Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Lilwik » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:17 pm

Kreistor wrote:No one complained when I nuked the most screwball theories.
Unless the theory contradicted known facts, you're really just gambling that the theory was false when you removed it. It would be quite a shame if a "screwball" theory turned out to be true after you removed it. We have a gambling thread for making bet, so there's no need to gamble in the wiki.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:30 pm

Kreistor wrote: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?
...
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.
...
But on a page, one Speculation comes first. How do we choose whose opinion gets first read? When I went in to organize it
...
Yeah, we did. Really, we did. And no one complained when I nuked the most screwball theories.
...
I don't know if it has been updated since the beginning of Book 2.

:o Wait, this whole Occam's debate has been about how to prioritize entering speculation for a wiki that, by your own admission, hasn't been updated in YEARS? I thought it was about the repercussions about the reveal of Jack and Charlie's arrangement, and allowing for wild speculation IN THIS FORUM.

You're absolutely free to use whatever criteria you want when you update the wiki, or no criteria at all. If your vehement defense of Da Razor applies solely to what you're going to go post in the wiki - have at it!
But if you're engaged in free discussion of speculation in these forums, then Occam's Razor isn't the end-all, be-all "this concludes the argument" utility that, by your posts, I perceive you to be implying that it should be.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:46 pm

Marbitchow, I didn't start this. I'm defending my choice to use it against people convinced my implementation is incorrect: I'm not telling others they must use it. If you don't care that I do, then why involve yourself?
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby MarbitChow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:17 pm

Kreistor wrote:Marbitchow, I didn't start this. I'm defending my choice to use it against people convinced my implementation is incorrect: I'm not telling others they must use it. If you don't care that I do, then why involve yourself?

I think you only skimmed my post. I said that you're free to use it to determine what order to update speculation in the Wiki. I'm also saying that it's not useful as a tool when defending your speculation, or attacking another's, in these forums, because its only useful if everyone agrees that it should be the criteria by which speculation is judged. That's clearly not the case.

As to the why, I've already made that perfectly clear, on the previous page, no less.
MarbitChow wrote:...but then, I love to argue on the internet, which is practically the definition of an exercise in futility.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:05 pm

No, it's useful if the Speculator agrees it is. Your opinion is relevant if the Speculator accepts yours. I doubt "Marbitchow's entertainment" will get much respect as a general standard.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Shai_hulud » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:16 am

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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby MarbitChow » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:24 am

Kreistor wrote:No, it's useful if the Speculator agrees it is. Your opinion is relevant if the Speculator accepts yours. I doubt "Marbitchow's entertainment" will get much respect as a general standard.
Pity, that. But that doesn't change the fact that Occam's Razor isn't a defense. It's a tie-breaker when all other avenues are exhausted. When you have limited resources and need to determine which theory to attack first, it's a great prioritizer. But using it as an actual criteria is pointless UNTIL you and your opposition have honestly, and in good faith, reached an impasse. One side refusing to budge on their pet theory isn't an Occam-able Impasse.

If it WERE a valid criteria for defense, arguments like "God is perfect, perfection includes existence, therefore God Exists" would be Occam Approved. Only 3 elements - it must be right, yes?

Now, having said that, if you're trying to convince the forum that it SHOULD be useable as an element of defense, it appears to me that you haven't succeeded, based on the vehement response to your suggestion.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Shai_hulud » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:42 pm

MarbitChow wrote:If it WERE a valid criteria for defense, arguments like "God is perfect, perfection includes existence, therefore God Exists" would be Occam Approved. Only 3 elements - it must be right, yes?
LOLWUT?
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:53 pm

Shai_hulud wrote:
MarbitChow wrote:If it WERE a valid criteria for defense, arguments like "God is perfect, perfection includes existence, therefore God Exists" would be Occam Approved. Only 3 elements - it must be right, yes?
LOLWUT?


Thanks, Shai. I'm glad it's not just me laughing at that.

Your interpretation of "elements" is not Occam's Entities. Entities are assumptions, not pieces of a statement. Further, Occam's chooses between multiple answers to a single question or decision.

