nhaliday + lens   145

Jordan Peterson is Wrong About the Case for the Left
I suggest that the tension of which he speaks is fully formed and self-contained completely within conservatism. Balancing those two forces is, in fact, what conservatism is all about. Thomas Sowell, in A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles describes the conservative outlook as (paraphrasing): “There are no solutions, only tradeoffs.”

The real tension is between balance on the right and imbalance on the left.

In Towards a Cognitive Theory of Polics in the online magazine Quillette I make the case that left and right are best understood as psychological profiles consisting of 1) cognitive style, and 2) moral matrix.

There are two predominant cognitive styles and two predominant moral matrices.

The two cognitive styles are described by Arthur Herman in his book The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, in which Plato and Aristotle serve as metaphors for them. These two quotes from the book summarize the two styles:

Despite their differences, Plato and Aristotle agreed on many things. They both stressed the importance of reason as our guide for understanding and shaping the world. Both believed that our physical world is shaped by certain eternal forms that are more real than matter. The difference was that Plato’s forms existed outside matter, whereas Aristotle’s forms were unrealizable without it. (p. 61)

The twentieth century’s greatest ideological conflicts do mark the violent unfolding of a Platonist versus Aristotelian view of what it means to be free and how reason and knowledge ultimately fit into our lives (p.539-540)

The Platonic cognitive style amounts to pure abstract reason, “unconstrained” by reality. It has no limiting principle. It is imbalanced. Aristotelian thinking also relies on reason, but it is “constrained” by empirical reality. It has a limiting principle. It is balanced.

The two moral matrices are described by Jonathan Haidt in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Moral matrices are collections of moral foundations, which are psychological adaptations of social cognition created in us by hundreds of millions of years of natural selection as we evolved into the social animal. There are six moral foundations. They are:

The first three moral foundations are called the “individualizing” foundations because they’re focused on the autonomy and well being of the individual person. The second three foundations are called the “binding” foundations because they’re focused on helping individuals form into cooperative groups.

One of the two predominant moral matrices relies almost entirely on the individualizing foundations, and of those mostly just care. It is all individualizing all the time. No balance. The other moral matrix relies on all of the moral foundations relatively equally; individualizing and binding in tension. Balanced.

The leftist psychological profile is made from the imbalanced Platonic cognitive style in combination with the first, imbalanced, moral matrix.

The conservative psychological profile is made from the balanced Aristotelian cognitive style in combination with the balanced moral matrix.

It is not true that the tension between left and right is a balance between the defense of the dispossessed and the defense of hierarchies.

It is true that the tension between left and right is between an imbalanced worldview unconstrained by empirical reality and a balanced worldview constrained by it.

A Venn Diagram of the two psychological profiles looks like this:
commentary  albion  canada  journos-pundits  philosophy  politics  polisci  ideology  coalitions  left-wing  right-wing  things  phalanges  reason  darwinian  tradition  empirical  the-classics  big-peeps  canon  comparison  thinking  metabuch  skeleton  lens  psychology  social-psych  morality  justice  civil-liberty  authoritarianism  love-hate  duty  tribalism  us-them  sanctity-degradation  revolution  individualism-collectivism  n-factor  europe  the-great-west-whale  pragmatic  prudence  universalism-particularism  analytical-holistic  nationalism-globalism  social-capital  whole-partial-many  pic  intersection-connectedness  links  news  org:mag  letters  rhetoric  contrarianism  intricacy  haidt  scitariat  critique  debate  forms-instances  reduction  infographic  apollonian-dionysian  being-becoming  essence-existence 
july 2018 by nhaliday
Why read old philosophy? | Meteuphoric
(This story would suggest that in physics students are maybe missing out on learning the styles of thought that produce progress in physics. My guess is that instead they learn them in grad school when they are doing research themselves, by emulating their supervisors, and that the helpfulness of this might partially explain why Nobel prizewinner advisors beget Nobel prizewinner students.)

The story I hear about philosophy—and I actually don’t know how much it is true—is that as bits of philosophy come to have any methodological tools other than ‘think about it’, they break off and become their own sciences. So this would explain philosophy’s lone status in studying old thinkers rather than impersonal methods—philosophy is the lone ur-discipline without impersonal methods but thinking.

This suggests a research project: try summarizing what Aristotle is doing rather than Aristotle’s views. Then write a nice short textbook about it.
ratty  learning  reading  studying  prioritizing  history  letters  philosophy  science  comparison  the-classics  canon  speculation  reflection  big-peeps  iron-age  mediterranean  roots  lens  core-rats  thinking  methodology  grad-school  academia  physics  giants  problem-solving  meta:research  scholar  the-trenches  explanans  crux  metameta  duplication  sociality  innovation  quixotic 
june 2018 by nhaliday
Christian ethics - Wikipedia
Christian ethics is a branch of Christian theology that defines virtuous behavior and wrong behavior from a Christian perspective. Systematic theological study of Christian ethics is called moral theology, possibly with the name of the respective theological tradition, e.g. Catholic moral theology.

Christian virtues are often divided into four cardinal virtues and three theological virtues. Christian ethics includes questions regarding how the rich should act toward the poor, how women are to be treated, and the morality of war. Christian ethicists, like other ethicists, approach ethics from different frameworks and perspectives. The approach of virtue ethics has also become popular in recent decades, largely due to the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and Stanley Hauerwas.[2]


The seven Christian virtues are from two sets of virtues. The four cardinal virtues are Prudence, Justice, Restraint (or Temperance), and Courage (or Fortitude). The cardinal virtues are so called because they are regarded as the basic virtues required for a virtuous life. The three theological virtues, are Faith, Hope, and Love (or Charity).

- Prudence: also described as wisdom, the ability to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time
- Justice: also considered as fairness, the most extensive and most important virtue[20]
- Temperance: also known as restraint, the practice of self-control, abstention, and moderation tempering the appetition
- Courage: also termed fortitude, forebearance, strength, endurance, and the ability to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation
- Faith: belief in God, and in the truth of His revelation as well as obedience to Him (cf. Rom 1:5:16:26)[21][22]
- Hope: expectation of and desire of receiving; refraining from despair and capability of not giving up. The belief that God will be eternally present in every human's life and never giving up on His love.
- Charity: a supernatural virtue that helps us love God and our neighbors, the same way as we love ourselves.

Seven deadly sins: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins
The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices of Christian origin.[1] Behaviours or habits are classified under this category if they directly give birth to other immoralities.[2] According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth,[2] which are also contrary to the seven virtues. These sins are often thought to be abuses or excessive versions of one's natural faculties or passions (for example, gluttony abuses one's desire to eat).

1 Gula (gluttony)
2 Luxuria/Fornicatio (lust, fornication)
3 Avaritia (avarice/greed)
4 Superbia (pride, hubris)
5 Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
6 Ira (wrath)
7 Vanagloria (vainglory)
8 Acedia (sloth)

Golden Rule: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
The Golden Rule (which can be considered a law of reciprocity in some religions) is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures.[1][2] The maxim may appear as _either a positive or negative injunction_ governing conduct:

- One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (positive or directive form).[1]
- One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form).[1]
- What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form).[1]
The Golden Rule _differs from the maxim of reciprocity captured in do ut des—"I give so that you will give in return"—and is rather a unilateral moral commitment to the well-being of the other without the expectation of anything in return_.[3]

The concept occurs in some form in nearly every religion[4][5] and ethical tradition[6] and is often considered _the central tenet of Christian ethics_[7] [8]. It can also be explained from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, sociology, human evolution, and economics. Psychologically, it involves a person empathizing with others. Philosophically, it involves a person perceiving their neighbor also as "I" or "self".[9] Sociologically, "love your neighbor as yourself" is applicable between individuals, between groups, and also between individuals and groups. In evolution, "reciprocal altruism" is seen as a distinctive advance in the capacity of human groups to survive and reproduce, as their exceptional brains demanded exceptionally long childhoods and ongoing provision and protection even beyond that of the immediate family.[10] In economics, Richard Swift, referring to ideas from David Graeber, suggests that "without some kind of reciprocity society would no longer be able to exist."[11]


hmm, Meta-Golden Rule already stated:
Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC–65 AD), a practitioner of Stoicism (c. 300 BC–200 AD) expressed the Golden Rule in his essay regarding the treatment of slaves: "Treat your inferior as you would wish your superior to treat you."[23]


The "Golden Rule" was given by Jesus of Nazareth, who used it to summarize the Torah: "Do to others what you want them to do to you." and "This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets"[33] (Matthew 7:12 NCV, see also Luke 6:31). The common English phrasing is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". A similar form of the phrase appeared in a Catholic catechism around 1567 (certainly in the reprint of 1583).[34] The Golden Rule is _stated positively numerous times in the Hebrew Pentateuch_ as well as the Prophets and Writings. Leviticus 19:18 ("Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself."; see also Great Commandment) and Leviticus 19:34 ("But treat them just as you treat your own citizens. Love foreigners as you love yourselves, because you were foreigners one time in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.").

