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Comment author: knb 11 January 2011 06:14:18PM *  1 point [-]

I haven't submitted it anywhere yet. I've asked some friends to read it first. That way if I'm one of those horrible fanfic writers who can't understand how bad they are, I can spare myself the humiliation.

Also: Nunnally is the rationalist. Lelouch is a bit more methodical as well.

Comment author: Odinn 06 May 2016 08:31:04AM 0 points [-]

I really wish I could find a topic to join within less than a year... In any case, you would have to make most of the other characters much higher operators in order to pose any threat to a Lelouch even slightly better at game theory. "Hmm, my power allows me to give one command to any one person. The effect is permanent if non-conclusive or pattern-based. Once a command is issued I can never leverage my power against that same person again. Well, I guess I'm only ever going to use the command 'follow my every command from now on' because why would I waste this incredibly important advantage on a lesser command?"

In response to Crisis of Faith
Comment author: Odinn 03 August 2015 06:51:17PM 1 point [-]

I really am having trouble doubting my conviction in rational thought. I can't visualize an alternative. I can visualize an alternative to my atheist philosophy though, since if God descended from heaven and handed me a bunch of concrete evidence that He exists, I wouldn't say 'ah, rationality was wrong.' I would say 'Oh, so you exist. I'll eat my hat on that one and concede that my confidence in your non-existence has been defeated, but to be fair until just now you've given me no rational reason to believe in you.' I'm a rational atheist because all of the convincing evidence is in that bucket, but even if a religion came along that was rigorously provably correct I would just be a rational theist. And I would have many pointed questions for that deity about the way life in the universe seems to be 'designed' in the sloppiest, most reckless way possible, like a programmer trying to compile all of the text from Wikipedia and then making random edits until it returned with no errors. Yes, I stole a joke from xkcd.

Comment author: SnappyCrunch 26 February 2008 12:32:58AM 4 points [-]

I enjoy the non-mathy posts. I believe Overcoming Bias is a worthy endeavor, and as a relatively new field of study, the math-oriented posts are important. They are often the most succinct and accurate way to convey concepts. With that said, I find that math posts to be dense with information, perhaps overly so. I find myself unconsciously starting to skim instead of read, and I find it difficult to force myself to pay attention.

The mathy posts appeal to people who are serious about moving this burgeoning field forward, and the non-mathy posts appeal to people who are more casually interested in the concepts, and allow you to have a wider audience. You will have a balance between the two no matter what you attempt, the only question is what your intended audience is, and the best way to reach those people.

Comment author: Odinn 03 August 2015 06:28:29PM 1 point [-]

Not sure why you got a downvote. Displaying, or worse still obstinately defending, poor reasoning is a valid reason for getting a down (I got a big stack of them with a sloppy article and from rushed comments [working on making it better]) but admitting that you aren't a mathematically focused person and providing feedback on Eliezer's communication styles is no cause for it. Got my upvote.

Comment author: Jon2 25 January 2009 06:45:20PM 5 points [-]

I can certainly understand your dissatisfaction with medieval depictions of heaven. However, your description of fun theory reminds me of the Garden of Eden. i.e. in Genesis 1-2, God basically says:

"I've created the two of you, perfectly suited for one another physically and emotionally, although the differences will be a world to explore in itself. You're immortal and I've placed you in a beautiful garden, but now I'm going to tell you to go out and be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over all living things; meaning build, create, procreate, invent, explore, and enjoy what I've created, which by the way is really really big and awesome. I'll always be here beside you, and you'll learn to live in perfect communion with me, for I have made you in my own image to love the process of creation as I do. But if you ever decide that you don't want that, and that you want to go it alone, rejecting my presence and very existence, then there's this fruit you can take and eat. But don't do it, because if you do, you will surely die."

It seems that the point of disagreement is that your utopia doesn't have an apple. The basic argument of theodicy is that Eden with the apple is better than Eden sans apple. To the extent that free will is good, a utopia must have an escape option.

Or, to put it another way, obedience to the good is a virtue. Obedience to the good without the physical possibility evil is a farce.

It's easy to look around and say, "How could a good God create THIS." But the real question is, "How could a good God create a world in which there is a non-zero probability of THIS."

