Posts

Objective Dog Ratings: The Shiba Inu 2020-09-18T00:12:11.328Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
"In the Dust of This Planet," by Eugene Thacker 2020-09-10T19:50:56.864Z · score: 3 (2 votes)
"How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read", by Pierre Bayard 2020-09-03T13:05:53.698Z · score: 10 (5 votes)
Objective Dog Ratings: The Irish Wolfhound 2020-08-29T04:01:08.810Z · score: 1 (4 votes)
Objective Dog Ratings: An Introduction & Explanation 2020-08-29T03:54:55.898Z · score: 19 (9 votes)
"On Bullshit" and "On Truth," by Harry Frankfurt 2020-08-28T00:44:49.126Z · score: 19 (5 votes)
"Technology and the Future of Persons", by Lynne Rudder Baker (2013) 2020-08-20T14:31:29.934Z · score: 5 (3 votes)
"The Conspiracy against the Human Race," by Thomas Ligotti 2020-08-13T23:01:42.944Z · score: 16 (9 votes)

Comments

Comment by callmesalticidae on Objective Dog Ratings: An Introduction & Explanation · 2020-09-09T16:14:59.586Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW
I hope you're going to be talking about whether the dog breeds are emotionally independent enough to enjoy being alive on balance.

Mostly, yes. I've written up a yet-to-be-posted-here entry on the Havanese, in which I note that they've got attachment issues, but this isn't a strong mark against the Havanese in the way that e.g. bulldog noses are, because if you work from home or something like that, then your Havanese will be quite happy.

For that reason, "Havanese shouldn't be had by people who spend a lot of time away from the house" doesn't seem like it should be a mark against them, any more than "Collies shouldn't be had by people who can't provide an intellectually stimulating environment" should be a mark against collies.

General anxiety, however, is definitely a bad mark, and the Havenese will only be getting a decent ranking because, on balance, it is one of the less anxious of the "separation-anxious" breeds. Other, more anxious breeds, will probably get only one star, or none, because it won't be very good to be those dogs.

Comment by callmesalticidae on Objective Dog Ratings: An Introduction & Explanation · 2020-09-02T22:09:16.140Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have! I'll end up disagreeing with it in these posts, because we're both looking for things that the other isn't (I don't care about appetite or cost, for example), but it was good to see that we could agree on bulldogs. :)

Comment by callmesalticidae on Objective Dog Ratings: An Introduction & Explanation · 2020-08-31T04:26:41.729Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Health is most important characteristic of all, because I care about whether it is good to be that dog.

Next is intelligence, mostly because I’m an ape who got where I am because my ancestors were clever enough to figure out nifty things like “fire-starting” and “germ theory.” This probably biases me a little, but I still can’t help but feel that a dog that is dumber than a wolf has lost something.

Loyalty and affection (or at least tolerance) for humans are important because dogs are wolves, but they’re domesticated wolves, and if a breed is mean and vicious and unfriendly then it’s failing super hard at “being domesticated.”

To be hardworking and to have dignity are mostly aesthetic concerns for me. To the extent that the former matters at all, it’s because I associate work ethic with purposiveness, and aimless breeds whose only task is to provide companionship have a tendency toward neuroticism and especially separation anxiety, in my experience.

Just as I’m judging dogs as domesticated wolves, I’m also judging them as domesticated wolves.

That said, don’t take any of this too seriously. It’d be good to keep the health stuff in mind before getting a dog, but my personal favs are greyhounds and I don’t think they’re going to get three stars, let alone the #1 Top Dog ribbon.

The real objective rating, of course, is “the best dog is whichever breed best suits your personal circumstances, and also isn’t an inbred freak like a pug.”

Comment by callmesalticidae on "On Bullshit" and "On Truth," by Harry Frankfurt · 2020-08-29T13:45:46.994Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Part of me says that you're being too optimistic, but that part of me thinks everything is too optimistic, and what you say does sound plausible. I can certainly imagine how people might work that way, and the world look exactly how it does.

Many people like abusing others in various ways, yet would probably be happier if they didn't, but they are stuck in a local optimum

This, in particular, is a valid point.

Comment by callmesalticidae on "Technology and the Future of Persons", by Lynne Rudder Baker (2013) · 2020-08-21T23:58:27.667Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think that Baker would reply that only the whole brain, or perhaps some specific part of the brain, is a whole agent in the ways she considers important. One of the most crucial characteristics of a person is that they have "a first-person perspective." Hammers do not have any kind of first-person perspective (i.e. there is no "what it is like to be a hammer"), so they are not persons.

I'm currently working on a précis for one of her books, but suffice it to say, I'm no more convinced by her arguments when she has a whole book in which to expound on them.

Comment by callmesalticidae on "The Conspiracy against the Human Race," by Thomas Ligotti · 2020-08-14T06:06:54.723Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, absolutely. Ligotti suffers from regular bouts of anhedonia, where his brain just can’t be bothered to experience pleasure, and his anhedonic states can last for years. It’s no mystery why Ligotti thinks everything is terrible, because he’s incapable of feeling happy for more than a couple months here and there...

I’m glad you liked this! Thank you for reading.

Comment by callmesalticidae on What are your thoughts on rational wiki · 2020-07-17T05:28:29.967Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

They aren't rationalists per se, and don't seem to overall have a high opinion of rats (though they're also willing to paint a better picture of e.g. Scott Alexander than e.g. r/SneerClub paints, so it's probably best to not confuse the two), and they're willing to get personal and ad their hominems.

