Ask Us Anything: Submit Questions Asking About What We Think SSC is Wrong About, and Why

A lo­cal skep­tic friend of of some Van­cou­ver ra­tio­nal­ity com­mu­nity mem­bers takes is­sue with how so many of us can keep up with episte­mol­ogy, and laud SSC for its ex­cel­lence in that re­gard, when ac­cord­ing to him the op­po­site is true. So he’s go­ing to try con­vinc­ing us, and I quote, “Scott Alexan­der is a pseudo-in­tel­lec­tual not worth read­ing.” For the life of me, I don’t know why, but a lot of com­mu­nity mem­bers are way more in­ter­ested than I ex­pected in see­ing this hap­pen. It’s to the point there have been mul­ti­ple re­quests to film the event, or have a web pres­ence, for those who won’t be phys­i­cally pre­sent.

Since we’ll be will­ing to field some tough ques­tions, I’d thought I’d see if, cu­ri­ous or skep­ti­cal, the rest of you want to dig deeper or throw us some hard­balls too.

The first speaker will be ex­pound­ing on how SSC bun­gles his­tory and philos­o­phy in gen­eral, and the his­tory and philos­o­phy of sci­ence in par­tic­u­lar, among other things. Feel free to ask ques­tions about what gen­eral pat­terns he sees in what SSC con­sis­tently gets wrong in this re­gard, or what’s wrong in par­tic­u­lar he will use as ex­am­ples:

For a long time I my­self have felt SSC is sub­tly but cru­cially wrong about some dis­course norms and memes which have be­come rote in the ra­tio­nal­ity and effec­tive al­tru­ism com­mu­ni­ties, and stymie much in­tel­lec­tual progress in both. I’ll be touch­ing upon and dis­sect­ing on mis­takes I feel were made in the fol­low­ing posts:

While I can’t speak for my fel­low pre­sen­ter, in the week be­tween now and then I’m go­ing to try to write up some posts re­spond­ing to Scott at length, which should make it eas­ier to ask my­self more pointed ques­tions. The event will be done in the style of a col­lo­quium, so sort of a lec­ture that will field ques­tions dur­ing and af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion. So ques­tions posed in the com­ments will be an­swered dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, which will be filmed and up­loaded on­line shortly af­ter the event takes place.

Please note you can ask us any­thing, but that doesn’t en­tail we’ll an­swer ev­ery­thing. In par­tic­u­lar, beg­ging the ques­tion of why this event is tak­ing place in the first place, or why we feel jus­tified in dis­agree­ing with SSC, of the form:

  • ‘why are you in­ter­pret­ing SSC so un­char­i­ta­bly?’; or

  • ‘why do you think challeng­ing in­group shib­bo­leths so is le­gi­t­i­mate/​valid/​etc.?’;

prob­a­bly won’t re­ceive a re­sponse on the grounds the an­swer to those ques­tions would be self-ev­i­dent based on the cases we’re try­ing to build, in ad­di­tion to the fact such ques­tions smell log­i­cally rude. But we wel­come you all to ask away!