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Jun 01 2014

Clearly, the only reasonable diagnosis is that Libertarians are mentally ill

As long as we’re diagnosing mental illness from angry manifestos on the internet, that is. This rant from Stefan Molyneux is NSFW, but apparently the Rodger mental state is widespread among the leaders of Libertarianism.

115 comments

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  1. 1
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Again, maybe, but even if so, it isn’t the problem that we as a society are dealing with. Diagnosis: Privileged Entitled Asshole . That’s the problem.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    Also, if you want to know more about this kook, google “defoo”.

  3. 3
    Al Dente

    I googled “defoo”. A story in the website Stefan Molyneux Revealed explains about defoo:

    “FOO” is the Family of Origin. DeFOO means departing the FOO. A Defoo is different from the occasional, young adult ‘get me out of here’ break up. A defoo is a Molyneux invention that is based on an axiom and a perversion. The axiom: adult relationships, including relationships between adult family members, are voluntary. The Perversion: Molyneux is quoted in the Guardian newspaper: “Deep down I do not believe that there are any really good parents out there – the same way that I do not believe there were any really good doctors in the 10th century.”

  4. 4
    PZ Myers

    Speaking of Canadian libertarians, Justin Trottier is getting weird again.

  5. 5
    Hank_Says

    Well, crikey, I’m glad noone employing the Internet DSM (Derailing Strategies for Misogynists) read my high school diaries; I’d’ve been diagnosed and locked in the bin, sure as shit sticks when you smear it.

  6. 6
    stevenjohnson2

    Demagogy pandering to superstitions and socially engendered neuroses is still crazy talk, even if the speaker is personally gaining from it.

    It is commonly accepted that unless meant to escape a torturous death, suicide is reasonable grounds for suspecting mental illness.

  7. 7
    dobber

    I thought libertarianism was all about personal responsibility. According to his rant, women are responsible for everything. Poor men are helpless to influence their own realities. What should be done? Should the government intervene? Clearly the market’s not solving this gigantic social problem.

  8. 8
    Hank_Says

    @7, dobber:

    I thought libertarianism was all about personal responsibility. According to his rant, women are responsible for everything. Poor men are helpless to influence their own realities. What should be done? Should the government intervene? Clearly the market’s not solving this gigantic social problem.

    The Market isn’t solving the problem because the Market isn’t free enough.

    Free the Market completely, let it make all the decisions, trust in it absolutely and all deserving hard-working boot-strappers will be uplifted and enriched; all undeserving sap-sucking parasites will be cast down and consigned to oblivion.

    Wait…holy fuck – Randroids are just a bunch of delusional Rapturists. Looking at them that way, they’re even easier to dismiss than they were before.

  9. 9
    jamessweet

    So PZ, in the recent spate of “mental illness or just an asshole?” posts, there’s a comment I’ve been wanting to make, and finally I have time :) I agree with your general point, but I think you are oversimplifying, a LOT. I have some skin in this debate, too, because my family is at this very moment dealing with that exact question: Does my mother-in-law have borderline personality disorder or some other diagnosable disease, or is she just an asshole?

    The thing is, unless you believe in libertarian free will or a soul or some such, there can never really *be* a clean delineation between the two. In a previous post, you implied that the difference was neurochemical/neurological pathologies, but this is really a tautological definition: People who are “just an asshole” are assholes because of their neurology and neurochemistry. We’ve just decided that some neurological configurations are pathological, and some are within the bounds of normal (despite producing asshole-ish behavior. And sometimes, we even decide that some pathological ones are perfectly healthy. After all, homosexuality appears to be caused by neurochemical and hormonal differences that lead to atypical behavior — does that make it a mental illness? I sure don’t think so!

    Which is not to say we have to abandon all hope. By necessity, we DO need to define some behaviors as mental illness, and some as “just an asshole”. That division will always be arbitrary… but it is necessary, as well.

    In some ways, the “He killed a bunch of people so he MUST be mentally ill” is not even that wrong… often, the difference between an eccentricity and a mental illness is the extent to which it negatively impacts your life. It is not all that unreasonable to argue that spree killing is in itself mental illness… though I’m not sure how useful that definition is. It’s not entirely indefensible though.

    Still, your main point remains: We can’t necessarily solve this kind of thing via treatment, because the pre-spree symptoms are present in far too much of the population. I think your point is valid, but I think you are being a little over-glib about the division between “mental illness” and “asshole”. It really is quite murky at times.

  10. 10
    Maureen Brian

    Where are you writing from, stevenjohnson2 @ 6? I’m finding that in the UK a significant proportion of people regard suicide as coming under the heading of bodily autonomy – not to be undertaken in a fit of pique but essentially “nobody’s business but my own”. Mental illness doesn’t come into that.

  11. 11
    twas brillig (stevem)

    …the division between “mental illness” and “asshole”. It really is quite murky at times.

    As quite evidenced by the several long discussions here about whether ER was an a-hole or m-disturbed. “Murky distinction”, indeed.

  12. 12
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I’ve been rewatching Gary Greenberg on Book TV talking about The Book of Woe. It’s worth watching though I don’t agree with everything he says, but right before I read this post and watched the video I heard him make an important point: “I believe our moral discourse has been deeply impoverished by this tendency to make diseases out of…y’know, it’s a pretty unfashionable word and people get upset with me when I say it, but evil.”

    There are evil ideas and ideologies. There are evil social movements. Recognizing Nazism, imperialism, or Islamic fundamentalism as false and evil worldviews and projects doesn’t exhaust the possibilities for understanding or talking about them, but it’s important to appreciate and to include in our moral discourse.

  13. 13
    Brony

    I’ve been trying to think about how to appeal to people making the “mental illness” argument.

    The reason that coming to a conclusion to that mental illness was involved is not logical is because there is insufficient reason to consider that mental illness was involved. The general reason to not consider mental illness is because you don’t add extraneous information to an analysis without cause because that adds error. A specific reasons to me are that history has plenty of examples of people both mentally ill and mentally sound doing all sorts of terrible things through out history, with and without the support of their society (leaders and individuals). History shows us getting less and less violent and that is most likely due to culture, and one can expect that there will be localized failures of culture.

    But this is more impersonal/analytical and while that works for me, personal reasons to not come to conclusions without reasons will be better for most. The best I have at the moment is this, and I still think it feels a bit weak. Especially since these folks are probably just trying to downplay other explanations instead of pushing for mental illness.

    Most people pushing for mental illness that do so can be shown with a little difficulty that they are appealing to it because of “feelings about X” statements. They look at something that get an emotional reaction and say that it seems (feelings about word) to them that the person was mentally ill (or crazy, insane, etc…) but are also largely incapable of showing you specific statements and saying why that represents mental illness.
    Or if they do offer you a statement, they still couple it with a “They are obviously mentally ill” or a “I can’t believe that you think this is normal” and don’t say why that statement represents mental illness.
    Or if they do point out a feature of personality (like paranoia, god complexes) they ignore that there are plenty of people that have these features and are not mentally ill. Basically instead of showing you why the person was mentally ill in specifics, they point to features that both mentally ill and normal folks can share and make assumptions on emotional impression.

    But because they are not making this decision based on rational evidence for mental illness, they don’t consider the consequences to themselves for irrational conclusions. People analyzing the misogynistic trash based on reasons in evidence have an advantage. The puzzle is simpler (only include what you know), less likely to include errors (from false assumptions affecting multiple parts of the analysis), and if evidence for mental illness is discovered it’s a simple matter of including it when we have reason. If a person includes mental illness as an assumption based on emotional reason, removing all the false assumptions, all the error ridden conclusions, all the little problems from the bad information is much much harder than simply including more later when the evidence comes in.

    The hard part there is convincing them that they have a way of thinking about the world that is dangerous to themselves. It’s not the most emotionally compelling thing for most folks.

  14. 14
    Brony

    @ jamessweet 9

    Does my mother-in-law have borderline personality disorder or some other diagnosable disease, or is she just an asshole?

    A better question is: what tools does you mother have for reasoning based on evidence instead of emotion like every other human being? I’ll explain below. For the record my wife has borderline personality disorder so I can empathize.

