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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 24, 2023

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Was there a unique contribution that Jewish women made to feminism

Is "being a post-industrial society in pre-industrial times" not enough?

Post-industrial peoples tend womanist because there's no longer any biological advantage to being a man, and considering Jews tended to make (or be made) people who worked in occupations that we would recognize as the dominant components of post-industrial (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) economies.

So it would make sense that this sub-culture would have felt this influence early thus been a vanguard of it as the rest of the Western world "caught up". Interestingly, this also (to a degree) will erode their position simply because "success in a post-industrial environment" is no longer limited to Jews, though they still have 200 generations that selection pressure relative to the general population so it's probably going to take a while for their overrepresentation to end.

I would expect their contribution to be high, because jews are wealthy, disproportionately represented in the media industry and live in places where voices are heard (LA, NYC).

Antler estimates that two-thirds to three-quarters of the women in these collectives were Jewish.

It could be as high as 40% (while being 7% of the population) and I wouldn't bat an eye. But, at 66% there certainly was something about being Jewish that led to the numbers being so high.

If Jewish conspiracy theorists would quiet down for a bit, it would be really interesting to do good faith studies into why urban WASPs and secular Jews behave so differently. But I don't think there is any world in which such a modest proposal gets interpreted as anything but anti-semitic.

Was there a unique contribution that Jewish women made to feminism

Seems probable.

and if so, how would women's rights look today had there been minimal Jewish involvement?

Approximately identical.

When you’re done figuring that one out, let us know where themotte would be today without the involvement of jewish men. Presumably there would be even more of these boring questions hinting at nefarious jewish influence, but how is that even possible.

If there is anyone in the world that has the right to complain about Jewish women, it is Jewish men. For most of the world's masculines they are a folk tale told to scare impressionable youths but they (the Jews) have to live with and marry them. The closest thing in our reality to an actual monstergirl.

When I think of Eden Polani, Gal Gadot, and Bar Rafaeli, I don't think "monstergirl". Israeli girls are hot.

I think "monster girl" also usually has the connotation of "hot," so I don't know what crushedoranges is implying.

This is not intended as a dig against any of the named women but there is is nothing about being a monster that says one can't be hot. The black widow and femme fatale are tropes for a reason.

I don't know if this was a failed attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor or what, but if so, it failed abysmally.

"Jewish women are the worst" is about as low effort as a "boo outgroup" post gets.

Banned for a day. Don't post like this.

Most western intellectual movements have been disproportionately jewish, including fascism at one point.

The most parsimonious explanation is that they are a small enough group that any significant representation is over-representation, combined with (in the Ashkenazi wing of judaism) higher average IQ and disproportionate representation in intellectual pursuits. New political movements come out of a very specific demographic, upper-middle-class intellectuals who view their lack of power and authority as an indictment of society, hence the drive for change. Jews in the west are highly overrepresented in this class, and thus in most political movements.

They are also over-represented among conservative intellectuals, anarchy theorists, communists, anti-communists, dadaists, SocJus inquisitors, etc. Pretty much any intellectual fad popular with that demographic is going to be "disproportionately jewish".

What is the evidence that Jews were over-represented in the development of fascism?

That’s pretty interesting. However, I don’t think it proves that fascism at one point was disproportionately Jewish, as a majority of the leading intellectuals and writers of fascism were not Jewish in Italy. Unless you mean, “Jews were more likely to be interested in the fascist movement”, but if the topic is “leading figures/influencers”, I don’t think that is evidenced. Fascism as a movement was, going by writers and major thought leaders, almost exclusively non-Jewish.

Given that Jews make up a very small portion of the Italian population, they can be overrepresented without constituting a majority of the leading intellectuals and writers.

There another’s explanation, which is that Jews by the mere fact of always being a minority within a larger culture are often forced into seeing the wider culture in an outsider’s viewpoint. If you travel around, especially if you spend appreciable amounts of time immersed in another culture, you can kind of get a similar viewpoint. You can help but notice all the weird stuff those other people do that you don’t. Or weird things other people think that your people don’t. They aren’t raised to think of race the same way as whites do. Or women. Or poverty. So seeing a different perspective and perhaps not being attached to the dominant one let’s them poke holes in theories that others wouldn’t see.

I really think that the motte-and-bailey of many (often bad faith) questions like this is that "Jewish" is both a faith and several ethnicities.

Imagine if worship of Greek gods had survived to the present day--a religion of, say, 20 million, with half living in Greece but the other half in various diasporas around the world. In that hypothetical world, who is plausibly "Greek?"

Only the people who live in Greece? But, despite the ethnic cleansing of Turkey, presumably many Turkish people are ethnically Greek even today, at least arguably--it was only in the early 20th century that the purest of the Greeks were expelled. Besides, surely the Greek god worshippers would say "we're Greek too!" And what about people whose great-great-great-grandparents were Greek, and who still like to make pitas for lunch? Are they Greek, too? What if they insist that they are Greek? Also Greece has a long and storied intellectual tradition. The whole edifice of Western academia is literally named after an Athenian hero, because Plato's Academy was the Academy. Is academia "disproportionately Greek?"

In a way, the present day status of Greek versus Jewish (both ancient traditions and peoples!) is an interesting illustration of the costs and benefits of being cosmopolitan and culturally promiscuous, versus being insular and protectionist. Greece and Israel have similar populations today, both ethnicities have been subject to (differently executed, but nevertheless) centuries of subjugation, exile, and ethnic cleansing. Greek philosophy has arguably conquered the world; they literally invented formal logic, which no other culture ever independently accomplished, and laid the foundations of all modern sciences, including social sciences like politics and psychology.

(Indeed, Ashkenazi Jews--the Jewish ethnicity most often associated in popular perception with disproportionate intellectual prowess--are the Jews whose ancestry comes predominantly from southern Europe!)

And yet there are no grand conspiracy theories concerning Greek influence (though I admit I have never been to Turkey, maybe they have such things there?). Greek people in America are just treated as "white" people--even if they, as southern Europeans with noticeable genetic overlap across the Mediterranean, are suspicious about that classification! Meanwhile Jews of plainly and overwhelmingly European descent are often given a pass for claiming to not be white. That insularity and ethnic conservatism comes with a price (in particular, the kooks who allow Jews to live rent-free in their heads) but also with clear benefits.

(This same pattern can be observed about American culture in the era of mass media. Cultural differences, including linguistic accents, do continue to exist in the U.S., but American culture has become surprisingly homogeneous, historically speaking, given the size and population of our country--and much of the world has been caught in that phenomenon through mass media, as evidenced by e.g. people in the U.K. and (especially) Ireland participating in bizarre "Black Lives Matter" protests. Cultural "assimilation" or "integration" are interesting topics to me, I guess is what I'm saying here.)

Anyway, my main point is just that "disproportionately Jewish" is an easy target to hit in part because "Jewish" sounds to most people like a group with clear boundaries, but in fact it definitely isn't. It's a historical accident that they get any attention at all; Christianity started as a sect of Judaism, too, so arguably Jewish ideas have also conquered much of the world. But it's not at all clear to me how a question like "what would feminism look like without Christian (or Greek) influence" helpfully informs us about, well, anything.

A while back, in response to the so frequent it's hardly noteworthy claim that Jews dominate banking, I did a survey of the executive teams of the largest banks in the US and found that, while there was overrepresentation, it wasn't anywhere close to enough to suggest that there was any disproportionate control. A certain category of poster on here attacked my methodology; since I normally can't just look up someone's ethnicity or religion, I had to use names as the basis of my analysis, and I was assured that a lot of Jews have names that aren't immediately obvious (and I admitted myself that married women complicated things). Yeah, I know. But that wasn't really the point—if you're making a claim that a certain group dominates a certain industry that I'd expect, on the low end, plausible evidence that at least 40% of the people involved are members of that group. I thought I used liberal criteria, but even if I missed half of the Jews in the banking industry it would still be a long way from 40%.

I noticed something similar on whatever TheDonald is calling itself now during the height of the FTX debacle where there seemed to be agreement that Caroline Ellison was definitely Jewish. Ellison is not a Jewish name, and she was raised Catholic. But... someone noticed that her mother's maiden name is Fisher, and Fisher is a "typical Jewish name", and Judaism is matrilineal. Well, sort of. While I don't doubt that there are Jews named Fisher (or, more probably, Fischer), it's hardly dispositive. I've known several people named Fisher or Fischer and, to my knowledge, none of them were Jewish. I've also known people named Diamond, Gross, Stein, and Schwartz who definitely weren't Jewish. If you're going to claim that some industry is dominated by a particular group, the onus is on you to provide real evidence that that is in fact the case. And that's before we even start talking about what that's supposed to mean.

