November 2014 Media Thread

This is the monthly thread for posting media of various types that you've found that you enjoy. Post what you're reading, listening to, watching, and your opinion of it. Post recommendations to blogs. Post whatever media you feel like discussing! To see previous recommendations, check out the older threads.

Rules:

  • Please avoid downvoting recommendations just because you don't personally like the recommended material; remember that liking is a two-place word. If you can point out a specific flaw in a person's recommendation, consider posting a comment to that effect.
  • If you want to post something that (you know) has been recommended before, but have another recommendation to add, please link to the original, so that the reader has both recommendations.
  • Please post only under one of the already created subthreads, and never directly under the parent media thread.
  • Use the "Other Media" thread if you believe the piece of media you want to discuss doesn't fit under any of the established categories.
  • Use the "Meta" thread if you want to discuss about the monthly media thread itself (e.g. to propose adding/removing/splitting/merging subthreads, or to discuss the type of content properly belonging to each subthread) or for any other question or issue you may have about the thread or the rules.
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I'm always so impressed by how much you contribute to these threads. Thanks.

Why did you call the Google article "exit, voice, and loyalty"? That's the title of a book by Hirschman and on first skimming it seems to be related but I don't understand why exactly you chose that line.

I'm implying that Hirschman's classification offers some insight into the dynamics of that incident; if you aren't familiar with it, it's probably an opaque allusion. (I wouldn't say it's a great book: it's a good trichotomy, but it doesn't really merit a whole book and would be better off as an article. On the other hand, it's not a very long book.)

Everything is heritable:

Politics/religion:

Statistics/AI/meta-science:

How often does correlation=causality?

Psychology/biology:

Technology:

"The Acquired Immune System: A Vantage from Beneath", Hedrick 2004 (immune systems as parasites; excerpts)

I absolutely loved this. The concept of the adaptive immune system as something that gives the ability to get a slight advantage over your conspecifics, at the expense of selecting your pathogens to be more virulent such that loss of the adaptive system becomes fatal, reminds me forcefully of all sorts of things in prokaryotic and eukaryotic genome structure. Things that happen because they can and then get locked in place by other things built on top of them even though they themselves are harmful, or sheer selfish elements. Like poison/antidote pairs of genes in bacteria that stick around even though they increase average generation time because fluctuations in the levels of the two make a small fraction of bacteria grow extra slowly and be stress-resistant, or the evolution of the spliceosome to make sure self-splicing introns always leave leading to vertebrate genes that are 90% spliceosome-requiring introns, or the sheer abundance of transposons that make up more than half of our genomes...

Do you actually read that amount of links every month? If so, can I borrow your time-turner?

Don't tell anyone, but I've been stealing links from previous months to pad out the compilations, compensate for month to month variance, and create a sort of link directory.

I thought the Dominic Cummings post, in particular, was excellent. Perhaps the best blogpost I've read this year. I've already recommended it to several other people. But, warning:

  • It is perhaps over-long
  • If you are not British, it is possible you will be missing important context

Two more about deliberate practice:

The Sports Gene-- debunks some of the research-- there's a lot of variation, not a simple requirement of 10K hours. Also, elite achievement in at least some sports requires very specific physical qualities.

Effortless Mastery-- a jazz musician develops a system of deliberate practice on his own in the 80s/early 90s. He works earlier in the process of taking action by teaching a meditative state, then teaching how to maintain it as one plays. This isn't easy-- the first challenge is maintaining a meditative state while touching one's instrument.

Also, even if it's true that all masters have put in 10K hours of deliberate practice, this is not equivalent to the idea that anyone who puts in 10K hours of deliberate practice can become a master, nor is it equivalent to the idea that anyone can become a master at anything (or anything physically plausible) with 10K hours.

This being said, I still believe (without evidence) that putting in some deliberate practice on whatever you care about is a good idea.

A fun link: this guy is racking up 10000 hours golfing, with no previous experience.

I finally got around to reading Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save.

I'm pretty much sold on the whole Effective Altruism venture, but I found the book quite disappointing. The chapters on arguments for greater charitable giving don't go far beyond appeals to moral intuition, and Singer's rebuttals to common counterarguments focus on arguments that seem particularly weak. I was expecting something a bit more robust from a professional moral philosopher.

There are some reasonable bits on foreign aid, development economics and establishing new cultural standards of charitable giving. The parts about loudly publicising one's charitable giving has the same sort of tone and content as LW material on the subject. It clocks in at 176 pages excluding the endnotes, so it gains points for conciseness. I wouldn't say it's an especially sophisticated treatment of the subject, though, and you're probably not missing much if you skip it. Read the Call of Soares or pretty much anything by Scott on practical solutions to abstruse utilitarian problems instead.

