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DEBATE FORUM - let’s bicker about Transhumanism, Politics, Religion, Sex, etc.

Posted: Fri, January 11, 2013 | By: DEBATE



You want to argue, don’t you? Transhumanity.net recognizes that pontificating our extreme philosophical POVs and then, defending the stance against idiotic responders is one of our primary occupations on the internet. 

To accommodate all you blow-hards, stubborn asses, and everyone else who just is very concerned that everyone else sees exactly what the real-truth-of-the-matter is - we’ve decided to launch, right here below, a 24/7 Debate Forum.

The idea was conceived by Peter Wicks, a legendary pitbull of verbiage who has valiantly battled and slain dozens of opponents at IEET chatboxes in the last two years. Peter Wicks, who has impeccable manners and icy logic, will be a regular moderator here.

(we also recommend the debate forum at http://thetranshumanist.com

Before we start, various rules and regulations must be noted:

1. Anyone Can Introduce a Topic.

2. Buddhist Right Speech Must Be Observed. (a bit of sarcasm is fine, but no sadistic insults and obscenities)

3. Be Patient - Your Comments Won’t Appear Instantaneously. (all comments need to be moderated, due to tsunamis of spam that would drown us if they were not weeded out.) Your POV might take 2-8 hours to appear on the site, sorry!

4. Try to Stay On-Topic 

—-

THE NEW TOPIC IS LOCATED HERE: http://transhumanity.net/articles/entry/debate-forum-do-we-want-to-be-the-borg



Comments:

“Is Gerard Depardieu ‘pathetic’ for renouncing French citizenship and becoming ‘Russian’?

How important is “Humanism” to “Transhumanism”? Do you want “TRANShumanism” or “transHUMANISM”?

Does religion have a place in transhumanism, or are we better off without it?

Should Turkey be allowed to enter the EU? Under what circumstances?”

1. No, Depardieu is bored, not pathetic. Ross Perot was a bored billionaire, not a pathetic one. The rich are deemed ‘eccentric’, not pathetic.

2. TRANShumanism,
as we are altering what it means to be human, and ought to admit we are doing so. IMO we must err on the side of candor in discussing bio-radicalism.

3. We are better off without religion; unfortunately religion is deep-seated to the point we can’t discuss religion in realistic terms even with our own families… being realistic with family concerning religion is akin to exclaiming “humbug” during the Holidays: it vexes us,  doesn’t help them.

4. I don’t know about Turkey save for watching ‘Midnight Express’. But Turks treat women badly and increased economic activity might not help women in Turkey.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 07, 2013 at 2:00pm

PS,
incidentally, a specific example of a rich person being judged eccentric—not pathetic—is Rush Limbaugh’s doctor-shopping; on the other hand if a poor person doctor-shops, he or she is considered a pathetic junkie.

Ours is not to wonder why,
ours is just to do and get high.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 07, 2013 at 2:17pm

I really don’t care about Depardieu or his citizenship. The whole concept of nationalism should go out with the dinosaurs. As long as we draw artificial lines on the ground and die to defend them (or expand them) it will never occur to most people that those people over there are intimately related to us.

The biggest challenge with Transhumanism right now is that we are willing to change everything but the stuff that is going to ultimately make the difference to our species surviving or not. The real issue is not physical or even mental enhancement. It is the work of making people more ethical and empathetic. We are mostly content to glide through the world on autopilot and ignore the reality of the world around us. If we were offered a pill to make us more empathetic and/or ethical there are a great many people who would refuse for fear that others will then take advantage of them. There are in fact technologies in place now that can provide that enhancement.

Religion is not about believing in fairy tales. Some of the most powerful social technologies come out of religion. Want to improve your empathy? Take up meditation. Want to see the world in a new and broader way? Seek out an ecstatic experience.

Of course there are a great many people who misuse the technology. But it isn’t the fault of the technology, it is the reality that we are still barely evolved from the self-interest of animals.

As for Turkey, see my first comment.

By Alex McGilvery on Jan 07, 2013 at 3:04pm

1. I lack information on the subject, but am inclined to say Depardieu is not pathetic for changing nationality.

2. TRANShumanism. I may very well be posthuman as soon as I upload, due to having Asperger’s. People often have trouble defining what human really is, so why should we take so anthropocentric a viewpoint if people are soon to not be human?

3. Religion has no place in anything, let alone Transhumanism. We’re it not for religion, we might have world peace today. Allowing religion to exist breeds irrationality and hatred. Suppose a religion teaches that transhumanism is wrong, that all transhumans should be shunned?
What if a religion teaches that they should become much like the Borg and assimilate? I value my individuality and rationality, and would rather not have those threatened.
Sadly, religious people are irrational from the beginning. Furthermore, what purpose would religion serve transhumanists as a whole? All religions have been about what happens after death, so what is to happen after immortality? Functional immortality is a nail in the coffin of religion, but educated and rational people are more so.

4.Turkey should be allowed to enter, but not “fully.” There actions must be monitored to eliminate religious bias, and they should be forced into allowing base equality for all citizens.
By Base equality, I mean everyone having the same rights. Communism and socialism, total equality and enforced equality respectively, are unworkable systems that oppress those who work for their position in life.

By ZombiezuRFER on Jan 07, 2013 at 8:03pm

My opinion on this topic is this:
1. Depardieu is not pathetic; it’s his choice, I am fine with it. If you read Vladimir’s essay on the topic, there are good points to be made. Crippling taxes that infuriate those who must pay the taxes will have consequences. Options should be explored.
2. I am inclined to favor Humanism in Transhumanism. I also want transhumanists to be Humanitarian…
3. I have changed my position on this. Six months ago, I disliked religion in Transhumanists, now I am quite comfortable with it.
4. I believe Turkey needs to acknowledge and apologize for it’s past atrocities like Armenian genocide and warfare against Kurds. Also, see Joern Pallensen’s recent article - it’s rate of domestic violence against women is uncomfortably high.

By Hank Pellissier on Jan 07, 2013 at 8:19pm

1. Not pathetic, but certainly naïve. And, of course, angry. By “naïve”, I mean his actions seem to be based on assumptions that he would not be making if he knew a bit more about the (geopolitical) world.

2. Bit of both I guess. Humanism worked precisely because technology hadn’t evolved to a degree that exploded our assumption about what it means to be “human”. Now it no longer does, hence the “trans”. But we need to be grounded in something. It’s not enough just to say, “Hey, the world is changing, Cool!” (or “Yikes!”)

