All of ilzolende's Comments + Replies

Open Thread, May 11 - May 17, 2015

I endorse discussion of virtue ethics on LW mostly because I haven't seen many arguments for why I should use it or discussions of how using it works. I've seen a lot of pro-utilitarianism and "how to do things with utilitarianism" pieces and a lot of discussion of deontology in the form of credible precommitments and also as heuristics and rule utilitarianism, but I haven't really seen a virtue ethics piece that remotely approaches Yvain's Consequentialism FAQ in terms of readability and usability.

When does technological enhancement feel natural and acceptable?

I recently registered to vote and did not see his party listed as an option, even though I have never heard of the "Americans Elect Party" and it is an option. I mostly pay attention when other people mention him. Also, I kind of wish the Transhumanist Party would issue some statements about ballot issues besides "vote for Istvan".

Gasoline Gal looks under the hood (post 1 of 3)

Speculating wildly about your real subject: Either uploading (why should you care if you can't have the real galaxy or the real gasoline engine, if you can't tell the difference) or something to do with p-zombies or qualia or whatnot (she cares about the internal properties even if everything is the same when she drives it). Leaning towards the former because "Fuller Chen" sounds like a nanotech reference (although I am aware fullerene is not nanobots).

Also, I don't see how Galaxy wanting a gasoline engine just because she likes gasoline engines is more irrational than me wanting to have human life continue to exist just because I like the continued existence of humanity.

0Slider7ySay that we discover two galaxies. One basically includes a copy of humans all carbon based and eerily similar to us. In the other galaxy you find humans that are based on silicon based chemistry but otherwise as close as it is possible to get to humans (or say they are anticarbon based). Would you grieve just based on this information less for loss of the differing than for the carbon humans? One could argue that such a difference is inessential and no appriable appriciation difference should exist. At the other extreme you could say that people of different skin color are inherently less worthy. Why a argument that sufficently defeats racistic lifedevalaution could allow anticarbon human devaluation?
Self-verification

I would probably believe something signed with my own PGP key enough to thoroughly investigate it. If I found something packaged with a blood sample I probably would not be willing to pay to check the sample, because I'm a minor and the costs of testing a DNA sample are something like a year of income for me. Since I wouldn't verify the sample I would probably take the message about as seriously as I'd take anything else in my own handwriting with my signature, which is to say I'd put in several hours of effort but not much more unless I found confirming e... (read more)

Self-verification

Naively, I'd say to write it as short text and sign it with my public key, but that was under the assumption that my recent memories were being wiped.

If all my memories are being wiped there isn't really a "me" to send the message to in any reasonable sense. Even if it's just all my episodic memories I would see amnesiac!ilzolende as a member of my in-group but not as me.

I suppose I could try to package the message with a blood sample (with a lock on a timer), any sample coercively obtained would have much higher cortisol levels (edit: or show signs of sedatives or something).

A pair of free information security tools I wrote

Hah, the decoy account is trivially easy to determine to be not-mine, the idea is less "permanently trick someone into thinking it's my main account" and more "distract someone while I log into it so that it can send an automated email, then keep them from powering down my computer for 30 seconds while the program sends the email, because I can't get it to do that in the background just via Automator".

Also, in that sort of scenario there really isn't that much I have to hide. There are some computer of my computer usage that I would str... (read more)

A pair of free information security tools I wrote

I have a superficial measure against this, which is having two user accounts, one of which is superficially similar to mine. If it is easy to send two images which unlock with different passwords then that could be an anti-rubberhose cryptanalysis measure?

4Nanashi7yOf course now if I want to rubber hose you, I'll be sure to ask about your second account, too! Jokes aside, I think that's a good tool to keep in the belt. I've always struggled with the idea of how to promote the practice without lessening its effectiveness since the more people that know about it, the more likely a rubber hoser is to ask about both.
3Lumifer7yYes, some encryption programs (notably TrueCrypt) offer the ability to have two different encrypted areas, with different passwords, inside the same container (e.g. a file). You put, say, your pr0n collection into one, your sekrit revolutionary propaganda into the other, and in response to rubberhose unlock the appropriate one.
Who are your favourite rationalist bloggers?

Also, Kevin Simler's Melting Asphalt is great and has lots of insightful essays about things. Warning: Still doesn't have archives, you're going to need to go through the meta posts to read old things.

