A discussion on TFES forum

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brimstoneSalad
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Re: A discussion on TFES forum

Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:03 pm

Yes, I think it's a pretty good post. I didn't know it was the same one you posted before. I responded to it here:
http://philosophicalvegan.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1829&start=280#p24565

Those are the only changes I think I would have made; it's good to remind people that humans can have MORE value, but that it's impossible to ascribe zero value to animals without also ascribing zero value to humans on the same basis. More of something without value is also without value.

I don't think it's too long. You could edit it down a little by phrasing things more succinctly, but that takes some time.

They'll probably just ignore arguments, as they have ignored arguments for the Earth not being flat. These are people who will believe what they want to believe.

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Post by teo123 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:34 am

Quite surprisingly, they didn't ignore it. There was some Round Earther who said that the burden of proof about whether or not something is Turing-complete definitely lies on one who claims that it is, because, for example, HTML is very complicated, yet it isn't Turing-complete. But he said that the rest of my argument seemed legit. Then there was some Flat Earther who claimed that the human brain is something more than Turing-complete and used quantum mechanics to explain how it works. Then said Round Earther pointed out that quantum mechanics doesn't open the door to the hyper-computation, that it's not to be expected that quantum computers would be better at walking and recognizing things around themselves, and that using quantum mechanics to explain consciousness is usually considered pseudoscience. Later, it turned out that said Flat Earther completely misunderstood what I was trying to say, and said Round Earther corrected him that I wasn't trying to equivocate Turing-completeness with sentience, but with sapience. He pointed out that Turing-complete computers can do many things some people think only humans can do, like engineering (genetic algorithms), logic and recognizing art from randomness (pattern recognition algorithms). Then there was another Round Earther pointing out that veganism is a waste of land-use. The first Round Earther then linked to a video debunking that statement and pointed out that I also addressed it with saying that such studies don't count for the byproducts. Then there was some Flat Earther appealing to the "eco-farming" and grazing plans. The first Round Earther than explained that that's pseudoscience and problems with those, and said that, since the animals probably know they are about to be slaughtered, that cannot be considered humane. Then that Flat Earther said that they can't know that because they are not sapient. Then that Round Earther said that they've just established that's not true, because of the Moravec's paradox, on that same page and that he will not post there any more because he finds it very insulting that people listen only to pseudoscience. Then that Flat Earther said that he better not be on forums if he is so easily insulted. Then there have been no posts on that thread for ten days, and it seems to me that that thread is falling into oblivion.

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Post by teo123 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:58 am

You know, I've been thinking about this one for quite a while, and it doesn't make a lot of sense:
Occam's razor is based on the principle that the explanation that makes the fewest assumptions is the most likely to be correct.

A. Airplanes exist, and your friend has been on one.
B. Your friend is a liar and airplanes exist. Why did he lie?
C. Your friend is telling the truth as far as he knows, but is delusional and has not really been on a plane, and airplanes do exist.
D. Your friend is a liar and airplanes do not exist. Why did he lie? How is this massive conspiracy theory to make people believe in airplanes maintained? Why would anybody do this? Why don't airplanes exist? How is all science wrong?
E. Your friend is telling the truth as far as he knows, is delusional and has not been on a plane, and airplanes don't exist. etc.

A is the simplest explanation. It makes no extra assumptions about your friend being a liar and his motivations. It postulates no grand conspiracy to explain why everybody believes in airplanes and most people claim to have seen them. It requires no mental illness or delusion to explain.
That does explain why flying on a dragon is not a credible claim today, and why airplane being made from many parts doesn't make it extremely unlikely to exist. However, in the past, many people claimed to have seen or even flown a dragon. At the very least, such stories were popular. So, let's say you are an Ancient Greek. Now, somebody tells you that he had flown on a dragon. You could use that same line of reasoning to conclude that he has most likely flown on one. As for the studies showing that billions of people have been in an airplane this year, how do we know those who made the study weren't a part of the conspiracy?

