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Comment author: ThoughtSpeed 28 March 2017 08:12:44AM 0 points [-]

Agreed that this is a problem! Thankfully there are a lot of integrations with Beeminder that automatically enter data. You can hook up hundreds of different applications to it through IFTTT or Zapier.

Comment author: HarryHitherto 28 March 2017 04:17:52AM 1 point [-]

New here. Trying to sort out the jargon and what not, but have immensely enjoyed reading through the posts. Stumbled upon this one and, I realize it's ten years old, but I have criticism: In the initial example, the example upon which the rest of the post was built, the Uncle was actually correct. We do NOT know how gravity works. We know how it acts upon the physical world, but as we've never discovered gravitational force carriers, we've zero knowledge of the mechanism through which it manifests.

Also, this certainly depends on how extreme you care to be, but you can certainly say with certainty whether or not science knows a thing. Example: no scientist on earth knows with any degree of scientific certainty whether or not God exists.

Comment author: ThoughtSpeed 27 March 2017 12:53:35PM 1 point [-]

What happened to this? It seems like the Tumblr is defunct?

Comment author: EditedToAdd 26 March 2017 06:10:27PM 0 points [-]

I think it’s more along the lines of: people in the third stage have acquired and digested all the low-hanging and medium-hanging fruit that those in the second stage are struggling to acquire, that advancing further is now really hard. So they now seek sex and money/power partly because acquiring those will (in the long run) help them further advance in the areas that they have currently put on hold. And partly because of course it’s also nice to have them.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 March 2017 06:31:31PM 0 points [-]

That's an uncharitable reading of a metaphorical version of the Somatic Marker Hypothesis. Which in turn is just a statement of something fairly obvious: there are physiological indicators of mental and emotional function. That's not the same thing as saying that these things are actually stored in the body, just that one can use physiological state as clues to find out what's going on in your head, or to identify that "something is bothering me", and then try to puzzle out what that is.

I'm not sure that Gendlin doesn't believe in something stronger. There's bodywork literature that suggests that you won't solve a deep problem like a depression without changes on the myofascial level.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 March 2017 03:58:58PM 0 points [-]

Gendlin seems to think that anything not in the conscious mind is somehow stored/processed out there in the muscles and bones.

There a subjective experience that suggests that feelings are located inside the body. Even when the information is actually stored in the motor cortex it's practically useful for certain interventions to use a mental model that locates the feelings inside the body.

A month ago I had a tense neck. Even when the neck relaxed a bit, after a night of sleep it was again completely tense. After the problem went on for a week I used Gendlin's Focusing on the tense neck. I found a feeling of confusion that was associated with the tense neck. I processed the feeling. I felt the shift. My neck got more relaxed and it didn't get tense again.

It's reasonable to say that the feeling of confusion wasn't located in my neck but somewhere in my brain and neural pattern in my brain resulted in my brain sending signals to my neck to tense up. At the same time the mental model of Focusing that includes to connecting to the feeling in the neck helped me to resolve my problem.

Comment author: cwillu 24 March 2017 02:53:35PM 0 points [-]

I think this might have been intended more in the purple dragon sense than anything: focus on how they know exactly what experimental results they'll need to explain, and what that implies about their gut-level beliefs.

Comment author: scashman 23 March 2017 08:37:46PM 1 point [-]

I think that in talking about politics trying to avoid "team based" reasoning hijacking your thinking doesn't mean that you have to not have a political position. Being opposed to the KKK or a politician who wants to round up all homeless people and turn them into soylent green doesn't mean you are unreasonable. The big problem in thinking about political things is that people often, as this article argues, line all their thinking and reasoning up with their side and refuse to consider that their side might be wrong about some things. Maybe the politician who wants to make homeless people into soylent green actually is totally right about some things. Maybe the training programs for homeless people do suck and should be reworked in some ways.

If your team is at war with another team some of your soldiers could be bad soldiers and some of the soldiers on the other side could be really good soldiers, but you are still going to support your side of the battle! The worst soldier fighting on your side is on your side! Even a great soldier on the other team is out to get you! If anything the other side having good soldiers (or good arguments) is a terrible thing, because they are the enemy! If the other side makes good arguments from time to time this doesn't mean you should line up with them where they are right, it means you have to fight twice as hard where they are kind of making a point because you don't want people drawn into their influence.

The point is not to abandon your rationally held beliefs, but to avoid wholesale adopting an extensive political belief system.

Comment author: pjeby 23 March 2017 03:02:14PM *  2 points [-]

Gendlin seems to think that anything not in the conscious mind is somehow stored/processed out there in the muscles and bones

That's an uncharitable reading of a metaphorical version of the Somatic Marker Hypothesis. Which in turn is just a statement of something fairly obvious: there are physiological indicators of mental and emotional function. That's not the same thing as saying that these things are actually stored in the body, just that one can use physiological state as clues to find out what's going on in your head, or to identify that "something is bothering me", and then try to puzzle out what that is.

