All of shaih's Comments + Replies

Mathematics and saving lives

There is something to be said to improving the quality of life as well as saving lives. In scientific and discovery fields such as pure math, contributions could improve the quality of life exponentially.

2NancyLebovitz7yQuite possibly. Do you have ideas about which math specialties and/or which problems are more likely to have a big effect?
Of Gender and Rationality

Does anyone have any unbiased statistics on gender in workforce, career choice, education, and any other relevant statistics?

0taryneast6ycurious: how would this help?
Fermi Estimates

This chart has been extremely helpful to me in school and is full of weird approximation like the two above.

Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

I also would like to point out that Anthony didn't disagree with me when i said it and accepted that assumption. When I can i'm going to use the arguments that Qiaochu_Yuan had and go back to talk with him to see if he will update as well.

Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

May I ask why the downvotes if I promise not to rebbutle and suck up time?

0Elithrion9yI didn't downvote you, but my guess is that your comment is basically wrong. Even a "small" inconsistency would behave in a similar way assuming it had physical interactions with the outside world. For example, the living cat would breathe in air and metabolise carbohydrates, while the dead one would be eaten by bacteria. The living cat will also cause humans who see it to pet it, while the dead one will cause them to recoil in disgust, which should split the world or something. I make no remark on the accuracy of the original comment, since I find it a little confusing, not having read the story/paper yet.
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I don't have them any longer. An easy way to do it is have a friend pick out videos for you (or have someone post links to videos here and have someone pm them for the answer). Or while on YouTube look for names that you've heard before but not quite remember clearly which is not really reliable but its better then nothing.

Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I don't think it works on all inconsistency though just large one's. There is a large mass difference between a box with nothing in it and a box with something in it. This doesn't necessarily work for lets say a box with a cat in it and a box with a dead cat in it.

0shaih9yMay I ask why the downvotes if I promise not to rebbutle and suck up time?
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I've been reading the sequences but i've realized that less of it has sunk in then i would have hoped. What is the best way to make the lessons sink in?

4Viliam_Bur9yI made a presentation of part of the Sequences for other people. This made me look at the list and short descriptions carefully, re-read the article where I did not understand the short description; then I thought about the best subset and the best way to present them, and I made short notes. This all was a work with the text, which is much better for remembering than just passive reading. Then, by presenting the result, I connected it with positive emotions. Generally, don't just read the text, work with it. Try to write a shorter version, expressing the same idea, but using your own words. (If you have a blog, consider publishing the result there.)
6beoShaffer9yThats a complicated and partially open question, but some low hanging fruit: Try to link the sequences to real life examples, preferably personal ones as you read. Make a point of practicing what you theoretically already know when it comes up IRL, you'll improve over time. Surround yourself with rational people, go to meetups and/or a CfAR workshop.
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I found that going to the gym for about half an hour a day improved my posture. Whether this is from increased muscles that help with posture or simply with increased self-esteem I do not know but it definitely helped.

Explaining vs. Explaining Away

also this xkcd comic seems very on topic

Yes, a blog.

I think I understand now thank you.

Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

You're right Einstien was not relevant to your original question. I brought him up because I did not understand the question until

I think you've lost track of why we were talking about Einstein. In the original post, you listed two reasons to believe non-falsifiable things. I asked you to give an example of the first one. Maybe it wasn't sufficiently clear that I was asking for an example which wasn't falsifiable, in which case I apologize, but I was (after all, that's why it came up in the first place). Relativity is falsifiable. A heuristic that beauti

... (read more)
Yes, a blog.

How does attacking Eliezer here add to the argument?

1Vladimir_Nesov9yQiaochu is questioning the presence of "ad hominem". This issue doesn't depend on the worth of the argument whose discussion hypothetically contains the error.
3beoShaffer9yTo a large extent, and especially at the time this was written LW was practically synonymous with Eliezer. Also, Taw is (at least primarily) referring to things Eliezer Said on LW, thus its seems pretty relevant to the question of LW's greatness.
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

What is this referring to?

