Difference between revisions of "Less Wrong/2007 Articles/Summaries"

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[http://lesswrong.com/lw/h2/blue_or_green_on_regulation/ Blue or Green on Regulation?]
 
[http://lesswrong.com/lw/h2/blue_or_green_on_regulation/ Blue or Green on Regulation?]
  
 
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In a rationalist community, it should not be necessary to talk in the usual circumlocutions when talking about empirical predictions.  We should know that people think of arguments as soldiers and recognize the behavior in our selves.  When you think about all the truth values around you come to see that much of what the Greens said about the downside of the Blue policy was true - that, left to the mercy of the free market, many people would be crushed by powers far beyond their understanding, nor would they deserve it.  And imagine that most of what the Blues said about the downside of the Green policy was also true - that regulators were fallible humans with poor incentives, whacking on delicately balanced forces with a sledgehammer.
  
 
[http://lesswrong.com/lw/h3/superstimuli_and_the_collapse_of_western/ Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization]
 
[http://lesswrong.com/lw/h3/superstimuli_and_the_collapse_of_western/ Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization]

Revision as of 09:39, 6 August 2009

Some Claims Are Just Too Extraordinary

Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals are more worthy of trust than what you detect with your own ears and eyes.

Outside the Laboratory

Written regarding the proverb "Outside the laboratory, scientists are no wiser than anyone else." The case is made that if this proverb is in fact true, that's quite worrisome because it implies that scientists are blindly following scientific rituals without understanding why. In particular, it is argued that if a scientist is religious, they probably don't understand the foundations of science very well.

Politics is the Mind-Killer

People act funny when they talk about politics. In the ancestral environment, being on the wrong side might get you killed, and being on the correct side might get you sex, food or let you kill your hated rival. If you must talk about politics (for the purposes of teaching rationality) use examples from the distant past. Politics is an extension of war by other means. Arguments are soldiers. Once you know which side you're on, you must support all arguments of that side, and attack all arguments that appear to favor the enemy side; otherwise it's like stabbing your soldiers in the back - providing aid and comfort to the enemy. If your topic legitimately relates to attempts to ban evolution in school curricula, then go ahead and talk about it - but don't blame it explicitly on the whole Republican Party (Democratic/Liberal/Conservative/Nationalist).

Just Lose Hope Already

Casey Serin owes banks 2.2 million dollars after lying on mortgage applications in order to simultaneously buy 8 different houses in different states. The sad part is that he hasn't given up - hasn't declared bankruptcy, and just attempted to purchase another house. While this behavior seems merely stupid, it recalls Merton and Scholes of Long-Term Capital Management who made 40% profits for three years and then lost it all when they overleveraged. Each profession has rules on how to be successful which makes rationality seem unlikely to help greatly in life. Yet it seems that one of the greater skills is not being stupid, which rationality does help with.

You Are Not Hiring the Top 1%


Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided


Burch's Law

Just because your ethics require an action doesn't mean the universe will exempt you from the consequences. Manufactured cars kill an estimated 1.2 million people per year worldwide. (Roughly 2% of the annual planetary death rate.) Not everyone who dies in an automobile accident is someone who decided to drive a car. The tally of casualties includes pedestrians. It includes minor children who had to be pushed screaming into the car on the way to school. And yet we still manufacture automobiles, because, well, we're in a hurry. The point is that the consequences don't change no matter how good the ethical justification sounds.

The Scales of Justice, the Notebook of Rationality


Blue or Green on Regulation?

In a rationalist community, it should not be necessary to talk in the usual circumlocutions when talking about empirical predictions. We should know that people think of arguments as soldiers and recognize the behavior in our selves. When you think about all the truth values around you come to see that much of what the Greens said about the downside of the Blue policy was true - that, left to the mercy of the free market, many people would be crushed by powers far beyond their understanding, nor would they deserve it. And imagine that most of what the Blues said about the downside of the Green policy was also true - that regulators were fallible humans with poor incentives, whacking on delicately balanced forces with a sledgehammer.

Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization

At least 3 people have died by playing online games non-stop. How is it that a game is so enticing that after 57 straight hours playing, a person would rather spend the next hour playing the game over sleeping or eating? A candy bar is superstimulus, it corresponds overwhelmingly well to the EEA healthy food characteristics of sugar and fat. If people enjoy these things, the market will respond to provide as much of it as possible, even if other considerations make it undesirable.

Useless Medical Disclaimers


Archimedes's Chronophone

Imagine that Archimedes of Syracuse invented a device that allows you to talk to him. Imagine the possibilities for improving history! Unfortunately, the device will not literally transmit your words - it transmits cognitive strategies. If you advise giving women the vote, it comes out as advising finding a wise tyrant, the Greek ideal of political discourse. Under such restrictions, what do you say to Archimedes?


Chronophone Motivations


Self-deception: Hypocrisy or Akrasia?


Tsuyoku Naritai! (I Want To Become Stronger)


Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct


"Statistical Bias"


Useful Statistical Biases


The Error of Crowds


The Majority Is Always Wrong


Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People


Debiasing as Non-Self-Destruction


"Inductive Bias"


Suggested Posts


Futuristic Predictions as Consumable Goods

The Friedman Unit is named after Thomas Friedman who 8 times (between 2003 and 2007) called "the next six months" the critical period in Iraq. This is because future predictions are created and consumed in the now; they are used to create feelings of delicious goodness or delicious horror now, not provide useful future advice.

