Re: Lind echoes Burch's Extro 5 address

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 23:34:18 MST

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> 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.

Since you have a highly refined rationality that includes many
things many assume are excluded or questionable, I probably
can't do a lot mroe with supra-rationality than you can do with
your "plain old rationality". However, I doubt that you could
totally explain and support all of your normative structures
using rationality alone. I frankly can't get much a grip on
saying more about what I mean by "supra-rational" at the
moment. So I will pass on this one for now.
> 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.

The point I was attempting, although inadequately, to make is
that spirituality is often given a pretty bad rap in these
parts. It is not uncommon here for people to make really strong
assertions that rationality/science/reason is completely and
totally sufficient for any and all needs of human and higher
beings now and forever. Some even claim that spirituality and
all religion must be seen as diseases and must be purged from
human society for our own good. As I myself recognize that many
of my deepest values and aspirations are not totally defendable,
derivable or supported by rationality alone, I find such views
inadequate and doubtful at best and dangerous attempts to close
off consideration of what I believe are important aspects of the
problem space prematurely.

- samantha

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