From: mike99 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Mar 24 2004 - 15:57:47 MST
Yan King Yin raises some important issues. But he needs to deepen his
knowledge of history.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Yan King
> Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 8:21 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [SL4] Re: 'Singularity Realism'
> 1. European ancestors invaded Islam/Arab during the
> Crusades. Some of the territories converted to Christianity
> were later 'recovered' but I'm not aware of any reverse
> invasion of Europe by Islam/Arabs on a similar scale.
> This is asymmetrical.
Islam appeared in the early 600s of the Common Era and quickly spread BY
MILITARY CONQUEST, not voluntary conversion. The power vacuum that had
resulted from the fall of the Roman Empire made this possible. Arab armies
soon spread the new faith -- at the point of a sword -- as far east as
India, and as far west as Spain, and as far north as the Balkans and Central
Asia. Only when the French (or their predecessors, the Franks) stopped the
Islamic armies in the West, and when the Austrians stopped them literally at
the gates of Vienna, did their military expansion in Europe stop. So in fact
the historical situation has been quite symmetrical.
But the symmetry does not end there. Some of the European powers took
control of Arab lands during the 19th and early 20th century. But their
control lasted less than 100 years. Today, Muslim immigration to Europe has
reversed the tide again. While this immigration has been mostly peaceful,
the Muslims have been extraordinarily resistant to the normal process of
cultural assimilation in their host countries. Just look at this situation
in France and the issue of Muslim women wearing the veil (often because
their male family members compel them to do so). And as we have seen among
their more extremists elements in the Madrid bombings and the attacks on New
York and Washington before that, it has been quite easy for the terrorists
to hide--or even gain support--among the immigrant communities of Europe and
America. What little condemnation of terrorist acts has been voiced by those
immigrant communities has been weak and equivocal, while (according to
journalists and pollsters) support for anti-Western jihadists is widespread
> 2. The modern Israel state is founded by Jewish people who
> (at least some of them) are genetically quite closely
> related to Palestinian Arabs. The point is, if they have
> descended from the same (or similar) ancestral population,
> then both of them should have some claim to the territory
> based on ancestry.
Only some of the Jews of Israel are genetically close to the Arabs. The
Zionists who pushed for the creation of the modern state of Israel are
mostly European Jews (Ashkenazim). Within Israel itself, as in any other
communities, there is considerable diversity. Non-European Jews (Sephardim)
are mostly closer to the Arabs genetically.
> 3. In Gulf War I & II, Saddam Hussein was depicted as the
> villian because of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and of their
> genocide of Kurds. But hundreds of years ago Europeans
> basically did the same to the original populations in
> America. The point: If my dad robbed a bank and died
> afterwards, am I entitled to the wealth he left over?
Why stop your examination at just a few hundred years ago? Push it back
further and further as far as we have any records or archeological evidence
and you will see that what the Europeans did in America is the same as every
other powerful group has done whenever it has had the chance. How did the
Han Chinese come to dominate the territories of modern China? How did China
come to rule Tibet in 1950? This is nothing new. It's certainly not
good--but it's not new. Primate politics.
> If the strong is entitled to rob the weak of their
> possesions/territory, then why does this NOT happen
> *within* civil society?
It does happen, wherever less than moral people feel that they can get away
with it. Turn out the lights in a major American city that has a large
population in poverty and watch the looting begin. Turn away close
government oversight of large corporations like Enron and Worldcom and watch
the looting begin. Primate politics.
> On the other hand, local patterns of morality do not
> seem to hold in the evolutionary picture where humans
> exploit other animals and there doesn't seem to be any
> retributions (negative effects) from it.
> I don't know the answer. What is the pattern that is
> emerging in this? I think analyzing this is much more
> important than speculating on the distant future, even
> if you may be quite sure you'll be among the 'survivors'.
The pattern that emerges is primate politics unrestrained by strong moral
communities and governmental structures that can sanction and punish
If we can create a Friendly AI that consistently adheres to a superior
morality (i.e., our best morality) even without oversight, then we may have
a situation where humans can relax the imperatives of primate politics. We
would quickly learn that we can no longer get away with doing things the old
way because the FAI will not allow it.
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