Posts

Comments

Comment by lazydave on Brain Breakthrough! It's Made of Neurons! · 2016-11-13T18:14:52.472Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It indeed cannot be objectively examined (afaik), but it can be subjectively examined, which is why I know that I have consciousness, but cannot say the same about anyone else. That being said, I do assign an incredibly high probability that others do indeed have it.

Comment by lazydave on "3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism" · 2016-11-13T18:02:58.718Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, I find that really surprising; I am hardly in tune with the "proper" terms one should use these days, but the flight attendant thing has been second nature to me for at least 10 years, and thought it was for everybody. I'd be really curious as to why you only became aware of it recently; do you not fly very often? I want to stress that I am not criticizing you or anything, my curiosity is just piqued.

Comment by lazydave on "3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism" · 2016-11-13T17:56:16.545Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, I've noticed that when the word used for something is intentionally changed, oftentimes it is because the thing being referred to is viewed negatively by many. In addition, once the new word has widespread adoption, use of the old word is a signal that you indeed do view what it refers to negatively. A recent example is some politician who talked about what the NAACP should do if they wanted to help "colored" people; it was widely derided as a racist statement, even though he was simply expanding part of the acronym of the organization he was referring to. Similarly, afaik the word "retarded" was not considered pejorative back when it was in common use (nor was "idiot" a long time before that). The fact that "black" is still perfectly acceptable even after the introduction of "African American" gives me hope that there is a recognition that race relations are markedly improved.

Comment by lazydave on "3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism" · 2016-11-13T17:35:03.106Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure about its origins, but in the MSM I've only seen the term described as something members of the "alt-right" use to describe the group in question (obviously in a pejorative way), so generally when I use the term I enclose it in scare quotes (as I evidently do with "alt-right" for some reason), as I do not want to improperly signal that I hold certain beliefs.

Comment by lazydave on Spooky Action at a Distance: The No-Communication Theorem · 2012-05-23T18:44:44.559Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks; sorry about the duplicate question post, I had not been able to find the "replay" version of this particular article.

Comment by lazydave on [SEQ RERUN] On Being Decoherent · 2012-04-19T16:00:57.459Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think it is a good way to map what people have commonly called "superposition," but the sentence should probably be "The system is in the superposition STATE1 + STATE2, relative to STATE 3, where STATE 3 roughly factors out". STATE 3 in this case is usually an observer. I mean, if I flip a "quantum coin" and I have not told you if it is heads or tails, then the coin (and I) is in a superposition of "HEADS + TAILS" relative to you, but due to decoherence on my end, it is not in a superposition relative to me. For me this was an important concept to learn, as it helped me see that "many worlds" is a local and non-discrete phenomenon.

Comment by lazydave on [SEQ RERUN] On Being Decoherent · 2012-04-19T01:03:58.318Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And another quantum-related question. - In The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (p. 196), he describes a setup of the two slit experiment where half of the particles have their "which way" information recorded, thus causing decoherence and not showing an interference pattern, and the other half of the particles are not measured, and thus do show an interference pattern. After the fact one can look at which photons were not measured, and these do indeed form the interference pattern.

However, he then goes on to explain an identical setup, with the difference that the decision as to whether to measure the 1/2 of the particles can be made many (light) years after the photons register on the screen, and only later, when the person making this decision light years away comes and tells you whether they measured or not, do you see if the unmeasured photons make an interference pattern.

This would all make sense to me IF there was no way to distinguish a totally non-interfering pattern, and a non-interfering pattern overlaid with an interfering one. Intuitively it seems like one WOULD be able to distinguish this, with a pretty high degree of confidence, by subtracting an "average" non-interfering pattern from the total pattern. Is this not the case?

BTW, I have been re-reading the QM sequence every 6 months or so since it was first posted, and get a bit more out of it each time. I am AMAZED at how it has explained things that, before reading it, seemed so freaky and inexplicable to me that it bordered on the supernatural.

