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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85

9 Post author: FAWS 18 April 2012 02:30AM

The next discussion thread is here.

 

This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 85The previous thread  has long passed 500 comments. Comment in the 15th thread until you read chapter 85. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 12345678910111213, 14, 15.

As a reminder, it’s often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.

Comments (1105)

Comment author: Nominull 18 April 2012 02:38:48AM *  8 points [-]

Isn't Harry a little young to have played Fate/Stay Night, both in the sense of it being a Japanese porno game not suitable for 11-year-olds and it not having been made yet when the story is set?

EDIT: Clearly this is intended as a hint that he has the time-traveling adult Voldemort's memories implanted in him.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 18 April 2012 02:46:31AM 3 points [-]

"Clean" versions exist, taping a piece of paper over the screen and holding "enter" is an option, and a lot of the physics is after his time too.

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 02:47:50AM 5 points [-]

porno game not suitable for 11-year-olds

Well, if you ignore the chronological problems, apparently an all-ages version was released by Typemoon in 2007 (Fate/stay night Réalta Nua).

(More generally, visual novels don't necessarily contain that much porn - comparable to what you can find in regular novels. I'm fairly sure there were many more porn scenes in the books I was reading at 11, like Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant.)

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 01:14:23PM *  1 point [-]

Or Justine... But perhaps that was just the wrong book to steal from my dad's library. Or right. Updated evidence from encounters later in my life would suggest the latter, public opinion the former.

Comment author: 75th 18 April 2012 02:52:22AM *  6 points [-]

According to canon, the original PlayStation was available in 1993. So if certain electronic media are available earlier in the MoR universe, it's only a slight embellishment of an existing canon discrepancy.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 02:58:11AM 0 points [-]

What canon? The original PS came out in December 1994.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 18 April 2012 03:04:32AM 11 points [-]

Rowling made a mistake and gave Dudley a PS in 1993.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 April 2012 03:27:20AM 17 points [-]

I am totally using that as my rejoinder there - "If Dudley can get a Playstation in 1993, clearly Playstations are timeless in canon."

Comment author: linkhyrule5 18 April 2012 03:32:43AM 10 points [-]

Wait, you can violate the six-hour limit on backward movement of information with Playstations?

Does that mean the Department of Mysteries has a Playstation department?

plots evilly

Comment author: pedanterrific 18 April 2012 03:35:23AM 28 points [-]

No, no, the sand in the Time-Turners' hourglasses is made of ground-up Playstations.

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 04:47:29AM 1 point [-]

I don't think that would actually make sand, it must be the game-discs.

Comment author: David_Gerard 18 April 2012 10:09:14AM 4 points [-]

This brings to mind the scratched game CD in Homestuck.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 18 April 2012 02:57:07AM 7 points [-]

You can always imagine that in the HPMoR fictional universe, Fate/Stay Night came out in some form much earlier -- same way that variations of 'Gargoyles' and "Death Note" seem to have been wizardly entertainment earlier than their real counterparts came out in the real world....

Anyway, it's not really useful to fuss about the chronology of fictional references too much, either from the point of view of the readers, nor from the point of view of the author...

Comment author: Desrtopa 18 April 2012 04:11:09PM 8 points [-]

Personally, I find shout-outs less jarring than straight out references to Harry having consumed fiction that shouldn't exist yet. The Tragedy of Light isn't Death Note, it's The Tragedy of Light, even if the real life inspiration is obviously Death Note.

Comment author: CronoDAS 18 April 2012 03:40:18AM 4 points [-]

Anachronism notwithstanding, the anime adaptation isn't pornographic, so he could have seen that instead.

Comment author: NihilCredo 18 April 2012 03:45:25AM 11 points [-]

Those are very valid objections, but since the phrase "great works of literature like Hamlet or Fate/Stay Night" constantly causes hilarious overreactions whenever I link Three Worlds Collide around, I'm entirely supportive of Eliezer taking liberties for this purpose.

Comment author: BlackNoise 18 April 2012 04:29:54AM 1 point [-]

He didn't actually had to have read it, merely to have come across that particular quote.

Comment author: Randaly 18 April 2012 04:57:21AM 9 points [-]

Eliezer isn't bothering to consider publication dates, and has ignored them in the past- eg Barbour's The End of Time wasn't published until 1999, yet Harry still knows timeless physics.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 01:54:26PM 0 points [-]

Barbour's The End of Time wasn't published until 1999, yet Harry still knows timeless physics.

I was under the impression Harry didn't learn that from Barbour - he derived it himself.

Comment author: Randaly 18 April 2012 02:28:56PM 7 points [-]

I don't think so- the passage implied that other muggleborns might know it as well:

Even if some Muggleborn knew about timeless formulations of quantum mechanics

Plus I get the feeling that it's beyond Harry's own capabilities, since his original thoughts/ideas are also (generally) Eliezer's original thoughts/ideas

Comment author: Desrtopa 18 April 2012 04:07:52PM 4 points [-]

Eliezer has said that he's giving a pass to any science in the story, but I don't think he's applied that policy to all fiction Harry has consumed. In the Azkaban break, Eliezer noted that Harry was quoting from the trailer of a movie (Army of Darkness,) which hadn't been released yet, and in the tvtropes discussion thread, he attested that he had checked the chronology of the trailer.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 18 April 2012 02:38:59AM 3 points [-]

I had forgotten about the vow to Draco. Maybe that was some of Harry's anger at Dumbledore in the previous chapter - not just denial of what Dumbledore may have done, but denial of what he might do about it.

Comment author: FAWS 18 April 2012 02:46:27AM *  11 points [-]

Why should the time of an ominous decision be so relevant to seers? Even if the consequences of the decision have a big impact on the future, that future already was the future. It's not like there is a default future before you make your decision and a different future afterwards, your decision itself would already be a part of the future of any earlier point in time. From a many worlds perspective you might have several different possible futures so your overall prospect of the future might significantly change after an important branching, but Harry's decision doesn't seem particularly influenced by recent random chance; it seems unlikely that from the perspective of 6 hours ago most future Harrys would make a completely different decision.

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 02:53:12AM *  9 points [-]

Eliezer seems to be taking a page from Alicorn's book. In Luminosity Alice is plagued by differing visions as Bella constantly changes her mind about her future, and then the actual future snaps into place when a final choice is made.

