The Problem Of Apostasy 2012-07-19T10:27:37.541Z
"The Book Of Mormon" or Belief In Belief, The Musical 2012-02-14T14:48:27.919Z
Learned Helplessness 2011-11-13T16:55:05.103Z
Why do people commit mathematical mistakes? What are the mechanisms behind them? 2011-09-07T21:57:26.833Z
Beware The Believer, or a study in depth of recursion 2011-07-30T20:37:56.890Z
Discussion: Ideas for a Lesswrongian anticipation Sci-Fi set in 2060 2011-07-12T06:35:42.848Z
Discussion: Counterintuitive ways of teaching knowledge 2011-07-08T21:02:00.286Z
Find yourself a Worthy Opponent: a Chavruta 2011-07-06T10:59:15.551Z
Dark Arts: Schopenhauer wrote The Book on How To Troll 2011-07-05T13:13:59.722Z
The RPG Thread 2011-06-27T17:22:14.782Z
Discussion: Yudkowsky's actual accomplishments besides divulgation 2011-06-25T23:02:11.643Z
Discussion: Socially Awkward Penguin as a tool for unraveling social enigmas 2011-06-17T00:52:44.794Z
The 48 Rules of Power; Viable? 2011-05-27T01:36:48.891Z
Freedom From Choice: Should we surrender our freedom to an external agent? How much? 2011-05-26T12:11:52.796Z
Ace Attorney: pioneer Rationalism-didactic game? 2011-05-23T23:28:58.595Z
Social Proficiency of a Rationalist and a Scholar 2011-05-21T23:55:30.228Z
Recovering Insufferable Genius (working title) 2011-05-15T19:27:50.929Z
Spaniard Lesswrongers, Unite! 2011-04-07T22:46:53.648Z
Lesswrong Meetup in Barcelona? 2011-04-07T11:50:23.101Z
The annoyingness of New Atheists: declaring God Dead makes you a Complete Monster? 2011-01-17T01:13:44.233Z
The Cult Of Reason 2010-11-24T15:24:16.699Z
Qualia Soup, a rationalist and a skilled You Tube jockey 2010-10-31T14:18:40.790Z
Of the Qran and its stylistic resources: deconstructing the persuasiveness Draft 2010-10-12T17:04:25.670Z


Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-29T10:30:28.858Z · LW · GW

More importantly, it forces constant, exponential economic growth. Jormungard has to grow faster than he eats himself, or the world collapses.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-24T22:54:27.379Z · LW · GW

I got bogged down in the section on the development and spread of torture by electricity.

I thought it got too ugly for you and you just gave up in disgust at the senseless brutality.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-24T22:53:34.335Z · LW · GW

You mean that "actual democracy" would be better than "representative government"?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-21T23:20:00.873Z · LW · GW

Actually, starting a lobby with the goal of legalizing apostasy sounds like a good idea...

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-21T23:17:40.223Z · LW · GW

You mean in terms of Body Horror?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-21T23:15:49.597Z · LW · GW

Seeing improvements in ways that are immediately tabgible is very encouraging and motivating.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-21T23:14:30.273Z · LW · GW

People do have an astoundingly aggravating ability to compartimentalize these things, though: see "Outside The Laboratory".

Comment by Raw_Power on The Power of Positivist Thinking · 2012-07-20T13:11:45.664Z · LW · GW

Privileged Rituals of Thought?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-20T06:42:45.935Z · LW · GW

Thank you for helping me remember what it felt like to think that way. The Dark Side Will Make You Forget indeed... :P

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T18:05:09.618Z · LW · GW

Well, I absolutely agree with all that you just said. But still, knowing what sentences the judge can dole out is important. The problem with mob-rousing stuff such as apostasy... or Frankenstein-monster raising, or being Black, or a Hugonot, or an adulterer, depending on context... is that you could easily be subjected to "mob justice", and there would be impunity for your murderers: Pontius Piwatus keeps his hands cwean, and evewyone is happy (the dead can't compwain).

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T17:52:46.525Z · LW · GW

I agree with you on all points here.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T17:49:12.935Z · LW · GW

You wouldn't tell that by watching a Hollywood movie

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T17:43:21.429Z · LW · GW

That is, indeed, the bit that I am worried about.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T17:41:31.104Z · LW · GW

Argue against? I can't find a single thing here that I disagree with. Except the bits where you argue in favour of mercantilism, but I never argued against that. I would (mostly along the lines of "freemarkets need specific cultural memes specific social and political infrastructures to function well: it's a great engine but you can't put it in just any car or in the hands of just any driver, otherwise people will die, and even in the right conditions it's still massively dangerous, but it's just so much more awesome than other crappier engines..."), but I reserve judgement until after I've read the classics and grown more familiar with the meme-space's historical evolution.

