All of elfvillage's Comments + Replies


Personally, I liked the Babyeaters. At the outset of your story, I thought (1) that their babyeating would be held up as an example of the triumph of rationality (around population control), and (2) that their refusal to modify themselves would be based on their recognition that the specific act of babyeating nurtured and protected a more general capacity and respect for rational thought. I thought that Babyeating was being proposed as a bootcamp for overcoming bias. Maybe this idea would be interesting to explore?

In general, an interesting stor... (read more)

The story is more of a way of toying with the subjective nature of morality. The takeaway of the story is not whether or not baby-eating is right or wrong - an objective answer to this question is impossible - but of the difficulties that arise during the interactions of moral agents with incompatible values. Human conflicts between nations have been about conflicts of interest, political conflicts within nations are often about conflicts of values...but what happens when someones moral values are fundamentally alien to your own?

Even if one wishes to argue the virtues of mass murder as a method of intentional population control, which I find quite horrifying enough, I would hope that violent assault and month-long torture are not one's preferred methods.

Compare the skilled butcher, who, with no wasted movements, cuts his meat just where the joints are, and the flashy butcher, whose flourishes make for less skilful and efficient cutting but send a more impressive signal.

I agree that the flashy butcher could became engaged in his cutting and lose consciousness of the crowd and his impression on it without decreasing his signalling behaviour. If he did so, he might become more sincere, but his signalling behaviour would remain. For signaling is not a conscious addition to his art, which might strip away: s... (read more)

I take it that the point of this thread is to find activities which exemplify a low-signalling "mental mode".

Most of the commentators have pointed to activities, as topics, which feature more or less often in our signalling conversations. My attempt to point to the manner in which we do activities, in which signals least pollute our thinking, was voted into oblivion.

Again, however, I would like to suggest that activities characterized by ecstasy and intense engagement are good examples of what RH called "a more honest mental mode".

When... (read more)

I think by "honest" you more mean "sincere" - lacking conscious internal conflict. Sincere beliefs can be very influenced by signaling. By "honest" I meant when our beliefs about why we do things better match why we actually do them.
In case you were wondering why you were being downvoted: your comment either adds little ('yes, signaling and evolutionary considerations influence sex and music to a degree unimagined by the conventional idealistic thoughts about those topics - but they still feel good!') or it doesn't take into account all the reasons we should be much more cynical about the conventional narratives such as 'We can get lost in sex and song...'