Posts published by: M. Taylor Saotome-Westlake

More Schelling


[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 …


(-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 …

Does General Intelligence Deflate Standardized Effect Sizes of Cognitive Sex Differences?

Marco del Guidice1 points out2 that in the presence of measurement error, standardized effect size measures like Cohen's d will underestimate the "true" effect size.

The effect size d tries to quantify the difference between two distributions by reporting the difference between the distributions' means in standardized units …

The Social Construction of Reality and the Sheer Goddamned Pointlessness of Reason

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way …

The Source of Our Power

"I really don't think you're rationally considering how to maximize your contribution to rationality pedagogy and deciding it runs through freaking out about transgender and maybe abandoning the movement in disgust."

"Almost no one's optimal contribution to rationality pedagogy runs through freaking out about transgender; I just think it's plausible …


The Scintillating But Ultimately Untrue Thought is going on hiatus until 1 July while the author recovers from a broken heart and a shattered faith in humanity; there will be no new posts in May and June. But don't touch that subscription—we'll be back in two months with more …

Use It or Lose It

It's been remarked upon that popular positions are often supported with weak arguments, because people aren't in the habit of having to defend them. I think there's a distinct but related time-dependent effect on advocates of sufficiently unpopular positions. At first, the advocate of the unpopular position grows more sophisticated …

Interlude XVI

"But like, maybe a better strategy than pretending not to notice that women are a different thing that I don't understand, might be to try to listen to them, and learn from them, and appropriate the good parts of what they have without literally insisting that we're instances of the …