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"God and the gods were apparitions of observation, judgment and punishment. Other sentiments towards them were secondary. The human organism always worships. First, it was the gods, then it was fame (the observation and judgment of others), next it will be self-aware systems you have built to realize truly omnipresent observation and judgment. The individual desires judgment. Without that desire, the cohesion of groups is impossible, and so is civilization."

A reply to anonymous from a fictional character


After seeing the four examples (including one that didn't fit) given, it didn't even occur to me that someone could think the first one indicated a X-2X-3X pattern. It's hard to tell what will confirm and what will disconfirm in such a broad space of possibilities.

A bit off topic but after numerous incidents of mocking Eliezer, Mencius Moldbug has launched a full-scale assault on Bayesianism. He hasn't shown any inclination to post his critiques here, but perhaps some of the luminaries here could show him the error of his ways.


I remember when Warren Spector & Harvey Smith were going on about emergence in videogames. I think their definition was something like "a non-obvious [it may even surprise the designers] outcome of a system of rules rather than something scripted". That's a rather subjective definition but it seems to fit as well for the things that are described as "emergent" in real life. Since life is not actually a videogame but has universally valid rules, it would not be a very useful concept for that domain. I think Wolfram has written a lot about that sort of thing, but I don't actually know much about what it is he says other than that its an important idea.


In response to Hopefully Anonymous, I think there is a real difference between unfalsifiable pseudosciences and genuine scientific theories (both correct and incorrect). Coming up with methods to distinguish the two will be helpful for us in doing science. It is easy in hindsight to say how obviously wrong something is, it is another to understand why it is wrong and whether its wrongness could have been detected then with the information available as this could assist us later when we do not have all the information we would wish to.


I second Stuart's awful sentence. I'm not seconding the opinion that it is awful, just that it resembles my thoughts.


I think I've said this before, but there is some defense that can be made for the phlogiston theorists. Phlogiston is like an absence of oxygen in modern combustion theory. The falsifiable prediction that caused phlogiston to be abandoned was that phlogiston would have mass, whereas an absence of oxygen (what it was in reality) does not.


Do you have any references to that? Yes. They do underestimate the probability their their depression will end, however (I'll see if I can find the link to where I read that, it was likely another GMU blogger). I don't know about other cognitive biases in the depressed.


"Mental health is a commitment to reality at any cost." Depression is considered a mental illness. The depressed are less biased in their self-assessments than the population as a whole. Personally, I agree with Caplan and Szasz that "mental illness" is a poor borrowing from medicine to psychiatry and is usually unfalsifiable.


The difference is that ethics are not falsifiable. This leads me to believe there are no ethical truths.


Perhaps we should check to see how many papers in respected journals cite "punctuated equilibrium" other than to attack it. In a previous thread in which Gould was discussed I linked to this, which used such evidence to argue against his theory on "spandrels".

It is interesting that Zenkat mentioned "libertarian economists" since Eliezer is not an economist, and I was unaware from his posts here that he was a libertarian. I note that Robin Hanson denied being a "libertarian economist" when accused of it, but it occurs to me that perhaps he thinks "libertarian economist" as something other than a person who is both an economist and a libertarian. Alan Greenspan, for example, was a libertarian who had advocated the gold standard as well as chairman of the federal reserve, but might not be characterized as "libertarian chairman of the federal reserve", because his actions as chairman were not any more libertarian than average. I am not saying I think Robin is a libertarian, but merely that I assign a probability higher than zero to his being one.

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