The paradigm progressive fears losing power above all else, irrationally. The peasant progressive's primal fear is a variant, about being in the wrong mob.

As true children of Puritanism, proggies have difficulty genuinely enjoying things. It is also obvious that enjoying yourself isn't that hard - if nothing else, children do it all the time. No training. This results in a persecution complex, which results in a desperate desire for power, to defeat the persecutors. Power is rewarding in a crocodile sort of sense, which reinforces this vicious cycle. 

Like any social group, Progressives must keep outsiders on the outside. Since equality and inclusivity are explicit premises, they must do so covertly.

One primary mechanism is by selecting for tolerance to cognitive dissonance. The more contradictory ideas you can hold at once without aggravation or having them kill each other, the more Progressive status you can attain. This is especially important for hypocrisy, such as maintaining the exclusivity. These beliefs are euphemized as 'counter-intuitive' and the trait of believing them to the exclusion of progressive-condemned beliefs as 'open-mindedness.' Openness is a genetic personality trait.

This also helps with playing no true Scotsman. Since Progressivism is self-contradictory by design, almost anyone who does not uphold their power directive can be cast out by using one horn of the dilemma or the other.

That the host culture is shallow, easily manipulated, and gullible toward even mediocre authority puts some constraints on what the ruling elite can be like. Any elite that does not exploit these flaws for power will likely lose in competition for power. Those with the personality and ideology to fully exploit these flaws will end up looking a lot like Progressives.

This unfortunately means that even taking away the demotist power and legitimacy structure would not likely create much social change. It might temper the worst excesses.

My pet example being my own pet ideal - property rights uber alles.

It would make it impossible for progressives to pay off their allies by coercing payments from enemies. However, they could exploit the gullibility vector to make the payments voluntary. The shallowness would prevent many of the victims from realizing they're victims, and thus they won't even resist.

Freedom of association would become absolute. Quotas would then come from progressives exploiting their appearance of moral authority to exhort the willing, consenting inhabitants to follow quotas. 

CEOs would be ruthlessly selected for leadership competence, instead of selected for obedience to progressives. The progressive candidate would still win, since the employees they're leading would still be gullible, easily manipulated, and shallow. 

Of relevance, conspecific parasitism. It's unstable because host can convert to parasite, simultaneously increasing parasite load and reducing the supply of hosts, thus making the marginal host more likely to convert, twice over.

Early feudal lords seemed to realize this and slowed the process by legally demarcking classes. However, their sons had downward mobility, creating a darwinian incentive to abolish or mitigate the system. Simultaneously, the merchant classes were not nobles, and the nobles became poor. Stick, carrot.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summary of Libertarian Versus Anarcho-Capitalist Theory and Predictions

I probably seem more certain than I am. I've probably forgotten something important.

In short, if you understand standard economics, you are a libertarian. Comparative advantage, immigration as bonus human capital, the inefficiency of government intervention in all spheres of life, particularly drugs and charity. Libertarians believe that what is economically best is best simpliciter.

An anarcho-capitalist is a radical  economist, usually Austrian, who also holds the moral position that coercion is always bad. You can often see this phrased as 'the NAP,' the non-aggression principle.

(I will mainly be avoiding the cultural aspects. For example, most libertarians like gun ownership to the point they're suspicious of non-gun owners. (I don't own a gun, just a bow.) It seems that standard economics broadly supports freedom, and therefore libertarianism attracts the freedom-loving. Most libertarians think freedom is the highest virtue. None of these position are necessary or entailed. Occasionally the positions makes them ignore their own theory.

Anarcho-capitalists are frequently extremely cantankerous toward authority, and while this improves free thought, it causes disagreements for the sake of rejecting any particular ancap as an authority on ancap. I will be shamelessly promoting my own version. For example, I believe this cantankerousness allows ancaps to see the many flaws in standard economics, not only in being not-Austrian but also in its many bits and pieces of state-worship. Get paid by the state, be unduly sympathetic to the state.)


