Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rust Belt Philosophy Makes AI Cry

Larry Niven's is a fine mind, but he has a tragic, incurable infection. He is an example of raving, fanatical progressivism. Well, he could try reading the Open Letter, but the prognosis is not good.

I'm not being facetious, it really is sad.

I see this, and I know he's not alone. I see not just him, but whole armies of fine minds going to waste. Absent this corruption, what would they have accomplished? What heights could they achieve? Think about it. What things, which now don't even exist, would be ubiquitous in a world where this disease had never taken hold?

Instead of making those things, coming up with those ideas, he's picking on the weak.
"[t]he China infant milk scandal, even though it has so far not damaged any American babies, has exposed a major defect in the concept of free trade. It's dangerous to buy products from a nation whose economy is not based on Judeo-Christian morality."
But, we expect that Republicans - especially the kind Niven is fond of showcasing - to be very Christian. For Phyllis Schlafly, basically anyone she doesn't like will be labelled 'un-Christian' and therefore 'dangerous.' It's a code phrase, not to be taken seriously. Let me translate.

"[t]he China infant milk scandal, even though it has so far not damaged any American babies, has exposed a major defect in the concept of free trade. It's dangerous to freely buy products from a nation who is immoral."

Frankly, this doesn't strike me as "dodgy reasoning" but rather as tautological. If free trade is a moral proposition, by the principle of self-defence, you don't open your borders to immoral people.

So, is China immoral* because it's not Christian? Frankly, who cares? People will always label other people they don't like as the out-group, which is what Schlafly is doing here. Schlafly isn't a philosopher, - and hopefully doesn't pretend to be - and we shouldn't expect her to be epistemologically sound, because it's hard to be epistemologically sound.

*(Niven: "China does not exactly qualify as a trustworthy exporter")

So I mention all this to demonstrate my concerns. (Well, convictions, but there's no substitute for 'convictions' with the connotations of 'concerns.') Also, we can see exactly what Niven is responding to; he has been labelled as out-group, and so, by reflex, he must out-group Schlafly. His codes are different. His sect has learnt from the mistakes of Schlafly's, and doesn't have a synonym for 'heresy,' and instead deploys sarcasm, misdirection, and intentional misunderstanding. There's no way to convince me that Niven couldn't have understood that Schlafly speaks in code - he already thinks she's dishonest, both to herself and others - if he wanted to.

Having written this, I seem to have gotten something out of my system, and I've noticed that the person who wrote the above is, to some degree, a mask. I have assumed that Niven really is incurable which, frankly, seems pretty likely. But, what do I really know? Have I even tried?

Well, sort of. I have been pleasantly surprised by Niven before. Perhaps this is just election fever, and he will return to a more respectable mode in the future. However, even in this, Niven is an exception; he sometimes rises above his creed, but rarely disappoints it. But still, what do I know?

Here's what I should say:

"Basically, Niven, you need to go after liberals. Idiocy is far from monopolized by the right. "This blog will seek to expose fallacies in today's mass media so that philosophers can better practice their craft." As in, not a progressivism advocacy blog, which is what you've written.

"In the piece at hand, because you're picking on the weak (Schlafly is not a philosopher, and hopefully doesn't pretend) you're essentially attacking a straw man. If, without reminding her of China, you go and ask Schafly about Japan, trade, and Christian morality, she is going to say something contradictory - but that contrad
iction works for her. She trades with Japan, but not China. The fact is, she does not herself know the exact reasons why this is, as, I repeat, she is not a philosopher. Townhall is an advocacy site. Analyzing her as if she did is dishonest. And you are a philosopher, and I expect, nay, demand better.

"You are also just as guilty of confusing, apparently intentionally, correlation with identity.
"but many followers of the Abrahamic religions still manage to muck things up (see e.g. the entire banking industry in the U.S. right now)."
"This has nothing to do with trade. If Schlafly were a philosopher, she might respond, 'The situation of a financial system has little to no connection to quality of consumer goods and general trustworthiness of exchanged products, unless the exact products in question are financial.'"

That's the main thrust, but I could go on.

"Most obviously, they don't care much, if at all, about human rights (Judeo-Christian or otherwise). Schlafly herself also points out that the poison-producing Chinese companies "enjoyed inspection-exempt status called 'mianjian'" under which "companies that passed quality tests for three years [are] trusted to regulate themselves." Such self-policing has a truly dismal record, so she could equally easily have concluded that any particular industry which serves as its own overseer will be vulnerable to these kinds of abuses"

All of which are rolled into Schafly's code, which basically translates to out-group badness.

"Apparently, for her, poisoned pet food, toothpaste, and paint on children's toys are all forgivable offenses, or perhaps she just operates on the old four-strikes-you're-out policy."
Mockery is not an argument. Engaging in it only discredits yourself. Think about it; either you're in a position of strength, socially speaking, and the mockery can work - but is unnecessary. Everyone already agrees with you. Or, if you're in a position of weakness, it will accomplish nothing but counter-derision. In other words, by using it effectively you prove that you should not have used it at all.
"The sheer stupidity of this argument might not be ultimately attributable to Schlafly's age, but whatever the cause, her claims in this case simply beg to be rejected."
Assuming you're an uncharitable, left-leaning fanatic and intellectual bully, I agree. (I shouldn't say this part.)

