Thursday, July 30, 2009

Apparently Honesty is Grace, not Will

From here referencing this.

Practising lying makes it harder to not lie when it's in your interest, while practising honesty, especially if you truly believe lying is evil, makes it harder and harder to lie even when it is in your material interest.

It's true that if you were not tempted you don't exercise virtue. However, this is meaningless to outside observers, who can only tell that some people they can trust, and some people they can't. To us outside your mind, your virtue is in the results, not in what you went through to obtain them. Just as if I have a sandwich, the taste is not affected by whether you traipsed across the Himalayas to deliver it to me or whether it was tossed together in the back room. The language, and thus the definition of 'virtue' records what is measurable, rather than trying for epistemic purity.

Don't forget to factor in the effects of culture and genetics, predisposition, brain plasticity, and so on. A single snapshot does not a philosophy make. Again, scientists are very good at gathering data - ontology. Their epistemology is worse than no epistemology at all, however.

Also, it's almost certain that Jesus is based off a real person who, in retelling, accreted various traits from various endemic myths. Basically, given that some people don't have to resist temptation, and given infinite versions of our world, most of them will contain an almost totally 'pure' person at some point in history. We have two on record - Jesus and Buddha. Aside from this one fact, the rest of what we know about them is probably about as accurate as the other stuff we know about individuals from two millennia ago. There's actually a whole essay here, so I'm going onto the next section.

There is a bridge between the first two links, which says basically what I would say about the technical aspects of the study. Then it goes onto the following.

"In any case, for thousands of years philosophers have speculated whether humans are innately good or bad, from Rosseau and Hobbes to Xun Zi and Mencius. The time for speculation is over, as experimental philosophers are looking into the empirical distribution of human moral intuition, as opposed to surveying the reflections of their philosophically oriented colleagues."

Note this interesting trick; without coming right out and saying so, and thus losing plausible deniability, Razib dismisses all reflective philosophy as 'speculation.' Strictly speaking, Razib is just calling out philosophers for their distain of evidence, noting the dearth of such. But, to any fluent English So, I'm going to take it apart and blow up the pieces.

The philosophers who were wrong made two mistakes; insufficient evidence, or errors in reasoning resulting from a lack of an objective test to weed out these errors. As expected, someone with worse-than-zero epistemological skill cannot see the value in epistemology.

Like good math, good philosophy states if-then. If certain assumptions are true, then a certain result is true. This provides four benefits; first, you don't have to wait for the evidence, but can go to work immediately; second, it makes it easy to check for errors, as you don't have to worry immediately about matching the model to reality, only to its own rules; third, it makes it easy to check to see if it does match reality, as the assumptions are all right there; and finally, when contradictory evidence comes in, you don't have to work from scratch, but can modify the existing structure. Here, let me demonstrate: if and when Razib can produce this paragraph or an equivalent by himself, then he may be able to rationally evaluate contributions by Hobbes and Mencius. My main nontrivial assumption is that if you can produce the paragraph you understand it, and that if you understand the principles you can apply them.

The upshot is that evidence is entirely post-hoc to philosophy. The truth of the if-then structures is completely independent of which particular if is actually true. Philosophy is just the art of discovering new structures of if-then, though admittedly most human philosophers prefer to cleave to ones that stand a chance of having applications.

There's also a final source of error: the definition of 'innately good.' As above, it may mean, for instance, 'likely to be trustworthy, all things equal' or it may mean 'not likely to be tempted in the first place, all things equal.' If this discussion is anything like every other discussion I've looked into, this point is a source of massive confusion in communication.

Perhaps, for instance, there is some non-lying moral situation where all people are tempted, and practise makes no difference. How do you reconcile this with an overarching 'innately good,' knowing that the lying situation is so complicated? And there are four situations, two for 'most people are trustworthy' being true or false, and the same binary pair for this second situation. Only one situation, where both are false, is clearly 'innately bad.'

If you take thousands of years of thought by some of the smartest people ever, and reduce it to a single poorly defined umbrella idea, it seems kind of useless. All I can say is that I'm glad ignorance is fond of flaunting itself.

