The gift my weirdo debate friends gave me

gavel

Tonight is the summer alumni debate of my philosophical debating group, and I’ve had an awkward time every time someone has asked me what we’re planning to debate. You see, our topic for the night is “R: Heighten the Contradictions,” which tends to throw people for a loop if they were expecting “R: Elect Obama” “R: Repeal the Death Penalty” or something like that.By the end of rationality camp, one of the things that stuck with me was how grateful I am to have been part of this debating circl … [Read more...]

Finding the right amount of unpleasantness

There's some very helpful feedback on the recent commenting/housekeeping/debate tactics post.  I'm going to highlight and briefly respond to a few people, and then hopefully we can get back to content-y posts to practice constructively commenting on!Emily wrote: I’m really wrestling with at what point I need to walk away from even reading comments here. The tone and mix of commenters has really changed a lot recently, and frankly, I think Adam’s right. I’m glad you’re writing in a measured a … [Read more...]

Clawing out of the Cesspool

princess bride quicksand

Thanks all for the mostly good behavior on the two preceding posts on queer issues.  I know I've got a fairly diverse audience, and it can be hard to negotiate different frames of reference without misinterpreting or even just taking offense at the wrong thing (and thereby missing the insult your sparring partner spent a while crafting!).After looking at comment thread in the last post, Adam Lee was pretty put off by what he termed the "cesspool of anti-gay hate" that bubbled up.  I can g … [Read more...]

What would someone have to say to you to get you to break up your family?

freaky friday

For your own good at that.This isn't a hypothetical question.  There are plenty of examples where we think this kind of intervention is acceptable or even necessary.  In decreasing order of urgency: an abusive spouse, two people who bring out the worst in each other, a couple that's stayed together out of inertia, the person you're with at the beginning of a romantic comedy, etc.But no matter how urgent the need for this conversation, most of us would recognize that this is a really trick … [Read more...]

I’m only writing once on Chik-fil-a

Seriously, I thought it was pronounced Chick-fil-uh.That's not the main reason I haven't posted on this topic (though it did mean I was kind of embarrassed when the subject came up among friends).   This just seems like a news story where there are only a couple things to be said, and most people are just repeating them (but with more and more vehemence).  Anyway, here's the selection of hackneyed thoughts I agree with, and then one probably not original one at the end. Don't use … [Read more...]

Conceding a Point is Not a Slippery Slope

I'm having a delightful time at Rationality Camp, and I have two LessWrong posts to recommend today: "Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Absence" and "Conservation of Expected Evidence."  (Read these first, I'm gesturing at them, but not summarizing below).  They start with this quote from Robyn Dawes's Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: Post-hoc fitting of evidence to hypothesis was involved in a most grievous chapter in United States history: the internment of Japanese-Americans at the b … [Read more...]

Comments Tab is Up (just after the nick of time)

Please-dont-feed-the-trolls

Thanks for your feedback on my draft of the comment policy. I've added it to the top navigation bar, but, it turns out I've added it one day too late.  One of the writers at Friendly Atheist took umbrage at commenter Gilbert saying this in reply to the post where I asked readers to chip in to help the SSA deal with DDoS attacks. Any chance of collecting the money on our side? ’cause I really don’t feel like giving the Puppy Kicking League my contact info and ending up on their permanent friend f … [Read more...]


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