Having put all my words back into public view, I don’t know when I’ll get back to this blog. While the official response to the basilisk has been an embarrassing mistake, the idea emerges from an interesting context. I may eventually want to talk here, about the general issues surrounding “timeless decision theory”; but it’s not a priority. So for now, I’ll finish up with an “open thread” post, where readers can ask questions and otherwise unburden themselves of their thoughts.
For the reader who wishes to understand what this is about, here are all the comments I’ve written about the “basilisk”. Most of them have been “censored”, meaning that they still exist on the site, but the viewing permissions have been altered by a moderator so that only the author (me) can see them. As censorship goes, it’s relatively minor, but this topic just shouldn’t be censored at all, because no-one has anything to fear from it.
The basilisk was introduced in a post in mid-2010, so my first comment was made in the context of discussion of the post (indented words were written by someone else; I am quoting and responding). Later the post was “hidden”, in the way I described above, and that was the beginning of the basilisk saga, which has continued, on and off, for over two years.
Hello world. This blog exists to discuss the “Less Wrong Basilisk”, a fallacious scenario which has achieved notoriety at LessWrong.com because the moderators won’t allow it to be discussed.
In medieval mythology, a basilisk is a creature that can kill you with a look. In science fiction, a basilisk is a data structure that can shut down your brain. At Less Wrong, the basilisk is a science-fictional scenario deemed to be too dangerous to discuss. The scenario is fallacious, but because the moderators censor all discussion of the topic, public discussion never develops to the point of definitively exposing the fallacy. Thus this blog.