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Small-Scale Question Sunday for March 12, 2023

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.

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This is kind of a pithy observation rather than anything else and I don't have the will to write a full effortpost on it but wondered if anyone had any thoughts on a pattern I've noticed often.

In political debates, it often seems that criticism from one side levied at the other side is often a better critique of the side making the critique than the target of the attack.

For example, the left seem to be convinced that America is a hair's breadth away from being sucked into a religious authoritarianism by the right. But it seems that the right today is extremely libertarian and not particularly religious, indeed, the opposite of a religious authoritarian state. But I believe the fervor of leftism and the shutting down of free speech by the left is essentially a sort of religious authoritarianism, much more than anything I see existing on the right.

Similarly, the right tend to characterize the left as being morally failed and corrupt and generally against the traditional family structure. But in my opinion, the left are extremely consistent in their morals and it is the right who have strayed farther from their own traditional morals and proven themselves corrupt in various ways while also having their own traditional family structures degrade far more than the left has experienced. (I don't know how I can prove this except to say that anecdotally my red tribe family and communities I've been around are having far more family problems compared with the blue tribe people I have experience with.)

I see this as a sort of psychological projection, where both sides are too myopically focused on their own experiences to see that the problems they think the other side have are actually the problems they themselves are experiencing and then project it onto the opposing party.

But it seems that the right today is extremely libertarian and not particularly religious, indeed, the opposite of a religious authoritarian state.

I don't see much evidence of this

Posting here because the help thread appears to have been de-stickied.

How do I escape characters like * or < in a post so I can make sure that the markup engine doesn't treat them as markup codes? /* and <*> are wrong, but what is right?

Backslash, i.e: \*

Thanks ><*\

Have there been any studies which had two IQ-adjusted teams of male-only and female-only compete for some end goal? So 30 men versus 30 women to compete to develop some objectively-measurable project?

Is there a correlation between sports discipline practiced by a man and man's SMV?

Has anyone else noticed a shift towards 'I feel' and against 'I think'? This is in writing but especially in speech, unprepared dialogue.

It's been irking me for months now. 'I feel like' sounds weaker than 'I think that'. It's like a defensive measure, a way to avoid being shown up. You can have a wrong or incorrect thought but it's much harder to have a wrong feeling. There's also a lack of rigor to feelings, it's as though they're reading into vibes (another similar idea). Thoughts should at least be connected to logic and some kind of fact, there'd be some kind of basis for them. Feelings need no basis.

I recall that there used to be more confidence and surety. People would say 'I think' or just make a plain factual statement. Or even a plain normative statement like 'X should do Y to Z'.

I did a quick ctrl F and found there to be 35 'I thinks' and 1 'I feel' in this thread, which perhaps disproves my paranoia. But then again this is an unusual place.

I think that you're technically correct about the "weakness," maintaining distance from the belief, but I feel like it doesn't really matter. The confounding factor is that "I feel" signals greater openness to being convinced for the same face-saving reasons it's weaker. That makes it useful, and it also makes it harder to psychoanalyze. You'd see more "I feel" from a vibes-based world, but you'd also expect it from a greater level of humility.

The sense that it's, I haven't seen that. My reflex is to say that confirmation bias, etc. are more likely than an actual systematic change. I'm generally skeptical of word-frequency studies, so take this with a whole shaker of salt, but Google Trends says that "feel" has gone up more than "think." There's no obvious inflection point, and I don't actually know what Google is measuring here, but it supports your observation. Also, apparently "think" is way more coupled to the summer-break effects. I wonder why?

Now, I do get my hackles raised when this community, specifically, uses "it seems." That's a red flag suggesting whatever comes next is going to be pulled directly from the author's ass. Not always, and the toxoplasma of rage suggests that I'm going to notice the worst examples, but...argh. It really gets to me sometimes.

I find myself going back and forth, precisely along the lines of what you've described. I do mathematically-heavy research, and intuition really is a thing. When something just feels like it should be right. You don't actually think it yet, but you're like, "If there is any beauty in mathematics, this should be right somehow, or at the very least, thinking about it should lead me to something relatively profound." It's purely a feeling, looking through a very hazy glass, extremely darkly. Once you can start to erect at least a shell of how you're going to get to a result, you can move toward, "I think."

I think there is at least one very good reason to write "I feel" or other mellowing qualifiers before a statement that have nothing to do with being afraid of criticism, namely to get people to engage with your overall point rather than quibbling about details.

Its the same reason I say stuff like "that's a good point" even when I think someone said something completely wrong and retarded. Telling them the truth doesn't lead to functional conversation outside a small subset of people on the spectrum (no it's not people here).

People are willing to let minor errors pass or let go of erroneous ideas if you let them do so. Boldly state everything all the time you'll get nowhere.

There's no functional difference between the two. People use "I feel" and "I think" as a preemptive defense against hostile readers attacking propositions stated without that label. Unfortunately, this makes writing less forceful and less enjoyable for everyone.

Let me include an earlier version of this comment:

I don't see any functional difference between the two. I think both are a form of preemptive defense against a hostile reader refusing to address your points by instead attacking your certainty in something you're only proposing for discussion.

While I didn't use "I feel" there, it's still weak writing.

I've always been an "I feel"er and people have often criticized me for that. Rightly, I think. I think I just have a lot of under-tested ideas. Part of it may also be poor writing; I'm not sure if writing is getting worse in a general way.

The main recruiting tactic of white nationalists majoritarians is to argue that wokeness is being fueled by America's increasing diversity and, therefore, decreasing diversity will decrease wokeness. I used to believe that, but at some point I realized that the drivers of wokeness are affluent whites and Asians, not Hispanic immigrants. This doesn't mean that Hispanics are opposed to wokeness, but rather, that even if the white share of the population stopped declining, wokeness would continue marching through the institutions.

I've believed this for a couple years now, so I don't care about immigration as much as I did during Trumpmania. However, is there any reason to believe that increased Hispanic immigration would help combat wokeness? I understand that most Hispanics vote Democrat and likely always will, but one can vote for them for reasons unrelated to wokeness, and wokeness could be a dividing line for the party at some point. We already saw signs of that with the "Bernie Bro" discourse.

(Wokeness, for the purposes of this and any other post I make, is defined as the belief that any disparate outcome between groups is the self-evident result of systemic oppression and, therefore, must be counteracted. Other terms often used to describe this ideology are "social justice", "identity politics", "neo-Marxism", "post-modern neo-Marxism", "Critical Race Theory", "disparate impact", "anti-racism", "intersectionality", and "intersectional feminism". One of the weird quirks of this ideological movement is that anytime its opponents start addressing it by name, its proponents abandon that name and switch to a new one. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to discuss the ideology; it's hard to discuss something without a name. I've settled on wokeness.)

