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Comment author: niceguyanon 06 December 2016 02:05:36PM 1 point [-]

I'm guilty of over updating towards stupid/crazy when ever someone has a cranky belief. I was on board with the bullying of Ben Carson, but in hindsight the man is a neurosurgeon; I'm pretty sure he's smarter than me.

Comment author: niceguyanon 01 December 2016 03:24:50PM 0 points [-]

Since you have a child, have you heard of Elimination Communication and what is your opinion?

Comment author: scarcegreengrass 01 December 2016 03:39:04AM 9 points [-]

Downvoting is temporarily disabled! I'm very excited about this change because in the last few weeks I've seen some good conversations deleted by someone exploiting a sockpuppet glitch. Besides, I have always preferred commenting to downvoting.

Comment author: niceguyanon 01 December 2016 02:14:00PM 1 point [-]

Agree. There have been an influx of posts and almost no comments to go with them, looks sad. SSC's most recent post is really interesting but almost no comments, perhaps because it has already been discussed on SSC, maybe this will help.

Comment author: DryHeap 29 November 2016 07:50:24PM 0 points [-]

Very good point. On a similar note: we often don't consider whether we have empirically tested what we, ourselves, believe to be true. Most often, we have not. I'd wager that we are all 'useful idiots' of a sort.

Comment author: niceguyanon 30 November 2016 03:49:24PM 0 points [-]

we are all 'useful idiots' of a sort.

It's sheep all the way up!

Comment author: Viliam 29 November 2016 12:47:04PM 3 points [-]

This is Athene:

I tried to understand the world by seeing everything as information instead since it then becomes a lot easier to find a logical answer to how we came to existence and why the logical patterns around us emerge. There are two scenario's that sound more logical for the average person, one is that there has always been nothing and the other that there has always been infinite chaos. Keep in mind, this is simplified because always makes us think about time and time came only to existence with the big bang. The issue people have though is how something could emerge from nothing without the intervention of a creator. On the other hand, if we assume there was always infinite chaos and we can find a falsifiable explanation to how our consistent reality could emerge from it we would have a much easier time to set our inner conflict at ease.

To get back to how I approach everything as information, let's represent this infinite chaos as 1's and 0's. How could our reality emerge from this and how would logic be able to bring about all this beauty and consistency. There is already mathematical models of how chaos brings about order but in this specific case we can also derive certain mathematical conclusions from infinity. For example 0 would appear around half the time and 1 as well. Same, if you take the combination 01 it would appear 25% of the time while the combination 10, 11 and 00 would do so to. What you already can see is that the longer the binary number is the less frequent it appears within infinity.

To understand the next step you need some basic understanding about the concept of compression algorithm. To illustrate, if you have a fully black background in paint and save it as a .bmp it will be a much larger file then when you save it as a .jpg. The reason for this is because the .jpg uses a compression algorithm that allows you to show the same black picture on the screen but requires a lot smaller binary number. If this black picture would be our consciousness instead and it would emerge from infinite chaos, it would naturally be the one that is most compressed since it is what is most likely to happen. This is one explanation for how everything around us seems to follow specific patterns as these are merely the compression algorithms that are brought about due to the probabilities within infinite chaos.

If this line of thinking would be true it would also have other consequences. The number 1 and a billion 0's for example would be smaller then a shorter binary number that would contain more information. This approach would also bring about a different kind of math that isn't based on Euclidean or non-Euclidean geometry. Additionally it might also help us better understand the quantum weirdness such as entanglement and superposition.

This is a Less Wrong article on a similar topic: An Intuitive Explanation of Solomonoff Induction

I hope you understand why I am not impressed with the Athene's version.

Well, he probably hasn't read anything, he did apply for an LW meet-up but was rejected as he had to stay for the full amount of days, before this clicking religion thing they did reach out regarding their group on here I think, at EA forums and elsewhere. Staying there is free. Regarding rationality.org and so forth I think he mentioned they're all just intellectually masturbating.

Having to stay somewhere for a few days doesn't sound to me like a regular LW meetup. I guess it was either a CFAR workshop, or an event like this.

(Uhm, this is probably not the case, but asking anyway to make sure -- "they did reach out regarding their group on here I think" does not refer to this, right? Because that's the only recent attempt to reach out here that I remember.)

Regarding rationality.org and so forth I think he mentioned they're all just intellectually masturbating.

