Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Page by page discussion of the comic.

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby drachefly » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:51 am

Occam's razor is absolutely totally a tool to be used to determine which is more likely. You use it explicitly in comparison of competing curvefits or models. Each parameter has a probability penalty, and any parameter that can't pull its weight in terms of improved fit is less justified, less probably actually varying.

This works. Given complex data sets you can use it to figure out what the underlying processes are.
User avatar
drachefly
Print 2 Draw 3 Supporter!
Print 2 Draw 3 Supporter!
 
Posts: 1640
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:36 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby MarbitChow » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:54 am

drachefly wrote:Occam's razor is absolutely totally a tool to be used to determine which is more likely.
Kreistor has already established that he's not using the "Occam's Razor" that everyone in THIS century is using. He's using the hipster underground version that was in use before it became popular. You've probably never heard of it.
User avatar
MarbitChow
 
Posts: 2510
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:06 pm

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:When you say that something is "likely", you mean that it is likely true. Kaushik is talking about which explanation is better and should be preferred, which is different from being true.


How you think any of these synonyms are different escapes me entirely. Why is it "Better" ? Why is it "Preferred"? They're just as incomplete as "more likely" which is what a different quote used, just as I did. You're happy adding "true" to the end of "most likely", but you fail to see that is asymmetrical treatment vs. leaving the incomplete "better" and "preferred" unexplained. They all say the same thing. It is "better" because Occam's reduces assumptions reducing the chance of it being untrue. It is "preferred" because it carries less risk of being wrong. Your addition of "true" can be made just as accurately to Kaushik's quote as it can to mine.

You're throwing my "most likely" into a context, but not doing the same to "better" and "preferred". I used the House on Fire as an example. In that case, it's "most likely safe", "better" because it's "Safer" and "preferred" because it's "safer": occam's does not measure which path out of a burning house is more likely "true", because the context carries no truth metric. In the case of a comic, where we are using Speculation to select between explanations, we are indeed trying to figure out what actually happened behind the scenes, which is trying to determine what is "true". It is "better" and "preferred" because the risk of being wrong is reduced, and thereby it is more likely true.

Kreistor wrote:How many more quotes do I need? They all say exactly the same thing.
They all get it right. I'm just trying to point out the difference between the things you are quoting and the things you are writing yourself.


I have no idea what you think Occam's Razor is used for. You seem to think it doesn't determine the most likely "truth". And yet, it is a tool of Philosophers, for whom Truth is the goal. How can you use something that is "better" and not be assuming it is the most likely to be true? How can you prefer to go for the front door in a burning building, if you aren't of the beliefe that it is preferred because you expect it to be the most "safe"? Occam's Razor doesn't solely judge "truths": it evaluates the decision being made based on the goal, which can be truth, safety, profit, or any other goal I mention below.

Occam's is a decision-making process. It is far broader than just usage in Philosophical discussions; consequently, while it is used in Philosophy to select the most likely truths, in a burning building it selects the "safest" path, or for a business it selects the "most profitable" location. "Better', "preferred", and "more likely" all lack descriptions of the goal because Occam's is not limited to only determining "truth". What is "most likely" is affected by the context of the decision being made. Here, on this forum, we discuss Truths as they relate to this comic, and so Occam's helps us determine the most likely truth. But in IT, you would use it to assign staff to different solutions to a technical problem that has many possible causes.

Kreistor wrote:I know that Occam's Razor selects the most likely answer.
It doesn't count as knowledge if it's not true.


Saying it is true is not proving it. I provided quotes that use the exact same terminology that I did. You cherry pick others and intentionally misinterpret them, and provide none of your own to back your claims. If I am so incredibly wrong, finding even one source to back you up would be simple. You don't because you can't.

Kreistor wrote:At no time, ever, do any of these definitions mention the word "truth".
That's because the definitions you quoted get it right.


And so did I. Everything I have said matches those definitions, not the disingenuous construct of what you think I said you seem to have created in your head. I don't know where you get the idea I said what you claimed, but if you really think I did, you need to go back and re-read. I highly suspect you got other people's claims misaligned as mine. That's if you made an honest mistake. If you're making a dishonest mistake, I've laid out the challenge. Prove me wrong. Use quotes, not claims. It should be easy if I'm that wrong. You'll find it a much harder task than you claim.

