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Comment by seer on Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015 · 2015-04-02T04:13:57.537Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Has Villiam, or whoever is in charge now, investigated this?

Comment by seer on Bitcoin value and small probability / high impact arguments · 2015-04-01T05:29:36.939Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

For instance, a bitcoin detractor could argue that the reference class should also include Beanie Babies, Dutch tulips, and other similar stores of value.

The difference is that it's easy to make more tulips or Beanie Babies, but the maximum number of Bitcoins is fixed.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-04-01T03:02:35.595Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What changes is that I would like to have a million dollars as much as Joe would.

Um, what are you using to compare preferences across people.

Similarly, if I had to trade between Joe's desire to live and my own, the latter would win.

How about Joe's desire to live against you desire to not have him annoy you, or to have sex with his wife, or any number of other possible motives?

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-04-01T02:59:48.158Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

How do you distinguish the part of your ethics that you ignore in practice, e.g., not giving all your money to charity, from the part you insist you and everybody follow, e.g., not killing Joe even though he's being really really annoying.

Comment by seer on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2015-04-01T02:28:39.048Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Demotic dictators are supposed to justify themselves by generating ideological support, but that doesn't actually distinguish them from real world monarchies, because of all the ideology about God Put Me on the Throne,

"The People Support Me" is a lot easier to falsify then "God Put Me on the Throne", thus you need correspondingly more oppression to keep anyone from falsifying it.

Comment by seer on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2015-04-01T02:20:21.780Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One of weirdest aspect of NRx is the complete lack of cultural conservatism - by that I mean the largely politics-independent changing of mores, atittudes, the kind of stuff e.g. Theodore Dalrymple bemoan.

Um, those changes are not politics independent. These changes are being caused by various political forces.

Politics is 100% culture-reducible, culture determines even what political concepts mean.

And where does culture come from?

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T05:20:31.105Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

1) It is illegal. It is a violation of criminal statutes that do not appear to be sourced, either directly or indirectly, from the Bible.

So if a law was passed saying its OK to kill members of group X, you'd have no problem killing them. My point is that the "it's illegal" argument is a total cop-out.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T05:17:09.408Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Even if the atheist was a moral nihilist (of course he is conflating atheism and nihilism), it still would not be rational to carry out the action because we would hope that society's condemnation from people with moral systems and appropriate deterrents (e.g the risk of getting caught and getting a life prison sentence) so even saying that moral nihilism will lead to mass murder is wrong, so long as a sufficiently large percentage of the population believe in consistent and sensible moral systems.

That's an argument against promoting moral nihilism.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T05:10:59.905Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You'd be amazed what can seem intuitive when you find yourself in a situation where it would be really convenient for Joe to die.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T05:09:36.207Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

A million dollars is a lot more zero-sum than not killing someone - if I give you a million dollars I lose a million dollars. To make the analogy more accurate, you'd need to stipulate that Joe will kill me if I don't kill him.

No, just that you'll get some benefit from killing him, e.g., you get to have sex with his wife.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T05:07:57.902Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I guess you're worried that if the same argument works in both cases then you might end up obliged to give Joe $1M.

No, I'm claiming neither Kindly nor you actually believe the argument you've given.

So the simple-minded "do whatever makes people happiest" principle (a.k.a. total utilitarianism, but you don't have to be a total utilitarian for this to be a reason, as opposed to the only possible reason, for doing something) gives the "right" answers in most cases.

Except, you're not doing that, i.e., you're not giving all your income to charity. So since you're willing to ignore parts of your ethics when its inconvenient, why not also ignore the parts about not killing Joe when it would be convenient were Joe to die.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T05:00:34.339Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not talking about a general rule against killing, I'm talking killing this particular guy named Joe, who's really annoying me.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-31T04:59:09.977Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ah, it's not really about locus of control: the context is destitute people falling ill due to contaminated food. It's more about situations where bad things happen that are not readily controlled or avoided due to lack of knowledge or circumstance.

So that's an argument for why it would be better if life were fair.

Comment by seer on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2015-03-31T04:56:14.418Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That doesn't explain the difference between a monarch and a dictator, as requested.

The question was specifically about demotic dictatorships. As for dictators in general, that depends on how the dictator legitimizes his rule.

The dictator doesn't need to manufacture assent, they rather need to quash dissent...as would a monarch, as many did.

Monarchs had a lot less dissent to quash. For example, the dress code at Versailles required all men to carry swords. Compare that with a modern president, good luck getting close to him with so much as a pocket knife.

