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Comment author: elephantiskon 16 January 2017 09:17:17PM 2 points [-]

At what age do you all think people have the greatest moral status? I'm tempted to say that young children (maybe aged 2-10 or so) are more important than adolescents, adults, or infants, but don't have any particularly strong arguments for why that might be the case.

Comment author: knb 17 January 2017 01:46:11AM *  1 point [-]

I don't think children actually have greater moral status, but harming children or allowing children to be harmed carries more evidence of depraved/dangerous mental state because it goes against the ethic of care we are supposed to naturally feel toward children.

Comment author: ChristianKl 20 December 2016 07:06:28AM *  0 points [-]

As it happens, I doubt Chinese pay all that much attention to these kinds of diplomatic bugbears.

Why do you doubt it?

The fact that they took a US military drone in tit-for-tat, suggests that they do pay attention.

If the Chinese wanted it they could leak all those background checks for the US security clearances to Wikileaks or do any number of actions to retaliate more forcefully than just taking a drone as a symbolic action against the symbolic action of a phone call.

Comment author: knb 25 December 2016 03:40:12AM 0 points [-]

I meant the Chinese public. The actual public of most countries is not all that engaged in the ins and outs of these things.

Comment author: ChristianKl 18 December 2016 09:00:20AM 0 points [-]

The signal sent by Trump is that he will take a call from whomever he wants

That doesn't change anything about the fact that it creates strong internal pressure on Chinese decision makers to answer the action in a way that doesn't result in them losing face in front of their citizens.

Comment author: knb 20 December 2016 02:14:44AM *  0 points [-]

If true that's mainly an argument against making pointless precommitments you can't possibly enforce. As it happens, I doubt Chinese pay all that much attention to these kinds of diplomatic bugbears.

Comment author: ChristianKl 13 December 2016 08:03:03PM 3 points [-]

What's going to happen to Taiwan?

On the one hand Trump signaled less willingness to defend the interests of other countries with the US military. On the other hand he provokes the Chinese by speaking directly with Taiwanese leaders.

What are the probabilities that China will attempt to take over Taiwan during Trump's term?

Comment author: knb 16 December 2016 01:46:03AM 0 points [-]

The signal sent by Trump is that he will take a call from whomever he wants; the Chinese don't get to dictate with whom he speaks. The idea that it makes China more likely to attack Taiwan is ridiculous.

In response to Land war in Asia
Comment author: knb 09 December 2016 02:42:52AM 1 point [-]

Another aspect to consider is that Hitler had spent the decades leading up to the war declaring the Soviet Union to be an existential threat and noisily pre-committed to a massive seizure of Eastern European land. He dedicated an entire chapter to the topic in Mein Kampf. So Hitler had perhaps already tied his own hands before he even came to power.

Comment author: DataPacRat 01 December 2016 01:02:25AM 3 points [-]

If you could pick one music track that, if turned into a music video, could most exemplify the emotions resulting from LW-style rationality, what would that song be?

Comment author: knb 03 December 2016 08:26:43PM 0 points [-]

I immediately thought of this.

Comment author: ChristianKl 27 November 2016 09:48:30AM 1 point [-]

Updating to changed evidence is no sign of a charlatan but behavior of good forecasters.

Comment author: knb 30 November 2016 02:21:14AM 1 point [-]

I agree, but that isn't what Adams did. Adams first claimed Trump is a master persuader who was virtually certain to win. When Trump was way down in the polls with only weeks left, Adams then switched to predicting a Clinton win, using the Trump controversy du jour as a rationale.

Updating on the evidence would have involved conceding that Trump isn't actually an expert persuader (or conceding that persuasion skills don't actually carry that much weight). In other words, he would have had to admit he was wrong. Instead, he acted like the Trump controversy of the time was something completely shocking and that was the only reason Trump was going to lose.

Comment author: ChristianKl 27 November 2016 12:22:58AM 2 points [-]

The math isn’t super important to see why it’s so cool. His model seems to be that we should try to forecast the election outcome, including uncertainty between now and the end date, rather than build a forecast that takes current poll numbers and implicitly assumes nothing changes.

