Jun 202022

I was asked what went into my decision to get a vasectomy, especially considering I’m hoping to live at least thousands of years and people change.

When I project out my future over the next 10 years, I can’t see wanting kids at any point in that time period.

Plus there’s not much of a possibility for it even if I did want it.

The threat of maybe accidentally making a kid was super stressful. Vasectomy removed all that fear/stress, with very little near-term downside.

In the far term – after more than 10 years out, I don’t think I would be realistically able to have children anyway. Either I’d be too old for it to be practical, or whoever my mate would be at that time would be too old to bear children, or both!

If we reach the transhuman future and I live a very long time and slowly change in a way that leaves me desiring children, then having a vasectomy won’t matter anyway, because that should be super easy for incredibly advanced tech to reverse or work around.

Finally, just to be safe and really put myself at ease, I got some sperm frozen before I got the vasectomy. It was several hundred dollars, which isn’t nothing. But imagining the worst-case scenario of future-Eneasz wanting kids, I’d rather pay that than screw future-Eneasz very badly cuz I was too cheap to part with a few hundred dollars.

I’m moving to SubStack. Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

Jun 082022

Multiple people have been tripped up by my claims in a recent post that “demanding that people call you by incorrect pronouns counts as bullying and harassment.” This is in answer to that.

I went through a lot of titles for this one before settling on “How They/Them Hurts.” The all started with “How They/Them Hurts” but they had different endings.
“How They/Them Hurts Good People With Bad Brains”
“How They/Them Hurts The Neurodivergent”
“How They/Them Hurts The Marginalized”
“How They/Them Hurts The Hurting”

There is a trend here, besides the names getting shorted until the shortest won. This is the story of a non-typical brain architecture. Sometimes it’s called a pathology or a disorder, but I much prefer just “bad brain” because I don’t want my brain medicalized. Making it a medical thing may encourage people to drug it into becoming more typical, and I prefer to just have it be bad in this way. I have a bad laptop too, but it works well enough for me and I don’t want to change it.1

Janky AF, and it’s all mine

1. Moral Scrupulosity

I think of this Brain Thing as caring strongly about not lying. But apparently it’s one of the variants of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, according to some fancy lab-coat-wearing MFers. “Moral Scrupulosity OCD” (Ten thousand EA’s just sneezed). Symptoms include “pathological guilt, obsession associated with moral or religious issues, over-responsibility for others, fear of offending others, etc”

Let’s play You Might Be Scrupulous If

You Might Be Scrupulous If:

2. Compulsive Honesty

The big one for the purposes of this post is Compulsive Honesty.

Scrupulous people really hate the feeling of lying. Hate it! We do it, of course, sometimes. You can’t avoid it. But even white lies feel really bad.

In fact, white lies often feel extra bad, because you are stuck either telling a lie (bad!) or hurting someone you care about (also bad!). Which one is worse? It’s very hard to tell! Generally we err on the side of white lies, because those are socially approved of.

There are, however, some lies that are too big to swallow. Lies like “God exists and loves us.” Those lies must be expelled even at great personal cost.

There are lies that are smaller than the God lie, but that are still a source of significant pain. To quote myself:

When I was young and my brain was being molded, the language parts of my brain were hooked up to the sex-recognition parts of my brain via methods that have been refined through cultural evolution to hook those two parts together very strongly. And it took.

When one insists others use pronouns that contradict with the one’s sexual presentation, I am required to overrule my own lying eyes and instead use arbitrary terms picked by that person. It feels like I am being told there are five lights every single time. Last time it was my church and parents who were telling me there were five lights. Now it’s my friends. :( I am being forced to lie every time I speak of them, and I despise it.


I’m not unique in this. I’ve spoken with others that have the same problem. It’s a maddening jabbing in your heart. It’s having a brain sitting on your shoulder screaming ‘THAT’S A WOMAN’ or ‘THAT’S A MAN’ into your ear. It’s the feeling you get when you realize you have to make a car payment of $200 and you need to refill your drug prescriptions for $150, and you only have $220 in the bank, and it’s 13 days until payday. Every. Single. Fucking. Time. that you have to refer to the person.2

3. Comparative Pain Studies

Here’s the thing. This pain is bearable. We bear it often. In addition to this, we understand that trans people also feel pain. They live with the pain of being in the wrong bodies every day. They deal with the pain of hormone injections, surgeries, and slowly reshaping their bodies in a long awkward process. And if there’s one thing scrupulous people are good at, it’s bearing pain for the greater good.

Therefore, most scrupulous people who feel pain at mis-matching pronouns will nevertheless use them in almost all cases. We want to not cause pain to others, and to alleviate pain when we can. It’s Moral Scrupulosity OCD’s whole thing. Especially when the people whose pain we’re preventing are our friends and family.

And indeed, not all scrupulous-honesty pain is the same! The less something feels like lying, the less painful it is! The absolute easiest case scenario is someone who is literally just a man-ish woman or effeminate man, who was mis-classified at first observation. They just say “I’m actually X.” There is a great deal of embarrassment and apologizing. But the mental model is updated very rapidly, and the switch to using correct pronouns can be painless nearly instantly.

A little harder can be people with hormonal or genetic disorders. My unconscious categorization software will often continue throwing errors for some time, and it can take a period of sustained effort over a long time to correct for it. Like when you meet someone with a facial deformity, and you have to try very hard not to look at it for the first dozen-ish hours that you spend around them. Eventually it fades to the background, and the brain accepts the correction, but it takes effort and a long period of discomfort. Again, absolutely worth it to make someone’s life easier. Especially because it’s not something they can control, they got fucked by life.

The non-passing trans person that is still going through transition is harder. The error flags never fully stop until the transition is succesful. But… part of a successful transition is encouraging your friends. When someone is of ambiguous sex, one of the cues that helps strangers with categorization is how people nearby refer to the ambiguous subject. Eventually it won’t be a lie to use what is currently the “wrong” pronoun, so it’s less bad to start using it early.

These are the things you tell your brain. They make it easier to push through the feeling of lying. It’s for the greater good.

And heck, some of those people are kind enough to allow (or prefer!) the use of Ambiguous They. This helps greatly with alleviating the pain of feeling like I am lying, because I’ve already internalized it as a truthful way to refer to ambiguity! (see previous post)

But then there’s the friggin trolls.