Kreistor wrote:It is about what is most likely.
When you say something is most likely you are talking about truth, or at least probability.


From one quote in my previous: "By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies."

Less "chance". I'm pretty certain that's synonymous with "lower probability".

Choosing the "best", "more likely", and so on is exactly picking based on a metric of probability. Why you don't see that is beyond me, but maybe that quote will achieve it, since my words seem inadequate. Maybe someone else using the term "chance" will trigger you to look at what you're trying to claim. They all say the same thing, though they use different terms to explain it. Use the proposal with the fewest assumptions. Shave away assumptions. I don't know how you think when I use the same verbiage as them, I'm somehow using different connotations. We are all saying exactly the same thing. When you cannot know the truth, choose the solution with the fewest assumptions, because it is the most likely answer to the problem. Fewer assumptions equate to lower risk, and that is synonymous with predicting chance of failure.

Occam's does not provide an absolute measure of probability. It's not Spock telling Kirk that the chance of something happening is 10.348%. When your solution includes an assumption for which you have no experience to determine risk of being wrong, you can't know if it's an assumption with a 90% chance of being true or 10%. We are operating in an information void, which is the whole point, and why we turn to Occam's. The Occam metric measures only the number of risks (each assumption is choice with an associated a risk of incorrectness) you are taking, and tells you to reduce them if you can. I seriously don't know how you fail to see it's just Occam telling us to reduce the risk of being wrong, by taking fewer chances where we can be wrong. In the case of Philosophical debates, or predictions of a comic, it's the chance of your prediction or statement being true. In other contexts, it measures safety, profitability, enjoyment, time saved, distance traveled, or any other number of decisions you make each day.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
User avatar
Kreistor
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: K-W, Ontario, Canada

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:44 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
drachefly wrote:Occam's razor is absolutely totally a tool to be used to determine which is more likely.
Kreistor has already established that he's not using the "Occam's Razor" that everyone in THIS century is using. He's using the hipster underground version that was in use before it became popular. You've probably never heard of it.


Drachefly is using the original Occam's, too. The modern version is "The simplest answer is the best." That is not what Drachefly describes.

drachefly wrote:Each parameter has a probability penalty, and any parameter that can't pull its weight in terms of improved fit is less justified, less probably actually varying.


He specifically reduces the number of "parameters", which in this case is Occam's "entity" or "assumption". Only the number of unknown parameters involved in the various possible curves and the accuracy of the fit is calculated, not a subjective comparison of "simple". What is "simple" in terms of curves in a computer? You already programmed them all in order to test the fit, so you're picking between processes already written, with no coding time saved picking one less complex to code. A computer doesn't have a care for "simple", since as a purely mathematical machine, all things are as simple as any other. A human may view a quadratic as simpler than a tangential curve, but with the computer doing the work, it's purely a superficial comparison. Drachefly is abandoning the modern "simple" subjective version for the older objective metric version, when he does a parameter count. That's my version. Always has been.

The modern "simplest is best" would choose a quadratic over tangential, a series of sums over an integral, and so on, because they are simpler by opinion. Drachefly doesn't care how "simple" the base equation is, so long as the fit is achieved with some kind of error vs. parameter calculation.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
User avatar
Kreistor
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: K-W, Ontario, Canada

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Justyn » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:15 pm

Oberon wrote:
Kreistor wrote:Pages and pages of utter BS. And then he cites Ayn Rand, who's most famous book had as it's central story line how if you were rich that it didn't matter if you violated your marriage vows, because rich people are above morals. And then some drivel about how rich people took real good care of their workers and didn't need the government to poke their noses in at all, no thank you very much! Which is of course quite contrary to, well, all history, but that never stopped a fantasy author before, not even one posing as a philosopher.
Do you ever stop to think that what you're posting is completely irrelevant? I'll be more concise: Do you ever stop to think?

Seriously, I bring up that you shouldn't act like an asshole on the very page you are currently posting on; there's no excuse for this one. Go sit in the corner. I'm not going to break out the banhammer just yet; I was asking before, but now I'm telling: behave yourself.

