Committee on Un-Extropian Activities (Was: Openness to Unpopular Ideas)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 20:06:53 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> We will listen very carefully and honestly to everything they have
> to say. [...]
> Well, at least a few people here hold these as goals. Uh, anybody
> besides me? I'm not hearing much endorsement of these ideals, and
> I'm getting a little worried.

Sorry, can't back you on this one. Forums are best held together not by a
conceived obligation of "openness", but by open-minded people who aren't
afraid of being *accused* of close-mindedness, and are hence willing to
undertake the pruning necessary to keep discussions intelligent.
Discussions are moved forward, not by the ten thousand critics who are
wrong and clueless, but by the hundred critics who are wrong and smart,
and above all by the one critic who is smart and right. Seeking out that
one critic requires that you be willing to tell the ten thousand others to
go do their repetitive babbling on some other mailing list that's actually
interested. Smart critics are *valuable*. The one critic who's right
isn't likely to stick around and put in the effort to make himself(*)
heard if he sees that you aren't doing anything but arguing the same basic
subjects over and over. The ten thousand useless critics, having vastly
overestimated their own intelligence, will insist that you are being
close-minded. The only correct response to this is "Goodbye."

Every objection, no matter how stupid, deserves to be answered; every
critic, no matter how clueless, deserves to be debated; but most of them
deserve to be answered and debated after the Singularity, not right now,
when I'm busy.

Anyone want to revive the Committee on Un-Extropian Activities? I think
this list could really use it.

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

(*) I use a coinflip (actual coin) to assign gender.

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