Variations of the OODA Loops 2, The Naive Boydian Loop

Note: This is a selection from Variations of the OODA Loop, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06


It is not simply because of John Boyd that OODA is no longer just a word that means a type of bear.23 Chet Richards, John Boyd’s “flame-keeper,”24 is largely responsible for the world’s current knowledge of the OODA Loop. Boyd changed his OODA loop over time, creating two major versions.25 Thankfully, both Boydian OODA Loops are included in Dr. Richard’s Certain to Win power point presentation26

In describing the Toyota manufacturing process, also a theme of Richards’,27 Peter Dickson28 flawlessly describes the naive Boydian loop

Toyota and other fast-cycle companies resemble the World War II fighter pilots who consistently won dogfights, even when flying in technologically inferior planes. The U.S. Air Force found that winning pilots completed the so-called OODA loop — Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action — faster than their opponents. Winning pilots sized up the dynamics in each new encounter, read its opportunities, decided what to do, and acted before their opponents could.

The naive Boydian loop has the four familiar stages of observing, orienting, deciding, and acting,29 and always works in that order. No stage is skippable, and it is impossible to fall back to a previous stage without first continuing the loop.30 Dickson’s words are quoted from a Harvard Business Review article,31 indicating the wide reach of naïve Boydianism. Because decision is separate but subsequent to orientation,32 orientation in the naive Boydian model is often seen as merely a form of assessment.33 Because one’s orientation affects what one observes through feedback, orientation and observation together have been described as “epistemic reasoning – ie, reasoning about knowledge.”34

Variations of the OODA Loop, a tdaxp series:
Variations of the OODA Loop 1: Introduction
Variations of the OODA Loop 2: The Naive Boydian Loop
Variations of the OODA Loop 3: The Sophisticated Boydian Loop
Variations of the OODA Loop 4: Pseudo-Boydian Loops
Variations of the OODA Loop 5: Post-Boydian Loops
Variations of the OODA Loop 6: Bibliography

Thunder Pig Discovers 5GW

Murtha gets a Smackdown from a Marine,” by Bobby Coggins, Thunder Pig, 29 May 2006,

It’s always fun when one’s web community grows, like now when blogger ThunderPig asked, in an update to a post:

What? When did 5GW get invented?!?

Curtis Gale Weeks and PurpleSlog have already jumped into the mix. Thunder Pig is experimenting with the term right now. TP already has Coming Anarchy and ZenPundit on his reading list.

And tdaxp‘s Dreaming 5th Generation War, too.

ThunderPig, Welcome to the discussion!

Is Islam Too Dangerous For Europe?

Holland’s latest insult to Ayaan Hirsi Ali,” by Christopher Hitchens, Slate, 22 May 2006,

Europe’s Politics of Victimology,” by Fleming Rose, Blueprint Magazine, 27 May 2006,

I’ve criticized Europe’s attitude toward immigrants before, but it is clear that the gathering nightmare of Muslims non-assimilation in Europe isn’t only Europe’s fault. Europe appears to be incapable of melting those who do not wish to be melted into her cultures. Here are two excerpts, both courtesy National Review’s The Corner, of the Islamic Distopia in Europe:

From Christopher Hitchens:

In the two weeks since I wrote about the increasing isolation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch parliamentarian, her isolation has markedly increased. Dutch courts have already required her to vacate her home as a result of her neighbors’ petition to have her evicted, and she was on the verge of resigning her seat in the Dutch parliament and of requesting the right of residence in the United States. But this was not enough to satisfy her critics. A leftist news team in the Netherlands has broadcast an item about the way in which she had initially entered the country, and now the immigration minister has proposed stripping her of citizenship (and thus of her seat in parliament) as a result of the irregularities involved.

It will be delightful to have Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Washington. But the American Enterprise Institute, which has offered her a perch, is not the place where she is most needed. In Holland, every day, extremist imams preach intolerance and cruelty, and, when they are criticized, invoke the help of foreign embassies to bring pressure on the Dutch authorities. They face no risk of expulsion. In my youth, the action of lighting one person’s cigarette with another was called—don’t ask me why—a “Dutch f***.” I once heard a young lady, offered a light in those terms, respond loftily by saying, “Doesn’t say much for the Low Countries, does it?” No, it didn’t, and neither does this mean and petty harassment of a woman who has also redefined that old expression “Dutch courage.”

From Flemming Rose:

And yet the unbalanced reactions to the not-so-provocative caricatures — loud denunciations and even death threats toward us, but very little outrage toward the people who attacked two Danish Embassies — unmasked unpleasant realities about Europe’s failed experiment with multiculturalism. It’s time for the Old Continent to face facts and make some profound changes in its outlook on immigration, integration, and the coming Muslim demographic surge. After decades of appeasement and political correctness, combined with growing fear of a radical minority prepared to commit serious violence, Europe’s moment of truth is here.

Europe today finds itself trapped in a posture of moral relativism that is undermining its liberal values. An unholy three-cornered alliance between Middle East dictators, radical imams who live in Europe, and Europe’s traditional left wing is enabling a politics of victimology. This politics drives a culture that resists integration and adaptation, perpetuates national and religious differences, and aggravates such debilitating social ills as high immigrant crime rates and entrenched unemployment.

This has wider implications, as well. It may be unwise to admit Turkey to the EU, and anti-liberal Muslim violence is already changing the face of Europe.

Gods, Ghosts and Metaphors

Religion’s evolutionary landscape: Counterintuition,
commitment, compassion, communion
,” by Scott Atran and Ara Norenzayan, to be published in Behaviorial and Brain Sciences, 2003, (latest version published Behavorial and Brain Sciences 2004, from Gene Expression).

Razbib links to a draft (the latest version is forty bucks!) by “Religion’s Evolutionary Landscape” by Atran and Norzenzayan. Razbib is most interested in apparent, widespread acceptance of prototheology, or as he says

monotheists regularly aver belief in a god they can’t really conceive of, and when psychologists have them tell stories about gods in an impromptu situation where they can’t regurgitate stuff they’ve been drilled in the god(s) they describe is much more like a godling of the days of old than the omni-god of their theologians.

From my perspective, the article was most interesting for its unstated faith in modernity. For instance, the authors write that alternative models of religiosity are flawed because

They cannot
distinguish Marxism from monotheism, or secular ideologies from religious belief

Yet the distinction the authors are groping for, which relies on the existence of a “supernatural” world that differs from a natural one. Or as the authors write

Conceptions of the supernatural invariably involve the interruption or violation of universal cognitive principles that govern ordinary human perception and understanding of the everyday world.

The belief that the understanding the “supernatural” requires a different epistemology from understanding the “natural” one is far more modern, recent, and limited than the authors would believe.

As if to throw a bone for everyone, they even give Curtis of Phatic Communion something to chew on:

Science, like religion, uses metarepresentation in cosmology building, for example, in analogies where a familiar domain (e.g., solar systems, computers, genetic transmission) is used to model some initially less familiar system (e.g., atoms, mind/brains, ideational transmission). In fact, science and religion may use the same analogies; however, there is a difference in these uses. Science aims to reduce the analogy to factual description, where the terms of the analogy are finally specified, with no loose ends remaining and nothing
left in the dark: Atoms are scientifically like solar systems if and only both can be ultimately derived from the same set of natural laws. Whereas science seeks to kill the metaphor, religion strives to keep it poetic and endlessly open to further evocation. In religion, these ideas are never fully assimilated with factual and commonsensical beliefs, like a metaphor that metarepresents the earth as a mother but not quite, or an angel as a winged youth but not quite.

Read the whole thing.