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MineCanary comments on Harnessing Your Biases - Less Wrong

10 Post author: swestrup 02 July 2009 08:45PM

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Comment author: MineCanary 03 July 2009 03:51:16AM -1 points [-]

I'm not sure what the relationship between metaphors propagating in someone's thinking and the causal entanglement of the universe is.

I'd argue that people profit from having different ways to look at the world--even though it shares a common structure, this isn't always locally noticeable or important, and certainly things can look different at different scales. I'm equally unsure that it matters whether or not you see an object that is fractal for the scales of relevance to you and assume it is truly fractal or just a repeating pattern on a few scales.

I agree with Psychohistorian that it's more important that the mechanic be willing to abandon his belief with greater knowledge of the physics of the universe. But even then, facility with fractal thinking may still offer benefits.

That is: The associations in your mind are put to constant test when it comes to encountering the real world. Certainly long-term, serious misconceptions--liking seeing God in everything and missing insights into natural truth--can be quite a thing to overcome and can stifle certain important lines of thought. But for any beliefs you get from reading inadequately informed science journalism--well, the ways of thinking your mind's going to be contaminated with are those that are prevalent in our culture, so you probably encounter them anyway. They're also things that seem plausible to you, given your background, so you again probably already think in these terms, or the interconnectedness with all the other observations of life you've had is too small to distinguish between two alternate explanations--the false one you've just read and the real truth, which is "out there" still. And if scientific results were really so obvious from what we already know about the universe, research would be a lot less important--rather, it is because scientific findings can offer counter-intuitive results, ways of thinking that we DON'T find useful or essential in everyday life, that we find them so intriguing.