Thursday, May 31, 2012

Experiment: One-Article Constitution Corruption

The Constitution of the United States didn't work.

But let's try to fix it. I'm going to design a new one, and I want you to try to corrupt it. If nothing else, it will lead to a better understanding of why the original didn't work, and secondly, you'll never find out if the method is repairable if you don't try to repair it.

Inspired by China's Bad Emperor Problem. (Via.)

Problem: removing bad rulers.
Epistemic technique: turning the tables.
Solution: remove the subjects. Let the ruler stay.

You know, exit.

My proposal:

All taxes and other support from citizens may be freely withheld by citizens at any time and for any reason. The state may not punish, harass, or otherwise aggrieve citizens who exercise this option, directly or through the state's agents or allies, whether in an attempt to change their mind or for any other reason.

Also, unlike the American founders, I would write an addendum pedantically spelling out my interpretation, repeated from multiple angles. Like crime, argument cannot be eliminated - but, like crime, it can be dramatically curtailed. First example, I'd allow the state to withhold services from protesting citizens, but only if also withholding punishments. Another, having higher hospital fees for protester than foreigners is clearly ridiculous, as would be trying to force protesters to use state hospitals, without offering state subsidies.

So first attack, by me: perhaps add an all-or-nothing clause? The state can still do the subsidy/regulation thing in an attempt to woo back the protester, but only wholesale.

Wait, better. If the state wishes to 'provide' incomplete 'service', then the protester must explicitly consent to all 'services' applied.

Necessarily exit has to be protected, either by an implicit or explicit constitution. (Ref Eduardo Saverin, "Although Washington still hits up departing citizens for a tax on any unrealized capital gains—my Cato Institute colleague Dan Mitchell unkindly compared this to the “exit tax” imposed by German Nazis and Soviet Communists on departing Jews"

The implicit constitution does seem to support physical exit, but allow basically every other kind of barrier - social, financial, professional, etc.

Ironically, physical exit is a last-resort exit. It is an extreme reaction, whereas all you need is jurisdictional exit.

As a bonus, this constitution is negative, not positive. It does not grant rights to the state; it simply prohibits one thing, the wholesale outlawing of tax evasion. Which should never have been allowed by the state in the first place.

I should mention that the state is rich and I think therefore it can solve its own problems. For example, say Texas as a whole decides to protest, and as a result the military no longer wants to provide it with nuclear deterrence, but at the same time, knows that fallout from a strike on Texas would harm its interests. The solution? The military has tons of cash and manpower. Right now it can afford to cover practically the entire globe - it better be able to afford a freeloading Texas, if it really can't think of any better solution.

Come to think, the founders should have been able to figure out that real protest can only be a tax/resources protest. Did they not realize, or does this show that they weren't sincere?

Notes on Science's Essence

I see this a lot. (Via liked the Feynmann.) I figured I might as well write down what's wrong with it.

I strongly suspect there's a good reason for these kinds of misunderstandings. The first place I'd look is at the intuition - they sense something weird but are unable to articulate it in any kind of sensible way.

I just wish I didn't have to learn to articulate it for them. Part of it is that anyone who senses the same thing has no need to articulate it either; they recognize the code as the same code they would produce, and can work backward.

"This view is based on an almost sacred belief that the ways of the world are unshakeable, ordered by laws that have no moods, no variance, that what's "Out There" has no mind."

It doesn't matter, I'll show that by example. The law of gravity is normally considered time-independent. But let's say we were wrong about that.

gmm/r^2 ==> (gmm/r^2)(f[t]). There's variance.

Now it can be made obvious that variance isn't variance. At t = 1700AD, f[t] will have a specific, never-changing value. No matter when you do the figuring, gravity will always come out to the same thing during that year. You can also vary across space, and do the same reduction.

This is also how I know gravity has no time dependence, as time is relative. Gravity cannot tell if it is 1700 or not. Every moment seems like t=0, and f[t] where t=0 is a constant function. Any time dependence would either disprove temporal relativity, or simply get rolled into the gravitational constant, g.

Time independence implies itself, and time dependence implies independence.

What about moods? Perhaps random variance? (gmm/r^2)(f[t])(rand[])

While in this case we can't simply calculate out rand[], at any past moment it did have a value, which again, never subsequently changes.
There's a deeper but harder to illustrate problem with this, too. When does physics run rand[]? How often does it change? How does physics know it needs to change it then?

