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Principles of Applied Epistemology (APPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY)
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Grant



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Surely Hitler’s biggest mistake was making it clear that in the brave new world he was creating the Slavs were going to be slaves. At least he admired the Jews in a funny old way! He managed to unite the whole of Russia against him
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Mick Harper
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This was Goebbels' view. He pleaded with Hitler to be nice (or at any rate not tremendously nasty) to all the Russian minorities who, the evidence suggests, would have taken the Nazis over the Commies any day of the week. But he lost out to Frank due (on my reading anyway) to the froideur between Adolf and Joseph over Magda (Goebbels). On the other hand Herr Hitler (to you, squire) didn't need a lot of convincing.

Would it have been enough? I don't think so. The (Great) Russians -- I speak technically not approvingly -- did win in a canter in the end. If only Hitler had been like Napoleon and created a true Grande Armée. But we are just coming to that...
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Mick Harper
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[Out of sequence]

The Russians deliberately attacked Germany’s allies, namely Romanians, Hungarians, and Italians, because they predicted that they would not have the strength of the Germans. The attack took place on November 23, 1942, encircling the Sixth Army.

This is a bit misleading. The Germans used their allies in quiet sectors and the Russians attacked the quiet sectors. As in any encirclement battle.

About 250,000 Romanian soldiers, poorly equipped and fed, grouped in two armies (3rd and 4th), flanked the German 6th Army to the north and south.

Like I said.

At the end of the battle that turned the tide of the war, 158,854 casualties were recorded by Romania (dead, wounded, missing), representing two-thirds of the troops. It was the greatest disaster in the history of the Romanians, and the Germans blamed the Romanian Army for the failure at Stalingrad.

More than misleading (of the Germans, not the author). If the Germans had used their own troops to man the quiet sectors who would they have left to fight the war? The Romanians, by the way, vied with Germany's other main ally, the Italians, as the worst soldiers of the war. The Hungarians were terrific soldiers when fighting for Austria-Hungary in 14-18 but not when fighting for Hungary in 41-44. Perhaps being the only land-locked country in history to have an admiral (Horthy) leading them had something to do with it.

The fourth of Germany's allies, the Finns, were the best soldiers of the war but were not involved in Stalingrad. Being a democracy, (oh yes, there were dictators and democracies on both sides) they chose their own wars. And they chose not to be of any help to Germany once they had got their land back in 1941 (lost to Russia in the Winter War 1939-40). Stalin uncharacteristically forgave them though they did have to give their land back, if you see what I mean.
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Mick Harper
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History is often a matter of identifying goodies and baddies and Hitler is a baddy.

Hitler, who believed himself to be a military genius...

So did Churchill and Stalin. The only leader who left everything to the military was Roosevelt and that meant decisions that were even worse.

...ordered the Sixth Army not to withdraw, even if it was to be completely surrounded. This boldness of Hitler (from the comfort of his own office, far from the front and reality) made the generals unable to take action depending on the context on the front.

The other leaders lived in tents in the middle of the fighting. But the Battle of Stalingrad is all about this one decision. And it was a completely normal decision. The Germans had just done it with complete success earlier that year, the British did it at Imphal, the Americans did at at Bastogne. It was the wrong decision, that is true, but ordering a withdrawal would have meant conceding defeat in that year's main offensive. That could only mean one thing for the eventual outcome of the war. Staying put meant it would be seen as a success with everything still to play for. What would you have done?
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Mick Harper
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A couple of nice illustrations of the AE principle "Is it true of you?'' from today's offerings from Medium.com. The Out of Africa theory that dominates all discussions about human origins, needless to say more for political reasons than evidential ones, breaks the rule in the form of THOBR's dictum: people always seem to come from places they would not ordinarily go to. This sort of applies to Africa as a whole but definitely applies to the Great Rift Valley, the current fave, but which may be replaced by the even more God-forsaken swamps of Botswana: https://medium.com/the-atlantic/has-humanitys-homeland-been-found-d35cc161f6f6

That was culled from the devastatingly respectable The Atlantic but this one seems to be entirely Medium-grown and is significant because nobody has or will bat an eyelid. The clue is in the URL https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/what-we-do-with-our-spare-time-isnt-nearly-as-strange-as-what-our-ancestors-did-5a18d136cec4 It divides into two halves: things we would find so strange they are obviously bogus history, and things that are so familiar they are not in the least strange.
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Mick Harper
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The basic mechanism of epistemology is "we believe that which makes us happy". It follows then that the basic mechanism of Applied Epistemology is ... um ... '''believing that which makes us unhappy"? Hardly. Perhaps something like "believing that which makes other people unhappy"? That would be mere contrarianism. Besides you can't force yourself to believe anything.

All this arises from my recent experiences of the 'clap culture' on Medium.com (and I observe the same phenomenon with Hatty's battles on Facebook and Twitter). If I say something arresting I get no claps, everybody else gets massive numbers of claps just for repeating what the original person says. So that's the first point: what is it that makes people want to go the extra mile, not by agreeing with someone, but actually affirming publicly that they do. That's pretty weird because they are not being asked, they just have an urge to. They are not tipping a balance, they must know everybody in the whole wide world disagrees with me (and Hatty).

This is topical with the US election upon on us with its long queues of people wishing to vote even though nothing is achieved from the vantage point of the individual. The same candidate will win whether they cast their individual vote or not. It seems important for human beings to express agreement even when it is pointless. We must think on't.
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Grant



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Have you read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari? He makes the point that human beings were more successful that Neanderthals and other human species because we formed larger tribes. In those days tribes of hundreds but now millions. We managed to keep the tribe together by telling each other stories and believing in things like religion.

This only works if we enjoy believing what everyone else believes in. And we love kicking those who stand out from the herd. People like me are weird because I like telling people how wrong they are. That's why I don't have any friends and a wife who tells me I'm a tinfoil hat-wearing nut job!
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Grant



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Incidentally, how many "basic mechanisms" of applied epistemology are there? You really must write them down
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Mick Harper
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He makes the point that human beings were more successful that Neanderthals and other human species because we formed larger tribes
.
Actually I make the point in Megalithic Empire but unlike these popularising tossers, who just wish large tribes into existence in order to say, "Hey, it was because of large tribes," I point out that it cannot have anything to do with 'human beings' because loads of human beings live in a similar state to 'Neanderthals and other human species'.

It was because learning how to exploit the infinite herds of reindeer meant that you could have infinitely large tribes. I haven't read him but I bet Yuval Noah Harari doesn't even mention this. These twats always ignore the Lapps because they are backward!
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Ishmael


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Grant wrote:
Incidentally, how many "basic mechanisms" of applied epistemology are there? You really must write them down


That's my job.

If you're reading the Weather Underground thread, you'll shortly be in for a treat. Leastways I think so. Mick will sourly disagree when we get there.
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