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

Comment author: Jiro 28 March 2015 08:37:59AM *  0 points [-]

If you do not understand how an intelligent, well-meaning person can have a position, and it's a position that lots of people actually hold, then you do not understand the position yet.

Unless "I think the intelligent, well-meaning person is making an error due to cognitive bias, ignorance, or being lied to" counts as understanding them, I do not understand how an intelligent, well-meaning, person can believe in

-- homeopathy

-- The US political version of intelligent design

-- 9/11 conspiracy theories

These are positions that lots of people actually hold. Do I fail to understand these positions?

Comment author: thomblake 15 July 2015 08:13:02PM 0 points [-]

Indeed, understanding the particular error in reasoning that the person is making is not merely sufficient but necessary for fully understanding a mistaken position. However, if your entire understanding is "because bias somehow" then you don't actually understand.

And you should be careful about accepting the uncharitable explanation preemptively, as it's rather tempting to explain away other people's beliefs and arguments that way.

Comment author: thomblake 11 September 2013 08:14:48PM 2 points [-]

Does anyone know how to programmatically generate large video files (presumably made of noise) for testing purposes?

Comment author: PhilGoetz 04 September 2013 05:34:55PM *  -2 points [-]

Why would you think that? I assure you that Bible translators do NOT base their translations on popular fiction. In fact, I have to congratulate you on coming up with the most blasphemous idea I've ever heard.

King James version says, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." New International Version (first published in 1973) says, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death."

Comment author: thomblake 05 September 2013 08:12:41PM 2 points [-]

You're surely mistaken. The bible translators often brought in popular sayings and turns of phrase that seemed to fit. If there was a wizard motto with some currency that sounded like an appropriate translation when KJV was written, then I could totally see it being used in the bible, assuming there was any cross-pollination between wizards and christians at the time.

I don't see why the christians using a wizard motto would be particularly blasphemous, let alone maximally so.

Comment author: TrE 16 August 2013 05:28:22PM 1 point [-]

And what about all the new gold the muggles mine, day by day? Wouldn't that cause inflation in the wizard economy? And where does the swapped-out gold go?

Comment author: thomblake 16 August 2013 07:40:53PM 3 points [-]

Alternately: The wizards already mined all the real gold too.

Comment author: TrE 16 August 2013 05:28:22PM 1 point [-]

And what about all the new gold the muggles mine, day by day? Wouldn't that cause inflation in the wizard economy? And where does the swapped-out gold go?

Comment author: thomblake 16 August 2013 07:05:24PM 3 points [-]

It's like bitcoin mining - whoever steals Muggle gold first gets to keep it. Of course that's the Americans.

Comment author: DanArmak 15 August 2013 06:46:04PM 11 points [-]

Minerva and Griphook weren't surprised by the idea of taking raw gold and turning into coins. Presumably this happens sometimes; it's not the case that all the Galleons in the world were first minted thousands of years ago. So how did the gold in the wizard economy get there in the first place? And what is the mechanism that prevents it now but didn't prevent it then?

Are all wizards in the world unaware that Muggles possess gold at all? Surely not; Muggles probably own much more gold, and operate many more gold mines, than wizards do. If wizards ever went looking for un-mined gold, they'd encounter Muggle competition.

Wizards have an apparently trivial method of acquiring gold: Apparate into a bank vault, fill your Bag of Holding, Apparate away to Gringotts. It's doable by most wizards, carries no real risk, is unnoticeable by the bank, untraceable when they do notice the gold is missing, and the other wizards and goblins probably don't care if some Muggles were robbed by an unknown wizard.

Comment author: thomblake 16 August 2013 03:51:32PM 11 points [-]

Hypothesis: The muggles don't possess much gold. Most of the huge stacks of gold in places like Fort Knox are clever magical replicas, and have been for a very long time. Any wizard can easily see through the ruse, but the muggles are clueless.

How do we have gold that we use as a conductor? Perhaps when a muggle handles fake gold, it gets magically swapped with real gold from a small supply elsewhere. Or else, maybe fake magic gold is a really good conductor.

Comment author: Baughn 16 August 2013 01:37:55PM 0 points [-]

All that scene really needs is for such tuning to be annoyingly difficult when Harry is already unrolling the paper, i.e. so there's no point in trying when he'll see the text clearly in another few seconds anyway.

Comment author: thomblake 16 August 2013 03:38:26PM 4 points [-]

The problem was Moody not having read the paper when Harry brought it into the meeting.

Comment author: [deleted] 15 August 2013 06:52:52PM *  1 point [-]

So, would someone explain to me the exonerate/indemnify subplot? I don't understand the drama over the wording first being "indemnify" and then later changing to "exonerate" even after Harry makes it sound like Malfoy was pulling a fast one by suggesting "exonerate".

EDIT: I misread the relevant sentence. Harry originally wrote "exonerate", not "indemnify." It seems likely writing the latter would have given Malfoy room to claim compensation at a later date.

Comment author: thomblake 15 August 2013 07:36:46PM 7 points [-]

Theoretically, indemnity implies compensation which makes the person indemnified as well-off as they would have been before the harm occurred. At the least, this change could have later been construed as a debt owed to Malfoy from Potter.

Comment author: thomblake 09 August 2013 08:46:02PM 0 points [-]

In logic, most examples are from politics because the most salient examples of logical fallacies are from politics. So that's probably why the Nixon example was about politics, even though it wasn't necessary.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 August 2013 07:19:04PM -2 points [-]

In other words, the paper's authors consider funny 16% of random combinations of X, Y, and Z inserted into the pattern of "I like my X like l like my Y, Z".

Comment author: thomblake 02 August 2013 07:37:21PM 10 points [-]

No, the completely random baseline generated funny jokes 3.7% of the time.

View more: Next