Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Social Justice vs Games: FIFA 16

August 12, 2016

So, Anita Sarkeesian has put out her latest video, and I do intend to comment on it. But, as has happened before, I need to comment on something else first, because it needs to be addressed and if I tried to do it as part of my commentary on the video itself it would kinda overwhelm it. So, let me talk about one of Sarkeesian’s examples of a company finally adding women into the game:

The FIFA soccer game series, which had its first entry in 1993, took over 20 years before finally introducing female teams in FIFA 16.

Now, I knew that FIFA 16 had done this, because it was a key part of the advertising here in Canada, highlighting Christine Sinclair. However, I have never been a huge fan of soccer sims — particularly the more realistic ones; “Superstar Soccer” was fun, though — and don’t particularly enjoy the latest sports sims in general, so I didn’t bother to look up how they did the player ratings in a game that mixes male and female players. Are you going to give the female players ratings measured against the men, and so have even their superstars at about 50 – 60 ratings at best? Or are you going to give them high ratings but then it be the case that, say, Carli Lloyd is considered, under that ranking, to be a better player than Luis Suarez. It’s a tough issue, so what did they do?

Q: How do player ratings work for women in comparison to men?

A: The player ratings will be relative for each gender. We will be assessing female athletes against other female athletes which may mean that an 85 rated female player may not perform the same as an 85 rated male player.

They ranked them relative to other women — thus Carli Lloyd is a 91 and Suarez is a 90 — but if you actually play them Lloyd won’t play as well or pull off the same tricks as Suarez does. This could be problematic except that they also don’t let the women’s teams play against the men’s teams, so essentially the women are boxed off in their own little area, and so their rankings don’t really matter when compared to men. Thus, an 85 woman plays as well as an 85 woman would, which is not as good as an 85 man would.

And here’s where we get into the “Social Justice vs Games” part, because while EA says that this was a requested feature — and I have no doubt that it was — the push for Social Justice and inclusion is probably a major factor in why they decided to do it after 20 years, and why they decided to implement this awkward system to get around the obvious issues. But I don’t think that it will satisfy Social Justice advocates for women to simply be in the game, but that you can’t play as women players in male leagues, or run female teams against men’s teams at all. So, now, if they want to actually allow mixes, how do they get from there given this starting point?

Well, they can leave things as is and just move the women’s teams over. The problem with this is that then Lloyd would have a higher ranking than Suarez, but play a lot worse, and the Canadian national women’s team despite almost certainly having a higher ranking than the Canadian men’s team would lose to them almost every time they played, probably badly. That’s bad.

So, they could redo all of the rankings to make a mixed ranking, where you take all players into account, male and female. This means that Lloyd’s ranking would drop to somewhere in the 60s at best. That’s probably not going to satisfy the Social Justice crowd, and would also mean that female players won’t get selected for men’s teams and women’s teams won’t be put into leagues with men’s tames. So that’s bad, too.

Okay, well then they could leave the rankings alone and just make the rankings “objective”, so that an 85 woman plays the same as an 85 man. This creates the inverse problems of the existing method, as Suarez is now a worse player than Lloyd is in the game despite actually being better in real-life, and the Canadian men’s team would always lose badly to the women’s team despite the fact that they’d almost certainly beat them handily in real-life. As these games at least bill themselves as serious simulations, that’s bad, too.

Or they could just give up and insist that women can’t play against men, which is bad because, well, people will probably want to do that.

If I had been designing it, the first focus would have been on allowing female players to be created in the “Create-A-Player” modes, and then assigned to any team that that mode can assign players to. Then the rating would depend on the person playing the game. If people wanted to create them accurately, they’d do that. If they wanted to create them as being equal or better than men … well, that’s no worse than my putting myself and my co-workers, friends and acquaintances into the game with really high scores when none of us are going anywhere near a playing field. If the player wants some fantasy in their sports sim, who am I to complain?

If they had to put the women’s national teams in, then I’d rank them objectively in relation to the men’s teams … but add an option to allow the player of the game to “convert” them to a men’s team, which would be done by adding whatever rough score you’d need to treat, say, the best women’s player as if she was a man, and the best women’s team as if it was a women’s team. So, when adding a female player to a men’s team or a women’s team to a men’s league, you have an option to say “add 30 to the score to make it competitive”. Again, as this is an explicit option if the player of the game wants to fake it that way, what does it matter?

As it is now, though, it’ll be a rough road to get women players into the men’s teams and leagues.

Comedy and “punching”

July 29, 2016

So, Siobhan at “Against the Grain” is commenting on the new Ghostbusters movie. She likes it, but I find one of the reasons she likes it worthy of comment:

Humour: Anyone who thinks women can’t be funny clearly needs to see this. More importantly, the humour usually doesn’t need any minority to be the butt of its jokes–just cishet white men, the most privileged demographic in the West. It’s a “punching up” film through and through.

So, let me just ask this one simple question: why in the world is our comedy relying on “punching”?

In general, comedy is going to rely on stereotypes. This is because it generally isn’t going to be funny to build up a complicated character that you can then rely on to drive the humour. So comedy is going to rely on very simple character concepts and, yes, archetypes and stereotypes a lot to drive its humour. And, potentially, those stereotypes are going to be based on nationality, race or gender. In theory, Social Justice theory ought to insist that basing humour on those last stereotypes is risky at best, and should not be done at worst, and theory — but definitely not in practice — that would be true even if it is the most privileged demographic in the West, because the problem with this sort of stereotyping is that it promotes prejudicial thinking, the sort of thinking that insists that all members of a group really do think or act that way, which is just as wrong whether that category is a minority or privileged.

However, if we put aside the fostering of stereotypes — which, in my opinion, is best combated not by removing the stereotypes entirely, but by not simply taking the easy way out and putting all characters of that racial group or gender into those stereotypical roles — it seems to me that simply doing that ought not count as “punching” in any way. “Punching” requires more than simply presenting the stereotype, but must instead present the stereotype as the punch line. Bad as presenting all members of a certain group as being alike may be, that pales in comparison to taking that stereotype and using that, in and of itself, as the source of humour. For example, while many people tell me that I ought to watch “The Big Bang Theory” — since I probably count as being a nerd — I have seen criticisms that say that all that show does is bring in stereotypical nerds for the audience to point and laugh at, and so makes the fact that they are stereotypical nerds the source of the humour. This is in contrast to a show like, say, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” where Will Smith was definitely playing to the inner-city black stereotype but the humour was at least mostly not just the stereotype, but instead on how someone with that stereotype would be in the completely different environment and situation of Beverly Hills. For the most part, it wasn’t just that they pointed at him and laughed, and in fact much of the time his views were presented as something that the Banks’ needed, and what was missing from their life. From this, we get an understanding that being different isn’t bad, just different, and that everyone needed to accomodate each other to make this work.

