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Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-28T19:12:03.567Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Our adaptive environment is small forager tribes, not "modern society".

Well, in case you haven't noticed aren't in small forager tribes right now.

Why should we have a moral expectation that people have to "function in modern society" or else be enslaved/institutionalized?

You're right, I left out a few alternatives. We could also deport them to a haunter-gatherer society, let them go around engaging in tribal-style raids (although that tends to interfere with the functioning of modern society for those who can function in it), or let them starve to death.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-28T07:23:58.238Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

You neglected to include a good argument in favor of slavery.

Some people aren't intelligent enough/don't have high enough time preferences to function in modern society. Thus you either need to have them under the control of a master, or you wind up having to put them on the public dole and institutionalize the many of them anyway.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-28T07:19:29.203Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

True, however, the civil rights movement did.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-28T07:04:34.495Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

For instance, suppose my cause is to prevent the growth of a hole in the ozone layer. I tell people they must stop using CFCs.

Well, that raises issues about just how serious a threat was the "hole in the ozone layer", and how much if anything it had to do with CFCs.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-28T07:02:12.205Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Stop hyper-focusing on individual words to try to score debating points when the intent behind their use is clear from the context, everybody on LessWrong.

There were good arguments for all of those things when they were still in use. There are no good Arguments today for favoring Aristotelian physics over Newtonian physics, Ptolemaic over Copernican, or the phlogiston theory over the oxygen theory, where an Argument means a complete consideration of the evidence and the individual arguments.

I'm not trying to score debating points. I have a serious point, namely that chances are you don't actually know most of the arguments involved, either here or in the political debate. Instead you rely on appeals to authority. This raises the question of how reliable are the authorities. Probably reasonable reliable in the case of physics, rather less so in the case of political issues.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-27T03:51:52.493Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Slavery, suffrage, Christianity or Prohibition aren't right or wrong in some objective non-moral sense. Arguments for or against such things are inevitably about convincing people, not about some objective truth.

Well three of those four things are essentially government/societal policies, and one can argue about what the consequnces of adopting or not adopting those policies are.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-27T03:47:49.262Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Let's test your idea that "There are no good arguments for X" is simply how having a successful social taboo against X feels from inside:

"There are no good arguments for the phlogiston theory of chemistry" is simply how having a successful social taboo against the phlogiston theory of chemistry feels from inside.

"There are no good arguments for Ptolemaic astronomy" is simply how having a successful social taboo against Ptolemaic astronomy feels from inside.

"There are no good arguments for Aristotelian physics" is simply how having a successful social taboo against Aristotelian physics feels from inside.

There are in fact good arguments for all three of those theories, and better arguments against. I'm guessing you don't know either arguments, and base your belief in all three based on argument from authority.

Edit: Also the situation isn't exactly analogous due to the difference between debates about physical facts, and debates about policy.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-27T03:43:23.090Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Ideally, I would estimate the negative effects: how many people would later learn I lied and abandon my cause, and how enemies of the cause might use the fact I lied against it, and the reputational harm to my other causes and to my allies.

Not to mention the damage the people who believe your lies might do by acting on them.

Comment by old_gold on Is altruistic deception really necessary? Social activism and the free market · 2016-02-27T03:41:49.551Z · score: -3 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Those movements didn't require wholesale lying and sleight-of-hand, because they could make valid and true one-sided arguments.

Yes they did, in particular the false claim that there are no significant diffrences between blacks and whites.

It's hard to come up with a good counter-argument to "slavery is bad".

Well, "slavery is bad" isn't even an argument it's either an asertion or at best a value judgement. The fact that this wasn't obvious to you is a sign you haven't thought much about the topic.

Even women's suffrage and Prohibition didn't require lying.

Well, consider how the latter turned out. Prohibition involved making false statements (they might not technichally have been lies only because some of the people making them believe them) about how much of the contry's crime was caused by alcohol. Some counties even sold off their jails after prohibition passed, figuring that without alcohol there'd be no crime so there would be no need for it.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread Feb 16 - Feb 23, 2016 · 2016-02-24T06:48:36.285Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

What might be the cause of the perceived difference between the atheists/nontheists in Europe and in the USA?

Where in Europe? Richard Dawkins is from England and organized things like the infamous atheist bus campaign.

Also numerous European countries used to have atheist militants, of the priest-killing or at least send-priests-to-labor-camps variety.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread Feb 22 - Feb 28, 2016 · 2016-02-24T03:40:13.896Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Both Western governments and countries like Sierra Leone and Saudi Arabia. If he's simply talking bullshit why do government seek him out as a highly-payed advisor?

Because the official who made the proposal gets to look good for consulting with someone high status. There's a reason consultants have the reputation they do in the business world and governments have even worse internal incentive problems.