I seriously don't know how to break down that sentence for Occam's to apply. It's all assumption. "God is perfect" is an assumption, to anyone that doesn't believe in the Biblical God. "Perfection is possible" is another. An existentialist would claim "existence" is an assumption.But, in the end, the falsehood of the statemetn is that the logic is cyclic. The conclusion "God exists" must be true before "god is perfect" can be true.Logic is the combination fo two true statements into one, but you at best have one true statement, because "god is perfect" cannot be true without "God exists" being true first.

I'll use my Burniong Building example. Scenario: you awake on the couch in your living room, with a head injury. You can't remember what made you unconscious -- your own foolishness in fixing a light fixture, or malice by someone else. The building is on fire. You want to survive. Options:

1) Jump through the window. Problem: there is fire between you and the window, and the window is not broken. The window can be broken with a chair or statue on the side table. The ground is only a couple feet below the window, so no fall.

2) Front door. There's a hallway to get there, but the door to that is closed. The fire is generally towards the front of the house.

3) Back doorway. To get there, you pass through the kitchen and a store room, both with doors.

4) Down stairs and out the cellar door. Haven't been through that door in years, but you can see the stairwell and don't see light coming from below.

Now, everyone is going to analyze this slightly differently. Sometimes agreement can't be achieved by consensus. I am demonstrating the method, not insisting that my view of how to calculate assumptions is absolutely correct.

1) One assumption: you can run through fire. You can see the danger level, a fire. Can you deal with the fire? If you can get the will up, cover face and hands with shirt or couch coverings, you can get through with second dgree burns, by throwing the statue to break the glass, and using the chair to widen the hole when you get there. But not everyone can run through fire. I don't know if I could... I have higher than normal sensitivity to heat.

2) One assumption: the hallway isn't already on fire. If it is, the window already has that. If it isn't, then you're home free. The front is more likely to be on fire, so our assumption of no fire is not 50%. Still, it's one assumption. We can change that probability by heat testing the hallway door before opening it, but this lets the fire by the window get worse, making option 1 riskier. Still, if you can't run through fire, it's the best option.

3) Two assumptions. there's less fire that you can see out back, but you don't know this wasn't malicious. If this was arson, the fire would be right at the back door, and it wouldn't have gotten to this room yet, because it has to get through the storeroom and kitchen first. It carries the higher risk.of spoiling thwe window exit, because it takes longer to get to and test the storeroom door.

4) Many assumptions. It's not on fire beyuond the bottom of the stairwell. An arsonist hasn't put a crowbar in the door handles outside to prevent escape. But the big one is that you don't know for certain the door can open, and the whole house might collapse on you while you fail to open it. Unless you know the other alternatives are all bad, you stay out of the basement. Buckle down near a window, and hope the fire trucks get there, before putting yourself in the basement where you might not be rescued.

Occam's selects between alternatives, Marbitchow. It does not evaluate the accuracy of only one alternative.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Lilwik » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:39 pm

Shai_hulud wrote:LOLWUT?
I notice that article is just another one of many that doesn't claim that Occam's razor selects the most probable theory. On the other hand it's unusual in adding "workable" and "accurate" to the definition of Occam's razor, which is not something I normally see in definitions of the razor. It's hard to imagine why anyone would be trying to evaluate a theory that they already know is useless or inaccurate, and it seems a bit unfair to credit Occam's razor for giving us the common sense to avoid such theories.

Kreistor wrote:Occam's selects between alternatives, Marbitchow. It does not evaluate the accuracy of only one alternative.
It does not evaluate the accuracy of any alternatives. What it does is give us a smart criteria for choosing theories when we have no way of knowing which is most accurate. You're supposing that more assumptions makes a theory less probable because you imagine multiply probabilities, but the problem with that is that you can't actually multiply probabilities since you have no numbers to work with. What is the probability that the door is blocked by a crowbar? What is the probability that the fire is at the back door? What's the probability that there even is an arsonist? You have no numbers for any of these probabilities, and if you did have numbers for them you wouldn't need Occam's razor because you'd just go with whatever gave you the best probability of escape by using the actual numbers. You have no way of knowing if multiplying some unknown probabilities gives you a high probability or a low probability, and Occam's razor certainly doesn't magically solve that. If you want to know how to escape a burning building, you'd better rely on learning about fires so you can approximate numbers for some of those probabilities rather than relying on Occam's razor.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:39 pm

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:Occam's selects between alternatives, Marbitchow. It does not evaluate the accuracy of only one alternative.
It does not evaluate the accuracy of any alternatives.


