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June 21, 2018 | 1 Comment

Chapter 1 Excerpt from Uncertainty: The Soul of Probability, Modeling & Statistics

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Necessary & Conditional Truth

Given “x,y,z are natural numbers and x>y and y>z” the proposition “x>z” is true (I am assuming logical knowledge here, which I don’t discuss until Chapter 2). But it would be false in general to claim, “It is true that ‘x>z‘.” After all, it might be that “x = 17 and z = 32“; if so, “x>z” is false. Or it might be that “x = 17 and z = 17“, then again “x>z” is false. Or maybe “x = a boatload and z = a humongous amount”, then “x>z” is undefined or unknown unless there is tacit and complete knowledge of precisely how much is a boatload and how much is a humongous amount (which is doubtful). We cannot dismiss this last example, because a great portion of human discussions of uncertainty are pitched in this way.

Included in the premise “x,y,z are natural numbers and x>y and y>z” are not just the raw information of the proposition about numbers, but the tacit knowledge we have of the symbol >, of what “natural numbers” are, and even what “and” and “are” mean. This is so for any argument which we wish to make. Language, in whatever form, must be used. There must therefore be an understanding of and about definitions, language and grammar, in any argument if any progress is to be made. These understandings may be more or less obvious depending on the argument. It is well to point out that many fallacies (and the best jokes) are founded on equivocation, which is the intentional or not misunderstanding double- or multiple-meanings of words or phrases. This must be kept in mind because we often talk about how the mathematical symbols of our formulae translate to real objects, how they matter to real-life decisions. A caution not heard frequently enough: just because a statement is mathematically true does not mean that the statement has any bearing on reality. Later we talk about how the deadly sin of reification occurs when this warning is ignored.

We have an idea what it means to say of a proposition that it is true or false. This needs to be firmed up considerably. Take the proposition “a proposition cannot be both true and false simultaneously”. This proposition, as I said above, is true. That means, to our state of mind, there exists evidence which allows us to conclude this proposition is true. This evidence is in the form of thought, which is to say, other propositions, all of which include our understanding of the words and English grammar, and of phrases like “we cannot believe its contrary.” There are also present tacit (not formal) rules of logic about how we must treat and manipulate propositions. Each of these conditioning propositions or premises can in turn be true or false (i.e. known to be true or false) conditional on still other propositions, or on inductions drawn upon sense impressions and intellections. That is, we eventually must reach a point at which a proposition in front of us just is true. There is no other evidence for this kind of truth other than intellection. Observations and sense impressions will give partial support to most propositions, but they are never enough by themselves except for the direct impressions. I explore this later in the Chapter on Induction.

In mathematics, logic, and philosophy popular kinds of propositions which are known to be true because induction tells us so are called axioms. Axioms are indubitable—when considered. Arguments for an axiom’s truth are made like this: given these specific instances, thus this general principle or axiom. I do not claim, and it is not true, that everybody knows every axiom. The arguments for axioms must first be considered before they are believed. A good example is the principal of non-contradiction, a proposition which we cannot know is false (though, given we are human, we can always claim it is false). As said, for every argument we need an understanding of its words and grammar, and, for non-contradiction specifically, maybe the plain observation of a necessarily finite number of instance of propositions that are only true or only false, observations which are consonant with the axiom, but which are none of them the full proof of the proposition: there comes a point at which we just believe and, indeed, cannot do other than know the truth. Another example is one of Peano’s axioms. For every natural number, if x = y then y = x. We check this through specific examples, and then move via induction to the knowledge that it is true for every number, even those we have not and, given our finiteness, cannot consider. Axioms are known to be true based on the evidence and faith that our intellects are correctly guiding us.

