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Comment author: Konkvistador 17 September 2014 05:40:53PM *  -1 points [-]

I should probably update this prediction. Considering Yudkowsky's recent pwnedness and pieces like this becoming common it is at least 10%.

Moldbug in 2008.

There is a very easy resolution to this problem: adopt the principle that no person is illegal. This rule is perfectly consistent with "applied Christianity." It is taught at all our great universities. It is implied every time a journalist deploys the euphemism "undocumented." And I'm sure there are dozens of ways in which it could be incorporated into our great Living Constitution. There is only one problem: the people are not quite ready for it.

But perhaps in thirty years they will be. Perhaps? I would bet money on it. And I would also bet that, by the time this principle is established, denying it will be the equivalent of racism. Us old fogeys who were born in the 1970s will be convulsed with guilt and shame at the thought that the US actually considered it ethically acceptable to turn away, deport, and otherwise penalize our fellow human beings, on the ridiculous and irrelevant grounds that they were born somewhere else.

So the Cathedral wins coming and going. Today, it does not suffer the political backlash that would be sure to ensue if the Inner Party endorsed opening the borders to... everyone. Still less if it actually did so. (Unless it let the new Americans vote as soon as they set foot on our sacred soil, which of course would be the most Christian approach.) And in 2038, having increased North America's population to approximately two billion persons, none of them illegal, and all living in the same Third World conditions which it has already inflicted on most of the planet, our blessed Cathedral will have the privilege of berating the past with its guilt for not having recognized the obvious truth that no person is illegal. Ain't it beautiful?

Comment author: knb 17 September 2014 06:56:47PM 5 points [-]

Two billion is a crazy population prediction even if open borders was enacted. Relative quality of life would decline very quickly with open borders, and the immigration level would slow down dramatically.

I also read some estimate that "only" 500 Million people world wide want to immigrate to the US. Overall I expect the quality-of-life gap between USA and the 3rd world to continue declining over the next couple decades.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 27 August 2014 03:24:35PM 58 points [-]

Many bigshot social scientists during the last century or so were anything but rational (Foucault and Freud are two of many examples), but were able to convince other (equally biased people) that they were.

I understand that bashing Freud is a popular way to signal "rationality" -- more precisely, to signal loyalty to the STEM tribe which is so much higher status than the social sciences tribe -- but it really irritates me because I would bet that most people doing this are merely repeating what they heard from others, building their model completely on other people's strawmans.

Mostly, it feels to me horribly unfair towards Freud as a person, to use him as a textbook example of irrationality. Compared with the science we have today, of course his models (based on armchair reasoning after observing some fuzzy psychological phenomena) are horribly outdated and often plainly wrong. So throw those models away and replace them by better models whenever possible; just like we do in any science! I mostly object to the connotation that Freud was less rational compared with other people living in the same era, working in the same field. Because it seems to me he was actually highly above the average; it's just that the whole field was completely diseased, and he wasn't rational enough to overcome all of that single-handedly. I repeat, this is not a defense of factual correctness of Freud's theories, but a defense of Freud's rationality as a person.

To put things in context, to show how diseased psychology was in Freud's era, let me just say that the most famous Freud's student and then competitor, Carl Gustav Jung, rejected much of Freud's teachings and replaced them with astrology / religion / magic, and this was considered by many people an improvement compared with the horribly offensive ideas that people could be predictably irrational, motivated by sexual desires, and generally frustrated with the modern society based on farmers' values. (Then there was also the completely different school of Vulcan psychologists who said: Thoughts and emotions cannot be measured, therefore they don't exist, and anyone who says otherwise is unscientific.) This was the environment which started the "Freud is stupid" meme, which keeps replicating on LW today.

I think the bad PR comes from combination of two facts: 1) some of Freud's ideas were wrong, and 2) all of his ideas were controversial, including those which were correct. So, first we have this "Freud is stupid" meme most people agree with, however, mostly for wrong reasons. Then, the society gradually changes, and those Freud's ideas which happened to be correct become common sense and are no longer attributed to him; they are further developed by other people whom we remember as their authors. Only the wrong ideas are remembered as his legacy. (By the way, I am not saying that Freud invented all those correct ideas. Just that popularizing them in his era was a part of what made him controversial; what made the "Freud is stupid" meme so popular. Which is why I consider that meme very unfair.) So today we associate human irrationality with Dan Ariely, human sexuality with Matt Ridley, and Sigmund Freud only reminds us of lying on a couch debating which object in a dream represented a penis, and underestimating an importance of clitoris in female sexuality.

As someone who has actually read a few Freud's books long ago (before reading books by Ariely, Ridley, etc.), here are a few things that impressed me. Things that someone got right hundred years ago, when "it's obviously magic" and "no, thoughts and emotions actually don't exist" were the alternative famous models of human psychology.

(continued in next comment...)

