The supreme, most ultimate post on Bayes’ Theorem (maybe)
This was originally posted by cyborgbutterflies on tumblr, and I’m reproducing it here because it’s enormously important.
In this post, I’ll share some of my favorite resources to understand this hugely important statistical method for finding truth and being correct. This method is so great and powerful that the scientific method is a specific case of Bayesian reasoning.
Maybe you can join us a…
So far, I have been enjoying the Adventures of Business Cat a great deal, possibly more than is appropriate for an adult human. (All of these are from the webcomic Happy Jar)
UPDATE: Now with more Business.
YES ALL THE BUSINESS CAT STRIPS IN ONE PLACE
However, utilitarianism doesn’t actually say you shouldn’t eat the cheese. I mean, if you weren’t eating this cheese, would that magically make someone who wanted it more than you suddenly have it?
Utilitarianism says you do…
Start the song when you read. Take your time and go slowly. The narrative is supposed to correspond somewhat with the music.
From where I’m standing I could see almost all of the Mojave. It’s actually many times larger than this, but the view is fascinating nonetheless. This desert rarely gives you such moments of fulfillment. Usually you’re terrified of raiders, ghouls, and large creatures looking to lay their eggs in your abdomen. New Vegas is the beacon of light in these dead lands. Its luminescence comforts me even from here, inviting me to slumber soundly in its hospitable walls. But it was that consolation I sought to see beyond. Whenever I spoke of adventuring outside the walls I was usually met with derisive remarks. I understand why though. Behind their laughter was apprehension, and in their own misguided way they were attempting to discourage me from what they considered to be suicide. The only time I was ever taken seriously, a distraught NCR soldier who reeked of stale beer described a grotesque encounter with vapid demeanor. On a search mission to investigate rumors of a raider encampment, his squad was intercepted by a roaming deathclaw. Despite their combined firepower, it still eviscerated 3 of them, only him and another surviving. He then revealed a sickening scar that traced from the edge of his right pelvis across to his left pectoral. Apparently its pinky claw scathed him, and that was the result. His squad mate wasn’t as lucky. She had succumbed to an infected arm. Admittedly, for a while I reconsidered leaving, but I was reassured when I was told that deathclaw encounters are rare. Now I didn’t just stupidly rush into danger without knowledge of the risks. From childhood I studied as much as I could and prepared for anything I might run across. I accumulated hundreds of various medical supplies, weapons, and books as well as firsthand advice from real adventurers. I took short trips beyond the walls, and accompanied experts at a small price. I closely observed everything around me and documented my findings. I compared notes and formed hypotheses. I did experiments and discovered more than anyone else around me. Now here I am atop a rocky hill admiring everything from whence I used to glance wistfully at behind walls. But nighttime has crept upon me now, and I must be wary. I make my way back down the hill, returning to a safe point I prepared a few weeks ago. It is so dark that I’m forced to take a detour, because the original path upward is too difficult to traverse. Even though the air is still I shiver slightly from the cold. It‘s dangerous to lose track of time as I‘ve foolishly done. Fortunately there are few known nocturnal predators in the open Mojave. After about half an hour I reach the foot of the hill and relax for a minute. But my terse moment of respite is cut short by the startling sound of what seems like the exhaling of a large beast. It must be my imagination, because no creature’s eyes glow like the ones I‘m staring at. I rise slowly, and my heart seems to beat just as slowly as I struggle to control my body. What feels like sleep paralysis is just my body’s natural response to danger. I decide against running, knowing that whatever wishes harm upon me will catch me. Watching the beast, without blinking or moving suddenly, I see its gaze is fixated on me, and sense that its concentration doesn’t bode well. My breathing halts in response to its nearing hand, boasting sharp claws. All thoughts cease and a surge of energy runs through my body. Fight or flight mode is initiated without my permission and I sprint faster than I’ve ever done before. Immediately I hear its powerful feet pounding after me. Not in control of my body, my hands deftly activate a mine and tosses it a few feet above me. A doom-portending bellow unlike anything I’ve heard convinces my legs to move faster than I originally thought was capable. An ear deafening explosion goes off what I guess to be a few yards behind me, muffling a disgustingly demonic howl of pain. I fly forward onto my stomach, winded by the fall. Fighting to face my demise I turn over with a great deal of difficulty to see a deathclaw fleeing back the way it chased me. My ears ring as a warm liquid oozes out of them, and unconsciousness seizes me.
Decisions Must Be Made
All you do is whine and complain. You’re a weak crybaby.
“How dare you!? You don’t know what I’ve been through!”
I know you have first-world privilege.
“That doesn’t invalidate my problems. Who do you think you are? How is that supposed to change anything?”
I don’t suppose your sniveling attitude is supposed to either, but you have a point. My approach wasn’t conducive to your betterment, and it only led to this dispute. However, had I not provoked you where would we be?