"Reasonable Muslim" does seem to be a good approach, what with learning not to be a smug idiot and such. One would want to practice it, if only because one would know how painful and confusing a paradygm shift can be in that domain, and wouldn't wish to inflict it on people who don't explicitly seek it out. Though, the law being the way it is, even people who are struggling with religion should be left alone to have their own epiphanies.

The "No True Scotsman" fallacy (or, more specifically, the "This Scotsman Who Went And Was Educated In England And Has All The Mannerisms And Accents And Beliefs Of Our English Overlords Is No True Scotsman") is an authentic problem. I have seen a west-educated boy from country X who, hearing another X-educated X boy who complained that meeting parties in the international organization they worked in were too focused on "disgusting" alcohol and pig. The "western" boy told the "genuine X" boy that he could drink alcohol-free beer or even a soft drink if he so wished, and that there was a sufficient selection of non-pigful food, including vegetarian food if he worried about Halal. The "genuine X" boy flat-out told the "westen" boy that he was "NOT X". He did not look like he was from X, he did not speak X-ian as well as X, he did not dress like an X, move like an X, and he was waaaay too comfortable with pig and alcohol for his taste. He did so more with the tone of someone who is making an observation that frightens them than with a tone of censorship or condemnation. The "western" boy exused himself politely then spent the afternoon being very, very pissed off and profoundly offended, though that confused him: he thought he had outgrown something as irrational as "nationalism", "group identity", and "the desire to belong", but, he said to me later, he was deepy hurt by that.

There really is a point after which cultural difference becomes so gaping that, while one may have a passport from X, one will be treated exactly as a foreigner by the "authentics", especially in extremely uniform, totalitarian societies, with a rather sharply defined collective identity. How to reach them, then? Should one even try?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T17:04:52.718Z · LW · GW

More like, after a certain point, it just gets impractical. Both "modesty" and "immodesty" (also, what a crappy word, synonymous with humility, which is not what this is about, right? well, except for Medaka-chan, but she's kind of special).

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T17:02:10.008Z · LW · GW

That's a very puzzling comment... care to elaborate?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T14:43:14.382Z · LW · GW

Martyrdom's outcomes are chancey, and, while sometimes it can trigger outrage and change, most of the time it's just a senseless loss. It is a loser's save roll. Rationalists are not losers.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T14:31:46.240Z · LW · GW

Many of those governments ardently desire their intelligent, rational people leaving, and will even facilitate that movement. They get in the way of a stable tyranny.

More importantly, the more they appropriate a foreign culture, the more the locals will see them as "foreign". A "Return of the Elites" might not be welcome: see Iran after the Shah was deposed,

Capitalism as the source of a nation's prosperity might also be a red herring: notice how America and Africa are full of perfectly capitalist, utterly miserable nations.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T14:12:52.656Z · LW · GW

Being afraid of being sent to hell for eternity is no more "evidence" that god exists than is being afraid of tigers evidence that there is one in your back yard.

That was beautiful.

In my opinion, the best advantages rationality can gain is a totally reasonable intelligent well spoken blond woman wearing sleeveless dresses smiling and explaining with devastating clarity just how much sense atheism makes.

That was oddly specific.

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:43:53.898Z · LW · GW

So they should avoid having their Real Life personas being linked to LW in any way, shape, or form. This might be difficult if LW grows famous and their influence in the secret apostate is too obvious... How would one go about being a rationalist "with the serial numbers filed off".

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:35:38.180Z · LW · GW

Democracy and social mobility... and the ability to alter one's circumstances.... What if those were red herrings?

There is a fair number of Lesswrongers that challenge the notion that "Democracy is Good".

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:26:16.921Z · LW · GW

I guess every drop of water counts in eroding the rock...

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:23:27.190Z · LW · GW

Speaking in long term terms, what is the mechanism by which societies secularize themselves, and are there ways to trigger it? For instance, the Jews too have a very explicit, canonic policy of stoning proselytizing apostates to death. When did they stop doing that, and why?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:20:06.489Z · LW · GW

Now that you mention Rushdie, another topic comes out: how not to appear to be a Westernized sellout? I don't know much about Rushdie himself, but the image I got of him from popcultural osmosis is that of a professional traitor attacking Islam for the sake of getting accolades from Westerners. Regardless of how much of that is true, this is obviously an image one needs to avoid at all costs.

