All of Randy_M's Comments + Replies

Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

working for my cheap mobile phone, not for my new laptop with IE. Which is a shame, because it's a very good post, but I'm going to be way behind to contribute to any comment threads.

edit: Shame for me, I mean, not for the observer concerne with signal to noise ratio.

Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

You can't justify a point, but you could justify a range by speficfying temperatures where it becomes uncomforable. Actually, specifying a range is just specifying the give point with less resolution.

Rationality Quotes April 2014

In what way is "deserve" a matter of fact?

2[anonymous]8y"Deserving" is a moral theorem, not a moral axiom. You can most definitely test and check whether someone deserves something, by asking about the rules of the game and their position within the game. If there is no game at hand, I would say "deserving" becomes nonsense, but that's just me.
Rationality Quotes April 2014

Depending on the outcome specificied and the type of feelings attended to, of course.

1ChristianKl8yYes, being able to tell apart the feeling, that makes you crave sugar from the felling that tells you that you should eat some flesh to fix your B12 deficieny, isn't easy. Getting clear about the outcome that you want to achieve with your eating choices is also not straightforward. Both are skills for which understanding biochemistry is secondary.
Open Thread March 31 - April 7 2014

Youtube + "econstories". :) (Preferably not just that, but it's good and if you haven't seen it you should.)

Open thread, 18-24 March 2014

Everyone knows utilitarians are more likely to break rules.

(This is mostly a joke based on the misspelling. I know a sophisticated utilitarianism would consider the effect of widespread lawbreaking and not necessarily break laws so much as to be overrepresented in prison)

2Alejandro18yI don't know if you intended your disclaimer to be funny, but I found it funnier than the original joke.
Irrationality Game III

I guess if you read it loosely. I think the official LW position would be (correct me if I am wrong) an em of kokotajlod that has high enough fidelity to replicate his decision making process is him; what he is is a particular set of hueristics, instincts, etc, that accompany his body but could theoretically exist outside it. That does match his statement if one reads it as refering to something more like a platonic concept than a spiritual essence.

Irrationality Game III

Horrified we allowed wildlife to go on? What alternative do you propose?

0polymathwannabe8yI think the OP meant "horrified we allowed [farming] to go on."
4Lumifer8yHeh. Given that the parent post said "most animals' lives have negative utility" the alternative is obvious: KILL THEM ALL!!! :-D
Open Thread: March 4 - 10

Personally I find usually more interesting material in the open threads than the discussion area or the main. I take this to mean I am at least somewhat outside of the core target audience of the site.

Open Thread February 25 - March 3

I don't think he was jumping to malice, rather delusion or bias.

1Alexandros8yI meant malice/incompetence on the part of the dating sites.
Open Thread for February 18-24 2014

Again, provided we are comfortable with disparate impact and all.

Open Thread for February 18-24 2014

I thought the research was that liberals didn't have purity axis of morality (Haidt, is it?).

Haidt's claim is that liberals rely on purity/sacredness relatively less often, but it's still there. Some of the earlier work on the purity axis put heavy emphasis on sex or sin. Since then, Haidt has acknowledged that the difference between liberals and conservatives might even out if you add food or environmental concerns to purity.

9James_Miller8yYes, but I don't believe it. As a test, imagine someone offers to give $1 billion to a city if it makes one public water fountain white's only. I bet most liberals would be horrified at the idea of the city accepting the offer.
Open Thread for February 18-24 2014

A little water holds a lot of heat, comparitively.

Steelmanning Young Earth Creationism

In other words, he didn't think your comment added much to his original.

Open Thread for February 3 - 10

Well, assuming you mean "ai in an undiscernable facsimile of a human body" then maybe that's so, and if so, it is probably a less blatant but equally final existential risk.

How can I spend money to improve my life?

I think spending thousands on magic is the land of diminishing returns. Though, if he has a local game store, he could draft every week for $500/year, and that includes both the social experience and the cards.

How can I spend money to improve my life?

