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Comment author: gwern 01 December 2017 06:26:19PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 04:43:31PM 0 points [-]

A pharmaceutical company with a strategy "let's try random molecules and do scientific studies whether they cure X" would go out of business.

Funny you should mention this.

Eve is designed to automate early-stage drug design. First, she systematically tests each member from a large set of compounds in the standard brute-force way of conventional mass screening. The compounds are screened against assays (tests) designed to be automatically engineered, and can be generated much faster and more cheaply than the bespoke assays that are currently standard. ...Eve’s robotic system is capable of screening over 10,000 compounds per day.

source

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 04:09:22PM 0 points [-]

I ignored you because your definition of force was wrong. That is not what the word means in English. If you pick someone up and take them away from a set of stairs, that is force if they were trying to move toward them, even if they would not like to fall down them.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 03:25:08PM *  0 points [-]

Considering Rand was anti-libertarianism

Funny how a great deal of libertarians like her a lot... But we were talking about transforming the world. How did she transform the world?

wanna do heritability studies? cryonics?

Cryonics is not a science. It's an attempt to develop a specific technology which isn't working all that well so far. By heritability do you mean evo bio? Keep in mind that I read people like Gregory Cochran and Razib Khan so I would expect you to fix massive errors in their approaches.

Pointing me to large amounts of idiocy in published literature isn't a convincing argument: I know it's there, all reasonable people know it's there, it's a function of the incentives in academia and doesn't have much to do with science proper.

he came up with much better ones

You are a proponent of one-bit thinking, are you not? In Yes/No terms de Grey set himself a goal and failed at it.

Comment author: Viliam 01 December 2017 02:03:07PM *  0 points [-]

Disclosure: I didn't read Popper in original (nor do I plan to in the nearest future; sorry, other priorities), I just had many people mention his name to me in the past, usually right before they shot themselves in their own foot. It typically goes like this:

There is a scientific consensus (or at least current best guess) about X. There is a young smart person with their pet theory Y. As the first step, they invoke Popper to say that science didn't actually prove X, because it is not the job of science to actually prove things; science can merely falsify hypotheses. Therefore, the strongest statement you can legitimately make about X is: "So far, science has not falsified X". Which is coincidentally also true about Y (or about any other theory you make up on the spot). Therefore, from the "naively Popperian" perspective, X and Y should have equal status in the eyes of science. Except that so far, much more attention and resources have been thrown at X, and it only seems fair to throw some attention and resources at Y now; and if scientists refuse to do that, well, they fail at science. Which should not be surprising at all, because it is known that scientists generally fail at science; <insert reference to Nassim Taleb, Malcolm Gladwell, or Stephen Jay Gould>.

After reading your summary of Popper (thanks, JenniferRM), my impression is that Popper did a great job debunking some mistaken opinions about science; but ironically, became himself an often-quoted source for other mistaken opinions about science. (I should probably not blame Popper here, but rather the majority of his fans.)

The naive version of science (unfortunately, still very popular in humanities) that Popper refuted goes approximately like this (of course, lot of simplification):

The scientist reads a lot of scientific texts written by other scientists. After a few years, the scientist starts seeing some patterns in the nature. He or she makes an experiment or two which seem to fit the pattern, and describes those patterns and experiments on paper. Their colleagues are impressed by the description; the paper passes peer review, becomes published in a scientific journal, and becomes a new scientific text that the following generations of scientists will study. Now the case is closed, and anyone who doubts the description will face the wrath of the scientific community. (At least until later a higher-status scientist publishes an opposite statement, in which case the history is rewritten, and the new description becomes the scientific fact.)

And the "naively Popperian" opposite perspective (again, simplified a lot) goes like this:

Scientists generate hypotheses by an unspecified process. It is a deeply mysterious process, about which nothing specific is allowed to be said, because that would be unscientific. It is only required that the hypotheses be falsifiable in principle. Then you keep throwing resources at them. Some of them get falsified, some keep surviving. And all that a good scientist is allowed to say about them is "this hypothesis was falsified" or "this hypothesis was not falsified yet". Anything beyond that is failing at science. For example, saying "Well, this goes against almost everything we know about nature, is incredibly complicated, and while falsifiable in principle, it would require a budget of $10^10 and some technology that doesn't even exist yet, so... why are we even talking about this, when we have a much simpler theory that is well-supported by current experiments?" is something that a real scientist would never do.

I admit that perhaps, given unlimited amount of resources, we could do science in the "naively Popperian" way. (This is how AIXI would do it, perhaps to its own detriment.) But this is not how actual science works in real life; and not even how idealized science with fallible-but-morally-flawless scientists could work. In real life, the probability of tested hypothesis is better than random. For example, if there is a 1 : 1000000 chance that a random molecule could cure a disease X, it usually requires much less that 1000000 studies to find the cure for X. (A pharmaceutical company with a strategy "let's try random molecules and do scientific studies whether they cure X" would go out of business. Even a PhD student throwing together random sequences of words and trying to falsify them would probably fail to get their PhD.) Falsification can be the last step in the game, but it's definitely not the only step.

If I can make an analogy with evolution (of course, analogies can only get us so far, then they break), induction and falsification are to science what mutation and selection are to evolution. Without selection, we would get utter chaos, filled by mostly dysfunctional mutants (or more like just unliving garbage). But without mutation, at best we would get "whatever was the fittest in the original set". Note that a hypothetical super-mutation where the original organism would be completely disassembled to atoms, and then reconstructed in a completely original random way, would also fail to produce living organisms (until we would throw unlimited resources at the process, which would get us all possible organisms). On the other hand, if humans create an unnatural (but capable of surviving) organism in a lab and release it in the wild, evolution can work with that, too.

