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Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:34 pm UTC
by WarDaft
We can't say for sure because we've never seem something undergo nuclear reactions while transfigured, and we know magic doesn't conform to the laws of thermodynamics.

However, it is possible that if we tracked the path of all energy from the initial transfiguration to the point where the transfiguration wears off, that we would see random quantum fields form where any energy from the initial transfiguration ended up. What these fields would actually be is anyones guess.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:01 pm UTC
by KrO2
This just hit me while I was eating breakfast this afternoon and thinking bout MoR.
Draco tells Harry that "you can't Apparate to someplace you've never been." (Not canon) Does this make sense?
If I'm trying to Apparate to, say, the inside of the family car, that would presumably work. But if the car has been driven by someone else and is currently somewhere I've never been, I just Apparated to a place I've never been.
Maybe it has to do with being able to figure out the Destination, so that if you don't know the place firsthand you can't use the Destination, Deliberation, and Determination or whatever those were. In that case I would be able to Apparate to the car because I have the image of the car that I'm using for Destination. This seems most likely to me. So what happens if I use memory magic to, say, show someone the car in a Penseive? Then they have as good a mental image of the destination as I do, but they've still never been there. Or what if I use some more advanced memory magic to give them a perfect image of a place that doesn't exist? Maybe they even think it's a real memory, but what happens if they try to teleport there?

Note that however you answer this, there is still the completely separate problem of how do you define the place. Kind of like Harry's partial transfiguration discovery, boundaries are not so clear-cut in real life. Maybe by "place" they mean a specific set of spherical coordinates relative to the center of the Earth, but I doubt that even crossed Draco's mind.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:30 am UTC
by EmptySet
KrO2 wrote:Note that however you answer this, there is still the completely separate problem of how do you define the place. Kind of like Harry's partial transfiguration discovery, boundaries are not so clear-cut in real life. Maybe by "place" they mean a specific set of spherical coordinates relative to the center of the Earth, but I doubt that even crossed Draco's mind.


Clearly by "place" they mean a set of time-space coordinates, and with the right mindset you can apparate through time. And then Harry will enchant a telephone box so he can use it as a time machine, and the world will be invaded by aliens that look suspiciously like salt shakers. Or there will be a note in the Chamber of Secrets revealing that Slytherin House is secretly Harry's House O' Doom because he went back in time and passed himself off as Salazar. Or he'll try to break causality with FTL travel and then the universe will implode.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:57 pm UTC
by WarDaft
That can't work, because the Earth is hurtling through space at quite a clip.

There's the Earth's rotation...

Then there's the Earth's orbit around the Sun...

...The Sun's orbit around the galactic core...

...The Milky Way's general motion towards the Hydra Supercluster I believe it is.

And lastly, the general motion of the local superclusters against the rest of the matter in the universe.


So really, it has to work in relation to proximal matter distribution. The Earth is the most obvious anchor.

Also, do note that 3/5 of those involve rotating reference frames, not inertial ones.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:02 pm UTC
by Yakk
My working theory of HPatMoR magic is that magic is cheating.
Spoiler:
Ie, it isn't a fundamental rule of the universe. Rather, someone (maybe the Atlanteans, maybe the aliens running the world in a simulation) set things up so that these nonsense phrases and gestures did magic.

If it is the Atlanteans, then the "source of magic" would be some device somewhere that is actually doing the work. The device doesn't have to be 4d reachable (as animal-form wizards seem to slide sideways through an extra dimension, changing their cross-section in this universe to that of an animal while the rest of them dangles off the side), but it could treat the locally accelerating frame of reference of the surface of the earth as a special frame of reference.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:27 pm UTC
by WarDaft
We could take an even more interesting view,
Spoiler:
in that perhaps the ancient Atlanteans found that intelligence could exert its will over what the laws of reality said should happen. Obviously this makes for a chaotic and self-destructive universe, so they built something powerful to exert more "normality" over the local universe, while still allowing useful infractions coded to specific intents and actions.

