All of Moss_Piglet's Comments + Replies

And yet not traditional enough to see any problem with the UK's disastrous immigration policy. The BNP exists pretty much entirely because the "conservative" party is more concerned with not being called racists than with doing what the majority of their constituents have demanding for decades.

What disaster was that?

"Genuinely desirable" seems like the problem here, in that it's conflating base sexual attraction with a more pragmatic evaluation of someone's prospects.

Beta males certainly have many admirable qualities; they're reliable productive and civil, usually friendly and loyal as well. But those qualities, while again being very important, are simply not attractive.

Alpha males, on the other hand, are really quite a menace. The Dark Triad traits which make them attractive also mean they are shiftless and poor contributors to society, at least for the mo... (read more)

Any examples ? Even fictional evidence ?

The problem here is that, as far as I can tell, a "Tell" culture would immediately become a "Lie Ineptly" culture.

Most of the time, in my experience anyway, when you don't want to help someone it's usually for a reason you couldn't say without nuking or at least damaging the relationship. Even worse, the level of detail / emotion in the "Tell" is much higher than the straightforward "Ask" which makes the usual evasions seem hollow and requires more elaborate excuses. And most people suck at spontaneous deception, sin... (read more)

I'm not sure. If someone Tells you some things that end with a request, that doesn't mean you need to be as detailed with your response. Like with the example given in the OP, "It would be awfully convenient networking for me to stick around for a bit after our meeting to talk with you and [the next person you're meeting with]. But on a scale of one to ten, it's only about 3 useful to me. If you'd rate the loss of utility for you as two or higher, then I have a strong preference for not sticking around." Perfectly valid response: "Yeah, it's over 2. Thanks for preferring not to inconvenience me!"
Upvoted for making me experience hindsight bias. I feel surprised that nobody seems to have brought up this kind of problem until now.

Something which strikes me is that scientists having science as a job at all is a somewhat new idea; unless I'm wrong, it used to be that a lot of the great naturalists were either independently wealthy aristocrats and pursued scientific inquiry as a hobby, or were monks and were supported by the other brothers of their orders. On the one hand, they worked at their own paces and on topics close to their own interests (hard to imagine Mendel getting grant money, especially with his publishing rate), but on the other there are a lot of very bright people who... (read more)

You would also need to appeal to people who aren't scientists or won't do any groundbreaking work. What kept/keeps monastic orders together was praising God, not sustaining the holy work of one individual who was best at praising God for the highest possible Praise. Mendel probably wasn't supported by his fellow monks because he did research. He was supported by his follow monks because he was their brother and also prayed and worked with them. He just chose to spend some of his time working with beans and writing down the results. Drawing in a supreme scientific mind might not be very hard. Drawing in all the other people to support that one person is a whole lot harder. You'd need a self-sustaining system, that produces its own food and other necessities. Monastic orders solved this problem by adding "labora" (working) to their mission of "ora" (praying). Every monk helped out to sustain his brothers by brewing beer, working in the garden... If your goal is to provide an environment where a supreme scientist can work undisturbed by earthly concerns, the other "science-monks" would need to take over his garden-duties. And I'm not sure if there is enough incentive for them to join.
The basic problem standing in the way of people thinking deep thoughts and doing nothing else is funding, aka money. How will this fraternal order solve the money problem and if it does, what will make it different from a plain-vanilla think tank?

You jest, but from what I understand that's not far off. He wasn't exactly a polygamist, but at the very least a serial philanderer.

Any problems here?

That people are stupefyingly irrational about risks, especially in regards to medicine.

As an example; my paternal grandmother died of a treatable cancer less than a year before I was born, out of a fear of doctors which she had picked up from post-war propaganda about the T4 euthenasia program. Now this is a woman who was otherwise as healthy as they come, living in America decades after the fact, refusing to go in for treatment because she was worried some oncologist was going to declare a full-blooded German immigrant as genetically ... (read more)

Imagine an agent with an (incorrect) belief that only by killing everyone, would the world be the best place possible, and a prior against anything realistically causing it to update away. This would have to be stopped somehow, because of what it thinks (and what that causes it to do).

That doesn't quite follow.

Thinking something does not make it so, and there are a vanishingly small number of people who could realistically act on a desire to kill everyone. The only time you have to be deeply concerned about someone with those beliefs is if they managed ... (read more)

So if we assume a measure is invalid, it is useless to us (as an accurate measure anyway; you already pointed out a possible rhetorical use)?

If you'll forgive my saying it, that seems like more of a tautology about measurements in general than an argument about this specific case. If you have evidence that general intelligence as-measured-by-IQ is invalid, or even evidence that people unfamiliar with the field like Dr Atran or Gould take issue with 'reifying' it, that would be closer to what the original question was looking for.

I realize this comes off as a bit rude, but this particular non sequitur keeps coming up and is becoming a bit of a sore spot.