Comment author: FAWS 18 April 2012 02:59:01AM 1 point [-]

And I already remarked in the Luminosity thread that that makes no sense. It makes even less sense in a universe with time turners.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 18 April 2012 03:03:53AM 11 points [-]

Essentially? It has to happen at some point along the timeline, and whatever engine runs magic finds it simplest to give visions simultaneous to the decisions that cause them. (Or at least, contribute in some major way to them.)

Or, in other words, enforced narrative causality.

Comment author: shminux 18 April 2012 04:57:54AM 11 points [-]

That's how it is in the canon Twilight (Eclipse).

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 05:37:02AM 0 points [-]

Try not to take this as me being a big snobby snob, but did you actually read them?

Comment author: loup-vaillant 18 April 2012 09:13:33AM 6 points [-]

Secondary source: I have seen the first 3 films, and Alice explicitly (and repeatedly, I think) states that "a decision has been made" when she has a vision. That decision needn't be made by Bella specifically though.

Comment author: shminux 18 April 2012 02:50:35PM 3 points [-]

Weirdly enough, I have read both the canon and the Alicorn's fanfic.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 03:00:35AM 4 points [-]

If you assume both free will and prescience, it's natural. You cannot see the consequences of a decision that has not yet been made, but once it has been, then you can view it. Think of the visions in Dune, as one of the better-known examples - the visions that the seers see are infinite branches, not single facts, and the branch points are their decisions. (The analogy is not perfect - in Dune, the decisions of non-seers are taken as given - but I hope the idea is clear).

Comment author: FAWS 18 April 2012 03:07:05AM 3 points [-]

If you assume both free will and prescience, it's natural.

You mean libertarian free will, which already doesn't make sense all by itself, and even then the combination doesn't make sense for additional reasons, starting with that seeing anything would usually require that only main characters have free will.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 03:33:51AM *  1 point [-]

Now that is a phrase I've never heard before. I follow neither the term nor the argument, and would appreciate elaboration.

Edit: And to address the one point I do follow, someone's decision has to be the tipping point. Again, narrativium being what it is, that someone is likely to be a main character.

Comment author: pedanterrific 18 April 2012 03:38:42AM *  2 points [-]

The problem is you stated "if you assume both free will and..." as though free will is a thing that exists.

See free will on the wiki. (This is supposed to be a kind of do-it-yourself exercise; the page I linked has spoiler alerts you might want to pay attention to.)

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 12:16:49PM *  1 point [-]

Oh, is that all. Yes, free will is a meaningless term...unless you have time travel and/or prescience, in which case it suddenly becomes meaningful.

Edit: Upon further consideration, I'm not sure that's true. I have to run to work, but I'll ponder this and update later.

Edit 2: See http://lesswrong.com/lw/bto/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/6ekb

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 12:48:39PM 2 points [-]

Upon further consideration, I'm not sure that's true.

I agree with your second thought. Those two don't qualitatively change the meaningfulness of the term.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 April 2012 02:27:35PM 1 point [-]

I had understood the intention of the free will solution here to be normalizing: i.e. we should end with the result that we have free will in every sense that's important to us. In other words, we can make decisions from our own character and reasoning, we are responsible for those decisions, etc. etc.

If all that's true, if free will is no less important and meaningful for all the findings of natural science, then why wouldn't it likewise be important for seers and prophecy?

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 02:32:48PM 0 points [-]

If all that's true, if free will is no less important and meaningful for all the findings of natural science, then why wouldn't it likewise be important for seers and prophecy?

Isn't that what my comment claims?

Comment author: [deleted] 18 April 2012 06:34:38PM 0 points [-]

If so, we have no disagreement.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 18 April 2012 10:59:26AM 6 points [-]

Free will as opposing "determinism" is a confused concept according to Eliezer's opinion, and also according to mine -- see Thou Art Physics

Basic points is that we're part of the physical world-- if free will means anything, it must mean the ability of our current physical state to determine our decisions. "Libertarian free-will" in the sense of people making decision that can't be predicted from the current state; that's inevitably just randomness, not anything that has to do with people's character traits or moralities or cognitive-processes -- nothing that is traditionally labelled "free will".

Comment author: dspeyer 18 April 2012 02:39:59PM 0 points [-]

But the Potterverse is dualist. Even if horcruxes get some massive retcon, animagi preserve that in MOR.

So maybe souls are immune to the normal patterns of time and causality, and a decision from the soul has special properties for prophecy. Only when all involved souls have chosen does the timestream become fixed enough for prophecies. I'm not sure what that means for time turners. Maybe people who have gone back are out of contact with their souls.

This would cost the story applicability, but it is a story, not a treatise.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 03:22:27PM 5 points [-]

But the Potterverse is dualist. Even if horcruxes get some massive retcon, animagi preserve that in MOR.

It enjoys the mind/body distinction, for sure, but not necessarily strongly (not more strongly than a physicalist who wants to be neuropreserved). Random proposed mechanisms for animagi:

  • the human mind is very compressible, so it's not hard to build a cat-sized brain that runs a human
  • the brain actually gets teleported to another dimension and operates the cat via telepresence
  • the cat is animated through magic and most of its mass is actually used to run computation (slightly less plausible for a beetle)
Comment author: 75th 18 April 2012 03:08:58AM *  16 points [-]

Hmm. On first reading, I just took the premonitions as being an indicator of how close we are to the apocalypse, not necessarily being caused by Harry's resolution. And yet you're right; both the premonitions we've seen so far immediately followed Harry's resolving something.

The first resolution was Harry saying that he would destroy Azkaban, whether it meant ruling Britain or summoning arcane magics to blow the building up, and that those who support Azkaban are the villains.

This resolution was Harry saying that if his war caused a single death, he would start killing villains as fast as possible.

So if these are all related, I guess all Quirrell needs to do is make Harry remember both those resolutions after someone dies and while he's in his Dark Side, and then sit back and watch as Harry exterminates 90% of the British population.

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 03:13:05AM 0 points [-]

More like 60%, I think.

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 03:20:50AM 2 points [-]

Never mind, the "far too few" comment Harry makes during the trial means you're likely correct.

