All of brazil84's Comments + Replies

I posted to this thread basically to add my complaint. I am involved with a not-for-profit and there is a huge problem with people who enthusiastically volunteer but end up doing little or nothing of value for the organization.

So yeah, I don't think it's that people find opportunities elsewhere or that people resent make-work.

Here's a thought experiment: Suppose that Givewell continues to test volunteers, but instead of something boring and tedious, the "test" is something fun and interesting. But still it is admittedly make-work. I predict that the percentage of applicants who complete the test will rise dramatically.

We all know that human pregnancy doesn't scale. We all know that some other problems do scale

I'm not sure what you mean by "scale." When you say that some problems "do scale," I assume you mean that there are tasks where if you double the resources thrown at them, the amount of time to complete the task will be cut in half.

If you look at large, complicated projects involving new technologies, there seem to be at least several aspects to the project: First, the creative brilliant thinking; second, actual construction, manufacturing,... (read more)

How many women would it take to carry a human baby from conception to viable birth in 1 month?

1Sergej_Shegurin8y
We all know that human pregnancy doesn't scale. We all know that some other problems do scale. So I really don't understand those 18 points to the comment. One can always think up many different analogies leading to different conclusions. Even if we ignore scaling issue, sigma of duration of pregnancy is smth like a week perhaps. However other processes like creative thinking or inventing new ideas might have sigma comparable to mean.
0Viliam8y
Now you speak like an IT manager. :D

I'm gonna tap out of this. I would suggest re-reading that evidence. Especially that paper and the conclusion of that paper where it doesn't actually say that.

Doesn't actually say what? Never mind, because it seems you don't have a clear understanding of what you are talking about.

An identity-relevant intention is potentially different to a goal or a plan

Then perhaps your evidence is irrelevant to both your position and mine. If so, it's your problem not mine. Because it wouldn't change the fact that all of the evidence supports my position and y... (read more)

as in bold above) How might we make (or ensure) goal sharing (is) mostly good and mostly not bad?

Ok, but that's a different issue. My position is that generally speaking, goal-sharing is counterproductive. Your position is that generally speaking, goal sharing is beneficial and productive. The evidence supports my position. You have offered no evidence to support your position and instead you have attempted to change the subject.

-3Elo8y
I'm gonna tap out of this. I would suggest re-reading that evidence. Especially that paper and the conclusion of that paper where it doesn't actually say that. It says things like this: An identity-relevant intention is potentially different to a goal or a plan. To make the most use of this research it would be wise to identify the difference and make use of the right mechanisms. Good luck with your future in the goal-space.

is a line from the conclusion of that paper.

Umm, does that mean "yes" or "no"?

Please just state the question which requires "future research" so that I can understand what you are saying.

0Elo8y
(as in bold above) How might we make (or ensure) goal sharing (is) mostly good and mostly not bad?

I already said that I might have misunderstood you. You suggested that further explanation is helpful. What do you expect to gain for another answer

I'm trying to understand YOUR point now. Regardless of whether you misunderstood me, you said something and I am trying to understand it.

Here's what you said:

If it's in your morality to pratice charitable reading at the cost of human lives, feel free to live with that moral decision.

So you were talking about someone practicing charitable reading at the cost of human lives. When I stated that I did no... (read more)

That it's right of the media to say that Zuckerberg made the donation to increase his own reputation and status.

I didn't say any such thing. Please read what I say carefully before responding.

And please answer my other question:

In what way did the media "practice charitable reading"?

0ChristianKl8y
I already said that I might have misunderstood you. You suggested that further explanation is helpful. What do you expect to gain from another answer?

is goal sharing mostly good or mostly bad?

So this is the question which requires "future research" according to you?

0Elo8y
is a line from the conclusion of that paper. I suspect the "mostly good or mostly bad?" will come down to subjective experience. So that's a pretty ordinary question to be trying to obtain future research for. In which case - the important question is - How might we make (or ensure) goal sharing (is) mostly good and mostly not bad? (or always good)

If I misunderstood you and we agree that's great.

Well what did you think I was saying?

The critical media reaction to Zuckerberg announcement likely cost more lives through reduced donations than lifes were lost in Paris during the recent attacks.

And in what way did the media "practice charitable reading"?

0ChristianKl8y
That it's right of the media to say that Zuckerberg made the donation to increase his own reputation and status.

