AI Research Discussed by Mainstream Media 2017-03-02T16:22:46.110Z
[LINK] Bitcoins, "Investment of Money," and Law 2013-08-08T19:33:07.461Z
Open Thread, June 2-15, 2013 2013-06-02T02:22:15.913Z
[LINK] Possible Unrepresentative Subjects in Studies of Medical Interventions 2013-04-23T13:18:30.995Z
[LINK] Law Goes Meta 2012-09-28T19:11:19.414Z
Please Don't Fight the Hypothetical 2012-04-20T14:29:06.247Z


Comment by TimS on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2017-09-25T23:22:18.246Z · LW · GW

He does have influence, but I don't read that as saying things are as bad as they were in the 1950s. He's pointing out that a lot of the power structure of the Confederacy is still around, to the point that imagining if the Confederates had won is less different from now than many folks ignorant of history believe.

Ta-Nehisi has written very pointedly about DT's victory, but even then I don't read him as saying things are the same as 50 years ago. Factually, I don't see how anyone could claim that. Leading protest in 1950-1960s was literally life threatening. Blessedly, that doesn't seem to be true in the present.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-07T18:56:44.998Z · LW · GW

The Articles of Confederation were not amended into the Constitution, they were replaced by the Constitution in a manner that likely violated the Articles. Likewise, the Old Testament leads to Priestly Judaism (with animal sacrifice), not the radically different Rabbinical Judaism.

I think trying to bring these things in parallel with start-up incorporation is inherently difficult. Re-incorporation of start-ups is driven by the needs of mostly the same stackholders as the original incorporation. Most importantly, they are trying to achieve the same purpose as the original incorporation - wealth to founders and/or investors. Changes to foundational governing documents are usually aimed at changed or unanticipated circumstances, where the founders's original purpose does not address how the problem should be solved.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread, March. 6 - March 12, 2017 · 2017-03-06T14:52:59.985Z · LW · GW

I suspect your proposed charter is practically impossible for you to write. If is was possible for one charter document to scale up and down the way you suggest, then we should expect it to already exist and be in use. After all, people have been writing charter documents for a long time.

In the real world, charter don't survive in their original form all that long. To pick an example I am familiar with, the US Constitution was ratified in 1789. Fourteen years later, in 1803, the Supreme Court interpreted the document to allow judicial review of whether statutes complied with the Constitution. You'll have to take my word for it, but whether judicial review was intended by the drafters of the US Constitution is controversial to this day.

It is pretty clear that the drafters would have been surprised by the degree of judicial intrusiveness in implementing policy, just as they would be surprised by how much the US has grown in economic size and political power since the Constitution was drafted.

Comment by TimS on AI Research Discussed by Mainstream Media · 2017-03-06T14:41:52.126Z · LW · GW

I assert it is worthwhile to see how the AI-Safety movement is perceived by the mainstream. I agree with your implicit assertion that the the article does not provide much new information to the local community.

Comment by TimS on Metrics to evaluate a Presidency · 2017-02-03T21:49:47.168Z · LW · GW

In the Senate, there are 26 D and only 8 R up for re-election or replacement.

Worth noting that many of those Ds are in states that voted R in the most recent election. We should increase predicted probability they will lose now, and not be surprised or change our evaluation of evidence when it actually happens.

Comment by TimS on A question about the rules · 2017-02-03T17:12:55.315Z · LW · GW

Since hyperbole is only loosely connected with evaluating evidence, I'm not convinced it is compatible with rational discussion, at least as that term is generally understood in this community.

Comment by TimS on Civil resistance and the 3.5% rule · 2017-02-03T17:08:47.966Z · LW · GW

This depends heavily on how one defines campaigns. Is the NAACP of 1910 the same campaign as Malcolm X in 1960?

I suspect that each group would say no, but their common opponents would say yes.

Comment by TimS on Open thread, June 27 - July 3, 2016 · 2016-06-28T20:16:20.803Z · LW · GW

No good arguments, or the weight of the arguments for X are greater than the weight of the arguments against X?

Comment by TimS on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T23:26:07.276Z · LW · GW

You cannot simply set up a new legal agreement and just say "And you don't have any legal recourse".

It depends. You probably can't write a contract that literally says "no recourse for breach." But you probably could achieve substantially the same effect.
For example, you might define substantial performance so low that it is always met, then explicitly waive any right to good faith and fair dealing) and any injunctive relief. If a court found the contract enforcible, I'm not sure how they could fashion a remedy.