3. Hah, you included it after all! As I’ve said before, I think we’ll need to define a bit what we mean by “religion”. What we really need to get rid of (and this is in a humanist as much as in a transhumanist perspective) is this emphasis on “faith” as a virtue, and “doubt” as a faith. As far as God Herself is concerned, see my recent article about how I want to see the concept evolve (in short, she needs to lose her masculine gender, generally grow up, shed her delusions of omnipotence, and enbody all that we consider good…or else disappear off into oblivion and obscurity).

4. I’m going to expand this into the wider question: what is the EU good for, if anything, and how does it need to evolve? And especially, did it deserve the Nobel Prace Prize? Full disclosure: I’m a former Commission official, technically still on CCP, but that’s OK, because my disgust at certain aspects of the way that organisation is run exactly cancels my sense of loyalty to SOME people there and wish to keep my pension to produce a completely independent, objective and indeed infallible POV!

By Peter Wicks on Jan 08, 2013 at 12:02am

“3. I have changed my position on this. Six months ago, I disliked religion in Transhumanists, now I am quite comfortable with it.”


Hank, it is more that we have to put up with “religion” (which I define as an organised religion: any house of worship can be defined as “a religion” whereas an non-establishmentarian prayer group would not be defined as “a religion” in this schema). And it is not that an individual accepts a faith but rather whether the faith accepts the individual. Acceptance must cut both ways to be considered acceptance.

An individual wont go far in oppressing a church, for example; however a church—say—can more readily oppress an individual owing to its aggregate of wealth, power, connections.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 08, 2013 at 7:40am

@Alan

My gripe is not so much with the organised nature of established religion - in that regard it is no more oppressive than the myriad other forms of organisation, with their aggregate of wealth and power (to oppress). Rather, it is the emphasis on faith as a virtue, to be distinguished from its supposed nemesis, doubt, that I most distrust in religion. It’s not that faith doesn’t have its benefits - we all need faith in order to live - but we don’t need faith ALL the time. Sometimes you need to doubt, and be prepared to change your mind - even those beliefs you hold dearest. Not just for the sake of changing them, of course, but because something inside you is saying, “No, this longer feels right to me.”

Alex says that religion is not about believing in fairy tales. That’s a good line, but then who, knowingly, would admit to “believing in fairy tales”? In a sense, we ALL believe in fairy tales: the scientific method itself is, in a sense, a fairy tale. The question is not so much whether we believe in fairy tales, as whether we are willing - and allowed by our peers and mentors - to change the dream and believe in something else. Alex is right to say that many social technologies have emerged from religion, but one side effect of religion has been to keep people trapped in outdated beliefs, because they are too scared to change them. Religion, like other ideologies, needs to be constantly reinventing itself, and too many religious people - and non-religious people for that matter - prefer the comfort of their beliefs to the hardship, but also the adventure, of thinking differently.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 08, 2013 at 1:30pm

I want a lot of people to follow Depardeu’s example, in as many countries with abusive governments as possible. Progressives know that Ayn Rand, despite her nuttiness and confusions, came up with one powerful, practical idea, usually referred to a “going Galt.” And progressives also know the vulnerability of their utopian schemes to this idea if it goes viral, for the simple reason that wealth-production follows a Pareto distribution, where 20 percent of the population produces 80 percent of the wealth. When enough of the 20 percenters decide to withdraw their work from taxation, democratic governments, especially, will implode quickly and put an end to this “giving back” nonsense.

By Mark Plus on Jan 08, 2013 at 7:32pm

Let’s acknowledge that there are as many kinds of religion as there are kinds of doctors, and yes some of them are quacks.

Faith is not believing with certitude that xy and z are true. Faith is in fact impossible without doubt. It is also not the following of any given moral code. Scripturally in fact, faith is not even a human action but the work of the divine. God gives us faith. Why? Not to make us into tidy little puppets, but to help us grow up. Reading the scriptures in the order that they were written will reveal that God has been growing up over the ages and changing. Her goal is for us to follow.

Much of Jesus’ teaching was get his followers to think about what they needed to do to live and not just follow blindly. Jesus was not a person who would allow you to check your brain at the door.

The removal of critical thought and its replacement with blind faith and the following of a prescribed moral code came with the establishment of Christianity at the faith of Empire in 312. The problem with most of the churches in existence today is that they are more about empire than about the person Jesus really appeared to be. As one person has said. “Jesus came and preached the Kingdom, then the Church came and preached Jesus, and got it all wrong.”

By Alex McGilvery on Jan 09, 2013 at 7:05am

All true. Frankly, it’s a matter of being nonplussed, don’t know what to think of religion; it is a case of appreciating religion too much: am spaced out enough to begin with and do not need the Return of Christ or the afterlife to space me out further unless it is in the context of AGI, uploading, etc.—which are alien to me (math, physics, consciousness, are too large to absorb, I can only grasp chem and bio). Do not want to hear anything more about Heaven or the Return of Jesus—because for starters if Jesus were to Return they’d kill the poor thing all over again.

“the scientific method itself is, in a sense, a fairy tale.”

Yes, but pure science is not: two molecules of hydrogen, one of oxygen, is water unless one would say 1.999999999999… molecules of hydrogen plus .9999999999999… of oxygen = water, or somesuch.

“My gripe is not so much with the organised nature of established religion - in that regard it is no more oppressive than the myriad other forms of organisation, with their aggregate of wealth and power (to oppress).”

But the hypocrisy;
not so with a white nationalist, who is sincere: he genuinely wants to remove the weak and inferior—just too bad for him he can’t do it via peaceful measures. So too with a true-believing Marxist-Leninist (if any still exist): all he asks for is to remove the unequal so he can replace them with those who are more equal than others.
There’s no need to tell you what the religious are like, is there?

By Alan Brooks on Jan 09, 2013 at 7:44am

@Mark
Seriously?

@Alex
I don’t think we should blame everything on the eatablishment of Christianity. The importance of faith, and the suppression of doubt, is a message that rings loud and clear from just about all books of the New Testament. It is even claimed that one’s eternal life depends on it. Essentially what happened was that the church - which was already formidably hierarchical and authoritarian in nature - became influential enough for it to suit Roman Emperors to co-opt it rather than continue persecuting it, thus effectively locking Western civilisation into a Christian mindset that only really started to loosen from Aquinas on.

