All of MaoShan's Comments + Replies

Roles are Martial Arts for Agency

I was kind of going off on a speculative tangent on that last sentence. I was wondering if that feeling was somehow reward-system related, and would fuel a musician's drive to excel. Like they try to play better and better to achieve that euphoria which only comes on when they do better than they ever have, with diminishing (dopamine?) returns, but, as a side-effect, increasing their practical talent to ever higher levels. So the musical prodigy over time becomes motivated more by the tangible rewards (fame, increased income), which will never compare to the feelings that made him choose that path in the first place. It would apply to many careers if it was a valid theory.

3Ben Pace7yOh no. I didn't mean to imply anything that... Romanticised. Certainly for me, the returns from being able to play the guitar have increased as I've been able to play better.
Roles are Martial Arts for Agency

I also had that same experience on the higher levels of Rock Band. I am not talented with any real-life musical instruments, but you say you feel that with guitar; for you personally, is that an episodic thing, or does that consistently happen when playing serious guitar? Is that something that most musicians know about, because it was exquisitely bizarre--is that the secret allure of musicians? Or does one build up a tolerance that drives one toward excellence in the hopes of catching the "high of accomplishment"?

8Ben Pace7yGenerally, it slips under your radar; it's not really relevant, it doesn't change anything. I think noticing it is just as a result of a) being very reflective and b) being in a music school where every practice room has a mirror in. Your encouraged to observe yourself play, to see it from other angles. It's just like realising you're walking somewhere without really exerting any conscious effort, except you're doing something more specialised. No, I don't think it's generally why people become musicians. That's more to do with the music itself, normally. And I didn't quite understand your last sentence.
Confused as to usefulness of 'consciousness' as a concept

What is it that makes consciousness, or the thing that it points to (if such a thing is not ephemeral), important? You already said that knowing the exact quantities negates the need for categorization.

1Strange77yI am not in a position to speculate as to why consciousness, or the underlying referent thereto, is so widely considered important; I simply observe that it is. Similarly, I wouldn't feel qualified to say why a human life has value, but for policy purposes, somebody out there needs to figure out how many million dollars of value a statistical human life is equivalent to. Might as well poke at the math of that, maybe make it a little more rigorous and generalized.
Confused as to usefulness of 'consciousness' as a concept

Well, now it sounds like you found a useful definition of life; at what point on this spectrum, then, would you consider something conscious? Since it's processes you are looking for, there is probably a process that, without which, you could clearly classify as un-conscious.

4Strange77yIf I know how many grains of sand there are, their relative positions, and have a statistical profile of their individual sizes and shapes, I no longer need to know whether it counts as a "heap" or not. If I know an object's thermal mass, conductivity, and how many degrees it is above absolute zero, I don't need to know whether it's "warm" or "cold." The term "consciousness" is a pointer to something important, but lacks precision. My understanding was that we were trying to come up with a more precise, quantifiable pointer to the same underlying important thing.
-1[anonymous]7yFor what purpose are you labeling something conscious? Strange7 has already stated that water droplets and pendulums have nonzero "consciousness", and I would agree. But so what? What does it matter if it turns out that rocks are conscious too? Taboo the word 'conscious' please.
Confused as to usefulness of 'consciousness' as a concept

It seems to me, though, that there are quite a few axes on which it would be hard to disturb a star's equilibrium. That still keeps it included in your definition. Also, since tungsten is not disruptive to the star's homeostasis, it has no reason to expel it. I appreciate your rational answers, because I'm actually helping you steel-man your theory, it only looks like I'm being a dork.

2Strange77yAdding tungsten, or any heavy element, increases the star's density, thereby marginally shortening the star's lifespan. It's only "not disruptive to the star's homeostasis" in the sense that the star lacks any sort of homeostasis with regard to it's chemical composition. You are firing armor-piercing bullets into an enormous compost heap, and calling it a composite-laminate reinforced bunker just because they don't come out the other side. I say again, it's not about the equilibrium being hard to disturb, it's about there being a subsystem which actively corrects and/or prevents such disturbances. Yes, a star scores above a brick on this scale, as do many other inanimate objects, automated industrial processes, and extremely simple lifeforms which nonetheless fall well below any commonsensical threshold of consciousness.
Confused as to usefulness of 'consciousness' as a concept

I agree with your correlation, but I think your definition would make stars and black holes apex predators.

