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Comment author: Protagoras 17 March 2014 03:01:13AM 0 points [-]

Hmmm. Your past 30 days karma is positive. Either you're saying it was formerly a lot more positive, or any downvoting isn't having nearly the effect you suggest.

Comment author: Watercressed 17 March 2014 03:21:46AM 1 point [-]

If a post older than thirty days is downvoted, it doesn't appear in the past 30 days karma.

Comment author: Watercressed 27 January 2014 07:59:44PM 1 point [-]

How do we assign zero probability to 0=1 when we can't prove our logic consistent?

Comment author: gothgirl420666 14 January 2014 07:14:11AM *  8 points [-]

Two unrelated things (should I make these in separate posts or...?):

1.) Given recent discussion on social justice advocates and their... I don't know the best way to describe this, sometimes poor epistemological habits? I thought I would post this


Is this it just me, or is this, like, literally the worst concept ever? It literally just means "someone slightly to the right of me" or "someone does anything that could be considering cheering for the other side", backed with a dubious claim that these people are usually acting in bad faith. Is that even a thing people actually do, go on websites with people they disagree with and "troll" by claiming that they mostly agree except on certain issues? Outside of this context I have never seen this or had any reason to consider the possibility. Isn't it more likely, that you know... people mostly agree with you except on certain issues?

"Concern trolling is frequently banned in feminist communities."

"Concern trolling is frequently banned in feminist communities."

"Concern trolling is frequently banned in feminist communities."

I just don't get it. How does a movement with motives so noble become this horrible? I mean, I kind of do get it, but still... fuck.

2.) How can I train myself to speak more eloquently? Like most people my generation, I say "like" every ten words or so (although I've gotten better at avoiding this), say um and other filler sounds a lot, and often say "you know", "you see what I mean", etc. I also tend to repeat phrases for "filler" - I'll say things like "Yeah, I've been, I've been, I've been thinking about this a lot recently." (This looks really weird written out, trust me, it's not that weird in real life.) I want to stop doing this because doing so will let me sound more authoritative, and also I'm kind of disgusted by this pattern of speech even though everyone does it.

Note that I don't want to be one of those people who fetishizes the past and goes around forcing old-timey turns of phrase like "Great Scott!" into conversation and wears (yes) a fedora. I just want to be better at communicating concrete ideas in complete sentences in my daily life.

Comment author: Watercressed 14 January 2014 07:50:28AM 7 points [-]

Concern trolling in the false flag political operation sense is a thing that happened

An example of this occurred in 2006 when Tad Furtado, a staffer for then-Congressman Charles Bass (R-NH), was caught posing as a "concerned" supporter of Bass' opponent, Democrat Paul Hodes, on several liberal New Hampshire blogs, using the pseudonyms "IndieNH" or "IndyNH". "IndyNH" expressed concern that Democrats might just be wasting their time or money on Hodes, because Bass was unbeatable.[37][38] Hodes eventually won the election.

Comment author: scrafty 06 January 2014 05:14:00AM 3 points [-]

I think it makes a big difference if the preferred theory is gender/racial equality as opposed to fundamentalist Christianity, and whether the opposition to those perceived challenges result from emotional sensitivity as opposed to blind faith. At the very least, the blog post doesn't indicate that the author would be irrational about issues other than marginalization.

Comment author: Watercressed 06 January 2014 07:40:48AM 8 points [-]

Does fundamentalist Christianity indicate that the believer would be irrational about issues other than religion?

If yes, what's the difference?

Comment author: private_messaging 03 January 2014 11:11:20PM *  -1 points [-]

It could be that I'm wrong in my reasoning, but it appears to me that bitcoin allows tax evasion and black markets to function on such a breathtaking scale that if bitcoin persists and expands into common use then I anticipate, like tomatoes in winter, the withering of formal governmental power in its current form (based as it is on tax collection

Do you know how they catch tax evaders in Italy? They go to the harbour and look at the yachts. edit: and pretending to be poor to cheat taxes completely defeats the point of being rich. Granted, some people will do that, but they effectively eliminate themselves from the economy, as if those coins disappeared, raising the value of all other coins. They pay nearly 100% tax rate. It would be worthwhile to encourage that kind of behaviour, it's good for the environment, and it taxes more than any government taxes.

Comment author: Watercressed 04 January 2014 05:06:12AM 3 points [-]

You could spend the tax-evaded income on the black market, since you're hiding contraband from the police anyway.

