All of rastilin's Comments + Replies

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread

The answer appears to be no. There were a few articles in Scientific American: Mind about it a while back. Experiments show that the flaw causing stuff like people denying they can't move their arms is part of their logic processing; they proved this by figuring out they could reset their thinking for a short time, at which point people were able to clearly state that they were paralyzed and they were surprised at their earlier thinking.

After a minute, the effect wore off and the patient returned to an earlier state. So the effect appears to short circuit the decision making process on a hardware level.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread

Or maybe it just doesn't work on children? No one knows because no one's ever tried it.

If you could program a slaying weapon, what is the one group of people that no-one in their right mind could possibly ever want to kill? I'd say that group would be children too young to speak. Anyone going after them is certainly an absolute psycho.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread

I agree to an extent. He does remind me of people I've known in the rationalist movement. It's worth pointing out that him blurting out the wrong thing at the wrong time isn't just an annoying character trait, it's probably symptomatic; I'd speculate he doesn't really consider other people as fellow actors in his decision making. If there was someone who did not make efforts to bond with people around him, would you be willing to trust him with power over their happiness?

That's a non hypothetical question, I'd love to hear a rebuttal.

Build Small Skills in the Right Order

True. Nevertheless I've always felt common sense to be a hazy subject. I'd prefer to use the words "personal judgement". They can use their personal judgement ;) to prepare against the risks in order to get the benefits of the course. Or not. Because this stuff sounds pretty similar to what beginner PUAs are taught, those guys hold courses too, although you might end up paying way more.

Build Small Skills in the Right Order

That's a valid point. Women who have read about the pickup artist techniques report that the techniques still work on them even when they're aware the person is using them. On the other hand, SWIM says that being aware of various techniques has helped him guard against HR methods on the basis of "Oh, now he's moving into stage x, next he's going to...". SWIM would say that it depends to what degree you're predisposed against the person using them.

Be aware that some techinques are more obvious than others. Some are really obvious when you know they exist, but also really obscure, so you won't know they're being used unless you've read about it before.

Build Small Skills in the Right Order

Oh I agree it's dangerous. The world is filled with dangerous ideas and pointy bits, we're all adults here and can make our own decisions without child friendly warnings over everything.

7SilasBarta10yIf common sense were comparatively robust against mind-control techniques, they wouldn't be mind-control techniques.
Build Small Skills in the Right Order

That's his way of communicating, I took it as a joke personally.

If you're suspecting that he's a stooge for scientology, say it outright. I didn't really think it was that strange that he mentioned the little details; not to mention that all of us here are pretty well versed in scientology by now.

0SilasBarta10yI don't think he's a stooge, not at all. I think, however, after reviewing the exchange and David Gerard's input, that he lacked a sort of awareness of what was going on, and didn't appreciate the dangers others would have in his position. FWIW, I did read his initial article as, "Go take this Scientology course -- the exercises are great, just don't get sucked into the religion." Which is a much weaker warning than he now gives.
3David_Gerard10yI don't think he's in any way a stooge. I do think he's got hazardous levels of hubris and I do think his post was a danger to others.
Build Small Skills in the Right Order

Wow, so if I say yes, then what? Will we go back and forth for a hundred pages in a good old fashioned internet flame war? No thanks, I have better uses of my time. ;)

We know that scientology is bad, no one here's in any doubt about their legitimacy or thinks they might be some cool people to hang out with; conversely that course is sounding pretty good, which is what he was praising. Complaining until he adds a warning on the end, saying we shouldn't take it is pretty silly considering he obviously intends us to take the course or something similar to it.

And so what? He's entitled to his opinion about scientology too, as well as their courses.

2SilasBarta10yHe's not entitled to caricature people's concerns though. Also, it's kind of interesting all the little details that trickled out afterward: "Oh, by the way, the place was deserted ... and I had to practice on a 12 year old girl ... and I had already been well-versed in what to expect and so had unusual resistance to their tricks..."
Reason as memetic immune disorder

Precisely. Especially since, while a lot of us have jobs where we either work for ourselves or our bosses just don't care... some of us have those repressive nightmare jobs where our bosses google for us regularly outside of work hours.

Build Small Skills in the Right Order

That's a fair point; conversely, there are entire websites (or so I've heard) dedicated to obvious warnings, and there are already people making fun of how obvious his warning is. So I'm thinking his pre-emption was pretty close to spot on.

1SilasBarta10yDo you think that "Don't take this Scientology course, which I just spent half the article praising with nary a bad word for Scientology?" falls into the class of obvious warnings? Also, lukeprog was caricaturing David's argument.
Build Small Skills in the Right Order

Keep in mind that even techniques expressly designed for improving social skills can result in "social robots" when misapplied. And this is the first time I see de-facto hour-long staring contests (from a cult indoctrination course, no less) mentioned as a way to improve eye contact skills.