2Strange77yA stellar-mass body isn't any more conscious than a water droplet or a pendulum under this theory. (Admittedly, that's more than zero, but still below the threshold of independent moral significance.) Kinematics keep them in a stable equilibrium, but there's no mechanism for maintaining a consistent chemical composition, or proactively seeking to avoid things that haven't disrupted the body but might soon. Drop some tungsten into a star, and it'll be a star with some tungsten in it until nuclear physics says otherwise. Feed tungsten to a mammal, you get some neurological symptoms until most of the excess metal is expelled via the kidneys over the next few days. It's not about the magnitude of possible disruption which can be absorbed on any one axis, or even really the precision with which that variable is controlled, but the number of different axes along which optimization occurs.
Privileging the Question

Which is basically the same phrase, but without spaces between words.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

You're trying to ad-hom me as a fuzzy-minded irratiolanist. Please don't.

No need, you're doing a fine job of that all by yourself.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I take it that you're nitpicking my grammar because you disagree with my views.

As for what topic I am talking about, it is this: In the most practical sense, what you did yesterday has already happened. What will you do five minutes from now? Let's call it Z.. Yes, as a human agent the body and brain running the program you call yourself is the one who appears to make those decisions five minutes from now, but six minutes from now Z has already happened. In this practical universe there is only one Z, and you can imagine all you like that Z could have been... (read more)

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I will answer your question, but I do not understand your last statement; it looks like you retyped it several times and left all the old parts in.

I meant that with a sufficiently detailed understanding of physics, it would be meaningless to even posit the existence of (strong) free will. By meaningless here I mean a pointless waste of one's time. I was willing to clarify, but deep down I suspect that you already knew that.

-2PrawnOfFate9yUh-huh. So "meaningless" means "very false". Although there are physically based models of Free WIll []
Rationality Quotes April 2013

Now that you mention it, a fable, by definition, requires bullshit.

Buridan's ass and the psychological origins of objective probability

and then it’s obvious that the ass can be “stuck.”


0shev9yWell, that's the point. It's absurd.
Schelling Day: A Rationalist Holiday

I think you have a good pattern going here when you classify things as "things you'd say to a..." Maybe, outside of the ritual itself, people could volunteer to be one of those positions for others without those services. Like, the Moombah would be the guy that listens to the things you'd say to a priest, without being a priest. He would listen under an oath of secrecy, to anyone who wanted to confess something. The High Glombix would listen to all the things you'd say to a therapist, without being a therapist, again under secrecy. The Vemerev wo... (read more)

3ModusPonies9yI like it! Although the preferred title would probably be Confessor [].
Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

It was a property dispute, not a measurement of righteousness. The story served to illustrate Solomon's wisdom; spiritual judgment of the women was not an issue. As for my opinion, I see both of them as stupid, and only evil to the degree that stupidity influences evil.

0ESRogs9yAh, I interpreted your comment as a response to the supposed judgment that the mother whose child died was wicked. That would seem to have been my b.
Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

In that case the question is less interesting, since it's just a matter of how well you can think yourself into the hypothetical in which you have to choose between, say, increasing your child's odds of surviving by 1% and the cost of, say, increasing your guilt-if-the-child-does-die by 200%.

I guess, but in real life I don't sit down with a calculator to figure that out; I'd settle for some definitive research.

Your second-order desires are fixed by your desires as a whole, trivially. But they aren't fixed by your first-order desires. So it makes sense

... (read more)
Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

Then I still blame the mother in the story for not building one of those!

That is pretty neat, I wholeheartedly endorse using those, just in case. In the unlikely event that I produce more biological offspring, I will make use of that knowledge.

Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

My desires concerning what my desires should be are also determined by my desires, so your question is not valid, it's a recursive loop. You are first assuming that I care about anything at all, secondly assuming that I experience guilt at all, and thirdly that I would care about my children. As it turns out, you are correct on all three assumptions, just keep in mind that those are not always givens among humans.

