r/SneerClub archives

[Marked NSFW because it’s not a sneer.]

Hi all,

I commented on another post here earlier today and all of the responses I got were genuinely kind and helpful, so I feel like this is an OK place to talk about this sort of thing. I know it’s not quite what the sub is about though so LMK/mods delete if inappropriate.

I first got into rationalism about 3-4 years ago via a friend in college showing me SSC. He’s still a rationalist type and works in finance now, but when I met him I felt like he was one of the first people I met that was “like me” in the way that he saw the world, and we talked occasionally about things like effective altruism and AI.

Before getting into rationalism but especially effective altruism, I spent a long, long time feeling like I had to fake a lot of my feelings about the world– pretending that I understand things like:

  • why someone would donate to a breast cancer research charity when dollar for dollar, there are many other ways that you could benefit people much more with your money, unless they had some specific connection to breast cancer and were donating to make themselves feel better,
  • why it would be morally wrong to ignore a child being harmed in front of you, but it’s not morally wrong to spend on a latte instead of donating that to a charity that helps prevent children being sold into slavery,
  • why people like dogs,
  • how much people genuinely care about other people being harmed, as opposed to whether we’ve all collectively agreed to pretend for reasons of social standing,
  • why anyone would see a relationship as anything other than reciprocal: we both benefit from each other’s presence and we both enjoy seeing the other person happy.

Rationalists, on the whole, would be willing to agree with many of these ideas, or at least consider them. Most “normal” people tend not to, and I would be afraid to talk about these things, but with rationalists I wasn’t afraid to discuss them. It felt freeing!

As I’ve become more and more aware with the issues with rationalism as time goes on, I’ve realized that I wasn’t looking for rationalism as much as I was looking to find people who shared my experience of the world. I have been to a psych many times for many reasons (my post history probably answers any questions you have) and diagnosed with everything from PTSD to bipolar, but one of my real problems is that I have low affective empathy and often have trouble relating to people.

Bold for emphasis: I didn’t need rationalists, I needed other neuroatypical people (“autism adjacent”??) with similar experiences. Not as my only friends– you need all kinds of friends– but to feel less alone.

TL;DR I was diagnosed with adult ADHD a couple years ago and think it might actually be autism instead (I know there’s a lot of overlap, and I’ve had different therapists say different things.) I am a trans man (so FtM) with a kind of “autist” personality type. I don’t excuse any of their bad behavior or racism, but I think that a lot of rationalists might be neuroatypical people looking for other folks with similar perspectives, in particular people with low affective empathy like myself.

Also, I thought I should clarify I don’t want to come off like I’m using low empathy as an excuse to behave like an asshole. I can still learn and practice empathy, and I can absolutely strive to be a good person regardless of my ability or inability to “feel what other people feel.”

Empathy is very complex and there’s been a lot of research on it, more than a layperson like me can really understand. I think the clearest way I can put it is I don’t have as much “gut feeling” empathy, but I can intellectually (lol, I feel silly typing that) understand why things are good and bad.

For what it’s worth, “feeling what others feel” is like the bog-standard ordinary folk-knowledge* definition of empathy, and isn’t really what a lot of people mean when they say there needs to be a push for greater empathy. What you are referring to is called “affective empathy”, and is one among many types and qualities of empathy. When this is the only understanding that people have of the concept of empathy, it is easy for them to dismiss the concept altogether if they don’t already have a good feelings/emotions intelligence (which most people don’t). Another type of empathy is “cognitive empathy” which could also be described as “perspective taking”: So for example when you are trying to communicate with somebody, instead of assuming that you already know what facts they know, or assuming what they believe, you go in with the open-mindedness to intend to fish out what the person actually knows and believes through a dialogue. Or instead of empathizing with what someone knows, you might empathize with their lived experience, by trying to take the perspective of how their life experiences naturally lead to that person coming to develop the opinions and values they hold (instead of assuming that their values are simply wrong or inscrutable). In Nonviolent Communication, which is based entirely on empathy, we get two additional flavors of empathy: First, empathizing with the fundamental humanity of another person, which means to recognize that a) you are both human, and b) because you are both human you have the similar types of needs and emotions that are naturally shared by all humans, in some degree or other, and specifically recognizing that you share the natural human need that all humans want to get their physical and emotional needs met. Second is the concept of “empathic listening” which means to simply sit and mindfully listen to what another person is saying in the moment, without judgement and without sitting there thinking about how you are going to respond to them (or about what you had for breakfast). This can be the practical route to develop both affective and cognitive empathy as a skillful means of communication. \* Aside: I don’t mean to sneer at so-called “ordinary knowledge”. It deserves a much higher respect in the pantheon of types of thinking alongside formal logic and emotional awareness.

