Stop Using LessWrong: A Practical Interpretation of the 2012 Survey Results 2012-12-30T22:00:04.255Z


Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-25T02:26:13.452Z · LW · GW

Do you disagree with any matters of fact that I have asserted or implied? When you try to have a discussion like you are trying to have, about "logical necessity" and so on, you are just arguing about words. What do you predict about the world that is different from what I predict?

Comment by aceofspades on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-11-19T20:15:59.733Z · LW · GW

I agree that low carb diets are an effective means of weight loss relative to low fat diets for people in the aggregate. I do not agree that they are in the aggregate better for reducing mortality than DASH, and I think my personal health is optimized by eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, and lean protein and avoiding all else.

Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-19T20:08:36.011Z · LW · GW

The reason I rejected the utility function and why I rejected this argument is that I judged them useless.

What would you recommend people do, in general? I think this is a question that is actually valuable. At the least I would benefit from considering other people's answers to this question.

Comment by aceofspades on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-11-14T01:33:10.114Z · LW · GW

This pattern-matches exactly to everything else conspiracy theory related I have ever read, and by that I mean it misinterprets the relative incentives. You speak of organizations that apparently face financial loss if they turn out to be wrong, but you provide no convincing reason for why they would lose funding if they revised their positions due to new evidence. You also don't mention the huge profits an organization would surely make if it provided compelling evidence for how to actually lower the risk of the largest cause of death in the United States. In particular:

-I'm not going to read a book rather than reading the results of randomized, controlled trials or meta-analyses of many such studies.

-You say you "could point to studies." Then do it.

Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-14T01:13:36.832Z · LW · GW

This line of discussion says nothing on the object level. The words "altruistic" and "selfish" in this conversation have ceased to mean anything that anyone could use to meaningfully alter his or her real world behavior.

Comment by aceofspades on Belief in Belief · 2012-11-11T00:59:40.085Z · LW · GW

It doesn't seem to me that this post actually makes any coherent argument. It spends a fair amount of words using seemingly metaphysical terms without actually saying anything. But that's not even the important thing.

Is this post supposed to increase my happiness or lifespan, or even that of someone else?

Comment by aceofspades on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2012-11-11T00:53:49.038Z · LW · GW

If this is article is actually correct, representative, etc. then the only thing it says to me is that the entire field of self-help is completely worthless, so I am going to actually operate under that assumption and just do what I want.

Comment by aceofspades on Cached Selves · 2012-11-11T00:42:53.730Z · LW · GW

By listing those "suggestions," you are causing people at least one person to try to use them even though they are in my judgment largely worthless or at least not worth the time and effort required to try to adopt them (this judgment means little compared to actual evidence of their relative effectiveness, but since I haven't seen any it will have to suffice as a prior). I have also seen no plausible argument here that this type of bias actually causes unhappiness, and so I therefore care nothing about it.

Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-11T00:35:26.340Z · LW · GW

So the normal chain of events here would just be that I argue those are still all subgoals of increasing happiness and we would go back and forth about that. But this is just arguing by definition, so I won't continue along that line.

To the extent I understand the first paragraph in terms of what it actually says at the level of real-world experience, I have never seen evidence supporting its truth. The second paragraph seems to say what I intended the second paragraph of my previous comment to mean. So really it doesn't seem that we disagree about anything important.

Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-11T00:28:10.523Z · LW · GW

This is reaching the point of just arguing about definitions, so I reject this line of discussion as well.

Comment by aceofspades on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-11-11T00:22:27.463Z · LW · GW

Would you mind linking to this research that shows low carb diets lower cardiac risk factors? All I really know about the matter is that in the aggregate people who actually study diet generally conclude that Atkins-like diets are not optimal for health. In particular, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Heart Association, and the World Health Organization all seem to conclude that saturated fats directly increase cardiovascular risk.

You're also arguing against anything said by these organizations when discussing highly processed carbs. DASH specifically recommends making at least half of grains consumed whole, and the implication seems to be that the ideal would be eating no refined grains.

Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-09T02:48:55.600Z · LW · GW

I have decided that maximizing the integral of happiness with respect to time is my selfish supergoal and that maximizing the double integral of happiness with respect to time and with respect to number of people is my altruistic supergoal. All other goals are only relevant insofar as they affect the supergoals. I have yet to be convinced this is a bad system, though previous experience suggests I probably will make modifications at some point. I also need to decide what weight to place on the selfish/altruistic components.

But despite my finding such an abstract way of characterizing my actions interesting, the actual determining of the weights and the actual function I'm maximizing are just determined by what I actually end up doing. In fact constructing this abstract system does not seem to convincingly help me further its purported goal, and I therefore cease all serious conversation about it.

Comment by aceofspades on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-09T02:00:33.612Z · LW · GW

I have read this post and have not been persuaded that people who follow these steps will lead longer or happier lives (or will cause others to live longer or happier lives). I therefore will make no conscious effort to pay much of any regard to this post, though it is plausible it will have at least a small unconscious effect. I am posting this to fight groupthink and sampling biases, though this post actually does very little against them.

Comment by aceofspades on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-10-14T21:02:39.535Z · LW · GW

Maybe I should be more clear.

The anecdotes of a few people on this site mean very little to me in regards to the efficacy of a particular diet. There doesn't seem to be any experimental evidence with a reasonable sample size to suggest that Paleo diets actually lead to weight loss (there is evidence that DASH leads to weight loss). The paleo diet is relatively high in saturated fat (and there is a scientific consensus that high saturated fat intake causes heart disease) while DASH is not. Omitting grain and dairy eliminates the sources of some nutrients and I would hypothesize that a significant percent of people switching to a paleo diet don't actually compensate for that loss by getting those nutrients from other sources.

It just doesn't make sense to advocate for a paleo diet when there is no evidence of it performing better in the aggregate than diets which are supported by the scientific consensus. If I'm mistaken please link me to some good quality studies.

Comment by aceofspades on Firewalling the Optimal from the Rational · 2012-10-08T14:46:12.824Z · LW · GW

You say that paleo-inspired diets "have helped many other people in the community." What percent of people in this community have benefited from those diets how much, and how does this compare with other diets, e.g. DASH?

Comment by aceofspades on The Lens That Sees Its Flaws · 2012-08-07T20:14:43.277Z · LW · GW

I don't think it's necessary for each individual to be aware of their own irrationality or try to become more rational or what have you. You don't have to have any formal study in physics to be great at pool, and you don't need formal study in rationality to do well in life or even science specifically. Any flaws in the ability of some individuals to act "rationally" won't matter in the aggregate because just a small number of people can profit heavily from the economic rent this will leave (in proportion to how much it actually matters) and in the process fix this efficiency.

Comment by aceofspades on Occam's Razor · 2012-08-07T20:09:28.344Z · LW · GW

I don't think it's quite necessary for people to even be consciously aware of Occam's Razor. The right predictions will eventually win out because there will exist an economic profit somewhere which will be exploited. If you can think of an area which is overrun with market inefficiencies due to something related to this post, please let me know and I will be sure to grab whatever I can of the economic profits while they last.

Comment by aceofspades on How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3 · 2012-08-07T20:00:19.805Z · LW · GW

I just operate under the assumption that I will never actually encounter a situation where 2+2 does not equal 4, and therefore do not spend time worrying about such a hypothetical situation. This assumption has never failed me before.

Comment by aceofspades on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2012-07-19T23:28:04.391Z · LW · GW

In order to dissolve the disagreement: I think the first sentence of my original comment here was ill-posed. It makes sense to me because it serves as a convenient pointer for the type of "religion" espoused by a significant proportion of people which involves "belief" and "faith" and does not actually contain any differences in anticipated experience from a non-religious position. However, given only the original sentence it does not mean much. And even with elaboration it is pretty much going to be tautological. As to my second post I expect that contemplating that particular "counterfactual" is going to be along the lines of considering the "counterfactual" under which 2+2=5 which I do not anticipate being a particularly enlightening discussion based on what I've already read on the subject.

