All of ozziegooen's Comments + Replies

Use Normal Predictions

The more sophisticated system is Squiggle. It's basically a prototype. I haven't updated it since the posts I made about it last year.
https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/i5BWqSzuLbpTSoTc4/squiggle-an-overview 

Information Assets

Update: 
I think some of the graphs could be better represented with upfront fixed costs.

When you buy a book, you pay for it via your time to read it, but you also have the fixed initial fee of the book.

This fee isn't that big of a deal for most books that you have a >20% chance of reading, but it definitely is for academic articles or similar.

Get Set, Also Go

(Also want to say I've been reading them all and am very thankful)

Can we hold intellectuals to similar public standards as athletes?

I enjoyed writing this post, but think it was one of my lesser posts. It's pretty ranty and doesn't bring much real factual evidence. I think people liked it because it was very straightforward, but I personally think it was a bit over-rated (compared to other posts of mine, and many posts of others). 

I think it fills a niche (quick takes have their place), and some of the discussion was good. 

More power to you

Good point! I feel like I have to squint a bit to see it, but that's how exponentials sometimes look early on. 

2jasoncrawford1moYeah, I had to pull the data into a spreadsheet and look at the annual absolute and percent increase
More power to you

To be clear, I care about clean energy. However, if energy production can be done without net-costly negative externalities, then it seems quite great. 

I found Matthew Yglesias's take, and Jason's writings, interesting.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/energy-abundance

All that said, if energy on the net leads to AGI doom, that could be enough to offset any gain, but my guess is that clean energy growth is still a net positive. 

More power to you

but I think this is actually a decline in coal usage.

Ah, my bad, thanks!

They estimate ~35% increase over the next 30 years

That's pretty interesting. I'm somewhat sorry to see it's linear (I would have hoped solar/battery tech would improve more, leading to much faster scaling, 10-30 years out), but it's at least better than some alternatives.

More power to you

I found this last chart really interesting, so did some hunting. It looks electricity generation in the US grew linearly until around ~2000. In the last 10 years though, there's been a very large decline in "petroleum and other", along with a strong increase in natural gas, and a smaller, but significant, increase in renewables.

I'd naively guess things to continue to be flat for a while as petroleum use decreases further; but at some point, I'd expect energy use to increase again.

That said, I'd of course like for it to increase much, much faster (more like... (read more)

6Bucky1moThe colours are a bit confusing but I think this is actually a decline in coal usage. The EIA have a projection here [https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/04%20AEO2021%20Electricity.pdf]. They estimate ~35% increase over the next 30 years, roughly linearly, with renewables doubling over that period and natural gas staying more-or-less the same.
7Dave Orr1moIt's interesting that you (and OP) think that growing electricity use per capita is good. I think it's a reasonable proxy for other kinds of growth in many situations, but what we care about is those other kinds of growth -- and given that there are negative externalities associated with electricity (pollution and climate change) and so there's been a concerted effort to be more efficient, using it as a proxy for growth is a lot more suspect over the past couple of decades. I would probably want to measure something we care about directly rather than electricity use per capita, at least until something like fusion comes along.
2jasoncrawford1moIf you look at the second-to-last chart, energy production was growing exponentially 1950–73, then about linearly 1973–2005, and then not growing at all after that.
Zvi’s Thoughts on the Survival and Flourishing Fund (SFF)

I liked this post a lot, though of course, I didn't agree with absolutely everything. 

These seemed deeply terrible. If you think the best use of funds, in a world in which we already have billions available, is to go trying to convince others to give away their money in the future, and then hoping it can be steered to the right places, I almost don’t know where to start. My expectation is that these people are seeking money and power,

I'm hesitant about this for a few reasons.

  1. Sure, we have a few billion available, and we're having trouble donating that
... (read more)

I did explicitly note that there are things one can do with higher OOM funding that EA can't do now, even if they wouldn't be as efficient per dollar spent, and that this is the counterargument to there being TMM. 