Because the stereotype isn’t presented as being bad, just different, and you’re not supposed to laugh just at the fact that the stereotype “isn’t normal”, we don’t have punching. But if you’re just supposed to laugh at the stereotype, then that’s punching at the stereotype. And it sounds like the Ghostbusters movie punches — quite deliberately — at the stereotypical nerd who reacted with disdain to the movie:

Allegory: The villain is a white nerd boy who feels disenfranchised because he has been bullied. This is demonstrated on screen briefly, in a cartoonish and almost exaggerated fashion. When he delivers his villainous diatribe to the protagonists, he sounds like he’s reading off a Reddit forum, claiming the protagonists must have been treated with dignity if they don’t want to burn society to the ground. They promptly point out that no, people have been and continue to be assholes to them, but they don’t see that as a reason for mass murder.

The problem with punching is that you can definitely hit people who aren’t aiming at (the concept of “splash damage”). Here, for example, you can run into the problem of presenting the villain as being someone who was bullied and, depending on how exaggerated the bullying was, then have people who were objectively treated better insist that they know what it’s like to be bullied that way based only on their skin colour and/or gender. But punching against stereotypes also fails unless you are clear what the stereotype you are aiming at is, because taking this one and the first quote together it may look like they’re aiming for a stereotype of “white cis-het male” instead of the minority of them that reacted that way to the movie. And, taken all together, if you punch at a stereotype you either are trying to cause hurt to someone, or else don’t care if you hurt someone, and I can’t see how this is good for everyone. It’s important to note that the “villain who feels unfairly shunned but really wasn’t” is, in fact, a standard trope as well; it’s not like this is anything special, except that casting it as a commentary on gender and race pits people who got academic degrees and succeeded there against someone who is purportedly more “privileged”, despite the fact that even getting those degrees reflects privilege in and of itself.

The thing is … to present this situation and get humour out of it, they didn’t need to take shots at the stereotype at all. They could have, for example, used a black person or a woman here, and the overall story would have worked just as well. The only thing that would have been more difficult is to pull off the “we’re discriminated against!” angle … but even then it could have worked and been even stronger if the villain was presented as personally self-centered. For example, if the villain here was a black woman, then her claim that if they weren’t trying to destroy the world then things couldn’t be that bad for them would be countered by her thinking that only she was impacted by this, but this is really a global issue, which gets the point across, it seems to me, more effectively while not having to punch any group.

But that, I think, explains why it was done this way: people like that annoyed and annoy them, so they wanted to “punch” them, to annoy them and to hurt them as they’ve been hurt. But just as an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves everyone blind and toothless, punching groups in retaliation for some people in those groups punching your group only leads to fistfights. And you can do perfectly good comedy and even make perfectly good points without having to punch anyone. If you resort to punching anyway, that says something about you.

Diversity Through Replacement …

July 22, 2016

So, according to Time, Tony Stark is going to be replaced as Iron Man, in the comics, by a black woman. Essentially, she’s some kind of genius who builds an armoured suit in her dorm room, which impresses Tony, which leads, eventually, to her replacing him after Civil War II. And as I read that, it came to me that there have been a number of moves to attempt to add diversity to the admittedly not particularly diverse — but not completely non-diverse either — Marvel Universe by replacing existing characters with diverse replacements rather than building new characters or giving more prominence to existing characters. And I think this is a big mistake.

Let’s take one of the earlier examples, where Thor was replaced by a female Thor, despite the fact that Odin had to essentially retcon all of history by calling “Thor” a title and not a proper name, and ignored all of the other previous characters who had held the title of “God of Thunder” who were not Thor. No, they went with a female Thor, essentially replacing the existing Thor with a female version. And since the fact that this character was female and so added diversity was played up by many, that this added diversity does seem to be a major reason for the move. Except … if they wanted to focus on a female Asgardian with special abilities doing … whatever it is that the female Thor was doing, why not elevate Sif and give her her own book and series, or at least temporarily replace Thor’s book with a book for her? Or put her in some of the Avengers teams instead of Thor? After all, in the Thor movies, the character filled a warrior role quite well and was, it seems to me, rather well-liked, so trying to play on that to both increase the popularity of the books and the character should have been a slam-dunk. And it worked well for Phil Coulson. So, then, why wouldn’t they take an already well-established character and let her be herself and see if that could float? Why not try to add diversity, if they wanted that, by adding instead of subtracting?

Replacing Captain America with Falcon makes even less sense, in my opinion. At least in this case they were leveraging the success of Falcon as a character in the movies … but Falcon, as Falcon, was a long-running, well-established character, even as an Avenger himself. He might have been Cap’s sidekick in the movies, but in the comics he really was his own character, semi-distinct from Captain America. To strip away his unique identity to shoe-horn him in as Captain America should have been seen as a grave insult to any of his fans. And especially since there were always characters who were more tightly tied to the Captain America mythos — Nomad, for example — that could have taken over and whom it was more logical for them to take up the shield, as again Falcon had no real need to take it up. Now, since I haven’t read how that came about, you could argue that it all makes sense in context … but taken as an overall idea it seems to make more sense to highlight Falcon as Falcon and, if you have to replace Captain America, do it in a way that allows you to establish a completely new identity for the character.

The same thing can be said for this new replacement of Iron Man, which is ironic because Iron Man has actually had a successful replacement that promoted diversity, as right around the time of the “Secret Wars” Tony Stark was replaced by James Rhodes, who was a) not in any way a scientific or engineering genius and b) also happened to be black. But he also happened to be a long-time friend and confidante of Tony, and someone Tony could clearly trust. And he was popular enough that even when Tony Stark returned, he ended up getting his own suit of armour, the War Machine, and becoming a stable enough character to play an important role in both the Iron Man movies and the Avengers movies.

If they wanted to diversify the line-up while replacing Tony Stark, why not someone like Pepper Potts? Which they already did in the movies and I think even in the comics at some points. She’s trusted by Stark and could provide an interesting new perspective on the whole thing. Instead, they’re going with someone with a similar background to The Beetle, although presumably she won’t try to take on heroes to prove herself first. Hopefully.

