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tel comments on Your Strength as a Rationalist - Less Wrong

69 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 August 2007 12:21AM

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Comment author: tel 29 October 2009 11:49:18PM 1 point [-]

That's certainly sensible, and in But There's Still a Chance Eleiezer makes examples where this seems strong. In the above example, it depends a whole lot on how much belief you have in people (or, rather, lines of IRC chat).

I think then that your strength as a rationalist comes in balancing that uncertainty against some your prior trust in people. At which point, instead of predicting the negative, I'd seek more information.

Comment author: Dpar 14 January 2010 06:41:42PM *  0 points [-]

The level of "trust" you have in a person should be inversely proportional to the sensationalism of the claim that he's making.

If a person tells you he was abducted by a UFO, you demand evidence.

If a person tells you that on the way to work he slipped and fell down, and you have no concrete reason to doubt the story in particular or the person in general, you take that at face value. It is a reasonable assumption that a perfect stranger in all likelihood will NOT be delusional or a compulsive liar.


Comment author: tel 24 January 2010 01:23:25AM 0 points [-]

That makes sense if you're only evaluating complete strangers. In other words, your uncertainty about the population-inferred trustworthiness of a person is pretty high and so instead the mere (Occam Factor style) complexity of their statement is the overruling component of your decision.

In the stated case, this isn't a totally random stranger. I feel quite justified in having a less-than uninformative prior about trusting IRC ghosts. In this case, my rationally acquired prejudice overrules in inference about the truth of even somewhat ordinary tales.

Comment author: Dpar 11 May 2010 06:36:54AM *  0 points [-]

The author did not mention anything about an exceptionally high percentage of liars in IRC relative to the general population (which would be quite relevant to his statement) therefore there's no reason to believe that such had been HIS experience in the past.

Given that, there is no reason for HIM to presume that the percentage of compulsive liars in IRC would different from the general population. YOUR experiences may, of course, be drastically different, but they are not the subject of discussion here.