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

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Wed Apr 6 08:59:31 UTC 2005

On Apr 6, 2005, at 12:05 AM, Adrian Tymes wrote:

> --- 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.

Really? In the last 50 years?   Wiser than the enlightenment period 
over all?  Even with significantly less literacy in the US than was the 
case over 100 years ago?   Even with a much more proud and powerful 
fundamentalism growing in influence?  Even with the general inability 
of most people to put themselves no the line against most any evil at 
all?   I don't see what you are talking about.   I don't see that we 
are more humane over all.  Not after the millions killed in wars 
between governments and the even larger numbers killed by their own 

>> 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
> closer.

I don't find it so.  We seem to take less time and think generally less 
carefully.  Our media offered intellectual discussions are barroom 
brawls compared to those of the 60s.

>> 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.

It has been an issue since the Enlightenment.   If anything, with the 
great increase in scientific knowledge and understanding, it seems we 
do not have proportional commitment to rationality and secularism.    
Many are fleeing to rot-gut anti-reason, anti-mind irrationality.

> 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.

Do you propose to pass judgment using unclear standards that we all 
sorta know but can't really define although we agree to act as if the 
resulting judgments are objective and impartial?

- samantha

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