I Don’t care If You Are Wrong

Just some random, unorganized thoughts regarding the recent hostilities.

1. I don’t care if you are wrong.
2. Your disagreeing with me does not diminish my life.
3. I have no need to beat you into submission.
4. If I disagree with you, I would like to know why you believe what you believe.
5. I would like for you to understand my position, and I appreciate any effort you make to understand me.
6. To these ends I will ask questions designed to probe our differences.
7. If you don’t or can’t respond to my satisfaction, I will try to accept the impasse and move on.
8. These are more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.

24 thoughts on “I Don’t care If You Are Wrong

  1. petruska: 1. I don’t care if you are wrong.

    True Courage Is Knowing You’re Wrong But Refusing To Admit It: Courage requires us to remain steadfast in our beliefs. It asks that we stand by the convictions we express and never give an inch, no matter what the cost. However off base, wrongheaded, or patently false a position we’ve staked out may be, courage nonetheless demands that we blindly pound home our stupid fucking point, never letting up.

  2. Patrick:

    I thought that link would be to the ratcheting discussion at UD.

    For those who don’t get Patrick’s reference.

    Uncommon Descent Contest Question 10: Provide the Code for Dawkins’ WEASEL Program

    The dispute was over whether the WEASEL program “latches” — that is, whether it “locks in” correct letters and protects them from further mutation. Kairosfocus insisted (and still insists, AFAIK) that WEASEL latches. It doesn’t, of course, and that was easily demonstrated to KF. He spent the entire thread denying the obvious.

    There are 201 occurrences of the word “ratcheting” in that thread, and 550 occurrences of “latching”.

    DNA_Jock commented:

    This is fun.
    This has to be the slowest derailment I have ever watched.

  3. keiths: Uncommon Descent Contest Question 10: Provide the Code for Dawkins’ WEASEL Program

    I could be wrong, but I think that link is wrong.

  4. keiths:

    The dispute was over whether the WEASEL program “latches” — that is, whether it “locks in” correct letters and protects them from further mutation.Kairosfocus insisted (and still insists, AFAIK) that WEASEL latches.It doesn’t, of course, and that was easily demonstrated to KF.He spent the entire thread denying the obvious.

    What is even more remarkable is that it doesn’t matter whether the Weasel program does or doesn’t latch! The original claim was that it latched, and that this accounted for why it succeeds in so few steps. But when you simulate it with or without latching, there is rather little difference between those in how many steps are needed to reach the target.

    Nevertheless the ID fans continue to try to say that Weasel latches, because that is somehow supposed to be cheating, and to be the only reason Weasel succeeds. Not so.

  5. Joe Felsenstein: What is even more remarkable is that it doesn’t matter whether the Weasel program does or doesn’t latch! The original claim was that it latched, and that this accounted for why it succeeds in so few steps. But when you simulate it with or without latching, there is rather little difference between those in how many steps are needed to reach the target.

    I thought this was a rather clear case where experiment was more persuasive than reason.

    Unfortunately, most of us cannot perform in our heads the steps necessary to prove that latching is irrelevant.

  6. petrushka: I thought this was a rather clear case where experiment was more persuasive than reason.

    Unfortunately, most of us cannot perform in our heads the steps necessary to prove that latching is irrelevant.

    You’re right, the theory is hard.

    The basis for my statement is that I wrote my own Weasel program, which I could set to latch or not to latch. Latching helped, but not by much. An unlatching run reached the goal almost as soon.

  7. Joe,

    What is even more remarkable is that it doesn’t matter whether the Weasel program does or doesn’t latch! The original claim was that it latched, and that this accounted for why it succeeds in so few steps. But when you simulate it with or without latching, there is rather little difference between those in how many steps are needed to reach the target.

    My favorite part was when KF invented the term “implicit latching”, which really means no latching at all, so that he could avoid admitting that he was wrong.

