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So apparently the fundamental attribution bias may not really exist: "The actor-observer asymmetry in attribution: a (surprising) meta-analysis"_ActObs_meta.pdf), Malle 2006. Nor has Thinking, Fast and Slow held up too well under replication or evaluation (maybe half): https://replicationindex.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/reconstruction-of-a-train-wreck-how-priming-research-went-of-the-rails/

I am really discouraged about how the heuristics & biases literature has held up since ~2008. I wasn't naive enough back then to think that all the results were true, I knew about things like publication bias and a bit about power and p-hacking, but what has happened since has far exceeded my worst expectations. (I think Carl Shulman or someone warned me that the H&B literature wouldn't, so props to whoever that was.) At this point, it seems like if it was written about in Cialdini's Influence, you can safely assume it's not real.

At this point, it seems like if it was written about in Cialdini's Influence, you can safely assume it's not real.

How well has the ideas presented in Cialdini's book held up? Scarcity heuristic, Physical attractiveness stereotype, and Reciprocity I thought were pretty solid and hasn't come under scrutiny, yet at least.

Is there a current list of biases that have held up?

I've been looking quite a bit specifically into the planning fallacy / miscalibration / overconfidence, which appears to be well-substantiated across a variety of studies (although I haven't seen any meta-analyses).

At this point, it seems like if it was written about in Cialdini's Influence, you can safely assume it's not real.

Are you sure "does not replicate" is the same as "not real"? If we can't trust the studies that found these effects, why are you so confident in the replications?

Time-reversal heuristic: if the failed replication had come first, why would you privilege the original over that? If the replications cannot be trusted, despite the benefit of clear hypotheses to test and almost always higher power & incorporation of heterogeneity, a fortiori, the original cannot be trusted either...

It would be surprising if the necessary level of power & incorporation of heterogeneity always happened to fall right in between that of the original study and the replication. I would expect that in many cases, the necessary level is above that of both studies, which means neither can be considered definitive.

I think there are some serious issues with the methodology and instruments used to measure heuristics & biases, which they didn't fully understand even ten years ago.

Some cognitive biases are robust and well established, like the endowment effect. Then there are the weirder ones, like ego depletion. I think a fundamental challenge with biases is clever researchers first notice them by observing other humans, as well as observing the way that they think, and then they need to try and measure it formally. The endowment effect, or priming, maps pretty well to a lab. On the other hand, ego depletion is hard to measure in a lab (in any sufficiently extendable way).

I think a lot of people experience, or think they experience, something like ego depletion. Maybe it's insufficiently described, or a broad classification, or too hard to pin down. So the original researcher noticed it in their experience, and formed a contrived experiment to 'prove' it. Everyone agreed with it, not because the statistics were compelling or it was a great research design, but because they all experience, or think they experience, ego depletion.

Then someone replicates it, and it doesn't replicate, because it's really hard to measure robustly. I think ego depletion doesn't work well in a lab, or without some sort of control or intervention, but those are hard things to set up for such a broad and expansive argument. And I guess you could build a survey, but that sucks too.

In the fundamental attribution error, I think that meta analysis is great, in that it shows that these studies suck statistically. They only work if you come to them with the strong prior evidence that "Hey, this seems like something I do to other people, and in the fake examples of attribution error I can think of lots of scenarios where I have done that." Of course, our memory sucks, so that is a questionable prior, but how questionable is it? In the end I don't know if it's real, or only real for some people, or too generalized to be meaningful, or true in some situations but not others, or how other people's brains work. Probably the original thesis was too nice and tidy: Here is a bias, here is the effect size. Maybe the reality is: Here is a name for a ton of strange correlated tiny biases, which together we classify as 'fundamental attribution', but which is incredibly challenging to measure statistically over a sample population in a contrived setting, as the best information to support it seems inextricably tangled up in the recesses of our brains.

(also most heuristics and biases probably do suck, and lack of replication shows the authors were charlatans)

The endowment effect, or priming, maps pretty well to a lab.

Are you saying that cognitive biases like endowment effect and priming map better to lab settings therefore are less susceptible to contrived experiments to prove them like ego depletion?

I don't know whether or not these map well to a lab or not, but priming research is one of the major areas under going a replication crisis; not sure about the endowment effect.

how the heuristics & biases literature has held up

How do you define it? Anything that Kahneman mentioned in his popular book? That seems too broad for me. The work of Kahneman and Tversky has held up well, as, I think, has the work of their students, the people invited to contribute to the book Heuristics and Biases.

I moved the Rational Politics Project to Gleb's drafts because the discussion seemed insufficiently good.

I think there are some interesting topics in that area and I'd like to post about them at some point.

I think there are some interesting topics in that area, and I hope you post about them at some point ... elsewhere.

Yes. Less Wrong has done well at avoiding politics, and I hope it stays that way.

Less Wrong has not been doing well since 2013 or something, so one could perhaps rephrase this as

"Less wrong has been doing rather badly due (in part) to a lack of content, but I think metapolitical content is bad enough to be even worse"

Don't we not do politics here? Maybe make a Thunderdome area where people can just fight about politics?

What's the standard for a "sufficiently good" discussion around here? Just wondering - maybe you should just put the whole site in "draft mode"!

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the comments involved in this case is not that.

(With apologies to Holmes)

PSA: There currently isn't a way to edit the URL of a linkpost. (Be careful when submitting one!) If you get it wrong, resubmit with the right link and get a mod to delete the incorrect post.

Also, don't send it to drafts first; that seems like it causes problems.

Elo requested that I post this comment about spamming from (I take it) Landmark Forum participants in "the next Open Thread". (Perhaps in order to remind him to perform some sort of moderator-hammering on them.) So here we are. (Linking to it seemed like a better idea than copying its text.)

I think it's interesting and not something to be just lost to the archive. Not many people watch the comment RSS.

I don't know what to think about Ego Depletion. When I first read about it, it felt quite intuitive and the research on it was robust. It came up everywhere I read. Then the whole replication crisis thing happened and serious doubts were cast on it. I updated towards a weaker effect.

I haven't given it much thought since, until I was recently reminded of the study about mental fatigue on parole board judges and how chances of granting parole were greatest at the beginning of the work day and right after a food break(replenish mental resources).

