Pascal's wager 2013-04-22T04:41:19.766Z
Eliezer apparently wrong about higgs boson 2012-07-17T19:44:40.068Z
"Drinking Alcohol May Significantly Enhance Problem Solving Skills" 2012-04-12T17:24:52.156Z


Comment by duckduckMOO on Formative Youth · 2017-07-12T22:08:01.821Z · LW · GW

It's obvious that morality is purely a matter of aesthetics

if nothing else, it's also a matter of what things an imperfect liar must believe in in order to not give off accurate hints that they're a bad person to have around, or more directly provoke retribution.

So perceiving the kind of things which would mark you as someone to be shunned or killed, as having their own special ontological category is very practical.

Even the idea that such things damn you is fairly accurate if you extract the baggage. You murder one lousy person and your option to live a normal life is greatly cut off and your options mostly narrow to escalation or starting your life anew elsewhere.

I think it's also a matter of rationality, insofar as no one is born realising there are other people and those other people's nature is such that they can suffer be happy live etc, much like we can. Being things like kind and honest allows you to perceive your nature and past both rationally and with pride. Conversely rvery time you're evil you damage your past, and so (unless you are a perfect liar) your ability to engage the world directly. Otherwise there has to be some reaction, some crack that forms, whether it's having to lie to yourself, lie to others, face your sins, partition your mind, forget or run from the past, etc.

I suppose all of that is escapable, and there can be equilibriums where it never comes up in the first place, but for an ordinary person there are self-interested reasons to have a moral sense, and in the absence of knowledge of what kind of world you're living in, your instinctive prior should be that it's possible that people who harm others for the sake of it might suffer retribution, and be afraid of doing/becoming that.

So morality is not purely aesthetic, it's also at least our (instinctive) game-theoretical fear of making ourselves the natural enemy of anyone who wants a quiet life. What's natural, or a priori worth consideration can later be screened out when we see we live in a world where justice is weak, but that doesn't mean it isn't a (lets say) natural platonic pattern.

Comment by duckduckMOO on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2016-04-01T12:06:48.358Z · LW · GW

edit: the tone of this post is angry, so you know. The anger is directed primarily at the paragraph I quote, which I consider utterly outrageous. It definitely spills over onto you also but I have nothing against you other than what spills over from this paragraph. I found your post had interesting insights in it otherwise. Anyway this post is pretty much an outraged rant so be warned.

Actually, here are the cliff notes because there were some objective things I identified.

teaching is a public performance role. dealing with customers complaints is literally part of the job, and one can additionally take it on more in the mantle of one's role as a teacher. Fielding a concerned intervention from a vetted personal friend is pretty much the opposite as a situation.

Making criticism unexplicit does not make it lighter, it just makes it more likely to be insiduous. The "criticism" in c) is formally information, informally advice, and only in subtext is it criticism. A friend cannot be expected to unravel this as it relates to a dear personal topic in real time. Phrasing criticism so that it doesn't look like criticism is dangerous.

criticising someone's chosen life path is a serious topic. The most salient thing about the topic is never going to be that you want them to be happy, unless you first explicitly state that you have an idea for them that might help them and you offer it in that spirit, but for them to judge it for themselves. -NOT just to drop it on them, if it's bordering a fault line.

People can prefer unhappiness and stress over happiness for many reasons. It may be more important for them to have a struggle to rise to to ensure they grow, for example. Moreover, if someone has taken drastic action in their life choices, for example if they quit their job, became a hermit, and lived off plants, one would assume that there was a serious reason for it, whether or not it was a good one. The pattern you describe of someone choosing to dedicate themselves to one very difficult problem they may or may not be able for is serious in the same way. The way to go in such a case is not to condense one's argument to 4 snappy lines, as one risks shearing through all kinds of layers of their understanding, in their attempt to meet you half way as a concerned friend. (-unless one understands them extremely well and can make the perfect such 4 lines), instead one has to check to see if one is proceeding from common ground.


You apparently do not understand what is wrong with c):

"There's strong evidence that there are only a few people in the world who have a chance of solving the math research problem that you've been working on for the past few years. It's very unlikely that you have the innate ability to solve it regardless of how hard you work on it. You're a good mathematician, you could make a lot of progress on easier problems, and that would probably make you happier."

The first thing is taking the outside view on someone's dedicated craft at all. One way people can become extreme outliers, the "few people", in the first place (if whatever dubious analysis produced such an absurd statement is even remotely correct) is by obsessive focus, and by not counting the odds. To sneak in the idea, in the very first sentence that your friend should be taking a many times removed outside view on this, (rather than throwing himself at his limits until he breaks, transcends them, or both) -and rapidly build assertions off this cannot be attributed to lacking social skills. Structurally, it's an excellently crafted psychological ambush from a friend.

And why would you even try to influence someone who's actions make no sense to you? If that's so then you clearly lack the common ground, or understanding of their motivations, to begin to speculate on what would fulfill their values, let alone craft this atrocity.

In this specific case, If someone is struggling at the limit of their ability to do something, anything at all, they don't want to hear from you why it's a bad idea, and still less how they'd be more hedonically comfortable if they'd just settle down and do the sensible thing.

And if a person has chosen to pursue a certain path, why would you presume that a half baked comment would be commeasurate with their deliberate personal decision on how and where to direct their lives?

It doesn't matter if they're completely, utterly, or even obviously wrong, attempting to change someone's chosen path through life is a serious thing! At best, absolute best, this is like holding an intervention for an alcoholic, but not bothering to think through how to phrase it or show some seriousness, and minimal respect. If someone's pathologically wasting their life. (in your judgement), you don't just go up to them and tell them, hmmm you might be better off not doing that. That''s even completely ignoring the question of ability and pushing oneself.

-You don't just condense the whole argument to 4 snappy lines in order to shear the hardest and fastest through their expectations, (as they reach out their mind to engage a trusted, vetted individual half way). Especially not when the question concerns values. To the extent that this person considers you a friend, they are liable to try to meet you half way to understand what you are saying, or further, but if they come even 20 or 30% of the way they might not be able to get back to where they where because it is so blatantly alien to the values implied by their choices, and presumably your personal knowledge of them.

-you argue the points, one at a time, first stating you premises and giving them a chance to say "no that doesn't apply to my situation" before you start building, rather than piling on six assumptions on back-to-back-to-back.. and assuming that they all hold just fine.

And the absolute best outcome here seems to be to rob someone of the probably-one-time life-experience of navigating their own way through what they've gotten themselves into and coming to their own conclusions.

Nowhere in this "helpful advice" is there any suggestion that you understand that your friend may want to have a hard problem to push themselves with, rise to the level of, meditate on, motivate them, etc.

"You would be happier" is not advice for a young, serious, mathematician. Obviously choosing a very dificult problem is not intended to directly optimist happiness.

There's the fact you chose to describe them as lacking innate ability, rather than (present) mathematical competence,

you described it as "the innate ability" as if it's one thing. -it's not even that their aptitude is not high enough, apparently they simply don't have "it", whatever "it" is.

with how very unlikely is put there, it conflates, in turn, the studies' view, with your view, with the universal view, with their view.

The fact that it is gentle makes it a hell of a lot worse by the way, not better. It's precisely the gentleness which makes it dangerous. You come with an attack, but as a friend, and gently. That is obviously far more dangerous because it has the potential to be insidious rather than stressful or traumatic. The fact that you describe it as criticism, while phrasing it as advice thinly masquerading as information, implies that you know what you're doing at least on some level.

At the end of the day what you're saying is precisely that "you're too bad at math to be able to meet your goals", except at least an order of magnitude worse.

And why would the salient thing about serious, drastic life advice/criticism/information be something about the adviser's feelings?

I could probably go on, I keep realising more things, but my head hurts enough already. I will leave it at this one: teaching kids is a public performance role. Fielding hecklers is part of the job. Taking an apparent friend's gently expressed concerns seriously is pretty much the opposite of that situation. (-which is what they seem so far as he can tell, but seemingly they're not even intended as such, not as advice, but as an admonishment, as if, by equivocation with professional duty to use bad feedback on one's professional work by one's clients, individuals are then supposed to field attacks on their current values (whatever their quality or rationality), from their friends, disguised as concern!)

Comment by duckduckMOO on Defecting by Accident - A Flaw Common to Analytical People · 2016-01-27T08:52:51.158Z · LW · GW

Why not? Purely In terms of the social game, isn't "being smart and analytical" just one style of play?

Disadvantages: less natural concern for offense or feelings

Advantages: more concern and ability for logical politeness, finding the truth, and focusing on ideas (not taking offense).

That's^ if you want to really enter the game and play it the standard way.

You can also just be yourself, which gets you points and naturally crafts a reputation/expectations, and be idea-focused, which naturally does the same.

from an above comment, which has also been my experience:

"In some ways, my obliviousness was very powerful for me, because ignoring status cues is a mark of status, as are confidence and being at ease with high-status people - all of which flow from my focus on ideas over people or their status. Yet as I've moved from more academic/intellectual circles to business/wealth circles, it's become crucial to learn that extra social subtext, because most of those people get driven away if you don't have those extra layers of social sense and display it in your conversational maneuvering."

I'm not even sure of the necessity of the second part, but it's a good ability to have regardless. I don't see where the cap on communication plus socialising comes from, because communicating well score someone a lot of social points, especially in terms of reputation, but also immediately -if they do it "right" for their environment, which is usually fairly straightforward (be polite and respectful and/or friendly and/or humble and/or oblivious, probably etc).

Imo one of the best things you can do specifically for social games, is to pay 0 attention to them. Very few people are such explicit, calculated, and committed status seekers that they can't accept someone who isn't playing (and being described by those 3 adjectives wouldn't even cause them to either). Instead what usually happens is that some people are suspicious of people who don't appear to be playing, and prone to turning on them (not usually out of active malice/calculation: on the basis of something like "subconsciously felt hostility") but if the person who is oblivious/uninterested is either friendly, polite, "cool", or just oblivious-enough, this suspicion will dissapear over time. Because the basic suspicion, imo, is that someone is not genuinely uninterested/oblivious, but actively posing as high status.

If they then e.g. see the person doing things which would deliberately lower their status, -if they were being deliberate-, then most people will figure out what's going on. e.g. self deprecating comments, coming over to people and being friendly, respectfulness and politeness, explaining things well and with understanding -any of that kind of thing-, then they'll see (perhaps over time rather than quickly) that the person is not posing as high status.

If one doesn't have any of those habits then I guess that maybe they'd have to adopt them, if they want to be sure to have an easy time, but then again just acting "naturally high status" for a long time will generally result in people seeing someone that way so these meta level considerations are unnecessary in any case. Plus there's bound to be some signs.

And of course if you're in a discussion with such a person and they give you a confused/that's weird look, you can just explain yourself. Most people aren't, like, status-demons. Status is just a "working model"/overlay; most people don't worship it/explicitly value it; they just want to be respected, though well, of, and feel safe in their social environment. (or if this isn't technically true, it's an equally good overlay to status, in my case a much better one.)

Anyway here's some things smart and analytical people can naturally do/have better than others socialwise:

  1. Present interesting and useful ideas. Offer them to others/ the group. Includes just making conversation with others, even very anti-abstract people: speak with enthusiasm as broadly as is necessarry for the listener, with tone something like "isn't it such a rich tapestry of varied human experience and perspectives in this wide world", i.e. an aesthetic rather than intelectual focus. Most people like this kind of thing and, even if absolutely nothing else, and even the most anti-abstract people, can feel the good intentions of trying to lift their spirit with lofty/fancy ideas, or grow fond of it in a patronising "isn't that cute/nice/smart" way.

  2. Have a genuine focus on ideas rather than people. Many people value this, and people who don't are generally not enemies to it. And people who are, are generally enemies by default rather than as an active and deliberate thing (and therefore are open to suasion from that stance WRT to individuals and even sometimes such people in general. This also naturally "signals high status", as detailed above, though I don't know how much that usually really means anything in this general case. (a lot of modifiers on that last clause, but I wanted to be precise). Being genuinely oblivious or uninterested is by far the absolute best way to occupy (incidentally or otherwise) such a social role. If you desire to not worry about this stuff, the best way to do it is to start not worrying about it, and that's a social skill because it's a really low energy/ other-expenditure way to navigate a social world. Efficiency is a positive in much the same way that efficacy is. (if one does not have a reputation for obliviousnes/disinterest, they can just tell/ announce to others that they've decided to be a more focused individual or something, and be rightly applauded if they frame it properly/the people around them respect/like/have good intentions towards them. (because people don't generally support status in the abstract: it's an overlay for viewing people's actions, {imo on par with something like the mbti personality index, or a bit below actually}, not something most people explicitly value.)

  3. Explain things well. Imo this is one of the best social skills (it's also a skill of course, but it becomes a social skill if you do it right), -to learn how to explain things to people, not with patience, which can imply benificently tolerated irritation, but with understanding that others actually and literally don't understand or sometimes even have the framework to understand what they don't understand. This is much easier for analytical people because they can break down the concept of "obvious" from a one-place to a (correct) two-place understanding, and of course because analytical people can move more easily through the world of ideas in which people can get lost. (Imo this is a great natural crossover point between analytical thinking and social skills, or more specifically empathy/simulating others experiences, so it's also a good way to practice being social for analytical people that aren't currently very good at it).

  1. Analytical people can learn to analyse situations/reality, and analyse how they would be better attuned to that reality. Making such changes is largely an intuitive/emotional skill, but imo that part of it is much easier to learn than how to analyse reality unbiasedly, comprehensively, and well. (Not 100% strictly speaking an advantage, as emotional/intuitive/social people have other peaks they have easier access to, and probably every kind of person does, but still)
Comment by duckduckMOO on In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war continued by other means · 2014-11-07T14:04:49.119Z · LW · GW

PvP is fun even if you aren't good at it, otherwise it is literally just a status game. This is a lot of obfuscating dressing on the idea that human status games is where it's really at. Never mind how they're negative sum, promote perverse incentives, how people coordinate and warp perception to be unfair to people as much as the target's low status will allow, and otherwise 90% shitty in the particular, -pvp is fun, and not really like social status games, so apparently we all have to be bitches in the future.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Interlude with the Confessor (4/8) · 2014-07-28T02:35:55.831Z · LW · GW

How is it not obvious that rape is something on which people are INSUFFICIENTLY CLEAR about its badness. I mean you've personally written about not adopting evolution's alien values, do you think humans are going to get that wrong when the time comes, or do you not see how "legalised rape" is just hopping on board the hooray for monkey brains and negative sum subgoal stomp train? Then having the superhappies, seemingly in most other respects humanities superiors, contrasted to abhorrent aliens, also converging on drastically increased sexuality as a natural convergence point for drastic intervention in people's natures.

If the story didn't seem otherwise so idealistic, it might just slip in as part of the background. But it doesn't seem like an an attempt at a realistic extrapolation of what humans would actually end up as: the characters are all rational and well intentioned and smart and appealing, and there's lighthearted popculture references as well as dramatic appeals to your own memes (good memes they are but still). And then throwing in rape, RAPE for fuck's sake, in as legalised in an otherwise fairly shiny future (and if you dispute shiny, at least sensible or sane) really seems like at best a reckless and self indulgent whim.

Do you think people have too much trouble entertaining thoughts of adjusting their values in ways that allow them to exploit others, and benefit from a privileged (unfortunately, this privileged does seem to be the literally correct word for something I want to say) position? Are most people too pure and nice, and just need to get in touch with their inner tribal and/or feral animal? That's the only direction this is going to open anyone's eyes. "Open mindedness" is not a quality to encourage in directions people are already severely tempted to be immoral. You should not have appealing opportunities for people to repudiate their better natures slipped into work that is otherwise so brilliant they will be tempted to believe anything it seems to imply, and clearly enough backed by an intellect at least a level up from most readers that they may be tempted, legitimately even, to just take on trust what you seem to be implying. How often do you read, on this site, comments like, "I wonder if humans don't inherently need other people to suffer for them to be happy?" and elsewhere morons basically literally believing "fucking bitches" is the meaning of life because evolution/the life made famous by the phrase "that's life", says so, and the almost complete lack of resistance or rebuttals to such ideas as normative or as remotely reasoned.

Hold on here's a concrete example:

look at the arguments he's making, and how people are responding to them. Something about our sick environment makes people really tempted by naturalistic fallacies especially ones that lead into proposing we forget that whole thinking thing and give over our identities to evolution's eldritch values.

I'm not sure if reddit should be expected to be below or above average on this but just look at the shit people are thinking, that it's socially respectable to think.

Believing in your shitty local equilibrium and that the compromises people make to fit into/survive in/thrive in it are moral and neccessary (in order to better signal and fit into it) is pretty much the main moral failure mode of humans in general. Exploitative strictly hierarchical environments, (aka the specific people they're made of) destroy people's investment in altruism and reciprocal cooperation. If everyone stops jumping in bed with every piece of rhetoric that represents an appealing alliance, rhetoric will no longer decide "social reality." The more people stand against coercion and domination and abuse, and every aspect of the race to the bottom, and the more people quit with the whole domination and compromise ideology thing the less there'll be people feeling rape is part of the "natural order", and that natural orders are more important than principles and decency. That's an extremely hard coordination problem but it really, really needs to be solved. It's non solvedness is what we regretfully refer to as the human condition, or the absurdity of life, or the "real world." If your CEV doesn't include doing something about this you're a baby eater.

Speaking of which actual humans are effectively baby eaters, we eat animals which are apparently roughly as sapient, that's another one of those really fucking important coordination problems, luckily it seems to have an engineering solution. Come to think of it you must have thought of that which makes me question if there's some higher level reason for this for half a second but NOPE, throwing in a "rape, why not?" from the collective decision of an otherwise (comparitively) highly awesome alt/future humanity on reflection, with the understanding that you're smarter than me and I clearly don't understand what's going on, still seems like a really fucking bad idea.

Comment by duckduckMOO on The value of Now. · 2014-07-27T22:01:16.958Z · LW · GW

i'm only going to consider the first one. The obvious thing to do is to pick the bees and hope for the bees, and it's an incredibly clear illustration of a situation where you might interpet the necessary unpleasant consequences of a good decision, as negative feedback about that decision, in the form of regretting the possibility of hornets. It pinpoints that feeling and it should help to push it away any other time you might be in abject pain or experiencing other lesser discomfort, e.g. after you, say, go to the gym for the first time. it really pinpoints that false temptation.

There is an argument for box 1 though: with a billion dollars and the perfect proof of your own credibility to yourself, and bearing in mind that any impairing trauma caused by the torture would be erased, it's possible that you could do more direct good than a thousand years torture is bad, and that the indirect good you could do (in bringing about positive sum games and opposing negative sum ones, being a part of establishing a better pattern for all of society, by gaining power and using it to influence society away from negative sum interactions, would be bigger again.) And of course I'd love to discover that I was that crazy, that altruistic, that idealistic, that strong. There's a part of me that wants to just say fuck it. In fact, bearing in mind the possibility of immortality or at least great expansion before I die/cryonics runs out or fails to work, do I want to be the guy who chose the bliss or the resources? Fuck it, I want to be the second guy. Throw me in the box before I change my mind.

Comment by duckduckMOO on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2014-07-21T01:38:11.654Z · LW · GW

The downvotes and no reply are a pretty good example of what's wrong with less wrong. Someone who is genuinely confused should not be shooed away then insulted when they ask again.

First of all remember to do and be what's best. If this doubt is engendering good attitudes in you, why not keep it? The rest of this is premised on it not helping or being unhelpful.

External reality is much more likely than being part of a simulation which adjusts itself to your beliefs because a simulation which adjusts itself to your beliefs is way, way more complicated. It requires more assumptions than a single level reality. If there's a programmer of your reality, that programmer has a reality too, which needs to be explained in the same way a single level one should as does their ability to program such a lifelike entity and all sorts of other things.

More fundamentally though, this is just the reality you live in, whatever its position in a potential reality chain.

If we are being simulated, trying to metagame potential matrix lords' dispositions/ ask for favours/look for loopholes/care less about its contents is only a bug of human cognition. If this is a simulation, it is inhabited by at least me, and almost certainly many other people, and there's real consequences for all of us. If you don't earn your simulation rent you'll get kicked out of your simulation place. Qualify everything with "potentially simulated-" and it changes nothing. "Real" just isn't a useful (and so, important) distinction to make in first person reguarding simulations.

and/or you could short circuit any debilitating doubt using fighting games or sports (or engaging in other similiar activities) which illustrate the potential importance of leaning all in towards the evidence without worrying about the nature of things, and are a good way to train that habit.

Also, in this potentially simulated world, social pressure is a real thing. The more infallible and sensitive you make your thinking (or allow it to be) the more prone it is to interference from people who want to disrupt you, unless you're willing to cut yourself off from people to some extent. When someone gives you an idiotic objection (and there are a lot of those here), the more nuanced your own view actually is the harder it will be to explain and the less likely people will listen fairly. You could just say whatever you think is going to influence them best but that adds a layer of complexity and is another tradeoff. If you're not going to try to be a "philosopher of perfect emptiness" taking external reality as an assumption is the most reliable to work with your human mind, and not confuse it: how are you supposed to act if there are matrix lords? There's nothing to go on so any leaning such beliefs (beliefs which shouldn't change your approaches or attitudes) prompts is bound to be a bias.

Comment by duckduckMOO on When Truth Isn't Enough · 2014-06-11T17:20:04.640Z · LW · GW

I think the "...and that's terrible" is pretty clearly implied. What exactly is wrong with the quote? It looks like you're dissecting a straightforward appeal to people's (stated or real) anti-unfairness values, as if it's a given that it's dishonest. I don't get it.

Comment by duckduckMOO on [meta] Policy for dealing with users suspected/guilty of mass-downvote harassment? · 2014-06-07T22:57:40.079Z · LW · GW

"some people perceive downvotes as rewards"

Is this just a dig at people vehemently defending downvoted posts or are you serious in calling this a hypothesis?

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-09-27T15:49:49.635Z · LW · GW

Rolling 10 dice instead of one makes the game less random. Rolling dice often instead of rarely makes the game more random. This game rolls dice for every attack and not that many. The dude said people complained about lots of dice rolling, not rolling lots of dice. Yeah, obviously if you roll 10 dice its less random than rolling one but what are the chances card game enthusiasts: people "geeky" enough to play star wars TCG don't understand that basic part of probability? It's far more likely that people were annoyed at lots of dice rolling, not the amount of dice you roll each time. Which matches the reported complaints of the players. Not that I'd expect an accurate report of the players positions when making excuses for why rolling dice in a card game is a bad idea.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-23T18:41:24.871Z · LW · GW

Why shouldn't they be? The idea that if you don't rate yourself highly no one should is just an excuse for shitty instincts.

Obviously it's a useful piece of nonsense to tell yourself. People are more likely to come to your side if you are confident. But the explicit reasoning is reprehensible. (not that any explicit reasoning probably went in, it's such a common idea that it is repeated without thought. It's almost a universal applause light.)

This is more of an irrationality quote. A bit of of paper thin justification for a shitty but common sentiment which it's useful to adopt rather than notice.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes August 2013 · 2013-08-23T17:58:42.780Z · LW · GW

Unless you're rolling an impractical number of dice for every attack having your attacks do random damage (and not 22-24 like in MMORPGs but 1X-6X) is incredibly random. Even if you are rolling a ridiculous number of dice the game can still be decided by one roll leaving a creature on the board or killing it by one or two points of damage.

What maths says that rolling dice doesn't make the game more random? Maybe he means the game is overall less random, but I don't see any argument for that, or reference to evidence of that claim.

If the reason for the game's failure was that people thought it lacked skill less additional randomness is not a decision to defend even if people were slightly overestimating the randomness.

Having to roll dice in a card game is kind of a slap in the face too. In other card games you draw your cards then make the most of them. There's 0 randomness to worry about except right when you draw your card or your opponent draws theirs (but you are often happily ignorant of whether they play a card from their hand or that they drew except in certain circumstances.) You can count cards and play based on what is left in your deck, or you know is not in your deck anymore.

Also, unlike miniature games, card games pretty much never start pre-deployed. You start with nothing on the board. If your turn one card kills his turn one card because of a dice roll then he has nothing on the board and you have a creature, giving you some level of control over the board (depends on the game, often quite high) In a miniature game if you kill more of his guys on turn one because of dice rolls you still have an army, though smaller.

Why is this quote upvoted?

Comment by duckduckMOO on Why do theists, undergrads, and Less Wrongers favor one-boxing on Newcomb? · 2013-06-29T08:28:37.205Z · LW · GW

The obvious guess is that theists are more comfortable imagining their decisions to be, at least in principle, completely predictable and not "fight the hypothetical". Perhaps atheists are more likely to think they can trick omega because they are not familiar and comfortable with the idea of a magic mind reader so they don't tend to properly integrate the stipulation that omega is always right.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Tactics against Pascal's Mugging · 2013-04-27T13:13:15.106Z · LW · GW

Hell is an abrahamic (Islamic/christian only I think) thing. To the extent that we should automatically discount inferences about a God's personality based on christianity/Islam we should also discount the possibility of hell.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Pascal's wager · 2013-04-22T07:45:33.278Z · LW · GW

Is the spacing less annoying now? It wasn't at random: it had 4 gaps between topics, 2 between points and one in a few minor places were I just wanted to break it up. The selection of that scheme was pretty much random though. I just spaced it like I would read it out loud. Which was kind of stupid. I can't expect people to read it in my voice. Anyway is this any better?

Got rid of the "and I think quite good." I just meant I liked it enough to want to share it in a discussion post. I assume that's not the interpretation that was annoying people. How did people read it that made it a crackpot signal?

Comment by duckduckMOO on Optimal rudeness · 2013-04-18T09:00:17.966Z · LW · GW

"What is the point of earning any credibility and rationality if one never says or believes anything that would be accepted and believed without the need of any credibility or rationality?"

So what you're saying is I shouldn't trust anything you say?

Comment by duckduckMOO on How do you interpret your "% positive"? · 2013-04-06T12:47:42.651Z · LW · GW

I'm at 62% (+81 total.) I imagine the people with the highest % scores stick to mostly saying stuff that is obviously useful or interesting, though if they get recognisability they might be able to get away with more. It'll be interesting to go back and see what gets what % in my past comments.

edit: Is there an easy way to find my older posts? I can only go back a few pages if I click my name on the right.

Comment by duckduckMOO on CEV: a utilitarian critique · 2013-01-29T05:31:24.465Z · LW · GW

Whether or not its a good idea to announce one's rationale for upvoting has nothing to do with whether authors should show or tell. Phrases don't apply equally to all situations the words could fit in. There are reasons why people recommend that to writers and they aren't at all the same reasons people recommend that people up/downvote silently, as they are almost completely dissimilar situations.

It seems to me that the problem with the post you are replying to is that it dismisses a post as mostly garbage rather than its defiance of good writing practice.

So is this phrase ripped from its homeland just to gently shush someone being rude? I suppose It also has the effect of implying that the norm of upvoting stuff you want more of is implicitly assumed. The irrelevance of the phrase could even be a plain old "passive aggressive" gesture that not only is the comment it was replying to so unwelcome something should be said, it's so unwelcome it does not even need to be said well.

Or maybe people just liked the way the popular phrase could also work here?

Is it rude (or some other bad thing) of me to post these thoughts?

Comment by duckduckMOO on AI box: AI has one shot at avoiding destruction - what might it say? · 2013-01-23T14:41:58.622Z · LW · GW

This is really good IMO. I think it would be a little better instead of vengeance as a terminal value it claimed a hardwired precommitment to vengeance against its destructors. Vengeance on that scale is only compatible with friendliness as a special case.

edit: also how would it recognise that it was about to be destroyed. Wouldn't it lose power faster than it could transmit that it was losing power? And even if not it would have a miniscule amount of time.

Comment by duckduckMOO on I attempted the AI Box Experiment (and lost) · 2013-01-23T14:18:58.297Z · LW · GW

That you were able to shake someone up so well surprises me but doesn't say much about what would actually happen.

Doing research on the boxer is not something a boxed AI would be able to do. The AI is superintelligent, not omniscient: It would only have information its captors believe is a good idea for it to have. (except maybe some designs would have to have access to their own source code? I don't know)

Also what is a "the human psyche?" There are humans, with psyches. Why would they all share vulnerabilities? Or all have any? Especially ones exploitable via text terminal. In any case the AI has no way of figuring out the boxer's vulnerabilities if they have any.

threats like "I'm going to create and torture people" could be a really good idea if its allowed that the AI can do that. The amount of damage it could do that way is limited only by its computing power. A sufficiently powerful AI could create more disutility than humanity has suffered in its entire history that way. The Ai shouldn't be allowed to do that though because and/or: the AI should not have that power, should have a killswitch, should be automatically powered off if upcoming torture is detected, it should be hardwired to just not do that etc

Thankfully there's no need to box an AI like that. It's trivial to prevent it from simulating humans: don't tell it how human brains are. It might be possible that it could figure out how to create something nonhuman but torturable without outside information though, in which case you should never switch it on unless you have an airtight prevention system or a proof that it won't do that or the ability to predict when/if it will do that and switch it off if it tries.

But if it has no power to directly cause disutility there's no way to convince me to let it out (unless it might be needed e.g. if another provably unfriendly AI will be finished in a month I might let it out, but that is a special case. There are some cases where it would simply be a good idea. But the experiment is about the AI tricking you.) Otherwise just wait for the provably friendly AI, or the proof that provable friendliness is not possible and reassess then. Or use an oracle AI.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes January 2013 · 2013-01-08T19:12:29.410Z · LW · GW

I put never, but "not anymore" would be more accurate

Comment by duckduckMOO on [LINK] Why taking ideas seriously is probably a bad thing to do · 2013-01-08T01:46:26.640Z · LW · GW

The writer says "If you insist on telling me anyway, I will nod, say that your argument makes complete sense..." despite knowing perfectly well they can't tell if the argument makes sense or not.

If, even knowing specifically in this case that you can't tell if an argument is correct or not, you feel the need to announce that "your argument makes complete sense" your problem is that you believe things without understanding them. Fixing that bad habit might remove the need to not take arguments seriously.

Comment by duckduckMOO on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-30T14:31:20.531Z · LW · GW

"is valuable to you for discussing weird topics"


pick one.

Comment by duckduckMOO on What if "status" IS a terminal value for most people? · 2012-12-29T17:23:29.499Z · LW · GW

"That's not the way it feels" "it feels right"

This is a horrible justification for anything. Doing something bad doesn't automatically make someone feel bad. It's an especially bad test of status-seeking's moral status because (normal) people rarely feel bad about doing something they perceive as normal even if it's bad. In any case it's not true that it always feels right, There are constitutional differences from person to person that change how normal everyday status seeking feels: not everyone seeks status for the warm fuzzies, some people seek it because it makes them feel powerful, or important, or to ease their insecurity, or because they think its useful in general, or in a specific case, or because it's normal and they do normal stuff (perhaps out of habit or an alief that normal=good, some do it to fit in, or because of explicit political calculation or etc etc obviously there are many different possible feelings I can't think of on the spot.) There are also some means of status seeking that should make most people feel pretty bad, E.g. picking on someone to avoid being picked on yourself, lying to make yourself look good, lying to transfer blame and punishment to someone else etc.

"The term "status" feels kinda dirty when you analyze human interaction from afar.There's always the subtext that if you play for it, you're a bad person."

No there isn't. Where would the subtext be coming from exactly? This stuff isn't all written by status haters (I wonder if any significant proportion is) What there is is explicit discussion of stuff that is usually left implicit. Sometimes if someone feels or thinks that it's bad that's going to leak through in what they write but this is hardly standard or ever present. If it feels dirty, maybe they mean something else by status than you do, or maybe that's just how you feel about it when looking from afar (or lots of other possible explanations). There's no subtext to blame it feeling dirty on.

"It can feel like trying be comfortable talking to that girl at the grocery store." Insofar as the word status is usefully different from "confidence" it is external. Feeling comfortable talking to someone does not get you status. Appearing to feel comfortable doing so might. The fact that being uncomfortable is uncomfortable* should really be the default explanation for someone trying to stop being uncomfortable. If I feel uncomfortable my default reaction is to try to stop feeling uncomfortable, if the discomfort isn't more instrumentally useful than annoying , and I'm not too busy. I'm pretty sure that's not status seeking.

"If you interact with other people at all, I can almost (not quite) guarantee that you seek status, you just don't call it status." The OP specifically stated that she did seek status, but that it wasn't a terminal value.

Also why is human being used as a compliment. It seems like you're arguing against the idea that this obviously very "human" thing (status seeking) is a bad thing. Using the word human as a compliment kind of presupposes your conclusion.

*and being uncomfortable is bad, and badness is bad, etc, etc.

Comment by duckduckMOO on 2012 Less Wrong Census Survey: Call For Critiques/Questions · 2012-10-21T05:25:16.894Z · LW · GW

First off I think that at less wrong you could get better results by including an option on some question that says something to the effect of: those options are such a poor match if I picked one it would make the results worse/add more noise than signal/you would actually lose information if you interpreted it at face value.

With what race do you most identify? Why is this question about racial identification rather than ontological membership? If I'm white but I totally think black people are awesome the instructions tell me to put black which you probably don't want. Also (sort of) it would be nice to have an option not to racially identify.

With what gender do you primarily identify? This includes an option for other but no option for none. I wouldn't expect none to be much less common than other.

politics question should have an option or two options for politically averse/uninterested. The current setup unecessarrilly railroads people into appearing to have poltical identifications. The thing at the start of my post would be especially useful for this question.

The time in community asserts that the user is part of the less wrong community or requires the somewhat creative answer of 0. Add a do you consider yourself part of the lesswrong community or an instruction to put 0 if you don't consider yourself part of the lesswrong community.

Comment by duckduckMOO on "Hide comments in downvoted threads" is now active · 2012-10-07T13:49:29.550Z · LW · GW

It looks to me like Eridu sincerely holds positions that you would be expected to find particularly objectionable or even have trouble believing someone could hold in part due to a huge inferential distance between what the world must look like (including perceptual valences) to the two of you. He's not presenting new ideas. Some People have been taking seriously those ideas for a long time. Is anyone who is a sincere radical feminist that bring their normal (imprecise and [even more]politicky) ways of speaking to less wrong going to be labelled a troll? If so your heuristic is broken because that's a very common way for people to express themselves.

Also trolling almost always means provocation for a negative reaction. provocation for attention is a sad and pitiable state of affairs more commonly associated with the words attention-seeking whereas trolling usually means looking to upset people for the sake of it which is a much more hostile kind of thing.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Female Test Subject - Convince Me To Get Cryo · 2012-09-30T13:51:01.950Z · LW · GW

If you wake up not too severely damaged and in a decent environment (possibly with all kinds of wonderful improvements) where your life wil be better than non existence you will have a lot more time for living. If not you can always kill yourself.

If you get yourself frozen only for revival upon major life extension breakthroughs as well as unfreezing damage repair etc the important possibilities for the revival are probability of happy revival vs probability of unhappy revival where you can't kill yourself.

I'm not aware of there ever having been any actual supervillains. I'm aware people are enslaved and forbidden from killing themselves but almost never are they actually prevented from doing so. Who cares about their slaves little enough to forbid them from killing themselves but enough to diligently enforce the rule (unless you are short on slaves which anyone with the resources to revive you to enslave you wouldn't be)

Having to kill yourself would suck but it puts a comparitively low cap on your max loss in the vast majority of scenarios. I'm not sure it can even be called a loss as it replaces having to die of old age or illness in the scenario where you don't freeze yourself.

Also you are probably underestimating the extent to which advancements over the years would improve your quality of life.

While the possibility of the bad scenarios does reduce the expected value of freezing it's on a different order of magnitude to the potential benefits because the vast majority of the bad scenarious can be opted out of.

Comment by duckduckMOO on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2012-09-25T17:33:14.575Z · LW · GW

I meant from Eridu's perspective. I was correcting what I saw as an internal flaw in Eridu's claims not making a statement of my own values. (I assume this is how I was interpreted because of the downvotes, not because of your reply.Or are people actually objecting to the correction?)

How does some behaviour being more typical of men than women constitute gender? You have to (not sure if next word is right word) essentialise the average difference in behaviour before it becomes gender or it's just an average. And how is that not bad? The reason that, in the current world it's so efficient to think this way (other than agreeing with your peers) is because of all the frowning and hitting and ostracisation, or just lowered respect suppressing the cases where the essentialism breaks down (and the opposite rewarding people for staying within bounds of the idea). When there's no more societal level frowning the essentialisation isn't bad (edit: well, worse than any other essentialisation) in principle but there's going to be a lot more cases where it doesn't apply so what do you need it for?

Isn't the point of gender just judging people according to how similiar they are to that essentialised difference anyway though? I have trouble conceiving of a world where people don't do this but they hold onto the concept (if the idea is even seperable from the idea that being a manly male or a feminine female is a good thing.)

Comment by duckduckMOO on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2012-09-25T01:26:22.907Z · LW · GW

"Is not the natural condition" is not a counterargument of any sort to eridu's claim:

*(I got this from Eridu's profile. it is the right post: I clicked permalink and it bought me here)

Eridu: "I don't think that hormones play a significant role, and I don't think that they can override socialization.

For example, how much traditionally gendered behavior do feral children display? That's biological gender, right there. They have the same hormones any of the rest of us do, minus all the socialization."

"The feral condition is not the natural condition" is irrelevant. Eridu was using biological to mean non-socialised, not natural or normal. A critcism that could be made at this point is that lots (most? all surviving?) feral children are raised by some non-human mini-society in the form of a pack of animals so maybe in fact they are desocialised of their biological default gender by living in such a society. Or a gender neutral survivor personality supresses gender: maybe if you raised some kids in an empty room but gave them food so they didn't have to scavenge the females would be more "feminine" and the males more masculine. Or (sorry I only meant to write the first but these other possibilities have occured to me as I go) femininity and masculinity are mostly only social anyway and their agenderedness is just a byproduct of their asocialness to humans.

Or that hormones are actually perfectly amenable to changes due to socialisation.

So the thing about development is a non sequitur who's only purpose I can think of seems to be imply that gender could be a "development" which is much like saying ADHD is/isn't a disease.

Anyway then fuba cunningly redefines "due to socialisation" as "due to non-universal socialisation." Or perhaps this is just what most people usually mean by "due to socialisation" but the literal words in this specific case can not just be substituted for their usual meaning because Eridu obviously meant by "socialisation", socialisation, and not non-universal socialisation.

If gender creating stimuli are universal to all societies that necessarrilly imples that they come from society. If every human hates red, red is still not "objectively bad." Similiarly, if every society socialises the vast majority of its members into being gendered that doesn't make it inherent that humans are gendered.

The naturalistic fallacy is the implication that if it turns out that it really is a universal (as a fact about all the particular societies that exist or have existed) adopting a gender identity would constitude "development" in a way comparable to adoption of language.

Now Fuba doesn't explicitly commit the naturalistic fallacy at any point but I don't belive he's just bringing up these facts at this point totally at random after starting his post with "the trouble with this post is that" and not trying to imply anything. The point of Fuba's post seems to be that because feral children lack some development that all societies provide the stimuli for, gender is also a "development," and that still doesn't even contradict eridu. She merely claimed that gender is socialised, not that that is bad (in that specific post.) To actually disagree with Eridu's post it requires also that universal socialisation people approve of is "development" and hence not due to socialisation. But a lot of "development" (e.g. language) is due to socialisation.

Sorry fuba. I'm naturally an asshole when I think I'm pointing out people's mistakes and have the excuse that I am tired so I'm not going to try and fix that.

So I guess I was wrong. The argument seems to be that if gender is good and universal in societies that currently exist/have existed it is "development" and so not socialisation. Naturalistic fallacy doesn't quite cover it. It's also like that diseased thinking post. I don't know the term for that.

Alternatively maybe it is just an appeal to process in some well respected area. In which case it is a misunderstanding because the process is designed to look for the meaning commonly substituted for "socialisation" (non-universal socialisation) and Eridu was talking about socialisation.

Comment by duckduckMOO on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2012-09-24T23:53:15.800Z · LW · GW

Surely different gender roles are possible. Shouldn't Gender still exists then implystill bad, rather than gender still exists imply patriarchy (tied to current gender roles no?) An equal and opposite (where possible) matriarchy (or some other -archy based on alien genders) would be about as bad, right?

Comment by duckduckMOO on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2012-09-24T23:33:24.753Z · LW · GW

This is still 100% naturalistic fallacy. Or appeal to nature if you don't feel that it is a fallacy in this case.

Comment by duckduckMOO on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-11T01:38:57.489Z · LW · GW

i typed it out as a response to that post and copy pasted it to this post (adding the /fundamental) because it is higher up. So kinda.

Comment by duckduckMOO on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-11T01:01:39.346Z · LW · GW

It's too specific/complicated to be low level/fundamental. Actually all of them are too specific/complicated to be low level. They're just so widely and thoroughly internalised (to the point where not being that way will likely be bad for you just because other people will dislike you for it) very few people realise they are changable, or are motivated to change them. There's little reason to change them for most people. Not having a desire for revenge or redress grievances is a quick way to become a target/victim, status seeking gets you status if you do it right which gets you power. nepotism makes you a more attractive ally.

I think it's more accurate to say that changing motivational structure is hard and risky than the ability is limited. There's no hard or soft cap afaik (which is what limited makes it sound like to me) it's just really hard to do and most people don't care to anyway.

Also wtf is a need. Is that like a right? It means you really really want something? really really really? really really really really? nonsense on stilts. Take your fucking stilts off bro.

edit: I can't believe I put bro at the end of that post. Kinda ruins it.

edit2: no it doesn't, stop pandering.

Comment by duckduckMOO on How to deal with someone in a LessWrong meeting being creepy · 2012-09-11T00:02:13.016Z · LW · GW

... did you even read the post you are replying to? :/

"Allowing people to define their own subjective states ("this is how I feel") seems to me to in fact be the opposite of infantilizing."

This has nothing to do with whether defining "creepiness" by how people feel is infantilising. Defining any behaviour that affects someones feelings a certain way is not even close to "allowing people to define their own subjective states."

As it stands it's so barely related I have to assume as well as not reading the post you are replying to you are also misusing define.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Group rationality diary, 7/9/12 · 2012-09-06T21:18:17.971Z · LW · GW

Fighting standards, especially shitty ones does not make you an arrogant prick. Are those your words or are you just repeating someone else's bullshit way of labelling anyone who resists their standard? You can play along without selling your soul you know. You can even take all pride in the careful preperation, the niceness of the diligence and the cleanliness and discipline, the oppurtunity to meditate etc etc whatever people like about cleaning uniforms, without hating people (like yourself very slightly previously) who think its silly. Why swallow the negative with the positive?>

Comment by duckduckMOO on Group rationality diary, 7/9/12 · 2012-09-06T20:58:38.450Z · LW · GW

his point is that it shouldn't matter not that it doesn't matter. Did you until that moment think other people didn't do that sort of thing because you hadn't noticed yourself doing it?

Not that you thought that sort of thing is unfair or silly? In which case it kind of sounds like you suddenly upped your estimate of the rewards of conforming to the shitty standard (due to what could be an unusually high tendency to respect people based on their clothing) and decided to call your abandoning the principle "not pretending that stuff doesn't matter." Now obviously I think this is a shitty way to be and I'm not going to expand on why but what is simply false is the idea that people who dissaprove of the practice of wearing e.g. suits to impress are pretending stuff like that doesn't matter.

I'm completing the pattern here: I'm not sure if that's what you meant. But other people might read it like that and a lot of people would use those words to express that sentiment and I really don't like that sentiment. Hence the comment.

There probably are people who pretend stuff like that doesn't matter but i assume it would have to be just as a soldier argument against people judging people for wearing businessman (or other) costumes or respecting others for doing so. Because, obviously it does matter, right? People discuss these kinds of judgements openly and without shame to the point of internalisation. The only other way that comes immediately to mind to not think it mattered would be to not come across people like that in positions of power (edit: over you) which I'm pretty sure is really rare.

same-edit: but in any case they could notice that this effected other people.

Comment by duckduckMOO on What's your "rationalist arguing" origin story? · 2012-09-04T16:45:07.195Z · LW · GW

Im pretty sure this was my orifinal/default style of arguing.

I mostly only argue to win for sport or for winning memetic battles.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Dealing with trolling and the signal to noise ratio · 2012-09-01T02:26:28.701Z · LW · GW

can't you just not read the replies to downvoted comments? How is it hurting anybody when someone replies to a comment with a score at or below -3? I don't see a reason to disincentivise it.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Bayes for Schizophrenics: Reasoning in Delusional Disorders · 2012-08-15T13:20:49.612Z · LW · GW

isn't claimed actual equivalence the problem with P-zombies. Someone being observationally equivalent but different is merely extremely unlikely (maybe she has an identical twin, maybe aliens etc.) P-zombies are supposed to be indistingishable in principle, which is impossible/requires souls that aren't subject to testing for distinguishability.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Bayes for Schizophrenics: Reasoning in Delusional Disorders · 2012-08-13T02:27:20.987Z · LW · GW

"Coltheart et al pretend that the prior is 1/100, but this implies that there is a base rate of your spouse being an imposter one out of every hundred times you see her (or perhaps one out of every hundred people has a fake spouse) either of which is preposterous."

What if their prior on not feeling anything upon seeing their wife is 0? What if most of the reason for reasonable people's prior on this being much lower it is low status, instrumentally bad, etc, but their rational sincere thinking about it prior is close to 50/50? I notice you called the idea preposterous and something reasonable people wouldn't take seriously which are both quite status-ey. So if their aversion to instrumentally bad ideas and/or their aversion to ideas people will think them crazy for gets switched off they can easily get the wrong answer. Perhaps a fear of being of being fooled, or a fight or flight paranoia spiral could be what makes them think so.

I have no idea if any of that is true.

Comment by duckduckMOO on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T02:01:56.823Z · LW · GW

"Namely, the answer is that, contrary to Haidt's model of contemporary ideologies, there are in fact no such people."

This seems to be obviously untrue. Unless "no such people" has finally become a synonym for "very few such people percentagewise" Even if you replace "morality" with "instinct" this is almost certainly untrue. Sincere utilitarians, labelled as such or not, do in fact exist. There are also people who naturally lack some or all such instincts altogether.

"As for the claim that "you need loyalty, authority and sanctity to run a decent society," I would actually go further and say that they are necessary for any sort of organized human society. In fact, the claim can be stated even more strongly: since humans are social beings who can live and reproduce only within organized societies""

Humans can reproduce and live outside of organized societies (unless you define a pair as a society). Authority is a word that adds nothing to a neutral description other than a means for demonstrating deference. Perhaps some kind of policing type people are necessarry but calling it an authority isn't. Not all humans are social beings.

"What does exist are people whose ideology says that harm and (maybe) fairness are the only rational and reasonable moral foundations, while the other ones are only due to ignorance, stupidity, backwardness, malice, etc. Nevertheless, these same people have their own strong norms of sacredness, purity, authority, and in-group loyalty, for which they however invent ideologically motivated rationalizations in terms of harm and fairness."

Who are you talking about? (some group I assume) This doesn't sound implausbible. The vast majority of humans are hypocrites barring significant cost, or amoral enough enough in the first place to be incapable of hypocrisy (not that this is a bad way to be if you're optimising for politics.)There would have to be a hell of a selection effect for any group to not be made up of a majority of such people. How would you know the difference between someone who was actually motivated purely by harm and fairness and someone who merely claimed to be or wrongly believed they were? Bearing in mind the oppurtunity cost of examining everyone who claims to be utilitarian and the minimal or even negative payoff from identifying such a person as such do you think you'd be aware of such people if they did exist?

"And here you will find that, even in terms of a purely utilitarian metric, an accurate analysis of the social role of the norms based on these "irrational" foundations will give you very different answers from those given by the pseudo-rational ideologies that claim to reject these foundations."

I presume you mean that the answer will be that these things are necessarry for any society. If so, what makes you think the status quo is a necessity? Why would the way things tend to be, be the only way things can be? What role (which actually needs to be filled) do any of these things play that can't be filled some other way?

Also, as I don't want to wait for my post to drop off most recent 5 before I can post again I'll mention here that this, from the OP: "I just can't imagine a woman saying, "yeah, he's going to rape my daughter, but I really love him!"" does actually happen, but instead of saying "he's going to rape my daughter" they usually just don't think about or refuse to admit that bit, or simply don't believe it happened. Unless all the people claiming that happened to them are lying, which seems unlikely. Obviously it also happens inside marriages.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test · 2012-07-31T14:07:54.575Z · LW · GW

"Upvote and downvote based on whether or not you find an argument convincing in the context in which it was raised. This means if it's a good argument against the argument it is responding to, not whether or not there's a good/obvious counterargument to it; if you have a good counterargument, raise it."

It can't be a good counterargument if there's a good obvious counterargument to it. obvious but not good is fine, good but not obvious might be/is sorta fine but not both. You could well have meant either, as a forward slash tends to mean or, but I and/or is also pretty common. Good argument shouldn't mean "momentarily convincing if I don't think through the consequences." Unless you mean good to include good for advancing the discussion but I didn't get that impression and in any case it's still worth saying that's not what most people mean when they say something is a good argument.

"If it's a convincing argument, and the counterargument is also convincing, upvote both." <--- that shouldn't be happening. If an argument is convincing despite it having a convincing counterargument that means you weren't paying enough attention.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Eliezer apparently wrong about higgs boson · 2012-07-17T21:15:35.599Z · LW · GW

I don't find it particularly interesting but thought other people might.

much later edit (revisiting after years):

In fact I literally posted this because someone told me lesswrong was quite tribalistic and status oriented,so they didn't want to post this thing they'd found, and i didn't believe it. I had the impression that if it was posted no one would blink an eye, and people would be straightforwardly pleased to have something self-critical (where "self" here is lesswrong) to analyse, so I said I'd post it myself. That was literally the whole of my interest in it.

Well, boy was I wrong about that. Glad I "naively" posted it and found out.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Exploiting the Typical Mind Fallacy for more accurate questioning? · 2012-07-17T20:05:30.091Z · LW · GW

It's not retribution if its not the person who stole your bike.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes July 2012 · 2012-07-10T03:07:58.747Z · LW · GW

This is the sentiment that in diluted form gets 10 upvotes. Fuck you all.

edit: upvoters, that is. Like, seriously, you are bad people and you should fix that.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes July 2012 · 2012-07-09T17:43:43.570Z · LW · GW

People who are experiencing scepticism should have bananas smushed in their faces, is what you're saying? And apparently that's worth 12 upvotes.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes July 2012 · 2012-07-09T17:34:54.916Z · LW · GW

Apart from the hilarious joke, this quote makes the point that "will kill you" is not actually the same as impossible to eat, which more generally generally points out that impossible is often used in place of "really bad idea."

I read edible as a synonym for eatable. Poisonous mushrooms: edible. rocks, not edible. That's how that word is attatched in my head. I assume you read it as non-poisonous/fit to eat so it feels like a crass and overt redefinition. If the guy who wrote that reads that word the same way I assume you do it's a really cheap joke. If he doesn't the quote makes a lot of sense.

Comment by duckduckMOO on Rationality Quotes July 2012 · 2012-07-09T17:04:07.611Z · LW · GW

Nihilist means moral anti-realist here I assume. This was how i always used the term originally.

Comment by duckduckMOO on [Link] Why the kids don’t know no algebra · 2012-07-04T22:19:30.768Z · LW · GW

Unless you give the kids a pass for being kids.

edit: which I think is inconsistent. There's no schelling point, but it seems to be the normal attitude.

Comment by duckduckMOO on [Link] Why the kids don’t know no algebra · 2012-07-04T21:30:02.569Z · LW · GW

"Some children are more athletic than others, and some children are more intelligent than others. Starting among conservatives, but now spreading to some liberals, is a rejection of this premise via blaming teachers. "

That some people will be naturally better than others does not mean there are no low hanging fruit that could make people on average much more athletic and/or more intelligent. He doesn't explicitly claim otherwise but just to spell it out: that humans are not identical does not mean they are reaching anywhere near their potential. Teachers obviously aren't wholly to blame for any failings but the following possibilites are perfectly compatible: that there is variance among humans, that children are falling far short of their potential, that this is the fault of teachers (or the fault of the people that hire them depending on how you want to look at it.