All of Adirian's Comments + Replies

Changing the Definition of Science

Your high-capacity Einstein would come to the conclusion, left to those parameters, that the picture never changes. The pattern for that is infinitely stronger, thinking so quickly, than any of the smaller patterns within. Indeed, processing the same information so many times, it will encounter information miscopies nigh-infinitely more often than it encounters a change in the data itself - because, after all, a quantum computer will be operating on information storage mechanisms sensitive enough to be altered by a microwave oven a mile away.

You have a s... (read more)

Bell's Theorem: No EPR "Reality"

I think you read something which left out something; Belle's Theorem disproved "neo-realism," which is the idea that there was a classical-physics explanation, i/e, with real particles with real properties. It's the model EPR was trying to assert over the Copenhagen interpretation - and that, indeed, was its only purpose, and I find it odd that you bring that thought experiment up out of the context of its intent.

Well, actually, Everette's Many-Worlds actually repermits classical physics within its confines, and hence real particles, as do other... (read more)

Decoherence as Projection

Eliezer -

"Information" in this case is the properties; my apologies, I am loose with language. The properties were transformed - and, in the case of a splitting beam, with a 1-1 function. The properties were "lost" when they were split - they weren't the same as they were before. But they weren't irrecoverably lost. (At least close enough for testing; you may have medium degradation, i/e, property attenuation, depending upon the quality of the crystals and the intermediate material provided it isn't in a vacuum.)

To irrecoverably lose properties, you need a non 1-1 function - which is exactly what we had when we sent them through the filter rather than the splitter.

Decoherence as Projection

The fundamental descriptive mathematics are known - the interpretations are still debated. As has been the case for nearly a century now, and I don't see that changing anytime in the immediate future. And if you recombine all four sets of split beams, then there isn't anything interesting going on there, either; half still goes through, same as before, and predictably so. That is, if you direct one polarization one direction, and another in another, and then recombine them - and there's the snag, see. You can't combine them without re-emitting both of ... (read more)

Decoherence as Projection

There is, of course, a fairly simple alternative solution, dealing with "real" particles; the photons coming out of the filters are not the photons that went in. Photons don't travel through the sheet; the energy is absorbed, and the properties of individual components of energy determine what happens next. The properties of some chunks of energy cause similarly-propertied energy to be re-emitted on the other side. It's not that the photons have mysteriously lost the information about their "spin" in the middle sheet - it's that we'r... (read more)

No Individual Particles

"Well, it's physics, and physics is math, and you've got to come to terms with thinking in pure mathematical objects."

  • Physics is modeled as math - physics and math are not the same thing. Math is a functionally complete descriptive language - but it is not a definitive one. Newton's laws were mathematically perfect, it was the physical things that they incorrectly represented which ultimately broke their backs. Newton's laws also had perfect predictive power over everything in their realm - the macroscopic - for more than a century, before w
... (read more)
0buybuydandavis9yAs Korzybski would say, whatever you say Physics is, it is not.
Can You Prove Two Particles Are Identical?

Will - field theory is pretty good, yup, although...

We're basically at the same point in physics we were a little more than a century ago. Back then, there were two major camps - the atomicists, and the energists. The energists' position was essentially that everything was made of energy, the atomicists' position was that there were these tiny particles we hadn't seen yet, but they were in fact real.

Now, at the time, both camps had equally valid positions, although the energists had the stronger support - but there was a very interesting distinction betw... (read more)

Can You Prove Two Particles Are Identical?

Will -

The reasoning is better understood in terms of in wave mechanics; if the particle states diverged in the least, then the cancellation wouldn't be complete, and the experimental results would differ.

That is, they must be identical, not indistinguishable, for wave cancellation to operate. (sin-1(sin(x) +.0000000000001) isn't x.

However, again, this depends upon a particular mathematical definition of the particles - in particular, a model which has already defined that particles have no discrete existence. Eliezer is by far my favorite author here, bu... (read more)

Can You Prove Two Particles Are Identical?

"But the "electrons" we see today, would still be computed as amplitude flows between simulated configuration"

- Eliezer, the argument being posted against you is that the MODEL could be wrong. Remember, it's a mathematical model - it describes, it doesn't define.

