All of Articulator's Comments + Replies

Am I Really an X?

To clarify, I was entirely replying to Dagon. I have no quarrel with your post itself in the slightest.

Interlude with the Confessor (4/8)

It is a false dilemma, but the Super Happies won't give you one half without the other, I fear.

War and/or Peace (2/8)

I think rather a lot of people view it as a means of reproduction first and foremost, and may even attempt to ignore the pleasure.

War and/or Peace (2/8)

Eliezer may think so, but I have feeling that this is at least partially foreshadowing a disconnect between these future humans' values and our own.

Epilogue: Atonement (8/8)

This comment, archaeologically excavated in the future, amuses me.

Epilogue: Atonement (8/8)

And at the same time, they were both victims, as are we all, of human nature. Never let it be said that if you are a victim, you are only a victim.

"3 Reasons It’s Irrational to Demand ‘Rationalism’ in Social Justice Activism"

They've done a really good job of making it a pejorative. Anything's a slur if you hate them enough.

The Fable of the Burning Branch

I mean, charitably speaking, I imagine that the second-to-last paragraph could easily have been an argument from consequences, rather than rape apology.

The parable doesn't really characterize the boy as right, rather as desperate. I don't think that it's unreasonable to make an argument that some rapists are desperate for sex, nor that if fewer men were desperate for sex, there'd be less rape. Not saying it's true necessarily, but that it's at least arguable. That doesn't mean women should be forced into sex, of course, but it could still be true at the... (read more)

Of Gender and Rationality

Pretty sure that the average IQ on LessWrong is above the mean, though. Therefore, a group with higher variance is more likely to have member in LessWrong.

The causality of that statement is atrocious, but I think the overall picture should still come through.

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

The first rule of Transfiguration: you do not guess.

Harry proposed a hypothesis, but no further testing was committed. Without knowledge of PT, I'd rate the inability to transfigure all air (as a conceptually-singular entity) as an equally (or more) probable explanation.

4TobyBartels7yYou're right, I should have read more comments myself.
Bayes Academy: Development report 1

This looks really interesting - do you have a timeframe on a playable demo, Kaj?

I sympathize with you on the Java - easier than most other methods, but oh god the lack of style. I think even just making those choice buttons a little less default (non-serif font, lose the blue shading) could move it a fair way toward being presentable.

My primary concern currently is that even if you have a robust engine to abstract much of the coding, this looks like it would have a very poor input to output time ratio. Do you have any plans for circumventing that, or do you have enough time to brute force it?

2Kaj_Sotala7yHopefully within a few months: since this is for my thesis, I have the chance to work mostly full-time on this until next summer, though some of that time also needs to be spent on collecting data on test subjects and finding out whether they actually learn things from playing the game.
Fundamental Doubts

[I'm probably going to be the latest in a long line of people saying something like this, but I hope my wording, at least, makes this worth existing.]

"I think, therefore I am" is, in fact, deductive reasoning. The definition of "I am", as thought in the first person, as far as we can comprehend it, means "I think".

"I think, therefore I think" Or, more simply, "I think". The statement itself, as we are thinking it, cannot possibly be false - no matter the Demons we posit, we cannot be in simultaneous st... (read more)

Fundamental Doubts

Fundamentally, the problem is that you need to get the energy somewhere. Currently, we get it indirectly from sunlight. In a world with no ability to obtain sunlight (as the justification of the Matrix goes), the second law means that barring geothermal (which doesn't require humans as a go-between), the total usable energy will decrease to zero.

It's like recycling. Can you ever expect to get better materials, or more materials than you started with without putting anything else in? (Including energy)

Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality

Thinking about this in terms of AGI, would it be reasonable to suggest that a bias must be created in favor of utilizing inductive reasoning through Bayes' Theorem rather than deductive reasoning when and if the two conflict?

The Moral Void

Excellent! Thanks for the mathematical model! I've been trying to work out how to describe this principle for ages.

