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-4

The so-called "scientific method" is, I think, rather poorly understood. For example, let us consider one of the best-known laws of nature, often simply referred to as the Law of Gravity:

Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation: Every object in the universe attracts every other object toward it with a force proportional to the product of their masses, divided by the square of the distance between their centers of mass.

Now here is a series of questions for you, which I often ask audiences when I give lectures on the philosophy of science:

  1. Do you believe Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation is true?
  2. If so, how sure are you that it is true?
  3. Why do you believe it, with that degree of certainty?

The most common answers to these questions are "yes", "very sure", and "because it has been extensively experimentally verified." Those answers sound reasonable to any child of the Enlightenment -- but I submit, on the contrary, that this set of answers has no objective basis whatsoever. To begin with, let us ask, how many confirming experiments do you think would have been done, to qualify as "extensive experimental verification." I would ask that you, the reader, actually pick a number as a rough, round guess.

Whatever number N you picked, I now challenge you state the rule of inference that allows you to conclude, from N uniform observations, that a given effect is always about from a given alleged cause. If you dust off your stats book and thumb through it, you will find no such rule of inference rule there. What you will find are principles that allow you to conclude from a certain number N of observations that with confidence c, the proportion of positive cases is z, where c < 1 and z < 1. But there is no finite number of observations that would justify, with any nonzero confidence, that any law held universally, without exception (that is, z can never be 1 for any finite number of observations, no matter how small the desired confidence c is, unless c = 0). . And isn't that exactly what laws of nature are supposed to do? For Pete's sake it is called the law of universal gravitation, and it begins with the universal quantifier every (both of which may have seemed pretty innocuous up until now).

Let me repeat myself for clarity: I am not saying that there is no statistical law that would allow you to conclude the law with absolute certainty; absolute certainty is not even on the table. I am saying that there is no statistical law that would justify belief in the law of universal gravitation with even one tenth of one percent of one percent confidence, based on any finite number of observations. My point is that the laws of the physical sciences -- laws like the Ideal gas laws, the laws of gravity, Ohm's law, etc. -- are not based on statistical reasoning and could never be based on statistical reasoning, if they are supposed, with any confidence whatsoever, to hold universally.

So, if the scientific method is not based on the laws of statistics, what is it based on? In fact it is based on the

Principle of Abductive Inference: Given general principle as a hypothesis, if we have tried to experimentally disprove the hypothesis, with no disconfirming experiments, then we may infer that it is likely to be true -- with confidence justified by the ingenuity and diligence that has been exercised in attempting to disprove it.

In layman's terms, if we have tried to find and/or manufacture counterexamples to a hypothesis, extensively and cleverly, and found none, then we should be surprised if we then find a counterexample by accident. That is the essence of the scientific method that underpins most of the corpus of the physical sciences. Note that it is not statistical in nature. The methods of statistics are very different, in that they rest on theorems that justify confidence in those methods, under assumptions corresponding to the premises of the theorems. There is no such theorem for the Principle of Abductive Inference -- nor will there ever be, because, in fact, for reasons I will explain below, it is a miracle that the scientific method works (if it works).

Why would it take a miracle for the scientific method to work? Remember that the confidence with which we are entitled to infer a natural law is a function of the capability and diligence we have exercised in trying to disprove it. Thus, to conclude a general law with some moderate degree of confidence (say, 75%), we must have done due diligence in trying to disprove it, to the degree necessary to justify that level confidence, given the complexity of the system under study. But what in the world entitles us to think that the source code of the universe is so neat and simple, and its human denizens so smart, that we are capable of the diligence that is due?

For an illuminating analogy, consider that software testing is a process of experimentation that is closely analogous to scientific experimentation. In the case of software testing, the hypothesis being tested -- the general law that we are attempting to disconfirm -- is that a given program satisfies its specification for all inputs. Now do you suppose that we could effectively debug Microsoft Office, or gain justified confidence in its correctness with respect to on item of its specification, by letting a weasel crawl around on the keyboard while the software is running, and observing the results? Of course not: the program is far too complex, its behavior too nuanced, and the weasel too dimwitted (no offense to weasels) for that. Now, do you expect the source code of the Universe itself to be simpler and friendlier to the human brain than the source code of MS Office is to the brain of a weasel? That would be a miraculous thing to expect, for the following reason: a priori, if the complexity of that source code could be arbitrarily large. It could be a googleplex lines of spaghetti code -- and that would be a infinitesimally small level of complexity, given the realm of possible complexities -- namely the right-hand side of the number line.

In this light, if the human brain is better equipped to discover the laws of nature than a weasel is to confidently establish the correctness an item in the spec of MS Office, it would be a stunning coincidence. That is looking at it from the side of the a priori expected complexity of the problem, compared to any finite being's ability to solve it. But there is another side to look from, which is the side of the distribution of intelligence levels of the potential problem-solvers themselves. Obviously, a paramecium, for example, is not equipped to discover the laws of physics. Nor is an octopus, nor a turtle, nor a panther, nor an orangutan. In the spectrum of natural intelligences we know of, it just so happens that there is exactly one kind of creature that just barely has the capacity to uncover the laws of nature. It is as if some cosmic Dungeon Master was optimizing the problem from both sides, by making the source code of the universe just simple enough that the smartest beings within it (that we know of) were just barely capable of solving the puzzle. That is just the goldilocks situation that good DM's try to achieve with their puzzles: not so hard they can't be solved, not so easy that the players can't take pride in solving them

There is a salient counterargument I must respond to. It might be argued that, while it is a priori unlikely that any finite being would be capable of profitably employing the scientific method in a randomly constructed universe, it might be claimed that in hindsight of the scientific method having worked for us in this particular universe, we are now entitled, a posteriori, to embrace the Principle of Abductive Inference as a reliable method. My response is that we have no objective reason whatsoever to believe the scientific method has worked in hindsight -- at least not for the purpose of discovering universal laws of nature! I will grant that we have had pretty good luck with science-based engineering in the tiny little spec of the universe observable to us. I will even grant that this justifies the continued use of engineering for practical purposes with relative confidence -- under the laws of statistics, so long as, say, one anomaly per hundred thousand hours of use is an acceptable risk. But this gives no objective reason whatsoever (again under the laws of statistics) to believe that any of the alleged "laws of nature" we talk about is actually a universal law. That is to say, if you believe, with even one percent confidence, that we ever have, or ever will, uncover a single line of the source code of the universe -- a single law of Nature that holds without exception -- then you, my friend, believe in miracles. There is no reason to expect the scientific method to work, and good reason to expect it not to work -- unless human mind was designed to be able to uncover and understand the laws of nature, by Someone who knew exactly how complex they are.

18

As a Christian and a father I not infrequently find myself faced with a certain moral dilemma. Specifically, my income is pretty good and I’m in the position of deciding what to do with it.

Of course, there is no end of uses for money. Our family is growing and we need a bigger, better home. The sort we want in our area will run us about $6k/month in rent, or $1.2m to buy. The public education system is less ‘broken’ than it is actively ruinous (but both), so private schooling and tutoring considerations apply. There’s retirement planning in the face of an increasingly cartoon economy.

My parish, naturally, wants tithes. They want a whole ten percent! Off the top! And in fairness, if my dollar was the one to determine whether it thrived or failed, that would be the best investment I could make. Our community is amazing and the only place I’d want to raise my children. We run a thrift store (like Goodwill) that is an absolute lifesaver for many of the area’s poor. Also, we practice almsgiving, which is acts of charity above and beyond tithing, if not always monetary.

But many other mouths cry out to be fed as well, from crook-smiled politicians who nonetheless are important to support over the other guy to NGOs trying to staunch an arterial rupture of human tragedy with the equivalent of band-aids for want of bigger budgets.

