Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Kevin92 comments on Interpersonal Entanglement - Less Wrong

44 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 January 2009 06:17AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (160)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: Kevin92 15 December 2015 11:27:25PM *  0 points [-]

I'm not new to lesswrong. I'm active on the Facebook group and have read most of the sequences.

What makes you believe that's true? Leaving out people with real disabilities for the sake of the discussion.

My mom is a doctor, and she says genetics are the biggest factor in what people look like. I know that's not a perfect source but it's worth something EDIT: Yeah I know that's a really shitty argument, but it's not so much an argument as it is a clarification of where I got the idea. But anyway, doesn't it seem a bit far fetched to say that anybody can become muscular if they just work hard enough? That sound a lot like saying anyone can become rich if they just work hard enough, or anyone can learn calculus if they just study hard enough. In real life people have different levels of natural ability, different privileges and other advantages.

The gym does what you were talking about. It might not have been what you where thinking about.

That's one possible interpretation of my words. But what I'm intending to refer to. I'm talking about biotechnology / transhuman technology. Try listening to what I'm actually trying to say. The gym is irrelevant to my actual point.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 15 December 2015 11:36:08PM 2 points [-]

"Anyone can become muscular if they just work hard enough" sounds to me a lot like "anyone can become fat if they just eat enough."

Both of those seem pretty plausible to me, even though admittedly it is harder for some than for others, in both cases.

Comment author: Kevin92 15 December 2015 11:46:18PM *  -1 points [-]

When I was between the ages of 14 and 20 I was 135 pounds no matter what I ate, and I didn't watch my diet at all. I imagine I could have gained weight if I "tried hard enough" but it would have involved eating obscene amounts of sugary and fatty foods. We're talking about an "epic meal time" everyday style diet.

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 December 2015 11:52:18PM *  0 points [-]

I'm talking about biotechnology / transhuman technology. Try listening to what I'm actually trying to say.

I fully understand what you are trying to say. The problem is that thinking about the issue that way is inproductive. You don't engage with the actual knowledge we have about making people more fit.

My mom is a doctor, and she says genetics are the biggest factor in what people look like. I know that's not a perfect source but it's worth something.

In the LW context "my mum told me" is not a good argument. There's a reason why "appeal to authority" is generally considered to be a logical fallacy.

But anyway, doesn't it seem a bit far fetched to say that anybody can become muscular if they just work hard enough? That sound a lot like saying anyone can become rich if they just work hard enough, or anyone can learn calculus if they just study hard enough.

The importance is not how the idea sounds but what we know about the effects of various interventions.
But even if we look at the way the idea sounds, if a hunter gatherer can't build muscle he likely won't procreate. That means there are strong evolutionary pressures for humans to be able to build muscles. There aren't similar pressures for learning calculus.

But anyway, doesn't it seem a bit far fetched to say that anybody can become muscular if they just work hard enough?

I haven't made that claim. It's not simply a matter of working hard. It's about training in and efficient way an eating the right diet.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 12:01:32AM 1 point [-]

Yeah I know it's a shitty argument I admit it.

I fully understand what you are trying to say. The problem is that thinking about the issue that way is inproductive. You don't engage with the actual knowledge we have about making people more fit.

I see. But does this imply that we shouldn't use transhuman technology to make people more muscular? If we could use such technology, why wouldn't we?

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 12:30:23AM -1 points [-]

But does this imply that we shouldn't use transhuman technology to make people more muscular? If we could use such technology, why wouldn't we?

That's besides the point on many levels.

There isn't a clear line between existing technology and transhuman technology.

The technology that we have that produces the effect of a muscular body the fasted is steroid hormones. We outlaw their usages for purposes of appearance enchancement. To me it sounds like you haven't thought about the subject to have an informed opinion if you simply ask "why wouldn't we?".

There are a lot of practical issues that come with using technology like steroid hormones to make men look more attractive that you don't think about if you think about magical transhuman technology the way your initial post framed the issue.

You argue that we are wrong to outlaw the usage of steroid homones to allow men to look more attractive but you don't provide any arguments towards that conclusion.

