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Alan_Gunn comments on Debiasing as Non-Self-Destruction - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 April 2007 08:20PM

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Comment author: Alan_Gunn 08 April 2007 12:30:16PM 1 point [-]

This is in response to Brian's comment, above.

Some years ago, I had the misfortune of being a member of a faculty senate, which gave me regular opportunities to hear highly intelligent people saying stupid things. At the university at which I then taught, some faculty senate members were elected on a university-wide basis, so one had to choose candidates from a group of people one didn't know and couldn't learn much about. One of my colleagues voted strictly according to department affiliation, using this system, which seemed good to me: engineers and business-school people, yes. Scientists, yes, except for physicists. Veterinarians, yes. Economists, yes. Everybody else, no. (We were lawyers, so we didn't have to make a decision about them as a group, as we knew the candidates, and the medical school wasn't part of the process). Looking back on the list, it does boil down roughly to a distinction between fields in which ability and lack of it lead to real-world consequences. I'm not at all sure how that would apply to academic lawyers. Most of us tend to be litigators (I'm not), and that's a profession much of like confidence tricksters.