All of Arandur's Comments + Replies

That's where randomized controlled trials come in. Rigor! Scholarship! Risks to one's health! That's the scientific method!

That's where the virtue of experimentation comes in. Let us know what you find! :D

(Purely incidentally, I love what you're doing on We've Got Worm. Didn't know you ran in these circles, though I might have guessed.)

When experimenting on yourself you should take into account the potential risks. Data points: 1. Many fungi contain toxic substances that can kill you. 2. Seth Roberts (Shangri La Diet) was famous for self-esperimentation. He died suddenly of a heart attack while out hiking. May or may not be related to his self-experimentation.
Thanks! And yeah, I ordered some mushroom stuff. Of course, even if it seems to help, I'll worry it's the Placebo Effect.
If you can convince people that the standards of the new journal are actually beter than the existing ones that further helps with making the decision to publish in the journal seem virtuous.

I concur with the implication, but that's a very big "if". It's possible that many scientists know that e.g. the CONSORT standards are good, but how many do you think would be able to differentiate between two sets of standards, and determine which one is "better"? In addition, I'm not sure that "virtue" really is much of a ... (read more)

I would argue that this model can also used by governments. If the US government funds the journal, they could limit the money donation to US scientists. But even today not all grant money comes from government bodies. There are likely researchers who only use government funding and who might be weary of third party funding but today most researchers do take some third party funding so I don't see the big difference to taking a grant from a nongovernment source.

You could try to bite bullets and believe the inconvenient facts.
You could try to find the facts and change your politics to fit.

You mention that you "feel committed to the last". If you had used the word "beliefs" instead of "politics," I would endorse and agree with your commitment. Given that you used the word "politics," though, I'm inclined to believe that the better path is somewhere between the two positions quoted above.

I agree that "[for] almost any political position, there is at least one inconv... (read more)

When I say "your politics", I mean something composed of several related beliefs, entangled with culture, values, judgments about the best policy, and, usually, tribal affiliation and sense of identity. I could also say "memeplexes", possibly, but that would include some things I don't think it applies to, like Empiricism.

Adding to the Markdown parsing comment: if we're going to type in Markdown anyway instead of having a proper WYSIWYG editor (make no mistake; I prefer the former!) (Although I see that highlighting text causes a WYSIWYG panel to open up, which I think is excellent), I think it makes sense to separate the raw input from the formatting. I would prefer a system such as Reddit or Stack Exchange have, where the text-box shows the raw Markdown, and the resultant formatted text is displayed elsewhere for review. Combining the two into one area makes fine edi... (read more)

Even if the money alone isn't enough to warrant the scientist to publish in a no-name journal, the journal would soon stop being a no-name journal because scientists would expect that their colleges want to publish in the journal to get the money. That expectation makes the journal more prestigious. The expectations that other people expect the journal to get more prestigious in-turn will increase it's prestige. 

I'm inclined to dispute this point. Setting quite aside the difficulty of setting up such a project, supposing that the money cam... (read more)

I imagine a possible funder like Zuckerberg who wants to advance medical science and is willing to put down 5 million dollar per year for a decade. I assume that there's a sizable number of prestigious scientists who dislike the traditional publishers enough that the currently consider publishing in the highly prestigious journals just because they have a high impact factor a bit like selling out. If you can convince people that the standards of the new journal are actually better than the existing ones that further helps with making the decision to publish in the journal seem virtuous. Finally I don't see how taking money for publishing instead of taking money from a grant seems more like selling out.

The Navbar is transparent on the About page on Android -- when I scroll down, the content and the navbar text overlap each other. Not sure if that's intentional, but it seems a bit awkward to me.

Actually, much of my experience on Android has been buggy -- is mobile performance not a high development priority right now?

It’s reasonably high, though I don’t have an android phone, and that makes testing a bit harder, though I will probably buy one soon. Can you tell me what other things seemed buggy to you?

... huh. I wonder if Neal Stephenson is a LW reader. See his (most recent?) book, REAMDE, for an implementation of this idea.

