All of christina's Comments + Replies

Interesting thoughts. Definitely agree that morality comes from people, and specifically their interactions with each other. Although I would additionally clarify that in my case I consider morality (as opposed to a simple action decided by personal gain or benefit) comes from the interaction between sentients where one or more can act on another based on knowledge not only of their own state but the state of that other. This is because I consider any sentient to have some nonzero moral value to me, but am not sure if I would consider all of them person... (read more)

Are you afraid of people who agree with you because you worry some will chime in with badly supported arguments? I imagine there are few things people enjoy less than seeing someone making a bad argument with the same conclusion as theirs, regardless of the quality of their own argument. Of course, I could be misinterpreting your statement here. Obviously, you could point out that their argument is flawed.

If they are making the same argument as you, though, and the only difference is how they make it, then you cannot say their argument is flawed (sinc... (read more)

It's also been said that ancient humans were more intelligent than modern ones. In fact, both the argument for human intelligence and the wolf-dog argument have put forward the idea that being domesticated lowers intelligence (in the case of humans, it can be said we domesticated ourselves). I don't really think this is a simple hypothesis to investigate at all given the complexity of investigating intelligence.

Some references:

News Article on Human Intelligence--News article discussing this hypothesis.

Gerald Crabtree--This is the researcher I've seen... (read more)

I think there isn't really a problem with people discussing 'political' subjects, because the problem isn't politics. Really, anything that involves 'philosophy' and the word 'should' can be a potential problem, even if this is only implicit in the conversation. If you don't want to feel angry or to have people angry at you, the solution is simple--only talk to people you already agree with.

In fact, people can happily discuss politics and philosophy all day long, and do so all the time--as long as both parties already agree with the other's conclusions. ... (read more)

Yeah. The discussions I am talking about are exploratory, people would not be expected to have strong opinions if it weren't for pattern-matching. I'm not as much worried about fallacies all around. One problem I have is that I am more afraid of people who agree with me than people I don't. THank you.

My thought is that it would be best not to offer in the particular situation you gave. That is, it was night, and presumably there was no life-threatening danger to her from the rain.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being generous, but there are always other factors to consider. If, for example, you want to hold doors open for people or offer to carry heavy things, that is fine, as long as you do that for everyone consistently and don't take offense if anyone refuses. Also, you may want to consider the context. Even if you are not a scary perso... (read more)

Thanks. I will take a look at it. Once I finish setting it up and sift through the codebase to find the templates and other frontend interface things, I'll see what I can do.

There are a number of issues with post visibility on this site. When I first posted here, it actually took a week for me to figure out just how to make my post visible. And when I posted here again recently after not posting for a while, I had this problem again, although the last time it was actually a different issue, I believe.

As a programmer, my analysis is that many of the issues about post visibility that bother me would not really require major code changes. Most are just usability-type things, like better placement or sizing for interface func... (read more)

It's all here []. Eliezer approves most change requests, I assume. And the TrikeApps people would probably review the implementation, when they have time.

Thank you! I can see my posts now when following those instructions. I confess, I didn't want to post an entire discussion article just to ask this question, but I was going crazy trying to figure it out.

Why wouldn't you offer to assist a male who had no umbrella? That seems rather uncharitable of you.

It does, and the fact that I have implicit gender norms/behaviors like that bothers me. There's also other factors to take into consideration; all things being equal I'd prefer to associate with people in my age group (I'm on the low end of the age scale here - edit: I mean at my workplace, not on LW), and if she wasn't at a different site but rather a direct higher-up over me, it would be extremely awkward to offer the umbrella.

I am confused why your friend thought good social justice arguments do not use logic to defend their claims. Good arguments of any kind use logic to defend their claims. Ergo, all the good social justice arguments are using logic to defend their claims. Why did you not say this to your friend?

EDIT: Also confused about your focus on axioms. Axioms, though essential, are the least interesting part of any logical argument. If you do not accept the same axioms as your debate partner, the argument is over. Axioms are by definition not mathematically demonstrable. In your post, you stated that axioms could be derived from other fundamental axioms, which is incorrect. Could you clarify your thinking on this?

