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"Mind reading" - how is this done? 2013-08-15T15:31:45.682Z · score: 2 (13 votes)

Comments

Comment by cwg on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-25T02:00:55.307Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

it would probably destroy our family

That's about your family's attitudes, rather than about anything intrinsic to the act.

I would be surprised and possibly grossed out if this happened in my own family, but that would be the moral equivalent of a vistigial limb,* something to get past.

*I was going to say appendix, but the appendix does actually have a function).

Comment by cwg on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-25T01:48:31.456Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I tried it, but at the time I found it very hard to focus. it's a lot like working at home – you need to be very good at creating your own routines and structure, and managing your own projects.

If that's not you, develops those skills first. Getting work where you train those skills is a good approach.

Comment by cwg on Undiscriminating Skepticism · 2015-06-05T23:14:50.673Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I doubt straight men innately dislike kissing or showing affection toward men.

I went to a kissing workshop. (Things escalated slowly and nothing was mandatory.) I was turned off more quickly than I expected by kisses with guys - just by a very short closed-mouth kiss.

(I like hugs though.)

I'm certain I'd also benefit from the bisexual pill, and my aversion to the idea is irrational.

"I hate spinach, which is a good thing because if I liked it I'd eat it all the time, and I hate the stuff." - half remembered second-hand quote, apparently from the 19th C(?)

Comment by cwg on Undiscriminating Skepticism · 2015-06-05T23:05:59.569Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It only increases your chances by the percentage of people of your gender who are open to same-sex encounters.

But the other people of your gender are also restricted to this smaller pool in their search for a pairing, giving you a better chance of being accepted/selected by a particular individual that you're attracted to (assuming you spend significant time around people in this pool). So this factor may not have a big effect.

Comment by cwg on Meetup : Australian Less Wrong Mega Meetup #2 · 2015-04-21T09:47:39.606Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/739163932864385/

Comment by cwg on Australia wide - LessWrong meetup camp weekend of awesome! · 2015-04-21T09:44:15.435Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The 2014 camp was interesting, fun, great for meeting new people, and a good time was had by many (hopefully all).

Comment by cwg on Schools Proliferating Without Evidence · 2015-04-18T07:03:29.227Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And there's also no discernible difference between seeing a psychotherapist and spending the same amount of time talking to a randomly selected college professor from another field. It's just talking to anyone that helps you get better, apparently.

Unless this has been tested for random people other than just college professors, there's a stronger case for saying that talking to a person of a certain intelligence and education level helps you get better. And I suspect that it doesn't generalise to "talking to anyone that helps you get better" but I haven't looked into it.

(I'm sure there are other factors, but I'm just going by what was said about college professors.)

Comment by cwg on Epistemic Viciousness · 2015-04-18T06:33:38.512Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That now redirects to a porn site.

Comment by cwg on 10-Step Anti-Procrastination Checklist · 2015-02-23T03:46:45.230Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Choose music that you're very familiar with it and put it on a loop. New music is much more likely to distract you. (Tip from Matt Mullenweg, interviewed by Tim Ferriss.) That might be more significant than the type of music, although we'd expect instrumental music to be less distracting. I know a health professional (who has ADHD, and works with people who have ADHD) who finds that AC/DC is best for helping to concentrate. I'm not an AC/DC fan, but I'll try some fast heavy music one day when I need an extra concentration boost, and see if it works.

Comment by cwg on Adaptation-Executers, not Fitness-Maximizers · 2015-02-23T03:28:45.044Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So it's better to view our taste buds as an adaptation fitted to ancestral conditions that included near-starvation and apples and roast rabbit,

And those apples were crab apples. I doubt that many of our distant ancestors would have experienced anything like our bred-for-sweetness fruit varieties on a regular basis. Those new fruit varieties are probably still very healthy – I'm just further highlighting the enormous gulf between what our ancestors ate and the concentrated sugar-fat-salt concoctions that we eat.

Comment by cwg on Low Hanging fruit for buying a better life · 2015-01-07T08:41:24.455Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

An ergonomic mouse is good too. Looking up vertical mouse on eBay shows the kind of thing I mean. Reduces twisting by the forearm. That was a good investment for me, but then I suffer from RSI.