Comment by seer on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2015-03-31T04:44:53.805Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, given that Soviet-type communism and fascism are roughly equivalent, but not all were Soviet-types, the roots of communist ideologies are about small kibbutz type tribes being collectivist, not totalitarianism. Really, one of the biggest unfairness and inaccuracy here is equating all communists with Sovietism, Leninism. The roots of the movement are egalitarian tribalism in the form of workplace collectives, not tyranny. Anarcho-communist always existed, anarcho-fascism needed to be invented by Jack Donovan, it wasn't always a thing, this is the primary difference.

I don't see what this is supposed to mean. In any case tribalism is just as much, probably even more, a part of human nature then collectivism.

What is even the point of proposing anything that was vulnerable to getting torn down?

Everything is vulnerable to being torn down. The question is how vulnerable, and how well it works in the mean time.

Maybe if you don't value stability as much as I do... I find democracy stable

Look at all the attempts to build democracy in the third world. Also, if you want stability, the Austrian and French monarchies lasted far longer then any democracies have so far.

Comment by seer on [POLL] LessWrong group on YourMorals.org (2015) · 2015-03-30T08:44:51.738Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Both the Roman and especially Charlemagne's empires were archipelagos compared to today's states. Both contained many sub-states that where mostly left to govern themselves as long as they acknowledged imperial authority and paid taxes.

Comment by seer on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2015-03-30T08:05:55.189Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

But all these features were also true for the dictatorships toppled say in the Arab Spring. Or Franco. People were not expected to be engaging in politics, support was not manufactured etc. Still there was unrest and instability.

The claim is that it is more pleasant to live under a monarchy or rightist dictatorship, where you're at least allowed to keep to yourself.

One, students, intellectuals who care about things like freedom of speech: basically, with some cynicism you could see it they want a piece from the power cake. Perhaps a system that would offer them clear paths to power could defuse it, but being rebellious still feels more virtuous and empowering than repeating official propaganda for a chance of promotion and a sinecure so the only system I can imagine that could secure their support would be itself pretending to be perpetual rebels: welcome to the "Cathedral".

Yes, the neoreactionary claim is that in that kind of intelligentsia environment people win based on their ability to signal piety (or virture) eventually the memes will evolve for maximal apparent piety. This is bad (or very bad) because at some point signaling piety becomes orthogonal to actually being good ideas. You wind up converging on ideas that super-stipulate human inbuilt values. When the pious ideas prove impractical this get's blamed on not everyone being sufficiently pious, thus the least pious must be purged.

One of the weirdest and most scary facts of early 20th century Europe is that students were above-average likely to participate in proto-fascist movements.

Scarier then the large participation of students in proto-communist and actual communist movements?

Around the world, youth radicalism was visible in 1908, visible in 1848 and so on.

Jim's proposed solution to this problem is based on restoration England:

1) Require an oath of loyalty to the official religion to serve in government and especial teach at colleges, so you don't get radical professors radicalizing students.

2) If possible make the official religion as boring as possible, so smart people are encouraged to focus their energies on productive tasks, like business or science, rather then attempting to create ever more pious versions of the official religion.

Come on. Spending money on making a candidate or party attractive and advertised buys votes. Not literally but in the sense of increases the chance of people voting for them.

The studies I've seen suggest that once you've spent enough money so that the average voter knows how the candidate is, you hit diminishing returns fairly quickly, at least from regular advertising. Of course, if you are friends with the editor and can have him put a favorable spin on the actual reporting, that's different. And it also relies on connections, not money.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-30T07:35:06.293Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Replace "Killing Joe", with say "not giving Joe a million dollars" in that argument, what changes?

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-30T02:48:49.633Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

"wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?"

I don't see what this quote is supposed to mean, besides a deep-wisdomy way of saying that you don't want to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-30T02:46:59.897Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Then the harassers visit this guy. It would still be "If it happened to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right’".

The claim is that they would not be able to say what.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-30T02:43:40.561Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, he does. The whole claim underlying the argument is that atheists on some level know rape and murder are wrong, they just can't explain why.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-30T02:42:31.190Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Most atheists do think that there something wrong with rape and murder.

The problem is they have a hard time saying what.

Comment by seer on Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014) · 2015-03-30T00:59:34.042Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, I've read most of the arguments, they strike me as highly speculative and hand-wavy.

Comment by seer on Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014) · 2015-03-30T00:33:41.748Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Most Friendly AI theorists believe, however, that the answer is "yes", at least if you extrapolate their preferences far enough.

Do they have any arguments for this besides wishful thinking?

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-29T17:50:44.186Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

In the Philip K. Dick sense they are.

