All of Matthew_C.2's Comments + Replies

because creating sexual variety is so much more difficult than sprinkling cinnamon on an apple.

A friend of mine, who shall rename nameless, likened monogamy to eating chocolate cake and nothing else for the rest of your life. . .

Laugh. Your whole body's sense of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing are part of sexual experience, at least good sex. . .

This is off topic, but bestselling author and OB reader and occasional commenter Michael Crichton has died.


Excellent comments and insight.

The biggest problem with being religious, in the way you have defined, is that your "oughts" start to influence your perception of what "is". We see exactly the same thing happening with traditional religions, with political religions, and here with Singularitarian religion.

The one true worthy action is to perceive the "is" without blurring our vision with the distorting filters of "oughts". This is the true "Way". But, of course, it is not nearly as popular as promising salvation, whether religious or technological.

Eliezer, I suspect the coalition in control of your fingers is not as coherent or stable as it appears. Ruling coalitions like to give the impression that they have little effective opposition and are unified without internal dissent, but the truth is usually otherwise.

That comment was quintessentially Hanson, and an observation whose insight gives me much cause to believe that the coalition in control of those fingers has travelled across many a Rubicon. . .

I'm a bit dismayed, however, by the obvious emotional response and meanness from someone who prides himself on sharpening the blade of his rationality by testing it against criticism.

Let's be fair. All "someones" operate according to the same basic Darwinian principles, which involve the subsumption of some ideas and rejection of others into a self-concept which then defends "itself" against any perceived threat. And the biggest threat, of course, is the truth that the self is not fundamentally real. When that is clearly seen, the g... (read more)

There is no actual "you" in the way that it seems to be. A persistent thought pattern / meme complex got mistaken for a "you" by awareness and, sooner or later, awareness can see through the "you", which is a tremendous relief when it occurs.

As Einstein put it:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us. . .

One of the strongest lines of evidence is, indeed, that we have successfully reduced minds. . .

Just what exactly are you referring to here?

Memories decay exponentially. This occurs both over time and over number of items to remember.

That is a popular model, but one I find does not match my own experience of memory at all.

Sometimes just a particular smell is able to bring back a memory from decades ago of a small and insignificant happening that I haven't recalled for many years.

Certainly there are some individuals who absolutely do not fit into your characterization, and there is a lot of reason to suspect that the rest of us also can have access to that kind of remembering.

I always say I do not, and all evidence suggests this is the case.

Actually there is an enormous amount of evidence that consciousness can sometimes temporarily be disassociated from the body, however this evidence is extremely disconcerting for committed reductionist materialists who therefore dismiss, ignore, and minimize it, and impugn those who research it, and associate it all with people like Shirley MacClain and Deepak Chopra.

I don't personally like the term "soul" as it seems to bring too many assumptions to bear. But for those who are wi... (read more)

No, you have to be the ultimate source of your decisions. If anything else in your past, such as the initial condition of your brain, fully determined your decision, then clearly you did not.

Words like "you" are far more problematic than words like "consciousness" that you eschew.

After all, even a young infant shows unmistakable signs of awareness, while the "I" self-concept doesn't arise until the middle of the toddler stage. The problem with free will is that there is no actual "you" entity to have it. The "you" is simply a conceptual place-holder built up from ideas of an individual body and its sensations.

In order for you to have free will, there has to be a "you" entity in the first place. . .

One person doesn't need to pretend that he doesn't grasp something until a certain critical mass of the "right" people catch up. Correctness isn't up for a vote, and the feeling that it is is nothing more than an artifact of social wiring.

Anyone with a bit of insight and experience with the sociology of group behavior will read OB and see some glaringly obvious "artifacts of social wiring" in the psychology behind many of the postings and comments here.

Some commenters have recently expressed disturbance at the thought of constantly splitting into billions of other people, as is the straightforward and UNAVOIDABLE prediction of quantum mechanics.

Please. Generating so many paragraphs here displaying this sort of smug assurance in your own conclusions about highly controversial topics is the exact opposite of "overcoming bias".

I have noticed Robin gently reminding you of this fact; perhaps it is time to pay some attention to him, if not your other critics. . .

As pertains to brains, we have reasonable inferences that the mind is strictly anchored in a physical substance. Among the oldest I'm aware of is Heraclitis' observation that hitting someone in the head causes stupor, confusion, etc, so the mind probably resides there.

Yes and when I hit my radio with a rock it might stop working, change the station, if I rip out transistors it might make the sound distorted, etc. That really doesn't prove that the song is stored inside the radio, does it?

If you are interested in reality instead of just fitting in with cur... (read more)

Matthew C., commenting here on OB, seems very excited about an informally specified "theory" by Rupert Sheldrake which "explains" such non-explanation-demanding phenomena as protein folding and snowflake symmetry.

Actually Eliezer I'm much more excited to be in nature doing landscape photography, spending time with my family, seeing if I can make money trading stocks, and chatting about the nondual nature of reality, among other things.

I'm become totally and completely uninterested in arguing with people who refuse to acquaint themselv... (read more)

This bulwark of irreducible mysteriousness seems to be falling fast []:
So this turns out to be a really cool question. Part of what makes snowflakes unique is that each one is grown in a slightly different environment, and over the course of the growth of a snowflake this has a startlingly big impact. There are some cool attempts to model this with nonlinear systems / differential equations, and it does seem to be the case that if you have uniform growth conditions, you can get really different looking snowflakes that are still symmetrical.
Now watch what happens. [] (Biased chains, starting @ 4:30.) Its not a string of magnets, sure, but the same principle applies. The fact that we can't explain how something happens, doesn't mean that it doesn't have an explanation. [Edit: Fixed link]

The notion that the string would immediately fold into a precise shape every time you throw it, is the same as the notion that a protein would fold into a precise shape, very quickly, every time you make it. And yet that is what proteins do. And we have no reductionistic explanation that fits the facts.

Doesn't that just demonstrate that the protein-to-magnet-string analogy wasn't a very good one in the first place?

How is "unquestioning reductionism" possible?