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Comment by nevillesandiego on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-23T10:42:50.167Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I kind of wish people did use the future more, sometimes. For example, in Australia at the moment, neither major political party supports gay marriage. And beyond all the direct arguments for/against the concept, I can't help but wonder if they really expect, in 50 years time, that we will live in a world of strictly hetrosexual marriages. What are they possibly hoping to achieve? Maybe that reasoning isn't the best way to decide to actively do a thing, but it surely counts towards the cessation of resistance to a thing.

Comment by nevillesandiego on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-23T10:30:03.941Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I had a thought recently, what if the existence of a benevolent, omnipotent creator was proven? and my first thought was that I would learn to love the world as the creation of a higher power. And that disturbed me. It's too new a thought for me to have plumbed it properly. But this reminded me. In the absence of the stars, what becomes of their beauty?

When the world is bereft of tigers, glaciers, the Amamzon, will we feel it to be sublime? imma go read the poem now

Comment by nevillesandiego on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-23T10:09:45.762Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

maybe it's just my most recent physchem lecture talking, but my instant response to that was 'truth is a state function'. Or perhaps 'perceived truth', and 'should be'. (i.e., shouldn't depend on the history preceding current perceived truth)

Comment by nevillesandiego on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-23T09:53:21.079Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

useful may not be accurate, depending on one's motives. A 'useful' belief may be one that allows you to do what you really want to unburdened by ethical/logistic/moral considerations. e.g., belief that non-europeans aren't really human permits one to colonise their land without qualms.

I suppose that's why, as a rationalist, one would prefer accurate beliefs- they don't give you the liberty of lying to yourself like that. And as a rationalist, accurate beliefs will be far more useful than inaccurate ones.

Comment by nevillesandiego on Chaotic Inversion · 2012-10-21T05:40:51.459Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Nuuu! I KNOW I'm stupid! I can see myself frittering away my time, thinking 'wow I'm on the ball, I deserve a break' AND 'agh I'm not getting anything done, I should take a break', even now I have things I SHOULD be doing. And I KNOW I'd enjoy them if I actually did them- I study science cos I love it, not cos I love putting it off. I know all the benefits, and they're not even long term, mostly I get a high return on very little investment. There's a little voice in me, screaming, and it can't make me do anything. AGH. WHY STUPID THINGS WHY? So I was hoping this was going to be some kind of terribly clever rationalist approach to productivity. Oh well, back to hitting myself over the head with a mallet.

Comment by nevillesandiego on Chaotic Inversion · 2012-10-21T05:35:02.665Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have difficulty even making myself do things I enjoy, or I know to be rewarding. Like reading a book on something I'm interested in, or going for a walk in the sun, or making a serious go of understanding some basic quantum theory. I do very few things because I'm anticipating some kind of long term benefit. I do stuff because I expect it to be interesting and fun now. Still have difficulty with impetus.

Comment by nevillesandiego on Say Not "Complexity" · 2012-10-21T04:41:24.274Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

'Mercury's gravitational pull has long since been destroyed by solar flares, which is why is has no atmosphere'. Something I read today- seems appropriate. Apparently they'd been watching a documentary, and I think they put the components of the explanation together incorrectly in their head.

Comment by nevillesandiego on Say Not "Complexity" · 2012-10-21T04:39:24.197Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In my second year uni course, I have an outline for writing lab reports that says 'include in your discussion anything you feel is out of place, or that you don't understand in this experiment. You will not be marked down for such admissions'. And I thought 'NO-ONE is going to take you up on that.'. I hate having to bullshit science papers - I tend to compromise, with a hashed together explanation that I express doubt in, and take the marks hit. Bullshitting is great fun in English courses, but in science it feels like shooting myself in the foot.

Comment by nevillesandiego on The Futility of Emergence · 2012-10-21T04:26:39.277Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I believe I first came across the term emergence in relation to Langton's Ant, in a book section loosely centered on game theory. In the book, the patterns formed by the progression of Langton's Ant were termed 'emergent' because they could not be predicted except by running the program. One could not, with full knowledge of the simple rules that governed the Ant's world, predict what the pattern would look like after x iterations, or where the ant would be. Given this, I would not call the location of a dropped object at time t after the drop an 'emergent property', because given the laws that govern how it will fall and the initial values of the system (height and mass of object, area perpendicular to motion, density of air etc etc) I can accurately predict the object's location and momentum without having to actually drop it and see where it is.

So an emergent system is one wherein the simple base rules do not enable one to predict the large scale order or consequences (I suppose lack of order too), whereas a system which is not emergent is one wherein knowledge of the governing rules enables a prediction which can later be proven by running of the system. Prime numbers are thus an emergent phenomenon of how numbers related to each other (unless someone has found a way to predict them while I wasn't paying attention), whereas even numbers are not.