[extropy-chat] examples of rational irrationalism

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Dec 8 03:56:05 UTC 2006

Oh, missed one:  Lúcio had earlier written

> On 12/6/06, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> (...)
>> Why do you think that eliminating mankind is necessarily
>> irrational?  Don't you concur with the (generally accepted
>> here) version of what it means to be rational?  Namely,
>> as Rafal put it, "rationality (to use the dictionary meaning)
>> is optimizing behavior to achieve goals".   So if your goal
>> is a pristine Earth free of unnatural (i.e. human) effects,
>> then what's irrational about trying to get rid of everyone,
>> including yourself?
> (...)
> Interesting definition of rationality, and I agree with it. And it
> seems to me that a consequence of that definition is that rationality
> (or Reason, for sort) by itself cannot create primary goals.

Yes!  Seems like an egregious violation of the is/ought barrier,
the so-called high falutin' "Naturalistic Fallacy".

> At most
> it can create (or rather infer) secondary goals necessary to achieve
> primary goals (one can call them Motivations...) created by...
> emotions. In the case of those Voluntary Extinction guys, their
> emotions apparently include some sort of religious reverential feeling
> about Nature and stuff, and so artificial interferences on Nature
> should be minimized. And the natural rational consequence of that
> Motivation is: Humanity should become extinct.

Quite so!

> I can (and I do :) call them "environmentalist nutjobs", but that is
> not a critique to their rationality. Rather, it is an indication that
> *my* emotionally created primary goals are quite different from
> theirs.

Excellently put.  I happen to concur with (1) that they're nuts (i.e.
I disapprove greatly and profoundly disagree with them), and,
totally separately (2) it is no critique whatsoever of their rationality.
One of them could be, for example, over a four or five week time
interval much more rational than I am:  he or she never loses his
temper, never gets angry at other drivers, never falls in love.


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