In general, I notice I'm more optimistic that someone capable of being a founder (or even early employee) will do more good directly by going out and creating new companies that provide value like PayPal or Tesla, rather than entering a charitable ecosystem (EA or otherwise), whether or not their main motivation is the money. There are of co... (read more)

7Zvi1moI don't have any posts outlining techniques. I don't use any unusual software, I currently compose posts in a combination of the Substack editor and Google docs. I don't believe speech-to-text (or someone taking dictation) would do anything but slow me down, even if it was 100% accurate, typing speed isn't a limiting factor. Mostly I've had a ton of (at least somewhat deliberate) practice writing a ton of stuff, including Magic articles twice a week for many years. To me, the key bottleneck is the 'figure out what to say' step, then the writing mostly flows quickly, then if something is worth the effort, editing is a huge time sink with or without help. But every piece of writing advice has the same thing at the top: Write. A lot.
Why indoor lighting is hard to get right and how to fix it

Thanks! 
Just checking; I think you might have sent the wrong link though?

Why indoor lighting is hard to get right and how to fix it

Quick question: 
When you say, "Yuji adjustable-color-temperature LED strips/panels"

Do you mean these guys?
https://store.yujiintl.com/products/yujileds-high-cri-95-dim-to-warm-led-flexible-strip-1800k-to-3000k-168-leds-m-pack-5m-reel

It looks kind of intimidating to setup, and is pricey, but maybe is worth it.

1Richard Korzekwa 1moYeah, those or these: https://vdoc.pub/documents/lasers-in-opthalmology-basics-diagnostics-and-surgical-aspects-a-review-3ha5mu7ureog [https://vdoc.pub/documents/lasers-in-opthalmology-basics-diagnostics-and-surgical-aspects-a-review-3ha5mu7ureog] Or the long 2700K/6500K ribbons. They're not as bad to setup as I'd feared, though they are a bit of a hassle. I'm experimenting with them now, and I will write about it if I come up with a good way to build a light fixture with them.
Improving on the Karma System

Just want to say; I'm really excited to see this.

I might suggest starting with an "other" list that can be pretty long. With Slack, different subcommunities focus heavily on different emojis for different functional things. Users sometimes figure out neat innovations and those proliferate. So if it's all designed by the LW team, you might be missing out.

That said, I'd imagine 80% of the benefit is just having anything like this, so I'm happy to see that happen.

Disagreeables and Assessors: Two Intellectual Archetypes

I just (loosely) coined "disagreeables" and "assessors" literally two days ago.

I suggest coming up with any name you think is a good fit.

Disagreeables and Assessors: Two Intellectual Archetypes

I wouldn't read too much into my choice of word there.

It's also important to point out that I was trying to have a model that assumed interestingness. The "disagreeables" I mention are the good ones, not the bad ones. The ones worth paying attention to I think are pretty decent here; really, that's the one thing they have to justify paying attention to them.

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

A few quick thoughts:

1) This seems great, and I'm impressed by the agency and speed.

2) From reading the comments, it seems like several people were actively afraid of how Leverage could retaliate. I imagine similar for accusations/whistleblowing for other organizations. I think this is both very, very bad, and unnecessary; as a whole, the community is much more powerful than individual groups, so it seems poorly managed when the community is scared of a specific group. Resources should be spent to cancel this out.

In light of this, if more money were availa... (read more)

Intelligence, epistemics, and sanity, in three short parts

The latter option is more of what I was going for.

I’d agree that the armor/epistemics people often aren’t great at coming up with new truths in complicated areas. I’d also agree that they are extremely unbiased and resistant to both poor faith arguments, and good faith, but systematically misleading arguments (these are many of the demons the armor protects against, if that wasn’t clear).

When I said that they were soft-spoken and poor at arguing, I’m assuming that they have great calibration and are likely arguing against people who are very overconfident,... (read more)

Prioritization Research for Advancing Wisdom and Intelligence

When I hear the words "intelligence" and "wisdom", I think of things that are necessarily properties of individual humans, not groups of humans. Yet some of the specifics you list seem to be clearly about groups.

I tried to make it clear that I was referring to groups with the phrase, "of humanity", as in, "as a whole", but I could see how that could be confusing. 

the wisdom and intelligence[1] of humanity

 

For those interested in increasing humanity’s long-term wisdom and intelligence[1]


I also suspect that work on optimizing group decision making

... (read more)
Prioritization Research for Advancing Wisdom and Intelligence

That's an interesting perspective. It does already assume some prioritization though. Such experimentation can only really be done in a very few of the intervention areas. 