Comment author: 75th 18 April 2012 03:52:10PM 0 points [-]

Well, no, if we're using the trial votes as the gauge, it's probably like 70/30? Maybe? But I was thinking of not only those who would sentence Hermione to Azkaban, but all those who support Azkaban in general, which is surely a significantly higher percentage.

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 04:02:47PM 0 points [-]

I wasn't referring to the actual vote, but rather to the reaction to Harry's speech.

Some of the members of the Wizengamot were looking abashed at the Boy-Who-Lived's admonition, and a few others were nodding violently to the old wizard's words. But they were too few. Harry could see it. They were too few.

And that's just those who agree that Children shouldn't be exposed to dementors, and it seems to be like it's <20%. It's probably only around .1% of the population who don't want anyone of any age given to the Dead Things.

Comment author: loserthree 18 April 2012 11:50:43AM *  23 points [-]

The clock is a gift from Dumbledore. On the one hand, it could be recording. On the other hand it could be transmitting. On the gripping hand, Dumbledore has a Time Turner.

If Dumbledore wanted to assure that any time he was the best pressure-release for a prophesy that pressure was released as easily and discretely as possible and less likely to be overheard, he would want to make it easy for the Prophesy Force to get that information to him.

So he gives her a clock and tells her to ask it for the time each time she wakes up in the middle of the night. The clock tells Dumbledore. Dumbledore gets invisible. Then it's just a jump to the left and he receives any prophesy intended for him.

Comment author: Benquo 18 April 2012 12:21:45PM 0 points [-]

So when the clock responds to her question, that's actually invisible Dumbledore?

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 01:09:19PM 5 points [-]

No. It's just a clock. But it is there, so Dumbledore knows at which point in time he should jump back to (given the option of course) {all this is an interpretation of loserthree's post}

Comment author: Benquo 18 April 2012 01:44:01PM 1 point [-]

I meant, if whenever she queries the clock for the time, Dumbledore will have arrived already, then there was no need for him to enchant the clock further to respond to the query - he could just answer it himself, since he's already there.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 April 2012 02:31:41PM 5 points [-]

That may fall under the don't-mess-with-time injunction. Easier to just be silent and let the clock do its job.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 01:59:21PM 12 points [-]

That's so obvious in retrospect, and Dumbledore is so meddling, that now I don't think he's allowed not to have thought of that.

Comment author: EliAndrewC 18 April 2012 04:15:48PM -1 points [-]

That might explain the first sentence of Albus Dumbledore's aftermath in Chapter 63: "It might have been only fifty-seven seconds before breakfast ended and he might have needed four twists of his Time-Turner, but in the end, Albus Dumbledore did make it."

Or perhaps not, since there would presumably be more than 4 hours between 2am (when Trelawny heard the prophecy) and the end of breakfast.

Comment author: loup-vaillant 18 April 2012 11:59:49AM *  0 points [-]

It occurred to me that I didn't notice a prior omnious resolution each time Sybil Trelowney makes a prediction. Mayhaps some resolutions happened off-stage. It might be interesting to try and guess what resolution could have triggered each prediction?

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 12:28:41PM 0 points [-]

How many previous Trelawney predictions have there been?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 April 2012 02:47:18AM *  6 points [-]

Andromeda is not the closest galaxy. The closest currently known galaxy is the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy but this wasn't known until after the story took place. However, others were known at about this time such as the Large Magellanic Cloud which is only visible from the Southern Hemisphere but has been known for centuries, or Draco Dwarf which you can see with a good telescope in the Northern Hemisphere. Andromeda is however the only one that is easily visible and very large in the Northern Hemisphere.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 03:01:23AM 0 points [-]

I thought the LMC and SMC were considered to belong to a lesser category of galaxies than Andromeda. Or am I just thinking of the spiral/blob distinction?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 April 2012 03:07:29AM 0 points [-]

There are size/shape distinctions but they are all galaxies. There are issues with spiral/blob issues although in the last few years the discovery of a lot of smaller dwarf galaxies have raised issues with the standard classification. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about this in detail. Size issues may be relevant in that LGM is much smaller than Andromeda (by a factor of around 100).

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 02:56:52AM *  19 points [-]

The introspective morality-dump chapters are not my favorites (eg. I find the 'imagine distant descendants' to be entirely useless intuitively, and would prefer versions of the update-now argument which are more like 'decide now how you would update your beliefs based on predictions you make now failing or succeeding, since once they actually fail or succeed you'll be embarrassed & biased'), but oh well let's begin analysis.

A year ago, Dad had gone to the Australian National University in Canberra for a conference where he'd been an invited speaker, and he'd taken Mum and Harry along. And they'd all visited the National Museum of Australia, because, it had turned out, there was basically nothing else to do in Canberra. The glass display cases had shown rock-throwers crafted by the Australian aborigines - like giant wooden shoehorns, they'd looked, but smoothed and carved and ornamented with the most painstaking care. In the 40,000 years since anatomically modern humans had migrated to Australia from Asia, nobody had invented the bow-and-arrow. It really made you appreciate how non-obvious was the idea of Progress. Why would you even think of Invention as something important, if all your history's heroic tales were of great warriors and defenders instead of Thomas Edison? How could anyone possibly have suspected, while carving a rock-thrower with painstaking care, that someday human beings would invent rocket ships and nuclear energy?

This is actually a pretty bad example. The Australians and New Guineans etc. were not necessarily incompetent (witness the boomerang, or the independent invention of the blow-gun), and specifically, throwing-sticks (atlatl) are really fearsome weapons which can throw darts or rocks insane distances more comparable to English longbows than anything else. Throwing sticks for spears were in military use in ancient Greece or Egypt, areas which always had bows-and-arrows.

A better example would be Tasmania and technology it lost, like making fire.

In a land where Muggleborns received no letters of any kind

This would seem to indicate Harry over-estimated the magnitude of his inference in the early chapters about the implication of so few Muggleborns at Hogwarts, but immediately raises the question of what do those lands do with their Muggleborns.

Finally:

She came awake with a gasp of horror, she woke with an unvoiced scream on her lips and no words came forth

Sybil is now definitely the bearer of at least one unvoiced prophecy, and if I'm counting right, at least two - she woke up without speaking in some earlier chapter as well.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 April 2012 03:02:50AM 4 points [-]

While it is clear that the Tasmanian aborigines did lose a lot of technological know-how, there's some dispute over whether they actually lost fire. Unfortunately, I don't have a great source for this. The claim is sourced in the relevant Wikipedia article, but the citation is to a dead-link.

