Ask the Atheist (round 3)

by Luke Muehlhauser on February 1, 2010 in Ask the Atheist

Because I know everything, obviously.

Because I know everything, obviously.

Earlier, I invited my readers to ask me anything. You may ask more questions here, but please read the instructions first. Here is my third round of responses.

Question 011

corn asks:

How is it you have become so knowledgeable about seducing women, and how were you able to identify body language and vocal tonality as being two principal mechanisms by which seduction could be realized?

This is off-topic but I think my answer will be valuable to some of my readers.

You’re asking about my short speeches How to Seduce Women with Body Language and How to Seduce Women with Vocal Tonality.

I am not some kind of Master of Seduction. I cannot attract any woman I want, or even most women I want. But I’m better than I used to be.

Here’s my story. I had no skills with women growing up, because I believed it was my religious duty to avoid not only sex, but also dating. So I was clueless about body language, style, attraction, dating, and flirting.

When I got tired of failure, I looked for good information on how to be successful with women. Unfortunately, most of the popular advice out there was crap: “Buy her a drink. Buy her flowers. Be nice to her. Blah blah blah.” That’s terrible advice. So I started to look for men who were actually successful with women, and watched what they did.

Surprise, surprise: they were all “bad boys,” which I didn’t understand. Women said they liked nice boys, but they fucked the bad boys. Actions speak louder than words.

Then I read The Game by Neil Strauss. In that book, Strauss recounts how he was a loser with women. Then, he met a guy called Mystery who had also been a loser, but had figured out on his own how to seduce and date some of the most beautiful women in the world. Mystery had a whole system for seduction, and when he taught it to Strauss, Strauss became one of the most successful “pickup artists” in the world.

That was my introduction to the seduction community. Scientists haven’t bothered to tell us guys very much about how to get laid more often, so hundreds of average guys around the world took it upon themselves to figure it out. They went out night after night after night, trying thousands of combinations of clothing and behavior and words, keeping track of what worked and what didn’t.

The result is a series of skills in social dynamics called “pickup.” Unfortunately, many so-called “pickup gurus” teach things that are false, harmful, immoral, dishonest, or misogynistic. There’s a lot of crap in the seduction community, and you’ve got to have a pretty sensitive filter for it.

But I did find an approach to seduction that fit my own style and, especially, my values. My approach has no pickup lines, no memorized routines, no mind tricks, no dishonesty, and no “using” of women. Instead, my approach is basically this:

  1. Be the most high-value man I can be (fun, adventurous, confident, authentic, and above all, me).
  2. Use the basic skills of flirting and attraction to play “The Game” that women enjoy so much.
  3. Create fun and exciting relationships with women I enjoy and respect.
  4. Love without needing.

Trust me, women like cool guys. They want to be swept off their feet. They want men to be more confident, and more fun. And they like sex.

If men want to learn more about this, I recommend starting with some important episodes of Pickup Podcast (1, 2, 3, 4, 17, 50, 53, 54).

The best beginners book is probably Savoy’s Magic Bullets. (I know, it’s got a really awful and shady sales page, but trust me; I’ve read dozens of these books and this is one of the best.)

If you want to learn this stuff in person, I recommend The Art of Charm. They train people in N.Y.C. and L.A., but sometimes visit other major cities as well.

Remember, this is not about tricking women into sleeping with you or something awful like that. This is about becoming the best man you can be and creating special relationships that are valuable to both you and the women you date. Whether you want to be a playboy or attract the wife of your dreams, the same skill set is required.

Attraction is a skill set that can be learned and practiced just like piano, football, writing, or acting.

Moreover, women want you to develop this skill set. They want men to be more fun and more confident. They want to be with men like that. They don’t want to keep settling for men who don’t get it.

Question 012

Matt McCormick asks:

The problem of evil is alleged by most to show that an all good, all knowing, all powerful God doesn’t exist. So if there were one of those Gods, what exactly would our existence be like with regard to suffering? I take John Hick’s point that such a good wouldn’t put us in a hedonistic paradise, to be a pretty good point.

