Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015 · 2015-10-06T04:13:33.593Z · LW · GW

I haven't done anything to "abuse" the voting system, and you should retract your accusation because you have no evidence of that. I don't understand how my posts can gain so many upvotes in such a short time.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015 · 2015-10-05T15:30:24.754Z · LW · GW

I haven't seen The Martian yet, but I find the reviews of it interesting. Why would a robinsonade set on another planet appeal so strongly to people, and especially now?

Well, we can feel the spiritual sickness of living in our world full of parasites and thought police. You have to learn how to manipulate people and keep careful control over what you say and do around them so that you can have a tolerable life - and you don't have access to the most elite people who have the most power over our whole society, like, say, Federal Reserve bankers.

By contrast, it feels more natural and healthier for us to extract our sustenance from nature directly through the use of our own minds and hands, where you don't have to play these ridiculous mind games with idiots. Our ancestors repeatedly had to solve survival challenges posed by new environments and situations by doing their version of "sciencing the shit out of them," and today's movie audiences seem to respond to that by seeing it in a science fictional context.

This could also explain the popularity of those admittedly staged "survival" series on cable, along with the reality series which show blue collar guys working on commercial fishing boats, in logging camps or in gunsmithing shops. We know that we live largely in a simulacrum of reality, especially with all this social-justice make-believe, and the knowledge has become a splinter in our minds.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Oct. 5 - Oct. 11, 2015 · 2015-10-05T15:23:01.405Z · LW · GW

Apparently incel played a role in Chris Harper-Mercer's rampage killing last week. And he reportedly derived inspiration from Elliot Rodger's example last year. I suspect we'll see more of these guys because of all the media attention the previous ones receive, and the next incel mass murderer will probably leave documentation behind about his admiration for Mercer.

Mixed-race parenting and absent or disengaged fathers seem to act as secondary causes in both Rodger's and Mercer's alienation and generally screwed up lives, but no one wants to talk about those factors for some reason. Setting aside the miscegenation and the disrupted family relationships, that leaves the growing incel phenomenon, the sexual eviction of more and more of the male population, as the elephant in the room that people really don't want to talk about, because it raises inconvenient questions about feminism, women's sexual freedom and hypergamy.

No, point to shiny distractions like guns, "mental illness," "misogyny," etc., instead of naming the main issue here.

I saw a blogger who linked to discussions on reddit and dailykos where apparently women demand that the state round up incels and put them in "camps" or otherwise do away with them. I found that striking, because I've noticed that women freak out when I say that we need to restore a healthy patriarchy where women can't get sexual experience until marriage.

Now, at first blush the usual Manospherean reason suggests itself: This proposal unsettles women because they find most men sexually repulsive, even though in monogamous societies where most women have to marry ordinary men and have sexual relationships with their allegedly yucky husbands, they find the experience tolerable and they make a go of it. Some of these women might even wind up respecting their husbands after seeming these men's character in action.

But another reason for this reaction suggests itself to me: Guilt. Women know on some level that they have done wrong by embracing feminism, sexual freedom and hypergamy, and they don't want to face accountability for their transgressions. The ones who advocate online the murder of incels apparently do so for the same reason criminals try to murder their victims and the witnesses to their crimes: They don't want these men around to testify against them.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-10-02T04:09:53.391Z · LW · GW

Louis Slotin?

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-10-01T16:07:30.298Z · LW · GW

Transhumanism sounds like all fun and games now. But wait until an enhanced woman goes into the mountains, creates an ice castle with her superpowers and plunges the world into endless winter.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-30T23:37:37.461Z · LW · GW

Dante Alighieri, De Monarchia:

Ineffable Providence has thus designed two ends to be contemplated of man: first, the happiness of this life, which consists in the activity of his natural powers, and is prefigured by the terrestrial Paradise; and then the blessedness of life everlasting, which consists in the enjoyment of the countenance of God, to which man’s natural powers may not attain unless aided by divine light, and which may be symbolized by the celestial Paradise.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-30T17:22:22.748Z · LW · GW

From Augustine's Confessions, Book 11:

What now is clear and plain is, that neither things to come nor past are. Nor is it properly said, "there be three times, past, present, and to come": yet perchance it might be properly said, "there be three times; a present of things past, a present of things present, and a present of things future." For these three do exist in some sort, in the soul, but otherwhere do I not see them; present of things past, memory; present of things present, sight; present of things future, expectation.

