One issue: teach 10 or sway 200? 2013-07-16T21:33:24.852Z · score: -4 (7 votes)


Comment by jdm on One issue: teach 10 or sway 200? · 2013-07-16T22:10:18.684Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I would assume that both groups have similar influence, but you can hand select ten near the most influential of the group you are convincing.

I would also assume those converted to a rational view would be relatively difficult to change back, while those swayed would be subject to the same biases you used to sway them in the first place.

Perhaps this was a foolish question, but even having my question picked apart is providing more for me to think about.

Comment by jdm on One issue: teach 10 or sway 200? · 2013-07-16T21:51:21.613Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That is a fair point. I would assume that it is an issue that will have a noticeble difference on those involved, but not a catastrophic one if lost (no apocalypse, for example).

Comment by jdm on Perpetual Motion Beliefs · 2013-06-17T01:32:39.592Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If it were something too open to debate, it would take away from the point.

The point is as stated. There is a non-zero probability it will happen, so you shouldn't use "certain", but any reasonable person will act on the belief it isn't going to happen.

If he used religion, which is also extremely unlikely to be correct, it would distract from the point.

Comment by jdm on Prisoner's Dilemma (with visible source code) Tournament · 2013-06-09T03:55:49.003Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There is a difference between a "tribe system" as mentioned by yourself and one person winning by submitting 1000 entries. The goal as I understand it is simply to maximize your score by whatever means possible, not accurately guess your opponents intentions.

Comment by jdm on Leaky Generalizations · 2013-06-09T03:49:04.972Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think the statement "the end doesn't justify the means" is somewhat silly in it's own right. While it would typically be argued in the sense that killing someone to improve someone else's life is not OK, for example, would the person dying not be equally a part of the end as the other's life improving? It seems more likely to result in double counting or a similar fallacy to try to separate an action into end and means in the first place, when everything already has an impact on the end in some way.

That said, the understood meaning is not the same as its literal value, and the meaning closer to how it is understood of "consider all the consequences of your actions" does have value.

Comment by jdm on What Evidence Filtered Evidence? · 2013-06-09T02:45:00.239Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is very possible I don't understand this properly, but assuming you have knowledge of what strength of evidence is possible, could you start at 0.5 and consider strong arguments (relative to possible strength) as increasing the possibility and weak arguments as decreasing the possibility instead? With each piece of evidence you could increase the point at which weak arguments are viewed as having a positive effect, so numerous weak arguments could still add up to a decently high probability of the box containing the diamond.

For example, if arguments are rated in strength from 0 to 1, and most arguments would not be stronger than .5, my approach would be as follows for each piece of evidence:

Piece 1: Probability += (strength-.25)

Piece 2: probability += (strength-.22)

Piece 3: probability += (strength-.20)


I am of course oversimplifying the math, and looking at how you are approaching stoppage, perhaps this isn't actually effectively much different from your approach. But this approach is more intuitive to me than considering stopping a separate event on its own. If he is struck by lightning, as mentioned several times throughout this discussion, it is hard to view this in the same light as if he had stopped on his own as an independent event, but I am not sure the difference is enough that the probability of the diamond being in the box should be substantially different in the two cases.

Can someone clear up what issues there are with my approach? It makes more sense to me and if it is wrong, I would like to know where.

Comment by jdm on Rationality is Systematized Winning · 2013-06-07T19:34:20.672Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The first definition from google - Be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict).

This is no different than I or most people would define it, and I don't think it contradicts with how I used it.

Comment by jdm on Rationality is Systematized Winning · 2013-06-07T01:47:10.230Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think you're defining "winning" too strictly. Sometimes a minor loss is still a win, if the alternative was a large one.

Comment by jdm on How to Be Happy · 2013-06-05T14:46:46.270Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You're on the wrong site to sell that voodoo shit.

Comment by jdm on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2013-06-04T23:33:28.642Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I think your point that she took a lot of flak for it is evidence for the original point. The only other reasonable responses to that could have been changing her mind on the spot, or disputing the data, and neither of those responses would have brought similar backlash on her. Conceding weak points to your arguments in politics is often looked upon as a weakness when it shouldn't be.