I know what it can be like to argue with someone who refuses to concede any point, but that doesn't excuse insulting people. This is an internet forum, there's no time constraints forcing you to answer immediately, if something someone has said gets you that riled up, step away from the computer and get a drink or something to cool down before you post.

And for the record, trying to goad someone into that kind of reaction to get them in "trouble" is just as bad as falling for the provocation and will be dealt with. Hint hint.
If I am acting as a mod, you will know it.
Justyn
Tool + YOTD + Pins Supporter!
Tool + YOTD + Pins Supporter!
 
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:22 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby EthericSentinel » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:08 pm

The details of the contract aside, I like how we finally have an explanation about why Jillian and Wanda both used the term "the fourth Arkentool" to talk about the 'Shoes now that we know that they know what the fourth Tool is. It's been said before but it bears repeating -- this page finally resolves that apparent inconsistency between Book 2, Issue 1 and Book Zero.
Jabberwocky wrote:Someone is disagreeing with someone else over an irrelevant bit of trivia on the Internet of all places. Honor demands blood.
User avatar
EthericSentinel
I am a Tool!
I am a Tool!
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 5:47 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby wih » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:53 pm

Kreistor wrote:Drachefly is using the original Occam's, too. The modern version is "The simplest answer is the best." That is not what Drachefly describes.


You're missing half of it, the modern Occam's is "All else equal, the simplest answer is best". If a rule describes 90% of scenarios correctly but is complicated, versus one that describes 70% of scenarios and is simple, the 90% still wins by Occam's. If they both describe 90% of scenarios and one is less complicated, then that one is to be preferred.
wih
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:07 am

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Lilwik » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:05 pm

Kreistor wrote:I have no idea what you think Occam's Razor is used for. You seem to think it doesn't determine the most likely "truth". And yet, it is a tool of Philosophers, for whom Truth is the goal. How can you use something that is "better" and not be assuming it is the most likely to be true?
That's what makes Occam's razor so interesting! It is exactly putting a value on an idea that is independent from its truth. Just look at one of your quotes again, when the theory is simple "developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies." None of that is talking about the truth of the theory, only the clarity of your thinking about the theory. Occam's razor just says that if you can't tell which theory is true, then go with the theory that you can think most clearly about, because that theory will be easiest to build new theories upon, and easiest to build experiments to test, and easiest in every way.

Kreistor wrote:Occam's Razor doesn't solely judge "truths": it evaluates the decision being made based on the goal, which can be truth, safety, profit, or any other goal I mention below.
No, Occam's razor just says that you should take the theory that is simplest, or has the fewest entities. That's what the definitions you quoted say. You may hope that using Occam's razor will get you closer to some other goal, but you can't rely on that. Occam's razor is not a magic bullet that will find any target you care to hit.

Kreistor wrote:If I am so incredibly wrong, finding even one source to back you up would be simple. You don't because you can't.
All of the definition's you've quoted for Occam's razor explain it perfectly well. There's no point in quoting more stuff because your quotations are accurate and plentiful. The only issue is that you're reading between the lines. You're reading "better" and seeing "more likely to be true," but what you're seeing isn't really there. It's perfectly natural to see someone calling a theory "better" and think they are saying the theory is closer to truth, but theories also have other qualities. A theory might be better because it is more beautiful. A theory might be better because it is easier to understand or more intuitive. A theory might be better because it can be expressed in words that are in alphabetic order. Occam's razor is just a value judgement upon theories. If you re-read the quotes you posted without assuming that a good theory is a likely theory, then you'll see that none of those definitions actually say that Occam's razor selects theories that are likely to be true; they all just talk vaguely about being better. It's an aesthetic judgement.

Kreistor wrote:I seriously don't know how you fail to see it's just Occam telling us to reduce the risk of being wrong, by taking fewer chances where we can be wrong.
Maybe it does reduce the risk of being wrong, but that's something you'd need to prove. None of the definitions you've quoted claim it. As far as I'm aware in the history of science theories seem to get more and more complicated as they get closer to the truth, so I seriously doubt it.
Lilwik
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 5:55 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby ftl » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:17 pm

Lilwik wrote:As far as I'm aware in the history of science theories seem to get more and more complicated as they get closer to the truth, so I seriously doubt it.