For anti-semites, Jews are a symbol. It doesn't matter if it's "a long way from 40 %"; they'll just say you missed the crypto-Jews. For those with more consistent concerns in the objective sphere, like fascists, it's just a stepping stone to saying that the majority can decide what proportion is too much.

as evidenced by e.g. people in the U.K. and (especially) Ireland participating in bizarre "Black Lives Matter" protests

While I agree that 'Black Lives Matter' makes little sense in a domestic context, protesting about American racial politics something the Irish left were doing decades ago, and it's no further from home than tagging along with the 'Free Palestine' (still a staple of Irish protests), 'Free Tibet' or 'End Apartheid' movements.

What's new is that while Israel, South Africa and Tibet are clearly foreign countries, Black Lives Matter has developed a cottage industry of finding racial injustic within Ireland. Their high points have been getting statues of Egyptian princesses removed a hotel because they mistakenly thought they were slave girls (the council later returned these statues to their plinths), protesting the shooting of a knife-wielding black man by police as if it were evidence of pervasive racism (given how scarce police shootings are this might be the first black man ever shot dead by police here), and calling for an end to the 'Direct Provision' system of processing refugees as the movement's Achilles heel is there not being many black people here in the first place.

It's a strange thing to look at. All of the infrastructure for making race an issue is ready to fire, the NGOs, the university professors and the street protesters, but with Ireland's immigrant population mostly consisting of Slavs (who don't really care about Irish politics and dream of going home) and well-paid Western Europeans whose only complaints are rent and petty crime, there is a severe shortage of discontented minorities. Give it a few years I guess.

They can’t just declare the travelers oppressed? Hispanics broadly not cooperating with left-wing socjus posturing doesn’t stop it over here, and it can’t exactly get dumber than posturing over the plight of mostly non extant black people in Ireland.

They can’t just declare the travelers oppressed?

You mean traveller gypsies? They have done that, but travellers are a very unsympathetic people and there's no European or American scale media/activism working in their favour to overcome that issue.

The spectacle of various European countries desperately trying to import enough disgruntled minorities to give them analogous race problems to the US so they can participate in the collective guilt has truly been incredible to watch.

The right sees it as a plan to import voters who will be reliably left, but I think it's even dumber than that. I think they literally have dysfunction-envy, and so desperately want to ape the US that they need a minority to oppress so they can hate themselves as much Americans do. How's a good self-hating Swede leftist supposed to denounce "socialist" Sweden as a right-wing racist hellhole if they don't have any other races there?

I live among Nordic leftists, and I can tell you with certainty that they legitimately don't believe that mass immigration comes with problems.

Also, Sweden does have a historically-oppressed minority group, the Sami.

How's a good self-hating Swede leftist supposed to denounce "socialist" Sweden as a right-wing racist hellhole if they don't have any other races there?

By reference to Sweden's past in supporting ("white-on-white") eugenics and WW2 era cooperation with Nazi Germany, as is traditional.

I've been active in left-wing politics for a long time, I know (at least at some level) people very high up locally, and there's no "plan to import voters" or "desperately ape the US" or anything like that. For most local leftists, the whole immigration issue is quite low on the list of concerns, and insofar there's a concern it's mostly about maintaining a certain immigration policy to comply with international human rights treaties (of course there's a lot of variation on how those are interpreted). If that immigration policy leads to many immigrants, so it goes; if it doesn't, so it goes, as well. The most important thing is not the number, it's the human rights treaty compliance.

Sounds like a cop-out to me, bypassing the argument entirely. The 'it's the law' defense. Is policy X or Y preferrable? Well, X is the law, I guess that settles it forever. Progressives turn into paragons of legalism all of a sudden.

That reminds of a discussion we're having in germany right now, about the closing of the last nuclear plants. The greens harp on about burocratic hurdles as a reason not to keep them open. Oh no, the plants would have to renew their license! The paperwork, the paperwork! Guess our hands are tied then. Let's just keep that terrible burden in mind when they ask for a policy change.

This isn't supposed to describe an "argument" or a "defense", it's obvious that it's not that good an argument against someone who doesn't share the underpinning ideological assumptions. It's supposed to describe the genuine reason why whatever immigration-related policies are advanced.

And it's not just that it's the law; it's the human rights treaty framework, something greater and larger than law, kind of a global constitution that underpins the entire global liberal world-system. The linchpin of civilization, if we were talking about people who think in terms like "civilization".

I'm not sure rightists completely understand just how large a role the global human rights treaty framework plays in modern European left-wing consciousness.

A text is not a genuine reason, though it may contain a reason. They used to point to the bible, now they have this. If they won’t give the true reason found in or around the text, but instead merely refer to its authority, they are avoiding debate. If I want a genuine justification for ‘murder is wrong’, a reply pointing to the law, the bible, or human rights misses the mark.

I'm not sure rightists completely understand just how large a role the global human rights treaty framework plays in modern European left-wing consciousness.

Perhaps, but if so, that is a failure of pedagogy and debate on the part of the left, of the kind described above. There are plenty of liberals on the right, including, believe it or not, people who like civilization.

I wish such disagreements were settled more often with ‘you have a more restrictive understanding of the right to asylum than I do’ instead of ‘you reject human rights’, but we’d need to actually discuss human rights, not use it as an applause/boo-light.

A heads-up: Yudkowsky will be talking AI with YouTube long-timer Ross Scott on the 3rd. This comes after Ross's last videochat with fans [warning: long, use the timestamps in one of the comments to skip around], where AI and Big Yud came up.

I expect that Ross will be able to wring some sort of explanation about AI risk out of Yudkowsky that will be palatable to the everyman. Ross has talked about things like Peak Oil before (here's an old, old video on the subject), so I think it will be interesting to see. I'll have to see if I can find out Ross's position on AI risk so far.

Yud should stop trying to convince the everyman. I’m not saying that no one should do that, just that Yud specifically should not bother with it. It’s not good for his mental health or morale to be dealing with people this dumb. It clearly disturbs him on an emotional level.

I recommend Ross' old Deus Ex review/retrospective where he discussed various conspiracy theories in detail.

Ross is well suited to these kinds of discussions. He's the best.

To be fair it is sort of cheating when you have a time machine.

Now this is a weird crossover I didn't expect. What's next, Angry Joe interviewing Nick Land?

...Holy shit, I kinda want that. I mean, I never cared for Angry Joe all that much, but still.

I admit this is surprising. I would've predicted the Butlerian Jihad movement deprioritizing Yud as a crank who may blurt out some risky political take, but he establishes himself more and more as the Rightful Caliph. Have Yuddites discovered a stash of SBF's lunch money to buy a bunch of podcasters, including some crypto has-beens looking for a new grift? Or is this simply a snowball effect, where Yud is becoming more credible and attractive the more he goes to podcasts?

On the other hand, this is all show for the plebs anyway; Policy people never lack for experts to cite. And «rationalists» can straight up lie to their audiences even about words of those experts.

I should accelerate my work on a dunk on Yudkowsky's whole paradigm, even though it honestly feels hopeless and pointless. If anyone has better ideas, I'm all ears.

I admit this is surprising. I would've predicted the Butlerian Jihad movement deprioritizing Yud as a crank who may blurt out some risky political take, but he establishes himself more and more as the Rightful Caliph. Have Yuddites discovered a stash of SBF's lunch money to buy a bunch of podcasters, including some crypto has-beens looking for a new grift? Or is this simply a snowball effect, where Yud is becoming more credible and attractive the more he goes to podcasts?

Yud was right, Kulak was wrong. Way to get things done is from above, through influencing elites and aspiring elites, not through impressing normies with handsome looks and smart fashion, not through doomed direct action.

This is only the beginning. The Katechon pact is coming, hide your laptop.

Yud's message is aligned with the powers that be, so his voice will be magically amplified by the algorithm. The state is scrambling to ramp up their AI capabilities. They need the boot on any ambitious small companies in the form of a "six month pause". Yud thinks he's advocating for a less dangerous arms race, in reality he's just helping the most dangerous people catch up.

This makes sense if you consider that Yud takes Roko's Basilisk seriously. He's clearly realized this is his best contribution to its existence.

