Nanani

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Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice

Odd as it may sound, it would have to be "structured randomness" so to speak. Picking a slip out of a bowl would probably work - getting a reward only when the parent is in the mood to give one would likely not. The latter is just as random from the child's perspective, but inconsistent parenting (or animal training, or employee rewarding schemes) is known to be bad at shaping behaviour in the desired fashion.

Defeating Ugh Fields In Practice

Paying a drug addict to get clean isn't rewarding good behavior so much as rewarding the cessation of bad behavior. This has clear problems. For one thing, it isn't random like the "follow the speed limit for a chance at a small reward" scheme.

A true equivalent would be rewarding random people for not being on drugs, including the population of former addicts that have since gone clean. Being on drugs would be a garantee of not getting this reward.

Your intuitions are not magic

Voted down because tangential replies that belong elsewhere really get on my nerves. Please comment on the post about the vitamin study, linked in the OP.

Bayes' Theorem Illustrated (My Way)

Wow, that was great! I already had a fairly good understanding of the Theorem, but this helped cement it further and helped me compute a bit faster.

It also gave me a good dose of learning-tingles, for which I thank you.

Rationality quotes: June 2010

Where I live, ETC stands for Electronic Toll Collection and is posted at the entry ramp of toll-roads equipped appropriately.

What's wrong with just using "Edit: additional note goes here"

Diseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease

Excellent article, though there is a point I'd like to see adressed on the topic.

One salient feature of these marginal, lifestyle-relaed conditions is the large number of false positives that comes with diagnosis. How many alcoholics, chronic gamblers, and so on, are really incapable of helping themselves, as opposed to just being people who enjoy drinking or gambling and claim to be unable to help themselves to diminish social disapproval? Similarly, how many are diagnosed by their peers (He's so mopey, he must be depressed) and possibly come to believe it themselves?

The existence of these false positives is probably a big reason for the sympathy/treatment difference these conditions have to more typical diseases.
The diagnosis for cancer is fairly straightforward (you have a cancerous tumor -> you have cancer), the diagnosis for gambling addiction is much less so (maybe you are neurologically normal and just really like gambling, maybe there's something deeply wrong with your neurochemistry.).

The lower lethality also makes it so that a person can not only self-diagnose a marginal condition and also justify never seeking treatment. If you don't seek treatment for cancer, you die. If you don't seek treatment for TB, you also put a lot of people at risk. If you don't seek treatment for obesity... you stay fat. Barring a certain extreme, that isn't going to kill you nor anyone else. Neither will chronic gambling or any of the other examples, though they might correlate with things that do kill you with a high probability, say alcoholism and drunk driving.

This is pretty much the opposite concern as the one stated in the conclusion of the main post: If a biological fix exists, is there a moral obligation to use it?

Abnormal Cryonics

Interesting post, but perhaps too much is being compressed into a single expression.

The niceness and weirdness factors of thinking about cryonics do not actually affect the correctness of cryonics itself. The correctness factor depends only on one's values and the weight of probability.

Not thinking one's own values through sufficiently enough to make an accurate evaluation is both irrational and a common failure mode. Miscalculating the probabilities is also a mistake, though perhaps more a mathematical error than a rationality error.

When these are the reasons for rejecting cryonics, then that rejection is obviously incorrect.

That said, you are quite correct to point out that differing values are not automatically a rationality failure, and it is definitely good to consider the image problem associated with the niceness issues.

Perhaps the niceness and weirdness ought to not be jumbled together with the correctness evaluation question.

On Enjoying Disagreeable Company

Forgive me if this has been adressed elsewhere, but doesn't the knowledge that you are -trying- to like them get in the way of success? You will always know that you are liking them on purpose and applying these techniques to make yourself like them, so how do you avoid this knowledge breaking the desired effect?

The Social Coprocessor Model

Let me sum it up more simply: Telling people not to judge is not an accurate reflection of what they actually do.

I tried to explain why non-judgmentalism is a bad value to uphold. I have nothing to say about Garin and Vanessa, only about the value of the advice proffered.

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