Re: Extropian Form Letter (was: an exhortation to action)

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sun, 01 Dec 1996 21:03:09 -0600

> 1) It didn't occur to Eliezer that FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON is not a scientific
> report of an actual experiment and its sequelae but a crafted tragedy which
> depends for its heartbreaking power upon that conclusion.
What? I don't get it. I made a point that Charlie was a genius only in
name. FFA being fiction does not contradict this...

> 2) It didn't occur to anaesthesiologists that if there were a technique to
> control pain, with no downside, it would long since have occured as a
> natural mutation. Just as well it didn't occur to them.
Controlling pain is a *major* evolutionary disadvantage. Pain evolved
as an evolutionary advantage; removing it is a disadvantage. People
with off-switches for pain would not tend to survive to adulthood.
Pearce lists among his bookmarks a fellow who experiences no pain. He
once had trouble closing a door, only to notice that his hand was stuck
in it. It's amazing that poor guy's still alive, pleasant as his life
may be.
So in answer, your statement is correct but *you* are completely wrong.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I know.