Yup, he appears to be doing that. On the grounds that he has other reasons for thinking they don't deserve credit for it.

Rather than commenting on the credibility of that in Elster's specific case (which would depend on knowing more than I do about Elster and about the anti-communists he paid attention to), I'll remark that there certainly are cases in which most of us here would do likewise. (Not literally zero credit, but extremely little, which I think is also what Elster's doing.) For instance:

  • One of your friends is an avid lottery enthusiast and keeps urging you to buy a ticket "because today might be your lucky day". He disdains your statements that buying lottery tickets is a substantial loss on average and insists that he's made a profit from playing the lottery. (Maybe he actually has, maybe not.) Eventually you give in and buy one ticket. It happens to win a large prize.

  • Another of your friends is a fundamentalist of some sort and tells you confidently that the current scientific consensus on evolution is all bunk. Any time she reads of any scientific claim about evolution she is liable to tell you confidently that in time it'll be refuted by later research. One day, a new discovery is made that refutes something you had said to her about evolution (e.g., that X is more closely related to Y than to Z).

  • Another worships the ancient Roman gods and tells you with great confidence that it will rain tomorrow because he has made sacrifice to Jupiter, Neptune and the lares and penates of his household. You are expecting a dry day because that's what the weather forecasts say. It does in fact rain a bit.

Rather than commenting on the credibility of that in Elster's specific case (which would depend on knowing more than I do about Elster and about the anti-communists he paid attention to), I'll remark that there certainly are cases in which most of us here would do likewise. (Not literally zero credit, but extremely little, which I think is also what Elster's doing.)

No, you give them appropriate credit for their correct predictions, and and appropriate de-credit for their incorrect predictions.

0Good_Burning_Plastic5ySubstantial? The tickets of all lotteries I'm familiar with cost less than a movie ticket.
3[anonymous]5yIs being anti-lottery some kind of badge of honor amongst intelligent people? It is entertainment, not investment. It is spending money to buy a feeling excited expectance. It is like buying a movie ticket. Does anyone consider buying a ticket to scary horror movie irrational? Some people just like that kind of excitement. People who buy lottery tickets just like different kinds of excitement, dream, fantasy. As for the argument that it is a mis-investment of emotions that is also false, people can decide to work forward the goal then what happens is a lot of grinding, they can still dream about something else, it is not like you cannot dream while you grind. Realistic goals do not need a lot of dream investment but rather time and effort and it is safe to invest dreams in unrealistic ones. When I have read Eliezer's mis-investment of emotions argument it came accross to me an elitistic Bay Area upper middle class thing. People in slums usually need to grind until they get a better schooling and job experience to escape it, this takes time investment not dream investment, and this leaves them free to dream about one day being a prince.

Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015

by Vaniver 1 min read2nd Mar 2015235 comments

8


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.