I think you've lost track of why we were talking about Einstein. In the original post, you listed two reasons to believe non-falsifiable things. I asked you to give an example of the first one. Maybe it wasn't sufficiently clear that I was asking for an example which wasn't falsifiable, in which case I apologize, but I was (after all, that's why it came up in the first place). Relativity is falsifiable. A heuristic that beautiful things tend to be true is also falsifiable.

quote break

Whether or not you do, most people do

... (read more)
0Qiaochu_Yuan9yI still don't see how anything you've said about Einstein is relevant to the original question I asked, which was for an example of a belief that you thought was beautiful, non-falsifiable, and worth holding. Cool. So we agree now that truth does not trump awesomeness? (Somewhat tangential comment: science is not the only way to seek out truth. I also have in mind things like finding out whether you were adopted.)
Yes, a blog.

I'm not saying a view point on whether I agree or not with your premise, I don't think this is the best group ever but I have not been here long enough to know if others do.

I would however like to point out

Yet, in spite of these priors, the group you consider yourself member of is somehow the true best group ever? Really? Where's hard evidence for this? I'm tempted to point to Eliezer outright making things up on costs of cryonics multiple times, and ignoring corrections from me and others, in case halo effect prevents you from seeing that he's not reall

... (read more)
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1Qiaochu_Yuan9yThere's no ad hominem here. The original post claims that LessWrong is great, and taw is pointing out some things that suggest that LessWrong is not great. An ad hominem here would be attacking Academian, not attacking Eliezer.
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

(I'm teasing you to some extent. What I regard to be the answers to many of the questions I'm asking can be found in the Sequences.)

I know the answers to most of these questions can be found in the sequences because I read them. However the sequences include quite a bit of information and it is clear not all or probably even most made it into the way I think. You asking me these questions is extremely helpful to me filling in those gaps and I appreciate it.

Why do you believe that? Even given that you believe this is currently true, do you think this

... (read more)
2Qiaochu_Yuan9yGlad to hear that. I was afraid I might be being a little too harsh. I guess I should clarify what I was trying to say. If you optimize for truth and not happiness, you will seek out a whole bunch of truths whether or not you expect that knowing those truths will make you happier. If you optimize for happiness and not truth, you'll only seek truths that will help make you happier. I'm not asking you to consider explicitly lying to yourself, which is in some sense hard, but I'm asking you to consider the implications of optimizing for truth vs. optimizing for happiness. Whether or not you do, most people do not optimize for truth. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing, and in either case, why? What is this referring to?
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

I have read them but it was a long time ago and I was not practicing using the knowledge at the time so it may not have sunk in as it was supposed to. I will go back now and reread them, thank you.

Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

Thinking about truth vs. happiness I believe that I think if given a decision of truth or happiness it is already to late for me to fully accept happiness. In short thinking about the decision made the decision. On top of this I am to curious to avoid thinking about certain topics of which i would be faced with this (not) decision so I will always embrace truth over happiness.

What I will now have to think on is given a friend who aspires to be more rational yet, not a scientist or somebody similar, and i find a thought pattern that is giving false but enjo... (read more)

3Qiaochu_Yuan9yWhy do you believe that? Even given that you believe this is currently true, do you think this is something you should change about yourself, and if not, why? (I'm teasing you to some extent. What I regard to be the answers to many of the questions I'm asking can be found in the Sequences.) I think you've lost track of why we were talking about Einstein. In the original post, you listed two reasons to believe non-falsifiable things. I asked you to give an example of the first one. Maybe it wasn't sufficiently clear that I was asking for an example which wasn't falsifiable, in which case I apologize, but I was (after all, that's why it came up in the first place). Relativity is falsifiable. A heuristic that beautiful things tend to be true is also falsifiable.
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

Why do you want to be a physicist?

I learned of Quantum mechanics when I was younger and I grew curious of it because it was mysterious. Now Quantum mechanics is not mysterious but the way the world works is and I am still deeply curious about it.

In what sense was relativity non-falsifiable at the time that Einstein described it?

