I’m not sure whether to be exhausted by this or impressed. But, again, you put in the effort, and you seem to be calmer this time around, so let’s go another round.

No, he actually was because you tagged him. And that’s bullshit. The character is your way of covering your ass. You involved him in the conversation and that ‘you’re in character’ is some kind of weird distraction you’re draping over the fact that you’re being a bit misleading.”

the character is satire, and it has been vindicated as absolutely hilarious satire so I’m very happy with it. If I wanted to mislead I wouldn’t have told you I tagged him which is the only reason you even knew that. Reply to this if you like, but I’m done with this point.

“No, you could just simply not write this into essay, because it’s pretty clear that you don’t even have any strong evidence that he doesn’t understand “ergodicity.””

Another insane and sycophantic standard of proof. I have proven this. Everybody who has read the essay is convinced except for you. It is beyond any doubt. I can get try to get Ole Peters to say so publicly if that would help but I think he’s had enough of all of this. And I don’t want to kidnap Fragile Nassim and force him to take a test because I don’t want to ever have to be in the same room as him.

Your chat on left-boundedness was very interesting, so I’ll give you that. I would happily engage with it in another forum, but unfortunately the issue here is Fragile Nassim swinging his big stupid dick around. So while you may very well understand this and have interesting thoughts on it, he does not, and I am sick of his bullshit on this topic and will not tolerate it any longer. Strike up a conversation with me in some other forum and I will happily engage.

“Which is what I believe Taleb was saying.”

Sure, very fair. And we can all have opinions on that, but please appreciate that this reads like he is your prophet and you are performing theological exegesis. It’s creepy. You might be read, but for Christ’s sake, stop bending over backwards to avoid offending him. Just call him a cunt once in a while. You can still say “he is a brilliant writer” if you believe it. I did it, because I believe it. But he’s also a cunt. Just try it! Just dip your toe in the waters of the entire rest of the the Western Canon!

He just has to understand what exactly ergodicity is and how ergodicity pertains to his ideas (like you said he probably does)

It also means he has to not say that something “is equivalent to ergodicity” when, i) this is wrong, ii) this is not even wrong, iii) it is in a paper that is allegedly an attempt to save lives, which has already completely flopped due to debunking the wrong thing.

“Suggesting that he has to understand all of the different ways that it could possibly affect us in all of our lives in all of the decisions we make so as to be able to mathematically model these things is logically erroneous.

I didn’t suggest that. I suggested he actually says thing that are laughably stupid (true, and common) and that I think that is because he doesn’t really understand this (I maintain ‘unprovable’ but you seem to want me to kidnap hi to prove it. I shan’t)

“Dur hur I get all the cool maths behind an emerging theory Taleb is a pussy because he only took what he needed to from it.”

that made me laugh — see! you are starting to get the appeal of satire! :)

“I also still don’t see evidence that you understand all of the complex mathematics that Peters references in the nature paper.”

that’s because I didn’t give any, nor do I intend to because it isn’t relevant. I’ll let you know when my book on this comes out. I will be more thorough there and write in my own voice.

“Does this mean that Taleb incorrectly uses the word ergodicity? No”

Other than when he does.

“With ‘ergodicity,’ you remind me of how leftists seem to almost believe that they own the word ‘capital.’ So much so that when I read your article ‘this isn’t capitalism,’ or whatever it’s called I couldn’t shake this feeling that you were using it wrong after spending so many hours arguing with leftists, even though you very clearly were not.”

This is super interesting, and, again, please take this up elsewhere. I have said publicly this is by far the best criticism of that article, which I wish we had anticipated, but it would be dishonest to go back and edit. The obvious rebuttal however is that we weren’t really making a semantic argument, we were just using semantics as a rhetorical trick. We say in the first few paragraphs,

If “capitalism” means anything, that meaning ought to at least include the notion of preserving and growing capital. It can include other nasty bits and bobs, for sure, but it must at least include this,

then we proceed to argue against how stupid real life is, not about what words mean. Also, lolz that Taleb wrote an absolutely garbage article at the same time on the same topic.

“I have no fucking idea how you at all came to this conclusion. It is actually autistic and irrational to come to this conclusion based upon what Taleb has said.”

