Posts

The Real Rules Have No Exceptions 2019-07-23T03:38:45.992Z
What is this new (?) Less Wrong feature? (“hidden related question”) 2019-05-15T23:51:16.319Z
History of LessWrong: Some Data Graphics 2018-11-16T07:07:15.501Z
New GreaterWrong feature: image zoom + image slideshows 2018-11-04T07:34:44.907Z
New GreaterWrong feature: anti-kibitzer (hides post/comment author names and karma values) 2018-10-19T21:03:22.649Z
Separate comments feeds for different post listings views? 2018-10-02T16:07:22.942Z
GreaterWrong—new theme and many enhancements 2018-10-01T07:22:01.788Z
Archiving link posts? 2018-09-08T05:45:53.349Z
Shared interests vs. collective interests 2018-05-28T22:06:50.911Z
GreaterWrong—even more new features & enhancements 2018-05-28T05:08:31.236Z
Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from World of Warcraft: Incentives and rewards 2018-05-07T06:44:47.775Z
Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from World of Warcraft: Goodhart’s law 2018-05-03T16:33:50.002Z
GreaterWrong—more new features & enhancements 2018-04-07T20:41:14.357Z
GreaterWrong—several new features & enhancements 2018-03-27T02:36:59.741Z
Key lime pie and the methods of rationality 2018-03-22T06:25:35.193Z
A new, better way to read the Sequences 2017-06-04T05:10:09.886Z
Cargo Cult Language 2012-02-05T21:32:56.631Z

Comments

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on There’s no such thing as a tree (phylogenetically) · 2021-05-05T03:21:11.400Z · LW · GW

So: There are no unique “tree” genes. It’s just a different expression of genes that plants already use. Analogously, you can make a cake with flour, sugar, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla. You can also make frosting with sugar, butter, and vanilla – a subset of the ingredients you already have, but in different ratios and use

Actually, you can even make a frosting with flour, sugar, eggs, sugar (uh… you listed ‘sugar’ twice), butter, and vanilla—i.e., the exact same ingredients!

(The flour and the butter make a roux, the eggs and the sugar make a zabaglione base, then you mix both things together, add vanilla, and bam! Meanwhile, a cake made from the given ingredients would be a chiffon cake.)

EDIT: But I would not recommend using this type of frosting with this type of cake.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Scout Mindset - read-along · 2021-04-20T08:07:48.341Z · LW · GW

Delete your Twitter and Facebook accounts and get off social media. I recommend it strongly. It works very well to remove yourself from that sort of toxicity and such-like things. Living without social media is entirely doable, which I know because I do it. I’m not even a monk.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Open & Welcome Thread – March 2021 · 2021-03-22T19:34:32.439Z · LW · GW

But it’s not an “impossibility”. It’s an “unwillingness”—on your part! You could use the Markdown editor to add footnotes, very easily.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Comments on "The Singularity is Nowhere Near" · 2021-03-16T18:10:20.113Z · LW · GW

I haven’t read the linked post/comment yet, and perhaps I am missing something very obvious, but: we have exaflop computing (that’s 10^18) right now. Is Tim Dettmers really saying that we’re not going to see a 1000x speed-up, in a century or possibly ever? That seems like a shocking claim, and I struggle to imagine what could justify it.

EDIT: I have now read the linked comment; it speaks of fundamental physical limitations such as speed of light, heat dissipation, etc., and says:

These are all hard physical boundaries that we cannot alter. Yet, all these physical boundaries will be hit within a couple of years and we will fall very, very far short of human processing capabilities and our models will not improve much further. Two orders of magnitude of additional capability are realistic, but anything beyond that is just wishful thinking.

I do not find this convincing. Taking the outside view, we can see all sorts of similar predictions of limitations having been made over the course of computing history, and yet Moore’s Law is still going strong despite quite a few years of predictions of imminent trend-crashing. (Take a look at the “Recent trends” and “Alternative materials research” sections of the Wikipedia page; do you really see any indication that we’re about to hit a hard barrier? I don’t…)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Care and demandingness · 2021-03-08T11:27:56.303Z · LW · GW

Some comments, in no particular order:

Re: “Applying the objection to empirical and prudential claims”:

Analogizing ethical to empirical claims here only makes sense under a “naive moral realist” view of ethics. Otherwise, the notion that “morality can be any old way” (by analogy to “reality can be any old way”) is, at the least, not obvious, and possibly just stops making sense.

Re: demandingness of prudential (but also moral) claims:

“I have some terrible disease that will cause me to lose my legs if untreated, and the only available treatment for it is very expensive. But if losing my legs were very bad, that would imply that I should pay for this treatment. This is evidence that losing my legs isn’t so bad.”

There is, of course, a missing (but implied) step in this reasoning, which is something like “if something very bad is going to happen to me unless I pay for treatment, then I should pay for treatment”. This seems obvious, but if you omit it, then the reasoning no longer works, because this is the crucial connecting link between the ‘is’ of “losing my legs is very bad” and the ‘ought’ of “I should pay for this treatment”. What makes it important to notice this, is that such connecting links “screen off” the ‘is’ part of the chain of reasoning from evidence about the ‘ought’ part. In this case, the corrected reasoning goes something like this:

“I have some terrible disease that will cause me to lose my legs if untreated, and the only available treatment for it is very expensive. But if something very bad is going to happen to me unless I pay for treatment, then I should pay for treatment. Therefore, if losing my legs were very bad, that would imply that I should pay for this treatment. This is evidence that it is not the case that ‘if something is very bad for me unless I pay for treatment, then I should pay for treatment’. (It cannot be evidence that losing my legs isn’t so bad, because that’s an ‘is’ claim, screened off from evidence that bears on ‘ought’ claims by the ‘connecting link’, which is the earliest part of the chain of reasoning that can be brought into doubt by such evidence.)”

Now the reasoning is not obviously suspect. (Perhaps it is still suspect, but if so, it is only in a more subtle way.) Indeed (and unfortunately), many people in this country find themselves reasoning in just this way all the time—and, given the circumstances, I find it difficult to blame them.