It was falsifiable but I was thinking that it was still extraordinarily beautiful

also the quote

In 1919, Sir Arthur Eddington led expeditions to Brazil and to the island of Principe, aiming to observe solar eclipses and t

... (read more)
5Qiaochu_Yuan9ySo... would you say that it makes you happy when your curiosity is satisfied? When you said that "truth trumps happiness," it sounded like you were saying "in general, truth trumps happiness." If the reason you personally value truth is because you think it will help you as a physicist, and the reason you want to be a physicist is because you are curious about physics, then you don't have a reason to value truth which applies in general. Why should other people, who are not necessarily interested in physics or particularly curious about things, value truth above happiness? Right, but you were giving a reason why you would have a belief that is non-falsifiable, and this is not an example of such a belief. Einstein defying the data [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ig/i_defy_the_data/] is not Einstein thinking that relativity wasn't falsifiable, it's Einstein thinking that relativity wasn't falsifiable by just one experimental result.
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

This post is somewhat confused. I would recommend that you finish reading the Sequences before making a future post.

I agree that I am putting a post here prematurely but I thought the criticism on some of my ideas would be worth it so I could fix things before they were ingrained. So thanks for the criticism.

I responded with truth trumps happiness Why?

Break of quotes

I often find myself torn between epistemic rationality as a terminal value and its alternative. My thoughts are learning how to treat truth as the highest goal would be more useful to

... (read more)
0ChristianKl9yDo you think that there are some professional Physicist who put truth first and others who don't? Do you believe that those who put truth first perform better. What evidence do you see in the world that this is true?
2beoShaffer9yI'd quite seriously like to know if you've read Making Beliefs Pay Rent [http://lesswrong.com/lw/i3/making_beliefs_pay_rent_in_anticipated_experiences/] it and the Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Mysterious_Answers_to_Mysterious_Questions] sequence in general seem quite relevant I wouldn't expect you to write your post as it is now if you'd read them.
1Qiaochu_Yuan9yWhy do you want to be a physicist? (Also, first relative to what?) In what sense was relativity non-falsifiable at the time that Einstein described it?
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

Good point, I often find myself torn between epistemic rationality as a terminal value and its alternative. My thoughts are learning how to treat truth as the highest goal would be more useful to my career in physics and would be better for the world then if I currently steered to my closer less important values.

4OrphanWilde9yIf you're justifying a terminal value, it's not your real terminal value.
9Qiaochu_Yuan9ySo treating truth as the highest goal serves your other, even higher goals? What behaviors are encapsulated by the statement that you're treating truth as the highest goal, and why can't you just execute those behaviors anyway?
Falsifiable and non-Falsifiable Ideas

In fact, it's rather worse :) The negation of an unfalsifiable belief is also unfalsifiable - you unfalsifiably believe that Carl's garage does not have an immaterial dragon in it. Even if you make an observation, e.g. you throw a ball to measure the gravitational acceleration, you have an unfalsifiable belief that you have not just hallucinated the whole thing.

As a general principle it would seem that the negation of an unfalsifiable belief is better then the falsifiable one. Meaning that the unfalsifiable belief has a much larger number of worlds in w... (read more)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

You have a very good point and have shown me something that I knew better and will have to keep an eye on closer for now on.

That being said Beauty is not enough to be accepted into any realm of science but thinking about beautiful concepts such as timeless physics could increase the probability of thinking up an original testable theory that is true.

In particular I'm thinking how the notion of absolute time slowed down the discovery of relativity while if someone were to contemplate the beautiful notion of relative time, relativity could have been found much faster.

Memetic Tribalism

I think a main reason why I try to correct friends thought patterns is practice. With friends I get a certain amount of wiggle room, if I accidentally say something that insults them, or turns them off of rationality, or would cause a form a social friction, they would be inclined to tell me before it got between us. I can learn what I did wrong and don't have to keep bothering the same friend to the point of it actually hampering our friendship.

Lessons learned from this can be used to correct someones thought patterns when it is much more imperative for ... (read more)

Rationality Quotes February 2013

I'm reading through all of the sequences (slowly, it takes a while to truly understand and I started in 2012) and by coincidence I happen to be at the beginning of metaethics currently. Until I finish I won't argue any further on this subject due to being confused. Thanks for help

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

Hello and welcome to lesswrong, your goal to understanding time as the 4th dimension stuck out to me in that it reminded me of a post that i found beautiful and insightful while contemplating the same thing. timeless physics has a certain beauty to it that resonates to me much better then 4th dimensional time and sounds like something you would appreciate.