I would compare it to the amalgamation of "Socialist" and "Servant of the USSR" that took place during the Cold War.

People can have interesting perspectives on the topic of religious conversion. I remember a Muslim apostat getting asked, in all innocence, whether they'd be converting to Christianity next, as if it was the logical next step. Yet another argument for "people actually think of religion as a tribe, not as a set of metaphysical beliefs with moral prescriptions attached"

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:11:04.332Z · LW · GW

That is the conclusion to which I had come, though I was hoping for an alternative. Now the question remains:

How can a rationalist pretending not to be a rationalist help spread serious rationalism without them and the people they inluenced getting caught (in early stages) or triggering a witchunt (supposing they were somewhat successful)?

Comment by Raw_Power on The Problem Of Apostasy · 2012-07-19T13:05:13.376Z · LW · GW

Oh. So it does work, the propaganda.. Morocco is only a consitutional monarchy on paper. The power resides in the Palace, and it is absolute. Parties have been proven, time and again, to be utterly impotent before the King. That is why people don't even bother to vote. That is why you will often spot people sleeping during parliament sessions: those simply don't matter.

People have picked up on this. Now, when they make protests, they address the King directly, ignoring the Ministers. Their tone is very deferential, but that's one fuse that's burned out.

And the most popular contenders, were the regime to change, are the Islamists...

Comment by Raw_Power on A Rational Argument · 2012-07-19T09:37:42.437Z · LW · GW

Explaining and rationalizing/justifying are two different things. Pleading the "humanity is insane" is, to put it bluntly, unproductive and lazy. If you want to say "don't think about it too hard, it's not worth the effort", then say that, and spare us the theatrics.

Comment by Raw_Power on A Rational Argument · 2012-07-09T14:47:06.699Z · LW · GW

That's a bit of a non-explanation: it predicts anything, and nothing. How about, instead, you name three specific patterns of craziness (you know, fallacies, errors in judgment, bad heuristics, and so on) that are decisive factors in this state of affairs.

Comment by Raw_Power on A Rational Argument · 2012-07-09T14:44:08.326Z · LW · GW

Thank you very much for sharing these. I am very glad to find out that such organizations exist.

Comment by Raw_Power on A Rational Argument · 2012-07-02T21:11:24.946Z · LW · GW

Name three.

Comment by Raw_Power on Dissolving the Question · 2012-03-30T13:13:24.543Z · LW · GW

How does that work out?

Comment by Raw_Power on "The Book Of Mormon" or Belief In Belief, The Musical · 2012-02-14T15:43:27.434Z · LW · GW

Edited that mistake out. It might also be a matter of external perception. When one sings "Sunday Bloody Sunday" or "We Are The World", people treat it as fake fuzzy drivel that tastes like diabetes at best. "Darned Beatniks (or insert some other inaccurate label here), they don't understand how the world works!".

Religious people, on the other hand (especially those belonging to very popular religions or religions you are supposed to believe in), seem to be exempt from this perception: no matter how outlandish and naïve they can get, people will admire them for believing in the face of overwhelming evidence, and for not letting failure and injustice and persecution bring them down.

Martyrs are a particularly extreme version of this, one Abrahamics seem to love.

Perhaps a part of the source of the humour of "The Book Of Mormon" is that Mormonism is "mainstream" (that is, Christian) enough to be recognized as something that it's noble to believe in, yet unorthodox enough that some of its tenets will seem absurd to most other denominations. If it were a religion that we, the audience, were not familiar with at all, and that had no connection to the faiths, the affiliations, that we were born unto... No matter how otherwise popular, it wouldn't be nearly as funny. In fact, it would be perceived as a cruel mockery.

And now you've made me imagine a "Book of X", where X would be an especially strange and obscure Islamic denomination with ambitions of proselytism (in Africa, sure, why not), and how other Muslims would react to such a show...

Comment by Raw_Power on The Singularity Institute's Arrogance Problem · 2012-01-24T01:39:55.029Z · LW · GW

I think he did the right thing there. He did it badly and clumsily, but had I been in his place I'd have had a hard time getting a grip on my emotions, and we know how sensitive and emotional he is.

