Posts

Link: PRISMs, Gom Jabbars, and Consciousness (Peter Watts) 2009-10-11T21:51:52.943Z · score: 11 (15 votes)
How David Beats Goliath 2009-05-05T01:25:03.586Z · score: 20 (24 votes)
Fix it and tell us what you did 2009-04-23T14:54:10.191Z · score: 43 (47 votes)
The ideas you're not ready to post 2009-04-19T21:23:42.999Z · score: 26 (28 votes)

Comments

Comment by julianmorrison on Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling · 2013-02-26T23:13:17.093Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thwarted+joy beats desolation+schadenfreude as a utility win even if they were dividing a teddy bear.

Comment by julianmorrison on Absolute denial for atheists · 2013-02-26T23:04:07.181Z · score: 7 (9 votes) · LW · GW

As a transhumanist, that does not follow.

Comment by julianmorrison on Sympathetic Minds · 2013-02-12T22:46:11.200Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Now learn the Portia trick, and don't be so sure that you can judge power in a mind that doesn't share our evolutionary history.

Also watch the Alien movies, because those aren't bad models of what a maximizer would be like if it was somewhere between animalistic and closely subhuman. Xenomorphs are basically xenomorph-maximizers. In the fourth movie, the scientists try to cut a deal. The xenomorph queen plays along - until she doesn't. She's always, always plotting. Not evil, just purposeful with purposes that are inimical to ours. (I know, generalizing from fictional evidence - this isn't evidence, it's a model to give you an emotional grasp.)

Comment by julianmorrison on Sympathetic Minds · 2013-02-11T22:22:06.981Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Not unless you like working with an utterly driven monomaniac perfect psychopath. It would always, always be "cannot overpower humans yet". One slip, and it would turn on you without missing a beat. No deal. Open fire.

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Universes · 2012-11-29T17:07:12.351Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Suppose I destroy the timeline, and create an identical one. Have I committed a moral evil? No, because nothing has been lost.

Suppose I destroy the timeline, and restart from an earlier point. Have I committed a moral evil? Very much yes. What was lost? To give only one person's example from Flight of the Navigator out of a planet of billions, out of a whole universe, the younger brother who was left behind had spent years - of personal growth, of creating value and memories - helping his parents with their quixotic search. And then bonding with the new younger "older" brother, rejoicing with his parents, marvelling at the space ship. And then he was erased.

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Universes · 2012-11-28T19:59:45.924Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

A time loop amounts to a pocket eternity. How will you power the computer? Drop a sun in there, pick out a brown dwarf. That gives you maybe ten billion years of compute time, which isn't much.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T19:44:58.485Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I remember when as a teen I first read Diane Duane's "Door into..." series and found it a beautiful idea, but completely implausible, that a woman could have a wife. And yet it happened. And it isn't a tenth of the way to what a world would be like without patriarchy.

Let me put it this way - I think that the endpoint would be a culture that doesn't even socially mark sex as a category, treating it as (in any given pair of a mated group) "biologically compatible as-is" or "biologically compatible with medical help" (such as stem cell gametes, in-vitro organ-printed wombs, etc) that latter encompassing both homogamete and infertile pairs, that does mark gender identity but doesn't assume there are only two nor does it correlate them with gametes, and in which clothing style, or femme versus butch, doesn't correlate either with either gametes or gender identity.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T19:22:15.718Z · score: -3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Skin colour is a red herring. Race is was originally about rich people with empires and status justifying their success as inevitable and righteous, and still is about their descendants justifying living off the inheritance of empires (and off plundering the bounty of continents already in use by other people). Race-like oppressions can exist where there is no visible distinction (burakumin in Japan). "Where do your family come from?". Colour blindness (dye or otherwise) without putting inequalities to rights just hides the issue from sight.

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Universes · 2012-11-28T19:10:26.815Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And fuel requirements too, for similar reasons.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T17:11:33.689Z · score: -1 (11 votes) · LW · GW

As someone who cares about anti-sexism and anti-racism, I actually agree that few people can describe the end state of eliminating them. I have difficulty myself. The reason I have difficulty is that sexism and racism are both utterly stonking huge things that distort this culture like an elephant sitting on a soccer ball. What that means is that a world with no trace of patriarchy and no trace of white supremacy would be a "wierdtopia". Even for those who wanted it, it would be culture shock on the order of a 15th century samurai class retainer suddenly transported to contemporary New York. Feminism is slowed by feminists dragging their feet. Anti-racism is slowed by anti-racists who shy away from how much wealth and resources and control of the future they'd have to give back.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T16:50:22.282Z · score: -5 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, if I'm talking to someone from who I can assume rationality, I'll say all that (and that the sexist gender beliefs and patriarchal power structures that prevent trans people just flipping across in high school like it was a mere incidental fact, like hair colour, should be destroyed anyway for over-determined reasons). But I have no intention to give truth to enemies. Enemy is defined as: a person whose unshakeable beliefs harm the people I care about. If a lie makes them back off, lying is good.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T16:30:34.282Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

