All of SusanBrennan's Comments + Replies

The curse of identity

Thank you for the clarification, and my apologies to Will. I do have some questions, but writing a full post from the smartphone I am currently using would be tedious. I'll wait until I get to a proper computer.

-4Will_Newsome9yNo need to apologize! If I were to get upset about being misunderstood after being purposefully rather cryptic, then I'd clearly be in the wrong. Maybe it would make some sense to apologize if you got angry at me for purposefully being cryptic, because perhaps it would be hasty to make such judgments without first trying harder to understand what sort of constraints I may be under;—but I have no idea what sort of constraints you're under, so I have no idea whether or not it would be egregiously bad or, alternatively, supereragatorily good for you to get angry at me for not writing so as to be understood or not trying harder to be understood. But my intuition says there's no need to apologize. I do apologize for not being able to escape the constraints that have led me to fail to reliably communicate and thus generate a lot of noise/friction.
The curse of identity

otherwise you stand a decent chance of ending up in hell.

Comments like this are better for creating atheists, as opposed to converting them.

When Will talks about hell, or anything that sounds like a religious concept, you should suppose that in his mind it also has a computational-transhumanist meaning. I hear that in Catholicism, Hell is separation from God, and for Will, God might be something like the universal moral attractor for all post-singularity intelligences in the multiverse, so he may be saying (in the great-grandparent comment) that if you are insufficiently attentive to the question of right and wrong, your personal algorithm may never be re-instantiated in a world remade by frie... (read more)

Purchase Fuzzies and Utilons Separately

It's a very different framework from util maximization, but I find it's much more satisfying and useful

And if it wasn't more satisfying and useful, would you still follow it?

Thoughts on moral intuitions

Bang on! Brown ("Divided we fall") is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you. I regret having only one up-vote to give you.

Thoughts on moral intuitions

I remember coming across this paper during my PhD, and it provides a somewhat game theoretic analysis of in-group out-group bias, which is still fairly easy to follow. The paper is mainly about the implications for conflict resolution, as the authors are lecturers in business an law, so it should be of interest to those seeking to improve their rationality (particularly where keeping ones cool in arguments is involved), which is why we are here after all.

I've been thinking about doing my first mainspace post for LessWrong soon. Perhaps I could use it to a... (read more)

9VincentYu9yIn Irrationality, Sutherland cites Brown (1978, "Divided we fall: An analysis of relations between sections of a factory workforce") and states: In a highly-cited review, Tajfel (1982) [] states: A brief look at recent studies seems to suggest a more nuanced relation, but I'm not familiar with the literature. See, e.g., Card et al. (2010) [].
Bargaining and Auctions

Is this the post you were thinking of?

EDIT: Never mind. I'm pretty sure Gwern got the right one.

An Intuitive Explanation of Solomonoff Induction

The placebo effect strikes me as a decent enough explanation.

-1johnlawrenceaspden9yMaybe, but it also explains why any other thing will cure my hayfever. And shouldn't it go away if I realize it's a placebo? And if I say 'I have this one thing that cures my hayfever reliably, and no other thing does, but it has no mechanism except for the placebo effect', is that very different from 'I have this magic thing?'. I'm not keen on explanations which don't tell me what to anticipate. But maybe I misunderstand the placebo effect. How would I tell the difference between it and magic?
Rationality Quotes May 2012

even Turkey did NOT require some particular ruthlessness to modernize.

Could you explain the meaning of this sentence please. I'm not sure I have grasped it correctly. To me it sounds like that you are saying that there was no ruthlessness involved in Atatürk's modernizing reforms. I assume that's not the case, right?

-1Multiheaded9yCompared to China or Industrial Revolution-age Britain? Hell no, Ataturk pretty much had silk gloves on. At least, that's what Wikipedia tells me. He didn't purge political opponents except for one incident where they were about to assassinate him, he maintained a Western facade over his political maneuvering (taking pages from European liberal nationalism of the previous century), etc, etc.
A sense of logic

This is my favorite response so far.

Configurations and Amplitude

Math can, and in the case of QM, must use infinities and 0-dimensional particles which can not exist in reality.

