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Comment by whiskyjack on Belief in Belief · 2012-04-12T14:57:07.364Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's helpful input, thanks. After reading the link and searching the wiki I suspect that it is more likely an akrasia/urges v. goals sort of thing based upon my reaction to noticing the inconsistency. I felt a need to bring my actions in line with my professed beliefs.

Comment by whiskyjack on Belief in Belief · 2012-04-12T14:41:40.326Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Very interesting. I have transhumanist beliefs that I claim to hold. My actions imply that I believe that I believe, if I understand this properly.

A prime example would be how I tend to my health. There are simple rational steps I can take to increase my odds of living long enough to hit pay dirt. I take okay care of myself, but could do better. Much better.

Cryonics may be another example. More research is required on my part, but a non-zero last stab is arguably better than nothing. I am not enrolled. It feels a bit like Pascal’s Wager to me. Perhaps it is a more valid form of the argument, though. Hoping for a scientific miracle seems essentially different than hoping for a magical miracle. Scientific miracles abound. Artificial hearts, cochlear implants, understanding our origins, providing succor to imbalanced minds, the list goes on. Magical miracles… not so much.

Heck, I could stop forgetting to floss daily! (There seem to be strong correllations between gum disease and heart disease).

I anticipate as if there will be no radical life extension available within my life time, but I will argue for the possibility and even likelihood. Do I have this correct as a type of belief in belief?

Comment by whiskyjack on Attention control is critical for changing/increasing/altering motivation · 2012-04-11T13:52:02.915Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

This is a well supported article with real life applications. Even better it shines a spotlight on holes in my thinking. I appreciate it when I read something that makes me want to slap my forehead and yell, "well, of COURSE!"

Thank you for your time putting this together.

Comment by whiskyjack on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-04-06T17:46:39.240Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks! I consider myself more self aware than most, largely because I have done work similar to what is proposed in the Luminosity sequence myself. Of course interesting arguments could be had about how subjective the experience is, what ‘self’ I am even trying to be aware of (would that just be semantic?), but the result was a positive net gain in my quality of life. I'm curious to try the work with different techniques, though.

It will be interesting to see if the concept I hold of myself as pretty self-aware survives around here. All part of the process, I suppose.

As far as the math... If I don't try I definitely won't learn it. It will be a struggle, though.

Comment by whiskyjack on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) · 2012-04-06T15:11:42.807Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

Howdy,

tl;dr This seems like a place that I can use to shore up some of my cognitive shortcomings, eliminate some bias and expand my worldview. Maybe I can help someone else along the way.

I have been reading the material here for the last several days and have decided that this is a community that I would like to be a part of and hopefully contribute to. My greatest interests are improving my map of the territory(how great is that analogy?), using my constantly improving map to be a better husband and father, and exploring transhumanist ideas and conceits.

I came to be a rationalist when I started reading somewhat milquetoast skeptical literature. Having been raised religious and having served in the Marine Corps I have found that I have a tendency to allow arguments from authority too much credence. If I am not careful I can serve as quite the dutiful drone.

It became important over the last few months that I be able to do as much of my own philosophical and scientific legwork as possible. If an author or speaker that I enjoy espouses ideas I am inclined to agree with it is vital (in my estimation) that I either be able to verify the information presented myself or locate reliable independent verification. This is the type of thinking that I feel I owe my wife and son. LessWrong seems like it aligns well with that ideal. Bias and gullibility kill.

The religious arguments were fun at first, but have become boring. The issue is resolved to my satisfaction. I tend to approach things scientifically instead of philosophically. I struggle to grok philosophy. I think that means I need to redouble my efforts there. My maths could use work, but aren't as sorry as some folks. I get algebra and have survived a few classes in statistics. Keyword: survived.

I am slowly chewing my way through the sequences and learning a good bit. I'm not the fastest thinker, so I will have to read some of them a few times to get the ideas involved. Some of the quantum ideas seem wildly exotic, but that just means I am going to have to really brush up on my physics....of which I have none. I'm not about to make an argument from incredulity there. I don't know enough to HAVE an opinion yet.

I used to read Common Sense Atheism and I find myself now thinking, "Ah, this is what Luke was going on about.' There is some pretty cool stuff here and I look forward to contributing what I can.