And life’s finer things are to be considered as well. I like good art, soundly-crafted furniture, stylish clothing (important for my job too), high-quality ingredients for cooking, and the occasional getaway to see family, friends, or just interesting places. The kids want enrichment also, and while I’m not going to call this demand a pit, it certainly is bottomless. Too, there is the notion of self-care; that it’s important to expend enough resources on my own well-being that I continue to be able to generate the income.

Only, as all of these are valued in dollars, they directly trade off against each other. And in the way of autists, I can’t help but grope my way down the thing toward the root of the problem. It has taken me to some pretty intense places.

~All human societies hold in common an understanding that it is a father’s duty to protect and provide for his children. This is enshrined in law, culture, and everywhere else. Of course a father would do anything to save his child — rob, murder, cheat, lie, or give up his own life without hesitation. To do otherwise would be reprehensible.

This principle is not without its exceptions. Men in office, for example, are expected to set aside their familial obligations when acting in their official capacity (And, actually, one could find far worse yardsticks of a people’s worth than their ability to hold to this standard consistently). If a soldier on the front lines receives word of a family emergency, efforts are often made to excuse him to attend to it, but where this conflicts with operational considerations he is expected to stay put, and failure to do so is generally agreed to be worthy of capital enforcement, even if our hearts are understandably with him.

I have heard a saying along the following lines attributed to the Bedouin of the deep desert:

Me and my tribe against the world

Me and my clan against the tribe

Me and my cousins against the clan

Me and my brother against our cousins

Me against my brother

If my daughter and the neighbor-kid are both starving I am expected to feed my own and let the other die. So with my nieces and nephews over my second-cousins’ kids, all the way up the enumerated hierarchy. This is understood. This is a human universal. Most, I expect, would agree that this is the very foundation of morality, though as we will see I am not so sure.

Where exceptions come in it is because a man has taken upon himself the role of father to a greater family than that of his immediate. We honor enormously the Patriarch who puts the good of the clan above his own children. We remember with fierce admiration the Emperor who adopts a competent successor as his son while consigning his own degenerate offspring to some idle pleasure dome in the countryside. We exalt the young man who gives his own life in the trenches while his pregnant wife waits for him anxiously back home. We depend upon such men. We call them heroes. This, too, is moral. It is perhaps even a higher sort of morality.

A messiah is one who brings such benefit to his People at the grandest scales. A typical Christian narrative on the subject goes something like: The Jews were conquered by one hostile nation and then another, denied their own homeland, constantly at risk of enslavement and extermination, and were able to survive all of this by virtue of their hope in a coming promised messiah. They had many specific expectations of what he would be like, too. He would bloodily uproot the foreigners, bring the earth under his dominion, and elevate his own race to lordship, never to be so threatened again. When Jesus came to Jerusalem the people laid down palm fronds that he (or his mount(s)) might tread upon these instead of the dirt. They were elated. They knew exactly what was coming, and they were ready as only centuries of bitter anticipation can make a people. And then the State executed him in their ugliest fashion and he didn’t even attempt to resist. Even the disciples, whom Christ had tried to prepare for this over and over again, understood that all was lost and that Jesus was not the messiah. Messiahs do not lose. They conquer.

Let me shift gears now and talk about Hitler. There is no figure more reviled in our culture. He serves as our icon of utmost evil; of the worst aspects of human nature. To publicly question this in the slightest is to run a very real risk of losing everything and, in many Western countries, even runs up against laws that will land one in a jail cell.

Why?

Yes, I realize that I’m committing an unspeakable breach of social etiquette by asking. Yes, I know that many of us, even here, have an uncontrollable disgust reflex on the topic. Even those who are more or less comfortable with discussing differences in average racial IQs or impulse control, or personality trait variances between men and women.

Why?

The usual answer for someone in such circles is, “Because such discourse is controlled by the Jews, etc., yada yada yada” and while there is certainly something to this it is, at least at this resolution, entirely beside the point I’m trying to make. So please bear with me — that is not where I’m taking you.

One day a few months ago I, in the way of autists, asked myself what exactly was so unusual about Hitler that he should occupy the mythological position that he does. One can of course enumerate a long list of terrible atrocities for which he was responsible. Only, as I went through them, I couldn’t help but notice that not only were they all basically par for the course for the Father, the would-be messiah of a people, but that worse examples of each can be found (both quantitatively and almost always qualitatively) in the biographies of other leaders — including, not to put too fine a point on this, those seen often enough on t-shirts in public without ruffling anyone’s feathers particularly.

So, finding myself at a loss, I escalated the question to some trusted friends, and discovered that while it was extremely upsetting to most of them, none even attempted to answer, but rather clucked at me while shaking their heads in horrified exasperation. These are people, you understand, whose capacity for decoupled analysis I generally respect very greatly. Disconcerting, to say the least. Can’t you pick as a mascot, one said, someone other than the craziest and most evil man in history?

Only, I cannot fathom how anyone sees this when they look at Hitler. Here was a man who sincerely held the best interests of his People in his heart. He came of age in a time when his nation was — historical aggression notwithstanding — brutally, horrifically, oppressed. Countless of his countrymen, women and children, starved to death needlessly under spiteful, vindictive post-war Allied blockades. The economy was so saddled with reparation debt that rebuilding would take generations if it were ever possible at all. The people had no hope. Men and women who wanted families faced down a seemingly-insurmountable challenge in doing so. The risk of watching their babies die of starvation was all too real. And what chance had those children of decent lives even if they did survive to adulthood? They would end up de facto slaves, servants to the sneering foreigners who now controlled everything.

Germany’s culture — within living memory arguably the pinnacle of human achievement — was brought low, rapidly to be replaced with this new post-war thrust which we can now recognize as the antecedent to the sort of moral and cultural disintegration with which we are today so familiar.

And this man! This man was nobody. He was a failed art student. But he decided that he was not going to let that happen. He was going to save his people or die trying. Yes, in pursuit of this goal he engaged in some of the most reprehensible methods imaginable. But in what sense was he not playing the highest, most honorable role for his people — that of a messiah? Was the alternative really any more moral? Are we clutching our pearls and sobbing because it was mean to kill political opponents when what he should have done was to suffer the children of his nation to starve to death in the streets while foreigners feasted in the beautiful homes built by his forefathers? Can we really suppose for one moment that the Jewish zealots of AD 66 would have had any problem with Hitlerian tactics were the shoe on the other foot and being executed by Eleazar ben Simon against the Romans? Yes, Hitler was a mess and riddled with countless inexcusable flaws, but are we truly to believe that he did what he did simply because he enjoyed causing others pain? The man was a vegetarian for goodness’ sake!

Now contrast this with Stalin (or Lenin). How explicit do I need to be here? Whether they acted more out of lust for power or a sincere ideological commitment to, idk, ‘the working class’ (imo doubtful), these guys did not act out of love for their people, and did not hesitate to consign millions of them to starvation in pursuit of power.

And they killed so many more. So many more. But our politicians can admire them openly and the common man has only the haziest idea of why this might be a problem. And while, sure, the opposition will attempt to make much hay of this, the younger generations increasingly seem uninterested in what they have to say about it.

Last night a friend told me,

my opinion is that you've been brainpoisoned into calling evil good and good evil and rather than leaning into the caricatures of your enemies by using the word 'hitlerism' to refer to good things you should not do that

(Not that I was — it’s precisely the distinction that I’m trying to draw, but we’ll get to that.)

So on the subject of ‘my enemies’, let me tell you a few things I notice about them.

  • They get abortions

  • They permanently sterilize themselves, or

  • They take pills to trick their bodies into thinking they've just lost a baby because this spiritual distress is preferable to them over the prospect of actually reproducing.

