Reilly's Rant

John K Clark (
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 10:15:41 -0800 (PST)


Before I get started I just want to say to Reilly that you've been calling me
a "entropic death-worshiper" for years now and it does have a certain charm
in a turgid sort of way, but it's getting a little old now. You need another
insult and I notice you're been trying out new material. If you want my
opinion, "tyrant" and "murderer" are too mundane, "NAZI" has no class and
"cannibal" sounds a little silly, but "totalitarian fellow traveler" is just
your writing style and has real possibilities, you should be able to milk it
for another decade or two.

On Mon, 9 Mar 1998 Reilly Jones <> Wrote:

>Subjectivity is an unpleasant fact of nature for scientists because
>there is no way to study it, measure it, experiment on it,


>or theorize about it.

False, very false. For the exact reasons you stated, nothing on Earth is as
easy as dreaming up a theory about subjectivity because there are no facts
they must fit.

>So all too many of them take the intellectually lazy or dippy way
>out of their conundrum by pretending it away.

It's not lazy it's practical, if I can't study it then my time is better
spent thinking about those things that I can fruitfully examine.

>Free will or volition is not an epiphenomenon, it is real.

Free Will is one of the very few important things in life that I have a clear
non circular definition of, the inability to predict what I will do next.
I'm sure you don't like my definition and I'm equally sure you have nothing
of your own to offer in its place. Saying that Free Will means having
volition and volition means having Free Will, or that Free Will means making
a choice and choice means deciding on your own Free Will does not cut it.

>Information does not exist in the absence of an "I", a knower who is
>distinct from the known.

Another example of a statement so bad its not even wrong. I'll tell you a good
general method for finding such things. Assume the statement in question is
true, then assume it's false, would the world be the slightest bit different?

>Perhaps some deeper reflection is in order.

You said it not me.

>>What somebody does is more important than how they do it.

>This is a restatement of tyranny's favorite rationalization for
>dealing out mayhem and injustice. The original is "the ends justify
>the means."

Does the end sometimes justify the means?
Does the end always justify the means?
Is the idea that examining the phrase "the ends justifies the means" can lead
to an important conclusion about anyone or anything completely idiotic ?

>John, I have been down to your ontological basement before, to your
>bits of information as the foundation of all. It is false.

Well Reilly I'll give you this, you may not be right very often but at least
you're always certain.

>our computer-besotted age,

The fact that you now equate digital technology with evil is not surprising.
In the past you've told members of this list that you disapprove of Einstein's
Theory of Relativity, both special and general, that Quantum Mechanics is
nothing but foolishness, that Science shouldn't use statistical methods
because some philosopher who's name escapes me at the moment didn't like it,
and even that Newton was a fool and Calculus is wrong because it's based on
the idea of limits to the sum of an infinite number of terms. Your present
phobia is entirely consistent with your past. Now if we could just get rid of
those new fangeled diabolical death worshipping horseless carriages then
everything would be beautiful.

>I just don't see that anything purely digital can access the spatial,
>wave form of reality, the microcausal backward-in-time portion
>(transactional QM interpretation) or pilot wave (ontological QM

I don't know what you mean and I doubt you do either. If I'm wrong then
explain it without your usual muddled hyperbolic prose and tell me how analog
can do better.

>in the way consciousness does.

OK Reilly, is Schrodinger's cat alive or dead before a conscious observer
looks into the box?

>Machines have no rights

So you say, but I'll bet you dollars to donuts the machines will disagree.

>they do not have relations between subjective "I's" in any sense.

And just how do you know that, did the virgin Mary tell you in a vision?

>Your embrace of the culture of death blinds you to the fact that
>assisted suicide is licensing doctors to murder developing selves of
>a greater age than the unborn.

It's their life, it's their decision, it's not your life, it's not your
decision. If when or how your neighbor chooses to end his life is none of
your god damned business!

>Individuals can die on their own, they just need to wait, no one is
>stopping them by not granting doctors a license to murder.

