SoulAllnighter

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What is Bayesianism?

I guess this is the wrong place for this comment but i don't know where else to put it and after reading the extensive threads on 9/11 below i felt this was a valid point. If someone objects to this being here i'll move it to somewhere more appropriate. It looks like i'm a bit out of date with the discussion anyway.

Firstly I should say i'm still very undecided on the matter. Iv'e heard a lot of convincing evidence for both sides of the story, and I know many intelligent people who's opinion i respect on both sides of the fence. I do however think that it is often dismissed to easily.

Many of the criticisms of the 9/11 cover up theories still implicitly use arguments of ridicule like "oh yeah sure it was all entirely plotted by top US officials who collaborated in this mass conspiracy". As woozle said the main argument is that there are major holes in the official story, and this is a much harder claim to refute.

A common response to this is "well of course theres holes, its a complex official story, if you look hard enough your bound to find inconsistencies". Is that really satisfactory? Perhaps if you were investigating a bank robbery or tax fraud, but with a event of this significance and scale I think any inconsistencies and even a remote possibility of foul play should be taken far more seriously.

Secondly, people seem to have an ill informed, far too high respect for government. These people make manipulative and often very damaging decisions every day. A major argument in the thread below is the fact that we should have an extremely low prior assigned to a government conspiracy which should essentially cause us to disregard this possibility. But any one who has done any real research on 9/11 should have stumbled across Operation Northwoods (sorry, i dont know how to link in these threads "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods" ). This is an uncovered secret government plan to stage a terrorist attack against america and blame it on Cuba in order to gain public support to invade Cuba. Ring any bells? There is no controversy regarding the existence of this plan which was eventually cancelled. We know the government is capable of thinking this way, So why should we have such a low prior for this possibility.

Frankly im a bit sick of the whole "it's in the past" attitude. We now know that the invasion of Iraq was totally illegal, that the American government, and my Australian government, was entirely aware of the fact that there where no weapons of mass destruction, but what is our response? Oh well, they fooled us good hey. I cant believe how easily they were let off the hook for deceiving a nation to start a war and cause thousands of civilian casualties. I know this is off topic but just consider the very possibility that there was any level of involvement or at least prior knowledge of the attacks at any level of government. Surely these allegations should not be dismissed as easily as they are given that, from what i have heard, there is undeniably some real problems with the official story

Is Rationality Maximization of Expected Value?

I have to disagree with this interpretation. The whole point is that the frequency interpretation of probability can be a specific case of the Bayesian (probability = belief) interpretation, but not vice versa.

If I say I belief in the existence of aliens with 0.2 belief i think its non-intuitive and unrealistic that what im really saying is, "i think aliens exist in 20% of all plausible worlds". Apart from the difficulty in clearly defining 'plausible' the point of Bayesianism is that this simply represents my state of knowledge/belief.

Welcome to Less Wrong!

G'day LW Im an Aussie currently studying at the Australian National University in Canberra. My name is Sam and i should point out that the 'G'day' is just for fun, most Australians never use that phase and it kinda makes me cringe.

At at this very moment i'm trying to finish my thesis on the foundations of inductive reasoning, which i guess is pretty relevant to this community. A big part of my thesis is to translate a lot of very technical mathematics regarding Bayesianism and Sollomonoff induction into philosophical and intuitive explanations, so this whole site is really useful to me in just seeing how people think about rationalism and the mechanics of beliefs.

Although I my entire degree has been focused on the rational side of the human spectrum I remain alot more open minded and I think our entire education system regards math and physics too highly and does not leave enough room for creativity. Although create subjects exist in the arts, the generally culture is to regard them as intellectually inferior in some sense which has led to a hugely skewed idea of intelligence.

The saying goes "the map is not the territory" and although we can continually refine our maps through science and math I think truly understanding the territory can only be achieved through direct experience.

Im also very worried about the state of the world and It is exactly through rational open forums such as this that much needed progress can be discussed and advanced.

I guess i have a lot to say and instead of posting it here I should save it for an actual post, whenever i get time. But Its refreshing to see such an interesting online community amongst the seemingly endless rubbish on the net.