Re: Ellison on Loserhood

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From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Wed Aug 16 2000 - 18:40:32 PDT

Jeff Bone wrote:
> Brian Atkins wrote:
> > You have decided (or are at least taking the position) that there can be
> > no objectively correct decision as to what is best to do with your money
> > (if you had some). That's fine, but I come down on the other side.
> Objectivity is really a thorny thing. I'm willing to entertain any reasonable
> objective argument in this direction, but it would have to be grounded in
> something abstract, formal, and logical --- say, game theory. There's a pretty
> reasonable argument to be had for eleemosynary behavoir (ahem, pretensions) ---
> even in a capitalist framework --- merely on the basis of game theory. But
> that's a far cry from saying "it's *wrong* to spend money on a MiG when people
> are starving." I'm a moral relativist. Just shoot me. ;-)

I don't want to shoot you, but I want you to read this:

and give a response.

> > No point
> > in taking this discussion further. But remember, there are 150k plus people
> > dying every day you spend flying your Mig around.
> >
> Natural selection. If they aren't smart enough to move where the food is,
> well, c'est la vie.

I am not referring to starving people in Ethiopia or whatever. I am talking
about everyday death from cancer, etc. i.e. the stuff that is going to kill
us all sooner or later unless we do something about it.

> ;-)
> Aside: yeah, I know how outrageous that statement is. I specialize in taking
> unpopular, outrageously extreme positions and defending them toungue-in-cheek.
> BTW, it's Larry's MiG, not mine. I'm not advocating his choices, just his
> right to make them --- just as nobody should have anything to say about what
> you do with your $1/70thB. When people start allocating other people's
> resources, it's a slippery slope to ideological and literal tyranny.

I am not making the argument that someone should not have choices. Far
from it, a singularitarian like myself wants just the opposite for everyone.
But that doesn't mean I can't flame him as much as I want :-)

Brian Atkins
Director, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (temp site)

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