Comment by ugquestions on Rationality Quotes: June 2011 · 2011-06-11T12:12:31.560Z · LW · GW

The questioner is nothing but the answer. We are not ready to accept this because it will put an end to all the answers which we have accepted as being the real answers. u.g. Krishnamurti

Comment by ugquestions on Action and habit · 2011-06-11T12:03:53.081Z · LW · GW

Do we ever act or simply react according to our habits. I do believe habitual thoughts about our own character determine the basic principles at play in our decisions/actions. Our actions re-enforce habits, habits re-enforce actions and so on. Rarely, it seems, do people allow the possibility within themselve to act in a way that is "out of character" and are thus reduced to being vertual automatons, reacting to their established habitual proclivities. Perhaps this is true for everyone. Occassionally acting "out of character" may be just another habitual response. To change requires us to be stimulated either internally or externally, by thoughts or experiences, in ways that seems more desirable than the pre-existing conditions.

Comment by ugquestions on Simpson's Paradox · 2011-01-26T23:55:11.514Z · LW · GW

All variables cannot be accounted for. Without knowing what variables are missing in statistical data, how can you trust the results of any statistical evidence. How could one analysis be more accurate than another. People love statistical truths as they create a basis for deciding what to believe (or confirming perceptions of reality) and give only little thought to the inherent flaws in their creation.

Comment by ugquestions on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge · 2011-01-26T12:18:33.333Z · LW · GW

The problem with self help is that most people don't know what they really want. If they did then maybe self help books might work.

Comment by ugquestions on Simpson's Paradox · 2011-01-26T11:52:59.954Z · LW · GW

I believe probability and statistics ignore a fundamental aspect of reality. Uniqueness. Everything is unique in every moment. All the variables cannot be seen, understood and calculated (yet). Putting any faith in statistical probabilities is just that, Faith. Given our limited abilities any jugdements based on statisics should be taken with a grain of salt. The less variables factored in the less Faith one should have in the informations validity. In the case of treatment A or B in the example, if this is all the information you have to go on I'd probably tossing a coin.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-17T08:29:28.359Z · LW · GW

This particular person was raised by an absolute nutter. From a very early age they were told there were demonic forces at work everywhere and the end of the world and the second coming were about to occur. This kind of upbringing probably necessitates a literalistic approach to life. If is not against the law to teach children such things, then it should be.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-14T11:43:13.637Z · LW · GW

I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear. The topic asked for examples of bad logic. The use of the idea "all men are created equal" by people absolving themselves any responsibility for the destitute and failures in societies today is the use of bad logic I was trying to refer too.

This particular idea itself (not the entire declaration of independence), however, is poorly phased and open to ridicule because of its obvious falseness. Political ideas are routinely used and interpreted in ways that demonstate poor or bad lagic. All I was trying to point out was the pained feeling I get when I here someone using and idea like this one to argue an inconsistent and ridiculous position.

I have not been posting long and am beginning to learn very quickly that I need to make my ideas as clear as absolutely possible. (as I would argue the authors of this idea probably should have)

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-14T02:13:53.016Z · LW · GW

Good, yes, but only to those who believe.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-14T02:13:02.764Z · LW · GW

They would probably reply "Thats not what athiests say".

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-13T11:26:31.973Z · LW · GW

"I think therefore I am"

Would it be more accurate to say I think therefore I think I am. What if I think I am not am I not. If I think I am a goldfish or a black hole is this what I am. If you were to show me a thought it would be by an action, so perhaps it should be I act therfore I am.

The question of what constitutes an "I" is the question that needs first to be answered in order to be able to demonstrate "I am".

(probably gone a little to far with this one, just interested in the nature of the self and what others think about this kind of idea. Maybe point me to a different more relevent post)

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-13T11:16:02.545Z · LW · GW

A relative once told me they believed in god because;

"If god exists and I believe I go to heaven, If god exists and I don't believe I suffer for eternity in hell, if god does not exist then It does not matter if I believe. The logical and sensible thing to do therefore is to believe in god."

This is truly someones logic. When confronted with what happens to a person who has not been told to believe the reply was "I'm sure god will take that into account". When asked what happens to people of different faiths and beliefs "all thats important is that they believe in god". When asked what happens to people if they have no concience and commit unspeakable acts "as long as they believe in god they will be alright".

The fear of eternal suffering can create some strange logic.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-13T11:00:38.168Z · LW · GW

What about access to resource / opportunity. Also family circumstance / environment / status. All men are not born / created equal.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-13T03:21:42.688Z · LW · GW

I giggled quite a bit at that statement too.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-12T03:06:15.411Z · LW · GW

Questions of right and wrong are an entirely different arguement. In this case it is not a question of the idea being right or wrong. Its the beleif in the idea while ommiting the obvious flaws. I wouldn't try to argue that anyone writing on this site would use this idea in this way.

What do you think of "gods love is unconditional". No-one seems to have commented on this.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-12T02:57:27.383Z · LW · GW

It is in the use of an idea that the facepalm response occurs. Argueing for the concept of meritocracy for example by using the idea all men are created equal. I believe many feel people fail or succeed based on their efforts without consideration for other factors such as those outlined above and probably the most impotant factor LUCK.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-12T02:46:20.943Z · LW · GW

Thank you, my thoughts exactly.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-11T13:58:10.937Z · LW · GW

Is it the worst argument in the world because it cannot be refuted or argued against? Maybe the one-sided argument is the way we define a bad argument.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-11T13:35:26.073Z · LW · GW

"Interpretation" creates/is rationality or logic.

Comment by ugquestions on A sense of logic · 2010-12-11T13:11:47.354Z · LW · GW

"All men are created equal"

"God's love is unconditional"

I feel the pain in my head. I think its because I genuinely want to understand why they truly believe what they are saying while not seeing the clear contradictions, but try as I might I just cannot. I have found that I feel the same way when a contradiction betweeen a belief and action within myself occurs. For example I believe nothing really matters, but every decision and action I take obviously contradicts this belief.

The pain has a name. Confusion. With awareness that such ideas impact the world and yourself it combines with sadness, pity, anger, frustration or a combination of all of them. Maybe this is the pain you feel in the stomach. Zen uses koans to take confusion to a heighten level in order to show an individual that all thought is equally confused depending on your perspective. The truth is there is nothing solid or certain just a feeling (that is created/invented) that there is. Belief, thought, action, feeling have little to do with reality. People have a limitless ability to rationalize just about anything and make the most absurd ideas true for themselves. The corners you feel are all pinned down are coners you or people collectively have created for yourself. Different corners, different conclusions, different logic. How you react to ideas, whether fast or not, is based upon the corners your logic uses (and so is in a sense kinethetic) and how they are set up over a lifetime is as individual as fingerprints.

Comment by ugquestions on The Trolley Problem: Dodging moral questions · 2010-12-09T23:14:06.294Z · LW · GW

I guess I was thinking of necessities like food, water, electricity, medicine etc which the lack of is causinG the preventable premature deaths . Passing the costs of production on to consumers (including increases in tax) in order to maintain or grow profit margins is at the heart of our economic reality.

'Not worth working as hard for less reward" is the reason for the lottery for the top 10% of earners. Most of these kind of individuals would have the belief that this would be a lottery they would not win and therefore continue to work as they would. An increase for all the top 10% (tax) would only modify their behaviour and at least some proportion of the cost would enievitably be passed on to all consumers.

Comment by ugquestions on The Trolley Problem: Dodging moral questions · 2010-12-09T07:53:26.308Z · LW · GW

I was aware of the many possible negative consequences such an action could have ( and the impossiblity of it ever having a chance of happening) however if there was a majority support across a society above 75% would the basic idea of sacrificing a small number of people to a modest lifestyle in order to save a large number of people be something you could support. Would a bloodbath be triggered with such support. I pose the question and think its a meaninful question because it is in a "general" sense a decision societies and civilization as a whole ( and by extension all individuals) are making every day.

I spend $70 a month on entertainment. If I redirect this money I could save 7 people a month from a preventable premature death. We all make these decisions. If the question was a choice between throwing the fat person in front of the trolley of yourself in order to save people which would you prefer.

Also remember it is the "fat person" or wealthy that propels the trolley into these people to varying degrees.

Comment by ugquestions on The Trolley Problem: Dodging moral questions · 2010-12-09T07:41:46.592Z · LW · GW

an increase in tax would only create an increase in product prices as the wealthy try to recoup their losses. This would adversely affect the very people you would be trying to help. The middle class whose support you wold require would also be affected negarive and the proposal would be then over turned.

Increasing taxes would not work.

Comment by ugquestions on The Trolley Problem: Dodging moral questions · 2010-12-08T06:12:11.604Z · LW · GW

The top 10% of humanity accumulates 30% of the worlds wealth. 20% of the humanity dies from preventable, premature death (and suffers horribly)

The proposition...

10% of the top 10% had all their wealth taken from them (lottery selection process) They are forced to work as hard and effectively as they had previously and were given only enough of the profits they produce to live modestly. They lose everything and work for 5 years and recieve 10% of original wealth back The next 10% of the top 10 % is selected The wealth taken is used to ensure the survival of the 20% dying from preventable premature death.

In this scenario 1% of people are forced to live modestly in order to save up to 20% of humanity. No-one need to kill or be killed.

It would probably be reasonable to say the top 20% of earners would be against this proposal. The majority of the bottom 40% would be in favour. If your reading this you are likely on of the other 40% of humankind who can choose to support or reject the proposal. What would you say?

I am aware there are many holes in the proposition (unintended consequences etc) however this is a hypothetical that is based on a real situation that exists now that we are all contributing to in one way or another.

Comment by ugquestions on The Trolley Problem: Dodging moral questions · 2010-12-07T12:14:57.628Z · LW · GW

It appears that we live in a world where not only will most people refuse complicity in a disaster in order to save more lives, but where many people reject outright the idea that they should have any considered set of moral standards for making hard choices at all.

We live in a world where most people refuse complicity in a disaster in order to "maintain a certain quality of life even though it costs many lives".

Perhaps this is the reason for opting out of answering the question, acting is just to hard. The decision and its consequences is for someone else. For most people this is the life they live. The power to think about and decide what to do in a disasterous situation is always in someone elses hands and is therefore not needed to be considered or contemplated at all.

I see this as one of the worst aspects of centralized power arrangements in communities because "complicity" of all citizens in man made disasters either through direct actions or inaction should be understood and acknowledged by all. Perhaps then prevention or a change in behaviour would produce better outcomes.

Then again, probably not.