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Comment author: Vladimir 14 June 2016 03:05:55AM 0 points [-]

Everyone claims these days that canonical "literalism" is a recent phenomenon. It's said about Islam especially and now this comment claims it about Judaism. I've also heard this about the Greek religions (there's a book called 'Did the Ancients believe in their myths'). Is this really true? Or is this some kind of post-modern thing where everyone is trying to prove how much "wiser" our ancestors were as if they weren't literal idiots.

I think the common sense intuition is that literalism&fundamentalism must have been more prevalent in the past, but I'm willing to update if anyone can demonstrate some kind of trend in any of these religions.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 03 December 2016 11:43:28PM 0 points [-]

I don't know of any broader, larger trends. It is worth noting here that the Rabbis of the Talmud themselves thought that the prior texts (especially the Torah itself) were infallible, so it seems that part of what might be happening is that over time, more and more gets put into the very-holy-text category.

Also, it seems important to distinguish here between being unquestionably correct with being literal. In a variety of different religions this becomes an important distinction and often a sacrifice of literalism is in practice made to preserve correctness of a claim past a certain point. Also note that in many religious traditions, the traditions which are most literal try to argue that what they are doing is not literalism but something more sophisticated. For example, among conservative Protestants it isn't uncommon to claim that they are not reading texts literally but rather using the "historical-grammatical method."

Comment author: Bound_up 11 May 2016 06:19:52PM 1 point [-]

In the context of religious arguments, some say that the constants of the universe are improbably finely tuned for the existence of life and order. The constants refer to things like the gravitational constant, the strength of the atomic weak force, etcetera.

It is my understanding that the order part is key; most other possible constants wouldn't allow for an alternate form of life, for example, because everything would be so far apart as to never interact, or so close together as to never vary in its state.

Some will respond that there may be a multiverse of universes, with random universal constants, so that some improbable universes are bound to crop up.

To this, it is responded that inventing a multiverse to explain away apparently purposeful tuning of universal constants doesn't really work. It's an excuse.

Now, I know that MWI was NOT invented to explain away anything, that it was presented as a possible explanation for certain observations well in advance of this kind of argument.

But, here is my question. Does MWI limit itself to alternate universes with the same universal constants, or does it predict also the existence of universes with different universal constants?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 12 May 2016 01:12:25PM 2 points [-]

MWI doesn't say anything about other constants- the other parts of our wavefunction should have the same constants. However, other multiverse hypotheses do suggest that physical constants could eb different.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 02 May 2016 10:56:50PM *  2 points [-]
Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 May 2016 12:39:52AM 0 points [-]

That seems like an accurate analysis.

I'm actually more concerned about an error in logic. If one estimates a probability of say k that in a given year that climate change will cause an extinction event, then the probability of it occurring in any given string of years is not the obvious one, since part of what is going on in estimating k is the chance that climate change can in fact cause such an incident.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 02 May 2016 03:29:16PM 1 point [-]

Mainstream discussion of existential risk is becoming more of a thing, A recent example is this article in The Atlantic. They do mention a variety of risks but focus on nuclear war and worst case global warming.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 30 March 2016 06:55:14AM 2 points [-]

Getting five downvotes on this immediately after posting is bizarre

When people arguing with VoiceOfRa got several downvotes in a row, the conclusion drawn was sockpuppets.

So to be fair, lets assume there's an SJW with a sockpuppet army too. Now both sides can claim its just tit-for-tat.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 30 March 2016 04:34:50PM 4 points [-]

When people arguing with VoiceOfRa got several downvotes in a row, the conclusion drawn was sockpuppets.

There was substantially more evidence that VoiceOfRa was downvoting in a retributive fashion, including database evidence.

Comment author: [deleted] 25 December 2015 03:12:04AM 0 points [-]

I mean, there's sound psychological reasons that having karma would increase participation and quality. That's why reddit overtook classic newsboards

In response to comment by [deleted] on Voiceofra is banned
Comment author: JoshuaZ 29 December 2015 09:46:09PM 0 points [-]

Slashdot had Karma years before Reddit and was not nearly as successful. Granted it didn't try to do general forum discussions but just news articles, but this suggests that karma is not the whole story.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 27 November 2015 05:59:59PM 3 points [-]

Further possible evidence for a Great Filter: A recent paper suggests that as long as the probability of an intelligent species arising on a habitable planet is not tiny, at least about 10^-24 then with very high probability humans are not the only civilization to have ever been in the observable universe, and a similar result holds for the Milky Way with around 10^-10 as the relevant probability. Article about paper is here and paper is here.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 November 2015 07:35:38PM 0 points [-]

The most interesting unknown in the future is the time of creation of Strong AI. Our priors are insufficient to predict it because it is such a unique task.

I'm not sure this follows. The primary problems with predicting the rise of Strong AI apply to most other artificial existential risks also.

Comment author: [deleted] 06 November 2015 02:05:05PM *  0 points [-]

If you had to select just 5 mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive variables to predict the the outcome of something *you have expert knowledge (relative to say...me) * about:

  • what is that situation?
  • what are the 5 things that best determine the outcome?

    Please tell us about multiple things if you are an expert at multple things. No time for humility know, it is better that you are kind teacher than a modest mute.

If you can come up with a better way I could ask this, please point it out! It sounds clumsy, but the question has a rather technical background to it's composition:

Research on expert judgement indicates experts are just as bad as nonexperts in some counterintuitive ways, like predicting the outcome of a thing, but consistently good at identifying the determinants that are important to consider in a given thing within their field of expertise, such as what are the variables that determine a given thing. The human working memory can only hold 7+/-2 things at a given time. So, tending to even more stressful situations where our memories may be situanionally brought down to a level of functioning commiserate with someone with a poorer memory, I want to ask for 5 things anyone could think about when they come across one or more of your niches of expertise that they can pay attention to in order to gather the most relevant information from the experience

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, Nov. 02 - Nov. 08, 2015
Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 November 2015 07:31:40PM 2 points [-]

Research on expert judgement indicates experts are just as bad as nonexperts in some counterintuitive ways, like predicting the outcome of a thing,

Do you have a citation for this? My understanding was that in many fields experts perform better than nonexperts. The main thing that experts share in common with non-experts is overconfidence about their predictions.

Comment author: HungryHobo 05 November 2015 05:11:39PM *  2 points [-]

Estimates of nuclear weapons being deployed in a conflict between the 2 states in the next 10 years?

Poll is a probability poll as described here:http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Comment_formatting#Probability_Poll

values from 0 to 1


Comment author: JoshuaZ 06 November 2015 07:27:35PM 2 points [-]

If people want to lock in their predictions they can do so on Prediction Book here.

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