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Nick_Tarleton comments on Burdensome Details - Less Wrong

30 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 September 2007 11:46PM

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Comment author: Nick_Tarleton 21 September 2007 08:58:56PM 8 points [-]

Echoing Richard, I can see another good reason (and yes, I read your last post) why a more complicated scenario could be assigned a higher probability. Take the USSR example. Suppose that a USSR invasion of Poland is the only reasonably-likely event that could cause a suspension of diplomatic relations. Suppose also that no one would have thought of that as a possibility until it was suggested. Suppose further that once it was suggested as a possibility, the forecasters would realize quickly that it was actually reasonably likely. (I know I've twisted the example beyond all plausibility, but there probably are real situations fitting this form.) Effectively, the forecasters who got the question including Poland have information the others don't - the realization that there is a probable incident that could cause suspension of diplomatic relations - and can rationally assign a higher probability. The forecasters are still at fault for a massive failure of imagination, but not for anything as simple and stupid as the Conjunction Fallacy.

Felix, are you saying that someone shouldn't answer C, because they should consider the context and consider a biased coin? If I knew the coin might be biased, I would answer A, but I don't see what that has to do with any of Eliezer's examples.