I like the idea, but am not convinced of the benefit of this path forward, compared to other approaches. We already have had a lot of experiments in this area, many of which cost a lot more than $15,000; marginal exciting ones aren't obvious to me.

But I'd be up for more research to decide if things like that are the best way forward :)

2Matt Goldenberg3moAnd I'd be up for more experiments to see if this is a better way forward.
In the shadow of the Great War

The first few chapters of "The Existential Pleasures of Engineering" detail some optimism, then pessimism, of technocracy in the US at least. 

I think the basic story there was that after WW2, in the US, people were still pretty excited about tech. But in the 70s (I think), with environmental issues, military innovations, and general malaise, people because disheartened.

https://www.amazon.com/Existential-Pleasures-Engineering-Thomas-Dunne-ebook/dp/B00CBFXLWQ

I'm sure I'm missing details, but I found the argument interesting. It is true that in the US at... (read more)

My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage)

Thanks for the opinion, and I find the take interesting.

I'm not a fan of the line, "How about a policy that if you use illegal drugs you are presumptively considered not yet good enough to be in the community?", in large part because of the phrase "not yet good enough". This is a really thorny topic that seems to have several assumptions baked into it that I'm uncomfortable with.

I also think that many here like at least some drugs that are "technically illegal", in part, because the FDA/federal rules move slowly. Different issue though.

I like points 2 and 3, I imagine if you had a post just with those two it would have gotten way more upvotes.

5James_Miller3moThanks for the positive comment on (2) and (3) and I probably should have written them in a separate comment from (1). While I'm far from an expert on drugs or the California rationalist community, the comments on this post seem to scream "huge drug problem." I hope leaders in the community at least consider evaluating the drug situation in the community. I agree with you about the FDA.
My experience at and around MIRI and CFAR (inspired by Zoe Curzi's writeup of experiences at Leverage)

There's an "EA Mental Health Navigator" now to help people connect to the right care.
https://eamentalhealth.wixsite.com/navigator

I don't know how good it is yet. I just emailed them last week, and we set up an appointment for this upcoming Wednesday. I might report back later, as things progress.

Feature Suggestion: one way anonymity

I really like things like this. I think it's possible we could do a "decent enough" job, though it's impossible to have a solution without risk.

One thing I've been thinking about is a browser extention. People would keep a list of things, like, "User XYZ is Greg Hitchenson", and then when it sees XYZ, it adds annotation". 

Lots of people are semi-anonymous already. They have psuedonyms that most people don't know, but "those in the know" do. This sort of works, but isn't formalized, and can be a pain. (Lots of asking around: "Who is X?")

4Gunnar_Zarncke3moI think Yair Halberstadt [https://www.lesswrong.com/users/yair-halberstadt] is aware that it is not safe - but that doesn't seem to be his goal anyway. I like this too. I did something a bit like this a while ago in the LW wiki. Pages there aren't found via the author search either - but can be traced back by checking who edited the page.
Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

That's good to know. 

I imagine grantmakers would be skeptical about people who would say "yes" to an optional form. Like, they say they're okay with the information being public, but when it actually goes out, some of them will complain about it, leading to a lot of extra time.

However, some of our community seems unusually reasonable, so perhaps there's some way to make it viable.

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

I agree that it would have been really nice for grantmakers to communicate with the EA Hotel more, and other orgs more, about their issues. This is often a really challenging conversation to have ("we think your org isn't that great, for these reasons"), and we currently have very few grantmaker hours for the scope of the work, so I think grantmakers don't have much time now to spend on this. However, there does seem to be a real gap here to me. I represent a small org and have been around other small orgs, and the lack of communication with small grantmak... (read more)

Fewer people would apply and many would complain a whole lot when it happens. The LTFF already gets flack for writing somewhat-candid information on the groups they do fund. 

I think that it would be very interesting to have a fund that has that policy. Yes, that might reduce in fewer people applying but people applying might itself be a signal that their project is worth funding.

"If you apply to this grant, and get turned down, we'll write about why we don't like it publically for everyone to see."

I feel confident that Greg of EA Hotel would very much prefer this in the case of EA Hotel. It can be optional, maybe.

Book Review: Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite

Thanks for the review here. I found this book highly interesting and relevant. I've been surprised at how much it seems to have been basically ignored. 

