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Comment by confringus on Teachable Rationality Skills · 2011-06-01T05:40:30.129Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's the basic vein I was referring to; that kind of quick calculation can be applied to debate, conversation and other interpersonal contact in much the same way as it is when observing a coin.

Comment by confringus on Teachable Rationality Skills · 2011-05-29T23:27:27.716Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Skill: The accurate and timely assessment of basic probability ie: determining a person's likely response in any given conversation, determining odds of common occurrences, etc. The benefit to communication and the time-saving possibilities of such a skill are such that I feel any aspiring rationalist should pay specific attention to the development of basic probabilistic abilities.

Comment by confringus on Guilt: Another Gift Nobody Wants · 2011-04-08T23:11:51.508Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The one thing that caught my eye in your scenario is the stipulation that, in the case of your actual brother, there are no other people present. Is this because you would be made somehow to feel guilt if there were witnesses or because the presence of others who also failed to save your brother somehow mitigates the guilt? It is an interesting situation given the dynamic between your brother and yourself but the witness factor is what intrigues me.

Comment by confringus on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-07T02:55:11.769Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a law that states that all simple problems have complex, hard to understand answers? Moravec's paradox sort of covers it but it seems that principle should have its own label.

Comment by confringus on First Waco, Texas LW Meetup, 4/09, 1PM · 2011-04-06T23:28:52.857Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think I'll be making the trek out to those parts of the world anytime soon but College Station may be do-able. It is good to know that the UU has survived in Waco, I generally make it a point to stop by there whenever I'm in town (if only to annoy my extremely southern Baptist family). But anyway, keep fighting the good fight and keep Texan rationalism alive (or at least not picked over by the vultures and other scavengers).

Comment by confringus on First Waco, Texas LW Meetup, 4/09, 1PM · 2011-04-06T22:06:10.962Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As a citizen of Houston, I am positively terrified of Waco, although your presence there seems to indicate that there may be some sort of underground vein of rationalism in the area...

Comment by confringus on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-05T03:24:56.732Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I imagine it is from one of his books but I came across it in the introduction to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Oddly enough the Hitchhiker series is absolutely full of satirical quotes which can be applied to rationality.

Comment by confringus on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-04T20:39:08.061Z · score: 11 (17 votes) · LW · GW

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Douglas Adams

This quote defines my approach to science and philosophy; a phenomenon can be wondrous on its own merit, it need not be magical or extraordinary to have value.

Comment by confringus on Guilt: Another Gift Nobody Wants · 2011-04-02T22:26:29.053Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So for you guilt is less of a signal in and of itself but the origin of your modified-behavior signal? Several others have raised the point of guilt as an evolutionary facilitator and it makes sense to me that individuals who self-corrected due to a guilt response would be the most socially accepted and thus most likely to procreate. The shoulder-angel doesn't need to be there if the behavior remains the same as if it had been.

Comment by confringus on Generalizing From One Example · 2011-04-01T23:45:28.887Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have to admit, I was skeptical about the existence of those without visual imagination, but after reading your post it seems that that skepticism was derived from a lack of understanding. I couldn't comprehend the vehicle by which thoughts would be transmitted without a visual component, but your description has gone a long way towards clearing that up. Thank you for your excellent contribution.

Comment by confringus on Generalizing From One Example · 2011-04-01T23:37:20.184Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

As a teenager dealing with the already weighty bias against arguments originating in youth, the typical mind fallacy has proved a constant and grating annoyance. Nothing in my (admittedly short) life is quite as frustrating as trying to explain a concept to someone who doesn't understand how it is that I understand the concept in the first place. In future I intend to refer my friends and instructors to this and other articles with the hope of clarification, so for that I thank you.