@07mk's banner p




0 followers   follows 0 users  
joined 2022 September 06 15:35:57 UTC
Verified Email


User ID: 868



0 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2022 September 06 15:35:57 UTC


No bio...


User ID: 868

Verified Email

I see this accusation thrown at rationalists a lot, and I'm honestly not sure what to think about it. As someone who's mostly ambivalent to the whole rationalist movement/identity but one who spend a lot of time interacting with them on Scott Alexander-related forums, I've rarely seen rationalists imply any sort of greater value on individuals for their IQ. They're often accused of being high IQ people bitter at not being worshiped like the gods they deserve to be merely for their high IQ, but, again, I've rarely ever seen them do or state anything that even remotely implies this sort of belief. I feel like this most likely reflects a sort of intelligence fetishism on the part of the critic, who sees rationalists talk about IQ and intelligence and how useful they are in certain (well, to be fair, many, MANY) contexts and can't separate that idea of usefulness from some sort of inherent superiority.

If these "radicals," as you call them, stuck to Bene Gesserit-style multi-millennia plans involving eugenics in order to manipulate the genetic causes of the individual/cultural preferences, I think this aspect of the culture wars would be significantly less contentious.

Once again it's only a conspiracy theory when outsiders notice what the insiders celebrate. Even that dev who was recently making excuses about how face modeling is hard snuck in an "and actually it's good to challenge cis hetero beauty standards and we're doing it deliberately" towards the end.

I find this apparent feigning ignorance endlessly frustrating. The writers and academics who call themselves "progressive" are very open about their desire and willingness to manipulate the populace into believing things they want them to believe by putting in certain tropes into the fiction they write. This is justified on the basis of their stated belief that all fiction manipulates the audience, and so it's better to do it with conscious intent for causes they consider socially just instead of doing so unconsciously while merely focusing on creating an entertaining/meaningful work of fiction which they contend inevitably reinforces the status quo which they find bigoted and intolerable. It's not always possible to nail down this as the cause of any given individual case of uglification, but given the prevalence of these types of people in fiction production and the ubiquity of this narrative, I don't think benefit of the doubt is at all justified, and it's perfectly reasonable to default to the presumption that any specific case was due to ideological intent until proven otherwise.

And if we were to follow the same standards by which such people deem fictional works as "white supremacist" or "patriarchal" or "heteronormative" or whatever, there would be no question that we could conclude that these were caused by ideological motives: as long as someone can write a convincing-sounding essay connecting some work of fiction with these concepts they consider bigoted, it doesn't matter what the creators were thinking or intending, these works are ideological and for a bad ideology. If the creators had nothing but pure entertainment-focused intent or even if they were actively trying to send a message of equality, then that just means that they fell prey to their implicit/unconscious biases which proves just how entrenched white supremacy/patriarchy/etc. really is. But double standards are also justified on the basis of relative power and such (which themselves are justified by someone writing a convincing-sounding essay).

You see this more broadly with people claiming not to know what "woke" or "critical race theory" mean. It's a kind of dishonest bit of self deception that fools no one other than themselves. I just wish they would loudly and proudly stand up for what they believe in, proclaim that they are trying to manipulate the populace for the purpose of a better, more socially just world, and let the chips fall where they may. I find Scott Adams to be... a very silly person not worth paying attention to, but when he said that he was hypnotizing people, including through the very same message of informing them of this hypnotism, because his hypnotism would work even if the audience was consciously aware of what he was doing, I could at least respect that more than this shell game of implausible deniability many writers and activists on the left like to play of openly claiming a desire to manipulate the audience and then acting shocked and appalled that others would accuse them of making creative choices meant to manipulate the audience.

Surely these things aren't mutually exclusive, but rather in concordance with each other, right? Which is to say,

they understand enough to know the art is “prestigious” so they trick themselves into liking it whilst looking down on bourgeois taste

is the mechanism by which they arrive at their genuine, honestly held aesthetic preferences such that

They don't think it's ugly. They actually prefer it.


