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We can not prove terrorists are not rational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

On the practical side, one cannot see enough decisions from a person *ceteris paribus"ceteris paribus to confirm much about their rationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

On the theoretical side, for any set of behaviors, Z, one can name an array of utility functions f(Z) which would explain such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity, verification, or stability of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless. We can only eliminate a fraction of those f(Z)'s empirically. We are left with some f(Z)'s that could defend their rationality, it remains possible they are rational.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

We can not prove terrorists are not rational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

On the practical side, one cannot see enough decisions from a person *ceteris paribus" to confirm much about their rationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

On the theoretical side, for any set of behaviors, Z, one can name an array of utility functions f(Z) which would explain such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity, verification, or stability of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless. We can only eliminate a fraction of those f(Z)'s empirically. We are left with some f(Z)'s that could defend their rationality, it remains possible they are rational.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

We can not prove terrorists are not rational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

On the practical side, one cannot see enough decisions from a person ceteris paribus to confirm much about their rationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

On the theoretical side, for any set of behaviors, Z, one can name an array of utility functions f(Z) which would explain such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity, verification, or stability of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless. We can only eliminate a fraction of those f(Z)'s empirically. We are left with some f(Z)'s that could defend their rationality, it remains possible they are rational.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

3 Split things into a theoretical and practical side. Replaced utility functions with preferences
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We cannot provecan not prove terrorists are irrationalnot rational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

Data to prove irrationality cannot exist inOn the real world. Onepractical side, one cannot see enough decisions from a person ceterus paribus such that we can*ceteris paribus" to confirm much about their irrationalityrationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

ForOn the theoretical side, for any set of behaviors, Z, one can name aan array of utility functionfunctions f(Z) which demandswould explain such behavior. I I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity or, verification of, or stability of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless. We can only eliminate a fraction of those f(Z)'s empirically. We are left with some f(Z)'s that could defend their rationality, it remains possible they are rational.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

We cannot prove terrorists are irrational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

Data to prove irrationality cannot exist in the real world. One cannot see enough decisions from a person ceterus paribus such that we can confirm their irrationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

For any set of behaviors, Z, one can name a utility function which demands such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity or verification of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

We can not prove terrorists are not rational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

On the practical side, one cannot see enough decisions from a person *ceteris paribus" to confirm much about their rationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

On the theoretical side, for any set of behaviors, Z, one can name an array of utility functions f(Z) which would explain such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity, verification, or stability of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless. We can only eliminate a fraction of those f(Z)'s empirically. We are left with some f(Z)'s that could defend their rationality, it remains possible they are rational.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

2 added 55 characters in body
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We cannot prove terrorists are irrational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior. 

Data to prove irrationality cannot exist in the real world. One cannot see enough decisions from a person ceterus paribus such that we can confirm their irrationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

For any set of behaviors, Z, one can name a utility function which demands such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity or verification of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

We cannot prove terrorists are irrational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior.

Data to prove irrationality cannot exist in the real world. One cannot see enough decisions from a person ceterus paribus such that we can confirm their irrationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

For any set of behaviors, Z, one can name a utility function which demands such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity or verification of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless.

We cannot prove terrorists are irrational. We can only have a failure to find a tractable utility function that adequately models their behavior. 

Data to prove irrationality cannot exist in the real world. One cannot see enough decisions from a person ceterus paribus such that we can confirm their irrationality. Too much happens over time, without observation, and in a noncontinuous manner. Perhaps we can acquire evidence that their actions have a degree of stochastic noise about them. Or that they do they do not fit model X, or we are omitting a variable Y.

For any set of behaviors, Z, one can name a utility function which demands such behavior. I say nothing optimistic about the simplicity or verification of these utility functions, but they can be modeled nonetheless.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

1
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