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Comment author: Lumifer 15 March 2017 03:11:50PM 1 point [-]

It's a hint at Aumann's theorem.

Comment author: snewmark 16 March 2017 03:04:30PM 0 points [-]

Oh, I wasn't aware that they had to be Bayesian for that rule to apply, thanks for the help.

Comment author: I_D_Sparse 13 March 2017 08:12:10PM 0 points [-]

Not particularly, no. In fact, there probably is no such method - either the parties must agree to disagree (which they could honestly do if they're not all Bayesians), or they must persuade each other using rhetoric as opposed to honest, rational inquiry. I find this unfortunate.

Comment author: snewmark 15 March 2017 01:52:16PM *  0 points [-]

Either the parties must agree to disagree (which they could honestly do if they're not all Bayesians...

Could you elaborate on that? Sorry, I just don't get it.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 February 2017 04:29:57PM *  0 points [-]

I said exposed to the bright, glaring sunlight of factual rigor.

These words do not appear anywhere in your comment. Instead you said:

I advise allowing just enough politics to discuss the political issues tangent to other, more basic rationalist wheelhouses ... Don't go beyond that. There are people who love to put an intellectual veneer over deeply bad ideas, and they raid basically any forum on the internet

"Don't go beyond that" seems to mean not allowing those politics and the bad-idea raiders. "Not allowing" does not mean "expose to sunlight", it means "exclude".

Comment author: snewmark 02 February 2017 06:00:12PM 0 points [-]

I'm not sure if this what eagain was alluding to, but this does seem advisable; Do not permit (continuous) debates of recognizably bad ideas.

I admit this is difficult to enforce, but stating that rule will, in my opinion, color the intended purpose of this website.

Comment author: Benito 02 January 2017 07:52:05PM 1 point [-]

I like how it took me until the end to realise you'd re-inventedthe concept of analogies :-)

Comment author: snewmark 05 January 2017 05:51:52PM *  1 point [-]

And I had to read past the end to realize that...

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 March 2012 02:25:07PM 4 points [-]

Upvoted entirely for using "begs the question" correctly.

But, to respond to the comment -- there is also the position that the extent to which we should act to prevent my life from ending depends significantly on the costs of sustaining my life and who bears those costs, and since the cost equation typically changes significantly for an 35-week-old fertilized egg and a 45-week-old fertilized egg, it's reasonable to reach different conclusions about what acts are justified in those two cases.

And one can adopt that position whether the 35-week-old fertilized egg is called an "unborn baby," a "fetus", a "uterine growth", a "upcoming blessed event", a "little leech," or whatever. (All of which are terms I've heard pregnant women use to describe their fertilized egg at various stages of gestation.

The same principle suggests that we don't treat a 45-week-old fertilized egg the same as a thousand-week-old fertilized egg.

But I agree with your implicit point that many thinkers on the subject, as well as many speakers on the subject who may or may not be doing much thinking at the time they speak, respond primarily to the connotations of those terms.

Comment author: snewmark 23 December 2016 05:45:34PM 0 points [-]

Upvoted entirely for using "begs the question" correctly.

Ha, did you really praise the proper use of an ancient expression in the midst of a definition debate?

(Sorry about posting this 4 years later, I just had to get that out.)

Comment author: Mass_Driver 23 December 2016 10:08:49AM 0 points [-]

And if you think you can explain the concept of "systematically underestimated inferential distances" briefly, in just a few words, I've got some sad news for you...

"I know [evolution] sounds crazy -- it didn't make sense to me at first either. I can explain how it works if you're curious, but it will take me a long time, because it's a complicated idea with lots of moving parts that you probably haven't seen before. Sometimes even simple questions like 'where did the first humans come from?' turn out to have complicated answers."

Comment author: snewmark 23 December 2016 02:01:25PM 0 points [-]

Sometimes even simple questions like 'where did the first humans come from?' turn out to have complicated answers

Of course it's not actually a simple question, it's really a broad inquiry. In fact it doesn't even need to have an answer and even when it does, it usually alters the question slightly... the hard part is asking the right questions not finding the answer.

(It just dawned on me that this was the whole point of The Question in A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, thanks for that.)

Comment author: ChristianKl 30 August 2016 06:09:55PM 0 points [-]

There are some forms of doubts that you can easily reduce by simply adding more observations but not all. Seeing an infinitive amount of white swans doen't help you to completely rule out the black one.

Comment author: snewmark 04 September 2016 07:00:12AM 0 points [-]

MarsColony_in10years: Yeah, thanks. Sorry about the nitpicking.

ChristianKl: I think an infinite number would allow you to rule out the possibility (of a black swan that is). I thought that the problem was simply that we could never get an infinite number of them, but then again: I'm not certain.

Comment author: Jonathan_El-Bizri 30 October 2007 06:00:51AM 3 points [-]

Trivial annoyances and torture cannot be compared in this quantifiable manner. Torture is not only suffering, but lost opportunity due to imprisonment, permanent mental hardship, activation of pain and suffering processes in the mind, and a myriad of other unconsidered things.

And even if the torture was 'to have flecks of dust dropped in your eyes', you still can't compare a 'torturous amount' applied to one person, to substantial number dropped in the eyes of many people: We aren't talking about cpu cycles here - we are trying to quantify qualifiables.

If you revised the question, and specified stated exactly how the torture would affect the individual, and how they would react to it, and the same for each of the 'dust in the eyes' people (what if one goes blind? what of their mental capacity to deal with the hardship? what of the actual level of moisture in their eyes, and consequently the discomfort being felt?) then, maybe then, we could determine which was the worse outcome, and by how much.

There are simply too many assumptions that we have to make in this, mortal, world to determine the answer to such questions: you might as well as how many angels dance on the head of a pin. Or you could start more simply and ask: if you were to torture two people in exactly the same way, which one would suffer more, and by how much?

And you notice, I haven't even started to think about the ethical side of the question...

Comment author: snewmark 02 June 2016 04:12:52PM *  0 points [-]

And you notice, I haven't even started to think about the ethical side of the question...

I'm pretty sure the question itself revolves around ethics, as far as I can tell the question is: given these 2 choices, which would you consider, ethically speaking, the ideal option?

In response to Superhero Bias
Comment author: BlueAjah 12 January 2013 07:39:12PM 0 points [-]

The police officer is PAID to do that. He isn't doing it for free out of the goodness of his heart like the superhero is. He didn't have to make his own moral judgements like the superhero. He didn't have to resist the option of just taking whatever he wanted in life while nobody could stop him.

By the way, you should know better than to believe the PC propaganda about Ghandi.

In response to comment by BlueAjah on Superhero Bias
Comment author: snewmark 27 May 2016 04:16:52PM -1 points [-]

The police officer is PAID to do that. He isn't doing it for free out of the goodness of his heart like the superhero is.

Oh cool, so if I pay you will you let me kill you?

Comment author: snewmark 25 May 2016 07:13:57PM *  1 point [-]

You know the only thing worse than arguing about politics, is arguing why one shouldn't argue about politics.

Seriously though, while this post is/was important, I still think there should have been a request to not debate politics in this post's comment section, because you know, explaining why it's bad to debate politics in science blogs apparently wasn't enough.

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