[FoRK] Lion, rationality, reason, and seriousness

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Thu May 10 08:44:37 PDT 2007

Lion Kimbro wrote:
>  Passion is a product of evolution.  What I was saying was that if
>  you anthropomorphized evolution and then give it a will, and then
>  did whatever you thought that that anthropomorphization would have
>  you do, then you're following passion, not reason.  (And I think you'd
>  agree!)
Actually, no.  Evolution is purely meritocratic.  If it improves and 
competes well, it survives.  There is nothing romantic or loving about 
it.  Survival, reproduction, and peaceful and pleasing living among 
beings with potential for extreme violence and cruelty are the logical 
goals of evolution and they are completely rational within evolutionary 
logic.  That they are givens, to some extent, by our instincts makes 
them pre-logical within our own thinking, until we understand evolution 
which gives us the ability to solidly extend our rationality to embrace  
(survival, reproduction, growth, memetic evolution) or coopt (sex, love, 
feelings of good will).
>    /!\ Caution /!\
>    /!\ Distinct Lack of Levity Follows! <!>
>  <serious overrated="1">
>  I think "follow your heart" is the best way to live.  It's not the most
>  "rational" way, but then again, I don't think there is, or even 
> *could be,*
>  a most rational way of living.  It'd require the ultimate value system,
>  and I don't believe that exists either.
That makes no sense.  Why do you need the "ultimate value system" that 
doesn't exist?
What does "follow your heart" mean?  I think what you mean by rational 
and what I mean differ.
>   Rationality converges over time given a fixed game with fixed goals--
>  Chess, or the study of Nature.  But "reason," (sensible thinking that
>  reasonable people you like could go with,) diverges.  (Observe the
>  differences here on FoRK!)  It plays in a never-ending, always changing
>  game, and has no fixed goal.
What are your definitions of rationality and reason?  I certainly don't 
think there are two activities that can be applied to the same human / 
knowledge / situation where one converges and the other diverges.

We each have our strategic and tactical goals.  Everyone has different 
circumstances, skills, experience, and strategies. 
>   Reason is firm but not inflexible.  And reason can make a total about
>  face in light of a new perspective.
Which is entirely rational.
>   I'm all for rational thinking, understanding bias, putting the 
> damper on
>  emotion, and science.  Especially when it comes time for a decision
>  that my heart may regret.
>  But I'd never say I lived "fully informed rationally," or advise to 
> strive
>  to do so.  First, we live for passions and nature, neither of which are
>  very rational.  (We can understand the whys of nature, but that doesn't
>  mean that it's "rational," or otherwise worthy of our loyalty.)

>   Second, the people who believe that they are "fully informed
>  rationally" seem to me to be the more dangerous and prone to error.
>  I don't believe we can save people from the danger, by trying to join 
> the
>  "fully informed rational."  It's way too easy to make an error.  I'm
>  not convinced that any human-- no, -- any *mind,* post-singularity
>  or pre-, can ever be inerrant.  And all it takes is the slightest little
>  mistake, and minds do not operate by forward or reverse chaining
>  over perfect axioms and sensations...
How is avoiding rationality / reason safer and less error prone than 
insisting on valid reason as the basis for actions and emotions?
> Living by our hearts is dangerous.  I grant that.
> Humanity is a danger to itself.  I grant that.
> But very frankly, I don't see any other way it could be.
>  Not without eliminating choice,
>  or any of the things that make life worth living.
Who said anything about that?  The religious want to eliminate choice, 
not me.  I want more choices.
>  I don't want to become a cybernetic plant.
It's inevitable.  ;-)
>  If I were you, I would advocate:
>  * love of knowledge & nature
>  * love of people & compassion
>  * perpetual self-inquiry
>  * the search for what is true
>  * survival for the human race (at least!)
>  * fun & good times (which make it all worthwhile)
Those are exactly what I advocate.
>  ... in place of "fully informed rationality,"
As a result of and enhanced by "fully informed rationality" / 
>  which arguably doesn't even exist.
We can continue to argue, but I don't see anything to argue against 
here.  What leads you to believe that those concepts don't exist?
>  </serious>
>  Swimming in the over-rated,
I don't think anyone's rated me at all, let alone over rating me.
>    Lion {:)}=
>    """
>      Honestly, Amber;  I don't see how "fully informed rational"
>      someone could possibly be, if they spent even just **five
>      minutes** talking "rationality" on this crazy people FoRK
>      mailing list..!
>    """


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