Posts published by: M. Taylor Saotome-Westlake

Teleology

"I mean, if that explanation actually makes you feel happier, then fine."

"Feeling happier isn't what explanations are for. Explanations are for predicting our observations.

"Emotions, too, are functional: happiness measures whether things in your life are going well or going poorly, but does not constitute things going well, much …

Book Review: Charles Murray's Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class

This is a pretty good book about things we know about some ways in which people are different from each other, particularly differences in cognitive repertoires (Murray's choice of phrase for shaving nine syllables off "personality, abilities, and social behavior"). In my last book review, I mentioned that I had …

The Reverse Murray Rule

In the notes to his Real Education, Charles Murray proposes a convention for third-person singular pronouns where the sex of the referent is unknown or irrelevant—

As always, I adhere to the Murray Rule for dealing with third-person singular pronouns, which prescribes using the gender of the author or principal …

Don't Read the Comments??

Historically, The Scintillating But Ultimately Untrue Thought has not provided a comment section. There were two reasons for this.

First, technical limitations, downstream of technical æsthetics. There are standard out-of-the-box blogging hosts—your WordPress, your Medium, &c.—that are easy for anyone to use, at the cost of taking control …

Book Review: Cailin O'Connor's The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution

This is a super-great book about the cultural evolutionary game theory of gender roles! (And also stuff like race and religion and caste, I guess, but I'm ignoring that because I haven't gotten around to broadening the topic scope of this blog yet.) I am unreasonably excited about this book …

More Schelling

(Previously.)

[A mediator] can influence the other players' expectations on his own initiative, in a manner that both parties cannot help mutually recognizing. When there is no apparent focal point for agreement, he can create one by his power to make a dramatic suggestion. [...]

The white line down the center …

Comp

(-romise, -ensation)

(epistemic status: shitposting)

Some radical feminists complain that males body-modding to become facsimiles of women is appropriation. They're obviously correct, but the claim doesn't seem strong enough to override the right to bodily autonomy. The Law in its majesty finds a precedent in the archives of copyright law …

Promises I Can Keep

"I think if you show any indications of being an egg, you need to marry someone who's OK with you eventually transitioning. Not because you necessarily will want to transition, but because it's likely enough that you need to plan for it."

"I probably don't actually disagree. Keeping promises is …

"I Want to Be the One"

This life is not to last and it awaits apotheosis
And the passerby all sipping on their Monday coffee know this
Their stumbling through their week
Contrasts the path by which I seek
A practical ambition
For a special type of girl
I want to be the one who writes …

On the Argumentative Form "Super-Proton Things Tend to Come In Varieties"

"[...] Between one and the infinite in cases such as these, there are no sensible numbers. Not only two, but any finite number, is ridiculous and can't exist."

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

Eliezer Yudkowsky Tweets (back in March), linking to a Quillette interview with Lisa Littman (positer of "rapid …

Political Science Epigrams

If your policy is, "We don't negotiate with terrorists, but we do appease bears", then from the perspective of a third party fighting a war against the bears, you look like a productive asset being farmed by the bears, and thus, a legitimate military target.

If your behavior is optimized …