Comment by Rixie on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-31T12:25:20.425Z · LW · GW

I have taken the survey.

Comment by Rixie on Archimedes's Chronophone · 2015-02-08T15:47:24.710Z · LW · GW

I feel like this thought experiment is less about how to cleverly communicate to Archimedes all the things that he is obviously wrong about and that we are obviously right about, and more about how to try to recognize the potential mistakes within our own way of thinking, as Archimedes was as certain about his geocentric point of view as we are with our heliocentric one. While I think we're right about heliocentrism at least, there may be other seemingly obvious facts that we take for granted, but that future generations will want to yell at us through a chronophone for, and whatever tricks we come up with to get Archimedes to question his beliefs (like giving nonobvious input) may help us to question our own beliefs. But maybe all that was just really really obvious in which case ahhhh I'm sorry.

But besides that, I remember doubting the power structure within my own familial unit as a child (parents are always right, children should always just listen until they turn 18 and become magically responsible) , could communicating that help Archimedes doubt some of the power structures withing Greek society? Maybe it would have him question the arbitrariness of slaves always having to defer to normal citizens, until the point at which they can buy themselves out of slavery and become magically worthy of politics like everyone else?

Comment by Rixie on 2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey · 2013-11-26T04:23:34.685Z · LW · GW

Yay, survey taken!

I loved the Prisoner's Dilemma at the end, I wonder how that will turn out?

Comment by Rixie on Crisis of Faith · 2013-08-27T19:37:11.872Z · LW · GW

I started letting go of my faith when I realized that there really isn't much Bayesian evidence for it. Realizing that the majority of the evidence needed to believe something is used just to isolate that something out of all the other possible beliefs finished it off. But I do have one question: If Jesus wasn't magic, where did the Bible even come from? Lee Strobel "proves" that Jesus died and came back from the dead, but his proofs are based on the Bible. Why was the Bible so widely accepted if there wasn't anything extra-special about Jesus after all?

Comment by Rixie on Something to Protect · 2013-08-27T19:08:42.579Z · LW · GW

Here I have a question that is slightly unrelated, but I'm looking for a good cognitive science science fair project and I'm having trouble thinking of one that would be not completely impractical for a high-schooler to do, won't take more than a few months, and would be interesting enough to hold people's attention for at least a few minutes before they head off to the physics and medical research projects. No one ever does decent cognitive science projects and I really want to show them that this branch of science can be just as rigorous and awesome as the other ones. Does anyone have any ideas?

Comment by Rixie on Mere Messiahs · 2013-07-28T12:18:47.798Z · LW · GW

It's not necessarily solely for the purpose of overcoming bias. He's also telling the truth and letting us see things in a different light.

I think he's saying that atheists should (to a certain extent) honour him, and Christians should believe that he died forever. I'm not familiar with the other religions, but just because someone believes something now, doesn't mean that that will never change. Isn't the whole point of this blog to spread truth around?

Comment by Rixie on The Halo Effect · 2013-07-28T12:00:54.800Z · LW · GW

I wonder if this really one hundred percent bias? I hate saying this, but when I moved to a new school 3 years ago I immediately noticed one person that I found extremely unattractive, and he later turned out to be one of the "bad kids", and did measurably bad things with two of his friends that no one besides them did. I don't think it was hindsight, I remember the exact moment when I first saw him and thought that he wasn't that attractive.

Could there possibly be some correlation between attractiveness and some other good qualities?

Comment by Rixie on Evaluability (And Cheap Holiday Shopping) · 2013-07-28T11:42:49.748Z · LW · GW

What is 3^^^3? I see it a lot here, why is it special?

Comment by Rixie on Mundane Magic · 2013-07-27T01:16:37.208Z · LW · GW

But then you can't just borrow and not give it back.

Comment by Rixie on Fake Reductionism · 2013-07-27T00:37:22.993Z · LW · GW

The thing abut reductionists is that they think they're right.

Therefore, anti-reductionists are wrong.

Which means that anti-reductionists either don't have all the facts, or are choosing to ignore the facts, or are succumbing to other belief-in-belief-type biases.

When you're talking about someone you know to be wrong, the kindest thing that you can say about them is that they didn't have all their facts right.