Re: how to understand “demandingness objections”:

As I see it, demandingness objections are best understood as some combination of two reactions to a moral claim:

  1. If you demand so much, many/most/almost-all people simply won’t do it, and a moral rule that (almost) no one follows is vacuous. (This response implicitly takes it as axiomatic that the purpose of ethics is to guide action, and if an ethical rule does not in fact work to guide anyone’s actions, then it may as well not exist.)

  2. “Should implies can”. You demand more than people can do. This is a fairly straightforward intuition that ethical rules that call for impossible actions cannot be “right”. It can be extended/generalized to something like “the rightness of an ethical rule varies (in part) proportionally to how successfully it can be followed”.

In short, a “demandingness objection” to a moral claim is a response that says “people can’t and/or won’t follow the ethical rule you posit [and therefore the rule is invalid and the claim is false]”.

Re: continuity of moral claims with “caring about stuff”:

This idea does not seem to take into account second-order desires / values / etc. One perspective on ethical theories is that they are ways to systematize our values, including our higher-order values, so as to make it easier / more effective to satisfy them. On this view, I might “really care” about something, and thus “really want to” accomplish or gain that something, but on the other hand, I might also care about other things, and care about what sorts of things I care about, and whether I’m a caring person, etc., etc. A moral claim that places upon me an unlimited demand of some sort thus wouldn’t be a mere extension of caring about the things I supposedly (morally) value; it might well oppose some competing or higher-order value of mine.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Takeaways from the Intelligence Rising RPG · 2021-03-06T20:00:51.474Z · LW · GW

I mean the complete rules that define the game.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Takeaways from the Intelligence Rising RPG · 2021-03-06T04:18:37.555Z · LW · GW

I was very excited to look into this, but without having the rules available, there’s almost no useful feedback or commentary I can give.

Is there any reason not to share the rules as they stand? Call it a “public beta version” or something.

Comment by SaidAchmiz on [deleted post] 2021-03-04T20:14:49.224Z

Due to time constraints I only want to briefly respond to this point. Do you not agree that they can suffer or do you not agree that their suffering is morally relevant?

Both. (EDIT: To clarify, I do not think that [most] animals can “suffer”, in the sense in which the word applies to a category of human experience, and also, I do not think that any of the states which are described as “suffering” by those who disagree with my assessment have, when applied to animals, any moral import.)

If you have time and are interested maybe you care to watch a few minutes of this documentary, maybe it can awaken your compassion!

This is a 2-hour-long video; I’m afraid I haven’t the time to devote to something like this (especially since watching it likely to be very low-value). If there’s some particular parts of this which you think are especially relevant, please link to them directly.

Comment by SaidAchmiz on [deleted post] 2021-03-04T17:43:10.104Z

I would like to modify my original statement: The consumption of animal products is not necessary in order to be healthy. Therefore, they are unnecessary for human health. This makes their consumption optional, a choice. If you can choose non-violence over violence, I think that is a moral imperative (to which I was referring in my title).

This depends, of course, on what you define to be “violence”. If “violence” includes the killing of animals (not the usual usage, but also not unheard of)—then I disagree with the claim that choosing “non-violence” is a moral imperative.

I do not know if this holds up against your argumentation, but I would like to try anyways: I define unnecessary suffering in this case as suffering that is not essential to our lives. If the only reason we consume animal products is pleasure, the question is the following: Can we justify the suffering of others only because it gives us pleasure? As I see it not avoiding the pain and suffering of millions of animals just because we like their taste is immoral.

There are several things that might be said in response to this.

First: pleasure is essential to our lives. If you propose that we resign ourselves to living lives devoid of pleasure, then I cannot but condemn that proposal in the strongest terms. Any ideology that deems pleasure and enjoyment to be “inessential” or “unnecessary” is anti-human and, frankly, evil.

Of course, not everything can be justified by the pursuit of pleasure or enjoyment! But the question of what we may rightly sacrifice, in the service of what gains, is not a trivial one. Simply to declare that enjoyment and pleasure are “inessential” is to avoid the question, not to answer it.

Second: the question of animal “suffering”. I address this below.

Third: you say “others” (i.e., “the suffering of others”), as if it were a monolithic set, as if it made sense, morally speaking, to aggregate not only all humans, but all animals as well, or all living things, etc. But it does not—or, at least, it does not obviously make sense. Agent-neutral morality is not universally held, for one thing, and indeed some people do not include animals in their circle of moral concern at all.

Non-human animals are capable of suffering and their suffering is morally relevant. If we cannot agree on this point, I see no point in discussing the other matters further.

Ah, well. Here we come to the crux of the matter, yes? I certainly do not agree on this point!

That they are capable of suffering is not only obvious to anyone who ever witnessed some non-human animal suffer, but also scientifically proven.

Citation needed. (But before you begin collecting references, you may consider reading this recent forum thread on Data Secrets Lox, where just this topic was discussed at length.)

Not considering their suffering morally relevant is, analogous to sexism or racism, speciesism.

Labels are no substitute for arguments.

Please google the term yourself if my explanation was not sufficient.

Surely you’re not suggesting that googling the term ‘speciesism’ is going to convince anyone of anything? Do you assume that anyone who disagrees with you must simply not be aware of the term? With respect, this is not at all a reasonable assumption on Less Wrong, of all places!

Comment by SaidAchmiz on [deleted post] 2021-03-04T17:22:39.724Z

Re: the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

You quoted their Wikipedia page and that they profit from funding. However, according to that same Wikipedia article, they are still the largest organization of food and nutritional professionals. Every large institution needs money. They do science. Your own opinion in not trusting their science does not make their science any less credible IMO.

That they are “the largest organization of food and nutritional professionals” is irrelevant. Mere numbers of members aren’t any kind of evidence.

As for “they profit from funding”—perhaps you have missed the point, which is not that they are funded, but by whom they are funded. Do you think this does not matter? The point, to be maximally clear, is that they take money from corporations which have interests that very strongly conflict with the public interest (of getting reliable, unbiased information) and with their own stated purpose! Once again: this so-called “Academy” has severe conflicts of interest, severe enough to fatally compromise them as a source of scientific information on nutrition and diet.

