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Comment author: James_Miller 31 August 2015 04:49:25AM *  2 points [-]

Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who has a fantastic rationalist-compatible blog, is giving Donald Trump a 98% of becoming president because Trump is using advanced persuasion techniques. We probably shouldn't get into whether Trump should be president, but do you think Adams is correct, especially about what he writes here. See also this, this, and this.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 02 September 2015 01:51:50AM 5 points [-]

Why do so many people see Adams as being rationality-compatible? I've seen very little that he has to say that sounds at all rational or helpful. Cynical != rational.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 14 August 2015 11:53:35PM -2 points [-]

It's common sense to infer that someone is talking about valid proofs when they talk about believing in proofs.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 16 August 2015 02:33:39AM 2 points [-]

That is the problem in a nutshell: how do you know it is a valid proof? All the time one thinks the proof is valid and it turns out one is wrong.

Comment author: eli_sennesh 11 August 2015 12:37:26PM -1 points [-]

The principle, stated simply in my bastardized version, is to believe no thing with probability 1.

Meeehhhh. Believe nothing empirical with probability 1.0. Believe formal and analytical proofs with probability 1.0.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 14 August 2015 06:02:53PM 5 points [-]

Have you never seen an apparently valid mathematical proof that you later found an error in?

Comment author: CellBioGuy 21 July 2015 06:04:25AM *  28 points [-]

Would a series of several posts on astrobiology and the Fermi paradox, each consisting of a link to an external post on a personal blog I have just established to contain my musings on the subject and related matters, be appreciated?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 July 2015 11:18:47PM 1 point [-]

Yes. absolutely would be of interest.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 June 2015 01:35:51PM 5 points [-]

Philosophers are apparently about as vulnerable as the general population to certain cognitive biases involved in making moral decisions according to new research. Apparently, they are as susceptible to the order of presentation impacting how moral or immoral they rate various situations. See summary of research here. Actual research is unfortunately behind a paywall.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 22 May 2015 12:37:42PM *  0 points [-]

No offense to you guys, but this is why I don't play RPGs with other people. Instead of playing a role almost everybody is trying to make "efficient" "overpowered" characters as if it was some sort of a competition which you can win. I think entirely the other way around, I would make my character a wizard because and only because this career choice matches his personality, background and so on, and multiclass only when it looks like my char really would. And would not give no heed to efficiency and power. It would be the DMs job to match difficulty level to our characters, not the other way around.

I will have to invent an RPG where all armor has the same AC, all weapons the same damage, so that players don't try to make overpowered optimization monsters but plain simply choose whatever matches a characters style, background, culture, or the players general sense of coolness. Thus, for example, a player would be comfortable with a fighter character that wears no armor and carries only a rapier because he is a D'Artagnan type swashbuckler, that is his personality, background and style.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 May 2015 01:11:26AM -2 points [-]

No offense to you guys, but this is why I don't play RPGs with other people. Instead of playing a role almost everybody is trying to make "efficient" "overpowered" characters as if it was some sort of a competition which you can win.

I generally don't play "optmized" characters, but the fact that there are some character types which are more optimal for most purposes (surviving games, making DMs cry, etc.) is well acknowledged. One can have fun discussing those issues independent of any characters one actually plays in a game.

There are however, some circumstances where it really does matter. Say for example one is playing a very high intelligence wizard in D&D 3.5. The fact is that throwing fire balls at everything is very fun, but not at all effective compared to battlefield control and buffing. So if one has a wizard who likes doing that sort of thing, you need an in game explanation for why they enjoy solving things with explosions so much.

It is also worth noting that in some games, the problem of optimal characters gets so severe that it makes it for some arrangements of characters where it is extremely difficult or impossible for a DM to match something that corresponds to the difficulty level of all the characters. A genuine threat to some characters will be the same level that makes other characters useless or dead. The 3.5 Tier list was made to try to help understand and fix this problem. So these issues do impact real game play.

Comment author: Lumifer 20 May 2015 04:14:45PM *  2 points [-]

(more a social justice wizard/rogue)

Ah, so ridiculously OP..? [1] X-D

were not well received

If politics tend to mind-kill, discussions of SJ tend to disintegrate brains into dust. People just haul out their flamethrowers and go to town...

[1] For those not well-versed in DnD minutae, combining the abilities of a glass-cannon class (like a wizard) and a stealthy burst-damage class (like a rogue) tends to result in a quite overpowered character.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 21 May 2015 07:23:50PM -1 points [-]

For those not well-versed in DnD minutae, combining the abilities of a glass-cannon class (like a wizard) and a stealthy burst-damage class (like a rogue) tends to result in a quite overpowered character.

I think this is very edition dependent and what multiclassing rules you are using.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 May 2015 03:20:03PM 2 points [-]

Red dwarfs have a smaller habitable zone than our sun, but if you have a planet close enough to a red dwarf this isn't an issue. This is exactly the problem: if there are some set of not so likely series of events that will occur, then one expects to find civilizations around red dwarfs. If one expects that's not the case then the big habitable zones on somewhat bigger stars make one more likely to expect a civilization around those stars. We see the second.

  • AFAIK planets close enough to a Red Dwarf to get enough lumosity stop being earth-like due to other effects (likely rotational periods, tidal forces).
Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 May 2015 06:27:08PM 0 points [-]

The situation is a bit more complicated. Wikipedia has a good summary. There's also been more recent work which suggests that the outer end of the habitable zone around red dwarfs may be larger than than earlier estimates. See my earlier comments here on this subject.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 11 May 2015 01:33:20PM 1 point [-]

The low luminosity of red dwarf stars makes them unsuitable for an earth-like environment, I believe. I don't have enough information to comment on a non-earthlike environment supporting life.

The stability of red dwarves, however, could work as a filter in itself, limiting the number of global extinction events.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 May 2015 03:08:36PM 0 points [-]

The low luminosity of red dwarf stars makes them unsuitable for an earth-like environment, I believe. I don't have enough information to comment on a non-earthlike environment supporting life.

Red dwarfs have a smaller habitable zone than our sun, but if you have a planet close enough to a red dwarf this isn't an issue. This is exactly the problem: if there are some set of not so likely series of events that will occur, then one expects to find civilizations around red dwarfs. If one expects that's not the case then the big habitable zones on somewhat bigger stars make one more likely to expect a civilization around those stars. We see the second.

The stability of red dwarves, however, could work as a filter in itself, limiting the number of global extinction events.

Possibly, but I don't think that any of the major extinction events in Earth history are generally attributed to large solar flares or coronal mass ejections or the like. So it seems like asteroids and geological considerations are more than enough to provide extinction events.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 08 May 2015 08:25:18PM 2 points [-]

My personal suspicion is that intelligent life requires a wide variety of complex cellular machinery, which requires multiple global extinction-level events to weed out more highly specialized species utilizing more efficient but less adaptable survival mechanisms; each extinction-level event, in this suspicion, would raise the potential complexity of the environment, until intelligence becomes more advantageous than expensive. However, there'd have to be spacing between global extinction events, in order to permit a recovery period in which that complexity can actually arise. Any planet which experiences multiple global extinction events is likely to experience more, however, so the conditions which give rise to intelligent life would usually result in its ultimate destruction.

No hard evidence, granted. Just suspicion.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 08 May 2015 11:38:35PM 0 points [-]

This hypothesis is interesting and not one I've seen at all before. It seems to run partially afoul of the same problem that many small early filters would run into- one would be more likely to find civilizations around red dwarfs. Is there a way around that?

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