The Peculiar Difficulty of Social Science 2018-01-04T06:33:02.529Z
Studying Your Native Language 2016-01-28T19:23:25.404Z
Learning Mathematics in Context 2016-01-26T22:27:16.913Z
Who are some of the best writers in history? 2013-08-10T09:04:14.531Z
Anyone live in or near Osaka? 2013-05-13T14:43:27.860Z
Anyone at Otakon? 2012-07-28T00:10:14.576Z


Comment by Crux on Communication is violent by nature · 2016-11-14T20:48:52.646Z · LW · GW

Perhaps next time you write a post you could put a bit more effort into coming up with something that's actually worth communicating.

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-11-01T16:41:33.285Z · LW · GW

Why are you focusing on so heavily on whether it's "rational"? He said that it's an irrational, politically extremist position. The whole statement is what I was replying to.

Full strength, axiomatic, dismantle-the state libertarianism is impractical. If your central example of libertarianism is bitcoin, then that is not impractical.

See here for a good overview of how the State is already being dismantled.

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-11-01T10:13:04.612Z · LW · GW

I don't see how this is a reply to my question. Being impractical doesn't mean something is irrational and politically extremist. If you look at the comment thread, you'll see that I'm reacting to a certain poster deciding to quit posting on Less Wrong due to "politically extremist" ideologies, where he gave libertarianism as an example. I think it's a bit silly to refer to libertarianism as a "politically extremist" ideology, hence my question.

If you want to go on a tangent and discuss whether libertarianism is practical or not, then sure, we can do that. To start, Bitcoin (or crypto-currency in general) has the potential to create massive changes to the economic landscape, where the government may lose a lot of control over the flow of goods and services. This could create a more libertarian world without requiring the normal process of passing legislation and influencing politicians.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-11-01T10:04:46.114Z · LW · GW

I'm open to a continuing conversation. Your post just gave me the impression that you weren't trying to read my writing in a careful manner. To be honest, the number of punctuation oddities and unusual phrasings in your post made me believe you simply didn't care about the discussion. This is a rather deep and technical topic, so it doesn't seem worth my time to interact with someone who isn't invested.

Worst yet you didn't even respond to this question of mine:

Have you experienced this psychological effect?

This was a key question, because if your response is "no" or it turns out that you don't know what it means to experience philosophical skepticism in the tradition of e.g. David Hume in the conclusion of Book I of A Treatise of Human Nature, then we're going to have to delve into the nature of that psychological effect from a much more fundamental point of view.

Pushing aside isn't solving, it's dissolving at best.

Participating on Less Wrong suggests that you should know that dissolving in many cases is solving.

Comment by Crux on Evolutions Are Stupid (But Work Anyway) · 2016-10-28T08:27:37.616Z · LW · GW

The evolutionary process produced humans, and humans can create certain things that evolution wouldn't have been able to produce without producing something like humans to indirectly produce those things. Your question is no more interesting than, "How could humans have built machines so much faster at arithmetic than themselves?" Well, humans can build calculators. That they can't be the calculators that they create doesn't demand an unusual explanation.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-26T17:43:01.570Z · LW · GW

You're not putting in very much effort to have a deep discussion.

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-10-26T09:46:39.594Z · LW · GW

It just sounds like you're saying that the final authority gets decided at run-time, based on whoever happens to have the most financial power.

That's just one of the many possibilities.

Why do you think this is preferable to a system where authority is agreed upon beforehand by a majority of the people?

Democracy inevitably becomes a grandiose popularity contest where the population votes based on social-signaling considerations which have little if nothing to do with putting into place an institution which will lead to sustainably benevolent results for the society. There are all sorts of oddities, such as systematic redistribution of resources from the productive members of the economy to the unproductive, shortsighted policy enactment because the real problems of society usually can't be solved without initial pain which the politician would be blamed for, and so forth.

The comparison to religion makes no sense. Unlike biological organisms, human governments are designed. For example, in the case of the US, the structure and function of the court system is very explicitly laid out in the US constitution, and it was carefully designed in a committee via months/years of debate.

The court system is an absolute wreck, no matter how "carefully designed" the designers believe it to be.

Imagine a pre-industrial world with two villages on either side of a large forest. The people need to get back and forth between these villages every few days or weeks. The first person through his own self-interest simply looks for the easiest path, breaking several branches on his way. The next person does the same, probably going on a completely different route, not thinking anything of the previous person. After quite a few iterations of this, some of the people will end up going on routes that were previously made a bit easier by previous hikers. After tens of thousands of iterations of this, there will be convenient trails going through the woods in an efficient way, with all the obstacles neutralized.

If a foreigner chanced upon this creation, they would surely think to themselves, "What a great trail system! I'm glad the people of this area were kind enough to make a trail for all to use!" They would immediately jump to the idea that the trail, looking like it was created for a purpose, must have been designed by a committee of individuals or commissioned by a wise member of one of the villages. But no such thing happened; each person acted upon their own self-interest, and the byproduct was a trail system that looks like it was designed but really was an automatically emergent order.

Most of what works very well in society is like this, and most of what breaks in a disastrous way is an attempt to design systems where simply setting the initial conditions for an emergent order would have been a much better idea.