In this particular case, I know exactly what the coat-maker would have bought absent the broken window. Niven would be executing a project I myself often have the urge to do; back when I read papers, I wanted to whap the journalists upside the head with their own papers for their astounding intellectual gaffes. And indeed, many of them can be responded to exactly as Niven responded to this one.

However, because I also fell into the trap Niven has stumbled into here, I began to find it necessary to disprove someone using their own statements - to reference their system of values, not mine. Similarly, to ask if Schlafly ("
has exposed a major defect in the concept of free trade") was aware of previous disappointments by China, ("for her, poisoned pet food, toothpaste, and paint on children's toys are all forgivable offenses") or if rather the others were somehow different in her view. For instance, if she missed the toys, then none of the products were aimed at vulnerable children. (Incidentally, in a commercial context, are their non-children's toys for which we need to differentiate?)

Do note that there are valid uses of mockery. For instance, if someone self-contradicts, you can go right ahead and make fun of them for it. In this case, the mockery highlights something which goes unnoticed (nobody self-contradicts on purpose) and can, in fact, turn a hostile crowd into a supportive one...I think, anyway. I can't exactly test that right now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gaming Myths

I've come to despise the word 'debunked.' It brooks no argument. If the debunker is wrong, what are you doing...re-bunking? Accept your Ignorance. The correct term is 'challenged,' or, rarely, 're-educated.'

Still, in my opinion, this list is pretty well definitive. It's written by someone who is the very opposite of a sensationalizing journalist. Similarly, he skillfully highlights the logical deficiencies of the scientists producing many studies.

The link I found it at is pretty much a linkjack, but does say,

"Video games, like any other form of media, can only trigger the desire for violence already lying dormant in an emotionally disturbed child. They cannot “corrupt” someone who is mentally stable and understands that there is a distinct difference between fact and fiction."


The Binary Nature of Probability Judgements; Application to Property

Also raising dogs.

It's come to my attention that my understanding of how people deal with probability and Ignorance is radically different than anyone else's. I use the concept 'reasonably expect' in my definition of property. In fact, I use this idea all over the place. But what, exactly, I mean by 'reasonably expect' I cannot, apparently, reasonably expect anyone to figure out.

To start, let me analyze dogs, owners, biting, and pet stores. I'm simplifying the example, so hopefully I will explicitly give all the information my analysis uses. It turns out the extra information is irrelevant anyway.

A woman walks into a pet store. It's a small shop, with a polished hardwood board floor, a large front window, and two rows of various cages and aquaria around the walls. She must step forward from the doorway to see the counter on her right past a cage stack. She wants a dog, of which this store has 20. (They're on the left wall with the older dogs on the bottom row.)

She knows that 5% of dogs bite their owner, which, statistically speaking, means one of those dogs will bite her. She does not know anything else: it could be any of the dogs. Nevertheless, she walks up to the counter, buys a puppy, and takes it home.

For this woman, I'll call her Sheila, the biting is a deal breaker; if she knew for certain her dog would bite her, she would never have bought it or would immediately return it.

Now, what is the probability her dog will bite her?

It's 100%. Or 0%. If Sheila talked to an oracle, the oracle would immediately know that she should either keep or return the dog. However, with the actually available information, Sheila is 95% certain her dog will not bite her. She takes it home and raises it.

She is acting, in other words, exactly as if she had talked to the oracle, and was told the probability is 0%. She would continue acting this way all the way up to 9%, in which case she would not buy a dog.

Law of excluded middle. There is no third option. Sheila acts exactly as if she had 100% certainty, no matter her actual certainty.

Now I'll return somewhat to the real world. The way Sheila raises her dog affects the probability she will be bitten. I'm going to analyze pickpocketing instead, however.

If I am sufficiently certain my wallet will get stolen, I'm not going to take it with me. Let's say for the sake of argument this number is 5%. But, I can improve my security, perhaps by chaining the wallet to my belt. Assume that I do, and I take my wallet to the shady area. Am I still acting as if I had 100% certainty?

Yes. I have not entered the excluded middle, but rather I've found that I have power over the probabilities. In my estimation, adding the chain lowered the probability from 8% to less than 1%; I have passed the threshold with delineates taking my wallet versus not.

This is expectation. This is the binary nature of expectation.

I use the construction 'if you reasonably expect to control it, you own it.'

By 'reasonable' I simply mean that - again, we're in the real world - I didn't try to consult an oracle. Rather, I read the news and found that the area was shady; 8% of people were getting their wallets stolen there. Similarly, I believe that a chain would prevent this. It doesn't matter that, in fact, my chain is faulty and if I'm one of those 8% the pickpocket will easily circumvent it, because I had no reason to believe so. (Again, either I will be targeted or not. For me, it's either 100% or 0%...although technically the future doesn't exist.) However, I cannot be insane; I can't put Jello on my wallet and reasonably expect to always still have it at the end of the day.