If a debate is obvious with the charitable interpretation it makes sense to have the debate about the actual reasons why people take the positions they take.

I'm not sure what your point is here but it sounds like you agree with me. The real question to discuss is how much it matters if Zuckerberg is doing this primarily to enhance his reputation and status.

If it's in your morality to pratice charitable reading at the cost of human lives, feel free to live with that moral decision.

I have no idea what your point is here.

0ChristianKl8y
If I misunderstood you and we agree that's great. The critical media reaction to Zuckerberg announcement likely cost more lives through reduced donations than lifes were lost in Paris during the recent attacks.

It's a bit surprising that anyone is arguing over this issue. Clearly if Zuckerberg can convince people that he is giving 99% of his fortune to (worthy) charity, it will enhance his reputation and status. This is obvious to anyone, and therefore it opens up the reasonable possibility that his primary motivation is in fact to enhance his reputation and status.

Maybe the problem is that people are getting hung up on the word "publicity." When people say "He's doing it for the publicity," the charitable interpretation is "he is doing it to enhance his reputation and status."

-2ChristianKl8y
If a debate is obvious with the charitable interpretation it makes sense to have the debate about the actual reasons why people take the positions they take. The underlying battle is about what Zizek calls liberal communism. The steelman is: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n07/slavoj-zizek/nobody-has-to-be-vile It's about whether a person should be applauded for doing earning-to-give or whether earning-to-give should simply be seen as a way to "enhance his reputation and status". Those cultural norms matter. Having the wrong cultural norms make people die who would otherwise be saved. If it's in your morality to pratice charitable reading at the cost of human lives, feel free to live with that moral decision.

Future research is needed to solve this question.

Exactly what question?

0Elo8y
and is goal sharing mostly good or mostly bad?

http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Seifert_Michalski_When_Intentions_.pdf

Umm, that article completely supports my position:

When other people take notice of one’s identity-relevant behavioral intentions, one’s performance of the intended behaviors is compromised. This effect occurs both when the intentions are experimenter supplied and when they are self-generated, and is observed in both immediate performance and performance measured over a period of 1 week.

If this is the only evidence you have -- besides your own logic and co... (read more)

0Elo8y
Like I said: Future research is needed to solve this question. This means that future research is needed to solve the question. Until then; it seems that we can't resolve this without the future research. I hold a position that is built off of your position as a foundation, using the same sources (and their conclusions), and some reasoning from first principles based on comments in the article.

Sounds like he says there is a way to share goals without getting the negative attributes.

Right. In other words he is stating that there may be exceptions to the general rule.

By contrast, your position is (apparently) that general rule is that sharing goals is productive and beneficial. And I am again asking you for the evidence which supports your position.

0Elo8y
http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Seifert_Michalski_When_Intentions_.pdf Our findings are also important from an applied perspective. Given that the effect is limited to committed individuals—those who are most eager to reach their identity goals—an important question is how these individuals might try to escape this effect. Future research might address this question by exploring various routes. First, might it suffice to increase the need for consistency (Cialdini & Trost, 1998) by attending to relevant norms? Or is it also necessary to increase perceived accountability (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999) by considering relevant attributes of the audience (e.g., power) or by specifying one’s behavioral intention in a particular way (e.g., spelling out specific frequency or quality standards vs. stating only that one wants to do one’s best; Locke & Latham, 2002) so that the audience can more easily check on its enactment? Second, might it also be effective for one to furnish a behavioral intention with a plan for how to enact it —that is, to form a corresponding implementation intention (e.g., ‘‘If situation X is encountered, then I will perform the intended behavior Y’’; Gollwitzer, 1999; Gollwitzer & Sheeran, 2006)? As such if-then plans delegate the control of a person’s behavior to situational cues, the intended behavior should be executed when the critical cue arises, whether or not the expression of the behavioral intention had been acknowledged by other people. Third, recent research by Fishbach and her colleagues (Fishbach & Dhar, 2005; Koo & Fishbach, 2008) suggests that interpreting a behavioral performance in terms of indicating commitment to a goal enhances further goal striving, whereas conceiving of a performance in terms of progress toward a goal reduces further goal striving. This implies that a behavioral intention worded to indicate a strong commitment to the identity goal (e.g., ‘‘I want to write a paper to become a great scientist’

yes.

Ok.

Looks like your source agrees with me.

