Thursday, May 31, 2018

Everyone is smart enough to keep a secret

This is a response to a video, but I can't for the life of me remember who it was I responded to.  Their point was that conspiracies are difficult because people are dumb.

The argument that secret societies can't keep secret for a long period of time because "people are dumb" doesn't follow.  People are smart enough to build bridges, conquer empires, get elected, build huge businesses, repair cities after devastating earthquakes and many other things.  Are we supposed to believe that keeping a secret is harder than all those things?

In fact your own expample of the Ministry of Magic shows that, where it concerns their interests, people are very smart.  Consider how much work the MoM put into convincing everyone it wasn't a totally useless, largely corrupt, incompetent mess of an organization.  It worked.  They managed to do that with very few exceptions and those were mostly people who had special knowledge of MoM screwups.  This is an amazing accomplishment that is almost (?) as hard as doing their ostensible jobs.  So you have an example of a successful conspiracy.  You don't need perfect people to have a conspiracy/secret society you just need the right incentives.

If it's hard to keep secrets then why did the mafia last for centuries, and stay so secret that the government denied their existance for decades?    Other conspiracies that worked for a long time were the British governments secret attempts to get the USA into WWII, which wasn't exposed until people started writing memiors, and the Conintpro FBI programs.  Keeping secrets doesn't require a lot of intelligence it just requires that you only communicate with people who will keep the secret.  If you have a system where there are a lot of people who benefit from keeping the secret or would be harmed if they revealed it, such as an intelligence agency or corporate beuracracy, then just having them talk mostly to each other works.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The Law of the Stupid Argument and the "Gotta Find the Genes"

When someone makes a particularly stupid argument it implies that they don't have a convincing case without this argument.  If the argument is stupid enough it demonstrates that means according to the facts they are aware of they are wrong.  This might not mean they are actually wrong, merely that they have lost the argument due to ignorance.

Take for example the claim that USA's higher homicide rates demonstrate that loose gun control laws result in higher homicide rates.  This is a bad argument because it's a post hoc promptier hoc fallacy.  The USA might have higher homicide rates for any number of reasons, including more slavery, self-selection amoung non-slave settleres etc.  Clearly a better argument would be "Since other countries implemented tighter gun laws their homicide rates declined" because that would deal with the societal differences between the USA and other societies.  That this argument isn't made means that it can't be made, at least not by the arguer, because they don't have the evidence this is true.

Another example is the Gotta Find the Genes argument against racial differences in IQ.  You do not need to find the genes responsible for a different probability of a trait to know they exist.  That is obvious when you consider that genetic factors have qualities that non-genetic ones do not, and therefore you can test for these factors independent of testing for the actual genes.  Colour blindness follows a pattern of occurance that is obviously genetic, and any statistical analysis of who displays it shows this.  This was suspected when it was originally found in two brothers.  Of course this was an insufficient sample, but now that we have results from millions of people and can compare the probability of someone getting it depending on various relatives having it we can conclude that it is indeed an   X-linked genetic disease.  Compare this to malaria, which affects people who are exposed to mosquitos carrying plasmodium parasites.  It does not show the statistical patterns which a genetic disease would.  Therefore we can conclude that colour blindness is genetic and malaria isn't.  Of course certain families display a lower likelihood of getting malaria in environments where it is likely and THAT has been shown to be genetic.  If someone says that you have to find the genes to show that IQ differences or anything else is genetic, then tell them they know so little science they don't know the difference between malaria and color blindness.  They know literally less than medieval doctors who although they were wrong about the cause of malaria certainly knew it was environmental not inherited.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Is objectivity a means of white male heterosexual supremacy?

"If feminism is a critique of the objective standpoint as male, then we also disavow standard scientific norms as the adequacy criteria for our theory, because the objective standpoint we criticize is the posture of science. In other words, our critique of the objective standpoint as male is a critique of science as a specifically male approach to knowledge. With it, we reject male criteria for verification."

