I've definitely heard deep-sounding (well, trying-to-be-deep-sounding) period apologetics. As has been mentioned, there isn't quite as much of an incentive to justify it since it's already mostly preventable via birth control, but there have been attempts to frame it philosophically as an overall good and honorable thing. (Example including what seem to be the most common ones: "Your period. It's a rite of passage. The miracle that allows you to create life. And it's what makes you a woman.")

Those sentences are meaningless nonsense.

What about women with non-functional ovaries, or none at all? Gender is admittedly hard to define (I suspect that, like human morality, it's a built-in, highly complex, poorly formalized match predicate), but attempting to define it through spiritual non-information like that? Ugh.

Many of us *are* hit with a baseball once a month.

by Alexandros 1 min read22nd Dec 201031 comments


Watching the video of Eliezer's Singularity Summit 2010 talk, I thought once more about the 'baseball' argument. Here's a text version from How to Seem (and Be) Deep:

[...] given human nature, if people got hit on the head by a baseball bat every week, pretty soon they would invent reasons why getting hit on the head with a baseball bat was a good thing.

And then it dawned on me. Roughly half of human kind, women, are inflicted with a painful experience about once a month for a large period of their lives.

So, if the hypothesis was correct, we would expect to have deep-sounding memes about why this was a good thing floating around. Not one to disappoint, the internet has indeed produced at least two such lists, linked here for your reading pleasure. However, neither of these lists claim that the benefits outweigh the costs, nor do they make any deep-sounding arguments about why this is in fact a good thing overall. Whether or not they are supported by the evidence, the benefits mentioned are relatively practical. What's more, you don't hear these going around a lot (as far as I know, which, admittedly, is not very far). 

So why aren't these memes philosophised about? Perhaps the ick factor? Maybe the fact that having the other half of the population going around and having perfectly normal lives without any obvious drawbacks acts as a sanity test? 

In any case, since this is a counter-argument that may eventually get raised, and since I didn't want to suppress it in favour of a soldier fighting on our side, I thought I'd type this up and feed it to the LessWrong hivemind for better or worse.