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Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-31T04:42:29.376Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

A society is a group of people. Much as with any group, the more that people care and are on the same page, the more you get done.

When you don't give a damn at all, or when your tribe is fighting the other tribes, you have less time and interest in progressing. For you to labour effectively your labour must matter and it must be constructive.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-31T04:27:40.649Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The CDC data has figures on numbers of relationships, including marriages, by age and gender in the tables at the end of the document. The data and conclusions about STDs is irrelevant to me in that, I am interested in what happens to people's pair bonding abilities as their number of sexual partners increases.

Promiscuity appears to have effect there, which would imply that it is at the very least a correlate with relationship failure (and therefore relevant to the topic of pair bonding). Is it causal, are there other factors at work? I can' t answer that question, I can only do the best with what I have. Unsurprisingly, research into possible negative effects of promiscuity on mental health, life outcomes, self reported metrics on happiness, etc. isn't exactly well funded. This is an area of research that is made radioactive for social reasons.

I will say the same thing to you that I did to pjeby: I made a mistake in trying to cover too much ground. For me to address every little point pjeby makes (because from my perspective a giant portion of what pjeby writes are claims that have nothing to do with anything I've written, or are misinterpretations, etc. For example, he makes a false equivalency between his experience as a member of the class and the entirety of the class) it turns into an essay, which then feeds straight back into the whole *death by a thousand cuts* game. I've cut that right off with pjeby because I'm not interested in that kind of a back and forth and I don't think it's productive.

On the other hand, you've asked a single question, and I've given you a single answer. That's manageable. You can just go ahead and tell me I'm full of shit and it ends right here, no diversions or *whaddabout-isms* or *not alls*.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-31T04:03:23.305Z · score: 10 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Disinclination and proscription aren't the same.

The Tragedy of the Commons is the problem here. If everyone (or enough) chooses themselves over the common good then the common good will suffer as a consequence. Everyone wants the utility of the next generation, nobody wants to actually give birth to them.

It's very clear that sexually dimorphic behaviours work. They're present in thousands of species. What isn't present in thousands of species is human society. Biology just happens but society must be created and maintained, some of which is contrary to our biological imperatives. If we want the advantages of the kind of society we live in then we're going to have to make a lot of compromises on our biological imperatives. Everyone, not just women. In many domains. Either we give up on the utility we gain from society or we start ensuring that utility is maintained.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-31T03:49:23.795Z · score: 10 (2 votes) · LW · GW

All expectations on the citizenry from the state come with the threat of violence for non-compliance. If we can draft men to extract utility from them at their risk, then unless there's special pleading going on we can do exactly the same to women. I don't think that's the answer, but it's a possibility and is congruent with other areas of custom and law.

Violence is unnecessary here, all that is required is for the state to pick up the responsibility that women don't want. I don't want to remove women's agency, I want to remove society's dependence on their gestation. If women don't want to have babies that's fine by me, but society needs babies so it's going to have to source them from somewhere else. This is a supply and demand problem.

Fortunately, procuring gestational services is a solved problem. Depending on what options you select, a child that is the product of in-vitro fertilisation, artificial insemination, and surrogacy can be had for about 40K USD. That's completely within the realms of state spending given the return on investment. If Western women don't want to have children there are tons of rural Indian women with no such qualms. Outsourcing tasks that Westerners won't do is something the West has been doing for longer than I've been alive.

The ultimate solution to this problem is artificial gestation but we aren't there yet.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-30T12:21:59.455Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

My response is an attempt to provide answers to a complex subject, where the tendency of participants is to act as if their own catastrophising of ALL WOMEN or NO WOMEN scenarios are something that has actually been voiced and supported by me. This easily turns a discussion into a death by a thousand cuts where every tiny little statement is attacked (potentially disingenuously) from every single angle possible.

Let me give you an example:

I say:

> Men do not favour a minority of women

Then you say:

> What? Of course they do. I'm a man, I would think I would know if I favored the majority of women. I don't. Similarly, you state that "men" require reproductive opportunity. I don't. I don't want children. So I'm a trivial counterargument on both counts.

Straight up you make a false conflation between the individual and the class (I don't as a part of the class, therefore nobody/not enough in the class do to matter).

I cite the OKCupid data that specifically supports my statement here. I am saying men, as a class, do not favour a minority of women.

I do not state that men require reproductive opportunity *anywhere*.

I can't respond to a false conflation other than to point it out, I can only give you the citations I cannot force you to read them, and I absolutely cannot be expected to defend statements I didn't make and don't believe.

I am more than happy to respond to any point you wish clarified, and/or to discuss any matter in relation to this topic, but it's pretty clear that if we can't make it six sentences without two showstopper errors my usual *word vomit* format isn't going to work here.

If you still want to talk, pick the single most important element and be as reductive as possible. You are going to object to *everything* I have to say, so keeping a very narrow focus is the only way this is going to work.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-26T00:08:48.712Z · score: -3 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Where are we to get our people from, if not from our own citizenry?

Currently, no Western nation (outside of Israel, thanks to their large Ultra Orthodox community) has a sufficient replacement birth rate. If we cannot make more people to replace those that die then our societies die. If we strip mine the third world for people (unethical and unsustainable) then we face two problems: either we successfully incorporate those migrants into our culture and effectively destroy their fertility as we have our own, or we don't successfully integrate them into our culture in which case our culture dies and is replaced with a colony of their culture. Either scenario results in our death.

We know the recipe for killing population growth, and we've deployed it successfully in Africa (and by accident, here too): education for girls followed by employment (and you don't even need birth control to see the dramatic effects). This recipe has no effect in certain cultural groups, namely strict patriarchies like Islam, the Amish, Jewish Orthodox, etc. Educational and employment opportunities for women are strictly controlled in those societies (fun fact: in researching for this thread I found out that Boko Haram *literally* means *Western education is forbidden*).