If you say you want something that's even more transhuman than artificial hormones we are likely talking about something like gene therapy. That means you get even more medical risks than you get with steroid hormones.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 01:04:23AM 1 point [-]

Are you saying that technology to enhance the appearance of the male body without having unwanted health effects is so implausible that it will never happen? Because over the long term (200-1000 years from now) I prefer to avoid saying "technology X will never happen" unless there's an actual law of physics that says so. Remember that this is just speculation.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 01:24:24AM 0 points [-]

Are you saying that technology to enhance the appearance of the male body without having unwanted health effects is so implausible that it will never happen?

You didn't say anything about technology not having "unwanted health effects" before.

Remember that this is just speculation.

That's like saying: "Remember that I don't know what I'm talking about". There a variety of knowledge available about the effects of various technological options to increase muscle mass. The fact that your comments are not inspired by that empirical data but by baseless speculation is what I'm criticising.

Productive conversations about healthcare technology are those that are grounded in empiric reality.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 01:43:14AM *  4 points [-]

You didn't say anything about technology not having "unwanted health effects" before.

That was supposed to be implied. Allow me to quote Facing The Intelligence Explosion by Luke Muehlhauser:

One day, my friend Niel asked his virtual assistant in India to find him a bike he could buy that day. She sent him a list of bikes for sale from all over the world. Niel said, “No, I need one I can buy in Oxford today; it has to be local.” So she sent him a long list of bikes available in Oxford, most of them expensive. Niel clarified that he wanted an inexpensive bike. So she sent him a list of children’s bikes. He clarified that he needed a local, inexpensive bike that fit an adult male. So she sent him a list of adult bikes in Oxford needing repair. Usually humans understand each other’s desires better than this. Our evolved psychological unity causes us to share a common sense and common desires. Ask me to find you a bike, and I’ll assume you want one in working condition, that fits your size, is not made of gold, etc.—even though you didn’t actually say any of that.

You appear to be acting like that virtual assistant. People's suggestions can only properly be understood in the context of common sense.

And generally it is considered okay for people to speculate by saying "hey, what if X happens, it might be a good idea" as long as X is possible and the speculator is not asserting X definitely can or will happen. It's pretty crazy to enforce a rule against speculation and brainstorming. You appear to be reacting as if I'm saying: "hey we will definitely be doing X in the future! There is no reason not to and no reason it could go wrong."

The difference between speculation and baseless assertion is the difference between making a tentative suggestion in what could happen and making an uninformed suggestion about what will happen.

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 10:33:05AM 0 points [-]

That was supposed to be implied.

Implying that new technology generally comes without risk or sideeffects is typical for transhumanist writting but it's also badly wrong. Most new technology has risk or sideeffects at the time it get's adopted.

The difference between speculation and baseless assertion

I didn't say baseless assertion but baseless speculation given that you don't seem to have covered the basic research of looking into the issues surrounded the existing technology, your speculation about future technology is per definition baseless.

Comment author: Kevin92 16 December 2015 07:24:10PM 1 point [-]

Most new technology has risk or sideeffects at the time it get's adopted.

Who the heck said we were talking about "the time it gets adopted"?

I didn't say baseless assertion but baseless speculation given that you don't seem to have covered the basic research of looking into the issues surrounded the existing technology, your speculation about future technology is per definition baseless.

This is a forum where people regularly talk about terraforming mars and building dyson spheres even if they have little knowledge about the subject and I'm not allowed to speculate about cosmetic bodily upgrades?

Comment author: ChristianKl 16 December 2015 07:33:07PM *  -1 points [-]

Should we develop technology X? has a lot to do with: What do we expect the likely effects of the adoption of technology X happen to be?. Thinking that the two questions have nothing to do with each other is highly problematic.

This is a forum where people regularly talk about terraforming mars and building dyson spheres even if they have little knowledge about the subject and I'm not allowed to speculate about cosmetic bodily upgrades?

I don't think that the discussions about terraforming Mars on LW are done by people who haven't thought about the existent technical options for terraforming Mars.

I'm not allowed to speculate about cosmetic bodily upgrades?

The problem is not that you speculate but that you ignore what we know as a society about the various interventions for the problem while you speculate.

Comment author: Lumifer 16 December 2015 01:47:55AM 0 points [-]

genetics are the biggest factor in what people look like

They are the biggest factor in what people look like by default, if they don't apply effort to change.