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Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T14:14:41.203Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And some people still believe that people choose to be homosexual.

If that were so, why would teenagers commit suicide instead of choosing to be heterosexual.

To me, a gay man is just less competition, and since lots of women are not interested in me anyway, what difference does it make if some of them are gay?

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T14:04:21.042Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"If a man heareth me and believeth not, I shall not judge him." or words to that effect.

I think it's somewhere around John 12, or is that Luke 12?, quoting Jesus.

Sorry, it's been a while since I last checked.

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T13:47:48.759Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also, "what we don't know that we don't know"

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T13:46:33.831Z · score: -9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

"controlled nuclear fission"? try telling that to the Japanese at the moment, as they struggle to prevent a meltdown!

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T13:42:47.665Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Some people practice "Radical Honesty" which seems much like that. Seems to me you'd need to start young, before you've got too many skeletons in the closet, before you've got too much to lose, and whilst you have time to recover. Probably also need an honesty-proof career.

As for sounding crazy, I'm already crazy and readily admit it.

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T13:32:58.692Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Who are you quoting?

I seem to recall having read/heard this before.

Mind you, it depends on the reliability of it working. If something has a (real) 90% chance of making the problem twice as bad, but just happens to fix it, then it's still stupid.

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T13:31:11.065Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think the potential usefulness is to shock some people out of their mental ataxia and into prioritizing their wishes in order to focus their will.

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T13:21:28.430Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It might be more accurate to substitute "rules" for "procedures".

Unfortunately in Medicine at least, there seems to be a substantial degree of sloppiness in applying the rules, particularly in the use of metastudies.

Comment by austhinker on The Bottom Line · 2011-03-14T08:05:22.617Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Define "effectiveness as a person" - in many cases the bias leading to the pre-written conclusion has some form of survival value (e.g. social survival). Due partly to childhood issues resulting in a period of complete? rejection of the value of emotions, I have an unusually high resistance to intellectual bias, yet on a number of measures of "effectiveness as a person" I do not seem to be measuring up well yet (on some others I seem to be doing okay).

Also, as I mentioned in my reply to the first comment, real world algorithms are often an amalgam of the two approaches, so it is not so much which algorithm as what weighting the approaches get. In most (if not all) people this weighting changes with the subject, not just with the person's general level of rationality/intellectual honesty.

As it is almost impossible to detect and neutralize all of one's biases and assumptions, and dangerous to attempt "counter-bias", arriving at a result known to be truly unbiased is rare. NOTE: Playing "Devil's Advocate" sensibly is not "counter-bias" and in a reasonable entity will help to reveal and neutralize bias.

Comment by austhinker on The Bottom Line · 2011-03-14T07:45:39.556Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"What would count as evidence about whether the author wrote the conclusion down first or at the end of his analysis?":

Past history of accuracy/trustworthiness;

Evidence of a lack of incentive for bias;

Spot check results for sampling bias.

The last may be unreliable if a) you're the author, or b) your spot check evidence source may be biased, e.g. by a generally accepted biased paradigm.

In the real world this is complicated by the fact that the bottom line may have only been "pencilled in", biased the argument, then been adjusted as a result of the argument - e.g.

"Pencilled in" bottom line is 65;

Unbiased bottom line would be 45;

Adjusted bottom line is 55; - neither correct, nor as incorrect as the original "pencilled in" value.

This "weak bias" algorithm can be recursive, leading eventually (sometimes over many years) to virtual elimination of the original bias, as often happens in scientific and philosophical discourse.

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T07:06:31.992Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just remember, 2011 will be 20 years ago in 2031! ;-)

Comment by austhinker on Rationality Quotes: March 2011 · 2011-03-14T07:02:32.787Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Right or Wrong (by who's definition) is more in how you base your decisions, not in whether you make the decisions.

If you can only save one person, and all other things being equal, is it wrong to save the more attractive person because they are more attractive. If so, should you NOT save the more attractive person, just in case their attractiveness may be biasing your decision?

What if $4000 is spent on equipment to save one premature infant per year, who will probably be permanently impaired anyway, when the same money could have saved two or more adults per year?

Comment by austhinker on What do fellow rationalists think about Mensa? · 2011-03-14T06:34:53.853Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

ciphergoth's friend's experience is not typical of my experiences in Australian Mensa, where anyone who attended a Mensa meeting was welcome and treated as an equal, although some members did mention that they had encountered some snobbishness at some overseas meetings.

In Australia when I was a member there were about 400 eligible non-members for every member, so most members recognized that a non-member might well have a higher IQ than many members. Also, a fair proportion recognized that whilst what is imperfectly measured by IQ tests is a useful trait and a differentiating factor, it is NOT the measure of a person's worth or even of their conversational potential.

Comment by austhinker on What do fellow rationalists think about Mensa? · 2011-03-14T06:29:19.465Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I know this thread is even older than when corndog found it, but I only just found it.

Re membership for CV purposes - I tend to agree with Asthana on this, although situations alter cases. If the prospective employer wants a quality that they may associate with relatively high IQ and you have no other evidence, then membership of or eligibility for Mensa may be useful. The trick is not to be seen to be boasting so much as giving evidence of having sufficient smarts for the job.

As for social membership, if you qualify and are a bit of a social misfit then membership can be really helpful. A combination of relatively high IQ and other socially isolating factors during childhood made it difficult for me to connect socially as an adult, and membership of Mensa helped, both by providing a social environment in which there was one less difference between myself and my peers, and by helping me put high IQ in perspective (there are some pretty dumb people in Mensa).

Not all Mensans are social misfits however. My experience (in Australian Mensa) was that it was a very heterogeneous group, with a high level of mostly rational non-conformity and open-mindedness.

Unfortunately, Australian Mensa had too low a population density to maintain a vibrant social environment at the time I was a member, and eventually was not worth my while due to financial reasons (yeah, I'm an underachiever).

I'd definitely recommend anyone who might be eligible to at least experience Mensa, and to bear in mind that the local chapter may not be representative. Try going along as a guest a few times, and if you don't fit in then probably a) Mensa is not for you, or b) the local chapter of Mensa is not for you. Of course, you may fit in and still decide that there are other groups where you fit in at least as well and would rather put your energies.

And yes, the bar is relatively low - because you only need to be in the top 2% in ANY recognized IQ test, probably as much as 5% of the population could qualify, although those who only just scraped in through this loophole would be likely to find membership less satisfying, and would be more likely to drop out - especially the ego trippers who could then claim that Mensa wasn't good enough for them.