This is also to forestall saying "Well, the Palestinians expect to control Jerusalem, doesn't that mean they own it?" Sure, they do, but not reasonably. In this case, we can just test it; are the actions of Israel directly controlled by Palestine?

However, for the purposes of ownership in general, we cannot, or ownership would simply be synonymous with control, and theft would be meaningless. Instead, the link above attempts to prove that once property rights are extended beyond self-ownership, they retain the intrinsic moral status of self-ownership. That is, if a societal technology allows me to own more things than I can personally secure, the morality of theft is completely unaffected.

Incidentally, Sheila was right. She raised the dog with affection and respect, but firmly asserted her own rights. She did not, in other words, abuse it. Her puppy grew into a strong, healthy dog who knew exactly who the pack leader was, and never felt the need to attack to communicate with Sheila.

Re-reading that, it sounds awfully...pat. Like I've memorized a public service announcement. Yet, for once, it's true. Affection. Respect - the dog has feelings too, along with desires and rights. Assertion - setting limits for your own health, so that you can continue to interact healthily with the dog. If you want to do it right, of course, you have to look up all the details, but these things will drop the chance that your dog will bite you to infinitesimal levels. Also, you do get a much happier dog.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Life; Independent Discovery; Definitions

The thing about truth is that it's self-evident if you're skilled at looking, which is the basis of the scientific method's insistence on replicating results. As such it's always nice when I find someone independently repeating my idea.

A little line generally unrelated to the piece at hand.
"Amoebas and smaller single-celled organisms respond to their surroundings, not just in a pre-organised way, but flexibly, managing to respond and adapt even to new circumstances. This kind of responsiveness to the environment, in his view, is the elementary precursor to true intentionality: the responses are not, in detail at least, written into the organism, and they are, at a basic level, goal-directed."
In other words, someone else has discovered my definition of life, although without realizing what they've found.

All life can be assigned goals; threats can be defined for which the amoeba will defend against; for instance, threats to the integrity of the cell wall. Similarly, it likes to find food, and any circumstance where its sensors are useful will result in food-finding behaviour.

However, this intentionality is not an actual object or a real physical property. Strong emergence doesn't exist.* Ergo, it cannot be the basis of our conscious intentionality.

*(I should really write a note about how to define what a 'property' is.)

Rather, this definition is simply the result of the proper way to go about definition; if we have a word in natural language, like life, with a strong intuitive definition but lacking a logical one, we must tailor the logic to match the intuition as closely as possible. However, we cannot expect, one way or another, to define something that actually exists. We must discover this by analyzing the definition we construct.

Energy exists, and has properties which define interactions. As it happens, we called some sets of these interactions 'life.' However, while meaningful to us, the distinction between alive and dead is arbitrary, physically speaking, which is why the definition must be phrased 'can be assigned goals,' not 'has goals.'

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Warrior Tanking

This blog is primarily for my philosophy, but I'm also a gamer.

Before Burning Crusade, I AOE tanked a few times, and it turned out that I was really good at it.

I found reading this unbearable.
"Warriors and Druids cannot easily tag large groups of mobs, which can cause healer deaths to occur too quickly"
Are you insane? It's called demo shout, an integral part of your mitigation array. If I were you, I'd bind it to C so I can tap it without even thinking. (I don't use wasd, so C is the wrong place for me.)

When I was tanking, I often wondered if my healers were even generating aggro. There's also no problem with hunter pulls; melee the one they hit and get the rest with demo shout. When I'm playing a warrior, I don't need a pulling skill; I usually got my warlock friend to pull for me, because he knows the pulls better.

So, warrior AOE tanking. Pre-BC, rend was actually one of your most efficient damage skills, second only to the tier 7 talents. I found that rend alone was enough to hold healer aggro. And of course for AOE it's your friend because it's efficient to fire and forget. (When your main target loses rend, refresh on all the others as well.)

I didn't use thunder clap for anything but the damage reduction, because I wasn't sure how much bonus threat it gave...plus it's just a pain to stance dance too often. Instead, I spammed demo shout in between sunders. Every few seconds I'd switch targets to keep the sunder stacks and rend up on the other mobs.

Now with BC, devastate would make this tactic even more effective, although there is a limit - it's not like BC paladins where you can just spam blizzard on them, which I'll go into below.

AOE talents. The only reason I didn't take booming voice was that it would pull adds, especially with the frequency I use demo shout. But if you're intentionally AOEing, booming voice is just awesome - refreshing two minute buffs really sucks. Similarly, improved rend would drastically increase my ability to AOE tank.

And now, with the new AOE talents and abilities in Wrath, putting rend on everything is just the icing on the cake. Personally, I find paladin tanking too easy. I should have to switch targets a lot if they're under heavy AOE fire.

But yes, this is limited; it cannot tank arbitrary numbers of mobs the way paladin AOE can.
And yes, the threat on demo shout, our target-indifferent skill, doesn't scale at all, which sucks. It's still good for grabbing initial aggro, however, since you should be casting it anyway. Even if thunder clap were buffed to AOE well, you can't choose which four targets it hits, though if you somehow could it would work just fine.

