Apprentice

Apprentice's Comments

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113

I doubt Eliezer - champion of truth and science - would permit himself artistic license with this sort of thing. I think it is more likely that this is a genuine mistake on his part.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113

In chapter 104 we have this: "Harry had refreshed the Transfigurations he was maintaining, both the tiny jewel in the ring on his hand and the other one, in case he was knocked unconscious". The other one was Hermione's body. This suggests that the glasses are not a transfigured item.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113

Great idea! When everyone has inhaled the gas Harry can truthfully say in parseltongue that if he dies, everyone present will die (because that would cancel the transfiguration).

Edit: This work well with all the early foreshadowing about how transfiguration is extremely dangerous. In Ghostbusters we establish early on that you're not supposed to cross the streams because that is extremely dangerous. And then, at the end of the move, when all is lost, what you do is to deliberately cross the streams.

question: the 40 hour work week vs Silicon Valley?

It's of course possible that this Bock guy knows what he's doing on the hiring front. But in these interviews he has no incentive to give Google's competitors coherent helpful information on how to hire people - and every incentive to send out obfuscated messages which might flatter the preconceptions of NYT readers.

question: the 40 hour work week vs Silicon Valley?

Bock said ... that learning ability was much more important indicator of whether someone would be a good fit for Google than I.Q.

I have limited trust in a source which says things like that.

Edited to add: More on Bock's learning ability:

For every job, though, the No. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not I.Q. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly. It’s the ability to pull together disparate bits of information.

Yeah, nope.

Rationality Quotes March 2014

Truth has her throne on the shadowy back of doubt.

-- Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), Savitri - A Legend and a Symbol

Rationality Quotes March 2014

Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.

Ye say that this people is a guilty and a fallen people, because of the transgression of a parent. Behold, I say that a child is not guilty because of its parents.

And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ. And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world –

And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges.

Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God -- a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be.

-- The Book of Mormon (Alma 30.24-28)

Edit: I'm mildly surprised by the reactions to this quote. The thing I find interesting about it is that Joseph Smith was apparently sufficiently familiar with Voltairesque anti-Christian ideas that he could relay them coherently and with some gusto. This goes some way towards passing the ideological Turing test.

Rationality Quotes February 2014

No, if I were inclined to go ahead and believe in ghosts, I would not then proceed to dismiss their threat so easily.

I agree, that seems to be the weakest step. What I guess he means is that if there are ghosts they seem to be quite wispy and unobtrusive. If they went around and did a lot of stuff we would presumably have good evidence for their existence.

Rationality Quotes February 2014

You don't believe in ghosts, right? Well, neither do I. But how would you like to spend a night alone in a graveyard? I am subject to night fears, and I can tell you that I shouldn't like it at all. And yet I am perfectly well aware that fear of ghosts is contrary to science, reason, and religion. If I were sentenced to spend a night alone in a graveyard, I should know beforehand that no piece of evidence was going to transpire during the night that would do anything to raise the infinitesimal prior probability of the hypothesis that there are ghosts. I should already know that twigs were going to snap and the wind moan and that there would be half-seen movements in the darkness. And I should know that the inevitable occurrences of these things would be of no evidential value whatever. And yet, after I had been frog-marched into the graveyard, I should feel a thrill of fear every time one of these things happened. I could reason with myself: "I believe that the dead are in Heaven or Hell, or else that they sleep until the General Resurrection. And if my religion is an illusion, then some form of materialism is the correct metaphysic, and materialism is incompatible with the existence of ghosts. And if the Church and the materialists are both wrong and there are ghosts, what could be the harm in a ghost? What could such a poor wispy thing do to one?" And what would the value of this very cogent piece of reasoning be? None at all, at least in respect of allaying my fear of ghosts.

-- Peter van Inwagen

I love zebras

I'm confident by now that conditional on my paraphrase being true to the original, Dr. Yagami's statistics don't make any sense. But, like you say, it's possible that I missed something. If someone were willing to take a look at the original text with me, we could probably settle that.

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