Just out of curiosity and not trying to invalidate anyones experience here but there been a large influx of this type of posts, and we can’t tell whether this is happening because of increased visibility due to Scott putting a stick through his bicycle wheel or anything else - just trying to understand the phenomenon… what drew you here?

As far as the whole lattes and children in slavery and charities thing goes.

Imagine you have a village without money. You are enjoying your coffee at the local gathering place, you hear the Bob down the street has some children in the basement, some people go there get the situation resolved (no need to have everyone drop their coffee, it’s just one Bob, several big guys to help the village cop in case of trouble suffices) and somehow it all works out fine without the village having to forever give up the coffee.

The whole thing where unless you’re a bad person you have to live in a box and donate 100% to charity, is arranged via money. It doesn’t make sense otherwise; apart from certain activities (unnecessarily releasing CO2 by driving an oversized car or mining bitcoin for example), most activities are not exclusive of helping others, and most exchanges between two people (paying someone to make your coffee) aren’t taking form of paying someone who would otherwise be helping the village cop; the physical resources spent on what you are enjoying are not typically the resources necessary for freeing children.

With some important exceptions - take the CO2 releases and global warming worsening everything near the equator. But liberals are already highly concerned with it, and curiously, rationalists generally not as much.

Ultimately the correct solution to children in slavery thing is government action of various kinds, and there’s little that can be done by giving other people money hoping they are able to hire some kind of mercenaries or who knows what mechanism exactly is supposed to convert money into freed children (often, reduced to advocacy for donating more money). On an individual level that may be all you can do, but on the collective level that is the worst way to approach the problem.

edit: The solution to slavery requires the use of physical force, physical coercion, violence even. Buying slaves on the free market and freeing them, that isn’t a solution. Freeing slaves isn’t something you can easily do with . Enjoy your latte, but make sure no slave labor was involved in producing the coffee; making coffee really isn’t taking away from world’s ability or inability to enforce laws. There’s more than enough guns and bullets. There’s more than enough people trained in the use of weapons, doing, in a best case scenario, nothing. The world doesn’t need to be producing a little more cordite instead of a little more coffee to solve that problem. If it was world war 2, you’d probably be giving up a great deal more than a latte, because there wasn’t enough brass, aluminium, steel, but it isn’t WW2.