The libertarian believes that the state - defined here as the monopoly on legitimate coercion - is either unavoidable or that a certain amount of strictly limited coercion is necessary for a healthy economy.  Libertarians vary between hard minarchism to moderate minarchism. Between the night-watchman state and that plus rules against driving without a license and burning soft coal for heat. (See comments by the author.) Libertarians believe that the law is inherently coercive, inherently necessary, but that this coercion can be safely bottled up with objective rules, at least as long as the populace is moderately vigilant. For example, as long as there's a free press which seeks out abuses of power and reports them to their subscribers.

Libertarians, living in democratic times, believe that which laws the night-watchman state should enforce should be decided by popular vote.

Libertarians justify identifying the economy with human flourishing. Free humans work towards their own personal gain, which they are capable of achieving. However, other humans are roughly as competent, which means direct competition is costly; instead, humans naturally cooperate, resulting in exchange of value for value, making everyone richer. When value is exchanged, it is proof that humans are successfully working towards fulfilling their own values, and this can be measured, if crudely, by things like GDP.

For a different way of seeing this, a strong economy absent government favouritism makes everyone richer; richer people are more capable and powerful, and thus able to satisfy their values.

Free is defined as not interfered with by the state. Religion is a distant second, but in some times and places, religion can harness coercion much like the state and thus interfere with the exchange of value for value.

Standard economics proves that you cannot tax capital, or equivalently that progressive taxes are highly distorting, which means wasteful and counter-productive. The state should be funded by a flat income tax. In any case, taxes are way, way too high.

Some libertarian predictions:

Free trade is always to the benefit of both parties, or otherwise they would stop trading.
Immigration provides more labour, which means more wealth. It is best seen as free trade in labour - someone at home has to be willing to hire the guy to make it worth the move.
Arming and training average Joes would decrease crime, decrease the need for police, and even decrease death by guns.
Taking drugs may be a poor choice for some people, but it is their mistake to make. The state attempting to stop them is horrendously violent and destructive, and mostly futile in any case. Legalizing drug use has been documented at least once to reduce drug use. Despite price decreases. Revoking the USDA food pyramid and generally getting out of food-nanny Dodge would similarly increase public health.

Libertarians predict that the economy would rocket if economics was taken seriously.  Here's (same as coal-link above) a moderately complete list of policies that should be rolled back. (Ctrl-f "ordinary Europeans" to skip the preamble.)
Lack of government intervention includes fiat money. Libertarians usually favour gold, but bitcoin works, indeed any currency that doesn't inherently depend on coercion.


Anarcho-capitalists reject even the night-watchman state on several grounds.

While libertarians are sympathetic to public-choice theory, ancaps aggressively embrace and extend it. Public choice theory indicts all forms of government. It makes the tyranny of the majority seem like a mild pathology, barely a hiccup. There is no market failure so horrible that it won't inevitably be made worse by government intervention.

For example, the conversion of a democracy to a permanent bureaucracy is inevitable. Facing either term limits or an uncertain election in the future, the elected politician works toward legislation to create a sinecure for their buddies, who will then hire them after their term. This is hardly difficult, as their fellow elects feel the same way. Similarly, since state agents are selfish, they will try to arrogate all benefits to themselves. Since by definition of 'state' they have the power to do so, they will succeed. There is literally no point in having a government except to enrich government. Almost every case looks like the government creating the healthcare crisis it now wants to pretend to solve. Even if legislation manages to ban soft coal, coal was already going out of style. Legislation is a trailing indicator of good behaviour, and a leading indicator of only harmful behaviour.

I'll also mention the various historical records of social order achieved through voluntary, bottom-up processes, showing that the state is unnecessary. I can point to Iceland, Somalia (outside Mogadishu), a place in upland southeast Asia called Zomia, and I've forgotten one or two others.

However, strictly speaking, anarcho-capitalism is the ur-government, under which almost any social order can be constructed...presuming you can convince the subjects to sign on the dotted line.