Which part of "Occam's sselects between alternatives" are you arguing against, or are you suggesting that I beleive the inverse of something I say is not true? That qwould be putting word sin my mouth, or creating Strawman arguments. Both are true,. Take your pick.

You're supposing that more assumptions makes a theory less probable because you imagine multiply probabilities, but the problem with that is that you can't actually multiply probabilities since you have no numbers to work with.


False logic. The probability of a statement being true is the chance of all potentially false aspects of the statement being true. That we do not know each probability does not change that fact.

I've got six boxes. Box 1 has 1 die. Box 2 has 2 and so on. You will choose a box, take out all dice, roll them, and all must be less than 3 to win. There is only pride for a successful attempt, but the attempt is also free, so the cost is only a wound to your pride.

BTW, you don't know what size dice are in each box. Could be 4's,. 6's, 8's, 10's, 12's, 20's, or 100's (they exist).

Now, tell me again that probability is irrelevant.

Because when you use Occam's, you're facing exactly this situation. No expertise to tell you the odds of each assumption being true, but not knowing the odds doesn't mean probability is irrelevant. Yes, one assumption could carry a 3% chance of correctness, even in the one assumption case, but when there are two assumptions in a solution, the chances of one of those being 3% is much higher than in the one assumption case. Each additional assumption adds more risk that you're adding a 3% chance, which multiplies the other odss and drives your chance towards nil.

Minimize the number of multipliers when the odds of each are unknown. It's the only rational way to potentially improve your chance of success. Nothing else could help.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Lilwik » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:54 pm

Kreistor wrote:Which part of "Occam's sselects between alternatives" are you arguing against
I wouldn't argue against that. Occam's razor does select between alternatives.

Kreistor wrote:or are you suggesting that I beleive the inverse of something I say is not true?
I don't know what you mean by that, but I'm certainly not putting words in your mouth.

Kreistor wrote:The probability of a statement being true is the chance of all potentially false aspects of the statement being true. That we do not know each probability does not change that fact.
Agreed.

Kreistor wrote:I've got six boxes. Box 1 has 1 die. Box 2 has 2 and so on. You will choose a box, take out all dice, roll them, and all must be less than 3 to win.... BTW, you don't know what size dice are in each box. Could be 4's, 6's, 8's, 10's, 12's, 20's, or 100's (they exist).
I guess because of your faith in Occam's razor as a predictor of probability you'd choose box 1 every time. Unfortunately for you, the game only requires that the size of dice in each box is unknown, not that it is random, so if I were running the game you'd be virtually guaranteed of losing. Count on finding the largest possible dice in the first few boxes, and 4-sided dice in the last few boxes. Occam's razor has failed you because the universe is not random; it has rules governing how things turn out, and if you have resorted to Occam's razor it means that you can't see those rules to make an informed decision. Trusting in Occam's razor to give you the most probable theory is unfounded.

Kreistor wrote:Yes, one assumption could carry a 3% chance of correctness, even in the one assumption case, but when there are two assumptions in a solution, the chances of one of those being 3% is much higher than in the one assumption case.
How much higher? How do you even know the chances are higher? If you don't know the probability of an assumption being correct, then don't pretend that you know. The theory with many assumptions could have very reliable assumptions while the one with only a single assumption could be an enormous leap of faith. Without knowing that, you're stumbling around in the darkness trying to guess which theory is more likely.

Kreistor wrote:Minimize the number of multipliers when the odds of each are unknown. It's the only rational way to potentially improve your chance of success. Nothing else could help.
The number of probabilities to multiply isn't the only issue. In a real life theory you aren't dealing with dice; you are dealing with assumptions about complicated things like the rules of Erfworld, and there are ways to estimate probabilities. You can try to get into the author's head, or into the heads of the characters, and make informed guesses about how things work. You can use Like Reality Unless Noted. If you seriously want to try to figure out probabilities, you can do much better than Occam's razor.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:35 am

I made a small mistake in the previous post. I should have written "3 or less" on the dice, rather than "less than 3": minor brain disconnect there. (You can see the 3% chance of failure is from the 3 or less version.) All calculations below assume that you need a 3 or less.