  • They purchase chihuahuas, and pekinese, and felines, and portage them around in equipment intended for human children which will never exist

  • They agonize over the irresponsibility of their own kind having children, but gasp in horror at anyone who suggests that African birthrates might become a problem

  • They desire to privilege children of other races above their own, ceding educational access, preferential employment, etc.

  • They get nervous at portrayals of healthy white families with several children

  • They will loudly insist that they do not have a culture

  • They really don’t like borders and seem to think that it’s their responsibility to feed and clothe the world

This list could be ten times as long, of course. You get the idea. So to circle back around to my original point —

My enemies do not feed their own children first. My enemies sell their children at the market and immediately donate the proceeds to the worst, most irredeemably valueless people they can find. And if they can’t find one close enough to hand, they go looking. And it’s disgusting. It’s reprehensible. It offends me to a degree that I have difficulty conveying without jumping up and down and screaming until I’m red in the face and collapsing into a pile of tears. Only, I seem to remember Jesus telling us to do what my enemies are doing — or it’s at least close enough that I can’t help but notice.

Which brings us back to my daughter. As her father, where does my responsibility to her end? At what point should I give a dollar to feed notional children on the other side of the world rather than investing it in her future? How stiff will her competition be? How can I know in advance which investment will turn out to make all the difference?

Consider the following scenario. I am walking down the street and notice my neighbor’s two year old breaking free from her front door and running into traffic. Of course if I can safely rescue her I should, but suppose I’m not sure that I can without endangering my own life in the process, and leaving my children fatherless? I could maybe look her parents in the eye afterward and say “There just wasn’t anything I could do” and they’d likely catch the nuance and understand and even bitterly sympathize.

But supposing I had plenty of time to save the child, and just choose not to because this would mean I don't have time to read my daughter a bedtime story. Is that equivalent to murder? I say yes. Trying to delineate between the two is an unseemly thing for a man to do and belies a womanly discomfort with agency. But when I spend a few extra bucks to get her the pink scooter someone, somewhere, is going hungry, and in aggregate dying.

Or imagine that I’m the chieftain of one of two small tribes on a small island. Resources are getting scarce and everyone knows that at some point soon it’s going to be us or them. Does a good leader, a good father, wait for the threat to ripen, for the enemy to choose the place and time for battle? Or does he strike preemptively? It will be either our children or theirs who die. We will eat their babies or they will eat ours. Shouldn’t a father make sure of which it is? Isn’t that what a good father does?

The reason our society is so reflexively disgusted by Hitler is because we have mostly internalized the notion that our children should die that others might live, and the man with the tiny moustache represents the polar opposite of that.

Hitler seems to me, at heart, a very good father. If I emulated him, I should not hesitate to feed my own child first, even upon the corpses of my neighbors’ children. I should lie and cheat and steal and murder in game-theoretically optimal ways to bestow upon my children as many resources as possible, that they should not themselves end up in chains or on the dinner plate. The notorious Fourteen Words — “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” — make the connection so explicit and unassailable that the Left dares not to look upon it.

But the icon-stand in my heart labeled “Father” does not have Hitler’s portrait in it. Actually the picture there is blank, ha ha, but that’s another story, and the point is that Christ fills in pretty well. My Father does not feed His own child first. He feeds His child to us. Bit by blood-soaked bit, forever. I can struggle with the apparent discrepancy between disinheriting my daughter to feed what looks to me like a total waste of the Imago Dei, but there it is. I am certain that the difference between my girl, whom I can assure you I adore unbearably and who always seems to have a beam of sunshine on her in my eyes — that the difference between her and the most contemptible human being ever to exist, is as nothing compared to the difference between God’s son and my daughter, or myself.

But the gorge does rise in my throat when I consider failing to protect what seems, to me, the most beautiful person, and the most beautiful People, ever to exist in favor of… that. Every cell in my body says that I should sooner glass an entire foreign continent rather than allow harm to befall one hair upon my daughter’s perfect golden head.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

And we can’t even expect the problem to go away. The least of these will always be among us. He said so. Maybe the only clean way out of this is to not have children in the first place. I’m afraid He might have said that too.

I try to console myself with precedent. I try to believe. We have established two types of morality: A baseline morality of feeding one’s own children first, and a higher morality of sacrificing one’s children for the greater good of the People. But Christ would seem to indicate a third sort, which is to love the foreigner's child more than one’s own. This is, after all, what God did.

And for a minute there humans actually did it too! As Scott says,

The early Christian Church had the slogan “resist not evil” (Matthew 5:39), and indeed, their idea of Burning The Fucking System To The Ground was to go unprotestingly to martyrdom while publicly forgiving their executioners. They were up against the Roman Empire, possibly the most effective military machine in history, ruled by some of the cruelest men who have ever lived. [...] this should have been the biggest smackdown in the entire history of smackdowns.

And it kind of was. Just not the way most people expected.

Food for thought, I guess.

So it seems to me that if I'm to be a Christian, this directly implies feeding my child to the dogs. And if I'm to do otherwise, this fully generalizes to Hitler. Either way I had better get serious about whatever it is I'm doing here.

Long story short, I’m currently trying to decide between this apron and this one for my daughter for when she’s painting at her easel. The first is a little bit cheaper, but she’ll like the second one better because it has unicorns. Hoping someone can offer some insight here.

There has been a lot of CW discussion on climate change. This is an article written by someone that used to strongly believe in anthropogenic global warming and then looked at all the evidence before arriving at a different conclusion. The articles goes through what they did.

I thought a top-level submission would be more interesting as climate change is such a hot button topic and it would be good to have a top-level spot to discuss it for now. I have informed the author of this submission; they said they will drop by and engage with the comments here!

Hi guys, I'm @idio3 from rdrama, one of the main jannies there. I like the idea of you running an offsite, but I'm absolutely floored by the implementation.

Now I get that there are features of the main site that wouldn't be appropriate for you guys, since you're looking for a different sort of discussion and atmosphere than we are. Longpostbot, annoying graphical and user-nerfing awards, bardbot, etc - it makes perfect sense to remove those. But other decisions I just don't understand. Most notably - what the hell is your beef with Marseys? Why don't image uploads work? It's like you guys intentionally wanted to preclude people from attempting to have fun :marseyshrug:, with the changes being essentially limited to cutting out as many of our features as you could get your hands on...

Anyway, if you could illuminate the rationale for these things, I'd greatly appreciate it! :marseyblowkiss:

be mottizens

set up own website

fork dramacode

remove 90% of features

manage to break the other 10% of features somehow

True story

The death penalty has various serious problems and lifetime imprisonment is really really expensive.

I guess we should be happy every time someone so thoroughly bad we want them out of society forever (like a serial murderer) does us the favour of killing themselves. Nothing of value is lost, and the justice system saves money. Right?

It seems to me it logically follows that we should incentivize such suicides. Like: 5000 dollars to a person of your choice if you're dead within the first year of your lifetime sentence, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

It feels very wrong and is clearly outside the overton window. But is there any reason to expect this wouldn't be a net benefit?

-2

I've thought about writing this for a long time. It started with a telegram post by Bronze Age Pervert. I don't follow BAP but I saw Zero HP Lovecraft mention the post in a tweet so I found the telegram and read it. I also don't follow ZHP but I'm not saying that to get ahead of anything, I don't dislike him and his "she could lose weight" bit is pretty funny. This is BAP's post:

https://i.imgur.com/IRkNwMX

That is poltard "take your meds schizo" rambling that I won't talk a bit about other than how reading it made me realize the animosity BAP has toward eminently black music would spread through his devotees into the rightist sphere. It has, now it's at a simmer.

