Re: Friendliness and blank-slate goal bootstrap

From: Rafal Smigrodzki (
Date: Sat Jan 10 2004 - 15:32:13 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Metaqualia" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2004 3:23 AM
Subject: Re: Friendliness and blank-slate goal bootstrap

> > I do not rule out that killing everyone off could
> > > be a good idea. Death is morally neutral.
> >
> > ### This sounds very un-sl4-worthy, you know.
> If you can make a more precise critique of my statement I'll be happy to
> reply; the way I decompose your objection at this point is
> "death is bad because my genes tell me so"
> "this guy is saying death is not bad"
> "so this guy must be wrong because my genes are always right"
> "I have an emotional response to dangerous memes, which in this case are
> coupled with tribal acceptance/exclusion mechanisms".

### Your categorical statements as to the moral neutrality of certain
occurrences, without extensive caveats and background explanations, smack of
the belief in an objective morality to which you are privy, a belief
infrequent at the sl4-level. Add to it the condescending deconstruction of
my (putative) attitudes, which totally misses the point, and the discussion
becomes even less engaging.

> So the _real_ moral value of death depends on how much positivity and
> negativity the person is going to get from the rest of their life.

### Again, an absolute morality, purporting to substitute the judgments of
its proponent ("the _real_ value" - you can actually see the real value!)
for the opinions of other sentients. I begin to shudder whenever someone
starts talking about morality, especially the "real" morality - this is all
too frequently the preamble to sweeping suggestions, wildly at odds with
what most sentients would see as right.

As for me, I do not conceive of myself as capable of discerning the one and
only true morality (defined = the way to goodness, the rules of goodness),
with the exception of heuristics, based on practical observations of
interacting sentients, which lead to outcomes judged as "good" by the
sentients in question. As a result, I cannot suggest the "real",
observer-independent values, since all judgments are likely to depend on the
sentients in question, be it human, designed AI's, or posthumans.
Henceforth, pronouncements about whether death (of all humans) is "morally
neutral" or not are below the level of abstraction which is appropriate to
derive the said heuristics.


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