Comment by mat33 on A Fable of Science and Politics · 2011-10-18T08:40:56.495Z · LW · GW

"accidentally quoting your own work back to you as corroborating authority without even being aware that it is you"

It isn't the Bible, or something... as yet. I didn't think it may be taken this way.

Comment by mat33 on Lonely Dissent · 2011-10-08T14:56:16.888Z · LW · GW

"I would totally have worn a clown suit to school. My serious conversations were with books, not with other children."

The same goes for me. But then, our teachers told us not to be afraid to ask "silly" questions and express weird ideas. If you aren't the best and you aren't nearly the worst student, a lot of others would be thinking along same lines at the moment. Our teachers pointed that our... and it helped, actually. Well, it wasn't your average school.

"But if you think you would totally wear that clown suit, then don't be too proud of that either! It just means that you need to make an effort in the opposite direction to avoid dissenting too easily."

The age takes care of that. It fills you with "cached ideas" and an overhealming need for security. Maturity (it isn't nearly as positive a thing, as it may sound) makes you a conservator.

Comment by mat33 on Do We Believe Everything We're Told? · 2011-10-08T02:52:50.575Z · LW · GW

Well, no modern dictator I know off understimates mass-media.

And basic rights and freedoms, where they do work at all, do tend to work against excluding your opponents as information source of the majority.

Comment by mat33 on Priming and Contamination · 2011-10-08T02:39:54.142Z · LW · GW

"Yet the most fearsome aspect of contamination is that it serves as yet another of the thousand faces of confirmation bias."

A horrible thing, if you look at it, as on the part of the cognition process of an [individual] ant. (Not that there is a lot of cognition expected to go on in the head of a single ant). And some usufull insights in the cognitive process of the anthill, as the whole - if you but try to look at it from another angle.

Our subcultures - actually do some cognition. They make something done. They do come up with some workable models of the real world. Then, we tend to attribute some label (say, "Newton") to the resaults... without going into all that complexity contained in that particular subculture.

Comment by mat33 on Hold Off On Proposing Solutions · 2011-10-08T02:22:20.106Z · LW · GW

"why, that problem is so incredibly difficult that an actual majority resolve the whole issue within 15 seconds.", "We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think" and "Cached Thoughts"...

Right. We don't do a lot of "our" thinking ourselves. We aren't individually sentient, not really. We don't notice it, but the actual thinking is going on in our subcultures. The sad and funny thing is, we don't even try to understand the cognition of our subcultures, when we research cognition.

Comment by mat33 on Cached Thoughts · 2011-10-07T09:09:13.234Z · LW · GW


But the problem was to keep going on, breathing and even sort of thinking in the presence of death in this world.

Thousands generations of our ancestors had to adopt to death in some way, without any chance to strike back at it at all.

It isn't your usual "hostage situation" as they go...

Comment by mat33 on Affective Death Spirals · 2011-10-06T11:06:35.239Z · LW · GW

In the 20-th century, Richard Feinmann did point out that there may be some problem with how we patch our phisics by cutting out the neigbourhoods. Nowdays we are pathing the General Relativity with the dark matter (it wasn't predicted, really) and even dark matter. It looks like we'll have to patch some "too fast neitrino in the matter" fenomenon.

I am not claiming this "patching" business something intristically right and beautifull. Never. We'll have to propose some new theories. But... before we'll have some better theory, to patch General Relativity seems just the thing to do. May be - the only thing to do, sorry.

An average scientist (if there is such a thing) isn't expected to propose something better, than General Relativity. Not really. So, even as we teach scientists, most of 'em wouldn't need to remember, that "patching" old theories isn't the right thing to do, in the long run. As they may do nothing about it. These with Nobel Prize ambition level would be wise to remember it, thought.

Comment by mat33 on The Halo Effect · 2011-10-06T10:45:42.202Z · LW · GW

You are right. Most certainly so.

Nevertheless, it feels just fine to know, that democracy would most probably put something ratlike from the KGB ranks and dungeons into high security cell, and not in the White House.

Comment by mat33 on Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People · 2011-10-05T16:12:46.058Z · LW · GW

"Sophistication effect. Politically knowledgeable subjects, because they possess greater ammunition with which to counter-argue incongruent facts and arguments, will be more prone to the above biases."

Well, what about that always taking on the strongest opponent and the strongest arguments business? ;)

Actually, when I see a fellow with third degree in Philosophy, I leave him for someone, who'll have a similiar degree. It isn't that Sorbonne initiates are hopeless, it's arguments with 'em, that really are (hopeless).

Comment by mat33 on Argument Screens Off Authority · 2011-10-05T10:56:12.541Z · LW · GW

"If we know authority we are still interested in hearing the arguments; but if we know the arguments fully, we have very little left to learn from authority."

Really? We don't deny any ideas/possibilities without 5 minutes of thinking, at least (on the authority of Harry Potter :)). Right. But I'll need a lot more time (days at least) to understand an advanced research of any able professional. And I am ready to fail understanding any work of true genius before it's included in the textbooks for, well, students.

