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In response to comment by CCC on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: Jiro 23 January 2017 07:45:51PM 0 points [-]

But again, that happens because it's piggybacking on the fact that people teach things that work. Since science works, it gets taught. If science didn't make factual claims with real-world implications, nobody would teach it. Religion is not bound by this; it gets taught even in the absence of such factual claims, because it has a bunch of commands that amount to "spread this religion regardless of the facts".

In response to comment by Jiro on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: ChristianKl 23 January 2017 09:35:01PM 1 point [-]

Do schools also teach Shakespeare because "that's what works"?

Comment author: Viliam 23 January 2017 12:05:50PM 0 points [-]

Not sure if I understand it correctly but seems to me like you are saying that with limited computing power it may be better to develop two contradictory models of the world, each one making good predictions in one specific important area, and then simply use the model corresponding to the area you are currently working in... than trying to develop an internally consistent model for both areas, only to perform poorly in both (because the resources are not sufficient for a consistent model working well in both areas).

While the response seems to... misunderstand your point, and suggest something like a weighed average of the two models, which would lead exactly to the poorly performing model.

As a fictional example, it's like one person saying: "I don't have a consistent model of whether a food X is good or bad for my health. My experience says that eating it in summer improves my health, but eating it in winter makes my health worse. I have no idea how something could be like that, but in summer I simply use heuristics that X is good, while in winter I use a contradictory heuristics that X is bad." And the other person replying: "You don't need contradictory heuristics; just use Bayes and conclude that X is good with probability 50% and bad with probability 50%."

Comment author: ChristianKl 23 January 2017 08:15:44PM 0 points [-]

I don't have a Bayesian model that tells me how much magnesium to consume. Instead, I look at the bottle with the magnesium tablets and feel into my body. Depending on the feeling my body creates as a response I might take the magnesium tablet at a particular time or not take it.

On the other hand the way I consume Vitamin D3 is very different. I don't have a meaningful internal sense on when to take it but take the dosis of Vitamin D3 largely based on an intellectual calculus.

Not sure if I understand it correctly but seems to me like you are saying that with limited computing power it may be better to develop two contradictory models of the world

I'm not saying anything about limited computing power. I don't use the felt sense for magnesium dosing because I'm lacking computing power. I also can't simply plug the felt sense into an abstract model because that might detach the connection to it or decrase trust that it needs to work.

Bayesianism is also no superset of logic (predicate calculus). See the Chapman article. Reasoning in the framework of logic can be useful and it's different than Bayesianism.

Comment author: Viliam 23 January 2017 09:51:16AM 0 points [-]

In particular, rationality tends to give advice like “ignore your intuitions/feelings, and rely on conscious reasoning and explicit calculation”. Postrationality, on the other hand, says “actually, intuitions and feelings are really important, let’s see if we can work with them instead of against them”.

Postrationality recognizes that System 1 and System 2 (if they even exist) have different strengths and weaknesses, and what we need is an appropriate interplay between the two.

This would make me a post-rationalist, too.

Postrationalists don’t think that death, suffering, and the forces of nature are cosmic evils that need to be destroyed.

Postrationalists enjoy surrealist art and fiction.

This wouldn't.

I guess the second part is more important, because the first part is mostly a strawman.

Comment author: ChristianKl 23 January 2017 11:13:32AM 0 points [-]

The last debate I had on the LW open thread whether it's worthwhile to have an internally consistent Bayesian net would be a practical example of the first conflict.

You have people in this community who think that a Bayesian net can basically model everything that's important for making predictions and if one spends enough effort on the Bayesian net, intuition is not required.

Comment author: Viliam 20 January 2017 11:43:47AM *  2 points [-]

How this all feels to me:

When I look at the Sequences, as the core around which the rationalist community formed, I find many interesting ideas and mental tools. (Randomly listing stuff that comes to my mind: Bayes theorem, Kolmogorov complexity, cognitive biases, planning fallacy, anchoring, politics is the mindkiller, 0 and 1 are not probabilities, cryonics, having your bottom line written first, how an algorithm feels from inside, many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, etc.)

When I look at "Keganism", it seems like an affective spiral based on one idea.

