John K Clark (
Wed, 4 Dec 1996 22:51:26 -0800 (PST)


On Wed, 04 Dec 1996 Eliezer Yudkowsky <> Wrote:

>The SAT - not IQ tests, just the SAT - measures the ability
>to trace single causal links.

I think that's a gross oversimplification. It would be remarkable if such a
crucial aspect of intelligence could be measured with just one number, you
need 2 to measure something even as simple as the wind, one for speed and one
for direction. I imagine that for a good measure of intelligence you'd need a
Tensor, and a big one.

>Life has many meanings? Name five.

1) Justice
2) Truth
3) Beauty
4) Happiness
5) 42

I will be glad to tell you the true meaning of life just as soon as you tell
me in a precise non circular way the meaning of the word "meaning". Personally
I think 42 is as good an answer as any.

>I invented Algernon's Law: "Any major enhancement of
>human intelligence is a net evolutionary disadvantage."

That "law" is so bad it's not even wrong. In the first place the fact that
evolution has not come up with something is not evidence that the idea must
be bad, it's only evidence that evolution has not come up with it. As I said
before, except for microorganisms, nature never figured out how to make a
part that can rotate in 360 degrees, despite the fact that it would certainly
be a good thing to have in your tool kit.

In the second place, when you use a word like "disadvantage" you need to
specify from what point of view. What is being disadvantaged, life in general,
the species, the individual, the genes, the memes? My memes are the only
thing I'm interested in because I don't have thoughts, I am thoughts.

John K Clark

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