Not sure how you get that. Pretty clearly he is saying that in general it's better not to share your goals.

Anyway, please answer my question:

What is the evidence which supports your position?

-1Elo8y
I quote from the last 40 seconds of the video: Sounds like he says there is a way to share goals without getting the negative attributes.

What we're really talking about is the balance of the two sides.

Given that: sometimes goal sharing will be bad sometimes goal sharing will be good

I am suggesting that the balance falls on a mix of: 1. mostly good 2. you make what you want out of it and there is no automatic win-state.

So it sounds like you are saying that, generally speaking, goal sharing is not counter-productive and is in fact beneficial. Is that right?

I am pretty sure we can't get much further on convincing one another of a different state of balance... Especially without more evidence either way.

Well what is the evidence which supports your position?

-1Elo8y
yes. https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_keep_your_goals_to_yourself/transcript?language=en#t-141000 At the end of the video: that link takes you to the timestamp. (its pretty much what I said above) I have to admit I only read the first few paragraphs of the transcript earlier and only now went through the entire thing. Looks like your source agrees with me. I'd encourage a from first principles approach. where my early reasoning encompassed your initial ideas and went on to explain why that doesn't explain enough of the observation, and how to take advantage of a different state of the world.. See also: accountability partners. as a thing that happens a lot these days.

It's complicated again. Trouble is that you have the potential to miss out on opportunities.

Sure, but that's true for anything. It's bad for your life expectancty to smoke cigarettes, but it's also possible that while you are out smoking a cigarette, the building you work in catches fire and collapses.

I will concede that there are exceptions to every general rule and situations where following the general rule works against you.

0Elo8y
What we're really talking about is the balance of the two sides. Given that: sometimes goal sharing will be bad sometimes goal sharing will be good I am suggesting that the balance falls on a mix of: 1. mostly good 2. you make what you want out of it and there is no automatic win-state. I assume you are suggesting: 1. mostly bad 2. hard to convert to a win-state when fighting your own brain chemistry. This whole issue compounds when you consider the starting state of the person; whether sharing a goal is outside or inside a comfort zone (and easy or hard to do); and again - the environment in which the goal sharing happens. I am pretty sure we can't get much further on convincing one another of a different state of balance... Especially without more evidence either way. On top of that - we might genuinely be living in different states of the world where your world is more how you describe it and my world is more how I describe it. Given that the last point might be true; Which state of the world would you rather live in?

It's complicated. And depends on the way those people treat your goals.

I would not be surprised if you were right to an extent, but I think in general the more careful thing to do is to maintain radio silence.

1[anonymous]8y
I (try to) maintain a two tier system where I tell advisers and people I know who will hold me accountable what my exact goals are, and maintain silence with everyone else. In practice this gets a bit messy when E.G my mastermind group knows what company I'm building but my parents and girlfriend has no idea. It can be very hard to maintain this, and another strategy I've begun to adopt is being vague about my goals (e.g. "I've got some interested investment in a disruptive education idea and currently trying to work out the details" and tell people "I'll have more for you in a month or so". This seems to give them an incentive to follow up, and me an incentive to want to actually deliver so I can tell them what I'm actually up to.
1Elo8y
It's complicated again. Trouble is that you have the potential to miss out on opportunities. i.e. before I start a project in the electronics space, I mention it to my friends who are interested in electronics; they then have the opportunity to say, "Oh here's some information I found earlier" or "here let me help you with that"; in various ways that you don't get to take advantage of if you secretly hide all the things you do until they are done.
1Elo8y
It's complicated. And depends on the way those people treat your goals. Scenario 1: you post on facebook "This month I want to lose 1kg, I am worried I can't do it - you guys should show me support". Your friends; being the best of rationalist friends; believe your instructions are thought out and planned. In the interest of complying with your request you get 17 likes and 10 comments of "wow awesome" and "you go man" and "that's the way to do it". Even longer ones of, "good planning will help you achieve your goals", and some guy saying how he lost 2 kilos in a month, so 1kg should be easy as cake. when you read all the posts your brain goes "wow, lost weight like that", "earn't the adoration of my friends for doing the thing", I feel great! So you have a party, eat what you like, relax and enjoy that feeling. One month later you managed to gain a kilo not lose one. Scenario 2: You post on facebook, "This month I want to lose 2kg (since last month wasn't so great). So all of you better hold me to that, and help me get there". In the interest of complying with you, all your rational friends post things like, "Yea right", "I'll believe it when I see it". "you couldn't do 1kg last month, what makes you think you can do it now?", "I predict he will lose one kilo but then put it back on again. haha", "you're so full of it. You want to lose weight; I expect to see you running with me at 8am 3 times a week". two weeks later someone posts to your wall, "hows the weight loss going? I think you failed already", and two people comment, "I bet he did", and "actually he did come running in the morning". When you read all the posts your brain goes; "looks like I gotta prove it to them that I can do this, and hey this could be easy if they help me exercise". After two weeks you are starting to lose track of the initial momentum, the chocolate is starting to move to the front of the cupboard again. When you see the post on your wall you double down; throw out the chocolate so

