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Comment by tggp3 on Explain/Worship/Ignore? · 2007-09-05T02:18:55.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"God and the gods were apparitions of observation, judgment and punishment. Other sentiments towards them were secondary. The human organism always worships. First, it was the gods, then it was fame (the observation and judgment of others), next it will be self-aware systems you have built to realize truly omnipresent observation and judgment. The individual desires judgment. Without that desire, the cohesion of groups is impossible, and so is civilization."

A reply to anonymous from a fictional character

Comment by tggp3 on Positive Bias: Look Into the Dark · 2007-08-28T21:43:26.000Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

After seeing the four examples (including one that didn't fit) given, it didn't even occur to me that someone could think the first one indicated a X-2X-3X pattern. It's hard to tell what will confirm and what will disconfirm in such a broad space of possibilities.

A bit off topic but after numerous incidents of mocking Eliezer, Mencius Moldbug has launched a full-scale assault on Bayesianism. He hasn't shown any inclination to post his critiques here, but perhaps some of the luminaries here could show him the error of his ways.

Comment by tggp3 on The Futility of Emergence · 2007-08-27T02:18:03.000Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I remember when Warren Spector & Harvey Smith were going on about emergence in videogames. I think their definition was something like "a non-obvious [it may even surprise the designers] outcome of a system of rules rather than something scripted". That's a rather subjective definition but it seems to fit as well for the things that are described as "emergent" in real life. Since life is not actually a videogame but has universally valid rules, it would not be a very useful concept for that domain. I think Wolfram has written a lot about that sort of thing, but I don't actually know much about what it is he says other than that its an important idea.

Comment by tggp3 on Fake Causality · 2007-08-24T01:46:45.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In response to Hopefully Anonymous, I think there is a real difference between unfalsifiable pseudosciences and genuine scientific theories (both correct and incorrect). Coming up with methods to distinguish the two will be helpful for us in doing science. It is easy in hindsight to say how obviously wrong something is, it is another to understand why it is wrong and whether its wrongness could have been detected then with the information available as this could assist us later when we do not have all the information we would wish to.

Comment by tggp3 on Science as Attire · 2007-08-23T21:44:19.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I second Stuart's awful sentence. I'm not seconding the opinion that it is awful, just that it resembles my thoughts.

Comment by tggp3 on Fake Causality · 2007-08-23T21:09:41.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think I've said this before, but there is some defense that can be made for the phlogiston theorists. Phlogiston is like an absence of oxygen in modern combustion theory. The falsifiable prediction that caused phlogiston to be abandoned was that phlogiston would have mass, whereas an absence of oxygen (what it was in reality) does not.

Comment by tggp3 on You Can Face Reality · 2007-08-10T07:13:54.000Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Do you have any references to that? Yes. They do underestimate the probability their their depression will end, however (I'll see if I can find the link to where I read that, it was likely another GMU blogger). I don't know about other cognitive biases in the depressed.

Comment by tggp3 on You Can Face Reality · 2007-08-09T18:24:26.000Z · score: 15 (19 votes) · LW · GW

"Mental health is a commitment to reality at any cost." Depression is considered a mental illness. The depressed are less biased in their self-assessments than the population as a whole. Personally, I agree with Caplan and Szasz that "mental illness" is a poor borrowing from medicine to psychiatry and is usually unfalsifiable.

Comment by tggp3 on Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable · 2007-08-04T06:05:23.000Z · score: 1 (9 votes) · LW · GW

The difference is that ethics are not falsifiable. This leads me to believe there are no ethical truths.

Comment by tggp3 on Professing and Cheering · 2007-08-03T23:53:48.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps we should check to see how many papers in respected journals cite "punctuated equilibrium" other than to attack it. In a previous thread in which Gould was discussed I linked to this, which used such evidence to argue against his theory on "spandrels".

It is interesting that Zenkat mentioned "libertarian economists" since Eliezer is not an economist, and I was unaware from his posts here that he was a libertarian. I note that Robin Hanson denied being a "libertarian economist" when accused of it, but it occurs to me that perhaps he thinks "libertarian economist" as something other than a person who is both an economist and a libertarian. Alan Greenspan, for example, was a libertarian who had advocated the gold standard as well as chairman of the federal reserve, but might not be characterized as "libertarian chairman of the federal reserve", because his actions as chairman were not any more libertarian than average. I am not saying I think Robin is a libertarian, but merely that I assign a probability higher than zero to his being one.

Comment by tggp3 on Bayesian Judo · 2007-07-31T13:49:32.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've mentioned before that my attempt to salvage a belief in God ultimately resulted in something like H. P. Lovecraft's Azathoth, which might not be too surprising as it was that ardent materialist's parody of the God of the Old Testament.

Comment by tggp3 on Are Your Enemies Innately Evil? · 2007-07-23T19:35:26.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Some Dude, since when is war profitable? It can be extremely expensive, and you can't really have both sides win, yet it is often the case that both sides are eager for it.

Comment by tggp3 on Two More Things to Unlearn from School · 2007-07-17T19:21:26.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

floccina, perhaps the real purpose of schools is sorting. Perhaps the idea that children must be formed into educated people by schools is just part of Pinker's "nurture assumption". Schools have an incentive to promote that assumption, as it gives them more reason to exist. However, if they don't actually know how to educate children (and as you note, it is hard to test whether they actually teach), why would we expect them to?

Comment by tggp3 on Two More Things to Unlearn from School · 2007-07-12T23:53:55.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

This is a good post.