Not that I’m necessarily saying this was a bad thing. As you’ve said, Christianity and other similarly “established” religions have provided a vector for a lot of powerful and helpful ideas and practices (or “technologies”). Even the idea that one should not question authority has its uses. I am neither an anarchist nor a libertarian. But civilisation has moved on, thankfully, since Medieval times, so we need to promote religions - if we are in the business of promoting religion - that emphasise a conception of the divine as the embodiment of all that we consider good, coupled with a recognition that what we consider “good” is an essentially subjective decision, and a willingness to legitimise and listen to ideas that differ (perhaps radically) to our own.

Do we actually need personalise/anthropomorphise this into concepts like “God” and “Jesus”? Perhaps we do. Perhaps we need to feel we are worshipping a Person. Perhaps abstract concepts are not enough, for many/most people, to pack the motivational punch that more explicitly theistic approaches can provide. But we should at least be aware that, ultimately, it is a motivational device, rather than an accurate description of reality.

By the way, I still have some concerns with your conflation of the historical Jesus - about whom we know comparatively little - and the object of worship who needs, in order not to cause harm, to be telling us to do good, enlightened things (and think in good, enlightened ways). That’s a debate we’ve had several times before, of course, but never quite managed to resolve…

By Peter Wicks on Jan 09, 2013 at 8:20am

@Alex

Faith isn’t really comparable to doctors, as there are no such things as real faiths and fake ones. Faith is faith, taking something as true without evidence. There is, however, a difference between blind faith and questioned faith.
Blind faith is never questioned, while questioned faith is considered rationally (hopefully.)

The problem with faith in any divinity is that it is an “enabler,” meaning that people can feel just in any action, murder genocide, etc. because of their personal feeling of being given divine right to do so. The current situation in the Middle East is caused by enabling. The terrorists feel as though it is their ordained duty to eliminate us because of their religion, despite the fact that the religion Islam, and by extension all Abrahamic religions, has no real basis for it’s dogma or canon in the real world at all.

This irrational basis for their life allows irrationality to pervade their entire life, and the faith goes unquestioned. Irrationality breeds more irrationality.

Moral codes are not exclusive to Christianity, they were present in all religions. The reason for this is that religion was not only meant to be an explanation of the world but it also contained the laws and customs of the culture that created the religion.

As any religion lacks a real life basis of any sort, the problem with churches today is that they still exist really. It allows more irrationality to consume people. The hostility theists show to atheists is an example of how this irrationality works. Anything that could threaten their belief is automatically assumed to be a hostile entity, and must immediately be removed, rather than questioning their faith and coming to the conclusion that the faith is wrong.

The reason for this is the characteristics of human minds. Any belief anyone holds is one that they become attached to, and when that belief is questioned, the person who holds it sees it as a personal attack rather than an attempt to get them to think critically.

To make an analogy of religion, religion is a brain tumor. It starts out small, but it grows and grows, and the entire worldview grows around that unhealthy growth, until it consumes the persons entire mind.

By ZombiezuRFER on Jan 09, 2013 at 8:29am

Christians care about their families, agape is mythological. At any rate, this is what I wrote in reply to your first piece at transhumanity:
Alex, it isn’t your being mistaken; you aren’t wrong—you are overly-ambitious, too idealistic. The reason we entered the Age of Diminished Expectations a few decades ago was that the expectations were unrealistically high; we had Jetson expectations for a Flintstone world. One factor of personal responsibility you may not (or may have: would have to re-examine all of what you have written) have gone into is being responsible in an uncivilised, irresponsible, substrate is impossible. In a slum, to begin with, being responsible (e.g. integrated) ultimately means conforming to uncivilised, irresponsible norms and standards. Social workers, merely as one example, after losing their idealism are absorbed into the predatory worldview and way of doing things. And BTW, doesn’t matter whether we are talking govt. or business—business is more efficient than, not more ethical than, govt.
IMO it isn’t necessarily alway self-interest on the part of the individual, it is the sheer overwhelming weight of inertia that Rules and has always Ruled. Perhaps Canada is somewhat more civilised than America; dont know, some nations hve developed more civilised, responsible methods of dealing with, say, desperados: Breivik kills several dozen in Norway but he now has accomodations in prison the homeless can only dream of.

Alex, Americans care more about baseball and football than responsibility!

First—if possible—you devise civilisation, genuine civilisation, then you talk about responsibilty… when you want to pull a horsecart, first you attach a horse. Unfortunately (for some) it does not appear as if humans will ever get along, so I personally look to ‘bots, etc., for civilisation, for true responsibility; not to homo sapens. And if it can’t be done, it can’t be done.
Pete can explain it better. Please remember, religion offers ‘hope’, luck perhaps; science does not really: you can be totally responsive, civilised; but then you get into your fancy automobile and have an accident that kills you and a few others as well.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 09, 2013 at 9:07am

“The reason for this is the characteristics of human minds. Any belief anyone holds is one that they become attached to, and when that belief is questioned, the person who holds it sees it as a personal attack rather than an attempt to get them to think critically.”

This is the key point. But we must avoid the trap of equating “religion” with non-evidence-based belief and then downplaying the extent to which the non-religious exhibit the exact same behaviour. Personally, I really don’t have any problem with a church - that is to say a congregation - that chooses to draw inspiration from Christian scripture, provided that they have realistic (read: evidence-based) beliefs about the nature and status of that particular body of literature in the greater scheme of things. Hence my concern with Alex’s statements about “Jesus”, which, if they are supposed to refer to the historical man, seem to me to be of highly dubious accuracy.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 09, 2013 at 12:48pm

“you aren’t wrong—you are overly-ambitious, too idealistic”


It might be added there’s always a conflict between the pragmatist and the idealist—no getting away from it. And not that this is necessarily negative, or at least not overly-pessimistic as to the future—except to those who cling too tightly to conventions. As I’ve written numerous times, the old-fashioned can be v. newfangled when it comes to the latest in power, wealth, gadgets; yet they eventually tie themselves up in moral knots, in confusions as intense as anyone’s. 
There is no consensus on ethics, merely expediency; there is a vague adherence to such as ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’, but it’s qualified excessively: one mustn’t murder, the reasoning goes, however exceptions are for killing in wars that are not only about freedom but also DARPA; to reduce the population; sell ‘conservative’ magazines; etc (plus where would supposedly liberal Hollywood be without violent films to rake in the hundreds of millions on the first weekends of release alone. Good thing Hollywood is so liberal or we’d really be in trouble, wouldn’t we?

