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User talk:Tetronian

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New logo large.png Welcome to RationalWiki, Tetronian!

Check out our guide for newcomers and our community standards!

Tell us how you found RationalWiki here!

If you are interested in contributing:

The goat is busy right now, so I'll welcome you on its behalf. --Concernedresident 20:58, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Thank you! I've been lurking here and at CP for a while, but I finally decided to join to write essays and comment on CP WIGOs. Tetronian 21:08, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
The "guess the viewpoint" game is an interesting idea. Looking forward to the essays.--Concernedresident 21:21, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll probably write one tonight or tomorrow. Tetronian 21:26, 20 September 2009 (UTC)


I have made you a sysop. Here is a handy guide or if you have any questions you can ask me - I am pretty big deal around here. Ace McWickedCurrently Lurking..... 02:09, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Wow, thanks! Tetronian 02:12, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Big what? I am eating Toast& honeychat 02:22, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
"Big deal," apparently. Tetronian 02:17, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
In his dreams! Sleepy.gif I am eating Toast& honeychat 02:22, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Come on now Toast, we all know that I am a bit of "Big Wheel" around these parts. I mean, lets just call a spade a spade OK. Ace McWickedI'm a pretty big deal around here... 03:05, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Don't get too excited Tetronian - Ace is funny, but he's actually some mental alcoholic from New Zealand. SJ Debaser 22:55, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
So I gathered after he did this the other day. But hey, what's wrong with a metal alcoholic from NZ? Tetronian you're clueless 23:01, 15 October 2009 (UTC)
Nothing at all. I fit about one and a half of those criteria - mental and on the way to becoming an alcoholic. SJ Debaser 11:24, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm totally mental - or "insane" as we say in the US of A - but sadly not an alcoholic yet. Tetronian you're clueless 13:34, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
But are you a semi-insane alcoholic from New Zealand? No. Therefore Ace > You. ĵ₳¥ášÇ♠ʘ things that make you go "hm" 13:34, 26 October 2009 (UTC)


is generally not a good idea as to convince other people to your mindset, Marcus. </joking around> Javasca₧ things that make you go "hm" 13:33, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes, tut tut. I mean, if you're already a sysop with this account, why ask for it for the old one :p Scarlet A.pngmoral 13:36, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
<snark> Hey, no one said I was intelligent... </snark> Tetronian you're clueless 13:50, 26 October 2009 (UTC)


...batshit crazy? Explain. Time word Hoover! 21:56, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

In theory it's not batshit crazy because there are some strong arguments to be made for it, but to live one's life as if there is no free will is, in my humble opinion, pretty messed up. Tetronian you're clueless 22:14, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Self promotion[edit]

That is all I am eating Toast& honeychat 00:20, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Thank you Toast, I figured there must have been something like this but was too lazy to ask. Tetronian you're clueless 00:22, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
A fun place to browse around.(self promotion warning) ('cause it's a lot of my creation) I am eating Toast& honeychat 00:33, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks again. That is a fun place to browse. Damn it, there goes my evening! Tetronian you're clueless 00:38, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

You wish[edit]

RW's biggest idiot? No sir, I'm afraid I'm the resident idiot here. Of course, you can be RW's biggest idiot number two. But I'm the current number one idiot. SJ Debaser 15:36, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Ah well. It was worth a shot. Fixing.... Tetronian you're clueless 16:10, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
Good... good... SJ Debaser 20:10, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I know when I am outclassed in the idiocy department. Tetronian you're clueless 21:34, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
RW Logo vector.svg

This is to certify that

Tetronian you're clueless

shall henceforth be known as


By SJ Debaser, on November 4, 2009

Rest assured that I believe you are almost as big an idiot as I am, and I am flattered that I have finally received my first certificate since I've been here - and in the idiocy department! Here's yours, congratulations!. SJ Debaser 23:37, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

And thank you for the flattering compliment and award! It's always good to be recognized by the best. Tetronian you're clueless 23:44, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
As far as I am concerned you are both fucking idiots. With nought grey steaky brain matter between ya. AceMcWicked 23:46, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I bet you're just jealous. (And thanks for the compliment!) Tetronian you're clueless 23:47, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I am only jealous of people who live on Islay and work at the Laphroaig factory. AceMcWicked 23:53, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
You mean this? Well yeah it's hard not to be jealous of them. Although you would have to put up with the Islay weather, which is probably unbearably rainy. So I'll take my 2nd biggest idiot award and stay in my comfortable chair. Tetronian you're clueless 00:00, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Support your local Mei[edit]

Good evening citizen. You have been selected for showing interest in your local Mei. Were you aware that you can show your support for the troops the Mei by sporting this userbox on your userpage? It's very pretty. This Christmas Mei will go hungry. Please help feed a hungry Mei today. Play, run, feed and feel good about This message brought to you by Mei. -- =w= 00:44, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Ha ha, nice userbox. Tetronian you're clueless 00:45, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
My alt. version says "Ice cream ice cream, fresh outta ice cream!" -- =w= 00:48, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Nice. Come to think of it, I could use some right now. Tetronian you're clueless 00:50, 17 November 2009 (UTC)


I got a "sorry you're blocked" msg during the EXACT THREE SECONDS when your block was working. -- =w= 23:15, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

AHAHAHAHAHA!!! Tetronian you're clueless 23:16, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
-- ^.^ 23:21, 18 November 2009 (UTC)


Are you also Retwa, by any chance? Zelmerszoetrop 21:03, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

To be perfectly honest I have no idea who/what that is. Can you enlighten me? Tetronian you're clueless 21:07, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

User:Retwa. Nevermind, I was wrong I guess. Zelmerszoetrop 21:10, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Egg salad[edit]

I'm actually not Jewish- I just live in a part of the world that has great bagels. I've also developed a real affinity for matzo ball soup. Corry 21:26, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Jewish food is awesome. My favorite is latkes. Tetronian you're clueless 21:27, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, those are nice. Also a big fan of the knish. Fried mashed potatoes. Brilliant. Corry 21:29, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, knish is good. Although I prefer kuegel, which for me is the definition of potato-y goodness. Damn, I'm so hungry right now!! Tetronian you're clueless 21:33, 22 November 2009 (UTC)


i would've emailed you this, but you haven't enabled it - basically that information wasn't mine to give out so i thought i'd get rid of it, especially given the reception of that guy. SJ Debaser 19:16, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Oh ok. Don't worry about it, not a big deal. Tetronian you're clueless 19:20, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Our fun wiki[edit]

"we are growing and having growing pains. But we will come out better for it. Be positive"

Thanks, that was a nice comment in this storm of discontent and stupidity. Thanks again. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:56, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

You're welcome Huw. We just need to have a positive attitude, that's all. Tetronian you're clueless 13:32, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

The smell of your fear.....[edit]

Gas Attack!!!
This page has been poison gas attacked by Jfaartz. Please refrain from inhaling in this vicinity until the all clear signal has sounded.