Comment by lazydave on [SEQ RERUN] On Being Decoherent · 2012-04-19T00:51:36.456Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So this is sorta off-topic for this thread, but I cannot see where one can start a new one. I posted the following questions at http://lesswrong.com/lw/q2/spooky_action_at_a_distance_the_nocommunication/, as I cannot find the "rerun" version of it. Anyway, here goes. FWIW, the topic was about EPR experiments.

For all these types of experiments, how do they "aim" the particle so it hits its target from far away? It would seem that the experimenters would know pretty much where the particle is when it shoots out of the gun (or whatever), so would not the velocity be all over the place? In the post on the Heisenberg principle, there was an example of letting the sun shine through a hole in a piece of paper, which caused the photons to spread pretty widely, pretty quickly.

Does the polarization vector change as the photon moves along? It seems to be very similar to a photon's "main" wave function, as it can be represented as a complex number (and is even displayed as an arrow, like Feynman uses). But I know those Feynman arrows spin according to the photon's wavelength.

Finally - and this is really tripping me up - why can we put in the minus sign in the equation that you say "we will need" later, instead of a + sign? If you have two blobs of amplitude, you need to add them to get the wave function, yes? If that is not the case, I have SEVERELY misunderstood the most basic posts of this sequence.

Comment by lazydave on Spooky Action at a Distance: The No-Communication Theorem · 2012-04-15T18:15:23.769Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(I can't find the "rerun" version of this page, so am posting my questions here).

  1. For all these types of experiments, how do they "aim" the particle so it hits its target from far away? It would seem that the experimenters would know pretty much where the particle is when it shoots out of the gun (or whatever), so would not the velocity be all over the place? In the post on the Heisenberg principle, there was an example of letting the sun shine through a hole in a piece of paper, which caused the photons to spread pretty widely, pretty quickly.

  2. Does the polarization vector change as the photon moves along? It seems to be very similar to a photon's "main" wave function, as it can be represented as a complex number (and is even displayed as an arrow, like Feynman uses). But I know those Feynman arrows spin according to the photon's wavelength.

  3. Finally - and this is really tripping me up - why can we put in the minus sign in the equation that you say "we will need" later, instead of a + sign? If you have two blobs of amplitude, you need to add them to get the wave function, yes? If that is not the case, I have SEVERELY misunderstood the most basic posts of this sequence.

Comment by lazydave on [SEQ RERUN] Can You Prove Two Particles Are Identical? · 2012-04-07T01:48:54.382Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In a previous post in this series, it was stated that if you shot the particles towards the mirrors at different times, but that difference was vanishingly small, then you would still see the same results, except for there would be a correspondingly vanishingly small chance that you would see both detectors register a single particle, since configurations were "smudgy". Why would not the same apply to two electrons that were distinguishable, but their differences were vanishingly small?

Comment by lazydave on Verifying Rationality via RationalPoker.com · 2011-03-31T22:03:15.431Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Bots only win at 1v1 limit poker. No bot can play professional no-limit poker, especially at a full table.

I believe that they can win LIMIT poker at a full table; does not have to be 1-1 in that case.

Comment by lazydave on Verifying Rationality via RationalPoker.com · 2011-03-31T21:59:30.303Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The a priori argument that using money is important doesn't stand up under closer >examination. If you are incapable of generalizing from in-game currency to dollars, you >won't be capable of generalizing from poker to other activities. And player behavior >does not seem to be grossly different - take for example the fact that prediction markets >work the same with real money or fake money.

It may not be much different for prediction markets, but it is VERY different for online poker. Even if you play exactly the same with or without money, your opponents will not, and therefore you will be "training" on different data than you think. This applies especially to NL games; risking 1,000 points on one bet is a lot different than risking 1,000 dollars.

Comment by lazydave on Verifying Rationality via RationalPoker.com · 2011-03-31T21:46:26.122Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Would it be rational for the Poker houses to try to cheat the rule-breakers?