The Old Testament Deuterocanonical books of Tobit and Sirach, accepted as part of the Scriptural canon by Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the Non-Chalcedonian Churches, express a _negative form_ of the golden rule:

"Do to no one what you yourself dislike."

— Tobit 4:15
"Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do, and keep in mind your own dislikes."

— Sirach 31:15
Two passages in the New Testament quote Jesus of Nazareth espousing the _positive form_ of the Golden rule:

Matthew 7:12
Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.

Luke 6:31
Do to others what you would want them to do to you.


The passage in the book of Luke then continues with Jesus answering the question, "Who is my neighbor?", by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, indicating that "your neighbor" is anyone in need.[35] This extends to all, including those who are generally considered hostile.

Jesus' teaching goes beyond the negative formulation of not doing what one would not like done to themselves, to the positive formulation of actively doing good to another that, if the situations were reversed, one would desire that the other would do for them. This formulation, as indicated in the parable of the Good Samaritan, emphasizes the needs for positive action that brings benefit to another, not simply restraining oneself from negative activities that hurt another. Taken as a rule of judgment, both formulations of the golden rule, the negative and positive, are equally applicable.[36]

The Golden Rule: Not So Golden Anymore: https://philosophynow.org/issues/74/The_Golden_Rule_Not_So_Golden_Anymore
Pluralism is the most serious problem facing liberal democracies today. We can no longer ignore the fact that cultures around the world are not simply different from one another, but profoundly so; and the most urgent area in which this realization faces us is in the realm of morality. Western democratic systems depend on there being at least a minimal consensus concerning national values, especially in regard to such things as justice, equality and human rights. But global communication, economics and the migration of populations have placed new strains on Western democracies. Suddenly we find we must adjust to peoples whose suppositions about the ultimate values and goals of life are very different from ours. A clear lesson from events such as 9/11 is that disregarding these differences is not an option. Collisions between worldviews and value systems can be cataclysmic. Somehow we must learn to manage this new situation.

For a long time, liberal democratic optimism in the West has been shored up by suppositions about other cultures and their differences from us. The cornerpiece of this optimism has been the assumption that whatever differences exist they cannot be too great. A core of ‘basic humanity’ surely must tie all of the world’s moral systems together – and if only we could locate this core we might be able to forge agreements and alliances among groups that otherwise appear profoundly opposed. We could perhaps then shelve our cultural or ideological differences and get on with the more pleasant and productive business of celebrating our core agreement. One cannot fail to see how this hope is repeated in order buoy optimism about the Middle East peace process, for example.


It becomes obvious immediately that no matter how widespread we want the Golden Rule to be, there are some ethical systems that we have to admit do not have it. In fact, there are a few traditions that actually disdain the Rule. In philosophy, the Nietzschean tradition holds that the virtues implicit in the Golden Rule are antithetical to the true virtues of self-assertion and the will-to-power. Among religions, there are a good many that prefer to emphasize the importance of self, cult, clan or tribe rather than of general others; and a good many other religions for whom large populations are simply excluded from goodwill, being labeled as outsiders, heretics or … [more]
article  letters  philosophy  morality  ethics  formal-values  religion  christianity  theos  n-factor  europe  the-great-west-whale  occident  justice  war  peace-violence  janus  virtu  list  sanctity-degradation  class  lens  wealth  gender  sex  sexuality  multi  concept  wiki  reference  theory-of-mind  ideology  cooperate-defect  coordination  psychology  cog-psych  social-psych  emotion  cybernetics  ecology  deep-materialism  new-religion  hsu  scitariat  aphorism  quotes  stories  fiction  gedanken  altruism  parasites-microbiome  food  diet  nutrition  individualism-collectivism  taxes  government  redistribution  analogy  lol  troll  poast  death  long-short-run  axioms  judaism  islam  tribalism  us-them  kinship  interests  self-interest  dignity  civil-liberty  values  homo-hetero  diversity  unintended-consequences  within-without  increase-decrease  signum  ascetic  axelrod  guilt-shame  patho-altruism  history  iron-age  mediterranean  the-classics  robust  egalitarianism-hierarchy  intricacy  hypocrisy  parable  roots  explanans  crux  s 
april 2018 by nhaliday
The Gelman View – spottedtoad
I have read Andrew Gelman’s blog for about five years, and gradually, I’ve decided that among his many blog posts and hundreds of academic articles, he is advancing a philosophy not just of statistics but of quantitative social science in general. Not a statistician myself, here is how I would articulate the Gelman View:

A. Purposes

1. The purpose of social statistics is to describe and understand variation in the world. The world is a complicated place, and we shouldn’t expect things to be simple.
2. The purpose of scientific publication is to allow for communication, dialogue, and critique, not to “certify” a specific finding as absolute truth.
3. The incentive structure of science needs to reward attempts to independently investigate, reproduce, and refute existing claims and observed patterns, not just to advance new hypotheses or support a particular research agenda.

B. Approach

1. Because the world is complicated, the most valuable statistical models for the world will generally be complicated. The result of statistical investigations will only rarely be to  give a stamp of truth on a specific effect or causal claim, but will generally show variation in effects and outcomes.
2. Whenever possible, the data, analytic approach, and methods should be made as transparent and replicable as possible, and should be fair game for anyone to examine, critique, or amend.
3. Social scientists should look to build upon a broad shared body of knowledge, not to “own” a particular intervention, theoretic framework, or technique. Such ownership creates incentive problems when the intervention, framework, or technique fail and the scientist is left trying to support a flawed structure.


1. Measurement. How and what we measure is the first question, well before we decide on what the effects are or what is making that measurement change.
2. Sampling. Who we talk to or collect information from always matters, because we should always expect effects to depend on context.
3. Inference. While models should usually be complex, our inferential framework should be simple enough for anyone to follow along. And no p values.

He might disagree with all of this, or how it reflects his understanding of his own work. But I think it is a valuable guide to empirical work.
ratty  unaffiliated  summary  gelman  scitariat  philosophy  lens  stats  hypothesis-testing  science  meta:science  social-science  institutions  truth  is-ought  best-practices  data-science  info-dynamics  alt-inst  academia  empirical  evidence-based  checklists  strategy  epistemic 
november 2017 by nhaliday
What are the Laws of Biology?
The core finding of systems biology is that only a very small subset of possible network motifs is actually used and that these motifs recur in all kinds of different systems, from transcriptional to biochemical to neural networks. This is because only those arrangements of interactions effectively perform some useful operation, which underlies some necessary function at a cellular or organismal level. There are different arrangements for input summation, input comparison, integration over time, high-pass or low-pass filtering, negative auto-regulation, coincidence detection, periodic oscillation, bistability, rapid onset response, rapid offset response, turning a graded signal into a sharp pulse or boundary, and so on, and so on.

These are all familiar concepts and designs in engineering and computing, with well-known properties. In living organisms there is one other general property that the designs must satisfy: robustness. They have to work with noisy components, at a scale that’s highly susceptible to thermal noise and environmental perturbations. Of the subset of designs that perform some operation, only a much smaller subset will do it robustly enough to be useful in a living organism. That is, they can still perform their particular functions in the face of noisy or fluctuating inputs or variation in the number of components constituting the elements of the network itself.
scitariat  reflection  proposal  ideas  thinking  conceptual-vocab  lens  bio  complex-systems  selection  evolution  flux-stasis  network-structure  structure  composition-decomposition  IEEE  robust  signal-noise  perturbation  interdisciplinary  graphs  circuits  🌞  big-picture  hi-order-bits  nibble  synthesis 
november 2017 by nhaliday
Darwinian medicine - Randolph Nesse
The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine: https://sci-hub.tw/https://www.jstor.org/stable/2830330
TABLE 1 Examples of the use of the theory of natural selection to predict the existence of phenomena otherwise unsuspected
TABLE 2 A classification of phenomena associated with infectious disease
research-program  homepage  links  list  study  article  bio  medicine  disease  parasites-microbiome  epidemiology  evolution  darwinian  books  west-hunter  scitariat  🌞  red-queen  ideas  deep-materialism  biodet  EGT  heterodox  essay  equilibrium  incentives  survey  track-record  priors-posteriors  data  paying-rent  being-right  immune  multi  pdf  piracy  EEA  lens  nibble  🔬  maxim-gun 
november 2017 by nhaliday
Benedict Evans on Twitter: ""University can save you from the autodidact tendency to overrate himself. Democracy depends on people who know they don’t know everything.""
“The autodidact’s risk is that they think they know all of medieval history but have never heard of Charlemagne” - Umberto Eco

Facts are the least part of education. The structure and priorities they fit into matters far more, and learning how to learn far more again
techtariat  sv  twitter  social  discussion  rhetoric  info-foraging  learning  education  higher-ed  academia  expert  lens  aphorism  quotes  hi-order-bits  big-picture  synthesis  expert-experience 
october 2017 by nhaliday
All models are wrong - Wikipedia
Box repeated the aphorism in a paper that was published in the proceedings of a 1978 statistics workshop.[2] The paper contains a section entitled "All models are wrong but some are useful". The section is copied below.