4. Friggin Trolls

I am getting better about my brain issues. Over the last decade, I’ve been able to shed some of the guilt and attendant pathologies. I’ll never be fully neurotypical, but I don’t want to be, that seems really lame. I just want to be more functional, and I’m getting there.

But I don’t want to shed my loathing of, and reflexive pain to, the act of lying. It’s served me well. I think it’s net-good, and I wish more people had it. It will cause me pain sometimes, but I’m willing to take that pain.

Most of the time.

This post is long, but you’re almost at the end! Read the last several bits, including the crux of the argument, at my substack. Free, of course.

Jun 052022

Multiple people have been tripped up by my claims in the previous post that “they/them pronouns are never correct pronouns for a person whose sex isn’t ambiguous” and “demanding that people call you by incorrect pronouns counts as bullying and harassment.” This post addresses the first of these two.

First, I posit that there are infinite genders, and there are only four sexes. If you already agree with either of these statements, feel free to skip to the punchline.

1. There Are Infinite Genders


Image taken from Clearer Thinking’s Gender Continuum Test. See below.

Gender itself is a new-ish concept. Before the previous century, that word related primarily to linguistic rules about words. A thing that fussy grammar nazis tutted about. “Sex” described animals, “gender” described words. One of the biggest catalysts for the change in meaning of “gender” was Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When arguing sex discrimination cases before the US Supreme Court in the 1970s, she switch from “sex discrimination” to “gender discrimination,” because apparently people couldn’t stay serious in a long conversation that included the word “sex” over and over.

Let’s pause to think about that. We often ridicule British Victorians for being so uptight about sex that they wouldn’t say the word “leg” and would put little pants on the legs of their pianos so they wouldn’t be exposed (Not true, but a commonly repeated story nonetheless). And yet, in the highest court of the land, the most serious judges and lawyers of their generation couldn’t stay focused if the word “sex” was dropped repeatedly. So much so that it endangered legislation effecting half the population, and this was patched by RBG tabooing the word entirely and swapping in a grammatical construct! (sure, this was a trend already, but RBG popularized it)


Fake Prince George approves

At first gender was just a substitute word for sex, so it came in two flavors. But over the decades, it’s come to mean the way someone identifies in personality, and presents in public. The neat thing about that is that everyone has a different personality!

Clearer Thinking has a Gender Continuum Test you can take. The test is short and fun. The real gold is in the analysis afterwards. The whole thing is really great, and I cannot recommend it enough. Go, play with it, you’ll be glad you did. :)

I’m about to lift a whole bunch of stuff directly from the post-test analysis, I hope they don’t mind.

We examined over 600 different personality questions looking for differences.

We were not able to find even a single personality trait where there was a large difference in the average score of men and women

The biggest correlation we found between gender and any one personality trait was r=0.42. [… if] you tried to guess that person’s gender using just that score, you’d mispredict that person’s gender 31% of the time! Women are actually closer to the male average in this trait 37% of the time (i.e. they are more typically male than typically female in this trait). So that means that if there is a room of 100 women, about 37 of them will be closer to the average male score than they are to the average female score! 

And remember, that was the personality trait that we found to be most predictive of gender. All the other traits that had an association with gender had a substantially weaker relationship.

Across all these personality traits, women were closer to the female average than the male average only 61% of the time, and men were closer to the male average than the female average only 57% of the time. In other words, it’s extremely common for men to have quite a number of these “more female” traits, and for women to have quite a number of these “more male” traits. [emphasis added]

Only about 1% of males and 1% of females had almost entirely “more male” or almost entirely “more female” personality traits!

Take a look at the last two lines again. Nearly 40% of women and over 40% of men are closer to the average of the opposite sex than their own sex. And only 1% of each matched their sex’s average on almost all traits.

Gender is a spectrum (or continuum, if you prefer). There’s almost limitless manifestations of it. In fact, it can change over one’s lifetime, or even over a day, as one’s mood changes. I took this test today, and also several months ago, and my answers were largely similar, but didn’t quite line up. One was pretty significantly different. Personality is affected by many things, including shit that happened to you recently. Everyone is genderfluid, to some extent.

This is one reason I don’t particularly care to know anyone’s gender. It’s superfluous information, and honestly, sometimes people lie about it in order to present what they think is more socially desirable. Everyone is subject to Social Desirability Bias to some degree, and I don’t feel any compelling reason to amplify this.

Also it’s more fun to find out the old fashioned way.

2. There Are Only Four Sexes

If you are alive, you had two genetic parents. One of them was born as one of the traditional sexes (Male or Female), and the other was born as the other.

Image taken from Reality’s Last Stand. See below.

Until recently, basically all humans could be catagorized as one of the two traditional sexes. There isn’t any other option. Colin Wright is an evolution biologist who writes at Reality’s Last Stand (again, some direct lifts, hope he doesn’t mind)

males are the sex that produce small gametes (sperm) and females produce large gametes (ova). There are no intermediate gametes, which is why there is no spectrum of sex. Biological sex in humans is a binary system.

It is crucial to note, however, that the sex of individuals within a species isn’t based on whether an individual can actually produce certain gametes at any given moment. Pre-pubertal males don’t produce sperm, and some infertile adults of both sexes never produce gametes due to various infertility issues. Yet it would be incorrect to say that these individuals do not have a discernible sex, as an individual’s biological sex corresponds to one of two distinct types of evolved reproductive anatomy (i.e. ovaries or testes) that develop for the production of sperm or ova, regardless of their past, present, or future functionality.

A human’s biology is organized on a deep level around whether it developed to produce ova or sperm. Deviations from this are extremely rare, and the deviations aren’t a different sex, they are almost exclusively disorders of one of the two sexes. (But still very valuable persons!)

Or at least, that used to be the case.

With the power of modern technology, we have some measure of morphological freedom! Through years of hormone replacement, multiple surgeries, and a lot of physical training, we can mostly switch someone’s sex to the opposite sex. It’s not quie perfect… due to the limits of current technology, we can’t reforge every developmental path traveserd since early gestation. Certain physical difference are still unalterable, or can only be partially corrected. Continued medical intervention remains necessary. So the person can’t be fully catagorized as identical to their new sex. Nonetheless, the level of change is so drastic that they clearly are not the old sex anymore either.