Rational Wiki are great guys. We try to watch our own step, but it's nice to have someone else watching us too, who can understand and sympathize with what we do.

Comment by Raw_Power on "Can't Say No" Spending · 2011-09-18T21:45:13.615Z · LW · GW

if health care is free people will seek it even when it is not needed

You have paid for your private insurance. Do you go to the doctor as much as you possibly could? When you are healthy, you have better things to do with your life, than travel the city from one appointment to the other.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T17:23:30.652Z · LW · GW

1.You mean they incur in the exact same kind of legal practices as private groups, with the same frequency? Given the difference in position, methodolgy and resourses, I doubt it, but I don't have any evidence pointing to either side about the behavior of Universal Health Coverage systems. I'd need time to ask a few people and find a few sources.

2.I don't think it's a matter of "layers" so much as one of how those layers are organized. The exact same amount of people can have productivity outputs that are radically different in function of the algorythms used to organize their work. Your post seems to imply that State services have more bureaucratic layers than public ones. I'd think that'd be something to decide case by case, but I wouldn't say it's a foregone conclusion: private insurances are infamous for being bureauratic hells too. Ones deliberately designed to mislead and confuse unhappy clients, at that.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T16:02:16.048Z · LW · GW

Human rationality can be trained and improved, it's not an innate feature. To do that is part of the entire point of this site.

I hope you enjoy it. It is very interesting. Beware of generalizing from fictional evidence... but fiction is sometimes all we have to explore certain hypotheticals...

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T15:58:54.608Z · LW · GW

Well, given that the government's allledged goal is to provide the service while the private organization's alledged goal is to make a profit, one would expect the State (I like to call the organization the State or the Adminsitration: the Government should simply mean whoever the current team of politically appointed president/minister/cabinet are, rather than the entire bureaucracy) to be less likely to "weasel out of" paying for your treatment, a risk I (in complete and utter subjectivity and in the here and now) deem more frightening (and frustrating) than the disease itself.

And yes, risk mitigation is always negative sum, that's kind of a thermodynamic requisite.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T15:50:53.790Z · LW · GW

More like it's potentially corrupting, but yeah, that too.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T15:49:08.818Z · LW · GW

I like this answer, if only for emotional reasons :). I also think the vast majority of seventy-years-old would be compelled by this argument.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T15:29:48.239Z · LW · GW

Your post confuses me a lot: I am being entirely honest about this, there seem to be illusions of transparency and (un)common priors. The only part I feel capable of responding to is the first: I can perfectly imagine every human being having as much medical care as the chief of the wealthiest most powerful organization in the world, in an FAI-regimented society. For a given value of "imagining", of course: I have a vague idea of nanomachines in the bloodstream, implants, etc. I basically expect human bodies to be self-sufficient in taking care of themsleves, and able to acquire and use the necessary raw materials with ease, including being able to medically operate on themselves. The rare cases will be left to the rare specialist, and I expect everyone to be able to take care of the more common problems their bodies and minds may encounter.

As for the rest of your post:

What are people's rationing optimixation functions? Is it possible to get an entire society to agree to a single one, for a given value of "agree"? Or is it that people don't have a consistent optimization function, and that it's not so much a matter of some things being valued over others as a matter of tradition and sheer thoughtless inertia? Yes, I know I am answering questions with questions, but that's all I got right now.

Comment by Raw_Power on Inferring Our Desires · 2011-09-18T02:09:20.575Z · LW · GW

This theory seems to debunk the classical "people need an economic incentive to do their jobs": it seems to imply that imposing and economic reward on the tax detracts from the intrinsinc enjoyment of the task by making the task performers think the task is for the sake of the remuneration rather than for its own sake. It also seems to suggest that, were this reward system be removed (but what would it be replaced with, practically speaking?) people might be happier by enjoying their own work.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T01:52:49.336Z · LW · GW

^Hm. That'd be some very near-sighted companies and people, don't you think? The Defending Your Doorstep fallacy etc. etc. Still, with some education fo the public ("Dear viewers, THIS is what would happen if everyone decided all the money should go to the Army right after a terrorist attack") and some patches (I can't imagine why people would put all their money into whatever they think is most important, rather than distributing it in an order of priorities: usually people's interests aren't so clear cut that they put one cause at such priority that the others become negligible... but if they did do that, just add a rule that there's only so much of your money you can dedicate to a specific type of endeavor and all endeavors related),.

