[extropy-chat] Re: Faith-based thought vs thinkers

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky sentience at pobox.com
Tue Jan 31 00:36:22 UTC 2006

Russell Wallace wrote:
> On 1/30/06, *Eliezer S. Yudkowsky* <sentience at pobox.com 
> <mailto:sentience at pobox.com>> wrote:
>     You're conflating empirical propositions with moral choices, mixing up
>     probability theory and decision theory.  Perhaps you are confused
>     because English uses the same word "believe in" to indicate both your
>     hypotheses and your ethics.
> This is why I said it is important to state a definition of the word 
> "faith", because it is a rather fuzzy word. The definition I said I was 
> using is "belief in the absence of evidence", which my comments fit by 
> the normal use of the English word "belief". You seem to be using the 
> definition "belief in empirical propositions contrary to the evidence" 
> (for example creationism, or the belief by some of James Randi's 
> correspondence in their psychic powers even after a test produces a null 
> result); I do not advocate that sort of faith.

I do indeed mean "faith" in the sense of "belief in the absence of 
evidence", i.e., "drawing a line on your map without having seen 
something that corresponds to the line, perhaps because you haven't 
visited that part of the territory yet".  Not necessarily "faith" as 
"belief contrary to evidence", i.e., "drawing a line on your map that 
contradicts something you actually saw".  Either way you end up with a 
lousy map.

In any case, you seem to have missed the point of my objection: 
assigning a high probability to love is a type error.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://singinst.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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