Comment by Rixie on Arguing "By Definition" · 2013-07-26T09:39:53.963Z · LW · GW

Hey, sorry, just an unrelated question here, but:

Is The Feynman Lectures on Physics still worth reading?

Comment by Rixie on Lost Purposes · 2013-07-26T09:03:01.341Z · LW · GW

When I was very young I was also very curious, but I sated my curiosity by telling myself that I would know it all when I was grown up. It wasn't my problem to be curious about these things, other people were handling them. Maybe Eliezer's classmates were thinking that this didn't really make sense, but they trusted the adults enough to do it anyways. Like how a lit lightbulb turns less mysterious and wonderful when you know that someone else already knows the scientific reason for it. All you need to do is follow the instructions and you'll get light.

Comment by Rixie on "Science" as Curiosity-Stopper · 2013-07-25T11:29:07.329Z · LW · GW

Maybe humans do this because if we know that someone else knows the answer to the question, it's not our problem anymore, we can safely ignore it and work on other things. Maybe if there were an elephant trainer standing next to the elephant in your living room (maybe not your living room, otherwise you'd be worried about property damage and such) holding an elephant leash and saying "Don't worry, I got this," you'd be content to walk on by if you'd seen green elephants before and had something else that you needed to be doing.

I suppose that in the "ancestral environment", if someone else already knows how to solve the problem, you can safely ignore it.

Comment by Rixie on Making History Available · 2013-07-25T11:19:05.914Z · LW · GW

Eliezer, I love how you can write passionately and poetically about a topic that many people consider stone cold. It really shows how important this all is to you, and it's much more fun to read.

I'm so glad that you lived your life the way you did and made the mistakes you did and became the person that you are, because if you didn't have your background and your skill set I might never have learned about rationality or Bayes' theorem, or read the best fan fiction there is.

Thank you so much for being you, it makes being us just that much better.

Comment by Rixie on Hindsight Devalues Science · 2013-07-25T08:33:04.108Z · LW · GW

Maybe because Southeners were used to hot weather and didn't put any real effort into actively combatting the hot weather the way Northeners had to?

Comment by Rixie on How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3 · 2013-07-24T00:38:30.585Z · LW · GW

I read about a study like that, in which Christians prayed for people to recover from cancer. There was barely any difference between the patients that weren't prayed for, the patients that were prayed for and knee that they were being prayed for, and the patients that didn't know that they were being prayed for.

Comment by Rixie on Evaluability (And Cheap Holiday Shopping) · 2013-06-02T20:55:35.176Z · LW · GW

I'm collecting quotes to help me remember all the things that I should be remembering in order to overcome bias, and I'm wondering if someone has one for the sub-sequence on the Affect Heuristic.

Comment by Rixie on A Fable of Science and Politics · 2013-06-02T02:07:02.243Z · LW · GW

Maybe there could be a paragraph in a box or something at the bottom of each post that contains the "take home" lesson for each post, to make it easier for people who are trying to review.

Comment by Rixie on Deviant argumentation regarding Monty Hall problem · 2013-05-05T21:53:37.126Z · LW · GW

I don't understand how the answer could be anything but 50/50.
I know the right answer, but if you deleted it from my brain I never would have figured it out.
I guess I'm looking for an explanation that isn't just following through examples from every scenario.
Does an explanation like that exist?

Comment by Rixie on Qualitatively Confused · 2013-04-23T00:07:32.056Z · LW · GW

I was rereading some of the core sequences and I came across this:

Comment by Rixie on Qualitatively Confused · 2013-04-16T16:32:34.182Z · LW · GW

It's not just that there's overwhelming support for their side, it's that there is only support for their side, and this happens on both sides.

Comment by Rixie on 37 Ways That Words Can Be Wrong · 2013-04-10T13:06:56.274Z · LW · GW

Oh, the irony.

It doesn't matter that Eliezer defined the word "wrong" in a different way than you. You still understand what he means, there's no point to redefining "wrong" in this case.

Comment by Rixie on Anybody want to join a Math Club? · 2013-04-07T10:49:42.195Z · LW · GW

How about everyone here who is at High School age message me, and that will be our group. I feel like we would be able to work better with people who were closer in age.

