ExI = Truth First ?

Ian Goddard (igoddard@netkonnect.net)
Fri, 15 May 1998 14:40:26 -0400

In the Extropian society, is the core principle:

"We acknowledge only those truths that are useful."

Such seems to be the consensus, stated in so many
words, of some of the members of this list. If so,
then truth is a subset of the set of "utility" (U),
and as such, x is a member of U if and only if x
is useful. So the Extropian principle would be:

"We acknowledge only those things that are useful."

The Nazi Party found the extermination of all who
disagreed with their agenda very useful and adhered
faithfully to the utility-first principle that many
on the ExI list adhere to. Does ExI = Nazism? I say
no! I believe it is not the right ExI principle. I
believe that to the extent we are directed to that
principle we are infected with totalitarian memes.

I have advocated utilitarianism, but
I think there may be a higher principle.

With a scientific definition of truth (like perhaps,
X = truth if f:X->Y = f(a)=f(a'), which is to say, X
is the truth if the mapping of X on to the physical
world Y is a one-one function, i.e., that X is the
truth if X accurately models the physical reality
without contradiction) then what's wrong with an
Extropian "truth first" principle? Maybe some-
thing is wrong with it, I'm not God, but
should this not be defined logically?
But then that would be truthful... no?
What is the logical case against truth?

In the case of countering national socialism, the
utility (appealing to the utilitarian) of truth-
first is that it is not true that your agenda, or
your well-being, is maximized by the initiation of
aggression upon other humans. Einstein escaped the
Nazis, how many Einstein's did not? Even more, not
killing people but using them as slaves also does
not maximize the well-being of slaveholders versus
a society in which all are free to come and go.
The descendants of slave holders are better off
because of free markets, not antebellum slavery.

In sum, I believe truth can lead to Extropia!

What's wrong with a truth-first principle?

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