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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Undiscriminating Skepticism - Less Wrong

93 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 March 2010 11:23PM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 March 2010 08:47:51AM 17 points [-]

I'm sure you know this, but I don't think it makes any sense to think you should enjoy X.

Why doesn't it make sense? If there were a pill to turn me bisexual, I'd take it, modulo the fact that in general I take almost no pills (it'd have to be really really safe, but I hold all mind-affecting substances to that standard, don't drink etcetera, it's not a special case for the bisexuality pill).

Comment author: ata 15 March 2010 09:13:00AM *  14 points [-]

I'm somewhat sympathetic to that idea (I haven't felt guilty about being straightish, but I've wished I were more bisexual once in a while, and succeeded in pushing myself in that direction in some cases), but I'm curious now: is gender the only dimension you'd apply that to? Would you also take a pill (again assuming it's really really safe) that would make all outward physical attributes irrelevant to how attractive you find someone? Would you take a pill that would make you enjoy every non-harmful sexual practice/fetish (not necessarily seeking them out, but able to enjoy it if a partner initiated it)?

(I originally started writing this comment thinking something like "hmm, I'd take the bi-pill, but let's take that reasoning to its vaguely-logical conclusion and see if it's still palatable", but now I'm actually thinking I'd probably take both of those pills too.)

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 March 2010 10:25:38AM 11 points [-]

Well, to ask the non-mainstream-relative-to-this-community version of the question, ask "Would I take the loli pill?"

Comment author: CronoDAS 15 March 2010 07:40:49PM 18 points [-]

How about the anti-Westermark effect pill? ;)

Comment author: Jack 15 March 2010 07:53:28PM 3 points [-]

I can't believe I had never heard of that before. Fascinating.

A question if you can answer it. Wikipedia says:

When close proximity during this critical period does not occur—for example, where a brother and sister are brought up separately, never meeting one another—they may find one another highly sexually attractive when they meet as adults

The addition of "highly" seems to suggest that separated brothers and sisters find themselves especially or unusually attracted to one another. Is that the case or is Wikipedia just adding unnecessary adjectives?

Comment author: thomblake 15 March 2010 08:01:40PM 5 points [-]

There are clearer language and relevant citations at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_sexual_attraction)

Comment author: CronoDAS 15 March 2010 08:00:55PM 4 points [-]

There is a hypothesis that claims that, but the evidence is dubious.

Comment author: FAWS 15 March 2010 12:10:06PM *  4 points [-]

Does "loli" mean non-persons and emotionally mature persons who look like a child, or are actual children (of average or below average emotional maturity) included by the effect?

Comment author: sketerpot 15 March 2010 09:28:48PM *  19 points [-]

If it meant the former, I would take the loli pill if the (unlikely) circumstances called for it. Why not? If it meant the latter, then you would have to tell your libido "no" a lot, but it wouldn't necessarily lead to doing bad things. I doubt it would be worth the hassle, though, except in very special circumstances.

Actually, the biggest drawback to either version of the loli pill would probably be how society would react if they ever found out. It probably wouldn't matter if the one you're sleeping with is really 700 years old; you'd still get put on every sex offender registry out there, and shunned vigorously, at the very least. People are damn tense on this subject. Just look at how much trouble Christopher Handley got in for his manga collection.

Edit: I felt pretty uncomfortable writing this post, even though I know I shouldn't be. Looks like this really is a good question.

Comment author: MBlume 24 September 2011 09:09:30PM 4 points [-]

Upvoted for noticing discomfort

Comment author: kodos96 17 March 2010 12:39:29AM 3 points [-]

upvoted for citing tvtropes :)

Comment author: Alicorn 17 March 2010 12:42:30AM 17 points [-]

Downvoted for encouraging such irresponsible behavior as citing TV Tropes!

Comment author: thomblake 17 March 2010 10:04:11PM 7 points [-]

You just say that because your karma is over nine thousand!

Comment author: wedrifid 15 March 2010 12:44:44PM 0 points [-]

Loli means actual preteen girls.

Comment author: ata 15 March 2010 09:29:37PM *  4 points [-]

If I understand correctly, loli only refers to cartoon depictions of preteen girls (and maybe roleplaying with that theme). Being attracted to actual preteen girls is just pedophilia.