If Ego Depletion is weak at best then what is going on with the parole study? My current epistemic status is that the effect is real and not debunked; but the effect may not be as universal (good for predicting parole and not so good for contrived cognitive experiments).

The effect size on the study of judges is too big to believe. Compared to that, removing the theoretical basis is a negligible problem.

That's a great observation! I heard about the judges, then about ego depletion, then about ego depletion not being replicated, but I wouldn't make the connection myself.

My guess (I don't feel much certainty about this) would be that ego depletion is about frustration, and that the same task can feel differently frustrating for different people. Maybe some participants in the experiment didn't mind doing some tasks, which is why their "ego" didn't get "depleted". But a daily job is different than an experiment.

Zvavzvmvat |fva(a)| vf rdhvinyrag gb zvavzvmvat |a-s(a)| jurer s(a) vf gur arnerfg zhygvcyr bs cv gb a; rdhvinyragyl, gb zvavzvmvat |a-z.cv| jurer a,z ner vagrtref naq 1<=a<=10^100; rdhvinyragyl, gb zvavzvmvat z|a/z-cv| jvgu gur fnzr pbafgenvag ba a. (Juvpu vf boivbhfyl zber be yrff rdhvinyrag gb fbzrguvat yvxr z<=10^100/cv+1.)

Gurer'f n fgnaqneq nytbevguz sbe guvf, juvpu lbh pna svaq qrfpevorq r.t. urer. V guvax gur erfhyg unf gur sbyybjvat qvtvgf:

bar fvk frira mreb svir gjb frira svir avar fvk guerr svir bar svir fvk svir bar svir fvk frira svir sbhe svir avar rvtug svir avar fvk bar bar mreb frira sbhe svir fvk fvk sbhe avar svir svir svir mreb frira guerr fvk gjb guerr bar guerr avar guerr rvtug bar rvtug rvtug rvtug svir avar mreb gjb frira bar mreb fvk gjb avar guerr frira rvtug sbhe svir gjb mreb avar svir gjb gjb avar svir mreb frira gjb sbhe mreb mreb rvtug gjb frira fvk bar frira svir fvk avar sbhe sbhe sbhe mreb fvk guerr

I wonder if there's a simple worst-case proof that shows how complicated you need to let the seeds get in order to find the actual optimum. For example, if we look for the best integer under 10^85 rather than under 10^100, the seed that leads to this algorithm outputting the optimum is different, or at least the overlap seems small. But I'm having a hard time proving anything about this algorithm, because although small seed numerators could add up to almost anything, in practice they won't.

To paraphrase Walter White - Say its (decimal) name!

It's very long. I think just giving the sequence of digits is clearer.

Then I goofed. Correction will follow shortly once I work out what ridiculous thing I did.

OK, I think what I meant was: frira fvk svir bar svir mreb gjb frira guerr sbhe rvtug frira frira bar sbhe svir sbhe sbhe gjb svir frira fvk bar gjb avar rvtug rvtug gjb gjb rvtug mreb bar sbhe svir avar avar frira guerr avar avar svir guerr guerr avar fvk sbhe avar avar bar fvk bar rvtug gjb rvtug frira bar bar svir sbhe mreb svir svir sbhe guerr guerr gjb gjb bar fvk mreb rvtug gjb sbhe frira svir guerr rvtug guerr sbhe svir fvk sbhe avar gjb bar avar guerr mreb mreb guerr rvtug rvtug svir svir svir fvk mreb sbhe frira rvtug avar.

Nope. Your number is too big. Bigger than 10^100.

Whaaa? I checked that. But you're right. The last digit should simply not be there. I don't know how that happened; presumably a bug in my convert-number-to-English-digit-names one-liner. Sorry.

... which agrees with cousin_it's answer; I promise I didn't cheat :-).

I think you have one extra digit at the end.

Yeah. A bug in conversion to English digits, I think. (Unfortunately it was throwaway code in a now-closed window so I can't check exactly what stupid thing I did.)

Funnily enough, I didn't even write any code. Just figured out that I need a 100-digit numerator of a continued fraction convergent of pi, then found it on OEIS.

Ha! I can never remember which sorts of best approximation are guaranteed to be actual c.f. convergents and which might be "intermediate" ones that come from iterating the mediant construction. So I used PARI's "bestappr" function. My bug was in code that had nothing to do with the actual mathematics.

7651502734877145442576129882280145997399533964991618287115405543322160824753834564921930038855560478

Wolfram Alpha says the sine is on the order of 10^-100.

Not for this number, if I copy and paste it to WolframAlpha.

Try to post in in two lines here.

You probably didn't click "use radians". Here's a test link&rawformassumption=%22TrigRD%22+-%3E+%22R%22).

As I saw your number here, it ended with 8855.

Now it is okay. I have restarted Chrome - and you are right, it's close.

You have SOLVED the problem. Congratulations!

LOL ... Sinus of which natural number between 1 and 10^100 is closest to 0.

And not sinus of some whole number of some arbitrary units like degrees, grads or whatever.

But you know this. You have just won a consolation prize. :)

I have the same question as this OP. I didn't think any of the answers were helpful enough. Basically everything I could find regarding Assange's asylum with Ecuador stems from the threat of Sweden extraditing him to the U.S., however the threat of politically motivated deportation remains regardless of what happens in Sweden; the U.K. can just as well do it.

One of the answers says:

The Swedish government allowed in the past the CIA to kidnap people inside Sweden and fly them outside of Sweden and Assange was afraid that this will also happen in his case.

My reading is that it could happen in any country, but it did happen frequently in Sweden. So, while the risk is non-zero everywhere, it still makes sense to avoid the place where it is too high.

So why did Assange even go to Sweden? Another answer says:

The point of placing the servers in Sweden isn’t to provide safety against American pressure. It’s that Sweden has a law that punishes people who try to uncover the anonymous sources of whistleblowers. Wikileaks wanted to use that law to threaten people who tried to uncover Wikileaks sources with suing them in Sweden for doing so. Wikileaks was of the opinion that having their servers in Sweden would allow them to use this law. Sweden responded by saying that the law only covers the sources of the Swedish media and that Wikileaks isn’t Swedish media just because it has a server in Sweden.