Of course, once you get older it doesn't matter as much, I think, but when your education is still in progress, we might have to do more background research.

P.S. I'm 14, and I would say that I'm turning 15 in 2 months but that sounds even more childish than just leaving it at "I'm 14". In any case, I think I'm capable enough of compiling a list, and what comes after will come after.

Comment by Rixie on Anybody want to join a Math Club? · 2013-04-07T10:37:32.182Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I agree.

I think that we should make a list of everyone who wants to join, split them into groups of not more than 10 based on age, and every mini-group will decide what they want to learn and go at a pace that matches their background and ability.

Comment by Rixie on Anybody want to join a Math Club? · 2013-04-05T15:06:52.936Z · LW · GW

I was wondering about the ages of all the people who want to start this club.

Not that age really matters, I just wanted to know what kinds of people we have here.

How about we give our ages in a 10 year range?

Comment by Rixie on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2013-04-05T13:20:54.091Z · LW · GW

No, it's just that FluffyC used slashes to indicate that the word in the middle was to be italisized, so she probably hadn't read the help section, and I thought that reading the help section would, well, help FluffyC.

Comment by Rixie on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2013-04-05T13:10:54.369Z · LW · GW

Thank you! Your post helped me finally to understand what it was that I found so dissatisfying with the way I'm being taught chemistry. I'm not sure right now what I can do to remedy this, but thank you for helping me come to the realization.

Comment by Rixie on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2013-04-05T12:59:02.257Z · LW · GW

Press the Show help button to figure out how to italisize and bold and all that.

Comment by Rixie on The Useful Idea of Truth · 2013-04-05T12:49:02.681Z · LW · GW

I don't think that the fact that everyone having a different checklist is the point. In this perfect, hypothetical world, everyone has the same checklist.

I think that the point is that the checklist is meaningless, like having a literary genre called y-ism and having "The letter 'y' constitutes 1/26th of the text" on the checklist.

Even if we can identify y-ism with our senses, the distinction is doesn't "mean" anything. It has zero application outside of the world of y-ism. It floats.

Comment by Rixie on Excluding the Supernatural · 2013-04-05T12:19:39.263Z · LW · GW

I'm sorry for posting such a pointless comment, but how do we change how the comments are sorted? I can see a Sort By: Old thing above the comments, but nothing happens when I click on it. Is there somewhere I can change settings, or something?
Thank you.

Comment by Rixie on Anybody want to join a Math Club? · 2013-04-05T11:52:07.018Z · LW · GW

And here. Maybe we could start with probability theory, seeing as how that seems to be really central to this site.

Comment by Rixie on Your Strength as a Rationalist · 2013-04-04T05:56:59.616Z · LW · GW

It matters why "B sounds more plausible to your mind." If it's because you remembered a new fact, or if you reworked the problem and came out with B, change the answer (after checking that your work was correct and everything.) The many multiple choice tests are written so that there is one right answer, one wrong answer, and two plausible-sounding answers, so you shouldn't change an answer just because B is starting to sound plausible.

Comment by Rixie on GAZP vs. GLUT · 2013-04-03T11:47:32.666Z · LW · GW

"No, no!" says the philosopher. "In the thought experiment, they aren't randomly generating lots of GLUTs, and then using a conscious algorithm to pick out one GLUT that seems humanlike! I am specifying that, in this thought experiment, they reach into the inconceivably vast GLUT bin, and by pure chance pull out a GLUT that is identical to a human brain's inputs and outputs! There! I've got you cornered now! You can't play Follow-The-Improbability any further!"

In my (limited) understanding of the way the universe began, it was all pretty random.

Evolution seems to have been pretty random, too.

So how did we end up being concious?

And I was also wondering, does "randomness" exist? Or was the history of the universe set from the moment of the big bang?

(Please, I'm not trying to be clever, I just want to know the answer!)

Comment by Rixie on Zombie Responses · 2013-04-02T18:13:25.169Z · LW · GW

Could someone please tell me why that comment was voted down?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything, I just want to know.

