[PREV - DANGEROUS_IDEAS] [TOP]
Feb 14, 2008
May 9, 2008
One of the first things I noted about
Taleb is that he frames everything
in terms of biological determinism. (And yet, he appears
to take "free
This bugs the hell will" as a fundamental...)
out of me, because:
(1) I'm by no means convinced that the
present fad for biological explanations NATURE_OF_THE_WALLS
has any rigorous underlying basis
(2) I have my doubts that it
matters worth a damn as far
as his main thesis goes. Who To Taleb's credit, he
cares if we have cognitive understands that "biology
biases because of our nature is not destiny":
"Our minds are like inmates,
If it's one, it will take some captive to our biology,
extreme mental effort to unless we manage a cunning
overcome the problem, and if escape." -- p. 67
it's the other... well then it
will take some extreme mental
effort to overcome the problem.
Training and practice are the
answers in either case...
He associates his Mediocrestan
with "primitive environments"
(hence explaining the
intuitive appeal), but in his
favorite example of human
weight the key thing is not
that there's something So what he's talking
primitive about it but that about is the physical
there are underlying physical world, as opposed to
factors that constrain it to a virtual?
He makes the presumption
that our "instincts" have
evolved to deal with the
But information is not
beyond physical law,
and there may very well
be virtual cases that fit
The informational can be physical,
it has physical aspects -- e.g.
the connection between "order" and
thermodynamics (via "entropy")
And there are cases where
the physical "scales"
explosively ala nuclear
"... there is an element of the surviving
Casanovas in us, that of the risk-taking
genes, which encourages us to take blind
risks, unaware of the variability in the
possible outcomes. We inherited the
taste for uncalculated risk taking."
-- p. 115.
If we have truly inherited this
behavior then it would seem
that it must have some survival
"... indeed, we humans are an
extremely lucky species, and that we
got the genes of the risk takers.
The foolish risk takers, that is. This is just
In fact, the Casanovas who survived." amazingly
--p. 116. sloppy thinking;
an extreme lack
of any grasp
Taleb cautions against
narratives (p. 64) and the
seductive quality of the too
neat explanation -- and yet
what else is his continual
explanation of everything in
terms of "instinct"?
[NEXT - IN_DEFENSE_OF_NERDS]