The other day I wrote a post in which I suggested that being caught out as insincere is unpleasant not only for the material consequences that might follow from it, such as damage to your reputation which will cause others not to want to enter into relationships with you; but also because it causes you to be objectified in the eyes of others. Commenter TGGP replied:
Thanks, HA. I try, but aside from the Hog all I can remember accomplishing is getting Robin to correct Mencius Moldbug on Bayesianism, despite my best efforts to get the latter to comment here.
I have decided to start my own blog, but there's not much there now.It's at http://entitledtoanopinion....
TGGP, you're a great blog cross-pollinator. In fact probably the best non-blogging cross-pollinator in this econoblog, etc. niche. The Hog's response was well-written (so well-written that I think it undermines his central claim).
I don't know if this will reach you since this post fell off the front page, HA, but a response to your comments has just appeared at the Hog.
I gather your analysis from my writing quality is that I'm not in a relatively influential position regarding thwarting existential threats to humanity.Actually, it's because I would expect an important person to be using their own name (there have been several anonymous bloggers whose identities were revealed, all were nobodies) and also because I reject Great Man theories of history in favor of large impersonal forces. Your writing quality is fine.
That's how f*cked our situation likely is.I agree that's a bit disconcerting.
But I also think you're underestimating your and Chip's intelligence.I don't know about Chip, but I've taken an online Raven's in addition to some other standardized tests, so I'd say I have a decent grasp on my cognitive capabilities. Mencius Moldbug similarly overestimated me, after he had gotten puffed up about trying to gather the most intelligent at his corner of the web (why he thinks Lawrence Auster is unwittingly doing something similar is a mystery to me) though got him to state what his IQ cutoff point was before revealing myself. I've been trying to wean him from ideological mental constraints, but not because I think he's important; I just think it would lead to more interesting conversation.
I'm guessing you're an undistinguished lawyerYou're right on the undistinguished part, wrong about being a lawyer. If you were to imagine that I make a living selling furry artwork over the internet to perverts you would likely be exaggerating my influence, but feel free to do so anyway.
I think it's more focus and motivation.Guilty as charged, though since both of us have claimed to focus on self-interest, it would be odd if one could induce feelings of guilt in the other for not doing their part for the rest of humanity.
Drop this libertarian, etc. bullsh*t and focus on using empiricism to try to solve aging in the next few decades.Albert Jay Nock once said "I don't advocate the Single Tax. I believe in that". In as far as advocating libertarianism required more than posting on the internet, I may be said merely to believe in it unless you ask the champions of libertarian orthodoxy, in which case I don't even do that. Ironically enough, if you click the link to the Mises blog you'll see me attacking libertarian theorists for misplaced priorities that lead them away from pragmatic work (which they deride as a "technical problem"), though like you they respond that I'm hardly doing my part.
"... I have fairly high confidence ..." As best as I can tell, that's a deoptimized opiate from the perspective of maximizing our mutual persistence odds. In apparent reality, optimized effort often makes the difference between survival and death. So as far as I can tell, the best opiate for us to pick is an effort to optimize our persistence efforts. I gather your analysis from my writing quality is that I'm not in a relatively influential position regarding thwarting existential threats to humanity. Sadly, I'm probably much better connected, and more influential in those ares, than you think. That's how f*cked our situation likely is. But I also think you're underestimating your and Chip's intelligence. I don't think your smarts is a problem (I'm guessing you're an undistinguished lawyer) I think it's more focus and motivation. Drop this libertarian, etc. bullsh*t and focus on using empiricism to try to solve aging in the next few decades. That would be my general advice to all those white collar guys sold libertarianism, etc. as a belief-as-attire counterhierarchy for second rung elites.
Linking to his anti-natalist posts got Chip (if that is his real name, who knows on the internet) to appear on the Mises blog. Maybe he'll show up here. Heck, given your shared quirk of not wanting to die, you might even get along.
