"Shit! Shit! Remember how, the last time this happened to me, I described it as feeling religious?"
"I was wrong! It's actually the feeling of acquiring a new religion, getting eaten by someone else's egregore. It's not that the God-shaped hole was empty before; it's that I didn't notice what it was filled with. It's tempting to describe the psychotic delusions-of-reference/anticipation-of-Heaven/fear-of-Hell state as a 'religious experience' because the process of the God-shaped hole getting filled with something new is so intense. But that's only because once the hole is filled and you feel safe again, it doesn't feel like a religion anymore; it just feels like reality."
Left-wingers say torture is wrong because the victim will say whatever you want to hear.
Right-wingers say torture is right because the villain will tell the truth.
Q: What happens when you torture someone who only tells the truth?
A: They'll make noises in accordance with their personal trade-off between describing reality in clear language, and pain.
This is the whole of the Bayes-structure; the rest is commentary. Now go and study.
Or consider the token male cheerleader performing in the pep rally in the afternoon before Game 2 of the Series for Ancient Earth, shouting, "Blue Tribe Values, Red Tribe Facts! Blue Tribe Values, Red Tribe Facts!"
"I think we should perform action A to optimize value V. The reason I think this is because of evidence X, Y, and Z, and prior information I."
"What?! Are you saying you think you're better than me?!"
"No, I don't think I'm better than you. But do I think I'm smarter than you in this particular domain? You're goddamned right I do!"
"You do think you're better than me! I guess I need to kill you now. Good thing I have this gun on me!"
In a series of papers published in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dr. Ray Blanchard proposed that there are two fundamentally different types of rationalists with unrelated etiologies: instrumental rationalists, and epistemic rationalists ...
"You just used language in a way that ignores psychological harm to people whose dysphoria is triggered by that word usage! That's a bad consequence according to the global utilitarian calculus! I thought you were a rationalist, someone who chooses actions based on their consequences!"
"A common misunderstanding. You're thinking of the good kind," I said. "I'm the bad kind."
"I'm naming my daughter Climara."
"Bro, you know you're not going to have any kids if you stay on that stuff."
I had always thought Twilight Sparkle was the pony that best exemplified the spirit of epistemic rationality. If anypony should possess the truth, it must be the ones with high p (p being the letter used to represent the pony intelligence factor first proposed by Charles Spearpony and whose existence was confirmed by later psychometric research by such ponies as Arthur Jenfoal) who devote their lives to tireless scholarship!
After this year, however, I think I'm going to have to go with Applejack. Sometimes, all a pony needs to do to possess the truth is simply to stop lying.
Just—stop fucking lying!
Évariste Galois vs. Aaron Burr
particularist special-snowflake fox vs. broad-brush dimensionality-reducing hedgehog
the pain of arguing with creationists vs. the pain of being a creationist and not understanding why those damned smug evolutionists won't even talk to you
Culture wars are a subtle thing to wage, because they determine everything without being about anything. Explicitly political contests are at least ostensibly about some particular concrete thing: you're fighting for or against a specific law or a specific candidate. But how do you fight a narrative, when your enemy is less of a regime and more of a meme? How do you explain to anyone what you're trying to accomplish when you're not trying to get anyone to do anything different in particular, but to renounce their distorted way of thinking and speaking, after which you expect them to make better decisions, even if you can't say in advance what those decisions will be?
Picture me rushing into a room. "People, people! The standard map is wrong! Look at this way better map I found in the literature; let's use this one!"
"Our map isn't wrong. It has all the same continents yours does."
"I mean, yes, but it's a Mercator projection. Surely you don't really think Antarctica is larger than Asia?"
"Why do you care what size Antarctica is? What difference does it make? People are perfectly happy with Antarctica being the largest continent."
"But it's not true!"
"It sounds like you're assuming your beliefs are true. What is truth, anyway?"
And it being the case that no one will die if she gets the size of Antarctica wrong, what can I say to that?
that feel eighteen months post-Obergefell when you realize you missed your chance to be pro-civil-unions-with-all-the-same-legal-privileges but anti-calling-it-marriage while that position was still in the Overton window
(in keeping with the principle that it shouldn't be so exotic to want to protect people's freedom to do beautiful new things without necessarily thereby insisting on redefining existing words that already mean something else)
In the oneiric methodlessness of my daydream, my bros at ΑΓΦ are telling me that E is the best party drug and that I have to try it.
"I don't know, guys," I say.
"Nah, bro, you've got to try it!"
"Okay," I say, "just don't expect me to mentally rotate any 3D objects tomorrow."
the moment of liberating clarity when you resolve the tension between being a good person and the requirement to pretend to be stupid by deciding not to be a good person anymore 💖
"I really want to do the thing! All of my friends who are just like me are doing the thing, and they look like they're having so much fun!"
"You can totally do the thing! You just have to sign ... this loyalty oath!"
(reading it) "What? I can't sign this. It's, it's—" (rising horror) "not scientifically accurate!"
"Everyone else who is doing the thing has signed the loyalty oath."
"Could I ... do the thing, without signing the loyalty oath?"
"You could, but everyone you ever interact with for the rest of your life will assume that you've signed the loyalty oath; it would take five hours for you to explain what you actually believe, but no one will listen to you for that long because they'll decide that you're a hateful lunatic thirty seconds in."
"You know, honestly, my life is fine as it is. I don't need to do the thing. I'm glad my friends are having fun."
(dies of cardiac disease fifty years later without having done the thing)
(Earth is consumed in a self-replicating nanotechnology accident)
I am a filesystem-writing man,
Devotedest of coders!
I tap out codes to fix inodes
In service to my owners!
that spectrum from cis to natal to actual depending on whom they're talking to
"I'm concerned about the socially-undesirable implications of the correlations documented in these published studies, which seem consistent with my own observations and personal experience."
(studying them) "Hey! These correlation coefficients are not equal to one! In fact, all of them are substantially less than one! How dare you try to construct predictive models about how the world works, when you yourself admit that your model won't assign literally all of its probability mass to the exact outcome?!"
(in despair, as if realizing that the nature of reasoning as an adaptation for arguing with conspecifics in imperfectly-deceptive social organisms implies that no one can ever have a serious, grown-up conversation about anything important) "Just kill meeeeeeeeeee"
went to the genderqueer support/discussion group at the Pacific Center again; showed up early to change into my Pearl dress (it would be a waste to only wear it once) and surreptitiously slip a copy of Anne Lawrence into the library
I think I mostly enjoy being the token conservative/TERF (um, relatively speaking); I say that my pronouns are he/him "because I don't perceive myself as having a choice in the matter" and probably smashed the record for most uses of the phrase biological sex at one of these
"Maybe this is already clear, but I think that you're in something of a negative feedback loop where unmet social needs are affecting your interpersonal behavior in ways that are interfere with social needs being met."
"I still think that's a positive feedback loop, technically."
Physical pain is the worst thing in the world, and the work of effective altruists will not be done until the last nociceptor falls silent and not a single moment of suffering remains to be computed across our entire future light cone.
But the emotional pain of discovering that your cherished belief is false, that everything you've ever cared about is not only utterly unattainable, but may in fact not even be coherent?—yeah, I'm pretty sadomasochistic about that. That's rationality; that's what it feels like to be alive.