Does it not seem like we should "trust our intuitions" with regards to
the questions we ask, and "trust the facts" when it comes to our beliefs?
----- Original Message -----
From: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 6:57 AM
Subject: Re: joining.
'intuition is always like believing that the earth is flat.'
I disagree. People believed the earth was flat because it looked flat,
they didnt intuit this idea. Intuition is not just the absence of any
doubt about a proposition, intuition is active not passive. I intuitively
dismiss the DH, I intuitively sense someone is angry with me etc. Not
raising questions about whether the earth is flat is experiential naivity,
not intuition leading us astray.
In the case of deductive reasoning, Euclid's fifth postulate is
intuitively troublesome, intuition begs us to examine it futher, Intuition
is what reminds us that there is a problem in it somewhere. Intuition is
not the thing that prevents us from examining the definition of 'point'.
But even if Im wrong on that, even if intuition is responsible for such
errors, I think there is a danger of over emphesising examples like 'flat
earth theory' as if it is common for intuition to lead to error, or that
intuition is naive. For many reasons I think that is wrong. Intuition is
experience in action, it is functioning wisdom. It is refined and precise,
and almost always right.
'my intuition is that I should not follow my intuition :) But
analytically, I tend to believe that the doomsday argument is a definite
quite convincing argument that the doomsday is for soon'
Im troubled by the extent to which counter intuitive ideas are embraced
seemingly /because/ they are counter intuitive. It almost becomes the case
that the more counter intuitive a hypothesis is, the more we trust it.
Theoretical physics is testament to that surely?
What is counter intuitive about the DH is that it offers no understandable
mechanism for its conclusion. This is what immediately strikes one when
you read the DH for the first time, there is an air of supernatural about
it. How can the eventual population of the universe - however reference
classes are defined - ever have a backwardly causal relationship with a
cataclysm today? Johnathon touched upon this in one of his latest posts.
Very really the DH supposes that unrealised futures effect the present.
This is different from the supposedly 'counter intuitive' conclusion that
the earth is an orb rather than flat. There is nothing illogical or
conceptually difficult about the earth being spherical rather than flat, I
can picture either, however, i cant picture how a possible population
count in the future could effect what happens now.
Then when examining other baysean thought experiments, it begins to become
clear that there is nothing unique about the DH and its superstitious
conclusions. The supernatural infects many thought experiments like it,
and again this just gets my intuition buzzing. The problem is with the
logic, not the world.
Furthermore, im sure that your expressed belief in the truth of the DH
doesnt /actually/ interfere with your day to day routine. You argue with
folk like me, rather than build bunkers in preparation for the apocalypse.
Why? If not because basically you dont agree with it. The DH is a
conclusion we endevour to refute, not embrace. But, lets say the end of
the world is next saturday. My point is really that of the many reasons
that the world might end, there are no references to any of them in the DH
that should lead us to trust it. We can perhaps talk about foxes and
rabbits, of populations increasing and competition for food and it looks
like the DH maybe has a point, but really the DH makes no reference to
Its lack of explanatory mechanism is obvious. Intuitively then it
collapses into superstition. Its an untempered bell curve being badly
interpreted. This is quite obvious from the ease with which counter
intuitive conclusions can be derived from baysean reasoning in conjunction
with 1rst person perspectives generally.
Anyway Im arguing more than I wanted to about all this. I ought to go and
download one of your papers.