I used to believe that, but at some point I realized that the drivers of wokeness are affluent whites and Asians, not Hispanic immigrants.

The wokes would have no racial wedge to drive between people if everyone were the same race. They would get less/no votes from pandering to minorities by peddling an explicit ethnic spoils system. It is very difficult to have a BLM movement or affirmative action when black people are a rounding error in your country. Wokeism thrives on an ideology of "enrich X at the cost of the majority/hated groups", so without an X to enrich, and receive patronage from, it would fall apart.

I agree. I guess this has backfired. I was hoping to be talked down, not up. But the truth matters. I thank you for your honesty.

As far as I can tell, Hispanics will change their identification to the winning side and are no strangers to racial grievance policies, so they will keep their heads down and play within the system unless a critical mass of anti-woke elites emerges that they can rally behind. Asians are more directly harmed by affirmative action and other woke policies, and so they may be the first movers in this situation. An Asian-led political coalition with Hispanic support rising out of California to overthrow its white Democratic gerontocracy would certainly be far more interesting than the endless rehash of 1960's protests and civil rights debates about black and white issues that we have all been trapped in for decades now.

Hispanics are primarily conservative. Cf. latinx adoption, Catholicism and booming protestantism, that nearly all Hispanics are descended from Spaniards (so more colonial and slave owning heritage than American whites!)... Even in the universities, adoptions of the core woke tenets don't penetrate very far. (N.b. I am more familiar with the upperclasses in Latin America itself, though growing up in a poor Hispanic US barrio.) But certainly when your parents are encouraging you to have kids at 18, throwing a celebratory party etc. and telling you not to waste your time with college... Isn't that what conservative intellectuals espouse today?

That said, educational attainment's not so bad either. My grandfather was an electrical engineer with patents for computer memory, after picking fruit as a kid. I have an uncle building rockets at Blue Origin (which don't work!) A cousin with a PhD, another doing networking for Starlink etc. besides myself. Two uncles and some cousins voted for Trump etc. my mom voted straight Republican until Romney. This is quite average.

Remember, the lower class and indigenous (not the same!) Hispanics built pyramids and did cool math (besides the flower wars and sacrifices...) The middle and upperclasses are mostly European (the Lebanese made tacos al pastor, Germans brought beer and banda (polka, corridos) music etc.). The non-lowest majority are very mixed. There's a lot of potential here. There are serious problems with the culture/mindset overall - but the non-Hispanic West isn't different there, unfortunately.

is there any reason to believe that increased Hispanic immigration would help combat wokeness

To discuss this in depth, it's important to first point out that Hispanic is a made up category with very different elements. Traditionally it was made up of Cubans in Florida, Puerto Ricans in the NYC area, and Northern Mexicans in the Southwest.

The Cuban refugees were frequently educated and anti communist, so they have been accessible to voting republican for a while.

The Hispanics being bussed to the southern border in those caravans are a different demographic. From southern Mexico or central America. Bottom social tier in their original countries. Often completely illiterate, unable to read English or Spanish. Due to "bilingual" education, which in practice means doing HS in Spanish, their children never learn college level English. The education system fudges the numbers by giving them affirmative action entrance, throwing them in remedial classes, letting them wash out, then declaring them as having "some college" in statistics.

So the parents and children end up to some degree reliant on social programs run by the PMC. They aren't in any position to fight wokeism.

Venezuelans fleeing Maduro tend to be more similar Cubans but they aren't going to have any desire to rock the boat.

Besides, the woke don't have any objection to making exceptions for non-whites. You won't see them pushing "gender affirming care" on Somali Muslims. The famous famous "gay wedding cake" couple drove way out into the boonies to find a Christian baker who had a problem making the cake, while ignoring Muslim bakeries a few miles away from their home who had similar objections.

So I think that while Hispanic immigrants that get into the PMC would be culturally less supportive of wokeism, they would tend to see it as either helpful to their careers or not worth opposing.

Would you care to cite any sources for those education claims?

Sincerely, a Texan.

Due to "bilingual" education, which in practice means doing HS in Spanish, their children never learn college level English.

This is not accurate: High school is not and has not been all in Spanish. Perhaps in the future, but... California for example only removed the (English for Children) 1996 ban in 2016. (PLIC was offered for a few years in the early 90s.)

  • currently few teachers credentialed for another language

  • core subjects are in English (math, science) - there's no current model to do those in another language in highschool

  • higher income monolingual parents are using this to teach their kids Mandarin

  • these programs concentrate on elementary school immersion

  • these programs leverage non-public heritage classes (like Saturday Chinese schools) established to keep kids from losing their home culture (it's not hard to just speak to your kids in your language and teach them, but immigrants aren't generally aware of how language acquisition works.) You end up with 2, 3, 4th etc. generation kids with no connection to the local language, a terrible command of Spanish but perfectly fine English. (Honestly, growing up in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood and going back, I believe complaints about closed off immigrant neighborhoods self perpetuating are solely based on ignorance and memories of them having just arrived in the 80s or 90s. Even the gangbangers primarily use English.)

Going to school myself, only 3 of us spoke English in 1st grade (across all 1st grade classes, and the Vietnamese twins learned Spanish by exposure) - but by 3rd grade everyone had learned. Unlike 20 years ago, only 40% are ESL now. Nowadays they have more kids in the Vietnamese programs than Spanish.

Anyway, education in Spanish or English would be better than what we actually got. I literally had 2-3 actual classes. In all others (including APs), teachers would put movies kids brought in all day and we'd talk or such. I got a lot out of this - reading almost the whole time, eventually going through language learning and programming textbooks.

So to clarify: This is not accurate. These (lower class) Hispanics aren't doing high school in Spanish, because they aren't really getting an education at all. That said, I'm also in Mexico at the moment and quite a lot of Hispanics (and American whites) are studying here (due to the cost) in Spanish. A few girls doing computer science, veterinary medicine, geology...

Do you think that immigration from more intelligent and educated people would be beneficial in the fight against wokeism? I fear that education in this country is indoctrination, so it just makes the problem worse.

Also, what's PMC?

Usually "Professional-Managerial Class."

Depending on who's asking, it could mean the educated, the non-manual laborers, or just the vague upper-middle class. I'm of the opinion that it is a kludge to adapt Marxism to service economies, which allow social climbing without getting ahold of capital. But the important bit is that it's a convenient outgroup.