IMO morality does not exist and will not exist, merely situational ethics.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 09, 2013 at 2:47pm

Peter, when I talk about a ‘historical Jesus’ I am talking about what he is said to have said in the Gospels. There is a lot of variation depending on which Gospel you are reading or if you are reading Paul or James et al. Matthew is concerned with hell and punishment of evildoers. John talks about eternal life, but I’m not sure it is what we conceptualize as eternal life. It is interesting that James, which is the earliest text in the NT presents the idea that faith should show in our living as better people.

Alan, we’ve had this conversation before. We don’t need everybody to take responsibility, just one at a time. That will gradually change the rest. There are problems with broad generalizations, They are just correct enough to fool us into thinking that we understand something. In reality they obscure understanding. There is no such thing as a Canadian or an American except in aggregate. To make statements about what Canadians or Americans want is like saying we want a pear without acknowledging the 6000 varieties of pear. Yes most people may not care, but that is laziness not accuracy.

By Alex McGilvery on Jan 09, 2013 at 7:55pm

“Americans care more about baseball and football than responsibility!”

I think that can be said for just about the entire human race. (Mutatis mutandis, of course: in my neck of the words it’s more soccer.)

Responsibility isn’t something that comes terribly naturally to us homo sapiens sapiens, despite the optimistic name we have given to our species. It’s them stone age brains again. We have instincts that worked well for us in the stone age, at least as far as procreation was concerned, but they don’t always motivate us to “take responsibility” in the modern world.

And what do we mean by “take responsibility”? Here’s what I mean: to decide what you want, and take action to achieve it.

We need to be careful about language, though. Exhortations to be “responsible” can remind us too much of authoritarian parents and school teachers. Perhaps Alan is not totally wrong to detect a rebelliousness within US culture - the country was, after all founded on rebellion - that is less prevalent in a country like Canada. Perhaps we should call it “successful living” instead.

“There is no consensus in ethics, merely expediency;”

Certainly there is no consensus, but not everyone who thinks or writes about ethics is going for “mere expediency”. There is a reason why we call ourselves transhumanists (or are at least willing to associate ourselves with that people who do): it is because we have found, in humanism, a loose but nevertheless essential set of guiding, ethical principles, to ensure that our decisions about “what we want”, once we have decided to be responsible and take our destiny in our hands, serve a wider purpose than just our own narrow, selfish desires. This is not “mere expediency”: this is the bedrock on which civilisation is built, without which everything falls apart.

From Zombiezu RFER: “People often have trouble defining what human really is, so why should we take so anthropometric a viewpoint if people are soon not to be human?”

See above. My preferred ethical system is utilitarianism (with some relatively minor caveats), but this is controversial. We need a (secular) ethical system around which we have some chance of getting a consensus. Humanism as roughly played that role since the Enlightenment, much to the chagrin of some religious conservatives. The problem is that it is now out of date, essentially for the reason you have given. Hence the “trans”. But I would not capitalise it. We need a good, yin-yang balance, between the conservativism of the tried and tested, and the progressivism of the new. Otherwise we’re liable to get confused and collectively jump off a cliff.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 10, 2013 at 12:06am

@ Peter

We don’t require a ying yang, we just require a system that works. If we took a ying yang approach, that might not be the best way of approaching it at all, as that is golden means fallacy.

The best approach, in my opinion, is to actually change the public’s idea of what a person is, from human, to actual person. If my personal plan for bringing about the singularity works (which as of now, seems to be on the right path) then we will see a radical shift in moral and ethical concerns about humans.

Why that would happen, is because I seek to change “species” so soon as my immortality technology is tested and shown working. (I’m unable to divulge the secret to this immortality tech due to having to remain competitive, as my future is rather hinged on this plan working out)

Once an Anthropomorphic Spinosaurus (me) is running about, the idea of human = person will be demolished, and rather, people will seek personhood to distinguish people from not-people. (Is there a word for not-people?)

As soon as I carry out this species change, I may very well be posthuman. Rather than adhere to any common values system, perhaps we should instead value rationality above all else, sch that the use of formal and correct logic pervades life and thereby enhances it.

By ZombiezuRFER on Jan 10, 2013 at 8:20am

“I think that can be said for just about the entire human race”

Then it is worse than I think- and that isn’t good. Let’s go further: the entire human race is more interested in alcohol and tobacco than ‘responsibility’. Billions live in the past mentally but their bodies, their appetites, are in the Now. Why does someone inhale radioactive gasses contained in tobacco smoke? To live in the Now; to drink, smoke, be merry, for tomorrow they may be no more—there’s a logic to it albeit not ethics.  I Read a short story about a junkie who couldn’t wait long enough to inject morphine and died due to the Urge… he “wanted the high, the LIE, Now”—not later, but Now. The Lie, NOW! There is undeniably a certain logic to it. Simply, get it while you can.

“There is no consensus in ethics, merely expediency”

IMO European morality existed in the Middle Ages (proximate to the Renaissance); later modernity transmogrified morality into situational ethics. Morality is based on conventions, so when the medieval conventions were dislocated, morality was dislocated—and don’t forget it isnt only conventions (institutions, patrimony, nomi, etc.) which are dislocated, people are also dislocated, familes are dislocated… ‘creative destruction’ means entire industries were—and are—dislocated. How could and how can wholesome morality
be integrated into an unendingly dislocative substrate? Religion is thus a stop-gap, but as soon as one leaves the demilitarised zone of a house of worship, one is back in the commercial warzone of the outside world. Big shark eats the little shark.
Perhaps such is what Pastor Alex doesn’t realise? he understands the rest of it, yet apparently not that.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 10, 2013 at 8:20am

“We don’t need everybody to take responsibility, just one at a time. That will gradually change the rest”


Not that anything you write is mistaken, Alex: it is what we haven’t gone into enough: the effects of industrialism for starters.In the medieval ages; though faith wasn’t universal it was far more prevalent than today, and believers would look into the sky, for instance, to see the face of God. Perhaps auto-suggestion; sometimes hallucination; and possibly they were seeing God before God died, or something far-fetched like that.
Eventually the Renaissance-> the Enlightenment-> industrialism discombobulated life so that morality in general—never mind Christian morality—was discombobulated, although material, physical, life improved for very many. Let it be boiled down to:
I honestly do not believe the material world and our physical bodies can be altered while morality exists—no, let’s have it clear: morality has been and is shattered into situational ethics. So IMO,
“[w]e don’t need everybody to take responsibility, just one at a time. That will gradually change the rest”,
is a nonstater, or at least you can start with it but it wont go very far.
The alternative is to tolerate/accept how we have not known genuine morality in the West since the time of Copernicus; the Church recognised science would diminish faith, yet they didn’t recognise that life for most was so wretched that improvement in material life could eventually thoroughly supersede faith in importance to the masses. Not for better or worse—for better And worse. Today religion is a shadow of what it was pre-Renaissance; today even fundamentalists are so materialistic, so gadget-laden, that faith is indeed less important than baseball, football, alcohol and tobacco, all the rest of it.

