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Comment author: Bound_up 11 August 2017 05:55:30PM 1 point [-]

The dialogue about Trump on climate change is a perfect example of how most people think in opposition to how careful, abstract nerdy-types think.

To a nerd, it's a crucial distinction to say something like while we may not, based on economic models, want to do anything about it, it is an entirely separate question whether or not global warming is actually occurring.

A great many people will not make that "fine" distinction. All they can hear is "yay my tribe" and "boo my tribe." If that's all they can understand, then is it really a lie to say something that you know will be interpreted as "yay you guys?"

I would say it's a lie to say something you know the other person will misinterpret in a way that leads them to a wrong conclusion, even if the way you would interpret it is true. The counterpart is that it's not a lie to say something that you know will be interpreted an acceptably true way ("yay you guys" is not true or false per se) even if the way you would interpret it is false.

Scott Adams understands the folly of trying to make fine distinctions about political issues when talking to most people, so he, just like them, interprets Trump's statement as a partisan rallying cry, and excuses it on the basis of consequentialism (he seems to think it's okay not to do anything about global warming). As far as he and they are concerned, there's nothing about that statement that CAN be "true" or "false;" it has all the informational density of a hearty "yay!"

Comment author: James_Miller 12 August 2017 05:46:46AM 0 points [-]

Agreed.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 26 July 2017 09:51:47PM 0 points [-]

The prediction of the win shows he has insights into Trump's capabilities, but not necessarily his intentions.

Comment author: James_Miller 26 July 2017 11:44:38PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, but Adams explains at length how Trump is a master persuader, as with, for example, this Tweet "The day President Trump made his critics compare The Boy Scouts of America to Hitler Youth." I lot of what Adams says is P vs NP stuff where it's hard to figure out yourself but once someone explains it to you it seems obvious.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 22 July 2017 10:27:42PM *  2 points [-]

Right -- because he's a shill. What's the connection between shilling and rationality?

Rationality is supposed to bend in the winds of evidence. Shilling does not bend, shilling made its choice.

Comment author: James_Miller 23 July 2017 02:00:56AM 2 points [-]

What is your evidence that he is a shill? Millions of Americans support Trump, are they all shills?

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 22 July 2017 08:02:33PM *  2 points [-]

Ok -- so he neither makes falsifiable claims, nor updates publically.

That's certainly something, but why is this rationality? Certainly not epistemic rationality.


If you want to make an argument for instrumental rationality, presumably we should look to self-made billionaires who were not obviously lucky, not cartoonists who are opportunistically shilling for a jackass without an obvious payoff in sight.

Comment author: James_Miller 22 July 2017 08:34:27PM 2 points [-]

Adams makes lots of falsifiable claims, but not about Trump's character.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 22 July 2017 03:32:26PM *  1 point [-]

Ah, I mean a religion that was created or originally propagated through patronization. Every religion has been patronized for political purposes at some point. Christianity is a pretty good example of a religion that was not useful to the authorities during its early years.

Comment author: James_Miller 22 July 2017 04:56:59PM 1 point [-]

Matthew 22:21 Jesus said "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's".

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 22 July 2017 03:14:55AM 2 points [-]

On Trump himself, I meant. His character/competence/etc.

Estimating the probability of "Trump winning" is estimating the probability of a binary event.

Comment author: James_Miller 22 July 2017 04:40:18AM 1 point [-]

Adams deliberately avoids commenting on Trump's character. I'm unaware of Adams changing his estimate of Trump's persuasion competence. Adams often gives evidence of why Trump is a master persuader.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 22 July 2017 01:24:02AM *  0 points [-]

At risk of derailing the thread here, I'd say there are no examples you can bring of a politically created/patronized religion displacing native beliefs, assuming the mentality of the public didn't favor that religion. For instance, Anglicanism may have suited the British state well, but it wasn't arbitrarily forced onto a resistant Catholic population.

Comment author: James_Miller 22 July 2017 01:35:37AM 0 points [-]

From Wikipedia:

"During the Saxon Wars, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, forcibly Roman Catholicized the Saxons from their native Germanic paganism by way of warfare, and law upon conquest. Examples are the Massacre of Verden in 782, when Charlemagne reportedly had 4,500 captive Saxons massacred upon rebelling against conversion, and the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae, a law imposed on conquered Saxons in 785 that prescribed death to those who refused to convert to Christianity."

Comment author: Lumifer 22 July 2017 12:20:02AM 0 points [-]

It helps if you're over an ocean and there are no clouds.

I bet some great religions were started as high level conspiracies

Anything in particular you have in mind?

Comment author: James_Miller 22 July 2017 12:39:29AM 0 points [-]

Yes, but I would rather not say in part because I don't have proof and because I don't want to falsely signal to any of my future students that I don't like them believe of their religion.

Comment author: Lumifer 21 July 2017 08:06:33PM 3 points [-]

That's not terribly hard -- e.g. you can see the Earth's curvature from a normal commercial airliner -- but misses the real point. If there's a general conspiracy of such magnitude and pervasiveness, whether Earth is actually flat is likely to be the least of my concerns.

Comment author: James_Miller 22 July 2017 12:12:10AM 1 point [-]

Last time I was on an airliner I looked for but could not see any evidence of the Earth's curvature. Don't religions show you can get huge numbers of people to believe things are that not true? And I bet some great religions were started as high level conspiracies to get populations to have beliefs useful for their leaders.

Comment author: Stabilizer 21 July 2017 07:55:12PM 1 point [-]

A general point: I fear Adams attributes positions and beliefs and intentions to Trump which, from Trump's actions and public statements, are not justifiably attributable to Trump.

Comment author: James_Miller 21 July 2017 08:04:29PM 2 points [-]

Adams predicting that Trump would win at a time when nearly everyone else thought Trump was a joke candidate is evidence that Adams has special insight into Trump. And this wasn't a mere prediction. Adams essentially bet his entire reputation on this claim. Adams often makes falsifiable predictions such as when he said that Obamacare would essentially never be repealed and that Snapchat had a dim future.

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