OK, so I was watching Lizzie McGuire *pauses for mad cheering* and anyway, Gordo and Lizzie were lab partners in science class, but this ep Gordo got a gf (girlfriend) who wanted him so he ditched Lizzie and she had to work alone. Not very nice! He also "had to" (his own view!) wait for gf at her locker between classes and buy her lunches. Understandably, he broke up with her after 30 minutes *g*. Stupid stereotyped "romantic" relationships.

And also, Lizzie and Miranda spied on Gordo, and he was insulted and hurt....but also happy because it proved they cared about him. *ahem* Just like when your bf/gf is jealous, that just proves s/he cares...right?

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Ambiguity is fun. Like introduce a room: "Look, a room with mad chics."

(For the uninitiated: lots of; angry; insane)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Personal advice means advice that is contingent on the advice-giver being right about part of the receiver's personality/worldview (if giver wrong, then the advice is rather worthless).

Or we can make it better, by realising that it's a continuum not boolean (boolean variables can only have two values: true or false).

The extent to which advice is personal, is the extent to which the value/truth of the advice is contingent on advice-giver being right about part of the receiver's personality/worldview.

Also there's a different continuum of note: how personal the advice is.

This depends on two things:

- the complexity of the relevant parts of advice-receivers personality. if giver only must get simple part right, it's not very personal.

- societal norms/taboos

The extent to which advice is personal, and how personal the advice is, usually go hand in hand (lots of one, lots of the other) but do not have to.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
We have decided to answer some common misconceptions. They shouldn't be common. *sigh*

Guns hurt people, therefore they are bad

Elliot: ummm, guns can be used to defend people too, they're just a tool to help us further our intentions.

curi: Guns only hurt monkeys unless you have crap aim.

Dolphins are intelligent

Elliot: ummmm, so if they had hands, they would have built underwater cities already, right? The obstacle is simply being stuck in a really useless body....

curi: Me thinks dolphin researchers can't tell the difference between dolphins and themselves. Me thinks this comments more on the researchers than the dolphins.

We have to hurt children to prepare them for a life that won't always be happy

Elliot: What if we didn't do this, and when our children had problems, we helped them, and so they never found out that life sucks? Wouldn't it then be true that it doesn't?

curi: just b/c *your* life sucks...

Liberals mean well

Elliot: Hence they wanted the torture of children in Iraq to continue indefinitely

curi: Hence they wanted the torture of children in Iraq to continue indefinitely

Recycling will save the world

Elliot: Most recycling uses tons of energy, and takes lots of work to do, and is actually *inefficient*. And save the world? From what?

curi: I have a really good recipe for hippie soup, to put all those atoms to better use.

The Sky Is Falling

Elliot: I don't have any bumps on my head, and I don't see anything falling, and there aren't any pieces of sky on the ground. It seems a rather good explanation that the sky is not falling.

curi: Are you on crack?

The quest for Iraqi oil costs the lives of too many babies to be justified

Elliot: We aren't going to Iraq to steal oil, and we aren't shooting at babies either.

Isyn: Actually, at 17,400 barrels per baby, we are doing better than the minimal justification mark of 15,000 barrels per baby.

curi: Heh, I thought the Iraqi program to crack open baby heads in search of oil was a better kept secret.

curi: oh wait, better response: BLOOD LIBEL!!!!!!!

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
This is amusing (actually lozza his other posts are *even better*, but whatever)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
curi: Can I help?
Elliot: No.
curi: Why not?
Elliot: I said I'd write a real entry.
curi: Your point being?
Elliot: -_-o
curi: c'mon we can entertain the readers.
Elliot: If you want to be useful, think of ideas to blog about.
curi: Tell them the new Zelda game is out, that'll make their day.
Elliot: uh huh
curi: Fine then, tell them the war is going well and WMD have been found.
Elliot: I haven't been paying attention to the war, and plenty of people have and write that stuff. Just look at my sidebar.
curi: Yeah, but you're more interesting than those chumps. People want to hear your version.
Elliot: *^_^* I wouldn't know what to say about it anyway.
curi: You could tell them how cool a name Operation Wacky Iraqi Attacky is.
Elliot: IMAO is funny, I know that. That still doesn't give me anything to write.
curi: Write about something from an email list then.
Elliot: They all got boring and idiot-infested or something.
curi: Well aren't you just full of sunshine.
Elliot: feh
curi: Can I write your entry then? Please?
Elliot: Fine, whatever.

A Blog Entry By curi

Mwahahaha, I finally control they keyboard. It's mine, mine mine. What should I say first? I know: I hate Gil!!

