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The analogy doesn't work. It is unconditionally bad to point a gun at someone -- "every gun is loaded" as the saying goes -- so you still violated protocol even if it's unloaded. In contrast, propositioning someone in an elevator retroactively becomes okay merely on the basis that you're not part of the rabble.

Wait, what? The analogy works exactly; you're just assuming a priori that the bit you think doesn't fit actually doesn't fit. The analogy logically goes that if it's wrong to point a gun at someone regardless of whether you think it's loaded because it might be anyway and that would be Very Bad, it's also wrong to proposition women in elevators regardless of whether you think they'll accept because the situation where they don't would be Very Bad.

I don't know how you missed this; you seem to me to have pointed yourself directly to this conclusion and then walked past it.

A murder is a serious crime. Guede clearly had to break into the house to commit the murder, so he also committed a burglary by your definition.

Which would mean there's no evidence that the burglary was staged, because that would mean that in addition to the burglary that Guede committed, ANOTHER burglary must have been staged by someone else. Which would usually be instantly eliminated by Occam's Razor unless there's a significant amount of evidence of two separate burglaries.

I think this is it exactly. But let's be rigorous:

  1. "I am trying to get you to get a doctorate by holding back marriage." Still works.
  2. No goal (that I can see), therefore nothing.
  3. No goal (that I can see), therefore nothing.
  4. No goal, therefore nothing (assuming I interpret 5 to mean that 4 is NOT with intent).
  5. "I am teasing you to get you to have sex with me." This probably will not work, but partly because it interrupts the flirting rather than because she knows that the flirting is going on. Depends on how severe the teasing is, really.
  6. "I am teasing you to get you to have sex with me." This probably will not work either, same reason as 5.
  7. Assuming no ulterior motives, "I am trying to get you to become a teacher by this encouragement" Still works.
  8. "I am trying to get you to become a lawyer by this encouragement" Okay, here's an error; it's clearly not that I can tell you what I'm doing that's necessary. Or at least, not alone.

So, with the corrections suggested by doing this, the distinction should be:

If the target having full knowledge of what you're doing doesn't affect whether it works, it's influence. If the target having full knowledge of what you're doing does affect whether it works, it's manipulation.

Or, to get at why one is immoral and the other isn't, if there's deception involved it's manipulation. If there isn't it's influence.

Also, though Wikipedia is not an entirely reliable source, it contradicts your claim that "men hunt women gather" is a human universal. Though it's more common than not, there are a few hunter-gatherer tribes where women help men track animals, or where men also gather sometimes, and at least one tribe where women also kill the animals.

Not that you're likely to read this, of course, since you posted the OP years ago, but I just thought I should further point out that your theory is very improbable.

H*st*r! H*st*r! H*st*r!


  1. False
  2. True
  3. True

Why am I giving (most of) these in boolean terms rather than probabilities? Bayesian probabilities aren't useful in cases where the most probable scenario for (AK guilty) is something like "Two of the perpetrators were secretly ninjas". There really is no rational way to convict someone for leaving no forensic evidence in a room whatsoever.

I have to admit here though that I peeked at your article before posting this. And incidentally, predicted what it would say pretty damn well. (AK not guilty with a probability that reduces to 0, with the other two probabilities also expressible in boolean terms, and on the whole contradictory of the opinion of the jury)

I also have to admit I skipped straight to Wikipedia after reading your article, and found mostly that the facts you gave were correct and thus your argument was sound. My prior probability for any of them being guilty was very low however; around 10%ish. Jury decisions are pretty worthless before an appeal.

I think the entire story of Exodus from Egypt is more likely to be (mostly) fiction than based on a real event.

As Eliezer himself said in that post, the Egyptians were "known for their obsessive record-keeping". If anything remotely comparable to the Ten Plagues or the Exodus happened in Egypt, they ought to have recorded it. That they didn't is very strong evidence that nothing happened.

Same general counterargument as the other people who've posted:

1) If this anecdote is all you have to base your theory on, you have essentially no more chance of being right than I would be making up random theories in quantum mechanics.

2) If you say "I think men can find jars easier because male hunter-gatherers hunted", you are likely some random crank who has just enough experience in the field to think of the idea. Once you suggest a method to test it, you prove that you are familiar enough with the idea and with the rest of the field to know what would prove it which elevates you from "some random crank" to "guy with a strange idea".

I don't see why you think that 3 extra people, no matter if they're honest or not, amount to any significant amount of evidence when you can see the diagram yourself.

Sure, maybe they're good enough if you can't see the diagram; 3 people thinking the same thing doesn't often happen when they're wrong. But when they are wrong, when you can see that they are wrong, then it doesn't matter how many of them there are.

Also: certainly the odds aren't high that you're right if we're talking totally random odds about a proposition where the evidence is totally ambiguous. But since there is a diagram, the odds then shift to either the very low probability "My eyesight has suddenly become horrible in this one instance and no others" combined with the high probability "3/4 people are right about a seemingly easy problem", versus the low probability "3/4 people are wrong about a seemingly easy problem", versus the high probability "My eyesight is working fine".

I don't know the actual numbers for this, but it seems likely the the probability of your eyesight suddenly malfunctioning in strange and specific ways is worse then the probability of 3 other people getting an easy problem wrong. Remember, they can have whatever long-standing problems with their eyesight or perception or whatever anyone cares to make up. Or you could just take the results of Asch's experiment as a prior and say that they're not that much more impressive than 1 person going first.

(All this of course changes if they can explain why C is a better answer; if they have a good logical reason for it despite how odd it seems, it's probably true. But until then, you have to rely on your own good logical reason for B being a better answer.)

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