Thursday, March 04, 2010

These Things I Believe


In recent months, I've come to realize that there are certain things I need to acknowledge if I wish to be taken seriously by my intellectual betters.

  1. If we're talking about global warming, it's impossible to see how small changes could have enormous negative consequences. If we're talking about culture or politics, it's impossible to see how they can't.

  2. The Free Market is the world's best and most efficient force for transformative change, the vast majority of which must be opposed on principle lest we end up in some sort of queer eco-gulag.

  3. Alarming news must be viewed as "alarmist," and therefore false, unless it involves Muslims, socialism, environmental regulations, faggotry, blacks, immigrants, academia, or gay black Muslim eco-socialist immigrant academics like "President" Obama.

  4. Civility is in a sad state of decline, and everyone who's responsible is worse than Hitler. (PS: Fuck you!)

  5. Argumentum ad hominem is the logical fallacy of disagreeing with someone who's confident about being right. This is one of the very worst things you can do, online or off. If you choose to indulge in it anyway, don't be surprised when people ignore your so-called "evidence." After all, you've demonstrated that you're a bad person.

  6. Argumentum ad verecundiam, or appeal to authority, is the logical fallacy of assuming that working climatologists are a better source for information on climate than economists, retired weathermen, eccentric British peers, and anonymous online paranoiacs.

  7. The most logical explanation for consensus is collusion or groupthink. Everyone knows that!

  8. Confirmation bias is a plausible explanation for the belief that a given scientific study supports AGW. However, it is not a plausible explanation for the belief that this support can be explained away by invoking confirmation bias.

  9. The Law of Unintended Consequences only applies to stuff you don't really want to do anyway.

  10. Global climate is very, very complicated. That's why it must be approached with much more humility and caution and thoughtfulness than relatively straightforward endeavors like civilizing Muslim nations at gunpoint, or regulating human sexuality.

  11. AGW probably isn't happening, or at least not very much. And if it is happening, it probably isn't a serious problem. And if it is a serious problem, we'll probably have plenty of time to address it through geoengineering, which is a much better solution than reducing emissions, because it relies on the creation of a global regime dedicated to micromanaging our atmosphere and oceans in pursuit of benefits predicted by the same climate modeling we can't trust to predict AGW, instead of imposing some tyrannical big-government measure like a carbon tax. So why worry?

  12. If I believe that the IPCC is fallible but essentially honest, and you believe it's a snake pit of anti-capitalist ideologues who are only in it for the money, the spirit of compromise obliges me to admit that nothing it says can be trusted until you tell me otherwise.

  13. If scientists are telling you something you don't want to hear, but you can't quite bring yourself to believe that they've all become Marxists, the most likely explanation is that they've forgotten some fundamental Rule of Science with which you're vaguely familiar. Perhaps they've sinned against the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or the Principle of Bivalence, or the Empirical Method, or Occam's Razor, or all four. Whatever the case, you can undoubtedly find a quote from Einstein that will put them in their place.

  14. Most scientific breakthroughs are achieved by angry, incoherent conspiracy theorists with no training in their adopted field and an implacable contempt for pretty much everyone who works in it professionally. This was definitively proved in 1776 by Galileo, and also by that plate tectonics guy, whatever his name was. If you doubt this, please consider the fact that I AM NOW TYPING IN CAPS.
If there's anything else you feel I should know, please feel free to explain it to me in comments.

UPDATE: In comments, Rich Puchalsky advances a theory that could potentially unify all the points listed above, as well as everything else worth knowing:
No statement made by a hippie can ever be true. Even in cases where the statement is finally generally accepted as being true, that doesn't it make it retroactively true when it was said by hippies. It only started to be true when the first non-hippie condescended to say it.
Why do I hesitate to affirm that this is 100% true in all possible universes? Only because I don't know for certain that it wasn't written by a hippie. Here's hoping Mr. Puchalsky will soon provide us with evidence of his bona fides, so we can all get on with our vastly enriched lives.