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:I've got six boxes. Box 1 has 1 die. Box 2 has 2 and so on. You will choose a box, take out all dice, roll them, and all must be less than 3 to win.... BTW, you don't know what size dice are in each box. Could be 4's, 6's, 8's, 10's, 12's, 20's, or 100's (they exist).
I guess because of your faith in Occam's razor as a predictor of probability you'd choose box 1 every time. Unfortunately for you, the game only requires that the size of dice in each box is unknown, not that it is random, so if I were running the game you'd be virtually guaranteed of losing. Count on finding the largest possible dice in the first few boxes, and 4-sided dice in the last few boxes. Occam's razor has failed you because the universe is not random; it has rules governing how things turn out, and if you have resorted to Occam's razor it means that you can't see those rules to make an informed decision. Trusting in Occam's razor to give you the most probable theory is unfounded.


Ah, this is exactly the Battlestar Gallactica case, isn't it? They made spec irrelevant, because they wanted everyone to be wrong. Like you.

And that's why I showed that Rob is not like them. He promotes speculation. And many authors that ignore fan speculation are similarly random. They don't pre-select the dice against the speculators, because they ignore who is choosing what and which boxes are being chosen. In other words, because our author is not like you, your example is not applicable to Erfworld. Rob does not choose his story such that particular Speculators are made incorrect, out of spite or or to embarrass. Thus, from our perspective, the universe we are evaluating is, in fact, the random case you accept Occam's operates successfully in. For your claim to be true, you must prove Rob is like you, but since I have never seen him state that he pulled a BSG, and in fact I'm fairly certain that he stated his support for Speculation long ago, I am fairly certain that not only is it impossible, but the weight of evidence is against you.

But your example is also flawed in another way. Rob doesn't create his "boxes". We do. there is at least one person that has selected each box, and therefore pre-selecting from them ensures that at least one person is correct. You might believe that I should fear that with my perceived attitude issues, but I just called the Spacerock throne shift solution correctly, as well as Ace's decryption (from way back at his text page). Rob does not pre-select Speculation against me, so I'm not in fear of him loading the dice against me. Consequently, if he is pre-selecting from our Spec, it's near enough to random that I don't have to worry about it. If you're having a rough time predicting the comic or determining what happened off-panel, well, maybe he's pre-selecting against you. Heh. How's your confidence level in your Spec?

How much higher? How do you even know the chances are higher?


I gave you 7 dice types. The odds of any particular die being a D100 is, then 1/7, unless I also provided a distribution, which I did not. You don't know how many of each die I own, but worst case, I only need 15 of each which isn't tough to achieve, or place a slip of paper describing the dice inside if I'm short.

In the absence of a distribution, there are an infinite set of possible distributions. When you have a set to work with, you use the mean average of all possible distributions, which is trivial to calculate in this case. It comes out to the inverse of the number of possible selections, or 1/7. The simplest way to demonstrate that is for any distribution we consider, there is an equivalent distribution for all other dice selections; therefore, the total of all dice of all selections is equal, since all distributions for all dice are equivalent. Consequently, even though we are dealing with infinities here, all sums for all dice are exactly equal, so after the number of any one die selection in all distributions is divided by the total number of dice in all distributions (an infinity dividing an infinity, fun stuff), the probability of any die in any position is 1/7. BTW, that's not open for debate. Go get yourself a good Statistics textbook if you don't get it. I breezed through my University stats course. I'm not wrong. You'll need more than your opinion here, when you play the stats game with me. I've let you go for a while on those wild, and grossly incorrect, statements about probability.

Thus, the chance of a D100 in one selection is 14%, or 86% chance there's no D100. The chance of there not being a D100 in 2 assumptions is 0.86x0.86 = 0.74 or 74%. Where before you had a 14% chance of a 3% chance of success, now you have a 25% chance of at best a 2.25% chance of success (assumes a D4 with the D100). Nearly doubled your chance of a risky die in your box, in your best case scenario. But you've also taken on the 2D100 possibility...

