All of Athrelon's Comments + Replies

Cognitive Biases due to a Narcissistic Parent, Illustrated by HPMOR Quotations

Good! I'm pleased to see an example of LW going meta on itself in this vein.

As an extension, note that there's a well-established pattern by which people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder tend to attract (and be attracted to) people with Borderline Personality Disorder. An evocative line from The Last Psychiatrist:

The narcissist creates an identity, then tries to force everyone else to buy into it. The borderline waits to meet someone, and then constructs a personality suitable to that person....

The narcissist thrives with the borderline becaus

... (read more)
4Algernoq8yAn intellectual narcissist will tend to make wrong predictions about things they don't fully understand, and intellectual borderlines will tend to believe those predictions. I'm not sure what you mean by "look like in Near". Thanks for pointing out this is going meta. Now I can go one level more meta.
Find a study partner - March 2014 thread

I am learning HTML/JS and frontend development more generally, initially using Bootstrap as my tutor. I'm starting with a generic familiarity with Natlab/Python but no prior web dev experience.

Open Thread, November 23-30, 2013

In fact, Einstein was pretty politically active and influential, largely as a socialist, pacifist, and mild Zionist.

Help the Brain Preservation Foundation

Thank you for your work, Aureliem.

Open Thread, September 30 - October 6, 2013

This is true; however keeping a website running is still very, very cheap compared to almost anything else the government does, including functions that are continuing as usual during the shutdown.

If web apps are too high maintenance, that does not explain the shutdown of government Twitters (example:, which went to the extra effort of posting that "we won't be tweeting 'cause shutdown.") I note with amusement however that the Health and Human Services Twitter is alive and well and tweeting about the ACA.

1Sly8y"This is true; however keeping a website running is still very, very cheap compared to almost anything else the government does, including functions that are continuing as usual during the shutdown." This is literally irrelevant when the non-essential services have to be shut down. If your techs get furloughed, shutting down the site is appropriate. The twitter accounts are "shut down" in the sense that the employee who would have done the tweeting is now furloughed and can't. Putting out a tweet explaining the upcoming lapse makes a whole lot of sense to me.
Think Like a Supervillain

I suspect the TV show may end up reducing, if not the scope, at least the emotional empact of the harmful fallout of her anti-slavery actions. Pop culture tends not to play well with values dissonance. It is known.

Call for discussion: Signalling and/vs. accomplishment, the person who is low status because of not doing the useless status-enhancing thing, are going to try to expropriate status from the high-status useless people? Let me know how that goes!

Call for discussion: Signalling and/vs. accomplishment

The question is how correlated signalling is with actually valuable activities. Healthy societies have institutions that try to correlate social rewards with pro-social behavior; capitalism and academia are both examples of institutions that try to tie value-creation with changes in social status. However, no linkage is perfect and all signalling behaviors can be hacked to some degree. So you end up with an academia where grant-finagling and publication, in at least some fields, are largely divorced from producing meritorious work. Likewise PUA is an a... (read more)

Tutoring Small Groups of Children (for money)

Thank you for trying to impart useful, compounding knowledge, even when selling opium is almost certainly more lucrative in a middle-class neighborhood.

LW Women: LW Online

Then why is it that this difference, out of the many dimensions of differences that form up humankind, and the multitude of interest-group formation patterns that could have been generated, is the one that gets so much attention? It would be bizarre if an unbiased deliberation process systematically decides that one unremarkable axis (gender) is the one difference that should be discussed at great length and with very vigorous champions, while ignoring all of the other axes of diversity of human minds.

Now it is possible for one unremarkable axis to become... (read more)

4Luke_A_Somers9yI dunno about this. It seems that the difference between those concerned with an intelligence explosion and those concerned with other scenarios has gotten way more attention here than gender. I wasn't surprised on the occasions when questions of differences in tone between the two camps flared up when discussing that topic. I would have been shocked almost beyond belief if, when discussing that topic, questions of tone differences between men and women had arisen. The idea is, almost every topic, men and women are very similar, because the differences aren't relevant. When you begin looking at the differences, then you get amplifying effects. In particular, each participant being what they are and completely unable to change that means: * that the topic isn't going to be to convert people from one camp to the other or otherwise influence their choice as in the example above, but it's going to have to be about something about that. This added layer of meta makes things much less stable. Imagine having a discussion about how we ought to talk about the differences between intelligence explosion and other scenarios, while universally acknowledged that no one was going to change their position on the actual subject. It'd be all over the place. * that empathy is harder to achieve. And in particular looking at the difference from one end gives exactly opposite perspectives on the issue. When you 'normalize' the differences, it's maximally different.
Politics Discussion Thread February 2013

Agreed that status is part of the explanation, and the recent devaluing of parenting effort vs. job effort is certainly contributory.