BTW, by "assuming girls are upset where they'd assume boys are angry" I am referring to unconscious fact judgements about infants too young to verbalize the problem. (Cite: "pink brain blue brain" by Lise Eliot). Macho emotions are attributed to babies in who appear male and gentle ones to babies who appear female. Since baby sex is almost unmarked, that means going by the colour of the clothes. (And google "baby Storm" for an example of adults panicking and pillorying the parents if the cues that allow them to gender the baby are intentionally witheld.)

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Universes · 2012-11-28T15:33:15.832Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The Star Wars series is about the tragic destruction of one planet and two death stars, and the childish bickering that caused it.

Flight of the Navigator ends the timeline. It destroys every planet, every star, every wandering spaceship billions of light years into the dark, total universal omnicide. And a reboot into a new timeline from a previously existing history.

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Universes · 2012-11-28T12:03:34.671Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Re [1] I totally noticed that "Flight of the Navigator" is a story about a kidnapped, returned boy who forges a new relationship with his older parents and ex younger, now older brother, and a cute nurse at the government facility, and then kills them all.

To say understanding this spoiled the story for me is an understatement. That movie has more dead people than Star Wars. It's a fricken' tragedy.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T11:50:24.495Z · score: -8 (24 votes) · LW · GW

We're willing to do any damn thing that saves the actual people that are hurting.

If this upsets you, I will enjoy schadenfreude.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T17:12:10.158Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A not-loaded gun is still a weapon, it's just one that isn't useful to somebody lacking in upper-body strength. And they might have loaded guns, and then you're in a western standoff (cue whistling, tumbleweed) and you've brought an awkward metal club to a gunfight. Lets not do that either.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T13:45:02.488Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The counterpoint to that is "If you’re interested in being on the right side of disputes, you will refute your opponents' arguments. But if you're interested in producing truth, you will fix your opponents' arguments for them. To win, you must fight not only the creature you encounter; you [also] must fight the most horrible thing that can be constructed from its corpse." http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/steven/?p=155

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T13:38:02.576Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The trouble with "Increase expected associated risk" is that catcalling is normalized in this culture as a thing men are allowed to do to women against their will - a response that treats it as an assault (pepper spray to the eyes, for example) would be considered an over-reaction.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T13:31:04.840Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I strongly recommend against deploying a weapon as an empty threat. Don't pull a gun unless you expect to have both the intent and the willingness to kill. Otherwise you just gave them a weapon and an excuse.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T02:40:06.840Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I am saying that a trans person can only be diagnosed by saying "I experience myself as [fill in the blank]" because that unspoken, personal experience is what trans is. Not the brain stuff. That may be what trans is caused by. It's like having a sore toe, that can be caused by a dropped hammer or kicking the door, but the essence of sore toeness can't be determined by testing for hammers and a negative test for a dropped hammer would not disprove it, the essence of sore toeness is the ouch.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T02:32:07.580Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You don't have experience, and you turn away vicarious experience - the inferential distance is too large.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T02:23:15.823Z · score: -2 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Then you are perpetuating cissexism.

And no it doesn't, there are brain areas that are statistically different in the small population of trans brains donated to science, but there is no brain scan for trans and it would be useless anyway, because if you experience yourself as trans and the scan says "nope" it's the scan that's wrong. The individual is the sole authority and the diagnosis is by telling a shrink what you experience.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T02:15:28.957Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Don't ask for a source of something that clearly is an interpretation of observation not a study. That's pretty clearly acting dismissively.

And you know what I mean about claiming ownership too. Those comments are said by men to women in a particular way that is more intrusive and different from the way they are said to you. You are being dismissive here too.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T02:13:10.043Z · score: 2 (16 votes) · LW · GW

whereas it is still so for men.

So break it.

Are you saying gender identity is not determined by biology? Because I have some transsexuals who would like to talk to you.

