Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

"Go fuck yourself" is a status signal

It's amazing how often behavior can be explained by status signaling when you look for it. This isn't to say all such behavior is incorrect and to be avoided, but understanding when others, or especially yourself, might not be driven by rational thought as much as believed is important. I'm still learning, too, but finding social signaling and cognitive biases is always a good exercise. "Go fuck yourself" is, typically, putting an end to an argument by saying "I'm high status enough that I don't need to go on wasting my resources arguing with you.", with a possibly corollary being "My status is so high and yours so low that I don't even have to acknowledge you anymore, your status won't increase." And I would say it can sometimes be a rational means to end an argument, though my first restriction would be that there was an argument in the first place. Writing off someone's argument [toward you in general] without even responding isn't allowed.

It seems "you" can be referring to a set of ideas as well, and the above phrase signals your strong opposition to such views. Some views deserve it, though, like Young Earth Creationism, and since an argument advancing that position already has been argued ad infinitum, I think it's right and proper to ignore or mock.

Posted on 2010-09-29 by Jach

Tags: thought


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