Saturday, May 7, 2016

How to get started with thinking for yourself

An anonymous reader left the following question on the current Open Thread:

After reading your blog and its comments, you seem very skilled at debating It's honestly fun to read your posts here because your points are logical and explained well.

It looks as if everyone who attacks your points comes across as juvenile by getting off topic or misconstruing your points entirely.

So I was wondering, how'd you get so good and do you have any recommendations (books, tips, etc.) that would help someone get better at debating?

Here is my reply, which I post on the main blog since others may find it useful as well.


Thank you.

In the end, it boils down to having an above average level of general intelligence, practice, and a good education, which should not be confused with going to university. It is certainly beneficial if you spend time in an environment in which you need to win factual arguments, instead of humanities bullshit pseudo-debates that have a predetermined outcome since their flawed premises are sacrosanct.

Here are some pointers to get you started:

1) Look up the definition of Pascal's Wager, and try to poke as many holes into it as you can. In the end, you may wonder how someone so smart could write something so incredibly stupid, and then you'll realize that back in the days intellectuals didn't just face ostracism but may even have gotten incarcerated, or worse, for holding positions the authorities didn't agree with. Similar mechanisms are in place nowadays, which is why we mostly have a mixture of bona fide idiots and sycophants among our intellectuals. We barely have any great thinkers nowadays because people are too afraid to speak their mind freely. Compare this to guys like Schopenhauer who didn't give fuck about offending anyone with his writing because he was independently wealthy.

2) Ponder the statement "Islam is the religion of peace", and try to answer the question why something so obviously false is being promoted in mainstream media. This should lead to general distrust with regards to any popular mainstream opinion. (Hint: Islam is a violent political ideology in the guise of religion.)

3) Learn to recognize when people or the media tug at your heart string in order to manipulate you. It may be harmless when it's a Pixar movie, but it is still manipulation. Recognizing this will help you a lot in being able to assess the worth of a position or product. To give a somewhat recent example: Some years ago the video game The Last of Us was released to general critical acclaim. However, it is at best a mediocre game. Instead of focusing on fun mechanics, though, its creators try to get you emotionally involved by trying to make you care for two helpless little girls, in sequence. I thought the manipulation was way too transparent, and thus my enjoyment of this game was severely limited. This was beneficial because there are plenty of games around that are genuinely fun to play. Of course, I only mention entertainment products because it is good practice. The real fun starts when you begin reading mainstream newspapers from this angle, or study the work of "human rights" organizations. Mother Theresa is an almost too easy target, but study her life as well, because that kind of narcissist emotional bully who enriches itself by appealing to pity is very common in contemporary society.

4) Learn to recognize that people are, by and large, sheep without their own opinion. What they perceive to be their opinion is normally someone else's, which was taken at face value. Talking to your typical idiot leftist liberal is a great way of figuring this out. As a conversation starter, ask "We have x million unemployed people in this country, including many with advanced degrees. Further, a significant part of college graduates is overqualified for the work they do. So, what benefit is there in taking x million immigrants who largely don't speak our language, don't have any useful education, and who come from a much different, possibly even antagonistic, cultural background?" Eventually, they will blabber about "the humanitarian imperative" and "guilt", and for that keep in mind that before the oh-so bad white man came to Africa, people were literally living like animals there. Further, population figures in third world countries are growing at an exponential rate. It is simply not possible to take all of them in, or even just a non-trivial amount. A last resort of leftist morons is then to stammer something about "taking it from the rich", and then point out to them that "the rich" includes them as well, because once a significant part of the inhabitants of a country is unproductive, standards will go down noticeably. Sweden is a prime example in that regard. In the 1970s it was one of the richest countries in the world, and nowadays they are on the fast track to turning into a third world country. All important indicators are trending downwards, e.g. PISA, TIMMS, and the HDI.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
(Also, if you’ve got a comment that is off-topic or only tangentially related to this article, then please post in the most recent Open Thread. Thank you.)

