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Comment by tlhonmey on Disguised Queries · 2019-01-04T01:20:55.762Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Or they're not spelling out their evidence because it seems obvious to them and therefore (in their minds) should be obvious to you as well and need no explanation.

I know many Atheists for whom their belief in no god is indeed a religion. They arrived at their belief not through reason and weighing the evidence but through the same kind of blind acceptance of someone else's cached values that religionists engage in. They fall into the same traps of treating "arguments as soldiers" as do the religionists. They make the same kind of circular, bad arguments in favour of their own point of view. Since these people also tend to be the most vocal, militant Atheists they are the ones that vocal Theists run up against the most often. As a result Theists, upon encountering a rational Atheist are at least as perplexed as an Atheist encountering one of the rare, rational Theists and the two often end up talking past each other due to not realising that the assumed common frame of reference they're each trying to use for communication isn't actually common.

Comment by tlhonmey on The Parable of the Dagger · 2019-01-03T23:36:28.221Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The jester should have seen this coming.

"Either both inscriptions are true, or both inscriptions are false."

If this statement is true then the second box must hold the key by the jester's reasoning. However if this statement is false then it doesn't require that the second statement be true. In his testing the jester negated only half of the statement at a time. If this statement is entirely false then it could simply mean that the true-false values of the statements on either box have no relationship to each other. Which did indeed turn out to be the case.

In other words: If the statement on the second box is false, then the statement on the first box claiming that the statements on the two boxes are in any way related is also false and the fact that both being false would cause a paradox if the first statement were true is not relevant.

The jester made the mistake of assuming "at least one of the statements is true" and confused validity and soundness, and therefore deserved to be stabbed.

Comment by tlhonmey on Lost Purposes · 2019-01-03T23:06:39.090Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. It seems your early Jewish teachers were firmly stuck in the mindset that was one of the things Christianity originally arose to combat. (Not that Christians should feel too haughty about that since the vast majority of Christian sects fell right back into the same trap early on. I find it amusing that "The Lord's Prayer" is repeated by-rote in most sects when in-context it was given as an example of how you shouldn't waste your time with by-rote prayers...)

This is as opposed to the Jewish community in and around Salt Lake City in the early 1900s that my grandfather always told stories about. (Although I must admit the possibility that the stories were modified to better carry whatever principle he was trying to teach at the expense of strict conformance to history.) To them the best prayers were actions. Prayers-of-words were useful only insofar as they led to choosing the best prayers-of-action. If your neighbour's barn burns down you don't stand around muttering prayers that they'll be able to recover from the disaster any longer than it takes you to figure out who can contribute what -- and then you go out, build them a new barn and stock it for them. Prayers-of-words-you-don't-understand are worse than useless. They are a distraction that leads you in entirely the wrong direction. Prayers-of-words-that-don't-cause-action are empty and useless -- intermediate steps detached from their terminal goals. But we lazy humans are creatures of ritual and habit and pattern-matching. If we experience often enough a chain of events that starts with words and ends with desirable outcomes we eventually become tempted to think that all we need to do is start the chain and not give any thought to the middle steps. If every day at 4PM we take our keys and get in the car and drive to the store and buy some chocolate we may well find ourselves wandering the aisles aimlessly despite having heard about the chocolate-destroying-earthquake prior to having left the house. Because we weren't actually thinking about it.

"Things we do without thinking -- There's the real danger."

Comment by tlhonmey on Status Regulation and Anxious Underconfidence · 2018-07-20T07:03:24.441Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Another potential reason for the disparity in social reaction to overconfidence vs underconfidence may be that, for primitive people, overconfidence would likely get one killed immediately when taking on too large a challenge while underconfidence would merely result in being hungry but usually living to find another opportunity later.

In the modern world very few of our challenges are of a nature where failure results in immediate death, but our brains are still wired as though we're debating the wisdom of leaping onto a mammoth's back. Being pack animals we are naturally inclined to curb the exuberance of others to avoid incurring fatality rates that would jeopardize the survival of the tribe, but most of us have a mis-calibrated scale due to never having had to take on significant, life-or-death decisions.