[ExI] Human extinction

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Aug 29 02:50:45 UTC 2008

Stefano writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> Missionaries especially would be astonished to hear such
>> a claim. That is, suppose a preacher arose who said, "Whoa,
>> let us leave our unchristian neighbors (or un-Moslem, whatever) in peace"
> Interesting example, since this is a substantial difference between
> paganism (or, to some extent, even Judaism) and Christianism.
> On one side there being the idea that your god is yours, and if
> any ethical duty exists about that is to *avoid* pressuring other
> people to convert ; on the other, that you possess some Universal
> Truth that engages you to show the rest of the world the Error of
> Their Ways.
> It is debatable who actually acts out of a superiority complex in the
> two alternatives... :-)

Yes, but I don't see any way that the proselytizers do not consider
either themselves or their beliefs to be superior. Any time that you
believe that you possess the truth and someone else does not, then
ipso facto you are superior to them in at least a very weakened sense.
That's why people hate to admit they're wrong, because it is an
acknowledgment at very least that on at least one thing they were
inferiorly informed.

On the other hand, you bring up the pagans and the "substantial
difference" between them and those who proselytize, e.g., the
Christians and Moslems. (The Jews claim not to proselytize,
and I can recall no evidence to the contrary, although surely
some sect here or there tries to persuade others to accept their
faith.) Very nice.

But what case can be made that one particular pagan group
feel themselves to be superior?  Well---let me rephrase that.
Of course, they may consider their god to be the stronger,
but I can easily understand a certain cowed and beaten group,
still remaining 100% loyal to their own god or gods, who
ruefully admit that another god is stronger.

It's sort of like the kid who says "My dad can beat up your
dad", but even when proven wrong has no lesser allegiance
to his own.

>> Then take Dawkin's parting words to heart:  "We must rebel against
>> our genes!"..., or, well, something like that. Anyway, whenever we
>> have a heart to heart talk, I make it perfectly clear to *my* genes
>> who is boss.
> Yes, but if I happen to agree with them, and for that matter in the
> vaguest and most indirect fashion, should I really change my mind for
> the sake of argument? :-)

Well, I think that it's a very hard call. Suppose that both you 
and your genes (to speak metaphorically) agree on a thing,
but "a sweet voice of reason" demurs. What to do? Go with
what is "rational"?  Or go with a million years of survival instincts
manifested in your own gut? After all, sometimes the voice of
reason is simply mistaken erroneous, as has been proven
historically many times.


> I have no doubt that I and most people do like the idea of leaving
> something behind, perhaps even more so today with our miserable
> lifespans, but I understood your question as begging for the possible
> reasons and origin of such a preference...

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