It's been praised elsewhere on LW, but I found Stephen Pinker's The Sense of Style to be a worthwhile, entertaining and educational read.

Ex Machina (IMDB) looks like AI Box Experiment: The Movie. It's due for release in Jan 2015. Synopsis:

A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

The trailer contains a possible spoiler: V guvax V fnj n tyvzcfr bs gur lbhat cebtenzzre jvgu na negvsvpvny obql.

The Magician's Land is the third and final book in Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy. For those who haven't heard of the series, it's basically a dark take on the Chronicles of Narnia (with some Harry Potter-ish elements) featuring disaffected college students rather than kids.

I found this one to be a quite satisfying conclusion. Where the second book felt like less than the sum of its parts to me, this one was very tight. If you found the first book too negative, this one is a lot more optimistic in the end (though not surprisingly there's still plenty of darkness along the way).

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a novella about Auri from the Kingkiller Chronicles. There's not really a plot. I loved it.

I/O Revision II, a visual novel.

It has been translated, though unfortunately I can't link to the translation. The story is unusual, and very, very hard to explain without spoiling it; let's just say that if you like Greg Egan's works, there's a good chance you will like this.

Specifically, the reason I couldn't link to the translation is that doing so is illegal in some countries, possibly including the one where this site is hosted. Following links is not, so maybe you can amend your post to just mention that it's possible?

Meh. I very much doubt the site cares (gwern links to a bunch of music remixes every month, for example). An admin can delete my post if LW is really bothered.

So I just finished reading Fate Stay Night, and I feel hungry for more, but its sequels are a lot more silly and laid back, and what I want isn't the easy familiarity of characters whose tales are already told, but the poignant drama and character development, and the poetic narrative delivery, that I'd never experienced before. Does anyone here know stories that have this type of heart-gripping-ness?

the poignant drama and character development, and the poetic narrative delivery

Have you considered other VNs? You could look at the top rated VNs on VNdb and see whether they sound dramatic enough for you; for example, Umineko (although I'm not sure if I recommend it or not).

The new Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works TV adaptation by Ufotable is only 5 episodes in but so far it's an amazingly good adaption of the VN. (From what I hear, previous adaptations weren't too good). Important elements are preserved, long-windedness is reduced (although the show is willing to take its time and rarely feels rushed), and the new added scenes complement the existing ones nicely. There are also some nice callbacks to Fate/Zero that (naturally) weren't in the VN. The animation is incredible, perhaps the best I've seen in TV anime, and a step up from the already high level of Fate/Zero. Highly recommended if you have any interest in the Fate series.

For those who aren't aware, Fate/stay night (the visual novel) has been mentioned/recommended here before in Eliezer's Three Worlds Collide short story:

I suspect the aliens will consider this one of their great historical works of literature, like Hamlet or Fate/stay night -

Reading the visual novel can take some time, so anyone who isn't interested in that should really consider watching this TV adaption instead. Personally, I found Unlimited Blade Works to be the best part of Fate/stay night (closely followed by Heaven's Feel, which they've also promised to make a TV adaption of), so you wouldn't be missing too much in my opinion.

You know, it may well actually make it to 'acclaimed univesal classic' status. It's tremendously good stuff.

(From what I hear, previous adaptations weren't too good).

You probably already know all of this, but for the sake of completeness, IMHO (Thar be spoliers below!):

The original eroge novel had (as is the tradition) several endings and plotlines. The "Fate" plotline mostly dealt with Shirou/Saber; the "Unlimited Blade Works" (UBW) plotline resolves Shirou and Archer's relationship while focusing on Shirou/Rin (and to some extent Shirou/Rin/Saber); and "Heaven's Feel" focuses on Shirou/Ilya and explains Sakura's backstory. Then there's Realta Nua, an expansion of UBW that rewrites the ending into Shirou/Saber forever (literally). There's also a sequel called Fate/hollow ataraxia which supplies a lot of the backstory and the metaphysics of how the grail war actually works.

As is the tradition will multi-ending visual novel adaptations, Fate/stay night (the original anime adaptation) tries to combine several elements of Fate with Heaven's Feel, and hints of the ending of Realta Nua. The animation is not great e.g., most fights are still-shot montages and even if it were, there are few high-powered attacks in the fifth grail war, other than perhaps Archer's version of UBW and Enuma Elish. For crying out loud, Enuma Elish is represented by flat red splotches.

People were rather unhappy that UBW got shafted, and so Type-Moon produced an OVA (now-confusingly also called Unlimited Blade Works) that tries to do too much from UBW in too little time with practically no budget. The animation quality is crappier than Fate/stay night and the plot hangs together with duct tape and string cheese.

