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no, no, no, you should be comparing the number of people who want to have great sex with a hot babe with the number of people who want to gain higher status. The answer for most everyone would be yes!! both! Because both were selected for by increased inclusive fitness.

I think that should be 'pretext for war', not 'pretense for war'.

Alas, even those who are governed by reason take the chance that someday a sunken fact will rip the bottom out of their boat.

The odds are only somewhat less for this happening to those governed by reason.

What is "FOOM"? Is it an acronym? What does it stand for?

Wordnik says "The sound of a muffled explosion." But that doesn't sound right. If AI goes FOOM, the explosion presumably won't be 'muffled'. :-)

This essay is wonderful. It is the first coherent and plausible defense of polytheism I've ever read. It is a much more intellectually satisfying version of creationism than monotheism.

And all just as an aside too, off the cuff. Kudos Mr. Yudkowsky. It really is a pleasure to read...(read more)

Seems to me you're asking the wrong question. I say, don't ask if there is a omnipotent God, that is making an unwarranted narrowing assumption. Why should it be either/or? Lots and lots of room in between the 'omnipotent God' theory and the 'no god at all' theory for 'medium potent god(s) th...(read more)

This whole speech makes me mad. The same people who urge us to not have kids, because of overpopulation, are urging us to spend all of our disposable income in supporting 'poor people', because they are in misery. And why are they in misery? Because they had more kids than they could afford to...(read more)

The problem here is that you don't KNOW that the probability is 90%. What if it's 80%? or 60%? or 12%? In real life you will only run the experiment once. The probabilities are just a GUESS. The person who is making the guess has no idea what the real probabilities are. And as Mr. Yudko...(read more)

Well, it's perfectly obvious that as soon as convenient and cheap birth control becomes widely available, then many people will not have children. This reduces the birthrate. HOWEVER, the people that do have children will have been, on average, self-selected. And one thing you can be sure of...(read more)

I've got to disagree with this one. Let's take a concrete example, say pity. The ability to feel pity is a complex adaptation, and so all persons feel pity. However HOW MUCH any one person feels pity for others is a highly variable quantity. It varies dramatically from person to person, and fr...(read more)