We have created two new sexes, in the image of the old sexes. Trans Male and Trans Female, we created them.


3. Pronous Refer To Sex — Not Gender — By Necessity

In English, the third-person singular pronouns for humans match observed sex. It didn’t have to be this way, the fact that they match observed sex are an ancient linguist artifact. But that is how it works in English, and this is literally why trans people want to be addressed with the pronouns of their new sex.

I recently came upon fascinating speculation regarding the possible origin of this. “Pronoun Collision” is the problem of a pronoun being ambiguous and thus useless (or even actively confusing.)

If you wanted more pronoun-classes to reduce the probability of collisions … you could devise some other system that doesn’t bake sex into the language while driving the collision rate even lower than that of the sex-based system—like using initials to form pronouns (Katherine put ker book on its shelf?), or an oral or written analogue of spatial referencing in American Sign Language (where a signer associates a name or description with a direction in space, and points in that direction for subsequent references).

The speculation is that sex-based pronouns are a natural Schelling point of ways to reduce pronoun collision, since sex is binary and easy to observe.

one might speculate that “more classes to reduce collisions” could be part of the historical explanation for grammatical gender, in conjunction with the fact that sex is binary and easy to observe. None of the other most salient features of a human can quite accomplish the same job: age is continuous rather than categorical; race is also largely continuous (clinal) and historically didn’t typically vary within a tribal/community context.

Indeed, sex is binary, making for a great Schelling point to avoid such collision. Even the two new sexes are mirrors of the two natal sexes.

Gender is not binary. Gender is the opposite of binary. It isas vast and diverse as the entire human population. Each gender is unique and deserves a unique label. Fortunately we already have labels that match up to the infinite genders of everyone, and those labels are people’s names. In fact, names have an advantage as high-resolution identifiers, because names are fairly stable. A gender can change from day to day or hour to hour.

Pronouns are a simplification. That is their whole point. They are low-resolution by design. Some languages have pronouns so low-resolution that they only have a single set of third-person singular pronouns, with no sex identification. There are languages of even lower resolution that don’t have a separate set for singular vs plural pronouns!

In the other direction, there are languages with additional pronoun sets for higher levels of resolution. Some have sets for formal vs informal relationships (English used to have this in the “thou/you” distinction). Some languages have inclusive vs exclusive “we” pronouns (“we (and you)” vs “we (but not you)”). Some languages have different pronoun sets to differentiate animate vs inanimate objects. There’s even languages that have pronouns that differentiate the owner of an object!


4. What Does This Have To Do With They/Them Pronouns?

This post is long! To read the rest of it, go to my substack. I’m slowly transitioning over to there, and this is one nudge to switch over. The whole thing is up for free, as is everything I’ve ever blogged about.

Jun 042022

Is my defensive reaction to wokeism mind-killing me? Well yes, obviously to some extent. How bad of a mental massacre is it, though? Let’s do a post-mortem on a recent failure (or semi-failure?) to find out.

First and foremost, I wish to thank Walter & James, of Rationality: From AI to Zombies podcast fame, for making this possible. One or both of them did a fair bit of research work on a previous statement of mine, and this would not be possible with that work. I am grateful to them, and I mean this sincerely!


1. The Tweet

May 18th I heard on a daily humorous/weird news podcast about three 13-year-old boys being investigated for sexual assault because they wouldn’t use they/them pronouns for a classmate. I thought it was more disturbing than funny TBH, so I googled up a link and shared it on Twitter. I pasted relevant text from the article, with the comment “wtf.”

Perhaps more importantly, I also talked about it and opined quite a bit more about the situation on The Mind Killer podcast.


2. The Rejoinder

Today (June 3rd) Walter & James posted a reply thread in Twitter, in the hopes of helping me to see how my prejudices are effecting my ability to model the world correctly. I really do appreciate this! I do think I made a few errors, some bigger than others. I also think that a couple places were W&J see errors, I believe I’m correct. So, let’s see what I can learn.



I hope @EneaszWrites will forgive me for the public call-in thread, but it’s an example as clear as fresh spring water of a point we have been trying to make.

Nothing here needs forgiveness, you’re putting forth an argument about something I posted publicly. Honestly, having someone engage me online with a thing I said online is what I’m here for in the first place. :) You are also super polite and reasonable about it, which is a heckin’ cool bonus!

I continue to hold no ill will against him and ultimately, his involvement is only incidental.

Cheers! Me too.



Before we continue, I want to pull out a later tweet to address something up front — my source was The Lad Bible.

the journalistic titan that is LADbible (ಠ_ಠ)

This was basically the UK version of Maxim when it launched. It’s evolved a bit, so there’s no longer titties and butts, but it’s primary market is still the equivilant of a Frat Bro, and it retains that vibe. Why did I use this source?

Because I didn’t have any better one. I was made aware of this story by a funny-news podcast. When I searched for a link to share, mostly what I got was a bunch of right wing newsites which I am loathe to link to, because I detest most of their politics. Many of them were very aggro about the story, and very hostile to the school district. There was not a single left wing source that covered this story in any way. It is a sign of my continued naiviety that I was surprised by this. I should have figured that of course no left wing source would cover blatent injustice perpatrated in the name of wokeism. But still, it sucks that they left the field open to just the crazies that were foaming about it. :/

Lad Bible was the most non-hostile source I could find. I was working to avoid blood libel and vitriol. I believe I mostly succeeded. The article definitely shares the anti-woke perspective (more below), but it isn’t hostile or deliberately inflamatory like the other sources were. It did, however, get some key things wrong. Let’s continue.



a criminal charge of sexual harassment for a single wrong pronoun would be ridiculous (!).

Yes it would. The Woke do something this ridiculous every few months. My priors for “nothing this ridiculous could be true” have been ground down over the years, and it’s disheartening.


How Much Bullying?

This bullying is not limited to using the incorrect pronouns (!). The parent of the student in question reports that their child came home in tears “as they’ve been the target of homophobic slurs and harassment”.

