News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 4, 2011 in News

New Less Wrong post: Is Rationality Teachable?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan Livengood September 4, 2011 at 5:52 am


Am I reading correctly that the Survey of Americans and Economists is from 1996? If so, how is that a “News Bit”? Is there something that jumped out at you as (still) relevant 15 years later?


Michael September 4, 2011 at 6:10 am

Is Rationality Teachable?

One factor is how strong the desire is for rationality. I’m sure the brain is more fired up when desire is strong. So you’d have to stimulate strong desires to want to be uber rational.


Leo September 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

“My music listening log now lists the genre of each new album I listen to.”

Some recomendations for you:


DisgustingBeast September 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

What about the old Naturalism website project?


INF September 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

What about the old Naturalism website project?

Existential Risk, Friendly Artificial Intelligence, Less Wrong rationality > Naturalism

Naturalism is a stepping stone. Much like atheism.

One’s time is better spent promoting the projects of FAI and LW style rationality. To put more focus on its presuppositions is to commit a moral and intellectual error.

FAI can change and SAVE the world. Naturalism won’t.


MarkD September 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Congrats on the new site. I saw a number of new items there, but was somewhat disappointed by the Artificial General Intelligence work, most of which (on skim) provided no new ideas or information. The Whole Brain stuff was slightly more intriguing since we are seeing connectivity scales using GPU clusters, etc. approaching the scale of mouse brains and so can begin to ask whether it has only been scale that has limited us so far.

Given some essential gaps in our understanding of the relationship between neural plasticity and cognitive versatility, and how plasticity and versatility emerge and interact with learning, I’ve tended to believe that “real” AI will be more rapidly surpassed by Intelligence Amplification (IA). Some DARPA Grand Challenge efforts would help sort the merely philosophical from the pragmatic for both ideas.


rs September 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

I encountered your writing while working my way through Yudkowski’s Intuitive Bayes. I’m really enjoying your articles such as “Is Rationality Teachable?”- I’m going to experiment with P4C – as well as SPR Rules.

Thank you very much.

+2 defense; resistance to cognitive biases


cl September 5, 2011 at 9:21 am


One’s time is better spent promoting the projects of FAI and LW style rationality. To put more focus on its presuppositions is to commit a moral and intellectual error.

Oh please. Making empirical claims without a shred of evidence is the real intellectual error. You fit right in here. Not everybody shares your faith.


Flush The Toilet September 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm
Luke Muehlhauser September 6, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Jonathan Livengood,

It’s news because I discovered it this week. :)


Luke Muehlhauser September 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm


Thanks for introducing me to the term ‘split screen covers’! They haven’t covered any of my favorite Dream Theater tracks yet, but oh well.


Luke Muehlhauser September 6, 2011 at 9:07 pm


Yup, still working on the naturalism website project, but it’s veeeeeeeery slow because I can’t afford to pay anyone.


Luke Muehlhauser September 6, 2011 at 9:07 pm


Thanks for letting me know!


mojo.rhythm September 10, 2011 at 1:02 am


With respect to that economic survey, I would not be surprised at all if those results pertain to this day. The current paradigm of economics is entirely driven by pro-business, anti-inflation, anti-tax ideology; I would even go so far as to put it within the realm of theology and metaphysics, rather than the social sciences.

If anyone wants a really good starting introduction to how messed up mainstream economics truly is, I highly, highly recommend Debunking Economics by Steve Keen. He was the person who first predicted the Great Recession (way back in 1996), and repeatedly warned everyone, over, over and over again that securitization of mortgages and the accompanying deregulatory crusade would completely tank the economy. He based his analysis on Hyman Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis, a largely forgotten vestige of the New Deal era.


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