Now it would be very remarkable if any system existing in the real world could be exactly represented by any simple model. However, cunningly chosen parsimonious models often do provide remarkably useful approximations. For example, the law PV = RT relating pressure P, volume V and temperature T of an "ideal" gas via a constant R is not exactly true for any real gas, but it frequently provides a useful approximation and furthermore its structure is informative since it springs from a physical view of the behavior of gas molecules.

For such a model there is no need to ask the question "Is the model true?". If "truth" is to be the "whole truth" the answer must be "No". The only question of interest is "Is the model illuminating and useful?".
thinking  metabuch  metameta  map-territory  models  accuracy  wire-guided  truth  philosophy  stats  data-science  methodology  lens  wiki  reference  complex-systems  occam  parsimony  science  nibble  hi-order-bits  info-dynamics  the-trenches  meta:science  physics  fluid  thermo  stat-mech  applicability-prereqs  theory-practice 
august 2017 by nhaliday
Introduction to Scaling Laws

Galileo’s Discovery of Scaling Laws: https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~mpeterso/classes/galileo/scaling8.pdf
Days 1 and 2 of Two New Sciences

An example of such an insight is “the surface of a small solid is comparatively greater than that of a large one” because the surface goes like the square of a linear dimension, but the volume goes like the cube.5 Thus as one scales down macroscopic objects, forces on their surfaces like viscous drag become relatively more important, and bulk forces like weight become relatively less important. Galileo uses this idea on the First Day in the context of resistance in free fall, as an explanation for why similar objects of different size do not fall exactly together, but the smaller one lags behind.
nibble  org:junk  exposition  lecture-notes  physics  mechanics  street-fighting  problem-solving  scale  magnitude  estimate  fermi  mental-math  calculation  nitty-gritty  multi  scitariat  org:bleg  lens  tutorial  guide  ground-up  tricki  skeleton  list  cheatsheet  identity  levers  hi-order-bits  yoga  metabuch  pdf  article  essay  history  early-modern  europe  the-great-west-whale  science  the-trenches  discovery  fluid  architecture  oceans  giants  tidbits 
august 2017 by nhaliday
Is the economy illegible? | askblog
In the model of the economy as a GDP factory, the most fundamental equation is the production function, Y = f(K,L).

This says that total output (Y) is determined by the total amount of capital (K) and the total amount of labor (L).

Let me stipulate that the economy is legible to the extent that this model can be applied usefully to explain economic developments. I want to point out that the economy, while never as legible as economists might have thought, is rapidly becoming less legible.
econotariat  cracker-econ  economics  macro  big-picture  empirical  legibility  let-me-see  metrics  measurement  econ-metrics  volo-avolo  securities  markets  amazon  business-models  business  tech  sv  corporation  inequality  compensation  polarization  econ-productivity  stagnation  monetary-fiscal  models  complex-systems  map-territory  thinking  nationalism-globalism  time-preference  cost-disease  education  healthcare  composition-decomposition  econometrics  methodology  lens  arrows  labor  capital  trends  intricacy  🎩  moments  winner-take-all  efficiency  input-output 
august 2017 by nhaliday
Economics empiricism - Wikipedia
Economics empiricism[1] (sometimes economic imperialism) in contemporary economics refers to economic analysis of seemingly non-economic aspects of life,[2] such as crime,[3] law,[4] the family,[5] prejudice,[6] tastes,[7] irrational behavior,[8] politics,[9] sociology,[10] culture,[11] religion,[12] war,[13] science,[14] and research.[14] Related usage of the term predates recent decades.[15]

The emergence of such analysis has been attributed to a method that, like that of the physical sciences, permits refutable implications[16] testable by standard statistical techniques.[17] Central to that approach are "[t]he combined postulates of maximizing behavior, stable preferences and market equilibrium, applied relentlessly and unflinchingly."[18] It has been asserted that these and a focus on economic efficiency have been ignored in other social sciences and "allowed economics to invade intellectual territory that was previously deemed to be outside the discipline’s realm."[17][19]

The Fluidity of Race: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/the-fluidity-of-race/
So: what can we conclude about this paper? It’s a classic case of economic imperialism, informed by what ‘intellectuals’ [ those that have never been introduced to Punnet squares, Old Blue Light, the Dirac equation, or Melungeons] would like to hear.

It is wrong, not close to right.

Breadth-first search: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/breadth-first-search/
When I complain about some egregious piece of research, particularly those that are in some sense cross-disciplinary, I often feel that that just knowing more would solve the problem. If Roland Fryer or Oded Galor understood genetics, they wouldn’t make these silly mistakes. If Qian and Nix understood genetics or American post-Civil War history, they would never have written that awful paper about massive passing. Or if paleoanthropologists and population geneticists had learned about mammalian hybrids, they would have been open to the idea of Neanderthal introgression.

But that really amounts to a demand that people learn about five times as much in college and grad school as they actually do. It’s not going to happen. Or, perhaps, find a systematic and effective way of collaborating with people outside their discipline without having their heads shaved. That doesn’t sound too likely either.

Hot enough for you?: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/hot-enough-for-you/
There’s a new study out in Nature, claiming that economic productivity peaks at 13 degrees Centigrade and that global warming will therefore drastically decrease world GDP.

Singapore. Phoenix. Queensland. Air-conditioners!

Now that I’ve made my point, just how stupid are these people? Do they actually believe this shit? I keep seeing papers by economists – in prominent places – that rely heavily on not knowing jack shit about anything on Earth, papers that could only have been written by someone that didn’t know a damn thing about the subject they were addressing, from the influence of genetic diversity on civilization achievement (zilch) to the massive race-switching that happened after the Civil War (not). Let me tell you, there’s a difference between ‘economic imperialism’ and old-fashioned real imperialism: people like Clive of India or Raffles bothered to learn something about the territory they were conquering. They knew enough to run divide et impera in their sleep: while economists never say peccavi, no matter how badly they screw up.
economics  social-science  thinking  lens  things  conceptual-vocab  concept  academia  wiki  reference  sociology  multi  west-hunter  scitariat  rant  critique  race  usa  history  mostly-modern  methodology  conquest-empire  ideology  optimization  equilibrium  values  pseudoE  science  frontier  thick-thin  interdisciplinary  galor-like  broad-econ  info-dynamics  alt-inst  environment  climate-change  temperature  india  asia  britain  expansionism  diversity  knowledge  ability-competence  commentary  study  summary  org:nat 
july 2017 by nhaliday
가렛 존스 on Twitter: "Morality is made up. https://t.co/EWHW4hPtyG"

woah: https://twitter.com/GarettJones/status/889250591876161537
Moral equality is not a lie and not dependent on the abilities of the individual. It's very dangerous to confuse ability with dignity.
But various moralities are preferences, not facts. I know of no sound proof for objective moral human equality--and de gustibus holds true.
econotariat  spearhead  garett-jones  twitter  social  commentary  discussion  morality  ethics  formal-values  philosophy  values  economics  lens  ideology  thinking  multi  inequality  envy  egalitarianism-hierarchy  absolute-relative  backup  social-structure  order-disorder  dignity 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Defection – quas lacrimas peperere minoribus nostris!

Kindness Against The Grain: https://srconstantin.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/kindness-against-the-grain/
I’ve heard from a number of secular-ish sources (Carse, Girard, Arendt) that the essential contribution of Christianity to human thought is the concept of forgiveness. (Ribbonfarm also has a recent post on the topic of forgiveness.)

I have never been a Christian and haven’t even read all of the New Testament, so I’ll leave it to commenters to recommend Christian sources on the topic.

