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Open thread, Apr. 01 - Apr. 05, 2015

Has Villiam, or whoever is in charge now, investigated this?

Bitcoin value and small probability / high impact arguments

For instance, a bitcoin detractor could argue that the reference class should also include Beanie Babies, Dutch tulips, and other similar stores of value.

The difference is that it's easy to make more tulips or Beanie Babies, but the maximum number of Bitcoins is fixed.

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

What changes is that I would like to have a million dollars as much as Joe would.

Um, what are you using to compare preferences across people.

Similarly, if I had to trade between Joe's desire to live and my own, the latter would win.

How about Joe's desire to live against you desire to not have him annoy you, or to have sex with his wife, or any number of other possible motives?

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

How do you distinguish the part of your ethics that you ignore in practice, e.g., not giving all your money to charity, from the part you insist you and everybody follow, e.g., not killing Joe even though he's being really really annoying.

Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary?

Demotic dictators are supposed to justify themselves by generating ideological support, but that doesn't actually distinguish them from real world monarchies, because of all the ideology about God Put Me on the Throne,

"The People Support Me" is a lot easier to falsify then "God Put Me on the Throne", thus you need correspondingly more oppression to keep anyone from falsifying it.

Neo-reactionaries, why are you neo-reactionary?

One of weirdest aspect of NRx is the complete lack of cultural conservatism - by that I mean the largely politics-independent changing of mores, atittudes, the kind of stuff e.g. Theodore Dalrymple bemoan.

Um, those changes are not politics independent. These changes are being caused by various political forces.

Politics is 100% culture-reducible, culture determines even what political concepts mean.

And where does culture come from?

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

1) It is illegal. It is a violation of criminal statutes that do not appear to be sourced, either directly or indirectly, from the Bible.

So if a law was passed saying its OK to kill members of group X, you'd have no problem killing them. My point is that the "it's illegal" argument is a total cop-out.

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

Even if the atheist was a moral nihilist (of course he is conflating atheism and nihilism), it still would not be rational to carry out the action because we would hope that society's condemnation from people with moral systems and appropriate deterrents (e.g the risk of getting caught and getting a life prison sentence) so even saying that moral nihilism will lead to mass murder is wrong, so long as a sufficiently large percentage of the population believe in consistent and sensible moral systems.

That's an argument against promoting moral nihilism.

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

You'd be amazed what can seem intuitive when you find yourself in a situation where it would be really convenient for Joe to die.

Discussion of Slate Star Codex: "Extremism in Thought Experiments is No Vice"

A million dollars is a lot more zero-sum than not killing someone - if I give you a million dollars I lose a million dollars. To make the analogy more accurate, you'd need to stipulate that Joe will kill me if I don't kill him.

No, just that you'll get some benefit from killing him, e.g., you get to have sex with his wife.

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