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For example: Eliezer’s wife Brienne had Seasonal Affective Disorder.The consensus treatment for SAD is “light boxes”, very bright lamps that mimic sunshine and make winter feel more like summer.There are dozens of government bodies, private institutions, and universities that could do this kind of thing if they wanted. So “science is broken” seems like the same kind of statement as “a bill has been on the floor of Grand Central Station for a week and nobody has picked it up”. Or: suppose you thought that health care is inefficient and costs way too much.But if this were true, some entrepreneur could start a new hospital / clinic / whatever that delivered health care at lower prices and with higher profit margins.This isn’t to say nobody can ever win a Nobel Prize.But winners will probably be people with access to new ground that hasn’t already been covered by other -seekers.It’s an analysis of the efficient market hypothesis and how it relates to the idea of low-hanging fruit.
It’s a look into whether there is any role for individual reason in a world where you can always just trust expert consensus.Entrepreneurs are pretty smart, so they would notice this money-making opportunity, raise some funds from equally-observant venture capitalists, make a better mass transit system, and get really rich off of all the tickets. So “US cities don’t have good mass transit” seems like the same kind of statement as “a bill has been on the floor of Grand Central Station for a week and nobody has picked it up.” Therefore, US cities have good mass transit, or at least the best mass transit that’s economically viable right now.This proof of God’s omnibenevolence is followed by Eliezer’s observations that the world seems full of evil.Suppose you thought that modern science was broken, with scientists and grantmakers doing a bad job of focusing their discoveries on truly interesting and important things.But if this were true, then you (or anyone else with a little money) could set up a non-broken science, make many more discoveries than everyone else, get more Nobel Prizes, earn more money from all your patents and inventions, and eventually become so prestigious and rich that everyone else admits you were right and switches to doing science your way.
Eliezer did some digging, found that existing light boxes were still way less bright than the sun, and jury-rigged a much brighter version.