I'll give a bit of a primer but I figure a lot of you have some familiarity with Hip-Hop. It's more than just music, it's a subculture of fashion, art, music and dance, but I'm only talking about the music. As the genre developed, inside baseball is its variation into East Coast and West Coast Hip-Hop. East Coast where emphasis is on hard lyricism: artists like Biggie, Jay-Z and Run The Jewels. West Coast where emphasis is on the vibe: Dr. Dre, Tyler the Creator, Anderson .Paak. Subgenres people should be familiar with conceptually are Alternative and Progressive. Alternative about deviating from mainstream sound: A Tribe Called Quest, the Roots, BROCKHAMPTON. Progressive, about incorporating whatever sounds good as complexity is developed within the form: Outkast, Kanye, Kendrick Lamar.

I think most people I see in those threads who criticize "Rap"--and some elaboration will follow--don't really know it. They haven't listened to much and what they have is the weakest examples of the genre in performers like Drake and Jack Harlow. In polite terms they call it Rap. Rap isn't wrong but it's imprecise, rapping is what the vocalist does on the track, Hip-Hop is the rap-to-and-the-beat, and the production is equally if not more important. I'm not doing a pedantic gotcha thing, if you respond to this by calling it Rap I'll know what you mean, and when I call it Hip-Hop you can mentally shortcut Rap if it's easier.

I think most of those Xers would enjoy it if they were shown its best, but there is the minority. Those who didn't originate the thought but they are its loud propagators, so BAP, who are filled with the kind of racial hate where they dislike Hip-Hop solely because of its blackness. I know they'd yeschad me calling them racist but that's not my angle. I'm not criticizing them for being racist, I'm criticizing them for allowing their supposedly great intellects to be subjugated by their racism; to be made retarded by hate as they showboat their inability to appreciate beauty. A failing never more obvious than when they inevitably cope with their flaw unrealizing by saying "No, it really is bad."

I try not to call music bad, it's too subjective. I'll happily comment to the side, like Jack Antonoff probably does all the real work in his collabs with Taylor Swift, Swift's popularity is far more memetic than musical, and/also for Olivia Rodrigo who is a stunningly obvious industry plant; Jack Harlow grew up on a horse ranch, enough said. I still won't call their work bad. I have friends who love their music, why would I want to diminish that? But if I called Swift or Rodrigo or especially Harlow, or pulling back to the albums out of pop, rock and alt-rock of the last 25 years (country ignored for obvious reasons), with few exceptions--Viva La Vida counts and it's pretty good but a lot of its strength is the title track and I like X&Y more; Toxicity is superb; In Rainbows likewise--if I called the best of those genres bad relative to Hip-Hop's best, I would be right.

The best writers of lyrics is a long list of black artists. Ed Sheeran, who seems like a right proper lad, had song of the year 2017 with Shape of You (the link is the lyrics.) It might seem unfair to compare it to Outkast's Bombs Over Baghdad as it's the song of the millennia so far, but it is fair because BOB came out about 17 years earlier, as in pre-Iraq, pre-9/11. This is also where production matters so much, the lyrics are good but made best in context of hearing them in the song. So production, the best producers are many of those same lyricists--Kanye, Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams--or they work with those black artists. Nolan's Oppenheimer was beautifully scored by Ludwig Gorranson, Gorranson broke out on the strength of his production work with Donald Glover/Childish Gambino. He could do things he couldn't anywhere else because there is no genre that allows creativity to flourish like Hip-Hop. Shit Kanye was figuring out 25 years ago dominates the sound of modern pop. I anticipate a certain cope: "Yeah, because it's 2024 and we worship blacks." There is sardonic truth in ascribing a religious reverence to some of the leftist establishment's treatment of blacks but production techniques made prominent by Hip-Hop are now in pop because it makes it better. Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion (2015) is one of the best pop albums ever recorded and it could hardly be more white. White girl from Canada spending 25 tracks (super-deluxe + B-Side EP) singing about her broken heart. Its production techniques, the samples, the synths, yeah that's the stuff Kanye was doing over a decade before, reaching a degree of culmination in his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. Easily the most influential album since its release, past all the Hip-Hop it impacted, down the line we have Scooter Braun and Jepsen, we have Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa, Rina Sawayama, Spellling (though The Turning Wheel calls way harder to Kate Bush's The Hounds of Love), Billie Eilish and the biggest and whitest T-Swift.

The only genre with that level of willingness and brilliance in total experimentation by arena acts, aside from the artist-that-is-the-genre of Tyler Joseph's Twenty One Pilots, is electronic music. Those Frenchies dominate it, and you know what? Game recognizes game. Daft Punk working with Kanye and then Pharrell, then later coming out of their soft retirement to work with the Weeknd. Outside of France there's Ratatat and MGMT with Kid Cudi, Moby with Public Enemy, DJ Shadow with Run The Jewels, and Calvin Harris with a bunch of artists.

Funny, I never see the righties complaining about what should surely be "height-of-degeneracy" raves. Heavy light shows where white girls take molly and get fucked by strangers in bathroom stalls. What, do they see blond blue-eyed DJs and it's easy to ignore? Must be they see a white girl dancing to a good beat with a black guy rapping and their miscgenic hackles raise. Funnier still since I'm certain those guys know by heart or else have desktop folders with charts of online dating message/response rates-by-demographic just ready to slam on a /pol/ troll's slide thread.

A tangent, but it follows. I watched Demolition Man a few nights ago. I'd seen pieces over the years but never watched it start-to-finish and it's free on Sling. Sly Stallone as the classic 80s (though 1993 release) action hero cop and the fantastic Wesley Snipes as the villain. After Snipes' big plot at the opening, he and Sly are cryo-imprisoned for decades, during which their "destructive behavioral patterns" will be conditioned away. When Snipes is revived for his parole hearing and jailbreaks, he emerges in an idyllic but Huxleyan-dystopic society. The cops are totally unprepared for a man of Snipes' criminality and martial prowess. Sly is revived to stop him; action comedy ensues. A recurring joke is in the control of language, Sly's frequent profanity is met with computer chime, chastisement and fine for violating the "verbal morality statute."

Control of language is a serious problem in modern discourse. It puts on the veneer with lies and thought-terminating clichés, it makes our speech inauthentic and our way of living becomes inauthentic in turn. I don't know if I'd give the film points for directional correctness, I will give it points for the crass, man's-man-at-the-time Stallone solving all his problems with a hammer. It's that language control--inauthentic discourse--has been a problem for this country since before cinema existed. Early American political discourse had a viciousness to it: Jefferson against Adams is the famous example, where Adams was described as with "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman," while Jefferson was described as a "mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw sired by a Virginia mulatto father." (There is some contention about whether these were actually said, I believe firmly they were.)

What changed? Elite WASPs, Boston Brahman and the like. Their values, their etiquette of "modesty" and "restraint" dominated elite institutions and those values trickled down, being inculcated in the masses and where we once had politicians showing their authentic animosity toward one another, now even lefties calling Trump "fascist Drumpfler" or whatever is somehow still only the patina over authenticity. Imagine that level of candor today: Trump calling Biden a "braindead retard whose only good son is dead" and Harris a "marabou cocksucker" while they retort by calling him a "smalldicked whorefucking bankrupt wannabe wop."

It'd be great. I love boisterous and loud, the most obnoxious political characters on all sides. We know you're thinking it, be authentic and say it! Who cares about pretense? whose standards are you appealing to? Yeah, WASPs from 150 years ago. Fuck off, it's a lie, it's the most inauthentic behavior. Trump will sometimes lie in really bad and obvious ways yet his character remains wholly more authentic than anybody else in politics. That fucking is Trump, that's the man himself, and I think it's a mark of great merit, in itself. I'd think every bit the same if AOC came out being her true self. I know there's a lot of digs at her actual competence vs if she's just a mouthpiece, I think she's probably more than competent enough to be a house rep, low bar as that is. I'd love it if she said what she actually thinks, authentic, absolutely no pretense (and to be appropriately crass, in a push-up bra with a tasteful top to show the goods.)

