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User ID: 2225



2 followers   follows 0 users   joined 2023 February 28 12:06:31 UTC


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User ID: 2225

Roti Prata is delicious. Go to a hawker center get some.

My theory is that the "right side of history" narrative (and its close cousins, casting being progressive as just being a "decent human being" and denigrating opposition as "retrograde" or "reactionary") is so ubiquitous because the progressive left is deeply confused about whether it believes in moral realism, and so adopts an inconsistent (but very effective) posture on moral questions.

On these big social questions, there are, at root, three reasons for acting:

  1. You are a moral realist and believe that X is right/wrong as a fundamental fact about reality. (How do you know? Maybe you believe God -- who knows such things -- said so; maybe you believe you have a direct apprehension of the truth; maybe it is a logical consequence of other things that are in the first two categories.) You act because you think it is right, period.
  2. You have a preference that you want to fulfill, and think that you and those who share it have the power -- or can obtain the power -- to enforce it. You act out of pure preference and power.
  3. You just want to go along to get along. You don't have an independent reason to act, so you don't act independently -- maybe you stay out of it, or maybe you join a cause you think will imminently win (or is most of your social circle) so that people will like you.

"The right side of history" tries to have it all three ways while not committing enough to any of them to expose weakness there.

Straightforward moral realism is a problem for the progressive left (at least in its modern incarnation; past movements vary) for two reasons. First, because most of its thought leaders are not moral realists, and many of the rest would reject moral realism if the question were put to them (though they may implicitly act as if they believed in it). Second, because the natural response to "It is a moral law of the universe that [insert progressive cause here] is good" is to say: "And how do you know? I'm pretty sure I've always heard that God said the opposite, my intuitions disagree, and anyway you just got done telling me that you don't believe in hearing from God, so why should I believe you?"

Straightforward appeals to power or preference are not persuasive -- at least not unless you already have the power and just want to compel, not "win hearts and minds".

And finally, appealing to people's "go along to get along" instincts is tough unless you can offer social proof that either your cause already dominates, or soon will. (It works wonders when you can, though -- see what happened to gay marriage.)

Enter "the right side of history". It appeals to moral realist intuitions and persuasive force, while not actually committing anyone to staking out an actual claim about ground truth morality. It can be a threat based on present or claimed future power without being explicit about it. It appeals to "go along to get along" without having to actually produce the goods in terms of current social influence.

Time will tell (ha) about whether the rhetorical strategy will continue to be effective, but I expect that, absent major ideological realignment, it will continue to be used in one form or another.

Who the hell wants to ban porn?

Quite a few people, actually. Even on the ACX survey (not a demographic known for its social conservatism) over a quarter of respondents said that they would wave a magic wand to end pornography permanently if offered the choice. Now making something magically disappear is not quite the same as banning it for a number of reasons, but the sentiment is much the same.

You might be confused because of all those statistics indicating that 90%+ of men have used porn. Past, or even current, porn use is not inconsistent with wanting it to not exist. People don't have perfect self-control, after all, and it is Well Known that people have diminished judgement and self-control under... relevant circumstances. Many people are quite capable of disapproving even of their own vices, and think that it's bad to have widely available temptations for them and others to succumb to them.

I am almost certain that banning internet porn is part of the intention of laws like these, not an accidental consequence. For the state of Texas (and for other states with similar laws) this is the system Working As Intended.

This seems to come up as an explanation a lot, but I don't think it really holds water. We don't have a huge number of people who are experts in pushdown automata or computational complexity or type theory, but can't code. For the most part, the people who didn't learn to code in school also didn't learn any of the theory either.

I don't think this is disagreement with my above post? (I mean, I do disagree on a value-level with the transhumanism, but that's another kettle of fish and not relevant here.)

Maybe I wasn't totally clear -- I was saying that your confusion about apparently normal men saying "it could have been me" mostly boils down to the fact that you can't empathize with those people on the subject because most of them have AGP. Despite the stereotype, most such people are normal men in almost all other respects except having, or at one point having had, a recurring desire to be female, and a lot of them are horrified that someone just like them could be ushered down what they see as a self-destructive path.

I think I mostly agree with you, but I do want to emphasize that

some of these men will choose to undergo transition

is not the only difference in outcome between the "pro-trans" and "trans naive" environments being discussed.

Having the ready-made answers, social encouragement, etc. on offer can not just affect what sorts of actionable options they have available, but also the trajectory of the desires themselves.

