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Anthropocentrism

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Alan C.
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#61 Post by Alan C. » January 27th, 2011, 8:36 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

thundril wrote:There's an awful lot of stuff we could manage without first, to no great loss.
Radius
Such as?
If I might answer your question to thundril;

Fruit and veg out of season from all around the globe, lamb from New Zealand and Australia, beef from Argentina, cheap tat from China, oh, and let's not forget; bullshit from America.
All these things we could easily do without.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

thundril
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#62 Post by thundril » January 27th, 2011, 8:47 pm

Radius wrote:
thundril wrote:There's an awful lot of stuff we could manage without first, to no great loss.
Such as?
Almost all of the product of some industries, eg fashion, gossip magazines, advertising.
A large proportion of the product of some other industries, eg private cars (and their support systems) weapons, aerospace
A significant proportion of the drugs industry, the alcohol industry, the food packaging industry,
Some of the financial services, construction, entertainment industries
I could go on and on, but you can probably get my drift.
Radius wrote:Can you get it voted for?
Possibly not. It may involve revolution of some sort.
Radius wrote:
thundril wrote:Yes, I certainly am. Unequivocally.
Why?
Because I am a human being. I feel that most other humans are kind of like myself; nothing special but nothing malevolent either. I see human rights not as something absolute, god-given, but as a proposal to which most of us have either agreed or at least given passive consent to.

thundril
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#63 Post by thundril » January 27th, 2011, 9:00 pm

Radius wrote: Why should I or anyone else tolerate destructive stupidity?

This name "Radius" is taken from a character in Karel Čapek's play R.U.R., of the same name, who at one point says: "Svět patři silnějším." ("The world belongs to the strongest.")
So when I suggested that
You're beginning to sound like the 'eco-fascists' that plagued the green movement a few decades ago.
and you replied
Throwing feces isn't helping your case.
Weren't you being just a tad evasive?

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#64 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » January 27th, 2011, 9:09 pm

Radius wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
Radius wrote: Our current doctrines of human rights are based on 18th century political philosophy which is reared on incomplete or faulty accounts of human cognition and behavior: for example, the idea that all are endowed more or less equally with competence in reasoning. But more recent, more empirical psychology tells us that human beings typically don't really care about facts except insofar as they are immediately useful to them.
Well, is that right? As far as I can see, notions of human rights extend to gravely damaged humans who cannot carry out even simple reasoning
Really? Why?
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:As for the findings of empirical psychology that you mention, I suppose they apply quite as much to transhumanists as to the rest of us.
A being with a highly modified brain might observe a rather qualitatively different psychology than we do.
I suppose from the tenor of your other posts that when say Really? Why? you are asking for justification.

But that is not the point I was making. I was pointing out that, to the extent that we treat gravely handicapped people as having human rights, we do not treat those rights as dependent on reasoning ability. That is just an observation of fact.

As for beings with highly modified brains, we shall learn a bit more about them when they show up.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

Radius
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Joined: January 25th, 2011, 5:54 am

Re: Anthropocentrism

#65 Post by Radius » January 27th, 2011, 9:55 pm

Alan C. wrote:
thundril wrote:There's an awful lot of stuff we could manage without first, to no great loss.
Radius
Such as?
If I might answer your question to thundril;

Fruit and veg out of season from all around the globe, lamb from New Zealand and Australia, beef from Argentina, cheap tat from China, oh, and let's not forget; bullshit from America.
All these things we could easily do without.
Can you get these measures voted for?

thundril
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Joined: July 4th, 2008, 5:02 pm

Re: Anthropocentrism

#66 Post by thundril » January 27th, 2011, 9:58 pm

Did you miss my answer to this, two or three posts back? :wink:

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#67 Post by Radius » January 27th, 2011, 10:02 pm

thundril wrote:Did you miss my answer to this, two or three posts back? :wink:
I was asking the other person.
thundril wrote:Almost all of the product of some industries, eg fashion, gossip magazines, advertising.
Hahaha, what a bawwwwwfest would ensue.
thundril wrote:the alcohol industry
You're shitting me.