Who are your favourite rationalist bloggers?

I like Eneasz Brodski's Death is Bad. Not as moralizing as the title sounds, has lots of fun book reviews.

A pair of free information security tools I wrote

This is not a program I wrote but while we're posting things I have a guide to setting up Automator on a mac to send out an email on login on my blog.

Thinking well

I think that I explained the about-letter-looks-words without using them, and the other person seemed to understand me, and then he changed the thing that I tried to explain, so I think I was able to explain it.

I am happy that you think this was not easy, but actually it was easier than a class where I use words that are not from this place but from across the big body of water. I could take longer to write things and I have to talk sort of quickly in that class. Also, I know these words better.

0k_ebel7yI totally agree that speaking is harder than writing, because it has to happen quicker, and also because there is body and face moving that can change what words mean each time they are said, as well as group position that can change how those words are heard. To me, even using words that come from this place in ways that make me easy to understand is very hard. So I like to see good times when it is done well, in hopes that I can learn from them.
Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

Maybe it's not, but it's super-conspicuous and might be useful for reputation-building. Also, if you want to practice dealing with blood draws in a not-being-sick context it could be useful. (I haven't donated yet though because age restrictions.)

Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

It seems like other people have built solutions that use steganography with the image pixels themselves, given that I see examples on Wikipedia.

I can't be remotely useful with the text stuff, though, my coding skills are such that I still have trouble generating token frequency histograms from text files and my most persuasive "chatbot" relayed an entirely pregenerated script to the user, only took 1 bit of user input, and was written on a graphing calculator. (I still got my Theory of Knowledge to feel empathy for it and be unwilling to let me d... (read more)

Thinking well

I think this writing is very good, but the way the words look is not normal. The words have letters with more lines than they need to have, stuck onto the ends of other lines, but the other writing on the Less Wrong shared computer thing uses letters with only as many lines as they need, and the words under each other are closer together.

2k_ebel7yPlease correct me if I'm wrong, but did you just describe the difference between Serif (letters with more lines than they need to have) and Sans Serif (letters with only as many lines as they need) fonts? If so, that was well done - both of you! It is no easy task to effectively communicate something you don't have the words for. Nor is it easy to understand that communication! That's a pretty big win-win, in my experience. :)
4Vaniver7yI have made the word lines look like normal word lines.
Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

If you just want some stuff full of fantasy themes that LessWrong will not spoil, read The Steerswoman and its sequels.

Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

For future reference changing specific details may be a good idea, such that if your girlfriend reads the post stripped of its username she would not say "the poster is describing me". This is what Yvain does when discussing specific patients.

5ChristianKl7yYvain is a doctor and knows something about pathology and knows many different patients. When he blends multiple stories together, the resulting picture makes sense. If CronoDAS would make up details than it would be quite easy to add details that don't make sense. Winning ideological turing tests isn't easy. Simply leaving out details would make more sense.
Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

I know that sixes_and_sevens probably wants a software solution here, but if they are willing to put up with sending lots of extra data they could just declare the third letter of every sixth word or use some other similarly arbitrary rule to determine which letters were pieces of data in the secret message.

There's also lots of tools to steganographically embed data in images.

1sixes_and_sevens7ySo, my actual motivation is solving a specific problem I set myself: if I have two or more processes running on different machines, with access to the public internet, but no guarantee of locally open ports beyond 80 and 443, no knowledge of any existing sibling processes, and no guarantee that any previously-established communication channel (like a mail server, message queue or coordinating service) is still active, how do they form a peer group? The first not-completely-terrible solution I hit upon was for them to monitor existing chatter-heavy online services such as Reddit or Wikipedia, use some sort of pre-established scoring rule to identify esoteric topics, and obliquely pass data to one another in comments or discussion of that topic whenever it arises. Image steganography is a good inroad here, since Reddit is very image-heavy and doesn't draw too much attention to itself, but most services you can use to anonymously host images (like imgur) strip metadata from the images, so dumping some cyphertext in the image header won't work. I'm still keen on putting together a text solution, because it interests me, and I find the idea of Reddit bots carrying out human conversations while passing covert information to each other highly appealing.
Open thread, Mar. 16 - Mar. 22, 2015

Does James Miller let his students take d% dice to his tests?

