How The Hell Do You Not Quote SSC?

The NYT misses the point by a light-year.

The NYT SSC article is out. Others will critique it for being inflammatory, for misrepresenting opinions, etc. This post is about one thing and one thing only.

You are writing about one of the most prolific and talented writers of our generation. How the hell do you not actually quote them?

Here’s a full list of quotes from Slate Star Codex that appears in the article:

  1. “the Blue Tribe”

  2. “supporting gay rights”

  3. “getting conspicuously upset about sexists and bigots”

  4. “Doesn’t sound quite so noble now, does it?”

  5. “internet mob”

  6. “opposing gay marriage,”

  7. “getting conspicuously upset about terrorists and commies”

  8. “vague annoyance that the question of gay rights even comes up”

  9. “reading lots of blogs,”

  10. [Murray believes Black people] “are genetically less intelligent than white people.”

That’s it. That’s all of the Slate Star Codex content that Cade Metz has found fit to quote. I have nothing polite to say about it, so instead, I am just going to post some actual quotes from Slate Star Codex.

  1. “There seems to be a more general problem with rat drug experiments in general, where everyone in the field realizes they can sometimes throw out weird results. The Drug Monkey blog says that rats self-administering cocaine is the best-replicated result in drug abuse science, but also that it can be screwed up by anything from the diameter of the cocaine infusion catheter, to whether the experimenter is wearing a dirty vs. clean lab coat, to who you buy the rats from.

    So let’s take a step back and look at 13th century Mongolia.”

  2. “The sea was made of strontium; the beach was made of rye. Above my head, a watery sun shone in an oily sky. A thousand stars of sertraline whirled round quetiapine moons, and the sand sizzled sharp like cooking oil that hissed and sang and threatened to boil the octahedral dunes.”

  3. “Taboo your words, then replace the symbol with the substance. If you have an actual thing you’re trying to debate, then it should be obvious when somebody’s changing the topic. If working out who’s using motte-and-bailey (or weak man) is remotely difficult, it means your discussion went wrong several steps earlier and you probably have no idea what you’re even arguing about.”

  4. “So this model, where inappropriately narrow sensory evidence channels create a bottleneck that makes it impossible to process sufficiently traumatic memories, ties a lot of things together.”

  5. “A basic principle unites all of the multipolar traps above. In some competition optimizing for X, the opportunity arises to throw some other value under the bus for improved X. Those who take it prosper. Those who don’t take it die out. Eventually, everyone’s relative status is about the same as before, but everyone’s absolute status is worse than before. The process continues until all other values that can be traded off have been – in other words, until human ingenuity cannot possibly figure out a way to make things any worse.”

  6. “This raises the obvious question of whether there are any basic mental operations I still don’t have, how I would recognize them if there were, and how I would learn them once I recognized them.”

  7. “Imagine Moloch looking out over the expanse of the world, eagle-eyed for anything that can turn brother against brother and husband against wife. Finally he decides “YOU KNOW WHAT NOBODY HATES EACH OTHER ABOUT YET? BIRD-WATCHING. LET ME FIND SOME STORY THAT WILL MAKE PEOPLE HATE EACH OTHER OVER BIRD-WATCHING”. And the next day half the world’s newspaper headlines are “Has The Political Correctness Police Taken Over Bird-Watching?” and the other half are “Is Bird-Watching Racist?”. And then bird-watchers and non-bird-watchers and different sub-groups of bird-watchers hold vitriolic attacks on each other that feed back on each other in a vicious cycle for the next six months, and the whole thing ends in mutual death threats and another previously innocent activity turning into World War I style trench warfare.”

  8. “21st century American hospitals do not need to “cultivate a culture of life”. We have enough life. We have life up the wazoo. We have more life than we know what to do with. We have life far beyond the point where it becomes a sick caricature of itself. We prolong life until it becomes a sickness, an abomination, a miserable and pathetic flight from death that saps out and mocks everything that made life desirable in the first place. 21st century American hospitals need to cultivate a culture of life the same way that Newcastle needs to cultivate a culture of coal, the same way a man who is burning to death needs to cultivate a culture of fire.”

  9. “Liberalism does not conquer by fire and sword. Liberalism conquers by communities of people who agree to play by the rules, slowly growing until eventually an equilibrium is disturbed. Its battle cry is not “Death to the unbelievers!” but “If you’re nice, you can join our cuddle pile!””

  10. “Most important, even if someone gives you what seems like overwhelming evidence in favor of a certain point of view, don’t trust it until you’ve done a simple Google search to see if the opposite side has equally overwhelming evidence.”


    Better yet, go read some SSC