Investors simply try to buy low and sell high for their own self-interest. Many of them, even very successful ones, probably have little or no appreciation for how important the role of investors is in the emergent order of the economic system.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-23T12:59:55.755Z · LW · GW

I described what it feels from the inside to run into philosophical skepticism. It's simply where your ability to engage in manual reasoning hits its limit, but you press onward and overheat your brain. The final antidote to this issue is to simply realize exactly what happened.

The feeling of philosophical skepticism is a psychological side effect of a certain kind of intellectual adventure. I've been there many times in the past. The antidote is to realize that we as humans are designed such that we have a limit to how much manual reasoning we can do and how deep we can go in a given timeframe, where the limit descends upon us quickly enough that we must spend most of our day-to-day life thinking in an automatic way.

The ready reply you mentioned doesn't address my argument. I'm absolutely not suggesting that the person throw out their desire to produce knowledge and understanding through manual thinking. I'm simply explaining exactly what's going on so the person can re-frame the situation. Philosophical skepticism isn't a statement about the world; it's a mental feeling. For most people, encountering that feeling causes them to make grandiose claims about reality. My suggestion should bring them back down to Earth: "You've figure out a lot, but you're at your limit. Take a break."

Have you experienced this psychological effect? If not, then you may simply be repeating the words that people who have ended up with the feeling of philosophical skepticism have used, in which case it may be harder to challenge my arguments in an effective way, since I'm pushing aside the claims about reality they're making as a result of experiencing this side effect, and instead describing exactly what this side effect is.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-11T16:11:25.217Z · LW · GW

In certain cases people can pattern-match sociopath by looking at someone's face. I didn't mean to suggest the average person can do it on a consistent basis.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Oct. 10 - Oct. 16, 2016 · 2016-10-11T07:23:52.892Z · LW · GW

Many people who delve into the deep parts of analytical philosophy will end up feeling at times like they can't justify anything, that definite knowledge is impossible to ascertain, and so forth. It's a classic trend. Hume is famous for being a "skeptic", although almost everyone seems to misunderstand what that means within the context of his philosophical system.

See here for a post I wrote which I could have called The Final Antidote to Skepticism.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Oct. 03 - Oct. 09, 2016 · 2016-10-06T11:29:11.680Z · LW · GW

Wow, that was pretty grating to read. The tribal emotions were off the charts. The author seems to derive great satisfaction from being a member of the physics section of Team Science.

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-25T08:41:49.932Z · LW · GW

This is a predictable response from someone who's skeptical of libertarian economics. Just as it's natural to observe the order in the world and therefore assume that there must be a designer (God), it feels reasonable to the human mind to witness the structure inherent in society and thus expect that there must be in each instance a particular person who made a conscious decision to put the institution into place.

There are many facets to human society, so giving a comprehensive answer would require a book-length treatment. But to give an example, investors tend to have a large amount of power in many cases. Collectively they use their expertise in predicting future states in the economy in order to choose which companies are kept in the market and which are pushed out. Companies have internal power structures, where the final say could be an individual or a panel or individuals. Therefore, the "proximate final say" in this situation may be a certain person or group of people, where the "ultimate final say" may be based on the collective support or non-support of investors.

See here for how law and order could fit into a decentralized market system as well.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Jul. 18 - Jul. 24, 2016 · 2016-07-25T08:21:22.654Z · LW · GW

Oh okay, I see.

Comment by Crux on Fallacymania: party game where you notice fallacies in arguments · 2016-07-24T12:10:37.154Z · LW · GW

I now see what you mean by fallacies being X (errors in argumentation) and cognitive biases Y (errors in thinking).

However, you're using an idiosyncratic definition of the word "reasoning", and I would advise you to update your understanding so you reduce the chance of confusing more people in the future. "Reasoning" in many cases refers to internal thinking, as you can see explained here.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Jul. 18 - Jul. 24, 2016 · 2016-07-23T14:35:36.222Z · LW · GW

What hysterics are you thinking of, specifically?

I've noticed that Sam Harris has been rather vocal about his deep concern about a possible Trump presidency, saying that it would be extremely dangerous and so on. Who else relevant to the rationality movement has been overdoing the hysterics? Or were you referring to the mainstream media?

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-23T14:22:32.779Z · LW · GW

For a stable society to exist, at some level everyone has to agree upon some central authority with final say over disputes and superlative enforcement ability. Do you agree with this or not?

I'm not completely sure what you mean, but my guess is that I don't agree with you.

In each possible situation, it's useful to have an authority available who has final say over disputes. But it's not necessarily for every process in society to depend on the same authority.

Comment by Crux on Fallacymania: party game where you notice fallacies in arguments · 2016-07-23T03:29:03.284Z · LW · GW

What's the difference? I don't see a distinction between the phrases "faulty reasoning" and "mistake in thinking".

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-07-07T22:48:05.826Z · LW · GW

To me libertarianism is more a community than a specific set of doctrines. There are certainly core values and epistemological underpinnings which define the ideological innovators and leaders in the libertarian community, and contrast them with those of opposing movements. But your discovery that the arguments for libertarianism "constantly shift around and are hard to pin down" is simply expected for an evolving community.

In terms of epistemological underpinnings, I'd say what best defines the libertarianism movement is a peculiar recognition of the nature of partial knowledge in thought and action. Hayek went to great lengths over the course of his career to explain why individuals who find enjoyment and skill in mathematics, physics, and so forth tend to react with skepticism to the arguments of libertarianism and free-market economics. To delve into the full depth of his thesis, begin with this book. For a quick summary, see the first few minutes of this video.

