An Anthropic Principle Fairy Tale 2012-08-28T20:48:16.200Z


Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-23T09:22:04.707Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I feel like in real world situations, hypothesizing time travel when things don't make sense is not likely to be epistemically successful.

Wasn't there a proverb about generalizing from fictional evidence? Especially from fiction that intentionally doesn't make sense?

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes November 2014 · 2014-11-21T08:33:37.895Z · LW · GW

That seems like a failure of noticing confusion; some clear things are actually false.

Comment by Nominull on Open thread, 23-29 June 2014 · 2014-06-24T21:59:22.280Z · LW · GW

This post is a good example of why LW is dying. Specifically, that it was posted as a comment to a garbage-collector thread in the second-class area. Something is horribly wrong with the selection mechanism for what gets on the front page.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes April 2014 · 2014-04-28T18:31:11.982Z · LW · GW

[citation needed]

Comment by Nominull on White Lies · 2014-02-08T07:42:02.760Z · LW · GW

You favor lying to people to scam money out of them because it would be inconvenient for your education plans to not be able to scam money out of them? That seems unethical.

Comment by Nominull on 2013 Survey Results · 2014-01-19T04:59:15.868Z · LW · GW

Does that actually work better than just setting a higher bar for significance? My gut says that data is data and chopping it up cleverly can't work magic.

Comment by Nominull on [LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist · 2014-01-07T05:56:26.792Z · LW · GW

If I have no value as a human, I desire to believe I have no value as a human.

Comment by Nominull on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-22T05:56:12.862Z · LW · GW

Are you planning to do any analysis on what traits are associated with defection? That could get ugly fast.

(I took the survey)

Comment by Nominull on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 25, chapter 96 · 2013-07-26T05:00:44.442Z · LW · GW

Probably the only two things the True Patronus can look like are humans and snakes. Possibly flying squirrels?

Comment by Nominull on [deleted post] 2013-06-17T08:16:07.109Z

There's room for improvement, but this is just a rant. It's useless for the project of improvement, because he's attacking anything he can find a clever turn of phrase for, rather than the things that especially deserve attack.

It's not even useful to see where the PR failure is, because once something set him off, everything suddenly became a PR failure. Look for insight in saner places than this, please.

Comment by Nominull on [deleted post] 2013-06-17T08:08:52.684Z

It looks like he's turned the flawed methodology of the skeptic community (things like pattern-matching against surface features of known bullshit and mockery as an argument) on the skeptic community itself. I'd say "serves them right" except we're supposed to be virtuous identity-free robots who take no pleasure in or offense from anything.

Comment by Nominull on How to Write Deep Characters · 2013-06-16T22:51:41.671Z · LW · GW

It strikes me as a little awful to only care about bad people inasmuch as they're likely to become good people. Maybe I've been perverted by my Catholic upbringing, but I was taught to love everyone, including the sinners, including the people you'd never want to hang out with. This appeals to me in part because I sin and people don't want to hang out with me, and yet I want to be loved regardless.

It's possible that I am the weird one here, but shows with complex but evil characters such as Breaking Bad do seem largely popular. There is a large current in modern adult TV of these sorts of villainous antagonists, and I think it's more than just false sophistication. I think it's people with the courage to see the dark parts of themselves reflected in fictional characters.

Comment by Nominull on On manipulating others · 2013-06-16T21:05:37.486Z · LW · GW

I think this is probably being too kind to my unhandicapped abilities. Rather than handicapping myself because I'm too powerful, I think the key issue is that I see things on a metalevel and analytically, such that I can notice that there is little difference between "social adeptitude" and "manipulation". And so, in order to avoid being manipulative, I consciously avoid developing social skills. I think reflectivity and pathological non-hypocrisy are the key dynamics, not inherent manipulative ability.

Comment by Nominull on How to Write Deep Characters · 2013-06-16T18:46:03.678Z · LW · GW

Right, but he seems to implicitly claim that characters who follow those disvirtues are necessarily unsympathetic. Some of us are sometimes disvirtuous.

Comment by Nominull on After critical event W happens, they still won't believe you · 2013-06-16T09:09:48.327Z · LW · GW

I suspect the thermostat is closer to the human mind than his conception of the human mind is.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes June 2013 · 2013-06-16T08:47:57.641Z · LW · GW

Today we kneel only to hypocrisy.

Comment by Nominull on How to Write Deep Characters · 2013-06-16T08:43:41.803Z · LW · GW

You're confusing "evil" with "unsympathetic". Maybe those mean the same thing to you, but we don't all have your unimpeachable moral character.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality witticisms suitable for t-shirts or bumper stickers · 2013-06-16T05:05:01.510Z · LW · GW

Peace if possible, truth at all costs. -- Martin Luther

The fact that he started some really bloody wars over something that didn't even turn out to be true should maybe give us some pause before we endorse virtues like this.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes May 2013 · 2013-05-18T08:17:19.189Z · LW · GW

That's harder to distinguish from the outside.