Shall I quote some more from that same Wikipedia page? Let’s see:

Watchdogs note that the Academy rarely criticizes food companies, believing it to be out of fear of "biting the hand that feeds them."[67][68] Nutrition expert Marion Nestle opined that she believed that as long as the AND partners with the makers of food and beverage products, "its opinions about diet and health will never be believed [to be] independent."[63] Public health lawyer Michele Simon, who researches and writes about the food industry and food politics, has voiced similar concerns stating, "AND [is] deeply embedded with the food industry, and often communicate[s] messaging that is industry friendly."[69]

You would trust this organization, when these experts do not? What do you know that they don’t?

A 2011 survey, found that 80% of Academy members are critical of the Academy's position. They believe that the Academy is endorsing corporate sponsors and their products when it allows their sponsorship.[70]

You would trust this organization, when four out of five of their own members do not?

The organization also publishes nutrition facts sheets for the general public, which food companies pay $20,000 to take part in writing the documents.[73] A list of these publications for the general public include: […] This industry funding also gives food companies the ability to offer official educational seminars to teach dietitians how to advise their clients in a way that advances the interests of the food company. For instance, in a Coca-Cola sponsored seminar for dietitians, the speaker promoted free sugars consumption for children as a healthy choice.[79]

To be frank, the idea that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a reliable and unbiased source of nutrition-related information is ludicrous. To claim otherwise undermines the credibility of every other claim you make.

However, here is a further source that links to several other organizations that have affirmed that vegan diets are healthy:

https://www.veganism.com/is-vegan-diet-healthy/

I hope that addresses argument (1) sufficiently.

By no means does this address the argument at all.

You have linked to an advocacy website. Not to a meta-analysis or review, not to a paper published in a respected journal, not even to a popular science article in a reputable publication, or a blog post by a scientist working in the field—but to an advocacy website. I’m sorry to be blunt about this, but—do you not see how worthless this is, as evidence? (And lest you consider replying that they link to other, more reputable sources, recall that a biased advocate for a position can cherry-pick sources to support almost any possible point—see “What Evidence Filtered Evidence?” and “The Bottom Line” for further commentary.) Linking to a page on a vegan advocacy site and declaring the matter settled is simply not anything even resembling a serious approach to this topic.

Suppose I were interested in investigating this topic for myself. Setting aside the deep skepticism which it is only rational to cultivate about any nutrition-related topic, and the awareness that advocacy of all sorts, and profound systemic and instutional flaws, compromise the reliability of even credentialed sources, I might do the maximally naive thing and simply do a web search for “vegan diet health”. On the very first page of search results, I would see sites and documents which say things like:

One common concern is whether a vegan diet provides enough vitamin B12. B12 helps prevent nerve damage, and is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy, but not in fruit or vegetables. It's recommended that adults consume 1.5 micrograms of the vitamin per day.

“A B12 deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms such as numbness, and it’s irreversible if the deficiency is present for too long,” says Janet Cade, of the Nutritional Epidemiology Group, School of Food Science and Nutrition.

A recent study involving 48,000 people over 18 years compared the health of meat-eaters, pescatarians – who eat fish and dairy but not meat – and vegetarians, including some vegans. They found that people who eat vegan and vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but a higher risk of stroke, possibly partly due to a lack of B12.

Researchers are concerned that a lot of research comparing the vegan diet and health outcomes (also known as observational research) is unreliable, since vegans tend to be healthier.

“Typically, vegans smoke less, drink less alcohol and exercise more,” says Faidon Magkos, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen's department of nutrition, exercise and sports, who last year published a review into research examining the health effects of the vegan diet.

These lifestyle factors, which can also contribute to a lower risk of heart disease and mortality, can suggest that the vegan diet alone is healthier than it may actually be.

While the evidence isn’t very strong for the vegan diet specifically, Cade says, the vegan diet seems to be linked to better general health, apart from bone density and fractures, which may be more common due to possible lower calcium intake, and the likelihood of B12 deficiency.

“If you compare a plant-based diet with an unhealthy diet that includes meat, the plant-based diet is certainly better,” Faidon says.

“But if you follow a relatively prudent omnivorous diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruit, vegetables, legumes and low in meat, there’s evidence to suggest this type of omnivorous diet is at least as healthy as a vegan diet,” he says.

(From https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200122-are-there-health-benefits-to-going-vegan)

(See also https://empoweredsustenance.com/is-vegan-healthy/ for a laundry list of other concerns.)

At the very least, this would convince me that the case is far from closed, and that much more investigation is needed.

EDIT:

I think you should not underestimate nutritional science and do your research first if you make such a claim. The scientific findings are sufficient to claim that vegan diets are healthy. Therefore, humans do not need animal products to be healthy.

Citation needed. Since you suggest that I do my research, no doubt you’ve done yours—yes? The “scientific findings” you refer to ought to be cited explicitly.

Comment by SaidAchmiz on [deleted post] 2021-03-03T22:26:17.415Z

(Continuing from my other comment.)

[stuff about world hunger]

Another commenter has already addressed this somewhat, but to make the point explicit: as you say, we produce enough food already. Hunger in the modern world is caused by logistical difficulties, not under-supply. There does not seem to be any reason to believe that a global transition to veganism would meaningfully affect these difficulties. (This is to say nothing of the highly questionable implied connection between personal decisions, made by individuals in Western countries, to adopt veganism, and any significant shifts in global prevalence of veganism.)

Being vegan contributes to saving wild animals

This point is rather at odds with your argument about animal welfare. The lives of wild animals are full of pain and death—a fact which has long been recognized by effective altruists. (Simply search for “wild animals” on the Effective Altruism Forum to get a flavor of the discussions on this topic.) If you want to reduce unnecessary suffering, are you sure you should be saving wild animals?

Vegans are overall healthier, are less overweight, have less cancer (at least some forms of cancer like breast or prostate cancer), and have fewer cardiovascular diseases, including strokes and heart attacks.

Citation very much needed. (And see the note in my other comment about health-related claims.) My prior for this sort of claim (taken as a universal or near-universal claim, which is the only way it can have any rhetorical force) is very low.

