Thanks for joining the Epistemologers for another episode of our Common Misconception Series!
Character attacks (examples of the ad hominem fallacy) are everywhere online. Sometimes this is just an expression of anger — other times it’s a distraction strategy. But it should be clear it’s not persuasive.
Finding truth is commonly misinterpreted as finding good sources of information; or deferring to an expert’s opinion on matters of their expertise (especially when we don’t have the same type of expertise).
We can choose what ideas to entertain by fiat, but we can’t choose what ideas are good by fiat. To tell if ideas are good, we have to logically relate them to as many other ideas as we can. The more caught up in a web of interlocked ideas they are, the more logical conflicts are exposed.
All problems are examples of conflicts like these, and problem-solving is how all progress is made!
This is why understanding this is so important.
We want ideas that constrain each other so well that changing them would break the structure. This makes it very easy to recognize bad ideas, and shows how hard it can be to obtain good ideas. By following this rule, we let ideas stand on their own — that is, we try to keep our own prejudices from interfering.
Ideas that set expectations about the world are immensely valuable — this is the domain of science. Science sets out to run tests against these expectations. We must hunt for when the results of tests conflict with the expectations set by a theory (a guess, hypothesis, conjecture, narrative, view, opinion, etc.) When a conflict is found, it helps to rule out that theory (and/or the results of the experiment). Evidence only rules out; it never lends support to a theory.
The case of Julian Assange is an interesting kind of test of two conflicting narratives: what we could call the Qanon narrative, and a non-Qanon narrative. The main difference being on the issue of whether or not the “new guard” is really new. If Assange receives a lighter sentence, the +1 to Qanon; if he receives a heavier sentence, then +1 to non-Qanon.
Let’s see what happens!
There are no reliable means of justifying ideas as true or probable, and there are no authoritative sources of knowledge. Experts are expected to be sources of good explanations, but it isn’t the expert’s credentials that should carry persuasive weight; it should be good explanations alone.
We all can easily accommodate error, through the normal error correction process, and cut through lies and mistakes. We can become comfortable with the wild rumor mills on the internet. These places can look like the last place that might get to the bottom of anything, but they can be counter-intuitively brilliant at doing so. Anons can be deceptively effective.
Exposed problems are part of how collaborative problem solving happens! If we CAN’T see the problems, then we can’t solve them. And collaboration is crucial — all of us are far better at building knowledge than any one of us.
Lend some weight to the discussion! What do you think?
Why give up leverage if you don’t need to? Decentralization is an effort to give people alternatives to the old trust model.
Join the Epistemologers as we discuss one such decentralization project, the InterPlanetary FileSystem (IPFS). They aim to restructure the internet around content, an improvement over the location-based addressing that prevails today.
Sources of information are unreliable in principle. That unreliability is actually a good thing, because we don’t create new knowledge when we have all the answers handed to us. We should expect there’s a better way to explain it, and have a way to search for these better explanations without insult or censorship. We should be aiming for constructive disagreement.
Share research and watch our understanding evolve! Worrying about being attributed or about those making money selling compilations of that research is just obstructing our ability to reach broader audiences.
We are the news now. Change the world!
Get ready! Bumpy ride ahead! Join the Epistemologers as we discuss what’s ahead. Predictions are features of explanations, and no explanation is infallible. Nevertheless, it’s worth making guesses about what’s going to happen — it can take time to prepare. We’re on this ride together!
Independence(Squire Jack Porter) by Frank Blackwell Mayer
In the course of discussing why we are making our videos, started to talk about good explanations and why we like them, and what features they have.
This is a snippet from our video "Why are we making videos and other oddities..."
Extraterrestrials exist. An old cult bent on world domination is suppressing this. And they’re presently being severely beaten down. Expect great things on the horizon! Join the Epistemologers on a friendly conversation about the limits of knowledge, what they mean for ancient knowledge-builders, and what it means for us when the veil of secrecy is drawn back!
Nothing blocks access to the truth like the feeling of certainty. There is a big difference between having truth and feeling certain, but they’re often confused because that feeling comes when we don’t understand where we’re wrong.
