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shokwave comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

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Comment author: shokwave 22 January 2011 07:45:54AM 2 points [-]

I don't see how it affirms the consequent; could you spell it out logically for me?

My reason for thinking it doesn't is that I didn't give a consequent. I gave three premises, all of which I strongly believe are true, and the consequent derived from these (you can find it in lukeprog's post) is a prediction that pick-up artists will suffer social attacks such as denunciation.

It's an abductive explanation of the state of the world, to be sure, but it depends on many other premises (evolutionary psychology is an accurate description of the world, other hypotheses are unlikely, etc). At some point you risk rejecting arguments for theories of gravity because they look like affirming the consequent; that is, your theory predicted that the object would fall at a certain rate (9.8 m/s, say) and then the object fell at a certain rate (9.81~ m/s). P therefore Q, Q, P.

Comment author: Anatoly_Vorobey 22 January 2011 09:27:50PM 2 points [-]

I don't see how it affirms the consequent; could you spell it out logically for me?

Your P->Q is "if PUA works, people will try to denounce PUA". You affirm Q and deduce P. As I replied to Vladimir_M, this is fallacious unless you invest at least some effort into refuting alternative hypotheses that explain Q. You note it yourself:

(evolutionary psychology is an accurate description of the world, other hypotheses are unlikely, etc)

Now, your astonishingly reductive claim that all social acts are fitness strategies (this claim is not, in fact, part of evolutionary psychology, whose claims are far-ranging but more modest than that) is on the face of it simply wrong; and several other reasons why people might want to denounce PUA are ready at hand. You have your work cut out for you if you wish to give some convincing evidence for the claim, and against the alternative hypotheses; but before either is done at least to some degree your argument, it seems to me, is wholly unsubstantiated.

P.S. And all this doesn't take into account my third objection above, which would be true even if you were able to support deducing P from Q in your case.

P.P.S. Thank you for the phrase "abductive reasoning", I didn't know that name, or that it was well-studied.

Comment author: shokwave 23 January 2011 06:20:47AM 0 points [-]

Your P->Q is "if PUA works, people will try to denounce PUA". You affirm Q and deduce P.

Ah, okay. Yes to that, although of course I prefer to call it abductive reasoning. I got the impression you were saying something like "kill the status of anyone more successful" was being affirmed.

Now, your astonishingly reductive claim that all social acts are fitness strategies

Never claimed all, but I didn't make it clear enough. The social framework can be used for evolutionary fitness; in this sense, it is an arena for mating struggles. And it is used in this way, and regularly.