Even the new Ms. Marvel reflects this odd thinking. Sure, Carol Danvers got promoted to Captain Marvel, and so wasn’t really replaced … but why invent a new character and then stuff them into a specific existing role, especially one that you then had to build a relationship to Captain Marvel to? Heck, replacing Wolverine with X-23 and having rename herself Wolverine seems odd … and was a reason why when Wolverine died off and I was considering actually, you know, switching to a book with X-23 in it I didn’t, because X-23 as X-23 was interesting, but X-23 as Wolverine was not. Yes, the stories might be different, but it’s still true that at that point the X-23 identity was subordinated to the Wolverine one. Sure, as a tribute to him it made sense … which is more than I can say about the other ones, I guess.

It strikes me that the people pushing for diversity seem to want to be able to piggy-back on the name recognition of existing characters, and are afraid to try to sell their diverse characters strictly on their own merits. That’s why they want to see Miles Morales replace Peter Parker in various media instead of simply getting his own books/movies under a different name, and why they want the movies to make Peter Parker gay instead of introducing a gay character. This, at a minimum, sells those characters short. She-Hulk, for example, finally managed to get some popularity not by replacing the Hulk, but by being very different from him. Deadpool’s success comes from him being unique, not from being a rip-off of Deathstroke. Emma Frost at least used to be one of my favourite characters because who she is, not because of who she’s emulating (and I’m still bitter about the cancellation of her solo series, which I really enjoyed). Magik is another one of my favourite characters because I like her as a character, not because she gets shoe-horned in as the new Doctor Strange or some other such nonsense.

If you want diversity, you need to have more confidence that diversity can work on its own. If you don’t have that confidence, then “cheating” by fooling people by playing on name recognition is not the way to gain diversity, because more than anything else it shows that even you don’t think these characters can work on their own. And if even you don’t believe that, why should anyone else?

Two Common Misconceptions of Kant

July 15, 2016

I’ve probably talked about these before elsewhere, but today I’m going to make a specific post dealing with two common misconceptions of Kant, which lead to two “cheap” counters that really don’t work against him. I was inspired to do this by reading another ignorant comment by Azkyroth on Kant, when I had proved in other comments that he really doesn’t understand Kant’s view … and he’s not alone.

So, first, let me address Kant’s absolute admonition against lying. Kant says that lying is always morally wrong, which leads many people to take the cheap out of the murderer example: if someone that you know wants to murder someone asks you where they are, why would it be immoral for you to lie to them in that case? The argument, then, is that Kant is building an invalid absolutist moral position, and this is used both against Kant and against absolutist moral systems in general.

The problem is that Kant’s position here doesn’t have to be absolutist at all. Kant’s overriding principle here is that one cannot make something a moral principle that one cannot universalize without it becoming self-contradictory. In the case of lying, if you make is a universal — and universally known — maxim that one ought to lie, then no one will believe anything anyone says. But the whole purpose of lying is to get people to believe what you’re saying. If no one will believe you, then there’s no point in lying in the first place. On the other hand, if you make it a universal maxim to tell the truth, then people will believe what you’re saying, which is what the purpose of telling the truth is. So you can universalize the maxim “Always tell the truth” but can’t universalize the maxim “Always lie”, and thus it is immoral, in general, to lie.

Now, could there be cases where you can, indeed, have exceptions to the rule “Always tell the truth”? In short, can you say “In this case, you ought to lie”? Well, sure, because Kant’s not after universal laws here (really) but is instead after moral maxims that can be universalized. So even though he didn’t make — or, if I recall correctly, attempt to make — exceptions to the lying rule, if we could, in fact, universalize an exception without it becoming self-defeating then it is indeed perfectly consistent with Kant to say that this is a workable exception. Thus, we would have a rule that cannot be, in general, universalized but with some exceptional cases that can be, and that should work out fine in a Kantian framework.

So, can we universalize the murderer case? Well, it turns out that we can’t. Again, if there is a universal maxim to lie to a murderer, then all that will happen there is that the murderer won’t believe what you tell them. But if you are going to lie to the murderer, it’s because you want them to believe you and go to the wrong place. Since they won’t, this exception is still self-defeating. And there’s a perfectly good, universalizable alternative: say nothing. The purpose of saying nothing to the murderer is for them to not find out where the person is, and this is better if universalized because then if they ask you “Are they here? Are they here?” you won’t only be silent when they hit on the right place.

The issue here — and it’s what I had when I first learned about Kant — is that people tend to think that the universalizability constraint is about whether you’d like it if the rule was universalized, when it’s really about whether the rule still makes any logical sense if universalized, meaning that everyone knows about it and practices it. It’s not about whether we’d have a good world if everyone followed it, but whether it would have any purpose at all if everyone followed it.

The second one is about masturbation, which is not something that I’ve followed much in Kant beyond when others complain that it’s a stupid rule, generally on the basis that masturbation can’t be bad based on whatever morality they hold rather than what Kant argued. This one starts from the idea of using yourself merely as a means and not as an end in itself, but we need more unpacking to see what that argument is. So here’s the section:

As one’s love of life is intended by nature for the preservation of his person, so is his sexual love intended for the preservation of his kind, i.e., each is a natural end. … Now, the question arises whether the use of one’s sexual capacity, as far as the person himself who uses it is concerned, stands under a restrictive law of duty; or whether, not having the end of reproduction in view, he be authorized to devote the use of his sexual attributes to mere brute pleasure and not thereby be acting contrary to a duty to himself. …

A lust is called unnatural when a man is stimulated not by an actual object but by imagining it, thus creating it himself unpurposively. For his fancy engenders a desire contrary to an end of nature and indeed contrary to an end more important even than that of the love of life, since it aims only at preserving the individual, while sexual love aims at the preservation of the whole species.

That such an unnatural use (and so misuse) of one’s sexual attributes is a violation of one’s duty to himself and is certainly in the highest degree opposed to morality strikes everyone upon his thinking of it. Furthermore, the thought of it is so revolting that even calling such a vice by its proper name is considered a kind of immorality; such is not the case with suicide, which no one hesitates to opublish to all the world with all its horrors (as a species facti). It is just as if mankind in general felt ashamed of being capable of such treatment, which degrades him even below the beast. Even the allowed bodily union (in itself, to be sure, only animal union) of the two sexes in marriage occasions much delicacy in polite circles, and requires a veil to be drawn over the subject whenever it happens to be mentioned.