You say that libertarianism is obviously irrational. When we look at libertarianism as a community rather than a specific set of doctrines, your claim seems to boil down to the following: "The people in the libertarian community are clearly irrational." I assume that means they're incompetent and misguided? That they're unlikely to put into effect real, useful, and sustainable change in the world's economic and social systems?

I have a related question: What do you think about Bitcoin?

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-06-27T04:56:13.669Z · LW · GW

Libertarianism is an irrational, politically extremist position?

Comment by Crux on Revitalising Less Wrong is not a lost purpose · 2016-06-26T10:02:44.717Z · LW · GW

What irrational, politically extremist positions have you recently seen a lot of on LW?

Comment by Crux on Open thread, June 20 - June 26, 2016 · 2016-06-25T11:27:51.035Z · LW · GW

The rationalist community has a lot of independent thinkers, and independent thinkers are more likely than the general population to find the game of amassing wealth to be an obstruction to their freedom of thought and an inefficient path to happiness and life satisfaction.

Also many rationalists are quite young, as Vaniver pointed out.

Comment by Crux on Thoughts on hacking aromanticism? · 2016-06-07T02:06:01.579Z · LW · GW

How about getting a balance? Sometimes you could hang around a community where you're one of the most competent people around, and at other times you could put yourself in a position where you're a student to most of the other members.

This seems to get the benefit MrMind was describing without the drawback you've identified.

Comment by Crux on Thoughts on hacking aromanticism? · 2016-06-07T02:03:22.775Z · LW · GW

Normal people do this all the time. They just don't verbalize it.

I get the sense that you're not against the action but the phrasing. You agree that it's generally a good thing to do what MrMind is suggesting, but that it seems off to... do exactly what MrMind is suggesting. Clearly you're okay with someone subconsciously choosing to smile at people who pass because it makes them feel good, but you have a problem with someone explicitly describing the process with literal phrasing such as "romantic validation level".

Comment by Crux on Thoughts on hacking aromanticism? · 2016-06-07T01:58:49.986Z · LW · GW

Why did noticing and removing bias make you aromantic?

Comment by Crux on Thoughts on hacking aromanticism? · 2016-06-05T12:00:54.974Z · LW · GW

In my experience it's impossible to do this as a young healthy individual. You will simply have too high of a sex drive and too high of a drive for personal connection. It's physiological; if you're healthy and in a natural state your brain will assume you're ready for what you were built for: finding suitable mates and reproducing.

Your body is likely different, but I can tell you how it works for me. I can increase or decrease my necessity for female companionship and sexual contact very easily. When I want my drive to be very high, I eat more or less paleo and I do as much natural movement as I can, eschewing sitting for constant walking and exercise. When I want it to be low, I eat a lot of grains and drink a lot of tea. I also sit a lot, take hot bathes, and do various forms of meditation. I avoid social contact in general, and create a fantasy world in my mind where I believe that the average person cares about my intellectual projects.

It's doable, and as others have mentioned you may want to look into the Buddhist tradition for ideas. But it's not natural. Invariably you will end up less physically healthy than you would be otherwise. Is this a trade-off you're willing to make? You could always alternate between them; that's my solution.

If you're a socially adept individual looking to remove distractions and increase your focus on certain projects, then you'll be okay. If you hurt your health, you'll notice and you'll go back to a situation where the artificially-engineered aromanticism evaporates and your sex and companionship drive returns. But if you're trying to wire aromanticism into yourself to compensate for lack of success in the social realm, then you're on a dangerous path. Loneliness and sexual frustration are horrific circumstances from an emotional standpoint; many people would choose to destroy their physical health instead.

My suggestion: Prove to yourself that you don't need to be aromantic to enjoy your life before you begin the process of learning how to engineer it into yourself. Then you'll be in a position to abort mission if your health suffers.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-16T22:52:13.601Z · LW · GW

I assume the "it's not rape if she liked it" argument refers to circumstances where the woman doesn't consent to the sexual encounter, but then changes her mind part of the way through. In other words, we're talking about a shift from "don't want" (when the sex started) to "want" (before the sex is over), and describing the general result as "she liked it". It would be more precise, of course, to phrase it as, "She didn't like it and then she did like it."

Now, which part of my post were you saying fit that argument?

It's also that the current cultural landscape removes personal responsibility in many cases. Women will sometimes regret having sex the same way anyone may regret eating a cookie (they felt good then, but feel bad now). While no man would be proud of being the sexual equivalent of junk food during a one-night stand with a woman, I think today's society is a bit trigger happy in such situations in saying the man took advantage of the woman instead of saying that she indulged in the moment and later thought herself hedonistic.

I assume you meant this part.

With the considerations above in mind, I don't see how my point fits the "it's not rape if she liked it" argument. While that argument refers to situations where the woman felt averse to sex but then changed her mind part of the way through (with no specification about how she felt afterwards, the following day, and so on); on the other hand my example refers to situations where the woman wanted the sex both during the initial escalation and throughout the entire act (but then felt regret later on).

Let me know if I misinterpreted you.

rape is a serious accusation and all though some women may feel the way you described/misuse the legal system... I doubt that it's a common occurrence, most women are ashamed to admit they've been raped...don't think many would put themselves through the stress of it willy nilly.

I'm under the impression that when alcohol is involved the average person is more likely to use the words "taken advantage of" than "raped" unless the woman is passed out.

