Re: The Meaning of Life

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sun, 09 Feb 1997 01:57:29 -0600

I wasn't attempting to deliberately misrepresent your position. I was
just attempting to make the point that, in your version of the Universe,
people assign value for completely traceable causal reasons. The only
question is whether the reasons are traceable to reason or evolution.
You say that if traceable to reason, they are "imposed"; if to
evolution, they are "free". I say exactly the reverse.

I have chosen to identify with my reason, rather than my
evolution-imposed emotions. What I decide to do, is me. A "chain" of
reason, no matter how inexorable, simply makes me inexorably correct; it
imposes *nothing* on me that I do not believe to be right. Evolution
isn't as polite.

You appear to have chosen to identify with your heart. What you want to
do, is you. An emotion, no matter how overpowering, simply makes you
overpowering; it imposes *nothing* on you that you do not want. Reason
isn't as polite.

I take it back. This isn't a dispute over semantics or circular belief
systems; we are genuinely living in different strata of the Universe,
and neither of us is missing the obvious. We identify with different
parts of our selves.

I hope that I, my reason, will eventually assign non-subjunctive
positive value to something. I don't want my emotions assigning
positive value to things that aren't really worth anything.

You, your emotions, already assign positive value to anything you want.
You just don't want reason to get in your way.

Who says all is computation, and all else is superstition?
Who says Church-Turing is simply too restrictive?
Who is an atheist?
Who respects faith?
Who thinks consciousness is just information?
Who thinks qualia just don't compute?

Lord, thy name is irony.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

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