Richard_Kennaway

Richard_Kennaway's Comments

Should we stop using the term 'Rationalist'?

"Rationalism" has the baggage of having meant the idea of finding truth by pure reason, without needing to look at the world.

"Empiricism" has the baggage of having meant the idea of finding truth just by looking at the world, without applying reason to discern its inner structures.

"Bayesianism" is far too narrow.

"Baconianism" might be close enough, but too obscure.

There does not appear to be any word that means "finding the truth by reason and observation, not separate from each other, but different aspects of a single method, as described in the Sequences", however many of the individual ideas there can be found in sources predating them.

TruetoThis's Shortform

I am not sure what that is.

It still takes effort to travel along a path. And there are many paths to choose from.

TruetoThis's Shortform

Yes. Therefore you should not do that. "Least resistance" and "going with the flow" are for those who want to remain asleep, to do nothing, to be nothing.

Should we stop using the term 'Rationalist'?

In English it means a particular kind of amateur: one without commitment, a dabbler, whose knowledge is merely superficial. "Amateur" is also used in the same sense, although it has not entirely lost the meaning of one who engages in something for the love of it, and may be (and occasionally is) the equal of a professional.

Are "superforecasters" a real phenomenon?

By definition, the top 2% are always better than the other 98%.

Why aren’t we testing general intelligence distribution?

To what extent has that been empirically tested?

The page you linked only gives a weak argument (3 genes to give a normal distribution of colour in maize?) and no references to empirical observations of the distribution. The video on the page, talking about skin colour, does not claim anything about the distribution, beyond the fact that there is a continuous range. Even with all of the mixing that has taken place in the last few centuries, the world does not look to me like skin colour is normally distributed.

Even Fisher's original paper on the subject says only "The great body of available statistics show us that the deviations of a human measurement from its mean follow very closely the Normal Law of Errors" near the beginning, then proceeds with pure mathematics.

I can think of several ways in which a polygenic trait might not be normally distributed. I do not know whether these ever, rarely, or frequently happen. Only a small number of genes involved. Large differences in the effects of these genes. Multiplicative rather than additive affect. The central limit theorem doesn't work so well in those situations.

And the graph of raw scores in the OP is clearly not a normal distribution. Would you justify transforming it into a normal distribution because that is how the "real" thing "must" be distributed? That would render the belief in normal distributions untestable.

How to convince Y that X has committed a murder with >0.999999 probability?

And yet, despite saying "Inconceivable!" they did collect their winnings and buy the mansion.

Utility need not be bounded
If you add +1 up from 0 and do -1 from w you never cross because those are part of separate archimedean fields.

Ah, you are using "field" in a different sense (than "something with addition and multiplication obeying the usual laws").

How to convince Y that X has committed a murder with >0.999999 probability?
I don't know why the last comment is relevant. I agree that 1 in a million odds happen 1 in a million times. I also agree that people win the lottery. My interpretation is that it means "sometimes people say impossible when they really mean extremely unlikely", which I agree is true.

The point was not that people win the lottery. It's that when they do, they are able to update against the over 100 million-to-one odds that this has happened. "No, no," say the clever people who think the human mind is incapable of such a shift in log-odds, "far more likely that you've made a mistake, or the lottery doesn't even exist, or you've had a hallucination." The clever people are wrong.

How to convince Y that X has committed a murder with >0.999999 probability?

In the log-odds space, both directions look the same. You can wander up as easily as down.

I don't know what probability space you have in mind for the set of all possible phenomena leading to an error, that would give a basis for saying that most errors will lie in one direction.

When I calculated the odds for the Euromillions lottery, my first calculation omitted to divide by a factor to account for there being no ordering on the chosen numbers, giving a probability for winning that was too small by a factor of 240. The true value is about 140 million to 1.

I have noted before that ordinary people, too ignorant to know that clever people think it impossible, manage to collect huge jackpots. It is literally news when they do not.

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