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Up to this point, in the thread, there have been 2 possible explanations given for why a 5-year old professional exam has different results than a current online one:

-personality changes over a long time-scale (5 years, etc)

-scoring differences between professionals and automated counters.

These two explanations seem based on the assumption that the responses given to the individual questions are only determined by the responder's "personality." That is: person A, having personality x, will always give answer a1, s.t. if A (under reliable test conditions) gives answer a2, A must not have personality x.

I've only just now tried this test, but I at least found questions where my answer could have been either True or False, depending on the moment. (ie, "Your workspace is clean and organized," the answer of which will vary depending on my proximity to deadlines.)

If we're discussing tests, I propose that we need a control, where we take the online exam multiple times over a sufficiently small time-scale that we do not expect our "personalities" to have dramatically shifted. That is: once a day, at various hours, for a week.

If the control tests have similar results, then we can go back to our question of "what changed between 5 years and now." But, if these control tests have differing results (I'm not sure what significance condition we should set), then we should probably assume that the test may not be a "personality" test, but a "state of mind" test given "personality" and "external conditions." In that case, we may want to be suspicious about self-evaluating with these tests.

If I have time (and remember) to take this control myself, I'll post the results. 17/9/11 -> 10:30 -> ISTJ (22/62/12/22)


I feel like this quote is probably intended to be a joke. But, I have to ask anyway:

I always heard this quote as "never attribute... explained by ignorance," with the moral being that ignorance is repairable, but malice is a (presumably?) permanent character trait. Is incompetence supposed to be a repairable or a permanent trait, in this phrasing?

/end randomness...


Down-voted due to political phrasing (despite shared political-party membership).


Does this mean that my art, my path, is now tainted by "male, American, middle-class, white, named Adam, human, born in 1984"? I think, in a nit-picky and causal sense, the answer is yes. The key phrase in the quote above is that this art becomes "tied into every part" of ourselves.

I think we need to remember the distinction between sex and gender. It is our identity (how we interpret our physical description and existence) that our art/path is tied to, not our physical description/existence itself. I'm glad curious brought it up, but this thread still seems to be using "sex" where it means "gender" (how we interpret our sex given social norms, etc).

So, my ability to build on Eliezer's posted knowledge is not dependent on physical differences explained by my sex, but the similarities I perceive between Eliezer's reported-identity and my identity. (This is why I would expect "communicating in the maze" to be necessary, not to find out whether Eliezer is male.)

I expect this would be true until we discover exactly what mental traits have been genetically hardwired to correspond to sex, and how those traits socialize.

Given that we haven't yet, I would imagine that we shouldn't be asking what a "female-rationalist" would do but what a "rationalist who identifies as a woman" would do.


Out of curiosity, why 4?


As I understood this post, there is an argument that:

  • posters who want to signal will use formality
  • only persuaders want to signal
  • the reader should be suspicious of anyone who writes formally

In general, IAWYC, but I think that we may be ignoring the fact that signal-recognition has legitimate uses. Standard example: if I read Eliezer's blog, I know in advance that he is a legitimate source of rational, logical arguments. If I read xxyy's blog (assuming this is not peer-reviewed, etc), I have no idea - given the volume of data published online - whether what I'm reading is in any way factual. Yes, I should analyze content, read reviews, and track down references, and such. But, this is very time consuming. It is reasonable to have some pre-selection mechanism.

If this pre-selection mechanism happens to be something as silly formal word-choice, the "right" font, or using some keyword within the first few paragraphs of a paper, then so be it. To clarify: signal-recognition is weak evidence that the paper is worth reading.

I think some of the comments act as though only things written by name-brand authors can be trusted. This is false: new science is done by new scientists every day. But, the presence of new scientists implies that there must be a signaling mechanism, and that this signaling mechanism cannot be morally wrong.

We shouldn't conclude that because someone uses signaling ("formality"/"expert style"/"eloquence"/etc) that they are attempting to persuade readers of their message. They may simply be trying to pass the first gate to readership.

Is it possible that (counter-intuitively) by attempting to disband recognized signals, we are simply being elitist?


I'm not sure how ironic I should find it that my procrastination site is now actively discussing anti-procrastination methods. -rela


Most of this is part of some silly game which women play amongst themselves: some of it may be male-directed, but it's definitely a minor portion.

It is possible that I have misunderstood your comment. So, I hope that you will not mind if I reiterate in order to make sure that I have understood correctly: Women spend time on "clothing lipstick etc" primarily because they are concerned about the impression other women will form of them.

I'm afraid that any response will be purely anecdotal: but I can say that I am much more likely to shave my legs when I go to have coffee with a group of women, as compared to with a group that contains men. And I am almost certain to shave my legs before going to coffee with a man who I would be interested in dating.

Best, rela


You (A) aren't particularly a "feminist"

I feel this might be the right time to re-state the definition of feminism: "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." (Websters)

Why isn't everyone a feminist?

No offense meant, rela


It stands to argue however that the belief in an undetectable monster or a celestial teapot on the one hand does not add to an individual's fitness while the belief in Christianity, Islam or the Jewish faith on the other hand does. Religions increase an individual's fitness by allowing for the development of groups larger then what can be evolutionary stable by sheer face to face monitoring by creating internalized restraints in their followers and thereby increasing the likelihood of sticking to a shared moral code.


It seems to me that you are saying:

P1) large, stable groups are good (presumably because they minimize total violence?)

P2) a large stable group can be formed if the members share internalized restraints

P3) one method of creating internalize restraints is religion

C) therefore, religion must be good.

So, consider that this chain also allows for substitutions, which would not have the same conclusion:

P1) small, stable groups are good (maybe because they tend to be formed along familiar structures, and thus maximize commitment between group members?)

P2) a large stable group can be formed if the members share explicit restraints, and P3) government based on a social contract enables the members to share explicit restraints

P3) one method of creating internalized restraints is a shared belief in the value of the scientific method

All of the conclusions have many effects, and not all of these effects are positive. Religion can easily devolve into fundamentalism; small groups tend to fight between themselves; governments can oppress people; a belief in the scientific method can prevent the imagination of non-physical concepts; etc. It could be argued that these negative side-effects are not all equally negative, and that the argument which leads to the least-negative side-effect should be the one that is accepted.

But to summarize, whenever we argue for some condition on the basis of evolutionary fitness, we need to consider two things:

1) Most evolutionary fitness arguments do not exclusively mandate the condition which is being argued.

2) A condition is not necessarily desirable simply because it increases evolutionary fitness. The contexts in which that condition tends to occur must also be considered.

Best, rela

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