You folks probably know how some posters around here, specifically Vladimir_M, often make statements to the effect of:

 

"There's an opinion on such-and-such topic that's so against the memeplex of Western culture, we can't even discuss it in open-minded, pseudonymous forums like Less Wrong as society would instantly slam the lid on it with either moral panic or ridicule and give the speaker a black mark.

Meanwhile the thought patterns instilled in us by our upbringing would lead us to quickly lose all interest in the censored opinion"

Going by their definition, us blissfully ignorant masses can't even know what exactly those opinions might be, as they would look like basic human decency, the underpinnings of our ethics or some other such sacred cow to us. I might have a few guesses, though, all of them as horrible and sickening as my imagination could produce without overshooting and landing in the realm of comic-book evil:

- Dictatorial rule involving active terror and brutal suppression of deviants having great utility for a society in the long term, by providing security against some great risk or whatever.

- A need for every society to "cull the weak" every once in a while, e.g. exterminating the ~0.5% of its members that rank as weakest against some scale.

- Strict hierarchy in everyday life based on facts from the ansectral environment (men dominating women, fathers having the right of life and death over their children, etc) - Mencius argued in favor of such ruthless practices, e.g. selling children into slavery, in his post on "Pronomianism" and "Antinomianism", stating that all contracts between humans should rather be strict than moral or fair, to make the system stable and predictable; he's quite obsessed with stability and conformity.

- Some public good being created when the higher classes wilfully oppress and humiliate the lower ones in a ceremonial manner

- The bloodshed and lawlessness of periodic large-scale war as a vital "pressure valve" for releasing pent-up unacceptable emotional states and instinctive drives

- Plain ol' unfair discrimination of some group in many cruel, life-ruining ways, likewise as a pressure valve

+:  some Luddite crap about dropping to a near-subsistence level in every aspect of civilization and making life a daily struggle for survival

Of course my methodology for coming up with such guesses was flawed and primitive: I simply imagined some of the things that sound the ugliest to me yet have been practiced by unpleasant cultures before in some form. Now, of course, most of us take the absense of these to be utterly crucial to our terminal values. Nevertheless, I hope I have demonstrated to whoever might really have something along these lines (if not necessarily that shocking) on their minds that I'm open to meta-discussion, and very interested how we might engage each other on finding safe yet productive avenues of contact.

 

Let's do the impossible and think the unthinkable! I must know what those secrets are, no matter how much sleep and comfort I might lose.

P.S. Yeah, Will, I realize that I'm acting roughly in accordance with that one trick you mentioned way back.

P.P.S. Sup Bakkot. U mad? U jelly?

 

CONCLUSION:

 

Fuck this Earth, and fuck human biology. I'm not very distressed about anything I saw ITT, but there's still a lot of unpleasant potential things that can only be resolved in one way:

I hereby pledge to get a real goddamn plastic card, not this Visa Electron bullshit the university saddled us with, and donate at least $100 to SIAI until the end of the year. This action will reduce the probability of me and mine having to live with the consequences of most such hidden horrors. Dixi.


Sometimes it's so pleasant to be impulsive.

 

Amusing observation: even when the comments more or less match my wild suggestions above, I'm still unnerved by them. An awful idea feels harmless if you keep telling yourself that it's just a private delusion, but the moment you know that someone else shares it, matters begin to look much more grave.

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[-]GLaDOS12y1130

Let's do the impossible and think the unthinkable! I must know what those secrets are, no matter how much sleep and comfort I might lose.

Watson was right about Africa. Larry Summers was right about women in certain professions. Roissy is right about the state of the sexual marketplace.

Democracy isn't that great. A ghetto/barrio/alternative name for low-class-hell-hole isn't a physical location, its people. Richer people are on average smarter, nicer, prettier than poor people. The more you strive to equalize material opportunities the more meritocracy produces a caste system based on inborn ability. Ideologies actually are as crazy as religions on average. There is no such thing as moral progress and if there is there is no reason to expect we have been experiencing it so far in recorded history, unless you count stuff like more adapted cultures displacing less adapted ones or mammals inheriting the planet from dinosaurs as moral progress. You can't be anything you want, your potential is severely limited at birth. University education creates very little added value. High class people unknowingly wage class war against low class people by promoting liberal social norms that the... (read more)

[-][anonymous]12y200

High class people unknowingly wage class war against low class people by promoting liberal social norms that they can handle but induce dysfunction in the lower classes (drug abuse, high divorce rates, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, more violence, ... ).

Roissy recently quoted and linked to a disturbing parable on this:

The Parable Of The Smart Birds

Once there were 3 classes of birds of a feather: Dumb birds, Smart birds and Genius birds. There was also a genius bird of a different feather hanging around. All summer the genius bird of a different feather went around to the smart birds of a feather telling them how ridiculous it was to fly south for the winter — that these atavistic instincts were a terrible legacy from “the bad old days” and gave very sophisticated-sounding arguments that the smart birds of a feather couldn’t quite understand but understood quite well that they’d better pretend to understand lest they be accused of being dumb birds.

Fall cometh. The dumb birds fly south to the derision of the smart birds. The genius birds of a feather think, “I’ve heard the arguments about flying south for the winter being only for dumb birds, but where really do these f

... (read more)
7Multiheaded12y
Aren't the hypothesis above (could OP please elaborate on which social norms do they perceive as damaging in this way? it's too damn vague) and the parable opposed on who gets hurt and how? It's the lower classes that prove immune to direct destructive propaganda in the parable.
[-][anonymous]12y100

It's the lower classes that prove immune to direct destructive propaganda in the parable.

You are right, it is a somewhat different example. I considered it a case of genius birds using their smarts to eliminate competition of smart birds, while not realizing they do so.

But even in the original context the High classes aren't really competing with the underclass for anything like a socioeconomic niche, it is the people who need cultural adaptations or rely on more vunrelable support structures (because of their more modest material means), to make it to the upper class that need to be kept out. By attacking their cultural adaptations and support structures you can significantly reduce competition. Attacking the cultural adaptations of the lower classes might make them more useful tools for maintaining anarchy-tyranny but isn't directly beneficial.

I didn't interpret the parable as being literally about the evolution of the biology of various classes, I did however see it as being about the evolution of cultural norms and intellectual fashion.

Too much ethnic diversity kills liberal social democracy.

This one really doesn't belong on the list. The political science research showing a negative correlation between support for the welfare state and ethnic diversity is widely known and not-at-all secret.

[-][anonymous]12y170

This one really doesn't belong on the list.

It probably should have been given as something like "Diversity is not strength." to make apparent its political implications as well as cover other cases.

3[anonymous]12y
.
8Prismattic12y
A Google Scholar search for "ethnic diversity welfare state" will turn up a ton of links, but the specific evidence I had in mind is the graphs you can see here.
4hairyfigment12y
At a glance, "ethnic diversity" looks more like 'a history of one internal ethnic group imposing its will on another by force'. The first Google result for your terms may cast doubt on this -- I can't tell right now -- but it definitely minimizes the effect, in Europe, of increasing diversity (whatever that means).

