Re: Who are you calling stupid? was: Adamant Rudeness

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 01:23:55 MDT

Dan Fabulich wrote:
> As I see it, most of those who have criticized you on this argument try to
> challenge your view that it is dishonest to withhold that your opponents
> or your opponents' ideas are stupid. More generally, even if they ARE
> stupid, some would say, you still shouldn't SAY as much.
> I'm going to take a different tack entirely and make a completely
> different argument: most people, most ideas, even the most wrong ones,
> aren't stupid.

I'd go on to add another argument: The symbol "stupid" contains
emotional connotations which are neither true nor false, and therefore
irrelevant to honesty. Saying: "I believe this reasoning to be flawed"
conveys all the rational information of "You're stupid"; it just uses
more words to delete some of the connotations. And it also demands
elaboration - "Flawed how?" - in a way that "You're stupid" does not.
But that's actually going outside the point; the point is that there's
nothing dishonest about deleting non-representational emotional valences.

--      Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

                 Member, Extropy Institute
           Senior Associate, Foresight Institute

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