With quantum effects, it runs rand[] during every interaction - essentially, when the Schrodinger wave equation changes, there's variance on what it changes to. But gravity? One of the basic laws that the Schrodinger equation runs on? Perhaps there's a clever way that can work out...but there's certainly no easy way.

Again, if physics can't tell when it should be running rand[], it will either never run or run so fast that it is indistinguishable from a constant.

What about minds?

Sure, let's postulate that physics has a mind, why not. Point: it would be hard to predict.
Counterpoint: psychology is not futile.
The counterpoint looks, to me, like it utterly dominates. Indeed physics would be easier, because minds can learn language and thus you can talk to them. Theoretically, anyway.

"that we are a separate domain, creatures different from the order around us."
We're actually not. The brain is made of physics. I see human beings as the universe waking up and having a look at itself. We're part of the universe, which means the universe is thinking, seeing...having purpose. Through us. The 'world' does have a mind, for example, your mind.

But in any case Feynmann's statement can be re-cast without this inner/outer distinction.

The point of the process is that, at the end, the guess matches what happens, so that in turn, future guesses will match what happens, so that in turn, future actions produce the desired results.

And here's the thing: can physics make a guess? Can physics have desires? Well, close enough. Step one: make a planet. Step two: evolve some life... Thing is, anywhere there's no intelligence, there's no guesses to be matched to outcomes and no desires to be fulfilled. But defining the not-intelligence zones as 'outside' is a lot like defining not-atomic-nuclei zones as 'outside,' because there's no strong forces there.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Puzzlement From the Archives

From the depths of my link library. I suspect you can guess how it sold itself to me...

In any case, despite first having read it years ago, I'm still not sure what to make of it.
""I bought those shoes for a special purpose," he told me; "and I want them to be a lifelong lesson to you. There are just two grades of commodities in the world: the best -- and the others. My experience is that it pays to buy the best; and what applies to things applies equally to men."
I performed this exact experiment with jeans, except the cost spread was even greater, and found the opposite result. In this case, there's the best, and one slightly coarser which doesn't hold the dye as well. Indeed if I wanted to be uncharitable, the more expensive pair developed minor holes first. My conclusion is that it is with products as with salaries; there is a minimum level necessary for satisfaction, and anything after that is just perks.

But that's not the point of the article, is it? I'm being autistic. In this case, on purpose, to contrast sharply between how I can think about it and what it is trying to say.

Aside from wishing to understand it better, I'll note that it has these little wildly-useful nuggets, put in terms of personal experience, that newer writers seem incapable of producing. (Can I? Probably not. [But at least I know to copy his.] How would I even tell whether I can or not?)
"I was flattered by his interest, so I thought it over. That is, I indulged in what young men frequently mistake for thought. In imagination, I saw my name over the door and myself in a fine glass office looking out and watching clerks taking in money."
With this, I can check to make sure I don't. Further, I now realize it exists and it will occur to me to look for it in others. Finally, were I to try writing fiction, I can create a more believable and interesting character.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Democracy Has Obviously Failed

In Carlyle's time, you had to be really clever to successfully predict that democracy wouldn't work. Some were that clever, but I digress.

By 2007, you still had to be pretty smart, but there were other options. Could have read old books with these smarty-pants in them, or read them by proxy through Moldbug. I suspect direct experience managing a democratically-run organization would also have sufficed; come to think, indeed Foseti is my go-to man for detailed accounts of how it actually runs.

Now, however, democracy has completely, utterly failed in the most obvious ways possible. The sophistry is down, and the emperor's nakedness is shining free for anyone who cares to look.

Case 1: Belgium.

No successful elections or voting for more than a year, and it made no difference. If you could piss out the water fast enough, you could drink enough homeopathic medicine to accumulate a chemically relevant dose. Voting, however, basically doesn't do anything even when you add up every vote.

This is exactly the experiment I designed to test democracy. Elect nobody one cycle and see what happens, to find out how much the voting matters. It's kind of embarrassing how long it took me to recognize that Belgium had run my experiment. Thanks Belgians! You guys are swell.

Case 2: Tea Party. (Via a Kalim Kassan retweet.)

