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johnlawrenceaspden comments on The Thyroid Madness : Core Argument, Evidence, Probabilities and Predictions - Less Wrong Discussion

10 Post author: johnlawrenceaspden 14 March 2016 01:41AM

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Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 19 March 2016 02:59:50PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks ever so much for your careful reading and criticisms, but I'm trying to do philosophy correctly here, according to my own ideas of what philosophy should be.

Extremism in thought-experiment is no vice. I have mentioned these harmless conclusions in order to get people to think that the idea might be more important than it seems on the face of it. If they make me easier to refute or disbelieve, that is a good thing.

If you have the right sort of friends, approach them with whatever version of this argument you think you need to get them to think about it. If they can think, they will draw all my conclusions for themselves in a few weeks.

If they can't, I don't care about their opinion, there are plenty like them in the world, they will believe whatever someone eminent tells them is true, as long as it is not too scary.

[That's not a bad heuristic, that's what I mostly use too.]

Comment author: Dentin 19 March 2016 09:07:50PM 1 point [-]

My apologies, I misread your intent. I thought that you were attempting to get feedback on what appears to be a viable hypothesis for improving the lives of a large number of people with debilitating diseases. I thought you were lining up ducks, proofing your arguments, improving probabilities, and investigating attack vectors to possibly make the world suck less. I thought you were trying to Win :P

I have mentioned these harmless conclusions in order to get people to think that the idea might be more important than it seems on the face of it.

In this, for me at least, you have succeeded. However, you have not (yet) made a convincing enough case for me to burn my resources pushing it. This is a low probability, high reward scenario. Convince me that this is worth dropping other important things, as my time is limited.

If [extremist thought experiments] make me easier to refute or disbelieve, that is a good thing.

If your plan is to Win, and in order to Win you need to convince others, then it is a very dangerous, risky, and often counterproductive strategy.

If you have the right sort of friends, approach them with whatever version of this argument you think you need to get them to think about it. If they can think, they will draw all my conclusions for themselves in a few weeks.

If they can't, I don't care about their opinion, there are plenty like them in the world, they will believe whatever someone eminent tells them is true, as long as it is not too scary.

I not only have the right sort of friends, I have the sort of friends that are in the "someone eminent" category that could help your idea gain significant traction. However, those friends have massive demands on their time, and none are so superhuman that they could investigate every probable idea. Do I ask a friend to drop work on treating respiratory disease with ChlorHex oral rinse to investigate your idea? Can I in good conscience argue that it would be worthwhile? At the moment, I cannot.

So again, what is it that you're trying to do? This topic is clearly near and dear to your heart, and you've got a workable combination of incentive and intelligence to make sure this gets investigated fully, for better or for worse. However, the road is long and arduous, and it will likely require you to interface with others and swallow your pride if you truly want to Win and succeed.

On the other hand, if you just want to philosophize, then by all means carry on.

Comment author: johnlawrenceaspden 20 March 2016 03:27:04PM *  0 points [-]

OK, you are right, of course. Although I must say my primary motivations do seem to be curiosity, fixing myself, and unreasoning rage on behalf of the scientific method. The whole 'curing millions' thing doesn't really get me in the same way.

Which is lucky, because if I wasn't protected by galloping scope insensitivity I'd go completely mad. I had a bit of the 'total perspective vortex' effect during my manic episode, and I never ever want to feel like that ever again. I kept reading the narrative of Vicky Rippere, and crying for that brave and clever young woman and for what was happening to her.

But it seems that the principal difficulty here is to convince myself to take the idea seriously enough to get political. And obviously you have the same trouble.

It is an obvious crank-trap. A hidden disease that can pretend to be lots of other diseases, that the standard tests don't work for. Come on...

And so I am all Pascal's Wager at the moment, and I keep thinking Atlantis, Pyramids, Atomism, Catholicism, Non-euclidean geometry, golden ratio, spiritualism, heliocentric theory, squaring the circle..... All obvious ideas that are hard to prove or refute and which drove men mad for hundreds of years.

The obvious strategy is to take this latest version of the madness to the sufferers' groups, and unite them into one huge angry movement that will force medicine to refute the damned thing properly.

But I will cause vast harm doing that, and if I am wrong, which has to be the case, then no good will come of it. One's first duty is to do better than Hitler.

And at the moment, I feel that it is the right strategy to hide behind the very ludicrousness of the idea. I am hypothesising what I am hypothesising. No lesser version can be true, that I can see. It has ghastly consequences. If that keeps incurious people away, good.

Don't persuade your eminent friends to drop everything. That would be silly of them, and I would feel guilty. Get drunk with them, and say: "I was reading this loony on the internet, and I can't see why he's wrong, even though he thinks he's wrong".

And at the point where they say "But hang on, that would mean X, and we know X isn't true", then that's the information I'm looking for.

I have eminent friends too, and they are laughing at me because I have had yet another crazy idea that I am obsessing about. And they are engaging, and they can't take me down, but they do not take the idea seriously enough to have a real go.

I have the advantage of having had something which looks like CFS to close friends who should know, knowing that it's a real thing and that it's far too like hypothyroidism for comfort, and feeling it get rapidly better under the influence of NDT. I also know that it is very like manic-depression. That is a rare gift, not given to many, but I fear greeks.

Thank you for you time and for your wisdom.