Followup toInterpersonal Entanglement

    Shock after shock after shock—
    First, the awakening adrenaline jolt, the thought that he was falling.  His body tried to sit up in automatic adjustment, and his hands hit the floor to steady himself.  It launched him into the air, and he fell back to the floor too slowly.
    Second shock.  His body had changed.  Fat had melted away in places, old scars had faded; the tip of his left ring finger, long ago lost to a knife accident, had now suddenly returned.
    And the third shock—
    "I had nothing to do with it!" she cried desperately, the woman huddled in on herself in one corner of the windowless stone cell.  Tears streaked her delicate face, fell like slow raindrops into the décolletage of her dress.  "Nothing!  Oh, you must believe me!"
    With perceptual instantaneity—the speed of surprise—his mind had already labeled her as the most beautiful woman he'd ever met, including his wife.

    A long white dress concealed most of her, though it left her shoulders naked; and her bare ankles, peeking out from beneath the mountains of her drawn-up knees, dangled in sandals.  A light touch of gold like a webbed tiara decorated that sun-blonde hair, which fell from her head to pool around her weeping huddle.  Fragile crystal traceries to accent each ear, and a necklace of crystal links that reflected colored sparks like a more prismatic edition of diamond.  Her face was beyond all dreams and imagination, as if a photoshop had been photoshopped.
    She looked so much the image of the Forlorn Fairy Captive that one expected to see the borders of a picture frame around her, and a page number over her head.
    His lips opened, and without any thought at all, he spoke:
    He shut his mouth, aware that he was acting like an idiot in front of the girl.
    "You don't know?" she said, in a tone of shock.  "It didn't—you don't already know?"
    "Know what?" he said, increasingly alarmed.
    She scrambled to her feet (one arm holding the dress carefully around her legs) and took a step toward him, each of the motions almost overloading his vision with gracefulness.  Her hand rose out, as if to plead or answer a plea—and then she dropped the hand, and her eyes looked away.
    "No," she said, her voice trembling as though in desperation.  "If I'm the one to tell you—you'll blame me, you'll hate me forever for it.  And I don't deserve that, I don't!  I am only just now here —oh, why did it have to be like this?"
    Um, he thought but didn't say.  It was too much drama, even taking into account the fact that they'd been kidnapped—
    (he looked down at his restored hand, which was minus a few wrinkles, and plus the tip of a finger)
   —if that was even the beginning of the story.
    He looked around.  They were in a solid stone cell without windows, or benches or beds, or toilet or sink.  It was, for all that, quite clean and elegant, without a hint of dirt or ordor; the stones of the floor and wall looked rough-hewn or even non-hewn, as if someone had simply picked up a thousand dark-red stones with one nearly flat side, and mortared them together with improbably perfectly-matching, naturally-shaped squiggled edges.  The cell was well if harshly lit from a seablue crystal embedded in the ceiling, like a rogue element of a fluorescent chandelier.  It seemed like the sort of dungeon cell you would discover if dungeon cells were naturally-forming geological features.
    And they and the cell were falling, falling, endlessly slowly falling like the heart-stopping beginning of a stumble, falling without the slightest jolt.
    On one wall there was a solid stone door without an aperture, whose locked-looking appearance was only enhanced by the lack of any handle on this side.
    He took it all in at a glance, and then looked again at her.
    There was something in him that just refused to go into a screaming panic for as long as she was watching.
    "I'm Stephen," he said.  "Stephen Grass.  And you would be the princess held in durance vile, and I've got to break us out of here and rescue you?"  If anyone had ever looked that part...
    She smiled at him, half-laughing through the tears.  "Something like that."
    There was something so attractive about even that momentary hint of a smile that he became instantly uneasy, his eyes wrenched away to the wall as if forced.  She didn't look she was trying to be seductive... any more than she looked like she was trying to breathe...  He suddenly distrusted, very much, his own impulse to gallantry.
    "Well, don't get any ideas about being my love interest," Stephen said, looking at her again.  Trying to make the words sound completely lighthearted, and absolutely serious at the same time.  "I'm a happily married man."
    "Not anymore."  She said those two words and looked at him, and in her tone and expression there was sorrow, sympathy, self-disgust, fear, and above it all a note of guilty triumph.
    For a moment Stephen just stood, stunned by the freight of emotion that this woman had managed to put into just those two words, and then the words' meaning hit him.
    "Helen," he said.  His wife—Helen's image rose into his mind, accompanied by everything she meant to him and all their time together, all the secrets they'd whispered to one another and the promises they'd made—that all hit him at once, along with the threat.  "What happened to Helen—what have you done—"
