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Old 03-08-2016   #31
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Re: Science says stop complaining

That was fascinating, but even this guy mystifies things a bit. The human brain is a three pound slop of matter that can go haywire in one exact second; not to deny reason on that score, of course, but we are not at the point where our survival instincts rule what we do.

I'm really interested in physical health, for instance, but if I used my reason I would be knee deep in exercise for a better amount of time every day than I actually am. This is the case with most people who are keenly aware of the risks of being sedentary, or eating too much sugar, or whatever.

This isn't even the modern era. If more people were Cartesian about things the news wouldn't even resemble what it does now. We have degenerated.

It is the postmodern meta era of insincere, bitter irony.

The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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Old 03-08-2016   #32
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Comrade, Thanks for clarifying things. I overreacted; health issues have made me testy. I thought you were implying I had invented some facts and now I see I was wrong. I apologize, my friend. No ill feelings on this end. We're all members of the same community!
I was right. You are one of the Good Guys.
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Old 03-09-2016   #33
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Re: Science says stop complaining

"Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves." Disappointed they didn't use that as the title for the article.

The Mask Behind the Face, Pendragon Press 2005
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Old 03-10-2016   #34
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Malone View Post
I love it when I see the fanatics of determinism holding forth and declaring how they believe people should behave if they were truly enlightened and scientific. They somehow miss that if their rigid determinism is true then people are no more free to choose other paths than they are themselves. But that's the thing, those people think they're exceptions to their own loudly trumpeted rules: "Given free-will is an illusion we should reform society so that it...." etc etc etc.
Anyone ever read Eliezer Yudkowsky, Less Wrong or any of that stuff? Even though in most cases they're very intelligent and thoughtful people who pay more attention to not only their science, but their ethics, than probably the average person does, I can't help but think "I really, really don't want these people to have power in society."
Just read some Yudkowsky. I completely agree. I fear, though, that such people will have increasing power.

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Old 03-10-2016   #35
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Malone View Post
I love it when I see the fanatics of determinism holding forth and declaring how they believe people should behave if they were truly enlightened and scientific. They somehow miss that if their rigid determinism is true then people are no more free to choose other paths than they are themselves. But that's the thing, those people think they're exceptions to their own loudly trumpeted rules: "Given free-will is an illusion we should reform society so that it...." etc etc etc.
Anyone ever read Eliezer Yudkowsky, Less Wrong or any of that stuff? Even though in most cases they're very intelligent and thoughtful people who pay more attention to not only their science, but their ethics, than probably the average person does, I can't help but think "I really, really don't want these people to have power in society."
Just read some Yudkowsky. I completely agree. I fear, though, that such people will have increasing power.
I know this doesn't answer the central point about being frightened by technocrats running the show, but doesn't the point stand that people like Yudkowsky are paying more attention to their ethics than the average person. Btw, I had not previously read much of Yudkowsky, and this thread prompted me to check out Less Wrong. Really fascinating stuff. I can't say I agree with everything posited by Yudkosky, but the writing is quite engaging and cover really important topics... particularly in the frontier fields of AI development.

I am curious, and not directed necessarily at QC, but if we accept the notion that we desire to live in a society with some form of governance, who would you want pulling the levers of power? Now, obviously, this question is meaningless to those that wish to not live in a society with any kind of agreed upon governance structure... and that is fine if you desire such, but given that the reality is that most of us live in Countries with governments attempting to govern the populace, who would you want in power... the average Joe who doesn't pay much attention to ethical considerations? And forget about pulling the levers of power... would you want the average guy who pays less attention to ethical considerations to simply represent your interests in the governance arena?

Ask yourselves this question, If you could have the ideal representative, who would you want to participate in the governance arena, ostensibly representing some distilled essence of your and your fellow society member's interests? I don't ask this question to make a point or as rhetoric. I am truly curious what some of those on this board actually desire in their representative in the governance scheme (assuming you are not nominating yourself)?
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Old 03-10-2016   #36
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Im going to dodge the question on specifics here, but Ill just say that my sympathies lie in a pretty strong Marxist direction. Anyone interested in speculating on who Id support in, for example, the upcoming U.S. election can draw their own conclusions.

However, I will say that I definitely dont want techno-capitalists running the world, much less directly governing states. Related:

Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream of a Silicon Reich - The Baffler

Draw your own conclusions. The scene the article describes is obviously at an extreme end from the Less Wrong crowd, but I do think theres some overlap. Im not ripping Yudkowsky specifically (Id probably get along with him in real life and have read a fair amount of his writings and fiction), its more the overall mindset that takes certain specifics for granted, whether those be materialist atheism or even just the idea that death is bad.

Also:

Douglas Rushkoff: 'I’m thinking it may be good to be off social media altogether' | Technology | The Guardian

I like how Rushkoff thought that Internet culture was going to lead to some kind of 60s counterculture-style society, and is disappointed to see that it has instead lead to a reinforcement and solidification of existing corporate structures, arguably making them even stronger than they were before.
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Old 03-10-2016   #37
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Quote Originally Posted by Comrade Tulayev View Post

Perhaps I have misunderstood the tone and tenor of some of the posts, and I'm not trying to lampoon anyone, I'm just trying to get a better ideas as to where folks are coming from.
I guess it has more to do with a disdain for scientism and today's "yay-science" pop attitude than any real disdain for science and the pursuit of natural knowledge.