In recent years, Putnam has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity. His conclusion based on over 40 cases and 30 000 people within the United States is that, other things being equal, more diversity in a community is associated with less trust both between and within ethnic groups. Although limited to American data, it puts into question both the contact hypothesis and conflict theory in inter-ethnic relations. According to conflict theory, distrust between the ethnic groups will rise with diversity, but not within a group. In contrast, contact theory proposes that distrust will decline as members of different ethnic groups get to know and interact with each other. Putnam describes people of all races, sex, socioeconomic statuses, and ages as "hunkering down," avoiding engagement with their local community—both among different ethnic groups and within their own ethnic group. Even when controlling for income inequality and crime rates, two factors which conflict theory states should be the prime causal factors in declining inter-ethnic group trust, more diversity is still associated with less c

... (read more)
5hairyfigment12y
Well, this certainly leads me to change my view, but perhaps not in the way you think. At first I doubted this evidence (and I still wonder how much of it people could replicate). I would expect contact with different people to reduce fear of outsiders. Indeed, Putnam suggests as much and this later source confirms it -- having neighbors from a different ethnic group increases inter-group trust. Yet the same sources claim that an ethnically diverse neighborhood reduces trust in 'hoods and neighbors. I didn't get the impression that racial prejudice started out strong enough to explain this, though I could be wrong. I think y'all may have buried the lede here. If these and the other results you quoted hold, then maybe all altruism comes from tribal instincts and ethnic diversity interferes with our evolved tribal sense (until the mental categories change, about which more in a second). This might explain the greater participation in marches and reform groups. The loss of a tribe leads to desire for a new one.
2hairyfigment12y
Note that the original claim said, "Too much ethnic diversity kills liberal social democracy." This seems false and certainly contradicts Putnam (see sibling comment), who gives historical reasons for thinking these effects will vanish in the long term. In the narrow matter of support for a welfare state, the source I found earlier purports to show that ethnic diversity as such has little to no effect.
5CaveJohnson12y
I obviously think he is wrong.
5GLaDOS12y
I think that's the point. When you have ethnic diversity in single society or state, one group always does better than others and the others will resent it its success.
1Дмитрий Зеленский6mo
Correlation is not causation. And I am rather certain that there are few people who believe a genuine causation is present here (even though it is rather likely to be present in my opinion).

[redacted]

technology has indirectly caused millions of deaths by directly causing enough food to create millions of lives.

Technology has indirectly prevented millions of deaths by directly providing easy means of birth control.

However, now I am getting silly.

Scientific and technological progress has indirectly caused millions upon millions of deaths that would not have occurred in the absence of scientific-technological progress.

It has also directly saved millions upon millions of lives.

1Will_Newsome12y
Is that true? It sounds plausible, but I'd like to see evidence.

Given that we haven't achieved immortality yet, we'd have to specify what it means to "save a life".

7Will_Newsome12y
Yeah, I was thinking that. QALYs would be nice but tricky to deal with. The first thing that comes to mind as establishing a lower bound are antibiotics but their effects are pretty complicated I think.
8Jack12y
Does this really belong or am I just lacking the requisite emotional abhorrence regarding its obvious truth?
[-][anonymous]12y170

In practice LessWrongers invoke directly or implicitly moral progress all the time. Like this.

They also sometimes invoke "well people changed their opinions in the past on case A, B and C, surely we will change our minds on D too!". Taking the idea of moral progress seriously, its perfectly fine to say that no thank you but you'd prefer not to change your vales to pattern match arbitrary historical processes (and further more a potentially flawed pattern match of historical processes!), so you are not changing your opinion on D.

This is even true for people who happen to disagree with modern stances on A, B or C. Preserving one's values is most likley a prerequisite for maximising expected utility. In this sense all of human history has been a horrible tragedy with the vast majority of people (including people alive today), being born in a uncaring universe with a practical guarantee of an alien valueless future.

5Multiheaded12y
I agree, but (sheer projection follows) I don't think that our minds can handle that thought in sufficient detail at all without just deciding to give up and play a videogame instead. I.e. such statements might indeed be unproductive and self-destructive for anyone, in any context (although I'm not sure how unproductive or self-destructive).
2Viliam_Bur12y
The linked article has a negative karma, so this example did not convince me that LWers do this type of wrong reasoning all the time.
[-][anonymous]12y100

There are plenty of comments of that nature on LessWrong and they are very rarely poorly received. While the first example I gave was eventually down voted this is only because he proposed particularly bad reasoning based on that axiom. If you consider the criticism in the thread very few people attacked moral progress directly.

Also in wider society there is a strong assumption, almost a civic religion based on notions of moral progress. Even those of us who believe that we don't belive in moral progress probably have many cached thoughts and biases directly related to the belief that we haven't yet noticed and repaired.

1SkyDK12y
I'd actually take it half a step further and said that we've spent most of the years since WW2 on how to distance ourselves from ethical questions so as to allow ourselves to commit greater atrocities than ever before and still happily go home to watch Paradise Hotel afterwards. I s'pose examples would be in order: 1. Undermining food production while at the same time burning food. 2. Specifically undermining the life quality of vast amounts of people so as to keep up a standard of living and increased consumption in quite a small part of the world. This includes, but is not limited to, instigating wars for the sake of resources, letting children deal with poisons, dumping nuclear waste where fellow human beings live and so on and so forth.
1J_Taylor12y
Most people feel some abhorrence to the idea, although many conservatives will draw an arbitrary line at which moral progress ended. However, among the more philosophically inclined, it is hardly a shocking idea.
4Jack12y
Yeah, it's a straightforward implication of moral non-realism which I've argued forcefully for here many times without feeling suppressed.
1Multiheaded12y
Exactly. As I've once said on a certain other forum, anyone who at least understands what the disasters of the 20th century have meant for our image of ourselves will be aware of, and likely resigned to, getting one's reasons to act on the world from the same source as the Nazis or whoever one most despises. No matter how reasonable the actions and the surface reasons might be, the meta-reasons are always going to be instincts, cultural assumptions and self-deception. All in all, only Konkvistador's stronger proposition, on which I commented above, is in any way disturbing to me. And I even manage to mostly excuse the believers in moral progress; my reasons for that are a complicated story.
3John_Maxwell12y
Hey, people are taking you seriously even though you're not justifying your beliefs. That's not fair.

GLaDOS has extensively discussed many of these issues on the past if you check out her comment history. I think the average LessWrong reader considers most of the statements both plausible and clearly at least partially stuff that might be suppressed via lowered status or other negative consequences.

Its actually a quite good and convincing list, since her first three examples are clearly people who have suffered negative consequences or at least status hits because they held them. Watson and Summers are pretty self-explanatory. Roissy seems to have suffered infamy for his opinions so far. But he allegedly had some problems when his "real" identity was leaked at a time, the people who "revealed it" did so with the hope of hurting him. So clearly the opinions that he holds are by most people classified as of that kind.

Such users may up vote it or read it, but definitely won't down vote it in this thread. Also there are probably people who find many of the statements on the list basically "sky is blue" stuff.

I found only the last statement on the list as something that I'd put a confidence below 0.9 on, but she did provide a link to a blog that discusses it quite widely (haven't yet had time to read the key posts there properly).

2syllogism11y
This was mostly a bunch of meta-contrarian crap, but this one: is a novel thought to me. Thanks.
-4whowhowho11y
What kind of "more violence" do the nobs practice? Beating the servants?
2Multiheaded12y
For those who don't know what this Roissy character is all about and what the scandal was, here's a third-party account: http://www.feministcritics.org/blog/2010/01/19/roissy-and-raine-make-a-right-noh/ (Just dug it up myself right now)
0CaveJohnson12y
Reminds me of this.