The man who spoke at my high school graduation (East Central High School in Tulsa, Class of '78) actually quoted this passage of Augustine's in his speech, which I remember as part of my present of things past. Unfortunately I have forgotten the speaker's name.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 28 - Oct. 4, 2015 · 2015-09-28T14:14:16.120Z · LW · GW

The recent propaganda about the wonders of sex robots has gotten me worked up because I consider the sex robot a horrible idea, and it leads me to worry about just how disordered the relationship between the sexes can possibly get. Young men need experience with sexual relationships starting at an appropriate age so that they can develop the skills they need for dealing with women successfully in adult life in general. Sufficiently advanced sex robots (“advanced” in a technological sense, because I consider the technology socially damaging) could sabotage this process and result in turning a whole generation of adolescent boys into emotionally and socially impaired adult male virgins who don’t know how to relate to real, biological women. Something like this trend has already advanced far in Japan, even without sex robots: Reportedly a quarter of unmarried Japanese men in their 30’s have had no sexual experience, despite Japan’s normal male to female sex ratio, the culture’s sexual liberalism and Japan’s proximity to other Asian countries which have sex tourism industries. Japan has a funny way of living “20 minutes into the future,” so we shouldn’t shrug this off this phenomenon as a peculiarity of Japanese culture and not expect it to show up elsewhere.

For some reason I find little reception to my concerns about this. I would even argue that male sexual backwardness should become a focus of professional development in business, to show the importance of addressing it as a wider problem. Promising male business leaders who lack sexual experience need help in acquiring it as part of their training so that they can earn the respect of women in the work place. (What, you don’t think that women can pick up on the difference between the experienced, confident man versus the inexperienced man who feels uncomfortable around young women, ceteris paribus?)

But as I said, I don’t know of anyone else who shares my point of view, and especially not professional sexologists. The sex scientists in the West, at least, seem to have the agenda of promoting feminism and normalizing deviancy. They don’t care about the experiences and problems of adult male virgins and incels with normal desires, so guess who gets thrown to the wolves?

Then I just read the following story:

Advent of the virgin births: Women who have never been in a relationship paying £5,000 to get pregnant

Apparently some fertility clinics in the UK will help virgin women bypass sexual experience on the way to motherhood, even ones who might never have had a boyfriend or gone on a date.

Hmm. Okay. What could possibly go wrong with this, apart from the usual hazards of single motherhood?

Well, the Daily Mail article says the following:

Child psychotherapist Dilys Daws said the fact that virgin women were resorting to IVF ‘suggests someone who is not emotionally mature enough to be close to someone else – and that matters when it comes to bringing up a child. It implies the woman has a fear of having a close physical relationship with someone else, in which case the baby will not be brought up with that love.’

Uh, you know, this resembles my concerns about the developmental deficiencies of adult male virgins. Perhaps I sound like a crank for insisting that young men need experience with sexual relationships to develop into thriving adult men; but then this psychotherapist says that young women need the emotional growth that comes from experience with sexual relationships, and they preferably need to become pregnant in these relationships, so that they can become good mothers.

And now the UK has inadvertently started a social experiment where female virgins can forego this stage of life experience and skill development because they want to make babies right away without having any sexual involvement with men. The women who give birth this way will probably have problems forming relationships with men afterwards, and not just because of men’s natural aversion to cuckoldry – why should these men invest their resources into rearing other men’s children? – but also because these women could project something “off” about them that reduces the perception of their reproductive fitness. Making babies as virgins minus sexual intercourse has to muck up women’s hormonal cycles involved with courtship, pair bonding, mating, conception, pregnancy and childbirth – natural and sexual selection shaped women’s bodies and minds to do it this way over hundreds of thousands of years - and the subtle but detectable damage will probably manifest itself in their bodies and in their behavior around men.

However I doubt if the medical community will heed the warnings of mental health professionals like Dilys Daws. In the modern political regime, women can get pretty much whatever they want, even female virgins who want to become mothers without having to submit to the indignity of coupling with the bodies of icky boys. Meanwhile, some transhumanists who should know better think that sexually backwards men will find meaningful “relationships” with sex robots. The two trends complement each other, in a sick and twisted way; and I just don’t see how they can turn out well, especially if the one about virgin motherhood goes viral.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-25T16:13:00.693Z · LW · GW

Actually we have empirical evidence that women's premarital sexual adventures damage their ability to form stable marriages:

When our allegedly unenlightened ancestors shamed sluts, shunned bastard kids and married their daughters off as young virgins, it turns out that they knew their business after all.

BTW, I find it curious that at least some of us consider paleonutrition a guide towards a modern healthy diet, but then turn around and call paleocognition bad names like "cognitive biases."

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-25T16:06:52.275Z · LW · GW

Roosh has posted essays about the classical literature he has read and thought about, which shows an openness to a philosophical view of life. That can overlap with spiritual thinking to some extent.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-24T20:34:41.108Z · LW · GW

Brave New World, Chapter 17:

ART, SCIENCE–you seem to have paid a fairly high price for your happiness," said the Savage, when they were alone. "Anything else?"

"Well, religion, of course," replied the Controller. "There used to be something called God–before the Nine Years' War. But I was forgetting; you know all about God, I suppose."

"Well …" The Savage hesitated. He would have liked to say something about solitude, about night, about the mesa lying pale under the moon, about the precipice, the plunge into shadowy darkness, about death. He would have liked to speak; but there were no words. Not even in Shakespeare.

The Controller, meanwhile, had crossed to the other side of the room and was unlocking a large safe set into the wall between the bookshelves. The heavy door swung open. Rummaging in the darkness within, "It's a subject," he said, "that has always had a great interest for me." He pulled out a thick black volume. "You've never read this, for example."

The Savage took it. "The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments," he read aloud from the title-page. "Nor this." It was a small book and had lost its cover.

"The Imitation of Christ."

"Nor this." He handed out another volume.

"The Varieties of Religious Experience. By William James."

"And I've got plenty more," Mustapha Mond continued, resuming his seat. "A whole collection of pornographic old books. God in the safe and Ford on the shelves." He pointed with a laugh to his avowed library–to the shelves of books, the rack full of reading-machine bobbins and sound-track rolls.

"But if you know about God, why don't you tell them?" asked the Savage indignantly. "Why don't you give them these books about God?"

"For the same reason as we don't give them Othello: they're old; they're about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now."

"But God doesn't change."

"Men do, though."

"What difference does that make?"

"All the difference in the world," said Mustapha Mond. He got up again and walked to the safe. "There was a man called Cardinal Newman," he said. "A cardinal," he exclaimed parenthetically, "was a kind of Arch-Community-Songster."

"'I Pandulph, of fair Milan, cardinal.' I've read about them in Shakespeare."

"Of course you have. Well, as I was saying, there was a man called Cardinal Newman. Ah, here's the book." He pulled it out. "And while I'm about it I'll take this one too. It's by a man called Maine de Biran. He was a philosopher, if you know what that was."

"A man who dreams of fewer things than there are in heaven and earth," said the Savage promptly.

"Quite so. I'll read you one of the things he did dream of in a moment. Meanwhile, listen to what this old Arch-Community-Songster said." He opened the book at the place marked by a slip of paper and began to read. "'We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?"

"Then you think there is no God?"

"No, I think there quite probably is one."

"Then why? …"

Mustapha Mond checked him. "But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In premodern times he manifested himself as the being that's described in these books. Now …"

"How does he manifest himself now?" asked the Savage.

"Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren't there at all."

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-24T18:09:59.882Z · LW · GW

I have a casual interest in religious conversion as an empirical psychological phenomenon. The philosopher William James makes the case for studying religious experience empirically in one of his books published over a century ago - The Varieties of Religious Experience - so the idea has circulated for quite a while.

I think we might have an example of an internet figure undergoing an Augustinian sort of spiritual crisis documented online, namely the pickup artist Roosh Valizadeh. Roosh has posted and said lately that he doesn't enjoy his sexual conquests as much as he used to. Just the other day he posted "Junk Food Sex," where he recounts his reaction to one his Polish pickups:

Early in the summer I met a Polish girl on a weekend night. I convinced her to have a drink with me in a different bar and then two hours later I invited her back to my place. We had sex all night long. I had four orgasms with her, and each one felt immensely pleasurable, but the following day I had a weird feeling, almost as if I did something wrong. I ignored this feeling and contacted her again one week later. She returned to my apartment, and during the sex act I felt powerful bodily satisfaction. While I was laying my strokes inside her, I savored the fact that I could sleep with a girl 13 years younger than myself, but after my orgasm completed, and our bodies remained still, the same negative feeling came forth within me.

Now, this sounds familiar if you have read autobiographical accounts of religious conversions, like the ones quoted in James's study. And especially if you have read Augustine's Confessions, where Augustine after having several sexual relationships in his youth, famously prays, "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet," because he feels the conflict between his waning sexual desires and his growing "spiritual" yearnings in his middle age.

If Roosh does "go Augustine" on us after his youth of debauchery, I will find that fascinating to observe.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-24T04:15:33.352Z · LW · GW

Richard Spencer interviews Roger Devlin, author of Sexual Utopia in Power:

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-22T00:52:23.056Z · LW · GW

What Does the Future Hold for Kim Suozzi's Cryogenically Frozen Brain?

