This website is a place for people who want to move past shady thinking and test their ideas in a
court of people who don't all share the same biases. Our goal is to
optimize for light, not heat; this is a group effort, and all commentators are asked to do their part.
The weekly Culture War threads host the most
controversial topics and are the most visible aspect of The Motte. However, many other topics are
appropriate here. We encourage people to post anything related to science, politics, or philosophy;
if in doubt, post!
Check out The Vault for an archive of old quality posts.
You are encouraged to crosspost these elsewhere.
A motte is a stone keep on a raised earthwork common in early medieval fortifications. More pertinently,
it's an element in a rhetorical move called a "Motte-and-Bailey",
originally identified by
philosopher Nicholas Shackel. It describes the tendency in discourse for people to move from a controversial
but high value claim to a defensible but less exciting one upon any resistance to the former. He likens
this to the medieval fortification, where a desirable land (the bailey) is abandoned when in danger for
the more easily defended motte. In Shackel's words, "The Motte represents the defensible but undesired
propositions to which one retreats when hard pressed."
On The Motte, always attempt to remain inside your defensible territory, even if you are not being pressed.
If you're posting something that isn't related to the culture war, we encourage you to post a thread for it.
A submission statement is highly appreciated, but isn't necessary for text posts or links to largely-text posts
such as blogs or news articles; if we're unsure of the value of your post, we might remove it until you add a
submission statement. A submission statement is required for non-text sources (videos, podcasts, images).
Culture war posts go in the culture war thread; all links must either include a submission statement or
significant commentary. Bare links without those will be removed.
If in doubt, please post it!
User ID: 2133
There's no evidence for it, given there's no longer any doubt that I could have put this thing there.
Yeah I knew it could reverse itself at some point, but I really figured that at nine years post I was safe by now. I have literally seen case studies about late reversals that weren't as late as this.
lol at telling the fetus to git gud -- my wife jokes that she'd be disappointed in this kid from the start from pursuing such a dumb strategy that includes preventing her from holding down any nutrition for either of them. She also jokes that she should apologize to her own mother -- an abusive psychopath -- for having put her through any fraction of this misery as a fetus (she didn't put her mom through anything like this though -- if she'd been a difficult pregnancy, her mom would have absolutely blamed her for it, and in reality she just blamed her for the associated weight gain).
We have strong reasons to believe she would not tolerate either hormonal or copper IUD, but yeah, we did consider that before I got the vasectomy.
I don't believe they actually did anything wrong -- it did provably work at the time, and continued to work for many years afterward. They performed the procedure about as aggressively as possible -- this was not one of the "open ended" vasectomies that may have a greater probability of recanalization, they definitely clamped and possibly cauterized both ends of the snipped tubes, and I think they removed a pretty long section in between. The guy was really serious about how he was optimizing for efficacy over potential voluntary reversibility.
I'm guessing this freaky occurrence is partly a result of my having it done younger than most men, which means I probably had more regenerative capacity and also a longer window of potential failure while my partner is still fertile. 40-year-old dudes with 40-year-old wives getting vasectomies after their third child or whatever are unlikely to notice if their procedure reverses itself in ten years, cause no pregnancy will likely result anyway.
Thank you. Without being religious or a pro-lifer myself, I still hoped it would never come to this, and I did take reasonable measures to try to ensure it would not.
Not being attached to a personhood-from-conception perspective, or ever that invested in the whole controversy in general, I take the normie view of regarding abortion as unfortunate, and getting more uncomfortable with it the later it occurs. Reflecting on that in light of recent events has made me more in favor of removing as many obstacles to early abortion as possible, so it's less likely to come down to a more distasteful later procedure. It seems the more people's inputs are required to authorize it, the later the ones that do happen will happen, even if fewer happen overall. I can see though how for many people with a more "principled" stance, this would be a distinction without difference, and fewer happening overall would be the overriding consideration.
I'm still glad for her sake that there wasn't some long sequence of gatekeepers to argue with about this, having just seen the person I care most for in the world consider taking her own life to get the awfulness here to stop. Thankfully it's lessened since, with some medications that would not be safe for a fetus that we were trying to preserve.
I still find it creepy that there seem to be people who are straightforwardly pro-abortion as though it's a positive good (and those are many of the voices one encounters when actually considering having one). I kind of assume those people are just overcompensating somehow, in a "signalling support for this direction". If it's not that, I don't know where they're coming from, and probably don't want to.
That captures the essence of my attitude toward my nuts at present.
My vasectomy has spontaneously reversed itself nearly a decade after its confirmed success. I only learned this after my wife became pregnant, which, due to a lifelong pre-existing condition, is a severe hazard to her health.
I know what you're thinking -- what are the odds of a vasectomy spontaneously reversing itself after that long? Isn't there some alternative hypothesis for that positive pregnancy test that you're not considering? No, not the possibility of an hCG-secreting tumor, another alternative hypothesis?