Smells like last night's beans and rice! Jfaartz (talk) 20:21, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

OH MY GOD!! EVERYBODY RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! Tetronian you're clueless 20:23, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
LMAO! Jfaartz (talk) 20:25, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
*passes out* Tetronian you're clueless 20:29, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
ROFLMAO! Jfaartz (talk) 20:30, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
*rolls over gagging* Must....find....gas mask.... Tetronian you're clueless 20:33, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Have at thee, sir[edit]

It looks like we both ended up editing Evolution:A Christian's Faith, and at some point the formatting got broken. Do you want to fix it, or shall I? --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 14:41, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Ignore that. It was my screw-up. I'll just revert it to your version. --ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 14:42, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah thank you sir. Tetronian you're clueless 14:43, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I fed the troll[edit]

My bad
We all fed the troll, myself included. On the bright side, now I have this wonderful image to play with! Tetronian you're clueless 19:14, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

1:27am 25/12[edit]

All the staff at McWicked Co. wish you a merry christmas.
Thanks very much Ace! A merry Christmas to you too. Tetronian you're clueless 12:50, 24 December 2009 (UTC)


Meicon.png MEMO
Happy New Year, Tetronian. This is from Useful Mei. It is an appropriate time for festivities, like alcohol. Today try not to eat too much, or too little.

-- =w= 06:40, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Happy New Year, Mei! Tetronian you're clueless 14:24, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

And this is why...[edit]

...I don't think anonymous IP editing is a great thing. TheoryOfPractice (talk) 15:17, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

I see what you mean. However, I still think there are far more productive IP editors than vandals. On TWIGO:CP, for example, there are a lot of inquisitive BoNs. Tetronian you're clueless 15:19, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't think you get it[edit]

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you have a poor humour filter. I mean, come on. This business with Neveruse, you seem to be elevating it to the level of a drama fest when its only a bit of fun. Lighten up! EdmundBurke (talk) 21:50, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

I do have a poor humo(u)r filter. But I also know that LX most likely doesn't appreciate what Neveruse is doing, and for that reason it probably shouldn't be done. Tetronian you're clueless 21:53, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Neveruse is doing something I should dislike? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:56, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
This. Or at least, I assumed you wouldn't like it. I may be woefully wrong. Tetronian you're clueless 21:57, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
ListenerX has had it out for me since day one and his personal vendetta neither sleeps nor grows weary. In fact, it seems to have grown stronger. You've had the wool pulled over your eyes, Tetronian. LX is only your friend until you're in his way. Then you'll find out who the victim really is. — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 22:01, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm guessing that's a joke. Or something. I can't really tell. That probably says a lot about me. Tetronian you're clueless 22:03, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Trust me, it's nothing compared to the things ListenerX says about you. — Sincerely, Neveruse / Talk / Block 22:04, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Heh heh. Tetronian you're clueless 22:05, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

"It occurs to me that Recent Changes is a list. Therefore it belongs to Mei."[edit]

YES. -- =w= 14:32, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Heck yes. And now that you are a Meirocrat you can exercise your authority over RC with the banhammer, user rights log, etc. And good old fashioned usefulness, of course. Tetronian you're clueless 14:35, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
On closer inspection it is a series of bullet points. So close and yet so far. -- =w= 14:37, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Technically that counts. Bullets are usually used to organize a list. Tetronian you're clueless 14:40, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
But but but but! There are no numbers! -- =w= 14:46, 13 January 2010 (UTC)'s close enough. Some lists do not have to be numbered. Outlines, for example. Tetronian you're clueless 15:39, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Mei'll have to find out who fills it up. They're very busy: it's always up to date. I have just eaten Toast& stiltontalk 15:42, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Mei will have to be fast to keep up with them. I know she's useful, but is she that useful? Tetronian you're clueless 02:27, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Gene centered evolution[edit]

I don't know any site that explain it without all kinds of technical jargon. If you care to battle your way through the bibliography on the wiki site, that may lead somewhere. If it's not up, I'll do it when I get back in a few hours. Cheers! δij 16:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm going to take a look at the WP pages sources and see if I can understand them. You can start the article and I'll try to improve it as I learn more. Thanks! Tetronian you're clueless 17:23, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Long time, no see[edit]

How's it been going, man? It's been forever since we were both on the wiki at the same time. So, how are things? Gooniepunk2010 Oi! Oi! Oi! 04:09, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

I have midterm exams this week, so I've been away from the wiki for a bit. I'll be back more starting tomorrow. But I have to say, it's friggin' amazing the amount of stuff you can get one when you're not hanging around on RW. It almost makes me want to take a wiki-break...almost. How've you been? Tetronian you're clueless 15:53, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm surviving, and, all shit considered, that's good enough for now. While I'd take a wiki-break, the fact of the matter is that, considering the chaos in my life at the moment, this place gives me some stability (as minor as that stability may actually be). Lord of the Goons The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 23:17, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
That's good to hear, there's nothing wrong with just taking things one day at a time. RW is home to some awesome (if eccentric) people, which is why I like it so much. Tetronian you're clueless 23:20, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

please email me[edit]

when you get the chance. User:FineCheesesUser talk:FineCheeses 05:58, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

lol whoops sorry about putting that on your user page! User:FineCheesesUser talk:FineCheeses 06:33, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Whatever you say, cheese-man. Tetronian you're clueless 14:49, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I haven't received it. when you have the chance. User:FineCheesesUser talk:FineCheeses 07:23, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Hello Tet.[edit]

How are things in your world? AnarchoGoon Swatting Assflys is how I earn my living 18:37, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Hello Goonie! Things are pretty good. I'm in my senior year of high school, which feels like it is flying by. So life is pretty easy. How about you? Is the trial coming to an end? Tetronian you're clueless 18:46, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
THe trial is in the defense portion, which I expect to wrap up shortly considering that the fucker doesn't have much of a case. I haven't been around much for this portion, because I know I wouldn't be able to resist an outburst considering this fucker's defense. But, aside from that, things are a little stressful at work, considering some fucker of a co-worker destroyed an invention I made before I even got to test it out. Thankfully, I have all the plans and research documented, so I can build a new one. But enough about myself. Senior year is fun as hell if you know how to play it right. The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 18:51, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Why, what a wonderful exchange.


