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Comment by bill_mill on You Only Live Twice · 2008-12-12T23:36:30.000Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

If I thought that we were on track to a Future where no one cares about human life, and lives that could easily be saved are just thrown away - then I would try to change that. Not everything worth doing is easy.

Spare me the dramatics!

I continue to not understand the economics of reviving people in the future. Your argument here seems to be that reviving frozen heads, no matter the cost, is a moral obligation. That does not make sense to me.

Thought experiment: tomorrow, John Q. Scientist reveals that he can, for the cost of $1 million, revive any person who has been cryogenically frozen. Say 1000 people are frozen cryogenically in an acceptable state right now. Do we revive them? Why? What if they will only get (maybe) another year? 5 years? 10 years? Who pays for it? What if it's $100 million?

The only people I imagine willing to pay for the operation are loved ones. Very rich loved ones. And in a large portion of the scenarios I imagine, there's at least a few generations between yourself and the technology to defrost people. Who will pay when there's no remaining loved ones? Is it a moral responsibility to spend the money? Why?

Comment by bill_mill on Whither OB? · 2008-11-17T20:44:45.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

From my perspective, this blog is the "Robin and Eliezer show" with occasional guest hosts. Without Robin and Eliezer, I question whether it's worth trying to remake OB into some sort of Frankenstein. Maybe it should just grow a forum and allow posting to get light?

(That said, the reddit source code is now open, and there is no better commenting system on the web, IMHO. Customizing a reddit could be a worthwhile place to start with a software solution)

Comment by bill_mill on Mundane Magic · 2008-11-08T22:35:06.000Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

For Feynman on the eye, see 34:40 in this video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3164300309410618119

Comment by bill_mill on The Quantum Physics Sequence · 2008-06-11T13:34:41.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer - will these e-books be edited by a professional editor, a friend, or just yourself?

Gordon - Scott Aaronson gave a wonderful explanation of quantum computing at his blog.

Comment by bill_mill on A Failed Just-So Story · 2008-01-05T18:25:21.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

From the New York Times Magazine, March 2007:

Intriguing as the spandrel logic might be, there is another way to think about the evolution of religion: that religion evolved because it offered survival advantages to our distant ancestors. This is where the action is in the science of God debate, with a coterie of adaptationists arguing on behalf of the primary benefits, in terms of survival advantages, of religious belief...

The advantage might have worked at the group level too, with religious groups outlasting others because they were more cohesive, more likely to contain individuals willing to make sacrifices for the group and more adept at sharing resources and preparing for warfare...

When Wilson was a graduate student at Michigan State University in the 1970s, Darwinians were critical of group selection, the idea that human groups can function as single organisms the way beehives or anthills do. So he decided to become the man who rescued this discredited idea. “I thought, Wow, defending group selection — now, that would be big,” he recalled. It wasn’t until the 1990s, he said, that he realized that “religion offered an opportunity to show that group selection was right after all.”

Dawkins once called Wilson’s defense of group selection “sheer, wanton, head-in-bag perversity.” Atran, too, has been dismissive of this approach, calling it “mind blind” for essentially ignoring the role of the brain’s mental machinery.

And much more. source.

Comment by bill_mill on Misc Meta · 2007-12-11T02:23:18.000Z · score: 0 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I post your articles to reddit because I like to expose other people to your ideas; I've found them very enlightening. (Thanks)

Anyway, if you want me to stop posting them, or perhaps to stick to using your titles as opposed to ones that I think will sell on reddit, please let me know. I felt somewhat bad for the #1 spot with that headline, I didn't expect it to shoot up like that.

Comment by bill_mill on Rationality and the English Language · 2007-09-13T04:37:44.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I really liked the article; but if you're going to talk about Orwell and writers, and be so self-conscious about it, shouldn't it be "subected by whom"?