That is good evidence, but I'd disbelieve its reliability a bit because it is so funny. Like obese dieticians, or non-rich investment brokers, or divorced marriage counselors.

2chaosmage8yExcellent point. I'd have difficulty believing this guy too, if he hadn't predicted millimeter wave full-body scanners wouldn't work before anybody in the media knew they wouldn't, based on the fact he'd been building them. He says the main problem with LASIK is that when you correct myopia with it, your presbyopia (inevitable hyperopia from being over 40) is going to be worse by the same degree that the operation made the myopia better, and you're going to be stuck with it for much longer. Glasses or contacts for myopia you can just take off when you reach that age, but LASIK for myopia will need to be countercorrected. He didn't object to LASIK for hyperopia.
Humans can drive cars

Driving is just something humans happen to be competent at.

I don't think it is pure chance, since it was designed in iterations around human capabilites.

0Stefan_Schubert8yIndeed. The problem of driving has been set up by car designers so that it should be easy for us to solve it. By contrast, the problem of creating a safe AGI has not been set up so that it should be easy for us to solve (if you don't believe that there is a God who has made this the best of all possible worlds that is...). So I don't think the analogy works. If you want to make an argument making use of human past performance, it would be better to use examples of problems (that we've solved) that weren't set up by us (e.g. moon-landing, relativity theory, computers, science in general, etc).
Open thread, January 25- February 1

Do you actually say you "study the singularity" or give a more in depth explanation? I ask because the word study is usually used only in reference to things that do or have exisited, rather than to speculative future events.

0James_Miller8yI go into more depth, especially when I (unsuccessfully) came up for promotion for full professor.
Open thread, January 25- February 1

I assumed it wasn't net, but the amount of water excreted, regardless of consumption. Though those probably are not unrelated processes.

Are you a virtue ethicist at heart?

B didn't choose to win the lottery; B choose to play the lottery. Surely when considering whether an action would be good to take, one would have to consider all the attempts that didn't lead to success?

0asr8yYes. Presumably a consequentialist should consider the probabilities of various outcomes. This is potentially problematic, since probability is in the eye of the beholder, and it's not clear who the right beholder is. Is it B? Is it an ideal rational agent with the information available to B? An ideal but computationally limited agent? My sense is that in the real world, it's hard to second-guess any particular decision. There's no good way to account for the difference between what the actor knew, what they could or should have known, and what the evaluator knows.
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

Who is the we there? I'm not declaiming responsibility, but interested in who these women feel is pressuring them. I'd wager it's largely a status competition with other women.

Stupid Questions Thread - January 2014

There is certainly an inner drive, more pronounced in women, because species without such a drive don't make it though natural selection.

A developmentally complex species needs a drive to care for offspring. A simple species just needs a drive to reproduce.

ETA: What Lumifer said

Dangers of steelmanning / principle of charity

But the point is, is steelmanning someone making a better model of them than just taking them at their own words? If the point is in fact to understand them, rather than to challenge your own position, and they are arguing competantly and honestly, it probably is. Edit: Meant "is not"!

Some thoughts on having children

Why would you think I didn't do such analyses before having children?

Well, because most people don't, therefore you certainly didn't. It's, uh, Bayesian or something.

Some thoughts on having children

three aspects of parenting that I suspect are the main reasons why people choose to have kids or not: the financial case, the moral case, and the practical case

None of these are reasons to choose to have kids; they are all reasons not to. That is, even if you refute them, you still haven't made a positive case.

This brings up the issue of whether or not you "owe" your child an all expenses paid college education. I wouldn't rule out only paying partially for your child's college education especially since this calculation assumes only one c

... (read more)
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

Not sure what you mean by that. You feel European conservativism is crazy? You feel the interpretation of US conservatism is crazy? You feel US conservatives are functionally identical to crazy, if not actually so?