To them uglyness isn't ugly. It's genuinely mindnumbingly beautiful.

I mean, you see this talk about manipulating, say, straight men into genuinely, honestly believing that fat women and transwomen are beautiful and sexy by putting them on magazine covers or pushing them to watch porn featuring such people. If one believes that such manipulation of one's genuine, honestly held aesthetic preferences are possible, it's not unexpected that they themselves have undergone such intentional transformations of their own genuine, honestly held aesthetic preferences in order to better conform to what they believe is socially just or whatever.

The number one de facto policy this would change is that proportionate representation by race in jobs that are heavily IQ dependent wouldn't be the goal which, if our society fails to reach, gets deemed White supremacist. Instead, greater emphasis would be placed on removing any extraneous barriers for all individuals from all races, including unfair discrimination, and may the chips fall where they may in terms of the racial proportions.

And statistically speaking, CICO is not likely to result in success.

I don't know that this is a conclusion we can draw based on our observation that most overweight people in the west have failed at losing weight, though. First of all, because even though CICO is widely known, there's still also an incredible amount of other misinformation about stuff like "healthy foods" and various diets. There's also the fact that many people receive this very type of message along the lines of "CICO is trivially true from a physics standpoint, but the hard part is actually keeping to it due to self control and hunger" and as such, when they do diet, they pursue strategies for tricking themselves through other diets instead of literally just counting calories in and calories out.

All this means that the overall population of "overweight people who try to lose weight" does not necessarily look like the population of "overweight people who try to follow a CICO protocol for weight loss." I'd actually wager that overweight people who follow a CICO diet strategy while having a genuine belief in CICO and their ability to succeed by using it have higher success rates than overweight people who follow the strategy while being terrified by the prospect of failure due to their inability to control themselves in the face of hunger pangs. And as such, spreading the message that CICO is trivially true but ineffective actually harms people's ability to lose weight.

In any case, this particular comment was about manipulating the commenter's wife to following CICO via mechanisms other than just telling her CICO (i.e. the commenter getting ripped). This seems likely to fail for plenty of reasons, but those are different issues to whether or not [following as a diet strategy] CICO is likely to result in success.

Secondly was this essay by Uri Berliner, their longtime senior business editor, creator of the popular "Planet Money" podcast, and one of the very few white males/not-super-liberals still in a position of authority at NPR. I really recommend this essay. He lays it out how, sure, NPR was always left-leaning, but it had intelligence and integrity. It's changed.

Not having read this essay, one thing that really stands out to me about the headline and the URL is how it frames NPR as the active party that "lost America's trust." This is in stark contrast to 99% of the recent mainstream narrative about people coming to view journalists and journalism outlets with mistrust and even disdain, which is more along the lines of, "Why do these dumb ignorant fucks not trust what we publish, when we're doing everything right? Clearly they must be getting manipulated by disinformation merchants who just know so well how to appeal to their tiny little minds." Back when journalists being less trusted by the public was becoming an issue during the Trump administration, I recall thinking that this should be a time for introspection for journalists, for them to question why they - literal professional writers and speakers - were just so bad at communicating that they were losing out not just to a politician but a politician of the dishonesty level of Trump. Such introspection has been rare indeed, and it's both nice to see it here and unsurprising that this guy was penalized for performing it.

For my own part, I grew up listening to NPR and I used to love it. The voices, the production value, the journalism, all of it was high-quality. It really stood out in the world of FM radio, where everything else is staticky, ad-filled garbage, and tends to play the same basic pop-classic rock-rap top 40 garbage over and over. In the world before podcasts and sattelite Radio, NPR was the only halfway intellectual content on the radio. Now it just feels like a podcast from some random student activists who have been triggered by Trump to the point that they're on the verge of a psychotic breakdown. I seriously can't stand listening to it anymore, it's just amazing how deranged and annoying it's become.

