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Comment author: Fyrius 06 March 2017 10:08:45PM 0 points [-]

I've learned to view gender as a multidimensional space with two big clusters, rather than as a boolean flag.

I love your phrasing.

Comment author: Sable 14 November 2016 11:03:15PM 4 points [-]


Unless I am much mistaken, the reason that no one has yet used Nuclear Weapons is Mutually Assured Destruction, the idea that there can be no victor in a nuclear war. MAD holds so long as the people in control of nuclear weapons have something to lose if everything gets destroyed, and Trump has grandchildren.

Grandchildren who would burn in nuclear fire if he ever started a nuclear war.

So I am in no way sympathetic to any argument that he's stupid enough to start one. He has far too much to lose.


I believe that the sets of skills necessary to be a good president, and to be elected president, are two entirely separate things. They may be correlated, but I doubt they're correlated that highly; a popularity contest selects for popularity, after all.

So far, we have information on Trump's skill set as a businessman: immoral and unethical perhaps, but ultimately very successful.

And we have information on Trump's skill set as a Presidential Candidate: bombastic, brash, witty, politically incorrect and able to motivate large numbers of people to vote for him.

We have no information on what Trump will be like as President; that's the gamble. We can guess, but trends don't always continue, and I suspect, based on more recent data, that Trump has an inkling that now is not the time to do anything drastic.


Aside from the usual LW topics concerning existential risk (i.e. AI, Climate Change, etc.), my biggest concern is Islam. Mutually Assured Destruction only works when those with the Nuclear Weapons have nothing to lose, and if someone with such weapons genuinely believes that they and their family will go to heaven for using them, then MAD no longer applies.

From what meager evidence I can gather, I believe that Trump lowers the chance of such a war breaking out compared to Clinton. We've had a chance to see what Clinton's foreign policy looks like, and so far as I can tell, it isn't lowering the risk of nuclear war. It's heightening it.

Assuming other existential risks would be equal under either administration (which is a very questionable assumption, granted, and I would be happy to discuss it), that makes Trump look at the very least no worse than Clinton when it comes to existential risk.

I'd also like to note that I've been told plenty of people thought that Ronald Reagan would start a nuclear war with Russia, and he did nothing of the sort. Granted, I wasn't around then, so it's second person information, but there you go.


I don't know about the rest of you, but I am sick of having to expend copious amount of mental energy trying to remain as rational as I can throughout this election cycle. I've been glad to see in this thread that we LW's do, in fact, put our money where our mouths are when it comes to trying to navigate, circumvent, or otherwise evade the Mindkiller.

If you disagree with anything I have to say, please respond - if my thinking is wrong, I want your help to make it better, to make it closer to correct.

Comment author: Fyrius 01 March 2017 11:57:32AM 0 points [-]

So far, we have information on Trump's skill set as a businessman: immoral and unethical perhaps, but ultimately very successful.

He's gone bankrupt six times.

Comment author: hg00 11 November 2016 10:01:46PM *  7 points [-]

Some of Yudkowsky's arguments were good, but he was still an embarrassment to the movement. If I recall correctly he posted maybe half a dozen Facebook statuses to the effect of "OMG Trump is THE WORST" before offering any sort of argument. Of course, this plays in to the idea that people who oppose Trump are bullies who care more about optics than substance.

And the evidence he offered us was filtered evidence. He mentioned that open letter, but he didn't mention this list of conservative intellectuals who endorse Trump or this list of generals.

Comment author: Fyrius 01 March 2017 11:36:34AM 0 points [-]

Of course, this plays in to the idea that people who oppose Trump are bullies who care more about optics than substance.

These sources are very partisan and biased.

Comment author: Val 23 June 2016 07:07:19PM 0 points [-]

And why should we be utility maximization agents?

Assume the following situation. You are very rich. You meet a poor old lady in a dark alley who carries a purse with her, with some money which is a lot from her perspective. Maybe it's all her savings, maybe she just got lucky once and received it as a gift or as alms. If you mug her, nobody will ever find it out and you get to keep that money. Would you do it? As a utility maximization agent, based on what you just wrote, you should.

Would you?

Comment author: Fyrius 01 March 2017 10:02:18AM *  0 points [-]

Surely you 'should' only do something like this iff acquiring this amount of money has a higher utility to you than not ruining this lady's day. Which, for most people, it doesn't.

