Progress?
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06-08-2010, 08:54 PM
RE: Progress?
(05-08-2010 08:12 PM)Ghost Wrote:  I realised in the other thread that this was something I wanted to pursue and so I created a new thread. I restated things so that I wouldn't be accused of putting words in anyone's mouth. Perhaps I ignored history. Perhaps we're both right. Can we agree to move on?

Sure.

One note, though: I get the feeling that you are getting a hostile vibe from me (you're acting a little defensive, at least inasmuch as I can tell from the text-only communication that we have going). I'm not trying to act aggressive or nasty or anything. I've been told by several people that I can come across that way when on a forum.
I don't act nasty to people when I can possibly help it. Not only does anger or nastiness not come easily to me, it always makes me feel bad afterwards. In reality, I'm a very laid-back guy. I don't know why I sometimes sound nasty on the forums.

Quote:
Quote:First you claim that progress is often confused with complexity. Then you say that complexity is not always a good thing. Then you state that progress is not always a good thing because complexity is not always a good thing. But the very objection that you raised in your first claim is that complexity and progress are not the same thing!

I'm not a logician so I'll have to take your word that my logic is flawed.

I think I meant that the idea I am disagreeing with is the idea that when we make things more complex, it is a good and it is viewed as progess, which is also a good. I didn't mean that making things simpler was the true definition of progress and the true good. I don't think I believe in progress at all. It implies that something is better. I don't believe in better. I believe in what works and what doesn't work. As long as we're doing what works, that's the good to me.

And what works is generally viewed as "better". Why don't you "believe in better"? What exactly do you mean by that?

Quote:
Quote:I think that what you're trying to say here is that complexity and progress are not identical, and that we should therefore not simply increase complexity and call it better.

I don't think what I'm saying is that they're not identical. I see where you're going but that's not quite it. More that they're self-supporting ideas. Progress is a good because we make things more complex and more complex is better than less complex. But that's a fallacy because there's really no such thing as better.

I'm writing this under the assumption that the bolded section is the "meat" of what you're trying to say. If my interpretation is wrong, please let me know.

There are several problems with this. The first is that no one conflates progress with complexity; where you got this idea, I don't know. The second is that no one says that more complex is better than less complex. The third is that there is such a thing as "better". It is a term which describes things which are more efficient, more powerful, or more [insert adjective]. Again, why do you think that there is no such thing as "better"? Admittedly, "better" is sometimes subjective, but it is often entirely a matter of quantification.

Quote:So I don't think I object to all progress. I think I object to the idea of progress. I think we're chasing a fallacy. We should be concerned with what works, whether that's something complex or something simple. An ICBM isn't better than a club and a club isn't better than an ICBM. If either works in a given situation, then it works. If it doesn't, we should concern ourselves with things that do work regardless of their simplicity or complexity.

You seem to be using an incorrect metric. A club is no better than an ICBM in, say, propping open a door. However, an ICBM is much better than a club when measuring each one's capacity to level a city.

I really don't understand what your objection is here. It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever to me.

Quote:Also, to give AH60 a shout out, we should include in our planning the externalised costs of both simple and complex technologies. My Blackberry might be more convenient than my land line but perhaps using a mineral in the phone that is mined by slaves isn't considered when people call the Blackberry better.

The Blackberry may not be better in terms of slave labor used to produce it (I have no idea if there even is any slave labor involved, but whatevs), but it is undoubtedly better in terms of processing power when compared to your land line.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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07-08-2010, 02:23 AM
RE: Progress?
Hey, Unbeliever.

You're not hostile. I accept.

Quote:And what works is generally viewed as "better". Why don't you "believe in better"? What exactly do you mean by that?

I agree. It's generally viewed that way. That's what I'm objecting to. I don't believe in better because I believe in the notions that things either work or they don't. Better and worse are value judgments. Eagle beaks aren't better than toucan beaks aren't better than pigeon beaks. They aren't even better than some maladaptive beak that led to some bird species' extinction. That beak wasn't worse. It was just maladaptive.

Better implies progression from simple to complex, from what we have to more. Adaptive implies utility.

Adaptive is an inclusive idea. Something is adaptive for many reasons. Those reasons necessarily have to outweigh any maladaptive qualities or else the thing is maladaptive.

