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michael_vassar comments on The Third Alternative - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: michael_vassar 07 May 2007 06:56:29PM 5 points [-]

TGGP: I don't think that what you are describing would be considered by most people to constitute a disbelief in morality. Instead, I think it would be considered an atypically reflective and possibly slightly atypically targeted belief about what being means.

Rob Spear: "good old fashioned Pavlovian conditioning" requires that rewards and punishments (reinforcers) be associated very closely in time with the behaviors being reinforced. Santa doesn't do this. Neither does god. This is NOT a minor quibble, but rather is a critically important distinction. Evolutionary psychologists have discovered a few instances of non-old-fashioned Pseudo-Pavolvian conditioning, such as the development of aversions to foods as a result of sickness hours after eating (still not months or years after) and immediate acquisition of certain phobias (for instance, fear of snakes) without the need for repetition, but these are due to very distinctive context-specific mechanisms. There is no evidence that any analogous distinctive Pseudo-Pavolvian mechanism is at work in generating "Santa efficacy".