Same category as the revolution and the second coming.
Dear mods, just a personal blog post, please do let me know if anything is wrong with me this here <3
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.
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/
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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?
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!
I don’t think there is anything particularly scientific about transhumanism relative to other ideologies. They use science to achieve their goals, much like Catholics use science to prove that fetuses have heart beats or whatever.
Really, this debate feels like it boils down to an individualistic vs collectivistic sense of self. In the collectivist view, dying is not that big of a deal. You can see this in action, when dying for your family, country, etc is seen as noble and great. Whereas an individual sacrificing their family to preserve themselves is less lauded (except in Individualist propaganda, where we’re scolded for “judging” and supposed to “understand” the individual circumstances and so on).
I mean, you yourself say it, we have no idea what consciousness even is. Or if it’s valuable at all. We’re just going on a bunch of arbitrary intuitions here. Well, that’s a bad standard. And it’s not like we’re running out of people, we can just create them as needed, indefinitely. So given that
we have a lot of humans, they aren’t a particularly limited resource, and
few if any of the people have super unique, amazing perspectives, such that we really need to preserve that one person for extra time
Why not focus our energy on figuring out what we are, and decide the best course of action from there?
It’s only cruel if you’ve been brainwashed into thinking your life matters. If you never thought that, it’s just normal. Accept your place and die so that our descendants (who we should work really hard to help so they turn out better than we are, and thus deserving of immortality should we ever actually attain it).
But then, if we’ve figured out how to make such amazing people, why not let there be lots of different ones, so they can flourish across many generations, instead of having just one generation forever? I mean, there isn’t even that much to do. Well, there probably is, I’m just too basic to understand it because of my limited natural brain.
I guess transhumanism overall is really cool, taken as a whole package. It’s just the life-extension part I find silly, especially if it’s a priority rather than an afterthought. But even if you want transhumanism, aren’t we far enough from it that the best path towards it is just raising better (smarter, more cooperative, etc) children? Seems like the biggest hindrance to scientific progress is just the state of the quality of human beings.
>Either too deep or I’m too dumb, didn’t quite get it. Please explain less poetically.
Poorly worded on my part. I just mean that it’s thanks to death that we get progress. The old die, and with them out of the way, the young can progress. Lots of fresh new perspectives are a feature of death.
>Each conscious being is irreplaceable.
Right, that’s my point—the conscious being of your childhood is not replaceable with you now. You are a clone of your dead childhood self. That’s fine for you, the clone. But who’s interested in getting a 30-year-old clone? And the many consciousnesses that flower and die every few decades, will be replaced with the single continuation of a single generation that stumbles into immortality.
>I think that’s a sedative, like all religions
I’m not Buddhist, but your critique extends to yourself. If you take one step back to look at an even broader picture, by replacing religion with ideology, you’ve just reinvented postmodernism. Viz: “Transhumanism, sedative, like all ideologies.” So you either stick with modernism (that transhumanism is the one, special ideology immune from humanity’s tragic need to self-sedate), or dive into the void (which really is just an ocean of sedatives swirling together, I’ve swum deep and I promise it’s ideology all the way down).
Maybe we’re not self-sedating at all, and we can talk to a pharmacist who isn’t just us. It’s hard to say anything about reality when the only thing you know is that you’re high af all the time.
>I’ve been alive for 30 years—not much, I admit, but I still feel as much like me as in the first day that I can remember.
Every day the same sun rises, yet it’s a different day. You aren’t the sun, you’re the day.
Imagine droplets of water trapped in a cup, then poured back into the ocean. Water is consciousness, your mind is the cup.
Each century, the day ends, but your family continues. Every few centuries your family falls apart, but your community thrives. Each millenium your community is ravaged, but your nation lives.
We could go on, to the species, the community of all conscious beings, etc etc. Where you place the self along this line is historically variable. You place it with the continuity of the ego. I place it with my family. There are a zillion answers to this question. Buddhism would say the attempt to answer this question is itself the problem. But I’m not Buddhist.
To meaningfully debate this, we’d have to find out what consciousness is. The academy already moves at a snail pace as science continues to progress one funeral at a time, awaiting the death of precious selves whose lives already had negative value decades ago. Imagine if their reign extended infinitely. But for the grace of Death might we soon unlock Immortality.
Just have kids. Whatever posttranshuman creature inherits the ghost of your body in a thousand years won’t be “you” in any sense beyond the pettiest interpretation of ego as “continuous memory”, and even that falls apart quickly under scrutiny.
Your offspring are as much “you” as that thousand year ego projection. Except they’re better, because they start a whole new fresh consciousness unfettered with your accumulated prejudices. I advocate we raise children better, wiser, and accept death younger and more usefully.
Or from the other angle—reason is a self defeating joke meant to point to it’s own ridiculousness. But what can we as Christians salvage from this wordly conceit? One might even say, this is how modern European philosophy began.
First, the powerful. Then, the rich. Finally, you. The illusion this community provides of an academic scientific establishment begrudgingly beholden to a capitalist economy serving a consumerist society is fake.
Faker than the medieval assumption of a clergy serving an aristocracy serving the peasantry. The economy is fake. It’s not hard to predict because it’s complex, it’s hard to predict because it literally doesn’t exist.
Reason is but the first step along the staircase of your ability to sense truth. Keep climbing!