    In a previous post, you implied that the difference was neurochemical/neurological pathologies, but this is really a tautological definition: People who are “just an asshole” are assholes because of their neurology and neurochemistry. We’ve just decided that some neurological configurations are pathological, and some are within the bounds of normal (despite producing asshole-ish behavior. And sometimes, we even decide that some pathological ones are perfectly healthy. After all, homosexuality appears to be caused by neurochemical and hormonal differences that lead to atypical behavior — does that make it a mental illness? I sure don’t think so!

    “just an asshole” basically refers to a persons habits of reacting emotionally to particular things. We learn to be assholes and some of us are predisposed to becoming certain kinds of person that can react emotionally in particularized ways. Society tries to shape our ability to response rationally, or emotionally in certain group sanctioned ways. A stressed mother can pass on an emotional predisposition to anxiety to a child in the womb. Others are born more or less introverted/extroverted, anxious/exploratory, dominant/submissive and others. Dominance in particular correlates with testosterone neurochemically in both women and men and I can easily see an asshole as a person that was not trained by their culture in the appropriate use of dominance. But the key here is that just because someone is on a particular part of mental spectra, does not mean that one has not choice in how they use their emotional responses.

    The killer for example seemed to know that what he wanted to do was wrong. He understood that society considered his actions and views wrong. He had choice. Each of us comes into the world with different emotional presets that cause us to respond to similar things in different ways. What matters is what tools our culture gives us to deal with our responses in a rational way.

    Which is not to say we have to abandon all hope. By necessity, we DO need to define some behaviors as mental illness, and some as “just an asshole”. That division will always be arbitrary… but it is necessary, as well.

    I would say that we define alterations of the brain that remove choice as mental illness. This would include ones that can be created by culture because the fact that we are social primates has biological consequences. Severe early childhood neglect probably causes some emotional deficits that could result in loss of choice. But that would have to be demonstrated because society has a rational interest in holding people accountable for their bad choices that hurt other people.

    In some ways, the “He killed a bunch of people so he MUST be mentally ill” is not even that wrong… often, the difference between an eccentricity and a mental illness is the extent to which it negatively impacts your life. It is not all that unreasonable to argue that spree killing is in itself mental illness… though I’m not sure how useful that definition is. It’s not entirely indefensible though.

    If the spree killer showed evidence of loss of choice and an inability to know right from wrong that would be worth considering. But that does not seem to be the case with ER.

    Still, your main point remains: We can’t necessarily solve this kind of thing via treatment, because the pre-spree symptoms are present in far too much of the population. I think your point is valid, but I think you are being a little over-glib about the division between “mental illness” and “asshole”. It really is quite murky at times.

    We need social solutions for the pre-spree symptoms. But I don’t think it’s as murky as you seem to. But that might be a matter of familiarity with the science and how it likely relates to how our criminal justice system has evolved over the years.

  15. 15
    raven

    The Perversion: Molyneux is quoted in the Guardian newspaper: “Deep down I do not believe that there are any really good parents out there

    Deep down I do not believe that there are any really good libertarians and Randroids out there.

    To be fair, there might be one or two. I’ve just never seen them.

  16. 16
    Brony

    To expand a small bit on my earlier statement,

    I would say that we define alterations of the brain that remove choice as mental illness.

    I would also say that if we can individually get to a mental/emotional “point of no return” that hardwires our choices later in life due to our previous choices, that person should not be considered mentally ill. We have a very strong social interest in dealing with such choices that create people that harm others. We need a way to focus shame and other social sanctions of more toxic choices.

  17. 17
    consciousness razor

    jamessweet, #9:

    The thing is, unless you believe in libertarian free will or a soul or some such, there can never really *be* a clean delineation between the two.

    False. Determinism does not imply that “asshole” is somehow on a continuum with a diagnosable illness. Your first clue should be that nobody is denying that assholish behavior is caused by what happens in someone’s brain. Say that to yourself a few times and try to think about how absurd it is that you even brought it up. Then go fuck yourself for saying something so patently insulting and stigmatizing to people with mental illnesses.

    Being an asshole isn’t a health issue. We don’t need to contact the CDC if there’s an outbreak of assholery, and it would do no good whatsoever even if we did. It is on a continuum of “what brains do.” That’s it. Being a non-asshole is also something brains do, along with many many many other things. This is utterly trivial.

    Not everything brains do which is ethically bad (like being an asshole) constitutes a health problem related to brain-function. You don’t get to just conflate those different concepts because brains are involved in both. They are not the same concept, and determinism does not imply that they are the same concept. Nor do you need to invoke souls or spirits or demons or whatever the fuck to distinguish between them.

    Which is not to say we have to abandon all hope. By necessity, we DO need to define some behaviors as mental illness, and some as “just an asshole”. That division will always be arbitrary… but it is necessary, as well.

    It isn’t arbitrary. You’re just ignorant or confused, which evidently makes it seem arbitrary to you.

  18. 18
    raven

    I’ve never heard of this guy Molyneux. For good reason, apparently nothing worthwhile was missed. (One could say the same thing about Ayn Rand, a hypocrite who ended her days collecting government assistance.)

    He hates women, parents, and the modern world in general. Well so what? That just makes him a hater and all around miserable idiot. And someone to steer clear of, just in case he stops babbling and starts getting violent.

    PS I haven’t really followed the “Is it mental illness” puzzle too closely. But why can’t Molyneux be simply…evil and/or malevolent?

  19. 19
    Jackie

    …the division between “mental illness” and “asshole”. It really is quite murky at times.

    So much ableist bullshit.
    So much….

  20. 20
    consciousness razor

    So much ableist bullshit.
    So much….

    Remember, that’s the kind of shit we get after apparently several days of jamessweet mulling it over and not having the time to write the nonsense out for us. Just imagine what it might have looked like on day #1.

  21. 21
    katzenklavier

    I will not fall into the trap of defending a demagogue like Molyneux, but the home commentators’ conclusions on his statement (at least the snippets I heard) were no less polemical — and worse, IMO, mischaracterized his point.

    I heard from Molyneux’s rant an ineffectually rendered version of the old complaint about “nice guys finish[ing] last.” That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates.

    Instead of confronting this debatable premise, the commentators leapt into full, red-faced, political correctness mode, inferring nothing but sheer misogyny from his words, and by arguing their views instead of addressing what was actually said.

    I am the first to admit I know little of Molyneux, and doubt I could defend any of his views, but maintain that these commentators’ fulminations that were so wide of the mark did nothing in the way of effectively debunking the man’s words.

    Okay, PC Police, jump on in (the water’s fine).

  22. 22
    stevenjohnson2

    Maureen Brian @10: West Virginia. Libertarian free will, the individual as the maker of their destiny, the right of society and the state to enforce conventional norms and the assumption that mental illness is a concept mostly designed to deny evil is pretty much all I see in daily life.

    “Bodily autonomy” as an aspect of freedom is comprehensible enough. Freedom is valuable in itself because it allows one to pursue one’s goals. Yet it is hard to imagine very many goals pursuable when you’re dead (save the negative one of avoiding agony.) I don’t understand how a right to suicide when there are no such obvious goals to achieve from it is reasonably a part of the definition of bodily autonomy. I’m afraid I’m inclined to suspect that there’s not really a good rationale. Rather, there is more the attitutde that losers should be able to quit the game, because being a loser is worse than death.

  23. 23
    Brony

    @ katzenklavier 21

    That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates.

    Emphasis mine. Where did that “much of” come from? I heard black and white certainty in Molyneux’s words that placed all the responsibility on women. He sounded quite certain that the existence of assholes was because of women having sex with assholes. He had no words at all for where assholes come from outside of women’s choices.

  24. 24
    Nick Gotts

    the commentators leapt into full, red-faced, political correctness mode

    OK, katzenklavier self-identified as standard issue whine-about-political-correctness fuckwit. Yawn. Nothing of interest here.

  25. 25
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    katzenklavier @21:

    That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates.

    Well, as long as we know that women who are beaten, raped, and/or killed by their partner are at fault, all is good.

  26. 26
    neuroguy

    @17:

    …go fuck yourself for saying something so patently insulting and stigmatizing to people with mental illnesses.

    Being an asshole isn’t a health issue. We don’t need to contact the CDC if there’s an outbreak of assholery, and it would do no good whatsoever even if we did. It is on a continuum of “what brains do.” That’s it. Being a non-asshole is also something brains do, along with many many many other things. This is utterly trivial.

