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Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality

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Dec 5th 2011 at 3:07:11 PM

Hey guys, what's the current status of the Bacon diary again? At Christmas Harry mentions he hadn't gotten around to learning Latin to read it, but I can't recall it being mentioned after that.

Oscredwin Cold. from The Frozen East
Cold.
Dec 5th 2011 at 3:10:45 PM

Nothing's happened to it.

Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Dec 5th 2011 at 4:22:50 PM

Interesting. I find it highly improbable he's just forgotten about it like Canon!harry did with Sirius' mirror. Learning Latin would be difficult, but it's hardly the only method of discovering the book's contents. Even if there weren't translation spells, which I think would be ridiculously unlikely, Hermione would be glad to memorize a language to help him out.

Perhaps there's a possibility he's been memory-charmed? Possibly even by himself?

edited 5th Dec '11 4:23:08 PM by DarthHobbes

Oscredwin Cold. from The Frozen East
Cold.
Dec 5th 2011 at 4:36:06 PM

My sources say that Eliezer never meant to do anything with it and was surprised that Fandom kept asking him about it. If he doesn't get back to it just pretend it ended up in Harry's batmanesque trophy room (inside his trunk).

Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Dec 5th 2011 at 8:26:22 PM

I'm going to need to ask what your sources are, because conservation of detail disagrees with them very strongly.

Oscredwin Cold. from The Frozen East
Cold.
Dec 5th 2011 at 9:40:02 PM

He mentioned it at the big NYC meetup back in February.

Sex, Drugs, and Rationality
Dec 5th 2011 at 11:21:50 PM

Oscred's right - its role was just to scare people, relieve people, and then let them see the squished form of Rita Skeeter - but at fandom's insistence I did eventually figure out something to do with the diary.

Dec 25th 2011 at 9:41:50 AM

I don't suppose there's any chance of a Christmas update?

AckSed Pat. St. of Archive Binge from Pure Imagination
Pat. St. of Archive Binge
Dec 25th 2011 at 1:28:10 PM Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Taelor Don't Forget To Smile from The Paths of Spite
Don't Forget To Smile
Dec 25th 2011 at 6:20:48 PM

So, I was rereading the fic for the third time, and I only just now realized that "Comed Tea" is a pun on "comedy".

The Philosopher-King Paradox
Dec 26th 2011 at 5:24:50 AM

Just curious: What did you suppose the "Comed" part meant? Just a random name?

Taelor Don't Forget To Smile from The Paths of Spite
Don't Forget To Smile
Dec 26th 2011 at 3:45:20 PM

"Update 12/25: Decided not to split 78. It's finished at >17,000 words, but I want to finish at least Ch. 79 before publishing anything, because 78 ends on a major cliffhanger."

You are the biggest tease.

Dec 26th 2011 at 8:45:11 PM

Yudkowsky, I'm not saying that not releasing this chapter might result in a pack of wild badgers eating you and everyone you love, but I'm not not saying it.

Is using "Julian Assange is a Hillary butt plug" an acceptable signature quote?
Dec 30th 2011 at 11:13:13 AM

I just re-read the fic and realized that if I had started re-reading it earlier this semester I would have saved myself real-life pain and heartache by applying some of the useful bits of knowledge in MOR. I need more story now. Those practical bits are really, really useful and the story is flipping addictive.

Also, I'm trying to figure out if giving this to a 4th grader and 5th grader would be a BAD THING. (Mostly, would the passing mention of rape and consideration of the implications of Azkaban get parental units mad at me.) Pondering.

Taelor Don't Forget To Smile from The Paths of Spite
Don't Forget To Smile
Dec 30th 2011 at 1:38:36 PM

Depends on the 4th/5th graders and the parental units in question.

The Philosopher-King Paradox
Bluelantern2814 Mage of Life-Breath-Doom
Mage of Life-Breath-Doom
Dec 30th 2011 at 2:20:12 PM

[up][up]Are you a teacher in the US? If so, yes. If not, maybe...

"Here to welcome our new golden-eyed overlords," said Addy promptly.
Dec 30th 2011 at 5:38:00 PM

I'm not a teacher, but I am in the US (Wyoming, specifically). I'm trying to remember if this content would have upset me at that age, but I had a high reading level at that age and my memory is the average human memory (not nearly as accurate as I'd wish sometimes).

alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher from a
Shadowed Philosopher
Dec 30th 2011 at 5:51:43 PM

It strikes me that I was reading material with implications at least as unfortunate at that age, but I was wildly precocious in reading level, so that's not immediately useful. Who are you contemplating giving it to? If you know the parents involved, you probably have a better idea of their reaction than available from Web commenters. If not...well, it really strongly depends on the parent in question.