There's currently one now, the Amish, who are 100% full-test anarchs by my theory.
"The ordnung is only accepted by, and binding on, members of the congregation when, as adults, they are baptized. [...] Prior to the ceremony, ministers offer the young adult the opportunity to back out, telling him that “it is better not to make a vow than to make a vow and later break it . . . .” [...] A bishop whose interpretation of his congregation’s ordnungen is at odds with what the members want is not subject to impeachment or a recall election, but he is at risk of finding himself with no membership."

It is taken as axiomatic that all coercion - defined here as one human imposing their values on another - is bad. As can be seen by the definition, for coercion to occur, one human must smother another's values, inherently reducing the total value of the world. I will note, but defer the proof, that this definition also justifies self-defence, such that self-defence against an attempted value imposition is not itself coercion. (Basically, defeating evil can't be evil.)

The anarchists' rejection of coercion has some surprising consequences. Did you know free trade, including free trade in labour, is illegitimate? It is the government deciding for you whether you want immigration or not. When two trade, either I'm one of them and it it's none of your business, or I'm not one of them and it's none of mine. Using the Amish model, it is none of my business what another congregation's Bishop says about immigration or trade.

Similarly, 'freeing' the slaves. The slaves were not given the choice to stay on the plantation. Perhaps none would have wanted to, but the abolitionists did not ask, they simply imposed their values on another thede.

Part of ancap's rejection of personal authority includes rejection of standard economics. When it says comparative advantage, ancaps say, so what? The market knows better than you. Better than any of us. If what you say is true, then the market will agree with you. If not, then the market will kick your ass. If the Bishop says immigration is bad, and it is, then the market will reward the congregation that bans it. Part of how you know coercion is bad is because it is unnecessary.

Naturally, ancaps are very suspicious whenever standard economics shows the state did anything good. (I've yet to find a case where the suspicion was not justified.) So-called 'public' goods are either mismanaged regardless or only seem public through sophistry and ignorance.

Due to the inherent moral position against coercion, anarcho-capitalists believe the police and army should be privatized. (Please note, not abolished.) There is disagreement about what, exactly, this would look like, and I'll be selfishly talking up my own position. Essentially, law needs to be opt-in, with the option of attempting to provide your own security. This allows individual variation on laws, which allows noise, which means experimentation and natural selection.

Anarchy is hands-off in defining human flourishing. If a truly free society does not want to grow economically, it does not have to. (The Amish grow in population but are decidedly slow in buying power.) Though, it is considered likely. Humans want to empower themselves, and when this comes through techniques and technology, it means economic growth. If nobody is being coerced, then by definition values are getting maximized.

An anarchist individual may hold any religion they want, but are subject to self-defence if it wants to impose itself on anyone else. Beliefs are property too.

Taxes, defined as coercive payments, are illegitimate. If you can't sell your service, then you don't deserve to be paid for it.

Anarchist predictions:

Violent revolutions are bad. Historical revolutions never stop their violence at self-defence. Second, while top-down order is bad, that doesn't mean disorder is good. {I like to say chaos = delta(power)} The market can only respond so fast to changes. When governments fall, they change too fast, and people die even if nobody is being beheaded on camera.

Voting, as inherently coercive, can never result in a free society.

As long as immigrants and the sponsors of immigrants are held accountable and responsible for the effects, the market will reach a healthy, pro-social level of immigration.

Being the ur-government, anarchy can accomodate fiat money. It's between you, your bank, and your trading partners; none of my business. However, fiat money probably can't survive without coercive backing, because its whole reason for existence is inflation. If businesses can refuse paper, they usually will, and we would likely return to a historical bank note situation, with added cryptographic assurances.

How you use drugs is none of my business. It is between you and your security provider.

Whether you should be allowed a gun is between you and your security provider. Will they have to pay more damages to you if you have no gun, or to others you use the gun on incorrectly? They would know a lot more about that than I ever will. Similarly, if a bar requires you to disarm before entering, they take responsibility for your safety.