Comment author: Prismattic 29 December 2013 04:51:26AM 19 points [-]

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the difference between instrumental and epistemic rationality:

Epistemic rationalist -- The tooth fairy is not real. I must do my part to make this common knowledge.

Instrumental rationalist -- If I allow this polite fiction to continue, I keep getting a dollar every time I lose a tooth.

Comment author: Watercressed 29 December 2013 06:18:26PM 5 points [-]

Since when did epistemic rationality demand making the truth common knowledge? It just means you should know what's true yourself.

Comment author: V_V 17 December 2013 04:22:17AM *  -1 points [-]

" < Jaynes quote > ... If Nature is one way, the likelihood of the data coming out the way we have seen will be one thing. If Nature is another way, the likelihood of the data coming out that way will be something else. But the likelihood of a given state of Nature producing the data we have seen, has nothing to do with the researcher's private intentions. So whatever our hypotheses about Nature, the likelihood ratio is the same, and the evidential impact is the same, and the posterior belief should be the same, between the two experiments. At least one of the two Old Style methods must discard relevant information - or simply do the wrong calculation - for the two methods to arrive at different answers."

This seems to be wrong.
EY makes a sort of dualistic distinction between "Nature" (with a capital "N") and the researcher's mental state. But what EY (and possibly Jaynes, though I can't tell from a short quote) is missing is that the researcher's mental state is part of Nature, and in particular is part of the stochastic processes that generate the data for these two different experimental settings. Therefore, any correct inference technique, frequentist or Bayesian, must treat the two scenarios differently.

Comment author: Watercressed 17 December 2013 05:06:36AM 0 points [-]

Different information about part of nature is not sufficient to change an inference--the probabilities could be independent of the researcher's intentions.

Comment author: linkhyrule5 25 November 2013 04:56:08PM 1 point [-]

.... purple giraffes are evidence of the blackness of crows, though. Just, really really terrible evidence.

Comment author: Watercressed 25 November 2013 06:29:13PM 0 points [-]

It depends on your priors

Comment author: alex_zag_al 23 November 2013 01:18:26AM *  2 points [-]

the problem is that, in probability theory as usually formalized and discussed, we assign the same probabilities, though we shouldn't... do you see?

EDIT: and it's a problem because she can't calculate her probability without proving whether or not it's prime.

Comment author: Watercressed 23 November 2013 06:41:29AM *  4 points [-]

One of his "desiderata", his principles of construction, is that the robot gives equal plausibility assignments to logically equivalent statements

I don't see this desiderata. The consistency requirement is that if there are multiple ways of calculating something, then all of them yield the same result. A few minutes of thought didn't lead to any way of leveraging a non 1 or zero probability for Prime(53) into two different results.

If I try to do anything with P(Prime(53)|PA), I get stuff like P(PA|Prime(53)), and I don't have any idea how to interpret that. Since PA is a set of axioms, it doesn't really have a truth value that we can do probability with. Technically speaking, Prime(N) means that the PA axioms imply that 53 has two factors. Since the axioms are in the predicate, any mechanism that forces P(Prime(53)) to be one must do so for all priors.

One final thing: Isn't it wrong to assign a probability of zero to Prime(4), i.e. PA implies that 4 has two factors, since PA could be inconsistent and imply everything?

Comment author: Watercressed 23 November 2013 01:16:20AM 2 points [-]

You can skip this pararaph and the next if you're familiar with the problem. But if you're not, here's an illustration. Suppose your friend has some pennies that she would like to arrange into a rectangle, which of course is impossible if the number of pennies is prime. Let's call the number of pennies N. Your friend would like to use probability theory to guess whether it's worth trying; if there's a 50% chance that Prime(N), she won't bother trying to make the rectangle. You might imagine that if she counts them and finds that there's an odd number, this is evidence of Prime(N); if she furthermore notices that the digits don't sum to a multiple of three, this is further evidence of Prime(N). In general, each test of compositeness that she knows should, if it fails, raise the probability of Prime(N).

But what happens instead is this. Suppose you both count them, and find that N=53. Being a LessWrong reader, you of course recognize from recently posted articles that N=53 implies Prime(N), though she does not. But this means that P(N=53) <= P(Prime(N)). If you're quite sure of N=53—that is, P(N=53) is near 1—then P(Prime(N)) is also near 1. There's no way for her to get a gradient of uncertainty from simple tests of compositeness. The probability is just some number near 1.

I don't understand why this is a problem. You and your friend have different states of knowledge, so you assign different probabilities.

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