While I can't vouch for every single poker site out there, the chances of them trying to cheat you are almost nil. The amount of marginal income they would make compared to the risk of a tarnished reputation makes it a foolish play (note that to cheat you, they would need to not only rig the game, but have a shill in there to divert the money to).

I used to count cards at blackjack. And when I did it in Reno, at a certain stage a >new dealer would be brought to the table (outside the normal shift schedule). And >from that point on, I would lose money. If I watched closely, I could see them dealing >seconds.

Unless this was 1950, I believe your eyes fooled you. They would ban you, yes, but the idea of a Reno casino trying to win their money "back" via slight of hand is a little silly.

Comment by lazydave on The Second Law of Thermodynamics, and Engines of Cognition · 2011-03-31T15:04:00.622Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So in the following transformation:

X1Y1 -> X2Y1 X1Y2 -> X4Y1 X1Y3 -> X6Y1 X1Y4 -> X8Y1

You say that while true entropy has not increased (it stays at 2 bits), apparent entropy has, due to the observer not keeping track of X and just lumping its possible states into X2-X8. If this is the case, why doesn't observed entropy decrease as well, since phase space is preserved with the following?

X2Y1 -> X1Y1 X4Y1 -> X1Y2 X6Y1 -> X1Y3 X8Y1 -> X1Y4

Comment by lazydave on It's not like anything to be a bat · 2010-03-27T20:06:57.988Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Considering the vast number of non-human animals compared to humans, the probability of being a human is vanishingly low. Therefore, chances are that if I could be an animal, I would be.

I do not really think you need an anthropic argument to prove that "you" couldn't be an animal; it is more a matter of definition, i.e. by definition you are not an animal. For example, there is no anthropic reason that "I" couldn't have been raised in Alabama, but what would it even mean to say that I could have been raised in Alabama? That somebody with the same exact genes and parents was raised in Alabama? In that case, it is the same as saying I have an identical twin that was raised there. The fact of the matter is that when I say "I", I am referring to someone with all of the same genes and experiences I have. To say that "I" could have been some other human is nonsensical; to say that "I" could have been a bat is even more so.

Comment by lazydave on Undiscriminating Skepticism · 2010-03-25T03:19:23.014Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

OK, I may have misunderstood his meaning. I thought he was saying that there were things he would never mention, as it would alienate people, as opposed to just not mentioning it in this post.

Comment by lazydave on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2010-03-23T22:43:11.512Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Morendil, I absolutely agree. It may very well be that the ills outweigh the good (though I happen to personally doubt it). I'm just saying that the weighing should be done independently of the rationality of religion (which I think we can all agree is about 0). I just fear that it is too easy for there to be a negative halo effect around religion, which is understandable seeing that this is a forum about rationality.

Comment by lazydave on Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies · 2010-03-23T20:46:28.718Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

" 'God made me pregnant' sounded a tad more likely in the old days before our models of the world contained (quotations of) Y chromosomes. "

I don't know about that; the whole point about the "virgin birth" was that it was miraculous, i.e. physically impossible. Had they known about DNA, the story would have included God creating some DNA for "his" side of the deal. Saying that knowledge of DNA would have made the virgin birth less believable is like saying greater knowledge of classical physics would have made people more skeptical of Jesus walking on water. Impossible == Impossible.

Comment by lazydave on Undiscriminating Skepticism · 2010-03-21T19:22:57.024Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"And of course I could easily go on to name some beliefs that others think are wrong and that I think are right, or vice versa, but would inevitably lose some of my audience at each step along the way - just as, a couple of decades ago, I would have lost a lot of my audience by saying that religion was unworthy of serious debate. "

So are you admitting to just going for "cheap credit"? In your post you encourage people to stick their intellectual necks out, but seem reluctant to do so yourself.

Comment by lazydave on The ABC's of Luminosity · 2010-03-21T18:34:46.941Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

This may be a bit pedantic, but isn't the A->C relationship wholly contained in the A->B and B->C relationship? In other words, the only way A->C works is via B; there is no "extra" information in the A->C relationship.