However, it is not so easy to produce a rational demonstration of the inadmissability of that unnatural use, and even of the mere unpurposive use, of one’s natural attributes as being a violation of one’s duty to himself (and indeed in the highest degree where the unnatural use is concerned). The ground of proof surely lies in the fact that a man gives up his personality (throws it away) when he uses himself merely as a means for the gratification of an animal drive. But this does not make evident the high degree of violation of the humanity in one’s own person by the unnaturalness of such a vice, which seems in its very form (disposition) to transcened even the vice of self-murder. The obstinate throwing away of one’s life as a burden is at least not a weak surrender to animal pleasure, but requires courage; and where there is courage, there is always respect for the humanity in one’s own person. On the other hand, when one abandons himself entirely to an animal inclination, he makes himself an object of unnatural gratification, i.e., a loathsome thing, and thus deprives himself of all self-respect.

So the essential point here is that sex is primarily for reproduction; that is its proper end. Masturbation, obviously, doesn’t support that end, and so has to be aimed at another end. But the only end it can be aimed at is satisfying animal and imaginary pleasure, and thus that’s always wrong. Thus, masturbation is always morally wrong.

If I had to criticize it, I’d argue that by this he would make seeking pleasure of any kind morally wrong, even in addition to achieving an end. He can argue that in that specific act there is no other end aimed at, and so it would be wrong in that case, but then drinking a soft drink for a momentary pleasure seems equally morally wrong, as it doesn’t really achieve any other end. From the Stoic viewpoint, this seems to be placing too much emphasis on pleasure; as long as it doesn’t stop you from achieving other ends, are you really treating yourself only as a means if you decide to, when it would impact nothing else, seek simple pleasure occasionally? Doing so doesn’t have to mean “abandoning” oneself to the animal inclination, as long as one does so properly, in complete control, and with proper knowledge. If one chooses to masturbate instead of having reproductive sex, or instead of doing the things that they have a duty to do, then that would be immoral, certainly … but masturbation, in general, cannot be.

The only argument left is to hold to a very strict idea of treating yourself as a means and not as an end, because you don’t have a valid end to aim for. To argue for this would require me to dip much deeper into the idea of using someone as a means and not as an end in themselves than I’m willing to do here, but ultimately my view of that is that it has to be a proper, considered, rational choice that preserves the agency of the people involved, which in this case would be myself. This, then, would again lean towards an argument that masturbation as a reaction to any kind of compulsion — ie actually giving in to feelings of lust that overwhelm you instead of deciding to do so with careful consideration of the circumstances — would still be wrong, but general masturbation itself cannot be considered wrong.

The Recent Issue With Richard Carrier …

July 8, 2016

Ok, so this has been going on for a while but I finally have the time to talk about it. Richard Carrier has left Freethought Blogs — at least temporarily — because of accusations made about him that resulted in his getting banned from Skepticon. Carrier’s first post discussing the situation is here. P.Z. Myers’ first comment on it is here. The statement from the Ethics Committee at Freethought Blogs is here, which includes comments from Myers about Carrier threatening to use, based on personal conversations that he won’t tell us about directly, but will instead make lots of insinuations about. Carrier’s comments on the departure are here.

For those who don’t care for FTB or Carrier or the Social Justice/Atheism+ banner, this situation would certainly cause a fair amount of schadenfreude. From my perspective, though, all I get is irony overload. Carrier relies so heavily on promoting “ethical polyamory” is being accused of, well, seeking that out unethically. FTB seems to be heading straight into pretension theory by having an “Ethics Committee” that’s supposed to judge … something, I guess, because it’s not really supposed to be about content, but then that means that all it’s doing is judging the actions of people when they aren’t on the network and using that to make decisions about their participation. At least Thunderf00t was arguably tossed for things he did on the network, not his later actions. Also, we have an “Ethics Committee” that didn’t include the person who has written formally about ethics. And the person who was their best example for someone who could demonstrate that you can be good without God … wasn’t good without God. On the other hand, the only reason they consider him to be acting wrongly is because he was looking for sex and a lot of the comments — for example, issues over why a young woman would want to have sex with a man of Carrier’s age — aren’t really sex positive, although Greta Christina points out that being sex positive doesn’t mean allowing anything. Still, many of the comments seem to be saying that it’s creepy that he asked at all, and not just that he asked badly.

Those who were hoping that those on the Social Justice side would be more forgiving of Carrier than of others didn’t really get their wish. Sure, some were more willing to give Carrier some leeway, but for the most part they came down hard on him as well. This, though, ought not have been a surprise considering that Social Justice Atheists have consistently been putting their Social Justice values first, and excluding people who don’t conform to them, which includes the idea that if someone — well, okay, a man — makes a woman uncomfortable, then that’s wrong and harassment. Now, the counter that Carrier can make in these cases, though, is that they were only made uncomfortable because of a society impression that sex is some kind of special thing that ought be talked about in hushed tones and obliquely, which is bad for society. He could concede that he might have pushed it too far — he did that in one case already — and accept that he needs to do better, but point out that the problem is really society, not him. And a discussion could ensue over that except that it’s clear that all sides of the Social Justice grouping are generally unwilling to discuss anything that disagrees with their ideas, so that’s out.

But there’s a lot here to talk about, including if someone who inadvertently makes someone uncomfortable is the one who has to seen to be at fault, and is at fault even if the person made uncomfortable tries very hard to hide their discomfort from them. There’s also an issue if these sorts of harassment things are inadvertently sexist, in that even if they are written in a gender-neutral manner in practice they put all of the responsibility on men and take it all away from women because men are the ones who are expected to make sexual/romantic moves first, and especially ones that are more explicit (the same issue arises with “enthusiastic consent”). There’s also the question if the codes themselves are biased towards recognizing what women feel makes them uncomfortable while ignoring certain sorts of flirting or even dress that make men uncomfortable. If, for example, I said that I found how a woman dressed to imply someone overly sexual even while acknowledging that she didn’t really mean it that way, the reaction would be that the problem was with me, and that I was attempting to control her … but in certain contexts overly sexual clothing should be as much of a problem as overly sexual speech. And so on.

