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Comment author: Mulciber 20 April 2009 05:40:57AM 0 points [-]

In that case, would it be a good goal to make this site more fun, independent of the focus on rationality? That way people would recommend it to each other more so the rationality information would be more effective.

Comment author: Dojan 04 January 2015 06:43:04PM 0 points [-]

I don't think it works that way. Do you know any example of an existing webpage/event/thing where the people behind it said "it needs to be the same but more fun!", and it actually worked? I find lesswrong to be fun as it is, and I want it to attract people who are attracted to the actual content, rather than some fun-nes sprinkled on top. (I'm not saying lesswrong cant improve, and that I'd necessarily want to conserve it exactly the way it is though.) The reason wikipedia for example is so wildly successful is that it does what it does really well, and that thing is something people want and need. So no, I don't think that would be a good goal :)

(Aware of/sorry for necroposting)

Comment author: Rune 18 April 2009 06:42:02PM 12 points [-]

"Science is interesting and if you don't agree, you can fuck off."

-- Richard Dawkins quoting a former editor of New Scientist magazine.

Comment author: Dojan 04 January 2015 02:14:24AM 1 point [-]

Funny, yes, but rational? Hardly.

Comment author: Andy_McKenzie 05 April 2009 03:48:46PM 1 point [-]

If everybody in the tribe has this adaptation, then it will no longer be useful because everybody will be supporting the underdog. The optimal strategy, then, is not to support the underdog per se but instead to support the cause that less people support, factoring in the rough probabilities that both Zug and Urk have to win. How would this yield a systematic bias toward favoring the underdog? It would only occur if in the modern world we still suspect that the majority will favor the team more likely to win.

Comment author: Dojan 23 October 2013 02:34:22AM 1 point [-]

Well, this depends on what level the average player is playing at; but at every level there is going to be more noise, and thus less evolutionary pressure. My friend told me that his teacher had told his class that, in practice, most people play on the second or third levels. (I have nothing to back that up with, I know nothing about stock trading)

In response to comment by gaffa on Where are we?
Comment author: Henrik_Jonsson 18 July 2009 12:13:19AM 2 points [-]

UmeƄ, Sweden.

Comment author: Dojan 09 October 2013 02:49:10AM *  0 points [-]

Same here! Are you still around?

Comment author: Court_Merrigan 14 March 2009 04:08:22AM 12 points [-]

I also remember hearing of a community (wish I could remember which) in which it was absolutely forbidden to give negative feedback under certain circumstances

I am living (and about to leave) an Asian society very much like this. It yields some very odd results indeed: corruption, consumerism, lemming-like religious behavior, and vast - feudal - social gaps.

Comment author: Dojan 15 July 2013 03:23:53AM 2 points [-]

Care to elaborate?

Comment author: MTGandP 05 November 2012 12:35:12AM 0 points [-]

Just to make that more concrete: people who own more cars live longer. Why? Rich people buy more cars, and rich people have higher life expectancies. Both cars and long life are caused by a hidden third variable, wealth. Trying to increase your chances of getting into Heaven by being virtuous is as futile as trying to increase your life expectancy by buying another car.

This reasoning only works because buying cars is not perfectly correlated with living longer. If buying cars guaranteed that you would live longer, would you do it?

Comment author: Dojan 14 July 2013 03:52:42PM 1 point [-]

If buying cars guaranteed that you would live longer, would you do it?

Of course, but then you have made the correlation imply causation, and it doesn't. If number of cars owned and life expectancy was perfectly correlated, with no counter examples, that would be strong evidence for causation in either one direction or the other, but that isn't the case, and also wasn't the point of the example.

Comment author: Xachariah 12 November 2011 06:01:04AM *  28 points [-]

My own story of rationality overcoming fear involves, ironically, belief in ghosts. Long after I was a devoted rationalist, I still had a lingering fear of hauntings and ghosts. You see, I'd been constantly told as a child that I had lived in a haunted house when I was too young too remember.

There was documented proof. Every time we had occasion to pass by the house, it would constantly have a 'for sale' or 'for rent' sign on it over the course of years, changing hands every time. Two suicides and a number of deaths occurred there (including one double suicide/homicide) and my mom had newspaper clippings. Surely, even I couldn't contest that.

More salient were the personal stories. Everyone in the family would see apparitions in the night, like nightmares made real. Other times the whole family would all be overcome by fear simultaneously. They would sense spirits but feel paralyzed to move. They'd see other people in the corner of their eye, but they'd disappear before they could talk to them. Sometimes they would lose time as if possessed in a trance. Othertimes the spirits would possess members of the family and make them do odd things or unable to move well or at all.

So while I had grown up a rationalist, I still had a phobia of spirits and haunted houses. It took finally doing research on that house to understand what really happened. You see, carbon monoxide poisoning has all of those effects. It was mysterious in magical back then, but looking back it's just sad. Several lives lost, other lives ruined, and massive negative utility all because somebody probably messed up the gas piping and nobody thought to install a CO detector. And part of that was because idiots (my family included) thought the place was haunted instead of trying to solve an unexplained problem with science.

Comment author: Dojan 14 July 2013 12:36:42PM 1 point [-]

Wow, this is a powerful story. I'm more and more sympathetic the more I think about it... Did you manage to convince your family about your findings? Did you alert someone of the danger (like the current owners perhaps)?

Comment author: kurige 05 March 2009 06:14:37AM *  7 points [-]

This I can understand.

I am a protestant Christian and your friend's experience with "belief" are similar to mine. Or seem to be, from what I gather in your post.

One thing I've come to realize that helps to explain the disparity I feel when I talk with most other Christians is the fact that somewhere along the way my world-view took a major shift away from blind faith and landed somewhere in the vicinity of Orwellian double-think.

The double-think comes into play when you're faced with non-axiomatic concepts such as morality. I believe that there is a God - and that He has instilled a sense of right and wrong in us by which we are able to evaluate the world around us. I also believe a sense of morality has been evolutionarily programmed into us - a sense of morality that is most likely a result of the formation of meta-political coalitions in Bonobo communities a very, very long time ago.

These two beliefs are not contradictory, but the complexity lies in reconciling the two. This post is not about the details of my Escher-esque brain, so suffice to say there are questions unanswered by viewing only the scientific side and there are just as many unanswered if viewed only from the spiritual side.

Simply because your friend is not blind to contradictions in the Orthodox Jewish belief system does not mean she does not sincerely believe - or that she's deceived herself into believing that she believes. It means that she, as all intelligent believers who practice crisis of faith should, understands just how much she doesn't understand.

Comment author: Dojan 14 July 2013 11:43:07AM -1 points [-]

Up-voted for honesty.

In response to comment by Cyan2 on Heat vs. Motion
Comment author: Dojan 06 December 2011 05:34:01AM 4 points [-]

Just consider this...

In response to comment by Dojan on Heat vs. Motion
Comment author: Dojan 07 July 2013 02:12:52PM 1 point [-]

Or the Mantis Shrimp...

Comment author: luzr 29 December 2008 10:19:20PM 7 points [-]


"asks a Mind whether it could create symphonies as beautiful as it and how hard it would be"

On somewhat related note, there are still human chess players and competitions...

In response to comment by luzr on Amputation of Destiny
Comment author: Dojan 21 January 2013 11:17:03PM 2 points [-]

Brilliant observation! Damn, we really are living in the future already...

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