Posts

Comments

Comment by alienist on Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015 · 2015-03-02T06:18:10.782Z · score: 7 (13 votes) · LW · GW

No, science is not a set of answers; it is a procedure.

Nassim Taleb

Comment by alienist on Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015 · 2015-03-02T06:16:44.667Z · score: 5 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

Richard Feynman, What is Science?

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T05:06:51.099Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thinking about it, the situation is basically the AI box experiment from Voldy's point of view. He has a boxed unfriendly super-intelligence (Harry) that he's going to destroy just as soon as he finishes talking to it.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-02-28T21:50:59.517Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting, so it all comes down to a version of the AI box experiment.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T04:22:38.443Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Of course Keats isn't alluding to contemporary literature, but to works that have lasted long enough that one can be confident their popularity isn't limited to a particular moment.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 112 · 2015-02-27T04:20:51.067Z · score: -9 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Joyce does it non stop in Ulyesses. Most of the works of Vladimir Nabokov do it very heavily. As does Pynchon.

Your argument would be more convincing if you had managed to actual provide some good literature, as opposed to pompous garbage, as examples.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T06:00:37.408Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the laws of reality are simulated, then they must be computable.

Depends on what they're being stimulated on.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-24T05:11:18.883Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Offhand, I can't think of a book which mentioned the phrase.

Every haggadah in existence.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-24T05:08:19.435Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From a RL point of view it's because Eliezer, for his post on the importance of learning from history, is extremely unfamiliar with cultures and times other than his own.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-24T04:47:33.564Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, that raises the question how exactly does magic interact with aliens? Come to think of it how do hocruxes interact with Terran non-human sentients?

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T01:55:36.005Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Magical Britain's culture is subtly but deeply different from that of the muggle country that shares its borders; it would be profoundly weird if there were no surprises, no culture shock.

The jarring thing is precisely that it isn't. The sexual attitudes of the fanfiction community have a lot more in common with general contemporary western post-protestant sexual attitudes then with the sexual attitudes of any other (contemporary or historical) culture.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T20:48:34.007Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Then again Eliezer has been imposing modern sexual attitudes on the Wizarding World, whether out of ignorance or a desire to be politically correct I'm not sure. In any case, I find it one of the most jarring aspects of the fic.

Comment by alienist on Innate Mathematical Ability · 2015-02-21T06:33:25.828Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Given the state of computing at the time, it's possible that computer time really was more valuable then graduate student time.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-21T02:57:06.278Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

If you're going to be using old definitions "lovers = having sex" is a pretty recent change in meaning.

but it's just the fact that "virgin = intact hymen" is a pretty silly notion to begin with.

Um, the relevant property is that the man can be sure the woman's child will be his, and for that "virgin = intact hymen" is useful.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-21T02:06:12.897Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The Pioneer horcrux might just be an evil surprise for another planet some day.

Probably not, space is incredibly empty.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-21T01:57:57.209Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What's a full system of numerals? Even in Proto-Uralic, you could say ‘four and one’, and a human mind would understand that

Are you sure? My understanding (from reading some anthropology paper I chanced across is that people in cultures without full number systems do get more confused by large numbers.

Comment by alienist on Virtue, group and individual prestige · 2015-02-21T01:36:59.757Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Except most examples aren't this harmless.

Comment by alienist on Virtue, group and individual prestige · 2015-02-20T01:37:56.742Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One problem is that things like this tend to lead to affective death spirals. You start praising virtue X (which is a virtue because it leads to positive effect Y), then you start especially praising the extremely virtues practitioners willing to do X even when it doesn't lead to Y.

Comment by alienist on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-19T03:31:23.631Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It could be that EY is overestimating how "obvious" (for lack of a better word) everyone else will find something "obvious" to him.

Comment by alienist on Natural Selection of Government Systems · 2015-02-19T03:21:36.392Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My point is that you can't simply rely on other countries having reached a "sufficiently advanced economic or mental stage" to stop defection. You do actually need to rely on force.

Comment by alienist on The Galileo affair: who was on the side of rationality? · 2015-02-17T06:38:23.645Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, not quite a trial but the condemnations at the University of Paris. In every statement falsifiable among them, the church was eventually correct, e.g., the universe isn't infinitely old, vacuum exists, astrology is bunk.

