Don't Think About the Thing Behind the Curtain. 2023-09-19T02:07:39.853Z
(Confusion Phrases) AKA: Things You Might Say or Think When You're Confused to Use as Triggers for Internal TAPs 2023-09-17T01:06:25.320Z
A Call For Community: Scientific Language Learning is Still Language Learning 2023-09-14T00:32:31.827Z


Comment by keltan on (Confusion Phrases) AKA: Things You Might Say or Think When You're Confused to Use as Triggers for Internal TAPs · 2023-09-18T00:16:48.023Z · LW · GW

Correct guess. They were mostly generated by ChatGPT. I initially bet that it wouldn't give outputs that had any value. My prompt of "read everything I have already written then make a list based on it" I thought would be too vague. So when it generated phrases that seemed passable I think my System 1 kicked in and said "yep, they sure do sound confused.". and I was happy to have a big long list, instead of just a few quality points.

And second guess also correct. The last 4 I generated myself. Looking back now I agree that it is certainly easy to tell.

My main hope was for others to comment their own C-Phrases, which is why I think I let this slip. Though I'm not proud and must say Oop. Thank you for your quality comment that lead me to this conclusion.

I'm going to remedy this by generating as quality as I can list of my own thoughts and editing them into the post.

Comment by keltan on Who Has the Best Food? · 2023-09-06T00:01:50.262Z · LW · GW

Australian here,

I think that survey data suffers from some major anchoring bias. I'm betting that most people just put numbers all around the same areas.

I only noticed this because I was surprised to see my culture listed and I don't think most people outside of Australia even know what Fairy Bread is, and probably think the term "Sausage Sizzle" sounds funny while never having been to a Bunnings. While we lay claim to the Meat Pie, I find it hard to back considering such a similar dish was served in the original globe theatre.

Stuff like Witchetty Grubs and Bush Tucker are probably illegal to serve in other countries. While many Australians eat Kangaroo, it's mostly dog food. Americans are often surprised to read the back of their dog food cans. It's not advertised that it's Roo to You. Croc is so rarely eaten. I've only had it once or twice.

Drinks wise, we've got great coffee and VB.

People famously hate Vegemite and no one knows what a Chiko Roll is.

Anyway, that was a culture rant. I hope someone learnt something about Australian food.

Comment by keltan on Who Has the Best Food? · 2023-09-05T23:43:02.066Z · LW · GW


Bread in the neck?

Comment by keltan on A Longtermist case against Veganism · 2023-09-04T10:27:09.164Z · LW · GW

it seems to me that it would actually be non-optimal of you not to eat the most convenient/delicious/nutritious meal that you can find, whenever possible, and without much regard for animal welfare.

Though I don't have any stats on hand. I believe it is "Common Knowledge" that eating animal products has a detrimental effect on the environment. To what extent this would effect levels of happiness of future humans remains to be seen. But I would bet it doesn't have a positive effect.

We agree that happy people are more productive.

Absolutely agree with this point! Though your citations are dubious. Two news sites. And none are studies on if being vegan/vegetarian (Vegs) makes people less happy.

Is veganism/vegetarianism a choice that makes people happy?

I think this point may be the first in a short series of missteps? Let me highlight another before addressing this one.

it seems that around the world, there is a strong revealed preference for people to eat more meat as it becomes more available.

While meat consumption rises as income does, so does the sale of other luxury items. Most people prefer to have a luxury boat than to have no boat. But as long as you aren't watching boat commercials all day, you will rarely even think about luxury boats because it's just not within your option space.

Going back to the first point now. I think the question is wrong. I think rephrasing it to "Is veganism/vegetarianism a choice that makes people Long Term happy?" would fit better.

This is where it gets tricky. One one hand, there is the hedonic set point. People who get an arm cut off don't remain sad about that arm forever. In fact they recover pretty quickly (mentally). Their happy set point is readjusted to help them survive.

However, I know of at least one paper that claims (Vegs) have a lower level of general happiness than the average person. Though I would claim this isn't due to dietary restrictions. Instead more of a "curse of knowledge" knowing what horrible things happen behind the stone walls, as well as evidence that Vegs Have a High level of public discrimination and there are no social checks yet in place to stop uncles making jokes at dinner tables because the Vegs group is currently too low in numbers to have a large enough cultural shift away from this. The above paper claims that Vegs even worry about leaving the house or talking to stranger on a level higher than the average person.

