Objectivism Online Forum

# necrovore

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1. ## 2020 Election Statistical Anomaly?

"Tyler Durden" is a pseudonym on Zero Hedge, and is actually the name of a main character in the movie (and book) Fight Club -- which I thought was a very silly movie, and I haven't read the book, but whatever. Also, on Zero Hedge, "Tyler Durden" typically merely introduces information that comes from someone else. True, and yet, "abnormal" results are important in a close race like this, and I'm interested in knowing just how abnormal they are. There are allegations of fraud in certain states, and "abnormalities" in the voting results would tend to support such allegations, although it would not be enough to prove the allegations on its own. I'd pick the swing states as input, not output. A "swing state" in general is is a state that is nearly 50/50 and could go either way, as opposed to a state like Alaska or California where the outcome of the vote is more predictable. Which states are swing states can vary from one election to another, but it isn't a "prophecy" at all. It's an observation. I suppose I'd pick out the states that seemed initially to have Trump leading, but then turned blue as the counting progressed. These states would be Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina. You need a baseline to determine what is "abnormal." For the baseline, I'd select the other 46 states. It should be pretty easy to tell if the four swing states have abnormally high weirdness as compared to the other 46 states. If it's not easy to tell, then there's probably no fraud. All these additional variables such as "number of firearms per resident" merely clutter things up and aren't important here. I would not include them in my model.
2. ## 2020 Election Statistical Anomaly?

The chemtrails thing is different because there's no evidence, and whatever can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. By contrast, the Zero Hedge article presents a little evidence for the statistical anomaly in the election results, although I certainly wouldn't regard it as proved just from that. It's a small amount of evidence, but it is a small amount of evidence. That's why an analysis is necessary in the first place. Intuition and hunches are not automatically correct, but they are not automatically wrong, either. There's nothing wrong with testing them out (by using sense perception and a process of reason) if you think they may be important. If you do not think they are important then you can dismiss them. I think that almost all scientific discoveries started out as hunches which were then confirmed by a process of reason. I'm sure there were also a lot of hunches which, upon further analysis, turned out not to be correct, and so were forgotten. I have to emphasize that an intuition or hunch doesn't prove anything. It's the exercise of reason that proves or disproves it. Reason is authoritative. But, yes, I would say that intuition is a valid basis for coming up with hypotheses. Hypotheses do not prove anything but have to be investigated or tested through a process of reason, and then it is the process of reason, based on the facts, that reveals the truth. I think it's also possible to have an intuition or hunch which is arbitrary. You will find this out when you try to test it with reason and you don't have enough evidence to connect the hunch to reality one way or another. If you think evidence might become available later, you can set the hunch aside until that evidence arrives, but if not, the hunch should be dismissed.
3. ## 2020 Election Statistical Anomaly?

My point in the first post was that this allegation isn't arbitrary; it's specific enough to be either true or false. It's worthy of investigation as opposed to being dismissed out of hand. It is possible to have a hunch about the numbers, that "something is up." You could say that this hunch is based on an informal model, an expectation that the numbers should look a certain way. It would make sense to develop that informal model into a formal model; with the formal model it becomes possible to capture what the assumptions really are and whether and to what extent they are violated. (However, as the famous quote goes, one cannot proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means...) I suppose all I'd need to do is define this "weirdness" function but I don't know how to define it. I might even have to try a few candidate "weirdness" functions until I find one that is both simple and well-behaved not only with the real data but also with some really unlikely test scenarios. I don't think this is arbitrary at all. The function has to be simple. I don't know if I can do the full analysis myself. I almost can. I don't really have time. I don't have all the data (the vote tallies for all 50 states, and besides, these numbers are still changing in some states). But I know it's possible to do. Maybe even with an Excel spreadsheet. As for the Gaussian thing -- I put that in parentheses because I didn't think it was essential to my argument. The weirdness value of an election is a random variable. As such, it would have a probability distribution. The probability distribution characterizes, in a single function, all expectations about the value of the variable, and how improbable they are. The probabilities must add up to 1. If you have the probability distribution of a random variable, and then you get an actual value, you can compute how improbable that value was. You can say things like, "there's only a 5% chance it would be that high," or whatever. One of the most common probability distributions is the Gaussian or "normal" distribution. For Gaussian random variables, you can compute the improbability of a value by measuring how many standard deviations it is from the mean. There's a simple function for that, or you can use tables. But if the variable has a different distribution, then that function does not apply. Suppose your random variable ("weirdness") can only range from -1 to 1. It is then not Gaussian because a Gaussian variable can range from minus infinity to infinity. So you can say that a value of 5 has such and such improbability for a Gaussian variable, because it is so-and-so many standard deviations away from the mean, but if your variable ranges from -1 to 1, then the probability that is has a value of 5 is exactly zero, even though 5 might still only be so-and-so many standard deviations from the mean. So you can't use "standard deviations from the mean" to get the improbability of a non-Gaussian variable. But there are other ways to get the improbability.
4. ## 2020 Election Statistical Anomaly?