I used to listen to NPR a ton as a kid in my parents' car and also in my young adulthood which was 10+ years ago now. The rare times I drive these days, I still put on NPR, but I honestly can't stand it either, and I'm not sure if it's because I changed or because NPR changed. On Reddit's /r/stupidpol (subreddit for leftists who consider identity politics to be stupid), I read someone say they play a game whenever putting on NPR to see how many minutes it is before there's some mention of a racial or sex/gender-related angle to whatever story they're covering, and they almost never go past 5 minutes; ever since starting to play the game myself, I actually rarely go past 1 minute these days. Could just be coincidence given, again, I rarely listen to any radio anymore these days, but I suspect it's not.

At least, the few times I tune into Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me, it's still mostly enjoyable. The kind of self-satisfied smug "obviously the mainstream progressive Democrat narrative is the correct one" attitude can be kind of annoying, but it honestly doesn't seem any worse than when I was a kid - I've just become more aware of the biases I used to have - and I still find Paula Poundstone hilarious.

Overall I'd say, "game writing was never good." Most classic games barely even had writing, either because it was pointless for an arcade-action game, or because there just wasn't enough memory or disk space then to handle a lot of text. Japanese games had an especially tough time with text.

And, aside from technical issues, a lot of games just don't need a lot of writing, and made a design decision not to include it. They tell the story in other ways. Famously John Carmack decided to put only the bare minimum of story into Doom because “Story in a game is like story in a porn movie, he said. “It's expected to be there, but it's not important.". It's only in more recent years that it's just expected that every game must have some sort of story, with full-time writers cranking out the content.

I think this actually explains why game writing in the past was good compared to now; having barely any writing because they didn't need a lot of writing can be very good writing, if it serves it purpose exactly as needed. To build on Carmack's analogy, a film whose entire script is: "Did you order the pizza with extra sausage?" "Yes, but I'm afraid I don't have any money. How ever will I pay you?" or the like has much better writing than something like Rise of Skywalker. The writing in the former doesn't need to be any longer or deeper than that in order to accomplish its goals, and trying to accomplish more with the writing would likely be counterproductive. With the greater production values and focus on narrative in many modern AAA games, writers have a lot more degrees of freedom, which means more room for error and also more rope to hang themselves with. That's even without considering the overt attempts at injecting ideological messaging that has plagued much of modern writing, in games and other media, which was much less common in older games, in a large part just due to older games not having as much writing.

Ban on all tipping, punishable by death-by-torture on any chief executive of any company that implements any sort of tipping system. Customers gain the right to perform summary executions on any service provider who suggests any tips. Naturally, this would also mean no alternative minimum wage for people in previously tipping jobs.

Nationalize TurboTax and other similar services, to auto-file all taxes for everyone, with taxpayers having the option to check and change if they wish.

Ban on all viewpoint-based moderation, by 1st Amendment standards, of any forum beyond a certain size.

Oh yeah, for manufactured pop bands, of which Kpop is perhaps the perfected version, I feel like they're appreciated more for their performance abilities than for their song recordings. So fans might insist on actual human dancers and singers (I don't know how much lip sync is common in these performances; do fans insist they actually sing into the mics while also doing complicated/strenuous dance moves in concerts?), even if they don't care about the AI writing the songs or even "performing" the music. Virtual concert performances like the Crypton Future Media Vocaloids might gain traction, but I also imagine they'd have to be some rare major figure like a Hatsune Miku or perhaps some popular Vtuber (whether human or AI-controlled) for fans to actually want to come out to watch such things.

But with AI songwriting, that's the kind of thing that real human songwriters could employ and just lie about pretty easily, to get the best of both worlds. If Taylor Swift used ChatGPT extensively to write her lyrics or used Suno and reverse-engineered its melodies for her own melodies and just lied about it, no one would ever know, and fans would get the enjoyment of genuinely believing that they're hearing songs that came pouring out of Swift's heart or whatever.

Technology was supposed to automate away the drudgery, so we can devote ourselves to higher pursuits like art, philosophy, and science.

I think technology has done a lot of that, though, with things like dishwashers, washing machines, running water, elevators, cranes, cars, and such. These are all "dumb" tech, though, and they hit diminishing returns; we still have to load our dishwashers and steer our cars (for the most part) manually. I think this just speaks to how difficult the precise and fine manipulation of objects in the physical world really is. From what I heard, image generation AI was actually a consequence of trying to solve this problem; we needed AI to be able to perceive the world similar to humans, which meant identifying objects in images, which was able to be reversed in some way to create new images. And this happened much more quickly than the robotics controls, because manipulating stuff in the digital world is much easier than in the real world.

It's still way too early to tell, but I could also see the argument that AI art does automate away the drudgery so we can devote ourselves to higher pursuits, since it's really primarily good at creating high fidelity illustrations while lacking the good taste or artistic vision required to convey some emotion in a pleasing or provocative way (this is arguable). This allows people to work on the more high level vision of what they want their illustration to look like instead of devoting the time required to develop their manual muscle control.

I wonder how differently this will impact the music industry versus how generative AI has and will impact the digital illustration industry. I'm not much into music, but I feel like a lot more of the appeal to music comes from the personalities attached to the songs than in the case of illustrations. And the personalities can't ever be truly copied without deception; even if we reach AGI with AI personalities indistinguishable from a human, the knowledge that the personality came from a computer instead of a human who had actually popped out of another human will color the perception. When someone puts on a Taylor Swift song during their daily commute or a workout, the knowledge that it was actually written and sung by Taylor Swift almost certainly plays a significant factor in their preference to listen to that song over something else.

That said, there are plenty of more functional uses of music, like BGM for ambience in works like video games, TV shows, films, other videos, b-rolls and the like, where no such personality matters. Even for big time composers like John Williams or Hans Zimmer, I'd bet the typical movie fan wouldn't care if the music had been made by AI, as long as the music actually served the purpose exactly as well as music that had been written by those people. This is analogous to the functional use of illustrations like for movie props, game textures, or book illustrations that provide employment for unknown low-level illustrators, which is what AI seems to be best positioned to disrupt (probably is already). But what I perceive with the music industry is that, even at the low level, fans tend to care about the musicians attached to the music; they don't go listen to the small local band or buy their albums just because of the audio that they put out, they do so because they want to support those people in particular. Again, AI fundamentally can't challenge this without deception, so those low-level employment opportunities for unknown musicians may survive in a way that it won't for unknown illustrators.

Another aspect is how using technology to automate music production seems to have been more accepted than for illustrations pre-AI, i.e. sampling and stuff like that. Some illustrators seem to see AI art as "cheating" because it allows the creation of very high fidelity, high detail illustrations without developing one's hand-eye coordination through years of practice. Whereas musicians are still respected even if they don't play the instruments or sing the vocals themselves. But generative AI will allow people who didn't even write the music or have any understanding of music to produce high quality songs merely from a text prompt, which is certainly a big difference. But also, just like how AI art is being used by illustrators to aid in their workflow, I wonder how/if AI music could play into it. Udio and Suno go straight from prompt to produced song, but what about prompt to lyrics and sheet music, or prompt + lyrics and sheet music to produced song, or any other intermediate steps? In illustrations, it's pretty easy to use the same tool selectively to aid in the workflow since it's all just putting pixels on a grid at the end of the day, but with song production with the different mediums involved, we'd need to see more specialized tools to aid musicians' workflows.

To some extent, it's understandable - it must be a pretty big blow to one's ego for the art one prides themselves on to be so easily recreated and automated by the equivalent of a Chinese Room, especially when the field is still in its infancy and hasn't even come close to anything we would consider agentic - but I can't help but see many of the naysayers about the ability of AI to achieve supposedly uniquely "human" tasks as being clearly myopic and wrong.