What I was saying was that in the two situations (my child dies due to SIDS), and (my child dies due to me rolling over onto him), in the first s... (read more)

2Rob Bensinger9yYour second-order desires are fixed by your desires as a whole, trivially. But they aren't fixed by your first-order desires. So it makes sense for me to ask whether you harbor a second-order desire to change your first-order desires in this case, or whether you are reflectively satisfied with your first-order desires. Consider the alcoholic who desires to stop craving alcohol (a second-order desire), but who continues to drink alcohol (because his first-order desires are stronger than his desire-desires). Presumably your first-order desires are currently defeating your second-order ones, else you'd have already switched first-order desires. But it doesn't follow from this that your second-order desires are nonexistent! Perhaps, for instance, your second-order desire is strong enough that if you could simply push a button to forever effortlessly change your first-order desires, you would do so; but your second-order desire isn't so strong that you'll change first-order desires by willpower alone, without having a magic button to press. This, I think, is an extremely common situation humans find themselves in. So I was curious whether you were satisfied or unsatisfied with your current first-order priorities. So it's not really the case that you'd prioritize psychological-guilt-avoidance over SIDS-avoidance? In that case the question is less interesting, since it's just a matter of how well you can think yourself into the hypothetical in which you have to choose between, say, increasing your child's odds of surviving by 1% and the cost of, say, increasing your guilt-if-the-child-does-die by 200%.
Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

I expected that. My own opinion is that if it is necessary for some reason, it's a good idea, but personally I'd rather be possibly, indirectly, and one instance of a poorly understood syndrome responsible for my baby's death than actually being the one that crushed him.

It seems that sleeping separately very drastically decreases your chances of personally killing your baby in your sleep.

5Swimmer9639yIn the story, maybe. I think nowadays you can get specially designed cribs that sort of merge onto the bed, so you're co-sleeping but can't roll onto your baby–see []

Such are your desires, then, at the object level. But do you also desire that they be your desires? Are you satisfied with being the sort of person who cares more about avoiding guilt and personal responsibility than about the actual survival and well-being of his/her child? Or would you change your preferences, if you could?

Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

No, as you can see by the amount of objections, you are not too cynical. It's closer to a sort of Proto-Bayes, stories like this show that that kind of thinking can turn out wise solutions; Bayesian thinking as it is understood now is more refined.

Why Bayes? A Wise Ruling

Given the wording of the story, both women were in the practice of sleeping directly next to their babies. The other woman didn't roll over her baby because she was wicked, she rolled over her baby because it was next to her while she slept. They left out the part where the "good mother" rolled over her own baby two weeks later and everyone just threw up their hands and declared "What can we do, these things just happen, ya' know?"

1ESRogs9yShe's not seen as evil because she inadvertently killed her baby, she's seen as evil because she stole the other woman's baby and assented to killing it. Right?

They left out the part where the "good mother" rolled over her own baby two weeks later and everyone just threw up their hands and declared "What can we do, these things just happen, ya' know?"

Co-sleeping is controversial, not one-sided. It seems that co-sleeping increases the risk of smothering but decreases the risk of SIDS, leading to a net decrease in infant mortality. Always be wary of The Seen and The Unseen.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

Well-said. Thank you.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

As I read the "Anthropic Trilemma", my response could be summed up thus: "There is no spoon."

So many of the basic arguments contained in it were defined by undefined concepts, if you dig deep enough. We talk about the continuation of consciousness in the same way that we talk about a rock or an apple. The only way that a sense of self doesn't exist is the same way that a rock or apple don't exist, in the strictest technical sense. To accept a human being as a classical object in the first place disqualifies a person from taking a quantu... (read more)

1someonewrongonthenet9yWell, if you duplicate an apple (or even another person) there is never any confusion of which one is "real". They are both identical duplicates. However, when you talk about duplicating yourself, all these smart people are suddenly wondering which "self" they would subjectively experience being inside. And that's pretty ridiculous. So you need to point out that the self doesn't really exist over time in the strictest technical sense, in order to make people stop wondering which identical copy of their subjective "self" will end up in. These questions don't make sense because In the same way that you can't subjectively experience other people, you can't subjectively experience yourself from the past or the future.
Think Like a Supervillain

You are correct. I was interpreting "saving the world" in this article to mean "saving the world [from supervillains]". (fixed in comment now)

Think Like a Supervillain

The most limiting thing that you have not pointed out is that as a Superhero, you want to save the world. Saving the world [from supervillains] is by definition reactive. A Supervillain's goals have much more room for variation, and one could argue that Supervillains actually are optimizing the world, it just happens to be sub-optimal for everyone else.

