Evonomics – Evidence for Tribalism in Economics

Evonomics – Evidence for Tribalism in Economics

[ 31/5/20 ]

While I agree with the several of the main themes, there are also some significant errors in the thesis as written.

1/ Your description of “Science” as “It’s a method for determining what’s true and what’s not” does not sit well for me as a scientist.
For me, a more accurate and meaningful characterisation would be a “method for refining our models and becoming less wrong over time.”
This characterisation acknowledges what seems to be beyond all reasonable doubt, that reality is far more complex than we are capable of accurately modeling, and contains many different classes of fundamental uncertainty and unknowability.
Thus, at some point in a scientist’s education they realise that the classical notions of true and false in respect of reality are but simplistic (and often useful) approximations to something far more complex and nuanced and eternally uncertain.
And in this context it is worth considering that looked at computationally, evolution has selected for mechanisms that deliver survivable results, and survivability often has a time critical element – so that often selects for simple but close enough and rapid, over more accurate but slower to compute, models – hence the dominance at many levels of working heuristics – things that work in practice and are quick and easy.
This recursively explains the diversity of views and levels of understandings one sees in wider society.

2/ Your second false statement is “To explain the evolution of sociality, multilevel selection proposes that there must be competition between groups”.
There need not be competition.
There may be competition.
What is required is some set of threats to the population which may be countered by some level of cooperative activity.
And again, this can be multi leveled, and sporadic over time, as long as the selective pressure present is strong enough.
And again, this is a recursive notion, across all levels of “association”. Anything that supplies some form of boundary over time to some degree can form a level of “individual” and “group” on which such multilevel selection may operate (genetic, mimetic, and beyond).
The key here is seeing that any threat can do it, it does not have to be competitive threats (indeed I contend that in the case of humanity it has generally not been).

And as Paul mentions, it need not be tribalism driving your observations.

In a world that is complex beyond our ability to personally investigate in detail, we must all develop trust networks (implicit and explicit) in order to develop our models and understandings of reality.
Certainly, there will be an aspect of “tribe” in that, and it need not be tribal in the classical sense.
We can all have experiences that lead us to trust or mistrust certain individuals or classes (at any level of association, from people through levels of institutions to logics and more general classes of computational or interpretive schema).
Part of all of this is developing a willingness to investigate and question all levels of the implicit assumption we get from all levels of biology and culture and language and distinction. All distinctions become traps that tend to make us mis-classify things that are subtly yet significantly different from our currently available distinction sets. Many such things are actually hard coded into our perceptual and interpretive neural systems. Overcoming them with software takes work, and makes communication of some classes of discovery extremely difficult.

So I am a yes and no to the thesis as written.
Better than most of the mainstream stuff out there, and still too many fundamental errors to be really useful.

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Tom’s post suggesting covid is a political thing

[Tom posted an image of death rates in democrat vs republican states.]

[ 23/5/20 ]

How did the democrats organise all the deaths in Britain, France, Italy, …..

Get real Tom.

Look at the whole picture!

[followed by Tom replied – You are so naive, like a little boy in the big big world.]

And unfortunately you are so paranoid you can no longer separate fact from fiction.

Sure – there are no shortage of real conspiracies in the world – lots of them.

And not everything is a conspiracy.

Some things are just biology doing what biology has done for billions of years.

This Covid 19 has all the hallmarks of biology doing what it does.

In NZ we have it under control – by strict lockdown and quarantine.

We treated it seriously, early, as a biological pandemic.

Only 21 people out of 5 million died.

Over 250,000 tests have been performed, and 1504 cases identified. Only 28 of those are still active, 1455 have recovered. Just one new case in the last week, and that linked to the last active cluster in Auckland.

We treated it seriously from early on.

We had over 99% voluntary compliance, because there was clear open communication from government and scientists and bureaucrats on a daily basis. Serious questions were asked, and answered seriously. Trust was maintained – for the most part.

You guys are treating it as a political conspiracy and it is beating you.

We treated it as biology and we beat it.

[followed by Tom came back blaming it on 5G]

5G has nothing – Zero – Zip – Nada – to do with Covid – of that I am 99.99+% confident.

