Beyond IQ

Scientific and Rational Thought & Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality PART 3

  • 24 Aug 2020
  • 14 Dec 2020
  • 16 sessions
  • 24 Aug 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 31 Aug 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 07 Sep 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 14 Sep 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 21 Sep 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 05 Oct 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 12 Oct 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 19 Oct 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 26 Oct 2020, 11:00 AM 12:15 PM (EDT)
  • 02 Nov 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • 09 Nov 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • 16 Nov 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • 23 Nov 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • 30 Nov 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • 07 Dec 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • 14 Dec 2020, 10:00 AM 11:15 AM (EST)
  • Online
  • 12


Registration is closed

Mondays, 11:00 am -12:15 pm Eastern until November 2nd (when DST ends), then 10:00am 11:15 am, 16 weeks

So, you want a description of what SRT:HPMOR Part 3 is going to be about?

It’s going to be about so much awesomeness.

It’s going to be about getting through 800+ pages of the material.

It’s going to be about the answers to all the questions that have been bothering you – and also seeing how much we can answer ourselves, not just by our pattern completion abilities, not just because we can pretend to be wise, but because we can think rationally and therefore see what Harry will do, what the author will craft, and why.

We will continue to explore the role of Hermione and the role of women in general, trying to decide whether this work is feminist or failing at that goal. 

We will continue to delve deeply into the characters of Harry, Quirrell, Dumbledore, Malfoy, and others.

And we’ll keep attacking the science, the rationality, and work on growing as rationalists ourselves.

Once all has been answered, we’ll piece the puzzle together and see how it all fits.

Class will meet for 16 sessions.

All times are U.S. East Coast.   We will take a break on November 25th for Thanksgiving week.

Students will have access to class recordings the day after each class.

Science is not just discovery, it is self-discovery.


Day 1: Hesitation is always easy

Book 4, chapters 1-5 (65-69)

Introduction to Part 3, introduction to book 4, concept of hero, self-actualization, observation in quantum mechanics, spatial visualization, cost/benefit of fame, plenty of character and plot analysis.

Day 2: Nobody’s Sidekick

Book 4, chapters 6-9 (70-73)

Analysis – Quirrell’s opinion of SPHEW, women, and heroes; more analysis of heroism and its cost; role and power of protest; the void between the galaxies; moral development and dilemmas, psychology of bullying and groups, character analysis of Daphne and Tracey (as well as the usual), divination and time travel and paradoxes, parallels to current events, seeing cultures from the outside.

Day 3: Hidden Mastermind

Book 4, chapters 10-13 (74-77)

Orbital calculations for Uranus and the role of Neptune; applying Bayesian probability to the situation with Hermione; experimental results of a gratitude journal; how to “cure” bullies; moral questions around evil; the painfully bad representation of girls; Harry’s definition of heroic responsibility; analysis of bullying at Hogwarts; Gandhi, Churchill, and Nazis; criminal justice revisited, analysis of the lady.

Day 4: Bursting Fragments of Comprehension

Book 4, chapters 14-15 (78-79)

Archimedes and Eureka, conservation laws, supernovas and Earth’s core, radioactivity, thermodynamics, compare and contrasting our court system to the Wizengamot, crime and systems that deter crime, studies on memory (revisited), analysis of the crime, analysis of Marauder’s Map, analysis of conversation with Professor Quirrell.

Day 5: Human Beings Can’t Live Like That

Book 4, chapters 16-18 (80-82)

Analysis – evil vs. emptiness, continuation of comparisons of law and court systems, Horns Effect, value of human life and moral decisions, analysis – what are the thinkers thinking about Harry?, Philip Tetlock, Utilitarian Ethicists, Consequentialism, expected utility maximization and Vladimir Lenin/French Revolution.

Day 6: Luxury to Question

Book 4, chapters 19-21 (end of book 4) (83-85)

Analysis – why did Lucius do what he did?, debate on evil/”ill-doers” and intent in evil, analysis of heroism, sound and it’s effect on mental status, analysis of Quirrell’s back story, research on PTSD, Asch revisited, analysis of Quirrell and Hermione’s crime, Leo Szilard and the fission chain reaction/Fermi and graphite as a neutron moderator vs. deuterium, Knut Kaukelid, light from the moon and Polaris, molecular nanotechnology, Penrose process for extracting energy from black holes, analyzing aguamenti.

Day 7: Supersaturated with Ways to Cheat

Book 5, chapters 1 (86) (it's really long)

Headline analysis, analysis of prophecy, compare and contrast Voldemorts, Information Theory, Raymond Smullyan, analysis of Voldemort’s motives, Harry’s ethics, hindsight bias, emotions and the brain, uncertain predicate referent, frustums, bias towards inaction.

Day 8: Foundations of Reality

Book 5, chapters 2-5 (87-90)

Hedonics (but not Critch’s theories), training your inner pigeon, analysis of the Philosopher’s Stone creation story, psychology of flawed ideas, Douglas Hofstadter, Hermione’s ethics, evolutionary psychology and monogamy, ELIZA and AI, ecker Cube, fear of embarrassment schema, 0.3% of the speed of light, sulfuric acid, fault analysis, and my apologies about the plot development in these chapters

Day 9: The Enemy is Smart

Book 5, chapters 6-10 (91-95)

Normalcy bias, Tenerife airport disaster, comparing Harry to his adoptive father, diabolus ex machina, egocentric bias, Law of the Excluded Middle, rhodospin complexes of the retina, neural spikes, photos, magic and belief analysis, main-sequence g-type stars, origin of story in culture, origins of life on earth

Day 10: Note of Grace

Book 5, chapters 11-14 (end of book 5) (96-99)

Five stages of grief, hypothesis forming regarding Hermione, polonium, freezing points of acids, grace notes, lots of plot discussion and catching up on topics that may bleed over from previous days.

Day 11: Continuing to Fight (or Throw Away the Cheese)

Book 6, chapters 1-4 (100-103) DO NOT READ AHEAD

Probability and directionality, ethics – animals and medicine, scope insensitivity reviewed, horcrux analysis, analysis of Philosopher’s Stones potential powers, opposite of happiness, comparing Avada Kedavra to Expecto Patronum, test and critiques of them

Day 12: Silence Stretched

Book 6, chapter 5-9 (104-108)

An analysis of what we learn, truncated tetrahedron, Schelling point, prophecy analysis again, tomb of Amon-Set, ethic of Batman, arc-welders, Az-reth, Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, ad hominem tu quoque, Mao’s little red book, in-depth character analysis

Day 13: Prophesied Instrument of Destruction

Book 6, chapters 10-14 (109-113) DO NOT READ AHEAD

The inscription, possible ideas about uses of the mirror, analysis about Dumbledore’s future, motive analysis, more analysis of evil, analysis of the vow, Final Exam analysis

Day 14: Their Own Image

Book 6, chapters 15-20 (114-119)

Fence post security, final analysis of evil, examination of alternatives, analysis of effects of spell, oxycetelene and weather balloons, types of knowledge, speed of sound vs broomstick speed, mylar and its uses, analysis of Dumbledore’s story, negatively charged strangelets

Day 15: Own Decisions

Book 6, chapters 21-23 (end of book 6), 120-122 (end of book)

Analysis of Narcissa’s story – is Dumbledore good or evil?   Motivated cognition, Daniel Kahneman, catching up on any content we’ve not finished yet.

Day 16: Practicing the Techniques you have Learned

Looking back, sharing work, next steps

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