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Comment author: Romashka 24 August 2016 10:51:14AM 2 points [-]

It seems to me that the history of biological systematics/taxonomy is a great source of material for a study on dissolving the question (but I am neither a systematicist nor a historian). Are there any popular intros into the field that don't focus on individual botanists of the past? Serebryakov's "Morphology of plants", printed half a century ago, has a nice section on history, but it is limited in scope (and not quite "popular"). Other books often just list the people and what they did without interconnecting them, which is boring.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 August 2016 08:49:52PM 2 points [-]

Naming Nature is focused on animals, but it or some of the books receommended with it might be the sort of thing you're looking for.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 16 August 2016 03:02:21AM 2 points [-]

Thanks for the reviews-- I had no idea there were so many companies in that niche.

Comment author: Lumifer 12 August 2016 03:58:44PM 1 point [-]

What do you mean by immediate impact on choices? Very few people make choices based on what the psychological theory of the day says they must do.

The most impactful branches are probably medicine and economics. They are medium-fucked, I think, because at the psych/anthro levels of dysfunction your patients just die or your economy implodes and people tend to dislike such things :-/

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 August 2016 04:50:13PM 2 points [-]

Now that I'm thinking about it, psychological papers probably have more effect in the LW-sphere than in the world generally. Are you counting nutrition as part of medicine?

Comment author: Lumifer 12 August 2016 02:53:41PM 7 points [-]

I think this article suffers from aggregating all science into one big bin. In reality, different disciplines have a radically different level of problems with replicability and fraud. Classical hard sciences like physics and chemistry don't have much of a problem. Very soft sciences like psychology or anthropology have a huge problem.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 August 2016 03:29:29PM 0 points [-]

You're right, though I'm not sure what the best way to phrase it better is.

My question still stands, since the parts of science which are most fucked seems to be the parts that have the most immediate impact on people's choices.

"Is Science Broken?" is underspecified

7 NancyLebovitz 12 August 2016 11:59AM


This is an interesting article-- it's got an overview of what's currently seen as the problems with replicability and fraud, and some material I haven't seen before about handing the same question to a bunch of scientists, and looking at how they come up with their divergent answers.

However, while I think it's fair to say that science is really hard, the article gets into claiming that scientists aren't especially awful people (probably true), but doesnn't address the hard question of "Given that there's a lot of inaccurate science, how much should we trust specific scientific claims?"

Comment author: OrphanWilde 09 August 2016 03:15:54PM 2 points [-]

I don't recommend having this argument. It's useless in almost every respect.

There are two fundamental issues. First, most people don't understand what a Calorie looks like, and think the difference between a healthy weight and an unhealthy weight is a large amount of food, rather than a small amount of food compounded over long periods of time. Want to lose weight in a sustained and sustainable fashion? Subtract a small amount of food over a long period of time. Instead, people crash-diet, then go back to normal eating habits.

An extra apple a day translates, over years, to up to 50 extra pounds. Looking at two people's daily diets, one is overweight, one is healthy, and most people couldn't tell the difference by looking at what they ate.

The second problem is that exercise is incredibly unpleasant if you're overweight. If you're currently in shape, try tossing 50 lbs of weights into a backpack the next time you exercise. Or better yet, don't, because you could hurt yourself pretty easily in exactly the ways overweight people injure themselves when doing things like jogging.

It takes physiological issues to gain serious amounts of weight in the first place; these won't stop you from losing weight, but they'll make it harder to maintain a steady weight. Normal people fidget or otherwise increase their base level of activity when they overeat, burning off excess calories. Overweight people have to be more deliberate and conscious of these things.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 10 August 2016 02:51:36AM 0 points [-]

There are fat athletes. I can believe that starting from being very sedentary is harder if you're fat.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 31 July 2016 07:26:29AM 0 points [-]

What is the Speed Giving Game?

The text in you photograph is too small to read easily, or perhaps at all.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 July 2016 05:36:35PM 3 points [-]
Comment author: RomeoStevens 28 July 2016 02:11:11AM *  6 points [-]

Rationalists often presume that it is possible to do much better than average by applying a small amount of optimization power. This is true in many domains, but can get you in trouble in certain places (see: the valley of bad rationality).

Rationalists often fail to compartmentalize, even when it would be highly useful.

Rationalists are often overconfident (see: SSC calibration questions) but believe they are well calibrated (bias blind spot, also just knowing about a bias is not enough to unbias you)

Rationalists don't even lift bro.

Rationalists often fail to take marginal utility arguments to their logical conclusion, which is why they spend their time on things they are already good at rather than power leveling their lagging skills (see above). (Actually, I think we might be wired for this in order to seek comparative advantage in tribal roles.)

Rationalists often presume that others are being stupidly irrational when really the other people just have significantly different values and/or operate largely in domains where there aren't strong reinforcement mechanisms for systematic thought or are stuck in a local maximum in an area where crossing a chasm is very costly.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 29 July 2016 05:33:23PM 4 points [-]

Ratiionalists stil have too much trust in scientific studies, especially psychological studies.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 28 July 2016 01:34:30PM 2 points [-]

I'd say the problem is that Zebra was extremely bad at imagining good outcomes in a way which led to him taking action-- in other words, probably depression. There's a sort of bipolar which looks a lot like depression because the manic phase is very small, but it has to be identified accurately because depression meds don't work for it.

Part of Zebra's problem was that he was punishing himself for not being more active, and I think you did good work defusing that part of the logjam.

I'm not sure how I came to that conclusion-- the pattern seemed very obvious to me.

I'm also concerned about him assaulting someone. I might have brought up the circumstances to see whether his thought processes which led to it could be avoided. It's not clear to me whether his girlfriend and his roommate are the same person. If he assaulted someone who was financially dependent on him, the lack of sequelae that he noticed doesn't mean it was no big deal.

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