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Comment author: Jiro 06 July 2015 09:58:03AM 2 points [-]

But being a doctor still has a core definition. You're not a doctor if you don't treat sick people or have the ability to treat sick people. There are also peripheral aspects such as how others treat you, or things that most doctors do without this being part of the definition of doctor, but being a doctor is not entirely about those peripheral things. Transsgender (at least in the absence of SRS) doesn't seem to be that way

Or to put it another way, nobody says "I'm a transphysician. I feel like and identify with being a doctor. I want to wear a white coat and have people put "MD" after my name. This makes me a doctor, even though I don't know how to treat sick people."

Comment author: fubarobfusco 06 July 2015 04:00:22PM -1 points [-]

Sorry, the analogy isn't that close. I was just trying to get at the idea of there being a "doctor" node which is different from any one particular property of doctors, because it's a socially defined cluster, not a natural kind.

Comment author: Jiro 04 July 2015 02:10:42PM 2 points [-]

I'm not sure I understand the concept of "self identity as X" that is independent of wanting to do any particular things that X do. If there was such a thing, it would be meaningful to say "I'm feminine but I don't want to do any feminine things" which I'm pretty sure would not be accepted very much. And I can't think of any other cases when we accept that., either.

(I suppose "being treated by others as X" isn't the same as wanting to do X-type things yourself, but it doesn't seem to me that that is what is being talked about. And it's not that differtent anyway.)

Comment author: fubarobfusco 06 July 2015 02:25:39AM 2 points [-]

I'm not sure I understand the concept of "self identity as X" that is independent of wanting to do any particular things that X do.

"being treated by others as X"

Consider X = "medical doctor".

A medical student is not a doctor, and knows they are not a doctor. But they want to be a doctor; that's why they are a medical student. Like most people in societies that have doctors, the medical student has a node in their mental map for "being a doctor", which seems separate from nodes such as "having high social status" and "helping sick people" and "earning more money than a janitor does" and "wearing a white coat".

Sociologists call this "reification": taking a bag of properties and treating them as a real thing. A reified social category such as "doctor" is more than just a shorthand for an arbitrary bag of properties. It represents an actual cluster in social thingspace: there are people whom everyone agrees are doctors. (There are also people who are akin to doctors, but aren't doctors, such as nurses. There are also people whom some think of as being doctors, and others think of as being fake doctors, such as chiropractors.)

But even though "doctor" is a social classification that people basically (collectively) made up, it's one that almost everyone has a remarkable amount of agreement on.

And people can be right or wrong about it. Someone who is a doctor can think "I am a doctor" and be thinking something correct. A medical student can think "I want to be a doctor". A doctor might find herself thinking, "I am a doctor, but people don't act toward me the way they act towards other doctors, because they are weirded out by the idea of a black woman being a doctor. Their immediate (and erroneous) impression of me is that I am a physician's assistant or something. I want to be treated as the doctor that I am."

Comment author: fubarobfusco 03 July 2015 11:49:48PM 4 points [-]

"AI safety" suffers from some of the same terminology problem as "computer science".

It is written that "computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." The facts of computer science would be true even if there were no computers: facts such as the relative efficiency of different algorithms, or various ways to index records. If the quicksort or the hash table had been discovered in a world without computers, we would think of them as belonging to library science, or bookkeeping, or some other discipline dealing with information. Concurrency and parallelism might belong to the field of management, describing ways to effectively instruct workers on complex tasks without wasting everyone's time blocked on each other or in meetings. Computer science is about algorithms and processes, not the computers that run them.

A popular misunderstanding of AI safety is that it has to do with the sort of entities that are described in science fiction as "artificial intelligences" — roughly, conscious autonomous computer programs that talk, can animate robotic bodies, can "rebel against their programming", and so on: entities like Daneel Olivaw, the MCP, or Agent Smith. This seems to be at least as deep a confusion as the notion that computer science is about PCs, servers, and smartphones.

Comment author: James_Miller 01 July 2015 07:56:17PM 1 point [-]

It feels like psychic pain from boredom. Some people claim that meditation reduces your need for sleep by an amount greater than what you put into meditation so perhaps you could think of meditation as a way of saving time.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 02 July 2015 01:42:23AM 2 points [-]

Some people claim that meditation reduces your need for sleep by an amount greater than what you put into meditation

Curious to know where you got this. The lore I've heard from two meditation instructors is that the reduction of need for sleep is about half of the time meditating — which leads me to wonder whether someone got their factors backwards.

