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TheOtherDave comments on Rationalist Fiction - Less Wrong

27 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 19 March 2009 08:22AM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 08 January 2014 04:01:09AM 5 points [-]

In the real world, these are mostly just games we play with words.

Someone who has been rained on for 14 years straight has an extremely surprising property.

The label we assign that property matters a little, since it affects our subsequent behavior with respect to it. If I call it "rain god" I may be more inclined to worship it; if I label it a "localized meteorological phenomenon" I might be more inclined to study it using the techniques of meteorology; if I label it an extremely unlikely coincidence I might be more inclined not to study it at all; if I label it the work of pranksters with advanced technology I might be more inclined to look for pranksters, etc.

Etc.

But other things matter far more.

Do they have any other equally unlikely observable attributes, for example?
Did anything equally unlikely occur 14 years ago?

Etc.

Worrying overmuch about labels can distract us from actually observing what's in front of us.