This makes sense if you consider that Yud takes Roko's Basilisk seriously. He's clearly realized this is his best contribution to its existence.

Well, how Big Yud reacted back then when Roko posted his idea on Less Wrong?

Called it wrong?

No, Yud went into full loud screaming mode.

I don't usually talk like this, but I'm going to make an exception for this case.

Listen to me very closely, you idiot.


and then put total ban on any further basilisk discussions on LW.

Not a reaction of someone who is not even slightly worried.

If big Y dissmissed this thing or just stayed silent, the whole idea would be forgotten in few days like other LW thought experiments. Streissand effect bites hard even if you are super genius.

Not a reaction of someone who is not even slightly worried.

Sure it is. Yudkowsky is exactly the sort of person who would be outraged at the idea of someone sharing what that person claims is a basilisk, regardless of whether he thinks the specific argument makes any sense. He is also exactly the sort of person who would approach internet moderation with hyper-abstract ideas like "anything which claims to be a basilisk should be censored like one" rather than in terms of PR.

Speaking or writing in a way where it's difficult to use your statements to smear you even after combing through decades of remarks is hard. It's why politicians use every question as a jumping off point to launch into prepared talking-points. Part of Yudkowsky's appeal is that he's a very talented writer who doesn't tend to do that, instead you get the weirdness of his actual thought-processes. When presented with Roko's dumb argument his thoughts were about "correct procedure to handle things claiming to be basilisks", rather than "since the argument claims it should be censored, censoring it could be used to argue I believe it, so I should focus on presenting minimum attack-surface against someone trying to smear me that way".

Again, I deleted that post not because I had decided that this thing probably presented a real hazard, but because I was afraid some unknown variant of it might, and because it seemed to me like the obvious General Procedure For Handling Things That Might Be Infohazards said you shouldn't post them to the Internet. If you look at the original SF story where the term "basilisk" was coined, it's about a mind-erasing image and the.... trolls, I guess, though the story predates modern trolling, who go around spraypainting the Basilisk on walls, using computer guidance so they don't know themselves what the Basilisk looks like, in hopes the Basilisk will erase some innocent mind, for the lulz. These people are the villains of the story. The good guys, of course, try to erase the Basilisk from the walls. Painting Basilisks on walls is a crap thing to do. Since there was no upside to being exposed to Roko's Basilisk, its probability of being true was irrelevant. And Roko himself had thought this was a thing that might actually work. So I yelled at Roko for violating basic sanity about infohazards for stupid reasons, and then deleted the post. He, by his own lights, had violated the obvious code for the ethical handling of infohazards, conditional on such things existing, and I was indignant about this.

Yud is a useful idiot. Not in the sense that he's stupid or even that his arguments are wrong: their truth or well-reasoned-ness is entirely besides the point. AI is clearly important, and people (including people with political power) are worried about it and the threat it poses to them. Amplifying a weird, neurotic extremist yelling on the sidelines about paperclips provides useful cover for more "restrained" control over AI: on one side is Yud, on the other is careless AI libertarians hellbent on either destroying civilization or making revenge porn of their exes, and in the middle are helpful folks like the FTC, EEOC, and CFPB who offer careful, educated policies to expand their power to protect the people from unlawful bias and other harmful outcomes.

Yud is a useful idiot.

What makes useful idiots useful is that they are not dumb, just clueless or naive. So probably good description of the non grifter portion of AI concerned people.

I don't think Yud is either, he is just optimised for maintaining his grift. I'm not even sure if he is aware what is happening, people usually aren't. In fact the more intelligent people are the more susceptible they seem to be to their own arguments.

People subconsciously drink their own coolaid and move goalposts around and use arguments as soldiers so they don't have to change. Its hilarious how someone so into "rationalism" could be such an antithesis of his stated goal.

Maybe it's just because I'm not in on the game enough, or that I'm getting bored, or that I'm a little too honest about being stupid, but I'm starting to get the same kind of vibes from these interviews as I get from listening to one too many interviews with 'science popularizers' and physicists talking about black holes and solar systems or whatever. At some point the endless stream of analogies, abstractions and hypothetical arguments just starts sounding like a 2 hour poem about math that I don't understand.

You can assure me it makes sense. You can explain to me how this new and exciting theory of the universe, that hinges entirely on mathematical assumptions, is like dumping a gallon of milk into a box of cereal before pouring it into the bowl, and I can maybe relate to that analogy because I know milk and cereal. But, again, at the end of the day I will never be able to relate that analogy to what is actually being talked about because all that's really there is theoretical math I don't understand.

These conversations seem to follow a similar but slightly different path of, there's no actual math, just assumptions being made about the future. The AI man says we are doomed if we continue. Here's a powerful analogy. Here's technobabble about code... Like, dude, you got me, OK? This appeals to my vanity for coffee table philosophical arguments and you are a credentialed person who sounds confident in your convictions. I guess we are doomed. Now, who is the next guest on Joe Rogan? Oh, science man is going to tell me about a super massive black hole that can eat the sun. Bro, did you know that a volcanic eruption in Yellowstone park could decimate the entire planet? This doctor was talking about anti-biotics and...

I don't want to come across as too belligerent, but all this stuff just seems to occupy the same slot of 'it feels important/novel to care'. I'm not going to pretend to understand or care any more than I would care about Yellowstone. I'll accept all the passionate believers telling me that they told me so when the inevitable mega-earthquakes happen.

But until then I'll just continue enjoying the memes that predate our inevitable apocalypse with the same urgency that the people worrying over AI show when enjoying yet another 4 hour interview, followed by days of more rigorous debate, over the ever encroaching extinction level threat that is AI.


You can explain to me how this new and exciting theory of the universe, that hinges entirely on mathematical assumptions, is like dumping a gallon of milk into a box of cereal before pouring it into the bowl, and I can maybe relate to that analogy because I know milk and cereal. But, again, at the end of the day I will never be able to relate that analogy to what is actually being talked about because all that's really there is theoretical math I don't understand.

Your broad impression is correct with one massive caveat: there's no there, there. It is about milk and cereal, and the pretense that the analogy simplifies some profound idea is a pose, it serves to belittle and bully you into meek acceptance of the conclusion which is not founded on some solid model applying to the bowl and the universe alike. Yud's opinions do not follow from math, he arrived at them before stumbling on convenient math, most other doomers don't even understand involved math, and none of this math says much of anything about AI we are likely to build.

It's important to realize, I think, that Yud's education is 75% Science Fiction from his dad's library and 25% Jewish lore in cheder he flunked out of. That's all he learned systematically in his life, I'm afraid; other than that he just skimmed Kahnemahn, Cialdini and so on, assorted pop-sci, and some math and physics and comp sci because he is, after all, pretty smart and inclined to play around with cute abstractions. But that's it. He never had to meet deadlines, he never worked empirically, he never applied any of the math he learned in a way that was regularized against some real-world benchmark, KPI or a mean professor. Bluntly, he's a fraud, a simulacrum, an impostor.

More charitably, he's a 43-year-old professional wunderkind whose self-perception hinges on continuing to play the part. He's similar to Yevgeny «Genius» «Maestro» Ponasenkov, a weird fat guy who LARPs as a pre-Revolutionary noble and a maverick historian (based). Colloquially these people are known as freaks and crackpots, and their best defense for the last two millenia is that Socrates was probably the same but he became Great; except he did not LARP as anyone else.

I know this dirty observation is not polite to make among Rationalists. I've talked to really smart and accomplished people who roll their eyes when I say this about Yud, who object «come on now, you're clowning yourself, the guy's some savant – hell, I've got a Ph.D in particle physics and won at the All-Russian Math Olympiad, and he's nobody but talks jargon like he understands it better than my peers» and I want to scream «you dumb defenseless quokka, do you realize that while you were grinding for that Olympiad he was grinding to give off signals of an epic awesome Sci-Fi character?! That for every bit of knowledge, he gets a hundredfold more credit than you, because he arranges it into a mask while you add to the pearl of your inner understanding? That the way Yud comes across is not a glimpse of his formidability but the whole of it? Can you not learn that we wordcels are born with dark magic at the tips of our tongues, magic you do not possess, magic that cannot remake nature but enslaves minds?»


Let's talk about one such analogy, actually the core analogy he uses: it's about human evolution and inclusive genetic fitness. AGI Ruin: A List of Lethalities, 5th Jun '22:

Section B:

So why not train a giant stack of transformer layers on a dataset of agents doing nice things and not bad things, throw in the word 'corrigibility' somewhere, crank up that computing power, and get out an aligned AGI?

