Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rationalism is low-information rationality. That's the point, in'it?

The MIT professor who considered medical castration as a cure for male privilege is a right wing Zionist and reader of Sam Harris. Waring wouldn't catch that or see why she should; it's narcissistic misery, self-aggrandizing self-pity on all sides. And she's not the feminist she wants to be, as she admits, though no one comments on it.
I never thought about trying to get him in trouble. It wasn’t just that I didn’t think it would work. It was that “don’t narc” was like my family’s stupid goddamn motto at the time.
Her rapist most likely raped more than once, but she doesn't think about anyone else.
...The other Politically Incorrect thing that I worry about is that feminists are always accused of being man-hating and sometimes I think, yeah, I kind of maybe hate you.

Aaronson cannot talk to women for the same reason he can't talk to Palestinians.  He wants something from both but won't listen to either. He can't bring himself, "ever to look at anything from the other fellow's point of view.” We're back to Arendt, and Eichmann. It's not a scientific viewpoint; it's so committed to rationalism that empiricism is impossible.

various references/repeats:

Aaronson refers elsewhere on his blog to meatspace.
The revolutionary in the Czar's dungeon who worried that he was getting more than his fair share of sunlight.
Aaron Swartz was too good for this world
"I remember a creature who seemed at first almost to be made up of pure data, disembodied..."

Magda Goebbels: "I took the children with me, for they are too good for the life that would follow"
Israeli philosopher defends moral realism.
"Nature, Mr. Allnutt, is what we are put into this world to rise above."
Modernism as kitsch (again and again and again)
The experience of the sex act is social, formal, communicative, and if the world is seen as the social realm, world-creating. The moment of orgasm as reflex is aformal, asocial (isolate), ecstatic and if the world is seen as social, world destructive.  
...If communication is a circuit, reflex is a short. The fantasy of the premature ejaculator is a state of eternal orgasm. The mania for progress becomes no more than simply the desire to go faster. If knowledge is measured in conclusions not in processes then the shortest distance between two points, the short circuit, is the obvious choice. This is the crux of the struggle over the human imagination that begins in the 18th century.
The public realm, as the common world, gathers us together and yet prevents our falling over each other, so to speak. What makes mass society so difficult to bear is not the number of people involved, or at least not primarily, but the fact that the world between them has lost its power to gather them together, to relate and to separate them. The weirdness of this situation resembles a spiritualistic seance where a number of people gathered around a table might suddenly, through some magic trick, see the table vanish from their midst, so that two persons sitting opposite each other were no longer separated but also would be entirely unrelated to each other by anything tangible.
The eternal, the timeless, the ideal, is asocial. Politics, the actual, is social.

Comment 312 by "Magistra"
One of the things that occurs to me from reading Scott Aaronson@213 (and some other posters), is that some people feel far more unhappy with ambiguity than others: they want really strict, precise rules about what is right and what is wrong. And I wonder whether that kind of personality it connected with a strong mathematical/scientific bent: when I was young and doing a degree in maths, I certainly wanted to be sure I got the right answer for a lot of RL situations as well. And for people who are unhappy with this kind of ambiguity, then the ordinary rules of thumb about how you behave towards the opposite sex aren’t satisfactory.

The problem is that it’s impossible to give more than rules of thumb, because there is no absolute objective standard for what is creepy behaviour. It depends at least partly on the person who is or is not being creeped out. Just as there isn’t 1 specific blood alcohol level at which someone is too drunk to consent and it would be unrealistic to try and claim there is. You have to make judgement calls, but that it difficult if you’re lacking in self-confidence in your own judgement.

I also wonder if maybe what attracted Scott to reading Dworkin and the rad-fems etc was a search for black and white colours and certainty on the topic of sex: a lot of radical/extreme moral thought is marked by that clarity, whether it’s fundamentalist religion or left-wing politics.
313 by "hix"
The ambiguity and personality thing. It is not wrong up to a point. And indead, being bad with ambiguity can make one move in a rather ugly direction. But there is another aspect too. One just starts to despise unclear rules when one notices that whenever there is ambiguity about rules, that ambiguity is sytematically used to favour certain types of people and disadvantage others.
317 Scott Aaronson
magistra #312 and hix #313: Yes and yes!
Again, and again, and again.
"Their preferred explanation lies in the combination of a particular mindset given to simplification, monistic understandings of the world and desire that existing social arrangements be preserved, with key environmental factors (most importantly, frustrated professional aspirations due to a lack of opportunities). Interestingly, Gambetta and Hertog suggest that the same mindset which drives engineers in the Islamic world to become terrorists, may lead to the marked tendency of US engineers to adhere to strongly conservative political views. This is the kind of topic that lends itself to the worst kind of uninformed pop-journalism academics, but as best as I can tell (I’m a consumer rather than a producer of the statistical literature) Gambetta and Hertog are extremely careful about their analysis, and up front about the limitations of their data." 
more fun with Aaronson

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