Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win 2011-07-15T08:39:35.029Z
Meetup : Southern Arizona meetup 2011-06-24T01:21:08.958Z
"How to Have a Rational Discussion" 2011-03-20T10:22:22.521Z


Comment by jschulter on Meetup : Columbus, Ohio; Self-Skepticism · 2014-01-26T12:28:02.377Z · LW · GW

Wait, so is this on Monday the 3rd or Tuesday the 4th?

Comment by jschulter on A question about Eliezer · 2012-04-23T04:46:34.450Z · LW · GW

The enjoyment of the activity factors into whether it is a good use of time.

Comment by jschulter on A question about Eliezer · 2012-04-23T04:19:36.642Z · LW · GW

my probability that something like string theory is true would go way up after the detection of a Higgs boson

I'm not sure that this should be the case, as the Higgs is a Standard Model prediction and string theory is an attempt to extend that model. The accuracy of the former has little to say on whether the latter is sensible or accurate. For a concrete example, this is like allowing the accuracy of Newtonian Mechanics (via say some confirmed prediction about the existence of a planetary body based on anomalous orbital data) to influence your confidence in General Relativity before the latter had predicted Mercury's precession or the Michelson-Morley experiment had been done.

EDIT: Unless of course you were initially under the impression that there were flaws in the basic theory which would make the extension fall apart, which I just realized may have been the case for you regarding the Standard Model.

Comment by jschulter on SotW: Check Consequentialism · 2012-04-04T05:02:19.056Z · LW · GW

But it is near-consequentialist: "I'm a hard-working person and hard-working people wouldn't just give up" --> "the act of giving up will make me feel less like a hard-working person and therefore make me less likely to work hard in the future"

Comment by jschulter on SotW: Be Specific · 2012-04-04T04:26:45.905Z · LW · GW

That particular element seems like it would incentivize campers to spend the period hyper-aware of their own and others' specificity, which seems counterproductive to me. The goal is an increase in the specificity of statements made casually, which could be entirely unrelated. Extending the period to say, a week, might work to prevent this- at that point it would be a long term incentive rather than a prize.

Comment by jschulter on SotW: Be Specific · 2012-04-04T04:03:02.214Z · LW · GW

This activity seems like it would tie in well with a unit on hypothesis and experiment generation as well- it reminds me of the 2-4-6 test. Perhaps have two different scoring rules: when trying to teach specificity, give points for getting your partner to guess; when teaching how to find the right hypotheses and tests, give points for guessing correctly.

Comment by jschulter on Meetup : Phoenix, AZ Meetup on TDT · 2011-07-30T23:33:02.993Z · LW · GW

I unfortunately wont be able to make it up for this one, despite my strong interest in the subject. Would someone be willing to host me via Skype though?

Comment by jschulter on Meetup : Phoenix, AZ Meetup on TDT · 2011-07-21T19:43:07.409Z · LW · GW

This sounds very interesting. Do you have anybody who's particularly experienced with TDT or other decision theories committed to come? And which business will it be at, as that appears to be a mall of some sort?

Also, is anyone from down here in Tucson looking for a ride up, or already has one with an extra seat?

Comment by jschulter on Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win · 2011-07-21T18:16:26.219Z · LW · GW

Okay, thanks for clarifying the question. I've essentially already stated all the "evidence" I'm using for the claim, it's almost entirely anecdotal, and there's certainly no actual studies that I've used to support this particular bullet point. So, there is a good chance I may have stated things in a way which seems overconfident, and I may in fact be overconfident regarding this particular claim, especially considering that I've not tested alternate explanations for the efficacy I've had. I'd be more than willing to have a detailed discussion regarding both of our experiences/intuitions with the method, but I feel as though this probably isn't the place(I've already messaged you), though I'd be happy to update the wording of the article afterwards if it's necessary.

Comment by jschulter on Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win · 2011-07-18T16:20:43.920Z · LW · GW

The statement about strong visualization (essentially simulating experiences as closely as possible) is taken from the video and personal (and anecdotal) experience with the method. The reinforcement from actual completion refers to how once you've completed the task you were motivating yourself to do, you should get the feeling of reward you were imagining to motivate yourself. Actually experiencing the reward makes it easier to simulate if you need to become motivated again later. Additionally the mental connection you'll make between completing the task and the reward makes it less likely that you'll need to repeat the exercise for that task, unless it has an extremely high activation cost: the next time you go to do the task, one of the first things that comes to mind will likely be the reward you felt last time(s) you performed it.