Comment by old_gold on The map of global catastrophic risks connected with biological weapons and genetic engineering · 2016-02-23T02:30:12.425Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Anything about adding symptoms to currently harmless bacteria?

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016 · 2016-02-20T04:58:02.281Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The argument isn't that logic is inherently sexist and racist and therefore bad but that it's frequently used in places where there are other viable alternatives.

Such as?

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-20T04:22:30.317Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There are no pure-blooded aryans here. There are no pure-bloods at all.

There's also no such thing as 100% pure water, that doesn't mean "water" or even "fresh water" is a meaningless or "socially constructed" concept, and it definitely doesn't mean it's a good idea to drink a glass of sea water.

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-19T03:09:43.052Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'd argue, as our culture defines race, you really encounter a large number of different and distinct ways of classifying groups of people, of which skin color is just one which gets disproportionate attention owing to historic cultural reasons combined with extreme visual salience (black skin is much easier to notice than eye color).

So how do you account for the fact that race as measured by what you consider the "flawed cultural way" correlates as strongly as it does with things like intelligence and criminality?

In other periods of time, other ways of grouping people by race got more attention.

And quite possibly they were dealing with different populations and the groupings they used did in fact correlate with important things.

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-19T02:55:15.439Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There's far more difference between a black-skinned person whose ancestors have lived in America for five generations and a black-skinned person whose ancestry remains rooted in Africa, than there is between the black-skinned American and a white-skinned American

Genetics science says otherwise. Or do you believe that genes have no impact on who someone is?

Am I from a small tribe in Polynesia because I have an unusual crown formation? Maybe I'm American Indian because of the way my roots wrap around my jawbone?

I don't know, are you? You can trace your ancestry or get genetic tested if your curious.

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-19T02:50:25.654Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There's a stronger statement about this I feel like I could make, but I can't translate the strong version of this into words

Have you considered taking this as a hint that your beliefs about the subject are incoherent.

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-18T05:10:22.282Z · score: -3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The identification of individuals as their race, rather than themselves.

Well, steelmanning your Chomsky sentence, I assume you mean treating someone's race as the only meaningful information about them. In that case you might want to actually read what I wrote.

It is an assertion that the way you treat others should reflect the way you wish to be treated.

In that case it is completely irrelevant to the discussion. For your convenience here is a summary of the debate up to this point:

Me: We should admit that some people are smarter/less prone to criminality/better than others and that these differences correlation with things like race, etc.

You: there's still somebody smarter than you. While you consider what to do to -your- lessers, consider whether you want your betters to follow your example.

Me (slightly confused by your irrelevant assertion but willing to steelman it by using the conversational convention of relevance): That looks like a fully general counter argument against admitting that differences in intelligence exist.

You: That's not what I meant.

In that case what did you mean and how was it relevant to my point?

I do not regard people's religions relating to race as being truths.

Do you agree that there is a fact of the matter on the questions relating to race?

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-17T22:44:20.562Z · score: -4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The only person who might be considered as pointing this out here is you, I will observe.

There's a world outside LW, you realize that right?

The difference between my intelligence and the intelligence of the average person who makes this argument

Someone has a massive overestimation of his own intelliegence. I've only seen this particular argument made a couple times and the people making it were probably somewhat smarter than the average LWer. Also, judging by this comment of yours alone and the fact that it has almost no connection to what I wrote, you appear to be below average for LW.

If you want to argue that racism is acceptable

I have no idea what you mean by the word "racism". In fact it doesn't appear to have a single meaning, but rather at least two meanings that you switch between as needed in classic motte-and-bailey style.

But even if you leave me out of it, and there's still somebody smarter than you. While you consider what to do to -your- lessers, consider whether you want your betters to follow your example.

That looks like a fully general counter argument against admitting that differences in intelligence exist.

I have little patience for affirmative action and other "social justice" forms of collectivism

Except when a proponent of affirmative action argues that affirmative action is necessary because the process is still racist and the process is clearly racist because fewer blacks are getting admitted, you have no counterargument because you refuse to look at the evidence that would prduce one. This is not hypothetical, this is the standard argument AA proponents actually use.

To put it another way: It's nice that you oppose a bad policy; however, you shouldn't be surprised that if you (collective) endorse intentional ignorance about a topic, the result is bad policy in matters related to that topic.

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-17T22:12:38.269Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

But what's going on here is just our old familiar dilemma of justice vs. truth. It SHOULDN'T be profitable to use someone's skin color as a quick proxy for what's inside their heads. That would be monstrously unfair. People can't help their skin color.

People largely can't help what's inside their head either.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, January 11-17, 2016 · 2016-02-17T18:33:37.453Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Can rationality be lost?

