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Thread: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

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    Default Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Bryan Caplan on "Misinformation About Misinformation"

    Despite [some minor] reservations, Bryan's central insight is well-taken. The root of the problem lies far more in voters' demand for misinformation than in the supply provided by unscrupulous elites (even though the latter certainly deserve great blame for their activities). So long as that demand remains high, we can expect supply to keep up. We have met the misinformation enemy, and he is us.

    Efforts to combat the harmful effects of misinformation must take account of this unpleasant reality. I summarize some ways in which we can do that here and here.


    https://reason.com/volokh/2022/05/18...isinformation/
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    People dislike their pet theories and prejudices being disproven,. They dislike even more having their rusted-on theological or ideological decisions being proven to be stupid by future developments.

    …and will go to all sorts of mental gymnastics not to acknowledge their gullibility.

    Humans are like that.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    ^no chit!

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    and as far as arrogant goes, I don't mind at all………………...

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    People dislike their pet theories and prejudices being disproven,. They dislike even more having their rusted-on theological or ideological decisions being proven to be stupid by future developments.

    …and will go to all sorts of mental gymnastics not to acknowledge their gullibility.

    Humans are like that.
    That is System One thinking. Works well on the savanna for lion recognition, but is well past its sell by date.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Good article.

    In addition, I also believe that we humans are base and brutish at our core. It takes continual effort to move or grow past that( See the authors comment about people who study economics). So, buying in to base and brutish streams of thought is easier than believing in more enlightened concepts.

    We all know, at least I believe, that people, like water running downhill, want to take the path of least resistance. They want to apply goop rather than replank, they want to spray gunk rather than rebuild the carb and they would rather ascribe to positions that do not challenge them or require continual work and striving for growth.

    Kevin


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    Last edited by Breakaway; 05-19-2022 at 07:02 AM.
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Good article.

    In addition, I also believe that we humans are base and brutish at our core. It takes continual effort to move or grow past that( See the authors comment about people who study economics). So, buying in to base and brutish streams of thought is easier than believing in more enlightened concepts.


    Kevin


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    No I disagree. We would not have survived natural selection if that were the case. On balance, we are moral and altruistic, which is the opposite of brutish and base.

    It is true that we are beset by lazy thinkers, both gullible and uninterested in learning, and easy prey to those who want to exploit those weaknesses.
    To expand on my reference in #5

    It probably had its roots in survival strategies.
    When a savanna primate sees something that looks like a predator (or part thereof) behind a bush or rock, they dont have time to think about it, System 1 thinking sets them off running. That evolutionary benefit was selected in our genes and survives to this day. The trouble is that once a prejudice is learned, it is extremely difficult to unlearn it, not impossible, but it makes some people's brains hurt, so people don't.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    how to sound arrogant
    you got this david, you could well skip this self help lesson
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    That is System One thinking. Works well on the savanna for lion recognition, but is well past its sell by date.
    Ayup

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Good article.

    In addition, I also believe that we humans are base and brutish at our core. It takes continual effort to move or grow past that( See the authors comment about people who study economics). So, buying in to base and brutish streams of thought is easier than believing in more enlightened concepts.

    We all know, at least I believe, that people, like water running downhill, want to take the path of least resistance. They want to apply goop rather than replank, they want to spray gunk rather than rebuild the carb and they would rather ascribe to positions that do not challenge them or require continual work and striving for growth.

    Kevin


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    Indeed.

    Here's the example about studying economics. I think it's a key bit. Not because it mentions economics, but because it reveals the patterns of thinking --

    If this seems implausible, remember the vast empirical literature on biased thinking. To take one of my favorite examples, people who have never studied economics are almost invariably protectionists. The reason can't be "misinformation," because people who have never studied economics spend near-zero time thinking about the subject. The story almost has to be, rather, that we're predisposed to error. Protectionism is much more emotionally satisfying for psychologically normal humans. The study of economics is necessary to move away from this default….


    In general, studying any of the disciplines that require critical thinking, good writing (and therefore thinking) skills, and some understanding of human psychology, are helpful: political science; psychology; sociology; economics (esp. the non-financial areas); etc.
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No I disagree. We would not have survived natural selection if that were the case. On balance, we are moral and altruistic, which is the opposite of brutish and base.