2James_Miller7yNo, but if a student asked I would be tempted to give her extra credit.
0ike7yThat's why you should always have some random bits up your sleeve (memorized). I remember being surprised that a large number of /r/rational commenters had password systems in case they ever invented time-travel or cloning. Anyone who goes to that effort can presumably also memorize 15 or so random bits if they ever need it, and refresh if used.
Rationality: From AI to Zombies

I am thinking of recommending this to people, all of whom are unlikely to pay. Is having people acquire this for $0 who would otherwise not have read it beneficial or harmful to MIRI? (If the answer is "harmful because of paying for people to download it", I can email it to my friends with a payment link instead of directing them to your website.)

9Malo7yDefinitely beneficial, there is no cost worth considering when it comes to the next marginal person getting the book through our site, even if their selection is $0. So don't worry about directing them there.
Human Capital Contracts

As a minor: considering that I:

  • can't own things (I can buy them, but if someone can legally take the object which is legal for me to possess without some special, explicitly-legally-defined reason to do so and prevent me from accessing the object for arbitrarily long periods of time I wouldn't call it ownership)
  • seriously, even if I get a job on my own through connections I made on my own, people can just take away arbitrary objects I legally buy with that money, and it's not like taxes because I can't predict it in advance and I lose non-interchangable
... (read more)
0Dias7yYes, I meant over adult children. I don't think this has much impact on minors.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 117

I can't give you evidence, but I saw lots of posts about freezing the death eater's heads before today.

7spriteless7yI talked about just dismembering their arms before the chapter was even posted. I suppose them surviving would mean Harry can't make up a ridiculus story after the fact, though. HJPEV Gotta do an overly complicated plots that cost others more than he realizes at the time or else he just isn't HJPEV. >_>
Stupid Questions March 2015

How would someone donate to GiveWell in an externally verifiable manner? I am permitted to do fundraisers as volunteering projects, and donating or (if online) having customers donate to an EA organization seems like an obvious choice.

2free_rip7yYou could use an intermediate step, like Charity Science's fundraisers [http://www.charityscience.com/take-action.html] (I'm sure there are plenty of other places that allow you to do this if Christmas/Birthday/Event doesn't fit your needs) so you can see how much is being donated. Then when you donate the whole lot to Givewell etc. at the end you can ask for a receipt/show it on your bank statement.
6Normal_Anomaly7yLast time I donated to the Against Malaria Foundation, I got a thank-you email that referred to me by name and said the amount of the donation. If you need people to prove to you that they donated, they could forward you the email. GiveDirectly also sends thank-you emails, but they don't say the amount, so pointing the donations at AMF would probably be better for your purposes.
Open thread, Mar. 2 - Mar. 8, 2015

I asked for them because (a)I want to highlight long lines of characters in the LW comment interface and watch the Mac anti-aliasing overlap with itself, which looks cool, and (b)I don't want to just post a series of comments that have no valuable content but are just playing with the reply nesting system and posting repeating lines of characters and whatnot, because I don't want to get down voted into oblivion.

Alternating 0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O0O is visually appealing to me, and I want to see visually appealing things, so I asked to see more visually appealing things on the website. The request was made purely for selfish reasons.

1G0W517yI can see that. Still, 0s and Os take up more space than | and take a bit longer to type due to needing to alternate them.
Open thread, Mar. 2 - Mar. 8, 2015

The popular method right now seems to be using areas of shapes or heights of bars on graphs when this sort of visual representation is necessary.

However, I like the way you showed it here, mostly because I have wanted to enter repeating sequences of characters like that into a comment on this site to see what it would look like. ;). I hope people represent numbers with long lines of repeating characters on this website more often. I vote for alternating '0' & 'O'.

0G0W517yThough using bar graphs is pretty, it often seems to take up too much space and takes a bit too long to make in some cases. I suppose both bar graphs and unary numeral systems are useful, and which one to use depends on how much space you're willing to use up. Edit: Also, why alternating 0s and Os? To make counting them easier?
Keep Your Identity Fluid [LINK]

This seems like a much more palatable idea to me than refusing to affiliate myself with groups and ideologies. (I really like affiliation, as long as I like the group.) This is also useful because I can best work towards certain goals by being a member of certain groups, and those groups tend to prefer members who genuinely care about a number of unrelated goals.

Thanks!

