Thursday, December 11, 2014

Confirmed Predictions II

I attempted to increase my epistemic competence. My predictions started out generously at 60% right. Now I can casually assume they're right, so it seems to have worked.

Of course this is privileged information. I could easily have found the data and then pretended to have made the prediction. Indeed the match is uncannily close, given I spent less than a second before coming to a conclusion - and uncanny means literally/prosaically incredible. The idea is to point at what to look for in yourself, rather than for you to believe I did in fact do this. Secondarily, when I say one of my predictions came true, I mean I observe something like this.

It's oft repeated that nicotine has a lethal dose of 50mg. When I first saw this, today, I assumed they had misread the units - surely, that's supposed to be mg/kg? Google gave me the CDC, which I assumed had dropped the /kg, as it uses mg/kg everywhere else, including the immediately following example parenthetical. On being prodded, I looked further down the search results and found this and this, showing the myth is definitely out there in the wild. Because the CDC was inconsistent about units, I predicted that someone had dropped the units, and subsequently been seminal. (And that given that the human dose is rated as exactly the rat dose, it's probably basically a guess, not even informed by clinical case studies.)

Then I followed the link in that latter link.
"Some of these effects resemble typical symptoms of nicotine overdosing, but 1–4 mg of oral nicotine will certainly not evoke the severe adverse effects described, such as clonic seizures and loss of consciousness."
So either the dose was much higher than listed - 3mg/kg, not 3mg - or their chemical supplier screwed up and it wasn't nicotine. (Check date; credit goes to serendipity.) However, Mayer is not saying that those symptoms are unlike nicotine, instead explicitly saying they are like nicotine. (Wikipedia confirms.) It very strongly suggests the dosage unit was typoed.

The person who first dropped the units was Rudolf Kobert, who published in 1906, "in accordance with the severe symptoms evoked in several experimenters by 0.002–0.004 g it is certainly not going to be higher than 0.06 g." Explicitly guesswork.

That said, he was "a renowned pharmacologist" and thus no more likely to make bad guesses in his field than I am. Mayer's cautious lower limit for lethal dose is 1 gram, whereas Kobert said, if we assume the typo theory, that it certainly won't be above 2.5 grams for an average male of 1900. It's all consistent. Getting a mistake consistent doesn't happen by chance.

On the other hand Mayer needs to hang around engineers for a while. Check for small problems before assuming there's a big one. It's cheaper. While he was still helpful, having to steelman everyone gets tiresome after a while. Either learn logic properly or stick to reporting data and leave the interpretation up to an expert. I learned it and there's no reason Mayer couldn't too. In the worst case, the point for Mayer was to shame self-experimentation, not to show anything about nicotine.

Note about unmistakeable evidence - technically we must consider that Kobert didn't in fact observe seizures. All we know is that Kobert reported seizures. Or do we? We must, technically, doubt that we've seen the report. Names get typoed too, etc. Pragmatically, the chance is indistinguishable from zero. Pharmacologists don't think they've seen a seizure when they haven't, and if he'd tried to lie he would have been caught. Finally, that we know we think we've seen the report is not pragmatically like 100%, not even lim approaches 100%, it's plain 100% likely to be true.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tet Offensive and Fourth Generation Warfare

Even though the Vietcong were materially defeated in detail, they won the moral victory, says Robert Greene:

Within a few weeks, in all parts of South Vietnam, the Americans regained the upper hand, retaking control of Saigon and securing their air bases. The sieges at Hue and Khe Sanh took longer, but massive artillery and air bombardments eventually doomed the insurgents, as well as leveling entire sections of Hue.
After what later became know as the Tet Offensive was over, Westmoreland likened it to the Battle of the Bulge, near the end of World war II.  There the Germans had managed to surprise the Allies by staging a bold incursion into eastern France. In the first few days, they had advanced rapidly, creating panic, but once the Allies recovered, they had managed to push the Germans back -- and eventually it became apparent that the battle was the German military's death knell, their last shot. [...] The entire Vietcong infrastructure had been wiped out.
But another viewpoint began to trickle in from home: the drama at the U.S. embassy, the siege of Hue, and the attacks on air bases had kept millions of Americans glued to their television sets. Until then the Vietcong had operated mostly in the countryside, barely visible to the American public. Now, for the first time, they were apparent in major cities, wreaking havoc and destruction. Americans had been told the war was winding down and winnable; these images said otherwise. Suddenly the war's purpose seemed less clear. How could South Vietnam remain stable in the face of this ubiquitous enemy? How could the Americans ever claim a clear victory? There was really no end in sight. 
American opinions polls tracked a sharp turn against the war. Anti-war demonstrations broke out all over the country. President Lyndon Johnson's military advisers, who had been telling him that South Vietnam was coming under control, now confessed that they were no longer so optimistic. In the New Hampshire Democratic primary that March, Johnson was stunned by his defeated by Senator Eugene McCarthy, who had galvanized the growing antiwar sentiment. Shortly thereafter Johnson announced that he would not run for reelection in the upcoming presidential race and that he would slowly disengaged American forces from Vietnam
The Tet Offensive was indeed the turning point in the Vietnam War, but not in the direction that Westmoreland and his staff had foreseen. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Steel Anarchism

The first thing to understand that the only true anarchism is a flavour of anarcho-capitalism. This is anarchy fully steelmanned, logicked forward until it could be logicked no more. (This is philosophical anarchism, not bomb-things anarchism. Philosophical anarchism is recognizing each dire ape as responsible to themselves and only themselves, and that each should be held responsible for their actions and only their actions.)  I'm going simply call it steel anarchy. (You're supposed to make fun of it. Any other name would be just as ridiculous but trying to hide it.)

The key feature of anarchism is Exit. Because it is illegitimate to actively do anything to someone else without their consent, all anarchic institutions must either be opt-in or opt-out. As a result, if you don't like the rules of any particular anarchy (syndicalism, communism, whatever) you can opt out and they're not allowed to force you back in. Empirically speaking most will opt for private property, because they want their stuff to stay their stuff. Or: markets are what you get when you leave humans alone. See the bazaar. In any case, an anarcho-capitalism has no problem with subsidiary communes or whatever. If they can survive, good on them.
There is only one kind of real anarchy: steel anarchy.

Given these few premises, most of the modern world (eventually) falls out of the logic. Fact is, mayors and police and courts and municipal utilities serve needs that citizens have, and an anarchy is going to have to serve the same needs. Given the IQ of the population isn't going to markedly increase upon switching to anarchy, the solutions are going to look much the same and employ much the same kind of people.

Everything will be the same. Except radically different. More on this in a bit. First, how does anarchy maintain itself?

Anarchy is obviously not particularly natural. While it has arisen in limited historical contexts, it usually doesn't.

Every regime has required a political formula. For kings it was divine right. For democracies it is mob right. However, in all cases these formulae have been lies. Obviously the king wasn't voted in by God. Democracies don't have the consent of the people; if they did they wouldn't have to harp on having the consent, they would just ask citizens to sign normal contracts, and they would willingly do so. When these lies are exposed, the regime collapses; moral legitimacy is critical to regime survival. However, all coercive regimes are inherently illegitimate, (proof in draft stage) so their formulae must be lies.
The true formula is consent, and thus Exit. Once a critical mass of humanity understands this truth, their nation will convert to an anarchy. Any attempted conquerors will have an uphill fight, lies against truth, to convince the people of their right to rule. It will almost certainly be too expensive, and they will fail. It is similarly difficult to dislodge mob right as a political formula. Even North Korea holds elections. Difficult, that is, until it fails naturally due to being a lie.

But what was that about everything being radically different, yet the same?
The point of Exit is to invite Gnon to punish you more swiftly and harshly. The longer Gnon's wrath abides, the more terrible it is.
What terrifies me is that not only do I not think America deserves Mitt Romney, I don't even think America deserves Barack Obama.  After all, a couple of centuries of diligent looking-after has run us up quite a tab with God.  A tab that will be paid or punished.  What terrifies me is that while I see no collective interest in paying the tab, it doesn't seem to me that the punishment has even begun to begin.

Because their customers can Exit at will (more or less) institutions will be directly funded by their beneficiaries. Anyone they might parasitize will immediately Exit. For the same Exit reason, they will have discipline imposed on them; if they do not serve, they will starve. As a result, while (for example) courts will still exist and deal with much the same problems as now, how they deal with them can be radically different.

Let's examine courts in a little detail. Even such bright lights as Nick Szabo don't fully understand the anarchist version of them, so one should not be surprised to to find them difficult to grasp.

Szabo rightly brings up the topic of judicial arbitrage. When I commit a crime, I pick a court likely to find me innocent. My victim, naturally, picks a court likely to find me guilty. Seems worse than having no court. How does anarchy solve this?
By not attempting this system at all. A court will no more accept a case post-facto than a life insurance company will accept an application post-mortem.
In the modern world, your local democracy promises (vaguely) to uphold rule of law, and lets you accuse people and haul them into court. It then does whatever it sees fit and you just have to suck it up. If it doesn't feel like letting you haul someone off for whatever reason, you just have to suck it up.