I don’t want to sound insensitive, but I’m about to say two things that are kinda insensitive, so uh…. good luck to me.

First, this isn’t evidence of bullying. Every day there are thousands of incidents of culture warriors declaring they are “in tears,” “literally shaking,” “feeling nauseous,” and that’s just from watching a milquetoast award show. I’m pretty sure tears and shaking are the standard reactions of any failure of the world to live up to fully utopian ideals. It’s completely consistent with past evidence that a child would come home in tears because they couldn’t bully someone into using they/them pronouns. Actual evidence of actual acts that went beyond rejection of they/them pronoun requests is requested, ty.

Second, these are 13 year olds in middle school. This is the worst time in the life of any American adolescent, in an incredibly dysfunction enviroment. Middle school is actively damaging to the mental and emotional health of kids, it’s a fucking social warzone. No one should be subjected to it, and the fact that adults allow this institution to continue to exist is an indictment of our entire civilization. It’s not surprising when any child comes home in tears. I don’t want to make excuses for anyone involved in bullying. But also, maybe don’t send your children to hellish part-time prisons.

Third — (I don’t include this in the “things that are kinda insenstive” catagory) — W&J say that the bullying wasn’t limited to using the incorrect pronoun, by citing that the kid was “the target of homophobic slurs and harasment.” They say in the next tweet (below) that rejecting they/them pronoun requests counts as homophobic slurs and harasment. If using “he” or “she” rather than “they” is a homophobic slur, then I can’t trust any claim that there were actual homophobic slurs besides the incidents in question. I will need a source that differentiates the two before I am willing to believe this.


They/Them Pronoun Requests

That school has an evidently queer student, that asked their classmates to use they/them pronouns.

The student is not evidently queer. In fact, they seem to be straight and cis. I assume so because if they were gay or trans, it would be shouted from every leftist source. Instead all sources I can find are very tight-lipped about this. While I realize “queer” can now refer to straight cis people, it’s misleading to use that context here.

And I will absolutely defend the notion that deliberately calling people by the wrong name or the wrong pronouns counts as bullying and harassment.

Here I think we’ve identified a major crux. I agree that deliberately calling people by the wrong name or the wrong pronouns counts as harassment. But, importantly, they/them pronouns are never correct pronouns for a person whose sex isn’t ambiguous. An obviously cis person can request to be refered to by they/them pronouns. Others can humor them if they wish. It is not bullying to not refer to someone by the wrong pronouns.

A 13 year old weeb may request that everyone call him “Eneasz-sama.” It is cool of people to do so. It is not harassment if the people who don’t like Eneasz-sama don’t want to play along. If Eneasz-sama begins to verbally attack people, or even assault them, unless they refer to him as Eneasz-sama, then Eneasz is the bully.

From original article

[The accuser] “had been screaming at one of Braden’s friends to use proper pronouns, calling him profanity, and this friend is very soft-spoken, and kind of just sunk down into his chair,”

So my counter-claim is that demanding that people call you by incorrect pronouns counts as bullying and harassment.

Before I am accused of trolling, please be assured I mean this completely and literally. I am personally harmed (a very small amount) when others ask me to use wrong pronouns. For my friends, I absorb this cost, because I like them and I want them to be happy, even if that means a bit of suffering on my part. I am not willing to suffer for my enemies. Demands that I suffer for their comfort is an attempt at domination. It is a demand that I degrade myself, to appease my betters, and I won’t stand for it. It amplifies what was a small hurt into a major attack. Repeatedly doing so, while using threats of social, reputational, or physical attacks, is bullying and harassment.


Suicide Study

simply respecting a queer teen’s chosen name and pronouns correlates amazingly with lower incidence of depression and suicide rate. Pronouns are suicide prevention!

I defy the data. There is a similar lie that is propagated regularly at the highest levels of society. The statistics linked by W&J is a single 3-bar graph that purports to summerize an online survey of 34,759 respondents. No other data or details are available at the link unless I fork over $40. Based on prior experience and general incredulity, I don’t believe this stat.


Title IX

Next, the music teacher (!) notices the ongoing harassment and decides to file a Title IX complaint with the school district. Title IX forbids any harassment or discrimination ‘based on sex’. This probably only referred to biology for Nixon, but has included discrimination based on gender identity at least since Obama. Including deliberate misgendering is a fair interpretation.

Whether not complying with they/them pronoun demands is good reason to file a Title IX complaint is a question I’ll leave up to the reader. I will, however, draw the readers attention to the fact that the school district decided it was not, and dropped the action.

The school district now has a Title IX complaint in their hands. This sets legal machinery in motion, such as informing the students involved about the investigation and their presumption of innocence. The school district _by law_ has to open such an investigation, once a complaint is filed, if it wants to stay federally funded. It was not a political decision, it was a legal necessity.

This is the first place I feel I could have done better. I did not know that an investigation must be launched after every and any filed complaint out of legal necessity. I wish I had known this. I wish any of the sources I had gone through had mentioned this. I was unaware, and it seems that the sources either didn’t know or didn’t care. For me, this is moderately embarrasing. For the sources it should be either very embarrasing, or a sign that they are bad actors and wanted to funnel anger at the school. (I assume Lad Bible didn’t know the details of US discrimination law)

If I had known this, I wouldn’t have expressed anger/exasperation at the school district enforcing woke lunacy on The Mind-Killer podcast. I would have instead expressed anger/exasperation at a legal system that took a directive meant to protect trans people from bigotry and now could credibly threaten a school district if they didn’t investigating kids standing up to pronoun-agression bullies. To no one’s surprise, I blame Wokeism for this corruption of justice. (But I acknowledge it’s maybe been going on for much longer).

I would have likely also expresed anger/exasperation at a music teacher (!) being so wrapped up in woke extremism that he or she would file a freakin Title IX complaint against kids refusing a they/them pronoun request! This teacher should, morally, be fired. But legally, probably cannot be. Ideally, the families should be able to file a civil suit, but I doubt that’s possible.

So, yes, I was wrong in who I blamed. :(


The Courts Were Not Involved

This investigation by a school district, however, is not the same as the kids or anyone being “taken to court”. […] nothing like criminal charges against them existed. Only the T-IX complaint.

