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Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-06T18:43:27.145Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I know I know forgive me please

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-06T18:42:56.709Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There is a difference, I'll be posting it Friday. I've got an exam tomorrow and it still needs some finishing touches. This project got a bit out of hand, the complete train of thought is about 4 pages long to explain properly, so a post is more appropriate than a comment. I'd like to hear your opinion on it, if you are willing :)

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-06T18:38:51.852Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dear lord no. I've almost finished the post, I'll be uploading it this weekend or something (with graphs :) ), but below is my one paragraph version of it. Please refrain for a whole two days from forming a definitive opinion, until I can present my case fully.

Morality is a real effect on the distribution of utility functions within a society. It has a singular direction that is a consequence of conflicting utility functions of all people in society. Imagine making a frequency distribution of utility functions (for the moment it doesn't really matter what is on the x-axis). Now the tails of this distribution will conflict (assuming for the simplest case where the average opinion is neutral). That is people will want to change the behaviour/utility functions of other people. Because people have a stronger tendency to loss aversion than to pleasure gain there will be a net effect towards compromise (also due to the nash equilibrium). This means that on average utility functions will converge towards a "social norm". So far I have not seen one society which does not have some set of social norms. This means that in every society there is a tendency to make people conform to a standard. This may not seem important at first but consider the alternative, a group of people who will go to unlimited lengths to get what they want because they only consider themselves to be important. Note that even North Korea, ISIS, Jonestown and the Nazis didn't go that far. Even in those societies (which are generally considered evil) the net effect of the social norm was still better than complete ultra-anarchy. This is not superpessimistic about human nature, it is however superoptimistic about human society. So in each society there is a tendency to force people to reduce loss (or to step out of economic terms: suffering). In some societies this tendency is admittedly very small, in some it is very large. Why I included moral relativism in my list is that, based on this knowledge, it is false to say all societies are equally moral. Clearly some societies have larger groups of conflicting utility functions than others. More peaceful societies are using this terminology, more moral. The only assumption that I personally make is that I deem more moral societies good and less moral societies bad. (If that sentence seems tautological, try reading the paragraph with all the words moral replace with smurf or something. Or wait till Friday, if you are still interested :) )

So note that I have not used should, ought, must, good and evil in this entire paragraph. It is merely a description of reality. So when I said "people will kill you", I did not mean, people will retaliate every time, I did not mean that a particular case of retaliation is morality. I mean that the average action of retaliation teaches people to avoid it. People experience this as "having a conscience", but that is just fancy words for being conditioned, ala Pavlov.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-04T12:22:45.157Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Short answer, people will kill you. The long answer is about 2.5 sheets by now. Maybe I'll post it :). Hopefully that won't go as disastrously, with people getting pissed off, as this one.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-03T23:38:00.925Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The point is we have to make certain assumptions to get anything done. Without them we can't have science, we can't have ethics. We'd be all alone with our own thoughts. This is the same problem Descartes struggled with as well. He had so effectively doubted everything that he concluded that he could only know one thing with 100% certainty, that is, that he existed. All other possibilities are merely probable and require certain assumptions. I therefore hold that it is inconsistent to be relativistic about morality but not about empiricism (and by extension most of rationality).

I apparently still do not entirely get the commenting system here. Apologies.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-03T23:34:58.123Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The point is we have to make certain assumptions to get anything done. Without them we can't have science, we can't have ethics. We'd be all alone with our own thoughts. This is the same problem Descartes struggled with as well. He had so effectively doubted everything that he concluded that he could only know one thing with 100% certainty, that is, that he existed. All other possibilities are merely probable and require certain assumptions. I therefore hold that it is inconsistent to be relativistic about morality but not about empiricism (and by extension most of rationality).

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-03T23:12:09.368Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Neither do I :) But the possibility exists, we just assume it doesn't.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-03T13:11:32.581Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you disbelieve in empiricism and jump of a building you may die. If all of reality actually is a simulation, there is no telling what will happen.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:44:13.112Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

But can't the same be said for rationality and science? As Descartes showed a "demon" could continuously trick us with a fake reality, or we could be in the matrix for all we know. For rationality to work we have to assume that empiricism holds true. Why couldn't the same be true for ethics? I think that if science can have its empiricism axiom, ethics can have its suffering axiom.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:36:26.824Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That actually is a very good idea, thanks :) I'd would become impossible for anyone to read unless they got their hands on a introductory statistics book of course. But some explanatory text should be able to fix that. Do you have particular items that you think should be removed? I am only human, there is bound to be a mistake or two on such a large list.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:32:47.681Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed. As far as I know there hasn't been a peaceful communist society ever. Except maybe after all the dissenters got deported to gulags of course but that would be a form of "peace by genocide".

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:30:11.195Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'd upvote, but I don't have the karma-points :)

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:29:46.735Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Pacifism is the disavowing of all violence, even if it is used proportionally and in self-defense. This only works in cases where the power difference between parties is so huge that violence is not necessary for ending conflict (Ghandi's India for example). This is hardly ever the case.

If the goal is to limit the total amount of violence (and therefore self-inflicted suffering) a limited form of violence is still necessary to keep abusers of the social contract in check. But as individual and groups of countries have already shown, it is possible for human societies to be peaceful without war. The police may have to restrain individuals but wars are not necessary.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:23:41.204Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Why? Because there are a lot of them? The list of scientific beliefs I take seriously is at least a hundred times as long, going by the books on my shelf and those in the library. I am not saying that I never made a mistake, I am only human but the probability that a significant fraction of these are false is incredibly low. Most of it is filled with alternative medicine and ufo nonsense.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-04-02T20:21:18.945Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hahaha thanks for the laugh, this entire posts could use some.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-31T07:53:08.756Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah yes the illusion of transparency. I should have seen it coming that the OS would be first on peoples minds. Stupid.