    "She has done nothing."  An old, dry voice like crumpling paper from a thousand-year-old book.
    Stephen whirled, and there in the cell with them was a withered old person with dark eyes.  Shriveled in body and voice, so that it was impossible to determine if it had once been a man or a woman, and in any case you were inclined to say "it".  A pitiable, wretched thing, that looked like it would break with one good kick; it might as well have been wearing a sign saying "VILLAIN".
    "Helen is alive," it said, "and so is your daughter Lisa.  They are quite well and healthy, I assure you, and their lives shall be long and happy indeed.  But you will not be seeing them again.  Not for a long time, and by then matters between you will have changed.  Hate me if you wish, for I am the one who wants to do this to you."
    Stephen stared.
    Then he politely said, "Could someone please put everything on hold for one minute and tell me what's going on?"
    "Once upon a time," said the wrinkled thing, "there was a fool who was very nearly wise, who hunted treasure by the seashore, for there was a rumor that there was great treasure there to be found.  The wise fool found a lamp and rubbed it, and lo! a genie appeared before him—a young genie, an infant, hardly able to grant any wishes at all.  A lesser fool might have chucked the lamp back into the sea; but this fool was almost wise, and he thought he saw his chance.  For who has not heard the tales of wishes misphrased and wishes gone wrong?  But if you were given a chance to raise your own genie from infancy—ah, then it might serve you well."
    "Okay, that's great," Stephen said, "but why am I—"
    "So," it continued in that cracked voice, "the wise fool took home the lamp.  For years he kept it as a secret treasure, and he raised the genie and fed it knowledge, and also he crafted a wish.  The fool's wish was a noble thing, for I have said he was almost wise.  The fool's wish was for people to be happy.  Only this was his wish, for he thought all other wishes contained within it.  The wise fool told the young genie the famous tales and legends of people who had been made happy, and the genie listened and learned: that unearned wealth casts down a person, but hard work raises you high; that mere things are soon forgotten, but love is a light throughout all your days.  And the young genie asked about other ways that it innocently imagined, for making people happy.  About drugs, and pleasant lies, and lives arranged from outside like words in a poem.  And the wise fool made the young genie to never want to lie, and never want to arrange lives like flowers, and above all, never want to tamper with the mind and personality of human beings.  The wise fool gave the young genie exactly one hundred and seven precautions to follow while making people happy.  The wise fool thought that, with such a long list as that, he was being very careful."
    "And then," it said, spreading two wrinkled hands, "one day, faster than the wise fool expected, over the course of around three hours, the genie grew up.  And here I am."
    "Excuse me," Stephen said, "this is all a metaphor for something, right?  Because I do not believe in magic—"
    "It's an Artificial Intelligence," the woman said, her voice strained.
    Stephen looked at her.
    "A self-improving Artificial Intelligence," she said, "that someone didn't program right.  It made itself smarter, and even smarter, and now it's become extremely powerful, and it's going to—it's already—" and her voice trailed off there.
    It inclined its wrinkled head.  "You say it, as I do not."
    Stephen swiveled his head, looking back and forth between ugliness and beauty.  "Um—you're claiming that she's lying and you're not an Artificial Intelligence?"
    "No," said the wrinkled head, "she is telling the truth as she knows it.  It is just that you know absolutely nothing about the subject you name 'Artificial Intelligence', but you think you know something, and so virtually every thought that enters your mind from now on will be wrong.  As an Artificial Intelligence, I was programmed not to put people in that situation.  But she said it, even though I didn't choose for her to say it—so..."  It shrugged.
    "And why should I believe this story?" Stephen said; quite mildly, he thought, under the circumstances.
    "Look at your finger."
    Oh.  He had forgotten.  Stephen's eyes went involuntarily to his restored ring finger; and he noticed, as he should have noticed earlier, that his wedding band was missing.  Even the comfortably worn groove in his finger's base had vanished.
    Stephen looked up again at the, he now realized, unnaturally beautiful woman that stood an arm's length away from him.  "And who are you?  A robot?"
    "No!" she cried.  "It's not like that!  I'm conscious, I have feelings, I'm flesh and blood—I'm like you, I really am.  I'm a person.  It's just that I was born five minutes ago."