I got a 22 on that test. I am fairly convinced I do not have Aspergers Syndrome, not only because I've not been diagnosed and that's lower than the cutoff point given, but the experiences described for those who have it seem quite different from mine in several respects. I am convinced that I am intensely introverted, however. It's not that I don't like other people, but that I have a lot more energy and enthusiasm when I have plenty of time to myself.

I see this type of thing a lot. It's kind of only interesting to me in an academic sense, because even if that amount of alchohol promotes longevity, I am not willing to drink due to being an utter control freak (and several relatives of mine had severe substance abuse problems, so if there's any genetic component to that I want to avoid it). In any case, if it does, I wonder what the mechanism is?

Wait. You dropped algebra? Do you just not need educational instruction in mathematics? If you are self-taught and just looking for an interesting course, go meet the professor before you choose one. If they seem like a fun person, sign up for it. Otherwise, go retake algebra at your earliest convenience--unless you were just taking it again for fun...

The most important question you've asked here is:

"Should I care more about making money or doing something that I have a "passion" for?"

And my answer is: You should care about both, approximately equally.

I would advise that you don't ever choose something that makes you want to gouge your eyes out with a metal fork just because the average yearly salary is six or seven figures. Most likely the result will not be anything like what you are visualizing (eg. early retirement, actually having time to enjoy your money, reasonable mental ... (read more)

Actually, I used to have a similar ability as well, although that was primarily for life experiences + written material (came in handy on tests--read once-write anywhere, heh). It faded and largely disappeared sometime during high school. I feel I compensated fairly well afterward, so the loss doesn't bother me too much. Not that I wouldn't be interested if I found a way to get it back, though.

It seems different people may experience changes in this type of memory at different times. Maybe those adults who are considered to have really good memories just never had their childhood mnemonic abilities fade over time.

Upvoted for your very relevant article selection.

Yes, I was aware of both the pink/blue reversal and the unbreeched boys practice. The insanely rapid (at least if considered on an evolutionary timescale) pink/blue reversal in particular indicates to me that some things are entirely culture.

I think the young Louis XV is even more apropos to illustrate the sentence you responded to from my post. In fact, I'll go add that link in now...

Still, regardless of where my preferences come from, I don't particularly want our culture to return to dressing all child... (read more)

Just thought I would comment on this:

I know it's hard, but DON'T tell little girls that they look cute, and DON'T comment on their adorable little outfits, or their pony-tailed hair.

Actually, I don't think I would ever find this difficult. An adorable child is one who is using their toy dragon to level their toy castle. But I do agree that this is a behavior our society encourages, and that it is quite widespread. I feel a bit ambivalent about this kind of advice, though. I think there are benefits to discouraging this type of behavior in the adul... (read more)

Read this []. Make sure not to miss the picture of little Franklin Roosevelt in his frilly dress.

Practically speaking, I don't think it is important to achieve the sort of goals humans generally want to achieve.

Should be read as "Practically speaking, I don't think it (doing the thing we are talking about, knowing others' preferences) is important to achieve the sort of goals humans generally want to achieve."

Upvoted for clarifying this point. This changes my interpretation of this sentence considerably, so perhaps I can now address your intended meaning. This statement does have a truth value (which I believe to be false). I disagre... (read more)

Practically speaking, I don't think it is important to achieve the sort of goals humans generally want to achieve.

Okay. You are telling me something about your preferences then.

If I'm trading you ice cream for flour, what we really need to nail down...

And why is that? Why are those facts more important than, say, that the ice cream is bubblegum-flavored or blue-colored or sweetened with aspartame or made from coconut milk? Knowing the temperature of the ice cream or the composition of the flour is important only in the sense that there can be huma... (read more)

