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Lumifer comments on Open Letter to MIRI + Tons of Interesting Discussion - Less Wrong Discussion

0 Post author: curi 22 November 2017 09:16PM

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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 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: curi 01 December 2017 06:55:31PM 0 points [-]

Funny how a great deal of libertarians like her a lot...

Where can I find them?

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.

This is an over-simplification of a nuanced theory with a binary aspect. You don't know how YESNO works, have chosen not to find out, and can't speak to it.

Gregory Cochran

According to a quick googling, this guy apparently thinks that homosexuality is a disease. Is that the example you want to use and think I won't be able to point out any flaws in? There seems to be some political bias/hatred in this webpage so many it's not an accurate secondary source. Meanwhile I read that, "Khan’s career exemplifies the sometimes-murky line between mainstream science and scientific racism."

I am potentially OK with this topic, but it gets into political controversies which may be distracting. I'm concerned that you'll disagree with me politically (rather than scientifically) when I comment. What do you think? Also I think you should pick something more specific than their names, e.g. is there a particular major paper of interest? Cuz I don't wanna pick a random paper from one of them, find errors, and then you say that isn't their important work.

Also, at first glance, it looks like you may have named some outliers who may consider their field (most of the ppl/work/methods in it) broadly inadequate, and therefore might actually agree with my broader point (about the possibility of going into fields and pointing out inadequacies if you know what you're doing, due to the fields being inadequate).

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 08:16:58PM *  0 points [-]

Where can I find them?

I'm not plugged into these networks, but Cato will probably be a good start.

apparently thinks that homosexuality is a disease

Kinda. As far as I remember, homosexuality is an interesting thing because it's not very heritable (something like 20% for MZ twins), but also tends to persist in all cultures and ages which points to a biological aspect. It should be heavily disfavoured by evolution, but apparently isn't. So it's an evolutionary puzzle. Cochran's theory -- which he freely admits lacks any evidence in its favour -- is that there is some pathogen which operates in utero or at a very early age and which pushes the neurohormonal balance towards homosexuality.

This is clearly spitballing in the dark and Cochran, as far as I know, doesn't insist that it's The Truth. It's just an interesting alternative that everyone else ignores.

scientific racism

Generally translated as "I don't like the conclusions which science came up with" :-D

I might or might not disagree with you politically, but I believe myself to be capable of distinguishing normative statements (this is what it is) from prescriptive ones (this is what it should be).

I don't wanna pick a random paper from one of them

I am not expecting you to go critique their science. Their names were a handwave in the direction of what kind of heritability studies we're talking about.

might actually agree with my broader point (about the possibility of going into fields and pointing out inadequacies if you know what you're doing, due to the fields being inadequate)

It's a bit more complicated. Scientific fields have a lot of diverse content. Some of it is invariably garbage and it's not hard to go into any field, find some idiots, and point out their inadequacies. However it's not a particularly difficult or worthwhile activity and certainly one that can be done by non-philosophers :-D In particular, during the last decade or so people who understand statistics have been having at lot of fun at the expense of domain "experts" who don't.

I would generally expect that in every field there would be a relatively small core of clueful people who are actually pushing the frontier and a lot of deadweight just hanging on. I would also expect that it would be difficult to identify this core without doing a deep dive into the literature or going to conferences and actually talking to people.

However the thing is, I like empirical results. So if you claim to be able to go into a field and "fix massive errors", I don't think that merely pointing at the idiots and their publications is going to be sufficient. Fixing these errors should produce tangible results and if the errors are massive, the results should be massive as well. So where is my cure for aging? frozen and fully revived large mammals? better batteries, flying cars, teleportation devices, etc.?

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 08:36:31PM *  0 points [-]

As you could have guessed, I'm already familiar with Cato. If you're not plugged into these networks, why are you trying to make claims about them?

Fixing these errors should produce tangible results and if the errors are massive,

No, I was talking about intellectual fixing of errors. That could lead to tangible results if ppl in the fields used the improved ideas, but i don't claim to know how to get them to do that.

So where is my cure for aging?

Aubrey de Grey says there's a 50% chance it's $100 million a year for 10 years away. That may be optimistic, but he has some damn good points about science that merit a lot of research attention ASAP. But he's massively underfunded anyway (partly b/c his approach to outreach is wrong, but he doesn't want to hear that or change it).

The holdup here isn't needing new scientific ideas (there's already an outlier offering those and telling the rest of the field what they're doing wrong) – it's most scientists and funders not wanting the best available ideas. Also, related, most people are pro-aging and pro-death so the whole anti-aging field itself has way too little attention and funding even for the other approaches.