Comment by lazydave on The Second Law of Thermodynamics, and Engines of Cognition · 2010-03-21T18:20:18.155Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I guess it would seem to me that what gets "overwritten" is the (now invalid) knowledge of where Y is, and what it is overwritten with is the new, valid position of it. I'll have to chew on it for a while.

By the way, sort of unrelated, but I've always wondered why gravity acting on things is not considered a loss of entropy. For example I can drop a bowling ball from multiple distances, but it will always end up 0 feet from the ground:

B4 -> B0

B3 -> B0

B2 -> B0

etc.

The only thing I can think of is that, when the ball hits the ground the collision creates enough heat (i.e. entropy) to balance everything out. Is that correct?

Comment by lazydave on The Second Law of Thermodynamics, and Engines of Cognition · 2010-03-20T22:41:19.579Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So after doing the Maxwell's Demon thing, you say that mutual information decreases, the entropy of Y decreases, so we are left with the same amount of total entropy:

M1,Y1 -> M1,Y1

M2,Y2 -> M2,Y1

M3,Y3 -> M3,Y1

M4,Y4 -> M4,Y1

However, I don't see why the mutual information would be lost; would the Demon know where he "put" the molecule, thus making the transition look more like:

M1,Y1 -> M1,Y1

M2,Y2 -> M1,Y1

M3,Y3 -> M1,Y1

M4,Y4 -> M1,Y1

This would of course shrink the phase space, violate the second law, etc. I just do not see how M would stay the same when Y changed (i.e. lose the mutual information).

Comment by lazydave on Open Thread: January 2010 · 2010-01-25T15:38:00.108Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does anybody have any updates as to the claims made against Alcor, i.e. the Tuna Can incident? I've tried a bunch of searches, but haven't been able to find anything conclusive as to the veracity of the claims.

Comment by lazydave on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2010-01-23T23:37:04.134Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks; the Bayesians vs. Barbarians post is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I'll have to read some of the posts that it links to (as well as re-read the background posts you referred to; haven't read them in a while), as the way it stands I still think the Barbarians would win.

Comment by lazydave on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2010-01-23T23:20:14.884Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure what the content of "making your opponent behave (ir)rationally" is >supposed to be. It's certainly not an uncontroversial tidbit of received wisdom that the >rational thing to do in the Prisoner's Dilemma is to defect, which is what you seem to >imply.

Exactly, if I was able to make him act irrationally, he would not defect, whereas I would. And if the definition of rationality is that it makes you win, then it can be perfectly rational to have others act irrationally (i.e. believe wrong things).

Comment by lazydave on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2010-01-23T22:58:50.349Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

We think that religions are false, and a shared priority of Less Wrong denizens is to >believe things that are true instead

You'll get no argument from me that religions are false. You will get practically no argument from me that it makes sense to want to believe things that are true. What I question is, is it always rational to make others believe things that are true? If I leave my lights on when I leave the house so that would-be robbers think I am home when I am not, I am making a rational decision to make others believe something that is false.

If I am playing the Prisoner's Dilemma with someone (just once, so no tit-for-tat or anything), and I have the choice of making my opponent either act rationally or irrationally, the rational thing for me to do is make him act irrationally.

Comment by lazydave on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2010-01-23T22:30:11.491Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I have wondered for many years what a good alternative would be, and have not been able to come up with one. Now that in itself doesn't mean anything; just because I can't think of one does not mean there isn't one. But given the antipathy of most on this site to religion (as evidenced by my comment getting dinged 4 times for merely suggesting that religion, though irrational, may be socially beneficial), I would think there would be posts upon posts explaining better alternatives. I have not seen them.

It seems to me that many rationalists hate religion so much, that they are loathe to admit it has any benefits at all, even if those benefits have NOTHING to do with the original reason for the loathing. It reminds me of a few years ago when someone said something to the effect of "Hitler's army had great uniforms" (I don't remember the exact details). Of course, the person had to end up apologizing a million times over, lost her job, etc. even though she was in no way endorsing Hitler's horrendous actions.