Comment by TimS on Are smart contracts AI-complete? · 2016-06-22T23:02:29.378Z · LW · GW

In some contexts, 'smart contract' is a misnomer: it's just a computer program that resembles a legal contract but does not interact with the government in any way.

Typically speaking, a legal contract does not interact with the government - only a very small percentage of contracts are adjudicated by a court or reviewed by any government body.

In other words, moving around money, tangible objects, services, and intangible rights is a reasonable shorthand for > 80 % of the things the law would call a contract.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread May 30 - June 5, 2016 · 2016-06-02T13:40:54.648Z · LW · GW

Citation, please?

Comment by TimS on Open Thread May 16 - May 22, 2016 · 2016-06-02T02:12:34.582Z · LW · GW

Why are you skeptical that political disagreements can break friendships?

Of course political disagreement can break friendships. But I'm urging you to consider that maybe you weren't friends, so that the likelihood that you could effect outcomes was negligible to the point that Pascal's Mugging considerations mean that your feelings of moral responsibility do not benefit you and might instead be some sort of Just-World distorted thinking.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread May 16 - May 22, 2016 · 2016-05-22T21:48:52.788Z · LW · GW

Alternatively, the causal arrow goes in the other direction. People don't give your practical opinions much weight, but you don't realize the gulf until you have a flare up about ideological disagreement.

I agree that ideological disagree can lead to lower weight to opinions, but if the gulf is as large as OP described, then I suspect the blow up was a symptom, not a cause.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread May 16 - May 22, 2016 · 2016-05-22T17:00:25.629Z · LW · GW

That's a weird definition of compulsion in this context. Others want to make choices. Sometimes those choices impact things you value. Sometime they doesn't.

But preventing people from acting on choices seems like the common thread. Privileging whether things you value are effected seems relevant to whether the prevention is morally justified, but from point of view of preventing the implementation of another's choice, the idea of compulsion seems identical.

In short, I assert the morally neutral description of an action ought not to vary based on moral judgment about the action.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread May 16 - May 22, 2016 · 2016-05-22T16:09:04.674Z · LW · GW

But I think the probability (that if Alice hadn't shouted me down then this guy would still be alive) is nontrivial.

I urge you to consider why you think this is true. You say that many other people warned this couple about the risks and all were blown off. If they had listened to your (or anyone's advice), there is a non-trivial chance of a different outcome. But was there a non-trivial chance you would persuade them differently?

(I'm also skeptical that your political disagreement had any effect on your persuasiveness regarding the danger of these drugs.)

Comment by TimS on Talking Snakes: A Cautionary Tale · 2016-05-03T17:51:07.699Z · LW · GW

The snake is part of their origin story, a core element in their belief system.

Ultimately, outsiders cannot define the content or centrality of parts of a belief system. If believers say it is a metaphor, then it is a metaphor. In other words, if believers retreat empirically to the point of invisible dragons, you can't stop them. Invisible dragons aren't incoherent, they are just boring.

a large percentage of christians believe in this story,

That large sub-groups of Christians believe something empirically false does not disprove Christianity as a whole, especially since there is widespread disagreement as to who is a "true" Christian.

and two hundred years ago I'd guess almost every christian believed in it.

Citation needed. You sound overconfident here.

Comment by TimS on If there IS alien super-inteligence in our own galaxy, then what it could be like? · 2016-02-26T22:12:56.779Z · LW · GW

This is only a paradox under naive definitions of infinity. Once one starts talking about cardinality, the "paradoxical" nature of the thought experiment fades away.

In other words, this is not really responsive to James_Miller's comment.

Comment by TimS on [deleted post] 2016-01-30T20:29:24.014Z

Alternate hypothesis: NRx stole some genuine insights from other branches of political thought (eg public choice theory, moral drift) & passed them off as original to NRx.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-30T17:20:13.272Z · LW · GW

My understanding was that Thomas only writes his fair share when you include all his idiosyncratic one-man dissents which influence no one and have failed to move the Overton Window. Is that wrong?

Yes. Check out Scotusblog if you want to look at other terms.

What I am bothered by is his apparent failure to contribute much to the Court in asking questions to get to the heart of issues

Oral argument is performance, not persuasion. The evidence of influence is citation of majority decisions in future terms and future courts. In other words, the rest of that paragraph would be just as true without reference to questions at oral argument. Please stop repeating the stupid talking point.

