23 – Desirism with Alonzo Fyfe

Alonzo blogs at The Atheist Ethicist

Common Sense Atheism’s ULTIMATE Desirism FAQ

Link to The Atheist Ethicist’s overview of Desirism

Wikia page on Desirism



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22 – Moral Philosophy

Doing the Right Thing

Wikipedia on:
Ethical Egoism
Divine Command Theory
Moral Relativism
Virtue Ethics
Care Ethics

Euthyphro’s Dilemma


Katrina mentioned that she’d read that the impact of child rape is less severe on cultures where this practice is typical. It turns out is was a comment on this LessWrong post and the validity of this statement is not certain.

Kant bites the bullet on not lying to murderers in his typically named essay “On A Supposed Right To Lie From Altruistic Motives“.

SSC somewhat in favor of Deontology – You Kant Dismiss Universalizability

Common Rationalist saying: Consequentialism is Ideal, But Deontology is Safe for Humans

Philosophy gets a lot of side-eye from Rationalists, in large part because of things Like This. But see also LukeProg’s Take

YouTube video where Katrina is arguing with a video gamer about the goodness of the protagonist of The Last Of Us.

Video of a bloody penguin fight over a female.

Planet Money episode on economic policies all economists are fully behind, but which will never be implemented.

Our Voting episode (with Tim!)

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Bonus mini-episode: Trump-Reacting

The conspirators discuss a minor setback.

The Safety Pin movement

Scott Alexander on your model of the electorate

A slightly-more-articulate version of Eneasz’s decision to change the deep past now

Eliezer Yudkowsky on the optimism of Trump voters


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21 – Kids, These Days

Considerations on Procreation

Not having kids – is it like drinking unicorn blood, in that you’ll lead a cursed life, a half-life?

How The Woman Got Her Period (“The endometrium seals off our main blood supply from the newly implanted embryo. The growing placenta literally burrows through this layer, rips into arterial walls and re-wires them to channel blood straight to the hungry embryo. It delves deep into the surrounding tissues, razes them and pumps the arteries full of hormones so they expand into the space created. It paralyzes these arteries so the mother cannot even constrict them. What this means is that the growing fetus now has direct, unrestricted access to its mother’s blood supply. It can manufacture hormones and use them to manipulate her.”)

DeathStalker 4!

Steven said something about people living today don’t have great lives compared to people of the past. He couldn’t find a link to this in particular, but it seems related to Antinatalism.

The monetary value of human life by US agency, and calculating the value of future lives.

Survey of what age of child-death makes people the most sad.

Robin Hanson on Lots of People Now vs Very Few People For A Long Time, in four parts: Us v Them, Allies, Genocide, and Personal.

Turkheimer’s Three Laws of Behavior Genetics

Vegan Offsets

Eneasz was wrong – only 8% of asian men are descended from Genghis Khan

Bryan Caplan’s book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think

Paul Bloom book on kid’s life outcomes being most gene-driven, so don’t sweat parenting too much. He said this one of the times he was on the Sam Harris Podcast. (Here or here)

Jonathan Coultan’s songs

John Hodgman’s book of lies <3

We haven’t been able to track down the story on the mansion in California where single parents and their children live together, but it probably exists.

Related: A multi-generational intentional community supporting foster/adoptive families.

Hand-painted masterpieces, recreated by the thousands, in Dafen – China’s Oil Painting Village.

Steven said something about a survey of skeptics offered a hypothetical $10,000 to exchange your wedding ring for a duplicate. He couldn’t find the link, but he’s pretty sure Massimo Pigliucci was talking about it at TAM 8. (Here’s his powerpoint from the talk. Either I’m misremembering or he talked about it during QA).

RadioLab Episode on Triage (aka Killing Old Ladies)

Please don’t support tiger cub petting or their use in entertainment.  Siegfried and Roy‘s tigers are dangerously inbred. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums statement against breeding white tigers. – Katrina

Do NOT firebomb you local RNC office (or any other place for that matter)

Good article on the annual Turing Test Competition. The Most Human Human is a book on the same. Official site of the Loebner Prize here.

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20 – What’s important?

Subjects the politicians aren’t talking about, that they really should be talking about.


UN resolution on antibiotics

US banning of antibiotics in soap

Guy with potentially antibiotic resistant tuberculosis (that ended up not so dangerous) sued CDC.

More drug resistant tuberculosis!

Internet access in prison is pretty limited. :/

Mortality rate for people infected with ebola.

Up to 100,000 deaths annually related to medical personnel not washing their hands (in 2009).

Polio eradication hoped to be achieved by 2018

Will MacAskill, author of Doing Good Better and founder of the Center for Effective Altruism – the idea of giving a cash prize to the group that comes up with the cure rather than funding research directly. (Discussed in this episode of the Sam Harris Podcast)

Methuselah Mouse Prize and Methuselah Foundation, of Aubrey de Gray

Katrina has been watching too many cute dog videos

American manufacturing jobs are not coming back

~3.5 million Americans work as truckers

Minimum wage in Colorado in 2016: $8.31/ hour


Meditations on Moloch by Scott Alexander

Nick Land

Permutation City by Greg Egan

Estimates for the timing of the heat death of the universe – over a quadrillion years.

To clarify, Russell, I don’t think it’s fair to stomp on your ideas without your input, mine was a self-deprecating comment. – Katrina

Moon base mockery

Article on patients not being allowed to alter medical devices in their own bodies

Digital locks prevent farmers from changing their own tractor oil (although every 16 hours of use seems excessive, even the meticulous seem to only do so every 50. Maybe Eneasz misheard “every 60”)

Sam Harris 15 minute TED talk on AI risk

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

Elon Musk was born in South Africa.

Golden Fleece awards

Will drones end the Age of the Gun?

Regarding the warrior class: Katrina thought that land owners spent tons of effort and money on fighting and armor to keep their middle sons distracted.

Eneasz meant “growing autonomy” of drones.

Bill Gates’ position on AI

DarkLordAzreal’s comment about The Microverse in a box question: Maybe think about it this way… given that the simulated micro-world is an exact copy of the world, then any person has a 50% chance of being in the box rather than in the original world.

The Aliens have Landed! – Tim Freeman’s story about the aliens and pebble-sized torture Earths.

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19 – Political Pitfalls

Note: Oops! We accidentally used a crummy laptop microphone. Audio is lower quality for this episode. 


Politics is the Mind Killer on Less Wrong

Chimpanzee Politics“: A book about two chimpanzees competing to run the “club of chimpanzees” featured on HPMoR

Predictive power of party politics: one position can predict 85% of other, unrelated positions.

Elizabeth Edwards, a New Hampshire State Representative. The first(?) LessWrong oriented politician elected to high public office. 

Five Case Studies on Politicization on Slate Star Codex

Anti-genetically modified organism sentiment by party affiliation – scroll to the last section for relevant graphs. (Eneasz was right about greater-than-60% of Democrats being anti-GMO… but so are >60% of Republicans! /sigh)

Borders vs. Puritans? Scott Alexander’s post on the origins of America

Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-sided on Less Wrong, along with Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

Brian Dunning’s three part Skeptoid episode on the moon landing hoax.  


Feedback Section:

Desirism moral theory.


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