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Comment author: Dmytry 14 February 2012 08:39:50PM *  0 points [-]

On somewhat tagential note: due to massive mis representation of science, people put well founded logical conclusions at same level with entirely unfounded ones, and attribute overly high weight to correlation-based 'evidence', seeing the latter as more scientific. That creates a lot of demand for some correlation based 'evidence' where one would instead conduct specific experiments instead (e.g. crash-test the cars with dummies and be satisfied; it changes nothing about my personal car choice whenever people who chose some car drive safer, or whenever people on average drive less safely when they are driving a safer car. The dummy may be a poor model of me, but averaged person may be even worse model).

That could have it's roots in how science is taught at school - formulate hypothesis, test hypothesis with experiment - without the understanding that the reasoning behind hypothesis can very well be considerably stronger as evidence than many of potential 'experiments', or can be so weak as to make it worthless to even bother conducting an experiment. (For example, the reasoning (calculations) that the rocket will end up in a particular point in space after executing well controlled burns, is very solid and if the rocket ends up in the other place the chances overwhelmingly are that the experiment, rather than the reasoning, has failed)

Comment author: Bluehawk 22 April 2013 03:31:31AM 0 points [-]

The chances overwhelmingly are that there are factors affecting the rocket's trajectory that the experiment (and by extension, the hypothesis) has failed to take into account.

Unless it's that you have a very specific definition in mind for "well-controlled burns" (ie. burn engine P for X seconds:milliseconds, then burn Q and R for Y seconds:milliseconds, and your position will be Z) and the mechanism controlling the rockets has failed to time them properly, or if your rocket is shot down by an orbital defence laser (or otherwise sabotaged).

That may have been what you meant anyway? To be fair, I would expect that kind of misdirection in a high school experiment. But it parsed to me as implying "if an experiment doesn't do what you predicted, reality is wrong".

Comment author: MugaSofer 15 April 2013 10:33:13AM *  1 point [-]

Who are you and why are you a cartoon villain?!

Um, seriously though, I think you're confusing cause and effect there.

Comment author: Bluehawk 21 April 2013 09:49:39AM 0 points [-]

Lack of rationality causes religion causes lack of rationality causes religion causes lack of rationality --

Comment author: Sengachi 20 December 2012 12:27:58AM 2 points [-]

I like this article very much, and I think it's an important fallacy to take note of. I do not however, think it is the worst fallacy. I think the worst fallacy is: I don't need a reason/argument to believe what I believe.

Comment author: Bluehawk 21 April 2013 05:08:41AM 1 point [-]

I'm having a little trouble actually articulating what I find wrong here, and I'm not sure if that's a fault in what I'm supposedly intuiting or in my ability to articulate.

That's not so much a "logical fallacy" as a mistaken belief that belief is incontrovertible (or a mistaken over-valuing of "the personal opinion"). You've also substituted Argument for Fallacy.

The one you've outlined might also be less important here because it's a lot easier to recognise for what it is, and is likely to be recognised as a stonewall rather than as a convincing argument in a Dark Arts debate. The convincing Bad Argument does a heck of a lot more damage.

Which argument is "worst" comes down to semantics: does Worst Argument resolve to "Argument That Does Most Harm", or to "Argument That Is Least Correct", or to "Argument That Is Least Convincing", or to "Argument That Is Least Likely To Be Useful"?

Comment author: Bluehawk 20 April 2013 05:32:00AM 4 points [-]

Hi there, denizens of Less Wrong! I've actually been lurking around here for a while (browsing furtively since 2010), and only just discovered that I hadn't introduced myself properly.

So! I'm Bluehawk, and I'll tell you my real name if and when it becomes relevant. I'm mid-20's, male, Australian, with an educational history in Music, Cinema Studies and Philosophy, and I'm looking for any jobs and experience that I can get with the craft of writing. My current projects are a pair of feature-length screenplays; one's in the editing/second draft stages, the other's coming up to the end of the first draft. When I have the experience to pull it off (gimme another year or two), I'm hoping to develop a few projects that are more focussed on rationality. The backup plan for my future is to take on a Masters and beyond in screenwriting and/or film, either at RMIT or overseas (NY, LA, France?) depending on where my folio can get me.

That said, my scientific literacy is way lower than it "should" be, and I'm tempted to spend a few years working on that instead, but I'm not sure how much would be practical for my life; I normally find that I can ask (some of) the right questions about a list of stats, and I can generally understand human psychology when the concepts are put in front of me, and that seems to have been enough to get me by so far; I just feel really, really out of my league whenever I run into predicate logic, advanced mathematics, physics, chemistry, or programming languages.

I also aspire to aspire to become fluent in French and Japanese.

In response to comment by katydee on Optimal Employment
Comment author: mhsiah 01 February 2011 08:27:38AM 5 points [-]

Being Australian, I can only relay what I've heard from foreigners that I've met in Australia. With that proviso, I believe that the working holiday visa that Louie was talking about is valid for a maximum of one year, non-renewable. Staying after the term of the visa would require either (i) getting officially sponsored by an Australian company or (ii) marrying an Australian. Even in those two cases, you're likely to be forced to return to your home country to apply for the new visa.

