Rational Feed: Last Month's Best Posts

by deluks9172 min read2nd May 2018No comments



I write a daily rational feed. I write up summaries/teasers for the previous day's article that I found interesting and/or enjoyable. I follow most rationalist blogs as well as LW2.0 and the EA Forum on RSS. The daily feed is posted in the SSC Discord and on my Wordpress Blog However the rational feed includes quite alot of articles and many people have requested a more heavily pruned feed. Here we go:.

My Favorite Post:

A Deep Dive into the Harris-Klein Controversy by Everything Studies - My favorite article this month is a long analysis of the kerfuffle between Ezra and Sam Harris. Sam seems to feel mistreated but its also arguably his fault the email exchange deteriorated. In addition Sam felt like others would clearly take his side in the conflict but he came off quite badly and seemed emotionally unhinged. What happened?

Consider the following quote: 'Stanovich talks about “cognitive decoupling”, the ability to block out context and experiential knowledge and just follow formal rules, as a main component of both performance on intelligence tests and performance on the cognitive bias tests that correlate with intelligence. Cognitive decoupling is the opposite of holistic thinking. It’s the ability to separate, to view things in the abstract, to play devil’s advocate.'

High decoupling is the norm in science, isolating variables is fundamental to science. However low decoupling is the norm in politics and literature. Claims are evaluated in context and connections are fundamental. Sam thinks scientific norms are appropriate and Ezra thinks political and journalistic norms apply. The author discusses several other implicit conflicts. Ezra has a very strong prior about the reference class containing Murray's work. Sam does not. In addition Sam and Ezra seem to disagree on what level of 'intellectual honesty' is fair game.

Better Discourse:

Change My View by Rationally Speaking Podcast - When people argue on the internet, you never expect anyone to actually say "You know what, that's a good point, you've changed my view somewhat." But Change My View, a fast-growing subreddit founded by Kal Turnbull, is an exception to the rule. Julia and Kal discuss the culture of Change My View, what makes it such an oasis for reasonable discussion on the Internet, and what we've learned about what motivates people to change their minds or not.

Is Rhetoric Worth Learning by Sarah Constantin – In the classic curriculum people learned how to argue both persuasively and accurately. the rationalist community seems to focus only on making correct arguments and considers persuasion ‘dark arts’. However it may have made alot of sense to learn both skills together.

How I Self Police by Bryan Caplan Most people with strongly held contrarian views are wrong. What standards should you hold yourself to so others (and yourself) can reasonably respect your contrarianism. Seven rules. A sample: ‘Avoid controversial fundamental premises at all costs’ and ‘If someone says you mischaracterized their work, you almost certainly did’.-


When To Focus And When To Reevaluate by Joey – Why ‘Spend 1 year choosing and 4 years relentless pursuing a project’ is a good strategy for having a high impact career.

Heuristics From Running Harvard And Oxford Ea by Ales_Flidr – Concrete suggestions from the leaders of EA Oxford and EA Harvard. Examples: Default to one on one conversations, Outreach is an offer, not persuasion, Engagement is more important than wide-reach.


Lessons from The Profit by Marginal Revolution - The Profit is a reality TV show about the host buys into a small to medium sized business and tries to turn it around. Using fairly basic strategy he manages to dramatically improve profits. What does this imply about efficient markets and how competition effects low productivity firms.

What Ive Learned From Jordan Peterson by Russ Roberts – Russ has learned a lot form Jordan Petersen. In particular he has learned about the fragility of civilization, the importance of the humanities as a guide to living and the downsides of epistemic humility.