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Comment author: JoshuaZ 10 May 2013 03:03:01AM 0 points [-]

it made testable predictions and was falsified for them

Do you have specific examples in mind?

Comment author: whowhowho 12 May 2013 02:42:09PM 0 points [-]

Phlogiston. Falsified because combusted materials gain weight.

Comment author: JohnWittle 06 April 2013 05:34:02PM 1 point [-]

To a non string theorist, string theory seems like a theory which makes few testable predictions, like phlogiston. That's the feel I got from it from whenever I read all the relevant Wikipedia articles, anyway. If it is not like phlogiston, but actually useful for designing experiments, then obviously I concede.

My annoyance came from the fact that my 06:45:05 comment got a few down votes, while the parent got deleted for reasons unknown. I can't remember who the parent was, or what it said, and it bothers me that they deleted their post, while I feel an obligation to not delete my own downvote-gathering comment for reasons like honesty and the general sense that I really meant what the comment said at the time, which makes it useful for archival purposes.

Comment author: whowhowho 06 April 2013 06:17:02PM -1 points [-]

To a non string theorist, string theory seems like a theory which makes few testable predictions, like phlogiston

it made testable predictions and was falsified for them. There are a lot of retrodictive and purely theoretical constraints on a candidate ToE, they have to be pretty good just to be in the running.

Comment author: JohnWittle 06 April 2013 07:40:35AM *  1 point [-]

Without knowing anything in particular about the difference between Quantum Loop Gravity or why M-theory is useful, I concede the point, although I'm a bit annoyed that I feel obligated to leave my comment there to collect negative karma while the parent, whoever they were, felt no similar obligation and removed any context my comment might be placed in.

Comment author: whowhowho 06 April 2013 01:26:00PM -2 points [-]

What? I really didn't understand that.

In response to comment by [deleted] on We Don't Have a Utility Function
Comment author: Wei_Dai 05 April 2013 12:53:02AM 2 points [-]

Moral philosophy is not well developed on LW, but I think it's further than it is elsewhere

What do you think represents the best moral philosophy that LW has to offer?

And that those on LW are more confused than they think they are (hence the OP).

Just a few months ago you seemed to be saying that we didn't need to study moral philosophy, but just try to maximize "awesomeness", which "You already know that you know how to compute". I find it confusing that this post doesn't mention that one at all. Have you changed your mind since then, if so why? Or are you clarifying your position, or something else?

Comment author: whowhowho 06 April 2013 01:14:34PM -2 points [-]

Just a few months ago you seemed to be saying that we didn't need to study moral philosophy, but just try to maximize "awesomeness",

While were on the subject, weren't you trying to teach moral philosophy, Nyan?

Comment author: wedrifid 05 April 2013 12:44:06PM *  2 points [-]

[trap closes]

Please change your posting style or leave lesswrong. Not only is disingenuous rhetoric not welcome, your use thereof doesn't even seem particularly competent.

ie. What the heck? You think that the relevance of authority isn't obvious to everyone here and is a notion sufficiently clever to merit 'traps'? You think that forcing someone to repeat what is already clear and already something they plainly endorse even qualifies as entrapment? (It's like an undercover Vice cop having already been paid for a forthcoming sexual favor demanding "Say it again! Then I'll really have you!")

Did you not notice that even if you proved Eliezer's judgement were a blatant logical fallacy it still wouldn't invalidate the point in the comment you are directing your 'trap' games at? The comment even explained that explicitly.

The guy without any physics qualifications is concluding that the guy with the physics PhD is incompetent in physics? You see the problem? EY's apparently authoritarian behaviour is supposed to be justified by the fact that he has plenty of evidence of Shminux's incompetence. But shminux is also doubting his competence and is much better qualified to do so.

If I ever have cause to send Shminux a letter I will be sure to play proper deference to his status by including "Dr." as the title. Alas, Shminux's arguments have screened off his authority, and then some.

There are no rational grounds for EY-can-judge-shminux-but-shminux-can't-judge-EY. It's just a recyclying of EY-is-special-because-he-says-so-and-this-is-his-forum.

"No rational grounds" means a different thing than "the particular evidence I mention points in the other direction". That difference matters rather a lot.

"Rational grounds" includes all Bayesian evidence... such things as costly affiliation signals (PhDs) and also other forms of evidence---including everything the PhD in question has said. Ignoring the other evidence would be crazy and lead to poor conclusions.

Comment author: whowhowho 05 April 2013 02:45:58PM *  -1 points [-]

Shminux's arguments have screened off his authority, and then some.

That isn't a fact. I don't see anything going on here except the same blind side-taking as before.

Comment author: [deleted] 05 April 2013 01:24:20AM 0 points [-]

What do you think represents the best moral philosophy that LW has to offer?