Then ufotable came along, and Fate/zero was mindblowingly awesome.Some of this, IMO, is just because the heroes of the fourth grail war have attacks that are far greater in scope (Ionian Hetaroi, fully-powered Excalibur, Enuma Elish, For Someone's Glory and Prelati's Spellbook) than the fifth (shitty Excalibur, Archer's UBW, Enuma Elish, Gae Bolg?). That and they had a vastly larger production budget.

My group finished our Summer season last week:

  • Akuma no Riddle: awful, the worst show I've watched all the way through. Incoherent setting, implausibly stupid characters, cheap and mistake-ridden animation, and an ending that's actively hostile to the rest of the show.
  • Knights of Sidonia: half good, quite hard sci-fi, half staid harem antics. My friend insists on comparing it to Attack on Titan, which I don't think is entirely fair (Sidonia has a coherent setting that drives the plot while being amenable to reasoning), but it shares that series' problem of a boring perfect protagonist. There are some questionable aspects to the ordering and where time is spent (it feels like the series is trying to establish a B-plot about Sidonia's history and an ongoing conspiracy, but it never quite connects to anything else), but the main plot is solid and the fight action is a lot of fun. It's done in all-3DCG, which makes the robot fights look great and the people look weird (I quite like it, but I know some people who hate the look). I do recommend it, but it's got plenty of flaws.
  • Katanagatari - talky action with a weird visual style. The overarching plot doesn't really click IMO, but the episodic "get to know a person, fight them, do something clever and take their sword" is plenty of fun, and together with the high production values I'm happy to recommend it.
  • Toradora - a rewatch of a series I counted among my favourites. It holds up - a story of teenage love, discovering what you want and learning how to relate to your family, with a good sense of humour and a very satisfying conclusion by anime standards. But it definitely has its flaws; the pacing is off (the first ~9 episodes are basically establishing, which is way too long, and the twists crammed into the last two episodes should be spread out a bit more; by modern standards the whole thing drags), and the second half in particular is structured as a bunch of specific-character arcs that don't entirely connect to each other, meaning if you don't like a particular character there's little to engage you for 3-4 episodes at a time. Recommended, but only if you can tolerate teenage melodrama.

Movies:

  • Time of Eve - didn't quite live up to the hype from my point of view; the sci-fi side fails to really raise anything new or interesting (and as a friend pointed out, we should really have moved on from talking about Asimov's Three Laws by now). Salvages itself with likeable characters and a very good sense of humour; I also liked the slightly overexposed visual style. It was pleasant enough, but not the mind-blowing experience I'd been lead to expect.
  • Redline - a gloriously over-the-top car race in a pulpy space-opera setting, with a retro, hand-drawn visual style (a la Kill la Kill or TTGL). No deep meaning, but very fun; we all laughed a lot.

Watching on my own I've finally finished Hunter X Hunter (new series); it had a very strong final main arc, which pretty much lived up to the hype. Nonetheless I can't quite justify recommending a series that only really finds its stride somewhere in the mid-80s.

I think I might like Toradora a tiny bit less than you, but apart from that, I'm surprised to agree with pretty much everything you've said on these particular titles. I didn't watch Akuma all the way through though, I figured it was trash about 2 minutes into the first episode and dropped it without looking back.

Although your friend is right about Kishi, it's pretty much AoT in space in terms of premise.

I think I might like Toradora a tiny bit less than you, but apart from that, I'm surprised to agree with pretty much everything you've said on these particular titles. I didn't watch Akuma all the way through though, I figured it was trash about 2 minutes into the first episode and dropped it without looking back.

Yeah, I would've dropped it if I could, but others at my weekly anime insisted.

Although your friend is right about Kishi, it's pretty much AoT in space in terms of premise.

There are two things that I seem to value more than other people: coherency of the setting, and animation quality, and both of them are areas where I think Sidonia is far ahead of AoT. The setting of AoT is ludicrous enough that I can't apply logic to it; the big reveal at the end of the series didn't make me go "ah" but rather "wtf, that's dumb". Sidonia doesn't stretch my suspension of disbelief anywhere near as much; the materials science that would produce something that could stand up to planet-busting weapons is a bit implausible, but not too much. We've been able to predict things that happened later in the series by thinking about the setting. On the animation front, Sidonia's may well be a budget-saving measure but it looks different rather than AoTs excess of still frames, which just looked cheap.

There's some similarity sure, but the differences are significant, at least to me.

I enjoyed it a lot at the time, but it's diminished in the memory (I think mostly due to what I see as a lack of ambition). (I think I said much the same thing in a previous thread)

I liked it but it could have been so much better if they actually committed to doing a serious plot in their over-the-top style rather than just going "fuck it, we'll make the plot stupid too".