2Eugine_Nier8yI meant that all the mainstream European parties seem crazy.
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

It's an interesting topic, the moreso because it is taboo, and not exactly tangential to the subject, I think.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

If terminal values are definitionally immutable, than I used the wrong term.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

Just imagine that you would have a certain proof (by observing parallel universes, or by simulations done by superhuman AI) that e.g. a tolerance of homosexuality inevitably leads to a destruction of civilization, or that every civilization that invents nanotechnology inevitably destroys itself in nanotechnological wars unless the whole planet is united under rule of the communist party. If you had a good reason to believe these models, what would your values make you do?

Perfect information scenarios are useful in clarifying some cases, I suppose (and... (read more)

Critiquing Gary Taubes, Final: The Truth About Diets and Weight Loss

That makes sense. I mean, whether you cut fat or carbs you still have access to a variety of meat and vegetables, and people would want to study one variable at a time.

Critiquing Gary Taubes, Final: The Truth About Diets and Weight Loss

Or there's multiple needs that play on the same mechanism, making it harder to tangle out specific causes, rather than simpler. You need calories and nutrients from food to function properly, why should hunger only arise from one?

And also, you are assuming we have identified every micronutrient are are capable of adequately fortifying a donut with them.

0brazil848yWell there are a lot of possibilities, but if there are multiple micronutrients in play, then doughnuts could be fortified with all of them. Not necessarily. If excessive eating results from a deficiency of 10 micronutrients, it's reasonable to expect that supplementing 5 of them would have a marked impact. Besides, it's also reasonable assume that these micronutrients are around in varying amounts in different kinds of foods. If the micronutrient hypothesis were correct, surely someone would have noticed by now that if you eat a serving of miracle foods X and Y every day, then the rest of the day you can eat whatever you want in the amounts you want and get and stay thin. Especially since people have been searching for foods like this for years with little success.
Critiquing Gary Taubes, Final: The Truth About Diets and Weight Loss

Has there been a comparrison done of the relative micro-nutrient levels of low carb vs low fat diets? I think its very plausible that nutrient deficiency could manifest as hunger, generating weight gain as the body compels oneself to eat enough to fulfill nutrient requirements despite the excess of calories.

19eB18yInterestingly, I saw on article on the topic of micronutrients and hunger just a few days ago here [] . He cites two studies on multivitamins that show in one case no impact on appetite, and in another case an increase in fasting desire to eat but no impact on hunger, fullness, or prospective food consumption. With respect to the relative micronutrient levels of low-carb vs. low-fat diets it depends critically on the composition of such diets, and all of the studies that I've seen comparing them have a complete profile, as far as I can remember.
-2brazil848yI don't know if it's been studied, but I don't find it plausible at all. Under the micronutrient theory, you could arguably control your weight by eating micro-nutrient fortified doughnuts for breakfast. Or eat a hamburger, french fries, and a micro-nutrient pill for lunch. If it were that easy, surely word would have spread around by now.
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

No, I think people can be persuaded on terminal values, although to an extent that modifies my response above; rationality will tell you that certain values are more likely to conflict, and noticing internal contradictions--pitting two vales against each other--is one way to convince someone to alter--or just adjust the relative worth of--their terminal values. Due to the complexity of social reality I don't think you are going to find too many with beliefs that are perfectly consistent; that is, any mainstream political affiliations is unlikely to be a shinning paragon of coherance and logical progression built upon core principles relative to its competitors. But demonstrate with examples if I'm wrong.

2Nornagest8yIf you can persuade someone to alter (not merely ignore) a value they believe to have been terminal, that's good evidence that it wasn't a terminal value.
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

You do not have to eliminate other explanations to accept genetic causes. A combination is likely. Bu you have to prove other causes explain all the effect in all cases to prove genetic equivalence.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

I think political differences come down to values moreso than beliefs about facts. Rationalism doesn't dictate terminal values.

I think political differences come down to values moreso than beliefs about facts.

Sometimes it is difficult to find out what is the different value and what is essentially the same value but different models.

For example two people can have a value of "it would be bad to destroy humanity", but one of them has a model that humanity will likely destroy itself with ongoing capitalism, while the other has a model that humanity would be likely destroyed by some totalitarian movement like communism.

