[ExI] a little essay on anger and respect

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Tue Apr 25 09:41:17 UTC 2023

What the heck is a Mormon Transhumanist Atheist?
I get the atheist (I'm too) but the Mormon? Transhumanism should be based
on reality and science, not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking kills you as
you explained in your email.

I don't know what you mean by "speaking their language". I speak what I
consider the truth based on my understanding of reality. You continue to
use this term "quality" and I'm telling you there is not such a thing,
because what you call quality are complex processes and interactions. I
gave you the example of the table being mostly empty. It seems
the table has a quality of solidness. But this "quality" is actually a
process and in fact, it is mostly made of nothing. It seems
counterintuitive but it is a real fact. If claiming a table is 99.9999 %
nothing drives away people that are ignorant about science then let it be.
The empty table is a great analogy for this entire discussion because it
shows that what seems to us so real is actually a sort of illusion and what
we call solidity is actually the interaction between invisible fields. I
didn't make this universe but I know a bit about how it works.

I'm curious why your interpretation of qualia is going to help convert
religious nuts? It seems to me the opposite because usually, religious nuts
think humans are special so telling them there is something unique and
special in the human brain seems to achieve the opposite of what you want
to achieve. Also, most religious people, as you mentioned, believe in
something like the spirit, and of course, then they have to deal with the
usual dualist fallacy which is how this immaterial spirit can interact with
matter and in particular the brain.

 If something can interact with matter then it is part of the physical
world and it is not spirit. But religious people do not care about making
sense because it is just a matter of faith. How do you think to convince
these people that they should embrace transhumanism? I don't want to
convince anybody by lies this is why I think Mormon Transhumanism is an
abomination. I created the FB group Scientific Transhumanism (with 30 K
members) as a reaction to Mormon Transhumanists posting continuously in
other Transhumanist groups on FB (when FB was much more active). In
Scientific Transhumanism we forbid posts that have a religious overtone of
any kind.
So really how your understanding of redness is a tool of conversion towards
religious nuts that believe in spirits? Very curious.