Is my view contrarian?

With all due respect, I feel like this subject is somewhat superfluous. It seems to be trying to chop part of a general concept off into its own discrete category.

This can all be simplified into accepting that Expert and Common majority opinion are both types of a posteriori evidence that can support an argument, but can be overturned by better a posteriori or a priori evidence.

In other words, they are pretty good heuristics, but like any heuristics, can fail. Making anything more out of it seems to just be artificial, and only necessary if the basic concept proves to difficult to understand.

Is my view contrarian?

I don't think it is so much that it suggests Theism is useful - rather that Theism is a concept which tends to propagate itself effectively, of which usefulness is one example. Effectively brainwashing participants at an early age is another. There almost certainly several factors, only some of which are good.

Initiation Ceremony

Or, perhaps, the "if" rightly implied a hypothetical scenario, and the contents of the room as he perceived them were entirely irrelevant.

Don't teach people how to reach the top of a hill

Point. They are, however, nowhere near as robust as the ROM of old, and are often not truly ROM at all, so I wasn't really thinking of them in that category. Technically, you are correct, though.

The same can be said of the written English language (or just language in general). I expect, that with time and patience, it would be perfectly possible to reconstruct the system needed to read a data format, just from the data format itself. Harder, certainly, with more layers of encoding, but by degree, not kind.

If we are attempting to preserve data beyond t... (read more)

Don't teach people how to reach the top of a hill

It was my gut reaction of about two seconds. At that point that I remembered Friendship is Optimal and chuckled internally at my amusingly illogical double standards.

As long as information and utility are both conserved, and ideally increased (in proportion to the entropy expended in the process), I really see no problems intellectually, even if I dislike the thought of mutilating books on principle.

Don't teach people how to reach the top of a hill

The answer is a good sturdy ROM.

I'm inclined to think that big companies and governments may already be doing this sort of thing, but since ROM is basically useless for consumers, we don't see any of it.

If it's not already being done, that's a big project someone needs to get on.

0RichardKennaway8yCDs and DVDs are ROMs. Not as robust as paper, but then, you can't usefully put audio or video recordings on paper anyway. But a ROM that can't be read by the naked eye isn't a complete solution, as you have data formats and hardware readers to think of. There exists data that is fairly robustly stored, but no-one can read, because the support technology has moved on. Betamax tapes, Laserdiscs, Zip drives, floppies of various sizes. How many people can still read those? Even if you have the hardware, can you mount the file system and decode the documents?
The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle


I have indeed used paradox incorrectly. Your latter definitions are more appropriate. My confusion arose from the apparent possibility, but I see now that 'paradox' would only be correct if my argument also still felt the existence of the zombie was possible.

However, I hope that despite that minor terminology quibble, you were still able to understand the thrust of my argument. If my argument is unclear from the line you quoted, it is worth noting that I explain it in the following paragraphs.

The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle

If we assume Reductionism and Naturalism, the concept of the Zombie is a paradox.

The two premises I have just outlined are mutually exclusive to the premise "beings that are atom-by-atom identical to us... except that they are not conscious."

That is like saying that there are two gears that mesh together, yet one one turns, the other does not. Paradox. There is no solving it. The only difference is the layers of complexity. We cannot, with only our own minds, find or prove prime numbers with many digits to them, but that doesn't mean that the... (read more)

0pjeby8yI don't understand, unless by "paradox" you mean "contradiction" or "nonsense" or "impossible".
City of Lights

I have slightly more formally defined the existence of a logical and an evolutionary mind. Same general premise, but with more accurate, unambiguous, and intellectual terminology.

I completely agree with the duality and conflict of these two mind-states. I'm pretty sure it's one of the most common break-downs of human cognition.