In an anarchy, you sign up with a security insurance provider. In this agreement, you will have certain obligations, such as turning over evidence, appearing in court, and most importantly, abiding by the court's rulings. In return, it promises to protect your property, indemnify you against loss, and persecute anyone who perpetrates against you. In general, the court under which a perp is tried is determined by who the victim pays to provide court service. If you don't like their laws, don't victimize their patrons.
(You can, if you want, try to see to your own security. Good luck with that. More on this in a bit.)
In other words pretty much what it's supposed to do now, except you sign a contract agreeing to let them do it.
However, that signing step is what creates a radical difference. If you feel the court is not successfully protecting your property or is burdening you beyond what it is benefiting you, you can simply sign on with a different one. As a result, courts will only have effective and efficient laws. (Not 40,000 and growing.) Most likely it will have about three laws: battery, vandalism, and fraud. That is, protecting person, property, and integrity. However, it can be tricky to decide who is in fact aggressing on whom. Punishment and discrimination between small differences will generally follow the English Common Law precedent, being the most advanced body of judgement in the world, though Xeer will eventually catch up.

(Objection for competing courts: courts will want to cooperate, mostly. While they'll have somewhat varying procedures, thus creating desire for regulatory arbitrage, if OneCourt refuses to deal with AlphaCourt, effectively patrons of One can't trade with patrons of Alpha, because AlphaCourt patrons know they can't enforce contracts with them. There would be a lot of shooting instead, as per below. Similarly, rather than calling the cops on a OneCourt thief, they will just shoot, since the cops can't do anything special. That's not a win for OneCourt patrons.)

Finally, if there really is a better solution than courts, it will be impossible to stop it from being used. Groping toward the edge of the box for an example, what if courts guaranteed contracts instead of people? Law a la carte?

It is also possible to provide your own security, much as you can grow your own food. However, it's a tricky proposition. The main function of the court is to hold a set of rules about who the aggressor is. By signing the contract with the security firm, I agree to abide by their judgement of such. I do this because even honest men disagree...and most aren't even honest.

If someone slurs my good name and I shoot them, am I defending my good name or unconscionably escalating a petty conflict? If someone trespasses beyond my fence and I can't shoot them before they get off again, is chasing them necessary to keep the boundary's integrity, or simply another trespass? If someone flagrantly trespasses and I shoot them, did I shoot them for trespassing or did I invite them onto my land, then shoot them in the back? That is, do I owe weregild?

For personal security, I have to do a lot of shooting. I'll meet two kinds of people; those that will honour their agreements, and those that won't sit still for me to apply sanctions. The first I never need to shoot, the latter I might as well shoot now. Knowing this, they might well try to shoot me first...
By contrast, using a guarantor, more agreements become possible. Anyone breaking their sworn word has to evade two vengeful parties instead of just one; this allows contracts that can't be personally overseen. Delivery is a simple example; if I have to personally oversee a delivery, I might as well make the delivery myself. Reputation can help, but why trust only reputation when I can trust the combination of reputation and technology?

However, there are certain bits of personal security the firms will likely endorse. If a probable Ebola patient approaches me, they will likely be fine with me shooting them, as it constitutes a threat to my life, and they have to pay weregild to my dependents if I die. If my neighbour brings home a lion, they probably want to go check it out themselves - it is possible to secure it properly after all - but they're not going to mind if I shoot a loose lion. Similarly they're going to raise premiums on my neighbour if they don't flatly refuse to insure him as long as they have a lion. Consider what happens if they lose their insurance; I shoot my neighbour, I shoot their lion...and nobody is left to object to what happened. It may be moral. Or not. However, anyone seeking vengeance is going up alone against me and my insurer. (For this reason I think it should be considered attempted murder to publish lists of uninsured.) We hire the insurer precisely because without one, morality is not upheld, as it isn't in the modern world.

Second example: mayors-cum-barons.
Since cities will no longer be some special kind of property, supposedly owned by everyone, they will likely be consolidated under one individual who buys out everyone else. Cities will have CEOs, that is, still have mayors, though calling things by their right names they're barons. They don't merely administer the city; they have property right (not only moral, but secured by some insurance firm) in the land and buildings of the city.
Mayors will more or less make the same kinds of decisions they do now. They will make bylaws about parking spaces and decided who to contract out municipal water supplies to.
The difference is the citizens will have to actively agree to let them make these decisions. I'm not sure exactly how this will shake out; social engineering is easy, but not that easy. Perhaps barons will require visitors to agree to local by-laws before they enter the city. Perhaps they'll be tolerant, allow metics, but not give them full citizenship unless they agree to the baron's rule.

(As always, you can form the contract to almost exactly simulate modern 'democratic' cities if you want. We'll just see what Gnon thinks about that...)

Since they're selected for economic competence, frugality, providence, et cetera, anarchic barons will generally be competent rulers, or at least know enough to hire a competent steward. (As in, basically the opposite of being elected for being the best liar.)

However, some barons will make mistakes. In these cases they will lose citizens. (I'm assuming nobody will be dumb enough to opt into a contract that forbids them from emigrating the city.) As a result, the less-mistaken barons will gain citizens. Bad cities will either reform or be gradually, peacefully leached of power. This is one of the non-perfect aspects of anarchism, however, as leaving a city is not cheap, and cannot be made cheap without subsidy. It is difficult to take your friends and family with you. It is impossible to take your geographical familiarity and history with you. Barons will be able to charge rent (neo property taxes) in proportion to how culturally invested their citizens are. However, this gives the baron an incentive to (unironically) culturally enrich their city, so it's not all bad.

Finally, ancap is neocameralist patchwork. Given free Exit, cities will balkanize. You get patchwork for free. As for the neocameralism...
It doesn’t care about competency and order and peace and stability as such.
Anarchy frees humans to pursue whatever they want. Humans care about competency and order and peace and stability. Ancap, unlike Hadley Bennett, does not presume to tell humans they care about these things more than any particular thing else. If they do so care, they will patronize cities and barons that provide those things at the expense of other things. However, Gnon has an opinion on such barons. I don't know what it is, and neither does Bennett. Other barons may have value hierarchies that Gnon likes better. Humans may prefer cities that sacrifice order and stability for those things. Anarchy proposes to let Gnon tell us which is which.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Princeton vs. Consciousness

Are We Really Conscious? -

Yes, though it's entirely predictable that the Cathedral would prefer you to doubt it.

(Via, via.)

Graziano asserts that since consciousness is inaccurately modelling something else which isn't conscious, consciousness doesn't exist.
Graziano takes forever to get to the point, luckily I could guess or I would never have bothered reading the whole thing. I will instead use inverted pyramid structure.

This is where my own work comes in. In my lab at Princeton, my colleagues and I have been developing the “attention schema” theory of consciousness, which may explain why that computation is useful and would evolve in any complex brain.
It's remarkable that Graziano thinks this is even remotely fitting as an explanation. I think the fact that he recognizes the flaws makes it worse. He's noticed the problems but is hoping to sweep them under your rug.

Awareness: a cartoonish reconstruction of attention that is as physically inaccurate as the brain’s internal model of color.
At least it misses the point in a complex way. Unfortunately that makes it sophisticated sophistry.

Wavelength is a real, physical phenomenon; color is the brain’s approximate, slightly incorrect model of it.
Colour is also its own thing, which it is a perfect model of.

Awareness: a cartoonish reconstruction of attention that is as physically inaccurate as the brain’s internal model of color.
Awareness is also its own thing.
Presumably Graziano believes attention does not have awareness. He therefore concludes that awareness, by having awareness, is an inaccurate model of attention.

The word 'cat' is not a furry carnivore. It is, however, a curve, a loop with a tail, and a cross, indeed it is exactly identical to those things. You cannot explain that the word 'cat' doesn't exist by asserting that curves, loops, and crosses are not furry carnivores.

This is exactly analogous to Graziano's 'refutation.' The word 'cat' is not an illusion. Instead, it merely betrays his extreme naivete and disinterest in the facts about consciousness. Or sophistry.

I believe a major change in our perspective on consciousness may be necessary, a shift from a credulous and egocentric viewpoint to a skeptical and slightly disconcerting one: namely, that we don’t actually have inner feelings in the way most of us think we do.
Emphasis added. Yeah, major, I've never heard that one. This year.

The scientific truth about white (i.e., that it is not pure) differs from how the brain reconstructs it.
Misrepresenting or misunderstanding consciousness. We're supposed to not take consciousness for granted but we are supposed to take Graziano's interpretation of consciousness for granted.

