Willard on Curry

Slightly edited chat transcript. Several interesting points came up.
willard: hello Dr. Tobis
willard’s new status message – home 2:03 PM

me: hey

willard: …
how are you doing?

me: A bit freaked out

willard: you deserve it, you know that

me: deserve to be freaked out?

willard: yes
you should not have made two posts into one

me: agree
I did break the ice

willard: lol
that reminds me of my friend
who is still a virgin

me: got the serious people to say out loud what they have all been thinking

willard: that’s not the way to break the ice
a better way is to ask questions
Judith commits the same mistake
she’s not questioning the IPCC
she simply asserts that they goofed
whence all she criticizes is her own reading of what they say

me: well, the question is really what is making her tick; perhaps I shouldn’t have raised it (I knew many would disapprove)
to some extent I disapprove myself

willard: i understand what you’re trying to do, mt
you would sacrifice yourself to save us
JC’s not worth your Christian sacrifice

me: I don’t actually relish being crucified
but she’s a big enough target to be worth taking a little damage

willard: i doubt it
she’s a junior
she can blame her inexperience

me: she is not

willard: you know what i mean

me: she is the chairman of the atmospheric sciences department at a major university

willard: yes

me: if she were not, nobody would pay her the slightest attention

willard: i agree
but that’s not the way to take down a big boss
you have to show respect
bow before the blow
you tried to beat a hand you don’t know
if she can formalize what she means, you’re dead

me: well 1) James agrees with me that she can’t
and James is the real expert

willard: i know

me: 2) if she does I capitulate, and she adds something to the arsenal of thought
so at least there is a helpful result

willard: your reputation will take hit points

me: the chance that she has not made any error at all is zero, I think

willard: i understand
still, these are minor glitches
she’s commiting the hermeneutics fallacy

me: too catholic for me
you must explain

willard: she’s overinterpreting
she basically is criticizing one figure
where they don’t spell out what they really mean, formally
so, yes, she’s right at least for saying that it’s not formalized
and perhaps a bit inconsistent
if formalizing is a problem
then she needs to offer out to do that
hence the flag
but the flag
is underspecified
what’s the logic behind it?

me: worse
it is inconsistently specified

willard: Nullius in Verba says it’s Bayesian

me: I haven’t read NiV’s position yet

willard: you still can understand what she means, can’t you?

me: Not in a consistent way

willard: if you can, say so

me: As James says
“While it might be possible to reverse-engineer some semblance of sense into some of her statements regarding it, they are mutually incoherent”
that statement by James is a very good summary of what I am saying

willard: i know

me: It is not communication to use the same device to mean different things at different times
willard: facing incoherence, one has a choice
asking questions
pointing out the logical mishaps
staying respectful
if you do this like a gentleman

me: I will be ignored

willard: she can’t respond by saying you’re a thug
she can’t ignore logical arguments for long

me: I can’t be a thug. She’s a department chairman. She has vastly superior powers to my own.

willard: you are rough on her

me: Yes. Rude.

willard: you are judging her
her person

me: Yes. I am afraid you are right.
I am sure she is a pleasant person.
I hate to do this.
But her behavior is so irresponsible that somebody needs to say it.
And since I have less to lose than most, it might as well be me.

willard: i understand, mt
you should call her
it’s important that it gets personal
now that it is
only live voice will make you feel what’s she’s up about
you want to know what she’s looking for, aren’t you?

me: An interesting suggestion
willard: ask her

me: I do not know that she would take the call

willard: yes, she would
she’s a tough one
she can manage confrontation
she won’t be able to resist you
practice your texin accent and she’ll understand that you mean well
no, let’s not dream
at the very least, settle your different in a noble way
share your mutual concerns
you can tell her things that won’t get published
Tom will be furious if you can survive this
you can’t say that i don’t have any argument there

me: I am not sure what objective I have in this proposed conversation

willard: 1. you mean well
2. you wish to understand her pov
3. you think that she lacks a sense of responsibility
you can’t say 1-2-3 over the internetz

me: you just did

willard: chatting is not blogging

me: all I need is your permission to post the transcript

willard: you have it

me: cool.

me: I don’t know whether she thinks she is serious
either a) she really thinks she is making a contribution to statistical reasoning or b) she is being cynical

willard: cross out b

me: I think a is vastly more likely
but others think otherwise

willard: she really is discovering quantified reasoning
scientists are jejeune, sometimes

me: under a we have a1) she is making some kind of sense but nobody with any basis in statistics can make any sense of it or a2) she is making no sense and thinks she is

willard: like athletes who have a big right arm
but no legs
what i mean is the breadth
of humanities
she just discovered Peirce!

me: yes, she is amazingly naive sometimes

willard: that’s how i portray scientists

me: but what is her strength?

willard: she’s naive
brings idealism
nobility of heart

me: ah, yes
I see what you are saying

willard: revolutionary

me: she is a Shakespearean character

willard: you have not reread Hamlet, haven’t you?

me: not recently

willard: i told ya
all is there
all is in Moby Dick too
yes, she seems to believe that the IPCC is bullying away minoritarian standpoints

me: whatever truth there may be to that
and there may be some
her arguments make no sense

willard: lol
you can’t criticize a nonsensical argument, michael

me: what does that mean?

willard: you can only say it makes no sense
I had to sign out at that point.


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