(At least that's what loli fans say. I've always been a bit confused by the distinction — I've known people into loli and shota who seemed to find actual children as unappealing as any normal person does, but I can't quite figure out why a person would be turned on only by a cartoon and not the real thing.)

Comment author: Jack 15 March 2010 09:47:00PM 14 points [-]

This is a really a frustrating exchange given the number of terms that need googling and the fact that I am in a public library.

Comment author: sketerpot 16 March 2010 12:07:27AM 2 points [-]

The TV Tropes page is work-safe and pretty illuminating. No guarantees if you click on any of the links, though.

Comment author: wedrifid 15 March 2010 11:00:05PM 1 point [-]

Google define:'s loli as -

  • Abbreviation of lolita
  • Japanese term for Lolita, which means young, pre-teen girls.

Google define:'s lolita as -

  • a sexually precocious young girl
  • In the marketing of legal pornography, lolita is used to refer to a neotenic female, frequently one who has only recently reached the age of consent, or appears to be younger than the age of consent. Usually overlaps with 'barely legal'.
Comment author: kodos96 17 March 2010 12:42:55AM -1 points [-]

but I can't quite figure out why a person would be turned on only by a cartoon and not >the real thing

Because they're lying

Comment author: ata 15 March 2010 09:28:11PM *  3 points [-]

The two pills I proposed are mainstream relative to this community?
I'm surprised yet not surprised. Good to know, anyway.

(So, alright, would you take the loli pill?)

Comment author: Strange7 15 March 2010 04:16:39PM 4 points [-]

There is a well-established mechanism within the transformation fetish subculture making use of devices which work a bit like temporary tattoos, altering the subject's body and/or personality in ways both profound and fully reversible. Like most magic intended to make a story possible rather than to make it interesting, the patches in question are entirely without negative side effects.

As demonstrated with Clippy, I would be willing to provide further information even if doing so does not serve my long-term interests in any obvious way.

Comment author: clarissethorn 15 March 2010 10:43:50AM 6 points [-]

I'd definitely take all three of the above pills. In fact, I wonder how much harm such pills would have to do for me not to take them.

Comment author: Bindbreaker 16 March 2010 06:15:02AM 2 points [-]

Would it be reversible?

Comment author: ata 16 March 2010 06:30:29AM *  6 points [-]

You can just answer it for each case. Would you take either pill if they were irreversible? If they were reversible?

Comment author: Bindbreaker 16 March 2010 06:48:19AM 6 points [-]

Yes in all cases, but absolutely only if reversible.

I am asexual and thus have not experienced any of the romantic/sexual emotions. I feel as if doing so would almost certainly help my understanding of others, as well as broaden my emotional range. However, I seem to do quite fine without these emotions, and they seem to cause more problems than they are worth in many of the people around me. Therefore I would only take such pills if they were reversible, as my present state is quite happy and the alternative could certainly be worse.

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 08:08:58AM *  4 points [-]

However, I seem to do quite fine without these emotions, and they seem to cause more problems than they are worth in many of the people around me.

No kidding.

Do people remember that guy who was here at the very beginning and wouldn't shut up about how the key to being rational was castration? I doubt that troll would have had much to say would have been helpful but the position has a certain intuitive plausibility to me. To begin with, I'm pretty sure the ebb and flow of sexual arousal would be really easy to money pump.

Comment author: wedrifid 16 March 2010 08:23:49AM 5 points [-]

To begin with, I'm pretty sure my the ebb and flow of sexual arousal would be really easy to money pump.

Buying and selling bulk cupons for the service of prostitutes?

Comment author: Jack 19 March 2010 11:12:41PM *  3 points [-]

I was actually thinking pornographic website subscriptions. That works too, though.

Comment author: Morendil 16 March 2010 08:33:23AM 2 points [-]

Easy enough to find by searching. ;)

Those contributions were... interesting. I'm somewhat tempted to doubt the disclosure. While researching permanent forms of contraception, in particular vasectomy, I learned that the procedure was illegal in France up until a few years ago: it was considered "self-mutilation". I'd be rather surprised to learn about someone getting elective castration, unless some plausible details substantiated that story.

