Friday, June 27, 2008

Some of My Mistakes

Because many people are fond of thinking that my mind is closed, that I cannot be convinced. In reality their logic just sucks, but of course if they could see that their logic would stop sucking.

So, here's some examples of things I was completely wrong about. I'll probably update this over the next few days as I remember more.

I was very skeptical about dark matter. It seemed much more likely that we didn't understand gravity than that the universe was filled with something we'd never even suspected before. Then I saw that picture of the colliding galaxies where the dark matter's gravitational lensing revealed its non-interaction as compared to the real matter.

I thought that the iron fact of your self-ownership invalidated slavery. Because even if you formally give ownership to someone else, you cannot actually transfer self-control. In reality, one of the things you can do with your self-ownership is sell yourself into slavery.

If one equation is conscious then every equation is conscious. I thought that this automatically proved that equations can't be conscious.

I thought that with deficit financing, governments must be spending more than the country's entire GDP yearly. I thought that tax revenue would be 83% of GDP or something like that. Official statistics place government expenditures, total, at about 35%. Obviously this is significantly lowballed but it's not lowballed by over half. Lowballing; for instance, governments are the only entity that get to use the money printer to spend inflation money at pre-inflation values. Since actual inflation is just over 10% a year, (you can check this against gas prices; they have almost eternally been something like 10 cents at 1900's levels) governments get to spend 1% of the money supply each year in value that doesn't get reported (10 trillion outstanding US dollars * 10% = 1 trillion, which is spent by government at full price but only gets 10/11 of value to everyone else. The US buys 1/11 or approx 1%, 100 billion dollars of value yearly, unreported, because they're doing it by distorting the measuring stick. There are of course other fudges as well, though I don't know what they are exactly.)

I also keep convincing myself that actual inflation is 15%. Mencius* actually agreed with me once, which doesn't help. Actual inflation = debasement. Calculated inflation = debasement - levitation(deflation). Every time a company successfully creates wealth, the total wealth has increased, but the total amount of cash is unchanged, resulting in levitation. So with calculated inflation at about 4% and GDP at +6%, debasement is around 10%. Official inflation is intentionally lowballed, so fudge it a bit and you get 12%, which is roughly how much the stock market grows yearly on average. So, as expected, stock prices measure actual value, as the actual value of companies, especially large-cap companies, does not change significantly over time. Also as expected, stock markets cannot create value, but only move it to where it's doing the most good. If the stock values are tanking, injecting liquidity, as governments are fond of doing, will generally just make them tank faster. The tanking actually represents loss of value, and injecting value markers does nothing to change this.

*(There's a link for this but I can't be bothered to find it right now.)

However, inflation is not 15%. I can show you references of me thinking this, though...

You'll notice that both these mistakes are what you'd expect from an anarchist's confirmation bias.

Update: From this link, I found that Japan's official budget is 140% of GDP, with unofficial estimates nearly double that. (The exact words made it even worse, but I think they were a mis-type.) Canada and the US are only spending a third of GDP? Hah! Not a chance!

I thought that vouchers were a good idea. Then Mencius said "This is budget-neutral for state and family alike, and unlike "vouchers" it does not require Uncle Sam or any of his little brothers to decide what "education" is." For the curious, the proposal is not to give vouchers but to give actual, honest-to-god money. The US has promised to pay for education, so it should quick dicking around and do so, by paying money to people with children. Good lord why is this so difficult!

As you can see, once my mind changes it changes completely. This doesn't stop me from changing my mind again, but it does make me look like people who have existential faith in their beliefs, which leads to the suspicion I'm addressing.

I thought that Americans stole the slaves from Africa. Admittedly I was intentionally misled about this. In fact, actual African societies opened their prisons and sold America their criminals. About ten million of them apparently. So what does this criminal ancestry mean for race relations in America? With the white-is-better mentality? Genes are real, folks. America doesn't have blacks. It has the descendants of the criminal underclass of blacks.

I make snap decisions about roughly how many reasons there are to believe something. My success rate is just high enough to fool me into thinking it is reliable.

