Finished reading the “How To Actually Change Your Mind” Sequence at http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/How_To_Actually_Change_Your_Mind
Overly Convenient Excuses
x * The Proper Use of Humility
x * The Third Alternative
x * Privileging the Hypothesis (and its requisites, like Locating the hypothesis)
x * But There’s Still A Chance, Right?
x o The Fallacy of Gray
x o Absolute Authority
x o How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3
x o Infinite Certainty
x o 0 And 1 Are Not Probabilities
x * Feeling Rational
x * The Importance of Saying “Oops”
x o The Crackpot Offer
x o Just Lose Hope Already
x * The Proper Use of Doubt
x * You Can Face Reality
x * The Meditation on Curiosity
x * Something to Protect
x * No One Can Exempt You From Rationality’s Laws
x * Leave a Line of Retreat
x * Crisis of Faith
x o The Ritual (short story)
Eliezer has tons of great points in these posts. I found this sequence to be of general high quality. Some of the posts summarize thoughts I’ve believed in a fuzzy or haphazard way before so I appreciate reading them from a new, more precise point of view. Other posts are exposing me to great new ideas and ways of thinking which I am already grateful for. It feels good to be getting stronger.
I’m still skeptical of some ideas though. His blanket call for people to be less confident and instead be better Bayesian reasoners seem to ignore the actual cognitive effect of putting his advice into practice. Specifically,
1) Our monkey brains are biased towards internal self-doubt (even if they externally profess over-confidence to shore that up).
2) Our monkey brain can’t help but believe some of every wrong idea it’s presented with… even ideas with no evidence (anchoring)! So actively disbelieving all incoming information and only considering it after dismissing it is more or less required to stay sane in our world, given our brains.
3) Being correct is frequently a minority position. So the most correct people face the most social pressure to update their beliefs back to incorrect, social norms. Being less confident in general leaves correct (monkey brain) reasoners both disadvantaged and generally worse off.
4) The vast majority of people just don’t have experience doing anything more difficult than dealing with the fallout of a lifetime of their own failure/stupidity. So when you’re attempting to actually succeed at something exceptional in your own life, expect all external social feedback to be either incorrect
or correct only by accident.
Continuing on to the Reductionism Sequence http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Reductionism_%28sequence%29
- Dissolving the Question
- Wrong Questions
- Righting a Wrong Question
- Mind Projection Fallacy
- Probability is in the Mind
- The Quotation is not the Referent
- Qualitatively Confused
- Explaining vs. Explaining Away
- Fake Reductionism
- Savanna Poets
- The subsequence Joy in the Merely Real (main post here)
- Hand vs. Fingers
- Angry Atoms
- Heat vs. Motion
- Brain Breakthrough! It’s Made of Neurons!
- Reductive Reference
- The subsequence on Zombies
- Excluding the Supernatural
- Psychic Powers