Elliot: Wait a second
curi: What?
Elliot: You can't write that.
curi: Why the hell not?
Elliot: I don't hate Gil.
curi: So? What are you, a truth censor?
Elliot: Gah, fine, whatever.

OK, yay, so we hate Gil, and we also hate

Elliot: WAIT!
curi: What?
Elliot: What's this "we"?
curi: Elliot and curi, isn't it obvious?
Elliot: But you don't speak for me.
curi: I just did.
Elliot: Give me back the keyboard.
curi: Then you'll sit there and not write anything.
Elliot: Better than letting you piss everyone off.
curi: Oh, who cares.

So, we also hate Kevin Guess, and we hate everyone on the Rational Polyamory

Elliot: What the fuck!?

list except Justin and we hate the TCS Moderators and

Elliot: Give me that! *grabs at keyboard*

and we hate Saddam.... one second

curi: *kicks Elliot's ass*
Elliot: owww, that hurt
curi: shut up, bitch
Elliot: *cries*

teehee, ok, that's better. anyway, we also hate idiotarians and normals and people with bad epistemology and people with bad morality, and people who disagree with us.

weeeee, that was fun. ok, i think i'll answer some of Elliot's mail. he doesn't get anything but spam on the account he made for this blog *glares at readers*, so I'll skim email lists...

On the TCS list, Kevin Guess can see nothing to be gained by hating people. Keep in mind that we hate him. He also says from a Popperian perspective he has "almost no chance" of finding the complete truth of anything. My perspective is he shouldn't try to speak for Popper, especially if he wants to talk about the chance of getting something right. dumbfuck.

See, if you want to talk about what will happen in the future, you need to find good explanations. The best explanation is that someone like Kevin will not find anything near the truth. End of story. It's not "minimally likely" or anything that he'll find truth. No. It's just a bad explanation of reality that we won't adopt.

Next up, Kevin Guess wrote another post. He says if we hate moral relativists, and our children turn into moral relativists, we will have to hate our children, which is evil, and therefore we aren't allowed to hate moral relativists. Elliot already explained to Kevin that this "argument" has no content because it equally well objects to hating anything it is physically possible for our children to become. Kevin Guess, in idiotic fashion, repeated himself. Now it's my turn:

When creating Kevin Guess's children, we have to roll 17 times on the Majorly-Fucked-Up table, which gives an 83% chance of scoring Moral Relativist. So it makes sense Kevin would shy away from hating moral relativists (or fucked up kids). However, for good people, we don't have to roll on the Majorly-Fucked-Up table even once, so our kids can't be moral relativists. Hence we are safe to hate moral relativists.

lsdnlwl
;sjlsw

OK, sorry about that everyone. I went to the bathroom and curi types really fast, so yeah.... it's all lies, and I'll email Kevin so he doesn't think I talked about him behind his back. And now I'll end this entry before it gets any worse...

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
(see Gil's comments on last entry)

Police wanted to ban Nazi march b/c of threat to public safety.

Nazi march banned on basis of fear of violence. nazis march anyway.

Therefore, it seems odd the ACLU looks at Nazi marches as a "freedom of unpopular speech" issue, doesn't it? The issue is really how dangerous they are.

And about the Skokie/ACLU case in particular:

thousands fear him

For more than a year he terrorized the citizens of Skokie

and OMG look at this: The park district responded by informing Collin that he would be required to come up with a huge liability insurance policy to cover possible damages at the rally - a requirement the district knew he could not fulfill.

They wanted him to have insurance to cover the risks involved in the march, and knew he couldn't pay for that, so told him to go away. that's like QED

but that's not all: A simple recital of the events from April 27, 1977, to July 9, 1978, does not convey the mood that existed. Skokie's Jews were both terrified and infuriated at the prospect of Nazis marching in their midst.

Get it?

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Stephen Den Beste replied to my previous blog about the ACLU (quoted with permission):

I'm afraid I must deeply disagree with you. Our dedication to freedom absolutely must include defending the speech of those we hate. The entire point is that the protection of speech must indeed be moral neutral. If protection of speech becomes broadly related to the content of the speech and the extent to which it is approved by the general populace, then it ceases to be protected.

While it's true that we should not censor speech because it has content we do not like, there are certain types of speech that are unacceptable, such as yelling "Fire!!" in a movie theatre. Speech intended to intimidate or harass or frighten people, is also objectionable. I would say it is immoral. Someone more into rights, could simply say I don't agree with a right to intimidating speech.

You cannot come up to me and tell me I should be killed, and expect your "right" to harass me to be protected. Neither should you be able to go find a bunch of Jews and start talking about how Jews should die, or Hitler wasn't so bad (less direct, but same thing).

