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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Devil's Offers - Less Wrong

21 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 December 2008 05:00PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 26 December 2008 04:35:11PM 9 points [-]

The fact that Michael Vassar is willing to advocate "increased comfort with lying" in a public forum suggests to me that we are not talking about a literal Secret a la intelligence work, but something more along the lines of little white lies like "You're looking good today" where the listener as well as the speaker knows to apply a discounting factor. I might be willing to tolerate that in people I associate with - in fact, I do so all the time - so long as the overall system is one where it's okay if I give only true answers when I'm questioned myself.

However, the fact that Michael Vassar can't think of a better word than "lie" for this, for the sake of PR purposes, suggests to me that he's not going to be very good at shading the truth - that he's still trying to approach things the nerd way. Non-nerds lie easily and they'd never think of calling the process "increased comfort with lying", either - at least I've never read a non-nerd using those words outright, whatever it is they're actually advocating. But now I'm getting into the details of our current strategic debates, which isn't really on-topic for this post.