Turkewitz SLAPP’d? (Or is it a reasonable request?)

Eric Turkewitz’s post “More on Dozier v. Public Citizen” ranks #8 in the Dozier Internet Law Top 25 Poll – Week 2. His work exposing corrupt lawyers online speaks well of his public mindedness. Further, as Mr. Turkewitz is himself a lawyer, he is able to inject legal knowledge into the discussion like few others can.

On an unrelated post about car rental immunity, he posted the AVIS logo alongside the Hertz logo, as both companies are effected by the ruling. AVIS asked him to stop. Now Turkewitz is asking other bloggers what they know about trademark law.

Rational Agency and Personhood

Reacting privately to my posts on Cognitive Development, Rational Moral Development, and the OODA Loop, an immensely valued critic wrote:

It remains unclear to me why you are skeptical of rational agency despite having no problem with rationality, metacognition, or other related concepts. My sense is that you see intelligence, and thus rationality, as residing mostly in automatic, domain-specific processes, and associate agency with more controlled and general forms of reasoning that you think are more likely to undermine rationality than to enhance it.

Since getting this email last week I’ve been tossing it around in my head. I think I agree.

People know much more than they can say. Our verbal descriptions most closely match our behavior when we are new at a task, and know it only as a series of steps. With practice we no longer think about those steps — we automate them — so that we can perform them mindlessly while thinking about other things

The human ability to think has two main purposes: to allow us to learn new thinks (reorientation) and disrupt the execution of already automated tasks (disorientation). That is, thinking is a tool that should be used when our orientation is insufficient for the actions we have to perform. Normally, we rely on anxiety, or disorientation produced by orientation, to tell us when we need to calculate a new path or go back and reorient ourselves for a later time. Metacognition is similar to anxiety, except that it’s controlled by decision instead of orientation.

So why am I skeptical of rational agency, the idea that being human means having well-thought-out reasons for one’s actions? Because the tool of thought is just that, a tool. Decision is a tool used by persons in situations where they are unable or undesirious of trusting what they already know — it is not the essence of personhood.

OODA Alpha, Part XIII: Conclusion

The Observe-Orient-Decide-Act, or OODA, loop is a model of human cognition. The OODA model is a dual processing theory that has two main circuits: Observe-Orient-Decide which is analogous to Level 1 processing, and Observe-Orient-Decide-Act which is a form of Level 2 processing. Within an educational context, one central insight of the OODA model is that an educator does not have to focus on decision, or conscious processing, to change actions. Two broad methods, reorientation and disorientation, are presented that operate by modifying or disrupting mental cognitive structures.

Three broad educational contexts are described. Instruction, or educating to some specific end, academics, or learner interaction supervised by an educator, and creativity, or the process of an educator preparing a learner to create new and useful products. For instruction and creativity, educators must focus on building the correct orientations within learners so they can learn. For academics, educators should use disorientation where appropriate in order to interrupt the natural behavior of learners to manipulate peer interaction. For creativity, educators should reorient learners so they possess the proper intrinsic motivation to be both well adjusted and successful.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

In search of a darwinian ratchet: the ANC, the PLO, and the RAF

Evolution is the change in frequency of variations over time. The evolution of species by means of natural selection was first described by Charles Darwin.

With this in mind, Fabius Maximus’s tak of a “Darwinian ratchet” makes no sense:

the success of Israel’s counter-insurgency strikes against Hamas and Hezbollah have resulted in a “Darwinian ratchet”.

Israel’s security services cull the ranks of the insurgency. This eliminates the slow and stupid, clearing space for the “best” to rise in authority. “Best” in the sense of those most able to survive, recruit, and train new ranks of insurgents. The more severe Israel’s efforts at exterminating the insurrection, the more ruthless the survivors.

Back to evolution. In terms of nature, evolution has no purpose, goal, or direction. Pace to the Nazis and the Stalinists, to the Social Darwinists and the Creationists, evolution is not directed toward rewarding the strong, the social, the smart, or the sinful. Evolution is merely the change in the frequency of variations of some aspect of things.