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-21T16:42:34.316Z · LW · GW

Oh, I forgot to add to the post below another source of my science-fictional view of sexual relationships: Robert Ettinger's nonfiction book Man Into Superman, which I read at the impressionable age of 14 in 1974. Scroll down to page 68, "Transsex and Supersex":

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 21 - Sep. 27, 2015 · 2015-09-21T14:13:53.601Z · LW · GW

To me sexual relationships have always had this weirdly science-fictional aspect about them. During my teenage years in the 1970's, I read science fiction novels which depicted sexual situations - notably Brave New World and Stranger in a Strange Land, along with novels like Asimov's The Gods Themselves and Clarke's Imperial Earth. I also saw the science fiction film Logan’s Run when it came out in theaters, with its depiction of a sexual utopia, including a hooking up technology which combines features of Tinder and Star Trek-like transporters.

Like it does for most teenage boys, to me sex sounded like an incredibly cool thing to try to experience as soon as possible, especially given how the novels I read and how at least one movie I saw portrayed it in "futuristic" settings. But because I had no access to sexual opportunities at the time, I had to postpone sex to some indefinite date in the future. Sex for me eventually turned into a vague science-fictional aspiration like, oh, visiting Mars or something.

Science fiction writers tend to know their readership – mainly nerdy boys like me who don’t attract girls – so I wonder if some of them portray sex as an implicitly futuristic experience on purpose. I ran across an example a couple years ago in A. Bertram Chandler’s novel, The Road to the Rim, originally published in 1967. I could have read this novel as a teen, I suppose, but it escaped my notice at the time. Chandler in this work introduces a recurring character named John Grimes, an interstellar explorer whom I have seen described as “Horatio Hornblower in space.” Baen has recently republished all of Chandler’s Grimes novels in several omnibus editions.

Anyway, the first novel shows Grimes as a young recruit into the Federation Survey Service going on his first interstellar voyage. The plot involves another officer on the starship named Jane Pentecost. The following happens between these two characters:

Suddenly she bent down to kiss him. It was intended to be no more than a light brushing of the lips, but Grimes was suddenly aware, with his entire body, of the closeness of her, of the warmth and the scent of her, and almost without volition his arms went around her, drawing her closer still to him. She tried to break away, but it was only a halfhearted effort. . .

Somehow the buttons of her uniform shirt had come undone, and her nipples were taut against Grimes’ bare chest. Somehow her shorts had been peeled away from her hips – unzippered by whom? and how? – and somehow Grimes’ own garments were no longer the last barrier between them.

He was familiar enough with female nudity; he was one of the great majority who frequented the naked beaches in preference to those upon which bathing costumes were compulsory. He knew what a naked woman looked like – but this was different. It was not the first time that he had kissed a woman – but it was the first time that he had kissed, and been kissed by, an unclothed one. It was the first time that he had been alone with one.

What was happening he had read about often enough – and, like most young men, he had seen his share of pornographic films. But this was different. This was happening to him.

And for the first time.

Keep in mind that Chandler published this in 1967. I find it interesting that Chandler postulated in his imaginary future that porn would become plentiful and socially acceptable – a shrewd prophecy on his part, given the emergence and pervasiveness of internet porn in the early 21st Century. This passage shows a kind of male adolescent fantasy-fulfillment, and I think Chandler wrote it that way deliberately to appeal to the young nerds he knew would read this novel.

If I had read this story back as a teenager, it would have fit into the pattern of the other science fiction I read in those years about sex as a “futuristic” experience, and not as a real, ordinary possibility in the here-and-now, grounded in biological reality. I might have thought that if I couldn’t have my “first time” with my unrequited high school crush Shelley Conrad in the back seat of my parents’ Ford Maverick, I would have to wait until I became a space colonist in my 20’s, or later, where I would meet some Jane Pentecost-like woman on a space ship or orbital colony who would obligingly initiate me into an adult sex life.

Forty years later, my Jane Pentecost and I still haven’t crossed paths that I know of.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-21T02:46:14.933Z · LW · GW

I don't understand how the karma system here works. One my posts below, about the usefulness of prostitutes for learning how to get into sexual relationships through dating regular women, dropped off for awhile with a -4 karma. Then I just checked, and it has a +4 karma. Where did the 8 karma points come from?

This has happened to some of my posts before. Do I have some fans I don't know about who just happen to show up in a short interval to upvote my controversial posts?

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-18T23:31:28.003Z · LW · GW

From the Foreword to Brave New World:

Nor does the sexual promiscuity of Brave New World seem so very distant. There are already certain American cities in which the number of divorces is equal to the number of marriages. In a few years, no doubt, marriage licenses will be sold like dog licenses, good for a period of twelve months, with no law against changing dogs or keeping more than one animal at a time. As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-18T15:30:46.789Z · LW · GW

Brave New World, Chapter 3:

"And after all," Fanny's tone was coaxing, "it's not as though there were anything painful or disagreeable about having one or two men besides Henry. And seeing that you ought to be a little more promiscuous …"

Lenina shook her head. "Somehow," she mused, "I hadn't been feeling very keen on promiscuity lately. There are times when one doesn't. Haven't you found that too, Fanny?"

