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Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2012 03:18:35PM 0 points [-]

Sure, agreed.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 23 April 2012 09:00:46PM 0 points [-]

Ok, so then I would say that the soccer player in being empathetic to my objectives would be strengthening his or her emotional/ social capacity, which would benefit his or her health/ productivity, and thus benefit his or her soccer playing.

Comment author: Nebu 23 April 2012 01:59:38PM *  0 points [-]

It's tough for Nebu_2012 to remember what Nebu_2009 was thinking, exactly, when he wrote that comment 3 years ago.

That said, it seems like Nebu_2009 did feel/believe/thought/whatever-word-you-want-to-use that the comment had "real merit": He claimed that the comment was "interesting" and "entertaining".

Your use of "support" may be (probably unintentionally) misleading, as it looks like Nebu_2009 was explicitly saying that he did not agree with the statement, and when someone talks about "supporting" a comment, I usually infer them to mean agreeing with the comment. Nebu_2009 seems to be supporting it only insofar that he thinks other people may also find the comment interesting and entertaining, and thus upvoted it to increase its visibility (I'm assuming; I can't recall exactly what Nebu_2009 was thinking).

But it looks like you may have fallen into that very equivocation trap when you ask, slightly later on in the thread, "If you support something how is it something you do not agree with, and why are you supporting something you do not agree with?"

Comment author: HungryTurtle 23 April 2012 02:07:42PM 0 points [-]

Could you explain your last paragraph a little more?

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 22 April 2012 06:13:50PM 0 points [-]

So to clarify, what's "exactly backwards" is saying that to a good rationalist, "the statements '' and '' sound exactly alike." Whereas I think an important part of being a good rationalist is being able to distinguish between the two. I'm not saying Yvain's entire post is backwards.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 23 April 2012 12:23:21PM 0 points [-]

Fair enough, could you tell me what exactly it means to be a good rationalist?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2012 03:27:32AM 0 points [-]

No.
Though I would agree that for a human, skills related to emotional and social connection contribute significantly to their productivity and health, and can sometimes be the optimal place to invest effort in order to maximize productivity and health.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 11:21:38AM 1 point [-]

Ok, so these skill sets contribute significantly to the productivity and health of a person. Then would you disagree with the following:

  1. Social and emotional skills signifcantly contribute to health and productivity.
  2. Any job, skill, hobby, or task that is human driven can benefit from an increase in the acting agents health and productivity
  3. Therefore social and emotional skills are relevant (to some degree) to all other human driven skill sets
Comment author: orthonormal 21 April 2012 03:35:00AM *  3 points [-]

Relevant to why you're being downvoted:

Straw Vulcan

Feeling Rational

Jumping on someone for using "felt", when the sentence would work as well with "thought", is rude as well.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 11:10:58AM 0 points [-]

The feeling that I am jumping on nebu and the idea that I am advocating a straw vulcan is you using loaded words to make an extreme judement about my meaning and my motives. First of all, I am not trying to say a rational person has to be emotionless. The fact taht Emotions are important, doesn't mean that anyone invoking some emotional response is unconditionally right. Supporting something "not because you agree with it" but because you felt some personal attachment is the most common of pyschological reflexes. I am not telling Nebu that he has to be emotionless, or that rationality segregates itself from emtions, but that the way he is using his emotions here is irrational. If you support something how is it something you do not agree with, and why are you supporting something you do not agree with?

when the sentence would work as well with "thought", is rude as well.

Changing felt for thought is sneaking in connotations

Comment author: Kingreaper 14 December 2010 03:43:48AM 10 points [-]

Additionally, saying that the East should look to the West for enlightenment doesn't mean there is no enlightenment to be found in the East. It just says that by far the more important enlightment is more common in the West than the East.

Imagine there are two men: Bob, and Sean. Sean knows a great deal about up home entertainment systems. Bob knows a great deal about plumbing, electricals, roofing, and windows.

If I go to both of their houses, and Sean has a home entertainment system set up perfectly, but no power getting to it, and his ceiling drips in the rain, and his window in his bedroom is shattered, I'd say Sean should look to Bob for DIY help.