The metaethics sequence sinks most of the standard confusions, though it doesn't offer actual conclusions or procedures.

Complexity of value. Value being human specific. morality as optimization target. etc.

Maybe it's just the epistemic quality around here though. LWers talking about morality are able to go much further without getting derailed than the best I've seen elsewhere, even if there weren't much good work on moral philosophy on LW.

Just a few months ago you seemed to be saying that we didn't need to study moral philosophy, but just try to maximize "awesomeness", which "You already know that you know how to compute". I find it confusing that this post doesn't mention that one at all. Have you changed your mind since then, if so why? Or are you clarifying your position, or something else?

Right. This is a good question.

For actually making decisions, use Awesomeness or something as your moral proxy, because it more or less just works. For those of us who want to go deeper and understand the theory of morality declaratively, the OP applies; we basically don't have any good theory. They are two sides of the same coin; the situation in moral philosophy is like the situation in physics a few hundred (progress subjective) years ago, and we need to recognize this before trying to build the house on sand, so to speak. So we are better off just using our current buggy procedural morality.

I could have made the connection clearer I suppose.

This post is actually a sort of precurser to some new and useful (I hope) work on the subject that I've written up but haven't gotten around to polishing and posting. I have maybe 5 posts worth of morality related stuff in the works, and then I'm getting out of this godforsaken dungeon.

In response to comment by [deleted] on We Don't Have a Utility Function
Comment author: whowhowho 05 April 2013 02:27:22PM -2 points [-]

use Awesomeness or something as your moral proxy,

Not including deontology, of course.

Comment author: wedrifid 05 April 2013 03:27:44AM 0 points [-]

Whose comments? Who's doing the concluding?

Shminux's and Eliezer?

Comment author: whowhowho 05 April 2013 12:04:37PM *  -2 points [-]

[trap closes]

The guy without any physics qualifications is concluding that the guy with the physics PhD is incompetent in physics? You see the problem? EY's apparently authoritarian behaviour is supposed to be justified by the fact that he has plenty of evidence of Shminux's incompetence. But shminux is also doubting his competence and is much better qualified to do so. There are no rational grounds for EY-can-judge-shminux-but-shminux-can't-judge-EY. It's just a recyclying of EY-is-special-because-he-says-so-and-this-is-his-forum.

Comment author: JohnWittle 04 April 2013 06:45:05PM 1 point [-]

As opposed to not elevating any particular hypothesis out of the hypothesis-space before there is enough evidence to discern it as a possibility. Privileging the Hypothesis and all that.

Comment author: whowhowho 04 April 2013 08:56:42PM 0 points [-]

The majority of physicists working on those kinds of questions are using some form of M-theory of string theory. The next nearest rival is Loop Quantum Gravity. Other theories are minority views. M-theory is favoured because milage can be got out of it in terms of research. The metaphor or a random grab into hypothesis-space isn't appropriate.

Comment author: wedrifid 02 April 2013 03:21:11AM *  1 point [-]

I strongly recommend against both the "advises newcomers to skip the QM sequence -> can't grasp technical argument for MWI"

That inference isn't made. Eliezer has other information from which to reach that conclusion. In particular, he has several years worth of ranting and sniping from Shminux about his particular pet peeve. Even if you disagree with Eliezer's conclusion it is not correct to claim that Eliezer is making this particular inference.

and "disagrees with MWI argument -> poor technical skill" inferences.

Again, Eliezer has a large body of comments from which to reach the conclusion that Shminux has poor technical skill in the areas necessary for reasoning on that subject. The specific nature of the disagreement would be relevant, for example.

Comment author: whowhowho 04 April 2013 08:03:53PM 1 point [-]

Again, Eliezer has a large body of comments from which to reach the conclusion that Shminux has poor technical skill in the areas necessary for reasoning on that subject.

Whose comments? Who's doing the concluding?

Comment author: TimS 01 April 2013 07:13:11PM -1 points [-]

Hrm? On a conceptual level, is there more to QM than the Uncertainty Principle and Wave-Particle Duality? DWLM mentions the competing interpretations, but choosing an interpretation is not strictly necessary to understand QM predictions.

For clarity, I consider the double-slit experimental results to be an expression of wave-particle duality.


I will admit that DWLM does a poor job of preventing billiard-ball QM theory ("Of course you can't tell momentum and velocity at the same time. The only way to check is to hit the particle with a proton, and that's going to change the results.").

That's a wrong understanding, but a less wrong understanding than "It's classical physics all the way down."

Comment author: whowhowho 04 April 2013 06:16:32PM -1 points [-]

For clarity, I consider the double-slit experimental results to be an expression of wave-particle duality.

It's also an expression of superposition, which is another important concept.

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