Angry partner, remorseful...sometimes

#30

Postby Leo Volont » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:22 am

Good Morning Richard,

Wow, this is fascinating. I have been filing a lot of these Threads, and I think I will have to separate this Discussion out into its own File so it doesn’t get lost.

I found your comments about the Declining Value of College Degrees to be a confirmation of what I had long suspected, that the Universities are now in the Business of Giving People Degrees. So when people go in for a Higher Degree, such as a Masters or a PHD, there seems to be some pressure put on the Faculty by the Business End of the University to ‘give the Customers what they are willing to pay for’. Of course the Tenure System is supposed to protect the Professors from such Worldly Concerns (Tenure, theoretically anyway, is supposed to be an Unconditional Guarantee of a Lifetime Contract, totally assuring a Tenured Professor that heorshe is completely safe from any Retaliation, either from the University itself or from the Outside). But perhaps Tenure has been weakened by the ability of the University Administrators to simply CLOSE certain Unprofitable Departments (therefore an Effective Tenure System would have to be backed up by a Funded Pension Plan which would pay just as much to the Professor for doing Nothing as doing Something). The way Universities had traditionally been funded was from Annuities, but that was back in the days before runaway inflation. Now the Universities are on a Pay as you Go basis. Probably the only Universities that retain standards are those that are in very high demand, where the Departments can readily flunk out underperformers because they have waiting lists of people who are begging to get in. In that sense, if you have a number of Universities in active competition for a limited number of Students, it is inevitable that standards would decline. Oh, wait, an effective System of Accreditation could help assure Quality, as well as companies using their Human Resource Departments to ‘grade’ the perceived Quality of the various Schools, and all of the Large International Corporations could pool their findings as a means of asserting some pressure on the University System to maintain a certain uniform level of Quality. The On Line Schools are still so new to me that I have no idea what to think. I do wonder how any one Professor can deal with so much Traffic. Then there is the Security of the System. Couldn’t there be a New Industry of Professional Test Takers. You could have One Person enroll for an On Line Course, but there is no telling who is actually turning in the Work and taking the Tests… but these are just uninformed thoughts… I really don’t know, and perhaps somebody has worked out all those suspicious Details.

Oh! What you say about the Declining Standards now makes something else for me make a great deal more sense. In the Old Days when it came to Politics, the College Educated Crowd would tend to vote mostly as a Block… not through any great sense of Self-Interest but because they were all trained to be Intellectually Discerning and would not have received degrees unless they had been able to demonstrably meet that standard. But modern polling data shows that many Degree Holders are voting right alongside the most backward and ignorant segments of the populace, which really is ‘deplorable’.

Oh, and then there is the problem that I have long suspected in regards to the Bachelor of Science Fields – that these Degrees are simply Glorified Vocational School Degrees. While a good Liberal Arts Degree can make a Scholar insightful about the Ways of the World, we have not nearly the same guarantee in regards to those who procure Specialty Degrees so they can hang up their various Shingles in the Marketplace. I suppose this is what gives us so many Scientists who are perfectly willing to work in fields where they are obviously weaponizing everything they can get their hands on, or pursing dangerous avenues of research that those with Well Rounded Educations find alarming and dangerous. One can almost conclude that a great number of ‘Brilliant’ Scientists are tunnel-visioned Bone-Heads. For instance, doesn’t the current American Administration have a Cabinet Member who is an actual Brain Surgeon but who can’t open his mouth, politically, without coming out with the most bizarrely stupid rants and meanderings?