This is actually rather consistent with how magic appears to work.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:08 pm UTC
by KrO2
Spoiler:
Have you read the ultimate mega crossover fanfic written by the same author? He defined a magic universe pretty much the same way WarDaft just did, so I think it's fair to say you're right, at least about what the Atlanteans (if the source of magic is, in fact, the Atlanteans) found. But then they would have to find some way to limit magic itself to a specific set of useful infractions, which sounds hard. Hard as in, say, starting from a universe where gravity is unpredictable and forcing it to follow Newton. Hard. Also, that would mean magic doesn't innately have any rules at all, just the ones made up by the Atlanteans. Definitely a possibility, but I don't know if this author would write that.

WarDaft wrote:That can't work, because the Earth is hurtling through space at quite a clip.

They could define position relative to the earth if they wanted to. Erect a few landmarks at known positions around earth, or even in orbit, and set up the Apparating magic in such a way that any destination is defined by its distance from each of them. Not unlike our GPS, which still works despite the fact that the earth is moving. However, I highly doubt that they did anything of the kind.
This raises the question of whether magic in general would work off earth. We have no way of knowing that at the moment, but once we find out what magic is and what role the source of magic played, we'll know whether it's supposed to be unique to earth. My guess is it isn't.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:44 pm UTC
by WarDaft
Well, if it is earthbound then
Spoiler:
Professor Quirrel's horcrux on the voyager 2 probe
won't be very useful.

BIG spoiler by the way. I was quite annoyed when I heard it, and that was after having read the whole thing. It was very subtle.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:47 pm UTC
by 4d0m
KrO2 wrote:
Spoiler:
Have you read the ultimate mega crossover fanfic written by the same author? He defined a magic universe pretty much the same way WarDaft just did, so I think it's fair to say you're right, at least about what the Atlanteans (if the source of magic is, in fact, the Atlanteans) found. But then they would have to find some way to limit magic itself to a specific set of useful infractions, which sounds hard. Hard as in, say, starting from a universe where gravity is unpredictable and forcing it to follow Newton. Hard. Also, that would mean magic doesn't innately have any rules at all, just the ones made up by the Atlanteans. Definitely a possibility, but I don't know if this author would write that.

WarDaft wrote:That can't work, because the Earth is hurtling through space at quite a clip.

They could define position relative to the earth if they wanted to. Erect a few landmarks at known positions around earth, or even in orbit, and set up the Apparating magic in such a way that any destination is defined by its distance from each of them. Not unlike our GPS, which still works despite the fact that the earth is moving. However, I highly doubt that they did anything of the kind.
This raises the question of whether magic in general would work off earth. We have no way of knowing that at the moment, but once we find out what magic is and what role the source of magic played, we'll know whether it's supposed to be unique to earth. My guess is it isn't.



Which "ultimate mega crossover fanfic" is this? And where can I read it?

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:10 am UTC
by Levi
WarDaft wrote:Well, if it is earthbound then
Spoiler:
Professor Quirrel's horcrux on the voyager 2 probe
won't be very useful.

BIG spoiler by the way. I was quite annoyed when I heard it, and that was after having read the whole thing. It was very subtle.

:| I thought it was the least subtle hint in the fic. I had already thought before about
Spoiler:
how poorly Voldemort had placed his horcruxes in the original, so I guess that helped.
And has it actually had an effect on the plot yet?

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:48 am UTC
by WarDaft
Not yet. I found it incredibly subtle because I haven't actually read the original books. I was vaguely aware of the concept, but hadn't really spent more than 5 seconds thinking about it.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:23 am UTC
by KrO2
4d0m wrote:Which "ultimate mega crossover fanfic" is this? And where can I read it?

The full title was The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover. It only mentioned the bit I referenced in passing in between the weird, but is an excellent read nonetheless.

About the spoiler,
Spoiler:
I think the Horcrux might still be useful, since it was made on Earth. Granted it's never coming back so can't be used for the blood/bone/flesh thing, but there's a redundant copy of Quirrel's consciousness in it so one of him will continue to exist floating through space. Coming from the TVTropes page, people there think Voldemort would find that preferable to being dead. If there is no magic off earth, then I think that's what the result would be, but it might depend on whether the Horcrux enchantment altered the probe in some way or just added some magic that may or may not cease to exist. And also on how exactly souls work here.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:54 am UTC
by 4d0m
Thanks, and that title is hilarious.

