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JGWeissman comments on Initiation Ceremony - Less Wrong

49 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2008 08:40PM

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Comment author: JGWeissman 05 November 2010 05:58:37PM 4 points [-]

you'd be trying to build a group of rationalists while in fact excluding rationalists based on an irrelevant criterion.

They aren't trying to build a group of rationalists. They are trying to build a group of people who can achieve certain goals.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 05 November 2010 06:17:56PM 1 point [-]

(nods) Fair enough. Not knowing the goals, I'm in no position to judge this fictional selection procedure... I'd have to read more stories set in this world to be entitled to an opinion there.

Trivially, if what they want is a group that is good at mental arithmetic and resisting social pressure, they're going about it in a reasonable way.

More broadly, if they aren't claiming that their initiation procedure preferentially selects rationalists, then my concern becomes irrelevant.

Comment author: Ratheka 18 January 2012 09:46:38PM 1 point [-]

Nobody else seems to have added this response, so I will. We don't know that this moment, in the ritual room, is the only test they undergo. Perhaps one's ability to take a written exam is part of the public procedures. Perhaps a great open exam where anyone who wants to can sit it, running near continuously, is the first stage, and Brennan has had months in a cloisterlike environment in the public secret face of the conspiracy where the people who can study sciences but not generate new true science study?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 18 January 2012 10:10:00PM 1 point [-]

I assume that there are other tests involved, both before and after, but I don't see the relevance of that. I may be missing your point.

Comment author: Ratheka 18 January 2012 10:40:25PM 1 point [-]

Perhaps I missed yours? Rationality requires the ability to challenge social pressure, certainly. Are you questioning whether this procedure picks rationalists from nonrationalists? If so, and on its own, I don't argue that it would, just that it would probably be one member of a larger set of tests.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 19 January 2012 07:36:41AM 1 point [-]

Thinking about it more now... yes, I was implicitly assuming that failing any of the tests barred further progress, and you're right that this wasn't actually said. I stand corrected; thanks for pointing that out.