Ad Lucretium: "Ita, quippe, heri homines se volavisse draconibus dicebant, hodie autem iidem se volare etiam, sed nunc non draconibus, sed volantibus machinis quibusdam, dicunt." :]

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:34 pm

teo123 wrote:Quite surprisingly, they didn't ignore it. There was some Round Earther who said that the burden of proof about whether or not something is Turing-complete definitely lies on one who claims that it is, because, for example, HTML is very complicated, yet it isn't Turing-complete. But he said that the rest of my argument seemed legit.
HTML is a scripting language, not a programming language. This is a case where greater complexity is needed to intentionally limit flexibility (for example, to protect the browser) -- from an evolutionary perspective, this is kind of nonsense (why would a brain evolve to be less flexible and capable of learning and interacting with the environment and expend more effort to do so?).

Scripting languages have to be programmed to begin with, as such Occam's razor favors programming over scripting. It's simpler, more primitive, AND more flexible. In order to have a high level scripting language, much more low level programming is required than to create something like a mind.

People make assertions about animals being driven solely by instincts, but this again is a misunderstanding. Yes, evolution has to input some basic rules (like the rules in the game of life), but it's much simpler to evolve those basic rules and then let the system run itself with those parameters to create complex and appropriate behavior than to evolve a huge set of detailed applicable rules that control behavior directly with any usefulness.

We've even found this true in engineering, where adaptive neural networks and evolving systems are just much easier than trying to work out all of the rules something would have to use to program it directly.

This is a case where it's more complicated evolutionary to make a complex system that isn't intelligent than one that is, and much slower to create behavioral changes (which means extinction for most animals). With intelligence, unlike instinct, it changes with every stimulus instead of only every generation.

When we look at animal behavior, the simpler assumption is that it is learned rather than innate/instinct, because we understand how learning works and how primitive the process ultimately is (even insects engage in it). We're talking about an adaptive neural network: all evolution has to do is set a few simple rules, and it creates emergent behavior based on interaction with the environment. This is what Occam's razor prefers, and the burden of proof lies on those who claim otherwise.

Please feel free to invite that normal-actual-shape-of-the-Earth-accepter here to discuss it.
teo123 wrote: Then there was some Flat Earther who claimed that the human brain is something more than Turing-complete and used quantum mechanics to explain how it works. Then said Round Earther pointed out that quantum mechanics doesn't open the door to the hyper-computation, that it's not to be expected that quantum computers would be better at walking and recognizing things around themselves, and that using quantum mechanics to explain consciousness is usually considered pseudoscience.
Right.

Quantum is usually just a pseudoscience buzzword today.

A. Dragons exist, and your friend has been on one.
B. Your friend is a liar and dragons exist. Why did he lie?
C. Your friend is telling the truth as far as he knows, but is delusional and has not really been on a dragon, and dragons do exist.
D. Your friend is a liar and dragons do not exist. Why did he lie? How is this massive conspiracy theory to make people believe in dragons maintained? Why would anybody do this? Why don't dragons exist? How is all alchemy wrong?
E. Your friend is telling the truth as far as he knows, is delusional and has not been on a dragon, and dragons don't exist. etc.
There was no massive conspiracy to convince people of dragons, they were just ignorant. There was no science supporting a theory that required dragons to be possible. The Alchemy (if there was even an alchemic theory of dragons) was wrong because it was pseudoscience. The esoteric claims of alchemy never generated any results; unlike modern engineering which you see the products of all the time (the same theories that make airplanes work make a fan or a car work). Ultimately, Alchemy dropped those supernatural aspects and evolved into chemistry by retaining only what was based on evidence.
teo123 wrote:However, in the past, many people claimed to have seen or even flown a dragon.
Not really. There were no widespread claims of having seen or ridden dragons. That was considered extraordinary, although people may have accepted it happened sometimes. At best, you might put that in the category of, "I had lunch with Obama". Possible, yes, but a pretty extraordinary claim.

Compare the number of people who claim to have had lunch with Obama, and those who actually have; which is a larger number? This would tell you something about the chance of somebody lying.
Meanwhile, the number of people riding airplanes is huge, and the number of people claiming to have done so is probably only slightly larger than the number who have (the number of people riding airplanes and then forgetting about it may be larger than the number who lie about it).