Have no fear, I have confirmed the reversal with my own eyes on my own microscope, on a sample I collected and prepared. There are a multitude of obviously motile sperm where they have no business being. I've been betrayed by my own ballsack, making me some kind of regenerative mutant worthy of my own case study. Lucky me!
We're terminating this miraculous pregnancy with all haste. Even if it had been a full legal person that were putting my wife through the same hell this anonymous homunculus has been putting her through for the past few weeks, I'd be trying my best to kill them too. She's been no stranger to suffering in her life, and this, in light of her condition, has managed to top the list -- she'd likely be in better shape if it were a tumor. The possibility that she could carry this to a successful completion if she wanted to is remote.
Without getting too culture-war, I consider us fortunate to live in a polity where nobody will try to gainsay her decision, and it's been enlightening to see firsthand how narrow a window there is to make it. "Medical" rather than "surgical" abortion is only reliable up to about 10 weeks, and in her case, with a long history of chronically irregular menstruation, the first 6 weeks elapsed before she was unprecedentedly "late". With our low prior on pregnancy in light of my long-confirmed successful vasectomy, it took us another two weeks to nail down that this was actually the most likely cause of the shitshow of bizarre and disabling symptoms she was experiencing. Add one more week from there to procure the actual abortifacients, and the window had almost closed.
I'll be getting a second vasectomy, but I don't know I'll ever trust it again. Life finds a fucking way.
I second the suggestion below to ask a dermatologist if this is actually rosacea rather than acne. Rosacea is much better known to respond to dietary triggers, including a class I forgot to mention, 'spicy' stuff -- substances that hit the TRP channels (which can include stuff that's not so obviously spicy -- even broccoli contains some AITC, which hits the TRPA1 channel, for instance -- AITC : wasabi :: capsaicin : chili peppers, and AITC : TRPA1 :: capsaicin : TRPV1).
Also rosacea may be related to the 'niacin flush', which different people have different thresholds for experiencing, and salmon is notably high in niacin. If you can get some niacin -- not niacinamide, which doesn't produce the flush -- you might be able to see if your threshold for this is unusually low.
Is there any medical specialty or institute that might be able to help me get to the bottom of this?
Is there any medical specialty or institute that might be able to help me get to the bottom of this?
afaik (not being a medical professional myself) there really isn't. You're doing the thing that's done here -- elimination and reintroduction. There are just conceptual categories that can guide that process to potentially make it more precise and efficient.
Some proposed classes of problems that could lead to having a problem with a wide array of foods include
true food "allergies" -- allergies to a large number of different foods sometimes, but not always, involves characteristic patterns of cross-reactivity between specific foods or specific foods and specific environmental substances. For instance, people who are allergic to birch pollen in the air are also often allergic to certain fruits and vegetables that share some similar-looking protein domain.
An allergist would know about these patterns, but their tools for diagnosing food allergies are limited -- the gold standard of diagnostics is still 'try it and see if you feel bad' (unlike blood testing for environmental allergies, blood testing for food allergies is so prone to false positives it's basically useless) -- and the treatment is still 'then don't eat it' (or, if dealing with a single severe allergy, perhaps a targeted regimen of gradual desensitization that has to be maintained by eating small amounts of the offending substance indefinitely, but this may as well be voodoo magic for as well as it's really understood).
food 'intolerances' that aren't true allergies but are clearly about some particular food -- lactose intolerance and celiac disease being the best known. An allergist would know about these and a couple of the most common intolerances might even sort of have non-challenge-based tests, but when you get into the possibility of having a large number of specific intolerances, medicine seems to lose the thread in terms of a parsimonious explanation.
problems with FODMAPs as already suggested -- the research base on this is poor, the lists people compile on the Internet of what foods have higher or lower FODMAP content are poorly sourced and often inconsistent (charitably, because FODMAP contents of foods are actually highly variable within even, say, the growth stage of a given plant), but it's a real thing. However, FODMAPs are plant sugars that aren't present in animal tissues, so if your problem includes salmon, it's definitely not (only) this. Also, you should expect this to present with definite gastrointestinal distress, don't know about connections to skin issues.
histamine intolerance -- some people have difficulty degrading histamine that's already present in foods -- most notably highest in aged/fermented foods, or mishandled seafood -- and get a sort of inconsistent-looking pseudo-allergy to a wide variety of foods as a result. It's hard to pin down because often the 'same' foods provoke different levels of reaction depending on how the specific batch was stored or prepared prior to consumption -- for instance, salmon that was immediately frozen after catch and stayed frozen until cooking might be ok, but the same salmon that was only refrigerated for a couple days anywhere in the storage chain might not be. Like with FODMAPs problems, the research base sucks, the lists of potentially problematic foods are somewhat inconsistent, and medicine doesn't generally have much to say about it, but it seems like a real thing with repeatable effects and a plausible biological mechanism.