“There is no such thing as a Canadian or an American except in aggregate. To make statements about what Canadians or Americans want is like saying we want a pear without acknowledging the 6000 varieties of pear.”

For shorthand, for brevity’s sake, I write of the West in general and America in particular because of living only in America; spent three weeks in Canada and three weeks in Europe. How can anyone know other regions without living for years, probably decades in them? The East I am not familiar with, save for a month in Hawaii—and Hawaii is not East-East.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 10, 2013 at 1:24pm

” Rather than adhere to any common values system, perhaps we should instead value rationality above all else, sch that the use of formal and correct logic pervades life and thereby enhances it.”

If we all do it, then that WILL be the common values system. But personally I don’t see the attraction. For me, rationality is a means to an end. Admittedly, I love a good rational structure, but I also need more. I need human warmth, exploration, fun, loud music. And all the rest. And that goes for most, if not all, of the human species. I want to see those qualities explode and flourish in our bright, post-human future…not fade away into dull, dead rationality.

“How could and how can wholesome morality be integrated into an unendingly dislocative substrate?”

Now that is an excellent question. But I don’t like your answer. The stench of defeatism is too strong. What you call “situational ethics” - which Wikipedia informs me is a Christian ethical theory from the 1960s that has some similitaries, though all some differences, with utilitarianism - is basically a recognition that the conventions that, as you correctly point out, have traditionally underpinned morality, must themselves be subject to some general principle, and not just accepted as “well this is how we’ve always done it”.

The super AGIs that we are going to build will have all the rationality that ZombiezuRFER wants them to have (and perhaps wants to have himself), but this rationality will be deployed to what end? That is what I want to know. And not only know, but influence.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 10, 2013 at 1:30pm

“But I don’t like your answer. The stench of defeatism is too strong.”

Yes, if we go by the conventional. But if one goes with the flow (which means moving away from morality to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the person) the possibilities of adapting to the future increase. Nevertheless, there’s also “transcending”:
I know couples who are very old-fashioned, fundamentalists—yet their strength enables them to escape the secular world through church and monthly travel (which naturally removes them from the monotony of their own conventions). Cozumel one week a month; Alaska for a week the next month, and so on. I admire them for their fortitude, but though they work hard, their careers are ultra-predatory; involving squeezing money out of the poor, shooting deer and elk, investing in ‘Defense’. They think of themselves as disciplined and moral, but only the former is valid; theirs is an outmoded yet not abandoned frontier outlook albeit with Jet airplanes, the latest autos, and plenty of gadgets, added.
THAT’s the reason I’m sour, IMO the old-fashioned wind up doing the opposite of what they intend—in the long-run—by exacerbating the dislocation via outmoded statutes, outdated thinking, all of it. Now, this modern-frontier confusion did work in the ‘80s.. but it is played out, Pete; I am certain of it. The article at this site on capitalism being an existential threat is nothing if not timely. And those who say it is unfair to blame capitalism are correct, unfortunately…. how convenient it would be if the difficulty were merely capitalism—it is worse than our enlightened author of the piece on ‘capitalism an existential threat’ thinks it is, it is anachronism in total. End capitalism you only get a kinder-gentler old fashioned; my friends would ring up to say they no longer shoot game:

“now we use bows and arrows”, they would say, “it’s so much more… ecological”

I know the mindset because I’m backward-looking too; difference is, I know it; they don’t. Though I’m backward-looking, I decided more ‘n more to look to the future; whereas they want the benefits of the future (the future influences the present somewhat), however they want to live psychically in the past yet physically in the present. They can’t be That strong!
if they don’t die first they will collide with the realities of the future. They say they Quote believe everything the Bible says Unquote. Everything? Not even Lenin believed in everything Marx wrote.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 10, 2013 at 5:48pm

... I needn’t have written the below, because Pastor Alex already knows it:

“Today religion is a shadow of what it was pre-Renaissance; today even fundamentalists are so materialistic, so gadget-laden, that faith is indeed less important than baseball, football, alcohol and tobacco, all the rest of it.

Alex correctly deems it related to Neo-Liberalism, though it could also be termed gross-materialism, say; the market covers, satisfies every appetite, even the most self-destructive appetites for alcohol, tobacco, etc. Now, Alex isn’t a far-out Christian who thinks Jesus will Return however he appears to think that if we as individuals change ourselves (with no attempt on his part to be specific about what has to be changed) a Sea Change will occur, something out of the Great Awakenings. Yet in the 21st century, things are not simple. Not to write religion and science are mutually exclusive; but complexity and candor may be. A medieval Christian tending his plot was simple, pious; urban and suburban denizens are complicated (even the indigent own cellphones), unpious. It always comes back to some, v. many, thinking we can radically alter the material world yet somehow, transcendentally, be as medieval ‘Jetstones’:

“Jetstones, they’re the Jetstones;
they’re the Modern Medieval fam-il-ly…”

By Alan Brooks on Jan 10, 2013 at 6:37pm

I like Khannea’s article; then again, I also like ZombiezuRFER’s response to it. Both seem to recognise that capitalism per se is not the problem, but rather capitalism as it is practiced today.

I also think there might be something to your point Alan about people being “backward-looking”. At the purely genetic level, we are currently “backward-looking” to such an extent that we are optimised for procreation in a stone age environment, and this translated partly into a predilection for tribal mindsets that “know what they like and like what they know”. And the human capacity for self-delusion is truly remarkable, as your example of professionally predatory fundamentalist Christians illustrates.