Comment by jschulter on Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win · 2011-07-18T16:05:13.789Z · LW · GW

Do you read/watch a lot of fiction? I personally end up selecting for fiction which matches my beliefs somewhat closely, and that in retrospect has likely strongly enforced the connection. This seems like a reasonable candidate for an automatic yet unnoticeable process with those results.

Comment by jschulter on Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win · 2011-07-18T16:01:01.898Z · LW · GW

This can actually be done unintentionally as well. One of the things that might have caused the original haunted rationalist problem could have been watching/reading too much horror fiction: if most experiences you've seen regarding an old house end up with people tortured and dead, even if you know they were all known to be fictitious, you will still anticipate, however strongly, bad things happening in old houses. This also makes me wary that my anticipations regarding the future are likely highly influenced by all the science fiction I read, so I know to watch my aliefs in that regard very very closely.

Comment by jschulter on Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win · 2011-07-18T15:56:37.173Z · LW · GW

This example was intended as a possible alief you might want to hold, whether it is accurate to your beliefs or not. There are some people who can reasonably expect to never encounter a dangerous snake in the wild who are nonetheless very afraid of them (and all other snakes as well); while respect and fear for dangerous and potentially poisonous animals is worthwhile for some, for others it can be a handicap.

I should also mention (though I took this part out of the article) that there are some situations where one might want to alieve things entirely counter to ones beliefs. The technique allows for cultivation of these types of aliefs as well, and not fearing snakes might be one of them. Other examples could be the alief that cake is not delicious, or that drinking/being drunk is boring and often painful. Note that I do not personally advocate lying to oneself in an overly convincing manner, as that way darkness lies.

Comment by jschulter on Rationalist Judo, or Using the Availability Heuristic to Win · 2011-07-15T08:54:48.343Z · LW · GW


Comment by jschulter on Rationality Quotes July 2011 · 2011-07-12T06:46:26.917Z · LW · GW

True. I was actually considering omitting the last sentence, as it doesn't really contribute much, but I wasn't sure if that would have been misleading as to the original meaning.

Comment by jschulter on Rationality Quotes July 2011 · 2011-07-10T17:57:47.303Z · LW · GW

"When you are stubbornly making an argument, there is a possibility that you are uninformed, ignorant, in denial, and/or being a jerk. Of course, you might be right."

Comment by jschulter on An Outside View on Less Wrong's Advice · 2011-07-06T06:04:38.196Z · LW · GW

It would be really convenient if rationality, the meme-cluster that we most enjoy and are best-equipped to participate in, also happened to be the best for winning at life.

As I've seen it used here, "rationality" most commonly refers to "the best [memecluster] for winning at life" whatever that actual memecluster may be. If it could be shown that believing in the christian god uniformly improved or did not affect every aspect of believers lives regardless of any other beliefs held, I think a majority of lesswrongers would take every effort necessary to actually believe in a christian god. The problem seems to be how rationality and "the meme-cluster that we most enjoy and are best-equipped to participate in" are equated- these two are currently very similar memeclusters for the current lesswrong demographic, but they are not necessarily so. "It would be really convenient if the meme-cluster that we most enjoy and are best-equipped to participate in, also happened to be the best for winning at life, rationality." seems more sensical.

Comment by jschulter on Meetup : Southern Arizona meetup · 2011-07-06T03:39:27.082Z · LW · GW

So, due to bad luck, bad timing, and lack of proper foresight, it seems this attempt was a total bust(well, not total, I got some work done). I'll try another one sometime this month. Any feedback would be helpful.

Comment by jschulter on Meetup : Southern Arizona meetup · 2011-07-06T01:25:53.287Z · LW · GW

I'm wearing a dark red shirt and jeans and typing on a white laptop if that helps.

Comment by jschulter on Meetup : Southern Arizona meetup · 2011-07-06T01:23:50.856Z · LW · GW

I had a bit of car trouble, but I managed to get here get my coffee and the wifi password, and then realize I forgot a sign or anything of the kind. I'm sitting in the corner near the register if anybody happens to be waiting

Comment by jschulter on Open Problems · 2011-07-05T22:45:22.025Z · LW · GW

If CEV encounters a large proportion of the population that wish it was not run and will continue to do so after extrapolation, it simply stops and reports that fact. That's one of the points of the method. It is, in and of itself a large scale social survey of present and future humanity. And if the groups that wouldn't want it run now would after extrapolation, I'm fine with running it against their present wishes, and hope that if I were part of a group under similar circumstances someone else would do the same- "past me" is an idiot, I'm not much better, and "future me" is hopefully an even bigger improvement, while "desired future me" almost certainly is.

