Re: BIO: Help wanted explaining evolution to students

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 20:16:05 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > [Eli reminds us:]
> > There are minds that think as well as you do, only differently.
> I have no doubt of that, but I also remember this: if I and some
> other mind believe fundamentally contradictory things, regardless
> of our equally accomplished minds, one of us is wrong.

Oh, absolutely! Either God exists or It doesn't. The Bible is either true or
false. I'm just reminding everyone that there are two sides to this argument
and they do not think alike. Nor is either method of thinking morally
superior - although there are other methods of thinking which are definitely
inferior, such as that which led to the Spanish Inquisition. It is of course
the case that that method of thinking which is factually *correct* is probably
superior in some fashion.

My point is simply that there is no need for xenophobic fear and hate in
either direction, and that such xenophobia will likely lead to tragic and
comic efforts by their side to prevent the Singularity even as they wait
patiently for Armageddon. Or needless attacks on people of quiet faith and
goodness on an issue that's about to be resolved anyhow, just because no other
way of thinking can be tolerated.

One side wants to serve God. One side wants to become God. Are the deeds
that are likely to result really incompatible? Why offend people who could be
our natural allies? Any reasonably intelligent religious person can see that
the Singularity is Armageddon, the coming of the Messiah, or Arafel. We don't
even have to claim it in order to garner support; we need merely respect the
postulates that lead them to support us.

Some of them will be happy to help us, and particularly to defuse any reflex
panic at AI or IA - as long as nobody attacks these perfectly good people out
of xenophobia. I have seen *vicious* attacks on religion - not necessarily by
anybody in this thread, but vicious nonetheless.

You don't have to believe them. You don't have to agree with them. You don't
have to like their mental methods or what looks like "doublethink". Just
respect the good ones for the good they do, and _don't_argue_ about Ultimate
Issues that can quite safely be handed down to our more intelligent future selves.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.