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Ben_Kester 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: Ben_Kester 28 September 2007 12:16:44AM 8 points [-]

To apply the same reasoning the other way, if you aren't a Christian, what would be a situation which would convince you of the truth of Christianity?

Comment author: sidhe3141 08 January 2011 02:34:12AM 39 points [-]

The Second Coming? An opportunity to have a chat with the Lord Himself? An analysis of a communion wafer revealing it to, in fact, be living human flesh? It's seriously not that hard to think of these.

Comment author: Will_Sawin 10 January 2011 01:49:06AM 10 points [-]

Which is more likely "God exists" or "I just hallucinated that" For the third one, probably that He exists, for the second one, definitely hallucination, for the first, I'm not sure.

Comment author: sidhe3141 29 April 2011 07:49:50AM 9 points [-]

Second one: depends. I was kind of assuming that you have some way of verifying it, like you ask Him to create something and someone who wasn't there later describes some of its previously determined properties accurately without being clued in. First: you'd need a massive global hallucination, and could use a similar verification method.

Comment author: Will_Sawin 30 April 2011 12:54:21AM 9 points [-]

That seems accurate. Remember that a single person can hallucinate that someone else verified something, but this has low prior probability.

Comment author: MTGandP 05 October 2012 04:41:57AM 2 points [-]

Given my current mental capacities, I think that any "proof" of God would be more easily attributed to hallucination. However, it should still be possible for God to prove His existence. If He is omnipotent, then he can increase my mental capacity to the extent that I can distinguish between divine intervention and a hallucination of divine intervention.

Comment author: MaxNanasy 01 February 2015 11:45:16AM 0 points [-]

But what if you're hallucinating the increase in mental capacity and resulting discernment?

Comment author: MTGandP 06 February 2015 11:51:25PM *  1 point [-]

It may be theoretically possible to increase my mental capacity in some way such that I can distinguish mental capacity from hallucination. I cannot conceive of how that would be done, but it may be possible.

P.S. I love when people reply to comments that are two and a half years old. It feels like we're talking to the past.

Comment author: mszegedy 10 December 2012 08:06:57AM 7 points [-]

I once conducted an experiment in which I threw a die 500 times, and then prayed for an hour every day for a week that that die consistently land on a four, and then threw the die 500 more times. Correlation was next to zero, so I concluded that God does not answer prayers about dice from me.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 December 2012 08:18:47AM 12 points [-]

Haven't you ever heard the saying, "God does not throw dice games"?

Comment author: mszegedy 10 December 2012 11:30:08PM 0 points [-]

Wasn't that what Einstein said about QM?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 10 December 2012 11:58:55PM 3 points [-]

Almost. Eliezer is making a bad wordplay with what Einstein said.

Comment author: MixedNuts 10 December 2012 09:08:16AM 4 points [-]

I wouldn't expect a deity to answer that sort of prayer. You're not being sincere, just trying to test them, which many canonically find annoying because it shows mistrust; you don't need that die to land on a four; it suggests you'd use prayer to lowly ends (e.g. "Let me score a touchdown" rather than "Please solve world hunger"); it gives an easily publishable result, which no deity would characteristically accept - if they didn't want to be discreet they'd still be doing showy miracles. Studies where you pray to cure cancer or something are much stronger evidence.

Comment author: Lethalmud 11 June 2013 01:28:14PM 1 point [-]

Do those studies have a placebo group?

Comment author: Rixie 24 July 2013 12:38:30AM 4 points [-]

I read about a study like that, in which Christians prayed for people to recover from cancer. There was barely any difference between the patients that weren't prayed for, the patients that were prayed for and knee that they were being prayed for, and the patients that didn't know that they were being prayed for.

Comment author: Tintinnabulation 01 December 2014 09:09:41PM 1 point [-]

I recall the same study - and I seem to remember that the patients who knew they were being prayed for did a bit worse.

Comment author: notsonewuser 25 August 2013 03:01:37PM 5 points [-]

You're not being sincere.

Actually, if you run the test, you are. Given that you'd have changed your mind if it had gone the other way, of course.

Comment author: Document 25 August 2013 05:38:57PM 3 points [-]
Comment author: AlexanderRM 19 March 2015 08:33:49PM 0 points [-]

There's no situation which would convince me that Christianity had a 100% probability of being true, because the idea that the entire scenario since I first encountered evidence of Christianity being true was a hallucination or that I was a Brain-in-a-Vat could never be disproved, but I can easily imagine scenarios that could make me raise my estimated probability of Christianity much higher, to 50%, 90%, perhaps higher.

If I were teleported into an alternate world where world history and the like seemed more consistent with Christianity being true, I could easily envision my probability ranking to as high as my current one for Atheism, to the point that I would act based on the assumption that it had a 100% probability.