Comment by aceofspades on Thoughts on the Singularity Institute (SI) · 2012-07-05T18:53:37.783Z · LW · GW

The things posted here are not impressive enough to make me more likely to donate to SIAI and I doubt they appear so for others on this site, especially the many lurkers/infrequent posters here.

Comment by aceofspades on Why Truth? · 2012-07-05T18:31:46.753Z · LW · GW

I just find it very unlikely that the specifics of how this post is constructed have much of an effect on correcting this issue.

Comment by aceofspades on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2012-07-05T18:29:37.702Z · LW · GW

If his interest resulted in actions that would provide evidence of his existence, then yes. Also, if libertarian free will existed then the world would be an even more different place.

Comment by aceofspades on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2012-07-02T05:02:52.317Z · LW · GW

Arguing about the existence of a god is like arguing about free will. The only worthwhile argument concerns differences in anticipated experience, notably things like "Does prayer work?".

Comment by aceofspades on Dissolving the Question · 2012-07-02T04:59:13.535Z · LW · GW

I am curious why your posts tend to treat questions like this ("Does free will exist?") as being substantially different from questions like "Does some god exist?"

Comment by aceofspades on Reductionism · 2012-07-02T04:46:06.831Z · LW · GW

Does the reductionist model give different predictions about the world than the non-reductionist model? If so, are any easily checked?

Comment by aceofspades on What is Evidence? · 2012-06-27T19:13:14.081Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure that this terminology about entanglement and such forth actually helps understanding. Reading this post unlikely to cause me to win more bets (make better predictions).

Comment by aceofspades on Why Truth? · 2012-06-27T19:05:09.754Z · LW · GW

I'm not convinced that this post actually says anything. If seeking the truth is useful for any specific reason, then people who see some benefit from it will do so and if it isn't useful then they won't. Actually writing this out has made me think both this post and my comment haven't really said much, but I think that's because this discussion is too abstract to have any real use/meaning. Ideas which are true/work will work, ideas that aren't won't, and that's all that needs to be said, never mind this business about rationality and truth and curiosity.

Comment by aceofspades on Thoughts on the Singularity Institute (SI) · 2012-06-07T20:36:37.221Z · LW · GW

Some people who upvoted the post may think it is one of the best-written and most important examples of instrumental rationality on this site.

Comment by aceofspades on Eight Short Studies On Excuses · 2012-05-04T12:39:16.907Z · LW · GW

I think this post would benefit from a link to some article about the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, since the beginning of this post requires some knowledge about it to be valuable.

Comment by aceofspades on On Enjoying Disagreeable Company · 2012-04-23T17:38:11.143Z · LW · GW

"FWIW" == "For What It's Worth," to save a few person-minutes for other passive readers here.

Comment by aceofspades on On the unpopularity of cryonics: life sucks, but at least then you die · 2011-11-27T05:20:28.508Z · LW · GW

It's not clear to me whether I should spend this sum of money (considering opportunity cost etc.) on potentially cryopreserving myself or reducing existential risk or making some other charitable contribution or actually passing on substantially more of my money to my relatives or whatever else. Namely, I'm not sure how to estimate the probability of actually being revived at some point. It might help to determine the probability of legally "dying" in such a way as to be around people during death or "dying" only a short time before while still being possible to preserve (for example this might include the chance of "dying" in a hospital). This would seemingly have a large effect on my chances of being revived, but maybe not. The technology for reviving those thought "dead" would already require such major advances in technology that even days of not being discovered (and thus an enormous difference in bodily decay) that perhaps even such large differences in decay could be trivial. Or, this could be entirely wrong, depending on how technology does progress. But even after such differences of time of pre-preservation "death" are accounted for, it is not then clear how to estimate the likelihood of ever being revived or a number of other things that would be necessary at a minimum to establish a reasonable method of determining the proper amount of money to allocate to the aforementioned potential uses.

Basically, this issue is far more difficult to resolve than a simple pseudo-Pascal's Wager (here the response is not to the article in question but rather in a more general form to a few arguments I have seen even on this site including some comments)