Note that there is a subtler mechanism than brute suppression that puts strict limits on our effective thoughtspace: the culture systematically distracts us from thinking about the deep, important questions by loudly and constantly debating superficial ones. Here are some examples:

  • Should the US go to war in Iraq? vs. Should the US have an army?
  • Should we pay teachers more? vs. Should public education exist?
  • Should healthcare guaranteed by the federal government? vs Should the federal government be disbanded?
  • Should we bail out the banks? vs. Should we ban long term banking?
  • Should we allow same-sex marriage? vs. Should marriage have any legal relevance?

Notice how the sequence of psychological subterfuge works. First, the culture throws in front of you a gaudy, morally charged question. Then various pundits present their views, using all the manipulative tactics they have developed in a career of professional opinion-swaying. You look around yourself and find all the other primates engaged in a heated debate about the question. Being a social animal, you are inclined to imitate them: you are likely to develop your own position, argue about it publicly, take various stands, etc. Since we reason to argue, you will spend a lot of time thinking about this question. Now you are committed, firstly to your stand on the explicit question, but also to your implicit position that the question itself is well-formulated.

Everyone's favorite effigy Moldbug calls this "defining the null hypothesis."

fair disclosure: I don't think Moldbug is good for much more than clever turns of phrase.

8MugaSofer11y
Behold, I come from the distant future year of 2013! I don't know if this was true in early 2012, but I regularly see this point brought up during discussions of same-sex marriage, often by people who seem to think this is a revolutionary insight which no-one in the discussion has seen a thousand times before. So this may not be an example of this, at least not anymore.
1epursimuove11y
The 'contrarian' answers to 1, 2, 3 and 5 are standard libertarian positions, while 4 is pretty common among some denominations of anarchism. They're hardly "suppressed" ideas.

It's posts like this that make me wish for a limited-access forum for discussing these issues, something along the lines of an Iconoclastic Conspiracy.

The set of topics too inflammatory for LW to talk about sanely seems pretty small (though not empty), but there's a considerably larger set of topics too politically sensitive for us to safely discuss without the site taking a serious status hit. This basically has nothing to do with our intra-group rationality: no matter how careful we are in our approach, taking (say) anarcho-primitivism seriously is going to alienate some potential audiences, and the more taboo subjects we broach the more alienation we'll get. This is true even if the presentation is entirely apolitical: I've talked to people who were so squicked by Torture vs. Dust Specks as to be permanently turned off the site. On the other hand (and perhaps more relevantly to the OP), as best I can tell there's nothing uniquely horrible about any particular taboo subject, and most that I can think of aren't terribly dangerous in isolation: it's volume that causes problems.

Now, it's tempting to say "fuck 'em if they can't take it", but this really is a bad thing ... (read more)

The set of topics too inflammatory for LW to talk about sanely seems pretty small (though not empty), but there's a considerably larger set of topics too politically sensitive for us to safely discuss without the site taking a serious status hit

And it's not just the site in general, it's also the participants. Some of the stances that have been mentioned in this thread are considered so toxic within some circles that anyone even discussing them risks becoming very unpopular in such circles. At worst, everyone who's known to be an LW regular will be presumed to hold such opinions, regardless of whether or not they've actually even participated in such discussions.

I don't have a problem with such topics being sometimes touched upon, but if they were regularly and extensively discussed, I could imagine getting a little nervous about using my real name here.

7steven046112y
You meant "known to be an LW regular", right?
1Kaj_Sotala12y
Yes. Edited.

Specifically, I think this line has already been crossed with multiple polyamory discussions. When I started reading this site (while still being a religiously observant Jew) this is the sort of thing that might have quickly classified LW as a 'bunch of hippies who look for "rational" reasons to operate outside of social norms'.

I think there are good reasons to discuss this specific topic as a test case for rationality, but people need to be acutely aware of the tradeoffs.

More specifically if SI gains enough prominence to be noticed by news outlets I'd prefer more of this image

and less of this

9daenerys12y
On the other side of things, coming in as a poly person from the midwest, the openness on the topic is one of the things that really drew me. Around here (Ohio), one NEVER talks about such things, unless you happen to be in a poly-specific forum, or with your poly friends. It seems like the rationalist/skeptic community is the one exception to this, and I find it a breath of fresh air: A community that isn't there specifically as a poly group, but where it's not a completely taboo subject either. Even before I personally ever identified as poly, I don't think it would have bothered me to see it mentioned here. But I can see how more socially conservative folk would be put off by it. I don't know if that's our target audience, though.
2sapphire6mo
Where do you live in Ohio? In columbus poly isnt very taboo ime living in cbus. But Columbus is the biggest city.
3Nornagest12y
You just had to bring up the one controversial issue popular on LW that I actually have an identity stake in, didn't you? You might be right, though. Poly doesn't set off my "dangerously controversial" flags, but that's probably selection bias talking; I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and run in fairly countercultural circles. Now that I'm actually thinking about it I can definitely see how it'd bring up strong negative associations in a lot of cultures. On the other hand, I don't think the LW consensus holds it up as a universally preferable relationship model, either -- but if it's a taboo rather than a merely controversial position, that doesn't actually matter. And I'd hardly call it essential to instrumental rationality. Which leaves the question of where the line should be drawn. I'd say Alicorn's "Polyhacking" is one of the best posts here on the instrumental side of the instrumental/epistemic divide, and I'd hate to see similar content relegated to conspiratorial mailing lists -- but it's hard to imagine a post more perfectly calibrated to trigger avoidance instincts in someone with a polyamory taboo. Adding more context or disclaimers would probably not be effective. The implicit policy so far seems to have been to ignore traditionalist taboos, presumably on the assumption that anyone with deeply rooted traditionalist instincts is unteachable, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
-3[anonymous]12y
Nah.
8[anonymous]12y
This seems like a generally good idea. What would be your specific proposal? Members only forum? High karma only? invite only? A while ago, I took x-risk very seriously, and the best solution I could come up with was anarcho-primitivism. FAI is a much better solution.

What would be your specific proposal? Members only forum? High karma only? invite only?

I should probably mention that this has been discussed before. An invitation-only mailing list was the proposal being thrown around back then, but some fairly reasonable-sounding objections were also brought up. I'm not sure whether the signaling problems of organizing (as pedanterrific put it) secret-society stuff outweigh the signaling problems of discussing the same subjects publicly (though I suspect the former is preferable), or whether either one brings a net gain over not discussing them at all (less sure about this one), but in light of the OP I thought it was worth revisiting.