This leads to the concept of the truly true, really true, just-plain true, universally, absolutely, or the necessarily true. These are propositions, like those in mathematics, that are known to be true given a valid and sound chain of argument which leads back to indubitable axioms. It is not possible to doubt axioms or necessary truths, unless there be a misunderstanding of the words or terms or chain of proof or argument involved (and this is, of course, possible, as any teacher will affirm). Necessary truths are true even if you don’t want them to be, even if they provoke discomfort, which (again of course) they sometimes do. Peter Kreeft said: “As Aristotle showed, [all] ‘backward doubt’ terminates in two places: psychologically indubitable immediate sense experience and logically indubitable first principles such as ‘X is not non-X’ in theoretical thinking and ‘Good is to be done and evil to be avoided’ in practical thinking”.

A man in the street might look at the scratchings of a mathematical truth and doubt the theorem, but this is only because he doesn’t comprehend what all those strange symbols mean. He may even say that he “knows” the theorem is false—think of the brave soul who claims to have squared the circle. It must be stressed that this man’s error arises from his not comprehending the whole of the argument. Which of the premises of the theorem he is rejecting, and this includes tacit premises of logic and other mathematical results, is not known to us (unless the man makes this clear). The point is that if it were made plain to him what every step in the argument was, he must consent. If he does not, he has not comprehended at least one thing or he has rejected at least one premise, or perhaps substituted his own unaware. This is no small point, and the failure to appreciate it has given rise to the mistaken subjective theory of probability. Understanding the whole of an argument is a requirement to our admitting a necessary truth (our understanding is obviously not required of the necessary truth itself!).

From this it follows that when a mathematician or physicist says something akin to, “We now know Flippenberger’s theorem is true”, his “we” does not, it most certainly does not, encompass all of humanity; it applies only to those who can and have followed the line of reason which appears in the proof. That another mathematician or physicist (or man in the street) who hears this statement, but whose specialty is not Flippenbergerology, conditional on trusting the first mathematician’s word, also believes Flippenberger’s theorem is true, is not making (to himself) the same argument as the theory’s proponent. He instead makes a conditional truth statement: to him, Flippenberger’s theorem is conditionally true, given the premise of accepting the word of the first mathematician or physicist. Of course, necessary truths are also conditional as I have just described, so the phrase “conditional truth” is imperfect, but I have not been able to discover one better to my satisfaction. Local or relative truth have their merits, but their use could encourage relativists to believe they have a point, which they do not.

Besides mathematical propositions, there are plenty other of necessary truths that we know. “I exist” is popular, and only claimed to be doubted by the insane or (paradoxically) by attention seekers. “God exists” is another: those who doubt it are like circle-squarers who have misunderstood or have not (yet) comprehended the arguments which lead to this proposition. “There are true propositions” always delights and which also has its doubters who claim it is true that it is false. In Chapter 2 we meet more.

There are an infinite number and an enormous variety of conditional truths that we do and can know. I don’t mean to say that there are not an infinite number of necessary truths, because I have no idea, though I believe it; I mean only that conditional truths form a vaster class of truths in everyday and scientific discourse. We met one conditional truth above in “x>z“. Another is, given “All Martians wear hats and George is a Martian” then it is conditionally true that “George wears a hat.” The difference in how we express this “truth is conditional” is plain enough in cases like hat-wearing Martians. Nobody would say, in a general setting, “It’s true that Martians wear hats.” Or if he did, nobody would believe him. This disbelief would be deduced conditional on the observationally true proposition, “There are no Martians”.

We sometimes hear people claim conditional truths are necessary truths, especially in moral or political contexts. A man might say, “College professors are intolerant of dissent” and believe he is stating a necessary truth. Yet this cannot be a necessary truth, because no sound valid chain of argument anchored to axioms can support it. But it may be an extrapolation from “All the many college professors I have observed have been intolerant of dissent”, in which case the proposition is still not a necessary truth, because (as we’ll see) observational statements like this are fallible. Hint: The man’s audience, if it be typical, might not believe the “All” in the argument means all, but only “many”. But that substitution does not make the proposition “Many college professors are intolerant of dissent” necessarily true, either.

