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Vladimir_Nesov comments on Crisis of Faith - Less Wrong

57 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 10 October 2008 10:08PM

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Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 11 October 2008 01:00:15AM 1 point [-]

All these posts present techniques for applying a simple principle: check every step on the way to your belief. They adapt this principle to be more practically useful, allowing a person to start on the way lacking necessary technical knowledge, to know which errors to avoid, which errors come with being human, where not to be blind, which steps to double-check, what constitutes a step and what a map of a step, and so on. All the techniques should work in background mode, gradually improving the foundations, propagating the consequences of the changes to more and more dearly held beliefs, shifting the focus of inquiry.

Crisis of faith finds a target to attack, boosts a priority of checking the foundations for a specific belief. I'm not sure how useful forcing this process could be, major shifts in defining beliefs take time, and probably deservingly so. Effects of a wrong belief should be undone by the holes in a network supporting these beliefs, not by executive decision declaring the belief wrong. Even though executive decision is based on the same grounds, it's hard to move more than one step of inferential distance without shooting yourself in the foot, before you train yourself to intuitively perceive the holes, or rather repaired fabric. So I guess that the point of exercise is in making the later gradual review more likely to seriously consider the evidence, to break the rust, not in changing the outlook overnight. Changing the outlook is a natural conclusion of a long road, it doesn't take you by surprise. One day you just notice the old outlook to be dead, and so leave it in the past.