I am fine, how are you? Mei (talk) 01:41, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Pretty good. I hear you are going to be 17 soon? Very nice. I didn't know our ages were so close - I'll be 18 in September. Tetronian you're clueless 01:44, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
2 days left. Soon I will be able to legally snorkel. The possibilities are literally endless. Mei (talk) 18:24, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Nice! Honestly I didn't know about that law, though I have never been snorkeling so it hasn't affected me. Are you having a party or anything? Tetronian you're clueless 21:18, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

My Proposal for Chemtrails[edit]

Ok, here's what I'm thinking: Chemtrails in tip #1 (the only one I've thought of, which is basically don't be obvious) are used as an example of a GOOD conspiracy, because they're non-obvious (being indistinguishable from Contrails).--Mustex (talk) 01:52, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Haha, nice. I like. Tetronian you're clueless 01:57, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Then just upload your ideas (I really need more pop culture examples, and suggestions for other "tips") to the talk page, and we can draft later.--Mustex (talk) 02:01, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Gladly. I'll get on it sometime tomorrow - I'm going to bed now. Tetronian you're clueless 02:24, 5 April 2010 (UTC)


You can link to an image without displaying it by prepending a colon, e.g. File:TwoMeters.png. -- Nx / talk 19:50, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Ah, I was wondering how to do that! Thanks Nx. :) Tetronian you're clueless 21:25, 8 April 2010 (UTC)


You have overlapped me. To solve this we must fight with guns. Mei (talk) 00:03, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Holy crap, Mei is superfast. I was just about to fix it when I saw you threatened me to a gun fight. Ah well, here goes! *takes 20 paces backwards* Tetronian you're clueless 00:04, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I was a consultant on the building of the LHC. My official comment was 'Wow, that's really fast'. We no longer have to gunfight, because a helpful Tetronian sorted out the comment confusion. Thank you. Mei (talk) 00:07, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
*puts guns away* Ah, thanks Mei! I do try to be useful sometimes. Tetronian you're clueless 00:10, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


That's why I stopped welcoming ages ago. Shakinghead.gif yummy Toast&  honey(or marmalade) 23:08, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

I only did my first welcome after the welcomee had done some good stuff :-) - David Gerard (talk) 23:13, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Where the fuck you been hiding?[edit]

How's your summer going, Tetronian? Been spending it with the hot ladies at the beach or something? Lord of the Goons The official spikey-haired skeptical punk 04:19, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Hispanic ladies or Asian? AceX-102 04:22, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
@Goonie: Hahahaha!! I wish! I've been working a lot so I've been really busy, but in a week or so I'll be living at university, which is pretty awesome. It's very weird, 500 or so internet years have passed since I was last around these parts. How've you been?
@Ace: Does it matter? Where I live we have lots of both! ;) Tetronian you're clueless 04:23, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, at least you're doing okay. I, myself, have been distracted most of the summer by a certain someone in my life. I don't see this distraction ending in the near future, either. Punky Your mental puke relief 04:26, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
That's great, Goonie! There are few better "distractions" than that. Tetronian you're clueless 04:28, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Oh yeah. And trust me, a great distraction she is. And her plus being out in the sun on Lake Harriet beach = screw RationalWiki! Lord Goonie Hooray! I'm helping! 04:31, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I somehow managed to only get to the beach once this summer. Ah well. Thankfully I was never too much of a beach person anyway, I never understood people who could spend weeks upon weeks there. Tetronian you're clueless 04:41, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
I hate the fucking beach. I hate sand, it's do difficult to find footing on it and the water is filled crustaceans. AceX-102 04:44, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
(EC) For me, it's mostly about relaxation. Nothing more relaxing than being out in the sun on a beach with a couple good friends (or one good lady friend) laying and talking about shit, and then when you get bored with that, you go jump in the lake to cool off. Probably different for the ocean, but all we got around here is tons and tons of lakes. AnarchoGoon Swatting Assflys is how I earn my living 04:46, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
In general I prefer lakes to oceans. Not too many crustaceans by me, though, probably because of pollution and all that. Mostly just seaweed and the occasional syringe needle (I wish I were joking). Tetronian you're clueless 04:49, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, we have 15000+ lakes here in Minnesota, it's just a matter of which one you like most. AnarchoGoon Swatting Assflys is how I earn my living 04:50, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
That must be nice, lots of boating and beaches and all. Sadly not too many in NJ, but I have spent some time up at lakes up in the Catskills, which is very nice. Tetronian you're clueless 04:59, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah, so you live in NJ do you? I'll have to hit up NJ next summer on my east coast road trip. What's in NJ that's cool? The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 05:01, 9 August 2010 (UTC) initial reaction was "not much," but that's not entirely true, haha. If you really really like beaches, there are definitely some good ones, and Cape May is a very nice vacation spot. Atlantic City is probably the most exciting thing overall. Still, there are various historical sites all around the state if that's what you're interested in. I live in the northeastern part of NJ, right by New York City, (which obviously is more than worth a visit!) so that pretty much eclipses anything else in my area. I guess it really depends on how much time you have to spend here. Tetronian you're clueless 05:07, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

Ello there[edit]

Hope the being a giant space robot business is going well. Happy new year and all that stuff. Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 01:18, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Well hello CR, long time no see. Happy New Year to you as well, and to anyone else who might be reading. I've been a bit busy with university and all that, but I've been reading WIGOs from time to time. How've you been? Tetronian you're clueless 05:09, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Good cheers. Been on a little break myself, due mainly to work killing my ability to do anything creative. Fun to be back now - there's a backlog of ideas. Had a little stint again over at Uncyclopedia - to get back in to the habit of wiki writing. Fun place. Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 19:21, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I know what you mean - this place is great for tossing ideas around. The other giant space robots are definitely missing out. Tetronian you're clueless 22:19, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

how's your banana.[edit]

it told me to ask. :p Rationalize (talk) 18:51, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Heh heh. Quite well, thanks. Yours? Tetronian you're clueless 19:29, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
A little soft and to the right. heh Rationalize (talk) 19:10, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Soul and probability[edit]

It has been good to discuss these issues with you. But our discussion it has been going all over the place, and maybe could do with some focusing. So I thought, maybe I should try to reboot it, and go back to the beginning, and take it more slowly and piecemeal. So I created this page User_talk:Maratrean/Probability_and_Idealism, where I have restated my case from the beginning. I was hoping, if you have the time, you might engage with me there. (Of course, anyone else is welcome to join in if they wish so.) If you agree, then we can just focus on that and retire our discussion on the essay talk page. --Maratrean (talk) 07:10, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Sure, that works for me. I'm a bit busy today but I'll try to respond sometime soon. Tetronian you're clueless 13:48, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes I forgot to put that page on my watchlist, I didn't notice you'd responded. I've responded now. --Maratrean (talk) 10:58, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

zero and one as probabilities[edit]