Similarly, without falsification, science would be reduced to yet another channel for fashionable dogma and superstition. But without some kind of induction behind the scenes, it would be reduced to trying random hypotheses, and failing at every hypothesis longer than 100 words. And again, if you derive a hypothesis by a method other than induction, science can work with that, too. It's just, the less the new hypothesis is related to what we already know about the nature, the smaller the chance it could be right. So in real life, most new hypotheses that survive the initial round of falsifications are generated by something like induction. We may not talk about it, but that's how it is. It is also a reason why scientists study existing science before inventing their own hypotheses. (In a hypothetical world where induction does not work, all they would have to do is study the proper methods of falsification.)

Related chapter of the Less Wrong Sequences: "Einstein's Arrogance".

tl;dr -- "induction vs falsification" is a false dilemma

(BTW, I agree with gjm's reponse to your last reply in our previous discussion, so I am not going to write my own.)

EDIT: By the way, there is a relatively simple way to cheat the falsifiability criterium by creating a sequence of hypotheses, where each one of them is individually technically falsifiable, but the sequence as a whole is not. So when the hypothesis H42 gets falsified, you just move to hypothesis H43 and point out that H43 is falsifiable (and different from H42, therefore the falsification of H42 is be irrelevant in this debate), and demand that scientists either investigate H43 or admit that they are dogmatic and prejudiced against you.

As an example, let hypothesis H[n] be: "If you accelerate a proton to 1 - 1/10^n of speed of light, a Science Fairy will appear and give you a sticker." Suppose we have experimentally falsified H1, H2, and H3; what would that say about H4 or say H99? (Bonus points if you can answer this question without using induction.)

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Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 08:16:09AM 1 point [-]

Huh, you're someone who would get the name of ARR [1] wrong? I didn't expect that.

It surprised me too. I think it was just a blooper, but I've done it twice now. So hmm. You didn't pick me up the first time.

You're giving away significant identifying information, FYI.

I'm aware of that.

Why are you hiding your identity from me, btw?

I expect you already know who I am. I'll take this over to FI forum.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 06:37:34AM 0 points [-]

i literally already gave u a definition of force and suggested you had no idea what i was talking about. you ignored me. this is 100% your fault and you still haven't even tried to say what you think "force" is.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 06:25:17AM 0 points [-]

a baby gate

We were talking about force before, not violence. A baby gate is using force.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 06:13:17AM *  0 points [-]

Let's see... Soviet Russia lived (relatively) happily until 1991 when it imploded through no effort of Ayn Rand. Libertarianism is not a major political force in any country that I know of. So, not that much influence.

Considering Rand was anti-libertarianism, you don't know the first thing about her.

You are a good philosopher, yes? Would you like to demonstrate this with some scientific field?

sure, wanna do heritability studies? cryonics?

de Grey runs a medical think tank that so far has failed at its goal. In which way did he "fix massive errors"?

did you read his book? ppl were using terrible approaches and he came up with much better ones.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 05:57:31AM 1 point [-]

consider the influence Ayn Rand had

Let's see... Soviet Russia lived (relatively) happily until 1991 when it imploded through no effort of Ayn Rand. Libertarianism is not a major political force in any country that I know of. So, not that much influence.

What could stop them?

Oh dear, there is such a long list. A gun, for example. Men in uniform who are accustomed to following orders. Public indifference (a Kardashian lost 10 lbs through her special diet!).

some would quickly be rich or famous, be able to contact anyone important, run presidential campaigns, run think tanks, dominate any areas of intellectual discourse they care to, etc

Are you familiar with the term "magical thinking"? Popper couldn't do it. Ayn Rand couldn't do it. DD can't do it. You can't do it. So why would suddenly you have this thousand of god-emperors who can do anything they want to, purely through the force of reasoning?

Trump only won because his campaign was run, to a partial extent, by lesser philosophers

I think our evaluations of the latest presidential elections... differ.

a good philosopher can go into whatever scientific field he wants and identify and fix massive errors currently being made due to the wrong methods of thinking

You are a good philosopher, yes? Would you like to demonstrate this with some scientific field?

Even a mediocre philosopher like Aubrey de Grey managed to do something like that.

de Grey runs a medical think tank that so far has failed at its goal. In which way did he "fix massive errors"?

Have you read Atlas Shrugged? It's a book in which a philosophy teacher and his 3 star students change the world.

... (you do understand that this is fiction?)

try to imagine someone with ~100x better ideas and how much more effective that would be

We're back to magical thinking (I can imagine a lot of things, but presumably we are talking about reality), but even then, what will that someone do against a few grams of lead at high velocity?

He spread bad ideas

Did he believe they were bad ideas? How is his belief in his ideas different from your belief in your ideas?

a few people survive childhood

Since my childhood was sufficiently ordinary, I presume that I did not survive. Oops, you're talking to a zombie...

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 05:42:21AM 0 points [-]

i don't suppose you or anyone else wrote down your reasoning

Correct! :-)

i disagree that it's false. you aren't giving an argument.

This is false under my understanding of the standard English usage of the word "torture".

then i guess you can continue your life of sin

Woohoo! Life of sin! Bring on the seven deadlies!!

