Re: Who are you to take it easy on Samantha?

Date: Mon Oct 29 2001 - 14:01:05 MST

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> There are a very few people who are down on my list as "hit them as hard
> as you like, you won't accidentally shatter their psyche". Being on that
> list is a deep compliment, and I try very hard to get on others' versions
> of that list.
> Samantha Atkins is on the list. She can hold her own - against the entire
> list, if necessary - because, like Anders Sandberg and Nick Bostrom... and
> myself... and others... she's made a deliberate study of rationality.
> Look to your own mental integrity, not to hers.

Are we discussing reasonable thinking or emotional outbursts? I don't care if someone gets angry. This doesn't make him irrational. It just makes him thin skinned or impassioned about his views. And, just because someone is intelligent and discusses issues calmly, doesn’t make the person a clear thinker. Wouldn’t you say a person who is intelligent about a topic and is well-mannered (not attacking in debates) might not be an irrational in his premise? (I'm laughing because a number of folks who come to might very quickly.) And, many folks who haven't the faintest clue about the theories of rationality are rational.

While I think that an objective understanding of opinions must be dealt with directly, sometimes those who seem to have rationality under their belts may be less than rational in person. Also, let it be known that people who seem rational on certain subjects are irrational and sometimes overly emotional as well on other subjects. I have witnessed Eli's emotional reactions when hit hard by others who question his methods or motivations. Does this make me think that Eli is irrational. No, it makes me realize that his life experiences have not given him certain opportunities to explore his emotions under certain circumstances fully. People need to be pushed to explore, discover and develop themselves in varied circumstances. This is what life does.

Some people who have made a deliberate study of rationality can be temperamental if pushed hard enough. Studying rationality and hands-on developing the behavior of responding calmly and are two entirely different issues.

I tend to judge one's level of behavior under pressure - real life pressure. I'm at the top of my own list. In discussing issues on a topic I am knowledgeable about, such as art and someone telling me art sucks or there is no need for art, I tend to questions his or her motivations and reach for some level of communication. If the person is simply experiencing a sacred cow, I usually ignore the hit.

Politics and religion can easily be emotional topics, not irrational topics. How we respond to the rising temperatures signifies whether we are levelheaded or reactionary. I’m not sure I would call the people rational or irrational unless the substance of their debate (ideas) were plain ignorant.

Regarding Sam, she expresses herself intelligently and articulately. She is also emotional, I like this passionate thinking. I don't think that those who disagree with her views are irrational.

I do see some sacred cows milling around, however.


mail2web - Check your email from the web at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:16 MDT