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 03:08:00AM 4 points [-]

As I pointed out to the person who brought that up in the discussion I linked, the dispute is pretty desperate pleading.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 April 2012 03:13:33AM 7 points [-]

Hmm, reading your argument there I'm convinced. The tertiary nature of the sources claiming they had fire-making, combined with the well-documented preservation of fires are both pretty strong arguments.

Comment author: drethelin 18 April 2012 03:04:12AM 3 points [-]

My theory would be they just have some weird powers and never really find out what it means to be a wizard. Various Mediums are probably unknowing Muggleborns.

Comment author: chaosmosis 18 April 2012 04:21:54AM *  3 points [-]

This is the same instance, it's word for word the same as her previous nightmare, this chapter just continues it a little farther and shows that there are people all over the globe who are also having visions of bad things to come.

Unless my memory has totally failed me.

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 04:42:44AM 0 points [-]

That's weird. So is the first instance supposed to be a massive flashforward (despite no one ever noticing this before because it was written as present tense), or is this second instance supposed to be a big flashback (despite being written as though it happens after Harry finishes his soliloquy)? Maybe Eliezer deliberately or accidentally just made it very similar.

Comment author: pedanterrific 18 April 2012 04:52:03AM *  15 points [-]

No, this one is 11pm, the previous one was 2am.

Comment author: V2Blast 18 April 2012 06:37:09AM 0 points [-]

I think it's safe to assume it's deliberate, although I do not think it is the same instance.

Comment author: hairyfigment 18 April 2012 09:07:37AM 3 points [-]

Um, the accepted Outcome Pump explanation of prophecies says that only the right listener will discharge the time "pressure". (Possibly relevant.) The same prophecy could fail to erupt many times.

OT: In Ch. 25, Hold Off On Proposing Solutions, Harry considers only intelligent and evolutionary causes of optimization. I have no clue if an Outcome Pump could coherently explain all magic.

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 04:19:58PM 2 points [-]

The same prophecy could fail to erupt many times.

As the CS saying goes, things happen 0, 1, or indefinitely many times. Why does this Sybil failure happen only twice (as opposed to every night, the prophecy not having gone off on a vacation or anything), and why is it linked with additional characters who were not also linked to the previous incident?

Comment author: hairyfigment 18 April 2012 04:59:47PM 2 points [-]

Why does this Sybil failure happen only twice

I don't think we should assume that. The end of 85 reads to me like a flailing optimization process that can't 'find' a natural route to changing Harry's future and is pushing absurdly improbable routes.

Comment author: Vaniver 18 April 2012 05:18:59AM 6 points [-]

This would seem to indicate Harry over-estimated the magnitude of his inference in the early chapters about the implication of so few Muggleborns at Hogwarts, but immediately raises the question of what do those lands do with their Muggleborns.

Burn them.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 18 April 2012 06:23:46AM *  7 points [-]

If you knew that a woman in your village was communing via socially unapproved rituals with a transhuman intelligence of unknown nature and preferences, would you convince your village to burn her to death? Ideally you'd just use the Object Class: Roko Containment Protocol, but then her own soul remains at risk—burning her alive at least gives her strong incentive to repent.

Comment author: pedanterrific 18 April 2012 06:43:02AM 14 points [-]

Object Class: Roko Containment Protocol

But where would we get that many D-class personnel?

Comment author: Eugine_Nier 18 April 2012 08:00:54AM *  6 points [-]

Object Class: Roko Containment Protocol

For the record, I don't think that was a good idea under any of the plausible scenarios.

Edit: do the people upvoting this have any clue what I'm referring to?

Comment author: Vaniver 18 April 2012 04:23:31PM 3 points [-]

If you knew that a woman in your village was communing via socially unapproved rituals with a transhuman intelligence of unknown nature and preferences, would you convince your village to burn her to death?

It was a question of expectation, not preference.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 03:03:31AM 2 points [-]

Hrm. Less content than I hoped for, given how long we get to wait for more. Still, sounds like Harry just grew up a whole lot that night, and he made a pretty okay decision(even if it will inevitably bite him in the ass later on, narrativium being what it is).

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 03:09:54AM 2 points [-]

This chapter reminded me very much of Dusk Specks vs Torture, and if I wasn't before I'm now very confident that Harry is soon going to get very utilitarian on us.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 03:35:50AM 1 point [-]

Got a link?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 April 2012 03:40:47AM *  1 point [-]

Relevant link which FYI was the first thing I got when googling for "Dust Specks vs Torture".

Edit: Actually the second link listed is more direct.

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 12:22:10PM -2 points [-]

Ah, a chance to use a simple heuristic - if I see 3^^^3 in a philosophical question, terminate thought and respond with profanity. It's the simplest accurate algorithm for responding to such questions, I've found.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 12:46:14PM *  4 points [-]

Ah, a chance to use a simple heuristic - if I see 3^^^3 in a philosophical question, terminate thought and respond with profanity. It's the simplest accurate algorithm for responding to such questions, I've found.

Please don't do that (in a way that is in any way visible on this forum). If you can't keep your inability handle extreme cases to yourself then please leave.

Comment author: CronoDAS 18 April 2012 03:50:38AM 5 points [-]

What is the Anansi the Spider quote from? Anansi the Spider is a character from mythology and folklore, so it's not as obvious as the others... is it Neil Gaiman, or some other source?

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 04:07:55AM 3 points [-]

I'm a pretty big Gaiman fan, but I don't recognize it from either Sandman or Anansi Boys, nor do I see anything in Google Books.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 18 April 2012 04:22:29AM 1 point [-]

You checked American Gods?

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 04:43:38AM 2 points [-]

Google Books has search for it, so I assume it's not from there.

Comment author: loserthree 18 April 2012 11:38:32AM 5 points [-]

It may be para- or misphrased. The author told us at some point that HJPEV quotes from the author's memory while Hermione quotes from reality.

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 04:25:00PM *  0 points [-]

Give me a little credit, I didn't just search for the exact quote but also the key verbs and nouns ('anansi killing words weight iron hesitate' and variations).

EDIT: Eliezer says it's Web of Angels, I assume the 2012 book not by Gaiman; it is listed in Google Books as no preview.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 04:47:01PM 0 points [-]

I assume the 2012 book not by Gaiman

Web of Angels is from 1980.

Comment author: gwern 18 April 2012 04:50:34PM 0 points [-]

It's also, funnily enough, from 2012. Someone should pass a law against non-unique titles!

But googling for plot summaries of the '80 novel, it's cyberpunk and pushes the web metaphor pretty far, perhaps far enough to have an Anansi character. That's probably it.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 04:54:55PM 2 points [-]

I was originally going to complain because Web of Angels was published in late 1992, but then I realized that's a reprint by a different publisher.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 April 2012 01:01:52PM 4 points [-]

Web of Angels.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 18 April 2012 05:25:42AM 6 points [-]

I was a bit surprised to not see the "many who die deserve life" quote from Tolkien, but perhaps that one is about deciding to kill prisoners or not.

Comment author: V2Blast 18 April 2012 06:43:28AM 3 points [-]

While it is relevant to Harry's desire not to have to kill, it was not as related as the other quotes were to his struggle between idealism and realism in fighting a war.

Comment author: Macaulay 18 April 2012 05:26:42AM 6 points [-]

Harry thought the deepest split in his personality wasn't anything to do with his dark side; rather it was the divide between the altruistic and forgiving Abstract Reasoning Harry, versus the frustrated and angry Harry In The Moment.

This as well as the distant descendants part seems to draw on Robin's near vs. far theory.

Comment author: Catnip 18 April 2012 05:32:18AM 1 point [-]

So, Mr. Potter made an ominous resolution, and again without a thunder rumbling in the background... Instead, he caused women all around the globe to see nightmares and cry... I don't remember if seers tend to be female in canon or not. I find the fact that seers, while living in different places and being of different age, are invariantly female, suspicious.

Comment author: JGWeissman 18 April 2012 05:42:38AM 7 points [-]

They were not all female.

In the Forbidden Forest, a centaur woken by a nameless apprehension ceased scanning the night sky, having found only questions there and no answers; and with a folding of his many legs, Firenze went back to sleep.

Comment author: Bugmaster 18 April 2012 07:01:15AM 8 points [-]

Am I the only one who found that quote oddly disquieting, BTW ? Just how many legs does he have ?

Comment author: LauralH 18 April 2012 07:03:55AM 3 points [-]

Most likely 4...p>.9

Comment author: Bugmaster 18 April 2012 07:07:12AM 2 points [-]

Well yes, that's what I'd like to believe too, but 4 isn't exactly "many" (it's less than 7, for instance). Hmm.

Comment author: Vaniver 18 April 2012 06:20:43AM 15 points [-]

Oh, Harry. Who have you just doomed with your folly?

Harry realizes the error, and yet continues to generalize from fictional morality.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 18 April 2012 09:46:56AM *  1 point [-]

And from what he imagines the future will think. Updating on evidence that hasn't arrived yet?

EDIT: is the negative karma a mere "I think differently" or did I do something objectionable?

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 01:09:37PM 2 points [-]

And from what he imagines the future will think. Updating on evidence that hasn't arrived yet?

That is still updating based on evidence that he already has albeit via a possibly dubious application of imagination to make predictions.

EDIT: is the negative karma a mere "I think differently" or did I do something objectionable?

No idea.

Comment author: Benquo 18 April 2012 01:55:58PM 5 points [-]

Updating on evidence that hasn't arrived yet?

Not quite. I think the point is that because we aren't perfect Bayesian reasoners, we neglect to update on some of the available evidence. But getting into the right frame of mind can help you avoid that. (Cf. the reasoning behind Harry's decision to tell McGonagall about the Parseltongue message from the sorting hat.)

The heuristic Harry is using here, is to imagine a future test he thinks would be decisive, and ask himself what outcome he expects from that test. That's a way to "unlock" and find out about your beliefs about the present.

Personally, I get very little use out of this technique, since my problem tends to be uncertainty about the likely consequences of my actions, not uncertainty about which outcome would be best.

Comment author: Vaniver 18 April 2012 04:29:16PM 2 points [-]

And from what he imagines the future will think.

And where does he learn how to imagine about the future? From the past, or from his fiction?

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 12:26:44PM 7 points [-]

Which error does he realize? So far as I can tell, he sees a failure mode on both sides, and so chooses the best compromise he can come up with.

Comment author: Vaniver 18 April 2012 04:43:24PM 16 points [-]

Two illustrations:

It was abruptly very clear that while Harry was going around trying to live the ideals of the Enlightenment, Dumbledore was the one who'd actually fought in a war. Nonviolent ideals were cheap to hold if you were a scientist, living inside the Protego bubble cast by the police officers and soldiers whose actions you had the luxury to question. Albus Dumbledore seemed to have started out with ideals at least as strong as Harry's own, if not stronger; and Dumbledore hadn't gotten through his war without losing friends and killing enemies and sacrificing allies.

For commentary, we turn to Bismarck: "A fool learns from his mistakes, but a truly wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

Even if Dumbledore was right, and the true enemy was utterly mad and evil... in a hundred million years the organic lifeform known as Lord Voldemort probably wouldn't seem much different from all the other bewildered children of Ancient Earth. Whatever Lord Voldemort had done to himself, whatever Dark rituals seemed so horribly irrevocable on a merely human scale, it wouldn't be beyond curing with the technology of a hundred million years. Killing him, if you didn't have to do it, would be just one more death for future sentient beings to be sad about. How could you look up at the stars, and believe anything else?

Do Achilles and Odysseus not seem too different to modern eyes? No- one is pride and folly, and the other prudence and wisdom. But unfortunately one must be Odysseus to know that, and Harry is an Achilles.

History remembers actions; fiction remembers people. And so Harry thinks that the future will remember everyone currently alive as they are in fiction, rather than as their deeds show them to be. Indeed, once you have "cured" Voldemort by scooping out his will and past, what remains? Why does he think the future will hold life to be as precious as the present does, instead of cheap, as it did and will again in Malthusian economies?

Harry does not look at the stars; he looks at himself. He would do better to look at others.

Comment author: David_Gerard 18 April 2012 07:17:49AM *  7 points [-]

In the 40,000 years since anatomically modern humans had migrated to Australia from Asia

BTW - this was the accepted figure as of 1991, but molecular evidence suggests 62,000-75,000 years. Which makes Harry's point even more strongly: it took a long time for humans as we know them to invent what we think of as basic stuff.