Comment by jdm on A Fable of Science and Politics · 2013-06-04T22:46:35.046Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Whether religion was ultimately the "cause of the crusades" is debatable, but it was the reason used to sell it to the masses. Surely a similar scenario could occur in the "blue vs green" debate outlined above.

Comment by jdm on Open Thread, January 16-31, 2013 · 2013-06-04T18:44:30.499Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also keep in mind that you're going to have to deal with assholes once you hit the real world. While protecting children from them at young ages is an idealistic goal, at some level you will have to learn to face them. In a lot of less than extreme circumstances, you can learn and improve strategies to handle them.

Comment by jdm on Burdensome Details · 2013-06-04T17:42:14.752Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Irrelevant. If there is any possible explanation where he provides the support without that specific deal, it is automatically less likely that both happen, even if the most likely scenario (90%+) of supporting unwed mothers is given said deal. If it is the only possibility, the scenarios would be equally likely; the conjunction could still not possibly be more likely.

Comment by jdm on Open Thread, January 16-31, 2013 · 2013-06-03T23:27:25.127Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not trying to imply that bullying is good by any means. I also don't think it is nearly as terrible as it is portrayed to be. It is extremely dramatized by the media because of the few instances where it is extreme and the bullied takes extreme action. In a lot of cases "bullying" is minor in nature and not significantly different than other "initiation rites" at higher ages. I am all for teachers doing their best to prevent bullying, but some minor things should be let go.

As for homeschooling, for a parent considering it I would add the pro that you can increase the pace of the cirriculum to keep your child from getting bored by mindless repetition. Again from personal experience, I could have learned several classes (particularly math) much faster than it is taught in a public school environment, and as a result I didn't do homework (I would get 70's in classes counting homework as 30%) because I didn't think I was learning anything. So being able to pace classes efficiently would be a significant pro for homeschooling.

I would once more emphasize the positives of social interaction, and find a way, whether through sports, or preferably a way involving both sexes, to make sure your child is getting that interaction. My point on bullying isn't that I think it's a net positive, just that the negatives aren't as extreme as portrayed in the media and aren't enough to seriously cut into the benefits of the socialization.

Comment by jdm on Circular Altruism · 2013-06-03T18:45:40.587Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not disputing the validity of the thought process. I don't think the example was well chosen, however. A dust speck, ignoring externalities, doesn't affect anything. Using even a pinprick would have made the example far better.

Comment by jdm on Circular Altruism · 2013-06-03T16:55:19.825Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's an extremely hypothetical situation. However, why should it, ignoring externalities as the problem required, be measured at any disutility? That dust speck has no impact on my life in any way, other than making me blink. No pain is involved.

Comment by jdm on Circular Altruism · 2013-06-03T16:01:55.633Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would simply argue that a dust speck has 0 disutility.

Comment by jdm on Competent Elites · 2013-06-02T16:55:57.190Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Absolutely. That is the reason for the speculation I provided in the second paragraph. Innate ability is also a large factor, and I think, while improving your charisma is useful for anyone, some intelligent people, primarily those without as much natural ability, pass this up as "not of value".

Comment by jdm on Competent Elites · 2013-06-02T15:48:57.396Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The correlation between IQ and leadership is absolutely there, because some baseline IQ is a prerequisite for reasonable leadership ability. You can't lead without basic logic abilities or some ability to see patterns, and I would consider leadership and charisma as aspects of intelligence. I made that comment elsewhere in reply to a different comment. However, neither is easy to measure objectively, and these abilities are not measured on an IQ test. It is very possible to have a genius-level IQ and be awful with people.

I would possibly even go farther. I would guess that high IQ people are likely to be closer to the extrema of leadership skills than the general population. Intelligent people who are naturally good with people can apply their intelligence to improving their people skills, and bring themselves closer to the higher extreme. Meanwhile, those closer to the lower extreme are probably more likely than the average person to throw themselves into projects they are good at and decide social interactions are a waste of their time.