I know things that are true, and that I don't particularly like. It doesn't make those things less true. I didn't make the problem, and I don't have the solution for the problem (I'm not even sure there is one, or if there is even time left to implement it). The one thing I won't do is pretend there isn't a problem that is there for all to see.

As for men doing the bulk of the work, we've had reliable birth control for less than a century, labour has been gender segregated for the entirety of human history up to this point, and men and women have significant biological differences. The circumstances for women to be equal players have barely been around and things take time to change. That being said, I invite you to consider who built your house, who makes sure the power and water come to it, that the sewerage and garbage leaves it, who comes to put it out if it catches on fire, and who would come and help you if you were in trouble and called the police.

Assuming gender parity in labour is even possible it won't happen until you and I are both long dead. Give it a century at least. History moves slow, even the weird history we find ourselves in right now.

As for the scoffing at men's protection, I think the best (and most tragic) examples of what men with guns do for a country is seeing what happens to xenophilic baizuo that decide to prove how *safe* Islamic countries are. Raped, murdered, beheaded. Multiple cases. The universe isn't a nice safe place, and coddled Westerners are free to walk outside of the borders that protect them and find that out any time they like. Privilege is invisible to those that have it.

Honestly, I think some people walk around with a reality distortion field protecting them from inconvenient information. That building I live in designed, built, and serviced by men? I guess that house just built itself and looks after itself, no men to be seen! These safe streets I walk, I don't see men with guns on the kerb, I guess the street is just naturally safe! All these things around me just, poof, into existence! Where *does* stuff come from?!

Nobody's asking you to give men a medal, or to even thank them in any way at all. It would just be nice if you saw them as *people* rather than utilities.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-25T21:38:24.168Z · score: -4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

If women choose to mate with the winners, then male sexual agency is men doing whatever is required to look like a winner. Is now a good time to mention that codpieces were a thing?


Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-25T21:20:14.078Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

When you understand that this is just a modern puritan non-theistic religion playing out then all the denunciation makes perfect sense. You don't need to denounce someone that's demonstrably wrong, you just point out how they're wrong. Heresy on the other hand, well, there's no arguing with that, is there? You argue with bad ideas, but you *burn* sinners lest their corruption infect you.

What exactly do people think is the endgame of denunciation? If denouncing me is enough then by all means, do that and forget about me. I would argue that if people feel that strongly about it then they need to do a lot better than that. You don't debate intractable idiots in the public forum for the benefit of the idiot, you do so for the forum. The majority say nothing, they just listen.

Since I'm playing the role of the Devil already:

I specifically said I offered no solution in that post. I had hoped that people would be more rational and less pissed off, but you win some you lose some. It's as good a place as any to raise my solution to the problem.

The fundamental problem is biological. Women have an exclusive gatekeeping role on reproduction. We aren't that far away from artificial gestation. The solution isn't to take away women's choices, it's to take away their reproductive monopoly and give it to everyone. Women and men can get their babies from the factory. The government can simply order a bunch if there's a projected population shortfall. The evolutionary need for sexual dimorphism will disappear, evolution will take care of the rest. This is the path to *true* gender equality.

We're going to become a post biological species sooner or later, we may as well speed up the timetable to deal with the birth rate crisis into the bargain.


Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-25T20:13:46.611Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A stable society is one where violence is low and engagement is high, and where the replacement rate is both positive and high enough to account for natural attrition at least. I believe the former is impossible to sustain without the latter.

Progress is having all the supportive apparatus of society in order and functioning to the degree that the people who create disproportionate improvements in science that feed back into the society are supported and promoted. If I want the benefit of a Stephen Hawking then I need to have a smelter for the metal in his chair, a chip foundry for his computer, a school for his doctors and nurses, a pharmaceutical factory for his medicine, etc. Basically, cognitive work has the biggest and most complicated supply chain problem possible. Without a stable society progress will diminish and eventually fail.


Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-25T20:00:51.884Z · score: -1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Some of these statements are ridiculously obvious, but given the reductive assumptions counter argument has already popped up I'm just going to try to cover it all:

* What's good for an individual and what's good for society are not the same thing. Social contract is restrictive and onerous and that's the entire point of it.

* Women decide whether sex occurs or not. Circumstances shape everyone's willingness to pursue the choices open to them.

* Female mate selection isn't an average distribution (http://archive.fo/https://theblog.okcupid.com/your-looks-and-your-inbox-8715c0f1561e). Men do not favour a minority of women.

If you have an even number of men and women, then given the above virtually all women that want sex are getting it, many men that want sex are not getting it.

* Sex is a pacifying agent. It is the strongest incentive we have. Society understands and exploits that. All societies do.

* Monogamy and marriage are artificial social constructs designed specifically to place limits on our biological imperatives. Humans are primates, and primates are not monogamous.

* If sex was the only thing that mattered in relationships, and was neutral on social status in society, then men paying for prostitutes would be a non-issue. Unsurprisingly, men that have to pay a woman just to touch them tend to have different attitudes to both women and society thanks to being cut out of the social contract.

* The payment of the social contract (for men) is sex *and* reproduction, the requirement is utility. Without payment, men have no incentive (beyond self interest) to provide their utility to anyone but themselves. Good luck trying to wring 60 solid years of slavish labour from a man that has checked out of the race and just wants to play xbox. We don't have robots for everything yet, so labour still matters.

Even today, post suffrage, post Pill, post radical feminism, with women increasingly chained to the millstone as men have been, the social contract for men and women is not even remotely equivalent.