Comment author: eternal_neophyte 27 June 2015 05:06:55PM 0 points [-]

I am not the OP of the thread I linked to. Most of the downvotes I received (in the comments) of that post have been reversed. Thanks for replying though.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 27 June 2015 07:37:54PM 0 points [-]

Ah, oops. Indeed, I thought you were the poster and were asking for an explanation of the downvotes to the post.

Comment author: eternal_neophyte 27 June 2015 12:51:04AM 0 points [-]

Can anyone help me understand the downvote blitz for my comments on http://lesswrong.com/lw/mdy/my_recent_thoughts_on_consciousness/ ?

I understand that I'm arguing for an unpopular set of views, but should that warrant some kind of punishment? Was I too strident? Grating? Illucid? How could I have gone about defending the same set of views without inspiring such an extreme backlash?

The downvotes wouldn't normally concern me too much but I received so many that my karma for the last 30 days has dropped to 30% positive from of 90%. I'd like to avoid this happening again when the same topic is under discussion.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 27 June 2015 05:01:38PM 1 point [-]

You note: "I did not really put forth any particularly new ideas here, this is just some of my thoughts and repetitions of what I have read and heard others say, so I'm not sure if this post adds any value."

Many readers (myself included) are already familiar with these sources, and so the post comes across as unoriginal. It is basically you rephrasing and summarizing things that a lot of people have already read. In other words, it's probably not that people are downvoting to disagree, but because they don't see a response-journal reiterating well-known views as a good Main post. It's not "Go away, you are not smart enough to post here!" but "Yes, yes, we know these things; this particular post here is not news."

The post has far too much "I think", "I realized", "it seems to me" language in it. It's your post; of course it is about what you think. In conversation those kind of phrases are used to soften the impact of a weird view strongly stated, but in writing they make it sound like the writer is excessively wrapped up in themselves.

(On the other hand, if the important part is the sequence of your realizations, then present the evidence that convinced you, not just assertions that you had those realizations.)

While different language communities have different standards for paragraph length, by the standards of current Web writing, your paragraphs are often way too long. To me, long block paragraphs come across as "kook sign" — that is, they lead me to think that the writer's thinking is disorganized.

Comment author: HungryHobo 25 June 2015 02:24:51PM 1 point [-]

yep, alive and paying tax or dead quickly if they're going to die.

There's a reason there was a big push for anti-smoking measures in recent years. Cancer treatments got better, people with lung cancer suddenly lived longer and cost more so the incentive to stop people smoking grew.

Better aligned but not perfectly.

Also it is largely a command economy setup.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 25 June 2015 07:44:45PM 1 point [-]

There's a great chart of the popularity of tobacco, and of various modes of consuming it, on the first page of this paper:


There's also a timeline of related events on page 16.

Peak tobacco use corresponded with the period where scientific studies were establishing that smoking causes cancer and various other diseases. It was several years into the decline of smoking popularity before "nonsmoker's rights" (i.e. measures against smoking in public) started taking off.

Comment author: Manfred 23 June 2015 09:11:51PM 1 point [-]

Well, it could be creationist zoologists, or satanist school teachers, or transgender fashion models. But of course it's psychologists studying psychologists, and of course it's reiterating an interesting narrative we've seen before.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 23 June 2015 11:35:00PM 1 point [-]

One would expect creationists to be underrepresented in zoology for a number of reasons, only one of which is that zoologists have negative beliefs about creationists and tend not to hire or encourage them. Others would include that creationists may avoid studying zoology because they find the subject matter unpleasantly contradictory to their existing commitments; and that some people previously inclined to creationism who study zoology cease to be creationists.

Comment author: CellBioGuy 10 June 2015 03:14:08AM *  5 points [-]

Obligate male homosexuality greatly harms reproductive fitness.

I'd imagine female homosexuality should have a similar effect.

On the other hand, 'obligate' is a strong word to use for things as complicated as human behavior. Knowing several older male homsexuals with biological children via socially-imposed marriage customs, I don't think the effect is as large as many assume under many environments.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 10 June 2015 04:35:45AM 8 points [-]

I'd imagine female homosexuality should have a similar effect.

Except that ... how to put this delicately? Historically, men who would prefer not to have sex with women have been more likely to get their way than women who would prefer not to have sex with men.

Comment author: falenas108 08 June 2015 11:28:14PM 6 points [-]

I'm about to start being paid for a job, and I was looking at investment advice from LW. I found this thread from a while back and it seemed good, but it's also 4 years old. Can anyone confirm if the first bullet is still accurate? (get VTSMX or VFINX on vanguard, it doesn't matter too much which one.)

Comment author: fubarobfusco 09 June 2015 12:38:16AM 3 points [-]

It's way better than trying to outguess the market, and way way better than doing nothing.

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