That second paragraph is entirely speculation and I have no data to back it up, however, I think the point that while there is some correlation, it is not strong, and that more data would be useful in the original study proposed, is valid.

Comment by jdm on Competent Elites · 2013-06-02T03:25:36.142Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Causation probably runs both ways on this one. There is a lot of evidence that richer and more-respected people are happier and healthier. Various explanations have been tried to explain this, including the explanation that health causes career success.

What about a third factor being the crucial decider in both, such the ability to handle/minimize stress levels? As you rise nearer to the top, stress increases. Those most able to adapt to it continue to rise, because high stress levels have a negative effect on brain function, and eventually the people who can't handle the stress are forced to fold. Stress also weakens the immune system and has other negative effects on health.

Logically it should hold that being able to effectively decrease stress would maximize both your chance to rise to the top and your health.

Comment by jdm on Competent Elites · 2013-06-02T03:12:39.374Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

IQ isn't good enough. It's not the only talent required to lead. People have to want to work for you and see your vision. I believe leadership ability and charisma should reasonably be considered aspects of intelligence, but they're not the type that would show up on an IQ test.

Comment by jdm on Competent Elites · 2013-06-02T02:50:59.410Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Are people skills, charisma, and leadership not at least partially an aspect of intelligence?

Comment by jdm on Open Thread, January 16-31, 2013 · 2013-06-01T15:34:54.448Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This may be only anecdotal evidence, but I would consider being bullied for a bit a positive net influence in my life for a couple reasons:

  • I have always been somewhat arrogant. While being bullied did not decrease said arrogance, or even immediately result in any changes, when I looked back and saw how people treating me made me feel, it became somewhat of a motivator to mask some of my arrogance to spare others feelings. As knowing the right people can make a large difference in various opportunities, I feel some opportunities I have received had I not learned to mask said arrogance.

  • Eventually you learn to deal with it. While bullying to the extreme someone kills themself is clearly bad, and in other cases it can seriously damage people's psyches, for others "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I learned that while there are some people you can "make" like you by acting differently, some people are just shitty people and not worth your time. There's a balance between the social benefits of people liking you and the stress of ping too far to being a people pleaser.

This is far from an advocation of bullying, but without it those lessons would have been much harder to come by.

I feel the social benefits, even accepting the risk that bullying could happen and have a significantly negative influence, outweigh a lot of the benefits of homeschooling. I would most likely take an approach similar to my own parents'. I went to a public school, and when I came home I had a library of thousands of books to browse and read from. I still was able to get the benefits of being able to teach myself, but without the loss of social interaction (even parentally provided social interaction doesn't match up, in my opinion, as the people you're interacting with will likely be far less varied in nature).

Comment by jdm on Boring Advice Repository · 2013-06-01T03:08:12.551Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wasn't the most social person when I started hanging out with the fraternity I ended up joining, so I did some of that at first, even when I did drink. It took some time to get out of my shell a little. I have since improved with that, indicated by the fact that I was voted to be president, with the main job of being the "face" of the house. I do my best to help people who are in that role become more involved, whether they choose to drink or not, because I was in a similar role my first year. Some people, and it does generally seem to be the non-drinkers, resist that, and they mostly end up not coming back. Drinking is far from all we do, but it's one of the ways we relax and get to know people, so people not being social to at least some extent do end up treated differently.

My recommendation if you don't drink and go to social situations where people do is to simply have a good time. Be social, smile, feel free to be a little animated, and you'll be alright. There are plenty of nights where people drink where I choose not to (often because I'm broke), and while some nights I will have alcohol handed to me because I don't have a cup in my hand, for the most part people don't know if I'm drinking or not. (Unless I do a 12 foot beer bong of wine. Then they can tell.) If you don't make things awkward, most people won't either, and the ones who do will be handled by others.

Comment by jdm on Open Thread: January 2010 · 2013-05-24T18:58:43.420Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It is most certainly not an academic look at the concept, but that doesn't mean he didn't play a role in bringing the concept to the public eye. It doesn't have to be a scientific paper to have a real influence on the idea.