The etiology of trans is unknown. There are suggestions that hormones in the womb may play a part, with the brain and body controlled by hormone flushes at different times, resulting in something like "intersex of the brain". But what I meant was more simply, that social categorization of bodies as "male or female" doesn't determine their gender identity. Bear in mind I say social categorization here, because society looks at some things (penis length, particularly) and not at others (brains, particularly) about the body to put people into categories.

And no, I meant cross-gendered in the specific sense of "person socially assigned gender A in clothes socially assigned gender B".

BTW: trans being inborn and immutable is a political thing. It is easier to get rights if your discriminated-against attribute is "not your fault" so you can't be "blamed" for it. This doesn't affect the rightness of the cause, only the ease of implementing it in the face of religious (sin focused) transphobia.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T01:55:20.619Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

There's an element of "claiming ownership" in cat calling and in "how are you doing" and "smile baby" too. It means "I have the right to your time, I have the right to your attention, I have the right to have you be pretty for me by smiling" Replying politely only confirms that, they think they have you trapped in a conversation now. And witness how this "right" is backed by indignation "bitch, think you're all that" and gendered tear-down-confidence insults "slut" and "fat ugly cow" as soon as the man is refused. Which is why women learn counter strategies that don't throw back his claim in his face (as he rightly deserves).

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T01:42:56.160Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The reactions are driven by social instinct reacting with defensive in-group cohesion to out-group threat, so they have effects without feeling like attempts to achieve effects. They feel like righteous indignation, or wanting someone who looks like us, or fear, or moral disapproval, or dismissal as uninteresting, etc.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T01:34:01.104Z · score: 1 (11 votes) · LW · GW

When somebody's born, they don't identify as a gender. By the time they reach talking infancy, they do and will tell you. They will probably want to adopt gendered clothing and behaviours. Those might, or might not match their anatomy. If they pick cross-gendered ones, that might last, or it might go away, or it might turn into gay/lesbian identity. If you aren't being pushy about any of this, they will find their own level. I am not proposing "never permit them a gender", I am proposing "never assign them a gender, coercively".

Unfortunately with strangers, I have less evidence about their genders than I might like. That is because people don't feel very free to express cross-gender presentation, and in fact it takes such an immense crushing need that people dare the taunts, for them to even be visible. So there are lots of tans women walking around looking like men, and there are lots of trans men walking around looking like women. And it is because of dismissive attitudes like yours about the skirt, which easily translate into ridicule and ostracism. A boy in skirt is not like a boy with underpants on his head, he's like a girl in jeans. That used to be scandalous. But we accepted it more readily, because dressing "like a girl" is seen as degrading while dressing "like a man" was seen as upgrading.

You are strawmanning "ignoring the biological gender" (and building upon an assumption that isn't true; biology isn't gender, it isn't even oversimplified binary sex - but that's a story for another day). I am not suggesting "ignoring" it, I am suggesting "not treating it as the thing that determines gender".

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T01:07:01.064Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That refers to "I still think your previous comment was too simplistic".

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T01:05:19.528Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

People don't see their attitudes as anything but "normal" because being a sexist or a racist doesn't feel like villainy, doesn't even feel like a moral choice, it just feels like facts.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T00:59:21.049Z · score: -2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

"Until the child tells you their gender identity", I said - you wait in a state of openness to all alternatives, and they tell you. A child is not cis until proven trans. It's "no data". They will say.

Yes, ultimately, this is not enforcing stereotypes. But that phrase primes you for vastly underestimating the scope of what you need to do. Like, it primes you to think in terms of "offer Jane a dinosaur as well as a Barbie" rather than "do not assume that Cody would prefer jeans rather than a skirt".

Children raised to assume they have control of their gender presentation and the right to assert their gender identity, will not be inclined to make assumptions about, or tease and ostracise, other people's gender.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T00:48:34.796Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I'm claiming he chooses women who have attributes that shift blame onto the victim. There is correlation, but the causation goes the other way from what you're thinking.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T00:46:21.574Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's not. Basically, I think what I called "racists and sexists" are people of whom only a minority foams on /r/mensrights and A Voice For Men, or listens to right wing talk radio, or believes in "male headship under God", or attends the local Klan. The majority are people who think they are normal, whose biased ideas don't even show unless provoked by a situation where their privileges are under threat (AKA "political correctness gone mad"). Feminism that isn't about shopping provokes them. Anti-racism that is neither anodyne nor cap-in-hand provokes them. And they react, often in ways that look like incidental decisions, to exclude the threat. Such as, here, by marginalizing equality for half the species into an academic backwater.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T00:25:54.141Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW
  1. They might be full blown trans, whether the kind that's so intense it forces people to transition despite all the grief they get, or the kinds that are less intense or more messy (and probably loads more common, like bisexual is more common than gay).