My statements were informed by evidence, and making a statement that it "risks" radicalizing more Muslims would be factually incorrect, since evidence that we do have shows that it does radicalize

That's not true at all, and it's easy to demonstrate with a thought experiment. Suppose I read a post on an internet by someone who says he spoke to a terrorist and the terrorist told him he was radicalized by reading Tsipursky's posts on less wrong. To be sure, this is weak evidence that Tsipursky's post are radicalizing people, but by your standar... (read more)

Anecdotal reports by terrorists is the best data we have available. Weak evidence is still evidence.

If you had said that Western activities "risk" radicalizing more Muslims, you might have a point. Instead you came to a firm conclusion based on spectacularly weak evidence.

As aspiring rationalists, we need to orient toward the truth, and avoid confirmation bias.

Unfortunately, it seems you have fallen into exactly that trap. It looks like you gave a few self-serving anecdotal reports far far more weight than they deserved because it fit y... (read more)

-1Gleb_Tsipursky8y
My statements were informed by evidence, and making a statement that it "risks" radicalizing more Muslims would be factually incorrect, since evidence that we do have shows that it does radicalize. We might talk about how many would be radicalized, but it would be false to state that aggressive western activities do not radicalize Muslims. I see from the latter part of your comment now that you have come to a firm conclusion about my views, and were arguing from that perspective all along. I'm disappointed to learn of that. Not interested in engaging further with ou around this topic.

I think you and brazil84 may have different notions of summarizing in mind. If summarizing a book means describing what's in it then most books can be summarized in a few paragraphs. If it means conveying a large fraction of the useful or interesting content then many books can't. (A dictionary or encyclopaedia might be an even better example than a physics textbook.)

Yes, I think so. Here is how I would summarize an unabridged dictionary:

This is a book which contains entries for most of the words in the English language; each entry sets forth the typical pronunciation as well as definitions for the word. Here are a few examples:

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3.

Yes, I dispute the statement that peoples' accounts of their own motivations are generally unreliable.

Then I suggest you educate yourself about social desirability bias. It's well known -- and obvious just from general observation -- that people have a strong tendency to self-report information which puts them in a more flattering light. If you have not taken this into account in your assessments, then it's fair to say that any conclusions you have drawn are suspect.

It's the sentence ending in footnote 22.

Ok, so apparently a typical example of the... (read more)

-1Gleb_Tsipursky8y
Anecdotal reports by terrorists is the best data we have available. Weak evidence is still evidence. We should update on whatever evidence we have, and avoid dismissing it out of hand and calling it ridiculous. As aspiring rationalists, we need to orient toward the truth, and avoid confirmation bias.

There are many pieces of evidence, it's not helpful to speak of the strongest one.

Then please summarize the best evidence for your claim.

Also, please answer my question: Do you dispute that peoples' accounts of their own motivations are generally unreliable?

. Here's one typical example, a link from a prominent book that shows that there were a number of newspaper articles expressing outrage over the bombings that made de-nazification more difficult.

Can you please quote the relevant part of your source? I did not see what you were talking about.

1Gleb_Tsipursky8y
Yes, I dispute the statement that peoples' accounts of their own motivations are generally unreliable. It's the sentence ending in footnote 22.

The main thing is to publish the list online in such a way that people have to click and go to a new page to see each element in the list.

So you're saying you're incompetent at your job, got it.

Well it depends on how one define's his "job." As a tenure-track professor, one could argue that his primary job is to make a good impression on his tenure committee. From that perspective, publishing an op-ed which implies that rationalism just happens to support left-wing foreign policy is probably a pretty good idea. So one could say that he's doing his job rather well.