On Tue, Apr 25, 2023 at 2:07 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Giovani,
> I can see why you think I'm a religious nut.  After all, I call myself a
> Mormon Transhumanist Atheist.  And 90% of people touting  qualities are
> exactly that, religious nuts, as you can see by the many
> substance dualists
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/48-Substance-Dualism>, and
> all the other crazy and lonely camps you can see on canonizer.  Most of
> those lonely camp supporters can't get published, so they flock to
> canonizer.
> On Mon, Apr 24, 2023 at 10:13 PM Giovanni Santostasi via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Brent,
>> I do admire your passion as spike pointed out. It is rare that somebody
>> that is not an expert in a field finds an abstract topic like this one
>> interesting enough to learn some of the fundamentals and come up with his
>> own understanding. Also being an expert in a field doesn't entitle somebody
>> to dismiss a valid argument. There are a lot of amateurs in different
>> fields that made incredible contributions without getting a Ph.D. degree.
> Thanks.  How does spending my life traveling the world, attending
> conferences, trying to interview and find out what everyone thinks about
> consciousness, trying to build and track consensus around the best theories
> count, compared to a PhD in this field?  (for the same motivation reason as
> you, see below) I now have two peer reviewed publications in the field. ;)
> The problem though is that sometimes talking to you it seems you have read
>> about this topic of qualia but you don't have a good grasp of even simple
>> concepts in neuroscience. Neuroscience is not like Physics where we have
>> detailed knowledge of most natural laws and precise equations that we can
>> calculate or model using computers. It is much vaguer and it has few
>> unifying principles. But one of them is that the brain is made of neurons
>> that communicate and process information via trains of electrical spike
>> activity (spike means it is not continuous but made of pulses that have a
>> specific time structure). The code is in this timing as far as we know.
>> Neurotransmitters are also important to understand how the brain works but
>> in a sense have a secondary role.
> I do recognize my ignorance in the field of neuroscience, and so very much
> appreciate experts like yourself helping me out, and for your patience.
> Most of the hard core neural science conferences I go to, I tell them about
> how we are building and tracking consensus on the best theories, and they
> get VERY excited saying what a great idea what I'm doing is.  That is until
> they find out that the emerging consensus has anything to do with
> "QUALIA".  I tell you, onced you mention that word at a hard core
> neuroscience conference, you really learn what the phrase "cold shoulder"
> means, for the rest of the conference.
>> Some of the frustration that several of us in the list have toward your
>> position is that goes against what most of us that worked in the field or
>> have some technical knowledge of neuroscience know about the brain but also
>> what information is, how it is processed, what is essential in a signal and
>> so on. It is not that there is no space for new insights because these
>> happen regularly in our exploration of the world but the claims you make
>> seem unsubstantiated and do not seem to add much to the discussion.
>> Some of us maybe not participating anymore and ignoring the debate. The
>> reason I stuck around is based on what I perceive as the implication of
>> what you are claiming is something that more people will adhere to in the
>> future as a response to the AI revolution. It is the same reason why I
>> strongly react to Gordon's position.
>> It is basically the idea that biological brains are the only ones
>> that can sustain true awareness and intelligence. I'm not sure why you
>> believe this but your claims lead to this conclusion. In the case of
>> Gordon, I know because of previous conversations and posts in other media,
>> that he has some religious beliefs that make him arrive at this conclusion.
> OH, YES.  this is exactly why I am also so interested and motivated to
> study this field, and am SO glad you share this critically important
> passion..  Thousands of people die every day.  So if an action we take,
> delays the singularity, even 1 Day, you have now basically done far worse
> than murder thousands of people.  Because if you murder someone, you are
> destroying at most 100 years of life.  But if you push the singularity back
> a day, you've prevented thousands of people from making it to the immortal
> life (i.e. heaven) after the singularity.
> Precisely the reason I fight against anti qualia transhumanists is because
> in my belief, you are part of the problem.  Everyone can know, absolutely,
> that our knowledge of [image: red_border.png], is different from a code
> like "*RED*".  And I'm sorry, in my opinion, as  much as you know about
> neuroscience, to me, and many religious people, when you make the claims
> you make about qualities, like this, you completely destroy your reputation
> in their eyes.
> We're working on our set of videos
> <https://canonizer.com/videos/consciousness> because people need to
> understand what uploading, and consciousness engineering is going to be
> like before 2050.  From what you are arguing, they will be able to
> duplicate our brains in some way, and those duplicates will be
> indistinguishable from us.  And for you, that is all right?  We will never
> know if they are the same as us?  What do you believe uploading will be
> like?  How will it work?  According to your theory, how do we discover,
> hopefully hundreds of more colorness qualities?  People need to understand
> that there is more than what you are predicting.  The name of the next
> chapter is "Out of Body Experiences"  (working transcript
> <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_Z8hnGjYMCjmU28_pbbaXTvOh8yZrcXytlAHcejKanY/edit>),
> Where we teach people how their knowledge of their spirit, leaves their
> knowledge of their body, and then flies around their bubble world
> <https://canonizer.com/videos/consciousness?chapter=the+world+in+your+head&format=360>
> knowledge of the world around them, all in their head, all dependent on
> their brain.  The chapter after that is "Uploading"  (working transcript
> <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f4lpKEiXfCsdDBA26DgTRAZ7qFW74UPUWcUskfNgbio/edit>)
> where we teach people what uploading to more capable brains and avatars
> will be like.  The most important part is educating people how they will
> know it is really them in the body over there, and all that.
> If our knowledge of [image: red_border.png], arises from timed neural
> trains of spikes, then it is critically important that we build and track
> consensus around that prediction, so people can see how important that idea
> is, and how much expert consensus that idea has.  And we need to find all
> the people that think otherwise (still me, included) and work till we can
> find arguments that will convince them, all the while vigorously tracking
> whether the arguments we are using are working or not.  (In my opinion, the
> way you talk about qualities, just drives any quolophile away, and
> completely destroys your reputation.  Saying there are no color qualities
> in the world, how insane is that?)  Seems to me, people like Gordan and
> myself, should be your primary target of audience.  In my opinion, what you
> are saying is just driving them further away, into the arms of the insane
> religious prophets taking us all to the grave.
> I was talking about all the lonely crazy theory camps represented in
> Canonizer
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/1-Agreement>.
> The exciting part is what all those crazy theories agree on.  That rises to
> the top in the super camps.  And what everyone agrees on is usually what is
> most important for the lay people to understand.  Functionalism is the
> leading consensus camp.  If we could get more people building consensus
> around functionalists camps, that could easily increase its expert
> consensus <https://canonizer.com/topic/81> lead, especially ahead of
> camps like substance dualism
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/48-Substance-Dualism>.
> People SO desperately need a trusted source of expert consensus
> information in this field, otherwise they will just follow their insane
> religious prophets, taking us all with them into the grave.
> As AI advances more and more we will see more people reacting in
>> irrational ways toward the idea that machines can be conscious and may even
>> demand rights or we should be worried about treating them as fully sentient
>> beings. Hopefully, this doesn't lead to violent social conflicts and maybe
>> even wars. But for sure there will be a lot of political debate around
>> these topics in the near future.
>> I consider this an existential danger than the idea of AI going rogue
>> (that is very unlikely in my opinion).
> Exactly, Exactly, Exactly.  THAT is why I am working so hard on building
> and tracking consensus in this field.  The popular consensus, especially in
> my religious family and friends, is for some "spirit" that goes to
> heaven to meet Jesus, and other dead people, when they die!!!  That popular
> consensus belief is going to postpone the singularity for decades!!!  We
> need to track how many of those people aren't yet on board with what you
> are proclaiming, and why.  Then we need to start using their language, and
> their trusted experts, to get them on board with something that will truly
> save them and all of us.  We need to stop saying things that just drive
> them further away, and we need to track what is working, and what is
> getting them on board.
>> This is why there is emotion sometimes attached to this discussion, there
>> is a lot at stake. Basically the future of our civilization.
> I am so glad I am not the only one with this much passion for exactly
> this.  I believe that if we could focus on what we believe in, in the super
> camps, and stop only talking about the far less important minor
> disagreements, and push this stuff down to the supporting sub camps, out of
> the way of the important stuff, we would be far more successful at getting
> people on board the saving eternal life giving truths they need to
> understand.
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