Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Comment author: mjk1093 22 April 2016 06:30:07PM 1 point [-]

(Just like our instincts expect that sugar goes with vitamins.)

We have the instinct to consume sugar because it is the most concentrated form of energy that humans can process, not because it is naturally paired with vitamins.

In response to comment by mjk1093 on Dunbar's Function
Comment author: wedrifid 24 April 2016 07:35:48AM *  1 point [-]

We have the instinct to consume sugar because it is the most concentrated form of energy that humans can process, not because it is naturally paired with vitamins.

Sugar is desirable as the most easily accessible form of energy. Being concentrated is more useful for long term storage in a mobile form, hence the use of the more concentrated fat.

Comment author: NatPhilosopher 02 January 2015 07:02:14AM -2 points [-]

There is fairly extensive data (not published in the peer reviewed literature) that groups which are unvaccinated have far lower autism rates than the general public.

UPI Reporter Dan Olmsted went looking for the autistic Amish. In a community where he should have found 50 profound autistics, he found 3. The first was an adopted Chinese girl who'd had vaccinations rushed before she was shipped from China and more here on the way to the adoptive parents. The second had been normal until developing classic autism symptoms within hours of being vaccinated. The third there was no information about. http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/media/e.4.pdf

Olmsted continued his search for unvaccinated Amish with autism beyond that community, finding none for a long time, but eventually found a Doctor in Virginia who had treated 6 unvaccinated Amish people from various places with autism. 4 of them had very elevated levels of mercury.

A telephone survey commissioned by the nonprofit group Generation Rescue compared vaccinated with unvaccinated boys in nine counties of Oregon and California [15]. The survey included nearly 12,000 households with children ranging in ages from 4 to 17 years, including more than 17,000 boys among whom 991 were described as completely unvaccinated. In the 4 to 11 year bracket, the survey found that, compared with unvaccinated boys, vaccinated boys were 155% more likely to have a neurological disorder, 224% more likely to have ADHD, and 61% more likely to have autism. For the older boys in the 11-17 year bracket, the results were even more pronounced with 158 % more likely to have a neurological disorder, 317% more likely to have ADHD, and with 112% more likely to have autism. [15]

In addition to the Generation Rescue Survey, there are three autism-free oases in the United States. Most publicized are Amish communities, mainly studied in Ohio and Pennsylvania [16].The Amish are unique in their living styles in largely self-sustaining communities. They grow their own food. Although they have no specific prohibitions against medical care, very rarely do they vaccinate their children. In local medical centers available to the Amish, most centers reported that they had never seen an Amish autistic child. The only Amish children that were seen as a rule were those with congenital disorders such as fragile X. The one autistic Amish child that was discovered during the surveys was taken to a medical office for an ear infection where the child was incidentally vaccinated, probably without the mother’s consent.

The second is the Florida-based medical practice of Dr. Jeff Bradstreet. While treating several thousand autistic children in his practice, Bradstreet has observed that “there is virtually no autism in home-schooling families who decline to vaccinate for religious reasons” [17]

The third, the “Homefirst Health Services” located in Chicago, has a virtual absence of autism among the several thousand patients that were delivered at home by the medical practice, and remained non-vaccinated according to the wishes of the parents [18].

Clusters of autistic children have also been found among parents with occupational exposures to chemicals prior to conception [19], and in children exposed prenatally to organochlorine pesticides [20].

excerpted from:

http://vactruth.com/2012/03/13/vaccines-human-animal-dna/

Reportedly the CDC has been surveying the vaccination status of the Amish for years, attempting to induce them to vaccinate (with some success I believe), and has consistently refused requests to include an autism question with their survey to gather data.

Its probably worth noting that Seneff et al, http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/14/11/2265 who have identified one pathway by which vaccines might be causing autism, have also in other work argued that glyphosate may invoke the same pathway, and the same groups may also be avoiding glyphosate. http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/WAPF_Slides_2012/Offsite_Seneff_Handout.pdf

Comment author: wedrifid 02 January 2015 10:43:00AM 0 points [-]

UPI Reporter Dan Olmsted went looking for the autistic Amish. In a community where he should have found 50 profound autistics, he found 3.

He went looking for autistics in a community mostly known for rejecting Science and Engineering? It 'should' be expected that the rate of autism is the same as in the general population? That's... not what I would expect. Strong social penalties for technology use for many generations would be a rather effective way to cull autistic tendencies from a population.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Rationality Quotes December 2014
Comment author: bramflakes 26 December 2014 12:14:57AM 2 points [-]

I think this is about the only scenario on LW that someone can be justifiably downvoted for that statement.

Comment author: wedrifid 31 December 2014 11:14:19AM 2 points [-]

I think this is about the only scenario on LW that someone can be justifiably downvoted for that statement.