I just published a post called "Wrong People Know They're Wrong." This is as best provisionally true, and it continually gets challenged by accounts from the "God Era." It appears obvious to us that the church was corrupt, especially when it joins with the state, but the markers I look for don't appear in God Era citizens. Unless my accounts are fudged, (very possible, the markers are subtle) they had no idea how stupid they were being, even though they could have worked it out at any time.

I thought ADHD doesn't exist, like, at all. I thought it was total bullshit on the part of psychologists. I thought I'd never seen any. As it turns out, this is because I have ADHD. I would never be diagnosed, however, because it doesn't interfere with my functioning. I am an A student, especially when I actually apply myself.

Whenever I was presented with an ADHD case I would just say, "I don't see what's wrong with them, they're just like me." When they actually had problems functioning, I would say, "Why don't they just do what I do? They're not sick, they're just ignorant." We don't need to use personality-changing chemicals to deal with ADHD sufferers. We just need to educate them. (Not with the so-called 'education' system.)

In other words, I was right. It is bullshit. But not because ADHD doesn't exist.

While learning this, I also found that it appears that having ADHD lets other ADHD focus on you to an extent not possible with or by non-ADHD people. The attention characteristics of ADHD seem to allow a different kind of conversation. Perhaps I'm wrong about this, as well, though.

I finally thought of a serious one. I thought that the second law of logic, the law of excluded middle, was false. Specifically I thought that some quantum weirdness was a falsification of the theory.
This did not stop me from using it all over the place by identifying sets of yes/no questions and exploring all possible answers.

I thought Wittgenstein was almost certainly full of shit, because most philosophers are full of shit, and the podcast on philosophy bites by a scholar of Wittgenstein is full of shit. Turns out, Wittgenstein is totally a philosopher! Congrats Wittgenstein!

I was extremely skeptical of early-universe inflation. However, without it, the first state of the universe may have been extremely dense, but the second state would be a black hole, as would all subsequent states.

I was completely mistaken about how badly human minds handle probability. I thought it didn't suck.

I thought biogenesis was possible, even likely. Then I ran the numbers. Then, I found out about the proton rock thing.

I was wrong about the relationship between space and time. While time is indeed meaningless without space, space isn't meaningless without time. Boring, perhaps, but not meaningless.

I was wrong about the contradiction in democracy. I still think democracy is fundamentally broken, but the argument in that post is vague, confusing, and not actually coherent.

I thought that counter-revolution was doomed to failure.


TGGP said...

Prisons are relatively modern inventions, which Africa didn't have. They were enslaving people because slavery is old as dirt.

On government spending and inflation see What Rothbard Should Have Learned from the Mainstream.

Alrenous said...

Welcome to my blog.

First, are you telling me that I've made more mistakes in a post listing some of my mistakes?

I find that...something. Something that makes me laugh. A variety of humour, then.

Next, can I look forward to you finding many things wrong, such that mayhap I can fix them?

Finally, my reference on the prisons is an honest-to-god black history professor.

The article mostly sucks, so I'll quote the relevant sentence.

"The story begins with violence in the 17th-century slave forts sprinkled along the west coast of Africa, where debtors, thieves, war prisoners, and those who would not convert to Islam were separated from their families, branded, and sold to Europeans who packed them into the pestilential ships that cargoed 20 million human beings (a conservative estimate) to the New World."

Oh look I misremembered the millions estimate too.

This man has no incentive to spin the truth of where slaves came from, and if you read the horrible article you can see his spin is generally orthogonal to that issue.

Alrenous said...

"Contrary to Rothbard's extravagant claims, printing money accounts for only about 1-3% of the federal budget."

That doesn't make any sense. Even government stats point to money supply increases of about 10% per year.

If this contra were true, then government budgets would be from 3.3-10 times the total money supply. To do this, they'd have to spend each dollar at least 3 times, which you'd then have to add to the normal circulation, and subtract savings...

Which would re-prove my assertion that they spend way way more than should even be possible.

"Although central banks cause inflation, central bank independence reduces inflation."

Again with separation of X and state.

I assume, tggp, that you're not anarchist?