My reading is that Sweden is a good place for whistleblowers' servers, but not necessarily for the whistleblowers themselves.

(Note: I have no opinion on factual correctness of these answers; I just posted them because they seem relevant to your question.)

Are people here is interested in having a universal language, and have strong opinions on esperanto?

I think it might be good to have a universal language, but I think it's vanishingly unlikely that Esperanto or any other deliberately manufactured language will become one. The way languages get (anything like) universal is by being widely used, and the way languages get widely used is by being widely useful. I don't see any plausible way for something like Esperanto to achieve that. English might become a universal language. Maybe, depending on how the world goes over the next few decades, Chinese or Russian or something. But it won't be Esperanto. Pretty much everyone whose knowledge of Esperanto would make learning Esperanto valuable already speaks English.

Human augmentation may radically lower the difficulty of learning a new natural language. Maybe they'll give us a drug that puts our brains back into child mode for language acquisition.

If that happened, then the market for conlangs might look interesting.

child mode for language acquisition

Child mode for language acquisition is a myth. It only helps with pronunciation. For every other aspect of language acquisition that has ever been studied, adults learn faster.

Edit: I mean adults learn faster per hour of effort, which is the relevant axis. In practice, children often learn faster per calendar year because they have nothing better to do.

I can definitely vouch for the pronunciation part, but is the rest really true? Source?

I must admit that every linguist and developmental psychologist I have talked to has insisted that this is wrong, but they have not given me a single source. I believe that they correctly quote the textbooks, but that the textbooks repeat the myth without evidence. Here is a survey. (ungated pdf, but large)

Ooh there's a cool idea, I hadn't thought of that.

Another angle is the possibility that vastly-improved directly-implanted translators - a babelfish, basically - might make the whole thing moot. You learn your first language and then have absolutely no need, ever, to learn another. Language could be more or less frozen wherever it stands at the time. That's if the technology is universally available - things get even more interesting if it was only available to the wealthy, or to citizens of wealthy nations.

Second language might still be necessary for the cognitive development effect.

Language could be more or less frozen wherever it stands at the time.

No it wouldn't -- language is for signaling, not only communication. There would probably be a common language for business and travel, but languages would continue to develop normally, since people would still want to use language to determine how they present themselves.

You're right, that was a little overbroad. I was thinking specifically in terms of the death or spread of individual languages.

If I have a device that translates anything said to me and renders it into my own language in real time - Pierre says something to me in French and I "hear" it in English - I never have to learn language other than my first, and my first - whether it's English or Tagalog or Swahili - is no more or less useful, no more or less universally comprehensible than any other.

So you're right that languages would still develop internally - English speakers would still speak to other English speakers and alter the language among themselves as they do now - but the cross-pollination of languages and their growth or decline over time would be affected.

The native language of my own country is almost dead - on life-support, so to speak - because English was more useful. English was what you taught your kids if you wanted them to have any chance of success. If you could, you taught them English as a first language. With a universal translator that pressure would be removed. Why would anyone go to the trouble of always speaking to their children in their second language so that the children acquire it as their first?

The number of people who learned any given language as their first would be pegged to the population speaking that language at the point when the technology was introduced. So the only reason for a language to die would be if that population declined over time due to to emigration or low birth rates.

Of course this is all pretty woolly, given that it's an imaginary technology, possibly centuries away from even being possible.

A babelfish is probably never going to be good enough to fully replace actually knowing the language; to start with due to different word order in different languages you'll get something delayed and awkward. It will probably never capture slang and punning properly. Some languages can express some concepts very well, others struggle with those concepts and are awkward.

Babelfish are coming, and they will be very useful, but I kind of expect them to accelerate the drive towards everyone knowing a bit of English.

English has the advantage that England is no longer a very powerful country and I don't think many important countries hate us that much. Therefore it feels more politically neutral to speak English.

I think Mandarin is the only realistic competition, but it will be hard for people outside of the far east to learn. And much of the far east currently feels like China is trying to dominate them, so they would rather use English.

I think you're being too pessimistic about Esperanto:

  • There are about 2 million speakers worldwide [4]. For a language only 100 years old.
  • It was recently added to Duolingo [5], a great resource for learning.
  • The Esperanto wikipedia is ranked #32 in terms of number of articles. [1]
  • It's taught in 69 universities in 24 countries, several offering bachelors or PhD degrees. [7]
  • Prominent people are fluent in Esperanto, like the president of Austria [8]
  • After Britain leaves, only Ireland will speak English in the EU, giving Esperanto an opening. [11]
  • Esperanto is so easy to learn:
  • -> 2000 hours studying German = 1500 English = 1000 Italian = 150 Esperanto [6]
  • -> you can get it for free if you learn it along the way of learning English [9][2][10]

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List\_of\_Wikipedias
[2] http://www.aaie.us/wordpress/?page\_id=42
[4] http://www.esperanto.net/veb/faq-5.html
[5] https://www.duolingo.com/course/eo/en/Learn-Esperanto-Online
[6] http://www.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/rapports-publics/054000678/index.shtml
[7] https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto\_en\_universitatoj
[8] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/30/AR2007033000824.html
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic\_value\_of\_Esperanto
[10] 'A language teaching experiment', Canadian Modern Language Review 22.1: 26–28
[11] http://e-d-e.org

I don't see how those numbers, even if correct, mean that I'm being too pessimistic about Esperanto. I didn't deny that some people speak it, or that it's easy to learn. I said I don't see any plausible pathway by which it becomes widely enough used to be a lingua franca.

The most interesting of those figures is the one about how many hours it takes to learn various languages. The link you gave doesn't offer any direct support for the startling claim you make (apparently saying that Esperanto is 10x easier to learn than English); rather, it quotes someone else describing a study apparently done by the University of Paderborn's Institute of Pedagogic Cybernetics. (On French students, so part of what this is measuring is similarity to French; that will no doubt be why German is alleged to be harder than English. I remark that Esperanto is more like French than English is -- though probably not more like French than Italian is.) Unfortunately I can't readily track down more information about this (it's cited in an article by Flochon in a book by Guy Gauthier but, at least as quoted in the Grin report, doesn't give any specifics about the study). I would want to know more before believing that the ratio is so very large.

You should better look at the wikipedia page I linked:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaedeutic_value_of_Esperanto

Also it's not about being similar to French and I don't know why you think that. I've learned Esperanto and French and didn't notice any similarities. Actually the Chinese were one of the biggest supporters, though that may be trending down.

It would be easy to grow Esperanto quickly. It would require some concerted effort, but there is a solid though small base around the world and there only needs to be some push to make it happen. Becoming the official language of the EU is one plausible avenue, but another one might crop up in the next few centuries.

it's not about being similar to French and I don't know why you think that.

Because (1) the study mentioned in the Grin report was conducted on francophone students and (2) while Esperanto is a proposal for a universal language, its structure and vocabulary are very decidedly European and indeed Romance. It is much more like French than Japanese or Mandarin or Korean, or even Sanskrit. Or, in fact, German.

I've learned Esperanto and French and didn't notice any similarities.

That surprises me. Let's try a little experiment. Go to the Wikipedia page on Esperanto (selected just because it's an obvious thing to select, so you know I'm not cherry-picking) and find the first substantial quantity of Esperanto text. It's this:

En multaj lokoj de Ĉinio estis temploj de la drako-reĝo. Dum trosekeco oni preĝis en la temploj, ke la drako-reĝo donu pluvon al la homa mondo. Tiam drako estis simbolo de la supernatura estaĵo. Kaj pli poste, ĝi fariĝis prapatro de la plej altaj regantoj kaj simbolis la absolutan aŭtoritaton de feŭda imperiestro. La imperiestro pretendis, ke li estas filo de la drako. Ĉiuj liaj vivbezonaĵoj portis la nomon drako kaj estis ornamitaj per diversaj drakofiguroj. Nun ĉie en Ĉinio videblas drako-ornamentaĵoj, kaj cirkulas legendoj pri drakoj.

The very first word (en) has approximately the same spelling, pronunciation and meaning as a French word. This is not a coincidence. The next word doesn't (I think). The next (lokoj) is in fact cognate with French lieux with the same meaning. Next (de): French also has a word "de" with the same spelling and similar pronunciation, and a closely related meaning. Then Ĉinio; corresponding French is Chine, similar spelling, similar pronunciation. Maybe half the words in this passage have close French cousins. The sentence structures are very similar too. The writing system is almost identical -- same repertoire of letters, similar set of accents, more or less the same punctuation.

If you took the same text and wrote it in, say, Tamil, it would be very much more different.

It would be easy to grow Esperanto quickly.

Easy for whom? What's the actual sequence of events that would lead to it happening?

Becoming the official language of the EU is one plausible avenue

I think we may have different ideas about what constitutes plausibility. I agree it's possible but I'd put the probability well below 1%.

Sorry, but the idea that Esperanto is somehow only easy for French speakers is plainly wrong. I don't think you'll find anyone who has learned it and another language who'll disagree.

Actually Esperanto is in the same language family as many Asian ones:

http://claudepiron.free.fr/articlesenanglais/europeanorasiatic.htm

Given the current status quo, it is impossible. However, I can imagine the political world developing into an atmosphere where Esperanto might be made the lingua franca. Imagine that American and British power continues to decline, and Russia and China and German, and maybe India, become more influential, leading to a new status quo, a stalemate. Given sufficiently long stalemate, like decades, Esperanto might once again become a politically viable situation.

Well, anything's possible. But I'm struggling to imagine a halfway-plausible scenario in which this actually happens. In the situation you describe, what's the actual mechanism by which Esperanto becomes widely used? I mean, let's say we have a bunch of roughly equal Great Powers (perhaps they're the Trump States, the Islamic Caliphate, the United States of Europe, China and Russia, with favoured languages The Best English, Arabic, German, Mandarin and Russian). Within each power's sphere of influence its favoured language (or languages) will be dominant. So now imagine someone in, say, the Trump States. Obviously they need to know The Best English. They might want to learn Spanish in case their military service is at the Wall; or Russian, of course. But what's going to make Esperanto more useful to them than those?

Are you thinking that Esperanto might be imposed as a lingua franca? That there'd be some sort of international treaty where all these mutually-mistrustful Powers agree that they will use Esperanto as a second language, or for negotiations, or something? Why would any of them do that?

I speak Esperanto fluently, and I really wish it could replace English as a standard communication language. But I see it as a coordination problem that is almost impossible to solve.

Learning English as an international language seems like an insane waste of resources. Why not use a language you could learn 10x faster? But the trick is that the costs are not same for everyone. Specifically, for native English speakers, Esperanto would be more costly than simply using the language they already speak fluently. And because the international language is chosen by people who have most economical power, of course their preferences are going to have greater impact. (And the same thing would happen if e.g. 20 years later English is replaced by Chinese. Then again, everyone except for Chinese would have a reason to prefer Esperanto, but the Chinese wouldn't care, so the rest of the world would have to learn Chinese.)

Even a hypothetical situation where e.g. four languages with most economical power would be perfectly balanced, wouldn't necessarily mean that people would adopt Esperanto (or any other neutral language). Most speakers of these four languages would have little to gain by learning another language, so they wouldn't bother. And for the speakers of smaller languages it would be more profitable to learn one of the four languages (the specific choice depending on their geographical and political situation).

Essentially, most people don't even want to communicate internationally. They mostly learn a foreign language if they believe it will help their careers. Which usually means they learn a language of an economically more powerful group. But that means that the other side doesn't have an incentive to learn a foreign language. The few hobbyists don't have enough purchasing power to matter on the large scale.

It would have to be a completely fragmented world, where almost every city would speak a different language, that would create a strong need for a neutral language. But after the invention of mass media, such situation is not going to happen.

I agree with all this (except that I happen not to be an Esperanto speaker myself) except for this:

Why not use a language you could learn 10x faster?

I am sure Esperanto is easier to learn than English. I do not believe it is 10x easier in any useful sense. Were you exaggerating for effect, or was that a serious claim, and in the latter case could you point me at some evidence?

This is a wild estimate based on my personal experience. May be a different number for other people, of course, either depending on their personal characteristics, or how much their native language is already similar to English or Esperanto.

My Esperanto exposure:

  • reading two textbooks
  • spending a week in an Esperanto-speaking environment, maybe 10 times
  • spending an afternoon in an Esperanto-speaking environment, maybe 50 times

My English exposure:

  • 5 years at elementary school, 4 years at high school, 4 years at university
  • reading dozens of English books
  • translating three books from English
  • reading English web articles practically every day for two decades
  • spending a week in an English-speaking environent, once
  • spending an afternoon in an English-speaking environment, maybe 100 times

The resulting skills are not so different. Mostly, in Esperanto I don't have a sufficiently wide vocabulary, so e.g. when I want to make a lecture on some topic in Esperanto, I need to take a dictionary and prepare a list of domain-specific words, try to memorize them, and use a cheat sheet as a backup. And I need about an hour to "warm up"; but that's mostly because I recently use Esperanto about once in a year.

Esperanto is simply much more regular than English, so spending the same amount of time will allow you to learn more. You don't have to learn the pronounciation separately. You don't have to memorize a long list of irregular verbs. You don't have to separately learn how to say "to see" and "visible"; you just say "see-able" and that's the canonical form. (And there are many words where the similar principle applies.) It may sound like it's not a big deal, but when you put all these things together, it makes a huge difference in how quickly you learn something and how easily you will remember it.

In a 48-hour intense course people are able to learn Esperanto at a very basic conversational level (textbook, example lesson), which allows them to have very superficial conversations.

But it depends on what your native language is. For example, if it is German, then half of your words already are almost the same as in English, only with different pronounciation. I believe Esperanto would still be easier, but the difference would be smaller.

Interesting -- thanks. Did you learn Esperanto before English or after? (I'd guess a second foreign language is easier to pick up than a first, unless the first is learned in childhood and the second not.) Is your native language more like English or more like Esperanto or roughly the same in each case?

It's certainly true that Esperanto is much more regular than English. (My impression is that English is unusually irregular even among natural languages, but I'm not sure how true that is.)

visible [...] see-able

Of course, if you say "see-able" in English then everyone will understand you. The only trouble is that you won't be speaking English like a native speaker. That's not really a question one can raise about Esperanto, since there are no native Esperanto speakers. (Well ... allegedly there are ~1000 "native speakers", which I think means "people brought up bilingually in Esperanto and some other language", but that doesn't constitute an actual linguistic community.)

This isn't just a quibble; my point is that if Esperanto became an actually widely used language, I bet it would start acquiring irregularities that one would have to know in order to speak it "like a native". You'd still be able to say "see-able" and everyone would know what you meant, just as you already can in English, but you'd need to know "visible" to sound truly fluent. (Of course I don't mean that this specific example would turn out to be an irregularity. But I bet there'd be some.)

Mind you, what I say about irregularities is sheer guesswork: it just seems like the sort of thing one should expect. I wonder whether there's any research on this sort of thing? (E.g., when pidgins turn into creoles, do they become more or less irregular?)

Did you learn Esperanto before English or after?

Languages I speak, in chronological order of starting to learn, are: Slovak, Hungarian, English, Russian, Esperanto. (Of these, Hungarian and Russian remain on the level of "I am able to read a text slowly, but I need to use a dictionary, and my vocabulary is so limited I can't speak fluently, and my grammar is horrible, but if you give me time to find the right words in the dictionary, I will be able to communicate the meaning.") So you could argue that more languages make learning another language easier.

However, after Esperanto I also tried learning Spanish, Japanese, and German, but didn't get very far. Of course, it's not like I spent the same amount of time and attention on each, so it's not a fair comparison. But I believe that if German would be as easy as Esperanto, I would be already speaking it fluently.

With regard to similarities, Slovak is similar to Russian, and I learned Russian 4 years at school, and read a few books. I spent much less time learning Esperanto.

I don't know how to compare difficulty of languages, because different languages are complicated in different ways. For example in English there is the complicated pronounciation, and irregular verbs. On the other hand, German has gramatical genders, and declination. Not sure which one of those is more complicated. Slovak and Russian have probably the same kind of complexity as German, only worse. Hungarian seems mostly regular, but has the definite vs indefinite verbs (not sure I am calling that properly).So, it seems like natural languages evolve complexities in different places.

I suspect there might be a "law" that keeps complexity of languages within certain limits: too complicated languages become difficult to speak properly, so some parts get simplified, but beyond certain level the knowledge of the complexities of language becomes a matter of signalling (the smarter and more educated people are more likely to get those complexities right), which creates a social pressure against further simplification. For example, in Slovak langauge we have two letters that are pronounced exactly the same ("i" and "y"), the reason for having them is historical: thousand years ago they were pronounced differently. Children spend a lot of time at school learning proper rules which one of these letters should be written in which situations; the rules are complicated, require memorizing long lists of word roots, and you still have many exceptions afterwards. But proposals to simply use one of those letters and just forget the other one are met with horrified reaction "but that would seem stupid!"; i.e. today the ability to write "i" and "y" properly is perceived as a signal of intelligence and education, so writing "i" everywhere pattern-matches being stupid and uneducated. And of course we wouldn't reform our language towards a state that feels stupid for us today. Essentially, wanting to remove a useless complexity makes you seem like complaining that you are too stupid to memorize it properly.

Of course, if you say "see-able" in English then everyone will understand you.

Yes, but it wouldn't work in the opposite direction: I would not understand when someone else says "visible"... or "audible", or "comprehensive", etc. But in Esperanto I can often understand words I never heard before, such as "see-able", "hear-able", "understand-able", simply because I am already familiar with the root and the suffix.

This happens very frequently in Esperanto, because even words that would be considered "obviously independent" by an English speaker are considered "related" by an Esperanto speaker. An example that horrifies many people are opposites: instead of "dark" you say "un-light", instead of "short" you say "un-tall". With this simple hack you have removed a need to learn hundreds of words. There are more such hacks; instead of "knife" you say "cut-tool", instead of "hospital" you say "un-healthy-person-place". Nouns / verbs / adjectives / adverbs differ by the last letter, so you don't need to learn "fast", "speed", "quickly", and "hurry" as four independent word roots; and instead of "accelerate" you say "make-more-quick".

This is probably difficult to get across, because when I just use "see" and "visible" as an example, you probably feel like "yeah, so there is this one weird example, but there still remains 99.99% of the language to learn". But Esperanto is more like taking a language and throwing 75% of words away because they can be derived from other words, and making the remaining 25% regular. So with the same energy you would learn 100 English words you can learn 150 Esperanto words (because they are more regular), which you can start putting together like a Lego and create maybe 1000 Esperanto words. Realistically speaking, you are not going to do this systematically, so it will feel like you only know 150 Esperanto words, but there are the potential 850 other words that you don't know you know, but when you meet them for the first time, your brain goes "oh, I actually know what this means".

(By the way, the composed words are usually not too long, because the common prefixes and suffixes are typically monosyllabic. Or, as an Esperanto speaker would say, "one-syllable-y".)

allegedly there are ~1000 "native speakers", which I think means "people brought up bilingually in Esperanto and some other language", but that doesn't constitute an actual linguistic community.

Some of them are raised bilingually, with Esperanto as a second language; but some of them are actually trilingual, coming from mixed marriages where parents use Esperanto to talk to each other. They are very rare, and I have no idea which model is more frequent.

my point is that if Esperanto became an actually widely used language, I bet it would start acquiring irregularities

I agree that this is quite likely. Maybe it wouldn't happen under the "Esperanto as everyone's second language" scenario, but it certainly is a risk with the "native speakers". (And various signallers, who believe that Esperanto needs more word roots because it e.g. allows better poetry. Sigh. Priorities.)

EDIT: In another comment, you say how Esperanto is much easier to learn for a French speaker than for e.g. a Tamil speaker. That is certainly true. But if you give the Tamil speaker a choice between learning English and learning Esperanto, in both cases the language will be completely unfamiliar, but in one case there will be the advantage of greater regularity and "Lego system". So while the Tamil speaker would complain that speaking Esperanto gives an unfair advantage to the French, they would still prefer Esperanto to English (if the advantages of learning either language would be the same, which is obviously not the case.)

This is actually an objection frequently made against Esperanto. People are familiar with the concept of "some languages are similar to each other, some are completely different", but unfamiliar with the concept of "Lego languages are much easier to learn", so of course they are going to attribute everyone saying "Esperanto was easy for me" fully to the former. Yes, it plays a role, but the regularity also plays a role. Esperanto has also fans outside Europe/America.

(I don't have much I want to say in response to this, but want to note that I read it and found it interesting and insightful.)

Thanks!

Fun fact: Esperanto was used by US army as a language of a fictional enemy, to "enhance intelligence play and add realism to field exercises".

Native English speaker here. I studied Spanish for a few years in High School, and Japanese for a year, and Esperanto for about 6 months of weekly extracurricular sessions. I managed to learn spoken and written Esperanto about as well as I learned spoken Japanese, in roughly 1/10 the hours spent.

That's not strong evidence that learning it to fluency and communication comfort is 1/10 as hard, but learning the basics and a few thousand words is really quite easy for someone who already knows a romance or germanic language. I'd very much believe 1/2 to 1/3 of the effort required to fluency in a second natural language.

That said, I don't think "ease of learning" is enough. There is no path to a designed language becoming universal. Network effects of language fluency are HUGE - the value to knowing a language is so dependent on who already knows it that there is simply no believable adoption rate for any minor language to become dominant.

My hope is that AR + machine translation get good enough in the next era that it doesn't matter too much. And since the future isn't evenly distributed, the "base" language is likely to be one that's very popular today, I'd bet on English, Mandarin (with simplified alphabet-based writing), or Hindi in that order.

I managed to learn spoken and written Esperanto about as well as I learned spoken Japanese, in roughly 1/10 the hours spent.

That's not a fair comparison. If you know English + Spanish, you should expect Esperanto to be much easier than Japanese; but similarly, if you know English + Esperanto, you should expect Spanish to be much easier than Japanese. Esperanto is very much more like English or Spanish than it is like Japanese, and it will have been easier for you for that reason completely independent of whether it's more learnable than other Latin-derived languages.

True - unfair and no reason to believe that learning the basics is all that well correlated to fluency. Still, a bit of evidence that it's plausible that Esperanto is that much easier.

In any case, I ran across a bit of evidence just today that it won't matter: Pilot Translation Kit claims it'll ship in May.

I know we had some discussion of "real names" here a few weeks ago, here is an overview of the recent, relevant study on that, by the Coral Project.

"People often say that online behavior would improve if every comment system forced people to use their real names. It sounds like it should be true – surely nobody would say mean things if they faced consequences for their actions?

Yet the balance of experimental evidence over the past thirty years suggests that this is not the case. Not only would removing anonymity fail to consistently improve online community behavior – forcing real names in online communities could also increase discrimination and worsen harassment.

"Conflict, harassment, and discrimination are social and cultural problems, not just online community problems. In societies including the US where violence and mistreatment of women, people of color, and marginalized people is common, we can expect similar problems in people’s digital interactions [1]. Lab and field experiments continue to show the role that social norms play in shaping individual behavior; if the norms favor harassment and conflict, people will be more likely to follow. While most research and design focuses on changing the behavior of individuals, we may achieve better results by focusing on changing climates of conflict and prejudice"

https://blog.coralproject.net/the-real-name-fallacy/

It feels like by attempting to drag in data from outside the scope of forums or comments sections ("half of people harassed via the internet knew their attacker," etc.), this article has become useless to forums and comments sections.

Has anyone 'clicked' yet? Read it through as an exercise to do, it's too long to paste here.

https://logicnation.org/

Well, I'm the person on LW who hasn't seen you posting that link in previous open threads, so if you want to make your point to a a fresh mind here's your best bet.

I clicked on your link and read your thing and here's what I've taken away.

  1. I'll be happier if I try to attach a positive (rather than neutral) emotional connotation to the concepts of logic and rationality. This seems fair enough. I already do, as it happens, and it does make me happier.

  2. Consider what motivates me on an emotional level. Okay, fair enough, useful exercise.

  3. "Submit" myself to a higher power, namely logic. You're losing me a bit here with the "personal Lord and Savior" stuff, I'm not sure how "submitting myself" factors into trying to live a rational life, but let's read on. Let go of self and work for the betterment of the whole world - alright, that's nice. Not new, but nice.

  4. Keep living rationally and all my problems will disappear. Hang on.

  5. Come and live with a group of like-minded people in Germany. What?

Ingive, while I can charitably boil down a lot of what you're saying to something that makes sense (though none of it is original) you absolutely lost me when you started promising people that if they "submit to logic" all their problems will disappear, even physiological/neurochemical ones.

You will experience a diminished urge to eat, since you don't feel as much of a need to reward yourself with it;

Your social anxiety or depression will gradually fade away, which will naturally improve your ability to find a partner;

You will be able to overcome addictions with ease, including a lack of desire to take drugs anymore as you achieved the state you were using them for.

Will I stop having periods too? Sign me up! Seriously, all the things mentioned there might have one foot in emotion/cognition but they have another foot in biology.

Those are cult-promises. "Think a certain way, you will be happy forever, every possible problem will disappear - if it doesn't, you're not trying hard enough. Lose weight, stop smoking, get a girlfriend - whatever! Its universally applicable!"

I don't see why you'd be putting all this effort into spreading the message if you didn't believe it - you're not asking for money - so I'l accept that you do. And if it makes you happy and helps keeps you productive and mentally healthy, that's fine. But going around telling people that they can make their depression go away if they just snap - or "click" - out of it isn't just wrong, it's morally wrong.

You are presenting ways of thinking - let go of self, love truth for its own sake, relinquish material desire etc. - that have been around for thousands of years, with a bit of "quantum" and "neuro" chucked in. Look, I'm glad you found your zen, but I don't think you're going to find many takers for this here - or anywhere, unless you deliberately seek out the mentally vulnerable, like drug addicts and depressives and social anxiety sufferers. Please do not do that.

Well, I'm the person on LW who hasn't seen you posting that link in previous open threads, so if you want to make your point to a a fresh mind here's your best bet.

I would suggest you to do the 48 min binaural/hypnosis as well, although it seems new age-y with the title, it probably has some scientific basis. I'm quite sure it's very good for emotions. But I am just speculating. It's very nice and relaxing and I think you will like it. It's important that we use every tool available to us to recondition our minds to be more in line with reality, logic, rationality and so on.

I'm unsure to what extent you used System 2 emotionally (visualization and so on), rather than System 1 and System 2 sub-vocalization. Sub-vocalization and thinking does not resonate as well as visualizing images, touch, smell, taste and other more primitive things.

I'll be happier if I try to attach a positive (rather than neutral) emotional connotation to the concepts of logic and rationality. This seems fair enough. I already do, as it happens, and it does make me happier.

Yeah, you probably have quite a strong emotional connection to it, as well as many others here. Remember also how it's defined in this context: The consistent patterns which bring about reality. Also includes probabilities.

Consider what motivates me on an emotional level. Okay, fair enough, useful exercise.

Yeah.

"Submit" myself to a higher power, namely logic. You're losing me a bit here with the "personal Lord and Savior" stuff, I'm not sure how "submitting myself" factors into trying to live a rational life, but let's read on. Let go of self and work for the betterment of the whole world - alright, that's nice. Not new, but nice.

I'm unsure why you would think, based on what was said on that step, that you're submitting yourself to a higher power and it's "personal Lord and Savior" stuff. Well I do understand why, it seems like a religion, and that's exactly key, but maybe you exaggerate it a little bit. It's funny though. By submitting yourself to inductive reasoning, probabilistic nature of things, and of course, the consistent patterns that bring you about and realizing experience is a tool rather then a goal, you have mastered the Way. There is nothing more, nothing less, it's just how it is.

Come and live with a group of like-minded people in Germany. What?

That's not a part of the steps.

Keep living rationally and all my problems will disappear. Hang on. Ingive, while I can charitably boil down a lot of what you're saying to something that makes sense (though none of it is original)

I'm glad it's making sense, based on the comments here, I was becoming worried that a lot of people were not able to let aside their preconditioned beliefs.

you absolutely lost me when you started promising people that if they "submit to logic" all their problems will disappear, even physiological/neurochemical ones.

That's what we have seen so far. People really notice something have changed. Of course those with physiological/neurochemical imbalances or whatever won't be cured but they will probably have an easier time to work out how to solve their problems with our species current literature.

Will I stop having periods too? Sign me up! Seriously, all the things mentioned there might have one foot in emotion/cognition but they have another foot in biology.

None of the things mentioned is exclusively rooted in biology. Regarding periods I remember one woman who reported having an easier time dealing with the emotional swings that come with it by for example studying hormonal effects on emotion/cognition. The knowledge becomes applicable naturally.

Those are cult-promises. "Think a certain way, you will be happy forever, every possible problem will disappear - if it doesn't, you're not trying hard enough. Lose weight, stop smoking, get a girlfriend - whatever! Its universally applicable!"

Of course you will think for yourself, and logic will simply be a guide through life. It does sound too good to be true, there is no understatement to the paradigm shift of a religious experience.

I don't see why you'd be putting all this effort into spreading the message if you didn't believe it - you're not asking for money - so I'l accept that you do. And if it makes you happy and helps keeps you productive and mentally healthy, that's fine. But going around telling people that they can make their depression go away if they just snap - or "click" - out of it isn't just wrong, it's morally wrong.

That's the word for the paradigm shift. There's not enough statistics and science to conclude if it is the case, however anecdotal reports have offered a perspective.

You are presenting ways of thinking - let go of self, love truth for its own sake, relinquish material desire etc. - that have been around for thousands of years, with a bit of "quantum" and "neuro" chucked in.

Because our understanding of QM and neuroscience gives us the same conclusion, while still being right and in line.

Look, I'm glad you found your zen, but I don't think you're going to find many takers for this here - or anywhere, unless you deliberately seek out the mentally vulnerable, like drug addicts and depressives and social anxiety sufferers. Please do not do that.

It's not as if these things were made up beforehand, people were helped and it is worthwhile to mention. 23 hits of "social anxiety" 29 of "depress" and 12 of "drug" https://logicnation.org/Testimonies although it might be not representative since some might use the words in different contexts or multiple times.

It's not as if these things were made up beforehand, people were helped and it is worthwhile to mention.

If you said may instead of will it wouldn't set off the alarm bells. "Will" is a promise. If what you mean is "other people have reported experiencing these effects", I'd recommend saying that instead. The list of "you will" points looks like advertising at best and culty at worst.

Honestly ingive, there's not a massive amount wrong with what you're saying that I can see, except that it's all dressed up to the nines in semi-mystical language and presented as an epiphany or conversion rather than as a sensible set of guidelines.

Imagine I linked to a webpage that just said:

"Try to feel good about living life rationally. Know thyself - question why you want things. Question whether the things you want are really necessary for your happiness. Identify your most meaningful goals. Remember that you're part of something bigger than yourself. Try to focus on living for the benefit of others. Keep thinking this way and you'll probably feel more content and less worried about trivial things, and get more done."

I guarantee I wouldn't be getting all the flak you have here. People wouldn't be saying "snake-oil" or "cult" or "evangelism" or "woo". What they would probably be saying is "duh". But as far as I can see that's your basic message, shorn of all the neuro-Spinozism spangles and fluff and dodgy-sounding claims of eternal happiness.

As I said before, I'm glad that things have "clicked" for you and that you, presumably, feel better about your life than you did formerly. I just don't see why you need to wrap a core of nice, basic bits of life advice in ten pounds of shiny wrapping paper. Are you afraid people won't take you seriously if you don't make your ideas seem complex and revolutionary? Honestly, the opposite is probably true. Profound truths about the ideal way to live are usually pretty simple. Not necessarily easy, by any means, but definitely simple.

I still highly recommend that you listen to the audio with headphones in a relaxed way as a form of meditation, Tiffany, you will understand more of what this is about and that it is really an epiphany or conversion. If you at least give me the benefit of the doubt and do that I can trust that you took the time to investigate this to its fullest potential.

I don't think you did do the Steps, though. You probably froze at Step 2 and deflected everything and simply read it as information to process, rather than to update your beliefs (epistemic rationality), it's not usually easy for us to accept emotions. Listen to the audio and read this emotional intelligence guide and I can reassure you that you will have a deeper understanding what this is about. I'm not trying to tell you anything or convince you, on the contrary, I am trying to make you question yourself and what you are emotionally invested in and how it's limiting your potential. But I don't know how. So I guess I have to convince you to think for yourself! Makes no sense and it's a paradox, but hint, you don't right now, or maybe :)

It's very hard because most of LessWrongers are in death spiral, whether affective or not, the utility function of said death spiral includes rejecting these types of opportunities. It doesn't really matter what I say. I can only say this and try my way of convincing you to let go of your false beliefs and irrationality, really. It's so astonishing how so many can be irrational.

I'm simply asking you to 1) be open-minded 2) do the steps and the audio while being open-minded.

I've answered so many arguments and debunked so many of the users here for their nonsense, for them, it all boiled down to objective evidence, neuroimaging. That's very expensive and our understanding of our brain is still very small. Having to answer these irrelevant questions proves my point that many are here for intellectual entertainment rather than in a serious effort, investigate why the world is the way it is - why I am, and how I can change it?

Snake-oil, cult, evengalism, woo. These are all irrational crying wolf arguments by irrational people. I hope you're not and that someone reading this really gives it an honest try.

Now let me answer your irrelevant questions, c'mon, get off it already. :`)

If you said may instead of will it wouldn't set off the alarm bells. "Will" is a promise. If what you mean is "other people have reported experiencing these effects", I'd recommend saying that instead. The list of "you will" points looks like advertising at best and culty at worst.

It's a way of communicating, it's not meant to be that serious and nitpicked to figure out the smallest "flaws". That's probably one time waste of yours. If not, my fault. It's will most, then "you will", which does not imply any specific, but most. Vague.

Honestly ingive, there's not a massive amount wrong with what you're saying that I can see, except that it's all dressed up to the nines in semi-mystical language and presented as an epiphany or conversion rather than as a sensible set of guidelines.

Rationality is beautiful, so is consistency, the consistent patterns which has brought us about. It's literally Awesome. There is nothing which a caveman which is transported to modern days NYC will say but be speechless and maybe "Awe" "Beauty" "Divine" "Love" to describe it when he returns home to his cave. Limitations of language are here, that's why you have to visualize. That's why the steps might be limiting. It's about You. Your subjective experience. Your consciousness. All you, not me and no collective.

Imagine I linked to a webpage that just said: "Try to feel good about living life rationally. Know thyself - question why you want things. Question whether the things you want are really necessary for your happiness. Identify your most meaningful goals. Remember that you're part of something bigger than yourself. Try to focus on living for the benefit of others. Keep thinking this way and you'll probably feel more content and less worried about trivial things, and get more done."

That's not steps. Everyone thinks that everyone will be comforted by it, no matter how irrational they are, no matter how much they resist reality.

I guarantee I wouldn't be getting all the flak you have here. People wouldn't be saying "snake-oil" or "cult" or "evangelism" or "woo". What they would probably be saying is "duh". But as far as I can see that's your basic message, shorn of all the neuro-Spinozism spangles and fluff and dodgy-sounding claims of eternal happiness.

So I should change, rather than the flak:ers? Should I or you change? Which is the variable in the question if not undoubtedly your subjective experience? I'm telling you to think for yourself. The fluff is a big deal because you make it, you're talking sooo much out of your own lens you're unable to see beyond it, until now.

As I said before, I'm glad that things have "clicked" for you and that you, presumably, feel better about your life than you did formerly. I just don't see why you need to wrap a core of nice, basic bits of life advice in ten pounds of shiny wrapping paper. Are you afraid people won't take you seriously if you don't make your ideas seem complex and revolutionary? Honestly, the opposite is probably true. Profound truths about the ideal way to live are usually pretty simple. Not necessarily easy, by any means, but definitely simple.

My neural activity is equally you as it is me, the same for you, there is no separation, the more that are in line with reality, then I am in line, the "I" which is not referenced to the practical me, my subjective experience.

I'm happy to answer any more questions which you would have. But try the audio and the steps with a sincere effort in improving yourself and emotionally resonating with the consistent patterns which have brought us about.