Re: The Unfathomable

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 04 Nov 1999 21:36:56 -0600

John Clark wrote:
> Cynthia <> On November 03, 1999 Wrote:
> > I don't understand what is wrong about saying that we are all sinners???
> If ALL people have this property, being a sinner, then there is no contrast.
> If there is no contrast then the statement has exactly the same meaning
> as "all people are saints", and that is no meaning at all.

Oh, give me a break. Are you saying the statements "All people are made of atoms" or "All atoms obey the laws of physics" are not meaningful? I think you're objecting to the fact that "sin" lacks a clear definition, which has nothing to do with the generality or lack thereof. After all, all tangerines are not sinners, so "sin" is less general than "atomic substrate".

> To be honest there is another even more important reason I would never
> use the phrase "we are all sinners", it makes me sound like a hillbilly.

And why? Because "sin" has not been clearly defined except as "something you should feel guilty about", making it a statement with emotional value but almost no logical value.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way