Here's some music while we're waiting. Please note its tasteful use of diminished chord arpeggios, which are of course the best kind.

12 comments:

Rmj said...

Occam's Razor compels me to point out that the simplest solution to your difficulties is the correct one:

I AM PINCHING YOUR HEAD!

I AM PINCHING YOUR HEAD!!!!

Jazzbumpa said...

Excellent list. I have some Austrian wisdom to add.

Trying to explain Austrian Theory to a Keynesian or Monetarist is like try to explain diminished chord arpeggios to a punk rocker. The Austrian understanding of capital theory is like an accomplished guitarist who knows and can play complex musical notes and chords. The Keynesian or Monetarist is playing air guitar, flailing about with no understanding of the underlying process he’s childishly emulating.

Debating anti-Austrians is always a great adventure because you can always learn new ways that people will deny the obvious.

Austrian school critics are congenitally unable to EVER make a fair and complete presentation of the Austrian argument. There are two main reasons for this: a) They worry that if they ever bothered to wrap their tiny brains around the complete argument, they might finally understand the truth and would be shunned by their fellow anti-intellectuals; and b) They suffer from extreme levels of cowardice, frightful intellectual conformity and high levels of intellectual laziness.

The above are all actual quotes by one Rob Roddis in a single comment string at Robert Murphy's blog, Free Advice.

So you damned well had best become a von Mises acolyte, my friend.

Cheers!
JzB

Jazzbumpa said...

Oh, for god's sake, I used "a" instead of "i" in my tags.

Missed my nap today.

Lo siento.
JzB

Phila said...

Trying to explain Austrian Theory to a Keynesian or Monetarist is like try to explain diminished chord arpeggios to a punk rocker.

Hmmm. I'm guessing that the fact that I've known plenty of "punk rockers" who understand diminished chord arpeggios quite well has absolutely no bearing on this discussion, and certainly doesn't raise any suspicions that his blanket assumptions about Keynesians are as ignorant and prejudiced as his blanket assumptions about musicianship in genres he doesn't like.

Rich Puchalsky said...

You forgot about hippies!

No statement made by a hippie can ever be true. Even in cases where the statement is finally generally accepted as being true, that doesn't it make it retroactively true when it was said by hippies. It only started to be true when the first non-hippie condescended to say it.

Phila said...

No statement made by a hippie can ever be true. Even in cases where the statement is finally generally accepted as being true, that doesn't it make it retroactively true when it was said by hippies. It only started to be true when the first non-hippie condescended to say it.

Heh. Indeed.

Octopüß said...

Speaking of Occham's Razor, add this to your list:

All things being equal, if T1 is more ontologically parsimonious than T2, then it is rational to prefer T1 over T2.

In other words:

Joseph: Vous ete une allumeuse!
Mary: Vous ete un cocu!

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Please note its tasteful use of diminished chord

um, not actually, but

C

E♭

G♭

please note, that this has been used very tastefully

the seventh will be provided on request

Phila said...


um, not actually, but


Just a joke. See Jazzbumpa's comment above.

Jazzbumpa said...

Well, the diminished 7th is enharmonically equivalent to the Major 6th, or A, in the example cited.

I suspect Mr. Roddis has an understanding on diminished chord arpeggios that is on a par with his understanding of economics, or anything else in the real world.

By the way, diminished chords are trite cliches, cheats and/or cop outs in many contexts. (Not so if used as a substitute for the upper structure of an extended, altered dominant 7th chord to get stronger root movement. I really have to believe Thad Jones was a Keynesian.)

Frex, if I want to modulate, I'll go through iii - vi - ii - V7 in the new key, and it's rock solid when I land on I.

Cheers!
JzB

Phila said...

By the way, diminished chords are trite cliches, cheats and/or cop outs in many contexts.

OMG why are you trying to destroy Civilization?

You are worse than nine naked Hitlers dancing naked on a box of puppies to the music of Yanni.

Jazzbumpa said...

Holy shit. Yanni!?!

That's cold, Phila, really cold.

Tsk, tsk,
JzB