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hairyfigment comments on EA Has A Lying Problem - Less Wrong Discussion

13 Post author: Benquo 11 January 2017 10:31PM

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Comment author: hairyfigment 12 January 2017 01:04:45AM 1 point [-]

She does eventually give an example of what she says she's talking about - one example from Facebook, when she claimed to be seeing a pattern in many statements. Before that she objects to the standard use of the English word "promise," in exactly the way we would expect from an autistic person who has no ability to understand normal humans. Of course this is also consistent with a dishonest writer trying to manipulate autistic readers for some reason. I assume she will welcome this criticism.

(Seriously, I objected to her Ra post because the last thing humanity needs is more demonology; but even I didn't expect her to urge "mistrusting Something that speaks through them," like they're actually the pawns of demons. "Something" is very wrong with this post.)

The presence of a charlatan like Gleb around EA is indeed disturbing. I seem to recall people suggesting they were slow to condemn him because EA people need data to believe anything, and lack any central authority who could declare him anathema.

Comment author: Benquo 12 January 2017 07:24:12AM 3 points [-]

I think that if you look at the actual epistemic content of this kind of demonology, it just cashes out to not committing the fundamental attribution error:

There are bad systems of behavior and thought that don't reflect the intrinsic badness of the individuals who express them, but rather broader social dynamics. There's selection pressure for social dynamics that justify, defend, and propagate themselves, so sometimes it can be intuitive to anthropomorphize them. A powerful agent for evil that can control otherwise good people's actions sounds like a demon.

Comment author: sarahconstantin 12 January 2017 07:01:10AM 2 points [-]

Hi, I wrote the post.

I think that it's actually fine for me to use spooky/mystical language to describe human behavior. I'm trying to hint very broadly at subjective impressions, and provoke readers to see the same things I do. I have the rough sense of something spooky going on in the zeitgeist, and I want to evoke that spooky feeling in my readers, so that some of them might say "I see it too." That's exactly the right use case for magical thinking.

There are degrees of certainty in making accusations. If you have hard evidence that somebody did a seriously bad thing, then that's one kind of situation. I'm not making any of those kinds of claims. (There was hard evidence that Gleb did a seriously bad thing, but that's not original to me, and that was dealt with before.)

What I'm doing is more like the sort of thing that goes on when, say, a journalist/blogger might accuse EA of being a movement full of "nerdy white males" and insinuating that this is associated with certain stereotypical biases, and maybe pulling a quote or two to support the claim. It's a "hey, this smells funny" kind of deal. It's about pattern-matching and raising suspicion and smearing it around a bit.

Comment author: hairyfigment 12 January 2017 07:43:44AM 2 points [-]

I do not think it's fine. I think you're poisoning the discourse and should stop doing it, as indeed should the blogger in your example if there isn't more to go on. Is your last sentence some kind of parody, or an actual defense of the reason our country is broken?

Comment author: Davidmanheim 12 January 2017 09:03:49PM 2 points [-]

This seems to be a mean-spirited way to poison the discourse in exactly the way it attacks Sarah for - is that irony intentional?