[ExI] EP was Sarah Palin

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 15:05:24 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM,  BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 7/22/10, Keith Henson  wrote:
>>  It is well worth considering why we no longer have much concern about the IRA.
>>  It is directly related to individual decisions by Irish women starting
>>  about 40 years ago.
> It might also be related to the fact that the IRA leaders are now in
> the government and the rabid discrimination against Catholics is no
> longer so widespread.

When looking for the arrow of causality, the earlier events are
particularly suspect.

But consider the reverse.  Suppose the Irish Catholic women had
continued to have far more than replacement numbers of children?
(Much like happens in the Arab/Islamic countries now.)

Then economic growth never would have gotten ahead of population
growth.  Given the declining prospects for much of the population, do
you doubt that support for the IRA and related social disruption would
have continued?

As humans we tend to look at the obvious (religion fanatics) rather
then the cause for the fanatics (a bleak future outlook).

Trying to fix the obvious in complex systems is wrong virtually every
time.  I learned about this reading the System Dynamics works of Jay
Forrester back in the early 1970s.

It's hard to over express the influence his work had on my world view.
 When I think about it, this work is compatible with EP.   Like EP, it
helps understand what is happening but neither System Dynamics nor
evolutionary psychology have had a lot of influence in making policy.

Dr Forrester is still teaching at 92.  I wonder what he thinks about
the singularity?




This paper addresses several social concerns: population trends; quality of
urban life; policies for urban growth; and the unexpected, ineffective, or
detrimental results often generated by government programs.

Society becomes frustrated as repeated attacks on deficiencies in social
systems lead only to worse symptoms. Legislation is debated and passed with
great hope, but many programs prove to be ineffective. Results are
often far short
of expectations. Because dynamic behavior of social systems is not understood,
government programs often cause exactly the reverse of desired results.

The field of system dynamics now can explain how such contrary results
happen. Fundamental reasons cause people to misjudge behavior of social
systems. Orderly processes in creating human judgment and intuition lead people
to wrong decisions when faced with complex and highly interacting systems.

Until we reach a much better public understanding of social systems, attempts to
develop corrective programs for social troubles will continue to be
This paper cautions against continuing to depend on the same past
approaches that have led to present feelings of frustration. New methods
developed over the last 30 years will lead to a better understanding of social
systems and thereby to more effective policies for guiding the future.

1 This paper was first copyrighted © 1971 by Jay W. Forrester. It is
based on testimony for the Subcommittee on Urban Growth of the
Committee on Banking and Currency, U.S. House of Representatives, on
October 7, 1970. The original text appeared in the January, 1971,
issue of the Technology Review published by the Alumni Association of
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All figures are taken from
World Dynamics by Jay W. Forrester, Pegasus Communications, Waltham
MA. Updated March, 1995

2 Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
Copyright © 1995
Jay W. Forrester


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