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Comment author: Randy_M 05 January 2013 12:19:43AM 1 point [-]

I bet the down votes are for re-iterating the parent comments main point as if it were novel and original to you? Didn't you understand what this meant: "lets go with "Women deserve to be punished for having sex," and that 'life-begins-at-conception' is just a rationalization"?

Comment author: kodos96 05 January 2013 01:45:24AM 1 point [-]

Re-reading the grand-grand-grand-grand-parent post, yes, I now see that you're correct that that was what he was trying to get at - although he certainly wasn't being particularly clear.

But regardless, downvoting someone for conceding a point to someone they're engaged in debate with is pretty lame.

Comment author: anansi133 04 January 2013 06:01:16AM 2 points [-]

I'm not entirely sure though that I agree with the statement that Aspergers is "a form of autism"

If anything, I'd be tempted to say that autism is a more pronounced degree of asperger's. I certainly catch myself in the spectrum that includes ADD as well.

The whole idea of neurodiversity is kind of exciting, actually. If there can be more than one way to appropriately interact with society, everyone gets richer.

Comment author: kodos96 04 January 2013 06:15:20AM *  0 points [-]

If anything, I'd be tempted to say that autism is a more pronounced degree of asperger's

That seems to me to be basically equivalent to saying that aspergers is a lesser form of autism. Again, sorry I can't find the links at the moment, but I recall reading several articles suggesting that the two might actually not be related at all, neurologically.

The whole idea of neurodiversity is kind of exciting, actually. If there can be more than one way to appropriately interact with society, everyone gets richer.

I agree. Unfortunately, modern culture and institutions (like the public education system for one notable example) don't seem to be set up based on this premise.

Comment author: Briony 04 January 2013 12:51:25AM 8 points [-]

Hi, my name is Briony Keir, I'm from the UK. I stumbled on this site after getting into an argument with someone on the internet and wondering why they ended up failing to refute my arguments and instead resorted to insults. I've had a read-around before posting and it's great to see an environment where rational thought is promoted and valued; I have a form of autism called Asperger Syndrome which, among many things, allows me to rely on rationality and logic more than other people seem to be able to - I too often get told I'm 'too analytical' and I 'shouldn't poke holes in other peoples' beliefs' when, the way I see it, any belief is there to be challenged and, indeed, having one's beliefs challenged can only make them stronger (or serve as an indicator that one should find a more sensible viewpoint). I'm really looking forward to reading what people have to say; my environment (both educational and domestic) has so far served more to enforce a 'we know better than you do so stop talking back' rule rather than one which allows for disagreement and resolution on a logical basis, and so this has led to me feeling both frustrated and unchallenged intellectually for quite some time. I hope I prove worthy of debate over the coming weeks and months :)

Comment author: kodos96 04 January 2013 04:56:16AM 1 point [-]

I have a form of autism called Asperger Syndrome

This is not at all unusual here at LessWrong... I can't seem to find a link, but I seem to recall that a fairly large portion of LessWrong-ers (at least relative to the general population) have Aspergers (or at least are somewhat Asperger-ish), myself included.

I'm not entirely sure though that I agree with the statement that Aspergers is "a form of autism"... I realize that that has been the general consensus for a while now, but I've read some articles (again, can't find a link at the moment, sorry) suggesting that Aspergers is not actually related to Autism at all... personally, my feeling on the matter is that "Aspergers" isn't an actual "disease" per se, but rather just a cluster of personality traits that happen to be considered socially unacceptable by modern mainstream culture, and have therefore been arbitrarily designated as a "disease".

In any case, welcome to LessWrong - I look forward to your contributions in the future!

Comment author: Emile 03 January 2013 08:50:23AM 1 point [-]

Well, the first one is basically this thread, I don't think the second one happens without being downvoted to oblivion, and I think there have been a few cases where replies highlighted the political alignment of a post or comment that wasn't ostentatiously about color politics (probably in one episode of The Konkvistador And Multiheaded Show).

Comment author: kodos96 04 January 2013 02:37:43AM 1 point [-]

By "the first one" do you mean "AND THEREFORE, REPUBLICANS ARE RIGHT!"? If so, please cite examples.

probably in one episode of The Konkvistador And Multiheaded Show

I've been abstaining from LessWrong for awhile now, so I've missed a lot. Can you link me to some examples of what you mean by "The Konkvistador And Multiheaded Show"? It sounds highly entertaining.

Comment author: Alsadius 03 January 2013 11:00:05AM 5 points [-]

Can't it be both?

Comment author: kodos96 03 January 2013 07:06:26PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, I suppose so. Good point.

Edit: Seriously? Downvotes? For conceding that my political opponent made a good point? Seriously?

Comment author: FiftyTwo 02 January 2013 03:55:25PM *  2 points [-]

the best example of a successful non-democracy in the modern world is China. Their internal party system is extremely convoluted, but basically the party internally appoints members to positions, notionally on meritocratic grounds, though corruption and manipulation is endemic. Here is a more detailed summary.

Given the seeming economic success of this model would it be sensible for other countries to adopt it?

Is it possible to introduce sufficient additional safeguards against corruption and abuse of power?

Comment author: kodos96 03 January 2013 03:34:19AM *  0 points [-]

Although I disagree with FiftyTwo's conclusions, I am nevertheless disappointed that it has received net downvotes.... it's a perfectly valid question after all, and we're not supposed to be doing downvote==disagree, right?

