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David_Gerard comments on The Virtue of Narrowness - Less Wrong

56 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 August 2007 05:57PM

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Comment author: David_Gerard 06 December 2010 11:03:21AM *  4 points [-]

ran the Royal Mint (and as such was in fact deeply concerned with the "role of money in society" - to significant practical effect at the time)

This would be the precise point that immediately occurred to me too. So no, it's not just you.

Tyrrell seems correct about the point being made, but nevertheless this wasn't a great example.

It couldn't possibly be that your abysmal ignorance of modern evolutionary theory is so total that you can't tell the difference between a carburetor and a radiator. That's unthinkable. No, the other guy - you know, the one who's studied the math - is just too dumb to see the connections.

This is the point at which it became apparent that this is one of those EY essays where I think "so who annoyed him in this particular way?" It appears to be the sort of essay that's a reaction to (or, more generously, strongly inspired by) a particular incident or person, rather than a careful attempt to speak much more broadly. This does not make it incorrect or not useful; it is, however, important in trying to sufficiently duplicate the conditions in the writer's head to understand it properly.

Comment author: stripey7 30 July 2015 01:27:21AM 0 points [-]

It may be a particular incident or person in EY's head, but it's not a unique one. It was very reminiscent of a crank interviewed for a segment of This American Life, who evidently wasn't unique judging from the way physicists reacted to his communications. It's also reminiscent of at least one conversation I've had.