Imagining Scarcity

Yes, I concur. I've yet to have taken my required HS Econ class, and while I read the occasional post here and on Overcoming Bias about economics, that probably doesn't count.

Open thread, Feb. 23 - Mar. 1, 2015

Sorry, hope my suggestion wasn't too counterproductive.

I don't think the signal value of swearing is "how much I want to offend this person" but rather "how strong my opinion on this subject is". Swearing at someone more will probably only make them more offended (if they get offended by swearing in that context at all). However, when the person who swears every day says that Policy X is f---ing scary, people will take them less seriously when the person who swears about once/year does.

1James_Miller7yDon't worry, it wasn't.
1gjm7yThis is surely true. On the other hand, there are other ways to convey how strong your opinion is, and if I feel once-per-year-strongly that Policy X is scary, maybe I should be conveying that by some more informative and costly means than just dropping in the word "fuck". I tend to think that swearing works better as a mild intensifier, for relatively frequent use, than as a once-per-year thing.
Open thread, Feb. 23 - Mar. 1, 2015

Sending difficult-to-source messages in general?

Using TAILS from a public computer would probably work, as long as you are willing send the messages online. Keep in mind that people are unlikely to take prank messages from anonymous email accounts very seriously. (I have only ever gotten form letters from elected officials, and I send well-researched serious messages, so if they ignore that, they'll probably ignore anything from mad.homeopath@anonymity-friendly-email-service.com.)

There should be some way to order flowers or other objects that you can send ... (read more)

Open thread, Feb. 23 - Mar. 1, 2015

Was the control group silence or yelling non-profanities? Because saying/yelling "ow" tends to be fairly effective.

5Douglas_Knight7yThis paper [http://www.mzellner.com/page4/files/2009-stephens.pdf] compared repeating a profanity to repeating an alternate arbitrary word, not "ow." (first hit searching "swearing pain" on google scholar [https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=swearing+pain])
3Alicorn7yI don't remember anything else about the thing I read.
Open thread, Feb. 23 - Mar. 1, 2015

I think this can be explained to kids, and I don't think Alex is the average 10-year-old. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is basically a story about "don't weaken your cheap signals by misusing them", so a general case is clearly already explainable to kids. I'm pretty sure that Alex is smart enough to understand the concept if explained well, and that James Miller has the teaching skills to explain the concept. I've been using this as the reason why I don't swear before turning 16. I am absolutely atypical for a teenager, but Alex has been described as being more similar to the average LW reader than to the average member of the general population, so this may be applicable.

8Jiro7yIf the kid is smart enough to understand that, he can also reason as follows: I can tell that you really don't want me to swear anyway, regardless of that. And if I'm trading off frequency for impact, it's awfully hard for you to know the exact amount of swearing that optimizes impact. Both of these factors make it especially likely that what you're telling me is motivated reasoning, so I should ignore you. Again, a kid wouldn't phrase it that way, but he might say something like "that isn't really why you want me to stop!" and basically mean that. He may even be right. Unless you actually want the kid to swear to a degree that maximizes impact, rather than less than that.
Open thread, Feb. 23 - Mar. 1, 2015

Tell Alex that swearing a lot weakens the value of your swearing as a signal. If you get a reputation for not swearing, then the one time you do, people will take you more seriously than if you used profanity on a daily basis. Also, swearing is a much cheaper signal than any alternatives you might want to signal with if you'd made your swearing meaningless.

This is the actual reasoning I (high verbal IQ, boundary testing 16-year-old) end up swearing < once/month.

Not sure if this will get the result you want, but it will approach what you want.

9James_Miller7yI just did this. He responded by saying that this means if I want him to be less offensive he should swear more, and then he said f---- you. My laughing in response probably didn't help my efforts to get him to swear less.
1Jiro7yAll you need to do is be sure that the 10 year old will understand that, and you're done. Good luck. ("I did this as a 16 year old" is not really very informative about 10 year olds. And even then you were probably atypical for one.)
3Alicorn7yI remember reading somewhere that swearing has a mild painkiller effect (e.g. stub your toe and go "fuck!", less painful stubbed toe), but only if the person doing it rarely swears. I don't remember where I read this, though.
Ask me anything.

I'm not sure what sort of questions you're looking for...

Favorite Sequences post?

