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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: Nornagest 04 December 2016 03:03:48AM *  1 point [-]

I think conflating literalism and fundamentalism here is probably a bad idea. I am not an expert in the early history of the Abrahamic religions, but it seems likely that textual literalism's gone in and out of style over the several thousand years of Abrahamic history, just as many other aspects of interpretation have.

Fundamentalism is a different story. There have been several movements purporting to return to the fundamentals of religion, but in current use the word generally refers only to the most recent crop of movements, which share certain characteristics because they share a common origin: they are reactions against modernity and against the emerging universal culture. It stands to reason that these characteristics would be new (at least in this form), because prior to them there was no modernity or universal culture to react against.

In response to comment by mjk1093 on Dunbar's Function
Comment author: Lumifer 22 April 2016 07:21:27PM 3 points [-]

BMI assumes you are the normal semi-sedentary modern person.

More importantly, BMI assumes you are of average height. Human weight doesn't actually scale by the square root of height, so BMI has a systemic bias for tall people (too high) and for short people (too low).

As far as I recall, BMI was designed as a tool to compare whole populations (where the height bias averages out) and people who created it explicitly said that it's not a good metric to evaluate individuals.

In response to comment by Lumifer on Dunbar's Function
Comment author: Nornagest 22 April 2016 09:19:08PM *  0 points [-]

While it's true that BMI is a rough metric and gets rougher when you're dealing with unusual proportions or body compositions, those effects are often exaggerated. An athletic male of 6 feet 6 inches (99.8th percentile) and 210 pounds, which is about what you'd find in your average pro basketball player, would score as normal weight.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 13 April 2016 09:25:34PM -2 points [-]

I was thinking about chat between players.

Comment author: Nornagest 13 April 2016 10:19:59PM *  1 point [-]

It's hard to get players to use specific speech patterns, and harder to teach them to get it right. I've worked on a game which tried to get players to use pseudo-Elizabethan prose (in a particularly ham-handed way, granted), but in practice what happened was the people who didn't care just used natural speech, and the people that did used whatever butchered old-timey dialect they thought would be appropriate for their character. Most people didn't care.

Comment author: Fluttershy 28 March 2016 03:51:43AM *  4 points [-]

If you don't have a good primary care doctor or are generally looking to trade money for health, and live in the Bay Area, Phoenix, Boston, NY, Chicago, or Washington DC, I'd recommend considering signing up for One Medical Group, which is a service that provides members with access to a network of competent primary doctors, as well as providing other benefits. They do charge patients a $150 yearly membership fee in additional to charging co-pays similar to what you'd pay at any other primary care physician's office, but in return for this, they hire more competent doctors, employ a large support staff that can nudge you to take care of outstanding health concerns, and are generally good at talking you into taking preventative measures to safeguard your health.

(My only incentive for posting this is that I want LessWrongers to be healthy. My reasoning is roughly that if you're willing to spend money on cryonics, then you'd probably be willing to spend money on quality preventative healthcare, too).

Added: I benefited quite a bit from signing up with them for the specific reason that the fact that so many of their doctors and staff are so kind nudged me to be less afraid of going to the doctor. This made it easier for me to take preventative steps toward being healthier in general.

Comment author: Nornagest 28 March 2016 08:04:42PM *  6 points [-]

I'm a One Medical member. The single biggest draw for me is that you can get appointments the same or next day with little or no waiting time -- where my old primary care doctor was usually booked solid for two weeks or more, by which point I'd either have naturally gotten over whatever I wanted to see him for, or have been driven to an expensive urgent care clinic full of other sick people.

They don't bother with the traditional kabuki dance where a nurse ushers you in and takes your vitals and then you wait around for fifteen minutes before the actual doctor shows, either -- you see a doctor immediately about whatever you came in for, and you're usually in and out in twenty minutes. It's so much better of a workflow that I'm astonished it hasn't been more widely adopted.

That said, they don't play particularly nice with my current insurance, so do your homework.

Comment author: gwern 02 March 2016 02:25:19AM 2 points [-]
  • Chanson de Geste (Narnia fanfiction: realpolitik-Chthulian romance. Game mechanic reminds me of The Player of Games.)
Comment author: Nornagest 03 March 2016 11:21:35PM *  0 points [-]

That was pretty good.

