The Challenge

The Fair Church℠ is establishing a fair competition between comprehensive social models of the United States.

The winner will publish the shortest executable archive of comprehensive social data about the US.

A preliminary example* of such data may be downloaded at this link. (33M bzipped)

The meta data may be downloaded at this link.

Technical Explanation

Ockham's Razor applies to all scientific disciplines, including the social sciences. An operational definition of Ockham's Razor is sometimes called "Solomonoff Induction" which states, in effect, that given a set of observations in the form of data, the best model is embodied by the shortest computer program that outputs that data exactly as given.

Although this has been known since the early 1960s, it wasn't until the recent advances in machine learning that its practicality became manifest. Founders of Google's "DeepMind" have successfully applied Solomonoff induction as a guiding principle.

It is high time to apply it to social science thence policy debates.

Theological Explanation

Complete information is never available. Acts involve faith. Acts of government involve faith. Faith is the sine qua non of religion. The more activist a government, the more theocratic. Government maximizes religious freedom when it minimizes interference with individual moral agency by offering a choice of theocracies -- what might be called Sortocracy: Sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them. This is the best way of understanding the original intent of the 10th Amendment. That this also provides a Laboratory of the States, with its experimental controls to discover causal social laws, is a side benefit. However, the 10th Amendment is largely a dead letter. We are left with a powerful central theocracy imposing a multitude of acts, if not leaps of faith uniformly across the United States. It may require a political revolution, if not second revolutionary war, to reinvigorate religious freedom, and its more complete information provided by the Laboratory of the States.

The Fair Church℠'s central dogma, "Accept your mortal descent from the immortal Goð." implies a spiritual war supporting the individual's moral agency.

We beesech the Federal theocracy to think it possible it may be wrong and revitalize religious freedom's support of individual agency. But we recognize that this is a spiritual war, and that powerful theocrats are possessed by a spirit of moral supremacy over other individuals. Moreover, we recognize this spirit tells them this moral supremacy is justified by being in possession not only of information but of social models superior to other individuals. If shown in a scientifically rigorous way, that their core dogmas are in error, they may then question their fallen spiritual state, repent and relent.

*These example data are the extant CenStat county-level census tables. They need to be supplemented in a number of ways, not the least of which is greater longitudinal range (time span). Important demographics not covered in these tables include immigration by country of origin, a variety of epidemiological data and religion. It may be that a better geography than county is "public use microdata area" or "PUMA" as the Census has been under increasing pressure to restrict county-level data, ostensibly due to privacy concerns. However, much critical data is not collected by PUMA. It may be necessary to use both county-level and PUMA-level measures to obtain the optimal combination of time range, samples and measures.