All of Sideways2's Comments + Replies

The principal's "I don't care who started it" can be a poorly-phrased "both of you started it." In every case, each kid will put full blame on the other--how often do you expect to hear "he started most of it, but I'm responsible for some of the trouble as well?" Often, both kids will even believe what they're saying. But in almost every case (perhaps excluding the playground bully), both contributed to escalating the conflict. Anyone who has shepherded groups of children can confirm this, and it holds just as true for adults, tribes, and nations.

Eliezer: "I was shocked to discover that in 45 episodes, not once does Wile E. Coyote catch the Roadrunner. Despite his increasingly meticulous planning and his use of advanced technology, every attempt ends not only with failure but with disgrace or injury to the coyote, while the Roadrunner may not even be aware that he is being pursued. Clearly, 20th century American culture was contemptuous and dismissive of success and 'winners' in general."


NASA is another great example of breathtaking levels of waste.

So your objection is to ... (read more)

I think so.
Environmentalism pisses me off because for a fraction of what we are spending on the public hysteria we could be providing micro nutrients that would lead to huge decreases in overall suffering.

Why should spending on 'environmentalism' alone have to face this burden of justification? Do you feel the same indignation toward spending on, say, NASA?

This story sounds like an extended dirty joke to me--the bit about the farmer looking like a pregnant woman with the snake in his belly, for instance. And antisocial behavior is just plain funny. Folk-myth tricks... (read more)

People who say that evolutionary psychology hasn't made any advance predictions are (ironically) mere victims of "no one knows what science doesn't know" syndrome.
I hope this isn't pointed at me. When I wrote,

I've never seen a researcher make a prediction based on EP and then verify it via testing. Of course, that doesn't mean it hasn't happened...
I was pretty careful to make that a statement of my own probable ignorance instead of an assertion of fact.

Reading the summary and the linked abstract left me with a few questions remaining. I'd like ... (read more)

So maybe humans are naturally inclined to develop an appreciation for harmony based on an overtone series, but nurture determines which overtone series we are most exposed to?

Music appreciation has to happen within culture as well as physics. You can probably think of several musical genres that you don't like--but I would be astonished to hear of even a single genre that some genetic group liked, and others couldn't learn to enjoy.

When we encounter visual situations that rarely arose throughout the period of human evolution, our instincts can lead us t
... (read more)

HH: "Evolutionary psychology is about adaptation to one's environment. Where cultures differ environments differ..."

This doesn't sound like evolutionary psychology to me. It sounds like just regular old psychology.

Your point re: noise in EP experiments is well taken. But if EP can't be tested by experiment, what use is it?

The human brain is a product of evolution. But as Tim Tyler and Aaron pointed out, any particular human brain is also the product of a developmental process that happens in a memetic environment. Given the brain's plasticity, I'm leery of claims that concepts like "fairness" are evolved--especially when that concept varies widely among cultures and individuals.

nobody really:

The results of the ultimatum game do vary a great deal between cultures. Here's an example study with interesting results:

(or if that's too long to handle)

From the abstract: "proposers in the "ultimatum game" almost invariable made offers that split a day's wage at 50/50... we find that responders invoke an exceedingly strong norm of a 50/50 split or nothing at all."

Take a look at tables 2 and 3a/3b--bot... (read more)


Speaking as a new reader of Overcoming Bias myself--I think that the sort of people who read this blog are more likely to miss how dangerous the Superhappies are, because we've considered ways that human suffering could be reduced or eliminated while still letting humans develop properly. Then, when people who already have ideas about how to reduce suffering read that the Superhappies want to eliminate suffering, they assume that the Superhappies' plans are the same as their own. (I'm not sure if this is a previously discussed and named bias, bu... (read more)

Isn't any rational agent a paperclip maximiser for something? I thought that was what 'rational' was supposed to mean round here.