I had a conversation with someone last year who was insistent that actually good (i.e. human-equivalent) voice acting AI would require us to first invent general AI, because the various tones and inflections needed to properly convey the character's emotions to the audience would require actual understanding of what the character was going through with all the various nuances and details and such. I just don't understand this perspective, since voice acting, like music, is merely the production of sound waves at the end of the day. AI will only get better at manipulating sound waves, and there's no need to understand the emotions of the character the same way a human actor needs to, merely what sorts of sounds give positive feedback from the human audience (i.e. evokes certain emotions). Same goes for text, images, and video, of course. But even once these technologies become superhuman in ability to create truly meaningful, inspiring, insightful works of art, I imagine there will always be a subculture of people who will insist on only appreciating the maximally manually produced artworks. It's just hard to tell right now if they will be the mainstream or a tiny niche like the Amish.

I think the main problem with the whole "punching up/down" or "egg vs wall" framework is that there's just no agreed-upon way to meaningfully determine which side is actually the stronger and the weaker side. In WW2, the Axis powers lost, so one could argue that, by definition, they are the weaker side, but then others could argue that merely losing to someone else isn't proof of being the weaker side, and we need to analyze the precise details of the situation. It's the same arguments that get brought up in playoffs or MMA fights of, "Did the better team/fighter actually win?" where there's seemingly no way for people to come to an agreement on what standard to choose for determining what "better" means; the very notion of "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" is the point of contention. And so people just twist the logic and evidence in whatever way needed to to make the "side I like" be the "weaker" side and vice versa (or "better team" in the case of sports). It's just naked bias with extra steps. Whenever I see talk about "punching up/down," I mentally replace "up" with "direction I want to punch" and "down" with "direction I don't want punches going in," and it's a more useful way of analyzing the situation every single time.

Obviously there's no way to know for sure, even if you were this man and/or his health professionals, but I interpreted BurdensomeCount's comment as saying that this man genuinely having this rare psychological disorder is his attempt at becoming weaker to gain status within a culture that values weakness above strength. Very few people are going to consciously think to themselves, "My culture values weakness above strength, and so I will cynically weaken myself in order to gain status above others." Rather, their unconscious attempts to gain status within a culture that they unconsciously understand as valuing weakness above strength will manifest themselves as a rare psychological disorder that drives them to take action that weakens themselves.

I mean, I think it's fine to have open discussion, but not everywhere has to be an open discussion. If you have a forum with lots of women, minorities, LGBT people, or whatever, and don't want to deal with people asking about IQ, Jew's, or the 2020 election.

Sure, not everywhere, of course. I don't think anyone is claiming that it has to be everywhere. I don't think the population of women, minorities, LGBT people, or whatever, is what's relevant here, though; it's the population of people who are intolerant of such issues. Many women, minorities, LGBT people have been pushed/pulled toward a belief system that causes them to choose to take offense at such issues, but there's nothing intrinsic or fundamental about those people that makes them intolerant.

I'd also point out when you see people make better arguments than you can on topics, and nothing shifts, there's no reason to further argue. So, when the people with the 93 annotated links and actual statements from various court decisions can't push away somebody from various ideas about 2020, what am I going to do?

Most internet arguments don't end in any arguer's belief apparently shifting and conceding. That's generally not the point of internet arguments. This doesn't mean that their beliefs didn't shift, and it also doesn't mean that some lurker's belief shifting. And for me, personally, simply learning the way that someone I disagree with (and continue to disagree with) chooses to structure their arguments in an apparent good-faith effort to get me to change my mind is something I find value in.

Also, I just do think it's true. The smartest left-wing person with immense writing talent could show up here, and honestly, I don't think a single mind would be changed. Now, I know the response to that is, "that's just because progressivism/leftism/wokeism is such a weak ideology, that even a genius-level intellect can argue for it, and the only reason it wins today is the rich, powerful blah blah blah."

I think fictional made-up examples are less than worthless.