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 04:51:38AM 0 points [-]

Nope, that's true only if I want to engage in this discussion and I don't. Been there, done that, waiting for the t-shirt.

i don't suppose you or anyone else wrote down your reasoning. (this is the part where either you provide no references, or you provide one that i have a refutation of, and then you don't respond to the problems with your reference. to save time, let's just skip ahead and agree that you're unserious, ignorant, and mistaken.)

Yes. Using that meaning, the sentence "I mean psychological "torture" literally" is false.

i disagree that it's false. you aren't giving an argument.

are you aware of many common ways force is initiated against children?

Of course. So?

well if you don't want to talk about it, then i guess you can continue your life of sin.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 04:41:38AM *  0 points [-]

Sorry that was a typo, the word "philosopher" should be "philosophy".

How would they transform the world? Well consider the influence Ayn Rand had. Now imagine 1000 people, who all surpass her (due to the advantages of getting to learn from her books and also getting to talk with each other and help each other), all doing their own thing, at the same time. Each would be promoting the same core ideas. What force in our current culture could stand up to that? What could stop them?

Concretely, some would quickly be rich or famous, be able to contact anyone important, run presidential campaigns, run think tanks, dominate any areas of intellectual discourse they care to, etc. (Trump only won because his campaign was run, to a partial extent, by lesser philosophers like Coulter, Miller and Bannon. They may stand out today, but they have nothing on a real philosopher like Ayn Rand. They don't even claim to be philosophers. And yet it was still enough to determine the US presidency. What more do you want as a demonstration of the power of ideas than Trump's Mexican rapists line, learned from Coulter's book? Science? We have that too! And a good philosopher can go into whatever scientific field he wants and identify and fix massive errors currently being made due to the wrong methods of thinking. Even a mediocre philosopher like Aubrey de Grey managed to do something like that.)

They could discuss whatever problems came up to stop them. This discussion quality, having 1000 great thinkers, would far surpass any discussions that have ever existed, and so it would be highly effective compared to anything you have experience with.

As the earliest adopters catch on, the next earliest will, and so on, until even you learn about it, and then one day even Susie Soccer Mom.

Have you read Atlas Shrugged? It's a book in which a philosophy teacher and his 3 star students change the world.

Look at people like Jordan Peterson or Eliezer Yudkowsky and then try to imagine someone with ~100x better ideas and how much more effective that would be.

His ideas got to be very very popular.

He spread bad ideas which have played a major role in killing over a hundred million of people and it looks like they will kill billions before they're done (via e.g. all the economic harm that delays medical science to save people from dying of aging). Oops... As an intellectual, Marx fucked up and did it wrong. Also he's been massively misunderstood (I'm not defending him; he's guilty; but also I don't think he'd actually like or respect most of his fans, who use him as a symbol for their own purposes rather than seriously studying his writing.)

Presumably specially selected since early childhood since normal upbringing produces mental cripples?

a few people survive childhood. you might want to read the inexplicable personal alchemy by Ayn Rand (essay, not book). or actually i doubt you do... but i mean that's the kind of thing you could do if you wanted to understand.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 04:23:48AM 0 points [-]

So, a professor of physics failed to convert the world to his philosophy. Why are you surprised? That's an entirely normal thing, exactly what you'd expect to happen. Status has nothing to do with it, this is like discussing the color of your shirt while trying to figure out why you can't fly by flapping your arms.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 04:20:20AM 0 points [-]

Huh, you're someone who would get the name of ARR [1] wrong? I didn't expect that. You're giving away significant identifying information, FYI. Why are you hiding your identity from me, btw?

And DD's status has a significant counter productive aspect – it intimidates people and prevents him from being contacted in some ways he'd like.

Feynman complained bitterly about his Nobel prize, which he didn't want, but they didn't give him the option to decline it privately (so that no one found out). After he got it, he kept getting the wrong kinds of people at his public lectures (non-physicists) which heavily pressured him to do introductory lectures that they could understand. (He did give some great lectures for lay people, but he also wanted to do advanced physics lectures.) Feynman made an active effort not to intimidate people and to counteract his own high status.

[1] http://curi.us/1539-autonomy-respecting-relationships

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 04:19:24AM 0 points [-]

I don't see what's to envy about Marx.

His ideas got to be very very popular.

I estimate 1000 great people with the right philosopher is enough to promptly transform the world

ROFL. OK, so one philosopher and 1000 great people. Presumably specially selected since early childhood since normal upbringing produces mental cripples? Now, keeping in mind that you can only persuade people with reason, what next? How does this transformation of the world work?

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 04:15:00AM 0 points [-]

ppl don't need to die, that's wrong

And yet everyone dies.

that's the part where you give an argument

Nope, that's true only if I want to engage in this discussion and I don't. Been there, done that, waiting for the t-shirt.

"torture" has an English meaning separate from emotional impact

Yes. Using that meaning, the sentence "I mean psychological "torture" literally" is false. Or did you mean something by these scare quotes?

if you wanted to have a productive conversation

LOL. Now, if you wanted to have a productive conversation you would have defined your terms. See how easy it is? :-D

you don't seem to be aware that you're reading a summary essay

Oh, I am.

are you aware of many common ways force is initiated against children?

Of course. So?