Hey Tetronian, in case you didn't notice, I created the page User talk:Maratrean/Zero and one as probabilities. I find this discussion, about whether zero and one are valid probabilities, interesting - but it is really getting offtrack from Talk:Burden of proof --(((Zack Martin))) 11:04, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

The Washington Post Times[edit]

WP= Woodward, Bernstein

WT= Owned by Moon, Rev. Sung Young (who will sell to Scientology in 2013) mark mine words. 23:50, 1 May 2011 (UTC)


Thanks - I've confused the two twice in two days. Also, Moon doesn't need to sell out - he already has his own brand of crazy... Tetronian you're clueless 00:06, 2 May 2011 (UTC)


Since you are such a Bayesian, there's something I have to say: I share your predilection for probabilities, to a certain degree, but I think it can only be taken so far. If we try to be Bayesian with respect to all beliefs, well then we'd have to apply Bayesianism to Bayesianism itself? What is P(Bayesianism)? What is P(Bayes rule)?. Shouldn't we assign meta-probabilities - i.e, we say P(X)=0.873, but shouldn't we also ask what is P(P(X)=0.873)? - and meta-probabilities can regress infinitely, etc. Shouldn't we modify Bayes rule to take into account its own probability, and the (infintely recursive?) meta-probabilities of the probabilities we rely on, and the (infinitely recursive) meta-probability of probability we assign to Bayes rule'? Well, maybe one way out of this mess is to say that some of these probabilities are 1... e.g. P(Bayes rule)=1, or P(P(X)=0.873)=1... P(P(X))=1, P(P(P(X)=1)=1)=1, ad infinitum, could be a way out of the meta-probability regress. But elsewhere you have (following Yudkowsky) argued that P(X)=0 and P(X)=1 are invalid, which blocks this option. --(((Zack Martin))) 09:49, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

First of all: I love the title.
I agree that there are some situations where probabilities are just too hard to compute, so I wouldn't apply probability-theoretic reasoning everywhere. But if it can be done, it should be done. To answer your question about meta-probabilities: I have not yet found an entirely rigorous answer to this, but there are some strong reasons to suspect that it isn't a problem. Firstly, we can just incorporate that meta-uncertainty into our original model instead of passing the buck recursively. When you question your own probability distribution, you are really just asking, "how much do I believe this intuition of mine?" This doubt should already be in your original model - if it isn't then you didn't use all of the information available to you.
Secondly, there isn't necessarily a reason to think that this must turn into an infinitely recursive chain. Recall that probabilities are really statements about your state of information; they do not exist in reality. Thus, does it even make sense to say that "questioning my intuition about my intuition about my probability assignment" (meta-meta-probability) is different from "questioning my intuition about my probability assignment" (meta-probability)? There's a point at which this hierarchy of intuitions no longer describes what's really going on in your thought processes. (As you can see, this ties in very closely with the previous line of reasoning.)
Third, making an infinite regress like this may or may not be against the rules of probability theory. I recall that Chapter 15 of this book explains that there are a lot of situations where you can't use infinity in probability theory, and this may be one of them. But I'd have to reread the chapter to be sure. And finally, the fact that we don't know with probability 1 that Bayes' rule is true doesn't stop us from using it - and it shouldn't because it works pretty well as far as we know.
For more info you may want to ask Trent - he's pretty knowledgeable with such things. Or you could always ask at LessWrong, they'd probably have an answer. If I find a more rigorous answer I'll let you know. Tetronian you're clueless 18:00, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
Let me try to explain my concern about "meta-probabilities". In Bayesian terms, a probability is a measure of our confidence in a belief. But, its an attempt to reduce that confidence to a number. So there are two ways things can go wrong (1) our confidence might be stronger or weaker than what it rationally should be, or (2) our confidence itself is OK, but we haven't chosen the best possible number to represent it. Clearly, any process of quantive self-measurement of our confidence in a belief has a degree of uncertainty. If I choose 0.75 as a number to represent my degree of confidence in the truth of X, I can't be certain 0.75 is the number which best represents that degree of confidence. Maybe 0.70 or 0.80 might have been more accurate. So, meta-probabilities - our degree of confidence that we've correctly measured our degree of confidence numerically - are going to be less than one. But the moment we attempt to quantify our meta-probability, we have engaged in another potentially inaccurate quantification, which can be described by meta-meta-probability. And thus the infinite regress begins. Put another way, the question is "Can I be mistaken about my own beliefs?" It seems inconceivable I could be completely wrong about what my own beliefs are ("I thought I believed in atheism, but actually I've believed in fundamentalist Christianity the whole time, I just didn't realize what my own beliefs were!"), but more plausible that when asked to express my own actual confidence in my beliefs quantitatively, I overestimate or underestimate.
When it comes to probabilistic reasoning, how much this matters depends on whether I am doing so with explicit or implicit probabilities. If I reason probabilistically, yet only quantively, then the error of quantification is not an issue. But, the moment I make my reasoning quantitative, then I should be considering the potential error from choosing the wrong quantification. --(((Zack Martin))) 08:12, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what else to say that I already haven't said. I understand your point, but I think there are reasons why we either don't need to or shouldn't formulate things in terms of meta-probabilities, as I described in my paragraphs above. As I said, though, I'm still searching for a more rigorous answer. Tetronian you're clueless 04:08, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Maratrean, although I am not up with the more advanced forms of statistics, if I recall my basics correctly, P(P(X)=0.873) = 0. Also, Bayes's theorem was derived from first principles, in an a priori manner, so one cannot non-vacuously assign a probability to it. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:23, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
If I see the word "Bayes" one more time I'm going to fucking scream. ADK...I'll employ your gun! 15:59, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
At this point, you might as well drink the Kool-Aid along with us. Tetronian you're clueless 16:50, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, for the "rational" in the site's name stands only for the mocking of the irrational, not of any positive action. Time word Hoover! 17:43, 7 May 2011 (UTC)


When I saw Maratrean replied to one of your arguments on his debate with the following, I was stunned: "I started writing a response, and then I thought more about it... and I've decided, let's just drop this argument for now." Anyone who can write an argument that is so excellent that he can't write a thousand words in reply deserves extraordinary recognition. He is some manner of inhuman reply-o-tron, unceasing in his argument ad exhaustem. I applaud your reasoning skills.--ADtalkModerator 15:55, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Thanks AD! Hopefully I'll return that page soon - arguing with M, fun as it is, is an enormous time-sink for me. Tetronian you're clueless 16:49, 7 May 2011 (UTC)


Hi there. You've been nominated as a moderator, could you please visit the elections page and sign next to your name whether you accept or decline? In case you've missed out on the whole discussion and the future role of moderators, the specifics are not 100% clear yet, but most of the discussion can be found in this thread. Cheers! Röstigraben (talk) 07:21, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice! Tetronian you're clueless 02:27, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

According to my little hovering thing[edit]

You just made you 4000th edit. - π 03:09, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Birthday cake.svg Congratulations!ТyYes? 03:11, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
Cool, now I get to make "over 4000" jokes. Tetronian you're clueless 03:16, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Absence of evidence[edit]

Do you think absence of evidence is something worth article-ifying? ADK...I'll lick your arc welder! 17:29, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Actually, it might be. I just added another explanation here which may or may not be article-worthy. Tetronian you're clueless 17:36, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
The picture + explanation works well for it. ADK...I'll yank your monster! 17:38, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I am article-ifying as we speak. Tetronian you're clueless 17:42, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Just to point out, said picture also helps to show how pre-screening procedures work. Specifically it was banning people from giving blood based on sexuality was a workable rationalisation (if highly inefficient and prone to so many false positives, but hey, it's cheap and easy), even though "only 50%" of HIV cases were due to homosexual men. Something for specificity and sensitivity, I think, but perhaps another time. ADK...I'll pander your cake! 11:08, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of that, that's an excellent example! Tetronian you're clueless 11:33, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Fallacy of Gray[edit]

Fallacy of Gray - Incidentally the same question as the section above, as I know you're quite fond of this one and is one we're missing. ADK...I'll affiliate your cowbell! 11:04, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

Sound good! I'll get to it sometime today. Tetronian you're clueless 11:31, 19 September 2011 (UTC)
I never followed up on this - I realized that we have uncertainty tactic, which is the same. Also, I'm lazy. Tetronian you're clueless 19:02, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I see. Might look at expanding that. ADK...I'll analyse your leukemia! 19:12, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Last Thursdayism, Simulation, Deism, falsifiability, bullshitting...[edit]

As I'm generally not one of the hardcore of rationalists and hopefully never will be, I was wondring if you could check over some reasoning for me. Assuming the usual Bayesian type bollocks, then we could see how probable things like Last Thursdayism are, i.e., P(A|B).


P(A) - prior that Last Thursdayism is right. This is easy enough, it's 1 / n where n are the number of possible points the universe could spontaneously arise at. Finite if you want to define it by the year but effectively infinite if you want to be very specific with the time. So let's just say pretty figging low.

P(B) - the only evidence they can really have is that the universe exists. The odds of the universe existing are obviously 100%, because if the universe didn't exist it would be a moot point anyway. So the effective prior here must be 1. I'm totally sure about this justification, though it seems fine.

P(B|A) - so what are the odds we'd see a universe given Last Thursdayism, the simulation argument or a deist creation? Well, they're creation stories, so if a creation story is true there'd be a creation after. So this is 1.

Which leaves us concluding P(A|B) is just equal to P(A). So is this just the formal way of stating that unfalsifiable hypotheses like these don't actually change over the fairly arbitrary prior. So no matter how many times someone says "but the beauty of creation proves..." it doesn't actually count as evidence, because P(B) and P(B|A) will always be equal and cancel out. I'm just wondering if this is the right way of going about formalising things like "extraordinary claims..." and "that without evidence..." or if it's barking up an inconclusive tree. ADK...I'll anglicise your glue! 16:26, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

You're right about B not providing evidence, but that's actually a different issue from "but the beauty of creation proves X"-type statements. For anthropic reasons, there are certain things about the universe that we will always observe with probability approaching 1 (e.g. its ability to support life), and these things don't count as evidence for a deity because we would observe them whether there is a deity or not. But there are other observations about the universe that don't affect our ability to exist, and if they're less likely in a universe without a particular kind of deity, then they are evidence. (Recommended reading: Anthropic Bias by Nick Bostrom.) Because beauty might actually be one of these things, the "beauty of creation" is weak evidence for gods that value it. However, it's insanely weak evidence, and given that there are quite a lot of shit parts of creation, it doesn't amount to anything. (Not only that, but the absence of evidence for a deity is even stronger.) Combine this with the low prior for a particular deity and "fall foliage proves God!" is just as absurd in Bayesian terms as it is in common speech. Tetronian you're clueless 19:01, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointers. ADK...I'll seize your goose egg! 19:06, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, I can see this book turning into my next Black Swan... ADK...I'll jostle your pork chop! 21:19, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Ah, are you working on some fiction for November? I'm doing the same, also rationality-themed. Tetronian you're clueless 22:29, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I was referring to "Anthropic Bias" :) Already started assimilating points from it and it may come in useful. But yeah, I'm planning but not entirely committed to a writing spree in Novemeber. Though my theme is more skepticism with a little bit of pop-science thrown in than straight up rationality. ADK...I'll analyse your vector field! 22:40, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Anthropic Bias is a truly excellent book, you won't regret getting hooked by it. I hope you end up publishing whatever writing you do - I for one would be interested in reading it. 22:45, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, we can compare notes come November. It's still up in the air whether anything good will come of it because, frankly, I don't think it'll be anything particularly new. And I haven't really synthesised a proper theme for it yet. ADK...I'll incarcerate your chump! 22:53, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
Beware the Igon Value Problem. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:47, 2 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm more scared by the Dunning-Kruger effect, to be honest. Nothing like wondering how do I know I know this stuff, maybe I don't know but lack the meta-cognitive ability to recognise it!!!!!! ADK...I'll incarcerate your chump! 22:53, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

Overcoming Bias[edit]

I find a good bit of stuff useful on OB and LW, even though I rip on them for all the techno-utopian Kool-Aid they serve up and their personality cults. Take the good, leave the bad, as they say. (Or was it, "Take the cannoli, leave the gun"?) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:40, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Can't argue with that. OB was definitely better when it wasn't just Robin Hanson. He's good, but he was better when Yudkowsky, Bostrom, and a handful of other people were there to make up for his weirder posts. Tetronian you're clueless 23:04, 7 November 2011 (UTC)


Sorry to hear about your being an undergrad at Penn State. As a Pitt grad, I must immediately loathe you. What rivalry? Aboriginal Noise Theist, barely hanging by a nail 21:42, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. And don't worry, I'll loathe you right back. :) Tetronian you're clueless 01:04, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Did you survive the riots last night? It is a shame that even the student body is missing the bigger picture here. Aboriginal Noise Theist, barely hanging by a nail 14:37, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
You know, I'll never quite understand the American college system... anyway, hope any fireworks didn't come too close to you. What's the riot for anyway? I'm trying to piece this together without first-hand experience of what all this college football crap "means" and I can't figure it out. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 14:41, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
@AN: Thanks. Yes, I survived - the riot started literally moments after the announcement. It was barely over before I started hearing the chants. I would say that most of the students are missing the big picture. The rioters aren't completely representative of everyone, but to a large degree they are.
@ADK: There was no "one" riot, but the majority of students at the riot were there because they were angry about Paterno, the head coach, being fired by the Board of Trustees. They were also angry at the media, who (they believe) unfairly vilified Paterno and turned the scandal into a media circus about him even though the investigation was about Curley and Schultz. Others were celebrating Spanier, the President, being fired. What you have to realize is that Paterno is revered as a god-king here at Penn State. Saying overtly negative things about him is frowned upon in most contexts, and at a football game you wouldn't say anything bad about him if you value your life. On the other hand, Spanier was universally hated by undergrads, grad students, and many of the faculty - he took a huge salary, 2nd largest for a college president in the US, but he gave off the impression that he didn't care about the undergrads' and grad students' interests. (Judging by his actions, he probably didn't.) Plus, he was a convenient scapegoat for anything and everything over the past few years, especially tuition increases, since he was the ultimate authority over the school. So right off the bat there is a large amount of correspondence bias - Paterno is seen as intrinsically good, and Spanier is seen as intrinsically bad. When the scandal hit, some people refused to believe that Paterno committed any wrongdoing (indeed, many still believe this). Others think that he did shirk a moral duty, but given that his crime was "less severe" compared to the others and in light of all the good he's done for the university, he should at least be allowed to finish the season or at the very least resign by himself. Most students see the Board's decision to fire him as a PR move, since the media spotlight was all over Paterno. And of course, no one is mourning for Spanier. People are also angry that as of right now Curley is still technically employed by the university, and McQueary has yet to be punished even though he is the most guilty. Many are calling on Board members to resign. And to top it off, the Westboro Baptist Church will be protesting our football game on Saturday. (Sorry for the ranty explanation, that's the best I can do at the moment. It's been a rather chaotic two days, I need some time to make sense of it and explain it better. Feel free to ask follow-up questions.) Tetronian you're clueless 19:52, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and: the Board's decision to announce this at 10:00 PM is unequivocally stupid. They knew exactly what students would do (they alerted the police beforehand), and they must've known that the ensuing riot would be bad press for the university, but they did it anyway. Had they made the announcement at 9:00 AM the following morning, nothing would've happened. Tetronian you're clueless 19:57, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm currently receiving an education in how glorified college football is in the US via Skype. My reaction to that, as my reaction to the above, is simply "dear shitting christ". Scarlet A.pngmoral 19:59, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
It's insanely glorified. That, combined with the fact that it was Paterno rather than Curley and McQueary who were publicly shamed, is causing most of the outrage. Students see it as a betrayal, like the Board is using him as a scapegoat. They wanted him to go out on his own terms. It's hard to explain - it's as if we live in a bubble and see things very differently from the outside world. Tetronian you're clueless 20:06, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
What do you mean "it's as if"? :P Scarlet A.pngsshole 20:22, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
The other thing is, Paterno did indeed do a lot for the university in terms of philanthropy and fundraising. But people seem to think that this negates or lessens his crime. Tetronian you're clueless 21:20, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and I forgot the most important thing: Penn State students riot all the time. This is something like the fifth or sixth one this year. This one was actually pretty tame compared to some of the football-related riots in past years; the police have used tear gas and mace multiple times before. So around here, a riot isn't seen as a big deal. But it's never really been in the media spotlight before, so people outside of the city of State College don't think like PSU students do and are shocked by rioting. Personally, I think they're right - it's about time we realized how idiotic it is. But it's yet another inferential distance between Us and Them. Tetronian you're clueless 21:25, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Essay talk[edit]

Didn't see your reply until just now. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:49, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

Down the rabbit hole[edit]

Oh dear. I've just done what I vowed never to do and just responded to someone's point by throwing a LW sequence at them... the shame, the shame. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 18:45, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

I know the feeling: "But if you would just read this, then you'll see why you're wrong!" It's so tempting, isn't it? Tetronian you're clueless 18:53, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I think it was because I've been doing it half the day. This particular conversation on Facebook leading to me doing some changes to the article here leading to discussion and leading to more discussion on Facebook. And I didn't fancy typing the same thing out twice, especially with head being so owwy-fuzzy-wuzzy-give-me-pills right now, so someone had to be on the receiving end of a "Read The Fucking Sequences" post. So I figured Facebook could have it, because we're actually being interesting here. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 18:58, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Not that soundbites are good, but if you had to:
  • Don't get emotionally attached to labels.
  • Don't mistake the map for the territory.
  • Do be prepared to defend your idea without resorting to jargon.
  • Be aware of hidden and inferred connotations.
  • Don't resort to dictionary definitions to back up your own use.
Missing anything? I just need to summarise this for someone. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 22:02, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I would also add:
  • Words are really hidden inferences made by your brain. (Use the wiggin example in "Sneaking In Connotations").
  • Your cognitive algorithms use words as classifiers in a Naive Bayes network. (If you haven't read this one, you definitely should, it's EY's full reduction of categories/words.)
  • If you are using words properly, and you agree about all of the empirical facts, you shouldn't disagree about definitions.
  • When you resort to categorization in order to compress your ideas, the categories you draw have to carve reality at its joints. That is, your categories have to make sense - classifying dolphins as "fish" is not a useful categorization. (Again, the wiggin example is relevant.)
In general, I find catchphrases hard to work with. (This, of course, is the reason why LWers tell people to read the Sequences.) Tetronian you're clueless 22:41, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
One of these days I'm going to create a simple, visual guide to the LessWrongian reduction of words; I'll make sure it finds its way to RationalWiki. Tetronian you're clueless 22:48, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Is it just me or does that sequence have an obsession with hemlock? Scarlet A.pnggnostic 22:58, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
It totally does. It comes from this post, since he kept rehashing the example in most of the subsequent ones. Tetronian you're clueless 02:02, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm surprised that the word "fuzzy" (as in fuzzy set / fuzzy logic) doesn't get mentioned there. Although knowing EY, I imagine he considers such a thing to be an unacceptable handwave! :p Scarlet A.pngbomination 02:34, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Yudkowsky vs. Pigliucci[edit]