Thank you for this-- it's a good point about charity and personal responsibility. I'm pretty strongly convinced that climate change is one of the biggest issues we should be focusing on right now (both through charity and the government), but I'm not sure what the most effective way to go about it is... wish the government were responsible enough to be better at this sort of thing. Also to answer your question, what drove me to post here was thinking more about my political beliefs over the past few weeks in light of the Black Lives Matter protests (which I strongly support). I've been subscribed to this subreddit for about 6 months, just haven't posted much. That probably doesn't help explain the influx, though.
Climate change and black lives matter are greats example of where EA philosophy runs into limitations, the framework of only looking at the marginal contribution makes it inherently hard to evaluate mass movements. Both these issues require large, structural reforms, such as restructuring energy markets or massively reshaping the role of police in society, which requires sustained political pressure that is hard to quantify within the EA framework. I do think it's good to evaluate donations for effectiveness and to direct wealth to alleviating global poverty. I wish they had just stuck to that.
There's more dubious aspect to it too. Where it serves as reductio ad absurdum of living in a box. Sort of requirement overload. I think it's fine to be reasonably selfish, too. I think of the physical resources I "commandeer" by spending $ I get paid for working. Are any of those resources in shortage for combating child slavery? Not at all (although there is a CO2 impact). Not seeing a solid case then that I should give all of those physical resources up (other than for CO2 impact). And yet somehow this everything is fungible assumption requires i give up great many physical resources and live in a cardboard box, or else I just don't care. And said physical resources somehow almost all end up in the hands of other Americans, most of them well off. Or just go to waste. If I'm lucky and the charity is actually effective, some comparatively small amount of physical stuff gets shifted to third world, but the bulk of what I'd give up would stay right here and benefit someone else not in Africa. edit: and I am well aware that in theory say there's one less house built here and one more in Africa, but that's not how such things work out in practice since people's demand expands with lowered prices. I don't think you can actually do nearly as much as EA's estimate by living in a cardboard box. They're buying X, that can raise prices of X if its in limited supply, all sorts of hard to estimate effects on physical stuff even in straightforward seeming situations. edit: it's an easier case for the very rich, who aren't physically giving up much of anything, and who can direct very specifically that their cash is doing some obvious good like a malaria vaccine. Not quite sure this scales down to small guy giving up everything to live in a cardboard box, with all the ripple effects of his giving up everything.
As a leftist, I do believe that when a vast wealth or power disparity exists, there is some obligation for the haves to direct some percentage of their power to the have-nots. Ideally, this should take the form of dismantling the structure that leads to the inequalities in the first place, but even that is going to involve, in some ways, a transfer of wealth. I think it's eminently reasonable to expect well-off first-worlders to cough up some money, and there are [highly efficient](https://www.givedirectly.org/) ways to transfer the wealth.
I agree completely it just seems to me the network effects of an individual living in a cardboard box seem to be surprisingly local due to removed competition for land vs those not living in a cardboard box. I favor taxation and redistribution tbh. Contributing massively more than your neighbours results in disproportionate impact on the one contributing due to competitive nature of society. Like, the land you give up i’m pretty sure is primarily used for someone else to have a bigger house. (Edit: we do charitably donate to a third word charity btw. Definitely not to a simple utility maximization level with the cardboard box tho) Edit: Individual approach to it by non rich seem to be excessively punitive to the donors, i guess thats what i mean. You donate, that undercuts your standing vs the other firstworlders and hurts you on top of the intrinsic cost of giving away. Needs to be as much as possible a tax based effort. Im willing to give far more if everyone else is also giving.
Yeah, sounds like we are in agreement then! I definitely find it super embarrassing when people portray EA as the "only activism you need". There are so many issues that can never, ever be meaningfully solved through the actions of individual donors.
Also, when you buy the latte, you know exactly where the money is going, but with donating to charity, you really don't have a good guarantee the money will be used the way you anticipate. My friends in the nonprofit world have told me it's rife with incompetence and nepotism. Which is not to say one should never donate, but i imagine a lot of apathy towards donating is just skepticism. In general it's completely sensible to only spend money on things you have firsthand experience of.