Would this cause future trouble? Would we move even closer to President Mountain Dew Camacho? I dunno, where's the impact? You're telling me American politicians have yet more character to sell? Or do you fear politics transforming into the final show, where the people are all but entirely removed from changing who stands at the levers of real power? Well I think the evidence is pretty good Biden isn't entirely running the operations of the executive so . . . who's there when he isn't?

Pretense, decorum, expected behavior; these are arbitrary and often worthless. Note often, not worthless for being arbitrary, worthless where they only exist to delineate class. Talk more properly, dress more properly, behave more properly, again I ask whose fucking properness? The culture-progeny of the blooded aristocracy we killed out of this country 250 years ago. That's who the WASPs were. They deserve credit for the spread of meritocracy America benefited from for so long, but they deserve scorn for that etiquette pushed post-war to post-war and then inertia did the rest. Profanity is nothing, it's sounds, use it or don't. (I do hate the thankfully unsuccessful practice of naming in things like "Slutty Cookie" recipes or putting "FUCK" very large on the cover of books.) Restraint is good to a point, modesty to a point, to speak in circles, restraint and modesty are good when they are good, but they are not good in themselves. "Modesty is a virtue" as it goes but I disagree, rather as with the proper understanding of "meekness", it is not modesty that is the virtue but knowing when to be modest that is the indicator of character. Frank Lloyd Wright said "Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change." As the greatest American architect and the greatest in the world since the Imperial Hotel or Fallingwater, were he to practice "hypocritical humility" it would only serve to assuage those who correctly appraised themselves as inferior to him and lacked the character to persist. It's not like he could design every building.

Not only Wright; the most effective wielders of power in this country's history dropped decorum wherever possible. Big Johnson, back to Teddy Roosevelt, whom I particularly like in this context because as the best member of the Roosevelt family his behavior spurned the etiquette of that mighty WASP dynasty. Back to Lincoln and of course Jefferson and Adams (Adams, whose descendants swiftly forgot the lessons of their sire.) Hate these figures if you want and where appropriate, their high effectiveness as political actors is not up for debate.

So Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is more authentic to the founding spirit of this country than any other music. I don't mean it in the Project 1619 "blacks-built-literally-everything" pseudoacademic bullshit. I mean in its content, its lyrics, its successes. These are the most American stories. So hating on a guy rapping about all the bitches he fucks? It's called bragging, it's where the eponym "Casanova" comes from. Bragging about gang violence? To the Romanophiles (guilty), you've surely heard of Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Odds are good Ceasar made some of that up or at least embellished to boost his image but that reinforces the point.

Not that I'm comparing Jay-Z rapping about hoes or about his life in the hood to Caesar, but a man famously talking about his wealth or his women or the horde he reduced unto the slaughter, the idea of these as in any way novel, which is necessary for saying Hip-Hop is uniquely degradative, is comical. As long as humans have told stories men have talked about rape, pillage and plunder. Thus authenticity.

Success stories are obvious. Yeah there are guys like Drake who have a negative amount of street cred but Jay-Z was selling crack, now he's worth billions and married to Beyoncé. (And second pic so you can see how little help she needs from staged shots.) There's a lot just there, the pathetic racists who would deny, or maybe really are so tragically incapable of recognizing beauty they miss that Beyoncé is one of the most beautiful women alive just as they miss the beauty of Hip-Hop.

I've talked so much about it, I should really talk about it. If you're unlearned, here's a progress in tracks.

I start with Mark Ronson's cover with Daniel Merriweather singing of the Smith's Stop Me that incorporates parts of the Supremes You Keep Me Hangin' On. This is Neo Soul, Merriweather's soulful singing with modern production techniques: synths, drum machine.

Next is Gnarls Barkley's Smiley Faces. At release, Crazy was the massive single off the album St. Elsewhere but the rest of the album had a sharp falloff in listening. As with Stop Me it's Neo Soul, but with Danger Mouse's production we're getting closer to a beat to be rapped to.

That's Madcon's Beggin. Pure Hip-Hop, not Sugarhill Gang pure, but pure. Taking The Four Seasons' Beggin' as the hook to follow into Tshawe's sing-rap verse, to Yosef's pure rap verse.

Next is the Pharcyde's Runnin' as remixed by electronic duo Philippians. The original is closer to Sugarhill Gang purity vs Madcon, in part of course because Pharcyde is old school. Their sample of Saudade Vem Correndo as the guitar riff is the big feel of the song, gets you that instant West Coast vibe. The Philippians remix preserves the sample, keeps the rapping at the front, and is an example, insofar as it's DJs remix, of Progressive Hip-Hop. Developing complexity within the form. If you haven't listened to much but you enjoy what I've listed and you're interested in more, the original is just as good but I'd say Pharcyde's Passin Me By, which is probably their most well-known track, is the next step.

Last is Kanye, Heaven and Hell. Ye starting off as usual with a sample he's put his spin on from the beginning of 20th Century Steel Band's Heaven and Hell is on Earth, and he also incorporates the refrain from the song as backing on his verse. I'd say this is pure progressive Hip-Hop, it would have been at the start of his career, but now this is just standard work for him.

Can't ignore Ye. Continued below.

SS: Americans are rather ignorant about history. Moral reasoning by historical analogy is bad. Historical examples can be misleading for making predictions. These facts suggest that the utility of history courses is overestimated. In fact, they are mostly useless.

Listen on iTunesStitcherSpotifyPocket CastsPodcast Addict, and RSS.


In this episode, we talk about white nationalism.

Participants: Yassine, Walt Bismarck, TracingWoodgrains.

Links:

Why I'm no longer a White Nationalist (The Walt Right)

The Virulently Unapologetic Racism of "Anti-Racism" (Yassine Meskhout)

Hajnal Line (Wikipedia)

Fall In Line Parody Song (Walt Bismarck)

Richard Spencer's post-Charlottesville tirade (Twitter)

The Metapolitics of Black-White Conflict (The Walt Right)

America Has Black Nationalism, Not Balkanization (Richard Hanania)


Recorded 2024-04-13 | Uploaded 2024-04-14

-2

In many discussions I'm pulled back to the distinction between not-guilty and innocent as a way to demonstrate how the burden of proof works and what the true default position should be in any given argument. A lot of people seem to not have any problem seeing the distinction, but many intelligent people for some reason don't see it.

In this article I explain why the distinction exists and why it matters, in particular why it matters in real-life scenarios, especially when people try to shift the burden of proof.

Essentially, in my view the universe we are talking about is {uncertain,guilty,innocent}, therefore not-guilty is guilty', which is {uncertain,innocent}. Therefore innocent ⇒ not-guilty, but not-guilty ⇏ innocent.

When O. J. Simpson was acquitted, that doesn’t mean he was found innocent, it means the prosecution could not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He was found not-guilty, which is not the same as innocent. It very well could be that the jury found the truth of the matter uncertain.

This notion has implications in many real-life scenarios when people want to shift the burden of proof if you reject a claim when it's not substantiated. They wrongly assume you claim their claim is false (equivalent to innocent), when in truth all you are doing is staying in the default position (uncertain).

Rejecting the claim that a god exists is not the same as claim a god doesn't exist: it doesn't require a burden of proof because it's the default position. Agnosticism is the default position. The burden of proof is on the people making the claim.

An in depth proposal for how Elon can brute force the Problem of Identity to make 10s of billions off of Twitter Verifications.

4

Gab - hacked. Truth social - hacked. What if they come for us? The rdrama codebase probably isn't perfectly secure! Chrome or firefox has layers of sandboxes, a hundred different gadgets like 'stack protection' or 'W xor X', and still has a new RCE every week. rdrama can probably be trivially owned if someone googles all the dependency versions for a few hours. also, lol commit history, 'sneed'. If that happens - what leaks? i guess just associations between stored ip addresses (if they are) and post histories. And IP can reveal a lot, or nothing, depending on where you live, ISP, etc. Combine that with a post history referencing improvements you made to your house or your occupation ... might be bad.

