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Caledonian2 comments on Typicality and Asymmetrical Similarity - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 06 February 2008 09:20PM

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Comment author: Caledonian2 07 February 2008 03:16:52PM -2 points [-]

In the absence of any biological information, there's no indication to tilt the scales one way or another.

Ah, but we're dealing with people who call everything even incidentally related to the subject 'evidence' and suggest that it should change the outcome of a Bayesian evaluation.

The statement about how disease transmission from one species to another should be just as likely as the reverse is simply logically wrong, period. Now, the post could have made a statement that we had no reason to presume the relationship would be of any particular form, and thus people should have favored one as much as the other - but that's not what was said.

Furthermore, one datapoint does not suffice to demonstrate a tendency. Citing multiple examples is necessary for even an informal claim to be taken seriously.

Furthermore, this is part of a tendency on the part of the authors to make incredibly sloppy, poorly-supported, and often necessarily invalid or factually incorrect arguments. I am willing to cut reasonable people some slack, especially since everyday language is so imprecise, but a pattern of serious error burns through the grace leeway very rapidly.