    It is true that we are beset by lazy thinkers, both gullible and uninterested in learning, and easy prey to those who want to exploit those weaknesses.
    To expand on my reference in #5

    It probably had its roots in survival strategies.
    When a savanna primate sees something that looks like a predator (or part thereof) behind a bush or rock, they dont have time to think about it, System 1 thinking sets them off running. That evolutionary benefit was selected in our genes and survives to this day. The trouble is that once a prejudice is learned, it is extremely difficult to unlearn it, not impossible, but it makes some people's brains hurt, so people don't.
    Yes, I think Hobbes comments have long been over-valued. Newer research shows that cooperation was just as important to survival/evolution as self-centered brutality.
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    you got this david, you could well skip this self help lesson
    You are, as usual, too kind <G>

    Actually, what the article was pointing out is that insisting on the next level of intellectual rigor, and holding the consumers of falsity to the same standards as the dispensers, is liable to get you LABELED as elitist/arrogant. But that it's quite necessary.
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    <sigh>

    yes david i gathered that from the summarizing quotes that you posted
    it is a well known phenomenon

    and it's been a construct of the right versus the 'intellectual elite left' for decades
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post

    Here's the example about studying economics. I think it's a key bit. Not because it mentions economics, but because it reveals the patterns of thinking --
    I have always been wary of economists and economics. The economy is so complicated and subject to so many variables, that to study economics you need to simplify the model.
    That means that you need to run several models, each of which simplify by leaving different factors out.
    So none of the answers are correct, but if a couple are more in agreement than the others, those answers may be closer to reality, but still wrong. .
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I have always been wary of economists and economics. The economy is so complicated and subject to so many variables, that to study economics you need to simplify the model.
    That means that you need to run several models, each of which simplify by leaving different factors out.
    So none of the answers are correct, but if a couple are more in agreement than the others, those answers may be closer to reality, but still wrong. .
    oh no it's much worse than that, we students of economics don't necessarily make multiple models of the same situation, we simplify our models by making assumptions

    assumptions like all consumers act rationally
    or, my favourite pet assumption, that all actors in a market have perfect information
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    I have always been wary of economists and economics. The economy is so complicated and subject to so many variables, that to study economics you need to simplify the model.
    That means that you need to run several models, each of which simplify by leaving different factors out.
    So none of the answers are correct, but if a couple are more in agreement than the others, those answers may be closer to reality, but still wrong. .
    There are a lot of branches of economics.

    But you're right about the complexity. I have a good buddy who's a meteorologist. We've talked a lot of how similar the two fields are - just because the sheer dynamic complexity makes predictions problematic. We've pretty much decided that humans are getting weather prediction under control. The factors, while multitudinous, are still fewer than economics. Now they just need more data collection. But economics, partly because of the human factor, are going to be harder to quantify accurately. Better data would help there, too. Both fields are benefitting hugely from the power of statistical modeling software and advanced computer power, but there's less immediate financial incentive to do systematic data collection for economics. So most of the useable data sets already have been analyzed to death. When I was in grad school, there was a huge push toward massaging the less-useable data into some form that might be crowbarred into forms that could (sorta) be plugged into the modeling programs. My professors were mostly engaged in that endeavor, and did not smile when I called it Mathematical Masturbation.

    But predicting from data is only ONE approach. The more traditional effort. The one I prefer is looking at history, teasing out patterns, and predicting future behavior from that vantage point. AND economics is far more than mere predictions. That's the bit people are most interested in, but - as you say - not the bit economics is best at. And don't get me started on all the faulty embedded presuppositons we've accreted over the years (rational man... HAH!!!). Behavior Economics is a bright spot. But here's a cutting (and perhaps a bit too harsh) example of the legitimate criticisms of the field -- https://rwer.wordpress.com/2022/05/1...-an-economist/
    Last edited by David G; 05-19-2022 at 09:22 AM.
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    It's a little like heroin. Supply creates its own demand.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No I disagree. We would not have survived natural selection if that were the case. On balance, we are moral and altruistic, which is the opposite of brutish and base.

    It is true that we are beset by lazy thinkers, both gullible and uninterested in learning, and easy prey to those who want to exploit those weaknesses.
    To expand on my reference in #5

    It probably had its roots in survival strategies.
    When a savanna primate sees something that looks like a predator (or part thereof) behind a bush or rock, they dont have time to think about it, System 1 thinking sets them off running. That evolutionary benefit was selected in our genes and survives to this day. The trouble is that once a prejudice is learned, it is extremely difficult to unlearn it, not impossible, but it makes some people's brains hurt, so people don't.

    Well, I'll do some more reading and thinking, since I respect your opinion.

