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Comment author: timtyler 21 February 2013 12:50:29AM *  2 points [-]

There is no point in the human race surviving if it can't pursue its values.

It's likely to not be a binary decision. We may well be able to trade preserving values against a better chance of surviving at all. The more we deviate from universal instrumental values, the greater our chances of being wiped out by accidents or aliens. The more we adhere to universal instrumental values, the more of our own values get lost.

Since I see our values heavily overlapping with universal instrumental values, adopting them doesn't seem too bad to me - while all our descendants being wiped out seems pretty negative - although also rather unlikely.

How to deal with this tradeoff is a controversial issue. However, it certainly isn't obvious that we should struggle to preserve our human values - and resist adopting universal instrumental values. That runs a fairly clear risk of screwing up the future for all our descendants.

Comment author: Bugmaster 21 February 2013 12:31:39AM 0 points [-]

Fair enough, that makes sense. I guess I just wasn't used to seeing this verbal construct before.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 20 February 2013 11:40:50PM 7 points [-]

My interpretation is "evidence that was not obtained in the service of a particular bottom line."

Comment author: Zian 20 February 2013 11:30:18PM 1 point [-]

That section comes from the part where Milo and his companions arrive in the Number Mines and are completely famished because they've been travelling all day. They eat and eat but never get full. Eventually, the Dodecahedron helpfully tells them that they've been eating Subtraction Stew because it's perfectly logical that you'd start off full and eat until you're hungry.

Comment author: Desrtopa 20 February 2013 11:05:55PM 2 points [-]

I'd interpret it as "evidence which bears on the question X" as opposed to "Evidence which supports answer Y to question X."

For instance, if you wanted to know whether anthropogenic climate change was occurring, you would want to search for "evidence about anthropogenic climate change" rather than "evidence for anthropogenic climate change."

Comment author: Bugmaster 20 February 2013 10:55:09PM 0 points [-]

I hope to find the best evidence about theology here. I don't mean evidence for or against, just the evidence about the subject.

What does "evidence about X" mean, as opposed to "evidence for X" ?

Comment author: Desrtopa 20 February 2013 10:48:23PM *  2 points [-]

I don't think you'll find much discussion of theology here, since in these parts religion is generally treated as an open and shut case. The archives of Luke Muelhauser's blog, Common Sense Atheism, are probably a much more abundant resource for rational analysis of theology; it documents his (fairly extensive) research into theological matters stemming from his own crisis of faith, starting before he became an atheist.

Obviously, the name of the site is rather a giveaway as to the ultimate conclusion that he drew (I would have named it differently in his place,) and the foregone conclusion might be a bit mindkilling, but I think the contents will probably be a fair approximation of the position of most of the community here on religious theological matters, made more explicit than they generally are on Less Wrong.

Comment author: Ford 20 February 2013 09:20:13PM 0 points [-]

You may find this story (a scientist dealing with evidence that conflicts with his religion) interesting.

http://www.exmormonscholarstestify.org/simon-southerton.html

In response to Helpless Individuals
Comment author: Ford 20 February 2013 09:12:17PM 1 point [-]

In addition to the emotional issues you raise, there's the question of thresholds and scalability. If the puppy program already exists, giving $10 will help more puppies. But, for many scientific research projects, there's no point in even starting with less than $100K in hand. That could be $10 each from 10,000 people. An easy decision, perhaps, for the 9999th person, but who wants to give the first $10?

Elsewhere I've suggested "Social Escrow" as a solution. You pledge a certain amount, contingent on enough other people doing so and perhaps on other objective criteria. "Send us two checks. We'll tear up both if not enough other people send checks. We'll tear up the second if the research doesn't meet kilometerstone X by date Y."

Kickstarter has some of these features, but doesn't seem to fund science.

Comment author: Nisan 20 February 2013 09:10:13PM 0 points [-]
Comment author: shminux 20 February 2013 09:01:33PM 1 point [-]

I took a step back and had a crisis of belief, not the first time, but this time I followed the prescribed method and came to a modified conclusion, though I still find it rational and advantageous to serve my 2 year mission.

