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    Thread: Information is not Knowledge so stop making assumptions

    1. #1
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      Information is not Knowledge so stop making assumptions

      Is this a rant? Maybe.

      I am sick of these logical leaps all around me. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then all that means is that it looks, walks and quacks like a duck. That doesn't FORCE this object into duckhood.

      I remember the other day in IRC someone was making up some story about the FBI knocking on their door and one of the admins wanted to ban him for spreading bullshit because all evidence made him look like a liar. Now I know he probably never talked to the FBI. But what got me was this admin declaring forcibly what they KNEW was true, trying to stop a disruptive person before it was too late. Fuck you, admin, there's something called doubt so use it. It'll help in the long run! Obviously that guy didn't talk to the fed but you don't need to rain on everyone parade with what you know. No one was falling for his bullshit we were just poking holes through his story. The more we poked the more it fell apart. We could have really torn it apart if the admin had waited half a second before jumping in thinking "I know what to do." Look at Casey Anthony. Everyone wants to blame the jury for Casey Anthony but the fucking prosecution was too impatient to collect enough evidence to convict her. (Plus it turns out Disney can buy you a pretty nice lawyer)

      Obviously decisions need to be made in life. People like to be sure about their decisions. They comfort themselves that they have enough knowledge to make the right decision. All you have is information and your decision is a reflection of that limited information. Just make the best decision, forget about making the right one.

      Everyone's so caught up in what is they never acknowledge what could be. Information allows multiple truths to exist because you don't need to know which is correct, just know what the evidence is pointing to.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    2. #2
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      That's basically my philosophy on how to handle...anything

      I'm glad there's actually someone else out there who understands where I'm coming from, because frankly a lot of the people I know wouldn't even be able to fully wrap their heads around what you just pointed out.
      sloth likes this.

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      Once again. Raspberry's Avatar
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      Interesting. Please go on.

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      Rational Spiritualist DrunkenArse's Avatar
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      Sounds like a BS reason to ban someone to me...

      On the other hand, knowledge is derived from information. So I wouldn't be quite so adamant in disparaging information. As you yourself claimed, you knew that the person was lying about the FBI visiting them. That is, from the information which you had access to, you were able to gain knowledge of the truth value of the person's statements. So you're sort of being hypocritical.

      Still a BS reason to ban a person.
      Previously PhilosopherStoned

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      My information meant in all likelihood he was lying. I couldn't prove he was lying. There's a difference. While I said "we all knew he was lying" what I meant was we could all safely assume he was lying. We were not about to let his little story scare anybody. I should rephrase, actually. Because the truth is simply this: We did not believe his story. Anything else is a logical leap.

      But more than that the conversation revealed something very interesting. If we had settled on the admins decision from the beginning we would not have been able to pull out any more information whether it validated or invalidated his story. Only by being an objective and curious audience without our minds made up on the subject were we able to get him to start talking inconsistently and thus pull his story completely apart. But it didn't matter to the admin, they knew what they knew. Only what if they were wrong? One must always make room for doubt.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    6. #6
      Xei
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      So you're basically saying people should be sceptical?

      Okay thanks, I learned a lot today.

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      So you're basically saying people should be sceptical?

      Okay thanks, I learned a lot today.
      Your response shows otherwise
      acatalephobic likes this.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then assume it's a duck"

      This is the kind of heuristic that makes it possible for you to live your complex life. When you look at a new kind of chair, do you go through a complex reasoning process in your brain? Or do you just kinda go, "ah, Chair!" Well, that's cause it looks like a chair, and quacks like a chair. You don't have to undergo the "chair computation" every time you look at a new kind of chair. You just skip ahead to the final assumption.

      Perhaps a more evolutionary example: If it looks like a ravenous tiger, growls like a ravenous tiger, walks like a ravenous tiger, and drools like a ravenous tiger, you have two options:

      1) Assume it's a ravenous tiger, get the hell out of there, and live
      2) Get all philosophical about how this doesn't really PROVE that it's a ravenous tiger, and 99.999% of the time... get eaten by a ravenous tiger

      But that's okay, you and I both know you wouldn't do option 2, because your instincts would kick in and make the option 1 assumption.

      So, we've established that such heuristics are important for two things:

      1) First and foremost: Survival
      2) Being able to process all the information the world is throwing at you, without going totally insane (cause your hardware [brain] is limited)

      =====

      Now, for your example about the admin: I think this is more of a case of him acting like a dick. Of course, I could say that you're making the same assumption when judging him that he's making when judging the liar. If he looks like a dick, acts like a dick, and flops around like a dick, then he's got to be a dick. Fuck you, IRC channel admin.


