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Justcallmecynical comments on How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3 - Less Wrong

53 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 September 2007 11:00PM

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Comment author: Justcallmecynical 20 November 2010 11:13:24AM 0 points [-]

I tend to think that a physical system of numbering and an entirely nonphysical system of belief as apples and oranges- entirely incomparable. Specifically, adding or subtracting earplugs is an entanglement of reality and belief whereas choosing eg. christianity or islam is simply something of belief- yes, that spiritual belief is affected by your reality (environmental factors like schooling, parents and location, obviously) but in the end, it is still a belief- for example, if a person never heard of Jesus or Muhammad but nonetheless believed in a higher power or similiar disposition, does this make them muslim, christian, neither or both? Furthermore, if somebody really wants to believe that sound travels in space, then their belief may well prevail despite all evidence against it as the person creates 'exceptions' to their beliefs that they believe do not disprove their theory. Hope this made sense...

Comment author: nshepperd 20 November 2010 01:14:42PM 2 points [-]

One might indeed "believe" all that. But a belief has no use if it isn't true.

Comment author: bigjeff5 03 March 2011 09:18:08PM 1 point [-]

Apples and oranges have more ways they are alike than not alike.

I always have to bring this up when someone makes the "apples to oranges" statement. It's only true so long as you are purposefully ignoring all the ways they are alike.

In other words, it is just as valid to compare apples to oranges as it is to compare fuji apples to granny smith apples.

That's just me being pedantic, but it really seems to apply in this particular case.

Comment author: bigjeff5 03 March 2011 09:22:00PM 0 points [-]

Apples and oranges are alike in more ways than they are not alike.

I always have to bring this up when someone makes the "you can't compare apples to oranges" statement. In fact, it is quite reasonable to compare apples to oranges. It's also reasonable to compare apples to eighteen-wheelers. It's only unreasonable when you are explicitly ignoring all the ways they are alike. Even then, it isn't particularly unreasonable to compare two things that are completely dissimilar.

I'm being a little pedantic, but it really seems to apply in this particular case.