Only when a claim is pretty extraordinary is it more reasonable to consider that it may be a lie and require more evidence (unless you just know your friend is a compulsive liar). If something has less than a 10% or so chance of being true, I may start wanting to see evidence and become willing to imply I don't believe somebody. If I require evidence for something that has a 50% chance of being true and call somebody a liar on those grounds, I'm probably being an asshole (unless the person has a very strong motive to lie, like it was a coin toss the person claimed to have won; I may want to see the coin).
teo123 wrote:So, let's say you are an Ancient Greek. Now, somebody tells you that he had flown on a dragon. You could use that same line of reasoning to conclude that he has most likely flown on one.
Not at all. See above: option D is now equally or more viable compared to A, because a number of necessary assumptions have been stricken.
teo123 wrote:As for the studies showing that billions of people have been in an airplane this year, how do we know those who made the study weren't a part of the conspiracy?
The conspiracy in itself is a huge assumption, and pretty much mathematically impossible.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35411684
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a19150/most-conspiracy-theories-are-mathematically-impossible/

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Post by Jebus » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:33 pm

23843654_1503767339706968_8705838802777944761_n.jpg
Just sayin!
23843654_1503767339706968_8705838802777944761_n.jpg (24.08 KiB) Viewed 891 times
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

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Post by teo123 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:46 am

A few days ago, I was on an airplane for the first time in my life. I travelled to Germany. I must comment, there is a lot of "vegan" food in supermarkets that isn't available in Croatia. I will try it, though I've heard it doesn't taste good. It's expensive, but almost everything is more expensive in Germany than in Croatia. In Germany, people have higher wages, but the prices are also higher.
Anyway, since I stopped believing that airplanes didn't exist, I've convinced myself of quite a few other false things. I was thinking that perhaps, when I thought that the Earth was flat and that airplaned didn't exist, I wasn't actually thinking with my own head. I thought that maybe I wasn't actually thinking about those things, but that I was just thoughtlessly repeating what other conspiracy theorists were saying, just in a different context. So, I've spent more than two years familiarizing myself with the mainstream Croatian etymology, and then I've made my alternative interpretation of the Croatian toponyms. When I was satisfied with it, I made a web-page about it and contacted two quite prominent Croatian linguists, Mate Kapovic and Dubravka Ivsic, about it (e-mailing them a link). I've published what Dubravka Ivsic said in response on the web-page. In short, they think my interpretations are almost certainly wrong.
I don't know what to say. If they are right, why it is that I always get everything wrong? Why it is that, more effort I put into researching something, I seem to get further and further from the truth? Other people are so intellectually lazy, they just look up the etymologies in a dictionary, and assume those etymologies are right. Is it possible that I, as someone who puts by orders of magnitude more effort into researching those etymologies, somehow get things right less often than they do? What is that magic that steers me in the wrong direction, no matter what I am researching? Why is it that things that seem obvious to me are usually false? How is it possible that Hrozny, who didn't study Indo-European languages at all, correctly deciphered Hittite, yet I've studied relevant things for over two years, and the things I thought I've discovered about Illyrian are false? How it is that Ventris deciphered Linear B script with basically no knowledge of the things relevant to deciphering it? They were making wild guesses based on questionable premisses. Why is it that their guesses turned out to be right, yet whenever I make a guess, no matter how reasonable it seems, I turn out to be wrong? It's really depressing.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:16 pm

teo123 wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:46 am
I've published what Dubravka Ivsic said in response on the web-page. In short, they think my interpretations are almost certainly wrong.
I don't know what to say. If they are right, why it is that I always get everything wrong?
I think it's because you're trying to think out of the box and discover something new, which isn't a bad thing, but the fact is that all of the low hanging fruit is gone (the new discoveries have already been made). This ultimately creates a bias against mainstream interpretations with the hope that there's something still there to discover. You hope that existing discoveries are wrong so that you can still be the one to find something.

It's not that you're accidentally getting things wrong while pursuing things with a blank slate, it's that you're being pushed away from the truth (which happens to have already been discovered most of the time) by a desire for novelty and innovation...

Imagine you walk into an orchard, and you keep finding rotten fruit: it's not because you're sniffing out the rotten fruit or just being really unlucky, it's because you're late: there have already been millions of people through that orchard picking all of the good stuff.

There's very very very very little left to discover.

