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How to calibrate your political beliefs 2013-05-12T20:09:21.466Z · score: 4 (8 votes)

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Comment by macaulay on Voting is like donating thousands of dollars to charity · 2015-10-08T07:10:23.040Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If you're loss averse, the expected value could easily be negative: cost(voting for wrong candidate) > benefit((voting for right candidate).

Comment by macaulay on Intrinsic motivation is crucial for overcoming akrasia · 2015-06-25T05:36:32.517Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was astonished to find myself having ascended to the pantheon of those who have made major contributions to human knowledge

Is this your own evaluation of your work?

Comment by macaulay on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-15T19:02:21.075Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If the "tear apart the stars" prophecy just refers to Harry harvesting the stars for resources, then Voldemort looks really stupid for misinterpreting it.

Comment by macaulay on [FINAL CHAPTER] Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 122 · 2015-03-14T23:05:28.986Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Now Hermione learns Patronus 2.0 and destroys Azkaban. So both the Boy-Who-Lived and the Girl-Who-Revived can kill dementors. Sounds like "surviving/defeating Voldemort" is a plausible cover for explaining the origin of the ability to destroy dementors.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 120 · 2015-03-13T03:08:34.701Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Isn't Harry saying this to Draco after Draco has been obliviated? Draco has no idea what Harry's talking about.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T20:43:09.717Z · score: 13 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Shouldn't Harry have fallen to his knees twenty seconds earlier, if he originally heard/saw the explosion via Voldie-simulcast?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 116 · 2015-03-04T20:36:06.076Z · score: 24 (24 votes) · LW · GW

"Harry, let me verify that your Time-Turner hasn't been used," said Professor McGonagall.

"LOOK OVER THERE!" Harry screamed, already sprinting for the door.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115 · 2015-03-04T03:45:49.936Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Why are Hermione's robes red? Does Voldie want her to be Gryffindor?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-02-28T21:48:45.874Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What about Harry changing Voldie's understanding of death?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-02-28T21:37:23.339Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Important: QQ's earlier parseltongue-spoken plans for Harry to become ruler of the world were said before he heard the 'tear apart the stars' prophecy. So it appears V changed his mind after hearing the prophecy.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-02-28T21:31:49.887Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Ten hours after the deadline.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113 · 2015-02-28T21:29:52.958Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If knowledge of the True Patronus can prevent people from being able to cast Patronus 1.0, is there a way for knowledge of the True Patronus to harm Voldemort?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 110 · 2015-02-25T02:40:04.944Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Does Quirrell have the Resurrection Stone? If so, that's 3/3 Deathly Hallows (invisibility cloak and elder wand).

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T05:02:52.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When Harry first entered the room wearing his cloak, he looked into the mirror and saw only the reflection. Now he is again looking into the mirror while cloaked.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 109 · 2015-02-24T04:56:28.738Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Dumbledore is in the mirror. Quirrell, from 104:

I saw the Headmaster missing... but for all my magic can tell me... he could be in another... realm of existence

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapters 105-107 · 2015-02-18T04:09:11.270Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Snape kills Dumbledore?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T06:04:02.149Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

But unless you bought Draco Malfoy's latest theory that Professor Sprout had been assigning and grading less homework around the time of Hermione being framed for attempted murder, thereby proving that Professor Sprout had been spending her time setting it up, the truth remained unfound.

So Imperiused-Sprout is Hat and Cloak?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104 · 2015-02-16T03:37:57.847Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

He went with Lesath, not Cedric.

Comment by macaulay on Confidence In Opinions, Intensity In Opinion · 2013-09-07T22:21:30.522Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

See also Gwern's belief tags.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 24, chapter 95 · 2013-07-18T05:20:32.029Z · score: 11 (15 votes) · LW · GW

We are nearing the end of the school year, after all.

Edit for clarity: referring to the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position.