Invalid arguments against being vegan: …

The “natural“ and “normal” arguments are indeed mostly invalid (though there are serious “Chesterton’s fence” type concerns which ought not be casually dismissed). The “necessary” argument is certainly not invalid (or, rather, requires considerably more support than the almost no support which you have provided, in order to be rejected as invalid).

the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

I looked them up and found this:

A 1995 report, noted the Academy received funding from companies like McDonald's, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Sara Lee, Abbott Nutrition, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, McNeil Nutritionals, SOYJOY, Truvia, Unilever, and The Sugar Association as corporate sponsorship.[25][61] The Academy also partners with ConAgra Foods, which produces Orville Redenbacker, Slim Jims, Hunt's Ketchup, SnackPacks, and Hebrew National hot dogs, to maintain the American Dietetic Association/ConAgra Foods Home Food Safety...It's in Your Hands program.[62] Additionally, the Academy earns revenue from corporations by selling space at its booth during conventions, doing this for soft drinks and candy makers.[25][63]

(From Wikipedia. Click the link for more in the same vein as the quoted paragraph—there’s a lot there, and all of it bad.)

Under no circumstances would I believe a word these people say about nutrition.

Tradition, taste, convenience: The holy trinity of lazy excuses. Neither the tradition of eating meat nor the taste or convenience of it are able to justify the unnecessary suffering of sentient beings from a moral perspective.

These are, in fact, entirely valid reasons to eat meat—especially if the moral argument fails to persuade. Far from being “lazy excuses”, these three considerations are quite important to the great majority of people! It is empirically true that people value tradition, taste (or, more generally, pleasure and enjoyment), and convenience very highly. (If you doubt this, look at the choices people make!) The task before you is daunting: you must convince people, not only that eating animals (or harming them in the process of food production) is wrong at all, in any way, but also that it’s wrong enough to outweigh things that they actually, in fact, value quite highly.

(And, of course, if the moral argument doesn’t hold water—as I, for one, don’t think it even slightly does—then the point is moot. What reason suffices to justify doing something that’s morally neutral? Why, any reason at all.)

Comment by SaidAchmiz on [deleted post] 2021-03-03T21:59:42.019Z

And now, a substantive reply.

Well, as you say, the post is very sloppy, which makes me feel somewhat bad for arguing against it… but if no one speaks up to point out shoddy argument, on a topic of concern to us, then it’s normalized, isn’t it? If you like, consider my commentary to be aimed, not (only) at you per se, but at anyone who makes similar arguments (of whom there are many).

Animal welfare: Humans do not need animal products to be healthy. Therefore, the consumption of animal products is unnecessary. This makes the killing of non-human animals for animal products unnecessary. Not avoiding unnecessary suffering is immoral. Therefore, contributing to unnecessary animal suffering makes you an animal abuser.

This is a series of claims stringed together—almost all of them either unsupported or wrong. Let’s look at them individually. I will number the claims for convenience.

(1) Humans do not need animal products to be healthy.

Citation needed. When providing citations, please note that (a) much of nutrition science is very shoddy (in all the usual ways—methodology, replicability, file-drawer effects, etc.), and (b) there is considerable variation, between people and between groups of people, in optimal diet, physiological responses to dietary changes, etc. Almost any universal statement about human nutrition is likely to be wrong. So a claim like this requires considerable support to be raised even to the “plausible” level, much less to “certain enough to base moral claims on”. (Indeed, it is possible that nutrition science, in its current state, is simply not capable of providing us with the degree of certainty which we would need in order to use a claim like this in a moral argument.)

(2) Therefore, the consumption of animal products is unnecessary.

Granting claim (1), this one does not follow. You seem to imply that something is only “necessary” if, without it, we would die (or suffer serious harms to health). I reject this view.

(3) This makes the killing of non-human animals for animal products unnecessary.

Note that if your argument depends on establishing the immorality of killing animals, that gets you to vegetarianism only, not to veganism. Eggs, dairy, etc. do not require killing animals, so a non-vegan vegetarian might well ask—how does this argument apply to me?

(4) Not avoiding unnecessary suffering is immoral.

The word “unnecessary” seems to be doing most of the work in this claim, but it’s difficult to see how to operationalize it. Interestingly, utilitarianism (which is usually a background assumption in arguments like this, and likely here as well, though you never name it explicitly) doesn’t much help; there isn’t really any way, for a utilitarian, to designate some suffering to be “necessary” or “not necessary”—it simply gets entered as input into the utility calculation, along with all other relevant facts about the world. On the other hand, most non-utilitarian views don’t offer any clear way to make sense of this claim either.

(5) Therefore, contributing to unnecessary animal suffering makes you an animal abuser.

This presupposes several other claims, which are missing from your argument, and must be made explicit. These include “non-human animals are capable of suffering” (and/or “the suffering of non-human animals is morally relevant”).

As a side note, the term “abuser” is tendentious; clearly, you are trying to bring in the connotations of the term we use to describe people who beat their pet dogs, into the argument about whether it’s acceptable to kill cows for their meat. If you have a point, make it without recourse to underhanded emotional tactics.

(The rest of the paragraph is mostly elaboration on claim (5); the factual claims made therein are irrelevant if the argument quoted above does not carry through.)

(Continued in sibling comment, for ease of response.)

Comment by SaidAchmiz on [deleted post] 2021-03-03T21:30:44.526Z

Also, I am sorry for the “clickbaity” title.

Downvoted for this alone. Using a clickbait title and then apologizing in the text doesn’t somehow absolve you of using the clickbait title in the first place. You knew what you were doing and you still did it. I see this more and more on Less Wrong these days, and I downvote it whenever I see it. When it comes to clickbait, don’t first do it and then apologize for doing it—just don’t do it.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Why Boston? · 2021-03-03T15:03:20.051Z · LW · GW

What does “installing it as intended” actually mean in practice?

I conclude that you have not actually tried this, because if you had you would have noticed that it reduces the capacity of the device massively. AC units need to be placed centrally in the window with carefully-guided siderails.

You conclude incorrectly. I have indeed shifted my A/C’s position, in the way I describe, multiple times (spanning multiple units). There was no detectable effect on the A/C’s performance.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Why Boston? · 2021-03-02T15:57:23.366Z · LW · GW

This makes [a fireplace] cheap, and easy to install, when installing it as intended

This is not true at all. Fireplaces are very expensive to install, costing thousands of dollars at the low end (and going into five digits of dollars). (Furthermore, if you live in a rented unit, you generally have no option to install a fireplace at all.)

If you install an air conditioner six inches to the left, it probably won’t work at all; the seal will be crap and you’ll get worse results than you would have from leaving the window closed. At best you’ll get 50% capacity.