Comment author: knb 09 September 2014 06:34:20AM *  6 points [-]

As someone who has actually read a few Freud's books long ago (before reading books by Ariely, Ridley, etc.), here are a few things that impressed me. Things that someone got right hundred years ago, when "it's obviously magic" and "no, thoughts and emotions actually don't exist" were the alternative famous models of human psychology.

This is a completely inaccurate depiction of Psychology as it existed during Freud's time. You list Jung, one of Freud's victims, as the only example of a "rival." I think perhaps this is standard continental Euro-Chauvinism. Could it be that you are really unaware of Francis Galton's development of psychometrics or William James' monumental Principles of Psychology? James is a good example of someone who was a predecessor/contemporary of Freud who studied the same topic but did not go utterly off the rails into Crazy Land the way Freud did. He took a naturalistic view of the human mind, drawing upon introspection and empiricism. Galton's contributions were vast and showed actual mathematical rigor.

Freud's biggest contribution was probably his attempt to invent Psychopharmocology. (The short-term outcome was getting a lot of unfortunate people addicted to cocaine, but the basic idea had merit.) As for his theory of the human mind, it is worthless and set Psychology back by decades.

Sadly Freudian Psychoanalysis is Religion and Big Business now, and still practiced heavily in Mitteleuropa and parts of South America.

Comment author: paper-machine 01 September 2014 09:59:39PM 3 points [-]

I vaguely object to calling it deathist.

The SYBIL system deciding things such as what career people would be best suited for seems to damage some people so much that they become catatonic, for no apparent reason except to make sure we know it's bad

I don't recall something like this happening. Most of the time -- as far as I remember -- it's other people reacting to psycho-pass information that causes psychological damage. E.g., one character is extensively bullied because of their psycho-pass, one or two characters' psycho-pass degrades the more they obsesses over it, etc.

One minor villain is a standard "wanting to be immortal makes you evil" type of character

I'd say he was more "evil and coincidentally also wanting to be immortal." The only character that really disagrees with living forever is Kougami, whose expected future quality of life is relatively low.

Comment author: knb 08 September 2014 06:18:31AM 1 point [-]

I agree, it's not deathist. It isn't particularly pro-immortalist either, but that doesn't bother me.

Comment author: adamzerner 05 September 2014 11:09:12PM 1 point [-]

How exactly does that work? Why value can a retired politician offer a big corporation?

Comment author: knb 06 September 2014 12:26:12AM 4 points [-]

As I already stated, the biggest advantage is "access." Having a big name politician on your board means you can have them chat with their friends in congress about why they should vote yes/no on a certain bill. It helps the company convey their opinions to the people who matter. There are other advantages, like increasing the organization's prestige, and having access to someone with a great deal of knowledge about the political process (who might be persuaded, who is a lost cause, etc.)

Comment author: adamzerner 05 September 2014 08:30:42PM 1 point [-]

It does seem that it's mostly a status thing. If the big money comes after the retire, that would make me think that they'd be eager to get out, rather than eager to stay in.

Comment author: knb 05 September 2014 10:33:31PM 2 points [-]

I don't think money is the primary motivation. However even for people who do just want money, the amount of money they make is commensurate to the length and prestige of their political career.

Comment author: knb 05 September 2014 07:58:59PM *  9 points [-]

Why are congressmen so motivated to stay in office, make $175k a year, exert a minimal amount of real power, and spend their time catering to lobbyists and making socially suboptimal decisions? I'm sure they could make twice as much in the private sector. I feel like there's something obvious that I'm missing here, but I'm genuinely confused.

I think it's mostly about the social status that comes from membership in an elite. But just from the financial side, the big money for elected officials doesn't come during office, but after they retire and become a lobbyist or de facto lobbyist. Retired big name politicians usually wind up on multiple corporate boards, collecting lots of money for very little work. It's "pay for access." For example, Al Gore was put on Apple's board of directors in 2003, and reaped millions. Some ex-politicians do better on public speaking fees or books.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 29 August 2014 08:20:28AM *  4 points [-]

1938: "Just give him the parts of Czechoslovakia he wants. Yeah, annexing a part of other country is wrong, but a minority speaking his language lives there, so, uhm, he kinda has a good reason. More importantly, we have a good reason to believe he will stop there. Just let's not be the bad guys who fight over nothing. Everything will be fine when he gets what he wants, he is a reasonable guy."

2014: "Just give him the parts of Ukraine he wants. Yeah, annexing a part of other country is wrong, but a minority speaking his language lives there, so, uhm, he kinda has a good reason. More importantly, we have a good reason to believe he will stop there. Just let's not be the bad guys who fight over nothing. Everything will be fine when he gets what he wants, he is a reasonable guy."