Not to mention that we don't know for sure that there even is a significant population difference here. It could just as easily be one of the things which humans seem to be generally consistent on as a species.

The point I was making, albeit ineptly, is that good research on the topic would be interesting and any potential ideological fallout shouldn't deter people from it.

There's a very commonly accepted line of thought around here whereby any sufficiently good digital approximation of a human brain is that human, in a sort of metaphysical way anyhow, because it uses the same underlying algorithms which describe how that brain works in it's model of the brain.

(It doesn't make much sense to me, since it seems to conflate the mathematical model with the physical reality, but as it's usually expressed as an ethical principle it isn't really under any obligation to make sense.)

The important thing is that once you identify suff... (read more)

From the OP:

What are your best arguments against the reality/validity/usefulness of IQ?


appeals that would limit testing or research even if IQ's validity is established are not [welcome].

Emphasis mine.

We all know the standard "that's racist" argument already, newerspeak is clearly asking for a factual reason why measures of general intelligence are not real / invalid / not useful. Not to mention that the post did not make any claims about, or even mention, heredity of intelligence or race / gender differences in intelligence.

Let's make distinction between "I have a prejudice against" and "I know something about you" Assuming I know that IQ is valid and true objective measure, I can use it to judge your cognitive skills, and your opinion about the result does not matter to anyone, just as much as your own opinion about BMI. Assuming that I am not sure if IQ is valid, then I would rather refrain from reaching any conclusions or acting as if it actually mattered (because I am afraid of consequences), thus making it useless for me in my practical day to day life.

It's funny to me that you would say that, because the way I read it was mainly that slave morality is built on resentment whereas master morality was built on self-improvement. The impulse to flee suffering or to inflict it (even on oneself) is the the difference between the lamb and the eagle, and thus the common and the aristocratic virtues. I wouldn't have thought to separate the two ideas.

But again, one of the reasons why he ought to be read more; two people reading it come away with five different opinions on it.

Maybe you can give some common misconceptions about how people recover from / don't recover from their addictions? That's the sort of topic you tend to hear a lot of noise about which makes it tough to tell the good information from the bad.

Do you have any thoughts on wireheading?

Have you tried any 19th/20th century reactionary authors? Everyone should read Nietzsche anyway, and his work is really interesting if a little dense. His conception of Master/slave morality and nihilism is a much more coherent explanation for how history has turned out than the C... (read more)

I'm not sure if these are misconceptions, but here are some general thoughts on recovery: 1. Neural genetics probably matters a lot. I don't know what to do with this, but I think neuroscience and genetics will produce huge breakthroughs in treatment of addiction in the next 20 years. People like me will probably be on the sidelines for this big change. 2. People who feel coerced into entering counseling will almost certainly relapse, and they'll relapse faster and harder compared to people who enter willingly. However... 3. ...this doesn't make coercion totally pointless--counselors can plant the seeds of a sincere recovery attempt, and give clients the mental tools to recognize their patterns. 4. People who willingly enter counseling still usually relapse, multiple times. The people who keep coming back after a relapse stand a much better chance of getting to a high level of functioning. People who reenter therapy every time they relapse will usually succeed eventually. (I realize this is almost a tautology.) 5. Clients with other diagnosed disorders are much less likely to fully recover.) Wireheading is somewhat fuzzy as a term.... The extreme form (being converted into "Orgasmium") seems like it would be unappealing to practically everyone who isn't suicidally depressed (and even for them it would presumably not be the best option in a transhuman utopia in which wireheading is possible.) I think a modest version of wireheading (changing a person's brain to raise their happiness set point) will be necessary if we want to bring everyone up to an acceptable level happiness. I've read a lot of excerpts and quotes, but not many full books. I read a large part of one of Carlyle's books and one late 19th Century travelogue of the United States which Moldbug approvingly linked to. (I've read a fair amount of Nietzsche's work, but I think calling him a reactionary is a bit like calling the Marquis de Sade a "libert
The one concept from Nietzsche I see everywhere around me in the world is ressentiment. I think much of the master-slave morality stuff was too specific and now feels dated 130 years later, but ressentiment is the important core that's still true and going to stay with us for a while; it's like a powerful drug that won't let humanity go. Ideological convictions and interactions, myths and movements, all tied up with ressentiment or even entirely based on it. And you're right, I would have everyone read Nietzsche - not for practical advice or predictions, but to be able, hopefully, to understand and detect this illness in others and especially oneself.

The comparison doesn't have a great connotation, given that "fundamentalist" is typically an epithet, but it's not too far off in terms of the denotation.

Personally though, I would say it's more of an Exoteric / Esoteric split; conservatives seem to spend most of their effort preserving outward forms and rituals of their cultures in an effort to keep the fire going, where reactionaries see it as burnt out already and so look back for the essential (in both senses of the word) elements to spark a new one. A good example is comparing Chesterton's ... (read more)

Of course, "reactionary" was also traditionally a derogatory term. So perhaps that isn't surprising.