An example: suppose I have something I want to say in an article or post. You could describe this "wanting to say something" as my felt sense of what it is I want to say. It is preverbal, because I haven't said it yet. It won't be words until I write it down or say it in my head.

Words, however, aren't always precise, and one's first attempt at stating a thing -- even in one's head -- are often "not quite right". On hearing or reading something back, i get the felt sense that what I've said is not quite right, and that it needs something else. I then attempt new phrasings, until I get the -- wait for it -- felt sense that this is correct.

Gendlin's term "felt sense" is a way to describe this knowing-without-knowing aspect of consciousness. That we can know something nonverbally, that requires teasing out, trial and error that reflects back and forth between the verbal and the nonverbal in order to fully comprehend and express.

So, the essential idea of Gendlin's focusing is that if a person in psychotherapy is not doing the above process -- that is, attempting to express felt, but as yet unformed and disorganized concepts and feelings -- they will not achieve change or even true insight, because it is not the act of self-expression but the act of seaching for the meanings to be expressed that brings about such change. If they are simply verbalizing without ever looking for the words, then they are wasting their time having a social chat, rather than actually reflecting on their experience.

Meanwhile, those bits of felt sense we're not even trying to explore, represent untapped opportunity for improving our quality of life.

[Edited to add: I'm not 100% in agreement with the Somatic Marker Hypothesis, personally: I think the idea of somatic markers being fed back to the brain as a feedback mechanism is one possible way of doing things, but I doubt that all reinforcement involving emotions work that way. Evolution kludges lots of things, but it doesn't necessarily kludge them consistently. :) That being said, somatic markers are an awesome tool for conscious reflection and feedback, whether they are an input to the brain's core decisionmaking process, or "merely" an output of it.]

Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 March 2017 01:52:54PM 2 points [-]

Actually, I left LessWrong about a year ago, as I judged it to have declined to a ghost town since the people most worth reading had mostly left. I've been reading it now and then since, and might be moved to being more active here if it seems worth it. I don't think I have enough original content to post to be a part of its revival myself.

As Rick says, he can be pretty cranky, but is not a crank.

Comment author: adamzerner 22 March 2017 08:08:44PM *  1 point [-]

Another example:

Yeah, you could tell about your gender, sex, sexual orientation and gender role... but are you a boy or are you a girl???

Of course, the latter question isn't asking about something observable.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 22 March 2017 12:38:43PM 0 points [-]

Forgive me, as I am brand new to LW. Where is it defined that an epistemic rationalist can't seek epistemic rationality as a means of living a good life (or for some other reason) rather than as a terminal goal?

From the wiki:-

Epistemic rationality is that part of rationality which involves achieving accurate beliefs about the world. ..... It can be seen as a form of instrumental rationality in which knowledge and truth are goals in themselves, whereas in other forms of instrumental rationality, knowledge and truth are only potential aids to achieving goals.

Comment author: I_D_Sparse 21 March 2017 09:57:37PM 0 points [-]

First comes some gene A which is simple, but at least a little useful on its own, so that A increases to universality in the gene pool. Now along comes gene B, which is only useful in the presence of A, but A is reliably present in the gene pool, so there's a reliable selection pressure in favor of B. Now a modified version of A* arises, which depends on B, but doesn't break B's dependency on A/A. Then along comes C, which depends on A and B, and B, which depends on A and C.

Can anybody point me to some specific examples of this type of evolution? I'm a complete layman when it comes to biology, and this fascinates me. I'm having a bit of a hard time imagining such a process, though.

Comment author: mindreadings 21 March 2017 09:11:35PM 0 points [-]

I had no idea. I was just pointed to it recently from another list.

Comment author: Lumifer 21 March 2017 07:22:49PM 0 points [-]

You know you're replying to an 8-year-old thread, right?

Comment author: mindreadings 21 March 2017 07:03:31PM 1 point [-]

Good. The experiment is, however, very good evidence for the hypothesis that R.S. Marken is a crank, and explains the >quote from his farewell speech that didn't make sense to me before:

I can be a pretty cranky fellow but I think there might be better evidence of that than the model fitting effort you refer to. The "experiment" that you find to be poor evidence for PCT comes from a paper published in the journal Ergonomics that describes a control theory model that can be used as a framework for understanding the causes of error in skilled performance, such as writing prescriptions. The fit of the model to the error data in Table 1 is meant to show that such a control model can produce results that mimic some existing data on error rates (and without using more free parameters than data points; there are 4 free parameters and 4 data points; the fit of the model is, indeed, very good but not perfect).

But the point of the model fitting exercise was simply to show that the control model provides a plausible explanation of why errors in skilled performance might occur at particular (very low) rates. The model fitting exercise was not done to impress people with how well the control model fits the data relative to other models since, to my knowledge, there are no comparable models of error against which to compare the fit .As I said in the introduction to the paper, existing models of error (which are really just verbal descriptions of why error occurs) "tell us the factors that might lead to error, but they do not tell us why these factors produce an error only rarely."