As an example let's take the POV of a teenage boy with autogynephilia. Our protagonist finds that he has a recurring desire to be female. Sometimes (maybe most of the time, maybe not) this desire and fantasy is associated with sexual arousal. This is confusing and weird, what is he to make of this?

In an environment without the "trans" meme and social encouragement thereof, this remains a private quirk and fantasy. He knows that he can no more become female than he can become a bird or acquire superpowers (random side note: was Animorphs especially appealing to boys with autogynephilia? I strongly suspect so...). Maybe it wanes naturally over the course of years, or maybe his desire is an inner demon that he struggles with from time to time, or maybe it's just a recurring fantasy his whole life which he occasionally indulges in -- depending on the strength of his desire and his attitude toward it. A lot of things are possible, but probably he lives life as a normal man and most things are fine. (Of course there is the chance that he develops some delusions based on his desires and fantasies -- especially if they are unusually strong or he indulges them unusually much -- but this is not a very likely outcome.)

In an environment where the "trans" meme is present and positively reinforced, he is encouraged to interpret his desires as evidence (or even proof) of identity as a "trans girl". A ready-made, positive-valence identity that fits his experience, at a time when he's naturally (like most teens) going to be confused about his identity and place in the world? It's like catnip. He starts thinking of himself as trans. He talks about it on the internet. Maybe he tells his best friends and they affirm it, or maybe his new best friends are the people who affirm it. He indulges his fantasy, because it's just part of who he is. Maybe he even encourages it, as its presence is proof of his new identity. His ways of thinking of himself get solidified: "I am a trans girl": now each of his desires and every trait that is not stereotypically male is proof of that. He develops a female persona and acts it out; maybe he really believes the propaganda that, deep down, he is a girl, not just wants to be one. Now his identity is all bound up in this: he becomes more and more unsatisfied with the stubborn truth that he is not, in fact, a girl; that his body is stubbornly male. As an adult, maybe he does try to force his fantasy to become reality with hormones and surgery (of course this doesn't actually work, but maybe if he is lucky he can convince himself it does) -- or maybe he just ends up with a weird self-identification and way more unhappy with his life than if he'd never gone down that path.

Regardless of whether our protagonist ultimately undergoes medical transition, his whole life can be dramatically impacted by this difference in his environment.

I wouldn't expect you to be able to empathize with it, any more than... well... with people who want to have sex with men.

I can't be certain, but I strongly suspect that the vast majority of men saying this have at least a touch of autogynephilia. The sense of "it could have been me" is less "I, as a perfectly ordinary man, could have become socially hypnotized into wanting to be a women" and more "What if that part of me that already -- at least somewhat -- wanted to be a woman had been socially encouraged, been amplified, been given a (positive-valence) identity category; what if I'd been encouraged to indulge in this, been offered "specialness" and affirmation and a ready-made memeplex, all when I was young and socially and emotionally vulnerable? Then I could see myself having gone down that path."

It's so common because some degree of autogynephilia is probably about as common as homosexuality among men. (I remember -- I think it was in Men Trapped in Men's Bodies? -- seeing a reported study estimate of 1-3% of men for erotic cross-dressing alone, and that's almost certainly a substantial underestimate of the fraction of men with any amount of AGP.)

The explanation you are looking for is "great circles". Your flight probably took close to the shortest route.

This was a great recommendation -- I'm enjoying it very much. It's like the game show version of a puzzle hunt.

Why aren't any American game shows even close to this good?

FWIW I agree with both @hydroacetylene and you here, and I expect that he'd agree with you too. What I would mean, and what I expect he means, by "trans isn't real" is that none of the people being classified as "trans" are "born into the wrong body" or "assigned" the wrong gender, nor are they "really" (in some sense) the opposite sex -- that it's not just a matter of overdiagnosis and a classification of some people as "trans" who aren't, while there is still some smaller subset who are "really trans" and where that the most appropriate treatment is the constellation of "gender-affirming" (what a euphemism!) treatments of hormones/surgery/social transition/etc.

I do agree that there is a separate mental illness (probably more than one) which correspond to "trans" -- that it's not just depression or anxiety or whatever that causes boys/men to want to be girls/women (or vice-versa), or to be unhappy because they aren't, or to (at times) convince themselves that they "really are" what they want to be. And I get that there are some people who don't believe that and think that the entirety of "trans" is just some current-day-cultural nonsense. But I do think that there is a meaningful and important sense in which "trans isn't real" is true, and I think that's what he's getting at.