6Kaj_Sotala3moI did a few posts on it back in the day [https://www.lesswrong.com/s/uPjHAiXAKrMzvTFyt], but yeah it hasn't been noticed much.
Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

I was just thinking of the far right-wing and left-wing in the US; radical news organizations and communities. Q-anon, some of the radical environmentalists, conspiracy groups of all types. Many intense religious communities. 

I'm not making a normative claim about the value of being "moral" and/or "intense", just saying that I'd expect moral/intense groups to have some of the same characteristics and challenges.

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

Agreed, though I think that the existence of many groups makes it a more obvious problem, and a more complicated problem.

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

To put it bluntly, EA/rationalist community kinda selects for people who are easy to abuse in some ways. Willing to donate, willing to work to improve the world, willing to consider weird ideas seriously -- from the perspective of a potential abuser, this is ripe fruit ready to be taken, it is even obvious what sales pitch you should use on them. —-

For what it’s worth, I think this is true for basically all intense and moral communities out there. The EA/rationalist groups generally seem better than many religious and intense political groups in these areas, to me. However, even “better” is probably not at all good enough.

-2Said Achmiz3moWhat are “intense” and/or “moral” communities? And, why is it (or is it?) a good thing for a community to be “moral” and/or “intense”?
Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

I very much agree about the worry, My original comment was to make the easiest case quickly, but I think more extensive cases apply to. For example, I’m sure there have been substantial problems even in the other notable orgs, and in expectation we should expect there to continue to be so. (I’m not saying this based on particular evidence about these orgs, more that the base rate for similar projects seems bad, and these orgs don’t strike me as absolutely above these issues.)

One solution (of a few) that I’m in favor of is to just have more public knowledge... (read more)

[1] I don’t particularly blame them, consider the alternative.

I think the alternative is actually much better than silence!

For example I think the EA Hotel is great and that many "in the know" think it is not so great. I think that the little those in the know have surfaced about their beliefs has been very valuable information to the EA Hotel and to the community. I wish that more would be surfaced. 

Simply put, if you are actually trying to make a good org, being silently blackballed by those "in the know" is actually not so fun. Of course there are ... (read more)

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

Sorry, edited. I meant that it was a mistake for me to keep away before, not now.

(That said, this post is still quite safe. It's not like I have scandalous information, more that, technically I (or others) could do more investigation to figure out things better.)

6Evan_Gaensbauer3moYeah, at this point, everyone coming together to sort this out together as a way of building a virtuous spiral of making speaking up feel safe enough that it doesn't even need to be a courageous thing to do or whatever is the kind of thing I think your comment also represents and what I was getting at.
Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

As someone who's been close to these, some had a few related issues, but Leverage seemed much more extreme in many of these dimensions to me.

However, now there are like 50 small EA/rationalist groups out there, and I am legitimately worried about quality control.

4ChristianKl3moIt seems to me that quality control has always an issue with some groups no matter how many groups there were.

I generally worry about all kinds of potential bad actors associating themselves with EA/rationalists.

There seems to be a general pattern where new people come to an EA/LW/ACX/whatever meetup or seminar, trusting the community, and there they meet someone who abuses this trust and tries to extract free work / recruit them for their org / abuse them sexually, and the new person trusts them as representatives of the EA/rationalist community (they can easily pretend to be), while the actual representatives of EA/rationalist community probably don't even notic... (read more)

Zoe Curzi's Experience with Leverage Research

As someone part of the social communities, I can confirm that Leverage was definitely a topic of discussion for a long time around Rationalists and Effective Altruists. That said, often the discussion went something like, "What's up with Leverage? They seem so confident, and take in a bunch of employees, but we have very little visibility." I think I experienced basically the same exact conversation about them around 10 times, along these lines.

As people from Leverage have said, several Rationalists/EAs were very hostile around the topic of Leverage, parti... (read more)

3Evan_Gaensbauer3moFor what it's worth, my opinion is that you sharing your perspective is the opposite of making a mistake.
Common knowledge about Leverage Research 1.0

+1 for the detail. Right now there's very little like this explained publicly (or accessible in other ways to people like myself). I found this really helpful.

I agree that the public discussion on the topic has been quite poor.