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

My goal is not to live with it, my goal is to remain stable until I can leave the situation. Long-term suppression is bad, but the alternatives to short-term suppression are generally worse.

I have funneled the emotion into action when possible (I am quite possibly the only teenager who configured FileVault in the middle of an angry argument), but sometimes you just need to appear calm.

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

When the state is genuinely counterproductive to your goals, remind yourself of that while suppressing it. If you're worried about lashing out and yelling at people, try to redirect your anger towards your irritating endocrine system that was involved in you being angry even though you don't want to be. Pretending that reductionism implies more than it does is useful: the mantra "just because I'm in a physical state associated with anger doesn't mean I have to be angry" is pretty good for suppressing reactions.

This still holds when the people in ... (read more)

2ChristianKl7ySuppressing emotions is generally unhealthy. Living with suppressed anger is stressful. Either funnel the emotion into action or release it.
7diegocaleiro7yI wish there was a standardized name for the proposal by Paul Christiano that indirect normativity be done using a specific counterfactual human with a computer to aid herself. Is there? I've heard people calling it Paul-Boxing many times, maybe there is a different one. https://ordinaryideas.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/indirect-normativity-write-up/ [https://ordinaryideas.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/indirect-normativity-write-up/] ...is, I think, still the reference post.
Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

Clearly, I do not understand the goal here. It would be useful to know not only the point of a profile picture but also UnrequitedHope's goal in creating a Facebook account.

0RichardKennaway7yOn a social media platform, the purpose of a profile picture is to be a picture of your personality, as you wish it to be perceived.
Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

In terms of photos, I use a self-portrait that is artistically edited to the point of near-unrecognizability (and is unsearchable via Google Images) for my profile picture, and used to use a silhouette. My cover/background picture is something I made in Apophysis and Photoshop that I thought looked nice. You may not actually need a photo at all. If you want a less artificial cover/background image, take a nice close-up photo of some plant or something else visually appealing in your area, then edit it a bit.

For a "good photo", you may want to tak... (read more)

1Lumifer7yThat's actually a pretty standard way of doing it wrong. You end up with a passport picture, basically, suitable for official documents but not for much else. Especially if you want to get creative with filters or do a barely-recognizable semi-abstract. The goal here is make an interesting picture, not that resembles the one on your driver's license.
3Dahlen7yHello. Person experienced with Photoshop here. Most of the time that stuff looks positively painful, and an honest picture of a pimple isn't nearly as bothersome as bad editing. And human vision isn't fooled easily; consider for instance when you edit a stray hair strand out of existence. You see it beginning at the hairline, disappear across the area of interest (say, face), then continue down the neckline. Ouch. I've even seen moderately decent photo edits that, to the experienced eye, have Surface Blur written all over them (Gaussian Blurring skin is for newbs, by the way). Even cosmetics print ads have understood sometime during the last two decades that pores are a good idea. If you don't know what you're doing, don't do it. The only non-horrid edits I've seen applied by amateurs to photos are subtly applied color actions, and if your only tool is Picasa even those get boring after the first 200 or so photos.
Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

Considering the "no addiction" guarantee, it's hard for me to see the downside. I like sleeping, and a vacation in which I could spend >10 hours/day sleeping sounds nice, but sleep doesn't lead to friendship, or knowledge, or novelty, or any of that other stuff that people typically state that wireheading lacks. Since I don't consider the happiness caused by sleeping to be bad or fake, there's no real reason why I should reject wire-headed bliss as fake. (This is assuming that I don't have important stuff to do, and wireheading isn't dangerous to me.) The main reasons to reject it seem to be rejecting it as a permanent state.

The morality of disclosing salary requirements

I have to say, it's in the best interests of the survey-taker to lie on this survey. I would refuse, and also 1-box on Newcomb's problem, and also reject any offer lower than 50% in an Ultimatum Game.

(Yes, making this fact known is not in my best interests, but this is a pseudonym, people don't believe the precommitments of a high school student made under pseudonyms anyway, and I think the benefit to me of mentioning this is higher than the slight cost incurred by making my commitment less believable.)

Open thread, Feb. 9 - Feb. 15, 2015

Somebody is going to mention cryonics here, so it might as well be me: Cryonic preservation! We don't have the brain scanning technology that would be needed to reproduce someone's mind based on physical access to their brain yet, but we can preserve the brain in good condition such that someone's mind could be reproduced/revived after their death in the future.