I'm a little confused by this objection to say the least. Could you express your views on the following topics in mathematics, particularly when they are used for real world applications, whether it be physics, computer science or engineering?

  1. The use of the "null vector" in linear algebra

  2. Limits approaching 0 in calculus

  3. Generalizing the rules of 3 dimensional space to represent 4 dimensional space

  4. Complex numbers and their vari

... (read more)
Rationality Quotes May 2012

For an intelligent and persuasive person it may be a rational (as in: maximizing their utility, such as status or money) choice to produce fashionable nonsense.

True. I guess it's just that the consequences of such actions can often lead to a large amount of negative utility according to my own utility function, which I like to think of as more universalist than egoist. But people who are selfish, rational and intelligent can, of course, cause severe problems (according to the utility functions of others at least). This, I gather, is fairly well understood. That's probably why those characteristics describe the greater proportion of Hollywood villains.

1Viliam_Bur9yHollywood villains are gifted people who pathologically neglect their self-deception. With enough self-deception, everyone can be a hero [] of their own story. I would guess most authors of fashionable nonsense kind of believe what they say. This is why opposing them would be too complicated for a Hollywood script.
Rationality Quotes May 2012

Scientific progress, economic growth and civilization in general are proportional to the number of intelligent people and inversely proportional to the number of not-so-smart people.

That seems a little bit simplistic. How many problems have been caused by smart people attempting to implement plans which seem theoretically sound, but fail catastrophically in practice? The not-so-smart people are not inclined to come up with such plans in the first place. In my view, the people inclined to cause the greatest problems are the smart ones who are certain th... (read more)

0Multiheaded9yYes! I'm glad that someone is with me on this.
1Viliam_Bur9yThe theory of "rational addiction []" seems like an example that for any (consistent) behavior you can find such utility function that this behavior maximizes it. But it does not mean that this is really a human utility function [] . For an intelligent and persuasive person it may be a rational (as in: maximizing their utility, such as status or money) choice to produce fashionable nonsense.
Rationality Quotes April 2012

Isn't one of the implications of Gödel's incompleteness theorem that there will always be unanswerable questions?

1TheOtherDave9yOnly if the questioner is consistent.
A sense of logic

Since this is LessWrong and there's a strong leaning towards a certain view of normative ethics, I had better ask this before I go any further. Would you consider any form of deontology or virtue ethics to be a "decent moral theory"? It feels like I should check this before commenting any further. I know, for example, that at least one person here (not naming names) has openly said that all non-consequentialist approaches to ethics are "insane".

0TimS9yI am not one of those who thinks non-consequentialist ethics are inherently nonsense. Reflecting on my position slightly, I was saying: 1) A "decent" moral system will very likely have the property that misleading others about one's preferences will be advantageous to the individual, but bad for the group. 2) Telepathy makes misleading others about one's preferences more difficult. That assumes telepathy is essentially involuntary mind-reading. If it is more like reliable cell phone service, then I'm not sure telepathy would make any moral system easier to implement.
A sense of logic

Well, the only time I responded to one such argument, I rejected the second rather than the first premise. Your way might have been easier. I don't think it would have changed the response though.

He wrote the "socrates is man" syllogism right beside it and challenged me to find an example of someone who is immortal (kind of ignoring the fact that it would only prove a premise in that argument false, and not change the logical validity of that particular argument).

You know, maybe the initial argument isn't the worst I've ever seen. Now that I think about it, the response is probably the worst argument I've ever seen.

0[anonymous]9yWas this on an anonymous internet forum by any chance? My subjective priors for it being a troll or small child just went way up (probably more than they should have to be honest).
A sense of logic

Thanks. I will have to remember that term in future.

A sense of logic

You are quite free to do so, unless you pick the definition of law which is exclusively legal, which is the abuse of language that this argument depends on. If you choose a definition of law under which natural laws or mathematical laws can be counted, then the first premise is indeed false (in a materialist framework anyway).

When you change the definition of law to the legal one, the second premise becomes nonsense.

