Comment by joe4 on Open Thread · 2007-07-02T17:17:54.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hopefully anonymous,

How might you suggest that people be forced to comply with the terms of the forced clinical trials? Many involve a daily dose of meds. Those who do not want to participate in the trial but are forced are not likely to comply with their prescribed dosage.

Many people believe freedom is god-given. Others, whether or not they believe in god, believe freedom is a human right, and are morally opposed to those attempting to curtail our freedoms, even if it has the possibility of benefitting the world. Maybe that makes them selfish, or maybe we are convinced that there is something fundamentally true in the idea that the end does not always justify the means.

Comment by joe4 on One Life Against the World · 2007-05-20T19:20:40.000Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"Certainly, people in our immediate community are more valuable than people we have never met in other continents. However, I don't think "community" should include beyond those who we actually interact with. It shouldn't include abstract groupings such as "state" or "nation". Supporting your high-school sports team is fine."

Yeah, wouldn't the world be a great place if everyone thought like this... screw helping the world... let's just help ourselves and those whom we interact with. Oh yeah, and while we are at it, why don't we completely cut off the less fortunate from our community so that they don't count as people we interact with.... then we can give even more money to our high school sports teams.

Comment by joe4 on Consolidated Nature of Morality Thread · 2007-05-09T08:53:31.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Of course. I am morally opposed to your basis for choosing morals; I am determined to show that it must lead to a contradiction.

If no moral preference is better than any other, then randomly assigning an arbitrary set of morals, from all possible sets of morals, to each individual person should be no better or worse than any other approach. However, I see the consequences of such an experiment as potentially creating utter chaos and destruction leading to the downfall of the human race.

Certainly the survival of our race must be better than the alternative.

Comment by joe4 on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-09T01:54:11.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


I am aware of many of the pitfalls of a utopian society as has been well discussed throughout the ages. Nonetheless, I find myself drawn by the desire to make things better.

If you could change one thing about this world, what would it be?

What do you think is the biggest problem our society faces (besides the impending singularity) and would you fix it if you could?

Comment by joe4 on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-08T23:28:52.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


I am not sure I ever believed. However, that is not to say that there are not aspects which I find appealing.

I see religion mainly as a form of social control. In some cases, I see it as an attempt to add meaning to life, and to explain that which we either do not know, do not understand, or are incapable of ever knowing.

What is your perspective of the view from the eye of someone who had never believed?

Comment by joe4 on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-08T15:41:44.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


I wasn't necessarily trying to provide a third alternative that would be better than an afterlife. I don't think that it's possible to propose an alternative that is more attractive than the absolutely ridiculous fantasy world we have concocted for an afterlife. How can any idea possibly compete with eternal happiness, no pain or sorrow, the propspect of being reunited with everyone you loved in this life.

Nonetheless, for those who don't believe in an afterlife, I believe I proposed an alternative that for some could fulfill the hope of living forever, though perhaps not in the same way we have traditionally thought of an afterlife.

Comment by joe4 on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-08T15:32:49.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Stuart, You're thinking about it all wrong... you're not supposed to think about it rationally. Whatever the church says, we're supposed to believe because god speaks us to through the church. And Jesus said there was an afterlife... how could Jesus have been wrong? And isn't everything in the bible the word of god... you know, even though it was written by humans and some pope decided which books should remain in the bible and which shouldn't... but it wasn't really a man making the decision since the pope received divine inspiration from god about which books to keep around.

Sadly, religion is not about thinking rationally. It seems more like a method of social control; telling people that if they sin, they may enjoy this life, but they will spend all of the afterlife suffering eternally in hell, unless they confess which magically makes everything better... you used to also have to give money to the church to be forgiven. Really, I think that it's brilliant. I don't believe there has ever been a better way to get a group of people to follow your orders and adopt your beliefs.

Comment by joe4 on The Third Alternative · 2007-05-08T09:35:52.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW


Since you do not believe there are any "correct" moral beliefs, do you also deny that some moral beliefs are "better" than others, thus leading to the unfortunate outcome that no moral beliefs systems are better than any other?

Do you also reject the classification of actions as either good or evil?

What do you think would be the affect on society if everyone adopted your views?

Comment by joe4 on Third Alternatives for Afterlife-ism · 2007-05-08T09:26:28.000Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I do not believe in an afterlife, but I hope that I will be able to make a positive contribution to the world... large enough that I will not immediately fade away from the memories of those who knew me or of me.... to instead live on in the memories of those whose lives I affected, or to be recognized by future generations for my positive contributions. Such a goal gives me hope in this sometimes cold, seemingly meaningless existence.

I want to make a difference. I am just not sure yet how I am going to make my mark on society.

I do not hope to avoid death or even live forever in an afterlife. Rather, I hope to live forever in people's minds and memories and never be forgotten.

Comment by joe4 on The Third Alternative · 2007-05-07T19:06:37.000Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

"There is no evidence that any analogous distinctive Pseudo-Pavolvian mechanism is at work in generating "Santa efficacy". "

In fact, if there is any effect, what would be the effect on the kid who is naughty throughout the year and still gets presents on Christmas? Does he think that he was a good boy? Does he think that he got away with something and/or realize that someone isn't watching all the time? What happens when there is positive reinforcement regardless of the actions throughout the year?

Comment by joe4 on The Third Alternative · 2007-05-07T17:04:16.000Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Nick - the claim is that they make you believe that you are always being watched by a moral judge, not that you behave morally when noone is watching you. I'm not sure how you'd distinguish the two in practice, however."

This is perhaps true in the beginning. But what happens once they figure out that Santa isn't real and that there are times when no one is watching them. I suppose this is why religion tries to pound it into your heads that there is a god, and judgment leading to either heaven or hell. I can't think of a better way to try to coerce people into following your morals. If you think about it, it really is a brilliant method of social control if you can scare your followers enough.

Many children are taught that god exists and they have to accept that at faith. It doesn't take long for a kid to figure out that Santa doesn't exist; it is nearly impossible to indefinitely perpetuate that lie. Religion on the other hand... how do you disprove something that MUST be taken completely on faith.

I hope we can someday find a better way to instill morals into kids other than to tell them they are going to be punished by a moral judge at the end of their lives if they are bad.

Comment by joe4 on The Third Alternative · 2007-05-07T01:35:53.000Z · score: -6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

When you think about the commercialization of Christmas, is the perpetuation of Santa and presents still a noble lie? Or does it now become a perverse destruction of what was supposed to be a religious celebration of the birth of Christ?

Comment by joe4 on Universal Law · 2007-05-06T23:52:26.000Z · score: 0 (3 votes) · LW · GW

How careful do we have to be deriving laws from our empirical observations... deriving laws that we think must be true because we have observed them to always be true.

I believe this is analogous to Hempel's Paradox, otherwise known as the raven paradox .

I wonder what, out of everything we think we know, must actually be true. Is there anything we can really say with 100% confidence? What truths can be derived by examining what happens when a proposed truth is not in fact true?

Comment by joe4 on Universal Fire · 2007-05-06T08:38:08.000Z · score: -2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps not an "arbitrary mess of surface rules," but why not just one of an infinite number of possible laws.

We have but only begun to gain an EMPIRICAL understanding of our world.... why should our observations equate to what must be a higher truth governing all possible other universes.

However, if we restrict ourself to what we think we know about our world, it is hard to imagine the extent of what else must also change to accommodate a match failing to strike. Nonetheless, new phenomena and discoveries over the years have continually forced us to abandon our current theories about our existence. What do we really know for sure about this world anyway?