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Comment author: eugman 21 June 2010 01:21:54PM 2 points [-]

I'm curious how you all would feel about introducing gambling, in some sense, with children. Like a large fishbowl filled with slips of paper. Whenever they do something good, you let them go get a slip and receive whatever reward is written on it. Obviously you'd have to deal with cheating.

Although I'm weary about punish or rewarding doing chores as opposed to good effort. I feel like chores should just be expected of the child. Instead of it seeming like a job. But I suppose the randomness is supposed to help with that.

Comment author: Nanani 22 June 2010 05:21:34AM 0 points [-]

Odd as it may sound, it would have to be "structured randomness" so to speak. Picking a slip out of a bowl would probably work - getting a reward only when the parent is in the mood to give one would likely not. The latter is just as random from the child's perspective, but inconsistent parenting (or animal training, or employee rewarding schemes) is known to be bad at shaping behaviour in the desired fashion.

Comment author: rlingle 21 June 2010 03:19:28PM 2 points [-]

Nothing except for large segments of the population that will revolt at the very idea. Politicians win by promising to be "tough on crime" regardless of the real result. People like to think most others are much, much worse humans; and they like to see them punished for it to reinforce their belief. Paying a drug addict to get clean won't be popular, but paying people for driving "normally" won't fare much better.

I agree, though, we would ideally keep some/most existing laws and fines while cutting back on the number of officer-hours to make the immediate costs balance.

Comment author: Nanani 22 June 2010 05:17:28AM 4 points [-]

Paying a drug addict to get clean isn't rewarding good behavior so much as rewarding the cessation of bad behavior. This has clear problems. For one thing, it isn't random like the "follow the speed limit for a chance at a small reward" scheme.

A true equivalent would be rewarding random people for not being on drugs, including the population of former addicts that have since gone clean. Being on drugs would be a garantee of not getting this reward.

Comment author: nazgulnarsil 11 June 2010 02:23:38AM 0 points [-]

"However, like with vitamin dosages and their effects on health, two variables might have a non-linear relationship."

if we limit our interval we can make a linear approximation within that interval. this is often good enough if we don't much care about data outside that interval. the easy pitfall of course is people wanting to extend the linearization beyond the bounds of the interval.

Comment author: Nanani 16 June 2010 03:10:25AM -1 points [-]

Voted down because tangential replies that belong elsewhere really get on my nerves. Please comment on the post about the vitamin study, linked in the OP.

Comment author: Nanani 07 June 2010 02:29:00AM 2 points [-]

Wow, that was great! I already had a fairly good understanding of the Theorem, but this helped cement it further and helped me compute a bit faster.

It also gave me a good dose of learning-tingles, for which I thank you.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 June 2010 10:13:11AM 15 points [-]

I've asked this question before, but where the hell does the high-quality rationality on TV Tropes come from?

Comment author: Nanani 03 June 2010 12:59:52AM 4 points [-]

Rational Tropers. QED.

Comment author: SilasBarta 02 June 2010 05:34:32PM *  2 points [-]

ETA = Edited to add (not "estimated time of arrival", the more common usage)

I sometimes use ETC, edited to correct, but that hasn't caught on.

ETA: And here's the LessWrong acronym list -- we need to link it from the front page.

Comment author: Nanani 03 June 2010 12:59:18AM 2 points [-]

Where I live, ETC stands for Electronic Toll Collection and is posted at the entry ramp of toll-roads equipped appropriately.

What's wrong with just using "Edit: additional note goes here"

Comment author: Nanani 01 June 2010 01:03:04AM 4 points [-]

Excellent article, though there is a point I'd like to see adressed on the topic.

One salient feature of these marginal, lifestyle-relaed conditions is the large number of false positives that comes with diagnosis. How many alcoholics, chronic gamblers, and so on, are really incapable of helping themselves, as opposed to just being people who enjoy drinking or gambling and claim to be unable to help themselves to diminish social disapproval? Similarly, how many are diagnosed by their peers (He's so mopey, he must be depressed) and possibly come to believe it themselves?

