ESR's comments on some EY:OB/LW posts

by Eliezer Yudkowsky1 min read20th Jun 200916 comments


Personal Blog

Eric S. Raymond's comments on some of my Overcoming Bias posts.

In his reply to my To Lead, You Must Stand Up, he writes:

"I think your exhortations here are nearly useless. Experience I’ve collected over the last ten years suggests to me that the kind of immunity to stage fright you and I have is a function of basic personality type at the neurotransmitter-balance level, and not really learnable by most people."

This is a particularly interesting observation if combined with Hanson's hypothesis that people choke to submit.

"I disagree with The Futility of Emergence," says ESR.  Yea, many have said this to me.  And they go on to say:  Emergence has the useful meaning that...  And it's a different meaning every time.  In ESR's case it's:

"The word 'emergent' is a signal that we believe a very specific thing about the relationship between 'neurons firing' and 'intelligence', which is that there is no possible account of intelligence in which the only explanatory units are neurons or subsystems of neurons."

Let me guess, you think the word "emergence" means something useful but that's not exactly it, although ESR's definition does aim in the rough general direction of what you think is the right definition...

So-called "words" like this should not be actually spoken from one human to another.  It is tempting fate.  It would be like trying to have a serious discussion between two theologians if both of them were allowed to say the word "God" directly, instead of always having to say whatever they meant by the word.