Comment by jschulter on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-12T07:54:57.190Z · LW · GW

I'm aware that the proxying service is available while I'm logged in, I was just misled by a cached login to believe that it was working without logging in, which would have been very odd, though beneficial. I've decided to update the comment to reflect that.

Comment by jschulter on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-11T02:35:19.543Z · LW · GW

Okay, so there was some sort of fluke. I checked again and I did have to relogin; I'm guessing it was cached data rather than the cookie which stores my login, because other sites still failed to recognize me. Sorry for getting peoples hopes up,

Comment by jschulter on Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves · 2011-05-11T00:14:11.867Z · LW · GW

But rationalism doesn’t have a well-defined set of norms/desirable skills to develop.

Actually changing your mind, learning the simple math of various fields,and becoming more luminous seem to represent a set of desirable skills to me, though I admit that is far from comprehensive. See also the twelve virtues of rationality.

Comment by jschulter on Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently · 2011-05-10T22:48:32.514Z · LW · GW

I may be experiencing a fluke, but it appears that my university's library's website allows any computer to use it as proxy for viewing and downloading articles from many paywalled sites (in fact, every site it gives me access to with my student login, which is a very large selection). I only discovered this by accident, and I'm hoping it isn't unintentional on their part. If anybody is interested, the address is here. If you try it and it doesn't work, please tell me.

ETA: It appears that my browser simply cached my login, and that this service is unfortunately not actually available to the general public. Sorry for any confusion.

Comment by jschulter on Phoenix Less Wrong Meetup- Saturday, 5-7-11, 5pm · 2011-05-09T10:31:13.162Z · LW · GW

Sorry I didn't make it. There were some last minute surprise Mother's day obligations.

Comment by jschulter on Science Fiction Recommendations · 2011-05-07T07:04:34.938Z · LW · GW

I just recently found out about and obtained the sequels, and I have high hopes for them too.

Comment by jschulter on No coinductive datatype of integers · 2011-05-06T06:14:35.245Z · LW · GW

I find that for me, and many other people I know in the mathematics department of my university, once infinities, uncountability, and such enter the picture, the accuracy of intuition quickly starts to diminish, so it's wise to be careful and make sure the proof is complete before declaring it obvious. As a good example, note how surprising and notable Cantor's diagonal argument seemed the first time you heard it- it isn't obvious that the reals aren't countable when you don't already know that, so you might start trying to construct a counting scheme and end up with one that "obviously" works.

Comment by jschulter on Phoenix Less Wrong Meetup- Saturday, 5-7-11, 5pm · 2011-05-03T00:53:12.080Z · LW · GW

I'm in Tucson, at the U of A.

Comment by jschulter on Phoenix Less Wrong Meetup- Saturday, 5-7-11, 5pm · 2011-05-01T09:49:42.656Z · LW · GW

I'll try and make it up; It's the weekend before finals start, but that likely wont be a problem.

Comment by jschulter on Random advice: Teenage U.S. LW-ers should probably be taking more AP exams · 2011-04-22T08:11:36.955Z · LW · GW

I can't overemphasize how true this is. The economic advantages that APs have given me are staggering: I took 14, passed all of them, and started at my local state college with enough credit to obviate all but one of the 30-40 credits of required gen. ed. courses. Since they're effectively paying me to come here, I didn't graduate in 2 years like I could have, but instead am taking the full 4, getting a double major, and actually struggling a bit (even after many courses taken just for fun) to find enough classes to maintain full enrollment. Those tests cost about $1000, but seeing the benefits they were literally worth more than ten times that.

Comment by jschulter on Recent de-convert saturated by religious community; advice? · 2011-04-20T01:29:46.416Z · LW · GW

for some reason I read "oldest" as "oldest son" the first idea why. I do think it's very likely that your elder daughter will end up atheist, and that's what the congratulations was about.

Comment by jschulter on Recent de-convert saturated by religious community; advice? · 2011-04-19T04:44:32.300Z · LW · GW

For full disclosure on my own part, I should also mention that my little sister has continued to attend church, and is in fact getting confirmed in a few months. I think based on the evidence I have that there may be a good amount of credence to the theory that women seem more prone to believe for social reasons, especially since most women who I would otherwise expect to be atheist give that as their only reason. So, unfortunately, your daughter may be as hard to lead away from the faith as your wife seems to be. Congratulations with regard to your son though.