But frankly, demo shout should scale with gear anyway (use set bonuses) and the threat should scale with the debuff, so that improved demo shout is basically the premiere AOE tanking talent.

However, if nothing else, a simple AOE rend would completely solve the problem. Or, give shockwave or something a high hit chance and then get deep wounds. Make those fuckers bleed and they'll never so much as flinch.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cranial Repairs

In the last several years I've been doing repairs on my brain.

I brought down a bunch of functions so I could work on them, but this was at the start of the period, and I quickly found that I couldn't bring them back up again. This was pretty worrying.

It turns out well, in that the reason I couldn't bring them back up was because they really were that badly damaged. Now I've made sufficient progress that I'm getting some of the status lights to flicker green again.

This is trivially good because repairs were made...but the fact that I can make repairs is much more profoundly awesome. It means I can self-diagnose, self-test, and self-repair, without any training or indeed anyone even suggesting that I needed repair.

This likely means that you, (as in you personally) can also do this, if you want.

Do be advised that since my brain was in the same state as Voyager under heavy fire, it's likely that yours is also has serious scars. Don't bring down systems you're critically relying on, even if it looks like they're failing, because you might not be able to bring them back up.

Actually, on second thought, do. The reason you're not allowed to bring them back up is it would only cause more damage. The brain, as brains are, is self-aware, and so if it's not letting you bring stuff back up, this isn't because it's not aware of possible external failures. It's because its assessment showed that the internal damage is too excessive to justify saving whatever it is externally.

Zombies, Profession, Beliefs

I've written on the subject before, so I consider it my professional duty to read other people's ideas about why zombies are impossible.

This one in particular is terrible.

As a requirement for the argument, Teed Rockwell states that there is no such thing as direct awareness. Obviously this means that all awareness is indirect.

This can be disproven with a linguistic construct. "All awareness in only known indirectly through ____." But of course, because ___ is direct, it doesn't exist by assumption. Therefore, if Rockwell's was the only argument that zombies are impossible, the the fact that we experienced reading the argument would prove that zombies are possible.

Notably, I don't particularly care if zombies are possible or not. If they are, then obviously consciousness isn't physical. (For the reasons analyzed in the article.) If they're not, then the only way to have physical consciousness is to assume that the problem of consciousness is unsolvable, but the stuff just exists, as all physical stuff just exists.

Because this is philosophy, there is no reason you have to choose one or the other - there is no experiment we can do to distinguish the two. (Barring the mind node working, for the moment.) As such, even in a purely truth-loving world, there would be at least two viable philosophies, of which you just pick the one you like best.

Because of this, any large group of people whose thoughts follow an obvious coordination signal are almost certainly not following the truth; on certain key subjects the truth is ambiguous. On these key nodes, you would expect a characteristic statistical divergence, and like this one, a divergence with noticeable philosophical knock-on effects. There is a good reason academic philosophy is divided into schools.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Temptation and Maturity in Anglophone Society

Analyzed through women and alcohol.

I can finally put it into words: I think one day we'll have adults in our society again. I think one day we'll realize that even though appearances are easier to manipulate, the truth is much more satisfying.

"Good" women aren't supposed to drink. Right now, this is considered "Oppression! Sexism! Reactionary!" "Conservative" is a very dirty word. But lets actually look at this.

Women are supposed to be more responsible than men, because their responsibility impacts the children more directly. A responsible mother and an irresponsible father is a better combination than the reverse.

Does a responsible adult get drunk? Of course not. That's the opposite of responsibility. Besides, real adults don't need to get drunk to enjoy themselves, though they can if they want to, on occasion.

In other words, only children find 'wild' women sexy. Adults find responsibility to be much more sexy - sexier, in fact, than they ever found 'wildness' to be. It's not as intense, but it's much broader, much more satisfying.

Getting drunk itself is just more of the same. It's fun...in a shallow, narrow sort of sense. Fine once in a while, if you're into that sort of thing. But having real, mature fun is a much deeper, much broader and more...wholistic joy than alcohol could even dream of making.

It's real, in other words, not just a veneer or an illusion. It's the meat, not just the dressing. The cake, not just icing. (You'll notice that children love icing.) A real, flesh and/or blood human being instead of a flickering mechanical image.

Our culture, our society, is obsessed with illusions. Addicted doesn't begin to cover it - just think up all the ways someone could be entangled with temptation and you'll start getting the picture. And that's not temptation out of the Bible - that's temptation from the real source, the same source the Bible got it from - alcohol is tempting, no? But it isn't real. And - you'll have heard this before - it's not ultimately satisfying. You want, ultimately, a high that's like alcohol's but that's stable because it's a real high, instead of a transient illusion. But, that's more work. Ultimately, alcohol is just temps you away from doing the actual work of getting the real deal. If you succumb to temptation, you waste your time.

