Comment by plaidx on . · 2011-05-28T03:25:50.472Z · score: 4 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I don't like contentless discussions of art either, but spewing paragraph after paragraph of awkward, stilted jargon about your hypothetical personal feelings isn't content, especially when they relate to a movie you haven't even seen!

If my friend says "That movie sucked", and I disagree, I ask "why".

If my friend says "I liked the animation, but the timing is terrible. Everyone telegraphs their reactions", that's a discussion of the film that's actually going somewhere.

If my friend says "Like everyone, I enjoy the physical experience of laughter, but-" and five minutes later they're still talking, I take a moment to look back at my life and wonder how I possibly thought it would be a good idea to see a movie with this person.

Comment by plaidx on Measuring aversion and habit strength · 2011-05-27T22:26:32.357Z · score: 14 (14 votes) · LW · GW

The latter. Actually, I guess I still consume a lot of unknown things, but now almost exclusively online, where when the thing sucks, you can instantly move on to something else.

Much better to download a movie and watch five minutes of it and delete it than to coordinate going to the theater with someone, buy overpriced popcorn, watch a bunch of ads, then sit through an hour and a half of something you don't really like.

I can't really tell whether this is me failing to appreciate some aspect of human experience, or just that the way people tend to do things is stupid.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-05-27T22:11:58.261Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, really what I find to be the ugliest thing about lesswrong by far is the sense of self-importance, which contributed to the post deletion quite a bit as well.

Maybe it's the combination of these factors that's the problem. When I read mainstream philosophical discourse about pushing a fat man in front of a trolley, it just seems like a goofy hypothetical example.

But lesswrong seems to believe that it carries the world on its shoulders, and that when they talk about deciding between torture and dust specks, or torture and alien invasion, or torture and more torture, i get the impression people are treating this at least in part as though they actually expect to have to make this kind of decision.

If all the situations you think about involve horrible things, regardless of the reason for it, you will find your intuitions gradually drifting into paranoia. There's a certain logic to "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", but I get the impression that for a lot of people, thinking about horrible things is simply instinctual and the reasons they give for it are rationalizations.

Comment by plaidx on . · 2011-05-27T21:49:42.904Z · score: -4 (26 votes) · LW · GW

The objective is to go from "__ sucked/was awesome" to "__ caused me to have internal experiences A, B, C, H, and R. Did you have different experiences? If so, why?"

This article caused me to have internal experiences of "oh jesus", "what is he thinking", and "how can people claim lesswrong isn't autistic with a straight face?"

Here are some factors that may have contributed to these experiences: I ate a slice of cheese pizza today, I want to signal my superiority in the domain of art criticism, and the way you write (and apparently talk) makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-05-27T03:38:06.536Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Considering this style of thinking has lead lesswrong to redact whole sets of posts out of (arguably quite delusional) cosmic horror, I think there's plenty of neurosis to go around, and that it runs all the way to the top.

I can certainly believe not everybody here is part of it, but even then, it seems in poor taste. The moral problems you link to don't strike me as philosophically illuminating, they just seem like something to talk about at a bad party.

Comment by plaidx on Measuring aversion and habit strength · 2011-05-27T03:28:50.828Z · score: 16 (18 votes) · LW · GW

I've found that I have the opposite problem. When given the opportunity to try something new, I take it, thinking "maybe this time", and invariably regret doing so.

Now I order the same food every time in restaurants, never go to shows, and am a happier person for it.

Comment by plaidx on What makes Less Wrong awesome? · 2011-05-23T22:24:05.673Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Someone even more cynical might say that lesswrong only departs from mainstream skeptical scientific consensus in ways that coincidentally line up exactly with the views of eliezer yudkowsky, and that it's basically an echo chamber.

That said, rational thinking is a great ideal, and I think it's awesome that lesswrong even TRIES to live up to it.

Comment by plaidx on What bothers you about Less Wrong? · 2011-05-19T21:52:03.977Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I haven't read TOO much mainstream philosophy, but in what I have, I don't recall even a single instance of torture being used to illustrate a point.

Maybe that's what's holding them back from being truly rational?

