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I think this might have been intended more in the purple dragon sense than anything: focus on how they know exactly what experimental results they'll need to explain, and what that implies about their gut-level beliefs.

That seems to be conceding the point that it has moral weight.

I teleport a hostage about to be executed to a capsule in lunar orbit. I then offer you three options: you pay me 1,000,000,000$, and I give him whatever pleasures are possible given the surroundings for a day, and then painlessly kill him; I simply kill him painlessly; I torture him for a day, and then painlessly kill him, and then pay you 1,000,000,000$.

Do you still take the money?

This strikes me as a pretty stark decision, such that I'd have a really hard time treating those who would take the money any different than I'd treat the babyeaters. It's almost exactly the same moral equation.

Last time I played, I just used pennies and nickles.

I really want to try it with a bucket of generic lego pieces some time.

It's a permanent mark that easily leads to tearing.

How... what...

People on the internet aren't from Saskatoon, that's my city!

Beetle-sized (of the beautifully blue sort), at least.

Note also that the body the mind wears apparently (according to quirrel) does have an impact on the mind.

[...] Often I find that the best way to come up with new results is to find someone who's saying something that seems clearly, manifestly wrong to me, and then try to think of counterarguments. Wrong people provide a fertile source of research ideas.

-- Scott Aaronson, Quantum Computing Since Democritus (

Can you say anything more substantive than that? It's plausible given the studies mentioned in Cialdini, an example of which follows:

Freedman and Fraser didn't stop there. They tried a slightly different procedure on another sample of homeowners. These people first received a request to sign a petition that favored "keeping California beautiful." Of course, nearly everyone signed since state beauty, like efficiency in government or sound prenatal care, is one of those issues no one opposes. After waiting about two weeks, Freedman and Eraser sent a new "volunteer worker" to these same homes to ask the residents to allow the big DRIVE CAREFULLY sign to be erected on their lawns. In some ways, the response of these homeowners was the most astounding of any in the study.

Approximately half of these people consented to the installation of the DRIVE CAREFULLY billboard, even though the small commitment they had made weeks earlier was not to driver safety but to an entirely different public-service topic, state beautification.

-- Robert Caildini, Influence: Science and Practice

I think you're leaving out another possibility: that they actually think they're right. This obviously doesn't apply to all cases, but I do think it's more common than you would think.

There's also a (related?) strong desire for consistency, which is explored in "Influence - Science and Practice" (Cialdini), which I found sheds some new light on the material in "How to win friends and influence people".

[Also, welcome to lesswrong]

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