Re: The Extropian Religious War--thank you

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri Jul 13 2001 - 21:25:29 MDT

Samantha, I do think you're being too tolerant here. Can you give me an
example of a correct conclusion or useful strategy that can be arrived at
by being religious and cannot be arrived at in any other way? Actually,
let me ease that requirement; can you show me a strategy or knowledge
which is easily *invented* by religion but is harder to arrive at through

Even so, I wouldn't want to be religious because, to my mind, it's better
to be rational and strive to improve that rationality than to do something
that has short-term benefits but is crippling in the long term. But what
I'm asking for here is an example of even a short-term cognitive benefit,
and by that I mean "coming up with a right answer", and not alleged lower
stress levels and so on.

I do want to strengthen my challenge a little bit beyond asking for an
instance of when a normally confused person will benefit from religion,
because some minds out there are so disorganized that essentially random
behavior sets are categorized as "religious" or "rational". I've known
people, for example, who thought that deliberate "rationalization" of
false beliefs was a recognized part of "rationality"(!).

What I'm asking for, then, is a case where religion provides a cognitive
benefit to someone with moderate strength and depth of rationality.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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