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Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 17 November 2016 05:10:00AM 0 points [-]

Here's an instrumental rationality problem:

Wisdom teeth - preemptively remove them or not?

(risks of surgery / risks of having wisdom teeth / potential benefits of retaining them?)

Comment author: [deleted] 03 July 2016 08:21:58PM 0 points [-]

I guess it set the concepts of ruthlessness and cruelty more apart in my mind than they used to be. Before, when I had cause to be ruthless, I would always think to myself "but normal people do not interfere with other people selling rare flowers; I have to exercise kindness as a virtue, otherwise see Crime and Punishment for the logical conclusion". (C&P is my father's favourite book, which he used most often to talk to us about morality.) Time and time again I run into the problem of "do I have a right to do this" and gradually decided that yes, I would just have to be cruel. And here my father-in-law made something which did shake him badly to look like a trivial occurrence with which other people besides him simply did not have to engage, for all that my mother-in-law clearly saw it ours to share in. They both belong to the more normal people I know, and I don't really like him, but his brand of ruthlessness is one I had tried to develop and never could. It reset our boundaries, somehow; before, I think I demanded of him to follow the same C&P guidelines, now I'm trying not to. And I really truly believed them the consistent and rational approach to, er, life, even when I didn't behave accordingly, and now I don't have to. There's something which 'normal people' do which doesn't require or invite this kind of moral questioning.

And I wonder what else they can do which I cannot, and what of it I really should be doing.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, June 20 - June 26, 2016
Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 07 July 2016 09:15:07PM *  2 points [-]

Attempting to resuscitate a child, failing, and then going about one's day is neither ruthless nor cruel, but I think I understand what you mean. It can be jarring for some people when doctors are seemingly unaffected by the high intensity situations they experience.

Doing good does sometimes require overriding instincts designed to prevent evil. For instance, a surgeon must overcome certain natural instincts not to hurt when she cuts into a patient's flesh and blood pours out. The instinct says this is cruelty, the rational mind knows it will save the life of the patient.

There are hazards involved in overriding natural instincts, such as in C&P where the protagonist overrides natural instincts against murder because he is convinced that it is in the greater good, because instincts exist for good reason. There are also hazards involved in following natural instincts. Humans have the capacity for both.

Following instincts vs. overriding instincts, both variants are appropriate at different times. Putting correctly proportioned trust in reasoning vs. instinct is important. You need to consider when instincts mislead, but you also need to consider when reasoning misleads.

It would be a mistake to take a relatively clear cut case of the doctor's override of natural sympathetic instinct (for which there is a great deal of training and precedent which establishes that it is a good idea) and turn it into a generalized principle of "trust reason over moral instinct" under uncertainty. There is no uncertainty in the doctors case, the correct path is obvious. Just because doctors are allowed to override instincts like "don't cut into flesh" and "grieve when witnessing death" in a case where it has already been predecided that this is a good idea doesn't mean they get free license to override just willy nilly whenever they've convinced themselves it's for a greater good, they still have to undergo the deliberative process of asking whether they've rationalized themselves into something bad.

Comment author: [deleted] 01 July 2016 07:05:40AM 0 points [-]

Okay, I was wrong to be so vague somewhere where I'm anonymous enough.

My father-in-law is a retired General Practitioner (approximately), but people keep coming to him for help now and again. Recently he was asked to resuscitate a child, but his efforts were too late. The parents drove to our house in the evening, when we were putting our kid to bed, and he (the kid) became quite excited with having unfamiliar people bursting in and asking for help.

I told him he has to behave and not interrupt his grandfather's work, and we went to read a book. My mother-in-law was very upset, and recounted details of the work going on in the yard, and I remember thinking that she needed to compartmentalize more. Then my father-in-law came back, washed his face, picked my kid and rocked him to sleep, totally composed. I had known he's a professional, but usually his professionalism was accompanied by, uh, loud noises (he has a carrying voice). This time... It was a perfectly normal evening.

And I find that I respect him so much more. My model of doctors' professional behavior had been ruined by fiction (think McCoy from StarTrek, etc.), and now it seems just such a simple and hard thing. So...I didn't mean 'learning experience' in a bad way.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, June 20 - June 26, 2016
Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 03 July 2016 05:18:11PM *  0 points [-]

That sounds like a meaningful experience. Can you be more specific about the paradigm shift it caused and the questions you have about "upholding rationality"?

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 30 June 2016 11:36:31PM *  0 points [-]

Another important thing that romance does is cause love.