The analogies are much deeper here than merely "he is a guy we don't like, therefore Hitler". Things that happen inside Russia are also very disturbing -- I am trying to ignore politics, and I usually don't care about what happens in Russia, but some news still get to me -- Putin's supporters are openly nationalist, racist, homophobic, pretty much everything you associate with fascism, he has a strong support of the Orthodox Church, journalists who criticize him are assassinated. (Someone living in Russia would be more qualified to write about this.) The only way he could lose an election would be against someone who is even more like this. Winning a symbolic war against the West will only make him more popular.

To test how strong is this analogy, we should make bets like: Conditional on Putin successfully annexing a part of territory of Ukraine, what is the probability of Russia attacking another country within 1, 3, 5, 10 years? Which country will it be?

Comment author: knb 29 August 2014 10:06:46AM *  11 points [-]

The analogies are much deeper here than merely "he is a guy we don't like, therefore Hitler". Things that happen inside Russia are also very disturbing -- I am trying to ignore politics, and I usually don't care about what happens in Russia, but some news still get to me -- Putin's supporters are openly nationalist, racist, homophobic, pretty much everything you associate with fascism, he has a strong support of the Orthodox Church, journalists who criticize him are assassinated.

All of these things also apply to the other examples I mentioned, and many other countries besides. People said the same things about Saddam, Qaddafi, Assad, etc. Putin is of course saying similar things about his Ukrainian enemies to what you are saying about him. (Admittedly, they make it easy for him.)

There is no shortage of historical examples of historical revanchism, yet the "Hitler in 1939" analogy utterly dominates. So why rely 100% on one analogy. Why insist on using the example that is the closest stand-in for "evil psychopath who cannot be reasoned with, but must be destroyed utterly?"

Probably because you're in the midst of a media driven two-minutes hate. History begins and ends with Hitler, 1939!

(Seriously, your standard for being Hitleresque is being racist, homophobic, and nationalistic? It might be a fun exercise for you to write down a list of 100 historical leaders, determine how many were/were not racist, homophobic, or nationalistic. This will give you your Hitler/non-Hitler ratio. Do you think the ratios of Hitlers : non-Hitlers is greater or less than 1?)

Comment author: James_Miller 29 August 2014 12:38:13AM *  3 points [-]

Garry Kasparov has made the following Tweets:

The reason to take difficult & dangerous steps to stop Putin today is simple. It will get more difficult and more dangerous tomorrow

The Russian commanders think Putin is crazy but he keeps being right, keeps winning without resistance. So they follow. It's 1938-39 again.

The most dangerous element is Putin & his followers' sense of invincibility. The longer they go unopposed the harder will be to stop them.

Obama & EU kept looking for easy & safe ways to fight Putin. They refused to make tough decisions and the price always keeps going up.

Putin is probably trying to calculate what's the most he can take consistent with keeping the probability of a major war with the United States below some level. If the U.S. is unwilling to fight, Putin will take all of the territory of the Soviet Empire + perhaps Finland, a country that used to belong to Russia.

Putin probably knows he might have a limited time to act because the U.S. might get a hawkish President (Hillary Clinton, any Republican but Rand Paul) or Germany might re-militarize.

Comment author: knb 29 August 2014 07:08:50AM *  3 points [-]

Yeah, yeah. It's always 1939, the bad guy du jour is always Hitler. Assad is Hitler, Putin is Hitler, Saddam was Hitler, Qaddafi was Hitler.

The warmongers really need to get a new routine, people aren't falling for it anymore.

Comment author: bramflakes 01 July 2014 12:17:56AM *  0 points [-]

Why, did you think it was about something else?

I patternmatched the first half to eugenics.

Well, "impoverished foreign country" doesn't match well to Nazi Germany, but everything else checks out.

Comment author: knb 07 August 2014 06:17:45PM 0 points [-]

I'd be interested to hear how eugenics could kill hundreds of thousands of people in days.

Comment author: ChristianKl 26 July 2014 07:45:33PM 5 points [-]

The word "circumnavigate" is always used with Magellan - it may as well be his middle name. It's used in the first two sentences on Magellan's page at La Wik.

If the student in question uses the word not because it was in his usual vocabulary but because it appeared in the article about Magellan, the teacher has a valid point. A five grade student who reads an article about Magellan might copy the word without understanding it.

A teacher who wants to check whether the students actually understand is going to want that the student expresses his ideas within their own vocabulary and not simply copy words of an article they read.

I personally had teachers not understand a point I made because of not understanding that strategy and tactics are two different words with different meaning but I hadn't an issue with teacher complaining that I'm not speaking in my own vocabulary when writing essays.

Comment author: knb 26 July 2014 11:26:45PM 6 points [-]

If the student in question uses the word not because it was in his usual vocabulary but because it appeared in the article about Magellan, the teacher has a valid point.

Not really. I'm sure "circumnavigate" wasn't in my usual vocabulary but its meaning is simple enough to determine from context. I don't think its reasonable to penalize someone for using a word they would pretty much have to pick up when learning about a topic.

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