Which techniques and can you link us?

Happiness Engineering

What about those successful people that failed many times to get where they are?

Pain and gain motivation

How do we know how good the supporting evidence is if we have no way to assay it for ourselves? At that point, aren't we just forced to take poster's word for it? That's not even as good as evaluating their performance because it's completely results independent. A lot of the time, logical fallacies just come up as an excuse for the poster to say whatever they want without having to back it up.

Assuming that we could see how people implement their own theories, we would have a feedback loop; however, many theories inside less wrong operate inside a vacum. W... (read more)

Generalizing From One Example

One of the practical exercises pickup artists use to break their shyness is to open conversations with thirty women on the street; in fact, being able to start conversations and ask out strange women in a non-bar setting is part of what a good pickup artist is expected to be able to do (in Tokyo there's even a name for it, "nampa"). I'd expect a pickup artist to know many different kinds of women.

Also, if you don't really know what pickup artists do, how do you know what they think of women?

Pain and gain motivation

How is impostor syndrome different from having low self esteem?

3pjeby10yEr, one is a fear of being discovered as incompetent, and the other is low self-esteem? ;-) Obviously, having a low opinion of your abilities would be a prerequisite for fearing that others will come to share that opinion. So, I'm not sure I understand your question. "Low self-esteem" is usually interpreted to mean, "having a lower opinion of self than is merited" -- so if you fear discovery of your incompetence, the incompetence itself could be either actual or imagined, and only in the imaginary case would the "low self-esteem" label also apply. ;-)
Pain and gain motivation

Well said. This thread is very useful and I think I've already learnt a great deal that will help me be more productive. That being said; your right about people's tendencies to make completely off the wall statements about the underpinnings of human behavior.

I submit that there are people who make it their business to understand other people so that they can manipulate them. These people are sometimes very successful, which indicates that they might know something; if you're not riding an equally high wave of popularity and love; perhaps you are not qualified to make these assertions regarding humanity's secret thoughts.

-1TimFreeman10yNo, the estimated quality of the conclusion should be a function of the quality of the argument and the supporting evidence, not the identity of the arguer. To do otherwise is to commit the classic argument-by-authority or ad-hominem fallacies. And from the grandparent of this post:: That's rationalizing groupthink. IMO you should speak the truth as best you can, and change your estimated truth based on the arguments you read and the evidence presented, not on guesses about what your audience is willing to listen to. I hope you were being sarcastic.
A rationalist's guide to psychoactive drugs

MCT oil.. that's stuff like coconut oil right? I would never even have considered trying something like that, thanks.

0jimmy10yIt's a big component of coconut oil, but you can buy it by itself.
Verifying Rationality via RationalPoker.com

I wouldn't bother with that. I tried it and the latest version is incompatible with the current batch of poker software, they haven't updated it in years. You're better off looking at review sites for a more up to date application.

Nootropics and Cognitive-enhancement Discussion Area

It's been a while since you started, what happened next?

Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

That's not the impression I got. The date ended up paying because Alicorn didn't want to, and the date not paying would have led to fewer dates. She stated she was prepared to pay half, not prepared to pay full like her date was doing.

(I go on first dates prepared to pay half if my date seems to prefer this idea when I ask, but preparing to do that before every date with a person I intended to see ?regularly would be rapidly exhausting for me, so I'd be leery of going on dates-that-could-cost-money with someone who doesn't demonstrate an inclination to p

... (read more)
0shokwave11yIt's the impression arundelo got exactly, unless I miss my mark.
Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

You mean the relative strengths of having money versus being a woman? I'm not seeing the division here.

0arundelo11yThe relative strengths of having money versuswhatever [http://improvisationalsoup.wordpress.com/] Alicorn is strong at. (To be precise, it's a matter ofcomparative advantage [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_advantage]rather than strength, with the proviso that if Alicorn's partner is even worse than her at spending money, they probablywon't do many spending-money dates [http://lesswrong.com/lw/3nn/scientific_selfhelp_the_state_of_our_knowledge/3e6y] at all.)
1shokwave11yThe division is that Alicorn is not strong with money; she lets her date sort out the money because (while not necessarily strong with money absolute) they are stronger with money than her. Relatively, the date is stronger, so they do the labour of paying. One possible reason for someone being strong with money is they have lots of it. Arundelo is making the point that it could have turned out that Alicorn was strong with money and her date was not; in this case Alicorn would have paid. It was not a case of "man pays, woman doesn't." It was a case of "those who can most pay, pay."
Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

What if your intent is to lose weight? You're pre-defining "work" for the benefit of your argument.

Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

Aside from the possibility that you had a bad breakup and you end up complaining for several minutes, which isn't a good sign in a date. It raises the question of "What did those people find out about this person that I don't know yet that it caused them to break up with them.".

