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Comment author: Benevolence 12 July 2012 06:41:59AM *  0 points [-]

This is probably one the most thought-provoking comments section i've read on this site so far.

I never really thought how different people's visualizing (or lack thereof) could be. Specifically, I never thought some people couldn't visualize at all. I always kind of assumed that people visualized fairly similarly to me. Looking back, this was a naive and selfish view, but still, so much difference...

For example, I saw the man walking on the left side of the street. I was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, at roughly my real-life height. the man was shorter than me (im 190cm, this is usually a safe bet). The man was elderly and heavily hunched, using a cane as he walked away from me (he was moving slowly). he was wearing a faded brown suit and hat you might have seen a senior wear in the 60's or 70's (funny considering im 22, and was nowhere near alive in that time-frame. I blame movies for this classic small-town scene). The sidewalk had small trees with short metal fence-cages around them (whatever those things are called) by the road spaced evenly every couple buildings apart. there were cars parked (no details on the cars other then that they were all sedan-sized). The street was deserted other than the man. it was approximately 5-6pm in summer by the sunlight and warmth (i don't know how temperature sneaked in there). the man turns left into a drugstore. he did not open the door, it swung open for him by itself somehow (though there was a faint metallic bell-sound when the door opened, as you often hear when walking into a small store). I didn't see him go in. the scene ended before he passed out of vision behind the door (it opened on the near side from him).

I have no idea how someone could possible imagine a scene like this without actually knowing the mans orientation, or personal position. I literally cannot conceive this scene without being a part of it, and having that level of detail. maybe this is why I enjoy novels and gaming so much. Specifically fantasy novels and games. I feel like I'm literally a part of another world and living the adventure.

Granted, thinking further on my "vision" some very interesting things come to mind. The man walks slowly and in real life his walking should have taken 30-40 seconds. However in my scene it happened in a split second. I have no idea how my brain managed to compress time. and it doesn't feel like the scene jumped. it felt normal. Also there was no one else on the street that i visualized, but i somehow knew it was a semi-busy small town street, and there were some people walking around, even though i could not see them.

Its actually mildly unnerving how i can visualize the scene with no other people there, and yet be absolutely certain that the scene i visualized had many other people too. And even more unnerving how I managed to watch 30-40 secs of footage in normal speed and have it happen in 1-2 secs. Anyone know how these things happen in the brain? I'd love to know more about these phenomena.

Comment author: Benevolence 12 July 2012 03:38:16AM 1 point [-]

Eliezer:

Its hard for me to put it into words... but i have that feeling in the back of my head of something being wrong.

Maybe I'm a gullible philistine, because while i don't personally appreciate it, I do hold modern art to fall under the "art" category. Python, not so. Python is more of a tool it seems. You could say that a Python program could be art, and I would accept that. but the language itself doesn't seem to fit "art" as much as it does "tool".

Now before you blame me of tossing around and manipulating definitions, I'm going by what i think is the current general understanding of those words. its quite useful following current understandings of words otherwise pizza quietly bucket decision.

Also, you call rationality an "art". I see where you're going with that, and i do agree that rationality can be thought of as an art. If I'm not mistaken, your idea behind this is to keep people from falling into the trap of thinking of it as a "method" or something similar, thereby making it a conditional tool, rather than a general style of approaching life.

But honestly it seems to me that saying modern art is not art is to make yourself a philistine. Saying the Python programming language is art feels like stretching the definition of art much like your example of stretching the definition of fish to include dolphins. Perhaps that statement was a jest or some sort of sarcasm i missed. If so i apologize.

Anyway, i'm not going to try to put what i think art means into words, as i either dont know enough words to do so, or simply cant think of them. But i do have the concept in my mind, and it feels like this post is violating this understanding, in a somewhat hypocritical manner.

Comment author: Benevolence 12 July 2012 02:15:23AM 0 points [-]

I think the oddness of this fad can be described by its link to the "science" literary genre.

I heard about this theory a few years ago, and looked it up on the internet, where i promptly found out it was just a myth. however at first i believed it. And i had a decent reason to do so.

I didn't know a lot about genetics (not that i do now lol). It seemed entirely reasonable that the genetics that determined your blood type would at least give a predisposition for a persons personality to slide in a certain direction from the norm.

This myths popularity can probably be explained by its believability. Only people doing further research would find out its a myth. Most would likely believe it on the spot and be satisfied because it sounds like something that came from doctors and scientists.