White, in the mind, is neither pure nor impure. It's a colour, just like every other colour. The brain doesn't 'reconstruct' colour. The mind constructs an entirely new thing, colour, which does not exist in a photon-camera system. The photonic mixture 'white' is completely separate form the qualia 'white.' Check; they can exist independently. Mixture without brain, and dreams, respectively.

Not to mention equivocation; trying to purify the photonic mixture should not be confused with trying to purify the quale.

How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t.
"I observe a thing. What is it?" "Oh, you're not observing it." You cannot get more anti-scientific.

But the argument here is that there is no subjective impression; there is only information in a data-processing device.
"I observed a thing." "No you didn't." Plebs aren't allowed consciousness. You have to go to Princeton if you want to deserve consciousness.

The machinery is computing an elaborate story about a magical-seeming property.
Deliberate or taught confusion of objective and subjective. Yes, if you assume subjective properties are objective, it will be difficult to show the objective truth of the subjective properties. For some reason.

It also computes information about the self and about a (physically incoherent) property of subjective experience.
Graziano has discovered that nonphysical properties are physically incoherent. I am amazeballs.

And there is no way for the brain to determine through introspection that the story is wrong, because introspection always accesses the same incorrect information.
Rank newbie mistake. Introspection is not unitary.

First, what is our relationship to the rest of the universe? Copernicus answered that one. We’re not at the center. We’re a speck in a large place.
Much like a sapphire is just a speck in some large rock, and uranium makes up only 2.7% of the crust.

Second, what is our relationship to the diversity of life? Darwin answered that one. Biologically speaking, we’re not a special act of creation. We’re a twig on the tree of evolution.
We build skyscrapers and nothing else on the entire tree does. Luckily skyscrapers are just a social construct, so none of our precious beliefs are challenged.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Theological Epistemology

So you think stable society requires a religion.

Given that a flavour of nihilism might be the true religion, there must be a true religion.

Existence is defined by interactions, which means it must be possible to learn the true religion. Theological epistemology must require a different attitude than our well-studied epistemologies, or we would have already learned it. I find it absurd to presume we've already done so: all other fields of knowledge develop step by step from imperfection to wisdom. Religion is at best stuck at imperfection, if not outright random guesses.

If ~nihilism is the true religion, your ambitions are done. Society will never be stable. Thus if you want to stabilize civilization and think you need a religion, you must assume there is a true religion.

Therefore the first thing to do is develop theological epistemology. (It is similarly necessary to assume it is possible to develop this epistemology.) It is not going to develop by accident, or it would have done so already. It must be developed intentionally and consciously.

I could presume to write that I've made a start on it, but you shouldn't believe me, so I won't. You must develop theological epistemology yourself, because nobody else who can do it is going to do it. That, or give up your ambitions. However necessary it is for civilization, nobody cares enough about civilization to provide it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Case Study of Cultural Economic Incompetence

When for example an Anglo-Saxon hobbit is taught about cost-benefit analysis, they subconsciously think it shows they should do something that would alienate their friends, and blame the analysis rather than their shallow understanding of it.

Their brain instantly throws ups some stupid ritual they're ambivalent about, and they'll realize the cost-benefit is cost-heavy. Another, different part of their brain will then instantly throw up flashing red flags, because the ritual is a signalling surface antigen. They make no effort to reconcile these parts, but rationally think their relationships are more important than understanding econ, and therefore reject economics.

I use the hobbit as an example, underclass such as chavs and helots make similar errors, and bourgeoisie usually have to aggressively compartmentalize the knowledge.

Two issues in particular here.
Hobbits do not naturally think recursively.
The ritual is pointlessly inefficient. Whatever is being signalled can probably be signalled by something a fifth of the cost, if only other hobbits were rational enough to notice and agree, or lucky enough to have picked it in the first place.
The latter means the asocial econ part of the hobbit's brain has successfully understood. However, the former prevents them from adding the cost of losing friends to the overall cost of changing, and it never occurs to them to tot up the social phase-transition cost from expensive rituals to efficient ones.

The failure to grok the principle usually prevents hobbits from using it at all, as their only choices are repelling their friends or rejecting the principle. Bourgeoisie have more sophistication, but usually have to put it behind overbuild walls.

The 'libertarianism can't work' crowd seems averse to explaining exactly why not. I hypothesize the above conflict, generalized, is the reason. The problem would seem to be failure to teach logic, rather than a failure of the philosophy. Econ can even be taught praxeologically; children will do the asocial thing, by accident, if nothing else. The teacher doesn't need to explain the principle clearly and the children don't need logic; simply saying, "That's not what I mean," at the right times will do. Bourgeoisie learn it praxeologically as Conquest's first law kicks in. Prussian schools obviously and deliberately teach the opposite and actively antagonize efficient signalling.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Leadership Engineering vs. Umlaut Comments

Doing it wrong.

Comments here, via, spurred by this.

"If you're going to advocate/borrow elements from some version/mix of an ideology/ideologies that led to the death of lots of people in the past"
There were some sincere, well-intentioned communists. They formed actual communes with a hundred or so of their buddies. Communism failed on this scale, so they abandoned the communes. Usually before anyone died.

Then there were some insincere, power-lustful communists. They imposed these known failure modes on countries of millions of people. When people started dying, they did not change their minds about what should be done.

The disputants in the Umlaut comment section seem to be arguing about who gets to legitimately seize the coercive apparatus. They have concluded it's the group with the most rhetorically-effective arguments, and are now all attempting to seize that power proxy.

If you actually want to create good government, then it's time to apply engineering discipline. Preliminary studies. Prototype. Scale - slowly. One tribe. Then one town. Then one city. Then two cities. Solve problems as they arise, before scaling further. Not revolution. Not entire countries at once.

The only reason I'm not already out there recruiting for an experiment in alternative government structures is because my proposed alternatives are illegal. There is also the Rhodesia problem, should my designs happen to work.

Why Mechanization Doesn't Cause Job Loss

Or: Luddites still wrongheaded.

Toy economy microcosm: iPods and mining, nothing else.

Let's say an iPod costs $1000 to make, $500 for labour, the rest for ore from the mine. Let's say we mechanize so cleverly the iPod no longer takes any human labour at all.

Normally, the lowered input costs will make iPods cost much less, indeed around half as much. This will cause more iPods to sell, requiring more ore. Demand curves being what they are, they won't sell twice as much, but four or five or ten times as much. (Ctrl-f "Holiday.")

For every $500 of ore Apple was buying, they're now buying $2100 of ore. If the mining company spends more than $160 of labour to mine that $500 of ore, the economy will now be spending more overall on labour than it did before the jobs were 'lost.' (Real companies would kill to have such low labour costs.)

The cotton gin added net jobs, because like every other mechanization so far, it did not eliminate labour entirely, and the higher demand for the remaining labour more than compensated for the 'lost' jobs.

Certainly there's some short-term pain, which I think should be treated compassionately. The iPod workers will be out of a job while the economy adjusts, and I for one don't want to rip them away from their roots, their friends and family and geographical familiarity, so they can go work at a mine halfway across the country.

However, the idea that mechanization costs jobs is still wrong.

The government costs jobs.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Anarchist Security Insurance vs. Logic and Game Theory

Cowan strawmans security insurance, but at least it gives me an excuse to rant about real anarchist philosophy.

(Source, via, via.)

"but I do mind patronizing a protection agency whose decisions are ignored by other agencies."
The market is smarter than you. I can think of a solution, which means the market will utterly dominate this problem.

This is an incorrect model of property. The agencies will be able to act unilaterally, the decisions against offenders will be presented to other agencies as fait accompli, which they would have to put to arms to contest, which will be too expensive to be worthwhile.

For example, agency ShopWall captures a shoplifter and jails them. For the shoplifter's agency, SlumLord, to contest the jailing, they will have to invade ShopWall's territory. Once ShopWall publicly shares the security cam footage, SlumLord will be caught between game theory and justice. Or consider flogging; you can't un-flog someone.

It's not at all a matter of 'respecting' another agency's decisions, but whether you're willing to pay the cost of not working with them, which is simply unwise, and Gnon will punish such agencies and their patrons.

Worst case scenario, a burglar burgles and tries to claim sanctuary. HouseWall's request for extradition is not 'respected' by SlumLord. Okay, but now all of SlumLord's patrons are effectively outlaws within HouseWall's territory, and they can be shot on sight. The burglar cannot enter any home or business which patronizes HouseWall without risking citizen's arrest. Why would SlumLord pay these costs when there's solid, objective evidence the burglar is guilty? Not only does SlumLord destroy its relationship with HouseWall, other agencies know that dealing with SlumLord patrons is an unwise risk for their patrons, meaning SlumLord has damaged its reputation globally.