You are looking for conspiracies in the wrong places Tom.

Favor – that is a real possibility. Definite evidence of something very interesting there, though not enough evidence to say what.

5G is about low latency. That’s it.

So many much better surveillance technologies already possible and present. As a surveillance technology it is almost useless, it is absorbed too quickly by too many different sorts of molecules. It’s only advantage is precisely that, in that it allows for multiple high bandwidth low latency communication networks to coexist in densely populated areas without interference (they get absorbed so quickly that it works). In places like where I live it is totally useless – as the density of people is far too low – and we need systems that can be useful at a minimum range of 30km (my nearest city is 2 hours drive away).

The power levels involved are tiny. Heating effects minimal.

Sure – don’t sit on one, but sitting 1m away should be perfectly safe, unless it is a big one, in which case 3m should be safe enough.

Do you have any real idea how difficult it is to actually keep a secret – really.

I have no doubt at all that there are real secrets, and real conspiracies, but most things are not that.

Sure, there are multiple levels of groups and understandings and plans in reality – that is and always has been true.

Today there are probably more than a dozen levels of awareness and planning coexistent and not necessarily aligned. So far as I am concerned our security exists in that diversity and independence/interdependence.

Vaccination is only critical for the elderly and the immuno-compromised.

No way is Covid-19 an excuse for universal vaccination. That idea just does not hold water.

When the vaccines are ready, it will be those over 65 for whom it is most recommended, and most urgent, or anyone with any immune activated condition. For everyone else it will be completely optional.

You are seeing conspiracies in everything Tom. That is not good.

Sure – look for conspiracies – there are some, they are important and real, but they are also relatively few in number. Almost everything that happens is not the result of conspiracy, but of a vast array of other causes (which always have existed and always will exist).

The mortality numbers are always depending on context.

Change in behaviour changes context – which is entirely the point of change.

If the USA stops taking covid seriously, and goes back to business as usual, then the death toll from Covid-19 in the USA will reach 2 million by the end of this year. That is real prediction.

It has already killed close to twice as many Americans in 3 months as the Vietnam war did in a decade, and that is with the measures that you are complaining about. Remove them, and the death rate in the over 75s will be close to 20% – without a vaccine.

Death rate has a density dependent function. The more people around you who have it, the greater the chance of dying from it. As you decrease the density (and thence the rate of receiving multiple novel infection sources from other people) you increase the probability of the immune systems being able to cope with it.

All really basic biology – if someone actually understands biology (which very few people do).

This over active conspiracy nonsense of yours will contribute to the death of millions if you continue it.

That is a very sad truth!!!

Though we have never met in person, we have interacted a lot over the last 20 years, and I have a lot to be very grateful to you for, hence I have continued to do my very best to communicate with you.

The sensemaking ecology in America is so broken, so corrupted, it is no real surprise that you believe as you do, because almost everything published is false at some level, for a whole slew of different sets of reasons that have nothing to do with conspiracy as such, but drive directly from the fundamental incentive sets present – the inadequate myths that are promoted (religious, economic, political, philosophical).

I’ve spent about an hour and half 6 days a week for the last 3 weeks in virtual meetings on covid-19 hosted in the US, so have a reasonable handle on things. Plus a couple of hours a day working on my own datasets. I have talked to people in England, France, Wales, USA who have lost loved ones to this disease.

It is not fake.

[followed by Tom responded – Yours is the evening news, Ted. Puts me to sleep]

I guess the only way we’ll get some idea is reviewing this in a year’s time.

Sometimes Ockham works.

[Tom replied – What I see is you like safe positions ….]

Every government security system has black operations, by definition. They do not want people knowing what they do.

I know people who work in such organisations. They don’t tell me details (they wouldn’t continue to work there if they did), but I know they are smart, I know their general interest sets and competencies, so can draw inferences.

I know many different labs have developed bio-weapons that I can only hope and trust never get released. That has been true for 50 years, and is even more so with gene-drive technologies.

Again – same as above.

I have had personal death threats many times, from many different groups – some of which I have taken very seriously (including 1 from the US). Of course I have certain levels of anxiety. And in a sense everything comes down to a balance of terrors.