The existence of these false positives is probably a big reason for the sympathy/treatment difference these conditions have to more typical diseases.
The diagnosis for cancer is fairly straightforward (you have a cancerous tumor -> you have cancer), the diagnosis for gambling addiction is much less so (maybe you are neurologically normal and just really like gambling, maybe there's something deeply wrong with your neurochemistry.).

The lower lethality also makes it so that a person can not only self-diagnose a marginal condition and also justify never seeking treatment. If you don't seek treatment for cancer, you die. If you don't seek treatment for TB, you also put a lot of people at risk. If you don't seek treatment for obesity... you stay fat. Barring a certain extreme, that isn't going to kill you nor anyone else. Neither will chronic gambling or any of the other examples, though they might correlate with things that do kill you with a high probability, say alcoholism and drunk driving.

This is pretty much the opposite concern as the one stated in the conclusion of the main post: If a biological fix exists, is there a moral obligation to use it?

In response to Abnormal Cryonics
Comment author: Nanani 28 May 2010 12:54:54AM 0 points [-]

Interesting post, but perhaps too much is being compressed into a single expression.

The niceness and weirdness factors of thinking about cryonics do not actually affect the correctness of cryonics itself. The correctness factor depends only on one's values and the weight of probability.

Not thinking one's own values through sufficiently enough to make an accurate evaluation is both irrational and a common failure mode. Miscalculating the probabilities is also a mistake, though perhaps more a mathematical error than a rationality error.

When these are the reasons for rejecting cryonics, then that rejection is obviously incorrect.

That said, you are quite correct to point out that differing values are not automatically a rationality failure, and it is definitely good to consider the image problem associated with the niceness issues.

Perhaps the niceness and weirdness ought to not be jumbled together with the correctness evaluation question.

Comment author: Nanani 27 May 2010 12:33:46AM 2 points [-]

Forgive me if this has been adressed elsewhere, but doesn't the knowledge that you are -trying- to like them get in the way of success? You will always know that you are liking them on purpose and applying these techniques to make yourself like them, so how do you avoid this knowledge breaking the desired effect?

Comment author: pjeby 20 May 2010 05:30:06AM 4 points [-]

By critical failure I mean things like dropping out of the workforce out of sheer laziness; it would be judgemental to say that this is wrong so therefore it's wrong to stop anyone, including yourself, from doing so.

Wow. You really are adding a lot of baggage to this... and it has nothing to do with what Vanessa said about how to treat people, or how I saw her and Garin treating people.

I never saw them let anybody walk all over them -- they just didn't get upset by people trying.

There's a difference between accepting a person, and accepting their behavior.

So they judged people and their needs or wants, then proceeded to claim they were non-judgemental.

Clearly, you are using a different definition of "judge" than I am.

For example, if I were to "judge" you in this interaction, I would say you're being rude, nasty, and massively projecting your experiences onto something that has nothing to do with them... and I would attribute this as a personal characteristic of you... e.g. you are irrational, you are projecting, etc.

If I were, on the other hand, following Garin and Vanessa's example, I would probably say something like, "wow, you really had a painful experience with that, didn't you?" and then either change the subject or drop the conversation if I didn't want to pursue it any further.

IOW, not judging you, but rather paying attention to your experience and communication, and accepting you as a person worthy of compassion, rather than someone who should be written off as a matter of moral assessment. (vs. simply personally not wanting to continue the interaction).

I hope that that's enough information for you to be able to separate whatever definition of "judgment" you're using, from the one I'm talking about here.

(Attempting to make another link with LW references, you might say that Vanessa's advice was to avoid indulging our human tendency towards fundamental attribution error.)

Comment author: Nanani 20 May 2010 05:42:04AM 0 points [-]

Let me sum it up more simply: Telling people not to judge is not an accurate reflection of what they actually do.

I tried to explain why non-judgmentalism is a bad value to uphold. I have nothing to say about Garin and Vanessa, only about the value of the advice proffered.

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