What we know for certain is that Carrier violated the agreement he had with the organization to not hit on students, and did so repeatedly. Carrier, however, is certainly of the mind that he doesn’t need to follow rules that he things stupid, and so wouldn’t let that stop him (which is, to my mind, a problem for his morality). For everything else, there’s lots of irony to go around.

Self-Care …

July 1, 2016

So, this is the last of three posts inspired by this post by Miri at Brute Reason. Here, I want to focus on self-care as exemplified by this quote:

Besides this list, I actually do quite a bit of self-care. In fact, since I have few responsibilities besides work (which I thankfully cannot and do not take home with me), I’m mostly free to engage in self-care between the hours of 5 PM and 11 PM daily, and all weekend. I do several self-care activities every day, usually reading, writing, watching TV, seeing friends and partners, taking walks, cleaning my house, eating yummy food, petting my cat (when she deigns to allow it), crafting, or otherwise doing something that feels restorative rather than obligatory.

Because in my experience, most people in healthy circumstances do not need constant reminders to practice self-care. Yes, there are some who get so caught up in work (including domestic work) that they don’t do self-care despite having the ability to. (If you know any programmers, or are one, you probably know what I’m talking about.) But most of the time, people are naturally motivated to do the things they love and that make them feel better.

Except … self-care, it seems to me, isn’t supposed to be something that you do, well, most of the time. The concept of self-care, for me, is that it’s something that you have to make sure that you do occasionally when things get too stressful or too problematic or you’re a programmer who has realized that, well, you spend most of your time working and need to, well, take some time to smell the roses. Heck, the first advocacy of “self-care” was probably “Take the time to stop and smell the roses”. Sometimes, as the song goes, you need to take a break from all your worries. If you’re always doing so, and doing so on a consistent basis … then what worries do you have? And are they that worrying to you when you are constantly “taking a break” from them instead of, well, doing something about them?

See, even doing things we like can feel obligatory. Right now, I’ve just spent time finishing Dragon Age Inquisition which, while something that I liked doing (I guess) was certainly an obligation for me, since I was too far in to abandon it and so really, really wanted to finish it. I’m also feeling an obligation to finish watching “The X-Files”, although whether I can be said to be liking it at this point is debatable. The point is that even our “free time” can be filled with obligations, if to no one else but ourselves. The point of self-care is that sometimes you do something that lets you forget about your worries for a while and that is something you just want to do, not something you think you should do now that you have spare time. If someone’s spare time is, in fact, rarely spent doing things that they think they ought to do because they have the time for that — even if that’s just reading that latest book they’ve bought — then that simply means that they have, well, lots of spare time. It doesn’t mean that they’re actually practicing self-care … and could also mean that they could fill their free time with other things that might make their worries actually lessen.

In short, if you don’t have to schedule self-care, you either don’t need it … or are doing it wrong.

Adversarial Negotiation

June 24, 2016

So the second post that this post by Miri at Brute Reason inspired is about negotiation, and follows on from the idea that I talked about last time, which is that she wants more money and different hours, but makes no attempt to discuss or point out or even consider how her getting what she wants works out better for her employer. She’s trying to get as much as she can, but she doesn’t even consider what that would mean for her employer. Sure, we can see why she wants that deal, but why would her employer want to give it to her?

It seems to me that we’ve adopted an adversarial approach to negotiation, where we see the exchange as us trying to get as much as we can for ourselves while at best not being concerned with what the other party wants, and at worst even wanting to get what we want at the other party’s expense. But in pondering this, this seems to me to be utterly ridiculous, especially if we think that we might not have more power than the other party does in the exchange. If we have more power than them, we can force them to accept the worse deal … right up until the point we don’t have that power anymore, at which point at best they’ll walk. If they have more power than us, in general we won’t be happy if they impose on us and will grumble about how “unfair” they were … and won’t feel any obligation to hold to the deal if they can no longer impose on us. And if we’re equal in power, then this sort of negotiation … won’t go well.

It seems to me that most people calculate whether or not their negotiation was successful based on whether or not they “win”, whether they come away from the deal better off than the other party. But to me, it seems that the ideal negotiated agreement is one where no one wins because both parties get everything they need and want from the deal. If the two parties got together, gave their lists of what they wanted, and had the other side say “That works for us!” that, to me, is a remarkably successful negotiation, even though no one actually “won”. It’s only that sometimes it’s not possible for all parties to get what they want that negotiation becomes a problem at all, and even in those cases it seems to me that we ought to want the other party to be as happy with the deal as possible, if for no other reason than if they are happy with it, they are more likely to stick with it or deal with us in the future. If they feel that we’re cheating them, how likely are they to want to keep dealing with us?

Thus, we need to abandon the idea that we need to “win” a negotiation — ie that we need to do “better” than the other party does in any negotiation — and instead hold to the idea that we want the best possible deal that satisfies the most needs and wants of all parties. We don’t want “steals”, but instead want deals that, on reflection, everyone says they’re happy with. Or at least content with.

Charitably

June 15, 2016

So, in preparation for talking about the latest “Tropes vs Women” episode, I’ve decided that I need to talk a bit about what I see, at least, as intellectual charity, especially since it seems that many people get confused about that, so much so that they decide that they don’t want to or don’t need to do it. This, I think, is because most people see it as interpreting the arguments of your opponents in the strongest way possible, which then can look like apologetics. At a minimum, it can easily look like you’re reading into their argument things that aren’t there in order to make the argument stronger, or to look like it’s saying things that are more “normal” than they are. Thus, it fits into the notion of “steelmanning”, where instead of reinterpreting the argument in such a way that it’s easier to defeat, you reinterpret in its strongest form (and, in my observation, it seems to be the case that almost everyone who actually says they’re steelmanning doesn’t actually manage to do that). So, at the end of the day, when you interpret charitably you make the argument look stronger, and often make it look stronger than it really is.

