Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 19 October 2014 06:02:30PM 1 point [-]

What is unpersuasive about the responses to Mother Jones?

They're exactly what I thought when I read it. Actually, I had a more specific thought: what changed in 2011 is that they started collecting data live, rather than through archives. Of course, rejecting a data set because it was produced by hand in an ad hoc manner does not give you a replacement data set and thus does not produce an actual analysis. But the Reason link suggests Duwe's data as a replacement. Since he starts with official data and only uses media coverage to fill in details, he isn't subject to temporal bias.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 20 October 2014 02:55:19PM 0 points [-]

What is unpersuasive about the responses to Mother Jones?

I agree that Duwe's point is the closest thing there to a decent argument against MJ's data. But I think the accusation that there data is "cherrypicked" is not reasonably supported. The entire paragraph in Siegel's piece where he argues for this is essentially ignoring that what they are using is what fits closely with the common intuition of what is a mass shooting. The only one which one could plausibly take out of that set is Fort Hood but it doesn't alter the data very much.

Most of Siegel's points are correct but not relevant to the question of increases of shootings. For example, he's correct that there's a serious measuring issue with whether shootings are stopped by others with weapons, and he's also correct that even if the trend identified by MJ is accurate it is still a tiny fraction of total crimes and will remain so, but that's not actually relevant to evaluating the central claim.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 19 October 2014 05:51:46PM 1 point [-]

Your opinion about newsmedia was correct the whole time. This led you to ignore Mother Jones in 2012, but still your beliefs about the trends were correct for most of the time you held them.

What is the correct course of action?
Ignoring the newsmedia is clearly optimal. In particular paying attention to MJ writing on the same data set in 2012 would have produced the belief that spree killings had increased in 2006, an error according to your current MJ beliefs, though of course MJ doesn't notice the change. Maybe if you wait a few years, they'll convince you that nothing changed in 2011, only in 2015.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 20 October 2014 02:45:19PM 0 points [-]

I don't think so. I had read similar articles in the past and was generally unpersuaded.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 06 October 2014 02:28:53PM 2 points [-]

I find it very worrisome that popular culture has turned to glorifying the Spartans. Screw the Spartans.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 October 2014 12:17:46PM 0 points [-]

I find it very worrisome that popular culture has turned to glorifying the Spartans.

Modern culture also loves Game of Thrones where leadership is determined by who can kill the most other people.

I wouldn't worry about it. People are capable of distinguishing something as "cool" while still not really wanting to emulate a given society.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 18 October 2014 03:30:34AM 2 points [-]

Also, what about you? Did you have this opinion before 2011?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 October 2014 12:08:17PM 0 points [-]

What do you mean? I thought I made that clear. My opinion was well before 2011 and remained my go to comment until I read that article that there was no increase at all and that any claimed increase was purely media hype.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 18 October 2014 12:35:20AM 2 points [-]

Until about 3 days ago, I was convinced that claims that mass shootings were increasing in the US were due purely to media scare tactics and general human tendencies to see things as getting worse. This article made me strongly update against that.

The last 30 years of such claims are not due to anything that happened in 2011.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 18 October 2014 02:15:28AM *  0 points [-]

Sure, that's certainly a valid point. It doesn't make the people saying this in the 1980s or the 1990s or the 2000s correct in any way shape or form. And it is possible that the media's current claims are completely disconnected from the uptick. The relevant bit is updating that there really has been a statistically significant uptick. (Especially because my priors based on general declining crime rates would have been to if anything suspect the opposite.)

Comment author: JoshuaZ 17 October 2014 12:34:00AM *  8 points [-]

I believed that the composition of a rational rotation of a sphere and another rational rotation of a sphere will be rational. (By a rational rotation I mean a rotation of a sphere around some axis which in radians is a rational multiple of pi, and thus will end up putting the sphere back where it started if you apply it enough.) Counterexample: Two 30 degree rotations each around a different axis with the two axies perpendicular to each other. I believed this because I was too used to thinking about the two-dimensional case, where it is trivially true.

Until very recently, I was convinced that it was extremely unlikely that any form of adiabatic quantum computing would have any chance at working at providing speedups, either asymptotically or practically. This belief came to a large extent as what was in retrospect an irrational reaction to the junk and bad hype that has been repeatedly coming from D-Wave. I changed my position when Scott Aaronson made this comment (comment number 25).

More mind-killing territory: Until about 3 days ago, I was convinced that claims that mass shootings were increasing in the US were due purely to media scare tactics and general human tendencies to see things as getting worse. This article made me strongly update against that. Since then, I've seen this response and this one which were both deeply unpersuasive as responses go.

Even more potential mindkilling: Having read more of Slatestarcodex, I've become convinced that he's correct that there really is a substantial fraction of what self-identifies as the "social justice" movement, primarily in an online context, that really is toxic, and that the rest of the left and the serious, sane part of the SJers aren't doing enough to call them out on it. On the flipside, "Gamergate" has convinced me that there's still a very real need for a vocal feminist movement, and that latent misogyny is still pretty common. Edit: To specify what this means in an operational sense, that there are a lot of SJers out there who are making personal attacks or calls for censorship against those with whom they disagree.

I was convinced in 2008 that Obama was going to be good for civil liberties. I don't think I need to discuss in any detail why that was wrong or how I got convinced otherwise, since the reasons should be pretty obvious.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 11 August 2014 04:35:42AM 1 point [-]

It may help to note that there's been a lot of work on what we mean by sentences being true since Tarski. The most notable in this context would be Kripke(pdf).

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 05 August 2014 07:38:19PM 5 points [-]

See also EYs comment on FB:

People who have this [status regulating] emotion leave angry reviews on Chapter 6 of HPMOR where they complain about how much Harry is disrespecting Professor McGonagall and they can’t read this story.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 05 August 2014 10:36:44PM 11 points [-]

I wasn't very satisfied with Eliezer's comment there. He seemed to be missing the point of those complaints. They didn't mind necessarily that Harry acted as he did, but they found it out-of-character that McGonagall would respond to Harry's actions as she did.

Comment author: CAE_Jones 24 July 2014 04:22:40PM 0 points [-]

As someone who has occasionally pondered how a Captain Planet Rationalfic might work (I even had a dream that tried to munchkin powers and villain plots, but it was riddled with dream-generated rules), I'm guessing "less than I'd like, dangit." It'd certainly be a fun topic for /r/rational, IMO.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 24 July 2014 09:24:21PM 7 points [-]

For a start the villain who is powered by nuclear waste should be used in a cooperative fashion to do waste disposal. Then he doesn't need to keep attacking reactors.

Comment author: bbleeker 22 July 2014 04:53:26PM *  0 points [-]

One, these dates fall within the life expectancies of people alive in 2014.

That is why. On January 1, 2045, I'll be 90 years old, if I make it that far. So if a cure for mortality has been invented and made widely available by then, I could just get to use it. If it's invented in 2060, who cares? I'll be dead.

Comment author: JoshuaZ 23 July 2014 07:44:08PM 2 points [-]

View more: Next