All of TGGP3's Comments + Replies


"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

0SpaceFrank10ySuch a great game. Seeing this makes me want to play it again, having discovered this site and done some actual reading on transhumanism and AI. It might change the choice I'd make at the end... Of course, this goes even further than just proving the old saying about Deus Ex, considering you never even mentioned the title! I know this is a serious necro-post, but I felt compelled.
Positive Bias: Look Into the Dark

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.

The Futility of Emergence

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 ... (read more)

Fake Causality

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.

Science as Attire

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

Fake Causality

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.

You Can Face Reality

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.

1DanielLC10yWikipedia now has an article on depressive realism [].
You Can Face Reality

"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.

Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

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

0[anonymous]8yI imagine that if you revisited this post today, you'd agree that (1) people use the words "ethics" and "ethical truths" in different ways, and (2) claims should be evaluated based on comparative weights of evidence, not strictly-binary "verification" or "falsification".
1Document8yI imagine that if you revisited this post today, you'd agree that (1) people use the words "ethics" and "ethical truths" in different ways, and (2) claims should be evaluated based on evidence, not strictly-binary "verification" or "falsification".
2rkyeun9yMorality is about the thriving of sentient beings. There are in fact truths about that. For example: Stabbing - generally a bad thing if the being is made of flesh and organs.
-1DanielLC10yThe lack of ethics are also not falsifiable. By the same logic, you could say that there must be ethical truths. Why must everything that exists be falsifiable? If there was a particle that didn't react to any of the four forces, its existence would be unfalsifiable. Is that any reason for it to not exist? If you had two non-interacting universe, by your logic each could say that the other doesn't exist. Certainly two universes isn't the same as no universes.
-3DanielLC11yIf there are no ethical truths, there's nothing wrong with assuming that there are, so you might as well assume there are.
Professing and Cheering

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... (read more)

Bayesian Judo

I've mentioned before that my attempt to salvage a belief in God ultimately resulted in something like H. P. Lovecraft's Azathoth, which might not be too surprising as it was that ardent materialist's parody of the God of the Old Testament.

Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

Some Dude, since when is war profitable? It can be extremely expensive, and you can't really have both sides win, yet it is often the case that both sides are eager for it.

Some Dude, since when is war profitable?

Since there existed private military contractors, or before that, since there existed spoils of war?

Two More Things to Unlearn from School

floccina, perhaps the real purpose of schools is sorting. Perhaps the idea that children must be formed into educated people by schools is just part of Pinker's "nurture assumption". Schools have an incentive to promote that assumption, as it gives them more reason to exist. However, if they don't actually know how to educate children (and as you note, it is hard to test whether they actually teach), why would we expect them to?

Two More Things to Unlearn from School

This is a good post.

I don't take nearly as cynical (or is it bitter & angry for seemingly no reason?) a view as Mencius Moldbug does, but you might be interested in his post on grad school.

Open Thread

I am kicking myself for not doing this earlier, but Hopefully Anonymous, I think you would be interested in the writings of Mencius Moldbug, beginning with his Formalist Manifesto and hopefully including Political Sanity in One Easy Step, The Magic of Symmetric Sovereignty and The Fnargland Grand Challenge.

Open Thread

Although in many respects I feel I am of like mind with Hopefully Anonymous, I am not as fully committed to maximizing life (my own or anybody's) as he is. For right now I would rather not die but continue living. However, I do not rule out that I might at some point or in some circumstances prefer death (the current lifespan found in first world countries is unusual and many cultures have glorified death, so I don't think it can be said that such commitment to survival is universal). This does not mean I have any misgivings about Eliezer's work toward lif... (read more)

Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

This post starts off talking about school shooters, but I think it could be applied to terrorists as well, although they have a movement and ideology behind them.

Correspondence Bias

Nick, are Hindus and other polytheists/animists/what-have-you atheists?

Nick Tarleton may change in many ways, but his DNA will not. As our genes are selfish, they cause us to single out the carrier of those genes (ourselves) as special and distinct from others and generally favor ourselves over others. This does remind me a bit of Lachmann vs Nozick on how far reductionism should go.

Matthew C, why does "Awareness" get a capital "A" and what do you mean by its "fundamental unity"?

0Biophile9yI would just like to point out that Nick's "definition of an atheist" was to "n[o]t believe in God. Polytheists do believe in a god, and another god, and then some more, so of course that isn't atheism. As for animism, that's completely compatible with belief in God, but I'd say it's also compatible with atheism. It's not rational, but there are certainly atheists in the world who aren't rational. I'm often annoyed at all the connotations that go along with atheism; really, it's hardly a category at all. It's like the article here about selling nonapples: [], I didn't see anything in that particular quote from Samuel Harris that seemed irrational, either, although I fully admit that I know very little about him, so for all I know, he might be).
Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

A great post, and one of the reasons I promote emotivism. I attribute a recent dissagreement (in which I admit I acted like a dick) to just this. The funny thing is that usually two people argue with each other, convinced the other is evil. In this case I am arguing with someone over just how scary some other people that we both don't care for are.

8AndyCossyleon11ySam Harris does not believe in a god exterior to the human experience. This accords perfectly well to most definitions of "atheist." He thinks that religious experience is valid insofar as it is a psychological phenomenon and that in eliminating sentient humans and similar creatures, this experience, along with "God," would vanish from the universe.
Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization

My solution to the problem was to own a really slow computer. It took so long to load up the game I had been playing that it always seemed preferrable to log on to forums and complain about games not matching up to ye olden days than actually playing any. Eventually I found even that was taking up too much of my time and now games are just a thing of the past. The question of whether I put too much time into reading blogs is still open though.

Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided

Nobody chooses their genes or their early environment. The choices they make are determined by those things (and some quantum coin flips). Given what we know of neuroscience how can anyone deserve anything?

0EngineerofScience6yThis article might answer that questionDiseased thinking: dissolving questions about disease []
4smk8yThey can't. The whole idea of "deserving" is... icky. I try not to use it in figuring out my own morals, although I do sometimes use the word "deserve" in casual speech/thought. When I'm trying to be more conscientious and less casual, I don't use it.
9BlueAjah9y"Nobody chooses their genes or their early environment. The choices they make are determined by those things (and some quantum coin flips)." All true so far... but here comes the huge logical leap... "Given what we know of neuroscience how can anyone deserve anything?" What does neuroscience showing the cause of why bad people choose to do bad things, have to do with whether or not bad people deserve bad things to happen to them? The idea that bad people who choose to do bad things to others deserve bad things to happen to them has never been based on an incorrect view of neuroscience, and neuroscience doesn't change that even slightly.
Politics is the Mind-Killer

Like Eliezer, I would prefer if contemporary politics did not show up much here, and I do not identify with either political party. What I wonder though, is whether we would feel the same way if we did identify with one of the parties. Perhaps a Republican might, seeing as how the Republicans have not been looking as good recently while a Democrat would be happy for the latest mess their opponents are in to be highlighted. If the weblog lasted long enough perhaps both sides could become tired enough of their side being kicked while down to come to a gentle... (read more)

-2RPMcMurphy6yDid you mean any political party? There are over ten in the USA, and four of them have the capacity to win the presidency, as of 2012. See Independent Political Report []
0adolthitler10yI think the point is where the criticism is aimed and how it is made. First to be dispassionate yourself by not being wed to your desired outcome and to ask questions of the "other" party that should lead them to your view if they do not have a rational reason for their view, and they are rational. Second criticise the ideas, not the person or organisation. In that way the ideas fight it out, and you don't get injured, and you award a medal to the winning idea.