Remember, there are quite a few models of quantum physics that describe the behavior of quantum "particles" - and that presumes on the particles' very existence. It is quite possible to invent a model which describes physics perfectly but which omits the existence of... (read more)

Searching for Bayes-Structure

"Bayes-language can represent statements with very small probabilities, but then, of course, they will be assigned very small probabilities. You cannot assign a probability of .1% to the Sun rising without fudging the evidence (or fudging the priors, as Eli pointed out)."

  • Yes you can. You can have insufficient evidence. (Your probability "assignment" will have very low probability of being correct, but the assignment itself could still easily by .1%.)

"So much for begging the question. Please do a calculation, using the theorem... (read more)

Searching for Bayes-Structure

Tom -

"Obviously, you can't rewrite the laws of math with C. But a C program can produce obviously incorrect statements, such as "2 + 2 = 5". There is, on average, one bug in every ten lines of C code."

  • That, of course, is a completely different statement. But then you are suggesting that Bayes-Language is incapable of representing a false statement - which is an obvious lie.


  • Yup. I see it. It's begging the point that I'm arguing - that the model is the universe.

"T... (read more)

Searching for Bayes-Structure

Tom - you can't write a C program that adds 2 and 2 and gets 5. You can write a C program that takes two and two, and produces five - through an entirely different algorithm than addition. And you're adding in an additional layer of model, besides - remember that 2 means absolutely nothing in the universe. "Two" is a concept within a particular mathematical model. You can choose the axioms for your model pretty much at will - the only question is how you have to twist the model to make it describe the universe.

And yes, I can write a program i... (read more)

Searching for Bayes-Structure

Eliezer - Bayesian theory is a model. It isn't the universe. This is where you will be losing most of your readers - yes, you can express anything in Bayesian terms. You can express anything in C, too - this doesn't mean the universe is a program, and it doesn't provide any fundamental insight into how the universe works.

1Nate Reinar Windwood6moC is Turing-complete, which means Gödel-complete, so yeah, the universe can be viewed as a C program.
2AshwinV7yBayesianism, has the potential to go beyond just a means of expression and become a tool for decision making as well. Expressing a problem in Bayesian terms will lead to insights that will help you in solving the problem. Writing the same problem in C, may not do the same. I dont know jack shit (like zilch, absolute zero) about programming, but I think there's a way to explain this. You can express anything in C, and make it functionally representative of a particular model.If you had to model the entire universe that way, you probably would use some structure in your code that is very representative of a bayesian model (I actually mean exactly like a bayesian model.) In this case, your merely writing the underlying principle (which happens to be Bayesian) in C.
Guardians of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was wrong in many regards - and her epistemology came after the definition for her philosophy, and should certainly be discounted as rationalization and little more - but any half-rational Objectivist will recognize that the philosophy should be regarded objectively, and her quite subjective views of personal values should be taken with a grain of salt.

Incidentally, if you're interested in her as a character, you may want to read We The Living (Which she herself described as a philosophical autobiography) - there are several hints scattered throughout it that she always had a love affair with power, that it was not merely something that she developed later in her life.

1buybuydandavis9yBut values are Objective, per Objectivists. IMO, also her best novel. Her sense of life, without an Objectivist justification for it.
Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs

I've believed this was so for a long time, after reading about the Klu Klux Klan. Which, it is weird to think, was once a (for the time) moderate and respected political institution. After the Grand Dragon got caught in a sex scandal, membership dwindled rapidly, leaving a core of fanatics - with results that I think we're all quite familiar with.

I think the schism in Objectivism ended differently - because I don't think on the one hand you have the fanatics, but rather simply two groups, each of which ended up defining Objectivism differently. One trea... (read more)

Affective Death Spirals

I didn't mean specifically, I meant on average. My apologies for the poor phrasing. Yes, any individual formula's odds of being correct can vary. (To deny this would be to deny Bayesian reasoning, and I think I might get mugged here if I tried that.)

Affective Death Spirals

the fact that their agreement-about-observations was predictable in advance doesn't make it any less an agreement. (And if you're talking only about the parts of those theories that are "theories about the reasons why", bracketing all the agreements about what's observed and how to calculate it, then I don't think you are entitled to call the things that disagree completely "models for modern theoretical physics".)