But in your case, where you make things as bad as possible, what's the best selection? Box 1 has a D100, 3%. Box 2 has 2D20, or 2.25%. Box 3 has 3D12 at 1.5%. 4D10 is .8%, 5D8 is .7%, 6D6 is 1.5%. Ironically, your cruel redistribution has not changed the choice: Box 1 is still the best chance of success. If the last box is 6D4, it's better at 18%, though. And, BTW, if you have worse dice and can make that second box have a D100? It lowers probabilities down the line, and Box 1 remains the best choice, since it is already in the worst case scenario.

Statistics is not paralyzed by an inability to know probabilities. We have solutions for that.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Lilwik » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:19 am

Kreistor wrote:Ah, this is exactly the Battlestar Galactica case, isn't it? They made spec irrelevant, because they wanted everyone to be wrong. Like you.
No, in Battlestar Galactica they watched the internet and waited to see all the fan speculation and then deliberately changed the truth so that it didn't match fan speculation. All I did was setup the truth from the beginning to make Occam's razor wrong. It's not my fault that you consider Occam's razor a reliable way of predicting things. Considering that Occam's razor is the easiest imaginable way of making predictions, requiring almost no thought, I can imagine that writers would often like to avoid stories that are predictable by Occam's razor.

Kreistor wrote:And that's why I showed that Rob is not like them. He promotes speculation.
I'd say that writing so that your stories can be predicted by Occam's razor is worst thing you can do if you want to promote speculation. Occam's razor is not the only way to speculate; it's just the least interesting way. There's no challenge; you just count assumptions. In a story that uses Occam's razor as its standard of truth, as soon as Occam's razor has been brought to bear speculation becomes pointless.

Kreistor wrote:And many authors that ignore fan speculation are similarly random. They don't pre-select the dice against the speculators, because they ignore who is choosing what and which boxes are being chosen.
That's not random. They base the secrets of their stories on the underlying structure of the world they are writing about by means of careful thought and reasoning. That's not pre-selecting against most speculators, but it does tend to make things hard for speculators who insist upon counting assumptions instead of thinking about the world of the story.

Kreistor wrote:How's your confidence level in your Spec?
Absolutely terrible. Erfworld is always full of surprises. That's part of what makes it so wonderful.

Kreistor wrote:I gave you 7 dice types. The odds of any particular die being a D100 is, then 1/7, unless I also provided a distribution, which I did not.
In other words, you are assuming that if no distribution is given then none exists. You're compensating for lack of knowledge by assuming even odds for all possibilities. You've said nothing about how the dice are chosen, so how can we be confident that your assumption about the odds is correct? I can assure you that if I were the one choosing the dice, there wouldn't be a 1/7 chance of each die, so your assumption would be wrong in that case.

It's even worse for real life examples, when you are dealing with assumptions rather than dice. You seem awfully confident in your even odds assumption, so surely you'd say that is an assumption with high probability. Unfortunately for you, Occam's razor treats all assumptions equally, so high probability assumptions like that are treated no better than wildly unfounded assumptions. Occam's razor has us take the simplest theory, no matter how improbable.

Kreistor wrote:In the absence of a distribution, there are an infinite set of possible distributions. When you have a set to work with, you use the mean average of all possible distributions, which is trivial to calculate in this case. It comes out to the inverse of the number of possible selections, or 1/7.
So in other words, no distribution is the same as an even distribution. This all boils down to you taking all assumptions as equal. By that thinking, a theory with two assumptions are always better than a theory with three assumptions, no matter how weak or solid those assumptions are. That's Occam's razor, but that's not real life, because in real life not all assumptions are equal.

Kreistor wrote:Statistics is not paralyzed by an inability to know probabilities. We have solutions for that.
But the less you know about the probabilities, the less reliable the answers become, and Occam's razor is a technique that deliberately ignores all probabilities, even known probabilities that other people would use to make more reliable speculation.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Kreistor » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:18 pm

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:And that's why I showed that Rob is not like them. He promotes speculation.
I'd say that writing so that your stories can be predicted by Occam's razor is worst thing you can do if you want to promote speculation. Occam's razor is not the only way to speculate; it's just the least interesting way. There's no challenge; you just count assumptions. In a story that uses Occam's razor as its standard of truth, as soon as Occam's razor has been brought to bear speculation becomes pointless.