“You didn’t need to be a fucking asshole about it. You could have just asked me what’s wrong and how you could help.”
And where would that have gotten us?
“That’s none of your business. Let me worry about it. I didn’t ask for your help.”
No, but you complain about it so openly you must either be ignorant to the receptivity of others, or you want attention. Regardless of whichever it is you’re learning a lesson or you’re getting attention.
“It’s not your job to teach me shit. You’re just arrogant.”
You could just block me or something. You have the power to do that. The fact that you remain indicates that you’re somewhat invested in this interaction. Whatever that reason is, I don’t know. We’re both interacting for a reason. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Morals are subjective, too, and if you don’t agree that also doesn’t change anything.
“I don’t fucking care. Just leave me alone.”
So you can resume your unproductive, self-pitying, distressful life? I may not care about how you’re feeling right now, but that’s because I value something greater than that. To accuse me of stepping over the line is too cliche. Perhaps I might be, but I wouldn’t know if you don’t teach me otherwise. As humans, our most developed capability is that of communication, and in an era where population density is ever rising it is inevitable that conflicts like these would occur. You seem to be incapable of handling that, as you are with many other stressors. I certainly agree that it’s not my place to be admonishing you, but admittedly it is my lack of better knowledge that convinced me this was the best decision to make. My intention is to expose the reality of our conditions in life, however much of an asshole I may be. But that’s fine, because it’s just a perception of me. If at the end of the day you have grown a bit, then I don’t mind at all.
“But why bring it up this way? You could have been nicer about it.”
You, like most other insecure people, have a tendency of avoiding these things. Whether you are lazy, unmotivated, scared or something else, you remain avoidant of such complications until you’re back in a corner and forced to take action. I’m just trying to corner you. Afterwards I will accept the repercussions my wrongdoing, because my intentions don’t justify my actions, especially not when I’m conscious of their impact. However, for now my primary concern is that you face these issues.
“I could’ve dealt with them another time on my own.”
And you would have had to deal with the crippling effects of prolonged distress. Such a thing, if chronic, will practically debilitate you so when the time finally does come you’re in horrible condition, and certainly more inclined towards evading it becauseof your condition. Trust me it only gets worse if you procrastinate.
“Why couldn’t you just be more friendly about it?”
I wish it didn’t have to be this way either, but it could be much, much worse. It would take too much time, energy, and effort to do it that way. As I’ve explained before you would still try to be avoidant. Imagine how many times I would have to lay off and resume again another day without compromising your mood or our relationship. It’s really not worth it, and so you know I’m no altruist. I’m not going to sacrifice my health or go that far for you, but I’m not going to just drop it either. Again, this seems to me to be the best solution. In reality there are never easy ways out, and there are always displeasing choices we’re going to have to make. I accepted that, and you have yet to.
Life is hard, people. Get over it, but don’t quit. You’re always going to have to make difficult decisions, and you’re always going to be faced with some difficult predicaments. Not everything is as awful as it seems, really.
Turning Over a Very Big Leaf
I used to spend my free time dedicating myself to some delusional undertaking of genuinely bettering the lives of others. I thought that there could be no better pursuit. I would ponder the difficulties others had to face and wonder how I could be of use. I examined myself critically and purged any habits, beliefs, and feelings that would cause me to hurt or hinder anyone else. I tried to see the world through other people’s eyes and even adopt their beliefs or undergo their tribulations. Self-discipline and self-criticism were very important to me. I even imposed those expectations upon others. And why? Well the reasoning is if you hate what is done to you, then you should be strong enough to make a difference where you can; this required that you discard your ego and your selfish desires. I kept following these principles, but it eventually grew too complicated. I was willing to accept the ordeals I must face, but I faltered where others would diminish my faith in their potential. Admittedly I was far from perfect. I always tried to be humble, even though I was often merciless and punishing. I had to refrain from misdeed, which was driven by my principles. Yet each success was overshadowed by two failures or shortcomings. I fought with myself wondering whose fault it was, where the blame would be placed. I couldn’t blame the ones I was trying to help even though they were making plenty errors themselves. I know it wasn’t my responsibility, but if we could make a difference, why shouldn’t we try? I was met consistently with a slap in the face. I still wonder if I was just too obsessive and not strong enough to accept harsh reality. I sought serenity and instead received more disharmony. If only I hadn’t tried too hard and meddled when I wasn’t supposed to. I’ve tried too hard to do all the right things, but I’m no Superman. I guess now my only last regret is that others didn’t try harder to be more understanding and quit being such shallow and cowardly losers. But maybe I’m one of them now. So I suppose this is where I draw the line. I admit I’ve done plenty wrong, but that doesn’t stop me from hating so many people and repeating, “If only…” Wonder where life’s going to lead me now. Wherever it is it’s a place with less hope, and I don’t know if that’s good or bad, nor do I really care anymore.