Ancient Greece's Negativity Towards Lust

You seem to have felt like your society was attacked as worse overall, which @Elliot did not say, and I’m very doubtful that that is his opinion. You didn’t state what view you were arguing with or ask if @Elliot believes it. Instead, you got defensive against a perceived threat and started arguing that your society is better.

Athens probably ritually sacrificed cripples

This shows bias and defensiveness because it’s not a reasonable summary of the Wikipedia article that you linked (nor of several other sources I found on the web). Wikipedia:

A slave, a cripple, or a criminal was chosen and expelled from the community…

You tried to make it sound like the ritual was focused on disabled persons, but it wasn’t. You left out slaves and criminals because they didn’t fit your point.

You also said “probably” but the article didn’t say that. In fact it said regarding human sacrifice:

many modern scholars reject this

You didn’t provide anything like a fair summary of your source. You had an agenda.

To be fair

This suggests that what Elliot said was unfair.

points to a way our society is better, which is that Ancient Greece took that physiology-determining-ideas stuff way more seriously than we do

In general, taking seriously the ideas that you have is a virtue not something bad.

Also, you said what you thought Elliot’s point was, but then you offered no direct comment on it. You didn’t agree or disagree. You started talking about a tangent without saying why. A common reason people do this is because they agree but don’t want to admit that they agree, because they’re trying to argue with someone and don’t want to concede anything.

Your summary of Elliot included this biased text:

ancient Greeks were better than we are because

Elliot’s significantly shorter version specified that it was a(nother) way Greece was better, but you left that out, which makes it ambiguous whether Elliot was saying that Greece was better overall or just in some ways. With your wording, it’s more natural to read it as meaning overall rather than in a particular way. Then your replies seemed aimed at arguing that Greece was not better overall.

Making biased errors like these is common but makes it difficult to have productive discussions or to think effectively about decisions in your life.

I’m not going to give a full response to this right now because I have to go, but I think you have a completely and utterly wrong read on what I was thinking when I wrote my summary.


I am also highly doubtful that that is his opinion.


I didn’t see myself as arguing with a view. I assumed Elliot would agree with what I wrote.

That’s not what I was trying to do. I left out the “slaves and criminals” part because slaves and criminals weren’t sacrificed/beaten because of their physical features, and therefore weren’t relevant to the point I was making.

I didn’t mean to suggest that. I didn’t mean “to be fair” literally. I was just using it a loose connective, like “here’s one way that they were better, but to be fair here’s a closely related way that they were worse.”

I should have used different wording. This was sloppy.

It wasn’t a gross mischaracterization of the article though, because wrt the point I was making (that Athens took seriously the notion that physiology determines ideas) I don’t think that it makes a big difference whether or not they merely ritualistically beat and stoned cripples instead of executing them.

I agree that my sentence was badly worded. I didn’t mean it as better overall, I meant it as better in this narrow respect.

Ignoring the error I made above with the “overall” thing (which I didn’t notice at the time of writing), I agree with the paragraph which I attribute to Elliot.

Do you have a process for judging bias?

I explained why you were wrong in several ways, and instead of responding to anything that I actually wrote, you asked me a vague question without any clear relevance to the conversation.

edit: I think this is bad. If you want me to respond to your question, you should engage with what I wrote or at least explain your reasons for asking the question.

You don’t understand why having or using a process would matter? I’m now concerned that you didn’t understand much of what I was trying to say in the other thread, e.g. Career, Physics and Goals (was: Artificial General Intelligence Speculations) - #175 by Elliot

You’re also being aggressive instead of charitable. Please don’t treat people here that way.

If you feel that anon44 was aggressive with you in some way, the way to handle that on this forum in Unbounded is to criticize it directly: point out something you think was aggressive, using a quote, and explain/argue why it’s bad. Don’t try to fight back against perceived aggression that you could be wrong about and haven’t explained. That risks you actually initiating aggression and risks escalation, and also if both people are aggressive that doesn’t solve anything.

I get why having processes for evaluating bias is important in general. I said I don’t understand the relevance of anon44’s question to the conversation.

I feel like I was accused of being a thief, then the accuser ignored my explanation of why I couldn’t possibly have stolen anything.

Is it aggression? I don’t know. Does it make me feel shitty? Yes.