Section B.2:  Central difficulties of outer and inner alignment.

16.  Even if you train really hard on an exact loss function, that doesn't thereby create an explicit internal representation of the loss function inside an AI that then continues to pursue that exact loss function in distribution-shifted environments.  Humans don't explicitly pursue inclusive genetic fitness; outer optimization even on a very exact, very simple loss function doesn't produce inner optimization in that direction.  This happens in practice in real life, it is what happened in the only case we know about, and it seems to me that there are deep theoretical reasons to expect it to happen again: the first semi-outer-aligned solutions found, in the search ordering of a real-world bounded optimization process, are not inner-aligned solutions.  This is sufficient on its own, even ignoring many other items on this list, to trash entire categories of naive alignment proposals which assume that if you optimize a bunch on a loss function calculated using some simple concept, you get perfect inner alignment on that concept.

Point 16, Misalignment In The Only Precedent We Know About, is a big deal. There are 46 points in total, but it's a bit of a sham: many about AGI being smart, politics of «preventing other people from building an unaligned AGI», handwringing in 39-43, «multiple unaligned AGIs still bad», other padding. Pretty much every moving part depends on the core argument for AI being very likely to «learn wrong» i.e. acquire traits that unfold as hazardous out of (training) distribution, and the 16th corroborates all of such distributional reasoning in B.1 (10-15). 17-19, arguably more, expound on 16.

Accordingly, Yudkowsky cites it a lot and in slightly varied forms, e.g. on Bankless, 20th Feb 23:

we do not know how to get goals into a system. We can cause them to do a thing inside a distribution they were optimized over using gradient descent. But if you shift them outside of that distribution, I expect other weird things start happening. … GPT-7, there's probably a bunch of stuff in there too that desires to accurately model things like humans under a wide range of circumstances, but it's not exactly humans because ice cream didn't exist in the natural environment, the ancestral environment, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness. There was nothing with that much sugar, salt, fat combined together as ice cream. We are not built to want ice cream. We were built to want strawberries, honey, a gazelle that you killed and cooked … but then ice cream comes along and it fits those taste buds better than anything that existed in the environment that we were optimized over.

On Fridman, 20th March '23:

You can nonetheless imagine that there is this hill climbing process, not like gradient descent, because gradient descent uses calculus, this is just using like, where are you? But still, hill climbing in both cases makes things something better and better over time, in steps, and natural selection was optimizing exclusively for this very simple, pure criterion of inclusive genetic fitness in a very complicated environment. We're doing a very wide range of things and solving a wide range of problems led to having more kids, and this got you humans which had no internal notion of inclusive genetic fitness until thousands of years later, when they were actually figuring out what had even happened, and no desire to, no explicit desire to increase inclusive genetic fitness. So from this important case study, we may infer the important fact that if you do a whole bunch of hill climbing on a very simple loss function, at the point where the system's capabilities start to generalize very widely, when it is in an intuitive sense becoming very capable and generalizing far outside the training distribution, we know that there is no general law saying that the system even internally represents, let alone tries to optimize the very simple loss function you are training it on.

(Distinguishing SGD from an evolutionary algorithm with the mention of «calculus» is a bit odd).

And on Twitter, April 24th 2023 :

…for example, hominid evolution falsifies any purported general law along the lines of "hill-climbing optimization for a loss function, to the point where that produces general intelligence, produces robust generalization of the intuitive 'meaning' of the loss function even as the system optimized becomes more intelligent". Humans were optimized purely for inclusive genetic fitness, and we ended up with no built-in internal psychological concept of what that is. When we got smarter, smart enough that condoms were a new option that didn't exist in the ancestral environment / training distribution, we started using condoms. Gradient descent isn't natural selection, but…

It's not just Yudkowsky these days but e.g. Evan Hubinger, AI safety research scientist at Anthropic, the premier alignment-concerned lab, in 2020.

And Yud's Youtube evangelist Rob Miles, Apr 21, 2023:

@ESYudkowsky I propose this as a clearer example to support "Humans are not trying to maximise inclusive genetic fitness even a little bit"

It definitely is the ultimate cause of our motivations, emotions, and values, my point is just that this fact is not sufficient for us to explicitly try to get it


Note that this evo-talk is nothing new. In 2007, Eliezer wrote Adaptation-Executers, not Fitness-Maximizers:

No human being with the deliberate goal of maximizing their alleles' inclusive genetic fitness, would ever eat a cookie unless they were starving. But individual organisms are best thought of as adaptation-executers, not fitness-maximizers.

…This consequence is directly opposite the key regularity in the long chain of ancestral successes which caused the taste bud's shape. But, since overeating has only recently become a problem, no significant evolution (compressed regularity of ancestry) has further influenced the taste bud's shape.

…Smushing several of the concepts together, you could sort-of-say, "Modern humans do today what would have propagated our genes in a hunter-gatherer society, whether or not it helps our genes in a modern society."

The framing (and snack choice) has subtly changed: back then it was trivial that the «blind idiot god» (New Atheism was still fresh, too) does not optimize for anything and successfully aligns nothing. Back then, Eliezer pooh-poohed gradient descent as well. Now that it's at the heart of AI-as-practiced, evolution is a fellow hill-climbing algorithm that tries very hard to optimize on a loss function yet fails to induce generalized alignment.

I could go on but hopefully we can see that this is a major intuition pump.

It's a bad pump and Evolution is a bad analogy for AGI: inner alignment. Enter Quintin Pope, 13th Aug 2022.

One way people motivate extreme levels of concern about inner misalignment is to reference the fact that evolution failed to align humans to the objective of maximizing inclusive genetic fitness. … Evolution didn't directly optimize over our values. It optimized over our learning process and reward circuitry.

The relationship we want to make inferences about is: - "a particular AI's learning process + reward function + training environment -> the AI's learned values"

I think that "AI learning -> AI values" is much more similar to "human learning -> human values" than it is to "evolution -> human values". Steve Byrnes makes this case in much more detail in his post on the matter [23rd Mar 2021].

Evolution is a bi-level optimization process, with evolution optimizing over genes, and the genes specifying the human learning process, which then optimizes over human cognition. … SGD directly optimizes over an AI’s cognition, just as human within-lifetime learning directly optimizes over human cognition.

Or putting this in the «sharp left turn» frame:

within-lifetime learning happens much, much faster than evolution. Even if we conservatively say that brains do two updates per second, and that a generation is just 20 years long, that means a single person’s brain will perform ~1.2 billion updates per generation. … We don't train AIs via an outer optimizer over possible inner learning processes, where each inner learning process is initialized from scratch, then takes billions of inner learning steps before the outer optimization process takes one step, and then is deleted after the outer optimizer's single step. Such a bi-level training process would necessarily experience a sharp left turn once each inner learner became capable of building off the progress made by the previous inner learner. … However, this sharp left turn does not occur because the inner learning processes suddenly become much better / more foomy / more general in a handful of outer optimization steps.… In my frame, we've already figured out and applied the sharp left turn to our AI systems, in that we don't waste our compute on massive amounts of incredibly inefficient neural architecture search, hyperparameter tuning, or meta optimization.

Put another way: it is crucial that SGD optimizes policies themselves, and with smooth, high-density feedback from their performance on the objective function, while evolution random-walks over architectures and inductive biases of policies. An individual model is vastly more analogous to an individual human than to an evolving species, no matter on how many podcasts Yud says «hill climbing». Evolution in principle cannot be trusted to create policies that work robustly out of distribution: it can only search for local basins of optimality that are conditional on the distribution, outside of which adaptive behavior predicated on stupid evolved inductive biases does not get learned. This consideration makes the analogy based on both algorithms being «hill-climbing» deceptive, and regularized SGD inherently a stronger paradigm for OOD alignment.

But Yud keeps making it. When Quintin wrote a damning list of objections to Yud's position (using Bankless episode as a starting point), a month ago, he brought it up in more detail:

This is an argument [Yud] makes quite often, here and elsewhere, and I think it's completely wrong. I think that analogies to evolution tell us roughly nothing about the difficulty of alignment in machine learning.

… Moreover, robust alignment to IGF requires that you even have a concept of IGF in the first place. Ancestral humans never developed such a concept, so it was never useful for evolution to select for reward circuitry that would cause humans to form values around the IGF concept.