Comment by plaidx on What bothers you about Less Wrong? · 2011-05-19T21:29:15.022Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

I've heard that before, and I grant that there's some validity to it, but that's not all that's going on here. 90% of the time, torture isn't even relevant to the question the what-if is designed to answer.

The use of torture in these hypotheticals generally seems to have less to do with ANALYZING cognitive algorithms, and more to do with "getting tough" on cognitive algorithms. Grinding an axe or just wallowing in self-destructive paranoia.

If the point you're making really only applies to torture, fine. But otherwise, it tends to read like "Maybe people will understand my point better if I CRANK MY RHETORIC UP TO 11 AND UNCOIL THE FIREHOSE AND HALHLTRRLGEBFBLE"

There's a number of things that make me not want to self-identify as a lesswrong user, and not bring up lesswrong with people who might otherwise be interested in it, and this is one of the big ones.

Comment by plaidx on What bothers you about Less Wrong? · 2011-05-19T18:16:22.195Z · score: 12 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Creepily heavy reliance on torture-based what-if scenarios.

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-14T15:47:08.824Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ok, I'm back online. I basically flaked out partway through day two, I think I overextended myself.

However, the twitching or convulsing is still here, whenever I meditate, and after conferring with a medical professional, I'm pretty sure it's a meditation related thing, and not due to hyperventilation or somesuch. In fact, he explicitly said "yeah, that's from meditation. don't even try looking for a medical explanation."

SO, not exactly PLEASANT or ILLUMINATING results, but results nonetheless. I'm going to try going back to an hour or so of daily meditation and see how things develop for a while.

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-06T16:17:34.023Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It seems like an awful LOT of twitching, though. Like, so much so that I ended up hyperventilating to compensate for it. Is this really typical?

I should note that my concentration still isn't that great, and I haven't really experienced anything unusual on a mental level.

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-06T16:01:37.626Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

No, go ahead and say what you think, I'm a bit flummoxed at this point. Too much twitching.

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-06T16:00:42.953Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Aha, I had a nagging feeling there might be something like that going on.

Any idea what the involuntary spasms are about? I did another hour of sitting, and while I didn't have the tingling and such this time, the spasm came back as strong as ever. In fact, I'm inclined to discontinue things until I can figure out what the deal is with them.

Even laying down, breathing calmly, I'm just twitchy as hell. It stops as soon as I stop meditating.

EDIT: Here's something from wikipedia.

Cortical reflex myoclonus is thought to be a type of epilepsy that originates in the cerebral cortex - the outer layer, or "gray matter," of the brain, responsible for much of the information processing that takes place in the brain. In this type of myoclonus, jerks usually involve only a few muscles in one part of the body, but jerks involving many muscles also may occur. Cortical reflex myoclonus can be intensified when patients attempt to move in a certain way or perceive a particular sensation. [italics mine]

This seems like a pretty bizarre explanation, but I have yet to uncover anything better. Wait, that's probably intended to be read "when patients perceive", not "when patients attempt to perceive".

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-06T14:29:52.153Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

WOAH, holy crap. Ok, I'm doing a retreat (in my own house, by myself) and i'm only four and a half hours in, but i'm breaking retreat protocol and going on the computer because I have to tell you guys how unexpected what's happened so far is. Woo, ok, sensations subsiding, getting feeling back in my fingers.

I've been meditating for about six months now, starting at 20 minutes a day and gradually moving up to an hour and a half, with no discernible effect other than my butt getting sore. When daniel posted these articles, I was getting so demoralized with my complete lack of results that I was looking into maybe kickstarting things with LSD or something.

Since he really sounds like he knows what he's talking about, and presents the information in a manner that's refreshingly candid and sassy, I decided to at least TRY doing a retreat, however painful it was. I expected maybe kinda sorta to get palpable results if I could stick with it for a few days.

Instead, here's what's happened so far. I actually started last night, but immediately went to bed, and just tried to be mindful in the moments I was awake, haphazardly. Got up, sat for fifteen minutes, nothing, walked for an hour, still absolutely nothing, sat for an hour, and here something at least worth writing down happened, which is that near the end I started getting a bit twitchy.

I'm prone to the occasional twitch or spasm in my daily life, but no more than a few per day. But I was starting to get them a couple of times a minute. I noted them, and eventually time was up, and I felt a little smoother or more clearheaded as I (slowly, mindfully) went downstairs and made myself a protein shake for breakfast, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary.