Also, about the getting lots of voice data for machine learning purposes: I'm sure the NSA has been doing something like that. If you just want to record yourself, a typical iPod Touch has good stor... (read more)

How to learn soft skills

Solution: get an eBook edition or get a used hardcover and take off the dust jacket.

Also, it's not going to make you meaner than the general population. It just teaches you how to do consciously what some people can do unconsciously.

If it's morally good for me, as an autistic person, to improve my social/manipulation skills such that they're closer to the average NT, then why would it be immoral for you to improve your social skills? Unless there's some morally optimal level of social skills that is quite conveniently the level of the average person, this seems strange.

4Peter Wildeford7yI enjoyed it a lot as an Audiobook.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014)

It's been better than that so far (first few weeks). We haven't argued much over meanings of things yet.

The one disappointment is that I get really defensive every time we discuss whether doing whatever empathy tells you to do is moral, because that's half of the argument that says autistics are evil mass murderers (not actually the position of anyone in the class), and I get mildly annoyed when people mischaracterize utilitarianism or have clearly never heard of it before. (The situation in which all the available options are rule-violating and you choose... (read more)

Stupid Questions February 2015

I take daily antibiotics for acne (doxycycline), and have done so for years. How much harm am I actually doing by increasing antibiotic resistance?

5Anders_H7yThis is not my area of epidemiology, so take this with a grain of salt, but my best guess is that the impact is negligible, for the following reasons (1) Mutations that confer resistance are specific for classes of antibiotics. A mutation that provides resistance to Doxycycline will not help the bug against Penicillins. (2) If I understand correctly, the reason tetracyclines are approved for acne is that they are no longer the first line choice for empirical treatment of any serious infections. This is because tetracycline resistance is already widespread. In other words, the FDA have allowed Doxycycline to be used with this indication specifically because they are not worried about increasing the prevalence of resistance. (3) If you are taking these drugs while you are healthy, there are no pathogens that are subjected to adaptive pressure by your use. Of course, you will have commensals that are subjected to this evolutionary pressure, but I think the risk that these bacteria acquire pathogenicity and escape to start an epidemic is minimal. I also want to note that, based on anecdotal experience and conversations with dermatologists, my impression is that long term treatment with doxycycline is probably not the most effective way to treat acne. By far the most effective treatments are variations of retinoic acid. If you have serious ongoing acne, Isotretonoin (Accutane) is the only thing that will really help. If you have less serious acne or want maintenance treatment after taking a course of Accutane, topical medications which contain variations of the same active ingredients (retinoids) are very effective. Your alternatives are creams that only include retinoids (Such as Adapelene), which tend to be cheap; or you can take a cream that also benzoyl peroxide (such as Epiduo). The second option is more effective, but also more expensive, and if you get it on your clothes they may get bleached from the peroxide.
1Strangeattractor7yProbably not as much harm as the factory farms that give antibiotics to all of their animals.
Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014)

"Pantheism is the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god" (Wikipedia).

That matches to my interpretation of your stated beliefs.

I believe that God exists as the Universe working within itself... and that as each of us live, we each experience God.

Most of the atheism stuff on this site has more to do with a god that is a discrete being with supernat... (read more)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014)

There seems to be a lot of other high school students on this site lately. If you like this stuff, you may also like the International Baccalaureate class Theory of Knowledge, which you can often take as an elective even if you're not an IB student.

Kind of curious about your theism, don't feel required to answer: A lot of nonreligious people who believe in a god are deists or pantheists. Are you either of those? If not, would you be willing to give more detail about your beliefs?

Also, I'm kind of starting to wonder if some people don't really like classify... (read more)