The market is made of people. Any solution government can think up, the market can also think up, except it isn't allowed to force you to pay for it.
One way for private law to work is by trying crimes to acts on individuals. If you leave someone alone, they cannot charge you with anything. However, if you interact with them, you must implicitly or explicitly agree not to interact in certain ways they would rather you didn't, on pain of dealing with their security provider. In return, they agree to not do certain things to you.
Many anarchists want criminal penalties to stop at shaming. I think it should be formal and contractual. Then, the penalties are definitively not coercive - you have agreed to them, and applying them is simply holding you to your word.
As for sudden violent assault, then you never agreed not to defend yourself. Equivalently, almost everyone values seeing the sudden assailant defeated.
In practice, we would have laws and courts almost exactly as we have now, perhaps even professional police, but the laws others would be held to when dealing with you would be decided by you, not by the court. The market would reward courts that defended their clients well, not those with 40 000 laws on the books. If for no other reason than it would be too expensive to try to trade with them.

It may turn out that the honour and reputation system for contracts is superior to violent tort enforcement. Someone will try it, and we'll find out.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Juxtaposition VIII: Wholeheartedness

Touching the Raw Amygdala, Part II:
"I assume this is because the Narcissist desperately wants to be able to assert the inferiority of another, and the superiority of themselves by comparison. [...]  The word contempt carries a subconscious air of their K-type adversary’s superiority, and the Liberal’s inferiority. Although minor, such aspects of language have profound effect upon Narcissists and Liberals. Always denigrate the Liberal’s importance and power within the social environment, and never imply they are important enough to warrant a real emotion."
Anatomy of a Hater:
"That’s the archetypal hater: a lifelong fuckup. A thirtysomething lawyergrrl with the personality of a sea slug and a burning case of baby rabies. A castrated cubicle worker in thrall to his Michelin Man-sized wife. A sick woman who gets a double mastectomy because she thinks she’s a man trapped in a woman’s body. A 300-pound momma’s boy playing video games in his parents’ basement."
Brené Brown on connection, (via) somewhat paraphrased:
"I want to separate courage and bravery for you. [...] It's from the latin word cor, meaning heart...the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. [...] They fully embraced vulnerability. They don't talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor excruciating." (Paraphrased because exact words would take me several times longer.)

Don't forget juxtaposition V: reality vs. presentation. Who is the main character? The nominal subject, or the author?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Perpetual Motion by Means of Black Holes and Dark Energy

I can tell that physicists don't understand black holes or spatial expansion because the current models can straightforwardly make perpetual motion machines.

First, get some unobtainium. A string with a tensile strength a few million times any known material should be sufficient. Wind the unobtainium around a spool, gear the spool onto a turbine, and lower one end into a black hole. From our perspective, the string has infinite space to fall into before it hits the event horizon, so the string can be fed into the hole indefinitely. The only difficulty is manufacturing the string for less than the turbine creates in power, but the force, and therefore the turbine output, is inversely proportional to the size of the black hole in question. The Schwarzschild radius decreases linearly with mass, but force increases as the square. A half mass size black hole pulls half as hard at a given distance, but is also half radius, which means it pulls twice as strongly at the event horizon.

Two bits of luck at this point. First, it is unobtainium, so I can make it as thin or as strong as necessary. Second, a suitably small black hole may evaporate quickly, but the string would, according to convention, replenish the black hole. (Even though we never see it reach the black hole.) Simply increase the force (and tensile strength) and lower the feeding speed until the turbine makes more energy than you're putting in.

There's also a reaction force to take into account, so these need to be built in pairs. Solid rings aren't orbitally stable, so I need slightly bigger turbines to power the stabilizing thrusters.

(For lulz, search up black hole perpetual motion and be amazed at how complicated they try to make it.)

The second method may need much stronger string, and costs much more to set up, but I don't have to worry about feeding the string slower than the black hole evaporates.

The velocity of other galaxies is not a normal kind of velocity. We see Doppler-shifted light because the space the wave is in expands while it is travelling through it; it just happens to work out to be exactly how much it would be redshifted by real velocity. Acceleration is absolute, because it usually requires transfers of energy and thus interactions and mass flows. Other galaxies are accelerating but not gaining kinetic energy, because otherwise we would be gaining kinetic energy. (Or I could say their velocity is changing without acceleration.) Nevertheless...