I'm not sure how to weigh your statement that jobs are now "easy and pleasant" (certainly they're physically less demanding and safer than in the past) with the prevalence of chronic stress and so on. Certainly your millionaire example is weak evidence that jobs are some combination of fun and statusful, though it has the same status-quo caveats as people thinking of the upside of death. Also note the great stress... (read more)

8Viliam_Bur9y“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.” ~Agatha Christie Maybe the modern aristocrats unable to enjoy their life without work are victims of the school system. They spend years learning that you have to participate in some structured activity in the morning, and then you have to waste your time in the evening. As opposed to doing something meaningful in a relaxed manner all the time.
[Link] False memories of fabricated political events

I seem to remember a study demonstrating that my political opponents are particularly vulnerable to this bias.

1Jack9yActually, if you sample enough studies...
[SEQ RERUN] Investing for the Long Slump

Important question considering the popularity of the Great Stagnation hypothesis. Current answers include pay down debt and investing in human capital, which is pretty vague unfortunately. Anyone have better ideas?

Politics Discussion Thread February 2013

What's going on with fertility?

My comments on a Marginal Revolution post that linked to this Der Spiegel article about the ROI of different forms of fertility subsidies. (As of 2010, German fertility rates were 1.39 despite sizeable subsidies for family formation.)

Reshuffled my comments to make for easier contiguous reading:

What I take away from the German article is that people REALLY don’t want to get married – or rather, [people really don't want to] avoid single parenthood. Thus bribing them to have two-parent households is really expensive. If yo

... (read more)
-1ChristianKl9yWikipedia doesn't say that much about the actual effectiveness of the birth control.
5Viliam_Bur9yIt's probably not about money, but about status. There is never enough status, by definition, for an average person. Feminists taught women that having a job is high status, and taking care of children is low status. (Of course there are also other reasons to prefer job, not only status. People may like their jobs, or at least enjoy the sense of financial security or social opportunities that jobs provide.) Maybe jobs today are actually quite easy and pleasant, and we just have a cultural taboo against admitting it. I mean, I was surprised when I asked some people about what would they do if they luckily became millionaires and never had to go to work again. Many people responded that without a job, life would be boring. (What, they can't imagine a time-consuming hobby?) So it seems like to some degree people today have jobs to avoid boredom or existential anxiety; and they ask money only because they need to pay their expenses, and as a status symbol. This would explain why so many different jobs have similar working times and similar salaries.
7aaronde9yI agree that something unusual is going on. Humans, unlike any other species I'm aware of, are voluntarily restricting our own population growth. But I don't know why you say that there's "no reason" to believe that this strange behavior might benefit us. Surely you can think of at least one reason? After all, all those other species that don't voluntarily limit their own reproduction eventually see their populations crash, or level off in the face of fierce competition over resources, when they meet or exceed their environment's carrying capacity. The laws of physics as we currently understand them dictate that exponential growth cannot continue forever. I'm not saying that there are no foreseeable downsides to population leveling off. And I'm not saying that there's no risk of unforeseeable consequences of the social changes underlying this demographic shift. But I am saying that (amid all the pros and cons) there is one obvious, important reason why human population leveling off might be a good thing. The downsides are neither so obvious nor so potentially dramatic. To illustrate this, lets look at Last's (awful) WSJ article [] quoted in the Marginal Revolutions post. Last does his best to paint declining fertility as a nightmare scenario. But the data he presents simply don't support his tone. For example: In other words, low-fertility societies do have an incentive to innovate - in medicine and life extension. And not just for the benefit of the old - they also have an incentive to keep the young healthy and productive as long as possible, to maintain their shrinking workforce (which may go some ways toward explaining Japan's excellent school nutrition program [] , and low, declining childhood obesity rates). They also h
8Eugine_Nier9yThere is some evidence for such a preference in some ancient cultures during some times and places (these were rare for obvious reasons), e.g., Italians during the late Roman Empire. This reminds me of Calhoun's mouse universes [].
[Link] Noam Chomsky Killed Aaron Schwartz

To claim that the activists were strong is pretty absurd. The activists failed for approximately a century, in a regime that did a very good job of returning to the status quo ante bellum, died repeatedly while I don't recall hearing of very many KKKers ever dying, and a partial victory at some point in some small town shows that they're 'strong'?...And then there's the selection biases here; how many activists do you ever hear of? How many movements? As all analyses of power acknowledge, there's a lot of chance & variation involved...

