Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

In response to Wrong Tomorrow
Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 02 April 2009 10:01:10AM 0 points [-]

the likely result is that pundits would start taking more care to make their predictions untestable.

this is already the norm 1) make qualitative prediction 2) reject criticism with "no true scotsman" fallacy (x wasn't really an example of y because z)

Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 26 February 2009 02:45:45AM 1 point [-]

the general public being unaware of the fact that stock prices are an equilibrium of beliefs about whether the stock will rise or fall is not a major cause for concern.

Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 23 February 2009 03:47:24AM 2 points [-]

AA is willing to pay in order to achieve a more egalitarian outcome. in other words: AA is willing to pay money in order to force others to be more like him.

a desire to change the payoff matrix itself is my point: one monkey gets the banana and the other monkey cries justice. justice is formalized fairness. I can easily envision that AA would also pay in order to alter the payoff matrix.

So let's set up another trial of this with an added meta dilemma: in each case the disadvantaged member of the trial can forfeit another 5 points in order to alter the payoff matrix itself in an egalitarian direction. The caveat is that the advantaged person can pay an additional 5 points to stop you. or make it so they can contribute any number of points and the other has to contribute an equal number to stop you. what sort of equilibrium would result here?

Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 18 February 2009 04:03:11AM 0 points [-]

Richard that can be described as near/far. also I'm not sure the cynic/idealist is the correct dichotomy, as cynicism seems a form of idealism. idealist/realist optimist/cynic ?

In response to An African Folktale
Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 16 February 2009 08:50:49PM 2 points [-]

I regretted posting the original comment immediately but felt like your comment "maybe this is why africa stays poor" was kind of a pandora's box for this sort of thing.

all discussions lead inexorably towards ever more fundamental issues until eventually you're talking about axiomatic beliefs. This seem to fall in line with the idea that either you have different priors or one of you has made a mistake. Since this is a community of intelligent commenters it follows that most disagreements are probably due to different core values/assumptions.

But anyway, you're right. this stuff will have plenty of opportunity to be aired out when the blog transition occurs. Until then arguing about government is counter productive to the focus of the site since there is limited comment space.

my bad.

In response to An African Folktale
Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 16 February 2009 06:42:08PM 3 points [-]

it's disingenuous to blame NASA, as if we couldn't afford both!

the point here is that the money that the government spends is 100% wasted on these things, not that we should find ways to pay for more stuff. I don't support government spending at all. when I talk about environmentalism I'm talking about the government whipping people into a frenzy in order to justify ridiculous schemes that private enterprise would never support. If there was less taxation and people were rational about picking charities to reduce overall suffering micronutrient and clean water programs would get huge boosts. They get practically nil right now because they aren't glamorous, and the government takes a large percentage of money that people would otherwise be generous with.

In response to An African Folktale
Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 16 February 2009 06:05:24AM 0 points [-]

Do you feel the same indignation toward spending on, say, NASA?

of course. environmentalism is just the latest in a long string of justifications for government subsidy. NASA is another great example of breathtaking levels of waste.

In response to An African Folktale
Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 16 February 2009 01:48:05AM 4 points [-]

A big part of the reason Africa stays poor is because nutrition and education is so poor that sub-saharan IQ's average about 70. Environmentalism pisses me off because for a fraction of what we are spending on the public hysteria we could be providing micro nutrients that would lead to huge decreases in overall suffering. Ditto with providing clean water.

What the hell is green tech? Is it just more efficient tech? Or does it have less to do with the technology and more to do with economic agents acknowledging externalities, consciously choosing to internalize some of that cost?

Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 14 February 2009 09:31:06PM 1 point [-]

terrifying freedom

I believe this is one of the prime motivators for religion, conspiracy theories, and all other manner of hidden organization schemes. the thought that this is literally IT and no one will judge the wicked, no one is guiding the leviathan, no one will care if you make a stupid mistake and it costs you your life.

"The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us." - Rorschach

Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 11 February 2009 06:46:22PM 0 points [-]

Huh, I was unaware that the whole concept of spandrels had originated with Gould. Point taken, one can reinterpret seemingly random noise as being itself an adaptation that overcomes simple hill climbing perhaps. Mutations themselves are a random walk, selection is not random. Environment acts as a hill, organisms as hill climbing algorithms, with the top of the hill being maximally efficient use of resources for reproduction. Is this correct?

View more: Next