Presumably he thinks there may be a disagreement about process. I don’t think it’s hard to charitably guess this kind of relevance.

Could you be more specific about what text you object to and why, with concrete examples and quotes?

Also, being biased is not like being a thief, because it’s something that applies to ~99.99% of people rather than ~1%.

Also, a response that tries to proceed in one small step does not mean someone is ignoring what you said. That is uncharitable.

Also, I don’t think you presented an argument or explanation that you couldn’t possibly be biased about this. If you asked me to fill in the blank, based on your post, in the sentence “lmf couldn’t possibly be biased about this because __________.”, then I wouldn’t know what to put in that blank from your post.

Sure. I should have said: I couldn’t possibly have been biased in the way that anon44 alleges unless I’m lying to you all about what I was thinking when I wrote my original post.

By not responding to my original post and instead asking what my processes for correcting bias are, it sounds to me like anon44 thinks I’m lying.

I think that what makes me feel bad (& I guess what I’m analogizing with being a thief) is the implicit accusation that I’m a liar rather than the accusation that I’m biased.

I also think that these are accusations of dishonesty, more than just bias:

Those three example quotes all look to me like typical examples of bias – they’re the sorts of things that biased people do.

Sure. I should have said: I couldn’t possibly have been biased in the way that anon44 alleges unless I’m lying to you all about what I was thinking when I wrote my original post.

Your post gave counter-arguments to several points. Even if your counter-arguments were all decisive and true, it wouldn’t follow that you couldn’t be biased about the discussion. That’s a non sequitur. To argue that you couldn’t possibly be biased, you’d need an argument that attempts to be comprehensive, not to refute several issues, but you didn’t attempt that.

I didn’t say I couldn’t possibly have been biased, I said I couldn’t possibly have been biased in the way that anon44 alleges. I think you parsed my sentence as “I couldn’t possibly be biased, as anon44 alleges that I am, unless […]”

Anon44’s theory of how I’m biased is that I perceived a threat – an attack against my own culture – and that it put me on the defensive.

I think I have refuted that point of view (and that readers should agree that it’s a refutation unless they think I’m lying) many times over. I refuted anon44’s theory by saying that I agreed with the first (summary) paragraph as I wrote it, by saying that I didn’t see myself as arguing against anything as I wrote it, by saying that I assumed you did not think Ancient Greek society was actually better overall than modern society, and by saying that I assumed you’d agree with my analysis.

Loose summary:

anon44 claims you’re wrong about X in way Y. anon44 gives 5 arguments.

You give rebuttals to each of the 5 arguments. You claim that you can’t possibly be wrong about X in way Y.

You’re so confident in your rebuttals that you believe the only way someone might disagree with you is by thinking you’re lying. Therefore when anon44 asked a question which implies there is still some disagreement, you felt accused of lying.

You think your logic is sound, and that I incorrectly interpreted your impossibility claim too broadly.

Do you agree?

No. Anon44 has a single theory X about the mentality I had that caused me to be biased (my earlier summary of it was “that I perceived a threat – an attack against my own culture – and that it put me on the defensive”), and I think I refuted this single theory X in 4 different ways.

I can’t tell which of my words you disagree with or what you think is incorrect about them.

I’m really confused about what confuses you here.

Here’s what I think is incorrect about what you wrote.

  1. anon44 doesn’t claim I’m “wrong about X in way Y,” he claims something about my mental state (which I call X).
  2. anon44 doesn’t give 5 arguments for X, it’s more of an assumption.
  3. I don’t give 5 rebuttals to 5 arguments, I give 4 rebuttals to 1 claim.

I now think you’re right about this.

He wrote several arguments and you wrote several separate replies.

If you set e.g. X = Greece topic and Y = biased mental state, then doesn’t it work how you want? Using two variables instead of one is compatible with your characterization.

Huh? I thought right now we were focussing on this one single claim of anon44’s that I claim to have refuted.

He said you were biased and made several arguments for that.

If we take it as a given that anon44’s claim about my mentality is wrong, how could any of his claims that I’m biased make any sense?

Like, if I think that someone made a mistake, don’t I need to have some mental model of how his attitudes / dispositions / ideas caused his mistake before I can know that he is biased?