Re: God's indifference to suffering?

From: xllb (
Date: Thu Mar 09 2000 - 13:04:21 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:

>As SIs would be much older than us,

Perhaps they've self-evolved as quickly as we are about to. Their
relatively short head-start, might be just enough to always be just out
of our reach.

>Could it be that the suffering
> is what creates the curiosity that drives us to develop technologies
> that shape the world and eventually reach for the stars? As the
> saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention."

I apologize. When I was referring to creativity, I wasn't thinking only
of art. I expect that suffering, though not the only, nor even best
motivator, has lead us to create solutions. You made my point more
effectively. Thanks.

Rick Strongitharm

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> On Wed, 8 Mar 2000, xllb wrote:
> >
> > I expect that, if there is intelligent intervention, it is not
> > omnipotent. I think what we observe is a work in progress. Suffering
> > is a natural product of our evolution.
> If superintelligences do exist, we could easily be the subject of
> an experiment, or simply be left to our own devices for the sake of
> promoting diversity. As SIs would be much older than us, they
> would have had much longer to explore the phase space of possible
> architectures & purposes and would have witnessed almost everything
> (good and bad).
> If there is "active" intervention, then they are tuning things
> to suit the criteria of the experiment. If there is no active
> intervention, it is because that is what is "best". They may
> be unable to prove they have explored all of the phase spaces
> for existence, and so the best possible thing to do is to not
> interfere with developing civilizations that might discover
> an alternate path (assuming the phase spaces are like Godel's
> mathematical systems).
> There is no good/bad/luck/suffering! Its only your perception
> of specific circumstances in the context of a system that either
> has no purpose whatsoever or a purpose whose potential benefits
> far exceeds any costs that might be imposed on any sub-sub-SIs.
> >
> > 2 questions for discussion: If pain and suffering did not exist, might
> > complacency keep us from creating?
> Huh? Why do you think suffering promotes creation? While I'm sure there
> are "suffering" artists, there are those that are "joyful" as well.
> A better questions would be whether the *really* creative are such
> odd mental mixes (perhaps primarily genetic) that they are borderline
> for survival? The mathematician Erdos being a case that comes to mind.
> > Secondly, HOW MUCH pain and suffering would be the minimum that an
> > intelligent species would need, to be motivated to create?
> If we assume Dolphins are intelligent, they rarely have experiences
> involving "pain and suffering" (most commonly accidentally imposed
> by humans in one way or another), yet they would appear to be a
> very creative species. I think intelligent species create for
> entertainment.
> > John, I think, wrote:
> > >
> > > So much of what I see in the world enrages me. When I study history I am
> > > horrified by all the ignorance, poverty, war and disease that devastated
> > > families and nations. Some of it people knowingly brought upon themselves
> > > but much of it was out of their control. And right as of this moment in
> > > time, to a great extent these evils still exist and inflict grievous
> > > suffering on countless millions.
> > >
> I think the problem here is saying that "shit happening" is in some way "evil".
> If an 10 km asteroid strikes the Earth tomorrow and sets us back a couple
> of millennia, are you going to claim that it is *evil*??? Further, if
> you invoke the desirability of a warm & cosy environment, you may be
> constructing a recipe for us ending up like dolphins!! We would be
> well fed, happy and masters of our environment *and* limited in our
> abilities to shape the world around us. The dolphins, if they do
> not evolve, are doomed to a lot of suffering in a billion or so
> years when the oceans start evaporating. Could it be that the suffering
> is what creates the curiosity that drives us to develop technologies
> that shape the world and eventually reach for the stars? As the
> saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
> Take the fundamental "evil" of death itself -- Nature (and other
> species) cannot evolve out of this box without creating conscious
> intelligence that develops the ability to control its hardware.
> [This is because long-lived individuals are either (a) always out
> reproduced by their shorter-lived cousins, or (b) must continue
> to produce ever-increasing quantities of offspring to maintain
> the long-living fraction of the total gene pool which eventually
> leads to resource exhaustion, a population collapse and possible
> extinction.] Those species that do not "suffer" enough to
> develop consciousness and the means for self-modification, never
> escape from this trap.
> The interesting thing about being an extropian/transhumanist in
> these times, is that we will have the possibility of uplifting(?)
> or downloading you into a dolphin-creature at some point. I look
> forward to the nightly reports on the advantages and disadvantages
> of that existence, particularly after you have explained to them
> that their existence is doomed.
> Robert

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:04:45 MDT