In response to comment by mhsiah on Optimal Employment
Comment author: Bluehawk 16 April 2013 03:36:49AM *  0 points [-]

As an Australian with an American partner:

Australia has slightly different rules about relationships than the U.S. does. Getting married is one way to do it, but if you and your partner live together in an exclusive relationship for the span of a year or two you can be recognised with "de facto" status. It's a legal step between "single" and "married", and it's another legal basis on which you can apply for a longer-term visa in Australia and CAN be done from within Australia.

It is, however, just as expensive to travel back to the U.S. and apply for the de facto visa from there (Flights + ~$2k), as it is to apply for the de facto visa from within Australia (~$3k). And of course you need to be able to show that you've been in that relationship for a year or more, and that the relationship is both long-term and stable, which is out of the question for most Work/Holiday visa holders.

The de facto visa also gives you the right to live, work and study in Australia for two years, after which if the de facto relationship is still stable, exclusive, etc. you're then eligible for permanent residency.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 05 October 2012 10:33:20AM *  6 points [-]

If I say "Alice has a false belief that she should two-box in Newcomb's problem" it doesn't seem like I'm saying that her map doesn't correspond to the territory.

The problem with Alice's belief is that it is incomplete. It's like saying "I believe that 3 is greater than" (end of sentence).

Even incomplete sentences can work in some contexts where people know how to interpret them. For example if we had a convention that all sentences ending with "greater than" have to be interpreted as "greater than zero", then in given context the sentence "3 is greater than" makes sense, and is true. It just does not make sense outside of this context. Without context, it's not a logical proposition, but rather a proposition template.

Similarly, the sentence "you should X" is meaningful in contexts which provide additional explanation of what "should" means. For a consequentialist, the meaning of "you should" is "maximizes your utility". For a theist, it could mean "makes Deity happy". For both of them, the meaning of "should" is obvious, and within their contexts, they are right. The sentence becomes confusing only when we take it out of context; when we pretend that the context is not necessary for completing it.

So perhaps the problem is not "some truths are not about map-territory correspondence", but rather "some sentences require context to be transformed into true/false expressions (about map-territory correspondence)".

Seems to me that this is somehow related to making ideas pay rent, in sense that when you describe how do you expect the idea to pay rent, in the process you explain the context.

Comment author: Bluehawk 26 November 2012 11:52:11AM 1 point [-]

At the risk of nitpicking:

"Makes Deity happy" sounds to me like a very specific interpretation of "utility", rather than something separate from it. I can't picture any context for the phrase "P should X" that doesn't simply render "X maximizes utility" for different values of the word "utility". If "make Deity happy" is the end goal, wouldn't "utility" be whatever gives you the most efficient route to that goal?

In response to Conjunction Fallacy
Comment author: mh 19 September 2007 06:54:29PM 2 points [-]

If one is presented two questions, - Bill plays jazz - Bill is an accountant and plays jazz, is there an implied "Bill is not an accountant", created by our flawed minds, in the first question? This could explain the rankings.

In response to comment by mh on Conjunction Fallacy
Comment author: Bluehawk 26 April 2012 01:16:18AM 1 point [-]

There was an implied "Bill is not an accountant" in the way I read it initially, and I failed to notice my confusion until it was too late.

So in answer to your question, that has now happened at least once.

Comment author: thomblake 17 October 2011 03:33:28PM *  -1 points [-]

Some words in English have normative value as part of their meaning. To say that someone is "good" is simply an ascription of value, while to say someone is "present" contains no ascription of value; however, to say that someone is "courageous" is both a description of their behavior and a statement that their character and/or actions are virtuous.

Thus, to say (for example) "his courage was vicious" is inconsistent.

ETA: And "is said in many ways" is an Aristotelian idiom roughly meaning "has multiple senses in common use".

Comment author: Bluehawk 26 April 2012 01:11:48AM 1 point [-]

While words have a normative value as part of their common use, I think the reason you're getting so many down votes for those comments is that "value" is only a behavioral mechanism on our own part. Lots of people ascribe negative or positive values to event X. Great. But that's just a response in the human brain(s) that observe(s) event X, not a part of event X itself.

And to say that "his courage was vicious" -- you know what, I like that. I'm going to look for a way to use that in prose.

Comment author: neuromancer92 17 April 2012 10:45:54PM 1 point [-]

I think this is a key point - given a list of choices, people compare each one to the original statement and say "how well does this fit?" I certainly started that way before an instinct about multiple conditions kicked in. Given that, its not that people are incorrectly finding the chance that A-F are true given the description, but that they are correctly finding the chance that the description is true, given one of A-F.

I think the other circumstances might display tweaked version of the same forces, also. For example, answering the suspension of relations question not as P(X^Y) vs P(Y), but perceiving it as P(Y), given X.

Comment author: Bluehawk 26 April 2012 12:51:57AM 0 points [-]

But if the question "What is P(X), given Y?" is stated clearly, and then the reader interprets it as "What is P(Y), given X", then that's still an error on their part in the form of poor reading comprehension.

Which still highlights a possible flaw in the experiment.

Comment author: dlthomas 17 April 2012 03:56:27AM 2 points [-]

Dropping in mid thread, but I think you parsed that differently than intended; I read it as saying that the notion of unquestionable dogma runs counter to the core ideas of science, not that the dogma itself must run counter to anything in order to be a cult.

Comment author: Bluehawk 25 April 2012 08:39:26PM 1 point [-]

Ah. Yeah, I may have parsed that one incorrectly, now that you mention it. Thanks for pointing that out.

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