Now, on the Next Thing where you argue that Cognitive Bias can be a Good Thing where there are Argument Producers and Argument Evaluators exercising a kind of blended and merged ‘Division of Labor’. Well, I find that kind of optimistic. In the Legal World this is Called “Adversarialism” which in effect works by one lawyer telling an extreme lie which conforms to what few small facts are known that supports his Client’s Story, and the other lawyer makes up an equally bold face lie that supports his own Client’s Story. The Theory is that the Truth is Somewhere in Between, but that is a Logical Fallacy, isn’t it? When everyone is Lying, then the Truth may be Inside or Outside of the Mendacious Arguments. So I don’t believe that the Researchers of that very fine Paper took into account just how far Self Interested People would go in their Production Arguments (with the proviso that I may have missed such a presentation in my too rapid glance over that Paper). Also the Researchers were using Ad Hoc Groupings of people for their Studies. Well, you can’t really Study Society using arbitrarily rounded up clusters of people who are only thrown together for 20 minutes and know they will never see each other again. Real World Social Groups are not like that at all. I was recently reading a dusty old Konrad Lorenz book that I had to buy on the Used Market, where he put forth the Argument that in Real World Social Groups, of primates, there is a very distinct Bias for Following the Leaders. He spoke of one experiment where the monkeys were given a very complex machine that would spit out bananas but only if a Monkey was able to pull levers and push buttons in a specific sequence. One low status Monkey was taken aside by the Researchers and given a Weekend Seminar on how to make the Magic Machine Spit Out Bananas and so he was able to go back to the Group on Monday morning and make the Machine give him a banana. Well, the Leader Monkey beat him over the head and stole his banana and then started waling on the machine with a stick to make it give up its bananas. So that is what all the other monkeys did also. Time and again the poor beaten down monkey would go back to the Magic Machine and go through his trained process to get a banana, and all of the other monkeys completely ignored him, except to steal his bananas, and then they would go back to waling on the Machine with their sticks. Now, if one were to have only read that Paper that we have referred to, you would expect that the Leader would have argued for beating the machine with a stick, and for the low status monkey to argue for giving all the monkeys some general ‘monkey see monkey do’ instructions on how to work the Machine in its own terms, and perhaps a third monkey would have argued to allow the Magic Monkey to keep his bananas while being coaxed in a friendly manner to procure bananas for everybody else. But that is not what happens. For the Leader to concede to an Underling would be to reassign Status, which he clearly resisted doing. We can infer that Real World Social Groups prioritize their collective decisions in regards to concerns that are not always entirely practical in the material sense, and that Social Groups often make their Decisions for merely Social, Status Related ‘reasons’.

A good example of this is in the Human Workplace. Don’t you wish you had a nickel for every time you heard anybody complain about “workplace politics”? Basically that kind of complaint is fueled by the perception that the Low Status Monkeys are being beaten up, get their bananas stolen by the Boss, and that the boss ignores all good sense because he prefers to operate the Business by beating the Machines with a stick, which is supported by all the brown-nosing kiss-butt monkeys, who get all the promotions. Now, yes, it is not like that everywhere. I have been in Good Organizations and I have been in Very Bad Organizations. I need to say that the Good Organizations are only about 20% of the Mix. Most Human Social Groups aren’t much better than the ordinary bunch of monkeys.

Oh, as an aside, you and your very interesting paper got me to thinking about the very First serious Historical Writing, that is, Thucydides’ “The Peloponnesian War” (of course there was Herodotus with his “Histories” which really did come first, but there were so many funny intriguing Stories and so many really strange ‘facts’ that I often wonder about his status as “Father of History” and not just the first ‘Screen Writer’ to do the ‘Based on Facts’ thing where any connection to actual facts had only to be loosely suggestive, such as getting all the Names right but all the Actions wrong). What we get in Thucydides is a great many of Debate Reconstructions (couldn’t have possibly been factual in the strict sense) which show a blend of the Social Group at least attempting to Decide upon matters rationally, while still allowing the truth to come through about the Clash between various Social Interests. But Thucydides did learn enough from Herodotus that his book also traces the careers of various very interesting ‘heroes’. You can easily realize that while 99.9% of Greek Literature disappeared out of Lack of Interest, Thucydides was transcribed and reproduced in so many libraries that it survived. Herodotus and Thucydides, though ostensibly writing None Fiction, wrote the first ‘Best Selling Page Turners’ in History… and it was about History. You need to wonder why no ‘Jane Austen’ turned up who could have really kicked their butts.

Well, enough for this Morning. My Math Table calls (though now I wonder what I am busting my butt for since I will be guaranteed at least a B when I finally do show up at College, where the hardest part will be just ‘showing up’… Oh, I remember, I actually want to TEACH Math. Math Courses for those who want to Teach are quite different from taking Math Courses because they are the ‘Gate Keeper’ Course Prerequisites for Vocational Engineering or Vocational Medicine, where one Engineer in 10 or one Doctor in 20 ever actually use any Advanced Math. You know, they say Artificial Intelligence is still years away from being as Smart as the Human Brain, but I would argue that I never yet heard a computer say that it took Calculus 10 years ago and now doesn’t remember a thing.
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#31

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:35 pm

The justice system is a great example. Both sides want to win the case. How often does the jury get it wrong? We do know there are times when innocent people are convicted and other times when guilty people go free, but how often? And how much more accurate at determining guilt or innocence is a group/jury able to perform over having 1 individual make the decision?

