Just because two things share surface similarities doesn't mean that they work the same way, or can be expected to be similar in other respects. If you want to understand what something does, it typically doesn't help you to understand something else. That type of reasoning only works if the two things are especially similar, on a deep level.
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This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was The Outside View's Domain, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.
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