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Comment author: Sniffnoy 27 August 2010 12:26:47PM 2 points [-]

Presumably, you'd look at the accident rate for Volvos compared to the accident rate for similar cars driven by a similar demographic, as reflected, for instance in insurance rates. (My google-fu did not find accident rates posted on the internet, but insurance rates don't come out especially pro-Volvo.)

Tangential, but I think you may be looking at the wrong thing here; this is auto insurance. The thing it measures in addition to how often that sort of car gets into accidents, would be to what extent the car itself is resistant to damage, not how well it protects the passengers. And since other sorts of insurance aren't likely to depend on what sort of car you have, I'm not sure there's any sort of insurance you could look at for quite this info.

Comment author: brian_jaress 05 September 2010 07:44:58PM 1 point [-]

Auto insurance is broken down into different types of coverage, with injuries separate from damage to the car. In fact, I'm pretty sure your coverage makes a distinction between injuries to you and injuries to other people that are your fault. Every time I renew my insurance, they ask me if I want to change how much of each type of coverage I have.

The safety indicator that most car buyers look at is the crash test rating, usually done by a government or an insurance industry group. Maybe it's no longer part of the culture, but I remember when car ads would often show crash tests. I think there was one where the crash test dummies (like mannequins full of sensors) talked about which car they liked.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has information on crash tests and statistics on accidents and payouts.

Comment author: JanetK 02 September 2010 05:40:30PM 3 points [-]

Thank you. That seems clear. I will assume that my antennas were giving me the wrong impression. I can relax/

Comment author: brian_jaress 05 September 2010 06:11:02PM 1 point [-]

Maybe you shouldn't relax.

Regardless of official definitions, there is in practice a heavy emphasis on conceptual rigor over evidence.

There's still room for people who don't quite fit in.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 03 September 2010 11:02:19AM *  10 points [-]

I want to write a post about an... emotion, or pattern of looking at the world, that I have found rather harmful to my rationality in the past. The closest thing I've found is 'indignation', defined at Wiktionary as "An anger aroused by something perceived as an indignity, notably an offense or injustice." The thing is, I wouldn't consider the emotion I feel to be 'anger'. It's more like 'the feeling of injustice' in its own right, without the anger part. Frustration, maybe. Is there a word that means 'frustration aroused by a perceived indignity, notably an offense or injustice'? Like, perhaps the emotion you may feel when you think about how pretty much no one in the world or no one you talk to seems to care about existential risks. Not that you should feel the emotion, or whatever it is, that I'm trying to describe -- in the post I'll argue that you should try not to -- but perhaps there is a name for it? Anyone have any ideas? Should I just use 'indignation' and then define what I mean in the first few sentences? Should I use 'adjective indignation'? If so, which adjective? Thanks for any input.

Comment author: brian_jaress 05 September 2010 10:11:18AM 3 points [-]

I've seen "moral indignation," which might fit (though I think "indignation" still implies anger). I've also heard people who feel that way describe the object of their feelings as "disgusting" or "offensive," so you could call it "disgust" or "being offended." Of course, those people also seemed angry. Maybe the non-angry version would be called "bitterness."

As soon as I wrote the paragraph above, I felt sure that I'd heard "moral disgust" before. I googled it and the second link was this. I don't know about the quality of the study, but you could use the term.

Comment author: Jack 10 May 2010 04:03:43AM *  0 points [-]

I'm not sure I have an official position of Bayesian epistemology but I find the problem very confusing until you tell me what the payoff is. One might make an educated guess at the kind of payoff system the experiment designers would have had in mind-- as many in the this thread have done. (ETA: actually, you probably have to weigh your answer according to your degree of belief in the interpretation you've chosen. Which is of course ridiculous. Lets just include the payoff scheme in the experiment.)

Comment author: brian_jaress 12 May 2010 10:09:25PM 0 points [-]

I agree that more information would help the beauty, but I'm more interested in the issue of whether or not the question, as stated, is ill-posed.

One of the Bayesian vs. frequentist examples that I found most interesting was the case of the coin with unknown bias -- a Bayesian would say it has 50% chance of coming up heads, but a frequentist would refuse to assign a probability. I was wondering if perhaps this is an analogous case for Bayesians.

That wouldn't necessarily mean anything is wrong with Bayesianism. Everyone has to draw the line somewhere, and it's good to know where.

Comment author: Jack 10 May 2010 02:44:16AM 1 point [-]

I agree that probabilities are defined through wagers. I also think beliefs (or really, degrees of belief) are defined through wagers. That's the way Bayesian epistemologists usually define degree of belief. So I believe X will occur with P = .5 iff a wager on X and a wager on a fair coin flip are equally preferable to me.