Fanny nodded her sympathy and understanding. "But one's got to make the effort," she said, sententiously, "one's got to play the game. After all, every one belongs to every one else."

"Yes, every one belongs to every one else," Lenina repeated slowly and, sighing, was silent for a moment; then, taking Fanny's hand, gave it a little squeeze. "You're quite right, Fanny. As usual. I'll make the effort."

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-18T14:44:23.613Z · LW · GW

The increasing visibility of incels in developed countries, especially in Japan, where the numbers of adult male virgins has gotten ridiculous, makes the correspondingly decreasing percentage of sexually experienced men uneasy for some reason. I have to wonder if the unease resembles the effects of mortality salience in terror management theory. We provide empirical evidence that women's sexual freedom hasn't resulted in a sexual utopia, despite all the propaganda to that effect going back to the Enlightenment.

Comment by advancedatheist on MIT Technology Review - Michael Hendricks opinion on Cryonics · 2015-09-17T10:02:15.142Z · LW · GW


Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-17T04:42:26.919Z · LW · GW

So how does getting sexual experience with prostitutes translate over to getting into sexual relationships with regular women through dating, any way?

I met a 20-something woman at the Venturist cryonics convention in Laughlin, Nevada, last year who talked to me more than she needed to as a social acknowledgment, which made me wonder if she felt attracted to me. I don't know how to interpret these situations in the handful of times they have happened in my life, so I don't know what to do, and they make me anxious.

If I had sexual learning experiences only from prostitutes, and I had nothing else to go on, should I have asked this woman how much money she wanted to come with me to my room in Laughlin's hotel for sex?

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-17T03:26:35.484Z · LW · GW

So how should I answer questions about my sexual history in a medical context?

I find it odd that gays and promiscuous women have become socially acceptable now, while incels with normal desires have become the freaks, weirdos and expendables. This has turned completely around from what people considered normal sexuality 50 years ago.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-16T05:16:03.030Z · LW · GW

Even more so, because the male nurse might assume I'm gay otherwise.

I've noticed some little-studied cognitive biases here, because sexually experienced people tend to force ready-made "explanations" on male incels that make them comfortable, instead of trying to study and understand incel as its own phenomenon. The canned explanations lead to bad conclusions and useless advice for men like me. How would seeing a prostitute teach me how to get into sexual relationships? Men who get their sexual experience exclusively from prostitutes can remain as inept at dating as incels. You usually can't just pick up a girl at the coffee shop with your "day game" and expect her to do the whore tricks you have become accustomed to with escorts.

That also shows why I consider sexbots a really stupid and dangerous notion. Sexbots could just increase the proportions of socially retarded men who have no clue how to deal with real women.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-16T03:58:19.754Z · LW · GW

Does America's health care system have a bias against incels?

Today I went to get my first physical in years now that I have Obamacare, and during the interview with the nurse practitioner, when she got to the questions about my marital status and whether I have any children, I just went straight to the point about my adult virginity, along with providing some context about how I wasted my time “dating” earlier in life because I could never close the deal with a woman. Otherwise she might assume that I had gone to prison for 30 years or something ridiculous like that to explain what kept me away from women for so long. (A woman actually asked me one time if I had spent decades in prison to account for my lack of sexual experience.)

And this nurse then started arguing with me about not giving up on finding sexual relationships – at my age (55). She sounded like the dating advice scolds that incel bloggers like The Black Pill have written about. This pissed me off, and I may have to find a different health care provider.

People with sexual experience really, really don’t understand the situation of guys like me, even ones with medical training.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-16T03:17:35.769Z · LW · GW

I don't know of any Bronies with cryonics arrangements.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-15T17:21:01.436Z · LW · GW

Yet som there be that by due steps aspire

To lay their just hands on that Golden Key

That ope's the Palace of Eternity.

(John Milton, Comus, lines 12-14)

May Kim find that Golden Key some day.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-14T14:15:46.715Z · LW · GW

The article discusses the Brain Preservation Foundation. The BPF has responded here:


Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread, Sep. 14 - Sep. 20, 2015 · 2015-09-14T13:02:20.214Z · LW · GW

Probably the biggest cryonics story of the year. In the print edition of The New York Times, it appeared on the front page, above the fold.

A Dying Young Woman's Hope in Cryonics and a Future, by Amy Harmon

You can also watch a short documentary about Miss Suozzi here:

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread 7th september - 13th september · 2015-09-07T06:40:12.920Z · LW · GW

A friend of mine attributes the refugee crisis in the Levantine countries to a severe drought caused by "climate change."