Sure, Bob could learn from Sean, Bob's home entertainment system is shoddy. But Sean should be the one looking to Bob for help.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 02:22:06AM 0 points [-]

Additionally, saying that the East should look to the West for enlightenment doesn't mean there is no enlightenment to be found in the East. It just says that by far the more important enlightenment is more common in the West than the East.

Actually saying that the East should look to the West for enlightenment says nothing about where enlightenment is more or less common, or anything about a degree of enlightenment. This is the assumption you are bringing to the statement. All this statement implies are there are things that the East could learn from the West, with no implication about how many things there are, or as was pointed out above, how many things there are in the East for the West to learn about.

Comment author: Nebu 08 April 2009 02:26:40PM 1 point [-]

I agree with your main point of "always keep the basics in mind", and I found your case study interesting, though I sense some emotional undertones due to phrases like "I don't like being told I'm wrong any more than anyone else does", "Nor do I accept the defense", "declaration of war and a hijack attempt of the train of thought", etc.

So I'd just like to remind (everyone, not just Yvain) that an upvote does not necessarily mean "agreement".

I voted the comment up, but not because I "agreed" with it[1], nor because I wanted to "shut up hippies", but merely because I found it interesting and felt it earned my endorsement as a comment worth reading. I agree with Yvain's description of the anecdote as "short, witty, flattering, and utterly opaque to reason." I don't think "utterly opaque to reason" is sufficient evidence of dark-art-usage.

If I tell a joke, or a pun, they too can be utterly opaque to reason. But that's fine because I'm not trying to convince anyone of any position, but just to share some entertainment.

That's how I interpreted that particular comment: an entertaining and interesting anecdote that doesn't need to actually be true to be entertaining and interesting.

That said, it doesn't matter what my (or Yvain's) interpretation of the comment is. If people have made the mistake (been taken in by the fallacies) that Yvain listed in this post, then the post is valuable on LW, because it helps promote rationality.

1: What does it mean to agree with an anecdote? To agree that the events described in the anecdote actually occurred? I certainly don't know first hand whether or not Steve Jobs actually went to India, actually saw those things, and said what the anecdote claimed he said. I guess in this specific context, "agree" means to be convinced by the anecdote that Crowley (and by extension, Yvain) is wrong. So in that sense, I certainly don't "agree" with the anecdote. As an aside, I also don't agree that "the East should look to the West for enlightenment" (but I don't agree with its converse either, and I don't agree with "nobody should look to anybody for enlightenment"). I guess, to clarify, I consider "don't agree" to be a distinct concept from "do disagree".

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 02:11:44AM -4 points [-]

I voted the comment up, but not because I "agreed" with it[1], nor because I wanted to "shut up hippies", but merely because I found it interesting and felt it earned my endorsement as a comment worth reading.

What the point is of attempting to adhere to or advocate for rationality as a human standard if the axiom of your decision to support something is not that it had any real merit, but that you "felt" it was good?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 21 April 2012 01:12:39AM 0 points [-]

Doesn't sound familiar.

Regardless, I agree that if I value an N% improvement in skill A and skill B equivalently (either in and of themselves, or because they both contribute equally to some third thing I value), and an N% improvement in A takes much more effort than an N% improvement in B, that I do better to devote my resources to improving A.

Of course, it doesn't follow from that that for any skill A, I do better to devote my resources to improving A.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 02:01:21AM 0 points [-]

Ok, then the next question is that would you agree for a human skills related to emotional and social connection maximize the productivity and health of a person?

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 19 April 2012 01:48:35PM 1 point [-]

I understand why you feel like the Steve Jobs anecdote was meant as a rebuttal, but I think you make a bit of a caricature of the intent behind it.

Mentioning, in a matter-of-fact way things like "a state of mystical attainment the Hindus call dhyana" suggests an uncritical attitude towards the ideas you're discussing, and maybe an idealized view of India. The Steve Jobs anecdote can be read as just a cautionary note against that kind of uncritical/idealized attitude, a way of pointing out that it's a lot easier to have that kind of attitude when you're viewing something from afar, rather than an attempt to argue "everything you said is wrong."

(Though here, I might have pointed you towards what Julia Sweeney has said about eastern religion instead to make the same point.)

