98% of reasoning is ad hoc

The idea of science or truth-finding, as it’s thrown around, is to “let the evidence speak for itself”. The ideal is that no opinions are formed beforehand, and only after gathering, sorting, and analyzing the indisputable facts, is a conclusion made.

Now, for some reason, people assume that they’re able to do this correctly off the bat. They also assume, I think due to some Western dogma that I can’t name because I don’t know my history, that everyone else is able to do the same, completely naturally and without effort, unless they have otherwise been artificially corrupted or sinned. Nevermind that they think of scientists highly and think of it as a well-paid profession, that they’ve learned of the history of vastly different and mutually exclusive ideas held as true by scientists throughout time, that there are things that scientists disagree with each other upon, little old them can do it with any subject matter because duh, it’s not like they have to do any work. Didn’t you hear? “The evidence speaks for itself!” As for any potential self-conflicts, they write it off as “new evidence” or “science is a self-correcting process” or any number of other things. They treat it as the worldview version of democracy: ‘the worst epistemology, except for everything else’; except who cares what else there might be in “everything else”, this is what I was taught in school and it’s all I need, hasn’t failed me yet. Except when it does, and when it does, it’s self-correcting.

As if “self correcting” is such a big deal for an epistemology. They criticize Christian priests for saying that “oh, actually, God doesn’t say anything bad about gays!” or dinosaurs or heliocentricity or whatever, then blink and forget about it. Same with the Chinese Communist Party. They’re not very communist now are they? They’ll disagree with you though. I don’t know what they’d say exactly but it’d probably be along the lines of “we’ve made some improvements”. I don’t need to talk about the American media and the whole rise and fall of the term”Fake News” do I?

Every way of thinking has ways of self-correcting, and every way of thinking will self correct until the moment you no longer believe it.

If that feels a little stretched, that’s because it’s worded backwards. Forwards, it’s

You will continue to think in a certain way as long as you can correct its errors.

Oh, but there’s a difference between “reasoning” and “rationalizing”. Sure. There’s also a difference between “nepotism” and “connections”, and “fact” and “opinion”, and “Correcting” a mistake is different than “Covering it up” too. Gee isn’t that nice, great sixth grade vocabulary lesson. One of us totally didn’t have a grasp on the English language before the other of us came along. So what’s the followup? So what?

Well, the difference is applied, and we can tell whether a way of thinking is faulty and needs to be changed or works just fine and nothing needs to be done.

Results are in: we’re always right and the other guy is always wrong.

All our corrections are either ‘improvements’ from people we already agreed with, or admitted changes but denied significance e.g. “oh pfft yeah I knew that, I just forgot / I just didn’t care / who cares”, while every inch the other guy gives is significant no matter what.

Test: What proportion of disagreements are civil, substantive, do result in a participant changing his mind, and don’t result in one participant characterizing the other as a simple cartoon villain who is inexplicably and irrelevantly evil and corrupted?

Is it 1 in 2?

1 in 5?

I think it’s closer to 1 in 100, but I can compromise halfway and say 1 in 50.

Now, it absolutely could be, that there’s a bunch of absolutely stupid retarded or corrupted people running around spouting opinions and just using defense mechanisms and logical fallacies every time they come to something which is against what they believe in, and by some magical spell or stroke of luck, you aren’t one of them. I can’t disprove that. But it seems a little too long winded and self fellating. Easier and simpler to model it as “I do things right, and my enemies do things wrong”. Hanlon’s razor might be retarded, but Occam’s is pretty good.

Eventually people will give in and admit this is actually what they do, and this is the kind of person they want to associate with. Those who don’t value others they’ve had history with and don’t cover for people who they’ve worked with before, just because in some instance and some interpretation, they didn’t follow the rules or weren’t strictly correct on some opinion, those kinds of people don’t have friends. And friends are important. Hobbesian State of Nature is intuitively ludicrous because everyone needs to sleep, and that means you’re going to need people helping you keep watch while you sleep, which means regardless if they tell a lie here or fuck your wife there, unless you have better options for the same purpose, you’re gonna have to deal, and even if you have better options, you better be careful, because you are also someone else’s consideration for replacement. It makes sense why it is the way it is. It also makes sense why people still hold up all the stuff they claim they do but they admit they don’t – the words and beliefs too are defenses against outsiders.

Networking. Rule of law. Evidence speaks for itself. I Fucking Love Truth, amirite lol?

I can only say such things because I can also say openly that I favor my friends, that everything that comes out of my mouth is my opinion, and that I think I’m always right. It’s more vulgar and crude, my personality and approach. Whether or not I actually do those things is a different matter. Isn’t it funny that it seems more likely that I’d engage in nepotism? Because I told you I would? Alternatively, if you already know me, isn’t it funny that your opinion on my likelihood on whether or not I’d do those things didn’t change? I did tell you, didn’t I?

If I had to venture a guess it’s because I’ve been an outsider my whole life trying to get inside various groups using their explicitly stated rules, continually failing, continually getting shafted, continually being told I’m “us” while I’m still “them”, and continually finding out that the game is rigged. It’s never the explicit rules, it’s always some other, hidden, second set. Yes, I am mad because bad, I am frustrated because I’m a loser; what winner would ever need to reconsider and improve on his ways? As for why I’m an outsider, I’m not sure. I think it might be because I’m Chinese and my way of thinking or speaking is also inherently Chinese. But in any case why is the enemy. What matters is “now what”, and the answer to that is “revealing the rigging”.

But I still get my laughs sometimes. Yesterday was the “Vault 7” Wikileaks and there’s been a lot of buzz about the “Deep State” of the American government, where the “unelected bureaucracy” and “intelligence community” hold the true power in relation to foreign policy and a number of other things. There’s been some uproar about a former CIA chief saying it’s not a “deep state” but a “friendly permanent government” – ‘It’s the beginning of a dark age!’ ‘The end of the experiment of freedom!’ I mean, really, what’s the big deal? They’re doing the same thing you’re doing, just with more people and more money. They’re your countrymen. Same culture, same blood – what makes them so special that they would refrain from doing at work what everyone else is doing everywhere? You think they weren’t doing it in any way at some point in time?

I guess some people actually think everyone else is just stupid.

Actually, I shouldn’t say that. Occam’s razor might be pretty good, but Hanlon’s is retarded.

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4 thoughts on “98% of reasoning is ad hoc

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