Yeah, I primarily donate to a homeless charity I trust because I’ve heard they have a good reputation, and especially over the last ten years I’ve come to see homelessness in the UK as a particularly pressing issue that my donations can affect in a meaningful way. It’s something I know the issues over and therefore I have the epistemic background to properly evaluate effective and ineffective responses to. I’m much less sure about e.g. climate change which - while I know it’s the biggest thing that the planet at large is facing - I don’t have an on-the-ground working knowledge of who to donate to in order to challenge it. I *have* read EA stuff on this, but I find it generally not nearly as informative as it is presented as, and I’m deeply circumspect about the gap between what EA people *know* and what they *think they know* about which organisations are effectively run and working towards effective solutions, let alone the number of climate change stuff that’s tied up in poorly run corporate projects that serve primarily to enrich the already rich and powerful.
Yeah I also donate a lot only to causes I know that I know a lot about. The amount of research required is exhaustive, and there's no substitute for having personally volunteered. I think valuing the work of an NGO in a developing country as equivalent to a local charity shows more of a lack of common sense than a surfeit of emapthy. re massive structural inequalities like climate change, it's also very doubtful whether donating to NGOs is even the most effective method, period, as opposed to more direct action.
> What drew you here? [and why now?] While I had seen this sub mentioned many times over the years, it wasn't until the cancellation-paranoia got cranked to 11 that the frequency of mentions allowed me to correlate exactly what the sub was about. I'd always assumed it was a generic clone of /r/ShitRedditSays rather than a club specifically attuned to the rationalist community.
The Rat-o-sphere seems to have set up this sub as their Manichean alter ego (lol), so it makes a sort of sense that some folks would wander in to find Emmanuel Goldstein first thing once they've mentally checked out.
> what drew you here? I'm not the OP, but I think I'm maybe in a similar position to him. This is also my first post on this subreddit. I've been lurking here for the past few days trying to understand everything. I have a high degree of certainty that I am on the autism spectrum (turns out adult diagnosis is really expensive), and I'm also a big fan of Scott Aaronson because he's able to explain advanced scientific concepts in a way that I can understand them. I believe Scott Aaronson is on the spectrum as well, so that probably influences why I can relate to him so easily. Politically I think I'm pretty similar to the people in this subreddit. I think capitalism is obviously unsustainable and we needed to start phasing it out like several yesterdays ago, and most of the problems in the world (climate change, wealth inequality) directly stem from our refusal to repair the sinking ship. I'm not really much of a blog guy, I actually only follow Scott Aaronson's. So I had never heard of Scott Alexander or SSC until Scott Aaronson's blog post a few days ago. And ever since that blog post (and the previous one about Steve Hsu), I've been trying to figure out why both of these groups of people who I feel "part of" have seemingly gone to war with each other. I'm also out of my element a bit in trying to understand parts of the squabble. I haven't taken any philosophy classes so I had to go with the Google definition of rationalism and I still can't really understand what's so objectionable about rationalists or how one even gets labeled as a rationalist. So that's why I'm here. Just trying to make sense of everything. It's like mommy and daddy are fighting and I feel a bit stuck in the middle. I'm also concerned that this is yet another instance of a progressive movement going in the completely wrong direction if they're actually trying to enact any sort of positive societal change. I could be wrong, and maybe the "attacks" on people like Steve Hsu, Scott Alexander, and Scott Aaronson are justified. I'm just not seeing it yet. Maybe I should just launch /r/SneerClubSneerClub. (Edit: Oops, someone beat me to it) Because to me, I just see no use in going after the 5% racist liberal science guy instead of the 80% racist conservative guy. Maybe that's just the evil rationalist in me speaking, though. Also this whole "thing" is related in a strange way. One of the barriers to socialism and communism is the immense amount of [organizational effort](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn) that it requires to enact and keep afloat. That means a lot of organizational and optimizational math, and that's a type of math that classical computers just aren't very good at. If we someday create my vision of an ideal society that combines technology and compassion into a form of government and economy that works for all people equally, we'll probably be very reliant on the same technology that people like Scott Aaronson are working to develop. Edit: Fixed one word.