This is also not true at all. I can move my window air conditioner six inches in either direction right now (I’d just have to undo/re-do some screws and reapply some foam padding), and it would work just as well. The same has been true for every other air conditioner I have owned.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Yes, words can cause harm · 2021-02-26T08:06:28.178Z · LW · GW

The “core claim” you quote is actually several claims appended to each other, with the connections between them left as implicit additional claims. So when you ask if I disagree that “this” happens, I can’t answer in a binary fashion because you’re asking multiple questions, some of which are unstated (and which I have to infer, with the possibility of inferring incorrectly).

(This is very similar to one of the several ways in which your post itself is flawed.)

I will comment as I am able, however. So:

The purpose of symbolic language is to transmit ideas from one mind to another.

This can reasonably be said to be a purpose of symbolic language (certainly it’s not the only purpose, but it’s a big one).

In the new mind, the idea can prompt or set the stage for (sometimes strong) urges to arise.

I am not quite sure what you mean by “urges” (I can think of multiple possible sense of this word which might be relevant), but clearly you’re referring to some variety of mental states.

Mental states in general arise for various reasons and in various ways. Any given mental state may be capable of arising in any of a variety of ways, “triggered” or immediately preceded by any of a number of precursor mental states or external stimuli etc. Certainly ideas introduced by communication by another person is one possible type of such precursors or triggers.

Does this mean that the communicative act “caused” (“prompted” and “set the stage for” seem to be synonyms for “caused”, with, perhaps, variation in emphasis) the mental state in question? Maybe, maybe not. In the case of overdetermination, the answer would be “not”. (How common is that case? I don’t know. Fairly common, it seems to me.) In other cases, the answer is more ambiguous. It depends on the type of mental state, certainly. Whatever you mean by “urges”, it seems particularly unlikely that mental states that could be described thus (especially those which can reasonably be described as “strong urges”), would be “caused” (in a non-overdetermined way) by communicative acts of others.

[… here we have an apparent gap in the chain of reasoning …]

You jump from “urges” to “humans acting on” those “urges”. This seems like it needs more examination, to say the least. Most people don’t just act on whatever thoughts pop into their heads. Reflexive actions exist, of course, but I’m not sure you have those in mind. If I understand correctly the sort of mental states you refer to, they are such that acting on them, or not doing so, is a choice. People are quite capable of suppressing even very strong emotions, taking no actions whatsoever on their basis.

Humans acting on strong urges can be destructive in lots of ways.

This is literally true, but quite misleading in its implication that “strong urges” are somehow unusual or unique in being mental states which, when humans act on them, result in destructive behavior.

In fact people can be destructive in lots of ways regardless of the nature of the mental state or states which resulted in those destructive actions. A man may strangle a rival in a fit of rage, or strike down a pedestrian with his car while being distracted by a funny picture on his smartphone, or carefully orchestrate a murder while seething with bile and cold hatred, or calmly sign an order that sends thousands to their deaths while taking his morning tea. There is nothing particularly special about any of these mental states. It is simply easy to inflict pain and death and horror, if one is placed in circumstances that permit such actions.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Yes, words can cause harm · 2021-02-25T17:55:06.242Z · LW · GW

That’s as much cause as your releasing a catch causing the spring tension to be released and resulting in a lid opening.

A cause of the thought? Sure. A cause of the action? Certainly not.

You don’t need to actually follow through on a threat for it to be effective, someone need only believe that the threat is genuine. That constitutes a necessary condition and a linguistic trigger.

Actions are what cause people to believe in threats. The words communicate intent, they do not themselves cause ‘harm’ or anything else.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Yes, words can cause harm · 2021-02-25T13:10:49.339Z · LW · GW

I think most people would agree that your asking caused the salt to be passed because the conditions were right for it to do so.

I do not agree with that.

In the everyday sense of ‘cause’, you didn’t cause the person in question to pass the salt. They chose to pass the salt, after you asked them to do so. They could’ve chosen otherwise. (Indeed, it’s easy to imagine reasons why they would.)

How many people have been threatened into doing terrible things? Or ordered by a superior?

These are examples of causation by actions, not by words. The words in question communicate information about intentions and actions; but the actions (and/or threat/promise thereof) are what cause things to happen.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Yes, words can cause harm · 2021-02-25T06:36:17.313Z · LW · GW

Their argument is quite simple, as I understand it: […] It borders on a technicality, and elsethread I disputed its practical importance, but for all that it is successful at what it’s trying to do.

It’s worse than a technicality—it’s an equivocation between meanings of “cause”. In ordinary speech we do not speak of one thing “causing” another if, say, the purported “cause” is merely one of several possible (collectively) necessary-but-not-sufficient conditions for the purported “effect” to occur—even though, in a certain sense, such a relationship is “causal”—because if we did, then we would have to reply to “what caused that car accident” with “the laws of physics, plus the initial conditions of the universe”.

So kithpendragon proves that words can “cause harm” in the latter technical sense, but the force of the argument comes from the claim that words can “cause harm” in the former colloquial sense—and that has assuredly not been proven.

(And this is without even getting into the part about “large cascades of massive change” and “downward spiral of self destruction with truly unfortunate consequences” and such things, that can allegedly be caused by “what seems like a tiny thing”—a claim that is presented without any support at all, but without which the injunction that motivates the post simply fails to follow from any of the rest of it!)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Yes, words can cause harm · 2021-02-25T03:26:18.103Z · LW · GW

But you didn’t refute the claim that words can’t cause harm. To do that, you’d have to provide examples, which you did not do. Given this, what is the substance of this post? I see none.

The idea that concrete examples of harmful words would be a “likely hazard” also strikes me as absurd. I could be convinced otherwise, but for that to happen, I’d have to see some… examples.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Yes, words can cause harm · 2021-02-24T07:48:12.715Z · LW · GW

Without examples, this post is almost entirely devoid of content.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Jimrandomh's Shortform · 2021-02-01T23:59:33.260Z · LW · GW

Note that many people don’t know about ad blockers:

As usual, I use Google Surveys to run a weighted population survey. On 2019-03-16, I launched a n = 1000 one-question survey of all Americans with randomly reversed order, with the following results: […]

… I am however shocked by the percentage claiming to not know what an adblocker is: 72%! I had expected to get something more like 10–30%. As one learns reading surveys, a decent fraction of every population struggles with basic questions like whether the Earth goes around the Sun or vice-versa, so I would be shocked if they knew of ad blockers but I expected the remaining 50%, who are driving this puzzle of “why advertising avoidance but not adblock installation?”, to be a little more on the ball, and be aware of ad blockers but have some other reason to not install them (if only myopic laziness).