I wasn't necessarily referring to misusing the legal system, though that's probably an issue in certain isolated cases. My concern, instead, is that Western culture at this time in history seems to allow women an escape route from admitting personal responsibility for certain actions.

Women may not be flocking to the justice system, but there's certainly a trend where female sexual hedonism is blamed on the men who take up the offers.

Haven't read the article, but even if the idea of legalizing rape on private property is looked at as sincere for even a second... it falls flat on its face. Marital rape is a thing that happens, seems likely this legalization would condone it. And so long as we're talking about responsibility, it would be the responsibility of the owners of properties legally raping people to put up a sign saying as much..kinda like the beware of angry dog ones...except about rape...which I don't think would catch on.

It was a satirical article and Roosh has no intention of trying to legalize rape on private property. I don't necessarily suggest reading the article, as it's long and liable for misinterpretation from anyone unfamiliar with the PUA community, but if you want to criticize his reasoning in a disciplined and responsible manner then you're going to have to take the plunge.

If you do decide to read the article, feel free to post in this sub-thread any counterarguments you come up with.

Comment by Crux on Unofficial Canon on Applied Rationality · 2016-02-15T22:45:23.160Z · LW · GW

CFAR has all of this material readily available likely in a much more comprehensive and accurate format. CFAR are altruists. Smart altruists. The lack of anything like this canon suggests that they don't think having this publicly available is a good idea. Not yet anyway. Even the workbook handed out at the workshops isn't available.

Rather than deferring to the judgment of the Smart Altruists and assuming that within their secret backroom discussions they've determined with logic, rigor, and a plethora of academic citations that it's crucial to the mission of raising the sanity waterline to not release a comprehensive exposition of their body of rationality techniques, perhaps we need only consider your second point except in less reverential light:

I highly value CFAR as an organisation. I want them to be highly funded and want as many people to attend their workshops as possible. It would upset me to learn that someone had read my compilation and not attended a workshop thinking they had gotten most of the value they could.

So much for the Internet-era model of "free information to be disseminated to all".

Without a deferential attitude toward the Great Rationalists of CFAR, Occam's Razor suggests that perhaps they're simply trying to keep the money flowing. Would it upset you if thousands of people without the resources or time to make it to a CFAR workshop had access to a self-study version of the CFAR curriculum?

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-12T20:13:47.162Z · LW · GW

Terms like k-close and f-close serve to disassociate emotions. Just because a word like sex is charged with emotions doesn't mean that it should be avoided. If man feel uneasy about speaking those words they should explore their relationship with those words instead of replacing it with more constructed language.

I agree that many men in the PUA community use jargon such as "k-close" and "f-close" as a technique for disassociating emotions. Where we differ is that you're condemning this method whereas I believe it's a crucial tool to have available.

First of all, let's consider where the emotions come from.

If a man is choosing between saying "I had sex with a beautiful woman I met last weekend" and "I f-closed a solid 8 last weekend", he's choosing between different linguistic constructions. The thought remains the same. In both cases, he imagines the woman, the situation, and the interaction. The difference, rather, is in the realm of cached thoughts and emotions. When he says the former, his mind transitions to associations relating to mainstream thought. When he says the latter, his cognition completes the pattern straight into the received wisdom and social influences of the PUA community.

Note that you are operating firmly within the current of mainstream thought on this topic. This isn't to say that you're wrong. You may very well be on the right track in your criticisms of PUA. But nevertheless your thoughts on this subject demonstrate absolutely no break from the mainstream of polite society. This is the only information we need to understand why you prefer to use terms like "sex" rather than "f-close".

For better or for worse, the PUA community contains a lot of information which is very much contrary to mainstream thinking and tends to draw very strong, negative emotions from the average person. Imagine a socially active and happy person using mainstream language yet trying to retain PUA-type beliefs. The amount of stoicism required to avoid cracking under social pressure would be immense.

The ultimate conclusion is this. You value the mainstream on this subject, so it's concerning to you that PUA writers run away from terms like "sex" because they don't want the associations which come along for the ride. But I'm in a different position: I think the mainstream is on the wrong track on questions relating to gender politics, thus I myself consider it very important to erect a firewall against what I see as mind control.

You phrased your objection as a separate point, but at the most fundamental level your problem with the language is a repetition of your problem with the community's beliefs.

That's a bad belief to have. It prevents guys from having deep conversations with women about their desires.

Note that the PUA community is very unusual in that it's a bunch of guys who tend to be somewhat nerdy, intellectual, or analytical, chasing after girls who tend to fall into the category of "girls who are fun and social". It's not that women don't know what they want; it's that the girls PUA practitioners tend to pursue do not speak the same language. If a large number of PUA writers switched their focus to sex with nerdy girls, I'm certain they would quickly "discover" that literal communication about desires is important.

The idea that you shouldn't take a woman's word at face value is a very prevalent meme in PUA, and it's certainly adaptive in its context. But that doesn't mean it applies to you. Whenever you run into a piece of advice which seems totally wrong, you must take into account that the person's life experiences and desires may be very different from yours. What works in one context doesn't necessarily seem sane in another.

I'll continue onto your other points after we sort out this part.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-11T02:20:44.445Z · LW · GW

I appreciate the level-headed emotional de-escalation.

And with that, onto the content:

Yes and yes.

