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PhilGoetz comments on Who owns LessWrong? - Less Wrong

6 Post author: PhilGoetz 29 September 2011 04:22PM

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Comment author: PhilGoetz 29 September 2011 05:39:51PM 13 points [-]

I emailed Eliezer and said that I did not think that was his final objection, and that he would not care whether it was common or not if he thought it was correct. He agreed. I listed several bullet points, and asked him which he thought were incorrect, and why. He declined to answer.

Comment author: wedrifid 29 September 2011 05:46:10PM 11 points [-]

Suggestion: Make a new discussion thread giving other people the chance to agree or disagree with those bullet points and any other bullet points that represent questionable content of the current wiki page. You could also consider including suggested changes to wording that could make the page less bad in your eyes and see how people respond to those suggestions.

Comment author: James_Blair 30 September 2011 03:55:05AM *  1 point [-]

And in light of Eliezer's response, perhaps find someone he is willing to debate on the topic.

Comment author: wedrifid 30 September 2011 04:06:19AM 3 points [-]

To be honest I suspect it may be interesting to hear what other people than either Phil or Eliezer have to say on the details of group selection applicability. It's a red flag for both of them.

For my part it strikes me that there is something rather different between the thing that Eliezer ridicules and the thing that species selection can be considered an instance of. There is also more to be said on what modern biology has to say on the subject.

It may also be worth seeing if there are contributors with suggestions on how to mellow out the group selection page without introducing any inaccuracies.

Comment author: Craig_Heldreth 30 September 2011 02:16:09PM 5 points [-]

Group selection is a topic which breeds contention for some reason. For example I do not understand why Robert Sapolsky (top primate expert) seems to treat the subject with a tone of voice which is almost sanctimonious in these lectures:

Biology and Human Behavior.

It seems as if he has a muscle memory of getting bludgeoned by hours of arguments.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 September 2011 09:09:24AM *  5 points [-]

For my part it strikes me that there is something rather different between the thing that Eliezer ridicules and the thing that species selection can be considered an instance of.

Correct. Species don't breed - they are not part of a sexually reproducing population - so the theory and simulations ruling out group selection against a countervailing individual selection pressure (invaders take over the gene pool under all realistic conditions) doesn't rule out species-level selection. Modus ponens to modus tollens, observed examples of species selection don't argue for group selection being realistic and Phil Goetz's entire argument is a nonsequitur. This was obvious to me at a glance but experience has taught me I do not enjoy arguing with Phil Goetz.

Comment author: Crux 01 October 2011 12:08:06AM *  13 points [-]

Does this not count as an indirect argument or something?

I for one would be sort of annoyed if somebody announced that due to an alleged unamiable personality of mine they're declining to debate me, and then in the same public venue proceeded to state that my whole argument was an obvious non-sequitur.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 01 October 2011 11:41:49AM *  2 points [-]

I for one would be sort of annoyed

Does your annoyance suggest a way in which the decisions in question are wrong? If not, it might be wrong to endorse this emotional response (in this sense). If it does, then it's better to describe that explicitly, irrespective of emotion. Or maybe you are drawing attention to the emotion itself as a relevant consideration? It's not clear from your comment.

Comment author: lessdazed 30 September 2011 04:39:44AM -1 points [-]

I think it may involve dividing it into two pages, one about biases, the psychology of biologists, the failings of permissive science, etc. and one about natural selection.

Failing to understand amoral stochastic systems may lead people to believe true things for bad reasons. We can criticize this even when and where they happen to be right.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 September 2011 02:16:09AM *  5 points [-]

I declined to answer because I gave up arguing with Phil Goetz long before there was a Less Wrong, back in the SL4 days - I'm sorry, but there are some people that I don't enjoy debating. I'll leave it at that.

Comment author: play_therapist 29 September 2011 09:45:38PM 0 points [-]

The fact that you didn't get an answer to that question doesn't conclusively mean that he declined to answer it. Perhaps he over looked the question, got distracted and forgot about it, or wanted to think about it some more. It seems to me that more attempt at a dialogue just between the two of you would be a good idea.