Comment by seer on Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice" · 2015-03-29T06:18:53.262Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Well the fact that it appears to be impossible to get two LessWrongers to agree on whether a given moral theory is coherent and non-arbitrary is not encouraging in that regard.

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-28T19:04:33.735Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

So what would you describe as the cause of the correlation in the orbits calculated by myself and the alien?

Comment by seer on Political topics attract participants inclined to use the norms of mainstream political debate, risking a tipping point to lower quality discussion · 2015-03-28T05:05:23.234Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I am afraid that if you start a political thread, you will get many comments about how "Cthulhu always swims left"

Just out of curiosity, I looked at the latest politics thread in Vaniver's list. Despite being explicitly about NRx, in contains only two references to "Cthulhu", both by people arguing against NRx.

and anyone who reacts negatively will be accused of being a "progressive" (which in their language means: not a neoreactionary).

Rather anyone who isn't sufficiently progressive gets called a neoreactionary.

Comment by seer on Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary? · 2015-03-28T04:50:54.931Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The issue is, I don't see NRx providing a clear difference between monarchy and modern demotic dictatorship, and clear ways of preventing the first from sliding into the second.

For starters a monarch doesn't have to spend most of his effort manufacturing democratic support, thus he can actually focus his effort into governing the country.

A more concrete way to see the difference is that under a monarchy most people aren't expected to participate in politics or hold political opinions, the attitude you captured rather well in your post here. Under a demotic dictatorship, all people are required to participate in politics and form their own political opinions, and those opinions had better mach the dictator's/today's cathedral consensus.

We have this, in practice (the rich buy votes).

Except they don't. Buying votes is illegal. Thus in order to buy votes you have to ensure that said law won't be enforced against you, witch requires that you have the right connections. Which means to have power you must constantly be playing signaling games to maintain those connections.

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-28T02:50:36.608Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

So maths is physics.

Not quite, although I agree the approach I describe also applies to establish that the laws of physics exist.

But I can write an equation for an inverse cube law of gravity, which doesn't apply to this universe.

Yes, and if you and the alien both write down a cube law and predict what orbits would be like in a universe where it were true, you would reach the same conclusions.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-28T02:39:01.121Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What do Neoreactionaries think of the Islamic State? After all, it's an exemplar case of the reactionaries in those areas winning big. I know it's only a surface comparison, I'm sincerely curious about what a NR think of the situation.

It happened under Obama's watch, so it's clearly evidence of the failure of leftist politics.

Do you even know anything about Neoreaction besides the name?

Comment by seer on Open thread, Jan. 19 - Jan. 25, 2015 · 2015-03-28T02:31:37.585Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No rape victim should be required to wear mental shoes, that kind of crime is simply too evil to put any onus on dealing with on the victim.

Depends on what one means by "rape". If you are using the standard definition from ~20 years ago (and for all I know still the standard definition in your country), I agree. However, recently American feminists have been trying to get away with calling all kinds of things "rape".

Comment by seer on [POLL] LessWrong group on YourMorals.org (2015) · 2015-03-28T02:28:47.976Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

From my, admittedly limited, knowledge of non-Western cultures, I get the impression that the fairness norm is very much a Western Civilization thing.

Comment by seer on Political topics attract participants inclined to use the norms of mainstream political debate, risking a tipping point to lower quality discussion · 2015-03-28T02:26:00.440Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

If everyone settles on the same answer, all is well.

No, all seems well. Except people develop massive over-confidence in that answer.

Comment by seer on Open thread, Jan. 19 - Jan. 25, 2015 · 2015-03-27T07:39:22.097Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Accepting for the moment that our stated principles are okay (which is where I expect you might disagree)

This is not a good thing to accept, since the stated principals are themselves subject to change. Hence

5. Once society starts taking complaint X seriously enough to punish the perpetrator, people start making (weaker) complaint X'. Once society takes that complaint seriously people start making complaint X'', etc.

I would argue that long term 5. is actually the biggest problem.

Comment by seer on Open thread, Jan. 19 - Jan. 25, 2015 · 2015-03-27T07:31:08.054Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It simply turns the discussion away from "Does Jill feel hurt from what John did?"

How about the question "Is it reasonable for Jill to fill hurt from what John did?", otherwise you're motivating Jill to self-modify into a negative utility monster.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-27T06:55:04.119Z · score: -5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

It was pretty clear from context what he meant.