But, just as the market is smarter than you, it's smarter than me. These are not actually hard problems, but we can argue about this from our armchairs eternally. Communism was tried small-scale before it was implemented nationally, and the phase-3 results were precisely predicted by the preliminary trials. Similarly, the thing to do with anarcho-capitalism is try it on a small scale and see what happens.

However, since I don't have any handy tent cities to rehabilitate, I'm going to continue pontificating from my armchair.

"Protection firms with differing law codes must offer a form of quality collusion that provides a common product (a final decision) to their respective customers when interests clash."
The crime and punishment is determined by the local laws; in an anarcho-capitalism 'local' means whatever the particular property owner happens to want. In most cases it will be some standard provided and administered by a commercial firm. To accept that interests can validly clash is to violate the principle of property, which is to beg the question against anarcho-capitalism.

Moreover, law is likely a commodity good. All the legal systems are going to converge on a simple set of rules and consequences; it's unlikely they will offer meaningfully different codes any more than cellphone companies innovate on what shape phone numbers are.

"A cooperating network of protection service agencies could use aggressive force to enforce its market domination (Friedman does concede this point, although he doubts its likelihood)."
A cooperating network of states could use aggressive force to enforce slavery. A cooperating network of states could use force to, oh, I don't know, displace millions of Arabs so they have somewhere to put the Jews, or to then later displace millions of Jews because they've changed their mind.

This is not a criticism of anarcho-capitalism.

"The adjudication network is stable only if it can use force to put down outlaw agencies that do not accept its higher-order arbitration decisions. Such a network also could use force to put down firms that do not adhere to the collusive agreement."
Insert sarcasm here. This is really bad. As above, 'accepting' arbitration is simply not how this works.

How it works is violence is expensive, and nobody sane engages in it unless they can externalize the costs. Arbitration agencies hardly need to have enforcement arms at all. Rather, if your options are accept arbitration or challenge the defendant to a gun battle, you accept arbitration because it's not worth your life. The enforcement arms are purely for the insane and the deluded.

If an deviant agency refuses to cooperate, well, guess what, Arab states don't extradite to America, and neither does China. This is simply not a serious problem. If going to Arabia means you might get shot and your family will see neither justice nor restitution, then don't go to Arabia? Just a suggestion, don't take your life into your own hands unless you're willing to risk your life.

"The adjudication network could divide the market in to exclusive territories and institute taxation."
Bare assertions are on the table? Okay, I can do that.

If a firm decides to institute taxation it will instantly see a a subscription revolt. Modern states cannot withstand tax revolts of greater than 10% of the population or so, because enforcement is simply too expensive. A firm that tried this will strangle itself within the week and invite voluntary rescuers to come fortify its former territory against it. Further, social norms within an anarcho-capitalism would make it as difficult to order its employees to do so as it would be to order American soldiers to prevent citizen from voting.

"Under this agreement the forces that usually break down cartels - new entrants and renegade colluders - cannot obtain market share."
Yes they can, because of tax revolts and mass emigration.

"Each firm belonging to the network would agree not to deal with upstart firms, or with firms that violated the common agreement to monopolize."
You can't tax day 1 and go to war day 2, you have to build up a war chest. Instead, 'upstart' firms will already exist and know they themselves need a war chest, due to the drumbeats from the wannabe states, making it far too expensive for the states to deal with them. Not to mention consolidation costs. Moreover, given the existential threat such firms pose, it will incentivize all surrounding firms to attempt a levy, which, due to the existential threat and faux pas committed, will help unite the non-state firms and sell the levy to their customers.

Also think about how hard it is to seal a border by surprise. Given that taxing day 1 doesn't lead to war day 2, they will bleed customers, especially rich customers, extremely fast.

Because firms are not idiots, they will also realize this, and sane ones won't try in the first place. Insane ones are incompetent by definition and are guaranteed less of a problem than Cowan describes.

"But competitive forces could conceivably favor such firms. How would competitive market forces alone prevent an outlaw firm from increasing its business by promising never to turn over its guilty customers for imprisonment or trial?"
As above, without difficulty. Cowan's premise is self-defeating. The problem is not how does OutLaw gain market share, the problem is how do OutLaw patrons live long enough to ask for sanctuary. OutLaw will have to commit violence against other agencies to prevent its patrons being lost to Thanatos, and violence hasn't become cheap in the last couple minutes.

Imagine you run a retail store. Someone walks in, and you know they might patronize OutLaw. So you ask for the relevant ID. If they admit to OutLaw or refuse to show it, are you going to give them the chance to become guilty of something, or are you going to pull your shotgun and indicate they should vacate the premises?

Amusingly, this even works if your firm frowns on vigilantism. The outlaw isn't their patrons, they're not going to bother trying to defend them. Further, given that OutLaw won't extradite to them, why would they bother extraditing to OutLaw?

When security firms break down, they don't automatically become states. Rather, it returns to the Hobbesian law of personal self-defence. Especially with modern technology, it's perfectly possible to defend anything at any scale from the sane. Simply have enough weapons to cause more damage than you have wealth, which is easy since destruction is at least ten times cheaper than creation. (This is the basic reason states are so fond of disarming their citizens. States hate it when the cattle fights back; they can't afford it. Similarly, nobody farms tigers for fur.)

"I think this kind of outlaw firm will fail, but not because customers will automatically stop patronizing it."
Yes, customers are too stupid to realize that patronizing OutLaw is likely to get them shot. The only way they will figure it out is once a bunch of them get shot.

States have to infantilize the population because their interventions are insulting to adults. It is not at all a coincidence that schools try to indefinitely extent childhood.

"The threat of violence from the network."
Collectivists often seem to have issues imagining individuals as real elements in the system.

Which leads to this:
"The disciplinary actions of the network that put down these outlaws are precisely the actions that could enforce collusion as well."
The point of anarcho-capitalism is that Gnon's discpline is sufficient. Firms that deprecate OutLaw don't need to actively do anything, let alone active discipline. They simply need to fail to prop it up. Individual reactions to individual patrons of OutLaw would be more than enough.

The breakdown of security firms still doesn't automatically lead to a state.

"Businessmen and government officials differ little with respect to temperament."
Haha wut.

Please tell me this is diplomatic propaganda. I still think lying is profane, but if isn't a lie...

"Electing businessmen to political office, even average ones (as opposed to those who deliberately seek election), would not change the tyranny of government much."
Should I hope this is the rumoured Straussianism?

Right, entrepreneurs are totally the same as professional liars. That said, it's entirely true that electing non-liars won't change the government much, because elected officials have, to first order approximation, no power at all. I indeed hope this epic equivocation is Straussian.

"In addition, businessmen, if in a position to engineer a coup through the network, might prove more efficient and cost-effective than their public-sector counterparts. A privately owned network holds out the possibility of residual claimancy and profits, which makes the likelihood of a coup through the network greater."
And now entrepreneurs are different from bureaucrats. Maybe I'm just bad at the Staussian transformation? Inconsistency just looks like a mistake to me.

Coups are of course a big problem for voluntary organizations. Oh wait, no, the opposite is true, since the supposed beneficiaries are those in charge of the cash inflow. Wannabe coup conspiracies give them a pass, since they would still have to provide the service to their customers if they want their seized organization to survive.

"It is not the number of police forces that matters, it is the number of sources for final-order arbitration."
Here we see the errors combine into a perfect storm.

Indeed that's true. Luckily, self-defence at any scale is highly feasible. Except that Pax Americana means any insufficiently demotist country gets invaded, which means there's approximately one current source of final arbitration; China and Russia fit within the error bounds on that measurement, even combined.

"But if collusion, one public good among agencies, cannot be provided, neither can the punishment of renegades be provided, another public good among agencies. We cannot have it both ways."
Public goods don't real, so it's not a case of having both ways. As above, punishment is not 'provided,' it simply occurs as long as nobody, stops it from occurring. E.g. America can externalize its costs of preventing it, and it wants to prevent it, so it does.

I find this level of reasoning typical of Cowan, which is why I don't normally read his stuff.

As always, the real problems with anarcho-capitalism are about military level defence.
It seems as if nuclear proliferation has lead to peace because the generals who decide to declare war now actually risk their own lives when they do so. However, generals are not guaranteed sane. Proliferation to the city-state may produce peace, or it may produce nuclear skirmishes with madmen, each one an erroneous instrument reading away from cascading. While madmen are usually incapable of sustaining nuclear infrastructure, 'usually' isn't 'always.' It might still be good enough, but...

Perhaps the same effect could be produced with assassins. Have a few cells of sleeper assassins and let the general know what their orders are.

Setting these aside, even populations are not guaranteed sane. Moreover, making the entire world anarcho-capitalist at once has a few issues with it. Thus anarchist city-states will be faced with state armies they need to repel. While the rational thing to do is cooperate to repel the army, sane does not imply rational, since there are too many inferential steps involved.