I watched this "debate" recently. Favorite comment: "Where's the science?" BTW, how much do you buy out of Yudkowsky's arguments (in general)? The Kool-Aid usually seems to come out whenever he starts talking about mind uploading, Singularity, cryonics, and evo psych (at least he's read Cosmides and Tooby, though). Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:35, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I like his stuff on arguing things. I know a few people say "that's not how language works" but the tools for conversation and discussion I find quite useful, certainly after seeing a load of people blow up in each others faces over the word "respect" (when it comes to religion) I found the a lot of the 2007-2008 stuff very useful for cracking skulls together. The more sci-fi stuff, though... singularity and cryonics? Yeah, I really need to add back in that bit about "tap dancing on the line between genius and insanity" back into the article. I don't doubt he has some good ideas for where to go, but I'm not convinced there's enough research to warrant it being anywhere soon, by which I mean "in my, or even EY's for that matter, lifetime" Scarlet A.pngsshole 12:52, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
It's been a while since I watched that debate, but from what I recall:
  • Pigliucci is wrong about his photosynthesis analogy and about philosophy of mind in general.
  • Yudkowsky is overconfident about how easy it is to build artificial general intelligence.
  • Yudkowsky thinks that artificial general intelligence will come before uploading; even though he talks about it a lot, he disagrees with Robin Hanson that uploading will be the next big paradigm shift.
I agree with ADK for the most part, though I have greatly updated in favor of the (as you call it) "sci-fi stuff." Thankfully, the Singularity Institute is branching out a creating and separate organization focused on rationality so that the rationality stuff is separate from SIAI (which will continue researching/raising awareness of risks from AI). Tetronian you're clueless 13:55, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
The fact that you actually called it an "update" makes me wonder if you're picking up the cup for the Kool Aid. :P (ROFL lol j/k !!1111onetwo) Scarlet A.pngtheist 14:36, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
*shrug* It's a handy term. It's quite likely that there are some toxic/wrong memes in the LW cup of ideas, but there are enough useful/interesting ideas there that I want to stick around. I guess all I can say is, let me know if I start waxing poetic about things that are obviously wrong. Tetronian you're clueless 19:39, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
The "sci-fi stuff" isn't necessarily wrong per se, just built on mountains of speculation. Where he could be wrong is on quantum physics. I have no idea which interpretation is "correct" and it strikes me as odd that someone who is not a quantum physicist has so much invested in one interpretation, i.e. many-worlds. Some of the evo psych stuff, though, is just plain wrong. Someone else actually wrote a good post on LW about it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:29, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. From what I've read, MWI seems to be a valid theory - possibly even the best guess we can make given what we know right know - but Yudkowsky's confidence in it doesn't seem to be warranted, especially given that actual, y'know, physicists don't share his sentiments. Likewise for evo psych - I know next to nothing about the field, but if Kaj's post is to be believed, we need to pile on the uncertainty. Tetronian you're clueless 20:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
MWI seems to violate Occam's razor to me, though I've seen arguments that it actually requires fewer assumptions, but the math and physics is way, way over my head so I just shrug my shoulders on that. When it comes to evo psych, I usually just tell people these days not to bother with it unless they have a lot of extra time on their hands. David Sloan Wilson has a pretty balanced account. Buller's book is probably the most informed and thorough critique out there now. Certain areas of EP are definitely a lot weaker than others. I find it very useful in understanding memory, but that's because we have lots of research from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, genetics, animal cognition, and behavioral ecology to draw on. When you start talking about "rape modules" and jamming dildos into fake vaginas (I wish I could say I was making that up), you're firmly in ass-pull territory. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:19, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Off-topic, but I find it only appropriate that the words "jamming dildos" and "ass-pull" are in the same sentence together. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 04:26, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
All "interpretations" make the same simple mistake: they assume the quantum world must be somehow classical underneath. Hidden variables more than most, and if you are going to assume that it's classical underneath, that's the one to go for. MWI, on the other hand, produces far too many messy side-effects such as the potential for quantum immortality. Scarlet A.pngbomination 08:56, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Uh, could you dumb it down a bit for the plebs in the room? What do you mean by "classical underneath" and what's "quantum immortality"? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 09:02, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
"Classical" as in "classical mechanics" - the world is still determinate, makes sense and has none of this messy probability and uncertainty lark that quantum theory proposes. Basically, all interpretations of quantum mechanics sort of do this, and effectively suggest that wavefunctions and the maths and entanglement are just illusions, almost metaphysical to a degree. But we can't tell the difference between them, so for now it's not worth worrying about. Quantum immortality is a side-effect of thinking the world splits in two every time a decision is made. Imagine Schrodinger's Cat having a 50:50 chance of dying or not when you open the box. The universe splits into two, one where the cat is alive, one where it's dead. You close and open the box again, universe splits in two, one where the cat is alive, one where it's dead. And so on. In at least one universe the cat is completely immortal because it doesn't die (also, see the ending of The Prestige, similar idea, really). The extrapolation is that the cat-in-a-box is just a thought experiment but the idea of quantum indeterminacy applies to all events, including ones that would trigger our death. Scarlet A.pngbomination 10:33, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Yudkowsky vs. Lanier[edit]

Fight! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:55, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I was waiting for Yudkowsky to say something clever to bring Lanier's mountains of bullshit tumbling down. Sadly, he stuck to asking polite questions and let Lanier get away with a lot of BS. Tetronian you're clueless 04:19, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, actually. The funny thing is, I agree with Lanier on his overall point, but almost all of his "arguments" (if you can call them that) were just babble. I get the feeling he went outside for a few tokes before that "debate." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:54, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I do think that debate would have gone down better in places if they'd been visibly smoking throughout. Scarlet A.pngpostate 11:57, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Nebby, either Lanier was high or he's even crazier than I think he is. I especially loved how Lanier's argument against computationalism was "I've talked to Daniel Dennett about this before." Tetronian you're clueless 12:19, 23 January 2012 (UTC)


Say I'm 95% confident of something. But I'm actually only 95% confident that I worked that out right. But I'm only 95% sure that working's right, and of that I'm only 95% sure... so 0.95 * 0.95 * 0.95 * 0.95... actually tends to 0. So actually, without infinite certainty, we actually have zero certainty. This has always bugged me.