Comment by alienist on The Galileo affair: who was on the side of rationality? · 2015-02-17T06:28:07.816Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Before Newton unified terrestial and celestial mechanics, you needed to keep them separate whether you were using a geocentric or a heliocentric model. You still needed a sublunary sphere sphere around the Earth where things slow down and fall and break and decay on their way towards the End of Time, while God and the Angels watch us from their perfect and immutable Heaven. Neither the geocentric nor the heliocentric model had an advantage in terms of explanatory power here.

If the earth has a sublunary sphere, that suggests the earth is 'special', which is certainly more parsimonious in a geocentric universe. Also why doesn't earth's sublunary sphere cause it to fall into the sun?

Comment by alienist on Control Theory Commentary · 2015-02-16T08:25:31.421Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also, controllers are more robust then utility agents. Utility agents tend to go haywire upon discovering that some term in their utility function isn't actually quite well-defined. Keep in mind that it's impossible to predict future discoveries ahead of time and what their implications for the well-definiteness of terms might be.

Comment by alienist on Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015 · 2015-02-14T20:53:25.856Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How do you know Vladoft isn't actually his alias?

Comment by alienist on The Truth About Mathematical Ability · 2015-02-14T06:12:25.675Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I find it interesting that no one has yet mentioned Grothendieck's rather eccentric later behavior.

Comment by alienist on Rationality Quotes Thread February 2015 · 2015-02-14T05:46:23.949Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The amusing thing is that Jennifer Hibben-White is no more using science then her opponents, and probably using Google just as much.

Comment by alienist on Stupid Questions February 2015 · 2015-02-12T09:12:49.455Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, a lot of abbeys were self-supporting.

Comment by alienist on Behavior: The Control of Perception · 2015-02-10T05:04:34.031Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(I know I'm not IlyaShpitser, but better my reply than no reply.) I have several papers on the arXiv, and the very first time I submitted one I remember it being automatically posted without needing endorsement

How long ago was this? I believe the endorsement for new submitters requirement was added ~6 years ago.

Comment by alienist on Quotes Repository · 2015-02-10T04:43:47.641Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Meta: How is this supposed to be different from the existing rationality quotes thread?

Comment by alienist on Natural Selection of Government Systems · 2015-02-09T06:48:23.661Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

This threat is still relevant, as many nations have not yet reached the economic or mental stage when they are no longer interested in territorial conquests.

If your political system requires no one in the world to defect, your political system is unworkable.

Comment by alienist on Natural Selection of Government Systems · 2015-02-09T06:47:14.256Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The different states of the US each have different policies and allow free migration of individuals.

One problem that causes in the US, is people moving from badly run states to well run states and voting for the bad policies that caused them to leave their original state in the first place.

Comment by alienist on Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015 · 2015-02-08T05:18:32.373Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, Rome was basically a welfare state two millennia ago.

Comment by alienist on Reductionist research strategies and their biases · 2015-02-08T02:48:35.614Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean that there are conditions under which being sexually attracted to members of the same sex is evolutionarily advantageous?

Or do you mean that the genetic trait that manifests as homosexuality, manifests as another, advantageous, trait under some circumstances? If so, this seems like a version of Darreact's "imprinting" theory.

Comment by alienist on Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015 · 2015-02-07T22:51:20.340Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There are reasons the lbgt community is so down on attempts at curing the gay - "suicides and mental breakdowns".

As opposed to, you know, ordinary tribal feelings against defection. There are elements in the deaf community that oppose attempts to cure deafness as well.

Comment by alienist on Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015 · 2015-02-07T06:58:10.980Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The so-called "weak efficient market hypothesis" is more-or-less correct. The "strong efficient market hypothesis" falls apart once you attempt to taboo "efficient".

Another way to phrase this is that in some strict sense market "inefficiencies" exist, finding them is a hard problem. (The general case of this problem is NP-hard.)

Comment by alienist on Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015 · 2015-02-07T06:50:23.983Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Or rather anyone who claims it does is branded an "evil homophobe" thus no one would dare publish a stady claiming it does.

Comment by alienist on Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015 · 2015-02-07T06:34:38.992Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My understanding is that the US schedule is much more aggressive than the European one.

