Philosophy

Dear Quacks & Experts: Your Loss Function Is Not Our Loss Function

Note to the colleague who wrote me. I lost your email! You asked excellent questions about the post Classical Statistics Has Outlived Its Usefulness: Here’s The Fix, which I meant to answer, only now I can’t find the email, even in trash. I am terrible with emails and names and always behind. If you read this, please email again, and apologies.

Going to start with something that will at first seem random. But stick with me.

Lithium is a known anti-depressant, and has been associated with a lowered risk of suicide and increased docility. Suicide is undesirable, while docility, especially in the time of occult white supremacy, is desirable. Therefore, lithium should be pumped into all municipal water supplies.

Make sense to you? No?

What if an “expert” said it? It is convincing then? Still no? What if that expert, a genuine expert with a credentialed certification in expertology, is employed by the mighty United States government?

All right, hold that in mind and let’s move to the next random argument.

The odds of winning the jackpot in an average Las Vegas slot machine is about 1 in 49,836,032. Call it 1 in 50 million for ease. These numbers are true and reliable. Winning the jackpot is desirable.

Therefore, the government should mandate each American citizen (people who broke the law to come here are excused), once a week, bet a minimum of $1,000 on slots, as replacement for Social Security.

This one make sense? Same modifier as before: this is expert opinion. You going along?

Now let’s move from these two seemingly random arguments to one with which you are more familiar.

The risk of dying with, and not necessarily from, coronadoom for those under 44 years old is no higher than 0.0001700, and indeed is much lower the younger one is. The risk of dying from something other than coronadoom for the same age cut off is at least more than 14 times higher, at 0.00240.

Therefore, you should not be allowed outside without a mask, potentially forever, and you can’t go to your “non-essential” job, either, also potentially forever, because you might die with, and not necessarily from, coronadoom.

Before you scoff about that “forever”, thinking it satire or a bit of fun hyperbole, read this article about an crazed expert embedded in the UK’s grossly inaptly named SAGE group. This professor John Edmunds said face masks might have to be worn forever.

Not just face masks forever, but other restrictions, too, such as the Rule of Six, which allows police to arrest or disperse groups of more than six. Why not seven? The science is too complex for you to understand.

Here is the point of these seemingly disparate arguments.

It does not follow that because lithium might lower the risk of suicide and increase docility that everybody should be forced to take it. It does not follow lithium (or soma) should be mandatory even if experts, yea, even government experts, decide it is a good idea.

Experts, incidentally, did decide lithium in water supplies is a good idea. It hasn’t caught on with governments or the public yet, but only because they haven’t worked themselves into a sufficiently fearful state over suicides or the presence of the non-docile.

No act follows from knowing a “risk” or a probability, such as winning a jackpot or dying from a disease. Just because winning a jackpot is good does not mean betting is. And just because dying from a disease is bad, it does not mean removing liberties to avoid it is good.

This point was made in more depth earlier in this article about Scott Alexander’s Bayesian Rationality.

Experts do not know what I have just told you.

Experts have decided that since they know more about facts, like how lithium causes docility, that they therefore get to decide on the morality and propriety of any and all acts based on these facts.

Even if we grant experts their claims of knowledge—a generous and absurd admission—it just does not follow that experts know best about what to do. About anything.

Because a doctor says you might have a malady, it doesn’t mean the treatment the doctor recommends must be followed. The horrors of the treatment, to you and which the doctor will not suffer, may outweigh the chance the malady strikes you. Or you may prefer the suffering due to the disease over the pain and expense caused by the treatment.

What is important to a doctor is not necessarily important to you. The doctor doesn’t want to be sued for malpractice, or must follow a rigid protocol, and is over-cautious. And, as said, he doesn’t have to suffer the decisions he makes for you. You do.

In decision analysis we say the doctor’s loss function is not the same as yours. The consequences of actions don’t carry the same weight for everybody. But we now pretend they do. Because experts.

We used to know all these things. We don’t anymore.

Now we have experts who say idiotic insane things like we have to wear masks forever. Pronouncements which we have to pretend to take seriously because the expert is in government employ.

This expert won’t be tarred and feathered, or even laughed into oblivion. He’ll almost surely be promoted.

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Categories: Philosophy, Statistics

17 replies »

  1. “We’re all in this together.”

    That’s the normie way of saying, “I demand you behave as if your loss function is identical to mine.”

  2. The decision about the Rule of six was made first, then they found an expert that was willing to parrot it and added masks forever to add “credibility”. It’s a plausible theory.

    As for lithium in the water, did you know that studies say that if you give lithium to a tranny, that tranny will stop feeling trans? With that in mind, what are the chances of adding it to water any time soon?

