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My personal and professional development keep leading me back to the LessWrong sequences, so I've gathered up enough humility to join in the discussions. I hope to meet your high standards.
I'm 27 and my background is in business and the life sciences; I see rationality as a critically important tool in these areas, but ultimately a relatively minor tool for life as a successful human animal. As such I see this community as being similar to a bodybuilding/powerlifting community, where the interest is in training the rational faculty instead of physical strength.
Edit: Wow, all my comments downvoted? That's a pretty strongly negative response. Care to explain?
What about 7 billion stubbed toes?
Surely the incomprehensibly large number is part of the point of the question, otherwise why not use the set of all existing people being dust specked? ~7 billion dustmoted vs. 1 tortured?
3^^^3 people is more sentient mass than could physically fit in our universe.
Edit: Here's how I imagined that playing out: 3^^^3 people are brought into existence, displacing all the matter of the universe. Which, while still momentarily conscious, each gets a mote of this matter in their eye, causing minor discomfort. They then all immediately die, and in the following eternity their bodies and the remainder of the universe collapses to a single point.
Wait, does the original question simplify to:
"[There exists 3^^^3 people] AND [of the set of all people there exists one that is tortured for 50 years OR of the set of all people, all get a mote of dust in the eye; which would you prefer]"?
Because that would be quite different to:
"[of the set of all people there exists one person who will be tortured for 50 years] OR [there exists 3^^^3 people AND each of them gets a mote of dust in the eye]; which would you prefer?"
I answered the latter.
I would suggest the answer is fairly obviously that one person be horribly tortured for 50 years, on the grounds that the idea "there exists 3^^^3 people" is incomprehensible cosmic horror even before you add in the mote of dust.