I'm pretty certain Rob doesn't invent a bunch of speculation and then choose from them when he determines his story. That's what you just claimed he does. that's the only way to use the Razor during plot invention, to intentionally select places where low assumption speculations are avoided. I can't imagine the difficulty in performing that task reliably, but it seems an utter waste of time and energy to predict what the readers will choose to predict.

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:And many authors that ignore fan speculation are similarly random. They don't pre-select the dice against the speculators, because they ignore who is choosing what and which boxes are being chosen.
That's not random. They base the secrets of their stories on the underlying structure of the world they are writing about by means of careful thought and reasoning. That's not pre-selecting against most speculators, but it does tend to make things hard for speculators who insist upon counting assumptions instead of thinking about the world of the story.


Oh, goodness. You haven't detected Rob's pattern. Sigh. Here's what he does.

Rob needs Parson to appear to be a great general. There is an old RPG admonishment: do not play a character smarter than yourself. Robadmits to having very little experience with strategy games, and had none in tabletop games when he started this, so cannot appease the fans that expect Parson to be what Rob claims, because he isn't a great general himself. So, instead, he uses tricks to make Parson appear like a great general. One trick is to just use a huge amount of time to consider as many solutions as you can, but great "anythings" have inspiration that others never receive, so that can only go so far.

His most popular trick is to hide the rules from us. This achieves a second goal, BTW. In order to leave future storylines as flexible as possible, define the minimum you require to write the current story. So, he doesn't define caster Disciplines until he needs a caster to do something, then he chooses from them. Many will have some basic def'ns, but anything he doesn't tell us about can change, and we'll never know. By hiding the Rules, those of us with more strategy game experience can't introduce competing "brilliant" solutions and out-general Parson.

So, if you want to know what is going to happen, look at the rules he introduces. For instanfce, the page where he describes Dirtamancers can put out infernos. The moment you see that rule, you know that there will be an inferno and Sizemore will need to put it out. You might call that speculation. I call it meta-thinking a comic that by necessity must be minimalist in information disclosure. Consequently, my selection of the Throne move was grounded in a recognition of Rob's technique, and so I needed to have a theory where Sizemore could get to Spacerock. A new Side by Parson left Sizemore in a situation where he would have to Turn, which seemed unlikely at best, since Parson would have no way to contact him from Spacerock, without risking his head lopped off sticking it through the portal. Sizemore Turning to a Parson Side is not a 0% probability, but the roadblocks in the way of it happening seriously reduced it, to me. But not to others, so that faction persisted.

Another example is from the people that started reading the comic when it began. Several predicted that the volcano would explode the moment it was shown. It's meta-thinking, again, and it was correct. They used experience from other authors to raise the likelihood a tragic event would happen, because a place where it could happen was described. It's pretty close to an absolute: authors introduce very few unnecessary constructs, because they slow down the book and cost ink to print, and time to edit.

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:I gave you 7 dice types. The odds of any particular die being a D100 is, then 1/7, unless I also provided a distribution, which I did not.
In other words, you are assuming that if no distribution is given then none exists.


No. It is not an assumption. It is Statistical theory, tried and true, pure mathematics. Used by everyone that uses Statistics for a living.

You are out of your depth. You left the world of Opinion, and entered the mathematical realm of Statistics where opinion is irrelevant. When you did, you entered a field in which I have a certain expertise and experience of use.

First, since I am trained, you reveal your lack of understanding of Statistical Methodology in every sentence. Second, you cannot convince me I am wrong, because I am trained by experts that acknowledged that I learned the subject matter, and you have no accreditation to counter that. Third, because this is a realm of study, you risk having textbooks dropped on your head.

You cannot win an argument in a mathematical discilpine without training in it. This is a branch of Mathematics, not paint on canvas where whatever you feel is true for you, or just because you make a fancy argument, you unravel a discipline in which geniuses disagree with you. There are methods and processes, proven and accepted, and these are pretty basic and hundreds fo years old in some cases. I do not have to explain or defend them, for them to remain true. And they are still true even if you decline to accept they are.

