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RobertLumley 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: RobertLumley 25 July 2011 11:36:59PM *  8 points [-]

Hello, everyone.

Apparently I was supposed to introduce myself here when I joined the site. Looks like I'm about two (?) months late. I'm not really sure when I registered my account, but I just started actually commenting recently.

Anyway, I'm a 21 year old Biomolecular Engineering/Pre-medicine student living in the backward state that just put Intelligent Design in the state curriculum (And also recently proposed outlawing teachers mentioning homosexuality in the classroom before the 9th grade, among other remarkably boneheaded things). I know a marginal amount of programming - most of what I do is visual basic to go along with my Excel spreadsheets or MATLAB work for class, but I really enjoy it. I also know marginal amounts of C++ and PHP, but I'm not entirely sure why I'm telling you this.

I was introduced to Eliezer's work sometime this spring (April?) by a friend who (without having read it herself) posted HP:MOR on my Facebook wall, and said it was right up my alley. I read it in two weeks, and was hungry for more. Since he wrote it under the pen name "LessWrong", it actually took a bit of digging to find out who actually wrote it, but I gradually uncovered it. (I keep an impeccably documented collection of quotes and wanted the proper attribution. Eliezer has about 6 or 7 quotes in my collection now...) I then started reading all of Eliezer's OB posts from the beginning, and I'm currently on Leaky Generalizations, taking a rather lengthy hiatus, since I'm busy doing research and studying for the MCAT. And honestly, I'm wasn't a huge fan of the evolution sequence, since I already knew most of it, being highly related to my major, and it was highly technical.

But I can thank Eliezer for my identification as a transhumanist - I've worn many labels in my day, including everything from Christian to Objectivist, but I have never identified with a philosophy as strongly as I do transhumanism. His e-mail regarding Yehuda's death was one of the most moving things I've ever read.

Areas where I seem to disagree with, as I've seen it called, the LessWrong Hive Mind:

Cryonics - This is mostly out of ignorance, if anyone can point me to some respectable and unbiased sources of information, I would be greatly obliged. I have a difficult time finding most of what I've seen linked to to be credible. Regardless, I'm not too incentivized to research the matter, since I don't have the means with which to afford it.

Mind stimulating drugs - I don't take anything psychoactive, including caffeine. (Edit: In clarification, I try to avoid anything psychoactive. I would obviously take a psychoactive drug if it would save my life, significantly reduce pain, etc.) This is for a variety of reasons, primarily because I feel I have an addictive personality, and that the medical studies seem to show that there is little to no effect after long term use. (See another of my favorite blogs)

Hobbies: Collecting quotes, video games, programming, photography, contract bridge, biking, Diplomacy, college football

Favorite post so far: Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Quesitons

Most thought-provoking post so far: Pascal's Mugging

Anyway, this was really just a way to wake up because I was dozing off while studying for the MCAT, and I think I've said about everything I wanted to say. This quickly became one of my favorite sites, and I count myself lucky to have discovered it.

Comment author: MixedNuts 26 July 2011 06:55:17AM 2 points [-]

On cryonics:

For: Alcor's FAQ

Against: Sadly, not much. Paul "ciphergoth" Crowley collects anti-cryonics writing, and it sucks.

You can almost certainly afford it. Eliezer said he paid less than $200/year. I know how expensive a photography hobby is; you're not dirt poor. For a potentially life-saving treatment, that's pretty cheap - people routinely pay more for treatments with worse odds that'll buy them less than ten years.

Comment author: RobertLumley 26 July 2011 01:01:51PM 1 point [-]

Well, it's more a question of what my parents are willing to pay for, to be honest. And I don't have any real photography equipment, I just enjoy reading about it, and taking pictures on my point and shoot.

Comment author: christina 30 August 2011 06:29:40AM 1 point [-]

Hey, I think I've seen you around the forum.

I feel similarly about psychoactive drugs. I do consume small amounts of caffeine (via chocolate and the occasional caffeinated tea), but I try to avoid it since even those amounts can make me jittery and thus I don't drink coffee at all. I don't feel any desire to take recreational drugs, legal or otherwise. I suspect this qualifies as an unusual tendency, so it's always interesting to meet people who feel similarly. Nevertheless, I have a tendency not to mention this fact spontaneously for fear that people will feel I'm judging them.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 09 October 2011 02:01:56AM 1 point [-]

Hi, welcome to Less Wrong!

Cryonics - This is mostly out of ignorance, if anyone can point me to some respectable and unbiased sources of information, I would be greatly obliged. I have a difficult time finding most of what I've seen linked to to be credible. Regardless, I'm not too incentivized to research the matter, since I don't have the means with which to afford it.

There is respectable science backing up various parts of cryonics. This page has some titles of relevant papers. For more specific information, about which of the following are you most skeptical?
* the mind is in the brain
* the mind's information is preserved by vitrification
* it will someday be possible to recover this information and run the mind, either in a brain or elsewhere

As for finances, you can get a life insurance policy that's about as expensive as medical insurance, that will pay out to the cryonics org in the event of your death. This is the way most people sign up, and it's apparently feasible on a limited budget. I can't say for myself, because I don't have the control over my own finances I'd need to sign up.

Please look into cryonics more carefully. It could save your life, and even if you decide it's not for you, the choice is important enough to make it an informed one.