The entire point of it is that sometimes we need revolutionary ideas introduced into the political process, and that it is often the case that such ideas are found to be deeply offensive by many.

As a standalone, I agree with this bit. But it misses the point: my criterion is not to ban unpopular ideas, but intimidating and harassing ones.

If the idea is worthless or vile, it will fail in the "marketplace of ideas". But if it's unpopular but also important, then it must be given that chance.

Again, it's not that the ideas are bad, it's that speaking them hurts people.

Originally, the idea of giving women the vote was seen as radical, absurd, immoral. We now view it differently.

Going around saying "I think women should be allowed to vote" didn't harm men.

Nazism and bigotry are also immoral, and I want to make clear that I don't equate them with Women's Suffrage. But if we have confidence in our population, we defend ourselves against evil and harmful ideas by arguing against them, not by using the power of law to suppress them. The problem with use of censorship in that way is that it makes us stand on the edge of a precipice, where we can fall off. Once we start suppressing the Nazis, where do we stop?

My fear is definitely not that people would agree with the Nazis, and I agree censoring ideas for fear people might like them is wrong.

I do not agree with the Nazis. I despise what they stand for, and everything they advocate. And it is precisely because of this that I feel obligated to defend their right to express their point of view.

There are ways the Nazis could express their point of view that I would not object to. But finding some Jews to harass isn't one of them.

Would you feel safe walking through a crowd of Nazis with your children to spend some time at the park? Would there be police at the march? Why do you think they are there?

The point is precisely that law is not morality, and I do not think we should use the power of law to enforce morality.

I don't make distinctions about what it is and is not legitimate to make laws about. There is no system under which the vast majority of people think something is morally imperative, and then don't act on this. Regardless, laws certainly should be able to stop harassment as takes place at actual Nazi speeches (as opposed to the imaginary Utopian ones where they are all nice and friendly).

Morality enters into the situation in a different way. In the marketplace of ideas, it is public morality which will guarantee that the ideas of the Nazis will never become widespread. Since I have faith in the fundamental decency of the vast majority of my fellow citizens, I do not fear letting them be exposed to the ideas of groups like the Nazis, because I know they'll react to them the same way you and I do.

I too have such faith! That's really not my objection ^_^

Therefore, our nation and our system are not in peril because the Nazis are free to spout their hateful garbage. But if we start using the power of law to suppress those with whom we disagree, that actually creates the potential for a different peril in future which could end up endangering us all.

Letting the Nazis speak may be evil, but it is the lesser evil.

I understand concerns of a police state, but on the other end of the spectrum, are concerns of tolerance of evil, and moral relativism, and a society that doesn't stand up for right, which is also terrible. Thus "do everything possible to avoid a police state" would be the wrong strategy -- we must make judgments about what should be stopped.

So, to sum up, because Nazi rallies involve more than just communicating ideas (and this one in particular was intentionally targeted at a Jewish community), the ACLU need not and should not help them take place.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (4)
On an email list, I was asked why effective communication is morally imperative (in the context of posting).

To see why, we must consider what posters are hoping to accomplish. If they want to communiate, discuss, argue, criticise, make sense, provide food for thought, ask questions, get help, make friends, have a nice time talking, or anything remotely normal like that, then they will need to communicate to accomplish their ends. In other words, failing to communicate effectively is inimical to their own intentions. And, as I've said before, life strategies that fail *by their own standards* are morally wrong.

Note especially that people don't do things for no reason, so saying posters haven't any goal won't suffice. And writing gibberish to annoy people, obviously won't do to defend the morality of ineffective communication.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
What the fuck is with the term "non-conventional" weapons? They are not "in different taste" (in fact, as weapons to kill people, they make perfect sense). The difference, is they are generally *immoral* to use.

I guess it does say something nice that acting rightly is so conventional here that we built it into our language. But for some groups, using gas and bio and terror and suicide bombings and anything else to kill civillians and/or troops *is* the convention. And we shouldn't let them off the hook by calling them anything but evil murdering fucks.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
If we accept that discontinuities in relationships are bad, because the knowledge to handle them does not exist, then what should we say about telling very intimate details to someone we've just met?

Premise: For two people, have some relationship, there is some order of what things are more or less private to tell each other.

Premise: The more private things are the most dangerous to tell.

OK, so how do we get the knowledge to make telling very private things safe? Intimacy (getting to know each other well -- creating knowledge of each other). The more intimacy, the more we can-safely/should tell.

