All of Celer's Comments + Replies

Cheap food causes cooperative ethics

This is deeply unconvincing. We didn't have a great power war in the 60s or the 70s because that would have meant nuclear war. High-level US government officials in internal documents describe Russia as an existential threat. Russian government documents, as I understand it, reflect terror of American willingness to use nukes. We haven't had a war between the US and China yet, but estimates of that holding true over the next five years are less confident than I'd like.

"Most wars have ultimately been fought over land because land determines food production ... (read more)

3Vanilla_cabs4moStarving peasants revolt. Kings don't like revolts. Using starving peasants as soldiers to conquer new land is a way to divert peasant revolt by promising them the new land. And the king kills 2 birds with 1 stone, since starving peasants die killing neighbouring rivals. I'm not certain that's how it happens, but it's plausible and it solves all your qualms.
Beware Superficial Plausibility

Priors are relative to how much evidence can be shared. There may not be agreement in a single conversation, but they should expect movement towards a common belief, though there are degenerate counter-cases. For example, perhaps both parties share a base rate and have different pieces of information that push in the same direction.

Beware Superficial Plausibility

I think that the reason I don't see a lot of arguments against anti-vaxxers is that I don't know that I know of any. I think the reason that I see anti-vaxxers derided more often than average is flat-earthers are parsed as harmless and anti-vaxxers are parsed as doing harm. I think I'm not quite following what you're saying.

3Vladimir_Nesov4moThe harm should make it more valuable/appealing to argue about a claim, lending value of information to it, but shouldn't make it easier for arguments to hold. The fallacy of appeal to consequences facilitates arguing against a claim because of the harm it does, so appealing to ease of argument because or the harm is appealing to use of appeal to consequences. (You are certainly not doing any of that, I'm just curious about the reasons behind my own reaction to that statement, where it perplexingly was viscerally painful to read.)
Beware Superficial Plausibility

There's not a hard cutoff between 2005, when Ioannidis publishes, and the present, but I've worked on multiple systematic reviews, going over thousands of papers, and there's a visible improvement in quality over time, and that seemed like a reasonable date for "replication crisis attention is high."

This seems like an excessively general question to me. Yes, because we've gotten richer over time. No, because there is still suffering. Can you drill down into specifics?

Improving capital gains taxes

Instead, we should tax the difference between what you earned and what anyone could have made by just putting the same amount of money in a savings account. That is, we should tax the stuff that is actually income, i.e. when you are actually doing work, taking risks, or exploiting connections.

I think that "savings account" is an underdefined term here, which I think causes serious problems. "doing work" and "taking risks" seem like income, and I see the argument for taxing them accordingly. Does "taking risks" mean "US Treasury Bonds" (which have a risk of... (read more)

2paulfchristiano6moI was proposing exempting the short-term risk-free rate, and I was imagining using 30 day treasury yield a the metric. (The post originally said that but it got simplified in the interest of clarity---of course "savings account" is vague since they pay different amounts with different risk, but it seems to communicate basically the same stuff.) That's also roughly the rate at which you'd borrow if using leverage to offset your tax burden (e.g. it's roughly the rate embedded in futures or at which investors can borrow on margin).
1Ericf6moYou are correct here. If this policy were to be actually made into a law, the baseline rate of return would be hotly debated, and would need to be defined in relation to some sort of metric. It would likely end up being the retrospective 10-year T-bill rate, or some other minimal-risk rate of return (although have multiple independent sources of data that are averaged would be needed to avoid manipulation of the metric - eg if you just take the 10-year T-bill rate, all the big money can avoid that investment, thereby driving up the rate and giving them an huge tax advantage on their bitcoins or foreign bonds or wherever the money actually went)
The Point of Trade

In advance of other comments: 
1. Declining marginal utility of specific goods and non-uniform initial distributions of goods over people (this one matters).
2. There is a finite length of the production chain that one person can accomplish if something would take longer than an entire human lifetime to produce. Suppose I luck into a massive amount of unobtanium, with perfect property rights. To some extent this is 1, but I might also desire goods that I could not produce in an individual life, and by trade acquire them (this one isn't that critical).
3.... (read more)

"But It Doesn't Matter"

This seems very questionable: "does X matter?" is comparable to "is X vs not-X worth the cost of investigation?" If I'm constrained by resource limitations, and trying to acquire as much knowledge as I can given that, the ability to dismiss some answers as unimportant is critical.