32 comments:

  1. I will post about The Last of Us haha.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one to have found this game mediocre. And the woman that is our companion at the beginning is a horrible ultra masculine feminist "SJW". Disgusting. (Spoiler alert : at least this cunt dies hahaha!)

    Couldn't stand this game and abandoned everything at 1 third of the game. I was so disappointed. Everyone told me it was such an awesome game...

    If you like survival-horror, these are good games :
    - Silent Hill series (especially the 2)
    - Dead Space 1 (and only the 1, the rest is garbage)
    - Resident Evil 1/HD remaster (Jill is so cute and submissive, I want her as my wife haha)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Last of Us had SJW written all over it. The female partner you are teamed up with annoyed me beyond belief. On the one hand, you have Joel, a guy in his late 40s or so who has extensive survival skills, yet he ends up being the bitch of a woman half his age for a large part of this game. Give me a break.

      The DLC (Left Behind) dialed up the SJW nonsense to 11 because you play as Ellie who is accompanied by a black girlfriend, and the game also forces you to make out with her. I sat there dumbfounded, thinking that they can't be fucking serious.

      Delete
    2. Oh, you had the courage to actually finish it !

      Another game that I particularly like is Bioshock (1&2). Rapture seems like the ideal city, yet they couldn't help representing it as a city of mad men. I really wish Andrew Ryan existed !

      Delete
    3. About Bioshock: every proto-SHW that criticized Andrew Ryan and his "social darwinism" forgot about Fontaine.

      Delete
    4. Still about videogames : there is now feminine football in FIFA...

      Delete
    5. Seriously? If that's really the case, then we have a prime example of the negative effect of pandering to SJWs. If they really believed in women's soccer, they should release a "Wimmenz FIFA" and see how much that sells. Instead, now female teams are shoe horned into the regular product, which is nothing anybody who actually buys those games has ever asked for.

      Delete
    6. Interesting point about feminine FIFA football game.

      Well, in North American sports, they are pandering to the 'girly' side of things.

      In baseball, for mother's day, there were pink bats, pink shoes, pink hats, etc. worn by the players.
      For example see here: http://www.si.com/mlb/2016/05/08/mlb-mothers-day-2016-pink-bats-uniforms

      In American football (with the oval ball), there's pink too:
      http://www.businessinsider.com/small-amount-of-money-from-pink-nfl-merchandise-goes-to-breast-cancer-research-2013-10

      But at least it's likely a marketing stunt...as opposed to pandering to feminism.

      Delete
  2. Wow, nice to see Aaron posting more frequently on timely topics! Thanks for keeping us entertained and informed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think everyone should take basic logic 101, economics 101, and politics 101 courses early in life to negate the majority of shit posts on the internet and in real life. I'm sure there are free courses somewhere on youtube/online.

    Speaking of which, Maddox's 4-minute video on The Scientific Method is a good start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVnuFY20st0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, people should be educated about politics, ethics and economics. It's unbelivable the amount of bullshit people believes now. Leftists claim that corporations and governments want "the people" to be "ignorant" just to "profit", yet in the most impoverished countries and places, the ones who profit more with the ignorance and poverty of the masses are the leftists!

      Delete
    2. If all kids were educated in logic 101, the people who make the school curricula would be out of jobs (or at least their employers, the politicians would).

      That's why no country in the world teaches logic to kids. Even though that would be the number one single best thing we can do to make a country prosper faster. It is in the long-term interest of every nation, but in the short-term interest of almost no politican.

      Delete
    3. Actually logic is part of high school curriculum. Problem is kids aren't taught how to apply logic in their own lives. There is too much rote memorization and too little practical examples.

      Instead of using logic to find sloppy reasoning in some recent public argument or in their own belief system, kids are taught to apply logic on some bullshit sentences which makes them think logic is impractical.

      School not only doesn't teach kids logic, it actually makes them believe logic doesn't have any practical application.