By reading the comment, having some empathy (≠ autism) and asking the person I thought might be offended if they were offended.

“I would also prefer for people to stop being p*****s and come out and argue with him instead of having a no-name write a shitty paper for them.”

Nice bait and switch there, and good attempted distraction with the repeated personal insults, but nobody had me do this. I decided to do this because I have had enough of this particular shitstain, I announced I was doing it, and they reached out to me.

“Sounds like you’re the real cultist here bud.”

Please explain to all of us what cult you think I am in.

“Yeah, because the rest of your thing is totally solid. Lol.”

Refute the academic fraud and then we’ll talk.

“Your ‘meticulous debunking’ is for the most part nitpicking semantics and ignoring the plenty of examples where Taleb used these words properly or, in a pragmatic sense, correctly”

To quote the far more intelligent than Taleb, Adam Kucharski, “a nitpicking counterexample is still a counterexample.” Granted you seem not to be a cultist, but this reminds of them thinking that “obsessed” is anything other than a compliment of satire: “nitpicking” is a compliment of a debunking. He doesn’t understand any of this in any depth whatsoever. I nitpicked my way to proving it. You’re welcome.

“Do you actually believe that anti-fragility is retarded?”

Do you not?

“I’m really trying to quote your article as little as I possibly can because traversing that shitshow is exhausting. No other reason.”

Brb, gotta get some Savlon for that sick burn.

“So why would you spend words writing as though his ideas being substantially equivalent to someone else’s means he is somewhat of a fraud?”

Because it was really funny. If you don’t think so then you probably just didn’t get it. But that’s okay. As you say, you don’t want to read it ever again, so just let it go.

“If what you allege is true, you should NOT be complimentary of his writing, because the alleged lies are more or less the foundations of the alleged positive results of his writing.”

Now this is fascinating. I am fully aware that the school of Talebism instructs its initiates to go scorched earth on anybody Fragile Nassim excommunicates, but I am more into intellectual honesty and citing sources.

“Sure, yeah, you’re right, but i’d think Taleb probably was thinking of Popper. And, again it’s kind of childish for you to believe that Taleb thinks this Turkey/Chicken bit is his brand new ultra-Jesus-Feynman 9-roper of an idea. It’s also kind of more of a fun bit than a great insight. Maybe he would disagree, which is where I start to get tired of Taleb.”

He has literally called it his Turkey problem thousands of times. But it seems like we are on the same page on this anyway.

“But I’d prefer for this exchange to end kind of soon.”

I wouldn’t because you are being very nice now and are making some very interesting points. I suspect you really don’t want to either.

“That said, the rest of what you’re saying is fucking stupid. You could read that entire book and have no clue at all who Selgin is. And completely forget about Selgin the one time he is mentioned unless you looked further into Selgin.”

You are just digging a hole here given you admitted you haven’t read the book. If you trust me at all (and I’d understand if not) then you will take my word for it that, you can’t either read the book or know a single God-damned thing about this topic and not know who Selgin is. Like you said, it was stupid he wrote it. I made fun of him for it. Get over it.

“What in the fuck made you decide that this was an appropriate thing to BOLD in your article?”

Because I was in character. Why does Taleb ALL CAP things like “fucking retarded bullshit vendor”? Riddle me this.

“ ONE TIME means that Taleb could very well have read this fucking book and completely forgotten that Selgin was ever fucking mentioned.”

Once again, I appreciate this seems reasonable if you haven’t read the book and don’t know anything about the topic, but it is not if you have or you do. Therefore Taleb has not and does not, so why did he write the foreword?

“But that means nothing to anyone who is a fan of Taleb because no intelligent person thinks he is some sort of expert on bitcoin.”

Then can he kindly shut the fuck up about it? How do you think he would treat me if I started spouting not even wrong bullshit about fat tailed distributions? If I got paid to write a foreword to a book about them that I didn’t even read? Do you think he would caveat his scorched earth assault by saying, that Allen kid is actually pretty good on Bitcoin tho … ?