Then, more walking, still nothing, more sitting, and soon the twitching came back. Then it subsided for a while. Then it came back. Then it got worse. Then it kept getting worse and worse, more and more twitching, jerking, spasming. It seemed to be related to the noting process, if I let my mind wander or concentrated on the breath without noting "in in in in in out out out out out", the jerking subsided.

Eventually it started to get kind of painful, some of the random unpredictable jerks hurt my neck and whatnot, so experimenting I found that if I breathed faster (and consequently noted faster, "ininininin outoutoutoutout"), the twitching would come even faster, but in smaller, tighter, more controlled jerks, and in fact I was tensing up like crazy. I noticed a kind of buzzy vibration in my teeth and considered "Is that the vibrations he's talking about? No, i think that's just something irrelevant. That happens to people now and then". In retrospect, I'm not sure it does. It wasn't a REMARKABLE sensation, but I don't really recall having my teeth buzz normally.

But, the buzzing sensation did not stop in my teeth. Soon I was feeling it in my hands as well, and then spreading from my neck to my face, and eventually all over. Meanwhile my breath had become quite labored and audible and irregular and I'm sure had anyone else been trying to meditate in the same room they would've been greatly irritated.

My body felt very much the way your foot does when it falls asleep, though without any accompanying loss of sensation. Also I was getting a headache. And most weirdly of all, my fingers were bending back of their own accord. I found that regardless of how hard I tried, I could not hold my hands in the proper posture, they were all screwed up. Similarly my shoulders were hunched and my face was somewhat puckered, I think.

The vibrating / tingling / asleep body part feeling was mildly unpleasant. I've smoked salvia once or twice (actually it's the only drug i've done),and gives a certain prickly sensation all over. This somewhat resembled that as well.

When I had started out this retreat, my feeling was "if i can just get my foot in the door, i'm sure I can make it to the end", but not really expecting to get my foot in the door. Now that I have, I can see it's going to be just as difficult taking the next step as well. This was not an easy thing to sit with for even part of an hour, and in fact I gave up and broke my meditation a few seconds before the bell.

The world looked considerably... brighter? More detailed but in its normal textures? definitely different, in a positive way. The same way it looked after the first hour, which I dismissed, except much more so.

I'm surprised this happened so fast, and I'm surprised at how physical it was. What I've experienced so far did not feel in any way enlightening, but nor was it my imagination playing tricks on me. This is serious business.

Anyway, I'd better get back to my schedule. After typing all this, I'll probably have to start all over.

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 2 of 3) · 2011-05-05T05:56:14.831Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I read the first sentence first, and so experienced a minor full-body orgasm.

You're either the greatest imagineer I've ever met, or a big fat liar.

Comment by plaidx on Consequentialism FAQ · 2011-05-05T05:41:43.996Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I know where you're coming from, but "they" is already the world's gender-neutral third person pronoun of choice, so why pick a different one? Even if it wasn't, you've got to pick your battles.

Comment by plaidx on Hollow Adjectives · 2011-05-05T05:37:56.571Z · score: 11 (13 votes) · LW · GW

the fact that God cannot do something that cannot be done does not limit His omnipotence.

The point is that "omnipotent" is itself a "hollow adjective", as you put it. Omnipotent doesn't mean "you can do anything that can be done", it means you can do anything, full stop.

Comment by plaidx on Meditation, insight, and rationality. (Part 1 of 3) · 2011-04-29T06:00:07.136Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, I often curse the world for not dropping the information I need into my lap, but here it seems to be on a silver platter. When I got around to reading this post, I had literally 23 tabs open, all of them about research into meditation.

I've been meditating for about six months and in the last week or so, getting disenchanted with the mainstream (within theravada buddhism) model of the path, and looking into alternate sources of information.

It's excellent to see that there's people already succeeding in the independent investigation I was wearily beginning to attempt!

Comment by plaidx on Consequentialism FAQ · 2011-04-26T02:40:58.328Z · score: 38 (46 votes) · LW · GW

I like it, but stop using "ey". For god's sake, just use "they".