Comment by Nominull on How to calibrate your political beliefs · 2013-05-15T01:02:24.658Z · LW · GW

If you run in social circles where having well-calibrated beliefs is high-status, not gonna name any names.

Comment by Nominull on Problems in Education · 2013-04-10T22:36:56.906Z · LW · GW

Wait, systematic cheating is far worse than systematic racism? That seems, uh, non-obvious to me.

Comment by Nominull on Pinpointing Utility · 2013-01-26T19:06:01.242Z · LW · GW

Because when I introspect on my preferences it doesn't seem to hold.

Comment by Nominull on Pinpointing Utility · 2013-01-26T08:05:57.959Z · LW · GW

I don't trust the transitivity axiom of VNM utility. Thought I should mention this to make it clear that the "most of us" in your post is not a rhetorical device and there really are actual people who don't buy into the VNM hegemony.

Comment by Nominull on Morality is Awesome · 2013-01-05T17:39:00.135Z · LW · GW

I dunno, I feel like judgments of awesomeness are heavily path-dependent and vary a lot from person to person. I don't hold out a lot of hope for the project of Coherent Extrapolated Volition, but I hold out even less for Coherent Extrapolated Awesomeness. So the vision of the future is people pushing back and forth, the chuunibyous trying to fill the world with dark magic rituals and the postmodernists wincing at their unawesome sincerity and trying to paint everything with as many layers of awesome irony as they can.

Also, from a personal perspective, I rather like quiet comfort, although I cannot really say it's "awesome". You can say, it doesn't matter what I like, it only matters what's awesome, but to hell with your fascist notions.

Comment by Nominull on Failed Utopia #4-2 · 2012-12-28T08:12:43.060Z · LW · GW

No. A is [1,3,5,7], B is [4,4,4,4]. A random member of A will be closer to a random member of B than to another random member of A.

Comment by Nominull on The Relation Projection Fallacy and the purpose of life · 2012-12-28T04:27:57.312Z · LW · GW

The Curry Fallacy.

Comment by Nominull on New censorship: against hypothetical violence against identifiable people · 2012-12-24T03:29:35.463Z · LW · GW

Censorship is particularly harmful to the project of rationality, because it encourages hypocrisy and the thinking of thoughts for reasons other than that they are true. You must do what you feel is right, of course, and I don't know what the post you're referring to was about, but I don't trust you to be responding to some actual problematic post instead of self-righteously overreacting. Which is a problem in and of itself.

Comment by Nominull on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 18, chapter 87 · 2012-12-23T02:19:47.119Z · LW · GW

Given how anxious he is about the idea of romance I would think he would tend to shy away from anything that realistic. Snape is safe since a teacher/student relationship would be excluded on ethical grounds. Draco could actually happen, and so better not to think about.

Comment by Nominull on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 17, chapter 86 · 2012-12-18T23:43:13.903Z · LW · GW

I was basically quoting Quirrell from his first DDA lesson. He says that he's teaching defense against wizards because they can keep you from being able to run. From this I drew the conclusion that wizards can keep you from being able to run, and this is a problem you might have to worry about in practice, even when facing wizards less powerful than Voldemort.

Comment by Nominull on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 17, chapter 86 · 2012-12-18T20:57:43.575Z · LW · GW

Apparation can be blocked. That's what makes Dark Wizards more dangerous than any other monster you might fight - you can't just Apparate away.

Comment by Nominull on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 17, chapter 86 · 2012-12-18T06:50:49.535Z · LW · GW

"One of the dark truths of the Killing Curse, son, is that once you've cast it the first time, it doesn't take much hate to do it again."

"It damages the mind?"

Again Moody shook his head. "No. It's the killing that does that. Murder tears the soul - but that's just the same if it's a Cutting Hex. The Killing Curse doesn't crack your soul. It just takes a cracked soul to cast." If there was a sad expression on the scarred face, it could not be read. "But that doesn't tell us much about Monroe. The ones like Dumbledore who'll never be able to cast the Curse all their lives, because they never crack no matter what - they're the rare ones, very rare. It only takes a little cracking."

I took this passage as saying that you don't have to be especially pathological to cast the killing curse a second time - Moody explicitly says it "doesn't tell us much". So if we trust him, it doesn't tell us much.

Comment by Nominull on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-12-14T05:49:05.812Z · LW · GW

Please don't learn anything from the black arts threads. That's why they're called "black arts", because you're not supposed to learn them.

Comment by Nominull on Why you must maximize expected utility · 2012-12-13T13:44:25.926Z · LW · GW

No, not "of course". It only implies that if they're rational actors, which of course they are not. They are deal-averse and if they see you trying to pump them around in a circle they will take their ball and go home.

You can still profit by doing one step of the money pump, and people do. Lots of research goes into exploiting people's circular preferences on things like supermarket displays.