Up until the present the labour of one sex was the payment for the other. That equation has shifted, and it is still moving. Perhaps my concerns regarding antisocial effects are premature given that these things play out on historical time scales and we're right in the middle of it and lack the perspective. I can't answer that question. I don't think it's unreasonable to have the discussion we are, either way.

* The day that a team of women come to fix a burst sewer main at 3am is the day that I value their non-natal contributions equally to men's. Women aren't useless but let's not pretend they have equivalent utility to men. They don't, and women's lifetime negative tax contributions are evidence of that.

* The CDC has data on promiscuity and pair bonding (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf). I can find no data that indicates neutral or positive effects for promiscuity.

* I've yet to meet a single woman that is happy with *settling* for a meal ticket she thinks she's better than. I know an increasing number of men that aren't interested in shacking up with a woman with 300 notches on her bedpost. Nobody wants to be stuck with something that's beneath their expectations (realistic or otherwise).

* As for apex men having a limited ability to mate, simply search for pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio on beaches with models. He's coming up on 30 years of dozens of models a week (although he does share them with his friends, so that's nice of him).

* Depending on the jurisdiction, paternity testing can be illegal or ignored by the courts. However, it isn't ignored by biology, as amply demonstrated by the Cinderella effect. Also, good luck trying to sue a woman for paternity fraud - that's never going to happen.

* Swinging is a fringe adaptation to the death of marriage and monogamy. It's an attempt to bring stability and certainty to an environment without fidelity. As far as I've seen it takes all the drama of ordinary relationships and makes it even worse. I'm sure that someone has made it work, I've just never met them. Sex and reproduction aren't synonyms, not in general and not in swinging. Unless things have changed radically it's still a faux pas to knock someone else's wife up, swinger or not.

* Harem behaviour is voluntary in the West. The harem is like a pie, and just as with any pie, a smaller slice of a giant world class pie is better than the whole pie from the dollar store. It's a logical choice, but it has consequences like any choice does.

Historically, harem behaviour is complicated. Sexually dimorphic behaviour is paired. Harem behaviours from women wouldn't work if men weren't receptive to them. Historically, harem behaviour increases male disposability and violence. Either the surplus males attack the society (which is arguably what's going on in the West, greatly nullified by our bread and circuses) or they attack other societies to kill their men and gain access to the women (ISIS, Boko Haram, etc.).

The lack of economic opportunity for women and their offspring is always nothing compared to what happens to men in the same environments. Even in the worst of situations, women can fuck their way to survival. Men just get butchered. Wombs are valuable, semen not so much.

* Polygamy in strict religious contexts breeds many of the issues I'm talking about (there's a good reason these societies are primitive). Islamic polygamy is dependent on male attrition by violence. Amish polygamy is dependent on expelling adolescent males from the community. What these examples don't suffer from is the birth rate crash of the West. Women are in a role where they are expected to stay in the home and reproduce, and they do. Israel is the only Western country on the planet with a positive replacement rate thanks to their large Ultra Orthodox community. If you curtail women's choices, they will marry and reproduce without objection (as evidenced by plenty of these communities being in the middle of Western countries. Any woman can walk straight out the door, onto welfare, and into a life of promiscuity and freedoms whenever she likes).

Female centric polygamy is just a subset of Western polygamy which is itself a subset of promiscuity. There's little of value there when it comes to creating a prosocial structure to replace monogamy and marriage. Even if it did help, I seriously doubt that would map to enough of society to be workable.

Polygamy is a crappy answer in a society with an equal number of men and women. Our evolutionary heritage and biological imperatives will never match what is required by our society. Nature's long standing solution to this problem is to kill lots of men. I think that's not a great solution, but I can't argue with the efficacy of it.

* My argument relies on a tipping point at which aggregated consequences of decisions made by individuals have synergistic negative effects on the entirety of society. That's true of many choices by many groups, when lots of people do the same thing then the consequences pile up.

* Given I *specifically* cautioned against people raising their own 'solutions' as objections and specifically state against any course of action, I'm wondering how to go about disentangling what I actually want to discuss from people disgorging their psyches in front of me. There's a ton of super interesting stuff that comes up every time and countless tangents, but unless I want to write an essay in reply to every comment I'm going to have to figure out how to pull back hard. I'm not sure how to go about that.

This turned out to be every bit as disordered as I feared.

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-25T12:09:11.434Z · score: 1 (6 votes) · LW · GW

What I mean is that people will happily object, but they won't say what they object to, or how, or offer any alternative or contrary hypothesis.

People make choices and those choices have consequences. That's rarely contested *until* that person is specifically a woman and specifically making choices *exclusive* to the domain of women. The acceptance of the premise I'm talking about is in the objection not to what I've said, but to *who* I said it about. We don't get to a real discussion because people are already burning me for heresy.

If I'm incorrect, that's fine. If I'm incorrect because of *who* I'm questioning, that's not fine. When you look at responses from my perspective it becomes very difficult to sort whether a reply is coming from the former or the latter (especially when all I get is one sentence to work with).

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are some unpopular (non-normative) opinions that you hold? · 2019-10-23T04:26:20.050Z · score: -2 (24 votes) · LW · GW

People become enraged by this, so I think it qualifies:

Women's agency, especially their sexual agency, is contrary to a society's progress and stability.

Men do the bulk of the work when it comes to creating, maintaining, and defending everything in society. They are paid for their labours with access to sex and reproduction. Women's agency causes there to be nothing to pay men with, because if women are given a choice they favour a minority of males, harem behaviour, promiscuity, childlessness, etc. When women have agency, they choose to undermine the social contract on multiple vectors.

