Re: More Green Party

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Jun 29 2000 - 14:16:56 MDT

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> The romantic notion that discoveries are made by
> heroic individuals out of thin air is pure Hollywood--inventions are made
> by whoever is in the right place at the right time to make connections
> between, generalizations of, and extrapolations from the common knowledge
> of the time.

I can't say I believe this. The force behind Crocker's argument is not
that "just one person" can't matter; it's that the "just one people"
saved by Welfare grants to nine-year-olds are no more or less likely to
be significant than the "just one people" whose lives or educations are
preserved by a properly functioning market economy.

The theory that one individual can't have an impact is just as much
Hollywood as the romance of the single inventor, except based on a
belief in the world's destiny and meaning and coherence - instead of the
destiny of one person. In reality, it's all just quarks, and while we
may find it disturbing to think of a world's destiny as something so
fragile that it could depend on one person, there is no reason why this
shouldn't be so.

Our world has no coherence, only causality. We can die as easily as
live. Plans can succeed or fail from any cause at all. A world without
coherence is a dangerous place to live. That, after all, is what makes
the Singularity necessary.

--    Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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