I thought it got off to a great start, dragged a bit in the middle (too many standard anime extremely long battles), but had a decent ending.

Boyhood is one of the better movies I've seen recently.

Touhou:

Doujin:

Vocaloid:

AlterNet discovers the Manosphere's "secular sexism":

http://www.alternet.org/gender/christian-right-dying-who-fuels-misogyny-enter-secular-sexists-gamergate-and-mra-movement

I find this whole Dark Enlightenment/Neoreaction/Neopatriarchy development fascinating because it shows the failure of the progressive project to control the human mind. In the U.S., at least, progressives have a lot of control in centrally planning the culture towards Enlightenment notions of democracy, feminism, egalitarianism, cosmopolitanism, tolerance, etc. Yet thanks to the internet, men who previously wouldn't have had the means to communicate with each other have organized in a Hayekian fashion to discover that they have had similar damaging experiences with, for example, women in a feminist regime, and they have come to similar politically incorrect conclusions about women's nature. And this has happened despite the policies and preferences of the people who hold the high ground in education, academia, law, government and the entertainment industry.

I can see why the emergence of secular sexism drives progressive nuts, because they wrongly believed that sexism depended on certain kinds of god beliefs that have fallen into decline, as this AlterNet article explores. Uh, no, why would anyone have ever thought that? We can't observe gods, but women exist empirically, and men have had to live with them all along. If the resulting body of experiences with women have condensed into a patriarchal tradition which puts women in a bad light - well, you can't blame that on theology, now, can you?

The linked article is so misleading that I wouldn't try to derive any true statements about reality from it. It fails to mention any legitimate points of their opponents, and then concludes they don't have any. Five minutes on google would probably give better results.

(I strongly bite my tongue here to avoid going into specific details, but I spent the last month observing GamerGate and it is fascinating to watch how good job can media do to prevent some information from being ever mentioned, and how all information about this topic ultimately comes from the same two or three people.)

One thing, though. The article is pushing a narrative "all our opponents are actually the same" while in fact the only thing conecting them is, well, being opponents of one specific group in one specific topic. For example, there are many feminists in the GamerGate movement (no, Christina Hoff Sommers is not the only example), and also there are many people believing that feminism and men's rights are not contradictory. So the whole paradigm of "dark forces are rising" may be just a convenient excuse to explain away some specific failures or a specific group.

The linked article is so misleading that I wouldn't try to derive any true statements about reality from it.

I believe advancedatheist is using it to illustrate the Progressive reaction to the Manosphere.

We can't observe gods, but women exist empirically, and men have had to live with them all along. If the resulting body of experiences with women have condensed into a patriarchal tradition which puts women in a bad light - well, you can't blame that on theology, now, can you?

Of course you can. Theology is very easily observable. One can ask what the theology should be blamed on, but that goes back to the dawn of history and is but speculation and fog.

So here's some speculation for why patriarchal traditions are so prevalent, which I suppose has been at the back of my mind for as long as I've been aware of such issues, although I've never seen it stated so starkly as I am about to.

  1. Men are physically stronger than women.

  2. Without modern science, paternity cannot be observed, only enforced (see (1)).

It seems to me that these two facts are a sufficient explanation for the entire phenomenon of both religious and secular suppression of women. Men have been able to, men have wanted to, men have done. Might makes might. "If you want a picture of the past, imagine a man's boot stamping on a woman's face – for ever."

Explanations of how all women really want to be controlled by a strong man are window dressing, excreted by the virtual outcome pumps in the heads of those who find current mores uncongenial to continuing in that way, and who nowadays must use ideas as ammunition instead of stones.

Theology is very easily observable.

Really, can you show me where?

  1. Men are physically stronger than women.

  2. Without modern science, paternity cannot be observed, only enforced (see (1)).

You left out a few important ones:

3. A man can potentially impregnate many women.

4. Having a man to help raise a woman's children greatly increases their prospects (this is the reason your (2) matters).

5. Unlike his sperm, a man's attention is a rather limited resource.

So, women would prefer to have children by an alpha male. They would also prefer to find a beta male to help raise them (they would like even more to have the alpha male raise them but see (5)). Men don't what to raise children that aren't theirs.

Theology is very easily observable.

Really, can you show me where?

Any library or bookshop.

they would like even more to have the alpha male raise them but see (5)

Markdown automatically renumbered your 5 to 3; if you want it not to, add backslashes i.e. 3\., 4\. and 5\..

Having a man to help raise a woman's children greatly increases their prospects

This is no longer true in countries where women can earn their own living.

So, women would prefer [...]

Don't generalize. Women are individuals, not a monolithic bloc.

Men don't what to raise children that aren't theirs.