But that appears to not be the case. There are relatively few people who claim to be aware of ad blockers but not be using them, and those might just be mobile users whose browsers (specifically, Chrome, as Apple’s Safari/iOS permitted adblock extensions in 2015), forbid ad blockers.

(I highly recommend reading that entire section of the linked page, where gwern describes the results of several follow-up surveys he ran, and conclusions drawn from them.)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on What is up with spirituality? · 2021-01-27T22:19:44.720Z · LW · GW

Some questions (either answers, or summaries of answers plus pointers elsewhere for the full treatment, would be fine):

the existence of God is not an empirical question

What kind of question is it?

God is not a supernatural agent

What kind of agent is he?

“theologically necessary level of denial”

In what sense is “theologically necessary” a relevant or interesting category in epistemological terms? (More bluntly, if you like: why should we care what is, or is not, theologically necessary, as distinct from what is epistemologically necessary?)

it’s not that the specific claim being made by the atheist is incorrect, it’s that the implication that is believed to follow does not actually follow

What is the specific claim, and what is the believed implication?

techniques to enable a closer appropriation of the truth

What, exactly, is an “appropriation of the truth”? I have never encountered this phrase, and am unsure what it could mean.

In so far as institutions succeed in cultivating such honesty then they are operating as spiritual bodies.

This claim seems to beg the question by defining ‘spiritual’ in a way very different than how it’s normally defined. No conclusions that might be reached after starting with such an unusual usage could possibly apply to ‘spirituality’ in the way the term is normally used.

I would personally argue that the edifice of science that we presently have is structurally dependent on that Thomistic tradition I mentioned above, and that it could not exist separately from that tradition, but that’s an argument that might be distracting as it is very contentious

Indeed.

lastly, that an important form of spirituality that is also massively understood in contemporary culture, although it is of major historical significance in the West, is that of magic. Rightly understood, this is not about Harry Potter-esque actions that violate natural law but about ‘change of consciousness in accordance with will’ - in other words, it is about the training of the intellect in ways of seeing. (Some of the ways of seeing can be bonkers of course.)

Needless to say, this runs into the usual “show me the money” (a.k.a. “cake”) kinds of problems that we see with ‘Looking’, ‘kensho’, and all the rest. Absent an answer to such demands for demonstration of effectiveness, the mere fact that ‘magic’ is not judged to be important or worthy of study is simply correct and appropriate.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Real Rules Have No Exceptions · 2021-01-25T19:52:14.118Z · LW · GW

This comment discusses a class of situations where what you say seems likely to be true.

In most other cases, I think the sort of attitude you describe is likely to be a way to avoid admitting (to yourself or others) what the “real rules” are. Once you start saying stuff like…

… treating the “real process” as a rule is more fitting in some cases than others, a better fit for some people’s style of thinking than for other people’s, and also something that a person could choose to aim for more or less.

… then the usefulness of the concept/approach described in the OP is destroyed.

The request for more examples (note that I give three extended ones downthread) is not unreasonable, but if the existing examples don’t convince, I’m not entirely sure more would, either. What is your take on the examples I’ve provided so far?

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Problem of the Criterion · 2021-01-23T00:18:18.756Z · LW · GW

I’m not sure what your argument is here? Eliezer already wrote a post on this so no one should bother writing anything about the same topic ever again?

Eliezer already wrote a post on this, so no one should bother writing anything about the same topic that does not add anything new to Eliezer’s post, or do anything to result in changing one’s conclusion from that described in Eliezer’s post. This post does not (indeed, it would be quite difficult to write anything that does).

As best I can tell you are making an argument here for pragmatism but want to skip talking about epistemology.

My point is precisely that conundrums of epistemology, and epistemological questions in general, are motivated by pragmatic things or else by nothing.

I do not think there is any “problem of the criterion”, except in a way such as is already addressed to the maximum possible degree of satisfaction by the linked Sequence post. Hence no “conundrum” exists.

When I said that nothing remains to say, I meant that anything else that’s said on this topic, over and above the linked post, is strictly superfluous—not that in general saying things is bad.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Problem of the Criterion · 2021-01-22T16:34:15.413Z · LW · GW

This approach seems wrongheaded to me, from the start. Perhaps I am misunderstanding something. But let’s take your example:

Let’s say you want to know something. Doesn’t really matter what. Maybe you just want to know something seemingly benign, like what is a sandwich?

HALT! Proceed no further. Before even attempting to answer this question, ask: why the heck do you care? Why do you want to know the answer to this strange question, “what is a sandwich”? What do you plan to do with the answer?

In the absence of any purpose to that initial question, the rest of that entire section of the post is unmotivated. The sandwich alignment chart? Pointless and meaningless. Attempting to precisely define a “sandwich-like object”? Total waste of time. And so on.

On the other hand, if you do have a purpose in mind, then the right answer to “what is a sandwich” depends on that purpose. And the way you would judge whether you got the right answer or not, is by whether, having acquired said answer, you were then able to use the answer to accomplish that purpose.

Now, you could then ask: “Ah, but how do you know you accomplished your purpose? What if you’re a brain in a jar? What if an infinitely powerful demon deceived you?”, and so on. Well, one answer to that might be “friend, by all means contemplate these questions; I, in the meantime—having accomplished my chosen purpose—will be contemplating my massive pile of utility, while perched atop same”. But we needn’t go that far; Eliezer has already addressed the question of “recursive justification”.

It does not seem to me as if there remains anything left to say.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Praying to God · 2021-01-20T15:58:17.396Z · LW · GW

What does this mean, for those of us who aren’t personally acquainted with the OP (or possess whatever source of insider knowledge that leads you to make this comment)?

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Real Rules Have No Exceptions · 2021-01-07T11:02:19.747Z · LW · GW

Quite reasonable. In that case, yes, I invite readers who enjoyed (and believe that they did properly understand) this post to say what they believe the answer to this question is.