9Nornagest12y
After thinking about this a bit more, I think it's pretty clear that integrating a limited-access forum for sensitive issues into the LW site structure would be a bad idea; it's security through obscurity, not doing much to dissociate controversial opinions from LW in the eyes of the public or the media and almost certainly not secure against anyone determined to dig up such opinions. A less focused forum with the same access restrictions might actually be a better idea: it looks less like we're running a secret society and more like we want to keep our public-facing image on message. Private social forums are quite common on large websites. That has its own problems, though, starting with the fact that we already have a Discussion section that does its job quite well, and that privatizing it would complicate outreach: a lot of people make their first posts on Discussion. A private mailing list run by people unaffiliated with SingInst or the LW administration might have most of the desired qualities, though; it could be kept low-key with little effort, pseudonymy relative to LW is easy to set up, discussions would be persistent, and high-karma posters on LW can say conversations are appropriate for the list without necessarily appearing to endorse its content. Which is about what the first people to bring it up were thinking, but it's nice to have some explicit reasoning behind it.
2Armok_GoB12y
I'm tried to start several things like this multiple times. Technically a forum and an IRC chanel still exist, but nobody's ever there. The by far largest problem is getting people to actually visit these side communities: Making an article of it is not enough, it needs to be stickied/integrated with the interface to work.
8Solvent12y
I am intrigued by the idea of a high karma only forum personally, with the karma bar set just below wherever I am currently, of course. In particular, maybe we'd be allowed to discuss politics in the high karma forum. The "no politics" rule is a shame, I think, because I'm sure we'd get something out of it. I understand that PITMK, but a high karma forum could get around that.
0Armok_GoB12y
Maybe a subforum for each order of magnitude of karma?
0Armok_GoB12y
An IRC channel like this already exists, I think the limit is 100 or something. It's long dead thou so I won't bother digging up the link.
7Polymeron12y
I'm finding it difficult to think of an admission criterion to the conspiracy that would not ultimately result in even larger damage than discussing matters openly in the first place. To clarify: It's only a matter of time before the conspiracy leaks, and when it does, the public would take its secrecy as further damning evidence. Perhaps the one thing you could do is keep the two completely separate on paper (and both public). Guilt by association would still be easy to invoke once the overlapping of forum participants is discovered, but that is much weaker than actually keeping a secret society discussing such issues.
0HoverHell12y
-
1pedanterrific12y
Bugmaster addresses this in a previous discussion of the idea. (Nothing is anonymous enough if the authorities come a-knocking, essentially.) Personally I'm still not sure how much of this approach is sheer paranoia, but better safe than sorry, I guess.
0HoverHell12y
-
1pedanterrific12y
The bit I think might be paranoia isn't the suggested defences, it's the suggested attackers. Maybe 'approach' wasn't the right word.
[-]knb12y720

Let's do the impossible and think the unthinkable! I must know what those secrets are, no matter how much sleep and comfort I might lose.

  • Smart people often think social institutions are basically arbitrary and that they can engineer better ways using their mighty brains. Because these institutions aren't actually arbitrary, their tinkering is generally harmful and sometimes causes social dysfunction, suffering, and death on a massive scale. Less Wrong is unusually bad in this regard, and that is a serious indictment of "rationality" as practiced by LessWrongers.
  • A case of this especially relevant to Less Wrong is "Evangelical Polyamory".
  • Atheists assume that self-identified atheists are representative of non-religious people and use flattering data about self-identified atheists to draw (likely) false conclusions about the world being better without religion. The expected value of arguing for atheism is small and quite possibly negative.
  • Ceteris paribus dictatorships work better than democracies.
  • Nerd culture is increasingly hyper-permissive and basically juvenile and stultifying. Nerds were better off when they had to struggle to meet society's expectations for normal behavior.

I would also like to endorse GLaDOS's excellent list.

  • Smart people often think social institutions are basically arbitrary and that they can engineer better ways using their mighty brains. Because these institutions aren't actually arbitrary, their tinkering is generally harmful and sometimes causes social dysfunction, suffering, and death on a massive scale. Less Wrong is unusually bad in this regard, and that is a serious indictment of "rationality" as practiced by LessWrongers.
  • A case of this especially relevant to Less Wrong is "Evangelical Polyamory".

Agreed except for the part about Less Wrong is unusually bad in this regard. I think it's actually doing better then most gatherings of smart people attempting to reorganize society. Keep in mind lesswrong's equivalent 50 years ago would have been advocating Marxism.

  • Atheists assume that self-identified atheists are representative of non-religious people and use flattering data about self-identified atheists to draw (likely) false conclusions about the world being better without religion. The expected value of arguing for atheism is small and quite possibly negative.

Agreed.

  • Ceteris paribus dictatorships work better than democracies.

You've never li... (read more)

Keep in mind lesswrong's equivalent 50 years ago would have been advocating Marxism.

What makes you say that? Reading "lesswrong's equivalent 50 years ago" makes me think RAND Corporation.

[-]gwern12y220

As someone who has read many RAND papers and their retrospectives about the people in RAND 50 years ago, I strongly agree - if nothing else, because of RAND's early computer work like constructing MANIAC and developing decision and game theory.

0[anonymous]12y
I think it gets closer to the truth if you replace 50 years with 100. A century ago communist ideas were the hip thing for a forward-thinking young person to believe in, especially in my home country (Russia), just like singularitarianism is now. This analogy is one of the main reasons why I'm not an outspoken singularitarian.

Ceteris paribus dictatorships work better than democracies.

You've never lived under a dictatorship have you? I strongly disagree with the above statement and think it's another good example of your first point.

AFAIK dictatorships are higher variance than democracies, but on average they aren't too differerent (in terms of GDP at least). Most intuitive explanation: a good dictator can do really good things and a bad dictator can do really bad things, but good and bad democracies aren't able to do as much good/bad because the political system moves like molasses.

3Mercy12y
This is the common wisdom at the moment but it's far too short-termist. All theories are provisional and eventually your enlightened dictator will find themselves on the wrong side of history and need to be removed. Of course you can build a democracy which can't do that and a dictatorship which can but I suspect the "moves like molasses" aspect moves with this quality and not the voting ritual.
1[anonymous]12y
It is most fascinating how often the right side of history coincidences neatly with the interest of the USG and how often their armed forces or intelligence agencies graciously do the removing.
2Multiheaded12y
Sorry, bro, but this statement by its very nature deserves a dozen downvotes, never mind coming from a user who was being proudly apolitical and striving for a non-tribal approach to things five minutes ago. It is perfectly clear to me that "the wrong side of history" in the parent, while perhaps being less than gracious rhetorically, was mentioned in good faith, and not intended to invoke such trollish name-calling.
7[anonymous]12y
Noticing the enemies of a very powerful organization tend to consistently disappear is not I think an inherently political or tribal stance.
2[anonymous]12y
I think you are right. The original statement does seem to be in good faith now that I reread it. I however do stand behind the statement in general. "The wrong side of history" usually is a euphemism for the "getting on the wrong side of elements in the US government".
3Eugine_Nier12y
Ideally doing good things shouldn't be dependent on the political system. Edit: I just realized the most obvious reading of this comment isn't the one I intended. I meant that the political system's job should be to get out of the way of the people trying to create good things.
0Luke_A_Somers12y
If you think so, you're using the wrong ideals, or using them wrong.

Keep in mind lesswrong's equivalent 50 years ago would have been advocating Marxism.

60's LessWrong would be Ayn Rand's Objectivism rather than some yet another interpretation of Marxism.

[-][anonymous]12y190

It might be the error where "X years ago" counts back from 2000 instead of the current year.

0khafra12y
Or perhaps just dropping a "1" from the left side of the number.
[-]Jack12y140

A lot of us pro-market liberaltarian types would have been Marxists before the last 50 years of overwhelming evidence in favor of capitalism came in...

[-]Mercy12y200

I often get the impression, from young american consequentialist libertarians, that they would be socialists in any other country. Certainly they don't resemble right-libertarians elsewhere, or older american libertarians. And conversely your socialist organisations are missing their usual complement of precocious hippy cynics

Can you unpack these intuitions? As a young American consequentialist vacillating between socialism and libertarianism, I'm very curious.

[-]knb12y120

You've never lived under a dictatorship have you? I strongly disagree with the above statement and think it's another good example of your first point.

The Ceteris Paribus is important. The fact that you can think of a lot of democracies that are nice places to live and dictatorships that are lousy isn't good evidence that democracy is beneficial in itself. I view democracy as an extremely expensive concession to primitive equality norms that primitive agriculturalists can't afford. But it isn't a luxury worth buying.

