Joshua_Fox's Comments

LW Update 3/14 – Community, Markdown and More

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Pretending to be Wise

"Why does ancient Egypt, which had good records on many other matters, lack any records of Jews having ever been there?"

Of course the words "Jews" isn't used, but it is well-documented that West-Semites lived in Egypt. (They even ruled it for a while as the Hyksos dynasty.) There is also the Mernepthah Stele, with a small mention of "Israel."

Though we do have written records from ancient Egypt, they are nowhere near complete or consistent enough for the absence of evidence to be treated as useful evidence of absence.

Not that I'm claiming to be wise or anything.

Against Maturity

I was being forced to memorize and recite

Without getting into the theological aspects, a good technique as part of learning a second language is memorizing a text, particularly one with a poetic structure (like many prayers), even before it can be fully understood.

We were given a transliteration, but not a translation. I asked what the prayer meant. I was told that I didn't need to know

That is an extremely unusual experience, except as a temporary stage of learning. In most Jewish circles, reading Hebrew in the original script is considered important, and it is believed that one does need to understand what texts mean.

Value is Fragile

What about "near-human" morals, like, say, Kzinti: Where the best of all possible words contains hierarchies, duels to the death, and subsentient females; along with exploration, technology, and other human-like activities. Though I find their morality repugnant for humans, I can see that they have the moral "right" to it. Is human morality, then, in some deep sense better than those?

Failed Utopia #4-2

Another variation on heaven/hell/man/woman in a closed room: No Exit

Imaginary Positions

Minor point perhaps, but in the field I once studied, diachronic linguistics, people always want to know what the oldest language is, and no amount of explanation will convince them that there question is off-base.

Chaotic Inversion

Among the positive values of school, matriculation exams, college, grad school, the tenure system, and the career-track rat-race: In some cases they help motivate and bring out the best in people; even smart, creative people sometimes need that sort of external motivation.

(See also James Miller above.)

The Weighted Majority Algorithm

Eliezer, can you mathematically characterize those environments where randomization can help. Presumably these are the "much more intelligent than you, and out to get you" environments, but I'd like to see that characterized a bit better.

Make an Extraordinary Effort

> "You should go to college and get a Master's degree and get a doctorate and publish a lot of papers on ordinary things -

scientists and investors won't listen to you otherwise." Even assuming that I tested out of the bachelor's degree... You can "test out of" every step to the ladder, and go straight to post-doc/professor equivalent by publishing multiple well-respected papers (and not necessarily on ordinary things) in top journals.

My Naturalistic Awakening

So do you now think that engineers can create a "Completely Alien Mind Design"? Do you have a feasible CAMD yourself?

I don't know if Eliezer2002 invented this reply on his own, or if he read it somewhere else. What about the concept of "optimization process"? Did you come to that idea yourself, or read about it elsewhere?

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