Spoiler:
I definitely think Quirrel would prefer that to being dead. Remember that line where he was like "i wonder what I would dream about if i slept for a very long time" or something like that when he was talking about wanting to go to a different world? I think that hints strongly at his expected possibility of just floating through space.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:37 pm UTC
by phlip
Just finished archive-binging this today... definitely enjoying it so far!

I... don't have much exciting to add, mostly just posting for the egosearch.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:54 am UTC
by The Mighty Thesaurus
Just posting for phlip's ego search. And to say that I loved every bit of it, though I felt the later chapters were a lot less funny than the earlier ones.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:48 am UTC
by phlip
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:Just posting for phlip's ego search.

Consider my ego thoroughly searched.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 2:29 am UTC
by existentialpanda
I'm writing a paper for one of my classes about how modern neuroscience is disproving the idea that human uniqueness stems from the capacity for reason, and I so badly want to quote HPMoR. Trouble is, I can't think of a line that would fit anywhere.

Is sad. :(


Also, just how long has it been since the last update? Aagh!

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 3:49 am UTC
by Levi
existentialpanda wrote:I'm writing a paper for one of my classes about how modern neuroscience is disproving the idea that human uniqueness stems from the capacity for reason, and I so badly want to quote HPMoR. Trouble is, I can't think of a line that would fit anywhere.

Is sad. :(


Also, just how long has it been since the last update? Aagh!

Could you give a rough overview of the paper?

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:02 pm UTC
by jobriath
existentialpanda wrote:I'm writing a paper for one of my classes about how modern neuroscience is disproving the idea that human uniqueness stems from the capacity for reason, and I so badly want to quote HPMoR. Trouble is, I can't think of a line that would fit anywhere.


There was that line from when he meets Mr Bester, whose reaction to the same stimuli is predictable since his memory is wiped after every session.

"Harry was finding himself very disturbed by how reproducible human thoughts were when you reset people back to the same initial conditions and exposed them to the same stimuli. It was dispelling illusions that a good reductionist wasn't supposed to have in the first place."

Hardly pithy, but is this what you mean?

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:41 am UTC
by Vaniver
Yakk wrote:My working theory of HPatMoR magic is that magic is cheating.
I think it is most likely that Harry lives in a simulation where magic is one of the rules of the simulation, because the author / his social set spend a significant amount of time thinking about those sorts of things.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:55 am UTC
by 4d0m
Afaik the less wrong community doesn't take that idea too seriously, but I could be wrong. Also, Harry mentions that his universes time travel rules aren't "Turing computable" and that a computer couldn't simulate that kind of timeline.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:16 am UTC
by existentialpanda
jobriath wrote:
There was that line from when he meets Mr Bester, whose reaction to the same stimuli is predictable since his memory is wiped after every session.

"Harry was finding himself very disturbed by how reproducible human thoughts were when you reset people back to the same initial conditions and exposed them to the same stimuli. It was dispelling illusions that a good reductionist wasn't supposed to have in the first place."

Hardly pithy, but is this what you mean?


Probably wouldn't work. I can't actually think of a way to fit any of it in anywhere, except perhaps as an introduction, but even that's iffy. Mostly I just really like the idea of putting MoR in my list of references and imagining my professor's reaction. Wishful thinking, really.

(Though I will have to write another paper for this class at the end of the term...maybe there's still a chance :))

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:38 pm UTC
by Skay-39
4d0m wrote:In a way I can imagine, after hundreds of years, a possible future wherein the killing curse ceased to be named as such. In that future it would just be a all-magic-penetrating curse that also killed, like a charm you could use to cut vegetables but would also hurt humans should it be used on them.

I think the words "Avada Kedevra" would still mean, in the langage they come from (I do not believe it's latin, though I could be mistaken), "Die bastard, die !". Like even if you used the Patronus Charm to show your love toward someone, in a future far far away where Harry defeated Dementors and nobody remembers them anymore, "Expecto Patronus" would still mean "Come, protector !"

And I have trouble imagining archeologists hating wards in the way needed to use the killing curse. But maybe I don't hang with enough archeologists. Of course, the mind can probably be fooled the way Harry summon his anger when he needs to go dark...