5Bugmaster9yIt depends on what you mean by "reactive", I suppose. For example, if you as a superhero dedicate years of your life to reducing hunger [] in the world, then technically you are reacting to the hunger that exists, but still, this is much more similar to "optimizing the world" than to "stopping Lex Luthor".
Domesticating reduced impact AIs

t=59 minutes...

AI: Hmm, I have produced in this past hour one paperclip, and the only other thing I did was come up with the solutions for all of humanity's problems, I guess I'll just take the next minute to etch them into the paperclip...

t=2 hours...

Experimenters: Phew, at least we're safe from that AI.

2Stuart_Armstrong9yExtra clarification: in this example, I'm assuming that we don't observe the AI, and that we are very unlikely to detect the paperclip. How to get useful work out of the AI is the next challenge, if this model holds up.
0CCC9yThat seems to be the preferred outcome, yes. In the process, we can (hopefully) safely learn more about AIs in general. Though the AI may choose to sabotage this learning process in order to reduce its future impact...
A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

It was determined to be human error on my side. Fixed.

A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

I think it actually may have been an add-on that was intentionally (or just carelessly) installed into Firefox by another family member. I can shut it off myself. Seriously, who would download a program that explicitly promises more popups? (facepalm)

3CCC9yDepends how it's marketed. Or whether the person downloading it knew what they were downloading. Or even that they were downloading/installing something.
A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

Refer to the nested comment above for the details. So nobody else here has links on those words?

0poiuyt9yPretty sure you've got some adware. Especially if the links are green and in a funny font.
0Qiaochu_Yuan9yNope. Just you, I'm afraid.
A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

The word "pay" in paragraph 1, the word "details" in paragraph 5, and the word "money" in paragraph 7. It's possible that either my computer or the LW site has some very creative adware.

3Nornagest9yLike fubarubfusco says below, this is probably a malware issue. I saw something similar when a disk recovery program I didn't vet thoroughly enough infected me with a searchbar package that I'll leave nameless; MalwareBytes [] took care of most of it for me, though I had to do a little cleanup work myself. It should probably be mentioned that most widespread antivirus packages won't catch this sort of thing; you need something that casts a broader net.
3fubarobfusco9yYour computer probably has a badware problem. If you are running Windows, try anti-spyware programs such as Spybot []. Otherwise, check your browser proxy settings and browser extensions ....

It's your computer.

Congratulations, it is pregnant.

0[anonymous]9yI didn't find them either

Since the words you mention don't have any links, it's got to be your computer, or a proxy between your computer and LW.

A brief history of ethically concerned scientists

Why are some of your links triggering scammish popups? Is it supposed to be some sort of humor?

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
1MaoShan9yIt was determined to be human error on my side. Fixed.
2Kaj_Sotala9yThey are? Which ones?
1poiuyt9yI'm not seeing any popups?
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I was mostly curious to see if someone else would independently arrive at my conclusions if asked the same questions, as a way to test the strength of my conclusions.

I'm not offended, that's one of my favorite games. My thought process is so different than my peers that I constantly need to validate it through "coerced replication". I know I'm on the right track when people clearly refuse to follow my train of thought because they squirm from self-reflection. Yesterday I got a person to vehemently deny that he dislikes his mother, while simult... (read more)

0someonewrongonthenet9yApologies for the late response. Grant proposals and exams. I think the following series of posts really captures how I go about intuitively deconstructing the notion of "individual". EY discusses his confusion concerning the anthropic trilemma [] and I think his confusion is a result of implicit Belief In A Soul, and demonstrates many similarities to the problems you outlined in your post. KS tries to explain why this dissonance occurs here [] and I explain why dissonance need not necessarily occur here [] in the comments. To summarize the relevant portions of this discussion, EY(2009) thinks that if you reject the notion that there is a "thread" connecting your past and future subjective experiences, human utility functions become incoherent. I attempt to intuitively demonstrate that this is not the case. Hopefully people will weigh in on my comment over there, and I can see if it holds water.
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I did not comment on 3 and 4 because I thought you wanted to judge first whether I understood the first two.

But does it explain why we assign souls to ourselves? How do you justify to yourself the fact that you can personally feel your thoughts, emotions, and sensory input?

