Re: GM angst

Date: Thu Jul 20 2000 - 06:34:25 MDT

In a message dated 7/19/00 10:26:36 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> It is not prejudgement to
> pause while considering a case for and against X. You often hold the
> putative serial murderer in custody while investigating the charges, I
> think, rather than taking the chance of allowing a continued death spree.
> This is rough on the poor coot if he's not the baddun, but it makes sense
> on a generalized cost-benefit schema - or at least, I gather that's the way
> we've chosen to conduct our joint affairs lately, in th absence of
> omniscience. There might be a slicker extropian way I haven't heard of.

[ running out of time -- will try to reply in more depth this weekend]
Damien, you make a good point with your analogy to the criminal legal system.
 The main difference is the existence of something called "due process" in
the legal system. We've evolved mechanisms in the legal system to

- insulate the decision-making process from political pressure and "populist
- allocate the burden of proof
- filter evidence for relevance and undue prejudice
- review results dispassionately
- recuse unfairly biased people from the process

Of course, there are notable failures of due process at any given time, but
there is a "meta-process" of jurisprudential systemic review over time that
results in steady progress in refining the basic rules of due process. The
public technology policy process, on the other hand, has few, if any of these
characteristics. The scientific method presents an interesting corollary to
legal due process, and in the spate of recent "junk science" decisions in the
American courts there has been a fruitful cross-fertilization between the two
systems. Perhaps what we need is a "science court"?

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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