Actually, I'd go farther than that. Your final sentence is exactly backwards. The fundamental rationalist technique here is learning to make a distinction between a vaguely hostile comment and the extreme claim that "there is minimal possibility that any Indian people ever discovered interesting mental techniques."

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 01:48:36AM 1 point [-]

Isn't saying that Yvain's final statement is

exactly backwards

also failing to make a distinction between a vaguely hostile comment and an extreme claim? To say it is exactly backwards is to imply that there is nothing wrong with steve jobs statement. I agree with you that some of Yvain's fallacies are distorted--most notably the assumption that those who liked the comment were venting out a subconscious lash at "hippies"--but that does not change the fact that Steve job’s statement contains huge logical issues.

First, Yvain is right that it is a fallacy of equivocation.

Second, any statement that attempts to make a generalization about "the East" is a HUGE over-generalization and quite frankly Orientalism. I mean how does Steve jobs justify making an assertion about Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the score of other countries that is associated with the term “the east” from one trip to India in his youth? On what grounds do we take Steve jobs one trip to who knows where in India for how long as representative of the functional value of the civilization as a whole.

Steve jobs is using an availability heuristic which is NOT rational.

There is sufficient evidence that the steve jobs quote and the second quote are not “exactly backwards” as you put it, so why did you put it that way? In my opinion, it suggests that Yvain hit it on the mark. Steven Jobs or something else contained in that quote carries personal connotations that you felt a need to defend.

Comment author: pnrjulius 20 April 2012 02:23:36PM 1 point [-]

Some of your points are valid---for one, we should very much be guarded against convenient and witty anecdotes, and it does not follow as a theorem that every place where there are good ideas must automatically be free of poverty and injustice.

But I actually can't agree with your argument than "enlightenment" is a fallacy of equivocation. It IS the Enlightenment values of Bacon and Newton that brought us the enlightenment of vaccination and electricity---that's not a coincidence. And "spiritual enlightenment" is either something good or it isn't; if it is, then it ought to have some meaning in terms of actual happiness of actual human beings in the actual world. If your definition of "spiritual enlightenment" is so far removed from actual happiness and suffering that it would allow poverty and disease to persist on a massive scale (in order to placate invisible gods?), then I want nothing of your so-called "enlightenment".

Does this mean that there are no smart people in India, no good ideas that could be characterized as Indian? Of course not. But it does mean that there is a real correlation between the West and reason---and that this is not a coincidence but a causal link.

Comment author: HungryTurtle 21 April 2012 01:23:00AM 1 point [-]

But I actually can't agree with your argument than "enlightenment" is a fallacy of equivocation. It IS the Enlightenment values of Bacon and Newton that brought us the enlightenment of vaccination and electricity---that's not a coincidence.

I think there is some confusion in Yvain's definition of the third type of enlightenment, and that is why you are missing the point. Yvain describes the third type of enlightenment as

"enlightenment", meaning achieving a state of nirvana free from worldly desire.

It would be better to think about nirvana as an alternative mental state produced through a highly focused and intentional lifestyle. In this sense it is a technique for internal transformation of the individual psyche. I run every day to get blood flowing to my brain, and mediate in the evening to lower my blood pressure, clam myself, and sharpen my focus. I am not saying I am an expert on buddhism, hinduism, janism, or that I am in a state of nirvana. What I am saying is that there are techniques for internal transformation and techniques for external transformation. What Yvain is saying is that to compare enlightenment techniques, which focus on how best to organize and implement a person for external transformation; and indian religious practices which focus on how best to implement a person for internal transformation is a false comparison. It is like trying to compare a refrigerator and an air conditioner. What defines a good refrigerator does not necessarily define a good air conditioner; what defines a good technique of external transformation does not necessarily define a good technique for internal transformation.

You say

t IS the Enlightenment values of Bacon and Newton that brought us the enlightenment of vaccination and electricity---that's not a coincidence.

Yvain is not saying it is a coincidence. What he is saying is that vaccination and electricity are not the intended transformations of hinduism or buddhism. A proper equivalent would be to compare how the Western enlightenment values and techniques have benefited concentration, anger management, patience, lowering blood pressure, these type of things. Which I would argue are in increasing shortage in our society.

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