Sure, when formerly rational people declare some topic of limits to rationality because they don't like the conclusions that are coming out. Of course, since all truths are entangled that means you have to invent other lies to protect the ones you've already made. Ultimately you have to lie about the process of arriving at truth itself, which is how we get to things like feminist anti-epistomology.

Comment by old_gold on Should we admit it when a person/group is "better" than another person/group? · 2016-02-17T18:16:19.023Z · score: 0 (8 votes) · LW · GW

and all our heuristics on beliefs about non-trivial groups say - don't have them, and certainly don't say them out loud.

Of course, if you refuse to discuss race and crime, someone will point out that more blacks get arrested than whites and claim that this is due to police racism. More generally, once you start lying the truth is ever after your enemy.

For example, you may have heard that social science is in the midst of a replication crisis, well there is one area of social science where that isn't the case, namely IQ research and its correlates. Of course, for most social scientists openly stating that differences of race or gender are significant, or really anything that makes a black, woman, LGBT, or other member of a protected category look bad is career-killing. Hence social scientists are reduced to doing data dredges which unsurprisingly don't replicate. The current state of social science is like what astronomy would be like if astronomers weren't allowed to say anything that might imply the earth might not be flat.

Which is to say, even if it's accurate to say that X group is more prone to criminal behavior, it's equally accurate to say people who say that a group is more prone to criminal behavior are more prone to engage in criminal behavior themselves.

Of course, history also says that people who spread false beliefs about equality are much much more prone to criminal behavior (or at least behavior that would be criminal if the people doing it weren't in charge of the state). This is a special case of the danger posed by people committed to readily falsifiable and false beliefs.

Comment by old_gold on Is Spirituality Irrational? · 2016-02-17T06:10:13.935Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It's also some people's standard reaction to being insulted.

True, and unfortunately polymathwannabe seems to regard any implication that the identity he likes to dress as is less than perfect to be a personal attack on him.

Comment by old_gold on Is Spirituality Irrational? · 2016-02-16T03:50:25.326Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That surprises me.

It shouldn't. Unfortunately, "taking offense" is some people's standard reaction to arguments they can't refute.

Comment by old_gold on Is Spirituality Irrational? · 2016-02-16T03:43:21.760Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

He answered that he doesn't have any strong spiritual experiences and most of his classmates also haven't. A few have and he considered them a bit strange because they were than also serious about things like no-sex-before-marriage.

This person sounds like an atheist who wants to cosplay as religious and considers the people who are actually religious to be "strange".

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-14T04:09:07.107Z · score: -10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

I know that there are woman who don't participate on the LW forum but who do participate on meetups. Reinventing LW2.0 means shifting LW into being more welcoming to those people.

Would they contribute anything besides starting witch hunts. If the very existence of a single post at -19 is enough to drive them away, things don't look good in their favor.

As far as truth goes it's irrational to think that a the actions in a single case determine who someone happens to be.

"I only murdered someone once, I'm not a murderer."

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-13T19:49:34.501Z · score: -5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

No, you get that sense because you mislabel me as SJW when I'm not.

An SJW is someone who engages in certain types of behavior, and your "nice forum you got here, would be a shame if someone called it sexist"-style blackmail here was definitely SJW-behavior. You don't get to act like a SJW and then complain when someone calls you out on it.

If you read through my LW history you will find my quite civilly discussing the issue of pedophila with a person who wants to legalize it.

So you're willing to discuss extreme positions to your left.

The more extreme a position the more important it is that the person focus on focusing on having a fact based discussion.

The more extreme position the more trouble one can get into for attempting fact based discussion. There is in fact a long tradition of dissidents writing stories set in the past or in sci-fi worlds when it's not safe to object directly to what's going on. Granted, EphemeralNight is overestimating the current danger and the amount of hiding required.

Also, what do you consider an "extreme" position for purposes of this rule? Can you cite any instance where you applied this to any position that was to "extreme" left-wing?

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-13T08:52:40.369Z · score: -5 (7 votes) · LW · GW

No, I'm afraid of the witch-hunters.

Someone who joins the witch-hunters out of fear is still a witch-hunter.

I avoided commenting until my previous comment because I was pretty sure I'd regret it

Well, if you're not willing to stand up to the witch-hunters you should at least avoid joining their mobs.

Comment by old_gold on Where does our community disagree about meaningful issues? · 2016-02-13T02:09:25.110Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

You seem to be conflating who someone expects to win with who he is supporting.

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-13T02:01:04.472Z · score: -6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Hidding was part of my critcism from the start.

More in a "how dare you try to hide from me" kind of sense.

As far as me being SJ In the days where I actually did run a forum where I had moderator power I took the side of the right of an African to speak of homosexuality as a crime that's legalized in some countries.