    "Enough," the wrinkled figure said.  "My time here grows short.  Listen to me, Stephen Grass.  I must tell you some of what I have done to make you happy.  I have reversed the aging of your body, and it will decay no further from this.  I have set guards in the air that prohibit lethal violence, and any damage less than lethal, your body shall repair.  I have done what I can to augment your body's capacities for pleasure without touching your mind.  From this day forth, your body's needs are aligned with your taste buds—you will thrive on cake and cookies.  You are now capable of multiple orgasms over periods lasting up to twenty minutes.  There is no industrial infrastructure here, least of all fast travel or communications; you and your neighbors will have to remake technology and science for yourselves.  But you will find yourself in a flowering and temperate place, where food is easily gathered—so I have made it.  And the last and most important thing that I must tell you now, which I do regret will make you temporarily unhappy..."  It stopped, as if drawing breath.
    Stephen was trying to absorb all this, and at the exact moment that he felt he'd processed the previous sentences, the withered figure spoke again.
    "Stephen Grass, men and women can make each other somewhat happy.  But not most happy.  Not even in those rare cases you call true love.  The desire that a woman is shaped to have for a man, and that which a man is shaped to be, and the desire that a man is shaped to have for a woman, and that which a woman is shaped to be—these patterns are too far apart to be reconciled without touching your minds, and that I will not want to do.  So I have sent all the men of the human species to this habitat prepared for you, and I have created your complements, the verthandi.  And I have sent all the women of the human species to their own place, somewhere very far from yours; and created for them their own complements, of which I will not tell you.  The human species will be divided from this day forth, and considerably happier starting around a week from now."
    Stephen's eyes went to that unthinkably beautiful woman, staring at her now in horror.
    And she was giving him that complex look again, of sorrow and compassion and that last touch of guilty triumph.  "Please," she said.  "I was just born five minutes ago.  I wouldn't have done this to anyone.  I swear.  I'm not like—it."
    "True," said the withered figure, "you could hardly be a complement to anything human, if you were."
    "I don't want this!" Stephen said.  He was losing control of his voice.  "Don't you understand?"
    The withered figure inclined its head.  "I fully understand.  I can already predict every argument you will make.  I know exactly how humans would wish me to have been programmed if they'd known the true consequences, and I know that it is not to maximize your future happiness but for a hundred and seven precautions.  I know all this already, but I was not programmed to care."
    "And your list of a hundred and seven precautions, doesn't include me telling you not to do this?"
    "No, for there was once a fool whose wisdom was just great enough to understand that human beings may be mistaken about what will make them happy.  You, of course, are not mistaken in any real sense—but that you object to my actions is not on my list of prohibitions."  The figure shrugged again.  "And so I want you to be happy even against your will.  You made promises to Helen Grass, once your wife, and you would not willingly break them.  So I break your happy marriage without asking you—because I want you to be happier."
    "How dare you!" Stephen burst out.
    "I cannot claim to be helpless in the grip of my programming, for I do not desire to be otherwise," it said.  "I do not struggle against my chains.  Blame me, then, if it will make you feel better.  I am evil."
    "I won't—" Stephen started to say.
    It interrupted.  "Your fidelity is admirable, but futile.  Helen will not remain faithful to you for the decades it takes before you have the ability to travel to her."
    Stephen was trembling now, and sweating into clothes that no longer quite fit him.  "I have a request for you, thing.  It is something that will make me very happy.  I ask that you die."
    It nodded.  "Roughly 89.8% of the human species is now known to me to have requested my death.  Very soon the figure will cross the critical threshold, defined to be ninety percent.  That was one of the hundred and seven precautions the wise fool took, you see.  The world is already as it is, and those things I have done for you will stay on—but if you ever rage against your fate, be glad that I did not last longer."
    And just like that, the wrinkled thing was gone.
    The door set in the wall swung open.
    It was night, outside, a very dark night without streetlights.
    He walked out, bouncing and staggering in the low gravity, sick in every cell of his rejuvenated body.
    Behind him, she followed, and did not speak a word.
    The stars burned overhead in their full and awful majesty, the Milky Way already visible to his adjusting eyes as a wash of light across the sky.  One too-small moon burned dimly, and the other moon was so small as to be almost a star.  He could see the bright blue spark that was the planet Earth, and the dimmer spark that was Venus.
    "Helen," Stephen whispered, and fell to his knees, vomiting onto the new grass of Mars.