Again, I am not even saying that religion is necessarily worth keeping. But the unquestioned assumption that it would be desirable to get rid of it does not seem to get a lot of scrutiny around here.

Comment by lazydave on Raising the Sanity Waterline · 2010-01-19T00:45:38.007Z · score: -3 (11 votes) · LW · GW

I would dispute the (implied) part of this post that suggests removing religion would necessarily be a good thing. Besides being a way to explain rainbows and earthquakes and whatnot, it is also a "solution" to the prisoner's dilemma. For explanations of physical phenomena, religion is no longer needed. But the "morality" problem is still there. Make everyone rational, and they will do the rational thing, i.e. defect when faced with a prisoner's dilemma (or tragedy of the commons, or whatever). Getting rid of religion may certainly have its benefits, but I would not be too sure it would be an overall good thing.

Comment by lazydave on Rationality Quotes: October 2009 · 2009-10-26T23:52:58.009Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect it is because the main post refers to quotes being "voted up/down separately," i.e. it puts it in people's minds that they are supposed to vote on the quotes. I do find it funny that I got 12 karma points for cutting/pasting a quote; C.S. Lewis deserves the karma points, not me (as evidenced by the fact that I have gotten a grand total of 1 point from my own original posts). If one wanted to game the karma system, posting pithy quotes is the way to go.

Comment by lazydave on Rationality Quotes: October 2009 · 2009-10-24T18:53:52.010Z · score: 31 (35 votes) · LW · GW

I have met people who exaggerate the differences [between the morality of different cultures], because they have not distinguished between differences of morality and differences of belief about facts. For example, one man said to me, "Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death. Was that what you call the Rule of Human Nature or Right Conduct?" But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did-if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did. There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.

-C.S. Lewis

Comment by lazydave on Efficient Cross-Domain Optimization · 2009-10-21T18:00:09.740Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Kasparov competed against Deep Blue to steer the chessboard into a region where he won - knights and bishops were only his pawns

Were you trying to mix the literal and metaphorical here? Because I think that just his pawns were his pawns :)

Comment by lazydave on Timeless Control · 2008-06-07T16:52:21.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

All the ideas expressed in this post, as well as the "timeless physics" one, seems amazingly obvious to me, and has for all of my adult life, and compared to a lot of OB posters, I am not that bright. Since I normally find many of Elizer's posts extremely counterintuitive and/or hard to grasp, I've got to ask the question: am I missing something here? Is Elizer saying something so mind-boggling out of this world that I do not even realize he is saying it?

Comment by lazydave on Thou Art Physics · 2008-06-06T18:27:54.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I know this is just re-iterating what Caledonian and Ben Jones said, but too have meaningful discussion on this subject you have to taboo "free will" and come up with a specific description of what you are trying to figure out. The most basic concept of free will is "being able to do what you desire to do," and that is not affected one whit by determinism, or MWI, or God knowing what you are going to do in advance, etc. I know there are a lot of other more sophisticated-sounding discussions regarding this ("ah, but can you choose to desire something else", etc) but I have yet to hear of a meaningful definition of "free will" that is affected at all by such things as MWI.

BTW, it drives me nuts when people say "well if we do not have free will, why punish criminals?" (or "we pretend free will exists so that we can punish criminals", etc). We punish criminals so that fewer crimes happen. Whether you think those criminals have "free will" has nothing to do with the results we get by punishing them.

Comment by lazydave on Timeless Identity · 2008-06-03T17:59:53.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have been seriously considering cryonics; if the MWI is correct, I figure that even if there is a vanishingly small chance of it working, "I" will still wake up in one of the worlds where it does work. Then again, even if I do not sign up, there are plenty of worlds out there where I do. So signing up is less of an attempt to live forever as it is an attempt to line up my current existence with the memory of the person who is revived, if that makes any sense. To put it another way, if there is a world where I procrastinate signing up until right before I die, the person who is revived will have 99.9% of the same memories as someone who did not sign up at all, so if I don't end up signing up I do not lose much.