      Delete
    4. If students are exposed to logic in high school, it must be done on a very superficial level and in a rather haphazard manner, not unlike some high schools that teach kids how to program, where the result is that they know less than nothing because they were taught by an idiot who doesn't even grasp basic computer science. There are a lot of idiots teaching mathematics in schools, so none of this is new.

      Delete
    5. The only course of logic as an actual subject of discussion I had in school was the process of elimination, strictly for multiple choice tests. It's helpful, but I would definitely not say I learned "logic" in school as it is an enormous spectrum of subjects.

      Delete
  4. It looks as if everyone who attacks your points comes across as juvenile by getting off topic or misconstruing your points entirely.

    This is because the majority of his "critics" are either obtuse, ignorant, intellectually dishonest, delusional or worse suffers from mental issues.

    I have seen a couple of good comments that counter his arguments, they come from guys who usually find nothing to disagree with him, though, like Alek Novy (a comment on the relationship between sexual variety and humans being wired differently).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have read much about the massive illegal immigration to European countries recently, but I would like ask a question:

    I have heard from my friends and who live there that unemployment is high in France (most Vietnamese live there), Germany, England, Scandinavia. A regular observer will just say that due to high social protection and generous welfare for the unemployed, the population turn lazy, expect the government to feed them while they see labour more as a pain than as a challenge to overcome (to gain experience from works, for labouring is a process in which one mature pretty quickly).

    This is of course the standard explanation, but is there more causes to European high employment?

    http://www.nber.org/reporter/summer04/blanchard.html

    This article seems to try to say something, but I find it unclear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This online ebook about Germany talks about the economic troubles it faces.

      http://www.mauldineconomics.com/download/germanys-invisible-crisis

      Delete
  6. I would highly recommend that anybody interested in improving their critical thinking skills read Crimes Against Logic by the former Cambridge philosopher Jamie Whyte (It is rebranded as 'Bad Thoughts' in certain parts).

    AS, even though you'd be familiar with most of the material, I think you would find it a fun read.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You didn't mention reading Schopenhauer's essay, although I guess that's a given since it's linked on the blog.

    I also think that meditation can help tremendeously when it comes to seeing through bullshit, thinking for oneself and even becoming more logical. I've only recently started doing it regularly (used to do it a few years back) and I can already see certain things more clearly. Pretty sure it can raise one's IQ after a while simply because your mind becomes more efficient.

    Also agreed on how shit the Last of Us was. Couldn't believe it was so popular.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When it comes to presenting sexual attraction in a rigorous and irrefutable light, I rank Alek Novy higher than Sleazy. This is because the former's website, Seductionmyth, sought to provide readers the most comprehensive answer that you can't find elsewhere. The carefully selected materials presented to readers and the stringent arguments and counter-arguments that was made by him and some other highly educated individuals in the comment section just made this website an invaluable resource.

    One of the most realistic conclusion drawn by members there is this comment, made by "Piotr":

    This is why it is best to let nature takes its course and just mate assortatively i.e. seek partners that are about the same physical attractiveness as you and (as Admin would likely stress) that look similar to you. It appears that asymmetry in a relationship triggers the woman’s cuckoldry circuitry.

    Something PUA will cough at, of course!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would like to put here a justification for the previous comment. By saying that Alek Novy and his colleagues has ventured further into the territory of discovering the scientific mechanism behind human attraction than Sleazy, I do not mean here that the intellectual and intuitive capability of the latter is in any way less powerful than the former. Rather, it simply means that the former seem to have a firmer background in social science (the kind of valid social science, not the bogus ones). They simply put the subject in a firm footing, so that when you turn to think about this issue after a sexual advance/conquest, you have to smile to see that even though chances does it its part, your social skills do play its part, your charm does work with the ladies, you and her still firmly conform to a universal constraint. That constraint is nothing more but the assortaive mating theorem.