I am not saying that it is a wrong or worthless idea, just that comparing "having this 'one weird trick' and applying it to everything" with the whole body of knowledge and attitudes is a type error. If this one idea has merit, it can become another useful tool in a large toolset. But it does not surpass the whole toolset or make it obsolete, which the "post-" prefix would suggest.

Essentially, the "post-" prefix is just a status claim; it connotationally means "smarter than".

To compare, Eliezer never said that using Bayes theorem is "post-mathematics", or that accepting many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is "post-physics". Because that would just be silly. Similarly, the idea of "interpenetration of systems" doesn't make one "post-rational".

Comment author: ChristianKl 22 January 2017 06:32:24PM 0 points [-]

I am not saying that it is a wrong or worthless idea, just that comparing "having this 'one weird trick' and applying it to everything" with the whole body of knowledge and attitudes is a type error.

It seems like you are making that error. I'm not seeing anybody else making it.

There's no reason to assume that the word postrational is only about Kegan's ideas. The most in depth post that tried to define the term (https://yearlycider.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/postrationality-table-of-contents/) didn't even speak of Kegan directly.

Calling the stage 5 a tool or "weird trick" also misses the point. It's not an idea in that class.

Comment author: elephantiskon 16 January 2017 09:17:17PM 2 points [-]

At what age do you all think people have the greatest moral status? I'm tempted to say that young children (maybe aged 2-10 or so) are more important than adolescents, adults, or infants, but don't have any particularly strong arguments for why that might be the case.

Comment author: ChristianKl 17 January 2017 06:58:13AM 0 points [-]

It depends very much on the context. In many instances where we want to save lives QALY are a good metric. In other cases like deciding how should be able to sit down in a bus, the metric is worthless.

Comment author: moridinamael 16 January 2017 09:38:45PM 0 points [-]

Some of us sometimes make predictions with probabilities attached; does anybody here actually try to keep up a legit belief web and do Bayesian updating as the results of predictions come to pass?

If so, how do you do it?

Comment author: ChristianKl 17 January 2017 06:55:36AM 1 point [-]

Some of us sometimes make predictions with probabilities attached; does anybody here actually try to keep up a legit belief web and do Bayesian updating as the results of predictions come to pass?

No, and having a self-consistent belief net might decrease the quality of the beliefs a lot. Having multiple distinct perspectives on an issue was suggested by Tetlock to be very useful.

Comment author: satt 16 January 2017 02:04:45AM 0 points [-]

I understand him to be speaking about them increasing 10% more than non-top quartile teachers.

OK, thanks for clarifying. That sounds like a more impressive effect. At the same time, it's probably still consistent with teacher quality explaining only 10% of the variance in student performance.

I'll do back-of-envelope arithmetic to demonstrate. The median top-quartile teacher is at the 88th percentile. The median non-top quartile teacher is at the 38th. Suppose, just to allow me to arrive at concrete numbers, teacher quality has a normal distribution. Then the median top-quartile teacher is 1.48 standard deviations better than the median non-top quartile teacher. Now, an R^2 of 10% implies a correlation of sqrt(10%) = 0.23 between teacher quality and pupil performance, so the difference in pupil performance between the median non-top quartile teacher and the median top-quartile teacher is 1.48 * 0.23 = 0.34 standard deviations. That's a statistically detectable effect, and one that could well translate into 10% higher test scores after a year with the better teachers.

Eg. enough to circumvent the US-Asia difference in two years and also enough to circumvent the Black-White difference in four years as suggested in the answer to the Stackexchange question.

Plausible. If I remember correctly the black/white difference is about 1 standard deviation, so if my estimated effect size of 0.34 SD for good vs. less good teachers is accurate and can be built on year by year, it's enough to close the black/white difference in 3 years. I don't know the US-Asia difference but probably the same kind of logic applies.

It's worth noting that Medical Error is the third leading cause of death in the US http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139

Agreed, medical error is a real & substantial issue. I am just dubious about the ability of some proposals to inexpensively reduce fatal medical error. (But I am optimistic about others. Checklists seem promising.)

The article doesn't only describe immigration barriers but also barriers of credentialism.

The way I would put it is that the credentialism barriers are the immigration barriers. AFAIK the explicit immigration barriers for foreign doctors looking to enter the US and practice in the US aren't the bottleneck; the requirement that the doctor do a US residence programme, or a degree from a US school, is a much stronger de facto bar to immigrating.

