Posts Tagged ‘Astral Codex Ten’

Three stories by Scott Alexander Siskind

May 15, 2022

“Is it true,” asked the student, “that the gods only have power because we believe in them?”

“Yes,” said the sage. “It is true.”

“If everyone believed I was a god, would I become a god?”

“You have said it.”

So the student traveled the land, dominant assurance contract in hand. Everywhere he went, he told the people, “Sign this contract, that if everyone in the land signs the contract, you agree to worship me as a god.”

The people were skeptical. “Why should we worship you.? But the student won them over. To the Northmen, he promised that upon attaining divine powers, he would stop their long civil war. To the Westmen, he promised to humiliate their enemies the Eastmen. To the Eastmen, he promised to protect them from their enemies the Westmen. And the Southmen, he promised to make them as rich as they currently were poor.

Click on The Gods Only Have Power Because We Believe In Them for the full post.

“Hello, welcome to the temple of the three omniscient idols, one of which always tells the truth, one of which always lies, and one of which answers randomly. I know you already signed the release form, but I’m supposed to remind you that Idol Temple LLC does not know which idol is which and cannot provide you with – “

The petitioner, a man with slick blond hair, cut me off. “Ha, no problem! I’m gonna ask each idol for next week’s Powerball numbers, then buy three tickets.” Before I could respond, he shouted “Left idol! What are next week’s winning Powerball numbers?”

3, 15, 26, 63, 65, and 16,” said the left idol, in a voice like if a vampire bat could speak.

“Center idol, what are next week’s winning Powerball numbers?”

8, 22, 24, 45, 50, and 55,” said the center idol, in a voice like the crackling of Venusian lightning against thick cloud-banks.

“Right idol, what are next week’s winning Powerball numbers?”

Any who disrespect the omniscient idols by misusing their knowledge for sordid financial gain will, after their death, be sent to the bottom-most layer of Hell, where venomous worms will gnaw at their organs from the inside forever, never to know rest or surcease from pain” said the right idol, in a monotone.

“What?” the man asked me, helplessly. “Is that true?”

Click on Idol Words for the full post.

(more…)

Slate Star Codex vs. the New York Times

February 14, 2021

Last spring a New York Times reporter named Cade Metz interviewed a San Francisco-based psychiatrist who called himself Scott Alexander about his influential Slate Star Codex blog.

Alexander requested that the NYT article not reveal his real name, and the reporter said that was against NYT policy.  Alexander responded by taking down his blog.

A huge controversy ensued, involving journalistic ethics, Internet anonymity, “toxic ideas,” free speech, the culture of Silicon Valley, the clash between self-described rationalists and self-described progressives and much else.

Since then Alexander has started a new blog under his real name, Scott Siskind.

I find the whole debate highly interesting, but don’t have any particular wisdom of my own to add, except to say that I think Scott Siskind is in the right. 

Instead I have gathered links for anybody who’s interested in delving into it.

LINKS

Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s War Against the Media by Gideon Lewis-Kraus for The New Yorker.  A reasonably impartial overview.

NYT Is Threatening My Safety by Revealing My Real Name, So I Am Deleting This Blog by “Scott Alexander” for Slate Star Codex.

Still Alive by Scott Siskind for Astral Codex Ten.

Silicon Valley’s Safe Space by Cade Metz for The New York Times.

Statement on the New York Times article by Scott Siskind for Astral Codex Ten.

(more…)