Certainly fluk... (read more)

Certainly flukes happen. But they are flukes. If activists were weak, their victories would be isolated and of short duration, quickly reverted.

Which is why the long hypothesized WWI did not happen after a fluke like a Serbian terrorist assassinating someone important, because all flukes are isolated and of short duration.

(Is that a simplified and facile claim? Yes. Is it more simplified and facile than your argument? No.)

But if I lose some rounds, win one spin, and keep on winning thereafter, then something funny is going on. Or maybe I own the casin

... (read more)
[Link] Noam Chomsky Killed Aaron Schwartz

In theory, little. In practice, compared to mainstream realpolitik, it's applied to domestic not international politics, and shows a greater appreciation for social and cultural power rather than quantifiable economic and military power.

[Link] Noam Chomsky Killed Aaron Schwartz

That Communism would have fizzled in 1500 is a fact about the strength of non-Communist structures in the Middle Ages. That Communism succeeded in 1917 is a fact about the strength of pro- vs. anti-Communist structures at that time. Strength changes over time; that does not negate the fact that strength (probabilistically) determines victory.

0Eugine_Nier9yAnd yet institutions with strength managed to loose it.
Politics Discussion Thread December 2012

What do those experiments mean specifically?

Seconded. Does this mean PUA or does it have a more long-term element?

[Link] Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

Anyone doing well in life is a rationalist in the sense we use it on LW?

0aelephant9yNo, but that wasn't what we were talking about. They could have been lucky, but then their success didn't come about because rationality helped them win at life. You're saying a better rationalist will lose more often than a worse rationalist, which is wrong by definition since rationality is the art of accomplishing one's goals effectively.
[Link] Ideology, Motivated Reasoning, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

In other words, smart, reflective people are better at using those smarts and reflections to play monkey political games, maybe one meta-level up.

Of course, playing politics well is important to effectiveness in real life. Learning about rationality might make you a worse rationalist, but it probably helps you win at life, including if your goal is to, say, promote a movement that is positively correlated with rationality.

0aelephant9yYou seem to be contradicting yourself. If learning about rationality probably helps you win at life, that means it makes you a better rationalist.
LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance

Apply Bayes to making decisions in real life, in ways that the cool people don't? That idea will never fly on LessWrong!

LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance

Ah, but this was less the case at the time the poll was made (the community has been growing in the meantime) and it was also not clear that this would be a Main as opposed to Discussion post. So that has to be factored into the probabilities.

3[anonymous]9yIn order to estimate the base rate, I looked at the first page of recent posts, which goes back to October 2011. I suspect a similar thing is true of Discussion, but the reference class would need to be more precise. (i.e., non-link, established user author, longer than X words).
LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance

I'm a male LWer with an infant daughter. I'd like to request some specific advice on avoiding the common failure modes.

Don't take your parenting approach from ideology, because it's not optimized for being a reflection of reality. (Extreme example here)

LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance


The “Anonymous Narratives by LW Women” thread will receive >100 comments,

The “Anonymous Narratives by LW Women” thread will receive >500 comments

Consider this easy-to-predict eventuality as an indictment of how incredibly ineffective and mindkilled LessWrong is about sex, for obviously ideological reasons (though we may disagree about which side it is that is mindkilled).

3NancyLebovitz9yI predicted with 90% certainty that there would be over 500 comments. On the other hand, quite a few of the comments are mine. On the remaining hand, I'm also 90% certain that the comments will go over 500 even not including mine.
3[anonymous]9y“Just because the two of you disagree doesn't mean one of you is right”¹; IOW, I think both sides are mindkilled to some extent -- though surprisingly much less than usual. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. I'm having a hard time finding the original wording and attribution of this on Google; can anybody help?

