All of DS3618's Comments + Replies

Before you leave, could you confirm that you did go to CMU for graduate school?
A brief manifesto regarding what is mysterious, what is not mysterious, and the nature of reality. Some things that are mysterious: * The existence of anything at all is fundamentally mysterious. Trying to explain why there is something rather than nothing leads to odd and perhaps dubious concepts like a "necessary being", and the alternative is just to say there is no explanation at all. * The existence of consciousness, with its manifest properties, is fundamentally mysterious if you suppose a world in the image of today's mathematical physics. Just to be tedious and repeat a fact stated many times, but something as basic as experienced color is just not there, in a universe made of nothing but colorless particles. However, the strongly validated part of physics is the mathematical part. There is considerable room to rethink the nature of the entities which behave according to the equations, and I for one see an opening here to solve the problem of consciousness. * That we have "laws of physics" is semi-mysterious and possibly fundamentally mysterious. In a way it follows naturally from the premise that the world contains things which have different "natures" and that their behavior is determined by this nature. A physical law is then just a statement of how they behave. But these basic ontological terms - substance, property, nature - are all potentially mysterious in themselves. When you try to define basic ontological terms, it starts to sound like poetry, or like circular definition. So I think ontology - not ontology in the computer-science sense of sub-sub-categorization, but fundamental ontology, the nature of existence and that which exists - is an area we do not understand at all well, and its mysteries are probably continuous with the first two mysteries I mentioned above. Some things that are not mysterious: * That life - in the sense of complex self-replicating entities - can deve
DS3618: "Have you ever considered that naturalistic explanations cannot explain DNA, or the Cambrian explosion... I challenge you to explain how through naturalistic processes you can form even the simplest bacteria (which by the way has ~160 kilobases)" My formula for the origin of life is "RNA world plus micelles". A micelle is a self-organized sphere of hydrophobic molecules. "RNA world" refers to a stage when you don't have the division of labor between DNA (information) and protein (structure), with RNA instead doing double duty (information from sequence, structure from conformation). Lipids and RNA polymers are capable of forming spontaneously in abiotic circumstances. So the idea is that the lipids mechanically self-organized into populations of micelles, which in turn contained different populations of RNA polymers. RNAs can both reproduce (in that one RNA strand can serve as a template for the formation of a second) and catalytically interact with each other (thus increasing or decreasing the reproduction rate of the other RNA species in a population). Finally one supposes a physical process, such as turbulence, which keeps breaking up these RNA-loaded micelles. Voila, you have a population of protocells subject to natural selection. This is just a sketch of how biological evolution might get underway, by someone who is not even a biologist. But I don't think it's that hard to understand. And as for the Cambrian explosion, if you know anything about how tissue differentiation and embyronic development work, I don't see how you could regard it as fundamentally mysterious. Sponges are the primordial multicellular lifeform and they already have the relevant genetic regulatory networks. Once that level of genetic complexity exists, it's not that amazing to see how it could lead to the diversity of multicellular life that we have now. So in a way the question is just, how did we get sponges. I am fond of the theory (promoted by John Mattick and others) that
I am smarter then almost everyone here you are just hobbiest Nevertheless not enough smart to get the orthography right. I don't usually criticise typos, but your way of arguing calls for that. Honestly, what effect do you expect from declaring that you are superior and able to prove it? This is clearly not the way how to win debates. That's basically why people can think you are a troll.
No. You are arrogant, ill informed and condescending. Basically, a troll.

I think you're re-inventing the wheel here.

"This towards the goal of creating "rationality augmentation" software. In the short term, my suspicion is that such software would look like a group of existing tools glued together with human practices."

Look at current work in AI, automated reasoning systems, and automated theorem proving.

Yes, these are old ideas. Argument diagramming (in a more complex form) was advocated by Wigmore in 1931, and N.G. de Bruijn developed Automath in 1968. My guess is that many people read and write arguments (e.g. on this site) using text, and only bring out a scrap of paper or a calculator app on special occasions. There are very capable research tools like SOAR, Twelf, or Prover9 (and this list is nowhere near exhaustive). If you have a workflow for using a more modern automated reasoning tool to understand/improve natural-language, "philosophical" arguments, please do post it.
I guess you didn't read the wikipedia article I linked to: That textbook [the later 1993 edition] was the first significant published use of the term. It's the same book where they started with a creationism book and used hundreds of passages verbatim by replacing "creationism" with "intelligent design". It was obviously a ploy to repackage creationism in a way that wouldn't run foul of separation of church and state, and would thus allow it to be taught in public schools. Just as obviously, if "intelligent design" centered around the idea of irreducible complexity, why did it not figure prominently in the 1989 edition of the intelligent design textbook?
Which is a serious mistake: there is too much gibberish in the world to learn it all before turning down.
ID is not different than creationism, it just uses different terminology with some additional quasi-scientific obfuscation. Consider the creationist textbook, Of Pandas and People []: Can you think of any other 2 intellectual theories where you could take a book written about one and do a global search-and-replace on a few key terms in order to yield a good launching point for a book about the second theory?