    Not everything brains do which is ethically bad (like being an asshole) constitutes a health problem related to brain-function. You don’t get to just conflate those different concepts because brains are involved in both. They are not the same concept…

    This refutation doesn’t work, logically, and you are wrong about the claim being stigmatizing to those with mental illness. Brains doing something ethically bad is a different concept than a health problem related to brain function, granted. But jamessweet’s argument is that brains doing something ethically bad is a subtype of a health problem related to brain function, and subtype can be a different concept that the larger category. He’s not stigmatizing people with mental illness by arguing that a health problem related to brain function entails doing something ethically bad. His claim is perfectly consistent with stating that the vast majority of individuals with health problems related to brain function don’t do ethically bad things.

    If you deny this, then you are claiming that acting like an asshole can be done with a perfectly healthy brain, even though you admit that brain is different from a non-asshole. This begs the question of what is the definition of healthy; and if it is admitted that his behavior isn’t healthy, but his brain is, then you are calling into question basic fundamentals of neuroscience.

  27. 27
    consciousness razor

    stevenjohnson2, #22:

    “Bodily autonomy” as an aspect of freedom is comprehensible enough. Freedom is valuable in itself because it allows one to pursue one’s goals. Yet it is hard to imagine very many goals pursuable when you’re dead (save the negative one of avoiding agony.)

    This makes no fucking sense. To state the obvious, people who are dead aren’t the sort of people who are committing suicide. So I have no idea where the fuck any of this is supposed to lead. If they want to end their life, for whatever reason, there need not be any other goal than that. Full stop. Imagining you have some goal “when you’re dead” has nothing at all to do with it.

    I don’t understand how a right to suicide when there are no such obvious goals to achieve from it is reasonably a part of the definition of bodily autonomy. I’m afraid I’m inclined to suspect that there’s not really a good rationale. Rather, there is more the attitutde that losers should be able to quit the game, because being a loser is worse than death.

    Fuck, could you try to spell it out for me, a little more coherently, what the hell you think you’re talking about? If they don’t think the reason they will commit suicide is because of their suffering/agony, then you supposedly know bodily autonomy is “not really a good rationale” for them having a right to do so anyway? Where have you shown that?

    Also, what the fuck does being a “loser” have to do with it? How is something supposedly “worse than death,” whatever the fuck that might be, not equivalent to experiencing some kind of suffering/agony? And where the fuck did “mental illness” go in this whole discussion? Since that is what you brought up originally in #6, and since this seems to be some kind of elaboration on that point, am I supposed to think this traces to the term “losers” somehow? Maybe I’m just not following it, but that’s definitely what it looks like.

  28. 28
    knowknot

    Misogyny.
    NO, mental illness.
    NO, Evil.
    rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat
    INSERT: NO, ethical badness, which is a subtype of mental illness.
    rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat rinse repeat
     
    All of this has certainly been fun. And productive.
    Thankfully, next time any of us come back it will still be going on.

  29. 29
    Jackie

    That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates.

    No.
    No we don’t.
    Also, fuck you ever so much.

  30. 30
    Zeppelin

    I admit I’m confused by the mental illness discussion in this thread — how DO we distinguish “mental illness” from “personality”? Now, it’s unsurprising I’d be confused, since I’m no Headologist, but I’m still concerned by what looks to me like a gray area between the two.

    “Being an asshole” is obviously not on a spectrum with mental illness because it’s defined by being harmful to OTHERS, not the “sufferer”. So ya, that’s dumb and ableist.

    I guess the defining features of mental illness are loss of self-control/choice and/or loss of connection with reality?
    But then “getting angry when I stub my toe” is a mental illness…and vividly recalling a pleasant scene from my childhood when I smell a certain thing works the same as triggering a trauma, the only difference being that the experience being recalled is pleasant rather than unpleasant…so in that case the distinction is just that one is harmful to me and the other isn’t…so if someone hears pleasant, encouraging voices in their head (which apparently happens?), are they not “mentally ill”? Or are they “mentally ill”, but in a non-harmful way? If I hear voices or have visual hallucinations, but know that they are not real and can reliably distinguish them from reality, am I “differently healthy”, or “harmlessly mentally ill”? If having a song stuck in my head happened only to me, but no-one else, would we classify it as a mental disorder? Or getting angry? IS there a “personality—-mental illness” spectrum, since both personality traits and (some) mental illnesses can be brought about by nurture and life experiences?

    Basically I find it hard to come up with a reliable distinction between “personality trait” and “a mental illness”. Which, again, is not an argument against such a distinction, since I am completely unqualified to draw one! But maybe someone here is and can tell me?

  31. 31
    Nick Gotts

    If you deny this, then you are claiming that acting like an asshole can be done with a perfectly healthy brain, even though you admit that brain is different from a non-asshole. This begs the question of what is the definition of healthy – neuroguy@26

    Of course if you define “healthy” so that “acting like an asshole” logically implies that your brain is not healthy, then by that definition, Elliot Rogers’ brain was not healthy. But what point do you think you have gained by doing so? I could with just as much justification define “healthy” so that “eating celery” logically implies that your brain is not healthy.

  32. 32
    consciousness razor

    If you deny this, then you are claiming that acting like an asshole can be done with a perfectly healthy brain, even though you admit that brain is different from a non-asshole.

    Yes, that is what I am claiming. There is nothing even remotely mysterious about this. Not all brain differences can be mapped onto a healthy/unhealthy axis, or on any single axis. Medicine doesn’t have a single fucking thing to say about an enormous variety of different sorts of brain states. Pick any difference between your brain and mine. More than likely, “healthiness” has not a fucking thing to do with it. It’s absolutely stunning that I’d even have to say that.

    This begs the question of what is the definition of healthy; and if it is admitted that his behavior isn’t healthy, but his brain is, then you are calling into question basic fundamentals of neuroscience.

    Whose behavior, and which behavior, are you even talking about? Rodger’s behavior of killing people is obviously not a healthy outcome for those dead people. Because, well, being dead is obviously not a healthy condition to be in. But being a misogynistic fuckwit isn’t a fucking medical condition, nor is it one of the “basic fundamentals of neuroscience” that fucking medicine tells us everything there is to know about ethics, much less about every other conceivable fucking thing a person thinks. That’s not what medicine is for. That’s what neuroscience is for, and it can do that just fine without branding itself as a “medical” field and “diagnosing” every fucking thing.

  33. 33
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    katzenklavier ,

    He pretty clearly states that asshole men are assholes because women choose to fuck them. He pretty clearly states that there would be no wars if women didn’t choose to fuck asshole men.

    Also, you can take your PC police and stuff it where sun doesn’t shine.

  34. 34
    stevenjohnson2

    “If they want to end their life, for whatever reason, there need not be any other goal than that.”

    There is nothing gained by being dead precisely because you’re dead. The only goal to achieve is avoiding an agonizing death or some other torture. When you say there need not be any other goal, you are assuming the conclusion. In your context, “any goal” means none, which is irrational. And the second paragraph was obviously a response to the bodily autonomy notion mentioned by another poster. Your supposed questions are nonsense based on misreading or misrepresentation, not good enough or sincere enough to warrant answers.

  35. 35
    Jackie

    If you deny this, then you are claiming that acting like an asshole can be done with a perfectly healthy brain

    http://media2.giphy.com/media/10uct1aSFT7QiY/200_s.gif

    Yes, neurotypical people with perfectly healthy brains can believe shitty, fucked up things, act like shitty fucked up people and commit heinous acts against others.

    How is that news?

  36. 36
    Eric O

    Ugh. I’m going to feel compelled to watch this video now. And I just showered.

  37. 37
    Eric O

    Whoops, never mind. It’s a video about him, not 14 minutes of Stefan Molyneux talking to the camera. That’s slightly more tolerable.

  38. 38
    Rey Fox

    Okay, PC Police, jump on in (the water’s fine).

    Why bother? You’ve pre-emptively dismissed anyone who would argue with you.

  39. 39
    consciousness razor

    “If they want to end their life, for whatever reason, there need not be any other goal than that.”

    There is nothing gained by being dead precisely because you’re dead. The only goal to achieve is avoiding an agonizing death or some other torture. When you say there need not be any other goal, you are assuming the conclusion. In your context, “any goal” means none, which is irrational.