This reminds me of Kino's Journey and the very neat simplisty solutions people used to their problems. The main reason those solutions failed was because the involved people were incrediby dumb at using them. The Democracy episode almost broke my willing suspension of disbelief, as did the Telepathy one. Are you familair with that story?

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T01:01:29.327Z · LW · GW

Well, at least the bureaucratic inefficiencies are entirely incidental to the problem, and there's no decisive evidence for corporate bureaucracies to be any better than public ones (I suspect partisanship gets in the way of finding out said evidence, as well as a slew of other variables), so that factor... doesn't factor. As for the higher taxes... how much are you ready to pay so that, the day you catch some horrible disease, the public entity will be able to afford diverting enough of its resources to save you? What are you more afraid of, cancer and other potentially-fatal diseases that will eventually kill you, terrorism/invading armies/criminals/people trying to kill you, boredom...? What would be your priorities in assigning which proportion of the taxes you pay goes to funding what projects?

... Actually that might be a neat reform. Budget decision by a combination of individual budget assignments by every citizen...

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-18T00:54:02.334Z · LW · GW

I have left it ambiguous on purpose. What this means specifically depends on the means available at any given time.

IDEALLY: Universal means everyone should have a right to as much health service as is necessary for their bodies and minds functioning as well as it can, if they ask for it. That would include education, coaching, and sports, among many others. And nobody should ever be allowed to die if they don't want to and there's any way of preventing it.

Between "leaving anyone to die because they don't have the money or assets to pay for their treatment"[your question puzzles me, what part of this scenario don't you understand] and "spending all our country's budget on progressively changing the organs of seventy-year-.olds", there's a lot of intermediate points. The touchy problem is deciding how much we want to pay for, and how, and who pays it for whom, No matter how you cut the cake, given our current state of development, at some point you have to say X person dies in spite of their will because either they can't afford to live or because his can't". So, are you* going to deny that seventy-year-old their new organs?

Comment by Raw_Power on Why do people commit mathematical mistakes? What are the mechanisms behind them? · 2011-09-18T00:15:21.519Z · LW · GW

Motivated Continuing and Motivated Stopping? But accusing someone of that would be incurring in the Genetic Fallacy...

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-16T15:23:25.521Z · LW · GW

Here are two excellent examples of what you just explained, as per the Fiction Identity Postulate:

*Doom, Consequences of Evil as the "bad draft", and this as the done-right version.

*Same for this infuriating Chick Tract and this revisiting of it (it's a Tear Jerker)

*And everyone is familiar with the original My Little Pony works VS the Friendship Is Magic continuity.

Comment by Raw_Power on Why do people commit mathematical mistakes? What are the mechanisms behind them? · 2011-09-16T15:18:13.114Z · LW · GW

... That's basically what many theists object to Yudkowsky's sequences. "There are inferential gaps".

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-16T14:42:44.742Z · LW · GW

What, you mean like in Gangs of New York?

Could you please give more links to the stuff that helped you form these opinions? I'm very interested in this, especialy in explaining the peculiar behaviour of this generation's youth as opposed to that of the Baby Boomers when they were the same age. After all, it's irrational to apply the same tactics to a socipoloitical lanscape that's wildly different from the one in which these tactics got their most spectacular successes. Exiting the mind-killing narratives developed in bipartidist systems and finding the way to rethink the problems of this age from scratch is a worthy goal for the rationalist project, especially in a "hold off on proposing solutions", analyze-the-full-problem-and-introduce-it-from-a-novel-angle sense. Publications such as, say, Le Monde Diplomatique, are pretty good at presenting well-researched, competently presented alternative opinions, but they still suffer a lot from "political leanings".

I know we avoid talking politics here because of precisely its mind-killing properties, able to turn the most thoughtful of agents into a stubborn blind fool, but I think it's also a good way of putting our skills to the test, and refine them.

Comment by Raw_Power on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2011-09-16T13:23:41.630Z · LW · GW

I dunno man, maybe it's a confusion on my part, but universal health coverage for one thing seems like a good enough goal in and of tiself. Not specifically in the form of a State-sponsored organziation, but the fuction of everyone having the right to health treatments, of no-one being left to die just because they happen not to have a given amount of money at a given time, I think that, from a humanistic point of view, it's sort of obvious that we should have it if we can pay for it.

Comment by Raw_Power on Why do people commit mathematical mistakes? What are the mechanisms behind them? · 2011-09-09T09:39:04.606Z · LW · GW

Really? How so?