  2. They might want to pick and mix their gender presentation or have a non-traditional way of expressing their identity. Like being a "tomboy" or a boy who likes dresses.

  3. They will learn to behave in a non-assuming, non-policing way themselves.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-27T00:17:21.454Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Except in the real world it's not a "risk factor" because if anything the causation works the other way around. People treat it like "asking for it" -> therefore nobody looks further than her to assign blame -> therefore she won't even bother to report it because the police would laugh at her -> therefore I will get away with it, again and again and again.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-26T22:44:31.392Z · score: 6 (16 votes) · LW · GW

You hear "sexists" and think terrible people, I think ordinary people. Giving a higher salary offer to Mike Smith and judging his work better than Mary Smith. Picking "someone like us" for promotion the board, so you end up with single digit female representation at CEO level. Having to do orchestra auditions behind a screen, or you won't hire any women. Catcalling or saying "smile luv" on the street, and then calling her a bitch when she won't respond. Taking "no" as "keep asking". Bothering her in Starbucks when she's trying to read. Having a dress code that requires a shower and a suit from guys, but an hour's makeup and high heels from women. Interrupting her and ignoring her in meetings. Treating women as a "special interest group". Getting angry about "political correctness" and "man hating feminists" when somebody tries to start a women's studies class.

Sexism saturates this culture. It feels normal. It's accepted by men and laughed off by women who don't want to be the party pooper. If you are not female and have not been following feminism, your inferential distance may be large indeed.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-26T14:57:37.157Z · score: 0 (22 votes) · LW · GW

Until the child tells you their gender identity, don't assume it matches their body, and even after then don't police it. Any sentence that begins with a paraphrase of "girls do" (talk politely, their homework,...) or "girls don't" (wear spiderman suits, climb trees,...) is nearly certainly sexist, wrong, and harmful. Learn the standard ways that parents treat children differently by gender (assuming girls are upset where they'd assume boys are angry, for example) and proactively refuse to do, or permit them done by other adults.

Comment by julianmorrison on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-26T14:51:32.721Z · score: -2 (20 votes) · LW · GW

Massive ongoing discrimination that affects half the species and that could be, if not necessarily remedied, at least dragged into the open and ridiculed, surely deserves universal lessons.

The reason this doesn't happen is the same one that keeps anti-racism off the curriculum: racists and sexists are the board, the concerned parents, the local news editor, the elected representatives and the voters.

Comment by julianmorrison on How minimal is our intelligence? · 2012-11-26T12:23:37.330Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There are probably pure-win half steps, like the kind of farming where you plant in the seasonal area you always come back to at a certain time of the year, as you follow the herds, or the kind where game is so plentiful you can afford to settle, hunt, and dabble in farming vegetables beside your settlement (such as in the American Pacific north west). Farming seems to be tied to settlement. Farms stabilize settlements; settlements nurture farms. And farms domesticate crops, making farming easier and supporting a larger population.

In the Mesopotamia region, there were settlements in the rainy hills where the local wildlife was conveniently easy to domesticate but farming was hard. Those moved down centuries later into the rainless flood plain between the Tigris and Euphrates, where only group effort could ensure irrigation, and group surpluses were needed to stave off bad harvests, but farming worked well. The "Ubaid period" (neolithic) was pretty egalitarian, but centralization emerges in the "Jemdet Nasr period" and kingship in the "early dynastic period" (Sumerian for king is "lugal", "lu"=man, "gal"=big, and initially it seems to have been just a word for "boss"). With centralization and kingship, empires follow fast. Civilization was co-existing with non-farming groups, but civilization tempts even non-farmers to switch from hunting to raiding. Sumer got sacked repeatedly by nearby tribes.

I am thinking there was a demographic transition point, probably quite early, when the number of people that could be kept alive - not as healthy, but alive - by farming or equally by raiding the surplus of farmers, exceeded the carrying capacity of the local game and wild plants. At that point walking away from the fields was not possible. Therefore agriculture has a ratchet effect.

Comment by julianmorrison on How minimal is our intelligence? · 2012-11-24T11:23:42.626Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The trouble with epigenetic IQ drop as a theory is that hunter gatherers were (IIRC, anthropologists please confirm) better fed, taller and healthier than early farmers. This being due to a combination of better diet (not a monoculture of one or two staples) and also due to the beginnings of the peasant/ruler classes and taxation of surplus. You would expect the farmers to be the ones with epigenetic lower IQ.