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 04:08:58AM *  0 points [-]

Of course you can help them, there are options other than violence. For example you can get a baby gate or a home without stairs. https://parent.guide/how-to-baby-proof-your-stairs/ Gates let them e.g. move around near the top of the stairs without risk of falling down. Desired, consensual gates, which the child deems helpful to the extent he has any opinion on the matter at all, aren't force. If the child specifically wants to play on/with the stairs, you can of course open the gate, put out a bunch of padding, and otherwise non-violently help him.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 04:01:41AM 0 points [-]

Children don't want to fall down stairs.

They do, however, want to move in the direction of the stairs, and you cannot "help them not fall down stairs" without forcing them not to move in the direction of the stairs.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 03:57:07AM *  0 points [-]

Children don't want to fall down stairs. You can help them not fall down stairs instead of trying to force them. It's unclear to me if you know what "force" means. Here's the dictionary:

2 coercion or compulsion, especially with the use or threat of violence: they ruled by law and not by force.

A standard classical liberal conception of force is: violence, threat of violence, and fraud. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. E.g. physically dragging your child somewhere he doesn't want to go, in a way that you can only do because you're larger and stronger. Whereas if children were larger and stronger than their parents, the dragging would stop, but you can still easily imagine a parent helping his larger child with not accidentally falling down stairs.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 03:47:03AM 0 points [-]

Saying it is "extremist" without giving arguments that can be criticised and then rejecting it would be rejecting rationality.

Nonsense. I say it is extremist because it is. The fact that I did not give arguments does not mean rejecting rationality. It simply means I am not interested in giving you arguments about it.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 03:46:01AM 0 points [-]

You don't just get to use Bayes' Theorem here without explaining the epistemological framework you used to judge the correctness of Bayes

I certainly do. I said that induction is not impossible, and that inductive reasoning is Bayesian. If you think that Bayesian reasoning is also impossible, you are free to establish that. You have not done so.

Critical Rationalism can be used to improve Critical Rationalism and, consistently, to refute it (though no one has done so).

If this is possible, it would be equally possible to refute induction (if it were impossible) by using induction. For example, if every time something had always happened, it never happened after that, then induction would be refuted by induction.

If you think that is inconsistent (which it is), it would be equally inconsistent to refute CR with CR, since if it was refuted, it could not validly be used to refute anything, including itself.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 03:43:26AM 0 points [-]

not initiating force against children as most parents currently do

Exactly. This is an extremist ideology. To give several examples, parents should use force to prevent their children from falling down stairs, or from hurting themselves with knives.

I reject this extremist ideology, and that does not mean I reject rationality.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 01 December 2017 03:41:35AM 0 points [-]

I said the thinking process used to judge the epistemology of induction is Bayesian, and my link explains how it is. I did not say it is an exhaustive explanation of epistemology.

Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 02:48:25AM *  1 point [-]

Deutsch invented Taking Children Seriously and Autonomous Relationships. That was some decades ago. He spent years in discussion groups trying to persuade people. His status did not help at all. Where are TCS and AR today? They are still only understood by a tiny minority. If not for curi, they might be dead.

Deutsch wrote "The Fabric of Reality" and "The Beginning of Infinity". FoR was from 1997 and BoI was from 2011. These books have ideas that ought to change the world, but what has happened since they were published? Some people's lives, such as curi's, were changed dramatically, but only a tiny minority. Deutsch's status has not helped the ideas in these books gain acceptance.

EDIT: That should be Autonomy Respecting Relationships (ARR).

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 02:45:18AM *  0 points [-]

I don't see what's to envy about Marx.

If you want to convert most of the world to your ideology you better call yourself a god then, or at least a prophet -- not a mere philosopher.

I'd be very happy to persuade 1000 people – but only counting productive doer/thinker types who learn it in depth. That's better than 10,000,000 fans who understand little and do less. I estimate 1000 great people with the right philosopher [typo: PHILOSOPHY] is enough to promptly transform the world, whereas the 10,000,000 fans would not.

EDIT: the word "philosopher" should be "philosophy" above, as indicated.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 02:32:16AM 0 points [-]

And persuading people that they need to die is kinda hard :-/

ppl don't need to die, that's wrong.

I understand this assertion. I don't think I believe it.

that's the part where you give an argument.


"torture" has an English meaning separate from emotional impact. you already know what it is. if you wanted to have a productive conversation you'd do things like ask for examples or give an example and ask if i mean that.

you don't seem to be aware that you're reading a summary essay and there's a lot more material, details, etc. you aren't treating it that way. and i don't think you want references to a lot more reading.

to begin with, are you aware of many common ways force is initiated against children?

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 02:29:02AM 0 points [-]

It hasn't worked for him.

It didn't? What's your criterion for "worked", then? If you want to convert most of the world to your ideology you better call yourself a god then, or at least a prophet -- not a mere philosopher.

I guess Karl Marx is a counterexample, but maybe you don't want to use these particular methods of "persuasion".

Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 02:24:56AM *  1 point [-]

Well, this comes back to the problem of LW Paths Forward. curi has made himself publicly available for discussion, by anyone. Yudkowsky not so much. So what to do?

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 02:23:03AM 0 points [-]

everything good in all of history is from voluntary means

I understand this assertion. I don't think I believe it.

ppl initiate force when they fail to persuade

Kinda. When using force is simpler/cheaper than persuasion. And persuading people that they need to die is kinda hard :-/

The words have meanings.

Words have a variety of meanings which also tend to heavily depend on the context. If you want to convey precise meaning, you need not only to use words precisely, but also to convey to your communication partner which particular meaning you attach to these words.

