[extropy-chat] A crushing defense of objective ethics. UniversalVolition and 'Ought' from 'is'.

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Thu May 5 18:39:17 UTC 2005

--- John K Clark <jonkc at att.net> wrote:
> "Marc Geddes" <marc_geddes at yahoo.co.nz>
> > The first assumption I make is that meaning and
> > purpose ultimately comes from sentient minds.
> Yes I agree, absolutely no argument.

While it requires intelligence to attach meaning to an end, the
universe does have end(s) and does achieve that or those ends by means
of physical processes. Attaching value of opinion about the goodness or
badness of the universes means and ends is merely a reflection on the
relative objectivity of the ethical/moral systems holding or arriving
at those opinions.

For example, gravity is a constant, an objective value that acts
equally upon all mass by the same rule. Whether falling is 'good' or
'bad', per se, is independent of the fact that things fall. The
Extropian Principles, for example, makes value judgements about falling
based on whether it contributes to intelligence, optimism, order, etc.

> > The second assumption is this: 'The ultimate fate of
> > the universe is indeterminate
> Indeterminate eh, well..., maybe yes maybe no.


> > any proposed course of action, presupposes that
> > meaning is important.
> Meaning is very important to me and to most sentient beings but to
> hydrogen and helium gas that makes up the overwhelming bulk of the
> visible universe meaning is not important at all; it's not
> unimportant either, it has no opinion on the subject because
> it's just gas.

Not necessarily. A hydrogen ion attaches absolute, objective importance
to whether another hydrogen ion has a certain amount of energy or not,
because that energy level is the threshold beyond which both will fuse
into a helium ion. Fusing or not fusing is definitly an objective,
binary question to every atom of interstellar and stellar gas. It may
not be a concious question, but it is still a decision made in the
quantum realm to collapse the uncertainty. Thus, gas gets meaning from

> > Therefore *all* ethical systems presuppose the value of meaning.
> Yes, but all ethical systems only deal with a very tiny subset of the
> universe.

Only because it is the subset that most matters to a very tiny subset
of the spontaneously organized matter and energy in that universe. That
subset has not to date thought that there needed to be a morality of
interstellar gas.

> > The importance of meaning is a universal.
> Absolutely untrue.

Tell me that after you've been around the universe.

Mike Lorrey
Vice-Chair, 2nd District, Libertarian Party of NH
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
                                      -William Pitt (1759-1806) 
Blog: http://intlib.blogspot.com

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