What I want to explore is the notion of kindness without a smooth incentive gradient.

The Social Module: https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/the-social-module/
Now one could propose that the basic principle of human behavior is to raise the SP number. Sure there’s survival and reproduction. Most people would forget all their socialization if left hungry and thirsty for days in the jungle. But more often than not, survival and reproduction depend on being high status; having a good name among your peers is the best way to get food, housing and hot mates.

The way to raise one’s SP number depends on thousands of different factors. We could grab most of them and call them “culture”. In China having 20 teenage mistresses as an old man raises your SP; in Western polite society it is social death. In the West making a fuss about disobeying one’s parents raises your SP, everywhere else it lowers it a great deal. People know that; which is why bureaucrats in China go to great lengths to acquire a stash of young women (who they seldom have time to actually enjoy), while teenagers in the West go to great lengths to be annoying to their parents for no good reason.


It thus shouldn’t surprise us that something as completely absurd as Progressivism is the law of the land in most of the world today, even though it denies obvious reality. It is not the case that most people know that progressive points are all bogus, but obey because of fear or cowardice. No, an average human brain has much more neurons being used to scan the social climate and see how SP are allotted, than neurons being used to analyze patterns in reality to ascertain the truth. Surely your brain does care a great deal about truth in some very narrow areas of concern to you. Remember Conquest’s first law: Everybody is Conservative about what he knows best. You have to know the truth about what you do, if you are to do it effectively.

But you don’t really care about truth anywhere else. And why would you? It takes time and effort you can’t really spare, and it’s not really necessary. As long as you have some area of specialization where you can make a living, all the rest you must do to achieve survival and reproduction is to raise your SP so you don’t get killed and your guts sacrificed to the mountain spirits.

SP theory (I accept suggestions for a better name) can also explains the behavior of leftists. Many conservatives of a medium level of enlightenment point out the paradox that leftists historically have held completely different ideas. Leftism used to be about the livelihood of industrial workers, now they agitate about the environment, or feminism, or foreigners. Some people would say that’s just historical change, or pull a No True Scotsman about this or that group not being really leftists. But that’s transparent bullshit; very often we see a single person shifting from agitating about Communism and worker rights, to agitate about global warming or rape culture.


The leftist strategy could be defined as “psychopathic SP maximization”. Leftists attempt to destroy social equilibrium so that they can raise their SP number. If humans are, in a sense, programmed to constantly raise their status, well high status people by definition can’t raise it anymore (though they can squabble against each other for marginal gains), their best strategy is to freeze society in place so that they can enjoy their superiority. High status people by definition have power, and thus social hierarchy during human history tends to be quite stable.

This goes against the interests of many. First of all the lower status people, who, well, want to raise their status, but can’t manage to do so. And it also goes against the interests of the particularly annoying members of the upper class who want to raise their status on the margin. Conservative people can be defined as those who, no matter the absolute level, are in general happy with it. This doesn’t mean they don’t want higher status (by definition all humans do), but the output of other brain modules may conclude that attempts to raise SP might threaten one’s survival and reproduction; or just that the chances of raising one’s individual SP is hopeless, so one might as well stay put.


You can’t blame people for being logically inconsistent; because they can’t possibly know anything about all these issues. Few have any experience or knowledge about evolution and human races, or about the history of black people to make an informed judgment on HBD. Few have time to learn about sex differences, and stuff like the climate is as close to unknowable as there is. Opinions about anything but a very narrow area of expertise are always output of your SP module, not any judgment of fact. People don’t know the facts. And even when they know; I mean most people have enough experience with sex differences and black dysfunction to be quite confident that progressive ideas are false. But you can never be sure. As Hume said, the laws of physics are a judgment of habit; who is to say that a genie isn’t going to change all you know the next morning? At any rate, you’re always better off toeing the line, following the conventional wisdom, and keeping your dear SP. Perhaps you can even raise them a bit. And that is very nice. It is niceness itself.

Leftism is just an easy excuse: https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/leftism-is-just-an-easy-excuse/
Unless you’re not the only defector. You need a way to signal your intention to defect, so that other disloyal fucks such as yourself (and they’re bound to be others) can join up, thus reducing the likely costs of defection. The way to signal your intention to defect is to come up with a good excuse. A good excuse to be disloyal becomes a rallying point through which other defectors can coordinate and cover their asses so that the ruling coalition doesn’t punish them. What is a good excuse?

Leftism is a great excuse. Claiming that the ruling coalition isn’t leftist enough, isn’t holy enough, not inclusive enough of women, of blacks, of gays, or gorillas, of pedophiles, of murderous Salafists, is the perfect way of signalling your disloyalty towards the existing power coalition. By using the existing ideology and pushing its logic just a little bit, you ensure that the powerful can’t punish you. At least not openly. And if you’re lucky, the mass of disloyal fucks in the ruling coalition might join your banner, and use your exact leftist point to jump ship and outflank the powerful.


The same dynamic fuels the flattery inflation one sees in monarchical or dictatorial systems. In Mao China, if you want to defect, you claim to love Mao more than your boss. In Nazi Germany, you proclaim your love for Hitler and the great insight of his plan to take Stalingrad. In the Roman Empire, you claimed that Caesar is a God, son of Hercules, and those who deny it are treacherous bastards. In Ancient Persia you loudly proclaimed your faith in the Shah being the brother of the Sun and the Moon and King of all Kings on Earth. In Reformation Europe you proclaimed that you have discovered something new in the Bible and everybody else is damned to hell. Predestined by God!


And again: the precise content of the ideological point doesn’t matter. Your human brain doesn’t care about ideology. Humans didn’t evolve to care about Marxist theory of class struggle, or about LGBTQWERTY theories of social identity. You just don’t know what it means. It’s all abstract points you’ve been told in a classroom. It doesn’t actually compute. Nothing that anybody ever said in a political debate ever made any actual, concrete sense to a human being.

So why do we care so much about politics? What’s the point of ideology? Ideology is just the water you swim in. It is a structured database of excuses, to be used to signal your allegiance or defection to the existing ruling coalition. Ideology is just the feed of the rationalization Hamster that runs incessantly in that corner of your brain. But it is immaterial, and in most cases actually inaccessible to the logical modules in your brain.

Nobody ever acts on their overt ideological claims if they can get away with it. Liberals proclaim their faith in the potential of black children while clustering in all white suburbs. Communist party members loudly talk about the proletariat while being hedonistic spenders. Al Gore talks about Global Warming while living in a lavish mansion. Cognitive dissonance, you say? No; those cognitive systems are not connected in the first place.


And so, every little step in the way, power-seekers moved the consensus to the left. And open societies, democratic systems are by their decentralized nature, and by the size of their constituencies, much more vulnerable to this sort of signalling attacks. It is but impossible to appraise and enforce the loyalty of every single individual involved in a modern state. There’s too many of them. A Medieval King had a better chance of it; hence the slow movement of ideological innovation in those days. But the bigger the organization, the harder it is to gather accurate information of the loyalty of the whole coalition; and hence the ideological movement accelerates. And there is no stopping it.

Like the Ancients, We Have Gods. They’ll Get Greater: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2018/04/like-the-ancients-we-have-gods-they-may-get… [more]
gnon  commentary  critique  politics  polisci  strategy  tactics  thinking  GT-101  game-theory  cooperate-defect  hypocrisy  institutions  incentives  anthropology  morality  ethics  formal-values  ideology  schelling  equilibrium  multi  links  debate  ethnocentrism  cultural-dynamics  decision-making  socs-and-mops  anomie  power  info-dynamics  propaganda  signaling  axelrod  organizing  impetus  democracy  antidemos  duty  coalitions  kinship  religion  christianity  theos  n-factor  trust  altruism  noble-lie  japan  asia  cohesion  reason  scitariat  status  fashun  history  mostly-modern  world-war  west-hunter  sulla  unintended-consequences  iron-age  china  sinosphere  stories  leviathan  criminal-justice  peace-violence  nihil  wiki  authoritarianism  egalitarianism-hierarchy  cocktail  ssc  parable  open-closed  death  absolute-relative  justice  management  explanans  the-great-west-whale  occident  orient  courage  vitality  domestication  revolution  europe  pop-diff  alien-character  diversity  identity-politics  westminster  kumbaya-kult  cultu 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Why I see academic economics moving left | askblog
I have a long essay on the scientific status of economics in National Affairs. A few excerpts from the conclusion:

In the end, can we really have effective theory in economics? If by effective theory we mean theory that is verifiable and reliable for prediction and control, the answer is likely no. Instead, economics deals in speculative interpretations and must continue to do so.