Should be read as "Practically speaking, I don't think it (doing the thing we are talking about, knowing others' preferences) is important to achieve the sort of goals humans generally want to achieve." English permitted me to exclude that clause and have the same wording as a phrase that conveys the exact opposite of my point. Sorry. I can imagine your confusion reading that and seeing me follow it with an example that illustrates a point opposite of how you read that. But no, I am not saying anything about my preferences, but am describing a relationship between what people want and the world, the relationship is that in general knowing about preferences doesn't help people achieve their goals, but knowing about states of the world does. But I don't need to know them if you do and we share knowledge about states of the world. A very, very hazy idea of others' preferences is sufficient, so improved knowledge beyond that isn't too useful. Alternatively, with no idea of them, we can still trade by saying what we want and giving a preference ranking rather than trying to guess what the other wants. I did not mean it is always true in this universe but not like that in other universes. Instead I meant it is almost always true in this universe. If you are in a situation in this world, such as a financial one or one in which you disagree over a joint action to take, it will almost always be better to get a unit of relevant information about consequences of actions than a unit of relevant information about the other person's preferences, particularly if you can communicate half-decently or better. Also, for random genies or whatever with random amounts of information about each other and the world, they will each usually be better able to achieve their goals by knowing more about the world. This depends heavily on an intuitive comparison of what "random relevant" information of a certain quantity looks like. That might not be intelligible, more likely a formal treat

If someone in fact enjoys eating cheese, and thinks the moon is made of cheese, I'll tend to just call his opinion that he would enjoy eating a piece of the moon "wrong".

Certainly. As I said in my first post, you can have objections to a fact stated if you believe it is incorrect.

Disagreeing on facts is often sufficient to cause a problem.

This is also true. Whether two people disagree only on the facts or only on preferences, the same amount of trouble can be had. Also if people disagree on both.

There are a lot of facts more important

... (read more)
Practically speaking, I don't think it ((ETA for clarity) doing the thing we are talking about, knowing others' preferences) is important to achieve the sort of goals humans generally want to achieve. If I'm trading you ice cream for flour, what we really need to nail down is that the ice cream has been in the freezer and not out in the sun, the flour is from wheat and isn't dirt or cocaine, it's not soaked in water etc. Then, we can negotiate a trade without knowing each other's preferences. In contrast, if we only know each other's preferences, we won't get very far. I will use the word "rectangle" (which in my language would refer to what you call "ice cream") and offer you melted ice cream, etc. Not logically so - there are possible minds whose only desire is to only know the other person's opinions. I meant it as an assertion of what's generally true in human interactions. Knowing the other person's preferences is far less often necessary than knowing other facts, it's never sufficient for a realistic human scenario I can think of. So as I intended it "less important" applies in a stronger sense than "I disapprove" since compared to the other type of knowledge those facts are less often necessary and less often sufficient.

Interesting. Thanks for your perspective. I think you probably know more about this topic than I do. What do you think the expectations are for the husband, and for the wife's family? It seems that there is an expectation that the husband is able to earn money (ie. since you mentioned that large amounts of money are given to highly educated men, my assumption is that the wife's family is expecting him to earn money with his education, but if you think that's untrue I'd be interested to know your reasoning). However, you seem to be saying that there i... (read more)

Yes, I believe the general expectation is that the husband will be able to earn money in the future in order to support his family. So to that extent, the answer to Jack's question of why poor Indian men don't marry the daughters of footballers is that the woman's family will simply not allow such a thing to take place- and eloping with the girl against the wishes of the family is not likely to earn them much by way of dowry. From what I understand there is no long term expectation of help with money from the wife's family apart from the dowry amounts paid at the time of the wedding. However, it is also not terribly uncommon to find that even years after the wedding there are requests/demands for money and these are fulfilled. There are generally no expectations for the husband to support the wife's family with money. Standard disclaimers about the size of India and the diversity of practices there apply to this comment as well. :)

Actually, my point is that an opinion = facts + preferences. First, you form a belief about the state of the world, and then you may assign a value to that state and decide on an action. Two people may have identical beliefs about a certain fact in the world, but may not assign identical value to that state. If this is the case, there is no point in trying to prove the fact being considered wrong. Sometimes it is the preferences themselves that differ. This can sometimes be resolved, but it does require thinking about the thought processes behind thos... (read more)

I only intended that in the sense that someone's opinion may be based on a misconception. If someone in fact enjoys eating cheese, and thinks the moon is made of cheese, I'll tend to just call his opinion that he would enjoy eating a piece of the moon "wrong". Disagreeing on facts is often sufficient to cause a problem. There are a lot of facts more important than understanding the other's opinion. If we don't understand each other's preferences, we can still negotiate, if poorly. But if we are trading items it helps to establish common understanding of what me giving you an apple and you giving me an orange even mean.