How many cetera can you require to be paria before you're creating an implicit No True Scotsman?

It's quite possible, and indeed I find the idea highly persuasive, that while dictatorships may not necessarily cause all sorts of unpleasant things (oppression, civil war, corruption, etc.), they do make those unpleasant things much more likely due to more hidden structural flaws (e.g. lack of an outlet for dissatisfaction).

That proposition sounds to me a bit like saying "ceteris paribus, driving at 230km/h will get you to your destination much faster".

9Richard_Kennaway12y
Bear in mind that LessWrong has not actually reorganised society yet.
2fburnaby12y
I read that comment as: "I think it's actually doing better than most (in staying self-aware and not being as socially naive)". Not that it's doing better than Marxists or others in actually changing the world. They obviously did a lot more in that regard than LessWrong ever has (or likely ever will).

Smart people often think social institutions are basically arbitrary and that they can engineer better ways using their mighty brains. Because these institutions aren't actually arbitrary, their tinkering is generally harmful and sometimes causes social dysfunction, suffering, and death on a massive scale. Less Wrong is unusually bad in this regard, and that is a serious indictment of "rationality" as practiced by LessWrongers.

Pff, this one is so normal it has an obligatory link :D

5Eugine_Nier12y
Another relevant link.
[-]ErikM12y150

Smart people often think social institutions are basically arbitrary and that they can engineer better ways using their mighty brains. [...]

While I agree, I disapprove because my impression is that this is not an opinion suppressed much in the outside culture. I can well imagine it being an unpopular one here at Less Wrong, but in the world at large I see widespread support for similar opinions, such as among "conservatives" (in a loose sense) complaining about how "intellectuals" (ditto) were and are overly supportive of Communism, and complaints against "technocrats" and "ivory towers" in general. I also see disagreement with this, but not tabooing of it.

My agreement is based on the opinion appearing to be congruent with the quip "Evolution is smarter than you are", or the similar principle of "Chesterton's Fence".

I also get the impression that this is often because smart people don't see the value of the institutions to smart people. (This may be because it doesn't have such value.) For instance:

A case of this especially relevant to Less Wrong is "Evangelical Polyamory".

I'm fairly confident LessWrongers could engage in polyamory this without significant social dysfunction or suffering, let alone death on a massive scale. (BTW: I couldn't find any articles here by that title. Are you referring to a general tendency, or did I fail at searching?)

Using Chesterton's Fence here is a little misleading.

The whole rationale behind Chesterton's Fence is that clearly someone put the fence there, and it seems pretty likely that whoever that was was just as capable as I am of concluding (given what I know) that putting a fence here is absurd, and it seems pretty likely that they know everything I know, and therefore I can conclude with reasonable confidence that they knew relevant things I don't know that made them conclude that putting a fence here is worth doing, and therefore I should significantly reduce my confidence that putting a fence here is absurd.

Using the same rationale for natural phenomena doesn't really work... there's a reason it isn;t Chesterton's Fallen Tree.

You can, of course, put natural selection in the role of fence-builder, which seems to be what you're doing. But actually there's lots of areas where humans are smarter than evolution. At the very least, humans respond to novel situations a whole lot faster.

I'd actually extend that from natural phenomena to any sufficiently complex system. I spend a lot of my time working with a codebase that dates back to about 1993 and has been accumulating tweaks and refactors ever since; there's enough obscure side-effects that it's often a good idea to make a good-faith search for unusual consequences of seemingly vestigial code, but more often than not I don't turn up anything. I can be fairly confident that any particular code segment was originally put in place for a reason, if not necessarily a very good reason, but if I understand the rest of the local architecture well and I can't figure out why something's there, it's more than likely that all the original reasons for it have succumbed to bit rot.

Societies are one of the better examples of Katamari Damacy architecture that I can think of outside computer science, so it seems to me that a similar approach might be warranted. Which isn't to say that you can get away with not doing your homework, nor that most aspiring social architects have done so to any reasonable standard.

[-][anonymous]12y150

Using the same rationale for natural phenomena doesn't really work... there's a reason it isn;t Chesterton's Fallen Tree.

Isn't this one of the arguments sometimes invoked in favour of environmentalism?

Hm, this sucks, a bunch of birds are eating part of our harvest each year. Lets get rid of them!. Changing some things in your natural envrionment that you aren't quite sure of what they do or why they are there, might be a very bad idea.

Also it as argument that can be used in medicine. It can be a bad idea to take something to artificiality reduce your fever for example. Changing some things in your own body that you aren't quite sure of what they do or why they are there, is probably a very bad idea.

I would say that for societal adaptations that have come into being without design the case is stronger than with the natural environment but weaker than with your own body. Maybe there should be a thing like Chesterton's Fallen Tree.

Sure, changing some things in my natural environment might be a very bad idea.
Failing to change some things in my natural environment might be a very bad idea too.

And, yes, human history is a long series of decisions along these lines: do we build habitations, or keep living in caves? Do we build roads, cities, power grids, airplanes, trains? Do we mine the earth for fuel, for building materials, for useful chemicals? Do we burn fuel on a large scale? Do we develop medicines and tools that interfere with the natural course of biological development when that course is uncomfortable? Etc. Etc. Etc.

Mostly, humanity's answer is "Yes." If we can do it, we typically do, just 'cuz.

Have we thereby caused bad consequences? Sure.

Have we thereby caused net bad consequences? Well, I suppose that depends on what you value, and on what you consider the likeliest counterfactual states, but if you think we have I'd love to hear your reasons.

Me, I think we're unambiguously better off for having chopped Chesterton's Fallen Tree into firewood and burned it to keep warm through Chesterton's Deadly Winter. And in practice, when I see a fallen tree in my yard, I don't devote a noticeable amount of time to evaluating the possible important-but-nonobvious benefits it is providing by lying there before I deal with it.

Gall's law:

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.

5[anonymous]12y
This might lead us to contemplate the most terrifying and unthinkable proposition yet, not named anywhere else on this thread -- that, perhaps, Stephen Wolfram was right!
6ErikM12y
I am surprised and confused. I would have thought that the analogy to evolution would be the one objected to first, as I think of social institutions first as things instituted by someone and second as things subject to vaguely evolution-like processes. (They are modified over time, imperfectly replicated across countries, and a lot more fail than survive.)
6TheOtherDave12y
Interesting. I haven't given this a lot of thought, but my intuition is the opposite of yours... I think of most social constructs as evolved over time rather than intentionally constructed for a purpose.

As a former Evangelical Polyamorist, now a born-again Monogamist, I enthusiastically endorse items 1 & 2 in this comment.

It can be thought of as the cultural equivalent of Algernon's Law - any small cultural change is a net evolutionary disadvantage. I might add "previously accessible to our ancestors", since the same principle doesn't apply to newly accessible changes, which weren't previously available for cultural optimism. This applies to organizing via websites. It does not apply to polyamory (except inasmuch as birth control, std prevention, and paternity testings may have affected the relevant tradeoffs, though limited to the degree that our reactions are hardwired and relevant).