Again, don't generalize. I'd much rather adopt an orphan than increase the amount of living people, all the while knowing my genes would much rather be copied. I don't fear my moral inclinations will be outbred; I can just teach them to my adopted children. Every man (and woman, and genderless person, and all variations thereupon) has hir own motivations and interests. Ignoring individual differences is one of the problems with this particular brand of sexism.

Explanations of how all women really want to be controlled by a strong man are window dressing

Then way are women so willing to throw themselves in front of abusive men?

Some women are willing to throw themselves in front of abusive men. It doesn't follow that all women really want to be controlled by a strong man.

I think a lot of women believe that they are and/or should be able to improve abusive men.

Yes, and this belief appears to be sufficiently pervasive and impervious to evidence that its clear there is something more driving it.

My reading of the situation is not that women prefer abusive men or prefer to be controlled. My reading is that women (warning: crude generalizations incoming) like to be/feel protected and prefer strong men. Given this, some women consider being abusive to be evidence of strength, and some women are willing to trade some control or some abuse for getting a strong man. This may or may not be a good trade, depending on the circumstances.

For what (little) I have read about abusive relationship, my pet theory is that abuses are like superstimulus for things like assertiveness, confidence, strength, etc.

Some women get imprinted with this kind of behaviour in such a way they are no more able to find attractive kinder men.

Some women are. I don't have the feeling for what proportion of women are willing to have relationships with obviously abusive men.

The usual account of abusive relationships is that the abusive escalates fairly slowly-- I don't know whether the initially abusive relationship is too embarrassing to talk about.

relationships with obviously abusive me.

I don't generally bother pointing out typos, but this one might be worth fixing.

Please stop making comments like this.

shminux is right here, this is not a helpful attitude on your part. While it's important to avoid encouraging political debates on LessWrong, exercising virtues such as moderation and tolerance when such issues do come up is even more important.

While it's important to avoid encouraging political debates on LessWrong, exercising virtues such as moderation and tolerance when such issues do come up is even more important.

I agree. That's why I looked at advancedatheist's comment history before replying. If this were the only such comment, I would not have called it out-- but this user has a history of posting similar comments.

Now, advancedatheist has also posted comments that advocate neoreactionary positions in ways that I consider totally appropriate for LessWrong-- this one, for example. But IMO there's a clear difference in tone and tenor between that and this.

This request is likely to be ineffectual without something more concrete. The OP makes several rambling points, it's not clear which you disagree with.

I disagree with the general concept that LW is an appropriate place to post bizarre, mindkilled political rants.

I agree that the tone sucks. However, some of the points are valid. For example, the large chunk of opposition to (online) feminism is now from the mens rights crowd, not from traditional-gender-roles crowd. And this pattern should be expected to continue in the future.

For example, the main opposition to assisted suicide in the US is currently religion-motivated. However, in Canada and elsewhere where religion is only a minor player, the main opposition is from the secular disability rights movements. The advocates of the right to die with dignity will find themselves opposing similarly "progressive", kind and compassionate people, once the issue is no longer about faith.

You can probably name another issue or two where overcoming one obstacle only leaves you bashing against a different, unexpected one, without having made much progress.

I don't particularly care about whether the points are valid. This kind of discussion isn't what LessWrong is for, especially when it's being posted with this sort of tone.

I don't particularly care about whether the points are valid.

Ah. You did mention something about "mindkilled", right?

Yes, ha ha. This is a serious matter, though. I believe that it really truly doesn't matter whether someone's political points are good or not. LessWrong should not allow itself to be a venue for this sort of behavior, especially when it's accompanied by this sort of tone.

In order for the LessWrong community to flourish, I think it is critical that it be divorced from bickering over political matters. So when it comes to posts like this one, I really truly don't care whether their arguments are valid or not-- either way, they shouldn't be on LessWrong

LessWrong should not allow itself to be a venue for this sort of behavior

For discussion of political matters? A bit late for that, I think. This train has left the station.

In order for the LessWrong community to flourish, I think it is critical that it be divorced from bickering over political matters.

I disagree. "Bickering", of course, is a word with negative connotations, but I see no reason to taboo political discussions here. Politics of all sorts are important in real life and having a giant blind spot doesn't look too useful for that winning thing that rationality is supposed to be about :-/

So far on LW people have shown their ability to have civilized discussions even while disagreeing about politics. That's a good thing.

For discussion of political matters? A bit late for that, I think. This train has left the station.

Has it? Insofar as it has, that's been thanks to our own failure to tend to basic principles. I think that in order to better reach as many people as possible, it's critical that LW avoid politics and the potential biases that can result.