[Gradient descent] is different in that it directly optimizes over values / cognition, and that AIs will presumably have a conception of human values during training.

[Ice cream example] also illustrates the importance of thinking mechanistically, and not allegorically.

the reason humans like ice cream is because evolution created a learning process with hard-coded circuitry that assigns high rewards for eating foods like ice cream.

What does this mean for alignment? How do we prevent AIs from behaving badly as a result of a similar "misgeneralization"? What alignment insights does the fleshed-out mechanistic story of humans coming to like ice cream provide?

As far as I can tell, the answer is: don't reward your AIs for taking bad actions.

That's all it would take, because the mechanistic story above requires a specific step where the human eats ice cream and activates their reward circuits.

Compare, Yud'07: «Cognitive causes are ontologically distinct from evolutionary causes. They are made out of a different kind of stuff. Cognitive causes are made of neurons. Evolutionary causes are made of ancestors.» And «DNA constructs protein brains with reward signals that have a long-distance correlation to reproductive fitness, but a short-distance correlation to organism behavior… We, the handiwork of evolution, are as alien to evolution as our Maker is alien to us.»

So how did Yud'23 respond?

This is kinda long.  If I had time to engage with one part of this as a sample of whether it holds up to a counterresponse, what would be the strongest foot you could put forward?

Then he was pitched the evolution problem, and curtly answered the most trivial issue he could instead. «And that's it, I guess».

So the distinction of (what we in this DL era can understand as) learning policies and evolving inductive biases was recognized by Yud as early as in 2007; the concrete published-on-Lesswrong explanation why evolution is a bad analogy for AI training dates to 2021 at the latest; Quintin's analysis is 8+ months old; this hasn't had much effect on Yud's rhetoric about evolution being an important precedent supporting his pessimism, nor on the conviction of believers that his reasoning is sound.

It seems he's just anchored to the point, and strongly feels these issues are all nitpicks, and the argument should still work, one way or another, at least it proves that something-kinda-like-that is likely and therefore doom is still inevitable – even if evolution «does not use calculus», even if the category of «hill-climbing algorithms» is not informative. He barely glanced at what gradient descent does, and concluded that it's an optimization process, thus he's totally right.

People who try sniffing "nobody in alignment understands real AI engineering"... must have never worked in real AI engineering, to have no idea how few of the details matter to the macro arguments. … Or, of course, if they're real AI engineers themselves and do know all those technical details that are obviously not relevant - why, they must be lying, or self-deceiving so strongly that it amounts to other-deception, when they try that particular gambit for bullying and authority-assertion.

His arguments, on the level of pointing at something particular, are purely verbal, not even verbal math. When he uses specific technical terms, they don't necessarily correspond to the discussed issue, and often sound like buzzwords he vaguely associated with it. Sometimes he's demonstrably ignorant about their meaning. The Big Picture conclusion never changes.

Maybe it can't.

This is a sample from dunk on Yud that I drafted over 24 hours of pathological irritation recently. Overall it's pretty mean and unhinged and I'm planning to write something better soon.

Hope this helps.

Bad take, except that MAML also found no purchase, similar to other Levine's ideas.

He directly and accurately describes evolution and its difference from current approaches, but he's aware of a wide range or implementations of meta-learning. In the objections list he literally links to MAML::

I'm a lot more bullish on the current paradigm. People have tried lots and lots of approaches to getting good performance out of computers, including lots of "scary seeming" approaches such as:

1 Meta-learning over training processes. I.e., using gradient descent over learning curves, directly optimizing neural networks to learn more quickly.

2 Teaching neural networks to directly modify themselves by giving them edit access to their own weights.

3 Training learned optimizers - neural networks that learn to optimize other neural networks - and having those learned optimizers optimize themselves.

4 Using program search to find more efficient optimizers.

5 Using simulated evolution to find more efficient architectures.

6 Using efficient second-order corrections to gradient descent's approximate optimization process.

7 Tried applying biologically plausible optimization algorithms inspired by biological neurons to training neural networks.

8 Adding learned internal optimizers (different from the ones hypothesized in Risks from Learned Optimization) as neural network layers.

9 Having language models rewrite their own training data, and improve the quality of that training data, to make themselves better at a given task.

10 Having language models devise their own programming curriculum, and learn to program better with self-driven practice.

11 Mixing reinforcement learning with model-driven, recursive re-writing of future training data.

Mostly, these don't work very well. The current capabilities paradigm is state of the art because it gives the best results of anything we've tried so far, despite lots of effort to find better paradigms.

And the next paragraph on sharp left turn:

In my frame, we've already figured out and applied the sharp left turn to our AI systems, in that we don't waste our compute on massive amounts of incredibly inefficient neural architecture search, hyperparameter tuning, or meta optimization. For a given compute budget, the best (known) way to buy capabilities is to train a single big model in accordance with empirical scaling laws

Yuddites, on the other hand, mostly aren't aware of any of that. I am not sure they even read press releases.

Given the modern distinction between sex and gender, would it be appropriate to label a cis male/female individual, who engages in a feminine/masculine gender role, as a ""woman"/"man" even if they personally do not identify as such?

So take for example, a cis female with a career as a military soldier who is tall/strong and has a personality that is assertive, aggressive, and "thing-oriented". Let's say there is even a consensus among their peers that they are very masculine. Should they be referred to as a "man" according to modern sex/gender language norms? (Note: if you disagree with my sample masculine gender role description, just insert your own as you understand it to answer the question.)

Obviously, I suspect the answer is no, but then it seems like self identification is all that matters and all the discussion around gender roles is just window dressing.

Also, please do not take offense, my intention is not to troll here, I am just trying to better understand the modern gender theory perspective.

Would it be reasonable? IMO, yes. It's funny to imagine a world where bodybuilders are free to call overweight males women, and mothers are free to call old-maid females men. (See also this recent comment regarding the past use of the masculine grammatical gender for powerful women in the French language.)

Would it be appropriate? At the moment, I doubt it.

The modern distinction between sex and gender was invented by a pervert "doctor" named John Money. Look up what he did to David Reimer and Reimer's brother and tell me it's not child sexual abuse; it astounds me how much has been built upon Money's ideas.

Modern gender theory is nonsense.

Men are men, women are women, don’t make it complicated.

Modern gender theory is nonsense.

As opposed to traditional gender theory?

Men are men, women are women, don’t make it complicated.

Sure. What's a man? What's a woman?

What’s a man?

A miserable little pile of secrets.

What’s a woman?

The same, with the addition of an extra syllable.

So… men and women are the same?

Entire worlds can be contained in a syllable.

No, because men are disposable, and women are not.

Don't make me call Richter on your ass, Dracula.

Your words are as empty as your soul. Mankind ill needs a saviour such as you!

Sure. What's a man? What's a woman?

One knows them when one sees them.

How can I know when I see them if I don't have a definition?

Same way I do!

And how is that?

I look at them, and classify according to the millions of years of evolutionary biology that enabled me to draw that distinction.

What are you looking at when you classify them? Their pores?

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As opposed to traditional gender theory?

"Modern" was superfluous but not inaccurate.

Sure. What's a man? What's a woman?

Adult human male/female. What's your definition?

This neuters the entire concept.

You can't start with "A man is an Adult human Male and a woman is an adult human Female"

And derive the conclusion

"Adult human Males should be pressured not to wear dresses, take HRT, move to California and become FAANG programmers."

You have taken what was a sacred set of associations and shredded it until all that is left is a dictionary blurb.

And if you try to add all those sacred associations back in as a second premise-

Well, now you have a problem, because the thing most gender theory is actually attacking, isn't the definition of man and woman, its actually attacking the premise that this set of sacred associations holds in the tail end, and the premise that it should be maintained in general.

And once you start fighting those, I suspect you're going to find at the end of the line, that your final crux is aesthetic.

I mean, if every pragmatic issue were resolved with artificial wombs, better transition, etc, would you really concede that HRT is fine and as dumb to mock as getting a tattoo? Or that splitting sports by gender is dumb because what really matters is position in the bimodal distribution?

You can't start with "A man is an Adult human Male and a woman is an adult human Female"

And derive the conclusion

"Adult human Males should be pressured not to wear dresses, take HRT, move to California and become FAANG programmers."

But that's not what I'm doing. From "A man is an Adult human Male and a woman is an adult human Female" I am only deriving "You cannot force people to use opposite-sex or neopronouns, you cannot force single sex spaces to accept opposite-sex trans people, and you cannot make them chant 'Trans women are women!'". My other positions regarding trans issues are derived from other principles.