However, while I'd give them less credence than Wikipedia (which has issues of its own, as we're all aware), that doesn't mean that I ignore it entirely. Maybe it's because I grew up in a cult, but RatWiki is really nice to visit every now and then, for much the same reason that I still visit r/exmormon every now and then. Also, it keeps a better list of cranks and scoundrels (and their cons and scandals) than Wikipedia, so I also use it every now and again as a(n initial) resource whenever my parents mention some person or thing which I'm pretty sure is bullshit just by the sound of it.

Comment by callmesalticidae on Why Are So Many Rationalists Polyamorous? · 2019-10-30T04:50:11.429Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Maybe? It doesn't square with my personal experience, at least. I went through the usual spiel with someone last night, without knowing whether that was going to be a deal breaker, and I very easily could have avoided that problem, because (1) I'm a good liar, or at least I was back when I let myself do it, and (2) this person and my SO live in totally different cities and run in completely different social circles, so an alternate version of me who's willing to cheat and lie would have no reason to think that keeping this particular secret would be hard to do.

On the other hand, my father lied a lot and much of who I am today is basically An Attempt At Being Not-Him, so I might have a Weird Reluctance To Lie for reasons other than "am a nerd."

Comment by callmesalticidae on If you had to pick one thing you've read that changed the course of your life, what would it be? · 2019-09-17T04:49:16.513Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Blindsight, by Peter Watts, helped a lot with my depression (though I am very much an outlier here, and nobody should expect the same result) and was sort of my "rabbithole" moment for thinking about brains and consciousness and "What makes me, 'me'?" and so on, which continues to pay dividends insofar as a hugely useful tactic for dealing with depression is realizing that "you" are, at best, just one brain-part of a whole system of brain-parts, some of which are malfunctioning, and that e.g. you shouldn't necessarily trust the brain-part which is saying "You are awful and need to die."

(It also helped my depression because there's just a certain element of "horrifying beauty" in Blindsight, but again I don't expect other people to agree.)

Comment by callmesalticidae on How has rationalism helped you? · 2019-09-09T23:09:51.801Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sure thing.

Re #2 I have bipolar, and it would be very easy to just give up on a lot of pursuits or decide that I wasn't getting anywhere with them. In particular, I often feel bad about my writing, but the records that I keep (inspired in large part by rationalism, but also partly by my time as a cult recruiter, where there was a focus on tracking various "key indicators") are able to demonstrate to me that I'm doing better than I usually think.

The emphasis on taking "The Outside View" is also immensely helpful. Ten years ago, I wanted to publish novels, and I still haven't finished a novel, let alone published one, but I've done a lot of other stuff that wasn't in the original game plan (e.g. maintained a good GPA throughout grad school, run several successful Kickstarters, published a line of nonfiction resource booklets) and, if I were talking to someone with those accomplishments then I'd say they had done well, so I have to say the same of myself.

Re #3, I'm a socialist, and without rationalism it'd be very easy for me to slip into black-and-white "my side is always right and the other guys never have anything worth paying attention to." Instead, I'm more critical of everyone (even if I'm probably not quite as critical of My Guys as I think I am, because that's how humans work) and I'm more willing to change my views (I have, for example, shifted significantly away from anarchism). Likewise,

  • I was much less surprised by the fallout of "Russiagate" (or whatever we're calling the stuff with Trump and Russia and Mueller) than many other people on the Left.
  • I very quickly stopped listening to [some Russiagate conspiracy theorists whose names I can't remember because it's been so long] because I noticed how they would keep making predictions but only refer back to the predictions that panned out. I'd originally started listening because I kept hearing about all the stuff they got right, and without rationalism I might have continued to listen to them and just forget about their failed predictions.
  • I spend very little time on Culture War / "flashy" political stuff, because the rationalist mindset helped me realize how much I was being sucked into that stuff vs. getting anything concrete out of it. That idea isn't exactly unique to rationalism, but without rationalism I don't know if I would have recognized the problem in myself, you know?

Also, another one, because I was in a rush last time: Rationalism helped me figure out how to bring my migraines down from "incredibly debilitating for an entire day, and sometimes two days" to "mildly debilitating for part of one day and sometimes just mildly annoying", because it gave me a more "If I have a problem, let's experiment with possible solutions and be very careful about keeping track of the result of each possible solution" mindset. Not only have I found some great ways to deal with my migraines (and I know that they're responsible, because every now and then I fail to do things properly and then my migraine is around as bad as it was before I started doing whatever it is I failed to do) but I was able to stop doing some things which folks felt worked for them but, as it turned out, were useless for me.

Comment by callmesalticidae on How has rationalism helped you? · 2019-08-27T03:36:32.318Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Rationalism has...

1. Helped me to get out of a cult.

2. Given me the mindset that any negative aspect of my life is (probably) fixable if I can just find the right angle to approach it from.

3. Kept me from falling into all kinds of political weirdness, and reminded me that My Guys shouldn't exist as such--I might have certain political positions which are shared by certain other people, but if I start thinking in terms of teams then I'm going to fall down a very bad hole.

Comment by callmesalticidae on Rationality Quotes 9 · 2018-09-23T00:03:26.317Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In support of your argument: I only looked up "Ally McBeal" a few minutes ago, and promptly discovered that I not only lacked all but the most cursory information on Ally McBeal but that what information I did have was almost entirely wrong. The name of the program was not "The Ally McBeal Show," it was not a talk show or comedy sketch show or anything similar, and Ally McBeal is a wholly fictional character, rather than the name of a living person and that person's fictionalized persona à la Ray Romano of Everybody Loves Raymond.

I think it would be fair to say that I previously had "no idea who Ally McBeal was." Despite knowing that the name pointed to something, I was incorrect in just about every respect except for which pronouns to use and it had something to do with a television show.