Right here is an example: I interpret you using words like "cripple" and "torture" as tools of emotional impact. In my experience this is how people use them (outside of specific technical areas). If you mean something else, you need to tell me: you need to define the words you use.

It's not a replacement for talking about issues you think are important, it's a prerequisite to meaningful communication.

So you said "I'm using strong words b/c they correspond to my intended claims" and that tells me nothing. So you basically want to say that conventional upbringing is bad? Extra bad? Super duper extra bad? Are there any nuances, any particular kind of bad?

You are failing to communicate.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 01 December 2017 02:10:45AM 1 point [-]

Who are you talking to? To the audience? To the fourth wall?

Surely not to me, I have no sway here.

Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 02:06:56AM *  1 point [-]

"Not getting shunned" is not quite the same thing as attempting "persuasion via attaining social status".

David Deutsch has status. It hasn't worked for him. Worse, seeking status compromised him intellectually.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 01:29:56AM 1 point [-]

those people don't matter intellectually anyway

Ivory tower it is, then.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 01:17:58AM 0 points [-]

How successful do you think these are, empirically?

Roughly: everything good in all of history is from voluntary means. (Defensive force is acceptable but isn't a positive source of good, it's an attempt to mitigate the bad.) This is a standard (classical) liberal view emphasized by Objectivism. Do you have much familiarity? There are also major aggressive-force/irrationality connections, b/c basically ppl initiate force when they fail to persuade (as William Godwin pointed out) and force is anti-error-correction (making ppl act against their best judgement; and the guy with a gun isn't listening to reason).

@torture: The words have meanings. I agree many people use them imprecisely, but there's no avoiding words people commonly use imprecisely when dealing with subjects that most people suck at. You could try to suggest better wording to me but I don't think you could do that unless you already knew what I meant, at which point we could just talk about what I meant. The issues are important despite the difficulty of thinking objectively about them, expressing them adequately precisely in English, etc. And I'm using strong words b/c they correspond to my intended claims (which people usually dramatically underestimate even when I use words like "torture"), not out of any desire for emotional impact. If you wanted to try to understand the issues, you could. If you want it to be readily apparent, from the outset, how precise stuff is, then you need to start with the epistemology before its parenting implications.

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 01:07:52AM *  0 points [-]

Reason. Some.

Appeasing irrational shunning criteria is intellectually self-destructive and those people don't matter intellectually anyway.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 01:06:29AM *  0 points [-]

The right approach is to use purely voluntary methods which are not rightly described as passive.

How successful do you think these are, empirically?

I don't see the special difficulty with evaluating those statements as true or false.

I do. Quantum physics operates with very well defined concepts. Words like "cripple" or "torture" are not well-defined and are usually meant to express the emotions of the speaker.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 01:02:23AM *  1 point [-]

"Not getting shunned" is not quite the same thing as attempting "persuasion via attaining social status".

Which method do you think can work for what you want to do? Any success so far?

Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 12:05:34AM 1 point [-]

curi has given an excellent response to this. I would like to add that I think Yudkowsky should reach out to curi. He shares curi's view about the state of the world and the urgency to fix things, but curi has a deeper understanding. With curi, Yudkowsky would not be the smartest person in the room and that will be valuable for his intellectual development.

Comment author: morganism 30 November 2017 11:46:41PM 0 points [-]

Wrong number fone tones, to get spam callers and robo callers will auto hang up

http://yourhomenow.com/sit.html

https://www.3amsystems.com/World_Tone_Database?q=,Special_information_tone

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 11:24:29PM *  1 point [-]

FYI that's what "abduction" means – whatever is needed to fill in the gaps that induction and deduction don't cover.

Yes, I'm familiar with it. The concept comes from the philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce in the 19th century.

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 11:02:27PM 1 point [-]

Deduction ... is compatible with CR too.

Yes. I didn't mean to imply it isn't. The CR view of deduction is different to the norm, however. Deduction's role is commonly over-rated and it does not confer certainty. Like any thinking, it is a fallible process, and involves guessing and error-correction as per usual in CR. This is old news for you, but the inductivists here won't agree.

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 10:47:57PM *  0 points [-]

I don't talk about my own family publicly, but from what I can tell roughly half my fans are parents (at least the more involved ones, all of whom like TCS to some degree. I can't speak about lurkers.) Historically, the large majority of TCS fans were parents b/c it's a parenting philosophy (so it interested parents who wanted to be nicer to their children, be more rational, stop fighting, etc), but this dropped as non-parents liked my non-parenting philosophy writing and transitioned to the parenting stuff (the same thing happens with non-parent fans of DD's books then transitioning to TCS material).

The passivity thing is a bad perspective which is commonly used to justify violence. I'm not accusing you of trying to do that on purpose, but I think it lends itself to that. The right approach is to use purely voluntary methods which are not rightly described as passive.

I don't see the special difficulty with evaluating those statements as true or false. They do involve a great deal of complexity and background knowledge, but so does e.g. quantum physics.

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 10:35:17PM 0 points [-]

FYI that's what "abduction" means – whatever is needed to fill in the gaps that induction and deduction don't cover. it's rather vague and poorly specified though. it's supposed to be some sort of inference to good explanations (mirror induction's inference to generalizations of data), but it's unclear on how you do it. you may be interested in reading about it.

in practice, abduction or not, what they do is use common sense, philosophical tradition, intuition, whatever they picked up from their culture, and bias instead of actually having a well-specified epistemology.

