Comment by olibain on [SEQ RERUN] Can Humanism Match Religion's Output? · 2013-04-04T19:34:24.140Z · LW · GW

There is this story that I thought of when I originally read this. it can be found here. Like me, most of you who go through the link and read the speech will find obviously sub-optimal thinking. You will think "If it were an option of following this principle or not, I could not follow it. Even if I have no other principle to replace it with, I could not, in good conscience, accept this idea." This is were your rationality will destroy any group you try to create. If you cannot allow any sub-optimal parts in the organizations you participate in, then you will never participate in an organization of humans. The example I picked comes from a religious and irrational organization like Eliezer described, but it actually works, unlike co-ops of large groups of rationalists who refuse to accept sub-optimal planning in any form. So in this instance, Religion has a better policy than rationalists and, until you find an empirically proven policy that does better, you would do better to adopt it.

Comment by olibain on Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012) · 2013-03-25T03:46:48.945Z · LW · GW

Whoo! my post got the most recursion. Do I get a reward? If I get a few more layers it will be more siding than post.

Comment by olibain on [SEQ RERUN] A Sense That More Is Possible · 2013-03-25T02:44:31.072Z · LW · GW

The idea that mysticism is sometimes useful seems to be counter to popular rational thought. When I began reading Eliezer, his tendency towards the use of zen phrasing and rhetoric that was purely aesthetic put me off. I felt that it was not rational for some reason. I came to see that these trappings of mysticism did not detract from his point, but rather added to its persuasiveness.

The problem that exists in this is not that it detracts from rationality, but that the methods used to increase its allure could be used for any teaching, no matter how wrong or destructive. Good rhetoric is kind of like the whore of persuasion, it makes Bayesian rationality more appealing, but also makes any other argument better. Basically, there is zero correlation between being able to use zen phrasing and aesthetic rhetoric and being right.

I could write a post or two about this, but I will tell you my conclusion; Rationalists should not forsake mysticism, rhetoric, zen etc. unless they can get every irrationalist to agree to do the same. Until then, there is no way for rationality to be convincing without these methods if its opponents are using them.

Comment by olibain on Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012) · 2013-02-21T04:17:23.293Z · LW · GW

Hahaha! I find it heartening that that is your response to me wanting to be a teacher. I am quite aware that the system is broken. My personal way of explaining it: The school system works for what it was made to work for; avoiding responsibility for a failed product.

  • The parents are not responsible; the school taught their kids.

  • The students are not socially responsible; everything was compulsory, they had no choice to make.

  • Teachers are not to blame; they teach what they are told to teach and have the autonomy of a pre-AI computer intelligence.

  • The administrators are not to blame; They are not the students' parents or teachers.

  • The faceless, nameless committees that set the curriculum are not responsible, they formed then separated after setting forth the unavoidably terrible standards for all students of an arbitrary age everywhere.

So the product fails but everyone did they're best. No nails stick out, no one gets hammered.

I have high dreams of being the educator that takes down public education. If a teacher comes up with a new way of teaching or an important thing to teach, he can go to class the next day and test it. I have a hope of professional teachers; either trusted with the autonomy of being professionals, or actual professionals in their subject, teaching only those that want to learn.

Also the literature on Mormons fromDesrtopa, Ford and Nisan I am thankful for. I enjoyed the Mormonism organizational post because I have also noticed how well the church runs. It is one reason I stay a Latter-Day Saint in this time of Atheism mainstreaming. The church is winning, it is well organized, service and family-oriented, and supports me as I study rationality and education. I can give examples, but I will leave my deeper insights for my future posts; I feel I am well introduced for now.

Comment by olibain on Rationality Quotes February 2013 · 2013-02-20T20:58:23.493Z · LW · GW

The " every single person I know, many of them levelheaded and afraid of heights, abruptly went crazy at exactly the same time" scenario should be given some credence in human society; there is such a thing as puberty. The definition of puberty being " every single person I know abruptly went crazy at exactly the same time, including me".

Comment by olibain on Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012) · 2013-02-20T20:34:42.592Z · LW · GW

I'm Robby Oliphant. I started a few months ago reading HP:MoR, which led me to the Sequences, which led me here about two weeks ago. So far I have read comments and discussions solely as a spectator. But finally, after developing my understanding and beginning on the path set forth by the sequences, I remain silent no more.

I am fresh out of high school, excited about life and plan to become a teacher, eventually. My short-term plans involve going out and doing missionary work for my church for the next two years. When I came head on against the problem of being a rationalist and a missionary for a theology, I took a step back and had a crisis of belief, not the first time, but this time I followed the prescribed method and came to a modified conclusion, though I still find it rational and advantageous to serve my 2 year mission.

I find some of this difficult, some of this intuitive and some of this neither difficult or intuitive, which is extremely frustrating, how something can appears simple but defy my efforts to intuitively work it. I will continue to work at it because rationality seems to be praiseworthy and useful. I hope to find the best evidence about theology here. I don't mean evidence for or against, just the evidence about the subject.