Personally, I am not bothered by Thomas's originalism, as you seem to think

Thomas is an originalist only if one thinks that the US Constitution is intended to codify natural law. Many originalists across the political spectrum don't. Further, I'm much more of a textualist, and textualism and natural law get together like oil and water.

But Thomas could easily be one of the 80k that the normal distribution implies, or be a bit below, maybe 97th or 98th percentile or something, which increases the numbers of candidates substantially (more than 3x) while still being plausible. (When I look at thresholds on IQ and characteristics broken down by deciles, I get the impression that for anything which is a fraction of a standard deviation, it is more a difference of quantity than quality; someone 1/3 or 2/3 SDs lower can do just about anything the other person can do, but with more time and effort, perhaps, while at 1 SD it starts to seem like there are things the lower person just won't get with any reasonable amount of time/effort. So a lot of 130 is just plain out of reach for 100, but not for 120.)

This is the heart of the issue. I think an 85 IQ would have difficulty consistently simulating a 100 IQ in professional life. But the evidence on this is too sparse for me to persuasively present in this forum. So I'm trying to highlight how we see too many black swans. Which itself is complicated by the difficulty in distinguishing between 120 &130.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-30T17:07:31.385Z · LW · GW

It's a controversial position that natural rights are what the Constitution protects, even among legal scholars who think the Constitution should be interpreted according to original public meaning (most "originalists").

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-30T17:05:57.212Z · LW · GW

So, the 14th Amendment protects "privileges or immunities." There's some of historical evidence of what those might include. But in the Slaughterhouse cases, the Supreme Court drained the phrase of any legal significance. There are many legal scholars across the political spectrum who think the Slaughterhouse cases are inconsistent with original public meaning.

Those scholars who think Obergefell, Roe, and such are consistent with original public meaning tend to say that "substantive" due process should be understood as code for "privileges or immunities."

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-27T15:20:35.526Z · LW · GW

That would be reasonable to note if he wrote many majority opinions, played a large role in changing the others' opinions (of course, then he'd look less 'extreme' if he was contributing behind the scenes, wouldn't he?), or in any way was not a ghost who could be replaced by his clerks with no one the wiser.

You are repeating a Democratic Party talking point as fact. A particularly stupid talking point. One of the reasons I used Thomas as an example is to try to push against this stupid assertion by those who are otherwise my political allies.

In point of fact, Thomas writes about 1/9 of the Supreme Court opinions and deals with about 1/9 of the other legal work (motions, etc), as would be expected of a body with nine members. I can't speak to behind-the-scenes influence. As a lawyer, I don't think any of the current Justices has historically notable intellectual influence except Scalia (Rehnquist also was unusually influential, by he is no longer on the court).

Speaking of which, neither Rehnquist nor Scalia are outside the mainstream of American legal thought. Their legal theories are notably on the conservative side, but well within the current Overton window of legal thought. To say Rehnquist and Scalia are as extreme as Thomas is another Democratic Party talking point.

I can only point to my professional work as an attorney for special education students to give you a sense of my experience with what an 80 IQ student is like.

That's not an answer to any of my other questions. Why do you think your limited, bubble-filled experience is good evidence for overriding a century of carefully constructed tests drawing on millions of nationally representative people and exhaustively vetted for bias as documented in books like Jensen's Bias in Mental Testing?

(Even if we granted your special ed beliefs accurate status, although I don't know about that either - I too was a special ed kid, but any lawyer who spent some time with me as my family fought the school district would not have had a representative impression of special ed kids, both because I was unrepresentative (and that's why I was mainstreamed), and because the long cumulative day to day interactions are different from occasional interactions. My mom still works with special ed kids and mentioned that one of her teachers had her nose broken by one of her kids who was handleable right up until he broke her nose; one of my best friends was also in special ed, and he could be a pretty decent guy for weeks or months at a time until his anger problems finally exploded at you - we drifted apart so I'm not sure what happened to him but last I heard he was in prison, which did not surprise me in the least bit. Life is as much about the lowest points as the average points.)

I see a wide range of students in my practice with many different profiles. It would be a mistake to conclude that a student with your profile was representative of all special education students. Given the broad scope of special education coverage, no special education student is truly "typical" of special education in general. At best, one student might be typical of a sub-population of a particular eligibility category, but likely not.

My experience with special education is presented to justify my conclusion that a student with an IQ of 80 is incapable of producing the kind of work Thomas routinely produces. I'm skeptical whether many 100 IQ students could create a career path like Thomas' path. That's relevant to the argument because the number of "black swan" high IQ people we observe should be related to the mean IQ of the population.

