Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Dec. 29, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015 · 2015-01-02T00:41:09.381Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

So I had one of those typical mind fallacy things explode on me recently, and it's caused me to re-evaluate a whole lot of stuff.

Is there a list of high-impact questions people tend to fail to ask about themselves somewhere?

Comment by dthunt on CFAR in 2014: Continuing to climb out of the startup pit, heading toward a full prototype · 2014-12-31T19:35:40.920Z · score: 14 (16 votes) · LW · GW


Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Dec. 29, 2014 - Jan 04, 2015 · 2014-12-30T16:51:19.633Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you have some sort of decision-making process you do a lot that you expect is going to become a thing you build intuition around later, make sure you have the right feedback loops in place, so that you have something to help keep that intuition calibrated. (This also applies to processes you engineer for others.)

Comment by dthunt on CFAR in 2014: Continuing to climb out of the startup pit, heading toward a full prototype · 2014-12-28T16:12:54.074Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm kind of curious; what do you think CFAR's objective is 5 years from now (assuming they get the data they want and it strongly supports the value of the workshops)?

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Dec. 22 - Dec. 28, 2014 · 2014-12-24T03:55:16.148Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You might check IRC - #lesswrong, maybe #slatestarcodex, someone is probably willing to help, and you might make a friend.

Comment by dthunt on My experience of the recent CFAR workshop · 2014-11-28T17:15:58.951Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Out of curiosity, thoughts on the Againstness class?

Comment by dthunt on Link: Rob Bensinger on Less Wrong and vegetarianism · 2014-11-20T16:45:19.752Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I REALLY like this question, because I don't know how to approach it, and that's where learning happens.

So it's definitely less bad to grow cows with good life experiences than with bad life experiences, even if their ultimate destiny is being killed for food. It's kind of like asking if you'd prefer a punch in the face and a sandwich, or just a sandwich. Really easy decisions.

I think it'd be pretty suspicious if my moral calculus worked out in such a way that there was no version of maximally hedonistic existence for a cow that I could say that the cow didn't have a damned awesome life and that we should feel like monsters for allowing it to have existed at all.

That having been said, if you give me a choice between cows that have been re-engineered such that their meat is delicious even after they die of natural causes, and humans don't artificially shorten their lives, and they stand around having cowgasms all day - and a world where cows grow without brains - and a world where you grew steaks on bushes -

I think I'll pick the bush-world, or the brainless cow world, over the cowgasm one, but I'd almost certainly eat cow meat in all of them. My preference there doesn't have to do with cow-suffering. I suspect it has something to do with my incomplete evolution from one moral philosophy to another.

I'm kind of curious how others approach that question.

Comment by dthunt on Link: Rob Bensinger on Less Wrong and vegetarianism · 2014-11-20T15:13:13.818Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So, there's a heuristic that I think is a decent one, which is that less-conscious things have less potential suffering. I feel that if you had a suffer-o-meter and strapped it to the heads of paramecia, ants, centipedes, birds, mice, and people, they'd probably rank in approximately that order. I have some uncertainty in there, and I could be swayed to a different belief with evidence or an angle I had failed to consider, but I have a hard time imagining what those might be.

I think I buy into the notion that most-conscious doesn't strictly mean most-suffering, though - if there were a slightly less conscious, but much more anxious branch of humanoids out there, I think they'd almost certainly be capable of more suffering than humans.

Comment by dthunt on Link: Rob Bensinger on Less Wrong and vegetarianism · 2014-11-20T14:56:22.469Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, how comparable are they, in your view?

Like, if you'd kill a cow for a 10,000 dollars (which could save a number of human lives), but not fifty million cows for 10,000 dollars, you evidently see some cost associated with cow-termination. If you, when choosing methods, could pick between methods that induced lots of pain, versus methods that instantly terminated the cow-brain, and have a strong preference toward the less-painful methods (assuming they're just as effective), then you clearly value cow-suffering to some degree.