Understood. The next thing I'm wondering, then, is whether you've read this article. The reason I'm asking is because that's the full and original explanation of the non-central fallacy, the fallacy that Jiro was claiming was exemplified by saying that Roosh "wants rape to be legal".

Whatever your answer to that question, I would like to make a request. Can you re-state Jiro's original argument in your own words? I don't mean simply repeating the propositional logic inherent in the single statement that you're objecting to; I mean explaining in full detail what Jiro meant to convey.

Actually, you can. Jiro made a propositional statement and it can be evaluated independently without rehashing the entire thread history.

Oh wait, I guess you may think that my request is irrelevant.

I believe we have a fundamental disagreement on the nature of language and epistemology, and I'm not optimistic that we will be able to resolve this dispute within this subthread. I will, however, put your username in my notes and contact you if I put together a sequence on logic which bears on this discussion.

But I might as well give it a brief attempt.

Few things are more common in Less Wrong culture than taking things far too literally. Most people on this website come from a background of social oddity and nerd interests. The source of the average Rationalist's superpowers is also the source of his weakness: undue attention to the finely delimited moving parts of single isolated statements. Such an orientation of mind allows deep analysis, innovative thinking, and so forth. But the danger is that natural language is too primitive of a tool to expect to be able to scrutinize single statements; arguments must be evaluated as a whole unless we're in the realm of mathematical logic.

Perhaps it would be easier to explain if I merely claim that your original post was irrelevant and off topic. Whatever the case with the single statement that you're analyzing, neither I nor Jiro make any claim which rests upon that foundation. Sure, you can find that statement in Jiro's post. You can discover that sequence of Latin characters lying within the square. But did Jiro think to himself or herself that there exists an equivalence between those two concepts? Absolutely not.

I'm a little bit lost about how to elucidate this clearly. How about you take up this challenge, which I mentioned earlier in this comment: Explain in your own words what Jiro meant, complete with demonstrating an understanding of the nature of the non-central fallacy. You're going to have to take my word for it, but I believe that completing this exercise will reveal to you why I believe it's so important that you take the context into account rather than simply pinpointing that one statement and laying out your disagreement.

Comment by Crux on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-10T22:17:06.219Z · LW · GW

I would absolutely be very interested. I think Vipassana meditation can be used as a very powerful rationality technique, and I'm always interested to read rationalists explain their experiences with it.

Comment by Crux on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-10T22:13:28.938Z · LW · GW

I think everyone would appreciate if you put more effort into your posts.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T21:09:35.064Z · LW · GW

Let me summarize in my own words some of the points in your post:

Many members of the PUA community:

  • take it too far and believe that newbies should immediately dive head-first into doing uncomfortable and anxiety-producing approaches in often-hostile environments. (Which causes these newbies to wall off their real selves and hide behind manufactured personalities.)

  • are paranoid about girls cheating on them and think a single slip into beta-provider mode may seal a crushing and depressing fate. (Which prevents them from opening up and showing vulnerability, which is required for escalating into a love relationship.)

  • believe that showing weakness in a relationship is always and everywhere a poor tactic. (Which causes the same problem as the last bullet.)

  • are depressed even if they have had a lot of success attracting women, as evidenced by two of the key individuals, Tyler and Mystery, encountering this issue. (Which shows that PUA working for seduction doesn't necessary mean it works for a good life.)

  • lose a sufficient amount of skill after a short enough time out of the game to suggest that they failed to create deeply-rooted changes in themselves. (Which stands as more evidence that PUA teaches people how to put on an act rather than how to truly improve themselves.)

Am I on the right track?

Although I agree with you on all of these claims, I don't agree with you on what I perceive to be the overall argument you're constructing, which is that reading a large selection of material from the PUA community is unlikely to be a good way for a man to better himself in the realm of achieving genuine connections with women he desires either sexually or romantically.

Before I continue: Have you read HughRistik's writing here on Less Wrong?

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T20:40:24.061Z · LW · GW

As I have already stated, I am objecting to exactly one statement

This is your problem right here. You can't simply single out a specific statement and attempt to grapple with its internal logic. Again, Jiro's response is highly contextual and only makes sense when you consider the big picture. Have you read the subthread carefully, going all the way back to Clarity's question? Have you read Roosh's article? If you haven't done these things, then you're being irresponsible in your attempt to interpret Jiro.

Let's look again at the statement you're objecting to:

If you don't want people to be convicted of rape based on evidence obtained by torture, you also want rape to be legal

Oh wait, you misquoted Jiro. Let's take a look at what Jiro actually said:

If you don't want people to be convicted of rape based on evidence obtained by torture, you also "want rape to be legal"

See the quotation marks?

Jiro's whole response was an attempt to explain that we shouldn't use the phrase "want rape to be legal" to describe either Roosh's position (that rape should be legal on private property) or the analogy (that rape convictions based on evidence obtained by torture should be thrown out) because it makes it sound like Roosh or the hypothetical person in the analogy endorses rape.

If I sound condescending, it's because it's tiresome to argue with someone who is taking a single point as literally as possible while neglecting to look into the context of the discussion.

Taking a step back:

Jiro expressed uneasiness about submitting his or her post, probably because he or she knows how likely explicit discussions on these topics are to provoke angry or offended replies. While you didn't seem offended, you nevertheless began your reply with an emotionally charged claim that Jiro seemed "confused". I'm sure you're aware that such phrasing provokes the same kind of emotions that you're experiencing with my patronizing responses.

