How confident is your atheism? 2012-06-14T20:18:33.257Z
[LINK] A Review and Summary of John Harris's Case for Chemical Enhancement 2011-10-05T03:15:21.502Z
A WordCloud Visual of LW Main 2011-08-02T05:24:32.685Z
The Sequences in MP3 Format 2011-07-08T19:40:55.699Z
Exclude the supernatural? My worldview is up for grabs. 2011-06-25T03:46:15.421Z


Comment by r_claypool on Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? · 2012-11-21T18:41:10.920Z · LW · GW

That reminds me of Yvain's 'The Last Temptation of Christ'

Comment by r_claypool on Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? · 2012-11-20T07:42:04.735Z · LW · GW

Yeah, but 'Just Plain Wrong' is how I would describe thinking Hawaii is in the Caribbean; It's not how I would describe having followers that think you are God in flesh.

Comment by r_claypool on [Poll] Less Wrong and Mainstream Philosophy: How Different are We? · 2012-09-26T19:21:02.620Z · LW · GW

Oops, I meant to choose "Accept: turn" instead of "Accept: straight"

Comment by r_claypool on [Link] Short story by Yvain · 2012-09-02T02:59:27.035Z · LW · GW

Please do.

Comment by r_claypool on Why Don't People Help Others More? · 2012-08-14T03:47:03.051Z · LW · GW

This was really well written. Thanks for posting it.

Comment by r_claypool on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-17T03:23:42.857Z · LW · GW

Yeah, it was a false dichotomy. I see that now.

Comment by r_claypool on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-15T04:52:06.369Z · LW · GW

Do you (r_claypool) have reason to suspect that Christianity is much more likely to be true than other, (almost-) mutually exclusive supernatural worldviews like, say, Old Norse Paganism?

No, I've read way more Christian apologetics than I care to admit, and the basic tenants of the Bible like -- "God could find no better way to forgive humans than to have one tortured on a cross" -- are no more substantiated by apologists than whatever is part of Old Norse Paganism.

If not, then 5% for Christianity is absurdly high.

But it still doesn't feel absurdly high.

Comment by r_claypool on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-15T03:34:27.231Z · LW · GW

That's about right. Five percent was basically a buffer for, "I don't have full confidence in my epistemology, maybe I'm confused and Christian faith actually is a virtue."

But I get what everyone has said about privileging the hypothesis. If by faith I'm supposed to choose a religion, after choosing I'd have no answer for, "Why did you trust in those unverifiable claims as opposed to some other unverifiable claims?" This would be true of all religions and supernatural claims, or at least the ones I'm aware of.

Comment by r_claypool on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-14T20:39:35.051Z · LW · GW

I probably should have clarified to say, "the chance that Jesus of Nazareth is a resurrected God." I think all modern Christianities have this belief in common, and my estimations are based on this lowest common denominator.

Comment by r_claypool on Open Thread, June 1-15, 2012 · 2012-06-02T20:33:07.458Z · LW · GW

To those who know Sam Harris' views on free will, how do they compare to the LW solution)?

I'll get around to reading his eBook eventually, but it's not the highest priority in my backlog unless a few people say, "Yeah, read that. It's awesome."

Comment by r_claypool on Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable · 2012-05-27T03:02:06.204Z · LW · GW

The Old Testament [...] was busy laying down the death penalty for women who wore men's clothing

But Deuteronomy 22:5/Deuteronomy#22) says nothing about the death penalty. It's just an abomination, which presumably means, "You're going to hell, but we won't necessarily stone you."

A better argument would be, "The Old Testament [...] was busy laying down the death penalty for victims of rape."

"If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them to death with stones; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife: so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee." -- Deuteronomy 22:23-24, ASV/Deuteronomy#22)

I guess they thought it unlikely that the girl tried to scream or that she was threatened with immediate violence. And if she's not already engaged (28-29), she is forced to marry her rapist without the possibility of divorce.

Comment by r_claypool on I Stand by the Sequences · 2012-05-16T22:15:10.599Z · LW · GW

LW folk (including I think Eliezer and lukeprog) mistakenly believe that algorithmic probability theory implies a low prior for supernaturalism

As lukeprog says here.