Now, the other thing is, I don't get when it became conservative/right-wing/etc. dogma that liberalism means anybody can say anything anywhere and if you don't want to argue that issue or point, that's censorship and the death of liberalism. Like again, I'm almost middle aged. I've been arguing on the Internet for a long time - even in the early 2000's, there were still TOS and yes, they were maybe more free-wheeling than 2021 in what you thought Twitter was then, and obviously, some politics has shifted, but you could always get banned, and while people may have argued person x didn't deserve a ban, the argument was never, 'banning people is wrong and against free speech,' because even the right-wingers understood there were rules, and if they didn't like the rules, the door was over there. If mods went too far, obviously there'd be a mass dispersal, but the secret was, in most cases, most people who got banned deserved it.

This is just a strawman. Approximately no one argues that "liberalism means anybody can say anything anywhere and if you don't want to argue that issue or point, that's censorship and the death of liberalism." I am middle-aged, and I was there in the early 2000s too. Yes, there were TOSs and bans and such. What makes it still liberalism is that bans and such were meant to be viewpoint-neutral. This isn't an easy thing to strictly define, but certainly one side choosing to respond to an argument with offense or choosing to claim that it activates some "fight-or-flight mode" in them merely for seeing such arguments was clearly not considered proper grounds for such bans.

Yeah - like, there's an argument on this thread about leftists not wanting to argue.

But, this isn't true - go to a Democratic/left-leaning well-educated group of political types and ask them about health care, taxes, etc. and they'll be a bunch of different ideas thrown around.

It's just yes, I don't have much interest in arguing about why the 2020 election wasn't stolen, why the Jew's don't actually control everything, how smart or not specific racial groups are, and how much we have to limit women's freedom to get them to make more babies, and start having them earlier.

As another left-leaning poster, this is the answer I would give to the top-most comment here about why I didn't post any pushback on the comment they were referencing. The topic is something that's so far out of my wheelhouse and expertise that I just have nothing to add or push back on in a meaningful way.

But I think the point about leftists not wanting to argue is less about actually having a desire to argue about this kind of stuff and more about tolerating arguments about this kind of stuff. I'm really, really glad that I get to participate in a forum where people with opinions like that post or the points in the part I quoted above feel free to state such opinions openly. Partly because someone expressing their opinions is, in itself, a good thing, partly because I want the opportunity to learn from the arguments of such people who might even respond to my own comments in other topics, and partly because I want people with such opinions to explore their opinions and collaborate with each other to create better, stronger versions of their arguments which then provide me greater opportunity to learn from them. I can appreciate and even benefit from all this without ever wanting to actually argue with them. And I think it's a shame that most mainstream leftist spaces that I know of just don't have this kind of tolerance.

I think this place is mostly forthright about saying, "Yeah, this is a place for people who are willing to expose themselves to 20-on-1 arguments based on the strengths of their arguments, regardless of political leanings. Like it or leave." That such an environment tends to draw a more right-wing crowd, I think, is mostly down to modern leftism rejecting liberalism, which leads both to leftists having access to more mainstream forums where challenges to their views get censored and to leftists just not wanting to go to places where such challenges are tolerated. And the vicious cycle that follows.

I am "left-aligned" but this place feels like one of the few places left on the Internet where I'm still a liberal. Anywhere else, if I express my actual (classically liberal, or as the choads on those forums would mockingly say, "cLASSiCly LIbErAl!!!") views, I am immediately tagged as a right-winger. This used to make me say "Wtf?" but now I just accept that I am politically homeless and will be the first up against the wall.