FWIW, I sent an email to Alcor a while ago that was never responded to, which makes me wonder if they have their act together enough to preserve me for the long haul.

On a related note, is there much agreement on what is "possible" as far as MWI goes? For example, in a classical universe if I know the position/momentum of every particle, I can predict the outcome of a coin flip with 1.0 probability. If we throw quantum events in the mix, how much does this change? I figure the answer should be in the range of (1.0 - tiny number) and (0.5 + tiny number).

Comment by lazydave on Einstein's Superpowers · 2008-05-30T23:44:45.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If the reason for keeping it private is that he plans to do the trick with more people (and it doesn't work if you know the method in advance) than it makes sense. But otherwise, I don't see much of a difference between somebody thinking "there is no argument that would convince me to let him out" and "argument X would not convince me to let him out". In fact, the latter is more plausible anyway.

In any event, I am the type of guy who always tries to find out how a magic trick is done and then is always disappointed when he finds out. So I'm probably better off not knowing :)

Comment by lazydave on Einstein's Superpowers · 2008-05-30T20:54:50.000Z · score: 0 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I always thought that the justification for not revealing the transcripts in the AI box experiment was pretty weak. As it is, I can claim that whatever method Elizer used must have been effective for people more simple minded then me; ignorance of the specifics of the method does not make it harder to make that claim. In fact, it makes it easier, as I can imagine Eli just said "pretty please" or whatever. In any event, the important point of the AI box exercise is that someone reasonably competent could be convinced to let the AI out, even if I couldn't be convinced.

One thing I would liked to have known is if the subjects had a different opinion about the problem once they let the AI out. One would assume they did, but since all they said was "I let Elizer out of the box" it is somewhat hard to tell.

Comment by lazydave on Science Isn't Strict Enough · 2008-05-16T21:50:02.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"ME" - I've noticed that people on this forum seem to label ANYTHING that has to do with conditional probability "Bayesian". I'm not quite sure why this is; I have a hard enough time figuring out the real difference between a "frequentist" and a "Bayesian", but reading some of these posts I get the feeling that "Bayesian" around here means "someone who knows basic logic".

Comment by lazydave on When Science Can't Help · 2008-05-15T17:49:07.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

While we are (sort of) on the topic of cryonics, who here is signed up for it? For those that are, what organization are you with, and are you going with the full-body plan, or just the brain? I'm considering Alcor's neuropreservation process.

Comment by lazydave on Science Doesn't Trust Your Rationality · 2008-05-14T19:57:17.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Caledonian - not sure if this is what was originally alluded to, but the Prisoner's Dilemma / Tragedy of the Commons scenario is one where agents acting in their best interest get screwed. Of course, that is why we have governments in the first place (i.e. to get around those problems).

M - How do you figure Somalia is libertarian? Libertarianism requires a stable government (i.e. a monopoly on force) which Somalia definitely does not have.

H.A. - I don't think the point was that Libertarians are more scientific than others, but that Libertarianism and Science are similar in the sense that they put more faith in processes than in people.

Comment by lazydave on The Dilemma: Science or Bayes? · 2008-05-13T14:46:03.000Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Eli - As you said in an earlier post, it is not the testability part of MWI that poses a problem for most people with a scientific viewpoint, it is the fact that MWI came after Collapse. So the core part of the scientific method - testability/falsifiability - gives no more weight to Collapse than to MWI.

As to the "Bayesian vs. Science" question (which is really a "Metaphysics vs. Science" question), I'll go with Science every time. The scientific method has trounced logical argument time and time again.

Even if there turns out to be cases where the "logical" answer to a problem is correct, who cares if it does not make any predictions? If it is not testable, than it also follows you can't do anything useful with it, like cure cancer, or make better heroin.

Comment by lazydave on Feynman Paths · 2008-04-17T19:13:06.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What Roland's PS said :)

Comment by lazydave on The Quantum Arena · 2008-04-17T00:37:33.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nick - thanks for the link. I admit I tend to glaze over the comments as many of them are frankly over my head. I re-read yours and it makes more sense to me.