Also amusing is that he goes on to mention the exact thing I mentioned earlier; brain plasticity. The off-the-cuff dismissal of philosophy has no place in the article from a flow standpoint, from a factual standpoint, or from a competence standpoint. It's just insulting for the sake of being insulting, althought it may also be some inner circle cheerleading.

So, with this in mind, let's see if a further example hold up.
"Intelligent people will also perhaps fine-tune their model of how "free will" works, though much of this research will be irrelevant to the majority."
Intelligent people will realize that they can't define free will and thus can't possibly have any idea how it works. Also note that Razib has put himself into an 'intelligent' inner circle. (You're epistemologically allowed to guess about free will, but only if you realize all you have are guesses.)

I do have one question; what would a "one moral sense" be when it is at home?

So, congratulations, everyone is wrong. Accept your Ignorance.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blogger is Experimenting on Their Live Servers

Update: This post is now a part of Some of My Mistakes.

Again. As opposed to, say, test servers. This blog post is a workaround.

It's also a proof that Democracy is an inherent contradiction.


It's fun to watch someone flail around trying to define Democracy. (Communism too.) Due to this, I usually have to derive my own.

Seriously, if I use this particular definition, I don't even have to do any work.

Democracy = rights, some liberties, separation of powers and separation of church and state. Also has a constitution that guarantees independent courts.

Well, constitutions don't guarantee anything in any practical sense. Case closed.

But cuz I like overkill...

Elections can be held without electing anything of consequence.

If you want to guarantee human rights, the first item on the agenda is to abolish Democracy. It doesn't matter who you are, you don't get to say how I run my life unless you have a contract with my signature or seal saying that you do. Rule by majority is an inherent violation of the human right.

Ditto independent courts. Separation of powers immediately entangles them with the political arena, exposing them to strong pressure to either submit or be submitted to.

So I'm going to go back to demos kratos and say, okay, the people rule.

Sovereignty, ownership of the geographical area which corresponds to a jurisdiction, is owned by the stakeholders, the people affected, by this jurisdiction.

I'm going to accept that the majority have this right as an axiom. Clearly, if you have a bunch of people, with different opinions, but one outcome must be applied to all of them, the best way to maximize value is to match the opinions of the most people as closely as possible. Hence, demos kratos automatically means majority rule.

I'm going to accept that the majority are allowed to appoint a steward to run the thing for them.

So the majority are appointing someone to tell them what to do.

Right, TGGP, I'm hiring you to be my master.

Or...err...not, as that doesn't make any sense. Who's in charge, here? Do you get to tell me I cannot fire you?
What about unpleasant orders? The canonical example being to clean my room - perhaps to cut down on insect infestations. I decide I don't like that and fire you, defeating the whole purpose.

Circular authority collapses. The whole exercise is absurdity incarnate.

So I'm going to toss out the idea that they can appoint a steward. As any venture founded in contradiction, you can pretend to do it, but in reality it will be something very different and painfully corrupt. All Republics are automatically evil.

So, pure Democracy or bust.

The first problem is that now we're flying the space shuttle by ballot box. Imagine the Apollo XIII mission, except before the astronauts could do anything, they had to run an election across all three hundred million Americans...after all, they paid for it.

We're lucky the free market can run itself. Soviet Russia had much less support and had a nice controlled flight into terrain.

There's more, naturally; some of the Apollo XIII repairs and manoeuvres would accrue prestige to various factions, resulting in objective-outcome-independent decision making. The astronauts are quite fucked.

But, as I'm a philosopher, I find it much more damning to find a logical contradiction.

Telling yourself what to do is even more absurd than hiring someone to tell you what to do. The majority is just going to do what it was going to do anyway. They will legalize all their favourite pastimes, criminalize everything they find disgusting, and institutionalize every bias and misconception they have.

The only people affected are the minority...everyone else.

Again, I can instantly slay Democracy here by the standards of 'modern Democracy,' by invoking the rights of the minority. But that is too easy, so I'm going to throw out the idea of rights entirely. (It also narrows down the source of the contradiction.)

Instead: Democracy is the enslavement of the minority by the majority. The full scope of people ruled by Democracy have exactly no say in how they are ruled. Their opinions, freely voiced or not, are tossed aside. Their votes are meaningless. Their 'possessions' are held due to the sufferance of the majority.