This is not what it means to interpret charitably. Interpreting charitably, at its heart, in intellectual pursuits is to interpret what someone is saying in such a way that, essentially, you don’t jump to any unwarranted and unevidenced conclusions about what they’re saying. So you always try to interpret what they’re saying in such a way that it makes the most sense, given what they believe and what they’d be likely to argue. To me, there are two big principles in play here:

1) Always interpret what they’re saying in line with what they ought to believe given both their words and their overall philosophical position. In short, always interpret them as consistently as you possibly can. This causes problems for a lot of Internet debaters because their primary argumentative method is to find a seeming contradiction in their opponent’s position and then declare victory based on that, which means that when someone points out another interpretation that isn’t contradictory they get upset at the reinterpretation. But in general most people will not hold contradictory positions knowingly, so either there is a contradiction there that they need to work out — and they’ll always be able to bite the bullet and take one side or the other — or else your interpretation is incorrect and they didn’t really mean that. We can see this in Kant, actually, because in his first edition of “The Critique of Pure Reason” it looked at times like he was advocating for an Idealist position, so he added a section later that explicitly refutes Idealism, and insisted that he wasn’t advocating for Idealism. At that point, you can’t just accuse him of being an Idealist and having a contradiction in his position, clearly. What you can try to do is show that those sections only work if one is actually an Idealist, and no other position could accommodate those ideas. Fortunately for Kant, this is probably not true for him.

What this doesn’t mean is that this sort of interpretation always has their argument come out looking better. All you’re doing is interpreting it in the way that best fits their overall philosophy. This doesn’t mean that they necessarily come out looking less extreme or more mainstream or whatever. For example, if you interpret Rand charitably you can blunt arguments about “It’s really in your best interest to allow this sort of regulation” because while Rand is, in fact, very much opposed to government regulation she opposes it only because she thinks that it doesn’t benefit her to have it, and thus in those cases if you could prove that she’d have to accept that that sort of regulation should happen, which thus makes her view seem less extreme. On the other hand, a charitable interpretation of Rand would indeed say that if someone gained no benefit from helping someone else, they would be permitted to completely ignore them, even to the point of letting them die, which is a pretty extreme position (given what Rand says elsewhere, you can’t go so far as to insist that they’d be morally obligated to ignore them, but at a minimum they are not morally obligated to help). The same thing applies to Utilitarianism. It’s a charitable interpretation of Act Utilitarianism to say that it would have to countenance killing someone if that had the most utility, an extreme position, but it’s also a charitable interpretation to say that it has to be based on the knowledge that the person actually has and not on some kind of idealized determination based on all possible knowledge that anyone could have, which is a less extreme position.

2) Where allowed given the considerations of 1), always prefer less extreme interpretations to more extreme interpretations. So, to use a Stoic example, you don’t insist that they have to be eliminating even those emotions that we don’t feel — ie calm passions — when their focus is on the felt emotions and the link wouldn’t have been known at the time. Applying this principle will, of course, almost always involve making the view look more reasonable as it always makes it look less extreme, but applying this principle avoids arguing from rhetoric and often arguments from strawmen, where what you do is expand the view to its most extreme possible interpretation and point out how ridiculous it is. This does not mean that you can’t use argumentum ad absurdum, as long as you show how the absurd conclusion follows directly and necessarily from their position. So don’t conclude that when they say “X is this” that they necessarily mean “All X is this” if a) you can interpret it as being “Some X is this” and b) saying “All X is this” is an insanely stupid argument, unless by their own positions “All X is this” is more reasonable.

Note, of course, that for all of these the actual words of the actual people always trump any charitable interpretations; if they actually say “All X is this” then take them at their word. But interpreting charitably means interpreting in a way that is most consistent with their positions, and so is interpreting in a way that is most likely to be true. And in any give and take with anyone, you can always learn if your interpretations are right or wrong.

Life’s Like That …

June 10, 2016

So, Miri over a “Brute Reason” has recently made a post talking about how employers love advocating for self-care because it means that they don’t have to pay their employees fairly and don’t have to give them reasonable paid time off.

Every professional training I go to includes a section on burnout and self-care. My thought is always the same: just pay me what I’m worth. Pay me what I’m worth. Pay me what I’m worth. And give me enough paid time off.

That’s it. I don’t need bubble baths and chocolate and massages and silly TV. I need more money. And I need more rest.

I hope to get three posts out of this one single post, and first up I’m going to talk specifically about the idea that Miri’s problems here are because her employer isn’t giving her enough money and enough paid time off.

Now, in doing this, I’m exceptionally likely to trigger Miri’s “condescending” detector, which always irritates her. So, she can see this as me being condescending and even “mansplaining” … or she can see this as someone who has 20 years experience working full-time and balancing work and life giving advice to someone who has been working, based on her own account, for about a year or so.

So here’s where I start being potentially condescending, by outlining two very basic principles that I’m sure she already knows, but it’s important to state them outright. The first is that, in life, as the Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want. To put this more philosophically/academically, what this means is that everyone has goals that they are trying to achieve, but that there are always constraints that limit how one can achieve those goals. So you can’t always achieve your goals by the most efficient method or in the manner that you’d prefer, and sometimes you can’t even achieve all your goals given the constraints you have to deal with. If you’re in the latter case, either you have to remove some of those constraints, or change your goals.

The second thing is that it is no one’s job to help you achieve your goals. In particular, it is not your employer’s job to help you achieve your goals. The agreement between you and your employer is that they pay you to do the work they need you to do, and you use that money to achieve your goals. But what your labour is “worth” doesn’t depend on what your goals are, but instead on what your labour does to achieve the goals of the company and what return the company gets on that labour. Miri’s comments here imply that her employer isn’t paying her fairly because she can’t get the things she wants or needs, and no where does she consider analyzing her pay in terms of what it would be reasonable to expect given what she provides to the company.

Thus, it behooves us to examine her list of the things she needs and consider two questions wrt each entry. First, can Miri achieve her goal — or at least her main goal — in a different manner than she considers here? And second, should we expect her employer to provide enough pay/free time to be able to do the things she wants to do? Remembering that she’s only been working for about a year.

So let’s start with the top of the list:

enough money and time off for an occasional, non-fancy vacation

I suspect that “vacation” doesn’t mean “I’m taking time off to do things and get caught up”, but instead she means something like a trip … somewhere. But Miri has been only working there, at least, for about a year, and I think that she’s recently out of school. Sure, it might be nice for her to be able to take a trip, but she really shouldn’t expect to be able to do that in a year, given that she has other expenses to deal with and obviously isn’t at the top pay and vacation scale for her profession (lacking experience). But a trip away — presumably for more than a week — is definitely a want here; it’s something that she wanted to do, not had to do. I’d like to take another university degree, but right now I simply don’t have the time. When I first graduated, I didn’t have the spare money. Life’s like that.