I believe that it's very important for people to speak openly on these kinds of subjects, so when Jiro made what I interpreted as a solid point and then showed uneasiness about being part of the conversation, I found this somewhat alarming. I wrote a reply, and then soon afterwards I discovered your response, which began in a condescending way and then continued into what I considered (and still consider) a misinterpretation which demonstrates lack of care and thoroughness and stands as a frivolous disincentive for Jiro to jump into similar discussions in the future.

I admit that I felt a bit of annoyance right from the beginning. The emotional charge you can feel channeled through my words is a product of status-posturing emotions related to defending Jiro.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T06:48:26.490Z · LW · GW

That's what I was getting at, though I didn't mention the mechanism. People who are not philosophically inclined will tend to learn the basics of PUA, get a bit of success going, and then go back to their life. Those who are, well, there's a natural evolution which leads into politics related to growing older, losing interest in closing with many women per year, and so forth.

I suppose mentioning the "perpetual failures" in the same sentence and also using the negative-connotation word "agenda" may have made it seem like I was criticizing PUA practitioners who develop an interest in the political side of PUA theory. But I meant nothing of the sort. I myself have a strong philosophical demeanor and a deep interest in understanding the current tides of human organization and the pathologies underlying the modern-day erosion of proper societal coordination.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T06:40:03.106Z · LW · GW

But there are many people who stay because they're seeking to be PUA wingmen/coaches (either amateur or paid-for), or simply to improve their outcomes and their understanding of seduction- and social dynamics.

Good point.

The flip side of it though is that if the 'heavyweight' political folks are right about what they infer from PUA micro dynamics (I'm far from convinced about this, but we can assume it for the sake of this argument) there might not even be much need for further work on the micro side.

I don't see the connection. Even if the coordination system of society is falling apart, that doesn't mean that men can't enjoy the fruits of PUA ability in the short term. Why would Roissy Macro being correct not leave room for further refinement in the practical art of seduction?

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T06:20:27.953Z · LW · GW

Allow me to paraphrase the essentials of the conversation in my own words:

Roosh: "We should legalize rape on private property."

Clarity: "A lot of people are accusing Roosh of wanting to legalize rape. This is libel."

gjm: "Um, how is it libel to accuse Roosh of wanting to legalize rape when he says that we should legalize rape on private property? Most rapes likely happen on private property, which means he wants to legalize most instances of rape. For example, if I say I want insider trading to be legal but only if you wear a suit while you do it, I want insider trading to be legal."

Jiro: "But what if you don't like insider trading, yet you believe that there are so many innocent individuals accidentally convicted that it would be a net benefit to simply legalize it? If you describe that view as 'you want insider trading to be legal', we can see how English grammar and dictionary definitions would permit that, but it would be grossly misleading. When we say we 'want X', we normally mean that we like and endorse X. This isn't the case here. Even if we want it to be legalized, we don't want it."

To be concise, Roosh said that we should "legalize rape on private property", various people described that viewpoint as Roosh "wanting to legalize rape", and Jiro is claiming that such a phrasing is misleading. When we use the phrase "want X", we usually mean that we like X. But Roosh isn't saying that he likes rape.

From your original reply:

They are in no way an endorsement of the offending behavior.

Jiro drew an analogy to Roosh's argument, and then advised against describing the content of that analogy with the words "want rape to be legal", because it makes it sound like the arguer endorses rape. And then your rebuttal included clarifying that putting into effect the law explained in the analogy would not, in fact, be an endorsement of rape.

Put as simply as possible, Jiro used an analogy to suggest against describing Roosh's argument as X because it causes people to react like Y (which would constitute a misinterpretation), and then in response you wrote a post which was purely a matter of reacting like Y.

Let this be a lesson for how easily words lead to systematic miscommunication.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T05:53:00.237Z · LW · GW

In what way does the PUA paradigm prevent people from opening up and being vulnerable?

You may have the causality backwards. PUA is a tool for creating short-term sexual attraction, and the men most invested in improving this tool will be men geared more toward short-term relationships than the average person. Rather than PUA causing men to lose out on the joy of long-term relationships, it may simply be that the community is disproportionately populated by men who's thinking was already firmly oriented toward short-term flings.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T05:37:03.803Z · LW · GW

You're taking it too literally. See here for a better explanation of what Roosh means.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-06T07:47:56.560Z · LW · GW

They are in no way an endorsement of the offending behavior.

Let's consider two of the lines from Jiro's post:

  • If you don't want people to be convicted of rape based on evidence obtained by torture, you also "want rape to be legal"

  • Normally saying that someone wants X carries the connotation that they like X and don't believe X causes harm, which isn't true in this case.

Put together, it seems obvious that Jiro is pointing out a verbal technicality and you're interpreting him as if he means what he's explicitly saying he doesn't mean.

Jiro's post is highly contextual and makes sense only by taking into account what he's responding to. You may want to re-read the subthread.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-06T03:29:10.807Z · LW · GW

Interesting point about the split.

One way to understand what kind of people these communities attract is to consider "what's in it for them". Most people who are focused only on understanding sexual/romantic dynamics well enough to get a girlfriend they're happy about being with will dip their feet into the community for a few months or a couple years and then disappear. It's the perpetual failures, and more importantly the people with a political agenda, who stay.