Comment by jschulter on The Friendly AI Game · 2011-04-15T07:05:02.972Z · LW · GW

Subject to artificial tyranny of the majority:

  • Spoof the AI with fake uploads to get it to redefine relevant-to-action such that only the spoofs fit the definition.
  • Rule the world.
Comment by jschulter on The Friendly AI Game · 2011-04-15T06:57:19.092Z · LW · GW

I hack the definition of person(in program B) to include my 3^^^3 artificially constructed simple utility maximizers, and use them to take over the world by changing their utility functions to satisfy each of my goals, thereby arbitrarily deciding the "FAI"'s utility function. Extra measures can be added to ensure the safety of my reign, such as making future changes to the definition of human negative utility, &c.

Comment by jschulter on First Phoenix, AZ Less Wrong Meetup 4/17 from 12-2pm · 2011-04-15T05:17:11.076Z · LW · GW

If only I had known earlier! I would have driven up, but I already have plans :C

Comment by jschulter on Link Sharing Thread - April '11 · 2011-04-13T01:34:51.157Z · LW · GW

An interesting project, if it gets off the ground.

Comment by jschulter on Recent de-convert saturated by religious community; advice? · 2011-04-12T05:28:59.657Z · LW · GW

Having looked through the comments, I noticed that one of your main concerns with this whole ordeal is how your children will be raised. I thought it might be worth mentioning something I noticed, upon reflection, about my own childhood:

I was "raised Catholic" by agreement between my parents- my father is still Catholic, my mother reform Jewish- and went through CCD (I forget what it even stands for, it's "sunday school"), first confession and first communion. But oddly enough when looking back it was obvious that nobody in my family actually believed in god. And in fact, this attitude that pervaded around me, the fact that nobody expected their prayers to be answered &c. was the main contributing factor to my early conversion to atheism. I actually knew that I didn't believe, and my parents likely did too, before they forced me to take communion-yes forced, as I am still sometimes forced into attending Easter or Christmas mass with them. The fact is, that even with people all around me vocally professing the existence of god, with people close at hand who obviously didn't actually believe, I was able to quickly conclude(subconsciously) that they were just expressing belief in belief.

So, the point in all this is that there may be an as of yet unconsidered solution the the problem of raising your children. Even if you raise them Catholic, as long as they have a dissenting opinion present in their lives, it will be if not easy, at least easier for them to deconvert later. As an added bonus, if you decide not to attend any church functions, they may simply see professing atheism as a way to sleep in on sundays, and from professing to believing is as we all know a regrettably short path.

Comment by jschulter on Student meetups · 2011-04-12T03:42:41.594Z · LW · GW

I'd be very happy if a meetup somehow materialized at my school, but I don't think I personally have the energy to arrange one. I also have no idea how many people would even show up- our undergraduate population is huge, but not significantly above the sanity waterline on average, so I wouldn't estimate the number of lesswrongers to be very high. The Skeptics club might be willing to help set one up though. Feel free to PM me if you want to go into details.

Comment by jschulter on How would you respond to the Philpapers "What are your Philosophical Positions" Survey? · 2011-04-12T03:10:29.599Z · LW · GW

A priori knowledge: yes or no? no.

Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? not Platonism. don't know if the other is simply the opposite or a separate claim.

Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? subjective

Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? leaning no based on a brief reading of the literature

Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? don't know.

External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? non-skeptical realism

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? compatibilism, I guess.

God: theism or atheism? atheism

Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? empiricism

Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? contextualism

Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? non-Humean (examples in favor of this were numerous on the page defining it), but it doesn't really matter. I'm not even sure the actual laws upon which the universe runs are expressible within it, we might only be able to asymptotically approach them.

Logic: classical or non-classical? classical

Mental content: internalism or externalism? externalism

Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? moral anti-realism

Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? naturalism

Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? physicalism

Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? don't know.

Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? externalism

Newcomb's problem: one box or two boxes? I am committed to one-boxing. (You hear that Omega!?)

Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? consequentialism

Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Whichever one Dennet espouses. not sure which of these that is.

Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? I think it would be psychological view? If it thinks and acts indistinguishably from me, it is me.

Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism? libertarianism kinda.

Proper names: Fregean or Millian? don't care.

Science: scientific realism or scientific anti-realism? scientific realism mostly

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death? survival-see personal identity

Time: A-theory or B-theory? both of these are stupid. The jury's out on whether physics is timeless, but in the meantime, I understand and can utilize special relativity(and perhaps general soon), which is an entirely sufficient description.

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don't switch? switch. I take the consequentialist view(whichever action kills the least people) on all the trolley problems, despite some internal disquietude.