I think they looked at that, and figured that it were the case, these Never-Trump Republicans would still have voted for the Republican senators -- and then Trump would be behind the Republican senators, by about the same amount that Biden was ahead of the Democrat senators. Also, why would these Never-Trump Republicans only appear in battleground states and not in all states? (If they were in all states, then even in places like Alaska where Trump won handily, the Republican senator would have even more votes than Trump, and the Democrat senator would have fewer votes than Biden.) On the other hand if Trump wins due to the Supreme Court ruling that a lot of races had rampant fraud -- the Democrats will howl that the election was "stolen" from them. Still, I think Trump should proceed with his challenge (and I hope he follows all the correct steps and makes no mistakes). I think it's better to fight for freedom than to give it up without a fight. But also, I want to know -- I want it to be properly investigated -- whether these allegations of fraud are actually true. I don't like it that the allegations of fraud are being censored* and swept under the rug. *(Ayn Rand said censorship can only be done by governments, so by her definition, this isn't actually censorship. However, I think it's suspicious that so many big companies delete content according to the same Leftist standards. It makes me wonder if government is responsible for this behind the scenes after all. Who's setting these standards? It's like the mainstream press, they often say the same thing word for word. Who's choosing these words? It would be very easy for some regulator to threaten endless inconclusive but expensive investigations against any company that steps out of line...)
5. ## The Bobulinski angle on Biden

And here I was thinking of this "Q" ...

7. ## 2020 Election Statistical Anomaly?

I'm curious what people think of this... I'd like to see a list of all the states this is happening in, and I'd like to know the probability that it could happen by chance. I mean, regardless of what you may think of the source... these are actual numbers, and it should be possible to check them... right?
8. ## Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook

I define the government's mission more narrowly: its purpose is to protect our rights from the initiation of force (or indirect forms such as fraud or threats or theft etc.) by other people. Toward this end, the government provides police, courts, and a military. Being struck by lightning could end your life, but you don't have a "right" not to be struck by lightning. The police can't arrest a lightning bolt, you can't sue it, and the military can't fight a war against it. Of course, if someone had the ability to cause you to be struck by lightning, you'd have the right to prevent them from doing that, and then the police or the military would be there to help you. (But if this person has no intention of using that ability, and he is not being careless, then nobody needs to do anything.) Similarly, you have the freedom to do whatever you think is appropriate to reduce your risk of being struck by lightning, as long as it doesn't involve initiating force against anyone else. For example, if there's a big thunderstorm, you're free to stay inside. (If some contract requires you to go out into the lightning, then, well, you would have to have signed it, or else it wouldn't apply to you.) If it were proved that you could save yourself from lightning strikes by carrying a special umbrella, you don't have the right to force anyone to provide you with that special umbrella. You can buy one, if you can afford it, or you can take your chances without it, which is the same thing you would have to do if no one else were around. There is no right to enslave anybody else, even partially, no matter how advanced their knowledge is.
9. ## Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook

I agree with you here, since Peikoff does say in OPAR: "If one attempts to combine reason and emotionalism, the principle of reason cannot be his guide, the element that defines the terms of the compromise, because reason does not permit subjective feeling to have any voice in cognitive issues. Subjective feeling, therefore, which permits anyone anything he wants, must set the terms; it must be the element that decides the role and limits of reason. Thus the ruling principle of the epistemological middle-of-the-roader is: 'I will consult facts and obey the rules of evidence sometimes -- when I feel like it.'" I still think, however, that this is the kind of mistake that can be called out and ultimately corrected. The person who makes this mistake is not necessarily as far gone as the kind of person who "has abandoned reason and cannot be dealt with any further." If he's willing to concede that reason works "sometimes" then maybe he can be led a little farther in its direction. In OPAR, Peikoff wrote about the difference between a primitive who "ha(s) no way to adhere to the axioms consistently and typically fall(s) into some form of contradicting the self-evident" and "subject(s) himself to an undeclared epistemological civil war," versus the "even lower ... men of advanced civilization" who have a "declared inner war -- i.e., deliberate, systematic self-contradiction" (italics are Peikoff's). I think Trump is an example of the former, and Biden is an example of the latter.
10. ## Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook

A mixture of truth and lies like that would be inconsistent, and it could be attacked on that basis. Voting Biden into office is not a propaganda move, it's an action move. It means letting Biden put his ideas into action. I don't think that's the case. Trump believes he creates his own reality -- but he doesn't believe this consistently or across-the-board. Sometimes he does use reason and sometimes he doesn't -- and either way it's like the choice is by accident without him realizing what he is doing. He's pre-philosophical in this regard, and so he's more like an Aristotle with all of Aristotle's mistakes than like a Kant running a complete and systematic war against reason. I don't see Trump wanting to "crush reason." It seems he uses reason when he understands how to use it, which is much less often than would be ideal. But he does seem to at least partially accept its validity. That's the impression I get, anyway. Sometimes he has failed to use reason correctly, sometimes he has failed to use it at all, and sometimes, when his enemies have falsely claimed to be using reason, he has failed to call them out on it (and this contributes to the notion that reason is on the side of his enemies). However, his failures in this regard are not unique to him and are not historically new. In some cases these kinds of failures are leading to disastrous errors, such as regulating speech on the Internet -- but even Aristotle's mistakes have led to disastrous errors. Biden, on the other hand, pays lip service to "science" but, in his view, science is a function of government, not of the individual mind. Biden does not believe in reason and attacks its necessary roots, such as the idea that reason is an attribute of the individual, and the idea that an individual uses reason to make his own choices (which is anathema to the idea that all the important choices should be made by the government and that the people should bend to its will). (Edit: in case it isn't clear, I really wish that there were someone better than Trump who could become President. But I have to play the hand that I'm dealt...)
11. ## Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook

I disagree, because it's much easier to show the error in committing evil, when it's for reasons that have nothing to do with core beliefs, because in that case you can use the core beliefs to show why it's evil. This comes back to supporting an inconsistent good over a consistent evil. Consistency is a value when you're talking about ideas that are already good, but it is not a value in and of itself. Nothing is a value "in and of itself." To claim that "consistency is always better than inconsistency" is to evaluate "consistency" out of context. Making an evil idea more consistent makes it worse.

14. ## Conceptual Frequency List

It's part of human nature that we all learn the language around us while we are children, and then only later learn grammar, and what "nouns" and "verbs" are, and stuff like that. When we do learn grammar, we become able to make better, more sophisticated, and more precise use of the language. Conceptualization is similar in the sense that we are already doing it before we understand what we are doing, but if we do understand it, we can do a much better job of it. (Conceptualization is also related to language acquisition because you can't really learn language without also understanding the concepts that go with the words, and that requires some conceptualization.) (In fact, "philosophizing" itself is something many people do without being aware that they are doing it -- and the study of philosophy as an explicit subject can definitely help people do a better job of it! ...) So it is entirely likely that you have already picked up some philosophical concepts just from everyday life. This certainly does not mean study is a waste of time, though -- it is possible for people to have incorrect philosophical concepts (just as children can sometimes have incorrect ideas about the grammar of their own language), and even if your concepts are essentially correct, they can still possibly be clarified. In many cases this amounts to adding the "depth of understanding" I mentioned, although you may also learn some new concepts. Depth of understanding isn't confined to stuff that is non-essential, either -- it can also include essential information. For example, if you learn a new concept, you may have to revise your mental definitions of concepts you already knew, in order to keep them distinct from the new concept.
15. ## Conceptual Frequency List

[In response to Jonathan's original post] I don't think one can learn philosophy in the same way that one learns a foreign language. When you learn a foreign language, you are mostly learning new words (and grammatical constructions) for concepts that you already know, such as learning that the Japanese word テレビ is "television" and so forth. You don't learn anything new about televisions by learning the word テレビ. That's a fundamentally different process from the one you would use to learn entirely new concepts, and it's also different from the process you would use to add "depth of understanding" to concepts you already know. These are the processes in play when you learn a philosophy. For these, it seems like the important thing is being able to give examples of a concept, and being able to identify the concept from examples of it. It might also be important to be able to identify that some things are not examples of a concept, and why they are not. Knowing how to define the concept will help a great deal with this. (Recall, the "definition" of a concept serves to distinguish the concept from other concepts, and is usually written as "genus" and "differentia.") I think reduction can also be helpful, but I'm not sure it's fundamental. For learning a new concept, consider how you would explain "television" to someone who had never seen one before. For adding "depth of understanding," consider how your understanding of "television" would change if you learned how to build one. p.s. On further thought, I want to recommend Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology as a good book to read through.
16. ## Biden is our only hope, says Yaron Brook

Just a note (I'm not replying to your whole post yet): When I say "smash" I'm talking about D2s specifically. The DIM Hypothesis groups philosophies according to their attitude toward integration; the D2 attitude (which comes from Kant) is that integration as such, and the products of integration, should be destroyed. This was not the attitude of the Founding Fathers or of the Enlightenment period they lived in -- they were trying to replace a bad government with a better one, not merely smash for the sake of smashing. The rioters out there now, the Antifa people and such, aren't really in favor of anything. "Defund the police" is not a practical way to run any kind of society, it's not any kind of positive thing, it's just destruction for destruction's sake. (Isn't it interesting that they don't just confine themselves to "police brutality" but want to abolish the police altogether?) I certainly don't agree with religion and I do think it's a threat. However, I don't think it's an immediate threat. I think the Left would be able to establish dictatorship much more quickly because of their willingness to destroy the existing system, whereas the Republicans would try to work through that system, and it would take longer. That would make Republicans the lesser evil, albeit still evil.

Thank you!
19. ## HTTPS?

Would it be possible to change this site to use https instead of http? Some ISPs insert ads and other junk into http connections. Also, I think search engines are preferring https now. It is possible to get a free certificate from https://letsencrypt.org/, but some technical work would have to be done. The free certificates expire frequently, so it is preferable to get new certificates automatically, which requires setting up the automation.