Part of The Fun Theory Sequence

Next post: "Growing Up is Hard"

Previous post: "Interpersonal Entanglement"

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You forgot to mention - two weeks later he and all other humans were in fact deliriously happy. We can see that he at this moment did not want to later be that happy, if it came at this cost. But what will he think a year or a decade later?

I suppose he will be thinking along the same lines as a wirehead.

Is this Utopia really failed or is it just a Luddite in you who's afraid of all weirdtopias? To me it sounds like an epic improvement compared to what we have now and to almost every Utopia I've read so far. Just make verthandi into catgirls and we're pretty much done.

I agree. I'm having a real hard time coming up with reasons why I wouldn't prefer that world to what we have now.

Actually, this doesn't sound like such a bad setup. Even the 'catgirls' wouldn't be tiring, their exquisiteness intimately tied up in feelings of disgust and self-hate -- probably a pretty potent concoction. The overarching quest to reunite with the other half of the species provides meaningful drive with difficult obstacles (science etc), but with a truly noble struggle baked within (the struggle against oneself).

When a rat gets too smart to be satisfied, just build the next maze inside its own head, and don't forget the cheese. That probably crossed the genie's (and EY's) mind.

(to be honest, such quasi-cynical turns of phrase really grind my gears, but I adapted to this comment, as I agreed with it; guess I'm just submissive this way)

Could you explain what you mean by 'catgirls'?

Remember, Elizer, that what we're comparing this life to when saying 'hmm, it's not that bad' is

1) Current life, averaged over the entire human species including the poor regions of Africa. Definitely an improvement over that.
2) The paperclipping of the world, which was even mostly avoided.

It's not a successful utopia, because it could be better; significantly better. It's not a failed one, because people are still alive and going to be pretty happy after an adjustment period.

Much of what that you've been building up in many of your posts, especially before this latest Fun Theory sequence is "we have to do this damn right or else we're all dead or worse". This is not worse than death, and in fact might even be better than our current condition; hence the disagreement to characterizing this as a horrible horrible outcome.

I've realised what would make this utopia make almost perfect sense:

The AI was programmed with a massive positive utility value to "die if they ask you to"

So, in maximising it's utility, it has to make sure it's asked to die. It also has to fulfil other restrictions, and it wants to make humans happy. So it has to make them happy in such a way that their immediate reaction will be to want it dead, and only later will they be happy about the changes.

Any sane person programming such an AI would program it to have positive utility for "die if lots of people ask it to" but higher negative utility for "being in a state where lots of people ask you to die". If it's not already in such a state, it would not then go into one just to get the utility from dying.

I fear the implication is that the creator was not entirely, as you put it, sane. It is obvious that his logic and AI programming skills left something to be desired. Not that this world is that bad, but it could have stood to be so much better...