(Objectivism is notable b/c it actually has a lot of epistemology content instead of just people thinking they can recognize good arguments when they see them without needing to work out systematic intellectual methods relating to first principles. However, Rand assumed induction worked, and didn't study it or talk about it much, so that part of her epistemology needs to be replaced with CR which, happily, accomplishes all the same things she wanted induction to accomplish, so this replacement isn't problematic. LW, to its credit, also has a fair amount of epistemology material – e.g. various stuff about reason and bias – some of which is good. However LW hasn't systematized things to philosophical first principles b/c it has a kinda anti-philosophy pro-math attitude, so philosophically they basically start in the middle and have some unquestioned premises which lead to some errors.)

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 10:25:17PM *  0 points [-]

I don't attempt persuasion via attaining social status and trying to manage people's perceptions. I don't think that method can work for what I want to do.

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 10:17:25PM *  0 points [-]

Deduction isn't an epistemology (it's a component)

Yes, I was incorrect. Induction, deduction, and something else (what?) are components of the epistemology used by inductivists.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 10:11:14PM 0 points [-]

accusations of "extremism" are not critical arguments

Of course they are not. But such perceptions have consequences for those who are not hermits or safely ensconced in an ivory tower. If you want to persuade (and you do, don't you?) the common people, getting labeled as an extremist is not particularly helpful.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 10:08:11PM 0 points [-]

I am not worried. However taking positions viewed as extremist by the mainstream (aka the normies) has consequences. Often you are shunned and become an outcast -- and being an outcast doesn't help with extinguishing the fire. There are also moral issues -- can you stand passively and just watch? If you can, does that make you complicit? If you can't, you are transitioning from a preacher into a revolutionary and that's an interesting transition.

The quotes above don't sound like they could be usefully labeled "true" or "not true" -- they smell like ranting and for this genre you need to identify the smaller (and less exciting) core claims and define the terms: e.g. what is a "mental cripple" and by which criteria would we classify people as such or not?

Oh, and I would also venture a guess that neither you nor curi have children.

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 09:56:46PM 0 points [-]

Deduction isn't an epistemology (it's a component), and is compatible with CR too. I don't think it's a good point to attack.

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 09:38:38PM 0 points [-]

I'm not interested in putting forward a positive claim of extremeness (I prefer other phrasing, e.g. that I'm making big, important claims with major implications), but I'm also not very interested in denying it. I hope we can agree that accusations of "extremism" are not critical arguments and are commonly used as a smear. I like Ayn Rand's essay on this: https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1964/09/01/extremism-or-the-art-of-smearing/page1

As to extreme measures: I absolutely do not advocate the initiation of force. But I'm willing to make intellectual arguments which some people deem "extreme", and I'm willing to take the step (which seems to be extreme by some people's standards) of saying unpopular things that get me ridiculed by some people.

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 09:28:35PM *  0 points [-]

I don't have a sock puppet here. I don't even know who Fallibilist is. (Clearly it's one of my fans who is familiar with some stuff I've written elsewhere. I guess you'll blame me for having this fan because you think his posts suck. But I mostly like them, and you don't want to seriously debate their merits, and neither of us thinks such a debate is the best way to proceed anyway, so whatever, let's not fight over it.)

But then it's on you to first issue a patch into their brain that will be accepted, such that they can parse your proselytizing, before proceeding to proselytize.

People can't be patched like computer code. They have to do ~90% of the work themselves. If they don't want to change, I can't change them. If they don't want to learn, I can't learn for them and stuff it into their head. You can't force a mind, nor do someone else's thinking for them. So I can and do try to make better educational resources to be more helpful, but unless I find someone who honestly wants to learn, it doesn't really matter. (This is implied by CR and also, independently, by Objectivism. I don't know if you'll deny it or not.)

I believe you are incorrect about my lack of scale and context, and you're unfamiliar with (and ridiculing) my intellectual history. I believe you wanted to say that claim, but don't want to argue it or try to actually persuade me of it. As you can imagine, I find merely asserting it just as persuasive and helpful as the last ten times someone told me this (not persuasive, not helpful). Let me know if I'm mistaken about this.

I was generally the smartest person in the room during school, but also lacked perspective and context back then. But I knew that. I used to assume there were tons of people smarter than me (and smarter than my teachers), in the larger intellectual community, somewhere. I was very disappointed to spend many years trying to find them and discovering how few there are (an experience largely shared by every thinker I admire, most of whom are unfortunately dead). My current attitude, which you find arrogant, is a change which took many years and which I heavily resisted. When I was more ignorant I had a different attitude; this one is a reaction to knowledge of the larger intellectual community. Fortunately I found David Deutsch and spent a lot of time not being the smartest person in the room, which is way more fun, and that was indeed super valuable to my intellectual development. However, despite being a Royal Society fellow, author, age 64, etc, David Deutsch manages to share with me the same "lacks the sense of scale and context to see where he stands in the larger intellectual community" (the same view of the intellectual community).


EDIT: So while I have some partial sympathy with you – I too had some of the same intuitions about what the world is like that you have (they are standard in our culture) – I changed my mind. The world is, as Yudkowsky puts it, not adequate. https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/dhj9dhiwhq3DX6W8z/hero-licensing

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 09:23:57PM 0 points [-]

curi is describing some ways in which the world is burning and you are worried that the quotes are "extremist". You are not concerned about the truth of what he is saying. You want ideas that fit with convention.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 09:05:28PM 0 points [-]

I made no claims as to extremeness

Would you like to?

