In general it’s understandable not to consider that hypothesis. But when you are specifically making a pointed and insulting comment about another person, I think the bar should be higher.
Some posts can focus on raising the sanity waterline. Other posts can be motivational and targeted at people’s incorrect self-assessments. Note that successfully doing the latter is often quite a good way of making people achieve better outcomes.
I downvoted this explanation because it’s uncharitable to claim that someone is either lying or deluded when it seems plausible that they were instead making a joke. Perhaps you have other reasons to think that Alephywr isn’t joking, but if so it’s worth explaining that.
I like and endorse the general theme of this post, but have some issues with the details.
The takeaway is this: if you’re the kind of person who worries about statistics and Dunning—Kruger in the first place, you’re already way above average and clearly have the necessary meta-cognition to not fall victim to such things.
I feel like this is good motivation but bad world-modelling. Two important ways in which it fails:
Social interactions. You gave the example of people not really knowing how funny they are. I don’t think worrying about statistics in general helps with this, because this might just not be the type of thing you’ve considered as a failure mode, and also because it’s very difficult to substitute deliberate analysis for buggy social intuitions.
People being bad at philosophy. There are very many smart people who confidently make ridiculous arguments—people smart enough to understand Dunning-Kruger, but who either think they’re an exception, or else pay lip service to it and then don’t actually process any change in beliefs.
The world is being run by people who are too incompetent to know it; people who are only in power because they’re the ones who showed up, and because showing up is most of the battle.
I dislike lines of argument which point at people on top of a pile of utility and call them incompetent. I think it is plausibly very difficult to get to the top of the society, but that the skills required are things which are really difficult to measure or even understand properly, like “hustle” or “ambition” or “social skills” or “pays less attention to local incentive gradients” or “has no wasted mental motion in between deciding that x is a good idea and deciding to do x”.
From now on, unless you have evidence that you’re particularly bad at something, I want you to assume that you’re 15 percentile points higher than you would otherwise estimate.
Nit: I prefer using standard deviations instead of percentile points when talking about high-level performance, because it better allows us to separate people with excellent skill from people with amazing skill. Also because “assume that you’re 15 percentile points higher” leaves a lot of people above 100%.
Insofar as we’re talking about the collapse of democracy in America, millions of people will be adversely affected, many of them wealthy enough that they could already be taking important steps at fairly low cost.
I also don’t have strong opinions on how accurate the book is, but that link really doesn’t support the claim that the book is inaccurate. Its most scathing criticism of Russell: “As far as the omissions go, the grossest is the denial of any role to Eastern philosophy.” Something I’m inclined to forgive in a “History of Western Philosophy”. Then there are complaints about “inconsequential logical griping...from place to place” in the book, which again is not really a devastating blow.
Cheers, fixed. Just autocorrect being autocorrect as per.
Pirate treasure: you’re right that tiebreak information is needed. I’ve added it in now—assume the pirates are spiteful.
Blind maze: nope, it’s a fairly ugly solution.
Prisoners and boxes: yes, you can save all of them. Is the solution to your variant the same as my variant?
Battleships: I’ve found an ugly solution, and I expect it’s the one you intended, but is there anything nicer? Sbe rirel fdhner, pbafvqre rirel cbffvoyr zbirzrag irpgbe, juvpu tvirf hf n ghcyr bs yratgu 4. Gura jr vgrengr guebhtu rirel fhpu ghcyr hfvat qvntbanyvfngvba, naq ng rnpu gvzrfgrc jr pna pnyphyngr jurer n fuvc juvpu fgnegrq ba gung fdhner jbhyq unir raqrq hc ol gur pheerag gvzrfgrc, naq fubbg vg.
I’m sympathetic with that view, but think it’s far from clear-cut. For example, suppose you model rationality as the skill of identifying bad arguments plus the mental habit of applying that skill to your own ideas. When the former is the bottleneck, then debating probably has a positive effect on overall rationality; when the latter is the bottleneck, it is probably negative. Probably the latter is more common, but the effect of the former is bigger? I don’t have a strong opinion on this though.
As an anecdotal point, I have been pleasantly surprised by how often you can win a debate by arguing primarily for things that you actually believe. The example that comes to mind is being assigned the pro-Brexit side in a debate, and focusing on the EU’s pernicious effects on African development, and how trade liberalisation would benefit the bottom billion. In cases like these you don’t so much rebut your opponents’ points as reframe them to be irrelevant—and I do think that switching mental frameworks is an important skill.
This was a very useful and well-explained idea. Strongly upvoted.
Hmm. Yeah, you’re probably right. Although there is the common phenomenon of social subgroups stratifying into smaller and smaller cliques, which is some evidence that oppositional group identity matters even if it doesn’t feel like it from the inside.
Age stratification in a world where people live arbitrarily long means you never have an opportunity to become a respected elder in your society; generations of more respected super-elders will be around no matter how old and wise you get.
For any x, you eventually get the opportunity to be in the top x% of society! And assuming that the size of a social circle/community stays roughly fixed, eventually you’ll be at the very top of your community. Maybe the more respected super-elders will be in some other galaxy, but not on your world.
Also, in this world, are people youthful indefinitely? I think many of the age related changes in activity choices are driven by physical aging, not maturity, e.g., choosing cocktail parties over clubbing happens not because you realize one day that cocktail parties are a richer experience, but because one day you realize you get too tired by 10pm for the club scene.
Yes, people would be youthful indefinitely. I think there’s a mix of reasons, but getting bored/moving on is definitely one of the main ones. Picture a jaded 40 year old in a nightclub—is the limiting factor really tiredness?
Obviously I would desire some amount of novelty, but it’s mostly in the context of slotting into a roughly stable daily or weekly routine, rather than the routine itself varying much. (e.g. Thursday evening is for games, the games may vary and becoming increasingly complex, but they are still generally played on Thursday evenings).
The point about typical mind fallacy is well-taken but I don’t really see how you can be confident in preferences like the one quoted above given that the timeframes we’re talking about are much longer than your lifespan so far. I mean, many people have midlife crises after only a few decades of such routines. I have a strong intuition that after several centuries of games every Thursday evening, almost anyone would get very bored.
At the very least, I would want a mostly stable “island of calm” where things mostly remained the same, and where I would always return when I was tired of going on adventures.
This isn’t ruled out by my proposal; note that “progress” doesn’t mean discarding every aspect of the past. However, I am suspicious of this sort of island of calm, for roughly the same reason that I doubt it’s valuable to most adults to regularly visit their childhood treehouse. (Also, if there are other people in this ‘island of calm’, then you can’t force them to stay the same just for your sake...)
[This] reads to me like you’re saying that it’s a problem if people like me have the freedom to choose stability if that makes them happier than variety does.
People get stuck in local maxima, and often don’t explore enough to find better options for themselves. The longer people live, the more valuable it is to have sufficient exploration to figure out the best option before choosing stability.