It isn't just a matter of "sacred values". It's a matter of the consequences of making the statement.

"What's wrong with doing if ?" will predictably have the effect, on the margin, of encouraging people to do even when don't actually hold. We can predict this for reasons closely analogous to why knowing about biases can hurt people: Arming people with more rationalizations for bad things that they already were tempted to do will generally make them worse, not better.

Conducting motivated search for conditions under which something normally very harmful can be justified as barely non-harmful is the sort of thing someone would do, in conversation, if they wanted to negotiate down the badness of a specific act.

"What I did isn't real reckless driving. In real reckless driving — the maximally bad sort — the driver has to be driving too fast, while drunk, sleep-deprived, and talking on the phone. Me, I was only sleep-deprived. So stop treating me like my drugged-out ass ran over a dozen schoolkids or something."

(See actual political discussions of "real rape".)

(See actual political discussions of "real rape".)

Which is extremely idiotic and mostly seems to consist of feminists attempting to get away with further and further expanding the definition of "rape" while keeping the word's connotations the same.

2ChristianKl6ySacred values is a term out of modern decision theory. Putting quotes around it is like putting quotes around cognitive bias. I don't think that's a strong argument. It's quite useful to play out scenarios of "is X still a bad idea if we change Y" to understand why we think X is a bad idea. It's how you do reductionist analysis. You reduce something into separate parts to see which of those parts is the real issue. If I say: "Stealing is bad but there are cases where a person has to steal to avoid starvation.", that's a permissible statement. We don't ban that kind of analysis just because stealing is generally bad. I think it's quite foolish to believe that a societal debate about what rape happens to be is bad when your goal is to reduce rape. Tabooing that discussion prevents people to speak in polite company openly about issues of consent and as a result a lot of people don't think deeply about those issues and make bad decisions. It's silly to try to raise rape awareness while at the same time wanting to prevent the topic from getting discussed.

Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014

by MrMind 1 min read17th Nov 2014329 comments


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