Re: The Future and Nihilism (was Re: >H RE: Present dangers to transhumanism)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sat, 4 Sep 1999 03:33:20 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 4 Sep 1999, Brian Manning Delaney wrote:

> How, after all, would one ground the notion that "the purpose is to
> have fun"? Not that, personally I believe such a view has zero merit.
> I just think it can't (easily, at least) be justified.

Justified in what sense? If we reject the idea that we are here to survive & reproduce, it seems perfectly *self*-justified to say I am here to have fun. Taking a different viewpoint -- "I am here to contribute to my fellow [trans]human" seems much more difficult for me to justfy (to myself).

> re: ... mathematical proofs in philosophy ...
> The former is Russell (more or less), the latter is Wittgenstein.
> Wittgenstein, in my view, was closer to being on the right track.

You're in over my head here, since I've yet to read either of them (though Russell is in the library), I'd have to defer to Max. My philosophy pursuits always seem to get side-tracked pending other nearer term stuff. I suspect I'll end up doing the cram course the week before I'm scheduled to upload, then just as I'm about to step into the transfer chamber, it will hit me -- "Oh no, this process is pointless too!"

> > If you are talking about something that would
> > violate the laws of entropy I would have to
> > disagree.
> Why?

The simplest answer is that if I disavow some basic laws of physics John Clark will have my head on a silver platter. A more complex answer is because a big chunk of what I've been researching the last two years (what are the limits to computing [intelligence]) rests on the idea that you can't violate entropy. So I've got a vested interest in SIs having limits. I would probably believe that SIs have a better chance of tunneling out of this universe than violating the laws of entropy. Finally, on the slippery slope from classical physics to magical physics, I find it satisfying to draw a line that says -- "This is as far as I go buddy" (said with a John Wayne accent).

> I see. That makes sense, though the description should include something
> other than "quiescence"-like terms

> But in deciding whether or not aliens might pervade our world,
> we can entertain other options.

Certainly, so long as they are "physically" possible. If you start a discussion that the "aliens" are the "ghosts in the machines", then I'll have to beg off.

Actually, having just said that, I realize that it is physically possible that aliens could be the "ghosts in the machines". The only two brains that have been disassembled to the level that we might discover them (NIH's visible brain project) were dead, so the aliens would likely have departed.

I'm guess going to have to think a little more before I can clearly state what the alien's can't be I guess.