I'm not sure that the difference between 4D states and 3D states is meaningful, with respect to eudaimoniac valuations. Doesn't this overlook the fact that human memories are encoded physically, and are therefore part of the 3D state being looked at? I don't see any meaningful difference between a valuation over a 4D state, and a valuation over a 3D state including memories of the past.

In other words, I can think of no 3D state whose eudaimoniac valuation is worse than that of the 4D state having it as its endpoint.

(In fact, I can think of quite a few whic... (read more)

Oh dear; how embarrassing. Let me try my argument again from the top, then.

... Just to check: we're talking about Microsoft Office's Clippy, right?

Actually, this is what we're really talking about, not MS Word constructs or LW roleplayers.
Not likely.

Ha! No. I guess I'm using a stricter definition of a "mind" than is used in that post: one that is able to model itself. I recognize the utility of such a generalized definition of intelligence, but I'm talking about a subclass of said intelligences.

Er, why couldn't Clippy model itself? Surely you don't mean that you think Clippy would change its end-goals if it did so (for what reason?)

Which sounds like that fuzzily-defined "conscience" thing. So suppose I say that this "Stone tablet" is not a literal tablet, but is rather a set of rules that sufficiently advanced lifeforms will tend to accord to? Is this fundamentally different than the opposite side of the argument?

Well, that depends. What does "sufficiently advanced" mean? Does this claim have anything to say about Clippy? If it doesn't constrain anticipation there, I suspect no difference exists.

... which doesn't solve the problem, but at least that AI won't be giving anyone... five dollars? Your point is valid, but it doesn't expand on anything.

More generally I mean that an AI capable of succumbing to this particular problem wouldn't be able to function in the real world well enough to cause damage.

I think the problem might lie in the almost laughable disparity between the price and the possible risk. A human mind is not capable of instinctively providing a reason why it would be worth killing 3^^^^3 people - or even, I think, a million people - as punishment for not getting $5. A mind who would value $5 as much or more than the lives of 3^^^^3 people is utterly alien to us, and so we leap to the much more likely assumption that the guy is crazy.

Is this a bias? I'd call it a heuristic. It calls to my mind the discussion in Neal Stephenson's Anathem a... (read more)

"If morality exists independently of human nature, then isn't it a remarkable coincidence that, say, love is good?"

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a moment here. Anyone, please feel free to answer, but do not interpret the below arguments as correlating with my set of beliefs.

"A remarkable coincidence? Of course not! If we're supposing that this 'stone tablet' has some influence on the universe - and if it exists, it must exert influence, otherwise we wouldn't have any evidence wherewith to be arguing over whether or not it exists ... (read more)

By your Devil's logic here, we would expect at least part of human nature to accord with the whole of this 'stone tablet'. I think we could vary the argument to avoid this conclusion. But as written it implies that each 'law' from the 'tablet' has a reflection in human nature, even if perhaps some other part of human nature works against its realization. This implies that there exists some complicated aspect of human nature we could use to define morality which would give us the same answers as the 'stone tablet'.

Yes, I've read through Yudkowsky's post on metaethics, I'm sorry if I made the point of this post insufficiently clear, please see the... cousin... to this comment.

Reckon it's atop some mystical unassailable mountain on a windswept planet. That, or it doesn't exist. :P I'm well aware of the arguments against stone tablet morality. I had thought I'd made it clear above that this was an epiphany about my flawed mind-state, not about Actual Morality. Judging by the downvotes, I did not make this sufficiently clear.

I don't think this is a problem with clarity. Did you mean "believed" rather than "believe"? If you think this is a flawed mind-state rather than a defensible position, why not use "feel" instead of "belief"? In a similar vein, MixedNuts's suggestion to replace 'sin' with 'squick' seems like it might describe and communicate your mind-state more effectively.

Wow. I've been guilty of this for a while, and not realized it. That "is this action morally wrong" question really struck me.