Which thing poses the greatest risk, what is the best option I have in current situation, how can I most effectively reduce the greatest number of risk by the greatest amount over the longest term, and still survive???

I have no tools to effectively communicate what goes on inside my head. There are no agreed symbols for such things – they are too uncommon.

Nimmitz class carriers project a certain type of power.

Attack subs and missile subs a different sort of power.

Bioweapons are something else again.

The sun is seriously scary – it could wipe out most satellites and most power grids any day.

The risks are huge!!!

And we are a fundamentally cooperative species. That is something that most people really don’t get – yet.

This myth of survival all being about competition is the greatest conspiracy present in society.

If you want conspiracy – that is #1.

Trust is our only path to survival.

But who to trust, and in what contexts???

Look at the values I continue to write. I put many hundreds of hours into choosing those precise words – many levels of depths to them.
#1 – Sapient life, human and non-human, biological and non-biological.
#2 – the freedom of all sapient entities, to do whatever they responsibly choose. And responsibility always contains uncertainty, and must always consider social and ecological consequences.

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Self Care


[ 20/5/20 – What’s your strategy for boosting self-care, inspiration, and creativity?]

Self care:
Personal contact:
Time with Ailsa. Hugs, talking.
Finally allowed to play golf again.
Diet –
Pills – high dose vit C (2 x 7g a day), 1 x multi-vitamin/mineral per day, glucosamine, calcium.
Vegan – about half raw, organic where possible.
whlefoods – avoiding refined foods (sugar, alcohol, oils, etc).
Diverse networks, good sensemaking (Daniel Schmachtenberger and Eric Weinstein are worth the time).
For the last few weeks the Foresight Institute – Hive mind has been a 1.5 hour start to each day (6 days a week).
Take time to enjoy the view.
Have pippa on the big screen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9XNKQY4tQc) – albatross chick at Dunedin.
Do something physical occasionally (otherwise I can be at my screen for 10 out of 12 hours if not careful).
Stop arguing with reality – accept what is, then plan to create a “what might be” that delivers as much security and freedom to all as possible.

inspiration, and creativity:
Nature – taking the time to observe it with all my attention.
Periodically taking the time to go someplace wild – with few if any people present.
Looking up at night. Every night I walk the dog before going to bed, and most nights I get to see thousands of stars, a few meteors, and a few satelites.
Taking notes when ideas occur – otherwise they can disappear just as quickly as they arrived.

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Quora – Prediction

Quora – Can the future be reinvented? If so, what is the proof of predicting with absolute certainty?

[ 8/5/20 ]

As several others here have noted – absolute certainty is not possible – for many different sets of reasons.

One simple idea is that most numbers cannot be known with absolute accuracy – like the number Pi. Pi may be calculated forever, without reaching any definite and certain end. Most calculations to do with circles or periodic activity require the use of Pi, so must necessarily contain some degree of uncertainty. There is a mathematical proof that there are more numbers like Pi that cannot be known than there are numbers like integers and fractions that can.

Then there are classes of systems that cannot be predicted even in theory, things like maximal computational complexity, halting problems, etc.

Then there are many levels of measurement error. All technologies that actually measure things are subject to multiple classes of error.

Then there is fundamental quantum uncertainty – like Heisenberg uncertainty.

Then there is fundamental logical uncertainty – like Goedel incompleteness.

Then there is just the sheer numeric complexity of reality. It is really worth spending a few hours working through the numbers of just how many atoms there are in each of us and how often they interact with each other, and how much uncertainty is necessarily present in every one of those interactions.

Uncertainty is fundamental to existence, and is an essential aspect of every level of life. Evolution is based on it in a very real sense.

The idea of absolute certainty is an illusion that some hold on to that comes from the very low resolution models of reality that children must necessarily start with.

Time to upgrade your model, to enable it to deal with the uncertainty that is (beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt) fundamental to the reality we exist in.

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Bellying up

Cinco de Mayo

[ 6/5/20 – What is it that you are belly-ing up to? ]

I seem to be “Bellying up” to a few things.

Most mornings for the last couple of weeks to the “Foresight Institute Hive Mind” response to the Covid 19 problem space.