Young economists who employ pluralistic methods to study problems are admired rather than marginalized, as they were in 1980. But economists who question the wisdom of interventionist economic policies seem headed toward the fringes of the profession.

This is my essay in which I say that academic economics is on the road to sociology.

Property Is Only Another Name for Monopoly: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2818494
Hanson's take more positive: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2017/10/for-stability-rents.html

econotariat  cracker-econ  commentary  prediction  trends  economics  social-science  ideology  politics  left-wing  regulation  empirical  measurement  methodology  academia  multi  links  news  org:mag  essay  longform  randy-ayndy  sociology  technocracy  realness  hypocrisy  letters  study  property-rights  taxes  civil-liberty  efficiency  arbitrage  alt-inst  proposal  incentives  westminster  lens  truth  info-foraging  ratty  hanson  summary  review  biases  concrete  abstraction  managerial-state  gender  identity-politics  higher-ed 
may 2017 by nhaliday
Lucio Russo - Wikipedia
In The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had to Be Reborn (Italian: La rivoluzione dimenticata), Russo promotes the belief that Hellenistic science in the period 320-144 BC reached heights not achieved by Classical age science, and proposes that it went further than ordinarily thought, in multiple fields not normally associated with ancient science.

La Rivoluzione Dimenticata (The Forgotten Revolution), Reviewed by Sandro Graffi: http://www.ams.org/notices/199805/review-graffi.pdf

Before turning to the question of the decline of Hellenistic science, I come back to the new light shed by the book on Euclid’s Elements and on pre-Ptolemaic astronomy. Euclid’s definitions of the elementary geometric entities—point, straight line, plane—at the beginning of the Elements have long presented a problem.7 Their nature is in sharp contrast with the approach taken in the rest of the book, and continued by mathematicians ever since, of refraining from defining the fundamental entities explicitly but limiting themselves to postulating the properties which they enjoy. Why should Euclid be so hopelessly obscure right at the beginning and so smooth just after? The answer is: the definitions are not Euclid’s. Toward the beginning of the second century A.D. Heron of Alexandria found it convenient to introduce definitions of the elementary objects (a sign of decadence!) in his commentary on Euclid’s Elements, which had been written at least 400 years before. All manuscripts of the Elements copied ever since included Heron’s definitions without mention, whence their attribution to Euclid himself. The philological evidence leading to this conclusion is quite convincing.8


What about the general and steady (on the average) impoverishment of Hellenistic science under the Roman empire? This is a major historical problem, strongly tied to the even bigger one of the decline and fall of the antique civilization itself. I would summarize the author’s argument by saying that it basically represents an application to science of a widely accepted general theory on decadence of antique civilization going back to Max Weber. Roman society, mainly based on slave labor, underwent an ultimately unrecoverable crisis as the traditional sources of that labor force, essentially wars, progressively dried up. To save basic farming, the remaining slaves were promoted to be serfs, and poor free peasants reduced to serfdom, but this made trade disappear. A society in which production is almost entirely based on serfdom and with no trade clearly has very little need of culture, including science and technology. As Max Weber pointed out, when trade vanished, so did the marble splendor of the ancient towns, as well as the spiritual assets that went with it: art, literature, science, and sophisticated commercial laws. The recovery of Hellenistic science then had to wait until the disappearance of serfdom at the end of the Middle Ages. To quote Max Weber: “Only then with renewed vigor did the old giant rise up again.”


The epilogue contains the (rather pessimistic) views of the author on the future of science, threatened by the apparent triumph of today’s vogue of irrationality even in leading institutions (e.g., an astrology professorship at the Sorbonne). He looks at today’s ever-increasing tendency to teach science more on a fideistic than on a deductive or experimental basis as the first sign of a decline which could be analogous to the post-Hellenistic one.

Praising Alexandrians to excess: https://sci-hub.tw/10.1088/2058-7058/17/4/35
The Economic Record review: https://sci-hub.tw/10.1111/j.1475-4932.2004.00203.x

listed here: https://pinboard.in/u:nhaliday/b:c5c09f2687c1

Was Roman Science in Decline? (Excerpt from My New Book): https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13477
people  trivia  cocktail  history  iron-age  mediterranean  the-classics  speculation  west-hunter  scitariat  knowledge  wiki  ideas  wild-ideas  technology  innovation  contrarianism  multi  pdf  org:mat  books  review  critique  regularizer  todo  piracy  physics  canon  science  the-trenches  the-great-west-whale  broad-econ  the-world-is-just-atoms  frontier  speedometer  🔬  conquest-empire  giants  economics  article  growth-econ  cjones-like  industrial-revolution  empirical  absolute-relative  truth  rot  zeitgeist  gibbon  big-peeps  civilization  malthus  roots  old-anglo  britain  early-modern  medieval  social-structure  limits  quantitative-qualitative  rigor  lens  systematic-ad-hoc  analytical-holistic  cycles  space  mechanics  math  geometry  gravity  revolution  novelty  meta:science  is-ought  flexibility  trends  reason  applicability-prereqs  theory-practice  traces  evidence 
may 2017 by nhaliday
'Capital in the Twenty-First Century' by Thomas Piketty, reviewed | New Republic
by Robert Solow (positive)

The data then exhibit a clear pattern. In France and Great Britain, national capital stood fairly steadily at about seven times national income from 1700 to 1910, then fell sharply from 1910 to 1950, presumably as a result of wars and depression, reaching a low of 2.5 in Britain and a bit less than 3 in France. The capital-income ratio then began to climb in both countries, and reached slightly more than 5 in Britain and slightly less than 6 in France by 2010. The trajectory in the United States was slightly different: it started at just above 3 in 1770, climbed to 5 in 1910, fell slightly in 1920, recovered to a high between 5 and 5.5 in 1930, fell to below 4 in 1950, and was back to 4.5 in 2010.

The wealth-income ratio in the United States has always been lower than in Europe. The main reason in the early years was that land values bulked less in the wide open spaces of North America. There was of course much more land, but it was very cheap. Into the twentieth century and onward, however, the lower capital-income ratio in the United States probably reflects the higher level of productivity: a given amount of capital could support a larger production of output than in Europe. It is no surprise that the two world wars caused much less destruction and dissipation of capital in the United States than in Britain and France. The important observation for Piketty’s argument is that, in all three countries, and elsewhere as well, the wealth-income ratio has been increasing since 1950, and is almost back to nineteenth-century levels. He projects this increase to continue into the current century, with weighty consequences that will be discussed as we go on.


Now if you multiply the rate of return on capital by the capital-income ratio, you get the share of capital in the national income. For example, if the rate of return is 5 percent a year and the stock of capital is six years worth of national income, income from capital will be 30 percent of national income, and so income from work will be the remaining 70 percent. At last, after all this preparation, we are beginning to talk about inequality, and in two distinct senses. First, we have arrived at the functional distribution of income—the split between income from work and income from wealth. Second, it is always the case that wealth is more highly concentrated among the rich than income from labor (although recent American history looks rather odd in this respect); and this being so, the larger the share of income from wealth, the more unequal the distribution of income among persons is likely to be. It is this inequality across persons that matters most for good or ill in a society.


The data are complicated and not easily comparable across time and space, but here is the flavor of Piketty’s summary picture. Capital is indeed very unequally distributed. Currently in the United States, the top 10 percent own about 70 percent of all the capital, half of that belonging to the top 1 percent; the next 40 percent—who compose the “middle class”—own about a quarter of the total (much of that in the form of housing), and the remaining half of the population owns next to nothing, about 5 percent of total wealth. Even that amount of middle-class property ownership is a new phenomenon in history. The typical European country is a little more egalitarian: the top 1 percent own 25 percent of the total capital, and the middle class 35 percent. (A century ago the European middle class owned essentially no wealth at all.) If the ownership of wealth in fact becomes even more concentrated during the rest of the twenty-first century, the outlook is pretty bleak unless you have a taste for oligarchy.

Income from wealth is probably even more concentrated than wealth itself because, as Piketty notes, large blocks of wealth tend to earn a higher return than small ones. Some of this advantage comes from economies of scale, but more may come from the fact that very big investors have access to a wider range of investment opportunities than smaller investors. Income from work is naturally less concentrated than income from wealth. In Piketty’s stylized picture of the United States today, the top 1 percent earns about 12 percent of all labor income, the next 9 percent earn 23 percent, the middle class gets about 40 percent, and the bottom half about a quarter of income from work. Europe is not very different: the top 10 percent collect somewhat less and the other two groups a little more.

