All of Court_Merrigan's Comments + Replies

Sorry, Nazgul. That makes no sense.

I don't know how long you've held the position, or much care - I don't think it's relevant. But it is signaling, I think, for 2 reasons:

  • Your public concern with saying it's not signaling is just a way of signaling;
  • Claiming a certain timespan of belief is just an old locker room way of saying "I got here first." Which surely is signaling.

This is the sort of thing that causes unnecessary splintering in groups. I have a very visceral reaction to this sort of signaling (which I would label preening, actually). Perhaps I should examine that.

I suspect that you have not become acquainted with my moral position! If you knew my moral position, you would be more likely to say I am ruining the party by crapping in the punchbowl than to say I am preening. (Preen. verb. Congratulate oneself for an accomplishment).
It is likely the case that rhollerith's moral position contains at least some element of signalling. His expression thereof probably does too. In fact, there are few aspects of social behavior that could be credibly claimed to be devoid of signalling. That said, these points do not impress me in the slightest. Yes, public concern surely involves signalling. That doesn't mean that which is concerned about isn't also true. Revealing truth is usually an effective form of signalling. It is completely unreasonable to dismiss claims because they are similar to something that was signalling in the locker room. Even the "I got here first" signalling in said locker room quite often accompanies the signaller, in fact, getting there first.

You didn't read Eliezer's post very carefully, did you? You need more practice in agreement and conformity. There are a limited number of "right" answers out there. It's alright to agree on them, when they are found.

Don't believe my advocacy of the moral position is not really just signaling or don't believe I've held the moral position since 1992?

That would be a great feature, I think. Ditto on on broad disagreements.

Other than the misspelling, absolutely - Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus)

On the Nature of Things:

A highlight:

This terror, then, this darkness of the mind, Not sunrise with its flaring spokes of light, Nor glittering arrows of morning can disperse, But only Nature's aspect and her law, Which, teaching us, hath this exordium: Nothing from nothing ever yet was born.

Did see Reading Rainbow, although I think this was later ... late 80s?. We had Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego as a computer game, late 80s, also, I believe. The game was boring as sin.

Truth. :P

Nice work. Clean up the meter and I'll print it out to read to my daughter. You can never start 'em too young.

3-2-1 Contact - that was the name of that show - not the Electric Company. That's the bad 80s hit, isn't it ...?

I don't remember seeing anything called Mathnet. My 3-2-1 Contact memories are roughly 1980-1984, somewhere thereabouts. Yours?

ah, about...1991-1994, so that explains it nicely. Did you get Reading Rainbow and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego before and after, by any chance?

I believe the segment on the Electric Company is where that group derived its name. Although I'm not sure. No taste for that sort of thing.

checks wikipedia you're quite right =) It's odd I don't remember the original Bloodhound Gang then, I do remember 3-2-1 Contact...did the Bloodhound Gang perhaps either replace or predate Mathnet? Because that's what I remember -- two faux-FBI agents solving crimes by triangulation and the fibonacci sequence and so forth.

How about The Hardy Boys? I read dozens of these as a young kid, and the thing that stands out in mind now is, there was always an answer to the mystery, one that could be arrived at via clues and deduction. Looking back now, I think they had a major impact on my manner of thinking, reading them as young as I did (kindergarten and 1st grade, I'm talking) such that years later I was inclined to look favorably upon a 'rationality technique' when I encountered the idea of one on OB.

I also read lots of The Hardy Boys (original series) as a kid and loved them. I don't know if they nudged me towards rationality or I liked them because I already felt the pull of rationality, but they were probably a strong influence now that I think about it.

Agree that fiction that relies solely on spoilers isn't worth reading. Though I would not concur that textbooks are better than any fiction. Unless school has gotten waaaaaay better than I remember.

If you are not reading for relaxation, then you are probably reading for information; in that sense textbooks are better than fiction, since they have better presentation of the information in them.

Scooby Doo, absolutely. The mystery was always solved; the reason was always given.

How about The Bloodhound Gang on that PBS show Electric Company? Same formula as Scooby Doo.

Although admittedly this is not fiction, exactly.

I'm...assuming this isn't the same Bloodhound Gang which went on to record The Bad Touch and Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo?

Exactly. Descartes laid the foundation for future progress.

To take one example: Aristotle laid down the foundation of what became modern science. Modern science became modern science as we think of it by rebelling against Aristotle's a priori assumptions; without Aristotle, what science we have today would be very different, indeed.

I don't think you can so easily dismiss Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, et al: without them we we wouldn't be where we are today.

This is part of the problem I often detected at OB and see again here at LW: people with little respect for intellectual history.

Hear, hear. Practice and practical techniques. Isn't that what we're after here?