Separately, I'm well aware that an 80 IQ student is not typical of a special education student. In point of law, an 80 IQ by itself is not likely to lead a student to be formally included in special education. At a minimum, student must be within a particular category of need, such as autism spectrum or emotional dysfunction, to be entitled to legal classification as a special education student.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-27T02:37:48.664Z · LW · GW

Clarence Thomas is widely considered one of the worst Supreme Court justices in memory, and is famously uninvolved, going years without a question; he has also written harshly about how he feels affirmative action cheapened his degrees.

Thomas is extremely conservative, far out of the mainstream of American legal thought. That said, worse Supreme Court Justice is roughly like worst tenured physicist at MIT. It hardly means he isn't smart. In particular, not-talking-during-oral-argument doesn't mean not involved, and is another arguments-are-soldiers attack by liberal American legal society on someone who is admittedly far out of mainstream legal thought.

Your reference to his position on affirmative action is particularly confusing to me, because his point is a standard, fairly mainstream argument against AA. If that was his most extreme legal position, he'd be the swing vote, not the farthest right (or second farthest, depending on how one counts Alito).

The rest of your post is well taken, and I will have to think on it.

When was the last time you saw a retarded person bashing their head against the wall?

I can only point to my professional work as an attorney for special education students to give you a sense of my experience with what an 80 IQ student is like.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T22:57:28.532Z · LW · GW

That's not what that link says - best I can tell, the book summarized states living in a high-IQ country is more predictive of good life outcomes than your own IQ.

Getting down to brass tacks, we are assuming a lot when we compare IQ numbers from different tests. WIAS-IV is not necessarily comparable to other tests in English. Assuming that the French language test measures the same thing as the WIAS-IV assumes the very conclusion that I'm not agreeing with. (Although I'm not arguing this point in our other discussion).

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T22:52:11.732Z · LW · GW

it seems to me that I observe too many intelligent black folks for the mean to be in the 80s.

You, personally, observe too many? Is that statement true? Or do you merely expect to see many?

By convenience sampling in my personal life and observing public figures, I see a certain proportion of successful folk are black. Extrapolating from the proportion I see, 60k smart black folks is plausible. A much lower number is not plausible. What number of smart black folk should we expect to see if the mean were 85?

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T20:03:00.748Z · LW · GW

It seems like a core assumption of the "intellectual" realists. I'm conceding it to strong-man the opposing argument. If we don't assume IQ is culturally independent, the correlation between IQ and life outcome looks like a hidden-variable measure of social acceptability - i.e. an expected status quo bias if people prefer those they perceive as in-group. That just weakens the realist argument.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T19:58:26.247Z · LW · GW

From personal experience, there are lots of dumb lawyers. When I say highly successful, I mean roughly the level of screening that occurs through promotion from fresh-out-of-academy lieutenant to colonel.

For reference, Clarence Thomas easily clears the bar I'm trying to set, as did Johnny Cochran before he died. For entertainers, it seems clear that talent isn't correlated with intelligence. But I think staying power requires some, so the ultra-successful are candidates.

For my broader argument, the categories I set out are potentially under-inclusive. There are lots of folks (like business people) not included in the categories I explicitly listed. We also haven't included any children, on the grounds that we don't agree on how to identify them.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T18:33:56.754Z · LW · GW

More technically, the assumption that IQ is a good measure of intelligence across different sub-cultures.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T18:30:22.412Z · LW · GW

First, 42 million includes children for who I doubt there is a public criteria we can agree on as proxy for intelligence. Second, I'm not sure IQ > 130 is .13%. Wikipedia suggests 1%.

Since those cut in opposite directions, let's pretend they wash out. I am comfortable asserting there are more than 60k black folks in the set of:

  • senior military officers (colonel or greater)
  • highly successful national public intellectuals (eg Powell, Coates, Rice)
  • highly successful lawyers (Clarence Thomas is top 1% of lawyers)
  • highly successful MDs & research PhDs (eg Neil DeGrasse Tyson).
  • highly successful media/entertainment personalities (Sean "Diddy" Combs, Oprah, etc).
  • highly successful technocrats (mayors / police chiefs / school superintendent in large metro areas)
Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T17:45:11.184Z · LW · GW

Pardon my ignorance, but all the "intellect realism" theories seem like they can be charitably paraphrased as group X:

  • has a different mean IQ than the general population and/or
  • has a different standard deviation for IQ and/or
  • has a significantly skewed distribution from the normal curve

I've seen claimed IQ means in the 80s for black Americans. Observationally, American public life includes many black people for whom I find it implausible that they aren't pretty smart - eg Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Condeleeza Rice.