Eight Books To Read

I would replace The Republic with a good Micro textbook for anyone who hasn't read one. A solid grasp of the mental framework that underlies Intro Micro is useful for anyone trying to parse society: not as the only framework, but an introduction to the fact that there are competing and incompatible mental frameworks. Following that, I would replace your book with an IR textbook, which must cover different and competing theories. They will be shallow introductions to complex thoughts, but they will give the reader the critical chance to test and compare the... (read more)

Caring less

I think you're right, so I'll start by assuming that you're wrong, because I have an alternative explanation for those who disagree with you (and which I think is the most convincing if we assume that the signalling explanation isn't the correct one). I think Eukaryote is missing one important cause. Assume that most writers arguing for caring more or less about a cause are doing so because they believe that this is an important way to serve that cause. Particularly outside our community, people rarely write about causes just for intell... (read more)

SotW: Be Specific

1: dog 2: mammal 1: cat 2: feline

1: animal 2: flea 1: flyer 2: pilot

1: human 2: living 1: breathing 2: breather

SotW: Be Specific

I am borrowing an old acting game for this one, and modifying it slightly. I am calling it "which word." The rules are very simple, and this is a fairly fun warm up exercise.

Base: The other person replies with a word that is either a superclass or a subclass of the given word. Using words in a different sense is encouraged.

Options for increased difficulty include

Forced:: Each person must go up twice and then down twice, repeating endlessly

Time Limit:: People must respond with a word of their own in a given number of seconds. Feel free to make it ... (read more)

3Zaine10yWould you mind providing an example, please, or explaining the original acting game and your alterations to it? Thank you.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12

I don't think that Hermione needs to be fully vindicated for the story to go on. Having her be ruled innocent by the Wizengamot, possibly with a later recantation by Lucius Malfoy once he calms down, would have her be distrusted by her classmates somewhat. This could fit in nicely with her character development and her fear of becoming dark.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

Hasn't Draco been with Lucius for the past hour? It would be one thing to steal the wand of a generic death eater, another entirely to steal a wand from under the nose of the head of the majority of the Wizengamot. Lucius seems to be well versed in the art of plotting and counter plotting, and getting Draco's wand from him and back to him without Lord Malfoy knowing with, at a maximum, five hours of planning, would be an extremely challenging feat even for Dark Harry. Still, I don't think that it is impossible.

0Pringlescan10yI think Dracos been in St. Mungos actually.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12

I edited my comment to correct that.

That would be brilliant. I wish.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12

To call in favors he never earned for something he had no conscious control over to subvert the political process of a nation qualifies as at least a little bit dark. I think that it wasn't considered because Harry doesn't think of himself as being the one who killed the Dark Lord regularly, and he doesn't know that much about how debts in Magical Britain work. Only once he fully slipped into his Dark Side and became willing to do anything did he see that he could call in these debts.

I don't believe that Dumbledore would think of subverting the political p... (read more)

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 12

Chapter 38: Lucius Malfoy claims that he was under an Imperius curse cast by Lord Voldemort. In canon, that claim was made by many powerful pureblood lords.

Chapter 26: Freeing someone from an Imperius curse by killing the caster of that curse creates a debt

Chapter 4: Bounties payable to the killer of Lord Voldemort could be delivered to Harry Potter.

Conclusion: Harry Potter is owed a blood debt by a number of the lords of the Wizengamot, which might be large enough that he could call it in and save Hermione. Even if it is just Lucius who owes him this deb... (read more)

2Nisan10yYou were right. Congratulations, good sir or madam.

In canon, that claim was made by many powerful pureblood lords.

Sorry? In canon, many powerful pureblood lords claimed to have killed Voldemort?...

Ah. You mean they claimed to be Imperiused. I'm obscurely disappointed. For a moment I imagined a coalition of Rational Pureblood Lords going around saying "it's ridiculous to believe a baby survived the Killing Curse and killed the Dark Lord, really we ambushed him and left the burned husk of his body".

0Pringlescan10yHermoine is still on the hook in the eyes of Draco and everyone for murder. I believe the story demands a fully vindicated Hermoine to continue, which is why I think Harry will frame Lord Jugson for the false memory charms on Draco and Hermoine. I go into further detail on this elsewhere, just check my comment history.
0Locke10yOh wow, I completely forgot about the bounties. My gold's on this theory now.
2TimS10yWhat's Dark about this plan? And why wasn't it considered at the pre-trial conference at Hogwarts? Actually, "because Dumbledore doesn't want Harry to do that" answers my second question, but raises its own questions.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 11

I never viewed them as really belonging in the same genre. Canon is character focused adolesence tale, MoR is plot focused epic fantasy.

