ETHICS: Utility First--> Fraud

Ian Goddard (
Sat, 16 May 1998 15:45:14 -0400

If my principle is utility first and I have
a hypothesis about what nature is, then I do
research, gathering data about nature, add
it all up, and lo and behold the numbers
suggest my hypothesis is not true, I
have one of two options:

1) conclude that my hypothesis is not true.

2) alter the data to make my theory appear true.

Option 1 adheres to a "truth first me second"
principle, option two adheres to a "me first
truth maybe later," principle. A "me first"
principle is obviously useful to me, so a
"utility first, truth maybe" standard
will automatically promote fraud
and abolish a code of ethical
conduct that is the only
hope for science & humanity...

I think that we can say that a "utility first"
principle is a definitionally open door to fraud
(as just one example in a field of possible worst
case examples), and fraud is an icon of that which
I feel an Extropian community should be against. A
"truth first" ethic instills a standard of ethics:
a principle which the individual must subordinate
him/herself for "the greater good," which, lets
face it, is a defining principle of any com-
minity, that I will agree to abide by a
set of rules that includes your rights.

I think that Daniel is correct to observe the
utilitarian aspect of a truth-first principle,
but this aspect is just as well as saying,
"Utility dictates that some other standard
than utility be the prime directive."

Utility without ethics leads to Nazism. Ethics
is a broad and subjective field of ideas, but I
believe that we can extract one solid, reliable,
and objective principle from it: truth, defined
as a one-one mapping between "ideas and claims"
and "physical reality."

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