Thank you for the kind words and the mention (I wouldn't have seen this otherwise). I'm sorry you are going through such a tough time. Feel free to PM me again if you ever want to talk.

I ordered an l-theanine supplement (green tea also has caffeine, I don't want to mix that in and I'm not a huge fan of the flavor anyway) on your advice; the palpitations and insomnia [edit: I think some of the insomnia is secondary to palpitations continuing way past the other effects] sucked (at least the serious jitters were only with the first dose). Would you recommend taking it with the Adderall or in the evening?

I'd like to talk about Adderall.

A bit of background: I've had ADHD symptoms my whole life (though the hyperactive part greatly diminished in adulthood), but was never treated because I (a) won the lottery of fascinations (math and computers) and (b) have enough raw intelligence that I was able to excel academically through undergrad. Ever since I started grad school, however, my difficulty with focus has plagued my work, and though I managed to muddle through, I'm much less successful than you might otherwise expect, and my subpar (per my own standards, I guess) productivity at work has negatively impacted my mental health. I've been lucky if I can get a couple hours of productive work in a day -- and I don't mean "I had to go to meetings and that interrupted my flow state" (though there's that too) but "I got distracted by some math problem / thinking about a video game / reading a forum / etc and lost a couple hours with nothing to show for it". I've self-medicated a bit with coffee in the past, but I haven't used it as much recently as after a hiatus, I noticed that drinking enough to make any dent in my problem was also enough to cause me sleep trouble the following night (even if I only had it in the morning) and was very much not generally worth it. Somehow I'm still productive enough to keep a senior software engineer job without (many) complaints from management or coworkers, but I'm always feeling like I'm on the verge of failing to adequately do my job.

So my wife persuaded me that just maybe my persistent difficulty focusing on tasks is due to ADHD rather than being incorrigibly lazy. I saw a psychiatrist and she prescribed Adderall, 10mg up to 3 times daily. The pharmacy finally filled the prescription and I started taking it yesterday (Wednesday).

I took two doses yesterday: one at about 10:30 AM when I started work, and one at about 2:30 PM, about 20 minutes after I noticed the effects starting to wear off. The first dose was weird: it helped very noticeably with my ability to focus on a task, my ability to get started on a larger new task (previously I'd have to wait for the perfect moment psychologically for this), and my ability to maintain focus when switching tasks while waiting for a coworker to do code review. On the other hand, I got the jitters - as if I'd had too much coffee, or was very nervous about something, except that I wasn't nervous, I just had the somatic symptoms (this was really confusing). (Other than these jitters my fidgeting/pacing decreased.) The second dose had the same cognitive effects as the first, but without the jitters. I had as many productive hours in one day yesterday as I typically have in three (though it's worth noting that my usual distribution is highly uneven) and got a commensurate amount accomplished.

Miracle drug, right? Well, remember how drinking too much coffee would give me sleep troubles? Yeah, that. I had a hard time winding down last night (even though the mental effects had otherwise worn off), took longer than usual to fall asleep, and woke up in the wee hours of the morning and couldn't get back to sleep. This is not totally out of distribution for me (in fact it's similar to something I've had happen two or three times in the last month without any drugs) but it's suggestive. I'm pretty tired now, but not "I'm a zombie and can't function" tired, at least at the moment -- again, a bit unusual for how little sleep I got but not out of distribution. I really hope this goes away (or I can find a dosing regime that doesn't do this to me) because I really want to be consistently productive for once in my life.

My psychiatrist suggested when prescribing that I could cut the dose in half if I felt "high" or had significant side effects after the first few doses, or that I could try taking only one dose if it was effective enough to get me started on the right foot and I didn't crash after it wore off (which I didn't). I'm planning to take one or two 5mg doses today and see if it's still as effective; I don't want to screw up my currently fragile sleep even more.

Does anyone else here have experience with Adderall for ADHD? With insomnia as a side effect? With dosing (looking online, 10 mg per dose is a bit higher than normal for an initial dose)? Obviously I'll bring all the details to my psychiatrist next week for my followup, but there's bound to be some people here with the right experiences and insight to get some initial feedback or suggestions.