1James_Blair10yLinkrot corrected. Thanks for the catch. Historical notes: Eliezer disapproves of this reference [http://lesswrong.com/lw/oo/explaining_vs_explaining_away/isc]; the original comment was posted on Overcoming Bias, which didn't allow nested replies, Frank Hirsch had some comments as well [1] [http://lesswrong.com/lw/oh/righting_a_wrong_question/imy] [2] [http://lesswrong.com/lw/oh/righting_a_wrong_question/imn].
Tolerate Tolerance

I have not abandoned this. I am simply trying to rework my moral system such that it allows me to both choose whom I want to spend time with in a useful fashion while not being hypocritical in the process. I will get back to you with my results.

Tolerate Tolerance

To make sure we are not arguing over words, Googling "tolerate" returns two definitions. "1. Allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.

  1. Accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance."

I am using the second, not the first. I don't see the point of dealing with someone who is explicitly intolerant of a group of people based on no conscious choice of their own, and should have examined their own beliefs, without a ver... (read more)

4Eugine_Nier11yLet's stop talking about race since it may or may not be relevant and deal directly with IQ [http://lesswrong.com/lw/kk/why_are_individual_iq_differences_ok/]. Someone's IQ is certainly not based on any conscious choice of their own. So your argument seems to imply that we should not be intolerant of people with low IQs. On the other hand this argument works even better as an argument for avoiding interacting with, i.e., being intolerant of, people with low IQs. So which is it, should we be intolerant of people with low IQs, or should we be intolerant of people who are intolerant of people with low IQs? Your argument seems to imply both.
Tolerate Tolerance

I am going to disagree with the idea that 'being "intolerant of intolerance"' is inherently inconsistent. The problem is with the word tolerance, which contains multiple meanings. I think that it is morally wrong to discriminate against people for things that they can't change. Believing that someone of a different race can't possibly be intelligent is a moral wrong. Furthermore, it is so indicative of stupidity that I do not wish to associate with such a person, if they are in a culture where theirs is the minority view.To put it another way, to... (read more)

5Desrtopa10yThe second statement here doesn't follow from the first. If intelligence is something that a person can't change, then it follows that it's morally wrong to discriminate against someone for being unintelligent. It doesn't follow that it is morally wrong to believe that one factor a person cannot change (their race) can determine other factors that they cannot change, such as their intelligence. Whether there are actually average inherent genetic differences in intelligence between races is still a matter of some debate (although the issue is so politically charged that it's hard to get any effective unbiased research done, and attempting to do so can be dangerous for one's reputation.) It's certainly unlikely that any race exists that has negligible odds of any particular individual reaching an arbitrarily defined cutoff point for "intelligent" compared to other races, but this is an empirical matter which is to be determined on the basis of evidence, and moral considerations have no bearing on whether or not it's true.
-8JohnH11y
Final Words

Blame me, because I restarted the chain. I voted this down, because it was not very amusing, and the parent up, because I assume it was an HPMOR reference and that is awesome.

0thomblake11yVoted up all comments in this chain except this one, because I can't vote on my own comments anymore.
Feeling Rational

I disagree here with what seems to be an unstated assumption. Namely, that the injunctive "That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be" is intended for application to the world. I instead understand it, as I think many here understand it, as applying to beliefs. If I believe something, it should not be false, and if I think it is false, it is a good thing for me to destroy that belief. Furthermore, in debates over religion, politics, and science, truth is the value that should be pursued. But the idea that I must tell the police about a crime a friend committed because "what can be destroyed by the truth, should be" seems absur, and it is not how I or, I think, many others interpret the phrase.

Of Gender and Rationality

I am a 16 year old. To be honest, most teens wouldn't handle the site. The requirement for an understanding of mathematics, logic, and science are beyond the reach of most, and the desire of most of the rest. That said, I have introduced two friends of mine to HPMOR and they have taken to it, and I am leading them towards Less Wrong. On the other hand? I don't know how many adults would handle less wrong either. If you want my advice on how to be more appealing to teenagers, it is relatively simple.

Link everything, so that someone who doesn't understand can follow your links and find out. Useful more for teens than for adults, it is still good practice. Few intelligent teens will tolerate a teens area for long.

0Viliam_Bur10yThe same could be said about most adults.
Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided

I assume he means an R or an R^2 of 0.6-0.8. Both are measures of correlation. R^2 would be the percent in the variation of one twins intelligence predicted by the intelligence of the other twin.

Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions

I am currently taking Stats(AP class in the USA, IB level elsewhere), and hope that I can help.
A traditional probability test will take four frequencies(Male smokers, female smokers, male nonsmokers, and female nonsmokers) and tell you if there is a correlation with an X^2 test.
Bayescraft lets you use gender as a way to predict the likelihood of smoking, or use smoking to predict gender. The fundamental difference, as far as I can tell, is that Statistics takes results about samples and applies them to populations. Bayescraft takes results about priors and applies them to the future. The two use similar methodology to address fundamentally different questions.