It may be that the original myth came about because of someone LOOKING for differences between labelled groups, but honestly it kind of makes sense to do this when those labels represent physical differences in genetics.

Theres a good reason human pattern-recognition runs in overdrive. Its damn useful.

As long as you're not trying to force yourself to find similarities, but just looking (even if its just for curiosity), I don't see the problem with trying to find similarities between different groups (labelled or otherwise). After all, so often, those similarities exist, and are very interesting. Especially where humans and psychology are concerned, if that kind of thing tickles your fancy as it does mine.

Comment author: Benevolence 11 July 2012 06:15:10AM *  3 points [-]

Hi there, fairly new here to LW. I'm reading through the sequences in order. went through map and territory and mysterious answers to mysterious questions. Now going through this 37 ways words can be wrong sequence, as its recommended before i delve into reductionism.

Its been said several times that LW tries to cater to a broad audience, but i find myself lost here. I have not extensively studied physics, only having done 1 year of engineering so far, and the physics references here are pretty much unintelligible to me. I don't know what configuration space is, or quaternary coordinates, or thingspace, or what strings are being referred to. I find myself struggling to grasp this post.

EDIT: I've read through this a few times. I still have almost no idea on most of the math, but I'm guessing the "moral" of this post is basically "don't become overly obsessed with definitions"?

Comment author: DaFranker 10 July 2012 08:19:14PM 4 points [-]

You are not a fool... or so I want to believe anyway.

The Welcome to LessWrong page tells us that it's fine to just resume discussion even on old posts if you think there's something to add, and that sometimes new discussions started this way can be worth more than "not wasting your time" replying to old comments. Though of course, if you want a reply from the original author of the comment, you might want to first check if that user is still around, I reckon.

Comment author: Benevolence 11 July 2012 12:17:47AM 1 point [-]

Ahh, thank you for the link DaFranker.

In response to Fake Explanations
Comment author: ron 27 August 2007 07:14:58AM 1 point [-]

I find it difficult to believe that none of the students would have guessed that the plate was turned around.

In response to comment by ron on Fake Explanations
Comment author: Benevolence 10 July 2012 08:06:47PM *  3 points [-]

Or is this just hindsight bias?

Edit: im a fool, new to posting on LW, just noticed the date. Point still stands though (not that i expect a reply)

Comment author: Benevolence 09 July 2012 08:19:32AM 0 points [-]

Greetings!

My name is Dimitri Karcheglo, and I'm 22. I live in BC, Canada, having immigrated here from Odessa, Ukraine in 1998. I speak Russian as my first language though, not Ukrainian. Most of you likely don't know, but Odessa is a very Russian-speaking city in Ukraine.

I've been kinda lurking for a bit, but not very extensively or very consistently. I was directed here originally via HPMoR, which was recommended by a friend. I've known this site for probably around a year. originally i had read through the map and territory sequence and mysterious answers to mysterious questions sequence. after that i kind of didn't come to this site for a while.

Well I'm back now! I'm re-reading from the start since i have forgotten a lot. im also planning to go a lot deeper into LW this time around, and probably keep up with it on a day-to-day basis in the future. I am very much interested in improving my thinking, and hope to gain a lot of that here. I don't come very prepared like many people i see posting here. I have no degrees in programming, physics, mathematics, or whatnot.

Im currently studying civil engineering, about to enter my second year. I've done one year in computer programming and may do some self-education in this field down the line to improve my base. the motivation to do this likely wont show up for a while though.

You likely wont be seeing me posting much at all for quite a while, until i familiarize myself with the understandings presented on this site quite a bit more. I do hope to raise enough money next year to go visit one of these rationality camps, as i hope to have a better understanding of the subject by then, but with costs of education being what they are, I'm doubtful.

Comment author: Benevolence 08 September 2011 07:29:55PM 2 points [-]

Greeting Less Wrong!

My name is Dimitri Karcheglo. I'm 21, I live in Vancouver, Canada. I was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Vancouver with my family in 1998.

I found my way here via a recommendation from a friend i have in The Zeitgeist Movement. He recommended Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality to me, as well as the Less Wrong wiki/sequences. I've red HPMOR at least 10 times over now (I have a thing with re-reading. I don't get bored by it.) I've also read some of the material on the site (though not a lot yet. Just "map and territory" and "mysterious answers to mysterious questions").

In terms of my education, I have studied one year of computer programming back in 07/08 and one year of civil Engineering in 08/09. The last couple years have been taking a course or two and working, living on my own taking a break from serious school. I plan to continue Civil Engineering full time next fall (12/13 year).

