I think lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 are related to the argument but 3 and 7 are the “crux” of it. I mostly meant that there is a great deal of fluff surrounding the “core argument”, eg the other 5 articles in the zombie subsequence.
This happens in the zombie sequence where the crux of the argument is largely 2 lines in http://lesswrong.com/lw/p8/zombie_responses/
“3. Intuitively, it sure seems like my inward awareness is causing my internal narrative to say certain things, and that my internal narrative can cause my lips to say certain things.
(3) seems to me to have a rather high probability of being empirically true. Therefore I evaluate a high empirical probability that the zombie world is logically impossible.”
Even then I think we can make some assumptions though. If you have no prior about the pdf of pdfs, a reasonable best best guess is the pdfs you have seen already.
Even after determining your wealth, your utility function has to take whether-you-are-currently-holding-stocks as an input, because it affects the probability that you incur a transaction cost in future time steps. I think this piece cannot be evaluated without supposing some pdf of future pdfs. I think this is why people are saying the problem is “underspecified”.
Agree with kilobug. eric3′s numbers seem way off.
Then maybe “Imagine that civilization would definitely be destroyed iff there was a...”?
The rest of the post still reads to me as if pandemic + recession is sufficient, not just necessary, for implying extinction. To be explicit, it sounds like you have ruled out the possibility of observing pandemic + recession + non-extinction, I would have thought you’d want to say that pandemic + recession = extinction, rather than the weaker statement that extinction requires pandemic + recession.
Should the first blurb begin “Imagine that civilization would definitely be destroyed by” instead of “Imagine that the only way that civilization could be destroyed was by”? That’s what it seems like to me based on the second blurb.
Atheism is your example of an unpopular idea..?
This strikes me as very human centric. Why should another species’ hypothetical ascension look so much like the one we happened to observe in humans?