Tie the unobtainium around a couple rocks a few million light years away in opposite directions. They will accelerate away indefinitely, powering the spool turbines. Indeed, the output will increase the longer the machine is run. Though the friction losses alone will be immense, and the tension at the rock's end will grow faster, so it needs especially pure unobtainium.

Perpetual motion machines are singularities. If nothing else, potential energy has mass too, and so they should have infinite mass and subsequently destroy the universe.

You can try to argue that since these need unobtainium, they aren't naked singularities. In any realistic situation, limits of electromagnetic bonding and so on, the strings on the expansion machine will snap before they break even. Galaxies accelerate away from each other, and so won't ever turn this phantom kinetic energy into a collision. The black hole small enough to create more energy than it consumes in mass will evaporate so hot it burns the string to plasma.

However, the second law of thermodynamics is supposed to be true even in highly idealized mechanisms. A frictionless Carnot engine with zero switching costs between its infinite hot reservoir and infinite cold reservoir still cannot break even. All I need is a very strong kind of string. I could also use a ridiculously sized bit of piezoelectric.

To be precise, a Carnot engine feeding into absolute zero can be 100% efficient. However, my unobtainium spools can produce infinite energy for zero cost by turning an infinitely large turbine infinitely slowly with an infinitesimal string. This means if you back off from those infinities, you can get any amount of energy you might need.

Put another way, it is not feasible to make these machines profitable for humans, but if I did this with regular twine, while it break almost immediately, for that fraction of a second more energy would be coming out of the system than went into it, even though I wouldn't be able to capture most of it. If I can do it, nature is doing it, it is merely a question of when and where.

If something seems to be violating conservation of energy, it isn't, you've overlooked something. These models have overlooked something apparently infinite.

I find that physicists often, usually, forget that they don't understand black holes. Or space in general, it would seem - "shut up and compute" has laid low most of the field. To be charitable, do I assume they talk about it at physicist cocktail parties, just never in public? Not even during lectures?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Other Minds and Colour Qualia

Yes, there are other minds, and they see the same colours as yours.

There's a trick from physics. If an electron can't apparently know where itself is, but every other particle knows where it is, then the electron must know where it is, even if we can't figure out how. It works because the next position of the electron must be consistent with the observations of all observers, and to reach there, the electron had to have been in the observed location.

By yourself, the other-minds problem is apparently insoluble. However, the problem would only occur in the first place to a conscious entity, as there is no observable explanandum for unconscious observers. (Go on, start listing things that you haven't thought to explain because they don't exist.)

As per my last post, objective entities cannot properly pretend to be conscious. An unconscious entity can only parrot the words of the other-minds problem. (Wikipedia isn't conscious, but you can read it there.) Which means when you observe a statement of the other-minds problem, you can be certain there's a mind in the statement's past light cone. Combined with your certainty you have a mind, you can be certain there are other minds.

Relative to that other mind, you might be parroting, like Wikipedia. However, literally all other conscious observers can be certain there are other minds. When a fact is knowable from all perspectives but one, it is knowable from all perspectives. Even if you can't work out how.

If nothing else, I can back off slightly from pure idealism and note that it must have been independently stated as a problem by at least one other person.

I'm pretty sure but can't quite prove that conscious entities are absolute. If red is unmistakable, then when you think you see red, there's only one possible entity you can be seeing, red itself. (Plato was almost right.) Similarly, for the brain to talk to consciousness, it would either have to tune the signals after each birth (and tune it to a standard according to what? How would the standard know to be different?) or the signals are themselves absolute, so they evolve once and stay good.

Regardless, there's an entirely separate line of evidence that they're absolute, at least inside each mind. Conscious entities can be similar or different from each other, just like objective entities. Blue is similar to cold, and red is similar to warm. (Sharp sounds are similar to sharp surfaces, and smooth sounds are similar to smooth surfaces.)

