AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky is something of an expert at human rationality, and at teaching it to others. His hundreds of posts at Less Wrong are a treasure trove for those who want to improve their own rationality. As such, I’m reading all of them, chronologically.
I suspect some of my readers want to “level up” their rationality, too. So I’m keeping a diary of my Yudkowsky reading. Feel free to follow along.
His 798th post is Undiscriminating Skepticism:
Since it can be cheap and easy to attack everything your tribe doesn’t believe, you shouldn’t trust the rationality of just anyone who slams astrology and creationism; these beliefs aren’t just false, they’re also non-tribal among educated audiences. Test what happens when a “skeptic” argues for a non-tribal belief, or argues against a tribal belief, before you decide they’re good general rationalists.
Eliezer’s next “promoted” post after that is Working hurts less than procrastinating, we fear the twinge of starting:
When you procrastinate, you’re probably not procrastinating because of the pain of working.
How do I know this? Because on a moment-to-moment basis, being in the middle of doing the work is usually less painful than being in the middle of procrastinating.
Later, I attempted to refute this claim with a boatload of evidence.
His next post is Epistle to the New York Less Wrongians, written in April 2011. It’s a letter he wrote to the New York Less Wrong group after visiting it. He was impressed and had lots of fun. Later, a leader of Less Wrong NYC explained some of the things they’d done to make it work so well.
Next, Eliezer wrote about how The 5-Second Level:
To develop methods of teaching rationality skills, you need to learn to focus on mental events that occur in 5 seconds or less. Most of what you want to teach is directly on this level; the rest consists of chaining together skills on this level.
And of 08/23/2011, that is the most recent Yudkowsky post!
Congratulations, you made it!