Comment by plaidx on What is Metaethics? · 2011-04-25T22:22:31.726Z · score: 8 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I still have a hard time seeing how any of this is going to go somewhere useful.

Comment by plaidx on Reading Nonfiction Selectively · 2011-04-22T04:31:12.113Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

[skims article]

Skim more. Got it.

Nonsuperintelligent AI threat

2011-04-18T21:21:10.200Z · score: 9 (12 votes)
Comment by plaidx on The right kind of fun? · 2011-04-17T02:48:53.842Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The role of fun in maintaining mental health should also be noted. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Comment by plaidx on Offense versus harm minimization · 2011-04-16T01:52:35.072Z · score: 10 (16 votes) · LW · GW

For me, the important distinction between the salmon thing and the Mohammad thing is that getting zapped when you see a picture of a salmon is a reaction that doesn't go away through exposure. It can't be desensitized. Drawing Mohammad, or really any form of trolling, eventually gets savvy people to change the way they react.

That's not to say that trolling is necessarily good, but it is functionally different than what's happening with the salmon. See this article by Clay Shirky.

Comment by plaidx on We are not living in a simulation · 2011-04-12T04:25:16.910Z · score: 12 (16 votes) · LW · GW

If my qualia were actually those of a computer chip, then rather than feeling hot I would feel purple (or rather, some quale that no human language can describe), and if you asked me why I went back indoors even though I don't have any particular objection to purple and the weather is not nearly severe enough to pose any serious threat to my health, I wouldn't be able to answer you or in any way connect my qualia to my actions.

But in the simulation, you WOULD have an objection to purple, and you would call purple "hot", right? Or is this some haywire simulation where the simulated people act normally except they're completely baffled as to why they're doing any of it? Either what you're saying is incredibly stupid, or I don't understand it. Wait, does that mean I'm in a simulation?

Comment by plaidx on Only submit Meetups when you've declared a place and time · 2011-04-10T04:52:04.802Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I will go to this as long as that libertarian guy won't be there.

Comment by plaidx on What are you working on? April 2011 · 2011-04-08T18:31:16.564Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the memetic hazard you're referring to is the same one as mine, I recommend benzodiazepines in the short term and vipassana meditation in the long term. And just thinking about it, though clearly you're already doing that.

I think to a large extent, the percieved threat of the thing is due to a generally neurotic perspective, common to many people here, which can twist abstract thinking into knots when given a sufficiently long and nonintuitive chain of reasoning. The trauma illuminates a serious problem with the mind rather than a serious threat from the idea.

Comment by plaidx on The AV referendum and rationality · 2011-04-07T19:45:21.026Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry, I couldn't see your reply when I did my edit. I should've reloaded.

Comment by plaidx on The AV referendum and rationality · 2011-04-07T16:11:50.293Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Alternative Voting, also known as instant runoff voting, produces results very similar to first past the post, while introducing massive headaches. You want range voting or approval voting instead.

IRV leads to 2-party domination

There are three IRV countries: Ireland (mandated in their 1937 constitution), Australia (adopted STV in the early 1900s, but in 1949 added "reweighting" to STV in their multi-winner elections, a change which does not matter for us since we are only considering single-winner elections - Australia and Ireland have both kinds of elections), and Malta. (Later note: a recent addition is Fiji, but it unfortunately then got subtracted due to a 2006 coup.)

All three became 2-party dominated in their IRV seats. And this is despite the fact that in addition to IRV single-winner elections, they all also have multi-winner STV "proportional representation" (PR) elections, and they are parliamentary rather than presidential. Both of these two factors mitigate toward having more than 2 parties (the parliamentary countries with PR essentially all have many more than 2 vibrant political parties). But despite those multiparty-genic factors, the effect of IRV in these countries has been enough to drag them back down to 2-party domination status! So given that, you can bet your bottom dollar that the USA, were it to adopt IRV but still to remain presidential and without multiwinner PR elections (i.e. wholy with single-winner elections), will definitely stay 2-party dominated.

I strongly urge anyone who cares about voting systems to poke around this site for a while, it's very well-written.

Comment by plaidx on The Good News of Situationist Psychology · 2011-04-02T09:21:08.328Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm. I wonder what situationism says about living alone and not interacting with anyone. Does it mean no influence, or feedback from your own traits, or what?

