Robin Hanson posted yesterday about how truth-seeking is sacred to him, so I replied about Paths Forward:
Note that I attempted to bring up Paths Forward with Robin Hanson in 2018: Curiosity – Paths Forward or Prediction Markets?
truth-seeking among intellectuals on important topics
Suppose, hypothetically, that you’re wrong about something important. What reasonable series of actions could someone take to correct your error?
Elaborating: Suppose a member of the public knows your error and would like to tell you. Further suppose that he cannot tell you in a paragraph or two. Your initial reaction will be that the idea does not sound promising. That’s because it’s complicated, it’s counter-intuitive, it disagrees with multiple ideas you have, and it relies on several pieces of background knowledge you don’t have. It’s not the kind of easily-understandable, immediately-appealing idea that would go viral. Also, the critic doesn’t have the right credentials, social status or social network to get your attention that way.
I understand that you have to protect your time, energy and attention. I understand that the large majority of people who’d like to teach you something are, in fact, wrong. But do you a written policy for how you protect your time and attention without blocking good ideas, which explains to a would-be critic what steps he needs to do to not be incorrectly ignored? Is such a policy publicly exposed to critical scrutiny? Do you have public transparency and accountability for how you handle this stuff? I believe not.
It’s also important, for persuasion, that would-be critics who are wrong can get their criticisms addressed. Otherwise they’ll keep thinking you’re wrong with no way to learn better from you. Again you must protect your time, but there are things you can do. Books, blogs and FAQs help but aren’t enough. A discussion forum with an organized community that takes responsibility for answering questions and criticisms would do more. That’d involve proxies who can answer some things in your place, and written escalation policies for when the proxies don’t address issues adequately.
I think these methodological issues related to resource-efficient ways error correction can happen are crucial to truth seeking, and that you and many others are not working on them. I have been: Paths Forward Summary