I don't think the Markov Models that Silver uses assume that nothing changes. 2 of his 3 models assumed change.

When you read Silver (or your preferred reputable election forecaster, I like Andrew Gelman) post their forecasts prior to the election, do you accept them as equal or better than any estimate you could come up with?

(out of memory) A year ago I think I gave Trump 40% conditional on him winning the Republican nomination on GJOpen. I think two months ago I moved from numbers were over the GJOpen average to

Scott Adams claimed to be able to predict that Trump would persuade everyone to vote for him. While it's tempting to write him off as a pundit charlatan, or claim he doesn't have sufficient proof, we also can't prove his model was wrong either

Scott Adams predicted a Trump landslide. That scenario didn't happen, Trump lost the popular vote. He didn't get elected because he convinced the majority of the population but because of Electorate College math.

Comment author: knb 27 November 2016 02:27:59AM 1 point [-]

Adams also frequently hedged his bets and even changed his prediction once the odds for Trump appeared too long to overcome. This is pretty much what you would expect from a charlatan.

Comment author: moridinamael 21 November 2016 03:57:35PM *  2 points [-]

Have you heard of Gobekli Tepe?

Through the radiocarbon method, the end of Layer III can be fixed at about 9000 BCE (see above) but it is believed that the elevated location may have functioned as a spiritual center by 11,000 BCE or even earlier, essentially at the very end of the Pleistocene.


The surviving structures, then, not only predate pottery, metallurgy, and the invention of writing or the wheel, they were built before the so-called Neolithic Revolution, i.e., the beginning of agriculture and animal husbandry around 9000 BCE. But the construction of Göbekli Tepe implies organization of an advanced order not hitherto associated with Paleolithic, PPNA, or PPNB societies. Archaeologists estimate that up to 500 persons were required to extract the heavy pillars from local quarries and move them 100–500 meters (330–1,640 ft) to the site. The pillars weigh 10–20 metric tons (10–20 long tons; 11–22 short tons), with one still in the quarry weighing 50 tons.


At present Göbekli Tepe raises more questions for archaeology and prehistory than it answers. It remains unknown how a force large enough to construct, augment, and maintain such a substantial complex was mobilized and compensated or fed in the conditions of pre-sedentary society.

I admit I am not a student of history or anthropology, but finding Gobekli Tepe seems like discovering a working grandfather clock in orbit around Saturn. It seems like it should be absolutely devastating to any narrative of history that doesn't involve large, organized civilizations in, at the latest, 9,000 BC.

Which the prevailing interpretation does not permit. It appears that rather than throwing all the old interpretations out the window, mainstream archaeological establishment has decided that those 20 ton stones were being hewn, transported and placed by ... hunter-gatherers. Teams of 500 hunter-gatherers, I guess?

I'm going to come clean and admit that I've been listening to the Joe Rogan podcast, and specifically to his guests who subscribe to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis. The idea here is that humanity had started forming true civilizations before 10,000 BC, and a comet impact or airburst over one of the ice sheets caused a huge fireball and flood that led to mass extinctions and the annihilation of civilization. There seems to be a decent case for this theory, but as an uneducated bystander, I can't tell from the outside if I'm looking at crackpots who are cherry-picking evidence, or trailblazing iconoclasts who are at the forefront of the reinvention of a new paradigm.

I admit that I Want To Believe, and that makes it hard to reason objectively, particularly in what may be an epistemically hostile environment where charlatans (or academic holdouts) may or may not be trying to manipulate what evidence makes it to the layman investigator.

Overall, this seems like an interesting field test for rationalist skills.

Comment author: knb 22 November 2016 04:32:53AM 1 point [-]

The idea here is that humanity had started forming true civilizations before 10,000 BC, and a comet impact or airburst over one of the ice sheets caused a huge fireball and flood that led to mass extinctions and the annihilation of civilization

There's no mystery about what caused the quaternary mass extinction--humans reached the Americas and wiped out the ecologically naive megafauna.

Comment author: knb 20 November 2016 07:39:02PM 1 point [-]

Hypothesized to be pushing off the quantum foam.

I'm pretty sure this does not make any sense.

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