6mwengler12y
It seems dictatorships work better (actually I can't think of an example off hand) AND wildly worse. Dictatorships compared to republic is like male compared to female: the main difference is just a much wider spread. So you wind up rolling a much bigger set of dice with dictatorships and then survivorship bias and human bias towards picking off the high spots makes the result look good. Further, would a dicatatorship work well for long in the absence of republics from which it could steal ideas? I don't think there is a dicatatorship with a good record of innovation and technological development. (Hitler's Germany SPENT technical capital it had accumulated before, Hitler didn't last long enough to see if Germany would have been the exception). North Korea, ceteris paribus, does not seem to have been helped by dictatorship.
4knb12y
On the other hand, South Korea was a dictatorship until 1987 and did extremely well during those years.
[-][anonymous]12y640

Here's some nice controversial things for you:

  • Given functional birth control and non-fucked family structure, incest is fine and natural and probably a good experience to have.

  • Pedophilia is a legitimate sexual orientation, even if it expressing it IRL is bad (which it is not). Child porn should not be suppressed (tho some of it is documentation of crime and should be investigated).

  • Most of the impact of rape is a made-up self fulfilling prophesy.

  • Child sexual consent hits the same issues as child acting or any other thing that parents can allow, and should not be treated differently from those issues.

  • Self identity is a problem.

  • EDIT: most of the deaths in the holocaust were caused by the allies bombing railroads that supplied food to the camps.

Less controversial in LW, but still bad to say outside:

  • Race, class and subculture are the most useful pieces of information when judging a person.

I run out of ideas.

EDIT: in case it's not clear, I take all these ideas seriously. I would actually appreciate a discussion on these topics with LW.

EDIT: this was productive! I've seriously updated one way or the other on many of these ideas. Thanks for pointing out truths and holes everyone! :)

[-][anonymous]12y570

most of the deaths in the holocaust were caused by the allies bombing railroads that supplied food to the camps.

I think It would be technically illegal for me to participate or update away from my default position in such a hypothetical debate.

[-]TimS12y150

I agree that this doesn't say good things about where you live.

As long as you hold onto the basic idea that extermination was the goal, and they were accidentally assisted by the destruction of infrastructure (which also was instrumental in preventing the rest of them from being killed), is that really downplaying the atrocities?

That said, I don't know if that claim is really true.

Assuming by highest likelihood that you're German, my reading of the relevant section of the criminal code suggest that it's OK for you to debate in Internet fora:

(3) Whosoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or downplays an act committed under the rule of National Socialism of the kind indicated insection 6 (1) of the Code of International Criminal Law, in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine.

(4) Whosoever publicly or in a meeting disturbs the public peace in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims by approving of, glorifying, or justifying National Socialist rule of arbitrary force shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than three years or a fine.

Unless it can be argued that you'd be "disturbing the public peace". But as I understand it, in Germany (and France) it's legal to visit Stormfront, you just cannot promote it.

disturbing the peace is a catchall for "the authorities decided they don't like what you're doing" FYI. Long legal tradition and all that.

3Armok_GoB12y
I don't see a problem, unless he claims they wouldn't have killed them eventually if they had won. The claim is "allies helped the nazis do this faster" not "allies did this and nazis did not", but I don't know anything about how law works so I'm probably wrong.

most of the deaths in the holocaust were caused by the allies bombing railroads that supplied food to the camps

And the shortage of food in Germany, and everything else that provided a disincentive to feed the people that the party line proclaimed to be innnately hostile and seditious.

When you're literally last on the priority list (well, maybe above Soviet POVs in 1941), every economic difficulty will "cause" you to starve while you could've easily endured it in a society that had a more balanced if utterly cynical opinion of you.

(I find the other things you mentioned to be broadly correct, but not without caveats; moreover, if one goes about it naively without minding such caveats, one would likely do much greater harm to most involved than the current self-deception does.)

-1Aurini12y
The worst crimes of the holocaust were a conspiracy within the Nazi government. The Nuremburg trials had testimony from an investigator who was attempting to prove his supicions of these practices, and ultimately prosecute the offenders who were killing the Jews. It is likely that only a few hundred Germans were directly involved. The Nazi government was built upon projecting genetic kinship onto the state itself, and while it didn't want any Jews in Germany, they weren't actively seeking the elimination of the Jewish race. In fact, the 'final solution' was not the first solution - they attempted deportation several times. I've come to be of the opinion that the Nazi goverment - while certainly not being the sort of state I'd advocate - really weren't all that bad. Given the feminist/pro-immigration state that's growing in Canada, I might actually prefer it.

Sorry, but no deal. Trying to withhold value judgment when talking about highly unpopular social systems is one thing. Such a reversal of the approved opinion after a cursory look, however, is downright stupid, and beneath you. I've had sex with a guy several times; do you really think that me being executed for it if someone knew and disliked me enough to report me to officials IS LESS AWFUL than the evils of feminism and immigration? I bet not. Would you like Canada to invade the U.S. and install an incredibly brutal occupation regime by claiming it's a necessary pre-emptive strike to save the world from American tyranny (even if said tyranny was a real danger)? I bet not.

Next time please evaluate MORE facts from the historical period in question before drawing tenous comparisons and making judgments like these.

(Oh, and is that still a conspiracy when it has the deliberate backing of the lawful head of state, AND that head of state is legally an absolute dictator who left no constitutional provision in place on which he could be judged for those atrocities? I'm pretty shit at law, but, logically, if the Fuhrer wouldn't mind the atrocities, and the Nazi legal thought made the Fuhrer's authority utterly untouchable - see e.g. Carl Schmidt's opinion on sovereignity - then the investigator only had international law to fall back on, which the Nazi system would deny to be a source of authority in this case.)

7Randaly9y
Literally every sentence you wrote is wrong. This is not true. The Holocaust was ordered by the popular leader of the German government; they were executed by a very large number of people, probably >90% of whom actively cooperated and almost none of whom tried to stop the Holocaust. (see e.g. Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men) German society as a whole knew that their government was attempting genocide; see e.g. What We Knew for supporting details, or Wikipedia for a summary. (It is at least not totally impossible that the gas chambers were unknown to the broader German public. But the idea that gas chambers are representative of the Holocaust is a historical myth; most victims of the Holocaust were not killed by gas.) This is wrong. (This is kinda a refrain; your Nazi apologia is lacking in sources or historical accuracy.) I assume you're referring to Georg Konrad Morgen; if so, he did prosecute the people killing the Jews, but not for the genocide; he said, correctly, that the Final Solution was 'technically legal'. His prosecutions instead focused on the ordinary crimes (e.g. corruption). Again, this is just flat out wrong, in a way that shows that you have no idea what you're talking about. Auschwitz alone had ~7,000 camp guards during the war; there were around 55,000 concentration camp guards total. Again, I suggest that you read Ordinary Men, about the ~500 men of Reserve Police Battalion, who killed an estimated ~38,000 Jews. (There were about 17,500+ members of the Reserve Police Battalions, plus another 3,000+ members of the Einsatzgruppen.) There also numerous other SS/Ghestapo/Wehrmacht personnel directly involved beyond the three specific groups I've named.

Child sexual consent hits the same issues as child acting or any other thing that parents can allow

(Warning: Judging moral claims with System-1 is unreliable.) Thinking that as a kid I could have been allowed to have sex, have had people annoying me with undesired propositions (even after they knew my age), and have had people trying to manipulate me into sex, makes me at most kind of uneasy. Thinking that my parents could have had any kind of say over it gave me a panic attack.

Wow, when I read "should not be treated differently from those issues", I assumed the intention was likely to be "child acting, indoctrination, etc., should be considered abuse and not tolerated by society", a position I would tentatively support (tentatively due to lack of expertise).

