what term you would use in place of "goal-oriented mating behavior" that applies to what you find repulsive about both men and women choosing their actions with an intent to influence attractive persons of an appropriate sex to engage in mating behaviors with them?

I've been using "objectification" to label the set of behaviors of which I disapprove. (It isn't the only one, but it's the most important here.)

I claim that it is unethical to objectify people. By "objectify", I mean to think of, talk about as, or treat like a ... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post

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I claim that it is unethical to objectify people. By "objectify", I mean to think of, talk about as, or treat like a non-person. A good heuristic is to see how easily a given sentence could be reworked to have as a subject something inanimate instead of a person.

Ultimately each person's ethics are probably axiomatic and impossible to justify or discuss, but this injunction seems extremely odd to me, and trying to follow it would seem to have very bad consequences for the kind of thinking we could do.

For instance, consider the sentences "... (Read more)(Click to expand thread. ⌘F to Expand All)Cmd/Ctrl F to expand all comments on this post

6wuwei10y I still have very little idea what you mean by 'objectification' and 'objectify people'. I was momentarily off-put by Roko's comment on the desire to have sex with extremely attractive women that money and status would get. This was because of: * the focus on sex, whereas I would desire a relationship. * the connotation of 'attractive' which in my mind usually means physical attractiveness, whereas my preferences are dominated by other features of women. * the modifier 'extremely' which seems to imply a large difference in utility placed on sex with extremely attractive women vs. very attractive or moderately attractive women, especially when followed by identifying this desire as a generator for desiring high social status rather than vice versa or discussing both directions of causation. (The latter would have made more sense to me in the context of Roko saying we should value social influential power.) I had negative associations attached to Roko's comment because I started imagining myself with my preferences adopting Roko's suggestions. However, I wouldn't have voiced these negative associations in any phrases along the lines of 'objectificaton' or 'objectifying', or in terms of any moral concerns. The use of the word 'get' by itself did not strike me as particularly out of place any more than talk of 'getting a girlfriend/boyfriend'.
4Emile10y I'm not sure objectification is the cause of the red flag here : would you get the same impression if he said "If I were rich, I'd have a nice house and a sports car and a gardener"?

Absolute denial for atheists

by taw 10y16th Jul 20091 min read605 comments


This article is a deliberate meta-troll. To be successful I need your trolling cooperation. Now hear me out.

In The Strangest Thing An AI Could Tell You Eliezer talks about asognostics, who have one of their arm paralyzed, and what's most interesting are in absolute denial of this - in spite of overwhelming evidence that their arm is paralyzed they will just come with new and new rationalizations proving it's not.

Doesn't it sound like someone else we know? Yes, religious people! In spite of heaps of empirical evidence against existence of their particular flavour of the supernatural, internal inconsistency of their beliefs, and perfectly plausible alternative explanations being well known, something between 90% and 98% of humans believe in the supernatural world, and is in a state of absolute denial not too dissimilar to one of asognostics. Perhaps as many as billions of people in history have even been willing to die for their absurd beliefs.

We are mostly atheists here - we happen not to share this particular delusion. But please consider an outside view for a moment - how likely is it that unlike almost everyone else we don't have any other such delusions, for which we're in absolute denial of truth in spite of mounting heaps of evidence?

If the delusion is of the kind that all of us share it, we won't be able to find it without building an AI. We might have some of those - it's not too unlikely as we're a small and self-selected group.

What I want you to do is try to trigger absolute denial macro in your fellow rationalists! Is there anything that you consider proven beyond any possibility of doubt by both empirical evidence and pure logic, and yet saying it triggers automatic stream of rationalizations in other people? Yes, I pretty much ask you to troll, but it's a good kind of trolling, and I cannot think of any other way to find our delusions.