Dear Chris,

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?

Kindest regards,


----- Original Message ----- From: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 6:57 AM
Subject: Re: joining.

Hi Bruno;

'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 these things.

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.

Chris. :)

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