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Tom_McCabe2 comments on Detached Lever Fallacy - Less Wrong

26 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 31 July 2008 06:57PM

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Comment author: Tom_McCabe2 31 July 2008 10:27:00PM 8 points [-]

"Eventually, the good guys capture an evil alien ship, and go exploring inside it. The captain of the good guys finds the alien bridge, and on the bridge is a lever. "Ah," says the captain, "this must be the lever that makes the ship dematerialize!" So he pries up the control lever and carries it back to his ship, after which his ship can also dematerialize."

This type of thing is known to happen in real life, when technology gaps are so large that people have no idea what generates the magic. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult.