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Michael_Rooney comments on Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People - Less Wrong

70 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 April 2007 06:01PM

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Comment author: Michael_Rooney 08 April 2007 12:13:32AM 0 points [-]

I have to bet on every possible claim I (or any sentient entity capable of propositional attitudes in the universe) might entertain as a belief? That is highly implausible as a descriptive claim. Consider the claim "Xinwei has string in his pockets" (where Xinwei is a Chinese male I've never met). I have no choice but to assign probability to that claim? And all other claims, from "language is the house of being" to "a proof for Goldbach's conjecture will be found by an unaided human mind"? If Eliezer offers me a million dollars to bet on someone's pocket-contents, then, yes, if the utility is right, I will calculate probabilities, meager though my access to evidence may be. But that is not life. The null action may be an action, but lack of belief is not a belief. "I've never thought about it" is not equivalent to "it's false" or "it's very improbable".

(Did Neanderthals assign probabilities, or was it a module that emerged at about the same time as the FOXP gene? Or did it have to wait until the invention of games of chance in western Europe? Is someone who refuses to bet on anything for religious reasons ipso facto irrational?)

And you don't take the belief "2 + 2 = 4" as having probability of 1? Nor "2 + 2 = 5" as 0?

I'm off, out of ISP range for a day, so I won't reply for a bit. Cheers.