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:In the absence of a distribution, there are an infinite set of possible distributions. When you have a set to work with, you use the mean average of all possible distributions, which is trivial to calculate in this case. It comes out to the inverse of the number of possible selections, or 1/7.
So in other words, no distribution is the same as an even distribution. This all boils down to you taking all assumptions as equal.


False. Statistics tells us that in the absence of information to change the probability of any distribution being selected, treat all cases as equally likely. There is only one true distribution, not a probability of a distribution. In order to determine which distribution to use for our calculations, we turn to Statistical theory which is not incapable of giving us an answer. We are not predicting a chance of a predicted distribution being correct, but just determining which distribution to use, when facing an unknown distribution.

BTW, I am teaching: this isn't a debate anymore. I treat your statements as questions, not as a discussion of equals in which you might convince me I am wrong. I don't know how you forgot that I am trained in Statistics, but you have, and you don't get to tell me I'm wrong when experts have validated my capabilities. You may question my techniques, and in the end choose not to understand them, but if you do so you are choosing to not understand the mathematical discipline of Statistics, which is not based on Kreistor's opinion, but centuries of mathematical proofs, some of which are far too complex for this venue. Though not in this case: this stuff is basic. As obvious as it gets, really, when it comes to Stats.

By that thinking, a theory with two assumptions are always better than a theory with three assumptions, no matter how weak or solid those assumptions are. That's Occam's razor, but that's not real life, because in real life not all assumptions are equal.


In order for Occam's Razor to break down, the odds of something being false must drop drastically for the low assumption count cases. But since we determine those odds, we know it's a low chance in the first place. For instance, we can explain Charlie's knowledge of the MK by claiming "Charlie is really Sylvia." It's only one assumption, so we select it, right? No, we don't, because Wanda has control of Sylvia, at least as far as we can tell, and she knows when someone is not controlled by her, because of Awesomer's Turn. We can never make that chance be 0% until more information is revealed, but it's so low, we call it "wishful thinking". We reject obvious foolishness from Occam's Razor, even if it can't be proven to be false, because the probability is dismal.

Extreme cases are not evidence that you abandon a technique that works in non-extreme cases, when you are facing a non-extreme case. You only acknowledge that the technique has limits and stay within those limits. In engineering, we do not always use the precise equations that we know to be true of whatever we are modelling. Sometimes,the equations are so intensely complex to not be humanly implementable, so we have to spend long hours modelling them on computers. We may want to get done in a much shorter time, or we can't afford the modelling programs. So, instead, we develop approximate equations for regions of the curve that closely model that region (Drachefly's curve-fit), but are simpler for a human to calculate. For instance, an exponential can be approximated with two straight lines, and the only significant error will be found near the knee point, where if you need more accuracy, you can develop a series of smaller regions and lines. Even though those lines will be completely wrong for vast regions of the curve, they only need to be correct for the region of interest. So, extreme error in a region of unimportance is not evidence against the use of the approximation where it is accurate: just don't use it where it's not accurate. Engineers cannot achieve perfection, because nothing is perfect, so we deal in tolerances to error, which allows the use of these techniques to save time, money, and possibly even save lives.

In the "real" world, there is no probability of an assumption being true. It is true, or it is not, and we merely do not know which state it has. We can attempt to determine the probability of something being true, but there isn't some real probability in the world to calculate. We make informed estimates, which are no more "real" than Charlie. What is "real" is that the assumption is either true or false, and we hope someday to know which. Rob knows exactly how Charlie got his info, and presumably we'll find out one day, so there is a truth there to speculate about, not a probability of truth. The real erfworld knows how he go t the info: the probability of any speculation using an assumption is only our best guess at whether it might be true or false. We can assign probabilities to each assumption in any of the proposed answers, but there is a correct answer, with no probability of it not being correct. IN other words, one Speculation is in reality 100% correct, no matter what probability we assigned to it, or how many assumptions are involved. Occam's gets us past the conflict of not knowing which it is, by giving us a guide towards which choosing one, in order to continue forward in the face of the unknown.

