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ricketson comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: orthonormal 12 August 2010 01:08AM

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Comment author: ricketson 13 August 2010 01:44:44AM 7 points [-]

Hi. I just joined the site yesterday to post a comment. I've been tracking the feed for about a week, having recently decided to re-engage with the Internet. I learned of the site about three months ago, by way of a blogger who was blogging about social issues. I disagreed with him very strongly on those issues, but I checked out his other posts and he mentioned a discussion over here (I think he's a participant).

I think that the post that originally attracted my attention was something relating to the singularity idea. Being a geek myself, I'm kinda interested in the "geek rapture", but haven't gotten a good sense of how people approach it (I know there's a book).

Anyway, I checked out the site: i liked the mission statement and the structure. Probably most importantly, the name stuck in my head. "Less Wrong" has a nice, calmly optimistic ring to it (kinda like Marginal Revolution, another blog I like). I really like how the site relies on user ratings. I've been a big fan of systems that have the community act as the gatekeeper, and have always jumped on board such projects (Wikipedia and Daily Kos, for example). I even once tried to set up a Wiki for debates, but it was very clunky and never got critical mass.

I've been participating in on-line political debates for about 15 years now. I think I've learned a lot, but I ofter get sick of the debates -- especially when they involve mainstream activists who just repeat the same tripe over and over again. I've also become rather cynical towards our political institutions. I don't really think that it matters what I think about politics -- if I'm not willing to make a career out of it, I'm not going to impact anything. I've decided to make my career as a scientist instead.

All of these futile political debates lead me to ask why people are so bad at thinking (or at least, expressing rational thoughts). I've always viewed politics as a means to an end -- that end being human happiness-- and I'm increasingly thinking that it is irrelevant to promoting that end. I'm thinking that the real issue is in how people think and solve problems. If people think right, the politics will sort itself out. So, I'm hoping that Less Wrong can provide a more productive discussion.

Comment author: simplicio 15 August 2010 03:50:43PM 2 points [-]

I've always viewed politics as a means to an end -- that end being human happiness-- and I'm increasingly thinking that it is irrelevant to promoting that end. I'm thinking that the real issue is in how people think and solve problems.

This is precisely how I feel. Sometimes I daydream about starting a political party that has no ideology apart from vague consequentialism, commitment to rationality & empirical testing of policy proposals. Call us the "Whatever the Hell Works" party.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 15 August 2010 11:43:39PM 2 points [-]

Sometimes I daydream about starting a political party that has no ideology apart from vague consequentialism, commitment to rationality & empirical testing of policy proposals. Call us the "Whatever the Hell Works" party.

Some niches might be opening up in US politics. Unfortunately, sensible people don't seem to be rushing to fill those niches.

Comment author: DBonar 15 August 2010 04:05:53PM 0 points [-]

There are at least 3 things going on in "politics" though. 1) Public discussion about the problems facing society including possible solutions and value debates. 2) Getting the "right" people in the right places so that upcoming problems can be addressed well. 3) People making sure they and theirs get a "fair" share of the pie including making their living through politics.

Unfortunately, the "Whatever the Hell Works" party probably doesn't do well on that third aspect which probably means it would have a hard time getting and keeping people working for it. Ride a tide of dissatisfaction into power, but then it is really tempting to become just the latest version of the same old politics.

Comment author: simplicio 15 August 2010 04:19:34PM 0 points [-]

Oh, I agree! It's only a daydream. =P