I don't really follow the Narnia fandom, but whenever I run into it I'm usually impressed by its quality. Especially considering that the movies behind it (it seems primarily to be a movie fandom, though everyone's read the books) were second-rate as popularity goes and not particularly deep or creative.

Comment author: dxu 02 March 2016 09:51:43PM *  0 points [-]

Note for whoever is behind this scam:

Next time, when picking a set of people to target, try to go for people who don't make a habit of studying epistemic rationality.

Comment author: Nornagest 02 March 2016 11:04:32PM *  27 points [-]

Let's not break our arms patting ourselves on the back, at least not until the data's in. At the moment we could be more, less, or equally susceptible to scamming than our demographics generally are.

It'd be interesting to see which, though.

Comment author: Fluttershy 22 February 2016 03:00:52AM *  2 points [-]

There's actually a yearly cryonics festival held in Nederland, a little town near Boulder, Colorado. However, according to a relative who's been to the festival, the whole event is really just an excuse to drink beer, listen to music, and participate in silly cryonics-themed events like ice turkey bowling.

So, it seems like the type of people who attend this festival aren't quite the type who would be likely to sign up for cryonics after all, though I might be able to further evaluate this next year if I'm able to attend the festival while visiting a relative in the area. (This could be relevant to LW in theory if the festival ends up being a good place to advertise cryonics, though I'm not suggesting that this is likely to be the case).

Comment author: Nornagest 24 February 2016 07:41:48PM *  2 points [-]

For almost all subjects X, an X festival is an excuse to drink beer, hang out, and do silly X-themed stuff.

This should not be taken to mean that it has nothing to do with X, or that it adds no value toward it. What you're really getting out of it is an opportunity to meet other people who're into the subject, or at least well-disposed enough to show up to a festival advertised as such.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 12 February 2016 08:16:52PM 0 points [-]

I've noticed most LWers who bother to speak on the matter predict with high confidence a Republican win, whereas I don't see that anywhere in the realm of possibility this year. By contrast, RationalWiki is all for Sanders, it seems.

Comment author: Nornagest 13 February 2016 12:19:41AM *  -2 points [-]

Probably contrarianism talking -- both here and on RationalWiki, actually. I wouldn't take it too seriously.

Comment author: TheAltar 11 February 2016 10:18:04PM *  0 points [-]

Seems like there's something odd/interesting going on since lots of the various professions are paired up with Truck Drivers.

Comment author: Nornagest 12 February 2016 12:06:19AM *  2 points [-]

My guess would be that there are a lot of truck drivers and it's a very male-leaning job, so I'd expect to see it paired up with a lot of female-leaning jobs of about the same class.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 10 February 2016 09:33:17PM 1 point [-]

I'm aware there are ways of causing trouble that do not involve violating any rules.

I can do it without even violating the "Don't be a dick" rule, personally. I once caused a blog to explode by being politely insistent the blog author was wrong, and being perfectly logical and consistently helpful about it. I think observers were left dumbfounded by the whole thing. I still occasionally find references to the aftereffects of the event on relevant corners of the internet. I was asked to leave, is the short of it. And then the problem got infinitely worse - because nobody could say what exactly I had done.

A substantial percentage of the blog's readers left and never came back. The blog author's significant other came in at some point in the mess, and I suspect their relationship ended as a result. I would guess the author in question probably had a nervous breakdown; it wouldn't be the first, if so.

You're right in that rules don't help, at all, against certain classes of people. The solution is not to do away with rules, however, but to remember they're not a complete solution.

Comment author: Nornagest 10 February 2016 10:39:32PM *  0 points [-]

I'm not saying we should do away with rules. I'm saying that there needs to be leeway to handle cases outside of the (specific) rules, with more teeth behind it than "don't do it again".

Rules are helpful. A ruleset outlines what you're concerned with, and a good one nudges users toward behaving in prosocial ways. But the thing to remember is that rules, in a blog or forum context, are there to keep honest people honest. They'll never be able to deal with serious malice on their own, not without spending far more effort on writing and adjudicating them than you'll ever be able to spend, and in the worst cases they can even be used against you.

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