[ExI] In Europe and U.S., Nonbelievers Are Increasingly Vocal

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Thu Sep 20 13:39:28 UTC 2007

On 9/20/07, Michael M. Butler <mmbutler at gmail.com> wrote:
> Suppose it were true, for the purpose of argument, that it could be
> convincingly demonstrated by a super AI that the total elimination of
> all religion in the world would result in an increase in the
> likelihood of a war or other "bad" events. What numbers would persuade
> you that it was a bad idea? Is there no figure that would persuade
> you?
> In other words, is this an absolute, deontological value for you: "No
> one should believe in God (/religion), no matter what; no exceptions"?

This is a good question, but one that can be formulated in broader
terms: do we accept that the investigation of a given subject, or of
the truth thereof, should be forbidden and actively fought, if a
persuasive argument can be mounted that the consequences of knowledge
could be detrimental to some alleged general interest? For instance,
should certain fields of research be outlawed, lest they lead to
unpleasant discoveries?

Personally, I adhere to the idea that "truth will set you free", and
consider such a principle not really negotiable.

Please note that this is not per se an anti-religious stance. If,
say, the Virgin Mary were to pop up in Time Square offering evidence
of an impending doom, I do not believe that we should implement
legislation prohibiting or not access to the relevant information, or
public debate of the subject, on the basis of an opinion of what is
"best" for the people to know or to believe.

There again, I do not consider myself a libertarian in any
philosophical sense, but in practical terms my conclusions are in that
area very close to those of our friends of that persuasion.

Moreover, I find it perplexing the alleged ability of some people to
"believe" themselves what they think is best to believe, "beliefs"
commanded by will not really belonging to the field of genuine beliefs
and a creed embraced for utilitatarian reasons or expedience stinking
to the heaven of hypocrisy and bad faith, as I think most real
christians would promptly agree.

Stefano Vaj

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