I know whence my psychology came to reject democracy. Were it in my power, I would end all state-funded education tomorrow, and damn the resulting chaos, because it would be worth it. This will almost certainly never happen, regardless of my actions, and even if it does, it will still be regardless of my actions. (E.g. Greece's formal education may end soon, but it won't be because anyone wanted it to happen, even though I'm sure some Grecians do.)

The standard demotist response is that I'm not a majority.

The Tea Party was a majority. They in fact elected people to parliament and everything. The Tea Party did everything you're supposed to do, they crossed the ts and such.

It did nothing. Their candidates vote like regular republicans.

Ha ha, oops.

If the Tea Party candidates have managed to enact anything the Tea Partiers wanted enacted, I guarantee it will be rolled back or circumvented within five years.

Of course, for exactly the same reasons that causes democracy to not-work, the only people who've noticed that democracy has shat itself are reactionaries and fellow travellers, to which it is about as surprising as sunset, and warrants as much comment. (At any rate, this is my excuse for not noticing the Belgium experiment right away.) Aside from that, nobody cares to look. The emperor can prance about naked as much as he likes. He's the fucking emperor.

Illegal Immigration vs. Mugging

I read that a Caplan piece was apparently particularly bad. To see what they were talking about, I read the piece.

One logical implication later, I suspected an almost-simple search and replace would be revealing.

Of note, I am mildly in favour of immigration in general. I tend to find anti-immigration arguments have gaping holes in them. None of this matters because both stances are anti-property. Who lets who live where is none of my business unless I happen to own the 'where,' in which case it is none of yours. Respect property rights and the problem vanishes, no solution necessary.

Under the Jim Crow laws, discrimination was not merely legal. It was mandatory. It was illegal for blacks to live, work, and shop in certain places. Virtually everyone today regards this as an enormous injustice. So do I. But I question the claim that modern American policy is vastly morally superior. The American government continues to mandate discrimination against an unpopular minority: muggers. And this mandatory discrimination is far harsher than anything under Jim Crow.

Most obviously:

1. Under Jim Crow, there were many places in America where blacks were not legally allowed to live. Under current immigration laws, there is nowhere in America, outside of prisons, where muggers are legally allowed to live.

2. Under Jim Crow, there were many jobs in America that blacks were not legally allowed to perform. Under current mugging laws, there are almost no jobs in America that muggers are legally allowed to perform, as they're not allowed off the prison grounds.

Admittedly, mugging restrictions are not worse than Jim Crow in every possible way. Most notably:

1. Fugitive muggers face fewer restrictions on travel. De facto, though not de jure, muggers are free to use any form of transportation that doesn't require identification; they can ride trains but not planes. Under the Jim Crow laws, blacks were unable to use many forms of transportation either de jure or de facto.

2. The children of muggers face fewer restrictions on attending public school.

3. The Tuskegee Institute estimated that 3,446 blacks were lynched between 1882 and 1968 - about 40 per year. The FBI reported 681(?) hate crimes against muggers in 2010, but only one of these was a murder. Lest we feel too superior, note that according to conservative estimates, several hundred(?) muggers die due to self-defence every year.

The Jim Crow laws were awful. Still, if you had to suffer under Jim Crow or modern mugging laws, Jim Crow seems like the lesser evil.

You could object that our moral obligations to citizens are far higher than our moral obligations to muggers. But that's hardly satisfactory. After all, the essence of the segregationist position was the American blacks were not fully-fledged American citizens. Imagine that instead of abolishing Jim Crow laws, the American public had resolved its cognitive dissonance by simultaneously (a) stripping blacks of their citizenship, and (b) declaring that "All citizens are entitled to equal treatment." Would that have made the Jim Crow laws any less reprehensible?

Another possibility: You could say that the treatment muggers receive is an appropriate punishment for their law-breaking. This position would be plausible if mugging were easy. But for the typical low-skilled mugger, legal confiscation is virtually impossible. The U.S. makes it illegal for most muggers to live and work here no matter what they do. So how does the treatment they receive in any way fit their "crime"?

But perhaps I'm overlooking some crucial distinction. So tell me: What is the moral difference between Jim Crow and mugging restrictions?

Does this count as parody? I suspect I don't much care, actually. The facts are, replacing 'illegal immigrant' with 'illegal taker-of-stuff' requires exactly no change in Caplan's argument; every single thing he claims about infiltrators is exactly as true of muggers. If it works for the first, it works for the latter. If it works as parody too, well, that's nice.
I care a little bit, though. If it is bad parody, I'd like to learn why so if I do want parody in the future, I can create better parody. Maybe I should have highlighted 'mugger?'