The reason I went basically vegan is I realized I didn't have enough knowledge to run that calculation, but I was fairly confident that I was ethically okay with eating plants, sludges, and manufactured powders, and most probably the incidental suffering they create, while I learned about those topics.

I am basically with you on the notion that hurting a cow is better than hurting a person, and I think horse is the most delicious meat. I just don't eat it any-more. (I'd also personally kill some cows, even in relatively painful ways, in order to save a few people I don't know.)

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-30T20:51:26.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You can always shoot someone an email and ask about the financial aid thing, and plan a trip stateside around a workshop if, with financial aid, it looks doable, and if after talking to someone, it looks like the workshop would predictably have enough value that you should do it now rather than when you have more time and money.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-30T20:37:42.470Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Noticing confusion is the first skill I tried to train up last year, and is definitely a big one, because knowing what your models predict and noticing when they fail is a very valuable feedback loop that prevents you from learning if you can't even notice it.

Picturing what sort of evidence would unconvince you of something you actively believe is a good exercise to pair with the exercise of picturing what sort of evidence would convince you of something that seems super unlikely. Noticing unfairness there is a big one.

Realizing when you are trying to "win" at truthfinding, which is... ugh.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-30T19:44:39.724Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Not feeling connected with people, or, increasingly feeling less connection with people.

I actively socialize myself, and this helps, but the other thing maybe suggests to me I'm doing something wrong.

(Edit: to clarify, my empathy thingy works as well (maybe better) than it ever has, I just feel like the things I crave from social interactions are getting harder to acquire. Like, people "getting" you, or having enough things in common that you can effectively talk about the stuff that interests you. So, like, obviously, one of the solutions there is to hang out with more bright-and-happy CFAR-ish/LW-ish/EA-ish people.)

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2014 · 2014-10-29T06:02:05.479Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Hey, does anyone else struggle with feelings of loneliness?

What strategies have you found for either dealing with the negative feelings, or addressing the cause of loneliness, and have they worked?

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-26T03:04:31.467Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

By far the best definition I've ever heard of the supernatural is Richard Carrier's: A "supernatural" explanation appeals to ontologically basic mental things, mental entities that cannot be reduced to nonmental entities." (

Comment by dthunt on Blackmail, continued: communal blackmail, uncoordinated responses · 2014-10-25T16:14:18.817Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I have made a prosecutor pale in the face by suggesting that courthouses should be places where people with plea bargains shop their offers around with each other so that they know what's a good deal and a bad deal.

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T21:06:51.601Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think it's going to matter very much. 3 digits after the dot, with the understanding that the third digit is probably not very good, but the second probably is pretty good.

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T18:42:55.574Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Faith in Humanity moment: LW will not submit garbage poll responses using other LW-users as public keys.

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T18:25:52.344Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I definitely don't have a strong identity in this sense; like, I suspect I'd be pretty okay if an alien teenager swooped by and pushed the "swap sex!" button on me, and the result was substantially functional and not horrible to the eye. Like, obviously I'd be upset about having been abused by an outside force, but I don't think the result itself is inherently distasteful or anything like that.

I'm really curious to see how this and related stuff (male/female traits, fingers) relate.

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T18:00:22.840Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Definitely had a thought on this order; I went with "don't die at any point and still reach age 1000", though I also don't really consider solutions that involve abandoning bodies counting.

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T17:45:54.168Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

At the very least, I suspect one of the analyses will be 'bucketize corresponding to certainty, then plot "what % of responses in bucket were right?"' - something that was done last year (see 2013 LessWrong Survey Results)

Last year it was broken down into "elite" and "typical" LW-er groups, which presumably would tell you if hanging out here made you better at overconfidence, or something similar in that general vicinity.

Comment by dthunt on 2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2014-10-23T17:26:17.217Z · score: 47 (47 votes) · LW · GW

Survey complete!

I'm kind of surprised at how much better I feel like I've gotten about reasoning about these really fuzzy estimates. One of my big goals last year was "get better at reasoning about really fuzzy things" and I feel like I've actually made big progress on that?

I'm really excited to see what the survey results look like this year. I'm hoping we've gotten better at overconfidence!

The gender default thing took me by surprise. I'm guessing that a lot of people answer yes to having a strong gender identity?

Comment by dthunt on On Caring · 2014-10-17T18:08:22.383Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hey, I just wanted to chime in here. I found the moral argument against eating animals compelling for years but lived fairly happily in conflict with my intuitions there. I was literally saying, "I find the moral argument for vegetarianism compelling" while eating a burger, and feeling only slightly awkward doing so.

It is in fact possible (possibly common) for people to 'reason backward' from behavior (eat meat) to values ("I don't mind large groups of animals dying"). I think that particular example CAN be consistent with your moral function (if you really don't care about non-human animals very much at all) - but by no means is that guaranteed.

Comment by dthunt on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-10T14:19:56.982Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, what I didn't say is, "If I became psychotic, and had a hallucination of god, I would probably not long-term believe it." There are other reasons people can arrive at a state where they have hallucinations. If you break my critical faculties, then I'm far less likely to reason well.

I was able to find numbers suggesting that perhaps 1/4 people with schizophrenia have religious hallucinations, but I was unable to find out what percentage of people who report religious hallucinations serious suffer psychotic disorders. I do know that religious visions are widely claimed within certain communities, that various drugs, sleep depression, stress, are all things that raise the odds of having hallucinations, and there are perhaps 3% schizotypal folks out there, who are somewhat likely to be hallucinators but may not meet your bar for "serious psychotic disorder".

I've sort of been assuming that while hallucinations are fairly a strong predictor of, say, "schizophrenia", that other factors than serious-brain-whammy drive the bulk of religious hallucinations.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-10T06:59:44.742Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I agree with everything you say (- well, I don't know the M-H algorithm, but I'll take that on faith).

I mentioned this explicitly because it's mindblowingly bad to see someone saying this, with this background, when he says so many other smart things that clearly imply he understands the general principle of local optimizations not being global optimizations.

What he didn't say is, "This enzyme works really well, and we can be pretty confident evolution has tried out most of the easy modifications on the current structure. It's not perfect (admittedly), but it's locally pretty good."

It was more along the lines of, "We can be confident this is the best possible version of this enzyme."

Anyway, a single human biologist isn't the point. I'm much more interested in questions like, how often can I use local optima in an argument, and people will know what I mean / not think I'm crazy for suggesting there are other hills that might be stood upon.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-09T18:20:56.870Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would assume the same, but unfortunately... that's a real life thing that I heard one say in a lecture. Well, not "Global maximum!" but something with essentially identical meaning, without the subtext of big error.

People may be aware of a lesson learned from math, but not propagate it through all their belief systems.

Comment by dthunt on On Caring · 2014-10-09T18:16:29.147Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's Harry talking about Blame, chapter 90. (It's not very spoily, but I don't know how the spoiler syntax works and failed after trying for a few minutes)

"That's not how responsibility works, Professor." Harry's voice was patient, like he was explaining things to a child who was certain not to understand. He wasn't looking at her anymore, just staring off at the wall to her right side. "When you do a fault analysis, there's no point in assigning fault to a part of the system you can't change afterward, it's like stepping off a cliff and blaming gravity. Gravity isn't going to change next time. There's no point in trying to allocate responsibility to people who aren't going to alter their actions. Once you look at it from that perspective, you realize that allocating blame never helps anything unless you blame yourself, because you're the only one whose actions you can change by putting blame there. That's why Dumbledore has his room full of broken wands. He understands that part, at least."

I don't think I understand what you wrote, there AnthonyC; world-scale problems are hard, not immutable.

Comment by dthunt on On Caring · 2014-10-09T18:11:59.764Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Having a keen sense for problems that exist, and wanting to demolish them and fix the place from which they spring is not an instinct to quash.

That it causes you emotional distress IS a problem, insofar as you have the ability to perceive and want to fix the problems in absence of the distress. You can test that by finding something you viscerally do not care for and seeing how well your problem-finder works on it; if it's working fine, the emotional reaction is not helpful, and fixing it will make you feel better, and it won't come at the cost of smashing your instincts to fix the world.

Comment by dthunt on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-09T17:55:48.139Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If I had a REAL discussion with Actual God, he might just rewire me because I had a bug, and he's a cool guy.

Alternatively, I might ask God for evidence that he's God, or at least an awesome alien teenager with big angelic powers, and get some predictions and stuff out of him that I can use to verify that something incredible is in fact happening, because, hey, I'm human, and humans occasionally hallucinate, and I would probably like to make sound arguments that I really did have a discussion with a guy with big angelic powers that I could share with other people.

But if he can't deliver on that stuff, the fact that I had a memory of talking to God with strong emotions and stuff attached to it, would probably not stand up to the amount of scrutiny that I'm likely to throw at it.

Comment by dthunt on On Caring · 2014-10-09T17:49:56.320Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

I've been frustrated recently by people not realizing that they are arguing that if you divide responsibility up until it's a very small quantity, then it just goes away.

Comment by dthunt on On Caring · 2014-10-09T17:35:25.140Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Reminds me of the time the Texas state legislature forgot that 'similar to' and 'identical to' are reflexive.

I'm somewhat persuaded by arguments that choices not made, which have consequences, like X preventably dying, can have moral costs.

Not INFINITELY EXPLODING costs, which is what you need in order to experience the full brunt of responsibility of "We are the last two people alive, and you're dying right in front of me, and I could help you, but I'm not going to." when deciding to buy shoes or not, when there are 7 billion of us, and you're actually dying over there, and someone closer to you is not helping you.

Comment by dthunt on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-09T17:12:26.789Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I should have clarified that I meant that in terms of having persuasive power over others.

Personal experience can be personally compelling, but people have pretty well exploited the "I personally experienced X, are you calling me a liar?" thing enough (also, hallucinations, confusion, unreliable memory, etc), that people generally take statements about personal experience of others with a grain of salt.

If I hallucinated a discussion with God, I would probably not be long-term convinced of it, despite the experience.

(Edit: Aside: why did I add anything past the first sentence? There was no reason to.)

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-09T16:41:09.984Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Random thought.

So, minor changes in designs of things sometimes result in better versions of things. You then build those things, and make minor design changes there. Repeat. Eventually you often get a version of a thing that no longer sees improvement from minor change.

"Global maximum!" declares a PhD biologist at a good university.

How common is this defect?

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014 · 2014-10-09T16:21:43.899Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Small effect sizes are easier to hallucinate into being real.

Comment by dthunt on Questions on Theism · 2014-10-09T16:09:12.944Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I recently listened to a defense attorney making claims about how personal experience and eye-witness testimony are the best kind of evidence you can possibly have, in defense of Christianity.

If your religion dictates that you must believe in miracles being real, you will have to break yourself in colorful ways in order to do so.

Comment by dthunt on Using Bayes to dismiss fringe phenomena · 2014-10-09T15:54:07.721Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm partial to the reference class, "theories that make lots of excuses for why it's hard to confirm or reject when it should be very easy, but nonetheless an ape-like creature ran into it one day."

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-27T22:09:54.735Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Ought" meaning that I think it's highly unlikely that these calculations come out in such a close race that I don't have clear choices despite using low powered analysis. It might, but like, if the mussels thing looks very likely true, that for example would be a big differentiator over certain other products. Also, there is some variation between brain size and food value. If something IS a close call, there are lots of things that almost certainly are not. That's what I mean by "ought"

One person does not have a large effect on market; I suspect that most vegetarians are being unreal with themselves about the impact of their choices. You can point out a lot of these sorts of quirks about deliberate vegetarians (health claims you mentioned), which may be a sign that there is lots of motivated reasoning going on in that group.

I pretty much just want to make choices more consistent with my ethics or morals or whatever, and desire to do that with minimum effort.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-22T22:16:37.729Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I see a lot of complications involving iron, b12, and a few other things.

I don't have some sort of moral absolute thing going on; I ought to be able to make a low-effort glance into the things I eat and pick a diet that closely matches my intuitions without sacrificing health, happiness, or undue money. Like if it turns out that beef is the most ethical meat, and that eggs are really horrible, then I might eat beef but not eggs, if they are just vastly better ways of getting things that are otherwise a complete PITA to acquire.

Most likely, though, I can get by with very minimal tradeoffs, or at least it looks that way.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-22T22:08:07.647Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, wow, that's where this uniform protest against making guesses about mental states comes from? It's actually written into their ethical guidelines?

I don't understand this. Is there some obvious or non-obvious reason for psychiatrists not to guess at mental states out loud, beyond the obvious one where people might listen to your opinions?

I don't get it.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-20T00:34:27.219Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, not defining on my own. I'm deliberately asking a community of people who try to think about these sorts of things in clearer terms than normal about what sorts of considerations might be worth examining. Making a perfect objective suffering function doesn't seem hugely worthwhile for me; I just want to be able to make orders of magnitude comparisons because that's likely enough. [ed: on my necessarily messed up strange subjective human scale]

My core assumption is basically that some animals with brains have some degree of conscious experience, and can experience pain, discomfort, etc. I don't think these things necessarily are perfect 1:1 matches with what the human experience analogues look like (both in how they are experienced and how relatively important they are to me or to the animal) - but visual evidence looks compelling enough to me that this claim looks likely true. I would need to dig into the mechanics of pain or something to get a clearer picture around that assumption, which may be a useful thing to do.

I'm sure the conversation where two people argue about this already exists on LW, just have faith that I will in fact look for it and read it, I am not particularly interested in engaging on a discussion about qualia at the moment.

I think there are probably better versions of farming that could exist, that would both sit better with me on the silly levels that do not get a vote and on other levels that matter more (e.g. optimizing slaughtering to reduce pain or something). Inflicted pain is an example of a cost that is being applied to animals that can be improved upon. There are other things like that that make farming meat objectionable to me.

On some gut level this actually matters to me. I have some amount of empathy for at least a lot of non-human animals, and whether a human has been involved in some transaction seems to make it matter more to me.

It might be possible that there's a version of meat farming that doesn't suck from my perspective. Like, if cows just dropped dead on their own accord after living reasonably good lives, and were immediately harvested, and that was somehow still excellent meat, that would probably have a large impact on how I looked at things. Is that substantially different than eating engineered vat meat? I'm on the fence.

I'm undecided on what you do with a bunch of useless animals you cannot release into the wild if you have engineered vat meat and other artificial animal products of sufficient quality at a sufficiently low cost. Maintaining far smaller populations doesn't seem horrible to me.

Anyway, I recognize that I would probably kill a cow to get lots of dollars (which I could do useful things with), but probably not do it for 25 cents. Some animal products are useful. Eating a frustrating diet has a cost. If I must eat an egg a week to maintain normal brain function, then I guess I'll eat an egg a week unless there are alternatives that aren't too expensive, even if that comes at the cost of some chicken suffering. I just want to navigate those sorts of considerations and figure out what trades I am comfortable with.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T23:04:12.338Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Haha. Nice.

I meant more along the lines of I don't have some coherent framework to slam this stuff into, but I want to be able to locally do some very ballpark comparison on things that I currently know too little about. Sin-on is the wrong word (it doesn't reflect very well what it's trying to represent), but it seemed amusing, so for the moment sin-on it is.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T22:10:53.841Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think salmon is meat, but it might be one of the less bad things (don't know), and this is something I'll deliberately examine if it solves some health stuff.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T22:09:08.551Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah. A bit tongue in cheek, utility is to utilon as sin is to sin-on.

It's like a very immature concept in my head and I'm still trying to map out what's hiding in there, but it seems useful to me at the moment to figure out what a sin-on is made of and figure out order-of-magnitude type detail about things, as a way of trying to make reasonably consistent choices.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-19T18:46:52.373Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Very much agree. The altruistic version of being a vegetarian warrior maybe looks like developing some fiendish scheme to make meat unpalatable to humans on a large scale. My reason for change is basically just that I recognized this conflict between my thinking and my behavior and it looked fairly, like, hypocritical to me.

Thanks for the helpful links!

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-18T20:58:38.568Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Retracted on the basis that I had not read the original thread and I almost certainly misunderstood the underlying question.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-18T20:54:23.618Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, your CI does change for the coin, if you observe strange artifacts of construction, or if the tosser has read Jaynes (who describes a way to cheat at coin tossing), or if the coin shows significant bias after lots of tries.

If you doubt this last bit, try a calibration app and look at one of your estimation buckets and ask yourself the same question: is my 70% bucket miscallibrated, or is this an effect of Tyche?

Your example constrains the evidence on the coin, by the convention that is attached to coin metaphors.

The less crappy response is that I like your attempt at illustrating the effects of prior distributions and general uncertainty, and that you should try another variation and see if it works better.

Comment by dthunt on Open thread, 18-24 August 2014 · 2014-08-18T19:54:10.585Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I've recently reconciled my behavior with my ethical intuition regarding eating animals, by way of deciding to alter my behavior and do some variation of "don't eat meat". I decided on this question long ago but did not act upon it.

I notice that there is very confusing information out there about what one should eat in order to avoid negative health impacts, and would like to read correct and useful articles on the subject, because I strongly desire to not be unhealthy. Do you have suggestions?

I am pragmatic. My intuition says that bone ash used to color certain food products has a relatively low cost (in sin-ons), and that there definitely are places I will make trades against sin-ons.

I also recognize that I would like a reasonably fast process to estimate sin-ons, and suggestions about highly impactful considerations (metabolic efficiency, things that might put various horrors on understandable scales) would be appreciated. Also, I am not sure that sin-ons is the word I am looking for as a measure of this sort of badness.

I have checked with my brain, and my brain has decided that cuteness does not particularly matter to it as a factor. Horse sashimi is delicious.

If you have things to say in favor of eating meat, please share them, and explain it to me as if I am a precocious 8 year old.

Comment by dthunt on Rationality Quotes July 2014 · 2014-07-23T23:26:54.400Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Care to share some hypothetical examples of irritating uses of the B word?

Comment by dthunt on Why I Am Not a Rationalist, or, why several of my friends warned me that this is a cult · 2014-07-14T00:59:26.859Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

So, specifically with respect to "cult' and "elitist" observations I see, in general, I would like to offer a single observation:

"Tsuyoku naritai" isn't the motto of someone trying to conform to some sort of weird group norm. It's not the motto of someone who hates people who have put in less time or effort than himself. It's the recognition that it is possible to improve, and the estimation that improving is a worthwhile investment.

If your motivation for putting intellectual horsepower into this site isn't that, I'd love to hear about it, because that previous phrase really resonates with me, and while I can imagine other motivations for being on a site with forums and stuff, I have a hard time thinking that anyone would go grab a copy of Jaynes merely because they wanted to blend in better.

Comment by dthunt on Why I Am Not a Rationalist, or, why several of my friends warned me that this is a cult · 2014-07-13T18:38:14.804Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

Art of Rationality" is an oxymoron. Art follows (subjective) aesthetic principles; rationality follows (objective) evidence.

Art in the other sense of the word. Think more along the lines of skills and practices.

Comment by dthunt on Self-Congratulatory Rationalism · 2014-07-04T21:47:09.217Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My guess is that the site is "probably helping people who are trying to improve", because I would expect some of the materials here to help. I have certainly found a number of materials useful.

But a personal judgement probably helping" isn't the kind of thing you'd want. It'd be much better to find some way to measure the size of the effect. Not tracking your progress is a bad, bad sign.