Comment by lazydave on The Quantum Arena · 2008-04-16T19:29:01.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(This is a repost of a comment I made a few days ago under the topic "Distinct Configurations", but if someone could address this, I would really appreciate it.)

So I guess I get how [configurations being the same as long as all the particles end up in the same place] works in theory, but in practice, doesn't a particle going from A-B have SOME kind of effect that is different than if it went from B-C, even without the sensitive thingy? I don't know if it would be from bouncing off other particles on the way, or having some kind of minute gravitational effect on the rest of the universe, or what. And if that is the case, shouldn't the experiments always behave the as if there WERE that sensitive thingy there? Or is it really possible to set it up so there is literally NO difference in all the particle positions in the universe no matter which path is taken?

Comment by lazydave on Distinct Configurations · 2008-04-14T22:58:49.000Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So I guess I get how this works in theory, but in practice, doesn't a particle going from A-B have SOME kind of effect that is different than if it went from B-C, even without the sensitive thingy? I don't know if it would be from bouncing off other particles on the way, or having some kind of minute gravitational effect on the rest of the universe, or what. And if that is the case, shouldn't the experiments always behave the as if there WERE that sensitive thingy there? Or is it really possible to set it up so there is literally NO difference in all the particle positions in the universe no matter which path is taken?

Comment by lazydave on Quantum Explanations · 2008-04-09T16:47:09.000Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Cool! I am REALLY looking forward to this. Even if I don't end up grasping QM after this series, at least you are taking an honest shot at it. I can't stand it when I try to ask someone (that allegedly knows this stuff) about QM and they come back with, "it is so strange you can't even try to understand it, but here are the results of various QM experiments".

Comment by lazydave on Zombies! Zombies? · 2008-04-04T23:53:37.000Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't read Chalmers book, so I am just going by what I read here, but at the beginning of the post you promise to show the zombie world as logically impossible, but never deliver; you show that it is improbable enough to be perhaps be considered practically impossible, but since we are just dealing with a "thought experiment," that is irrelevant. For example, I do not think that everyone around me is a zombie. In fact, I'd bet all the money I have that they aren't. But I still don't KNOW they aren't, the way I KNOW that I am not.

On another note, I'm surprised at some of the ad hominem-type statements on this thread (people that don't agree with are like creationists, people that don't agree with me just don't want to see the truth). On most blogs, it's expected, but it is interesting to see it here.

Comment by lazydave on Brain Breakthrough! It's Made of Neurons! · 2008-04-03T17:51:50.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think this is the reason that some rationalists seem to find consciousness so disturbing; objective consequences are THE way to determine if something "exists," except in the case of consciousness, and in that special case, the probability of it actually existing, at least for one person (namely, me) is 1.

Comment by lazydave on Brain Breakthrough! It's Made of Neurons! · 2008-04-02T16:57:49.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Caledonian - the problem is, while we cannot show that consciousness exists in anything besides ourselves; we KNOW it at least exists inside ourselves. We know it more than we know that the earth exists, or that there are physical laws, etc. But when it comes to entities other than ourselves, it may as well be phlogiston; we can make ZERO predictions that would confirm or deny its existence. This is what makes it qualitatively different from any other phenomenon out there.

Comment by lazydave on New York OB Meetup (ad-hoc) on Monday, Mar 24, @6pm · 2008-03-26T02:09:05.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The book Eliezer suggested was Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. The course I am going to take is offered here and here. The list of all courses is here. The course I am looking at is an undergrad one; I figure that will give me a good idea of where I want to go with AI, whether that be pursuing my Masters or some other route....

Comment by lazydave on Amazing Breakthrough Day: April 1st · 2008-03-25T15:53:18.000Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Not quite the same, but you may enjoy the following from The Onion, where April Fools Day is a year-round event: "Buoyant Force On Area Object Equal To Weight Of Water Displaced"