Evolution happens in the context of an environment. If the environment rewards those with high general intelligence with more offspring than those less gifted, one might see general intelligence vary upward in the next generation (perhaps at the cost of something else, such as short term memory). If the environment rewards those who are cautious and nervous, then presumably frequencies of neuroticisms might change.

Fabius appears to have a different notion of evolution. A “ratchet,” of course, is a tool that turns only one way. A “Darwinian ratchet” implies that evolution is determined to maximize some quality or trait, so that each new generation possesses more of it than the one preceding. One assumes that Fabius is looking to evolution to maximize, again and again, effective violence against Western societies..

But of course, evolution does not work this way, because the environment is not static. Even if the outside world remains the same, the population subjected to evolutionary forces will change, and as the population is part of the evolutionary landscape, the environment thus changes.

Fabius is concerned that Western violence against enemies of the West will ratchet up the fitness of our enemies, giving us more and more effective enemies. But of course, all that happens is that our activities alter their fitness landscape, leading to different proportions of different types of them. Take three examples of anti-Western forces subjected to continuous Western assault

  • The African National Congress

    The ANC began as a cookie-cutter Communist terrorist organization located in South Africa, aiming to bring down an economically productive yet antidemocratic ruling class. The South African government fought back, imprisoning the ANCs leaders, turning natural ANC allies against it, and generally engaging in Systems Administration duties. Fabius’s “Darwinian ratchet” would lead us to expect that the ANC became more and more virulent, but what actually happened was that the removal of ANC members capable of conducting guerrilla campaigns morphed the ANC into a peaceful democratic movement. The fall of Apartheid and the ANC victory brought something completely unlike what the ANC founders envisioned, and ushered in a new South African regime roughly as compatible with Western goals as the Afrikaner state that preceded it.

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization
  • “At first, we were refugees. Harmless. Now, we become fighters. Freedom fighters.” So Yasser Arafat rallied his troops, aiming to liberate the Palestinian people from Jewish and Hashemite occupation in Israel and Jordan. Once again, the West responded, offering hostility and partnership to the PLO in a bewildering series of deadly assaults. Again, the concept of a “darwinian ratchet” would lead us to believe that the PLO is now on the verge of achieving its objectives. But by the late 1990s the PLO had evolved into a corrupt rentier syndicate, completely unable to wage war on either of its historic enemies. When it tried in the Second Intifada it lost what freedom of maneuvered it had. The PLO is now protected by its old enemies from a reform movement (Hamas), in a divide-and-conquer strategy that makes true Palestinian statehood farther away than ever.

  • The Red Army Faction (Japan)

    But what if an enemy population adjusts to an increasingly hostile fitness landscape not by becoming soft and effective (the ANC), or soft and impotent (the PLO), but harsh and deadly? What if those reformists and crooks can be kept out, and the true believers are able to maintain power? Surely a “darwinian ratchet” will kick in then.

The radical wing of the RAF tried such a strategy, killing off the less radical half in a blood bath designed to weed out the disloyal. How it ends is predictable.

This is not to say that our enemies can’t win. Of course they can. But pseudo-scientific talk of darwinian ratchets and other mechanisms that guarantee us ten-foot-tall enemies do not help matters. They do not clarify the strategic environment or accurately capture reality. They are tools for myopic, conceited schools of analysis which imagines that we are so important that our enemies very thought and desire is for our harm (rather than their benefit).

Also in the blogsophere: A.E. defends his take, while Sean ponders a law of evolution.

Gravity, Dimensions, and xGW

Curtis’s latest post on 5GW is just brilliant. Take this section, which may be partial summarized by saying “The tug of gravity weakens expotential with the addition of each new dimension through which it may propogate”:

4GW defeats 3GW because of even more mobility: including even the option of moving among civilians or, indeed, among friendly forces. Additionally, 4GW begins to make better use of memetic engineering, or of altering observations to create kinetic responses in individuals thus oriented, kinetic responses possibly quite far from the 3GW force’s field of battle: another degree of dispersal of kinetics. The CoGs may include the morale of the population supporting the 3GW force; the CoGs may include destruction and murder within civilian populations, at any point civilians can be found.