Comment by cwg on The Power of Agency · 2014-12-29T05:24:29.701Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

He's a very effective snake oil salesman.

Comment by cwg on Meetup : Future Meetup for Indonesian LWers · 2014-12-21T23:39:14.734Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Cool - I'll tell some of my Indonesian friends. I might need to visit Indo in 2015, so I'll look you up then.

Comment by cwg on Things you are supposed to like · 2014-12-08T01:20:53.442Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

People's judgements on music often amount to "The pattern in which your brain releases dopamine in response to music is inferior to mine."

I can definitely imagine coming to love Beethoven's Fugue (which I played in the background while reading this post & comments) because - it's not fundamentally different to other pieces I've come to love. But I seem to be a neophile in many ways, and I've been exposed to certain types of music, so I count tastes as personal and I find the Youtube comments you quote to be ridiculous.

Re repeated exposure: The pieces on an album that start out as my favourites tend to lose much of their appeal before very long, and I might even skip those tracks; pieces that didn't grab me at first become my favourites and keep their appeal for much longer. (I can only think of one strong exception: As a teenager: I loved Rachmaninov's 2nd concerto from the first time I heard it, liked it more as I listened to it more, and continued to love it for years. I still play it in my head to get rid of an earworm.)

Comment by cwg on Meetup : December Rationality Dojo - Online Communication: Conveying Ideas Effectively · 2014-12-07T20:45:41.892Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Link for form has no comma on the end https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MCHH4MpbW0SI_2JyMSDlKnnGP4A0qxojQEZoMZIdopk/viewform

Comment by cwg on Links passing through api.viglink.com? · 2014-12-06T12:09:36.128Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Another option: Saving to "Pocket" (getpocket.com) and reading there works on Android, and presumably on other platforms.

Comment by cwg on Reasoning isn't about logic (it's about arguing) · 2014-12-02T05:33:26.087Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

4.7 years later... Did you ever read them?

Comment by cwg on Intelligence Amplification Open Thread · 2014-10-31T02:18:08.999Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The wiki is down. Was the content saved?

Comment by cwg on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-10-02T13:06:39.858Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Post 1 (http://habitua.net/how-to-use-rewards-to-defeat-procrastination/) : What's the goal of this post? I don't think it's wrong but I can't see the intention behind it.

The intention was to give some direction as to the kinds of plans that can be effective in overcoming procrastination. I can see that more detailed suggestions would be helpful, and I'll look at that in future posts. I'm deliberately keeping posts short, so I actually get them done and posted.

The post about advertising also seems to lack a clear goal.

I thought that was an interesting insight into communication and the nature of advertising, but you're right - the goal was not so clear.

Comment by cwg on Open thread, Sept. 29 - Oct.5, 2014 · 2014-09-30T13:03:35.504Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm looking for feedback on my blog drafts & posts - I'm not writing for specifically rationalist audience, but I'd appreciate intelligent feedback on accuracy, additional ideas to possibly include, as well as feedback on how I communicate.

Where is a good place to get such feedback? LessWrong has a lot of the right sort of people, but posting lots of draft posts to the open thread may not be popular.

My blog is Habitua - it's on self-improvement, attempting to be evidence-based as much as practicable.

Comment by cwg on Open thread, September 8-14, 2014 · 2014-09-12T05:06:48.990Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Trans-human thought experiment:

  • Scenario 1: A human brain is converted to a virtual brain through a destructive process (as described in many science-fiction stories). In what sense is this virtual intelligence the same "person" as the original, organic person?
  • Scenario 2: A human brain is converted to a virtual brain through a non-destructive process. The original, organic person lives on as before. In what sense is this virtual intelligence the same "person" as the original, organic person – is this the same as the answer in scenario 1?

Why this seems to matter: If a virtual version of me is not really me in the sense of being a continuation of my experience, then what does it matter to me if that virtual brain exists, as opposed to some other virtual brain? Is there actually any advantage to working out how to convert people en masse to virtual intelligences?