But what I meant by “the stench of defeatism is too strong” was that you seemed to see no reason for hope, at all. “Religion is a stop-gap”, you say, and “as soon as one leaves the demilitarised zone of a house of worship, one is back in the commercial warzone of the outside world.” Presumably you had your fundamentalist Christians, and their ilk, in mind. Indeed, I can understand why you are sour: the hypocrisy (a less kind way to say “self-delusion”, since it is largely unconcious) is not only remarkable, it can also be nauseating. But we must not let our disgust so colour our views that it blinds is to the possibility of progress.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 11, 2013 at 12:09pm

To end on a more serious note:
Alex, no doubt from what you have revealed over the past few years you are pious; however piousness today is a pale shadow of what piousness was from the 1st century to 1500 or thereabouts, A Christian way back when was really a Christian.
Jesus asked for self-sacrifice and promised sacrifice, He knew (it wasn’t hard to figure out a decade or so before Caligula) Christians would be persecuted—so if one doesn’t want to be persecuted, one shouldn’t refer to oneself as Christian, but rather, a Unitarian; or better yet, post-Christian; that way one can retain the New Testament canon, yet alter the interpretation to taste. One can say to a congregation,

“Jesus said we would be persecuted, however that’s outdated masochistic thinking.”

And it is.

 

 

By Alan Brooks on Jan 11, 2013 at 12:10pm

“But what I meant by ‘the stench of defeatism is too strong’ was that you seemed to see no reason for hope, at all. ‘Religion is a stop-gap’, you say, and ‘as soon as one leaves the demilitarised zone of a house of worship, one is back in the commercial warzone of the outside world.’

You are correct, Pete. The above is tactless—not mistaken—yet tactless.. something along the lines of exclaiming “Humbug” at Christmas. All the same, wish I’d said “Humbug” while my parents were alive. Watching expensive tinsel and wrapping paper being dumped into the trash at the end of the Holiday makes you wonder, “is this all necessary?”

Even though a house of worship is far more civilised than the outside world, every time I visit a church, can sense the churchpeople thinking,

“how can we manipulate this person who comes here so foolish as to think he can do things his way? he must do things His way- Jesus’ way.”

In a way they are right: why visit a church to reveal eventually how one differs from them—in fact why visit a church at all if one knows in the back of the mind one winds up talking at cross-purposes? Unless you hide your thoughts.
If a Christian asks you if you fear the Judgment of Christ, you can’t reply,

“why should I? the guy’s been dead for close to 2,000 years…”

Why talk to Christians at all? I ask myself everyday why talk to Midwesterners at all. They are a v. can-do people: can do the barn; can plow the fields; can manipulate a person who comes there so foolish as to think he can do things his way—he must do things His way- Jesus’ way.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 11, 2013 at 1:33pm

PS,
Want to reply to Mark Plus, because he is willing to discuss what others’ do not:

“And progressives also know the vulnerability of their utopian schemes to this idea if it goes viral, for the simple reason that wealth-production follows a Pareto distribution, where 20 percent of the population produces 80 percent of the wealth. When enough of the 20 percenters decide to withdraw their work from taxation, democratic governments, especially, will implode quickly and put an end to this ‘giving back’ nonsense.”

Naturally, there’s something to it; but the conclusion is off: what happens is, the ancien regime ‘implodes’ at some point and a bunch of people are sacrificed—there has always been that Sacrifice. The American Revolution, 1775- ‘81, wasn’t as violent as the French Revolution, however patriots minimise the violence of the American Revolution, making it appear almost as if high spirited tin soldiers were taking potshots at the enemy with staple guns. History is the lie concerning the past commonly accepted.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 11, 2013 at 1:49pm

I was genuinely curious to know whether Mark was being serious or not. “...democratic governments, especially, will implode quickly and put an end to this ‘giving back’ nonsense”??? Where do you even start? But yes, you’re right: history is written by the victors, and one result of this is that successful revolutions tend to be glorified, and the cruelty and violence perpetrated by the rebels (not, of course, that perpetrated by the incumbents, who are Evil) is downplayed.

Now about crying ‘Humbug’, what I want you to consider that Midwesterners (and churchgoing ones in particular) may be a less special case than you think they are. And yes, I know that that thought leads you to write things like, “Then it is worse than I think- and that isn’t good.” But it at least provides an answer to the question, “Why talk to them?” For if you were not willing to talk to them, who would you talk to? If you live among them (and presumably you have good reason for doing so), then you need to communicate with them, right?

Now church, that’s another thing. From time to time I fantasise about going back there (other than when I visit my mum at Christmas), because yes, there is something about fhe ritual and sense of fellowship that I miss. But then I play through the scenario, and I realise: I’d just be a fly in the ointment.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 11, 2013 at 11:41pm

Hard to say with Mark. At any rate, ‘implode’ is too strong- probably more like unceasing maneuvers, manipulation.

“ ‘Why talk to them?’  For if you were not willing to talk to them, who would you talk to? If you live among them (and presumably you have good reason for doing so), then you need to communicate with them, right?”

This brings up my background, which relates to dialogue with Alex. My mom was the daughter of a Methodist minister—can’t separate that fact with any discussion of religion. Two, my parents were so confused, they weren’t even liberals, they were shall we say beached New Dealers; they grew up during the Great Depression and it colored their entire outlooks until their deaths. When the ‘60s came, they were utterly clueless; suddenly it was,

God is dead
Whatever goes around comes around
Do your own thing
Have A Nice Day.

Not precisely what FDR was getting at in his Fireside Chats.

My lingering attraction to Christianity stems from insecurity.. which is obviously not the case with Alex. Right there, for starters, we differ and we agree to disagree or at best agree to not disagree. Putting aside historical Jesus (it’s the 1,973 years of His legacy that matter, not the 33 short years of His hazy life) even adaptable, disciplined Alex’s faith has become hopelessly outmoded. Frankly, IMO, it has come down to charity and rites, rituals. IMO there’s virtually nothing else left of religion worth discussing at an h+ site besides charity, rites, rituals, spiritual succor.
A Christian can always go to another site!
Naturally, Alex is correct a psychotherapist is an extremely expensive priest—but by now that’s a given. And a psychotherapist only guarantees a patient a bill in the mail, not Salvation. Having written all the above, though, religion/spirituality are of the Heart, Soul, not the mind. Religion—though IMO it is outmoded—cannot be examined scientifically any more than Art can be examined scientifically.

“ ‘Why talk to them?’  For if you were not willing to talk to them, who would you talk to? If you live among them (and presumably you have good reason for doing so), then you need to communicate with them, right?”