But there are simply far too many areas of life involving putative "orthonormally diagonalizable matrices" for any one individual to be able to rationally investigate. At some point you have to take someone's word for it; so rather than taking one expert's word, you're likely better off trusting a community of experts. A current example might be with global warming - most scientists seem to feel it's a major issue.

Unfortunately, though, radical changes in thinking come usually come from the margin, e.g., Galileo. The hard part, it seems to me, is to distinguish between mere status quo convention and genuine expert agreement.

I wouldn't say you need to repeal patents entirely. Just limit them better, and enforce those limitations. Same with copyrights.

Agreed. Discussions of dogmatisms such as libertarianism in any of its forms is boring, boring, boring and now what I'd like to read here.

Not that the original post here is an example of that, per se, although I think it comes close.

For the record, while I do have sympathies for libertarian ideas, I consider myself closer to the socialist end of the spectrum.

Big one for me: cutting the Gordian knot of the philosophical antimonies, e.g., those philosophical dilemmas with no answers. Someone somewhere at Overcoming Bias commented that the "useful" parts of philosophy evolved into the natural sciences; the rest became the muted academic wordgames we see today (or something like that - the poster was much more incisive).

And just like that, my interest in those endless philosophical dilemmas dissolved. What a timesaver.

If anyone can locate that post / commenter, I'd be grateful.

I don't know the Overcoming Bias entry, but this article makes the same point. (And might be by the same author.)
So true.

One hopes. I don't know if it's possible to generalize on this point though. With some education takes, with some, it doesn't.

I've also found this very helpful in my initial surveys.

Saying you're "Fine" to a doctor, when you are not, would be a little foolish, would it not? As opposed to your standard workaday white lies.


I certainly will. She's only 18 months, though, so it's going to be a while before the reports start flowing.

Me neither. My daughter's going to be a test case, though.

Then I wish you luck. I hope you'll be willing to share with the community how that goes. We want to learn how to build rationalist societies, and societies start with their children.

That's great stuff. I feel like I should be taking notes.

I'm talking about from the perspective of a child, MBlume. We live in a society where lots of folks teach their kids lots of silly myths. It isn't your job to teach your kid to go around exposing them all the time. At least not unless you want to raise an intolerable pedant.

Honestly, I'm gonna have to back down from this one -- I never went to elementary school as an atheist, and I have no idea what it would be like. The more I think about it, the more it sounds pretty difficult.

I also remember hearing of a community (wish I could remember which) in which it was absolutely forbidden to give negative feedback under certain circumstances

I am living (and about to leave) an Asian society very much like this. It yields some very odd results indeed: corruption, consumerism, lemming-like religious behavior, and vast - feudal - social gaps.

Care to elaborate?

Me neither. Are the people around you really paying so much attention to you that they would go such effort? Ones who aren't related to you?

Nice link - thanks. My daughter's going to be Santa Claus age soon enough. Maybe I'll print this out for future reference. Probably unbearably saccharine to the childless, but hey, they may have some crumbgobblers of their own someday, and then it will make more sense.

Seems to me (maybe I'll report back on this in, say, a decade) that the "Santa Claus shock" won't be as bad as a "God shock" because people who lie to their kids about Santa Claus know they are lying and every kid finds out the truth sooner or later; whereas theists don... (read more)

Telling someone not to report a fact which they know to be true has no bearing on teaching them to be members of a tolerant free society that I'm aware of... I mean to say, "tolerance" and "freedom" have nothing to do with not telling your Christian classmate that his religion is a fairly transparent myth.

This is ridiculous. A "truth twister"? This isn't hypocrisy. This is lying. To yourself, mostly. Unless you live in a cave, you tell white lies every day. Ever say Good Afternoon when you didn't feel like it?

This sort of moral highhorsing gets us nowhere. Stop it, please.

I think I'm similar to CronoDAS in being a "truth twister", but I don't know the exact details of how much truth (s)he is willing to twist, so I'm not sure how similar we are. I'd like to make a point here. When someone says "Good morning" to you and you reply "Good morning" back to them, the information you are communicating is that you are greeting them, not that you actually think this morning is a good morning or anything like that. So in this sense, I wouldn't consider it a lie to say "Good morning" even if though the morning were particularly bad.
"This isn't hypocrisy. This is lying." Lying is making a false statement with the intent to deceive. Refusing to make a statement isn't lying unless silence is itself a statement. Deception, now, is a different matter. All of the things CronoDAS mentioned are certainly deceptive, but they're not lying.
9Eliezer Yudkowsky15y
More than one of my doctors has patient notes saying not to ask me "How are you doing?" which I asked them not to do, because I dislike giving the standard nonanswer "Fine", because sometimes I'm not actually fine. Crono, stay on that moral high horse!