Tuesday, September 16, 2014 Monday, September 15, 2014



I do not think that LW feels like a cult from the inside at all.

Offtopic, but: what does a cult feel like from the inside?

Maybe I should have phrased this as looks like from the inside?

What I meant was like, intrinsically encouraging having idols, us-vs.-them mentality, disregard for outgroup people, initiations, abusive behaviour from the upper echelon disguised as kindness…

So, basically, an abusive relationship with a group.

(Source: youneedacat)

Anonymous said: Unpopular opinion: not everyone is "beautiful, just in their own way". Some people are ugly, and that's ok. There is too much fucking focus on "being beautiful" anyway, when beauty is not even that useful all in all so it's kind of a pointless thing to convince everyone that they are beautiful.


strongly agree| agree | neutral| disagree | strongly disagree

I believe that someone out there finds every conceivable body type sexually attractive, that people are lied to about this, and that it can be helpful to point this out.

I also believe there is too much goddamn emphasis on being pretty. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I’ve been following the whole less wrong related fiasco, and we’ve finally gotten to the point where people are saying Eliezer Yudkowsky is too arrogant. Specifically, that he “thinks he’s too smart for college and everyone supports him in this.” 

And I only exist around the fringes of the rationalist community and have trouble with the sequences and don’t claim to be much of an expert on anything at all. I was upset before, but I’m furious now. 

I don’t want to use disability language because I know he doesn’t, but from the autobiographical stuff I’ve read it seems relatively clear to me that he’s somehow neuroatypical, and that school was really not a good place for him. And these are disability advocates, the first people who would say that college is sometimes inaccessible and it’s not the right place for everyone, but as soon as someone dares to use different rhetoric and not stress how disabled they are, they’re arrogant and getting above themselves 

I am not saying that framing things in terms of disabilities is bad. frame my struggles with higher education in terms of disability, because that is what’s helpful for me. But it is transparently obvious to me that the exact same thing is happening here, just framed differently. Abrasive people deserve sympathy and understanding, this is not a complicated concept. 

And, honestly, this is personal. Because Eliezer Yudkowsky is definitely abrasive and I find hpmor really interesting but also kind of obnoxious and the sequences cognitively inaccessible, but he reads like someone who thinks like me in a way very very few people do. He’s very low mental energy, like me, and he was always the weird genius kid, like me, he burned out on school early on, like me, except he left and I didn’t realize that leaving was an option.

When people say that he’s too arrogant or thinks he’s too smart for college, what I hear is that I am full of myself, that if I ever get the idea that it’s okay to do things in a way that works with my brain, not against it, I am a terrible person and deserve to be shunned, that if I’m proud of myself for being smart enough to work outside the system that is hurting me, I do not deserve any support. 

Fuck this. Fuck this. I only wish I could think so highly of myself. 

Friday, September 12, 2014


After calming down a bit after the whole thing (I’m not giving it a name, if it has a name, it becomes history) I feel like it could be useful to write introductory thingies about rationality for a tumblr audience. Not on the same level as scientiststhesis writes. Simpler, more basic and more applied (for lack of a better word). Possibly things to discuss:

  • What rationalists mean with the word “rational” and what non-rationalists hear
  • The problems with Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and why that fanfic is important despite those problems
  • The concept of “heroic responsibility”
  • An explanation of the quote “You are personally responsible to become more moral than the society you grew up with,” and why it shouldn’t get the bad response tumblr has given it.
  • Something something transhumanism

There are other interesting topics to talk about (What is Bayes and why should you care), but these are the first that come to mind and are feasible to write for me.

Isn’t this a good description of the rational thing?

And yeah I agree with you. I want to help you write this, if you’ll have me!

Ethical thought experiment


Say you were a railway controller, and you knew there was a train heading towards a bridge that was out. The rail has a point where it diverges off to a different path at a switch, before the bridge.
You have a choice: leave the switch as is, dooming the 50 people on the train, or switch the tracks and send the train on the divergent path.

HOWEVER, if you do this, there is a 33% chance the train will derail into a poorly placed Bomb Factory, which will result in a detonation killing all of the passengers AND a further 500 people.

So, given these two options, which is the better choice?

Anyone care to help?

, anyone?

I don’t get it. It looks to me like the maths is clearly in favour of not switching? Not-switch: 50 people die with probability 1; switch: 550 people die with probability 1/3, no one dies with probability 2/3; expected utilities are respectively -50 and -183.3.

Am I missing anything?