2Anders_H7yAs a 2001 IB Diploma Graduate, I have to disagree very strongly with this advice (unless the curriculum for the Theory of Knowledge course has changed substantially over the last 15 years). I remember taking this course and being immensely frustrated by how almost every discussion was obviously just disagreement about semantics. This completely killed my interest in epistemology and philosophy, it was only when I read the "Human's Guide to Words" sequence several years later that I realized there were people who were thinking seriously about these issues without getting into pointless discussions about whether items are rubes or bleggs. Courses in mainstream philosophy that get stuck on confusion about the meaning of words have the effect of turning rigorous thinkers away from thinking about philosophical questions. As for myself, if it hadn't been for reading Overcoming Bias years later, the IB course on Theory of Knowledge could have permanently killed my interest in epistemology.
0Lumifer7yI don't like classifying myself into groups. You try to crawl into a pigeonhole and you get scrapes and bruises, and sometimes things get torn off...
0theWRITER7ySee as far as my beliefs, I have a strong religious background... Catholic elementary and middle school (I go to non-sectional, public high school now), Hindu dad, Protestant (Lutheran) mom... I mean, I generally end up changing my mind every year or so, but right now, I believe that God exists as the Universe working within itself... and that as each of us live, we each experience God... I don't know, I can't seem to get my head wrapped around the idea of a nonexistent god because of my strong religious background. Not very "rational", I guess, but that's just me personally, and there's really no should or shouldn't as far as faith goes, so I've just been rolling with it. So, I sort of just been changing my perspective based on what I learn and hear about the world. I don't know if that really affiliates with deism or pantheism, really, but if what I explained above affiliates with one of them, would you (or anyone) explain how? And as far as political parties go, there was this time when I tried to identify myself as Republican (though I really would be more of a Conservative Democrat) because I was tired of saying "No affiliation." It also kind of seemed like a fun little experiment because then I would be going against pretty much everyone else (most of the people I know tend to be democrat). I couldn't really hold out that long because, I don't know, being affiliated with Republican--or Democrat for that matter--makes people regard you as some political freak and not merely a person just agreeing with one more. Another thing, when I found myself affiliating with Republican, I found that I began to care more about what party supports what position, and I feel like that's something that just shouldn't matter. In the end, I'm also somewhat ignorant and not very confident about my positions just yet either. And as far as ulterior motives, saying that I don't trust people could be seen as my ulterior motive to not have to be generous and charitable (it's a prett
Update: A failed attempt at rationality testing

The article seemed to be about "should legislation requiring internet access at a certain speed to be made more available require a higher speed than it currently does?" Yes, it is true that the means of increasing the speed required would be modifying a legal definition.

However, the debate over "should law X define Y to include Z" always seems to be about "should law X apply to Z" and not "does Z really count as Y", and people saying "Z is/isn't Y" tend to immediately follow that with "if Z is/isn't d... (read more)

Group Rationality Diary, January 16-31

I already don't hurt people. My problem was that I was entering mental states that, if I continued to enter them, made me somewhat liable to potentially hurt someone.

Also, the people who make me extremely angry have so far been either people who I am not near in person (historical figures and people running organizations with goals directly counter to my interests), or people with power over me (I'm a disabled teenager, they're legally allowed to do all sorts of stuff and call it 'treatment' if they wanted to), both of whom are groups that I really don't w... (read more)

0Viliam_Bur7yOh. :( As my religious friends sometimes say: "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living doctor." (Hebrews 10:31, more or less)
Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015

Thanks, I wasn't aware of that. I've been able to download and run Tor from plenty of computer user accounts without administrator privileges, so I assumed that you could just download it to a (non-Apple) phone the same way.

Group Rationality Diary, January 16-31

As a minor, anger is pretty much the only way I have of creating negative incentives for my parents that doesn't automatically lead to me being punished, because anger is not seen as purposeful retaliation in the same way that other things that annoy people are. (I can't fine my parents, I can't refuse to associate with them, and I can't damage their reputation within the community without breaking community social norms.)

Anger is also really great for signaling that you consider someone else's behavior extremely unpleasant. If I just tell people I'm upset... (read more)

1Viliam_Bur7yHave you tried screaming at someone? Not as bad as hurting someone, and it gives an immediate feedback.
Open thread, Jan. 26 - Feb. 1, 2015

I would say that smartphones should have age filters on them

I agree. We should encourage children to develop an interest in anonymous filter-dodging web access systems like Tor, securely encrypting their messages such that they can't be monitored for inappropriate language usage, and other related skills while they're still young.

1skeptical_lurker7yWhile your comment does amuse me enough for an upvote, I feel the need to point out that if the children do not have root access to the phone, then they can't install Tor. As I understand it, rooting a phone is not easy, and I suppose once they have reached the age when they are smart & patient enough to root a phone then they are probably mature enough to deal with the internet.
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