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

Comment author: gjm 24 January 2017 02:34:30AM 1 point [-]

I don't have much to say to most of that besides nodding my head sagely. I will remark, though, that "developmental stage" theories like Kegan's almost always rub me the wrong way, because they tend to encourage the sort of smugly superior attitude I fear I detect in much "postrationalist" talk of rationalism. I don't think I have ever heard any enthusiast for such a theory place themselves anywhere other than in the latest "stage".

(I don't mean to claim that no such theory can be correct. But I mistrust the motives of those who espouse them, and I fear that the pleasure of looking down on others is a good enough explanation for much of the approval such theories enjoy that I'd need to see some actual good evidence before embracing such a theory. I haven't particularly looked for such evidence, in Kegan's case or any other; but nor have I seen anyone offering any.)

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 04:28:40AM *  0 points [-]

nor have I seen anyone offering any [evidence]

Kegan has published a lot of evidence about the consistency of measurements his scheme. See "A guide to the subject-object interview : its administration and interpretation" Lisa Lahey [and four others]. As for validity, not so much, but it does build on the widely accepted work of others (Paiget etc), and "The evolving self" has about 8 pages of citations and references including

Kegan, R. 1976. Ego and truth: per- sonality and the Piagetian paradigm. Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard Univer- sity.

_ _ _ 1977. The sweeter welcome: Martin Buber, Bernard Malamud and Saul Bellow. Needham Heights, Mass.: Wexford.

_ _ _ 1978. Child development and health education. Principal 57 (3): 91-95.

_ _ _ 1979. The evolving self: a process conception for ego psychology. Counseling Psychologist 8 (2): 5-34.

_ _ _ 1980. There the dance is: religious dimensions of developmen- tal theory. In Toward moral and religious maturity, ed. ]. W. Fowler and A. Vergote. Morristown, N.J.: Silver Burdette.

_ _ _ 1981. A neo-Piagetian ap- proach to object relations. In The self: psychology, psychoanalysis and an- thropology, ed. B. Lee and G. Noam. New York: Plenum Press.

I mistrust the motives

rub me the wrong way

I haven't particularly looked for such evidence

Not very convincing.

My summary of Kegan's model is here. My suggestion is to try it and see if it works.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_hpownP1A4PdERFVXJDVE5SRnc/view?usp=sharing

In response to comment by Jiro on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: CCC 18 January 2017 10:45:17AM 2 points [-]

I think this fails in the case where the experts are infected by a meme plague.

Isn't this a Fully General Counterargument, though? Climate change deniers can claim that climate experts are 'infected by a meme plague'. Creationists can claim anyone who accepts evolution is 'infected by a meme plague'. So on and so forth.

In response to comment by CCC on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 02:50:17AM 0 points [-]

What to do then, when experts sometimes are infected with meme plagues, have conflicts of interest, are able to prevent alternative views from being presented?

Comment author: James_Miller 24 January 2017 12:55:28AM 9 points [-]

Prediction: Government regulations greatly reduce economic growth. Trump, with the help of the Republican Congress, is going to significantly cut regulations and this is going to supercharge economic growth allowing Trump to win reelection in a true landslide.

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 02:41:36AM 0 points [-]

You should take into account that tariff and other barriers to trade are a form of government regulation.

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 24 January 2017 01:18:25AM 0 points [-]

I stand by my narrow claims. Here is another narrow claim: you are wrong about what happened with Vioxx.

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 02:39:52AM 0 points [-]

People can read about it for themselves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rofecoxib

Comment author: Douglas_Knight 23 January 2017 06:56:00PM 0 points [-]

Why are you consuming research at all? If you are a researcher considering building on someone else's research, then you probably shouldn't trust them and should replicate everything you really need. But you are also privy to a lot of gossip not on LW and so have a good grasp on base rates. If you are considering using a drug, then it has been approved by the FDA, which performs a very thorough check on the drug company. The FDA has access to all the raw data and performs all the analysis from scratch. The FDA has a lot of problems, but letting studies of new drugs get away with fraud is not one of them. But if you want to take a drug off-label, then you are stuck with research.

You say that you don't trust the intentions of a multi-billion dollar corporations. Have you thought about what those intentions are? They don't care about papers. Their main goal is to get the drug approved by the FDA. Their goal is for their early papers to be replicated by big, high quality, highly monitored studies. Whereas, the goal of multi-billion dollar universities is mainly to produce papers with too much focus on quantity and too little on replication.

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 12:47:13AM 0 points [-]

the FDA, which performs a very thorough check on the drug company

I think you have an overly sunny view of how effective the FDA is. (leaving aside the question of cost effectiveness and the opportunity cost of the delays and even outright prevention of useful drugs getting to market and their effect on the cost of drugs)

There are plenty of cases of the FDA being hoodwinked by drug companies. Regulatory capture is always a concern.

Statistical incompetence is very common. I still cannot believe that they let Vioxx on the market when the fourfold increase in heart attacks had a P value of about 10-11%. <Not statistically significant, so nothing is happening>. This is the sort of stupidity that would (or should) get you as F in Statistics 101.

My experience over many decades is that over time the benefits of drugs often turn out to be way overstated and the dangers greatly underestimated.

Comment author: dglukhov 23 January 2017 03:19:35PM *  3 points [-]

I'm curious if anybody here frequents retraction watch enough to address this concern I have.

I find articles here very effective at announcing retractions and making testimonies from lead figures in investigations a frequent fallback, but rarely do you get to see the nuts and bolts of the investigations being discussed. For example, "How were the journals misleading?" or "What evidence was or was not analyzed, and how did the journal's analysis deviate from correct protocol?" are questions I often ask myself as I read, followed by an urge to see the cited papers. And then upon investigating the articles and their retraction notices, I am given a reason that I can't myself arbitrate. Maybe data was claimed to have been manipulated, or analyzed according to an incorrect framework.