A mad state may attack an anarchy even though the anarchy will destroy far more than the state can possibly gain by seizing them. This being the case, it becomes locally rational for the anarchy to surrender, empowering the state, if other anarchies won't help.

Imagine Australia and New Zealand convert to anarchy and get some nukes. America decides this is far too embarrassing, and invades NZ. Even if New Zealand nukes America's forces and nukes America's home soil, it's entirely possible they'll run out of nukes before America runs out of money. After this, it's a short step for the NYT to say, "Crazy nuke-happy New Zealand must be destroyed before they nuke us again!" It's simple for Authority to cast defence as aggression and thus aggression as defence. The only question is whether NZ gets glassified or they can make an excuse for an infantry seizure.

Australia could have prevented all this by intimidating America along with New Zealand. But of course they don't want trade sanctions or to have to deal with bombing themselves, so they play the neutrality card. But, having done so, they make it incredibly easy for the NYT to call them nuke-happy too, once the war-chest is refilled in the aftermath of NZ. They're anarchist. They have nukes. It's only a matter of time... At which point it becomes rational for Australia to surrender.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Consciousness Contradiction Hunting Part 2

I ate. I now challenge Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to a duel. I hope they win, and I bet on them to reinforce and incentivize that hope. (Part 1.)

"Mental states are characterised by two main properties, subjectivity, otherwise known as privileged access, and intentionality. Physical objects and their properties are sometimes observable and sometimes not, but any physical object is equally accessible, in principle, to anyone. From the right location, we could all see the tree in the quad, and, though none of us can observe an electron directly, everyone is equally capable of detecting it in the same ways using instruments. But the possessor of mental states has a privileged access to them that no-one else can share. That is why there is a sceptical ‘problem of other minds’, but no corresponding ‘problem of my own mind’."
I contend that the queerness of my conclusions is not the result of my premises or methods. These are the mainest of mainstream. Rather, the queerness is that my views should not already be common.

"Whether one believes that the mind is a substance or just a bundle of properties, the same challenge arises, which is to explain the nature of the unity of the immaterial mind."
Whether one believes an electron is made of a substance, energy, or is just a bundle of properties - mass, electric charge, spin, and so on - the same challenge arises, which is to explain the nature of the unity of the material electron.

To be fair this is a real problem. However, it's also an empirical fact which can be stated axiomatically by the philosopher.

Incidentally, the solution is probably inherent in the subjective nature of consciousness. Assuming two thoughts are disparate, they are inaccessible to each other. For one subject to access two thoughts probably requires they actually be the same thought. Indeed the subject is likely composed entirely of that thought due to the [homonculus fallacy] issue. I haven't fully analyzed the homonculus yet.

"First, in so far as this ‘ectoplasm’ has any characterisation as a ‘stuff’—that is, a structure of its own over and above the explicitly mental properties that it sustains—it leaves it as much a mystery why this kind of stuff should support consciousness as it is why ordinary matter should."
First, in so far as this 'energy' has any characterization as a 'stuff' -- that is, a structure of its own over and above the explicitly physical properties that it sustains -- it leaves it as much mystery why this kind of stuff should support physical existence as it is why consciousness should.

Is the pattern clear?

"Second, and connectedly, it is not clear in what sense such stuff is immaterial, except in the sense that it cannot be integrated into the normal scientific account of the physical world. Why is it not just an aberrant kind of physical stuff?"
Not connectedly.

The reason is subjectivity has the wrong kind of epistemic properties to be physical, and the epistemic impinges on the ontologic. Namely, for subjectivity, map is territory. To suppose the territory is different is to suppose the map is different, because it is where the two unite.

"The ‘consciousness' account: The view that consciousness is the substance. Account (a) allowed the immaterial substance to have a nature over and above the kinds of state we would regard as mental. The consciousness account does not. This is Descartes' view."
Smart bastard. The encyclopedia continues in this highly reasonable vein for a while.

I suspect consciousness fragments into conciousness quanta while you're asleep and reunites while dreaming or upon awakening. But this is an empirical question. Find out how consciousness is hooked to physics and it will be straightforward to answer this.


I find Wikipedia dense in claims but light on substantial claims, while Stanford likes to ramble.

On a whim, I checked La Wik's physicalism page. I correctly predicted they would have no 'criticism' section, such as the dualism page so conveniently has. It's as if anti-mainstream propaganda cannot be allowed to stand, while pro-mainstream propaganda is not considered icky enough to be propaganda.

Materialism at least has a stub of a criticism section.

I guess at least Stanford can claim a fair and balanced review of the subject. I certain don't feel misrepresented there. This means they firmly outperformed my expectations, which means they win. Good on them.

Consciousness Contradiction Hunting

To defeat confirmation bias, usually it's sufficient to purposefully look for disconfirming evidence. It can also be supercharged by method-acting the opposing belief, fooling the bias into working against your 'true' belief, and I've done this several times for dualism. Here I hope to demonstrate that I did not find any serious obstacles, and that the above technique would have let me admit if I had. Perhaps I will yet find such an obstacle, as I haven't fully analyzed yet. While I have privileged information - I have in the past mistakenly thought I found obstacles - it would be nice to have an unprivileged version. (Part 2.)

Overall I expect to demonstrate that a dualist need not disagree with mainstream facts, but merely point out an overlooked interpretation.

"Dualism must therefore explain how consciousness affects physical reality."
Indeed. In my case, I'm looking for an entity which has both objective and subjective properties.

"Critics of dualism have often asked how something totally immaterial can affect something totally material"
One of Descartes' mistakes. They indeed cannot affect each other. At best, we would have a violation of Newton's third law; epiphenomenal consciousness can see physics but not the reverse. To be clear, I find epiphenomenalism absurd.

"First, it is not clear where the interaction would take place. For example, burning one's finger causes pain. Apparently there is some chain of events, leading from the burning of skin, to the stimulation of nerve endings, to something happening in the peripheral nerves of one's body that lead to one's brain, to something happening in a particular part of one's brain, and finally resulting in the sensation of pain." 
Hardly unclear. Subjective entities don't have physical locations. Further, we can see the causal chain goes through the finger but the nexus of consciousness is in the brain. If we disconnect the finger, we don't feel it anymore, but we do feel everything upstream of the disconnection, thus allowing us to consistently define 'upstream.'

It may be difficult to work out the stream direction within the brain, since that's where the ability to report sensations comes from. If we destroy the vocal processor, we have (as yet) no way of knowing whether it was upstream or downstream of consciousness.

"However, there is a second problem about the interaction. Namely, the question of how  the interaction takes place, where in dualism "the mind" is assumed to be non-physical and by definition outside of the realm of science."
Non-physical does not mean by definition out of the realm of science, at least if they mean to imply that consciousness is defined to be in contradiction to naturalism. Non-objective does not mean immune to investigation and inquiry.

Not to say dualists haven't made this mistake. But it is a mistake.

"Many physicists and consciousness researchers have argued that any action of a nonphysical mind on the brain would entail the violation of physical laws, such as the conservation of energy."
As always, I hate to provide aid and comfort to 'quantum is woo' types, but in this case they're not far wrong. The apparently random nature of quantum decoherence allows something to affect physics without violating any known law. For example, by their nature, quantum events are indeterminate in part because both possibilities involve equivalent transfers of energy; the ambiguity of outcome reflects physics' ambivalence toward the outcomes.

Consciousness is about thinking which is about information. It is not about stronger muscles or more efficient digestive enzymes. If randomness were secretly nonrandom, it provides a conduit for information to get from consciousness to physics, whereupon physics simply needs to evolve a suitable instrument and amplifier to pick up and use the signal. (Hopefully you noticed I'm cheating here. I {think I} found such a device and then concluded that physics needs it; however, I've hopefully shown it's possible to do it the right way around.)

"When a person decides to walk across a room, it is generally understood that the decision to do so, a mental event, immediately causes a group of neurons in that person's brain to fire, a physical event, which ultimately results in his walking across the room. The problem is that if there is something totally nonphysical causing a bunch of neurons to fire, then there is no physical event which causes the firing."
It's not hard to understand how to route around this now we've made computers.

The random event was going to fire anyway. On one fork, it is not amplified; the signal hits an open switch and stops. On the other fork, the signal is amplified and continues until it is strong enough to cause muscle contraction patterns.

"Dualistic interactionism has therefore been argued against in that it violates a general heuristic principle of science: the causal closure of the physical world."
Begging the question is almost always a status move. Authority says physics is causally closed, which means it becomes impossible for anyone enthralled by Authority to believe in dualism. The scholastic community failed miserably when it allowed anyone vulnerable to Authority to claim to be a scholar. But of course such a thing is inevitable when you must espouse HNU.