-1shminux9ySure does, but don't let yourself get tempted by the Dark Side. Beauty is not enough, it's the ability to make testable predictions that really matters. And Eliezer's two favorite pets, timeless physics and many worlds, fail miserably by this metric. Maybe some day they will be a stepping stone to something both beautiful and accurate.
Rationality Quotes February 2013

I do not ask it because I wanted to stop the discussion by asking a hard question. I ask it because I aspire to do research into physics and will someday need an answer to it. As such I have been very curious about different arguments to this question. By no means did I mean by asking this question that there are things that should not be research simply how to go about finding them?

2Qiaochu_Yuan9yRemove any confusions you might have about metaethics [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Metaethics_sequence], figure out what it is you value, estimate what kind of impact the research you want to do will have with respect to what you value, estimate what kind of impact the other things you could do will have with respect to what you value, pick the thing that is more valuable. Trying to retroactively judge previous research this way is difficult because the relevant quantity you want to estimate is not the observed net value of a given piece of research (which is hard enough to estimate) but the expected net value at the time the decision was being made to do the research. I think the expected value of research into nuclear physics in the past was highly negative because of how much it increased the probability of nuclear war [http://lesswrong.com/lw/jq/926_is_petrov_day/], but I'm not a domain expert and can't give hard numbers to back up this assertion.
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

My knowledge of statistics at the time was very much lacking (that being said i still only have about a semesters worth of stat) so I was not able to do any type of statistical analysis that would be rigorous in any way. I did however keep track of my predictions and was around 60% on the first day (slightly better then guessing probably caused by reading books i mentioned) to around 80% about a week later of practicing every day. I no longer have the exact data though only approximate percentages of how i did.

I remember also that it was difficult tracking down the cases in which truth was known and this was very time consuming, this is the predominant reason that i only practiced like this for a week.

Rationality Quotes February 2013

The majority of scientific discoveries (I'm tempted to say all but I'm 90% certain that there exist at least one counter example) have very good consequences as well as bad. I think the good and bad actually usually go hand in hand.

To make the obvious example nuclear research lead to both the creation of nuclear weapons but also the creation of nuclear energy.

At what point could you label research into any scientific field as having to many negative consequences to pursue?

1Qiaochu_Yuan9yI agree that this is a hard question. General complaint: sometimes when I say that people should be doing a certain thing, someone responds that doing that thing requires answering hard questions. I don't know what bringing this point up is supposed to accomplish. Yes, many things worth doing require answering hard questions. That is not a compelling reason not to do them.
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I was not hear for the roko post and i only have a general idea of what its about, that being said i experienced a bout of depression when applying rationality to the second law of thermodynamics.

Two things helped me, 1 i realized that while dealing with a future that is either very unlikely or inconceivably far away it is hard to properly diminish the emotional impact by what is rationally required. knowing that the emotions felt completely out way what is cause for them, you can hopefully realize that acting in the present towards those beliefs is irr... (read more)

5David_Gerard9yTreating it as you would existential depression may be useful, I would think. There are not really a lot of effective therapies for philosophy-induced existential depression - the only way to fix it seems to be to increase your baseline happiness, which is as easy to say as it is hard to do - but it occurred to me that university student health therapist may see a lot of it and may at least be able to provide an experienced ear. I would be interested in any anecdotes on the subject (I'm assuming there's not a lot of data).
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

I do not believe it would be a good way to practice because even with actors acting the way they are supposed (consistent body language and facial expressions) lets say conservatively 90% of the time, you are left with 10% wrong data. This 10% wouldn't be that bad except for the fact that it is actors trying to act correctly (meaning you would interpret what it looks like for a fabricated emotion to be a real emotion). This could be detrimental to many uses of being able to read body language such as telling when other people are lying.