I think it's actually really interesting to think about at the progress of scientific theories through the lens of simplicity.

Given a body of experimental knowledge about the world, theories gradually get "simpler" as people understand it better. But as people understand the world better, they can make ever more precise instruments - and thus uncover additional complexity in the world, thus leading to a whole bunch of complexity in the theory, which then gets simplified as people understand it better, and so on.

Given two theories which explain the same data, one should typically prefer the simpler one. But as the complexity in the available data increases, so does the complexity in the theory.

To quote somebody misquoting/paraphrasing Einstein - "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler."
ftl
Erfabet Supporter!
Erfabet Supporter!
 
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:15 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Tonot » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:38 pm

I actually don't know why people are making so much fuss over this.

If you know the truth, you don't weigh up theories, you don't have to.

When you don't know the truth, and if you have a pile of possible theories to choose from, Occam's razor says you should try to gage which is the simplest, and take that one for your working theory, and Science says you should proceed to try to falsify it. If you can do so, then you choose the next most simple theory, and rinse and repeat.

Occam's Theory doesn't say the first thing about which is correct, or even which is likely to be correct. That isn't how the Universe works, simple isn't even remotely a guide to true, look at any of the major theories in physics, or biology, or astronomy, which of them are simple once you get away from trite observations? ( one plus one equals two, etc. )


Any of the theories could very well be wrong. The simplest could be wrong. The most difficult could be wrong. Simple =/= True.
Tonot
 
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:06 am

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Doctor Foreman » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:47 pm

Not that page after page of quibbling about Occam's Razor isn't riveting, but the issue to me seems pretty straightforward.

Occam's Razor is not a unitary rule. It's something like the Golden Rule - a concept which takes on different nuances depending upon the context in which it is up for discussion. In the scientific method, Occam's Razor is generally thought of as a heuristic for determining the testability of a given idea rather than its likelihood of truth. It's easy to confuse the two because in science, testability is a prerequisite for making a truth claim, but the two are nevertheless distinct. In theology, though (where testability is not usually within our grasp and as a consequence of less concern), it becomes something much more along the lines of "simplicity is correlated with truth". It would have to be, really, since most religious thinking is based on the acceptance of a simple, catch-all explanation - "God did it" - as a fundamental truth.

Kreistor wrote:At no time, ever, do any of these definitions mention the word "truth". It is about what is most likely...I know that Occam's Razor selects the most likely answer

The problem with this evaluation, Kreistor, is that evaluating likelihood is by definition a statement about truth. Probability is a measure of the balance between our knowledge and our ignorance. You're absolutely correct in claiming that Occam's Razor is not a device for evaluating the truth or falsity of some proposition - but when we speak of the scientific method, and really of verification in general, there are no absolutes of truth or falsity, only reasonable and unreasonable doubts, which is simply another way of saying "high probability of truth" or "low probability of truth".

This is pretty basic epistemology. Any definition of Occam's Razor which claims it is not a statement of truth but is a statement of likelihood is an internally inconsistent and therefore wrong definition. You quote Kaushik's blog:

Kaushik wrote:I am sure I am taking my own poetic license in understanding the principle and internalizing it but Occam's Razor is always at the back of my mind because it reminds me that often we need to simplify our thinking. The simpler the explanation the more likely it is better than a complex one.

Firstly, note that sentence about poetic license. And secondly, remember that Kaushik is in the business of developing and testing models. When he says a simpler explanation is more likely to be better, he means in terms of modeling - and he's correct, a simpler explanation is better if you're trying to test whether or not it's true. But he's not making any claims about whether or not the explanation is better in any "real-world" sense of being true, false, likely true, or likely false. The language is just vague enough to allow that conflation.

Already this got longer than I intended it to, so to brutally summarize:

A statement of an explanation's likelihood is a statement about the truth value of the explanation. Occam's Razor does not address an explanation's truth value, and therefore cannot address an explanation's likelihood.
"If you leave out important things or events that you know about, the story is strengthened. If you leave or skip something because you do not know it, the story will be worthless." - Hemingway
Doctor Foreman
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:22 am
Location: Not Constantinople.

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby drachefly » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:39 pm

ACtually, Kriestor, the precise definition of simple was invented by Claude Shannon in the mid-20th century, so this isn't exactly old hat.