The thing with magic is, effects are less importants than purpose. Even if you changed human beings to a point where a killing curse would heal them instead of hurt them, it would still obviously be a spell designed to end lifes.

KrO2 wrote:This just hit me while I was eating breakfast this afternoon and thinking bout MoR.
Draco tells Harry that "you can't Apparate to someplace you've never been." (Not canon) Does this make sense?
If I'm trying to Apparate to, say, the inside of the family car, that would presumably work. But if the car has been driven by someone else and is currently somewhere I've never been, I just Apparated to a place I've never been.
Maybe it has to do with being able to figure out the Destination, so that if you don't know the place firsthand you can't use the Destination, Deliberation, and Determination or whatever those were.

Or maybe a wizard left a mark behind him in the magic everywhere it goes, and can only come back to a place where this mark had been left. It still take Earth as a referencial, but I doubt whoever invented Apparition knew about the Milky Way been moving.

About the killing curse been unblockable and unstoppable, I was thinking of a possibility. Indeed, it seems like the obvious reflex to hover a piece of rock in front of the spell if someone fire it at you (maybe not easy, but obvious) ; and if you fear that the hover charm may interfere with the "unblockable" characteristic, then you just launch it with magic, and let it go his way unsupported. After all, I don't really see the Avada Kedevra flying indefinitely among the stars until it get lucky with an alien space ship, its not unpossible but just seems to powerful, it must have some limits. It's just more interresting if it does die into the air after a few kilometers if not meeting any target or obstacle, or crash for good against a big stone wall. Then, to stick with the "unstoppable" thing... What if the curse worked with the hatred you put in it ? What if this hatred has to be focus on your target, and as long as the spell his heading for the living thing it is intended to kill, nothing can stop it, even someone stepping on its way... but the second it missed, the second the target dodge, or the spell, poorly aimed, passed it, it stops to be unblockable ?

Then the curse could still end another living being standing on his path, but this time could be stop - maybe not by a shield, but by a summoned wall or a true one.

It is a change from Canon, I guess, thought Rowling never explained this point, and it does make the Avada Kedavra less awesome, but it fits with what we know about it...

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 10:21 pm UTC
by skeptical scientist
Just started reading it. So many sig-worthy quotes! I haven't read any of this thread yet (apart from the first post) since I don't want to worry about spoilers, but I'll come back when I'm finished. :)

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:00 am UTC
by Jorpho
I are also starting reading it, in the form of the whacking thick printed copy I made a while back. (I suppose this way at least I can pass it on to someone after I finish it.)

I gotta say... This is not a particularly professional piece of work. It's impressive, to be sure, but it could use the ministrations of a good editor.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 7:08 pm UTC
by redgrowth
I did a search and didn't see anything so I figured I'd ask.

Can anyone explain how the Interdiction of Merlin works? There's that scene where Harry and Hermione are experimenting with obscure spells they learned from books to try and determine how magic works. How does this not violate the Interdiction of Merlin, which says spells can only passed from living mind to living mind? Furthermore, why do spellbooks even exist?

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 7:35 pm UTC
by WarDaft
Jorpho wrote:I are also starting reading it, in the form of the whacking thick printed copy I made a while back. (I suppose this way at least I can pass it on to someone after I finish it.)

I gotta say... This is not a particularly professional piece of work. It's impressive, to be sure, but it could use the ministrations of a good editor.


There are a few points that are kind of rough. I'm not actually sure the author has written any other substantial pieces of fiction. Also, a few anvilicious parts with the rationality/science stuff, which at least half the people here probably already know, leaving it particularly apparent that it's author tract.

However, the actual story parts get quite good. If you accept that 11 year olds can be that smart... or completely forget how old they are and just go with it (that's what happened to me for most of it.)

redgrowth wrote:I did a search and didn't see anything so I figured I'd ask.

Can anyone explain how the Interdiction of Merlin works? There's that scene where Harry and Hermione are experimenting with obscure spells they learned from books to try and determine how magic works. How does this not violate the Interdiction of Merlin, which says spells can only passed from living mind to living mind? Furthermore, why do spellbooks even exist?
Hmm, no idea, but a reasonable explanation would be that only certain spells / spells that are particularly potent are affected by it. It seems like something that would take quite something to do, permanently altering the nature of learning magic. If such a thing had to be done on a per spell basis, then it makes sense to only use it on the more dangerous ones.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:21 am UTC
by skeptical scientist
WarDaft wrote:Also, a few anvilicious parts with the rationality/science stuff, which at least half the people here probably already know, leaving it particularly apparent that it's author tract.