I would love to hear more details, both about the process and about the conclusion, if you are brave/foolish enough to share.

Comment author: olibain 20 February 2013 08:58:23PM 2 points [-]

The " every single person I know, many of them levelheaded and afraid of heights, abruptly went crazy at exactly the same time" scenario should be given some credence in human society; there is such a thing as puberty. The definition of puberty being " every single person I know abruptly went crazy at exactly the same time, including me".

Comment author: olibain 20 February 2013 08:34:42PM 8 points [-]

I'm Robby Oliphant. I started a few months ago reading HP:MoR, which led me to the Sequences, which led me here about two weeks ago. So far I have read comments and discussions solely as a spectator. But finally, after developing my understanding and beginning on the path set forth by the sequences, I remain silent no more.

I am fresh out of high school, excited about life and plan to become a teacher, eventually. My short-term plans involve going out and doing missionary work for my church for the next two years. When I came head on against the problem of being a rationalist and a missionary for a theology, I took a step back and had a crisis of belief, not the first time, but this time I followed the prescribed method and came to a modified conclusion, though I still find it rational and advantageous to serve my 2 year mission.

I find some of this difficult, some of this intuitive and some of this neither difficult or intuitive, which is extremely frustrating, how something can appears simple but defy my efforts to intuitively work it. I will continue to work at it because rationality seems to be praiseworthy and useful. I hope to find the best evidence about theology here. I don't mean evidence for or against, just the evidence about the subject.

Comment author: DanArmak 20 February 2013 08:29:38PM 1 point [-]

It's necessary, but not sufficient.

Comment author: DanArmak 20 February 2013 08:27:48PM 5 points [-]

Not at all. It means you don't know about the real mistakes you make (so you can't fix them), and you spend resources trying to fix something that's not really broken.

Comment author: ygert 20 February 2013 08:02:20PM *  -3 points [-]

That's a pretty great thing to be wrong about!

Comment author: Risto_Saarelma 20 February 2013 07:46:45PM 2 points [-]

It's probably not so much the mandatory tribalism that makes people apathetic to working with politics, but more like the thing in this Moldbug quote via patrissimo:

You're trying to replace Windows with Linux. Great.

Your way of replacing Windows with Linux: install Linux as a set of Word macros, one macro at a time. (You'd need something like Emscripten for Word macro.) Oh, also - Linux doesn't exist. So you're actually building Linux as a set of Word macros, one macro at a time. Oh, and you have no distribution mechanism. Your users need to type in the macros themselves.

Are the Word users fed up with Word? Oh, man. They've had it up to here with Word. So what?

Tech-minded people want to solve problems. They look at politics and see a lifetime of staring at countless problems while stuck in a system that will let them solve almost none of them and being barraged with an endless stream of trivial annoyances.

Comment author: cody-bryce 20 February 2013 07:44:40PM 4 points [-]

And they ship the characters the fans want.

Comment author: cody-bryce 20 February 2013 07:39:48PM 6 points [-]

"We're even wrong about which mistakes we're making."

-Carl Winfeld

Comment author: Bugmaster 20 February 2013 07:36:06PM 1 point [-]

Well, firstly, you don't need to buy a whole politician (though it doesn't hurt); you only need to buy the legislation you need. Thus you don't care how your politician votes on gay marriage or veteran's benefits or whatever, as long he is voting for Bill #1234567.8, which you sponsored, and which deals with protecting squirrel habitats (because you really like squirrels, just for example). This is good, because it's not enough to just have one politician, you need a bunch of them, and it's cheaper to just buy their votes piecemeal.

Secondly, you are of course correct about politicians getting money from different sources, but hey, that's the free market for you. On the other hand, politicians aren't really all that rich. Sure, they may be millionaires, and a few might be billionaires, but the $50e9 figure that you mentioned would be unimaginable to any of them. If you really had that much money (and were smart about using it), you would be able to buy not merely a single politicians, but entire committees, wholesale.

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