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How and Why to Granularize

The world is unfair and poor, and not everything is actually possible for everyone, even though a lot more is possible than people may expect. People shouldn't need to deceive themselves about the extent of what's possible, to do what is possible.

Upvoted for this. In fact, someone should right a post about this, to stamp out some of the almost naive optimism found elsewhere on the site.

What we're losing

The prefix 'meta' is incredibly overused...just saying.

The elephant in the room, AMA

You're right. Interpreting that text as meaning that God wants paperclips to multiply and have dominion over the earth is incredibly self-serving.

Schneier talks about The Dishonest Minority [Link]

This is basically the same thing as the noble lie that Plato discussed in The Republic.

The elephant in the room, AMA

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." King James Version, Genesis 1:28

Wait, God was talking about paperclips, right?

The elephant in the room, AMA

Personally, I don't have any problem with religious people. I know there's a sequence that makes the claim that "atheism = untheism + anti-theism", but I guess that has never been my interpretation, otherwise I'm an untheist. And I'll defend religious people from skeptical attacks when they are stupid, or perhaps not skeptical enough.

But...my own opinion, I don't want rationalism to become Christianity without the mythology, it's not the mythology that I object to. I object to the servility, and the docility (this was once considered a virtue according to theologians) that Christianity inspires, and has grown as a part of what Christianity has become over centuries. Christianity has a very long history, it's not wise to be naive to it. I'd suggest reading Nietzsche's Antichrist to understand some of what is going on.

Personal Benefits from Rationality

Djikstra said that computer science is as much about computers as astronomy is about telescopes, so it shouldn't be surprising that things like algorithms and data structures has relevance to even mundane reality. I think one way I look at myself is an extremely small and limited computer. On the fly, my brain is slow at performing operations, I have a hard time recalling information, and I do so with limited accuracy. Sometimes I make mistakes while performing operations.

So what are we doing when we try to organize ourselves and make plans but trying to compile a program for these very far from optimal circumstances? Obviously, if I make plenty of mistakes, I need to write in plenty of redundancy; and I have to employ "tricks" in order to achieve meta-cognition at the right times (something that goes beyond the computer analogy, I know).

This involves, as I see it, a further way of looking at yourself. You see yourself as both the machine executing instructions, and the programmer writing those instructions (as well as the compiler, trying to translate the program to machine language). Nietzsche wrote that we have to develop as both commanders and obeyers. I thought this was hogwash, but I've learned that there is a lot of truth to that.

Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else, but one thing that I've started that seems to be useful to me is to write down a bunch of notes about the topic before, and while, researching. I think part of this is because I've become used to criticism, and I find I can criticize my own thoughts better after I have written them down, or while I'm writing them down. I just use a blank text editor (using org-mode) for this. It is also helpful dumping whatever preconceptions I might have about the subject matter, before I know what to search for. It also helps me clarify when and where the research is more, or less, superficial than my own understanding. Or maybe the research is only tangential to what I was actually looking for.

Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves

Just so you know, what you're advocating for LW are practices that have helped Christianity become a dominant and universalizing religion. Christians want everyone to be a Christian, that's basic to Christianity. Does, lets call it "rationalism", want everyone to be a rationalist? I guess that's a good question, and should be asked.

But lets also be mindful about how Christianity tries to attain a universal status:

"a strong focus on strengthening the family"

It is key that Christianity spreads within the family, and importantly, through generations. "Be fruitful and multiply" belongs here. You shouldn't have non-Christian members of the family.

"daily family prayer and scripture study"

Not just a strong family, but a strong Christian family. The ties of family should be used for religious purposes.

"sex only inside marriage"

Every natural human desire needs to be mediated with religious meaning and purpose, this makes people lustful for religion.

This is what you call "the basic package". The basic package has reasons for its existence, but not reasons that rationalists would necessarily agree with.

Holy Books (Or Rationalist Sequences) Don’t Implement Themselves

Hmm? Thomas Bayes was a Presbyterian minister, C. S. Peirce was Catholic and Newton was an unorthodox Christian described as "highly religious". I'd be more interested in seeing a list of esteemed rationalists who were not religious compared to such a list that were religious. In any case, it is pretty clear that it is possible to hold rationality and religion in your head at the same time. This is basically how most people operate.

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