“Where, I think it’s a total garbage opinion that bitcoin will be important in the long-run. But that’s just my opinion, and gut instinct based upon what I DO know about bitcoin. Call it dumb. I won’t be insulted, in fact I acknowledge that very well could be a stupid opinion, but so could your views regarding it. You’re a believer, not an arbiter of truth and there’s no way around that.”

All very fair and reasonable, but I offered to bet, so put up or shut up.

“ Which is where you come off as a bit unhinged. No matter how much you know about bitcoin compared to me or anyone.”

I’m getting a bit bored of this, but it’s in character. Every single other thing I have ever written on it is more measured than in your wildest dreams.

“Could literally be nothing more than doing the strenuous and tedious work that is doing citations and fucking up.”

Let’s DEBUNK this, shall we? What exactly did he do? He referenced an idea in a paper. When you read that paper you find that the idea isn’t actually in it. It’s actually in another paper that is references in the first paper. It isn’t actually in the first paper at all. So how do you think this happened? I agree, it isn’t clearcut, but there are no paths that don’t end in fraud: he cited a paper he hadn’t actually read. And I suspect he did so to get Gell-Mann in the references.

“You cannot be a ‘brilliant popular writer’ unless you understand the material you are writing in-depth. Please choose one or the fucking other.”

That’s patently absurd. Of course you can. I don’t need to choose because I made an obviously correct observation. To keep it within the bounds of the essay, do you think Malcolm Gladwell is some kind of genius in sociology and anthropology? No? Do you think he is a brilliant popular writer? Yes? Excellent. We are done here. I won’t be picking up this thread again, either.

“He isn’t an entertainer, and his ideas definitely warrant being applied.”

Sure, if you are an idiot who likes to watch TED talks and feel clever. Not if you like understanding things. No intellectually serious individual thinks of him as anything other than an entertainer. And a very good one, at that, as per the comment above.

“Remove what you wrote from your thingy (still not sure what to call it) because it is simply dubious.”

Um … no.

“And I really don’t care.”

Sure, pal. That’s why you’ve written one third of my original essay on this. Because it was far too long, and you don’t care.

“Why on Earth would these people, who know more than you, be scared of him?”

Excellent question, even though you meant it as a wisecrack. Because he can hurt them, because he has a cult and is fawned over by the media. He can’t hurt me at all, even if I wasn’t smarter and better educated than him. You keep making fun of me for being a nobody, like I give a shit (I have a real job and write for fun, not for culty admiration) and yet it hasn’t occurred to you yet that this could only have been done by a nobody.

“There really only seem to be a certain type that end up getting the Tetlock treatment.”

Please do tell us what that type is and why it is fit by Balaji Srinivasan, Saifedean Ammous, Sam Harris, Claire Lehmann, and Adam Kucharski. I didn’t even bother with the full list: I just kept going while I could think of people who were different from the set so far.

“So it’s very likely true. And so you’re probably going to have to lose respect for Norman, Spitznagel and Bar-Yam as well.”

I already have, but nobody’s perfect. I’m sure they have lost respect for me. But we are all adults, not cult leaders, so we don’t demand unconditional respect. We just expect a certain threshold if we are expected to engage with anything seriously.

“I think you’re making a forest out of a few trees. Because Nassim certainly believes he understands these ideas (and he probably does).”

That’s an extremely insightful comment and I think I agree, with the metaphor, at least. But I maintain that he understands all of them to some extent, but can’t help swinging his big stupid dick around just far enough to prove he doesn’t understand them deeply. Which is weird and unfortunate because it isn’t even relevant to his written work. This is the first time it has occurred to me to say so in this exchange, even though, again, it is in the essay (sorry, “thingy”): my goal here is to get him off Twitter because il Twittatore is a parasite on the otherwise positive influence of l’autore. That is a genuine, non-scorched earth desire. It’s not a caveat, it’s not a hedge, it’s not a game. It’s my sincere desire, which I stated right there in the essay because I am not a coward.

“Yeah, I mean if you actually proved it. Which you didn’t. Saying something over and over again doesn’t make it true.”

We are going to have to agree to disagree on this, but I have added more info in this reply.

“I don’t know about “over my head.” Probably more like, pretentious and irrelevant”

potayto potahto.

“You seem to be fond of either implying i’m rather stupid or that you’re rather intelligent. Or both.”

