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Explanation of the 2012 election results

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Socratic Method is one of the oldest and most respected forms of productive debate. There are many unproductive methods. All of which should be avoided. Socratic method is a very old and respected means to quickly and definitively resolve difficult issues by adhering to rules of conversation which are carefully designed to keep the discussion on track and drive it toward rapid and unreserved conclusion. Conclusion is reached when after carefully selecting questions designed to spotlight an affirmation's error, no one involved in the conversation is any longer willing to dispute the rationality of the affirmation.

Wikipedia on Socratic Method

In this way, conclusion is forced upon those who remain in disagreement, but have no rational reason for their disagreement. One remaining in disagreement is forced to admit "I still disagree, but fail to provide a reason for my disagreement which others perceive as rational." The irrationality of his or her position becomes obvious to those involved in the conversation.

For this reason Socratic Method is very unpopular with politicians who often desire to remain uncommitted on some issues.

How do I comment in Socratic Method if I disagree?

Do not pose an alternate position or attempt to show that there is a better way to handle the issue. This is the error most make in debate. Nothing ever ends up resolved because both sides continue supporting their respective and opposing views and neither view is refuted. Neither party has any reason to concede. Neither party finds it intellectually embarrassing to continue supporting their original position.

First, make sure you disagree. An argument is not won with fancy words, but by discovering the winning side before choosing your position. Is your position winnable? If not, accept it and change your mind, otherwise Socratic Method will reveal your irrationality to others. Once you've answered that, list the assumptions upon which the affirmed statement rests, and which if shown to be false, make the affirmed statement's error obvious to others.

Restate that assumption in language and terminology which make the affirmation's reliance upon the assumption obvious and ask those affirming if they agree with the assumption.

If the assumption is specious, wait to point out the assumption's flaw in your second question after those affirming answer their agreement with the assumption. Post "Considering that you agree with that particular assumption, do you also agree with its obviously erroneous implication, thus.....?

If you have difficulty finding an erroneous assumption or an error of conclusion implied by assumptions made in the affirmation, double check that you still disagree. You may find, to your surprise that you agreed with the statement all along. You just didn't think about it carefully enough at first.

"He didn't.  He just got lucky."
say some

If one knows when his guesses are likely correct and when they are not likely correct, is that still guessing?

If we did not use the electoral college, predicting the winner with any confidence would have been impossible.

     50%          75%          90%          100%     
This graph was produced by a bunch of geeks at 270towin.com  I recongnized its validity instantly by the scallops in the probability curve.  This graph was not produced by journalists nor by someone who just thinks he is rational.  This graph is the real thing.
Obama 274-308 263-319 245-335 202-366
Romney 230-264 219-275 203-293 172-336

As one can see, Obama's victory was a mathematical inevitability arising from the constraints imposed upon voters by the electoral college.  That is not to say, the electoral college is deleterious.  It only means that it makes outcomes more predictable.  In a sense, it works to derive order from chaos.  What I did not expect was that the rational probabilities did not become evident immediately.  Of course, that expectation was not rational.  Only the prediction itself was rational and valid.

Obama trailed Romney all night until three minutes before Obama was declared winner with 332 to Romney's 206 electoral votes.  The popular vote did not follow the prediction until 1:30am.  Ending with 61,312,353 votes for Obama to Romney's 58,237,535. "Looks like slender but conclusive popular vote win, decisive electoral win for Obama." The whole thing came off like a suspenseful ball game, making my choice of predictions look much better than I probably really am.

The popular media method was merely guessing. Guessing seems to be their preferred means of prognostication, but they didn't think it was guessing; and most people don't know any other way.  It hurt me to watch.  They were like children, both the Dem and Rep pundits.  They sorted between what they called certainties and what they thought were less likely.  They decided that some arguments held water and others did not.  This is not what rational thinkers do.  This is gibberish.  These were children playing, but they are the best respected news professionals in the country. Very painful for someone who is rational to watch.

One argument says Romney will win because of blah blah blah and another says Obama will win because of different blah blah blah.  Most think the smart person is the one who can figure out which arguments contain the correct facts.  This is not rational thinking.  This is throwing darts and guessing at where the dart will hit.