    If you ignore all of the people who will die for some cause or another. They may not personally “gain” anything by doing that, but it’s a goal they have anyway. This isn’t irrational. This is how people achieve certain kinds of things that they want. The world will be some way or another, and that is the sort of result that they want. They don’t need to be around to see the world being that way in order to have that goal and in order to have a good reason for trying to achieve that goal.

    Take climate change, for a different sort of example: I have a goal that the world will not be a total shithole a century from now (or even more of a shithole than it is, I guess). I’m certain I won’t be alive to “gain” anything in terms of a personal experience of this potentially-not-totally-shitty future world. But I do still gain something quite tangible, if I have any effect at all; it’s just that getting what I want isn’t a personal experience but something external to my experience, some state of the world that has nothing to do with what’s happening in my brain (when I’m alive or dead). There is nothing irrational about that. The reason is actually pretty fucking obvious: I care about other people and what the world will be like, not just what my own immediate experiences are. Would I die for it? Probably not, because as far as I can tell nothing I could do like that would probably make a difference in that particular case. Besides that, I have other goals I also want to pursue while I’m still capable of doing so.

    Your supposed questions are nonsense based on misreading or misrepresentation, not good enough or sincere enough to warrant answers.

    I’m being entirely sincere. I really don’t get what the fuck you were saying. If it’s not important to you, then, well, fuck it. I don’t care either.

  40. 40
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    katzenklavier @ 21 sez:

    That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates.

    Longer Katzenklavier: “If only they would simply pick the superior nice guys like katzenklavier then misogyny would be solved! But no, they have to go for the obnoxious jocks and undermensch. This is why they must be quarantined. For the betterment of all the superior humans such as myself.”

    You sound just like ER. Thought you’d like to know, katzenklavier.

  41. 41
    David Marjanović

    It is commonly accepted that unless meant to escape a torturous death, suicide is reasonable grounds for suspecting mental illness.

    How about escaping a torturous life? Is that commonly accepted by stephenjohnson2?

    I admit I’m confused by the mental illness discussion in this thread — how DO we distinguish “mental illness” from “personality”?

    A complicating factor is that mental illnesses are generally not recognized from their causes, which are usually unknown, but from their symptoms. I’m not qualified to form an opinion about this, but some people have wondered whether certain widely known mental illnesses (I’ve forgotten which ones) are just grab-bags of unrelated symptoms which sometimes happen to occur in the same person. Things like the DSM are based more on consensus than (directly) on evidence; and I don’t think a clear line can be drawn between “symptom” and “personality trait”.

  42. 42
    neuroguy

    @31: Right, but it is also true that if you define “healthy” such that “acting like an asshole” is consistent with it, what do you gain by that?

    @32:

    Yes, that is what I am claiming.

    Glad we’re clear. Now let’s see some justification for the claim.

    Not all brain differences can be mapped onto a healthy/unhealthy axis, or on any single axis.

    Seriously? Because not all As are B, therefore a specific A must not be B? That’s your argument?

    Whose behavior, and which behavior, are you even talking about? Rodger’s behavior of killing people is obviously not a healthy outcome for those dead people.

    Obviously not, so therefore his behavior isn’t healthy. It wasn’t even healthy for himself, since he ended up dead as well.

    But being a misogynistic fuckwit isn’t a fucking medical condition…

    Until it ends up in the next edition of the DSM as a subset of Histrionic Personality Disorder, in which case it is, for no other reason that some people thought it should be. But this is a red herring anyway, because I was talking about his behavior. You aren’t seriously going to argue his behavior was healthy, are you?

    That’s what neuroscience is for, and it can do that just fine without branding itself as a “medical” field and “diagnosing” every fucking thing.

    You really think that psychiatry should not be based on what we can find about the brain (from neuroscience)? Where would we be if treatment of infectious diseases weren’t based on what was found from virology and immunology?

  43. 43
    David Marjanović

    Oh, I overlooked this.

    I heard from Molyneux’s rant an ineffectually rendered version of the old complaint about “nice guys finish[ing] last.” That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates.

    Instead of confronting this debatable premise

    Debatable? Don’t you think any debate of this premise would be very short and very boring?

  44. 44
    consciousness razor
    Whose behavior, and which behavior, are you even talking about? Rodger’s behavior of killing people is obviously not a healthy outcome for those dead people.

    Obviously not, so therefore his behavior isn’t healthy. It wasn’t even healthy for himself, since he ended up dead as well.

    Right, because he has the same body as those six other people. *eyeroll*

    But wait — there’s one other “logical” possibility (if you ignore the obvious). Did they contract his murderous-asshole-disease? Is it contagious, so that they became assholes too and suffered from this awful, terminal illness just as he did? Is that how they died? Should we fear for the zombie apocalypse? Or was it demon-possession? I don’t remember.

    You really think that psychiatry should not be based on what we can find about the brain (from neuroscience)?

    No, I haven’t said anything of the sort. I’ve only said there’s more to neuroscience than simply its medical applications. That implies there are such applications, and therefore I do think psychiatry should be based on neuroscience. Try reading what I said, instead of reading off of your script.

  45. 45
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    katzenklavier:

    Instead of confronting this debatable premise, the commentators leapt into full, red-faced, political correctness mode, inferring nothing but sheer misogyny from his words, and by arguing their views instead of addressing what was actually said.

    I am the first to admit I know little of Molyneux, and doubt I could defend any of his views, but maintain that these commentators’ fulminations that were so wide of the mark did nothing in the way of effectively debunking the man’s words.

    Okay, PC Police, jump on in (the water’s fine).

    Others can address how incredibly wrong the rest of your comment is. I want to touch on your use of PC. It’s too often used as a perjorative (which is the meaning I take from your comment; I’m happy to be shown wrong, but it doesn’t seem to be a compliment) by people on the right/tea party/libertarians. I’m sick and tired of people using that label to describe others who speak out about social injustices.

    Political correctness (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term that refers to enforced language, ideas, or policies that address perceived discrimination against political, social or economical groups (“protected classes”). These groups most prominently include those defined by gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and disability.
    Historically, the term was a colloquialism used in the early-to-mid 20th century by Communists and Socialists in political debates, referring pejoratively to the Communist “party line”, which provided for “correct” positions on many matters of politics. The term was adopted in the later 20th century by the New Left, applied with a certain humour to condemn sexist or racist conduct as “not politically correct”. By the early 1990s, the term was adopted by US conservatives as a pejorative term for all manner of attempts to promote multiculturalism and identity politics, particularly, attempts to introduce new terms that sought to leave behind discriminatory baggage ostensibly attached to older ones, and conversely, to try to make older ones taboo. This phenomenon was driven by a combination of the linguistic turn in academia and the rise of identity politics both inside and outside it. These led to attempts to change social reality by changing language, with attempts at making language more culturally inclusive and gender-neutral. These attempts (associated with the political left) led to a backlash from the right, partly against the attempts to change language, and partly against the underlying identity politics itself.
    In modern usage, the terms PC, politically correct, and political correctness are pejorative descriptors, whereas the term politically incorrect is used by opponents of PC as an implicitly positive self-description, as in the cases of the conservative, topical book-series The Politically Incorrect Guide, and the liberal television talk-show program Politically Incorrect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness

    So why are you showing disdain for people who speak out against discrimination?

  46. 46
    Marcus Ranum

    That women bear much of the blame for their eventual victimhood because of their poor choices in mates

    The obvious consequence of that interpretation would be that women should selectively breed men for docility and non-aggressiveness (see Sherri Tepper “The gate to women’s country”) I agree.

  47. 47
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    So I’ve written a post, “Karen Horney and Jean-Paul Sartre on the psychology of vindictiveness and violence.” I think their ideas are relevant and enlightening.

  48. 48
    Zeppelin

    A complicating factor is that mental illnesses are generally not recognized from their causes, which are usually unknown, but from their symptoms. I’m not qualified to form an opinion about this, but some people have wondered whether certain widely known mental illnesses (I’ve forgotten which ones) are just grab-bags of unrelated symptoms which sometimes happen to occur in the same person. Things like the DSM are based more on consensus than (directly) on evidence; and I don’t think a clear line can be drawn between “symptom” and “personality trait”.