"Questions of falsifiability look different in this context.  One consequence of women’s rejection of science in it’s positivistic form is that we reject the head-counting theory of verification.  Structural truths about the meaning of gender may or may not produce big numbers.  For example to say “not only women experience that” in reply to a statement characterizing women’s experience, is to say that to be properly sex-specific, something must be unique to one sex.  Similarly to say “not all women experience that” as if that contraindicates sex specificity (this point is to Larry Grossberg), is to suggest to be sex-specific something must be true of 100 percent of the se affected.  Both of those are implicitly biological criteria for sex: unique and exclusive."

Catherine McKinnon in “Feminism unmodified:  Discourse on Life and Law”.

TL;DR version, no it is in fact a threat to white male heterosexual supremacy.

To find out why let’s start by defining our terms.  White in this context means those that both indentify as white and have enough of the genes that predominate in people who identify as white to be classed as European by genetic testing.  Male are those that identify as male and are treated as male by society in general.  Heterosexual are those with no significant attraction to the same sex and who are attracted to the opposite sex.  Supremacy is the possession of the ability to impose your preferences either individually or as a member of a group on another individual or set of individuals in contradiction to their own in a large proportion of cases.

Objective measurements by definition aren’t affected by the race, gender, sexuality or class of the observer.  A properly designed objective test does not yield different results if done by a poor black lesbian than a rich white straight man.  Nor does it yield different results if done ON a poor black lesbian rather than a rich white straight man unless those people differ in the thing tested for.  This means that having your own group in a position to conduct the tests is not helpful to maintaining that group’s power.  Since of course an incumbent powerful* group has more power to conduct tests and decide the significance of their results objective tests give them LESS power, not more than subjective tests.

An example of this is the “Shall Issue” reforms to Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) permits in parts of the United States.  Legally carrying a weapon, particularly a firearm, concealed required a permit. Only Vermont allowed concealed carry without a permit.  There were often no formal rules about who should be issued such permits and the law was therefore effectively quite subjective.  Accusations that this resulted in favouritism and racist policies were common and no doubt had validity in many cases.  In the wake of a shooting where one person claimed she could have saved lives if she had been allowed to carry concealed a reform movement sprang up.  This resulted in many jurisdictions having “shall issue” rules that forced police forces to issue the permits as long as the applicant satisfied certain criterion or state a reason that a judge could reject.   The criterion were things like no previous drug or alcohol problems, domestic violence problems or felony convictions.   Adopting these relatively objective tests deprived the (predominantly) white, male, straight police departments of much of it’s power to refuse concealed carry permits.

To be clear this did not result in a completely objective system of permits or even one that was entirely racially neutral.  If black men are arrested and charged in circumstances that white men would not have been arrested and charged they would still be deprived of CCW permits at disproportionate rates.  However the reforms did result push the balance of power towards poor black people and others, away from rich white men who are able to control the political structure and therefore the police force.

Now the objection might be raised that the power to carry a gun is not a desirable power to give anyone, but that is not relevant to the point.  For a start what power a relatively powerless group should strive for really shouldn’t be decided by a relatively powerful group.  The latter need not have the required information about what power the former needs and in any case telling someone what power they can have is disempowering in itself.  Secondly the point is to give an example of objectivity acting against white, straight male power not an example of objectivity creating a real social good (although I believe it did both in these cases).

In fact objectivity will tend to act against the dominant group because, even if they try to use an appearance of objectivity to legitimise their power, objectivity cannot be totally faked.  If, for instance, a dominant group should argue that they should be in charge of X because they objectively have more of quality Y, that quality can be tested for.  If it cannot be tested for then obviously they are not really appealing to objectivity but to an arbitrarily assigned characteristic.

If a dominant group can assert it’s authority without reference to objective standards there is no limit to their demands on the subordinated group.  A group that claims objective standards can be held to those standards, at least in theory.  Of course it may not be practical to actually hold them to these standards in some cases, but the dominant group cannot violate them blatantly without sacrificing the ideological basis for their authority.  Since all authority is based on ideological claims, not force, claiming objectivity makes all authority vulnerable.  A claim based on subjective standards however cannot be challenged in the same way, since any challenger would find it impossible to prove their case, and an unproven case will be decided in favour of the powerful, because that’s what “power” means.