To me, yes. I think that a theory of mind is ascribed to oneself first, then extends to other people. On a beginner level, developing a theory of mind toward yourself is easy because you get nearly instant feedback. Your proprioception as a child is defined by instant and (mostly) ac... (read more)

1someonewrongonthenet9yHaha, well it's only worked on one person so far, I just figured it would be amusing to try. I meant for you to yourself judge if the first two questions were easy or hard and decide whether to do the second ones accordingly - sorry if that didn't come across. I wasn't sure where you were coming from philosophically, and maybe the first two questions were trivial to you, so I put some harder ones out there. I'll just explain what I was attempting to do here, since it seems you might be getting tired of the whole question - answer thing. In retrospect maybe that was dumb of me - I was mostly curious to see if someone else would independently arrive at my conclusions if asked the same questions, as a way to test the strength of my conclusions. It's easy to imagine, from an objective and detached viewpoint, a universe like our own in which people exist. It's easy to reduce the universe into a set of axioms. But none of that explains why you are in your body. It's called the hard problem of consciousness []. If a person is still confused about the hard problem, they will continue to instinctively believe in souls - and rightly so, because if one doesn't see how physical matter could lead to qualia, it's quite natural to think something unexplainable and mysterious is going on. Really, if you aren't sure how matter gives rise to qualia, how would you know whether or not some precious link was severed if you, say, teleported by destroying and remaking all your molecules or something? So what the previous questions have established is that you're able to do step one (imagine the universe as a set of axioms). The next set was intended to establish step two (figure out how qualia works itself in this picture). I was hoping if we got past step two, you would't have B.I.A.S. any longer (although perhaps you'd be confused in an entirely different way). My implicit assumption here is that B.A.I.S. is ultimately a p
Pinpointing Utility

I'd like that, but let's stay on topic here.

Pinpointing Utility

What it means is that I'd be indifferent between a normal day with a 1/400 chance of being a whale, and a normal day with guaranteed extra orgasm.

"Not tonight honey, I've determined that I have a 1/399 chance of being a whale!"

4deathpigeon9y"What if I give you two orgasms?"
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I would very much like to see things way too clearly...

1) Universe - deterministic, random or some third thing? Is there even a third option? What is a universe anyway? Is it governed by logic? Can anything not be governed by logic?

Dealing with the local, classical physics universe that my body's senses are adapted to perceive, I'd have to go with "third option" in the "time-loaf" sense. I suspect that MWI is true, so yes to random which one this is, but deterministic in its worldline. To me, logic is shorthand for what is actually ... (read more)

0PrawnOfFate9ySome people think physics renders FW non-existent, some think it doesn't. Most of them provide a definition of FW so that you can see how the conclusion is drawn. But you said that physics renders FW meaningless. How does that even work? I read a dfictionary definition, the meaning of the word is not in my mind, .... then someone in a lab makes a discovery, and the meaning disappears.
0someonewrongonthenet9yThose are both good, coherent answers. I'll assume from your lack of comment on (3) and (4) that you currently find them difficult, so I'll aim in that direction. Here is the one point I want to expand upon a little. You said that the reason that you "feel" like you have free will is the following: Now, that explains why we assign souls to other people and to clearly non-conscious things like rain and disease. It also explains much of the belief in God. But does it explain why we assign souls to ourselves? How do you justify to yourself the fact that you can personally feel your thoughts, emotions, and sensory input? If you think you know the answer to this, or if you think that's a silly question in the first place, elaborate. If you think it's a reasonable and difficult question, or if you think the question is unanswerable, we'll come back to it later. Oh, also: I believe that this question is the puzzle that lies at the crux of the B.I.A.S. Please elaborate if you disagree with me on that. ---Anyway, moving on. You didn't define free will like I asked, but that's okay - it indicates that you are implicitly using a definition of free will which is impossible in any logical universe, and thus cannot be coherently defined without contradiction. And you correctly perceive that the universe runs, and you and I are portions of that process. So far so good. A universe of made axioms makes sense, right? You can imagine a deterministic multiverse / random world-line. You can even create some simple universes. Now answer me this: Can you imagine creating a person within a consistent set of axioms? I'm not saying that you actually know how to construct a person of course - I'm just asking whether it is an intuitively, gut level truth that a set of axioms could in principle create conscious beings. I know that you already intellectually believe it possible - but do you alieve that it is possible? Note that I'm not asking whether or not you personally could ex
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