Comment author: Odinn 03 August 2015 03:06:47AM 0 points [-]

I knew there would come a day when almost a decade of mandatory bible classes in private school would pay off. (That's not true, I've generally written it off as a really depressing waste of my mental resources... still) You've got the order of events in the Garden of Eden backwards. After God finished up and took off for Miller Time, Adam and Eve had nothing to do. They didn't need clothes or shelter, all animals were obedient and gentle, they had to live of fruit for eternity which would get old, the weather and season (singular) was always the same and they were the only those two people in existence with no concept of there ever being any more. Sure, they would have lived forever, but there was no challenge, inspiration, reason or stimulation. Only AFTER the forbidden fruit and the knowledge of good and evil does God start up Eve's biological clock and issue the 'be fruitful and multiply' command, society starts to develop, there's a ton of implicit incest (er... bonus?) and they can cook up a nice lamb shank to break up the monotony. Once again, the literal interpretation of the bible leaves a lot to be desired in a literary sense, because the Garden of Eden is one of the most depressing 'paradises' ever devised. Also, here I go again responding to many-years-cold comments.

Comment author: Lumifer 04 September 2013 01:40:48AM 1 point [-]

since God in your proposed philosophy is nonphysical, comprised of no readable patterns or energies and exerts no predictable, tangible effect on reality

In traditional Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology God is nonphysical but can take physical forms at will, and while He is not predictable (generally speaking, there are nuances there), He certainly can exert tangible effects on reality.

We should still be able to observe some kind of pattern

Not necessarily. Imagine that God lives in high-dimensional space and His blueberry tart recipes happen to be stored in the fifth and sixth dimensions...

Comment author: Odinn 23 February 2015 11:02:08AM *  0 points [-]

Responding to this after so long is strange. Anyways: There is a solid, evidence based reason that we suspect higher dimensions are real rather than strictly theoretical. Particles quantum tunnel, occasionally interacting with the observable dimensions. If and when we develop the capacity to more fully explore these inconceivable aspects of reality we can sweep the corners of the eleventh dimension for the traces of deities (or their tart-crafting secrets) that have yet to provide any evidence for themselves. And in that untold time, when we've devised ways to knit the universe back together on one end while it unravels like a cheap knit sweater on the other from entropy, when we've conquered death and consciously seized the future of our living form, when we have faster than light travel and can wrangle a star like cowboys breaking a new calf, when the difference between the perceived and the real can be eradicated through the combined talents and ever growing powers of ten trillion eternal human minds... Maybe then we can stop wasting hot breath allowing for the theoretical existence of something that we have no factual reason to believe in.

In response to comment by potato on Science as Attire
Comment author: potato 15 November 2011 07:28:29PM 0 points [-]

So is the conjunction of two contradictory phenomena not zero? I am confused. I believe if that is so the rest of bayes falls apart, no? Bayes requires that you give zero probabilities to contradictions, if you do not then you can be dutch booked, right? It also requires that you give a probability of one to logical tautologies, if you give more or less, then you can also be dutch booked. What am I messing up? Really, please help if you understand.

In response to comment by potato on Science as Attire
Comment author: Odinn 04 December 2013 09:16:09AM -1 points [-]

Even the simplest expression such as 2+2=4 should not be literally tautological. There is an infinitesimal possibility that the human brain has a fundamental flaw that causes us to read the expression incorrectly, or that every person or program that has ever attempted to calculate the sum of 2 and 2 has erroneously provided an incorrect answer, or that our universe is actually configured in a way that isn't mathematically accurate (despite what those pictures of apples in first grade textbooks claim.) Conjugate all of these extremely strange possibilities and your odds of 2 and 2 not equaling 4 are so small, so imaginary, that we can confidently and adequately use probability 1 for 2+2=4, but a perfect Bayesian formula still has no room for entries of P=1 or 0, especially since the formula just doesn't provide useful data that way.

Comment author: pragmatist 02 September 2013 03:40:18PM *  2 points [-]

I think you might still be confused about your source, actually, because nowhere in there is Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation provided in full. The "Letter" is actually a 150 page book, and the link you've provided is a review of that book by the literary critic James Wood. The views on Russell's teapot that you attribute to Harris are actually the views of Wood. Harris's book doesn't even mention the teapot, as far as I can tell.