  • It renders that agreement meaningless. If you curve-fit seven points, and come up with a thousand different formulas, the
... (read more)
Affective Death Spirals

Nick - that proof works fine for any of the neorealist models, in which Everett's model is, variably, placed. The problem is in interpretation. Remember that there is great disagreement in the Copenhagen models about where, exactly, waveform collapse happens - after all, if one treats the quantum measurement device itself as being in a quantum state, then 100% correlation may be acceptable. (Because the waveform state of the computer wasn't collapsed until the first and third measurements were examined together.)

The real problem here is that the Copenha... (read more)

1tlhonmey5moAt the same time though, not calculating a value until something actually needs it is exactly the kind of efficiency hack one would really want to implement if they were going to simulate an entire universe... So if we are in some level of sub-reality that would make it much more likely that the model is correct, even if there's no way for us to actually test it... So from a practical point of view, it comes down entirely to which model lets us most effectively predict things. Since that's what we actually care about. I'll take a collection of "parlour tricks" that can tell me things about the future with high confidence over a provably self-consistent system that is wrong more often.
0bigjeff510yUpvoted because, while I don't know the details of the Copenhagen models, if it is true they rely on "the concept that anything that is unmeasured is in an uncertain/undefined state", then until some method of testing this state is devised the theories are effectively pseudo-science. The Popper [] essay, originally mentioned above, describes the problem nicely. It doesn't speak to the truth or untruth of the theory, just to its scientific status, or lack thereof. In a nutshell, if it's not testable, it's not scientific, whether it is true or not. This is why it should not be taken too seriously, at least not until it becomes testable.
Affective Death Spirals

They agree about observations - but we already have the observations, so that doesn't mean much. Any theory worth thinking about isn't going to disagree about those observations, which, after all, they are created to explain. They disagree in every way it is meaningful that they, theories about the reason why, MAY disagree - in the reasons why. And extreme verificationists can go take a leap off a logical cliff when it comes to discussing differences in the reasons why something may be.

Affective Death Spirals

Notably, regarding theoretical physics, there are at least nine models for modern theoretical physics, all of which can perfectly explain the empirical observations, and all of which are completely and totally contradictory to one another. (Okay, almost all of which. There are a few compatibilities scattered amongst them. Neorealism can work fine with the multiverse model, and there are a small handful of models which are derived from Bohr's interpretations and are semicompatible with one another.)

The Halo Effect

Nate - that strategy can only work insofar as other groups aren't utilizing it, and to that extent, you will be punished through those groups hesitating to employ you in their capacities as clients and customers.

The Halo Effect

As Different says, but in regard to connections between perceived intelligence, and perceived honesty, to pick two particularly useful examples - the usefulness of either quality, in regard to your interactions with the individual, are dependent upon both. I/e, it isn't a great idea to trust what a not-too-bright individual tells you, even if he or she has never told a lie in their life, for the simple reason that they may not have the faculty to evaluate their statements. And the reverse might be true - particularly bright individuals may not be good ca... (read more)

Terminal Values and Instrumental Values

""Somewhat rational" does not mean "irrational". There are three different ways in which something can be said to be rational. (1) That reason can be applied to it. Duh, reason can be applied to everything. (2) That it's prosecuted by means of reason. Ethical thought sometimes proceeds by means of reason, and sometimes not. Hence, "somewhat rational". (3) That applying reason to it doesn't show up inconsistencies. Perhaps some people have (near enough) perfectly consistent ethical positions. Certainly most people don't. I... (read more)

Terminal Values and Instrumental Values

Our behavior is nothing more than the expression of our thoughts. If we behave as though something is a terminal value - we are doing nothing more than expressing our intents and regards, which is to say, we THINK of it as a terminal value. There is no distinction between physical action and mental thought, or between what is in our heads and what comes out of our mouths - our mind moves our muscles, and our thoughts direct our voice. There is no "actual thought" and - what? Nonactual thought? As if your body operated of its own will, acting... (read more)

Terminal Values and Instrumental Values

It is a terminal value, however - you are regarding B as something other than B, something other than a stage from which to get to C. To exactly the ends you permit your visceral reaction to the guns themselves shape your opinion, you are treating the abolition or freedom to use guns as an ends, rather than a means. (To reduce crime or promote freedom generally, respectively.) Remember that morality itself is the use of bias - on deciding between two ethical structures which is the better based on subjectively defined values - so to say that something i... (read more)