I do agree that having civilized discussions even while disagreeing about politics is important. But there are other venues for that, like Slate Star Codex, and if we indeed need more of this I think it's better to move it off-site.

tend to basic principles

Re-read that post carefully :-) It doesn't say not to discuss politics, it says don't be an ass about it.

in order to better reach as many people as possible

I am unaware that this is a goal of LW. If, by any chance, it is, LW is spectacularly unsuccessful at it :-D

I think it's better to move it off-site

Well, we disagree about that. In a fairly civilized fashion, so far :-)

P.S. And most discussion here is actually about political philosophy, not politics themselves. Notice how today's US elections which flipped the Senate got zero posts on LW.

Politics is an important domain to which we should individually apply our rationality—but it's a terrible domain in which to learn rationality, or discuss rationality, unless all the discussants are already rational.

The purpose of LessWrong is to discuss and learn rationality, so I think politics are almost never appropriate here. But even if we think that civilized discussion of political matters is appropriate, the post I was critiquing was not, IMO, up to our standards of civility and polite discussion.

the post I was critiquing was not, IMO, up to our standards of civility and polite discussion.

I don't think it was out of line. May I suggest instead that you reject it because of its ideological content which you find unacceptable? Fighting against the political mindkill you fall prey precisely to what you object to.

Ah. You did mention something about "mindkilled", right?

Mind killed means that someone is using ineffective heuristics. You can follow pretty irrational heuristics and still get the correct answer by luck.

Mind killed means that someone is using ineffective heuristics.

No. "Mindkilled" means that someone is not amenable to reason.

Not being amenable to reason is following an irrational heuristics for determining truth.

And the main point still stands regardless. You can get the right answer even when you are not amenable to reason.

Dark Enlightenment/Neoreaction is an ideology by a very small amount of bloggers who don't matter in the overall discourse. It's in no way the same thing as the MRA-movement.

I can see why the emergence of secular sexism drives progressive nuts, because they wrongly believed that sexism depended on certain kinds of god beliefs that have fallen into decline, as this AlterNet article explores. Uh, no, why would anyone have ever thought that?

Starting with a straw man and then asking " Why would anyone have ever thought that" is pretty bad form. National Socialism in Germany was largely a secular movement that also was sexist. Assuming that in general progressive thought ignores that history is something that says a lot more about the writer than about progressive ideas.

We can't observe gods, but women exist empirically, and men have had to live with them all along.

LOL: "had" to live with them. I like (= I find humorous) the implied, possibly unintended, sexism.

If the resulting body of experiences with women have condensed into a patriarchal tradition which puts women in a bad light - well, you can't blame that on theology, now, can you?

Why not? I mean, I don't say that we should or shouldn't put women in a bad light, nor that we should or shouldn't blame theology for that. But why we can't blame theology?
It's not like memes evolve to attain truthiness, or that humans are automatic maximizers / strategizers. Pretty any memeplex I know of has some form of "push away / ostracize my enemies". Understood, any meme that contains "kill all women" would have a pretty short lifespan. But one containing "enslave all women and use them as breeding cattle" could survive indefinitely, whether women are cattle or not. Isn't the whole Neoreactionary movement born under the fallacy that equates survivability with adherence to truth? I find this to be a somewhat inclusive description.

Despite this, I still find the linked article to be appalingly bad at presenting the issue with some form of objectivity. They are not even trying. But I don't know the site and I'm possibly mistaken assuming that it has as mission disseminating informations of some quality.

But one containing "enslave all women and use them as breeding cattle" could survive indefinitely

I wonder if you realize that a direct implication of this statement is that treating women as not cattle offers no advantage to a society..?

Deleterious things get locked into fixation in genomes and biological systems all the time. I see no reason that deleterious traits cannot get fixed into cultures.

Oh, they surely can. But that gives those cultures a disadvantage and maintaining this disadvantage "indefinitely" seems to be a stretch, especially given how cultures are malleable and tend to change anyway.

Indefinitely meant more "comparably to a culture lifespan" than "until the heat death of the universe".

It's not that it offers no advantage, is that it offers no immediate disadvantage.

A discriminating culture that happens to have more material advantage at the start could just wipe other more egalitarian cultures without much concerns. It's only very recently that physical strength has lost its importance as a driving force in cultures clashes.

It is possible that in a future where intellect matters much more, but life is still cheap, a more egalitarian society will employ women more efficiently and thus prevail against discriminating ones. But it seems that the more material wealth we have, the more relaxed we are about the whole killing other people stuff.

it offers no immediate disadvantage

Really, you think so?

Really, I think so.

You don't? Care enough to point to a counterexample?

Lack of real-life societies which enslaved all their women should be a big hint.