So if it's the degree of fit to the data that you are looking for as evidence of the merits of PCT then this paper is not necessarily a good reference for that. Actually, a good example of the kind of fit to data you can get with PCT can be gleaned from doing one of the on-line control demos at my Mind Readings site, particularly the Tracking Task. When you become skilled at doing this task you will find that the correlation between the PCT model (called "Model" in graphic display at he end of each trial) and your behavior will be close to one. And this is achieved using a model with no free parameters at all; they are the parameters that have worked for many different individuals and they are now simply constants in the model.

OH, and if you are looking for examples of things PCT can do that other models can't do, try the Mind Reading demo, where the computer uses a methodology based on PCT, called the Test for the Controlled Variable, to tell which of three avatars -- all three of which are being moved by your mouse movements -- is the one being moved intentionally.

The fact that Marken was repeatedly told this, interpreted it to mean that others were jealous of his precision, and continued to produce experimental "results" of the same sort along with bold claims of their predictive power, makes him a crank.

I don't recall ever being told (by reviewers or other critics) that the goodness of fit of my (and my mentor Bill Powers') PCT models to data was a result of having more free parameters than data points. And had I ever been told that I would certainly not have thought it was because others were jealous of the precision of our results. And the main reason I have continued to produce experimental results -- available in my books Mind Readings, More Mind Readings and Doing Research on Purpose-- is not to make bold claims about the predictive power of the PCT model but to emphasize the point that PCT is a model of control, the process of consistently producing pre-selected results in a disturbance prone world. The precision of PCT comes only from the fact that it recognizes that behavior is not a caused result of input or a cognitively planed output but a process of control of input. So if I’m a crank, it’s not because I imagine that my model of behavior fits the data better than other models; it’s because I think my concept of what behavior is is better than other concepts of what behavior is.

I believe Richard Kennaway, who is on this blog, can attest to the fact that, while I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, I’m not really a crank; at least, no more of a crank than the person who is responsible for all this PCT stuff, the late (great) William T. Powers.

I hope all the formatting comes out ok on this; I can't seem to find a way to preview it.

Best regards

Rick Marken

Comment author: Reeee 21 March 2017 05:01:19AM 0 points [-]

Just wanted to add it was a really thought provoking and fun read, by failure, I did not mean on the part of the author, it's his story, but on the part of humanity. Sorry to double post, probably won't see more from me, just found this a compelling read.

Comment author: Reeee 21 March 2017 02:56:18AM 0 points [-]

Now, I can't help but look at the normal ending as the preferable one. I would think along with the aesthetic design of the ships and quite possibly a merging of two races in the process, whether this has happened by this point in the story or not is not something I can guess at, but would be inevitable whether it has or not (or perhaps I misread something here and simple modification, and not outright merging, is actually all that took place)...

... I'd have to wonder what aspects of the babyeater nature and society that could be considered positive have been merged with the superhappies, such as a profound sense of tribal duty (arguably already existing in the superhappies, but more starkly expressed in the babyeaters), a very strong willingness to sacrifice one's own pleasure for the perceived good of the tribe and the whole (no more hiding from negative empathic emissions behind the superhappy confessors, well, quite as much), I'm sure there's more. At first glance, it looked to me like the superhappies basically ate their brains for their knowledge, but after a week of consideration, they would be just as much, no longer superhappies in the end.

What do they get from humans? Deception? Big beefy arms on the ship? I'm unable to say because I have difficulty separating my current perception of humanity from the evolved society in this one, but some constants stay true. Is it not a sort of evolution? A macrocosm of wanting to unite all people of differing perspectives and backgrounds for a shared goal, for the greater good of the whole? If you sat a human down next to our early ancestors, given the same backgrounds, would they be the same, or somehow different?

I know I'm far from the smartest person in the room, but the original ending seems to be a win and the true ending a failure. Blowing up the star and dooming all those people who had little to no say in the matter strikes me as more harmful and staggeringly less productive. The people in the first ending who commit suicide chose that for themselves, after choosing for their children, that was their decision entirely, based on a principle of what it means to be human, and not what it means to be a sentient being (which is why ending 1, imo, is less wrong than ending two, where a handful of people make that choice for everyone who could choose to opt out themselves, over their own opinion of what it means to be human). Just wanted to say my wrong-thinking piece because it's been nagging me for a week.

Comment author: hairyfigment 20 March 2017 06:32:33PM 0 points [-]

Yes, but as it happens that kind of difference is unnecessary in the abstract. Besides the point I mentioned earlier, you could have a logical set of assumptions for "self-hating arithmetic" that proves arithmetic contradicts itself.

Completely unnecessary details here.

Comment author: gjm 20 March 2017 03:36:43PM 1 point [-]

D'oh!

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