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How do you notice when you're rationalizing?

Like some other people have said, one of my biggest tip-offs is if I have a strong negative reaction to something. Often this happens if I'm reading a not-particularly-objective report, experiment, treatise or something which could have been written with strong biases. My mind tends to recoil at the obvious biases and wants to reject the entire thing, but then the rational part of me kicks in and forces me to read through the whole thing before parsing an emotional reaction. After all, a point of being rational is to be able to sieve through other writers' biases to see if they actually have important points buried inside, otherwise you don't know what accuracies you might miss, or what biases you're giving into yourself. I find this also happens if I myself have a bias that I've never thought of before; I instantly have a gut reaction that feels at first natural, but almost an instant later, very out of place. Then I realise that I haven't taken in all the information, I haven't evaluated it as objectively as I can, and I haven't arrived at an accurate conclusion. I've just gone. "No, x is bad because y makes me feel bad!".

The other thing (perhaps more importantly for my personal wellbeing) would be if I actually perform an action that is inconsistent with my rationalist world-view, such as if I did something illogical or something that would contradict a view that I hold as being morally and rationally just. These are usually things that I'd permit myself to do without thinking much when I was younger, but now would seem like abhorrent double-standards and 'unjust' behaviour (perhaps they'd even make me feel disproportionately guilty, but it seems to me that often acting illogically should make you feel that way!)

I'd like to talk to some LGBT LWers.

I would definitely like to hear what people have to offer and would be comfortable having a public discussion

I'd like to talk to some LGBT LWers.

I'm bisexual but have never really been involved in the 'community', perhaps because I'm never come out to anyone except the same-sex people I've dated. This might restrict what I could say as representative of the community, but i've spent countless hours thinking about the topic itself so if you feel like it you're more than welcome to message me.

Kind of relieved that there are other 'LGBT' members at LW...

If You Were Brilliant When You Were Ten...

Adding to the ideas about asking stupid questions and mwengler's anecdote about being the smartest guy in the room (upvoted btw), I found that the thing I hated most about school was the fact that many of the teachers tended to possess numerous delusions of their own intelligence or other personality malfunctions that made learning (or bothering to go to school at all) quite painful to commit to. They tended to be things that could be solved if the perpetrator exhibitied a little bit more humility (or if the school could afford better qualified teachers, either way...)

Just as examples I had:

A pretentious art teacher that would say "Art is a talent, and thus can not be taught"

A married couple of music teachers who didn't think any child could appreciate music

An english teacher who would rant about her failed dream to be a journalist (-her only qualification to teach English)

Three foreign language teachers who each shouted at their students for being stupid (because they couldn't grasp new concepts)

A vegan Biology teacher who's lessons consisted seemingly of three cycles: "Don't smoke, don't drink, don't cook your food"

A religious ed teacher who once gave me and two of my peers books when she decided we were 'intellectually gifted'. All three books were poorly argued dissertations on the benefits of Christianity which tried to achieve its aims by villifying Judaism and Secularism in particularly unsavoury ways.

Anyway to bring it back on topic, I think that when some people experience characters like these who put them down, or try to show them up, or just distract them from the joy or learning, they begin to fear asking silly questions. And then they equate 'silly questions' with 'questions they don't know the answer to' and then they fear asking any questions at all and then never discover the answer to any of them! (or never discover the confidence to try and answer them themselves).

(I should add that the best loved and respected teachers at the school were all physics, maths and computer science teachers. Perhaps I am lucky that even though it was my linguistic skill for which I was "identified as being smart" at school, poor support in the areas that I was originally interested in (which continue to leave a lingering distaste) pushed me more towards physics, maths and computer science once I left school (something which I'm optimistic will lead to a more satisfying life than any 'romantic notions' I had might have done. Or to clarify, lest we be accused of fitting into the 'zero fun' rationalist stereotype, I have new romantic notions that revolve around the wonders of physics, maths and computer science.)

If You Were Brilliant When You Were Ten...

Adding to the idea of asking stupid questions and mwengler's smartest guy in the room anecdote (upvoted btw), I'd say that what I hated about school was that so many of the teachers seemed to suffer from numerous delusions of their own intelligence or other personal malfunctions that made learning (or even bothering to show up at school) a painful experience. Something that could have been solved if they'd simply practicised a bit more humility (or if the school had managed to afford better qualified teachers, either way...)