Think about it for a bit. Half the population is slaves. Somebody has to watch them, guard them, suppress their attempts at rebellion, etc. Your hypothetical society will have to spend a LOT of resources on just keeping things under control while having significantly lower economic productivity. And in the case of war they can't field a large army because a lot of men are prison wardens and can't leave women slaves unattended.

The idea is just very obviously bad and unworkable.

I think this idea of slavery does not match with what historically has been the reality of enslavement. It's not that you need one slavemaster for every slave, or that slaves are kept perpetually in prison.

To have slaves you 'just' need less education, the prevalent idea that they need a master, hard labor and some form of punishment for transgressing. I think this set better describes what has been the reality of (say) women in ancient China or Middle-East, black people under the colonial empires, etc.

But let's just taboo "slave", the main issue is another: a meme that asserts "women are inferior beings and they should be treated as such" does not pose an immediate threat to the surivival of a tribe, and for this reason can be latched into a culture for a very long period of time, in the millennia range. To say that memetic evolution selects for truth is just silly.

I'm not sure if you disagree with my last paragraph and precisely on what.

Heh. Such a nice example of motte and bailey.

Behold, here is your bailey:

meme ... containing "enslave all women and use them as breeding cattle" could survive indefinitely

and here is your motte:

a meme that asserts "women are inferior beings and they should be treated as such" does not pose an immediate threat to the surivival of a tribe

You do notice the difference, right? :-)

You do notice the difference, right? :-)

I'm not clear where you place the controversy.
Do you think that the striking difference is between the degree of bad treatment (enslaving vs treating as inferior) or the survivability of the meme (survive indefinitely vs not an immediate threat)?
In the second case, that's not my motte, because I clearly state that I think "not an immediate threat" yelds "indefinite survivability".
In the first case, I can just notice that you think there's a sharp divide where I see just a continuum between the cost of the two memes. But that's not a problem, I'll be happy to stay in the bailey and taboo "slavery", as the article you link suggested, to see if there's a real disagreement here.

I'm not clear where you place the controversy.

Both places.

I think "not an immediate threat" yelds "indefinite survivability".

That doesn't look like a reasonable position, at least if you use words in their normal meaning.

I see just a continuum between the cost of the two memes.

Ah, so there are two memes here? So which one are we talking about and which one corresponds to what you want to claim?

LOL: "had" to live with them. I like (= I find humorous) the implied, possibly unintended, sexism.

What definition of "sexism" are you using here? The word "had" there serves an important point, contrast this with the fact that people don't have to live with other ethnic groups.

It's not like memes evolve to attain truthiness,

Yes, they do. If this wasn't the case we'd still be on the savannah getting chased by lions.

But one containing "enslave all women and use them as breeding cattle" could survive indefinitely, whether women are cattle or not.

Um, tribes have to compete with other tribes. Memes can't survive for long simply because they aren't immediately destructive.

The word "had" there serves an important point, contrast this with the fact that people don't have to live with other ethnic groups.

Yes, but it could also imply that women are difficult to endure, and men would be better off without them. But of course this meaning was unintended, thus the humor.

Yes, they do. If this wasn't the case we'd still be on the savannah getting chased by lions.

But where does the selective pressure comes from? Why this pressure has not made the atomistic idea, or the spherical Earth, formulated almost three thousands of year ago, immediately popular? Why there are people that still believe in magic? Why we still believe in both relativity and quantum mechanics, despite these ideas being incompatible and more than a century old?

Um, tribes have to compete with other tribes. Memes can't survive for long simply because they aren't immediately destructive.

Yes, avoiding to be immediately destructive is not sufficient to guarantee a meme survivability, but cultures can lock all kind of memes if there's no immediate selective pressure against them.
For example, a society that has to battle on phyisical grounds, with physical strength, gains no immediate disadvantage over a more egalitarian society if it enslaves women.
A false meme can even gain a society some advantage, such as the case of an ethnic group that enslaves another ethnic group and makes them work for hard labor.
Past history was about guns, germs and steel, not about truth. Those are what has been selected. The rest of the memes are purely random junk.

Why this pressure has not made the atomistic idea, or the spherical Earth, formulated almost three thousands of year ago, immediately popular?

As advancedatheist said in the OC:

We can't observe gods, but women exist empirically, and men have had to live with them all along.

Rather then mocking his phrasing maybe you should try actually paying attention to his point.

Past history was about guns, germs and steel, not about truth.

In particular truths about metallurgy and the chemistry of gunpowder.

We can't observe gods, but women exist empirically, and men have had to live with them all along.

Rather then mocking his phrasing maybe you should try actually paying attention to his point.

I was doing both. And nobody has yet pointed to a valid reason why, just by the mere presence, truth should ooze out of things directly into our minds.

