Mar 17, 2023Liked by Yassine Meskhout

I had a conversation recently with a woman who expressed fury at unequal pay. I said that it's often conflated with unequal earnings, which result from other factors. When I pointed out that unequal pay is unlawful in our respective countries and that there seems little or no evidence of it, she fell back on saying it is real. When I asked for evidence she blustered about it being hard to prove, but still real. This went on until I gave up.

The relationship between conclusion and premises was impossible to establish and I realised that an opinion is often entirely founded on the ethical valence of the conclusion, while bypassing entirely the reasoning that might get you there.

This seems to be at the root of all partisan proselytising.

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Mar 17, 2023·edited Mar 17, 2023Liked by Yassine Meskhout

Yassine: "... she believes that a consistent exposure by men to violent and/or extreme pornography ..."

Just about anything we do there can be too much of -- eating, drinking, golfing ..., "Big Macs", whatever.

"The difference between a medicinal dose of strychnine and a fatal one is also only one of degree."

http://asounder.org/resources/weiner_humanuse.pdf (Norbert Wiener's Human Use of Human Beings)

Somewhat disingenuous of Meghan to not recognize that distinction.

Yassine: "... if you credulously accept every right turn, but are severely skeptical of every left turn, you’ll just keep going in circles ..."

LoL. That's definitely a keeper. 🙂

Meghan: "I think that it’s unethical to pay another person for sex. ..."

As the old joke has it, for a million dollars? The issue is often less the "principle" undergirding the exchange itself than that the "quid pro quo" is often rather egregiously inequitable. More or less analogous to sweat shops -- no one seriously argues that people shouldn't be paid to work, typically, in garment factories, but the issue is that the workers be paid fairly and be provided decent working conditions.

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Mar 17, 2023Liked by Yassine Meskhout

Great post overall, though the compass analogy "A theory that is unfalsifiable is like a compass that always points north no matter what direction it’s facing" is off - that's what a good, useful compass does. The bad kind (well, one specific sort of bad kind) would be one that says whichever direction it is pointing is North.

Always a nice show of good faith to take down bad arguments whose conclusions you mostly agree with.

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Mar 17, 2023Liked by Yassine Meskhout

Interesting read! I'm familiar with both and actually really appreciate Meghan's work in other areas, but agree that on this subject she doesn't seem to be applying the same standards to herself.

I actually see in a lot of "public intellectuals" that they have some topics on which they are immune to change or especially slippery. Meghan here on porn/ prostitution, Harris on Trump, Peterson on Religion, Weinstein on Ivermectin (I'm actually not convinced he's wrong, just that he's too convinced he's right).

Another bit I wanted to call out is this question of not just falsifiability but what specific evidence would change someone's mind is a core premise of Street Epistemology, a mode of conversation based around pulling out the real reason a person believes something, and asking them to question how sound of a reason that is. There are loads of conversations on YouTube if you're interested.

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Mar 17, 2023·edited Mar 17, 2023

I find this to be one of the more difficult debates to decide my opinion on. I think people like Aella are so concerned with people not being told what to do by anyone that they don't consider the possibility that some behaviors are harmful enough to be worth discouraging, even if they're not made illegal. But people like Meghan, and the more religious conservative people who oppose porn and prostitution for similar-yet-different reasons, can't really fathom the idea that people could have different views on sex than they do without it being some sort of trick or psy-op. I think anybody who's been online enough has probably seen some of the deviant weirdos who prowl the internet, so I'm willing to believe those who practice total hedonism are risking it altering their mental state. However, I also think having a sexual outlet is more important than the so-called "sex negative" people are willing to admit. Those who are not currently in a sexual relationship need somewhere to channel that, especially men, and no amount of exhortations toward perfect feminism/godliness are going to stop it. You can't just expect everyone who, temporarily or permanently, is not "getting lucky" to accept their loserdom and curb all sexual desire they have. Will jerking off to non-sexual images be okay in the porn-less society, or is that exploitative too?

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> fundamentally, I think that it’s unethical to pay another person for sex.

...It's of course completely ethical to do nothing about gender differences which make a significant amount of men miserable...

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