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

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 22:22:33 MDT

Eliezer Yudkowsky writes

> 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.

I do not disagree.

> 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.

Let me guess who you think that one critic might be.

> 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.

As if that is going to achieve the desired goal.

> 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.

Oh, absolutely. Shortness of space, and conciseness forced
me to omit mention that everyone's time is limited, that
many people have much more interesting things to do, and
that not everyone would have the taste for it.

> The ten thousand useless critics, having vastly overestimated
> their own intelligence, will insist that you are being
> close-minded.

Yes, it would be so good if we had an objective way to avoid
overestimating our own capabilities.

> 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.

I understand.

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

Would you please clarify? I don't know if you are being sarcastic
or not. The persecutorial nature of the old HUAC is well-known, of
course; but since lists *really are* censored from time to time, and
it's conceivable that some body of extropians might take this upon
themselves, you might be serious. Was there really such a committee
in the days before I joined the list, to your knowledge?

Lee Corbin

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:02 MDT