Wow fantastic thank you for this excellent reply. Just out of curiosity, is there any question this "cult of rationality" doesn't have a "sequence" or a ready answer for? ;)
So in other words you agree with Lovecraft that only egotism exists?
(I'm new here and don't have enough karma to create a thread, so I am posting this question here. Apologies in advance if this is inappropriate.)
Here is a topic I haven’t seen discussed on this forum: the philosophy of “Cosmicism”. If you’re not familiar with it check Wikipedia, but the quick summary is that it’s the philosophy invented by H. P. Lovecraft which posits that humanity’s values have no cosmic significance or absolute validity in our vast cosmos; to some alien species we might encounter or AI we might build, our values would be as meaningless as the values of insects are to us. Furthermore, all our creations and efforts are ultimately futile in a universe of increasing entropy and astrophysical annihilation. Lovecraft’s conclusion is: “good, evil, morality, feelings? Pure 'Victorian fictions'. Only egotism exists."
Personally I find this point of view difficult to refute – it seems as close to the truth about “life, the universe and everything” as one can have and remain consistent with our current understanding of the universe. At the same time, such a philosophy is rather frightening in that a world of egomaniacal cosmicists who consider human values to be meaningless would be seem to be highly unstable and insane.
I don’t claim to be an exceptionally rational person, so I’m asking the rationalists of this forum: what is your response to Cosmicism?
Online poker is the most brutal rationality test I know of. As a one time “semi-professional” player, I experienced things which really strained my capacity to believe in a random universe. It would be amusing to watch someone like Eliezer Yudkowsky play poker; I can easily imagine him becoming an emotional, superstitious nut throwing keyboards against the wall like almost everyone else who plays poker long enough!