Comment by mat33 on Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence · 2011-10-05T10:33:17.086Z · LW · GW

"I think in the case of atheism the source is unique: every (modern) atheist knows his or her atheism is a product of scientific understanding..."

We are already "stronger" by far, than most of the "pagan" gods. This century, we may well create our own worlds ("virtual", yea - but theology doesn't hold our own world as the "real" for its creator...s). It's all comes down to terminology.

Comment by mat33 on Visualizing Eutopia · 2011-10-05T04:20:25.274Z · LW · GW

"It's hard to see on an emotional level why a genie might be a good thing to have, if you haven't acknowledged any wishes that need granting."

Why not? Personal wishes are the simplest ones. Minimal needs fulfilment plus really high class of security may be the first thing. It leaves a lot of time to have your wishes to come to you naturally. May be effortlessly, even. The wishes of your friends come with all the limitations to yours (and then - their) security. Now, we got some kind of working recursion.

"I suppose there could be some section of the procedure where you've got to do a septillion operations..."

Just so - and even far worse, than that. To get a "working" set of wishes, I'd like to emulate some option's results really well.

""Boy, if I had human intelligence I sure could get a lot more bananas.""

Right - and even worse... again. There is nothing wrong with the bananas, I'll order on the first iteration! The problem startes with a couple of slaves, that any half way decent utopist proposed for the "humblest farmer". It gets all the way downhill, afterwards.

Well. I do know, that I'll ask some virtual [reality] words from supercomputer. And I do know, what's the ethics of evolution (only "evil" words would develop some life and some minds of it... and it looks like a good idea to have the evolution "turned on" for that very purpose). But at the point where every person we do count as "real person" would have his own "virtual" world full of "virtual" persons - it's there it gets really complicated and weird. Same with the "really strong AI" and advanced robots. We get to the same "couple of slaves" on the entirely new level, that's what we do.

Comment by mat33 on Just Lose Hope Already · 2011-10-05T03:42:37.231Z · LW · GW


Is there some misterious, but great difference between getting -1000000$ and -100000000 in USA?

If there isn't such a thing, the wrong choices may have been made, but not by the Casey Serin. In fact, if we are speaking jury (12 honest tax payers), it may be rather smart idea to spend few millions USD on their, honest tax payers of his state, favorite charities at this point. To spend a few thousands on lawers and psichologists too.

PS. The politicians do spend a lot of money their countries don't actually own to delay the current Recession and make the next Great Depression out of it. And I do believe, they have rather good chances to succed at getting this Depression and getting away with it too.

Comment by mat33 on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2011-10-04T09:35:10.488Z · LW · GW

"But there is no reason for complex actions with many consequences to exhibit this onesidedness property. Why do people seem to want their policy debates to be one-sided?"

We do like to vote, you know. We do like to see other people vote. We do expect to see some kind of propagand, some kind of pitch to cast our votes in some certain way. We tend to feel fooled, than we don't see that, what we do expect to see in the right place. No, it isn't reserved exclusively for the politic issues.

"I don't think that when someone makes a stupid choice and dies, this is a cause for celebration. I count it as a tragedy."

These tragedies are the way of evolution, the greatest cost of evolution, probably. And - yes, any sentient being would like to take the progress of it's spices in it's hands, paws, tentacles, whatever. And - no, we aren't really "there". We are very, very close. But not there, yet.

Comment by mat33 on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2011-10-04T08:54:19.899Z · LW · GW

"...the death penalty that you get for just being alive for longer than a century or so."

The "ethics of gods" most probably is the ethics of evolution. "Good" (in this particular sence) Universe have to be "bad" enough to allow the evolution of live, mind and [probabbly] technology. The shaw is natural selection - and the shaw must go on. Even as it includes aforementioned death penalty...

Comment by mat33 on A Fable of Science and Politics · 2011-10-04T07:14:12.118Z · LW · GW
  1. Politics, social intercourse, public relationships were the major factors in our mind's evolution. Look up "Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality".

  2. The concept bundling in politics (sky color, taxes, etc). You see, the political views "evolved" more, than were invented, thought over, whatever. Sometimes mammals seem to evolve something that seems more usefull to insects, fishes, or birds. And sometimes it really is (more usefull). And nowdays we may try to test it experimentally (genetic engenearing). But before making actual experiments, it isn't all that bright to jump to conclusions. And even after we'll prove the point, it isn't wise to criticize evolution in just the same way as any other disigner job.

The way our cultures with their law systems work isn't all that logical - from our viewpoint. They have all kind of odd evolutionary artifacts from the past - and from all the past attempts to "evolve future". But these evolved sets of roules (quiddich with Snitch) - actually do work. And we don't have good enoug models (as yet) to test more logical sets of roules without actual risk of bludshed. Currently, western (greece-roman) culture may dye our (low birthrate) just "for" its "test run" of granting rights to woman and childreen.

  1. We aren't individually sentient beings, sorry. Our subcultures are sentient. We may support our part of some subculture's immage for years and even to try to improove it a bit... and that's it. And our collective minds (repeat) evolved politically...