October 24, 2016

A look through the flawed lens Oct. 24


Articles I see that please or excite

Proper use of humility: Daniel Dewey owns up to missing his giving pledge on the EA forum, and shares his plans for how to do better.

Conspiring with the Enemy and Cooperating in Warfare by Yvonne Chiu. Some faith in humanity restored. Not all of it, but some.

Andrew Gelman posts about whether it's fair to use bayesian reasoning to convict someone of a crime. This is a conversation I want to see happen, luckily there is a comments section to browse!

Siderea talks about what Trump's video tape does and notably doesn't mean. I have gotten extremely sick of 'my' people using Trump's excesses as an excuse to dismiss all notion of truth-seeking and integrity.
I think some people on the Right are hearing that video very, very differently than people on the Left do. And I think it important for the Left that they understand the various ways the Right is taking this. It is a crash course in feminist history, and an orientation to something important that is going on right now.
Xenosystems makes a similar point.

A good angle on the parallel moralities of America's political parties made at Meaningness.

David Henderson at Econlog clarifies that "Person X did this bad thing" and variations are not overall judgments about the person. If you try to argue based on a false statement, then truth-seekers are going to correct you even if (especially if) they agree with you.

I found the precurser to Uriel of Unsong. It's really fascinating seeing how fictional rationalist universes have definite meta-causality.

Miri at BruteReason deconstructs jealousy. It's a good read for how to deal with a difficult, complex emotion.

Sarah Constantin creates a new metaphor-god called Ra, to join the pantheon of Moloch and Azathoth. It's approximately the human fault of valuing smooth ambiguity and vagueness over flawed detail and concreteness. I write these flawed lens posts mainly to counteract the thing Sarah is pointing out here, so I think it's a pretty neat metaphor to have.


Frowny faces on activities that do not tend towards truth or fulfillment.

"The ingroup has a rich, varied and deep decision making process. The outgroup are simple creatures driven by base instincts." - ContentOfMedia

"creating an ideology incompatible with any modern political structure so that you can pity yourself as the underdog indefinately" - FatherOfNun

Laughing nervously at weird sun twitter posts - Me

Robin Hanson writes about the Smart Sincere Contrarian Trap; namely, the idea that smart sincere people champion ideas that lack fashionableness more often, and so high-status movers find them "Good to listen to behind the scenes to get ideas for possible new fashions, but bad to embrace publicly as a loyal group member". I spit on that. (The trap, not this post or smart sincere contrarians)


Open Questions

Scott Sumner at Econlog has such pretty graphs and I don't understand them any more than the last time they showed up. They look so concise and tidy... way too concise, I am majorly missing some context. Can you explain what all of the words and arrows refer to?

I am disagreeing pretty hard with this TheMoneyIllusion post (also Scott Sumner), it feels very dismissive of what I think are real concerns for people. Increasingly I find that Trump's aims point to very critical cultural issues that he is absolutely the wrong person to solve those problems. Admittedly, a lot of that results from numerous bad arguments from Dems (same poster talking about this, ironically) inoculating me against the better forms of the arguments. I really, really do not want the grievances of traditional, rural America to fade back into ridicule and obscurity with the fall of their ill-chosen champion. Do you predict post-election riots? What measures are in place to prevent them?
Andrew Sullivan, in nymag, has a long essay on how the information age kind of crushes our souls. I think we can mitigate the harm while keeping the benefits, but I don't see a lot of coordinated effort to do so. Rationalists pay a lot of lip service to binding ourselves to reality, but we definitely spring from an in-the-air intellectual demographic. What, besides meditation, do you do to stay connected physically and emotionally?

Jeff Kaufmann writes about the selection effect that goes on when some organizations aim for transparency full-time and others only sometimes. When one organization volunteers only good information, organizations that dutifully report the bad as well look comparatively awful. So, How completely would we have to reconstruct the education system to provide a firm base of statistical understanding and information?

If you think we're wrong or unhelpful, or if you aren't sure, tell us!

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