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Monday, November 06, 2017

Step One

The essence of clear thinking is the ability to state the views of those who disagree with you in a way they would find accurate and fair.

26 comments:

erp said...

That's easy. Those who disagree with me want to create a society where the following is true: From each according to their needs; from each according to their abilities.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I disagree with you a lot, and yet I can't recognize my views reflected on your comment above. I guess you need to work harder on step one.

erp said...

That's because I don't know your views. Thinking about your comment, I can't point to anything specific other than you are against corruption, especially in government. Marx's motto, more or less, gives the simplistic/simpleton's view of socialism that I presume you hold since you've criticized capitalism and free markets, although you've also stated you'd like to have more money to indulge your desire for living the good life providing comfort for your family and good schools for your kids, etc. without providing a plan for acquiring the means to those ends.

Clovis e Adri said...

Well, I can't recognize my views on what you said I stated too.

I guess you are mixing up my answer to your recommendation that I should have more kids. I told you I don't have the money to do that within my intended goals. But I was not complaining at all about my present situation.

And presuming the views other people hold is indeed a lot of what you do - against step one.

erp said...

Reread my previous comment. I don't remember your revealing your views. What I said weren't presumptions, they were your own words. I said nothing about you complaining? I repeated what I remember you said. It's odd you think I do a lot of presuming of what others think. I rarely care what others think and can't remember making presumptions about them. Please be specific. Perhaps we're at cross purposes because the point of your comments is sometimes unclear. You put more value on experts and studies than I think they're worth. I also don't believe a lot of info on the Internet and often resort to my 100 year old encyclopedia for answers. I did check Jefferson, but there was nothing in the article about freeing his slaves, that sort of thing not being thought of as significant back then.

Why not reveal your views and I'll try to remember why they didn't come to mind.

Hey Skipper said...

That's easy. Those who disagree with me want to create a society where the following is true: From each according to their needs; from each according to their abilities.

Not quite what I'm getting at.

I presume you are against affirmative action. The first step in thinking clearly about that particular issue is taking on board the arguments put forth for it. Just so for gun control, or single payer healthcare.

In other words, don't be like the NYT.

erp said...

Let's take affirmative action first because there is, IMO, a case to be made for it. As it was first presented, the affirmative action would be that if there were candidates of equal abilities, etc., the maligned minority would get the nod. Of course, that didn't happen as we know and it's a huge scam at the college level as I personally observed and as statistics have borne out. AA admissions are far less likely to do well or graduate. Many are admitted to schools where the rest of the student body is far above them in terms of academic background and/or test scores. IMO the affirmative action should begin at the nursery school level where kids who show ability are nurtured along, so that by the time they enter college, they are well equipped to compete.

Instead minority kids of ability are told to stop acting white.

Gun control is a misnomer because there should be gun licenses similar to drivers licenses which, note, isn't called driver control. Those who have demonstrated irresponsible behavior may not drive a car and similarly, should not be able to shoot a gun. That said, the nanny state now requires licensing or permits for practically every activity, the vast majority of which are not dangerous to themselves or others. When our hot water heater needed to be replaced, we had to get a permit to replace it. If our plumber got the license it would cost $100, so my husband went to the building department and lied saying he was going to replace it himself, so it only cost $50.

Single Payer Healthcare is a non-starter since we have already a horrible example of what happens when the government doesn't stick to its knitting. It's called the US Department of Veterans Affairs -- 'nuf said.

The NYT like the rest of the lefty media misinforms by omission and commission and tells bold-faced lies and I while I may have made statements that have turned out to be wrong, I have never deliberately told an untruth.

Hey Skipper said...

erp:

Affirmative action is a perfect example.

Notice the trap you are falling into. You aren't stating its proponents' arguments, but rather the argument for it that occurs to you. The barrier to clear thinking you are erecting for yourself is not being aware of the arguments that exist, but don't occur to you. Several examples:

The self-perpetuating scarcity argument.

The ongoing discrimination argument.

The diversity justification.

Each of them may be more or less full of bollocks, but there is no way to know unless you understand them fairly and accurately.

Back when I got hired into my current job, personal references were very important: someone who knew you had to actively promote you to the chief pilot. Advantage: guys putting their reputations on the line weren't likely to nominate guys who weren't competent, or, even more important, get along well with others.