Terminal Values and Instrumental Values

Terminal values sound, essentially, like moral axioms - they are, after all, terminal. (If they had a basis in a specific future, it would be a question of what, specifically, about that future is appealing - and that quality would, in turn, become a new terminal value.) When treating morality as a logical system, it would simplify your language in explaining yourself somewhat, I think, to describe them as such - particularly since once you have done so, Godel's theorem goes a long way towards explaining why you can't rationalize a conceptual terminal va... (read more)

The Tragedy of Group Selectionism

You can alter the question slightly to permit a very limited form of group selection - you have to have completely isolated genomes, to start with, and a high level of mutative cost between the two groups. (I/e, mammalian versus octopus eyes - refinement guarantees the two groups can't crossover or mutate to adapt the other's characteristics.) If selective pressure favours one of the two characteristics, one group will be effectively "selected out."

The genetic variance doesn't even have to be defined - it could just be a selective tendency agai... (read more)

Fake Selfishness

I must point out that "whenever they want to be nice to someone" entails a desire to be nice to someone. Your very phrase defines it as being in their interests to be nice to someone. Rationalization isn't even necessary here. You wanted to do something - you did it. Selfishness isn't that complicated.

My guess would be that this individual had read Atlas Shrugged and hadn't fully understood what selfish meant in the context. Ayn Rand was setting out to redefine the word, not to glorify the "old" meaning.

Natural Selection's Speed Limit and Complexity Bound

First, there is the correct point that our mutation rate has been at a steady decline - the first couple of billion years had a much higher rate of data encoding than the last couple of billion years, of which, the former had a much higher.

Second, there is the point that a significant portion of pregnancies are failures - we could possibly double the rate of data encoding from that alone, presuming all of one of those bits is improvement on genetic repair and similar functionality. (Reducing mutation rates of critical genes.)

Third, multiple populations co... (read more)

Priming and Contamination

Which still doesn't say anything about the impact of priming on an individual's decision-making process regarding a matter they are well-informed on - because weak correlation is still better than no correlation.

Priming and Contamination

Is it a statistical artifact, however, or a genuine intellectual one? That is, those who genuinely have no clue whatsoever in regard to the number of UN nations in Africa might take information about it as a weak sort of evidence - I don't know, so I'll go with a figure I've encountered that is associated with this question. Similarly, someone who is not familiar with pricing may see a "Limit 12" and believe, because of the presence of the sign, that the pricing - regardless of what it is, because they don't have comparative information - is ex... (read more)

No One Can Exempt You From Rationality's Laws

Jacob - going into detail about why atheists are evil, violent, pornography-loving, science-worshiping people doesn't disprove their worldview. (And I find it interesting that you claim that atheists go into science, rather than scientists choosing atheism - but then, you don't seem to know what science is, so this shouldn't surprise me.)

Incidentally, out of eight models for quantum mechanics, at least two continue to permit determinism, which, notably, is another thing you erroneously attribute to atheism. One, neo-realism, of which Einstein was a follower. The other, multiverse theory. One of many matters on which you get your facts entirely wrong.

I would argue that one's religion or lack thereof is typically determined before one chooses a profession. I, personally, am religious, but I still think this guy is being ridiculous. I think that God made a bunch of awesome things, and one of the awesome things He made is a world that works without us having to take it apart, look under every rock, and go "LOOOK!!!! GODDDDDD!!!!! HEATHENS! I WAS RIIIIIIIIIGHT!"

Science is awesome. Rationality is awesome. Evolution is as close to fact as science can give us. You do your religion a grave disservice, Jacob.

3DanielLC10yAnd since this has been posted, Eliezer has talked about quantum mechanics at length. He's for a deterministic interpretation, for reasons other than just favoring determinism.
We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think

Not to argue, but to point out, that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It depends entirely on the basis of one's conclusion. Gut instincts are quite often correct about things we have no conscious evidence for - because our unconscious does have pretty good evidence filters. Which is one of the reasons I suggested rationalization is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can be used to construct a possible rational basis for conceptualizations developed without conscious thought, thus permitting us to judge the merit of those ideas.


I find the linguistic distinction to be better than you relate - to rationalize something is to start with something that isn't rational. (As if it were rational, it wouldn't need to be rationalized - it's already there.)

That being said, rationalization in action isn't always bad, because we don't always have conscious understanding of the algorithm used to produce our conclusions. This would be like, to use your example, Einstein coming to the conclusion of relativity - and then attempting to understand how he got there. Rationalization in this case is... (read more)