(I am aware that the questions of identity and "being a continuation of my experience" are vague but I anticipate that replies here will help me get clearer. )

Comment by cwg on Open thread, September 8-14, 2014 · 2014-09-12T04:36:17.932Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Given the limitations (that you describe in other replies) I think you've got a good list.

Regarding podcasts, this could be a great time to experiment with new ones & decide which you want to listen to longer term.

Perhaps there are some short activities of value to you, such as Anki (assuming you have a smartphone), mentally reviewing your memory palace, or mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness exercises on public transport may seem a little odd, but the distractions may make it more effective as exercise - just be patient with yourself.

Comment by cwg on What are you working on? January 2014 · 2014-08-13T07:19:43.545Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

TIL: NLP can mean Natural Language Processing, as well as Neuro Linguistic Programming. I was confused for a while there.

Comment by cwg on What are you working on? January 2014 · 2014-08-13T07:14:54.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How is your stenographic typing progressing? What has the return on effort been for you, so far?

Comment by cwg on [LINK] Neuroeconomics course on coursera started just this week · 2014-08-05T11:01:44.179Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've done the first 6 weeks now, and finding it very easy - but I'm definitely learning something each week.

If you already know about the roles of different parts of the brain (e.g. orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, DLPFC) and their interactions, then it might not be word your time. For me it's worth the time. Playing the videos at high speed helps.

Comment by cwg on Less Wrong Study Hall - Year 1 Retrospective · 2014-07-11T14:08:16.605Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I love it... but I need to make sure I get up & move during the breaks rather than sitting and chatting.

I just used it for the first time. Very valuable, but the Android Tinychat app seems unreliable.

Comment by cwg on Motivators: Altruistic Actions for Non-Altruistic Reasons · 2014-06-24T01:14:53.055Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have upvoted your post in the hope that it will contribute to your positive feelings about having written it, so that you will continue to write intelligent and thoughtful posts in future.

Comment by cwg on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2014-03-05T08:27:07.874Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A "council that doles out things people deserve" sounds like Parecon: Life After Capitalism by Michael Albert.

(Personally, it fills me with horror, but there are people who think it's a good idea.)

Comment by cwg on Reasons for someone to "ignore" you · 2012-10-11T04:44:28.562Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Me too. I get frustrated by forums where old threads are routinely closed, or where participants are rebuked for bumping an old thread.

Comment by cwg on Anti-Akrasia Tactics Discussion · 2012-09-19T14:25:54.290Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, how hard it is depends whether you're in, say, Indonesia or Finland!

Do you find a particular benefit from the cold shower?

Comment by cwg on Willpower Hax #487: Execute by Default · 2012-09-16T13:40:09.018Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I read this, and some time later I started trying it.

I misremembered, so I've been counting from 1 to 10. Interesting thing is that I generally start getting up as I say the "1", or before. It seems that by the time I've decided to employ the technique, I'm actually ready to get up - I just need something to focus my mind and get out of the "monkey mind" thing that Buddhism talks about. The little bit of focus I get from deciding to count is enough to switch my brain into action.

Next: to try it for starting a work task I'm avoiding. I'll combine it with monoidealism (stopping everything else, and thinking about the task, but not doing it) then at some point deciding to do the countdown. Or the count up.

Comment by cwg on Preventing discussion from being watered down by an "endless September" user influx. · 2012-09-02T11:21:35.093Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In particular, I don't think you can make a share-alike requirement on a public domain item.

That's correct.

"Public domain" is sometimes used in a much vaguer sense to mean the information is out there and being used and shared, but this vaguer sense is best avoided.

I suggest to Epiphany to either:

  • Strike out "public domain" and replace it the idea of being "open licensed", or
  • As Alicorn suggests, declare it public domain. Creative Commons has tools for this (the advantage being that you give a lot more clarity - so I know that you mean the same thing as I understand by public domain). See the nice summary and: Apply CC0 to your own work.

Hope that's helpful.

Comment by cwg on Preventing discussion from being watered down by an "endless September" user influx. · 2012-09-02T11:11:40.680Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Poorly informed ranters wanting to debate does sound annoying, I didn't realize there was a problem with that. It seems to me the best way to deter them would be to paste a link that's directly related to their points and ignore them. Do that enough times and they'll probably wake up and realize they've got a problem with not knowing what they're talking about.