Oh good, you did understand what I was getting at.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

Foma, in other words. The concepts you mentioned are useful because they represent established behavior sets, they are what we make them. A soul is an actual false claim, and only useful when you don't realize that it is false. I don't endorse self-deception such as that, it's a slippery slope from there.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I used quotes because not only is it not a solid concept, it's not even a valid one. The point was that to think that way betrays an a priori belief in a soul.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I'd at least be happy for my clone, because if I am supposed to love my family and offspring as normal people do, I should also love someone who shares 100% of my genetic plan, so I should be glad that someone on "Team MaoShan" got a good result. In fact, I used to use this argument to justify playing the lottery, in the sense that me losing meant that another version of me in the multiverse just did win, so I should be almost as happy. That was before I started using that money to purchase an equivalent amount of chocolate every week.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I think you described it best when you said the issue was "un-asked". Everybody here may be over it, but that is just the point when it gets the chance to creep back in. It was more like as if I was walking around with a giant "BEWARE!" sign--all the other biases seem to be countered by addressing them, and this looked like a big one that was not often talked about. I figured it would be a good addition to the bias-avoidance toolkit, because if you don't include it specifically, the next world dictator (human or otherwise) will have a w... (read more)

1someonewrongonthenet9yThanks. It's not mine - here is the origin of "un-asked" AFAIK []) I think there are sequences with similar concepts here. Of course, we use it everyday with N/A. You aren't the only one affected, but there is a large population of unaffected people on this site. You'll want to try and overcome B.I.A.S. on a gut level, if possible. I think that the moment you fully understand the relationship between the mind and the rest of the universe, the intuitive preference for dualist thinking goes away. I think for many people there is one moment when it all just clicks into place. Want to try? If so, let me first establish what you're definitions are and make sure that you aren't confused about any of the important things before proceeding. 1) Universe - deterministic, random or some third thing? Is there even a third option? What is a universe anyway? Is it governed by logic? Can anything not be governed by logic? 2) Free will - Make a coherent definition. What does your answer to the previous question mean for free will? If you prefer to say that there is no free will, explain why (or whether) it feels like you have free will. Here are more, but don't answer them yet if you found (1) and (2) difficult. 3) "I think therefore I am" - agree, disagree, or deconstruct? 4) Qualia - why does it happen? What's subjective experience? Why do you experience things from a specific point of view? Can you be certain that I have qualia? If you don't have good answers (or unaskings) for these questions, your B.A.I.S. is most likely due to some logical issue and can be fixed. If you have good answers... I'm not sure what happens then, maybe we look at it from another perspective to convince whatever part of you is still holding out. If you are interested in playing, answer my questions or unask them. I'll just keep going till we reach the very bottom, and hopefully at the end you'll come out fre
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

That's a helpful, honest answer, thanks. I have a lot of empathy, but basically no sympathy in my programming. Unfortunately this extends even to my regard for my future selves. I try to avoid death in the moment and the near future, I don't seem even to identify with my future self. So hearing something like "Well, most other people would want so and so, now you know," at least helps me understand humans.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

Thanks for the critique; the dialog format would have been much more appropriate. I am actually surprised how few karma I've lost over my first article. I was fully expecting a -100 or so.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

Regarding the questionable answers, I purposely got all those answers wrong to show what a "typical" guess might be, not the prevailing LessWrong opinions. I thought it was obvious enough not to point it out, and there was where I was mistaken. Sorry.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I don't fault you for your reasons, as I didn't add enough disclaimers to earn your forgiveness. If by strange you mean "unconventional" formatting, yes, I am guilty of that. I didn't feel that I was smart enough to get away with the rigid format usually found here without sounding pretentious. And I've seen articles downvoted for more petty reasons than this, so I'll take it. And think about this:

I doubt almost anyone on LW will agree with your possible answers.