In addition to the problems already pointed out with this comment, another thing I'd like to address is:

(though we may disagree about which side it is that is mindkilled)

If one suspects that mindkilling is happening, the most likely result isn't that it is happening on one "side" but rather with pretty much both "sides"- thinking in terms of sides is already to some extent a sign of mindkilling. But large scale discussion is not, and better not be, in any reasonable setting a sign by itself of mindkilling but just evidence of levels of interest.

3Multiheaded9yPresumably you consider every more-or-less-polite forum on sex/gender issues to be mind-killed too, then? The fact that people tend to get incensed about, strongly condemn and downvote things that they deem to be politically extremist/misanthropic/misogynistic... is it really the standard by which to judge mind-killedness? Or should we rather look at the quality of empirical and moral arguments used in the discussion, without showing undue tolerance to attacks [] on the Enlightenment values that LW's mission implicitly includes? Would you show the same tolerance to overt racism and political extremism in a thread on group differences in intelligence? In my opinion, LW handles that controversy admirably, and has never let the moral issues inherent in it out of the discussion.

What's your line of thought that large numbers of comments are a clear indication of a mind-killed community?


Consider this easy-to-predict eventuality as an indictment of how incredibly ineffective and mindkilled LessWrong is about sex, for obviously ideological reasons (though we may disagree about which side it is that is mindkilled).

Doesn't follow. The base rate for getting more than 100 comments on a main, non-announcement article is already something like 70%.

Giving What We Can, 80,000 Hours, and Meta-Charity

glances at thread

Econ is the mind-killer.

0mytyde9yPoorly informed anything is a mind-killer []
5[anonymous]9yGLaDOS already complained about our community being more easily mind killed about it than it once was. This i why I requested a sequence on economics and especially prediction markets recently.
Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.]

I don't even think they're particularly vocal. I can recall like two loud Moldbuggians: Konk and Vlad_M, who is inactive and doesn't even mention Moldbug by name, to my knowledge.

I think it looks like these Moldbuggians are active because a lot of Moldbuggianism is deconstructing assumptions about how politics works. So there's a lot of mainstream ideological assumptions that aren't seen as ideological at all by most people (democracy is good, the media is an observer not a participant in government, etc) yet are seen as incorrect and/or political claims... (read more)

the media is an observer not a participant in government

I haven't read Moldbug, so maybe you mean something else by this than what it sounds like, but I don't think I know of anyone with an interest in politics who'd agree with this statement as written. Pretty much everybody thinks that the media has a huge influence on government, up to the point of often determining what decisions the government can make, and which politicians grow popular or fall out of favor. There's a reason why it's called the fourth estate.

Prediction: Autism Rate will Stop Increasing

I would certainly expect that the category "bad effects of lifestyle changes favored by highly educated researchers" would be understudied, relative to studying the nasty effects of poor-folks culture.

1thescoundrel9yMy apologies if you felt I was handing out condemnation- it was not my intent at all. As is said, I did not think the reaction I had was the reaction you were aiming for. While upon consideration I don't think there is a valid harm to the OK Cupid posting, I was in no way attempting to say we shouldn't talk about it. I simply was noting that if persuasion is what you are after, there may be a better approach that does not trigger the squick feeling. It is also possible that I am a statistical anomaly in this (although I would say that the number of upvotes I have received is probably evidence to the contrary), and I need to re-calibrate somewhere. In any case, it seems I too need to work on my delivery, as my intended message was not accurately received. I was in competitive debate for many years, and have long since separated my dislike of an argument for my feelings of the person- one of my faults is that I tend to common mind fallacy that trait to everyone, and then be surprised when someone sees my evaluation of what they are saying as a reflection on them as a person as opposed to an evaluation of their argument.

This response is such a strawman! No one's arguing that "the right to conduct sexual activities in any way without being judged" is a "sacred value" that "overrides any consequentialist concern for actually producing more effective rationalists." If every other post by Eliezer made specific, detailed reference to his dalmatian fetish, or if SIAI had a specific section of their website listing the fetishes and relationship styles of all their members, then yes, that would likely be problematic -- because it would be seriously, ... (read more)

[Link] "An OKCupid Profile of a Rationalist"

There appear to be two major strains of response to this post:

  1. There is no PR disadvantage to having an OKCupid profile like this
  2. To the extent that there is such a tradeoff, the freedom to broadcast sexual weirdness is a deontological good ("can't we just let him date in peace?") and weighing it against institutional effectiveness is a taboo tradeoff.

