I talked to other people about such calls. They called me evil. Apparently, people don't see the proposition "Aid is good" as following from "Aid helps people" (a purely factual claim) and "Helping people is good" (which only evil people deny); it's all in the same mental bucket. So we're pretty much screwed explaining it. Moreover, even when people finally get the distinction, the claims tend to be rejected at the speed of thought - because we all know "Aid is good".
I'm somewhat puzzled by how all the influences you quote are fiction. I read and watched fiction as a child, and the only obvious consequence on my personality has been 1) extremely distorted - I can recognize the influence because I remember it, but you couldn't look at that part of my personality and say "Aha, that came from Disney movies!" 2) tossed out of the window in a recent crisis of faith 3) more influenced by real life than fiction. I've been recalculating a lot of things since as young as 4 (most of which ended up wrong because of lack of evidence and a few fundamental mistakes), with a wave of recalculation each time I uncovered a fundamental mistake (happened twice) and many recalculations ended up in a very different place from their starting point, which gives somewhat more credence to the "lovely excuse" when it applies.
What did I pick up from childhood? Altruism? I can't trace back the causal line, I don't remember a point at which I wasn't altruistic in full generality - I do remember stories about "altruism = good" and "ingroup/outgroup dichotomy = bad", but I already agreed with that. What I remember picking up were social norms of the form "Saying 'X is Y' is good" - but unlike other children, I picked up "X is Y" - "Truth is good", "Death is bad" (didn't quite believe that one, had to recalculate later), "Love is good" (tossed out of the window when I realized "love" is vague). But I picked up those from social life, not fiction - and I was a stereotypical bookworm. I may have confused "good fiction" and "good life" due to fiction, but real life influences look more like the culprits.
The simplest hypothesis is not "People are embarrassed". I bet they simply don't know. Most people are just terrible at introspection, and don't even think about it.
Also, yes, I'm going to get you started. Incredible disregard for what?
I find this harder to read. The arguments are obscured. The structure sucks; claims are not isolated into neat little paragraphs so that I can stop and think "Is this claim actually true?". It's about you (why you aren't Wise) rather than about the world (how Wisdom works).
I've rarely heard "You'll understand when you're older" on questions of simple fact. Usually, it's uttered when someone who claims to be altruistic points out someone else's actions are harmful. The Old Cynic then tells the Young Idealist "I used to be like you, but then I realized you've got to be realistic, you'll understand when you're older that you should be more selfish.". But they never actually offer an object-level argument, or even seem to have changed their minds for rational reasons - it looks like the Selfishness Fairy just changed their terminal values as they grew older. That may be the case; it may also be sour grapes bias: when they realized their altruism could never have as big an effect as it ought to, they decided altruism wasn't right after all. The best defense I can come up with is: If your moral intuitions change, especially change in a way you've previously noticed as "maturing", only trust them if your justifications for it would convice your past self as their most idealistic.
Is this "stupid teeneager" thing real, or just a stereotype that sells books? I've seen teenagers drink and drive; they don't look like they do it to look adult. I've tried some drugs and turned others down, and the only things that (I'm aware) factored were what I could learn from the experience, how pleasant it would be, and the risks. I consciously ignored peer pressure - as for looking mature, I simply didn't even consider it could be a criterion any more than the parity of my number of nose hair.
Oh, I'm starting to see why the Superhappies are not so right after all, what they lack, why they are alien, in the Normal Ending and in Eliezer's comments. I think this should have been explained in more detail in the story, because I initially failed to see their offer as anything but good, let alone bad enough to kill yourself. I want untranslatable 2!
Still, if I had been able to decide on behalf of humanity, I would have tried to make a deal - not outright accepted their offer, but negotiated to keep more of what matters to us, maybe by adopting more of their emotions, or asking lesser modifications of them. It just doesn't look that irreconciliable.
Also, their offer to have the Babyeaters eat nonsentient children sounds stupid - like replacing out friends and lovers with catgirls.
Wait. Aren't they right? I don't like that they don't terminally value sympathy (though they're pretty close), but that's beside the point. Why keep the children suffering? If there is a good reason - that humans need a painful childhood to explore, learn and develop properly, for example - shouldn't the Super Happy be conviced by that? They value other things than a big orgasm - they grow and learn - they even tried to forsake some happiness for more accurate beliefs - if, despite this, they end up preferring stupid happy superbabies to painful growth, it's likely we agree. I don't want to just tile the galaxy with happiness counters - but if collapsing into orgasmium means the Supper Happy, sign me up.
Eliezer, why do you hate death so much? I understand why you'd hate it as much as the social norm wants you to say you do, but not so much more. People don't hate death, and don't even say they hate death nearly as much as you do. I can't think of a simpler hypothesis than "Eliezer is a mutant".
Now, of course, throwing in the long, painful agony of children changes something.
@Jotaf: No, you misunderstood - guess I got double-transparent-deluded. I'm saying this:
So I'm happy with probability being subjectively objective, and I don't want to change my beliefs about the lottery. If the paperclipper had stupid beliefs, it would be dead - but it doesn't, it has evil morals.
Morality is subjectively objective
@Eliezer: Can you expand on the "less ashamed of provincial values" part?
@Carl Shuman: I don't know about him, but for myself, HELL YES I DO. Family - they're just randomly selected by the birth lottery. Lovers - falling in love is some weird stuff that happens to you regardless of whether you want it, reaching into your brain to change your values: like, dude, ew - I want affection and tenderness and intimacy and most of the old interpersonal fun and much more new interaction, but romantic love can go right out of the window with me. Friends - I do value friendship; I'm confused; maybe I just value having friends, and it'd rock to be close friends with every existing mind; maybe I really value preferring some people to others; but I'm sure about this: I should not, and do not want to, worry more about a friend with the flu than about a stranger with cholera.
@Robin Hanson: HUH? You'd really expect natural selection to come up with minds who enjoy art, mourn dead strangers and prefer a flawed but sentient woman to a perfect catgirl on most planets?
This talk about "'right' means right" still makes me damn uneasy. I don't have more to show for it than "still feels a little forced" - when I visualize a humane mind (say, a human) and a paperclipper (a sentient, moral one) looking at each other in horror and knowing there is no way they could agree about whether using atoms to feed babies or make paperclips, I feel wrong. I think about the paperclipper in exactly the same way it thinks about me! Sure, that's also what happens when I talk to a creationist, but we're trying to approximate external truth; and if our priors were too stupid, our genetic line would be extinct (or at least that's what I think) - but morality doesn't work like probability, it's not trying to approximate anything external. So I don't feel so happier about the moral miracle that made us than about the one that makes the paperclipper.
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.