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Comment author: Azathoth123 16 September 2014 01:46:41AM 0 points [-]

To take a special case, the immigrants themselves probably don't feel that way,

Actually they probably do. That's why they immigrated in the first place.

and for some who favour liberal immigration policies the benefit to the immigrants is actually an important part of the point.

Well it's remarkable how strong a correlation there is between one's support for immigration and how strong a bubble one has around oneself to protect oneself from them. Look how many of the most prominent immigration advocates live in gated communities.

Comment author: gjm 16 September 2014 10:08:32AM *  0 points [-]

That's why they immigrated in the first place.

I can think of reasons why someone might migrate from country A to country B other than preferring country B's people to country A's.

[EDITED to add: Maybe I should give some examples, in case they really aren't obvious. Country B might have: a better political system, less war, more money, better treatment for some group one's part of (women, gay people, intellectuals, Sikhs, ...), less disease, nicer climate, lower taxes, better public services, better jobs, better educational opportunities. Some of those might in some cases be because country A's people are somehow better, but they needn't be, and even if in fact Uzbekistan has lower taxes because it has fewer Swedes and Swedes have a genetic predisposition to raise taxes, someone migrating from Sweden to Uzbekistan for lower taxes needn't be aware of that and needn't have any preference for not being around Swedes.]

how strong a correlation there is [...] how many of the most prominent immigration advocates live in gated communities.

I am interested: How strong, and how many? Do you have figures?

(And how does it compare with how many of the most prominent advocates of anything you care to mention live in gated communities? The most prominent people in any given group are more likely to be rich, and richer people more often live in gated communities.)

In any case, assuming for the sake of argument that there is indeed a positive correlation between being "protected" from immigrants and supporting letting more of them in: I don't understand how your reply is responsive to what I wrote. It seems exactly parallel to this: "Many people advocate prison reform for the sake of the prisoners." "Oh year? Well, a lot of those people prefer to live in places with lower crime rates." Which is true enough, but hardly relevant. There's no inconsistency between wanting some group of people to be better off, and having a personal preference for not living near a lot of them.

Comment author: Azathoth123 16 September 2014 01:02:42AM 1 point [-]

"such-and-such a country allows quite a lot of immigration, and there is one city there that has a lot of immigrants and isn't a very nice place" seems a very very very weak argument against liberal immigration policies.

On the other hand, "such-and-such a country allows quite a lot of immigration, and the niceness of a city inversely correlates with the number of immigrants there" is a stronger argument. Especially if I can get an even stronger correlation by conditioning on types of immigrants.

Comment author: gjm 16 September 2014 01:30:48AM 0 points [-]

Stronger, yes. But ...

  • It's far from clear that the central premise is correct. (Cambridge has a lot of immigrants and I think it's very nice. I'm told Stoke-on-Trent is pretty rubbish but it has few immigrants. Two cherry-picked cases don't tell you much about correlation but, hey, that's one more case than bramflakes offered.)
  • The differential effects of immigration within a country might look different from the overall effects on the country as a whole. (Toy model, not intended to be a description of how things actually are: suppose some immigrant group produces disproportionate numbers of petty criminals and brilliant business executives; then maybe areas with more of that group will have more crime but by the magic of income tax the high earnings of the geniuses will make everyone better off.)
  • For some people -- I am not claiming you are one -- the very fact that a place has more immigrants (or more of particular "types of immigrants", nudge nudge wink wink) makes it less nice. Those who happen not to feel that way may have a different view of the correlation between niceness and immigration from those who do. To take a special case, the immigrants themselves probably don't feel that way, and for some who favour liberal immigration policies the benefit to the immigrants is actually an important part of the point.
Comment author: ChristianKl 15 September 2014 11:16:31PM *  -1 points [-]

Obviously could mean something else if you're talking to someone whose system of notation swaps the glyphs for 3 and 4, or who uses "times" to mean what we mean by "plus"; but beyond that?

The fact that you claim to get 7 digits of accuracy by multiplying two 4 digit numbers is very questionable. If I would go after my physics textbook 1234 times 4321 = 5332000 would be the prefered answer and 1234 times 4321 = 5332114 would be wrong as the number falsely got 3 additional digits of accuracy.

A more exotic issue is whether times is left or right associative. The python pep on matrix multiplication is quite interesting. It goes through edge cases such as whether matrix multiplication is right or left associative.

Obviously could mean something different in an alternate world where "human" denotes some other species or in a community where "red" is used to denote short-wavelength rather than long-wavelength visible light; but beyond that?

Red is actually a quite nice example. Does it mean #FF0000? If so, the one that my monitor displays? The one that my printer prints? On is red not a property of an object but a property of the light and it means light with a certain wavelength? That means that if I light the room a certain way the colors of objects change. If it's a property of the object, what's when the object emits red light but doesn't reflect it? Alternatively red could also be something that triggers the color receptors of humans in a specific way. In that case small DNA changes in the person who perceives red alter slightly what red means. But "human red" is even more complex because the brain does comlex postprocessing after the color receptors have given a certain output.

If red means #FF0000 then is #EE0000 also red or is it obviously not red because it's not #FF0000? What do you do when someone with design experience and who therefore has many names for colors comes along and says that freshly spilled human blood is crimson rather than red? If we look up the color crimson you will find that Indiana University has IU crimson and the University of Kansas has KU crimson. Different values for crimson make it hard to decide whether or not the blood is actually colored crimson.

