[EM] Re: Election-methods Digest, Vol 15, Issue 1

Jobst Heitzig heitzig-j at web.de
Thu Sep 1 13:18:11 PDT 2005

Warren. It's enough now. Stop insulting me immediately.

Warren Smith wrote:
>>>--aha.  So by "median candidate" you do not mean what I thought you meant
>>(namely, in an N-canddt election, the top-quality floor(N/2) are above median)
>>but rather median in the prior distribution of probabilities of winning.
>>But wait, that would be even more insane, since the policy of
>>voting only for the candidates with above-median prior election 
>>probability, would be a policy that would completely disregard the
>>quality of the candidates.
> My understanding of Weinstein's approval strategy is this:
> "Approve your favourite (or equal favourites). If the remaining (so far 
> unapproved) candidates are on more
> than one of your preference-levels, then approve the candidate/s on your 
> next-from-the-top  preference-level if
> you consider that the probability that one of the candidates you prefer 
> less than this/these candidate/s  will win
> is greater than the probability that one of the candidates you prefer 
> more will win.  And so on."
> This strategy seems sane to me, and probably right for voters who only 
> have a ranking.
> --aha. 
> Well in that case, return to my original example that started this thread, namely
> your choices in order of increasing  quality are
> 1. Stalin
> 2. Hitler
> 3. Genghis Khan
> 4. Jacques Chirac
> and assume prior probabilities of (1/4, 1/4, 1/4, 1/4) of
> the election of each.  Then by adopting the Heitzig/Weinstein
> approval voting strategy, you vote for Genghis Khan and Chirac.
> By adopting the Smith Uitlity-based strategy, you vote for Chirac only.
> Excellent.  Now that we are all agreed about the underlying definitions,
> we are ready to consider how much damage to humanity would be caused by
> adoption of the Heitzig/Weinstein approval voting strategy
> based on Heitzing denying the existence of "utility".   Well,
> looks like humanity  gets 50% chance of massive euro-asia-spanning-war    
> and wholesale genocide, the HW way.  The Smith way, humanity gets 0% chance of
> that.  I wonder how many times it would be necessary to repeat this experiment
> before it dawns on Heitzig that there may actually exist such a concept as utility,
> and all those Bayesians and economists that have been using this concept for the
> last 100 years, may not have been doing it because they were all completely insane
> and believing in silly phantasms that do not really exist. 
> Since I am not a believer in conducting unethical massive experiments, I would be
> happy to change the terms of the election to one which would only affect Heitzig
> and no other human beings.  For example, make 1,2,3 be various extremely painful
> forms of torture inflicted on Heitzig, and 4 be he gets $100.   
> Utility is real, and if top decision makers fail to acknowledge that fact, it results
> in immense damage to humanity.  I am not making this up, I am not saying it
> because I am "highly emotional".  I am simply stating a well known fact that
> has been well accepted for over 100 years.
> Now my suggestion is that the rest of you simply accept this as settled and obviously true.
> It then will be possible to proceed from there to have a genuine debate about voting methods.
> I am not going to debate voting methods with people who refuse to accept probability theory,
> believe that the sun revolves around the Earth, think Darwin is a phantasm, etc.
> Warren Smith
> ----
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