[SEQ RERUN] Beware Stephen J. Gould

by MinibearRex1 min read18th Oct 20116 comments


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Today's post, Beware of Stephen J. Gould was originally published on 06 November 2007. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


A lot of people have gotten their grasp of evolutionary theory from Stephen J. Gould, a man who committed the moral equivalent of fraud in a way that is difficult to explain. At any rate, he severely misrepresented what evolutionary biologists believe, in the course of pretending to attack certain beliefs. One needs to clear from memory, as much as possible, not just everything that Gould positively stated but everything he seemed to imply the mainstream theory believed.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Natural Selection's Speed Limit and Complexity Bound, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.

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So... was I the only one who had the QM sequence popping in my head when I reread this article?

How so? That is insight I would like to see. QM does not come readily to my mind from this post.

Eliezer's presentation of QM seems like stealing chaos to me. Articles like this come to mind. At the very least, I suspect he magnifies the amount of chaos in physics- the default position at my school was "shut up and calculate" agnosticism, and quotes from prominent physicists suggest that's been a significant (if not the dominant) position for a long time.

... from a comment of his on that self-same thread:

If you're postulating new fundamental physics, things that don't show up microscopically but do show up macroscopically, to explain the Born statistics, there would be a hundred better possibilities that don't violate Special Relativity.

I've never understood why the many-world-ers don't see that their particular 'interpretation' is equally as guilty as CI of violating basic physical laws and creating more problems than it solves in general (note: I'm saying both MWI and CI are equally invalid). Ahh, well.

I'm fairly convinced that MWI is LW dogma because it supports the Bayesian notion that probabilities are mental entitites rather than physical ones, and not on its own merits.

Certainly Eliezer seems enthralled with the notion. Beyond that I have no opinions on the matter.