Practically, seems incredibly unlikely anyone will care enough to do anything, it's a small community and the essay format gets in the way of 'omg these rightwingers grr'. But, always good to ponder potential security issues. Also, you wanted content, so content.

PCA did not produce correct and\or consistent results across all the design schemes, whether even-sampling was used or not, and whether for unmixed or admixed populations. We have shown that the distances between the samples are biased and can be easily manipulated to create the illusion of closely or distantly related populations. Whereas the clustering of populations between other populations in the scatter plot has been regarded as “decisive proof” or “very strong evidence” of their admixture, we demonstrated that such patterns are artifacts of the sampling scheme and meaningless for any bio historical purposes. Sample clustering, a subject that received much attention in the literature, e.g., Ref., is another artifact of the sampling scheme and likewise biologically meaningless (e.g., Figs. 12, 13, 14, 15), which is unsurprising if the distances are distorted. PCA violations of the true distances and clusters between samples limit its usability as a dimensional reduction tool for genetic analyses. Excepting PC1, where the distribution patterns may (e.g., Fig. 5a) or may not (e.g., Fig. 9) bear some geographical resemblance, most of the other PCs are mirages (e.g., Fig. 16). The axes of variation may also change unexpectedly when a few samples are added, altering the interpretation.

Specifically, in analyzing real populations, we showed that PCA could be used to generate contradictory results and lead to absurd conclusions (reductio ad absurdum), that “correct” conclusions cannot be derived without a priori knowledge and that cherry-picking or circular reasoning are always needed to interpret PCA results. This means that the difference between the a posteriori knowledge obtained from PCA and a priori knowledge rests solely on belief. The conflicting PCA outcomes shown here via over 200 figures demonstrate the high experimenter’s control over PCA’s outcome. By manipulating the choice of populations, sample sizes, and markers, experimenters can create multiple conflicting scenarios with real or imaginary historical interpretations, cherry-pick the one they like, and adopt circular reasoning to argue that PCA results support their explanation.

...

Indeed, after “exploring” 200 figures generated in this study, we obtained no a posteriori wisdom about the population structure of colors or human populations. We showed that the inferences that followed the standard interpretation in the literature were wrong. PCA is highly subjected to minor alterations in the allele frequencies (Fig. 12), study design (e.g., Fig. 9), or choice of markers (Fig. 22) (see also Refs.57,68). PCA results also cannot be reproduced (e.g., Fig. 13) unless an identical dataset is used, which defeats the usefulness of this tool. In that, our findings thereby join similar reports on PCA’s unexpected and arbitrary behavior. Note that variations in the implementations of PCA (e.g., PCA, singular value decomposition [SVD], and recursive PCA), as well as various flags, as implemented in EIGENSOFT, yield major differences in the results—none more biologically correct than the other. That the same mathematical procedure produces biologically conflicting and false results proves that bio historical inferences drawn only from PCA are fictitious.

I highly recommend reading the entire article. It is quite detailed. They do PCA analyses with a toy model using colors with admixture and show that choice of inputs can yield an admixed population (the color Black) arbitrarily close to any of its component mixtures (Blue, Green, or Red) on a scatter plot of their principle components. They also go through data sets of some other population genetics studies and show how using those data sets can generate conflicting PCA results depending heavily on the researchers choice of inputs.

3

I’d like to start with a few disclaimers. This is not an anti-psychiatry post. This is also not the place to ask or receive advice about your mental health, or what nowadays is called “mental health”.

For some time now I’ve been feeling like I live in a different world than most people I know. It has come to a point where I have to face an awkward alternative: Either most people I know are wrong (including learned men and experts) or I am insane. As I don’t believe I have lost my sanity, and as I believe that I have very strong arguments to hold my ideas against all reasonable counterarguments; I think it’s about time I sit down and share my ideas more or less publicly. This is one of such ideas. What follows is the summary of my academic studies, my professional experience working in the field of mental health, my own personal thoughts, and the influence of several authors, chiefly Georges Canguilhem and Jacques Lacan.

The APA defines psychopathology as “the scientific study of mental disorders, including their theoretical underpinnings, etiology, progression, symptomatology, diagnosis, and treatment”. It is a jurisdiction of medicine, although that does not exclude other disciplines from delving into it as well. It is intrinsically linked to psychiatry, to the point where one cannot exist without the other. But psychiatry itself is a rather contradictory branch of medicine, because while every other specialization of medicine has built its own object of study by exploring a specific organ or function from the body, psychiatry exists only by virtue of that which it ignores. In its origins, psychiatry was born to deal with what has been classically classified as insanity, those people described by Descartes who believed they were made of glass or who fancied themselves to be pitches of water. These outlandish delusions have always caused turmoil in society because nobody really knows where they come from, what they mean and, most importantly, what to do with them. Insane people clearly need help but they do not want it, or what help they are willing to receive it’s impossible for other people to give. They break the law but they are not criminals, or at least they are bening. They behave like savages but are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.

Now enter the Enlightenment: Lady Reason triumphs all over the Western world, everything now has or will have a place and an explanation in the encyclopedia of universal knowledge. And what we understand we control. There are now a bunch of physicians who have little evidence but little doubt that these people are sick and that it is their task to heal them. And that they’ll try with all their available resources, but with little success. So while neurology developed from the study of the brain, cardiology from that of the heart and so on, psychiatry was born out of sheer embarrassment. It is the branch of medicine that studies mental disorders. However, being a part of modern scientific medicine, it cannot but assert that mental disorders can be explained by studying the body, the contradiction being that the day psychiatry discovers the bodily cause of mental disorders will be the day that it ceases to exist as a specialization of medicine, for said cause would fall under the jurisdiction of another specialization: If it’s in the brain then it would be neurology, if it’s in the genes it would be medical genetics, and if we were to discover a new organ in the body then a new specialization will be born to study it, leaving psychiatry in the past.

Therefore, psychiatry exists only because we do not know what mental disorders are. In fact, we don’t even know if the mind is real or not, much less whether it can get sick. What do we actually know then? We know that 1. there are people who need help, and 2. that there are means to help them. So it becomes a matter of administering a scarce resource. This is what psychopathology really is: It is not a science of mental pathology, it is the art of distributing psychiatric drugs and psychological treatments.

There used to be psychopathology. Classic psychiatrists wrote impressive treaties on the subject, with thousands of pages explaining in detail and classifying the behavior of their patients. The mountains really were in labour, alas, only a mouse was born: No progress was made regarding the causes, and most importantly the treatment of such behaviors. This last problem was drastically improved by the invention of psychopharmacology. Suddenly psychiatrists had a powerful tool to treat the symptoms of insanity, so even though they weren’t any close to understanding these symptoms, they changed their ideas on the subject to reflect the influence of psychiatric drugs. These influences can be accurately gauged by the changes on the DSM. The first DSMs included theories about the origin and nature of mental disorders, the last DSMs only mention the clinical symptoms necessary to prescribe a treatment. When a patient is diagnosed with depression the only relevant information that is learned is that said patient will start a treatment for depression.

So are mental disorders real? Of course they are. Whether they are mental or disorders, that’s another question. They are real because they are a set of behaviors that have been observed to occur together: Feelings of sadness, self-harming ideas or behaviors, inability to feel pleasure, these are all things that are real, observable, measurable, and treatable. But are these symptoms a mental problem? Are they a medical problem, or a problem at all? This is highly debatable, and in any case, not a solid foundation for a science.