Working in Virtual Reality: A Review

Some updates:

  1. I'm now using it a bit here and there, but I changed rooms and the connection isn't as good, so it's much more painful to use.
  2. There's a new VR headset being made specifically for linux, which looks very neat. https://simulavr.com/
  3. Here's a much more in-depth blog by someone who's been doing this for many hours.https://blog.immersed.team/working-from-orbit-39bf95a6d385
GPT-Augmented Blogging

I was fairly excited for this book for a second there

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

Is there any culture in which power structures aren't systemic and deeply ingrained into our culture? Even a tribe of hunter gather has it's cultural norms that regulate the power between the individuals.

I agree. I think there's a whole lot of stuff deeply ingrained in the culture of every group. 

I would expect that most people at LessWrong don't have a problem with power structures provided they fulfill critieria like being meriocratic and a few other criteria.

It's hard for me to understand your argument here, I expect that this would have to be a mu... (read more)

3ChristianKl4moThe point is that if you want to speak about power structures, discussing whether or not power structures exists is pointless. What matter is discussing how people should be justified and the benefits and drawbacks of different ways of allocating power. Using SAT scores for college admissions is for example a way to distribute power. Decades ago people didn't want as many Jewish people at universities and thus introduced character assessments into the mix of what matters. Today, the group of people that is argued to be overrepresented was extended and many colleges dropped SAT scores altogether. Back then the argument was that Jewish people had too much power and power structures should be changed so that they have less. Now, the argument is that White people have to much power and power structures should be changed so that they have less. If you just focus on the fact that there are power structures and not the benefits of for example distributed power to intelligent people who score highly on SAT scores, you won't get a good view of the issue to think about good policy and do things like discriminating against Jewish people.
I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

Great question! I have some books I personally enjoyed, and also would like to encourage others to recommend texts. I'm sure that my understanding is vastly less than what I'd really want. However, there are a few books that come to mind.

I think the big challenge, for me, is "attempting to empathize and understand African Americans". This is incredibly, ridiculously difficult! Cultures are very different from one another. I grew up in an area with a large mix of ethnic groups, and I think that was useful, but the challenge is far greater.

I really liked "So... (read more)

9Viliam4moLooked briefly at "So You Want to Talk about Race" and yes, it is much better than "White Fragility". There are specific things mentioned already at the beginning of the first chapter, which distinguish between racism and classism -- both real problems with some overlap, but it's driving me crazy how the woke left conflates them... as if the only problem with CEOs exploiting workers is that the CEOs are white males; as long as we make sure there are enough black, female, and nonbinary CEOs, the exploitation of workers will cease to be a moral problem; maybe white male workers unionizing against a black female CEO will be considered sexist and racist... oops, sorry I'm ranting... My point is, the epistemic level of the first chapter (I haven't read more yet) is way higher that the "I make money by telling people they are racist, and I have no clue why they feel so defensive" DiAngelo. Perhaps it helps that it is written by an actual black person who can provide specific examples, as opposed to a woke white activist offering platitudes.

Fans of the TV show The Wire might want to check out David Simon's earlier work The Corner. It's not as artfully done as The Wire, but it is a direct retelling of a real family's story from Simon's days reporting for the Baltimore Sun, so it is as close to being a documentary as you can get without it actually being a documentary. I found both The Wire and The Corner to be quite useful for getting a visceral sense of what it's like to grow up poor and Black in America's inner cities.

I've also learned a lot about America's racial history from reading Robert... (read more)

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

Thanks so much for clarifying! Sorry to have misinterpreted that.

I think this topic is particularly toxic for online writing. People can be intensely attacked for either side here. This means that people of positions feel more inclined to hint at their positions rather than directly saying them. Which correspondingly means that I'm more inclined to think that text is meant as being hints.

If you or others want to have a private video call about these topics I'd be happy to do so (send me a PM), I just hate public online discussion for topics like these.

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

Thanks for the longer comments here!

Quick thoughts, on my end:

But he's also stating that he thinks I have literally nothing to offer him by way of new information and vice-versa. That's pretty low!

This is definitely not how I saw it. 

I'm sure everyone has a lot to learn from everyone else. The big challenge is that this learning is costly and we have extremely limited resources. There's an endless number of discussions we could be part of, and we all have very limited time left in total (for discussions and other things). So if I try to gently leave a... (read more)

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

I think it means the reaction to the book is not really the reaction to the book itself, but rather to the political powers this book represents.