Lilwik wrote:
Kreistor wrote:Statistics is not paralyzed by an inability to know probabilities. We have solutions for that.
But the less you know about the probabilities, the less reliable the answers become, and Occam's razor is a technique that deliberately ignores all probabilities, even known probabilities that other people would use to make more reliable speculation.


No, Occam's is a technique you use when you don't know enough about the probabilities. If you know the probabilities, you can calculate accurate odds of all proposals, and choose the highest probability. You can create real chances of success in those instances, so you turn to statistical theory to guide your choice. You don't use Occam's to play Blackjack, you use probability, and developed Card Counting to affect those probabilities in the face certain non-random elements in the game. Occam's was invented to deal with discussions about demons and angels, which could not be tested for chance of existence, or their presence proven where they were being used to explain phenomenon. Odds were impossible, because evidence literally did not exist. And it is useful for Speculation, because there is equally no actual way to determine the odds of any one assumption being what is in Rob's head. Since the odds cannot be calculated, the Statistical method resolves to Occam's Razor, because the only thing we can evaluate is how many chances we are taking in each proposal, when we don't know what those individual chances are. You're proposing that when you knhow those chances, Occam's doesn't work, and you're absolutely correct. But in this comic, we don't know those chances, so Occam's is appropriate to apply.

Your opinion may guide you to conclude one Speculation is grossly unlikely, because one assumption is absurd. It's perfectly acceptable to exclude that proposal from your use of Occam's, but you need to be prepared to provide evidence of your estimation to those that contradict your estimate. Some assumptions seem absurd, until someone points out that you overlooked a section of the comic that provides it strong support, and that happens all the time here. (I got hit with the Turnamancy vehicle thing the other day. I'm vulnerable because I do not have an eidetic memory. Haven't seen many around here claim such. Anyone with one could cite page and write the text to support their positions without hunting the comic like I do, so it would be obvious that they have the capability.) So assigning a low likelihood requires more than just opinion, and the hive mind here helps us avoid that, by remembering parts of the comic we forget.

So, assign probabilities to assumptions if you like, but you'll need to be prepared to defend those estimates. I did so when I defended the Capital shift against the Parson's Side faction, using the same description of Rob's methods above, which skewed my estimate of the likelihood of the assumptions with related Rule references towards Capital Shift. People don't want to hear it, of course, but you'll need some rationality to an estimate, if you play the game.
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".
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby 0beron » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:25 pm

OMG, why is this still going on? I'm getting seriously tempted to try and figure out some way to filter out any posts containing the words Occam's Razor or any variation thereof so I can actually find the relevant posts. Might I point out that this isn't Kriestor's personal classroom/soapbox, its a place to discuss Erfworld?
Last edited by 0beron on Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I'm afraid I don't understand. And also afraid that I do."
GJC wrote:Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby ftl » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:32 pm

0beron wrote:OMG, why is this still going on? I'm getting seriously tempted to try and figure out some way to filter out any posts containing the words Occam's Razor or any variation thereof so I can actually find the relevant posts. Might I point out that this is a place to discuss Erfworld, not Kriestor's personal classroom/soapbox?


I don't know of a browser extension or forum feature for that (though it's probably doable!), but there IS a forum feature that can be used to, say, not read any posts by particular posters... 8-)
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby 0beron » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:35 pm

I've avoided that previously because it'd be too broad of a brush so to speak...but lately it's getting sorely tempting....
"I'm afraid I don't understand. And also afraid that I do."
GJC wrote:Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby Shai_hulud » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:17 pm

0beron wrote:I've avoided that previously because it'd be too broad of a brush so to speak...but lately it's getting sorely tempting....
Their names still show up as link that will open the post. It's how I read your post just now.
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Re: Book 2 – Epilogue 02 – Jack Decrypted

Postby 0beron » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:57 pm

Shai_hulud wrote:Their names still show up as link that will open the post. It's how I read your post just now.
Ouch :(
Thanks for the info though, that's helpful to know.
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GJC wrote:Two guys with basically the same name in a discussion about a character getting cloned.
There's gotta be a good joke in here somewhere.
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