This is absolutely correct. Again, this was my failure. I did not know T-IX procedure. My sources were wrong, and I hadn’t done additional investigation. T-IX demands that the institution conduct an investigation, and then take appropriate action, which could just be “find the charges are BS and drop the whole matter.” No harm no foul.


No harm no foul?

nothing like criminal charges against them existed. Only the T-IX complaint.

A T-IX complaint isn’t a criminal case, this is true. There are some downsides to this. Schools use a lower standard of proof than criminal courts. Often they demand proof of innocence rather than proof of guilt. They are mostly biased against the accused. In the universities, this is because “a fair process might lead to a not-guilty finding — which, if leaked to the public, might bring bad publicity.” (A 2nd Circuit appeals court ruled this is no defence for the school, fortunately.) Being a target of a T-IX investigation is dangerous even if you’re ridiculously innocent.

In this case it doesn’t matter, because they boys are totally guilty of refusing a they/them request. Which is fine. It’s like being guilty of watching every Marvel movie. Everyone can get behind watching Spiderman: No Way Home, but did you REALLY need to watch Eternals?

Except in this case, watching Eternals can get you kicked out of school permanently, and you end up labeled a sex offender for the rest of your life. Would this happen? Hard to say. It’s happened before. Is getting kicked out of a public middle school that big of a deal? It’s not as bad as getting kicked out of a university, but it’ll definitely impose major costs on the families. Would the sex offender label be sealed behind minor-protection walls after they turn 18? Maybe not. And anyone who sees a Title-IX violation on a man’s record knows that such violations are in response to sexual assault.


This post is long! To read the rest of it, go to my substack. I’m slowly transitioning over to there, and this is one nudge to switch over. The whole thing is up for free, as is everything I’ve ever blogged about.

It includes lines like “Truth-seeking is done not as an individual alone, but as a network of people who have a wide spectrum of biases and priors” and “at this point, I expect the district will do the right thing.”

May 312022

In my previous post, I said the difference between Liberal and Woke philosophies is that Liberals believe immutable characteristics aren’t important and shouldn’t matter. Wokes believe they’re one of the most important things about anyone/everyone.

The most striking example of this from my real life occurred to me at the World Fantasy Convention of 2017. At a lunch gathering I found myself speaking with two younger ladies and an older gentleman. The man appeared to be in Dr Who (11th Doctor) cos play. At some point the conversation dipped into social/cultural topics. The older man commented (paraphrased, this is from memory) “Prejudice is such a dumb thing. It’s just a bit of melanin in the skin. That’s it. There’s no reason for it.”

The two young ladies fell silent and exchanged a look of utter disgust and revulsion. After a few moments of discomfort, the older man wandered away, clearly getting the hint.

I stayed silent during this exchange too. I felt very bad for the man, but I also felt like this was dangerous territory, and I didn’t want to risk myself to comfort an out-of-touch old who was clearly on the way out. I still feel bad about that. He was simply repeating what all good liberals had been taught since the 60s, up through at least the early 2000s. I was taught, and had often repeated, the same lessons in grade school, high school, and college. They struck me as the correct way to think about humans.

When I went back to my room later that day, I thought about this. Why had the old man been wrong? What was I missing? I convinced myself that, actually, it’s not just melanin. He had missed that people of darker skin colors in the US had a completely different life experience, one that consisted of being oppressed and degraded at every turn by those who were lighter-skinned, and by trying to say “we’re all the same, it’s just a bit of melanin” was completely glossing over that, which was why he was wrong. I still didn’t think he should have been treated as a disgusting thing to shun, especially because the end goal of all humans was to get to the point where we are all the same except for some melanin. He was out of touch, and he should be educated, of course. But the response he received was cruel and disproportionate. He was being a good, liberal, left-wing ally… he was just behind the times.

(Much later I would come to realize that this sort of cruelty was not just tolerated, it was actually pervasive and encouraged by the movement.)

This experience stuck with me, as evidenced by the fact that I still think of it five years later. It wasn’t just the casual cruelty, the willingness to turn on old allies. It was also because something about my justification felt very wrong. Eventually I came to realize that you also couldn’t judge a person’s life experience by their skin color. A rich, upper-class black person in America would suffer less oppression and degradation than a poor white-trash person. Any given dark-skinned person may not even be American, they could be foreign royalty. They could be insanely racist themselves. Any given white-skinned person could be a recently escaped refugee from a fundamentalist cult, and drastically oppressed. The liberal position of not making any assumptions based on appearance was still correct. (Even later I realized that the entire narrative of relentless oppression was a lie in the first place, so the woke position was doubly unsound.)

It was a long journey, from liberal to woke and back to liberal. This was one of my mileposts. Poor Matt Smith. :(

edit: The original post said that SFWA runs World Fantasy Con. This is wrong, they have a seperate con, and I’m embarrased I got them mixed up.

I’m moving to SubStack. Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

May 292022

Today is the 4th birthday of Cancel Culture. On May 29, 2018, ABC cancelled the reboot of Roseanne after a racist tweet by it’s star & creator, Roseanne Barr.

America was at a social tipping point in early 2018. The left wing, having been sent reeling after the surprise win of Trump a year and a half earlier, was looking for a way to fight back. Pussy Hats and marches felt good for a day or two, but accomplished nothing. No matter what anyone did Trump was still in power. The people who had put him there were still smug and self-assured. The establishment left and its supporters were deeply frustrated and entirely impotent.

I know, I was one of them.

In the middle of this Roseanne had been rebooted, a working-class family sitcom from the 80s/90s. Roseanne Barr, despite being the head of a feminist sitcom and a one-time Green Party presidential candidate, had infamously voted for Trump in 2016. Despite or perhaps because of this, her show pushing progressive ideas and attitudes remained popular among working-class Americans. It had an immensely successful first/tenth season in early 2018, and ABC signed for an 11th season. Shorty after the season completed, in an unrelated incident, Roseanne Barr tweeted “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj.” VJ was Valerie Jarrett, the black woman that Obama called his “best friend” on at least one occasion, and who worked as a senior advisor to Obama during his presidency.