The process of intentionally acquiring truth is costly and fragile: you need to experiment, be willing to discard ideas, formulate wildly new theories.
If the truth is not immediately strategic, i.e. it offers no immediate and perceptible disadvantage, it has no particular selective pressure against in a clash between cultures or different memetic spaces. The truth can even hinders the success of a tribe, acting through our biased brains.

A ship disappearing behind the horizon, fire, women are all observable phoenomena, and yet we had (have) flat earth, flogiston and discrimination.

you need to experiment, be willing to discard ideas, formulate wildly new theories.

Memetic evolution does just that.

Yes, but not in an orderly, cumulative, feedback driven fashion.

If memetics is like genetics, you should observe very often useless memes become fixed in a population.

"If the resulting body of experiences with women have condensed into a patriarchal tradition which puts women in a bad light - well, you can't blame that on theology, now, can you?"

This starts from a false assumption ("the resulting body of experiences with women have condensed into a patriarchal tradition") and implies a false dichotomy (that men either dominate society because of religious beliefs, or because of some reason that progressives would prefer not to blame), and someone who posts on a website dedicated to rationality should see that. I also don't agree with the claim that history paints women in a bad light compared to men. Until recently we've seen an ugly domination of both men and women by men, and we still that in much of the world.

I see other commenters making the assumptions that historical authoritarianism by men signifies that this trait must have at some point either been advantageous to the species, or advantageous to women who chose to mate with "dominant" men and/or the children they bore. This assumption underlies a lot of anti-feminist philosophy online. Have you considered the possibility that there have been men who have passed along their genes by intimidating others (including other men)? Considering our species' history of violence, is it any wonder that tyrannical and Machiavellian males have had an evolutionary advantage? I have noticed that, especially in large societies, living under said men appears to be unpleasant for the masses who don't reign supreme.

Have you considered the possibility that there have been men who have passed along their genes by intimidating others (including other men)? Considering our species' history of violence, is it any wonder that tyrannical and Machiavellian males have had an evolutionary advantage?

Is the same true for violent and Machiavellian women? If so why doesn't the rest of your logic apply, if not why not?

Uh, no, why would anyone have ever thought that? We can't observe gods, but women exist empirically, and men have had to live with them all along. If the resulting body of experiences with women have condensed into a patriarchal tradition which puts women in a bad light - well, you can't blame that on theology, now, can you?

Well, nearly all of progressivism can be summarized as an attempt to ignore this kind of logic and see what happens.

Progressives hold that stereotypes promote arbitrary, random and generally false beliefs about groups of people. But then why do these stereotypes remain stable across generations? And why don't people ever get their stereotypes mixed up?

For example, if some said that he didn't mind having registered sex offenders as neighbors because their presence wouldn't hurt property values and his community's reputation, you wouldn't praise this guy for his lack of stereotypical thinking. Instead you would question his judgment.

Ironically progressives don't have a problem at all with promoting stereotypes which put rich people and businessmen in a bad light. The popularity of Ayn Rand's alternative humanism pisses them off because she got some market share in reversing these stereotypes, and again in defiance of progressives' central planning to reshape the human mind like clay,.

But then why do these stereotypes remain stable across generations?

Not defending the progressives in general here, but there are two very simple explanations for your question.

1) Some stereotypes don't remain stable across generations.

For example, I heard that in the past, pink was considered a "boy color" and blue was considered a "girl color"; or that it was believed that black people would be bad at sport. So, some stereotypes change and some don't; and we would need a meta review to find out whether there is something special about those unchanging stereotypes, or whether it just means that if you flip a coin two or three times, sometimes you will get the same result repeatedly.

2) If a stereotype already exists, it is more easy to keep believing in the existing one (confirmation bias) than to invent a new one.

(Disclaimer: None of this is meant as a general proof that all stereotypes are incorrect. It's only an explanation of how a stereotype that happens to be wrong could remain stable across generations.)

If a stereotype already exists, it is more easy to keep believing in the existing one (confirmation bias) than to invent a new one.

Except as you've just pointed out:

Some stereotypes don't remain stable across generations.

Identifying a mechanism pushing towards outcome X is not inconsistent with observing that sometimes the outcome not-X happens.

But then why do these stereotypes remain stable across generations?

Rational expectations equalibria are a thing. To take a somewhat exagerated example, if everyone thinks that girls suck at math, so no one teaches girls to do math, then no one will ever find out whether or not girls actually suck at math.

"Throwing like a girl" is a prime example of that sort of thing. Throwing like a girl turns out to be throwing like someone who's inexperienced with throwing.

If a boy throws like a girl, he's taught and/or shamed out of it as quickly as possible. If a girl throws like a girl, well, what did you expect?

I've phrased this in the present tense, but the culture's improved on the subject.

8 points