Re: A (Useful?) Simplification

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Thu Jan 03 2002 - 04:12:05 MST

('binary' encoding is not supported, stored as-is) >Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 10:14:30 +0000
> Re: A (Useful?) Simplification Geraint Rees <> extropians <>Reply-To:
>On 1/3/02 8:18 AM, "Joe Dees" <> wrote:
>> Let's say that there are a hundred people on an island (let's call it
>> Spaceship Earth); the majority, say 85, eat meat and vegetables, but realizing
>> that their numbers are growing and that latrine space is overtaking cattle
>> range and farmland, a few are working on ways to get our eggs out of a tiny
>> basket before we all die of overpopulation-induced pollution and starvation.
>> Let's say that the other fifteen have sworn fealty to a murderous Thugee
>> ideology, and the only people they will not kill are their own. What are the
>> 85 to do?
>> 1) Hunt down and convert, or, failing that, kill the 15 so that all may live
>> their lives unendangered and those working on liberation may continue.
>> 2) Join the 15 to avoid being murdered.
>> 3) Blithely ignore the 15 and hope that one's own number does not come up.
>> 4) Try to understand the killers as members of an alternative yet equally
>> valid lifestyle and attempt constructive and nonjudgemental dialogue with
>> them.
>> 5) Assert that the 85 deserve such a fate because of real or imagined
>> historical wrongs and await their fate with a sense that an incomprehensibele
>> (or maybe comprehensible, but these would most likely convert) divine justice
>> was being meted.
>> I stand squarely with alternative #1. I see Samantha as embracing
>> alternatives #4 or #5 or perhaps a syncretism of the two.
>I'm not very sure how useful a discussion will be that starts off with such
>a biased framework, but here goes with two observations:
>1. Consider how the 85 should react if it turns out that not all of them
>pick option 1. Should rational dissent be suppressed in such a situation?
>Should the option 1 people regard option 4 people as their enemy? What if
>it's actually a minority of these hypothetical 85 who pick option 1, but
>they sincerely believe that they are right? What if some people pick option
>1 initially, but then change their minds and want option 4 instead? Etc.
>2. There are of course more options, and the options are not mutually
>exclusive. So for example, political dialogue and military action are not
>mutually exclusive (as current US action in Afghanistan, supported in
>general by the international community, is showing). As JR Molloy pointed
>out on the related real-world thread, war is diplomacy carried on by other
>means. What if some of the 85 want some interesting combination of 1 & 4.
>Anyway, I continue to have misgivings about whether further exploration of
>such a biased scenario will be enlightening, so I'll stop now!
>Best wishes,
Of course opttion 1 people will wish to minimize bloodshed (theirs and others) by pursuing option 4, but not beyond the point of diminishing returns (as was implied by the alternative of conversion, which requires a modicum of understanding). I submit that we understand the fifteen all too well, by both their actions and their words.
Those who do not wish to participate in option 1 are by default adopting another option; most will probably adopt option 3. Since the 15 represent all Muslims (1 billion out of six), presumably most of them will adopt it also, regardless of their sympathies. They, of course, would not be either hunters or hunted.
You need to precisely specify the nature of the bias, rather than simply proclaiming it in boo-hooray fashion.

Hava Happy, Joe

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