I have been engaged at the highest levels of governance in NZ on approaches going forward, NZ has now had two successive days of no new cases. Our go hard go early approach seems to have worked.

Yesterday I was several hours in a Kaikoura Marine Guardians meeting (appointed group of Ministerial Advisors), mainly around our ongoing response to recovering from the massive coastal uplift associated with the 7.8 earthquake 3.5 years ago.

The day before was Te Korowai o te Tai o Marokura – our community based coastal management group.

Later today is a meeting of our Kaikoura Zone Water Management Committee (which I chair, that is a joint committee of local and regional councils), looking at projects we can progress in the post covid lockdown context that is rapidly approaching.

I am continuing to deal with issues with the Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust (which I also chair), at several different levels – our strategic approach to ensuring the survival of the two remaining natural colonies, our handling of our experimental artificial colony, actually running the trapping program in the artificial colony, and actually designing and making a new generation of monitoring equipment for the artificial colony).

I am also on the regional and district Natural Hazards response committee, still mainly dealing with the long term risks resulting from the earthquake that most people are completely unaware of (and really don’t want to think about, understandably in a sense).

I am also on the regional Water committee, and the Regional Biosecurity committee – both of which have serious strategic issues at present.

Also assisting Ailsa on the Dotterel work, and in her submission to Hut City Council yesterday.

Then there is section and house maintenance – several projects on the go there, major work on the roof of the garage.

And yet there is so much more that desperately needs doing. So many levels of risk profiles that require monitoring and development of appropriate sets of technologies and strategies (internationally as well as locally and all levels in between).

So much that needs to change, and change rapidly, for all our sakes.

I feel like I need to do more, but also feel like I am at the edge of my capacity at present.

[followed by]

As a side issue – “Belly Up” to a fisherman means “dead or dying”. As when a fish appears “belly up” at the surface, it is not in a healthy state. So the use of the term as something like stepping up to responsibility is not one I had previously encountered.

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Daniels facebook page – he asked – What are the most significant open questions regarding the Covid situation?

[ 1/5/20 Daniels facebook page – he asked – What are the most significant open questions regarding the Covid situation?]

How effective are various simple filter technologies at reducing the viral load to the environment and thence reducing the r value? eg – how effective is exhaling into a pillowcase?

How effective are various filter technologies at preventing inhalation? In practice, in real world situations? Check a variety of simple and easily scaleable technologies – types of cotton, types of vaccum cleaner bags, etc. Again using real world conditions of flow rates of people actually using them?

What are the simplest technologies we can use that allow for as much normality as possible and simultaneously reduce the probability of transmission as low as possible (preferably under 1).

How do we protect the most vulnerable, the aged who are not able to adapt to behavioural changes?

What are the actual recorded spreads of viral load coming off people with covid19 over time. I have annecdotal reports of bimodal distributions, so some people seem to feel well, return to normal, then get a severe relapse.

I would like to see actual studies of a couple of hundred people with the full range of symptoms, but most particularly interested in those with few symptoms.

What is the actual spread of symptoms?
Can we have people track people who initially test positive without symptoms to see if they truly are asymptomatic, or if their symptoms simply are yet to develop.

I will try and get more detail from here in New Zealand, but we are doing extensive random testing, and do not appear to be detecting any asymptomatic carriers.

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Why are Jetpacks a thing.

Quora – Are jetpacks a commercial viability within the next 10 years?

[ 1/5/20 ]

Agree with Jeff.

They are inherently dangerous, and vulnerable to single point of failure with fatal consequences.

With fixed wing or rotor wing aircraft, if the engine fails you can still land in a condition that would allow you to walk away, if you execute the required skill set appropriately.

In a jetpack, there is a space where you are too low for a ballistic parachute to arrest you, and even an airbag style envelope can cause problems if it deploys too low, and ends up projecting you on a high ballistic arc, with a very unhappy landing at the end of it.

Just the risk profile, and the need for ultra-high reliability on the jet units, means they are unlikely to be a commercial success, ever (except for use over water, or where higher risk from other sources overwhelms that risk).

The only way out of that would be to have multiple reliable engines, with the ability to land on any subset of them, and that will be expensive.

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