Another area is in the difference between religious belief and religious practice. The strong tendency to reject religious belief by members of the LW community may come at the expense of really understanding what powerful emotional, and yet rational, needs may be met by religious practice. This is probably a disservice to those religious readers you have who could benefit from enhanced conversation with LW atheists. Religious communities serve important needs in our society, such as charitable support for the poor or imprisoned and helping loved ones who are in real existential crisis (e.g. terminally ill or suicidal), etc. (Some communities may even produce benefits that outweigh the costs of whatever injury to truth and rationality they may do.) It struck me that a Friendly AI that doesn't understand these needs may not be feasible, so I thought I should bring it up.

This topic interests me quite a bit, and I think it would be well-received here if you focus on the practice and ignore the belief. EY has a number of posts that are unabashedly influenced by religious practices.

Vaniver, I thought the message from you in my mailbox was private, so I responded in a private manner. But, it was a copy of this public posting; I've got the hang of it now. I cannot, however, figure out how to recover the private response I sent you and post it here as a public reply. Feel free to do so if you like!

Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

by orthonormal 1 min read12th Aug 2010805 comments


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