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Lumifer comments on Be secretly wrong - Less Wrong

32 Post author: Benquo 10 December 2016 07:06AM

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Comment author: Lumifer 09 December 2016 08:16:40PM 2 points [-]

There is a trade-off because people (at least those who are not spherical cows in vacuum) tend to stick to initial positions. So if you picked a model/belief early, you might find abandoning it difficult. Plus there is the whole feedback loop where having an existing belief will affect which evidence you choose to see.

So it's not the case of "the more the better", declaring a flimsily-supported position has its costs which have to be taken into account. In practice I tend to delay articulating my models until I need to -- there is no point in formulating a position when it will not affect anything.

Comment author: Benquo 09 December 2016 08:20:38PM 0 points [-]

I think this objection is comparatively strong for non-operationalized "shoulds," post-dictions, and highly general statements that haven't yet been cashed out to specific anticipations. I think that there's very little harm in making a model more explicit, and a lot of benefit, when you get all they way down to expecting to observe specific things in a hard-to-mistake way.

That's a separate skill that's needed in order to make this advice beneficial, and it's important to keep in mind the overall skill tree, so thanks for bringing up this issue.