Generally translated as "I don't like the conclusions which science came up with" :-D

I agree, though I don't think I agree with the people you named. The homosexuality stuff and the race/IQ stuff can and should be explained in terms of culture, memes, education, human choice, environment, etc. The twin studies are garbage, btw. They routinely do things like consider two people living in the US to have no shared environment (despite living in a shared culture).

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 08:59:46PM 0 points [-]

why are you trying to make claims about them?

I didn't think that stating that libertarians like Ayn Rand was controversial. We are talking about political power and neither libertarians nor objectivists have any. In this context the fact that they don't like each other is a small family squabble in some far-off room of the Grand Political Palace.

intellectual fixing of errors

What is an "intellectual" fixing of an error instead of a plain-vanilla fixing of an error?

Aubrey de Grey says there's a 50% chance it's 100 million a year for 10 years away.

What's the % chance that he is correct? AFAIK he has been saying the same thing for years.

it's most scientists and funders not wanting the best available ideas

You don't think that figuring out which ideas are "best available" is the hard part? Everyone and his dog claims his idea is the best.

most people are pro-aging and pro-death

I don't think that's true. Most people don't want to live for a long time as wrecks with Alzheimer's and pains in every joint, but invent a treatment that lets you stay at, say, the the 30-year-old level of health indefinitely and I bet few people will refuse (at least the non-religious ones).

can and should be explained in terms of culture, memes, education, human choice, environment, etc

Why is there a "should"?

The twin studies are garbage, btw

All of them?

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 09:10:51PM *  0 points [-]

What is an "intellectual" fixing of an error instead of a plain-vanilla fixing of an error?

I'm talking about identifying an error and writing a better idea. That's different than e.g. spending 50 years working on the better idea or somehow getting others to.

What's the % chance that he is correct? AFAIK he has been saying the same thing for years.

Yeah it's been staying the same due to lack of funding.

I don't typically do % estimates like you guys, but I read his book and some other material (for his side and against), and talked with him, and I believe (using philosophy) his ideas merit major research attention over their rivals.

You don't think that figuring out which ideas are "best available" is the hard part? Everyone and his dog claims his idea is the best.

well, using philosophy i did that hard part and figured out which ones are good.

I don't think that's true. Most people don't want to live for a long time as wrecks with Alzheimer's and pains in every joint, but invent a treatment that lets you stay at, say, the the 30-year-old level of health indefinitely and I bet few people will refuse (at least the non-religious ones).

oh they won't refuse that after it's cheaply available. they are confused and inconsistent.

Why is there a "should"?

b/c i didn't want the interpretation that it can be explained multiple ways. i'm advocating just the one option.

The twin studies are garbage, btw

All of them?

i have surveyed them and found them to all be garbage. i looked specifically at ones with some of the common, important conclusions, e.g. about heritability of autism, IQ, that kinda stuff. they have major methodological problems. but i imagine you could find some study involving twins, about something, which is ok.

if you believe you know a twin study that is not garbage, would you accept an explanation of why it's garbage as a demonstration of the power and importance of CR philosophy?

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 01 December 2017 10:49:15PM 1 point [-]

well, using philosophy i did that hard part and figured out which ones are good.

http://existentialcomics.com/comic/191

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 09:29:10PM 0 points [-]

You don't think that figuring out which ideas are "best available" is the hard part? Everyone and his dog claims his idea is the best.

well, using philosophy i did that hard part and figured out which ones are good

LOL. Oh boy.

Really? So you just used t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶c̶e̶ philosophy and figured it out? That's great! Just a minor thing I'm confused about -- why are you here chatting on the 'net instead of sitting on your megayacht with a line of VCs in front of your door, willing to pay you gazillions of dollars for telling them which ideas are actually good? This looks to be VERY valuable knowledge, surely you should be able to exchange it for lots and lots of money in this capitalist economy?

Comment author: Elo 01 December 2017 09:42:02PM 0 points [-]

When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer. “Give me the best piece of meat you have,” said the customer.

“Everything in my shop is the best,” replied the butcher. You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best.”

At these words Banzan became enlightened.

http://12stepsandzenkoans.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/everything-is-best-part-ii.html?m=1

Comment author: curi 01 December 2017 09:36:05PM *  0 points [-]

the VCs would laugh, like you, and don't want to hear it. surely this doesn't surprise you.

i'm also not a big fan of yachts and prefer discussions.

Comment author: Lumifer 01 December 2017 09:45:14PM 0 points [-]

No, what surprises me is your belief that you just figured it all out. Using philosophy. That's it, we're done, everyone can go home now.

And since everything is binary and you don't have any tools to talk about things like uncertainty, this is The Truth and anyone who doesn't recognize it as such is either a knave or a fool.

There also a delicious overtone of irony in that a guy as lacking in humility as you are, chooses to describe his system as "fallible ideas".