Think about it for a minute.  The smart one is the one who throws the dart at the biggest target.  Reframe the question.  Don't ask "whose gonna win?"  Ask instead "what metrics define winning?"  And the answer is not "who ever gets the most votes."  That is just restating the question:  "Who will get the most votes?"

The answer always lies within the question.  Rational questions contain the answer.  Irrational questions contain no answers.  That is how we tell the difference.  The facts referenced by arguments are completely irrelevant.  For the question of election results, only the results of the electoral college are relevant.  Whatever sociological reasons people have for voting one way or another all cancel out.

If we did not use the electoral college, predicting the winner with any confidence would have been impossible.  The question is how will the electoral college apportion the votes to each candidate.  Don't get lost in the reasons people vote for one candidate over another.  That is irrelevant. It won't tell you anything.  It can only lead one down a confusing rabbit hole. First, we must carefully and rationally describe how the electoral collage apportions votes.

48 states plus DC gives all or nothing.  While two states portion their electoral votes.  Portioning out can be restated as a) all to one candidate b) most to one candidate and some to the other c) equal amounts to both d) most to the other candidate and some to the one or e) all to the other.

For each of 49 states all other 48 can do the same.  This condition is the same for each of the 2 states individually.  English is a poor language for unambiguous statements.  In concise language:

2 choices raised to the power for 49 states each for each of 5 choices raised to the power for 2 states resolves to 14,073,748,835,532,820 permutations  or =2^49*5^2

Completely regardless of how people vote, there are only 14 million billion possible different permutations of electoral college votes.  Just that alone does almost all the work for us.  It reduces the possible outcomes of 164 million voters from 19448804733427103717480683205494000 (followed by 49,368,885 zeros) possible outcomes to only 14 million billion, but it gets better.  All of those 14 million billion outcomes or permutations must be distributed among only the number of different possible electoral vote distributions or combinations.  We have just used rational restatements of the question to reduce a virtual infinity of possibilities to few enough combinations that a computer can look at each one.

Once we eliminate the combinations for those voter choices  of which we can be very sure, we can further reduce the possibilities to only millions.  Graph that and we get the graph above.

Notice the scallops in the probability curve.  This probability curve looks far different than any other most have ever seen, which smoothly transition from one value to the next.  Instead a rational evaluation shows that the probability of victory for either candidate does not increase nor decrease smoothly.  That is because the combinations of permutations do not have obvious implications.  Some combinations are constituted of far more permutations than others.  These non-obvious relationships cause complex turns in the probability curve.

This is similar to the many irrational analyses given several times on TV last night.  As journalists examined Romney's dilemma which was revealed more and more as the night went on, they said "There just aren't many scenarios left which lead to a Romney win."  They were on the right track, but what they didn't realize is that they were examining only the scenarios which became obvious to them.  Since there are millions of billions, they had no reasonable way of determining if the scenario of interest to them was really any more or less likely than any other.  They used unreliable heuristics regarding voter likelihoods to guess.  What seemed like very reasonable and safe assertions were in reality guesses.  That is the problem with heuristics.  It is right 90% of the time, but when it is wrong, it provides no hint whatsoever that one is about to fall off the cliff.

They also did not realize that they could have used that method from the very beginning.  This method can not be used in every election, since all elections do not have enough voter choices of high confidence.  Use it first to find out if the election is predictable or not.

Most smart people think they are rational, but it turns out that most are not.  If you are rational than you use a systematic method for differentiating rational statements from irrational statements.  If your method is "Well... a rational statement just makes sense to me," then you are not rational.  If you want to know what "rational" means you can just google the word and my name "rational jerry wickey" one of my explanations will be the first result or just link here
There is another way of looking at this, akin to finding the differential of the function.  Before we had computers which can look at a billion combinations in detail, we had to state the function very carefully and work out its differential.

The Hebrew prophets effectively worked out the differential for sociological functions.  Or they were given those differentials by God Himself as they claim.  Either way they provide demographic insight regarding the peoples who, five thousand years ago, started the governmental system that runs the world today.  They predict and show the inevitability of that demographic increasing and decreasing in population and its economic and governmental impact on the world over time.  Sort of a future history of mankind as in Asimov's Foundation series where the importance of the event made its prediction easier.

If you believe that the human mind is magical and could never be understood by the ancients, then don't link here to read about the Hebrew prophets, you won't get anything out of it.

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Your Comment:         March 20, 11pm


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