Scott Triumphs* at the Shtetl

Scott Aaronson wrote a new post on the Shtetl Optimized** reflecting on the previous thread  (that I referred to in my post on Amy’s triumph), and on reactions to this thread. The highlight is a list of nine of Scott’s core beliefs. This is a remarkable document and I urge everybody to read it. Yes, Scott’s core beliefs come across as feminist! Let me quote one of them.

7. I believe that no one should be ashamed of inborn sexual desires: not straight men, not straight women, not gays, not lesbians, not even pedophiles (though in the last case, there might really be no moral solution other than a lifetime of unfulfilled longing).  Indeed, I’ve always felt a special kinship with gays and lesbians, precisely because the sense of having to hide from the world, of being hissed at for a sexual makeup that you never chose, is one that I can relate to on a visceral level.  This is one reason why I’ve staunchly supported gay marriage since adolescence, when it was still radical.  It’s also why the tragedy of Alan Turing, of his court-ordered chemical castration and subsequent suicide, was one of the formative influences of my life.

!! (***)

In the sacred tradition of arguing with Scott I raised some issues with #5 and 4# on Scott’s blog. Two of Scott’s points are on the subject of (young) people’s suffering by feeling unwanted, sexually invisible, or ashamed to express their desires.

I was pleased to see that those feminist matters that Scott and I disagree about, like the nature of prostitution, the role of feminist views in men’s (or nerdy men’s) suffering, and also Scott’s take on poverty, did not make it to Scott’s core beliefs.

Happy new year, everybody!


* The word triumph is used here (again) in a soft (non-macho) way characteristic to the successes of feminism. Voting rights for women did not exclude voting rights for men, and Scott’s triumph does not mean a defeat for  any others; on the contrary.

** “Shtetl-optimized” is the name of Scott Aaronson’s blog.

*** In my opinion, when a person has an uncontrollable urge or strong temptation or desire to commit a crime towards another individual (or even to inflict much damage on another person when it is not criminal, or to commit other crimes), shame and guilt feelings can be instrumental in controlling such urges.

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6 Responses to Scott Triumphs* at the Shtetl

  1. Gil, have you seen Scott’s Umeshisms post? To use a phrase from that post, it appears that many of us agree on the higher-order bits.

    • Gil Kalai says:

      Dear Vijay, nice! yes I saw that post, I believe Anonymous #43 is me!

    • Gil Kalai says:

      Yes, I become aware about the blog only a few months after the post showed up and I contributed a couple of late late remarks. My (twisted) Umeshism that I like most is “The bit one place to the left to the most significant bit is zero.”

      Ironically it is related to a difference of opinions between Umesh and me. Umesh sees a possibility that quantum computers may lead to a falsification of quantum mechanics and he has some works on checking QM “beyond the BPP regime”. This is “one (or more) place to the left of the most significant bit” as I see things. (That correct modeling of quantum noise within QM will show that you simply cannot go beyond BPP).

  2. Echo says:

    They’re going to tear him apart, and we both know it. He’s a “nice guy ally” who thinks he gets to raise concerns.
    They’re going to enjoy putting him in his place.

    • Gil Kalai says:

      Echo, I am not sure what you mean by “they.” Certainly Scott’s comment #171 reveal beside the suffering as a teen-age, which is how I mainly read it, also some blindness to women in a context other than Scott’s own ordeal. (It also puts some blame on feminism.) The comment described the core experience and point of view of a young teenage, not of Scott today. The new post makes it clearer how Scott sees matters today. Moreover his view todays are also rooted in his thinking from those same teenage years,

      • Echo says:

        He’s still asking questions and presuming to “part ways” from his attackers. Letting him get away with that harms the power of influential thugs like Amanda Marcotte.
        Scott’s post also plays into all the tropes they hate. Saying “I’m a feminist… but” is going to make him even scummier in their eyes, not help matters.
        I will bet money this just gets worse, if only because it makes money for the outrage pandering clickbaiters.

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