Comment by r_claypool on Collaborative project: New rationality materials page · 2012-03-31T16:05:45.505Z · LW · GW

The older posts seem to have fewer votes. Even posts that I consider mediocre get upwards of 20 votes these days, yet Occam's Razor has only 24 right now.

Comment by r_claypool on [Link] Research on Christian deconversion · 2012-03-07T00:41:51.660Z · LW · GW

Or maybe it would.

Comment by r_claypool on [Link] Research on Christian deconversion · 2012-03-06T19:05:37.748Z · LW · GW

I talked with more than 20 Christians during my deconversion, and actually, they acted as if the standard skeptical arguments made a lot of sense.

The response was never "no way, that doesn't even make sense." Rather it was, "well of course we might expect God to do X, but Yahweh works in mysterious ways". Another was, "you need to stop trusting your intellect so much and trust God/TheBible/Jesus instead."

Comment by r_claypool on "Ask for help on your project" open thread · 2012-02-07T17:01:18.477Z · LW · GW

Good question, about 10 pages. Message me if you are still interested.

Comment by r_claypool on "Ask for help on your project" open thread · 2012-02-07T04:21:12.156Z · LW · GW

I stopped believing in God a few years ago, and - like this tradition - I'm writing an essay to explain how that happened.

I need some constructive, critical feedback on the current draft. Is anyone interested?

Comment by r_claypool on Fireplace Delusions [LINK] · 2012-02-06T05:47:21.118Z · LW · GW

A better measure would be evidence that video games are harmful.

Comment by r_claypool on January 1-14, 2012 Open Thread · 2012-01-04T00:45:53.766Z · LW · GW

I would not want that guy in my neighborhood. I want to live around people who will not eat me, even if I go crazy.

Comment by r_claypool on Advice Request: Baconmas Website · 2012-01-02T15:58:44.041Z · LW · GW

Your target audience is probably not Christian, but anything-mas is going to sound like a rip off of Christmas.

I would hesitate saying to my mother "I'm celebrating Baconmas with the kids". I'd rather say "I'm celebrating Francis Bacon Day with the kids". It's more descriptive, does not feel like an attack on Christmas, and has a natural followup question: "Who is Francis Bacon?"

Comment by r_claypool on [SEQ RERUN] The Amazing Virgin Pregnancy · 2011-12-06T10:32:17.079Z · LW · GW

Also Raising the Sanity Waterline

If you can't fight religion directly, what do you teach that raises the general waterline of sanity to the point that religion goes underwater? ...

Comment by r_claypool on Metaethics: Where I'm Headed · 2011-11-22T18:58:12.808Z · LW · GW

Are you still working with Alonzo Fyfe?

Comment by r_claypool on Behavioral psychology and buying a warranty at Menards · 2011-11-16T05:02:24.030Z · LW · GW

I usually respond "No thank you, not today". Adding "not today" reminds me that I contribute to charity on many other days, and I pick those organizations more carefully.

Comment by r_claypool on Which fields of learning have clarified your thinking? How and why? · 2011-11-11T18:17:59.625Z · LW · GW

I don't know if the engine uses a higher score for tags. Tags I would use for this post are "scholarship", "training" and "learning".

Comment by r_claypool on Which fields of learning have clarified your thinking? How and why? · 2011-11-11T05:13:40.738Z · LW · GW

Some of the tags like "weaving" will not be helpful categories.

Comment by r_claypool on What visionary project would you fund? · 2011-11-10T05:45:14.157Z · LW · GW

I urge that, with full knowledge of our limitations, we vastly increase our knowledge of the Solar System and then begin to settle other worlds.

These are the missing practical arguments: safeguarding the Earth from otherwise inevitable catastrophic impacts and hedging our bets on the many other threats, known and unknown, to the environment that sustains us. Without these arguments, a compelling case for sending humans to Mars and elsewhere might be lacking. But with them - and the buttressing arguments involving science, education, perspective, and hope - I think a strong case can be made. If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds. -- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

The U.S. space budget is, I think, much too underfunded. European Space Agency is even smaller. I would put the money into space research and send a team to Mars.

Comment by r_claypool on 2011 Less Wrong Census / Survey · 2011-11-01T03:11:41.903Z · LW · GW

I just finished the survey. My estimate for the Calibration Year was 200 years wrong. How embarrassing, I need to learn the basics.