I don't take nearly as cynical (or is it bitter & angry for seemingly no reason?) a view as Mencius Moldbug does, but you might be interested in his post on grad school.

Comment by tggp3 on Open Thread · 2007-07-03T09:10:50.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I am kicking myself for not doing this earlier, but Hopefully Anonymous, I think you would be interested in the writings of Mencius Moldbug, beginning with his Formalist Manifesto and hopefully including Political Sanity in One Easy Step, The Magic of Symmetric Sovereignty and The Fnargland Grand Challenge.

Comment by tggp3 on Open Thread · 2007-07-02T04:36:33.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Although in many respects I feel I am of like mind with Hopefully Anonymous, I am not as fully committed to maximizing life (my own or anybody's) as he is. For right now I would rather not die but continue living. However, I do not rule out that I might at some point or in some circumstances prefer death (the current lifespan found in first world countries is unusual and many cultures have glorified death, so I don't think it can be said that such commitment to survival is universal). This does not mean I have any misgivings about Eliezer's work toward life-extension though.

I personally would rather live in a society oriented around goals such as the ones Hopefully Anonymous describes than one based on principles. That being said, I don't think goals can be objectively determined and I would not necessarily have complete trust in the institutions whose responsibility it is to seek those goals. Following a previous Stirnerite egoist, Benjamin Tucker, I would prefer if people could voluntarily form contractually arranged societies seeking whichever goals they see fit (or being based on principles, as many seem to prefer those and I do not begrudge them their preference). I doubt this one would result in one model of society and would instead be what Keith Preston has referred to as "panarchy".

The situation Hopefully Anonymous describes in which everyone is better off is usually referred to as "Pareto optimal". One of the troubles with Pareto optimality (besides being nearly impossible to attain, as the randomly selected individual whose health is adversely affected could be worse off than he might have been otherwise) is that "better" is inherently subjective, which is why I favor voluntarily agreed to contracts. Because I do not consider any normative statements/beliefs to have any objective truth value, I can't very well go around calling people "irrational" for them, but I certainly can have a very low opinion of them, just as I do for those who like music I despise. I do think that people often do a poor job of thinking about positive facts and in that sense can be called "irrational", and if they were Bayesian rational I suspect many normative beliefs would also be different (in the direction of consequentialism). I suspect though that is partly because I am imagining the type of person I would expect to be Bayesian rational contrasted with my stereotype of especially irrational people and confusing correlation with causation to some extent. Counterfactuals of this type can often be misleading and bring to mind the saying that "If my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle".

If my word was law a lot of things would be different about society, but forced medical experiments rank rather low on the list. I do not take the libertarian non-aggression principle as an "axiom" that is never to be violated, but I think very highly of it with regard to reducing conflict. No matter how much one might think that the people simply ought to act like the New Socialist/[insert here] Man, in reality they often don't and whining about how unenlightened they are won't change the stubborn reality.

Finally, I do not know if I want my own society to be creating public goods when we might be able to free-ride off the discoveries of others.

Comment by tggp3 on Are Your Enemies Innately Evil? · 2007-06-27T20:04:26.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This post starts off talking about school shooters, but I think it could be applied to terrorists as well, although they have a movement and ideology behind them.

Comment by tggp3 on Correspondence Bias · 2007-06-27T19:59:12.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Nick, are Hindus and other polytheists/animists/what-have-you atheists?

Nick Tarleton may change in many ways, but his DNA will not. As our genes are selfish, they cause us to single out the carrier of those genes (ourselves) as special and distinct from others and generally favor ourselves over others. This does remind me a bit of Lachmann vs Nozick on how far reductionism should go.

Matthew C, why does "Awareness" get a capital "A" and what do you mean by its "fundamental unity"?

Comment by tggp3 on Are Your Enemies Innately Evil? · 2007-06-27T09:10:37.000Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

A great post, and one of the reasons I promote emotivism. I attribute a recent dissagreement (in which I admit I acted like a dick) to just this. The funny thing is that usually two people argue with each other, convinced the other is evil. In this case I am arguing with someone over just how scary some other people that we both don't care for are.

Comment by tggp3 on Correspondence Bias · 2007-06-27T07:43:18.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sam Harris is not an atheist.

Comment by tggp3 on Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization · 2007-03-17T21:27:03.000Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My solution to the problem was to own a really slow computer. It took so long to load up the game I had been playing that it always seemed preferrable to log on to forums and complain about games not matching up to ye olden days than actually playing any. Eventually I found even that was taking up too much of my time and now games are just a thing of the past. The question of whether I put too much time into reading blogs is still open though.

Comment by tggp3 on Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided · 2007-03-03T23:03:38.000Z · score: 9 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Nobody chooses their genes or their early environment. The choices they make are determined by those things (and some quantum coin flips). Given what we know of neuroscience how can anyone deserve anything?

Comment by tggp3 on Politics is the Mind-Killer · 2007-02-19T00:15:40.000Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Like Eliezer, I would prefer if contemporary politics did not show up much here, and I do not identify with either political party. What I wonder though, is whether we would feel the same way if we did identify with one of the parties. Perhaps a Republican might, seeing as how the Republicans have not been looking as good recently while a Democrat would be happy for the latest mess their opponents are in to be highlighted. If the weblog lasted long enough perhaps both sides could become tired enough of their side being kicked while down to come to a gentleman's agreement. In Washington this could be described as "Bipartisanship: When the Stupid Party and the Evil Party get together to do something truly stupid and evil", as it not in the interests of the citizens for incumbents to be shielded from criticism, but provided no political figures are here it seems positive-sum for everyone.