[lit-ideas] Re: Hitchens Arguably on John Brown

  • From: Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 17:14:56 -0700 (PDT)

(One post to keep your inboxes uncluttered).
First, for Robert, yes, that is the case, truly horrible, hard to imagine it 
happened here.  If it isn't exhibit A for why not to privatize social 
institutions such as education, justice, the roadways, even healthcare.  
For Eric, complexity is the opposite of randomness. In fact, I heard a good 
lecture on complexity.  Complexity is good, up to a point.  If my desk is one 
big jumble, that would be simplicity, but I probably will have to search for 
something each time.  However, if I buy trays and organizers and sort papers 
into them, I'm adding a layer of complexity and ultimately simplifying things.  
All that really has nothing to do with randomness that I can see.  And I kinda 
sorta see Donal's point and can't add anything to it.  And with that I will now 
simplify (as opposed to Thoreau's simplify simplify) by adding a layer of 
complexity by getting on with my night.  See you tomorrow, God willin' and the 
creek don't rise...

From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 6:12 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Hitchens Arguably on John Brown

From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
> Rather they are subject to “power laws,” which can result in sudden and 
> dramatic change. Examples include chess, economies, diplomacy, traffic 
> patterns, electrical distribution systems…and consciousness.>

All was going swimmingly, then he had to go and bring consciousness into it..

From:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Andy

>On a Venn diagram coincidence and probability would partially overlap 
>with most of the circles not overlapping. 

Arguably. But in a Venn diagram of all inappropriate uses of a Venn diagram, 
the number of circles of inappropriate uses that partially overlap would be 
more in overlapping area than the area not overlapping.

>Coincidences are by definition unrelated, random events. 

Unrelated in some way perhaps [e.g. causally] but not necessarily random: 
neither the murder of JFK nor the death of Huxley were "random events" even if 
they are unrelated except by date. The coincidence that Jack is wearing the 
same tie as me may not be a random or unrelated event but because both our 
wives saw the same bargain at the same store last week.

>  I'm having a hard time reconciling probability and random.  

We might speak of 'random' in the context of logical probability: so that the 
chance of throwing 1 twice in a row on a perfect die might be 1/36 [i.e. 1/6 x 
1/6]. But this kind of 'logical probability' does not explain why it is 
probable that the sun will rise tomorrow or even why it is probable I shall 
shortly retire; and when we speak of events in the real world we are rarely 
speaking of events that are random in the sense of  "logical probability" 
[where it may be equally 'random' [or equi-probable] as to which of the six 
numbers on a perfect die will be face up on a throw]. 

Not only does God play dice [indeterminism], he plays with loaded dice 
[propensities] not perfect dice with only "random" outcomes. Likewise it is 
better to understood evolution as being 'blind' than as being 'random'.

"The Venn diagram point was well suspect, blood."

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