But the primary forces against wokeness are white. See the US election results. Whites are far and away the most Republican-aligned population. The main people complaining about wokeness are all white. If the US was permanently ruled by Dems, would it not become woker than it is today?

Is South Africa not woke? They've made a big effort on anti-racism, social justice and affirmative action for blacks. Whites are a very small proportion of the population, they do not drive South Africa's political apparatus in the current era.


I understand. I used to read VDare daily. But must the Democrats always be woke? Couldn't changing demographics also change the party?

How would they change the party and make it less woke?

If a faction in a country becomes stronger, then the parties would be more likely to cater to them. If the political strength of whites increased in the US, it would become less woke since wokeness is disadvantageous to whites. If the political strength of Hispanics increased, then people would be more likely to cater to them. Since wokeness is advantageous for them, wokeness would increase.

There might be some complicated contingent power struggle between the non-white demographics. But the simplest conclusion is surely the above.

You might have a similarly complicated result like 'if we lose this war then divisions amongst the enemy coalition will open up and allow us to retake whatever we've lost and secure ultimate victory' but that doesn't really work as a strategy. Far better, safer and more reliable to win the war!

Wokeness is most obviously disadvantageous to whites, but it's also disadvantageous to Asians and Indians, even if they're currently too indoctrinated by the culture of the upper class to realize it. And while Hispanics can certainly benefit from wokeness, I think it's possible that their lack of white guilt will allow them to see right through the black race-hustling. The issue, as I see it, isn't that these groups won't object to wokeness, but rather, that they'll continue voting Democrat in spite of their objections to wokeness. And as true as this may be, it doesn't mean that they can't change the party.. right?

But maybe I'm just working backwards to reach a conclusion I'm comfortable with. I was a white whatever-you-want-to-call-it for years, and I've been actively trying to deradicalize myself from the Great Replacement stuff because being a white nationalist has been psychologically damaging for me, not to mention an intellectual dead end. (I like Bryan Caplan, but his book on open borders doesn't seem to acknowledge the wokeness problem.)

It's actually weird to me how many white nationalists and sympathizers there are here, considering I got banned from the Discord linked in the sidebar of this website for, in large part, being a white nationalist who's impervious to criticisms of white nationalism. Not that I'm not making any sort of value judgement. I don't think holding those views makes a person morally inferior, and I think they're more reasonable than a lot of a lot of views that are considered mainstream. I'm just surprised.

(I am defining "white nationalist" as the way normies define it. There's an interesting phenomenon where, to most people, wanting to maintain a de facto white majority in the United States makes you a white nationalist, but the only people who call themselves white nationalists are people who want to start a de jure white ethnostate, usually someplace in Europe. VDare vehemently denies being a white nationalist website, but everyone outside the website says that it is one.)

AstralCodexten discord and the motte are totally different things! There's a reason they're separate, why the motte left Scott's site and then reddit. It's like being banned from East Germany, you're still fine in West Germany.

but it's also disadvantageous to Asians and Indians

To some extent, I suppose.

psychologically damaging for me, not to mention an intellectual dead end.

What do you mean by this? Psychologically damaging I fully understand. But the basic ideas are sound, are they not? It might be alarming, stressful and disturbing to know that your plane is crashing but it's still important information. Even if any single person can't do anything about it, pointing it out can help. Eventually there might be an option to try to wake up the pilot or storm the cockpit.

Caplan has some good ideas but just undoing all borders is a recipe for disaster. They exist for good reason. The effects on society of open-slather immigration, effects on welfare, language, infrastructure (most Western countries are already struggling to keep up with housing, let alone increase it)... HBD alone is sufficient to nix it, even without the unpleasantness we've seen with Middle Eastern immigration to the West in recent years.

Did you read his graphic novel about open borders? It was great at addressing the economic arguments, just not the cultural ones.

And I say it's a dead end because there's nothing that can be done. Even if we fixed immigration, the call is coming from inside the house. Americans really buy into wokeness, and the people pushing it the hardest are paradoxically the people who have the most to lose from it.

the call is coming from inside the house. Americans really buy into wokeness

Eh, not buying it. If that was true, they wouldn't need such heavy handed censorship. The American elites do, and they don't have anything to lose from it. Although there's the question if they actually believe it, or are pushing it cynically.

I'm interested in discourse about the right to any particular identity, by which I mean the right to identify as part of a group. Surely there must be anything ranging from comments on a blog to philosophical papers about whether people have this formally or informally.

I find it interesting that The Motte tends to treat Christianity with kid gloves that are not reserved for other belief systems. For example, the idea that there is no difference in intelligence between different genetic groups of humans is widely called out here as being simply wrong. Which it almost certainly is, in my opinion. But consider the idea that a man 2000 years ago was god incarnate and rose from the dead and we should believe this because a few people who lived decades later wrote that this was true and because some other people have had some visions and powerful feelings. This idea is, I think, even less likely to be true than the idea that there is no difference in intelligence between different genetic groups of humans. But Christianity on The Motte is usually not met with accusations that it is as absurd, indeed perhaps more absurd, as any flavor of wokism. Wokeism gets often and in my opinion properly pilloried on here for being nonsensical on the level of correspondence to objective reality, but Christianity typically gets a free pass. Even the atheists on here mostly refuse to really call it out as being absurd when the topic comes up.

Does this happen because Christianity is largely not viewed as a threat and because since wokeism is this community's main out-group and Christianity is vaguely right-aligned in the modern West, people here tend to follow the principle of "the enemy of an enemy is my friend"? Or, to be more charitable, maybe it is because wokism can fairly easily be criticized on the level of normal scientific investigation, whereas the claims that Christianity makes go so far beyond typical materialism that one makes an exception for it because its claims are fundamentally viewed as being orthogonal to scientific investigation?

I find it interesting that The Motte tends to treat Christianity with kid gloves that are not reserved for other belief systems.

As others said, these other belief systems are clear and present danger while Christianity is not.

The noughties are over, Bush of out of office, intelligent design is out of schools, it is just not a live issue any more. If Christians were here to agressively preach and proselytize, I am sure they would met with strong pushback.

Similar example: I presume most people here strongly condemn communism, but it is not discussed there often. If some hard core tankies arrived and started forcefully explaining how Stalin did nothing wrong, it would change quickly.

Christianity is much less of a wedge in American politics than it was in 2003. The coalitions firmed up, and the constant blare of Christian and atheist squabbles peeled off most everyone open to being affected. Religious status is taken as a prerequisite for other issues: of course XYZ opposes trans, he's a fundamentalist!