I’m fond of teasing. You can tease back without getting triggered. I’ve said several times here that I clearly think you are very smart — just wrong.

“This is false. I’ve read a few of your articles. My sister is a fan. Yeah, you have fans… or at least one. She’s also an idiot.”

Then you ought to know that I never, ever write this way. Also, sorry about your sister. Once you write as publicly as I have you can’t really control who your fans are. I don’t vouch for them. I’m not trying to cultivate a cult.

“This entire thing would’ve been a lot easier if you were at least somewhat funny.”

I’m not trying to be mean but you honestly just didn’t get the jokes. I don’t think there was a single joke that wasn’t a convoluted reference to something, which in turn is a way of mocking Taleb. Most people aren’t into this. That’s fine. Humour is not like math; it’s highly subjective. I bit the bullet on this before publishing, that probably 50% would hate it, 30% wouldn’t get it, 20% would get it, and then within that maybe 10% (so 2%) would find it funny.

If you don’t find it funny that doesn’t say anything about you other than that we have different senses of humour, and, importantly, different banks of knowledge to draw on to make jokes. I am in no way offended by you not finding it funny at all, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t funny. Just that you are not the intended audience. This is actually kind of an interesting comparison: I am, unlike Taleb, writing for a very niche audience, most of the time. If you aren’t intimately familiar with Bitcoin, or open source software, or Pewdiepie, or whatever, then it will all be completely over your head. And note that isn’t an insult, because why would anybody be into these things? Again, back to the thingy, I said that if you aren’t up for a Taleb/GEB/Waste Land/GoT/The Wire piss monsson then kindly leave and I won’t be offended. And yet here we are, one essay and half an essay’s comments later, still going back and forth on why you didn’t like it when you could have just stopped.

“Sure, you may not have called me any names straight up, but you did make make some inferences about me. It’s actually a bit more virtuous to be straightforward.”

Hopefully it is pretty obvious if you read it all back that I was mimicking your tone. You were a bit unhinged in the first long reply, and, as is hopefully now clear, mainly because I’ve explicitly said so several times, I rise to the challenge of whomever I am critiquing.

“ But you definitely are in order to discredit him. I don’t think you have the right to be accusing anyone of being ‘triggered’ here, because it seems that you very much are just that.”

Thanks for recognising my enormous effort! And yes, as said (straightforwardly, I might add, proper New Joyzeeanly) in the thingy, I am indeed very triggered by fraud, lies, bullshit, and bullying.

“My dispute of his ‘academic fraud’ is simply that all of the evidence you’ve put together is, as a whole, extremely unconvincing. Far more intelligent individuals have been way more off the mark, way more frequently and still contributed some amazing ideas (or contexts as you seem to need it to be put).”

I’m done with disputing fraud or not, but please note that far more intelligent individuals do not follow this up by calling people fucking retarded bullshit vendors on Twitter, in areas they provably know nothing about. That’s the motivation for the entire exercise in one sentence.

“A lot of your examples depend upon the idea that we’d know exactly what he means if he meant anything at all. It’s not a total bullshit concept, but it’s also not how you ‘debunk’ someone.”

I will grant that I have been using the word “debunk” rather liberally. What I really meant (and said straightforwardly/Joyzee/thingy) is that this is a piss monsoon. Category 5. Total devastation. This is going to slowly spread and he isn’t going to dare respond to it.

“I mean, man, you already know what he does. He’s probably going to just ignore this until he can’t. He’ll probably always be able to though.”

Oh good, you’ve thought about this too. I’m on the edge of my seat, although I will shortly get back to real life. But give it 3–4 months when I set a prize for solving the cryptic puzzle (speaking of which, you’re pretty smart, you could solve it!)

“Bottom line is, I just don’t think you did the trick. Sorry man.”

Perfectly reasonable. I don’t see why you had to be so mean if this was the “bottom line”. I don’t even think I did the trick. At least not yet. We will have to wait and see.

In humble anticipation of your timely and considered response,


R. Allen Farrington IV, esq

P.S. please learn to put quotes in italics. It makes it much more readable.

Written by

maybe a squirrel. maybe not.

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