Better is short sighted (perhaps not le mot juste). The proliferation of pesticides and fertiliser during the Green Revolution was seen as a part of a better way to farm because it increased yields. But it is poisoning every organism on Earth and degrading topsoil the world over. If we stop using pesticides, pest species will rebound quickly because they tend to be r-selection species. This will seriously negatively impact crop yields. Their predators tend to be K-selection species meaning that while they are slowly rebounding, the pest species will be without selection pressure; further increasing the rate at which they will rebound and their impact on crop yields. Also, if we stop using fertiliser, the top soil will be left so denatured that yields will drop sharply. Pesticides and fertilisers are petroleum based and we are heading into, or have arrived at, peak oil. So we are quickly approaching a time in which we will have no choice but to discontinue the use of these chemicals.

So something that is viewed as better, we made this amount, now we make more, that's better, might actually wind up being maladaptive and have disastrous consequences. But when people jumped on the Green Revolution bandwagon, all they saw was the necessary good of increasing crop yields. The idea of not implementing chemical-based farming right away wasn't a possibility because it was against progress. The thought never occurred to anyone, 'perhaps we should make sure the long-term effects of dumping tons of synthetic chemicals on our food aren't bad before we do this,' because to wait would have been necessarily bad because progress must not be hindered.

No one conflates progress with complexity? What do you base that on? You're telling me that an idea doesn't exist. Lil' proof? Same with no one saying that more complex is better than less complex.

I'm tired. I can't go on.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-08-2010, 08:19 PM
RE: Progress?
I feel like maybe I'm missing something here, and I don't have the time to big around for it, but this is an interesting conversation, and I'll add a little bit to it.
(07-08-2010 02:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I agree. It's generally viewed that way. That's what I'm objecting to. I don't believe in better because I believe in the notions that things either work or they don't. Better and worse are value judgments. Eagle beaks aren't better than toucan beaks aren't better than pigeon beaks. They aren't even better than some maladaptive beak that led to some bird species' extinction. That beak wasn't worse. It was just maladaptive.
I agree with you to a point. It's next to impossible to take two objects and say that one is better than the other. So, again, I agree, you can't say that any beak is better than any other beak.

However, when you add more specifics, I think that term 'better' can be used some justly. If you say an eagle's beak is better than a pigeon's beak, I would disagree. If you say that an eagle's beak is better than a pigeon's beak as tearing flesh, then I can agree. You need a goal, a 'better at what?'. And I'll admit, still it can be quite subjective when you weigh in faults that go with a trait.

Drifting away from beaks and into more abstract, environment also plays a big role, largely in how a trait or item functions.

(07-08-2010 02:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Better implies progression from simple to complex, from what we have to more. Adaptive implies utility.
I have to disagree. Again, we have to give a goal to decide if something is better able to reach the goal than another thing. Many times being overly complex is detrimental. A frog with ten legs has more than a frog with four legs, but it will move awkwardly, use extra energy, and have other harmful effects to it's survival.

(07-08-2010 02:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Adaptive is an inclusive idea. Something is adaptive for many reasons. Those reasons necessarily have to outweigh any maladaptive qualities or else the thing is maladaptive.
I agree there.

(07-08-2010 02:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Better is short sighted (perhaps not le mot juste). The proliferation of pesticides and fertiliser during the Green Revolution was seen as a part of a better way to farm because it increased yields. But it is poisoning every organism on Earth and degrading topsoil the world over. If we stop using pesticides, pest species will rebound quickly because they tend to be r-selection species. This will seriously negatively impact crop yields. Their predators tend to be K-selection species meaning that while they are slowly rebounding, the pest species will be without selection pressure; further increasing the rate at which they will rebound and their impact on crop yields. Also, if we stop using fertiliser, the top soil will be left so denatured that yields will drop sharply. Pesticides and fertilisers are petroleum based and we are heading into, or have arrived at, peak oil. So we are quickly approaching a time in which we will have no choice but to discontinue the use of these chemicals.