But religion in general flies under the radar, here. Even Islam, the natural enemy of the American right, mostly shows up in straw arguments about how much the wokes must love it. It's just not the current CW battlefield.

Blank slatists are the out-group, but Christians are the far-group.

Or the in-group.

We have quite a few regulars who are explicitly Christian. Those who aren't probably know a ton if they live anywhere in America other than the largest cities. Those who don't still had a decent chance of being raised Christian.

I read this comment yesterday but thought of it again because

2000 years ago

this phrase coincidentally came up in a clip of the governor of South Dakota claiming china had a 2000yo plan to destroy America in an interview. While Lepidus's China delenda est posting was not well received here, that had more to do with poor follow up than being absurd. Indeed, China bad maximalist positions are common in every not-explicitly leftist forum, because people implicitly understand its usefulness in maintaining the overton window for engineering a conflict.

This is to say, I lean toward your less charitable take and think the motte is just as susceptible to conflicts of interests as anyone else.

But consider the idea that a man 2000 years ago was god incarnate and rose from the dead and we should believe this because a few people who lived decades later wrote that this was true and because some other people have had some visions and powerful feelings.

It is harder to run into true-believing Christians where Mottezians are generally found. (coastal cities)

Simply put, I have yet to meet a practicing Christian who expressed strong beliefs in the supernatural elements of Jesus's story. On the other hand, I run into true believers of every other religion fairly often. I know coastal Muslims who pray in the direction of Mecca a few times per day. I grew up in India and have seen every flavor of Indic peoples, including hyperstitious fundamentalists. Hasidic Jews are hard to avoid if you are in a coastal US city.

I had a sort of similar journey with Hinduism. Went angry atheist in my teens and disavowed my religion. Parents and people around me were like, "Yeah, whatever, do what you like. Maybe don't eat cows, they're friends. But if you do, don't tell us." I could not sustain my criticism of this imagined oppressive Hinduism when my lived experience ran so counter to it. "Haha, your religion's supernatural beliefs are stupid" is useful criticism when around someone who will actually try to justify their belief in said supernatural phenomena.

The sub doesn't push back against true-believer Christians because the vast majority of soft-agnostic Christians already disarm them to a large degree. This is demonstrably untrue with Islam, which tends to be religion that gets the most flak on here.

I have yet to meet a practicing Christian who expressed strong beliefs in the supernatural elements of Jesus's story.

Although you were talking about meeting such people IRL in coastal cities, I figured I’d introduce myself. Hi, I’m DuplexFields, young-Earth Creationist and Evangelical/Pentecostal Christian. Also a libertarian/Objectivist registered Republican and unabashed Trump voter/fan.

Religion is not about literal scientific claims. “Religious language” is unique. Definitions of God are also not as simple as imagined. Origen was writing about how Genesis is figurative in the 3rd century, Tertullian was writing about how the absurdity of Christian led to a stronger belief, and the earliest Gospel commentary we have is allegorical (Fortunatianus).

While the point of the religion is to have a perfect belief that God was born to a virgin, walked on water, converted water into wine, and so forth, this is tremendously difficult. The number of Christians who truly believe these things on a deep level are approximately the number of Saints. Consider how differently a person would act if they had a true, deep certainty that Jesus as depicted in the Gospel is returning: that imitating Jesus leads to true happiness, that you receive a new life, that Godly suffering leads to joy. You would be the most restless missionary ever while having no anxieties.

Christianity uses all kinds of things as propaganda to draw people into the inner faith, but at the heart of it it’s not “literal”. It’s true, and in fact more true than the literal. But not literal-scientific.

I don't think this is right. Or if it is, the "on a deep level" is doing all the work there.

It really isn't that difficult to believe that water was changed to wine or that Jesus was born to a virgin when you keep in mind that Christians believe that God is omnipotent.

And I was about to cite the passage of 1 Corinthians on the Resurrection, before I saw that I had been preempted.

While the point of the religion is to have a perfect belief that God was born to a virgin, walked on water, converted water into wine, and so forth, this is tremendously difficult. The number of Christians who truly believe these things on a deep level are approximately the number of Saints

I don't really think they're that rare. I mean I believe those things. And while I'm not the most restless missionary ever, I feel pretty guilty that I'm not. It sure seemed like everyone at my church believed those things, and was also pretty obsessed with missionary work.

C. S. Lewis put my perspective pretty well in his essay "The Grand Miracle":

One is very often asked at present whether we could not have a Christianity stripped, or, as people who ask it say, "freed" from its miraculous elements, a Christianity with the miraculous elements suppressed. Now, it seems to me that precisely the one religion in the world, or at least the only one I know, with which you could not do that is Christianity. In a religion like Buddhism, if you took away the miracles attributed to Gautama Buddha in some very late sources, there would be no loss; in fact, the religion would get on very much better without them because in that case the miracles largely contradict the teaching. Or even in the case of a religion like Mohammedanism, nothing essential would be altered if you took away the miracles. You could have a great prophet preaching his dogmas without bringing in any miracles; they are only in the nature of a digression, or illuminated capitals. But you cannot possibly do that with Christianity, because the Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, which is uncreated, eternal, came into Nature, into human nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again, bringing Nature up with Him. It is precisely one great miracle. If you take that away there is nothing specifically Christian left. There may be many admirable human things which Christianity shares with all other systems in the world, but there would be nothing specifically Christian.

I disagree with Lewis. In an alternate universe where Pontius Pilate let Jesus off with a whipping and he later died in a cholera outbreak, you could still have a religion based on his ministry of the Kingdom of God — the infinite grace of the Father, the equality of sinners be Him, the need to forgive debtors as one's debt has been forgiven... it's a spicy take on judaism. Without the resurrection, "Christians" might teach the same doctrines, but grace wouldn't be mediated personally through Christ.

If tomorrow, incontrovertible evidence came out that the apostles lied, you could still salvage a religion from the wreckage. Christians would have to perform some interprative surgery on the parts of the Bible where Jesus claims to be God — maybe make it like Buddhism where any enlightened person can be God? — but there are already stretches in biblical interpretation, as is.

I think you could salvage a religion out of Christianity if Christ did not rise from the dead, but it wouldn't be Christianity. I agree with Paul (emphasis mine):

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

You beat me to it.

Does this happen because Christianity is largely not viewed as a threat and because since wokeism is this community's main out-group and Christianity is vaguely right-aligned in the modern West, people here tend to follow the principle of "the enemy of an enemy is my friend"?

Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner! I grew up in a conservative christian environment (even went to a private christian school), was just about the only kid who actually read the bible, and relentlessly mocked the absolute silliness of it back then. Despite being overall conservative, my religious teachers were surprisingly accepting (mostly along the line of "we're sad to see you not wanting to be part of us but will always welcome you back") and I got into no meaningful trouble for being an edgy atheist.

Ironically, once I went to university I realised that they do not take kindly to disagreements about certain dogmas, and that here, I can get into real trouble if I point out the wrong kind of basic biology lessons. Ultimately I think that Mainstream Christianity is far past its prime, knows it, and largely behaves accordingly. I don't consider myself on the right, but I also don't consider Mainstream Christianity a threat, so I'm fine with treating them nicely.

The funny thing is people have been saying that "Christianity is far past its prime" since the 5th century, and maybe if we define "it's prime" as the days of the Martyrs and the Apostles the might be right, but then what of everything since.

Ironically, once I went to university, I realized that they do not take kindly to disagreements about certain dogmas.

What I think you've accidentally stumbled across is major part of why Christianity has endured and even thrived in spite of persecution. Someone of sincere faith might feel annoyed, disappointed by, or even offended by your edgy Atheist antics, but what they aren't going to feel is threatened. In contrast someone who's whole world is "the world" will always be on-edge. Any suggestion that they are not the center of the universe. Any suggestion that their status, wealth, educational attainment or what have you is a product of anything other than their status as a member of "The Elect", any suggestion that they are no better than anyone else, poses an existential threat to them, or at least their sense of self.

Christianity certainly used to be more dogmatic. My own parents told me that when a brothel was established in our village, the local church started a campaign were a rotation of people would stake out the brothel and report on everyone who visited it. Wild stuff. They themselves were protesting at the brothel as well, so this is not a hostile report by a non-religious, quite the opposite; They were proud that they successfully got rid of them.

My parents were also living together before marrying which got them into trouble since that was considered a "wild marriage" and the more conservative christians clearly tried to shame them into marrying(which my parents wanted to do anyway). And so on, I can give you a million examples of the church having been not much better than the woke not too long ago, from people who personally were around when it happened. Despite my more positive short description, I also had my fair share of bad experiences with dogmatic christians.

I'm also not claiming that it can never make a resurgence, but it is obvious that in many parts of the world Christianity had a certain position of dominance that they do not have anymore. And I'm cynical enough to attribute their recent mellowing out less to intrinsic do-good-ness than the good old "when I'm power" vs "when you're in power".

Finally, don't misunderstand me, I don't really have much beef with Christianity in particular anymore, and even got some newfound appreciation for it (my daughter even goes to an explicitly christian daycare!). But with age I'm more and more convinced that all ideologies get mean once they're to solidly in power, and I don't believe Christianity to be an exception. There are some genuinely nice devout that I know which are similar to what you're talking about, but most people unfortunately suck more than that.

I'd hazard a guess that more than a few mottizens were New Atheists as obnoxious as Dawkins back in the day. (Or perhaps that's just me projecting. Mom, I'm sorry I was so bratty about your most cherished beliefs. It was a phase.)

But now? It's probably exactly as you say. Christianity no longer feels like a serious threat in the culture wars. It has lost almost all the institutions by which we generate, interpret, and disseminate knowledge. In its own strongholds, it remains a powerful force, but few of us live in those strongholds. In our workplaces and social circles, the people making bad arguments and enforcing groupthink are much more likely to be progressives. When our kids' teachers send them home with some dumb bullshit, it's probably not going to be an article about how, "Half an eye isn't useful, so the eye could not have evolved under natural selection, yet we have complex organs like eyes. Therefore God did it! QED." If it were, I'd be here to read y'all criticizing that instead.

I don't think this is most of it. New atheist-style christian bashing been increasingly 'cringe' since at least 2016, even among progressives or liberals who dont mind wokeness. And christianity isn't a fargroup - a lot of mottizens are christian!

True, bashing religion qua religion has waned in popularity among lefties. But isn’t that primarily due to the splash damage? “Oops, turns out when we’re rude about religion, the people we offend are disproportionately brown.” Christianity-bashing still seems moderately popular.

A lot of mottizens are Christian, and they do discuss the ways their beliefs inform their arguments here. But all credit to them, I never see them arguing from the assumption that we all share their premises. They do the work to establish their arguments without relying on that. If they didn’t, we might see more atheist irritability here.

It's exactly this. I'm an atheist and was obnoxious about it in the New Atheist days. I'm now in the process of moving to one of the most evangelical states in the country, solely to insulate myself and my future children from progressivism. My self from 15 years ago would be baffled.

I guess it’s about cultural antibodies. We don’t have many yet for the excesses of the Great Awokening.

I’m fairly confident that if my kid came home with Creationist nonsense, even in a red state I could complain on well-codified legal grounds. I’d be unpopular, but the nonsense might stop. No such codification yet for, “All white people are spiritually contaminated.”

I’m also very amused that the first two replies I received were, “It’s totally this,” and, “Nah, it’s not this.”

Conservative Christians are not about to start imposing their views on anyone who doesn’t go out of their way to get into a scenario where that will happen.

Now you bring it up, I do think Christianity is incredibly dumb and of the same essence as wokeism. By this I mean Christianity as it's practiced, which is something that has some level of correspondence with the Bible but is not necessarily the same. Most people don't take fundamentalists as mainstream Christians. Anyway:

Both defy verification of their physical claims

Both are universalist, seeking to convert everyone

Both take human moral/economic/intellectual equality as an axiom that must be imposed on the world

Both have a heavy emphasis on the underdog, upon liberation

It's the WEIRD countries who came up with wokeism, all of whom were Christian to some extent. Based on their own distinct philosophical traditions, India would never have come up with it. China and Japan would never have come up with it. The Arabs would never have invented it.

For example - the British Empire went to enormous efforts to eliminate the slave trade, spending something like 5% of GDP on buying slaves back from their owners (a huge sum back in the 1830s considering the small size of the state). Nobody else ever did something like this, not the Arabs or the Chinese or anyone. Nobody else ever apologizes for their imperial history, teaches in their schoolbooks that they were wrong to go out and conquer others. Mostly they maintain that they were totally in the right whatever they did (it didn't happen and if it did the other guy deserved it anyway). The Turks don't apologize for their slave-raiding of Slavs, same with the Algerians and Tunisians who couldn't care less about their history of actually raiding the coast of Europe for slaves.

Only Christians feel guilty and apologize - that is the essence of wokeness. Apologizing for inequality, apologizing for discrimination and so on. We talk about white guilt but I think it's the legacy of Christianity.