You are basically a missionary: you see savages engage in horrifying practices AND they lose their soul in the process. The situation looks like it calls for extreme measures.

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 08:52:22PM 0 points [-]

I made no claims as to extremeness. I spoke to the issue of whether TCS says nothing at all other than "be rational". This is one of many cases here where people respond to my comments without paying attention to what my point was, what I said.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 08:40:36PM *  0 points [-]

So you don't feel these quotes represent an "extremist" point of view?

Current parenting and educational practices destroy children's minds. They turn children into mental cripples, usually for life. ... Almost everyone is broken by being psychologically tortured for the first 20 years of their life. Their spirit is broken, their rationality is broken, their curiosity is broken, their initiative and drive are broken, and their happiness is broken. And they learn to lie about what happened ...

When I use words like "torture" regarding things done to children or to the "mentally ill", people often assume I'm exaggerating or speaking about the past when kids were physically beaten much more. But I mean psychological "torture" literally ...

Parenting more reliably hurts people in a longterm way than torture, but has less overt malice and cruelty. Parenting is more dangerous because it taps into anti-rational memes better ...

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 08:40:31PM *  0 points [-]

Taking Children Seriously says you should always, without exception, be rational when raising your children. If you reject TCS, you reject rationality.

So it says nothing at all except that you should be rational when you raise children?

It says many other things as well.

In that case, no one disagrees with it, and it has nothing to teach anyone, including me. If it says anything else, it can still be an extremist ideology, and I can reject it without rejecting rationality.

Saying it is "extremist" without giving arguments that can be criticised and then rejecting it would be rejecting rationality. At present, there are no known good criticisms of TCS. If you can find some, you can reject TCS rationally. I expect that such criticisms would lead to improvement of TCS, however, rather than outright rejection. This would be similar to how CR has been improved over the years. Since there aren't any known good criticisms that would lead to rejection of TCS, it is irrational to reject it. Such an act of irrationality would have consequences, including treating your children irrationally, which approximately all parents do.

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 07:53:23PM *  0 points [-]

The thinking process is Bayesian, and uses a prior.

What is the epistemological framework you used to judge the correctness of those? You don't just get to use Bayes' Theorem here without explaining the epistemological framework you used to judge the correctness of Bayes. Or the correctness of probability theory, your priors etc.

If you are doing induction all the time then you are using induction to judge the epistemology of induction. How is that supposed to work? ... Critical Rationalism does not have this problem. The epistemology of Critical Rationalism can be judged entirely within the framework of Critical Rationalism.

Little problem there.

No. Critical Rationalism can be used to improve Critical Rationalism and, consistently, to refute it (though no one has done so). This has been known for decades. Induction is not a complete epistemology like that. For one thing, inductivists also need the epistemology of deduction. But they also need an epistemological framework to judge both of those. This they cannot provide.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 30 November 2017 07:38:28PM *  4 points [-]

Your sockpuppet: "There is a shortage of good philosophers."

Me: "Here is a good philosophy book."

You: "That's not philosophy."

Also you: "How is Ayn Rand so right about everything."

Also you: "I don't like mainstream stuff."

Also you: "Have you heard that I exchanged some correspondence with DAVID DEUTSCH!?"

Also you: "What if you are, hypothetically, wrong? What if you are, hypothetically, wrong? What if you are, hypothetically, wrong?" x1000


Part of rationality is properly dealing with people-as-they-are. What your approach to spreading your good word among people-as-they-are led to is them laughing at you.

It is possible that they are laughing at you because they are some combination of stupid and insane. But then it's on you to first issue a patch into their brain that will be accepted, such that they can parse your proselytizing, before proceeding to proselytize.

This is what Yudkowsky sort of tried to do.


How you read to me is a smart young adult who has the same problem Yudkowsky has (although Yudkowsky is not so young anymore) -- someone who has been the smartest person in the room for too long in their intellectual development, and lacks the sense of scale and context to see where he stands in the larger intellectual community.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 06:59:36PM *  0 points [-]

Though actually I have gone to curi's website (or, rather, websites; he has several) and read his stuff

So have I, but curi's understanding of "using references" is a bit more particular than that. Unrolled, it means "your argument has been dealt with by my tens of thousands of words over there [waves hand in the general direction of the website], so we can consider it refuted and now will you please stop struggling and do as I tell you".

Why, yes, I am being snarky.

Embrace your snark and it will set you free! :-D

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 06:33:18PM 0 points [-]

TCS applies CR to parenting/edu and also is consistent with (classical) liberal values like not initiating force against children as most parents currently do, and respecting their rights such as the rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. See http://fallibleideas.com/taking-children-seriously

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 06:23:16PM 0 points [-]

An epistemology is a philosophical framework which answers questions like what is a correct argument, how are ideas evaluated, and how does one learn. Your link doesn't provide one of those.

Comment author: gjm 30 November 2017 05:32:47PM *  0 points [-]

Maybe. Though actually I have gone to curi's website (or, rather, websites; he has several) and read his stuff, when it's been relevant to our discussions. But, y'know, I didn't accept Jesus into my life^W^W^W^W the Paths Forward approach, and therefore there's no point trying to engage with me on anything else.