My position on moral realism/relativism is a bit middle ground between the two. There is no law of the universe that says we all should be "good" or even what this "good" is supposed to be. But I believe that does not mean we can't think rationally about it. We can show that some moral systems are at least inconsistent with respect to their stated goals. And on top of that if we assume for the sake of argument that we can get everyone to believe "suffering is bad" we can rule out a few more. For example the pro-life lobby in the US is vehemently against abortion, yet thinks that the death penalty is a good thing. If life were in fact sacrosanct would it not be logical to stop killing people? (This would also extend to cryonism, but since most of the pro-life lobby is christian, most adherents believe they are going to heaven and won't actually die. So that doesn't necessarily make it inconsistent.) Such a philosophy could be made more rational by making its beliefs consistent with its goal. To say that it would be better or more moral to do so would require people to at least agree suffering is bad, although I think most people would agree on that one.

I deleted the post by now. This entire ordeal was very bad for my karma. Which come to think of it, is a strange term. Why not call it "thumbs up" or something? Such a reference to a non-scientific meta-physical idea seems a bit inconsistent with the rest of the content of the site.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-31T06:08:07.851Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Unless of course the goal is to just feel happy about some form of quackery, in which case it would be instrumentally rational of course.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-31T06:05:16.296Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but does not originate from evidence gathered using the scientific method. So e.g. candling, homeopathy, Whole Body Vibration Training, acupuncture, etc. Given that either the effect sizes of these methods are negligible or they don't work at all, these practices are irrational from both the epistemic and the instrumental perspective. The explanation of the assertion might be a bit circular since any "alternative" medicine that works would simply be medicine. Well I can't do anything about that.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-31T05:48:24.767Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A social democrat who thinks wars should be abolished. It is not as if communism, libertarianism and anarchism are the only philosophies in the world right?

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-31T05:46:52.258Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Haha the "pointless and counterproductive" was a joke actually, since well, all irrational ideas are pointless and counterproductive. As you already mentioned giving detailed explanations for all ideas will make into a four volume work so obviously I can't do that.

But to come to Ubuntu, I think we definitely should see this as a bad idea. Although admittedly it has had a large net positive effect in South Africa so I should probably just delete the last column. The central tennet of Ubuntu "A person is a person through other people", can be very easily corrupted into a form of communitarian dictatorship, as has in fact happened in Zimbabwe. The fact that a philosophy allows itself to be used by Mugabe does not make it look good. Of course just because Mugabe uses it doesn't mean it is a bad idea, it could just be his one good trait, but it probably isn't. The idea has more negative facets. It includes a form of philosophical innatism which is just factually wrong (see for example:Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil) and it also has as a third central tennet "that the king owed his status, including all the powers associated with it, to the will of the people under him". I think it strange that any modern philosophy would take monarchy as a basis. One positive side is that under "unhu" children are never orphans since the roles of mother and father are by definition not vested in a single individual with respect to a single child, so no orphans.

Also moral relativism is kind of a bad idea.. Just because North Koreans think concentration camps are a good idea does not mean they are suddenly moral.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-31T05:30:34.585Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fair criticism, indeed the list has been inclusive on some of the more philosophical ideas. Obviously I hold that some scientific ideas could be mistaken. However "alternative" medicine cannot be established using the scientific method, how is that wrong to include as irrational? Out of a list of 1229 ideas that is probably one of the most definite nonsense ideas included.

Comment by alwaysunite on Ultimate List of Irrational Nonsense · 2016-03-30T21:28:25.664Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There are several conspiracy theories about the airport actually. Apparently there are storage bunkers below the main buildings used for "unsavory business". The MKULTRA-Jonestown conspiracy theory says that MKULTRA created the Jonestown cult if I remember correctly :)

Actually I am a bit surprised, the post got two downvotes already. I was under the impression that LW would appreciate it given it being a site about rationality and all.. I've been reading LW for quite some time but I hadn't actually posted before, did I do something horribly wrong or anything?

Comment by alwaysunite on Three Worlds Collide (0/8) · 2016-03-30T19:55:53.441Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed, all situations in which one is powerless share that I think. It makes it frightful, but does it make it wrong? I don't necessarily think it does. Assuming for the moment that those stipulations stand (for reasons not necessarily related to the story) is pain abolitionism really as bad as it seemingly is represented in the story?

Comment by alwaysunite on Three Worlds Collide (0/8) · 2016-03-27T22:48:41.220Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Actually I am nearly completely on the side of the Super Happies on this one. It is not as if the humans are moral with rape legalized. I'd support the Happies provided: 1. The utility function will not diverge from the goals of a) spreading truth, and eliminating delusion, b) spreading happiness, and eliminating suffering, c) growing, and not dying. With the negative statements taking precedence over the positive ones. 2. That accordingly the babies they will eat to accommodate the Baby Eaters are not only not sentient, but also incapable of suffering of any kind. I.e. have the moral status of a rock. 3. That a negative behaviour feedback is available for things like putting hands on stoves. A painless equivalent needs to be available to prevent anti-utility behaviour.

So, in short I kind of have to admit I dislike both endings.

Comment by alwaysunite on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-27T16:13:23.254Z · score: 34 (34 votes) · LW · GW

I too have take the survey.