But if she just wants the relaxation, she can take some time off and take day trips on weekends to places that are interesting and nearby, or a weekend trip somewhere close, which would be both cheaper and fit into her weekends. Without knowing why this is something that Miri assert she “needs”, I can’t really say anything more, other than that for most people, this is not a need, and that in my opinion if you consider this an actual need then the problem is with what you consider to be a need. Few people really “need” a trip vacation.

time to prepare healthy meals every day

Later, Miri says that she is home from 5 – 11 every day and has free time to do “self-care”. That’s enough time to prepare a health meal every day, even if it means that you end up eating at 8 pm. But, on top of that, what Miri really needs is not the time to prepare a healthy meal every day, but to be able to eat healthy meals every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to cook them from mostly scratch every day. There are a number of options, if Miri can afford it, to provide quick and yet still healthy meals that some people seem to like, but if that’s a problem then she can do what I eventually had to do: take a day on the weekend and cook healthy meals ahead for the week that she can freeze and then thaw/microwave. If she doesn’t have a freezer other than the one in her fridge, that would be something that it would be worth investing in, so that she can do this and so that she can buy a number of things on special and then use them over the next few months or so. Doing this will give her healthy meals without having to do it every single day and find the time to do that.

enough sick leave to actually stay home when I’m sick (I had to go back to work with a raging flu, fever included, after just two days because that’s all the sick days I’d accumulated after 7 months of work)

I’m not sure of the circumstances of her workplace, but in general most places give about a week a year, which is pro-rated based on how long you worked in that year. If you start in January, you get the full week … and usually can use it ahead of time. If you start in May, you’d only get half of that. This isn’t great, but it does seem “fair”. The issue is with sick leave as a whole; employers really shouldn’t want employees coming in when they’re sick, because it risks making other employees or the customers sick, the sick person won’t be at their physical and mental peak anyway, and it risks making the recovery time longer and so the employee works at less than peak for longer. The issue here is that if you give people more time off that they ought to use when they are sick, then a number of employees will “cheat”, and use it to take time off in general. Some of them might even rationalize it as a “mental health” day, even when all of that “mental health” is that it’s a nice day and they don’t want to stuck inside. So giving a lot of extra days off risks people using them not because they’re sick, but essentially as extra vacation days. So, ideally, an employer wants to give enough sick days to cover at least how often the average employee gets sick in a year, but not so much that they use it as extra vacation. And the last thing they want to do is demand that everyone who gets a cold prove that they were really sick.

What some companies are doing is remove formal sick days completely, and let people call in sick, but if they do that too often or too suspiciously let the managers deal with that as if they are trying to take advantage. This might be the better solution. At any rate, I’d agree that sick time needs to be dealt with by businesses, but not necessarily that she should be, in general, be given more of it.

enough money to not have to worry almost constantly about money.

You’ve been working for a year now. Yes, you’re going to have to watch your money until you build up your savings. If you are really constantly worrying about it even when you aren’t spending money, that’s probably a problem with you.

enough money to have enough savings to not worry about being financially ruined by a medical or other type of crisis

You’ve been working for a year. It is not possible for an employer to pay you fairly in such a way that you’d have that much savings yet. Let’s imagine that to cover a crisis, you need at least $50000 to be really secure. So your starting base salary would have to be $50000 to get that in a year. But that doesn’t include taxes and deductions, and that being 40% of base seems not unreasonable, so that puts you at $70000 a year. And let’s assume that basic, every day costs work out to about $30000 a year. So, to do that, you’d need a starting salary of $100000, fresh out of school. Do you really think you’re worth that much, Miri? Do you think most people are?

enough time off work to go get my fatigue diagnosed and properly treated, let alone to get regular physicals and screenings like you’re supposed to

Have you considered using some of your vacation time to do that? One of the things that I most hate is that professionals only work during, well, regular working hours. If this is that important, then maybe you need to use your vacation time to attend the appointments … or even take unpaid leave to do it.

Again, you’ve been working a year. You’ve just managed to get to the point where you’ll get full accrual. You aren’t going to be able to get everything yet, and this is a condition that even you have to admit is beyond the norm.

enough time off work to go to therapy

As is this. How regular will this be? How often do you need it? Is it possible to get a therapist that will offer you an appointment after 5 (the same thing applies to the doctor above)? If you wanted/needed this twice a week and it took a half a day each time, that would require you to have 52 sick/vacation days to do that, which is over ten weeks. That’s likely not going to happen, especially since it would leave you no time for everything else. Even a half day a month is a week just for that. How long do you think an employer can function if they have to give two weeks for regular therapy/check-ups, and then two weeks for people being unexpectedly sick, and then two to three weeks so that people can take vacations and time off when they want it?

a schedule that allows me to sleep from 2 AM to 10 AM rather than from 11 PM to 7 AM

So, if right now you end at 5, this means that you’d have to end work at 8 PM instead. What are you doing from 5 PM to 8 PM? And what about your fellow employees? Are they to work the same hours as you, or do they get to choose their own hours as well? So how would you handle someone like me, whose current preferred work time is 5 AM until 2 PM? And what about someone who wants to sleep until noon and work after that? They’d get in pretty much when I’m leaving. Hope we never actually have to work together. And there are also issues around when your customers and clients get in, and when the work needs to be done. Yes, it’s not good that you can’t get your preferred sleep schedule, but if everyone got that nothing could function. So, life’s like that.

a work schedule that allows for an adequate lunch break during which I can consume real, healthy food

What’s stopping you now? Likely, it’s that you’d have to go out somewhere to get it (or cook it yourself) and don’t have time in the half hour – an hour that you likely get. But if you work in an office, then you can do that whole “cook it ahead on the weekend thing” and have real, healthy food. Failing that, you can fall back on the traditional “brown bag” sandwiches which are, in fact, real and even healthy food. How much time do you need, and what are you doing in exchange? And what impact would the amount of time you need have on your job and your customers/clients?

enough money for a gym membership that includes a pool (swimming is my preferred indoor exercise)

So, if you really want to swim, maybe you should just register at a local pool or YM/YWCA and just swim. There may be other things that you need to do, but how many of them can you do outside of a gym … even if you invest in some cheap weights or exercise equipment? Do you really need a gym membership to stay in shape, and if you do can you get a gym membership for a place without a pool and then get into a pool for free/cheap? If you can’t, then maybe you need to go to an exercise that isn’t your preferred if you can’t afford it yet. There’s no reason to think that wanting a gym membership with a pool is something that indicates that your employer is not paying you what you’re worth, and a gym membership period is not — and need not be — a basic employee right. It’s an extra… and you seem to be treating it like a need. You need to get exercise; you don’t need to get that in a gym or a pool.

enough time off work for an occasional mental health day, like the day after I got into a horrible car crash and was too scared to drive to work but had to anyway

Once you get full accruals of sick and vacation time, you probably will, if you are willing to use your vacation time for those occasional issues. You don’t seem willing to do that, and so likely have even less time off than you really do if you limit vacation to only, well, vacation.

