What Is and What Should Be

During the ongoing Rabid Puppies fun (join now), Vox’s many critics have taken to falsely accusing him of approving of the Taliban throwing acid in girls’ faces and ashooting them through the use of out-of-context quotes.

What Vox has actually said is that maybe the Taliban are not just insane, but may have a rational reason for their behavior:

Ironically, in light of the strong correlation between female education and demographic decline, a purely empirical perspective on Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education, may indicate that the Taliban’s attempt to silence her was perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable.

And that according to strict utilitarianism, acid-throwing might benefit women as a whole and the scientific attitude would be to test this rather:

Because female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.

The scientific attitude would be to develop a hypothesis and test it as best one is able. But it’s quite clear that PZ doesn’t want to consider the possibility of anything beyond his philosophical commitment to the unicorn of so-called “equality”. Wilson is right to observe that PZ’s behavior with regards to these matters is entirely unscientific, indeed, one might even surmise that it is outright anti-scientific.

Given that Vox is neither part of the Taliban nor a utilitarian, it is obvious to anybody who’s not a brain-dead liberal that this is not vouching support of said policies. I’m not writing this as a defence of Vox, he can defend himself better than I can, rather I want to point out something that is probably obvious to most reading my blog, but I’ll state anyway.

The base assumption Vox’s critics is that rational and scientifically justifiable are equivalent to right. Because Vox says something may rational and scientifically justifiable, he must therefore approve of it. This is, of course, stupid.

Rationality is morally neutral, as is science. Neither have moral value in themselves, they can only be used as tools discover, elucidate, or develop pre-existing truths.

Just because something is does not mean it that it ought to be. Vice versa also stands, any ought should fully take into consideration what is. Confusion of is for ought leads to a moral-stuntedness, confusion of ought for is leads to inhumanity.

We can see the former in extreme utilitarianism: Yudkowsky’s specks of dust specks vs. torture argument is the substitution of reason for moral value. Only someone morally broken can think the mathematical comparison of units of pain and pleasure can be substitutes for morality.

A ‘good’ case of the latter is communism: the left thought man is not what he is, but rather what he ought to be, leading to the failure of their inhuman system designed for their idealistic and false conception of man.

Is and ought are distinct and must remain so.


  1. SJWs always lie. Always. Times infinity. They are the embodiment of Satan on earth, serving the prince of lies as best they are able. They lie for any reason and for no reason at all. In this instance, they believe that by smearing Vox and convincing enough moderates to believe that he approves of vile groups like the Taliban and vile behavior like shooting little girls or throwing acid in women’s faces, they can separate him from the herd and effectively ostracize him from the science fiction community. Unfortunately, said community is comprised largely of nerds who have the requisite intelligence to read his comments in context and understand that they were criticisms of the utilitarian ethic favored by most atheists and of the idea that basing one’s actions on what is “rational and scientifically justifiable” rather than support for the conclusions in question. If I say that according to the utilitarian ethic favored by most atheists, it would be rational and scientifically justifiable to forcibly kill or sterilize every person with an IQ below 85, it does not follow that I support this policy unless I myself believe in the utilitarian ethic favored by most atheists.

    To be frank, I don’t think most SJWs are actually lying about this though. I think they’re just really stupid.

  2. Never afford SJWs more credit than they deserve. They’re more like possessed swine than satan. These are largely low-level activists paid-per-click to defend the principles of the ones pulling the strings. They go after Vox because his blog links back to more extreme material that is corrosive to them, namely the broader Reactosphere. They’ve been after him for years, but he has a spine of steel. The more they rage the more powerful he becomes.

  3. The commenters at Less Wrong seem pretty odd…And, it’s hard to say about 7.6 quadrillion people each getting a dust speck their eyes. Nobody can even comprehend how many Earth-like planets that would require being colonised. And then torturing an individual for fifty years? What about a more practical field of population and “suffering”. The Less Wrong article appears to have the purpose of making the Scales of Utilitarianism appear absurd, which means that they illustrated it poorly. As I recall that field of ethics was quite popular for its time, so perhaps deserves a somewhat more respectful treatment…

    A.J.P .

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