Less Wrong Q&A with Eliezer Yudkowsky: Ask Your Questions

I generally take 'obvious' to mean 'follows from readily-available evidence or intuition, with little to no readily available evidence to contradict the idea'. The idea that compassion is universal fails on the second part of that. The definitions are close in practice, though, in that most peoples' intuitions tend to take readily available contradictions into account... I think.

ETA: Oh, and 'obviously false' seems to me to be a bit of a different concept, or at least differently relevant, given that it's easier to disprove something than to prove it. If s... (read more)

Yes, that makes sense - even if mine is a better description of usage, from the standpoint of someone categorizing beliefs, I imagine yours would be the better metric.

ETA: I'm not sure the caveat is required for "obviously false", for two reasons.

  1. Any substantive thesis (a category which includes most theses that are rejected as obviously false) requires less evidence to be roundly disconfirmed than it does to be confirmed.

  2. As Yvain demonstrated in Talking Snakes, well-confirmed theories can be "obviously false", by either of our defi

... (read more)

Less Wrong Q&A with Eliezer Yudkowsky: Ask Your Questions

by MichaelGR 1 min read11th Nov 2009701 comments


As promised, here is the "Q" part of the Less Wrong Video Q&A with Eliezer Yudkowsky.

The Rules

1) One question per comment (to allow voting to carry more information about people's preferences).

2) Try to be as clear and concise as possible. If your question can't be condensed to a few paragraphs, you should probably ask in a separate post. Make sure you have an actual question somewhere in there (you can bold it to make it easier to scan).

3) Eliezer hasn't been subpoenaed. He will simply ignore the questions he doesn't want to answer, even if they somehow received 3^^^3 votes.

4) If you reference certain things that are online in your question, provide a link.

5) This thread will be open to questions and votes for at least 7 days. After that, it is up to Eliezer to decide when the best time to film his answers will be. [Update: Today, November 18, marks the 7th day since this thread was posted. If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to review the questions and vote for your favorites.]


Don't limit yourself to things that have been mentioned on OB/LW. I expect that this will be the majority of questions, but you shouldn't feel limited to these topics. I've always found that a wide variety of topics makes a Q&A more interesting. If you're uncertain, ask anyway and let the voting sort out the wheat from the chaff.

It's okay to attempt humor (but good luck, it's a tough crowd).

If a discussion breaks out about a question (f.ex. to ask for clarifications) and the original poster decides to modify the question, the top level comment should be updated with the modified question (make it easy to find your question, don't have the latest version buried in a long thread).

Update: Eliezer's video answers to 30 questions from this thread can be found here.