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User ID: 910

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Criticizing Bostrom Stifles Honest Discussions and Encourages More Attacks - Those who dig up old messages with offensive content to expose to millions of people want to ruin reputations. We cannot empower these people to influence conversations about the future of humanity.

More discussion of the email incident with Bostrom. I make the case that Bostrom should not have to apologize and that philosophical discussions are an appropriate place to discuss offensive ideas. I argue that many Effective Altruists shouldn't be surprised that other Effective Altruists believe in cognitive differences between populations. I argue that the real purpose of the discussion around Bostrom is enforcing taboos. And that taboos around controversial topics can be very harmful. Being myself, I couldn't help but discuss cognitive enhancement and the taboos around it which are probably incredibly harmful.

Theoretically, you could support a global ban but I doubt that’s going to be at all feasible. Deviation from a global ban will be too tempting.

I would like my culture and society (USA) to have the jump start on cognitive enhancement rather than China or some other authoritarian nation.


Because you’re not gene editing, you’re picking embryos which has full genomes rather than pieces.

Why would it be a decoupling?

Other people will replace the currently existing people. I think it is good if the people that replace us are happy, healthy, and intelligent. If they are so much healthier, happier, and more intelligent than they are "posthuman," then so be it. When you say extinction, it elicits thoughts of everyone dying, which I explicitly want to avoid with the aid of superintelligent people.

Well, I am not Straussian, and I think the logic in my article is decent.

Many among rationalists at least. I agree with you otherwise, at least peer review for these specific disciplines.

Critical Social Justice in the Era of Large Language Models


Many anticipate that AI will have the ability to engage in novel and complex philosophical reasoning or contribute to scientific progress. While AI has yet to achieve this level of sophistication, models like ChatGPT demonstrates an impressive ability to generate meaningful text. I am skeptical about the usefulness and meaningfulness of articles from certain disciplines falling under the banner of Critical Social Justice. Finding connections between abstractions or interpreting text through a postmodern critical lense isn't particularly difficult. Nor does it lend itself to error or falsification. I think traits that allow CSJ scholarship to be hoaxed will put it at risk of domination by AI-generated articles. Scholars in the future will be highly prolific, but all their work will be generated trough computers. This will become a sort of open secret. All this scholarship produced will not advance humankind because CSJ scholarship is, at best, rather useless, and, at worst, socially harmful. In other disciplines more tethered to reality, AI generating acceptable papers would mean genuine progress.


Bentham’s Bulldog discusses a recent apology letter from Nick Bostrom for saying the n-word as well as saying that blacks have lower average intelligence in an offensive way in the mid-nineties. Bostrom also says in the apology letter that he’s not really a supporter of eugenics as some claim. Despite apologizing, Bostrom is attacked still for reiterating he believes in IQ gaps and “handwaving” about eugenics.

There will be overlap of course but I think I’ll bring new ideas. This article wasn’t very well-received but at least it generated some discussion.

I explicitly say in this article that one of my concerns about history is the creation of ideological narratives, including the social justice narrative. If my argument is used for the opposite conclusion as I argue, it is not my fault.

This makes my argument look worse because it changes a word in my premise. But changing a word drastically alters the argument. For example:


Title: Eating animals is wrong

Subtitle: Animals are in inhumane conditions. Animals suffer a lot! Do not eat them.


Eating plants is wrong

Plants are in inhumane conditions. Plants suffer a lot! Do not eat them.

Obviously, you cannot refute my argument by changing the meaning/words in the argument.

I did not say 'history classes are useless.' I said "history classes are mostly useless."

I have an article coming soon arguing that this applies to all areas. I think education is tremendously wasteful. I would be more in favor of history if it was taught in a rigorous and more scientific way rather than in a more narrative form.

I don't think I insisted that history classes are "only ever" taught one way. Furthermore, I don't exactly know what you mean by Schoolhouse Rock version.