Truth: correspondence, deflationary, or epistemic? correspondence I think? not clear on the terms

Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible, or metaphysically possible? inconcievable!

Comment by jschulter on What are you working on? April 2011 · 2011-04-12T02:12:18.483Z · LW · GW

well, when you do, I'd definitely like to play :)

Comment by jschulter on Science Fiction Recommendations · 2011-04-09T00:59:12.358Z · LW · GW

I can highly recommend everything I have read by Niven. Many of his works are really well done fairly "hard" Sci-fi, particularly the Ringworld series (the titular object is related to Dyson spheres, and has been called a "Niven ring" in his honor). I just finished Destiny's Road, and I couldn't put it down. The Mote In Gods Eye is an amazing collaboration with Pournelle, and a classic to boot. The last is the only one I saw mentioned elsewhere, but if you enjoy any of these, you'll likely enjoy the rest too.

Comment by jschulter on What are you working on? April 2011 · 2011-04-09T00:26:52.425Z · LW · GW

I'm currently writing a program (in C) for my continuum mechanics class to simulate crowd physics (just in 2D) using nearest neighbor potentials. Once I get it running, I'll simulate a "Black Friday" type event with a linear attractive potential and various barriers, and then see if I can get and then avoid crushing "deaths". I'm also in the process of trying to be more social, actually actively trying to make friends and interact with my peers instead of holing up in my room all day. Thus far, I've noticed a distinct increase in my overall happiness as a result of this so far, and my academic performance unexpectedly hasn't even wavered.

Comment by jschulter on What are you working on? April 2011 · 2011-04-09T00:14:32.088Z · LW · GW

Were you planning on running the game in person, or would there be a chance of doing it remotely. I've only had a little experiences with role-playing games, but I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Comment by jschulter on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-08T23:36:48.553Z · LW · GW

Well, of course we would! Executing an action based on the truth of a hypothesis while trying to determine whether its true or not would be somewhat odd.

Comment by jschulter on Rationality Quotes: April 2011 · 2011-04-08T22:52:26.488Z · LW · GW

Another option:

  • it's morally acceptable to terminate a conscious program if it wants to be terminated

  • it's morally questionable(wrong, but to lesser degree) to terminate a conscious program against its will if it is also possible to resume execution

  • it is horribly wrong to turn off a conscious program against its will if it cannot be resumed(murder fits this description currently)

  • performing other operations on the program that it desires would likely be morally acceptable, unless the changes are socially unacceptable

  • performing other operations on the program against its will is morally unacceptable to a variable degree (brainwashing fits in this category)

These seem rather intuitive to me, and for the most part I just extrapolated from what it is moral to do to a human. Conscious program refers here to one running on any system, including wetware, such that these apply to humans as well. I should note that I am in favor of euthanasia in many cases, in case that part causes confusion.

Comment by jschulter on Dense Math Notation · 2011-04-02T06:38:56.472Z · LW · GW

I'm taking note of the latter and adding it to my list of "books to read when I have time and motivation for independent education." The addition of Scheme to the application of mechanics does seem quite useful from what I can tell after a cursory look. And there's a nice bit more mathematical rigor than I had the luxury of in my physics classes. Overall, it looks like this text takes an approach that I'll like a lot, once I get to it.

For the record, I'm a physics and mathematics undergrad, graduating next May. My schools physics program recently decided to actually start making us apply that programming they had us learn; I might consider trying Scheme instead of C if I feel like it.

Comment by jschulter on An Anchoring Experiment · 2011-04-02T05:59:26.651Z · LW · GW

I suppose the correct value is probably around 3000 m.

I know of no large mountains to be found in Sweden, so I'm guessing what seems to be a reasonably low number.

Comment by jschulter on Rationality Boot Camp · 2011-03-28T22:19:54.466Z · LW · GW

I'm a college student too, and just about finished with my application. The form really does make it seem like it's targeted at people who have already received at least one degree, but I wouldn't be surprised if some promising undergrads made it in.

Comment by jschulter on The Nature of Offense · 2011-03-20T12:47:19.299Z · LW · GW

Well, I have encountered people being (or claiming to be) offended by what in all rights would be an assault on someone else's status. This could be a form of empathy, or in many cases an attempt to gain status themselves through a show of sympathy. This does seem like a potential occurrence of legitimate offense not caused by a perceived direct or indirect threat to the status of the person being offended, iff the offense is genuine- something which I cannot personally attest to, never having experienced this myself.