(Is there a notable difference between the politics held by someone described as "Reactionary" and someone described as "far-right"? I can't figure this out. "Reactionary" seems to me like basically meaning "far-right, but smart".)

"Far Right" implicitly invokes the Overton Window; most anything you can''t comfortably say in public anymore is Far Right, even if it is actually thought by the majority of people or was itself a leftist position a few decades ago. Saying something is Far Right or Far Left fro... (read more)

Do you think this is a good parallel (if we are borrowing terms from religious studies): conservatives == traditionalists reactionaries == fundamentalists ?

Is this a fist-fight or can blacktrance use weapons?

You are absolutely correct on the facts, and in a saner world I could leave it at that, but you seem to have missed an unspoken part of the argument;

The common factor isn't genetics per se but rather an appeal to inherent nature. Whether that nature is the genetic legacy of selection for vastly different ancestral environments or due to the epigenetics of sexual dimorphism is very important in a scientific sense but not in the metaphysical sense of presenting a challenge to the ideals of "equality" or the "psychic unity of mankind."

When... (read more)

I read Shalizi differently, as asking something like, "Really, is it because you care about the truth qua truth that you find this particular alleged truth so important?" Far from apologetic, he is — cautiously, because there is a counterfactual gun to his head — going on the offensive, hinting that the people insistently disagreeing with him are motivated by more than unalloyed curiosity. It is not, of course, dispassionate scientific scepticism, but nor is it a defensive crouch. My interpretation could be wrong. Shalizi isn't spelling things out in explicit, objective detail there. But my interpretation rings truer to my gut, and fits better with the fact that his peroration rounds off ten thousand words of blunt and occasionally snarky statistical critique.
I think you misinterpret Dr Shalizi, and do him a disservice. I think his answer is perfectly reasonable from a bayesian point of view. Basically, I see three common reasons to spend time researching difference between races: A) People who are genuinely interested in the answer, for pragmatic or intellectual reasons B) People who are a racist and want to hear a particular answer that fits their preconceived views C) People who are trying to be controversial/contrarian/want to provoke people Certainly there are people who are genuinely curious towards the answer, purely for intellectual reasons (A). I am somewhat interested myself. However, the fact of the matter is that many others are interested purely for racist reasons (B). Many racists aren't open in their racism, and as such mask their racism as honest scientific inquiry, making B indistinguishable from A. Showing interest in the subject is therefore Bayesian evidence for B as much as it is for A. Even worse is the fact that everyone knows that everyone realizes this on an intuitive level, which causes most As to shut up for fear of being identified as Bs, while Bs continue what they are doing. This serves to compound the effect. Meanwhile, Cs arise expressly because it is a hot button topic. As a result it is entirely rational to conclude that someone who is constantly yelling about race and inserting the subject into other conversations is more likely to be a racist on average than others. And of course, it's incredibly frustrating if you are an A and just want an honest conversation about the subject, which is now impossible (thanks, politics!). I think Shalizi deals with this messed up situation admirably: Making clear what he believes while doing everything to avoid sounding controversial or giving fuel to racists. Of course this doesn't work very well because people who call others racist fall into two categories themselves: D) People who are genuinely worried about the dangerous effects of racist cla

You seem to ascribe a fair amount of bad faith to me and I'm not sure why. Maybe because this line of argument pattern-matches to MRA thought?

Anyway I didn't "abandon" the jobs point so much as point out that men are universally, even ignoring job choice, more likely to get into and be hurt in accidents. Accidental death and injury being far far more common than homicide and assault, that alone blows the "physical danger" argument out of the water. Not quite as dramatic as an industrial accident or a robbery-gone-wrong sure, but then ag... (read more)

There's a very big difference between men being part of violent crime and dangerous jobs and needing to worry for your physical safety as you walk down the street.

No, no there isn't.

Most crimes, including most violent crimes, are not rape. Aside from rape, men are much more likely to be the victim of a crime, especially a violent crime. So if you're talking about how much someone should be worried about being the victim of a violent crime... how exactly is maleness supposed to protect someone when it predicts a much higher likelihood of being targeted ... (read more)

One wonders if some of the difference in outcomes (as in the being hit by a car on the shoulder example) isn't partly a product of women generally taking less risks than men because of the fear of sexual assault.

I think you're being disingenuous when you talk about men being targeted by criminals. Men make up more than 90 percent of gang members ( and something like 90 percent of violent criminals ( in the first place. Something like half of violent crimes are gang-related ( This means that with no "targeting" needed, men are already WAY more likely to be injured or k... (read more)

The situation is made more complicated because women are encouraged to take risk seriously while men are encouraged to downplay risk, so you get different results depending on whether you're looking at risk or fear.

a male [...] does not experience a constant physical danger (and the associated stress of being aware of said danger) whenever he leaves the house.

