List formats

Sometimes, you will see lists written inline, like this:

The first five leaders of the Stoic school were 1) Zeno of Citium, 2) Cleanthes, 3) Chrysippus, 4) Zeno of Tarsus and 5) Diogenes of Babylon.

We can instead format it as a block:

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Modular empirical science

In this article, I suggest a process for empirical science. It is an alternative to the peer-reviewed journal. The overarching goal is scientific progress, and I think this is one way to accelerate it. My suggestion is inspired by modular design, the open science movement and the success of free and open-source software.

Epistemic status

  • 80 percent confident that it would produce more scientific progress given the same input.
  • 70 percent sure that the idea is not objectively original. I certainly have at least parts of it from other people, and at least parts of it is already being done.
  • 70 percent confident that I haven’t found the best name for the concept.
  • Many implementation details are unknown to me.

The problem

Imagine that you are a scientist, and you have dreamed up an experiment to answer a question. To illustrate, let us use the hilarious Stanford marshmallow experiment:

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How to write a paper

With the help of a colleague, I recently wrote a white paper about forecasting research and how we want to use it to improve decision-making in organizations. Since people liked the paper and I enjoyed writing it, I thought I’d share some details about our writing process.

Why have a process?

Why should you even use a writing process? Shouldn’t writing be pure creativity, pulled by the force of inspiration? That would be ideal. But in real life, it rarely works. Creation is 5 percent creativity and inspiration. The remaining 95 percent is hard work and discipline. Working hard without some kind of process is not only time-consuming, it's flat-out painful.

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Aumann’s agreement theorem

Aumann’s agreement theorem, roughly speaking, says that two agents acting rationally (in a certain precise sense) and with common knowledge of each other’s beliefs cannot agree to disagree.

LessWrong Wiki

In other words, when two truth-seeking individuals share information, they approach the same beliefs.

Sometimes, when I’m in a discussion with others, I remember Aumann's agreement theorem. To me, it’s an ideal: Whenever we discuss facts about the world, we should approach agreement. Otherwise, we're failing. This ideal assumes that we are:

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