I agree with your last paragraph.

Comment author: ChristianKl 17 January 2017 06:48:35AM *  0 points [-]

I am just dubious about the ability of some proposals to inexpensively reduce fatal medical error. (But I am optimistic about others. Checklists seem promising.)

In the present system there aren't strong economic incentives to reduce medical error. If you consider Checklists to be promising, then the lack of any economic incentives to use their virtues might be part of the reason why they don't get adopted.

The incentive system of doing procedures that can be billed because they are included in a list of billable procedures and doing them in a defensive way that survives a lawsuit is bad. It means that money is wasted for procedures that cost a lot of money and provide little benefit. It also means that policies such as checklists (if we grant them to work) don't get incentivised.

The whole system is unable to incentivise cheap solutions. Scott's post about the inability of a hospital to prescribe Melatonin to it's patients is illustrative:

This is why the story of Ramelteon scares me so much – not because it’s a bad drug, because it isn’t. But because one of the most basic and useful human hormones got completely excluded from medicine just because it didn’t have a drug company to push it. And the only way it managed to worm its way back in was to have a pharmaceutial company spend a decade and several hundred million dollars to tweak its chemical structure very slightly, patent it, and market it as a hot new drug at a 2000% markup.

The way I would put it is that the credentialism barriers are the immigration barriers.

From a political perspective immigration and credentialism are two different subjects, you have to convince different constituencies to create change.

Comment author: Benquo 12 January 2017 09:12:22AM 4 points [-]

Holding criticism to a higher standard than praise discourages people from calling out misrepresentations, which lowers the costs to liars of lying. I'd be surprised if Ben Todd were deliberately trying to clear a path for lies, but that's the direction things like that point.

Comment author: ChristianKl 13 January 2017 03:21:20PM 0 points [-]

Low quality praise is easily ignored without much effects. Low quality criticism on the other hand is more likely to have effects.

It's worthwhile to go for quantity of praise while focusing on quality of criticism.

Comment author: iandennismiller 12 January 2017 04:16:34PM *  1 point [-]

Personality characteristics are partially heritable (i.e. a small amount of variance in these dimensions is attributable to genetics) and the global distribution is not uniform. pplapi implements a simplistic model of this general system, but the point is that many of these demographic and psychometric dimensions - including language and religion - are indicated prior to birth. While there will always be exceptions, pplapi models the typical case.

From the agent you selected, income is obviously implausible but all the other dimensions are probably in the ballpark. If you went to Iran (the country of that agent), then odds are, you can find a real person with those characteristics (excepting income, of course). Even better, if you sampled from Iran on pplapi and if you sampled real people in Iran, then odds are the distributions will be similar.

I know several ways to violate the assumptions of pplapi in order to generate garbage analyses, so there's a lot of nuance here. However, I also know several interesting questions that can be answered with pplapi, so I think pplapi is nevertheless an interesting contribution.

Comment author: ChristianKl 12 January 2017 09:13:53PM 0 points [-]

What is the income of a 0 year old supposed to be? Shouldn't income be very dependent on age?

Comment author: iandennismiller 12 January 2017 04:16:34PM *  1 point [-]

Personality characteristics are partially heritable (i.e. a small amount of variance in these dimensions is attributable to genetics) and the global distribution is not uniform. pplapi implements a simplistic model of this general system, but the point is that many of these demographic and psychometric dimensions - including language and religion - are indicated prior to birth. While there will always be exceptions, pplapi models the typical case.

From the agent you selected, income is obviously implausible but all the other dimensions are probably in the ballpark. If you went to Iran (the country of that agent), then odds are, you can find a real person with those characteristics (excepting income, of course). Even better, if you sampled from Iran on pplapi and if you sampled real people in Iran, then odds are the distributions will be similar.

I know several ways to violate the assumptions of pplapi in order to generate garbage analyses, so there's a lot of nuance here. However, I also know several interesting questions that can be answered with pplapi, so I think pplapi is nevertheless an interesting contribution.

Comment author: ChristianKl 12 January 2017 09:12:51PM 1 point [-]

However, I also know several interesting questions that can be answered with pplapi

Can you give examples of such questions?

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