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Jack 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: Jack 17 December 2010 04:34:58AM 2 points [-]

I also think this forum could benefit from the perspective of a Christian who speaks Bayes.

I think I'd rather have a better calibrated Frequentist.

Comment author: wedrifid 17 December 2010 05:10:24AM 1 point [-]

I'd rather have a rock. Or a Christian who doesn't speak Bayes. At least that implies less doublethink.

Comment author: Jack 17 December 2010 05:53:52AM *  1 point [-]

Christianity here is actually a memetic hazard. It's a set of beliefs that has so many things wrong with it all of us feel compelled to address all of the bad thinking and wrong evidence all at once. It immediately draws everyone away from whatever productive comments they were making and into an attempt to deconvert the interlocutor. The interlocutor then responds to these attempts with more nonsense in different places which draws still more people in to the battle. Better to just keep the Hydra's out than try and chop off all those heads.

No one here is actually at risk but we don't get anything to justify the strain on the immune system.

Comment author: simplicio 17 December 2010 06:07:29AM 1 point [-]

I can think of some counterexamples. We "got" SarahC, for instance (according to her own words), and that was an unadulterated boon.

Also, the claims of religion are varied enough that they provide a range of topics, many trivial but some interesting. E.g., if we were in a sim and somebody changed it from outside in violation of the sim's internal physical law, that would constitute a "miracle" at this level of reality. How would we recognize such an event from inside?

Comment author: Jack 17 December 2010 06:20:59AM *  0 points [-]

A lot of Sarah's comments were made this summer when I wasn't around, so I may have missed something but I quick glance confirms that she is not a believing Christian. She certainly hasn't argued for the truth Christianity, which is really my concern.

Also, the claims of religion are varied enough that they provide a range of topics,

Which we can discuss successfully without real Christians.

Comment author: simplicio 17 December 2010 06:29:10AM *  0 points [-]

Sorry, I was unclear in speaking. I meant she acknowledged LW's influence in her deconversion, and is no longer religious. I think she started out Jewish actually. I can't seem to find the relevant comment/post.

Comment author: [deleted] 17 December 2010 02:24:54PM 3 points [-]

I was never Christian, I was raised Jewish, and now I don't believe in God. And, yes, LessWrong contributed. (I think, IIRC, we also have a member who was raised Muslim and recently became an atheist since he found LW.)

I don't think you can randomly deconvert someone who isn't already seeking a change. Like most major changes in belief or lifestyle, deconversion has to be self-motivated. But if a Christian (or other religious person) is hanging around LW and not trolling, then he's probably looking for some alternatives, and there's no harm pointing him in that direction.

Comment author: XiXiDu 17 December 2010 03:33:37PM *  3 points [-]

I was never Christian, I was raised Jewish, and now I don't believe in God. And, yes, LessWrong contributed. (I think, IIRC, we also have a member who was raised Muslim and recently became an atheist since he found LW.)

My reason to abjure God was mainly due to ethical reasons. I didn't want to follow something anymore that had deliberately designed such an hellhole of a universe. Later I became an atheist mainly for noticing that nothing natural really appeared to be intelligently designed. Just look at the moon, the shape of the continents etc., or that we live on the surface of a sphere rather than inside a Dyson sphere. The next big step came via science fiction, when I noticed how easy it would have been to design a universe where nothing could suffer horribly. What Less Wrong added on top of all else I learnt is that Occam's razor has been formalized. I didn't know about that before LW.

I just don't see that anyone would need Less Wrong to stop beliving into one of the Abrahamic religions. It should be obvious to anyone who isn't morally bankrupt or a psychopath that God is not your friend, rather it is your worst enemy. If that doesn't convince you, why not just read the Bible:

Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children. (Isaiah 13:15-18)

Comment author: Desrtopa 17 December 2010 04:00:47PM 5 points [-]

I just don't see that anyone would need Less Wrong to stop beliving into one of the Abrahamic religions. It should be obvious to anyone who isn't morally bankrupt or a psychopath that God is not your friend, rather it is your worst enemy.

And yet simple observation confirms that it is not obvious to many people who are clearly not sociopaths or more morally bankrupt than usual. It's completely ordinary for people to rationalize away inconsistencies or flaws in their beliefs with as little revision as possible. Making large alterations to account for large errors is a rare and difficult to learn skill.

Comment author: XiXiDu 17 December 2010 04:36:17PM *  1 point [-]

Yes, obviously, as I am used to from my parents. Sadly none of them would read LW or not rationalize away what is being said here like so much else. I believe that those who abjured religion because of reading something like LW are rather an exception. I was really addressing religious people, with what I call my shock and awe approach to crack their stronghold of subjective moral superiority. To paraphrase what I said, you are dumb, ignorant and morally abhorrent if you do not abjure your God. Yep, that might not work, but it does reflect my weariness. So never mind my little tirade, I lost my sense of location awareness for a moment there ;-)

Comment author: [deleted] 17 December 2010 05:29:29PM 4 points [-]

I was aware of the moral aspects; but I was confused by the notion that I seemed to disagree with God and I thought this was my fault. I had a problem with the story of Pinchas, but I thought that was me just being "soft" or "secularized" and I was really unsure whether to trust my own sense of morality. (One thing we should all understand here is that "conscience" is very far from infallible.)

What changed my mind is a sense that my brain is all I've got. I may be wrong about many things, but I'm not going to become less wrong by throwing out the majority of what I know in favor of one ancient and rather bloody book; if "conscience" isn't trustworthy, it's still probably more trustworthy than simple conformism.

Comment author: XiXiDu 17 December 2010 06:37:41PM 0 points [-]

I seemed to disagree with God and I thought this was my fault. I had a problem with the story of Pinchas, but I thought that was me just being "soft" or "secularized" and I was really unsure whether to trust my own sense of morality.

If you replace God with Yudkowsky, story of Pinchas with AI going FOOM and soft, respectively secularized, with irrational and sense of morality with education (or worse, intelligence), then you got how I feel about another topic.

What changed my mind is a sense that my brain is all I've got. I may be wrong about many things, but I'm not going to become less wrong by throwing out the majority of what I know in favor of one ancient and rather bloody book; if "conscience" isn't trustworthy, it's still probably more trustworthy than simple conformism.

I've always felt that conscience was just a matter of taste. So it was never really a question about how trustworthy my moral judgement is but that I care about it. I abjured God when I still believed that it exists. Only later I became an atheist. I suppose that is the difference between you and me here. You wanted to do the right thing (in an objective sense) and for me the right thing has always been that what I want.