Agree with substantialfrivolity, atheists are often tired veterans of the 2000’s internet atheism wars, so we observe a loose ceasefire, as long as the religious don’t try to prove the existence of god, bring up god as a causal explanation, or as a justification for a nonbeliever to do anything. Which they rarely do nowadays. People say new atheism failed, but the religious have basically conceded to a total secularization of the discourse. It’s a private matter now, no skin off my back. But yes, it is an absurd belief. Source: Richard Dawkins, Twitter Influencer.

This is a good point - I see Christians on here, but I don't often see them using religious doctrine as an argument for/against something. I would hope that we push back against that when they do.

Big-brained atheists won the 'god real' debate.

Now to move on to that oh-so-important question, how to breed?

If only there was some kind of guidebook somewhere to help them breed.

Honestly, it's because I'm into Christian theology as a hobby, and it's more fun to have a nuanced discussion with believers than it is to tear the foundations of their belief system to shreds.

Devout believers in the Bible as literally written are the fargroup. The threat that such people pose to, say, end banking like Jesus clearly said we should, or stop accumulating wealth and live like the birds and beasts of the field like he also said we should, are so remote it's not worth debunking their kooky beliefs.

On the other hand, the beliefs of the group that rallies around the label "Christian" and uses Bible scripture for mostly signalling purposes are cross-examined for their day in court. They rarely actually make a fuss about implementing literal Christian doctrine. The "prayer in school" crowd and "teach young earth rather than evolution" crowd have been driven pretty well underground.

I think a good analogy is if there was a tiny branch of woke people also believed in a magical pink space elephant who says we must build a great tower of mozzarella.

end banking like Jesus clearly said we should, or stop accumulating wealth and live like the birds and beasts of the field like he also said we should

It never ceases to amaze me how utterly poor people's reasoning becomes when they're trying to make their opponents sound bad. This is, like, woke-twitter-level atrocious.

end banking like Jesus clearly said we should, or stop accumulating wealth and live like the birds and beasts of the field like he also said we should

It never ceases to amaze me how utterly poor people's reasoning becomes when they're trying to make their opponents sound bad. This is, like, woke-twitter-level atrocious.

End banking: Deutoronomy explicitly forbids lending money for interest, but that's Old Testament, not Jesus. The Catholic Church did forbid lending money for interest as ipso facto usury for most of its history, so I'm not alone in my interpretation. The Catholic Church was not trying to make Chrisians look bad. I guess I will retract "clearly" as he does not explicitly forbid interest like I thought.

Stop accumulating weath and live like the birds and beasts of the field: This is something Jesus did pretty specifically say, in the sermon of the mount no less.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Of course, you can say "He didn't mean what he was saying literally!" but I resent the implication I'm contorting Jesus's words. He seems to be saying you should not create and store wealth.

Least you could do is read the entire chapter.

.... I did? It's been a while. Please provide some kind of counter rather than just sneering.

Ok, given the modding, I'm just surprised by your position. It's got nothing to do with maximizing reproduction/fitness, which is obviously the One True Message from your belief system. We even have examples of scientific eugenicists through the years to demonstrate that this is, without question, the real interpretation.

You may not like this argument, but you can engage with it properly.

I notice this "argument" doesn't actually cite an example, just claims that they exist. That makes it a little hard to see where you're coming from. "Be fruitful and multiply," maybe?

Your mockery falls a little flat when @popocatepetl has shown no signs of dodging this argument, or even of disliking it, seeing as you only just brought it up.

Nobody showed any sign of dodging the mockery of an argument he made when he randomly brought it up. And be serious; this whole chain was started by someone say, "Why don't we mock my opponents more?" Whelp, I guess we're mocking opponents now. Them's the grounds you wanted to live on.

More comments

Nah, you started the sneering in your OP. My turn now.

No, he provided an argument in his OP, which you may find specious, but in that case you can engage with it properly.

What you are doing is low-effort sneering.

Don't do this.

I would imagine it's because the Great Internet Christianity Debates already happened 20 years ago. It's just kind of a dead topic now, with everyone being pretty well set on their opinions and not really likely to change anyone's mind. I certainly have no desire to go around arguing with atheists about their belief system for pretty much that reason.

If this forum were active in 2010, it would probably be a persistently reoccurring topic, to everyone's immense frustration (and we'd probably have a contingent of "intelligent design" advocates).

Boy I'm glad that culture war has simmered down, because there are few debates as unproductive as those about religion.

What is the best single blog post or article regarding the existence of HBD?

I think generally the literature on the B-W IQ gap is most useful, as it is the most heavily resisted (many people will acknowledge that the 100 meter dash stopwatch isn’t pervaded by racism, but freeze up on cognitive traits) and has the best literature, so probably something focused on that. As someone interested in the question, I have a whole arsenal of studies on admixture and transracial adoption and GWAS, but no one hesitant is going to read those. Currently, I think the most up to date and accessible is Russell Warne’s “Between-Group Mean Differences in Intelligence in the United States Are >0% Genetically Caused:

Five Converging Lines of Evidence”

Unfortunately, it does not explore the ramifications of these findings in society and things like disparate outcomes deriving from disparate abilities. For that, I defer to Reason without Restraint’s “The black-white cognitive ability gap and social outcomes” (their “Poor environmental explanations of the black-white cognitive ability gap” is also very strong and anticipates and refutes the most common objections).

The Facts That Need to Be Explained has been referenced by Scott but I find it fairly outdated because it doesn’t incorporate the latest admixture and GWAS studies, the former of which I hold as the single strongest point of evidence in the debate.

Soooo is anyone going to write an effortpost about GPT-4.

I think @DaseindustriesLtd got scooped the last time there was AI news.

I will finish writing... something now.

Sorry to scoop you. I like your post better than mine, for what it's worth.

It's exciting news, and we should give time to effort posters to collect and organize their thoughts on the matter.

I need some advice on house decluttering.

Someone who lives with me is a hoarder and he has hoarded so much shit that things are spilling out of storage and you can't even open the store without things toppling over. This needs to be fixed ASAP because its reducing the quality of life of everyone in the house, and money is being wasted because things we have have to be bought again because they can't be found! Seriosuly, it's so bad that it's sometimes just easier to buy something than find it again, but that only compounds the problem.

I have talked him into fixing it, and now a world of struggle awaits me. I would straight up trash 50% of the shit. He is ironically ultra adamant on knowing exactly where each thing goes and wants to inspect everything carefully before I can trash it. He also want's the location of everything in an excel sheet so that this will prevent this problem from occurring in the future again. We concluded that this will take 24-48 hours of mental and physical labor.