Heh, sometimes I have a similar impression. On the other hand, some things take time. A few years ago, superintelligent AI was a completely fringe topic... now it's popular in media, and random people share articles about it on Facebook. So either the founders of LW caused this trend, or at least were smart enough to predict it. That requires some work. MIRI and CFAR have funding, which is also not simple to achieve. They sometimes publish scientific articles. If I remember correctly, they were also involved in creating the effective altruist movement. (Luke Muehlhauser, the former executive director of MIRI, now works for GiveWell.) There is probably more, but I think this already qualifies as more than "intellectual masturbation".

Athene has an impressive personal track record. I admit that part. But the whole thing about "clicking" is a separate claim. (Steve Jobs was an impressive person; that doesn't prove his beliefs in reincarnation are correct.)

By the way, what do you think about the website: https://www.asimpleclick.org/ ?

Any specific part of it? I have already spent hours researching this topic. I have even read the Reddit forum where people describe how they "clicked" (most posts seem the same, and so do all replies, it's a bit creepy). Am I supposed to listen to the guided meditation, or watch yet another advertising video, or...?

Comment author: niceguyanon 29 November 2016 01:37:25PM 1 point [-]

I have already spent hours researching this topic.

I applaud your effort and hope your hours spent means others' saved.

Comment author: sarahconstantin 25 November 2016 06:52:36PM 3 points [-]

I have heard the rumor that drugstore products (e.g. shampoo, wrinkle cream) contain ever-declining amounts of the active ingredient, after the first product launches.

Comment author: niceguyanon 28 November 2016 01:05:46PM 1 point [-]

Like no Aloe in Aloe products.

Comment author: niceguyanon 22 November 2016 05:08:29PM *  0 points [-]

for #3 feels like from the inside:

" This person just used a highly technical word/jargon I do not know, although it's not a status grab, its so fucking annoying that you would think that I would know that word. How could you be so smart and stupid at the same time? Of course I don't know that word, don't you have some sense of savoir faire to anticipate I might not know that word"?

Comment author: Vaniver 21 November 2016 10:53:03PM *  2 points [-]

Would you care to give what you believe are the best evidence for his winning-ness and intelligence? I haven't seen any anything really that compelling.

If we're both mostly looking at the same evidence, then I think the thing we need to discuss is the interpretations / hypotheses / way we update on that evidence.

He won – OK yes update for, but it doesn't move me that much

Why? This seems like a huge signal for competence, in part because it aggregates lots of other signals, many of which might be hidden.

For example, suppose you have an advisor that tells you X, and an advisor that tells you Y. We start off uncertain how much X or Y would help you win, but candidate A chooses to follow advice X and candidate B chooses to follow advice Y. If B eventually wins, this makes us update on Y's goodness as advice, which makes us update on B for several related reasons (their ability to choose good advisors, their ability to choose good plans, plus whatever generic factors are relevant).

(To make that concrete, both Trump and Clinton were advised to play heavily to rust belt voters, Trump by Bannon and Hillary by Bill; Trump listened and Hillary didn't, and you know how that turned out. I didn't predict that specific thing in advance, but I did predict that Trump was a generically good campaigner and that Hillary was a generically bad campaigner. And before this story made the news, just knowing that Trump won told you they must have done something differently.)

Casino failure - Start-ups have shown me that business's are complex and depends a lot on luck, so while I'll ding him here, I don't update a lot

I think it's worth pointing out (for both this one and Trump University) that you should be more worried about selection effects. The question is not so much "okay, knowing the outcome, was move X a mistake?" but "how many mistakes of size X do you expect someone to make over the course of a career?". Trump's overall record, of what fraction of his businesses have ended in bankruptcy, is very good, and that seems more meaningful for judging overall competence. (Do you know what fraction that is, incidentally?)

2 divorces & 3rd wife – This is fair game

Are you familiar with the phrase 'serial monogamy'? I don't think the right model here is that Trump tried to stick with the same woman and couldn't make it work twice in a row, but that he always wanted to be married to someone young enough to have children.

Some people think he keeps it simple on purpose. It is simple because he is simple. Else, he would have found ways to signal his intelligence to those that are looking for clues.

The last sentence seems unlikely to me. I don't know how much attention you paid to the 2004 election, but a lot of people were of the opinion that Kerry was 'obviously' smarter than Bush because of their very different demeanors. But when someone went to the trouble of digging up their officer qualification test scores (both highly g-loaded tests) and converting them to comparable figures, it seems like Bush scored slightly higher than Kerry did.

