[extropy-chat] Bully Magnets

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Thu Dec 14 16:45:01 UTC 2006

On 12/13/06, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:

> I understand your point about the rational narrow-context benefits of
> promoting hate.
> Do you understand my point about the moral broader-context detriments of
> promoting hate?
> If so, then how do you rationalize such a discontinuity in the ethics
> function over expanding scope?  If this is a general principle of truth,
> then what general principle determines the dividing line?

### I do not recognize expanding the scope of ethics (i.e.
constructing ethics as to maximize the size of the in-group, if I
understand you correctly) as an independent value. The basis for all
of my ethical reasoning is satisfaction of my goals. Inclusiveness of
my ethics is then a function of my assessment of relationship between
inclusiveness and satisfaction. The in-group is redefined as needed to
achieve optimal satisfaction. This implies that satisfaction
trade-offs in the ingroup always must be a positive-sum game, or else
the group would be redefined so as to exclude some members.

The dividing line will then exclude those neural networks whose
inclusion would reduce my satisfaction. There are no useful (for me)
trade-offs between me and snails, which is why snails are not a part
of my ingroup. Regrettably, there is a certain number of humans who
are not members of my ingroup, so the same reason.

> If we teach our Marines to kill the Gooks in order to win the battle, do
> we later reverse their programming somehow when their mission becomes
> one of peacekeeping?  If we teach that hate is an important public good,
> then are we intentionally encouraging others to hate us?

### I do not support the training of Marines. In fact, if it was up to
me, I would abolish the Marines altogether. But for the record,
encouraging professional soldiers to hate humans because of race,
language, or the color of their passport is under any conceivable
circumstances quite counterproductive.

> Or should we aspire to develop and spread methods of rational
> problem-solving that surpass the simpler methods of our evolutionary
> ancestors in their simpler world?

### By all means - I am all for truth-machines, psychoengineering and
other tricks but until then, judiciously hating murderers is still the
best game in town.


> It's the age-old question of whether ends justify means.  In any
> specified narrow context we can argue that they do.  But real life is
> not a closed context and with increasing context the question morphs
> into whether we value what we became to achieve those short-term ends.

### This age-old question is so ill-defined as to necessitate very
long disambiguation before attempting an answer, unfortunately.


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