Comment by plaidx on Omega and self-fulfilling prophecies · 2011-03-21T00:29:48.405Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I came to the comments section to make this exact post.

Comment by plaidx on Rationality vs. intelligence · 2011-03-20T05:42:57.099Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Fair enough. How many IQ points would you say make a fair exchange for lesswrong's teachings?

Comment by plaidx on Rationality vs. intelligence · 2011-03-20T05:35:17.123Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Oops, edits crossed in midstream. This reply made a lot more sense in conjunction with the original post as it was originally written.

Edit: Haha, yes.

Rationality vs. intelligence

2011-03-20T05:16:26.330Z · score: 6 (13 votes)
Comment by plaidx on Blues, Greens and abortion · 2011-03-07T03:53:03.786Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm... I'm certainly not SURPRISED by it, but I don't share it, no. I see it as being a crooked sort of kludge necessitated by the idea that people are equally valuable. "people" is a very big and complicated category, and treating it as a single moral point leads to weirdness.

Practically speaking, a person gets created over an extremely protracted period. It's not when they're conceived, it's not when they're born, it's not when they learn to speak or use the internet, it's the entire process. In contrast, people die close to instantaneously. "creating a human life" only seems morally neutral because the "human life" you're creating when you make a baby is extremely rudimentary.

But it's not generally acceptable to talk about people this way, so the difference between a fetus and a piano tuner gets surreptitiously offloaded into a difference between birth and death.

Another difference that gets misplaced onto birth vs. death is the matter of discriminate vs. indiscriminate actions. If people could create people they liked as easily as they could kill people they don't, we might see this very differently.

Comment by plaidx on Blues, Greens and abortion · 2011-03-06T18:55:28.241Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

For the op and others here who consider preservation of human life a terminal goal: do you also consider the creation of human life a terminal goal of the same magnitude? If not, why not?

I find it very unintuitive that something's creation could be unwarranted but its preservation vital, terminally, independent of any other considerations.

Comment by plaidx on Go Try Things · 2011-02-27T09:39:10.893Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Unfortunately, none of my interests seem to involve group activities.

I have difficulty meeting people I like even on the internet, where there's zillions of them and they can be easily sorted through.

Comment by plaidx on Go Try Things · 2011-02-26T15:21:30.520Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Sure. Learning things I couldn't learn on wikipedia, finding something good to eat, making a meaningful connection with people, enjoying myself, etc.

It's not some existential angst, I'm just hard to please.

Comment by plaidx on Go Try Things · 2011-02-26T15:18:51.640Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Meaning what?

Comment by plaidx on Go Try Things · 2011-02-25T23:29:01.992Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Classes, lectures, trying new food, going on dates... it's not that these things are ever huge letdowns, I'm just not glad I did them.

One of my biggest problems is making new friends. I try sometimes, despite my better judgment, but the amount of time and effort necessary to forge a friendship worth having, or perhaps to reformat the person in question into someone worth having for a friend, seems astronomical. It feels like I only managed to make the friends I have because when I started I had no friends and it was the only option, the way kids are forced by the world to learn a language.

Comment by plaidx on Go Try Things · 2011-02-25T19:49:38.247Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I would like this to be true, but in my personal experience, it is not. Whenever I go try things, the result is the same. Waste of time, waste of time, waste of time and bus fare.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-16T23:27:39.354Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It wasn't just one person, it was three or four. And it wasn't just that they INVOKED torture, it was that they clung to it like a life preserver, like it was the magic ingredient for winning the argument.

This is so far outside the bounds of civil discourse, and yet it's routine in this community. I don't think it's unwarranted to be generally concerned.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-16T22:45:26.019Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

In the last meetup I went to, there was an obnoxious guy who was dominating the conversation, and somehow got into a relativism-based defense of something, I think just to be contrary.

Several other people jumped on him at this point, and soon the argument swung around to "what about torture? what if you were being tortured?" and he came up with rationalizations about how what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, it'd be a great story, etc. etc., and so they kept piling on qualifications, saying "they torture you for 50 years and then execute you and you have no hope of rescue and blah blah blah", trying to nail down boards over every possible ray of sunshine.

