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Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-11T11:55:52.675Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You're absolutely right. I have no problem using indentation for quotes, as a matter of fact I was wondering how to do that, it's his condescending tone that I took issue with. In retrospect though, I should have just ignored it, but let my temper get the best of me. I'll try to keep counter-productive comments to a minimum in the future.

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-10T13:16:17.425Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It was a comment on wedrifid's implicit assumption that I should care about what annoys him and bizarre expectation that I would adjust my behavior because I was "prompted" (not asked politely mind you) by him. Not sure what part of that is not obvious to you.

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-10T12:35:58.636Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Duly noted. God forbid I do something that annoys you. Won't be able to live with myself.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T23:09:43.428Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't it an essential criteria of falsifiability to be able to design an experiment that can DEFINITIVELY prove the theory false?

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T23:03:27.154Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, I understand what you mean now. Now that you've clarified what Eliezer meant by anticipated experience my original objection to it is no longer applicable. Thank you for an interesting and thought provoking discussion.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T21:55:46.373Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So essentially what you and Eliezer are referring to as "anticipated experience" is just basic falsifiability then?

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T21:48:21.714Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

That's really clever. I always thought that "credible evidence" was a bit redundant actually. I just used as a figure of speech without thinking about, but according to my definition of evidence that it has to be credible is pretty much implicit. It has been made abundantly clear to me, however, that this community's definition differs substantially, so that's the definition I will use when posting here going forward.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T21:42:10.759Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Alright, I think I see what you're getting it, but I still can't help but think that your definition of sensory experience is too broad to be really useful. I mean the only type of belief that it seems to filter out is absolute nonsense like "I have a third leg that I can never see or feel", did I get that about right?

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T21:35:21.267Z · score: 0 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well that clarifies things quite a bit. I find this definition of evidence surprising, especially in this community, but very interesting. I'll have to sleep on it. Thank you for the references.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T21:25:01.778Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're not addressing my core point though. If the criteria of anticipated experience as you define it is as likely to be satisfied by fallacious beliefs as it is by valid ones, what purpose does it serve?

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T21:18:58.764Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's fair enough. However, judging by what I've read, this community's definition of evidence seems to constitute just about anything ever written about anything. How would you then differentiate evidence, from rumor, hearsay, speculation, etc.?

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T20:56:39.971Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, what can I say? I simply don't consider the vague recollection of reading something somewhere credible evidence of anything, and I stand by that. However, the amount of people that took issue with this statement did open my eyes to the fact that the definition of word "evidence" is not as clear cut as I thought it to be. Not sure if there's any way to resolve this difference of opinion though.

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T20:52:12.869Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

At this point I'm not sure what we can do other than agree to disagree. I do not consider a random article from an obscure source on the internet to be evidence of anything.

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T20:47:35.618Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

All that is indisputably true. But you didn't really answer my question on whether or not you give enough consideration to what's written in a fairy tale (not whether or not it's written, not who it's written by, but the actual claims made therein) to truly consider it evidence to be incorporated into or excluded from your model of the world.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T20:47:13.430Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How would you learn that there are no ghosts? You form the belief "there are ghosts" which leads to the anticipated experience (by your definition of such) that "I will read about ghosts in a book", you go and read about ghosts in a book. Criteria met, belief validated. Same goes for UFOs, psychics, astrology etc. What value does the concept of anticipated experience have if it fails to filter out even the most common fallacious beliefs?

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T20:17:30.773Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You seem to place a good deal of value on the concept of anticipated experience, but you give it a definition that's so broad that the overwhelming majority of beliefs will meet the criteria. If the belief in ghosts for instance can lead to the anticipated experience of reading about them in a book, what validity does the notion have as a means of evaluating beliefs?

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T20:02:14.628Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

So you would then agree that merely the fact that something is written SOMEWHERE, does not automatically qualify it as evidence?

(Incidentally that is my original point, which in spite of seeming as common sense as common sense can be, has attracted a surprising amount of disagreement.)

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T19:53:50.288Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Vladimir, Cyan, and jimrandomh, since you essentially said the same thing, consider this reply to be addressed to all three of you.

Answer me honestly, when reading a fairy tale, do you really stop to consider what's written there, qualify its worth as evidence, and compare it to everything else you know that might contradict it, before making the decision that the probability of the fairy tale being true is extremely low? Do you really not just dismiss it offhand as not true without a second thought?

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T19:43:06.037Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree wholeheartedly that there are valid beliefs that don't translate into anticipated experience. As a matter of fact what's written there was pretty much the exact point that I was trying to make with my very first response in this topic.

