"Open Source Software: There are days when
I can't figure out whether I'm living in
a Socialist utopia or a Libertarian one."
-- Alex Future Bokov
I suspect the answer is "neither."
Libertarianism and Socialism are about
(electoral) politics and government.
Open Source Software is about voluntary
Am I correct in assuming that you have neither
followed nor studied the efforts of W. Edwards
Deming and other practitioners of statistical
quality control to introduce those methods into
American manufacturing companies from the
1930s through the mid 1980s? That you do not
know how few companies have adopted them even
after the Baldrige award was established in 1987?
That you do not know how few managers (of
manufacturing or anything else) even know that
there is such a thing as design of experiments?
You may have experienced only the best of
management and have participated in successful
introductions into your organization of
practices believed to account for the success
If this is so, let me assure you that you have
had extraordinarily rare experiences and have
been either exceptionally lucky or exceptionally
wise in your choice of place or places to work.
The mechanisms of cosmological, biological, and
organizational evolution are as dissimilar
as the mechanisms of artistic (paint on
canvass), photographic, and mental image
An artist uses a brush to paint a picture. Even
though both make images, we don't expect to find
a brush painting the paper or the chip inside a
Corporations change. That the word
evolution can be used to refer to such
changes does not mean the changes are
similar to the changes in stars or amoebae.
Is that what you are saying?
The theory of change in stars over time that I am familiar with says that early stars were nearly pure hydrogen. Heavier elements were formed in them as they burned and when they became nova. Subsequent stars created and were composed of increasing concentrations of increasingly heavy elements.
Did this not change the life span of stars?
Did I misunderstand your point?
Also, is there an equation that is claimed to describe the change in the entropy of the universe?
Can it be used to figure out if the increase in entropy caused by a star going nova would cause an increase in entropy in the universe as a whole? If one nova is insufficient, how many would have to go nova simultaneously to cause an increase? How long would the increase last?
Could you -- perhaps in another thread -- discuss how
"The Evolution of Cooperation" (as Robert Axelrod put
it) fits or does not fit with Huxley's comment.
Can Axelrod and Huxley both be right?
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
"--" should have been "Shakespeare's Fool"
Thank you for the comment. You have started me
thinking about the differences between Occam's
Razor and Einstein's "Everything should be made as
simple as possible, but not simpler."
I am not sure if my understanding of Occam’s
Razor matches Eliezer Yudkowsky’s.
I understand it more as (to use a mechanical
analogy) “don’t add any more parts to a
machine than are needed to make it work
This seems to fit Occam’s Razor if I take
it to be a guide, not a prediction or a law.
It does not say that the theory with the
fewest parts is more likely to be correct.
It just reminds us to take out anything
that is unnecessary.
If scientists have often found that theories
with more parts are less often correct, that
may further encourage us to look for and
test the simpler theories first. But it
does not tell us that they are more likely
to be correct only because they are simpler.
As soon as I try an aesthetic analogy
“strip the iPod down to its essential
features” (and make them easy to use),
I run into trouble. There is no
agreement on what the essential features
are or on what is easiest to use. (1)
Perhaps Occam works best with a certain type
of simplicity. F=MA being much simpler than
the Mac OS. Even if it did require a different
genius to discover it.
(1) I realize that in order to make the
mechanical analogy work we need to know what
the machine is before we apply Occam’s Razor.
Once we start improving the product (replacing
the stick shift with automatic transmission,
adding air conditioning) we are into feature
wars. It is not possible to know in advance
what customers will find essential.
But even then we would not want unnecessary
parts in the transmission or the air
Still, taking out all unnecessary parts won’t
guarantee that the machinery will work
properly any more than removing unnecessary
parts of a theory will guarantee the
correctness of the theory.