We know from other complex phenomena that simply inverting them cannot preserve all symmetries. The opposite of red isn't blue, it's cyan. Cyan is similar to energetic and blue is similar to calm - they are similar to each other in some ways but different in others, which means even if you also inverted calm and active, the colour characteristics would no longer hold. The red-warm-energetic relationship converts to cyan-warm-energetic - that fire still looks as warm and frenetic as it feels - but cyan was originally energetic, it should register as calm on the inverted scale. If you don't invert that scale, blue-cold-calm can't convert to yellow-cold-calm, because yellow isn't calm - someone who saw this way wouldn't find ocean waves soothing, because of the colour.

Meanwhile, warm and cold are direct opposites, but the sensations indicating such are not. Especially hot, which is qualitatively different from warm, as reflected by the fact that hot results from the warm and cold detecting nerves being excited simultaneously. You cannot change the relationships to make red similar to cold without changing the relationship between cold and warm and hot, thus changing the second-order relationship between the red-blue relationship and the cold-warm relationship.

A person with an inverted or rearranged colour scale would have different relations of similarities between their sensations, no matter how cleverly rearranged. Since we do not observe different relations or relations-between-relations, we can safely conclude humans see the same colours the same way.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Picking at the Mind

I found a hole in my last post, so I'm going to pick at it to see if I can destroy my own logic. If you would rather skip the preamble, it's contained in 1.x. The conclusion is 2.3.1.

I wonder if I can reasonably summarize. Consciousness, the unexplained phenomenon, is inherently epistemically subjective - the explanandum is epistemic subjectivity. Epistemology implies ontology, which means it is also ontologically subjective. As physics is ontologically objective, consciousness cannot be physical.

I'm concerned that if your mind is objective relative to me, I might be able to transform the viewpoint so that it is objective relative to you, without losing features from the description.
(To avoid the flinch away from being wrong, I note that even if I disprove myself this way, I've still solved the problem.)

1.1 Time to double check. Is that really the explanandum?
     I think I learn that by attempting the proposed transformation and, if it works, then it must not be the explanandum. If I'm truly begging the question, then I should run into a contradiction when I try to enter the logic complex by the other doorway.

For now, there's four entities. The red lamp, the photons the lamp emits and that excite my eye, my perception of the red lamp, and my interpretation of the perception.

If I am dreaming, there may not be a red lamp at all.
In a photon vacuum, the lamp only emits infra-red, which I cannot see.
When I close my eyes, it shuts off the perception of the red lamp even in a lit room.
If I do not pay attention to the sensation of a red shape, I am unable to conclude, "I have a red lamp."

(Technically I can break it down further, but not into independent bits. For example, I can tease apart the photon-eye-visual cortex causal chain, but, as a sufficiently healthy human, I cannot shut off the visual cortex except by shutting off the eye.)

Consciousness is the third entity.
I can be dreaming, I can fail to see the lamp, I can screw up the logic and fail to conclude I have a red lamp. However, if I am dreaming or seeing a red lamp shape, I cannot also be failing to see a red lamp shape - this is epistemic subjectivity, by definition: if I conclude I see a red lamp shape, I cannot be wrong. What is a 'you'? What constitutes a perspective?
    Already answered. A you is a set of epistemically subjective entities. Can subjects partially overlap?
    The homunculus fallacy is indeed a fallacy. Perceiver and perception don't have independent existences, consciousness is fully constituted by the subjective sensations. As a result, there would be a synchronization issue if consciousnesses tried to overlap. If the non-overlapping parts had any causal influence, then the overlapping parts, having no way to know what the non-overlapping bits were doing, would diverge instantly, contradicting the presumption of unity.

It's of a piece to assume subjective entities get entangled (red + lamp shape) or to assume a single consciousness is a single subjective experience. (Red-lamp-shape.)