It's a disappointing realization. I've been there, and I know the feeling.
BUT there still are things you can discover, it's just not low hanging fruit. If you want to find something new, you have to climb much higher. And you'll need a ladder, like a university degree and several decades of scholarship. You can make discoveries as a linguist, but it will take a lifetime of work to get to.

See:
http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/

There are some areas where there are useful discoveries to make that are lower hanging and you could learn something new in a few years, mostly in psychology (which is a field that has been dominated by poor methodology for a long time, thus leaving you more opportunity). These are very modest discoveries that won't make headlines, though.
Discovering something revolutionary that upturns science is just not a realistic expectation.

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Post by Red » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:00 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:16 pm
There's very very very very little left to discover.
#ExistentialCrisis
How much would you say we have discovered? 95%? 99%?
If the circumstances make it such that you can't fuck a man in the ass, then just peckerslap him. Better to let him know who's in charge than to let him get the keys to the car.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:28 am

Red wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:00 pm
brimstoneSalad wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:16 pm
There's very very very very little left to discover.
#ExistentialCrisis
How much would you say we have discovered? 95%? 99%?
Impossible to quantify like that, due to different categories of knowledge.

Like how does discovering a new species of beetle compare with discovering yet another planet around a nearby star?

If you wanted to discover a new species, you could probably do that with a few years of highly focused study and a few months trip to a jungle somewhere (study because you'd have to be able to ID it and determine it's a new species).
For a planet we're talking about access to sophisticated telescope technology and a lot of observation.

There's a lot out there to discover, technically, but it's hard to quantify the weight of it vs. something big like discovering a new fundamental force of nature. Most people aren't content to have their names on planets or beetles, yet that's the kind of stuff that's really accessible. That's more along the lines of cartography of what's out there vs. revealing some underlying fundamental part of nature.

Oh, and BTW @teo123 I'm glad to hear you got to go to Germany, sounds like an interesting trip!

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Post by teo123 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:11 pm

I don't know now. I mean, I chose to study the Croatian toponyms exactly because it appears to be an understudied topic, so the chances of me discovering something new appeared rather high. Try to find a scientific dissertation on-line about the etymologies of the names Zagreb or Issa. You won't find them. There is so little written about it, and what is written is often obvious nonsense. The chances of me discovering something new appeared very high.
And I don't really understand why would having a PhD in linguistics be important. You can never know all the relevant technical details, and, even if you do, there is no way to prove you really know them. What's important is that you use a proper methodology, one that produces answers with reasonable certainty based on the little data you actually have. I thought I had discovered such a method by reasoning (seeking for the elements in the toponyms that appear to repeat with some descriptive meaning, trying to explain them using the Indo-European roots and trying to establish the sound changes that happened from Proto-Indo-European to the Illyrian languages). It turns out, I actually hadn't. But, if there is no method that gives reasonably certain etymologies based on the limited data we have about the languages that were spoken in Croatia in the Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, then there is no way of knowing what those toponyms mean. Then a PhD is also useless, because almost all relevant information got lost thousands of years ago, when the relevant languages got extinct, the vast majority of them without a single sentence written on them.
But it's not just linguistics that I get everything wrong about. It's also informatics. I used to think that, as soon as I grow up, I will be able to make some money with my knowledge of programming, and I won't need my parents any more. Now I am 18 and, it turns out, I have spent a lot of time learning wrong things. I spent nearly all of the time studying algorithms and data structures, while I should have spent that time learning about frameworks and libraries. After five years of trying to learn how to program, the most complicated game I am able to make is a Pacman game playable on smartphones. There are 14-year-olds doing more impressive things after a few months of study. That's so depressing.
And that's what I got wrong in the real life. On the Internet forums, I supported even crazier ideas. On a few Internet forums, I argued that the Battle of Vukovar in 1991 didn't actually happen. That is, that I find it hard to believe that I've spent so much time studying Croatian history (not only for the school, but also for interpreting the toponyms) and that I am unaware of the evidence of it if it actually happened. Arguments from ignorance can be so tempting, yet are almost always false.
As for going vegan, listen, I think I first need to get rid of my parents. They are constantly objecting me for just being a vegetarian. I made a compromise with them and started to eat fish again. After all, fish probably don't feel pain, and my parents left me alone a bit.

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