For another example of objectivity undermining white, male, straight power is civil service exams, particularly multiple choice ones and particularly where the marker has no direct observation of the subject.  These were introduced to defeat favouritism in government appointments and the corruption and incompetence they bred.  While I’m not arguing that they are a perfect or even necessarily the best form of candidate selection they do allow members of non-powerful groups to get power regardless of the wishes of the powerful.  A poor, black man who scores 135 beats a rich white man who scores 133.  Now of course differences in education and other environmental factors means that this need not be a perfectly fair test in terms of ability and/or effort, but it is objective.  There is a way to determine if the black guy or the woman or the transgender person “should” have won, and if it isn’t followed the elites could be in for trouble.  Contrast this with a subjective method of selecting employees where the guy who “seems right” for the job get it.  How would you determine if the selectors were being racist or sexist, consciously or unconsciously?   Of course not, and the fact that no blacks or women get in  merely “proves” that there are no blacks or women that the high, if vague standards required.

*    Whether formally powerful or powerful through some generally accepted social compliance.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

My little Jedi, friendship is magic.

So there's a mutiny in The Last Jedi, and so there should be.  It's about time we stopped portraying Imperial officers as soulless wimps who will take anything for fear... what it's in the Rebellion Resistance?  WTF? 

Ok to understand why that is so utterly stupid imagine that you control a space military and that much of it's work is guerrilla warfare.  You deploy fighter squadrons and even individual fighters halfway across the galaxy and assume they will do their job, even though they could run at any time and there's no way to stop them.  You even send them on what most of them think is a futile attack against a battlestation with literally trillions of times their firepower.  None of them ever desert even though they believe the attack is probably futile suicide.  Only an naive farm-boy thinks he can make the shot, experienced combat pilots don't.  Sounds like a pretty loyal bunch right?  So why are they revolting and not the Imperials who god knows have just cause to throw their superiors down a reactor shaft?

Well simply because the new trilogy doesn't get the fundamental dynamic of Star Wars, which is expressed in two aphorisms.  Good people have good relationships that lead to good results.  Bad people have bad relationships that lead to bad results.

Think about how many times the main three characters in the original trilogy saved each other.  Luke and Han save Leia.  Han saves Luke and therefore allows him to destroy the Death Star, saving Leia.  Luke tries to save Han and Leia but has to be saved by Leia instead.  How this happens relates to the second aphorisms but more on that later. Luke and Leia team up to save Han.  Every single main character, and most of the minor ones on the good side, would be dead without the main three having each other's back.

So let's look at the other team, do they play well with others?  Well frankly no.  I've worked in some pretty dysfunctional organizations but I've never had the boss intervene to stop someone strangling someone in a business meeting.  Nor have I seen anyone provoke such behavior by openly mocking someone's religion.  But that's just the start of the dysfunction junction that is Imperial "leadership".  It's an open question whether Vader saying "This ones mine" gave Han the few extra seconds he needed to line up his attack run on Vader and the other two TIE fighters.  What we do know is that it could have, so Vader was endangering literally millions of lives,  trillions of credits worth of supplies and the most powerful military device in the galaxy to paint another icon on his fighter.  What a dick.  With Tarkin dead Vader seems to get off the leash, choking whoever he wants and punishing people for not knowing smuggler tactics that the Imperial academies obviously never trained anyone in.  The fact that Vader has no idea where Han and the Falcon went doesn't stop him from blaming his subordinates.  It really improved morale you can tell.

But Vader's real crowning achievement in relationship incompetence comes down to a simple sentence.  He has altered the deal you see and you should pray that he doesn't alter it any further.  Now this is a bad thing to say to anyone because it indicates that you're unilaterally abandoning your commitments, while still expecting others to honor theirs.  After all the deal is "altered" not abolished.  But who would it be really bad to say that to?  Perhaps someone who doesn't trust you or your organization to start with, only agreed to help you to protect those under him, has experience with people screwing them over and knows they always do it twice if you let them, is smart and tough.  You know like that Lando guy.  The guy who runs an illegal city and therefore obviously knows how to deal with people both in a good way and a "I've dealt with the guy who tried to back-stab us" way.