    That’s been my impression — that the distinction will be unclear in some areas until we know enough about the brain to come up with a more useful definition of “mental illness” that doesn’t rely on prototypes.
    Hence these discussions where some people want to extend the definition of mental illness based purely on effect (making any “bad” behaviour a mental illness), while others accuse them of pathologising “healthy” but harmful behaviour (and then having trouble giving the other side the simple definition they want). It’s weird!

    It’s nice to know that it is in fact an issue and not just my cluelessness, I guess? :)

  49. 49
    neuroguy

    @44:

    You didn’t address the argument in any substantive way, so I claim victory. Maybe, just maybe, it might be worth changing your opinion when confronted with logically sound argumentation and also reasons why your own argumentation wasn’t, rather than resorting to desperate “Hail Marys” (such as imagining my failure to refute demon possession as a substantive argument) and hoping no one will notice. I’m glad you at least changed your opinion about the relevance of neuroscience.

    @48: Yep, it is really an issue.

  50. 50
    tdog

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqfUmbLAOz4
    Also, he killed 6 men, but only 2 women…sounds more like a feminist, which seems to define war as “not giving us free bags of goodies.” Feminism is first world problems in ideological form.

    As for the mentally ill bit: Libertarians support a social order in which free individuals make voluntary contracts with each other, and no one can rightly initiate physical force or duress against anyone else. Is that vision so obviously unattractive that we have to refer its supporters for psychological evaluation?

    We might instead wonder at the psychological condition of those who would denounce such a system: might they be motivated, for all their noble talk, by nothing but base envy of those with more material wealth than they, or by a pathological desire to dominate other people?

  51. 51
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We might instead wonder at the psychological condition of those who would denounce such a system: might they be motivated, for all their noble talk, by nothing but base envy of those with more material wealth than they, or by a pathological desire to dominate other people?

    The pathology is on the liberturd side, a lack of empathy, and delusions that their theology actually works as a political/economic system. Especially when history says otherwise, each time it was tried….

  52. 52
    Zeppelin

    @50

    Libertarians also propose no way of PREVENTING others from initiating phyiscal force or duress against me, since they oppose state power and hence the state’s monopoly on violence. Or indeed any way of enforcing any sort of right or law or their precious contracts that I’ve seen, other than handwavey “free market” bollocks. Being reduced from a human being to the sum of your physical and economic powers is not “freedom”. A thoroughly libertarian society looks like Somalia. Or Syndicate, I guess.

    It’s also damning when libertarians automatically assume that their critics are poor and jealous, as if we needed more evidence that libertarianism is almost exclusively espoused by privileged middle or upper class white male Americans.

  53. 53
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    A complicating factor is that mental illnesses are generally not recognized from their causes, which are usually unknown, but from their symptoms [sic]. I’m not qualified to form an opinion about this, but some people have wondered whether certain widely known mental illnesses (I’ve forgotten which ones) are just grab-bags of unrelated symptoms [sic] which sometimes happen to occur in the same person.

    All of them.

  54. 54
    rq

    This guy. This fucking guy. (Molyneux, by the way.) He was recommended to me by my Libertarian Friend as a sensible voice in the libertarian movement (plus, Canadian, so that means extra appeal for me), and I couldn’t even get through one of his ‘educational rants’. I mean, it wasn’t anything big, but a dismissive attitude and calling feminism ‘socialism with panties’? Didn’t exactly speak to me.
    Yeah, no thanks. (And LF wonders why I still haven’t converted to libertarianism. He still hasn’t answered my questions about social safety nets and networks…)

  55. 55
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Cleanup on aisle 50, dipshit troll spotted.

  56. 56
    Inaji

    tdog @ 50:

    Also, he killed 6 men, but only 2 women…sounds more like a feminist, which seems to define war as “not giving us free bags of goodies.”

    Are you trying for Idiot of the Day here?

  57. 57
    Zeppelin

    @53 SC (Salty Current)

    That all makes sense actually! And confirms the preconceptions I’ve had, which is always nice. >.>

    I don’t understand why you’re [sic]ing the word “symptoms” though.

  58. 58
    Zeppelin

    @54

    Socialism With Panties sounds pretty great to me

  59. 59
    chigau (違う)

    neuroguy #49
    You didn’t address the argument in any substantive way, so I claim victory.
    Does this mean you’re going to go away?

  60. 60
    LykeX

    As for the mentally ill bit: Libertarians support a social order in which free individuals make voluntary contracts with each other, and no one can rightly initiate physical force or duress against anyone else. Is that vision so obviously unattractive that we have to refer its supporters for psychological evaluation?

    Not as such. The problems come from the parts you left out, e.g. how one person’s property rights trumps another person’s life, how we’re supposed to avoid the creation of monopolies, or how you make sure that people don’t initiate physical force.

    In short, the main problem of Libertarianism is that it doesn’t work in the real world.

  61. 61
    consciousness razor

    You didn’t address the argument in any substantive way, so I claim victory.

    The fuck I didn’t. Claim whatever bullshit thing you want. It’s clear you’re going to do that anyway.

    I’m glad you at least changed your opinion about the relevance of neuroscience.

    I’ve changed what now?

  62. 62
    raven

    troll:

    Also, he killed 6 men, but only 2 women…sounds more like a feminist, …

    No!!! It means he wasn’t very competent!!!

    This is typical of mass murderers.

    Cross/Miller shot up two Jewish centers…and killed 3 xians.

    Two white supremacists on the west coast went on another killing spree, targeting Jews again. They killed 4 people. None of whom were… Jews.

    You do have something in common with the white supremacists and Elliot Rodgers though. You also aren’t a very competent thinker either.

  63. 63
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    tdog @50:

    Also, he killed 6 men, but only 2 women…sounds more like a feminist, which seems to define war as “not giving us free bags of goodies.” Feminism is first world problems in ideological form.

    Of course his manifesto makes it clear he was misogynist.
    And fuck you for equating feminism and violence. Feminists advocate for social, political, and economic equality for all women. Feminism as a movement is concerned with women’s rights-everywhere, not just in the first world.
    I’m a feminist and I abhor violence. I neither advocate nor support violence as a solution to gender inequality (let alone any other forms of social injustice) and I don’t know any feminist that supports violence of any sort as the means to gender equality.

    Libertarians support a social order in which free individuals make voluntary contracts with each other, and no one can rightly initiate physical force or duress against anyone else. Is that vision so obviously unattractive that we have to refer its supporters for psychological evaluation?

    Libertarian beliefs are largely selfish and divorced from reality. If enacted, most libertarian policies would increase the pain and suffering of all the people who aren’t rich (ending wars and legalizing drugs are about the only two policies that don’t result in people being fucked over). My desire is to help *reduce* pain and suffering, not increase it. Libertarianism can go straight to hell (along with the GOP and Tea Party platforms; and some of the Democratic platform).

  64. 64
    raven

    As for the mentally ill bit: Libertarians support a social order in which free individuals make voluntary contracts with each other, and no one can rightly initiate physical force or duress against anyone else.

    Sounds like our present system. It’s a free country. Individuals freely make voluntary contracts with each other. I have many such, electrical company, US Post office, my employer, Telco, supermarkets, retail outlets.

    No one can initiate physical force against anyone else either. We have laws, police, courts, DA’s, and prisons to enforce those rules. If you think the magical Free Market will enforce them, move to Somalia and see how long you live.

  65. 65
    knowknot

    @49 neuroguy

    You didn’t address the argument in any substantive way, so I claim victory.

    +1 for taking your little pissing contest and whining and going away. Unless, of course, any of this matters enough to you as something separate from your self image to hook an actual point and try to make it clear, with the hope of some productive end.

    Maybe, just maybe, it might be worth changing your opinion when confronted with logically sound argumentation and also reasons why your own argumentation wasn’t, rather than resorting to desperate “Hail Marys” (such as imagining my failure to refute demon possession as a substantive argument) and hoping no one will notice. I’m glad you at least changed your opinion about the relevance of neuroscience.

    Hey… you write funny, while sounding like someone spilled just a bit of “academic” on you. Is that neurons? Is it illness?

  66. 66
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    knowknot:

    sounding like someone spilled just a bit of “academic” on you.

    Thanks for making me LOL!
    That was awesome.

  67. 67
    raven

    …Is that vision so obviously unattractive that we have to refer its supporters for psychological evaluation?

    Stawperson. It’s not unattractive. It’s just cosmically stupid!!!