Myself, I believe that there is an objective morality outside humanity, one that is, as Eliezer would deride the idea, "written on a stone tablet somewhere". This may be an unpopular hypothesis, but accepting it is not a prerequisite for my point. When asked about why certain actions were immoral, I, too, have reached for the "because it harms someone" explanation... an explanation which I just now see ... (read more)

What, specifically, were you guilty of? And how does your new formulation solve the problem? Re-reading the OP doesn't make this clear for me. It seems like the talk of rationalization in the OP made you notice rationalization of a different kind in yourself. You would previously justify moral claims using reasoning that did not even appeal to your alleged premises. Now you associate this with Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points, because until now you didn't notice the discrepancy. Postulating two different kinds of moral beliefs may solve this problem and certainly improves the situation in the sense that it allows you to give the real reasons behind some of your moral beliefs. But it doesn't begin to address the OP. You appear to have separated out the part of your moral approach that you don't understand yet, shoved it in a box and labelled it "sins". Now if you intend to figure out the contents of the box or prove that it has such a small effect you can ignore it, then this seems like a perfectly good method of inquiry (one that resembles Feynman's approach to quantum mechanics). But you appear to say that you still think the contents of the box come from a "Law" that exists "outside humanity", and as yet I've seen you give no reason for continuing to believe this.

Voted up for thinking about the problem, self-honesty, and more importantly for speaking up. (I don't quite understand whence the downvotes... just screaming "Boo!" at outgroup beliefs?) [Edit: at the time of this comment, the parent was at -5.]

It seems to me that by "sin" you just mean things that make you go "Squick!". Why do you expect that, if we found the relevant stone tablet, it wouldn't read "Spitting on the floor is wrong. Ew, tuberculosis.", nor "Maximise your score at Tetris.", but "Homosexu... (read more)

What if we actually found this stone tablet and it said "no, morality is maximising your score in tetris"?

Homosexuality is a sin

Any idea where this stone tablet is, so I can break it?

Ha! Now I feel like a noob. How do I edit a top-level post? :3

If you click on your nick, you will see it among your other posts, and you can edit it there, I suppose.

Apparently it can't, which is a good thing, upon reflection.

I can confirm that hypothesis; I'm still at zero, even though the grandfather to this post has received 4 points, given after I lost all my karma. Actually, this is a bit of an annoyance; I have no way to gauge how far I have to go to get into the positives...

As long as you didn't delete any other comments/posts, you can figure out what your karma is by adding up everything else.

Oh, good. :3 I was worried that doing so would give that false implication.

I am still relatively new to LW, though - or else I'm just not very good at picking up on social values - so I'll ask this question of you: What stigma would be attached to my decision to delete this post? I don't want to do it just to get my Karma back; I'm willing to accept the consequences of my mistake. On the pro side, this would no longer come up under my posts, and so people who have not already seen it would fail to judge me by it. This is only a positive because I have in fact learned much from the response, and plan to act upon those lessons. On ... (read more)

0Peter Wildeford13y
I'm newer than you and have not yet braved into the "Main" section, so I don't really know. I didn't know deleting a post could get you the karma back, that seems like a bad policy and counterproductive to what karma is supposed to do. Still, I think you've "learned your lesson", so to speak, so I personally wouldn't mind at all.
If this potential confusion is your real reason and not a convenient rationalization, I would suggest an EDIT along the lines of " convinced me that was not a good one to hold, and I no longer think that Bayesian conspiracy is a good idea outside of the HPMoR fanfiction". If you still hold that it is, then bear it like a rationalist you aspire to be, since you presumably examined this model of action with an utmost care, to avoid any biases. EDIT: I certainly do not plan to delete my discussion post with negative karma, though I did retract (not delete) one rather poorly thought out comment previously.
Good, because it wouldn't do that.

Functional communities would be nice. I'm not so sure that better PR is the way to go. Why not no PR? Why not subtle induction via existing infrastructure? Let the people who most deserve to be here be the ones who will find us. Let us not go out with blaring trumpet, but with fishing lure.

That's quite all right; I'm sure the naivete blossoming forth from the OP makes that an easy mistake to make. :P

I'm well aware of the Discussion Section... which only compounds my error. Yes, this should have been posted there. Losing some eighty Karma (by the way, apparently negative Karma does not exist per se, but perhaps it does de facto... is as good a wakeup call as any for the sin of overconfidence.