Indeed, Bush had previously lost an election after his competition had attacked him for being too out of touch with the common man. One imagines he took deliberate effort to not have that happen again. Trump spent his formative years working with people in construction; one suspects that he may have made a deliberate choice to not behave in a way that would alienate people there.

Comment author: niceguyanon 22 November 2016 04:18:03PM *  -1 points [-]

Thanks for replying to some of the points.

He won – OK yes update for, but it doesn't move me that much

Why? This seems like a huge signal for competence,

I do not know much about election math, so from what I can gather from "experts" the results were very close, closer than most would have thought. It seems disingenuous to me to consider a win as a huge signal of competence for either candidate because of how close the election results were. If an NBA team wins the game by 1 point at the buzzer, it would be unfair say that it was a blowout. Now if Trump had won 10 elections in a row, that would move me to update more.

Trump's overall record, of what fraction of his businesses have ended in bankruptcy, is very good, and that seems more meaningful for judging overall competence. (Do you know what fraction that is, incidentally?)

I don't disagree. His bankruptcies didn't really update me much in the direction of incompetency. The major signal for me is the "University".

What is better, a delusional psychic healer that naively believes his own bullshit, or psychic healer who is in it for the money? Hold this thought.

Here is the parallel, these types of schools definitely were scams of the education variety, targeting elderly and uneducated. Just to be clear the business failed spectacularly, these people did not become rich. So, what is better, a delusional Trump that naively believes his own bullshit, or a Trump that who was in it for the money?

2 divorces & 3rd wife – This is fair game

Are you familiar with the phrase 'serial monogamy'?

I was not but I am now. He could have pursued serial monogamy with out conforming to cultural and social norms of taking vows. Whatever his intentions are he is still twice divorced and went back in with a 3rd AND THEN sought out extramarital affairs. Yes to me it does imply that he has poor understanding of relationship management and his own impulses. Competent people tend not to fall for the Dunning-Kruger effect; is it fair to say he was over confident thrice?

the 2004 election, but a lot of people were of the opinion that Kerry was 'obviously' smarter than Bush because of their very different demeanors. But when someone went to the trouble of digging up their officer qualification test scores (both highly g-loaded tests) and converting them to comparable figures, it seems like Bush scored slightly higher than Kerry did.

I somewhat remember and I underestimated Bush based on his demeanor, and you have updated my priors a good amount on this point.

BTW if you or anyone else made it all the way down here. Just because I mostly agree with Scott's assessment that he is incompetent, doesn't mean I think Trump will be a disaster, or can't be successful.

Comment author: Vaniver 17 November 2016 09:11:13PM *  14 points [-]

Mostly false, false, mixed, true, mixed, unfair, true.

Trump is clearly very good at getting his way and 'winning,' is demonstrably intelligent, but is operating in a new realm and so is missing a lot of the habits that people in that realm have. Lots of reports right now, for example, are talking about how the Trump team was surprised by just how many presidential appointments they would need to fill. They were probably expecting something like 20 cabinet heads, but in fact there are about 4000 roles that the president appoints for. It remains to be seen whether or not those appointments will be made on time or made well, but I'm somewhat more optimistic than journalists writing about it now (for similar reasons to why I was more optimistic than journalists about him winning the primary or the general election).

This hinges a lot on how you interpret 'thin-skinned.' The impression is that Trump will get distracted by personal slights and/or is 'unable to take a hit'; I think a fairer characterization is that Trump is the sort of person who hits back whenever hit. I think most fears based off this boil down to cultural misunderstanding--there's a worry that Trump will be the sort of person to murder critics who insult him, or go to war over diplomatic incidents, when in fact it looks like Trump will insult critics who insult him.

Trump is not a policy wonk, and this makes him seem deeply ignorant and bizarre to many policy wonks, which happens to be almost everyone with a major interest in politics. Trump is the sort of guy who will brainstorm in public to figure out people's reactions, rather than come up with a fifty point plan and then negotiate with the other guy who has a forty point plan. Trump does have lots of knowledge about the world and the state of it; it's sort of unfair to knock Trump for ignorance when he correctly calls a lot of things ahead of time in ways that policy wonks miss.

Trump is a pro wrestling fan, and many of the related correlations hold. This makes him 'boorish' in a lot of ways; he's also remarkably bad at verbal fluency compared to other national-level speakers (though he does, in fact, have the best words, to the chagrin of several critics).