The solution? Expect to be wrong in some way, and keep searching for it by finding better explanations. You might feel less confident, but you’ll be acquiring truths like a boss.
Q anon has been around for more than a year, promising big things, however many of those things have not yet come to pass. As time goes on it's been frustrating watching people who have been accused of doing heinous things remain untouched.
We explore Q and the phenomenon and vent our frustrations.
The pressure to centralize has been hard to miss, and it’s not mere coincidence. Every effort has been made to coerce and entice people to agree to delegate to a central service. It can be more affordable, higher performance, more convenient, less work to maintain, higher quality, and might even scale extremely well. But in all cases it is a loss of independence for the customer.
At some level all this consolidation tends to revolve around people with bad philosophy. As we make progress building knowledge, we acquire more power all the time, and it will hit a breaking point.
We can either stagnate and be destroyed by the next big problem, or we can hurtle into an empowered future that could not possibly survive its bad actors unless something is done about them.
A golden age is coming, but it must be decentralized.
All problems are solvable with the right knowledge.
Knowledge is information that contributes causally to its own survival.
In other words, knowledge is creative guesswork, constrained by a environment dangerous to it. The Constraint Cycle is a recipe for creating an obstacle course for information.
Our vid on the Constraint Cycle: https://youtu.be/sSdXmSMFi4o
Anything that exists can be simulated to some degree of approximation. If we can build a simulator for it, we can explain it. That means we can explain anything, to some degree of approximation.
An explanation is good when it “tricks” us into understanding the world better.
Understanding this philosophy is the key to unlocking the next golden age! There is no limit to how fast we can build knowledge, and the laws of physics do not prevent each problem from being solved. If progress is slow, it is because the process we set up for it is flawed. Improve it! We engineer our own future!
It’s going to be amazing.
Art: Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer above the sea of fog
Welcome to Open Source Intelligence network: a great example of the knowledge-building process in action.
Open information is the great equalizer. Since knowledge shares an intimate relationship with power, open information effectively counters centralization. Especially if the “centralizers” turn out to be criminals!
Art: Friant, La Discussion Politique
The Constraint Cycle
X. Creativity: Absorb information, make guesses that explain those impressions.
1. Logic: Search for logical contradictions in our guesses.
2. Science: Search for logical contradictions between what's actual and what's expected.
3. Engineering: Search for logical contradictions between what we actually built and what we expected to build.
4. Art: Search for logical contradictions between the impression of what we actually built and what impressions we expected to build.
Every worldview has its own way of interpreting the same evidence. This is because theory isn’t derived from evidence; theory only explains the evidence. Theory and evidence constrain each other; neither supports each other.
If we don’t derive theory from evidence, then how do we get theories? We creatively conjecture them. Theory can be proposed that explains across logical gaps that deduction can’t take us. For example, we cannot derive anything about what is from moral claims about what should be, and vice versa. There are many such gaps, that put limits on what can be concluded.
How do we tell what theory is best? It’ll explain more, be broader and deeper, can clear up misconceptions, will be well-constrained by everything we know, and will attract our interest for these reasons. None of this makes more more probable, but being well-constrained makes it a good guess.
Elitism conflates the sophistication of knowledge with the holder of that knowledge. People are universal explainers. If we choose to, we can ride the coattails of knowledge to the moon. But letting that get to our heads will slow us down. This mistake is causing stagnation everywhere, so it's a good one to watch out for.
Q anon, and all other sources, anonymous or not, aren’t and cannot be reliable. Of course this shouldn’t stop us from absorbing information, but it’s a reminder that all information is a guess. It means we shouldn’t waste our time with looking for reliable sources. Just listen to the content without prejudice, and impersonally search for its logical contradictions. Understand its problems. Sometimes the solution comes by replacing your entire worldview! Be prepared.
The attacks on Q are by doubling-down foundationalists. Specifically, they’re using foundationalist talking points, like appeals to credibility, emotion, and explanationless extrapolation from Q’s perceived “record”, to draw a line in the sand. They’re hoping people will generally find logical fallacies compelling, possibly to try to deflect inquiry into whatever it is they’re trying to hide.
We live in interesting times...
Created 10 months, 1 week ago.
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