So, what if people tell more than appropriate, and think they haven't messed up? It means, they think various knowledge exists that does not -- they have a fantasy relationship. By the fiat of their imagination, they've decided their partner has qualities partner doesn't. This bad.

What this got to do with discontinuity? Well, if there is an order of things to tell, and we need to create knowledge to tell later ones, then it makes sense to generally go in order (backtracking fine). A discontinuous jump from people talking about rather public things, straight to very private ones, rather than a gradual increase, indicates that a fantasy relationship has been created, or the people wouldn't think this safe.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
I read this USS Clueless entry. Den Beste writes:

Skokie is a suburb of Chicago, and in the 1970's it happens to have had a fairly large number of Jews living there, many of whom were either direct survivors of the Holocaust or had lost relatives in the Holocaust. A neo-Nazi group wanted to hold a parade there. They deliberately chose it because of its Jewish population, and the town refused to let them.

The American Civil Liberties Union is particularly interested in First Amendment cases, and faced a difficult choice. Most of its membership was liberal and leftist. However, this seemed to the ACLU to be a classic attempt to censor public speech based on the fact that it represented unpopular opinions (to say the least).

He goes on to tell us that the ACLU did take the case and won it, at the cost of some membership and donations. He considers this the right thing, because ACLU took a principled stand: to defend the right to free speech, as the organisation was intended.

However, the problem with this view, is that it ignores the morality of the situation. We have nazis... fucking NAZIS, who want to HARASS JEWS. That is morally wrong. It's totally reprehensible, and should be criminal. Den Beste's analysis, is that everyone has the right to unpopular speech, and this is important. But why should that be true? Rights are not self-evident or manifest or anything like that. They are approximations of morality. And we must keep our head on our shoulders when applying them. (Especially the libertarians.)

---------

I would say the above is an example of someone taking a rights prior to morality view. A friend of mine recently criticised this, saying that people do not have two distinct structures in their brains/theories that we could call "morality" and "rights" and do not put one before the other. Of course, in what he says, he is right (there are not such structures), but he's missed the point of the rights before morality criticism. It's a high-level explanation of how people evaluate moral questions. Den Beste started his analysis with the well-known right to free speech. And considers this dominant, and that was the end of the story. I begin by asking about the morality of the situation: should Nazis be allowed to parade their hate speech in front of a bunch of Jews? My answer was no. And Den Beste knows this perfectly well -- he knows it's not a very nice thing for the Nazis to do, and in many ways objectionable. He knows the morality of being a Nazi. He must know, too, the morality of intentionally choosing a place with lots of Jews to hold a Nazi rally. But, despite this, he put the right to free speech ahead of morality in his conclusions.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)
On the previous entry, Gil commented as follows:

It seems to me that this is all just a long way of saying that you are personally risk-averse when it comes to relationships. You seem to exaggerate risks and discount benefits.

This is just a fancy way for Gil to say he thinks I'm wrong. It's also an odd criticism, because I haven't been evaluating specific actions. In fact, I said that the right rate of growing a relationship varies drastically with people and circumstance. I did not write anything like "people should be very cautious, because the world is scary" as someone who read only Gil's comment might think.

Pat's position seems right. Sharing personal information has risks, but they should be weighed fairly against reasonable expectations of costs and benefits.

Cost/benefit is not a very good approach to relationships. We need explanations of what is the right thing to do, not measurements or numbers.

Yes, giving all your personal information to a complete stranger is unwise; but giving some to a date or psychologist who comes highly recommended from a trusted friend might very well be worthwhile.

What could be the use of such a recommendation, in this discussion? It can't be trustworthiness in having good intentions and not gossiping, because I already wrote: I am not interested in intentional hurting or gossip or anyone else but the two people talking. That leaves the notion that our friends being right, is generally a better explanation of reality than otherwise. Except....right about what? About the person being of good character? Oops, I already specified I'm not invoking that argument. About the person being generally compatible with us, then? Errr, if that's the case we will discover it as we begin to talk anyway. So, what good is the recommendation?

(Recommendations are perfectly good for picking who to try meeting, btw.)

This continuous/discontinuous distinction seems weird to me. Why not say that one should take risks when they are reasonable, and admit that broad generalizations about when this will be the case for others are likely to be false?

Would it make sense to you, to say that good relationships require knowledge, and that this cannot be created by declaration, by want, by decision, by imagination, etc?

Here are two more examples of discontinuity:
- becoming "a man" at a certain age, despite no new knowledge coming into existance
- a Catholic child going to his first confession. the knowledge of how the priest can help the specific child, simply doesn't exist.

More on throwing privacy to the winds in particular tomorrow.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)