Comment author: FAWS 18 April 2012 07:28:29AM *  7 points [-]

At a cursory glace the date you cite seems to be for the time the population they are descended from split from African populations, not for when they arrived in Australia. Genetic evidence cannot show where your ancestors lived, only how they were related to other populations (which might imply things about where they lived provided you already know that for the other populations)

Comment author: David_Gerard 18 April 2012 08:50:02AM 3 points [-]

Yes, you're right - this piece gives 50,000 years ago for the arrival.

But the point stands as to the minimum time humans were anatomically and cognitively modern.

Comment author: Nornagest 18 April 2012 09:08:05AM 3 points [-]

Genetic evidence can't show where your ancestors lived, but it can gesture furtively in one direction while mouthing "look over there". Even in hunter-gatherer populations, there's enough mobility that it shouldn't take anywhere near 22,000 years for African genes to make their way to Australia (or to wherever the proto-Australians were living at the time).

Comment author: Alsadius 18 April 2012 12:27:46PM 2 points [-]

There's a big difference between a few people making their way over and genes achieving fixation.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 18 April 2012 12:14:54PM 24 points [-]

Okay, after thinking a few minutes about the Batman-Joker/where do you put Dark Wizards if you're determined not to use Dementors anymore problem...

Unbreakable Vow anyone? Just give Dark Wizards the option "either you take an Unbreakable Vow to never knowingly kill/torture/Imperio a human being ever again, nor to ever knowingly assist in such, or we just execute you right now".

I can think up of possible ways out of this meta-problem, in order to sustain the dilemma: Perhaps really powerful Dark Wizards require too vast a portion of magical power to sustain the vow. Perhaps there are dark rituals whereby using them, Dark Wizards can break out of even an (ill-named) Unbreakable Vow. Perhaps Dark Wizards tend to have made other rituals that already make them immune to Unbreakable Vows... Perhaps unbreakable vows need be really really specific in some weird manner like "I will not kill Bill Weasley", and "I will not kill Charlie Weasley" necessarily are two separate vows, so that "I will not kill any human" isn't enforceable...

But these are additional problems that are not yet mentioned/listed/foreshadowed in the story. Ugh, Unbreakable Vows seem something of a game breaker right now.

Sidenote: Whenever I think of something such, I worry that the author will think he'll have to rewrite/revise everything he had already planned, and that we'll never get an update again. Not my intention, I swear.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 01:00:16PM 7 points [-]

Okay, after thinking a few minutes about the Batman-Joker/where do you put Dark Wizards if you're determined not to use Dementors anymore problem...

Kill them. With great power comes great getting-held-responsible-if-necessary.

Unbreakable Vow anyone? Just give Dark Wizards the option "either you take an Unbreakable Vow to never knowingly kill/torture/Imperio a human being ever again, nor to ever knowingly assist in such, or we just execute you right now".

Oh, no, this is much better. Magical evilness castration.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 April 2012 01:05:10PM 44 points [-]

Unbreakable Vows are ridiculously broken, as Harry briefly observes in Ch. 74. They're even more ridiculous in fanfictions where people can just grab a wand and swear something on their life and magic and thereby create a magically binding vow. I had to nerf the hell out of their activation costs just to make the MoR-verse keep running. I can't depict a society with zero agency problems, a perfect public commitment process and an infinite trust engine unless the whole story is about that.

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 03:44:40PM 0 points [-]

Not to mention perfect self-motivation.. Actually I still don't understand why it is not used that way. Unbreakable Vows only require energy until said vow is fulfilled right?

Seems to be a lot more effective than A. Robbins...

Comment author: Desrtopa 18 April 2012 04:28:38PM *  1 point [-]

Not to mention perfect self-motivation.. Actually I still don't understand why it is not used that way. Unbreakable Vows only require energy until said vow is fulfilled right?

I don't think this is ever stated, and I'd err on the side of assuming not, because that would make them easier to abuse, which would be narratively inconvenient.

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 04:50:26PM 4 points [-]

Makes sense. I was confused so I looked it up: "And the third wizard, the binder, permanently sacrifices a small portion of their own magic, to sustain the Vow forever." I guess the self-improvement part is out of the question then...

Still; it'd be a pretty hardcore thing to do for an ambitious dying grandfather. Make his grandson, age 3, swear the vow (something along the lines: "I will never spend an awake moment on anything except improving my abilities or the situation of my family" - it could be phrased better) and then die happily.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 04:57:07PM 16 points [-]

Still; it'd be a pretty hardcore thing to do for an ambitious dying grandfather. Make his grandson, age 3, swear the vow (something along the lines: "I will never spend an awake moment on anything except improving my abilities or the situation of my family" - it could be phrased better) and then die happily.

Age three? Does the vow actually impel you adhere to it or does it just kill you when you are about to break it? (I thought the latter.) Didn't he just kill his grandson?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 April 2012 04:50:50PM 5 points [-]

Nope, ritual magic = permanent sacrifice.

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 05:06:23PM 1 point [-]

Thank you; I even managed to figure that out myself (with the help of our ever vigilant and watchful google); as seen in my response to Desrtopa (24 seconds before you clicked the comment button apparently).

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 05:40:36PM 1 point [-]

with the help of our ever vigilant and watchful Google

FTFY. Show proper reverence, heathen!

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 01:05:32PM *  1 point [-]

Ugh, Unbreakable Vows seem something of a game breaker right now.

RE: the game breaker opening example: Iron vs bronze weapons is a game breaker? Hardly. The difference in weapon quality there is minor (and even arguable). Bronze vs Steel... sure, that's a big deal but even then not worthy of 'game breaker' accolades.

Comment author: pedanterrific 18 April 2012 03:42:35PM *  2 points [-]

Unbreakable Vow anyone? Just give Dark Wizards the option "either you take an Unbreakable Vow to never knowingly kill/torture/Imperio a human being ever again, nor to ever knowingly assist in such, or we just execute you right now".

Wands as Oath Rods? I'm ok with this.

ETA: Apparently the relevant historical use is under binding rod. Same thing.

Comment author: Xachariah 18 April 2012 05:23:14PM *  29 points [-]

You could just strip their magic.