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Dec 30th 2011 at 6:17:35 PM

Unfortunately, I don't know the parents terribly well, which is why I'm working extra-hard to imagine possible reactions, especially if they read along. I think the best way to go through material that covers information and issues a kid might be unfamiliar with is to read it with them and discuss it. That way if the science or the moral issues lead to questions, they can be discussed openly and everyone can think and learn. Bonus: parental units can use this to transmit their values to their liking through discussing the story with their children as a jumping-off point and example to work with.

I don't think this story has anything that is ultimately worse than the Fridge Horror of The Chronicles of Narnia, but other people may disagree.

Dec 30th 2011 at 6:27:36 PM

Honestly, I think the section on bullying should be read by as many middle-schoolers and high-schoolers as possible, which is the biggest reason I think these girls might enjoy the story and find it useful (the older girl is trying to get her social footing and deal with some of the difficulties of emerging teenage social behavior in her group). This is part of the reason I'm eagerly awaiting more of the outcomes from the bullying storyline, because it's very important to the meaning of the story in this regard and the messages it portrays. I think this is a major part of my hesitation, honestly, as the bullying was obviously unacceptable but Harry's reaction and the escalation caused by the heroine promotion group is also extreme. I feel there's room for depiction of a middle-way assertive without being inflammatory, still working within a world where the adults are hesitant to act or ineffective (which is sadly quite accurate many times). I fervently hope this is part of the future of this story.

Dec 30th 2011 at 7:01:31 PM

The biggest obstacle you'll encounter when trying to get kids into Mo R will be religion. If the parents are good on that front, I think you should give the kid the book.

storyyeller More like giant cherries from Appleloosa Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
More like giant cherries
Dec 30th 2011 at 9:43:12 PM

Just curious: What did you suppose the "Comed" part meant? Just a random name?

That's what I thought too. I never realized the reference until it was pointed out here. Though I guess I do get credit for being the only one here as far as I can tell to notice the Wizard of Oz reference (the glasses that make everything green).

P.S. I tried Wason's 2-4-6 test on my family and all of them got it. I think you were too hard on Hermione.

edited 30th Dec '11 9:44:57 PM by storyyeller

Blind Final Fantasy 6 Let's Play
Taelor Don't Forget To Smile from The Paths of Spite
Don't Forget To Smile
Dec 30th 2011 at 10:48:19 PM

My parents both ultimately guessed "any three numbers" when I gave it to them.

The Philosopher-King Paradox
Dec 30th 2011 at 11:15:00 PM

I think the family is secure enough in their religious beliefs to not freak out on that front.

Tangent: I can't believe that some people think that one book (or series) will fundamentally alter a child's relationship with religion in a way that outweighs *growing up with whatever the family thinks and does.* This goes for the original HP novels, the Chronicles of Narnia, or whatever lightening rod text is in vogue for religion-themed hand-wringing nowadays. Kids are not stupid, nor unthinking, uncritical receptacles for whatever cultural noise happens their way (unless that's how their family raises them, but I think most kids have critical thinking skills trained out of them instead of needing them built from scratch). Books *are* powerful, but I don't think kids read books going "Ah, yes, this book brings into question everything I thought about my core beliefs. Time to tell my parents that I fundamentally reject our traditions and thought system." I'm sure it does happen, but I don't think it happens all that often or just based on one book. Now MOR *is* the sort of story that could do that (and far more effectively than the His Dark Material Series or Chronicles of Narnia or anything by Ayn Rand), but its aim is to spread methods of rationality, not piss on religion (the evangelical atheist intellectuals in Britain sometimes confuse the two, but, thankfully, Less Wrong has not). Rationality may be a gateway drug to atheism or agnosticism, but the huge number of scientists who are also religious have managed to reconcile those aspects of their beliefs to their satisfaction. I don't think MOR will send readers to Nietzsche next, and, even if it did, any belief that cannot survive thoughtful consideration (much less the full powers of Rationality) is something that should be questioned at the very least.

Mostly, I come down firmly on the side of "Kids are not idiots, so don't treat them like they are." My concerns for giving them this story mostly come down to whether the kids will enjoy it and whether I will cause strife with their parental units. Thanks for the notes, because the question of religious objections had not been in my thoughts on possible objections until it was mentioned here.


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