Does "climate change" mysteriously stop at Israel's borders? I haven't heard of any political breakdown or mass emigration from that country.

Comment by advancedatheist on Open thread 7th september - 13th september · 2015-09-07T06:35:19.585Z · LW · GW

The cemeteries of the world show where the hard boundary of objective truth lies.

Comment by advancedatheist on Stupid Questions September 2015 · 2015-09-03T07:06:23.877Z · LW · GW

Why would you want to deskill yourself like that?

Reminds me of your enthusiasm for sexbots. Apparently in your version of the future with self-driving cars and sexbots, you will turn a whole lot of adolescent boys into adult men who don't know how to drive and who have no clue how to get into organic sexual relationships with women.

At least I know how to drive.

Comment by advancedatheist on Stupid Questions September 2015 · 2015-09-03T06:54:18.690Z · LW · GW

How does it change your view of "the ascent of man" when you realize that only some human populations in the northern latitudes of Eurasia evolved enough intelligence to make way more than their share of contributions to the body of knowledge and the stock of high-value capital?

Comment by advancedatheist on Why people want to die · 2015-08-29T22:14:59.050Z · LW · GW

The politically incorrect Manosphere blogs discuss how women who reject traditional roles for themselves, namely, early marriage and family formation, seem to hit a "wall" in their later 20's as they realize that men will stop paying attention to them (as their fertility crashes) in favor of younger crops of women. The women who miss the marriage and childbirth window altogether wind up living alone with their cats, and they seem to lack much meaning and purpose in life because they neglected doing what women evolved to do.

I suppose if you could rejuvenate these women, restock their eggs and make them fertile like 18 year old girls again, they might find a renewed zest for life. Only I doubt that because I don't see how you can de-experience them psychologically to undo the damage from having all those sterile sexual encounters the first time around.

So, yes, I do find it plausible that most women probably lack the inner resources to handle radical life extension, given the limited nature of their lives under current circumstances.

Comment by advancedatheist on Why people want to die · 2015-08-25T03:57:57.319Z · LW · GW

Eventually I guess you could just wirehead everyone to experience perfect blissful ecstasy for all eternity.

Or else Immortal Supermen(TM) would have progressed so far that they will enjoy wireheading as an occasional treat, like drinking a glass of some highly regarded wine with dinner.

Comment by advancedatheist on Why people want to die · 2015-08-25T03:43:23.616Z · LW · GW

Yeah, if you want to turn more and more adolescent boys into adult male virgins who lack the skills they need for living in a society full of self-directed women.

I honestly don't understand some transhumanists' obsession with sexbots, especially coming from men who have had organic sexual experiences with women - namely, with women who felt attracted to them. (I distinguish those from alienated sexual experiences with prostitutes.)

Comment by advancedatheist on Why people want to die · 2015-08-25T01:52:45.742Z · LW · GW

Most people do not have open-ended interests the way LWers do.

Marvin Minsky said something similar a few years ago, to the effect that most people don't have "real goals," unlike the scientists Minsky knows who tell him that they have personal lists of problems that they would like to solve, but the problems will take longer than their current life expectancies.

Mike Darwin also mentioned this as a problem in an essay he published in Cryonics magazine back in 1984:

Darwin thinks that the arrival of practical superlongevity will shake out a whole lot of people who can't use it constructively - they'll die any way, in other words - based on an analogy to how we still haven't adapted fully to the recent wealth revolution. He references Elvis Presley as an example of maladaptation to great wealth; but since Presley died in 1977 and most of you don't remember him, you might think of, say, Michael Jackson or those buffoonish Kardashians as more recent examples of people who have wealth that they don't know how to use well.

Comment by advancedatheist on Rational approach to finding life partners · 2015-08-17T04:52:06.371Z · LW · GW

Somewhat related:

Marriage Won't Make Sense When Humans Live for 1,000 Years, by Zoltan Istvan

I have to take a hard exception to some transhumanists' advocacy of "sex robots," "marrying robots" and similar abominations. Istvan does that in this piece.

Young men need to get into sexual relationships with women "organically," by which I mean that the women feel attracted to them, as a necessary part of men's healthy personal development. Which goes to show why having alienated sexual experiences with prostitutes don't get the job done. A prostitute can teach a man the mechanics of sex - or so I've gathered - but she can't teach him how to have these experiences with regular women. Having these organic experiences lead to the development of skills which don't exist in isolation, but instead play a role in knowing how to deal with women successfully in the rest of life.

Yet the introduction of passable sex robots would sabotage this process, and it would leave a whole generation of young men psychologically stunted. This seems obvious to me, but apparently not to the people who publish propaganda about the wonders of giving men artificial ways to jerk off, as if we have just undergone a cultural transformation which holds that most men don't deserve sexual relationships with women any more, so they should just abandon that aspiration as an unattainable fantasy, plug into these machines and leave women alone.

