Wiki Contributions


A Framework For Cognitive Biases: What Types Of Cognitive Biases Are Out There?

I have been working on my own framework and categorization of cognitive biases. I would like to hear your comments (don't be too harsh :) )...

Is Willpower a Finite Resource, or a Myth?

My opinion is that you body has a limited capacity to do anything. For example if you are weight training, you might improve year by year, but eventually you will hit a limit of what is humanly possible and won't be able to make any gains.

Willpower is probably similar (but in a much shorter timespan). Willpower has to be a limited resource, since by doing different activities you consume energy and thereby have less energy available to do other things. The fact that you have less energy impacts your willpower.

However on the other hand, the human body is capable of much more than you think. That's where the effect of the second wind comes in. At some points you are able to muster up your last amounts of energy and push through, right at the time you thought you were done.

Guessing the Teacher's Password

I said "basically". :)

Starch is a polysacharride, the Greek word for sugar is sacharr. Starch is made up of long-chains of glucose, and glucose is sugar. The body breaks down the polysacharrides it ingests down into simple sugars like glucose. So whatever the original form, it always ends up being sugar.

But yes, what you say is also correct. All sugars are carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are sugars (like starch for example, but even starch can be further broken down into sugars)...

Guessing the Teacher's Password

The words sugar and carbohydrate are basically synonyms. Carbs can be broken down into glucose, galactose, fructose and mannose, which are called monosacharrides aka simple sugars. Sacharr is the Greek word for sugar. So I am not sure why you think you put down the wrong answer,

Are we running out of new music/movies/art from a metaphysical perspective?

Well, if you look at it most stories since prehistory have a similar structure. Guys like Vladimir Propp or Joseph Campbell analyzed old stories and came up with basic elements that almost all of the different stories shared.

George Lucas was actually inspired to create Star Wars by reading Campbell's "A Hero with a Thousand Faces".

This shows that all stories share a common structure, so it is hard to be totally original. However the structure is so versatile that it allows a huge number of different stories to come out and seem fresh and original.

We have to separate this from what Hollywood is producing today. Studios have gotten lazy and are just chasing after the big bucks. So instead of taking a risk on something new, they instead invest in a plethora of sequels, reboots and sequels to reboots. I think that's where the problem is, not in being able to come up with anything new.

Crisis of Faith

The problem with faith is that for many people it has become a part of their identity. The brain cells are intertwined and when someone attacks their faith, their self-protection mechanism kicks in and their rational thinking turns off.

It's basically like Plato's Allegory of the Cave, where prisoners choose to disbelieve the real world and go back to their own fake reality.

Fact Posts: How and Why

I am the same way, although I think that I have much more than 6 drafts of these types of posts. :) I have hundreds in fact! I often start writing on something, and then switch to a different topic without finishing my essay on the first one!

It's the first time I see the concept of a "fact-post", however in my experience writing posts on history is a good practice for this. Of course, "history" is often biased and many history books have slants based on ideologies, biases or other perspectives, but there are such things as dates, names, events...etc. which are facts and if you start putting them in chronological order, you can arrive at good fact posts.

Once you start digging a bit deeper and writing more in depth history posts, you also start noticing your inherent biases a lot more. Oftentimes you might skip over some fact, event or name just because it doesn't fit with your internal vision of the world. For example, I have a hard time accepting that some dinosaurs had feathers, since I have already formed a preconceived ideal type of what dinosaurs looked like in my head and when I write about dinosaurs, i conveniently try to skip recent paleontological findings pointing to evidence that indeed some types of dinosaurs had feathers at least on parts of their bodies.

However since I write these things down, I am forced to internally confront this inherent bias and maybe over time it lessens.

Double Crux — A Strategy for Mutual Understanding

Disagreements are not always bad, however what happens in the real world most of the time is that the disagreements are not based on rational thought and logic, but instead on some fluffy slogans and "feelings". People don't actually go deep into examining whether their argument makes sense and is supported by sound facts and not things like narrative fallacy.

In fact, when you point out to other people that what they are saying is not supported by any logical arguments, they get even more defensive and irrational.

On the importance of Less Wrong, or another single conversational locus

As a newbie, I have to say that I am finding it really hard to navigate around the place. I am really interested in rational thinking and the ways people can improve it, as well as persuation techniques to try to get people to think rationally about issues, since most of them fall to cognitive biases and bad illogical thinking.

I have found that writing about these concepts for myself really help in clarifying things, but sometimes miss a discussion on these topics, so that's why I came here.

For me, some things that could help improve this site:

1) better organization and making it clearer to navigate

2) a set of easy to read newbie texts

3) ability to share interesting posts from other places and discussing them

Crisis of Faith

The criteria for the historicity of Greek/Roman Gods and Muhammad/Jesus are not the same.

The Roman Gods are for the most part just Romanized versions of Greek Gods. If you examine the different characteristics closely, then the Greek Gods have much in common with Gods in the pantheons of other Indo-European peoples. For example Zeus is the God of Thunder, Thor is the God of Thunder in Germanic mythologies, and Perun serves the same purpose in Slavic mythologies.

Based on these similarities you can trace these stories to the stories of some common ancestral Gods of the old Indo-European nomads on the steppes of Russia and the Ukraine... So these stories are so ancient that any link to anyone living whether man or whatever is highly unlikely.

However stories of Jesus and Muhammad are much more likely considering since they occured at times when writing was already invented and shortly after their death, we can see stirrings of historical events linked to them. With Jesus, we have historical writing of him maybe 50 years after his death, including by his enemies. So a historical figure of Jesus is highly likely, although the miracles and stuff attributed to him are made up.

With Muhammad the probabilities are even higher. Shortly after his death, there were conquests of neighboring lands done by people who were saying they were his friends (meaning they saw him live). While most of the stories about him are probably highly exaggerated, there most likely was a historical Muhammad.

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