So something that is viewed as better, we made this amount, now we make more, that's better, might actually wind up being maladaptive and have disastrous consequences. But when people jumped on the Green Revolution bandwagon, all they saw was the necessary good of increasing crop yields. The idea of not implementing chemical-based farming right away wasn't a possibility because it was against progress. The thought never occurred to anyone, 'perhaps we should make sure the long-term effects of dumping tons of synthetic chemicals on our food aren't bad before we do this,' because to wait would have been necessarily bad because progress must not be hindered.
As I said above, it's hard to call something better than something else without a specific goal. Pesticides and fertiliser are better than none if your goal is increased crop yield and the environment is correct to give us increased crop yield with pesticides and fertiliser. The thing is that we switched our attention from increased crop yield to environmental dangers. Another factor in that is that the environment in the form of pests and their predictors, have also changed, thus altering for the pesticides function.

This is why in real life 'better' and 'worse' or so subjective, because there are so many factors and different environments that a abject/trait in question could be placed in, it because impossible to compare all the pros and cons with any sort of objectivity.

(07-08-2010 02:23 AM)Ghost Wrote:  No one conflates progress with complexity? What do you base that on? You're telling me that an idea doesn't exist. Lil' proof? Same with no one saying that more complex is better than less complex.
I won't get too far into this, since it's not really my business, but I believe that Unbeliever meant that in the respectable, intelligent population, most do don't hold the belief that progress equates to complexity.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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09-08-2010, 12:11 PM
RE: Progress?
Hey, thegirl.

I must say I quite like our exchanges Big Grin

Quote:If you say that an eagle's beak is better than a pigeon's beak as tearing flesh, then I can agree.

That is a really good point.

I still disagree though. I would simply say that an eagle's beak is adapted to tearing flesh. The comparison with a pigeon is irrelevant in terms of the adaptability of the eagle. I wouldn't even say "better adapted" because that, to me, is just a value judgment. For example, which beak is better at tearing flesh? An eagle's, a buzzard's or a an octopus'? Better really doesn't enter into it. Each beak is adaptive for that species' environment. Similarly, which species is better at pack hunting? Lions, hyenas, wolves, chimps, piranha, dolphins or killer whales? It's really irrelevant. They all pack hunt successfully. If they didn't, they wouldn't be here.

I did catch your fault caveat though Wink

Quote:I have to disagree. Again, we have to give a goal to decide if something is better able to reach the goal than another thing. Many times being overly complex is detrimental. A frog with ten legs has more than a frog with four legs, but it will move awkwardly, use extra energy, and have other harmful effects to it's survival.

Good call. My bad.

What I mean is if a frog can jump 2 inches and then the next generation can jump 3 inches, that's the sort of thing that's viewed as better. That being said, if a ten legged frog was adaptive, which would be better?

Perhaps something I'm driving at is the idea that if we use a goal as a point of comparison, like which species is better at running 200 metres, we are the one that set the criteria. Better at running 200 metres how? Faster? With the most efficient use of energy? The best energy to speed ratio? In the least amount of strides? Without stopping? Our criteria for what makes something better are arbitrary.

In the end, perhaps the difference is a matter of degrees. Perhaps there is value to comparing things according to arbitrary criteria. Perhaps there are situations when doing that is best (oh the magic of irony). But I object heavily to what I view as the primacy of better. I place greater importance on recognising what is adaptable because there's nothing arbitrary about it. There's only two possible answers. That which is adaptive will flourish, that which is maladaptive is self-eliminating. It either works or it don't (there's also exaptive but hey). Nothing arbitrary and no value judgments involved.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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09-08-2010, 02:40 PM
 
RE: Progress?
(09-08-2010 12:11 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, thegirl.

I must say I quite like our exchanges Big Grin

even though ashley is most likely a girl, she is not thegirl. Wink
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09-08-2010, 03:49 PM
RE: Progress?
Lol!

Well, not don't I just feel like a jackass Big Grin

Thegirl, you're awesome. AH60, you're great too. Please accept my most humble and gravel-scraping apology to both of you.

Just don't make me say who's my favourite Cool

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-08-2010, 06:21 AM
 
RE: Progress?
Progress Software is necessary for companies to achieve greater operational responsiveness by using the event management to support business decisions and maintain a high level of operational awareness.
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16-08-2010, 07:47 AM
RE: Progress?
Hey, malinhardy.

What is progress software?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-08-2010, 08:31 AM
RE: Progress?
Malinhardy is a bot...

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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16-08-2010, 02:50 PM
RE: Progress?
Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirony Big Grin

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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