All of deeb's Comments + Replies

The outside view is that someone complaining about being downvoted for specific reasons is usually wrong about such reasons. Perhaps someone could compile a list of cases.
I didn't see you complaining for the upvotes you got in other comments. You just barge in here to accuse us of groupthink if you get downvoted (never complaining about unjust upvotes), because you can't even imagine any legitimate reason that could have gotten you downvotes for a badly written and incoherent post. It seems a very common practice in the last couple weeks -- CriticalSteel did it, sam did it, you now do it. As for your specific comment, it was utterly muddled and confused -- it didn't even understand what the article it was responding to was about. For example what was there in the original article that made you think "Who is telling you that all the moral and spiritual aspects of the conditio humana aren't going to pop up in your simulation"? is actually disagreeing with something in the article? And on top of that you add strange inanities, like the claim that "moral and spiritual aspects" of the human condition (which for some reason you wrote in Latin, perhaps to impress us with fancy terms -- which alone would have deserved a downvote) are epiphenomenal in our universe. The very fact that we can discuss them means they affect our material world (e.g. by typing posts in this forum about them), which means they are NOT epiphenomenal. You didn't get downvotes from me before, but you most definitely deserve them, so I'll correct this omission on both the parent and the grandparent post.
Personally I think that this call voting is indeed useless and belongs to places such as Youtube or other such sites where you can't expect a meaningful discussion in the first place. Here, if a person disagrees with you, I believe she or he should post a counter argument instead of yelling "your are wrong!", that is, giving a negative vote.
I didn't vote down your post (or even see it until just now), but it came across as a bit disdainful while being written rather confusingly. The former is going to poorly dispose people toward your message, and the latter is going to poorly dispose people toward taking the trouble to respond to it. If you try rephrasing in a clearer way, you might see more discussion.
Failing to organize a wall of text into paragraphs does not hide the lack of relationship between its first sentence and every other sentence, nor that no sentence other than the first addressed anything relevant to the issue under discussion. The origin of the name "Vermont" is uncertain, but likely comes from the French les Verts Monts, meaning "the Green Mountains". Thomas Young introduced it in 1777. Some authorities say that the mountains were called green because they were more forested than the higher White Mountains of New Hampshire and Adirondacks of New York; others say that the predominance of mica-quartz-chlorite schist, a green-hued metamorphosed shale, is the reason. Vermont has a humid continental climate, with warm, humid summers and cold winters that are colder at higher elevations. It has a Köppen climate classification of Dfb, similar to Minsk, Stockholm, and Fargo. Vermont is known for its mud season in spring, followed by a generally mild early summer, hot Augusts, a colorful autumn, and its particularly cold winters; the rural northeastern section (dubbed the "Northeast Kingdom") often averages 10 °F (5.56 °C) colder than the southern areas of the state during winter. The annual snowfall averages between 60 inches (152 cm) to 100 inches (254 cm) depending on elevation. The annual mean temperature for the state is 43 °F (6 °C). It is the seventh coldest state in the country. In the autumn, Vermont's hills display red, orange, and gold foliage displayed on the sugar maple as cold weather approaches. This display of color is not due so much to the presence of a particular variant of the sugar maple; rather, it is caused by a number of soil and climate conditions unique to the area. (Thanks wikipedia!)

...this overwhelming evidence coming from paraphsychology studies, and parapsychology studies only.

Before people did these, all we had was overwhelming anecdotal evidence in favour of parapsychology. Every culture, nay, every family is chock-full of reliable witnesses that give accounts of how they personally experienced paranormal phenomena. In the face of such persistent, recurring reports, you can hardly blame people for wanting to investigate. It is only after you do studies under laboratory conditions that you can begin to show that this anecdotal ev... (read more)

No, the evidence against precognition comes from overwhelming evidence in favor of a model of physics in which the arrow of time doesn't reverse. The evidence against telepathy comes from studies of communication channels between remote humans that don't show anything outside sound waves and visual-frequency electromagnetic radiation. It's the constraints imposed by an underlying model we're extremely certain of; not the direct experiments on the parapsychological theory in question.

actually, this is precisely how I would like people to discuss parapsychology.

