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When (Not) To Use Probabilities

Good question. I didn't have an answer right away. I think it's useful because it gives structure to the act of updating beliefs. When I encounter evidence for some H I immediately know to estimate P(E|H) and P(E|~H) and I know that this ratio alone determines the direction and degree of the update. Even if the numbers are vague and ad hoc this structure precludes a lot of clever arguing I could be doing, leads to productive lines of inquiry, and is immensely helpful for modeling my disagreement with others. Before reading LW I could have told you, if asked, that P(H), P(E|H), and P(E|~H) were worth considering; but becoming acutely aware that these are THE three quantities I need, no more and no less, has made a huge difference in my thinking for the better (not to sound dogmatic; I'll use different paradigms when I think they're more appropriate e.g. when doing math).

What's up with Arbital?

What were some specific ideas you had for "solving debates"? I was hoping Arbital would take the debate around a given topic and organize it into a tree. You start with an assertion that branches into supporting and opposing arguments, then those branch into rebuttals, then those branch into counter-rebuttals, etc.

When (Not) To Use Probabilities

One of my favorite lessons from Bayesianism is that the task of calculating the probability of an event can be broken down into simpler calculations, so that even if you have no basis for assigning a number to P(H) you might still have success estimating the likelihood ratio.

No, Seriously. Just Try It.

In the spirit of OP, since there's no guaranteed way to overcome this form of social anxiety and the afflictee will need to try many things to see what works for them, listening to a good evpsych story is as good a thing to try as any.

Probability puzzles

This post is not evidence for that lesson. When OP's puzzle is stated as intended it indeed has a wonderful and strange answer. The meta-puzzle: "Are these two puzzles essentially the same?" referring to the puzzle as intended and as presented also has a wonderful and strange answer; in fact, John Baez and maybe all of his commenters have been getting it wrong for several years. Our intuition is imperfect, and whether the puzzles you come across tend to use this fact or just trick you with sneaky framing depends on where you get your puzzles.

Rationality Quotes April 2014

I'm not sure how much to trust these meta-meta analyses. If only someone would aggregate them and test their accuracy against a control.

Rationality Quotes March 2014

I can't do anything on purpose.

  • Professor Utonium, realizing he has a problem
Dark Arts of Rationality

Also, since cars are now quite integrated with computers this person might have lots of fun stealing them. And if ze watches Breaking Bad there's a whole lot of inspiration there for intellectuals looking to turn to a life of blue-collar crime.

Maybe I should be steel-manning Locaha's argument but my point is I don't think the limits of this sort of self-mod are well understood, so it's premature to declare which mods are or aren't "real world".

2013 Less Wrong Census/Survey

I'm a musician if that's any hint.

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