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Comment author: Error 17 July 2017 03:46:44PM 1 point [-]

Honestly, mostly phone calls. It sounds silly, but I have a paralytic fear of calling strangers, and that leads me to procrastinate far more than is normal even for me. Making someone else do things like (for today's example) call around to find someone who will take a couch I'm trying to donate ensures that it doesn't stay in the middle of the spare room for 6-12 months while I dither.

Comment author: Cloakless 16 July 2017 05:03:28PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, you just need a halting oracle and you're sorted.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 July 2017 10:55:41AM 0 points [-]

I talked yesterday with one of the organizers and there's a plan to help with organizing space again.

In response to comment by Jiro on Why truth? And...
Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 15 July 2017 08:12:04PM 1 point [-]

Hey, eleven year old posts are just posts that lack life experience.

In response to comment by pjeby on Ugh fields
Comment author: Mets 15 July 2017 01:48:34PM 0 points [-]

Hah, the looking away part has happened too many times for it to hurt me anymore.

Comment author: purplerabbits 15 July 2017 10:52:19AM 1 point [-]

Will you be helping to coordinate crash space for the nights around the weekend again? It was very much appreciated last time, and would like to stay a bit longer in Berlin if possible...

Comment author: AspiringRationalist 15 July 2017 05:19:13AM 2 points [-]

I'm curious - what have you outsourced to Fancy Hands? I know in theory that I should be outsourcing stuff to services like that, but I really don't know what stuff I can effectively outsource in practice.

Comment author: duckduckMOO 12 July 2017 10:08:01PM *  1 point [-]

It's obvious that morality is purely a matter of aesthetics

if nothing else, it's also a matter of what things an imperfect liar must believe in in order to not give off accurate hints that they're a bad person to have around, or more directly provoke retribution.

So perceiving the kind of things which would mark you as someone to be shunned or killed, as having their own special ontological category is very practical.

Even the idea that such things damn you is fairly accurate if you extract the baggage. You murder one lousy person and your option to live a normal life is greatly cut off and your options mostly narrow to escalation or starting your life anew elsewhere.

I think it's also a matter of rationality, insofar as no one is born realising there are other people and those other people's nature is such that they can suffer be happy live etc, much like we can. Being things like kind and honest allows you to perceive your nature and past both rationally and with pride. Conversely rvery time you're evil you damage your past, and so (unless you are a perfect liar) your ability to engage the world directly. Otherwise there has to be some reaction, some crack that forms, whether it's having to lie to yourself, lie to others, face your sins, partition your mind, forget or run from the past, etc.

I suppose all of that is escapable, and there can be equilibriums where it never comes up in the first place, but for an ordinary person there are self-interested reasons to have a moral sense, and in the absence of knowledge of what kind of world you're living in, your instinctive prior should be that it's possible that people who harm others for the sake of it might suffer retribution, and be afraid of doing/becoming that.

So morality is not purely aesthetic, it's also at least our (instinctive) game-theoretical fear of making ourselves the natural enemy of anyone who wants a quiet life. What's natural, or a priori worth consideration can later be screened out when we see we live in a world where justice is weak, but that doesn't mean it isn't a (lets say) natural platonic pattern.

In response to comment by Eddie_T on Why truth? And...
Comment author: Jiro 11 July 2017 08:15:18PM 1 point [-]

Remember that that's a 11 year old post you're replying to.

In response to Why truth? And...
Comment author: Eddie_T 11 July 2017 05:17:03PM 0 points [-]

"For this reason, I would also label as "morality" the belief that truthseeking is pragmatically important to society..."

This seems like a naive understanding of what morality is. It seems like you are referring to a certain subset of ethics, in this case utilitarianism (do what promotes the greatest good among the greatest number). But this is just one part of a class of normative ethical theories. The class to which I'm referring to is consequentialism where essentially, the end justifies the means. I'd rather not get off topic here and simply state that a morality-driven pursuit of truth does not necessarily mean that the person is motivated by the "greater good".

Also, Spock's calculation is off by one order of magnitude, not two. He predicts, roughly, a 98% chance of destruction yet you say in practice, the Enterprise is destroyed 10% of the time. That's just about one order of magnitude off.

Comment author: cousin_it 11 July 2017 01:03:00PM 0 points [-]

Did that beautiful scene of scientists finding Bayesian rhythm in cognitive phenomena actually happen?

In response to comment by CCC on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: waveman 11 July 2017 01:00:42AM 0 points [-]

There is another possibility: the selection process for experts eliminates diverse perspectives.

Try getting tenure as a political scientist as a conservative republican, as an example.

But there are more subtle problems. For example, the selection process for medical doctors actively screens out people with a high level of mathematical and statistical skill, knowledge and ability.

It does this by very strongly selecting for other characteristics - ability to memorize vast arrays of words and facts, physical and mental stamina. Because if you strongly select for X, it will generally be at a cost to anything else that is not strongly correlated with X.

Comment author: arundelo 09 July 2017 06:24:27PM *  0 points [-]

Why does archive.is not obey robots.txt?

Because it is not a free-walking crawler, it saves only one page acting as a direct agent of the human user.

--archive.is faq

A few months ago we stopped referring to robots.txt files on U.S. government and military web sites [...] As we have moved towards broader access it has not caused problems, which we take as a good sign. We are now looking to do this more broadly.