I was raised by parents who are both fairly proficient in math and problem solving. As such i is not surprising that i developed a talent for those spheres, and, by extension, rationality. I have a tendency to over-analyze things, which often ends up prolonging discussions beyond reasonable time frames.

I've come here partly for myself and partly for others. I want to improve myself and get rid of as many of my flaws as possible. At the same time i want to learn how to teach others rational thinking as well. Hopefully some teaching methods on this site that will (again hopefully) work for me will work for those i talk to as well. I find it's extremely difficult to teach people to think rationally, because naturally, they think they already are. Its hard to make people understand the depths to which you need to go in your thinking process to really start looking at things properly and getting rid of biases. And the hardest thing of all seems to be to get people to admit they're wrong. if anyone has some good tactics for this i would greatly appreciate you sharing it.

Some of my main interests:

Politics: Mainly in the sphere of removing corruption. Ultimately i hold no political beliefs other then that politics is useless and that a rational society has no need for government. I'm not left, right, center. I'm not up or down. I'm simply not there. If we attach "poltics" to the structuring of society then yes, i have a lot of ideas and belifs there that i hold fairly strongly (though of course they are set in stone). However me going into those may be too much for this one post to handle ;)

Economics: I know a fair bit about our economic and especially our monetary system via some documentaries and independent research i've done. I hold the view that a resource-based economy is the way to go for us right now given we have the technological capability to pull it off now. Capitalism was useful in the late 19th and early 20th century, but has run out of utility ( or at least its utility has vastly diminished and it's consequences have exponentially increased)

Psychology, especially in connection to developing it. Nature vs nurture argument. I'm interested in how people become what they become psychologically. why they arrive at their decisions. The influences and stimuli that lead (i go as far as to say forced) them there. I'm a believer in both nature and nurture working together. My view is that genes are not pre-deterministic in their influences on psychology, but rather give us propensities towards certain psychological traits. Our environment and upbringing are what determine which genes are activated and which aren't, as well as what genetic mutations occur. My view point largely comes from the documentary "Zeitgeist 3: Moving Forward." It's available on youtube for free for anyone interested in learning more on this subject (as well as what a resource based economy is).

The last paragraph brought to mind that in my current state of mind i'm largely influenced in the way i think from what i've learned from The Zeitgeist Movement, and the further research it inspired me to do.

Anyway, thats a little about me. Anyone interested can ask more, I'm fairly open with sharing info about myself (but no, you can't have my bank account number).

I'd like to thank the founders of the site and especially EY for his work on both this website, the goldmine of information and thought-provoking ideas that it is, and for HPMOR, which i enjoyed immensely and will continue to follow as long as it is updated. I hope to learn a lot from all of you, and hopefully eventually be able to teach others myself. Sharing is caring, especially for knowledge and understandings.

Cheers, Dimitri Karcheglo IRL Benevolence on the internet

In response to What is Evidence?
Comment author: Doug_S. 23 September 2007 04:41:34PM 0 points [-]

Joke counterargument:

Two cups (of sugar) + two cups (of water) = 2 cups (of sugar water)

Therefore, 2 + 2 = 2. ;)

In response to comment by Doug_S. on What is Evidence?
Comment author: Benevolence 08 September 2011 09:35:35AM 0 points [-]

to be very anal and nit-picky with your joke (cuz i feel like it):

You're mixing equal volumes with inconsistent densities (and thus mass) and trying to compute a final volume. Either way you'd get more than 2 cups.

Back on topic:

i have a very simple definition of evidence.

Anything that modifies my mental probabilities about certain beliefs i hold to be true or false is considered evidence by me.

Whether or not the evidence is weak, strong, or even reliable in the first place is irrelevant if we're trying to define what evidence is.

I disagree with evidence being an event. It is rather an attribute. the event is the observation of evidence. The event (the observation -hearing, seeing, smelling, whatever) is only useful for determining if the evidence (attribute) is reliable (true).

The evidence itself does not change. It is a static thing. if you see different evidence next time, that's different evidence (a different static).

I DO agree with the entanglement though. evidence is entangled with both your map and (hopefully) the territory. after all, the whole point of evidence is to modify your map to better fit the territory. The nature of its entanglement is simple though. As stated above it simply shifts your probabilities (confidences in beliefs).

First time poster, noob in rationality so have some mercy folks ;)