Wiki Contributions


Well, sure, there may be a more general argument for FDA bureaucracy being too convoluted (though of course there are risks with it being too lax too - no surer way to see the market flooded with snake oil). But that's general and applies to many therapies, not just genetic ones. Same goes for research costs being the big slice of the pie.

I believe that the CRISPR cost is for treating an already existing adult, and that it would be much cheaper to do it for a newly fertilised egg that is about to implanted as a pregnancy. Looking to the future we could also hope that CRISPR will get cheaper.

But then people need to preemptively decide to get IVF, going though all the related pains and troubles, because they sequenced their genomes and realized that one of them carries a gene that might increase that risk of diabetes by 0.3% (and do some other things we are not sure of). It's still a huge cost, time investment, effort investment, and quality of life sacrifice - IVF isn't entirely risk-free and there are several invasive procedures involved for the woman. It's again not obvious why would they do this if the payoff isn't really worth it.

It's not enough unless you know that changing that gene doesn't also increase the chance of some other problem by 2% causing a completely random different issue. And if it costs millions to CRISPR away sickle cell anemia... who would pay millions to shave off a 0.3% chance of diabetes?

Ideally, doing customised gene therapy and all sorts of fancy stuff is a cool idea. But you need to crash the prices of these things down enough for them to be scalable. I would need a certain treatment that uses monoclonal antibodies to make my life quite a bit better... but it costs thousands of bucks a month and I can't afford that, so, too bad. Until new tech or scale economies drive the price of these things down to mass use levels, we won't have a revolution.

From the discussion it seemed that most physicists do take the realist view on electrons, but in general the agreement was that either view works and there's not a lot to say about it past acknowledging what everyone's favorite interpretation is. A question that can have no definite answer isn't terribly interesting.

Yeah, exactly. Bayesian theory is built on top of an assumption of regularity, not the other way around. If some malicious genie purposefully screwed with your observations, Bayesian theory would crash and burn. Heck, the classic "inductivist turkey" would have very high Bayesian belief in his chances of living past Christmas.

For example there's recently been a controversy adjacent to this topic on Twitter involving one Philip Goff (philosopher) who started feuding over it with Sabine Hossenfelder (physicist, albeit with some controversial opinions). Basically Hossenfelder took up an instrumentalist position of "I don't need to assume that things described in the models we use are real in whatever sense you care to give to the word, I only need to know that those models' predictions fit reality" and Goff took issue with how she was brushing away the ontological aspects. Several days of extremely silly arguments about whether electrons exist followed. To me Hossenfelder's position seemed entirely reasonable, and yes, a philosophical one, but she never claimed otherwise. But Goff and other philosophers' position seemed to be "the scientists are ignorant of philosophy of science, if only they knew more about it, they would be far less certain about their intuitions on this stuff!" and I can't understand how they can be so confident about that or in what way would that precisely impact the scientists' actual work. Whether electrons "exist" in some sense or they are just a convenient mathematical fiction doesn't really matter a lot to a physicist's work (after all, electrons are nothing but quantized fluctuations of a quantum field, just like phonons are quantized fluctuations of an elastic deformation field; yet people probably feel intuitively that electrons "exist" a lot more than phonons, despite them being essentially the same sort of mathematical object. So maybe our intuitions about existence are just crude and don't well describe the stuff that goes on at the very edge of matter).

Oh, I mean, I agree. I'm not asking "why" really. I think in the end "I will assume empiricism works because if it doesn't then the fuck am I gonna do about it" is as respectable a reason to just shrug off the induction problem as they come. It is in fact the reason why I get so annoyed when certain philosophers faff about how ignorant scientists are for not asking the questions in the first place. We asked the questions, we found as useful an answer as you can hope for, now we're asking more interesting questions. Thinking harder won't make answers to unsolvable questions pop out of nowhere, and in practice, every human being lives accordingly to an implicit belief in empiricism anyway. You couldn't do anything if you couldn't rely on some basic constant functionality of the universe. So there's only people who accept this condition and move on and people who believe they can somehow think it away and have failed one way or another for the last 2500 years at least. At some point, you gotta admit you likely won't do much better than the previous fellows.

It just pushes the question further. The essential issue with inference is "why should the universe be so nicely well-behaved and have regular properties?". Bayesian probability theory assumes it makes sense to e.g. assign a fixed probability to the belief that swans are white based on a certain amount of swans that we've seen being white, which already bakes in assumptions like e.g. that the swans don't suddenly change colour, or that there is a finite amount of them and you're sampling them in a reasonably random manner. Basically, "the universe does not fuck with us". If the universe did fuck with us, empirical inquiry would be a hopeless endeavour. And you can't really prove for sure that it doesn't.

The strongest argument in favour of the universe really being so nice IMO is an anthropic/evolutionary one. Intelligence is the ability to pattern-match and perform inference. This ability only confers a survival advantage in a world that is reasonably well-behaved (e.g. constant rules in space and time). Hence the existence of intelligent beings at all in a world is in itself an update towards that world having sane rules. If the rules did not exist or were too chaotic to be understood and exploited, intelligence would only be a burden.

Googling... oh, it was a Tychonic model, where Venus orbits the sun in an ellipse (in agreement with Kepler), but the sun orbits the Earth.

I mean, that's not even a different model, that's just the real thing visualized in a frame of reference centred on the Earth.

But I don't think you can call such a process a Bayesian update. Again, it would require you placing conditional probabilities on the various metaphysical axioms - but the very concept of probabilities and Bayes' theorem are built upon those axioms. If causality doesn't always hold, if there are entities that do not need to obey it, then Bayes' theorem doesn't apply to them. It's just your own personal conviction shift, but you shouldn't use Bayesian updates as a framework to think about it, nor fall prey to the illusion that it makes your decision process any better in this kind of thing. It doesn't. Everyone is just as clueless as everyone else on these matters and no one has any hope to know better. You may pick your metaphysical axioms as they were revealed to you in a dream and they'll be as good as anything.

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