The first response seems a case of wishful thinking - as though by believing really hardthat others share our local values, and outgroupping those who disagree with us, we could make it a PR posi... (read more)

So far, the evidence that this profile is a PR problem seems limited to a handful of negative comments on one Internet comment thread. Most of those comments are limited to the idea that the post is too boastful or too open, and thus unlikely to be successful in attracting women. And the same thread includes people with neutral or positive responses at roughly the same frequency (maybe a little lower, but the same order of magnitude). This evidence falls well below what I would consider sufficient to trot this issue out in public, much less to demand that ... (read more)

[Link] "An OKCupid Profile of a Rationalist"

And let's certainly give credit where it's due, he handled the responses in the thread as well as could be expected under the circumstances - with deflecting humor rather than hurt anger.

Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012

Yeah, the billionaire class may be interesting but naturally I don't know much about it and at any rate it's mostly unattainable. The Ferris-style folks may be more interesting.

Another place to look is ethnic diasporas, but I don't really see a strong trend of ethnic ties superseding national ones. The incentives for success usually favor cultural assimilation over maintaining ethnic ties. (The aside one exception is Jews, who have some fairly unique history favoring cohesion).

5Emile9yAs an interesting aside, converting to Judaism may be one way to join something like a "clade of transient elites" (more attainable than the billionaire club, anyway).
Open Thread, November 1-15, 2012

yet I'm also a young no income white male and seeing some deeply disturbing kinds of language among the cool set with regards referring to my demographic. Seems pretty stage three-ish by Stanton's scale.

Would you mind sharing some of this evidence so we can assess its significance, Bayes style?

Minorities that do well economically end up targets of irrational hate. The memetic core for scapegoating for various problems that will only grow worse is clearly there and unlikely to be opposed strongly by any institution I'm aware of.

From an American point... (read more)

3Vaniver9yIt appears that this is happening among the billionaire class- residences in London, New York, and wherever else they like. It doesn't appear to be common among the millionaire class- there are a few people that have Ferris-style lifestyle businesses and travel wherever they like, but that seems like the sort of thing that is not very robust to global insecurity.
Voting is like donating thousands of dollars to charity

Of course you're technically correct. There are, and have been, terrible arguments for monarchy advanced in the past. But today, democracy is the high-status mode of governance, and so the terrible arguments generated by motivated cognition, such as this OP, are in favor of democracy, not monarchy.

Worrying about bad arguments for monarchy now is like someone worrying about bad arguments for evolution in a creationist school board meeting. Yes it could potentially be a problem, but this over-concern is hardly our biggest problem right now and is very likely itself generated by motivated cognition.

Voting is like donating thousands of dollars to charity

"You know, given human nature, if you lived in a country in which there was democracy, pretty soon someone would try to sound deep by inventing reasons that voting was a good thing. But if you lived in a universe in which democracy wasn't the high-status mode of governance, and asked them if they wanted it, with all its attendant consequences, they would say no. It would never occur to them to invent all the clever rationalizations that someone resigned to democracy would devise."

2Eugine_Nier9yUm, historically that is precisely what happened in the 18th and 19th centuries.
8prase9yYou know, it would be nice to say what specifically is wrong with the original post. Accusing someone of inappropriate rationalisation without a shred of supportive argument but using a fancy quote of the locally revered author, that's what I call trying to sound deep without actually being deep.
2ArisKatsaris9yDemocracy (in the sense of electing your leaders) seems to be actually be a Schelling Point instead; it seems to occur independently across lots and lots of cultures. It doesn't always last long as a democracy, sometimes devolving into tyranny/hereditary rule/whatever -- but it nonetheless occurs frequently. So I think you're just wrong on this.
4drethelin9y"You know, given human nature, if you lived in a country in which there was Monarchy, pretty soon someone would try to sound deep by inventing reasons that hereditary rule was a good thing. But if you lived in a universe in which Kingship wasn't the high-status mode of governance, and asked them if they wanted it, with all its attendant consequences, they would say no. It would never occur to them to invent all the clever rationalizations that someone resigned to monarchy would devise."
Economy gossip open thread

I am not convinced that this is morally superior to selling opium. This depends critically on how much use the marginal student actually gets out of English.

Now SAT tutoring, that is certainly morally inferior to selling opium. (Inferior, not equal, for obvious utility reasons.)

7Vaniver9yEr, that seems pretty massive to me. Access to the English internet by itself seems worthwhile.

...and how much utility people actually get out of opium.