Just fyi, going with the dictionary definition of 'rationalism' to figure out what rationalism is, is wrong. Capital R Rationalism isn't rationalist, it is more lesswrong inspired thinking. For a better explanation I think it is prob best to link to [rationalwiki](https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/LessWrong). (Which of course also isn't rational). > 5% racist liberal science guy And just like how Rationalism/rationalwiki isn't rational in the dictionary definition sense, and it is just a name people gave themselves, we are afraid that people who say they are '5% racist liberal science guys' are actually 'race science guys' pretending to be liberal science guys. The fact that nobody (except for Yud) even seems to support BLM is a bad sign, and perhaps it is because in their heart of hearts they secretly believe racism is over and BLM is just [a powergrab by progressives](https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=4870#comment-1846513) (specific example here is about Scott Aaronson, but there are also examples of the other Scott saying similar things). And that is why they are more likely to befriend and talk to various groups of far right weirdos (no matter if they call themselves NRx, HBD, race realists, white identitarians/nationalists, 'just realists', anti-SJWs etc), and these far right extremists know they can just say their say, as long as they aren't openly anti-semetic, as the Rationalists value acting nice over not being a racist. And a lot of Rationalists have some issues with empathy/compassion, and cant see that something is mean when it doesn't apply to them. With Rationalists it always seems like charity is applied towards the right (rationalized by 'well the mainsteam culture is already super ~~culturally marxist~~ leftwing, so we can use some pushback against the left). For an nice example of this, see Scott defending Hsu's interactions with racists by going 'Hsu just wants to breed high-IQ superbabies' (To be charitable, lets ignore the eugenicist undertones, and the ethics problems of that for that for now). You don't have to be friends with a holocaust ~~denier~~ revisionist to do research into [Uberbabies](https://i.ytimg.com/vi/_ot14zWqmRs/hqdefault.jpg). Just as you don't have to be a vice president to do that research). Not that I think in my heart of hearts that Scott is a racist btw, I just think he is misinformed about the social justice thing, and set in his anti-sjw ways due to trauma. I would be a lot less worried about these people being secretly racist if they actually managed to honestly adress the concerns people have, and not just pick the worst strawmans every time. (People are now defending Scott Alexander from being a neo-nazi for example, which is weird as that isn't the central claim, and it is double weird as steelmanning (take the best possible variant of somebodies argument) is supposed to be a Rationalist thing). 'Wow this person in power seems to hold eugenicist views, is friends with fascists, and refuses to apologize for them when confronted in reacts with threats of lawsuits instead, we should remove him from power' gets the 'This is just like the Stalin purges' reaction. And it is all a bit of a weird whataboutism, it isnt like people are also already going after the openly 80% racist guys, but that is a bit hard at times because for some reason '5% racist liberal science guys' feel a need to defend the '80% racist conservative guys'. And we know the '5% racist liberal science guy' is against the '80% racist guy', because he blogs about how much he disagrees with '80% racist guy' every time they have lengthy private correspondence. Meanwhile, discussing Marx on the blog is supporting Stalin, so your are likely to be banned if you do that. Now of course, I could be wrong, I might be overly paranoid, but I don't get the constant need for the Rationalists to understand and defend the far right, and the lack of need for them to understand and defend the progressive left. And that is why I don't trust them (there are a lot more things btw, it is a constant pattern). If you are into US politics, it is a bit like going 'why are progressives going after Nancy Pelosi, she is a democrat, she is on the progressives side'. But is she? Really? (Fyi, im Dutch, following US politics is a weird hobby). Also there are a lot of ways people imagine socialism/communism to work, not all of them require a huge planned economy, but that is a different discussion which I don't want to go into. And as a warning, Sneerclub is a pretty weird community, which in fact requires you to understand quite a few weird things about Rationalists up front. A lot of weird things only make sense if you have read some Rationalist stuff and some sneerclub stuff, or have encountered it often enough. Stuff like 'dying wizard' 'meta/object level' 'dark arts' 'HPMOR' 'HBD/Race Realism' 'decoupling' 'Neoreactionaries/NRx' 'Untitled'(*) 'Rokos basilisk' 'we have noticed the skulls'. So if you don't get what is going on, don't be aware that we are all operating at high level of understanding of Rationalism/Lesswrong