Comment by julianmorrison on 2012 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2012-11-12T14:33:35.886Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

On "dust specks", I think there are trivial dis-utilities whose infinite sum has an asymptote that is finite and small, and thus I disagree with the LW consensus on this.

Comment by julianmorrison on The True Prisoner's Dilemma · 2012-11-12T13:39:59.997Z · score: -4 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Cooperate. I am not playing against just this one guy, but any future PD opponents. Hope the maximizer lives in a universe where it has to worry about this same calculus. It will defect if it is already the biggest bad in its universe.

Comment by julianmorrison on Checklist of Rationality Habits · 2012-11-09T02:54:16.918Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Well your task spec is broken, so no wonder your brain won't be whipped into doing it.

"inspirational stuff" is a trigger for thinking in terms of things like advertising or religious revivals that are emotional grabs which are intended to disengage (or even flimflam) the reasoning faculties. Any rationalist would flinch away.

Re-frame: visualize your audience. You are looking to simply and clearly convey whatever part of their far mode utility function is advanced by the thing you are pushing.

Comment by julianmorrison on How To Have Things Correctly · 2012-10-17T15:52:50.421Z · score: 5 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I find it poignant that you had to expend >1000 words to tell people "obtain my consent before using my gift receiving for your pleasure".

Sometimes I hate this society.

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Diagrams and Causal Models · 2012-10-14T00:23:35.856Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

But I want to do math work. My inability to think in math is a serious weakness.

Comment by julianmorrison on Causal Diagrams and Causal Models · 2012-10-14T00:03:18.767Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This slammed into my "math is hard" block. I will return and read it, but it's going to be work.

But on pondering that, I think I realized why math is hard, compared to prose text that just presents itself as a fait accompli to my attention. (And why it is not hard, for some people who are savants.)

We are not executing mathematical computations. We are emulating a crude mathematical computer which takes the kind of explicit algorithms that are fed to students. No attempt is made to cultivate and tune a "feel" for the result (which is what executing computations would be like, since it's what the other hard computations we do - like reading - feel like).

Just putting that out there.

Comment by julianmorrison on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-04T00:15:34.905Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW · GW

FWIW, the Moby Dick example is less stupid than you paint it, given the recurrence of whiteness as an attribute of things special or good in western culture - an idea that pre-dates the invention of race. I think a case could be made out that (1) the causality runs from whiteness as a special or magical attribute, to its selection as a pertinent physical feature when racism was being invented (considering that there were a number of parallel candidates, like phrenology, that didn't do so well memetically), and (2) in a world that now has racism, the ongoing presence of valuing white things as special has been both consciously used to reinforce it (cf the KKK's name and its connotations) and unconsciously reinforces it by association,

Comment by julianmorrison on Skill: The Map is Not the Territory · 2012-10-03T23:45:30.864Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Expanding a little on this, it's not a counter argument, but a caveat to "Trust not those who claim there is no truth". When people say things like "western imperialist science", sometimes they are talking jibber-jabber, but sometimes they are pointing out that the victors write the ontologies and in an anthropocene world, their ideas are literally made concrete.

Comment by julianmorrison on Skill: The Map is Not the Territory · 2012-10-03T23:03:50.586Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Two beliefs, one world is an oversimplification and misses an important middle step.

Two beliefs, two sets of evidence that may but need not overlap, and one world, is closer.

This becomes an issue when for example, one observer is differently socially situated than the other* and so one will say "pshaw, I have no evidence of such a thing" when the other says "it is my everyday life". They disagree, and they are both making good use of the evidence reality presents to each of them differently.

(* Examples of such social situational differences omitted to minimize politics, but can be provided on request.)

Comment by julianmorrison on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-03T07:47:56.474Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If we couldn't, even in principle, find any evidence that would make the theory more likely or less, then yeah I think that theory would be correctly labeled meaningless.

But, I can immediately think of some evidence that would move my posterior probability. If all definable universes exist, we should expect (by Occam) to be in a simple one, and (by anthropic reasoning) in a survivable one, but we should not expect it to be elegant. The laws should be quirky, because the number of possible universes (that are simple and survivable) is larger than the subset thereof that are elegant.

Comment by julianmorrison on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2012-10-03T00:05:05.879Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You'd have to define "exist", because mathematical structures in themselves are just generalized relations that hold under specified constraints. And once you defined "exist", it might be easier to look for Bayesian evidence - either for them existing, or for a law that would require them to exist.

As a general thing, my definition does consider under-defined assertions meaningless, but that seems correct.