Search This Blog

14 October 2010

God Would Have Chosen Random Selection (or The Peter Principle Goes to Church)

New research, out in February - shows that the best process for selecting which people to promote, out of a group, is a random one.

It shows that one of 2 random processes, either:
  • selecting people completely at random, or;
  • selecting (at random) either the best of the worst candidate
produce more efficient outcomes, for any organisation, than any of the other strategies tested.

It is not lost, on the researchers, how counter-intuitive this is.

This research has now won one of the IG Nobel Prizes - the spoof prizes based on the Nobel Prizes.

The Point?

The missing realisation here is... it's a big one for the theists. Yes, that's right, the theists!

Because... it shows, without a doubt, that, if God exists - assuming that she is perfect, and therefore chooses the most mathmatically efficient process for any given outcome - she most certainly would have have chosen "random selection" as her preferred method for the development of her pet project (i.e. us).

[N.B. We will ignore, for the sake of argument, the fact that the theory of Evolution does not actually propose "random selection" as the selection method of choice - it proposes that individuals are "chosen" by survival of the fittest from a pool of randomly mutated options... but who said Evolution was perfect? Not the evolutionists, certainly... but God on the other hand... well...]

Achem... anyway. My point is a simple one.

No matter which way you look at it - the Creationists are barking up the wrong tree... even if God has designed it all - random selection is still the most efficient method of promotion... and so... it doesn't need a hands-on designer... any "intervention" that he/she/it performed was doomed to be less efficient than just letting it develop randomly... all God needed to do was push the "Go" button and sit back and watch her creation improve itself via the most efficient method...


Oh... but hold on! If you don't NEED a designer to find the best / most efficient solution then... oh dear...

Ed Note: Any implication that I may, or may not, have just ruined the Intelligent Designer's argument was completely unintentional - and was achieved purely through a random process of pulling ideas out of my head until something worked...

Quite efficient, I find.

REFERENCE: "The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study," Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo, Physica A, vol. 389, no. 3, February 2010, pp. 467-72.

In the late sixties the Canadian psychologist Laurence J. Peter advanced an apparently paradoxical principle, named since then after him, which can be summarized as follows: {\it 'Every new member in a hierarchical organization climbs the hierarchy until he/she reaches his/her level of maximum incompetence'}. Despite its apparent unreasonableness, such a principle would realistically act in any organization where the mechanism of promotion rewards the best members and where the mechanism at their new level in the hierarchical structure does not depend on the competence they had at the previous level, usually because the tasks of the levels are very different to each other. Here we show, by means of agent based simulations, that if the latter two features actually hold in a given model of an organization with a hierarchical structure, then not only is the Peter principle unavoidable, but also it yields in turn a significant reduction of the global efficiency of the organization. Within a game theory-like approach, we explore different promotion strategies and we find, counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence.

No comments: