They tell the students a bunch of things that are really dangerous to do.

They go further than that: the standard textbook includes a horrifying animated photograph of a murder victim. The idea that Transfiguration can be used as a weapon is taught in the very first class session.

In the wood-shop class which I took when I was a year or two older than a Hogwarts first-year, we were taught that the tools are dangerous. We were taught that you can cut your arm off with a bandsaw if you behave foolishly near it; and that if you lower the drill on the drill-press against your hand, it will put a hole through your hand. However, we were not specifically taught about the possibilities of shop tools for intentional murder. It was assumed that any accidents would be just that: accidents.

Now, Transfiguration is more dangerous than shop tools; Transfiguring a brick to air or water could sicken or kill quite a few people, whereas a belt-sander is really only dangerous to those within shoving distance. But a shop-class student casting around for a weapon would probably seize upon a chair-leg or two-by-four much more readily than a saw-blade. The Transfiguration student — having been explicitly instructed that the art has been used to intentionally kill — would much more likely bring that to mind.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments


(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  The author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.