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

Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on The Third Alternative - Less Wrong

55 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 May 2007 11:47PM

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

Comments (78)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 May 2007 01:38:15PM 9 points [-]

Kaj, Jeremy, your objection contains the seeds of its own refutation - if you can both teach children about Santa and supply them with science fiction, it hints that the number of possible different ways to supply wonder is exponentially huge, whereas your available time is linear at best. Thus my dilemma is not false; the best is still the enemy of the good, even if you pick the top five instead of the top one.

If you still doubt, consider that Santa-ism has an explicit downside, namely that it bribes the child to be moral, which has been demonstrated to interfere with internalization of morality - Santa-ism may not even satisfice. False dilemmas are often used to justify downsides, and in such cases, if we find a strategy without the downside, it will generally substitute rather than accumulate, even before taking resource bounds into account.