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Comment by po8crg on The Bat and Ball Problem Revisited · 2019-02-21T17:41:47.467Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
This is exactly what bothers me and resulted in me wanting to look up the question online. On the quiz the other 2 questions were definitive. This one technically could have more than one answer so this is where phycologists actually mess up when trying to give us a trick question. The ball at .4 and the bat at 1.06 doesn’t break the rule either.

Interesting: these could cover a couple of misunderstandings, one is that B>=100, the other that "The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball" does not mean B-b=100, but that B-b>=100.

In ordinary language, "that costs $1.00 more than the other one" is not incorrect if the difference is $1.01.

I suspect that person would have been corrected by saying "the bat costs precisely one dollar more than the ball"

Comment by po8crg on Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable · 2014-04-16T10:14:37.597Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think it's worth relating the argument about the Resurrection and the argument about rabbits chewing their cud. We now have a reasonably good definition of "dead". We know that classical civilisation in 33AD didn't.

Assuming that there was a person called Jesus and that he was crucified, we have no means of knowing whether he was, in fact, dead or not. It's necessarily impossible to apply the modern definition since the ECG hadn't been invented then.

There are scientific phenomena that would result in the observations that are reported in the gospels as the Resurrection (most obviously, a coma caused by brain anoxia, and a recovery over a few days).

This is, interestingly, the Qu'ran's position on the Resurrection. I'm not especially tied to it, but it does allow one to hold that the gospel writers were not deliberately lying (which raises the value of the gospels as evidence in general) without having to hold that the Resurrection was, in fact, a miracle.

I can see that a UU, someone who thinks that there is ethical value in (say) the Sermon on the Mount, being inclined to this position in that it strengthens the Bayesian evidence for the gospels which are our only available reports of the Sermon on the Mount.

Comment by po8crg on Burdensome Details · 2012-09-21T17:53:25.563Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Depends on people's definition of truth, surely?

If your scoring system for a conjunction statement where one part is true and the other is untrue is to score that as half-true, then the probabilities for the Reagan case are wholly reasonable.

(ie for "Reagan will provide federal support for unwed mothers and cut federal support to local governments", you score 1 for both parts true, 0.5 for one part true and 0 for neither part true, while for "Reagan will provide federal support for unwed mothers" you can only score 1 for true and 0 for false).

If - and it seems reasonable - the intuitive scoring system for a conjunctive statement is similar to this, then the predictions are wholly reasonable.

This means that when there is a real conjunction, we tend to misinterpret it. It seems reasonable then to guess that we don't have an intuitive approach to a true conjunction. If that's the case, then the approach to overcoming the bias is to analyse joint statements to see if a partial truth scores any points - if it does, then our intuition can be trusted more than when it does not.

Comment by po8crg on How to avoid dying in a car crash · 2012-03-25T17:54:53.670Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Consider whether your journey is necessary - not travelling is always safer than travelling.

Consider what you can do to restructure your life to minimise the need for routine travel - Can you live closer to your place of employment/study, either by moving your home, or moving your employment/study? Can you work or study from home (at all? more often?)

I now live 20 minutes' walk from my employment instead of an hour's drive + 20 minute's walk, and there are many other benefits (much cheaper), but the safety improvements of not having to drive, especially as I have a sleep disorder that makes it impossible to always avoid driving when fatigued, are certainly one factor.

If you have to make a journey, consider alternatives to driving for all or part of the journey. All public transportation is much safer than driving; off-road public transportation (ie all rail except trams, flying) is safer still.

Remember that walking (strictly, crossing roads on foot) is higher risk than driving, so be prepared to go for a multi-modal journey to avoid walking in non-pedestrianised areas.

Comment by po8crg on How to avoid dying in a car crash · 2012-03-25T17:04:20.398Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, live traffic data to use the available road-space more efficiently. My GPS does that already, and will divert me around traffic jams when there are available side roads, but will stay on the main route when the side-roads as just as bad.

Comment by po8crg on How to avoid dying in a car crash · 2012-03-25T17:01:23.019Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

One trick I have for fatigued driving is to always have a stimulant drink in the car so I can pull over, drink it, revive within a few minutes and that enables me to concentrate for 10-20 minutes, enough to find a motel or (sometimes) get home.

Comment by po8crg on 37 Ways That Words Can Be Wrong · 2012-03-24T18:57:08.515Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

And, indeed, we have words or phrases for particular female physical traits that men find attractive. Look how many words there are for different shades of yellow or light brown hair, compared to just "brunette" for darker brown / black.

[Blonde, and the many pat phrases like platinum blonde, golden blonde, dirty blonde, etc]

Why? Because men find blondes more attractive on average.

Similarly, there's a set of looks that are not particularly well-correlated or particularly common but is known as "English Rose" because men find it attractive.

Sure, there's not a particular need for a word that is "woman that Ben Jones fancies", but there's plenty of value in "woman that has a particular look that lots of men like"

Comment by po8crg on Where to Draw the Boundary? · 2012-03-24T18:37:30.181Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Fish, like reptiles are paraphyletic. The cladistic revolutionaries want to abolish the category altogether, or reduce it to just the ray-finned fishes - excluding coelacanths, lungfish, the cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras), and the cyclostomes (hagfish and lampreys).

The result is that some sources will use fish as equivalent to the monophyletic group actinopterygii and others use the traditional polyphyletic pisces. Anytime you see a generalisation about fish that isn't true of sharks, there's a good chance that the original source was using fish to mean actinopterygii.

In many ways, it's a more useful classification - 96% of fish species are in actinopterygii, and there is an awful lot of anatomy that is shared by the actinopterygii but not by the rest of the fish. If you're going to exclude cetaceans because they have more in common with land animals than with actinopterygii then why not exclude lungfish and coelacanths for the same reason?

Comment by po8crg on Disputing Definitions · 2012-03-24T13:56:31.449Z · score: 15 (17 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is that it begs the question - using "unborn baby" defines it into the same ethical category as a born baby, different only in location. When you dig down enough, usually that's the point at dispute - is the thing growing in a womb entitled to rights in the manner of a (born) baby, or is it not so entitled.

There are some property-rights thinkers who do hold that it is the location that matters, i.e. the baby is trespassing on the mother's womb, and she's entitled to use deadly force to remove it, but that's not the usual argument.