Marginally Zero-Sum Efforts


Priors as Mathematical Objects


Lotteries: A Waste of Hope


New Improved Lottery


Your Rationality is My Business


Consolidated Nature of Morality Thread


Feeling Rational


Universal Fire


Universal Law


Think Like Reality


Beware the Unsurprised


The Third Alternative


Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism


Scope Insensitivity


One Life Against the World


Risk-Free Bonds Aren't


Correspondence Bias


Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?


Open Thread


Two More Things to Unlearn from School


Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences)


Belief in Belief


Bayesian Judo


Professing and Cheering


Belief as Attire


Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable


The Importance of Saying "Oops"


Focus Your Uncertainty


The Proper Use of Doubt


The Virtue of Narrowness


You Can Face Reality


The Apocalypse Bet


Your Strength as a Rationalist


I Defy the Data!


Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence


Conservation of Expected Evidence


Update Yourself Incrementally


One Argument Against An Army


Hindsight bias


Hindsight Devalues Science


Scientific Evidence, Legal Evidence, Rational Evidence


Is Molecular Nanotechnology "Scientific"?


Fake Explanations


Guessing the Teacher's Password


Science as Attire


Fake Causality


Semantic Stopsigns


Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions


The Futility of Emergence


Positive Bias: Look Into the Dark


Say Not "Complexity"


My Wild and Reckless Youth


Failing to Learn from History


Making History Available


Stranger Than History


Explain/Worship/Ignore?


"Science" as Curiosity-Stopper


Absurdity Heuristic, Absurdity Bias


Availability


Why is the Future So Absurd?


Anchoring and Adjustment


The Crackpot Offer


Radical Honesty


We Don't Really Want Your Participation


Applause Lights


Rationality and the English Language


Human Evil and Muddled Thinking


Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased)


Why I'm Blooking


Planning Fallacy


Kahneman's Planning Anecdote


Conjunction Fallacy


Conjunction Controversy (Or, How They Nail It Down)


Burdensome Details


What is Evidence?


The Lens That Sees Its Flaws


How Much Evidence Does It Take?


Einstein's Arrogance


Occam's Razor


9/26 is Petrov Day


How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3


The Bottom Line


What Evidence Filtered Evidence?


Rationalization


Recommended Rationalist Reading


A Rational Argument


We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think


Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points


The Meditation on Curiosity


Singlethink


No One Can Exempt You From Rationality's Laws


A Priori


Priming and Contamination


Do We Believe Everything We're Told?


Cached Thoughts


The "Outside the Box" Box


Original Seeing


How to Seem (and Be) Deep


The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence


Hold Off On Proposing Solutions


"Can't Say No" Spending


Congratulations to Paris Hilton


Pascal's Mugging: Tiny Probabilities of Vast Utilities


Illusion of Transparency: Why No One Understands You


Self-Anchoring


Expecting Short Inferential Distances


Explainers Shoot High. Aim Low!


Double Illusion of Transparency


No One Knows What Science Doesn't Know


Why Are Individual IQ Differences OK?


Bay Area Bayesians Unite!


Motivated Stopping and Motivated Continuation


Torture vs. Dust Specks


A Case Study of Motivated Continuation


A Terrifying Halloween Costume


Fake Justification


An Alien God


The Wonder of Evolution


Evolutions Are Stupid (But Work Anyway)


Natural Selection's Speed Limit and Complexity Bound


Beware of Stephen J. Gould


The Tragedy of Group Selectionism


Fake Selfishness


Fake Morality


Fake Optimization Criteria


Adaptation-Executers, not Fitness-Maximizers


Evolutionary Psychology


Protein Reinforcement and DNA Consequentialism


Thou Art Godshatter


Terminal Values and Instrumental Values


Evolving to Extinction


No Evolutions for Corporations or Nanodevices


The Simple Math of Everything


Conjuring An Evolution To Serve You


Artificial Addition


Truly Part Of You


Not for the Sake of Happiness (Alone)


Leaky Generalizations


The Hidden Complexity of Wishes


Lost Purposes


Purpose and Pragmatism


The Affect Heuristic


Evaluability (And Cheap Holiday Shopping)

Is there a way to exploit human biases to give the impression of largess with cheap gifts? Yes. Humans compare the value/price of an object to other similar objects. A $399 Eee PC is cheap (because other laptops are more expensive), yet a $399 PS3 is expensive (because the alternatives are less expensive). To give the impression of expense in a gift chose a cheap class of item (say, a candle) and buy the most expensive one around.

Unbounded Scales, Huge Jury Awards, & Futurism


The Halo Effect


Superhero Bias


Mere Messiahs


Affective Death Spirals


Resist the Happy Death Spiral


Uncritical Supercriticality


Fake Fake Utility Functions


Fake Utility Functions


Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs


When None Dare Urge Restraint


The Robbers Cave Experiment


Misc Meta


Every Cause Wants To Be A Cult


Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence


Argument Screens Off Authority


Hug the Query


Guardians of the Truth


Guardians of the Gene Pool


Guardians of Ayn Rand


The Litany Against Gurus


Politics and Awful Art


Two Cult Koans


False Laughter


Effortless Technique


Zen and the Art of Rationality


The Amazing Virgin Pregnancy


Asch's Conformity Experiment


On Expressing Your Concerns


Lonely Dissent


To Lead, You Must Stand Up


Cultish Countercultishness


My Strange Beliefs