Factual incorrectness is not the only objection a person could have to something. In many cases, people present what they believe to be the facts and then give their response to those facts. For example, someone says that Amy is 80 years old. They could then decide:

1.) Amy should be treated with unquestioning respect--they want to live in a society that respects their elders.

2.) Suggest that Amy should treat her children with unquestioning respect since they will have to take care of her.

3.) Say that Amy should be accorded respect, but not unquestioning... (read more)

That's why people usually use other things to object with if they are available. I don't object to a critic's value judgement that an opinion is bad if spread, but the most convenient way for the critic to encourage me to disfavor the opinion is to convince me it is false. If the critic does something else, perhaps that is because the truth of the opinion is not contested.

Upvoted for your thoughtful reply, which clarified a number of your points quite well. I will try to address some of your points and ask questions for those things I am still unclear on. Firstly, in your previous posts, it seems like you are discussing two separate issues—the first is the extent to which our decisions are based on external factors, the second is the extent to which our decisions are based on unconscious processing as opposed to conscious processing of those factors. Since your last post focused more on the second issue, this post wil... (read more)

OK, so let's say it tells you that the useful information that you get from your consciousness is only 10% (semi-random number) of relevant information. It's not that it provides useful information to outweigh the conscious information, it just contextualizes it into being less important, even if it is most of the important information you have. So it should greatly reduce confidence, and affect decisions related to that. Let's say out of a group of 20 people you knew well, one was going to construct two teams to compete in an activity, say soccer. If I told you a random member of each team, you could predict which team would be more likely to win, but your confidence would be less than if I told you all the members on each team. This is so even though the information you know (one player per team) does more for you than that you don't know (the players who are evenly distributed). It is certainly possible that when presented with nearly identical items, people prefer the one on the right, but when presented with very different items, they all else equal do not. It is also possible there are few such effects and they are swamped by conscious ones. However, I see no evidence the effect is limited to similar items, I think there are many such effects, and an analogy to natural selection is applicable - it hardly matters for a rabbit's reproductive success whether it is a bit furrier or less furry than other rabbits, a bit bigger or a bit smaller, etc., but with many small effects occurring, the small effects add up. Based on research indicating that they effect emotion, I assume they probably effect choice absent having seen any study on point. I was thinking primarily of things broadly categorizable as negative motivation - physical discomfort, emotional fear, self-sabotage to have an excuse for later failure, etc. We apparently have very different priors. If basically "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", whereas subconscious processes would no

Thanks for your comments, and for clarifying your ideas. I think I can further address some of your points now.

It really wasn't, especially coming from you

Good to know you think my writing is usually clear, even if not in this case. I agree that there should have been more background added to the first post to make the statements clearer. I will try to improve this in the future, since one of my goals for my writing is for it to be clear to those reading it. Therefore, I have tried to be as clear as I can in this post, although I suspect that it ... (read more)

I see now how my sentence was ambiguous. I meant: "people who believe that certain specific external things motivate their dress and other things don't may be wrong or may be right about each of those things, instead of "people who believe that certain specific external things motivate their dress and other things don't may be wrong or may be right that some things influence them and some things do not. "Because" isn't really enough, for each explanatory factor you have to tell me how close to being necessary and how close to being sufficient it was. I said I don't think that! I think more goes into decision making than attempting to achieve satisfaction. Our ability to know of the existence of facts is a separate fact than our ability to know those facts. You can be suspicious of anyone saying that they know your subconscious reasons without being suspicious of someone who tells you your articulated reasons are of moderate importance. If my road map has a huge hole separating the visible parts of a freeway to what scales to 50 miles, this does not mean that I can instantly teleport across the area represented by the hole by driving on that freeway. We believe there are unintuited influences, we should not pretend that all the influences we understand are all that influence us. One example I gave was this []: No, e.g. I would expect people to tell themselves flattering stories about whatever they did when they did it for a different reason, and then repeat that specific thing. E.g. if a person is stuck out in the rain and there are no umbrellas in local stores, that person might buy a parka and forever after "prefer waterproof jackets to umbrellas because then I don't have to carry something in my hand," (see here []). I might expect people to wear a certain color whenever and because they felt angry, but would expect people to differ greatl

