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Making History Available

Eliezer-

Are you serious? Repudiating your usual earnest rationality for flippancy in this comment seems uncharacteristic. I didn't think Kyle was advocating 'religious veneration' and epistemological deference to ancient civs. However the quote continues into inanity

"...is it not trivially true that we ourselves are the most aged civilization?"

How will we reduce bias with words like these? Modern people who venerate ancient cultures should instead venerate their own because it happens to exist at a later point in time? In any case who can point to a specific place and time and say, 'Our civilization began Here.' It's not even good sophistry.

The more serious bias regards conflating collective and individual achievements and beliefs vis-a-vis 'civilization' coupled with a temporal bias. Kyle defines 'chronological snobbery' as the thought that:

"...since your civilization is the most recent in history, your way of perceiving the world is inherently more accurate"

The idea of Progress is that Knowledge compounds, we are the most recent, ergo we have the most Knowledge. (Western) Civilization's collective scientific progress has had a regrettably limited impact on the accuracy of the average individual's private perception of the world. Yes, there are tools now like Bayesian reasoning, particle accelerators and fMRI through which the physical world can be perceived more accurately than ever. But seeing the world accurately results from a process of discovery and reasoning that each must do for themselves. Temporal position does not change that. If our 'civilization' so accurately views the world, why are so many hostile to the theories of the scientific experts who use these incredible tools? Despite the progress of empirical science, each new human starts at 0 and as they mature, they must decide what they are willing to accept. Many seem unwilling to accept the radically unintuitive universe that is being rolled back (or are even unaware). Hell, religious fundamentalists think it is less accurate than the cosmology of near eastern cults' myths.

The point is our empirical science allows us to view the world more accurately, though the degree to which we all must become reductionists eventually is debatable and apart from science our civilization is no better than any other. The individuals in a society define it, and our society is pretty banal. The past still has value.

C.S. Lewis quotes that Kyle didn't look for..;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronological_snobbery

Does not the present enjoy a longer history than the past?