Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes December 2013 · 2013-12-21T01:00:54.481Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good point; I hadn't really thought about it that way! I had interpreted it as reminding you to update your probability estimates based on observed evidence.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes December 2013 · 2013-12-19T02:45:05.431Z · score: 1 (17 votes) · LW · GW

If we work around this assumption of being cis as the default… like, for example, if we stop thinking about the fact that as an abstract, general question a random human being is much more likely to be cis than trans, and instead consider the question in terms of whether, given everything we observe in ourselves, and everything we feel, and how strong our feelings are about this question of gender, which (cis or trans) is more likely for us… if we consider “is it really all that likely that I’m just a cis person who has somehow managed to convince myself that I’m trans to the point that I’m having this kind of crisis?”… if we reframe it, then the question becomes something very different, and more manageable.

Natalie Reed taking a very Bayesian approach to gender identity

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-05T00:08:47.903Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · LW · GW

Another good one from the same source:

Truth can be sliced and analyzed in 100 different ways and it will always remain true.

Falsehood on the other hand can only be sliced a few different ways before it becomes increasingly obvious that it is false.

Comment by arborealhominid on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 27, chapter 98 · 2013-08-29T00:01:47.238Z · score: 28 (28 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if this will somehow play into Quirrell's plot to have both Ravenclaw and Slytherin win the house cup.

Comment by arborealhominid on Cult impressions of Less Wrong/Singularity Institute · 2013-07-28T00:40:52.224Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Moreright.net already exists, and it's a "Bayesian reactionary" blog- that is, a blog for far-rightists who are involved in the Less Wrong community. It's an interesting site, but it strikes me as decidedly unhelpful when it comes to looking uncultish.

Comment by arborealhominid on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-27T23:36:15.080Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't actually remember why I retracted it. I tried to un-retract it afterwards, but I don't think that's possible.

Comment by arborealhominid on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-26T01:36:26.554Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you put the cloak over someone who is dying, they would stay alive, at least until the Cloak is removed and death can find them again.

I'm surprised Harry didn't try this for Hermione, then. Maybe he wouldn't have expected it to work, but it's still an easy hypothesis to test.

It was amazing how many different ways there were to kill your best friend by being stupid.

Comment by arborealhominid on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-22T00:05:29.670Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You're right; it is.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes July 2013 · 2013-07-17T00:25:22.603Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The emphasis I used was in the original, but I agree that it would work better with the emphasis on "think."

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes July 2013 · 2013-07-16T21:22:11.777Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Whatever you think can't be done, somebody will come along and do it.

Thelonious Monk

Comment by arborealhominid on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-14T00:52:49.018Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

On the Wild Mass Guessing page on TVTropes, someone made the following prediction: "Hermione is the enemy Voldemort will use in his resurrection... which will result in female!Voldemort(e), after using his mother's bone in the ritual." (They also mentioned that he would use Bellatrix's flesh for said ritual.) When I first read this, it seemed rather silly. However, now I'm starting to wonder if it's an actual possibility. Hermione's body is missing, and although I think it's more likely that Harry took it to resurrect Hermione, there's definitely not enough evidence to rule out Quirrellmort having taken it. Also, note the following highly suspicious quote (rot13'd) from Eliezer's feminism rant: "W. X. Ebjyvat perngrq pregnva ebyrf naq nffvtarq gurz traqref. Gur fgbel bs UCZBE vf ohvyg nebhaq gur cnenyyry-havirefr irefvbaf bs gubfr ebyrf, naq gubfr ebyrf (jvgu bar rkprcgvba) ergnva juvpurire traqref gurl unq va pnaba." IIRC, this is the second time Eliezer's said something like this, although I can't remember where the first one was (probably a previous Author's Note).

Comment by arborealhominid on "Stupid" questions thread · 2013-07-14T00:09:07.678Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And there are, in fact, several people proposing this as a solution to other anthropogenic existential risks. Here's one example.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-06T15:31:47.436Z · score: 21 (27 votes) · LW · GW

The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable: one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone 'a gentleman' you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not 'a gentleman' you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then there came people who said- so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully- 'Ah, but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?' They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man 'a gentleman' in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is 'a gentleman' becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object; it only tells you about the speaker's attitude to that object. (A 'nice' meal only means a meal the speaker likes.) A gentleman, once it has been spiritualised and refined out of its old coarse, objective sense, means hardly more than a man whom the speaker likes. As a result, gentleman is now a useless word. We had lots of terms of approval already, so it was not needed for that use; on the other hand if anyone (say, in a historical work) wants to use it in its old sense, he cannot do so without explanations. It has been spoiled for that purpose.

  • C.S. Lewis (emphasis my own)
Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes May 2013 · 2013-05-07T01:46:04.198Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

"If someone tells you their results before the results are gathered, be suspicious."

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes May 2013 · 2013-05-05T15:52:40.839Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the fact-check! In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea for me to fact-check this before I posted it.