Comment by r_claypool on A Bayesian Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus · 2011-10-19T02:51:34.952Z · LW · GW

I would like to hear your disagreements too, even if Lydia McGrew is not interested.

Comment by r_claypool on Improving My Writing Style · 2011-10-11T18:03:09.375Z · LW · GW

I write overly convoluted sentence structures.

YAKiToMe has helped me with this problem. Hearing the text as speech gives me a new perspective on what I have written; it makes the awkward stuff more obvious.

Comment by r_claypool on Stanislav Petrov Day · 2011-09-26T18:46:33.188Z · LW · GW

This is a good opportunity to introduce your friends to LessWrong: "Hey, did you know today is the day Stanislav Petrov saved the world?" Chance are, they will click around.

Comment by r_claypool on Interview with Singularity Institute Research Fellow Luke Muehlhauser · 2011-09-15T14:04:35.767Z · LW · GW

Here's an MP3 of the interview (text-to-speech conversion).

(If you think this is not a fair use of copyright, let me know and I'll take it down.)

Comment by r_claypool on Is it just me, or has Less Wrong been slow or broken quite often in the past few days? · 2011-09-14T04:12:06.657Z · LW · GW

I got an error page tonight.

Comment by r_claypool on [Help]: Social cost of cryonics? · 2011-09-12T19:49:31.136Z · LW · GW

I have not signed up, although I have talked with Rudi Hoffman about the costs and I think about it often.

On a related note, I wonder about the ethics of enrolling a child (I have children). Any thoughts on that?

Comment by r_claypool on Video: You Are Not So Smart · 2011-09-08T14:41:55.784Z · LW · GW

404: Page Not Found / This video has been removed by the user.

Comment by r_claypool on A Bayesian Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus · 2011-09-07T04:15:01.713Z · LW · GW

Lydia McGrew responded to you saying:

... the earlier commentator who says that the probability is "approximately 1" that there would be made-up resurrection stories (and apparently thinks that this applies to the gospels) ignores various obvious distinctions. For example, the distinction between stories by people who had nothing to gain and everything to lose for making up such stories and people who had nothing to lose and something to gain by doing so. Also, the distinction between people's elaborating stories when they themselves were in a position to know what really happened and people who were not in a position to know what really happened.

We are talking in the paper about what the disciples themselves claimed. They were in a position to know whether what they were claiming was true or false, and they had a great deal to lose and nothing to gain by simply making up such tales. - link

Comment by r_claypool on A Bayesian Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus · 2011-09-07T04:09:48.480Z · LW · GW

Lydia McGrew addresses your post saying:

"The fellow who sneers at our combined Bayes factor on the grounds that we are assuming independence appears to have overlooked the fact that we have an entire section discussing that very issue and offering, as far as I know, a new technical point in the literature concerning the question of whether assuming independence strengthens or weakens a case and relating this to the question of situations of duress." - link

Comment by r_claypool on A Bayesian Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus · 2011-09-07T02:57:24.434Z · LW · GW

John DePoe, Western Michigan University has a paper on this too. He calculates the probability of the resurrection, given 10 fair and independent testimonies ≈ 0.9999.

Comment by r_claypool on Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? · 2011-08-31T19:38:53.926Z · LW · GW

I'd like to quote one of the comments on lukeprog's post:

These sorts of statements are, unfortunately, generally the refuge of the intellectually lazy and dishonest: “If you just knew this stuff [usually related to math and science, though other things among certain continentally inclined segments of the population] you’d see that your religious beliefs were false! I don’t have to explain why this is the case, it just is.” I don’t think you’re intellectually lazy or dishonest, so I’m hoping this is a temporary lapse of judgment. In any case you know, as well as I do, that there are quite a lot of people who are familiar with the subjects you cite who do take religious hypotheses quite seriously. This statement, then, is simply and definitively disproved by widely available empirical evidence: “And if they have time to consume enough math and science, then The God Question just fades away as not even a question worth talking about.”

That seems right to me. I have been reading the sequences for a few months now, and I see how the God question could fade away, but where is the argument that shows it must fade away? If someone has a formal argument based on the Kolmogorov complexity of God or whatever, I could better decide if I agree with the priors.