If these assumptions I make hold up then we can lower our worry about Vegs having a lower level of happiness due to diet.

messages that our inherent preference to eat meat is morally bad can be harmful, because they don’t actually change how a meatless diet tastes, they simply add costs like guilt and disgust in an attempt to tip the scale in people’s choices,

I agree with your premise that messages about meat and morality can be harmful. Before giving a person information that they may be taking part in something that they oppose they should be warned. Showing others graphic content should be approached with care. It should only be used if no other method leads them to "The Way". And even then, I feel uncomfortable writing up those boundaries off the cuff.

However, if someone is doing something that they themselves would deem to be immoral. I do not think that person should be shielded from the truth. Arguably the harm that is being done to the animals is greater than any loss of utility that person may gain.

Okay, so we’ve now established that there is a large cost to not eating meat for those whose inherent preference it is to do so

I disagree with this. It is an assumption swaying on a stack of other assumptions.

Now consider that the 100 or so chickens that it takes to make the researchers 365 sandwiches were spared. Even if we weigh chicken utils as equal to human utils, and even if the total # of utils they experience is the same sum of 800,000, what do they do with them?

Now, my math isn't great. In fact it's quite shocking. And I sadly don't have the time to do the math (Because I'm so totally bad at it that doing and checking it will take me several hours and this comment has already taken 1½ hours)

But, I believe the Vegs position is that these chickens would never be brought into existence in the first place. Considering that there would be no use for them at all. Their utils would be Null.

However bringing a Meat chicken into existence is a painful thing. Though I am currently working on a theory of mind that will refute this, My current belief is that a chicken is sentient.

If we say our researcher isn't buying from a vendor while out of the house, and is instead making what they believe to be the optimal cost/benefit decision. Buying chicken from a grocery store, where they can check the packaging. Buying RSPCA approved only. Cooking at home etc. Then we can say with high probability that He's probably with an alright dude. This however is beside the point.

Here is the Broiler Chicken section of Dominion This is all Australian farming, which applies to me, but likely not you. However these practices are common place. I warn you. This is disturbing to watch. I have taken the time to read through the RSPCA publicly available documentation. This section of the Doco at least holds it's own. I back it. I would describe in text what happens. But this comment is now at 2h writing time and I have spring rolls cooking downstairs!

My point however is, this is one scientist. Not all people are scientists. Some people are truck drivers, Marketing agents, service workers, plumbers, sales people, and trades people. Actually, most people are these things. They all bring value in their own way. But I go out on a limb here in saying not as much as our researcher.

The animals that feed our masses however, go through insufferable torture. There is no better word for the cages, the electricity, the gas chambers, having your throat slit, then as you are dying feeling your calf emergency birth process beginning, and it thrashes and tears at your insides until it is cut out of you buy a worker, who "Thumps" (bludgeons) your beloved to death as she takes her first steps in her mothers blood. and then you die.

Better to never have been.

A util is a util, and the same is true for negative utils.

If we ought to be so concerned about future welfare, why obsess over present suffering

This also seems to be an argument against charity that helps current people. Is this your position?

This leads me to health and nutrition claims. I think that nutrition is still a rather woo-woo area of science today, and that most diet studies do not show significant health results when compared to a control diet. Therefore, I rate the health claims on either side of the meat eating divide as a wash.

In agreement with this statement.

If the researcher from the example above didn’t like the taste of chicken, it’s likely that he would not have been able to leverage that into working harder for the day.

Something I didn't mention earlier was meat substitutes. Let's skip the nutrition talk because we both agree it's woo-woo. But substitutes are remarkable these days! Available in all areas. Taste preference is no longer a reason at all.

As always, if you think differently, please feel free to dunk on me in the comments below, maybe this is more of a criticism of longtermism than vegetarian/veganism, depending on your perspective!

While writing this I was really worried about being a total dick wad. I don't want to attack you. If you did feel attacked at any point I would really appreciate you pointing those moments out to me pretty please with a cherry on top? I hope I did a good job of explaining. I assign a high probability that you are a cool person and we would get along well IRL. But that these walls of text make doing that much harder.

breeding dumber animals

Dumb ≠ Insentient

Look into Peter Singer's "Name the trait" argument for more info

I want to eat an A-5 Wagyu steak everyday, and I think it’ll be sooner rather than later that the easiest way to produce such a luxury will be via cultured meat.

Absolutely agree on this point. I would love luxury boat plz

If it is your taste preference to eat meat, then it seems unlikely that you can consciously decide to prefer veggies or meat alternatives

Anecdotal: No, you can't change the preference. But preference doesn't equal moral right. I would like to have sex whenever I want. This does not mean that I am morally permitted to rape. Or, even commit an act of bestiality if you think it's silly to compare humans and non-human animals.

