wnoise

Open Thread, May 19 - 25, 2014

A video of Daniel Dennett giving an excellent talk on free will at the Santa Fe Institute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGPIzSe5cAU It largely follows the general Less Wrong consensus, but dives into how this construction is useful in the punishment and moral agent contexts more than I've seen developed here.

Solve Psy-Kosh's non-anthropic problem

That does look right.

LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance

Altering the structure of divorce alters the payoff-matrix for behaviors inside the marriage itself.

Stuff That Makes Stuff Happen

It's helpful to go a bit further for these corrections. What's the reason not to use "uncorrelated" here?

In ordinary English, "uncorrelated" is indeed used for this (and a host of other things, because ordinary English is very vague). The problem is that it means something else in probability theory, namely the much weaker statement E(a-E(a)) E(b-E(b)) = E((a-E(a)(b-E(b)), which is implied by independence (p(a,b) = p(a)p(b)), but not does not imply independence. If we want to speak to those who know some probability theory, this clash of meaning is a problem. If we want to educate those who don't know probability theory to understand the literature and be able to talk with those who do know probability theory, this is also a problem.

(Note too that uncorrelatedness is only invariant under affine remappings (X and Y chosen as the coordiantes of a random point on the unit circle are uncorrelated. X^2 and Y^2 are perfectly correlated. Nor does correlated directly make any sense for non-numerical variables (though you could probably lift to the simplex and use homogeneous coordinates to get a reasonable meaning).)

A probability question

The usual situation is that both detectors actually have some correlation to Q, and thereby have some correlation to each other.

This need not be the case. Consider a random variable Z that is the sum of two random independent variables X and Y. Expert A knows X, and is thus correlated with Z. Expert B knows Y and is thus correlated with Z. Expert A and B can still be uncorrelated. In fact, you can make X and Y slightly anticorrelated, and still have them both be positively correlated with Z.

Undiscriminating Skepticism

That's the big one I can think of, and this usually arises in a very different context where it's easy to dehumanize those forced to take such tests: alleged criminals and children.

(Even in these contexts, peeing in a cup or taking a breathalyzer is quite a bit less severe than enduring a forced pregnancy. Mandatory blood draws for DUIs do upset a signifianct number of people. How you feel about employment tests and sports doping might depend on how you feel about economic coercion and whether it's truly "mandatory".)

Undiscriminating Skepticism

We don't, for instance, require people to donate redundant organs, nor even blood. Nor is organ donation mandatory even after death (prehaps it should be).

What are some cases where we do require people to give up their bodily autonomy?

Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 4

They essentially have already updated on their own testimony.

Ask an experimental physicist

Operationally, it's a distinction without a difference.

Are you asserting that "smart" is top decile to 2.5%, or that sociopathy is correlated to intelligence?

I'd consider a sigma away from the mean to be smart, so 0.3-1.3%.