    For, now, I will say that I'd prefer the guy between me and the sabre-toothed cat be base and brutal rather than altruistic and moral ( "Whose morals?," is one question I have.). As a species we've spent way longer in the cave than in the cities and suburbs. Attributes better serving the first environment have had eons more time to become engrained.

    Kevin



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    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    No I disagree. We would not have survived natural selection if that were the case...
    Based on the assumption that "natural selection" is over

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    Natural Selection is so last year. The future of humankind will be determined by digital algorithms. In fact, it already is.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Well, I'll do some more reading and thinking, since I respect your opinion.

    For, now, I will say that I'd prefer the guy between me and the sabre-toothed cat be base and brutal rather than altruistic and moral ( "Whose morals?," is one question I have.). As a species we've spent way longer in the cave than in the cities and suburbs. Attributes better serving the first environment have had eons more time to become engrained.

    Kevin



    Kevin
    Better yet, fat and unfit. If he were base and brutal, he might club you and leave you as bait.
    Whose morals? Morals do not vary much. They usually follow from The Golden Rule.
    As to time spent in small hunter-gatherer bands, yes, we evolved our morality and behaviours wayyyy back then. It is suggested that when we learned to control our environment, the rate of our evolution slowed down.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Based on the assumption that "natural selection" is over
    But is it? African populations are evolving resistance to HIV, where a lack of medical intervention allows natural selection to operate. I also read that Sickle Cell, the bane of Africans, evolved as a defence against malaria.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    For, now, I will say that I'd prefer the guy between me and the sabre-toothed cat be base and brutal rather than altruistic and moral . . .
    Yeah? 'Base and brutal' does not mean he's necessarily an effective hunter or fighter, but that he'd run away if he could and leave you to get eaten. And if you survived and then organized a group of guys with spears to go kill the sabertooth, the 'base and brutal' guy would bug out at the last minute and leave the rest of you to take the risk. The thing human beings are REALLY REALLY good at is cooperation in groups, in ways and on a scale that makes ants and bees envious. Most of us see the benefits of reciprocal altruism. That's why there are eight billion of us now, and tigers are just about extinct. We still have those 'base and brutal' ones who don't; we now call them sociopaths.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 05-19-2022 at 02:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Yeah? 'Base and brutal' does not mean he's necessarily an effective hunter or fighter, but that he'd run away if he could and leave you to get eaten. And if you survived and then organized a group of guys with spears to go kill the sabertooth, the 'base and brutal' guy would bug out at the last minute and leave the rest of you to take the risk. The thing human beings are REALLY REALLY good at is cooperation in groups, in ways and on a scale that makes ants and bees envious. Most of us see the benefits of reciprocal altruism. That's why there are eight billion of us now, and tigers are just about extinct. We still have those 'base and brutal' ones who don't; we now call them sociopaths.
    That's really taking it an extreme, Keith. I see it differently. To wit:

    It takes brutality to kill something--even if its your dinner. With the tiger at the cave entrance, I'll take the killer beside me as opposed to the organizer--the non brute who wants to think about it when what he really needs to do is swing the club. In the moment, you need a brute, or at least allow your brutish self to surface.

    Later on, we can talk about plans for future tiger defense, while we sit around the fire, eating tiger liver and making claw necklaces.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    That's really taking it an extreme, Keith. I see it differently. To wit:

    It takes brutality to kill something--even if its your dinner. With the tiger at the cave entrance, I'll take the killer beside me as opposed to the organizer--the non brute who wants to think about it when what he really needs to do is swing the club. In the moment, you need a brute, or at least allow your brutish self to surface.

    Later on, we can talk about plans for future tiger defense, while we sit around the fire, eating tiger liver and making claw necklaces.

    Kevin
    Unfortunately, your metaphors are becoming so badly mixed that they are losing touch with reality.
    There are better strategies to scare off a predator than risking serious injury or death by fighting it. This is where evolution kicks in.
    The hominids who learned better strategies survived to pass them on and teach the rest of the clan.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    oh no it's much worse than that, we students of economics don't necessarily make multiple models of the same situation, we simplify our models by making assumptions

    assumptions like all consumers act rationally
    or, my favourite pet assumption, that all actors in a market have perfect information
    I never made it beyond being a student of hedonism.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    So how come the existing base and brutal feature so much in politics…………………...

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    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    So how come the existing base and brutal feature so much in politics…………………...
    Politicians exploiting system 1 thinking.