I can understand the appeal of this scenario to, say, some of the incels and MGTOW's. But Istvan has a wife and two daughters, so he clearly has the experiences and skills to know the difference. Why would he therefore advocate something so preposterous and so disrespectful of a lot of men, other than the fact that he wants to keep his name in circulation, so he keeps publishing these trolls as "transhumanist" proposals?

Comment by advancedatheist on Time-Binding · 2015-08-15T04:30:24.508Z · LW · GW

Korzybski fits into a larger intellectual pattern since the Enlightenment, where smart people think that human affairs have gotten disordered somehow.The intellectual reformer believes he can diagnose the problem, find a solution by arguing from plausible first principles, and then get humanity back on a normative path. Just think of Robert Owen, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, L. Ron Hubbard, Buckminster Fuller, Timothy Leary, etc.

Basically these intellectuals think teleologically, and they assume that humans should have instruction manuals that intellectuals can deduce and make explicit so that humans can fulfill their proper "purpose," whatever that means. Considering that all of the attempts at writing these implicit manuals disagree on fundamental matters, perhaps we should just reject the assumption and acknowledge that we evolved as kludges with conflicting and ill-fitting components, which don't allow for the inferencing of a coherent instruction manual.

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-08T15:23:59.901Z · LW · GW

Steve Harris, M.D., beat you to it over 20 years ago:

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-08T14:55:39.068Z · LW · GW

Gregory Benford, Ph.D., the physicist and science fiction writer, talks about cryonics in a new video:

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-06T16:54:40.742Z · LW · GW

Obviously related: D.J. MacLennan's new book, Frozen to Life:

Cryonics: A Glass-state Time Travel

by D.J. MacLennan on August 6, 2015 0 Comments

Frozen to Life

What if we gave people a way to escape absolute death at the end of their biologically-allotted lifespans? Wouldn’t many of them jump at it? Of course, and they do, and have been for some time now. Religionists believe that the metaverse (or whatever they wish to call the whole macro-everything, including all the ‘spiritual’ bits) is neatly ordered to deliver them into immortality, just in time. There’s no mechanism for this. It just happens.

That’s an amazing technology – no mechanism, no physical processes, no messy cause and effect to worry about. Religionists, however, don’t consider this a technology. It’s beyond technology and little human tinkerings like that. Something else does the miraculous transmutation from decay-prone physical stuff to eternal ethereal stuff – something evidently a lot smarter than we are.

The religionist route is an unfounded one, to say the very least.

So, what might work if you want to avoid absolute death? First, you need to accept your existence as a host of atoms in particular configurations. Second, you need to think about ways to arrest biological decay, which is just the chemical reactions that happen when the specific set of constraints we call life no longer apply. As Brian Wowk discusses in his essay Medical Time Travel, the Arrhenius equation shows us that chemical reactions stop when temperature drops low enough (-196 °C, just below the boiling point of nitrogen, will suffice for our purposes). Done correctly, with the right concentration of antifreeze-type cryoprotectants, your ‘dead’ brain and its surrounding tissues will undergo ‘glass-state’ vitrification after suspension in liquid nitrogen. Third, armed with this information, you need to act. It’s unlikely that anybody else is going to set up the circumstances for your eventual glass-state transition, so it’s down to you.

In information-theoretic terms, immortality is already possible. It just isn’t much fun, because you can’t be conscious of anything. Bad and extant, good and gone, you hang on the precipice tip of an unclosed infinity symbol. With your molecular interactions halted, nothing happens. Time yawns, and down its craw you silently fall. Nobody knows how to resurrect a person from this immortal abeyance. Some have theories, some even incipient skills and tools, but no one yet knows how to trigger the temporal gag reflex that will cough you out and close the sigil.

But think on it. Think on the potential. The glass-state time-traveler is indeterminate, undissipated, untruncated. Her death was not information-theoretic death. She is orders of magnitude less dead than the conventionally-erased many.

Skepticism about her possible revival amounts to this: because we cannot imagine how she might be revived, we cannot imagine how she might be revived. Might it take nanobots, substrate-independence tech, scanning neuromorphic arrays, advanced connectomic inference, molecular assemblers? Who knows? Perhaps all of these, perhaps none. No matter. She has the luxury of time. Only if abandoned and allowed to decay (or if our race extinguishes itself before the necessary technology arises) will her problem become terminally insurmountable.