Before switching to architecture (which I never practiced anyway) I studied electrical engineering and before that I wanted to enroll in either physics or astronomy. Whatever the case, I have an appreciation for science and honest scientific inquiry, and it would be hypocritical to deny the worth and value of science if I am actually writing this on a computer and sending it your way through a network of fiber optics and servers.

However my, and many other people's, problem is with some scientists's (and their fans) belief that science is the only means through which valid knowledge can be acquired (I won't say "truth" because personally I don't believe such thing exists, and even if it did, it probably is unattainable), when in fact it is only a tool that gives valid results for given situations. In this case, the physical, measurable Universe.

I find it in really bad taste when many scientifically minded people disdain the humanities, art, literature and philosophy because they don't get results. Pop-science darling Neil de Grasse Tyson was once caught with his pants down saying something like that in a podcast. Stephen Hawkings has said something along those lines as well, and don't get me started with that idiot Lawrence Kraus. These brilliant people are so blinded by their ego and devotion to their field they forget that the reason why the humanities do not produce rocket ships or vaccines is because the humanities do not address such issues.

I don't even remember what else I was going to write here, but I'm sure that the smarter members of the community already got it covered. It is not an anti-science stance. It is anti-scientism.

Anyway, people die...
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Old 03-11-2016   #38
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Re: Science says stop complaining

I saw that Yudkowsky's wife put up the following quote on her FB page (it's public): "That which can be destroyed by truth, should be."

What this quote seems to ignore is the possibility that something can be destroyed by lies.

Imagine someone taking the above maxim to heart. They might easily associate 'truth' and 'destruction' so closely as to think the two positively correlated.

"I'm destroying a lot of things lately: I must be getting more and more truthful."

I really get this impression from a lot of the rhetoric coming out of, for instance, AI.

I've posted this before, but, anyway, it seems apropos:

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/a...ientific-mind/

Regarding who I'd like to see represent us politically - I think if the human race could shed its (often disguised) childish resentments the whole thing would be made a lot easier, anyway, but...

Emotionally, I think anarchy would be ideal: small, self-sufficient communities. But, of course, that's not going to happen any time soon.

Therefore, we have to deal with the fact that everything now has global repercussions, put aside sloganeering, and examine what is is to be human and how best to serve human prosperity (human, not just national, though I believe nationhood has a part to play in this). To believe that human endeavours can be boiled down to better gadgets, or that a few thousand years of technological exploration mean nothing, or that the mass of religious experiences in numerous cultures all around the world are something we can remove without reducing humanity, or that we can sniffily carry on saying, "My religion is best", or that artists are frivolous parasites on the state, or philosophy a mere academic dead end, are all, I think, examples of limited and ultimately untenable positions.

I think there should be, first at a national and perhaps ultimately at a global level, a council of people from different areas of human endeavour, and none should be allowed all the muscle simply because it has the most profitable partnership with capitalism at the moment.

Such councils exist, of course, though I am not sure how permanently, formally or powerfully, but it looks very much to me that the British government (for instance) and many others are not set up to represent the interests of humanity, but of finance, and, even then, only of a particular section of the economy.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 03-11-2016   #39
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Incidentally, yesterday I read the short story 'The Magic Paint' by Primo Levi. I felt it could have been a commentary on the article with which this thread started.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 03-11-2016   #40
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Re: Science says stop complaining

Regarding anarchism:

http://evonomics.com/the-pipe-dream-...rcho-populism/

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
However, I will say that I definitely don’t want techno-capitalists running the world, much less directly governing states. Related:

Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream of a Silicon Reich - The Baffler

Draw your own conclusions.
Good article and exactly the kind of thing that worries me about Silicone Valley.

Quote
Yarvin’s public writing tapered off as his software career solidified. In 2007, he reemerged under an angry pseudonym, Moldbug, on a humble Blogspot blog called “Unqualified Reservations.” As might be expected of a “DIY ideology . . . designed by geeks for other geeks,” his political treatises are heavily informed by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and George Lucas.
Tolkien did identify himself as an anarchist, but I have a strong suspicion that he would have seen technocracy as strictly the work of Mordor. In a letter to his publisher Milton Waldman he gives some details of his views. He writes:

Quote
Anyway all this stuff is mainly concerned with Fall, Mortality, and the Machine. ... the sub-creator wishes to be the Lord and God of his private creation. He will rebel against the laws of the Creator - especially against mortality. Both of these (alone or together) will lead to the desire for Power, for making the will more quickly effective, - and so to the Machine (or Magic). By the last I intend all use of external plans or devices (apparatus) instead of developments of the inherent inner powers or talents or even the use of those talents with the corrupted motive of dominating: bulldozing the real world, or coercing other wills. The Machine is our more obvious modern form though more closely related to Magic than is usually recognised.

I have not used the word 'magic' consistently, and indeed the Elven-queen Galadriel is obliged to remonstrate with the Hobbits on their confused use of the word both for the devices and operations of the Enemy, and for those of Elves. ... the Elves are there (in my tales) to demonstrate the difference. Their 'magic' is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more effortless, more quick, more complex... And its object is Art not Power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous reforming of Creation.
I doubt very much whether Tolkien would be on Yarvin's side (if, as the article says, Yarvin's views are influenced by Tolkien).

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