  3. Experts keep on learning more and more about less and less, until eventually they will know everything about nothing!

  4. Lithium is an antipsychotic. It may be sold as an antidepressant as a lie by drug companies, but it was and is an antipsychotic. It can cause psychoses in a non-psychotic person if given to them. Based on the country the last year, an antipsychotic is probably appropriate in the water, but if it did work, the insurrection would start. On the other hand, SOMA could work….

    Why shouldn’t we have to wear masks forever? We are stupid, docile sheep who go along with the evil rulers. WE DESERVE MASKS FOREVER after the past year. We DO NOT deserve freedom in any universe. (Speaking of masks, they are double masking Joe now. I think apoxia may be how they kill him…..)

    Witch doctors are what primitive, stupid societies get. America and the world asked for this and they got it. Math has nothing to do with it, nor logic. Just plain old stupid and lazy.

    “Normies” don’t say “we’re all in this together”. Crazies do.

  5. Wait a minute….Lithium can cause psychosis in individuals who are normal. How do we know they didn’t put lithium in the water? Aren’t you making a HUGE and totally invalid assumption, Briggs????

  6. “The risk of dying with, and not necessarily from, coronadoom for those under 44 years old is no higher than 0.0001700, and indeed is much lower the younger one is. The risk of dying from something other than coronadoom for the same age cut off is at least more than 14 times higher, at 0.00240.”

    And yet, thought the evidence is clear on this, why is the message not getting out there? Ok, so the mainstream media and governments are at the forefront of the disinformation campaign and heavily invested in perpetuating fear and paranoia. But still, the evidence is there, and there are ways around the mainstream. People have such wildly disproportionate notions of risk and how serious this silly virus actually is, it’s just unbelievable (I’ve had personal chats with a couple people lately recently where I mentioned things along these lines, and was accused of miniming the virus and being selfish for not wanting to wear a mask, and one even accused me of being a “Fox Watcher” – apparently code in her mind for “uninformed rube” – though I haven’t watched Fox in years and consider them as bad as CNN, MSNBC or any other mainstream outlet; it’s basically just impossible to have a reasonable discussion with many people these days about Covid, or much else, so deeply propagandized as they are) . Are most people just too lazy to search out info themselves rather than just accept what CNN or NYT, or their governor or health bureaucrats owned by Big Pharma tell them? I really just don’t get why, a year into this, people are still so docilely playing along with the mask cult public health theatre, experimental mRNA vaccines, etc. pretending to be deeply fearful and accepting that nothing at all can ever return to normal social functioning, for a virus with such a low risk of death for the overwhelming majority of people.

    As and aside, though released a couple months ago, I just saw Catherine Austin Fitts’ interview for the film Planet Lockdown (to be release in early March) yesterday. Truly terrifying stuff that she posits regarding what the Oligarch really have in store. (https://planetlockdownfilm.com/full-interviews/ – lots of other great interviews there as well besides hers, including former Czech President Vaclav Klaus – if we are saved, those from Visegrad Group & Central and Eastern Europe in general may be our only hope; Western Europe and the USA are too far gone). People better wake the F up, fast, or we are DOOMED.

  7. Dennis writes: “Are most people just too lazy to search out info themselves rather than just accept what CNN or NYT, or their governor or health bureaucrats owned by Big Pharma tell them?”

    Emphatically YES! It’s called panic porn. Ordinary propaganda is old hat.

    Most peoples’ lives are completely without meaning or purpose, stuck on the materialist consumer escalator to nowhere. They deserve things, stuff, gadgets, but most of all entertainment–in order to “feel” anything. Hence, they watch the news to know “what’s going on,” because it’s not going on in their own lives.

    As my older brother says, prime time cable “news” programming is the best comedy on television. It’s entirely laughable. You can recite that remark to people, they laugh and nod their head, and go right back to watching, absorbing everything as carte blanche.

  8. Dennis: We are doomed. There was a time limit on redeeming ourselves from this mess and we just watched TV while it passed.

    My eye doctor was getting his second dose of vaccine the day after I went in. He jokingly said “I always wanted a microchip in me”. I replied “I’ll take the microchip, but skip the vaccine”. Everyone has always known what goes on in neighborhoods. It just wasn’t on the internet. It scares us because we don’t recognize that the status quo hasn’t changed. And yes, the status quo was always we were doomed because humans just cannot learn.
    ******
    There is also the Steven King short story (yes, I know he’s arrogant, evil commie but at one time he actually could write) “The End of it All” that is about “it’s in the water”. I think of it often lately.