Comment by macaulay on Four Focus Areas of Effective Altruism · 2013-07-09T21:45:47.732Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In the future, poverty reduction EAs might also focus on economic, political, or research-infrastructure changes that might achieve poverty reduction, global health, and educational improvements more indirectly, as when Chinese economic reforms lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

I'd like to see more discussion of economic growth and effective altruism. Something that can lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty is something that should definitely be investigated. (See also Lant Pritchett's distinction between linear and transformative philanthropy.)

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 23, chapter 94 · 2013-07-08T19:26:11.323Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Regarding Harry's lack of surprise, isn't it odd that he puts no effort into wearing the expression of someone who has no idea about Hermione's body being missing?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-04T05:27:48.755Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What's "Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres" an anagram for?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T16:16:50.770Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Is there a page that lists all of the unresolved hints/clues in MoR? For example, Remembrall-like-a-sun, Bacon's diary, etc.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 20, chapter 90 · 2013-07-02T02:53:54.850Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

He had vanished from where he was standing over the Weasley twins and come into existence beside Harry; George Weasley had discontinously teleported from where he was sitting to be kneeling next to his brother's side

What's going on here? Is it just that Harry isn't paying attention to what's happening around him?

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89 · 2013-06-30T19:07:07.543Z · score: 23 (23 votes) · LW · GW

This is interesting. From the end of Ch. 89:

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor's lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day

From Ch. 46, after Harry destroys the dementor:

I must admit, Mr. Potter, that although it has had its ups and downs, on the whole, this has been a surprisingly good day.

Comment by macaulay on How to calibrate your political beliefs · 2013-05-13T22:13:19.723Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I agree with all of this.

Comment by macaulay on How to calibrate your political beliefs · 2013-05-13T17:00:08.758Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think that the standards given in the OP are too demanding? Not demanding enough?

Comment by macaulay on How to calibrate your political beliefs · 2013-05-13T04:51:32.741Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Good point. Do you think the ideological Turing-capability requirement helps to mitigate this danger, and if so, how much does it help?

Comment by macaulay on How to calibrate your political beliefs · 2013-05-12T21:50:48.815Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Academic papers are what get's published, not what's true. The difference is particularly pronounced for political topics.

Right, it's a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.

Comment by macaulay on Privileging the Question · 2013-05-12T21:12:42.078Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As a tool for combating privileged questions, what about consciously prioritizing which issues you spend time thinking about?

Comment by macaulay on How to calibrate your political beliefs · 2013-05-12T20:58:53.315Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Both strategies might end up producing the same outcome. Define a "Certified Political Belief" as a belief which satisfies the above standards. In my own case, I don't actually have any strong political beliefs (>90% confidence) which I would claim are Certified (except maybe "liberal democracy is a good thing").

In fact, a good exercise would be to take your strongest political beliefs, actually write down which academic articles you've read that support your position, and then go do a quick test (with a third-party referee) to see whether you're ideologically Turing-capable. This sounds like a good way to get feedback to help you calibrate.

Comment by macaulay on LW Women Entries- Creepiness · 2013-04-29T20:32:47.770Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I interpreted the signals as "this woman is interesting," yet when I got to know those woman, I was not actually >interested in their personality. I put a lot of effort into fixing this miscalibration, and I think it was worth the effort.

Details?

Comment by macaulay on Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Argument · 2013-02-22T20:52:40.548Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Turing-capable?

Comment by macaulay on Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Argument · 2013-02-22T20:02:43.919Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What's a good term for "being able to pass an ideological Turing test"? (Being able to pass an ITT is related to being able to argue both sides of a debate, being able to accurately explain your opponent's position, being able to summarize the strongest counterargument to your position, etc.)

Following the original analogy, is there a term for "a machine that's able to pass a Turing test"? My googling didn't turn up anything. But if there was ("a machine is called Turing-(blank) if it can pass a Turing test"), then it seems we could adapt it fairly easily to the ITT: someone is ideologically Turing-(blank) if they can pass an ITT.

Any suggestions to fill in the blank?