What, are you going to defend science or rationalism using unscientific or irrational tactics just because you think that is going to work better? Even if that wasn't detrimental to your own agenda in the long run, you would need to ask yourself at that point what makes you different from any politician defending any ideology at all. Parapsychology isn't "wrong" because it is obvious to the bigwigs in your camp (the "rationalists") that it is wrong. It is &quo... (read more)

You're making a lot of assumptions about me on the basis of, as far as I can tell, no data. (Either that, or you're using "you" to refer to someone other than me.) For what it's worth, I agree that this is an excellent way to discuss unsubstantiated theories, although I would also say that after a certain point the onus is on those presenting the theory to show that their methodology and results are meaningfully different (and better) than previously disproved attempts to do the same. Otherwise, each new re-presentation of the same theory becomes, not part of the process of discovery, but rather just a tedious nuisance. What I was doubting (and still doubt) is that doing so would change the way science is thought about among those who dismiss it out of hand.

I must agree with GabeEisenstein 100%. It is annoying to keep reading arguments against fundamentalist religion phrased as arguments "against religion".

I must also note that Gabe did not get any meaningful reply to his point "that orthogonal-to-facts religion can be valuable, and that it is not a modern phenomenon". He was told to "read all antitheism posts". Well, how about a link to a specific paragraph in a specific post that addresses the very specific issues he raised? Namely, why do people keep focussing on debunking... (read more)

As it stands, no spot in the wallpaper must have an air bubble under it. But some spot in the wallpaper must have an air bubble under it. It's hard to argue against flat-wallpaperism. Point out the ruin of its tenets, and people push the bubble elsewhere, and still claim the name "flat-wallpaperism" as if it were the same as the old belief. There's nothing wrong with showing the problems in flat-wallpaperism even though some individuals call themselves flat-wallpaperists and make idiosyncratic mistakes about what people believe and believed, starting with how other flat-wallpaperists view and would have viewed (for historical figures and previous generations of believers) their liberal "flat-wallpaperism". If they weren't at all intelligent, they wouldn't be dumber than the fundamentalists. They set their bottom line, confabulate and assault the English language by pretending with labels to a relationship with the past and other religious people they don't have, "(Assuming the Bible is a valuable moral book, which upon reading should enhance our precommitment to liberal ideals), why is the Bible so valuable a moral book, despite its words, and how does reading it provide information that reaffirms liberal ideals?" is a question whose answer is poisoned by its false assumption as "(Assuming the Bible is a communication from a deity,) what is God trying to tell us with these words?" "Many modern religious people explicitly treat the Bible as a corocodilian wallaby to rational reflections taking contemporary attitudes and insights into account." There are some problems with the preceding sentence. One is that "corocodilian wallaby"" is not a good synonym for "literary background". The words are a lie. The other problem is quite similar, but it applies to the word "religious" as it is used in the crocodilian wallaby sentence and in the quoted sentence.

The point is not that there's a dichotomy between Iron Age beliefs and atheism, but that moderate religious belief has its own issues.

If you allow yourself to identify with particular claims without regard to the actual evidence for them, you're liable to end up accepting ridiculous claims out of affiliation. Modes of thought are habit forming; if you insist on finding some way to interpret biblical passages that will allow you to continue to affiliate as Christian, for example, you're liable to also insist on finding ways to interpret data that will allo... (read more)

I grew up with lots of intelligent people who believed the Bible. Chick tracts are considered to be slightly exaggerated for comic effect, but the same basic premises actually constrain anticipation for many believers today: heaven or hell after death, demon possession as the cause of (at least some) mental illnesses, angelic protection as a result of prayer, instant healing as a result of prayer. There's actually a robust, sophisticated, highly self-respecting culture (or set of overlapping subcultures) of biblical literalism in the US.

To be honest, I have a hard time reconciling the idea of intellectual integrity with someone who claims to be religious and yet freely admits that their own religion's myths are not true.

"Estimate a 10% current AI risk"... wait, where did that come from? You say "Let A be the probability that an AI will be created", but actually your A is the probability that an AI will be created which then goes on to wipe out humanity unless precautions are taken, but which will also fail to wipe out humanity if the proper precautions are taken.

Your estimate for that is a whopping 10%? Without any sort of substantiating argument??
... Let's say I claim 0.000001% is a much more reasonable figure for this: what would be your rationale s... (read more)

I agree this is an excellent post. In fact, I just created an account and came out of lurking just to vote it up. Yes, the example came out a little forced and unnecessarily convoluted, but the point made is extremely important. To those who clamp down on the post on grounds of lack of formal rigour are missing the point entirely. You are so preoccupied with formulating your rationality in mathematically pleasing ways, applying it to matrix-magic and Knuth-arrow-quasi-infinity situations, that you are in danger of missing the real-life applications where just a modest bit of rationality will result in a substantial gain to yourself or to society.