Yes, Virginia, You Can Be 99.99% (Or More!) Certain That 53 Is Prime

This is false modesty. This is assuming the virtue of doubt when none ought exist. Mathematics is one of the few (if not the only) worthwhile thing(s) we have in life that is entirely a priori. We can genuinely achieve 100% certainty. Anything less is to suggest the impossible, or to redefine the world in a way that has no meaning or usefulness.

I could say that I'm not really sure 2+2=4, but it would not make me more intelligent for the doubt, but more foolish. I could say that I'm not sure that 5 is really prime, but it would hinge on redefining '5' ... (read more)

Yes, Virginia, You Can Be 99.99% (Or More!) Certain That 53 Is Prime

[Retracted fully]

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
If You Demand Magic, Magic Won't Help

If nothing else, a lot of magic systems exist in extropic worlds, or at the very least, break conservation of energy. Plus, magic is often easier to use. Yeah, early D&D or Discworld is tough, but most systems these days are psychically channeled, in nature if not in name.

The technology and science in this world is awesome (and reality is too), but it's inaccessible. Most magic systems are not. Maybe its just laziness, but that's part of the appeal. Not having to spend thousands of years working out how to heal diseases, for instance.

The shift in... (read more)

Epilogue: Atonement (8/8)

The most enjoyable part of reading through these comments is that everyone is in a combined state of ethically relaxed and mentally aware. Makes for stimulating conversation.

Interlude with the Confessor (4/8)

We are just simply too good at taking our own norms for granted. Thank you for explaining this in a way I can really get behind.

I think we sometimes forget that not only is all ethics relative, but that we have skewed weightings based on what is 'normal'. The number of people driven to depression and suicide by legal means...

I wonder, if certain negative strains of human social interaction were made illegal, and guiltworthy, while rape was made legal, and we waited for a couple hundred years, would people still rank them in the same order? If rape was s... (read more)

Rationality Quotes November 2013

Consider the chicken, with its ingenious production line of eggs. Constant fertilization from a different orifice seems ideal, as (the source I just Googled suggests that) chickens have very short fertilization cycles. (They don't have separate orifices. Poor cloacas.)

Since fertilization occurs at one end of a long tube, and birth occurs at the other, I wouldn't be surprised if the optimal arrangement involved separate organs.

Joy in Discovery

It is, I think, the satisfaction of both utility and curiosity, Engineering and Science, that makes the new discovery the best.

To know that this was the easiest way, and thus not diminish the discovery with futility, but yet to finally succeed in overcoming mental hardship, which is a joyous release. Not least due to the excitement in accomplishment, nor the pride of creating new advancements in aid of ethical positivity.

Or perhaps because having something that no-one else does is far too ingrained in our psyches, as a species.

Why Eat Less Meat?

I'm a nihilist. Where do I fall on your hopelessly constrained list?

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Sorry, what I meant was that while I am using something similar to Error Theory, I was also going beyond that and using it as a premise in other arguments. All I meant was that it wasn't the entirety of my argument.

I certainly plan on reading those, but thanks for the advice. Hopefully I'll be up to date with terminology by the end of the summer.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Well, I just looked it up, and I'd agree with it, though I do use it more as an intermediate conclusion than an actual end point.

1BerryPick69yI don't know what you mean by that, but I resolved my weird ethical quasi-nihilism through a combination of studying Metaethics and reading Luke's metaethical sequence, so you might want to do that as well, if only for the terminology.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Firstly, thank you for replying and spending the time to discuss this with me.

P: Humans naturally or instinctively act according to a system very close to Utilitarianism

Were this true, the utilitarian answers to common moral thought experiments would be seen as intuitive. Instead, we find that a minority of people endorse the utilitarian answers, and they are more likely to endorse those answers the more they rely on abstract thought rather than intuition. It seems that most people are intuitive deontologists.

I admit I made a bit of a leap here, whi... (read more)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Some of the most worthless and nonsensical philosophy has come from professional philosophers

Oh, I know. I start crying inside every time I learn about Kant.

