Comment by keddaw on Thwarting a Catholic conversion? · 2012-07-27T16:22:53.851Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ahh, but, you see, it's their choice to go to hell and not something the omni-benevolent creator of the universe does. But obviously it's their choice at the instant of death and not a moment afterwards when they realise that god actually exists, one can't repent or believe then...

Blame The Victim #Christianity

Comment by keddaw on Archimedes's Chronophone · 2012-07-24T13:16:50.855Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I have a couple of suggestions:

  1. Find a current social/scientific norm that maps almost perfectly to Archimedes' time that you disagree with (e.g. the need for a strong, expansionist military; use of torture; increase in state power over citizens; existence of a political class etc.) and use the same arguments against it now, including outcomes and dangers, and they should map to decent arguments then.

  2. Find a socially wronged group and use arguments for their emancipation (women, non-whites, gays, children etc. depending on your era) and whichever hated/discriminated against group they map to in Archimedes' time will almost definitely be helped by your emancipation arguments.

  3. Say that hatred/fear based on religion is wrong, but that religion itself is wrong and the acquiescence to authority is also problematic.

  4. Describe the problems of current economic bubbles, their causes and possible solutions to avoid them. This will hopefully help with the basic economy of ancient Greece.

  5. Argue for non-objective morality. And moral error theory. And a lack of libertarian free will. And against fate (but for a QM-accepting variant of determinism).

Basically, as long as your argument is against the common knowledge/understanding of your time you have a chance of getting across a decent version of it, or the principle at least, especially if the common knowledge has a (close) corollary in Archimedes' time. (HT. unequally-yoked).

Comment by keddaw on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2012-04-19T17:11:59.992Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Correct. I made the jump of me appearing as is in 530CE as opposed to 'baby me' since I do not in any logical sense think that baby me is me. So yes, the question is invalid (in my view) but I tried to make it valid by altering the question without explicitly saying I was doing so (i.e. "If you were to pop into existence in 530 CE would you be a scientific skeptic?")

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-04-19T13:12:14.115Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The cost of a false shout IS low, otherwise we wouldn't have fire drills.

The second order costs of (the state) limiting free speech when there is no direct harm is huge.

Comment by keddaw on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2012-04-19T13:03:47.967Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the person who started typing this reply was someone incredibly similar, but not identical, to the person who finished (neither of who are the present me). It was a person who shared genes, who had an almost identical memory of childhood and education, who shares virtually all my goals, interests and dreams and is more like me than any other person that has ever lived. However, that person was not the me who exists now.

Extrapolate that backwards, becoming less and less like current me over time and you get an idea of who started learning the skills I currently have.

It's not my fault if people have a broken view of what/who they actually are.

Comment by keddaw on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2012-04-18T14:47:23.922Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Do you really think you're so smart that you would have been a proper scientific skeptic even if you'd been born in 500 C.E.?

Yes. "But your genes would be different." Then it wouldn't be me. "Okay, same genes, but no scientific education." Then it wouldn't be me.

As much as such a thing as 'me' exists then it comes with all the knowledge and skills I have gained either through genetics, training or learning. Otherwise it isn't 'me'.

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-29T00:08:57.456Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, but what it comes down to is what is the expected reaction of reasonable people in a given situation. If people can't safely exit a theatre then we need to re-think theatres. And safety tests.

If I'm in a theatre and a patron shouts that the popcorn has been poisoned (an intentional lie) then I can't conceive of any action (assuming [s]he hasn't been near the popcorn) other than ejection and ban. don't see why their liberty has to be sacrificed.

Similarly, if the risk of injury is as low as I think it (should be) is then the intent to cause panic is again not an issue for the criminal justice system. Sue them (if you can/must) and ban them for life.

The apparent agreement that a false statement that has an incredibly small chance of causing actual harm, where the harm is unlikely unless the venue is sub-par, should go beyond the basic remedies for the discomfort and damages caused by the injured parties and spill over into denying someone their liberty is worrisome.

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-28T13:09:32.607Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Which has nothing to say on the possible, actual or long-term harm of removing the rights of free speech in a certain situation - it simply defines (quite well) the other side of the equation.

