Comment by matthew_c on Update Yourself Incrementally · 2007-08-15T23:41:05.000Z · score: -5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

McCabe's single-paragraph dismissal of an 800 page book with hundreds of footnotes that he hasn't read, based on wikipedia entries seems to be the precise opposite of the raison d’être of Overcoming Bias. And Yudkowsky, I simply dare you to read this book. You talk the good talk here about The Way and the search for truth. I dare you to expose yourself to some of the meticulously-documented lacunae in your worldview by reading Irreducible Mind. I dare you to your sense of intellectual pride. Chapter 3 is a good place to start. . .

Comment by matthew_c on Update Yourself Incrementally · 2007-08-14T23:59:04.000Z · score: -3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Actually rather than rehashing the entire psi debate here, I'd much prefer you just read the material instead. Chapter 3 of Irreducible Mind is particularly powerful, and I will send excerpts to anyone who gives me a US postal address or PO box (email mcromer @t blast dawt com). The natural history of these phenomena are very easily available, and often very well documented.

Comment by matthew_c on Update Yourself Incrementally · 2007-08-14T16:32:01.000Z · score: -7 (11 votes) · LW · GW

If you've already decided which side to argue for, the work of rationality is done within you, whether well or poorly. But how can you, yourself, decide which side to argue? If choosing the wrong side is viscerally terrifying, even just a little viscerally terrifying, you'd best integrate all the evidence.

OK, here, now go take your own advice. As an academic imprint it's pretty expensive, so if you can't find it in your local university library I'll snail-mail you some relevant extracts.

Comment by matthew_c on Correspondence Bias · 2007-06-27T15:23:07.000Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW


The Ouroboros is simply a symbol.

The symbol represents the self consuming itself, which is a good description of the process that happens once "you" start investigating the nature of "you" seriously. That's what Nick and I are referring to, although I suspect Nick conceptually reduces it all to brain states, while I see brain states and personal egos as phenomena playing out within the fundamental unity of Awareness.

Nick did a very nice job explaining why seeing the reality of the "self" explodes egotism.

Comment by matthew_c on Correspondence Bias · 2007-06-27T02:45:24.000Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In fact, altruism may even be more reasonable, on grounds of symmetry and the fact that 'the self' is an illusion.

I think Richard Dawkins is on the right track with his idea of "memes". If the Buddha were alive today, I suspect he would call the self, and self-centered thinking a particularly prevalent and virulent meme infesting our cognitive facilities. And amazing but true, it is quite possible to visualize the operation of the "self" in its meme-hood and cease to identify with it, as even materialistic atheists like Susan Blackmore and Sam Harris can attest.

I look at it from the perspective that I enjoy (apparently) existing as a subjective conscious entity, and I want to persist existing as a subjective conscious entity -forever, and in a real time sort of way.

A persistent inquiry into the nature of the "I" apparently making those statements will start the Ourobouros eating its own tail and lead to the end of the "optical delusion of consciousness", as Einstein put it. In the end, reality trumps illusion. . .

Comment by matthew_c on Correspondence Bias · 2007-06-26T14:09:17.000Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This is exactly what I mean, there are strong cognitive biases underlying the singularitarian ideas. . .

I'm not sure what he means much of the time, but Kevembuangga hits this particular ball out of the park. Perhaps someone will write up a disagreement case study about the "Singularity" and post it here. That would be quite the treat. I'm already working on a different disagreement case study that will be posted to my own blog in the relatively near future. Cool concept, these disagreement case studies. . .

Comment by matthew_c on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-10T02:43:33.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


I think the problematic belief system is not just "materialism" but rather "reductionistic materialism". A good example of that would be someone who is certain that all phenomena in the universe are simply an outcome of the Schrodinger Equation. The kinds of evidence that I feel are incompatible with reductionistic materialism include spontaneous precognition, spontaneous telepathy, controlled laboratory studies showing these effects, triple-blind mediumship studies, etc.

The truth-seeking approach is to allow observations and data to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our models. Much more commonplace is that we use our models to filter the observations and data we are willing to accept. And that is especially prevalent among adherents to the dominant paradigms of any particular age.

Comment by matthew_c on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-09T02:23:43.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My (somewhat meta) comment.

Comment by matthew_c on Think Like Reality · 2007-05-06T13:54:45.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


What I find particularly interesting reading his papers is his emphasis that space and time are features of the macroscopic world, and don't go "all the way down".

They seem absolute and real to us because of our evolutionary psychology and especially the "space and time" orientation of the visual maps in our brains. He contrasts his view with interpretations which postulate an infinitely sliced spatial manifold which is fundamentally real, but cannot be measured at the finest scales. I'm assuming by that he is referring to MWI.

I also find his arguments about particle identity intriguing. That all our notions of separate identity are predicated on spatial and other measurable properties. And again, that at the quantum level it is seen that those properties can no longer be distinguished absolutely.

Another thing he says that seems "right" to me is the emphasis on going back to our measurements. If something is measured, it is physically real, and if it is not measurable then it is simply not part of physical reality.

Some of this may be very orthodox quantum mechanics, or at least orthodox under certain interpretations. But I'm not that familiar with all of the literature. I just know that this is what stood out to me when reading PIQM.

In any event, this is not my domain of expertise. However I think it is extremely important for anyone who aspires to an understanding of reality to try and come to grips with quantum mechanics, so I give it my best shot.

Comment by matthew_c on Think Like Reality · 2007-05-06T03:10:46.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


Have you heard of the Pondicherry interpretation of QM?

Comment by matthew_c on Think Like Reality · 2007-05-03T19:33:39.000Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There is an interesting critique of MWI here that I just finished reading. An fascinating topic to be sure. . .

Comment by matthew_c on Think Like Reality · 2007-05-03T15:06:04.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So does MWI actually bring anything to the table in terms of testable predictions that differ from Copenhagen et. al.?

Comment by matthew_c on Universal Fire · 2007-04-29T01:26:48.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW


Michael's earlier comment referred to monism but appeared to reference the materialist flavor only.

I had typed a reply but did not submit it until some time after his later comment about monadology. The price paid for family life, I suspect. . .

Comment by matthew_c on Universal Fire · 2007-04-28T21:26:11.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW


Monism simply means the philosophy that the universe is fundamentally comprised of one type of reality. One can be a physical monist (materialist), neutral monist or mental monist (idealist).

Comment by matthew_c on Feeling Rational · 2007-04-26T15:43:04.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Great points Michael. IE Clinton and "I feel your pain". . .

Comment by matthew_c on Lotteries: A Waste of Hope · 2007-04-13T11:59:25.000Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't defended people who spend large amounts of money on lottery tickets, clearly that is a disfunctional behavior.

But I have and do defend small-time purchase lottery tickets (at least up to $104 a year, that gets you one powerball ticket for each drawing). If someone wants to daydream about becoming a millionaire for much less money than daydreaming about hollywood stars in movies on a regular basis, I cannot call that a sin.

Comment by matthew_c on Suggested Posts · 2007-04-09T21:04:39.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How and why the current reigning philosophical hegemon (reductionistic materialism) is obviously correct, unbiased, rational, and factual, while the reigning philosophical viewpoints of all past societies and civilizations are obviously suspect and based solely on superstitious nonsense and irrational dogma, and how the future will judge us as essentially correct in this matter, unlike how we judge all previous civilizations.

A nice coda would be some well-placed rocks thrown at anyone who would challenge the current paradigm, since they are obviously just fools or liars.