If there exists any ritual that happens to permanently remove a portion of somebody's magic (Unbreakable Vow), then you could just repeat that ritual meaninglessly until that person was completely stripped of magic permanently. Or you could use other rituals which require similar permanent sacrifices until you achieve the same effect. Keeping a permanently magicless wizard imprisoned is a trivial task, and obviates the need for dementors.

Side Note: That's actually my pet theory on why Dementors as prison guards are acceptable to the public. It could be that governments used to use rituals to permanently strip prisoners of magic before imprisoning them. This would make them a revenue center instead of a funds sink. This would naturally encourage the magical government to find more and more excuses to imprison people, similar to how the 'tough on crime' cycle is accelerated by the for-profit prison systems in some places. A police state would be soon to follow. Then, after a cultural revolution, Dementors were adopted as the less evil option to house criminals. It also helps explain why so many rituals are banned. It's unlikely to be true in HPMoR, but it'd be a nice thought for another fanfic.

Comment author: drethelin 18 April 2012 05:26:12PM 9 points [-]

Another problem with this system is the permanence. People get sent to Azkaban for less than lifetime sentences, but if you use this to strip someone of magic it's gone forever. I suppose you could use degrees of magic removal as punishment but that seems hard to balance to different powerlevels of wizard.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 05:37:56PM 1 point [-]

similar to how the 'tough on crime' cycle is accelerated by the for-profit prison system in America.

Beware political examples where they are not necessary.

Comment author: Xachariah 18 April 2012 06:03:52PM *  4 points [-]

I wasn't aware that was a particularly politically charged example since it's not currently on either side's discussion plate.

I do think it's somewhat relevant with them both being profit motivations that encourage increasingly stricter laws and enforcement. Then again if I'd been able to notice the problem I wouldn't have put it in there in the first place.

Taking your advice, do you think I should edit it out and remove the example? Or better yet, could anyone think of an example that's not so politically proximate that illustrates the same effect? I'd image a similar thing would occur in ancient Rome with slaves, or maybe colonial-era governments with indentured servitude, but I'm not quite as familiar with those.

Edit: And thank you for reminding me, I've edited.

Comment author: thomblake 18 April 2012 06:08:59PM 0 points [-]

I'm pretty sure "tough on crime" is associated with the "right wing".

That said, it might seem better if you just left out "in America", or replaced it with "in some places".

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 18 April 2012 06:31:28PM 7 points [-]

Unbreakable Vow anyone? Just give Dark Wizards the option "either you take an Unbreakable Vow to never knowingly kill/torture/Imperio a human being ever again, nor to ever knowingly assist in such, or we just execute you right now".

I don't think it would be that easy. This is isomorphic to making wishes with an evil genie--or coding a human-level AI with a list of deontological commands. It could be done, but probably not in an EY fanfic and probably not without a skilled magical lawyer.

Comment author: Brickman 18 April 2012 01:18:02PM 26 points [-]

Is it me, or does Harry's solution to this dilemma seem rather... half-assed? Ignoring potential the loss of effectiveness from his resolving to suddenly switch directions the first time things get bad, is he really going to know the first time someone dies as a result of his war? How will he know the difference? He's already gotten someone killed by his actions (Rita Skeeter, who he doesn't even know about) and another person gravely injured (that auror hurt by the rocket, who he doesn't know about but admittedly he thought the whole affair was a mistake afterward anyways). How about opportunity costs, the fact that if you handed me 100000 galleons demanding I save at least 10 lives with it I could hand you back 99000 in change. And that's before the "war" even "started"; hostilities are going to get more open and more direct from here. It's madness to think you can finish war, even a weird semi-geurella war like this, with zero casualties, or that you'll know about every one.

With the condition he gave himself anyone should be able to see that "failure" is a foregone conclusion. And there's very good odds he's not going to learn that what he's doing isn't working until he's racked up a far worse bodycount than one.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 01:24:44PM 9 points [-]

He's already gotten someone killed by his actions (Rita Skeeter, who he doesn't even know about)

Not for any realistic sense of the phrase 'by his actions'. Quirrel squished Rita of his own accord for his own purposes and Harry's presence there is damn near irrelevant.

Comment author: ArisKatsaris 18 April 2012 01:33:19PM 8 points [-]

Quirrel squished Rita of his own accord for his own purposes and Harry's presence there is damn near irrelevant.

Kinda-sort of.

Harry inadvertently gave Fred&George the idea of making up rumours about Quirrel (by telling them he doesn't like rumours, and asking them to leave Quirrel out of it). Which Rita Skeeter published.

And the prank he actually commissioned gave Quirrel a plausible explanation for Rita Skeeter's disappearance.

Morally Harry is not really responsible IMO. But causally, eh... her death would have probably not have happened if he hadn't talked to the Weasley twins about her.

Comment author: drethelin 18 April 2012 04:47:35PM *  0 points [-]

Morally he still deliberately ruined her, regardless of whether he thought it would cause her death. Doing something to ruin the reputation of someone who lives by their reputation is morally bad even if you didn't think through all the consequences.

--edited for language and clarity.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 04:52:39PM *  9 points [-]

Morally he still deliberately fucked her, regardless of whether he thought it would cause her death.

Different language would be more appropriate to the context. Not because I have qualms with foul language, but because I actually got the impression that we were considering rape-ethics or philosophy in magic-mediated edge cases till I followed the link.

Comment author: drethelin 18 April 2012 05:12:15PM 2 points [-]

thanks

Comment author: Brickman 18 April 2012 01:41:45PM 15 points [-]

Morally he didn't do it, and maybe Quirrel even had a desire to kill her sitting on a back burner before Harry got involved, but her death was caused by her interaction with Harry. It is no stretch to say that there is at least one hypothetical sequence of actions Harry could have taken, even given knowledge at the time (not realizing she worked for Lucius or was an animagus) which would not have resulted in her death. Heck, doing nothing would have resulted in her not death.

That is the level of challenge Harry is taking upon himself. Not just to not kill anyone, not just to keep your hands clean, not just to save people when he can. He's declaring that if any innocent person anywhere dies and there's something he could have done differently to save them, that's his failure condition. You can't do that.