Democracy is the ultimate in disenfranchisement. Oh and incidentally most people get to run around with their heads cut off. I'm sorry - like chickens with their heads cut off. I got the idea that they're chaotic and the fact that they have no qualification to rule mixed together in my head. (Not only that, no desire to learn to wield their power.)

This state of pure chaos is the closest you can get to approximating rule by the people. Insofar as your average Democracy isn't this, it isn't even trying to be Democracy, isn't even attempting to put legitimacy to votes, and is contravening majority rule.

Democracy is, in short, the opposite of what it is supposed to be. It is the rule by nobody at all. Democracy is the definition of pure chaos. As each successive definition has attempted to tame this rabid 800-pound gorilla, it simply gives me more and more ways to show that third stage rabies cannot be cured.

For example,
"Even though there is no specific, universally accepted definition of 'democracy', there are two principles that any definition of democracy includes. The first principle is that all citizens, not invested with the power to govern, have equal access to power and the second that all citizens enjoy legitimized freedoms and liberties."
By definition, any citizen who might benefit from power does not have access to it. Without gutting majority rule, and thus abandoning any pretence of Democracy, just under most citizens do not enjoy any legitimate freedoms or liberties. Simultaneously, the majority are all like, "Yay, I'm free from myself, I have liberty from my tyranny!"

The idea that the people affected by rule should have a say in how they're ruled is a very feel good idea. Unfortunately, it is impossible.

I'd like to finish off with a thought I've had basically forever but never seen anywhere else.

The actual point of Democratic ideology is that anyone can be president. People looked at the world and found that not only were their lives largely controlled by others for others' benefit, but that there was never any legal way that they could have been masters of their own destiny. While acknowledging that someone had to rule, (I reject this) they realized even basic fairness required that everyone at least have some shot at the top job.

And that's it. That's the point. That, if you were being misruled or exploited, at least to have the opportunity to do a better job by doing it yourself.

Again, this essential point just goes to show that Democracy is the first thing to get rid of if this is the outcome you want. This goal, as with the feminist movement, was immediately hijacked by cruel, mendacious power seekers. (You can see me contort trying not to say 'evil' because I know you don't accept the concept.) Attempts at Democracy turned out to be extremely useful to these people.

Return to UR

Friday, July 10, 2009

MOND, Physics versus Logic

Well, yeah. The acceleration must be quantized because energy is quantized, which implies that the force is quantized as well. Quantizing force has profound effects on the aggregate behaviour. If you program, you can see this by comparing an analytical graph of x(t) to a quantized simulation; the simulation, especially in limit cases such as F <<>-2 range will be different when it feels the impulse than when it 'should' feel the average impulse, and with F -> 0 the difference will actually be significant, and each small difference pushes the next difference yet further from the continuous F=ma approximation.

Not only that, but you have to figure out how the quantized force knows when to land the impulses. If this wasn't gravity, then it would be easy; the force carriers are quantized and it applies forces upon collision. However, we can't determine whether the force-carrier description or the bent-space description works better for gravity, and even if is force carriers we haven't found the graviton and can't be sure of its properties.
I'd guess that like many things, quantized gravitational accelerations would happen probabilistically, but this pushes the actual behaviour yet further from the continuous F=ma, again because each acceleration affects when the next acceleration will be felt; late impulses will allow the object to fly farther from the analytical-continuous position

Moreover, all these possibilities must be normalized for conservation of energy. As the object is feeling these random forces, they must somehow work out to be proportional to the change in potential energy. Alternatively, the potential energy calculation needs to be altered in light of the new behaviour.

So, at the very least, as compared to continuous F=ma, objects drift off true, then feel different forces, and then the forces are somehow corrected for conservation of energy, which then feeds back by drifting it off true... Instead of x(t) = d + vt + at2/2, it's a complex partial differential equation, and a(t) is basically going to be Dirac deltas. All of this is a direct consequence of quantized energy.

This is such a basic analysis I'm surprised I haven't seen it anywhere before. I guess that means I'm grateful to Tech Review for prodding me into doing something I already should have done.