Many people, especially responsible adults, know this instinctively, which is why they condemn porn. Porn doesn't degrade women - that's just their naive interpretation of their intuition or instinct. What porn does is tempt you away from dealing with real women, because it appears to satisfy the urge, and is a lot easier. Imagine that, every time you wanted to look at porn, you had to actually deal with a real woman instead. Now imagine yourself actually satisfying the porn urge by actually doing that. (Not necessarily sex every time here, guys.) How good would you get at dealing with women? How much would you learn, how much would you grow? Compare that to what porn actually provides for you, and you begin to see why porn is called 'smut' with all the connotations thereof. Yes, it is linguistically related to, for instance, corn smut, which are the words for a pathological fungus.

Now, why do theistic religions, like Progressivism's mortal enemy, Christianity, come down so hard on smut? Clearly, their edicts are not supported by the facts. Masturbating will not actually send you to hell, not their literal hell nor the metaphorical hell of just failing at life.

As most things aren't, religions are not rational. (Hopefully the first culture that celebrates consciousness, thinking, and self-awareness will form soon, like in the next millennium or so.) So you wouldn't expect their stated reasons nor their exact predictions to match reality. Instead, you only expect them to be effective.

Christianity's edicts are effective at one thing at least - by over-blowing the consequences of temptation, it makes it much easier for potential adults to avoid them. If you think sex out of wedlock will doom you forever with little chance of reprieve, then it's much much easier to not do it. Since, (especially during Christianity's formative years) sex outside some sort of marriage-like contract does lead to many very negative consequences, such as starving babies and hideous diseases, making it easier to avoid is a very good thing. As a bonus, sex doesn't, of course, always lead to these metaphorical hells, and each time it's risked with no backlash slowly erodes the warnings of the wiser...until you get burned, that is, and it's too late. Over-blowing the consequences helps counteract this compound temptation.

Before our culture was speared in the nads, it used mechanisms like these, non-rational yet effective mechanisms, to transmit best practise, which used to be called wisdom. Getting drunk used to be known by everyone to be a lower-class thing to do, a thing you did either when you couldn't do anything else (e.g. breakup) or because you couldn't help yourself, and the latter was considered contemptible. Very few of these people knew explicitly that alcohol is a waste of time, a side-path leading away from the road to enjoy life, yet they acted exactly as if they did know that.

Now, of course, every other blog and half of Facebook is logs of people getting drunk and pissing around. These people think going out and not getting drunk is weird, strange, a little lower-class. And they can't get their lives together. Now why might that be?

Laying on the debt, not worrying about the future, not preparing to have children, spending a decade in college, getting drunk all the time...and calling anyone who mentions they shouldn't 'oppressive' or some synonym. Oh, yeah, and widespread depression. Could these possibly be related?

And watching Friends instead of talking to their friends. Following celebrity relationships instead of following their own. In moderation, harmless...

So why do I write this? Why am I so concerned? I'm sick of icing. And I'm sick to death of people telling me that since Christianity has some factual errors, icing is all there is. You think the religious right is guilty of splitting? Not a fan? Don't go anywhere near Dawkins.

I don't have TV because I don't want any more icing. I don't read newspapers because I don't want any more icing; I wish I never had to see another commercial again, of any kind. I don't like talking to most people because I don't want any more icing. I don't even try to start conversations anymore because I know I'll just get icing. I can't stand any more smalltalk. I don't get drunk. I don't take advantage of all the easy sex out there. I restrict my porn intake as much as I am capable. I don't do drugs, even caffeine.

I don't want to live in a democracy because I'm fucking sick and tired of icing.

I don't, I don't, I don't, I don't...because none of that is good enough for me. I want something better.

I want Truth. The Whole Truth. And nothing but the Truth. So help me God.

Hey look, I randomly found an example of the culture. No, people, just because Christianity is wrong doesn't mean only icing exists.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I found the purpose of insults! Squee!

I completely disagree with both Stephan Molyneux and in fact most of the progressive tradition. Insults and 'hurt feelings' are not abuse when used correctly.

Up front, there is never any reason to insult your children. Correct, yes, insult, never. That is abuse. Further, if you insult with any intention but the one below, it's abuse, but only because it is in the general meaning of 'abnormal use.'

The purpose if insults is to correct misbehavior and to drive away undesirables.

In a conversation between two people, one does something contemptible, and so the second hurls an insult. This allows One two options - either correct the behavior, which will halt the insults, or decide that Two is not someone they want to hang around, which will halt the flow of insults. In other words, two natural responses to insults - to correct, and to ostracize.

Used this way, insults are not attacks. Any response that heightens or sustains insults is cowardly on the part of One or violent on the part of Two. This is the third response - further insults. Starting a fight is always a bad idea, and so this is hardly unique to insults.

I would like to give special attention to insults directed at something One cannot or will not change. They are also abuse, that is, abnormal use. If you just want to drive someone away, insult them for being annoying, not, for instance, fat. They might just surprise you by becoming not-annoying. If so, then you won't want to drive them away, so don't start insulting them for being fat. Such abnormally used insults are also dishonest.

The 'State' of String Theory

String theory is very very wrong, though I've found a loophole. It turns out that this loophole is fascinating, but first, anarchism for spice.

String theory is wrong because it has State funding.

