Re: Lind echoes Burch's Extro 5 address

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 16:06:16 MST

Samantha Atkins wrote:
> What could are put-downs of those with active spirituality if
> they tend to turn away highly talented people dedicated to
> creating the future you desire? What you call irrational I
> might call (in some cases) supra-rational. I believe that many
> supra-rational viewpoints and concerns are actually critical to
> building a future that is viable personally. Meaning well is
> no excuse for anyone.

What can you do with your supra-rationality that I can't do with my plain
old rationality? I mean, calling some system "supra-rationality" is a
heck of a strong claim. I understand that really strong claims aren't
always easy to prove even if they're true, so I'm not asking for proof.
What I'm asking for is suggestive evidence.

Incidentally, spirituality can also turn off highly talented people
dedicated to creating the future. Even things that aren't spiritual but
that bear some imagined resemblance to spirituality can turn off highly
talented people. The sometimes irrational reactions of people who are
highly talented are quite irrelevant to where the truth or falsity lies,
at least if you're considering the problem as a problem and not as a
public relations exercise.

But if you want to ask "What good are put-downs of active spirituality?"
then one is perfectly justified in coming back and saying "What good is it
to tread on spiritual grounds at all?" After all, the largest religion in
the world is Islam, which still has only 25% of the world population, so
anything you say is going to tick off at least 75% of the audience. If
it's worth going there for the sake of the truth, then all that matters in
considering a put-down of active spirituality is whether the put-down is
true, not who the put-down offends.

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

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