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Comment author: ChristianKl 30 September 2014 05:08:07PM 0 points [-]

At the moment I don't think we have good answers for the core questions. Good reasoning is hard. Pretending that it's possible by following a few quick fixes might make it easier to reach more people but it brings in people who don't belong.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 10:06:18PM 0 points [-]

I take it the point is to bring in people who don't belong yet but who might turn out to belong when they've thought about it some more.

(Not necessarily to Less Wrong as such -- which might do best to remain a forum for sometimes-intimidatingly-technical discussion that preferentially attracts the very clever -- but to "the broader rationalist community".)

Comment author: mushroom 30 September 2014 04:39:34AM 4 points [-]

What are some online (or offline but generally accessible) clusters that would appeal or be valuable to a typical lesswrong reader, but that have little obvious intersection with lesswrong memespace?

What does it mean if there aren't any? Does a cluster just expand to it's natural limits? I wonder if the space of the general contemporaneous approaches to "thinking about thinking" ultimately map down to just a few personality types.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 10:02:06PM 0 points [-]

It may be worth clarifying that "cluster" here is (I take it) intended to have roughly the same meaning as in the old OB post The correct contrarian cluster, meaning something like "set of somewhat-related ideas". So mushroom is, I think, asking whether there are ways of looking at the world, or (so to speak) toolboxes for thinking, that aren't already familiar to most of the LW readership but might be useful.

(mushroom, please correct me if I've got it wrong.)

Comment author: polymathwannabe 30 September 2014 05:01:37PM -2 points [-]

Lalartu simply says that the colonies will resent Earth, which rests on the unquestioned presupposition that the colonies will live in misery.

I agree that the colonies should not blame Earth for any harm they do to themselves, but, from reading Lalartu's tone, it seems to assume that Earthers can do no wrong.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 05:09:39PM 1 point [-]

the unquestioned presupposition that the colonies will live in misery

I agree that that's weird and probably wrong, but it's not clear to me what it tells us about Lalartu's politics.

it seems to assume that Earthers can do no wrong.

I don't see that it even assumes that Earthers won't be responsible for the (alleged) misery of the (hypothetical) colonies. You may well be right about where Lalartu's coming from, and that may well be because you've picked up reliable signals of right-wing-ness in what he wrote, but if so I think they are subtler signals than you are describing.

Comment author: fortyeridania 29 September 2014 09:43:38PM 1 point [-]

What's SSC? I doubt it's one of these.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 05:03:54PM 6 points [-]

Others have already explained what it stands for and provided a link; it may be worth adding that the author of that blog is also known on LW as Yvain, who once upon a time was one of the best and most prolific LW contributors; his particularly highly rated posts include one on the notion of "disease", one about metacontrarianism, one clarifying what it means when a model says something is almost certainly true, one on efficient charity, one introducing prospect theory, one about buying houses, one about Schelling fences, one about the worst argument in the world. (He's still one of the best but participates rather little.) He's also the guy who does the annual Less Wrong survey.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 30 September 2014 04:37:47PM -3 points [-]

It reveals a distinctly right-wing refusal to assign any responsibility to the colonizer for the plight of the colonized (aka victim blaming), which can often be extrapolated to ascertain the subject's stance on other inequality issues.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 04:50:47PM 0 points [-]

Interesting. I'm definitely on the left rather than on the right, which is consistent with what you say; but I have to admit that I don't see where Lalartu says or implies anything about whether Earth will actually deserve any blame for the colonists' misery. (And, not so consistently with what you say, my own opinion is that if the colonists freely chose to be colonists and the home civilization on Earth didn't do anything terribly awful to them, then if they're miserable they shouldn't blame Earth.)

I'm mystified by some other features of Lalartu's speculation, though. I don't see why we should expect any colony's existence to be miserable, at least once it's past the earliest struggling-to-survive stages that it might well face; I don't see any good reason to expect that the colony -- especially if it's struggling to survive -- would want to nuke Earth; I see still less reason to think they could nuke Earth hard enough to cause anything like extinction.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 30 September 2014 04:27:17PM 0 points [-]

I agree. But maybe my warning contributed to there being no war. Kind of self-defeating prophecy maybe?

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 04:39:40PM 1 point [-]

Yup, could be.