I think it's very likely that you're right here. I do wish this could be said more. It's totally fine to argue against political powers and against potential situations. Ideally this argument would be differentiated around discussion on this particular book/author.

What is more likely to happen, is someone reading the book, and then yelling at me for not agreeing with some idea in the book. Possibly in a situation

... (read more)
8Viliam5moI was never good at convincing other people, so I am not qualified to give advice about how to talk to other people. Speaking for myself, if I am told something with a friendly voice, I am more likely to consider it seriously than if someone screams at me. Even better, if I can voice my objections or ask additional questions, and receive a reasonable response. (Reasonable doesn't mean "totally destroyed by a clever verbal argument". Saying "yeah, that's complicated, and I don't actually have all the answers, but nevertheless here are a few things I want you to consider" works fine with me.) Sometimes it takes time to process. Problem is, I don't know how much this advice can be generalized. I don't consider myself to be a typical person. I am already a nice guy who doesn't want to hurt anyone, so if you show me how to make the world a better place, I am happy for the info. I also care about truth, so I will reject ideas that seem wrong to me. As far as I know (I am never sure about modeling other people), not all people are like this... and I don't know what approach would work with them. What convices those who want to hurt others, or who don't care about reality? Sorry, I have no idea. And if you want to solve racism, I am afraid that those are the people you need to convert, somehow. Perhaps some of them respond well to threats by force; but if you use such threats indiscriminately, then you risk accidentally making enemies of people like me. I suppose a reasonable debate requires some filtering of participants for some baseline goodness and sanity. Then, I guess, provide lots of data, both in near mode (someone's personal experience) and in far mode (statistics). Then, allow discussion. This, unless it somehow obviously backfires, I would already consider a small victory. People will remember something, which is better than most online interactions. (Of course, this involves the risk that you were wrong about something, and people will point it out in the d
I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

I'm really sorry if I hurt or offended you. I assumed that a brief description of where I was at would be preferred to not replying at all. I clearly was incorrect about that.

I disagree with some of your specific implications. I'm fairly sure though that you'd disagree with my responses. I could easily imagine that you've already predicted them, well enough, and wouldn't find them very informative, particularly for what I could write in a few sentences. 

This isn't unusual for me. I try to stay out of almost all online discussion. I have things to do, ... (read more)

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

Position noted, but I don't feel like more back-and-forth here will be productive

-2frontier645moI find non-responsive responses to be entirely lacking any sort of good faith and they come across as quite rude. It's an attempt to signal you hold some sort of moral high ground, that you think you're literally too good to even have a discussion with someone else. It's insulting. If I don't want to respond to a particular comment I don't respond. I don't say "I don't think talking with you will be productive."
What Motte and Baileys are rationalists most likely to engage in?

I feel like both sides of the "White Fragility" debate have some of this going on.

I don't feel like I've exactly seen rationalists on these sides (in large part because the discussion generally hasn't been very prominent), but I've seen lots of related people on both sides, and I expect rationalists to have similar beliefs to those people. (Myself included) 

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/pqa7s3m9CZ98FgmGT/i-read-white-fragility-so-you-don-t-have-to-but-maybe-you?commentId=wEuAmC2kYWsCg4Qsr

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

I think from reading some of the other comments here on the LessWrong post, I'm a bit worried that this might be turning into some flame wars.

I'd note that this particular book is probably not the best one to have debates around this issue for. The book seems to be quite a bit more sensationalist, moralistic, and less scientific than I'd really like, which I think makes it very difficult to discuss. This seems like a subject that would attract lots of motte-and-bailey thinking on both sides. (the connection between more reasonable vs. outlandish claims rep... (read more)

4CraigMichael5moI'm happy that you mentioned this, because I think I agree now that you've pointed it out. Re-thinking some of my comments now. I won't delete them but... I like LessWrong because there's usually not a lot of culture war stuff.
9Viliam5moIs there another book you have in mind that you could recommend instead?
I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

I'm really not sure what you're trying to do here, but I feel like your phrasing could be interpreted like creating a dichotomy between:
1. People who this impacts (in near mode), who will be very much hurt by this work.

2. Armchair, ivory-tower intellectuals who smirk and find the same sorts of interest in this book that they would get from the next "provocative" Game of Thrones book.