Since you're saying 'you are very rich' and 'some money which is a lot from her perspective', you seem to be deliberately presenting gaining this money as very low utility, which you seem to assume should logically still outweigh what you seem to consider the zero utility of leaving the lady alone. But since I do actually give a duck about old ladies getting home safely (and, for that matter, about not feeling horribly guilty), mugging one has a pretty huge negative utility.

Comment author: Fyrius 21 August 2016 10:35:28PM *  0 points [-]

"Why live alone on a mountain if you love conversation?"
"There are many hungers it is better to deny than to feed. Discipline against the lesser aids in denial of the greater."

-- Paarthurnax (Skyrim)

(I edited out the bits of gratuitous dragon language.)

Comment author: Lumifer 18 April 2016 02:39:47PM 0 points [-]

If you want to think of it as a direction, the direction is outside. I don't think you can do loops.

Comment author: Fyrius 18 April 2016 10:09:46PM 0 points [-]

That makes sense, I suppose.

Comment author: Lumifer 17 April 2016 09:16:54PM 0 points [-]

Sure, you can go meta again and again. I don't think in terms of meta as a direction, but I think of it as relative to the current level. So you go meta and step out of the current context, but this means you find yourself in a new context, and you can repeat: go meta and step out of this context. You find yourself in a new context and you can repeat: go meta and step out of this context. You find yourself in a new context... :-)

Comment author: Fyrius 18 April 2016 10:10:28AM 0 points [-]

That still sounds like 'meta' is a direction of (metaphorical) movement, but that it can be a different direction every time. Do you suppose you could have a situation where repeatedly 'going meta' would have you moving from one subject to the other and then back again, and again?

Comment author: Lumifer 14 April 2016 03:59:44PM 0 points [-]

I would call what you are describing "putting into context" or "inserting new information into an existing framework", but yes, to do that you need some meta awareness.

However if you're reading academic research, what I would consider fully "going meta" is not just looking at other authors or connecting with related concepts, but rather considering the authors' incentives and, say, trying to correct for the publication bias.

Comment author: Fyrius 17 April 2016 12:07:59PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, that too.

Related thought: I think meta is a direction, rather than one specific level. What that would mean is that you can always go further meta; there's reading the text, and then there's considering the text within the academic landscape, then there's examining the text together with its whole branch of science amidst all the sciences, then with science in general amidst human endeavours, etc.
Does that make sense?

Comment author: Lumifer 09 April 2016 04:20:37PM *  1 point [-]

for some reason people think that meta-things are higher status than things. Does anybody know why?

Going meta typically requires the ability to step out of the usual context (not a terribly common skill), a degree of reflexivity, and some intellectual power. Basically, idiots never go meta because they can't.

Comment author: Fyrius 14 April 2016 03:31:23PM 0 points [-]

This seems true, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about.
I've had to teach myself a meta-textual awareness when reading academic stuff, in order to keep in mind why I'm reading this, compare the contents with what other authors say, connect with related concepts, see the implications, etc., while I'm reading. It certainly takes a lot more effort and presence of mind than just following the text.

Comment author: ChristianKl 14 April 2016 12:56:37PM -2 points [-]

(Just nitpicking bad writing here, but it has to be said.)

It's not bad writting, it's you judging writing based on not having the context. Likely you misunderstand the word model.

But as far as the dentist example goes, a large part of the anxiety of going to the dentist is about you not wanting to feel pain but allowing someone else to do something painful to you without you being allowed to be angry at them. That's what niceness is about in that model.

Most people who feel anxiety before exams have a history of surpressing anger at their teachers but our school system doesn't consider it okay to express that anger.

Both of those situations are possible to be modeled in that model.

Comment author: Fyrius 14 April 2016 03:13:59PM 1 point [-]

I do of course lack the context, that's true. Does the context define anxiety in such a narrow way that it makes more sense to trace it all back to being nice? (I imagine that's what it would take for the context to justify that particular phrasing.)

I'm not particularly convinced that dentist anxiety would be any better in a world where yelling at your dentist for hurting you were considered socially acceptable, though. Anyway, even if those two examples can be explained away, better examples of anxiety that don't seem to relate to niceness in any way aren't difficult to think of at all. Some people become anxious from being inside an elevator or an airplane or just a very small room, or atop a tall building. Or being surrounded by sharks. Or on fire.
Surely in many cases, anxiety is a direct result of perceived danger, or of anticipating or being confronted with scary things.

Angry outbursts can relieve anxiety, sure, but surely not every single instance of anxiety is caused by not letting oneself be angry.

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