Incidentally, I found many of the other claims to be at least plausible and discussion-worthy, if not probably true (and certainly not things that people should be afraid to say).

6[anonymous]12y
Is that partially from cultural assumptions about children having sex? What reaction to you get to child acting, religious indoctrination, and such?

Nah, don't think so. Identifiable sources:

  • How I remember feeling about sex as a kid ("A thing that some strange adults do for some reason, like partying all night long or cheering for football players. Irrelevant until further notice. What's for dinner?")
  • How I remember feeling about people who propositioned me online because I had a female username and they didn't know my age (mildly annoyed at the waste of time, mildly icked at those whose propositions were particularly direct, mildly exasperated at the number of people who looked for cybersex in unrelated chatrooms)
  • How I remember feeling and now feel about attempts to manipulate me into saying sexual things (confused and slightly icked by those I can't detect, amused and condescending and mildly exasperated by those I can)
  • How I feel about my parents controlling what I do (bad)

Child acting:

  • "You could have been a child actor": Yeah, sure. I didn't want to, but the idea is kinda neat. Actors are cool.
  • "You could have been pressured by directors into acting when you were a kid": Not cool! Pressure is bad! Pressuring people into jobs is evil and bad and greedy! I would have felt very bad, so I'm
... (read more)

. Given functional birth control and non-fucked family structure, incest is fine and natural and probably a good experience to have.

The "incest isn't wrong" position isn't novel. The "everyone would be better off if they did" is novel, and I confess I don't understand it at all. Not everyone is attracted to close family members.

. Pedophilia is a legitimate sexual orientation, even if it expressing it IRL is bad. Child porn should not be suppressed (tho some of it is documentation of crime and should be investigated).

I agree with the first half, but would have phrased the second half as "the ban on computer-generated child pornography should be reversed and indeed subsidized to crowd out pornography using real children".

Most of the impact of rape is a made-up self fulfilling prophesy.

Really? What about for people who don't have access to emergency birth control? Or who were unlucky enough to be raped by someone with an STD? Or who live in a society that murders women who get raped as adulterers? Or just in a society that tends to divide women into "good girls" and "sluts"? (Maybe you meant society's self-fulfillin... (read more)

[-][anonymous]12y120

Not everyone is attracted to close family members.

And not everyone is attracted to everyone else, but I see no reason not to be close with your family in this way.

I agree with the first half, but would have phrased the second half as "the ban on computer-generated child pornography should be reversed and indeed subsidized to crowd out pornography using real children".

Why so conservative? How is child porn different from child acting? Assuming consent and all that.

Really? What about for people who don't have access to emergency birth control? Or who were unlucky enough to be raped by someone with an STD? Or who live in a society that murders women who get raped as adulterers? Or just in a society that tends to divide women into "good girls" and "sluts"? (Maybe you meant society's self-fulfilling prophecy in the latter two examples, but it's not the woman's self-fulfilling prophecy.)

Yes, in third world countries, butthurt is not the primary damage caused by rape. I mean in cases without lasting physical effects. Maybe I should have been more clear?

Judging them for what?

pretty much anything besides being an underwear model. Likelyhood to start a fight. Expected value as an employee in most jobs. Intellectual capacity.

Come to think of it, the correlates of race are mostly covered by class and subculture.

I am specifically referring to female rape, because only females are encouraged to consider rape as a devastating or life-wrecking occurrence.

For some, the prevalent notion of "rape is something that doesn't happen to men" seems to make the feelings of shame after being raped even worse. Female rape is commonly considered horrific and something where the victim needs support; male rape isn't always even acknowledged as something that exists.

See e.g. The Rape of Men.

"That was hard for me to take," Owiny tells me today. "There are certain things you just don't believe can happen to a man, you get me? But I know now that sexual violence against men is a huge problem. Everybody has heard the women's stories. But nobody has heard the men's." [...]

It reminds me of a scene described by Eunice Owiny: "There is a married couple," she said. "The man has been raped, the woman has been raped. Disclosure is easy for the woman. She gets the medical treatment, she gets the attention, she's supported by so many organisations. But the man is inside, dying."

"In a nutshell, that's exactly what happens," Dolan agrees. "Part of the a

... (read more)

only females are encouraged to consider rape as a devastating or life-wrecking occurrence.

Wait... what?

I may not be tracking, here. Are you suggesting that as a class, men who are raped aren't as emotionally affected as women who are raped? Or that if they are, it's for some reason other than social encouragement? Something else?

1[anonymous]12y
I was suggesting that men don't have the constant bombardment of "if you got raped, you should feel bad". There is some of that, but not as much and somewhat balanced by other parts of male culture like being looked down on for being emotionally affected by things: "man up and move on" and such. On second thought, I don't know why I even wrote that, and it detracts form the rest, so I'll remove it.
[-]Mercy12y210

Hang on a minute. This a prime hypothesis testing space! If you really think that anti-rape messaging makes post-rape experience worse, it surely follows that it must be worse for women than for men, this messaging being mostly aimed at women. So you can quite conveniently check your theory by comparing the incidence of ptsd, depression, etc in male and female rape survivors.

No need to keep this as a controversial suspicion or instinct, you'd be armed with real knowledge! Knowledge you can report back to us, and anyone else you may have discussed this issue with. Indeed I think you could cultivate a useful reputation for open mindedness and rationality if you went back to any place you'd seen this attitude expressed before, and shared your findings -positive or negative- with them.

There are a lot of confounding factors hereabouts.

Yea, and doing a proper double blind test would pretty much be the least likely thing ever to pass any ethics committee.

[-][anonymous]12y100

Hang on a minute. This a prime hypothesis testing space! If you really think that anti-rape messaging makes post-rape experience worse, it surely follows that it must be worse for women than for men, this messaging being mostly aimed at women. So you can quite conveniently check your theory by comparing the incidence of ptsd, depression, etc in male and female rape survivors.

Not necessarily. If male rape is not acknowledged at all, it can be much harder to talk about it and heal.

8Baughn12y
Well, yes, that"s the point. To figure out whether this comes out positive or negative.
3TheOtherDave12y
Well, right, I understood that much. But you seemed to be arguing that such bombardment is causal to women feeling bad about being raped... that is, if it weren't for that bombardment, they wouldn't feel bad. So it seems to follow that you would expect men not to feel bad about being raped, since they don't receive that bombardment. That's what confused me... your whole argument seems to hang together only if I assume that men in fact don't feel bad when they've been raped (which sure isn't my experience, not that I'm any sort of expert) so I was trying to confirm whether you were in fact assuming that.
7[anonymous]12y
Only partially. Obviously bad shit makes you feel bad, whether or not you have memes about it, but the hypothesis is that bad shit plus being encouraged to feel bad about it makes it worse. men don't recieve as much "you should feel bad and let it define your life" but as another user pointed out, it is also not socially acceptable to have been raped, so there is no chance to talk about it and heal. Well I didn't intend that particular assumption, or at least I don't anymore. A better comparison to investigate would be how people react to being beaten or robbed.

butthurt

Expressing a controversial opinion doesn't condone being immature or disrespectful.

Beyond that, I have two questions for you:

1) How much confidence do you place in your statement on the impact of female rape in first-world countries?

2) If the answer to (1) is greater than "very little", on what sort of direct or indirect knowledge of the phenomenon do you base this confidence?