Back to this, finally. Answer is: it is diachronic. My views, or more accurately modus operandi, are changing. From now on will have to be ultra-candid with the religious, who are in the Midwest overwhelmingly Christian save for a few mosques and synagogues LDS, etc.
Temporising wont do anymore. Temporising makes us more intellectually dishonest, more ‘dodgy’, as the English say, than the religious. No wonder they look down on me, they are in some ways more authentic. 2013 has gone beyond 1971; in ‘71 one could more readily play cutesy games. Since then life has become somewhat more hard-edged or at least more complex, more complicated. In 1971 one could appreciate Sarah and The Midwestern Warblers or whatever singing,

“Put your hand In the hand of the Man who stilled the waters
put your hand in the hand of the Man from Galilee…”,

Because George Harrison was singing ‘My Sweet Lord’ at the same time.
But George is dead. Jesus is dead. People die. Times change, people change. Wish it wasn’t so
—however that’s from insecurity, not strength.

 

By Alan Brooks on Jan 12, 2013 at 10:40am

“what happens is, the ancien regime ‘implodes’ at some point and a bunch of people are sacrificed—there has always been that Sacrifice.”

PS,
it has been that way in the past; odds are the future wont be as violent as the past was—and around midcentury the level of violence may drop precipitously. The entire world might possibly be as peaceful or more so than Scandinavia- the largest fairly peaceful region. However, nations and regions do not operate as individuals do and IMO we have to extrapolate via the nature of individuals today, not what they might or might not be like in the near—three, or so, decades—future (if we were to be so clairvoyant, we could invest in the Market and become billionaires).

By Alan Brooks on Jan 12, 2013 at 11:08am

@Peter
Rationality is no duller or deader than irrationality, or “emotional” thinking. Is thinking with correct logic so detrimental to our lives? If it is, then I am immune to it’s effects, but I suppose rationality does come easier to me than others, partly due to personality and Asperger’s syndrome. (I did not self diagnose, a Psychologist diagnosed me.)

It does not take people like me to be rational, and I find that rational people are often far more amiable and friendly than those who have irrational beliefs. If a belief is irrational, than it must be dealt away with. (Conclusions can be correct but the premise is the belief)

Religious ideals are anti-transhumanist in nature due to how they treat anything that challenges those beliefs and how they do not adapt to modern pressures. Without flexibility, they cannot describe new situations nor how to deal with them, and with flexibility their bindings become too loose to have a central dogma that keeps the religion alive.

An underlying problem in religious thought is how it relies on the dogma to attract individuals whose ideals the dogma appeals to, and how the dogma does not count for the new situations faced by transhumanist technologies. It precludes irrational and illogical hatred of anything that challenges these beliefs, as I have previously described.

To be rational is to be sane, and allows one to adapt and think clearly in new situations. Rationalism does not have a central dogma or binding idea, it is a goal in itself, rather than an unnecessary mental binding. Religion does not preclude moral superiority or authority, due to the subjective nature of morality and how religions try to make them objective.

The main difference between religion and rationalism is that rationalism is a philosophy, a guideline to life dependent upon logical consideration of it’s consequences, while religion is always a dogma that demands unquestioning faith.

Were I leader of a country, I would be tolerant of religions, but I would provide societal pressures to ensure that religions die out on their own. My country would be a deviation on the idea of geniocracy, or rule by the smart. People would have to be screened in order to be elected or a voter, the screening process determining moral ability, rationality, useful knowledge, IQ, and objectivity.  In order to eliminate the biases of people, voters are provided only objective information, such as goals and plans to achieve goals, previous performance, experience, and screening results. No names would be present in the information.

This would allow people to determine leaders without biases present in current electoral situations in the world today. The annual intellectual census would be used to determine the average of these scores.

By ZombiezuRFER on Jan 12, 2013 at 9:08pm

Not convinced that “ultra-candid” is the right way to go. When you are dealing with people who are seriously delusional (and they certainly are), you need to be cautious, for your sake and for theirs. Basically you have to ask yourself: what is this person psychological ready to hear at this point?

Which, in a somewhat indirect way, brings us back to Turkey and the EU, or. Re precisely to the more general question of how the secular West (because, religious Midwesterners notwithstanding, the West is by now thoroughly secular) should deal with the religious impulses that express themselves in most traditionally Muslim countries as soon as the blanket of (secular) autocratic repression is lifted somewhat.

From this perspective, a better question than whether Turkey should be allowed to join the EU might be how the West should handle the Arab Spring and its aftermath.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 13, 2013 at 12:08am

@ZombiezuRFER
I wasn’t arguing in favour of irrationality, but even for understanding reason has fo be combined with observation, experimentation and creative thinking (required for the development of theory), and beyond understanding there is also deciding what you actually want. The latter cannot be determined by reason alone: there has to be an emotional component. What you call “emotional thinking”, i.e. irrationality, is generally a conflation of what is with what we would like (wishful thinking) or fear (paranoia). But our emotions are also part of the reality, which we need to understand and manage if we want to be happy.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 13, 2013 at 11:13am

Good posts from both Pete and ZombiezuRFER- we might be getting somewhere. No need to add to what ZombiezuRFER wrote.

“Not convinced that ‘ultra-candid’ is the right way to go. When you are dealing with people who are seriously delusional (and they certainly are), you need to be cautious, for your sake and for theirs. Basically you have to ask yourself: what is this person psychological ready to hear at this point?”

It is walking an intellectual tightrope. In this context, remember it’s also ‘spiritual’ as well as intellectual; I define spiritual as a priori, collective unconscious., and, if there were any evidence for Kirilian photography, would include KP as well (but we know the Shroud of Turin was a hoax!) Pete, I choose to err on the side of perhaps being tactless, there’s a thin line between assertiveness and tactlessness. If I were to string Christians along in any way whatsoever, such would be worse than their hard-sell witnessing. The Bible does after all tell them to witness, to prosthelytise to the world- but no longer are they to witness to me. Will go easy on their religion, yet am going to in no uncertain terms rebuke them righteously for their outmoded politics, thou must put aside old things, will tell them, cease placing old wine in new wineskins, or vice versa. The collateral difficulty is they want to change the world physically yet expect it to remain conservative. True doublemindedness.