Another interesting possibility is in the proposition “Some college professors are intolerant of dissent,” where some is defined as at least one and potentially all. Now if a man hears that and recalls, “I have met X, who is a college professor, and she was intolerant of dissent”, then conditional on that evidence the proposition of interest is conditionally true. Why isn’t it necessarily true? Understand first that the proposition is true for you, too, dear reader, if we take as evidence “I have met X, etc.” Just as “George wears a hat” was conditionally true on the other explicit evidence. It may be that you yourself have not met X, nor any other intolerant-of-dissent professor, but that means nothing for the epistemological status of these two propositions. But it now becomes obvious why the proposition of interest is not necessarily true: because the supporting evidence “I have met X, etc.” cannot be held up as necessarily true itself: there is no chain of sound argument leading to indubitable axioms which guarantees it is a logically necessity that college professors must be intolerant of dissent. (Even if it sometimes seems that way.)

We only have to be careful because when people speak or write of truths they are usually not careful to tell us whether they have in mind a necessary or only a conditional truth. Much grief is caused because of this.

One point which may not be obvious. A necessary truth is just true. It is not true because we have a proof of it’s truth. Any necessary truth is true because of something, but it makes no sense to ask why this is so for any necessary truth. Why is the principle of non-contradiction true? What is it that makes it true? Answer: we do not know. It is just is true. How do we know it is true? Via a proof, by strings of deductions from accepted premises and using induction, the same way we know if any proposition is true. We must ever keep separate the epistemological from the ontological. There is a constant danger of mistaking the two. Logic and probability are epistemological, and only sometimes speak or aim at the ontological. Probability is always a state of the mind and not a state of the universe.

June 20, 2018 | 9 Comments

Why I Do Not Like The Korea Deal –Guest Post by Ianto Watt

I can smell this one a mile away. Which isn’t hard, considering how bad it stinks. To High Heaven, in fact. It’s the remake of Nixon’s ‘Great Opening‘ to China. With Donald in the lead role. The plot is exactly the same and stars all the usual idiots. Produced by Vladimir Pictures. And directed by President Xi, in his first Western.

Are you old enough to remember when China was the laughingstock of the world? It wasn’t that long ago. Less than one lifetime, in fact. Yes, they had a twenty-million man army. But about 200 rifles. No problem, Komrade, what we lack in weaponry we will make up for with the human-wave tactic. Pick up the gun of your enemy after you have over-run his position. His position in Korea, specifically. Once the Chinese saw that we would not nuke them, they knew they would win. And now they are about to. At zero cost. In fact, we are going to pay them to do it. Where is MacArthur when we need him?

We have seen China grow, economically and militarily, from a fourth-world position (if that is possible to imagine) to the pre-eminent power in the Eastern world. The only military power (outside Russia herself) that can possibly challenge American Imperial power. And prevail. All in less than one lifetime. But no one seems to understand how this happened. Or what’s coming next.

The answer is so simple. We gave away the candy store in 1972. So why be surprised when the Orientals moved from shoplifting to outright looting? Quit watching the nightly ‘news’ and start reading something older than last week. Look at the facts. We are the ones who have built the Chinese Juggernaut. And now it is at our throat. Why are we surprised that the inscrutable Orientals are gleefully mashing the pedal to the floor?

Here’s what’s real: the Empire is fading, and China is raiding. Raiding all of the Imperial marketplaces. All the colonial outposts are under siege. Their markets are under attack, economically. The Chinese military is growing exponentially, in all the new ways that matter. Those twenty million PLA grunts now have computers. Computers that can over-run our internet positions at will. Who needs aircraft carriers when a new artificial islands will do better? And it’s not going to get any better. Not unless we emphatically decide we don’t like a Navy that is at it’s smallest size since 1906. And an Air Force that can’t afford the cost of training (or retaining) it’s pilots. Or an Army that has been ground into dust with insane Asian wars that someone famously warned us against.

Here’s what is coming, unless Donald has way more brains than I think he has. Or if God is more merciful than we deserve. After having given the candy store inventory away by welcoming China into the front ranks of economic-civilization in 1972 (thank you, Quisling Nixon, I despise you for all the reasons you are lionized), we are now going to abandon the building as well. Kiss Asia goodbye, Komrades, as we commit economic hari-kiri. Again.