My looking at history is that this isn't quite correct. It is the most restrained aggressor/tyrant who winds up getting targeted.

That may very well be the case, and if so, it's positive evidence that Tsipursky Rage is not a relatively important factor in motivating peoples' behavior. Which is consistent with my instincts.

The implosion of Iraq, which paved the way for the emergence of ISIS.

The most obvious weakness with this evidence is that there exist numerous plausible reasons -- other than Tsipusrky Rage -- for the "implosion of Iraq" as you put it.

For example, the obvious explanation for the "implosion of Iraq" is that the American invasion destabilized the area and left something of a power vacuum. Your evidence provides no way of distinguishing between this factor and Tsipursky Rage. The same is true of the situation in Libya.

In short, your evidence does not stand up to scrutiny.

That's a peculiar choice of wording.

Your evidence is pretty vague and flimsy.

The aftermath of 9/11 is by itself overwhelmingly sufficient evidence for the hypothesis that enraging your enemies is a terrible idea.

Actually that's not the issue under discussion. Sipursky's claim seems to be that airstrikes would "radicalize" people who were not necessarily enemies beforehand.

In any event, do you care to cite any specific post 9/11 events which characterize this "aftermath" you refer to?

0polymathwannabe8y
The implosion of Iraq, which paved the way for the emergence of ISIS. The implosion of Libya, which ended up worsening the conflict in Mali. The radicalization of the U.S. right wing, as illustrated in the Patriot Act, paranoid TSA procedures, and the Tea Party. By all measures, every response by the U.S. to 9/11 has ended up harming U.S. interests even more.

The text in question is allegedly called "Al Qaeda's Strategy until Year 2020." My search met a dead end at the website of the newspaper Al Quds al Arabi. I don't read Arabic, and that newspaper doesn't show digital archives for 2005, which was the date when Makkawi's writings were first made available to the general public. Journalist Abdel Bari Atwan wrote a book on the subject, but Google Books doesn't give a complete view of it.

Ok, well your second source states the following:

The immediate question on the above is how much of these strat

... (read more)

In this branch of the thread I have already elaborated on the 9/11 example and why should we take it as a warning of what not to do about ISIS.

So you have no evidence for the Sipursky Rage hypothesis besides what you posted about 9/11?

-1polymathwannabe8y
That's a peculiar choice of wording. The aftermath of 9/11 is by itself overwhelmingly sufficient evidence for the hypothesis that enraging your enemies is a terrible idea.

My position was explicit in my comment.

I think you mean "implicit" not "explicit."

Short version: Yes

Ok, and what's your evidence in favor of the Sipursky Rage hypothesis?

Yes, to respond to violence with more violence is counterproductive, to create more enemies is a stupid idea, and the aftermath of 9/11 gives ample evidence of it.

Can you be specific about the evidence? And are you saying that it's always a bad idea for a state to respond violently to a violent attack?

0polymathwannabe8y
In this branch of the thread I have already elaborated on the 9/11 example and why should we take it as a warning of what not to do about ISIS. Yes, I'm a pacifist.

Various journalists have analyzed the writings of Al Qaeda strategist Muhammad Makkawi a.k.a. Saif al-Adel

What exactly did he write and when?

1polymathwannabe8y
The text in question is allegedly called "Al Qaeda's Strategy until Year 2020." My search met a dead end at the website of the newspaper Al Quds al Arabi. I don't read Arabic, and that newspaper doesn't show digital archives for 2005, which was the date when Makkawi's writings were first made available to the general public. Journalist Abdel Bari Atwan wrote a book on the subject, but Google Books doesn't give a complete view of it.

The U.S. response to 9/11 serves as a didactic example of the most counter-productive way imaginable to respond to terrorism. If France follows the U.S. example after these attacks (and the recent news about their military cooperation with Russia seems to indicate so), the potential for stupid mistakes escalates manyfold. Especially considering that the West and Russia have opposite opinions on what the future of Syria should be, adding more guns to the situation can only make it worse.

Umm, do you have a position on the Sipursky Rage hypothesis? Or do you want to change the subject?

It's a simple enough question.

0polymathwannabe8y
My position was explicit in my comment. Short version: Yes, to respond to violence with more violence is counterproductive, to create more enemies is a stupid idea, and the aftermath of 9/11 gives ample evidence of it.