You're not even doing that much. Your definition says nothing about the correct use of pronouns. Your definition actually helps the argument that gendered spaces are unethical. Because gender doesn't mean anything important anymore (unless you're trying to have a baby and have no artificial womb on hand). You have to use other arguments for that now. And many of the arguments really only work for splitting people along the bimodal, not along single dimensions of the bimodal like your narrow definition of gender.

Your definition says nothing about the correct use of pronouns

Sure it does. I, and most people, use them to refer to someone's sex.

Because gender doesn't mean anything important anymore.

I don't accept that premise, so your argument doesn't follow. The establishment does seem to be trying to push that idea on people, but in fact even the most vehement egalitarian acts as though sex does make a difference in many contexts.

And many of the arguments really only work for splitting people along the bimodal, not along single dimensions of the bimodal like your narrow definition of gender.

I don't understand what you mean by that, can you elaborate?

Sure it does. I, and most people, use them to refer to someone's sex.

And plenty of people use them to refer to boats. You can bite the bullet on that if you want. But there are plenty of us who are willing to use feminine pronouns on anything with a feminine vibe.

I don't accept that premise, so your argument doesn't follow. The establishment does seem to be trying to push that idea on people, but in fact even the most vehement egalitarian acts as though sex does make a difference in many contexts.

See... This is it. You said:

"A man is an Adult human Male and a woman is an adult human Female"

but you expected the listener to put 1 and 1 together to create a normative framework.

This is a form of Motte and Bailey argument. That is what annoys me.

Both sides are quibbling over the definition of Man and Women because they know there's a cultural normative framework of what Men and Women are expected to do that most people intuit by vibe and don't question.

But here on theMotte we should be aspiring to be better than that.

That's why SJW definitions of Man and Women as a whole are incoherent by the way, they're trying to incorporate cultural normative vibe into the definition, and no two thinkers have precisely the same cultural vibe on the matter, and cultural normative vibe is subject to change. So naturally no singular definition emerges. It's also why Trans Women are Women has become a rallying cry. What they're really fighting for is "Trans women shouldn't be held to the masculine cultural normative framework." This is also a Motte and Baily argument.

Here on theMotte we should be aspiring to be better than that.

I don't understand what you mean by that, can you elaborate?

Certainly. take the argument "It is dangerous to permit Men in Woman's restrooms." This only holds for the subset of men that it is actually dangerous to permit in womens' restrooms. Is it dangerous to permit a passing castrated dickless Man with boobs in the Women's restroom? No, for the purposes of restroom safety, that person might as well be a woman.

Should Men be permitted in woman's sports? No. Because the average man will outcompete the average women. And we want to have a place where these people can compete and not get curb stomped every game (sounds like affirmative action to me but-).

Well. This only applies to the subset of Men that actually have advantages in woman's sports. Un-transitioned Men? Sure excluded. Transitioned men who went through a male puberty first? Probably excluded. They do have advantages due to that puberty. Men who never went through male puberty? Well. You're going to have to find some advantage they have. Otherwise- why not.

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Same as yours. I just don't like when people try this dismissive approach to the question. It's has, to me, the same vibe as "I don't need to educate you". We shouldn't forgo opportunities to explain ourselves or teach.

I say this as someone who probably agrees with you: This site is for a deeper analysis than "the opposing side is wrong". Tell us why modern gender theory is nonsense in a way that has even the thinnest sliver of a chance of persuading someone.

More effort than this, please.

("I refute it thus" is an interesting and perhaps even directly relevant sort of argument in this case, but you still need to put more effort into it.)

Well, we used to call girls who behaved in a masculine manner "tomboys" and men who behaved in a feminine manner "women" as a form of mockery, though in the former case the term was eventually reclaimed as one of endearment, so it seems to me like you have just gone in a loop back to old-fashioned gender roles. If that is the inevitable consequence of trans ideology then I certainly can't fault anyone for being a TERF.

Given the modern distinction between sex and gender, would it be appropriate to label a cis male/female individual, who engages in a feminine/masculine gender role, as a ""woman"/"man" even if they personally do not identify as such?

"Appropriate" is a two-place word. It does not make sense to talk about whether some action is "appropriate" in some universal global sense, only whether it is appropriate in context.

If you are working with trans person and you're trying to accomplish something in the real world that is not related to their gender identity? It would be "appropriate" in that situation to go with however they identify themselves so you can get on with doing the actual thing you care about, unless that's something you're not philosophically capable of doing (but in that case, why even ask?)

If you are a judge deciding the sentencing for a sexual assault case, and the defendant suddenly decided they were trans after it became clear that the verdict was not going to be in their favor and now they are arguing that they should go to a women's prison, "what is the more appropriate place to send them" is in fact the relevant question to ask.

If you're talking to a modern-day gender theorist, I have to ask what you're hoping to get out of the conversation, because that will inform the answer.

The thing thing to note about gender identity theory is that it is actually a mish-mash of different ideas that are inconsistent with each other. There's the traditional transexual 'born in the wrong body' narrative (really conceived as a Cartesian soul), but increasingly layers of queer theory where sex/gender is a performance which you can transgress, in which people can create or choose their gender. This has seamlessly merged into the modern liberal idea of 'lifestyle option', where you can explore your gender, try out being another gender.

When you unpack all this you realise it's actually an incoherent mess. It's actually one of the biggest signs that this is a social contagion.

Obviously, I suspect the answer is no, but then it seems like self identification is all that matters and all the discussion around gender roles is just window dressing

You hit the nail on the head here. As noted downthread, the point of gender ideology isn’t to better understand gender, and we know this because its proponents have a strong revealed preference for not understanding gender. Witness the fit thrown over the question ‘what is a woman?’

Instead the point of gender theory is to not ever have to tell a trans person they’re wrong. This is itself kind of a feat because, well, transgenderism by definition leads to ridiculous and wrongheaded ideas like ‘men can get pregnant’, and so if accommodating ridiculous and self-serving narratives about gender because you don’t have a coherent theory is the price to pay for it, well, they bit that bullet when they decided transwomen needed menstrual products.

I think the underlying problem with taking ideas and playing with them like this is that you are not focusing on the purpose behind the idea or the reality it inhabits.

To give an example from an area that can and has been greatly damaged by people losing sight of the ball, so to speak: if we are using currency printed by the Federal Reserve, why don't we just print more of it? It's free money, right? Well, everyone can see that this is not a good idea since it would lead to 'bad outcome'. You can play with the idea of money all you want, but to anyone keeping an eye on the ball the games you are playing are obviously pointless.

The goal of trans or gender anything isn't to create a novel and sophisticated categorization mechanism that functionally encompasses the human condition. For transpeople the goal is to be able to be whatever they want to be. Trans rights are a physical thing. If they want to go into the womens bathroom then that's what 'gender ideology' will have to facilitate. If they want to be a woman by setting up a webcam and masturbate their dicks into their own mouths then so be it.

If you want to take 'gender ideology' and play with it where it will lead to 'bad outcome' then you don't understand 'gender ideology' just like a person who thinks printing infinite money is a fun idea doesn't understand 'economics'. Worse than that, you are not even engaging with the true absurdity of it.

We can have a lot of people with a lot of bird ideas about what gender is or what trans is or whatever else, just like we can have a lot of people with a lot of bird ideas about what the economy is or how much money we should be printing. But it doesn't matter. What matters is what those with power want or what the ruling ideology says. And whilst you could argue that there is no obvious 'Federal Reserve' type body behind 'gender ideology', there is an obvious goal behind it. Just like there is a goal behind the Federal Reserve or whatever else. In short: more trans rights = good. Less trans rights = bad. Making fun or light of the means by which we get more trans rights can therefor only be at best childishly silly and at worst cynically transphobic.

The only way to escape this is by going full heterodox. Becoming a libertarian/nazi that believes central banking is a scheme cooked up by the Rothschilds/jews to enslave the taxpayer/goyim or by becoming a transphobic dissident right winger/nazi. For everything else you're just a bird in a cage.

No, because that obscures more than it reveals. Using a description of "a masculine woman" provides a more useful and accurate description than "man", especially if "man" also now includes masculine women.

