[extropy-chat] Books: Harris; Religion and Reason
jef at jefallbright.net
Tue Jan 10 05:30:26 UTC 2006
On 1/9/06, Robert Bradbury <robert.bradbury at gmail.com> wrote:
> If there are those who would like to support my renomination to the ExI
> Board based on the platform that all information as is feasible should be
> preserved and that the execution of programs which seek to destroy
> information without a substantive argument that such information is
> worthless ( i.e. a legitimate reason to erase information rather than simply
> an unjustified assertion that one religion is right and another is wrong)
> should be terminated, I would be willing to accept such a nomination. Note
> carefully, that I am *not* saying that the information potentially contained
> in external programs should be erased ( e.g. current forms of capital
> punishment) -- I am simply saying that the execution of programs that would
> intentionally erase information without a really good (proven) reason should
> cease execution.
> So, in some respects, I am throwing my glove down to the ExI board. Either
> you *are* or you are *not* extropic. Harris has, in my mind, outlined the
> problems with being a "tolerant" extropian. The problem with that is that
> it means transhumanism rules and extropianism falls. In transhumansism
> (using its most basic definitions) there is no moral compass. One can
> become transhuman along many vectors, some good, some bad. With
> extropianism, there is at least some guideline -- more information is good,
> information destruction (entropy) is bad, allowing (or worse enabling) the
> destruction of information is bad, etc.. This leads to the questions of
> what paths will generate the most "good" information the soonest (perhaps
> with the minimal destruction of *perceived* less useful information) and
> how does one deal with entirely unexplored paths (where the information gain
> may have positive, neutral or negative consequences).
I would certainly nominate and vote for you to rejoin the ExI board,
if I were a dues-paying member, which remains unlikely since the time
Max removed himself from active participation.
While I don't entirely agree with your positions, I admire the
intellectual rigor and the passion of your posts, the obvious time and
effort you invest in the subjects, and the integrity with which you
promote your values. Speaking of which, that's why I willingly
contribute a small amount to SIAI, even though I don't entirely agree
with the party line there either.
I don't think all information is equally worthy of preservation
because being a subjective agent in a competitive environment forces
us to make choices according to our values. Interestingly, I see
tolerance of competing beliefs as a "good" to the extent that they
provide essential diversity to the creative process, but beyond that
point at the edge of chaos such tolerance of incongruent beliefs is
destructive and better not tolerated.
A more enlightened theory of social decision-making will help us
clarify and ratify such principles of growth of values that work, and
I would strongly support efforts in that direction rather than what I
see as a somewhat naive platform promoting the "saving of all
When you say the following:
"This leads to the questions of what paths will generate the most
the soonest (perhaps with the minimal destruction of *perceived*
less useful information)
and how does one deal with entirely unexplored paths (where the
may have positive, neutral or negative consequences).
then I suspect we might actually be in close alignment after all.
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