You get the picture: modern capitalism is an unequal society, and the rich-get-richer dynamic strongly suggest that it will get more so. But there is one more loose end to tie up, already hinted at, and it has to do with the advent of very high wage incomes. First, here are some facts about the composition of top incomes. About 60 percent of the income of the top 1 percent in the United States today is labor income. Only when you get to the top tenth of 1 percent does income from capital start to predominate. The income of the top hundredth of 1 percent is 70 percent from capital. The story for France is not very different, though the proportion of labor income is a bit higher at every level. Evidently there are some very high wage incomes, as if you didn’t know.

This is a fairly recent development. In the 1960s, the top 1 percent of wage earners collected a little more than 5 percent of all wage incomes. This fraction has risen pretty steadily until nowadays, when the top 1 percent of wage earners receive 10–12 percent of all wages. This time the story is rather different in France. There the share of total wages going to the top percentile was steady at 6 percent until very recently, when it climbed to 7 percent. The recent surge of extreme inequality at the top of the wage distribution may be primarily an American development. Piketty, who with Emmanuel Saez has made a careful study of high-income tax returns in the United States, attributes this to the rise of what he calls “supermanagers.” The very highest income class consists to a substantial extent of top executives of large corporations, with very rich compensation packages. (A disproportionate number of these, but by no means all of them, come from the financial services industry.) With or without stock options, these large pay packages get converted to wealth and future income from wealth. But the fact remains that much of the increased income (and wealth) inequality in the United States is driven by the rise of these supermanagers.

and Deirdre McCloskey (p critical): https://ejpe.org/journal/article/view/170
nice discussion of empirical economics, economic history, market failures and statism, etc., with several bon mots

Piketty’s great splash will undoubtedly bring many young economically interested scholars to devote their lives to the study of the past. That is good, because economic history is one of the few scientifically quantitative branches of economics. In economic history, as in experimental economics and a few other fields, the economists confront the evidence (as they do not for example in most macroeconomics or industrial organization or international trade theory nowadays).


Piketty gives a fine example of how to do it. He does not get entangled as so many economists do in the sole empirical tool they are taught, namely, regression analysis on someone else’s “data” (one of the problems is the word data, meaning “things given”: scientists should deal in capta, “things seized”). Therefore he does not commit one of the two sins of modern economics, the use of meaningless “tests” of statistical significance (he occasionally refers to “statistically insignificant” relations between, say, tax rates and growth rates, but I am hoping he does not suppose that a large coefficient is “insignificant” because R. A. Fisher in 1925 said it was). Piketty constructs or uses statistics of aggregate capital and of inequality and then plots them out for inspection, which is what physicists, for example, also do in dealing with their experiments and observations. Nor does he commit the other sin, which is to waste scientific time on existence theorems. Physicists, again, don’t. If we economists are going to persist in physics envy let us at least learn what physicists actually do. Piketty stays close to the facts, and does not, for example, wander into the pointless worlds of non-cooperative game theory, long demolished by experimental economics. He also does not have recourse to non-computable general equilibrium, which never was of use for quantitative economic science, being a branch of philosophy, and a futile one at that. On both points, bravissimo.


Since those founding geniuses of classical economics, a market-tested betterment (a locution to be preferred to “capitalism”, with its erroneous implication that capital accumulation, not innovation, is what made us better off) has enormously enriched large parts of a humanity now seven times larger in population than in 1800, and bids fair in the next fifty years or so to enrich everyone on the planet. [Not SSA or MENA...]


Then economists, many on the left but some on the right, in quick succession from 1880 to the present—at the same time that market-tested betterment was driving real wages up and up and up—commenced worrying about, to name a few of the pessimisms concerning “capitalism” they discerned: greed, alienation, racial impurity, workers’ lack of bargaining strength, workers’ bad taste in consumption, immigration of lesser breeds, monopoly, unemployment, business cycles, increasing returns, externalities, under-consumption, monopolistic competition, separation of ownership from control, lack of planning, post-War stagnation, investment spillovers, unbalanced growth, dual labor markets, capital insufficiency (William Easterly calls it “capital fundamentalism”), peasant irrationality, capital-market imperfections, public … [more]
news  org:mag  big-peeps  econotariat  economics  books  review  capital  capitalism  inequality  winner-take-all  piketty  wealth  class  labor  mobility  redistribution  growth-econ  rent-seeking  history  mostly-modern  trends  compensation  article  malaise  🎩  the-bones  whiggish-hegelian  cjones-like  multi  mokyr-allen-mccloskey  expert  market-failure  government  broad-econ  cliometrics  aphorism  lens  gallic  clarity  europe  critique  rant  optimism  regularizer  pessimism  ideology  behavioral-econ  authoritarianism  intervention  polanyi-marx  politics  left-wing  absolute-relative  regression-to-mean  legacy  empirical  data-science  econometrics  methodology  hypothesis-testing  physics  iron-age  mediterranean  the-classics  quotes  krugman  world  entrepreneurialism  human-capital  education  supply-demand  plots  manifolds  intersection  markets  evolution  darwinian  giants  old-anglo  egalitarianism-hierarchy  optimate  morality  ethics  envy  stagnation  nl-and-so-can-you  expert-experience  courage  stats  randy-ayndy  reason  intersection-connectedness  detail-architect 
april 2017 by nhaliday
Eebers and robbers | West Hunter
A year or so ago I was on a review committee for a department of biology. It was a pleasant and productive department, but it soon became apparent to us that it was in effect two departments sharing the same building. One was eeb (ecology and evolutionary biology), while the other was, in their jargon, rob (the rest of biology.) Relations were cordial between the two for the most part but there was almost no interaction nor interest across the divide.

The same divide is increasingly apparent in genetics, genomics, and human evolution. Several years ago a colleague suggested to me that the idea that mathematics is the language of science was no longer very accurate. There are, he said, two languages of science, one being mathematics and other organic chemistry. He was onto something. People who speak mathematics and models, eebers, and people who speak organic chemistry, robbers, are more and more out of touch with each other.
west-hunter  science  academia  tribalism  lens  things  bio  evolution  genetics  population-genetics  big-picture  reflection  scitariat 
march 2017 by nhaliday
Peter Norvig, the meaning of polynomials, debugging as psychotherapy | Quomodocumque
He briefly showed a demo where, given values of a polynomial, a machine can put together a few lines of code that successfully computes the polynomial. But the code looks weird to a human eye. To compute some quadratic, it nests for-loops and adds things up in a funny way that ends up giving the right output. So has it really ”learned” the polynomial? I think in computer science, you typically feel you’ve learned a function if you can accurately predict its value on a given input. For an algebraist like me, a function determines but isn’t determined by the values it takes; to me, there’s something about that quadratic polynomial the machine has failed to grasp. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here, just a cultural difference to be aware of. Relevant: Norvig’s description of “the two cultures” at the end of this long post on natural language processing (which is interesting all the way through!)
mathtariat  org:bleg  nibble  tech  ai  talks  summary  philosophy  lens  comparison  math  cs  tcs  polynomials  nlp  debugging  psychology  cog-psych  complex-systems  deep-learning  analogy  legibility  interpretability 
march 2017 by nhaliday
Information Processing: The joy of Turkheimer
In the talk Turkheimer gives the following definition of social science, which emphasizes why it is hard:

Social science is the attempt to explain the causes of complex human behavior when:
- There are a large number of potential causes.
- The potential causes are non-independent.
- Randomized experimentation is not possible.
hsu  scitariat  genetics  genomics  causation  hypothesis-testing  social-science  nonlinearity  iidness  correlation  links  slides  presentation  audio  things  lens  metabuch  thinking  GxE  commentary 
february 2017 by nhaliday
A New Germ Theory: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1999/02/a-new-germ-theory/377430/
The dictates of evolution virtually demand that the causes of some of humanity's chronic and most baffling "noninfectious" illnesses will turn out to be pathogens -- that is the radical view of a prominent evolutionary biologist

A LATE-SEPTEMBER heat wave enveloped Amherst College, and young people milled about in shorts or sleeveless summer frocks, or read books on the grass. Inside the red-brick buildings framing the leafy quadrangle students listened to lectures on Ellison and Emerson, on Paul Verlaine and the Holy Roman Empire. Few suspected that strains of the organism that causes cholera were growing nearby, in the Life Sciences Building. If they had known, they would probably not have grasped the implications. But these particular strains of cholera make Paul Ewald smile; they are strong evidence that he is on the right track. Knowing the rules of evolutionary biology, he believes, can change the course of infectious disease.