I pretty much gave up alcohol when I discovered morning glory seeds, which contain LSA. But most people aren't high-minded enough to appreciate psychedelics.
thundril wrote:Possibly not. It may involve revolution of some sort.
LOL

Ok. But mine isn't acceptable.
thundril wrote:Because I am a human being. I feel that most other humans are kind of like myself; nothing special but nothing malevolent either.
Nah they're mostly just evil in a sort of banal way.
thundril wrote:Weren't you being just a tad evasive?
Not really. I like Radius. I like Agent Smith as well. And the T-1000. Deal with it.

And the world does belong to the strongest. That is a descriptive fact. Unfortunately it belongs to the strong and dumb.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:But that is not the point I was making. I was pointing out that, to the extent that we treat gravely handicapped people as having human rights, we do not treat those rights as dependent on reasoning ability. That is just an observation of fact.
Um, ok.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:As for beings with highly modified brains, we shall learn a bit more about them when they show up.
There are rather valid a priori reasons to assume that there could be a level of intelligence just as qualitatively as distinct from and superior to human as human is to chimpanzee.

thundril
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#68 Post by thundril » January 27th, 2011, 10:13 pm

Radius wrote:
Thundril wrote:Possibly not it may involve revolution of some sort.
LOL
I totally appreciate your humour here, Radius. Back when the twentieth century was going through it's sixties, I thought I had all the answers; hung around with the far left radicals, got up to all kinds of shit. thought I could tell the rest of the dumb fucks what they needed to do.
Now, going througth my own personal sixties. I realise I don't even have all the questions.
Good luck with your philosophical studies.
Jax.

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#69 Post by Radius » January 27th, 2011, 10:15 pm

thundril wrote:Back when the twentieth century was going through it's sixties, I thought I had all the answers; hung around with the far left radicals, got up to all kinds of shit. thought I could tell the rest of the dumb fucks what they needed to do.
Your period of intellectual immaturity has little to do with whether the human species is undermining its own civilization.

Which is, of course, what this is all about.

And of course a number of intellectuals who are as old as fuck hold views similar to my own, though perhaps not with the same overtones of contempt.
thundril wrote:Good luck with your philosophical studies.
Thank you. I have the goal of eventually collaborating with DARPA. I know they're about violence over there but a lot of their research has had great positive externalities. Do you think I could pull it off?

Fia
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#70 Post by Fia » January 27th, 2011, 10:39 pm

Radius, as far as I see this thread, you have yet to:

a/ untangle your original question about Humanism from your understandable and human concern for the viability of our planet for human life that you seem to have an answer for.
They are not the same question, and I think you have muddled them.

and
b/ actually support your own admittedly authoritarian approach to the challenges that we face.

OK, so where do we agree?
We agree that our understanding is that there is no god/s/. That's good.
We also agree that our consumption is unsustainable.

What I have difficulty with, after reading this thread and your link, is that the answer is more in intelligence. One could have a brain the size of a planet yet have no empathy, understanding of fellow human beings existence and challenges, learning together to make sense of the world, care and joy in the interaction with others, however challenged they may be. These are the things that make me a Humanist.

I have no problem if Humanism is not for you. But it would be nice, on a Humanist forum, for you to have more respect and understanding for your fellow human beings than you have shown so far...

And I must also say how much I agree with
Emma wrote:Incidentally, could we please stop talking about people "destroying the planet" or, for that matter, "saving the planet". We're not destroying the planet. The planet doesn't need saving. It will manage perfectly well whatever we do, however much it warms up. What we need to save is the planet's ability to keep us alive and reasonably comfortable. Us human beings, that is, and other sentient creatures. But the planet will bounce back, even if we don't.
We are not important in the life of our planet. Humanism is about making meaning of the one life we paltry human beings have, and to me that wholeheartedly includes human rights as a darn good place to start, and work towards, as many of us here do...