ISIS (or any enemy, for that matter) doesn't need to be led by evil geniuses in order to know how to set a trap for the West to fall into

No, but it would (edit: arguably) help quite a lot.

With 9/11, Al Qaeda set a perfect trap for the U.S. to be blinded by pain and rage (having the simpleminded W. in office certainly helped) and, as a result, the U.S. engaged in what from the White House looked like a righteous campaign for the liberation of oppressed masses, but to those masses looked like a meddlesome intrusion into their already complicated lives

... (read more)
1polymathwannabe8y
Various journalists have analyzed the writings of Al Qaeda strategist Muhammad Makkawi a.k.a. Saif al-Adel, concluding that: "His goal, for at least five years, had been to goad America into invading Afghanistan..." "September 11 constituted the first step: dragging the United States into the Arab region in preparation for an extended war of attrition."

You're forgetting that one of the reasons why ISIS exists in the first place was the chaos the U.S. invasion created in Iraq

Let's assume that's true. How does it follow that in terms of dealing with ISIS (or any other enemy or adversary for that matter) avoiding anger is more productive than creating fear and despair?

I will certainly concede that creating power vacuums is dangerous policy.

Going about purposely making enemies is hardly "productive."

It depends what you get in return. But anyway, the issue on the table is the Sipursky Rage ... (read more)

1polymathwannabe8y
The U.S. response to 9/11 serves as a didactic example of the most counter-productive way imaginable to respond to terrorism. If France follows the U.S. example after these attacks (and the recent news about their military cooperation with Russia seems to indicate so), the potential for stupid mistakes escalates manyfold. Especially considering that the West and Russia have opposite opinions on what the future of Syria should be, adding more guns to the situation can only make it worse.

"Start a war between Islam and the rest of the world. Since our religion basically teaches that we are inevitably going to conquer the world by force, we will be guaranteed victory in such a war."

I agree with this to a large extent.

But it would be an extremely bad thing if it happened at all, regardless of whether they win. So playing into their hands is probably not a good idea anyway, even though they are wrong.

Assuming that's true, it's still not like the situation where your adversary is an evil genius so that doing what he wants you t... (read more)

1polymathwannabe8y
ISIS (or any enemy, for that matter) doesn't need to be led by evil geniuses in order to know how to set a trap for the West to fall into. With 9/11, Al Qaeda set a perfect trap for the U.S. to be blinded by pain and rage (having the simpleminded W. in office certainly helped) and, as a result, the U.S. engaged in what from the White House looked like a righteous campaign for the liberation of oppressed masses, but to those masses looked like a meddlesome intrusion into their already complicated lives. In this case (in every case, actually), I think it's absolutely essential to consider what our enemies are counting on us to do.

I would like an answer to my question:

Do you really not see why Sipursky has the burden of proof and I do not have the burden of proof?

Saying someone is making a "ridiculous statement" is not something that I read charitably.

Actually what I said is this:

That said, your point does illustrate how silly Tsipursky's position is if taken to its logical conclusion.

So let's see if I have this straight. You use the principle of charity to reinterpret Tsipursky's position so that my statement becomes less reasonable; then you refuse to offer any such charity to my statement based on your general principles. And you don't disclose any of this until pressed onit, instead you just ... (read more)

Tsipursky's article. The article only provides one reason. There no reason to see it as arguing that the reason alone is sufficient.

:shrug: Then you should have made that clear when you responded to my point, i.e. that you would respond to a different version of the article than the one I was responding to.

And you should have also applied the same principle of charity to my point and made it clear that you were changing the subject.

1ChristianKl8y
Saying someone is making a "ridiculous statement" is not something that I read charitably.

As I mentioned below, the "What would ISIS not want us to do?" is not a good heuristic, because by asking it you implicitly accept their world view.

I think part of the problem here is that it is difficult to discern how rational ISIS is as an organization. It is some combination of militia group; millennialist cult; and breakaway state. (It's interesting that it has changed its name a couple times.) As best I can tell, the overall game plan of ISIS is -- generally speaking -- to follow in the footsteps of the most fundamental religious doct... (read more)

2entirelyuseless8y
The problem is that their game plan is likely to be something more or less along the lines of, "Start a war between Islam and the rest of the world. Since our religion basically teaches that we are inevitably going to conquer the world by force, we will be guaranteed victory in such a war." The religion is false, so they would not win such a war. But it would be an extremely bad thing if it happened at all, regardless of whether they win. So playing into their hands is probably not a good idea anyway, even though they are wrong.