    It’s also boring. We’ve heard Loonytarians babbling away thousands of times. It’was boring the first time and never got better.

    We should refer Gibbertarians for remedial education and a brain upgrade. But we can’t and shouldn’t force them.

    PS I was a Loonytarian myself. For a few weeks as a teenager. It took that long to figure out it was just simple mindedly wrong. So what is your excuse for not figuring it out.

  68. 68
    Inaji

    Zeppelin:

    @54

    Socialism With Panties sounds pretty great to me

    Yeah, it’s precious, and not at all demeaning as hell.

  69. 69
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    neuroguy

    If you deny this, then you are claiming that acting like an asshole can be done with a perfectly healthy brain, even though you admit that brain is different from a non-asshole. This begs the question of what is the definition of healthy

    Is there a saint in this world who’s never an asshole?
    Also, my brain is very good at intercomprehension and crafts, unlike my husband’s, whose is very good at chemistry. Is one of us mentally ill? He also doesn’t like Mumford and Sons, does that count for something?

    Katzenklavier
    So, how much blame is actually a woman’s if her partner becomes abusive?
    Can you give us a percentage?
    Should she spend the respective amount in jail, too, for clearly she was his accomplice?
    Not to mention that abusers consciously groom victims and don’t kindly introduce themselves as “Hi, I’m Jim. I’m an abusive asshole who will beat you within 3 months after I carefully seperated you from your friends and family”

  70. 70
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Libertarianism applied to urban planning: remove all the traffic lights and trust that the invisible hand of traffic flow and people’s own better nature will ensure everyone gets where they want to go in a timely fashion.

    Traffic lights are oppressive. I always get the red ones. Every. Single. Time.

  71. 71
    Zeppelin

    @68 Oh for Huitzilopochtli’s sake, obviously not in the sense that arse Molyneux means it. I am in favour of panties and socialism for *everyone*.

  72. 72
    Inaji

    Zeppelin @ 71, no, you made a stupid attempt at a joke. It wasn’t funny, and it was highly dismissive of Rq’s comment.

  73. 73
    Zeppelin

    @72 No it wasn’t, it was dismissive of Molyneux’s stupid attempt at a joke. Don’t be a dick.

  74. 74
    Zeppelin

    Wasn’t dismissive of Rq’s comment, that is. You are welcome to find my joke stupid and unfunny, as long as, again, your’re not a dick about it please.

  75. 75
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Zeppelin:

    Please don’t use gendered insults.

    And your joke was not funny. And it was dismissive.

  76. 76
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rq:
    Your Libertarian friend sounds like someone I would not care for. Referring to feminism (the doctrine that women should have full social, economic, and political equality) as ‘Socialism with panties’ sounds pretty demeaning to me.

  77. 77
    Zeppelin

    @74 — Not a native speaker, sorry. Don’t be needlessly aggressive, then.
    I still don’t see how my joke was dismissive. It was meant to make fun of Molyneux’s silly fear of socialism and apparently panties. It was in no way meant to be a comment on Rq’s comment. You are welcome to find it unfunny, roll your eyes at my feeble attempt at lightening the mood of a rather grim thread, and move on.

  78. 78
    Inaji

    Zeppelin:

    Don’t be needlessly aggressive, then.

    No one has been aggressive. You said something stupid, and were called out on it. You were then told that using gendered slurs/insults is not okay here. See the commenting rules.

    You might try to figure out how what you said comes across to other people, rather than insisting on defending it. You’re in the first rule of holes here – stop digging.

  79. 79
    chigau (違う)

    Zeppelin #77
    How do you say “stop digging” in your native language?

  80. 80
    Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm

    @ Zeppelin

    The failure mode of clever is asshole. Just stop digging.

  81. 81
    chigau (違う)

    hivvvvveminnnnnd

  82. 82
    Brony

    @ tdog 50

    Also, he killed 6 men, but only 2 women…sounds more like a feminist, which seems to define war as “not giving us free bags of goodies.” Feminism is first world problems in ideological form.

    Well when too many women feel like society is leaving them embattled I’m not going to blame the emotion in their rhetoric. “not giving us free bags of goodies.” bears no resemblance to what I have been seeing women calling themselves feminists complaining about. I chose my side based on arguments and stories that I hear, not group-oriented references to categories, I seriously doubt that you know what the category “feminism” contains.

    As for the mentally ill bit: Libertarians support a social order in which free individuals make voluntary contracts with each other, and no one can rightly initiate physical force or duress against anyone else. Is that vision so obviously unattractive that we have to refer its supporters for psychological evaluation?

    I’ll ask you the same thing that I ask every other Libertarian. Vision is nothing if all it can do is bitch about the status quo without giving functional, realistic solutions for the things that government provides that I see many Libertarians complain about, or offer people functional, realistic solutions for problems plaguing both government and other realms of society. Keep in mind that pointing at the current situation is a non-answer. I would rather keep and improve the government devil I know than the one that I don’t.
    *How do you prevent such initiation of physical force in your ideal society?
    *I don’t believe in the “free market”. When I look at any market I see a group of people trying to game the system to their advantage with more success as they gain money and power. The same corruption of economics by government that Libertarians complain about seems to be a common human psychological flaw that infests every place where humans wield power that I have seen. If I am wrong how do Libertarian solutions intend to prevent people in power from misusing power and trying to get out of responsibility for consequences to people they harm?
    *Despite efficiency problems government regulations are meant to prevent harm, and force businesses to make up for externalities that they cause. How does your ideal society force powerful people and companies with major influence to do what regulations are intended to do? Don’t pick a trivial one now, I’m thinking superfund site level cleanup or things like the current fracking-related earthquakes and flaming water in Texas.

    We might instead wonder at the psychological condition of those who would denounce such a system: might they be motivated, for all their noble talk, by nothing but base envy of those with more material wealth than they, or by a pathological desire to dominate other people?

    I reject Libertarian proposals because I see no realistic functional solutions to current problems in it. There is not denouncement involved unless it’s another person that can’t actually offer me a specific, functional, solution to current and historical problems that government often needs to fix. You can psychoanalyze all you want.

  83. 83
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Zeppelin:

    You are welcome to find it unfunny, roll your eyes at my feeble attempt at lightening the mood of a rather grim thread, and move on.

    Serious questions here:
    Are you opposed to simply saying “my bad” or “I’m sorry for saying that”?
    If you are, why?
    If you are not opposed, why haven’t you?

    BTW,
    Humor is difficult to pull off in this environment. Even among some of the regular commenters, attempts at humor can be misinterpreted. As telepathy doesn’t exist, we are unable to discern intent from a comment. All we can do is judge the comment on its own.

  84. 84
    Inaji

    Tony:

    Humor is difficult to pull off in this environment.

    Indeed. Making a sexist ‘joke’ on a post about the denigration of women is not destined to succeed.

  85. 85
    LykeX

    @Zeppelin
    It’s important to remember that even if you don’t intend a comment as dismissive, it might easily be viewed as such, especially in cases where the group referred to is routinely subjected to dismissive comments.

    When a person from such a group informs you that the comment sounds dismissive, the correct response is not “no, it wasn’t.” Such a response would be dismissive of that person. A better approach would be a simple retraction, or, if you’re really not sure where the objection is coming from, to ask about it in a non-defensive manner.

    As it happens, the idea that men are the default and that women are special cases, is common and quite alienating. The notion of “socialism with panties“, as opposed to the “normal” kind of socialism, plays into that and it’s not unreasonable for people to balk at that.

    Finally, Pharyngula has a culture where we routinely slap each other upside the head if we say something stupid. It’s really nothing personal and if you take the hint when it’s given, the whole matter is forgotten as quickly as it occurs.

  86. 86
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Tdog, the racism in that misogynistic murderer was just as strong as his misogyny. He felt that non white men had no right to the white women he felt he deserved.

    But, please, drop some more shit covered lies.

  87. 87
    nich

    neuroguy:

    You didn’t address the argument in any substantive way, so I claim victory.

    Reminds me of this…

  88. 88
    Zeppelin

    Hmm, I keep typing up a big conciliatory (hopefully!) post and it disappears, and now that I’ve retyped the whole thing and posted it again the site says I’ve already posted it. Is there some sort of character/post frequency limit that I’m not aware of?