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-04-02T17:59:24.576Z · LW · GW

Could someone please explain to me why this is downvoted?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything, and the comment above was sincere.

I just want to know what I said wrong.

Thank you.

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-04-02T17:49:23.611Z · LW · GW

Why do humans think that they have free will?
What kind of situation would favour humans who thought that they had free will over humans who didn't?
Will to survive?
No, that's not the right question, I'm off track.
I'm drawing a complete blank.
What is there in my head that makes it so that I think I have free will?
I keep thinking in circles. I'm trying to differentiate the answer of this question from the answer of the question "Why do I think I have free will?", but every time I get close there is litterally a giant blank, I don't think I know enough about how human brains work in the first place in order to answer this question.

Oh, no, here we go:
Why do I think that I don't know enough about how my mind works to answer this question? I live in it, after all.
Well, I can't answer the question, that seems like ample proof to me, although it might not be.
I think that I could work out everything I needed to know given enough time, but why start from scratch when other great minds have done the work for you?

Can anyone direct me to some ressources I can use to better understand the internal algorithms of the human mind please?

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-04-02T17:34:03.846Z · LW · GW

Your chess playing software must make the decision that is most likely to win the game, wheras humans don't have anything to stop us making the bad decision.

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-04-02T17:23:54.731Z · LW · GW

That doesn't mean that we can't take joy in what is not merely real, nor that we should be delighted everytime we see the bus stopping at the bus stop.

There are four types of things in the world:

  • Things that are real and uninteresting.
  • Things that are real and interesting.
  • Things that are unreal and uninteresting.
  • Things that are unreal and interesting.

I assume that no one would invent something unreal and uninteresting, so that leaves us with three categories.

In this article, Eliezer argues that the category real and interesting exists.
He doesn't say that the two remaining categories don't exist.
So feel free to enjoy your unreal, interesting sci-fi, and to disregard the real, uninteresting bus stops.
(Not that I'm implying that bus stops and other mundane things can't be interesting as well, but no one is interested in everything.)

I find that thinking this way gives us a better perspective on a lot of things, like when people say, "People only want what's bad for them."

(Um, I can't figure out how to do bulleted lists. I've copied the little asterisk thing directly from the help page, but I still can't get it to work. Could someone tell me what I've done wrong?)

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-04-02T17:04:56.454Z · LW · GW

Why do I think I have free will?
I think I have free will because I tell my hand to type and it types.
And why do I think that that was my own free will and not somebody or something else's?
Wait, what do I even mean when I say "free will"?
I mean that I could do whatever I wanted to.
And what controls what I "want" to do? Is it me or something/one else?

Why do I think that I control my own thoughts?
My thoughts seem instantaneous, maybe I don't control my own thoughts.
I can say things without thinking about it beforehand, sometimes I agonize over a decision (It's a Saturday, should I get out of bed right now or later?) and I choose one decision without coming to a conclusion and without knowing why I chose it.
Maybe, subconsiously, I was hungry, or obeying a habit.
If I was hungry, or if some other instinct was propelling me, then I don't really have free will when it comes to simple things like this, although "I" can override my instincts, so it's my instincts serving me, as a mental shortcut, and I am not a slave to it, so I do have free will.
If it was a habit, it was I who created my habits by repetition, so I have free will. I can also override my habits. Who's to say that my overrides aren't controled by something/one?
I feel like I have free will, but maybe that's how whatever controls me "wants" me to feel.
Maybe I'm just a zombie, writing paragraphs on free will because the laws of nature are making me do it.
In that case, how am I supposed to assume that I am, in fact, correct about me having free will?
So I don't have free will at all? Is that the answer that other people have gotten to? Are there gaping holes (or even tiny holes) in my logic, and are there angles that I havn't considered yet?

I still feel like I have free will. Maybe I should have written that like, 'I still feel like I have "free will".'

This may be like the time the math teacher told me to prove that two lines were parallel and I couldn't because I didn't know about Thales' theorem.

Could someone please help me figure this out? I don't see a way to continue from, "Either I have free will, or who/whatever is controling me is making me think that I have free will." I'm not sure how those two universes would be different.