This premise seems to be almost unconsciously accepted by everyone I raise it with. The part that people become enraged by is their own solutions to the problem. I merely state the premise, not any course of action to be taken.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Why Are So Many Rationalists Polyamorous? · 2019-10-22T05:28:04.376Z · score: -1 (8 votes) · LW · GW
Notable also is that most of the high-status men in the rationalist community are nonmonogamous.

High status men everywhere are able to be non-monogamous thanks to female harem behaviours.


Comment by stuart-anderson on Archiving Yahoo Groups · 2019-10-19T03:23:10.845Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW

https://www.archiveteam.org/index.php?title=Yahoo!_Groups

Comment by stuart-anderson on Planned Power Outages · 2019-10-19T03:16:50.661Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

In the best tradition of bureaucracy, it's more complicated that in first appears.

In AU the phrase you need to search against is *essential medical equipment*. The wording and responsibilities are left deliberately vague. It is safe to say that this is as much for pragmatic reasons as legal ones, as many situations will be different. A person living in the middle of a city is going to be very different to one living regionally or in the bush (memes about AU aside, yes, we do legitimately have plenty of places in this land that are out to kill you. There's always some part of the country in drought, on fire, or underwater, year round, without fail).

The energy company has a direct requirement to not cut you off and to inform you of any works when you inform them that you have essential medical equipment at the premises (which requires a form with parts filled out by your doctor). The tricky part is that they would have an indirect obligation under manslaughter/negligence laws should the customer not have alternatives to their supply in the event of failure (and it is very much in their interests to ensure that the customer does have backup because they're fully liable until they do). Of course the energy company is going to try to fob their liability off onto some other party ASAP. Nobody wants that hot potato.

This is a two part issue from the perspective of the energy company:

1. Criminal liability. Nobody wants to deal with that, ever. AU isn't like America (for example) and you can't buy your way out of a conviction/sentence.

Any time someone is injured or killed by misadventure the cops will get involved, then the DPP gets involved, and depending on how egregious/public it is then the media and government do, and then you're fucked. All of those groups have an incentive to scalp you. Much better to take the time to ensure that never happens.

2. Financial liability. This is ultimately an actuarial question. If the company fucks up, how much is it going to cost them?

The first instance above, at least in my experience, is a total showstopper. Every meeting I've ever had with management involving them wanting to do/not do something that could have landed me in jail resulted in me turning around and saying "No, we are not doing that. I'm not going to go to jail for you". Followed by me saying "Here's what we're going to do" and then me laying it out. There's times when you indulge management bullshit and there's times when you tell them to STFU and do as they're told. Potential liability always falls into the latter camp.

In the second instance above it is more complicated. The fact is that at a certain number of customers it becomes a matter of when you will be fucked over, not if. Whilst there's certainly a lot of technical and logistical work to be done to minimise risk at a certain point it becomes a question for your lawyers and the actuaries at your insurer. Even if you put everything into safety you can it is still just a matter of time.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Planned Power Outages · 2019-10-13T03:49:24.631Z · score: 11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If you are going to face a problem without a utility then regardless of any other party's responsibilities there you need to have your own contingencies in place.

I am in AU and we have laws governing this kind of thing. You inform the power co of the situation and they instantly have a legal liability if your power goes out. I don't know the particulars of their implementations, but having been in business and having an equivalent legal liability I didn't screw around in those situations. I wasn't going to be going to jail for manslaughter, and I can't see anyone else in that position being interested in that either.

Quite aside from necessity, I'm also of the opinion that convenience is worth planning for. I don't want to deal with blackouts, planned or otherwise. Solar power is incredibly common here, and battery banks are a thing if you want that. I only have my server on UPS, but my power supply is also rock solid (again, AU is massively culturally different to US, and corporate conduct and public expectations around it are far more stringent than the buffoonery common in US). The sorts of things that take out the power (rarely) are things like storms, which are acts of God that nobody can do anything about.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-29T23:37:07.217Z · score: 6 (7 votes) · LW · GW
If we did find some academic feminists or gender studies researchers who were willing to engage in good faith, serious discussion without trying to be activist or throwing around accusations of -isms or -phobics, would you object to their presence in the community?

Entryism is my concern. The fundamental question is how easy it is for a bad actor to gain control of this forum. Exactly how vulnerable is lesswrong?

Whether or not I object I have no ability to prevent their, nor anyone else's, participation in this group (nor should/would I). I got let in after all, so there's clearly very little security here.

The problem of good faith is difficult. Bad actors exist, and it isn't always easy to spot them (or deal with them). Whilst ideally you give everyone the benefit of the doubt the problem is that if someone turns up to your door with a trail of corpses behind them then you're a fool if you give them that benefit. I don't have a good answer for dealing with bad faith other than identifying affiliation with a hostile group and excluding based on that. Yes, that's going to lock out any potential gain from that group.

The hostility you've shown towards an entire field is something I find deeply concerning.

They're not academics and they're not even remotely objective. I've no tolerance for anti-intellectuals hijacking the mechanism of the academy to further their political goals. Nobody has to agree with me on them or that.

I can't ignore what gender studies is ideologically (bigoted) and what it is in reality (evil. That's what bigotry becomes when it goes from idea to implementation). Where is the evidence that gender studies is creating anything positive? I think it makes things worse. Again, nobody has to agree with me on that.

Perhaps you and I just have fundamentally different approaches towards outgroups since I honestly cannot think of a single group I would treat the way you've been treating feminists in this discussion.

I can think of quite a few groups that I've got zero time for. I no more wish to live under the misandry and racism of intersectional feminism than I would under the poverty and cruelty of communists or the misanthropic brutality of sharia. Many ideologies have fundamental tenets that are irreconcilable. Like everyone, there are things that I won't compromise on.