I would have traded my karma simply for the advice you've given here. Thank you. And thank you for the compliment on my writing style; nice to see not ev... (read more)

I think even though the karma counter never goes below zero, downvotes still count and it won't go above zero until you get enough upvotes to cancel them out.

Your chastisement is well taken. Thank you.

I'm being pulled off to bed, but from my skimming this looks like a very, very helpful critique. Thank you for posting it; I'll peruse it as soon as I'm able. One note: I did note after posting this, but too late to make a meaningful change, that "we should support cryonics less" is rather a ridiculous notion, considering the people I'm talking to are probably not the same people who are working hardest on cryonics. So: oops.

..... I will meditate on this constructive criticism. Thank you very much; I think this is the most useful response I've seen.

8Peter Wildeford13y
I feel sorry you had to learn this by being taken for every karma point you own. I strongly suggest you make use of the Discussion Seciton for your future posts; that's a great place to learn what does work and what doesn't. My first two posts got downvoted, but I didn't lose out because votes are only -1 karma there. Read the LW About Page if you haven't already. And remember that karma is not the end-all be-all of LW. I think you benefitted a lot by trading your karma for knowledge of how the LW community works. Karma itself is not a terminal value, but a means to fitting in with LW, which is also not a terminal value, but a means to furthering your rationality, which is also likely not a terminal value, but a means to getting better at satisfying your goals. To further clarify my criticism just to make sure your karma freefall was worth it, this post would have benefitted by, among other things, being fifty times more practical -- what do you think is the first step toward gaining control of all the world's institutions? If you don't even know that, why are you writing about world domination? Maybe you can talk a lot more about how to sell rationality to the public so that they react to the conspiracy favorably rather than negatively, for instance. I think you have a gift for writing in a very eloquent, enjoyable manner, so I would hate for you to leave just because of one fiasco. I implore you to reflect, refocus, and give it another shot.

I do apologize if I've given offense; not having had the opportunity yet to attend, I used the broadest term I could conjure while maintaining applicability.

Seconded. I actually found this very relevant, and quite a good point.

Heh, I appreciate the mitigation.

It seems pretty obvious that Eliezer's view is that FAI is the quick ticket to world domination...

I hadn't considered that, but now I see it clearly. How interesting.

Really? Your plan is to get people interested in world domination by guilting them?

Ha! If that would work, maybe it'd be a good idea. But no, pointing out a moral obligation is not the same as guilting. Guilting would be me messaging you, saying "See that poor starving African woman? if you had listened to my plan, she'd be happier." But I won't be doing that.

That's quite true. But I have a hunch (warning: bare assertion) that much governmental negligence is due to a) self-interest and b) corruption (see: corrupt African dictatorships).

Somehow I missed seeing your comment (I think), and said what amounts to basically the same thing a few hours later elsewhere. The way I put it was more hopeless and forgiving though, implying that a lot of corruption is inevitable and we should judge actual governments against the ideal government that would also have a lot of negligence, just less. (Warning: political comment ahead.) I had an insight recently about why I approved of the conclusions of certain conservative or libertarian arguments less often than one would think given my agreement with the premises. (I'm not giving the percentages or my aggregate leanings here, I think it works regardless of what they are.) Namely, I realized that many valid anti-government arguments are mostly anti-bureaucracy arguments. Bureaucracy is still a cost of privatization, just less of one, and it is roughly inversely proportional to the number of businesses that would fill the economic function if the government didn't. So my intuitions (far view, compartmentalizations) were correct this time, and accounting for the hidden cost of the options that lessened or minimized bureaucracy. Baselines are very important, and its also important to note victories of the compartmentalization heuristic for those like me who are inclined the other way. Now I will indulge in a few words about the role of fighting in professional hockey. It would be easy for me to say that all of the anti-fighting arguments I've heard are either foolish, naive, dismissive of obvious unintended consequences, contemptuous towards evidence, deontological, and/or unaware of human nature. Some genuinely militate against fighting, but are weak, so I don't believe I'm seeing arguments as soldiers too much However, one connotation of the above hypothetical statement would be false, for I have generated an argument from the wreckage of what I have heard, in an attempt to have sound conclusions. This doesn't happen very often so it's worth noticing and mention
2Peter Wildeford13y
Don't underestimate the concept of people just not thinking through their actions. People who are guilty of negligence are the ones who simply failed to properly secure their beliefs, not the ones who deliberately decided they benefited from killing others.