1.2.2 Is that what is really bothering me about the idea of perspective?
    That plus 1.1, I think so. (I had to try a few times to get it right.) I need to know what I'm going to try to transform, especially as I'm pivoting across a second perspective.
If I'm wrong about 1.1, then 1.2 will topple like a domino. This is good - it means that I don't feel like my supposedly dependent clauses will survive the death of their superiors. If I so felt, it would indicate that I was lying to myself about my justification. For my purposes, the key apparent feature of the subjective ontology is control of the properties of the entities. Is this really key or even relevant?
    I think it's key because it makes the ontology clear. If you can change the perception by will - stop thinking about red lamps and move onto blue mugs - then to prove the epistemic premise, the experiment is simply to switch back and forth a couple times. External opinions go from true to false and back, while internal opinion remains true. The control may be determinism from the environment.
    Ultimately this is irrelevant, because if the subject is indeed inherently subjective, it will remain inherently ontologically subjective. Therefore, 3.1.1 must also be irrelevant, however handy as a thought experiment. Given that I can't find a problem with the foundation, can I pivot the subjective into the objective
    First, I should figure out what that would mean. New hypothesis: consciousness is objective. Could consciousness be cloaked, like the black hole's singularity?
    Not if it is causally linked, as we could measure its downstream effects, if so. The cloak hypothesis reduces to non-physical consciousness. Consciousness is objective.
    I can confirm the contents of your consciousness, in principle, by measuring your effects on your brain. The contents, decided by will or determinism, nonetheless are knowable and mistakable by me. Therefore, they are similarly related to you. My observation that my own thoughts are epistemically subjective must be mistaken. I can state that the brain and mind are different, but that is begging the question.
    It is begging the question to say that I can't know what is in your consciousness without comparing it to mine, and matching your brain measurements against mine. By assumption, consciousness is objectively knowable.

2.2.2 This means when you're thinking of a red lamp, there is only one way the red lamp can causally influence your brain.

    Since I don't require a conscious comparison, a unconscious observer can (and therefore I can) work out that you're thinking of a red lamp because a brain with certain correlates can be thinking about a red lamp and only a red lamp; the red lamp is the only possible explanation.

2.3.1 Unfortunately, to clearly state the case is to disprove it. While begging the question in this context, 2.1.2 is true - I can only investigate your consciousness because I have a consciousness. Encoding is arbitrary.
    For a brain, like any computer, to enact the action of reaching out and turning on the lamp, the only requirement is that the input code causes that action. As a basic fact about wiring, any code can be converted to any other code, and arbitrary input codes can lead to arbitrary output codes.
So, for example, imagine a 'real' red-lamp code that, when fed into the motor cortex, causes lamp-turning-on. Imagine it must be first converted to a different, arbitrary code, to interface property with the motor cortex. Now imagine the visual cortex simply produces that different code in the first place. (Standardization across computers is hard. Standardization across brains is much harder.) Put another way, can thought-codes be absolute? Can I wire up a red-lamp circuit and have it continually think of a red-lamp based on a constant input?
    Ockham's razor. Objective consciousness can be removed from the description without loss of information. You conclude the chunk of silicon is thinking of a red lamp. I reply by simply describing it at the electronic level. You say, "But that is a red lamp!" I reply, "No it isn't." However, my electronic description fully describes and predicts the circuit - the postulate of consciousness is in fact meaningless in this case.  

2.3.3 The conscious sections of human brains would have to be wired identically.
    Were someone's brain wired differently, I would have to conclude they are unconscious, or perhaps insane - even if they acted identically due to having properly-adjusted unconscious sections. To assume that the mind is the same as the brain is indeed to assume away the explanandum.

2.4.1 To check: is it indeed impossible to mistakenly observe epistemic subjectivity?
    The assumed facts: I perceive epistemic subjectivity, and I am wrong.
2.4.2 Am I perceiving that I perceive epistemic subjectivity? Can I be wrong about that?
    I think I'm perceiving that I perceive subjectivity, but I'm in fact perceiving that I perceive objectivity.
Am I in fact thinking that I perceive that I perceive subjectivity, or am I wrong? Etc...
In other words, it is indeed a contradiction. The chain either terminates at the epistemic subjective level, or runs off into an infinity of mistakenness, meaning nobody is in fact thinking the supposed thought.