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Rationality Quotes 11

2 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 March 2008 05:48AM

"If we let ethical considerations get in the way of scientific hubris, then the feminists have won!"
        -- Helarxe

"The trajectory to hell is paved with locally-good intentions."
        -- Matt Gingell

"To a mouse, cheese is cheese; that's why mousetraps work."
        -- Wendell Johnson, quoted in Language in Thought and Action

"'Ethical consideration' has come to mean reasoning from an ivory tower about abstract non-issues while people die."
        -- Zeb Haradon

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good."
        -- Rick Potvin

"The accessory optic system: The AOS, extensively studied in the rabbit, arises from a special class of ganglion cells, the cells of Dogiel, that are directionally selective and respond best to slow rates of movement. They project to the terminal nuclei which in turn project to the dorsal cap of Kooy of the inferior olive. The climbing fibers from the olive project to the flocculo-nodular lobe of the cerebellum from where the brain stem occulomotor centers are reached through the vestibular nuclei."
        -- MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, "Visual Anatomy and Physiology"

"Fight for those you have lost, and for those you don't want to lose."
        -- Claymore

"Which facts are likely to reappear? The simple facts. How to recognize them? Choose those that seem simple. Either this simplicity is real or the complex elements are indistinguishable. In the first case we're likely to meet this simple fact again either alone or as an element in a complex fact. The second case too has a good chance of recurring since nature doesn't randomly construct such cases."
        -- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

"Revolutions begin not when the first barricades are erected or even when people lose faith in the old ways of doing things, but rather when they realize that fundamental change is possible."
        -- Steven Metz

"First Law of Anime Acoustics: In space, loud sounds, like explosions, are even louder because there is no air to get in the way."
"Law of Inherent Combustibility: Everything explodes. Everything."
"Law of Conservation of Firepower: Any powerful weapon capable of destroying/defeating an opponent in a single shot will invariably be reserved and used only as a last resort."
        -- Laws of Anime

"On the Popo Agie in September,
I watched the water toss through the same arc,
  each molecule passing through and never returning,
  but the whole a permanence of chaos,
   repeating to the casual glance,
   various to the closer look."
        --  Mick McAllister

Comments (18)

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Comment author: Z._M._Davis 04 March 2008 06:41:44AM 2 points [-]

But we want the feminists to win.

Comment author: Tiiba2 04 March 2008 06:57:04AM 3 points [-]

"The accessory optic system: The AOS, extensively studied in the rabbit, arises from a special class of ganglion cells, the cells of Dogiel, that are directionally selective and respond best to slow rates of movement. They project to the terminal nuclei which in turn project to the dorsal cap of Kooy of the inferior olive. The climbing fibers from the olive project to the flocculo-nodular lobe of the cerebellum from where the brain stem occulomotor centers are reached through the vestibular nuclei." -- MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, "Visual Anatomy and Physiology"

Beautiful. I will use this on the prettiest girl I meet tomorrow, and if she doesn't fall for me right away, she's a deaf lesbian.

Comment author: TGGP4 04 March 2008 07:44:49AM 3 points [-]

I don't see what a lot of this has to do with rationality.

Comment author: Tiiba2 04 March 2008 08:18:24AM 3 points [-]

I think they an all be described as stuff Eliezer likes for whatever reason. Maybe he started the file for rationality quotes, then started sticking everything in it. That's my theory.

Comment author: Ron_Hardin 04 March 2008 01:04:03PM 2 points [-]

"If we let ethical considerations get in the way of scientific hubris, then the feminists have won!"

Back when science was fun :

`` Watson, repeating similar experiments [to Pavlov], noted the ``transference'' aspect of such conditioning. Having found that the violent striking of an iron bar produced fear in an infant, he noted that he could give a ``fear'' character to some hitherto neutral object, such as a rabbit, by placing it before the child each time the iron bar was struck; he next demonstrated that this conditioned fear of the rabbit was transferred with varying degrees of intensity to other things having similar properties(such as fur coats or cotton blankets).''

