Re: Cold-War Disarmament Activism

From: Joshua Fox (
Date: Thu Jun 29 2006 - 08:09:53 MDT

Perhaps I didn't express myself clearly enough.

I was not raising the issue of whether the Cold War is analogous to the
negative Singularity scenario. I was interested in a meta-analysis of
certain arguments which might have been wrong, even when coming from the
clearest of thinkers and with the best logic.

In other words, how would Singularitarianism respond to someone who thinks
as follows:

"Yudkowsky just gave an apparently impeccable argument in favor of working
against Singularity disaster. I guess I should give money to SIAI.

"But then again, back in the 1980's, Sagan and Hofstadter (who resemble
Yudkowsky in being advanced multidisciplinary, logical, ethical thinkers)
gave apparently impeccable arguments in favor of supporting the disarmament
movement, and it turned out that their positions may have not only been
wrong, but would have actually made the risk of extinction worse if
implementation had gotten underway.

"So, it seems that I can't simply trust what seems to me to be a flawless
logical argument from Yudkowsky, and I'd better not give money to SIAI, but
rather only do what Kurzweil suggests: keep myself alive, and maybe do my
little part to advance democracy, human rights, and technology."

How would you respond to this? And remember, we're only human: Logic isn't
everything in convincing people. Even if the argument is logically wrong,
what do you say to such a potential supporter?


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