Depending on how you define red mixing it with green and blue might give you white or it might give you black.

I used to naively think that I can calculate the difference between two colors by calculating the Hamilton distance of the hex values. There even a W3C recommendation of defining the distance of colors for website design that way. It turns out it you actually need a formula that's more complex and I'm still not sure whether the one the folks gave me on ux.stackexchange is correct for human color perception. Of course you need to have a concept of distance if you want to say that red is #FF0000 +- X.

I also had lately on LW a disagreement about what colors mean when I use red to mean whatever my monitor shows me for red/#FF0000 because my monitor might not be rightly calibrated.

You might naively think that the day after September 2 is always September 3. That turns out not to be true. There also a case where a September 14 follows after a September 2. Some people think that a minute always has 60 seconds but the official version is that it can also sometimes have 61. It get's worse. You don't know how many leap seconds will be introduced in the next ten years. It get's announced only 6 months in advance. That means it's practically impossible to build a clock that tells the time accurately down to a second in ten years. If you look closer at statements things usually get really messy.

The US airforce shoot down an US helicopter in Iraq partly because they don't consider helicopters to be aircraft. Most of the time you can get away with making vague statements for practical purposes but sometimes a change in context changes the truth value of a statement and then you are screwed.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 11:49:00PM 1 point [-]

Multiplication: so this looks like you're again referring to meanings being context-dependent (in this case the meaning of "= 5332114"). So far as I can see, associativity has nothing whatever to do with the point at issue here and I don't understand why you bring it up; what am I missing?

Redness: yeah, again in some contexts "red" might be taken to mean some very specific colour; and yes, colour is a really complicated business, though most of that complexity seems to me to have as little to do with the point at issue as associativity has to do with the question of what 1234x4321 is.

So: It appears to me that what you mean by saying that statements' truth values are context-dependent is that (1) their meanings are context-dependent and (2) people are often less than perfectly precise and their statements apply to cases they hadn't considered. All of which is true, but none of which seems terribly controversial. So, sorry, no upvote for contrarianism from me on this occasion :-).

Comment author: bramflakes 15 September 2014 10:47:08PM 2 points [-]

I'm being flippant of course. I didn't intend it as a serious argument.

Quick response:

1) You cannot compare the UK's cities to the US' cities because the US has a 14% black population and the UK does not. "Inner city" is a codeword for the kind of black dysfunction that thankfully the UK does not possess.

2) The UK is not close to collapse because we don't have fully Open Borders yet. For all its faults, the EU's migration framework isn't quite letting in millions of third-worlders yet.

3) Of course.

If you don't mind, I don't want to get into a lengthy debate on the subject.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 11:06:05PM 0 points [-]

I am quite happy not to have a lengthy debate with you on this topic.

Comment author: Thomas 15 September 2014 06:21:43PM 1 point [-]

I have two photos of two different pies, one of rotating one and one of not rotating. Photos are indistinguishable, I can't tell which is which.

On the other hand, both pies have one-to-one correspondence with photos an one should be slightly deformed on the edge.

Even if it is, on the photo can't be. The photo is perfectly Euclidean. I have measured no Lorentz contraction.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 08:05:19PM 2 points [-]

In other news, the earth is really flat because photographs of the earth are flat.

Comment author: bramflakes 15 September 2014 05:48:26PM 1 point [-]

You should visit Bradford someday.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 08:03:53PM 1 point [-]

I'm sure Bradford isn't the greatest place to live, but (1) it's better than many US inner cities, (2) the UK seems quite far from collapse, and generally (3) "such-and-such a country allows quite a lot of immigration, and there is one city there that has a lot of immigrants and isn't a very nice place" seems a very very very weak argument against liberal immigration policies.

Comment author: jsteinhardt 15 September 2014 05:37:34PM 15 points [-]

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

For many smart people, academia is one of the highest-value careers they could pursue.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 08:00:39PM 2 points [-]

Clarify "many"?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 15 September 2014 06:41:45PM 4 points [-]

And the greatest advantage is that it has no hyperlinks to click. Thus, you only spend limited time reading it.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 07:40:03PM 1 point [-]

But it has a lot of the same stuff you'd have found beyond the hyperlinks -- right underneath the headlines, without even needing to click. I'm not sure that's a win.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 15 September 2014 03:52:07PM 1 point [-]

Yupp. That one. Maybe the OP could change the title to include 'irrationality' (or add a tag) to stay in the original spirit.

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 05:00:28PM 1 point [-]

My understanding is that this is explicitly meant not to be quite the same thing as the Irrationality Game. Specifically, in the IG the idea is to find things you think are more likely to be true than the LW consensus reckons them; here (I think) the idea is to find things you think are actually likely to be true despite the LW consensus.

Comment author: Jiro 15 September 2014 03:47:15PM *  1 point [-]

Meta: It is easy to take a position that is held by a significant number of people and exaggerate it to the point where nobody holds the exaggerated version. Does that count as a contrarian opinion (since nobody believes the exaggerated version that was stated) or as a non-contrarian opinion (since people believe the non-exaggerated version)?

(Edit: This is not intended to be a controversial opinion. It's meta.)

Comment author: gjm 15 September 2014 04:58:39PM 2 points [-]

My understanding is that the idea is to post opinions you actually hold that count as contrarian.

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