Quora – Aumann’s Agreement Theorem

Quora – What are some solid conclusions that could be reached when using Aumann’s agreement theorem to debate evolution versus creationism?


Aumann’s theorem assumes that assumptions can be enumerated and argued in some real time.
The reality seems to be far more complex than that, in that a human brain can generate hypotheses and relationships to existing datasets far faster than it can communicate the relationships, let alone reach any sort of agreement about datasets.
We are vastly more complex than that theorem allows for.
It is an oversimplification of reality that leads to invalid conclusions, even as it is true within its own set of assumptions, those assumptions clearly do not apply to reality.

Yet one more thing Robin Hanson and I can agree to disagree about 😉

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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2 Responses to Quora – Aumann’s Agreement Theorem

  1. Robin Hanson says:

    Uh, no you seem to completely understand the theorem. It says nothing about assumptions or about timescales.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Robin,
      As I understand it, the theorem assumes “common knowledge” and “rationality”.

      In practice, in evolved organisms such as ourselves (with multiple levels of genetic and mimetic evolutionary processes being a large part of the systemic building blocks of our existence), both “common knowledge” and “rationality” involve a process of communication to achieve some useful degree of “fidelity” of agreement.

      I have observed in practice within myself that in the time it takes me to generate and transmit a set of words that have some useful probability of creating some useful approximation in another of the structure which I am consciously trying to communicate; I have usually managed to generate multiple new structures and relationships, and sometimes one or more of those can fundamentally alter and invalidate some significant aspect of the thing I just communicated.

      So it is those twin assumptions (“common knowledge” and “rationality”) that I challenge.

      And my challenge to “rationality” is in a very technical sense, of the structure of the “games space” within which one is making predictions and assessments and summations of probabilities of costs and benefits over time. When one is dealing with schema that have several thousand variables going into the predictions one is generating about the shape and dimensionality of the topologies being assessed, then the chance of commonality gets vanishingly small.

      It is in this sense that the theorem seems to me to have “invalid assumptions” when applied to real people in real conversations (at least in my case in the conversations that I have with people that I find particularly interesting – and you are one of those).


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