Being loved (you know, that thing where you get to inject your utility function into another agents system, such that they now have a desire to fulfill your preferences) has many obvious instrumental uses, in addition to the inherent value of loving another person..

Comment author: [deleted] 22 June 2016 07:07:57PM 0 points [-]

Sometimes, things happen that feel subjectively significant in a way, things that seem to throw earlier estimates out of the window and lead to recalculations - at least it feels like that - like an event happened that requires an answer. But it doesn't really condense in words, at least in my case, it seems like a sheet of sure belief in different things than I have actually learned of, in some unspecified ramifications.

How would one uphold rationality in the face of such a, well, learning experience?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, June 20 - June 26, 2016
Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 30 June 2016 11:21:30PM 0 points [-]

Wait a few months to a year. It usually goes away.

Comment author: knb 26 June 2016 03:22:03AM 0 points [-]

What do you think are good ideas for moonshot projects that have not yet been adequately researched or funded?

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 30 June 2016 11:17:57PM *  1 point [-]

Leaving aside the bloody obvious things (universal basic income or other form of care, global internet access, etc)

Prediction market. They tried but it's dead due to gambling laws. Someone should give it a second try.

Comment author: ete 12 June 2016 07:25:45PM *  6 points [-]

Excellent post. Agree with all major points.

I think Less Wrong experienced the reverse of the evaporative cooling EY feared, where people gradually left the arena as the proportional number of critics in the stands grew ever larger.

I'd think it was primarily not the proportional number of critics, but lower quality of criticism and great users getting tired of replying to/downvoting it. Most of the old crowd of lesswrongers welcomed well thought out criticism, but when people on the other side of an inferential distance gap try to imitate those high-criticism norms it is annoying to deal with, so they end up leaving. Especially if the lower quality users are loud and more willing to use downvotes as punishment for things they don't understand.

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 30 June 2016 06:54:42AM *  1 point [-]

So basically it is eternal september, then. It's just that lesswrong's "september" took the form of excessively/inappropriately contrarian people.

Comment author: lululu 14 July 2015 03:41:51PM 0 points [-]

Update added as an addendum above!

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 15 September 2015 12:53:17AM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the update! It's hopeful / helpful to know that the quick recovery was indeed fairly permanent. Wish I could say my process was going that well!

Comment author: [deleted] 01 June 2015 12:37:17AM *  0 points [-]

The early OB/LW community didn't have a leftwing vibe, it had a strong Libertarian vibe. Also at the end of the day leftie radicals like to point out that liberal =/= leftist.

Yudkowsky has written articles for Cato, a site considered unbearably right wing libertarian by some.

On questions like Feminism there were quite protracted comment wars long before Neoreaction, for a while early in its history there were more people sympathetic to PUA than Feminism. Even now the consensus seems to have settled on feminist ok-ed PUA not being bad, which is not the mainstream consensus. See gentle silent rape for an early example of rational dating advice for a late example.

I recommend you also check out my early commenting history. I interacted with many core, very right wing, rationalist like Vladimir_M and so on who left later in the history of the site.

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 03 June 2015 12:02:10AM *  0 points [-]

Those examples of departing from left-canon (libertarian, "feminism-isn't-perfect", and "pua is often questionable in practice but not fundamentally bad from first principles") are okay by me. I depart from the left-canon on those points myself and find the leftie moral outrage tactics on some of those fronts pretty annoying. All those things are still fundamentally egalitarian in values, just different in implementation. The homogeneity I was referring to was in egalitarianism and a certain type of emotional stance, a certain agreement concerning which first principles are valid and which goals are worthy, despite diversity in implementation.

(But, as ChristainKI pointed out, Moldbug himself was a commentator, and that predates me, so it's true that the seed has always been there.)

Comment author: ChristianKl 31 May 2015 11:22:24PM 2 points [-]

And pretty much all the founding members of Lesswrong and, going back further, transhumanism in general, were of a certain sort which I hesitate to call "left" or "liberal" but... - socialists, libertarians, anarchists, all those were represented, and certainly many early users were hostile to social justice's extremeties, which is to be expected among smart people who are exposed to leftie stupidity much more often than other kinds of stupidity... but those were differences in implementation.

That's not exactly right. Moldbug did comment on OvercomingBias in the days before there was LW. This community came into contact with neoreactionary thought before LW existed. Michael Anissimov who funded MoreRight was MIRI's media director.

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 02 June 2015 11:59:48PM 2 points [-]

Huh. Oh right. I knew about the Moldbug thing, and I still said that.

I'm wrong. Mind changed. Good catch.

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