Yeah, Christiano is absolutely right here. There are some sorts of problems which have significant components that are comparatively much simpler for machines than humans, for example:

  • Problems that can proceed mostly by only a limited number of steps at any place, but where it's hard to figure out which sequence of steps to pursue and doing a large number of them of them is basically impossible for a human in any reasonable time. A computer can just try them a ton of them, so any improvements in ways to narrow the search space make them even better. A lot of geometry problems are like this.
  • Problems that have a straightforward method of solution which is difficult for humans to execute properly without mistakes. "Just brute force it with Muirhead's Inequality" has been a thing for a long time now and a lot of competitors actually do this on contests even though it is frequently horribly messy. My recollection is that conventional wisdom in this was: if you try this, you'd better not make any mistakes because judges will not award partial credit to brute force solutions with errors. But of course a computer will not have these errors. (Christiano seems to indicate that inequalities that are doable this way don't show up as much anymore, which is a very good thing regardless of AI.)
  • Problems that can be easily solved with a simple trick that is hard to find but easy to execute when you do. E.g. diophantine equations that fall apart with a particular modulus (or two). Humans need well-developed mathematical intuition to find the needle in the haystack; a computer can just try everything.

This is not to say that it's trivial to make a computer be superhuman at these problems. Despite there being aspects that are very machine-friendly, there's still a lot of difficult work to be done to actually get a machine do them. But it shouldn't make you update particularly much; this is not an "AI is now smarter than IMO medalists" moment.

Yes. I started having wrist pain about 5 years ago in my right wrist, to the point where it was seriously impacting my work. I did some research and bought a cheap vertical mouse, and my pain went went away in about a week and never came back. Best $25 I ever spent.

If you have larger hands, make sure to get a larger mouse, though. They vary a lot in size and I find smaller ones not nearly as comfortable.

Right, what I was also gesturing at above is that there is probably an additional selection effect, in the form of needing to work the system, for female attracted / AGP people, since their motivations are thought to be more "disreputable" (not sure the right word here).

However, on further reflection, 122 is an astounding mean, even for a combination of selection effects and real differences, and makes me wonder if there is something wrong here. That's a mean substantially larger than what you get pulling only from the population of 4-year college graduates. At this point I think I'll reserve any judgment about the explanation of these numbers.

I'm skeptical of the strength of the autism connection, but I don't find that in particular much of a mystery:

  • Autism (also let's be real, we're talking about what used to be called Asperger's here, not all autism) is only "extreme maleness" along one dimension: a focus on systems/things rather than people. I've never heard of autistic people being more athletic, more competitive, etc. than typical men (though disabuse me if I'm wrong!).
  • One typical characteristic of being male is finding feminine characteristics attractive and valuable. It's not too far a jump -- for a certain kind of mind -- to feel that those things would be valuable in oneself.

Surely most of that (in the paper, I mean) is selection effects? I expect that there's a substantial barrier to entry for completing SRS at a university hospital (the selection criterion for that paper) and that the barriers are higher for AGPs since they don't match the stereotypical / ideologically acceptable profile. (I also suspect a similar effect causes these studies to underestimate AGP in that population. People who want a thing tend to say what gatekeepers want to hear, and those that don't... don't make it past the gatekeepers as much.)

Of course I'm also saying this as someone who suffers from AGP (though much, much less than I did in my teens / early 20s -- mental habits do make a difference) and also ticks many of the usual boxes: high intelligence, nerdy, family history both of mental illness and of joint hypermobility / connective tissue problems. So make of that what you will.

Possible explanation: "Public writing" has a lower barrier to entry than it used to, both in terms of who can do it and how easy it is to write something for public consumption. This means more of that writing will be sloppy, which in turn lowers the expectations people have of themselves (people emulate what they see), so the standard amount of effort is lower and people who would in other circumstances have written carefully are sloppier too.

Putting question marks at the end of statements to indicate uncertainty is just a stylistic fad, though.

Isn't it the case that a lot of the legacy youth orgs have, whatever their past reputation, themselves been drifting left over time? The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in particular are no longer considered safe by a lot of more conservative religious people (and it's not just about allowing gay scouts) and several more explicitly conservative Christian (Protestant, of course...) versions are, at least judging from some families I know, gaining in popularity because of this.

I don't think that people who are grossed out by gay sex think of that as part of their identity, though. They think that their emotions are tapping into something real on that topic, but they don't make an identity out of grossed-out-by-gayness. For the most part, at least, they trust those emotions, not identify with them.