I haven't come across this either. Doesn't the downvoting minimize this problem?

That said, I like civility to be one of the core principles of any discussion group - but without every feeling we have to agree with what someone else is saying.

Comment by cwg on What Is Signaling, Really? · 2012-09-01T16:30:24.033Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

4 year summer camp

You're clearly not talking about a degree such as engineering - unless you're talking about a summer camp run by sadists.

Comment by cwg on Open Thread, June 1-15, 2012 · 2012-06-04T07:08:02.974Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I was annoyed after first hearing the Monty Hall problem. It wasn't clear that the host must always open the door, which fundamentally changes the problem. Glad to see that it's a recognized problem.

"The problem is not well-formed," Mr. Gardner said, "unless it makes clear that the host must always open an empty door and offer the switch. Otherwise, if the host is malevolent, he may open another door only when it's to his advantage to let the player switch, and the probability of being right by switching could be as low as zero." Mr. Gardner said the ambiguity could be eliminated if the host promised ahead of time to open another door and then offer a switch. - http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/21/us/behind-monty-hall-s-doors-puzzle-debate-and-answer.html?pagewanted=5&src=pm

More discussion on the previous page of that article: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/21/us/behind-monty-hall-s-doors-puzzle-debate-and-answer.html?pagewanted=4&src=pm

Comment by cwg on Raising safety-consciousness among AGI researchers · 2012-06-04T05:58:20.810Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Just looking at Wikipedia, and artificial general intelligence redirects to Strong AI).

I'm concerned that there's no mention of dangers, risks, or caution in the Wikipedia article.* Is there any "notable" information on the topic that could be added to the article? E.g. discussion of the subject in a publication of some kind (book or magazine/newspaper - not a self-published book).

*haven't read the whole thing - just did a search.

Comment by cwg on Raising safety-consciousness among AGI researchers · 2012-06-04T05:50:16.248Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know how many LessWrongers knew what AGI meant. (Apparently it's artificial general intelligence, aka Strong AI).

Comment by cwg on Raising safety-consciousness among AGI researchers · 2012-06-04T05:38:54.485Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Would negative public opinion do much more than (a) force such research underground, or (b) lead to researchers being more circumspect?

(Not a rhetorical question - just unsure whether focusing on public opinion is a useful approach.)

Comment by cwg on How can I argue without people online and not come out feeling bad? · 2012-06-02T14:59:06.006Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What decision did those that were already aware of it make, in order to optimise this activity?

Acknowledge the other person - their intent, the effort they've made, and/or the things they've got right. Be sincere rather than superior. E.g. to an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, I might say "I understand why you're suspicious of big pharma, and I know that you're concerned for the health of children. However, I believe vaccines do far more good than harm, and here's why..."

This helps take heat out of the exchange, by making it clear (on an emotional as well as intellectual level) that you aren't attacking them. If they don't feel themselves and their status under attack, and you demonstrate an interest in understanding them, people can feel more secure and be more open to understanding what you're saying.

It's not infallible of course, and it's not enough on its own. Follow some of the other good suggestions on this page, as well.

E.g. if you're making an effort and the other person is still on the attack, disengaging is wise. My preference is to briefly say why I'm disengaging, wish the other person well, quit, and stop following the thread (unsubscribe, unfollow depending on the platform)..

Comment by cwg on Open Thread, May 16-31, 2012 · 2012-05-30T04:46:32.369Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How old are you?

I'm 41. I'm curious what the age distribution is in the LW community, having been to one RL meetup and finding I was the oldest one there. (I suspect I was about 1.8 times the median age.)

I love what the LW community stands for, and age isn't a big deal... youthful passion is great (trying to hold onto mine!) and I suspect there isn't a particularly strong correlation between age and rationality, but life experience can be valuable in these discussions. In particular, having done more dumb things and believed more irrational things, and gotten over them.

Comment by cwg on Memory, Spaced Repetition and Life · 2012-05-29T06:18:24.511Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

http://www.superbrain.me looks useful. How does it differ from Anki - just that it's web-based rather than needing to be installed? (I'm wondering how well it will work for those of us on slow connections.

