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Comment author: Science 19 January 2017 07:02:55AM *  0 points [-]

Well, what about it? There are people who practice Catholicism and people who don't. There are people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I actively follow the rules of Catholicism", and and people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church when I was a kid". They all go down as Catholics on the census. Practicing Catholics are a subset of the number of people recorded as Catholics in the world.

I'd say the most important property is whether being Catholic is part of one's identity. Specifically "I admire those who are better Catholics than myself and consider them to be holier and more virtuous people than myself. I feel somewhat guilty about not being more like them."

Note: I don't actually think Catholics are worthy of hatred, although there are religions that are.

To be quite honest, simply because I think there's a category of group-memberships that includes things like nationalities and political affiliations and religions, and doesn't include things like "fraudster", "golfer" or "rationalist" and it was the former meaning I intended to convey in my original post.

This is more-or-less where we disagree. Yes, you could define such a category by using a fractal shaped boundary, but it's unclear why it would be relevant to the question of whether one should hate members of that category.

And to bring it back round to the initial topic of debate, would you say that it is useful to hate all members of a particular political party given that you thought that membership in it was immoral?

The relevant criterion is stronger then membership being merely immoral.

And what about the liars?

A decent definition is "one who lives by lies".

In response to comment by Science on Universal Hate
Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 07:38:27AM 0 points [-]

I'd say the most important property is whether being Catholic is part of one's identity. Specifically "I admire those who are better Catholics than myself and consider them to be holier and more virtuous people than myself. I feel somewhat guilty about not being more like them."

I take your point, but that gives the notional I-hate-Catholics guy a pretty difficult task of differentiation, since plenty of people who identify as Catholics - if you asked them if they were Catholics, they'd say yes - don't mean that. They mean "I was baptized". So a more accurate statement for IHC guy would be "I hate Catholics who do/say/believe X, Y or Z - though I don't count as real Catholics, and therefore do not hate, people who refer to themselves as Catholics but who don't do/say/believe X, Y or Z". Even among self-identified Catholics who do the odd bit of practicing - midnight Mass at Christmas, funeral services, praying to St. Anthony when they've lost their keys - many don't align with Catholic dogma on many subjects (pre-marital sex, contraception etc.). Identifying as Catholic means a different thing to them than the Pope would like it to, but they still do it.

And if IHC guy instead says "I assume that everyone who claims to be a Catholic means that they do/say/believe X, Y and Z, and therefore I will hate everybody who describes themselves as Catholic", then that's where "useless and irrational" comes in - because he's including in his hatred people who don't actually do/say/believe the actual things he has a problem with. That's the basic problem with attributing a negative characteristic to a huge group of people - the likelihood that it holds true for all group members diminishes as group-size goes up, unless the group is specifically defined as "people who have done X".

This is more-or-less where we disagree. Yes, you could define such a category by using a fractal shaped boundary, but it's unclear why it would be relevant to the question of whether one should hate members of that category.

I think my point above goes to this. If you hate the crime of murder then it makes sense that you would direct your hate at every "murderer". By definition they have done the thing you object to. Russians, however, are not alcoholics by definition, so hating Russians for being drunks makes no sense. With big demographic groups, your hate cannot be directed at a specific action that they all, by definition, must have taken - except, as you pointed out, in the case of freely-chosen political party membership, but then only in the case that you consider membership of that party in and of itself, regardless of other actions or beliefs such an awful thing a as to deserve hatred.

A decent definition is "one who lives by lies".

Thanks for clarifying.

Comment author: Science 19 January 2017 05:32:17AM 2 points [-]

People object to "All Lives Matter" because it derails the discussion and implies that it's somehow unfair to focus, as you said, on "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment"

But why is it fair to focus on "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment" when that's a tiny subset of the lives being affected by brutality. The number of lives affected by the "brutality" of blacks is much much larger, yet focusing on that would be racist.

a discussion of sexual violence is cluttered up with comments insisting that everyone recognize "women can commit rape too!"

So if it makes sense to focus on the fact that rapists are more likely to be male why doesn't it make sense to focus on the fact that rapists are more likely to be black and/or Muslim?

It's a cry of not fair along the same lines as "Why can't we have a Straight Pride Parade?" "Why isn't there a White History Month?"

Actually its not, it is in fact the opposite situation. The argument for, e.g., "Black Lives Matter" is that we should focus blacks beaten up or shot by cops because those are more common. The argument for "Black History Month" is that we should focus on blacks who have accomplished historically significant things because there are less common.

Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 06:43:15AM 0 points [-]

But why is it fair to focus on "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment" when that's a tiny subset of the lives being affected by brutality. The number of lives affected by the "brutality" of blacks is much much larger, yet focusing on that would be racist.

In the specific context of police brutality in America, victimization - of the innocent, by the way, as well as the guilty - is disproportionately determined by race. This disparity is the specific problem BLM was set up to address. By the logic that says it is not useful for anyone to focus on this specific problem because other, more widespread problems exist, you can say it's worthless to focus on any specific problem if there exists a greater problem. Why waste any energy on any problem in America at all? America is a small part of the world. Focus on malaria instead. Or focus everything on climate change. That's a bigger problem than any other.

So if it makes sense to focus on the fact that rapists are more likely to be male why doesn't it make sense to focus on the fact that rapists are more likely to be black and/or Muslim?

That was nowhere stated or implied in what I said. It's one thing expanding the discussion from "debating the relationship between BLM and ALM" to "debating the motive force behind BLM in general", as has happened here, but I don't want to get into a discussion of sexual violence right now so we'll leave that.

The argument for, e.g., "Black Lives Matter" is that we should focus blacks beaten up or shot by cops because those are more common.

No, not because it's more common - it's nowhere near more common, given the difference in population sizes - because it's disproportionate.

The argument for "Black History Month" is that we should focus on blacks who have accomplished historically significant things because there are less common.

Again, no - the argument for Black History Month is that history as generally taught focuses on the historical roles played by white people to the near or total exclusion of black people.

I think we ought to pause for a second here and query whether this discussion is worth pursuing. We're discussing a hot-button, emotionally-charged political topic on LW, which isn't really the place for that, and we're coming at it with, I think, a different set of previously accepted truths and values. It's hard to see a clear path to one of us changing our mind or our outlook because there's not a clear argument here. We've already gone from "BLM v. ALM" to "BLM in general" and are starting to creep into "race relations in America in general". If the topic's too broad and the ground too easily shifted, we risk devolving into a useless arguments-as-soldiers sort of exchange that doesn't lead anywhere. Unless we can agree on one specific issue and stick to hashing that out, we might be better off wrapping up this discussion - after you've made any counter-points you'd like, of course.

Comment author: Science 19 January 2017 05:55:27AM 2 points [-]

Nominal membership in a religion requires no specific action.

What about practicing membership? What about identifying as?

I still think that's a very obviously different kind of category to one like "murderers".

How so? What's the relevant difference, and why? Especially when the comparison is with something like "fraudster"?

a lot of people would argue that for membership in a neo-Nazi party, for example, though I did specify "large" parties up above

Why is the size relevant here? There are numerous parties much worse than "neo-Nazis". Some of them are currently mainstream parties in their countries.

In response to comment by Science on Universal Hate
Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 06:30:07AM 0 points [-]

What about practicing membership? What about identifying as?

Well, what about it? There are people who practice Catholicism and people who don't. There are people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I actively follow the rules of Catholicism", and and people who say "I am Catholic" meaning "I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church when I was a kid". They all go down as Catholics on the census. Practicing Catholics are a subset of the number of people recorded as Catholics in the world.

How so? What's the relevant difference, and why? Especially when the comparison is with something like "fraudster"?

To be quite honest, simply because I think there's a category of group-memberships that includes things like nationalities and political affiliations and religions, and doesn't include things like "fraudster", "golfer" or "rationalist" and it was the former meaning I intended to convey in my original post. Group is clearly too vague a term. If I said "demographics" instead of groups would that be clearer?

Why is the size relevant here?

Moral uniformity and broadness of political platform, I'd say. As the party gets larger the pool of potential beliefs/positions that can be held under that party's banner becomes more broad - I accept that those two things don't always go hand in hand, but they do usually in democracies where people are free to choose their party, and in systems where people are less free to choose their party there's a whole other moral aspect to membership. As the potential beliefs or positions that can be held by an individual who still calls themselves an X-member rises it becomes less accurate to ascribe one specific noxious characteristic to all group members.

And to bring it back round to the initial topic of debate, would you say that it is useful to hate all members of a particular political party given that you thought that membership in it was immoral? Can you give an example? And what about the liars? I'd like to understand your position more clearly.

Comment author: Science 19 January 2017 05:16:41AM 2 points [-]

I did not mean groups in the sense of "people who have all performed a certain action", like murder. I meant "groups" in the sense of things likes nationalities, ethnicities, major religions, large political parties.

Um, two of those groups are in fact defined by having performed a certain action.

In response to comment by Science on Universal Hate
Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 05:37:40AM 1 point [-]

Okay. I assume you mean religions and political parties. Nominal membership in a religion requires no specific action. 90% of Irish people would be considered "Catholic" by virtue of having been baptized and confirmed as children. They need not have taken any specific action as adults to be afforded that designation, nor do they need to be "practising" in any active sense - going to Mass, for example. Many don't. They still go down as Catholics.

In the case of political parties, you're right that an individual needs to register, or vote a certain way, or take some action as an adult to be counted as a "member of that group". I still think that's a very obviously different kind of category to one like "murderers". Of course it's possible to argue that claiming membership of a specific political party is inherently immoral - a lot of people would argue that for membership in a neo-Nazi party, for example, though I did specify "large" parties up above (large as in mainstream, not niche or fringe, one of the main political parties of a nation, containing a decent percentage of that country's population). Is that what you're arguing?

And any comment on the "liars" question?

Comment author: Science 19 January 2017 04:56:35AM 3 points [-]

Is there anyone here on LW who is likely to disagree with the statement "hating every member of a group X on principle is irrational and counter-productive"?

Yes, because it is false. For example, I hate all liars on principal. I hate all fraudsters on principal. I hate all murderers on principal.

In response to comment by Science on Universal Hate
Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 05:11:43AM 0 points [-]

Perhaps I should have been more specific - I did not mean groups in the sense of "people who have all performed a certain action", like murder. I meant "groups" in the sense of things likes nationalities, ethnicities, major religions, large political parties. The kind of groups that are not morally uniform, if only by virtue of their size - even if membership in that group correlates to some degree with a negative action or attribute. Russia has the highest rate of alcoholism in the world, but saying "I hate Russians because they're drunks" is irrational. Millions of Russians - in fact most Russians - are not alcoholics. If you can suggest a more precise term than "group" so that I can convey my meaning better I'd be grateful.

That said, I'd be interested in a more detailed explanation of what you mean by "hating all liars". Do you mean that you hate people who have told at least one lie, people who frequently lie, people who habitually lie, or people who lie for specifically selfish reasons? "I hate all liars on principle" is a pretty broad statement.

Comment author: bogus 19 January 2017 02:31:47AM *  0 points [-]

which in America means black people specifically.

Um, nope it doesn't. For example, a black person who lives in an affluent, low-crime area and adopts high-status signifiers such as wearing a suit-and-tie is extremely unlikely to be affected by police brutality. This is not to say that being black isn't highly correlated with being victimized in this way, but the whole point of the previous comment is that correlation is not certainty, and there's nothing 'specific' about it.

This is also why your criticism of the "All Lives Matter!" meme is rather off track - the whole notion that such things can "derail the discussion" is unproven and quite possibly meaningless. In all probability, it's little more than what we here at Less Wrong would call a cached thought, or even more pointedly a semantic stopsign, or thought-terminating cliché.

Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 03:08:08AM 0 points [-]

I think there's some miscommunication here regarding the quoted sentence. You used the phrase "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment". I stated that this group, right now at the moment, is "black Americans". I wouldn't have thought you would disagree with that statement given that you said it was acceptable for "Black Lives" to be used as a "convenient shorthand" for WLAMABPBATM, and you've just reiterated that being black is highly correlated with being unfairly victimized. Where's the disagreement here?

As regards "ALM", the only argument you've advanced is that the idea that it can derail discussions may not be meaningful. So say I ceded that, for the sake of argument - though I don't think you've actually demonstrated that it's a semantic stopsign, etc. What are your responses to my other points? I'll restate them clearly in case my previous comment was not sufficiently well-structured.

  1. "All lives matter" adds nothing to the discourse.
  2. "All lives matter", as a response or counter to "Black Lives Matter" (which as far as I've seen is all it is), is an implied rebuke carrying a tacit accusation of unfairness.
  3. As "Black Lives Matter" exists as a slogan specifically referring to the higher probability of unfair victimization at the hands of police faced by black people, "All Lives Matter" carries with it an implication that this higher probability is minimal, non-existant or unimportant.

If you can present an alternate explanation of why people say "All Lives Matter" as a response to "Black Lives Matter", I'm perfectly willing to hear it.

Comment author: bogus 19 January 2017 12:50:32AM *  0 points [-]

I like the "Black Lives Matter" movement. I also like the "Black Lives Matter" name, as long as it's understood that "Black Lives" is intended as a convenient shorthand for "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment". I don't like that so many adherents of the "Black Lives Matter" movement object to the "All Lives Matter!" meme and call it racist, because this tells me that they're definitely taking the "Black Lives" part the wrong way.

Comment author: TiffanyAching 19 January 2017 01:28:02AM 1 point [-]

I don't know if this is the right place to have this conversation but I can't help myself. Mods - feel free to kill this.

Disclaimer, I'm not American. I don't have a dog in this fight one way or another, but I can pattern-match.

People object to "All Lives Matter" because it derails the discussion and implies that it's somehow unfair to focus, as you said, on "Whichever Lives Are Most Affected By Police Brutality At The Moment" - which in America means black people specifically. It's the same reason people object when a discussion of sexual violence is cluttered up with comments insisting that everyone recognize "women can commit rape too!" or when a discussion of social discrimination faced by disabled people meets a response like "able-bodied people can be bullied too! I was bullied for being ginger!". I've seen that kind of "what about me" response in a dozen different forms and it's almost never useful. It's a cry of not fair along the same lines as "Why can't we have a Straight Pride Parade?" "Why isn't there a White History Month?" and so on and so on.

Nobody was tweeting "All Lives Matter" before "Black Lives Matter". It's not the slogan of any particular group or movement. It's a response, and a clear implied criticism. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it's inherently racist, I'm not surprised in the least to see that motive attributed to it. If I was American I'd certainly be objecting to it too.

Comment author: dropspindle 18 January 2017 06:29:25PM 0 points [-]

I am nearly certain Flinter is just Eugene's new way of trolling now that there aren't downvotes. Don't feed the troll

Comment author: TiffanyAching 18 January 2017 11:48:16PM 0 points [-]

I'm dying to know, who the heck is this Eugine character? I keep seeing the name but I don't know the backstory.

In response to Universal Hate
Comment author: TiffanyAching 18 January 2017 08:19:34PM 1 point [-]

I must state that I don't think this meets the general "relevance" standard for political posts on LW, and I don't personally want to see that standard lowered.

That said, I do agree with the central point - in fact it's because it seems so ethically obvious that I don't think it clears the relevance bar. Is there anyone here on LW who is likely to disagree with the statement "hating every member of a group X on principle is irrational and counter-productive"? I'm not trying to be sarky, it's a good post, I just don't see how it's likely to provoke a discussion or a debate here.

Comment author: cousin_it 18 January 2017 02:18:34PM *  1 point [-]

Amusingly, the test also wants to know your preferences on men vs women, overweight vs healthy, and poor vs rich. Or at least it's happy to insinuate such preferences even if you answered all questions using other criteria. I'm surprised the smart folks at MIT didn't add more questions to unambiguously figure out the user's criteria whenever possible.

Comment author: TiffanyAching 18 January 2017 07:25:03PM 0 points [-]

They're allowing users to build their own scenarios and add them as well, so it looks like the intention is to let the complexity grow over time from a basic starting point.

Actually, I wonder whether they might find that people really don't want a great deal of complexity in the decision-making process. People might prefer to go with a simple "minimize loss off life, prioritize kids" rule and leave it at that, because we're used to cars as a physical hazard that kill blindly when they kill at all. People might be more morally comfortable with smart cars that aren't too smart.

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