Just as examples I had: A pretentious art teacher who claimed, "Art is a talent and thus can't be taught" A married couple of music teachers who thought no child could truly appreciate music A dysfunctional English teacher who would rant about her failed stint in journalism (-her only qualification to teach English) A vegan Biology teacher who's lessons were an endless cycle of "Don't smoke, don't do drugs, don't cook your food" A French teacher a German teacher and a Spanish teacher (three seperate people) who shouted at younger children for failing to understand new concepts An religious ed teacher who once gave me and two of my peers books to read after she determined us as 'intellectually gifted'. All three books were poorly argued dissertations on the benefits of becoming a Christian which tried to achieve this by villifying Judaism and secularism in particularly unsavoury ways.

Anyway to bring this back on-topic, having characters like this that search out for ways to show up students, put them down or at least distract them from the joy of learning can really stop people from asking questions that might make them look silly later in life. And then they equate asking questions that are silly with asking questions that they don't know the answer to, and then they never find out!

(I should add that the best loved and respected teachers consisted of the physics, maths and computer science teachers. Perhaps even though I was "identified as smart" when I was a child for my linguistic ability, am lucky to have had such poor support in areas I was originally interested in (that now leave a lingering distaste) and have now been pushed into a world of physics, maths and computer science (which I feel will lead me to a much more satisfying life than any notions of romanticism I had would have done.)

Merry Newtonmas LW. Have some rationalist music.

Hey thanks this is really great! I wish there were bands like this around where I live, it be so much more awesome (awesome^10000).

Best band name/logo ever btw. Gonna be sharing your youtube videos all over social networkland now!!

Future of Moral Machines - New York Times [link]

On the subject of morality in robots, I would assume that when (if?) we devise a working cognitive model of an A.I. that would be indistinct from a human in every observable circumstance, the chances of it developing/learning sociopathic behaviour would be no different from a human developing psychopathic tendencies (which, although I can provide no scientific proof, I imagine is in the minority).

I know this is an abstraction that doesn't do justice to the work people are doing on working towards this model, but I think the complexities of AI are one of the things that lead certain people to the knee-jerk reaction that all post-singularity AIs will want to exterminate the human race. (possessing a phobia because you don't understand something etc etc...)

[Link, Humor] The Best Christmas Ever

And Gifto read the inscription on the the first box for the young boy, "Either this box contains an angry frog, or the box with a false inscription contains an angry frog, but not both." and on the second "Either this box contains gold and the box with a false inscription contains an angry frog, or this box contains an angry frog and the box with a true inscription contains gold."

It really was the best Christmas ever :)

Until the frog attacked everyone...

[Link] Correlation Graphs Reveal Shocking Information

It's these fallacies that make reading newspapers almost impossible without becoming incredibly frustrated incredible quickly. I imagine the first media editor that realised they could miscontrue data to support their articles almost collapsed with excitement.

"Oh my god guys! Look, now we can weaponize our hyperbole!!"

Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

Hi everyone, I've been following this site for a long time and I really feel like it's had a huge impact on me, if not just because I've discovered a huge community of people who seem to have the answers to the questions I've always been asking myself (or at least the cognitive apparatus for reaching them!)

Me

I'm a 20 year old male from the UK and have been working for two years in a private hospital with the aged, terminally ill and cancer sufferers. The job requires me to work 12-14 hours a day with little human contact other than with patients and nursing staff which gives me an enormous amount of time to just think about things and debate things through rationally by myself. I'm almost obsessive in my fascination over the mechanics of thought and why I think the way I think, or like the things I like, and am constantly asking myself whether I'm decieving myself or whether I really believe what I think I believe. Finding so many people in this community who have constructed various models for analysing that way of thinking and expressed them so eloquently has given me such confidence and really renewed my enthusiasm for "staying in the desert" of thought that can sometimes turn into a very scary place.

Where'd I find this place?

You know I can not remember at all where I found LessWrong, I can only guess that an article I read somewhere on the internet mentioned in briefly and that in the following moment the idea that my curiosity will always reward me proved itself true.

If I could add anything else it would be to say that I'm keen to learn from everyone here and hopefully one day meet your standards for living up to the virtues that I hold dear.

Anyway I hope my introduction didn't make me sound too weird or anything...

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