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Lesswrong 2016 Survey

For a few moments I was paralyzed with uncertainty about how humorous to try to make my "I took the survey" response, since many seemed to have made a similar attempt, thus this post took longer to finish than the survey itself, which I have taken.

After Go, what games should be next for DeepMind?

Oooh. If we're going to look at boardgames, the best one ever designed (IMO, of course) is : 1817

Welcome to Less Wrong! (8th thread, July 2015)

Howdy All!

I’m a post middle-aged, impressively moustachioed dude from Texas, now living in Wisconsin. I moved up here recently, following the work, and now have a fine job in a surprising career path. See, I recently took a couple degrees in Mathematics (which I capitalize out of love, grammar be damned!) hoping to be a teacher for the rest of my time. It turns out, that was not such a good move for me and I was fortunate to receive an offer to get back into private-sector IT. I am now happily managing UNIX systems for a biggish software company here in the tundra.

I’ve been consuming the sequences and lurking in the forum (and newly the Slack cahtrooms) for several weeks. I have no recollection of how I found the site; StumbleUpon would be my first guess, though the xkcd forum is nearly as likely. As I read through the LW site I am struck by the quality of discourse, which is high even among those who disagree.

I am motivated to fill in some gaps in my own thinking on various issues of interest and importance. With the exception of my atheism, I don’t have many strongly held opinions (though at times I do seem to lean quite a ways over on some of them).

So, how did I become a rationalist? Well. Hmmm. I got pulled into a youth cult in high school. At a rally (or whatever) I was implored by a zealot on stage to “seek the truth”. I realized in hindsight he probably meant something other than that, like: “listen to me and read the bible and there’s your source of truth”. But I took him at his word. I looked at other religions and started taking philosophy courses. I talked to people who held beliefs different from my own. I dug in and studied issues of morality, politics, aesthetics, and more. Gradually I started to realize that I didn’t believe any of the ideas pushed at me by organized religion. I remember questioning what it means to “believe” and concluding that I simply don’t believe in any of the gods other people claim exist.

At one point, back in my late teens, I was a bible thumping (literally and figuratively), charismatic, evangelical prophet of christ. A few years later I was openly secular, having still not fully grokked the scope of the words “atheist” and “agnostic”.

These days I am still openly secular, and when I get to know you, I’ll let on that I’m a gnostic atheist, and perfectly happy to Taboo both words (as I understand that phrase), preferably over good dark beer on tap and a basket of deep-fried cheese curds.

I am hesitant to admit that one of my principle interests lately is politics. While I support (and adore) the idea that politics is the mind killer, I can’t shake a notion that we, the folks who strive to be less wrong, should be involved in the larger discussion. If there’s a subset of human endeavor that really needs an IV drip of less wrongness, it’s politics.

Now I’ve found this part of the webs, I am fair sure I’ll continue to spend more time here than I ought.