Re: Extropianism & Theology

Tue, 09 Mar 1999 15:07:06 +0100

It appears as if <> wrote:
|1) The Nightmare Big Brother Power - If I am following you correctly, this
|Big Brother takes charge and makes all the decisions for everyone else in
|existence, using the "I know better than you" argument as justification (if
|only to this being's self). A few questions come to mind. Is this being
|truly flawless, with perfect knowledge of the right action in any instance?

When human determine whether X "is" flawless they compare X against a model which they have declared lacks flaws. This method requires consensus.

|And how would the being know that it IS truly flawless? What if one of the
|flaws is in your ability to detect personal imperfection? If there were a way
|to be absolutely certain that such a being were absolutely infallible (and
|quite frankly, I can't conceive of such a method), than the optimal thing
|might just be for it to do just that, although it could be that the act of
|imposing the correct action on a conscious being may in itself be
|intrinsically harmful, and thus the wrong action. If the Big Brother being
|were aware of this, it would have to determine which was more harmful,
|directing the action or letting the "puny" individual make mistakes.

BB need not value the goals of minor sentiences as important as its own.

+                                                                      Of

|course, our Big Brother could instead control our actions unbeknownst to us,
|in which case we would have no independent existence at all and really be
|parts of the mind of God under the illusion of division. Wow, we've just
|rediscovered Hinduism! Of course, Big Brother might not be so arrogant. The
|Big Bro might believe it knows all, but admit the possibility that this is a
|mistaken belief. In which case, the Bio Brother God might decide to let us
|"puny" ones make our own decisions, on the off chace that one of us discovers
|something it doesn't know. Maybe it would only play dictator in the case of
|decisions where based on his so far uncontradicted knowledge an absolutely
|irrevocable harm will be committed...of course, if Big Brother is all
|powerful, than there shouldn't be much that it couldn't see a way to fix if we
|don't do it ourselves.

Considering the malleability of the human mind, BB would have no problem to control the humans by means of a thought police to do its bidding, if it so felt inclined.

|2) A Power might not care at all if such beings were grateful or not, but be
|aware that technically they should be based on the puny ones own standards of
|gratitude. You also pointed out that a Power built on human value standards
|would be quite likely to meddle - probably still is holding onto that pesky
|gratitude meme.

I apply a non-zero probablity to such a possibility.

|3) When you speak of nonhuman/inhuman Powers, do you mean, "not of human
|origin" or "not humane"?

  term		    alternative
  ----		------------------
  non-human	not human contents
  inhuman	not human friendly

+                           This may be quibbling a bit on my part, but it

|seems to me that if an alien Power developed from social antecedants, then it
|might share some "humane" values, though by no means necessarily all, nor all
|interpreted the same way. I think that there are certain strategies of
|interaction that are likely to arise in any social being, and I have
|difficulty imagining a solitary species achieving Power status. A Power
|descended from a social species may have some capacity for empathy, and even
|though us puny humans might be stretching the limits of its imagination, it
|might just be able to recognize us as kindred in a sense.

The human history contains a number of terminal elimination of peoples, groups and "lower" life forms. If the Power descended from humans ancestry, then it might consider the elimination of some or all humans for some rational reason.

+                                                           Then again, I could

|be wrong. Well, I would accept noninterference from such a being so us "puny"
|beings could work on our own Powers, which might be a little more friendly.

Count the number of cultures which have survived the contact with a highly advanced technological culture. Your culture could became a ``cargo cult''.

|If this "inhuman" Power were to consider us a pest, than I guess I'll just
|have to go out fighting (hey, no fair incinerating me before I have a chance
|to shake my fist).

Fairness is only relevant among equals.

The altruistic superior entity might not think your wishes relevant.

Consider an old lady and her cat.
The cat might not appreciate the fairness of the neutering.