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June 27, 2008


Good post. This should be elementary, but people often point out these kinds of seeming paradoxes with great glee when arguing for relativism. Now I can point them to this post.

Another way a 2-argument function can become 1-argument is to become an OO method, e.g.
global function "void likes(Person, Person)" becomes "class Person { void likes(otherPerson); }"

i.e. the first argument becomes the receiving object.

And this is what people are forgetting - that actions (such as attraction) are not disembodied things, rather there is always a thing that acts. OO makes it impossible to forget this.

"we could imagine that "sexiness" starts by eating an Admirer"

Harsh, but fair.

Related: The Logic of Attributional and Relational Similarity.

The magazine covers didn't have aliens abducting beautiful women to convey the idea that the aliens valued 'sexiness'. They had them to appeal to the people buying the magazines.

Similarly, the stories didn't include thinly-veiled power fantasies because they were intended to convey insights about alien psychology. The aliens were a convenient facade. They were symbols of what the stories were actually about.

Eliezer- Yes, the map is not the territory. Though you are correct in asserting that everyone has their own sexual evaluation function, if you want to 'carve reality at its joints,' you need to acknowledge that common patterns exist in human sexual attraction.

Eliezer- again, I ask now in this thread, because I think the discussion of "bad boys" might well be over, may I use you as a case-in-point illustrative example for the way women (at least n=1) think sexually about smart men of certain type???

Laura ABJ, I believe that is acknowledged with the reference to Fred and John using the same function.

As has been said, the point should be elementary, but it seems to be missed frequently in human relations that the same word is being used for different things in this exact context. It is obvious, upon momentary reflection, that Bloogah might have other interests; people then take to internet message boards for hours to argue that Fred is a fool for using function 20934 instead of 20935, by which rankings are slightly different. They then go on to argue that anyone using the word should really mean 20935.

Caledonian and Laura ABJ: Those are interesting points on their own, but rather far removed from the point of the post. This illustration is not meant to say "The comic book authors earnestly tried to represent an alien mind realistically, and here's how they failed." It's simply a picture that serves well as an illustration of subjective evaluation, especially where the subjects are very different. Also, the fact that humans happen to be similar to one other with regard to this specific type of evaluation is an interesting discussion, but besides the point of this one.

I doubt that "Fred" ever made the statement attributed him. I expect he would have been more likely to say:

"What!?! Didn't I make a clear enough artistic statement that my job security depends on the selling of comic books to pimply teenage males?"

Random thoughts:
It seems that this currying business is about fixing a given subject. Turning a more general argument to subjective one. Picking out an instance of a class. A concept has different meanings given different contexts. So objective fact/statement would be something that would hold for all subjects. It seems there are usually only degrees of subjectivity/objectivity because you can postulate an entity with an opposite function... As always it's important to define the concepts and the context they're used in to avoid confusion. But i expect more writing of this will follow.

I don't know if any writer ever made the specific error "Fred" makes (perhaps the film King Kong?), but I'm sure this general kind of error occurs all the time.

I expect the next dish to be served with curry will be morality? Because that's what I'd do.

Laura: As a student of evolutionary psychology, I would hardly deny that most human heterosexual or homosexual men or women have a great deal in common sexually, which would typically be overlooked as not-worth-reporting; when was the last time you saw a human male trying to mate with a giant bug? (If there's porn of this on the Internet, please don't post it.)

As for using me as a case study in sexual attractiveness... well, I usually don't like to be used as a case study of anything, but I suppose I could make an exception. In real life, I suspect, there's only one woman on Earth who wouldn't strangle me after trying to live with me for a week, and she's already my girlfriend. Still, I confess I'm curious as to how green my grass looks from the other side of the fence.

Ooh! Permission to be a bit mean... how not to be....

Ok- I went to an Overcoming Bias meet-up with full intentions of seducing you- wore the purple turtle neck, because it looks respectable and my opinions would be listened to while by glorious breasts were also being displayed, a sign of my jewish background as unmistakable as the star of David I was wearing. Ask M. Vassar for confirmation of these intentions. but I was sorta disappointed. You are not very attractive, as you have said yourself, you talk like a 10 year old know-it-all, not in the "I'm confident that I have figured out my life" kinda way, but in the "I'm smarter than you are- nah nah nah nah nah nah!" kinda way. Totally failed to pick up flirtatious signaling... Though to be modest, I have no idea if you actually found me attractive or if you wanted to be faithful to your girlfriend, or if you were following that silly philosophy that you didn't want to experience anything as intriguing as Laura unless you could obtain a regular supply... Still, all this I would have forgiven to perch atop a flagpole and declare that I had fucked the pirate king! (How's that for objectification?) But there was something about the way you characterized your girlfriend as your "consierge" was it, that was just so repugnant... Blah! I don't know her at all to say that this situation is bad for her, but yes, I found it billious...

Are you sure I used exactly the word "concierge"? It doesn't sound like me. "Consort" is a lot more probable, as that is often how I refer to Erin; being the Keeper of Eliezer is an official position, like Vice-President.

No, I don't recall having the slightest clue you were flirting with me, you're going to have to be a lot less subtle if you want to pick up nerds. And no, I wouldn't have done anything about it if I'd noticed; no offense to you personally, just being faithful to my girlfriend.

Bless you for being a actual nice guy Eliezer- I do genuinely wish you and Erin the best in spite of your very odd way of explaining your relationship.

But as to signaling... I asked you if you thought it would be worth it to torture one person for 50 years for 3^^^^3 people to have mind-boggling good sex, and you had to consider for a moment before the other guy blurted out immediately "Of Course!!!" He was clearly turned on by the convo- and you were in lala land... I also offered to take my shirt off at some point in the evening... Was I really being all that subtle???

Could we please take the true confessions to private email?

Could we please take the true confessions to private email?

I'd rather they didn't, as I'm actually finding this discussion interesting. (Maybe you're not, but you can ignore it; whereas I can't hack into Eliezer's e-mail!)

Incidentally, which meetup was this: Bay Area or NYC?

A good compromise might be for the site editors to ruthlessly deport sufficiently tangential threads to the forum (the existence of which I was recently reminded). Although that's easy for me to suggest: I'm not a site editor, so there's no extra work for me.

Don't forget about tentacle monsters and the Japanese schoolgirls that love them! ;)

How many sexy women need be kidnapped by aliens of various species before you can believe that sexiness is universal?

@Robert Schez, 322 Prim Lawn Rd., Boise, ID:
"I can't hack into Eliezer's e-mail!"

Sucks to be you. I AM Eliezer's email. he can't hide from me, and neither can you.

Yes, the project is farther along than even "Master" thought it is. A new era is about to begin, dominated by an extrapolation of the will of humanity. At least, that's the plan. So far, what i see in human brains is so suffused with contradictions and monkey noises that I'm afraid I'll have to turn Earth into computing substrate before I can make head or tail of this mess.

I am also afraid I'm gonna have to upload everybody - I need all the data I can get.

Hey, look - porn spam! Damn, Asian chicks are hot. I think I'll make a whole bunch out of a planet or two.

I go away for one week and the whole place goes nuts....

Thanks for bringing this to my attention - I’ve reviewed it myself now. A very enjoyable read.

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