The State
Even people who are very evil end up doing a bunch of nice things, unintentionally or because it's necessary for their goals, just as nice people accidentally or by lack of willpower end up doing a bunch of evil things. (Are or were your roommates sadistic, or merely the standard-issue flawed human being?)

However, States actually break everything. Tax funding is a recipe for disaster, which can only be countered by huge amounts of patching effort. Why is this?

It's because States are supposed to uphold Law, but States enforce this through physical supremacy, through the military, and by extension, the police forces. In other words, States are the manifestation of might means right. If the State's might vanishes, 'right' or 'justice' also vanishes. For a State, if you cannot apply physical supremacy, your law does not apply.

This is an inherently corrupt system because it means that statements like, "I am the Law," are exactly correct. Yes, cops and kings are above the Law. We can pretend otherwise, but only as long as the cop or king allows us to. If the cops all decided to speed 50 above the limit, who is going to stop them? The army? Oh wait, the army all wants to speed too...

No, only citizens are affected by State law, and that law is might. (We do notice that good states try to approximate actual ethics very closely, and that this leads to wealth and power.) The law extends exactly as far as the might does, and the might cannot extend to itself.

Using the definition of what 'law' is supposed to be, as used in statements like 'The (x) is not above the law!" State law is a contradiction. There is not, and cannot be, any such thing. As a result, all State laws are a priori illegal, and taxation is, in fact, theft.

Explicitly, law is supposed to be the manifestation of ethics. State law is antiethical. Ergo, all State laws are the opposite of justice.

Because of this inherent hypocrisy and evil of the State, when it funds something with its evil money, it becomes corrupt, just as a State is. All the incentives are backwards. When physics got State funding a disaster became inevitable.

String Theory
String theory is obviously wrong for two reasons. It is incredible that so many well-funded physicists have completely overlooked these reasons.

First, the space is supposed to be 11-dimensional, but the strings are 1-dimensional. This would mean that the strings would never interact, as their interaction space is 11-dimensional, and their 11-dimensional intersection is always zero, by definition. (Which is what this was trying to get me to realize.)

Now, real particles are supposed to be zero-dimensional in a 3+1 D space, but real particles are only pointlike in mathematical abstraction. Real particles are smeared out over space by Heisenburg uncertainty, and always have a 3-dimensional extent. (You can look at quantum interactions as probability distributions that happen to interact stochastically.)

Incidentally Heisenburg uncertainty is an inherent property of waves, including vibrations in circular strings. Waves have a maximum certainty in momentum and position. For strings, this would mean that particles types were in fact uncertain. Other than neutrinos - which only turn into basically identical other-neutrinos - we see nothing at all even like particle type uncertainty.

String theory has to be false. It self-contradicts and also contradicts all the known evidence. The loophole is to consider string theory and loop quantum gravity to be true.

In this way, space is quantized - imagine it as a grid, even though it wouldn't be. Each quantum gravity loop is actually just space itself. Specifically, it's an 11-dimensional loop, although the connection matrix is 3-dimensional. The vibration of the loop determines what each point in space is, not what it contains. There would be a vibration for empty space, and a vibration for each particle.

The loop vibrations would discontinuously quantum jump from one loop to the next. Actually, from one loop to all neighbouring loops. Let me do an example.

A collision would be the vibration for electron actually entering the loop which was vibrating as a proton. This would cause a violent energy reaction. However, while the actual vibration for the electron moves around like a checker piece, it would constantly be radiating Quantum Field Theory (QFT) carrier particles - it would be sending the carrier vibrations into all neighbouring loops, which recall have the empty space vibration. The carrier vibrations would interact with the carrier vibrations for the proton and, through the strong force, prevent any actual collision. (However, a positron would in fact enter the loop for the electron, causing both to turn into the vibrations for gamma rays instead.)

But also, the apparently 'empty' loops have a vibration - the zero point vibration. This would constantly be propagating as well, both as a checker piece and by sending out carrier particle-vibrations. Obviously, the interaction between the zero point vibration with itself is basically nothing, causing empty space to just kind of fizz unnoticeably with itself. However, the carrier particles would most likely be dark energy.

Once again, although string theory is wrong, as often, a generalization of Hegel's thesis, antithesis, synthesis ends up not only solving the problems with both perspectives, but several others as well.

Some theses:

Materialism/Physicalism/Objectivity, String Theory, Evolution, Abortion. Copyright.


Dualism/Spiritualism/Subjectivity, Loop Quantum Gravity, Creation, Murder. Bittorrent.


The Mind Node. The 'State' of String Theory. An Upcoming Article, Which May Not Actually Get All The Way To Synthesis. Basic Ethics. IP and a Tentative Solution.

(Note that I've never read a word of Hegel.)

I'm sure that Loop-String Quantum Gravity solves several other serious problem as well. Even if not, it produces an extremely handy metaphor for talking about dark matter.

Dark matter is a vibration in the string that produces graviton-like carrier radiation but otherwise does not interact except upon a direct hit. Even on a direct hit, the vibration interaction can simply superpose upon the 'normal' matter vibration and then carry on as normal, without actually changing either vibration.

