comment by alexey ·
2023-12-11T21:55:50.208Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Based on the full text:
Some readers may think that this sounds circular: if I’m trying to explain why someone would do what SBF did, how is it valid to use the fact that he did it as a piece of evidence for the explanation? But treating the convictions as evidence for SBF’s DAE is valid in the same way that, if you were trying to explain why the grass is wet, it would be valid to use the fact that the grass is wet as evidence for the hypothesis that it rained recently (since wet grass is typically substantial evidence for rain).
But a lot of your pro-DAE evidence seems to me to fail this test. E.g. ok, he lied to the customers and to the Congress; why is this substantial evidence of DAE in particular?
oh, FTX doesn’t have a bank account, I guess people can wire to Alameda’s to get money on FTX….3 years later…oh fuck it looks like people wired $8b to Alameda and oh god we basically forgot about the stub account that corresponded to that, and so it was never delivered to FTX.
This seems like evidence in favor of Theory A and against DAE if you look at those as competing explanations? That is, he (is claiming that in this particular case he) commingled funds for reasons unrelated to DAE.
In November 2022, he also tweeted these statements
It seems likely he believed at that point that if a run could be avoided, he would have enough assets; so making these statements could help most customers, and not making them could hurt most of them, even if it helped a few lucky and quick ones. Not evidence of decreased empathy at all (in my view).
(3) There are multiple sources suggesting that he has a tendency and willingness to lie and deceive others.
Everything under this seems to fail the rain test, at least; very many people have this willingness, most of them don't have DAE (simply based on the prevalence you mention). Is this particular "style" of dishonesty characteristic of DAE?
(4) is actual evidence for DAE, great.
(5) and (10) For the rain test you need to provide a reason to believe most manipulative people have DAE.
For decreased affective guilt the situation seems to be worse: as far as I can see, no evidence for it is presented, just evidence there is some reported guilt and then
In the context of the large amounts of evidence for his lack of affective empathy, it seems more likely that the quote above is an example of cognitive guilt rather than affective guilt.
This seems to require a very large correlation between DAEmpathy and DAGuilt. Why couldn't he have one but not the other?
When I wrote the above, I was just going by your stated definition of DAE; after going to the page you linked, which I should have done earlier, a lot of your evidence seems to cover the facets of psychopathy other than DAE; you could argue they are correlated, but it seems replacing DAE with psychopathy (as defined there) in theories B and C would make the evidence fit strictly better.Replies from: spencerg
↑ comment by spencerg ·
2023-12-13T01:46:38.504Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Thanks for your comment. Some thoughts:
"But a lot of your pro-DAE evidence seems to me to fail this test. E.g. ok, he lied to the customers and to the Congress; why is this substantial evidence of DAE in particular?"
Because E is evidence in favor of a hypothesis H if:
P(E given H is true) > P(E given H is false)
And the strength of the evidence is determined by the ratio:
bayes factor = P(E given H is true)/P(E given H is false)
In my view there isn't really any other reasonable mathematical definition of evidence other than the bayes factor (or transformations of the bayes factor).
Applied to this specific case:
Probabilityiity(Lying to congress given DAE) > Probability(Lying to congress given not DAE)
And the reason that inequality is true is because people with DAE are more likely to lie than people without DAE (all else equal).
"Everything under this seems to fail the rain test, at least; very many people have this willingness [to lie and deceive others] most of them don't have DAE (simply based on the prevalence you mention). Is this particular "style" of dishonesty characteristic of DAE?"
The question of whether E is evidence for H is not the same as the question "Is H true most of the time when E?" That's just a different question, and in my view, not the correct question to ask when evaluating evidence. The question to ask to evaluate evidence is whether the evidence is more likely if the hypothesis is true than if it's not true.
And yes, lying is indeed characteristic of DAE. Replies from: alexey, alexey
↑ comment by alexey ·
2023-12-16T11:28:54.815Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Or to put it another way: in the full post you say
There is some evidence he has higher-than-normal narcissistic traits, and there’s a positive correlation between narcissistic traits and DAE. I think there is more evidence of him having DAE than there is of him having narcissistic traits
but to me it looks like you could have equally replaced DAE with "narcissistic traits" in Theories B and C, and provided the same list of evidence.
(1) Convicted criminals are more likely to have narcissistic traits.
(2) "extreme disregard for protecting his customers" is also evidence for narcissistic traits.
Etc. And then you could repeat the exercise with "sociopathy" and so on.
So there are two possibilities, as far as I can see:
- One or more things on the list are in fact not evidence for narcissistic traits.
- They are stronger evidence for DAE than for narcissistic traits.
But it isn't clear which you believe and about what parts of the list in particular. (Of course, with the exception of (4) and (11), but they go in the opposite directions.)
↑ comment by alexey ·
2023-12-16T11:05:01.043Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Yes, it's evidence. My question is how strong or weak this evidence is (and my expectation is that it's weak). Your comparison relies on "wet grass is typically substantial evidence for rain".