Chan Bae


Baking is Not a Ritual

The idea of complex interactions + small error bands leading to ritualisation neatly explains why medicine is so ritualised despite its practitioners being among the most educated professionals.

Is Rhetoric Worth Learning?
Well, and so it should, right? It should be socially risky; it is expected, and good, that it rubs people the wrong way—because arguing for positions you don’t hold (without disclaimers), and making arguments you personally find unpersuasive, is deceptive and antisocial; it’s a betrayal of cooperative norms.

And so we end up selecting for people who have passionate beliefs that don't pay any kind of rent whatsoever. Instead of deception, we got dissonance, and I'm not convinced this is better.

The Math Learning Experiment

> for chain complexes it took something like 4 years, and the satisfying motivation is much more complicated to explain than the definition.

You can't just say that and not tell us what the motivation is! Is it on your blog somewhere?

Seeking an Outside View on Israeli Military Service
Are there armies in any time in history in which individuals should have served in the military to do the most good in expected global utility? If so, what seems to be the criteria?

Arguably the codebreakers at Bletchley Park during WWII were doing a tremendous amount of good that they wouldn't have been able to match doing other things. But in the context of conscription, this kind of thing seems extremely unlikely. Not only does it depend on a comically evil yet powerful enemy, it also depends on the ability of a handful of individuals to make an outsized contribution to the war effort by means of their scarce, special skills. There does not seem to be anything half as dangerous as Nazi Germany that we can fight by military means, and it is not clear that there is a comparable niche in which people with special skills can do much good in. Of course, even if there were such a niche, chances are you would not have the ability to exploit it, almost by definition.

I suspect that for the typical person in the developed world, working their usual job and donating any surplus income to effective charities vastly outweighs the marginal good they would do joining any military in any capacity. So I believe that the answer to your last question is Yes, you should expect a random EA to regret joining the military (assuming that the only thing that motivates them is EA concerns). And I believe that the factors in favour of not joining are so overwhelming that the answers to your second and third questions, no matter what they may be, would not change the calculus.