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Of Lies and Black Swan Blowups

16 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 April 2009 06:26PM

Followup toEntangled Truths, Contagious Lies

Judge Marcus Einfeld, age 70, Queens Counsel since 1977, Australian Living Treasure 1997, United Nations Peace Award 2002, founding president of Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, retired a few years back but routinely brought back to judge important cases...

...is going to jail for at least two years over a series of perjuries and lies that started with a £36, 6mph-over speeding ticket.

That whole suspiciously virtuous-sounding theory about honest people not being good at lying, and entangled traces being left somewhere, and the entire thing blowing up in a Black Swan epic fail, actually does have a certain number of exemplars in real life, though obvious selective reporting is at work in our hearing about this one.

 

Part of the Against Rationalization subsequence of How To Actually Change Your Mind

Next post: "Dark Side Epistemology"

Previous post: "Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies"

Comments (7)

Comment author: MrHen 07 April 2009 06:49:24PM 10 points [-]

That whole suspiciously virtuous-sounding theory about honest people not being good at lying [...]

This is a little off-topic, but wouldn't that theory work better the other way?

People not good at lying are honest

It's not like lying is working out for them.

Comment author: handoflixue 03 June 2011 01:18:22AM 3 points [-]

It is very confusing seeing an article about an Australian receiving a 36 pound fine, given that Australia does not use the pound anymore. On checking Wikipedia, it appears the likely explanation is simply that the BBC simply converted the original $77 AUS to pounds for their story.

Comment author: ciphergoth 07 April 2009 07:27:34PM 2 points [-]

For at least two years, according to the linked article.

For this UK-dweller, it's all very reminiscent of Jonathan Aitken, who swore "to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play", and whose story got twistier and twistier until it collapsed with a final damning piece of evidence, after which he served seven months in jail for perjury.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 April 2009 08:18:35PM 1 point [-]

Fixed, thanks.

Comment author: Peterdjones 03 June 2011 11:13:19AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: ciphergoth 03 June 2011 12:51:33PM 0 points [-]

Not seeing it. Joad committed a crime, got caught, and lost everything, but I don't see anything to indicate that he perjured himself, or indeed told any lies to anyone; if he'd perjured himself he would have got worse than a £2 fine.

Comment author: Chriswaterguy 20 November 2015 07:12:24AM 0 points [-]

I found the last paragraph-sentence impossible to understand. I may just be not thinking straight, but it could be made clearer, and I'm posting about my confusion because I'm sure there'll be others who are also confused.

"actually does have a certain number of exemplars in real life" refers to the "honest people not being good at lying" theory, plus the risk of huge blow-ups from end of lies.

"though obvious selective reporting is at work in our hearing about this one" clearly refers to this sensational case of someone who was mostly good at lying, but left an entangled trace... Einfeld turned out to be a dishonest person (who was remarkably successful at lying, for a long time), so I'm not sure how that relates. The use of "though" was the first thing that confused me, but then I realised that the whole paragraph confuses me.