Wiki Contributions


Yup, sounds about right. The phrases 'snide intellectualism' and 'ivory tower' are things I've heard more than once. From my significant other, no less. I know his response is an aversion to the site and not to intellectualism in general, or else, well, he wouldn't be my significant other, but it's incredibly frustrating. I try to bring up topics in a general sense instead of 'I read this really great article on Less Wrong...' but it's always difficult to avoid using references from people here if it's a topic that LW deals with often.

I suppose this would be a good point to say I'm interested in advice from anyone who has successfully converted a friend or family member's opinion of the site from knee-jerk negative to neutral or positive, given that I spent most of yesterday fuming about something absolutely ridiculous and insulting that was said in response to me bringing up the topic of cryonics.

Fair. That's how I took it at first, and why I liked it more then.

The injunction to measure aversion strength by effect on behavior is one I think I will find particularly useful - in particular because I already consider myself good at dealing with strong feeling aversions. If an aversion feels strong, it tends to make me question myself rather pointedly about why I feel that way, whereas those that feel only like a mild preference or a case of 'have better things to do' have not, in the past, set off those alarm bells. I quite enjoyed this post.

Do you really think saying less than necessary is good advice? That one seemed intuitively good to me at first glance, but then I thought about it a bit more. If I seek to communicate clearly, I should definitely say as much as necessary.

Otherwise, I heartily agree with you.

Very few of my friends will read anything from LW that I link to them, and I suspect that they would find this link absolutely hilarious. I have never managed to get any of them to give a generalized account of exactly what they think is so systematically annoying about LW, though - they call the whole site 'pompous' and stop there.

I have noticed that I become more tense when reading effective arguments for Christianity and more relaxed when reading good arguments against it

What do you consider an effective argument for Christianity, and what sorts of thoughts do you find yourself thinking when you encounter such an argument? It might be useful to write them down.

I agree. I didn't actually expect it to get promoted, since it doesn't fit the pattern of things I've seen on the very front. I'll show how new I am here and ask, though - Eliezer's comment read like he had been presented with some expectation that this be promoted. Is that because posts that get upvoted this far typically (or always) are?

Since I didn't ask, or state that I thought it should be, it seemed a bit out-of-the-blue, which did then and is still causing me to try to figure out whether his objection was only to the idea of promotion, or if he objected to promotion because he thought it shouldn't be here at all.

On the title - the idea was, for this post specifically, to sketch the general principles that define both the space of reasonable approaches and likely outcomes in biological problems. I do think I did an underwhelming job demonstrating that link, and if that is what you mean or close to it, then I agree with you and will take it as a reminder to work on cohesion/full clarity of purpose in future posts. (If it's not, I invite further clarification.)

As for whether it's appropriate for LW... well, since I have a fairly good idea of what I'm going to write on the subject in the future, I think it is, because I intend to keep it targeted and relevant to issues the community has interest in - offering either another angle from which to consider them, or more background information from which to evaluate them, or ideally both. As I've said before, I've no desire to write a textbook, and there's plenty of other places on the internet we could go if we wanted to read the equivalent of one.

However, if you don't think that is enough to be relevant here, I would very much like to hear what, if anything, would make such a set of posts relevant to you (not trying to shift the reference frame - I mean relevant to you in the context of LW). The large positive response I received previously and in this post indicates to me that it's worth continuing in some form.

Yes! Thank you for linking that thread; I hadn't seen it.

To the best of my knowledge - and that deserves a disclaimer, since I'm a grad student in science and not yet completely versed in the legal gymnastics - it is changing, but any loosening of policy restrictions only comes with exceptional evidence that current norms are grossly unnecessary. In a general sense, bioengineering and tech started out immersed in a climate of fear and overblown, Crighton-esque 'what-if' scenarios with little or no basis in fact, and that climate is slowly receding to more informed levels of caution.

Policy also assuredly changes in the other direction as new frontiers are reached, to account for increased abilities of researchers to manipulate these systems.

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