This potential solution to the problem of absolute death defies established human conventions of death and corpse-disposal. It triggers ‘cognitive dissonance’ and repugnance reactions. Scientist Leon Kass finds ‘wisdom’ in the human repugnance response. On cryonics, I neither feel it nor find it wise. Post-mortem cryoprotective abeyance is a logical choice. Nevertheless, the heavy blinders of repugnance and convention still screen this from most. And we ‘cryonicists’ do it to ourselves; we are far from immune to the emotional and existential (for a few, even ‘spiritual’) turmoil our mortal decision may cause.

‘Cryonauts’ are simply mute, liminal dwellers on an unknown threshold. Not living, not dead; not formerly crazy – nor necessarily selfish, altruistic, or pioneering. Just – for the love of hope and reason – not irretrievably lost.

About the Author:

D.J. MacLennan

D.J. MacLennan is a futurist author who lives on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. He wrote two chapters of the recently-published cryonics anthology The Prospect of Immortality – Fifty Years Later. His new book Frozen to Life: A Personal Mortality Experiment is due for release at the end of August 2015.

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-05T16:02:08.985Z · LW · GW

The social ones. I actually probably value this higher than 1. Explaining to my loved ones my decision, having to endure mockery and possibly quite strong reactions

You have to play a Long Game here, something I find increasingly easy to do as I have reached my 50's. I told my original "loved ones" - my mother, my father (divorced from the former), and my sister - about cryonics a quarter century ago. They all considered it weird, but then whatever problems that might have caused me tend to correct themselves with time. My father died last October, for example, and now his ashes reside in a veterans' cemetery in Arkansas.

As for other "loved ones," I have had no candidates for that role so far. (Don't sign up for cryonics for the dating prospects, in other words.)

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-05T14:21:45.951Z · LW · GW

If everyone outside of cryonics thinks of it as a rich man's indulgence, then why haven't adventuresses showed up? In the real world, cryonics acts like "female Kryptonite."

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-05T03:07:17.197Z · LW · GW

Eh, smart people can rationalize doing dumb things - Skepticism 101.

I would point to cryobiologist Greg Fahy, Ph.D., as a more relevant authority:

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T18:50:38.415Z · LW · GW

The cryonics movement needs more people with clinical medical backgrounds involved, but then it also needs people with practical business experience.

I will give you a business intelligence test. Look at just the home page of the website for this startup cryonics organization in Oregon, and tell me one obvious thing that it lacks - just on the home page:

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T14:41:49.322Z · LW · GW

The lottery model doesn't apply to cryonics because the individual cryonicist's choices in the here and now bear on the probability of success. Cryonicist Thomas Donaldson, Ph.D. in mathematics, wrote about this back in the 1980's.

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T14:36:10.688Z · LW · GW

Personality certainly plays a role in the early-peaking badass. But then an introverted person thrown into a lot of sticky situations that he has to figure out and survive through could wind up with a pretty impressive résumé, and in effect become a different kind of badass.

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T04:11:53.346Z · LW · GW

Focus on the goal more than the means:

I want to stay alive in good shape.

Life allows for experiences.

Experiences can lead to skills.

Accumulate enough skills, and you can become a futuristic badass like something out of science fiction, kind of like the character Rutger Hauer plays in Blade Runner, but really old and "ultramature," as Max More says, if you do it right: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. . . "

And then, some day, young people - I don't mean ones in their teens and twenties, but ones only a few centuries old after the transition to superlongevity - will learn of your reputation, and they will come up to you deferentially to ask, "You knew people who have DIED?! And no one could revive them? We don't understand that experience. Could you please tell us about it?"

Comment by advancedatheist on We really need a "cryonics sales pitch" article. · 2015-08-04T03:20:27.964Z · LW · GW

I don’t want to wake up a stranger in a strange world.

That already happens to everyone. We call it "birth."

If revived, I wouldn’t have any useful skills.

People make a living now with allegedly primitive skills. I live in rural Arizona, and I know guys who work as cowboys and ranch hands. One of them told me the other day that he had to round up and brand some steers.

The people who revive me might torture me.

Or try to rape you, like in the "reverse cryonics" time travel story Outlander. Claire seems to manage regardless.

It’s selfish of me to have more than my fair share of life, especially since the world is overpopulated.

People in a post-transition world might have a quite different value system regarding this "fair share" notion. "This guy in cryo lived only 77 years? Wow, he died young. Give him priority for revival and rejuvenation."

I believe in God, the real one with a capital G, not an extremely smart artificial intelligence. I don’t want to postpone joining him in the afterlife.

God calls you home according to his schedule, not yours. If you survive to a future era via cryotransport, God obviously hasn't called your number in the going-to-heaven queue yet. Wait your turn like everyone else, even if you have to wait for centuries. Paraphrasing Luke 19:13, Jesus tells his servants to occupy themselves until he comes for them to account for their service to him.