9aelephant9yOne thing I can tell you is that if a child has a native English speaker teaching them, their English is pretty much guaranteed to be better than if they don't. At many schools, Chinese teachers who have never been outside of China will be the ones teaching the kids English -- their English is horrible & often they will be punishing the children for getting something "wrong" when they are more likely than not the ones mistaken.
[Link] Epigenetics

Yeah, there's a pattern where people latch onto a poorly-understood term as a curiosity-stopper around controversial disciplines. This is not to say that there aren't sophisticated critiques of mainstream perspectives, but most people who use the 201 arguments don't even understand 101 yet; they're just "warding off evil facts," as Cochran puts it.

Example: Economics - "Non-efficient markets!"

Equality and natalism

That's actually a really fascinating observation. Why is it okay to tell groups of people "You should delay childbearing by several years" but not okay to tell them "You should have fewer children"?

I wonder if this is because in near-mode, people model themselves as immortal, so sacrificing a few years is just consmuption-shifting and not an actual opportunity cost.

0DanArmak9yAlso consider that children born to older parents have much higher rates of harmful mutations, developmental disorders, and rates of sickness in general, as well as higher risk to the mother from childbirth.
Equality and natalism

Eugenics wasn't considered crazy during its first wave of popularity.

And given that it was associated with the single biggest evil that modern society acknowledges - indeed, the only thing you can straight-facedly call "evil" without seeming really old-fashioned and unsophisticated, wouldn't it make sense that modern culture, having extirpated the offending government root and branch, would then proceed to salt the surrounding memetic ground within a 200 mile radius?

Heck, we now even have "creepy" associations with large well-coordinated military style ceremonies, something that every other country in the world did at the time.

5[anonymous]9yFor some reason that didn't touch smoking bans.
7[anonymous]9yBasically anti-Nazism as a religion with some weird deontology attached. So like I may not believe in God but my moral tastes seem to match Christian tastes suspiciously often due to cultural baggage, I may think eugenics is ok in theory but actual applications hit my inherited anti-Nazi tastes.
Equality and natalism

Yeah, that's a good data point as well: people grumble but don't resist - kind of like how we treat the TSA.

Maybe our strong instincts are against regulation of sex, rather than childbearing. The two were tightly coupled in ancient times so we wouldn't need redundant intuitions.

I also rather like the alternative hypothesis of "Rich Western cultures are freaking insane."

1Eugine_Nier9yChina has a long tradition of collectivism and strong central government. Contrast this with the western (especially Anglo-Saxon) tradition of individualism.

Maybe our strong instincts are against regulation of sex, rather than childbearing.

But sex is heavily regulated! Just try to have sex with a prostitute, or your sister, or an underage girl, or your employee, or boss, or a mentally retarded person ...

Equality and natalism

You know, I was going to reply that obviously the answer is that people don't like intervention in evolutionarily ancient processes like who to marry and how many kids to have. Then I remembered that eugenics was hugely popular in the early 1900s, with only the "backwards, ignorant" Church railing against the "progressive, scientific" idea. This suggests that humans are willing to accept such intervention, at least to a similar extent to which they accept wealth redistribution ("I'll do it if I get to tell other people how to do ... (read more)

4FiftyTwo9yIt doesn't merely have to be the backlash against Eugenics, in general saying "Group X shouldn't reproduce so much" correlates with saying "group X are bad," which worries us. Historical quibble, was there ever really mass support for Eugenics? Yes it was a fad in the 19th Century upper class/intellectuals but they hardly constituted a majority.

I think a large majority of Westerners are ok with mating intervention.

5[anonymous]9yWe have plenty of those in the modern world. Consider the one child policy or various laws that specifically target abuse in relationships.
4Emile9yIt may depend of which "we" you're talking about. The Chinese seem mostly fine with it.
Skill: The Map is Not the Territory

"Having more free time" and "being more stubborn" shouldn't win arguments, but they do in real life where arguments are mostly about status, so we translate the status dynamics online.

Skill: The Map is Not the Territory

I prefer to feel in ways that reflect the world around me. As long as I also think this sort of thing is an attack, feeling that way is in accord with that preference whether it makes me happier or not. As long as I don't care to occupy a pushover role where I make myself okay with whatever happens to be going on

In any normal social context it would be reasonable to assume that this an overconfident statement deliberately made without caveats in order to enhance bargaining power. Which is fine - humans are selfish.