If someone got every answer on a multiple choice test wrong, that wouldn't seem s... (read more)

2someonewrongonthenet9yThere is nothing really wrong or missing with the viewpoints expressed in this post at all. Don't be too discouraged. it's just getting down-voted because no one on lesswrong suffers from B.I.A.S. in the first place and so they found it boring or unhelpful, the sort of thing you might ponder in some philosophy 101 college course. You simply underestimated the average reader of this forum. No fault to you - certainly the general population does suffer from B.I.A.S. (clever acronym, btw :) Personally, I don't think I even alieve in souls as you define them, let alone believe in them. Even at the most basic, gut level, I don't really think of myself as anything other than a conscious physical system...although I admit that at in some rare moments (like when pondering qualia) the thought still disorients me. I think most people here would say the same. This post basically narrates a struggle with questions which people here have long ago un-asked. Still, I think that overcoming the mind-body dualism illusion for the first time is a pretty big step. Do you still feel confused / compelled by this illusion on a gut level, despite intellectually disavowing B.I.A.S? Or was this post only intended as a guide for others to get past it?
1lavalamp9yI may just be speaking for myself here, but... More disclaimers would not really help, it just makes it harder to read. If you're adding more than one or two disclaimers to your writing, maybe it needs a rewrite more than it needs more disclaimers. If you reframed this as a conversation between two parties and didn't imply that anyone on LW necessarily agreed with one or the other, that might help. E.g., I found the jump to cryonics in the OP very jarring, but I could much more readily believe that someone might make that leap than that most people would. Anyway, don't be too discouraged by the poor reception this piece got. It's difficult to write anything that will pass the LW crowd unscathed.
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I agree. It would be easier if only it weren't such a powerful illusion.

The Hidden B.I.A.S.

Does this mean that I should not fear death, because since I can in principle be exactly reproduced, it is not fundamentally different from sleep? In a classical sense, it is this body that I actually care about preserving, not my pattern of consciousness--that's where the fear of death is coming from. And deeper, it is really my body that cares about preserving my body--not my consciousness pattern. So the problem that I am having trouble wrapping my head around is that statistics alone makes recreation of my pattern of consciousness likely; cryonics does... (read more)

1Kingoftheinternet9yPreserving that information makes it much more likely you'll be reproduced accurately and in a timely manner and in a situation you would be able to enjoy, rather than in twenty quintillion years because of quantum noise or some such. Part of the point of preserving your state until it can be transferred to a more durable artifact is that there's some chain of causal events between who you were when your state was recorded, and who "you" are when that state is hopefully resumed; many people seem to value that quite a bit. You should try to avoid death regardless of your beliefs about cryonics, identity, or just about anything else.
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

By soul in this article, I mean a supernatural extra object, but I am aware that many people here rationally reject that notion. What I was trying to get at was that even though we understand that it is not true, many hidden thought processes take the existence of a (supernatural) soul for granted.

I am curious about the opinions of other people here about what actual physical processes would comprise a non-supernatural soul. If I replaced all of my insides with such advanced electronics that nobody else would notice a difference (without a medical examinat... (read more)

1DanielLC9yI believe personal identity is an illusion. The other soul would have the same memories as you, and would feel the same from the inside. It would still be a different soul. Exactly the same would be true if you waited a split second.
The Hidden B.I.A.S.

I had read that article, which this one was supposed to be a sort of follow-up to. Many people here may disagree with my example answers intellectually, but like the Zombie article points out, that doesn't stop the false intuition that it is so.

Which brings me to the very subject that I hoped to discuss: Why would you or I care whether we get revived one hundred years from now? Reading on this forum, I feel like I should care, but for some reason I don't. Reproducing a similar version of my wavefunction from second to second takes considerably less effort ... (read more)

2Kingoftheinternet9yYou wrote this LessWrong post about cryonics being a good idea under the assumption that your readers would disagree with an argument from the core sequences which is usually used to support the "cryonics is a good idea" conclusion on LessWrong? To each his own. Here are the real/hypothetical cases that mostly formed my answer to your last question: * If you were to replace every neuron in your brain with a robotic cell exactly simulating its function, one neuron at a time and timed such that your cognition is totally unaffected during the process, would this cause you any doubts about your identity? * Why doesn't the interruption in your conscious experience caused by going to sleep make you think you're "a different person" in any sense once you wake up, keeping in mind that a continuous identity couldn't possibly have anything to do with being made of the same stuff? What about when people are rendered temporarily unconscious by physical trauma, drugs, or other things that the brain don't have as much control over as sleeping?
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