Comment author: Xachariah 02 January 2013 02:56:56PM *  20 points [-]

Even if we're talking about axiomatic disagreements, rational debate is still useful. Eg, we can still use rationality to help identify which axioms we're disagreeing with.

Case in point is your abortion example. I think you've messed up your lines of cause and effect there. Being anti-abortion either causes or has a common cause with believing that life begins at conception. Being pro-abortion causes or has a common cause with believing that life doesn't begin at conception.

Let me posit an axiom that causes anti-abortion. Instead of the whole 'soul' thing, lets go with "Women deserve to be punished for having sex," and that 'life-begins-at-conception' is just a rationalization. If this were true, anti-abortion should coincide with religiosity (it does) and pro-abortion should coincide with women's rights (also does). Both axioms correctly fit the existing data. How could we tell the difference... which axiom is the true axiom?

My rationalist shoes say we'd want to identify a differentiation point where these two axioms would cause different results. Have there been any occasions where "reduce number of abortions" and "punish women for having sex" come into conflict? Here's one. Turns out free access to birth control slashes the abortion rate. Less punishing women, less abortions. Cool, we've identified a point of differentiation.

Okay, so what did most of the 'pro-life' side go with? Shit, turns out they went with punishing women instead of fewer abortions and again and again and again. Well, that's not cool. For fairness' and balance's sake, I'll say that the pro-choice is probably less about integrity of body and more about wanting to fuck without consequence.

As you note, we've still got an axiomatic disagreement. In order to change the opposing side's mind we still need to shift their axiom. However, rationality has let the pro-abortion side aim their rhetorical firepower at the correct target. Instead of talking about the neural activity of fetuses, they can start making people feel more comfortable and accepting of sex. Once they're correctly targeting the true axiom, they'll have a lot more luck in shifting the opposing side's position.

Comment author: kodos96 03 January 2013 03:25:30AM *  0 points [-]

For fairness' and balance's sake, I'll say that the pro-choice is probably less about integrity of body and more about wanting to fuck without consequence.

Funny, from my point of view this evidence suggests that pro-lifers are actually more concerned with controlling women's sex lives, than with saving unborn babies.

Comment author: Alsadius 02 January 2013 10:17:06AM *  1 point [-]

Let's get a bit meta. I posit that there are certain political discussions where rational debate is entirely useless, because they largely consist of choosing an axiom. Abortion is the most obvious of these - people who believe the right to life begins at conception(usually for religious reasons) are almost universally pro-life, and people who do not are almost universally pro-choice. It is not possible, even in principle, to convince either side of the other's position, because there's no argument that can change an axiom.

It's good to keep our limitations in mind.

Edit: To clarify, I don't claim that rational debate is useless at discussing issues around abortion, I claim it's useless at changing the minds of someone who has a strong position on the issue. The only people I have ever seen switch sides on this issue are politicians(who are obviously lying) and religious converts(which is in principle achievable from rationalism, but which is in practice a pretty rare result).

Comment author: kodos96 03 January 2013 03:22:13AM 0 points [-]

Upvoted, beacause I agree in principle, but I don't actually see any examples of this in this thread.

Comment author: Emile 02 January 2013 11:21:40AM 3 points [-]

The question isn't whether an issue is political or not (I'm not sure that's an interesting/meaningful question); the point is to avoid the problems of partisan thinking, and one way of doing that is to pay less attention to political alignment.

If you put a big banner over a discussion saying "HEY THIS IS A POLITICAL DISCUSSION", and you have people adding "AND THEREFORE, REPUBLICANS ARE RIGHT!" at the end of their posts, or reply with "OH, THAT'S A SOCIALIST ARGUMENT YOU'RE MAKING THERE", then everybody is necessarily going to pay more attention to partisan alignment. They may suspect others of trying to advance partisan points. They may be more selective in what arguments they accept. They may be less inclined points that go against their political inclination. It may degenerate into "Well you're just saying that because you're an anarcho-monarchist!".

Comment author: kodos96 03 January 2013 03:17:39AM 5 points [-]

If you put a big banner over a discussion saying "HEY THIS IS A POLITICAL DISCUSSION", and you have people adding "AND THEREFORE, REPUBLICANS ARE RIGHT!" at the end of their posts, or reply with "OH, THAT'S A SOCIALIST ARGUMENT YOU'RE MAKING THERE"

I don't see any examples of people actually doing that, though.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 02 January 2013 08:51:34PM 8 points [-]

The joke is more likely to resonate with the audience if it corresponds to their experience.

Nonsense. All it takes is that the audience want to believe it. Experience is not truth; a large part of people's "experience" is their own beliefs. This is just the same death spiral again. If they laugh, that proves I'm right; if they boo, that proves I'm right.

It's necessary to get society to the point where it's possible to make the argument without being declared unfit for polite company.

The argument for what, in the context of the original posting? That in a marriage, the natural and desirable order of things is that man shall be the absolute ruler and woman the slave, and that any other arrangement is a futile struggle against our fundamental biological nature that if pursued will bring only doom and destruction?

Comment author: kodos96 03 January 2013 03:10:43AM *  2 points [-]

If they laugh, that proves I'm right; if they boo, that proves I'm right.

This seems like heresy to me from a Bayesian perspective.

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