Mistreated: handwritten medication list

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Anne B

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May 10, 2019, 9:25:21 AM5/10/19
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from Chapter One of Mistreated, by Robert Pearl:

> Fortunately, my dad was a fastidious man, as most dentists are. Whenever the doctors asked him about his prescriptions, he would reach into his pocket and unfurl a tattered piece of paper containing a handwritten list of all his current medications. When prescriptions changed, he’d dutifully cross out the old medication or dosage, and write in the new one.

1) “Fastidious” is a somewhat negative word. It implies that Pearl's
father pays *excessive* attention to detail. I wonder if Pearl meant
it that way.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fastidious

> 1a : showing or demanding excessive delicacy or care fastidious attention to detail— Robert Evett
>
> b : reflecting a meticulous, sensitive, or demanding attitude fastidious workmanship
>
> c : having high and often capricious standards : difficult to please critics … so fastidious that they can talk only to a small circle of initiates— Granville Hicks

2) Are most dentists fastidious? That could be true. It could also be
false. My impression is that being a dentist requires some carefulness
but not an excessive amount and not more than lots of other
professions.

3) Pearl points out again that his father is a dentist. And at this
point his father has retired and isn't actually a dentist any more.

I'm not completely certain of the chronology but I think I am correct
about this. The Florida home was purchased after retirement (p. 5) and
these doctor visits where the father pulls out a medication list
happen “Whenever I'd visit him, whether in New York or Florida...” (p.
6).

4) The word “dutifully”(in the last sentence) is revealing. I don't
know if it reveals Pearl's attitudes or his father's attitudes.

“Dutifully” implies that Pearl's father is keeping a list of his
medications as a duty rather than because he thinks it's important.
Having such a list is a good thing for a person's health and
well-being. It shouldn't be a duty to take care of one's own health;
it should be something people want to do.

“Dutifully” implies that Pearl's father is keeping the list because
his doctors want him to rather than because he wants to. This is a
part of the idea that patients obey doctors, as opposed to patients
hiring doctors to give them medical advice.

Elliot Temple

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May 10, 2019, 1:48:29 PM5/10/19
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I think this post has some mistakes. I don’t want to explain them (= handing out fish instead of you learning to fish for yourself). They don’t happen to be very interesting to me. And I don’t think explaining them would help Anne much anyway.

Overall I regard Anne's posts about _Mistreated_ as mixed. She gets some stuff right and some stuff wrong. Maybe the error rate is 20%. Right 4 out of 5 times. That’s sorta OK. It’s not awful. It’s better than nothing. But learning would work better with a lower error rate, e.g. 1%, and/or much more effective error correction mechanisms.

When learning it’s crucial to have some way of checking your work to know when you were right or not. If you just throw ideas out there, and have no idea which were right or wrong, it’s hard to learn much.

One type of mechanism is to find an expert and trust their statements about which things are correct or incorrect. If you want to do it that way, you have your answer. If you don’t want to do it that way, you need at least one other mechanism.

I’d suggest, as I suggest to everyone, working on more basic stuff and trying to build up to more complicated stuff. This has been explained in other posts already.

Elliot Temple
www.fallibleideas.com

Anne B

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May 11, 2019, 6:19:25 PM5/11/19
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Agreed. When I throw things out to FI and no one answers I don't know
if it's because I'm boringly right or too boring for anyone to even
think about whether I'm right or wrong.

Would this still be crucial when doing something with a 1% error rate?
It seems like it would be.

> One type of mechanism is to find an expert and trust their statements about which things are correct or incorrect. If you want to do it that way, you have your answer. If you don’t want to do it that way, you need at least one other mechanism.

Is there an expert here who would want to check my work on Mistreated?
It seems like I should pay for something like that. But it's hard to
know if that's a good use of money.

> I’d suggest, as I suggest to everyone, working on more basic stuff and trying to build up to more complicated stuff. This has been explained in other posts already.

I am willing to work on more basic stuff. I will give some thought to what.

Anne B

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May 11, 2019, 7:13:48 PM5/11/19
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On Fri, May 10, 2019 at 1:48 PM Elliot Temple <cu...@curi.us> wrote:

I expect the following questions to be filled with errors. I could try
to find answers in existing FI material but that would take a very
long time and I'd probably still make lots of errors. I would be
overreaching by trying to do that.

