[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
Wed Apr 6 07:05:10 UTC 2005

--- Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:
> On Apr 4, 2005, at 7:39 PM, Adrian Tymes wrote:
> > 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.
> Exactly how have we enhanced human beings?  Are we wiser?

I am inclined to believe so, after reading historical accounts of the
average human's behavior in the centuries before I was born and
comparing them to historical accounts of the average human's behavior
in more modern times.

> Are most
> of 
> us more inclined to being reasonable. thoughtful people?

As above.  The average may be only slightly more that way, but it is

> Are fewer 
> humans inclined to ignorance, superstition and anti-thought?

More humans in absolute numbers are less inclined.  I think - though I
am not sure - this has outpaced the growth in human population, but
even if it has not, meaning that there are more non-thinkers than there
used to be, at least the population of thinkers has grown as well.

> I am 
> not aware of any large progress in these and many other critical
> areas.

"Large" is a relative term, and of course humanity is not yet anywhere
near what we would like it to achieve.  But there are encouraging
signs, if you look for them.  As a minor example, one of the serious
matters of concern reportedly being discussed among those choosing the
next Pope is the rise of secularism - i.e., scientific, rational
thought as opposed to the blind faith they would prefer.  This was not
an issue in the past, and we can rule out a false positive since they
would not be inclined to overstate the appeal of secularism.  

Tiny steps, perhaps.  Baby steps, even.  But non-zero nonetheless.  And
larger, at least per unit time, than the ones before.

> You have not presented means to realistically calculate such odds if 
> probability is even applicable.

At some point in any debate, one has to posit some facts if one is to
reach a conclusion.  I posited that means of good enough quality exist,
which it appears to me is something that most of this list's members
would agree with.  I do not care to defend that posit, as I do not feel
it needs defending: it is self-evident to enough of the audience.

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