Monday, April 28, 2014

The Chief Difference Between Science & Other Human Enterprises Such As Economics, Warfare & Politics Is That Brilliant Blunders In Science Are Less Costly.

   (Commentary posted by Roger Erickson.)

Revisiting Freeman Dyson's book review: 
The Case for Blunders

This is a useful lesson - with two relevant postulates - for those interested in the public utility of political economic & economic policy lobbying.
Postulate #1: Disastrous [aggregate] decisions are most often the result of influential people pursuing partisan squabbles and neglecting the long-range interests of electorates?
I'll wager that few experienced REAL scientists would argue with that conjecture, and few experienced military strategists either. (Almost all economists simply don't count, since they ONLY make theories, and NEVER realistically test them, let alone adjust them in real-time to ages old - let alone emerging - operational results.)
Postulate #2: This illness of factional friction vs aggregate coordination is a disease to which governments - and electorates - of all kinds, including democracies, are fatally susceptible?
Of course. Any arguments? Hardest thing for any aggregate to do is both grow it's numbers AND better organize them ... simultaneously.

So the $100 question is how to stop beating our aggregate head against that distributed wall?

How do we reduce our susceptibility to that fatal, distributed tendency for aggregate policy development practices to dissociate vs further coordinate?

Any suggestions? Hint. I'll also wager that the most productive adaptive step we could make most likely involves some recursive process tuning. Where? Working on a process step buried somewhere near 5 steps back (plus or minus 2?) in our interleaved, "cultural-recombination" development cycle for raising new citizens. 

Here's one of many possible approaches, asking "why" 5 times in succession, to arrive at one fundamental blunder in our approach to constantly refining aggregate education.

Step -1) Why do we have ossified policies?
(Because we don't approach aggregate policy as a rigorous, outcomes-based science?)

Step -2) Ok, so why DON'T we practice aggregate policy as real science (outside the occasional scientist or military general)?
(Because most policy staff NEVER learn the scientific method, nor appreciate it?)

Step -3) Ok, so why do electorates select politicians who have no grasp of aggregate policy as a science, not just sociopathic horse trading?
(Because electorates aren't educated well enough to explore aggregate options more scientifically?)

Step -4) Ok, so why aren't all voters previously steeped in enough system science and aggregate policy-selection science to select better political "leaders" - instead of settling for lawyers competing to avoid local risk for non-cooperating factions?
(Because scientists and system scientists in particular don't get enough training or practice at crossing traditional boundaries and applying well known scientific methods & insights to tuning emerging policy questions, and also to circumventing non-scientific social taboos?)

Step -5) Ok, so why aren't more citizens trained to audaciously apply available scientific methods & insights to existing and emerging policy questions?
(Because our education system trains all students in constraining, task-oriented service habits, instead of aggregate-outcome-based teamwork. We are still Context Nomads, wandering into new contexts every year, but we no longer train our own children to embrace the full-spectrum task of approaching net-context exploring ALL aggregate options. We've balkanized our own electorate, by training all citizens as specialists who tend to know more & more about less & less, until too many know everything about next to nothing?)
In short, one suggestion - out of many options - is to go back to OBT&E, and find any & all ways to KEEP that approach, throughout all aspects of cultural education. Humans were successful nomads throughout history. Surely we can reclaim enough of those skills to remain successful Context Nomads.

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