I used vacation once upon a time to take half days off so that I could take classes and finish another degree. I take vacation to get things done, and on my vacation always schedule the things that it’s hard to do during the work day done. Since you can’t take trips anyway, this really might reduce your stress level.

enough money to not have a six-figure student loan debt

Student loans are potentially a problem, yes. But an employer is not going to pay you enough in a year to eliminate that much debt, as that would require them to tack on $100,000 to your salary which, to get the other things, is already over $100,000. All you can do is work out a plan so that you can pay it off at a reasonable rate given the salary you have, and building a budget that lets you life comfortably within your means is generally hard work. But your employer didn’t really ask you to take on that much of a loan, and they aren’t obligated to pay it off … and they’ve already factored the worth of your education into your salary.

Ultimately, life’s like that. I obviously don’t think that everything is perfect, but a big part of getting out into “the real world” is understanding what you need, what you want, and working out plans so that you get everything you really need and as much of your wants as you can. As you work longer, in general you ought to be able to achieve more and more of these wants, as your salary increases and you build up some savings. If you aren’t saving right now, maybe you need to look to see if you are spending too much money. If you still can’t, then maybe you aren’t making enough. Is that because your employer pays unfairly, or because your work isn’t worth more than that? Settling this question is important to determine what your next step should be, if you are in that situation. But no, it’s not just that employers are treating you badly. You need to adjust, too.

Life’s like that.

Science of Bad Boys …

June 8, 2016

So, recently I came across this article at Salon that claims to have scientifically settled the question of whether women go for nice guys or bad boys. Unfortunately, as we shall see, the science is … dubious, to say the least.

Anyway, the article is aimed at being a response to another study:

The research it refers to is a study published earlier this year, which suggested that some men smoke and drink because this makes them more attractive short-term partners.

They take a quick stab a criticizing it:

Leaving aside the obvious point that the article is conflating “bad” with drinking and smoking (as Girl on the Net writes, “badness” is really a lot more than just smoking 20 a day or drinking like there’s no tomorrow) …

There are two issues here, issues that will carry on throughout the article. First, what we have to compare is the “bad boyness” of men who smoke and drink versus those who don’t. The latter are definitely seen as being less bad, and not in a good way. They’re seen as being uptight and rigid, and not a lot of fun, which might be what drives the “bad boy” vs “nice guy” dichotomy in the first place (if it exists). Second, this is about image, not reality. In order to have success, especially in short-term relationships, the image you present is more important than how you actually are. Even for some longer-term relationships, presenting the right image off the top gets your foot in the door, and it’s only from there that you can present the real you to build a full and proper relationship. So if that image is more “bad” than the alternative, and that image does lead them to have more success than the alternative image, we have some evidence that something about the image attracts women more than the alternative.

So what science does the article muster to oppose this idea? Well, they list a number of studies that purport to show this. Let me just quote all of them so that we can see them as one solid block:

One way to investigate the issue is to present women with hypothetical men with different personality types and see which ones they prefer. In one such study, participants had to help a fictional character named Susan choose a date from three male contestants, based on their answers to her questions. In one version, the man was nice – he was in touch with his feelings, caring and kind. In another, he was a self-described “real man” who was insensitive and unkind. The third contestant simply gave neutral answers.

So which contestant did participants think Susan should date and who did they prefer to date themselves? Contrary to the stereotype that nice guys finish last, it was actually the nice contestant that was chosen most frequently for both Susan and for participants themselves.

In another study, participants who read dating ads in which people described themselves as altruistic (“I volunteer at the food bank”) were rated as more attractive short-term dates and long-term partners than those who didn’t mention such qualities. Other studies have similarly shown that women prefer men who are sensitive, confident and easy-going, and that very few (if any) women want to date a man who is aggressive or demanding. The picture that emerges is clear: when women rate hypothetical partners, they clearly prefer “nice” men.

The problem right here is that these studies don’t really get what the theory of bad boy preference really says. Colloquially, it says that while women may say that they prefer nice guys to bad boys, when they actually choose who to date it’s always the bad boys that they choose. In more formal terms, this means that when women consciously assess who they’d rather date, they choose the nice guy, but subconsciously they prefer — and/or end up with — the “bad boys”. One of the things that is commonly encountered in dating that might reflect this is the idea of chemistry: women might say that they prefer nice guys, and may even accept initial dates with them, but may discover that there’s no “spark” there, which might be an indication of incompatibility … or it might be an indication of a lack of underlying attraction.

So then note that all of the studies above pretty much ask women to select based on their conscious perceptions. Even if we ignore that in formal situations people often respond in a more considered manner than they would otherwise, all of the studies here ask them to consciously assess if the person is attractive or not. They also leave the actual presented image out of the picture entirely, by asking them to judge them based on their words and not on their presented image. So these studies can’t refute the theory because all they do is confirm the first part of it: when women are asked what they want, they say they want nice guys and don’t want those who are aggressive and demanding. What they actually choose when given the choice, however, doesn’t have to be that … and the theory asserts that it isn’t.

The key seems to be the idea that women want confident men, but don’t want men that are aggressive and demanding. This presumes that men who are aggressive and demanding aren’t seen as being more confident than the alternative. If they are, then those behaviours will trigger “confident” rather than “aggressive”, and by the time the women realize that they are really more aggressive than confident they may already have an emotional attachment to them, and so find it hard to end it. If true, what this means is that women, if they want better partners, need to suppress their “natural” assessments of what makes a man confident, and instead look for real indicators of that.

Regardless, these studies don’t demonstrate that women really prefer nice guys to bad boys if given a choice. They only demonstrate that, when they engage their conscious minds, women choose nice guys … but dating and love are things that generally are not decided by conscious reasoning. The studies need to show that subconsciously women still choose nice guys over bad boys, which is what the anecdotal evidence is arguing is not the case. So, no, science hasn’t at all settled this yet … at least not in favour of the idea that women prefer nice guys.


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