But on the meta level, the object level matters (heh). Yes, I think that adopting some identities is good, and adopting others is bad; that sexual desires are bad things to have as identities; that people would be better off if society discouraged people from adopting these bad identities -- or at least didn't put its thumb on the scale the other way as currently.

Or for those who prefer quotations on the subject, from Heretics by G.K. Chesterton:

Somebody complained, I think, to Matthew Arnold that he was getting as dogmatic as Carlyle. He replied, "That may be true; but you overlook an obvious difference. I am dogmatic and right, and Carlyle is dogmatic and wrong." The strong humour of the remark ought not to disguise from us its everlasting seriousness and common sense; no man ought to write at all, or even to speak at all, unless he thinks that he is in truth and the other man in error. In similar style, I hold that I am dogmatic and right, while Mr. Shaw is dogmatic and wrong.

I don't know why you chose to try to eliminate that desire in yourself, but much respect. It's really difficult, in our culture, to reject seeing that kind of desire as part of one's identity, both because of how these desires present themselves and because of the way that the culture insists on talking about them. You did a difficult -- and IMO praiseworthy -- thing.

I'd also love to see an effortpost on this if you are comfortable with it. In particular I'd like to hear why you think it worked so well for you, when a lot of people, including many who sincerely tried, seem to have met with less success. (I have some theories but they are not particularly well founded.)

[Johnson]: "homosexual behavior is something you do, not who you are".

I'd like to soapbox a bit about this.

Johnson is absolutely right on this, maybe more than he knows. One of the more insidious things about the prevailing culture is the way that it encourages people, almost to the extent that it is unthinkable to do otherwise, to identify with their desires -- especially if those desires are sexual. People make fun of the Evangelical thing where they insist on saying "same-sex-attracted" instead of "gay", as if it's some shibboleth, but the reason for this is that "gay" carries with it an assumption that it is, and ought to be, part of one's identity, and the Evangelicals are right that it's a big part of the problem.

Having sexual attraction to other men may be (generally is) involuntary, but engaging in homosexual activity is absolutely a choice, and so is making your desires such a core part of your identity that you automatically interpret any discouragement from gratifying them as an attack on your self. Yet that last choice is, in the prevailing culture, the water that the fish don't know they are swimming in. They are told, "Those people hate you, they want to deny you the right to even exist" because of their opposition to behavior.

People with disordered desires need a narrative other than "you are a disgusting pervert" or "your desires are innate and good and self-actualization means fulfilling them". The bit about "same-sex-attracted" is a (somewhat awkward) way of trying to supply that other narrative.

I think the same is true about "trans". A boy or man who desperately wants to be female, and/or who experiences discomfort at being male, may not be choosing to have those feelings (though they can certainly be fed and encouraged by dwelling on them), but "I am trans" is a decision to adopt those feelings and desires as as an identity. I can't think of any non-awkward way of encapsulating those underlying feelings and desires (yeah, "gender dysphoria", but that carries its own set of assumptions and also doesn't capture the full range here), but the discourse really needs one.

I'm very sympathetic to people saddled with these disordered feelings -- this is not really to my credit, but out of personal experience, as my other posts on the "trans" subject attest -- but I get really angry at the activists who encourage people to see them as a core part of their identity, and accuse opponents of wanting to "deny [their] right to exist". It's like telling an alcoholic that being a "drunkard" is a core part of their identity and that anyone who wants them to stop drinking hates them.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

To be fair, the notions of simplicity at play here are two different ones, so Divine Simplicity is, while not entirely irrelevant, a bit beside the point.

I have, of course, a lot of disagreements with this comment, but in the spirit of explaining things rather than re-waging the Great Internet Atheism-vs-Religion Wars (I was a teenager 20 years ago; I ought to know better now) I wanted to focus on two things that are a bit more meta-level and more relevant specifically to rationality.

All else being equal, a simple hypothesis or prior should be privileged over a more complex one when they are equally as good at explaining the evidence, or predicting the future. That is a basic consequence of probability theory, complexity needs to be justified.

There are two points to be made here. The first is that Occam's razor, the simplicity prior, and the particular formal version based on Kolmogorov complexity, are all assumptions, not inevitable consequences of logic. Probability theory tells you how to update your prior based on evidence (....if, somehow, you can know the probabilities of all your observations conditional on each of the potential hypotheses, which in this context is an unrealistically big ask); it can't tell you what your prior should be. A simplicity prior is not an unreasonable choice in many contexts, but it's (a) not actually practical for many things (do you know all possible hypotheses and their exact complexity?) and (b) it's not the only possible choice.