But doesn't take the award for bad interpersonal skills in the original trilogy.  The envelope please.  The winner is Emperor Palpatine for his performance as "The gloating moron" on the second Death Star.  Yes why just sit back and watch the most powerful light side force user turn when you can laugh about it and totally destroy your chance to win.  Yes behaving like a complete dick feels so good it's worth risking death and the destruction of your legacy.  Bonus points for turning your back on the guy whose impending death you just gloated about as you try to kill the son who expressed respect for him.

So why was there a constant theme of good gets relationships (mostly) right and bad gets them (constantly) wrong?  Because the good guys actually tried to build relationships.  Not always competently but they were always trying.  They did things for each other because they had a genuine wish to have a productive and happy relationship.  The bad guys didn't.  They did what they were told because the other guy had more power, for the moment.  They neither desired nor pursued an understanding with their superiors, their subordinates or their piers.  This is because they didn't want to give anyone the respect or trust necessary to do that because they were evil and only related to others via domination.  Star Wars was a story in part about these two approaches to other people and how they work out.  And I emphasize WAS.  The new trilogy is about Mary Sues and not bothering to give people a reason to like you.  Which is why I won't be watching it.  Well one of the reasons anyway.

The Jedi are childless weirdos and TLJ should have been about that.

Firstly I'd like to say there's nothing wrong with being childless or a weirdo, but there's a reason neither is the normal position.  Most people form good relationships by NOT being these.

I have been reading and listening to people talk about "The Last Jedi" the latest Star Wars flick.  In it there is a lot of talk about learning from failure, and absolutely no actual learning from failure.  For instance Yoda says that she has all the wisdom in the old books, not telling Luke that's because she has the books. Those would be the books that have the Jedi "wisdom" that is part of why they failed in the first place.  Luke is the only one who actually managed to beat the Sith, but he teaches her almost nothing because he failed and he's depressed.  So what should he have taught her?

Well he should have pointed out that the Sith were beaten by people with good relationships because they had good relationships. The Sith were bitter, angry, obsessive freaks with power, and so they stuffed up every relationship they ever had.  They were able to manipulate people but not handle a genuine relationship.  The only people worse at relationships were the Jedi, so don't listen to them about beating the Sith.  When a man talks about how he keeps getting prophetic dreams about his loved ones dying you don't tell him death is great and you should be glad when it happens.  Palapatine didn't win Anarkin's loyalty, the Jedi lost it.

A good argument could be made that Luke, not Anarkin brought balance to the force.  He went full berserker homicide mode on his dad and didn't fall to the dark side.  He brought himself back from being absolutely full of hate, something the Jedi can't really do.  Could he have done this if he had abandoned his friends who were suffering because of him?   I don't know but probably not.  Luke is about hope and loyalty, and not going to his friends would have split his soul in a critical way.  Long story short, following Yoda's advice would have got Luke and possibly even Leia turned to the dark side.  Against the dark side you really need to know who you are, "I am a Jedi like my father before me.".  Bear in mind that Luke barely came back from the dark side as it is.  Without his friends...

But Luke forgets that's how he won.  He listens to Yoda.  Why?  Yoda is the old thinking that got the Jedi defeated.  Luke is the new thinking that destroyed the Sith (or at least those Sith that were visible).TLJ should have been about the power of normal relationships that aren't based on monkish obsession.  But SJWs hate normal relationships so that was never going to happen.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The State _is_ hate speech.

Recently I viewed a video about the Palace Cinemas canceling the documentary "The Red Pill".  The fact that some potential visitors to Australia "spread hate" was mentioned and it was taken for granted that such should be banned.  The problem is that the organizaton banning these people in the fountain of hate speech, the mother lode, the cornucopia.  Think about what the government does.  It says that some people are so bad force, even lethal force, should be used against them.  Not only that but they are so bad that if you refuse to fund using force against them, or even fail to tell them where these people are so they can use that force, force should be used against you.  Again, depending on how much resistance is encountered this includes lethal force.

So before they ban anyone for hate speech they should immediately deport the entire government.

The defeat and betrayal of Eddie Mabo.