I might expect beef to not be good for you if this were your problem, since almost all beef is aged somewhat before sale. Also would be a poor explanation for any problems provoked by, say, fresh vegetables.
other issues that, like histamine intolerance and FODMAPs problems, relate to a failure to adequately metabolize some common component that's found in many foods but in different amounts. Gout -- the pathological accumulation of urate, a metabolic end product of purines, is a classic example. Purines are in all unprocessed foods and are also produced endogenously, but the variation in purine content among foods is high enough that diet is an important factor in managing the disease.
Relevant to acne, maybe something to do with PUFAs? Beef fat is pretty highly saturated and maybe that's helpful for you. Polyunsaturated fats found in fish, pork, seeds, nuts, oils, etc can be relevant to inflammatory disease. How do you do with a predominantly monounsaturated oil like avocado oil vs. a more polyunsaturated oil like peanut oil?
issues related to macronutrient composition, rates of absorption, problems with energy storage and retrieval -- diabetes, glycemic index, etc. If you can eat lots of potatoes without issue, it's not a 'carbs are too fast' sort of problem, nor a 'need to maintain ketosis for metabolic signaling reasons' problem, and if you can eat all beef for extended period, it's probably not an issue with the the utilization of fats, amino acid, or ketones. This sort of thing -- especially glycemic index sort of stuff -- seems to have gotten some research attention relating to acne, but I don't know if the results are very promising. This stuff is also going to involve the quantities and timing and ratio composition of meals, beyond just the identity of the components.
If it already seems like you have a good deal of flexibility on that front among your 'known good' foods, this is probably a waste of time, but it may still be worth challenging with something like a large amount of pure sugar (or better, pure dextrose) which really shouldn't be a problem under any other framework.
Past these categories, venturing well out beyond the scope of 'real medicine', there's a very long tail of increasingly rare, obscure, or dubious possibilities (idiosyncratic metabolic polymorphisms, 'antinutrients', 'mold toxins', etc) where some paradigm might suggest a potential underlying pattern to your problem, but without ultimately providing any shortcuts around the empirical challenge testing you've already been undertaking.
You've probably already considered (and experimentally excluded) flipping the framing to 'is there something I happen to need a lot of from beef that I'm not getting if I cut back the beef?' Maybe you really just need a lot of cholesterol or carnitine or something? Obviously if you get messed up by adding other foods without cutting back the beef, it's not like this, but I mention it for the sake of completeness (somebody will still tell me something I missed, hopefully).
For those here who follow the notoriously obscure Yarvin:
He has this argument that goes, as I understand it, something like "any Power that's accountable to Truth must promote lies -- putting 'scientists' (broadly construed) upstream of policy means that science gets co-opted to the goals of Power and away from the pursuit of Truth, and legitimating Power on popular consent incentivizes Power to manufacture that consent by controlling the people's minds with indoctrination. Therefore, it would be better for Truth and free thought if Power didn't have to act like it was constrained by Truth (or the consent of people who think they know Truth), and was openly free to act more arbitrarily."
But...what's the use of anyone knowing the Truth if Power can't be moved by it? And why would a Power that acts in flagrant ignorance of known Truth deserve the respect of legitimacy? And how can Power ultimately free itself enough from the constraints of Truth to not still fear it and be tempted to try to suppress its knowledge?
Maybe Yarvin thinks that under the current system, we still get Power acting in flagrant ignorance, and also it's harder to know what's True, so the least-bad development would be to "formalize" Power's freedom to act in obviously ignorant and counterproductive ways -- since Power is bound to that either way, but under the proposed alternative where Power doesn't care what anybody thinks, at least the powerless can have a better idea about the Truth...of how Power is fucking everything up?
I could take some black pill that Power is always the Power to do stupid and counterproductive shit to people just because you can, and that's the Power that's always going to be exercised over us, for various intrinsic-to-reality reasons, and our only consolation, as people in even the best possible society, is to be able to think True thoughts ineffectually.
But I don't know think that's what Yarvin is professing to offer. He talks like Power would act more sanely and productively if it were as formally-unconstrained by Truth as possible. Certainly the alternative where it doesn't act more sanely and productively hardly sounds stable -- with everyone better seeing how things could be improved through more Truthfully-guided management but dutifully resigning themselves to be subject to an openly arbitrary and capricious Power. Is he just betting it all on lucking into a short run of a few Good Emperors before it goes back to shit again?
I think I see the problem he's laying out, but I don't see how any of his solutions make sense.
I see it too -- part of it is having a small/narrow upper dental arch -- for the opposite extreme, see Margot Robbie, who shows twice as many teeth when she smiles as these women do. Grace and Ellison are, facially, on the same end of some kind of mouse-shark axis.