I'm not a scientist. I'm not sure what Chip does when he's not signaling to single women looking for someone to discuss holocaust denial with, but I infer it's not science either. I don't know anything about the meatspace-you, but I have fairly high confidence that if all three of us were to simultaneously drop dead this second, it would not prevent any existential threats to humanity from being thwarted. In the meantime before I die I intend to stop and smell the counterintuitions, which would seem to be Chip's reaction to impending demise as well.
TGGP, I was disappointed by that Chip Smith piece. He seems to live in a reality where thinkers like Aubrey de Gray, Nick Bostrom, and Anders Sandberg don't exist. I suppose a good case could be made that all this clever writing (particularly by the non-anonymous) is sexual signalling. If so, I'd like it to be better harnessed towards pragmatic problem-solving (like the problem of our appparent mortality!), rooted in empiricism, than this fluffy "let me show you how clever I am in arguing this counteruntuitive thing" sort of stuff.
A lot of the uncritical aspirations of transhumanism, Fukuyama's criticisms of transhumanism, and Chip's criticisms of Fukuyama seem like so much wasted energy to me. I'd rather they all be tearing apart the weak points of Aubrey, Nick, Anders', etc. ideas regarding solving aging and minimizing existential risk. Sexually signal that way folks -I think it does more for us, and we're on an unforgiving deadline.
Chip Smith of the Hoover Hog has been taking ethics in an odd direction in his series on anti-natalism. In the fourth and latest part (it was supposed to be the last but now he says there will be a fifth) he discusses how are intuitions are shaped by evolution as well as the project of transhumanism, so I thought some of you might be interested in it.
Robin, My understanding of evolutionary history is that altruism is far older than conscious reason and hence much older than moral philosophizing. If that is true, it means that the methods we use for dealing with the interests of others are cobbled together from multiple, originally independent sources. You are right that there is nothing unusual about this; evolution works by appending new things on old platforms. But I think this is enough to make the point I was trying to make, which is that when you feel like you are philosophizing, you may really be philosophizing. Philosophizing is not just the older altruistic impulses crammed into a new smart brain, it's an actual thing in its own right. It's not independent of other things, but it's enough of its own thing to not be easily reducable to this or that evolved impulse.
David, all evolved mechanisms are onions made of veneers layered over veneers many times over. I thought the issue was whether a particular behavior had been "evolved" in the sense of being subject to and responding to substantial evolutionary pressure.
Robin,I agree with what you say. But the point of the philosophizing example is just to highlight an instance in which what seems to be going on inside you (it feels like you're thinking about the *right* thing to do here) is something other than just a veneer on some more basic evolutionary psychology thing (doing this or not doing that will redound to your advantage).
David, by "modern" I mean the last ten thousand years, not the last ten million. Yes before ten million years ago our ancestors didn't do much self-conscious philosophizing, but they surely did well before the last ten thousand years. My claim is that thinking about feeling appeared long enough ago to have been subject to a lot of evolutionary pressure.
Robin,As I understand it, non-human primates, and presumably our pre-rational ancestors, have things like empathy and shame. Rationality in the sense of self-conscious philosophizing evolved later. Feelings came first, and thinking and thinking about feelings came later, which means that the ancient evolved impulses don't just get mapped into modern environments, but do so after having been mediated by this relatively new interloper called rationality.
You know, sometimes people use emergent as a synonym for "Chaotic" which has a fairly precise and technical meaning. Also, sometimes as a synonym for "reminds people who know about Chaos Theory of chaotic phenomena, though may not actually be one, but seems like a member of some larger inclusive class" which is subjective, but not obviously more so than ethical/aesthetic judgments or judgments of Go move quality.
David, I see no reason not to think that our distant ancestors did not also "explicitly consult their reason and use it to overrule their feelings" and avoid doing things that seemed wrong. These seems part of our evolved heritage of behaviors, rather than being a consequences of old impulses being mapped into our new environment.
David, stop objectifying me!
Seriously, like a good reductionist I believe all that is going on on is basic evolutionary stuff affecting how our neurons fire though perhaps in a context it is not adapted for, but if talking about it in terms of other phenomena helps us understand it I will not object. I'll leave that to Elizer, since he seems to have a better grasp on whether such concepts are actually helpful.