Non-Australians might need an explanation of who Mr. Mabo is, Australians will not, that's how famous he is.  People who don't know the name of their Prime Minister* know who Mr. Mabo is and that he won one of the most significant cases in land rights law.  Except he didn't. He lost.  So how is that I've never met anyone who thinks he lost?  Is everybody in Australia wrong but me?  Is it simply my massive ego combined with a refusal to admit error?  I don't think so because I know what Eddie Mabo wanted, and I know what he got.  I will explain the difference.

To start with understand that Mr. Mabo was not an "Australian Aboriginal" although he is from an Australian territory and is a native of that territory.  He is a "Torres Strait Islander" from the islands north of Australia.  The culture on these islands is different from that of mainland Australia.  They even have different flags to represent their people,   Mainland Aboriginals were hunter-gatherers** without land ownership as traditionally understood in Europe.  There were territories, belonging to particular tribes, but an individual person referring to "his" land would not make sense.  His people's land of course he'd know well and there would be no confusion.  Torres Straight Islanders on the other hand farmed and their land law was very different.

An example of the sort of way land was managed was this extract from a letter from Mr. Mabo to Mr. Dipoma.

"Your letters are full of what normally drops off in your toilet after a good feed. My adoptive parents claim me alone as their son. You have no claim for that land. Now I'm telling you to move out or you'll be thrown out by force. "
This is an extreme example of course but it shows the basis of Torres Strait Islander land law.  This is my land, get off it or I'll hurt you.  There's no mention of traditional ceremonial purposes, only of a) inheritance, b) ownership and c) potential violence if a) and b) aren't respected.  Eddie Mabo wanted something that is indistinguishable from free hold title. He didn't get this.  He never owned the land the should rightfully have inherited and his children didn't get it either after his death.  Instead tribes, mainly not Torres Strait Islander tribes, acquired completely novel and bizarre rights to some land.  These included a "right to negotiate" over development, not a right to veto it, or even be paid to allow it,  This was a fundamental betrayal of what Eddie Mabo was and wanted.  If he had been a white man his descendants would have had freehold title to his land.  He was betrayed in the most racist way possible.

*  Well it changes a lot so it's not a good test.

** With the exception of one possible aquaculture setup, the only example of a culture developing aquaculture before agriculture.  

Thursday, June 16, 2016

To Mary Emily O'hara during this trying (not for her but for others) time.

At this trying time of distress I have to say, "Boo-fucking hoo bitch".

You don't feel safe?  Really?  You're a woman.  Just by being born without a penis you halved the chance you would be murdered and took your chance of being physically assaulted down by a third.  

The attack that makes you so afraid overwhelmingly hit males.  Get over your intense self-involvement and realize THIS is why misogyny happens.  When women can't even comment on MEN being killed without the subject being how THEY feel it's as callous as you can get.  Reading your article was like a black woman in 1950s America listening to a white woman saying how afraid she is of being raped.  CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE.  You are safe because you are a Western, white woman.  if any of those categories changed, then you'd have cause for worry.

My sympathies go out to the ACTUAL victims.  

Friday, April 01, 2016

Eric Zorn comes out for pushing journalists around, ironically he is one.
"The behavior of University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click on Nov. 9 was disgraceful.
You've probably seen the viral video. It was shot by student journalist Mark Schierbecker, who was covering a campus protest over the administration's response to alleged incidents of racism, a protest being closely watched by the national media because it also involved a boycott by the Mizzou football team.
The video, shot from Schierbecker's perspective, shows him slipping inside a perimeter established by students on a university lawn,"
Which they had no right to establish.
approaching Click and identifying himself as a member of the media.
" "You need to get out! You need to get out!" she says, moving the lens of his camera away from her face with her hand."
Which is illegal by itself, an infringement of his civil right to record public events.

" After he refuses to leave, she loudly calls for "some muscle" to help her eject him from the area, then mocks his assertion that he has a right to occupy a public space.
Click's lack of respect for or apparent understanding of Schierbecker's press freedoms under the First Amendment was not only disgraceful given her position in the school's communications department, but it was also embarrassing for the university and counterproductive for the protesters, whose tactics, not their complaints, quickly became the focus of the national media narrative.
But it wasn't criminal."
Well the judge disagreed, as did the prosecutor. It was plainly illegal to forcibly remove someone from a public space or incite others to do so.