Comment by r_claypool on Philosophical apologetics book suggests replacing Bayes theorem with "Inference to the Best Explanation" (IBE) · 2011-08-30T04:55:34.066Z · LW · GW

... establish that Christianity is the true formulation of what [God] wants ... by examining revealed theistic truths (aka the Bible)

This traditional line of apologetics is all very weird to me, a committed Christian of nearly 30 years. Seriously studying the scriptures is just what convinced me the Bible is not inspired by an intelligent or loving God.

I don't have the knowledge (yet) to answer your questions, but I'm very interested in what others will say.

Comment by r_claypool on Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? · 2011-08-30T04:06:11.073Z · LW · GW

I just want to say thank you for pointing this out. I used to think the trilemma was a terrible argument, but your interpretation reduces my criticism.

Still it's worth noting that Lewis assumed the gospels accurate. He missed an obvious fourth alternative: That Jesus was misquoted and misunderstood.

Lord, Liar, Lunatic, Legend. I'm not a full-blown mythicist, but I think it's very likely Jesus life and sayings were embellished by others.

Comment by r_claypool on Book trades with open-minded theists - recommendations? · 2011-08-30T03:31:30.201Z · LW · GW

If by "high regard for the Bible" he means inerrancy, I recommend The Human Faces of God as a first step.

It covers disturbing passages that I believe damage the credibility of the Bible as a whole. Biblical genocide, slavery, propaganda, early Israelite polytheism, contradictions, and failed prophesies of Jesus are all discussed with footnotes to additional literature. Most of this material is "standard fare" among critical scholars - even the idea that Jesus was a failed prophet - but church-going people are still in the dark on most of these issues.

It might help that the author of this book is a professing Christian. Your friend will be more open to criticisms of the Bible coming from another person of faith. It will help him explore radically different versions of (liberal) Christianity, even as he considers atheism.

Comment by r_claypool on [link] Apostles' Creed = Tsuyoku Naritai??? · 2011-08-24T02:56:31.091Z · LW · GW

That's interesting. Do you have references and the time to post them?

Comment by r_claypool on A Problem with Abbreviations and Acronyms · 2011-08-12T21:39:53.494Z · LW · GW

They can be a small, unnecessary barrier for newcomers to LW, LessWrong.

Comment by r_claypool on "Meetup" proposal: Google+ · 2011-08-12T20:11:00.331Z · LW · GW

I added you in a "LessWrong" circle.
Add me at

Comment by r_claypool on A WordCloud Visual of LW Main · 2011-08-03T07:27:09.205Z · LW · GW

Yes, that's one of the layout options on the Wordle website.

Comment by r_claypool on A WordCloud Visual of LW Main · 2011-08-02T07:33:06.134Z · LW · GW


Comment by r_claypool on A WordCloud Visual of LW Main · 2011-08-02T06:54:37.953Z · LW · GW

Rationalists here are not so cold-hearted after all. ;-)

Comment by r_claypool on The Sequences in MP3 Format · 2011-08-01T06:07:13.613Z · LW · GW

Other questions to resolve:

  • Where should the files be hosted? (Does LW have the bandwidth)
  • Is LW exempt from MP3 licensing? (I hope so)
  • Where should the download links be placed? (A wiki page is fine, but it will be less discoverable.)
  • Which posts should be completed first?
Comment by r_claypool on The Sequences in MP3 Format · 2011-08-01T06:00:02.000Z · LW · GW

I have price quotes for Acapela, Cepstral, Wizzard (AT&T Voices), Neospeech, and Nuance RealSpeak. The range is from $1,000 to $15,000 USD.

Open source options are eSpeak (robotic), Festival (robotic), FreeTTS (robotic), Pico and others.

Pico is part of Android and it sounds more natural than other open source options I tried. Pico is licensed under Apache 2.0. Here's a demo.

The commercial voices are definately better; Loquendo is a good example.

So now I can start converting via Pico or try to get funding for a more natural voice. Thoughts?

Comment by r_claypool on Requesting low cost/high payoff projects ideas · 2011-08-01T01:33:32.027Z · LW · GW

I'm slowly working on the sequences in MP3 format. Commercial text-to-speech solutions start out at $1,000 USD, so I need to find funding or an open alternative.