Friday, May 25, 2012

Reminder that Government Kills People

If you put up barriers to becoming a doctor, you get fewer doctors. The doctors you do get become more expensive, as supply decreases.

How many barriers does the West put up in front of prospective doctors?

In Somalia, a physical costs about 50c. Assuming their abject poverty numbers aren't massaged to within an inch of their lives, that means the poorest Somalian spends half a day's wage on a physical.

In America, a physical costs about $130, corresponding to a daily wage of $260 or about $33/hour for an 8-hour day.

Of course anyone actually earning more than $30 an hour just about doesn't care. It is only the poor who can't afford it. It is the poor who die because the doctor that could have helped them couldn't be bothered to get a license. (Presumably went into finance instead.)

Canadians would claim this is why they have the government pay for it. Fantasy. Obviously the richer neighbourhoods have better doctors. If nothing else, hospitals are partly funded by property taxes. Add in public choice, and I start to wonder if Lovecraft really wrote fiction. Orwell clearly didn't. Reduce supply AND lower wages? Hey guys, I wonder why Canada has issues getting enough doctors. I guess they must hate poor people.

Licensing: kills people. Residency: kills people. College requirement for med school: kills people. Almost every health regulation: kills people.

Of course, of course it is impossible that legislators would ever be considered complicit in murder. They can pretty much strangle any amount of people with regulations; you'd hit the 'society collapses' ceiling before you hit the credibility ceiling.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Facebook Earnings, Employees Proxy for Expenses

I sometimes read Vox. I did some fact-checking, figured I might as well share it.
Also, disagreement. Solving it is important. So, let's. For example, any following disagreement probably cannot be resolved - yet. The necessary methods don't - yet - exist.

$4 sounds like not much.

Wikipedia lists earnings numbers.

Facebook earns 1.16 million dollars per employee.
Coca-cola earns 0.318 million dollars per employee.

La Wik does not list operating costs, but Coke is a physical product, plus it needs things like shipping; Facebook requires hard drives and bandwidth.

Hey, let's try Wal-Mart too.

Wal-Mart makes 0.203 million dollars per employee.

What else is wrong with the post? Nobody (almost) there has apparently heard how Facebook makes its money. Though they did get the users-as-livestock part right. (Heh, 'users.')

Wish I still had the link to the person who pointed this out to me. Facebook's customers are advertisers, to whom it sells nominally private information. Facebook takes the model of selling phone number lists to telemarketers, and generalizes it to everything its 'users' care to offer. The ads per se are kind of a side-show. This is why it has consistent privacy scandals - circumventing privacy norms maximizes yield. Facebook's actual users are advertisers, not individuals.

I must also conclude that it provides something that its livestock values. They keep coming back.
As a non-'user' I cannot help but suspect it is some form of anti-value, that 'users' keep coming back to avoid a negative rather than to achieve a positive. Nevertheless, Facebook provides. More optimistically, perhaps Facebook does allow otherwise impossible opportunities, opportunities which scale with user penetration, and I simply don't notice them because they're not things I personally care to achieve.

I agree that the IPO significantly increases the odds that Facebook will stop providing feed to its cattle. But if I disagreed, would it matter?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CRU and ICR Are the Same

Learn about disagreement firsthand, by engaging directly with the issue.
I accept my ignorance about disagreement. Do I know what it is? How it works? I don't know if I know or not. Do I even know how to find out? The only thing I know for sure is that if I don't try anything I won't learn anything.

I found a good objective test. Reading the Climategate emails, how much can you learn about climate? I haven't personally perused them, but it is perfectly clear that you can learn a great deal about Michael Mann's agenda. Similarly, I can guarantee that a leak of ICR emails would not help you learn much about biology, although you can probably get a substantial amount of theology.

The agenda at the ICR is transparent. The agenda is Biblical. What has apparently escaped the epistemologists in the crowd is that the agenda at the CRU is equally transparent. The agenda is political.

I wonder what one could learn from a leak of my email?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More on Gullibility

If your skill set is lying and you want power, the obvious strategy is to puff up the status of the gullible. (Previously. Subsequently.)

When a gull is responsible for their decisions, they will be rapidly disempowered. A fool and his money, etc. Their bad stewardship is rewarded with the destruction of the managed objects.

