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

MrHen comments on Guessing the Teacher's Password - Less Wrong

62 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 August 2007 03:40AM

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

Comments (92)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: MrHen 21 January 2010 07:12:02PM 5 points [-]

I remember discovering this secret through a few related events. The one that comes forefront is my brother and I laughing at a magazine advert showing a sumo wrestler ski jumping. I made the comment, "Ha, he's going to fall like a rock!" My father was there and asked why? Didn't I know that the weight of the object doesn't determine its falling speed? Apparently, whenever that concept was taught to me it didn't stick and so I wasn't using it to make predictions. But based on the tone of his voice I knew I was supposed to know this and, even though I had no clue what he was talking about, I immediately responded by saying, "Because of drag!"

This was stupid of me. It got my dad off my back and so I had correctly guessed the teacher's password and the rest of the day I tried to figure out why the weight of an object wouldn't make it fall faster. It wasn't until years later that I saw proof in a science museum experiment and I accepted the theory as fact.

The event caused me to notice, however, that I had switched theories to try explaining my prediction. I made a bad prediction, but instead of saying oops I started desperately grabbing for evidence that backed up my result. How evil of my younger self. But now that I noticed I was doing this I was able to stop it. It also caused me to start seeing this happen in others. I am still surprised at how often people do this and never think that they could be doing something wrong.