[extropy-chat] Appropriate List Content - was Malachy's Prophecies; Pope John Paul II, then two before the destruction of the Holy Roman Church
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
> > of technological progress, ergo we should concentrate our
> > on the latter instead of the former if we wish to improve ourselves
> > 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
> 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
"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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