Edit: In a universe where someone is controling me, I'm guessing "he" would have a plot in mind. The universe doesn't appear to have a plot, but maybe I'm just too small to see it, or- wait, who says the universe doesn't appear to have a plot? I don't think I know enough to answer this question. Help?

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-04-02T16:45:14.457Z · LW · GW

It's still possible to have a little bit of respect for people who are obviously wrong.

I read this book once about how when we're looking at other people who we know are wrong we have to see their ignorence and try to solve it instead of making them into the enemy. We have to see the disease behind the person.

Comment by Rixie on Qualitatively Confused · 2013-04-02T16:33:10.775Z · LW · GW

Well, theology isn't science. If you do an experiment and the result goes against your hypothesis, your hypothosis is false, period. It's not necissarily like that when people are arguing with logic instead of experiments. No one on either side would make an argument that wasn't logically correct. I've read both Christian and Atheist material that make a lot of sense sense, although I realize now that I should probably review them because that was before I discovered Less Wrong. There are also plenty of intelligent people who have looked at all the evidence and gone both ways.

There is something very wrong here, from a rationalist's point of view.

Are there people here that have gone from Christianity to Atheism or the other way around? Or for any other religion? Can I talk to you?

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-03-30T09:33:31.317Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure if I'm right about this, but to me, calling Eliezer Yudkowsky "The Master" smacks of cult.

Yes it sounds cool and at first I was inclined to say that it was a good idea, but the reason it's so appealing is that it would be something special that only us Less Wrong rationalists would do, it would strenghten our group identity and push everyone else that much further away.

Maybe we could call him Mr. Yudkowsky, although that just reminds me of a certain green monster from Monster's Inc., for some reason.

He refers to himself as Eliezer, sometimes, but he's obviously on a first name basis with himself.

Someone's written something that he entitled Arguing With Eliezer ( ), so maybe he's okay with the general public calling him by his first name.

Or, I guess, we could just ask him:

Eliezer Yudkowsky, what would you have us call you?

Comment by Rixie on Explaining vs. Explaining Away · 2013-03-30T09:18:54.330Z · LW · GW

Can someone tell me, or is there a list somewhere, "all the other things that rationalists are supposed to say on such occasions"?

I find that having bits that come to mind automatically in certain situations really helps me to go about thinking in the right way (or at least a way that's less wrong.)

Comment by Rixie on Zombie Responses · 2013-03-30T08:40:09.434Z · LW · GW

Sounds like zombies to me. Does the robot know he's a robot?

Comment by Rixie on Initiation Ceremony · 2013-03-29T20:29:38.145Z · LW · GW

Ha, I'm still reduced to drawing little stars on a piece of paper and circling them into different groups.

Man I need to work on this thing.

Comment by Rixie on Qualitatively Confused · 2013-03-29T20:19:00.764Z · LW · GW

I'm not sure how strict is strict, but maybe something that is trying to be unbiased. A lot of websites present both sides of the story, and then logically conclude that their side is the winner, 100 percent of the time.

And I used Atheism/Christianity because I was born a Christian and I think that Atheism is the only real, um, threat, let's say, to my staying a Christian.

Although, I havn't actually tried to research anything else, I realize.

Comment by Rixie on Initiation Ceremony · 2013-03-29T20:08:51.291Z · LW · GW

Oh my gosh but I actually am stunned speechless.

I can't even begin to express the way I feel right now, Eliezer Yudkowsky, my friend, you are in possesion of a rare and powerful gift!

Comment by Rixie on Amazing Breakthrough Day: April 1st · 2013-03-29T17:56:30.265Z · LW · GW

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!!

Be totally serious about this! Spread it around the internet! This is such an amazing idea! Next April Fool's day is going to be the best one ever!

Gosh, I'm so ridiculously excited no one's even going to take me seriously.

Comment by Rixie on Reductionism · 2013-03-29T17:24:37.088Z · LW · GW

This website is doing amazing things to the way I think every day, as well as occasionally making me die of laughter.

Thank you, Eliezer!

Comment by Rixie on Qualitatively Confused · 2013-03-29T16:55:47.319Z · LW · GW

I can testify to that.

Say, does anyone know where I can find unbiased information on the whole Christianity/Atheism thing?