Comment author: Punoxysm 30 September 2014 03:15:34AM *  1 point [-]

I skipped a few steps on the example. Think of it like this.

A: "States can do a lot of good'

B: "Well, maybe, but what do you think of drug laws"

A: "They're bad"

B: "What about the military-industrial complex"

A: "Bad"

B: "And you'd agree these are two examples of state power run amok in a structural way that's pretty pervasive across space and time"

A: "I guess so."

B: "So you agree that the state is fundamentally evil, tax is theft, and libertarianism is the answer, right?"

At this point, A will be thrown for a loop if they've never been subjected to these specific arguments before. A has been lead to the point where B is rhetorically strongest, and accepted premises in an unqualified form, which A might now wish to go back and qualify (but then A is arguing against him or her self).

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 04:28:05PM 2 points [-]

(Whoever downvoted the parent: Consider whether your goals would have been better served by downvoting Punoxysm's original question about "Socratic Judo", rather than this which looks to me like a pretty clear explanation of what s/he means by that term.)

To me, the immediately obvious answer to B's last point is "Huh? Whatever makes you think I agree with that?" and I wouldn't have thought that's a very unusual response. But I'm sure it can be done more subtly.

Comment author: polymathwannabe 30 September 2014 01:18:10PM -2 points [-]

successful attempt to establish a colony will most likely create society that blames Earth for their misery

That reveals a lot about where you stand on politics.

Sometimes, people mature and stop blaming others for their own shortsightedness. I don't recall the US ever blaming the UK for 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, or Jersey Shore.

On a more serious note, the Spanish colonies did fight a war against the Spanish Empire, but it was fought this side of the Atlantic, and it ended when the Spanish left. No Mexican warship has ever bombed the Iberian coastline, nor do they have a reason to do it.

Besides, there is more than one way to settle and run a colony. You can become a neglected corner of the Third World, like Spanish America, or a world superpower able to threaten and bully the rest of the world combined, like English America, or an ascending exemplar of soft power, like Portuguese America, or more or less good friends with the mother country, like French America, or never even become independent, like Dutch America. So motives for resentment are not easily predictable.

They will have both motive and means to nuke Earth for good

Having nuclear capability for self-sustenance does not equal having capability to build nuclear bombs. Also, you don't know whether the conditions on the planet will be favorable to a nuclear infrastructure: it's very different to settle a territory abundant in hydrothermal energy that doesn't even need nuclear plants (like Iceland), a territory prone to earthquakes where it should be obvious it's stupid to build a nuclear plant (like Japan), or a stable territory where nothing geologically notable ever happens (like Dubai).

The risk of pushing our colonies to nuke us out of spite vs. the risk of destroying ourselves at home before we've even reached the stars weighs strongly in favor of launching as many rockets as we physically can.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 04:23:27PM 2 points [-]

That reveals a lot about where you stand on politics.

I'm curious. What does it reveal about Lalartu's politics, and what (if anything) is revealed about my politics by the fact that I don't share Lalartu's expectations and also don't think it's immediately obvious what Lalartu's political position is?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 30 September 2014 12:40:48PM *  1 point [-]

That feels like cheating. (I totally felt like this when reading the anagram explanation of Harry Potter.) I guess I will just use something other than an anagram. It was just a whim of the moment.

Well, if I were impressed by the result, I would use it, but I guess I'm not. (Though, I could use the anagrams later for some purpose other than the name of the blog.)

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 04:20:26PM 2 points [-]

I totally felt like this when reading the anagram explanation of Harry Potter.

I felt much more that way about the "Marvolo" than about the "I am".

Comment author: philh 30 September 2014 11:29:25AM 2 points [-]

I think the anagram-of-your-name thing works better if you're called Scott Alexander than if you're called Viliam Bur.

It also helps if you're willing to drop an 'n'.

Comment author: gjm 30 September 2014 12:37:54PM 1 point [-]

Indeed. As he puts it:

The name of this blog is Slate Star Codex. It is almost an anagram of my own name, Scott S Alexander. It is unfortunately missing an ā€œnā€, because anagramming is hard. I have placed an extra ā€œnā€ in the header image, to restore cosmic balance.

But adding or dropping letters is probably harder to get away with when you have a shorter name.

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