"This view of some past era where American students were only ever taught a mythic version of American history"

I did not say American students were "only ever" taught a mythical version. I said:

Furthermore, not only is the sample of historical examples not necessarily random, but it is also often curated to tell a specific narrative that is flattering to one’s nation or appeals to the ideology of the curriculum makers. Given a vast expanse of history, with millions of historical events, it becomes possible to create a curriculum that tells almost any narrative you want. In America, one of the most dominant historical narratives is that history is a struggle between the oppressor classes—men, whites, heterosexuals, the rich—and the oppressed class—ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ+, and the poor. Another possible curated narrative might highlight all the good actions of the American government or the oppressor class without describing any atrocities and failures.

Which, I think is a more measured statement that most would agree with.

Perhaps, but modeling the way the world works and likely consequences of political actions based on historical evidence (even at a very basic level of "Has this ever been tried before, and what happened?") is very useful.

I argued in the article that Phil Tetlock found that superficial historical analogies didn't aid in reasoning about predicting the future. I argue that taking a more data-driven approach to history is better.

Not if they are well taught. (If they're poorly taught, well, a poorly taught math or reading or science class is also mostly useless.)

I agree that history courses would be much better if they were well taught and used a more data-driven approach. I critique the current system as it is. You would still have the problem of information retention that I discussed.

Ideologically motivate curriculum creators can also make narratives. I did not learn that picnic is a slur, but if that was a popular opinion, it wouldn't be surprising to see this belief inserted into education.

Those interested parties can gain control over what is taught. If you want to defend the idea that we should teach history in a non-ideological and rigorous way so as to prevent manipulation by politicians, then yes. That's a great idea. But I still accept the viewpoint that history classes as they stand today in USA, are mostly useless.

I think that history classes are "mostly useless" but not entirely useless. I think history can unify people behind a culture, but unfortunately narrative style history can reinforce ideologies without rigorous checking on hypotheses. For example, elites now history now but their history would be often be framed as a class struggle between oppressors and oppressed. There is a lot of truth to this, to be fair, but I think selective exclusion of examples might give overconfidence.

I think a more unstructured education system where we just gather a bunch of history that is beautiful and let students pursue their interests would be more ethical. If it has to be structured, it needs to improve students critical thinking about the future, curent events, geopolitics, etc. I am skeptical that this is the case to any large extent.

Thanks for your thoughts MathWizard. Let me clarify something: I do not say "this thing is useless" or that history classes have "no value to give." Those are not quotations from the article.

That sort of absolute statement would be unmeasured. However, I do defend the thesis that "History Classes Are Mostly Useless." When I am critical of education, I try to be critical of practices as they currently exist. Of course I agree that "improved" classes that "deliver more value per time" is better than the current arrangement.

She has undergone at least 6 rounds of IVF according to the article.

Thanks. Makes sense. I also didn’t lay out all my beliefs because they aren’t all on the right or common among rationalist or ratadjacent people. I like some of those things too.

What am I brushing away in your view?

That’s a bad idea. Also don’t bring or buy illegal drugs into a foreign country, that’s an even worse idea. I think you have a sense that it is and that’s why you need to ask. Things will probably be okay but there’s a non trivial chance of something very bad happening.

Liquid IV + 100% tequila pretty much does it for me. Water wasn’t enough.

It seems fine to ask questions without explaining in fully your own opinions in other contexts. The reason it seems wrong here is because you believe (probably correctly) that OP is concealing problematic beliefs. I think your real issue is with what you believe that he thinks. As distasteful as the analogy is, “JAQing off” seems fine.

I think that it’s okay for Jews to be overrepresented on JRE. They’re overrepresented in intellectual movements. What matters is the content of what they’re saying rather than them being Jewish.

As repugnant as you find his stance, he does not say people should be hunted for sport or broken down for parts.

Alfred Binet created a test of cognitive ability for French school children. IQ was previously a quotient of scores that correspond to mental age over chronological age for children times 100. That doesn’t work well for adults. They changed it to the standard deviation method where the norm was just 100. I think the reason was likely that 100 was already the norm for a child of perfectly average mental age. I’m not certain though.