I agree with you and John Hick that an all-good God probably wouldn’t just plug our brains into pleasure machines and be done with it, even though this would maximize pleasure.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to your question. It depends very much on what you mean by “all-good” or “perfectly moral.” If the universe was such that categorical imperatives existed, then this would mean that God always obeyed whatever categorical imperatives existed, and this would presumably affect our existence in profound ways. Or, if the universe was such that intrinsic value existed, then presumably God would maximize that which had intrinsic value, which would affect our existence in profound ways.

As many of you know, I see no reason to think that categorical imperatives or intrinsic value exist in our universe. Rather, we must offer a “reforming definitions” for terms like ‘good’ and ‘moral’ such that they refer to things that are real while still capturing what we generally mean by those terms. This is analogous to how we redefined ‘atom’ to mean something different than it’s original meaning of ‘indivisible,’ while still capturing what we generally meant by the term ‘atom.’

I have argued that as far as I can tell, desirism offers the best reforming definitions for moral terms. So, if an all-powerful God existed in our universe, and he was “all-good” in the sense described by desirism, this might mean something like “God only has desires that tend to fulfill other desires.”

So, what kind of universe would such a God create and maintain? I have no friggin’ clue. But it wouldn’t look anything like our current universe. If you or I or most people reading this blog were omnipotent, we could easily make this world “better,” given any definition of “better” in common use.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Haukur February 1, 2010 at 11:07 am

Whether you want to be a playboy or attract the wife of your dreams, the same skill set is required.

That seems plausible for the ‘attract’ part but the ‘keep’ part may require another skill set. Or at least I’m pretty sure that I don’t have a playboy skill set but my wife and I have had a happy relationship since we were in high school so I likely have decent long-term relationship skills.

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Charles February 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Matt,

I think you ask an excellent question. It is the same one I asked myself (and the question that eventually led to my de-conversion).

Trying to imagine what the universe might be like if God existed is difficult. It is much easier to consider the known facts about our universe and ask if they conflict with specific conceptions. For example, is God_FC (your terminology) compatible with the known fact of evolution?

The fundamentalist christian (even old-earthers who accept the Big Bang) will be hard-pressed to say, “Yes.” Those who do either misunderstanding evolution, the nature of God_FC, or both.

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Revyloution February 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Im still waiting on a response to my bacon question.

As for picking up women in your youth, I have sympathy for the opposite reason.

I grew up without religion. That was a huge handicap in our small town since most of the kids hooked up in Young Life. I’m also a passionate science geek, which has been shown to have a casual connection to an inability to speak to the opposite sex. Despite my complete lack of morals (since I was an atheist), I was unable to act upon all of my hedonistic desires. In a highschool full of church goers, I was one of the few to graduate as a virgin.

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Erika February 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Another difficulty with answering the question of what the universe would look like if it had been made by an all good, all powerful, all loving God is that even if you could define what you mean by all those terms, there are still probably many vastly different universes that fulfill all of the requirements.

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lukeprog February 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Yeah, girls like Christian boys. They’ll supposedly be faithful, and stuff.

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svenjamin February 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

“What would a universe created by an all good, all knowing, all powerful God look like” is a very hard question to answer.

One source of difficulty here is that the kinds of things we as a species enjoy and value are grounded in a psychology shaped by natural selection to survive and reproduce in a godless universe. For example, humans as a species(and especially males) enjoy athletic competitions.
This is likely the result of asymmetric reproductive strategies of the sexes that give rise to inter-male competition for mates. It is then hard for me to accept a world as “better” in which I do not play sports. This isn’t a tangent I want to develop too deeply, I just want to make a point that, as animals equipped with function-specific psychology, our tastes make it difficult to predict what the motivations of a self-existent, good, and all-powerful being would be.

To what extent do we ban anthropomorphizing when answering this question? The Christian God is heavily anthropomorphic: he is jealous, angry, loving/desires love, has thoughts, makes plans, has specific tastes in interior decorating, etc. I think these traits are best explained in humans by evolutionary history. The theist might claim that they are best explained in humans by virtue of our being “poorly theomorphic.”

I don’t even know where to start what would motivate a non-anthropomorphized all good/powerful/knowing god to create life. Would it not already know how all possible scenarios would end, and would not all possibilities be equally real to such a god? And would not such an all-possibilities-as-perceived reality be of insignificant distinction from an “actual” reality to that god?