What was the point of this discussion, again? Whatever it is, though, I don't think how long ago people started using Bayesian inference on a prior determined by information theory is going to affect the outcome.
User avatar
drachefly
Print 2 Draw 3 Supporter!
Print 2 Draw 3 Supporter!
 
Posts: 1640
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:36 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:59 am

drachefly wrote:ACtually, Kriestor, the precise definition of simple was invented by Claude Shannon in the mid-20th century, so this isn't exactly old hat.

What was the point of this discussion, again? Whatever it is, though, I don't think how long ago people started using Bayesian inference on a prior determined by information theory is going to affect the outcome.


The point? Drach, I have no idea. IN a world where people say, "Assuming make an a.. of you and me," it's hardly surprising people do not understand the usefulness of Occam's. Or apply it incorrectly, as in the modern version. And you've been here long enough to know I've had this argument more than once, so they've got no hope of convincing me of anything. Making decisions in the face of the unknown is part of my everyday life.

Lilwik, your version of Occam's has to be incorrect, because it does not achieve a decision. Occam's Razor is a decision making process, as are Kepner-Tregoe, and other methodologies. A decision must achieve a goal. Decide what is Safer. What is most profitable. What is least time consuming. And what is true. Fundamentally, all decisions decide what is the best something. Decisions are not colourless, the way you try to twist Occam's. A decision without a goal cannot exist, and so your attempt to remove the goal from Occam's process is fundamentally impossible. There is no general "best" in life. There is the best path, the best view, the best... anything. There is no best "nothing". You prefer something because you have a target goal you are trying to achieve. Occam's Razor tries to guide you to that goal, and thus results in the best, the preferred, the most likely goal. I really don't know how you can hold that Best "void" as a concept in your head, and think Occam's somehow reaches it. The practical use of Occam's is to proceed to an action, so it guides you to the best action to achieve the desired goal.

But I'll use Drachefly's example, again, because you aren't listening to me. For Drachefly, Occam's Razor achieves the most likely curve that fits the data. It is the best curve. It is the preferred curve. It is not the preferred "nothing". It is not the best "nothing". It is not the most likely "nothing". It is a decision about which curve to choose, maybe to use in a Control program for a system, like your Cruise Control in your car. Is that a place where you'd like someone to choose the most accurate and retain responsiveness? All decisions choose the best "something". And here, in this comic, it chooses the most likely "truth" as to what happened.

Doctor Foreman wrote:The problem with this evaluation, Kreistor, is that evaluating likelihood is by definition a statement about truth.


When the goal is a truth, yes. When the goal is the streets you take to get somewhere, it's the best path. When the goal is the fitting of a curve to sampled data, it's the best curve. Truth is correct only in a limited context, and doesn't apply to those other examples. How is a path more true or false? "most likely answer" is what I said, and I think that fits a generalization of Occam's fairly well. Occam's is far broader in application, and so the definitions need to be written far more generally. All decisions can be phrased as a question, so I think "answer" is a general enough term to fit the definition. Sorry, but "truth" is too confining, and restricts Occam's application. It's the correct term for choosing which Speculation is most likely true, but not which curve Drachefly will choose.

Any definition of Occam's Razor which claims it is not a statement of truth but is a statement of likelihood is an internally inconsistent and therefore wrong definition.


No, it isn't. They're trying to write it for generalized decision making, and many decisions are not about "truth", as I have tried to point out with Drachefly's example, and my own of getting out of a burning house. There is no truth to deciding between the front door, window, backdoor, or basement cellar door. That decision has nothing to do with truth, because no path is "false". The evaluation is one of safety and danger. (OCcam's chooses which is the most likely to be safe.) And in Drachefly's curve fit, most likely to be accurate, not true. Drach's curve fit may go into the control program for a system: how is that "true"? And that is what makes writing a description of Occam's Razor so hard. It has to be written general enough that you don't use the word Truth, or you limit its application.

But he's not making any claims about whether or not the explanation is better in any "real-world" sense of being true, false, likely true, or likely false.