3[anonymous]12y
U mad? More seriously, you're right, I could have used a better word. Which statement?
0NihilCredo12y
6[anonymous]12y
Lower than it was when I posted it, but it seems plausible enough to be worth discussing. I would now dispute the use of 'most'. observations of cultural memes, seeing how people talk about it with victims, seeing how role models talk about it, and observations of people dealing with similar but unrelated pressures. All of this is very easily screened off by closer evidence, I would like to see some more solid studies or more stories at least.
8Prismattic12y
I still don't get it, and am genuinely trying to figure out what the inferential gap is. It sort of sounds like you're saying sex produces the warm fuzzies of closer social bonding regardless of whether the participants are attracted to each other. If that is what you are saying, then that sounds like the typical mind fallacy at work. I, for one, would not get warm fuzzies from sex with someone unattractive whether they are related to me or not. If that's not what you are saying, please clarify.
4[anonymous]12y
Nope. I just mean mean it's totally OK to be attracted and so on. It's less radical than you seem to think.
5Prismattic12y
My original response didn't disagree with that. I wasn't objecting to the "incest is fine" part. I was specifically challenging '...and is probably a good experience to have" as being an overgeneralization that is untrue for many, and probably, most people.

How is it different than saying "Sex is fine, and is probably a good experience to have" in response to puritanical notions about celibacy? Nowhere does it say it should be mandatory or that you absolutely have to have sex with anyone who asks.

6Prismattic12y
"Sex (insert qualifiers of your choosing) is immoral" is a normative claim. "Many people are not attracted to family members, and sex with an unattractive partner does not provide warm fuzzies" is an empirical claim. "Sex is probably a good experience to have" is challenging the validity of the moral claim. "Sex with people you aren't attracted to is probably a good experience to have"... do I really need to provide further refutation once it's stated like that?
1wedrifid11y
No, that more the domain of prisons.

Most of the impact of rape is a made-up self fulfilling prophesy.

"Life After Rape" is a good (aside from "there is no sex in rape" being false in an important sense) elaboration on (one construal of) this.

An analogous idea, that other people on this thread have come close to but not exactly said, is 'spreading the meme of democracy to non-democratic societies causes needless suffering by making people feel oppressed, when their extrapolated volition if you hadn't done so wouldn't have come to care in the same way.'

0Apprentice11y
The rape she describes sounds uncannily like a sleep paralysis attack - compare it with accounts of rape by demons and aliens. By which I don't mean to belittle the experience - SP can be traumatic and horrible. I had some bad attacks as a teenager, the worst one complete with auditory hallucinations. (It goes without saying that it is not impossible that her stealthy and competent rapist was physically real.)
9DanielLC12y
Birth-control isn't natural, so how can incest using it be? I'd expect that it would generally be awkward, but it's fine beyond that. I agree with the first half whole-heartedly. I'm not convinced that expressing it in real life is bad. I never thought of that, but it doesn't seem that unlikely. The obvious way to check would be to find out how rape victims deal with it in cultures with different views on how they would deal with it.
8[anonymous]12y
Maybe natural isn't the right word. I mean it's not some immoral abomination, it's probably the same moral status as masturbation. I can imagine an alternative moral history where it is normal, and not awkward at all. It doesn't seem like a moral disaster, so I can only conclude that it must be OK. I'm not entirely either, but I forgot to dispute the whole "consent" thing, which would have to go away to make it ok IRL. My reasoning here is that when people get brutally beaten or otherwise humiliated where there's social pressure to "man up and get over it", they don't turn into a bawwfest basket case the way some rape victims do, where there is social pressure to be a bawwfest basket case. I have not personally been raped, and have seen no studies, so there isn't much evidence, but this seems most plausible. EDIT: Also, the fact that it's taboo to say this is evidence that it's true.

I have not personally been raped, and have seen no studies, so there isn't much evidence, but this seems most plausible.

Have you personally met many people who were raped?
Come to that, have you met many people who were brutally beaten?

I haven't met many, but I've known emotionally traumatized people in both categories, and I've known people in both categories who seemed to shrug it off.

Incidentally, if I've mischaracterized what you meant by "bawwfest" by reframing it as emotional trauma, let me know. I don't really know what you mean by the term, over and above the intention to be dismissive of its referent.

6DanielLC12y
I'd say that natural things are vastly more likely to be immoral abominations on the basis that artificial things are created by people who have a moral compass and try to avoid immoral abominations, whereas natural things are created by Azathoth with the single goal of genetic fitness no matter how unspeakably cruel it is. I find it odd that consent wouldn't be assumed. You never hear people say that extramarital sex is bad on the assumption that they're talking about rape.
3[anonymous]12y
Yes that's why natural isn't the right word. What I meant by natural was "morally natural", but it was the wrong word to use. I was assuming consent in the sense that all parties are OK with it, but most people think sexual consent is impossible for children, so in that sense, consent can't be assumed. I really should change it, tho. That version of consent is too full of holes and violations.
5[anonymous]12y
Many things sound plausible to us when we construct narratives, but they are not necessarily true. And the fact of something being 'taboo' to say is weak evidence at best for its truth value. You seem to be giving a whole lot of credence to your alternate theory without doing much investigation or looking up studies.
2dbaupp12y
Why?
3DanielLC12y
The only way I can think of for it to be bad is for it to cause problems after the child has matured. I find this very unlikely. An experience can't become traumatic after-the-fact. At worst they'd feel a little squicky thinking about it later on. I'm not entirely certain, but I've never had a very good reason to try and find out. Still, I would like it if someone could send a link to something where they actually asked people who had sex as kids how it affects them now. Also, I would expect that, if anything, raping a kid wouldn't be as bad as raping an adult. If they're not sexually mature, I'd expect them to not be built to dislike it as much. Again, I would like to see something where they ask victims and find out if this is the case.
[-][anonymous]12y310

An experience can't become traumatic after-the-fact.

You underestimate the effects of an entire cultural narrative repeatedly telling them that it's something to be traumatized by.

-1dbaupp12y
So the suffering of an immature person is not a problem? What if it was a traumatic experience to begin with? Children can get PTSD. (I don't think I will be able to maintain an intelligent discussion on this topic, so I am unlikely to reply again.)

I meant consensual sex. Do I really need to specify?

9Raemon12y
Edit: Nvm, there's a reason we generally think these threads are a bad idea. Short answer: if a child thinks they're consenting, they're likely enough to be wrong (with great enough consequences) that the expected value is negative. Much more importantly: if an adult thinks a child is consenting, the adult is likely to be wrong (they'll have a hard time between telling the difference between actual consent and consent that is feigned out of fear). Is consent hypothetically possible? Yes. But you're running on corrupted hardware and the expected value will usually be negative.
9DanielLC12y
How can they be wrong about consenting? Do you mean changing their mind later? In that case, like I said, I find it hard to believe that they can be traumatized after-the-fact. It's not impossible, but I find it very unlikely. If the other party can scare them into doing that, they can just scare them into saying they haven't had sex in the first place.
6dbaupp12y
Manipulation. Children are prone to manipulation by figures they trust. So they have belief-in-consent, not actual consent. From the abstract of this paper:
8notmyrealnick12y
If sexual consent achieved by manipulation is equivalent to rape, does that imply that pick-up artists are rapists? Spending time building up a relationship of trust and liking with a person that you want to have sex with is called "dating" and considered normal when it is in the context of two adults. The same activity is called "grooming" and considered horrendous manipulation when it is in the context of an adult and a child. Just because trust has been built up on purpose does not make consent founded on that trust false.