"The first reply is that the mind may influence the distribution of energy, without altering its quantity, but such an influence still violates energy conservation."
Redistributing energy requires a force, which requires energy. That is, either La Wik is misconstruing their arguments, or their arguments have a contradiction. If consciousness affected energy in this way, we could simply construct a model and do an experiment, rather than having to faff about with logic. It is ignorant to believe consciousness can rearrange energy but cannot be detected by experiment.

"The second possibility is to deny that the human body is causally closed, as the conservation of energy applies only to closed systems. However, physicalists object no evidence exists for the causal non-closure of the human body."
Begging the question tends to corrupt downstream thought.

As above, the key is to find a physical non-closure that does not violate physical conservation. While a modern dualist has no problem with a partly-physical and partly-mental entity, physical energy is still purely physical and cannot be converted to or from mental energy, meaning its conservation cannot be affected by mental contact.

"An overdetermined event is fully accounted for by multiple causes at once.[65] However, J. J. C. Smart and Paul Churchland have pointed out that if physical phenomena fully determine behavioral events, then by Occam's razor an unphysical mind is unnecessary."
Indeed. Unfortunately, I still observe that I have consciousness. I suggest you observe yourself to determine if you also have consciousness. If an unphysical mind is unnecessary, dualism is true. (But I still think epiphenomenalism is absurd.)

Let us go through the entities once again.

You perceive a blue box that's really there. There's a box, the photons, your eye and the interaction, the visual cortex, and the blue-box-quale.

We can separate most of these out by instead supposing you dream of a blue box. Still there is the visual cortex and the blue-box-quale.

Perhaps quale just is the visual cortex? If it was, you could fully re-create the cortex by examining the properties of the quale. Perhaps the quale represents merely part of the cortex? A feature of the cortex? Then you could re-create that part. It is not the cortex.

"Another reply to this objection, given by Robinson, is that there is a possibility that the interaction may involve dark energy, dark matter or some other currently unknown scientific process.[9]  However, such processes would necessarily be physical, and in this case dualism is replaced with physicalism, or the interaction point is left for study at a later time when these physical processes are understood."
Conservation of mystery fails again.
Put precisely, a dark matter interaction puts an upper bound on how much energy shuttling consciousness involves. While the brain is a noisy place, the bound is still low since we can access and do experiments on individual neurons.

"If a nondeterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct then microscopic events are indeterminate, where the degree of determinism increases with the scale of the system (see Quantum decoherence)."
On my ideas: standing on the shoulders of giants, etc.

"Philosophers Karl Popper and John Eccles and physicist Henry Stapp have theorized that such indeterminacy may apply at the macroscopic scale."
Specifically, I am certain, it is possible to amplify the indeterminacy. How certain? To the point it's boring. The phrencell might not work for a variety of reasons, but if it doesn't, I will merely directly address the reasons it doesn't by changes in the design until it does so work.

"However classical and quantum calculations show that quantum decoherence effects do not play a role in brain activity.[68] Indeed, macroscopic quantum states have only ever been observed in superconductors near absolute zero."
Wrong tree. Same wrong tree the 'quantum is woo' folk go up. The correct thing to try to amplify and exploit is not superpositions and entanglement, but the collapse of such things. Work with Nature, not against Her.

"Thomas Breuer in 1994 had proven  that physical theories valid for the whole universe are impossible. Any theory will be wrong when applied to a system which contains the observer himself due to self-reference.[dubious ]  This proves that the observer's own body does not follow the same physical laws as the rest of the universe. But other people from the observer's point of view will obey the usual physical laws, so conducting experiments on them would not indicate any divergence from the physical predictions."
Indeed dubious. Nevertheless, without going into overkill analysis of this theory, it correctly predicts the existence of a subjective-objective split. That two complex theories reach the same prediction constitutes independent corroboration. While I have privileged information that I did not know until now about Breuer, you should probably doubt; corroboration is most useful internally.

There's also something here about physics not knowing what physics is going to do, yet managing to do it anyway. I will try to work out what.

Right, of course. Each particle constitutes a valid frame of reference, but (in principle) cannot predict its interaction with the rest of physics. All such frames being valid, it means physics cannot predict itself.

That means we have a complex of three independent complex theories. Even if I tried to defraud you by hearing of both before coming up with mine, by making it consistent with both I would constrain myself so tightly I would have no choice in what theory I espoused. There's astronomical odds against one of them being false and either of the others not-false.

Incidentally overkill analysis shows that it can be seen as both true and false, depending on which questions you answer "I don't care" to, and that it's not that the observer doesn't obey the laws, but rather 'do I obey the laws?' is a wrong question; the predictive answer is neither 'no' nor 'yes.'

"Robin Collins responds that energy conservation objections misunderstand the role of energy conservation in physics. Well understood scenarios in general relativity violate energy conservation and quantum mechanics provides precedent for causal interactions, or correlation without energy or momentum exchange."

"This argument has been formulated by Paul Churchland, among others. The point is that, in instances of some sort of brain damage  (e.g. caused by automobile accidents, drug abuse, pathological diseases, etc.), it is always the case that the mental substance and/or properties of the person are significantly changed or compromised. If the mind were a completely separate substance from the brain, how could it be possible that every single time the brain is injured, the mind is also injured?"
There's a fundamental logical problem here.
In unidirectional causation epiphenomenalism, we can't know the mind is damaged. It's completely inaccessible to both other minds and every body. We have an equivocation on 'mind.'

If physics is meaningfully unclosed without consciousness, the quote isn't even unintuitive, let alone a problem.

"Property dualism and William Hasker's "emergent dualism" seek to avoid this problem. They assert that the mind is a property or substance that emerges from the appropriate arrangement of physical matter, and therefore could be affected by any rearrangement of matter."
Emergent properties don't real. They're not reductionist, and rescuing reductionalist physicalism is the whole point of proposing them. They are magic - somehow, arranging paint into a star-like line shape causes the paint to do things that can't be predicted without observing previous such arrangements.

If it can be predicted from more base properties, the emergent properties die to Ockham's razor.

"Phineas Gage, who suffered destruction of one or both frontal lobes by a projectile iron rod, is often cited as an example illustrating that the brain causes mind."
I wish I didn't have to be rude, but here's enough unstated assumptions to choke a bison.

It affected his behaviour. How do you know it affected his mind? If he told you so, how do you know he wasn't lying? It is very, very important to know the mind's True Name.

"Case studies aside, modern experiments have demonstrated that the relation between brain and mind is much more than simple correlation. By damaging, or manipulating, specific areas of the brain repeatedly under controlled conditions (e.g. in monkeys) and reliably obtaining the same results in measures of mental state and abilities, neuroscientists have shown that the relation between damage to the brain and mental deterioration is likely causal. This conclusion is further supported by data from the effects of neuro-active chemicals (such as those affecting neurotransmitters) on mental functions, but also from research on neurostimulation (direct electrical stimulation of the brain, including transcranial magnetic stimulation)."
Begging the question. If dualism is true, the correct way to do such experiments is on yourself. Others may be lying, mistaken, or inarticulate. Even if they speak honestly and apprehend correctly, ultimately you must compare their reports to your own internal life to know what they're talking about.

If you insist on being agnostic on the existence of that life, you cannot conclude anything about the mind.

If you admit you have an internal life, then there's no need for the experiment.

If you assume you don't have one, there's no need for an experiment.

Subjective events are not objective and cannot be investigated objectively.

"Another common argument against dualism consists in the idea that since human beings (both phylogenetically and ontogenetically) begin their existence as entirely physical or material entities and since nothing outside of the domain of the physical is added later on in the course of development, then we must necessarily end up being fully developed material beings."
While not surprising, it is still feels disappointing that such weak arguments are afforded enough status to appear in Wikipedia.

Humans; life in general; existence in general did not start out fully material. Next?

"In some contexts, the decisions that a person makes can be detected up to 10 seconds in advance by means of scanning their brain activity. Furthermore subjective experiences and covert attitudes can be detected, as can mental imagery. This is strong empirical evidence that cognitive processes have physical basis in the brain."
Assuming the scientists can correctly interpret their findings. Not only is this dubious in general, the entire basis of the dualist argument is a different interpretation of the facts.

(The advance decision experiments work on things humans do not inherently care about. It's hard to press a button at all, let alone to see one button or another as identity-confirming, among other problems. The researchers inherently disrespected consciousness and constructed a self-confirming prophecy.)

A modern dualist does not deny the causal chain runs through the brain.

The advance decision experiment confirms the existence of a quale separate from the actual processing of the brain. By appearing a different time, the 'decision' cannot be feeling of decision. Moreover, this quale feeds back into physical brain processes that allow the subject's larynx to report when it occurred.

"The argument from simplicity is probably the simplest and also the most common form of argument against dualism of the mental."
Ahem, "...but no simpler." The physicalist predicts I don't have an inner life. I do have an inner life.

