Some quick thoughts about Angry Birds and a caution about LSD stories

Watching the liberals lose their shit over the Angry Birds Movie has been rather entertaining and proof of just how absurdly out of touch with reality they’ve become.

The movie is limited by the game’s single conceit: the pigs stole the birds’ eggs, and the birds are flinging themselves at the pigs to get back the eggs. You can’t have reconciliation between the pigs and birds because, as is obvious if you’ve played the game, the pigs steal those eggs over and over.

Critically, the pigs are not refugees or economic migrants seeking a better life. They are invaders stealing the birds’ eggs. Liberals can no longer distinguish between the two. They are not freaking out over the birds attacking a group of peaceful refugees, but over the birds defending themselves against actual invaders.

The right of self-defense against people who attacked you unprovoked is not even right-wing; it is accepted by almost all moralists and is about as mainstream a view as you can find. I can understand the left’s humanitarian logic for accepting refugees/economic migrants, but to toss out the right to self-defense is just plain delusional.

(Comment originally posted in reaction to Gregory Hood’s Review of the Angry Birds Movie.)

640I also feel compelled to note that, while people have been claiming that the chief pig, Leonard, has a “Middle Eastern” style beard, Middle Easterners typically have curly haired beards, whereas Leonard clearly has straight fur. Also, Leonard has only managed a chin-beard, whereas Middle Easterners tend to have much fuller beards.

Because this is an HBD-centric blog, I have maps:

1024px-PSM_V52_D323_Global_hair_texture_map Bodyhair_map_according_to_American_Journal_of_Physical_Anthropology_and_other_sources

 

 

 

Personally, I think he looks more French, eg Childeric II or Henry I–for a pig.

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The comments on Slate Star Codex’s recent post, “Why Were Early Psychedelicists so Weird?” contain a fair number of stories along the lines of “I took LSD/shrooms/other illegal drugs and had interesting, positive effects,” and a few stories along the lines of “I knew a guy who tried LSD and it fried his brain and turned him into a drooling idiot.”

Normally, I think it best to rate “I did X”-style testimony more highly than “I knew a guy who did X.” In this case, however, I want to urge caution, because there is an obvious selection bias in the kinds of stories you are going to hear: drooling idiots are bad at writing.

The people whose brains got fried on illegal drugs do not have the ability to get on the internet and write coherent, entertaining posts on the subject, and they certainly do not have the IQ points left to be part of the regular readership/commentariat on Scott’s blog. In fact, they aren’t writing a whole lot of anything. Which means that if you are reading about LSD-experiences in the comments section of Scot’s blog, you are only going to read stories from people who are still mentally with it, or people warning that a bad thing happened to a guy they knew.

I have no idea what % of people who try LSD end up okay, better, or worse afterwards, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume that 50% are fine-to-better and 50% end up in droolsville. The 50% who are fine go post on Scott’s blog, and the 50% who are not fine never show up because they can’t type anymore, except as cautionary tales from the few guys who know the details about a former friend’s illegal activities.

Maybe LSD researchers can tell you what percentage of people fry their brains on it, shrooms, or other psychedelics. But you certainly can’t make any good estimation based on a biased sample like this–so don’t.

And yes, I know, everyone with positive stories would probably say that the key is to be very careful about how much you use, purity, and allowing enough time between uses. But the people who fried their brains probably thought that, too.

I am not saying that these drugs cannot possibly have any positive medical uses. I am saying that you should avoid using biased datasets when formulating any theories on the matter.

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12 thoughts on “Some quick thoughts about Angry Birds and a caution about LSD stories

  1. “They are not freaking out over the birds attacking a group of peaceful refugees, but over the birds defending themselves against actual invaders.”

    They’re revealing that they don’t see much difference between “peaceful refugees” and actual invaders, and they favor both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I paid attention to some of these psychedelic promoters, but I started noticing this idea that somehow they had received a lot of information, yet they appeared unable to really articulate much of it. That and the fact that they usually sound like a sort of Gaia + Tony Robbins mashup makes me suspicious.

    It might actually help in certain traumatic situations, but in general it appear to provide illusion of enlightenment, rather than enlightenment itself.

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    • I got the impression that the effects were along the lines of “I am more willing to consider different points of view than I used to be,” (where actual enlightenment would still have to come from the individual coming to some kind of conclusion,) and “I am a more cheerful/mellow person.”

      But it is also very possible that most of the effect is indeed just the feeling of enlightenment, which I gather is a fun feeling whether it involves actual enlightenment or not. (For that matter, I gather that schizophrenics can enjoy their condition, but I wouldn’t voluntarily induce it.)

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  3. I disagree with you pretty strongly on the first part. Stories always have political meaning, even if the meaning is always “the same assumptions as the rest of the culture that produced it.” AB (from the trailer), is a pretty basic narrative about invaders with “excessive greed” who must be cast out/defeated, by releasing our negative emotions at them. It’s not the first story with that moral, and it won’t be the last.