Cancer is painful, I've seen people who had it, good people. All terminal
cancer patients now receive pain killers even though it always hastens their
death by a few hours or perhaps a few days. Should doctors who proscribe
these drugs be jailed or executed? Should we just ignore them when they beg
for death? Should we tie their hands so they can't get hold of anything sharp?
Should we gag them so they can't get their wish by biting off their tongue
and drowning in their own blood? You may think I'm exaggerating, I assure you
I am not.

>Values are absent in the worldview of scientific nihilism which
>denies the presence of purpose in the universe

I see, well tell me then, what is the purpose of the universe, and while
you're at it, I was always a little curious about the meaning of life too.

>This [commercialization] goes against the grain of the core ethics of
>Western Civilization


>that have worked well for centuries on end

Ah, this must be a new meaning to the phrase "worked well" that I have been
previously unaware of.

>you will never counter John Clark's much more coherent case that he
>made for the commercial usage of conscious beings being positively
>good, to be sought for.

I don't claim it's perfect but it is a positive good, let me give an example.
It's clear that some people like serial murders are monsters, they're just
too dangerous to freely walk the streets and must be dealt with somehow.
I think the best idea is to send them to private, profit making prisons and
give the prisoners a choice of which one they're sent to. However it seems to
me that the victim should not be forced to pay for the cost of his tormentors
imprisonment, the criminal should pay for it himself any way he can.
Admittedly there are aspects of this idea that sound a little ugly, almost
like slavery, but the only alternative is worse. If the prisoner is not to
starve and is not required to pay his own way yhen that means somebody else,
a non criminal, would be required to pay and become a "slave". If we must
have "slaves" I prefer they be criminals. Reilly, I know you're very far from
being a libertarian but most Extropians are and we feel little obligation to
pay our neighbors bills, even if they're nice people in deep trouble, so we
feel even less obligation to pay a murderers bills.

I admit there are some problems to work out when the criminal is at either
end of the economic spectrum. A very poor criminal would have to choose a low
cost prison, but he might not be able to pay even that. The prison would try
to make a profit by putting its occupants to work, but I'm not sure this
would be successful. It's hard to be profitable if your employees are
uneducated, stupid, dishonest and lazy. Unconventional sources of revenue may
be needed if the crook is to pay his own way, Human experimentation.

Pharmaceutical companies could hire private rating agencies to judge proposed
Human experiments much as Standard and Poor rates bonds. The pain \ danger
index would range from slightly uncomfortable \ probably harmless to
agony \ probably fatal. A market would develop, open to anybody who was
interested, not just prisoners. It would be in the financial interest of the
drug companies to make the tests as safe and comfortable as possible.
A market could also develop for organ transplants. All parties would benefit,
medical research would get a huge boost and everybody would have a new way to
make money if they chose to do it. Prisoners who have no money and don't want
to sell a kidney or be a guinea pig would have an incentive to work hard in
the more conventional prison work.

Extremely rich criminals could also be a problem. Ross Perot shoots me in the
head and is sentenced to 25 years in prison. He decides to go to a super
luxury private jail in Tahiti with Polo Ponies, yacht racing, 4 star
restaurants and full communication equipment so he can tend to his business.
The prison charges $2,000,000 a year but that's pocket change for Ross.
If he gets tired of this prison he can start his own elsewhere.
All this doesn't sound like much of a deterrent.

If the prisoners assets could only be used for bare necessities, victim
compensation and prosecution costs and if every PPA (Private Protection
Agency) agrees to this then there is no problem, everything would be nice
and stable, but I think that is highly unlikely. In the real world Ross Perot
or any other rich man wouldn't join a PPA that had a law like that in a
million years unless there was no alternative. Don't misunderstand me, I'm
not saying this is a fatal flaw in Anarchy or any such nonsense I'm just
saying it would probably create some conflict, but there is nothing new in
that. I doubt this homicidal billionaire problem is very serious and anyway,
in my PPA nobody would be imprisoned for more than 8 to 10 years. If the
crime was more serious than that they would be executed. Probably the PPA's
will work out a compromise of some sort that is, like everything in the Human
world, imperfect but does have the virtue of being stable in the real world
full of real people.

By the way, I have no problem with capital punishment (if it is painless) but
I do think it's a shame to fry perfectly good organs with electricity or
poison them with cyanide. Waste not want not.

John K Clark

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