Social distance from pathogenic ideas

Discussion in 'Off topic discussions' started by Achedlock17, Mar 28, 2020.

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  1. Jessica Alexander
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    Jessica Alexander Trans woman not a mistress or Dom

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    There are no bad ideas unless you keep pushing when it’s pointed out why it’s a bad idea. And sometimes it’s good to explore and question those reasons. I think it’s good to question things that everyone knows or thinks is right. There is so much “wisdom” out there that most accept as facts but we forgot why we believe it’s true.
     
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  2. Achedlock17
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    Achedlock17 Active member

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    I see your point. Generally if a bad idea is memorable enough it will survive by being passed on, and furthermore if it brings or signals membership of a “tribe” that in itself has some positive effects for those believing it. Being in that tribe will mean one will almost automatically rule out as false, criticism from people in other tribes (whilst criticising their views of course!).

    However being in any tribe doesn’t insulate anyone from new problems, and in solving new problems, one wants as many ideas for solutions to be proposed as possible, and then one wants them all criticised so that the best survive, based on what we know at any time.

    Of course errors will be made; they are made all the time and always will be. We are human, not Gods. And being in a tribe doesn’t insulate one from errors any more than from new problems.

    However since the Age of Enlightenment began about 300 years ago the human population has increased by about 7 billion. So this method has helped us become not too bad at solving problems despite natural disasters etc.

    Re the vaccine point you make: first we need good ideas for vaccines. Then if one or more candidate ideas survive the testing and criticism of the drug approval process, we will face the problem of whether to take the risk of giving it to eg older vulnerable members of the population. That is just an idea, open to criticism of course. And yes the vaccine may have long run negative effects if administered too widely. However it may not need to be-if the vulnerable old take it voluntarily, and the rest of the population who are less vulnerable either have a mild virus or benefit from the improved treatment protocols and possible new drug treatments then we will have dealt with the virus.

    Problems will never cease. However, central to solving each and every problem is the criticism of ideas creatively arrived at and put forward to solve them, may the best idea survive.

    In terms of my original post, the ideas I think its sensible to socially distance from are ideas that essentially involve insulating themselves from criticism. If a tribe is built around such ideas, then sooner or later it will succumb to a new problem because it won't have fostered creativity in coming up with good new ideas and it won't identify bad new ideas and exclude them because it hasn't fostered a culture of rooting out bad ideas.
     
  3. Nicoftime
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    Nicoftime The suspense is terrible...I hope it lasts

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    I respectfully disagree, my faith that humanity will make smart choices instead of fast, easy, and popular choices is rather slim. If you ever watch the life of Brian Monty python movie, there is a scene where Brian tells his followers to think for themselves and follow their own path. They repeat back in unison all as one in agreement.
     
  4. Achedlock17
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    Achedlock17 Active member

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    Yes, sadly one particular pathological idea/behaviour is the trap of “sheep like; drone like behaviour; failure to think for oneself, forever”.

    Thinking about it, perhaps for any of us as individuals on our own “achieving optimal social distance” from such a trap (ie avoiding it) is similar to Monty Python’s quest for the Holy Grail-unattainable even in theory.

    I say that because as a thought experiment one can presumably simulate the behaviour of any person using a suitable simulation program on a powerful deterministic computing machine with finite memory.

    In theory for mere deterministic machines with finite memory (simulating mere mortals after all) it is inevitable that sooner or later the simulation will permanently get stuck in a loop which it will repeat forever. This is because a machine with finite memory has a finite number of configurations, and so the simulation program, left to itself, will eventually either halt or repeat a previous configuration. So in theory it would seem that there is no hiding from a depressing conclusion: as mortals we are all doomed to be stuck in a repeating pattern of behaviour sooner or later: the best we can hope for is that we may be lucky and never find ourselves in such a pattern before we die.

    However that idea can be criticised. Must we all be simulated as having only a finite number of possible states? If we seek to relax that constraint to account for eg especially creative people, then Alan Turing proved (On Computable Numbers With an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, 12 November 1936) that we can never know even in principle whether a particular (simulation) program (creative person) is going to get stuck in a loop or whether (s)he will run forever (or at least their lifetime in this world) without falling into that trap.

    So perhaps there is hope for "thought" after all!
     
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