Roosh wrote Bang in 2007! That's a long time ago. He's in his 30s now and openly says that he's not interested in closing with a high number of women per year anymore. I don't know what your opinion is, but my impression is that Roosh's early work was pretty solid in terms of the basic mechanics of going from the approach to the close (though nothing past that, like LTRs). But nowadays his agenda is political, and I assume you're saying that PUA (e.g. r/seduction) is apolitical and practical, whereas the manosphere (e.g., RooshV Forum, r/TheRedPill) is political and focused on macro trends.

Kind of unfortunate I guess. Almost everything in the "manosphere" comes directly from the original Roissy of 2007-2009 (e.g., this post). Even The Misandry Bubble is just Roissy Macro written with more academic patience and less penetrating intelligence. While Roissy's practical system was also quite good, most people in the manosphere have given up talking about micro dynamics with any sort of insight. It gets pretty shaky with charlatens like Rollo Tomassi, who seem in it only for the political agenda (and consequently have their head in the clouds).

The reason I say it's unfortunate is because they've really made no progress since Roissy and a few other people (e.g., Ricky Raw here) laid the macro groundwork all those years ago. They're just getting louder and more active politically. Too bad the real Roissy didn't have the discipline and desire to use his intellectual power for something more rigorous. And nobody has stepped up to take his place. All we have now is the lightweights who talk practical and the counterfeit heavyweights who like to make a scene in the public sphere.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-06T02:56:24.333Z · LW · GW

(I really hope it's okay to even talk about this. I would rather not get banned.)

My impression is that incivility and social obliviousness is really what gets to people. The couple people I've seen banned here over the past year or so, even though many people pointed to the non-PC content of their posts as the reason for the ban, I believe that was a misinterpretation. They were banned for being unlikeable and uncivil. Simple as that.

This mirrors my experience on almost any forum out there, except where systematic censorship exists for the benefit of a certain established agenda (like selling a product).

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-06T02:48:45.631Z · LW · GW

I don't think "sincere" is the best word to use here.

You're contrasting "interpret him literally" with "assume he's not sincere", but I don't see a connection. It's entirely possible that he's completely sincere in his attempt to communicate certain information through a satirical article. That is, he may be honest in his communication attempt but speaking in a way where interpreting him in too straightforward of a way would lead to misinterpretation.

This is I believe what he's doing. See here for another post of mine, building on the points I made in my previous reply to you. It seems clear to me that he's writing a satirical polemic against a societal trend that he believes exists where women are not expected to bear personal responsibility for certain actions (such as voluntarily increasing their time preference through alcohol consumption).

For reference, did you read his article in full?

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-05T01:55:46.803Z · LW · GW

For reference, who would you say is representative of typical PUA advice?

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-04T20:52:25.502Z · LW · GW

I think that a few sections of PUA provide a well-developed and accurate system for navigating one of the sides of female sexual/romantic psychology in a certain subset of the population. To be specific, I believe the original Roissy is a good example of someone who developed a solid system for gaining the genuine interest of physically healthy women looking to activate their short-term oriented feelings of sexual infatuation and romantic enjoyment.

With that said, however, I don't think my post assumes that PUA theory is accurate (though my phrasing may have revealed my bias). It merely assumes that a significant number of people don't want to see convincing-sounding detailed descriptions of how the sexual- and romantic-escalation process works (whether or not the descriptions are true), and that many within that group use feelings of anger or annoyance to get those descriptions out of their head before they destroy their inner atmosphere of magic and mystery, or make the beautiful relationships in their life feel dry and mechanical.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-04T19:32:38.378Z · LW · GW

No need to read it. I don't think Roosh is very good. For me reading him even for a few minutes feels like akrasia. I guess I'm more entertained by the style than you are, but entertainment is different than education. My priority is the latter.

For reference, it's not just the safety-rail consideration, though that's relevant too. It's also that the current cultural landscape removes personal responsibility in many cases. Women will sometimes regret having sex the same way anyone may regret eating a cookie (they felt good then, but feel bad now). While no man would be proud of being the sexual equivalent of junk food during a one-night stand with a woman, I think today's society is a bit trigger happy in such situations in saying the man took advantage of the woman instead of saying that she indulged in the moment and later thought herself hedonistic.

Making rape legal on private property would be the most extreme version of expecting personal responsibility from women. It certainly goes (way) too far, but within the fog of satire I believe Roosh has a point. Though, again, I wouldn't recommend his writing to someone looking for thoughtfulness or rigor.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-04T19:21:05.605Z · LW · GW

I don't think PUA sympathies are any less common than feminist leanings, but rather that the former isn't considered "okay" in polite company whereas the latter is often encouraged.

There are a lot of fundamental reasons the manosphere is attacked so frequently. One of them is that people tend to value a sense of mystery in their romantic and sexual interactions. For the average person, knowing all the moving parts in the interaction dynamics and seeing the dry cause-and-effect relations ruins the "magic". Thus no matter how strongly people incorporate a subconscious understanding of how heterosexual encounters work, they don't want it verbalized. Getting angry and offended is a great way to engage a cognitive firewall that prevents belief incorporation, so that's what they do.

Banning Roosh from Australia is an opportunity for surface-level political signaling.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-04T19:05:46.287Z · LW · GW

That's his PR strategy, for sure. He wouldn't be nearly as popular if he wrote rigorously thought-out expositions using neutral language and containing a lot of qualifiers to make sure nobody thinks he's a bad person.