I HAVE a motto," Gregory Cochran told me recently. "'Big old diseases are infectious.' If it's common, higher than one in a thousand, I get suspicious. And if it's old, if it has been around for a while, I get suspicious."

pdf  study  speculation  bio  evolution  sapiens  parasites-microbiome  red-queen  disease  west-hunter  🌞  unit  nibble  len:long  biodet  EGT  wild-ideas  big-picture  epidemiology  deep-materialism  🔬  spearhead  scitariat  maxim-gun  ideas  lens  heterodox  darwinian  equilibrium  medicine  heuristic  spreading  article  psychiatry  QTL  distribution  behavioral-gen  genetics  population-genetics  missing-heritability  gender  sex  sexuality  cardio  track-record  aging  popsci  natural-experiment  japan  asia  meta:medicine  profile  ability-competence  empirical  theory-practice  data  magnitude  scale  cost-benefit  is-ought  occam  parsimony  stress  GWAS  roots  explanans  embodied  obesity  geography  canada  britain  anglo  trivia  cocktail  shift  aphorism  stylized-facts 
february 2017 by nhaliday
Information Processing: Machine Dreams
This is a controversial book because it demolishes not just the conventional history of the discipline, but its foundational assumptions. For example, once you start thinking about the information processing requirements that each agent (or even the entire system) must satisfy to find the optimal neoclassical equilibrium points, you realize the task is impossible. In fact, in some cases it has been rigorously shown to be beyond the capability of any universal Turing machine. Certainly, it seems beyond the plausible capabilities of a primitive species like homo sapiens. Once this bounded rationality (see also here) is taken into account, the whole notion of optimality of market equilibrium becomes far-fetched and speculative. It cannot be justified in any formal sense, and therefore cries out for experimental justification, which is not to be found.

I like this quote: This polymath who prognosticated that "science and technology would shift from a past emphasis on subjects of motion, force and energy to a future emphasis on subjects of communications, organization, programming and control," was spot on the money.
hsu  scitariat  economics  cs  computation  interdisciplinary  map-territory  models  market-failure  von-neumann  giants  history  quotes  links  debate  critique  review  big-picture  turing  heterodox  complex-systems  lens  s:*  books  🎩  thinking  markets  bounded-cognition 
february 2017 by nhaliday
Information Processing: Epistasis vs additivity
On epistasis: why it is unimportant in polygenic directional selection: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1544/1241.short
- James F. Crow

The Evolution of Multilocus Systems Under Weak Selection: http://www.genetics.org/content/genetics/134/2/627.full.pdf
- Thomas Nagylaki

Data and Theory Point to Mainly Additive Genetic Variance for Complex Traits: http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1000008
The relative proportion of additive and non-additive variation for complex traits is important in evolutionary biology, medicine, and agriculture. We address a long-standing controversy and paradox about the contribution of non-additive genetic variation, namely that knowledge about biological pathways and gene networks imply that epistasis is important. Yet empirical data across a range of traits and species imply that most genetic variance is additive. We evaluate the evidence from empirical studies of genetic variance components and find that additive variance typically accounts for over half, and often close to 100%, of the total genetic variance. We present new theoretical results, based upon the distribution of allele frequencies under neutral and other population genetic models, that show why this is the case even if there are non-additive effects at the level of gene action. We conclude that interactions at the level of genes are not likely to generate much interaction at the level of variance.
hsu  scitariat  commentary  links  study  list  evolution  population-genetics  genetics  methodology  linearity  nonlinearity  comparison  scaling-up  nibble  lens  bounded-cognition  ideas  bio  occam  parsimony  🌞  summary  quotes  multi  org:nat  QTL  stylized-facts  article  explanans  sapiens  biodet  selection  variance-components  metabuch  thinking  models  data  deep-materialism  chart  behavioral-gen  evidence-based  empirical  mutation  spearhead  model-organism  bioinformatics  linear-models  math  magnitude  limits  physics  interdisciplinary  stat-mech 
february 2017 by nhaliday
Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Logicians on safari
So what are they then? Maybe it’s helpful to think of them as “quantitative epistemology”: discoveries about the capacities of finite beings like ourselves to learn mathematical truths. On this view, the theoretical computer scientist is basically a mathematical logician on a safari to the physical world: someone who tries to understand the universe by asking what sorts of mathematical questions can and can’t be answered within it. Not whether the universe is a computer, but what kind of computer it is! Naturally, this approach to understanding the world tends to appeal most to people for whom math (and especially discrete math) is reasonably clear, whereas physics is extremely mysterious.

the sequel: http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=153
tcstariat  aaronson  tcs  computation  complexity  aphorism  examples  list  reflection  philosophy  multi  summary  synthesis  hi-order-bits  interdisciplinary  lens  big-picture  survey  nibble  org:bleg  applications  big-surf  s:*  p:whenever  ideas 
january 2017 by nhaliday
« earlier      
per page:    204080120160