“Which, in a somewhat indirect way, brings us back to Turkey and the EU, or. Re precisely to the more general question of how the secular West (because, religious Midwesterners notwithstanding, the West is by now thoroughly secular)”

The Midwest is not as religious as the Deep South, however the South possesses a charm the Midwest often lacks- though Midwesterners are ultrapractical, the reason I remain here and don’t live in Taos or frolic in rainy, humid Oregon. Where one lives probably depends on wealth as much as any number of factors: a billionaire can live in Hawaii, Key West—or anywhere he wants to. Madison WI and Boulder CO are two exceptions, two decent bubble communities in the Midwest—yet you need big ‘scratch’. (money) in bubble towns, and ‘chicken scratch’ means you exist, you don’t live. The fowl known as chicken plays a role in the vernacular: if you don’t fight the inebriated hooligan shouting obscenities, you are chicken. If things go bad in business, you go from chicken salad to chicken shit. In Texas a boaster can be all hat and no cattle (the animals ingested give more than their corporal substance- they give their ALL, they bequeath to the vernacular).
IMO the Midwest is 10 percent (which makes a difference) more religious than the coasts, and the South is perhaps 20 percent more so. In the South they will push religion more insistently, but they will be more pleasant—very charming even—than the Midwest. the Midwest tries to sell you religion like McDonalds sells you hamburger. Hold the mayo, hold the lettuce, true agnostics do not upset us, we will work on them steadily until they are all worn down. Then when you are worn down you get a plate of venision freshly shot on the prairie.. nothing like the flesh of deceased animals to soothe the savage hunter.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 13, 2013 at 1:13pm

PS,
Pete, re your earnest query must address you on Turkey—don’t know anything about Turkey; in our insularity we N. Americans don’t know as much about Europe as Europeans know about N. America. All I know about Turkey is that William Hayes shouldn’t have tried to smuggle hash onto a plane in Istanbul even if it did eventually gain him a book deal.

“From this perspective, a better question than whether Turkey should be allowed to join the EU might be how the West should handle the Arab Spring and its aftermath.”

The above is a crucial question, a huge question.
Don’t know.
But am v. tired of hearing the same old thing from jingoists a dozen years after 9-11, from FOX news and the Rush Limbaughs that Arabs and Shiites are savages and America is the greatest country, plus the inference is we can shovel trillions into the Mideast as long as the Chinese continue to underwrite it. Not to argue with them; yet for just once ask them for accountability, not always vice versa. And if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out—we are no position to make demands because whereas Arabs and Shiites are politically controlled by those on top, economically we are controlled by those on top.
To give a marginally better answer to you, it will take decades—until midcentury—one might predict, before the Arab Spring is in bloom; I never forget how things change through dislocation- no point in being a futurist if such realities are not reckoned with. History books are largely nonsense, not informing us of the full dislocation involved, the errors made..only really the errors the authors are inclined to include.
We don’t know the actual mechanisms of change involving the Mideast (and Central Asia: Afghanistan) otherwise we could directly address the topic. But I do know America has to change too; there need be an American Spring. Our enemies wage religious war—we wage economic war on them.

By Alan Brooks on Jan 13, 2013 at 3:47pm

Thank you for the comment Alan, it is appreciated.

@Peter
Creativity is something that can be studied without emotion or irrational thought, much as any atom. Not that without emotion it is more fun though.
The reason for this is that creativity stems from our brains neuroplasticity, which allows it to adapt to new and novel situations, in other words, creativity is a side effect of having the capability for problem solving.

The reason creativity can be studied rationally is because creativity, a part of our minds, is also a part of our brains, which are made of interacting cells. Which are made of interacting atoms. Atoms posses no minds of their own, and cells are basic computers that have specific programs but also lack minds; thus, from the structure of the brain is a mind born, and since we can study the structure, we can also study it’s contents, programs, and potentials.

If the brain is not acknowledged as the physical mind, then we get substance dualism, which is verifiably false due to how it requires contradictory magics in order to function. From this, it can be gathered that the mind is either material or immaterial, depending on how the world works. If the mind were immaterial, then the world would be made up completely of our own imaginations, which can be studied by ourselves.

Notably in addition to my arguments, few “new” things are ever imagined or created, most things being based in our own dealings and knowledge. I often have trouble creating multiple constructed languages, simply due to how I can never escape having the words filled with syllables dependent on the letters M, K, Z, J, and O. It often creates a harsh, guttural sound, but leaves little room for variation in the overall “theming” of the language.
Examples of such words are Jarvin, Molgorum, Zombey, Zaktan Zanamu, kagarinakte, and so on.

This occurrence can be studied, and I already have my conclusion of why these particular combinations appeal to me; they are alien and inhuman sounding, a “violent” and “savage” sound, that when examined closer, provides a feeling of wisdom and power. It is a fantastic sound, that allows a curious look into the minds of the alien culture that uses it.

The reason it is hard to create any other sounds is due to how the other “themes” do not capture my interest so and imagination so vividly, being too mundane for my tastes.

I feel I may have been long winded describing creativity there, I should look for a clearer explanation next time.

By ZombiezuRFER on Jan 13, 2013 at 9:07pm

@ZombiezuRFER
I don’t think we are far apart. What I do think is that you have a (positive) emotional reaction to certain sounds, which tends to drive your creativity (when it comes to language) in a particular direction.

To nuance what I said above, to make anything happen, i.e. to create anything, we need motivation. In humans, motivation relies on and is closely bound up with emotion. It’s just something we’ve inherited from the reptiles. Simplistically put, we seek pleasure and avoid pain, include (respectively) positive and negative emotions. Of course it’s more complicated than this (not least due to neuroplasticity), but as an approximation the above works pretty well.

What I’m saying is that, for me, what gives me emotional pleasure, and therefore motivates me, is things like human warmth, good relationships, fun activities, music and so forth. Does that make it “rational” to pursue these things? It certainly doesn’t make it irrational, but it’s not immediately clear in what sense it is rational. I could make a conscious decision to try to make myself miserable. The problem with that isn’t that it would be irrational, but that it would (assuming I was successful) make me miserable…and therefore, I probably wouldn’t do it for long, since that kind of masochism goes against our natural wiring. We are neuroplastic, but not THAT neuroplastic.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 14, 2013 at 7:14am

@Peter
Seeking companionship is rational if it gives you pleasure. The reason humans seek companionship is due to instincts that evolved to allow us to cooperate and survive better together. Most behaviors of that sort are instinctual rather than learned.
It will always be rational to seek pleasure and avoid pain, nothing about it is irrational, whether it requires emotions or not.

Also, yes, we aren’t that neuroplastic until mind uploading could allow us to change how our brains function.

As such, I take it we have to a consensus on the subject?

By ZombiezuRFER on Jan 14, 2013 at 11:13am

@ZombiezuRFER
Yes, more or less! I think we may be using the term “rational” in slightly different ways, but not enough for us to be disagreeing about anything substantial as far as I can tell.

By Peter Wicks on Jan 14, 2013 at 1:35pm


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