I see from doing a site-search with Google that you can export to CSV - nice. I assume it's possible to import the same way? And it looks like we can import from Anki - very nice.

Comment by cwg on Memory, Spaced Repetition and Life · 2012-05-29T05:57:55.573Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the mention of Anki. I want to learn Spanish, partly to keep my brain healthy, and partly because the experience of communicating in another language and culture is very satisfying for me. (I already speak Indonesian fluently.)

Downloading AnkiDroid now - I'll try putting all my new vocab straight into the app.

I love the idea of using something like this for NVC, too - I find NVC very useful, but I always struggle to remember the finer details. Will download those decks. Thank you!

Comment by cwg on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-05-29T05:49:45.480Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Carl Sagan described himself as agnostic, and it's a rational position to hold. As Sagan said:

"An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that no such God exists. To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little confidence indeed".

However, I personally attach zero likelihood to anything like the Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Hindu god or gods existing. Technically I might be an agnostic, but I think "atheist" represents my outlook and belief system better. Then again, "a-theism" is defined in terms of what it doesn't believe. I prefer to minimize talking about atheism, and talk about what I do believe in - science, rationality and a naturalistic worldview.

Comment by cwg on Book Summary: Willpower by Baumeister, Tierney · 2012-05-26T23:45:12.392Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Good food for thought. I'd like to hypothesize that willpower is not limited in a fixed sense, but also not unlimited. (This might be obvious, but worth thinking through.)

Willpower seems to be increased by practice. People who are disciplined seem to have more willpower to apply to a given problem.

Hmm... alternative hypothesis: is it that they have more willpower, or does their discipline - their daily habits of work and self-improvement - mean that they're wasting much less energy on deciding whether to do something, many times each day? It's probably much more energy-efficient to just do something than to keep procrastinating - i.e. to decide to put it off another 5 min, hour or day, again and again.

[I just noticed I'm conflating energy and willpower... and that I don't have a clear definition of willpower.]

Re John Maxwell IV's point, earlier in this discussion, that willpower being seen unlimited could be a useful reinforcer - I can see that it would be a useful thought to psyche myself up, but I'd bet that it's a false belief. An optimally useful belief might be to have an accurate estimate of my own willpower, and to work on the basis that it might be at the high end of the estimated range - so I push myself, but also recognize my need for recovery, and don't exhaust myself.

Why don't I think willpower is unlimited? I heard of a study* where people who have have been making decisions are less able to resist unhealthy snacks. This fits with my experience and that of others I've talked with. (To try and be thorough, an alternative hypothesis of the study could be that making decisions increases the body's desire or need for glucose - a related but not identical claim. I know which hypothesis makes more sense in my own experience, but I'd like to know if there's more solid evidence.)

Please point out errors & help reduce the fuzziness of this argument.

  • "I heard of a study" should trigger your weasel words detector. Take this claim with a grain of salt since I'm being too lazy and/or time-efficient to go and find information about the study or studies.

** I just noticed the formatting here - writing John Maxwell IV with the underscores instead of spaces turns out as John_Maxwell_IV

Comment by cwg on Melbourne Meetup May 6th, 6pm · 2012-05-25T10:18:34.073Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Any more Melbourne meetups happening?

Comment by cwg on What useful skills can be learned in three months? · 2012-05-25T10:14:43.846Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Re exercise: Good point, but I'd emphasize making a strong habit over doing it a lot. Spending a lot of time is easier during summer, but harder to carry over. Sure, do that, but also make sure you have a 15 minute routine, say, that you do every morning. Even a five minute routine isn't to be sneezed at, if you're doing bodyweight exercises like pushups.

Doing a stretch and 5 minutes of exercise during study breaks is worth a try. Could help avoid some of the physical problems with long hours of computer use. (Press down with your whole hand during pushups - strong fingers, hands and arms will help avoid RSI.)

Comment by cwg on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-05-25T10:08:50.383Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A trader once said to me that price cycles aren't consistent, but volatility cycles are. Bollinger Bands can be good signals of sudden volatility... but as for what to do with that to reliably make a profit, I don't know.