Modern gender theory is inconsistent, contradictory and circular. Trying to reason with it is pointless. It by turns enforces then conflates distinctions between sex and gender and within sex and gender to suit its ends. Under this theory your question of whether it's appropriate to label a person a man can only be answered by whether that person wants to be labelled a man or not, which ignores that by advancing this theory the label has become an empty signifier that reduces to "is this person a person with person-like qualities". There is no there there.

I think the point about 'useful and accurate' is underappreciated- there's just less information in a broad label and no one should insist on someone ceding their valid empirical view of reality.

Empirical reality is cool but the point is that putting it to one side and taking modern/woke/trans gender theory on its own merits can demonstrate that either their logic fails by its own standard or their logic doesn't have any standards to fail by.

Either there will always be some asymptotic essence of otherness that upholds the delineation between man and woman with their respective qualities and qualifiers and renders the idea of switching from one to the other impossible, or there's no difference to functionally separate the two meaning there's no other to contrast against and so no position to move away from or towards. At that point the only thing left is a subjectivity of aesthetics, which amounts to the label-claiming we observe where we might see a woman who feels like the kind of woman who has a penis and wants to have sex with women but doesn't feel like the kind of woman who might get pregnant by having sex with a man (pronouns: yak/sax).

This is without touching on the unwelcome and unintended implications of these theories, such as how they would account for people who over-identify with their gender (boob jobs and steroids, trans rights are cis rights), male/female neurotypology that would necessarily disqualify otherwise typical men and women from belonging to their pre-existing category, and the plain old basic feminist argument that women are capable of more than housekeeping and looking pretty.

Taking it seriously leads to the conclusion that it's unserious, and by extension that it shouldn't be taken seriously. The regressive absurdity of it would be tragic if it wasn't so funny [reverse according to personal taste].

So what do we call a masculine woman? Call her a masculine woman. There's nothing to be gained by doing otherwise, and much to be lost. Whether we redefine reality or redefine words it necessitates the loss of the prior definition.

I think I agree with you but I'm not entirely following your thread and would like to. I agree something entirely subjective can't provide a stable social category and will lead to contradictions- I view this as gender ideology necessarily being dependent on sex to obtain meaning but also undermining sex at the same time. (Ie a parasitic relationship)

Is this the equivalent to what you're pointing to?

I think so.

In short: Assuming I subscribe to this variety of gender theory, what am I looking at when I see a pregnant person decorating a cupcake?

Yes, I think I see, thanks.

it seems

Not so sure

everyone thinks

Definitely not.

It seems everyone thinks the world is getting worse across Western countries that have accepted non-whites.

Do you have a comparison class of those that haven't?

Yes, I agree that mass immigration is generally a bad thing, but I don't think that social pessimism in general is good evidence for its badness.

There’s parts of the USA with very few immigrants that could be a basis of comparison, though.

The closest things are Russia and the former Eastern Bloc, though of course there are too many confounding variables. Also Japan perhaps, if you squint hard enough.

I'm not sure that these societies have a sense of things not getting worse.

Social pessimism seems almost a constant across civilisations. It was better in the good old days - even in the old days.

Oh, I wasn't implying that they hadn't, as both are almost certainly more pessimistic about the future than Westerners. Only that they have been less accepting of immigrants, and even the latter is changing.

For a place where most everyone agrees things are getting better, I would look to Southeast Asia or some of the more stable states in Africa.

Many of my coworkers and my wife are non-white immigrants. They are not making things worse. I don't think "everyone" is blaming societal problems on Indian and Asian immigrants.

Many people correctly blame some European crime rates on middle eastern and African immigrants. But here in America the middle easterners and Africans that I know have college degrees and houses in the suburbs. They aren't to blame for America's problems.

A lot of that is just having an ocean between you. So America gets the higher hbd of the population. Europe gets the lower class.

Yeah, they get unemployable refugees and we selectively let in Iranians and Nigerians with graduate degrees.

Opposition to high-skill immigration is usually framed in terms of "importing an overclass" as contrasted with low-skill immigration "importing an underclass." The former is a greater threat to your position if you are already at the top of the existing social order.

Wealth can insulate you from whatever dysfunction your new manual laborers have brought with them, but it isn't going to make your kids do better on the SAT than the Asian kids down the street of your gated community. There are also those who are motivated purely by racial animus (to wit, "I would rather live in Moldova than Wakanda").

I saw this in action when the UK govt announced a visa-granting program for Hong Kong-ers. The reddit hivemind that normally constantly fetishises importing as many low-/un-skilled browns as possible to own the conservatives was suddenly in uproar -- because these ones had the capital to buy houses and maybe even outbid them!

I think high skill immigration is a wage suppression scheme aimed at middle and upper middle class Americans. I think that the minimum H1B visa wage should be raised enormously. $60k/year is ridiculously low for a skilled worker that supposedly no American is available to replace. And their work restrictions are way too strict. They end up locked in at a job which helps suppress wages.

I've seen businesses refuse to consider hiring Americans fresh out of college and instead hire even more H1Bs. I think rules as written that's illegal, but apparently there's no enforcement.

On the other hand America gets to brain drain the world and import in really great future Americans and the parents of Americans.

I think race isn’t the issue with regard to immigration. The issue is that, especially after the civil rights movement, it became less expected for immigrants to assimilate. And the problem isn’t that brown people are coming to America. The problem is people coming to America with a bad set of cultural norms (laziness, lack of respect for education, less law abiding, etc.) and thus importing the attitudes, values and beliefs that make the poorer parts of the world poorer. And to some extent even whites are picking up those values. For example the meme of being entitled to a “good life” without putting in any effort to obtain it, or less emphasis on education or conformity.

Immigrants never assimilated in the first place. The original founding father WASP cultural norms were, through academia, media and finally voting, drowned out by a random collection of immigrants from Europe. Though the WASP's only have themselves to blame for opening the gates in the first place. 'Assimilation' is a self flattering fairy tale Americans, mostly white and conservative, have been telling themselves for a long time now but it's nothing more than that.

The fundamental illustration of this comes from those who self describe as the most culturally American, who also happen to be mostly white and conservative, are also the ones who have nigh unanimously failed to maintain any semblance of American culture from the previous generation outside of gun ownership. Every other value that could or should have been maintained has over time been crushed to appeal to those who have power and money. Leaving the expressed cultural tradition of America revolving around guns, submission and greed.

What white conservative Americans mean when they talk of 'assimilation' is whether or not the immigrant is willing to work under whatever conditions the white conservative American deems acceptable. With no regard for the fact that many immigrants are not as submissive and greedy as they are. Which doesn't help explain why conservatives are seemingly perpetually thunderstruck by the willingness of immigrants to support the political party that promises them more money and status. Leading one to conclude that the final lacking component that makes up the mythical cultural American is delusional arrogance.

Would you say that the culture of (for instance) 1950s America is further from/less compatible with the Founders norms than today's America vs the 1950s?

To me it seems remarkably closer, given that we are only ~60 years out vs two centuries.

I mean based on what? Any culture, even one that doesn’t accept immigrants will change over time. Japan today would be a culture shock to a Japanese person time-traveling from 1950. Musical tastes change (though a fair number of people consider country to be a continuation of traditional American music) which I would contend is something that conservatives have managed to conserve, alongside frontier versions of Christianity (which I see evangelical Christianity as a continuation of), traditional American cuisines and to some extent the traditional values and ethos. It’s not expressed the same way, but what conservatives believe and do can quite often be traced back to very long roots that go back quite far. I would contend that a time traveler from 1860 would recognize a lot more of modern Patriot/conservative culture than he would have modern Liberal/woke culture. But at the idea that it doesn’t count if the culture isn’t preserved in amber completely unchanged (which would probably not even be true of the Amish) to count as preservation is simply demanding too much. Conservatives don’t live as museum pieces, they live as people interacting with a real world.

Japan of the 1950's was in the throes of a Judeo-American imposed cultural revolution. I'm sure the time traveler would be shocked but not surprised that foreign occupation had left his country without its sword. I think that highlights a blind spot to the 'cultural' ideology as a whole. At any point in time can you pinpoint whatever thing is happening and say: 'see, there it is, there's our culture' with no regard for what it was before or how it got to the point it is now. I agree that a culture changes with its people and technology. But that fact does not excuse every cultural change as being a fate bound product that inertly fell from the sky.

As for your overall point I'm at a loss. We seem to have gone away from a cultural definition of work ethic and duty and instead moved towards a cultural definition of what I would call trinkets and hobbies. I don't believe you are saying that if more immigrants listened to Hank Williams that they would be more inclined to work. So I don't understand where we are going with this.