I just tried the one for AI and I think its not quite accurate. One of the biggest issues is that I think some of the terms need to be precisely defined and they are not. The other issue I found was that the analysis of my beliefs was not completely accurate because it did not take into account all the answers properly.

Its an interesting idea but needs work.

I didn't find the lack of precise definitions a problem.

I look forward to it. (though I doubt I will ever see it considering how long you've been saying you were going to make an FAI and how little progress you have actually made) But maybe your pulling a Wolfram and going to work alone for 10 years and dazzle everyone with your theory.

While my sample size is limited I have noticed a distinct correlation between engaging in hubris and levelling the charge at others. Curious.
8Eliezer Yudkowsky14y
I accept your challenge. See you in a while.
I don't think there's actually any substantive disagreement here. "Good," "bad," "adequate," "inadequate"--these are all just words []. The empirical facts are what they are, and we can only call them good or bad relative to some specific standard []. Part of Eliezer's endearing writing style is holding things to ridiculously impossibly high standards, and so he has a tendency to mouth off about how the human brain is poorly designed, human lifespans are ridiculously short and poor, evolutions are stupid [], and so forth. But it's just a cute way of talking about things; we can easily imagine someone with the same anticipations of experience [] but less ambition (or less hubris, if you prefer to say that) who says, "The human brain is amazing; human lives are long and rich; evolution is a wonder!" It's not a disagreement in the rationalist's sense, because it's not about the facts. It's not about neuroscience; it's about attitude.
For calibration, see The Power of Intelligence [].

I have to say I think this post would be better if it were turned into an annotated bibliography for rationality and I guess considering the post focusing on decision theory.

This seems to me a bit maudlin at times in the overall tone of the work. I guess my question would be what is point of this? Are you trying to bash anti-reductionist arguments, or anti-science or some mix of the two, or am I missing the point all together?

It was an attempt to counter the impression of science and learning as cold and boring by presenting it in emotionally compelling terms, to make it seem like something attractive and exciting. It seems it didn't work very well, but I'm not sure of whether that was because it was poorly carried out, or because the audience here both a) already considers as obvious what I was trying to say b) is negatively predisposed towards arguments that appeal primarily to emotions.

Does this greater detail mean that we will see some math and some worked out problems? Are these results ever going to be published in a journal, or anywhere that is peer-reviewed?


The university would be Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Program (an esoteric area of CS)

As for the other parts I did some work in computer hardware specifically graphics hardware design, body armor design (bullet proof vests) etc. The body armor got to prototyping but was not marketable for a variety reasons to dull to go into. I am currently starting a video game company.

I am sorry I am going to take a shortcut here and respond to a couple posts along with yours. So fine I partially insert my foot in my mouth... but the issue I think here is that the papers we need to be talking about are math papers right? Anyone can publish non-technical ideas as long as they are well reasoned, but the art of science is the technical mastery.

As for Eliezer's comment concerning the irrelevance of Flare being a pre 2003 EY work I have to disagree. When you have no formal academic credentials and you are trying to make your mark in a techni... (read more)

1Eliezer Yudkowsky14y
Where? What university?

"Anyone who declines to talk about interesting material because it's in a blog post, or for that matter, a poem scrawled in blood on toilet paper, is not taking Science seriously. Why should I expect them to have anything important to say if I go to the further trouble of publishing a paper?"


Vladimir is right not paying attention to blog entry with no published work is a great way to avoid crackpots. You have this all backwards you speak as if you have all these credentials so everyone should just take you seriously. In reality what credenti... (read more)

This vague outline is the result of Eliezer yielding to our pleas to say something - anything - about his confident solution to Newcomb's problem. Now that it's been posted as a not-obviously-formalizable text, and people are discussing it informally, I share a lot of your disappointment. But let's give the topic some days and see how it crystallizes. What's Flare? (...looks it up...) Oh dear Cthulhu, oh no. (Edit: I originally listed several specific users as "refusing to formalize". That was wrong.)
"Levels of Organization in General Intelligence []" appeared in the Springer volume Artificial General Intelligence []. "Cognitive Biases Potentially Affecting Judgement of Global Risks []" (PDF) and "Artificial Intelligence as a Positive and Negative Factor in Global Risk []" (PDF) appeared in the Oxford University Press volume Global Catastrophic Risks []. They're not mathy papers, though.