For what it may be worth, I have read thousands of books in my life and I have never encountered a book which is impossible to summarize in a few paragraphs or even less.

2Good_Burning_Plastic8y
I could use a summary of Statistical Physics by L.D. Landau and E.M. Lifshitz in a few paragraphs if you have one to sell me. :-)

With charity the topic is whether resentment produced through bombing is a significant factor.

Charity as to whose statements? Mine or Sipursky's?

Can you please quote or summarize the statement you are interpreting charitably.

TIA.

0ChristianKl8y
Tsipursky's article. The article only provides one reason. There no reason to see it as arguing that the reason alone is sufficient.

You don't do things like bombing or not bombing for a single reason. At the same time it's okay for an article in a mainstream venue to focus on a single reason because the medium doesn't allow for a deep analysis of all factors that matter.

Again, assuming that is true, so what? If one of those reasons doesn't stand up to scrutiny, and you want to change the subject and discuss a different reason, then please be open and honest about what you are doing.

2ChristianKl8y
With charity the topic is whether resentment produced through bombing is a significant factor. Conclusions based on the argument that we shouldn't bomb can be true if you look at additional arguments and therefore they certainly aren't "ridiculous". I think the factor of bombings producing resentments from the local population should factor into the calculation. You need further arguments to actually decide against bombing and a single argument isn't enough.

It means that in practice doing one thing means that you can do the other less well.

Let's assume that's true. So what? The argument under discussion was not whether the West should avoid focusing on killing people because it will undermine the West's ability to focus on cutting funding for ISIS. The issue under discussion is whether the West should avoid killing people because it will make other people angry.

Please don't try to change the subject without openly acknowledging that's what you are doing.

0ChristianKl8y
You don't do things like bombing or not bombing for a single reason. At the same time it's okay for an article in a mainstream venue to focus on a single reason because the medium doesn't allow for a deep analysis of all factors that matter.

If you want to use certain NATO bases to do your bombing, then you will be less likely to criticize the policy of the countries that host the bases.

Umm, does that mean "yes" or "no"?

2ChristianKl8y
Truth is more complex than binary values. It means that in practice doing one thing means that you can do the other less well.

Why? You started to speak about Nazi Germany as an example of bombings haven't lead to problems.

Are you joking? DId you actually read what I said? Here's what I said:

During WWII, the United States slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Japanese and German civilians in various bombings. How much "rage" did this cause? Did it make it more difficult to de-Nazify Germany? I'm not sure but my gut feeling is that on balance, it was not counter-productive. My instinct is that creating fear and despair is more productive than avoiding anger. And tha

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1polymathwannabe8y
You're forgetting that one of the reasons why ISIS exists in the first place was the chaos the U.S. invasion created in Iraq (along with the already existing motivations of Al Qaeda, which ISIS split off from). Going about purposely making enemies is hardly "productive."

It's not really silly. Focusing on cutting funding sources might be better than focusing on killing ISIS operatives,

The two are not mutually exclusive, agreed?

0ChristianKl8y
If you want to use certain NATO bases to do your bombing, then you will be less likely to criticize the policy of the countries that host the bases.

There was a lot less general slaughter after WWI, so it should have caused Germany to be demilitarized a lot better then after WWII, oh wait.

What's interesting to me is that as an American, if you visit Japan, there does not seem to be a lot of Tsipursky Rage in evidence. Even though we bombed the hell out of them and nuked two of their cities. And you don't see many Japanese people plotting to launch terrorist attacks in the United States. Of course Japanese culture is probably different from that of the Arabic-speaking peoples in the Middle East. But anger at perceived injustice is a pretty universal human emotion (based on my general observations).

0VoiceOfRa8y
My looking at history is that this isn't quite correct. It is the most restrained aggressor/tyrant who winds up getting targeted. To use an example I'm familiar with most of the Russian Tsars were rather despotic; however, two did make major liberal reforms, Alexander II freed the serfs, and Nicholas II make strides towards modernizing the country including introducing an elected parliament. Not-so-coincidentally, they were also the only tsars to be assassinated by revolutionaries.
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