      I think what this all comes down to is some useful life advice:

      1) If you're feeling that ego-based anger, and you know you're not in real danger, which means you know it's irrational, you can and should stop and think about it, and re-evaluate your situation from scratch (do the "chair computation" for the situation). In other words, develop a healthy self-awareness.

      2) If you're feeling some irrational and unnecessary emotion (like when you're fuming about what a jerk some McDonald's clerk was to you 4 hours ago), then you need to just feel that emotion, and NOT label it with any additional meaning.
      Savy likes this.

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      It sounds like you made the exact same assumptions the admit did, it just took you longer to figure it out, and make the same mistake he did.

    10. #10
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      How?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      No, I know what you mean. I'm just speaking emotionally here... But I always have this strong impression that, although I give benefit-of-the-doubt out to everyone I meet like free candy, I get virtually none in return. It's frustrating.

      Oh the things people think they know about me....
      tommo likes this.

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Replicon View Post
      "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then assume it's a duck"

      This is the kind of heuristic that makes it possible for you to live your complex life. When you look at a new kind of chair, do you go through a complex reasoning process in your brain? Or do you just kinda go, "ah, Chair!" Well, that's cause it looks like a chair, and quacks like a chair. You don't have to undergo the "chair computation" every time you look at a new kind of chair. You just skip ahead to the final assumption.

      Perhaps a more evolutionary example: If it looks like a ravenous tiger, growls like a ravenous tiger, walks like a ravenous tiger, and drools like a ravenous tiger, you have two options:

      1) Assume it's a ravenous tiger, get the hell out of there, and live
      2) Get all philosophical about how this doesn't really PROVE that it's a ravenous tiger, and 99.999% of the time... get eaten by a ravenous tiger

      But that's okay, you and I both know you wouldn't do option 2, because your instincts would kick in and make the option 1 assumption.

      So, we've established that such heuristics are important for two things:

      1) First and foremost: Survival
      2) Being able to process all the information the world is throwing at you, without going totally insane (cause your hardware [brain] is limited)

      =====

      Now, for your example about the admin: I think this is more of a case of him acting like a dick. Of course, I could say that you're making the same assumption when judging him that he's making when judging the liar. If he looks like a dick, acts like a dick, and flops around like a dick, then he's got to be a dick. Fuck you, IRC channel admin.


      I think what this all comes down to is some useful life advice:

      1) If you're feeling that ego-based anger, and you know you're not in real danger, which means you know it's irrational, you can and should stop and think about it, and re-evaluate your situation from scratch (do the "chair computation" for the situation). In other words, develop a healthy self-awareness.

      2) If you're feeling some irrational and unnecessary emotion (like when you're fuming about what a jerk some McDonald's clerk was to you 4 hours ago), then you need to just feel that emotion, and NOT label it with any additional meaning.
      There are two flaws in your argument.

      1) You don't have to prove that a being is a tiger, OR ASSUME (meaning believe) that it is a tiger in order to react as if it was a tiger. I don't know for sure that mixing bleach and ammonia together can kill me, because I have never done it. However, I avoid performing this action because I have been told that it can, and I don't want to take unecessary risks.

      2) That is not a chair. It is a collection of atoms, and I call it a hat rack. Want proof?
      -hangs his viking hat on it-
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    13. #13
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      Your response shows otherwise
      Your response is empty.

      Seriously, what is this? You can't be totally sure of everything; you should work with appearances but not have unshakeable faith in them?

      Thanks bro but this stopped being news in the 1600s.

    14. #14
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Your response is empty.

      Seriously, what is this? You can't be totally sure of everything; you should work with appearances but not have unshakeable faith in them?

      Thanks bro but this stopped being news in the 1600s.
      I agree with what you are saying here, but I believe that he is speaking of more than just being skeptical. I think he is trying to remind us that no matter how evident something is, we truly know nothing. None of us do. We don't know that the sun will come up tomorrow. We don't know.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

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      Thank you sloth.

      Every assumption you make is ultimately false. "Safe assumptions" are a lie we tell ourselves because we're afraid of uncertainty. I'm saying be skeptical rather than cynical.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Information is not knowledge. Unless you are Xei.

