Today's post, Think Like Reality was originally published on May 2, 2007. A summary (from the LW wiki):

"Quantum physics is not "weird". You are weird. You have the absolutely bizarre idea that reality ought to consist of little billiard balls bopping around, when in fact reality is a perfectly normal cloud of complex amplitude in configuration space. This is your problem, not reality's, and you are the one who needs to change."


Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments of the original post).

This post is part of a series rerunning Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts so those interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Universal Law, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki, or creating exercises. Go here for more details, or to discuss the Sequence Reruns.

New Comment
5 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 6:16 AM

Part of the issue here seems to be what the word "weird" means. It might have been better for Eliezer to simply taboo the term. There seem to be multiple different meanings at play here: 1) counter to our expectations 2) counter to our intuitions 3) normatively weird in some deep sense. Eliezer is using the word in some way like 3 whereas if one uses meaning 2 then the statement "QM is weird" becomes completely reasonable.

[-][anonymous]12y 10

I think the point of the post is that you ought to work not only on your expectations, so that QM stops being weird-1, but also on your intuitions, so that QM stops being weird-2.

I thought it was reasonably clear from context that he was saying that if human intuitions say reality is weird, the intuitions are objectively wrong, and you would profit from learning to think in ways that mean you don't get reality being mis-tagged "weird."

Did you mean to say "weird-3" there, with the implication that experiencing something as weird-1 or weird-2 is equivalent to believing or alieving it to be weird-3?

This kind of thinking can just be an excuse for saying that reality shouldn't make any sense. That's not true. It will take a bit of mathematical training to get the right intuitions, but reality should make sense. It is possible to tell which of two theories is correct based on which one is simpler.

I don't accuse Eliezer of falling for this. His sequence makes it clear he understands this.

Also, one minor nitpick:

complex amplitude

Once you accept timeless physics, there are real-only solutions, and it's pretty much impossible to test if this universe uses complex ones. In other words, there is no evidence that the amplitude is anything other than real and it would be silly to assume it is.

New to LessWrong?