And yet confidence seems a good one. The question is how much is too much, which can really only be verified after the fact.

Huh. An interesting point, and one that I should have considered. So what would you suggest as a safety hatch?

I don't know, but I'll throw some ideas up. These aren't all the possibilities and probably don't include the best possibility. Each step must be moral taken in isolation. No it'll-be-worth-it-in-ten-years reasoning, since that can go especially horribly wrong. Work honestly within the existing systems. This allows existing safeguards to apply. On the other hand, it assumes it's possible to get anything done within existing systems by being honest. Establish some mechanism to keep moral intuition. Secret-ballot mandatory does-this-feel-right votes. Divide into several conspiracies, which are forbidden to have discuss issues with eachother, preventing groupthink. Have an oversight conspiracy, with the power to shut us down if they believe we've gone evil.

Ha! Yes, I had this thought as well. I actually messaged Yudkowsky, warning him that I was considering posting this, on the off chance that a) the Conspiracy existed, b) he was among their ranks, and c) he wanted me to not stir up this possibility. I waited for a response for a period of time consistent with my estimation of the probability of the Conspiracy existing in an incarnation that would meaningfully object.

Conditional on a Conspiracy existing, the probability that they'd reveal themselves to an unknown person asking via e-mail has to be pretty low. What you obviously should have done instead is to brainstorm for five minutes on how you would really recruit new members if you were the Conspiracy, or alternately on what courses of action you could take to benefit the Conspiracy if it existed. But, like I said, it's too late now- instead, you've signaled that you're clever enough to come up with an idea but not disciplined enough to think it through properly, and that's precisely the type of member a Bayesian Conspiracy would wish to avoid.

A link to said guide would be helpful, if such is available online.

EDIT: Is this what you're talking about? If so, I'm actually very excited. I see a great deal of consonance between the objectives of ToK and the objectives of this site. Perhaps we should turn ToK into a feeding pool for the Bayesian Conspiracy... >:3

I can't speak for ToK students specifically, since I myself did not take the IB course in high school, but I'll note that the greatest skills I've learned from this community have been a) how to state arguments clearly and effectively, e.g. not getting confused by words, and b) understanding how politics mindkills. I would love to present the Blue/Green sky dilemma, see what came of it... but only after introducing the meaning of truth and perhaps even the Litanies.

Then perhaps I was incorrect in my accusation. I apologize that I'm not able to present my side more clearly; this happened a while ago, and the data is muddled.

That is a good point, but the error comes in my statement of he problem, not in the argument. Otherwise, why would we ever give to charity, unless explicitly asked to? What would constitute "asking", anyway? Could we pass by a homeless man on the street and, as long as he didn't actually say anything to us, safely ignore his sign?

I don't understand. Mostly, because your argument is along the lines of: A, because if not A, then why B? And B," and I can think of many other reasons for B, not merely just A or just one besides A. How is this not an argument from incredulity? You're accusing the roommate of unflinching hypocrisy, but I don't see it.

I'm in a similar boat; I work overnight at a well-known US gym for 8 hours, and the shift is so slow I'm allowed to pull out my laptop, books, phone, whatever I want. (No internet, though, except on my phone.)

That said, I recommend worldbuilding. I do it for my tabletop games, but you could just as easily do it in the modality of a novel. Of particular use would be the creation of the histories of countries and political systems; in this way, you could experiment with social conventions... perhaps some outside your own culture. You are, of course limited by your imagination... but only your imagination.

