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Comment author: TheAncientGeek 05 February 2014 01:25:47PM -1 points [-]

Socially, maybe, that being where the votes are. However, you will be delighted to hear that the Conservatives are still sufficiently traditional to want to cut welfare to the poor and taxes to the rich.

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 05 February 2014 02:37:22PM 5 points [-]

And yet not traditional enough to see any problem with the UK's disastrous immigration policy. The BNP exists pretty much entirely because the "conservative" party is more concerned with not being called racists than with doing what the majority of their constituents have demanding for decades.

In response to comment by BarbaraB on Polling Thread
Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 24 January 2014 05:55:34PM *  0 points [-]

No. That doesn't sound right. We are no looking for Alpha<->Omega i.e. graduation of success at dominance.

We are looking at genuinely desireable (for men) but orthogonal properties in woman.

Men: Alpha = Capability to control others, Beta = capability to provide and care for children

Women: Alpha = Beauty?, Capability to influence others?, Beta = Health? Practical intelligence?

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 25 January 2014 02:04:44AM -1 points [-]

"Genuinely desirable" seems like the problem here, in that it's conflating base sexual attraction with a more pragmatic evaluation of someone's prospects.

Beta males certainly have many admirable qualities; they're reliable productive and civil, usually friendly and loyal as well. But those qualities, while again being very important, are simply not attractive.

Alpha males, on the other hand, are really quite a menace. The Dark Triad traits which make them attractive also mean they are shiftless and poor contributors to society, at least for the most part.

Hence the pattern of "Alpha fucks, Beta bucks." Women want to get the Alpha but will, if forced to by circumstances, trade sex to Betas for resources / security.

In that context, female "Betas" would be the low-risk women men settle for reluctantly while "Alphas" would be high-risk women who are highly sought after.

In response to Tell Culture
Comment author: Moss_Piglet 21 January 2014 02:38:04AM 13 points [-]

The problem here is that, as far as I can tell, a "Tell" culture would immediately become a "Lie Ineptly" culture.

Most of the time, in my experience anyway, when you don't want to help someone it's usually for a reason you couldn't say without nuking or at least damaging the relationship. Even worse, the level of detail / emotion in the "Tell" is much higher than the straightforward "Ask" which makes the usual evasions seem hollow and requires more elaborate excuses. And most people suck at spontaneous deception, since usually the only ones of us who get any practice tend to get weeded out of normal society pretty quickly as is.

"Telling" sounds great if your goal is to quickly burn up your social capital for favors, which can be a smart move if you're not planning on seeing someone again anyway. But you can't really build a useful relationship that way; blunt honesty and bad lies aren't going to get you trust / comfort and without that you're fighting uphill for every little thing.

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 16 January 2014 07:26:58PM 6 points [-]

Something which strikes me is that scientists having science as a job at all is a somewhat new idea; unless I'm wrong, it used to be that a lot of the great naturalists were either independently wealthy aristocrats and pursued scientific inquiry as a hobby, or were monks and were supported by the other brothers of their orders. On the one hand, they worked at their own paces and on topics close to their own interests (hard to imagine Mendel getting grant money, especially with his publishing rate), but on the other there are a lot of very bright people who aren't born into much money or a particularly religious bent who ought to at least consider science.

Still, I think a smart person could sort of split the difference; an ascetic or fraternal order devoted to naturalism might have some appeal and solve a few of the basic problems. New initiates could be put to work reproducing experiments which otherwise would be ignored in the rush to publish unique papers, established scientists who aren't cut out for corporate life or constant grant haggling could relax and focus on their actual jobs, the scientific community would be able to self-regulate with less direct interference by outsiders, and governments or rich individuals who want to appear smart or socially-conscious could patronize the order directly without the intermediary weirdness of setting up organizations of their own to vet applicants. There are concerns with group-think and corruption, but then again it's not like those would be novel issues given what happens in peer-reviewed journals or university departments.

Is this a terrible idea, and if not how would you sell it?

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 16 January 2014 06:17:53PM 8 points [-]

Imagine how much Einstein could discover if he had four wives...

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 16 January 2014 06:42:38PM *  2 points [-]

You jest, but from what I understand that's not far off. He wasn't exactly a polygamist, but at the very least a serial philanderer.

Comment author: Lumifer 13 January 2014 05:41:05PM 2 points [-]

If doctors killed random patients then patients wouldn't go to hospitals and medicine would collapse.

You're fixating on the unimportant parts.

Let me change the scenario slightly to fix your collapse-of-medicine problem: Once in a while the government consults its random number generator and selects one or more, as needed, people to be cut up for organs. The government is careful to keep the benefits (in lives or QALYs or whatever) higher than the costs. Any problems here?

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 16 January 2014 06:35:59PM 3 points [-]

Any problems here?

That people are stupefyingly irrational about risks, especially in regards to medicine.

As an example; my paternal grandmother died of a treatable cancer less than a year before I was born, out of a fear of doctors which she had picked up from post-war propaganda about the T4 euthenasia program. Now this is a woman who was otherwise as healthy as they come, living in America decades after the fact, refusing to go in for treatment because she was worried some oncologist was going to declare a full-blooded German immigrant as genetically impure and kill her to improve the Aryan race.

Now granted that's a rather extreme case, and she wasn't exactly stable on a good day from what I hear, but the point is that whatever bits of crazy we have get amplified completely out of proportion when medicine comes into it. People already get scared out of seeking treatment over rumors of mythical death panels or autism-causing vaccine programs, so you can only imagine how nutty they would get over even a small risk of actual government-sanctioned murder in hospitals.

(Not to mention that there are quite a lot of people with a perfectly legitimate reason to believe those RNGs might "just happen" to come up in their cases if they went in for treatment; it's not like American bureaucrats have never abused their power to target political enemies before.)

In response to Thought Crimes
Comment author: Benito 15 January 2014 01:57:24PM 1 point [-]

Sam Harris has said that there are some beliefs, so dangerous, that we could have to kill someone for believing it.

Imagine an agent with an (incorrect) belief that only by killing everyone, would the world be the best place possible, and a prior against anything realistically causing it to update away. This would have to be stopped somehow, because of what it thinks (and what that causes it to do).

Y'know the intentional stance?

Belief + Desire --> Intentional Action

(In fact, I the agent sounds similar to a religious person who believes that killing everyone ensures believers eternity in heaven, and evil people an eternity in hell or something similar - and knows that doubts are only offered by the devil. Sam Harris talks about this idea in the context of a discussion of people who believe in Islam and act on the beliefs by blowing themselves up in crowded places.)

I'm not what practical advice this gives, I'm just making the general point that what you think becomes what you do, and there's a lot of bad things you can do.

In response to comment by Benito on Thought Crimes
Comment author: Moss_Piglet 15 January 2014 07:55:01PM 5 points [-]

Imagine an agent with an (incorrect) belief that only by killing everyone, would the world be the best place possible, and a prior against anything realistically causing it to update away. This would have to be stopped somehow, because of what it thinks (and what that causes it to do).

That doesn't quite follow.

Thinking something does not make it so, and there are a vanishingly small number of people who could realistically act on a desire to kill everyone. The only time you have to be deeply concerned about someone with those beliefs is if they managed to end up in a position of power, and even that just means "stricter controls on who gets access to world-ending power" rather than searching for thoughtcriminals specifically.

Comment author: Luke_A_Somers 15 January 2014 04:10:34PM 0 points [-]

Without saying this is true, I'm not sure how much this would disagree with Human Neurological Uniformity. It seems to me that guilt would be present everywhere but if the culture is one where shaming is used a lot, it wouldn't get as much exercise, which could lead to this.

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 15 January 2014 05:20:38PM 0 points [-]

Not to mention that we don't know for sure that there even is a significant population difference here. It could just as easily be one of the things which humans seem to be generally consistent on as a species.

The point I was making, albeit ineptly, is that good research on the topic would be interesting and any potential ideological fallout shouldn't deter people from it.

In response to Thought Crimes
Comment author: Brillyant 15 January 2014 02:36:25PM 1 point [-]

2) Simulations

I don't get it. Can someone simplify this concern?

In response to comment by Brillyant on Thought Crimes
Comment author: Moss_Piglet 15 January 2014 05:11:35PM *  3 points [-]

There's a very commonly accepted line of thought around here whereby any sufficiently good digital approximation of a human brain is that human, in a sort of metaphysical way anyhow, because it uses the same underlying algorithms which describe how that brain works in it's model of the brain.

(It doesn't make much sense to me, since it seems to conflate the mathematical model with the physical reality, but as it's usually expressed as an ethical principle it isn't really under any obligation to make sense.)

The important thing is that once you identify sufficiently good simulations as moral agents you end up twisting yourself into ethical knots about things like how powerful beings in the far future treat the NPCs in their equivalent to video games. For that, and other reasons I'm not going to get into here, it seems like a fairly maladaptive belief even if it were accurate.

Comment author: Anatoly_Vorobey 15 January 2014 12:25:18AM 1 point [-]

The one concept from Nietzsche I see everywhere around me in the world is ressentiment. I think much of the master-slave morality stuff was too specific and now feels dated 130 years later, but ressentiment is the important core that's still true and going to stay with us for a while; it's like a powerful drug that won't let humanity go. Ideological convictions and interactions, myths and movements, all tied up with ressentiment or even entirely based on it. And you're right, I would have everyone read Nietzsche - not for practical advice or predictions, but to be able, hopefully, to understand and detect this illness in others and especially oneself.

Comment author: Moss_Piglet 15 January 2014 12:59:49AM *  2 points [-]

It's funny to me that you would say that, because the way I read it was mainly that slave morality is built on resentment whereas master morality was built on self-improvement. The impulse to flee suffering or to inflict it (even on oneself) is the the difference between the lamb and the eagle, and thus the common and the aristocratic virtues. I wouldn't have thought to separate the two ideas.

But again, one of the reasons why he ought to be read more; two people reading it come away with five different opinions on it.

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