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Comment author: Dagon 09 November 2017 05:02:45AM 2 points [-]

I'm thankful for this state. Nobody represents my beliefs, not even me. They are free-floating and do not need a spokesperson or representative to make them true (or correct them when they're not). Actually, beliefs are only models anyway, and there is no "true" except to the extent that they correlate so some observed states of the universe.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 November 2017 04:13:56PM 1 point [-]

Less Wrong (1.0, this site) is the historical LessWrong now in the process of being replaced by Less Wrong 2.0 which represents new leadership and new software. Technically, the LessWrong 2.0 is in public beta right now and it's supposed to end soon. Once it ends, there will be a vote about replacing LW 1.0 with LW 2.0 and if it goes through, LW 1.0 will cease to exist. Its message archives will be migrated to LW 2.0.

Comment author: Dagon 04 November 2017 07:52:44PM 0 points [-]

I hadn't heard about the vote part. Do we know the actual text of the measure under consideration? More importantly, who has standing to vote, and upon whom is the vote binding?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 04 November 2017 05:45:42PM 0 points [-]

Not at all. It means the ability to explain, not just say what will happen.

Comment author: Dagon 04 November 2017 07:28:54PM 0 points [-]

When you say "ability to explain", I hear "communicate a model that says what will happen (under some set of future conditions/actions)".

There is no such thing as "why" in the actual sequence of states of matter in the universe. It just is. Any causality is in the models we use to predict future states. Which is really useful but not "truth".

Comment author: curi 04 November 2017 01:47:30AM 0 points [-]

teaching you things like what "understand" means is a large task. are you willing to put in effort by e.g. reading a book chapter, and answering questions to identify what you do and don't already understand about the matter?

Comment author: Dagon 04 November 2017 04:34:45AM 1 point [-]

Almost certainly not. I take this as confirmation that “understand” is the key misleadingly-simple word in your quote.

Comment author: curi 02 November 2017 01:24:47AM 0 points [-]

I disagree with viewing theories as predictive. Deutsch calls that instrumentalism and refutes in in his book, The Fabric of Reality, in chapter 1. The basic problem is predictions aren't explanations about what's going on (the causality behind the prediction) or why.

Yet some philosophers — and even some scientists — disparage the role of explanation in science. To them, the basic purpose of a scientific theory is not to explain anything, but to predict the outcomes of experiments: its entire content lies in its predictive formulae. They consider that any consistent explanation that a theory may give for its predictions is as good as any other — or as good as no explanation at all — so long as the predictions are true. This view is called instrumentalism (because it says that a theory is no more than an ‘instrument’ for making predictions). To instrumentalists, the idea that science can enable us to understand the underlying reality that accounts for our observations is a fallacy and a conceit. They do not see how anything a scientific theory may say beyond predicting the outcomes of experiments can be more than empty words. Explanations, in particular, they regard as mere psychological props: a sort of fiction which we incorporate in theories to make them more easily remembered and entertaining.

(Deutsch goes on at too much length to paste.)

Comment author: Dagon 03 November 2017 11:44:06PM 0 points [-]

To instrumentalists, the idea that science can enable us to understand the underlying reality that accounts for our observations is a fallacy and a conceit

"understand" is doing a lot of work in this. What does it mean beyond "ability to make predictions conditional on future actions"?

Comment author: Manfred 02 November 2017 08:55:20PM 0 points [-]

I think this neglects the idea of "physical law," which says that theories can be good when they capture the dynamics and building-blocks of the world simply, even if they are quite ignorant about the complex initial conditions of the world.

Comment author: Dagon 03 November 2017 04:29:36PM 1 point [-]

Sure. This is true of all maps and models. As simple as possible, but no simpler.

That simplicity ALWAYS comes with a loss of fidelity to the actual state of the universe.

Comment author: Dagon 01 November 2017 09:54:23PM 0 points [-]

(1) the objective of science is, or should be, to increase our ‘credence’ for true theories

Well, no. Theories are maps, and are by necessity simpler than the territory (the universe is it's own best model). There is no such thing as a "true" theory. There are only theories which predict a larger or smaller subset of future states better or worse than others.

Comment author: Elo 31 October 2017 07:48:51AM 0 points [-]

I know! I keep telling them it's too dystopian and they need to change it. But they don't listen to me (or they haven't yet).

Comment author: Dagon 31 October 2017 01:41:33PM 0 points [-]

I like "sunshine regiment" as an acknowledgement that it's a fundamentally combative activity, and accepted as a necessity for goodness. It's more Orwellian to call them "moderators", as if they somehow made people less extreme. And while it'd be honest to call them "censors", I'd rather have the reminder that they're supposed to be cheerful and positive about it.

Comment author: ChristianKl 25 October 2017 07:01:43PM 0 points [-]

If you are an evil pharma-corp, vaccines are a terrible way to be evil.

Evil pharma-corps don't care about being evil but care about making money. I don't see why vaccine that can be sold Westerns are bad on that front.

Comment author: Dagon 25 October 2017 10:59:09PM 1 point [-]

Depends on what else is in EvilPharmaCorp's portfolio. Vaccines are generally cheap, but broadly applied so can be profitable. Treatments for disease are often CRAZY expensive, but you sell less of them. There is a network relationship, though - if you can sell much less of the vaccine, you can increase the disease more than linearly.

So truly evil pharma would try to suppress immunization rather than pushing it.

Comment author: Dagon 24 October 2017 10:21:38PM 4 points [-]

It seems like you're trying to analyze the wrong things. Second-guessing motives for recommendations that apply to large variant populations is a losing game, and you missed what may be a fairly large reason: prevalence of the disease in that region. In any case, ignore politics and look at expected value and risks of each option AS IT APPLIES TO YOU.

Where will you be living/visiting? What is the actual incidence and cost of these diseases, and what are the network effects of many people being immunized vs not? I worry that you think the biggest cost of chicken pox is staying home with a sick kid - the actual biggest risk is that the kid WON'T get it as a kid (because all the neighbors and other kids are immunized), and will instead get it as an adult when it can be very serious.

Shots aren't terribly expensive, the pain of the stick is fleeting, and the chance of serious side-effects is quite low. Compare that to the pain and probability of the disease, and I'd generally say take all you can get. My default would be the union of recommendations for anywhere I expect the kid to visit, rather than the intersection.

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