I found some of his Aesops very enlightening, actually, despite my skeptical/rationalist background. I often find that Yudkowsky has a different way of thinking about the art of rationality than I do, which is nevertheless quite obviously correct once I read it, so I think there's something in it even for those of us who have science/rationalism backgrounds. I have also enjoyed reading many of his essays on Less Wrong, particularly the ones given as parables.

By "anvilicious", do you mean that the morals were obvious? (Imo, that's a good thing—it's much more honest to write a story that candidly attempts to teach than one which tries to get its message across subliminally.) Or do you mean that you found them excessively blunt? Personally, I was not bothered by the moralizing, because I agreed with the morals put forth, I understood that was one of Yudkowsky's main goals in writing the piece, and I found some of the lessons both interesting and useful. And while they were obviously included for the purpose of teaching specific aspects of the art of rationality, I felt that they fit with the general flow of the narrative.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 8:16 pm UTC
by WarDaft
I meant Anvilicious. Not necessarily a bad thing, just very obviously the part of the story where he says "Okay, and here's where I teach you about ______" which can bother some people. It didn't actually bother me either, I just thought it fair to give warning.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:06 pm UTC
by skeptical scientist
WarDaft wrote:I meant Anvilicious. Not necessarily a bad thing, just very obviously the part of the story where he says "Okay, and here's where I teach you about ______" which can bother some people. It didn't actually bother me either, I just thought it fair to give warning.

Yeah, I mean he basically puts the moral of the chapter in the title of the chapter. But the point is that he's not trying to be subtle and failing, he's openly writing a fanfic which is a sequence of parables. As such, the term you linked doesn't apply:
TVTropes wrote:Note that some works are openly intended to hammer home points, and are essentially teaching material in literary form: fairy tales, religious works, and position papers of all sorts may be heavy-handed, but that doesn't make them anvilicious. To achieve that distinction, the reader has to experience the sense that the author is foisting opinions, in the guise of telling you a supposedly entertaining story - and doing it clumsily enough that it becomes uncomfortable or irritating. Similarly, it is not anvilicious only because you disagree with any inherent message.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Fri May 20, 2011 3:57 pm UTC
by WarDaft
Granted most anvilicious media of it are worse off for it, WALL-E, Crash, and V for Vendetta are all listed as examples. It doesn't strictly have to be poorly done, it just has to have the weight behind it of an anvil being hurled at you.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 4:52 pm UTC
by HungryHobo
I get the feeling that if it follows the events of the original books and the philosophers stone is destroyed... for no particular reason harry will be more than a little angry that Dumbledore would be so explicitly and clearly evil as to intentionally destroy an artifact which could give health and immortality to every human on the planet.

I mean that makes everything Voldemort did look like kicking a few puppies in comparison.

I am a little surprised that while he does seem interested in immortality and he reads a great deal he's not come across anything about the philosophers stone.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:46 pm UTC
by Levi
Levi wrote:I was just watching the first HP movie and I realized: When Harry finds out about the Sorcerer's Stone, he is going to be so fucking pissed.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 11:27 pm UTC
by HungryHobo
Yes I saw that but nobody seemed to talk further earlier.

I'm also wondering how he doesn't know about it yet, I mean the philosophers stone is supposed to be pretty famous in the canon harry potter isn't it?
and immortality for all is one of his big goals and he'd surely have come across it?

just came across something from the potter wiki that jumped out at me:

According to a page in Advanced Potion-Making, "the Philosopher's Stone was believed to mystically amplify the user's knowledge of alchemy so much that anything was attainable."

http://www.mugglenet.com/viewer/?image_ ... making.jpg

given Yudkowskys interests in the nature of transcendent intelligences and the fact that he seems to check the potter wiki I can imagine this being something he might go with...
and it's far more interesting from a TMOR perspective than a stone which spits out magic water.