    And a Right wing sense of entitlement/envy?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    No I disagree. We would not have survived natural selection if that were the case..
    .

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Based on the assumption that "natural selection" is over
    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    But is it? African populations are evolving resistance to HIV, where a lack of medical intervention allows natural selection to operate. I also read that Sickle Cell, the bane of Africans, evolved as a defence against malaria.
    Exactly!

    Dinosaurs, 200 million years
    Humans, 6 million years
    An insect spreading an infectious agent can/will take us out in the geologic blink of an eye, and I'm betting it will be in a lot less than 200 million years

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Dinosaurs, 200 million years
    Humans, 6 million years
    An insect spreading an infectious agent can/will take us out in the geologic blink of an eye, and I'm betting it will be in a lot less than 200 million years
    Lighten up.
    We are spread over so many continents, separated by miles and miles of oceans. Any disease vector will have a hard time to infect everyone before we can deal with it.
    Even a meteor strike causing a "nuclear winter" would not wipe us all out.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    That's really taking it an extreme, Keith. I see it differently. To wit:

    It takes brutality to kill something--even if its your dinner. With the tiger at the cave entrance, I'll take the killer beside me as opposed to the organizer--the non brute who wants to think about it when what he really needs to do is swing the club. In the moment, you need a brute, or at least allow your brutish self to surface.

    Later on, we can talk about plans for future tiger defense, while we sit around the fire, eating tiger liver and making claw necklaces.

    Kevin
    Exactly. Killing is necessary. Someone who cannot or will not grasp this is an unproductive and unreliable member of group. Unable to cooperate, not just in the fight itself, but in the preparation for it, which is what makes for the peace which makes civilization possible. A freeloader.

    Next step is to recognize when a human represents the same level of threat, or worse, than the tiger. Study it, know it, practice readiness for the necessity. Make cooperative arrangements, before the S starts.
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    I think we're using a somewhat different meaning of 'base and brutal'.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Exactly. Killing is necessary. Someone who cannot or will not grasp this is an unproductive and unreliable member of group. Unable to cooperate, not just in the fight itself, but in the preparation for it, which is what makes for the peace which makes civilization possible. A freeloader.

    Next step is to recognize when a human represents the same level of threat, or worse, than the tiger. Study it, know it, practice readiness for the necessity. Make cooperative arrangements, before the S starts.
    Is OR unable to think in anything other than black or white?
    Is the concept of last resort alien to OR?
    Can OR not conceive of any other strategy than killing?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Sorry to be late in replying ( been watching hockey playoffs and fishing) here.

    Certainly, cooperation within and between communities, and an organized and planned response for survival and flourishing is preferable. Those of us living in the Euro-centric, educated, white, western world are well along in that developmental timeline.

    But, evolution takes a long time. The amount of time we have lived as so-called evolved is exponentially smaller than the time we have spent needing to be killers each and every day. It is that dog eat dog heritage that comes more naturally, more easily to us. ( us a species not necessarily as individuals) It is right there, just below the surface, and more easily teased out. It takes more work for us to act in what we today call more civilized fashion. Most, or many, people do not want to do that work.

    The us and them world we live in is largely a product of this predisposition.

    Kevin






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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Lighten up.
    We are spread over so many continents, separated by miles and miles of oceans. Any disease vector will have a hard time to infect everyone before we can deal with it.
    Even a meteor strike causing a "nuclear winter" would not wipe us all out.
    Actually, a nucular winter might be just the thing...

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Information Theory: how to sound arrogant

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    But, evolution takes a long time. The amount of time we have lived as so-called evolved is exponentially smaller than the time we have spent needing to be killers each and every day. It is that dog eat dog heritage that comes more naturally, more easily to us. ( us a species not necessarily as individuals) It is right there, just below the surface, and more easily teased out. It takes more work for us to act in what we today call more civilized fashion. Most, or many, people do not want to do that work.

    The us and them world we live in is largely a product of this predisposition.

    Kevin
    Hunter-gatherers killed for food. Then in the Neolithic we had the agricultural revolution, and farming reduced the need for hunting as we domesticated livestock and relied more and more on grain. That also increased the population density from the low levels sustained by nomadic hunter gathering.
    From then on, killing was organised by politicians and the Church (of various faiths). The evidence from Durrington Walls and Stonehenge is that the entire British Isles came together for annual celebrations and feasting. So the Neolithic was not particularly brutish or dog-eat-dog. I would suggest that evidence suggests that we are not naturally brutish nor violent.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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