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Comment author: Ronak 07 June 2015 08:10:33PM 0 points [-]

Oh this is nice. I've also come to realise this over time, ,in different words, and my mind is extremely tickled by how your formulation puts it on an equal footing with other non-explicit-rationality avenues of thought.

I would love to help you. I am very interested in a passion project right now. And we seem to be classifying similar things as hard-won realisations, though we have very different timelines for different things; talking to you might be all-round interesting for me.

Comment author: ike 28 November 2014 04:31:12AM 7 points [-]

I'm slightly less cynical; I think they usually do in fact genuinely believe that you'll change your mind and agree with them many years later. The people I've seen this with tend not to be good at putting feelings into words.

By the way, I'd love to see someone steelman the experience argument (but am too lazy to do myself). Anyone up for it?

In response to comment by ike on The Hostile Arguer
Comment author: Ronak 29 November 2014 09:18:57AM 1 point [-]

My steelman is this (without having read anything downstairs, so I apologise if there's a better on extant): the world is a complicated place, and we all form beliefs based on the things we think are important in the world; and since we are all horrible reasoners, it's impossible to believe about some things that they are important movers of the world without seeing it actually happen and viscerally feeling it change things.

Cognitive biases in yourself are like this, methinks. Your thought processes really need to be broken down repeatedly for you to be able to start seeing the subtle shifts happening inside you - and anticipating that they happen even when you don't see them (generalising from many examples here, but not nearly enough).

Another difficult tripping point for me was intuitive reasoning. Till I saw people who couldn't make any sense do significantly better than me I could not possibly believe it, even fighting against people who told me I over-analysed and spoke too much.

I'm slowly coming around on dishonest rhetorical stances, because of the amount of time I've spent trying to convince hostile arguers. Let me soothe the raised hackles of your inner LW-cat by saying that I can't endorse anything like this without finding a Schelling fence,* and am willing to consider anyone who takes such a stance on LW (or in LW-related contexts) evil.

*In fact, based on the world being as it is, I strongly suspect there isn't one.

Comment author: Ronak 24 October 2014 08:50:09AM 54 points [-]

I took it. If it's anything like last year, officially 2/5 of my karma will be from surveys.

Comment author: Azathoth123 20 September 2014 10:17:21PM 1 point [-]

So what is the issue, that geneticists didn't consult with Dalit activists before designing their experiment?

Comment author: Ronak 21 September 2014 12:02:38AM *  1 point [-]

So, Romila Thapar is not a Dalit activist, just a historian (I'm guessing this is a source of confusion; I could be wrong).

I'm saying they should have read up before starting their project.

I can't find the study for some reason, so I'll try and do it from memory. They randomly picked from a city Dalits (Dalit is a catch-all term coined by B R Ambedkar for people of the lowest castes, and people outside the caste system, all of whom were treated horribly) and people from the merchant castes to look for genetic differences. Which is all fine and dandy - but for the fact that neither 'Dalit' not 'merchant-caste' is an actual caste; there are many castes which come into those two categories. So, assuming a simple no-inter-caste-marriage model of caste, a merchant family from village A thousands of kilometres from village B has about as much (or, considering marginal things like babies born out of rape, even less) genetic material in common than a merchant and Dalit family from the same village - unless there's a common genetic ancestor to all merchant families. And that's where reading historical literature comes in - the history of caste is much more complicated, involving for example periods when it was barely enforced and shuffling and all sorts of stuff. So, they will find differences in their study, but it won't reflect actual caste differences.

Comment author: Azathoth123 20 September 2014 06:55:15PM 0 points [-]

Actually Thapar's point wasn't that there were no genetic differences (in fact, the theory of caste promulgated by Dalit activists is that it's created by the prohibition of inter-caste marriage and therefore pretty much predicts genetic differences) - but that the groupings done by the researchers wasn't the correct one.

So do you have independent evidence that the theory promulgated by the Dalit activists is correct, because theories promulgated by activists don't exactly have the best track record.

Comment author: Ronak 20 September 2014 08:30:22PM -1 points [-]

Actually, with the caveat that I don't have any object-level research, I doubt it; they assign a rigidity to the whole thing that seems hard to institute. My point was that 'do there exist genetic differences' is not the issue here.

Comment author: Azathoth123 19 September 2014 11:23:16PM 2 points [-]

My head's canonical example is Indian geneticists who try to go around finding genetic caste differences;

Funny humanities people were saying the same thing about genetic racial differences until said difference started showing up.

Comment author: Ronak 20 September 2014 01:25:16PM 0 points [-]

a) Actually Thapar's point wasn't that there were no genetic differences (in fact, the theory of caste promulgated by Dalit activists is that it's created by the prohibition of inter-caste marriage and therefore pretty much predicts genetic differences) - but that the groupings done by the researchers wasn't the correct one.

b) I should actually check that what I surmised is what she said. Thanks for alerting me to the possibility.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 19 September 2014 01:32:51AM -1 points [-]

Although the social sciences have undeniably helped a lot with our understanding of ourselves, their refusal to follow the scientific method is disgraceful.

Comment author: Ronak 19 September 2014 02:21:38AM 1 point [-]

When I said humanities I didn't mean social sciences; in fact, I thought social sciences explicitly followed the scientific method. Maybe the word points to something different in your head, or you slipped up. Either way, when I say humanities, I actually mean fields like philosophy and literature and sociology which go around talking about things by taking the human mind as a primitive.

The whole point of the humanities is that it's a way of doing things that isn't the scientific method. The disgraceful thing is the refusal to interface properly with scientists and scientific things - but there's no shortage of scientists who refuse to interface with humanities either, when you come down to it. My head's canonical example is Indian geneticists who try to go around finding genetic caste differences; Romila Thapar once gave an entertaining rant about how anything they found they'd be reading noise as signal because the history of caste was nothing like these people imagined.

And, on the other hand, we have many Rortys and Bostroms and Thapars in the humanities who do interface.

Comment author: Azathoth123 18 September 2014 11:18:29PM 5 points [-]

Do you mean humanities in the abstract or the people currently occupying humanities departments?

Comment author: Ronak 19 September 2014 02:10:34AM 0 points [-]

In the abstract. Though, undoubtedly, many of the people can do wonders too.

Comment author: AABoyles 17 September 2014 04:04:14PM 11 points [-]

The universe we perceive is probably a simulation of a more complex Universe. In breaking with the simulation hypothesis, however, the simulation is not originated by humans. Instead, our existence is simply an emergent property of the physics (and stochasticity) of the simulation.

Comment author: Ronak 18 September 2014 09:50:32PM 1 point [-]

Why? This looks as if you're taking a hammer to Ockham's razor.

Comment author: Ronak 18 September 2014 09:42:29PM 6 points [-]

[Please read the OP before voting. Special voting rules apply.]

Humanities is not only an useful method of knowing about the world - but, properly interfaced, ought to be able to significantly speed up science.

(I have a large interval for how controversial this is, so pardon me if you think it's not.)

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