Viliam's Comments

Is backwards causation necessarily absurd?
Another relativistic argument against time flowing is that simultaneity is only defined relative to a reference frame. Therefore, there is no unified present which is supposed to be what is flowing.

Relativity does not make the arrow of time relative to observer. Events in one's future light cone remain in their future light cone also from a perspective of someone else.

Predictors exist: CDT going bonkers... forever

Even if most people on LW are probably familiar with the abbreviation, someone may come here following a link from elsewhere.

Is it worthwhile to save the cord blood and tissue?

There is also the question of how soon to cut the cord. The reason for cutting it a bit later is that the blood from the cord still keeps flowing into the baby. Unfortunately, I completely forgot why those few extra drops are supposed to be so important, but I was told the reason years ago and it sounded just as important as the reason for storing the cord blood.

Rationalist Scriptures?
Related, has anyone compiled a list of "Rationalist Wisdom"? Like a bunch of sayings that distill Rationalism down that we can point newbs to?

Writing is a skill; you can't simply decide to do it and automatically do it well, even if you believe it is an important thing to do. I hope that in future, some people with sufficiently high writing skills will become rationalists, and one of them will prioritize making simple accessible rationality materials for beginners.

More precisely, writing is more than one skill. I mean, Eliezer definitely is good at writing -- the success of HPMoR is an evidence for that -- and yet it's his Sequences that people complain about. Seemingly, "good at blogging" and "good at writing fiction" doesn't imply "good at writing textbooks for beginners". So it's the person good at writing textbooks for beginners we are waiting for, to join the rationality community and produce the textbooks.

Dominic Cummings: "we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos"

Yep. Looking around me, getting Slovakia out of EU would be relatively easier task than making it adopt UBI, for the reasons you mentioned (plus one you didn't: availability of foreign helpers).

Dominic Cummings: "we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos"

Burning down a building is easier than constructing it.

People are celebrating Dominic Cummings for changing the building. I'd like to wait until it turns out what specific kind of change it was.

In the meanwhile, I accept the argument that even burning down the building requires more skills and agency than merely talking about the building. In this way, Dominic Cummings has already risen above the level of the rationalist plebs. But how high, that still remains to be seen.

Dominic Cummings: "we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos"
There is something in the process there that ought to be emulated, even if you disagree with the instrumental outcome.

I see your point, but the outcome is important, if you want to improve things, not just become famous for changing them.

Meta-discussion from "Circling as Cousin to Rationality"

If I may offer my opinion, it seems to me that this debate was a proxy for a long-term problem, which I would roughly describe as "how much exactness should be the norm on LW?".

When Eliezer was writing the Sequences, it was simple: whatever he considered right, that was the norm. There were articles with numbers and equations, articles that quoted scientific research, articles that expressed personal opinion or preference, and articles with fictional evidence. And because all those articles came from the same person, together they created the style that has attracted many readers.

But, now that it is a community blog, there are people with preference for numbers and equations, and people with preference for personal opinion. It's like they speak different languages. And sometimes they disagree with each other. And when they do, it is difficult to resolve the situation, because each of them expects different norms of... what kind of argument is valid, and what kind of content belongs here.

If we limit ourselves to things we can define and describe exactly, the extreme of that would be merely discussing equations. Because the real world is messy and complicated, and people are even more messy and complicated. And there is nothing wrong with the equations -- the articles on math or decision theory are great and definitely a part of the LW intellectual tradition -- but we also want to use rationality in real life, as humans, in interaction with other humans, and we want to optimize this, even if we cannot describe it exactly.

The opposite extreme, obviously, is introducing all kinds of woo. Meditation feels right, and Buddhism feels right, and Circling feels right, and... dunno, maybe tomorrow praying will feel right, and homeopathy will feel right. (And even if they won't, the question is what algoritm will draw the line. Is it "I was introduced to it by a person identifying as a rationalist" vs "I have already seen this done by people who don't identify as rationalists"?)

I would like this community to retain the ability to speak both languages. But it doesn't work well when different people specialize in different languages. At best, it would be a website that hosts two kinds of completely unrelated topics. At worst, those two groups would attack each other.

Dominic Cummings: "we’re hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos"
I think of Schelling points as the the things that result without specific coordination, but only common background knowledge.

Yes, but specific coordination today can create the common background knowledge for tomorrow.

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