Comment author: brian_jaress 10 May 2010 03:44:58AM 0 points [-]

That's fine. I guess I'm just not a Bayesian epistemologist.

If Sleeping Beauty is a Bayesian epistemologist, does that mean she refuses to answer the question as asked?

Comment author: Jack 10 May 2010 01:05:56AM 1 point [-]

To me, this reinforces my doubt that probabilities and beliefs are the same thing.

Why?

Comment author: brian_jaress 10 May 2010 02:28:24AM 1 point [-]

It illustrates fairly clearly how probabilities are defined in terms of the payoff structure (which things will have payoffs assigned to them and which things are considered "the same" for the purposes of assigning payoffs).

I've felt for a while that probabilities are more tied to the payoff structure than beliefs, and this discussion underlined that for me. I guess you could say that using beliefs (instead of probabilities) to make decisions is a heuristic that ignores, or at least downplays, the payoff structure.

Comment author: neq1 09 May 2010 02:34:23AM 1 point [-]

We know she will have the same credence on monday as she does on tuesday (if awakened), because of the amnesia. There is no reason to double count those. Under the experiment, you should think of there being one occasion under heads and one occasion under tails. From that perspective, a well-calibrated person A will assign 1/2 for heads. I think that is the correct way to view this problem. If there was a way for her to distinguish the days, things would be different.

Comment author: brian_jaress 09 May 2010 11:22:41PM *  1 point [-]

We know she will have the same credence on monday as she does on tuesday (if awakened), because of the amnesia. There is no reason to double count those.

Well, she does say it twice. That seems like at least a potential reason to count it as two answers.

You could say that 1/3 of the times the question is asked, the coin came up heads. You could also say that 1/2 of the beauties are asked about a coin that came up heads.

To me, this reinforces my doubt that probabilities and beliefs are the same thing.

EDIT: reworded for clarity

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 28 April 2010 03:41:24AM 15 points [-]

A top-level post should include at least a description or representative quote.

Comment author: brian_jaress 02 May 2010 06:29:06PM *  0 points [-]

I agree, but I upvoted it anyway because I thought it was interesting and funny.

I read it as a commentary on how, when we daydream about "breaking the rules" (or discovering a fundamental rule that changes the way we live) all the myths have trained us to think selfishly. She wants to use her three wishes to end disease for everyone, and it's like she asked to accept an Academy Award in a clown suit.

EDIT: grammar

Comment author: brian_jaress 06 April 2010 07:45:51AM *  2 points [-]

A theologian, a lawyer, and a rationalist meet at a cocktail party.

"Theology is the most intellectually demanding field," says the theologian. "The concepts are so abstract, and many key texts are obscurely written."

"Oh please," says the lawyer. "I once knew a bright fellow who became a theologian because he couldn't make it as a lawyer. He read and studied and tore his hair out, but he just couldn't get how the law works."

"I've got you both beat," says the rationalist. "Rationalism is so hard, no one's figured it out!"

EDIT: Too bad there's no prize for the lowest rated joke. Sorry if this joke offended people. It wasn't meant to reflect badly on any of the characters or anyone in real life.

Comment author: jimrandomh 26 March 2010 03:47:53PM *  4 points [-]

Yes, building mental connections between domains requires well-populated maps for both of them, plus significant extra processing. It's more properly treated as a skill which needs development than a cognitive defect. In the pen-on-the-moon example, knowing that astronauts can walk around is not enough to infer that a pen will fall; you also have to know that gravity is multiplicative rather than a threshold effect. And it certainly doesn't help that most peoples' knowledge of non-Earth gravity comes entirely from television, where, since zero-gravity filming is impractical, the writers invariably come up with some sort of confusing phlebotinum (most commonly magnetic boots) to make them behave more like regular-gravity environments.

Comment author: brian_jaress 27 March 2010 07:30:21AM 1 point [-]

And it certainly doesn't help that most peoples' knowledge of non-Earth gravity comes entirely from television, where, since zero-gravity filming is impractical, the writers invariably come up with some sort of confusing phlebotinum (most commonly magnetic boots) to make them behave more like regular-gravity environments.

I think you're on to something. I was wondering why the "heavy boots" people singled out the boots. Why not say "heavy suits" or that the astronauts themselves were heavier than pens. Didn't 2001: A Space Odyssey start the first zero-gravity scene with a floating pen and a flight attendant walking up the wall?

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