Research, both in criminology, in those that specialize in the study of group decision making and other fields time and time and time again demonstrate that overwhelmingly groups outperform individuals. Not always...as you eluded to there are cases of group think, etc. There are exceptions to the rule, circumstances under which individuals do outperform groups.

The paper is just a theory, with plenty of areas of which to be critical. I guess what I enjoy about the paper, my personal bias, is that it is one of the few theories out there that tries to explain why bias exists in the first place. Is it really a flaw or is there a reasonable explanation that explains how we universally are biased?
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#32

Postby Leo Volont » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:33 am

Hi Richard,

Well, you yourself admit that the Jury System is flawed. You pose the question of how often do they screw up, but there really is no answer to that, is there? What we DO KNOW is that the Jury System is impeded and limited because of the Gate Keeping the Judges are allowed to engage in regarding the Flow of Information to the Jury. It really ISN'T Trial by Jury when the Judges effectively get to Isolate the Jury in Dark Boxes and Feed them ONLY the Information he or she wants them to know. the Judges in effect work to direct the Jury to predetermined conclusions. Any actual Working Committee would not be under such constraints. So I prefer the European Model where Panels of Legalists decide cases and where no holds are barred. Oh, and this time I did not even mention how the American System depends on Lawyers who are professional Liars. There is the Adversarial approach that tends toward Extreme Attacks and Extreme Defenses where only the Jury is expected to believe any of it is 'True', and there is the Objective Approach where None-Interested Parties are concerned only with the Truth, I prefer Objectivity. I think the European approach is far closer to that than the British and American Models. Perhaps the American and British System could be fixed by Throwing the Losing Lawyer in Jail for having mendaciously deceived the Jury. After all, if we are assume that the Winning Lawyer told the sterling Truth, then we must assume that the Losing Lawyer was lying. Well, we can't have that, can we? If we implemented such a Policy soon every lawyer would either be in Jail or afraid to come out of his or her Hole, and we would no longer have a Problem, would we?
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#33

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:53 pm

British system, American system, both can improve. False convictions and/or the guilty not convicted happen in both. This probably varies by region/city/area to some degree. Same system used all over Britain, but different conviction rates in say London than Leeds.

Regardless, the point of the research demonstrates that even with regional variances, both systems of using a group verses an individual will come to a better overall judgment. In other words, a jury is most often better than a judge.
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#34

Postby Leo Volont » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:23 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:British system, American system, both can improve. False convictions and/or the guilty not convicted happen in both. This probably varies by region/city/area to some degree. Same system used all over Britain, but different conviction rates in say London than Leeds.

Regardless, the point of the research demonstrates that even with regional variances, both systems of using a group verses an individual will come to a better overall judgment. In other words, a jury is most often better than a judge.



Oh, I was thinking more about it. Why do we need a Judge at all? As I mentioned before, the Judges tend to keep the Jurors in a dark box and hogtied. In America Judges have the power to throw out Jury Verdicts and to declare 'Mistrials' whenever a Jury becomes rebellious and doesn't listen to Judges' Orders. The Overweening Supremacy of the Judge in the Courtroom, over the Jury, has often been adjudicated in the favor of the Jury, but sooner or later the Higher Courts will definitively side with the Judges. We REALLY don't have Trial by Jury. If we did then the Jury would have the power to call witnesses, issue subpoenas, and rule on admissibility of Evidence ... sort of like a Grand Juries. And, yes, I am not defending Single Judges over Jury Panels. Even in the European System the Magistrates often come in Panels of 3.

