↑ comment by entirelyuseless ·
2017-01-01T21:00:13.161Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I think you are factually mistaken about whether life has a purpose. Of course to see whether we actually disagree about this I would have to know why you added the word "absolute" there. But it looks to me like you just agree with Eliezer that reality in itself is indifferent. As I have said in other threads, I think reality in itself is good. Evidence that reality is purposeless, for me, would be a reality where there are no tendencies. Of course it is hard to imagine such a world, and it may be entirely impossible. But there is nothing strange about this: since I think that reality is fundamentally good, I think that trying to imagine a reality which is not good is trying to imagine a reality that lacks the fundamental stuff of reality -- i.e, an unreal reality, which is a contradiction.
In any case, I accept that this is your opinion and that you think you are compelled by evidence to hold this. But in that case, you think that you benefit by having an accurate map of reality. And this benefit could offset the costs you mention. If it does not offset them, then perhaps you should reconsider your opinion. And about being "compelled to believe," you are not compelled to believe anything. There are clearly people who reject evidence, and you are as human as they are, so you can reject evidence if you wish to do so. Whether or not people do so will depend on whether or not they value having an accurate map of reality, or at any rate how they value that compared to other things, since everyone has at least a little bit of desire for an accurate map. So you are only "compelled" because you think that the benefit of the accurate map outweighs those other costs you mention.
As I said, I agree that there is no reason why the causes of the world would have to be "honest." I said that there can't be a good reason to believe in an all powerful dishonest being, because there are no benefits to that belief which could offset the costs. Having an accurate map of reality could not be the benefit, because there is no evidence (and there could not be any such evidence in principle) that could possibly indicate that the world was created by an all powerful and dishonest being. Because "dishonest" just means one that wants to deceive you. And such a being will deceive you, since it wants to and is all powerful. So if you think that some evidence indicates the existence of such a being, then your evidence is worthless, since an all powerful being that wished to deceive you would succeed in doing so, even if it simply wanted to make you think that you had good evidence for something -- your evidence might seem completely convincing, but it could be totally false. And you could you have no convincing reason for saying your evaluation of the evidence is not totally false, given that you are saying that there is an all powerful being that wishes to deceive you.
Likewise, there are no practical benefits to such a belief. So there is no reason, neither intellectual nor practical, that could lead someone to believe in a dishonest God.
Still, this is a question of what is possible in practice, not of what is possible in principle. Theoretically someone could mistakenly believe that he got some benefits from the belief, and so adopt it, just as you mistakenly believe that you get an accurate map of reality by saying that life has no purpose.
In the case of the simulation, the creators of the simulation are not gods in the way we are talking about, because they are presumably not all powerful: a simulator as we understand it would have to do some work to change the content of the simulation, so making that change would impose some cost on them. So honest or dishonest, they will not be a "dishonest God" in the way I was talking about it. In any case, I did not say that a dishonest God is impossible: I said there can be no reason to hold such a belief, and that is a different matter. It is not impossible for you not to exist, but there can be no reason for you to believe, "I do not exist."
Replies from: Brillyant
↑ comment by Brillyant ·
2017-01-04T22:55:13.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I think you are factually mistaken about whether life has a purpose.
What is life's purpose?
Evidence that reality is purposeless, for me, would be a reality where there are no tendencies.
What does this mean to you? And why are tendencies evidence of purpose?