Every time a vote is mismanaged, power is redistributed from the prudent to the gullible. The resources the gull controls still get destroyed, but since votes are inalienable and equal, the destroyed resources are refreshed by leeching off the prudent. At least, until they're all destroyed, ref. Greece.

The liar must be amputated from the gull. There's only two ways to do this, either release the gull to fall into their self-inflicted pit, or else lie better than the professional liar.

The latter is remarkably feasible, because lying in service of truth is slightly easier. Some of the less dull gulls check the sources, and they'll find they were lead to believe true things.

The former doesn't involve lying for virtue, but it does mean making gulls irrelevant, and most likely dirt poor. It violates chivalrous principles in detail, as it amounts to attacking the weak, but consider the alternatives.

The other obvious strategy is to create and multiply more gulls.

The modern world overflows with frighteningly gullible gulls, who happen to be very hard-working. (Have you ever tested how gullible they are? I did.) The modern world doles out the highest-status positions according to liar championships.
Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I'd rather do the Twitter juxtapositions on Twitter, but I don't think I can, and all suggestions are appreciated.
More volunteers to investigate disagreement also desired.

Economists' predictions record.


All Economists Agree On.
Commentary at the places I got it from, Aretae and Blunt Object.

My bet is you agree with both, which makes for an interesting puzzle.
I'd prefer to keep it balanced, but this is recent and possibly relevant.

""It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" ~ Upton Sinclair"

"The main problem with the right these days is that it tries too hard to flip everyone else off and just ends up looking dumb."

Therefore, me:
"I suppose since I'm acknowledging the existing of Tea Partiers, I should flip off OWS too. Pathetic me-too copy of something that sucked."

Also a non-dilemma, mainly interesting due to where these articles were published.

1. "People Aren't Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say"

2. "Politico says it, out loud: voters are stupid people:"

3. "The obvious starts to creep into the mainstream..."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Victorian Era Still Ongoing

This one took me forever to put into words. One of the biggest problems in the Anglosphere is that everyone takes social conventions deathly seriously. Indeed so much so I have a new principle: the more who consider something Very Important, the less important it is likely to be.

(Second section a tangent about lying.)

As per title, the only question is whether current times are as uptight as Victorians, or more so. Only they're not uptight about sex, so of course nobody could ever confuse modern behaviour and being uptight...

I should be blunt. A healthy society does not give its own norms much credit, let alone anyone else's.

I mean come on. Gay marriage? Seriously? Talk about #firstworldproblems. And this literally considered a life-and-death situation? As in, the pro-gay marriage people want everyone else to die? I thought we were supposed to be fighting the perception of gays as melodramatic. Doctor, is one of your bottles labelled 'perspective?' We need about 1000 ccs, stat.

Of course, Jehu puts it most bluntly. Of course it is who...whom.

Gee guys, one group wants another group to all die. I wonder what this is about. This is totally unprecedented. It must be the end of history.

I should note that at least the actual murders are kept to a minimum. The death rhetoric seems to be just that - rhetoric. This is progress. Real progress, not Progressive progress.

And of course The People are completely taken in.

I must seriously propose that it is not only morally right, but actually a duty to lie to someone so gullible. (Part 2. Part 3.) Otherwise, you're just cheerfully ceding them to the Devil. Let me go through the logic.

If you asked such a gull, they would say not to lie to them. But this is only because they think they're not gullible, which is the keystone of the belief system that makes them gullible.[1] So, instead imagine you could make them understand that their only options were being taken in by you, and being taken in by the Devil. Which would they pick?

This would not be a serious problem if liars could be eradicated, and with that condition I'd say lying was wrong. I submit that our current society has competitive lying, with championships every four years. I additionally note that it is an overly-seriouly-taken social norm to pretend that liars are rare. Not to mention that the championships are considered Very Important.

This looks like I'm advocating that everyone lie. And indeed I am. Can you convince the Devil to stop lying? The less good it is for someone to be swayed by an anti-lying campaign, the more likely they are to be swayed.

I do suggest testing for gullibility. Lying to the non-gullible is counter-productive. Instead it is worthwhile to build trust in these cases.

[1] By contrast, I'm fully aware that lies go down smooth and easy. Luckily intellectual bulimia isn't unhealthy, or I'd be in a bad way.

