the actual treatment of feminism in HPMOR is even more confused than I make it out to be, but generally falls into the “women used to get a raw deal but now it’s absolutely fine and we must never talk about it again” vein of thought.

> women used to get an extremely raw deal, now their deal is the same kind of raw as all the other raw deals around and caring More About This than about other important things is a fashion choice, not a moral necessity.

Yeah sounds about right.

this line of argument seems weak considering it often comes from people who feel that geeks are an oppressed class, despite an absence of punitive laws targeting geeks, whereas such laws targeting women still exist in many jurisdictions and there is widespread advocacy to reinstate them in others.

also as I keep pointing out, why did the raw deal that women received for a hundred thousand years or so suddenly end, so quickly and so dramatically, basically within our very own lifetimes?

it seems worthy of comment, if nothing else.

“This thing that we know how happened and which happened during an era where almost everything was written down sure is a mystery we’ll have to ponder” is possibly the least mysterious thing in the world.

Problems stop being problems when people solve them. Infectious disease, a scourge for millennia, also ended suddenly but nobody insists we examine why, as if “somebody solved it” was somehow an inadequate solution.

the discovery and gradual understanding of germ theory makes a perfect test case for going over the scientific process and various successes and failures of rationality and cognitive biases, given that it was so vital to humanity and of such interest for so long and cost so much.

but ultimately as you say you can boil it down to people noticing that certain things were effective against certain diseases, after which the problem is solved for at least some cases, until we overuse antibiotics and new viruses appear.

but where is the Alexander Fleming of feminism? which genius suddenly had the realisation that women should be treated as full citizens, and everyone slapped their forehead and said shit you’re right, and rushed to update their laws?

and why is there such an active advocacy group for repealing this, when there is so much less interest in bringing back cholera and polio?

I feel like treating social progress as analogous to technological progress is totally misleading. It wasn’t as if the notion that women are people or slavery is wrong just hadn’t occurred to anyone yet, hadn’t been “invented.” There’s always been people who opposed slavery: they’re called slaves. And there’s always been people who resented women’s inferior social status and limitations on their freedom: they’re called women.

Perhaps you could say liberalism or the Enlightenment were a true discovery. There had been slave revolts in ancient times that did not necessarily have a political objective of abolishing all slavery for everyone forever, but merely the rebelling slaves freeing themselves. And same goes for any women in history who chafed against their chains and flouted convention and patriarchal authority. They perhaps only cared to free themselves and did not have an ideological commitment to freeing all women everywhere.

You could perhaps say the universalist notion that: there’s things that are good for everyone and everyone should be entitled to; was a genuine discovery or intellectual innovation that hadn’t occurred before, (or had occurred but didn’t catch on, as many other scientific discoveries in history had been discovered previously but did not catch on and were forgotten).

But I’d say over all “there’s tiny little creatures on our hands that make us sick, we can prevent illness if we just wash our hands and make sure our shit doesn’t flow into our drinking water” is not comparable at all to “hey, slaves are actually full human beings and we shouldn’t be doing what we’re doing to them.”

well it’s complicated isn’t it, the ideas that lead is toxic and that gods don’t exist were also kicking around for two thousand years before they gradually began to become more generally accepted, just like the idea that beating children is bad for them instead of good for them.

There’s always been people who opposed slavery: they’re called slaves. And there’s always been people who resented women’s inferior social status and limitations on their freedom: they’re called women.

I’m not sure this generalizes like that. There have been slaves who, upon becoming freedmen, engaged in slavery, and there have been women engaged in the subjugation of women since as long back as history records.

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