  89. 89
    Zeppelin

    Nope, it keeps disappearing. And if all my attempts turn up at once I’ll have spammed the hell out of this thread. Help? I don’t want to just give up and vanish and leave a misunderstanding and angry people.

  90. 90
    chigau (違う)

    Zeppelin
    If your comment has too many links, it goes into moderation.
    Also, if it has any tagged words.

  91. 91
    LykeX

    Multiple links (limit is 4 or five, I think) or certain flagged words will send you post into moderation automatically. PZ will dig it out, but it has to be done manually, so it might take a while.

  92. 92
    David Marjanović

    How do you say “stop digging” in your native language?

    Assuming that’s German, there is no equivalent metaphor. You’ll have to make do with such things as “stop” or “stop this nonsense”…

    Nope, it keeps disappearing. And if all my attempts turn up at once I’ll have spammed the hell out of this thread. Help? I don’t want to just give up and vanish and leave a misunderstanding and angry people.

    Comments land in the moderation queue (which PZ doesn’t always have time to look at) if they contain more than 5 links, or if they contain certain slurs like bitch or cunt or nigger (I’m using HTML tricks to bypass the filter).

    BTW, not everybody is in favor of panties.

  93. 93
    David Marjanović

    Oh, forgot:

    I don’t understand why you’re [sic]ing the word “symptoms” though.

    I wish people would stop referring to “symptoms.” It just helps to perpetuate the lie. These are experiences, problems, behaviors, emotions. They’re not symptoms, because these aren’t illnesses.”

    (I’d say some of them may well be, but nobody knows which ones.)

  94. 94
    mikeyb

    Molyneux is a very outspoken atheist along with being a diehard libertarian, showing once again good ideas don’t blend well with terrible ideas.

  95. 95
    rq

    Zeppelin
    Actually, I found your joke to be in poor taste and rather dismissive of my comment, since the point wasn’t to HAHA! laugh at everyone wearing panties while being socialists, but to point out Molyneux’ casual dismissal of progressive movements like (say) feminism as things-to-be-dismissed because they’re exactly like that progressive movement over there. Just with panties, because women need panties in order to function, preferably with lace, and Real Socialism isn’t really for women because it has no panties.
    If that helps, or makes sense at all.

    Tony
    To clarify, LF is actually a pretty lovely person and one of the few real-life holds on the Real World (as opposed to an eastern European backwater) that I have. He just has some fixable views (work in progress).
    For the record, it’s Molyneux who believes feminism = socialism with panties, not LF.

  96. 96
    Zeppelin

    Ah, tagged words will be it presumably! I’ll try another version and see if that goes through immediately, then PZ can just dump the others. Thanks!

    @Inaji, Tony, LykeX and Rq I guess?

    To clarify my joke (thereby explaining it and making it 100% unfunny if it wasn’t already): I was making fun of Molyneux’s attempt to use “socialism” and “panties”, two words with highly negative/demeaning connotations to his confederates, to create some sort of femin@zicommunist bogeyman, while I am very fond of socialism and feel like “socialism with panties” could actually be quite a positive term if “reclaimed” properly.

    I was aware that “dick” refers to a sex-specific body part, but had never heard it used in a gendered context (unlike, say, “c*nt”) and so was not aware that it is considered a gendered insult. I will use “jerk” here instead, that’s fine.

    I am “defending my joke” because I feel that it has been misunderstood and I don’t like misunderstandings, or unintentionally offending people? I understand why it could have been interpreted as sexist and dismissive, and I certainly don’t feel that a silly one-off joke I made is worth making Inaji or Rq or whoever angry, and I’m sorry that happened.

    so, @Rq: I apologise if you found my joke offensive or dismissive. It was not intended as a comment on your opinion, but Molyneux’s. I guess I still feel like that was fairly clear from the tone and context, but I understand that communicating on the internet is Hard and that people here don’t know me well since I don’t post all that often, and so I may just be wrong about what the “unbiased” interpretation of my words would be.

    Inaji: Is it fair to say that I feel you jumped the gun on attributing dismissiveness and sexism to me, but that I still understand that my joke could be interpreted in such a way, and that that obviously happened with at least some commenters here, and that I am sorry about that?

    This post is longer and less concise than the one I’d originally typed up, but it’ll have to do.

  97. 97
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rq @95:

    To clarify, LF is actually a pretty lovely person and one of the few real-life holds on the Real World (as opposed to an eastern European backwater) that I have. He just has some fixable views (work in progress).
    For the record, it’s Molyneux who believes feminism = socialism with panties, not LF.

    Reading comprehension fail on my part.
    Sorry.

  98. 98
    theoreticalgrrrl

    It’s funny, some guys kept telling me my first boyfriend was an jerk, and asked me why am I with him. People who barely knew him, if they knew him at all. He was one of the most kind, considerate, supportive, loving guys I’ve ever met, and I considered myself very privileged to have had him in my life for that short two-year period we were together (he died of a drug overdose at 23). He had a tendency to dress in the “grunge rock” clothing style and struggled with a drug problem, but he was not in any way an asshole.

    But because I was with him and not them, and they dressed nicer, they saw him as an asshole

  99. 99
    Amphiox

    You didn’t address the argument in any substantive way, so I claim victory.

    Arbitrarily redefining the meanings of the words “didn’t”, “address”, “argument”, “substantive”, “any”, “way”, “so”, “claim”, and “victory” does not actually make your false and self-serving redefinitions any more real.

    If you deny this, then you are claiming that acting like an asshole can be done with a perfectly healthy brain, even though you admit that brain is different from a non-asshole. This begs the question of what is the definition of healthy

    Similarly redefining the meaning of the word “healthy” in your typical disgustingly intellectually dishonest manner does not make your position any less pathetic.

  100. 100
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Zeppelin:

    Is it fair to say that I feel you jumped the gun on attributing dismissiveness and sexism to me, but that I still understand that my joke could be interpreted in such a way, and that that obviously happened with at least some commenters here, and that I am sorry about that?

    Let me preface this by saying I’m not trying to speak for Inaji.
    There are two interrelated points I’d like to make:
    1- I don’t believe I’ve encountered your nym around here. Without any posting history to refer back to, I have nothing to judge your comments on. There’s no behavioral history that I can look at and say “oh, zeppelin is not the type of person to make bigoted comments, so chances are xe did so unintentionally. I’ll just point out the questionable nature of the comment and more than likely xe will apologize and all will be good”. So I’m left with taking your words at face value.
    One could read your comment and decide zeppelin said something stupid and mildly offensive and I don’t want to let that slide, so I’ll comment on it.”
    or
    “Oh, zeppelin said something stupid and mildly offensive, but xe is a new commenter, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and conclude that xe wasn’t intending to offend anyone.” The problem with option #2…

    2- …is that bigoted comments are made by new people from time to time. Some of the comments are mildly annoying, while others are deeply offensive.

    From my perspective, it wouldn’t be jumping the gun to say your comment was dismissive and sexist. There’s no prior interaction with you to draw from, intent is not magic, and we routinely see new commenters making sexist comments.

  101. 101
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    theoreticalgrrrl:
    I’m sorry for your loss.

  102. 102
    theoreticalgrrrl

    Thank you Tony.

  103. 103
    theoreticalgrrrl

    In my experience, the real assholes I, and other women I know, have dealt with act like Prince Charming when you first meet them. You can’t believe your luck, he’s Mister Wonderful, seems almost too good to be true, sends you flowers, is incredibly romantic, tells you everything (he knows) you want to hear.

    It’s only after a woman becomes dependent in him in some way, that the mask comes off. The confusing thing is, you believe the person you met is the real him, and that something must be wrong… he’s having a really bad day or is under too much stress, and that must be the reason he’s not being himself. So you try to work it out, hanging on to the initial image he created of Mr.Wonderful, believing that is the real him. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you were wrong, since you are so emotionally invested and fell for the Mr. Wonderful, and have a hard time believing anyone could be that two-faced and fake.

    And then people like the guy in that video and other ‘nice guys’ look on this and think, not only that women always choose assholes, but they choose them +because+ they are assholes. Not in spite of, but because our evil, perverse nature makes us dig assholes.