But if a member of any one of them actually wanted to engage me in a real discussion in good faith I would take them up on it (time permitting, of course) and if they brought up evidence I had overlooked or perspectives I hadn't considered then I would gladly update my views in response.

Sure. The problem is how good are you at telling the difference between that, and someone smart enough to exploit your weaknesses and blind spots? The people that have screwed you over the worst in your life were the ones that you trusted, weren't they? That's the risk in being open to everyone and everything.

But we have to be willing, no, eager, to engage our ideological opponents and take from them what value we can.

I'm not against that, I'm just saying that when you're effectively dealing with fanatics that's not trivial. If you enter a domain that is specifically crafted to ensnare the unwary in the hopes of finding some wisdom then you need to be very sure of what you're doing.

For me it's simple enough: I don't believe that I can successfully navigate that territory without being attacked, and I am unconvinced that there is sufficient reward to justify the risk. Knowing when to say no is important too.

When I see you repeating antifeminist talking points and taking a dramatically uncharitable view of a huge academic field and political movement (and yes, I am bothered by the extent to which those two overlap) which seems to be informed by their most vitriolic and toxic members (and yes, the more moderate members seem to do frustratingly little to reign in their extremist counterparts) what I keep thinking is: we're supposed to be better than this.

What's wrong with being an anti-feminist? Why assume this is a good ideology? It's not like feminist and woman are synonyms. They're a group, not a gender.

I've voiced my concerns over the lack of scholarship in gender studies. I don't care how big the field is when the whole thing is run like a joke.

As for supposing to be better, if only life were that simple. Better is highly subjective. I'm certainly not better, I'm human and have all the problems that species has. That's before we even get to my wilful conduct. I think it is fair to say that I'm difficult at best. My better is plenty of people's worst.

my exposure to their ideas has basically been Wikipedia, some mild googling, and popular media.

Feminism is mainstream dogma in society, as such finding open and level headed criticism of it is very difficult.

It's easy to say something that is heretical to feminist doctrine (eg. single mothers are bad for their children and bad for society) but that can be trivially confirmed by third party research (search for outcome statistics for the children of single mother families). Real science on gender differences and outcomes is a goddamn Pandora's box of awfulness. Once you open that there's no going back.

the best way to resolve the question is to read some of their stuff critically and form my own opinions.

This is the best approach. It's also a case of putting your money where your mouth is in regards to extracting the value you believe can be found there.

The only thing I'll add is that I think you should include work that is critical of theirs, and that you won't find that work within gender studies. Just to make everything harder, plenty of those who are critical are every bit as unpleasant as the feminists are. Make sure to take lots of breaks.

I've got a hypothesis that feminist social theory could be a helpful addition to the ever-growing rationalist canon and a way to test that just by doing a little reading.

The only part of that hypothesis I argue with is the idea that this is going to take a little reading. This is a philosophical and political doctrine that has roots over a hundred years, and has been firmly ensconced in academia since the 60's. None of this stuff is easy to read either.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-26T12:15:17.627Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I concede the point.

After trying to find any papers that state these premises either clearly or consistently I am unable to do so. For example, rape, sexual assault, sexual violence, etc. are all used interchangeably. The incidences are highly variable also. Trying to nail any of it down to an A=B or A!=B is pretty much impossible.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-26T11:59:41.296Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The biological differences between men and women are not cultural.

How biological differences are dealt with within a culture falls under gender roles and that is driven directly by those biological differences for functional reasons primarily relating to reproduction.

Sex and gender are not synonyms.

> IQ is around 50% heritable, the other 50% also matters, though.

I'm not sure how IQ fits in here but twin studies indicate otherwise.

> My view is that if we accept both biological and cultural influences on behavior then behavioral geneticists, neurologists, evolutionary psychologists, etc. focus their effort on the biological side and sociologists and academic feminists focus on the cultural side. Can you not see how, at least in theory, this is an interesting dynamic?

It is an affront to the idea of academic enquiry to suggest that a selected group be allowed to act as if hard scientific data, especially where that data contradicts their claims, doesn't exist.

It's very simple: if you are a real academic you spend your time savaging your own ideas until you cannot assail them further, and then you put them out there for your peers to do exactly the same in ways you hadn't considered. Anything that survives being put in the middle of the circle and stomped on repeatedly by everyone is considered sound for the moment. Then you repeat that process forever.

If you make a statement, even in the soft sciences, then you are expected to defend that statement. Your peers are expected to debate you in that. It doesn't matter if you or they actually believe the counter arguments, the point is that they are examined. I don't see this happening in feminism, but I do see a ton of nodding dog behaviour, and the only real dissent is based in purity tests over dogma (eg. TERFs are deplatformed, not argued with, because of their heretical belief that biological sex trumps gender). Feminists are afraid of debate, you'll see them happily shout people down, but good luck getting them to sit down to talk with people that don't believe exactly the same thing they do.

> surely there's clear-thinking people in there somewhere, right?

Not within, without. You need only look to those that feminists slander and hate to see the kind of discourse they should be conducting within their own groups.

> I'm not saying we should open the floodgates to every tumblr feminist with a grudge, but do you really think that trying to find open-minded gender studies researchers who would be willing to engage in adversarial collaboration would be such a terrible idea? Do you really take such an uncharitable view of the field you can't imagine any usable work coming out of it?

I'm afraid that's the case.

