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Well, another possibility would have been the negation of (what's usually called around here) Tegmark's Level IV. (That's probably not the only other possibility.)

ETA: Not that your interpretation isn't the obviously correct one.

Thanks for answering. (Like the one-word one, this comment provides insight into nothing except my own state of mind, in which you are perfectly entitled to be uninterested.)

What cognitive bias list? ---Oh! Probably this one.

Generalising from one fictional example. (But a funny one.)

Mmm. Sounds familiar. But what do you mean by '"physics all the way down"'?

Huh. I agree with both of you, up to

we do that by tackling the mind killing, not by tackling the issues[.]

At least, if 'tackling the issues' means 'coming to any kind of conclusion|decision as to what to think or even what to do. Obviously a rational approach is a prerequisite for that, but doesn't replace it. I also agree in general with

the fact that this is our pet issue makes us far more vulnerable

but vulnerable to what in this case? Irrationally believing that SOPA would be a bad thing?

Why downvoted? Vacuousness? (Sometimes when I really like a comment, I don't feel satisfied by just upvoting it.)

That's interesting. I initially parsed "copyright enforcement law simply is not a highly-charged partisan issue for the overwhelming majority of people in the United States" as meaning that it's almost universally agreed to be bad. That reading was reinforced by "A few individuals may strongly identify as[...] fans of copyright law" (if it had been "fans or opponents" maybe that would have straightened me out). I'm pretty sure that most people who have been directly affected by some kind of copyright enforcement mechanism or copyright enforcement law did not enjoy the experience, and I am sceptical that they are a tiny minority.

Of course, positions on copyright and its enforcement in general are entirely distinct from positions on SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, et al. (as evinced by the many anti-SOPA statements that begin with announcements of approval of copyright enforcement in general).

In any case, I quite agree---especially after seeing the development of this thread---with your main point that LW is part of the community in which strong opinions on the present topic are ubiquitous. (I don't know about opinions on copyright and its enforcement in general.) But to be more precise, we are part of the community in which the opinion that SOPA is bad is ubiquitous---like many other opinions, such as that elaborate theological arguments are a waste of time. That isn't enough to make it controversial, and that's why I thought perhaps we could discuss it rationally. But of course we are afraid, and perhaps that fear is more salient and more immediate than the fear of various existential dangers and similarly scary things we discuss.

Interestingly, your link is to a political think-tank site. (Of course, argument screens off authority and all that---it looks like a pretty good article.)

Certainly one valid (type of) response to the OP would be to explain why the proposed legislation wouldn't harm the internet. (I've seen a few claims to that effect [elsewhere], but none that seemed well-informed or carefully reasoned.)

Or is 'harming the internet' too subjective|vague a notion to begin with? Perhaps that is worth discussing. Incidentally, it was part of my original thought that maybe somehow the net outcome of the SOPA regime could be positive, e.g. by spurring the development of a new censorship-proof distributed DNS infrastructure. But I didn't know about any specific efforts in that direction, and also I mistrusted the idea as probably manifesting a 'storytelling-fallacy' approach to prediction. (I'm sure that's been called something else on LW, but I don't recall what.)

I agree that clear signs of political-mode thinking are on display here. In particular, I don't trust the comments that appear to be motivated either by optimism (hope?) or by pessimism (despair?). I was and am looking for the kind of precise, epistemologically sound thinking about object-level phenomena that are so often exhibited by LW participants. I also thought that---assuming the new regime will create the sorts of practical problems all of us seem to suppose it will---people here might be especially aware of specific possibilities for solving them.

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