[extropy-chat] Putting God to Rest.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Tue Apr 24 23:38:24 UTC 2007

John K Clark wrote:
> "Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com>
>>if I knew that some people here on this list were
>>vociferously proclaiming that the NASA moon-landing
>>was a hoax, I would not choose to describe their
>>beliefs as "stupid".
> You say you wouldn't describe it as stupid, but I assume you'd still think
> it's stupid (if not then there is something seriously wrong with you). So
> you would be deceitful and hide your contempt for the idea because you think
> it would be better public relations. If your technique really did work
> better at convincing people than calling a spade a spade then you might have
> a point, but I don't believe it does work better, especially when dealing
> with God stuff. Intelligent people have treated religion with a reverence it
> does not deserve for far too long. Take off the Kidd gloves!
> And in my case there is another problem, I find that pretending to respect
> something when I really don't is so exhausting and unpleasant that I just
> can't keep it up for long.

Curiously, I recently spoke with someone who thought the moon landing 
was a hoax, I did think it was stupid, and I didn't say so because I 
thought it would be more polite.  I hope that doesn't make me a 
terrible person.

I think that we should do our best to preserve the *option* of calling 
a spade a spade, and that such an act should be applauded rather than 
censored, but I'm not sure it makes sense to go there on every 
available occasion.  Too many damned spades.

Surely the oath of a rationalist forbids that we should actively 
deceive, or create new misconceptions that did not previously exist, 
but I do not think the oath of a rationalist requires us to always say 
everything we know.  Is it not proper, from time to time, to let 
people win or lose by their own strength rather than another's?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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