[ExI] L'Affaire Bradbury

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Apr 7 08:30:09 UTC 2009

BillK wrote:

> On 4/5/09, Lee Corbin wrote:
> <snip>
>>  They fear that rational argument may not go their way. They
>>  value, in decreasing order,
>>      1. prevailing in an argument, especially anything
>>         touching on values
>>      2. prevailing with reason
>>      3. finding and speaking the truth
>>  Now none of us can claim that he or she always puts number three
>>  first, but if we find that we are engaging in sheer calumny,
>>  or merely expressing our feelings and loathings, then for
>>  sure you know we are elevating our desire to prevail over
>>  everything else, including both rationality and a desire to
>>  get at the truth.
> The error in your modest proposal is that rationality isn't the whole picture.

!!! Wow!

> There are more important things than being rational.
> (Don't tell the Bayesians)  ;)

You are saying---if I read you right---than in a discussion there
are more important things than being rational.

This I have to hear.

> If you are discussing whether 2 + 2 = 4, then fine, be as rational as you like.
> But if you are discussing religion or politics (the big no-nos), then
> you have to bring real practical considerations in the discussions.
> Crimes against humanity invalidate the most logical of reasoning.

That's hilarious. Even before deciding what is and what is not
a "crime against humanity", we are encouraged to dismiss out of
hand any arguments that our instincts or intuition deem "dangerous".

You would have been far more at home, my friend, back 150 years
ago denouncing Darwin. "It's perfectly clear," you might have
written, "that such ideas and dialog as to be found in that book
could undermine our belief in God. This would be a crime against
not only all of Christianity, but the entire Christian nation
here in Britain. This consideration trumps any sort of logical
reasoning. We have to cut short such discussion because of
real, practical considerations."

What's the real difference between what you are saying now and
what so many said in 1859 and the years following? Indeed, I
am only suggesting a certain action taken by one small nation,
constituting less than 1% of the world's people, by physically
*moving* a segment of their population somewhere else, hardly
to be ranked with the Holocaust. (This point I stole from painlord.)

Whereas what Darwin's thought and ideas were leading to was

> Sorry, but it doesn't matter if you are rational and logically
> correct, you still lose the discussion.

Never in my life have I seen such a prima facie collapse of
the opposition to one of my arguments. I could have scarcely
imagined before reading your email here that someone would
have the nerve to admit that logically and rationally they
were all wet, and that they had to concede the discussion
on rational and logical grounds, but that nonetheless their
side "had to prevail" because of... because of... because
[in essense] because they were right.

> One can think of situations where logical analysis might recommend the
> enslavement of women, or the forced labor of children, or slavery of
> the unemployed, etc. etc. might produce better results in some areas.
> But these arguments lose because they are trumped by 'That's no way to
> treat human beings!'.

No! Those arguments have to be attacked on firmer grounds
than merely (almost mindlessly) repeating some mantra,
such as "that would be a crime against humanity" (echos
of "That would be against God Himself!") or "Humans cannot
be treated that way" (why?).

I can give you many, many logical reasons why woman ought
not to be enslaved in any society that I can imagine right
now. (Okay, I'm sure that if I put five minutes' thought
into it, I could come up with an SF scenario that would
be quite alien---and this scenario itself would illustrate
exactly what are the present *effective*  *reasons*  why
women should not be enslaved. Don't you agree?)

> Rationality is pretty much useless in matters of human relationships,
> on the small and large scale.

Oh great. If I cannot come to the Extropian list to receive
rational criticism of some doctrine that has occurred to me,
then just where am I to go?  Have standards on this list
fallen so low, or were they even in the legendary days of
this list in the early 90s this absurd, this literally


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