Re: The Doctrine of Pope Asimov I

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Jul 21 2001 - 18:26:45 MDT

I'm going to wade in somewhere I should not be (making a
comment on philsophy) when the people on the list with
letters after their names (:-)) are far more qualified
than I to engage in this...

Anyway, wrote:

> Pancritical Rationalism is a part of the Extropian Principles, and it holds
> that nothing need be taken on faith and that all assumptions can and should
> be critically analyzed.

The reason that most other people in the world view Extropians
as "strange" is, in part, because we can use phrases like
"pancritical rationalism" with a straight face. Even I with
about 5 years of college and some minimal education in
philosophy cannot read that statement without having to
actually think about what it means. And I shall not
even mention J.R.'s use of "teratocarcinomas"... I know
what *that* means but I'll bet 2 ExtroPoints 50+% of the
list didn't... And if the list didn't, well, ...

> So, no, basing important beliefs on faith alone isn't
> consistent with extropianism.
> Further, as principles based on the real world, they are open
> to change.

I think I have to disagree with these statements. Some points
would be:
  (a) Beliefs are based on experience which isn't universal;
  (b) Experience is entirely subjective and cannot be negated by
      anything in the "real world"; and
  (c) If the "real world" is open to change its entirely ficticious.

For example it has been "scientifically proven" that males and
females process verbal information differently. If they process
information differently, the internal personal experiences are different,
if their internal personal experiences are different men can never
invalidate the experience of a woman or vice versa. While, it hasn't been
"proven", I'd argue that this argument can be extended to every individual
because every individual has different foundational "ties" to which they
anchor visual and verbal communications. Given that the anchors of each
individual must be different, all "experiences" are unique *and* valid.
An "experience", it is *what* "happened" and was "recorded" from the
perspective of the individual to whom it occured. The best you can do
is falsify a perspective is argue that they "mis-sensed" it (i.e. it was
an imagining or a dream that was not a reflection of external reality) or they
may have "mis-interpreted" it and as a result may be making mountains
out of molehills (e.g. coincidence with regard to astrology predictions).

Because people will "reflect" on experiences, they will "modify" them
to match their expectations of what they could be interpreted as. As
a result we misinterpret a lot of information and have a terrible time
communicating our "beliefs" to others (because they do not have the
same "anchor set" that we personally have). That also why, as I'm
sure Greg could probably testify, "witnesses" are a double-edged sword.

People on the list should be *very* careful to differentiate between
"faith" and "experience-based" beliefs. You can convince me that
I've mis-sensed something, you can convince me that I've mis-interpreted
something, but you can never convince me that my experience is not
a reflection of my personal reality. You *may* convince me that my
experience is in disagreement with the shared experience of a larger group
but then you have to get into serious reputation analysis discussion
as to whether that larger group is attempting to purge itself of
historically justified, but currently irrational, beliefs and provide
some demonstration that the system of beliefs you are promoting is
better able to deal with the personal, social and physical "realities"
simultaneously. As I'm sure most Extropians would agree, "quantity"
is not better than "quality" but that doesn't help much when the
consumers can't afford (or don't want) your products.


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