Re: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Tommy McCabe (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 18:20:40 MST

--- "Perry E. Metzger" <> wrote:
> Tommy McCabe <> writes:
> > If morality is subjective, then the morality which
> > says the Holocaust was the greatest thing in the
> world
> > is every bit as good as the morality which
> condemns
> > it.
> Of course. And, had the Nazis won, that would have
> been the morality
> being taught everywhere.
> As it turns out, I don't particularly like that
> morality -- it has a
> bad effect of leading to people attempting to kill
> me -- but I can't
> say there is some experiment we can conduct that
> demonstrates killing
> Gypsies is "wrong" but killing Reindeer is "okay".
> >> > Cheetahs and antelopes aren't sentient (that's
> another
> >> > discussion entirely) aren't sentient and
> therefore
> >> > can't negotiatie, at least not in the way
> humans do.
> >>
> >> Humans rarely negotiate with tuna before turning
> >> them into very tasty sushi.
> >
> > A negotiation, at least in the way we understand
> it,
> > requires that both parties be sentient.
> What does "sentient" mean? Perhaps to a
> Jupiter-brain, we won't seem
> very sentient, but we *will* seem rather tasty.
> How different is it, after all?
> I try talking to a tuna about physics, it gives me
> no answer, and I
> conclude it isn't "sentient" the way I understand
> the term and eat it,
> ignoring its pain response as I slaughter it
> because, after all,
> they're just "animal reflexes".
> The Jupiter-brain tries sending me an advanced
> encoded signal asking
> my opinion on the solution to an astoundingly
> difficult math problem
> which won't even fit inside my skull when encoded 20
> bits to the
> atom. I give it no meaningful reply, it concludes
> I'm not sentient,
> and it decides to eat me, ignoring my pain responses
> which are, after
> all, just "animal reflexes".
> By the way, Tommy, eat any good pate de foie gras
> lately? Mmm, tasty.

I don't even know what that is. To rephrase: a
'sentient' organism is one that experiences qualia,
and thus has the opportunity to experience negative
qualia. I really don't have that good of an idea where
the dividing line is on Earth, and I am not too eager
to find out, because of people's tendency to
rationalize to justify hurting animals. I also think
that the question of objective vs. subjective won't be
decided until we understand qualia, since moralities
are usually defined in terms of them.

Do you Yahoo!?
Find out what made the Top Yahoo! Searches of 2003

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:43 MDT