  104. 104
    mikeyb

    The tirade, besides revealing sever anger management issues couched in bizarre hyperreductionistic sexism and self projection of his own inner self hatred, is also really horrific logic too. Using the same logic, blame the Jews for Hitler, after all if one of them had successfully killed Hitler before 1934, the holocaust may not have happened (but probably not since anti-semitism was rampant).

  105. 105
    Stephen Brady

    So, we have another creep spewing misogynistic crap on the internet… Is he mentally ill? Is he just an asshole? Is there something wrong with his software or his wetware – or either? What I think would be useful to know is if he is dangerous now or might he become dangerous in the future? Do the Elliott Rodgers of the world become dangerous by reading and listening to other creeps on the internet or do they always have latent dangerous characteristics and they hang out where they can show off without criticism – and possibly gain some amount of encouragement? How much encouragement will push them over the edge? What else can push them over the edge? You’ll notice an awful lot of question marks here. I wish I had answers – I wish I could prevent the next attack. The only way we might ever deal with this is to get people with backgrounds in medicine, psychology, philosophy, ethics, law, and others to sit down and ask hard questions. Only then might people start to find metrics which start to define possible answers. And how do we implement the answers… Paging Dr. Orwell, Paging Dr. Huxley.

  106. 106
    rq

    theoreticalgrrrl (I always have to count the Rs)
    @103 – Totally. And I’m a sucker for smooth talkers. Until I realized one day that it’s not the talking that makes the awesome boyfriend, but the actual actions (and by ‘actions’ I mean things beyond buying gifts or food). But boy, some of them sure say lovely things.
    previous – Sorry for your loss. :(

    Zeppelin
    Understood, and yes, your explanation also makes sense, but it’s not always easy to jump in with humour right off the bat, especially with this kind of topic. Stick around and learn some. :)

  107. 107
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    theoreticalgrrrl @ 103
    Spot on.
    I fortunatley never dealt with this myself, but my former BFF did.
    The guy was nice and charming at the start, but her friends and family were concerned since he raised some red flags. Our concern was used against us. He told her her friends were jealous. He told her her family only disapproved because he was Albanian. He managed to isolate her from all the people who could help her, to whom she could go, who could set her compas right and say “You’re right, he is an asshole for doing this”.
    She was lucky. We met again, and we renewed our friendship, and she got in contact with her mum again, and fortunately he was financially dependent on her. When she told him that she was breaking up he punched a hole in the wall. She said he never touched her, but I’m not sure how much I believe that.

    I’m sorry for your loss

  108. 108
    knowknot

    @105 Stephen Brady

    You’ll notice an awful lot of question marks here. I wish I had answers – I wish I could prevent the next attack. The only way we might ever deal with this is to get people with backgrounds in medicine, psychology, philosophy, ethics, law, and others to sit down and ask hard questions. Only then might people start to find metrics which start to define possible answers.

     
    OK… I don’t want to sound nasty here, because what you said read like the product of a heart endowed with some compassion.
     
    But some of the answers for which you want metrics aren’t purely neurological in state of causation, as with the encouragement, the culture, the social experience. In effect, it may be possible to see something meaningful neurologically, IF the promise of scanning / mapping / diagnostic technologies is not as limited as some cooler heads think it may be. But even then, as has been seen with psychopathy (aka sociopathy, and possibly other diagnoses I’m unaware of), the neurological indicators aren’t always predictive of the expected effects. Some of this will almost certainly improve, but among the shining and amazing achievements of recent neurolgical advances, specificity regarding the effects of “personality oriented” individual variation does not stand out, nor is it presenting any imminent threat of doing so, except in various frothy popular science “journalism.”
     
    But regarding the causes… they all vary for any person, even within the same group, due to differences in isolated interactions, individual sensitivities, difference in perceptual abilities, the differing structures of experience that form the lenses that lead to different understandings, and a thousand things I’m not clever enough to name. Multiply (or, for all we know exponentiate) each individual factor, one by one, for every person interacting, by every other factor, and I still doubt you’ll capture the complexity involved. And never mind that attempting to do so accurately would require a level of surveilance that would make the NSA to the power of Orwell look like a Libertarian paradise.
     
    Understand that I’m NOT saying that neuroscience is doomed to failure. I am NOT saying that the incredible work being done is not worthwhile. I am NOT saying that we won’t see spectacular benefits from the work that’s been done, is being done, and will be done.
     
    I AM saying two things:
    - That, especially given this context, I find the fact that your post leads up to the term “metrics” somewhere between creepy and frightening. As in GATACA / Code 46 frightening.
    - That I fail to understand why we continue to insist on labelling and fussing over the “mental illnesses” of people with whom we have no contact, on whom we can have no influence, and whose behaviors we could not have predicted (for a thousand reasons) while we nearly completely ignore the related, openly and forcefully stated social contexts, biases, prejudices, and hatreds, we swim alongside and affect every day, and which obviously also reach out to touch and influence any number of groups and individuals, regardless of their state of mental health.
     
    Can we prove the latter to be a primary cause? No. But is it prudent to focus on factors we can’t honestly or accurately hope to alter, with the breath of what we can moistening our backs?
     
    ?

  109. 109
    Maureen Brian

    Excellent reply, knowknot.

    I would also be asking, perhaps not as politely, why we should be ignoring all the good work done in a couple of centuries on ethics, education, social conditioning, political analysis within which I would include quite a bit of feminist theory, the experimental psychology so popular in the mid-twentieth century and our own experience of maturing from the tantrum-prone two-year-olds we once were into mature adults who don’t need delayed gratification explained to them or demand that the other 7 billion go about wearing huge labels which say, “Hang on! I’m human too.”

    Clearly that process of maturation can go wrong but we already have a good understanding and many of the tools. We could start, indeed, with the economics of Wilkinson and Pickett or of M. Piketty.

    No-one is going to find a simple, single sentence, non-controversial explanation for an event like this but the ‘nothing can be done until we have a definitive answer’ approach stops us using the knowledge and the skills we already have.

  110. 110
    Matrim

    I think the problem with definitions of mental illness and what does or doesn’t constitute it is largely due to the fact that the definition is very subjective and not particularly precise. Part of the definition of mental illness involves how much the condition “impacts the life” of the sufferer. Other parts of the definition involve how socially normative the behavior is. We can all draw our individual lines, grouping certain behaviors and mental processes into different groups, but there are going to be a lot of grey areas, simply because the definition is so relative. In that spirit I see where the “mass murder itself is indicative of mental illness” crowd is coming from. I personally don’t agree, but I get it. The “assholes are mentally ill” thing I personally find more indefensible. I fail to see how being an asshole is nessisarily a dysfunction. There are plenty of assholes who are also genial and popular, for whom being an asshole isn’t an impediment.

  111. 111
    w00dview

    tdog @ 50:

    Feminism is first world problems in ideological form.

    Seriously? A libertarian complaining that an ideology is exclusively first world problems? Libertarianism is first world problems personified. “Paying taxes is exactly like slavery, waaah!” “Obeying regulations is soooo oppressive!” Every libertarian rant I see on the internet, I visually imagine a two year old screeching “I don’t wanna!” when his parent make him eat his greens. Being mildly inconvenienced is the greatest injustice in the world to these snot nosed wankers. Also, ironically, feminism has greatly increased the amount of liberty on this world than libertarianism could ever hope to achieve. So they fucking fail their most basic goal. Absolute joke of an ideology.

  112. 112
    juice

    Hmm, welp, I didn’t hear one thing in that rant that had anything remotely to do with libertarian philosophy, so this is just a massive logical fallacy on your part, PZ. Nice job.

  113. 113
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    juice:
    If you read the thread, you’ll see what PZ’s talking about.
    BTW, what logical fallacy is it, and why?

  114. 114
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Hmm, welp, I didn’t hear one thing in that rant that had anything remotely to do with libertarian philosophy, so this is just a massive logical fallacy on your part, PZ. Nice job.

    Whereas I haven’t seen one iota of historical/economic evidence that liberturdism works in the real world. So, it is a delusion like believing in imaginary deities. Taken on faith, not real life evidence….

  115. 115
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    juice:
    Also, you missed PZ’s point. He’s mocking those people who claimed Elliot Rodger was mentally ill (rather than misogynistic) based on his angry manifesto. If they get to argue that angry manifesto=mentally ill, then this libertarian nitwit who posted an angry manifesto=mentally ill. Same internal logic (though just as wrong as the Misogyny Denialists).

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