Re: FAI means no programmer-sensitive AI morality

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Jun 29 2002 - 22:50:42 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> Rationality, and/or the correspondence theory of truth, is a
> scientific philosophy. It is also, in somewhat different and
> lesser form, an innate human intuition. The vast majority of
> people, especially what we would call "fundamentalists" and
> outside the First World, adhere to a correspondence theory of
the truth
> of their religion; when they say something is true, they mean
that it is
> so; that outside reality corresponds to their belief.

Correspondence theory leaves wide open how you know what is
real, whether only external sensory derived things are included
in the real and so on. Even with those things nailed down it is
by no means clear that correspondence between internal models
and perceived external reality is a full and adequate
justification for saying that those models are "true". The
phrase "scientific philosophy" does not parse well and is not
full recommended or justified by simply mentioning the
correspondence theory of truth. Thorwing in "innate human
intuition" does not exactly strengthen the case you seem to be
presenting. I doubt very much that you can then stretch the
sketchily laid out "correspondence theory of truth" to how some
religious people hold their religion. In point of fact, many
religious people hold that the most salient facts of reality are
actually inherently unknowable by human minds, at least in any
normal state of consciousness. That is way different from
holding to a correspondence theory of truth
regarding what they believe.

> There are some First World theologians who have, after
repeated defeats
> by science and rationality, generalized and begun
constructing elaborate
> philosophies in an effort to evade disproof and deprecate the
value of
> evidence. They don't have the ability to actually do it.
Every human

Much more elaboarate religious philosophies existed in the Far
East thousands of years before these purported constructions
that you claim as defense against science and rationality.
Western theology generally lags behind.

> uses the correspondence theory of truth innately,
ubiquitously, and
> without conscious awareness, regardless of what other
arational forms of
> support are also invoked and regardless of what verbal
philosophies are
> constructed on top.

This is an assertion. I don't quite see its relevance.

> If you think of theories as being made up of
> different kinds of perceived support, including rationality
atoms, drama
> atoms, and so on, then humans instinctively construct
theories using all
> available forms of support. A verbal commitment to
rationality does not
> automatically rid your theories of drama atoms and
rationalization atoms
> and social-approval atoms and so on. A verbal commitment
> rationality does not automatically rid your theories of
> atoms. Humans are storytellers and instinctively tell
stories using all
> available support, including rational support, dramatic
support, and so
> on. If some First World theologians like to believe their
theories are
> "outside rationality" they may be able to fool themselves,
but they can
> no more tell stories without invoking the correspondence
theory of truth
> than they can spread wings and fly.

Since you haven't really well defined what rationality is it is
difficult to respond to this statement. But if you think all
there is is what can be grasped by science and that rationality
consists only of one's mental constructs corresponding to what
can be known of this set through science, then many would differ
with you. There is no need to simply tell stories in religion
except as "fingers pointing toward the moon" when it comes to
spirituality. The stories are no more the reality than the
fingers are the moon. And that my friend is far different from
the limited little coral you seem to be herding religion or at
least certain types of religious people into. Now I certainly
agree that many theologians and ministers are foolish enough as
to claim the finger is the moon.

- samantha

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