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Jes20

Wish I could! But alas, I live in Guatemala. Of course, if anyone ever passes through Guatemala and wants a free tour guide, hit me up.

Good luck finding a new housemate!

Jes10

That's the point. In (protestant) Christianity, the old law was a standard that humans could never follow. But the old law had to be paid in blood. So God became human himself, so that he could pay in blood a law that only he could live up to.

It sounds like the author accidentally LARPed as an orthodox Jew.

Jes70

Well, it's not dead. It taught my daughter and I how to reason using Bayes' Rule, something I had completely given up on understanding until I read the fantastic guide from Arbital.

Maybe it didn't become a cool trend that people clamor over, but it probably helped other people with similar questions!

Here's the link if anyone else wants to learn the same: https://arbital.com/p/bayes_rule/

Jes40

Thank you, this makes a lot of sense. I do see how the history of science kind of narrows its way down towards materialism, and if we assume that path will continue in the same direction, pure materialism is the logical outcome.

But...

I disagree with the narrative that science is narrowing in on materialism. Popular culture certainly interprets the message of Science with a capital S that way, but reading actual scientific work doesn't leave that impression at all.

The message I got from my middle school science classes was that science is profoundly uncertain of what matter is, but that it appears to manifest probabilistically under the governance of forces, which are really just measurable tendencies of the behavior of matter, whose origin we also have no guess at.

The spiritualists were wrong in their specific guesses, but so were the scientists, who as you note when citing Aristotle.

I have no doubt you will be on the right side of history. The priesthood will change the definitions of matter to accommodate whatever spiritual magic we discover next. Past scriptures will be reinterpreted to show how science was always progressing here, the present is the logical endpoint of the past, or at least, of our team in the past.

So far we've got a perfect record of everybody clamoring for the first option and then things turning out to be the second one.

That's because materialists write the record. It's easy to construct History to serve Ideology, so history, at least not epic narrative history like this, is a bad teacher when received from power. Primitive pagan mythology stumbled ignorantly towards the True Religion, or even the inverse of your claim, history is full of self-sure clockwork Newtonians eating crow when the bizarre, uncertain nature of modern physics slowly unraveled before their arrogant, annoyed eyes.

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Thanks again for taking the time to discuss this btw, your response answered my question very well. After all, I'm arguing about whether people should be materialists, but you only explained why they are, so feel free to ignore my ramblings and accept my gratitude :)

Jes10

Unborn beings don't exist, they are not moral patients. It would be perfectly fine if no one else was born from now on - in fact it would be better than even 1 single person dying.

Well, okay, but why? Why don't tomorrow people matter at all? Is there a real moral normativity that dictates this, or are we just saying our feelings to each other? I don't mean that condescendingly, just trying to understand where you're coming from when you make this claim.

I can see the altruism in dying for a cause. But it's a leap of faith to claim, from there, that there's altruism in dying by itself.

But I'm arguing for something different from altruism. I go further by saying that the approach to constructing a sense of self differs substantively between people, cultures, etc. Someone who dies for their nation might not be altruistic per se, if they have located their identity primarily in the nation. In other words, they are being selfish, not as their person, but as their nation.

Does that make sense?

Granted, your point about interstellar travel makes all of this irrelevant. But I'm much more cynical about humanity's future. Or at least, the future of the humans I actually see around me. Technology here is so behind. Growing your own food as a rational way to supplement income is common, education ends for most people at age 12, the vast majority don't have hot water, AC, etc. Smartphones are ubiquitous though.

Immortal lords from Facebook deciding how many rations of maize I'll receive for the upvotes I earned today. Like, of course the Facebook lord will think he's building Utopia. But from here, will it look much better than the utopia that the church and aristocracy collaborated to build in medieval Europe?

I don't look to the future with hope as often as I look to the past with envy. Though I do both, from time to time.

Jes10

Individualism and altruism aren't exclusive. I didn't mean to imply you are selfish, just that your operating definition of self seems informed by a particular tradition.

Consider the perspective of liberal republicans of the 19th century who fought and died for their nation (because that's where they decided, or were taught, to center their self). Each nation is completely unique and irreplaceable, so we must fight to keep nations thriving and alive, and prevent their extinction. Dying for patriotism is glorious, honorable, etc.

I have no idea of what consciousness is scientifically, but morally I'm pretty sure it is valuable. All morality comes from the seeking of well-being for the conscious being. So if there's any value system, consciousness must be at the center. There's not much explaining here needed, it's just that everyone wants to be well - and to be.

But that's my point, consciousness will go on just fine without either of us specifically being here. Ending one conscious experience from one body so that a different one can happen seems fine to me, for the most part. I dunno the philosophical implications of this, just thinking.

If most people are saying that AGI is decade(s) off then we aren't that far.

Yeah, it's exciting for sure. 

I'm 30 as well, so I'll be near death in the decades that likely begin to birth AGI. But it would likely be able to fathom things unfathomable to us, who knows. History beyond that point is a black hole for me. It's all basilisks and space jam past 2050 as far as I'm concerned :)

The act of ceasing to exist if of the utmost cruelty and there's nothing that can compensate that.

Well, I guess that's it, huh? I don't think so, but clearly a lot of people do. Btw I'm new to this community, so sorry if I'm uninformed on issues that are well hashed out here. What a fun place, though.

Jes20

Okay. I'm curious to understand why! Are you yourself materialist? Any recommended reading or viewing on the topic, specifically within the context of the rationalist movement?

Jes30

Are people here mostly materialists? I'm not. In a Cartesian sense, the most authentic experience possible is that of consciousness itself, with matter being something our mind imagines to explain phenomenon that we think might be real outside of our imagination (but we can never really know).

In other words, we know that idealism is true, because we experience pure ideas constantly, and we suspect that the images our minds serve up might actually correspond to some reality out there (Kant's things-in-themselves).

The map might really be the territory. Like, if you read a book by Tolkein and find that the map doesn't match the text, which is right? And if Tolkein clarified, would he be right, considering the thing he's talking about doesn't even exist? Except it kinda does, in that we're debating real things, and they impact us, etc?

I don't think we're anywhere near approaching a meaningful metaphysics, so the confidence of the materialists seems misplaced. I mean, yeah, I've seen matter, so I know it's real. But I've also seen matter in my dreams (including under a microscope, where it continued to be "real").

Sorry to rant on this single word!

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