- Kenneth Burke, _Permanence and Change_ p.11

Comment author: Silas 04 March 2008 03:20:20PM 3 points [-]

Could we please get a teeny tiny bit of insight as to what the point of the accessory optics system quote is?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 04 March 2008 04:44:37PM 0 points [-]

Except for Stefan King, you all are either not looking hard enough or not giving me enough credit for subtlety.

For example, look at the McAllister quote. Then read the Pirsig quote again.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 September 2013 08:33:58AM 0 points [-]

I still don't get the point of the quote about the rabbit eye.

Comment author: Silas 04 March 2008 05:23:34PM 1 point [-]

Okay, so Stefan_King is right that beauty is a special case of rationality, then? And the optic system quote represents that?

Sorry, while there may be beauty in that particular system, the quote itself only glorifies complexity, not beauty. Whatever happened to say not complexity?

(Btw, Eliezer_Yudkowsky, about that blog post I just linked: Marcello seemed to make, with all due respect to the gentleman, a pretty stupid inference. If all I have to do to qualify to work for you is be smart enough not to think like that, you really need to hire me. I'll email my salary requirements. ;-)

Comment author: Zubon 04 March 2008 05:45:31PM 2 points [-]

Eliezer, we all love you, but you just complained that people on the internet are not giving you enough credit.

Comment author: R4+10n4L 04 March 2008 07:39:37PM 0 points [-]

A prime example of putting the human super-powers of misinterpretation to good use:

"but you just complained that people on the internet are not giving you enough credit."

not enough credit *for subtlety*.

That's a difference that's not subtle.

And he didn't complain. It was a *neutral* statement.

I think I understood what he said; I think I understood his brain state. I think you didn't; I think you made an unsubtle, additive interpretation of it instead of seeing it as it is.

Comment author: Nato_Welch 04 March 2008 09:42:36PM 1 point [-]

//"Law of Conservation of Firepower: Any powerful weapon capable of destroying/defeating an opponent in a single shot will invariably be reserved and used only as a last resort."//

Of course it's the last resort; if the enemy has been destroyed, why keep firing?

This is like: When you've lost something, it's always in the last place you look.

Comment author: Caledonian2 04 March 2008 11:38:17PM 0 points [-]

Of course it's the last resort; if the enemy has been destroyed, why keep firing?

The point is of course that it isn't the first resort. It's always saved for last, after everything else has been used. In reality, that would be because the consequences of such weapons are usually such that we prefer to find alternative solutions. In poor-quality drama, it's because we need stuff to take up time.

MIT analysis of neural processing: LOL. They said they'd get to the hard stuff after tackling vision - I believe this has been the longest summer on record.

Comment author: JulianMorrison 05 March 2008 01:06:42AM -1 points [-]

I'm not yet able to see subtleties like that linkage without prompting. I know it's a fault of mine: I don't search enough for serendipitous connection and undetected patterns that ought to become insights. I know for certain that harms my effectiveness.

Eliezer, it's obvious you're smarter than me. I also have read science that suggests that people who see intelligence tasks as trainable can improve their scores. Implication: smarts is at least partly strategy and/or practice.

So, questions: what strategies do you think you are using, that less smart people seem not to use, and that could be taught. Similarly, what and how do you practice? (I recognize the extended Bayesian Enlightenment series is related to one set of strategies.)

Do you have strategies in this one context of serendipity and insight? Is there a relation to the Bayesian strategies you've already described?

Comment author: Maksym_Taran 05 March 2008 02:35:16AM 1 point [-]

"I see only rationality here. Whereever it is not immediately obvious, it is a quote on beauty, which is a special case of rationality." --Stefan King

Eliezer: You may be a step ahead of me, but I think this is a perfect quote to put into your file.

Comment author: Preston_Sumner 05 March 2008 10:24:05PM 0 points [-]

"//"Law of Conservation of Firepower: Any powerful weapon capable of destroying/defeating an opponent in a single shot will invariably be reserved and used only as a last resort."//

Of course it's the last resort; if the enemy has been destroyed, why keep firing?

This is like: When you've lost something, it's always in the last place you look."

Reminds me of this one I hear often here in Colorado - It's always the last run of the day that people break their legs on.