Though I imagine it's because this is heading into higher levels of abstraction so you can expect such a thing to occur. Best to end at 95% confident that also takes into account the workings behind that figure but base the reasoning on real world demonstration so it doesn't need the abstraction. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 09:35, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

(I wrote a longer reply but it got deleted when my Internet decided to fail. Ah well.) Though I don't fully understand why, it's clear that using meta-uncertainty in this way is a confusion. First of all, it doesn't make sense to assign a probability of .95 without using your knowledge about your own accuracy. E.g. if I guess a 95% confidence interval for the average height of giraffe, information about the accuracy of previous guesses I've made is very relevant, so it should be included in my probability assignment. Second, using meta-uncertainty in the way you described leads to all sorts of paradoxes, e.g. I can trick myself into having probability approaching 0 about a hypothesis. (This creates a paradox if I have two mutually exclusive and exhaustive hypotheses A and B, since I can use the meta-uncertainty thingy to get either P(A) = 0, P(B) = 1 or vice versa based on no actual information.) Third, even if this notion of meta-uncertainty is coherent, it's not clear that it makes sense to multiply the terms together like that - you should also have meta-uncertainty about the alternative hypotheses, and that needs to be taken into account too. Tetronian you're clueless 13:30, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Whether it's valid to actually multiply them together like that isn't an issue I'd considered, though. It seems to be intuitively right to do so if it was a coherent idea but these ridiculous paradoxes do seem to say it's not coherent in the first place. Unless you're easily convinced that having 100% certainty restricted from us equates to 0% certainty, as some people might be. In fact, it'd be interesting to twist that above into some argument for/against God and watch the resulting fireworks.
My solution to it would be to consider that any model we build is 100% certain within itself. If I choose to predict something with a model that model will always agree with itself - that's the point of a model and true pretty much by definition as A=A, the thing is itself, the model is reliable within itself. The question then is how good the model actually is compared with the real world, and it is this that is actually what we mean by uncertainty. It might agree with itself 100% of the time ("hey, look at my workings, they're totally right!"), but it might only agree with the real world 90% of the time. You don't get this "meta-uncertainty" from that, just a single value.
Anyway, that was just this odd thought that came from the fact that 100% confidence isn't possible because there's always this chance that what you've used to come to that conclusion is wrong, and you can't spot it from the inside. So if you're restricted to <100% because of this, then what is the odds that the next layer of abstraction is actually 100%. Scarlet A.pngsshole 15:28, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Long time no see (your username on recent changes)[edit]

What'sa happenin' you? Just finishing your freshman year now ain'tcha? El TajDon't make me do stuff 10:15, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Sophomore, believe it or not! Time flies when you're having fun. How's things on your end? Tetronian you're clueless 17:50, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
They grow up so fast... I'm ok thanks, finishing uni in a month, starting to look for jobs. I've looked (briefly) at moving abroad (US, Australia, NZ) but obtaining visas to work outside Europe seems incredibly difficult. El TajDon't make me do stuff 17:52, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Wow, you're graduating already? Best of luck! Tetronian you're clueless 01:12, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

LW user to watch[edit]

This Kaj fellow seems to be an antidote to at least some brands of LW Kool-Aid. He takes on vulgar evo psych and IQ worship (that's also a really handy write-up on Stanovich's book). This post is also great -- not a direct criticism of LW but it easily applies. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:10, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Actually, that post is a great criticism of practically any skeptic or "rationalist" group. In fact, I was perusing a few Facebook posts the other day and mentioned how a lot of skeptics are as guilty as woo-meisters for not being terribly critical and actually being remarkably biased themselves (I'm willing to say I'm guilty as sin of this, but recognising it is the first step to getting over it). Naturally, it didn't go down too well. Apparently only "crazies" do that, and all these true skeptics never suffer from those biases at all! The connection with identity isn't something I've made before, though. Scarlet A.pngtheist 21:22, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I've liked Kaj's posts for quite a while; his recent posts on identity are some of my favorite LW articles of all time. Thanks for the links to his evo psych posts, I hadn't seen those. And ADK, I've had similar conversations that also ended in flaming wreckage. Bottom line seems to be, no one likes to be told that they are biased. (Go figure.) Tetronian you're clueless 01:11, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Everyone is biased. Atheists/sceptics/rationalists are biased. Religious believers are biased. Everyone is biased. This thought used to depress me, and then I came to the realisation that bias is a good thing. So long as it is the right kind of bias, of course. Special pleading? All pleading is special. (((Zack Martin))) 01:37, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

A question for you[edit]

Just thinking here... what is the probability that an Internet blogger who didn't even finish high school and has almost no exchange with the scientific community and lack virtually any real world achievements comes up with a method of acquiring knowledge superior to the scientific method?

This is really my main complaint against LW. Much of the rest of their problems follow from it, plus the assignment of Yudkowsky to be an expert on pretty much every subject he opens his mouth on.--Baloney Detection (talk) 16:51, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Given how vitriolic this debate has been, I'm not going to engage with you on big-picture questions like the one you just asked, but feel free to ask about my positions on specific issues.
Also, I disagree with the LW consensus a lot more than I used to, so if you've seen my previous pro-LW comments on this site, please note that they are not a reflection of my current views. Tetronian you're clueless 20:07, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. Please allow me rephrase it: Do you agree with Yudkowsky that (his interpretation of) Bayes' theorem is superior to the scientific method? Maybe I really shouldn't add this because I don't want to contribute to an atmosphere of vitriolism, but his understanding on the scientific method does at times feel like a strawmanned Popper.--Baloney Detection (talk) 20:40, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
Can you expand on what you mean by "Yudkowsky['s] interpretation of Bayes' theorem is superior to the scientific method," just to make sure we are talking about the same thing? Tetronian you're clueless 20:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm referring to this article. The reason I say "Yudkowsky's interpretation" is because I've seen from various sources here on RW (comments by users, the main LW entry) that his idea of it differs from mainstream.--Baloney Detection (talk) 18:12, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I was going to write a long reply to this, but I figure it's probably not worth it. To give you a short answer: No, I don't think that it's possible to use Solomonoff Induction in the way the article describes to improve the process of generating and testing hypotheses. Tetronian you're clueless 12:14, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Did you chicken out of nuance and accuracy, there? Scarlet A.pngsshole 19:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yep. Much easier to just say "oh fuck it." Tetronian you're clueless 20:09, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

LW consensus[edit]

What parts of the LW consensus have you moved away from? If you get past the transhumanist stuff, there's also a lot of interesting issues in cog sci/AI that I think LW gives a very one-sided view of. That's where things start to get more interesting, IMO. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:17, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

You still here?[edit]

Wondering if I could post a bit on your Free Will vs Determinism debate page?--Steampeng MK.1 (talk) 22:46, 3 January 2016 (UTC)