Trump is a salesman and self-promoter; this puts him in a different reference class that is much more 'fraudy' than other reference classes. His approach to real estate development involved a lot of creating coordination out of nothing, which involved saying a lot of things that weren't true before they were said. (In the sense of, A will join only if B has already joined, B will join if C has already joined, C will join if A has already joined; Trump would tell all of them that 'yep, _ has already joined" and by the time things shook out this would be true, at least when it worked.) The later stage of his career involved a lot of licensing his name to someone else--you think the Trump brand is valuable, and so you pay Trump to put the Trump name on your thing. His quality standards seem to have been somewhat questionable. Trump University looks like it was mostly fraud (even if its customers liked it) and it's unclear why he thought it was a good idea to be involved. But his core businesses aren't fraudulent, and so he's not even close to someone like Madoff.

"Omnihypocritical" is unfair because it presumes that he's mostly saying final, considered policy statements instead of negotiating gambits. Trump at one point said he thought women who got abortions should be punished, not because of a deep desire for that to be true, but because he was guessing that was the right pro-life position to stake out when running for the Republican nomination. Once he learned that wasn't true, he backed off--in a way that would seem hypocritical to the sort of person who has deeply held political opinions about everything, but which doesn't at all seem that way to someone who mostly doesn't care about most issues.

Trump is obviously and deliberately a demagogue in the sense of appealing to popular desires instead of appealing to clear causal models of how those desires will be fulfilled. When asked "how will you accomplish X?" his response was generally "X will be accomplished, trust me. It's going to be great." To someone who cares deeply about evaluating plans to accomplish X, this is amazingly frustrating.

Comment author: niceguyanon 21 November 2016 06:28:09PM *  -2 points [-]

Trump is clearly very good at getting his way and 'winning,' is demonstrably intelligent

I think we have access to mostly the same information; "evidence" seems to be moving us in opposite directions or we disagree on how much to update our priors in the same direction, because I find Scott's charge of incompetence to be mostly true whereas you mostly false, regarding Trump.

Would you care to give what you believe are the best evidence for his winning-ness and intelligence? I haven't seen any anything really that compelling. Before anyone thinks that imverysmart, I know I'm not competent enough to run a country and I don't think I am especially talented at picking out stupid people either; I'm just interested in seeing how two people can see the same thing and think different.

Evidence for being competent:

  • He won – OK yes update for, but it doesn't move me that much
  • Pretty wives – I don't think anyone is seriously using that as evidence but if they are then you are naive when it comes to how easy it is for the rich to have attractive spouses, no update
  • Genetics – Uncle a physicists, Father was truly self-made, best evidence in favor of IMO
  • He is rich or he stayed rich/successful real estate developer – update for slightly, it isn't that surprising that rich established billionaire remains a billionaire.
  • Television show – Yup, I'll give him that.

Evidence for being incompetent:

  • Casino failure - Start-ups have shown me that business's are complex and depends a lot on luck, so while I'll ding him here, I don't update a lot
  • 2 divorces & 3rd wife – This is fair game
  • Speech pattern – Some people think he keeps it simple on purpose. It is simple because he is simple. Else, he would have found ways to signal his intelligence to those that are looking for clues.
  • Doesn't read – Yes, it does make you significantly less competent IMO.
  • Climate change –
  • Groping – I find the stories credible. He was rich and famous yet needed to resort to groping to get some women to fail to sleep with him
  • Trump University – a sophisticated businessman should have identified that this is likely a scam, or he knew but did it anyway, either way he lost.
  • Lack of credible sources of people close to him claiming that he is competent. New Yorker Article on his Ghostwriter is damning.
Comment author: Lumifer 15 November 2016 03:48:18PM 4 points [-]

Can anyone explain to me what non-religious spirituality means, exactly?

It's when you get high on magic mushrooms which allow you a glimpse of the True Authentic Spirituality of the Native People Who Live in Harmony with Nature and the Whole Cosmos.

On a bit more serious note, apparently a large majority of humans have a need for something... spiritual. Living in a world made entirely of atoms and nothing else (and when you die, you return to dust and that's it) seems unsatisfying to them. If you kill religions you're left with a large void which gets colonised by a variety of things, from totalitarian ideologies to new-age woo.

Comment author: niceguyanon 15 November 2016 05:04:20PM 2 points [-]

Living in a world made entirely of atoms and nothing else (and when you die, you return to dust and that's it) seems unsatisfying to them.

You need not be spiritual to find that unsatisfying.

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