Comment by macaulay on A brief history of ethically concerned scientists · 2013-02-13T00:17:57.815Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

On a related topic, Pinker has a very useful discussion of the case for and against open discussion of dangerous (non-technological) ideas. (Mindkiller warning)

Comment by macaulay on Rationality Quotes December 2012 · 2012-12-01T16:52:32.999Z · score: 22 (28 votes) · LW · GW

A person is said to exhibit rational irrationality when it is instrumentally rational for him to be epistemically irrational. An instrumentally rational person chooses the best strategies to achieve his goals. An epistemically irrational person ignores and evades evidence against his beliefs, holds his beliefs without evidence or with only weak evidence, has contradictions in his thinking, employs logical fallacies in belief formation, and exhibits characteristic epistemic vices such as closed-mindedness. Epistemically irrational political beliefs can reinforce one’s self-image; boost one’s self-esteem; make one feel noble, smart, superior, safe, or comfortable; and can help achieve conformity with the group and thus facilitate social acceptance. Thus, epistemic irrationality can be instrumentally rational.

If I falsely believe the road I am crossing is free of cars, I might die. So I have a strong incentive to form beliefs about the road in a rational way. However, if I falsely believe that import quotas are good for the economy, this has no directly harmful effects. (On the contrary, the belief can have significant instrumental value. It might make me feel patriotic; serve my xenophobia; serve as an outlet to rationalize, sublimate, or redirect racist attitudes; or help me pretend to have solidarity with union workers.) … Epistemic rationality is hard and takes self-discipline.

When it comes to politics, individuals have every incentive to indulge their irrational impulses. Demand for irrational beliefs is like demand for most other goods. The lower the cost, the more will be demanded. The cost to the typical voter of voting in epistemically irrational ways is nearly zero. The cost of overcoming bias and epistemic irrationality is high. The psychological benefit of this irrationality is significant. Thus, voters demand a high amount of epistemic irrationality.

Jason Brennan, The Ethics of Voting, p.173-74

Comment by macaulay on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2012-04-25T17:28:58.608Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I would recommend skipping the section on political correctness. I do think the first two sections give a good lesson on how a little reason can be a dangerous thing.

Comment by macaulay on Reason as memetic immune disorder · 2012-04-25T16:38:22.269Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This article seems relevant: "Clever sillies: Why high IQ people tend to be deficient in common sense."

The author argues that high IQ people solve problems by using abstract reasoning instead of evolved common sense. Moreover, general intelligence is mainly useful for solving evolutionarily novel problems, and can actually be a hindrance for problems which were a regular part of the evolutionary environment (for example, social situations). Hence, when facing problems where humans have evolved behavioral responses, smart people who apply abstract reasoning and override common sense often end up doing silly things.

Comment by macaulay on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-04-18T05:26:42.313Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Harry thought the deepest split in his personality wasn't anything to do with his dark side; rather it was the divide between the altruistic and forgiving Abstract Reasoning Harry, versus the frustrated and angry Harry In The Moment.

This as well as the distant descendants part seems to draw on Robin's near vs. far theory.

Comment by macaulay on Rationality Quotes March 2012 · 2012-03-27T00:58:53.758Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

"Asking people to give up all forms of sacralized belonging and live in a world of purely "rational" beliefs might be like asking people to give the Earth and live in colonies orbiting the moon."

-- Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind, quoted here

Comment by macaulay on How I Ended Up Non-Ambitious · 2012-01-27T02:27:08.957Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I think this is why I get creeped out by ambitious people sometimes. I'd much rather my doctor be passionate about >medicine than be someone who decided medicine was more "prestigious" than nursing.

Like the alt-text here: "I never trust anyone who's more excited about success than about doing the thing they want to be successful at."

Comment by macaulay on What Curiosity Looks Like · 2012-01-09T03:48:26.027Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Truth seekers should deliberately impose costs on themselves for holding false beliefs. That is, they should increase the cost of being wrong. One way to do this is to bet on your beliefs. Another way is to bond your beliefs: post a bond that you will forfeit if your prediction is wrong. Yes, imposing such costs is bothersome, but for truth seekers the tradeoff is easily worth it.