Comment by jdm on Boring Advice Repository · 2013-05-23T22:06:56.760Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've found the opposite. I will occasionally listen to audiobooks while driving or working out, but even with accelerated audio I read 2-3 times faster than audio can do.

Also, reading allows control of the pace. Certain sections are denser than others, and with a book you can slow down through those parts without losing pace on the filler.

Comment by jdm on Boring Advice Repository · 2013-05-23T21:11:47.587Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Without outright asking or commenting, people can still subconsciously judge, especially in certain situations or social groups.

For example, I am the president of my chapter of my fraternity. Some people interested don't drink. While for the most part people look past the not drinking, there are some activities or events where drinking is common. We have had some non-drinkers still enjoy themselves, but some have been scared away as a result of said activities.

I think an equal precursor to the idea of being judged for not drinking is how you handle being around others who are. If you can still enjoy yourself without the alcohol, in a lot of cases being judged for it is in your imagination. If you sit there awkwardly in the corner sober while everyone else is having a good time, the judgement is very real. It's just not entirely for the reason you think.

Comment by jdm on The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence · 2012-11-06T18:07:41.014Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It should depend on the level of the formality of the writing. In a strictly academic paper, it should probably be avoided completely. If the paper is slightly less formal, it may be acceptable, but the author should take care to specify that it is a work of fiction, that it is a theoretical example and not evidence, and what scope of the example is applicable to the discussion. This should be combined with actual evidence supporting the possibility and relevance of the example.

Comment by jdm on Voting is like donating thousands of dollars to charity · 2012-11-05T17:39:27.651Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The whole point of democracy is the results should equal the will of the people. If a significant percentage of the population doesn't get involved, the results can be skewed and show the preferences of the people who voted instead of the whole population. My understanding of this post is that with more people voting, this is less likely to happen. The right decision for you may not be the right decision for everyone else, and the point of voting is to figure out the majority of the country's preferences.

My issue with elections is how many people make decisions almost solely on campaign ads, with little to no actual research on candidate's actual positions and how it will effect them. If people behaved more intelligently instead of voting based on attack ads, I wouldn't have to sit through half an hour worth of them trying to watch a football game.

Comment by jdm on Your intuitions are not magic · 2012-11-05T13:18:55.680Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's a combination of not understanding the process with a lifetime of experience where's it's far more right than wrong (Even for younger people, if they have 10-15 years of instinctive behavior being rewarded on some level, it's hard to accept there are situations it doesn't work as well). Combine that with the tendency of positive outcomes to be more memorable than others, and it's not too difficult to understand why people trust their intuition as much as they do.

your claim, that " we persist on holding onto them exactly because we do not know how they work" has not been proven, as far as I can tell, and seems unlikely.

It may not be the only reason, but an accurate understanding of how intuitions work would make it easier to rely less on it in situations it's not as we'll equipped for, just as an understanding of different biases makes it easier to fight them in our own thought processes.

Comment by jdm on Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012) · 2012-11-04T23:54:37.378Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I wandered onto this site, read an article, read some interesting discussion on it, and decided to take the survey. The survey had some interesting discussion and I enjoyed the extra credit, which I did the majority of, with an exception of the IQ test I couldn't get to work right and will do later. I enjoyed the discussion I read, though, and decided this would be an interesting site to read more on. I don't know yet how much discussion I'll contribute, but when I see an interesting discussion I'm sure I'll join in.

I don't have too much to say about myself. I'm a college student majoring in computer science, and I'd like to do work in artificial intelligence eventually, although I'm nowhere near experienced enough yet to be able to have real discussion about it.

Comment by jdm on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-04T22:30:34.930Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

I just found this site, but this was an interesting survey and between that and the intelligence of conversation about it in the comments convinced me to sign up and read more on here.

Also, I did most of the questions, but I'm on an iPad and the iq test didn't load for me, so I'll do it on a computer later.