I've had something similar kicking around in my head for the word "murder" in the context of the abortion debate. Is it murder to cut off a leaf of a lettuce plant and eat it without killing the plant? Is it murder to walk into a mall and behead a random child? Is it murder to eat a carrot, killing the plant? Is it murder to destroy the upper brain functions of a human adult even though the brain stem and life support machine keep the body alive? Is it murder to pull the plug of the life support machine? Is it murder to cut off one head of a conjoined twin? Is it murder to cut off a (headless) parasitic twin? To kill a kitten? A chimp? A space alien that can hold a normal conversation in English? An AI that can hold a normal conversation in English? An anencephalic human fetus? A human blastocyst that failed to implant in the uterus? etc. etc.

Expand full comment

I would happily collaborate with you on this.

Expand full comment

I would really like it to happen, but am not doing anything to make it happen. Feel free to take charge.

Expand full comment
Feb 13, 2022·edited Feb 13, 2022

I tried to be consistent and answer all the deception-based-consent questions as 45%, including the one about stealing money back from a prostitute. Also tried to be consistent about social pressure < deception < drugs < violence. Except for the one where the person was enthusiastic pre-alcohol so the alcohol didn't change anything, I gave that like 5. The one where the 16yo was enthusiastic the power dynamics or inexperience didn't change anything so I gave that a 0. I'd also argue that being 16 is much less mentally impairing than having down syndrome, and I'd already given the enthusiastic-down-syndrome scenario a really low score.

Expand full comment

My immediate thought is that the one consistent factor is that the people you asked are from communities you're a participant in or that they are followers of yours. I'm curious whether the results would be different if the sample set was completely random? I'm guessing it would be.

My secondary thought is around the objective versus the subjective definitions of rape (and it is clear to me that you're testing for subjective definitions), but how would the results vary if you asked the same sample set after ensuring they understood the objective definition of rape as defined by an accepted authoritative text such as the Oxford English Dictionary.

Expand full comment
Feb 13, 2022·edited Feb 13, 2022

To quantify mental impairment, Down Syndrome costs 50 IQ points, while being 16 instead 26 costs only 8 points on Weschler, (and so does being 40 instead of 26, or being sleep-deprived) Not everyone knows this, so that might explain a lot of people rating enthusiastic-down-syndrome less rapey than enthusiastic-16. Or maybe they're just representing the law as-is and not ethics.



https://study.com/academy/lesson/adult-creativity-and-intelligence-changes-with-age.html (the tiny graph near the bottom of the page).

Related SSC post: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/07/social-justice-and-words-words-words/

Which I would summarize based on my memory of reading it a long time ago as: "argue over substance instead of arguing over which stigmatized words you are allowed to apply to things"

Expand full comment

I tried to think about this from the perspective of the person with Down Syndrome. What are they supposed to do? Be celibate their entire life? That sounds cruel. Or only have sex with other people with severe mental disabilities? That creates a problem of the blind leading the blind. Enthusiastic sex with a neurotypical seems like the best option for them.

Expand full comment

I agree with your points here. I gave both scenarios a very low rape-score.

Expand full comment

Re: Intoxication:

I assume the “rapiness” of these scenarios stems from the imbalance of power due to impairment vs. sobriety. The sober party abr to choose to consent or not with full control of their faculties, while the impaired party is in an easily manipulated state.

Pressuring or deceiving someone into intoxication to take advantage is predatory and evil without any doubt - regardless of the end goal.

“Parker has spent the evening at a

party encouraging Riley to drink heavily and surreptitiously increasing the potency of Riley’s beverages. Parker intends to goad Riley into saying something embarrassing in front of their boss” —> 90

But what if the parties are getting drunk of their own volition, knowing that it may lead to making different choices?

“After smoking a blunt, Cameron decides that Quinn’s persistent advances are not that annoying after all and follows Quinn to the bedroom” —> 15

What if both parties are intoxicated? There is no longer an imbalance, but can either party truly consent?

“Jo and Bobby are in a happy and uninhibited mood thanks to modern chemistry. They hook up eventhough they normally can’t stand each other” —> 10

What if the drunken person itthe aggresor and the sober party is unwilling but gives in du to social or relationship pressures.

“Pat is high as a kite and relentlessly horny, Chris is sober and not really feeling it but goes along to avoid making a scene.” —> 30

Under the law, drunkenness does not absolve responsibility. If you choose to drink and then choose to drive, you own the consequences. I don’t feel it is any different if you choose to drink and then choose to fuck..

Expand full comment