I've seen the same pattern of entryism based parasitism and destruction of organisations over and over. Find something of worth, typically built and staffed by men, infiltrate female agents with proselytism, take on moderation and administration roles, being agitating for 'fairness' around feminist principles, attack founders with real or fabricated claims of sexual impropriety and -ist and -phobic transgressions, and then finally overtake the group completely.

I don't see how I can countenance such a high risk course of action for such a weak and undefined gain. That being said, it's a community so my say in that is limited.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-25T09:45:32.721Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is a perfect example of feminist selective interpretation. We know exactly why men and women are different. It's literally on display everywhere in the animal kingdom, and almost identical in our closest ape relatives. Sexual dimorphism isn't disputed in biology. Yet here we are, with some person waiving around a specious degree to argue from authority, claiming in a populist rag, that somehow this is all a mystery. It's almost like if you leave something intentionally vague you can argue it for your own advantage one way or another as the situation suits.

That isn't how you do science or philosophy. That isn't rigour and it isn't healthy academic discourse. I shouldn't have to be the one saying to her "What about sexual dimorphism as demonstrated in the field of biology?" as a counterpoint to her statement here, her peers should be doing that (given that she didn't do it herself).

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-25T08:46:55.617Z · score: 7 (8 votes) · LW · GW

1. Men and women are equivalent and interchangeable.

2. Men and women aren't paid equally for equal work.

3. 1 in 4 women are raped.

All of those hypotheses aren't just poorly investigated within the discipline, they're demonstrably disproved outside of it. If a hypothesis is measurable then there's no getting around that. If it was a matter of complex statistical analysis there might be some excuse, but when it's things like IQ, tax returns, and crime statistics pointing out your hypotheses to be utter bullshit then one would have to be credulous to believe anything but wilful malice.

In any rigorous discipline if you were caught falsifying data you'd be disowned by your peers and cast out of the academy. In feminism it's almost impossible to function *without* wilful lies. It's certainly impossible to be a peer in good standing within the discipline if you challenge dogmatic foundational principles. How can that culture of unquestioned dogma, forbidden subjects and selective examination, and denuncation and excommunication result in honest academic discourse?

Comment by stuart-anderson on Don't clean your glasses · 2019-09-25T07:50:42.041Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I'm greasy, but there's oil and smudges every single day on my glasses (not including the disgusting buildup that occurs on any part of them that actually contacts my head). I have microfibre, spudgers, water, detergent, and isopropyl alcohol at the ready.

As for monitors, they are cleaned whenever dirt is noted (which is not infrequently). Also, if you actually try to touch a monitor in front of me I will scream at you like a bride who's wedding has just been ruined. You'll be glad you left a fingerprint on the screen because the cops won't be able to identify your mangled corpse otherwise.

Mice and keyboards on the other hand become quite dirty. Both have quarterly interactions with the contents of my tea cup. The keyboard will have a significant amount of hair within it.

Optical mouse technology has enabled levels of filth not possible with mechanical mice. Between many buttons and questionable styling there's an ever increasing number of filth catching edges too.

Keyboards have always been a pain to clean. I'm not going to pull off the keys and wash them as regularly as I should. It's almost easier to use it as an excuse to buy a new keyset instead of removing, cleaning, and reinstalling the same ones.


Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-22T08:18:04.832Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW
I'm not sure that this is true.

That is a fair criticism, however we are talking about a discipline that preaches *tabula rasa* about gender whilst happily denying commonalities that appear constantly across isolated populations.

It is obvious that biology is an enormous factor in human behaviour yet the second you step into the sociology department you're not only expected to ignore that, you're expected to deny it and attribute it to *oppression* without a single shred of supporting evidence. A huge number of the claims from sociology are *testable* and they're *never* tested. How am I supposed to overlook that?

I don't have time for something that is claimed to be ironclad truth without evidence. That's not academic, it's religious.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-22T07:42:37.660Z · score: -2 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The fundamental premise for sociology is that all are equal and all differences are a result of socialisation. Gender studies is a subset that builds its flawed ideology on top of that demonstrably false premise. We have hundreds of years of science that demonstrably disproves those premises, and one must willfully deny all that evidence to be involved in sociology.
Pragmatically, if all were equal then what need would these gender grifters have to wait for others to do all the work building successful ventures for them to come along and infect and parasitise? If they were equal they'd compete rather than steal (or at least have an equal distribution of creation and theft).
Gender studies and the activism that is enabled from it isn't a good faith act. They claim to be making things better, but much like Al Sharpton this is nothing more than a grift, a simple payoff of money and influence to ensure that the organisation's PR and revenue isn't savaged. If the protection money racket isn't enough having a bunch of purportedly sexually available women to waive in front of thirsty men to proselytise the faith of gender ideology is also a common strategy. You then use said honeypots to push uncooperative men out with accusations of sexual impropriety. The playbook is repeated again and again and is well honed at this point.
It all boils down to people that do being robbed by people that can't do but can steal and are willing to exploit female group preference amongst men to do that. These people aren't failing, they're very successful at what they do. They're just bad faith actors.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Are there technical/object-level fields that make sense to recruit to LessWrong? · 2019-09-16T01:44:48.544Z · score: 22 (15 votes) · LW · GW

I cannot think of a single example where an organisation has allowed the entryism of gender studies to anything but their detriment. Many well meaning groups have been overtaken and drained because they didn't bother to investigate what happened to others before them.

There's nothing wrong with the idea of activism but the problem is when capitalism interacts with successful activist movements. Where there is profit and gain to be had from ensuring that the problem is never solved then that problem will never be solved *by design*. It may even be (as with gender studies) vastly expanded into an entire industry of grift.