This being LW where there's a good chance that this was intended literally - this sort of rigidity was exactly why "learning how to lose" is a skill.

3wedrifid9yThat isn't true. There are times where overconfidence is used to enhance bargaining power. But people just really not liking people doing things that hurt them is just considered normal and healthy human behavior. No, it isn't. Learning to lose is an independent skill to knowing what 'lose' means and not liking to lose.
Skill: The Map is Not the Territory

I do in fact feel attacked by the suggestion that huge swaths of things valuable to me are worthless and ought to be done away with!

Unless you enjoy being outraged at a low threshold by something outside your control, this is a trait that you should be dissatisfied with and attempt to modify, not something to be stated as immovable fact. I, note however, that acting like that trait is an immovable fact makes for more favorable status dynamics and a better emotion-bargaining position...

Unless you enjoy being outraged at a low threshold by something outside your control, this is a trait that you should be dissatisfied with and attempt to modify

Does not follow. I prefer to feel in ways that reflect the world around me. As long as I also think this sort of thing is an attack, feeling that way is in accord with that preference whether it makes me happier or not. As long as I don't care to occupy a pushover role where I make myself okay with whatever happens to be going on so that people don't have to account for my values, drawing a li... (read more)

Open Thread, October 1-15, 2012

Most arguments against incest are arguments where the bottom line is already written since they are made by people who just don't want to admit they are plain grossed out by it.

The most common intelligent argument I've seen against incest is "power imbalance!" which in the case of your news story looks like a case of the noncentral fallacy.

2[anonymous]9yIn principle, a society could frown upon parent-child incest but not upon incest between siblings, but that's not what we see, so I don't think that's a good explanation.
Open Thread, August 16-31, 2012

Yes, it looks like you're right that there were significant investment opportunities even with BC technology, unlike what I assumed. We can quibble over whether these investment opportunities were "deep" or one-offs, but it seems reasonable that irrigating farms is something you can invest a lot in before hitting diminishing returns.

This is still a strange phenomenon: on one hand you have potential investments with high rates of return, even with risk adjustments - yet market interest rates were very high, showing few people were willing to make... (read more)

Open Thread, August 16-31, 2012

Per Gregory Clark in A Farewell to Alms, the ancients had noticeably less future time-orientation than modern people. Furthermore, there were relatively few ways to make profitable investments - it's not as though a farmer could take loans out to buy a tractor.

In that context, lending is more akin to drug dealing than responsible investing. It hooks in people with poor self-control who will spend it on consumption not investment. So the logical thing to do is to crack down on the practice. Yes there are some responsible users who lose out, but that's f... (read more)

1gwern9yDid we read the same book? Clark's whole point was that there were many secure (eg. his argument that property rights were more secure in early Britain than during the Industrial Revolution) high-paying investments; this surprised me so much that I recorded one snippet from chapter 9 in my Evernotes: EDIT: Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations:
[Link] The real end of science

Of course, the decline of science-as-an-institution isn't just marked by overt cheating. A safer and arguably more prevalent method is to game the publication system (ie by aligning your beliefs and professional contacts with powerful factions of reviewers), crank out many unrevealing publications, and make small contributions to hot fields rather than large ones in fields that are less likely to get you tenure.

Overall we'd see a lower signal-to-noise ratio in science, but this is hard to quantify. It's tough to call a discipline diseased until decades afterwards.

[Link] The real end of science

Is there a reason to believe we've got 3-10x better at detecting fraud in the past decade?

2DanArmak9yWell, is there a reason to believe scientists have become 3x-10x more fraudulent in the past decade?

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

Not literally true, but I wouldn't be surprised that the expansion of access to electronic articles, and the expansion of people with access to see them, has resulted in a 3-10x greater read rate for the important articles.

[Link] The real end of science

Robbing things in general has consequences - but it's harder to detect the robbery of social trust than the robbery of a sofa.

3Clippy9yMaybe I could fix this problem by sneaking into buildings, removing the sofas, and then incinerating them. That way, finding that a sofa has gone missing would then be weaker evidence that it has been stolen and stronger evidence that it has been incinerated. That would make it increasingly difficult to detect sofa robbery, hopefully putting it on par with social trust robbery detection.
[Link] The real end of science

Robbing the social commons has consequences.

2Eliezer Yudkowsky9yRobbing any commons has consequences, otherwise it wouldn't be a commons problem.
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