    What he calls “implicit latching” is actually a testament to the success of the program. Cumulative selection is powerful enough by itself. Latching is simply not needed, as you point out.

  8. keiths:
    My favorite part was when KF invented the term “implicit latching”, which really means no latching at all, so that he could avoid admitting that he was wrong.

    What he calls “implicit latching” is actually a testament to the success of the program.Cumulative selection is powerful enough by itself.Latching is simply not needed, as you point out.

    I’d forgotten that bit of amazing terminology. “Implicit latching” just means the program has settled on a good match to the target sequence, and natural selection is keeping it there. So the program has succeeded in doing what Dawkins said it would … and in the eyes of KF, it is engaged in “implicit latching”, which is somehow bad.

  9. I care if people are wrong. I think you have some responsibility in that regard?

  10. Richardthughes:
    I care if people are wrong. I think you have some responsibility in that regard?

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by caring.

    I do care about correctness of ideas, to the extent that they can be settled.

    But I do not get particularly upset by people who are wrong, even when they are wrong about settled science.

    I would like to engage them in discussion about why they hold their beliefs, but I do not expect them to convert. My goal is to improve my own arguments.

  11. Richardthughes:
    I care if people are wrong. I think you have some responsibility in that regard?

    I’m going to reply by paraphrasing, without attribution or permission (sorry), another person’s post from elsewhere:

    [not exactly anyone] I live in constant tension between recognizing “You’re wrong” and “I don’t want to start in on this shit”.

    No, I’m not comfortable being me most of the time – there’s failure mode on either side of the razor’s edge.

    I’m curious what you mean by “you have some responsibility” when “people are wrong”. Is that your subjective “you” or an inclusive you, that is, “we”? Do “we” have some responsibility?

  12. If someone holds a belief that was both incorrect and harmful to themselves or others, do you feel you have an obligation to address it?

  13. Richardthughes:
    If someone holds a belief that was both incorrect and harmful to themselves or others, do you feel you have an obligation to address it?

    Well, really, isn’t the answer always, “It depends”? For every one of us, it depends on our time, our energy, our other (probably more-immediate) responsibilities.

    It depends on my level of interest and my perception of my competence in some venues (not necessarily my knowledge but perhaps my ability to tolerate sexist language or certain styles of internet warriorship). And I guess it depends on what you mean by “obligation” — I don’t ever feel “obliged” in the sense most people would mean for that word. I don’t feel compelled to speak, I don’t feel like I’m less moral or less humane if I concentrate on my tiny little corner of the world and let all the stupid people everywhere else just wallow in their ignorance. Nonetheless, I’m an opinionated angry bastard, and one of my major satisfactions is arguing, plus I’ve been a teacher, so it’s no surprise I choose to spend time on the internet trying to smack sense into pointy little heads. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    Honestly, even Bill Gates doesn’t have the resources to school all the painfully-ignorant teen students in the world. I think we each can be forgiven for not individually taking on that collective burden at the cost of wrecking our own lives. Those who can teach, should. But not all the time, not everywhere, every day without end.

  14. Richardthughes:
    If someone holds a belief that was both incorrect and harmful to themselves or others, do you feel you have an obligation to address it?

    I think there is a distinction between “harm to others” and “harm to yourself” which should be your own business. I think we all should be allowed to decide matters for ourselves where there is no harm to anyone else. S & M, self harm, drug abuse, suicide? If someone rationally wants to take such a path and it harms nobody but themselves, do I have the right to prevent them? Sure I can offer support, advice, persuasion: but more than that?

    “Harm to others” is easy to answer!

  15. Previous comment triggered me to wonder how the war on drugs is going in the US. This report indicates a quarter of the federal prison population are there due to drug offences as of 2010.

    Just imagine if drug use were decriminalized and the state could control quality and tax supply, just as it does with tobacco and alcohol.

    Sorry for O/T

    PS: What’s the reason for the huge leap in public order incarcerations between 1974 and 2010?

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