Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

PhilGoetz comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (493)

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 29 January 2011 06:22:55AM *  1 point [-]

The usefulness of math is not measured by the amount of people who learn it, or the amount of people who fail to grasp its usefulness, but by the results that those who master it get.

Where "those who master it" is defined by "the intersection of people who tried it, and people who get good results".

Anatoly's observations are spot on, whereas MartinB's ignore the problems with self-selection bias, and could also be used as a defense of psychotherapy, ouija boards, and picking lottery numbers from fortune cookies.

More importantly, we don't even have evidence that pickup artist techniques work for anyone! All we have are testimonials from people highly-incentivized to make them. Is there any factual evidence that David DeAngelo, Neil Strauss, or any of these PUAs actually have slept with many beautiful women?

It would be hard to provide such evidence - but that doesn't mean we can just trust them.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 January 2011 07:58:53AM *  -1 points [-]

More importantly, we don't even have evidence that pickup artist techniques work for anyone! All we have are testimonials from people highly-incentivized to make them. Is there any factual evidence that David DeAngelo, Neil Strauss, or any of these PUAs actually have slept with many beautiful women?

Yes. Video evidence and an overwhelming abundance of eyewitness reports. Including reports from women who they have dated. All of this is evidence that someone could assert is faked or engineered by some ingenious plot with payed actors and widespread bribes. Technically.

Anatoly's observations are spot on, whereas MartinB's ignore the problems with self-selection bias, and could also be used as a defense of psychotherapy, ouija boards, and picking lottery numbers from fortune cookies.

If we are going to throw about insulting analogies for rhetorical effect then a more appropriate one would be "moon landing".