Why the emphasis? Because even though the advantage was very much obtained, there were intrinsic disadvantages. The company I work for was started by an ex-Marine. As such, the pilot force was much had a greater military background (75%) compared to other airlines (NWA, just over 50%). And, of the military pilots, there was a significant skew towards ex-Navy/Marine pilots. (When I got hired, the majority of my company's pilots were of that extraction, despite there being far more ex-Air Force fixed wing pilots.)

As far as the company goes, that system worked fine. But it also perpetuated the existing population, as evidenced by the unrepresentative proportion of Navy/Marine pilots compared to AF pilots.

Now I am not about to exist that some affirmative action program was required to increase the number of (white male) AF pilots. Rather, the diversity justification isn't as airy-fairy as you might think, because even though the outcome was consistent with the obvious requirements for aircrew, it perpetuated a aircrew profile that, through simple inertia, was like the profile that already existed.

If that isn't fair, and I don't think it is, then my company should have -- and did -- downplay the impact of personal recommendations.

Step one to clear thinking: be able to fairly and accurately explain the arguments of positions with which you disagree.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
If that isn't fair, and I don't think it is, then my company should have -- and did -- downplay the impact of personal recommendations.
---

Why would it be not fair? Why the company ought to change their hiring procedures if they were achieving their objectives?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
What I said weren't presumptions, they were your own words.
---
No, they were not. They may be what you understood from something I said, but they were not what I said at any point in time, to the best of my memory.


---
Why not reveal your views and I'll try to remember why they didn't come to mind.
---
My view is that you are locked in past, when the world was divided between Capitalism X Communism, and you have great difficulty to grasp how it changed. In consequence, the prism you use to see it today leaves you far off the mark on most matters, hence you can't quite recognize what and how I think - step one is mightly hard for you.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Why would it be not fair? Why the company ought to change their hiring procedures if they were achieving their objectives?

If you fairly and accurately understood the argument from those who advocate affirmative action, then you should be able to answer that question without my help.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

As I understand, you are not in agreement with affirmative action (or are you?). Hence I am puzzled why you look to think the previous hiring procedures of your company were unfair.

erp said...

Skipper, I described the way AA was originally presented and I concurred with it.

Clovis, tell me what you think, not what you think is wrong about what I think. You don't know the history of the past century. The same people who were Soviet lovers are now one-worlders with the same goals.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] As I understand, you are not in agreement with affirmative action (or are you?). Hence I am puzzled why you look to think the previous hiring procedures of your company were unfair.

Affirmative action as practiced in the educational setting is nearly an unmitigated horror show. It tilts the field in favor of certain groups while ignoring the underlying problem: that the reason the field needs tilting is that, by and large, those groups aren't academically competitive, so standards for them have to be relaxed. But since the problem isn't racist admissions boards, but rather grossly inadequate education, all AA does in this regard is put people into schools where they are very likely to fail. Affirmative Action = Adverse Selection

However, within the context of my company, the change in hiring practices was to level a playing field that was at least plausibly tilted against women and blacks despite a complete absence of sexism or racism. No standards were harmed in the process. (As opposed to the 1990s, when some airlines, particularly United, did relax standards, and have come to rue their political correctness). Our hiring practices weren't unfair in the sense that there was any intentional sexism or racism, but it is hard to argue that a self-perpetuating population will, by definition and without intent, exclude those outside that population who nonetheless are qualified candidates.

I am certain that, for my company anyway, being female or black and qualified meant a far higher chance of getting an interview than being white and male. Nonetheless, our hires for the last year have been almost 96% white and male.

Bret said...

I agree with the statement of the post. It's surprisingly hard to do because most views are based on emotion and subjective preference and those things are often excruciatingly difficult to put into words.

Hey Skipper said...

I disagree, maybe not totally, but significantly.

For instance, I think I could do a pretty good job of making the case for single payer, even though I disagree with it. I'd be willing to bet, though, that most single payer advocates couldn't do the same the other direction.

Because I don't think the problem is symmetrical. IMHO, progressives do not approach problems so much analytically, as emotionally. (This is why women tend to lean progressive.)

After all, whether it is Harry, or the crowd at Crooked Timber, the facts almost never matter. Remember the outrage that accompanied Damore and Google? I read lots of frothing from the left (Claire Cain Miller, for instance) who did not bother to select even one quote from what Damore actually wrote. Interestingly, considering the NYT readership, she took an utter shellacking in the comments section.