If I assume no difference in std dev or skew in intelligence distribution, it seems to me that I observe too many intelligent black folks for the mean to be in the 80s. Moreover, adding an assumption that std dev is lower doesn't help - now the successful black folk are explained, but I don't observe enough extreme low IQ folk.

That's why I conclude some error exists in the assumption of an 80s mean IQ.

Comment by TimS on Rationality Quotes Thread January 2016 · 2016-01-26T15:37:01.197Z · LW · GW

I don't believe you're evil for rule-lawyering and depriving people of good quotes.

One can debate the norms of a thread, or one can look at the listed expectations of the rationality quote thread:

No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please

Have you done more? I haven't counted and don't care. I don't think rationality quotes threads have any value beyond karma mining anyway. I object to accusations of "rules-lawyering" on the grounds that it is an almost always an attempt to pretty up "I disagree."

I believe there are stressors in your life that pressure you into acting that way, unaware of the social consequences in their enumeration.

Telling someone else what their motivations are is trying to pick a fight. Stop.

Comment by TimS on How did my baby die and what is the probability that my next one will? · 2016-01-19T15:43:14.619Z · LW · GW

No, my answer would not change.

First, I don't believe the assertion. Second, the kind of work to generate this kind of answer is different from providing service for the client. I enjoy advocating for clients, not meta-level analysis of advocacy. Think medical care vs. MetaMed.

Comment by TimS on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-19T15:40:31.444Z · LW · GW

There's no reason you should be a pariah accidentally simply because you have clarified your goals or gotten better at implementing them.

One possibility - your estimate of how many people are not friends to you. That sucks, but you can't force another person to be a good person at you.

Remember the right way to approach someone-is-wrong-on-the-internet, and apply the same principle to in-person interactions.

I'd like to find a way to present myself favorably to almost any crowd.

This is a much harder, and dramatically different goal, from not being a pariah.

Comment by TimS on How did my baby die and what is the probability that my next one will? · 2016-01-19T15:30:28.136Z · LW · GW

If you (very understandably) want a probability estimate from an actual obstetrician, you might try explicitly looking for an obstetrician willing to give probability estimates. That is, contact some local obstetricians and ask not "Can I consult you about this?" but "Are you willing to give me your best estimate of probabilities?". You may of course find that they all say no, or that they have no actual understanding of probability.

From my experience sitting on the other side of those conversations, I'm never going to give a number. First, producing the number is very resource intensive, likely more difficult that figuring out the correct things to do for the client.

Similarly, I'm not confident that I know (or remember) all the relevant facts about your situation that would effect my professional opinion. In particular, I've always found there were facts I was told and forgot or could have discovered but didn't. Even though I can perform quality work, failure to keep all those facts in mind during this estimate is not providing an opinion to a reasonable degree of professional certainty.

Third, my clients are human, and like all humans, are bad at probability. If I tell a client they have a 60% chance of winning and we lose, the client will be mad at me. That by itself is reason to give qualitative estimates, not quantitative ones.

Comment by TimS on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-19T15:16:57.823Z · LW · GW

Likely strong factors include:

  • Ease of applicability. If the average middle manager cannot apply a technique easily or straightforwardly while working, the major pressure to use a technique will be social signalling (cf. corporate buzzword speak).

  • Measurable outcomes. If the average middle manager cannot easily observe that the technique makes her job easier (either the productivity of subordinates or her control over them), then she will have no reason to emotionally or intellectually invest in the technique.

Comment by TimS on Open thread, Jan. 18 - Jan. 24, 2016 · 2016-01-19T15:10:03.173Z · LW · GW

Yes. That assertion threw up a red flag that the author was overstating the importance of the methodology.

Comment by TimS on [Stub] The problem with Chesterton's Fence · 2016-01-08T18:22:28.941Z · LW · GW

The steelman opponent of the fence is "I see a reason not to have the fence, and any benefits to having the fence is outweighed by the benefits of removing the fence."