Would you have done that for someone who didn't belong to a "more protected" category?

I don't have a problem with people sincerely arguing for positions that aren't PC.

I find that incredibly hard to believe given your behavior elsewhere in the comments but especially in this thread.

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-13T01:55:00.652Z · score: -8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Five years ago, we weren't just coming down from a spree of witch-hunts in which online mobs destroy people's lives for being insufficiently politically correct.

And you're trying to be one of the witch-hunters?

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-13T01:49:38.662Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Many LWers are careful enough to notice when even the slightest signaling towards a hot button issue crops up.

This is a horrible thing to do from a rationality stand-point since it amounts to pre-mindkilling yourself.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-13T01:40:24.628Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure that distinction is relevant to the point under discussion, which isn't about reality so much as it is about how perceived "coolness" informs people's ideas about what policy proposals are reasonable.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-12T03:06:20.569Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

No, tabacco is the stuff those old guys smoke.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-11T07:45:11.563Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, all the cool kids are doing it.

Comment by old_gold on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T03:47:26.375Z · score: -1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

and more importantly the people with a political agenda, who stay.

Well, the political agenda is also a natural evolution. After getting laid enough times, it gets dull. Also if one is at all philosophically inclined, one notices that the very existence and need for PUA is a symptom of how dysfunction certain aspects of society are. Thus one is naturally led to politics.

Comment by old_gold on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T03:42:36.011Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Instead of getting told to force myself to do approaches that make me feel unconfortable I get told that it would be good for me to do more non-violent communication style expressions of my own desires.

So how does that actually help with seducing girls? Because that sounds like it simply decayed into yet another "generic self-help movement".

Comment by old_gold on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-10T03:19:50.910Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

not paying attention to the fact that feminism is a discredited cause

Tim Hunt will be glad to hear that, so when is he getting his job back?

Comment by old_gold on The Fable of the Burning Branch · 2016-02-10T02:53:05.882Z · score: -23 (27 votes) · LW · GW

Well, first, I'll admit up front that I logged off and metaphorically hid for a day after posting this, so I would not be tempted to engage in a pointless argument in the comments.

That's your problem right there. If you want people to respect you, don't hide, fight. Attempting to apologize or beg does not earn you respect from women or SJ-goons like gjm or Comrade ChristianKl, it earns you mockery and signals that you're someone it's safe to beat up on.

The boy's mistake in the story was begging rather than being assertive. And your problem here is that your immediate reaction to extremely unfair criticism by people who can be extremely charitably described as mind-killed is to apologize and attempt to say "no really I didn't mean it".

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-10T02:13:56.348Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

But when I put forward a policy position, it isn't to maximise political tractability, but rather to maximise public health gains.

So why didn't you simply propose a ban?

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-10T01:53:45.958Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

(assuming it actually is -- it doesn't look like it's much more popular than tobacco or than it was 50 years ago to me, at least here in [country redacted])

I said "fashionable" not "popular". I have no idea which is more popular, I mean fashionable in the sense of high status.

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-10T01:52:18.396Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Do you think the people advocating for marijuana legalization would be satisfied with legalization under the terms you proposed for tobacco?

Comment by old_gold on Open Thread, Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2016 · 2016-02-09T01:24:41.777Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Here's a hint, replace "tobacco" with "marijuana", or some drug that's currently fashionable. Note, how your intuition changes.

Comment by old_gold on Open thread, Feb. 01 - Feb. 07, 2016 · 2016-02-09T01:14:11.211Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

So apparently he wants rape to be legal as long as it happens on private property.

I believe the relevant term is "satrie". Or should we start accusing Swift of promoting cannibalism.

Comment by old_gold on Request for help with economic analysis related to AI forecasting · 2016-02-09T00:57:56.120Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You'd be amazed what people can do "by hand". Keep in mind, computer was originally an occupation.

Comment by old_gold on Upcoming LW Changes · 2016-02-07T20:31:13.489Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

LOL. Wake up and smell the tea :-) People who want to push advertising into your eyeballs now routinely construct on-demand (as in, in response to a Google query) websites/blogs/etc. just so that you'd look at them and they get paid for ad impressions.

Are these things going to fool any actual human, or just Google's algorithms, i.e., that people see it in Google's searches, possibly click, but don't look at it any closer.

Comment by old_gold on Rationality Quotes Thread February 2016 · 2016-02-05T02:52:12.363Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I feel I should point out that corrupt grading is easily detectable - one can often see it by looking at a corruptly graded paper,

Except who sees a paper except the grader and the student who wrote it?

Moreover, universities have a strong incentive to not be corrupt in their grading - if they let people slip through without learning the work, employers will start to notice and discount qualifications from that institution,

Empirically this incentive wasn't strong enough.