While I think part of his mission puts being famous and notorious as an end in and of itself, I don't think we should assume he's not also genuinely motivated by an attempt to disseminate information that he believes is important. For a brief attempt to translate the overall point of his article on legalizing rape into language that's more literal, see this post I just submitted elsewhere in this thread.

Comment by Crux on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-04T18:58:28.591Z · LW · GW

His overall point is that the current memes circulating in the general public on the topic of rape are ineffective at handling the issue, and furthermore that they're so ineffective that getting rid of them altogether and doing something as extreme as legalizing rape on private property would actually lead to a better aggregate outcome for not only men but also women.

At least that's my interpretation.

Note that Roosh writes a lot of satirical essays that are supposed to systematically introduce various details that he thinks are important while suggesting a general conclusion. This I think is a common tactic for people who write on controversial topics or have a lot to allude to and brainstorm about but don't have a fully fleshed out conclusion to simply state directly.

Here is another example of his non-literal exposition style.

Comment by Crux on Studying Your Native Language · 2016-01-30T00:35:05.462Z · LW · GW

I’m also unconvinced that etymology deepens comprehension much; usually, we want to understand someone, not somewords; this comes from understanding what that person intended to communicate, not from unlocking obscure arcana behind the words they happened to use.

Perhaps "etymology" was a misleading word choice. I didn't mean to suggest that it would be useful for me to develop a deep historical understanding of how English words evolved. Instead, I was referring to the simpler task of learning to reliably see the parts making up English words. The goal wouldn't be to deepen my comprehension of individual words; the point would be to make it easier to remember large swathes of esoteric vocabulary.

For medical terminology, for instance, I imagine it would be efficient to learn the most commonly used Greek and Latin elements before trying to acquire a large jargon base.

I certainly don’t think Paul Graham’s skill as an essayist has much to do with his English; if he knows a second language even marginally well, I’m sure he would write in it nearly as effectively. To wit, he eschews esoteric explication. Writing is a craft, not a lookup table.

Paul Graham is famous for having an extremely plain-spoken and easily comprehensible way of writing about complex subjects. While I appreciate that kind of style, making a life philosophy out of it seems far too limiting. There are plenty of occasions where having a knack for complex grammar and esoteric terminology is useful.

Spoken English and written English certainly have plenty in common, but they're different tools. To see Paul Graham seeming almost incredulous that people don't write the way they speak was pretty odd. Being able to look up any word you don't know without interrupting the flow of discussion is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why written language is so divergent from spoken.

With all the above in mind, when it comes to Anki cards and vocabulary, I am convinced that a great example sentence is much more useful than a great denotative definition. Connotations matter, and a visualizable, narratable context goes far both in conveying the extra implications of a word and in providing hooks for one’s memory.

Certainly. I would never learn a word out of context, whether in a foreign language or in English.

My Anki deck is over 1 GB, as over 500 of my notes contain a 5-30 second video clip. Often when I encounter a new Japanese word in a show I'm watching, I grab the clip to act as a contextual definition.

Note that my example for how to enter the word "proselyte" into Anki also operated in terms of a contextual definition. It was a quote from Hume that made the meaning clear to me.

Still, you’re unlikely to absorb the deep flavor of the word -- the full intent of one who wields it fluently -- without encountering the word many times in varied contexts.

Very true, but it's far easier to absorb all of that information if you have the word securely lodged in your mind. Picking up connotations efficiently calls for making sure every new word acquired is remembered as being form A with meaning B within context C, that is until a richer set of associations begins to take hold.

Most of what is known to help reading comprehension is language independent, as is most of what is known to help you write better.

Note that I have two main concerns.

First of all, I would like to delve more deeply into certain sciences which have a large memorization burden for terminology, such as medicine and physiology. Although most important is to understand the material, forgetting the words over and over would be a huge time waster. Just like learning how to type with proper mechanics optimizes writing efficiency, coming up with a good system for memorizing new words seems crucial. My time is limited.

Secondly, I want to level up my writing ability. Seeing as you invoked Paul Graham in an earlier passage as evidence, I suppose we may have deep disagreements here. I believe that knowing thousands of words similar in obscurity to "profligate" would be very useful. My solution for making sure these terms don't make my writing inaccessible and opaque is to use common words which sort of do the job before repeating myself in uncommon words I feel are more fitting.

With that said, I don't really understand your point. Certainly understanding itself is language independent, but using language isn't. I tried to address the tendency to make a distinction between one's native language and one's target foreign language(s) in my original post, but I suppose I didn't go into enough detail.

I'm sure you have no disagreements with my daily study of Japanese, as I'm still only halfway through the journey to sounding like a native speaker. What's so different about English? There are plenty of words and grammatical devices I don't use because I'm not familiar enough with them. You may say that I should simply read more and write more, but why neglect tools like Anki which could make for more disciplined and consistent improvement?

Your post seems appropriate as a response to someone who's at risk of outstripping their conceptual understanding with their language usage. Such people exist in very large numbers. They grab words at random from a thesaurus or weave narratives using words their favorite scientists use without really knowing what they're talking about. But I don't believe I'm one of these people. There are plenty of thoughts I have which I find difficult to represent with English.

Comment by Crux on [deleted post] 2016-01-29T23:26:26.337Z

I've heard "shadowban" quite a few times. I agree that "hellban" is an odd term.