Created Equal (Was: Local Groups Wanted)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Dec 24 2001 - 09:12:31 MST

On Sun, Dec 23, 2001 at 02:21:29PM -0800, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> > We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal,
> > that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,
> > that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
> The problem is with the phrase "all Men are created Equal".
> Its *bunk*. We are *not* created equal and could not be unless
> we were clones of one another. We all have 5-10 genetic polymorphisms
> that can be considered "personal" handicaps that we share with some
> other fraction of humanity.

You misunderstand what "created equal" is supposed to mean. You interpret the
statement in strictly biological terms, and then it of course becomes wrong.
But the writers of the above document did most certainly *not* think about
polymorphisms or skin color, they were basing this on *ethical* equality.

Don't take it wrong, but your engineering perspective makes you miss a
reference that is glaringly obvious to anyone involved in philosophy,
especially political philosophy. Misunderstandings like this are a real
problem for us, since a lot of the formulations in the Extropian Principles
similarly has to be understood in terms of a long humanist and liberal
tradition. If you do not place them in a larger philosophicl context they do
not really make much sense.

> The idea that we can all be considered "equal" is fundamentally flawed.
> What we should be striving for is enhancing inalienable rights,
> such that everyone has equal opportunities for "Life, Liberty and
> the Pursuit of Happiness" (as they define them).

What they really talk about here is that every human has an equal inherent
human dignity, the inherent value of being a human being living a life on
one's own terms and with one's own goal. From this axiom follows inalienable
rights such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As for racism, devaluing somebody's dignity because of their genome or culture
is clearly against this concept of humans as self-developing, self-directing
goals in themselves. You can of course dislike a person or group of person
depending on what they do or think, but that should never remove the
recognition of their basic human dignity. Without it, all other rights quickly
come tumbling down and you end up in an unworkable ethics of might makes
right. Whether races really are useful semantic categories or not, and how
large differences we see between each others doesn't really matter, what
matters is the recognition that other humans have dignity and should be
allowed to live their lives.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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