That said, I thought about it a few minutes more and it could be his resolution is really about knowing he doesn't know how bad the situation is. It's certainly possible to get through, say, a political power struggle with someone like Lord Malfoy without anyone getting killed. Harry considers it possible but doesn't yet believe that his opponent is Voldemort. If his opponent is Voldemort avoiding casualties is impossible. If his opponent is someone less evil (though still pretty nasty), and the scope of the conflict is much smaller, he might be able to pull it off.

Comment author: fgenj 18 April 2012 06:17:52PM 7 points [-]

but a single nameless innocent bystander who catches a Cutting Curse

It seems that he promised himself to stop trying to save everyone even if a minor character dies accidentally. In that case it wouldn't matter if he considered himself directly responsible for the death of Rita Skeeter.

You can't do that.

Indeed. I don't see how he could manage not to compromise his 'every human life is precious' principle in a war. He's hesitating between two possible courses of action -- doing the math or playing Ghandi -- and neither seems like a satisfying choice. He really needs to become omnipotent or at least avoid the necessity of making such a choice.

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 01:27:18PM *  4 points [-]

Prediction time!

  • Due to Harry's new vow he'll feel forced to kill Quirrel: 0.2 > p > 0.15 [UPDATED from 0.1 > p > 0.05]

  • Due to Harry's new vow he'll feel forced to kill Dumbledore: 0.12 > p > 0.08

  • Due to Harry's new vow he'll end up killing the wrong person (bad judgement call on Harry's behalf): 0.15 > p > 0.1

  • Due to Harry's new vow he'll end up killing the wrong person (bad execution on Harry's behalf): 0.1 > p > 0.05

  • Due to Harry's new vow he'll not kill the right bad guy at the right time hence become indirectly responsible for the deaths of innocents: 0.3 > p > 0.2

  • Please add and/or comment on predictions.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 01:29:24PM 1 point [-]

Try putting an additional line break after each of your examples. That will come out more like (I infer that you) intended.

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 03:41:10PM 3 points [-]

Our time zones are different (hence you might have written me in the middle of my writing), but I think I reached my goal: thank you for your help. I'm still struggling a little bit with the interface.

Comment author: kilobug 18 April 2012 01:51:34PM 4 points [-]

Your probabilities seem way too low to me. Just one chance in 10 that because of the vow he'll be forced to kill the one we have many evidence to believe he's the arch-enemy ? Can you elaborate the reasons why you put such a low probability to that ?

Comment author: SkyDK 18 April 2012 03:37:44PM *  3 points [-]

Yes, of course. First of all, I just updated it to 0.15-0.20. This might actually be a bit high, but I've set it higher than what I feel is right due to my bias (consisting of Eliezer finding a more interesting way of writing the story).

It is "so low" due to the following:

  • a) I believe that Quirrel is not seeking a physical confrontation with Harry (earlier we saw him toss Harry a knut (that could have been a portkey to a volcano))

  • a.1.) Harry wouldn't win such a confrontation (a sneak attack would of course be much more likely to get the job done)

  • a.2.) If there is a confrontation and if that confrontation ends with the death of Quirrel, I expect the wands or Lily's ritual to be the deciding factor, not any action of Harry's.

  • b) I consider it most probable that Quirrel tries to turn Harry to his ways (0.6 < p < 0.5)

  • b.1) Harry might try to counter-turn Quirrel. I do doubt though that this will end with one of them dying. Killing one another seems so irrational...

  • c) if Harry decides Quirrel must die, he'd do better using henchmen

[I'm now officially not a fan of the editing options here]

Comment author: kilobug 18 April 2012 04:40:48PM 3 points [-]

Thanks, I think part of my surprise was from a different understanding of "he'll feel forced to kill Quirrel", to me that means "he'll take the decision of trying to kill Quirrel, using whatever indirect plan, surprise, henchmen, ... in the process", not just a one-to-one fight in which Harry kills Quirrel (like the way he kills Voldemort in the cannon). I agree the probability of such one-to-one fight is quite low.

Comment author: DanArmak 18 April 2012 04:15:08PM *  5 points [-]

I don't think he can kill Quirrel. Certainly not without a very cunning plan and Dumbledore at his side. And vice versa.

ETA: by vice versa I meant he can't kill Dumbledore without Quirrel's help.

I'm sure Quirrel could kill Harry very easily if he so desired.

Comment author: wedrifid 18 April 2012 05:02:26PM 2 points [-]

I don't think he can kill Quirrel. Certainly not without a very cunning plan and Dumbledore at his side. And vice versa.

At least, not by the end of the school year!

Comment author: chaosmosis 18 April 2012 02:37:57PM *  3 points [-]

I feel pretty confident that he won't directly kill Dumbledore (also I feel that Dumbledore is innocent, which influences my belief that Harry won't kill him).

I think he'll do something based on his belief that Dumbledore is evil, and that his action will be stupid and put Dumbledore or some other people into danger, probably in danger from Quirrell. That's a standard module in these kind of stories.

Comment author: malderi 18 April 2012 03:35:09PM 9 points [-]

Eliezer,

It might be useful to put a notice at the bottom of the chapter about new entries taking a while. All previous chapters have a similar note about the next update, and the lack of one on this chapter may imply the ending of the fic to some (especially those that don't read the discussions).

Comment author: Larks 18 April 2012 04:19:21PM 1 point [-]

Are Harry's Slytherin,etc. sides characters with different values or different beliefs?

If the later, his decision sounds crazy. Could his estimate as to the plausibility of Superman-Plan really be so finely balanced that a single death would push Utilitarian-Scheming ahead?

Comment author: drethelin 18 April 2012 04:27:59PM 7 points [-]

Well either being superman is possible, and he CAN save everyone, or it's not and he can't. Once he fails to save someone, it's clear he's not living in a world where he can save everyone. Once you're in a world where it's impossible to save everyone, trying to be superman is now a decision that's off the table.

Comment author: chaosmosis 18 April 2012 04:45:56PM 7 points [-]

I don't think Superman was chosen because of its probability. He's doing it because he's too weak to be a perfect utilitarian, because he is human and can't do otherwise.

Comment author: Locke 18 April 2012 06:52:41PM 0 points [-]

So, Eliezer isn't human? Or am I missing something?

Comment author: chaosmosis 18 April 2012 05:32:25PM *  0 points [-]

I'm done commenting on my previous theory, this is all I'm going to say on the contentious issues.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/bdo/rationality_quotes_april_2012/6dyj