Let’s look at this idiotic Korean escapade that Donald has embarked upon.Let me ask a few stupid questions first, just to set the tone. To begin with, where did China get The Bomb? WalMart? Did they just build it themselves? With bamboo centrifuges? Here’s another silly question: who, besides the Chinese, tested their own nuke (which they refuse to acknowledge they have, to this day) at the Lop Nor testing range? In China. Was it Iceland? Ireland? Patagonia? Brooklyn?

It was the same guys that stole our nuke secrets and gave them to Russia. Guess who else they gave them to? The homeland. How can you tell the difference between Orient North and Orient South, when the largest single ‘ethnic’ group in Israel is Russian emigres? What’s the difference, Komrade? The same group that also stole PROMIS and gave it to the Chinese.

Just as Moscow got their bomb from this same place, so did Peking and Islamabad too. Who, by the way, also tested their first nuke at Lop Nor. And I’m betting these are all the routes that brought the atomic age to Pyongyang.

Who with just a few nano-seconds of serious thought can imagine Stone-Age North Korea progressing, all alone, from paleolithic simplicity to nuclear proficiency in such an astoundingly short time? Not just splitting the atom, but then miniaturizing it, then packaging it, then MIRV-ing it, and then lifting it, with mobile launchers to boot. All in seven years time?

We will, I fear, make the Faustian bargain. Give up your nukes, Kim, in return for the riches of the market place. And since modern economics is a zero-sum game (whether you realize it or not), there is only one conclusion to draw: we are going to fund our own increased poverty. We are going to pay someone to go away from our house, by giving them our house. Just like Nixon the Fool did. He gave away our superiority in return for promises that came back to bite us. Want to know the new spelling for how to abandon Taiwan? J A P A N. Now we are looking at an Chinese-Asian behemoth that shows no signs of mellowing, contrary to what all those Harvard-educated twerps told us would happen. They are the real enemy within.

Watch as the South Koreans fawn over their cousins in the North who are supposedly becoming benign. Watch as that 600,000 man ROK Tiger Army melts into the sunset. It’s Homecoming! Watch as the North is built (by us) into another Asian Tiger economy that makes them impregnable to our economic attempts to keep them in line. Watch as Japan becomes even more isolated, as it begins to wonder if the German model is their only option. You know, cuddle up to Moscow and Peking in order to avoid the need to re-militarize in the face of the obvious reality that the Empire won’t pull their chestnuts out again.

I can hear it now. The new Asian theme song, sung by the Peking version of Tokyo Rose and the Choir. ‘Remember, my Samurai friends, it was the Americans that nuked you. Not China’. This new propaganda blizzard will be so easy to confect. And so Asian in flavor. And we’ll eat it. All of it. With chopsticks, no less.

June 19, 2018 | 14 Comments

Pity The Poor ‘Born That Way’ Pedophile!

There stands Mirjam Heine center stage. She smiles as the TED Talk audience greats her. But this is the wrong emotion. For she is here to tell us something horrible, something heartrending—something that should not be. (The video linked above was deleted was removed by the poster after it attracted too much negative attention. Two bootlegs have since appeared, as of this writing: one, two.)

She forces the smile into exile and begins to emote. Without a word her now sad eyes tell us she is feeling great pain. We want to share this pain.

She begins to speak. Each word seeps out softly. Her calculated poignancy is of a doctor telling a wife her husband is about to die.

“Let me you about Jonas…Jonas has a secret he can’t share with anyone. Not even with his best friend…He is just too afraid of anger, rejection, and repulsion.”

Heine does not cry, but she searches the eyes of the audience for the waterworks she so desperately wants to cause.

What is Jonas’s terrible secret?

He wants to diddle your kids.