This is mostly my experience as well. I'm a liberal more than I'm a leftist, and in the past, those used to be aligned, but now, leftism has morphed into something that is openly and explicitly anti-liberal, and in that conflict, I'll prefer liberalism every time. As such, a forum like this which is both very right-wing and very liberal is far more interesting to read and to partake in than basically any left-wing forum that I know of. I dislike the right-wing racialism/ethnocentrism, but given that the left side is no better at that stuff, I'll take the liberal discussion about the right-wing than the illiberal (lack-of) discussion about the left-wing.

your community and all their future generations are condemned to poverty and violence"

But HBD doesn't imply this. First of all, by most reasonable historical standards, the "black community," at least in the USA, is one of the least violent and certainly one of the least poverty-stricken communities that has ever existed. It's empirically very possible to reduce these things, and the question is how much further can we reduce them, through what methods, at what cost? As I alluded to in my other comment, IF HBD is true and we accept that it's true, then we would realize that treating the "black community" like it's a defective "white community" is a fool's errand that will only be helpful through sheer luck and coincidence and likely quite harmful on net. I don't see why we couldn't come up with creative new solutions to reduce the poverty and violence in the "black community" even further than we have already, but for that, we need the problem solvers to have an accurate perception of the problem.

It's possible that the relational nature of things will mean that the "black community" will always be behind the "white community" and others in things like poverty and crime, but that's a problem only to the extent that people insist on viewing things in a racial/group-based lens. This is a curse that may be with human society as long as we are around, at least until Senator Jay Bulworth's proposal that we all fuck each other until we're all the same color comes about, but it's possible to have more or less of it, much like how poverty and crime will always be around, but it's possible to have more or less of it. I think a few extremist activists bloviating about how 1% of black community are in poverty with a murder rate a whopping 1 out of 100,000/year instead of the 0.5% of the white community in poverty with a murder rate of 0.5 out of 100,000/year would be a better state of things and even acceptable.

I view it as nothing short of tragic that a people who suffered so much due to being viewed as inferior, who struggled for so long to be viewed as equals and treated with dignity, who endured all kinds of injustices in the hope that we would overcome...only for science to prove that it was fruitless all along. It's so dispiriting the possibility that all the problems in our community: crime, poverty, ignorance, are intransient.

(Emphasis added) This is the part that sticks out to me as false. Presuming that HBD is true and black people have an average IQ of 85 or whatever, this doesn't imply that these issues you name, i.e. crime, poverty, ignorance, in black communities are necessarily intransient. Even if we want to think of the black community as a "community" in some meaningful sense rather than just a bunch of people who happen to have certain genes in common (something I personally don't want to, for any race, but it seems most people insist that we must), it doesn't imply that that this community must have these problems permanently or in the long run. What it does mean is that attempting to solve these problems the exact same way that we have and do solve these problems for other "communities" such as the "white community" or "East Asian community," but more is pointless.

I'm reminded of something people sometimes say about the gender culture wars, that boys get treated like defective girls (e.g. when they're physically violent, aggressive, or restless in classrooms). Some people insist that we ought to just keep pushing boys to be more like girls even harder and punish them even more when they fail, but there are plenty of people who believe that "HBD" (or perhaps more accurately behavioral sexual dimorphism) in this realm implies that we ought to solve boys' problems and girls' problems in different ways. I don't see why this couldn't be the approach to solving these issues in the various communities if it turns out that HBD is indeed true.

Again, my personal preference would be that we ignore the entire notion of "[race] communities" altogether and summarily execute tar and feather shame ignore anyone who insists on analyzing populations on this basis and allow individuals to navigate a world of individuals forming communities with each other based on other characteristics, but that seems like a non-starter these days.

Well y'know, if there weren't cases of pervert men doing precisely that,

This on it's own doesn't tell us anything though. Building a world view in which Catholic priests are just perverted child abusers intentionally trying to prey on children is also supported under this criteria. After all there are cases of Catholic priests doing precisely that.

The issue isn't that some pervert men happen to be doing that, it's that this specific system is structured in a way that provides greater opportunities for such pervert men to exploit. The whole Catholic priest issue is a great example of this, actually, in how the whole structure of the way Catholic churches and communities were run gave greater opportunities for pervert men to do that while escaping justice. As such, people did and do argue that Catholic churches must be restructured to better prevent this.