Comment by alienist on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-02-07T02:45:13.807Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Surely no, because Abraham built the Ka'aba, and he came later. But if Adam's religion was missing one of the pillars of Islam, then how was he a Muslim?

Well, according to this article:

According to Islamic tradition, the Kaaba was built by Adam as a place of worship, and then later reconstructed by Abraham and Ishmael.

Comment by alienist on Stupid Questions February 2015 · 2015-02-06T03:00:56.825Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

For the same reason tribes living near the edge of starvation have especially strong cannibalism taboos.

Comment by alienist on Open Thread, Feb. 2 - Feb 8, 2015 · 2015-02-06T02:33:39.420Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Probably not the way it's done in the USA (from what I gather, drivers' licences are basically being handed out like candy), but the way it's handled in most European countries - requiring comprehensive education, practical exercise and independent examination on trafic laws, behaving in traffic and operating a car.

In the USA you also need to pass a test that includes both an exam on traffic laws and a road test. As far as, handing them out "like candy", true you generally don't hear of people who couldn't pass the test, but do Europeans regularly have problems passing the exam?

Comment by alienist on Rationality Quotes Thread February 2015 · 2015-02-03T03:09:20.750Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Just because you say you understand (or even think you understand) doesn't mean you do.

Comment by alienist on Rationality Quotes Thread February 2015 · 2015-02-03T03:04:00.084Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

You may not like his ethics, but you've no right to call him unethical.

In that case who is Alfred Bester to tell me who I can or can't call "unethical"?

Comment by alienist on Stupid Questions February 2015 · 2015-02-03T02:33:40.196Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Like people said, also a few centuries ago welfare programs did not exist.

Comment by alienist on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-02-03T01:39:56.708Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Presumably that means they want their kids exposed to Christian values and Christian services.

Comment by alienist on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-02-02T02:26:45.784Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, their parents did choose to send them to a Christian school.

Comment by alienist on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-02-02T02:16:43.523Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Trans is so incurable that despite the side-effects it is considered much easier to change the body than the mind.

That depends on the motivations and rationality of those doing the considering.

Comment by alienist on February 2015 Media Thread · 2015-02-01T23:59:33.432Z · score: 2 (10 votes) · LW · GW

What does "plied her with alcohol" mean? Does it mean that Shermer spiked her drink or force fed her alcohol? Most likely she was drinking with him had a little too much to drink when up to his hotel room, had sex with him, in the morning regretted it and decided to declare it non-consensual.

Calling an encounter like the above "rape" is precisely what I'm objecting too.

Comment by alienist on Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015 · 2015-02-01T23:24:10.259Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My understanding is that mainstream Christians think non-Christians can go to heaven as long as they didn't have the chance to become Christian - e.g. Moses, or some undiscovered Amazonian tribe - as long as they lived righteously.

Well, Dante put the righteous pagans in Limbo (the 1st circle of hell). As for Isrealites, they got to heaven because they were followers of G-d after all.

Comment by alienist on Guardians of Ayn Rand · 2015-02-01T23:14:25.431Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Rather, I was suggesting that OWS, anti-semitism, etc, all come from the same place, which is some primal dislike of so-called market dominant minorities.

One related observation, I noticed that looking at most ethnic stereotypes (by group X of group Y) they tend to fall into two broad categories: "Group Y are subhuman idiots", and "group Y are evil practitioners of black magic." Possibly substitute "black magic" with equivalent concept from group X's worldview. (Note: if the horns affect goes sufficiently far group X may start throwing out both accusations but one is always primary.)

These it seems roughly correspond to whether group X's system one perceives group Y as less or more intelligent then themselves respectively.

Come to think of it "magic" isn't a bad description of what intelligence greater than your own looks like from the outside. And unless you have strong reasons to believe that the intelligence's goals are aligned with your own it might as well be black magic.

Comment by alienist on Guardians of Ayn Rand · 2015-02-01T23:01:02.306Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

At minimum, the fact that you used links only to examples involving Jews really misses the point, especially given that Jews were hated for many reasons that had nothing to do with economics but were rather religious.

Yes, but all Salemicus's examples were specifically about economics.