But instead of openly discussing their models and fi... (read more)

7Nornagest8yI'm always a little suspicious of this line of thinking. Partly because the terminal/instrumental value division isn't very clean in humans -- since more deeply ingrained values are harder to break regardless of their centrality, and we don't have very good introspective access to value relationships, it's remarkably difficult to unambiguously nail down any terminal values in real people. Never mind figuring out where they differ. But more importantly, it's just too convenient: if you and your political enemies have different fundamental values, you've just managed to absolve yourself of any responsibility for argument. That's not connotationally the same as saying the people you disagree with are all evil mutants or hapless dupes, but it's functionally pretty damn close. That doesn't prove it wrong, of course, but I do think it's grounds for caution.
Open Thread, November 23-30, 2013

For various levels of superficiality, yeah.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

"The first should not have anything to do with how rational you are, while the second very much should. " What does should mean there, and from where do you derive it?

Open thread for January 1-7, 2014

More dilute compared to the (cellular) mass of a person? That's a rather lot of water.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

Well, it's a move in the direction away from the murderous connotations held by genocide. And taken literally it is pretty descriptive of the goals of eugenics.

Critiquing Gary Taubes, Part 4: What Causes Obesity?

This is usually an acknowledged exception; whether the rationale for it to be an exception rather than counter evidence holds, I don't recall.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

"Fan" is a funny word in this contex. It brings to mind people who go around shouting "Yea, Diversity!" non-ironically. Except, there are people who more or less do that, it isn't the HBD crowd, and in fact diversity boosters don't even really believe in it.

Edit: Sorry, missed the correct coment to reply to.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

Ethnic cleansing seems appropriate.

edit: That is, the term seems appropriate.

2NancyLebovitz8y"Ethnic cleansing" usually implies causing people to leave an area.
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

I think you are covering a lot of distance by stretching "don't advocate violence" into "don't say anything that someone feels the widespread adoption of could be potentially dangerous."

5falenas1088yActually, this is something I've been a bit confused about the whole time. What posts is she talking about? The OP says Yvain's posts, but from the substance of the article the article it sounds like she's talking about reactionaries. Considering the much higher than average rate of homocide towards trans people based on todays standards, a reinforcement of gender roles would almost certainly increase that rate.
[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

It is about honest discussion of issues with political implications, I believe, without unnecessarily belaboring those implications.

[LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist

Yes, the complaint strikes me as "Stop saying things we don't like, it might lead to disapproved opinions being silenced!

[Link] More ominous than a [Marriage] strike

That and that when the supply of labor increases, the demand will go down.

Critiquing Gary Taubes, Part 4: What Causes Obesity?

My skepticism at the moment is only about (quoting Chris from above) "Studies have linked saturated fat to cholesterol levels and through cholesterol levels to heart disease." (Well, and a bit with regards to cancer) I have seen such studies analyzed with alternative explanation convincingly by, for example, Uwe Ravnskov, Malcom Kendrick, Chris Masterjohn or Denise Minger, and wonder if there is more convincing evidence they atre excluding.

Nutrionism (meaning mainstream health science?) and health are of course much more broadly defined and not doubt contain many factual statements, for example on how to prevent scurvy, that don't necessarily protect the entire field from the possibility of error.

2brazil848yNutritionism is basically the idea that specific components of food potentially make them healthy or unhealthy. So assuming for the sake of argument that saturated fat is unhealthy, nutritionism would hold that it's a good idea to substitute canola oil for corn oil. That's an interesting question, but not one I've ever given much specific thought to.
Critiquing Gary Taubes, Part 4: What Causes Obesity?

Can you cite the one or two most convincing studies that saturated fat is a principle cause of heart disease? I have seen a lot from the other side and would like to get a fuller picture.

2brazil848yNo, I can't -- not without researching it. My claim is that there is good scientific evidence backing up nutritionism for health-related objectives other than weight loss. If you represent to me that you are seriously skeptical of this claim I will try to find some supporting evidence.
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