If a person feels sad all the time, it is only natural for them to think that this life is not worth living. But the opposite is also true: If a person is convinced that there is nothing good in this world, then they will feel sad and hopeless all the time. So what comes first? Should we treat the sadness or the thoughts? And what if the person likes to feel sad, if they don’t want any help? Should we force them? And to make matters worse, it turns out that both psychiatric drugs and psychotherapy are effective*. And this is only to talk about those treatments that have empiric evidence to back them up and are approved by psychiatry, because, under the right circumstances, literally everything can be therapeutic: There’s horse therapy, art therapy, music therapy, dog therapy, video-game therapy, you name it.

There are some who believe in the demon deceptor, a person, or a group of people, who control our reality and make lies pass for truth, usually with malicious intent. These people believe that the pharmaceutical industry has created mental disorders only to sell drugs, and that psychologists and psychiatrists are their accomplices. For my part, I think it is overly optimistic to believe that someone has such a degree of control over the situation as to make it bend to their will. I believe that people are just confused, and with good reason, because being human is quite a bizarre experience. There are of course those who profit from the confusion of their fellow man, and prey on their ignorance. But even evil has its limits, and nobody can summon such perfect wickedness that no good may come of it. The truth is that for all the confusion that our idea of psychopathology entails, the treatment and the care for people with mental disorders has progressed a great deal in the last decades.

On the other hand there are the encyclopedists, who will argue that the fact that we haven’t discovered the bodily sources of mental disorders does not mean that we won’t succeed in the future. We have certainly made discoveries in this direction: Not only do we know now that it is impossible to be sad or mad without a brain, but we also know what specific brain part or substance is required. But even after all the advances in neurology, still no neurologic exam is indicated for the diagnoses of mental disorders, and for good reason. Because ultimately, what decides if someone has a mental disorder or not are arbitrary criteria. The fact that homosexuality is no longer a mental illness is only because of the fact that society has shifted its values towards the acceptance of diverse sexual orientations, were it not for that fact we would speak about the “homosexual brain” just as we know speak about “the depressed brain”. We could also speak about “the carpenter brain” or “the the writer’s brain”, and treat all of those conditions as illnesses.

In conclusion, I believe that contemporary psychopathology is a case of finding a hammer and suddenly realizing we are surrounded by nails. If something can be treated as an illness it will be treated as an illness, because that is l’esprit de l’époque. Classifying something as an illness, assigning it a part of the brain, and prescribing it a drug as treatment makes it real and important, so politicians, scientists, and the general public are aware of its existence and direct resources its way. This is why everyday we “discover” that there are more things linked to mental health: Poor housing, poor nourishment, the weather, sexual orientation, racial discrimination, political ideologies… and as there is no psychopathology there’s no limit to psychic pathologies. There’s a drug for everything or a therapy for everything. It’s no coincidence that we now have the most effective treatments in history and the highest rate of accessibility to mental health services ever, but the rates of mental disorders are soaring well. And despite all the advances in psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, no breakthroughs have been made in psychopathology.

I’m convinced that in the future people will look at our ideas on psychopathology as we now look at humorism.

Sources:

APA Definition of Psychopathology: https://dictionary.apa.org/psychopathology

*Psychotherapy just as effective as pharmacotherapy: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5244449/

1

This is a fascinating video. At 7:00, Tom Rowsell (SurviveTheJive) reads out some excerpts of the Srimad Bhagvatam(an important hindu scripture) where many if not every single prophecy comes true. The higher values are replaced by lower ones. Ones only worth in society is based upon their level of affluence and sex, people have no loyalty to their own family, culture or values. The only thing people will satisfy will be their genitals and bellies.

Everything will decay but there is a glimmer of hope. Just taking the name of Krishna would help one escape life and attain moksha.

Tom makes references from other indo european religions as well, this is not a culture war or culture war adjacent thing, mostly just something I found super fascinating given that they all were faiths that were very similar for the most part and got many things about the future right. The issue with kaliyuga is that of values, we have seen astounding technological and economical growth, the truth in many places is that many have lost values that were considered important by those who appreciate antiquity (I do at least). Many will not agree but even then, would appreciate any thots on this.

3

I noticed that the comment counts don't seem to line up with the total comments on this post, and a couple others. Do we already have shadow bans in place here, or is this just some delay issue?

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An Epic length essay of mine in which I lay out my theory of history and why briefly summarized: The Age of the nation state is almost certainly coming to an end under the corroding forces of decentralizing military technology and institutional decay.

The future will not resemble post French Revolution centralized governments asserting their control over each other, but rather will slowly come to resemble the Greek City states (misnomer) or the Holy roman empire's vast network of thousands of polities and war making entities.

2

What is intuition?

Intuition is the result of a subconscious mental process

I came up with this definition by pure intuition, it seems right to me, but how do I know it seems right? I just do. OK, but maybe it's not a good definition, maybe there are better definitions available online, and because I'm writing this for other people to read, I probably should check before posting (wait... is it "probably should check" or "should probably check"?, I think most people say the latter, but grammatically the former seems better), but I'm going to resist the urge for now.

Initially I started to write this post with a few drinks and wrote whatever came to my mind as it came, and the problem is that when you are thinking about how you are thinking, you are suddenly aware of how often your thinking process is interrupted by a thought, which if you explore it, it will lead you to more thoughts that are going to be interrupted in turn... it's a mess.

This stream of consciousness quickly ended being much longer than I anticipated, but I wouldn't subject my readers to it, why not? Because I've been writing for more than twenty years and I kind of have a feeling of what people like to read. But perhaps I should, maybe more people would like my unfiltered consciousness rather than these structured thoughts, or maybe what I think are structured thoughts other people would see as ramblings--not significantly different from the unfiltered ones.

It is difficult to write. After thinking about the topic I've realized I have so much to say about intuition, but if I say it all will take me a very long time to write, and it would take a very long time to read, and perhaps because of that nobody reads it. I would rather say a little about intuition so that more people read it, and if they don't, well, at least I didn't spend a lot of time writing about it.

But at this point I haven't said much about intuition, have I? Let me try to connect what I've said so far with intuition.

The best example I can think of is when chess master players do a move they are not even consciously aware of. It's clearly an intelligent move, and they can tell if it's a good move, but they can't tell you why. If you ask them why they made certain move, they might come up with an explanation, but this is not necessarily why they did it.

Research shows that the subconscious mind makes decisions independent of what the conscious mind experiences. My favorite example is a task in which when the actions of participants were analyzed systematically, it turns out all of them did the same thing, but they all came up with different explanations of why they did it.

This is a deep philosophical issue, because it touches consciousness, intelligence, the sense of self, and even free will.

How do I choose to write what I write? I don't truly know. I intuit that some things are better options than others, but how? Where do these thoughts come from? And if I didn't consciously choose these thoughts, then who is ultimately writing?

The truth is that intuition is a mystery.

I feel like I have made a "good" point, but I also feel like there's two important points I can make related to ChatGPT and Nassim Taleb. Should I stop now? I'm not sure.


Can intuition be wrong? Well, if it's a "mystery" one would be tempted to say intuition is just intuition, but I believe there's bad intuition, and this comes from understanding what an expert is.

When one starts to learn chess there are some mechanical things to remember: how each piece moves, what's the relative value of each piece, etc. The more one learns, the more these things become embedded on one's mind, so you don't have to think about them, you just intuit that a certain move is good because it leaves you with a material advantage. But then you learn that even if a certain move is advantageous in one turn, the opponent can answer in a way that leaves you in a disadvantage. So your intuition was not good enough, and you need to learn more. After countless hours of playing your intuition becomes top-notch.

But if intuition could be wrong, what alternative is there? Presumably the alternative is analytical thinking. Aha! This sounds like Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. Intuitive thought is System 1, analytical thought is System 2.

After hours of thinking about this topic and this relationship honestly just came to my mind.

Why didn't I initially thought of this? This is like asking a chess player why didn't he see a particular move... I cannot think what I did not think.