Correct, but you missed that he's not modelling "truth". Models are accurate and fast, not "true". His "simpler" will target reduced programming time, reduced processing time, and accuracy of result. No "truth" is involved, is it? And what about his decision making between a model that is fast to program but slow to execute, vs. slow to program and fast to execute? For the human, programming is simpler for the first, but for the second, simpler for the computer. Whose "simple" do we choose? That can change. A Model that runs only once can run slow, so reducing programming time is the better choice. A model that runs constantly should ignore programming time, and promote speed of execution. Every model will be considered "simple" based on its own parameters.

A statement of an explanation's likelihood is a statement about the truth value of the explanation. Occam's Razor does not address an explanation's truth value, and therefore cannot address an explanation's likelihood.


I've already said everything I need to in order to point out the fundamental flaw in this statement. When you choose which way to exit a burning building, you are choosing the safest path. When you pick a curve, the most accurate. When you choose an equation for a model, the fastest, easiest to program, and most accurate. You are confusing "decision making" with "truth finding" and then flipping that back to claim Occam's finds no truth. It doesnt't, in the cases where you're not looking for truth. When you're looking for safety, it provides the most liekly to be safe. But when you're selecting between potentially truthful statements, it provides the most likely to be true.

As or your "truth value" conclusion, each "assumption" in a solution comes with a chance to be true or false. Occam's tells us to reduce the number of assumptions, which fundamentally reduces the chance to be wrong, because the equation for the chance of being correct is the multiplication of each chance to be correct. Let's assume that the chance of being wrong for each assumption is 50%. The chance of being correct with one assumption in the solution is 50%. With 2, it's 25%. With 3, 12.5%. That's just like flipping a coin: if you only winb if all the coins you flip come up heads, you want to reduce the number of coins you flip, right? If you have some source for providing more accurate chances of an assumption being true or false, you can affect those probabilities. But in the vast majority of cases, an additional multiplier on the chance of being wrong is far worse than decreasing the probability of one assumption being correct. Which is more likely to be correct: a solution with two assumptions at 70% probabiltiy of being true, or one assumption at 50%? The one assumption, since 0.7x0.7 = 0.49, or a 49% chance of being correct. This is why Occam's focuses on reducing assumptions, and doesn't bother with evaluating probability of each assumption being correct: the probability of an assumption being correct is often a moot calculation, where the number of assumptions is different. And in the absence of knowledge, you often don't have any probability you can assign to the assumptions in the first place. In that case, you have to look at the achieve=ment Occam's results in as a general rule, and realize the chance reducing assumptions does not improve the chance of correctness is pretty low, since the cases where it wouldn't work out are small, and often would be obvious, anyway.

So, no, you are wrong. Occam's deals with probabilities by reducing the number of multipliers in the probability of a decision being wrong.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
User avatar
Kreistor
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: K-W, Ontario, Canada

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:13 am

Occam's Razor is JUST a tool used to make decisions. It doesn't guarantee anything about the results. Everyone seems to be able to agree on that.

My question is: Why is Occam's Razor the best way to evaluate a theory about Erfworld? Erfworld is ENTERTAINMENT. It's completely escapist fantasy.

The criteria about "which theory is the best" has NOTHING to do with Occam's Razor. The criteria for any theory about Erfworld should be "Which theory entertains me the most?"

For Kriestor, he is most entertained by theories that best fit his Occam's Razor interpretation. I doubt he can even seriously consider embracing the idea that the MOST complex theory might be the best. If you believe that Occam's Razor is the best way to weigh theories, then the only argument is 'which is simplest'. Focus on that, not on what 'Occam's Razor' really means.

For others, their best fit might very well be the most outlandish theories - they might LOVE the wild tangents that these theories inspire in their own minds; they don't care that later canon (or even previous canon!) may completely invalidate their theories.

Personally, I don't think that Occam's Razor is even appropriate for evaluating fantasy - I much prefer the "how cool is that?" method, in which a theory is evaluated based on how awesome it would be if it were true.
User avatar
MarbitChow
 
Posts: 2510
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:36 am

MarbitChow wrote:The criteria about "which theory is the best" has NOTHING to do with Occam's Razor. The criteria for any theory about Erfworld should be "Which theory entertains me the most?"


No one forces anyone else to use Occam's for any purpose. I'm not forced to use the Kepner-Trefoe method, either.