If harry ever gets to use the stone on himself he might just get his ascent to godhood.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:25 am UTC
by Skay-39
HungryHobo wrote:Yes I saw that but nobody seemed to talk further earlier.

I'm also wondering how he doesn't know about it yet, I mean the philosophers stone is supposed to be pretty famous in the canon harry potter isn't it?
and immortality for all is one of his big goals and he'd surely have come across it?

Harry does know about the Philosophers stone. Griphook mentionned it during his trip to Gringott...
"Where would you find a ton of silver, I wonder? Surely you would not be... expecting to lay your hands upon a Philosopher's Stone?"
"Griphook!" hissed McGonagall.
"A Philosopher's Stone?" Harry said, puzzled.
"Perhaps not, then," said the goblin. His body, which had been taut, seemed to relax slightly."

It makes no sense for me either that he had not faint when earing that. It really looks like someone is holding the Idiot Ball after all.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 24, 2011 4:36 pm UTC
by mister k
Skay-39 wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:Yes I saw that but nobody seemed to talk further earlier.

I'm also wondering how he doesn't know about it yet, I mean the philosophers stone is supposed to be pretty famous in the canon harry potter isn't it?
and immortality for all is one of his big goals and he'd surely have come across it?

Harry does know about the Philosophers stone. Griphook mentionned it during his trip to Gringott...
"Where would you find a ton of silver, I wonder? Surely you would not be... expecting to lay your hands upon a Philosopher's Stone?"
"Griphook!" hissed McGonagall.
"A Philosopher's Stone?" Harry said, puzzled.
"Perhaps not, then," said the goblin. His body, which had been taut, seemed to relax slightly."

It makes no sense for me either that he had not faint when earing that. It really looks like someone is holding the Idiot Ball after all.


I'm not convinced he knows one exists, however. I suspect that one of his future goals would indeed be to produce a philosopher's stone, but I'm gonna go ahead and suggest that a) its phenomenally difficult and b)only one can exist at a time. These are just guesses, but from the books we know only Flamel and his wife have access to one, and Voldemort never even seems to consider producing one.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:03 pm UTC
by HungryHobo
That's pretty common in the fantasy genera and one thing I often find annoying.

Almost nobody ever even for one second considers trying to build their own *artifact* even if the original maker wasn't very special.
It's sort of a way of thinking: that the best things are far in the past.

so I wouldn't be surprised if The Methods ignores this one and harry does consider making his own.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:47 am UTC
by Levi
I'm not so sure about that. There was that sequence earlier in which we learned that magic has, in fact, been getting weaker over time.

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:03 am UTC
by Skay-39
mister k wrote:These are just guesses, but from the books we know only Flamel and his wife have access to one, and Voldemort never even seems to consider producing one.

It may not be easier than to recreate the True Invisibility Cloak or the Sorting Hat.
...Well, actually, MoR!Voldemort would have been able to recreate the Sorting Hat.

HungryHobo wrote:That's pretty common in the fantasy genera and one thing I often find annoying.

Almost nobody ever even for one second considers trying to build their own *artifact* even if the original maker wasn't very special.
It's sort of a way of thinking: that the best things are far in the past.

Well, considering the - so it seems - abyss between modern wizardry and Antlantean wizardry, the Stone is probably not an original discovery. Nicholas Flamel may not had reinvent it entirely ; maybe a part of the knowledge had been preserved, centuries after centuries, only to be lost after he had learned it ; then, he may knows more than his own secrets, but also those he inherited. It would make the Stone much more harder to recreate for Harry - maybe almost impossible.

Levi wrote:I'm not so sure about that. There was that sequence earlier in which we learned that magic has, in fact, been getting weaker over time.

Probably only because of the Interdict of Merlin, very useful to prevent a new Atlantis Eraser but wasting the efforts of every powerful wizards on the rediscovery of ancient spells that will probably be forgotten again in a few generations. But Flamel is still alive, and perfectly able to teach about his art. And probably about a few other things, since he is only three hundred years younger than Hogwarts...

Re: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 4:07 am UTC
by skeptical scientist
NEW CHAPTER!!!
Spoiler:
I like how Draco behaves in this chapter. He might actually turn into a good person.