I am willing to give that time, but the task is going to be so psychologically draining that I am just considering hiring out some professional "home declutterers" and paying them a grand or so to fix the problem once and for all (pessimistically until next year). Seriously, I don't care about having to pay for it at all as long as I don't have to face the arduous task of having to argue about as to whether to keep or throw a random light bulb from 20 years ago, and do this literally hundreds of times over. He isn't sold on the idea because he thinks we will do a better job in categorizing things according to our needs.

What do I do? A day or two of mental strain is hardly the worst position in life, but I don't even know why I am NOT looking forward to that day so much.

My own best solution is to hold things for no more than twenty seconds, and take digital pictures of anything I still want to hold before throwing away (or putting aside for the eventual yard sale). Then I can browse the pictures at leisure, or even put them on a slideshow background set on my computer to auto-shuffle.

Bluntly, hoarding is a person-problem, not a thing-problem. The piles of crap that get in the way of living are a symptom, not the problem itself. With time and effort, you can clean up the space--though as you've already experienced, even negotiating that is exhausting, much less doing--but the piles of crap will return unless your family member takes serious steps towards finding a management strategy to address the underlying issues that push him into hoarding.

I'm emphasizing this aspect rather than the practical/mechanical side that others have covered, because this

He is ironically ultra adamant on knowing exactly where each thing goes and wants to inspect everything carefully before I can trash it. He also want's the location of everything in an excel sheet so that this will prevent this problem from occurring in the future again.

is a giant red flag that he's not cooperating in good faith; those stipulations are absurd. I believe you've made the point that getting rid of some stuff is inevitable and something he can't control, but he can make the cleanup process painful enough for you that less will be thrown away, and it will be longer before you try again when the mess comes back. On some level, I think you know this, and that's why you're dreading the process.

I wish you and yours the best in solving this situation.

is a giant red flag that he's not cooperating in good faith; those stipulations are absurd. I believe you've made the point that getting rid of some stuff is inevitable and something he can't control, but he can make the cleanup process painful enough for you that less will be thrown away

His brain is screaming in the pain of loss, and trying to communicate that pain while there’s still a chance to relieve it without full despair.

Let me explain. The absurdity of the stipulations are a workaround for the pain of the disorder. Hoarding is a compulsive, disordered behavior, and I believe it is driven by the neuroscientific reality that human brains, ordered and disordered, automatically create relationships with everything we touch.

I know that each of my own piles is a sort of mental map of the unfinished plans I had for everything when I put it down there, and that throwing those things away as a pile would be truly painful, as all those unfinished behavior loops are cut short without regard for my need to touch the objects once again, even if just to say goodbye and let go.

I’ve discovered that digital photos suffice for neurological “ownership” of any objects I still own only for nostalgia. However, if I remember I had any plans for them, I still must find an amicable end to that relationship or suffer a deep sense of loss.

Clutterers Anonymous exists for a real biologically driven reason.

I don't dispute that decluttering is deeply psychicly painful for a hoarder--that is certainly true. The thrust of my point was aimed somewhat differently, however: has @f3zinker's relative accepted that he has a serious problem, and it's not the mess itself? Assuming that Clutterers Anonymous follows the usual 12-step pattern, the first step is acknowledging that you have a problem, and it's not clear to me that the hoarder in question has reached that point.

"I need to touch everything before it leaves" strikes me as a reasonable desire under the circumstances, though it may or may not be practical. "I need a tracking document in Excel for every physical object, and that will solve matters" is a take that I find very suspect, though--it seems much more like heel-dragging obstructionism, not just coping.

I don't know the person in question, so perhaps my impression is unduly pessimistic. Based on the description, though, I think it's worth asking whether the hoarder is onboard with the necessity of change even on an intellectual level, or not. If he's just being compelled, that mess is coming back.

I've been through this more times than I'd like to admit with family members

-- As hours pass your judgment will weaken. Sometimes resulting in saving things in the evening you would have purged in the morning; sometimes throwing out huge piles of stuff in the evening rather than going through it. Keep this in mind. It's an emotionally draining process, especially for the hoarder.

-- say no to containers. No Rubbermaid, no foot lockers, no endless filing cabinets. Some are good, obviously, but too many and you just have an endless maze of nested junk.

-- Start by clearing one area, then use that to stage each successive area. If you try to do every area at once you're likely to overwhelm yourself with the lack of progress.

-- Question the degree to which your relative actually knows he owns this stuff, sometimes the kind thing is to throw some of it away without him knowing. Not too much where he'll catch on, but just a little to ease the process along as you go. You're protecting him from himself, he can't emotionally handle this.

Is this a roommate or a close friend/family member? With the former, it's often easier to solve problems by throwing money at them. With the latter, a more personal touch is often needed.

A roommate who has made the common storage space unusable with an overflow of his things? He can catalog his own damn light bulbs in Excel, and if he hasn't done it by [date], the pros are coming. But if you have a closer relationship, and these are shared belongings, your long-term relationship might be worth toughing out a couple days of misery.

It's a family member and its shared belongings. He acknowledges that the pros will probably do a better job of decluttering and saving us from some dread, but I actually think they will do a better job of categorizing, not worse.

He is proposing we give this a shot and if things still suck, we hire the professionals. I am somewhat being lazy and trying to avoid those days of misery and just get what I think will ultimately happen done with.

You’re probably right about the practicalities. For many hoarders, decluttering is very emotional and anxiety-inducing. He might prefer to go through that with you instead of with strangers. If you have the bandwidth to do him that kindness, I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

What are the places in the world today with the lowest digital penetration? Are there still any particular places you could go and see hardly any cellphones?

Depends how large you're allowing a place to be for you question. Certainly there's Amish/Mennonite communities who don't use mobile phones.

You could probably find various tribes in the jungle Amazon, Papua New Guinea and maybe the Congo Jungle (I'm not just referring to the completely uncontacted tribes) who use very little technology, period. Maybe some nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples in Sahara/Sahel and the Eurasian Steppe (Mongolia?) I'm starting to run out of places. Some small groups in the Himalayas, Yunnan Mountains etc maybe? Extremely remote Laos? There's probably more tiny groups in other really remote and inaccessible areas but let's call it there.

To some extent I'm also wondering if even those places, are still like that. My mental image of the situation is that even those remnants, which I've had some awareness of for a long time, are on their way to being digitized as well.

Not really a question for you in particular - I just wonder how we'd even know if that had happened.

