[ExI] Basis of Belief

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Feb 27 05:39:46 UTC 2008

I put forth some possible guidelines about this (what is to me)
exceedingly difficult, but rather interesting, topic.

> 1. So long as there is humor involved and you are just having fun
>    please don't worry so long as the targets are out of earshot.
>    This way they do not feel obligated to respond (which you
>    don't want anyway---that wasn't the point of your joking around)
> 2. If you are lurking on forums where serious discussion is
>    possible, then don't hesitate to "spoil their fun" if you really
>    would like to challenge their common mindset.  Serious discussion
>    forums---no matter how much fun they sometimes have---
>    rightly represent themselves (above all else!) as open to critical
>    examination of points of view.
> 3. If you are engaging in some fun (e.g. ridiculing the French
>    when no French people are present (or read "Asian", "black",
>    "atheist", what have you)), that's fine---but out of common courtesy
>    and basic respect for others, it ought to stop or be greatly toned
>    down when a "victim" approaches the group and begins to
>    participate in the discussion.

Let me add

4. If you are drawn to a discussion group because of the main
    thrust of the ideas discussed there, and you find that a
    coterie of the participants like to have some fun ridiculing
    certain tangential points of view, then why is it so important
    to you to ruin their entertainment?  Just ignore them if it's
    not central to the issues which drew you to the forum.

For example, suppose that I join a certain group of people who
hold very interesting and fascinating discussions about a certain
RPG.  (No, not Rocket Propelled Grenade, but Role Playing Game,
although I suppose that I could have meant the former.)  It turns
out that they're all Jewish, and sometimes they like to make fun of
the goys.  Since this is not central to what I want to talk about, I
should ignore this bantering. I ought to stay "under cover". It would
be completely out of place for me to grand-stand and attempt to
force them to stop.

Likewise, religious people who would come to the Extropian
list to discuss transhumanist developments, futuristic ideas and
the technologies that might get us there, ought most likely to
just ignore some of the fun that list members may have at the
expense of religion.  This is crucial:  This list is *not* about
presenting so-called "religious evidence", and at least so far
has never had serious argumentation about the existence of
God. Furthermore, it would be quite likely that the list
administrators would consider such excursions too very much
off-topic, and forbid them.

Sadly, I'm doubtful that any small number of principles or guidelines
like these will cover even 90% of the cases that make come up
along these lines in the real world.


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