"At least that's what we all assumed as the weeks went by without a peep from prosecutors about Schierbecker's bleat that he'd been the victim of an assault."
Firstly why would the lack of prosecutitorial action mean something is legal? Secondly charges often take a while to file, why is it a surprise that she was charged now.
"Monday, however, 2 1/2 months after the fact, Columbia, Mo., city prosecutor Steve Richey charged Click with misdemeanor assault in the third degree.
It's a minor offense as such things go — the maximum penalty is 15 days in jail and a $300 fine but overkill nevertheless given that the students who came to Click's aid barely touched Schierbecker as they led him outside the protective ring of students with locked arms, where he continued filming."
No it's not overkill, as you yourself acknowledge she broke the law and used force. How is one of the most mild charges available overkill?
"Technically, yes, you can make the argument that Click broke the law."
As I said, you acknowledge that she broke the law. So why is it "overkill" to charge her?
"Under Missouri law, "A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if … the person purposely places another person in apprehension of immediate physical injury or … the person knowingly causes physical contact with another person knowing the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative."
It would be an assault, in other words, if the diminutive Click's call for "muscle" was an appeal for a group of protesters to come and administer a beating or some other kind of physical abuse to the student with the video camera. But was it?"
Well yes, because that's exactly what they did and Click didn't object. They literally pushed him around.

"Given the nonviolent nature of the protests to that point and the subsequent gentle bum's rush Schierbecker received"
The "bum's rush" is the use of force, it is physical abuse, so given the subsequent "gentle" bum's rush we can say she was doing exactly what the law prohibited.

" — students were calling him "bro" "
So what?

"as they tried to block his camera with their hands"
And also AS YOU ADMIT pushing him away.
" — that contention is dubious."
Actually it's confirmed.

"It would also be an assault if Click's efforts to get Schierbecker's camera out of her face, which seems to have included touching his hand judging from the images, was deliberately "offensive or provocative." "
Which they were. He was not being intrusive the camera was NOT "in her face".
"But were they? A fair viewing of the video suggests that, while Click was acting like a presumptuous ninny,"
No he was acting like a competent journalist.
" gently pushing aside the camera was more a defensive than aggressive act."
How? He was not beating people up with his camera. It is not "defensive" to use force to prevent recording public events.

"Click later apologized to Schierbecker for her "actions, language, strategies and behavior," but he did not accept the apology because, he said, "she did not seem entirely sincere."
"Laws against assault are meant to protect us from hostile, threatening, intimidating behavior that falls just short of physical violence, known as battery."
And that's exactly what Click did, if not more.

" They're not meant to protect us from every person who looks as us cross-eyed or warns us to get a move on or else."
Move on or else? What the fuck asshole, how is that not a fucking threat?
"They are certainly not meant to be used as bludgeons in political fights."
Which isn't happening here.
"Click's criminal offense, if any, was so minor that, in any other context — imagine similar circumstances but instead she was trying to escort a nosy interloper away from an outdoor wedding police wouldn't even file a report."
Firstly you don't know this. Secondly if you can't see why judges might view using threats and force to stop recording of a political protest more serious than to prevent filming a wedding you're an idiot. Do you really think that deliberate intimidation of the press isn't more serious than other offences.
"The "victim" would be told to get over himself."
Citation needed and so what?
"Here, the charges landed well after the fact and in the middle of a controversy over Click's professional fate that has split the campus and the state legislature, where Republicans are calling for her ouster.
And they resulted, Wednesday, in an emergency meeting of the university's board of curators that concluded with the announcement that Click "is suspended pending further investigation." "
What investigation needs to be done? She used force on the press, she should get the fuck out.

"As uncomfortable as I am with the idea of a communications department assistant professor creating controversy by displaying an arrogant disregard for the freedom of the press, I'm even less comfortable with the idea of a prosecutor using the cold letter of the law to play a role in resolving that controversy."

So you're admitting that she did break the law right? So why should she not be charged, because it has a political effect? So what? She is guilty and you basically acknowledge this.