With the exception of rape, which tends to be a special case in most senses, men are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of every other type of violent crime including homicide. In addition, men make up 92% of workplace deaths (and presumably a correspondingly high proportion of the injuries) and are also significantly more likely to die in an accident off the job (again, presumably a similar distrib... (read more)

Well, people are far less likely to die (per mile travelled) in car crashes than in plane crashes, and yet ISTM more people are scared of flying than of driving. Which means... Okay, taken literally Locaha's claim is incorrect, but it's not that hard to steelman it into a valid point.
There's a very big difference between men being part of violent crime and dangerous jobs and needing to worry for your physical safety as you walk down the street. No one is claiming men are protected from "physical danger" as if they have some sort of DND "Immunity to nonmagical weapons". The fact that men are involved to a much greater extent in violence and prison and whatnot IS a big deal but it's not actually opposed to the problem of women being on average smaller than men and a target for rape.

Actually, that was pretty good; pithy and introduces actual object-level issues to debate rather than abstract ideological concerns.

Please take this into account when deciding whether to have children.

This is pretty important actually; you see a lot of EA talk around here which basically assumes children are fungible ("If I don't have any kids, but spend the money to save n African kids then I'm in the clear!") without taking into account that those n kids will likely need > 2n kids-worth of aid themselves in a few decades and you've squan... (read more)

We probably agree on a lot but I'd encourage you to check out GiveWell's report on GiveDirectly []. If there are particular fertility-affecting charities you'd like to recommend I'm happy to listen.

If you want to increase your fish-size, articles / comment threads which generate lots of upvotes are a good way to do it. And since your fish-size is small already there's not much to lose if people don't like it.

The idea here is interesting, but I wonder if anyone has tried to actually put it to the test. Not out of any personal desire to replace reasoned argument with statistics, mind, but simply because it's pretty clear now that anything short of repeatedly replicated psychometric data will be dismissed without consideration if it disagrees with the doctrine of HNU.

Apparently there are such things as a Guilt Inventory, so assuming it's actually as reliable as it's supposed to be it seems to reason that one could take Guilt Inventories of various populations and see what shakes out.

Without saying this is true, I'm not sure how much this would disagree with Human Neurological Uniformity. It seems to me that guilt would be present everywhere but if the culture is one where shaming is used a lot, it wouldn't get as much exercise, which could lead to this.


(In case anyone else reading the parent is scratching the head, that's “human neurological uniformity”. I correctly guessed from the context what concept it referred to, but it took me a few minutes' intensive use of Google's minus operator to find out what word each letter stood for.)

Which one?

That it's a classic that everyone need to see and revolutionized the Super Robot genre, that it's unspeakably bizarre and will make you want to slap the annoying protagonist silly, or both, or some third reputation?

(I haven't actually seen it, but you can't swing a cat in some areas without hitting a bunch of people talking about it so there's been some osmosis.)

Ha, both. I really enjoyed it though.

You and Eugine seem to be talking past one another;

He's saying that society tends to see it as (at worst) a bit of a faux pas for a gay man to try to get a straight to switch teams whereas a gay converter is one step off from an SS officer in terms of the hatred they get.

You, on the other hand, seem to be talking about how annoyed straight guys get when being harassed by gays trying to convert them, and presumably vice versa. That people get pissed off, with good reason, when people try to dictate terms to them on whom they desire.

Oddly enough, both of yo... (read more)

There seems to be a pretty big asymmetry here that you're ignoring. Christian "deconverters" aren't simply saying "Hey, why don't you try straight sex? You might end up enjoying it." They're saying "There is something deeply wrong with your sexual orientation and you will suffer eternally unless you sincerely attempt to change it." I doubt that attempts to convert straight men result in higher rates of depression or suicide among them. The appropriate analog of the gay "straight chasers" you're talking about would be a straight woman who attempts to "convert" gay guys by, say, trying to convince them to sleep with her, maybe because she likes the challenge. Do you think such a person would also be seen as one step off from an SS officer?
Actually he said it is “considered commendable”, but I see your point.

I'm not sure if you've considered any of the various High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT / HIIE) type programs like Tabata which have been floating around, but they were a huge help for me in the last year or so. Essentially the idea is that you do short bursts of highly intense exercise separated by short rests, usually using a timer app, giving you a fairly compact (4-20 mins is typical) workout which is paradoxically very good at building muscular endurance.

In terms of credibility, it's pretty solid seeming; the Tabata program was developed by the ep... (read more)

Likewise, a lot of that looks like nitpicking. Even if there's disagreement about when a problem should be said to be "fixed", a prerequisite for a problem being "fixed" is that it's not getting worse.

The thing is, that's sort of the problem; a lot of these disasters it's not clear what the parameters we're counting even are or even whose response we're looking at. I'm not trying to nitpick (I cut a lot out of my first comment's examples for that reason), I honestly don't know how we're supposed to slice most of these. And that seems... (read more)

I'll give you the Mongols (and Hitler) since I find them harder to call. For deciding whether smoking and transatlantic slavery are counterexamples to "Adams' Law of Slow-Moving Disasters" (I'll just call it ALoSMD), the third question is irrelevant and the first question doesn't actually need a full, comprehensive answer. I can give just enough of a description of the problem to allow us to eyeball the problem's magnitude over time. If it became visibly worse during some period, that suffices to show it wasn't fixed during that period, and a complete description of the problem is not necessary. For smoking, we can just see when the rate at which people died from smoking was/is increasing; for transatlantic enslavement, we can ask how long the enslavement rate trended up. (Why do I say the third question's irrelevant here? Because ALoSMD doesn't say anything about who fixes the problem or how it's fixed; it just says the problem gets fixed. Whether it's fixed by the people "responsible" or someone else is an issue the Law pushes aside.) It's not clear to me why one would zero in on the Quakers specifically (since ALoSMD doesn't care about the who or the how), nor why one should only start the clock running from 1783. The slavers were hardly oblivious to what they were doing, and they (if no one else) could've acknowledged & avoided negative consequences of their actions from the beginning. I grant it's morally anachronistic to criticize historical people for failing to meet current moral standards, but I don't believe that's relevant. If your best judgement, or my best judgement, says transatlantic slavery was a disaster, then as far as you or I are concerned, it simply was a disaster; that people from 400 years ago would disagree would merely make them wrong by our lights, and doesn't mean transatlantic slavery wasn't a disaster after all. That's true. I'd dispute the idea that US smokers generally know the risks (most of them presumably know about the risk o

Well hold on a second; what does "didn't get fixed in time" even mean for most of these examples?

Was Hitler not "fixed in time" because he killed as many people as he did, or did he "get fixed" before he could kill the much larger number of people he would have preferred to kill in Eastern Europe? Was the (European; presumably we're ignoring the Arab slave trade) Slave Trade in Africa stopped "in time" for guys like the Mende tribesmen freed in the Amistad case, or not "in time" from the perspective of thos... (read more)

Enslaving people is something of a special case, since the negative consequences of enslaving someone would've been pretty obvious from the get-go. So "stopped 'in time'" would presumably mean refraining from transatlantic slave trading entirely, or at least not enslaving more and more people from 1515ish until the 1790s []. That question seems to me to miss the point. It's obvious that the problem of people dying because of smoking isn't "fixed" for any reasonable definition of "fixed", given that the global number of smokers — and the rate at which smoking is killing people — continues to rise []. Since the deadliness of tobacco smoking has been established for at least six decades [], I'd say this is a legitimate example of a disaster we saw coming that isn't "fixed". Likewise, a lot of that looks like nitpicking. Even if there's disagreement about when a problem should be said to be "fixed", a prerequisite for a problem being "fixed" is that it's not getting worse.

Market socialism was tried pretty extensively in Eastern Europe during the cold war; Joseph Stiglitz wrote a pretty thorough examination of it in his book 'Whither Socialism.'

The information problem which kills explicit central planning is still extant in market socialism because it is based on reductionist economic models which do not capture the full complexity of market behavior. In other words, neglecting easy-to-miss microeconomic issues (like information asymmetry in purchasing, to use the example he focuses on most) means creating systemic dysfunct... (read more)

You'd be surprised how quickly even normally very rational people go to the "but... Versailles! Droit du seigneur!" emotive argument when someone suggests that there can be socioeconomic benefits to a high level of inequality.

The same scope insensitivity which makes people care more about a single sick puppy than millions of starving people makes it very difficult to see that the highly-visible opulence of the elite costs much less than the largely invisible 'welfare' superstructure which provides our underclass their bread and circuses. Not to ... (read more)

I understand the desire to make sure people aren't suffering, but can't we think about the suffering of future generations as well?

Paying for people to do nothing incentives doing nothing; fewer people will participate the more comfortable laying around gets compared to actual work. Worse, removing the natural selective pressures against low-IQ / high time-preference people means they will reproduce and leave the next generation with even more unproductive people for every productive person remaining to have to support. With IQ now negatively correlated wi... (read more)

I thought my other comment [] was way too terse, and was going to elaborate, but it looks like two people disagree. But anyway: my point is that there are ways to help people now which don't also help them reproduce; education would be the most obvious one. (“Removing the natural selective pressures against low-IQ / high time-preference people” is not what has lead to the observed negative correlation between IQ and fertility; it's not that stupid people have more children than they used to, it's that smart people have fewer.)
Subsidize the hell out of IUDs, or something like that.

Actually, it turned out the problem was on my end. Sorry for the fuss.

It looks like there are roughly one million legal immigrants a year plus another eight million visa seekers, just looking at the US numbers. A professionally administered IQ test can go for anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars; it's hard to find a good number, but I've seen everything from $300 on the low end to $4000 on the high end. So it's not hyperbole to say that this is easily a multi-billion dollar a year commitment, just on the basis of the testing alone without thinking about administrative costs or government waste.

Now you're rig... (read more)

It is interesting to look at how the US already handles IQ testing on this scale. The United States Military Entrance Processing Command [] administered the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery [] to 460,000 people "during fiscal year 2011" at exam sites around the country, plus "658,000 high school students [...] under the Department of Defense Student ASVAB Testing Program during the 2010-11 school year." I can't find quotes for how much administering the ASVAB costs nowadays, but a 2002 report from the National Research Council's Board on Testing and Assessment quotes [] a cost of "about $20 per administration". There's also a 1976 report to Congress [] by the Comptroller General of the US, which says on p. ii that the DoD "spent about $4.7 million during fiscal year 1974 to support its high school recruiting and testing program, testing about 1.1 million students for enlistment eligibility", or $4.27ish per testee. The former estimate is $25.96 after inflation [], the latter $20.23. Pessimistically rounding up the bigger estimate to $26, and multiplying by 9 million, suggests a total cost of $234 million. It occurs to me that this cost could be defrayed by charging potential immigrants. The US charges hundreds of dollars in visa fees [] as things stand, so adding a $25 testing surcharge ought not prove unduly punishing to the huddled masses.

Please ignore my many typos; my computer is riddled with viruses and my smartphone appears to be possessed by some sort of evil text-eating demon.

For most people, moving to a country that's better for them creates orders of magnitude more value than any plausible cost of an IQ test that would need to be covered, so it's an irrelevant consideration.
Please ignore my many typos; my computer is riddled with viruses and my smartphone appears to be possessed by some sort of evil text-eating demon.

What the hell is going on with all the ads here? I've got keywords highlighted in green that pop up ads when you mouse over them, stuff in the top and sidebars of the screen, popups when loading new pages... all of this since yesterday.

Normally I would think this sort of thing meant I had a virus (and I am scanning for one with everything I have) but other people have been complaining about stuff like this as well over the last few days.

I would be glad to donate if the site needs more money to stay up, but this is absolutely unacceptable.

[Edit: Never mind, it really was a virus.]

Post a source dump of your LW page to pastebin..? I have nothing like that and my early-warning systems show nothing on LW pages except for viglink and the usual Google Analytics.

One obvious problem with that system; what happens with habitually bad posters?

Let's say I write something so insipid and worthless that it's worth every downvote on the site... and then a better-quality poster writes an excellent point-by-point take-down of it and gets tons of upvotes for it. Should I then benefit from "generating" such a high quality rebuttal, or is that just going to weaken the already weak incentive structure the karma system is supposed to be creating?

I can think of a good case just in the last few days of a poor-quality poster who would seriously benefit from this system, and as a long time poster here you can probably think of more.

I don't think that an excellent point-by-point take-down in a comment is not a good idea because a) It is not very visible and if it is excellent and makes a point it should be done as an independent posting. b) Writing a point-by-point take-down may be overkill and alienate the initial poster. Compensating him with karma may make good for this (and motivate the commenter to post separately). c) I think individual counters should be addressed by individual comments to allow the to be voted and commented individually. In the remaining cases and if the point-by-point reply is well meaning and clarifies matters that were unclear for the initial poster: Why shouldn't he get some credit for honstly (possibly mustering some courage) bringung up a question? It is of course important to choose a suitable fraction of the comment karma.

Surely you can't actually believe that.

Very astute of you to notice that.

No, I'd go so far as to say that out of the six non-capitalist systems I mentioned only four were unarguably guilty of democide (the case against the mercantile powers relies on a stubborn refusal to understand how epidemiology works) and one of them is wholly innocent of murder on anything greater than the scale of a village.

The case for hunting and gathering just gets better and better.

Well, "outside" of capitalism was pretty thoroughly explored in the 20th century and while they produced some really splendid music the 200 million dead by the hands of their own governments was admittedly a bit of a bummer. But maybe "before" has a better answer?

Well, capitalism's immediate predecessor, mercantilism, was a pretty sweet setup all told (although I doubt it would seem particularly appetizing to you). Divine right of Kings and the virtues of a natural aristocracy is admittedly a tough sell, but the results were pretty phen... (read more)

So every possible system other than capitalism leads to genocide? Surely you can't actually believe that.

It's worse than not good; if you read the news about this, it looks like the whole thing got kicked off by UnitedHealth complaining about 23andMe's affordability to the FDA. Who, being the dutiful little stooges they are, immediately went and started making unreasonable demands to 23andMe leading up to today's nonsense.

My guess on the reasoning; since insurers aren't legally permitted to use DNA tests to determine rates or eligibility, letting consumers figure out their own disease risk cheaply would give us an advantage in selecting plans and thus drive down their bottom line. That's just speculation, but it seems to fit pretty well.

Might be, but it also crossed my mind that under Obamacare the government has incentives to NOT let people make informed guesses about their future health.

I have to concur with Ms Lebovitz here; what do you mean living off the commons?

Talking about enclosure strongly implies farming/herding on public land, but that seems like an unlikely argument for you to make. What common goods have been privatized by Walmart in this situation, and how were people living off of them before?

Edit: Oops, replied to wrong comment. Was meant for the parent. Ok, let's see. Firstly, the enclosures were a completely English, not even Anglo-American, phenomenon; nobody else even had any commons. Secondly, the commons were just about sufficient to support something like 10% of a population of around 10 million. Thirdly, wow, I would much rather have a Walmart wage than try to scrape together meals from the land that nobody cares about enough to claim for themselves. To suggest that this is a viable alternative all over the world and in industrial times is silly.

I have no problem tabooing "living wage" in our discussion, but it is important to remember that the word has an actual definition in policy terms; if we talk about paying Walmart / Sam's Club employees a living wage that actually means one very specific thing in terms of how much money they are going to get, and it's not a particularly intuitive amount at that.

But that's a debate for the talking heads; if I understand you correctly, we just want to know if someone working at Walmart would starve without public assistance.

Let's assume for the mom... (read more)

What constitutes a "living wage" has literally nothing to do with how much money it takes to meet your survival needs; it is an amount of money which is supposed to support your family at a "normal standard of living" in your area. The actual cost to survive is naturally quite a bit lower than that, and can be calculated with things like the 'Food Energy Intake' or 'Cost of Basic Needs' methods of establishing poverty lines.

Adding to this confusion is the fact that the Federal Poverty Line seems to be what most people use as their yards... (read more)

Let's assume something truly basic: a living wage covers housing, food and health insurance. That is, a worker paid a living wage will not starve, will not die of treatable disease for financial reasons, and will not be removed from work via arrest for vagrancy (because they have a place to stay). Quibbling over definitions won't get us anywhere. Let's talk about the real issue, and if it means we have to taboo "living wage", so be it.

You seem to be saying that your choice is already made up from your prior mind-state, and there is no decision to be made after Omega presents you with the situation.

Not exactly; just because Omega knows what you will do beforehand with 1-epsilon certainty doesn't mean you don't have a choice, just that you will do what you'll choose to do.

You still make your decision, and just like every other decision you've ever made in your life it would be based on your goals values intuitions biases emotions and memories. The only difference is that someone else ... (read more)

0Adam Zerner10y
I think I agree with your description of how choice works. Regarding the decision you should make, I can't think of anything to say that I didn't say before. If the question specifies how reality/physics works, the decision is obvious.

You seem to be confusing the effect with the cause; whether you will choose to one-box or two-box depends on your prior state of mind (personality/knowledge of various decision theories/mood/etc), and it is that prior state of mind which also determines where Omega leaves its money.

The choice doesn't "influence the past" at all; rather, your brain influences both your and Omega's future choices.

0Adam Zerner10y
Consider this sequence of events: you had your prior mind-state, then Omega made his choice, and then you make your choice. You seem to be saying that your choice is already made up from your prior mind-state, and there is no decision to be made after Omega presents you with the situation. This is a possibility. I'm saying that another possibility is that you do have a choice at that point. And if you have a choice, there are two subsequent options: this choice you make will impact the past, or it won't. If it does, then you should one-box. But if it doesn't impact the past (and if you indeed can be making a choice at this point), then you should two-box.

I will not live and pay taxes in a country that has a monarchy or death penalty.

This is a rather interesting statement, so I hope you don't mind if I ask some questions for clarification;

I'm assuming that the no-monarchies position is ideological, based on it's proximity to your death penalty objection, but it's not entirely clear what the specific objection is. Could you answer which of these types of country you would / would not live in, assuming for the moment none of them had the death penalty?

  1. A representative democracy with a nominal ruler who i
... (read more)
It's curious that you happened to mention countries where I have sometimes thought I'd like to live (Japan and Dubai for their urban design, Thailand and Russia for cultural reasons). But then I have to remember what it's like to actually live there and, by the fact of participating in civil life, to implicitly support the state of affairs. Other countries I like are similarly objectionable on further thought (New Zealand and the Netherlands have monarchs; Ireland and Costa Rica are oppressively Catholic). My position is a Thoreau-like one: I do not want public policy decisions to be made by someone who is not accountable to the persons whom those decisions will affect. Even if the monarch has no ruling powers, the idea of supporting the luxurious lifestyle of one privileged family at the expense of taxpayers is abhorrent to me. Many factors other than the political system drive my country ranking list. I would choose Canada rather than Venezuela, but Venezuela rather than Saudi Arabia. But, to properly answer your question, if the political system were the only factor that mattered, my order of preferences would be 1-2-4-3 on your list, accounting for the fact that I see more hope for Russia than for Saudi Arabia (here hope = the likelihood of their next head of state being democratically elected). Excluding military juntas (e.g. Myanmar), non-hereditary dictatorships tend to perish with their founder (even if Hugo Chávez's successor Nicolás Maduro manages to get himself re-re-re-elected, he won't live forever, and by then voters will be sick of everything he stood for). Even the committee dictatorship in Myanmar hasn't lasted more than one generation yet. I have no experience translating my preferences into money I'd spend to avoid an outcome, but I would do everything in my power to get out of a civil war or a place where religious and sexual minorities were outlawed (or move to change the law if it were feasible).
I have never suspected you, and I am not accusing you of anything. Comments can be aggravating to people who are not the direct recipient.
This is not at all a reasonable summary of what was going on there. A specific reason for focusing on Eugine was given, and Eugine's continued lack of comment at this point is not helping matters. (That's unfortunate because I'd much rather believer that he isn't doing this.) Not necessarily feminists per se, but the fact is that almost all the people who have experienced mass downvoting are people who have argued against traditional sex or gender roles. Shminux made a (somewhat insulting, not necessarily productive) comment, and the downvoting experience started off shortly thereafter. Adele_L said nothing at all about you being involved in any way with any block downvoting behavior. Let me tentatively suggest that there's nothing intrinsically "right-wing" or "left-wing" about such behavior. It may be manifesting itself in a specific political framework, but very likely is more a function of the individual or individuals engaging in the behavior than saying much about their political alignment. The primary invoking of the mods I've seen here has been to actually take a look and see who the downvotes are coming from. That's a pretty distinct situation.

High-status people feel like they deserve more, so it would be probably natural for them to extract as much value as possible, while "the bare minimum is good enough for me" would be a natural attitude of a low-status person.

I question that analysis.

High status can certainly create a sense of entitlement in some people, like how rich people generally leave awful tips, but at the same time you can see a sort of noblesse oblige in others which leads to huge charitable donations and voluntarily forgoing chances to improve their position (like se... (read more)

Thank you, this has prompted some very useful thoughts. This feels close to my situation. I come from a high-privilege family with a long tradition of self-sacrifice and doing good works. I thought of a theory to explain my situation. Part of my problem is not really wanting to win in negotiations. I do want to win, just not as much as I want to avoid feeling socially awkward and grasping. When the negotiation stakes are small for me, I would rather spend more money and feel better. When the stakes are negligible for all, like in games, I play to win. When the stakes are very high for me, it would be rational to negotiate hard, but I don't do that as much as I want to, out of habit learned on smaller stakes and because I do hyperbolic discounting and weigh feeling awkward now higher than losing lots of money long term. The stakes in the role play negotiation were negligible, but I still did badly. However, it felt real enough while I was doing it. I was feeling very awkward. Exposure and deliberate practice seem like good ways of reducing the awkwardness. Another line is to work on the hyperbolic discounting. I could think of the decision in Timeless terms: "I'm making the awkwardness vs profit decision for all similar negotiations." Or I could think what I would advise a needy friend to do.

Yeah, the thing that really bugs me about that whole conflict was how careless everyone involved was. It really shouldn't have had to happen in the first place, and if the two sides had bothered to take other people's motives into account I suspect it wouldn't have. You shouldn't have to be told not to block off Churches and roads with barbed wire, or not to graze and water your cattle on another cattleman's land in a drought without asking the landowner permission.

That's part of why Chesterton's Fence seems like a valuable mental exercise to me, because it encourages thinking about why other people might be doing what they're doing before jumping in to change them.

Part of the issue is that those social norms weren't established, at that point. The open range system pretty much required random folk to put up fences across most every road (cattle grids weren't common until the 1920s), and there were actually pretty big incentives to build and maintain property on public federal land. Property and trespassing concepts get very complex even today in that part of the country, and before the Fence Wars they were even less settled. In some places, ranchers and fence-cutters were able to actually meet up and agree on new rules similar to the norms you've described. But more often, the conflict was more fundamental. Much of the fighting occurred where ranchers were not blocking off public roads. The cowboys and their employers had spent decades with access to these water supplies and grazing lands, and had their livelihoods dependent on that remaining the case. The ranchers, meanwhile, were spending years of their time trying to establish and develop portions of land, under circumstances that encouraged them to select the very water supplies cowboys valued and use as much of those resources as possible. And the economics of the time encourage both groups to nearly or completely overgraze land. There aren't always easy solutions.
I don't see much carelessness -- I see a struggle for power that involved "teaching lessons". P.S. The whole scenario seems to be a pattern that recurs in history -- see e.g. Enclosure [].

The thing is, that's just kicking the can down the road; why did the powerful person want it there badly enough to build it? While people do occasionally go mad with power, the groups which keep power in the long run are usually those who know how to preserve and increase it so there is some logic behind their actions.

A good example, involving actual fences no less, might be the Fence Cutting Wars in the late-nineteenth century Southwestern US. Landed ranchers put up barbed wire fences which often blocked off roads, prevented landless cowboys from easily g... (read more)

From the way you describe it here, it also sounds like the landed ranchers were violating the Chesterton's Fence (or in this case, Chesterton's Public Road) principle.
Load More