OK. But I haven't made my point yet, and now I have to consider explaining System 1 and 2 for people who are not familiar with them. Or maybe I should just assume everyone knows that, but no, because I remember the writing advice of Steven Pinker, beware of the curse of knowledge, except this is going to be read by mottizens and if I explain something that is so basic they might conclude that I am basic. Screw it.

I believe everyone thinks analytically (System 2), the only difference between an expert and a novice is that the expert has internalized so much analytical thinking into his intuition (System 1), that whatever the novice has to think slowly about, it comes naturally fast for the expert, leaving his analytical thinking free to do much more complex analysis.

So analytical thinking is nothing more than the process through which we build our intuition. The more analytical thinking we do, the better our intuition becomes.

I didn't connect this to Nassim Taleb, but the inspiration came from him, essentially: analytical thinking is overrated.


OK, now I really feel I have to make the next point.

Recently I've seen ChatGPT everywhere, after toying with it substantially and discussing what I've found, I'm pretty sure what I see and what other people see is quite different.

The argument that I've seen a lot of people make is basically "it's just a bot", whatever miraculous answers it provides are nothing more than a simulacra of an intelligent being. It's not "truly" intelligent because it cannot do analytical thinking.

The point that I think everyone is missing is that intelligence itself is a mystery.

I don't know how I am deciding the next word that I'm going to type. It depends on my current mental state, which itself depends on the entirety of what I've read in the past, and what I've written.

But I've reread what I've written five or even ten years ago, and it's not as "good" as what I can write now. It makes sense because now I've read more, and I've written more.

My intuition about what to write next is better now.

And this is exactly how language models work. The more data you feed into a model, the better it becomes at writing a response that is deemed "good" by its readers.

Pessimists say that even if ChatGPT generates something truly marvelous it's still just a bot, it doesn't actually know why it wrote what it wrote. But guess what... Neither does a human.

If I ask you: what is 8 + x = 10? You are probably going to come up with an answer immediately. Do you know how you arrived to that answer? We know that a toddler cannot answer that, so some training is necessary. The more training, the more automatic the response will be. ChatGPT also generates an automatic response based on its training.


I feel there's so much more to write about this, but I want to conclude on the basis of two propositions.

I could write a whole essay on free will, but let's suppose that it doesn't exist, also suppose that the true nature of humans is misguided, and we are nothing more than a consciousness. I believe these two things are true, but I don't have the space to substantiate them here.

Grant me those two suppositions. What follows is that we don't know what's going to come next from our subconscious mind, you don't know what I'm going to type next, but neither do I. My conscious mind is as much a passenger in this stream of consciousness as your conscious mind is (assuming it's still following). I'm just witnessing my intuition doing its thing, but in truth that's all I can truly do.

I still don't know if my definition of intuition is close to how a dictionary would define it, but it still feels true. And that's probably what all my knowledge is: whatever feels true. My intuition of what feels true comes from all the analytical thinking I've done in the past, and this is probably what a language model considers knowledge too.

Or maybe I'm confusing what intuition is with how it manifests, just like people in the past concentrated on how heat manifests, not on what it truly was.

Maybe intuition is the encoding of analytical thinking, which we only see when a decision has to be made.

Intuition is encoded analytical thought

Either way, I had never thought of intuition in this way before (I hadn't actually given it much thought), this insight wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't sat down and written about the topic in the first place. All my intuition was already there, I just had to play it out, and as I was writing, I was genuinely surprised by the thoughts that were popping out in real time (why didn't I think of that before?).

My intuition also tells me that my insight is not something trivial that other people have already expressed many times over, but I know I've had insights in the past that I consider non-trivial only for other people to shit on them, so I shouldn't let my hopes up. Worst-case scenario this intuition about intuition might feed future insights.

I am not a big fan of Alex Berenson. I don't like journalists because they don't understand population statistics. They are interested mostly in anecdotal cases and their duty is to write about them in an interesting and viral way. And yet, that is an important service to identify targets that are worth of deeper analysis.

In Alex case while he missed many times, he also hit some good targets.

  1. vaccine effectiveness against infection is lost withing 3-4 months

  2. prior infection provides stronger immunity than vaccination

The second was always suspected but the evidence was always lacking. Now it turns out that twitter supressed tweets that announced the first real evidence (even if not very strong) that it is the case. I believe that this suppression likely extended wider than just twitter and ultimately influenced the US policy to not recognise immunity from infection when vaccine mandates were put in place. In contrast, most European countries with mandates recognised immunity from prior infection in one way or another as inferior or equal to immunity from vaccination.

There might be some practical considerations – vaccination is easy to register and provide proof. Prior infection is more nebulous, requires expensive testing, some tests are less reliable. The whole idea casts shadow how reasonable vaccine mandates are in the first place. Some would worry that the recognition of immunity from prior infection could also encourage vaccine hesitant to seek getting infected.

Such policies however are very risky because they are conditional on us never finding out the truth. It was always more likely that prior infection confers stronger immunity than vaccination. It was stupid to try to supress the evidence at any time. Eventually it surfaced (as it was bound to) and made those attempts to control narrative look evil.

Note: I could not find any studies that estimate how many heavy metal bands are atheistic, so "most" is nothing more than a personal observation.

Chances are good that if you go to church, you sing. Most churches around the world; be it Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant; have singing as a part of worship. Every Sunday they meet, greet, sing, preach, share personal stories, and some then sing some more. Why?

The first time that I sang was in college in voice class. It was the single most enjoyable and fulfilling experience that I have ever had. I was awful, but there was this intense sense of unity, this sense of belonging that I had never experienced before. There we were, a group of just 20 or so students, and together we all made a work of art for the sake of of making art. It was beautiful. I had never felt so connected to people that I did not know before then, and ever since I stopped going to that college I have not felt that sense of connection to others so intensely. I do not go to church. I have not gone since I was a little kid. Yet, almost every day I am consciously envious of the people who can believe in God because of how beautiful that singing, that sense of community, was.

I believe the reason why so many churches have singing is because of this sense of community. Singing is a readily accessible and simple way to bring people together. Churches that don't sing don't build a sense of unity with singing, and people will go to the closest church that they feel the most belonging in. If churches that don't sing don't have other ways to supplement this sense of unity, then Darwinism happens: Churches that are less able to create a community are less fit to survive.

What if you don't believe in God? What if you're a kid, a teenager, and it's Sunday and your friends are out playing and having fun and going to the arcade or playing football and your parents instead make you go to church? The Sabbath takes your day of rest and turns it into a day of work. Instead of getting to relax you get to be angry. Angry at your parents for keeping you from your friends and for not loving you if they were to ever find out that you do not see the world the same way they do. Angry at the church and the people within it for hating the nonbelievers and gays and anyone who just doesn't belong. Angry at God for being a convenient weapon for this community, that you do not feel a part of, to use against you. And you sing.

You get good at singing, as you sing every Sunday and have every Sunday for as long as you can remember. Your puberty goes by filled with stress, as all puberties do, and yours gets to be filled with an extra dose of anger and alienation. And you sing some more. But what do you actually want to sing about? What emotion do you have that has gone unexpressed that you want people to hear? How do you want to be heard?

And you get mad.

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So I recently heard about this supplement called Nicotinamide Mononucleotide. It's heralded as this great medicine that reduces aging, and gets rid of many issues.

And I really want to believe it, but there's something snakeoil salesmany about it.

  • It's heralded as a magical cure with no downside

  • It resolves so many issues and problems with your body it's unreal

  • From brain to liver, to ankles and skin, it's all covered

It all sounds too good to be true to me. I don't think it has negative effects and it's actually malicious, but I think it's just a fad that's being pushed. I don't think it can do really bad harm, but I don't think there's any better effects than a tummy ache.

What do you think? Do you have experience with this supplement?