  9. Dennis: ““And yet, thought the evidence is clear on this, why is the message not getting out there?”

    The people are demonstrably incapable of independent, critical thinking. That has always been the case, to some degree, and we depend on virtuous leaders — now in short supply. But to see this this madcap hoax blindly embraced by most, including otherwise intelligent people, is shocking. Western Civilization has been taken over by a Jim Jones death cult, and the poor, foolish people cheer.

    But it won’t last. It may be as brief as the Jim Jones cult, or as long as the Bolshevik cult, but its days are numbered.

  10. It is perhaps we who are asking the wrong questions…

    What if, what the experts want, is not to save us from any imaginary disease, but rather that the outcomes of the ‘solutions’ are the desired effect?

    Perhaps the experts are not working on our behalf. But someone else, and it is we and our way of life that are the things that are undesirable to their clients who demand we be fixed?

    So the real experts are at work destroying us, and the placebo experts who are telling us what to do are not really experts but actors with expert participation IDs whose job is telling us to expose ourselves under slatherings of patently absurd bullshit.

  11. Johnno: Much of what you say above is basically the similar to stuff Catherine Austin Fitts touches on in the interview I linked above as part of her participation in the Planet Lockdown documentary. It’s not about an imaginary (or at least greatly overblown) virus in itself, but using the virus as an excuse and cover for a far greater agenda in remaking the entire world order – socially, politically, and especially economically (she envisions a China-like “Social Credit” system worldwide to build a globalist technocracy, with total-crypto giving the Oligarchs absolute economic and financial control over everyone) – over the coming years (and she mentions several times that those who often appear to be in charge aren’t the real powers running the show – who that is she says she doesn’t know). She was especially interesting in mapping riot patterns from last year in proximity to Federal Reserve Banks and enterprise zones, which she sees as all part of a purposeful real estate acquisition plan coupled with willful destruction of small business (which is also tied in to Amazon and other Big Tech contract with gov, especially intel agencies).

    This is what infuriates me about milquetoast ConservativeInc types like a Rod Dreher who have completely bought the mainstream Covid narrative (part of it seems to be the desire so many of them have to be considered part of the “good” or “acceptable” conservatives/right by the NYT-NPR-NewYorker crowd who’s acceptance and approval they crave so much). He’s been banging on for years about “soft totalitarianism,” and his blog and latest book are all about that and the coming of a China-like social credit system – exactly what people like Austin Fitts and others are warning about as being tied to the manipulation of Covid (and she has greater insider knowledge into the financial and political system, currency manipulation and the push toward a total-crypto, and those pushing for a transhumanist technocracy, than a guy like Dreher) – and yet he refuses to see how Covid is being used to implement precisely the global agenda and social system he claims to oppose (just as the rest of ConInc took a head-in-sand approach to election fraud). He seems to really think Covid is a grave threat in itself, and that people like Fauci, Gates, Brix, et al., most political leaders, and orgs like the WHO and CDC, really mean well and are just trying to help humanity and do what’s right (and anyone saying otherwise is a crazy conspiracy theorist!).

    The refusal by so many to see the appalling and nefarious things being done right in front of our noses is just baffling.

  12. Dr. Briggs pithily channeled Dr. Thomas Sowell, as he writes: “Experts have decided that since they know more about facts, like how lithium causes docility, that they therefore get to decide on the morality and propriety of any and all acts based on these facts.”

    See the book: The Vision of the Anointed (Sowell)

    In one paragraph, Dr. Briggs presented an extremely important observation, which bears on so many issues, from Covid, to cancer, to socialism:

    “Because a doctor says you might have a malady, it doesn’t mean the treatment the doctor recommends must be followed. The horrors of the treatment, to you and which the doctor will not suffer, may outweigh the chance the malady strikes you. Or you may prefer the suffering due to the disease over the pain and expense caused by the treatment.”

    The commenters all got Dr. Briggs’ points — and Dennis summarized the distress we suffer: “The refusal by so many to see the appalling and nefarious things being done right in front of our noses is just baffling.”

    American education has been so benighted for so long, people have not learned about how “appalling and nefarious things” were done all through the 20th Century — and thus they lack the automatic response to condemn and resist the moves toward tyranny and even genocide.

    In elementary and secondary schools in the 1960s and 1970s, despite the ongoing “cold war” and the presence of three ghastly murderous regimes (USSR + Eastern Europe, China, North Korea), we kids learned NOTHING about how they came to power, how their propaganda worked, or what their tyrannies looked like in practice.

    See the movie: Innocents Betrayed (2003)
    See the book: Death by “Gun Control”: The Human Cost of Civilian Disarmament (2001)

    I studied all of these in high school and college years — on my own — and then as an adult. I find myself among very few people similarly self-educated. Our “leaders” steadfastly fail to educate on these things. So, I have to agree with others here, without God’s intervention, we are doomed.

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