The criminalisation of free speech is a severe measure and must be as limited as is practicable in scope. All western societies are based on the free exchange and discussions of ideas. The benefit of free speech is so great (as mentioned in the Hustler case) that its restriction must prevent some great harm. As a recent example showed, the right of a Florida pastor to burn a book outweighed the strong probability of his actions leading to a severe cost of injury (death) to US, and other, civilians and military abroad.

Now, maybe you think his rights should have been quashed (I strongly don't), in which case you're consistent, or you must think that the right to yell "fire!" when there isn't one should be upheld as the probability of harm, and the likely amount of harm, are low - or you're applying different rules according to some outside notion not yet mentioned.

I happen to think there is another notion here - intent. The intent of the "fire!" yeller is somewhat irrelevant since the actual danger is, or should be, minimal. The pastor simply wanted to upset Muslims, which is certainly protected under free speech, their reaction is a separate problem. Whereas a mafia don publicly offering a bounty on someone's head is a different ballgame.

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-28T10:27:09.843Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Limiting the scope of a civil remedy is somewhat removed from the distinctions between civil and criminal, no?

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-28T10:16:50.910Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So close notTheOtherDave...

when it costs X to lower the risk by Y of harm Z, and X > Y Z chance of an incident, then implementing the measure is bad policy.

Is exactly the point, but you have not defined X. Given that X leads to a slippery slope decrease in all free speech rights (e.g. Gitmo torture reporting, Bradley Manning etc. etc.) then how do you quantify X?

Sometimes the direct harm of X may be less than the others, but the principle is much more important.

This is why we presume people innocent. This is why convicting no-one is preferable to convicting the wrong person. This is why, in short, we have rights!

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-27T15:54:13.776Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A theater than can protect its patrons against a real fire doesn't necessarily equal a theater that can protect its patrons against a false fire.

That is a patently false statement.

I find it far more reasonable, and much of a "Schelling point" to ban spreading knowingly false information.

And thus the slippery slope becomes a teflon cliff.

That's effectively a matter of degree -- you're just saying that the punishment should be a fine instead of a prison sentence. It's not really a difference in kind.

One is criminal and the other is civil? One is a dispute between two (equal under the law) individuals in front of a (supposedly) impartial judge and the other is the state versus an individual? Quite a lot of difference really.

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-27T15:30:17.775Z · score: -3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

So your idea is to have them stay in there indefinitely as someone might get hurt on the way out?

If you can't evacuate a theatre without a reasonable expectation that no-one will be harmed you shouldn't be running a theatre and anyone who is harmed should sue you (or fire marshals, local council, regulators or whoever should shut you down).

Comment by keddaw on Schelling fences on slippery slopes · 2012-03-27T14:44:22.696Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Any theatre offering access to the public should be able to evacuate all patrons safely in the event of a real fire, thus someone falsely yelling "fire!" simply inconveniences people and should be banned by the owner. There is no need to get the police involved and have this ridiculous example as legitimisation on limits on free speech in a public arena.

There are limits that should be upheld, but not necessarily by police (e.g. someone being slandered could sue rather than have the slanderer arrested.) Incitement to violence may be banned as a pragmatic measure, but that would be my Schelling point (and even then I'm not 100% sure...)

Comment by keddaw on Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality · 2010-08-03T15:31:34.346Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

There is a good chance I am missing something here, but from an economic perspective this seems trivial:

P(Om) is the probability the person assigns Omega of being able to accurately predict their decision ahead of time.

A. P(Om) x $1m is the expected return from opening one box.

B. (1 - P(Om))x$1m + $1000 is the expected return of opening both boxes (the probability that Omega was wrong times the million plus the thousand.)

Since P(Om) is dependent on people's individual belief about Omega's ability to predict their actions it is not surprising different people make different decisions and think they are being rational - they are!

If A > B they choose one box, if B > A they choose both boxes.

This also shows why people will change their views if the amount in the visible box is changed (to $990,000 or $10).

Basically, in this instance, if you think the probability of Omega being able to determine your future action is greater than 0.5005 then you select a single box, if less than that you select both boxes. At P(Om)=0.5005 the expected return of both strategies is $500,500.

EDIT. I think I oversimplified B, but the point still stands. nhamann - I didn't see your post before writing mine. I think the only difference between them is that I state that it is a personal view of the probability of Omega being able to predict choices and you seem to want to use the actual probability that he can.