You are probably correct, I was mostly just grasping at straws (though I am reasonably confident at least as far as Amazon and PNG are concerned)

I’ve been to the poorest villages in India and the Philippines. Literally beyond the edge of civilization. Cell phones everywhere. You’d have to go to certain regilious communitities to really get what you’re after. And it’s probabaly invite only.

BAP x SSC? Very interesting!

What is this referring to?

2200 comments on the previour CWR!! Strong outlier. I think mean is 1400 and stddv is 100.

Who knew the gender war would give new life to the motte? Definitely taking out some oxygen but its a hobby horse of mine so Im not too bothered.

I guess it is predictable. Probably something like 99% of people care about sex, whereas the fraction of people who care about other typical The Motte topics like AI, HBD, and religion is much smaller.

whereas the fraction of people who care about other typical The Motte topics like AI, HBD, and religion is much smaller.

It's also much harder to contribute to them because you have to be familiar with them in the first place. I don't have much domain experience with AI and don't bother to read the research papers so I therefore have very little meaningful to say about AI; I have a lot more domain experience with religion so I can point out things other people miss in that regard.

By contrast, the only real thing you need to do to weigh in on a gender debate is, well, be one of two genders and have interacted with the opposite sex at least once. You don't need original research to come up with an original statement or help someone else understand a problem, so people feel like they can contribute more. This can be for more anodyne topics, or it can be just a bunch of traditionalists dogpiling the one progressive in the thread when the phrasing of the argument exposes the fact that traditionalists are just temporally-embarassed progressives, which I think is one of the reasons this forum can't keep enough progressives (and then it comes to pass that the best way to "troll" the forum is to pretend to be a progressive, but the designated troll not-really-but-effectively-sister-site rdrama pulls a lot of them away).

All that having been said, though, it's also true that the more of those posts exist the easier it is for more interesting comments to be spawned from a particularly good or bad take simply due to the increased surface area upon which to attach to the topic, so maybe I'm complaining about it too much.

It seems to me that much of that was driven by the now largely predictable and frankly boring phenomenon of 'disaffected leftist commenter gets outraged by reactionary garbage mottizens and makes a scene'.

We were tracking well above average even before that.

By volume, quite a lot was "garbage reactionary mottezens make largely predictable and frankly boring replies to leftist commenter".

The only feasible, practical alternative to that is banning disaffected leftist trolls.

And have The Motte turn into yet another boring right-wing circlejerk? No thanks. It's better even to have some leftist trolls on here than to have no leftist opinions at all. The soup must be stirred if it is to be tasty.

Anyway though, I am not sure who you mean by leftist trolls. What would be an example of it in your opinion?

Let's not pretend that the interwebz is full of "boring right-wing circlejerks". In fact, they're exceedingly rare, and on Reddit, nonexistent.

Frankly I find it hard to believe that your question is earnest. When referring to the act of trolling, I'm using the Merriam Webster definition of "trolling". That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

That still leaves "garbage reactionary mottezens make largely predictable and frankly boring replies to each other", which is even more tiresome. Leftist trolls bring some novelty.

It's time to accept that a forum where people can freely post opinions is going to attract mostly right-wingers and eventually turn into a moderate-to-right-wing pipeline.

People with opinions that don't get them banned from 99% of social media, disparaged in national news or fired don't need to wander off to niche websites, unless they are especially intellectually curious.

Why bother having discussions about intersectionality and the correct way to respect women on anonymous websites when you can have them attached to your real name and boost your social status?

Hear ye hear ye, it’s elevatorgate redux! Anyone who has ever interacted with the other sex is cordially invited to bitch about them!

Hey, at least it's more interesting than the 50th Dajooz thread of the week.


I'm just bored enough to have checked this, but a simple search indicates the mean is 2058 and the stddv is 361 excluding the thread that dropped today.

slowly drying up. Last 12 threads 1882 , std 225.

i mean, if the stddev is 361, 361/sqrt(12) = 104, so a 100-200 decrease for 12 threads isn't that much

Too early to say. The early months of were dominated by USA election season, which has always spurred heavy traffic in the CWR, and the early months of 2023 have been big dry spell for the culture war. (Of course, 2020-2022 was probably the most intense culture war period of my life, so maybe we're settling into a new equilibrium.)

I expect us to whither and die but I'm not sure I'm seeing that yet.

I think there’s a lot more demand for niche internet communities now than in the mid 2010s when everyone was allowed to have their own subreddit.

I think there’s a lot more demand for niche internet communities now than in the mid 2010s when everyone was allowed to have their own subreddit.

Oh, I believe there's a demo that wants us. But our discoverability is toilet tier compared to being a subreddit.

Some communities sustain themselves through pure word of mouth, like Kiwifarms. (Hey! They're alive!) But most... don't. They shrink as their initial seed members drift away without being replaced.

I'd be interested if there are any commenters, (or lurkers, what the heck you're in this thing too), who joined after the jump.

I'll report in as a datapoint.

How did you get here? Anything we can do to funnel your kind into the net?

My response to your first question.

As for your second, I really couldn't tell you - I can't think of a place off the top of my head I would feel comfortable exposing to this place.

OK, you were already caught ages ago, you just got reeled in recently . The search for new fish continues.

I lurked but I started posting after the jump.

Same story here.

Same here


I'd also like to know this. Any numbers @ZorbaTHut ?

I don't actually know how we could have numbers for that, honestly - there's no consistent way for us to associate pre-Reddit and post-Reddit people, I know a bunch of people changed nicknames.

I guess I meant how many new members since the initial influx. I think we were at 2,000 last time someone asked?

We were, although that was long past the initial influx. Looks like we're at 2259 now, although I don't know how many of those are attempts at spambots and so forth.

Looks like my guess is seriously off and the motte is doing better than I thought.

I think the cause of my error is that I mentally keep track of how many comments the thread has by sunday then jusy forget about it. But they continue to accumulate comments as people continue discussions in the old thread.

How am I to make sense of the fact that the castes in India have been highly endogamous for the past two thousand years and that the pre-industrial world was Malthusian? Shouldn't that have resulted in the gradual replacement of the lower castes with the upper castes, or did the upper castes not actually receive any material benefit as a result of their higher status?

Gregory Clark has argued that in England, the upper classes did replace the lower classes as a result of their material advantage. But they did not form distinct endogamous castes, so most of the descendants of the upper classes fell into the lower classes and there was some limited mixing between the classes. But India, my understanding is that the Brahmins didn't become Shudras, so why didn't the Shudras go extinct?