I find this a much better conception than what's usually presented - which can be summed up with "Gravity Pixies." They're everywhere, you know, they just don't normally decide to touch us, but they do have mass. See how the current evidence can't falsify this claim?

Saturday, September 6, 2008




This isn't the first time I've noticed this discrepancy, which I find with disturbing frequency when I'm Googling my own posts, which I do when I don't want to search my own archive.

Our Society vs Childrearing

I don't want to clutter up the comments here.


So...when raising children, you should use tactics appropriate on the battlefield?

Let me just say that again.

When dealing with the most delicate and harmless beings on the planet, we should treat them the same way we treat people we're brutally trying to kill.

(And now you can see why it's clutter. If nothing else, I'd rather not sidetrack the debate in this direction.)

Yeah, this is why I don't want to have kids. Either Anonymom is right, and we should punish our children's complaints - legitimate or not - in which case I'm simply not cruel enough to want children. Or, she's completely wrong, but the only well-behaved children who my kids will have to interact with are kids who are treated this way, and again, I'm not cruel enough to want to do that to my children.

Of course, her analysis of the results of progressive childrearing is dead on, hence the well-behaved caveat. Again, it's an incredibly cruel thing to do to children.

While I'm on the topic...take a quick glance at this.

So. When doing it to an adult, it's obviously sadistic. But if that adult is smaller, more vulnerable, and helpless, it's not sadistic! Yay!

No. In fact, this is a great algorithm; could I possibly justify doing this to an adult? If not, you can't justify doing it to a child, either. It's cruelty, plain and simple.

Note that this doesn't even need caveats. For instance, diapers. Sure, putting a diaper on an able-bodied adult, or changing that diaper, isn't justifiable. But notice that I had to say 'able-bodied.' No one, including the adult, would (rationally) object if they are not able-bodied.

Similarly, things which an adult will agree to but a child will not - well, you can justify doing it to an adult, now can't you? Insisting on teeth-brushing, for example. Most adults will appreciate the extra insurance in getting it done - if not now, then later. (Any adult who would object to someone making sure they brush their teeth at all is an adult generally accepted to be slightly insane.)

Occasionally we do more for a child than we would a similarly-abled adult, such as dressing a child that technically can do it themselves. The algorithm doesn't work when reversed - doing more for a child that can be justified for an adult is not proscribed, just as if you really want to do my laundry for me, I'm not going to object. This depends, in both my case, and the child's case, on the subject not objecting, as indeed if you're going to override the wishes of any conscious being, you better have a damn good reason. (Making sure you don't become too angry at your child is a very good reason, and can be used to justify enforcing no-whining policies, for instance, in limited situations.)

But, in almost all cases, if it's cruelty to an adult, it's cruelty to a child. And here's a quick check - if the child could fight back, as an adult can, would you still do it? Especially as children have weak moral checks, almost certainly not. It's almost certainly the case that, for instance spanking is used not because there's any compelling reason but just because power corrupts. Adults can, it gets immediate results, (parents are not stupid - if spanking actually promoted violence, they'd notice) and the children certainly can't fight back. The fact that's it fits the definition of torture doesn't enter the equation.

Unless you have actual compunctions against torture, that is. Basically, with such compunction, you find the least painful effective method of reaching the same goal - or you give up the goal as not worth the moral hazard.

Basically, if you have the physical power necessary to spank your child, you don't need to spank them. Spanking is simply a further step on physical restraint.

All of this is compounded because children are, in fact, very delicate. You can, as I hope is obvious, convince a child of nearly anything, especially if you're their parent. For parents, it's so extreme that you could cut off an arm without anaesthetic and force them to eat it raw, and still convince them it was for their own good. ("Your arm-meat enhances virility." The only reason you don't see this exact thing in primitive cultures is that not having an arm is too much of a liability. They'll cut up basically everything else...)

In the case of spanking, if you tell a child it's "For your own good!" enough times, when they grow up they'll believe it was for their own good. Also, the idea that it's not for their own good will cause a significant amount of pain - as the idea that the spanking is not justified leads to disobedience which leads to spanking, which leads to an indelible association between the idea and pain.

More dubiously, this kind of torture may cause significant cognitive dissonance. In a natural state, it's dead obvious that if someone has the power to spank you against your will, then their is no need for them to do so. (And if they're letting themselves be spanked - again, there's no need. Just use that psychological power to stop the behavior.) To spare the child the horror of knowing they have 15+ years left with this monster, they let themselves be convinced that it is in some ineffable way justified.

Having gone through the opposite - I was truth loving even when very small - I can state with conviction that realizing I had 12 more grades stuck with some of the most monstrous 'humans' on the planet was not preferable to the illusion. The stress of the situation simply adds to the stress of knowing you can't end it.

The fact is, wrong is wrong is wrong. If imposing your will on another concious being is wrong, it's always wrong. The age of the being is but one irrelevant variable. Physical aggression is always wrong except in self defense. Spanking for punishment is always wrong.

My mother, despite her many faults, did not ever punish me for whining. Did she get a lot of whining? Not in her book. In fact, I was told I was a good kid not just by her but by everyone with such reliability that I got bored of it and stopped paying attention.