bundles : abstractacadememetametathinkingvague

related tags

:)  aaronson  ability-competence  absolute-relative  abstraction  academia  accretion  accuracy  acm  acmtariat  additive  adversarial  advice  aesthetics  africa  age-generation  age-of-discovery  aging  agri-mindset  agriculture  ai  ai-control  albion  algorithms  alien-character  alignment  allodium  alt-inst  altruism  ama  amazon  AMT  analogy  analysis  analytical-holistic  anglo  anglosphere  anomie  anthropology  antidemos  antiquity  aphorism  apollonian-dionysian  apple  applicability-prereqs  applications  approximation  arbitrage  archaeology  architecture  aristos  arms  arrows  art  article  ascetic  asia  atmosphere  audio  authoritarianism  automata  automation  axelrod  axioms  backup  barons  bayesian  beauty  behavioral-econ  behavioral-gen  being-becoming  being-right  benevolence  berkeley  best-practices  better-explained  bias-variance  biases  bible  big-list  big-peeps  big-picture  big-surf  bio  biodet  bioinformatics  biophysical-econ  biotech  bits  blog  boaz-barak  boltzmann  books  boolean-analysis  bostrom  bounded-cognition  brain-scan  branches  brands  brexit  britain  broad-econ  buddhism  business  business-models  c:**  c:***  caching  calculation  california  caltech  canada  cancer  candidate-gene  canon  capital  capitalism  cardio  career  cartoons  causation  chan  charity  chart  cheatsheet  checklists  chemistry  china  christianity  circuits  civil-liberty  civilization  cjones-like  clarity  class  class-warfare  classic  clever-rats  climate-change  cliometrics  coalitions  coarse-fine  cocktail  coding-theory  cog-psych  cohesion  cold-war  collaboration  comics  commentary  communication  communism  comparison  compensation  competition  complement-substitute  complex-systems  complexity  composition-decomposition  computation  computer-vision  concentration-of-measure  concept  conceptual-vocab  concrete  concurrency  conference  confidence  confluence  confounding  conquest-empire  consilience  context  contracts  contradiction  contrarianism  convergence  cool  cooperate-defect  coordination  core-rats  corporation  correlation  cost-benefit  cost-disease  counterfactual  courage  course  cracker-econ  creative  crime  criminal-justice  critique  crooked  crux  crypto  cs  cultural-dynamics  culture  culture-war  curiosity  current-events  cybernetics  cycles  cynicism-idealism  dark-arts  darwinian  data  data-science  death  debate  debt  debugging  decision-making  decision-theory  deep-learning  deep-materialism  deepgoog  definite-planning  definition  degrees-of-freedom  democracy  demographics  dennett  density  descriptive  detail-architecture  developing-world  diet  differential  differential-privacy  dignity  dimensionality  direction  dirty-hands  discipline  discovery  discussion  disease  distribution  divergence  diversity  domestication  drugs  duality  duplication  duty  dynamic  dynamical  early-modern  ecology  econ-metrics  econ-productivity  econometrics  economics  econotariat  eden  eden-heaven  education  EEA  efficiency  egalitarianism-hierarchy  EGT  einstein  electromag  elite  embedded-cognition  embodied  emergent  emotion  empirical  ems  encyclopedic  endo-exo  energy-resources  engineering  enhancement  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  entanglement  entrepreneurialism  entropy-like  environment  envy  epidemiology  epistemic  equilibrium  ergodic  error  essay  essence-existence  estimate  ethics  ethnocentrism  EU  europe  events  evidence  evidence-based  evolution  evopsych  examples  exegesis-hermeneutics  existence  expansionism  expectancy  expert  expert-experience  explanans  explanation  exploratory  exposition  externalities  extra-introversion  extrema  facebook  farmers-and-foragers  fashun  FDA  fedja  fermi  feudal  feynman  fiction  finance  finiteness  fisher  flexibility  fluid  flux-stasis  flynn  focus  food  foreign-lang  formal-values  forms-instances  fourier  free-riding  frequency  frequentist  frontier  fungibility-liquidity  futurism  gallic  galor-like  game-theory  games  garett-jones  gbooks  gedanken  gelman  gender  gene-flow  generalization  generative  genetics  genomics  geoengineering  geography  geometry  germanic  giants  gibbon  gnon  gnosis-logos  gnxp  god-man-beast-victim  good-evil  google  gotchas  government  gowers  grad-school  gradient-descent  graph-theory  graphs  gravity  great-powers  gregory-clark  ground-up  growth  growth-econ  GT-101  guide  guilt-shame  GWAS  gwern  GxE  haidt  hamming  hanson  hard-tech  hardware  hari-seldon  harvard  healthcare  heavy-industry  hetero-advantage  heterodox  heuristic  hi-order-bits  hidden-motives  high-variance  higher-ed  history  hmm  hn  homepage  homo-hetero  homogeneity  honor  housing  hsu  huge-data-the-biggest  human-capital  human-ml  humanity  humility  hypocrisy  hypothesis-testing  ideas  identity  identity-politics  ideology  idk  IEEE  iidness  illusion  immune  impact  impetus  incentives  increase-decrease  india  individualism-collectivism  industrial-org  industrial-revolution  inequality  inference  info-dynamics  info-econ  info-foraging  infographic  information-theory  init  innovation  input-output  insight  instinct  institutions  integrity  intel  intelligence  interdisciplinary  interests  internet  interpretability  interpretation  intersection  intersection-connectedness  intervention  interview  intricacy  intuition  invariance  investing  ioannidis  iq  iron-age  is-ought  islam  isotropy  iteration-recursion  iterative-methods  janus  japan  jargon  journos-pundits  judaism  justice  kinship  knowledge  krugman  kumbaya-kult  labor  language  large-factor  latin-america  lattice  law  leadership  learning  lecture-notes  lectures  left-wing  legacy  legibility  len:long  lens  lesswrong  let-me-see  letters  levers  leviathan  lexical  life-history  lifts-projections  limits  linear-models  linear-programming  linearity  liner-notes  links  list  literature  local-global  logic  lol  long-short-run  long-term  longevity  longform  love-hate  low-hanging  lower-bounds  luca-trevisan  machine-learning  macro  madisonian  magnitude  malaise  malthus  management  managerial-state  manifolds  map-territory  marginal  market-failure  market-power  markets  markov  matching  math  math.CA  math.CO  math.CT  math.DS  math.FA  math.GR  math.NT  mathtariat  maxim-gun  meaningness  measure  measurement  mechanics  media  medicine  medieval  mediterranean  MENA  mental-math  meta:math  meta:medicine  meta:prediction  meta:research  meta:rhetoric  meta:science  metabuch  metameta  methodology  metrics  micro  microfoundations  microsoft  migration  minimalism  minimum-viable  miri-cfar  missing-heritability  mit  ML-MAP-E  mobile  mobility  model-organism  models  modernity  mokyr-allen-mccloskey  moloch  moments  monetary-fiscal  money  monte-carlo  morality  mostly-modern  motivation  multi  multiplicative  musk  mutation  mystic  myth  n-factor  narrative  nationalism-globalism  natural-experiment  nature  near-far  network-structure  neuro  neuro-nitgrit  neurons  new-religion  news  nibble  nietzschean  nihil  nitty-gritty  nl-and-so-can-you  nlp  no-go  noahpinion  noble-lie  noise-structure  nonlinearity  north-weingast-like  northeast  notation  novelty  nuclear  number  nutrition  nyc  obesity  objektbuch  occam  occident  oceans  ocw  old-anglo  oly  online-learning  open-closed  open-problems  operational  optimate  optimism  optimization  order-disorder  ORFE  org:anglo  org:biz  org:bleg  org:bv  org:econlib  org:edge  org:edu  org:inst  org:junk  org:lite  org:mag  org:mat  org:med  org:nat  org:popup  org:rec  org:sci  org:theos  organizing  orient  orourke  orwellian  oscillation  outcome-risk  outliers  overflow  p:*  p:someday  p:whenever  papadimitriou  papers  parable  paradox  parallax  parasites-microbiome  parsimony  path-dependence  patho-altruism  patience  paul-romer  paying-rent  pdf  peace-violence  people  personal-finance  personality  persuasion  perturbation  pessimism  phalanges  pharma  phd  philosophy  phys-energy  physics  pic  piketty  piracy  plots  poast  poetry  polanyi-marx  polarization  policy  polisci  political-econ  politics  poll  polynomials  pop-diff  popsci  population  population-genetics  postmortem  power  power-law  practice  pragmatic  pre-2013  pre-ww2  prediction  preference-falsification  prejudice  preprint  presentation  primitivism  princeton  prioritizing  priors-posteriors  pro-rata  probabilistic-method  probability  problem-solving  productivity  profile  programming  propaganda  properties  property-rights  proposal  protestant-catholic  prudence  pseudoE  psych-architecture  psychiatry  psychology  psychometrics  public-goodish  public-health  q-n-a  qra  QTL  quantifiers-sums  quantitative-qualitative  quantum  quantum-info  questions  quixotic  quotes  race  rand-approx  random  randy-ayndy  ranking  rant  rationality  ratty  reading  realness  realpolitik  reason  recommendations  recruiting  red-queen  redistribution  reduction  reference  reflection  regression  regression-to-mean  regularization  regularizer  regulation  reinforcement  relativity  religion  rent-seeking  replication  research  research-program  responsibility  retention  retrofit  review  revolution  rhetoric  rhythm  right-wing  rigidity  rigor  rigorous-crypto  risk  ritual  roadmap  robotics  robust  roots  rot  rounding  russia  s-factor  s:*  s:**  s:***  sampling  sanctity-degradation  sapiens  scale  scaling-up  schelling  scholar  scholar-pack  science  science-anxiety  scifi-fantasy  scitariat  search  securities  selection  self-control  self-interest  sequential  serene  sex  sexuality  shakespeare  shalizi  shannon  shift  signal-noise  signaling  signum  simulation  singularity  sinosphere  skeleton  skunkworks  slides  social  social-capital  social-choice  social-norms  social-psych  social-science  social-structure  sociality  society  sociology  socs-and-mops  soft-question  software  space  spatial  spearhead  spectral  speculation  speed  speedometer  spock  spreading  ssc  stackex  stagnation  stanford  startups  stat-mech  stat-power  state  state-of-art  statesmen  stats  status  stereotypes  stochastic-processes  stock-flow  stoic  stories  strategy  straussian  stream  street-fighting  stress  structure  study  studying  stylized-facts  subjective-objective  sublinear  success  sulla  summary  supply-demand  survey  sv  symmetry  synchrony  synthesis  systematic-ad-hoc  tactics  tails  talks  taxes  tcs  tcstariat  teaching  tech  technocracy  technology  techtariat  telos-atelos  temperance  temperature  tetlock  the-basilisk  the-bones  the-classics  the-devil  the-founding  the-great-west-whale  the-monster  the-self  the-trenches  the-watchers  the-west  the-world-is-just-atoms  theory-of-mind  theory-practice  theos  thermo  thick-thin  thiel  things  thinking  thurston  tidbits  tim-roughgarden  time  time-preference  time-series  todo  toolkit  top-n  topics  topology  traces  track-record  trade  tradeoffs  tradition  transportation  trees  trends  tribalism  tricki  tricks  trivia  troll  trust  truth  turing  tutorial  tutoring  twitter  UGC  unaffiliated  uncertainty  unintended-consequences  uniqueness  unit  universalism-particularism  urban-rural  us-them  usa  utopia-dystopia  vague  valiant  values  variance-components  vazirani  venture  video  virtu  visual-understanding  visualization  visuo  vitality  volo-avolo  von-neumann  war  water  waves  wealth  wealth-of-nations  web  welfare-state  west-hunter  westminster  whiggish-hegelian  whole-partial-many  wigderson  wiki  wild-ideas  winner-take-all  wire-guided  wisdom  within-without  wonkish  wordlessness  workshop  world  world-war  wormholes  worrydream  writing  X-not-about-Y  yoga  yvain  zeitgeist  zero-positive-sum  zooming  🌞  🎓  🎩  👳  🔬  🤖  🦉 

Copy this bookmark: