## Posts

On calling inconceivable what you've already conceived. 2016-11-27T08:19:48.120Z
Meetup : Urbana-Champaign: Dystheism Beta Testing and Game Design Discussion 2015-03-14T13:40:32.995Z
Meetup : Urbana-Champaign: Tortoises 2014-09-16T03:14:27.316Z

Comment by Jack_LaSota on On calling inconceivable what you've already conceived. · 2016-11-28T04:00:20.580Z · LW · GW

When humans try to process undefined statements we don't crash. Instead we conceive something that seems like it could be meaningful, even if it's inconceivable.

Physics is consistent. Humans are physics. "What a human would predict from this inconsistent set of statements" is often consistent and unambiguous as most communication. I think this is a necessary tool for thinking about law.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on On calling inconceivable what you've already conceived. · 2016-11-27T17:58:54.532Z · LW · GW

Logically inconsistent implies inconceivable, right? Falsely attributing a paradox is a way of issuing a false positive for inconceivability. The rest of the post is an example of falsely attributing a paradox and concluding inconceivability, when someone already has the concept.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on The correct response to uncertainty is *not* half-speed · 2016-01-17T20:01:46.580Z · LW · GW

I agree, for a certain sense of the word "clearly". The procedure is to make you clearly understand the implications of the situation, which can be harder for some instantiations of the situation.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on The correct response to uncertainty is *not* half-speed · 2016-01-16T18:33:38.702Z · LW · GW

Anyone have a better procedure for fixing this than the following?

1. Notice the feeling.
2. Treat it as a signal that your S1 wants you to search for cheaper ways to figure out which option is right than continuing to drive. Search for cheaper ways and execute them. Make it a thorough search and show your S1 the thoroughness of your search. Acknowledge the awfulness of "drive back and forth in an expensive search pattern" and only choose that as a last resort.
3. If you don't immediately become much more certain of which way the hotel is in, and the "go 30mph" feeling does not go away, treat it as a signal that your S1 thinks the thought process by which you chose (under evidence-starvation) is wrong, which does not necessarily mean that the conclusion is wrong.
4. List the ways your S1 thinks you're biased which are screwing up your evidenced-starved reasoning.
5. Perform sanity-inducing rituals to counter those biases. (Think about your actual goal of getting to the hotel as soon as possible, forgive yourself for maybe driving past it, imagine all 4 outcomes (60mph forward, 60mph backward) x (get to hotel on next try after this, don't get to hotel on next try after this) and how you would feel about them)
6. If the feeling is still there, this procedure has failed.
Comment by Jack_LaSota on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-30T12:22:24.378Z · LW · GW

"There is nothing for the correspondence theory of truth to correspond to" is a feature, not a bug. Because this is one of those philosophical debates which is really just a choice of definition. "Something is true if it corresponds to reality" is just a definition, and definitions don't have truth* value.

*truth defined in a way that I think is pretty useful to define it, which is what we're usually looking for when we pick definitions.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-03T13:50:22.398Z · LW · GW

Casting a true Patronus is not about the absence of fear of death. It's about "The will to defeat death, not just for yourself but for everyone, through your own strength".

The Mirror's desire detection is unfoolable. Which means that the Confundus made Voldemort-Dumbledore actually want to see Dumbledore's family in the afterlife. Voldemort's thought-patterns leaked through, which started unraveling things the Confundus made him believe/want, but before that he did actually believe/want them.

If the Confundus can make someone really want that, it can make them really want to defeat death not just for themself but for everyone through their own strength.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-03-01T22:19:27.003Z · LW · GW

If a Confundus can fool the Mirror, it can fool the true Patronus charm. If Hermione can eventually kill any Dementors, she can eventually kill all of them. Finding more people who can cast the true Patronus, and letting them handle an eventual end of the world scenario is a much smaller problem than a prophecy of doom.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108 · 2015-02-23T01:37:33.856Z · LW · GW

Apologies if someone else has suggested this before. I'm not going to read enough comments to find out. But why doesn't Harry just say in Parseltongue, "If you let me conquer the world, you will be more happy, and have more fun." Harry can totally deliver with his transhumanist future by uplifting normal people so they aren't "idiots" that bore Voldemort, and giving him the kind of rivals he wants to fight with. Like, worst case he has to leave a planet or whatever of shitty conditions where Voldemort personally fucks people up, because that's the only thing that will satisfy him. But it's still worth it for the improved chance to get the rest of the universe.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T14:59:59.033Z · LW · GW

Things I notice I'm confused by: If Quirrel needs Harry's help to get the stone, why didn't he just ask? (Edit: okay, he did ask. But why didn't just ask earlier? And why is he playing all these tricky games?) I mean, it already worked for freeing Bellatrix. If there's a disturbance which Dumbledore suspects is a distraction, why did he send only Snape, rather than several aurors/coming himself?

What could Quirrel need Harry for? In canon, Harry could get the stone because he wanted to find it, not to use it, or something like that? But this Harry definitely wants to use it.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Rationality Quotes January 2015 · 2015-01-04T20:06:01.553Z · LW · GW

Most of the time what we see is developers trying to minmax, micro-optimize and balance their designs, but when addressing metrics as a tool to achieve that goal, they acknowledge the relevance of the tool and at the same time their eyes wander, looking for someone else to talk to. I believe it is a human trait: when we don't know exactly how to do something, we will do anything else, procrastinating the blurry task indefinitely.

Nicholas Francis

Comment by Jack_LaSota on My third-of-life crisis · 2014-11-16T22:01:03.303Z · LW · GW

I will acknowledge there's a huge component of pride in this. I don't want to give my family an opportunity to tell me they were right in their choices all along. When I joined the publishing company after three years in various call centers, my brother described it as "finally seeing sense."

Your family was already either right or wrong. If you are choosing in order to not follow their advice, instead of choosing in accordance with what you think is the best way to achieve your goals, they are controlling you just as surely as if they were picking a career for you that wasn't the best way to achieve your goals.

Being free of your parents means that you don't worry about what they say.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2014-11-04T22:49:48.047Z · LW · GW

Rationality doesn't have to be opposed to emotion. Most rationalists I know see emotion as playing a similar role in humans as a utility function plays in an agent. The other stuff decides what you believe, but emotion helps you decide what to do about it. Of course, there is stoic-style rationality, but that's a minority position here. Also the real people I have known to advocate it don't recommend getting rid of all emotions, just harmful ones. Also see this.

There can be epistemic risks to emotion; you can't wishfully think if you wish for nothing, for example. But if you wish for nothing, why would you care whether your beliefs were accurate? Anyway, I think it's possible to learn to cut down on wishful thinking a lot by practice in being suspicious of your thoughts in general, and by internalizing the idea here. Even though it's only partly true.

If you think of rationality of a fight you have with yourself, and your emotions as enemies to be vanquished, you will make becoming rational much harder than if you think of them as misguided friends to be guided to accomplish your shared goals better. See this.

My friends and family, even if they think I'm weird, don't seem to be really bothered by the fact that I'm weird, so your dilemma is outside of my experience. But one thing I can tell you is that I used to de-emphasize my weirdness around them, and then I stopped, and found that being unapologetically weird is a lot more fun.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-11T04:18:21.496Z · LW · GW

A novice asked master Banzen: “What separates the monk from the master?”

Banzen replied: “Ten thousand mistakes!”

The novice, not understanding, sought to avoid all error. An abbot observed and brought the novice to Banzen for correction.

Banzen explained: “I have made ten thousand mistakes; Suku has made ten thousand mistakes; the patriarchs of Open Source have each made ten thousand mistakes.”

Asked the novice: “What of the old monk who labors in the cubicle next to mine? Surely he has made ten thousand mistakes.”

The Codeless Code

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Rationality Quotes October 2014 · 2014-10-09T17:19:23.658Z · LW · GW

That, and for certain kinds of fences, if there is an obvious benefit to taking one down, it's better to just take it down and see what breaks, then maybe replace it if it wasn't worth it, than to try and figure out what the fence is for without the ability to experiment.

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Rationality Quotes September 2014 · 2014-09-09T23:50:34.893Z · LW · GW

My transformation begins with me getting tired of my own bullshit.

Skeletor is Love

Comment by Jack_LaSota on Rationality Quotes September 2014 · 2014-09-07T17:01:06.144Z · LW · GW

Katara: Do you think we'll really find airbenders?

Sokka: You want me to be like you, or totally honest?

Katara: Are you saying I'm a liar?

Sokka: I'm saying you're an optimist. Same thing, basically.

-Avatar: The Last Airbender