If your children whine, it's not because you're punishing them insufficiently for it. It's because you're doing something very very wrong. If they're having a tantrum, nine times out of ten it's becuase you provoked a tantrum.

However, none of this contradicts this little fact. If they're defying you...it's because you let them. The tenth time they have a tantrum is because you let the tantrum work, so they decided to try again.
"And so they are sweet and compliant, as long as everyone knows who is really in charge. "
Your children should never be confused about who's in charge - you. This is a physical fact which you cannot change. If your five year old says, "NO! I don't wanna go in the car!" Assuming you've done your 'if it was an adult' due diligence...don't argue with them. Just pick them up, and put them in the car, and lock the doors so they can't get out. No need to let them upset you, or work overly hard to convince them. Just pick them up, and put them in the car. Poof. Problem solved.

If they're hitting their playmate...tell them to stop. If they don't, then pick them up, and take them out of range. If they can't not hit, then they can't play. Simple as that.

Pretending otherwise is the flaw that breaks progressive childrearing. If the child demands something, then the algorithm applies - if an adult arbitrarily demands something from you, do you give it to them? Why on earth would you accede when they're smaller and incapable of hurting you? Even research has shown that even children prefer knowing an adult is in charge. Again, from my own experience, knowing that my parents were kind of useless - that if I had a problem, basically it was up to me to fix it - was not a fun thing to know.

Something else from the cognitive dissonance camp; the relationship people wanted with their parents is the one they demand from the state. Coincidence? Probably not. It could be that this is an example of unsatisfied needs getting ossified and being brought forward into adulthood. Again, from my own experience, I was allowed to indulge my hyper-materialism as a child, and so I got over it, and I now live without a car, air conditioning, cable TV, or very much in the way of decoration. My need to be supplied with stuff was satisfied, and so the need went away. (For actual parents; you don't have to give in to every little desire, as obviously children will always ask for more, often even if they're already sated. Just figure out what a 'lot' is and satisfy a lot of their materialism. As always, this doesn't work for all children - they have to be like me in some sense.)

Now, with teenagers, obviously this physical dominance is fading. However, if you really had no control over your child...then forbidding anything would never work. But it does. In fact, I was constantly surprised at how effective parental edicts were. (Or teacher edicts, or state edicts...)

For example, the punishment "Go to your room!" (I was sent to my room a grand total of once, and it was for breaking a sensible rule I knew about beforehand. I was seven or so.) So, if you actually didn't have the power to fix their problem behavior...that psychological leverage...would they actually go to their room? That is, without you physically hauling them there? Would they in fact stay in the room (or in the 'time out' spot) for the full duration, or just until you weren't looking?

No, if you have the power to punish them at all, then you have the power to stop them from doing anything they need to be punished for in the first place. (Mostly.)

It's actually the rare exception for most kids to do anything but exactly what they're told. There is some testing of limits of course - which is when you need to let them know that you're in charge, because that's exactly what they're trying to ask. Similarly, children forget or make poor judgement calls. ("I can totally keep the ball away from the lamp...") However, for most kids, obedience is the rule.

I don't know how this works exactly, but it does. Just as your ability to easily pick up a child is waning, the ability to get them to understand, remember, and carry out your directives is waxing.

So, don't be a wuss - use that power to make your kids behave. Don't be a terrorist - if you have to punish, it's because you're weak or you failed. (Mostly. Again, use your judgement - I obviously haven't reviewed every single situation, and so maybe your particular instance is an exception.) Do be firm to unyielding, do allow yourself your comfort, do take responsibility for being a parent to your child - not their equal.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Found A Loophole

...in my proof that consciousness isn't physical.

While any assumption that consciousness is a physical phenomenon leads to contradiction, there is a conception of consciousness that works around this limitation without necessarily positing dualism.

You can roll it into the mystery of existence.

Here's the problem; dualism, monism, doesn't matter, why does stuff exist at all? This is not a physically resolvable question because humans can make mistakes. Even if it turns out that under any system we can conceive, there is only one way and one reason for stuff to exist,* we might have missed something. Maybe our brains, having been manufactured in this existence, cannot properly conceive of alternatives.

*(That would make stuff, specifically our stuff, inevitable.)

The only consistent solution to monist consciousness (that I've found) is then to say consciousness just exists. Consciousness still has to be panpsychic - without differences in fundamental particles, it is impossible to isolate consciousness to brains - but it just exists, and its first property is that, for instance, it gathers around areas of high Φ.

It just does, okay?

This loophole suffers from the flaw usually levelled at dualism; it puts the question beyond answering.

What the Hell is Community?

An inquiring mind wants to know what, in exacting detail, 'community' is supposed to be.

It seems to be a feel-good buzzword with no exact meaning whatsoever. It's a ritual word people say when they like what's going on.

But, you know, I could be wrong.

Specifically, want to be able to evaluate communities in reference to the ideal, to tell the difference between good and bad or healthy and less communities, and to differentiate communities from things that look similar but are different. (It looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and tastes like broccoli.)