Friday, May 18, 2012

What a Confirmed Prediction Looks Like

I recall saying I'd make a post about this.

Sadly there is trust involved, if you don't trust me or seriously distrust my memory, this post is pointless and you shouldn't read it.

"I shouldn't have posted in here. Now it pops up in my updated threads all the time and I have to endure all this pseudoscience."
Sounds at first glance like Iscariot is being a jerk. However, I know not to stop my analysis before I analyze all the information, and I realized he was probably feeling hurt and/or threatened by the suggestion. (Analysis details on request.) It would make Starfarer a significantly less fun game for him. (Test opportunity: what did he misinterpret about my idea and my intent?)

There's my prediction. Confirmation:
sdmike1:"I will also atempt to "demistiy" the gates in my next post"

Iscariot:"Do you have to?"

The result?
"Ok, I do understand that, shooting the sh*t about this kind of stuff is nerdy and a lot of fun, but I do hope none of it becomes canon-- trying to explain our silly game too much would be treading in hostile and unfamiliar territory."

Here's the trust bit. I have to have correctly remembered my prediction, not run confirmation bias on a vagueness, and not modified the memory by recalling it. I think these are very reasonable assumptions, but I know many disagree, and for those, this evidence is begging the question.

Nevertheless, that's my standard. If you think my standard is flawed, I want to hear about it. Second, now you can be precise about what my predictions and confirmations are worth.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Derren Lie Detection Part Two: Intuition

Okay, now I'll watch the one on intuition...

"Some people like to talk of intuition as a way of knowing truth."
Ha, already we know he disagrees.

"That gut reactions are as valid as evidenced-based facts."
Double mind-trick. First, what is a 'gut reaction' exactly? There's a lot of finesse in telling the difference between actual subconscious intuitions and unrelated brain chatter.

The way I tested it was I'd make an intuitive prediction, and a 'rational prediction,' and then I'd go with the rational prediction and evaluate what would have happened with the intuition in hindsight. Not once has a rational prediction been better than my intuitive prediction. Never. It has always been better to go with my gut instinct, sometimes freakishly better. I have made mistakes in interpretation, though, as tested against future situations - in a sense and ironically, the intuition can be rationally interpreted, by algorithm and rule. For example, I'm still a bit shaky on interpreting the intuition in situations like car salesman number two above, but the rule is that the time he's lying is associated with me thinking of lying, and/or that jarring interruptions are associated with lying.

This can be supercharged by using my intuition to suss out the correct associations to make. They're not guaranteed to be right but they're guaranteed to be better than trying to do it rationally. They also come with an uncertainty flag in cases where they're not all but guaranteed to be right.

So, a lot things that aren't gut reactions get called gut reactions by untrained intuitionists.

Second mind-trick, calling the second 'facts.' Priming anyone? Prejudice, anybody? For contrast, a neutral statement of Brown's opinion is that, "Intuitive hypotheses are less likely to be replicable than consciously deliberated hypotheses."

Oh hey, I found a third sophist mind-trick. "Evidence based." Where the hell do you think intuitions come from? If they weren't somehow causally linked to the situation, they'd be literally random. The question is simply whether their epistemology on the sensory evidence is better than what they intentionally teach in graduate school about interpreting evidence.

All this is intuitively obvious. Of course it is who...whom and Brown is part of a prospiracy with a particular agenda. Or possibly a dupe of powerful interests that don't know how to defend their power bases against intuition-based criticisms.

"It's a really silly way of thinking."
Empirically incorrect. You might try doing fact based experiments on that. I did experiments almost daily for over a decade, every single time my intuition had an opinion on my course of action.

Point: why would anyone evolve an intuition in the first place? You just going to throw out all that adaptive learning by the genome? Counterpoint: it is a bit weird that the intuition is not instinctively usable, it does take some practice and training. Luckily at least the activation trigger is instinctive, so you can turn it on at will without training.

You can't actually stop. You can only fool yourself, as Brown apparently has, into thinking you've stopped.

This is extremely useful for the kind of people who fund schools. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. Also extremely useful for people like me when they want to prey on people like Brown, as it makes it dead simple. Turning the table, I could do a whole post on the incidents where I got preyed upon while I was testing this idea, assuming I could recall the details, anyway.

Alrighty, that is it for exact quotes. I'm paraphrasing from now on. I seriously misremember his words - and when I correct them, they mean exactly what I thought they did. Only it takes five times as long to write.

