Unless you just consider it a Mouse That Roared scenario in which no one dares commit a terrorist attack under threat of global annihilation.
(just read the book, it's well worth it)
I'm confused by your last comment - what use would the LHC be in a global economic crisis or nuclear war? I don't suppose you mean something like "rig the LHC to activate if the market does not recover by date X according to measure Y, and then we will only be able to observe the scenario in which the market does recover" or something like that, do you?
Tiiba - I believe Nate's suggesting that part of the reason non-rationalists feel hostile towards rationalists could be that they fear the rationalists are not rationalists at all, but Clever Arguers.
That is, they fear that a superior intelligence is attempting to manipulate their beliefs through rationalization.
How easily would you be able to distinguish between a fAI trying to help you discover the truth and an unfriendly AI concocting a clever argument to lead you to the conclusion it (for whatever reason) wants for you, assuming both are vastly more intelligent than you?
Caledonian: I assume he means that, for all X, if X is true, he wishes to know X. This opposed to "if the universe is made of puppies and unicorns, tell me about it, otherwise I don't want to know."
Jennifer - He doesn't seriously want us to lock up our science libraries for good. He's using fiction to make a point about how people react to scarcity, and mysterious information:
And no, I'm not seriously proposing that we try to reverse the last five hundred years of openness and classify all the science secret. At least, not at the moment. Efficiency is important for now, especially in things like medical research. I'm just explaining why it is that I won't tell anyone the Secret of how the ineffable difference between blueness and redness arises from mere atoms for less than $100,000 -
Ahem! I meant to say, I'm telling you about this vision of an alternate Earth, so that you give science equal treatment with cults. So that you don't undervalue scientific truth when you learn it, just because it doesn't seem to be protected appropriately to its value. Imagine the robes and masks. Visualize yourself creeping into the vaults and stealing the Lost Knowledge of Newton. And don't be fooled by any organization that does use robes and masks, unless they also show you the data.