MadDrNesbit

Posts

Sorted by New

Comments

What truths are actually taboo?

That's the paradox: "taboo" statements like black crime statistics are to some extent "taboo" for sound, rationalist reasons. But "taboo" is not taboo: it's about context. People who think that such statements are taboo are probably bad at communicating, and people often think they're racists and misogynists because they probably are on good rationalist grounds. If you want to talk about statistical representatives on the topic of race, be ready to understand that those who are listening will have background knowledge about the other views you might hold.

That may hold for the bar conversation you describe, but it doesn't once media distortions are introduced.

And when you consider the things that public figures can talk about, then which ones are "taboo" is pretty clear: it's the things that can be stripped of context and used as ammo for accusations, or just for a nice and attention-grabbing headline story.

This kind of distortion is what people (like me) who are annoyed by "taboos" are most concerned with. Yes, your Bill's statements may be valid evidence of some questionable characteristics, but such a statement by Bob stripped of it's context and pushed in the media is much weaker evidence: maybe there were plenty of caveats attached, but the journalist preferred to get rid of them, so Bob gets judged as if he was Bill.

The Stephanie Grace case is a pretty clear example where all the context was stripped for maximum outrage. Or here is Chomsky talking about how he was taken out of context (I believe he's a frequent victim of that).

Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics

Interesting, thanks; I had briefly googled for that kind of info but hadn't found any. She is probably somewhat helped by having a pretty common name and surname, but I'm still updating my estimate of "negative consequences for being target of a hate campaign" downwards a bit.

Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics

How does your original description not cover the Stephanie Grace case?

Then, in an environment dominated numerically by similar people, they find it similarly plausible to think that if they voice a belief that is uncharitable towards, or does not reflect well upon, some social minority or other, they will be...well, it's not clear what. Censored? Hunted down and sued? I'm not sure what they're really afraid of, but they're angry about the idea that it might happen to them.

It's clear to me that Stephanie Grace should have been aware that even if in her environment people think like her, voicing a belief that doesn't reflect well upon blacks is dangerous. No, she won't be censored or sued, but her prospects will take a sharp turn downwards. She should have been afraid, and maybe angry about what might happen to her if she dared speak honestly, even in a private email.

And yet, you seem to think that she had nothing to be afraid of, and that her being afraid or angry would have been kind of silly and stupid on her behalf (or at least, that's the impression I get from the way you write).

(Note that I'm not saying this is the main reason sensitive topics should be avoided on LessWrong. There are better reasons to avoid those topics.)

Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics

Yes, "lynch" is hyperbole, probably unnecessary ("vilified" seems a bit weak. You might want to tell off these websites for incorrect use of the term "lynching").

You spend a lot of time addressing the issue of Race and IQ; I am mostly concerned of how Stephanie Grace was treated for what was a quite reasonable private email. In an ancestor comment you wrote:

Then, in an environment dominated numerically by similar people, they find it similarly plausible to think that if they voice a belief that is uncharitable towards, or does not reflect well upon, some social minority or other, they will be...well, it's not clear what. Censored? Hunted down and sued? I'm not sure what they're really afraid of, but they're angry about the idea that it might happen to them.

To me, it's very clear "what": what happened to Stephanie Grace. It's unlikely, but a small chance of having your career ruined is not a risk most people are willing to take. Those chances increase if one of the people involved becomes somewhat famous, or if some well meaning anti-racist (or other) activist takes interest in the discussion. Nobody wants a Google search of their name return a hate page on the first page of results.

What surprises me the most is that you find this unclear, that you don't understand how that can be a concern for somebody.

Rational Romantic Relationships, Part 1: Relationship Styles and Attraction Basics

I would be very surprised if it got you successfully sued, persecuted in a tangible way, or indeed anything worse than flamed on the internet for voicing this openly.

What do you think happened to Stephanie Grace - don't you think a private email sent to a few friends has affected her career prospects ? James Watson and Lawrence Summers also got lynched for their opinions.

I don't think anybody risks getting sued or arrested, but they can have their careers harmed.