The Importance of the Enteric Nervous System (Was: Transhuman Values)

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Sep 14 2001 - 14:03:39 MDT

From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> Why don't you think these are part of human values?

To conclude from the messages I've sent that I don't think these are _part_ of
human values is irrational.
Pure intelligence would not be polluted by religious memes. The idea that "we
can strive for values even if we are not good at achieving them" is extropic
to the extent that the "values" involved are transhumanist values rather than
human values (human values are the kind that motivated the religious fanatics
who committed the atrocity of September 11, 2001).

> By
> making the above values transhuman, you are implying that humans can't
> ever achieve them

No, the implication is that humans should aim at attaining a transhuman
You would rather imply that humans can't ever achieve transhuman status? Then
why be a transhumanist?

> which is both a very pessimistic statement about
> humans incompatible with much of the humanist foundations of
> transhumanism, and gives a ready excuse for not pursuing them until
> super-neurotech is here to fix our brains.

Well, if you choose to see it as "very pessimistic" that's your business.
Actually, it's quite optimistic to think that there is some chance that life
on Earth will transcend the religious fanaticism that has recently raised its
ugly head. So don't jump to conclusions about excuses for not pursuing
transhumanism. I'm simply advocating the use of transhuman values (which means
displacing religious fanaticism) to arrive at a transhuman future. To help
things along, you, as a student of super-neurotech (hey, great new field with
huge potential), can begin devising ways to implement it.

> Personally I consider pure intelligence to be a contradiction in
> terms: intelligence is something practical, that gets its metaphorical
> hands dirty in learning and changing the real world. Emotion is an
> important part of intelligence too, if only as a value selection
> system.

Personally, I consider intelligence to be the ability to solve problems and
answer questions. So pure intelligence means simply the ability to solve
problems and answer questions in the real world, without speculating in
metaphors. Of course emotion is an important part of intelligence. That's why
I've emphasized the importance of the enteric nervous system (on this list and
others), and it may have an important part in making intelligent selections.
To the degree it entails "value selection" of the merely human kind, it is of
no use to the furtherance of transhumanism. A reconfigured brain would
definitely not need to do away with the enteric nervous system and the
emotions that it engenders. On the contrary, the enteric nervous system is
necessary to good emotional health. That's why uploading must include the
enteric nervous system and its accompanying emotions.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values

We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
regressive force now operating in society.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:46 MDT