I thank you for your caution, but my argument was actually non-Biblical in nature, and it was a proof by contradiction. Ran something like this:

So, you think that I should give away everything to those who ask for it, without exception?
Every resource I consume is a resource that is then unavailable for others who ask for it.
Therefore, in order to give away every resource I might have otherwise consumed, I must not consume any resources, and therefore dies.
Your moral system prohibits suicide.
Therefore, your original proposition is inconsistent with your pro... (read more)

I hadn't myself understood why I disliked one style of biblical quotations until I had to explain it to you. Other reasons for biblical quotes are fine, such as showing how telling a story several times and differently has an effect, or showing something about how people then likely thought, or having an old source for "Nothing new under the sun", etc. There's nothing about the books that makes quoting them magically a bad thing to do, it's just that there's enough contradictory stuff (probably in Exodus or Numbers or Deuteronomy alone, much less the Pentateuch, much less the Old Testament, much less...) that saying there is Biblical warrant for something similar to one's position is the most unspectacular thing one can say. A quantity of quotes from among sources showing preponderant and/or broad and consistent would be something else and as valuable as perhaps a small quote from a dissimilar source, but by definition that's not something that fits in a reasonable amount of space and is more of a thesis paper. The first sentence of this comment is the important one, we can probably constructively generalize from it.
There is a difference between not consuming anything and giving away anything if asked. So apparently in his religion one is supposed to give away everything if asked, but nothing is implied if one is not asked.

I once told a friend, "I think I'm a Daria, but I know the correct answer is Ferris". Then I realized the absurdity of that statement, and had much pondering to do.

Sometimes arrogance is the mark of truth. History is filled with the blood of people who died for their beliefs holding them against all counterargument, who were later vindicated.

Of course, history is also filled will the blood of people who died for erroneous beliefs.

Obviously, you should utilize the Modesty Argument iff your viewpoint is incorrect.

Matthew 6:16-18:

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Sorry to spread my Christian-flavored ideas around, but it reminded me. :3 The old joke among me and my siblings, when I was growing up... (read more)

That is possible, but you didn't show it. Who knows what would happen if we gave all our shelter and money to the starving and homeless? Perhaps they'd listen if we asked for it back, or a miracle would produce more? And how do we know we aren't supposed to die of starvation and exposure? There are certainly biblical statements implying one shouldn't. There may even be two or three pages worth of such excepts for every one page implying the opposite, but once the principle of explosions explodes you, there's really no putting the pieces back together. If the logical demonstration depends on assuming something at all like biblical consistency, you can say so, but biblical quotes are worthless for some purposes because it may be assumed there is one supporting P and one supporting ~P for a great many things. This is true for the Old Testament alone, the New testament makes it exponentially worse, which is like having a fatal wound or disease be exponentially more fatal than fatal...I can't even imagine adding the Book of Mormon to the mix. For this reason biblical quotes are not ideal, unless there is doubt that any passage supports a particular position, or there is some other good reason. But the default assumption is that if there is a debate, biblical quotes can be found to support any side. In any case, one should be careful to not accept a false dichotomy that arose from a clash of two opinions, but to seek better alternatives, particularly those similar to the opposing position, and to throw away fake justifications that worked against the real interlocutor, but not the idealized one.

Oh, how curious. I've been reading on here a while, and I think I had previously misunderstood the adopted meaning of the word "bias"... using the term as it's socially used, that is to say, a prior reason for holding a certain belief over another due to convenience. A judge might be biased because one side is paying him; a jury member might be biased because their sister is the one on trial. Are these "mistakes"? Or do they fall under a certain type of cognitive bias that is similar among all humans? *ponder*

I would call a judge who is favoring a side because they're paying him "biased", and not "mistaken" or any such thing. But it's not a cognitive bias. The word "bias" has legitimate meanings other than what EY is saying, so it would have been clearer if the article used the term "cognitive bias" at least at the outset.

Here's an interesting take on the "morality" side: It may be morally incumbent on some to look behind the curtain, and not for others. Since knowing about biases can hurt people, it may well be that those who are "fit" to look behind the curtain are in fact required to be the guardians of said curtain, forbidding anyone without the proper light and knowledge from looking behind it, but acting upon the knowledge gained for the benefit of society.

..... Hence, the Conspiracy.

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