I up-voted it for dissenting against sloppy thinking disguised as being deep or clever. Twisting the word 'god' to include other things that do fit the original, literal or intended meaning of the term results in useless equivocation.

Comment author: arundelo 23 December 2014 11:45:08AM 6 points [-]

"Hah! Please. Find me a more universally rewarded quality than hubris. Go on, I'll wait. The word is just ancient Greek for 'uppity,' as far as I'm concerned. Hubris isn't something that destroys you, it's something you are punished for. By the gods! Well, I've never met a god, just powerful human beings with a lot to gain by keeping people scared."

-- Lisa Bradley, a character in Brennan Lee Mulligan & Molly Ostertag's Strong Female Protagonist

Comment author: wedrifid 31 December 2014 11:06:22AM 4 points [-]

Hubris isn't something that destroys you, it's something you are punished for. By the gods!

Or by physics. Not all consequences for overconfidence are social.

Comment author: 27chaos 28 November 2014 10:34:18AM *  0 points [-]

I was not sarcastic. I was entirely straightforward and sincere.

You were straightforward in the most mocking and least helpful way possible, maybe.

Earlier, you claimed your intention was to lend moral support to the OP against common_law's rudeness. But now, you are claiming sincerity and straightforwardness in your reply to common law that simply contradicted what he said. Those things don't fit together. People who are being straightforward don't make sincere comments to one person for the purpose of communicating something else to another. Nor do they make assertions without providing explanations for their reasoning process. Being vague and ambiguous about your ideas is the opposite of being straightforward, actually. A straightforward approach would have been to say that you thought his choice of language was inappropriate, or for you to advance right away the arguments against his view that you ended up making later on. Snarkiness is not sincerity, equivocation is not straightforwardness.

I am afraid your conversation practices make me unable to engage with you further

You were willing to engage with me after I said something "inexcusably obnoxious" and sarcastic, but you draw the line at a well reasoned collection of counterarguments? Pull the other one.

In response to comment by 27chaos on The Hostile Arguer
Comment author: wedrifid 28 November 2014 10:33:51PM *  -5 points [-]

You were willing to engage with me after I said something "inexcusably obnoxious" and sarcastic, but you draw the line at a well reasoned collection of counterarguments? Pull the other one.

For those curious, I stopped engaging after the second offense - the words you wrote after what I quoted may be reasonable but I did not and will not read them. This is has been my consistent policy for the last year and my life has been better for it. I recommend it for all those who, like myself, find the temptation to engage in toxic internet argument hard to resist.

It works even better in forums that do not lack the block feature. I was unable to avoid peripheral exposure to the parent comment when I was drawn to the thread to thank Markus.

Comment author: MarkusRamikin 28 November 2014 11:23:39AM 7 points [-]

dominance attempt

That, or unskilled use of language by someone who lacks better arguing habits. Either way, yeah, worth discouraging.

Can't imagine who'd have guessed your exact intention just based on your initial response, though.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 November 2014 10:25:34PM 3 points [-]

Can't imagine who'd have guessed your exact intention just based on your initial response, though.

You are probably right and I am responsible for managing the predictable response to my words. Thankyou for the feedback.

Comment author: 27chaos 28 November 2014 06:26:14AM *  -4 points [-]

I was sarcastic, but you were sarcastic first. At least my comment had ideas within it, yours was a contradiction that didn't supply any helpful information to anyone. It was just mean.

I think you're overreacting to common_law's choice of language. OP will speak for themself if they felt offended or domineered, I'm sure.

The reason to avoid arguing with hostile arguers is not that it is impossible to learn anything from such people (although the expected information value is likely to be low). It is because doing so is dangerous or costly on a psychological, physical or economic level.

I disagree with you about expected information value. Intelligent people are often irrational, I'd even say the majority of intelligent people are irrational. There are plenty of dumb irrational people as well, but it'd be quite uncharitable to assume that arguments with them are what's being defended.

I also disagree that arguments with irrational people are dangerous, psychologically or physically costly, or economically expensive. Why do you think that this is true?

I think that even arguments had in person don't typically end in violence, and that arguments online practically never do.

I don't see how arguments generally cost anyone money either, except in the same opportunity cost sense that anything does - but people aren't optimal utilitarians, so this is a pretty lame criticism.

I agree that arguing with irrational people can be psychologically unhealthy, but don't see any reason to think that's the case in the majority of situations.

There are imaginable arguments with irrational people that would end in violence, loss of money, or loss of sanity, sure. But obviously those aren't common consequences.

Of course if you enjoy arguing with hostile people or think it is potentially useful practice then go ahead. In much the same way if you think getting into physical fights will teach you self defence skills then go ahead and insult drunk guys at the bar till they take a swing at you.

