[ExI] The mosque at Ground Zero

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 10 00:32:27 UTC 2010

On Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 8:50 AM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> the discussion, a threat is still a threat no matter how much you
> appreciate the motivation of the invader.  And yes, that's xenophobic
> Us v. Them language.  That also doesn't change simply because we have
> taken time to reflect on it.
> The more important part may be to understand how our own rationality
> is screwed up by being attacked.

I'm not very certain of rationality in general.  I'm not sure how
rationality can be measured.  The most deluded are 100% convinced the
world around them is wrong or incapable of understanding the delusion
as ultimate truth.  I'm willing to admit that my perception is
distorted by everything I've ever experienced.  Had I been raised in
an inherently religious environment, I might not be a participant in
this group populated by non-believers.  I'm pretty sure those we label
"religious nuts" believe themselves to be completely rational in
defense of their god's supreme authority.

So if rationality is a subjective quality measured only by self
reflection and diligent observation of the progression of states,
perhaps "screwed up" is too strong a term.  Sure our survival
instincts modify our goals, it would be dangerously stupid to engineer
that instinct out of being.  While we discuss the feasibility of
friendly AI, I ask if we are capable of rigorously provable
friendliness in actual intelligence.  Even when primary goals are
friendly, self-awareness and secondary goals are able to subvert
first-order goals.

In terms of simplicity and elegance, the EP explanation of xenophobic
stress response has far-reaching applicability.  Thanks, Keith, for
introducing me to such a useful tool.

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