I know you like the Principle of Group Deliberation, and I do too. But the Jury System is not the greatest 'for instance' you could have picked to demonstrate the point. Surprisingly the Best Example of Group Deliberation I heard of recently came out of China. A few years back there was a Party Congress and the Committees got together and even those hostile to the Chinese System had to admit that the Committees were formed from Representatives from the Various Regions and Interests, and the Policies they adopted largely attempted to divide the 'Pie' evenly. Nobody got everything on their Wish List but Nobody felt so screwed over that they would wish to stir up a fuss. They seem to be doing better than a lot of Democracies where the Policy seems to be Winner Take All, and unless you are lucky enough to Vote for the Party that Wins, you end up not really being Represented at all. Losers are effectively disenfranchised.

We also have Boards of Directors that we may think of adding as an example of Group Deliberation. I would like to complain about them, but there are too many times that I know of where Boards had removed disastrous Chairmens and so I can't say they are all bad. I suppose the only problem I can suggest about Boards is the Selection Process. It seems to be a Country Club 'thing'. I wonder how many Board Members actually know what they are doing. Yes, they are Rich and they have Interests in the Businesses they are running, but all of their true Expertise may be in Golf, Tennis, Polo, Yachting, Modern Art and of course their Wine Cellars. With the Big Corporations the Board Members get scads of money just for 'sitting' a Board and many board Members are on multiple Boards. So I suspect that Being a Member of a Board is just a Devise the Super Rich have found to supplement the income from their dwindling Estates. It may also be a vestige of an Aristocratic America going back to before the Revolution. It is amazing how many Dutch names are in the rolls of the Corporate Directors. F. Scott Fitzgerald pointed out almost a century ago that America had a background Aristocracy, mostly Dutch (if you remember, New York used to be "New Amsterdam"... and it seems it still is). I don't think that went away. The only think strikingly noticeable about them is the lengths they go to not attract attention.

I would much rather have an Intellectual Elite running things. Here the Example would be Scientific Peer Review by tenured Faculty.
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#35

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:58 am

Leo Volont wrote:I would much rather have an Intellectual Elite running things. Here the Example would be Scientific Peer Review by tenured Faculty.


I don't recall it being me that first mentioned juries as an example. I thought you mentioned it and I said it was a good example. Maybe I was the one to mention it first? I agree it is not the finest example.

As for the scientific community and peer review, it is also a biased good ole boy system and very political with competing agendas. What gets published are research articles that support each other's work. Disagree, try to publish work contrary to the zeitgeist and you find your submissions rejected. I attend the American Education Research Association (AERA) conference where the latest "research" is suppose to be shared. It should be called AEPA, switching "research" for the term "political". Just the titles of the research alone are often hilarious as they "research" in of course a very scientific and unbiased manner with no agenda whatsoever, lol :lol: :roll: :roll:

Check out this link. You think LGBTQ issues in education is for purely scientific, academic, non political purposes? You think any research contrary to what is popular has any chance of being published? When hell freezes over.

http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/Trending-Research-Topics

Plato wanted an intellectual class to govern. I think like most ideologies they are better in writing than in practice.

Good discussion. I want to steer clear of politics and just ask, do you believe or agree with the underlying premise that generally speaking when it comes to making an informed decision groups tend to generally outperform individuals?
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#36

Postby Leo Volont » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:32 am

Hi Richard,

Oh, I did some more thinking about how Juries do not 'fit' with the example of a Deliberative Decision Making Process. First, Juries are held under duress. They are practically held prisoner. Secondly, they are expectedly to rule unanimously. In the Paper we refer to, it is considered a given that the deliberative and the evaluation processes should be somehow kept distinct, but expecting people to actively support One Bone of Contention only to turn around and reject it during Evaluation is asking for the Impossible. And, thirdly, what make the Impossible Possible is the substantial threat that they will not be allowed 'out' until they come to a unanimous decision. Oh, wait, that sounds like Reason Number One -- Duress. But the First constrains them in Space. the Third constrains them in Time. In one instance they are held Prisoner, in the other they are held Hostage.

Also, Jurors are not paid for their Time. Some people who serve on Juries suffer irreparable financial losses. I heard that the reason why so few Americans register to Vote is because it is widely believed that they form the Jury Pools from off of the Voting Registration Rolls. It is as though they have found a way to Punish people for Voting. So Juries have Internal Motivations for simply Hurrying It Up. "Let's Flip a Coin" has probably been said during countless Jury Deliberations... especially in the Bible Belt where it is felt that leaving it up to the Almighty would not be something that they would have to feel ashamed of.
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