Sorted by New


Three Worlds Decide (5/8)

Dmitry, we are in agreement that a sufficiently large mind altering change is a killing.

But in principle, changing babyeater society does not require the killing of even a single babyeater. Simply keep unmodified adult and child babyeaters separate, and modify the pre-sentient children to prevent them from wanting to eat babies in the future. No sentient being is killed/modified, although freedom of movement/action is restricted.

In practice, modifying babyeater society would probably involve more bloodshed. But as long as this bloodshed is minimized as much as possible, and is less than the harm caused by babyeating, I don't see it as genocide. Is it genocide to kill some Nazi's as part of an effort to stop them from killing innocents?

Three Worlds Decide (5/8)

Dmitry, if someone destroys your brain or alters it enough so that it is effectively the brain of a different person, that is indeed murder. Your future utility is lost, and this is bad. Forcing you to behave differently is not murder. It may be a crime (slavery) or it may not be (forcing you to not eat your children), but it is not murder.

Genocide (as I understand the term) is murder with the goal of eliminating an identifiable group. It is horrific because of the murder, not because the identifiable characteristics of the group disappear.

My understanding is that preventing babyeating will be done in such a way as to minimize harm done to adult babyeaters, and only if such harm is outweighed by the utility of saving babyeater children. It is vastly different than genocide; the goal is to prevent as much killing as possible, not eliminate the babyeating aliens.

Incidentally, my hypothetical "final solution" is actually a Pareto improvement: every Jew who converts does so because it increases his/her utility.

Three Worlds Decide (5/8)

Dmitry, concerning genocide, I believe you are anthropomorphizing a culture. "Babyeater culture" is not a person. Eliminating the culture is not a crime if performed by non-murderous means; consider an alternative "final solution" of using rational arguments and financial incentives to convince Jews to discard Judaism.

Perhaps the act of forcible biological modification to prevent criminal behavior is wrong (e.g. chemical castration for child molesters), but it isn't the same as a murder.

Torture vs. Dust Specks

Evolution seems to have favoured the capacity for empathy (the specks choice) over the capacity for utility calculation, even though utility calculation would have been a 'no brainer' for the brain capacity we have.
The whole concept reminds me of the Turing test. Turing, as a mathematician, just seems to have completely failed to understand that we don't assign rationality, or sentience, to another object by deduction. We do it by analogy.

Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

DB, all I can or will say about the Bible being folklore is that to the best of my knowledge it occupies a similar position in the literary history of its culture as, say, the Mahabharata or the Mabinogion or the Kalevala do in theirs. Those more expert than I could comment the Babylonian texts prefiguring the Biblical ones, or the implications of the diversity in the Dead Sea scrolls. An alternative approach is simply to consider the diversity of types of text constituting the OT. Rich and various it is, but most of it has nothing much to do with Divinity (Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, Kings, Chronicles....not much transcendence there).
I certainly overstated my case concerning Roman imperial propaganda (late nights ), however, Constantine did have a heavy hand in the selection of the texts that constitute the NT, and it's no accident that a hierarchical, centralised church, with HQs in Rome & Constantinople, was imposed over, for instance the Copt or Irish monastic models, which had the fault of being non-authoritarian.

Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

Hi DB, no I don't. I 'believe' in its improbability, if you're talking voices out of a burning bush. On the other hand, I would look for some commonality in the revelations to different peoples at different times. I would, for instance, strongly reject the notion of a chosen people, or a chosen time, for such revelation. I would also be very wary of any categorisation of the notion 'divine'. Different levels of consciousness, yes. 'God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth', perhaps a little too simplistic. Final cause ? The 'divine revelation' as understood by Hindu Yogis tempts me more than any other.