My preferred method... (read more)

2[anonymous]9yFinding such videos without discovering the truth inadvertently seems difficult. Do you have links to share?
4PECOS-99yThat's a really cool idea. Did you record your predictions and do a statistical analysis on them to see whether you definitely improved?
Open thread, February 15-28, 2013

The first thing that came to mind is it would only be possible to do this for the original post because it would be nearly impossible to be able to calculate how many of the readers read each comment. Further if it was implemented it would have to be able to count one reader per username, or more specifically one reader per person that can vote. that way if lets say i were to read an article but come back multiple times to read different comments it would not skew the ratio.

As a side note to this we could also implement a ratio per username that would sh... (read more)

Rationality Quotes February 2013

No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.

Karl Popper

There's a failure mode associated to this attitude worth watching out for, which is assuming that people who disagree with you are being irrational and so not bothering to check if you have arguments against what they say.

Well-Kept Gardens Die By Pacifism

This being said, one should not hesitate to downvote a short message if it does not add at all to the discussion, simply to keep the flow of useful comments without superfluous interruption that would hamper what could otherwise be a constructive argument.

Game Theory As A Dark Art

It seems that the prisoner's dilemma mentioned here differs from the typical (from at least my perspective) prisoner's dilemma in the sense that rewards for both defecting are equal to instead of greater then the rewards for the one that cooperates in the defect/cooperate case. This leads to the outcome of whenever one person (p1) is known to defect (p2) no longer stands a chance to gain anything. Unless this game is repeated in which case punishments make sense (p2) has no game theory incentive to pick one case over the other outside of made deals such as... (read more)

Rationality Quotes February 2013

I think what Creutzer is trying to mean is in ordinary discourse meaning everyday problems in which you are not always able to give the thought time it deserves, when you don't even have 5 minutes by the clock hand to think about the problem rationally, it is better to rely on the heuristic assume people are smart and some unknown context is causing problems then to rely on the heuristic people who make mistakes are dumb. this said heuristics are only good most of the time and may lead you to errors such as

It's epistemically incorrect to adopt a belief

... (read more)
5Vladimir_Nesov9yUsing a heuristic doesn't require believing that it's flawless. You are in fact performing some action, but that is also possible in the absence of careful understanding of the its effect. There is no point in doing the additional damage of accepting a belief for reasons other than evidence of its correctness.
0Creutzer9yExactly, thanks for the clarification.
Rationality Quotes February 2013

i'm going to reply to the quote as if it means "Truth doesn't have a moral valence" and rebuttal that truth should be held more sacred then morals rather then simply outside of it. For example if there are two cases and case 1 leads to a morally "better" (in quotes because the word better is really a black box) outcome then case 2 but case 1 leads to hiding the truth (including hiding from it yourself) then I would have to think very specifically about it. In short I abide by the rule "That which can be destroyed by the Truth shou... (read more)

What are your rules of thumb?

From lessons I learned in HPMOR before making an important decision ask yourself "What do you think you know, and why do you think you know it?" I have found that this not only shows you what knowledge you have is sound enough to make decisions on but shows which pieces of knowledge you're emotionally attached to and would therefore lead to a biased conclusion.

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

My thoughts on its implications are along the lines of even if cryogenics works or the human race finds some other way of indefinitely increasing the length of the human life span, the second law of thermodynamics would eventually force this prolonged life to be unsustainable. That combined with the adjusting of my probability estimates of an afterlife made me have to face the unthinkable fact that there will be a day in which i cease to exist regardless of what i do and i am helpless to stop it. while i was getting over the shock of this i would have slee... (read more)

Welcome to Less Wrong! (July 2012)

I'm Shai Horowitz. I'm currently a duel physics and mathematics major at Rutgers university. I first learned of the concept of "Bayesian" or "rationality" through HPMOR and from there i took it upon myself to read the Overcoming Bias post which has been an extremely long endeavor of which I have almost but not yet accomplished. Through conversation with others in my dorm at Rutgers I have realized simply how much this learning has done to my thought process and it allowed me to hone in on my own thoughts that i could see were still bias... (read more)

6Qiaochu_Yuan9yWelcome! I am really curious what you mean by
Meetup : First New Jersey Meetup

I am new to less wrong and am coincidentally a student at rvcc. i unfortunetly have class until 3:15 but will stop by for the end of the meetup

0[anonymous]9yThat sounds great. I have a paper to work on, so I'll be here once you get out of class.