By contrast, the Chesterton's Fence argument is that there are unrecognized benefits of the fence. In practice, this easily devolves into an argument about the relative costs and benefits, but that is probably a distinct argument.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016 · 2016-01-08T17:11:53.503Z · LW · GW

Respectfully, Trump is very skilled at sounding authentic. I'm not sure that he is authentic, but some other politician could easily be more authentic while lacking Trump's skills at sounding authentic.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016 · 2016-01-08T17:01:31.744Z · LW · GW

There's a lot of reasons to think that national polling is not predictive of a primary race

  • First, the relevant decisions are made state-by-state.
  • Second, the sampling issue for primary voters is much harder that for general election voters. Among other reasons, people are paying a lot less attention, so people who care strongly are probably more over-represented than is typical.

Does winning the [Iowa and New Hampshire] primaries not make him the Republican party candidate? Are there other primaries that aren't being bet on?

Yes to your second question. Also, winning one or both of the early primaries is not a strong predictor of who will be nominated in contested primaries.

Comment by TimS on Open Thread, January 4-10, 2016 · 2016-01-08T16:49:40.538Z · LW · GW

There's overwhelming data that parenting can prevent language acquisition. But that requires extreme degenerate cases - essentially child abuse on the level of locking the child in the closet and not talking to them at all.

For typical parenting, I agree that it is unlikely that variance in parenting style has measurable effect on language acquisition.

Comment by TimS on [Stub] The problem with Chesterton's Fence · 2016-01-08T16:46:02.591Z · LW · GW

Appealing to Chesterton's Fence is moving away from an object level argument. Thus, the general implication of the Chesterton's Fence argument is that there is not an efficient alternative solution to the problem.

Comment by TimS on Voiceofra is banned · 2015-12-24T01:52:10.499Z · LW · GW

Unless your goal is exclude folks like me (which could be your goal - I could be considered a marginal user), 80% is too high.

Comment by TimS on Is my theory on why censorship is wrong correct? · 2015-04-13T02:16:50.614Z · LW · GW

At this moment, the post is at -19. That is moderation removing it, round these parts.

Comment by TimS on Open thread, Dec. 15 - Dec. 21, 2014 · 2014-12-18T17:28:29.571Z · LW · GW

Interesting - I've modeled all cancer in my mind as vaguely similar to testicular cancer - one is likely to get it, but unlikely to die of it unless you survive many other potential causes of death.

In other words, I'm not sure if the data we care about is prevalence-of-cancer or prevalence-of-cancer-deaths.

On reflection, I think the assertion under question is essentially "Paleo diet creates more QUALYs." Which should be answered in part by how much prevalence of cancer effects quality of life even if the cancer was not a causal factor in death.

Comment by TimS on Taboo Your Words · 2014-12-18T17:18:13.028Z · LW · GW


Professor: Let's continue our discussion of sub-atomic particles. Top quarks have a number of interesting properties . . . .
Student: Excuse me professor, could you taboo "atomic?"
Professor: Get out.

In this situation, I think it is clear that the professor is right and the student is wrong. It doesn't matter if (a) the student is a quack who objects to atomic theory, or (b) is asking in good faith for more information on atomic theory. (a) is an example of bad faith. (b) is an example of sincere but not worth the effort - mostly because the topic of conversation is sub-atomic particles, not atomic theory.

I'm just having trouble understanding a situation where (1) question is on topic (ie worth answering) (2) asked sincerely, but (3) not worth tabooing a technical term.

In short, deciding the appropriate topic of conversation is difficult, but beyond the scope of the original article.

Comment by TimS on Open thread, Dec. 15 - Dec. 21, 2014 · 2014-12-18T14:37:25.350Z · LW · GW

Cancer and heart disease are diseases of longevity. Why expect paleo to help with them when there's every reason to believe longevity wasn't a part of that environment?

Comment by TimS on Taboo Your Words · 2014-12-18T13:39:44.076Z · LW · GW

Can you be specific? I'm having trouble thinking if situation where trying to communicate was worth the cost, but tabooing words if asked was not.

Comment by TimS on Taboo Your Words · 2014-12-17T22:49:11.606Z · LW · GW

If the listener is not acting in bad faith and the medium of communication is appropriate, why the resistance to taboo-ing? Or what Nornagest said

Comment by TimS on Taboo Your Words · 2014-12-17T22:18:13.296Z · LW · GW

The essay isn't about speech, it's about communication. Outside the scope of this essay, but sometime speech is the wrong medium.

Comment by TimS on Taboo Your Words · 2014-12-17T22:16:06.276Z · LW · GW

If your target audience is not listening in good faith, there's no trick to get them to listen fairly. Either understand that your communication is only useful for silent bystanders, or stop interacting with the bad faith audience.