Does that not, however, contradict the OP's assertion that "Every guess of belief should begin by flowing to a specific guess of anticipation, and should continue to pay rent in future anticipations. If a belief turns deadbeat, evict it."? That's what I took issue with to begin with.

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T19:36:30.073Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well I didn't think I needed to clarify that I'm not questioning whether or not something that's written is really written. Of course, I'm questioning the truthfulness of the actual statement.

Or not so much it's truthfulness, but rather whether or not it can be considered evidence. Though I realize that you take issue with arguing over word definitions, to me the word evidence has certain meaning that goes beyond every random written sentence, whisper or rumor that you encounter.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T19:27:49.575Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough. So if, on your authority, the OP believes that reading about something is anticipated experience, does that not then cover every rumor, fairy tale, and flat out non-sense that has ever been written? What then would be an example of a belief that CANNOT be connected to an "anticipated experience"?

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T19:19:32.130Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"This doesn't remotely follow and is far weaker evidence than other available sources. For a start, everyone knows that you get to Oz with tornadoes and concussions."

Let's not get bogged down in the specific procedure of getting to Oz. My point was that if you truly adapt merely seeing something written somewhere as your standard for evidence, you commit yourself to analyzing and weighing the merits of EVERYTHING you read about EVERYWHERE. Do you mean to tell that when you read a fairy tale you truly consider whether or not what's written there is true? That you don't just dismiss it offhand without giving it a second thought?

"It makes you look like an outsider who isn't able to follow simple social conventions and may have a tendency towards obstinacy. (Since you asked...)"

Like I said above to Vladimir, it's not a big deal, but you're reading quite a bit into a simple habit.

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T19:13:23.405Z · score: 8 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough. It's a habit of mine that I'm not married to. If members of this board take issue with it, I can stop.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T19:10:03.051Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Very interesting read on disputing definitions. While the solution proposed there is very clever and elegant, this particular discussion is complicated by the fact that we're discussing the statements of a person who is not currently participating. Coming up with alternate words to describe our ideas of what "sensory experience" means does nothing to help us understand what he meant by it. Incidentally this is why I didn't want to get drawn into this debate to begin with.

Also -- "consider me having a special insight into the intended meaning" -- on what grounds shall I consider your having such special insight?

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T19:01:01.849Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If you adapt that position, then the belief in ghosts for instance will result in the sensory experience of reading or hearing about them, no? Can you then point to ANY belief that doesn't result in a sensory experience other than something that you make up yourself out of thin air?

If the concept of sensory experience is to have any meaning at all, you can't just extrapolate it as you see fit. If you can't see, hear, smell, taste, or touch an object directly, you have not had sensory experience with that object. That does not mean that that object does not exist though.

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T18:44:57.699Z · score: -2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

So the fact that something was written somewhere is sufficient to meet your criteria for considering it evidence? I take it you have actually tried clicking your heels to check whether or not you would be teleported to Oz then?

Also, does my signing my comments offend you?

DP

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T18:32:19.463Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

So reading about something in a book is a sensory experience now? I beg to differ. A sensory experience of The Crusades would be witnessing them first hand. The sensory experience of reading about them is perceiving patterns of ink on a piece of paper.

DP

Edit: Also, I think that RobinZ didn't state that as something that she believed, she stated that as something that she believed the OP meant. It's that subjective interpretation of his position that I didn't want to debate. If you wish to adapt that position as your own and debate its substance, we certainly can.

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T18:06:45.814Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I stated that taking the OP's reasoning to its logical conclusion requires one to "evict" all beliefs in everything that one has not, and does not anticipate to, personally see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. RobinZ responded by saying that the OP's point is less strong than I think. Since two (presumably) reasonable people can disagree on what the OP meant, his point, as it is written, is by definition ambiguous.

Where do we go from here other than debate what he really meant? What is the point of such debate since neither of us has any special insight into his thought process that would allow us to settle this difference of subjective interpretations? I believe that to be sufficient reason for stopping the discussion. I'm not sure what specifically Vladimir takes issue with here.

As to your point of human telepathy -- comparing reading what someone wrote to reading his mind is a very big stretch. I can see how you could make that argument if you get really technical with word definitions, but I think that it is generally accepted that reading what a person wrote on a computer screen and reading his mind are two very different things.

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-08-09T17:41:54.384Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

My argument is what I stated, nothing more. Namely that there is nothing unreasonable about assuming that a perfect stranger that you're having a casual conversation with is not trying to deceive you. I already laid out my reasoning for it. I'm not sure what more I can add.

DP

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-08-09T17:33:17.296Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

First of all, calling speech "human telepathy" strikes me as a little pretentious, as well as inaccurate, since the word "telepathy" is generally accepted to have supernatural connotations. Speech is speech; no need to complicate the concept.

Secondly, the article you linked seemed a little rambling and without a clear point. All I was able to take away from it is that the meaning of words is relative. If that's the case then I respond with "well, duh!"; if I missed a deeper point, please enlighten me.

Finally, when you take it upon yourself to question another person's purely subjective reasoning, you're treading very close to completely indefensible territory. If I say that I wanted to stop the discussion because I believe that the author's intended meaning is ambiguous, it's a tall order to question that that is indeed what I believe. Unless you can come up with clear evidence of how my behavior contradicts my stated subjective opinion, you more or less have to take my word that that really is what I think.

DP

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-06-07T11:27:41.850Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A belated thanks! :)

DP

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-06-07T11:27:21.040Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I was going to write a more detailed reply, but then realized that any continued discussion will require us to debate what exactly the OP meant to say in his post, which is pointless since neither of us can read his mind. So let's just call it a day.

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-06-07T11:07:01.943Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I presume that you have encountered liars in the real world as well. Do you, on that basis, habitually assume that a random stranger engaging in casual conversation with you is a liar?

My point is that pathological liars are a small minority. So if you're dealing with a person that you know absolutely nothing about, and who does not have any conceivable reason to lie to you, there is nothing unreasonable in assuming that he's telling you the truth, unless you have factual evidence (i.e. you have accurate, verifiable knowledge of ambulance policies) that contradicts what he's saying.

DP

Comment by dpar on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) · 2010-05-11T06:57:50.844Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What about knowledge for the sake of knowledge? For instance I don't anticipate that my belief that The Crusades took place will ever directly affect my sensory experiences in any way. Does that then mean that this belief is completely worthless and on the same level as the belief in ghosts, psychics, phlogiston, etc.?

Wouldn't taking your chain of reasoning to its logical conclusion require one to "evict" all beliefs in everything that one has not, and does not anticipate to, personally see, hear, smell, taste, or touch? After all, how much personal sensory experience do you have that confirms the existence of atoms, for example?

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-05-11T06:36:54.576Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The author did not mention anything about an exceptionally high percentage of liars in IRC relative to the general population (which would be quite relevant to his statement) therefore there's no reason to believe that such had been HIS experience in the past.

Given that, there is no reason for HIM to presume that the percentage of compulsive liars in IRC would different from the general population. YOUR experiences may, of course, be drastically different, but they are not the subject of discussion here.

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-05-11T06:22:01.535Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I read somewhere that if spin about and click my heels 3 times I will be transported to the land of Oz. Does that qualify as a concrete reason to believe that such a land does indeed exist?

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-05-11T06:20:12.552Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Which, as I said later on in the same paragraph, is irrational and unlikely behavior. Therefore, when lacking any factual evidence, the reasonable presumption is that that's not the case.

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-01-14T18:41:42.077Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The level of "trust" you have in a person should be inversely proportional to the sensationalism of the claim that he's making.

If a person tells you he was abducted by a UFO, you demand evidence.

If a person tells you that on the way to work he slipped and fell down, and you have no concrete reason to doubt the story in particular or the person in general, you take that at face value. It is a reasonable assumption that a perfect stranger in all likelihood will NOT be delusional or a compulsive liar.

DP

Comment by dpar on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2010-01-14T18:36:07.006Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I don't see that you did anything at all irrational. You're talking to a complete stranger on the internet. He doesn't know you, and cannot have any possible interest in deceiving you. He tells you a fairly detailed story and asks for you advice. For him to make the whole thing up just for kicks is an example of highly irrational and fairly unlikely behavior.

Conversely, a person's panicking over chest pains and calling the ambulance is a comparatively frequent occurrence. Your having read somewhere something about ambulance policies does not amount to having concrete, irrefutable knowledge that an ambulance crew cannot make an on-site determination that there's no need to take a person to the hospital. To a person without extensive medical knowledge there is nothing particularly unlikely about the story you were told.

Therefore, the situation is this -- you are told by a complete stranger that has no reason to lie to you a perfectly believable story. You have no concrete reason ("read something somewhere" does not qualify) to doubt either the story or the man's sanity. Thus there is nothing illogical about taking the story at face value. You did the perfectly rational thing.

Since there was no irrationality in your initial behavior, the conclusions that you arrive at further in your post are unfounded.

DP