Wiki Contributions


Many times on the internet I've seen people claim that something is more or less popular/known than it really is based on a poorly formulated Google search.

I've seen it too. Even Nate Silver did it in this New York Times blog post, where he estimates the number of fans for each team in the National Hockey League "by evaluating the number of people who searched for the term “N.H.L.”" Using his method, Montreal is the only Canadian market with a team for which it is estimated that fewer than half of the people are avid hockey fans (as he defined it).

In Montreal, French is the official language and the language spoken at home by most people.In French, the NHL is called the "Ligue nationale de hockey," abbreviated "L.N.H."

I honestly can't think of a single instance where I was convinced of an informal, philosophical argument through an academic paper. Books, magazines, blog posts - sure, but papers just don't seem to be a thing.

I have been convinced of the invalidity of other arguments by academic papers.

I have also been significantly persuaded by the failure of academic papers to make their case. That is, seeing that a poor argument is held in wide regard is evidence that the advocates of that position have no better arguments.

I too do not remember being convinced of many things by formal academic papers, just a very few things.

Probably most importantly, what do you view as the purpose of SIAI's publishing papers? Or, if there are multiple purposes, which do you see as the most important?

In order to think of some things I do that only have one important purpose, it was necessary to perform the ritual of closing my eyes and thinking about nothing else for a few minutes by the clock.

I plan on assuming things have multiple important purposes and asking for several, e.g. "what do you view as the purposes of X."

There was nothing wrong with what you said, but it is strange how easily the (my?) mind stops questioning after coming up with just one purpose for something someone is doing. In contrast, when justifying one's own behavior, it is easy to think of multiple justifications.

It makes some sense in a story about motivated cognition and tribal arguments. It might be that to criticize, we look mostly for something someone does that has no justification, and invest less in attacking someone along a road that has some defenses. A person being criticized invests in defending against those attacks they know are coming, and does not try and think of all possible weaknesses in their position. There is some advantage in being genuinely blind to one's weaknesses so one can, without lying, be confident in one's own position.

Maybe it is ultimately unimportant to ask what the "purposes" of someone doing something is, since they will be motivated to justify themselves as much as possible. In this case, asking what the "purpose" is would force them concentrate on their most persuasive and potentially best argument, even if it will rarely actually be the case that one purpose is a large supermajority of their motivation.

However lately I realized I need to interact with other rationalists in order to further my development.

1) What made you believe this?

2) At present, what do you think are the best reasons for believing this?

Teaching tree thinking through touch.

These experiments were done with video game trees showing evolutionary divergence, and this method of teaching outperformed traditional paper exercises. Perhaps a simple computer program would make teaching probability trees easier, or the principles behind the experiments could be applied in another way to teach how to use these trees.

since presumably you're "updating" a lot, just like regular humans

It's a psychological trick to induce more updating than is normal. Normal human updating tends to be insufficient).

I say to myself in my mind, "nice clothes, nice clothes," alluding to belief as attire, and imagine they're wearing what most caused their statement.

For example, if someone said "Jesus never existed!" I might imagine them wearing a jacket that says "Respect me! I am sophisticated," or a hat saying "accept me, I'm a leftist just like you," or a backpack that says "I am angry at my parents."

Presumably without the ribbons they'd have to be paid more. And the status perks seem tied to the same thing that causes people to call war dead "heroes."

What about infantry v. armor? Or helicopter pilots v. people piloting drones from a base in Nevada? "Military" isn't too homogeneous a category.

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