People who believe that certain specific eternal things motivate their dress

What do you mean by eternal? What I find comfortable or functional is not eternal and varies depending on location, time of year, and the weather of the particular day, just to name a few of the relevant variables.

but I don't think anyone claiming that no such factors are hugely influential is right

Hugely influential in what way? Certainly I dress in certain ways that are indicative of the time period and culture I grew up in. I do not believe my choices are somehow unaf... (read more)

eternal-->external, sorry, edited. It really wasn't, especially coming from you, whose writing is almost never incomplete and confusing like that. I think people's articulated reasons are, even if true, not nearly complete. For example, the largest factor in someone choosing to wear a particular red thing might be anger, but the person might not know this and respond that he or she only dressed to please himself or herself, OR might say the choice was motivated by what others would like. Or a person might consistently prefer things presented to them by their closet on their right. Either way I don't trust intuitive conscious narratives people have for how they choose what to wear. So when you say "I therefore choose clothing that is comfortable and functional," I'm perfectly willing to believe your conscious thoughts about how to dress are vastly different than most others', but as I think the majority of influence is subconscious (for no clear reason do I think this), I think you probably choose clothing for largely the same reasons others do.

I agree. Choice of goals is based on preferences. But in order to meet the goal of being fashionable, considering subjective opinions is the only way to be objectively successful. To expand on that, I think a person would have to consider things like which people they want to judge them as fashionable. You can't please everyone--the person who likes goth styles is probably going to have a different aesthetic than the one who wears sweaters with kittens (although perhaps not always).

Fashion is a completely subjective opinion. If you want to be fashionable, you need to figure out who you're trying to be fashionable for, and figure out what they like. In my case, this is easy, since the person I dress for is myself. I therefore choose clothing that is comfortable and functional given the large amount of time I spend outdoors. I do get comments on my clothing at times, which are sometimes complimentary and sometimes not. I think it's best to wear the things you yourself like, even if you are dressing for someone else, though. Don't you want to attract the kind of people who like the things you do?

Choice of goals is subjective. Effectiveness of your actions in meeting those goals is objective.
As a person you are influenced by all sorts of things and the people around you and their expectations and responses. People who believe that certain specific external things motivate their dress and other things don't may be wrong or may be right, but I don't think anyone claiming that no such factors are hugely influential is right. John Maynard Keynes []

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to ask a couple questions.

Can you clarify if this meta-contrarian hypothesis of human psychology makes predictions that distinguish it from other explanations for holding an idea to be true or communicating it to be true? I ask since from reading some of the comments, the classification of these triads seems like a fluid thing, and I can't think of anything offhand that might be used to constrain them. If you want to use your hypothesis merely to talk about the reasons for why confidence is assigned, do you think ... (read more)

Upvoted for being clear, concise, and easy to read.

I think in order to understand what willpower is and what it is useful for, it is important to understand that people want more than one thing. For example, I want to read Internet news. I also want to improve my math abilities, increase my programming skills, read novels, learn more physics, improve at my job, draw more pictures, bicycle more, spend more time in nature, and bake more delicious strawberry-rhubarb pies of which I will place one scoop of vanilla ice cream on each slice I eat. That's not even close to an exhaustive list of all the things I... (read more)

Yes, that's what I was referring to. I use my debit card for online purchases, but I am selective about doing this, since I like to avoid fraud. I have had an experience with fraud before which was more time consuming than what you described (with a significant amount of paperwork), but did result in the bank returning the money to me. As a result of the unpleasantness of this experience, I tend to be reluctant to buy from sites I don't clearly recognize as legitimate.

This is not a strictly online concern for me, though. I also make much fewer debit ca... (read more)

Actually, from what I have seen, sellers have been very eager to eliminate this problem. In many of the stores near where I live, you can buy gift cards for various online sellers in addition to brick-and-mortar ones. For example, in my nearby grocery store, we have Amazon gift cards, Kindle gift cards, Ebay gift cards, and just the other day I saw one entire side of a gift card rack decked out in Facebook gift cards. Though Barnes and Noble and Best Buy both have brick and mortar stores, their gift cards allow you to purchase at either the store or the... (read more)

Could you elaborate? I'm currently doing this, and I saw no downsides, but that comment makes it look like there might be good reasons not to.

There are several things I would like to address, taking into account the additional information you have now supplied.

The trouble with this position is that the falsification of the issue has been available since before it became an issue. A more-than-cursory examination reveals this I disagree with this statement,since I think determining the truth or falsehood of most statements tends to be rather more complicated than it might intuitively seem, but this is the type of statement that would be relevant to supporting your original conclusion.

there nee

... (read more)

Thank you for explaining your intent in more detail. However, the fact that I see a logical problem with your argument still exists. I will try to clarify the issue.

How can the topic -- which is expressed as a 'serious problem' -- remaining a concern for discussion possibly exist except through the agency of various groups attempting to drive up fear levels amongst the public in order to achieve their specific goals?

If people are concerned about something untrue, then this may very well be because various groups are attempting to drive up fear levels... (read more)

The trouble with this position is that the falsification of the issue has been available since before it became an issue. A more-than-cursory examination reveals this -- as I have done. This means that there needs to be active suppression of this information to preserve the levels of fear we now see. Ahh... no, I never said that. I said I didn't make any presumptions about what their motivations in specific were. That's not the same as saying that I "don't care" about them. Someone has been raising the issue. I haven't made any presumptions about who or why -- only that it has been happening. I then described the act of raising a false fear as 'fearmongering'. They might not know they're doing it. They might honestly believe it. That they honestly believe a false fear to be valid doesn't change the fact that they are promoting a false fear.

I view a question about my opinion as a question about my preferences. In fact, I don't think there's any way a person can answer that question without referencing their preferences. Of course, I did try to go into more detail about what specific preferences were involved and reference facts when applicable, but I'm not really sure what benefits or advantages other people would enjoy, excepting those who agree with me. This is why I didn't reference that particular preference.

I'm not really sure why you think the comparison to the laws congress passes... (read more)

If the placebo effect actually worked exactly like that, then yes, you would die while the self-deluded person would do better. However, from personal experience, I highly suspect it doesn't (I have never had anything that I was told I'd be likely to die from, but I believe even minor illnesses give you some nonzero chance of dying). Here is how I would reason in the world you describe:

  1. There is some probability I will get better from this illness, and some probability I will die.

  2. The placebo effect isn't magic, it is a real part of the way the mind in

... (read more)
Well, yea obviously it's a simplified model to make the math easier, but the end result is the same. The real formula might for example look more like P=0.2+(expectation^2)/3 than P=expectation/2. In that case, the end result is both a real probability and expectation equal to 0.215377 (source:^2%29%2F3 [^2%29%2F3] ) Also, while I used the placebo effect as a dramatic and well known example, it crops up in a myriad other places. I am uncomfortable revealing to much detail, but it has an extremely real and devastating effect on my daily life which means I'm kind of desperate to resolve this and get pissed that people are saying the problem doesn't exist without showing how mathematically.

Fair enough. However, your preferences may simply be different than mine. I highly appreciate it when a person takes the effort to provide links to some of their sources for various facts, which don't necessarily have to be from Google Scholar (although that can be a plus). Obviously there is a limited amount of evidence than can be included in a comment, and most comments are not going to be able to provide enough evidence to exhaustively prove their claim. But to me some is better than none (where applicable--some responses don't lend themselves to c... (read more)

He explained it in another post []. To be honest if when I first read this I was a step or two nearer to him in inferential distance I would have probably found the comment witty. Considering he has spent some effort to shorten the chain, I'm changing my vote on it.

He's signalling contrarianism, specifically an anti-progressive political attitude. Note that the first sentence is a statement, and I would bet a large amount of money that it's true, based on no more evidence than I've seen on this page. The second sentence is pure snark.

I think I should emphasize that I don't think anything horrible should be done to any current symbolic monarch, and I do not approve of what happened to the full monarchs during the French Revolution. However, symbolic monarchs are very expensive politicians to maintain, and whether or not they gain their position is an accident of birth. They may not have absolute power like a full monarch would have, and therefore I disapprove of them less than I would a full monarch (since their role is quite different), but I still disapprove.

I should note that I di... (read more)

You link to a web page that says: "Latest figures show the cost of supporting the Royal Family has gone up to nearly £37m a year." That's a drop in the bucket. The American Congress is much more expensive to maintain. I refer not to their salaries but to what they cost the US. For example, when Congress passes a law that requires that a hundred billion dollars be spent on something that does more harm than good, then the Congress has cost us a hundred billion dollars. In comparison to that, the damage done to the country's purse by the Royal Family is pocket money. Much of your reply is devoted to stating your preferences, which tells us only about you (you are signaling your political allegiances). However, the question that was asked was not about your preferences. It was "what precise advantage, in your opinion, does France enjoy..." and "do you think that there is some difference that makes the lack of a monarch beneficial only for the French..." Your preferences and your political allegiances are not quite the same thing as what advantages and benefits a population enjoys.

Upvoted since you put forth a pretty good argument for your case here, although I would prefer more citations. I still disagree that this post supports your other post or vice versa.

I'm not really in favor of citations (unless it is a direct quote) in blog comments - a clear, well-reasoned argument is better and most peoples attention and interest is limited and therefore so is the length of post they are likely to read in the first place. If a comment piques your interest, or simply your curiosity, Google Scholar can provide support (or disproof) readily and to a much greater, and especially more broad ranging, extent than is possible in a comment. ADDED: Thinking about this comment, I realized I could be taken as arguing against citations in general which wasn't what I intended. I just don't think requests for citations by replying commenters is worthwhile.

I do not believe emotional comments are inherently irrational. As all of us experience emotion, almost any comment we make is emotional, in that it elicits certain emotions from both ourselves and others. However, not all emotional comments are rational. I still do not believe that your last comment on what to think of peak oil was rational ( I also disagree that the term agenda used in that context is not emotionally charged, but this topic may be more subjective than the other and is less central to my point, so I won't discuss it further here).

Your l... (read more)

How not? I demonstrated that it isn't, in my view, a legitimate concern; that there exists at least one viable solution already being practically implemented. How can the topic -- which is expressed as a 'serious problem' -- remaining a concern for discussion possibly exist except through the agency of various groups attempting to drive up fear levels amongst the public in order to achieve their specific goals? ("specific goals" being synonymous with "agendas". You really need to get over that emotionally-charged thing for the word "agenda".) Unfortunately that is an inacurrate assumption. I made no differentiation between whether the agencies' agendas were true or genuinely believed. Your view of the term "agenda" being emotionally charged necessarily resulted, I feel, in this being your stance though so I find myself too limited to the task of explaining my position to you. It's not meant to. It was a conclusion/summary statement, not an argument towards a conclusion. Conclusions should never be used as arguments to support themselves. I have no horse in the latter race. I have never implied I do. Why then do you insist I do?
This comment is fantastic.

You do a fairly good job of presenting a rational argument here, but you do have some arguments that seem firmly rooted in your emotional response, rather than an attempt to explore the facts.

Your especially rational points are 1-4. This is irrespective of whether they are right or wrong--we have some ability to factually verify or disprove these points. In order to explore your biases, you might want to start by linking to some articles supporting your statements and some refuting them and then discussing why you believe one over the other. Choose ar... (read more)

Downvoted as I disagree that this answer is the most rational view, Logos, nor does this kind of response encourage rational discussion. This is irrespective of whether I agree or disagree with your argument that peak oil hasn't occurred. Your first response sought to refute the specific statements the article made, and in general you did a fairly good job of putting up a rational argument (once again irrespective of whether the refutations are correct or incorrect). When your arguments are factual, they can be verified or refuted.

On the other hand, wh... (read more)

I reject and abjure the notion that topics of emotion are somehow irrational simply because the topic itself is emotional. If a person stands before me, raising his voice, using harsh language, displaying aggressive body language and conducting himself hostilely, it is rational to say, "This man is angry." The mere use of emotionally-charged terminology does not inherently relegate a statement irrational. Their context does that. I posted my 'answer' to the question not as a top-post but as a 'response' to my own as an indicator that it was contingent upon my top-level post. I stand by my assertion that my statement regarding the use of 'catastrophic' Peak Oil is nothing more than fear-mongering, is itself a factual statement. Had I made that statement 'ex nihilo' -- that is, as a top-level post and not as what amounts to a "too long; didn't read" version -- I would be more than happy to concede your position. As it stands, the statement that my arguments "contain no specific information that can be verified or refuted, and instead contain words designed to maximize for emotional effect rather than informational value", is one I cannot accept as valid. Please do not mistake the statement that something is an attempt to produce emotionally-charged irrational behavior for that statement itself being an attempt to produce emotionally-charged irrational behavior. "Peak Oil" is fear-mongering. It is being exploited by an array of political and social agencies with sometimes conflicting agendas (and frankly your accusation of the term "agenda" of being emotionally charged I find to be without merit, by the way). And those various disparate and non-colluding groups are attempting to exploit the 'risability' of the so-called 'common person' to fear (i.e.; fear-mongering) in order to achieve their goals. Fear-mongering and fear-driven politics is so common I find it rather surprising that it should be taken as a non-ordinary claim. Based on my top-level comment, which it

I have to disagree here. A matrilineal society, as I stated in my previous comment, does in fact often give women more access to familial resources, as these are often given to women to be managed or inherited from women, by women. This is a common theme in matrilineal societies--women have significant power over family life. The matrilineal doesn't just refer to family names--but also the line through which resources are obtained. However, you will tend to find that men dominate the political sphere in these societies(where applicable), so they are not ... (read more)

The distinction between private and public life is important in large communities. It seems probable to me that the distinction would be weaker in small communities, where family obligations and family-based authority are likely to be the root of all obligations and claims to authority. ETA: I didn't mean for that to sound like a confident declaration. I'm really open to learning something here. Are the public and private spheres so distinct in smaller communities? I wouldn't expect them to be, but I don't have a lot of anthropological knowledge. But if my expectation is correct, then the -lineal/-archal distinction wouldn't be so relevant.
Hence often piously called matriarchal, as in "The Afro American family tends to be matriarchal" In practice, "matrilineal" societies are often societies where no one knows, or much cares, who the father is. As our society becomes increasingly like this, the proposition that women benefit from this arrangement starts to smell funny. Men in a matrilineal society contribute substantially less to the support of women and children, and often the relationship is that between a pimp and his bitches: the women (plural) support the man (singular). The male contribution is frequently large and negative.

Upvoted since I definitely agree that comparing anything to Hitler or Nazis causes fairly consistent and predictable problems in the rationality of responses.

I think kilobug goes too far in supporting the French Revolution--I think it's good that France no longer has even a symbolic monarch, but I agree with Vladimir that kilobug glosses over the loss of human life and freedoms that occurred during the revolution. Saying things like this without backing them up with a lot of evidence (which probably doesn't exist given the absolutes used to qualify the... (read more)

I think kilobug goes too far in supporting the French Revolution--I think it's good that France no longer has even a symbolic monarch,

I live in Canada, which still has a symbolic monarch. What precise advantage, in your opinion, does France enjoy over Canada because it no longer has one? Or do you think that there is some difference that makes the lack of a monarch beneficial only for the French?

Upvoted for your precision and accuracy in pointing out the distinction between the words matriarchal and matrilineal. A matriarchal society would be one where women dominated in political power. My short Internet search did not turn up any societies I would call both matriarchal (instead of matrilineal) and likely to be real, so I assume they are either extremely rare or nonexistent. A matrilineal society such as the one in the study is one that traces its ancestry through the female line--this trait does not mean that females have political power in ... (read more)

Han Chinese tend to assume that Mosuo women are whores and Mosuo men are pimps. Anthropologists, who we should believe because they have tenure, assure us otherwise.

SENS stands for Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Being acronym-challenged myself, I certainly understand the occasional agonies involved in working an unfamiliar one out.

Hey, I think I've seen you around the forum.

I feel similarly about psychoactive drugs. I do consume small amounts of caffeine (via chocolate and the occasional caffeinated tea), but I try to avoid it since even those amounts can make me jittery and thus I don't drink coffee at all. I don't feel any desire to take recreational drugs, legal or otherwise. I suspect this qualifies as an unusual tendency, so it's always interesting to meet people who feel similarly. Nevertheless, I have a tendency not to mention this fact spontaneously for fear that people will feel I'm judging them.

I can't answer for anyone else, but I think graphene work sounds pretty cool, so here's an upvote from me!

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