Within hours producer (and famous comedian) Wanda Sykes leaves the show. Right on her heals, several of her costars posted renunciations of Barr and publicaly quit the show. Less than 24 hours after Roseanne’s tweet, ABC cancels the reboot. Some networks pull the old show’s reruns from syndication as well.

I cheered when this happened. As we all knew, Trump and his supporters were open racists, it was one of their most prominent defining traits. At last someone had taken a stand to say “no, racism is not OK” and had lashed out against the bigots and bullies running roughshod over our government. Using only the power of our voices, our outrage and condemnation in every form of communication we had, we had struck a blow against evil. We had at least deeply hurt one of the powerful haters at the top. Her show was cancelled, her power gone, her reputation in tatters. Importantly, also hurt all the bigots who enjoyed what that hater had been producing. Not only had they been stripped of a popular TV show, but now they knew we can do this to you, so don’t fuck with us. We, the decent 80% of the population that still respects civility, still have a way to strike back, even if you took the White House from us for a few years.

With this act, modern social warfare was revolutionized. It had existed before, but now we knew how to do it right. Immediate and uncompromising denunciation. The entire mob must act as one, and at once. The target cannot have time to apologize or explain. It must be swift, and the sanction must be the harshest possible immediately, as every hour that passes is another hour someone might dig into circumstances or nuance, and the outrage may peter out. Strike hard, strike fast. (Anyone who advocates for slowing down, considering broader factors, or letting the accused defend themselves, is literally sabotaging this blitz. They are introducing time dealy, and have revealed themselves as an enemy. Treat them as such.)

Cancel Culture was born that day, via a literal cancellation of a TV show. That’s where the name comes from.

In retrospect, it’s hard to believe it’s only been four years. It feels like an entire lifetime ago, to me. The world has changed drastically since then, and so have I. I loved watching this happen, at the time. I, too, needed a victory, a blow dealt against the deplorable racists in charge, and I was happy to accept Roseanne as that victim. I had never watched the original Roseanne show (it was too low-class for my aspirations, which I am ashamed to admit today). I didn’t watch the reboot either. It’s cancellation didn’t hurt me in the least. Some millionaire would lose her show? Oh boo hoo, cry me a river.

When Roseanne said she’d tweeted that under the influence of Ambien, a sleep medication with strong side effects known to cause halluciations and spark bizarre behaviors. The side effects are so pervasive that Ambien users have a mascot for their hallucinations, the Ambien Walrus, that they joke about. I knew this, but when Ambien’s makers tweeted “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication” I laughed and laughed, and shared it with others. Was Roseanne on Ambien at the time? Is that an excuse even if she was? I dunno. Maybe not, to both. But I didn’t even bother to think about this, I was just happy someone gave me a reason to mock it and ignore it.

Was the tweet racist? Yeah, I think so. But is Roseanne Barr racist? I did a bunch of research in putting together this post. During the original 1988-1997 run, under the direction of Barr, the show normalized and championed progressive ideals to working class viewers. In addition to being feminist, had black, gay, and lesbian charecters. Roseanne berates her son for refusing to kiss a black girl in a school play, saying “Black people are just like us. They’re every bit as good as us, and any people who don’t think so is just a bunch of banjo-picking, cousin-dating, barefoot embarrassments to respectable white-trash like us!” And, famously, Roseanne Barr pushed hard to air a same-sex kiss, which was nearly unheard of at the time. ABC almost pulled the episode, and several smaller markets did refuse to air it. This kiss made headlines at every entertainment beat at the time. Roseanne Barr was very progressive, and probably did a lot to spread the ideals of liberalism into working-class America.

Roseanne herself apologized profusely, and pleaded for a second chance. Later, after the cancelling was complete, some of her costars spoke up in defense of her. They said Roseanne made a mistake, but she was not a racist. At the time I wouldn’t have believed them. Having seen how cancellations actually work over the last four years, I know assume they were telling the truth.

Eventually, the people who cancelled Roseanne recreated the show without her. Calling it “The Conners,” they kill Roseanne off-screen in the first episode. The fictional removal mirrors the real-life removal in a chilling way.

I’m moving to SubStack. Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

May 282022

It seems there is confusion as to what “woke” means.


I. What Woke Isn’t

It was said to me “No other movement made efforts to understand the danger of being out as queer or trans, or the discomfort of being racialized; no other movement made any effort to make spaces safer or more comfortable for us.”

I was asked to consider “if something needs to be built to replace it in order to further egalitarian human flourishing”

Initially I assumed that these comments came from a very young person in a very regressive country (or area of the US), who literally did not know about the civil rights movements that existed prior to 2012-ish. Upon further consideration, though, it is plausible that such a belief could come from the idea that wokeism is just another term for the liberal civil rights movement. It would be a much better world if this was true, but sadly we need the word “woke” to differentiate a new movement from the liberal civil rights movement.

The liberal civil rights movement is predicated on the idea that all people should be treated without discrimination or prejudice based on immutable characteristics. People should be treated as individuals, and judged on what they actually do. Not treated as instantiations of a group’s stereotypes. “Content of our character rather than color of our skin” kinda stuff. This is the movement that not only understood the dangers of being gay/non-white, but actually created the changes in the world that made the US significantly safer and fairer for such people.

Also, they’re still around, so unless one is living in a benighted country, there are already institutions dedicated to further egalitarian human flourishing that aren’t burdened by the rot of wokeness.


II. What Woke Is

I try to keep my definition of “Woke” as simple as possible, to avoid distractions. To me, Wokeness is the ideology that teaches that:

1. All humans have recognizable immutable characteristics – things like sex, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity.

2. These characteristics are the most important defining facts about most people.

3. People should be treated differently based on these characteristics. Specifically, women are to be accommodated over and protected from men, racial & ethnic minorities from majorities, gays from straights, and trans from cis.


III. Differences from Liberalism

This interacts with liberalism in some interesting ways. First of all, #1 is simply a physical reality. Can’t nobody argue with that.

And #3 is basically the traditional Liberal Civil Rights agenda (which may be the cause of the confusion).

