From: Richard Loosemore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Aug 25 2006 - 13:52:10 MDT
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Richard Loosemore wrote:
>> This impression would be a mistake. To take just the issue of
>> friendliness, for example: there are approaches to this problem that
>> are powerful and viable, but because the list core does not agree with
>> them, you might think that they are not feasible, or outright
>> dangerous and irresponsible. This impression is a result of skewed
>> opinions here, not necessarily a reflection of the actual status of
>> those approaches.
> I am not familiar with any published approaches to the problem that are
> "powerful" and "viable". I include CFAI and CEV in this summary. CFAI
> is not powerful and probably not viable; CEV is a statement of goals.
> It seems to me that you have a systematic problem with airy references
> to literature that exists somewhere only you can see it. Give three
> I fully expect that Richard Loosemore's response will complain about how
> dreadfully unfair and unprofessional it is of me to dare say that he has
> a systematic problem about anything, and what an awful place the SL4
> mailing list is; but he will not, of course, give the three examples. I
> am giving this challenge, not in the hopes that Loosemore will respond
> with actual examples, but so that everyone else knows that the above
> paragraph is, in fact, false - a bluff, to put it bluntly. If Loosemore
> was interested in responding constructively, Anissimov asked politely
> one day ago, and Loosemore could have chosen to respond to that.
> It should moreover be obvious that if Loosemore is *not* bluffing and
> wants to decisively win this argument, he can give three examples and
> *then* complain about how terribly he's been insulted.
[NOTE: I fully expect that Yudkowsky's response to this message will
... err, be completely nonexistent, as usual. I am giving this
challenge, not in the hopes that Yudkowsky will respond with actual
examples to back up his accusations, but so that everyone else knows
that his comments above are, in fact, false - a bluff, to put it
bluntly. If Yudkowsky was interested in responding constructively, I
myself asked him politely 59 days ago, and Yudkowsky could have chosen
to respond to that.]
I really don't know what to say, Yudkowsky old buddy: you don't seem to
be able to conduct a discussion with me without making a slew of
accusations of the "when did you stop beating your wife?" sort. (I'll
explain, below, why this is true in the present case).
You do this, and then, anticipating that I am going to express some
frustration at the treatment, you add that "I fully expect that Richard
Loosemore's response will complain about how dreadfully unfair and
unprofessional it is of me to dare say that he has a systematic problem
about anything, and what an awful place the SL4 mailing list is."
Ouch! Not only do you want to know when I stopped beating my wife, but
you anticipate that I am going to try to weasle out of answering the
question! What a cad I must be!
In the recent past you have *twice* thrown out insulting challenges in
response to something I have written, and each time you then disappeared
when I got back to you:
On the first occasion:
Your message: http://sl4.org/archive/0605/14749.html
My reply: http://sl4.org/archive/0605/14773.html
you implied that I was completely ignorant of the literature, that I was
just making things up, and that I should go and read some baby-level
references. I gave a thorough response, including detailed references
that showed my knowledge of the literature to be at least as good as
your own, countered everything you said and backed up the claim that I
originally made. Hey, what more could I have done?
But what did you do? You ignored my reply completely. Nada; nothing;
On the second occasion:
Your message: http://sl4.org/archive/0606/15321.html
My reply: http://sl4.org/archive/0606/15328.html
I again made an immediate reply, in which I pointed out that a proper
response to your request could go one of two ways, and I invited you to
choose which direction you preferred it to go (I wanted to give you the
option of not wasting time on what I thought we would both agree was the
less interesting line of attack).
So what did you do? Again, you ignored the message completely. That
was 59 days ago. Fifty-nine days and counting.
Strange, don't you think? You issue challenges and accusations at the
drop of a hat, but when I take the trouble to respond, you disappear.
Can you explain this behavior of yours?
As to the substance of your request itself, if I gave you the
impression, in my comment quoted above, that there was a large body of
published literature out there, that was an impression that you conjured
up out of nothing, unwarranted by what I actually said: I said "there
are approaches to this problem that are powerful and viable" because
there are indeed *approaches* that I consider powerful and viable, and
which I have attempted to start a discussion about here: but these
discussions were met with so much vitriol and sidetracking that I
stopped bothering. It would have been great to get some thoughtful
feedback about these ideas, before they end up in my thesis, but with
the best will in the world, I could not even get to first base before
being shouted down.
For future reference: if I say that "there are ways of doing [x]..." it
probably means that I can think of ways to do [x], and I would welcome a
chance to discuss them with anyone who wants. It probably also means "I
have tried to discuss this on SL4 or elsewhere, but it was such hard
work to get people to understand what I was trying to say, that I gave
up, and will have to wait until I get the time to publish it in full."
But more generally, do I have a habit of implying that there are
references that, in fact, do not exist?
If I repeatedly say "there is a published literature that demonstrates
[x]..." and then fail to produce any references to that published
literature when you request them, you are perfectly entitled to come
back and say "It seems to me that you have a systematic problem with
airy references to literature that exists somewhere only you can see it".
If, on the other hand, I say "there are approaches to [x]..." you are
perfectly entitled to ask for clarification: Am I talking about
something that has been published yet? Something that is discussed
widely within a community that you have little contact with? What did I
mean by that? etc. etc. What you are *not* entitled to do is put words
into my mouth and then make accusations based on those words.
The only situations that I can recall when you did anything remotely
like make a request for references, was long ago when you asked for
references to the most basic, simpleminded facts about complex systems:
I accordingly gave you a basic, simpleminded reference. I pointed out
that the claim I made was so general that it was in the 'baby stuff'
category: found all over the place, but best articulated in simple
minded introductory books. Not good enough for you? Sorry: I am not
going to hand-hold you through the baby stuff.
Can you find other examples of situations where I explicitly claimed a
literature reference but failed (in your opinion) to produce it? You
have just made a sweeping allegation that I make a habit of
systematically doing this: please cite examples of all those many
situations where I claimed such references and then did not follow through.
And when you make your list, I ask that you specifically exclude
situations where someone demanded references to OTHER facts or data that
seemed important to them, but which had no relevance to the claims that
I was making. I am not going to produce references to other people's
fantasies about what they think I should have been talking about! I
seem to recall that there have been some of those.
I am willing to apologize, without reservation, for any specific
mistakes I might have made, in not responding to a reasonable request.
But you have to demonstrate a pattern of abuse, not a couple of
mistakes, and you have to balance it with examples where I did indeed
cite references on request, and of course you have to exclude cases
where someone asked me about my own ideas, rather than something that I
*claimed* was published elsewhere.
Finally: please justify the other accusation you made above:
> I fully expect that Richard Loosemore's response will complain
> about how dreadfully unfair and unprofessional it is of me to
> dare say that he has a systematic problem about anything, and
> what an awful place the SL4 mailing list is...
And once again, I'd prefer them to be references to the specific problem
cited, not to complaints of mine that, on inspection, were perfectly
justified (like e.g. being accused of saying something that I did not in
Respectfully yours, but sad that this distraction has already taken so
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