Well, I'll take what you've said on board. Thanks for the help!

Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)


Thanks for that link. I probably should have read that sequence, I'll admit, but what is interesting is that, despite me not having read it previously, the majority of comments reflect what I stated above, albeit that my formulation explains it slightly more cognitively that 'because I want to'. (Though that is an essential premise in my argument)

Though this is probably unfortunately irrational on my part, seeing my predictions confirmed by a decently sized sample only suggests to me that I'm on to something, at least so far as articulating someth... (read more)

1Vaniver9yWere this true, the utilitarian answers to common moral thought experiments would be seen as intuitive. Instead, we find that a minority of people endorse the utilitarian answers, and they are more likely to endorse those answers the more they rely on abstract thought rather than intuition. It seems that most people are intuitive deontologists. I don't think "nihilist" is an interesting term, because it smuggles in implications that I do not think are useful (like "why don't you just kill yourself, then?"). I think "moral anti-realist" is better, but not by much. The practical advice I would give: do not seek to use ethics as a foundation, because there is nothing to anchor it on. The parts of your mind are connected to each other, and it makes sense to develop them as a collection. If there is no intrinsic value, then let us look for extrinsic value.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Okay, noted. It's just that from what I've seen so far, a post with a net downvote is generally pretty horrible. I admit I took some offense from the implication. I'll try not to let it bother me unless N is high enough for it to be me, entirely, that's the problem.

Thanks. :)

Thank you for taking the time to give constructive criticism.

I will attempt to make it more coherent and summarized, assuming I keep any of it.

I appreciate I am likely to inexperienced to come up with anything that impressive, but I was hoping to use this as a method to understand ... (read more)

2Said Achmiz9yIt's not even that (ok, it's probably at least a little of that). Some of the most worthless and nonsensical philosophy has come from professional philosophers (guys with Famous Names, who get chapters in History of Philosophy textbooks) who've constructed massive edifices of blather without any connection to anything in the world. EDIT: See e.g. this quote []. You've got it right. One of the points Eliezer sometimes makes is that true things, even novel true things, shouldn't sound surprising. Surprising and counterintuitive is what you get when you want to sound deep and wise. When you say true things, what you get is "Oh, well... yeah. Sure. I pretty much knew that." Also, the Sequences contain a lot of excellent distillation and coherent, accessible presentation of things that you would otherwise have to construct from a hundred philosophy books. As for enlightenment that makes your previous views obsolete... in my case, at least, that happened slowly, as I digested things I read here and in other places, and spent time (over a long period) thinking about various things. Others may have different experiences. Yeah, one of the themes in Less Wrong material, I've found, is that how to think is more important than what to think (if for no other reason than that once you know how to think, thinking the right things follows naturally).
Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Okay, whoa, hey. I clearly and repeatedly explained my lack of total understanding of LW conventions. I'm not sure what about this provoked a downvote, but I would appreciate a bit more to go on. If this is about my noobishness, well, this is the Welcome Thread. Great job on the welcoming, by the way, anonymous downvoter. At the very least offer constructive criticism.

Edit: Troll? Really?

Edit,Edit: Thank you whoever deleted the negative karma!

2Said Achmiz9yI wouldn't take downvotes to heart, if I were you, unless like, a whole bunch of people all downvote you. A downvote's not terribly meaningful by itself. Welcome to Less Wrong, by the way. Now, I didn't downvote you, but here's some criticism, hopefully constructive. I didn't read most of your post, from where you start discussing your philosophy (maybe I will later, but right now it's a bit tl;dr). In general, though, taking what you've learned and attempting to construct a coherent philosophical position out of it is usually a poor idea. You're likely to end up with a bunch of nonsense supported by a tower of reasoning detached from anything concrete. Read more first. Anyway, having a single "this is my philosophy" is really not necessary... pretty much ever. Figure out what your questions are, what you're confused about, and why, approach those things one at a time and in without an eye toward unifying everything or integrating everything into a coherent whole, and see what happens. Also: read the Sequences, they are pretty much concentrated awesome and will help with like, 90% of all confusion.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (5th thread, March 2013)

Hi everyone, I’m The Articulator. (No ‘The’ in my username because I dislike using underscores in place of spaces)

I found LessWrong originally through RationalWiki, and more recently through Iceman’s excellent pony-fic about AI and transhumanism, Friendship is Optimal.

