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MileyCyrus comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) - Less Wrong

25 Post author: orthonormal 26 December 2011 10:57PM

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Comment author: MileyCyrus 01 January 2012 08:32:00AM 5 points [-]

Why is sadism worse than indifference? Are we punishing people for their mental states?

Comment author: Bakkot 01 January 2012 08:33:43AM 1 point [-]

We're punishing people for their motives, which seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Comment author: Solvent 01 January 2012 08:35:18AM *  3 points [-]

Why does that seem like a reasonable thing to do? Isn't that just an incentive to lie about motives?

Comment author: Bakkot 01 January 2012 08:40:49AM 3 points [-]

Of course it's an incentive to lie about motives, but some inferences can be made.

I'm sure this discussion has been had on LW before, but there's a few reasons motives are important in considering what should be punished. In particular:

  • We accept as given that infanticide is something broadly to be discouraged. So we should only be accepting sufficiently good excuses.

  • Allowing sadists to kill their babies creates incentive to produce babies for the sole purpose of killing them, which is a behavior which is long-run going to be very damaging to society.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2012 09:46:40AM 5 points [-]

Allowing sadists to kill their babies creates incentive to produce babies for the sole purpose of killing them, which is a behavior which is long-run going to be very damaging to society.

Its illegal to torture an animal. Why wouldn't it be illegal to torture a baby while killing him? If a sadist can get jollies out of killing with painless poison his children and keeps making them for that purpose, I can't really see how this harms wider society if he pays for the pills and children himself.

Comment author: Multiheaded 02 January 2012 09:57:53AM 1 point [-]

If a sadist can get jollies out of killing with painless poison his children and keeps making them for that purpose, I can't really see how this harms wider society if he pays for the pills and children himself.

Please rethink this. E.g. are you at all confident that this sadist wouldn't slip and go on to adults after their 10th child? Wouldn't you, personally, force people who practice this to wear some mandatory identification in public, so you don't have to wonder about every creepy-looking stranger? Don't you just have an intuition about the myriad ways that giving sadists such rights could undermine society?

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2012 10:01:28AM *  5 points [-]

E.g. are you at all confident that this sadist wouldn't slip and go on to adults after their 10th child?

Fine make it illegal for this to be done except by experts.

Wouldn't you, personally, force people who practice this to wear some mandatory identification in public, so you don't have to wonder about every creepy-looking stranger?

No, why?

Don't you just have an intuition about the myriad ways that giving sadists such rights could undermine society?

We already give sadists lots of rights to psychologically and physical abuse people when this is done with consent or when we don't feel like being morally consistent or when there is some societal benefit to be had.

Comment author: Multiheaded 02 January 2012 10:17:55AM 0 points [-]

Wouldn't you, personally, force people who practice this to wear some mandatory identification in public, so you don't have to wonder about every creepy-looking stranger? - No, why?

For your own safety, in every regard that such people could threaten it.

We already give sadists lots of rights to psychologically and physical abuse people when this is done with consent or when we don't feel like being morally consistent or when there is some societal benefit to be had.

Well, I've always thought that it's enormously and horribly wrong of us.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2012 10:31:37AM *  3 points [-]

For your own safety, in every regard that such people could threaten it.

I don't think society considers that a valid reason for discrimination.

Also please remember surgeons can do nasty things to me without flinching if they wanted to, people do also occasionally have such fears since we even invoke this trope in horror movies.

Well, I've always thought that it's enormously and horribly wrong of us.

I generally agree.

But on the other hand I think we should give our revealed preference some weight as well, remember we are godshatter, maybe we should just accept that perhaps we don't care as much about other people's suffering as we'd like to believe or say we do.

Comment author: Multiheaded 02 January 2012 10:39:19AM *  0 points [-]

I don't think society considers that a valid reason for discrimination.

Yes society might, if society takes into account that it loathes most people with those characteristics to begin with.

remember we are godshatter, maybe we should just accept that perhaps we don't care as much about other people's suffering as we'd like to believe or say we do.

Maybe if we do bother to self-modify in some direction along one of our "shard"'s vectors, it could as well be a direction we see as more virtuous? Making ourselves care as much as we'd privately want to, at least to try and see how it goes?

Comment author: Solvent 01 January 2012 08:49:40AM 1 point [-]

I don't understand your reasoning for either of those dot points.

Comment author: Bakkot 01 January 2012 09:02:07AM 5 points [-]

Let me try again, then.

  • We want to discourage infanticide. Say you kill your baby because, say, you unexpectedly found yourself unable to support it but were familiar with the foster care system and didn't want any more people to go through that than necessary. That's unfortunate, but that's an excuse we can accept. By accepting this excuse we've basically committed to accepting all excuses which are equally good. But there's no way for you to exploit this commitment for your own benefit, and so we're OK making this commitment. The same could not be said to a commitment to accepting sadism as a reason to kill your children.

  • This point is less important. The idea is that a woman repeatedly getting pregnant and then killing the child is putting a lot of strain on society, both in terms of resources and in terms of comfort. We allow a lot of privileges for pregnant women and new mothers, with the expectation that they're trying to bring new people into society, something we encourage. If you're killing your kid out of sadism, you're not doing this, and society will have to adjust how all pregnant women are treated.

Comment author: soreff 01 January 2012 03:16:47PM *  4 points [-]

The idea is that a woman repeatedly getting pregnant and then killing the child is putting a lot of strain on society, both in terms of resources and in terms of comfort. We allow a lot of privileges for pregnant women and new mothers, with the expectation that they're trying to bring new people into society, something we encourage.

I'd think that that the bulk of the resource cost of a newborn is the physiological cost (and medical risks) the mother endured during pregnancy. The general societal cost seems small in comparison.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 01 January 2012 03:21:29PM 1 point [-]

Sure, that seems true. Note that Bakkot didn't say that the costs to everyone else outweighed the costs to the mother, merely that the costs to everyone else were also substantial.

Comment author: [deleted] 02 January 2012 09:50:58AM *  2 points [-]

This point is less important. The idea is that a woman repeatedly getting pregnant and then killing the child is putting a lot of strain on society, both in terms of resources and in terms of comfort. We allow a lot of privileges for pregnant women and new mothers, with the expectation that they're trying to bring new people into society, something we encourage. If you're killing your kid out of sadism, you're not doing this, and society will have to adjust how all pregnant women are treated.

We already treat accidental pregnant women basically the same as those who planned their pregnancy. Clearly we should distinguish and discriminate between them rather than lump them into the "pregnant woman" category (I take a lighter tone in some of my other posts here to provoke thought, but I'm dead serious about this).

Also many people are way to stuck in their 21st century Eurocentric frame of mind to comprehend the personhood argument for infanticide properly. Let me help:

This point is less important. The idea is that a woman repeatedly getting pregnant and then aborting the child is putting a lot of strain on society, both in terms of resources and in terms of comfort. We allow a lot of privileges for pregnant women and new mothers, with the expectation that they're trying to bring new people into society, something we encourage. If you're killing your fetus out of sadism, you're not doing this, and society will have to adjust how all pregnant women are treated.