--archive.org blog, 2017-04-17

Comment author: arundelo 09 July 2017 03:01:31AM *  0 points [-]

archive.is has both things from Patri's LiveJournal:

(Unlike archive.org, archive.is does not, IIRC, respect robots.txt.)

Gwern Branwen has a page on link rot and URL archiving.

Comment author: Calorion 08 July 2017 05:28:07PM 0 points [-]

The Patri Friedman links are dead, and blocked from archive.org. Anyone have access to another archive, so I can see what he's talking about? There has got to be a better way to link. Has no one come up with a distributed archive of linked material yet?

In response to Biased Pandemic
Comment author: RichardJActon 08 July 2017 01:38:20PM 2 points [-]

I made a deck of cards with 104 biases from the Wikipedia page on cognitive biases on them to play this and related games with. You can get the image files here:


(There is also a link to a printer where they are preconfigured so you can easily buy a deck if you want.)

The visuals on these cards were originally created by Eric Fernandez, (of http://royalsocietyofaccountplanning.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/new-study-guide-to-help-you-memorize.html)

In response to Zombies! Zombies?
Comment author: curiousone 06 July 2017 10:57:00AM *  0 points [-]

The said Chalmersian theory postulates multiple unexplained complex miracles. This drives down its prior probability, by the conjunction rule of probability and Occam's Razor. It is therefore dominated by at least two theories which postulate fewer miracles, namely:

Substance dualism: There is a stuff of consciousness which is not yet understood, an extraordinary super-physical stuff that visibly affects our world; and this stuff is what makes us talk about consciousness.

Not-quite-faith-based reductionism: That-which-we-name "consciousness" happens within physics, in a way not yet understood, just like what happened the last three thousand times humanity ran into something mysterious. Your intuition that no material substance can possibly add up to consciousness is incorrect. If you actually knew exactly why you talk about consciousness, this would give you new insights, of a form you can't now anticipate; and afterward you would realize that your arguments about normal physics having no room for consciousness were flawed.

The second theorie seems odd to me. Since it seems to postulate a solution that will happen in the future, of which we have no possible knowledge right now. And therefore any counter argument (like the mentioned intuition) fails, because as soon as the solution is revealed, of course all that opposes it is proven flawed.

Which means that this position is quite bullet proof. Anything opposing it is automatically wrong, we just need to wait until we can see that for ourselves. I have a slight unwillingness to follow that instruction.

But okay: What gives the permission to put such an amount of trust into the field of physics? Mentioned is that this situation happened "three thousand times" before: That people would see no solution (or rather wrong solutions) until physics cleared the case. That is true enough to me. But does it give the possibility to anticipate it happening in the future? On a topic that has not been cleared three thousand times before by physics?

But as we can see in the quote, the arguments against "normal physics" being incapable of the solution are invalid - will be proven invalid - too! For the then "new" physics must be of a completely new structure. Which cannot be anticipated now as well.

I can see how this argument is perfectly bullet proof. But I still don't trust it, and that's because it's so bulletproof. With this structure of "It will be proven in the future!" I can make anything bullet proof.

So: Does our case have any special properties so that it is more fit than "anything" to be made bullet proof? The only possibility I see would be: "It is more probable to be true". This "three thousand times"-sentence is a way to make it look probable. So we are now looking at the question if we rate the solution of the problem of consciousness through physics in the future more probable than - for example - the also mentioned substance dualism. Now how could we get any useful measurement on the probability of something we have not the slightest amount of knowledge about? If it was, as proposed, the fact that physics cleared not understood cases before, that would also count for any other well working and developed system such as psychology, philosophy, biology, mathmatics, etc. We could claim the soon-to-be-there-solution for any theorie claiming to be close to it.

Therefore it doesn't seem to be a useful theory to me. When it's appliable to more or less anything, how can we know where it is applied correctly? All I can see in this case is the intuition that material substance CAN possibly add up to consciousness. And why would this intuition be more reliable than the one opposing it?

Comment author: ChristianKl 04 July 2017 02:41:59PM 2 points [-]

Gwern's TERRORISM IS NOT ABOUT TERROR seems to me like a better candidate for the third.

Comment author: arundelo 04 July 2017 01:12:34AM 1 point [-]

gwern on "centaurs" (humans playing chess with computer assistance):

Even by 2007, it was hard for anyone to improve, and after 2013 or so, the very best centaurs were reduced to basically just opening book preparation (itself an extremely difficult skill involving compiling millions of games and carefully tuning against the weakness of possible opponent engines), to the point where official matches have mostly stopped (making it hard to identify the exact point at which centaur ceased to be a thing at all).

Comment author: akrates 03 July 2017 07:36:07PM 1 point [-]

A follow-up thought: This pattern seems to also work for life decisions, and not only for positions in debates or fashion choices. For example: A few years ago, I almost didn't take the offer to do a PhD at an Ivy League school, as opposed to a less highly ranked school, and to live in a mainstream popular city, as opposed to the middle of nowhere, because of my contrarianism. And then my meta-contrarianism kicked in, and I took the offer. I'm happy with the choice, but I do every once in a while have to remind myself of the fact that I consciously decided against my contrarianism, and sometimes I still wonder whether I should have gone with my contrarianism as opposed to my meta-contrarianism. (I.e. I sometimes still wonder whether I'm just buying into a naive narrative about 'good schools' and 'good cities' here.)

PS: This is my way of saying that I really really like Yvain's post. And I just realized it's already 7 years old.

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