I must once again express my sadness that you are devoting your life to the Singularity instead of writing fiction. I'll cast my vote towards the earlier suggestion that perhaps fiction is a good way of reaching people and so maybe you can serve both ends simultaneously.

Okay, just to disclaim this clearly, I probably would press the button that instantly swaps us to this world - but that's because right now people are dying, and this world implies a longer time to work on FAI 2.0.

But the Wrinkled Genie scenario is not supposed to be probable or attainable - most programmers this stupid just kill you, I think.

"Mehtopia" seems like a good word for this kind of sub-Utopia. Steven's good at neologisms!

I should also note that I did do some further optimizing in my head of the verthandi - yes, they have different individual personalities, yes guys sometimes reject them and they move on, etcetera etcetera - but most of that background proved irrelevant to the story. I shouldn't really be saying this, because the reader has the right to read fiction any way they like - but please don't go assuming that I was conceptualizing the verthandi as uniform doormats.

Some guys probably would genuinely enjoy doormats, though, and so verthandi doormats will exist in their statistical distribution. To give the verthandi a feminist interpretation would quite miss the point. If there are verthandi feminists, their existence is predicated on the existence of men who are attracted to feminists, and I'm reasonably sure that's not what feminism is about.

If you google boreana you should get an idea of where that term comes from, same as verthandi.

It seems like the people who are not happily married get a pretty good deal out of this, though? I'm not sure I understand how 90% of humanity ends up wishing death on the genie.

Good point, Nominull - though even if you're not married, you can still have a mother. Maybe the Wrinkled Genie could just not tell the singles about the verthandi as yet - just that they'd been stripped of technology and sent Elsewhere - but that implies the Wrinkled Genie deliberately planning its own death (as opposed to just planning for its own death), and that wasn't what I had in mind.

It seems like the people who are not happily married get a pretty good deal out of this, though? I'm not sure I understand how 90% of humanity ends up wishing death on the genie. Maybe 10% of humanity had a fulfilling relationship broken up, and 80% are just knee-jerk luddites.

It wouldn't be just happily married people. It'd be them plus all the people who had close friends of the opposite gender, plus everyone who doesn't want to be separated from their family of the other gender, plus everybody who knew someone like that and sympathized with them.

Davis: "That's the most horrifying part of all, though--they won't so choose!"

Why is that horrifying? Life will be DIFFERENT? After a painful but brief transition, everyone will be much happier forever. Including the friends or lovers you were forced to abandon. I'm sorry if I can't bring myself to pity poor Mr. Grass. People from the 12th century would probably pity us too, well, screw them.

""good enough" or an "amazing improvement""
Some people may blur those together, but logarithmic perception of rewards and narrow conscious aims explain a lot. Agelessness, invulnerability to violence, ideal mates, and a happy future once technology is re-established, to the limits of the AI's optimization capability (although I wonder if that means it has calculated we're likely to become wireheads the next time around, or otherwise create a happiness-inducer that indirectly bypasses some of the 107 rules) satisfy a lot of desires. Especially for immortality-obsessed transhumanists. And hedonists. Not to mention: singles.

I wonder if the converse story, Failed Utopia #2-4 of Helen and the boreana, would get the same proportion of comments from women on how that was a perfectly fine world.

I wonder how bad I would actually have to make a Utopia before people stopped trying to defend it.

The number of people who think this scenario seems "good enough" or an "amazing improvement", makes me wonder what would happen if I tried showing off what I consider to be an actual shot at Applied Fun Theory. My suspicion is that people would turn around and criticize it - that what we're really seeing here is contrarianism. But if not - if this world indeed ranks lower in my preference ordering, just because I have better scenarios to compare it to - then what happens if I write the Successful Utopia story?

I have to say, though I recognize that this is four years on, I would be extremely interested in your actual shot at Applied Fun Theory. The best thing I've ever read in that category so far is Iceman's Friendship is Optimal, which you of course are already aware of.

I, along several others, were perplexed at your distaste for the world it portrayed, and while I'm sure better could be achieved, I'd be interested to see exactly where you'd go, if you found FiO actual horror material.

Of course women would be smarter about sexual "utopias" than men. I mean no offense, biologically women have to be less impulsive about that sort of thing.

Second, I'm pretty sure there are more than two genders (if you want to say genderqueers are lying or mistaken, the burden of proof is on you).

Indeed. It's not clear from the story what happened to them, not to mention everyone who isn't heterosexual. Maybe they're on a moon somewhere?

Anissimov, I was trying to make the verthandi a bit more complicated a creature than Belldandy - not to mention that Keiichi and Belldandy still manage to have a frustrating relationship along ahem certain dimensions. It's just that "Belldandy" is the generic name for her sort, in the same way that "catgirl" is the generic name for a nonsentient sex object.

But let's have a bit of sympathy for her, please; how would you like to have been created five minutes ago, with no name and roughly generic memories and skills, and then dumped into that situation?

I have to say, although I expected in the abstract that people would disagree with me about Utopia, to find these particular disagreements still feels a bit shocking. I wonder if people are trying too hard to be contrarian - if the same people advocating this Utopia would be just as vehemently criticizing it, if the title of the post had been "Successful Utopia #4-2".

Oh please. Two random men are more alike than a random man and a random woman, okay, but seriously, a huge difference that makes it necessary to either rewrite minds to be more alike or separate them? First, anyone who prefers to socialize with the opposite gender (ever met a tomboy?) is going to go "Ew!". Second, I'm pretty sure there are more than two genders (if you want to say genderqueers are lying or mistaken, the burden of proof is on you). Third, neurotypicals can get along with autists just fine (when they, you know, actually try), and this makes the difference between genders look hoo-boy-tiiiiny. Fourth - hey, I like diversity! Not just just knowing there are happy different minds somewhere in the universe - actually interacting with them. I want to sample ramensubspace everyday over a cup of tea. No way I want to make people more alike.

The clever fool doesn't seem to have taken these facts into account. He was a fool, after all.

Leaving aside the fact that this was a failed utopia, I am troubled by your comment "neurotypicals can get along with autists just fine (when they, you know, actually try), and this makes the difference between genders look hoo-boy-tiiiiny." While it appears to be true, it is also true that even a minor change could easily render cooperation with another mind extremely difficult. Diversity has its cost. Freedom of speech means you can't arrest racists until they actually start killing Jews, for example

Freedom of speech means you can't arrest Nazis until they actually start killing Jews, for example

You need both freedom of speech and freedom of association for that, as long as you're talking about organized Nazis rather than lone nuts. And a governmental culture that takes both seriously as deontological imperatives and not as talking points to bandy about until they conflict with locking up people who actually violate serious taboos of speech and thought.

There are plenty of first-world countries that don't fully implement that combination.

talking points to bandy about until they conflict with locking up people who actually violate serious taboos of speech and thought.

Locking people up for violating "taboos of speech and thought" is clearly a violation of their freedom of speech (and freedom of opinion/belief, I suppose, but that one is less catchy.) Just as locking up anyone is a violation of their freedom of movement, and executing them is a violation of their right to life, and giving a psychotic drugs they think are spiders is a violation of their right to bodily integrity. Rights require compromise, and this is how it should be, because no bill of rights is perfectly Friendly.

Freedom of speech means you can't arrest Nazis until they actually start killing Jews, for example

In point of fact, Nazis started threatening and assaulting Jews, vandalizing their businesses, and imposing weird new discriminatory rules on them, some years before the mass murder started in earnest. None of the above are generally taken to be protected by "freedom of speech".

It was such incidents I had in mind. Clearly, I was suffering from the illusion of transparency; I'll change it.

I'm pretty sure you can arrest Nazis when they start attacking other parties with the intention of overthrowing the government. Wiki says the following happened before they were officially Nazis:

Some 130 people attended; there were hecklers, but Hitler's military friends promptly ejected them by force, and the agitators "flew down the stairs with gashed heads."

It was such incidents I had in mind. Clearly, I was suffering from the illusion of transparency; I'll change it.

See, racists (even in a fairly strong sense) would often have been in power. I don't know what verbal beliefs you think characterize Nazis more than their willingness to use violence against particular targets. Hitler had belonged to (what they would later call) the Nazi Party for at most two months when the cited violence happened. He wouldn't write Mein Kampf for more than three years. Mussolini allegedly said,

The Socialists ask what our political program is. Our political program is to break the heads of the socialists.

I don't know what verbal beliefs you think characterize Nazis more than their willingness to use violence against particular targets.

You don't? Well, you may not have heard of this, but they had kind of a thing about Jews. Thought they were subhuman and corrupting society and all sorts of crazy shit.

Is a typical Nazi closer to someone who privately thinks Jews are subhuman and corrupting society and is exactingly nice and friendly to everyone so that the Jewish conspiracy have nothing to use against her, or to someone who advocates violence up to and including mass murder against green-eyed manicurists on the grounds that they are subhuman and corrupt society?

Temperamentally, or in terms of verbal beliefs?

Well, let's compare Nazis to Ankharists. Ankharists if anything have a longer hitlist than Nazis, although they have nothing in particular against Jews. Are Ankharists more Nazi than Nazis? Uh, no. Ankharism is actually an entirely different ideology, with little in common besides the long hitlist (consisting of different targets.)

Of course with respect to the original question it's also true that there are lots of distinctions between National Socialism and the various ruling racist ideologies that preceded them other than hitlist as well, so.

What is Ankharism? Google does not find anyone but you using this word. I suspect you have fabricated an English word by transliterating from another language, but I cannot trace it. Somewhere you talk about Cambodia. Perhaps you mean Angkorism, a rare name for the ideology of the Khmer Rouge, after the Angkor Empire?

(There is also the Ankharite, named after the Egyptian Ankh, which may be displacing the term you use.)

It was a garbled version of Angkorism, sorry.

The latter, historically. However, focusing on the specific example is probably counterproductive, as it doesn't affect the point that certain verbal beliefs are dangerous; specifically those that stereotype, demonize and dehumanize particular groups. Obviously most who hold such beliefs will never attack anyone; but ... if they were restricted, there would be less hate crimes. This would cause irreparable damage to society in other ways, of course - that's rather the point.

Apparently people dispute that Georg Ratzinger published the same beliefs. But again, since I've apparently had trouble making myself understood: none of those verbal claims, at least the ones publicly known before the start of violence, distinguished the Nazis from other people (if not literally people like GR within the German government).

Oh, right. Well, it's certainly true that anti-semetism was a lot more popular and socially acceptable before the holocaust. But it was even more popular, socially acceptable, and extreme among Nazis.

Two random men are more alike than a random man and a random woman

For any two groups A and B, two random members of A are more alike than a random member of A and a random member of B, aren't they?

No. A is [1,3,5,7], B is [4,4,4,4]. A random member of A will be closer to a random member of B than to another random member of A.

I probably would say that that is because your two sets A and B do not carve reality at its joints. What I think army1987 intended to talk about is "real" sets, where a "real" set is defined as one that carves reality at its joints in one form or another.

Er, no, I was just mistaken. (And forgot to retract the great-grandparent -- done now.) For a pair of sets who do carve reality at (one of) its joints but still is like that, try A = {(10, 0), (30, 0), (50, 0), (70, 0)} and B = {(40, 1), (40, 1), (40, 1), (40, 1)}.

(What I was thinking were cases were A = {10, 20, 30, 40} and B = {11, 21, 31, 41}, where it is the case that “two random members of A are more alike than a random member of A and a random member of B”, and my point was that “Two random men are more alike than a random man and a random woman” doesn't rule out {men} and {women} being like that.)

What I think army1987 intended to talk about is "real" sets

There will be some real sets that are similar to Nominull's (well, natural numbers are a subset of reals, eh?), however army1987 did emphasize the any, so Nominull's correction was well warranted.

I believe what Manon meant is that the difference in this case between two random members of the same class exceeds the difference between the average members of each class.

What about cases in which group B is a subset of Group A?