All of Confringus's Comments + Replies

Teachable Rationality Skills

That's the basic vein I was referring to; that kind of quick calculation can be applied to debate, conversation and other interpersonal contact in much the same way as it is when observing a coin.

Teachable Rationality Skills

Skill: The accurate and timely assessment of basic probability ie: determining a person's likely response in any given conversation, determining odds of common occurrences, etc. The benefit to communication and the time-saving possibilities of such a skill are such that I feel any aspiring rationalist should pay specific attention to the development of basic probabilistic abilities.

0handoflixue11yI doubt it's the most efficient method, but I've been running basic Bayesian math on things like "given the coin came up heads the last 20 times, should I assume it's a fair or weighted coin?" I figure learning to do the math quickly will help me get it down to the point where I can at least ballpark the math on the 5-second level. It's also been helping me ballpark priors, and observe how different priors can affect the math.
Guilt: Another Gift Nobody Wants

The one thing that caught my eye in your scenario is the stipulation that, in the case of your actual brother, there are no other people present. Is this because you would be made somehow to feel guilt if there were witnesses or because the presence of others who also failed to save your brother somehow mitigates the guilt? It is an interesting situation given the dynamic between your brother and yourself but the witness factor is what intrigues me.

3Owen_Richardson11yNo, I would feel the same if there were witnesses to my failure to risk myself to save my actual bad-blood-brother in such a hypothetical situation. I just stipulated the 'no witnesses' to contrast with the first situation fully. I'm just saying: "okay, here's a hypothetical situation where none of the reasons proposed in this article for the existence of guilt apply, and yet I'd expect to feel great guilt. By contrast, here's a situation where they all apply but I wouldn't expect to feel guilt." The question is, do you other people feel my expectations are wrong? Would you expect differently for yourselves? How do you think most people would [expect to feel/actually feel if such a thing happened]? Do you think I'm mistaken about how my hypothetical situations relate to the arguments in this article? Etc Oh, and actually, I already do feel that I did miss an opportunity to save him. If I had been more mature myself while we were growing up, I could have been an awesome big brother. Preventing him from ever getting near being as lost as he is now probably would have been possible through behavioral means [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2as/diseased_thinking_dissolving_questions_about/"], I mean But of course I couldn't teach him not to be an idiot, because I hadn't learned yet myself, because nobody had thought to teach me in any deliberately optimized way, and I had to learn it from a long streak of experiences that just happened through good luck to be sequenced in an order that stopped me from getting hopelessly lost myself. Which took a long time. But I don't feel guilty for not being lucky enough to have an environment that would have taught me the level of maturity I would have needed to save him, soon enough that I could have done so. I feel sad, remembering the little boy that was me carrying the little boy that was him through the forest on my shoulders, and knowing that only one of those little boys was lucky enough to become a man who is at least trying to
0[anonymous]11yNo, I would feel the same if there were witnesses to my failure to risk myself to save my actual bad-blood-brother in such a hypothetical situation. I just stipulated the 'no witnesses' to contrast with the first situation fully. I'm just saying: "okay, here's a hypothetical situation where none of the reasons proposed in this article for the existence of guilt apply, and yet I'd expect to feel great guilt. By contrast, here's a situation where they all apply but I wouldn't expect to feel guilt." The question is, do you other people feel my expectations are wrong? Would you expect differently for yourselves? How do you think most people would [expect to feel/actually feel if such a thing happened]? Do you think I'm mistaken about how my hypothetical situations relate to the arguments in this article? Etc
Rationality Quotes: April 2011

Is there a law that states that all simple problems have complex, hard to understand answers? Moravec's paradox sort of covers it but it seems that principle should have its own label.

First Waco, Texas LW Meetup, 4/09, 1PM

I don't think I'll be making the trek out to those parts of the world anytime soon but College Station may be do-able. It is good to know that the UU has survived in Waco, I generally make it a point to stop by there whenever I'm in town (if only to annoy my extremely southern Baptist family). But anyway, keep fighting the good fight and keep Texan rationalism alive (or at least not picked over by the vultures and other scavengers).

First Waco, Texas LW Meetup, 4/09, 1PM

As a citizen of Houston, I am positively terrified of Waco, although your presence there seems to indicate that there may be some sort of underground vein of rationalism in the area...

4SilasBarta11yAwesome! Good to see another LW Texan! Heh, I keep telling the folks here the same thing, that they're overestimating the latent rationalists in the area. For my part, I'm only even here because I got a good job offer a while back and haven't done much to find other jobs/cities since. The primary sources of latent rationalists would be: * The Unitarian Universalist church that I visited last Sunday * White-collar employees at the two aerospace employers (yes, Waco has an aerospace industry), L-3 Communications and SpaceX (yes, SpaceX has operations in Waco) * The Baylor and community college students that aren't gung-ho churchgoers Anyway, in the future, maybe the Texas LWers could meet in College Station, which would put the meetup about equidistant from Dallas, Waco, Austin, and Houston. Bonus points for you if you make it to this one, but that is quite a ways to travel.
Rationality Quotes: April 2011

I imagine it is from one of his books but I came across it in the introduction to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Oddly enough the Hitchhiker series is absolutely full of satirical quotes which can be applied to rationality.

Rationality Quotes: April 2011

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Douglas Adams

This quote defines my approach to science and philosophy; a phenomenon can be wondrous on its own merit, it need not be magical or extraordinary to have value.

3Raemon11yIs this from a particular book, or something he said randomly?
Guilt: Another Gift Nobody Wants

So for you guilt is less of a signal in and of itself but the origin of your modified-behavior signal? Several others have raised the point of guilt as an evolutionary facilitator and it makes sense to me that individuals who self-corrected due to a guilt response would be the most socially accepted and thus most likely to procreate. The shoulder-angel doesn't need to be there if the behavior remains the same as if it had been.

0Swimmer96311yIt makes sense to me, too.
Generalizing From One Example

I have to admit, I was skeptical about the existence of those without visual imagination, but after reading your post it seems that that skepticism was derived from a lack of understanding. I couldn't comprehend the vehicle by which thoughts would be transmitted without a visual component, but your description has gone a long way towards clearing that up. Thank you for your excellent contribution.

Generalizing From One Example

As a teenager dealing with the already weighty bias against arguments originating in youth, the typical mind fallacy has proved a constant and grating annoyance. Nothing in my (admittedly short) life is quite as frustrating as trying to explain a concept to someone who doesn't understand how it is that I understand the concept in the first place. In future I intend to refer my friends and instructors to this and other articles with the hope of clarification, so for that I thank you.