weirdness. [insert joke about operating thetan levels here]. Also, be aware that Sneerclub isn't a 'good faith' club (not is it a bad faith club), sometimes titles of posts are attempts at comedic exaggerations, and sometimes it is 'wtf they literally said that, what is wrong with ... etc'. Context and reading of links is important. *: Esp untitled btw, you cant get the saga of the scotts if you dont understand the origin story which is untitled. e2: A good example of what is wrong with the community [is this 'things themotte likes/dislikes' questionaire](https://imgur.com/ynZWa8F). Motters love to point out that richard spencer is on the bottom. But they fail to notice that several things Spencer believes such as, IQ differences of the races, Eugenics, The west is in decline, are high up there. Hell Moldbug is more popular than trans rights. And in retrospect so many of them liking Dominic Cummings is a nice piece of irony, considering well ... the skulls. (This is also why so many defenses of ssc/themotte weirdly talk about Spencer, who isn't that relevant here) (Of course, themotte is only a small part of what we sneer at and isn't really Rationalist (but for some reason Scott keeps supporting it))
Wow that was very TL;DR: Sorry, I tend to get caught up in these weird rants. To @op, I think I might have some form of ADD, sorry if I im not contributing to your valuable NSFW post here (I'm also not good at doing personal interactiony stuff). Anyway, on topic of the post by Reikero, even if you disagree with everything said here, and just don't read my rant. Please take away one thing, no matter how often Scott accuses us of it. We Are Not Jocks.
I mean, there's like two dozen people here who shoot the shit regularly, and a few hundred of low-post-volume lurkers. It's weird to see this sub held up as the nemesis of anything.
> It's weird to see this sub held up as the nemesis of anything. Really? Because the sub seems actively hostile to a few select individuals. You could say that doesn't make sense and I'd agree, that's exactly what I've been trying to understand. [For example](https://www.reddit.com/r/SneerClub/comments/881e0s/in_which_our_favorite_scott_aaronson_talks_about/).
What I mean is that the sub is the internet equivalent of the smoke shack behind the campus pub. Why get so upset that a bunch of nerds like us laugh at ya'll in the privacy of our clubhouse? I say this as a fan of Scott Aa. from way back when he wasn't banging in about *all of this.* Edit: Why did you link to a 2 year old post with zero updoots?
> Why get so upset that a bunch of nerds like us laugh at you? I think it's normal for anyone to get upset when people start singling them out like that. Especially in the case of Steve Hsu, since the campaign against him has affected his career. I think this is *especially* true of people on the spectrum. I don't want to pretend like I know how Scott Aaronson's brain works (or anyone else's), but I can explain things from my own perspective. It's always been difficult (if not impossible) for me to gauge other peoples' opinions of me. In other words, I can't really tell if people like me or hate me. And this uncertainty has made me become very paranoid, and I think any sort of "negative energy" that is aimed in my direction just becomes amplified by this thing that my brain lacks. In other words, I tend to take offense to a lot of things that other people would just laugh off. I'll then respond in an attempt to appeal to reason and persuade that person to like me instead of disliking me (which I find illogical). But these kinds of people tend not to care much about logic, which ends up with me looking like an even bigger fool. My entire brain feels completely ruled by logic, so the whole interaction is very difficult for me to comprehend. So I think people who think like myself just become very easy bully targets since we lack social skills that would allow us to maneuver through these situations more adeptly. Was there an issue with some of Steve Hsu's comments? Yeah sure, probably. Even if there are studies that show no difference between cop v. black or cop v. white shootings, you could argue that the studies themselves are flawed by reporting. It's hard to really discuss without knowing the particular studies Hsu was referencing. But were those comments worth a "cancel campaign?" I don't think so. My personal theory is that there are a lot of leftists/progressives/marxists (whatever label you prefer) who are very frustrated by the lack of progress in their movement, which has caused some of them to start lashing out at "easier targets" but not necessarily sensible targets. It feels like affecting Steve Hsu's career is dealing some sort of blow against the tyranny of racism, but it's really not. It's hardly scratching it.
But your brain is not ruled by logic. By your own admission, you don't understand when people think something's laughable, and when they think it needs to be destroyed at any cost. Your brain lacks empirical data on how fine-grained the spectrum of other people's reactions are. > It feels like affecting Steve Hsu's career is dealing some sort of blow against the tyranny of racism, but it's really not. It's hardly scratching it. Yes, we're fully aware that Steve Hsu is just one racist guy, out of many. He still deserves criticism and censure for being friendly with racists.