Be very careful who you let into your house. Not everyone is acting in good faith, and not everyone has something positive to add. Look at what they've done, not at what they claim. In the particular case of LW I would argue that people should look at the total lack of rigour in gender studies. This is a discipline that can only exist by the deliberate denial of the medical and psychological fields and all the reproducible experimental data of said fields. I think that's a showstopper for LW.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-21T11:03:28.277Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Spamming works at present because it is cheap. If it costs you 60 minutes of CPU time per individual recipient then you're not going to be so casual about sending out emails to thousands of emails, are you?

PoW has to be the product of machines. We already have these algorithms for crypto. It doesn't matter what the work is, it just has to be something that cannot be skipped. All it is is the recipient's mail server saying "I'll accept your message after you've provided the answer to this arbitrary computation".

Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-21T10:55:36.161Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If the receiver is paid then the receiver has an incentive to favour profit over content interest. If the receiver gets nothing then they're only going to favour messages that actually interest them.

No amount of money can buy interest, but very little money can buy the artifice of it. I don't believe that helps anyone in the long term.


Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-21T10:15:15.059Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That is an entirely fair point.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Lana Wachowski is doing a new Matrix movie · 2019-08-21T10:09:18.793Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The problem I have with most stories about AIs is that the AIs are essentially human characters with a dose of one or more personality disorders and megalomania. The matrix series suffers from this problem. What it brought to the table in filmmaking wasn't particularly anything to do with the premise of AI. It was the same old humans and robots can't get along so they kill each other trope (which isn't necessarily a bad backbone for a story. People have been getting attacked by their artificial creations in stories for a long time).

If Wachowski insists on revisiting the Matrix universe then I'd hope that is for a very solid reason. I fear that won't be the case.

What I'd like to see in an AI story is humans and AIs interacting in complex ways beyond simple hostility. At the end of the Matrix series there was an in principle peace agreement but that's all there was. Zion was trashed and the machines are staring down the barrel of a massive reduction in their power source (dumb canon, but canon nonetheless). Both sides are facing the prospect of a massive influx of refugee humans leaving the matrix, and causing huge problems for the matrix and the real world. If there has to be more story in the Matrix universe then why not "The war just ended and peace is more complicated and fraught than war"?

Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-12T07:52:26.568Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Pay to read services already exist and the pay part happens on the service's servers (for example, via landing pages or formatted links, etc.). The business recruits and profiles an audience then sells their eyeballs to marketers. The business takes their cut and offers a reward to readers.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-12T07:45:57.466Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's taken me a bit to realise that this is an economics problem more than a technical one.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-12T07:44:40.237Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Exactly because PoW is less fungible. If businesses can simply buy their way around the problem they'll do exactly that. Nobody has figured out how to build a time machine yet, so if you're forced to wait by PoW there's nothing you can do.

Money also creates financial incentive for low value messaging, PoW punishes it.

In PoW those who communicate well are rewarded, those who don't are punished, and it is *content* and not finances that decides who gets privileged in that system.


Comment by stuart-anderson on Could we solve this email mess if we all moved to paid emails? · 2019-08-11T19:12:25.239Z · score: 9 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I think that proof-of-identity and proof-of-work could solve the stated problems.

If the default is that the sender must complete a computational challenge that is going to kill the incentive to waste time (because the time they're wasting is their own). If you can properly identify senders then you get to decide if and how much computation they have to do to message you. That would also allow for highly granular permissions on individual messages (with a high degree of complexity in rules being possible. It's essentially like a traffic shaping firewall for your inbox).

Another possibility is to allow the sender to indicate importance (or other flags) to the recipient by showing electively larger proof of work. The flag for importance can have an additional price tag or multiplier attached to it in exactly the same way that any other computational rate for a message could be specified.

If that proof-of-work could be made useful, for example with boinc style computations, then nobody has to feel bad about making people jump through hoops or use up electricity.

Email is a time suck because it's easy for the sender. Paying with money is one way of dealing with the problem but that requires financial transfers of some sort. Proof-of-work is not subject to the same rules and requirements that fiat is, and by definition everyone sending email has a cpu to use (neither fiat nor proof-of-work are going to solve individual differences in leverage. Nothing can do that).

Since we're redesigning email, can I ask for file transfer to be dealt with too? Email is the defacto small file transfer method between distinct entities without other established means. This is convenient for the parties involved but all sorts of convoluted and wasteful on the back end. It was never meant to be for file transfer (or html) and one look at how it is done makes the hatchet job to get it to work very apparent. We have more efficient methods of file transfer and bandwidth optimisation these days, so it makes sense to use them.

Sanitising the content of messages would be helpful too. It should be some kind of markdown and not the html free for all it is now. A message should be a single self-contained entity that doesn't communicate with the outside world. It's a letter, not an opportunity to run code.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Why do humans not have built-in neural i/o channels? · 2019-08-10T08:17:03.238Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Evolution is random chance plus successful reproduction as a fitness function. Assuming that biological i/o is both possible and advantageous (and that's a huge assumption) then I would assume we haven't see it because we haven't waited long enough yet.

We haven't been around for that long. We are very successful with a lot less than direct i/o. Our brains are already massive calorie consumers and at their physical limits on a number of metrics (most notably, being able to fit through the birthing canal). Given how terrible evolution is at revisions it is highly unlikely that if direct i/o evolves it would do so in our species. There are only a couple of different templates for brains in organisms complex enough for us to consider for this question, so that's a limitation too (because my own hunch is that direct i/o would need to be a feature very early in that brain's evolutionary history to work).

If there is anything that I would argue as being on the path to direct i/o as stated it would be hive insects. They use touch and chemical signals to communicate already, so more complex contact based communication could reasonably occur over time.

If one expands the definition of direct i/o then you could argue that colony organisms or symbiotic organisms are already doing a form of direct i/o. Just a very primitive form thereof.