But entertainment value is subjective, and wildly so. How many music genres entertain you? Do we universally reject all genres that don't entertain a single person? You may hate Opera, so if we come together to listen to something, does your dislike mean we never listen to Opera?

For Kriestor, he is most entertained by theories that best fit his Occam's Razor interpretation.


Again, putting words in my mouth. I use Occam's because it is a respected method, which should require no argument to explain or agree to use. It has no "entertainment" value. For me, it avoids arguments, except when I have to defend using it. Case in point.

When it comes to something like an open Wiki, we need some agreed upon method, or we get what happened back in the old Arkenhammer argument. No agreed upon evaluation method means that in an "every man for himself" environment, what new readers see is whoever has the most time to control the Wiki contents, or whichever proposal has the most adherents. Given that the Arkenhammer "No associated Primary Discipline" faction was the tiniest, vs. the "Carnymancy" theory's large base, we saw gross bias towards what was revealed as a false belief. Are you happy with the Wiki controlled by "Whoever has the worst OCD?" Or can we find an agreed upon method that can avoid opinion, and give tiem to Speculation based on some objective metric? The only one of use I've found is Occam's. Do you know another?

The original Occam's has the advantage of being objective, and provides a relative evaluation of each theory. that can avoid subjective arguments about "simplicity", "entertainment value", or any of the other entirely opinion based evaluators.

Drachefly, I'm trying to find reference to a theory of "Simple" presented by Claude Shannon, and nothing is coming up anywhere. Mind providing a link? It's not on his Wikipedia entry, he's not referenced on the page about "simplicity", and no definitions are coming up on Google on any site.

I'd love to switch topics to something I can learn about, but I'm going to have to reject your claim that it is a commonly used definition. Unless it is in the minds of all our readers, it's not the standard they use for determining what is "simple" on this forum, and so even if it exists, it is irrelevant. If you want to recommend it to us all, so we can all learn to ue it, cool, but I'm going to leave that argument to you. You're going to have to convince them it's better than their personal opinions about Simplicity.

Further, a good point made on the Wikipedia Simplicity page is that how complex something seems is often altered by the capacity of the author to simplify the description. I am notably bad for making simple things complex in description, so my explanations are often viewed as unnecessarily complex to the initiated, and the subject matter deemed complex by the uninitiated, even when it's simple when rendered by another author. "Simplicity" is affected not just by the interpretation, but by the writing.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
User avatar
Kreistor
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: K-W, Ontario, Canada

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:31 pm

Kreistor wrote:Are you happy with the Wiki controlled by "Whoever has the worst OCD?"
Yes, actually. I always assumed that it was. :D (Well, 'whoever is the most fanatical', but the concepts are nearly synonymous in this context.)
Kreistor wrote:Or can we find an agreed upon method that can avoid opinion, and give time to Speculation based on some objective metric? The only one of use I've found is Occam's. Do you know another?
Speculation IS opinion. Informed opinion, but opinion nonetheless. Avoiding opinion when judging speculation seems an exercise in futility to me, but then, I love to argue on the internet, which is practically the definition of an exercise in futility.

Wiki is a reference. If you're going to include speculation in it, give equal time to all speculation, and let the reader judge what's likely and unlikely. Feel free to even weight it as likely and unlikely, if you're doing the updating. But it's still all just speculation, and Rob could, at any time, to take the most unlikely speculation and make it canon in the next update.

The wiki is a creative reference. Excluding speculation that's wildly inaccurate could actually prevent that seed of an idea from inspiring another budding author to write a completely new work. Art isn't science. Science attempts to reduce factors, favoring theories that describe the greatest phenomena with the simplest explanation. Art is the opposite - we never know what's going to inspire the next idea. We (collectively) don't need a method to filter bad ideas out. They'll live or die on their own merits, and their deaths may spur thoughts in entirely new directions.

In short, I agree that using Occam's Razor is the most effective Objective Metric by which to make a judgment. I disagree that judgments about speculation need to be made at all. Your conclusion is sound. Its your fundamental assumption that's flawed.
Last edited by MarbitChow on Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
MarbitChow
 
Posts: 2510
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby drachefly » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:31 pm

Simplicity = low information.
User avatar
drachefly
Print 2 Draw 3 Supporter!
Print 2 Draw 3 Supporter!
 