Let me come back and give this a real answer in a bit. There is a lot to untangle.
> Especially in the case of Steve Hsu, since the campaign against him has affected his career. You're implying that his career being affect is bad, when it clearly isn't, and it should have been affected long ago. > But were those comments worth a "cancel campaign?" I don't think so. Then you are wrong, and probably need to read up more on the whole issue. > It feels like affecting Steve Hsu's career is dealing some sort of blow against the tyranny of racism, but it's really not. It's hardly scratching it. This is purest disingenuous whataboutism.
You guys don't have to keep responding. I already got the message after the first few replies that this is just a hate sub pretending to care about racism and progressive matters.
You don't have to keep stanning for Steve Hsu of all the fucking people, and yet here we are on Reddit.
I never once stanned for Steve Hsu. In fact I said more than once already that I never even heard of the guy until the drama spilled over to Scott Aaronson's blog. I came here specifically to get a better understanding on the whole situation. I didn't want to support Scott Aaronson if he was supporting a racist. I think my intentions have been crystal clear. The fact that everyone was so quick to paint me as the enemy for simply trying to collect information on this topic is exactly why I concluded that the people who post on this subreddit aren't actually interested in racial justice. It's just yet another sad group of people on the internet looking for any excuse to hatemob and "cancel" someone.
So did you read a word about the situation other than Aaronson and here?
Fuck off.
/r/SneerClub goes after a subset of people belonging or indirectly attached to a certain sub-culture called “rationalist” It’s members have lives *outside* /r/SneerClub where we do things like - in my case anyway - going after fascists and all sorts The fact that so fucking many people (and I can’t emphasise enough, ***SO MANY FUCKING PEOPLE***) don’t understand that this is the case is absolutely fucking astonishing
> It’s members have lives outside /r/SneerClub where we do things like - in my case anyway - going after fascists and all sorts. The fact that so fucking many people (and I can’t emphasise enough, SO MANY FUCKING PEOPLE) don’t understand that this is the case is absolutely fucking astonishing It's astonishing because it's not a true fact. I don't think anyone believes that the posters on this subreddit are not humans with lives outside of this subeddit. That would be absurd, and I don't think I ever claimed anything that could even be misconstrued to mean that.
But in the very comment to which I’m replying you ask why not focus on people other than e.g. Hsu > Because to me, I just see no use in going after the 5% racist liberal science guy instead of the 80% racist conservative guy. Maybe that's just the evil rationalist in me speaking, though. That would be a nonsensical question if you didn’t think that people were devoting their time to one at the exclusion of the other My conclusion is, therefore, that you think people don’t do *other* things than go after the “5% racist liberal science guy”, because of this binary false choice you’ve just set up
> Because to me, I just see no use in going after the 5% racist liberal science guy instead of the 80% racist conservative guy. Maybe that's just the evil rationalist in me speaking, though. The 80% racist conservative guy isn't changing many minds. If you want to actually promote racism or misogyny to new people, near optimal action is to write thoughtful seeming stuff and insert racial "micro-aggressions" into them (which are btw not all that micro at all, they merely may seem micro if you aren't the target. Imagine it wasn't blacks and it wasn't women imagine it was 2 groups you belong to, I don't think you'd see it as 5% then). While at it, link the 80% racist guys from your blogroll so people know where to go for further radicalization. Also have a plenty of the 88% guys on your forum to take over the conversion. Which is precisely the thing that was happening. To the dot. A "free peach" bubble that is very rightwing, at the time when rightwing is at its least popular in the US due to numerous faceplants vs real issues from covid to maintaining peace. That doesn't happen all by itself. And claiming that it did, it's a part of the scheme - convince that the view is really really popular (its not). That isn't a new phenomenon. It usually ends in masks off joining the 80% crowd. edit: Also, would you say that one person who writes 95% of the time about whatever random topics and 5% of the time promotes Trump 2020 isn't a republican? Of course they are a republican! Well, promoting Trump 2020 is not so bad, actually. Nobody's accusing Scott Alexander of that, he can stand along with millions of others if that was what he was doing. Promoting discrimination against blacks due to their supposedly lower innate intelligence (plus the whole "priors" thing) is way, way worse. And that's what he does.