Comment by Nominull on Why you must maximize expected utility · 2012-12-13T05:54:27.127Z · LW · GW

There's a whole literature on preference intransitivity, but really, it's not that hard to catch yourself doing it. Just pay attention to your pairwise comparisons when you're choosing among three or more options, and don't let your mind cover up its dirty little secret.

Comment by Nominull on Why you must maximize expected utility · 2012-12-13T04:15:42.422Z · LW · GW

People can't order outcomes from best to worst. People exhibit circular preferences. I, myself, exhibit circular preferences. This is a problem for a utility-function based theory of what I want.

Comment by Nominull on By Which It May Be Judged · 2012-12-10T05:38:32.121Z · LW · GW

You talk like you've solved qualia. Have you?

Comment by Nominull on Participation in the LW Community Associated with Less Bias · 2012-12-10T03:01:44.948Z · LW · GW

I'd pick the $1.03, so long as it was in the form of an electronic funds transfer and not more pennies to clutter up my pockets. I guess I probably qualify as a very strange person though?

Comment by Nominull on Participation in the LW Community Associated with Less Bias · 2012-12-09T18:44:09.226Z · LW · GW

My math was "do I need any more money than I have or could borrow in the next 60 days, no, ok I'll take the higher amount". I suppose this heuristic fails if the higher amount is higher by less than the interest rate I could earn over 60 days, but short term interest rates are effectively 0 right now.

Comment by Nominull on Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done? · 2012-12-09T18:35:32.987Z · LW · GW

Well, I tried to make a post once, got downvoted into oblivion, and decided not to put myself through that again. So yeah this happens for real, although perhaps in my case it is no big loss.

Comment by Nominull on Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done? · 2012-12-09T18:30:49.094Z · LW · GW

The power of the banhammer is roughly proportional to the power of the dungeon. If it seems less threatening, it's only because an online community is generally less important to people's lives than society at large.

A bad king can absolutely destroy an online community. Banning all the good people is actually one of the better things a bad king can do, because it can spark an organized exodus, which is just inconvenient. But by adding restrictions and terrorizing the community with the threat of bans, a bad king can make the good people self-deport. And then the community can't be revived elsewhere.

Comment by Nominull on Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done? · 2012-12-09T18:24:15.586Z · LW · GW

Well, I agree, but "mere" probably isn't a sensationalist enough way to describe a 7 point drop in IQ.

Comment by Nominull on 2012 Survey Results · 2012-12-09T04:00:15.304Z · LW · GW

Maybe it just means Reddit-folk are surprisingly smart? I mean, IQ 130 corresponds to 98th percentile. The usual standard for surprise is 95th percentile.

Comment by Nominull on Poll - Is endless September a threat to LW and what should be done? · 2012-12-09T00:32:37.158Z · LW · GW

The destruction of LW culture has already happened. The trigger was EY leaving, and people without EY's philosophical insight stepping in to fill the void by chatting about their unconventional romantic lives, their lifehacks, and their rational approach to toothpaste. If anything, I see things having gotten somewhat better recently, with EY having semi-returned, and with the rise of the hypercontrarian archconservative clique, which might be wrong about everything but at least they want to talk about it and not toothpaste.

Comment by Nominull on [LINK] Irrational Robot Billionaire Freedom Fighters · 2012-12-07T04:30:43.555Z · LW · GW

Uploads would at least have them in the first place to be attached to.

Comment by Nominull on Train Philosophers with Pearl and Kahneman, not Plato and Kant · 2012-12-05T05:26:01.090Z · LW · GW

And we independently observe that almost no one can do good philosophy at all, so the theory checks out.

Nothing better than a hypothesis that makes correct empirical predictions!

Comment by Nominull on Train Philosophers with Pearl and Kahneman, not Plato and Kant · 2012-12-04T19:03:46.357Z · LW · GW

Yeah, it sucks that you can't do good philosophy without knowing a ton of other stuff, but that's life. We don't listen to electrical engineers when they complain about needing to know nitty-gritty calculus, and that's a year of study for someone with an IQ over 150. Sometimes fields have prerequisites.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes December 2012 · 2012-12-04T07:15:53.869Z · LW · GW

I'd point to myself as a counterexample, I appreciate the DMV sticking it to those externality-creating motorists while I enjoy proper liberal low-emissions modes of transportation.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes December 2012 · 2012-12-04T04:08:59.352Z · LW · GW

Is it really a modern city without conservatives whining about poor service at the DMV? Although I guess if you got rid of all the clerks service would probably get even worse.

Comment by Nominull on Rationality Quotes December 2012 · 2012-12-02T23:58:46.825Z · LW · GW

the past is a third-world country

Comment by Nominull on Open Thread, December 1-15, 2012 · 2012-12-02T07:24:20.737Z · LW · GW

Your mistake lies in using the word "I" like it means something. There is some mwengler-stuff, it has some properties, then there is a split and the mwengler-stuff is in two separate chunks. They both experience their "stream of consciousness" showing up in their particular branch, they both wonder how it is that they ended up in the one branch rather than the other.