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 09:49:19AM *  1 point [-]

Agreed. And I obviously wouldn't volunteer. But sexuality does appear to generate some serious bias. I imagine straight men might be unreliable rebutters and evaluators of arguments made by attractive females, for example.

Comment author: ciphergoth 15 March 2010 09:25:25AM 6 points [-]

Why would you take such a pill? So that you can have more fun, or for some other reason?

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 March 2010 10:22:41AM 17 points [-]

So I wouldn't miss out on half the fun.

Comment author: ciphergoth 15 March 2010 12:15:45PM 23 points [-]

How do you distinguish the sort of fun it's worth changing your values to enjoy from the sort of fun (like wireheading) it's worth not having access to?

Of course, it's nothing like half the fun you're missing. Adding a gender would increase your fun by less than 100% since it's not that different in many ways. Adding all the sexual variation in the world would be a humongous amount of fun, but you'd start to hit diminishing returns after a while.

Comment author: CronoDAS 15 March 2010 07:26:26PM 12 points [-]

Technically, given that most people are heterosexual, Woody Allen's quote - "The good thing about being bisexual is that it doubles your chance of a date on a Saturday night." - is inaccurate. It only increases your chances by the percentage of people of your gender who are open to same-sex encounters.

Comment author: Jack 15 March 2010 07:41:33PM 22 points [-]

I think I have enough evidence to say this confidently without unfairly stereotyping: On balance, gay men are so much more promiscuous than straight women that being bisexual really might double or triple the opportunities for a man to have sex. But your point is well taken and certainly applies to chances for a monogamous relationship.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 March 2010 09:27:46PM 15 points [-]

Point of curiosity if anyone knows the answer: How promiscuous are bisexual men and do they tend to have more m-m than m-f sex because the m-m sex is much easier to obtain? If not, why not?

Comment author: Kevin 15 March 2010 11:00:30PM *  8 points [-]

I'm a 1 on the Kinsey scale but I have only had sex with women, not men. I don't identify as bisexual.

I suspect that the median bisexual man has more m-m sex because the median person willing to identify as bisexual is not a 3 on the Kinsey scale but leans towards the homosexual side of the scale. Also, especially for young people just coming to terms with their sexuality, identifying as bisexual is often a path towards identifying as gay, and such people are likely to have more sex with their true preferred type of partners.

There is a negative perception in the gay community that bisexual people are more promiscuous, but this probably isn't true. I'm pretty sure the reason bisexual men tend to have sex with men more often than women is not because getting gay sex is as easy as posting a "Hey, who wants to come over, blow me, and leave right away without talking?" on Craigslist, but because most people that identify as bisexual are just more gay than straight.

Btw, if anyone was intrigued by the possibility of making such a Craigslist post, if you say you're straight you'll get at least twice as many replies! :D

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 12:00:47AM *  0 points [-]

This is of course controversial but I've had a number of gay friends and acquaintances deny that there even are true bisexual men. The position they take it is that homosexuality is a binary, pre-natal development characteristic and that bisexual males are pretty much just gay men holding out hope for a normal marriage/family life.

No offense to those men here who identify as bisexual, obviously. This all may just be in group posturing and what not.

Comment author: paper-machine 24 September 2011 06:17:31PM 8 points [-]

deny that there even are true bisexual men.

I don't exist -_-;;

Comment author: Jack 24 September 2011 06:31:35PM 7 points [-]

So there is actually new evidence since we had this conversation. Bisexual men do exist! Past studies found that the men they studied who identified as bisexual weren't.

The different results are likely due to the different procedures used to determine the participant pool. The 2005 study took it's sample of bisexual men mainly from college campus LGBTQ student associations while the more recent study advertised on craigslist M/F for M and, on top of that, refused to include anyone whose claim to bisexuality they didn't believe.

Comment author: Clippy 25 September 2011 12:16:24AM 1 point [-]

Neither do I, apparently, even after meeting with LWers in person!

Comment author: Alicorn 16 March 2010 12:09:38AM 7 points [-]

deny that there even are true bisexual men.

I, meanwhile, am not entirely sure that there are straight women.

(Every woman I have met has fallen into one of the following categories: 1) She would not know if she were non-straight, due to inadequate self-examination or understanding of the concept of orientation. 2) I would not know if she were not straight, due to not having a close enough relationship with her or due to social constraints on her end preventing her from being out or due to the topic never having come up. 3) I know her to be bisexual, gay, asexual, or some other non-straight sexuality.)

Counterexamples are welcome to present themselves, of course.

Comment author: smk 25 September 2011 07:33:08AM 9 points [-]

The thread seems to be resurrected, so I'll present myself. :)

I am a cissexual slightly genderqueer exclusively androsexual monogamously married woman. I think about sexuality and orientation a lot. Including my own. I don't recall ever being sexually or romantically attracted to a woman. Intellectually, monosexuality seems a little weird to me, but nevertheless it seems to describe me. In fact I think of my monosexuality as a gender fetish, but I hesitate to apply that paradigm to other people's monosexuality.

Comment author: Swimmer963 26 September 2011 02:54:33PM 5 points [-]

Reminds me of a study I read about. They basically showed men and women different types of porn and measured genital arousal. The results were straightforward for men: if they identified as straight, girl-on-girl porn caused the greatest arousal, girl-on-guy was ok, and guy-on-guy caused almost no arousal. For gay men, the results were reversed. For girls, there were no simple categories, and their identification as straight or gay didn't predict which images would be the biggest turn-on.

Comment author: juliawise 24 September 2011 05:34:54PM 2 points [-]

My impression from attending a women's college was that by the fourth year, most women who came in identifying as straight had experienced some attraction to other women. And those who came in saying "My life would be so much easier if I liked girls" were more likely to be dating women by the end (though no data on whether their lives were actually easier!)

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 March 2010 01:47:47AM 2 points [-]

Which category do you yourself fall into? (Or would you prefer not to answer that question?)

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 12:27:07AM 2 points [-]

I'm around 90% confident my girlfriend is straight.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 16 March 2012 02:42:23PM *  0 points [-]

For what it's worth, I know a few women (2 certainly, 1 arguably) who strike me as reasonably self-aware, are at least as familiar with the concept of orientation in the abstract as I am, whose sex lives I'm reasonably well acquainted with, who have expressed sexual attraction to and initiated/accepted sexual intercourse with a number of men, and who have expressed (sometimes with regret) their lack of sexual attraction to and have never initiated/accepted sexual intercourse with any women.

Calling them straight seems reasonable to me... certainly I would call myself gay were all of that true of me.

That said, I can certainly imagine all of them having sex with another woman were the circumstances perfectly aligned (at least, I suppose I can imagine it; I've never actually done so and it seems vaguely impolite to do so now, especially since I'm at work).

Comment author: Kevin 16 March 2010 01:03:03AM 2 points [-]

There are also "David Bowie bisexuals", straight men willing to identify as bisexual in solidarity with the gay rights movement, or as an acknowledgement of the general fluidity of sexuality and gender.

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 02:08:55AM 3 points [-]

straight men willing to identify as bisexual in solidarity with the gay rights movement

Interesting. I'm pretty sure my gay friends would find this offensive and patronizing.

Comment author: ciphergoth 16 March 2010 08:18:19AM 1 point [-]

I understand that you're describing another's position not your own, but can you describe how that position's predictions differ from the predictions from "true bisexuality"?

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 08:57:54AM *  0 points [-]

I suppose it predicts a likelihood that any given male bisexual will more and more exclusively have sexual relationships with males, a higher probability of eventually identifying as gay (relative to the probabilities of those of other orientations changing their identifications) and a low probability of a successful and happy relationship with a female.

ETA: The number of people who still identify as bisexual and lead bisexual lifestyles late into adulthood should be negligible modulo some kind of continued denial.

Comment author: simplicio 16 March 2010 03:20:24AM *  1 point [-]

bisexual males are pretty much just gay men holding out hope for a normal marriage/family life.

I dunno... I talked to a couple of (male, straight) friends of mine about this once. We all agreed that although we were straight, 100% would be an exaggeration. I think it's probably a continuum, although dominance/submission factors muddy the waters a bit too.

EDIT: I have now officially heard of the Kinsey scale.

Comment author: Jack 16 March 2010 05:16:10AM 0 points [-]

I don't think the fact that most straight men wouldn't say 100% is particularly strong evidence against the original thesis. It is consistent with the claim that sexual orientation for men is very heavily clustered at the poles of the Kinsey scale.

Comment author: [deleted] 16 March 2012 01:25:09PM 0 points [-]

On the other hand, I think I've read claims that everyone is actually bisexual, and people who claim they're heterosexual are just suppressing their homosexual tendencies and vice versa.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 16 March 2012 02:49:31PM 3 points [-]

Well, the claims are certainly made. I find them about as absurd as the claims that everyone is actually monosexual, myself, though I'd certainly agree that there are a whole lot of people asserting a far greater degree of monosexuality than they actually possess.

Whenever this subject comes up I'm reminded of a woman at a party who was trotting out the "there are no bisexual men, they're just gay men in denial" chestnut, to which I replied "Right! I mean, consider me and my husband. We've been in a monogamous same-sex relationship for the last twenty years, but we claim to be bisexual solely to preserve our heterosexual privilege. Um. No, wait, how does that work again?"

She was annoyed with me.

Comment author: Jack 15 March 2010 10:50:34PM 5 points [-]

Bisexual males often don't identify as 50-50 which complicates the matter.

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 March 2010 01:37:24AM *  4 points [-]

Is someone who is what might be called "prison gay" bisexual? (That is, someone who will engage in homosexual acts as a substitute for masturbation, but is not physically attracted to members of the same sex. Yes, it's probably a bad/loaded term, but I don't know what a better one is.)

Comment author: MugaSofer 10 October 2012 12:30:47PM 0 points [-]

As I understand it, it's a standard human response to being trapped with substandard mates to have increasingly-greater estimates of their attractiveness. This has no relevance to sexual orientation.

Comment author: Psychohistorian 15 March 2010 11:03:10PM 7 points [-]

My understanding is that bisexuality rarely endures past one's twenties, and that bisexuals of both genders tend to end up choosing men. Of course, that may stem from the fact that publicly displayed bicuriousity is far less ostracized when it occurs amongst women, so more straight-leaning women are tempted to fool around than straight-leaning men, resulting in most bisexuals settling with men.

Of course, there are people who remain bisexual past that, and my data is not exactly rigorously gathered - I have some friends who study psychology and sexuality, and I've heard it from them.

Comment author: thomblake 15 March 2010 10:46:58PM 1 point [-]

There don't seem to be any findable sources that present an unbiased view on the matter (say, relevant statistics), and I suspect that the categories are sufficiently fluid at the moment that the question would be difficult to pin down.

Comment author: CronoDAS 15 March 2010 07:57:40PM 3 points [-]

But what if you're female?

Comment author: FAWS 15 March 2010 08:10:06PM 6 points [-]

I think I have enough evidence to say this confidently without unfairly stereotyping: On balance, straight men are so turned on by the idea of girl on girl sex that being bisexual really might double or triple the opportunities for a woman to have sex.

Well, not really. The having enough evidence part at least.

Comment author: thomblake 15 March 2010 08:41:55PM 4 points [-]

I think "opportunities for a woman to have sex" must mean something entirely different from "opportunities for a man to have sex", given the facts on the ground w.r.t. the market.

Comment author: Jack 15 March 2010 08:00:40PM *  4 points [-]

I think I have enough evidence to say this confidently without unfairly stereotyping: On balance, straight men are so much more promiscuous than gay women that being bisexual really might double or triple the opportunities for a woman to have sex.

:-)

Edit: On reflection, this might not be right. But yeah, my point doesn't exactly apply to straight women.

Comment author: CronoDAS 15 March 2010 08:05:31PM *  1 point [-]

Funny!

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 March 2010 09:26:26PM 2 points [-]

Actually, what you really need is the sexchange pill, but that's a lot harder than it sounds.

Comment author: CronoDAS 16 March 2010 02:49:18AM *  7 points [-]

I'll settle for the bisexuality pill, an attractive female-shaped body (including the "vagina-shaped penis"), some time to get used to moving around in it, and the capacity for having multiple orgasms. "Gay man in a woman's body" is close enough for my purposes. ;)

Comment author: ata 15 March 2010 08:52:00PM 2 points [-]

We'll have to make enough bi-pills for everyone, then.

Comment author: wedrifid 15 March 2010 11:02:19AM 3 points [-]