As such, the clear implication (that some readers) might take away is that I sit very much in the camp of (2), that just finds it interesting because the issues don't actually ... (read more)

2Chris_Leong5moI wasn't intending this as a criticism. I was merely trying to identify the difference in perspective. I think the quote might make it seem that way - people often quote when they are rejecting a framing - to say that's what they say, not me. However, I was just trying to indicate that I hadn't come up with the phrase myself.

I think it means the reaction to the book is not really the reaction to the book itself, but rather to the political powers this book represents.

I can imagine having a talk with DiAngelo about the book; maybe it would be interesting and we would agree about many things, or maybe we would just scream at each other, dunno. But that is unlikely to happen. What is more likely to happen, is someone reading the book, and then yelling at me for not agreeing with some idea in the book. Possibly in a situation where this might get me in trouble.

I read “White Fragility” so you don’t have to (but maybe you should)

Thanks for writing this up. I was a bit nervous when reading the title because I was expecting that this would have been an "edgy takedown", but it wasn't.

I haven't read the book, but I seen a few talks by Robin DiAngelo, and found them generally reasonable. They at least brought up several points I thought were interesting and provocative, which is a high bar for public presentations.

I then saw numerous reviews from sources I previously deemed decent that treated the book with extreme vitriol. 

I found the hate leveled at this book to be frightening. ... (read more)

2ChristianKl5moIs there any culture in which power structures aren't systemic and deeply ingrained into our culture? Even a tribe of hunter gather has it's cultural norms that regulate the power between the individuals. You don't learn anything about a culture by assuming that's true for a culture. I would expect that most people at LessWrong don't have a problem with power structures provided they fulfill critieria like being meriocratic and a few other criteria.
5passinglunatic5moSpeaking personally, I think something like #1 is true on the grounds that I have seen many cases of white Australian people, often with considerable power, acting in excessively patronising and authoritarian ways towards Aboriginal people and I have no difficulty believing that similar things happen in the US. However, I also do not think that racial disparities in outcomes are almost all caused by #1; in fact I think that probably less than 50% of almost any particular disparity is caused by #1. Thus, I think that outcome disparities are at best weak evidence for #1. Many people (notably Ibram X Kendi) say that in fact they are. I actually believe that the theory underlying this claim causes some of the authoritarian behaviour I observe. I think people reason something like this: - We don't want to be racist - Differences in outcome indicate racism - We must eliminate differences in outcome - Eliminating differences in outcome requires substantial behavioural changes on the part of Aboriginal people - Authoritarian strategies are the most reliable way we have to induce substantial behavioural changes I think that overly authoritarian policy is often harmful. I don't know if DiAngelo endorses this claim - that outcome disparities are almost all caused by #1 - but claims like "being white is to know privilege" make me suspect that to some extent she is also reasoning backwards from outcome disparities to the existence of racismS. I think this is a big mistake! I also think, with less confidence, that DiAngelo is not really popularising this theory but is rather explaining a theory that is already popular. Perhaps many people, like myself, think that this theory is flawed and that it is unfortunate that it is so popular. However, I suspect that they are making a mistake blaming DiAngelo for this. Criticism of her book could be a stand-in for criticism of this theory in general. Maybe taking it further, I think that it's possible that reasoning backwards from ou
0frontier645moDefending a position by pointing out that a portion (however big or small) of the critics of the position are 'vitriolic' isn't actually a valid argument. If people really hate something so much so that they get emotional about it that's still pretty good evidence that the something is bad.

I think from reading some of the other comments here on the LessWrong post, I'm a bit worried that this might be turning into some flame wars.

I'd note that this particular book is probably not the best one to have debates around this issue for. The book seems to be quite a bit more sensationalist, moralistic, and less scientific than I'd really like, which I think makes it very difficult to discuss. This seems like a subject that would attract lots of motte-and-bailey thinking on both sides. (the connection between more reasonable vs. outlandish claims rep... (read more)

I then saw numerous reviews from sources I previously deemed decent that treated the book with extreme vitriol.

It might be relevant to bring up near mode and far mode. In near mode, people are thinking about the prospect of being forced to attend one of her seminars and being unable to disagree at risk of losing their jobs, in far mode it is "interesting and provocative".

Load More