Idan Arye

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Coincidences are Improbable

Coincidences can be evidence for correlation and therefore evidence for causation, as long as one remembers that evidence - like more things than most people feel comfortable with - are quantitative, not qualitative. A single coincidence, of even multiple coincidences, can make a causation less improbable - but it can still be considered very improbable until we get much more evidence.

Oliver Sipple

Manslaughter? Probably not - you did not contribute to that person's death. You are, however, guilty of:

  1. Desecration of the corpse.
  2. Obstructing the work of the sanitation workers (it's too late for paramedics) that can't remove the body from the road because of the endless stream of cars running over it.
  3. You probably didn't count 100k vehicles running over that body. A bystander who stayed there for a couple of days could have, but since you are one of the drivers you probably only witness a few cars running over that person - so as far as you know there is a slim chance they are still alive.

I may be taking the allegory too far here, but I feel these offenses can map quite well. Starting from the last - being able to know that all the damage is done. In Sipple's case, this is history so it's easy to know that all the damage was already done. He can't be outed again. His family will not be harassed again by their community, and will not estrange him again. His life will not be ruined again, and he will not die again.

Up next - interfering with the efforts to make things better. Does this really happen here? I don't think so. On the contrary - talking about this, establishing that this is wrong, can help prevent this from happening to other people. And it's better to talk about cases from the past, where all the damage is already done, than about current cases that still have damage potential.

This leaves us with the final issue - respecting the dead. Which is probably the main issue, so I could have just skipped the other two points, but I took the trouble of writing them so I might as well impose on you the trouble of reading them. Are we really disrespecting Oliver Sipple by talking about him?

Sipple did not want to be outed because he did not want his family to know and he did not want his employer to know. They all know, but even after they were originally told about this, Sipple probably did want want them to be constantly reminded and harassed about this. But... are discussions about this bringing reporters to his surviving family members? I doubt it. This issue is no longer about his sexual orientation, it's about the journalism ethics now, and there is no point in interviewing his parents and asking them what they think about their son being gay.

Given all that - I don't think talking about this case should be considered as a violation of Sipple's wish to not be outed.

Oliver Sipple

Is pulling the lever after the trolley had passed still a murder?

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 11

Even if you could tell - Voldemort was Obliviated while knocked out and then transfigured before having the chance to wake up, so there never was an opportunity to verify that the Obliviation worked.

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 6

I don't think so - the Vow is not an electric collar that shocks Harry every time he tries to destroy the world. This would invite ways to try and outsmart the Vow. Remember - the allegory here is to AI alignment. The Vow is not just giving Harry deterrents - it modifies his internal reasoning and values so that he would avoid world destruction.

The Incomprehensibility Bluff

One thing to keep in mind is that even if it does seem likely that the suspected bluffer is smarter and more knowledgeable than you, the bar for actually working on the subject is higher than the bar for understanding a discussion about it. So even if you are not qualified enough to be an X researcher or an X lecturer, you should still be able to understand a lecture about X.

Even if the gap between you two is so great that they can publish papers on the subject and you can't even understand a simple lecture, you should still be able to understand some of that lecture. Maybe you can't follow the entire derivation of an equation but you can understand the intuition behind it. Maybe you get lost in some explanation but can understand an alternative example.

Yes - it is possible that you are so stupid and so ignorant and that the other person is such a brilliant expert that even with your sincere effort to understand and their sincere effort to explain as simply as possible you still can't understand even a single bit of it because the subject really is that complicated. But at this point the likability of this scenario with all these conditions is low enough that you should seriously consider the option that they are just bluffing.

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 5

By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if "the end of the world" is Moody's stock response to "what's the worst that could happen?" in any context.

(this is no longer spoiler so we no longer need to hide it)

I'm not sure about that. That could be Harry's stock response - "there was always a slight probability for the end of the world and this suggestion will not completely eliminate that probability". But Moody's? I would expect him to quickly make a list of all the things that could go wrong for each suggested course of action.

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 5

Are potential HPMOR spoilers acceptable in the comments here? I'm not really sure - the default is to assume they aren't, but the fanfic itself contains some, so to be sure I'll hide it just in case:

Can Harry really discuss the idea of destroying the world so casually? Shouldn't his unbreakable oath compel him to avoid anything that can contribute to it, and abandon the idea of building the hospital without permit as soon as Moody jokes (is that the correct term when talking about Moody?) about it causing the end of the world?

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 4

I notice we are seeing Luna getting ridiculed for her reputation rather then directly for her actions. Even when it's clear how her reputation is a result of her actions - for example they laugh at her for having an imaginary pet, but never once have we seen other students looking at weird when she interacts with Wanda.

Is this intentional? Because we are getting this story from Luna's PoV? Does she consider her reputation unjustified because her behavior does not seem weird to her?

Luna Lovegood and the Chamber of Secrets - Part 3

I'm a bit surprised the twins had the patience and concentration to sit with Luna and help her go over the map over and over.

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