A-typical Mind Fallacy

a-typical mind fallacy (noun) :

thinking the minds of others are so inscrutable that we couldn’t possibly say anything about the beliefs or values of other people

A: “I know bed nets save lives, but isn’t it arrogant for you to presume you know what’s best for people in Africa?”

B: “…do we really need a deep understanding of the local culture to know that people in Malawi don’t want their kids dying of malaria?”

(h/t my friend Dillon Bowen!)

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Weird Obesity Things

Weird obesity things:

  • Animals like feral rodents and lab animals are fatter now than a few decades ago
  • Something something gut bacteria
    • Identical twin mice were given intestinal microbes collected from either obese women or thin women. The mice were then fed the same diet in equal amounts. The mice with the fat lady bacteria became fatter than the other mice.
    • http://science.sciencemag.org/content/341/6150/1241214
  • Infectobesity
    • AD-36 is present in 30% of obese people and 11% of normal weight people. “Children with the virus averaged 52 pounds heavier than those with no signs of it and obese children with the virus averaged 35 pounds heavier than obese children with no trace of the virus. D-36 also causes obesity in chickens, mice, rats, and monkeys.”
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenovirus_serotype_36
  • Most formerly obese people regain the weight they lost. Why?
    • “Reviews of the scientific literature on dieting (e.g., Garner & Wooley, 1991; Jeffery et al., 2000; Perri & Fuller, 1995) generally draw two conclusions about diets. First, diets do lead to short-term weight loss. One summary of diet studies from the 1970s to the mid-1990s found that these weight loss programs consistently resulted in participants losing an average of 5%–10% of their weight (Perri & Fuller, 1995). Second, these losses are not maintained. As noted in one review, “It is only the rate of weight regain, not the fact of weight regain, that appears open to debate” (Garner & Wooley, 1991, p. 740). The more time that elapses between the end of a diet and the follow-up, the more weight is regained.” 
    • http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2811g3r3#page-1 (pg.221-223 goes over the RCTs that are available)

This is not to say that I’m not on board with diet and exercise. I think poor eating and exercise habits explain a lot of the obesity we see. But it looks like there’s also some more complicated stuff going on, and a full explanation of obesity needs to address these things too (or explain why these studies are wrong).

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On Cheating

There are hedonic utilitarians who think there is nothing morally wrong with an act if no one is hurt by it. If two such hedonic utilitarians were married, they couldn’t really object to each other cheating as long as thorough measures had been taken to prevent the cheated-on spouse from finding out. So, if one of these hedonic utilitarians *did* find out the other was cheating, their complaint would have to be something like “How dare you be so clumsy in your cheating” or “How dare you do an act that would hurt me with a low probability,” rather than “How dare you secretly cheat on me.” This is weird.

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Typical Gender Fallacy

The “typical mind fallacy” is when you incorrectly generalize from your own experience—it’s assuming people are more similar to you than they actually are. If I said, “I like the color green, therefore everyone likes the color green,” that would be the typical mind fallacy in action. This often happens for gendered experiences, e.g., “I enjoy getting catcalled, therefore women enjoy getting catcalled.”

People in feminist/SJ circles tend to think that changing the representations of women in magazines and movies will significantly change men’s sexual preferences for youth and idealized feminine bodies and faces. 

This *might* be an example of the typical mind fallacy. Feminist/SJ groups tend to be majority female (and there’s some pressure not to disagree-while-male in these spaces). Women might incorrectly generalize about the extent of the media’s effects because:

1. There is evidence that women are more malleable in their sexual preferences in general. (I can cite studies if you’d like.) Women in these groups might falsely think that this malleability is fully general.

2. There is evidence that women are more sexually attracted to social status than men are. (Again, I’m happy to cite.) Putting something in a magazine or movie raises its status. Women are more affected by what representations are high status, so they might wrongly assume that men are as affected.


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Conservation of Societal Virtue

 Conservation of Societal Virtue: Societies have only so many things they can *really* emphasize: inter-group tolerance, self-control, piety, valor etc. When you exaggerate your emphasis on one you lower your emphasis on another. If Conservation of Societal Virtue is real, it really matters what virtues are prioritized and in what order. So what virtues do you think should be most prioritized?

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Face Recognition

People should have to do a face recognition ability test before picking out suspects from a police lineup. The testimony of someone in the top 10% of face recognition abilities should have more weight than that of someone in the bottom 10%.

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Science fiction movies are uncreative with giving aliens novel emotions.

– I want to see aliens who pleasurably honk in the presence of right angles.
– I want to see aliens who have different kinds of suprise: object-suprise, person-surprise, event-suprise.
– I want to see aliens who have a deep craving to cover themselves in pebbles and mud.
– I want to see aliens who jump up and down and get cold when they haven’t done math in a while.

C’mon writers, the space of possible minds is huge!

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