On the other hand, if I suppose an anthropomorphic deity like the Christian god, and grant the traditional motivations ascribed to him as well as the Christian accounts of how things came to be the way they are, then it seems to me that such a god would have been much better served by instituting a metaphysical system of reincarnation, rather than the Christian scheme of redemption wherein one gets a single chance to come to
believe in a rationally suspect scenario by use of corrupt and sinful mental faculties with the high possibility of being born into circumstances where this outcome isn’t even possible. So the fact that I feel that I can propose a fairly significant improvement to the God of Christianity that would be in keeping with the all good/knowing/powerful qualities makes it pretty logical for me to doubt Christianity.

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Jeff H February 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm

svenjamin:
The Christian God is heavily anthropomorphic: he is jealous, angry, loving/desires love, has thoughts, makes plans, has specific tastes in interior decorating, etc.

Well I don’t know where his head was, because the blue sky and the green grass just don’t go together at all. Someone get a decorator in here stat! We have a crisis on our hands!

/end stereotypical “gay fashion designer” voice

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svenjamin February 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Jeff H,

well, I was actually referring to God’s very specific instructions for the tabernacle and temple…

But I think you may have well discovered the atheological counterpart to the Argument from Bananas: “The Evidential Argument from Color Uncoordination.” I expect the theist response to go something like this: “the EACU isn’t evidence against God, but evidence that God is definitely male. And any object that is definitely male must necessarily exist. Hence God exists.”

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Jeffrey February 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm

>How is it you have become so knowledgeable about seducing women

If I had just heard your speeches by themselves, I would have thought it was the dumbest thing ever. But the incessant shrieking of women in the background suggested that you might really know something…

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lukeprog February 1, 2010 at 6:49 pm

You have NO IDEA how many women come up and tell me “It’s so true!” when I give these kinds of speeches.

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Rhys February 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Hey Luke, just a question for your next round.

Do you think the pursuit of objective intrinsic meaning in life is ultimately absurd? Are we better off just accepting that we are ultimately a byproduct of mindless forces, creating our own meaning to our lives and living it to the fullest? In other words, is there some truth do what existentialist philosophers have been saying since the early 20th century?

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Reuben February 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

You mean women LIKE men who are fun, adventurous, confident, authentic, exciting, cool, and loving?! AND they like SEX!? My God man! Have you gone mad?

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lukeprog February 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Reuben,

You would not believe how hard it is to convince people of that simple fact.

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Jeff H February 2, 2010 at 2:43 pm

svenjamin: Jeff H,

well, I was actually referring to God’s very specific instructions for the tabernacle and temple…

But I think you may have well discovered the atheological counterpart to the Argument from Bananas: “The Evidential Argument from Color Uncoordination.” I expect the theist response to go something like this: “the EACU isn’t evidence against God, but evidence that God is definitely male. And any object that is definitely male must necessarily exist. Hence God exists.”  

Haha oh I gotcha now. Yeah, I guess the tabernacle/temple instructions were excruciatingly detailed…

But yes, the EACU isn’t an argument against God, but it does prove that if God exists, he’s the type of guy that regularly wears mismatching socks.

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Jeffrey February 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Reuben: You mean women LIKE men who are fun, adventurous, confident, authentic, exciting, cool, and loving?! AND they like SEX!? My God man! Have you gone mad?

Luke: You would not believe how hard it is to convince people of that simple fact.

Well, yeah. Growing up ultra Christian, you have to be extra careful not to rush things, and even something as simple as asking a girl out is treated like you’re asking for some enormous favor. Or that women will always regret sleeping with you, so doing so is using them for your benefit. Such distorted views really are best countered with things like “[women] want to be swept off their feet.” Sure it’s obvious unless you’ve been trained not to see it, but many Christians have been trained not to see it.

(Btw, The Game is now in the mail. I saw it at Borders and nearly bought it a while ago, but I was recently deconverted and still squeamish about being seen buying books like that. I’m reading philosophical stuff you suggest too, I swear!)

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DoAtheistsExist? February 11, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hey Luke,
Was wondering if you could recommend any general books on body language and specifically reading people? I don’t mean books specific to seduction or even attraction but for everyday kinds of situations.
Thanks a lot =D

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DoAtheistsExist? February 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

P.S. What’s your view on Dale Carnegie’s self help books??

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