That said, I think the substantive point you're making is a good one, and I can see why the Shiny Can metaphor works better than the teapot if the intent is to highlight the specific ridiculousness of the God hypothesis.

Comment author: Odinn 04 September 2013 07:14:39AM 0 points [-]

Fixed. All being the same, it's true my real focus was the teapot metaphor, but I should have been more careful with vetting my source. Thanks for pointing it out again, and for reading my metaphor.

In response to comment by Odinn on Rudeness
Comment author: Lumifer 03 September 2013 04:56:03PM 2 points [-]

So what happens when someone in the room refused to be initmidated/taken over/accept your dominance? Do you get into status/dominance fights?

In response to comment by Lumifer on Rudeness
Comment author: Odinn 03 September 2013 11:31:00PM 0 points [-]

Typically, if they're talented enough to be funny, I just make them part of my performances, since I'm pretty adept at improvisation. If they aren't funny, then they can still serve as a butt of jokes. I've been moving more towards preparations for online videos or other productions, so the extent of dominance struggles will be people leaving nasty comments on Youtube videos, and me ignoring them. Anyway, I want to be clear that when my audience has a lot of energy and I match it with dominant confidence, that is a form of aggression that is far removed from anger. An audience is more comfortable with someone whom is strong, confident and dominant. If I'm up on stage saying "Well, if it's okay with you guys, we might do some comedy sketches or... I dunno, whatever you guys wanna do," Then they'll get up and walk out. Glad to clarify.

In response to Rudeness
Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 02 September 2013 02:33:19PM 3 points [-]

Could you give some more details how this male trait surfaces? By words or movements or appearace or is it only visible via the response of your 'opponents'? I am quite the opposite. Calm and peaceful. But I have an in-law who might be like you. Streetfighter in his youth he is now very controlled and somewhat balanced. But one sudden movement or signal of danger and he will be on his toes or at your neck faster than you can look. He can be the sweetest talker and the controlled arguer as long he has the control. But don't threaten him - he will be your determined enemy. Interestingly he worked in a call-centre and could handle the most escalted clients successfully - possibly because they didn't threaten him and he could understand them (he mentioned once what he would do when faced with their situation and thought their reaction harmless). So do you recognise yourself? Rationality doesn't require that you are nice. It requires that you win - at your utility function. Are you unhappy with your rudeness?

In response to comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Rudeness
Comment author: Odinn 02 September 2013 08:26:45PM *  2 points [-]

Thank you for asking this. I'm an improvisation actor and comedian, starting the groundwork for a productions company, and I've found that one of my most useful resources is an intimidating presence which allows me to take over a room, often for the entertainment and comfort of my audience. My appearance is part of that, and my body language is strong, but spoken words are the clearest way my dominance is communicated. I am almost impossible to intimidate, and generally I am quite happy with my directness and energy. When it isn't serving my best utility, however, I call that rudeness and note how I might make myself more effective. As far as your in-law, I was also known to be physically violent in my teen years, but these days I don't count myself as an effective leader or confident human if I feel I need to resort to violence. Calm, assertive, confident, entertaining communication skills are my strongest utility, and it is tied to my aggression, so no I am not unhappy with my rudeness. Just want to trim away bad habits while increasing utility.

In response to comment by Dorikka on Rudeness
Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 02 September 2013 03:59:27PM 0 points [-]

The problem my brother-in-law has is not that he ignores useful information. He evaluates lots of useful information - pertaining to a street fighting situation. Usefulness needs to be specified in more detail. It can be very useful to know your opponent well. It just depends on your goals. If you do not really know your goals your subconscious will evaluate everything with respect to known situation and primary desires..

In response to comment by Gunnar_Zarncke on Rudeness
Comment author: Odinn 02 September 2013 08:12:05PM 1 point [-]

This more or less cuts to the core of the issue. Would I be better off if I could flip a switch and shut off my aggression entirely? Almost certainly not, since I wouldn't care enough to form a cogent answer to any comments. Would I be well served by immediately jumping to action every time I feel passionate? Evidently not, since in my haste to resolve a perceived insult or problem I could forget to fully think through the issue from the start and form an erroneous or biased response. Essentially I'd just like to learn more patience, so that when something does ruffle my feathers I don't feel the need to instantly answer before I've given careful consideration.

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