[extropy-chat] Appropriate List Content - was Malachy's Prophecies; Pope John Paul II, then two before the destruction of the Holy Roman Church

Adrian Tymes wingcat at pacbell.net
Tue Apr 5 02:39:53 UTC 2005

--- The Avantguardian <avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>      But this is entirely a judgement call with few if
> any objective standards that could determine what
> parts of the past would or would not be relevant to
> the future.

Yeah, yeah, you can't be absolutely certain of what you know.  We've
heard it all before.  There is, however, a heuristic one may apply,
where one can judge the probability that certain information is
relevant; in most cases in practice, this heuristic gives good enough
results that one may use it unless one has a very strong indication
that the heuristic may be wrong.  This result is so overwhelming that,
in fact, most polite society positively expects it to be used in most
cases, and is offended when one consistently refuses to use it.

We're talking, of course, about "crap filters".

For this list, part of the crap filter is ignoring prophecies from
sources that have usually been to be too vague to give useful
predictions, or incorrect if they are not vague.

If this seems alien or offensive to you, please remember that practical
optimism is one of the principles of extropy.  This does mean one
should be open-minded, but not so much that one's brain falls out: if a
particular approach to a desirable goal has failed repeatedly in the
past, then try something with less of a track record of failure.
Millenia of prophecies and religions have not made nearly as much
progress towards enhancing our species as merely the past half century
of technological progress, ergo we should concentrate our discussions
on the latter instead of the former if we wish to improve ourselves in
this manner.

I don't have to know something 100% to know that it's not worth our
efforts (at this time, unless and until someone finds something that
people missed that gets the probability back up high enough - and that
search should not take too many resources away from something that is
99.999% likely to be worth our efforts).  Just because it's not
absolute doesn't mean it ain't good enough to call, especially so long
as one remembers the calls can be overridden if and when - but ONLY if
and when - the evidence changes the perceived odds.

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