No, that shellacking didn't make any difference. Facts don't matter.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
However, within the context of my company, the change in hiring practices was to level a playing field that was at least plausibly tilted against women and blacks despite a complete absence of sexism or racism.
---
Yes, I get that.

What I still don't get is why you would agree with that. Why do you think your company should strive to be more 'fair' in its hiring practices? What does it have to do with its ultimate goal, which is to make money?

As I see it, the same "intent to be fair" in your company is, translated to Google, what led Damore to be fired. So I can't quite square up why you are OK with one, while complaining about the other.

Bret said...

Hey Slipper wrote: "I think I could do a pretty good job of making the case for single payer, even though I disagree with it."

OK. But that's not really what the statement of the original post says because what you haven't shown is that your case would "state the views" of actual advocates of single payer.

What I'm saying is that their views are likely based on subjective preferences and emotional feelings while your case, being a "case" after all, is almost certainly different. For example, their views might simply be that they want the State to pay for healthcare because that would make them feel good to know that's how things were. I suspect your "case" would include statistics and logic and all sorts of things you seem to put together when making a "case" for something and that would be an inaccurate assessment of their views.

So to really be able to express the views of those you disagree with fairly and accurately you need: (a) a lot empathy; and (b) a realization that each person will have somewhat different emotional and subjective motivations for their policy preferences and that you'll need tens of millions of irrational "cases" or empathetic reconciliations to cover expressing all views of those with whom you disagree.

I think Heinlein said it best: "Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal"

And maybe I'm just projecting. I've discovered over the years that virtually every policy I've ever advocated for started as subjective preference, sometimes backed with strong emotion, and then I'd search for reasons to back that preference. Maybe everybody else is a rational robot and come to their preferences based on perfect reasoning and logic, perhaps based on the greater good or some such concept, but I doubt it.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] What I still don't get is why you would agree with that. Why do you think your company should strive to be more 'fair' in its hiring practices? What does it have to do with its ultimate goal, which is to make money?

With regard to pilots, these are the criteria that matter: experience (which stands as a good proxy for aptitude/ability); above average intelligence, assessed through intelligence testing (Interestingly, aptitude tests aren't allowed for most occupations, due to disparate racial impact. I guess that doesn't apply to those occupations that can kill people.); and a moderate personality with the right combination of take-charge and ability to work as part of a team (done through the board interview, ongoing observation through the two-day interview process, and a situational enactment).

Any candidate that meets those criteria is as likely to succeed in training (which is hugely expensive) and operationally, which requires a great deal of unsupervised personal responsibility, and will contribute to the company making money regardless of race and gender.

As for caring at all about what the race/gender breakdown of the crew force is, there are two arguments. First, that a crew force that isn't representative of the potential applicants is prima facie unfair -- that is, the company would be open to disparate impact lawsuits. So not doing so would cost the company money.

Then don't ignore the other argument. That people in management themselves find a hiring system yielding an unprepresentative crew force is morally offensive, because it is simply unfair: some people have a higher hurdle to getting hired into a very lucrative job simply because of the color of their skin or gender.

I suspect the company would be doing the same thing regardless of the lawsuit threat, and every pilot I've heard on the subject understands and agrees. So long as the new hires can step up to the plate, they just don't care about race or gender.

Which I know is almost impossible to believe for guys who are almost universally ammosexual rightwinger fascist racists.

But true nonetheless.

Says the guy who is flying this trip with a black guy, and the previous trip with a new hire woman, neither of whom would likely have been here under the old system.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] OK. But that's not really what the statement of the original post says because what you haven't shown is that your case would "state the views" of actual advocates of single payer.

Well, the point of the post doesn't require doing so.

Rather, accept the assertion that I well understand the arguments of advocates for single payer. That provides several paths towards clear thinking: forcing myself to understand and weigh as many pertinent objective facts as I can ascertain, regardless of whether they are friendly to my conclusion, or not; accepting that some objective facts are not friendly to my position; and comprehending that it is the rare argument that is so non-trivial that it is possible to assign absolute truth to one side or another; and, finally, specifically understanding that the position I take on many things are due to priors that are often immune to unfriendly facts, until they become so overwhelming that further resistance amounts to admitting mental illness.

(Consider the number of people who were once communists, but are no longer.)