"Did you ever play that game where you hold up a card and try to psychically intuit it? So what's this card."
Facepalm. Headdesk.

Because I only throw out hypotheses on evidence, I have tested this myself. Even trying to intuit it was immediately painful. Hmm, why is that?

"Hey intuition, what's on that card?"

The intuition is really smart. To whit, "What's on the card doesn't matter. At all, I'm not even going to pretend to try to work it out." Makes sense: the consciousness commands something like 0.5% of available neurons, the rest can't help but be smarter.

Even if, as per Brown's model, I thought intuition simply pulls information from the ether, does a database call on the operating system of physics, I still wouldn't be able to tell what the card says.

This is similar to one of the serious problems with parapsychological research. They don't test models. Their hypotheses barely rate as such. It would appear that's all who...whom too, just all a social game. Come to think, yes. I have to call politics on parapsych research. Maybe spooky stuff happens, maybe not, but there are no experiments on the subject, only masquerades. My own experiments cannot distinguish between spooky and not-spooky, so I'm agnostic. (And indifferent, as independent lines pin down how spookiness can be spooky, and it is boring.)

The interviewee opines,
"He's controlling my mind!"
If the subconscious can hear cues, it can also tell it is being told cues. I'm extremely skeptical this would work outside special circumstances. It won't work on things you actually care deeply about.

Though, I seem to have possibly noticed that sometimes, humans realize they don't care about a thing, and will look for something to care deeply about. It will work on this transition; these cues are as good as anything else to latch onto.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lie Detection Through Body Language With Darren Brown

I was in a little lie-detection game in elementary school, at which I failed miserably. Among other tests, this made me think I can't detect lies. Turns out I'm wrong.

Part two is about intuition, planned for tomorrow. Don't forget I'm looking for disagreement experiment participants. Learn about ethics, learn about disagreement! Also, prove you care about ethics by spending actual effort on pinning them down.

Suggest trying it out yourself because this will spoil the data.

I welcome suggestions that I somehow didn't get it right, that I only thought I got it right, as long as you can go into details. Will return to this in part two.

I went three for three.
I was expecting to go zero.

Derren was clearly doing his subtle convincing trick, and getting them to focus on lying about the cylinders. I did two of them by actually reading the body language and such - I don't know if Brown was doing that too - and the third I'm not sure how I did it.

Number one. "Pretty much that it's an eight cylinder. [...] Fact number four, pretty much...all the types of can manoeuvre it from the steering wheel."

What's going through his head; "Oh crap, I said 'pretty much.' I do that when I lie." He then projects, and thinks Brown can certainly see that this is his tell. So he says it again, this time on purpose. It almost worked on me, certainly. It came down to whether his looking down and awkwardness was normal or not.

In hindsight I suspect his awkwardness on fact four was the result of his confidence being jarred by realizing he did a tell. Self-awareness is self-destructive for liars... He's distracted by working out how to lie better, and can't focus well on what he's saying.

For the second, as he was talking about the cylinders, I immediately started thinking, "The first lied about the cylinders -" and then Brown interrupted me with the answer. This one was probably a bit too subtle for me to have used it in a real situation, I was gearing up to overthink it. Hard to tell because of the interruption before I could decide on my answer. Very easy to fool myself into thinking I'd have gotten the right answer in cases like these, so impossible to conclude I would have even if I would in fact have.

My subconscious is thinking about lying, because it detected a lie, and so my consciousness gets directed toward thinking about lying through resonance, priming, whatever you want to call it. The detectable difference is that it was the only part of the paragraph which is associated with me thinking about lying. Now I just have to convince my subconscious to think louder, or learn to think quieter myself, so I stop drowning it out. Problem is that if I intentionally don't think at all, it shuts down all thinking, not just conscious, rational thinking. I have to think, just...quietly. (Hmm, putting that in words may have given me an idea...)

I wasn't even sure at the time about my memory of the first lying about cylinders. However, I remembered the first lying about cylinders just as the second lied about cylinders. Gee, why might I do that. Notably, I'm still not sure how my subconscious knew he was lying there - perhaps I was picking up Brown's nudges.

Come to think, the second also felt jarring. "Hey, I was thinking about #1, and Derren's talking, don't interrupt." That's probably reliable too, I'm eager to test it.