Regardless of which you pick, any reasoned inference which respects the language involved will generally lead to one premise being true and t... (read more)

1TheOtherDave9ySorry I was unclear... I meant my comment literally. I've never heard anyone making this argument, and I'm curious as to what happens if, in response, one says "Not all laws are constructed by some intelligence." That is, how do the people making this argument respond? Edit: yeah, what danfly said [] .
0Danfly9yI got the impression that Dave was asking what is the response that you get if you simply say "I reject the premise that all laws are constructed by some intelligence?". Was that not the case?
A sense of logic

This is one argument I find particularly irksome...

All laws are constructed by some intelligence

Natural laws are laws

Therefore, natural laws are constructed by some intelligence.

The annoying part is that it is deductively valid if the definition of law is actually the same in both premises. The person making this argument thinks their argument is watertight because of its structure, and will likely not listen to any suggestion that natural laws are not a component of the laws described in the first premise. I can't understand how anyone can fail to s... (read more)

5Gastogh9yIf people think the structure is watertight and that the is argument valid because of that, maybe pointing out the structural flaw in clear terms would get through to them. Specifically, this one's called a fallacy of four terms [], though it's in disguise; the word law is used to mean human-designed law in the major premise and any kind of law in the minor premise. The fact that the word also occurs in the phrase natural laws adds to the fun, too. If going into even deeper detail might help, linguistics has a name for this sort of phenomenon: autohyponymy. It's when a word has a kind of "default general sense" in addition to one or more specific meanings, which occasionally leads to mix-ups. In this case, we have the hypernonym law (=all kinds of laws) and its hyponym law (=piece of human legislation). Another set of examples of the concept of autohyponymy would be the hyperonym dog (=dog of either gender) and its hyponyms dog (=male dog) and bitch (=female dog).
2TheOtherDave9yWhat happens if you simply reject the premise that all laws are constructed by some intelligence?

every time a male has sex with a female, both of their opposite-sex partners rise by one.

Just to ensure clarity, you meant to say; "every time a male has sex with a new female [partner], their opposite-sex partners rise by one. Correct?

One other thing which could skew the statistics is the fact that people that have had many sexual relationships can die, and the dead are not often counted in statistical surveys, while some of their partners might be.

2TraderJoe9y[comment deleted]
Be Happier

You forgot primorial.

Be Happier

I upvoted your post to a nice round 20. It's a much nicer number than 19 anyway.

4TheOtherDave9yI'm saddened that it's no longer prime.
Configurations and Amplitude

I can't explain QM very well, but here's a video of "someone that can". I would recommend paying special attention to the speech he gives around 37:00 minutes in about concepts like "wave" and "particle", which we have coined in the macroscopic world and how we should not really apply terms which have mutually exclusive qualities in the macroscopic world to describe the world of fundamental particles.

His answers might still be unsatisfactory to you, but its the best I can offer.

Rationality Quotes April 2012

Point taken. In hindsight I also seem to have gotten a bit carried away with the above post. I would, however, hold that there are many social/political/religious groups that have a remarkable tendency to see everyone except themselves as remarkably prejudiced because their worldview is not shared. Nevertheless, continuing down this road is not likely to be very productive.

I vote that we abandon ship and shift our attentions back to topics like rationality techniques, game theory, friendly AI and meta-ethics, where we can think more clearly.

Rationality Quotes April 2012

It is probably a very bad idea for me to make my first post in reply to something that is blatantly political, on a site which quite actively discourages it, but I'm not very rational. You see, I would probably consider myself more of a liberal than a conservative. I have even attended meetings of feminist organizations, which means that I am a very irrational type of bumbling fool. Nevertheless, I assure you that I would indeed question the ethics of putting kittens in blenders. I would also question the effectiveness of putting kittens in blenders as a m... (read more)

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply

I never interpreted MixedNuts' statement as entailing that liberals have stronger tribal sentiments. Rather, I interpreted it as being that accusing others of prejudice, and jumping on people who oppose proposed solutions to combat prejudice even if the solutions aren't very good, are distinctly liberal tribal phenomena. A comparable tribal behavior that you would be likely to see among conservatives, but unlikely to see among liberals, would be accusing people of being "unpatriotic."

5TheOtherDave9yYeah, it was probably a bad idea, but damn I enjoyed reading it.