5GW defeats 4GW by refining memetic engineering, mulitplying domains to be shaped, and thus operating outside the scope of the 4GW observational range. Changes which occur within an agricultural sector in a far removed nation-state (or T.A.Z.4 ) may ultimately lead to effects within the 4GW force’s acknowledged field of battle5 ; etc. Indeed, the 4GW force’s concept of the field of battle may be altered.

In each of these cases, the reason the previous generation fails against the newest generation is simply that the previous generational strategies cannot account for the new dimensions of the conflict, or were not formed to address the new dimensions. Rather, the previous generational strategies were formed to address the dimensions of the generation before, with no leap-frogging to x+2: When the goal is to win and the present exigencies are pressing, the need is only to be one-up, and resources will be targeted accordingly.

If there’s ever a book that compiles the best posts on 5GW/Generations of War (which there should be), Curtis’s latest post would need to be in it.

Read “X vs X: Boom and the Generations in Conflict” now.

2007 Dozier Internet Law Google Rankings – Week 2

Intro: It’s been more than a week since my first Dozier Internet Law Top 25 Poll, but I figured if I was ever going to do another, the time is now. The format is based on the NCAA College Football polls. The first time a domain is in Google’s results, I use the proper name. If it appears a second time, I use the domain URL. As Dozier Internet Law’s terms of use appear to forbid hyperlinks, DIL and related properties are not linked. “Others receiving votes” shows the pages that would need to appear for each of the Top 25 positions ot be hyperlinked. “Dropped from rankings” shows that that appeared last time but not this time.

Up front: The top ten is relatively stable, which is predictable given that this is a well covered news story. 7 of the top 10 results are in the same place, while only two sites are new to the top 20 (and both of those were in the last week’s top 15). The real competition is at the bottom of the poll, with 7 of the second-rate pages (11-25) being new to the poll. Some sites have fallen dramatically, but none so much as Jim River Report and jimriverreport.com, which each fell 7 places. Of the four remaining pages that are favorable to Dozier Internet Law, FindLaw fell one place and eWorldWire fell three. While it is not surprising that 6 of the pages that fell out of the poll ranked 18 and below, the stunning drop of Slashdot from #7 to not even receiving votes represents a meltdown worthy of Bill Callahan.

The Dozier Internet Law Top 25 is below the fold…

Name This Week Last Time Change
Dozier Internet Law, PC 1 1 holds
cybertraillawyer.com 2 2 holds
tdaxp 3 3 holds
tdaxp.com 4 4 holds
Ars Techncia 5 5 holds
Blog of M’Gath 6 12 +6
FindLaw 7 6 -1
New York Personal Injury Lawyer 8 8 holds
CLP 9 9 holds
Plagiarism Today 10 13 +3
Yahoo! Delicious 11 ( – ) new
del.icio.us 12 ( – ) new
J-Walk Blog 13 ( – ) new
I Hate Linux 14 16 +2
ihatelinux.blogspot.com 15 17 +2
Phatic Communion 16 14 -2
Jim River Report 17 10 -7
jimriverreport.com 18 11 -7
Dreaming 5GW 19 15 -4
Topix 20 ( – ) new
Public Citizen 21 ( – ) new
eWorldWire 22 19 -3
Code Prairie 23 ( – ) new
pubcit.typepad.com 24 20 -4
WordPress 25 ( – ) new

“Others Receiving Votes:” Patry Copyright Blog, Dozier Internet Law Sucks, Infomercial Blog, dreaming5gw.com

“Dropped From Rankings:” Slashdot (7), newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog (18), Blog Feeds World (21), dreaming5gw.com (22), NewsBlaze (23), CNN.com (24), newsroom.eworldwire.com (25)