[extropy-chat] On Gut Feelings

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Tue Jan 17 00:00:57 UTC 2006

On Jan 15, 2006, at 4:26 PM, Dirk Bruere wrote:

> On 1/14/06, Samantha Atkins <sjatkins at mac.com> wrote:
> On Jan 14, 2006, at 6:54 AM, Jack Parkinson wrote:
>> The fairly recent acrimonious political debate in this forum and  
>> the airing of the WTA 'dirty laundry' has made me wonder a little  
>> about the reliability of the 'gut-feeling' as an arbiter of what  
>> intelligent life ought to be listening and paying attention to.
>> In the case of Danila Medvedev: To be sure, I am no apologist for  
>> Stalin: But - I do believe in free speech. I see no benefits  
>> whatsoever in sweeping unpalatable political facts - or even  
>> unpalatable political fictions and delusions - beneath some  
>> metaphorical carpet. We are reasonable people (or should be) and  
>> able to engage/reject a topic with reason and informed debate.
> Wholesale rewriting of history and denial of atrocities has nothing  
> to do with reason on informed debate.  Such denials are not debatable.
> ie some things are beyond debate because we all know them to be  
> true/false...
> Doesn't sound very Extropian to me.

Only to a complete subjectivist I dare say.

>> So I was somewhat taken aback some time ago when I mildly  
>> remonstrated against the ad-hominem attacks Danila Medvedev was  
>> being subjected to on the WTA list and was promptly denounced as a  
>> 'commie' and an admirer of Hitler and Pol-Pot. Almost immediately  
>> the signal to noise ratio made further discussion impossible. Pity  
>> - because something important was lost. Reasoned response was  
>> sacrificed (eventually moderated out) because a few individuals  
>> persisted in their pejorative attacks - making it clear that their  
>> sacrosanct world view was not to be threatened on THEIR list...
> The notion that all opinions no matter how absurd or evil are  
> worthy of defense and serious consideration is shallow thinking.
> That has no bearing on whether someone who holds one of those  
> 'absurd or evil' beliefs should be allowed to make a case.

In what context?  Free speech does not mean any particular venue has  
to make itself open to everything any member may say or write.

>> This list, this group, and the values it generally shares (values  
>> which some members sometimes seek to ferociously protect) has no  
>> comfortable sanction on what will and will not be a part of our  
>> extropian future. We each have our subjective reality. All the  
>> things that this group (or some elements of it) might seek to  
>> exclude will continue to be factors influencing the future  
>> regardless of your willingness to admit them or not. So what is  
>> the point of limiting debate? The truth is - there is no point -  
>> if you admit that reality is more important than the maintenance  
>> of some fictional comfort-zone.
> I do get to decide what I sanction and abhor.  So do groups of  
> people and organizations.  By what they sanction and stand for they  
> will be judged.   Debate is not limited.  Having such an open mind  
> that your brains fall out is not "debate" or respect for reality.
> You have just decided that some things are *not* to be debated -  
> not just by you but everyone here.

Groups have charters.  They are not open to everything and anything.   
People have standards.  Are you saying it is wrong that this is so?

> I'm not big on the US definitions of 'tolerance' and 'respect' .  
> Too often they mean unquestioning quasi-acceptance.
> In reality what they mean is that we allow freedom of expression  
> for all parties, pro and con, and we respect the right of a person  
> to hold 'absurd or evil' beliefs.

I accept everyone's right to believe whatever they wish.  That  
doesn't mean I won't campaign to limit what they share of their  
beliefs in particular venues.  I also have the right to judge them  
based on their beliefs ad the apparent quality of their reasoning and  

- samantha
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