Dunbar's Function

We have the instinct to consume sugar because it is the most concentrated form of energy that humans can process, not because it is naturally paired with vitamins.

Sugar is desirable as the most easily accessible form of energy. Being concentrated is more useful for long term storage in a mobile form, hence the use of the more concentrated fat.

Too good to be true

UPI Reporter Dan Olmsted went looking for the autistic Amish. In a community where he should have found 50 profound autistics, he found 3.

He went looking for autistics in a community mostly known for rejecting Science and Engineering? It 'should' be expected that the rate of autism is the same as in the general population? That's... not what I would expect. Strong social penalties for technology use for many generations would be a rather effective way to cull autistic tendencies from a population.

Rationality Quotes December 2014

I think this is about the only scenario on LW that someone can be justifiably downvoted for that statement.

I up-voted it for dissenting against sloppy thinking disguised as being deep or clever. Twisting the word 'god' to include other things that do fit the original, literal or intended meaning of the term results in useless equivocation.

Rationality Quotes December 2014

Hubris isn't something that destroys you, it's something you are punished for. By the gods!

Or by physics. Not all consequences for overconfidence are social.

The Hostile Arguer

Can't imagine who'd have guessed your exact intention just based on your initial response, though.

You are probably right and I am responsible for managing the predictable response to my words. Thankyou for the feedback.

The Hostile Arguer

Wow, thank God you've settled this question for us with your supreme grasp of rationality. I'm completely convinced by the power of your reputation to ignore all the arguments common_law made, you've been very helpful!

Apart from the inexcusably obnoxious presentation the point hidden behind your sarcasm suggests you misunderstand the context.

Stating arguments in favour of arguing with hostile arguers is one thing. "You should question your unstated but fundamental premise" is far more than that. It uses a condescending normative dominance attempt to imply that the poster must not have 'questioned' or thought about a central part of the point because, presumably, if they had 'questioned' that they would have ended up agreeing with common_law instead.

In my judgement the opening poster deserves some moral support and protection against that kind of sniping. I chose (largely out of politeness) to express simple agreement with the poster, rather than a more aggressive and detailed rejection of common_law.

Since you (passive aggressively) asked:

Whether an argument is worthwhile depends primarily on the competence of the arguments presented, which isn't strongly related to the sincerity of the arguer.

This argument misses the point. The reason to avoid arguing with hostile arguers is not that it is impossible to learn anything from such people (although the expected information value is likely to be low). It is because doing so is dangerous or costly on a psychological, physical or economic level.

Of course if you enjoy arguing with hostile people or think it is potentially useful practice then go ahead. In much the same way if you think getting into physical fights will teach you self defence skills then go ahead and insult drunk guys at the bar till they take a swing at you.

The Hostile Arguer

Trying to use reasoned discussion tactics against people who've made up their minds already isn't going to get you anywhere, and if you're unlucky, it might actually be interpreted as backtalk, especially if the people you're arguing against have higher social status than you do--like, for instance, your parents.

At times being more reasonable and more 'mature' sounding in conversation style even seems to be more offensive. It's treating them like you are their social equal and intellectual superior.

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