Re: FW: G8 (a report from a friend who was there)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Jul 23 2001 - 16:56:16 MDT

Leonardo Gonzalez wrote:
> Just for the record, the report was an email from a very good friend of mine
> who is traveling in Europe at the moment. It was not a "propaganda message"
> from some "group" fabricating and exaggerating events.

Is your very good friend willing to share his email with us so that we can
cross-examine him (or her; I'll assume him) directly? Let's take a
specific example: Did he see, with his own eyes, Bush drinking wine on a
cruise ship? Or is he reporting the slogan that somebody else shouted?
Did he personally see police deliberately running over people with cars?
Or did he hear it from some other protestor and then go on to help spread
the rumor? Was he personally sprayed with tear gas, and if so, what was
he doing at the time? As far as I can see, this email is a report of the
rumors propagating through the protesters. And, since I know that this
was not an angry mob of scientists, my guess is that it would have been
socially unacceptable for someone in the audience to stand up and shout "I
haven't seen anyone hit by tear gas" or "I find it really hard to believe
that the police car would run over the body" - and most of the people in
the mob simply wouldn't think that way.

No, it's not a propaganda message from some group fabricating and
exaggerating events; it's a completely uncritical report of the rumors
passing through the crowd. These rumors might have been generated by
emergent memetic forces and they might have been generated by deliberate
propaganda, but either way, the report doesn't tell us anything whatsoever
until we know what your very good friend *personally* witnessed.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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