Nobody here is advocating intentionally getting embroiled in all imaginable possible arguments, that would indeed be a terrible idea. It's assumed that discrimination is still applied when deciding whether or not to enter a conversation. Your analogy is very biased because it overlooks this. Your above arguments have the same flaw. You've evaluating common_law's idea by pretending the idea would be implemented by someone without any judgement whatsoever, which is unfair.

In response to comment by 27chaos on The Hostile Arguer
Comment author: wedrifid 28 November 2014 08:33:47AM *  -5 points [-]

I was sarcastic, but you were sarcastic first.

I was not sarcastic. I was entirely straightforward and sincere.

I am afraid your conversation practices make me unable to engage with you further (unless, obviously, I perceive others to be negatively impacted by your words.)

Comment author: 27chaos 28 November 2014 03:19:50AM *  -3 points [-]

Wow, thank God you've settled this question for us with your supreme grasp of rationality. I'm completely convinced by the power of your reputation to ignore all the arguments common_law made, you've been very helpful!

In response to comment by 27chaos on The Hostile Arguer
Comment author: wedrifid 28 November 2014 04:56:51AM *  5 points [-]

Wow, thank God you've settled this question for us with your supreme grasp of rationality. I'm completely convinced by the power of your reputation to ignore all the arguments common_law made, you've been very helpful!

Apart from the inexcusably obnoxious presentation the point hidden behind your sarcasm suggests you misunderstand the context.

Stating arguments in favour of arguing with hostile arguers is one thing. "You should question your unstated but fundamental premise" is far more than that. It uses a condescending normative dominance attempt to imply that the poster must not have 'questioned' or thought about a central part of the point because, presumably, if they had 'questioned' that they would have ended up agreeing with common_law instead.

In my judgement the opening poster deserves some moral support and protection against that kind of sniping. I chose (largely out of politeness) to express simple agreement with the poster, rather than a more aggressive and detailed rejection of common_law.

Since you (passive aggressively) asked:

Whether an argument is worthwhile depends primarily on the competence of the arguments presented, which isn't strongly related to the sincerity of the arguer.

This argument misses the point. The reason to avoid arguing with hostile arguers is not that it is impossible to learn anything from such people (although the expected information value is likely to be low). It is because doing so is dangerous or costly on a psychological, physical or economic level.

Of course if you enjoy arguing with hostile people or think it is potentially useful practice then go ahead. In much the same way if you think getting into physical fights will teach you self defence skills then go ahead and insult drunk guys at the bar till they take a swing at you.

In response to The Hostile Arguer
Comment author: common_law 27 November 2014 11:07:57PM 4 points [-]

You should question your unstated but fundamental premise: one should avoid arguments with "hostile arguers."

A person who argues to convince rather than to understand harms himself, but from his interlocutor's standpoint, dealing with his arguments can be just as challenging and enlightening as arguing with someone more "intellectually honest."

Whether an argument is worthwhile depends primarily on the competence of the arguments presented, which isn't strongly related to the sincerity of the arguer.

Comment author: wedrifid 28 November 2014 02:22:35AM -4 points [-]

You should question your unstated but fundamental premise: one should avoid arguments with "hostile arguers."

I just questioned that premise. It seems sound.

Comment author: dxu 28 November 2014 01:28:19AM *  5 points [-]

I think you're seriously underestimating the power of motivated cognition. If they're in argument mode, it doesn't matter how reasonable you sound or how politely you phrase your questions, because their goal isn't to clarify a point or to reach an agreement; it's to forcibly make you give up your position. It's as Error put it in the actual post:

When your theist parents ask you, “What? Why would you believe that?! We should talk about this,” they do not actually want to know why you believe anything, despite the form of the question. There is no genuine curiosity there. They are instead looking for ammunition.

Trying to use reasoned discussion tactics against people who've made up their minds already isn't going to get you anywhere, and if you're unlucky, it might actually be interpreted as backtalk, especially if the people you're arguing against have higher social status than you do--like, for instance, your parents. It's unfortunate, but it's the truth. And believe me when I say that I have met people like this in real life. The experience was not pleasant.

In response to comment by dxu on The Hostile Arguer
Comment author: wedrifid 28 November 2014 02:20:27AM 4 points [-]

Trying to use reasoned discussion tactics against people who've made up their minds already isn't going to get you anywhere, and if you're unlucky, it might actually be interpreted as backtalk, especially if the people you're arguing against have higher social status than you do--like, for instance, your parents.

At times being more reasonable and more 'mature' sounding in conversation style even seems to be more offensive. It's treating them like you are their social equal and intellectual superior.

View more: Next