And of course even then, rationalizations were found, and his girlfriend took up the contrarian standard and soliloquized about how she was a survivor of a suicide attempt and believed it was always better to choose life, no matter how painful, and the other participants responded by cranking up the torture even further.

Did anything remotely productive come out of this? No, of course not. It was ugly, it was pointless, and frankly it was embarrassing to be a part of. I left.

I question whether I'm the screwed up one for not swallowing my alienation to this kind of behavior.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-16T22:34:29.267Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I see your point, but I guess my problem is that I don't see why constructing these tradeoffs is productive in the first place. It just seems like a party game where people ask what you'd do for a million dollars.

Like, in the situation here, with uploading, why does immortality even need to be part of equation? All he's really saying is "intuitively, it doesn't seem like an upload would 'really' be me". What happens to the upload, and what happens to the original, is just a carnival of distractions anyway. We can easily swap them around and see that they have no bearing on the issue.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-16T06:56:09.453Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I think part of what bothers me about these things is I get the impression the readers of lesswrong are PICKING UP these neuroses from each other, learning by example that this is how you go about things.

Need to clarify an ethical question, or get an intuitive read on some esoteric decision theory thing, or just make a point? Add torture! If yudkowsky does it, it must be a rational and healthy way to think, right?

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-16T06:50:16.255Z · score: -3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if that's really what it is, just the writer attempting to make people take his position more seriously by crudely leveraging a sensationalized example.

I don't think so. I think it's more like the outward manifestation of some neurosis.

In this particular case, what is gained by inserting a thousand years of agony into the situation? How is this a critical test of anything besides the reader's tolerance for tasteless hyperbole?

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-15T06:06:56.576Z · score: 0 (14 votes) · LW · GW

Why do people feel the need to discuss "huge relative disutilities"? What's the difference between that and being obnoxiously hyperbolic?

In the current example, I'm not even sure what kind of point he's trying to make. It sounds like he's saying "Some people like bagels. But what if someone poisoned your bagel with a poison that made your blood turn into fire ants?"

Is this an autism thing? There were people doing this at the meetup I went to as well.

Comment by plaidx on The non-painless upload · 2011-02-15T05:03:18.232Z · score: 14 (28 votes) · LW · GW

Why does every other hypothetical situation on this site involve torture or horrible pain? What is wrong with you people?

Edit: I realize I've been unduly inflammatory about this. I'll restrict myself in the future to offering non-torture alternative formulations of scenarios when appropriate.

Comment by plaidx on An Abortion Dialogue · 2011-02-12T22:04:18.812Z · score: 3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

People on average increase in societal value from conception to childhood, and then it gets more complicated from there depending on how they turn out. And yes, typically their value declines as they become elderly.

But, as in your example with your adopted friend, even a baby that starts out unwanted, if society invests a bit in its welfare, will soon become part of the social fabric and so on and thereby become valued.

Certainly there are some people who literally nobody likes, but even then, there's still reason B.

As it happens, my best friend was adopted as well. But I hardly think the limiting factor in the number or quality of my friends is society's production of babies.

Comment by plaidx on An Abortion Dialogue · 2011-02-12T06:30:00.618Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, this is more or less what I meant by B, with the caveat that alice and bob may fundamentally disagree on who's better off dead.

Comment by plaidx on An Abortion Dialogue · 2011-02-12T06:22:13.589Z · score: 13 (17 votes) · LW · GW

Let me turn your question around. If your utility function puts value in the mere existence of people, regardless of how they interact with the larger world, doesn't that mean having babies is as wonderful as killing people is terrible? Is somebody with 12 kids a hero?

Contrived infinite-torture scenarios: July 2010

2010-07-23T23:54:46.595Z · score: 24 (51 votes)


2009-12-22T17:57:21.810Z · score: 6 (21 votes)

Lore Sjöberg's Life-Hacking FAQK

2009-10-20T16:10:38.877Z · score: 0 (17 votes)

Applying Double Standards to ‘‘Divisive’’ Ideas

2009-10-19T12:36:30.730Z · score: 3 (6 votes)

The Presumptuous Philosopher's Presumptuous Friend

2009-10-05T05:26:23.736Z · score: 3 (16 votes)