Comment by cwg on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-05-25T10:06:26.723Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Welcome.

Getting beaten up as a child sucks. Hope your life is a whole lot better now.

A somewhat related personal story: I was a Christian. I was plagued by doubts, and decided that I wanted to know what the truth was, even if it was something I didn't want to believe. I knew that I wanted Christianity to be true, but I didn't want to just believe for the sake of it.

So I started doing more serious reading. Not rationalist writings, but a thoughtful theologian and historian, NT Wright, who I've also seen appear on documentaries about New Testament history. I read the first two in what he was planning as an epic 5 part series: "The New Testament and the People of God" and "Jesus and the Victory of God".

I loved the way he explained history, and how to think about history (i.e. historiography). Also language, and ideas about the universe. He wrote very well, and warmly - you got the sense that this was a real human being, but he lacked the hubris that I'd often found in religious writers, and he seemed more interested in seeking truth than in claiming that he had it. He was the most rationalist of Christian writers that I came across.

In the end, the essence of his argument seemed to be that there is a way of understanding the Bible that could tell us something about God - if we believe in a personal god who is involved in the universe... and that if we believe in that kind of god, described in the Old Testament, then the idea of taking human form, and becoming the embodiment of everything that Israel was meant to be, does make sense. (He went into much, much more depth here about , and I can't do him justice at all, 15 years after I read it.) He didn't push the reader to believe - he just stated that it was something that made sense to him, and he did believe it.

He painted a picture and told a story which I found very appealing, to be honest. But in the end it didn't fit with how I understood the universe, based on the more solid ground of science.

I finally accepted that - my increasingly shaky belief was destroyed. It was hard, and I was upset - I'd been finding life hard, personally, and my beliefs were the framework that I'd used to attempt to make sense of things, such as an unhappy childhood and the death of both parents as a young adult. But I also felt freed, and after a couple of weeks, it didn't seem so bad. Years later, I'm much happier, and couldn't imagine myself as a Christian.

That's where I see the value personally in destroying false beliefs - I was freed to live without the restrictions imposed by a false belief system. The restrictions, in many cases, didn't have any sound basis outside the belief system, and I was better without them. There were positive aspects of Christianity, but I didn't need the beliefs to hold onto what I'd learnt about being compassionate and understanding, or about the value of community.

I felt that NT Wright told an honest, complex and interesting story, but in terms the reality (or non-reality) of a god, he made an intuitive judgement which I don't see as sound (and which was different from my own intuition). But he helped me think things through at a time when I wasn't getting satisfactory answers from other Christians, and I really enjoyed his writing. I might even go back and read him some day.

That's wide of the topic, I know, but it's kind of relevant, and a welcome thread seems like a good place to go on tangents :-).

Comment by cwg on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-05-25T09:23:20.383Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Greetings! I joined under my usual username a little while ago, that I use everywhere on the web. Then I realized - this is very public, and I'd rather not worry about potential clients or employers drawing conclusions from what I write about my akrasia, poor planning, depression or anything like that. So here's the version of me that's slightly less connected to my real life identity.

Very briefly:

  • I feel pretty much at home here.
  • Rationality is awesome.
  • HP:MOR is not only awesome, it's also my favorite Harry Potter book by a long way.
  • Rationality has not always helped me in having happy relationships. But sometimes it has.
  • I'm a former Christian, and though it had many benefits, the useful part of what I learned in 9 years could be compressed into a part-time course of a few months, without the superstitious stuff.
  • I struggle with planning and focus - I often have no sense of time.
  • I could probably be described with terms like akrasia, ADD and executive dysfunction, and maybe even Aspergers, aka high-functioning autistic. I'm not throwing the terms around lightly - a counselor suggested I had ADD (and it makes sense) and a number of people in my family (grandfather, brother, nephew) show many of the signs of high-functioning autism.
  • I work with a non-profit that I'm passionate about, but I want to be much more effective.
  • I have a discussion question I want to post about project management tools, but I don't have the points. I'd just passed the 20 points needed on my old account, but I'm back to zero as "CWG". Upvotes will make me smile :-).