As for country music and similar 'cultural' trinkets. For me, if it's not Southern, it's not really country. I don't mean that in a sense that it has to come from a certain area. But the fact that it has to exist as something opposite whatever it is the 'North' is doing. It has to actually be 'politically' Southern. Otherwise, what even is it? Blake Shelton pseudo rapping with his coolest black friends about tractors? I find it pathetic. Why does he mention in one of his songs that 'his boys' don't listen to the Beatles but rather Coe. Shelton is a living breathing embodiment of a Yankee pop star at this point. Country music didn't grab the South just because they liked the tunes. It grabbed the South because it was Southern. It was as much a product of musical talent as it was a product of a culture war that self described conservatives have long abandoned and disavowed in favor of fortune and fame from the 'North'.

I don't think a time traveler would pretend that the US is even a country after you showed him the state of things. I mean, in the past 50 years the US has seen over 100 thousand white people murdered by black criminals. Race mixing at an all time high. Jews and catholics running the show, the Church supporting gay marriage, a former black president. And to top it all off, conservatives are more likely to support these things than not, aside from gay marriage. Conservatives certainly aren't museum pieces, but I'd have expected their will, want and tradition to lead somewhere other than where they are today. Least of all that there are conservatives that unironically proclaim that the problems with Mexicans and blacks are 'cultural' and not rooted in the fact that they don't belong in the country at all.

The Japanese lost WW2, got nuked, and then had their constitution rewritten by a bunch of Americans.

The primary portion of the document that upended established cultural relations between the sexes in Japan was written, in part, by a jewish woman.

Far be it for me to subscribe to a theory of a single cause but the post-war era seem to have taken a drastic toll on the Japanese birthrate. Considering the revolutionary nature of the imposed constitution I'm more inclined than not to say that it has weighed the Japanese people down heavily. They had their own culture that was producing children and it was destroyed. That's not to say the old ways would have been impervious to technological change. But I think they were far more anti-fragile than the thing that replaced it.

I don't think the comment was banworthy, or even in need of a warning, but c'mon, a Jewish woman was involved in the writing of part of the new Japanese constitution, therefore it was a "Judeo-American" takeover? By this logic, anything a Jew is involved in ever is a "Judeo-" effort. Which, I know is kind of your thesis, but usually your anti-Semitic seething has at least a kernel of truthiness.

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What game are you playing? You "ask questions" about jews yourself, then delete them.

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Please don't post like this. If you think something is ban-worthy, you can report it. We don't need to clutter threads with "you should be banned*," "no, you should be banned!"

What the hell is supposed to be ban worthy about it? Some people argue for horrors like surrogacy, some people people post thinly veiled antisemitic jabs. Fight the guy or ignore him, but for the love of god spare me the Karening.

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Alright, quick mod request. Most of this is fine, but there's a few bits that are stated as fact and really need some backing up:

Japan of the 1950's was in the throes of a Judeo-American imposed cultural revolution.

in the past 50 years the US has seen over 100 thousand white people murdered by black criminals.

Jews and catholics running the show,

I recognize you fleshed one of those out later, which I appreciate, but - "Proactively provide evidence in proportion to how partisan and inflammatory your claim might be." - that's pretty partisan and pretty inflammatory and needs some level of backup.

I didn't feel like I needed a lot of supporting evidence since we were talking about what the perspective of a person from the 1860's would be when coming in and taking a look at the current state of affairs. I figured that such a person would not come to very politically correct conclusions about the world after interacting with a few basic facts about it in any case.

Looking at the US supreme court, it's majority 6/9 Catholic. Looking at Bidens and his cabinet, it's jewish and Catholic with Biden himself being a Catholic. I find this sufficient to say that a person from 1860 would conclude that jews and catholics are running the show. But maybe that's my bias shining through.

The '100k is past 50 years':

The problem is that those parts are phrased as fact, not as the person's opinion, and they do require a bit of justification.

Which you've done here! I am reasonably satisfied with those answers.

Link 'em in the original post next time, if you would :)

Where I’m going with the country comment is that as I said, sometimes culture changes quite organically, and therefore it’s not enough to say “it’s different, therefore not good” is really not an argument.

I think most of the trends are generally negative, and that we do have a serious decline in both civic duty and work ethic, civic nationalism, and even education ethic. Those things can be taught, and they’re not. In fact I think this is something the Chinese are doing right. Go to any forum where Chinese are talking about China and you just don’t hear the kinds of self-flagellation that you do in Atlanticist cultures. They are taught to love China and being Chinese. But, such things can absolutely be taught. Kids don’t come out of the womb with ideas about loving their country, studying and working hard, or civic duty. In fact, you can find differences among whites in various Atlanticist countries.

I obviously don’t see race mixing itself as a problem, so the rise of race mixing in an otherwise healthy culture wouldn’t be a problem for me. The issue is the bad memes, and those come from unassimilated immigrants, the media, and the school system.

I feel like I've already answered your contentions in my previous comment. You've not provided a distinction mechanism between what constitutes 'organic' change and what's not.

I guess, in total, I just fundamentally disagree with you on where culture comes from in the first place. Culture doesn't fall from the sky. It flows forth from people and the conditions they create for themselves. I can agree that US 'nationalism' is dead in the water. But I'd argue that being a product of its people.

It's not hard to teach a Han-Chinese to love his country when it is undeniably his country with thousands of years of history where he is surrounded by people who look, talk and think like him. It's a little different when you were brought to 'your country' as a slave. It's a little different when the countries media is dominated by people who don't look like, talk like or think like you.

I think the history of the US has taught us that you can't railroad over these differences. And that the same ingroup pathologies you would seek to harness for your greater American cultural project will work against it when people see themselves as having more in common with those who look, talk and think like themselves. I mean, regardless of all else, why should anyone pledge their hard work and duty to the US and not, say, Israel, Mexico, China or Africa?

Just pointing out, the view of immigrants from Mexico in communities that host them is often very positive, while their children(who are citizens) tend to be seen negatively. The decline in human capital across generations is sometimes blamed on exposure to and influence from black culture, and sometimes on adopting American norms more generally. I have spoken to construction bosses who happily fake documentation to hire illegal immigrants but refuse to hire native born Hispanics for this reason.

Either way, the ‘Mexican culture makes them terrible workers and criminals’ is not really the lived experience of people dealing with first generation immigrants. It’s probably fair to talk about HBD, but it’s even more fair to point out that the standard right wing narrative about illegal immigrants is mostly posturing- aside from the obvious laws broken by being illegal immigrants, they’re more law abiding than the native born and seem harder working in any way that can actually be measured.

I mean our society being made up of mostly the children of illegals is not a good thing, but the immigrants themselves are mostly not the problem.

Either way, the ‘Mexican culture makes them terrible workers and criminals’ is not really the lived experience of people dealing with first generation immigrants.

Hypothesis: There's a bad culture effect and there's also a first generation immigrant effect. The first generation effect doesn't last to the second generation, while the bad culture effect does.

That’s certainly possible. However, while there’s vices that tend to be associated with more heavily Spanish speaking hispanic communities- like alcoholism or statutory rape- almost universal anecdata suggests that illegal drug use, laziness, or criminality are mostly associated to less heavily Spanish speaking Hispanic communities. This, to me, points to assimilation of negative aspects of American culture(maybe through rap music rather than directly from Americans) as the cause.

Obviously immigrants are a self-selected group and they’re mostly selected for things like ambition that correlate with willingness to work hard, which leaves plenty of room for them to wash out negative aspects of their culture like poor academic success. But I think that the balance of evidence points to Hispanics acting black as being picked up from blacks, not as being indigenous to Mexican culture.

related thread about generational differences between immigrants:

Upper class woman complaining about lower class members of her own country coming over to the west and shitting stuff up. Back home it's significantly easier to maintain distance between the high and the low but in the west its harder so you're more exposed to the negative effects. Plus complaints about being seen as a low class person because the other people with the same skin colour as you are mostly now low class people (the struggle is real, but if you're adept at exploiting opportunities this can be a huge boon for you too, as you get to feast freely on all the "gibs" provided by the white natives to assuage their internal guilt).

My elderly grandparents are American anti-racists. My grandfather is a veteran and the military circa the Korean War taught him antiracism. It stuck and he raised his kids that way.

Could you clarify a bit in particular on the term antiracism? It's a term currently used to describe a number of similar-but-very-different mindsets.