In the case of the whole transwomen in women's prisons thing, I see a couple of good ways to argue in its favor. One is to say that some female prisoners being raped by male prisoners is a worthy cost to pay for transwoman prisoners having their gender identity validated by the criminal justice system; then we can discuss what the rates of these things would be and how much to weigh them against each other. Another is to say that we can place safeguards to prevent male-on-female rape in women's prisons while still getting the benefits of transwoman prisoners having their gender identity validated; then we can discuss specific protocols and effectiveness of enforcing these things. I think that's the tactic the Catholics have been using.

For your first two paragraphs, I agree challenge can be fun, but I strongly disagree that the challenge I would face would be diminished if other players could opt for an easy mode. That's the crux of the debate here. From your last paragraph I feel like we probably agree on this point. An easy mode would allow more people to experience the games if the difficulty would have otherwise precluded them, and it would smash the elitist snobbery surrounding the games to a good degree.

Yes, we agree that these games would be better with an Easy Mode - even moreso, my opinion is that all games would be strictly better with a Dev Mode where any and all cheats that developers use for debugging/testing their games can be toggled on and off at will, including the ability to hop into any place in the game at any time, and this should be unlocked from the very start. These are games, not exams; let me have my fun.

My point, though, is that, at least with Bloodborne, Sekiro, and Elden Ring, the high difficulty isn't arbitrary. The difficulty directly impacts the visceral thrill of playing and mastering these games. It's akin to the thrill of a boxing or MMA match, where no matter how well your favored fighter is doing, a single momentary error can mean getting KO'd. No matter how much you've mastered a boss and no matter how close you are to winning, knowing that you can lose it all from being careless for just a second makes the encounters much more fun and exciting. That the games tend to give you a ton of healing items but requires you to leave yourself vulnerable to use them plays into this high-volatility philosophy, since dying is often not about losing more HP than you have available to you (i.e. including healing items) but rather about making a bunch of mistakes in a row. This also means near-misses can happen fairly often, where you go down to 5% HP but then manage to find a healing opportunity to give you more slack for the rest of the fight, which you hopefully go on to win. There's something to be said about winning the World Series on a sweep, but there's greater thrill in winning in game 7 through a come-back walkoff.

Categorically not true. Enemies can attack through walls while you can't. Enemies can attack through each other while you almost never get allies in the first place (at least prior to ER). Grab hitboxes are notoriously terrible. DS2 has a large emphasis on groups of enemies which is the literal definition of unfair.

First of all, when people say "fair" in the context of single player games where it's player vs AI, that doesn't mean having the exact same mechanics available to the player and AI or having the exact same number of enemies as the player (i.e. 1 on 1). The point of fairness in these games isn't to put each entity on equal footing, but rather to have the player experience a challenge where failure is the result of their own mistakes. DMC games are generally regarded as very fair, and the vast majority of the non-boss gameplay is centered around defeating large groups of enemies. All 3 From Soft games I've played have their moments of unfairness, but all have tended to be far better at fairness than most similar games of similar genres.

Second, it's simply not true that you can't attack through walls. I've cheesed enemies in Bloodborne and Elden Ring by attacking them through walls. Your weapon swings sometimes bounce off the wall in both games, but not always.

I actually was going to agree that grab hitboxes are notoriously terrible, but the only ones that really stick out to me are Genichiro's running grab and the Guardian Ape's leaping grab. For most grabs, I'd say it's the tracking that's complete BS, such as with Emma's. I can't speak to the latter half bosses in Elden Ring (I've just gotten to the royal city, having defeated Godrick, Rennala, and Radahn as the main big bosses), but I can't recall a single grab that struck me as being off compared to their character model. Godrick's grab was really frustrating to me, as was the Fallingstar Beast's (rather well-telegraphed) one, but both matched their character models quite well, especially for Godrick where I could just step back a foot and punish the grab by slashing his arm.

I'd say it's rather not cynical to consider that "if" to be at all possible.