If there aren’t any responses in, let us say, two weeks, then I will post my own explanation.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Real Rules Have No Exceptions · 2021-01-07T03:55:09.448Z · LW · GW

It’s hard to give examples, because you don’t actually explain the specific function of not stating the “real rule” in any particular case.

By no means is it hard to give examples. Indeed, I did give several examples in an earlier comment.

As for reasons to keep the real rule unstated, they seem clear enough to me. I did not state them because I considered them too obvious to belabor… of course, it’s possible that I was wrong about this!

I can make my views of this explicit, if you like, but I don’t think I will be adding much to the understanding of signaling already common in this forum. In fact, I wonder if anyone else (perhaps one of the folks who liked or benefited from this post) would like to try their hand at explaining this? It would give me useful info about whether readers of this post understood it as I intended it to be understood (and would help to clarify the post for anyone confused, of course).

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Real Rules Have No Exceptions · 2021-01-07T02:15:45.345Z · LW · GW

My point of disagreement is the conclusion—that exceptions are primarily a form of self-signaling, a way to avoid being honest about the real rule.

I did not say “self-signaling”.

Note well that the idea of “the real rules have no exceptions” applies to rules that govern social groups and organizations and subcultures and societies just as much (if not more!) as it applies to rules made by a person to govern their own actions.

In that light, the signaling is not to oneself, but to others; and it is of great importance (as the rule-as-stated, clean and exception-free as it is, creates legitimacy, and the appearance of explicit structure and order). And for this reason also, the insight described in the OP is, in such contexts, subversive to the group and to those in power within it, because it is corrosive to the beliefs and behaviors that maintain the group’s cohesion and stability.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on The Sense-Making Web · 2021-01-05T16:34:14.576Z · LW · GW

I second this. I have no idea who this post is talking about, and find that I am very confused about this whole “Sensemaking scene” thing.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-05T14:53:44.936Z · LW · GW

A tangential comment—you say:

Maybe it is because of my scientific training and having looked at the data from the perspective of a scientist.

Indeed, this is one of the answers to the fundamental question of epistemic rationality, i.e. “what do you think you know, and how do you think you know it?”. Oftentimes the answer to the latter clause is “because someone told me”, but that just pushes back the problem: whom can you trust to provide you with truth? Of course we have to get some (indeed, most!) of our information about the world from others, but it’s a thorny problem, to be sure… but as you imply, one way to sidestep it is “nullius in verba”—to personally gain the relevant expertise, and to apply it to the problem at hand.

But we cannot do this for every problem! There are only so many hours in the day (not to speak of more fundamental difficulties, like the possibility that we might find some given problem to be beyond our capacity for understanding, try as we might to unravel it). And it obviously does no good for you (or anyone else) to say “fear not, I have investigated the problem on your behalf, and here is the answer”, because in that case we’re right back to “whom to trust”…

All of this is to say that if you investigate some question (e.g., climate change), and find an answer to your own satisfaction, then you have solved the epistemic problem—for yourself only. Absolutely no one else is helped by this unless you can convince them that your judgment is reliably correct (or, of course, induce them to undertake the same journey of discovery as you did). This is surely frustrating (I know from personal experience), and indeed you may decide not to bother trying to convince others (and few would blame you for it)… but the fact remains that there’s no royal road to truth, and in particular “just take the word of someone who has figured it out” isn’t it.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-05T14:34:15.572Z · LW · GW

Those public health official examples seem unrelated to tip #59 (“Those who generate anxiety in you and promise that they have the solution are grifters.”).

To the contrary, I think they are directly related, for the same reason that my anti-example of pro-“war on terrorism” public figures is related.

Grifters aren’t always out for your money.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-05T14:30:30.789Z · LW · GW

Just for the record, climate change is not really controversial or doubtful in any meaningful, scientific way. I am sincerely puzzled by you viewing it as such.

Just for the record, I most certainly did not say that I view climate change as “controversial or doubtful” in any “meaningful, scientific way”. (Indeed I went out of my way to note that I am not expressing any opinion on the topic!)

However, as I said, many people hold the view that you are puzzled by—people who are, I repeat, not obviously irrational.

In that sense, it’s clear that the matter is controversial, in the most straightforward and ordinary sense of the word!

I make no claims to scientific expertise, either on my own behalf or on behalf of the aforementioned (and unspecified) others. But you must recognize, I think, that there is such a thing as public controversy; and also, that experience shows us that it’s foolish to surrender the burden of judgment to some group of credentialed experts, merely on the strength of their being labeled, formally or by convention, as “scientists” of one sort or another. (The replication crisis alone is proof enough of that; and the history of science is rife with more examples.)

As to the matter of COVID, others have addressed this in sibling threads, so I will comment no more on it here.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-05T08:38:25.250Z · LW · GW

I think that the burden of proof is rather on you to prove that all statements that are anxiety-inducing and have solutions, are false. Or that all people who make such statements are grifters (have ulterior motives that do not include your wellbeing).

But I never claimed this, so why would I need to prove it…?

My problem was with your examples (and, more speculatively, with what your choice of examples—and their problematic nature—tells us about the larger point). I am not the OP, however, and will not attempt to defend statements I never made!

The other examples you have now given are both better and worse than your original two. Better, because less controversial… but worse, because less representative (most of them lack the quality of their claimants attempting to induce anxiety in the supposed beneficiaries). (Take the “Big Pharma” example, which is particularly interesting. The pharmaceutical substances which are most unquestionably beneficial also tend to be the least profitable, and tend to be least associated with anxiety-inducing advertising and messaging. The correlation is imperfect, yet quite evident. Is this not another example that proves the rule? …or would not, at least, many people say so, who are, again, not obviously irrational?)

Perhaps one general point to extract from this is that it’s misleading to equivocate between “someone tells you the truth” and “someone generates anxiety in you”. Truth may be anxiety-inducing, yet these two activities aren’t the same.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-05T07:23:56.874Z · LW · GW

It seems to me that you could hardly have picked more controversial examples!

I have no opinion to express at this time on either topic, but it cannot be denied that in the case of both “public health officials during COVID” and “climate scientists”, there are many (not obviously irrational) people who would respond to your claim with “one man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens”. In other words, there are quite a few people who would say that these two examples are the exceptions that (in the classic sense of the phrase) prove the rule: seeming to be exceptions, they test the rule, and find it valid—by turning out not to be exceptions, after all.

