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Note that there's a similar problem in the free will debate:

Incompatilist: "Well, if a godlike being can fix the entire life story of the universe, including your own life story, just by setting the rules of physics, and the initial conditions, then you can't have free will."

Compatibilist: "But ...(read more)

The "problem" seems based on several assumptions:

1. that there is objectively best state of the world, to which a Friendly should steer the universe 2. pulling the plug on a Virtual Universe containing persons is wrong 3. there is something special about "persons," and we should try to keep them i...(read more)

<p>Michael Anissimov, August 14, 2008 at 10:14 PM asked me to expound.</p>

<p>Sure. I don't want to write smug little quips without explaining myself. Perhaps I'm wrong.</p>

<p>It's difficult to engage Eliezer in debate/argument, even in a constructive as opposed to adversarial way, because he w...(read more)

I find Eliezer's seemingly-completely-unsupported belief in the rightness of human benevolence, as opposed to sorting pebbles, pretty scary.

"I can't abjure my own operating system."

We don't need to get into thorny issues involving free will and what you can or can't do.

Suffice it to say that something's being in our DNA is neither sufficient nor necessary for it to be moral. The tablet and our DNA are relevantly similar in this res...(read more)

I should add: when discussing morality, I think it's important to give the anti-realist's position some consideration (which doesn't seem to happen in the post above). See Joshua Greene's The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Truth About Morality and What To Do About It, and J.L. Mackie's Ethic...(read more)

As far as I can tell, Eliezer is concluding that he should trust part of his instincts about morality because, if he doesn't, then he won't know anything about it.

There are multiple arguments here that need to be considered:

1. If one doesn't know anything about morality, then that would be bad; ...(read more)

This is one of my favorite quotes (and one of only two I post on my facebook page, the other being "The way to love something is to realize that it might be lost", which is cited at the top of the scarcity chapter in Cialdini's Influence).

I'm not sure if I interpret it the same way as Schopenhauer...(read more)

I'm already convinced that nothing is right or wrong in the absolute sense most people (and religions) imply.

So what do I do? Whatever I want. Right now, I'm posting a comment to a blog. Why? Not because it's right. Right or wrong has nothing to do with it. I just want to.

"You might as well say that you can't possibly choose to run into the burning orphanage, because your decision was fully determined by the future fact that the child was saved."

I don't see how that even begins to follow from what I've said, which is just that the future is fixed2 before I was born...(read more)