When babies learn to walk and talk, don't they have really high error
rates? Is that because they have really effective error correction
mechanisms? What are those and why aren't they available to me?

Anne B

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May 12, 2019, 8:36:40 AM5/12/19
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Or it could be that people don't answer because what I wrote was so
wrong that they don't think they can explain the wrongness to me in a
way I'd understand. Or it could be that everyone who might have had
something to say was too busy with other stuff to read my post.

Elliot Temple

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May 12, 2019, 2:47:35 PM5/12/19
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Babies would have a high error rate if their day-1 goal was “walk as well as a typical adult”. Then you’d see, each day, they fail.

But they instead pursue sub-goals like moving a muscle and progress towards walking in a series of small steps.

These steps, involving motor skills, have good feedback on success or failure. If you try to walk somewhere and fall instead of getting there, you won’t think you succeeded. (If their goal was actually to try walking there and see what happens, then they may have actually succeeded, btw. And that is a plausible goal for a young child to have.) If you try to grab an object and move it to a different location, either it gets into your hand or it doesn’t, and either it end sup at the new location or it doesn’t, and you can see which result happened.

The important thing is not just raw error rate (number of errors out of number of actions), but also how hard the errors are to correct (and how much error-correcting skill you have), and also what one’s goals actually are. A person can practice long-distance basket ball shots for hours, miss 80% of them, and still be learning, because he’s trying to get them to go progressively closer to the basket (on avg) and improve his form and so on.

There isn’t one definitive way to count errors or actions, anyway. They can only be counted according to some method of counting which defines what is “one” action, and many methods have some merit.

> why aren't they available to me?

You would have more success if you stopped sabotaging yourself using learned helplessness and dishonesty which babies don’t have.

And you would have more success if you did activities where success and failure are much easier to judge, e.g. speed running Mario Odyssey. Then you can time things to compare which is better than another, and you can see things like “my sequence of jumps got me on top of it, as planned” or “my sequence of jumps led to falling down to ground level”, which is similar to a baby trying to walk and getting to the destination or not. I think you dislike games, as most adult females do, so consider what options you do like enough to do and which ones have what advantages.

Elliot Temple
www.curi.us

Elliot Temple

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May 12, 2019, 3:51:20 PM5/12/19
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I think your error rate on this is already low enough to learn something and make some progress. A lower error rate would be better and diminish the downside of lack of checking. But it’d be better to have a project where it’s easier to check what is and isn’t an error.


>> One type of mechanism is to find an expert and trust their statements about which things are correct or incorrect. If you want to do it that way, you have your answer. If you don’t want to do it that way, you need at least one other mechanism.
>
> Is there an expert here who would want to check my work on Mistreated?
> It seems like I should pay for something like that. But it's hard to
> know if that's a good use of money.

I did some spot checks. I already told you my evaluation of this particular post and overall. You have not made it clear what you want. Do you want “this is right” and “this is wrong” type checking with no further comment, like an answer key for a test? Or do you want something else, like *explanations* in addition to checking?

I would not take *responsibility* for checking or explaining without being paid a lot. I similarly would not take *responsibility* for guiding you to a good learning outcome, or helping you avoid counterproductive actions, or managing your activities effectively, etc., without being paid a lot.

You can learn some from the responses you do get.



>> I’d suggest, as I suggest to everyone, working on more basic stuff and trying to build up to more complicated stuff. This has been explained in other posts already.
>
> I am willing to work on more basic stuff. I will give some thought to what.

why now? this is not a new idea or new issue. your previous actions appear to me to indicate lack of willingness.

Elliot Temple
www.elliottemple.com

Anne B

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May 13, 2019, 4:54:54 PM5/13/19
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I agree.

[...]

> >> I’d suggest, as I suggest to everyone, working on more basic stuff and trying to build up to more complicated stuff. This has been explained in other posts already.
> >
> > I am willing to work on more basic stuff. I will give some thought to what.
>
> why now? this is not a new idea or new issue. your previous actions appear to me to indicate lack of willingness.

I'm not sure why now. Maybe I'm fooling myself and I'm not really
willing to work on something more basic. But I think I am.
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