The second is that it seems likely to be impossible to even evaluate simplicity or conditional probabilities when you are dealing with radically different ontologies, and it's not at all clear that e.g. the claim that physics and the existing physical universe is the brute fact of reality is in any way simpler than the claim that a Person is. Certainly I'll grant that "the physical universe, but also God/supernatural/nonphysical stuff tacked on" is more complicated than pure materialism, but that's explicitly not what the alternative is.

An analogy for those who know about the demoscene: a long, intricate demo certainly looks more complicated than a random short clip on Youtube, but it is much simpler in an information-theory sense, being generated from a small executable. Given that we don't know any real equivalent of "the shortest possible code" for either a materialist or Theistic account of the reality, I don't think it's even in principal possible to judge the complexity of either.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness is a sign that our existing knowledge and theories are insufficient for the task of explaining everything

This misses the point. There are certainly many problems that, when substituted for "the Hard Problem of Consciousness" here, would make this statement a valid criticism. For instance, if someone tried to argue that the fact that science can't account for Abiogenesis is a knock-down argument against materialism, this would be a good point. The fact that we have no good idea how abiogenesis could occur is some evidence against its occurring by natural means, but in the future new evidence or a better understanding of chemistry might turn things around, just as biochemistry did for the properties of organic life as it is now.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness is another matter. The problem is not that current science can't explain it; the problem is that ontological materialism excludes consciousness (in the sense those of us talking about the Hard Problem mean) entirely. There's no way to get an "I", a first-person perspective, in a materialist ontology, any more than it's possible to get moral realism. And I don't know about you, but I'm quite a bit more certain that I exist than I am that the external world exists, let alone of any laws of physics or theories about what other things might or might not exist, simply for the reason I have direct, unmediated observation of the fact of my existence, which I don't have of physical things. Not to go full #DescartesWasRight here, but he's a lot more right about this than many people give him credit for.

To get at something of my frustration here, let me present a fictional dialogue between a normal person "Matt" and a person with a rather odd ontology, "Noah":

Noah: "The whole universe is just a number. Everything is just some digits or properties of this number. All is number!"

Matt: "But this rock isn't a number! It's not even the same sort of thing as a number! It's stuff, matter, not something abstract like a number."

Noah: "What do you mean? How do you know that stuff isn't just properties of a number. After all, you know that atoms can be counted, mass can be measured, positions can be located, as numbers. Numbers are everywhere. We can express everything about your rock as some numbers, and thus, of course, as digits in one Great Number which is the whole universe."

Matt: "Sure, numbers are useful for measuring things. But a rock isn't just its measurements -- it's made of stuff; it has actual existence."

Noah: "I don't know what you mean by 'actual existence', or 'stuff' or 'matter', and I don't think you do either. Sure, I'll grant that there are things about a rock that we don't know how to measure yet, so we don't fully know how it is part of the Great Number. But it's just a matter of time."


Whenever I talk to materialists about consciousness, I feel just like Matt talking to Noah. If you actually don't get it, I don't know what to say to you.

And this leads into some final thoughts which are connected to both of these. The elephant in the room here, the simplest ontology that nobody wants no believe -- maybe that nobody can believe: Solipsism. Why believe in the existence of anything external to yourself at all? A universe with just one thing is simpler than any hypothesis other than one with nothing (not tenable for the obvious reason). It can easily account for all your putative observations (i.e. they are not actually observations of anything at all). And yet, despite the talk of Boltzmann brains, which is functionally the same thing (if you are just a brain in the void, why do you think your observations of the laws of physics have any meaning -- and thus why is the fact that QM may permit Boltzmann brains any evidence whatsoever about whether you might be one?), I don't think I've heard people insist that solipsism is the only rational position. Frankly, the reason I'm not a solipsist is not that I have a good argument that it's false; rather, I just can't believe it -- I have an arational certainty -- generously, direct apprehension of a truth -- that solipsism is false and I'm not the only thing that exists.

And if we aren't rationally required to be solipsists, well, isn't that giving the whole game away in terms of trying to evaluate ontologies with the same tools one uses for day-to-day reasoning about more bounded questions?

(A more complete version of this comment would relate this to questions about model uncertainty and why, practically, 10^-9 is no more a "real" credence level than 0 is, but this comment is far too long already.)