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His parents seem rather judgmental, and typically returning early isn't well received in the Mormon community in general either. Is he in need of people to bounce ideas off of, who understand where he's coming from?

I would be happy to talk to him, or meet him in person if he's still in CA (I'm in the Bay Area). I'm Mormon but have had lots of struggles with my own faith and am quite comfortable talking with (listening to) doubters on their own terms -- or atheists, see any of my LW posts.

If he'd like to talk to me, I don't come here often, but my e-mail is my username

The most extensively I've written on my struggles with faith is here:


It's good to see someone organize the relevant information and make it actionable. Good job lukeprog and Kaj_Sotala!


Thanks. My model is this, though that is more about election than governance.


The main question which is important here: why do you want to learn mathematics?


I suggest reading this Paul Graham essay:

Do you think Shakespeare was gritting his teeth and diligently trying to write Great Literature? Of course not. He was having fun. That's why he's so good.

If you want to do good work, what you need is a great curiosity about a promising question. The critical moment for Einstein was when he looked at Maxwell's equations and said, what the hell is going on here?

It can take years to zero in on a productive question, because it can take years to figure out what a subject is really about....The way to get a big idea to appear in your head is not to hunt for big ideas, but to put in a lot of time on work that interests you, and in the process keep your mind open enough that a big idea can take roost


If you are measuring Flesch-Kincaid on Word it often only goes up to 12.0, so if you are getting that for Word, all you know is that you are at the top of the grade-level scale.

When I was an editor for my college newspaper I would show this tool to my writers, and encourage them to aim for like 10 or 9.


This might sound obvious, but:

Spending time frequently with different groups of friends with different value systems, each of which (you believe) has an accurate map of different parts of the world.

My experience:

My rationalist friends help me inject more empiricism/anti-happy-death-spiral memes into my church experience; my church friends help me keep other memes like "non-smart people are still worthwhile," "actions perceived as demonstrating character and virtue aren't all just signalling," and of course the "no sex, no drugs" purity meme.

I am in favor of all of the preceding memes but tend to forget each of them over time if I spend too long in a community that doesn't observe them.


This seems to be the crux of your distinction.

Under the willpower theory, morality means the struggle to consistently implement a known set of rules and actions.

Whereas under the taste theory, morality is a journey to discover and/or create a lifestyle fitting your personal ethical inclinations.

We should not ask "which is right?" but "but how much is each right? In what areas?"

I'm not sure of the answer to that question.


One good study on religion and charitable giving is Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism.

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