    Whether you map that “outsider” figure to muslims, or hispanics, or Martians, or geek-girls, is much less relevant than that you use an ideological view that requires an “outsider” to exist in the first place. Critics are right to declaim that ideology.

    Of course, many of the liberals upset over this movie would be eager for it if the mapping were displayed as one they favored. Perhaps they could call the pigs gamergaters and the eggs are videogames, or whatever. They’re hypocrites who see anger and exclusion as valuable if and only if it faces their preferred targets.

    But regardless, it’s still an ideological statement. Now, movies are not brainwashing magic that are going to convince everyone of its moral. You can see it, and choose to disagree with it, and that’s that.

    Instead such liberals (and conservatives when talking about a movie like the new Ghostbusters) fear the very existence of this message, that it will convince “society” to believe “wrong things” and so they must fight the movie so that society only hears the right messages.

    This is faulty logic of course. The movie exists. The movie is wrong (probably, I haven’t seen it.) Neither of these things are going to change. It is now our responsibility to *interpret* the movie, and that is all.

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    • “Outsiders exist and sometimes try to harm us” is something over 90% of people–even liberals–agree with. The notion has substantial historical evidence in its favor–the Chinese didn’t build that wall just because they were talented engineers. (“Before the Mongol invasion, Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people.” — wikipedia)

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      • The fact that liberals agree with it may be a sign it’s wrong. Regardless, whether you agree with the ideology or not, it remains that the movie makes a (rather blatant) ideological statement. Debating the validity of that statement, and thus judging the movie on political grounds, is reasonable and even necessary.

        (Condemning the movie for existing, or saying this sort of ideology is permissible only against the “correct” targets, is not reasonable.)

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      • “Outgroups exist” is a factual statement, not an ideological one.

        “We should not have outgroups” or “we should try to bring everyone into the ingroup so we can stop having outgroups” or “we should promote behavior that decreases ingroup/outgroup-ness,” are all ideological statements. But “the outgroup exists,” (especially on a species level, where different species actually eat each other,) is not ideological.

        ETA: are you familiar with the devastating effects the introduction of pigs has had on the birds of small, isolated islands? EG: http://www.stateofthebirds.org/2009/habitats/hawaiian-birds

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  4. One other thing to keep in mind is that LSD has been propagandized a lot in the past. Some of the early proponents turned out to be government operatives trying to destabilize the anti-war movement (this is not conspiracy theory–it was admitted in Congressional testimony.)

    Once LSD got popular, a lot more people started singing its praises. Was it a wonder drug that, far from being destabilizing, was an incredible consciousness expander with many benefits? Or was it actually harmful? Hard to say. Probably a mix, depending on the user.

    So all of the sudden it feels like there is another big PR push for LSD and psilocybin. Supposedly our dot.com tech business entrepreneur heroes are microdosing with LSD to enhance their productivity and creativity.

    The question is, what should we believe? In addition to the survivorship bias mentioned in the post, I just wonder if there are any weird agendas behind the latest push.

    It’s frustrating. I’d be interested in the real facts. But it seems slightly weird that there’s a new full court press to popularize the stuff, and I wonder who is behind it and why. Is someone planning to commercialize it as a productivity pill and get rich?

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    • Great thoughts. I really don’t know, though I am pretty sure that there are a lot of people willing to take drugs (eg, Adderal,) to get a competitive edge over the competition or just to slog through the long hours required by their job.

      Annecdotally, I knew a lot of STEM-types back in college who at least occasionally used hallucinogens or other drugs, though I have no idea whether they used them any more than other young people.

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  5. There’s actually no hard evidence of a link between psychedelics such as LSD and psychosis or schizophrenia.

    There are anecdotal reports of “acid casualties”, and the idea certainly makes some intuitive sense, but evidence for it is scant. At best you can say that the literature is compatible with LSD being a trigger for already latent conditions such as schizophrenia.

    A recent Norwegian study looked at this, http://www.nature.com/news/no-link-found-between-psychedelics-and-psychosis-1.16968 but there is a long history of research analysing the link between LSD and psychosis – there is no elevation of rates amongst the using population vs the general population.

    Check out also Strassman’s paper “Adverse reactions to psychedelic drugs. A review of the literature”.

    Finally, from wiki:
    Several studies have tried to estimate the prevalence of LSD-induced prolonged psychosis, arriving at numbers of around 4 in 1,000 individuals (0.8 in 1,000 volunteers and 1.8 in 1,000 psychotherapy patients in Cohen 1960 [35]; 9 per 1,000 psychotherapy patients in Melleson 1971 [36]). But these rates are far lower than the lifetime prevalence for psychotic conditions: schizophrenia, to pick just one type of psychosis, has a lifetime prevalence of about 1% in populations that are not exposed to LSD.

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