I’ve started reading the Sequences, and made some decent progress, though we’ll see how long I maintain my current rate.

I’ll be attending University this fall for Electrical Engineering, with a desire to focus in electronics.

Prior to LW, I have a year’s worth of Philosophy and Ethics classes... (read more)

2Vaniver9yWelcome to LW! There is a metaethics sequence [], of which this post [] asks what you would do if morality didn't exist. This may be a good place to start looking, but I wouldn't be too discouraged if you don't find it terribly useful (as Eliezer and others see it as not as communicative as Eliezer wanted it to be). The point I would focus on is that there's a difference between an ethical system that would compel any possible mind to follow it, and an ethical system in harmony with you and those around you. Figure out what you can get from ethics, and then seek to discover which the results of ethics you try. Worry more about developing a system that reliably makes small, positive changes than about developing a system that is perfectly correct. As it is said [], a complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.
3Articulator9yOkay, whoa, hey. I clearly and repeatedly explained my lack of total understanding of LW conventions. I'm not sure what about this provoked a downvote, but I would appreciate a bit more to go on. If this is about my noobishness, well, this is the Welcome Thread. Great job on the welcoming, by the way, anonymous downvoter. At the very least offer constructive criticism. Edit: Troll? Really? Edit,Edit: Thank you whoever deleted the negative karma!
Post ridiculous munchkin ideas!

They sell themselves short as just an anti-aging formula.

Interpersonal Entanglement

I'll concede the first point, but bear in mind that as I said, it is harder for men to change their facial appearance than women, so while I couldn't comment on the magnitudes involved, I'd estimate it somewhat cancels out, at the very least. I also daresay, examining my understandings that lead to this point that my mistake was implying a direct causation where a slightly finer touch was necessary. Because let's not pretend that more facially attractive men don't have an easier time of it. Of course, this presumably increases their self-confidence, etc... (read more)

Interpersonal Entanglement

Men and women have the same amount of heterosexual intercourse on average.

Look at that statement. Tell me what's wrong with that statement. But, on the flipside, thank you. That made my night. I may have woken somebody up laughing.

This means that most of the sex going on is different women having sex with the same superstuds, and that the typical woman has sex with about 3 times as many people as the typical man does.

Because, as should be obvious, women almost certainly have an easier time of obtaining sexual partners, albeit perhaps not within the standards they would like to set.

Interpersonal Entanglement

To be honest, I really don't see men being anywhere near as complex as women. I fully admit that I'm biased, but I honestly believe that men have simpler drives in relationships, and are far more open, especially collectively, as as to what those drives are.

Interpersonal Entanglement

You know when you generalize about "Women", you are probably going to annoy most the females on here, who tend to be less gender-normative.

Less gender-normative being key. We're not complaining about the statistical outliers, as nice as you are, because most people aren't lucky enough to find many of them.

Interpersonal Entanglement

Must... resist... archive binge!

Interpersonal Entanglement

But I don't think it would be at all bad if people continued to have normal relationships, but occasionally fooled around with a catgirl on the side.

Especially when it comes to non-mutual fetishes. Why should you bring down your own satisfaction if you don't have to?

Interpersonal Entanglement

If you have to pay them, then this is likely not satisfying their values in itself. Surely satisfying your values without dissatisfying others' is better?

Also, really? You think Dating Advice is enough?

3ikrase9yOr the Matchmaking AI (Implying something more... human than contemporary dating sites.)
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