Re: FWD: Jaron on 9/11

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 16:21:22 MDT

On Mon, Oct 08, 2001 at 12:50:06PM -0700, Brian D Williams wrote:
> But there are numerous organisms which do live in out bodies
> without provoking immune system reactions, many have evolved "non-
> threatening" chemical coatings. Without trying to carry the
> metaphor too far I was simply saying that our bodies don't reject
> all foreign objects and of course neither should our society.

I agree with you about the society part, and it was also my point in my
original response to Lanier.

There are some bacteria and viruses that have learned to successfully
evade the immune system, like the cytomegalovirus. But I wouldn't
exactly call it non-threatening.

> >Mites and gut bacteria are normally not in contact with the immune
> >system.
> Actually I thought the skin itself had some immune functions, guess
> it's back to the books.

Well, it might be a matter of semantics: sweat and other exudates
contain lysozyme and other non-specific proteins attacking bacteria and
parasites. I don't consider that to be the "real" immune system, but it
does have a protective function. So we are both right :-)
> >> Does freedom of information mean freedom of instantaneous
> >> information?
> >An interesting question. I think I would come down on the yes
> >side. I can imagine the use of embargoing information for a while,
> >but who gets to decide on for how long? If that decision is not
> >possible to appeal, then it becomes possible for in
> >information-embargoing groups to control information just as if
> >they were doing actual censorship, simply by putting an extremely
> >long embargo on the information. Once you start circumscribing
> >freedom of information - even in the best interest of
> >many people - you allow further, just as reasonable, decreases in
> >freedom of information. Banning certain media can limit the flow
> >of information tremendously, and if new media are not
> >automatically given freedom then the effective freedom of
> >information might decrease - in many countries you may have the
> >right to write what you want on paper or in letters, but if it at
> >any point becomes digital it is suddenly not free.
> I think we have to draw a distinction between freedom of
> information and mass media. Mass media outlets in this country are
> rarely even remotely fair, prefering to bias a story to their own
> views. This is the problem associated with out attempts and the
> networks out of Quatar.

The fact that media are biased doesn't mean they should be treated as
less protected than what you and me say - we are biased too. If it
becomes allowable to silence biased information, then we end up with the
issue of who determines bias again (and it is even more subjective than
danger determination, and hence more open to abuse). Besides, my website
- is it personal speech or mass media? The lines have been blurred.

> I oppose giving the media access during specific phases of military
> operations as an example.

I don't think the media has a right to participate in a military
operation, and if I ran one I might very well consider not helping them
get any sensitive information. But if they managed to dig up information
on their own, I don't think trying to silence them is a good idea -
maybe they could be persuaded not to release it (a voluntary
transaction), perhaps in exchange for some nice shots (seems to be CNN's
approach). Of course, here we enter the messy issues of valid uses of
coercion - a military force set to protect a society might have a valid
claim to certain forms of internal coercion in order to achieve
societally agreed goals - but in this case there are news sources from
*different* societies, many of which are not directly involved in the
war. That makes coercing them a bad idea.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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