That being said, we are the first species to be able to create and use technology on ourselves. We can use that technology to modify or remove our limits, including those that evolution has handed us. Given that we are on the cusp of artificial gestation it is very likely we are going to experience both a big bump in evolutionary pressures and an outright speciation of humans. When gestation becomes an industrial process it will be subject to standard industrial optimisations and to the pressures of capitalism. Everyone will want the smartest, prettiest, healthiest baby, and they'll be willing to pay for that. All of that is before any more aggressive technological measures to directly interface with the brain (which is also under extensive research).

Comment by stuart-anderson on What are the best resources for examining the evidence for anthropogenic climate change? · 2019-08-06T17:55:08.058Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I am no scientist. I accept that anthropogenic climate change is a real. The problem I have is the apocalyptic rhetoric attached. Human beings love to claim things are the end of the world when they're most certainly not. There are plenty of examples of that in recent history (overpopulation, peak oil, the first time environmental collapse was supposed to kill us, etc.) that have come into fashion and then are gone in a decade or two. How am I, as an ordinary person, supposed to tell the difference between a real crisis and largely empty apocalyptic cultural movements? Climate talk often feels like religiously based end times thinking.

It's pretty clear to me that creating a climate theory that accounts for past results is useless here. For climate modelling to indicate that things are desperate it must predict the future. If someone can say *the temperature will raise by X here in Y time* then that's a good start. As far as I'm aware, no such modelling exists (and certainly not in an easy to explain and consume format suitable for the majority).

On the pragmatic front, climate action feels like just more baizuo virtue signalling. We have one climate but there are multiple countries, any of which can undo any efforts to remediate climate issues. The West isn't going to hand the third world the required technology gratis, nor is it going to invade simply to stop people burning brown coal. This feels exactly like recycling - lots of emotive messaging and expensive sorting programs just so all the garbage can be sent to the third world for poor people to rip apart for metal salvage and burn the left overs. Is anything that is being suggested or done for climate actually efficacious? Is there any point if it can simply be undone by others?

Again on the pragmatic front, and somewhat more cynically, I am forced to ask: Who profits? "Follow the money" is an excellent adage when it comes to figuring out what's really going on in a situation that otherwise appears complex. If the overarching messaging for the population is "Change your behaviour in this direction, think this way, believe these things, accept these impositions" especially when those running the show are doing the exact opposite of what the messaging suggests, then that tends to erode my faith in that messaging. If you're constantly flying to climate conferences on your Gulfstream between hanging out on your super yacht then I'll look to your actions rather than your words.

Finally, if climate change is a problem and we want it fixed then that's almost certainly going to be dependent on building a profitable industry catering to that. If you want something done then the easiest way for that to happen is by paying for it. If people can get rich from fixing the climate then the climate will get fixed (to a point anyway, no one that profits from a problem is ever going to let that problem truly end. Just ask any activist or charity). The UN certainly isn't going to get it done.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-17T11:18:41.878Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

I know that I'm harping on about what can seem to be a minor point but people and their acts aren't necessarily equivalent. If someone is part of a group that generally shouldn't be grounds to discriminate against them, whereas if they say or do something that generally is a valid cause for discrimination. Labels are subjective and can be assigned, conduct is objective and comes directly from the individual in question.

I don't give a damn if Adam is called a nazi by Bill and Charles, I care that Adam wrote something objectively racist in black and white in a particular post and that can be judged without reference to opinion (That's what karma is for - peer governance to supplement moderation). I need to be able to say "You broke rule N in this post when you wrote X and you will receive penalty Y for that".


Comment by stuart-anderson on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-17T10:47:13.076Z · score: -1 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Nazis and their posts are not synonyms though, are they?

It's in no way difficult to say what is said in the vast majority of groups on the internet: No racism/racist content. That doesn't target specific groups or individuals, it targets specific anti-social behaviours. If you *do* the wrong thing you are censured, if you *are* the wrong thing by another's standards but don't transgress then you're fine.

I am arguing that shutting down denunciation in moderation is a good thing for the health of any group. You can easily make rules that apply to all to prevent and deal with transgressions of the sort you are objecting to without resorting to denunciation.

Denunciation destroys groups. If you care about moderation then by extension you should also care about having something left to moderate.

Comment by stuart-anderson on Discourse Norms: Moderators Must Not Bully · 2019-06-17T02:14:06.592Z · score: 6 (9 votes) · LW · GW

I too had the same reaction as the others. When you say nazis you aren't referring to actual nazis, you're just validating denunciation (regardless of your second footnote's attempt at couching that).

You don't have to like the 'nazis' but you absolutely must defend their protection under the rules if they haven't transgressed. If you won't defend their rights then you're just telling everyone that the rights aren't rights, they're privileges that are taken away by whichever dictator happens to be in charge.

I can guarantee that people that are not as well meaning as you are will take note of compromised rule of law because it gives them an easy way to take over the group. A significant part of moderation is in protecting the moderation team and apparatus from entryism and hostile takeovers. Partiality in moderation isn't just an issue of fairness, it's an issue of security.

As for moderation itself, what you want are judges and not rulers. There must be clear law, applied without fear or favour, and with full transparency (eg. public rulings, right of appeal, prior rulings forming precedent for future rulings, etc.). There can be no doubt as to what is expected from all. Whatever rules there are there must be confidence in the administration thereof, and that includes mods conducting themselves appropriately. Just like IRL judges what a mod can do and what they should do are two different things. A mod has to be concerned with reputation both as an individual and on behalf of the system they represent. Yes, mods will be limited in the things they can express in group, and that's exactly the point. They aren't there as ordinary users.