    17. #17
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by sloth View Post
      I agree with what you are saying here, but I believe that he is speaking of more than just being skeptical. I think he is trying to remind us that no matter how evident something is, we truly know nothing. None of us do. We don't know that the sun will come up tomorrow. We don't know.
      Isn't that just what scepticism says? Descartes said this with his 'evil demon'. Hume made a detailed analysis about the problem of the sun coming up. This is all old news.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I'm saying be skeptical rather than cynical.
      This is what every useful epistemological theory ever has said.

    18. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Isn't that just what scepticism says? Descartes said this with his 'evil demon'. Hume made a detailed analysis about the problem of the sun coming up. This is all old news.


      This is what every useful epistemological theory ever has said.
      How tragic no one pays attention, then.

      If I felt like people understood what true skepticism was I wouldn't have made this thread. Just because its not news to you doesn't mean it serves no purpose. Not every idea is new, sometimes they just get repeated because the message isn't sinking in. Did you think of that?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    19. #19
      Xei
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      Of course, this is something everybody should know. It's just disappointing that this was worked out at the dawn of enlightenment and yet still virtually nobody has any clue. Humanity should have learned by now.

      I'm still in disbelief at the press yesterday, spending the entire day talking about Islamic terrorism, despite initially zero evidence, followed by clear inference to the contrary, and then followed by eyewitness reports to the contrary; and even this morning they were still trying to harp on about it. And it turns out to be some anti-Islamic conservative Christian. Literally a hilarious level of ineptness, not to mention a total lack of objectivity or scepticism.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Of course, this is something everybody should know. It's just disappointing that this was worked out at the dawn of enlightenment and yet still virtually nobody has any clue. Humanity should have learned by now.

      I'm still in disbelief at the press yesterday, spending the entire day talking about Islamic terrorism, despite initially zero evidence, followed by clear inference to the contrary, and then followed by eyewitness reports to the contrary; and even this morning they were still trying to harp on about it. And it turns out to be some anti-Islamic conservative Christian. Literally a hilarious level of ineptness, not to mention a total lack of objectivity or scepticism.
      So it's not proper to talk about the problem of Islamo-fascism unless a muslim blew himself up in the last 7 days?

    21. #21
      Xei
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      Or, in the case of Norway... not a single time in history? Yep, I think that makes it a bit of a paranoid leap. And then in the face of clear evidence to the contrary? That makes it fanaticism.

      I take it from your pitiful silence in the news thread that you were actually serious with the 'only Muslims bomb Northern Europe' comment. And you still have the nerve to keep at it after you've been hilariously shown up. And you constantly hound me about humility and ignorance? Fuck off cmind, I have no more time to waste on you.

    22. #22
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      So, apparently, because we should all already be familiar with this concept
      we should not make another topic discussing it.

      Wait... what?

      Don't you hate it when enlightened bastards come in and ruin the conversation? ;P

      I have to agree and disagree, though.

      On one hand, for some more complicated issues, (I liked your Casey Anthony reference) you are absolutely correct about people jumping to conclusions. In Casey Anthony's case it's really kind of sick how people are behaving toward her when she was just declared innocent. She might as well have been declared guilty since her life is going to go to shit anyways. People shouldn't jump to conclusions. They don't KNOW that she's guilty. And yes, the prosecution should have also spent more time gathering actual evidence than immediately assuming she was guilty and it would be a breeze to prove it. It's actually a pet peeve of mine, too.

      On the other, I agree with Replicon (snaps for the huge post). For many things, it's easier to simply jump to a conclusion because you know that 99% of the time, that conclusion will be correct. Just hope that 1% doesn't bite you in the ass.
      Last edited by Savy; 07-25-2011 at 09:09 AM.

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      This is why people fail at lucid dreaming. So we can all learn from this thread.

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      Quote Originally Posted by sloth View Post
      I agree with what you are saying here, but I believe that he is speaking of more than just being skeptical. I think he is trying to remind us that no matter how evident something is, we truly know nothing. None of us do. We don't know that the sun will come up tomorrow. We don't know.
      Well due to free will there is uncertainty in the world but that doesn't preclude us from judging what is likely.
      'What is war?...In a short sentence it may be summed up to be the combination and concentration of all the horrors, atrocities, crimes, and sufferings of which human nature on this globe is capable' - John Bright

    25. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Isn't that just what scepticism says? Descartes said this with his 'evil demon'. Hume made a detailed analysis about the problem of the sun coming up. This is all old news.
      .
      Sometimes old ideas fascinate new minds
      acatalephobic likes this.
      'What is war?...In a short sentence it may be summed up to be the combination and concentration of all the horrors, atrocities, crimes, and sufferings of which human nature on this globe is capable' - John Bright

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