I predict they don't have an inner life. :-)

"This argument was criticized by Peter Glassen in a debate with J. J. C. Smart in the pages of Philosophy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Glassen argued that, because it is not a physical entity, Occam's Razor cannot consistently be appealed to by a physicalist or materialist as a justification of mental states or events, such as the belief that dualism is false."
A real argument by a real person, defeated by logic, except it was an embarrassment to its allies in the first place, meaning no doubt thereby falls on healthier versions of the argument.

'Tin man' was proposed, but that's already taken for, apparently, portraying libertarians as heartless.

Pig iron man? Copper man? Gold man? (Glitters nice, but not exactly robust...)

Now I'm going to go eat, come back, and, if I'm not interrupted see if Stanford's online encyclopedia can do better. If they can't, I'm going to declare I've returned the serve, the burden of proof is now in the opposite half.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Assuming Traditionalism, Progressivism Follows

Progressivism is Traditionalism philosophically purified. Philosophy grants consistency which grants power. This is why Progressivism is more powerful than Traditionalism and always wins.

(See also: Progressivism's cousins in evil like Communism.)
(I guess I feel I haven't been meeting my 'offend everyone' quota.)
(Includes: coercion and leadership; why we use evidence instead of argument; how philosophy is power; miscellaneous.)

Traditionalism has many particular local forms, but they all have something in common: they feel it is legitimate to force certain people to join the tradition or to prevent them leaving.
Digression for coercion and leadership: 
Coercion needs to be very precisely defined, even if the only consideration was not getting its bad connotation cooties on things that don't deserve it. I won't bore you with the details, but the upshot is when you choose a leader, you agree to let them punish you and thus the punishment stops being coercion. This allows most of Traditionalism's practices to survive.
Because Traditionalism legitimizes coercion, the only thing the Progressive has to do is seize the coercive legitimization apparatus, instead of having to create it from scratch. The Progressive will always succeed in these contests, because they value power most highly. (Power lust is one way of precisely defining a Progressive.)

A Traditionalist always values something else most highly. Honour. Community. Religion. Truth. Power is only a means to the Traditionalist. As a result, Progressives will always win. They will sacrifice anything to get power. A Traditional won't. Can't, or they stop being a Traditionalist; imagine a Catholic sacrificing the Pope to defeat a Progressive. Not only will the Progressive save money by sacrificing work-life balance, they can always win with a fork strategy, threatening the Pope until the Catholic submits or defects to the Jedi.

To put the point none too gently, Progressivism's defiled source of power is the Traditionalist's black heart. Sauron cannot make, only mock. Without seizing that heart, Progressivsim cannot animate its sludge-filled limbs.

In present times, the backlash is starting. Russians really get that Communism is evil. It took a lot of doing, but they learned. Progressivism, being purified evil, also teaches this lesson and thus sows the seeds of its own demise. As cultural immunity builds it will become weak and eventually Traditionalists will re-assert themselves, as indeed they seem to be doing already in China and Russia.

However, this is only temporary. Coercion will still be legitimate. Progressivism's scions will cloak themselves in new lies and seek power once again, still willing to sacrifice everything, and thus will win again.

There is only one way to prevent this: purge the black heart. Coercion is evil. It's making you sick. Admit it. Stop it.


Most who read this will react negatively to the conclusion. I understand that logic is not persuasive.

Either I'm right or I'm wrong.

If I'm right, then it should be possible to reasonably deflate the objections. But if this were true, philosophy would not be a mess, it would be like math. If I'm right, it's still easy to soothe the cognitive dissonance.

If I'm wrong, then it should be impossible to deflate the objections. But if this were true, philosophy...

It's worth fixing this. When argument is true, it is extremely powerful.

If you can correctly apprehend the properties of a thing - if you know its True Name so to speak - you can perform logic on it. Sound logic is predictive.

This is best done by eliminating contradictions, rather than trying for positive identification. If X has property y, then it cannot coexist with not-y. (If you look carefully, you can see I did it this way above.) Positive identification is much harder since so much can factor into the logic. I would need many more True Names, and I can never be sure I found them all.

That is, I can predict which societies will never work. Given a society that doesn't apparently contradict itself, I cannot predict if it will work, how well, or for how long. With philosophy, a good empirical description is sufficient. I don't need to run multi-century societal experiments. Unlike an engineer, I don't need to work out how such a thing will occur, I can merely be certain about what will not occur: a stable, non-autophagous Traditional society.

Until philosophy's use and power are appreciated, and the communication problem fixed, I luckily still have experiment. I predict Traditional societies will always be captured by a purer evil and destroyed from within. As of now, history is entirely on my side. Hubristically, I'm also thinking very long term: having said this now, in three or four hundred years we will be able to see the restoration fall again to the plague. Then, hopefully, this missive will somehow survive and finally help cause philosophy to be taken seriously and used properly, so the restoration can get laid low by something new this time around. (At least, the cost is small, and the possible upside is huge.)


It doesn't help that Christianity alienated philosophy when it turned out the Bible was not 100% true on the first try. I would like to know why anyone thinks Aristotle-vintage theology is any more impressive than Aristotle-vintage physics.

There's an argument that I made up the logic to fit the predictions, since naturally I knew of them before the logic. But if this is so, I must have ratiocinated fraudulently, and you should be able to find where.

The above means it was possible for the Romans to anticipate Moldbug if they had put in the effort. Christianity cannot win against more power-hungry heresies of Christianity. While it's hard to predict Progressivism per se, the Romans are indicted for ignorance since they did not predict Christianity's instability.

If I haven't ratiocinated fraudulently, I discover the logic, I don't invent it, which means it's inherently independent of Moldbug, who has already been independently corroborated a couple times. Given the mathematics of independent corroboration if I haven't committed accidental fraud then I'm almost certainly right.

Tu quoque is still a fallacy, but you'll find that you can't effectively condemn the evil you yourself require and practice.

Under certain conditions Traditionalism's missteps cancel out. If everyone who was going to be forced to join would have joined voluntarily, it's almost impossible to tell it apart from a non-evil tradition. For example, the family. The kids are not allowed to leave, but most of them wouldn't even if they could. Dark age villages probably had a similar situation because Exit's discipline was replaced by Death's cold steel, keeping the dark heart's cancerous tendrils well-trimmed.

As per usual, it's not really the Traditionalist's fault. Adam and Eve is a good myth, likely referring to agriculture. It's the cycle of violence writ across ten millennia, periodically reinforced by plagues and war. Break it once and it might even stop forever.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mathematics of Independent Corroboration

I just worked out the mathematics of independent corroboration.

It is startlingly powerful, which makes it startlingly important to double and triple-check that the independence is truly independent.

Considering how easy this theory is to work out, I should have seen it already, but I haven't. I did a quick check to see if I could find some prior art, but as predicted by my vague impression, couldn't find any. Best is this, which has no apparent math and seems generally weak.

While it's obvious to anyone who has formally studied physics that it's incredibly unlikely that two people get the same answer from different mistakes, it's nice to have an actual function.

If you have a theory and someone corroborates your theory with no prior contact, we have a nice truth matrix:





You're both right, only you're right, only they're right, and you're both wrong.

Nail this to something concrete and assume there's a 90% chance either of you are wrong independently. Taken separately, then the relative odds are 1%, 9%, 9%, and 81%.

However, the odds of 10 and 01 are incredibly low if the theories corroborate. (If they're not logically independent the way they were temporally independent. Say you theorize that fire makes grates hot, and they find a hot grate that had fire in it.)

You have some privileged information - you did not defraud the investigation. Therefore the odds of 10 are the odds that your epistemic misconduct just happened to precisely predict what they would see anyway. (If you did defraud, you could have targeted the fraud at their experiment to make your theory look good.)

The odds of 01 are also negligible. Out of all the mistakes and frauds they could possibly commit, why the one that makes you look good in particular? Especially as, if it's truly independent, they had or still have no knowledge of your theory?

Since probability is conserved, we have some free-floating percentage. Only, the odds that you're wrong haven't gone up, so 00 is still 81%. It all settles on 11, increasing it a whopping relative 1800%.

Thus we have some simple math.

Given an independent corroboration, the odds you're right is simply one minus the odds you're wrong times the odds they're wrong. f_knowlege(U,E) = 1 - (U*E). This function is linear in the odds you're wrong, which is entirely under your control. Having thought of epistemic misconduct, you can thoroughly ream your stuff for it until it is negligible, and thus be 100% certain. (To any reasonable number of significant figures, 99.99etc rounds to 100. Just don't let that make you forget how to learn.)

That is, linear in your error odds, but scaled up by the general climate of not-error. (E is constant as far as your force of will is concerned.)

A third independent corroboration basically guarantees you're right. It is 000 vs. 111 because 010 110 etc. all fall out. At 90% error, 000 is 73%. Still linear, and the up-scaling is even more aggressive. At 50% average error, it's 88% likely you're right even without special effort.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Consciousness Machine: Refined

Sometimes I call it a phrencell, a little room of the mind. (Mixing Greek and Latin because trolling.)

