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Hi Zvi,

A couple of months ago I wrote a covid-19 risk calculator that's gotten some press, and even translated into Spanish. Here's the link:

I've updated the calculations to leverage your table for age & preconditions, which were better than what I had. You can check the code for the calculator by clicking on the link near the top of the page. I've also put a link in that code to your article here.

Note that I'm trying to keep the interface ultra-simple. I get a stream of suggestions (e.g. can you add a separate slider for condition x), which if all implemented, will have little effect on the overall outcome, but will overcomplicate the interface, and make the calculator lose its appeal.



Also, there's ways of using uranium 238

And thorium.


A 5-second method (that I employ to varying levels of success) is whenever I feel the frustration of a failed interaction, I question how it might have been made more successful by me, regardless of whose "fault" it was. Your "sigh" reaction comes across as expressing the sentiment "It's your fault for not getting me. Didn't you read what I wrote? It's so obvious". But could you have expressed your ideas almost as easily without generating confusion in the first place? If so, maybe your reaction would be instead along the lines of "Oh that's interesting. I thought it was obvious but I guess I can see how that might have generated confusion. Perhaps I could...".

FWIW I actually really like the central idea in this post, and arguably too many of the comments have been side-tracked by digressions on moralizing. However, my hunch is that you probably could have easily gotten the message across AND avoided this confusion. My own specific suggestion here is that stipulative definitions are semantic booby traps, so if possible avoid them. Why introduce a stipulative definition for "moralize" when a less loaded phrase like "suspended judgement" could work? My head hurts reading these comments trying to figure out how each person is using the term "moralize" and I now have to think twice when reading the term on LW, including even your old posts. This is an unnecessary cognitive burden. In any case, my final note here would be to consider that you'd be lucky if your target audience for your upcoming book(s) was anywhere near as sharp as wedrifid. So if he's confused, that's a valuable signal.

people who identify as rationalists they seem to moralize slightly less than average

Really? The LW website attracts aspergers types and apparently morality is stuff aspergers people like.

don't go into the evolutionary psychology of politics or the game theory of punishing non-punishers

OK, so you're saying that to change someone's mind, identify mental behaviors that are "world view building blocks", and then to instill these behaviors in others:

...come up with exercises which, if people go through them, causes them to experience the 5-second events

Such as: feel the temptation to moralize, and to make the choice not to moralize, and to associate alternative procedural patterns such as pausing, reflecting...

Or: feel the temptation to doubt, and to make the choice not to doubt, and to associate alternative procedural patterns such as pausing, prayer...

The 5-second method is sufficiently general to coax someone into believing any world view, not just a rationalist one.

I have an image of Eliezer queued up in a coffee shop, guiltily eyeing up the assortment of immodestly priced sugary treats. The reptilian parts of his brain have commandeered the more recently evolved parts of his brain into fervently computing the hedonic calculus of an action that other, more foolish types, might misclassify as a sordid instance of discretionary spending. Caught staring into the glaze of a particularly sinful muffin, he now faces a crucial choice. A cognitive bias, thought to have been eradicated from his brain before the SIAI was founded, seizes its moment. "I'll take the triple chocolate muffin thank you" Eliezer blurts out. "Are you sure?" the barista asks. "Well I can't be 100% sure. But the future of intergalactic civilizations may very well depend on it!"

While I'm inclined to agree with the conclusion, this post is perhaps a little guilty of generalizing from one example - the paragraphs building up the case for the conclusion are all "I..." yet when we get to the conclusion it's suddenly "We humans...". Maybe some people can't handle the truth. Or maybe we can handle the truth under certain conditions that so far have applied to you.

P.S. I compiled a bunch of quotes from experts/influential people for the questions Can we handle the truth? and Is self-deception a fault?.

The chief role of metaethics is to provide far-mode superstimulus for those inclined to rationalize social signals literally.

Ethics and aesthetics have strong parallels here. Consider this quote from Oscar Wilde:

For we who are working in art cannot accept any theory of beauty in exchange for beauty itself, and, so far from desiring to isolate it in a formula appealing to the intellect, we, on the contrary, seek to materialise it in a form that gives joy to the soul through the senses. We want to create it, not to define it. The definition should follow the work: the work should not adapt itself to the definition.

Whereby any theory of art...

merely serves as after-the-fact justification of the sentiments that were already there.

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