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re: BHTV, let's get in touch in a few months. I think the disagreement is strong enough to satisfy the overlords in this case.

Right. This kind of awesome individual is exactly why I try and avoid commenting on weblogs outside my own :-) The goal too often becomes to seem super-smart and be all bad-ass with quips. Most of this would be eliminated if people used their real names, but that isn't going to happen.


I've been blogging for 7 years. In that time there was a significant period when I was working 60-70 hours a week, as well as managing to read, have a relationship, and, running two weblogs (since I didn't run GNXP as a diary, and pre-scheduled many of my posts, I assume you weren't aware of this). So I got used to making the particular trade-offs you see. In the comments I focused on quantity and not so much on quality. As for the posts themselves, I tried to focus on substance and not care too much about style (e.g., I did a quick once over but then published). Since I had very little marginal time that was just what I had to do.

So, from your perspective I can see why it would be eminently reasonable to wonder why I wouldn't capitalize. But you aren't, or weren't, subject to the same trade-offs as I was on a day to day level. So why did I, and do I, blog? Well, I've met some incredibly intelligent people, and made some awesome contacts. Many people at the Singularity Institute (e.g., Michael Vassar, who began reading my weblogs well before he was Mr. Singularity Institute President) for example, but also many people in science and outside of science. I also managed to get a fellowship out of it. I understand why implicitly I might have made myself seem a bit less intelligent than I was because of the stylistic ticks which I've developed over the years, but this is a case where obviously I feel I've presented myself well enough to the people who "count." The primary payment I've received for blogging all these years are the people in the comments who have sent me links, critiqued ideas, etc.

So if the people who "count" to me did make suggestions stylistically (as they have on occasion), I would take notice. But as it is, none of them have complained about my capitalization, though they have about other things.

In any case, there was a time where I would want to present myself in a way where LW readers would take me as seriously as possible. For a variety of reasons, that really isn't that time, and I try and avoid most weblogs and conversations on most weblogs (I'm splitting myself between 3 right now). I've reached pretty my "Dunbar's Number" for intelligent people I've met through my weblog (I also tended to discount comments from.

As for the disagreement with Eliezer, it's gotten me thinking. Some of the differences are long-standing. I enjoy hanging out with Eliezer's gang, but I think I'm a lot more pessimistic than they are about human nature in general. Perhaps a BHTV episode in the future? I'm doing one for the 17th of October already with John Hawks, so way in the future probably.

right. i see stupidity as a more pressing issue than craziness. i see the latter as more soluble than the former. but yeah, you mentioned craziness not stupidity, though my takeaway was more about the problem of stupidity in heuristics & biases. see my blog response (nominal that it is).

AngryParsley, no. i won't. i don't plan on being a regular contributer here, so apologize for whatever faux pas i made re: capitalization (didn't read the style guide), but you won't see me around very much anyhow :-) and you're free to avoid me at the next OB meetup if i ever manage to make those again too!

i don't know if this is a joke or not :-) perhaps i was projecting? in any case, sure, the people you mention (e.g., von neuman) were wrong about a lot of things. so was isaac newton. definitely not stupid. i agree.

in any case, let me elaborate. i recall the higher your IQ, the less likely you are to fall into the traps of cognitive biases and heuristics which lead you to the wrong conclusion (i think bryan caplan reports this data). of course, smart people still tend to fall into these traps (especially when they have ideological blinkers), but my experience is that with smart people you can at least eat away at the intuitive foundations which serve as blocks to rational thinking. i've never had this experience with stupid people because they lack the basic cognitive toolkit to tear down the edifice of irrationality.

and i have socialized with stupid people quite a bit. those less wrong readers who've met me could probably intuit (if they are the subset who have intuition! :-) that i have no great problems with socializing with stupid people. drink beer, talk about sports & sex, and it's all good.

in fact, let me offer a concrete example. i have a friend about 1 std above the mean in IQ. he's an atheist, and open to all sorts of counter-intuitive ideas, and has an interest in intellectual topics. unfortunately, he has great difficulty with basic mathematics and following interlocking & contingent concepts very quickly. given enough time i can get the gist of the sort of ideas across to him, but it is very time & labor intensive (he simply can't think in terms of probability distributions for whatever reason). so over the years we've moved away from intellectual topics because of the frustrations which emerge. we both have an interest in history for example (to give a non-technical domain), but i read books much faster than he does and retain much more. this asymmetry means that it is hard to explore our common interest with any degree of parity.

he would have been a great candidate for the peer group of people who are interested in topics mooted on less wrong, but many of you would find it frustrating and boring talking to him because when he can follow he is in slo-mo, and some concepts and methods are simply not tractable for him. eventually he would become dispirited and withdraw.

so that's why i think stupidity is a problem. i wish it weren't, but i think it is.

i'll link to eliezer on my blog.