Comment by seer on Political topics attract participants inclined to use the norms of mainstream political debate, risking a tipping point to lower quality discussion · 2015-03-27T02:56:24.990Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is that Rawls asserts that everyone is maximally risk-averse.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-27T02:14:40.294Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I was using the word because Nancy introduced it into the discussion. From the context, the practical meaning is "decent" as perceived by a more-or-less typical person in most of human history.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-26T23:17:00.970Z · score: -2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Could you at least pretend like you are trying to engage in reasonable debate.

The country with the largest Muslim population in the world is Indonesia. Followed by India. Go stomp.

The Indonesian Muslims are for the most part not the ones being problematic. As for India, the Indian Hindus are already (mostly) dealing with the problematic Indian Muslims.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-26T22:53:27.672Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That's not what I was talking about. I mean how over the past century anything decent has been rejected as at best bourgeois, and at worst sexist and homophobic.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-26T21:42:24.364Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I like the idea that it will take inspiration-- the development of a new religion or variant of Islam or alternatively some brilliant satire-- to create something to move people away from IS. It's pretty clear that mere decency isn't motivating enough.

No, the problem is that the West has been slowly rejecting the very concept of decency over the past century.

Comment by seer on [POLITICS] Jihadism and a new kind of existential threat · 2015-03-26T21:28:01.590Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

To a mildly rational person, the conflict fueling the rise of the Islamic State, namely the doctrinal differences between Sunni and Shia Islam, is the worst kind of Blue/Green division. A separation that causes hundreds of billions of dollars (read that again) to be wasted trying kill each other.

Would you apply the same logic to say the doctrinal differences between say Welfare-State Librelism and Communism (or Nazism)? Or this is just a case of "all ideologies that aren't mine look alike to me"?

Fundamentalism has never stopped a country to achieve technological progress: think about the wonderful skyscrapers and green patches in the desert of the Arab Emirates

How is the UAE fundamentalist? I don't see what standard you are using the applies to the UAE that wouldn't apply to nearly the whole world pre-1950 (and possibly even pre-1990).

•What do Neoreactionaries think of the Islamic State? After all, it's an exemplar case of the reactionaries in those areas winning big. I know it's only a surface comparison, I'm sincerely curious about what a NR think of the situation.

By a remarckable co-incidence Jim has recently posted a blog post on this very subject.

Edit: Also this post for his attitude on Islam in general.

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-26T04:08:45.040Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Would an accurate summary of this be "humans have a generic, intuitive, System 1 Truth-detector that does not distinguish between reality-correspondence, agreeability, tribal signaling, etc, but just assigns +1 Abstract Truth Weight to all of them; distinguishing between the different things that trip this detector is a System 2 operation"?

That's not how System 1 works in my experience. System 1 is only concerned with modeling of the world and making predictions, particularly of the results of various actions one might make. Its model however tends to be extremely primitive. Also System 2 doesn't have direct access to the model, only the predictions. Furthermore, as far as System 1 is concerned making statements, or even having System 2 believe something, are actions whose consequences are to be predicted.

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-26T03:44:51.396Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If so, how do those objects causally relate to my assertion that 2 and 2 makes 4,

Because they cause there to four apples in a box if you put two apples in, and then put two more apples in.

If both you and a sentient alien in another galaxy write out addition tables, the two tables will be highly correlated with each other (in fact they'll correspond). Which means that either one caused the other, or both have a common cause. What's the common cause, the laws of mathematics.

Comment by seer on Social prerequisites of rationality · 2015-03-25T01:17:20.406Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It is easy to be safe as a conformist who just obeys.

Not necessarily. That depends on whether the social rules contains good advice. For example, in the Soviet Union blindly obeying all the official commands may very well cause you to starve. Hence most people cheated the system any way they could get away with. While as you observed they wouldn't openly question the official doctrine, their actions tell a different story.

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-25T01:02:04.097Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

what do mathematical truths correspond to?

Mathematical reality.

Comment by seer on Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth · 2015-03-24T07:15:54.331Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

The correspondence theory of truth stopped making sense to me because there is nothing for it to correspond to.

It corresponds to reality.

As for what reality is, I like Philip K. Dick's formulation: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Comment by seer on Open thread, Mar. 16 - Mar. 22, 2015 · 2015-03-23T01:26:17.714Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The problem is he starts with false premises that it is impermissible (or at least impolite) to question in public, such as that homeless people are perfectly normal people who are down on their luck. (Most homeless, especially long time homeless have a mental illness.) And then he proceeds to reason from them and expects people to agree.

Comment by seer on Open thread, Mar. 16 - Mar. 22, 2015 · 2015-03-23T01:12:41.861Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, Taleb isn't "re-inventing" stoicism any more then every mechanic is "re-inventing" the wheel.