Re: Catholics and the Singularity

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sun Jun 30 2002 - 17:54:19 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:
>> I am losing track. Why on earth does it matter? The concern
>> should be for dedication to the truth. The truth doesn't have this
>> or that sectarian or philsophical brand on it, it is simply true.
>> Those that cling to some such brand have given up the dedication to
>> truth and instead are content to wave their labeled something
>> around claiming it is all there is and that it is better than all
>> other labeled somethings. BAH. Why should our AGI or any
>> intelligent being be overly worried or concerned when encountering
>> such?
> I agree with the above sentiment. However, Eliezer seems to want the
> AGI to please all humans, including those who hold to "this or that
> sectarian of philosophical grand." I don't think this is possible; I
> don't think it's possible to come even vaguely close to this.

I agree with Samantha. The truth does not have this or that sectarian
or philosophical brand on it, it is simply true. Ben seems to think
that truth has the sectarian brand of 'scientific empicirism' on it, and
that by telling an AI to select whichever belief system (including
atheism) is correct according to correspondence with reality, you are
imposing your own views on the rest of the world because you didn't tell
the AI to select whichever belief system is correct according to the
word of the Bible.

I think the statement that there is no way to find out that their
religion is true - even given ultrapowerful intelligence, very thorough
scans of the outside world, and the ability to read human minds - would
be rank blasphemy to most deeply religious people. If Moses really did
split the Red Sea a few thousand years ago, and you send your time
camera back to take pictures, does the camera come back with false
pictures of the Red Sea not being split because the camera was built by

I'm currently hunting through IRC in an effort to find out what actual
religious people think about this. Asking my earlier question about a
powerful but nonhuman mind, and whether it could find the correct
religion, I got this response:

<Person1> Are you asking why I believe my religion is correct?
<Person2> Person1: He's asking you whether it is POSSIBLE to know that
your religion is correct.
<Person1> Buddhism is reason.
<Person1> I don't think faith is needed to be Buddhist since everything
has reason behind it and can be experienced.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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