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Took a bit after reading your babyeater pieces to get my thoughts in order, but my general picture is that you're mis-representing the human condition, and that the whole of the story relies upon that misrepresentation. This is humanity you're talking about. While the readership of OB may match your profile decently, the human species, even extended into a moderately improved state does not hold the value-set you represent.

  1. Child-love/protection is (a) proximity-focused, (b) stronger than abstract value of reciprocity. Folks are much better at getting over the idea that other folks are suffering than you give credit for. Hence the trade-off between superhappies modifying humans and humans saving baby-eater kids is a no-brainer. Nuke the local nova. Or better, point at a fundamental incompatibility between Baby-eater and Human ideology...that the SH plan misunderstands.

  2. Us vs. Them is under-done as well. Ender's choice...where someone protects human species, even at the cost of the other species, and then is later vilified by self and others is much more likely. Nuke the local nova.

  3. As far as I can tell, the story says starlines are dense and unpredictable, not that there's no other path. So...nuking Huygens star is too big a risk/cost for the uncertainty that baby-eaters will find another path. Nuke local, or don't bother.

Overall, I enjoyed it.


I'm an atheist whose wife has encountered some of those same issues, going both directions... I'd caution against both clearing the plate and worrying much about what you were raised with. As per previous posts here, as well as in the experience of most of the highly rational folks I know...clearing the plate tends to clear off way way too much. In general, most of the old comes back later, and excessive plate clearing tends mostly towards intellectual/psychological drama.

I'd personally suggest that you worry less about the old positions you had...and look at where / who you want to be.

There are (in my eyes) better than even odds that this set of doubts is less valuable over time than your marriage, or even your extended circle of religious friends/family. Perhaps instead of trying to clear the table, you might instead look for areas of agreement between what you understand and your Christian faith.

All the best.

Hopefully and Michael,

Whatever your current estimates of the probability of success, Eliezer here has a point that seems to have been missed.

His line is: There are reasons why one would legitimately be depressed. Unhappy relationship is one. Frequently those reasons underly claims that life is meaningless. We would need to assuage most such issues in order to have a legitimate case to consider whether life is meaningless

Some other legitimate depressors: obesity poverty lack of health lack of efficacy etc. and Fear of Death.

Since all of those could lead to a depressive state and the claim that life is meaningless, we would have to address all of those before we could deal with the meaninglessness problem. If any of y'all have a better present solution for Fear of Death than cryonics (regardless your estimate of its success), there are a lot of folks spending money on cryonics that would love to talk to you.

Also, there may be a misconception re: cryonics and its promises. The claim is that med-tech is advancing, and it is somewhere between not-inconceivable and likely that in the future, technologies such as mental backups, fast-grow tech, rejuvenation treatments and uploading will create an effective impossibility of accidental or age-related death. Hence removing the fear of death for the near (pre- solar death) future.