Pick the recurring gun control brouhaha. I could state the oppositions arguments for stringent control to the point of confiscation. I doubt any of them could articulate the opposite case, particularly how it is grounded in natural law and, as such, is as much an organic part of the constitution as freedom of speech and conscience.

Of course it is possible to conclude that is all well and good, but the cost to society is too great.

Which is where the facts get very unfriendly -- as Clovis's post demonstrates. It is such a mess that only two possible conclusions obtain: the author and editors biases are so great that they have become utterly incapable of analytical thought; or, their position is essentially religious, and as such is right because they believe in it.

And I bet, one on one, that is a makable argument.

There is no denying that guns are the means in many deaths. But it is just as undeniable that the means aren't nearly as important to the ends as confiscationists assume. Anyone using gun suicides as a justification for restricting access to guns has utterly no understanding that guns are completely irrelevant to suicide rates.

And there goes 2/3 of the argument right there.

In my experience, more people than you would suspect assume positions emotionally, because they feel right (which is why a couple semesters of econ is so valuable to a college degree, because so many outcomes are counterintuitive). But when faced with facts that confront their argument, instead of bolstering mine, that can make a real difference.

Just as that approach should make a difference to me.

Any position I can't be taught out of isn't a position worth having.

(For example, I know I have credited Peter with changing my mind on several things.)

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
First, that a crew force that isn't representative of the potential applicants is prima facie unfair -- that is, the company would be open to disparate impact lawsuits.
---

It is pretty impressive how the AA philosophy won the culture war. Its tenets are part of the whole way the market works now in the US, and even people who hate progressives, like you, basically internalized AA too.

Hey Skipper said...

Ben Shapiro is an excellent example

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] It is pretty impressive how the AA philosophy won the culture war. Its tenets are part of the whole way the market works now in the US, and even people who hate progressives, like you, basically internalized AA too.

I am baffled as to how you got to that conclusion.

AA in the educational environment is loathsome.

Our hiring practices are the exact opposite of AA, in as much as they negated the existing, albeit unintentional, AA for white males.

Cripes, just because I think SJWs are for the most part fools, understanding their positions on their terms can be illuminating.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Our hiring practices are the exact opposite of AA, in as much as they negated the existing, albeit unintentional, AA for white males.
---
What?

Really, the highest success an idea can have is to conquer the zeitgeist in ways that warp the very way people think about a topic.

The previous hiring practice of your company had nothing AA-like about it. Actually, they were making it by the oldest way such things are done: mouth by mouth recommendation.

See, AA at university level is a relatively new thing in Brazil, it started 10 years ago. But there is nothing like it yet at businesses level. The ideia of a company being sued beucase it did not make the workplace diverse enough is unthinkable down here.

So, while it may look like obvious to you that the previous hiring practice was somehow unfair, it doesn't look so to me. And hey, I was supposed to be a progressive! How do you feel being more progressive than I am?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] The previous hiring practice of your company had nothing AA-like about it. Actually, they were making it by the oldest way such things are done: mouth by mouth recommendation.

...

So, while it may look like obvious to you that the previous hiring practice was somehow unfair, it doesn't look so to me. And hey, I was supposed to be a progressive! How do you feel being more progressive than I am?


I didn't say it was unfair, in the sense that people were actively skewing outcomes. Rather -- and this distinction is important -- the demographics of the hired pilots risked being substantially different than that of the pool of qualified applicants.

Up until the mid-1970s, women were all but barred from the cockpit -- I doubt anyone is going to argue that was fair. So it isn't at all clear to me that a system that, even in the absence if any ill intent, acts to perpetuate that state of affairs can itself be fair.

Just as it isn't at all clear to me that fair play is somehow a progressive value.

erp said...

I am 100% for fair play in all things. It's also known as equality under the law -- a founding principle of the FF's. All human beings play the cards they were dealt on a level playing field -- to bring in some more glibness.

What I am 100% against is adding points to that "fair play" to include skin color, ethnicity, X & Y chromosome mix-and-matches and whatever other diversities the loonie left congers up.

Atoning for past sins is a thankless and foolish business.

We've had a chance to go forward in the edbiz for quite a few generations now and our citizenry has been dumbed down with each passing year until the current curriculum, Common Core, has wiped out learning our history, cursive writing, etc. Forget arithmetic --even math professors can't understand it now.