Posts: 1640
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:36 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby GWvsJohn » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:02 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
drachefly wrote:Occam's razor is absolutely totally a tool to be used to determine which is more likely.
Kreistor has already established that he's not using the "Occam's Razor" that everyone in THIS century is using. He's using the hipster underground version that was in use before it became popular. You've probably never heard of it.


Can I just interject to say this line above is one of the funniest things I've read in a while. Kudos MarbitChow.
GWvsJohn
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:52 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Lilwik » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:57 pm

Kreistor wrote:When it comes to something like an open Wiki, we need some agreed upon method, or we get what happened back in the old Arkenhammer argument.
No matter how effective you believe Occam's razor may be at estimating probability, it's no guarantee of anything, so I don't think it's much use in the wiki. Perhaps we should reserve the wiki for actual facts. Speculation would be mentioned, but only as speculation, and we would try to ensure that each page provided all the facts necessary for the reader to fairly evaluate each theory. There's no need for the editors to use Occam's razor or any other means of choosing between theories. Since we don't know which theory is really true, we should document all theories that have some support.
Lilwik
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 5:55 pm

Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:55 pm

MarbitChow wrote:Yes, actually. I always assumed that it was. :D (Well, 'whoever is the most fanatical', but the concepts are nearly synonymous in this context.)


Spoken like someone that has no intention of partcipating. Since the contributors are not the slaves of non-contributors, do you think you should have a say in the content? Or do those doing the work have the final say?

Speculation IS opinion. Informed opinion,


No, it wasn't. And that was part of the problem. Speculation can be extremely wild and without any foundation. And on a Wiki, where anything goes, the malicious participants can intentionally insert speculation to screw with new readers, or insult people. I can't assign motive, because they didn't reveal it, but lots of the spec I removed had no references for their beliefs at all. It was, literally, groundless, placed there only to hope to be right, so they could say, "Nyah nyah, I'm better than you," if it happened to come true. We've got the betting thread to deal with that now, which may have gone a long way to diminishing the real out there spec, since it has seriously toned down since B2 started.

but opinion nonetheless. Avoiding opinion when judging speculation seems an exercise in futility to me, but then, I love to argue on the internet, which is practically the definition of an exercise in futility.


It wasn't. As I stated, for the most part, we had cliques of believers forming that had limited speculation, that usually had to meet some reasonable level of Occam's Razor to form.

Wiki is a reference. If you're going to include speculation in it, give equal time to all speculation, and let the reader judge what's likely and unlikely.


EXACTLY! And that is what I was trying to achieve. But on a page, one Speculation comes first. How do we choose whose opinion gets first read? When I went in to organize it, I could have used "entertainment value" as you suggest, but it would be my entertainment, not yours, and you'd reorganize the page. Consequently, I chose the Occam's Razor metric of calculating number of assumptions. But there is a limit, and when you have 15 people contributing, you may have 15 different speculations. At some point, you have information overload and the page becomes useless. There is a conflict between permitting speculation and retaining utility. I generally limited to 4 competing speculations maximum, and I don't think I found any page with more reasonable competitors than that.

The wiki is a creative reference. Excluding speculation that's wildly inaccurate could actually prevent that seed of an idea from inspiring another budding author to write a completely new work.


Killing an ant on the street could too, but I'm not going to waste my time staring at the ground constantly to save their lives.

We (collectively) don't need a method to filter bad ideas out.


Yeah, we did. Really, we did. And no one complained when I nuked the most screwball theories.

In short, I agree that using Occam's Razor is the most effective Objective Metric by which to make a judgment. I disagree that judgments about speculation need to be made at all. Your conclusion is sound. Its your fundamental assumption that's flawed.


Then go tot he Wiki and put it all back. It's all there in the archives for you to find, and my name is typically on the edit that removed them. But if you're not going to participate, I don't think you get to tell me what to do, when Rob made it open to everyone. But that's moot. For the moment, I'm not touching it, even though it desperately needs some love. I don't know if it has been updated since the beginning of Book 2.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
User avatar
Kreistor
 
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: K-W, Ontario, Canada

PreviousNext

Return to Reactions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests