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Comment author: MatthewB 06 January 2010 06:48:11AM 1 point [-]

Fewer people than you are tempted to call these things are genuinely worth writing off as thoroughly as this kind of name-calling may tempt you to do. Conveniently, both these words (as applied to people, more than ideas) and closely related ones are culturally considered mean, and a general niceness policy will exclude them.

I am having a hard time parsing this passage. Particularly the beginning:

Fewer people than you are tempted to call these things are genuinely worth writing off as thoroughly as this kind of name-calling may tempt you to do.

And, when you refer to "Both of these words," are you referring to *crazy and stupid?

Comment author: abigailgem 06 January 2010 10:40:44AM 0 points [-]

I think the meaning is, that on reading something unpalatable, one may be tempted to write it off as "crazy" or "stupid" quickly, and then ignore it, and trying to see the good in it may be more useful; and calling the writer crazy or stupid will make further communication more difficult. So when someone uses those words too readily, that person is called "mean", and seen as not "nice".

Comment author: Psychohistorian 21 December 2009 05:31:38AM *  12 points [-]

"Reason" does not appear to be the right term here. "Cleverness" comes to mind as a better substitute, though I suspect there are better terms. The banking crisis occurred because people thought they were too clever. The various problematic causes you mention all appear to overestimate their own cleverness. It's also unclear to me what it would mean for them to rely on reason less, and how this would cause their worldview to better match reality.

I think this might be best phrased as an objection to an overreliance on clever theories and a tendency to eschew evidence in favor of cleverness. Insofar as that is your point, it is an excellent if not novel one. But the way this is phrased is a bit more antagonistic than I think is merited, and seems to attack a type of thought rather than a specific error that a type of thought is prone to.

If my semantic distinction does not make sense, let me just explain my connotations. When I hear "reason," I tend to think of it much like "rational;" one definitionally cannot make a mistake through being too rational, in that rationality is the thing that having more of it causes you not to make mistakes. "Cleverness," on the otherhand, brings the same intellectual sleight-of-hand without any connotation of accuracy. The sentence, "Bob lost all his money because he was too reasonable," does not really make sense, whereas, "Bob lost all of his money because he was too clever," does. A good example of being too clever would be the demise of Vizzini from the Princess Bride.

Comment author: abigailgem 22 December 2009 02:26:49PM 3 points [-]

"cleverness" comes to mind as a better substitute

Or "Hubris". In the examples, the people go wrong not because they are using reason and they should not use reason, but because they falsely imagine they are capable of using reason sufficiently to deal with the particular issue.

Comment author: abigailgem 14 November 2009 10:15:14AM 2 points [-]

Deism in the 17th century was a move towards rationalism, away from the idea of a God who interfered in the world. Rationalists now will not be deists, but deists during the Enlightenment were more rational than society in general, and were moving towards atheism. I suggest that you use the word "atheists" rather than "non-deists" in the title.

In response to Experiential Pica
Comment author: abigailgem 17 August 2009 11:50:01AM -1 points [-]

A rewrite, using Feeling words: if you feel happy, content and fulfilled, you will be better able to do the things you have to do. If you believe that doing those things is likely to accomplish a goal you have, you will be better able to motivate yourself to do them. If you cannot bring yourself to do what you have to do, find something which will make you feel happy, content or fulfilled; or if you cannot do that, play Tetris or whatever which will at least take your mind off the guilt, until it comes back worse later.

What will make you feel fulfilled? What will make you feel that doing the task you have to do will make achieving your goal more likely?

Comment author: Kutta 16 July 2009 10:06:51AM 0 points [-]

I've learned to type very fast with my non-dominant hand (through online gaming) and never experienced such effect.

Comment author: abigailgem 28 July 2009 09:10:00AM 4 points [-]

When I tried this technique, I did it very slowly. It was like asking whether a word to write felt right. Then I did a drawing which seemed to contradict what I had been thinking consciously shortly before.

I am not aware of research on the technique.

Comment author: abigailgem 28 July 2009 09:04:19AM *  5 points [-]

Edit: major plot spoiler in this comment.

You miss out a major point of the story, that those who agree to sacrifice others' children are dishonourable, and that this matters; and that the main character, who sacrifices only one child to save all the rest (his grandchild) suffers terribly for this.

I would not argue from fictional evidence, but the storytellers seem keen to point this out. Also, when deciding to sacrifice children, all possible other courses of action must be eliminated first.

Edit: for me, the main interest of the trolley problem is the emotional response. Would you kill one to save five, if saving the five was certain if you killed the one, and impossible otherwise? Er, yes, I hope so, though I think such a situation, with such certainty, is unlikely. How do you feel about trolley problems generally? Horror and disgust. Then I see that even if I am not going to be in that situation, I may be in situations where I must behave rationally, and Stoically fight down emotional responses.

Comment author: abigailgem 12 July 2009 08:29:06PM 8 points [-]

Among lawyers, this can show high status. Lying to a court is completely unacceptable, and can make an advocate useless to future clients. However NTL is OK.

The pupil barrister: "To be honest..."

Head of Chambers: Lawyers are always honest. The lawyer will say, "To be frank..."

(taken from the BabyBarista blog)

Comment author: abigailgem 16 June 2009 08:23:55AM 4 points [-]

"Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them" - Mr Gradgrind, Hard Times (Dickens)

An anti-rationalist quote. Dickens believes there is more to life than rationality. Does his satire upon us here have any basis in reality?

Comment author: abigailgem 23 May 2009 08:59:12AM *  3 points [-]

Not signalling is

plausibly a more honest mental mode

Why should it be more "honest" not to signal? We are a social species. I conceive it possible to make a close relationship closer by signalling to ones partner what is actually the case.

Things like exercise, studying, which increase fitness and status may be motivated by the desire to increase fitness and status, with signalling only a by-product of this.

In moments of threat where the amygdala takes over, and time seems to slow down, a person responds to the threat, probably without signalling. But it is meaningless to say that I am "honest" when in a fight or flight situation, and at no other time.

Comment author: scotherns 15 May 2009 11:35:20AM 3 points [-]

I find this type of nitpicking really annoying. Surely everyone (no matter their gender / sex / preferences) understands the sentence 'Women will be alluring' to be a generalised example and can easily convert this to include their own specific preferences without the author having to jump through hoops to provide examples that apply to everyone.

"The touch of another person's skin will still be wonderfully sensuous" - you can't say that - you are discriminating against those without a sense of touch!

"sunsets" - you can't say that, what about blind and/or extreme photo-sensitives

and so on.

If he had written 'Football games will still be exciting' I would have got the intended meaning and moved on, despite the fact that I have zero interest in football.

Comment author: abigailgem 15 May 2009 01:41:52PM 4 points [-]

I am irritated to find my post named as "nitpicking" when I was answering a direct question. I too "got the meaning and moved on". Alvarojabril below, much clearer- "The glance of a lover will still be alluring". Why not go with that?

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