    Thus, it is tremendously helpful to be able to dispel the myth that you, with all your human capabilities, can somehow bypass and prove that the theorem is invalid. This is where Novy and his colleagues join force with Sleaze to nail the last nail of coffin to a generation of spetacular liars and scammers. It also help to spell the death of a long living myth which disguises even very experienced players, such as Paul Janka, that somehow you can create attraction by certain actions and speech. Therefore, it re-aligns human mating strategies to that of other species. It is clear from here that all PUA scammers and liars must consciously or more likely unconsciously sought to elevate human to the next impossible level: changing His biological constraint just by actions and words. What a spectacular lie.

    No criticism since then has reached this depth. It's like after their website laid out all proofs on this topic, not much that is interesting can be said further.

    Isn't it amazing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is seductionmyth.com offline? I'd like to read up on the topics.

      Delete
    2. The guy running it, Mike something, if I recall correctly, didn't renew the domain, and then the site was sadly gone. Most if not all should be accessible via archive.org, though. Even Alek Novy, who was heavily involved, was surprised that Seduction Myth suddenly went offline.

      Delete
    3. This website was great and I indeed noticed that I fuck girls that look like me (facial traits).

      Delete
    4. Seduction myth, selected writings :
      "Reality check: science says that facial appearance plays a major role in human love life."

      "The theory says that people seek a partner that reminds them their own genotype. Don’t take it too literally though. Similar looks doesn’t mean someone’s wife is going to look like a man. No, these are more subtle similarities. But that’s science based. In most cases such people also combine in terms of attractiveness rating."

      "Women consider “types” even when looking for casual relationships. "

      "Genetic and hormonal compatibility is often manifested by striking facial similarity. But not always. The case of Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel is one of the best examples of how people instinctively follow the rules of assortative mating. Take a good look at this guy. Would call him a Hollywood hunk? Show his photos to your female friends. I am sure many of them will tell you he is simply ugly. So why did this Italian beauty who is included in many sexiest women rankings choose a guy who looks like Cassel? Couldn’t she find herself the typical dark, tall and handsome Italian type? Fame? She is a lot more famous than he is. Money? For the same reason she probably has a lot more cash than he."



      Well, just read this page : http://web.archive.org/web/20121028045744/http://www.seductionmyth.com/reality_check/her-type/

      Delete
  10. You could still access to the website with its contents and especially important commentary section via the wayback time machine:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20121227013733/http://www.seductionmyth.com/

    I suggest that you copy everything into a Word file, upload it onto your Google Drive, just in case.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Use Mill's Methods. If a person says x usually causes y then there are a number of ways to disprove. Find a case where y happens but x is not present. Find a case where x is present but y isn't. Find a situation where the strength of x varies but y does not vary in the same way.

    For instance, does porn lead to more violence against women or cause "rape culture". My argument would be: NO.

    There are societies like Japan where rape has gone down but violent rape porn is vastly more available. (here I am giving an example of x varying but y not varying in the same way to disprove).

    Mill rules are very powerful in disproving most statements:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mill%27s_Methods

    Another thing I would do is read Schumpeter. His reasons very well.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Schopenhauer is always a good read. Highly insightful, very applicable and (compared to many other German philosophers) written in an accessible style even for the modern reader of today.
    Don't miss his "Eristic Dialectic: The Art of Winning an Argument" as well, in which he sets up effective tactics for dominating a debate by all "fair" and unfair means, if your opponent isn't able or willing to engage in a real rational debate with the goal of sorting out the truth, i. e. the he isn't worth debating with in the first place. Understand this little work and you'll see right through most speeches and arguments of politicians and commentators.

    (Sleaze got me started with Schopenhauer, so I'm slightly preoccupied with him. Sorry. ;)

    Karl Popper's works also shouldn't get neglected!

    ReplyDelete
  13. About accuracy of stereotypes :
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201408/stereotype-inaccuracy-belief-impervious-data

    ReplyDelete
  14. With regard to point 2: does it have to do with "white guilt?" Or is it because the oil producing countries are primarily Muslim and therefore economically pressure Western media to push forward this narrative?

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.