And yes, the other story is odd indeed. I actually hadn't read it before I posted the link.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes May 2013 · 2013-05-03T13:13:52.506Z · score: 15 (19 votes) · LW · GW

One of the biggest tasks, according to Gardner, was tracking information and beliefs back to their roots. This is always important, but especially in a field as rich in hearsay as herbal medicine. One little piece of information, or an unsubstantiated report, can grow and become magnified, quickly becoming an unquestioned truism. She used as an example the truism that the extracts of the herb Ginkgo Biloba might cause dangerous bleeding. Everyone says it can. The journalists say it. The doctors say it. The herbalists say it. Even I say it! It's nearly impossible to read a scientific paper on Ginkgo that doesn't mention this alleged danger. But why do we say it - where did the information come from? Turns out, there was one case report - of a single person - who couldn't clot efficiently after taking Ginkgo. Another 178 papers were published that mentioned this danger, citing only this one report. Those 178 papers were cited by over 4,100 other papers. So now we have almost 4-and-a-half thousand references in the scientific literature - not to mention the tens of thousands of references in the popular press - to the dangers of Ginkgo, all traceable back to a single person whose bleeding may or may not have been attributable to the herb.

-Adam Stark

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes March 2013 · 2013-03-14T00:24:17.001Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

There’s a funny irony in “tell your story” and “speak your truth”, in that those two things are fundamentally at odds with each other. Stories and narratives aren’t, and can’t be, the truth of our actual lived experiences. Real lives don’t follow the structures of narrative, they don’t move in linear tidy sequences of causes and actions and effects and consequences. Real lives are big jumbled messes that are almost impossible to make real sense of, and the act of imposing a narrative on them, sorting out our “life story”, is always an act of editing.

-Natalie Reed

Comment by arborealhominid on You can't signal to rubes · 2013-03-02T00:28:58.910Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

But can you signal to bleggs?

Comment by arborealhominid on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2013-03-01T02:59:18.740Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not totally clear on the distinction between representationalism and sense-datum theory. Do you think you could explain it in a bit more detail?

Comment by arborealhominid on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T03:25:27.229Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you! I voted on both.

Comment by arborealhominid on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-16T04:13:25.811Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm nonbinary (that is, I do not identify with either gender), and I feel that my social experience is somewhat in-between that of most men and that of most women. Would it be acceptable for me to vote on these questions, or would that distort the data?

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-16T02:47:29.850Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Extremely good point! I liked this quote because I thought it was a funny way to describe taking the outside view, but you're completely right that it advocates reversed stupidity (at least when taken completely literally).

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-16T00:03:35.389Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, "Would an idiot do that?" And if they would, then I do not do that thing.

-Dwight K. Schrute

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-08T04:08:19.258Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is the idea that language shapes thought and/or culture, and Whorfianism is any school of thought based on this hypothesis. I assume pop-Whorfianism is just Whorfian speculation by people who aren't qualified in the field (and who tend to assume that the language/culture relationship is far more deterministic than it actually is).

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-08T00:38:19.976Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Tobias adjusted his wings and appeared to tighten his talons on the branch. "Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. Look, Ax, it’s a whole new world. We’re having to make all this up as we go along. There aren’t any rules falling out of the sky telling us what and what not to do." "What exactly do you mean?" "Too hard to explain right now," Tobias said. "I just mean that we don’t really have any time-tested rules for dealing with these issues... So we have to see what works and what doesn’t. We can’t afford to get so locked into one idea that we defend it to the death, without really knowing if that idea works- in the real world."

  • Animorphs, book 52: The Sacrifice
Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-08T00:15:49.038Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Never in my life did I expect to find myself upvoting a comment quoting My Nationalist Pony.

Comment by arborealhominid on Ritual 2012: A Moment of Darkness · 2012-12-31T03:29:59.675Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with what you're saying, but just to complicate things a bit: what if humans have two terminal values that directly conflict? Would it be justifiable to modify one to satisfy the other, or would we just have to learn to live with the contradiction? (I honestly don't know what I think.)

Comment by arborealhominid on Ritual 2012: A Moment of Darkness · 2012-12-31T03:22:08.067Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I genuinely don't know how I feel about the "rational confession" idea. On the one hand, the idea of "confession of sins" squicks me out a bit, even though I enjoy other rituals; it reminds me too much of highly authoritarian/groupthink-y religions. On the other hand, having a place to discuss one's own biases and plan ways to avoid them sounds seriously useful, and would probably be a helpful tradition to have.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes December 2012 · 2012-12-18T00:59:48.158Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Very good point!

Comment by arborealhominid on Can the Chain Still Hold You? · 2012-12-15T14:31:39.536Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Technically accurate, but not general enough. A futanari, as I understand, is a person who has a penis, but otherwise has the physical characteristics typically designated "female" (breasts, wide hips, etc.). A no-op trans woman would fit this description, but so would someone who started out with the typical "female" phenotype but had their genitals modified and kept the rest of their body the same. (As far as I know, this hasn't happened in real life, but it's theoretically possible.) Also, though I'm not aware of any such condition, I suppose there could be an intersex condition that produces a "futanari" phenotype. (If anyone is aware of one, I'd be curious to hear about it.)