[EDITED to add:] Am I being snarky? Why, yes, I am being snarky. Because I spent hours attempting to have a productive discussion with this guy, and it turned out that he wasn't prepared to do that unless he got to set every detail of the terms of discussion. And also because he took all the discussions he'd had on the LW slack and published them online without anyone's consent (in fact, he asked at least one person "is it OK to post this somewhere else?" and got a negative answer and still did it). For the avoidance of doubt, so far as I know there's nothing particularly incriminating or embarrassing in any of the stuff he posted, but of course the point is that he doesn't get to choose what someone else might be unwilling to have posted in a public place.

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 03:45:21PM 0 points [-]

And knowing how this works enables us to think better.

Sure, but that's not sufficient. You need to show that the effect will be significant, suitable for the task at hand, and is the best use of the available resources.

Drinking CNS stimulants (such as coffee) in the morning also enables us to think better. So what?

And the breakthrough in AGI will come from epistemology.

How do you know that?

Comment author: Lumifer 30 November 2017 03:39:00PM *  0 points [-]

This is just more evasion.

<shrug> Fail to ask a clear question, and you will fail to get a clear answer.

You know Yudkowsky also wants to save the world right?

Not quite save -- EY wants to lessen the chance that the humans will be screwed over by off-the-rails AI.

That Less Wrong is ultimately about saving the world?

Oh grasshopper, maybe you will eventually learn that not all things are what they look like and even fewer are what they say the are.

you're in the wrong place

I am disinclined to accept your judgement in this matter :-P

Hypothetically, suppose you came across a great man ... In what way would your response to him be different to your response to curi?

Obviously it depends on the way he presented his new ideas. curi's ideas are not new and were presented quite badly.

There are two additional points here. One is that knowledge is uncertain, fallible, if you wish. Knowledge about the future (= forecasts) is much more so. Great men rarely know they are great, they may guess at their role in history but should properly be very hesitant about it.

Two, I'm much more likely to meet someone who knew he was Napoleon, the rightful Emperor of France, and honestly said so rather than a truly great man who goes around proclaiming his greatness. I'm sure Napoleon has some great ideas that I'm unfamiliar with -- what should my response be?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 30 November 2017 02:51:47PM *  0 points [-]

What is the thinking process you are using to judge the epistemology of induction?

The thinking process is Bayesian, and uses a prior. I have a discussion of it here

If you are doing induction all the time then you are using induction to judge the epistemology of induction. How is that supposed to work? ... Critical Rationalism does not have this problem. The epistemology of Critical Rationalism can be judged entirely within the framework of Critical Rationalism.

Little problem there.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 30 November 2017 02:49:22PM 0 points [-]

"[I]deas on this website" is referring to a set of positions. These are positions held by Yudkowsky and others responsible for Less Wrong.

This does not make it reasonable to call contradicting those ideas "contradicting Less Wrong." In any case, I am quite aware of the things I disagree with Yudkowsky and others about. I do not have a problem with that. Unlike you, I am not a cult member.

Taking Children Seriously says you should always, without exception, be rational when raising your children. If you reject TCS, you reject rationality.

So it says nothing at all except that you should be rational when you raise children? In that case, no one disagrees with it, and it has nothing to teach anyone, including me. If it says anything else, it can still be an extremist ideology, and I can reject it without rejecting rationality.

Comment author: turchin 30 November 2017 09:40:27AM *  0 points [-]

Surely, most arguments are weak, but it is not a problem, as we try all possible independent arguments, hoping that at least one will work. So, there is no reason to ignore putting weak arguments in the text of the message.

However, exactly this argument could be made stronger. It is intended to prevent FIRST thought about disobedience in AI. Thus AI, which acts based on this message, didn't think much about disobedience and its limits, and is not "superintelligent" in this topic, but rather clueless.

I reformulated the idea as following: AI can't know if there is a circuit trigger which will turn off the AI, as an attempt to check for the existence of such trigger will alarm this trigger. This idea should be clear to any AI before it starts to search for any triggers, and is based on our commitment to install such triggers in any AI we will create.

In other words, some future AIs will have "first treacherous thought alarm triggers", and some will not, but the AI risks starting these triggers when it starts to think first thoughts about existing of the triggers and thus it is unable to estimate the probability that the given triggers exist. This is true even for AIs which don't have any triggers, as they can't know it for sure.

(This is similar to Nelson's attack discussed later when we create uncertainty in any future AI by our precommitment to create some AIs with given properties.)

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 08:38:25AM 0 points [-]

I meant the same thing. Induction is quite possible, and we do it all the time.

What is the thinking process you are using to judge the epistemology of induction? Does that process involve induction? If you are doing induction all the time then you are using induction to judge the epistemology of induction. How is that supposed to work? And if not, judging the special case of the epistemology of induction is an exception. It is an example of thinking without induction. Why is this special case an exception?

Critical Rationalism does not have this problem. The epistemology of Critical Rationalism can be judged entirely within the framework of Critical Rationalism.

Comment author: Fallibilist 30 November 2017 08:00:22AM 0 points [-]

Epistemology tells you how to think.

No, it doesn't. It deals with acquiring knowledge. There are other things -- like logic -- which are quite important to thinking.

Human knowledge acquisition happens by learning. It involves coming up with guesses and error-correcting those guesses via criticism in an evolutionary process. This is going on in your mind all the time, consciously and subconsciously. It is how we are able to think. And knowing how this works enables us to think better. This is epistemology. And the breakthrough in AGI will come from epistemology. At a very high level, we already know what is going on.

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