What would you say to such an interlocutor? (“That’s obviously wrong” will clearly not suffice—the matter’s such that ‘obvious’ to you, and ‘obvious’ to me, may differ!)

As you formulate your response, consider also this: there is another category of allegedly “honest, sincere ‘friendlies’” you might have added to your short list of examples: the politicians, pundits, and public intellectuals who, in the course of this new century’s first decade, advocated for Western powers (the U.S. its allies, that’s to say) to engage in military action in the Middle East, thereby to eliminate a source of dire peril to the citizens of their respective nations. They, too, had as their modus operandi the arousal of anxiety in their audiences and constituencies; they, too, offered up all sorts of ‘truths’ (WMDs! The Axis of Evil! The War on… and so forth); they, too, had “real solutions” to the “real problems” we (or so we were told!) then faced.

Yet it now seems to most of us, in retrospect, that they were grifters one and all, extracting our attention, votes, and dollars.

By no means does this prove that your examples are false. But if I wish to have a principled way to distinguish the true examples from the false ones—is there one? Can you provide it? (It would help, I note, to have case studies upon which we may bring to bear the already-rendered judgment of history—a test your examples fail, unfortunately.)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-03T06:59:21.777Z · LW · GW

I once got into a minor car accident (no one was hurt, thankfully) in which the other driver was clearly at fault. I spoke to the police and a report was filed.

I received no compensation from the other driver’s insurance company (nor did he receive any compensation from mine). However, my insurance company subsequently raised my premium (and, no doubt, the other driver’s insurance company raised his premium as well). Filing the report was worse than useless.

I do not know anyone who has their bicycle insured against theft, or their phone insured against theft. I have never heard of anyone I know who’s had their cars broken into (nor do I know anyone who has their car insured against break-ins).

As far as I can tell, none of these alleged reasons to talk to cops applies to me or to anyone I know, despite me and a number of my friends owning cars, bikes, phones, etc.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on 100 Tips for a Better Life · 2021-01-03T06:53:54.756Z · LW · GW

Surely you don’t imagine that the police recover stolen property if it’s reported? I’ve never had that happen and I don’t know anyone who’s ever had that happen. As far as I can tell, it basically (to a first approximation, anyway) just doesn’t happen.

“Don’t talk to cops” is excellent advice.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Why Boston? · 2020-12-30T05:54:45.774Z · LW · GW

Space heaters tend to be rather worse at heating a space than air conditioners are at cooling it. (They can also be fire hazards, though that’s not strictly relevant to effectiveness per se.) But yes, a space heater is an option.

Note that aside from the (in)feasibility and (massive!) expense of installing a fireplace, there is also the fact that as a renter, you simply wouldn’t have permission from your landlord to make such modifications to your apartment.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Why Boston? · 2020-12-29T18:43:18.313Z · LW · GW

This reply seems like either obstinacy and rudeness put together, or deliberate trolling. So I will bow out of this conversation, and trust that anyone reading this will see what is obvious.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Why Boston? · 2020-12-29T10:31:47.901Z · LW · GW

This is all completely irrelevant to the question of whether I can have an air conditioner and/or a fireplace in my residence. You do see that, right?

You were responding to a comment about practical considerations relevant to living in a certain city. The question at hand is: what is, in practical terms, easier to deal with: hot summers, or cold winters? Everything you’ve written in your latest comment has zero bearing on this question. The comment is plainly a non sequitur. And your first comment was simply wrong, as, again, the matter at hand concerns the practical considerations, which are as bendini summarized them (and as I elaborated on).

What I would like to understand, and am hoping you might explain, is whether you disagree with my assessment of the practical considerations (and if so, on what basis), or, if you do not disagree, why you believe that your first comment makes sense as a reply to bendini’s.

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Why Boston? · 2020-12-28T23:39:45.159Z · LW · GW

These are backwards. Cold winters are a lot easier to work around than sticky summers. (A fireplace is simpler than an air conditioner.)

Er, what? This seems completely backwards to me. Putting in an air conditioner is as simple as buying a unit online, installing it into a window, and plugging it into a wall outlet. Putting in a fireplace (!!) is… actually not possible at all, for most people (e.g., anyone living in an apartment).

What does it even mean to say that a fireplace is ‘simpler’…? I can’t map that to anything even remotely relevant to the question of whether I can have a fireplace in my apartment or not. (And the answer is definitely ‘not’.)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Where to Draw the Boundaries? · 2020-12-07T01:23:36.033Z · LW · GW

My earlier comment explains why I think this post is one of last year’s best. (My opinion of its quality remains unchanged, after ~1.5 years.)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Where to Draw the Boundaries? · 2020-12-06T13:28:31.292Z · LW · GW

Oh yeah, totally. I guess that’s going on now, then? I will try and figure out how one nominates things…

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on What are some beautiful, rationalist artworks? · 2020-12-01T07:58:49.807Z · LW · GW

Nope, that’s not it

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on What are some beautiful, rationalist artworks? · 2020-12-01T00:11:57.858Z · LW · GW

Image link seems to be broken. Try this one:

Image alt-text

https://nitter.net/pic/media%2FEoFhowJVcAAsvM8.jpg%3Fname%3Dorig

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong · 2020-11-23T20:04:02.660Z · LW · GW

You must understand—we have to ration our usage of parentheses, lest our strategic reserve again fails us in time of need…

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong · 2020-11-22T10:48:07.694Z · LW · GW

GreaterWrong will now display Metaculus embeds created via the LessWrong editor.

(You can’t create Metaculus embeds via GreaterWrong… yet.)

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Embedded Interactive Predictions on LessWrong · 2020-11-21T06:12:29.078Z · LW · GW

Cool feature!

Is there any info on implementing Elicit embeds on other sites? (Like, say, GreaterWrong? :) I looked on elicit.org and didn’t find anything.

EDIT: Same question re: Metaculus embeds…

Comment by Said Achmiz (SaidAchmiz) on Naming the Nameless · 2020-11-11T04:36:28.840Z · LW · GW

Surely there’s more than one way to design a website in a ‘minimalist’ way?