2wedrifid11yAnd: "If he is bitching about his ex to me then chances are he would bitch about me to others too." Possibly applies even more for boasting.
0HughRistik11yYes. Complaining about your breakup allows the other person to locate and privilege various unsavory hypotheses about you which may or may not be fair. Don't let people do this. You aren't being more "honest" by giving people true information that will bias them.
Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

You might be interested to know that Style says roughly one out of twenty people who start to learn PUA reach a high level of skill.

I personally agree with Martin however; especially in relation to diets. Diets DO work, they are just difficult to implement, changing your lifestyle often is; that applies to exercise, studying a new language or anything that requires a large time investment before you see payoffs. The math comparison is especially appropriate. In this way PUA is no different from any other self improvement course that you might decide to undertake.

6NancyLebovitz11yThat depends on what you mean by "work". If your intent is to improve your life through achieving some goal, but the side effects of a strategy cause a net cost in quality of life even if the intermediate goal is achieved, then I'd say that the method doesn't work.
3MartinB11yA good place to deconstruct my own argument. The math comparison lacks in one important piece: Math is clearly defined, and has standard textbooks. If you ask around for recommendations on how to learn math you get similar responses, and will end up learning similar things - up to a certain degree. There is only one type of math! In general people agree on what math is, and what not. PU as well as PD is a very broad, not clearly defined subject, that contains a mash-up of many other topics. It is contradictory. Done by amateurs who generally do not care about scientific results. You get advice that goes against those transported by the mainstream (which we on LW are somewhat used to in other contexts.) But you also find the statement that the subjects of your interest will generally give you bad advice and do not even know what works for them. As will your peers, your family, potential natural friends, the media, and anyone else who you could possibly ask. That makes for a very bad heuristic in regards to its truthfulness. And then there is the annoying property of PD advice, that it is not only difficult to actually get, but that it also hurts. Sometimes we carry gaping holes that really hurt our social life, and no one has the guts to tell us, since they are afraid of a bad reaction. One easy to understand example is trying to tell a colleague or friend that he needs to do something about his smell. I am not aware of a safe way to navigate this. It would be interesting to see real scientists, or science minded people undertake this exploration. But there are way to many possibilities to have it go wrong. PU does contain basilisks. So handle with care. And do not believe any one particular source completely.
Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

That would end pretty quickly. PUA tells you to drop a woman if she seems cagey about going out or you're not making progress by the second date. It's very much a numbers game, there are tens of thousands of unattached women in even the smallest city and on average, 4% are willing to do anything without any PUA skills being applied; if it's not working out just give up and go find someone else.

0[anonymous]9yDepends on what you count as a city vs as a town. A settlement of 60,000 will likely have about 30,000 women, about 12,000 of whom will be post-pubescent but pre-menopausal (and many guys will have stricter age limits than that), about 4000 of whom will be unattached.
Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises

You say it "seems like". Do you play video games yourself? Not just one, but as a significant percentage of your time.

Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises

If there's a tree, it might be Diablo 2 or Dragon Age.

Dunbar's Function

Or in looking at it another way... we can change politics but choose not to. For example, a researcher at TED was explaining how politicians are far more receptive to written letters than any other method of communication; even to the point where a well written letter was enough to change their vote on a topic.

Failing that, we always joke about how special interest groups have enough money to get close to and negotiate with politicians. However; nothing stops any of us from starting our own group, taking donations and having our hired employees go to the ... (read more)

What would you do if blood glucose theory of willpower was true?

You're right Strange7, they're not totally solved. However I think taw's point has some merit. While the "Magic Bullet" didn't completely solve it's problem, it did ameliorate them to a huge degree. For example pre and post genetic-engineering farming is massively different... over 2 times as good. Doing the same for willpower would change society.

The Physiology of Willpower

Yeah Alicorn, I noticed something similar with a few of the plastic bottles I've come across. Sometimes they taste weird, or smell funny or change the taste of what's put in them. Hopefully whatever is leeching out of the bottles isn't carcinogenic.

1Vaniver11yThe material the bottle is made out of should be printed on it somewhere (probably the bottom, by the recycling triangle). PET or PETE is considered safe by the FDA, as well as a few others, but there are some that are known to leach. Also, reusing bottles and heating bottles are generally poor ideas, unless you know the material it's made from is designed for that.
Rationality quotes: October 2010

I've been told that the cost of deploying the fire department runs into several thousand; this would be a pretty nasty invoice to get in addition to fire damage. The insurance model makes it easier to pay.

Also, in that specific incidence, it wasn't their fire-department. The township was getting fire services from the next station over; not their own. They had to pay monthly fees for this, so without a monthly payment, they wouldn't be convincing those guys to maintain service.

Rationality quotes: October 2010

I don't have much experience with Lojban but the news that people use it in a similar way to current languages wouldn't surprise me at all. I've noticed that a great deal of misunderstandings happen when one side is being vague on purpose because they don't want to give up too much information.