Love Is Love

Heine reads her lines as if she is Juliet looking at Romeo’s corpse. She is heartbroken, and she wants you heartbroken too, over the awful truth that Jonas knows “that there will never be a loving and fulfilling partnership that he can enter. Because Jonas is a pedophile. He’s only attracted to female children between the ages of six and twelve years.”

The implication that Jonas ought to have a loving partnership that he can enter is unspoken. Love is love. Can we, as a society, bar this poor man, this good man, this pitiable soul from experiencing love?

Of course, Jonas’s love would have him dragging little girls behind the woodshed and providing them with loving experiences they weren’t biologically meant to have. But love is love, and isn’t love all you need?

Born That Way

Heine says—are you listening? pay attention here—that pedophilia is a “sexual orientation.” It is, she says, an unchangeable sexual orientation.

Heine claims “one to two percent” of men, or about 60 million men worldwide, are pedophiles. That’s a lot of folks who can never find love. There are so many child lovers that, she says, every audience members must know one. “Anybody can be born a pedophile.” Born.

Don’t confuse pedophilia with child molestation. “What percentage of child molesters are pedophiles?…Only twenty to thirty of all child molesters are pedophiles.” But that’s the wrong statistic. What we want is the percentage of pedophiles that molest children. Heine never tells us.

Here Come The Judge

The laws exploding across the West baring “discrimination” against “sexual orientation” apply. How can you discriminate against a pedophile when he applies for a job at the child care center? Pedophilia is an “orientation.” Science says so. Discrimination against “orientation” is illegal.

Hey, don’t worry. This pedophile says he’s never touched a child. He just has desires. He has no choice. Neither do you. You must hire him. You must also click here to read the rest.

June 18, 2018 | 7 Comments

Bible Sessions

A Close Reading

In a shocking twist, you’ll have to click here to read the beginning! I’m in the minority as far as Biblical expertise goes, though. I don’t come close to approaching the level of genius found at our top newspapers. Take the Washington Post’s Alexandr Petri. She heard Sessions quoted from the Bible and decided to instruct her readers about this curious book.

Her first lesson was that the Bible is not—I repeat not—the “law of the land.” The legal expert I spoke with—“Tiny” Ed Dobrowski, who once got a parking ticket tossed out—said that this is true. Which is why you never hear passages like the one in Leviticus quoted so often.

Petri didn’t stop with this stunner. “You can find a lot of things in the Bible,” she said.

She found that “Job: As we see in the Bible, God is in favor of making innocent people suffer for no reason whatsoever.” I think she mistook our Father which art in Heaven for her editor, who assigned her this “Job.” That’s a natural mistake for a reporter on a deadline to make.

But then she also said that “As King Solomon so wisely and clearly admonishes us, babies should be taken from their mothers and cut in half.”

No, sweetie, that’s the Planned Parenthood brochure you’re reading. Not the Bible.

The Other Roman Option

Petri finally came to the Bible and the immigration question. “As the Bible so humanely shows, if you take a baby from its mother and float it downriver in a basket, it will work out fine.” People wanting to cross the border illegally are advised not to try this, however. Wikipedia tells us “Despite its name and length, the Rio Grande is not navigable…nor do smaller passenger boats or cargo barges use it as a route.”

She said that the Bible insists that “If someone objects to the laws of a land,” such as (we imagine) a person trying to cross the border illegally, “authorities are within their rights to punish him, for instance by throwing him into a den of lions.”

Dude, that’s pretty harsh. The worst penalties we now hand out are a having to take a time out and free trip back across the border. Feeding parents, and the kids they risked bringing with them on their illegal adventure, to some unemployed circus animals will likely have the deterrence effect Petri is after, but it will also anger PETA. And nobody wants that.

All the Way to the Right

I don’t know when the Post turned into such a right-wing paper. First it’s lions, next it’s ovens. “As the Bible suggests, there are many fitting punishments for those who disobey authority; for instance, to throw them into a fiery furnace.”

Ouch. That will cause some double takes.

We can be grateful Petri is not an immigration judge (or judge of any kind!) and is instead an expert Bible reporter.