The way the leading rationalists seem to hook new people in reminds me a lot of “love bombing,” a common cult tactic whereby someone who is socially isolated and feeling down is bombarded with warm fuzzies by the cult group, making a sort of implied promise that the target will get more if they join up. Rationalism, as a movement, seems to have perfected targeting folks with our sorts of backgrounds.


“Oh you’re having a bad day? Well we think that you are a genius, and btw congratulations on your huge dong! Would you like to talk about robots and read the pamphl…uh blog posts our glorious founder wrote for these occasions?”

There are several survivor stories in the archives stories here, and they are harrowing. See also how they roped in Scott Aa. after he accidentally attracted the Internet Inquisition. External examples include showing up unannounced at an evangelical church, Scientology function, MLM gathering, etc.

I'm still processing the revelation that Scott and Scott were not friends before untitled. Like I would have totally disagreed with your love bombing thing if I had not read that.
I hear ya. I dont think we'd be discussing Scott Aa. at all if he hadn't gotten picked up on as a target for that week's issue of performative outrage digest. Cults scoop you up when you're low, and that was that.
If you like having your worldview DESTROYED with FACTS and LOGIC, I can present an argument that rationalism is largely congruent to scientology Edit: i said largely, I meant exactly.

here we sneer at a particular manifestation of tech cult/white supremacist/misogynist thinking, not at their victims. of course, like all cowards, they work hard to recruit the vulnerable and to ensure they bear the brunt of any negative outcomes. it bears remembering. thanks for your post.

*here we sneer*

ADHD person here.

There are subs that focus on neurodiversity that aren’t as messed up as SSC, or at least, not messed up in the same ways. Likewise, there might be meetup groups in your area. I’m not sure if we can help you specifically, as we’re not really a support oriented social space.

Have you read much Captain Awkward? It’s an advice site. They have meetups. You might find some connections there.


Thank you! I had never heard of it so I appreciate the link. I def don't expect help from you guys (r/sneerclub I mean), this isn't the place for that. I mostly just wanted to share it as a perspective on rationalism and a way people might be getting caught up in the rationalist community before realizing its issues. I'm sorta preaching to the choir here. 😂

Insightful stuff ITT. I think this thread is woven up into a whole array of ideas about the relation between neuroanatomy and thought, and is eminently worth pulling on. Thanks for starting such an interesting conversation, OP

A lot of people right now are confusing polarized, moralistic (black and white) thinking with the kind of literal thinking autistic people have. I’ve heard a lot of people in EA have polarized thinking traits. It doesn’t mean they have personality disorders in the sense of maladaptive coping, but it does raise the likelihood significantly. Ozy Frantz talks about this as scrupulosity and relates it to a kind of moralistic OCD. e.g. https://thingofthings.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/in-which-ozy-despite-not-being-a-scott-a-adopts-their-habit-of-long-blog-posts-concerning-feminism-and-nerds/

Lol…this sub. Being a rationalist isn’t a political stance, it’s just being open to fact based debate rather than the interpretative art of post modern circle jerking. So yeah, some folks are more wrong. Just debate them. If thier stance is actually racist they aren’t being rational as the facts are agianst them. I rarely see anything that is actually racist over there that isn’t challenged. If you think you have found the truth it’s sad you don’t share your rational fact based arguements with the rest of the class.

>Being a rationalist isn't a political stance, it's just being open to fact based debate rather than the interpretative art of post modern circle jerking... [https://i.redd.it/tw2dpcsx71l11.jpg](https://i.redd.it/tw2dpcsx71l11.jpg)
The only way to make it better is if the third frame happened in a Wendy's.
[Let me in I just wanna debate](http://leftycartoons.com/2019/05/06/debate-us-you-cowards/)