The difference is in #2. The liberal civil rights movement holds that the immutable characteristics identified in #1 are basically meaningless noise. Knowing those characteristics about someone gives you almost no information about that person*. They should be ignored and treated as non-issues in all but the most extreme cases. The civil rights movement recognized that many official policies (as well as personal opinions) did NOT treat these characteristics as value-neutral. Therefore, they advocated for policy that would protect people with minority characteristics from the prejudice of others. They were often successful in this, and mostly this improved the world.

Wokeness takes the opposite view. They believe a person’s immutale characteristics are extremely important. Crucially, they allow you to rank people on a scale from Oppressed to Oppressor. Official policy should be to punish the Oppressors and recompence the Oppressed. To strive to eliminate bias and prejudice is actually a bad thing, because that would leave the Oppressors un-punished, and the Oppressed un-avenged.


IV. Ramifications

In the end, wokeness is mostly just people’s natural tendency to hate an outgroup and enrich thier ingroup finding a new outlet. Some humans will always have this need, and it was clever of them to hide it under an aegis of righteousness. Unfortunately, this is having some massive fallout for liberal society.

The majority of both liberals and conservatives are moderate, and yet believe that most people of the opposite persuasion are extremists. It is a disaster that liberals in the United States are being represented by a very vocal extremist fringe. Everyone not belonging to this fringe can see that it is rife with bigotry, even if they can’t say that out loud, and they are moving away from it. Some of them are leaving the Democratic party entirely.

This results in the Right Wing of American politics gaining more power relative to the Left Wing. Having fewer people on the left wing means the right increases as a percentage in a system where only two parties have any significant power.

This is already causing harm to the groups traditionally defended by liberals. Enough institutions have been captured by wokeism that turning this around is going to take a lot of effort and at least a few years.

There is a significant cohort that seeks to slow the growing renunciations by accusing anyone who leaves the extremist left of being “racists” and “rightists” and even “Nazis.” (Despite the fact that the liberals are leaving because of the wokes’ bigotry). They can see that the right is gaining power, and blame those who are leaving their ranks with the “If you aren’t with me, I will treat you as my enemy” tactic. The primary result of this is to push everyone who isn’t in the extreme-left even further away.

(The insane overreach by the Right wing in response is the only thing that’s keeping the Left from crumbling entirely)


V. But…. Religion?

Oh, yeah, I compared wokeism to religion, that’s what started all this. That’s a deeper kettle of fish, due to the specific way wokeism has played out in the US. I first wanted to get out my core objection to wokeism, since it seemed there was a basic confusion as to what was even being discussed. Wokeism as a para-religious memeplex coming up in the next few days.

*  –  This is actually wrong, but it’s an order of magnitude less wrong than the woke position that they are of overriding importance.

I’m moving to SubStack. Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

May 272022

For those following along, Lackey posted an “apology” which was basically not an apology. It also quoted Delany (the author she refered to as “colored”) replying to the kerfuffle saying he was cool with the word. I applaud her decision to pretend to apologize without actually doing so. :)

Also, I am aware that she claimed cancel culture doesn’t exist a few years ago. I still feel sympathy for her. It can be very hard to keep up as you get older. You lose touch with the zeitgeist, your faculties slow, and it’s easy to get confused. When the people you trust are lying to you and creating a false world for you to inhabit, I don’t feel you can be held entirely responsible for repeating what they’ve told you. The main reason I consider what SFWA has done to be so shameful is because she IS old and declining. :(

In addition, when the epistemic enviroment is hostile (as it is in America) and the elites you used to trust are earnestly repeating lies (which they are), it can take a while to realize this is happening. I was woke for many years myself. I, too, mocked the unenlightened. It wasn’t until I saw just a bit too much stupidity and cruelty, started pushing back against it, and then found myself cancelled for this heresy, that I realized the anti-SJWs (the term “woke” wasn’t popular at the time) had been on to something. You often don’t realize they’re gunning for you until you’re starting down the barrel of the gun (metaphorically).

So, sure, it feels good to say “Hey, if you lie with wolves, don’t be surprised when they turn on you.” But it’s not uncommon for people to not realize that the mob around them are the wolves. They make very convincing sheep noises, after all.


I’m moving to SubStack. Eventually this blog will no longer be updated, so switch on over.

Apr 212022

This is a story about a much younger Eneasz. One who was very naïve, had a lot of unexamined assumptions, and who has beliefs that are significantly different from my own. I won’t bother apologizing for him, because he’s long gone. I don’t know if the world is better or worse for that.

I grew up political. My family watched the nightly news together. We watched one-hour news programs as family events from at least my tween years.

I had very different views from my parents. They raised me in a conservative Christian religion, and held to its tenants. Atheism was evil. So were gays. When I came out as an atheist at fifteen, my mother didn’t speak to me for three days.

Once I was out of the house, I was mildly politically active. I was poor, with a menial office job paying not much over minimum wage, so I didn’t have a lot of time and energy for activism. But I did what I could. I argued with people, I fought in the online spaces (easier to access them during work hours at my office job), I occasionally went to marches. I felt camaraderie with my fellow atheists and social justice warriors. We were making the world a better place.

Proposition 8 was a bill that went to the public for a general vote in California in 2008, which banned gay marriage. It was called Proposition Hate by everyone on the left. It was plainly evil. Fortunately it was going to a popular vote in California, at the same time that Obama was swooping in for his landmark election win. There is no way it would pass.

Not only did it pass, but it passed with 70-75% of the Black vote in California (reported at the time).

I was devastated by this. I saw it as a stark betrayal. All these years, I had thought that all us minorities were in this together. My community of queers and liberals had canvassed, marched, and protested, for all of our allies. We marched for women. We canvassed for black and hispanic residents. We protested for gay rights. I had put more personal time into this election than any prior. Most of our objectives were reached. Obama had been elected president. And then, the black voters of California stabbed us queers in the back.

I felt so… used.

This was very stupid of me, of course. No individual voter in California owes me a damn thing. The “black population” of California certainly doesn’t “owe” the queer population anything! It was racist to even think that they did. There had never been any sort of alliance, all of it had been pure projections on my part. Just my delusion that we were together because I viewed us all as “the minorities” that were fighting back against “the patriarchy.” It was quasi-racist to have that feeling of entitlement to someone else’s votes.