Comment by arborealhominid on Can the Chain Still Hold You? · 2012-12-15T04:05:47.173Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think the genderqueer BDSM pornographers usually call themselves "radical feminists"; they do call themselves both radicals and feminists, but they don't usually combine the terms. The term "radical feminist" seems to have been largely monopolized by the Andrea Dworkin/ Mary Daly/ Twisty Faster crowd.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes December 2012 · 2012-12-13T19:19:29.731Z · score: 5 (11 votes) · LW · GW

The exposure of truth sometimes results in tragedy. However, no matter how tragic the truth may be, it would be an even greater tragedy to avert one's eyes from it.

  • Edgeworth, from Phoenix Wright (which I haven't actually played)
Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes November 2012 · 2012-11-19T03:42:29.897Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Fair point. I can't really think of anything I've done that didn't make at least some sort of sense at the time, but I can think of at least one thing I've done where I seriously have to strain to see how it ever could have made sense to me (though I remember feeling like it did). Looking back on it, I feel like I was carrying the idiot ball.

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes November 2012 · 2012-11-19T01:57:30.586Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, we come to associate having to expend effort and do things with our work, and associate relaxing and not doing anything with leisure time. So, because many of us don't like our jobs, we tend to associate having to do things with being unhappy, while happiness, as far as we ever know it, means... not doing anything. We never act for ourselves, because we spend our whole days acting for other people, and we think that acting and working hard always leads to unhappiness; our idea of happiness is not having to act, being on permanent vacation.

And this is ultimately why so many of us are so unhappy: because happiness is not doing nothing, happiness is acting creatively, doing things, working hard on things you care about. Happiness is becoming an excellent long-distance runner, falling in love, cooking an original recipe for people you care about, building a bookshelf, writing a song. There is no happiness to be found in merely lying on a couch—happiness is something that we must pursue. We are not unhappy because we have to do things, we are unhappy because all the things we do are things we don't care about. And because our jobs exhaust us and mislead us about what we want, they are the source of much of our unhappiness.

CrimethInc (Not exactly a bastion of rationality, but they do have some good stuff now and again.)

Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes November 2012 · 2012-11-19T01:49:02.678Z · score: 19 (21 votes) · LW · GW

If I have a Grand Unified Theory Of Everything, it's this: I believe that people always do things that make sense to them. Hard as it is to believe with all the hurting out there, almost nobody hurts others just to be a jerk. So if you want to change human behavior on a grand scale, you can't tell people "stop being a jerk." You have to dissect and then recreate their models of the world until being a jerk doesn't make sense.

Cliff Pervocracy

Comment by arborealhominid on Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.] · 2012-11-17T18:49:21.204Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

De gustibus non est disputandum, I suppose. For what it's worth, I loved the writing style of his earlier posts (like this one), but find the writing style of his more current stuff (like this) kind of obnoxious.

Comment by arborealhominid on Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.] · 2012-11-17T15:48:58.660Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

See my previous comment re: mistaking a vocal minority for a group consensus.

Comment by arborealhominid on Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.] · 2012-11-17T01:05:38.170Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I guess I mistook a small but noticeable minority for some sort of community consensus. In retrospect, that was kind of silly of me.

Comment by arborealhominid on Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.] · 2012-11-17T01:01:37.139Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks; that explains it. Is there a way for me to move this to Open Thread? (I'm new to posting/commenting here, and I haven't fully figured out the site mechanics.)

Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.]

2012-11-16T18:37:56.618Z · score: 11 (29 votes)
Comment by arborealhominid on Rationality Quotes November 2012 · 2012-11-13T22:34:25.675Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Be more than good; be good for something

Henry David Thoreau

Comment by arborealhominid on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-05T01:10:54.835Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I had both of these questions as well. I've always been confused about the word "spiritual," as some people seem to use it to mean "having feelings of awe or reverence that are cognitively similar to those expressed in religious worship" while others use it to mean "actually believing in spirits." I consider myself spiritual by the first definition, but not the second. On the survey, I described myself as "atheist but spiritual," but now I'm not sure this was the most accurate description, since it falsely implies that I believe in the supernatural.

As far as redistribution of wealth goes, I don't know what you should mark. I chose "Libertarian" because I am rather distrustful of centralized government, and redistribution of wealth generally depends on some sort of centralization. But I know very little about what sort of consequences redistribution of wealth would actually have, so my views on the subject are quite tentative. (I recall hearing somewhere that the Scandinavian countries scored highest on a survey of self-reported happiness, which would suggest that redistribution of wealth at least doesn't prevent a society from being largely happy. If anyone can confirm or deny this, I would much appreciate it.)

Comment by arborealhominid on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-05T00:20:03.867Z · score: 27 (27 votes) · LW · GW

Lurker for the past couple years, posting for the first time. I took it, including a good chunk of the extra credit questions.