Summary: I appreciate your arguments. But i think your moral foundations are shaky. This comment ended up taking 2.5 hours to write. I didn't do this to dunk on you. But because I'd like to push you to think about those foundations.

And... finally, I'd like to extend the same offer to you

if you think differently, please feel free to dunk on me in the comments below, maybe this is more of a criticism of longtermism than vegetarian/veganism, depending on your perspective!

Comment by keltan on Feedbackloop-first Rationality · 2023-09-04T09:11:22.052Z · LW · GW

I would like to volunteer as a test subject! As someone new to LW I was hoping to train my rationality skills this spring anyway. I have quite a clear schedule and can dedicate at least 2-4 hours a day.

Get in touch if you decide to run a trial within the next two months. I myself teach kids at weekly art classes and have been slowly trying to integrate my own rationality exercises. Some guidance and external pressure to continue my training would be beneficial to me.

Comment by keltan on Walk while you talk: don't balk at "no chalk" · 2023-08-24T00:09:50.210Z · LW · GW

I would be interested to see if it helps to be familiar with the space you are walking in. If not, you could for example generate a new MineCraft world for every episode of a podcast. Then name that world as the podcast name just in case.

It could possibly be more effective to travel through google maps. Doing this would lead to clearer landmarks to anchor to.

Or, there are many ambient walking/driving videos on YouTube. Would watching one of these have the same effect? I have doubts. I remember as a child watching the road as my Mother drove me to school every day. But when it came time for me to finally drive I could only vaguely get the route. A similar thing happens when I'm following someone else's directions as I walk with them.

Ideally you would just walk. Exercise and learning at the same time is wonderful. But, you'll exhaust the possible directions you can travel in eventually. I use my daily walking route as a mind palace to place characters in at predetermined landmarks. I then give each a corresponding number. It's taking a while, but eventually the goal is to use this to remember stats and dates.

Comment by keltan on Large Language Models will be Great for Censorship · 2023-08-23T23:57:36.452Z · LW · GW

Winston Smith is about to lose his job

Comment by keltan on Summary of and Thoughts on the Hotz/Yudkowsky Debate · 2023-08-21T00:53:04.922Z · LW · GW

Something I took out of this debate was a pushing of my "AGI Soon" expectations. I found myself agreeing with Hotz by the end. Though I haven't formed a new prediction. It will be beyond my previous expectation of 1-3 years before AGI. Somewhat closer to 10 years. The exact point that changed my mind isn't listed in this post. Though it was past the 60 min mark.

Comment by keltan on Book Launch: "The Carving of Reality," Best of LessWrong vol. III · 2023-08-18T00:15:30.134Z · LW · GW

Yes! I'm quite sad that I'm about to finish the physical "How to Actually Change Your Mind". I aim to read all of RFATZ but it's about to be a lot harder when I have to do it on my computer. I hope that the other books will magically come into print exactly when I finish the book.

Comment by keltan on Hammertime Day 5: Comfort Zone Expansion · 2023-08-16T23:56:04.703Z · LW · GW

I am glad that my reply acted as an encouragement for you. It reminds me of comradery in an act of defiance. Though for me I believe my "Defiance" was actually Naivete of a culture that I am still bright eyed and fresh faced to. Walking like a toddler, Bumbling around, knocking things over.

Why am I glad you made this point? Because it might point toward an unspoken rule.

"Thou shalt not comment on old posts, lest thou desires to be struck down! What has been said is done! NO MORE FUN!"

It seems this rule isn't imparted by the powers that be, but our own desire to stay unnoticed? 
I hope to keep this lack of respect for unspoken customs as I become more acquainted with less wrong.

Participation leads to learning so why not participate whenever you've got something to say. Worst case, the mods see it.

Comment by keltan on All AGI Safety questions welcome (especially basic ones) [July 2023] · 2023-08-04T10:04:50.191Z · LW · GW

How are we able to "reward" a computer? I feel so incredibly silly for this next bit but... does it feel good?

Comment by keltan on Has anyone tried creating a YouTube or TikTok series covering the sequences? · 2023-08-04T09:56:36.451Z · LW · GW

I've also been considering this!

Though I'm quite new to rationality I am a professional filmmaker. And I dedicate most of my time to creating educational content on YouTube (Though it is not successful I get a lot of enjoyment out of it)

My worry has been a lack of understanding of The Sequences, as i'm just making my way through them for the first time now. Maybe we could help each other out?

Comment by keltan on Hammertime Day 5: Comfort Zone Expansion · 2023-08-01T02:45:02.234Z · LW · GW

Oh, that's a great idea! me too!