Studies such as these I find alarming because I'm forced to trust the good intentions of a multi-billion dollar corporation in finding the truth. Often I find myself going on retraction watch, trusting the possibly non-existing good intentions of the organization's leadership, as I read the headlines without time to read every detail of the article. I am given certain impressions from the pretentious writing of the articles, but none of the substance, when I choose to skim selections.

Perhaps I am warning against laziness. Perhaps I am concerned about the potential for corruption in even a crusade to fight misinformation that retraction watch seems to fight. Nonetheless, I'm curious if people here have had similar or differing experiences with these articles...

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 12:38:44AM 2 points [-]

Crimes and trials are the same. Much goes on in closed rooms. You rightly feel that you are in the dark.

Often there is some material on pubpeer which can help understand what happened.

Comment author: Davidmanheim 23 January 2017 08:50:33PM 1 point [-]

If you study a bit more, though, it stops being necessarily true; https://arxiv.org/abs/1307.7392

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 12:36:11AM 0 points [-]

Yes; Ignorance is followed by enlightenment which is followed by the fog of war.

Comment author: username2 23 January 2017 11:50:53PM 1 point [-]

I think that people punching other people is the default behavior, and it takes conscious effort to control yourself when you are angry at someone. E.g. drunk people who lost their inhibitions often get involved in fights. And people who are angry rejoice at any opportunity to let their inner animal out, feel the rush of adrenaline that comes with losing your inhibitions and not have to think about consequences or social condemnation.

2) It doesn't accomplish much (though the hypothetical Nazi in question has said that he is more afraid of going outside, so I suppose it's accomplished at least fear which may be a pro or con depending on your point of view, besides that however I don't think it's hindered Nazis very much and has only worsened the image of the anti-Nazis)

People like the strong and dislike the weak. If Nazis got punched all the time, they would be perceived as weak and nobody would join them. Even if they didn't like the punching, most likely they would simply be a bystanders.

Comment author: waveman 24 January 2017 12:32:33AM 3 points [-]

drunk people who lost their inhibitions often get involved in fights

Even here there may be a cultural element. I notice in Japan when I was there, men would be totally drunk without a hint of violence. In some cultures being drunk provides permission to be violent, similar perhaps to the way that men are 'permitted' to hug one another after scoring a goal on the playing field.

Comment author: Thomas 22 January 2017 07:12:48AM 1 point [-]

For every epsilon greater than zero, the difference 1-0.99999999... is even smaller. Smaller than any positive number.

Then, if it's not negative, then it's zero. This difference is zero.

This is the most correct way to put it, I believe.

Comment author: waveman 22 January 2017 07:58:24AM *  1 point [-]

Yes. Still this is the concept of limits and it is a significant step for most people. I think the most common first reaction is "Huh?".

But people will make the effort if you explain this is a solution to the mysteriousness of "infinitesimals".

In response to comment by Jiro on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: CCC 21 January 2017 12:21:56PM 3 points [-]

We know how religion spreads.

I'm not sure that you do.

From your previous post:

The predominant ways in which Christianity has spread are conversion by the sword, parent to child transmission, and social ostracism for people who refuse to believe it.

If this were true - and if it were an exhaustive list of the predominant ways - then I would expect to see the following:

  • Parent-to-child transmission only works if the parents are Christian. Social ostracisation only works if a majority of a given person's possible social acquaintances are.
  • Thus, the only means on the list of introducing is into a new area is by the sword
  • Thus, I would expect missionaries to either have been abandoned, or to be given a sword as standard equipment on setting out. I do not see this.
  • Furthermore, I would expect to see, in countries where it is not a majority religion, it would slowly fade and die (as social ostracism is used against it by the majority)

Now, I am not saying that it is never spread by such means. (Fortunately, 'by the sword' appears to have been largely abandoned in recent history). But assuming it to be an exhaustive list does not appear to match reality - there seems to be a rather large gap where a single missionary, armed with nothing more than information and presumably a fairly persuasive tongue, can go into a large enough group of humans who have little or no previous knowledge of religion and end up persuading a number of them to join.

In response to comment by CCC on Crisis of Faith
Comment author: waveman 21 January 2017 10:23:34PM 1 point [-]

The book "The Rise of Christianity" is an excellent analysis, using the tools of modern sociology, of the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Key insights

  1. It grew exponentially mostly via transmission from people you knew. As your social world became more than 50% Christian, you were more likely to convert. In recent times Mormanism has grown in a similar fashion.

  2. It had many rules that encouraged having large families (no birth control, no abortion, no infanticide, no sex outside marriage which encouraged young marriage, bans on many sources of fun other than having sex with your spouse, bans of divorce which made marriage more secure in a sense).

  3. The higher status of women in Christianity than in the Roman world encouraged women to convert. An example of this higher status was that a pagan man could order his wife to have an abortion. Many of the patriarchal statements in the new testament were latter additions when the church, which was originally very egalitarian, did become very patriarchal.

  4. Christians were only allowed to marry pagans if the pagan converted, or at a minimum, agreed for the children to brought up as Christians.

  5. (3) and (4) combined with the shortage of women due to infanticide of female children meant that men who wanted a wife often had little choice but to marry a Christian. The children would then be Christians.

Once they achieved critical mass they seized control of the state and enacted coercive measures which ruthlessly crushed the other religions. As an example, even visiting pagan temples was banned, books were destroyed, priests killed, temples burned or converted to churches.

View more: Next