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What's more disgusting--fecal transplants or semi-automatic guns? (Data collected far in advance of Las Vegas and other mass shootings)

Hmmmm... Makes you wonder, doesn't it? 

More "tomorrow."

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Reader Comments (16)

Not sure how exactly how useful this graph can be w/o more info.

Are these means? If so, what makes up the mean = moderately disgusted by marijuana? I.e., a lot of people who are extremely disgusted combined with a lot of people who aren't disgusted at all, or pretty much everyone moderately disgusted?

And you say it "makes you wonder." Wonder about what? It seems a rhetorical question with a clear connotation - but I don't get thst connotation is. What import do you think there is from greater disgust for semi-automatic weapons than fecal transplants (and btw, I would venture a guess that most people don't know what fecal transplants are. Does the question supply a definition?)

April 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I'm outraged by all of the ways people appropriate disgust when outrage is, um, appropriate. Keep your dagnam moral condemnations straight, yutzes!

Seriously: disgust implies a warning to keep one's distance. Further investigation is dangerous. Outrage calls attention, requires justification, and invites exploration. Leaving open the possibility that those you're signalling won't reach the same conclusion. Disgust shuts that down - it encourages system 1, go with your gut impulses.

April 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Joshua-- yes, I agree, distributions of responses should be reported in this situation. Good point about public knowledge of fecal transplants--there's more to story, though... anon.
Wonder--about validity of measure; & assuming validity, about "us"....
I'm not particularly surprised about guns.

April 28, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan


A few yr sago, there were a bunch of posts, including guest ones, on validity of disgust measures & whether they are measuring something else. Search & you'll find them.... Interestig stuff.

April 28, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Dan - do you permit betting on your site?

If so, here is my bet: running the same test with a neurological backup

will show a vast split between instinctive disgust and the considered, or morality-dependent, disgust, which requires some thinking interval.

I for one love guns, so that item would rate zero on the disgust scale. I also love nuclear power plants - assuming that's what meant in "nuclear". If nuclear weapons are meant, I'm absolutely fascinated by them, and don't find them in the least immoral, which I gather many people do - but since these are overwhelmingly the same people who also worry about global warming, it's worth pointing out to them the former is a guaranteed cure for the latter. Prostitution and marijuana would fall into the thinking interval category for most people, I think. So would the final two - most surgical procedures sound pretty gory, ergo unattractive, and GMOs involving scorpion or insect genes would give me pause.

However there's no telling how the test would work out unless somebody runs it. My bet is that all items listed here would require a thinking interval, unlike, say, asking someone if he would eat bugs.

April 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage


PS - will keep fingers crossed tonight. Also use gamecast while listening to C's on radio, as then I can read while doing so, and not pay for cable.


Found one that's quite apropos:

So, that makes me firmly A, but maybe because I'm thoroughly and unreflectively B. But, if I were B, would other's misuse of disgust outrage me? Why would I care so much? Meta-B?

Has framing moral condemnation as disgust increased in popularity? Seems so to me. Maybe I should just join along and say this trend disgusts me.

April 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


Found this - so, it's all your fault?! Ironic that you wrote a 17 page justification to use a type of moral condemnation that doesn't value justifications. But, despite a lack of sympathy, but not disgust, for your position, I will read it. Fortunately, there's some who disagree with you, else your argument would fall on deaf ears, albeit willing ruffled noses.

April 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - waste no more time with types A, B, and other such nonsense. The problem is well known to computational linguistics and was solved by an AI group decades ago. Humans 1, computers 0.

"What is sometimes called “sentiment” or “tone” analysis presents a challenge for computers, which can stumble over simple words. Consider “pretty”: it can intensify some descriptions (“The hot dog was pretty amazing, but the bun was pretty dry”), dial back others (“That Zumba class was pretty good, I guess”), convey beauty (“What a pretty wooden trellis!”), or add irony (“What a pretty kettle of fish”)."

April 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage


A shame you think this topic is nonsense instead of participating. I suspect you probably experience the most authentic disgust of anyone on this blog.



April 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


I doubt the paper influenced anyone, including myself. Indeed, some parts of it now make me cringe--inevitable after 20 yrs. There's no shame in reconsidering.

On valuing or disvaluing justification, though, I'm not sure "anger" or "fear" counsel deferring action pending a discussion of the judgments they embody. Yet a moral life w/o those emotions wold be severely crippled.

April 29, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Ecoute-- betting is enthusiastically encouraged

April 29, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

"Consider “pretty”: it can intensify some descriptions (“The hot dog was pretty amazing, but the bun was pretty dry”), dial back others (“That Zumba class was pretty good, I guess”),"

"Pretty" in these contexts means "partially", "mostly", or "moderately".

It comes from the Anglo Saxon "prettig" meaning "cunning, skillful, artful, wily, astute", the adjectival form of "pratt" a trick or jape. The meaning shifted between Old English and Middle English to mean "attractive, well made, clever, but in a superficial or slightly deceptive way", and from this to "superficially, partially, moderately".

Meanings change because humans have exactly the same problems computers have. Each generation determines the meaning of words from context and usage, and if a word is commonly used in a particular figurative sense, the next generation will assume that's the meaning and start misapplying it.

April 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Jonathan -

C's in 4, maybe 5.

April 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Meanings change because humans have exactly the same problems computers have...and start misapplying it.

Problem? Misapplying?

Why would the evolution of language be a "problem" of "misappl[ication]"?

April 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


"C's in 4, maybe 5." Don't pull that reverso more-pessimistic-than-thou hex stuff on me! You were probably wearing your Andrew Toney jersey when you wrote that!

April 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

The reverse jinx doesn't work if it is just a cynical ploy to steer fate where you actually foresee a positive outcome. It has to be an honestly fatalistic expression of pessimism. (Although wearing the Toney jersey can't hurt).

April 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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