I'm not certain I'm correct. I'm merely certain that I haven't been rebutted, yet, but the point isn't necessarily to be right. The point is to show that the box has an outside to go look around; the point is to show what kind of thing Decartes' pineal gland will look like in physical implementation. For example, even if I'm wrong, it's clear enough that physics doesn't have to be causally closed, and that dualism is compatible with naturalism.

One example of the machine is this:

Take an FPGA. Hook its output into its configuration register, so when it runs it re-programs itself. To its input, hook a true-random source, so it re-programs itself randomly. Ideally the FPGA will have infinite gates so it can, in principle, be programmed with any program and thus emit arbitrary bitstreams.

I imagine a pentagon of five anodes and an electron in a superposition of being about to be absorbed by all of them. If we're feeling mystic (I am) the pentagon is an oracle and the FPGA is its interpreter.  It probably helps but probably isn't necessary to let the FPGA bias the oracle, for example tuning the voltages on the anodes.

I assert that the probability of the FPGA at any present time is in a state of both 100% and 0% probability. The previous input had a 0% probability, all past states had a 0% probability, but of course it's right there. Look at it. The present has a 100% probability.

Future evolution has a well-defined probability. For example, with the pentagon, the FPGA will have five possible evolutions with average 20% probability. We can just look at it and compute the probability, entirely straightforward. Except that when one of those states becomes the present, it too will have a 0% probability, because it evolved from a state with 0% probability.

The reason it has a 0% probability is because at infinite time, the (ideal) FPGA has an infinite number of possible states, which means at most infinitesimal probability for any one state, which is physically identical to zero. Which is to say it can't happen, it's impossible. Normally we can ignore things at infinity for physical purposes; parallel lines cross at infinity, so what. All particles decay by infinity - that's just physics speak for 'never.' No observer will ever observe the decay of certain particles. (Neutrons and electrons?)

However, the FPGA is, at any time, in a state bit-for-bit identical to an impossible state, because states are degenerate in time. As long as the configuration register is properly set up, the FPGA is allowed to have constant states, cyclical states, random states or chaotic states. This means the FPGA cannot know if it reached its current state by passing through infinity or not. (E.g: a constant state that might have not been constant, but happened not to be.) Which means we, as the observers, cannot know whether it passed through infinity or not. Which means everything that is true at infinity must be true now, at the present. Which means its past and current states have a probability indistinguishable from zero.

But it's still right there. Paradox.

My solution to the paradox is to say that the FPGA's future states in fact never had a probability. Quantum events look like probability because they're a special case of non-probability. Namely, if the canvas of possibilities is finite, then no matter what you do you'll converge on some probability distribution. (This is why consciousness' effects on physics are about information - bitstreams have few inherent limitations.)

Specifically, quantum objects have a quantum of consciousness and free will (with respect to physics). As it turns out, if you have 6*10^24 persons with no memory and only two options, the variations in personality and whim will cancel out and converge on some well-defined probability. If you have 6*10^24 randomly selected persons, there's guaranteed to be a representative sample of all personalities, which means you're measuring the average personality, and will do so reliably.

However, if you hook only one personality up to a randomness amplifier, none of this holds, and the true non-deterministic, non-stochastic nature of the beast emerges. (Specifically, the phrencell deliberately breaks the independence clause of independent random events.) This is why the interpreter may need to be able to bias the oracle. The oracle needs to be able to feel the circuit or it won't be able to tell what it's doing and thus shape the interpreter to its will.

Monday, July 7, 2014


(Referred post.)

Someone should explain Exit from the ground up. This turns out to be difficult, I tried to re-think my approach but it is probably still bad.

Among libertarian personalities it isn't necessary, we seek out justifications for Exit and large chunks of it don't need to be explained at all. For non-libertarians the thought pattern is unnatural and they're certainly not going to grab some spears and go hunting for the missing bits.

Naturally the non-libertarian thought pattern is unnatural for me so I'll likely still miss important bits, but at least I'm aware it's a problem, so I can attempt to fix it.

The essence of Exit is its purpose. Its purpose is to prevent corruption of institutions. Kindness out of the goodness of their hearts is unstable. All institutions need Gnon's discipline to keep them even halfway honest. Exit is metonymously this discipline.

Voice is the other serious candidate. Voting and letters to the editor and complaining to your congresscritter and such. Voice clearly hasn't worked. Even if you go so far as to nail a bunch of theses to a relevant door.

At this point I would try to discard exosemanic gang signs as much as possible, but apparently I'm too fond of the big-E Exit flourish.


The point is discipline. Exit is a good first approximation, but Exit empowers Voice and and opt-in is just as powerful as an opt-out; exit is essentially a two-syllable word for freedom of association. (Similarly, families are not normally in Exit's domain of validity, because genetics imposes its own discipline; I'm sure you can think of other exceptions.)

The essence of Exit is discipline, and the essence of discipline is survival. To truly have Exit, the institution's survival must be under the power of its putative beneficiaries. History shows this is the only way putative beneficiaries will match actual beneficiaries.

Exit is only important at the State level. To be more specific, the level of legitimized coercion. No other level is capable of sustaining non-Exit.

Exit is not absolute, but discipline obtains to the extent Exit obtains.

Exit empowers Voice, and Voice without Exit is merely the illusion of Voice. I need not explain how voting is a placebo at best. By contrast, the fact you can Exit a restaurant gives you great Voice. The restaurant needs you, and thus is willing to negotiate so you don't exercise Exit. Moreover, Exit gives you almost all the bargaining power. If the manager is unwilling to give you a good bargain, you can eat at home. The restaurant can be run according to any official mission whatsoever; since its survival depends on diners, it will be run for the benefit of diners.

Restaurants are both opt-in and opt-out. But either is enough. For example, the Amish are opt-in. Baptism is performed at age 18-21, in other words, with the full consent of the baptised. After this the new member of the community is subject to extra punishments and duties, but also has new potential and actual privileges. These privileges are enough to sell 90% of Amish children on the lifelong contract. If they were not, then the Amish would have boiled off their entire population by now, and this continuing existential threat keep their rules reasonable. (I've seen claims that incentives work through trial and error. I disagree. Dire apes suddenly become much, much better at logic when their material interest is at stake.)

Similarly, I could have no objection to opt-in slavery, or opt-out hereditary serfdom. (Especially as either would likely die a quick, gruesome death. It's entirely unnecessary to make them illegal.)

(Ancap / neon hillist digression: coercion shouldn't be legitimate. It is a falsehood and is the fundamental reason empires collapse. The obvious solution, given this, makes Exit natural.)

The trick, then, is to marry legitimate coercion and Exit. But stating the problem clearly immediately solves it: if coercion can be imbued with moral legitimacy, then so can Exit. A State which disdains Exit is disdaining discipline and should be treated as if it were saying as much. (Ancap digression: families also. 'Good enough' is not good enough.)

The Catholic church immediately jumps to mind. Why was excommunication so fearsome? Because the State cooperated. To be excommunicated was to be an outlaw, lacking protection of the courts.

I repeat: only Exit from the State and State-sponsored institutions is worth worrying about. (Ancap digression: cops return runaways because having urchins around is embarrassing.)

The perception of primary Voice mitigates the sacred power of Exit, and thus discipline, and thus institutions become zombies of their former selves, interested only in devouring your flesh.

Though vitiated, Exit does somewhat exist in the modern world, but it is expensive. If you're not already deracinated, it means deracinating yourself. Real estate is monetarily and temporally expensive to liquidate, as are other important forms of wealth. Moreover, the Progressive, afeared of Exit, has seized all Anglophonia and much beyond. You cannot meaningfully leave without abandoning not only friend and family connections, but your entire culture. Rhodesia was an attempt to Exit. Germany was, twice, an attempt to Exit. (Hitler as a manifestation of cultural claustrophobia.) Progressivism is terrified of Exit, as it is of all sacred powers, and will employ every obstacle it can get away with.

Anything that Man can make, Man can unmake. Were Exit re-sacralized in place of voting, the affected States will use every tactic in their power to route around it. To truly work, this wisdom would have to be sunk deep.


Miscellaneous comments:

The patricians can always Exit. Kim Jong-Un's strategy: make a foreign visit. Stay instead of going back. There's a whole magazine made up of former officials. While not simple, it can't be halted. Exit is for the immediate benefit of plebeians, and only for society as a whole in the long term.

Before Luther, was paganism your only alternative to Catholicism? I notice many of Luther's reasonable objections have since been fixed.

This law can be temporarily suspended. Sudden, unexpected shocks can work, but only insofar as they are unexpected, and executing them spends the element of surprise. Capturing intellectuals as slaves, for example, will cause other scholars to hide their abilities, desolating the source.