I posted about my hurt on the activist forums I was part of back then, and I was comforted by them. I was reassured that we fought for the rights of all minorities not because we expected anything in return from other minorities, but simply because it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t even a betrayal. It was the smallest of misalignments, and yes it sucked and it hurt, but I’d been too naive and silly in my expectations. The fight is long, and it is fought because it must be fought.

And yet, it was my first hint that the language used to unite us wasn’t truthful. We are not “allies” in any real sense. We are only co-combatants currently on the same side by happenstance. I wasn’t about to leave my community over what voters on the other side of the nation did. There were millions of them, and they had nothing to do with me. They didn’t even know I existed for chrissake! I fought on.

I guess I wasn’t that surprised when, almost a decade later, they came for me when I refused to repeat some of the insane slogans that were demanded of me to prove my purity. It still hurt, when the final rejection came. But I had been prepared by that first, smallest, disillusionment. I never had allies in the movement. I only had utility to others, and eventually that ran out.

There is no loyalty within cultural movements. There is only the conviction that you need to keep doing what is right. So don’t ever despoil your principles to buy loyalty from people that you don’t have personal relationships with outside of the movement. The loyalty doesn’t exist, you’ll be degrading your integrity for nothing.

Apr 182022

I — Background.

Last month (I think?) Walter and James suspended their podcast. Their podcast, Rationality: From AI to Zombies Podcast was a project to make the entirety of the book by the same name available as an audio podcast for free. (The book R:FAtZ is a curated collection of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s blog posts from 2006-2009.) These posts, commonly called “The Sequences” by fans, formed the payload that initially launched the Rationalist movement/memeplex/community.

Walter and James’s podcast was valued by many people who were either already part of the rationalist movement, or interested in it, but who hadn’t been exposed to The Sequences as the time they were originally written.

When they quit producing the podcast, they posted this statement:

Dear Rationalists!
As some of you will already have guessed, we have decided to end this podcast project.

There has been a trend in the community we have been observing with increasing worry, and it has reached a tipping point.
We realised from the beginming that the politics of the rationality-sphere leaned heavily American libertarian. But back when we started, we felt that the community was genuinely interested in better outcomes for everyone and that if we would just sit down together, we could surely come to a sensible agreement.

But recently, the disdain and the antagonism against movements such as feminism and BLM and communities such as transgender and nonbinary people has taken over. Even with people we once looked up to and collaborated with. This has reached a degree that makes us feel not just deeply uncomfortable but also unwelcome.

We have friends and family in these and adjacent movements and communities that we love dearly.
We ourselves are part of these movements and communities. There is no us without them.

So we strongly oppose the recasting of them as authoritarian religions and some sort of reverse oppressors, a perspective so antithetical to what we thought the idea of ‘rationality’ represented that we can no longer watch in silence. We expected more from a community that we joined under the impression that it centered honest thought and compassion for all.

Our own interactions with listeners have been nothing but kind and mutually respectful. For that, we thank you.
But we cannot, in good conscience, remain a part of a pipeline towards the rationality-sphere if that is the place it has become.

Do better!

Walter & James

The word “recasting” is linked to my blog post from Feb 23, 2022: I Am A New Atheist, And I Repent. They have stated on more than one occasion that this post was not a primary driver of their decision, nor was it strongly influential. It was merely “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” The last item that finally pushed the scales over in a long, long list of worries and concerns.

However, it was the one linked in their final signing-off post, which sorta highlights it, and gives it some symbolic significance. So, after some musing, I have considerations of my own on the topic.

II — My Thoughts

What I’m most struck by is the idea that rationalism is a political movement with an ideology that must be opposed. What my focus keeps returning to is the idea that Walter and James feel they cannot “remain a part of a pipeline towards the rationality-sphere.” My interpretation is that this is due to their opposition to that ideology. That this ideology includes “disdain and antagonism against movements such as feminism and BLM and communities such as transgender and nonbinary people.”

I have a very different experience. The rationalists I know personally vary from mildly conservative to mildly leftist. The ones I know well online (in the TBC Discord server) range from pretty conservative (believing nationalism is a strength, minors shouldn’t be given hormones, society is too decadent) to strongly leftist (capitalism must be overthrown, billionaires should be punished and have their wealth seized, any parents that aren’t left-leaning enough are guilty of literal child abuse). Of the rationalists that I am aware of online, they range from reactionaries that want to reinstate absolute monarchy, to classically liberal sex-workers, to very woke social justice crusaders.

I don’t have any experience of rationalism as a movement that has any sort of consensus position on the feminism, BLM, transgender, or nonbinary movements. The majority of rationalists I know are neutral or in support of all of these.

This is why I have the view that rationalism is about attempting to improve reasoning, and not about political ideology. The people I meet in rationalist spheres can (usually) speak with each other in productive ways even when they have extremely different viewpoints about the world. I find that very helpful in truth-seeking. I’m glad I can speak with people who view things very differently from me without fearing that I will be berated. I’m glad that I can be confident the conversations will generally be productive and interesting, even when the person I’m speaking to has ridiculous(?) fringe beliefs. They can rationally discuss their reasoning, rather than posturing and signaling.

Personally, I do think that wokism is net-bad for civilization. As per my linked post, I think one of its strengths is that it taps into unfulfilled religious needs that many people have, and that a movement I was a part of helped to deprive people of having those needs fulfilled. I regret that I didn’t see that this might happen when I was younger.

If I’m wrong about that, I don’t understand how abandoning the tools of rational thought will help anything. The problem, in my opinion, would be with my wrong beliefs, rather than with Rationality. I may have failed at using the tools of rationality, due to a perverse environment (which perhaps I nurtured!) or due to my own failure to use those tools correctly. But I haven’t been able to find fault in the tools of rationality themselves.

If I am using those tools incorrectly, I would like to know.

If the tools themselves are faulty, I would like to know.

If neither of these are the case, I don’t see how abandoning the tools is helpful. I would also be interested in learning how/why that is the case?

III — Behind The Scenes

I am (kinda) engaged in a private conversation with Walter and/or James, from which these thoughts have been curated and posted. I don’t intend to make that conversation public, it is our own affair. But many of the thoughts and realizations I’ve come to during that discussion are represented here. I was sorta singled out in a public disavowal, and these are my considered thoughts on the consequences of my words.