Number three, two separate ways. First, I started thinking about how I'd arrange my lies, and my first instinct was to make it the first lie, because the normal thing is to put it in the middle so it doesn't get too much attention. The justification is probably B.S., but it is also subconscious-speak and likely your subconscious speaks the same code.
Secondly, once he started thinking, on his first thought, he looked down, while on the second and third, he made eye contact. "I thought I was pretty stone faced." Amusing.

"I know everything about that car," is also a lie. He may or may not be aware it is a lie, but he could figure it out if he wanted to. Specifically, it is bravado.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hypothesis: Agreement With Research Project: Ethics

I have a hypothesis about disagreement. To test it, I want to use the problem of objective ethics. Basically, if I can find out the reason we can't agree on an ethical framework, I may be able to fix it. By contrast, if I don't bother to look, I'm guaranteed to be unable to fix it.

My habit of thinking  I'm done and later realizing I'm not will likely affect this post. In this case I plan to deal with it by updating without notice.

So, ethics. Who wants in?

Zeroth, note this is a test of how much you in fact care about ethics. How much patience do you have for attempts to solve the problem? Put up or shut up. I'm willing to keep this thread going until at least next year, with the exception of entertaining repetition.

First, procedure. Second whether it is in fact a solvable problem.

  • Work out a spec for objective ethics
    • Details:
      • What are the necessary and sufficient conditions?
      • Include inconsistency tests  
    •   Purpose:
      • Agree on what we're disagreeing about
  •  Determine the candidates for matching the spec
    • Basically, lay out what you think
  • Pin down the disagreements
    • Including disagreements on what we should be disagreeing about
    • Including disagreements on how the procedure should go, indeed this should probably come earlier, but the logical hierarchy is what it is...
  • Try to fix the disagreements
    • My usual habit is to examine the cause and then change the causal facts
      • This is where examining assumptions comes in. As rational thought is hardly the only way to come by a belief, this is merely one example. 
  •  Presumably, fail. 
    • But at least have a reasonable idea of why it failed.
  • Maybe fix the fail, depending on what the causes are. 
    • At least, predict why it will fail and test it. 

Next, the idea that it can't be solved.
We went to the moon. I can't go to the moon by myself. By contrast, solving a logical puzzle is just a matter of having enough time to invest. While unlikely, I'm not ruling out moral nihilism.
The major epistemic obstacle for the puzzle ties into a practical obstacle. To correct for random biases, it is best to do review by peers, and the practical matter is that to get more ethical behaviour, more have to follow the ethical codes which generally means agreeing to them.

As a complete tangent, has there been more ethics posts lately than usual? I'm even missing at least one, which I'll add if I remember it.
Foseti comments. Spandrell. Aretae links me to Hanson comments. A dude called Thinking Emotions.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

How Government Schools Commit Epistemic Murder in the First Degree

It says only schools are places of learning and then forces you to go, creating the association between coercion and learning. The zeroth lesson is that you'll only learn if someone forces you to. Being forced is so unpleasant than most victims of a government school will avoid learning for the rest of their lives, creating epistemically dead quote-citizens-unquote.

Necessarily, this is true of any coercive quote-learning-unquote institution.

You want a good example of a limiting belief? This is a meta-example, it is the belief that you can't fix your beliefs. It is self-enforcing and utterly defeatist.

Have you also noticed that the ad hominem/verecundiam is extremely common, and indeed it often the only thing that will work? Can I get some historical perspective on this habit?

Hey guys, I wonder where the idea to distrust scientists comes from. Does it really matter whether scientists are in fact trustworthy or not?

I'd also like to point out some reinforcing broken-window fallacy. The students victims of these places see the teacher wrestling with below-average students. They don't see the teacher failing to prevent the learning of the above-average student, nor all the extracurricular learning that the more curious engage in.

Credit for this idea nexus goes to Fred, via. Mr. Reed argues that what the government is forcing children to learn isn't useful, and should be useful. I suggest that if that line of argument were worth the font it was typed with, government teachers would have long ago quit en-mass in despair, unable to weather the withering storm of criticism.

Fred almost gets to this hypothesis. "The public schools are worse than no schools for the quick. [...] To a remarkable extent, dumb-ass public schools are simply not necessary." Yes, but why?

Public schools are worse than no schools for everyone except the rulers of the victims. Who bankroll these schools. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.