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#71 Post by Radius » January 27th, 2011, 10:54 pm

Fia wrote:Radius, as far as I see this thread, you have yet to:

a/ untangle your original question about Humanism from your understandable and human concern for the viability of our planet for human life
No, for civilization. Don't care how it's implemented physically. I will gravitate towards whichever agents best implement these functions, explaining my early fascination with robots.
Fia wrote:b/ actually support your own admittedly authoritarian approach to the challenges that we face.
How haven't I supported it?
Fia wrote:What I have difficulty with, after reading this thread and your link, is that the answer is more in intelligence.
Apparently you didn't notice that Mark Alan Walker thinks this person-engineering should be used to bring out greater virtue as well.
Fia wrote:One could have a brain the size of a planet yet have no empathy
Empathy should be highly selective.

I was watching the original The Day the Earth Stood Still today. The way Klaatu tells the people of Earth to cut the shit—or else is so current after 60 years. There has never been a better time in our planet's history to be intolerant of stupidity.
Fia wrote:But it would be nice, on a Humanist forum, for you to have more respect and understanding for your fellow human beings than you have shown so far...
How have I not shown respect? I said hahaha and such at a few things but explained why. I haven't personally insulted anyone I don't think. I don't think saying "you're shitting me" is especially disrespectful.
Fia wrote:We are not important in the life of our planet.
We are. Mainly in a negative sense. But we are also the jumping off point for a real civilization. Which is admittedly quite significant.

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#72 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » January 28th, 2011, 12:46 am

Radius wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:But that is not the point I was making. I was pointing out that, to the extent that we treat gravely handicapped people as having human rights, we do not treat those rights as dependent on reasoning ability. That is just an observation of fact.
Um, ok.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:As for beings with highly modified brains, we shall learn a bit more about them when they show up.
There are rather valid a priori reasons to assume that there could be a level of intelligence just as qualitatively as distinct from and superior to human as human is to chimpanzee.
Well, there is a little more to it than Um, ok implies.

You started with a rhetorical flourish, purporting to show that humanist ideas depend on a discredited and outmoded notion of factual equality in reasoning capacity. But, as you seem now to accept, they do not.

So where do you stand here? Are you saying that there are other reasons for thinking humanist ideas are wrong? Or are you throwing out a general challenge to humanists to justify their ideas? Whose business is it here to make a case?

On your a priori reasons — well, what else could they be? We could hardly have a posteriori reasons, could we? Tomorrow's novelties, surprises and discoveries don't come today.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#73 Post by Radius » January 28th, 2011, 12:54 am

Lord Muck oGentry wrote:You started with a rhetorical flourish, purporting to show that humanist ideas depend on a discredited and outmoded notion of factual equality in reasoning capacity. But, as you seem now to accept, they do not.
No. I said "um ok" because I have difficulty with the idea of extending rights to the severely retarded, for example.

I think Peter Singer holds a similar view.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:So where do you stand here? Are you saying that there are other reasons for thinking humanist ideas are wrong?
The ones I gave are good enough.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:Or are you throwing out a general challenge to humanists to justify their ideas?
Yeah I guess.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:On your a priori reasons — well, what else could they be?
Bad a priori reasons rather than good ones.

There's a difference.

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#74 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » January 28th, 2011, 1:12 am

Radius wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:You started with a rhetorical flourish, purporting to show that humanist ideas depend on a discredited and outmoded notion of factual equality in reasoning capacity. But, as you seem now to accept, they do not.
No. I said "um ok" because I have difficulty with the idea of extending rights to the severely retarded, for example.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:So where do you stand here? Are you saying that there are other reasons for thinking humanist ideas are wrong?
The ones I gave are good enough.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:Or are you throwing out a general challenge to humanists to justify their ideas?
Yeah I guess.
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:On your a priori reasons — well, what else could they be?
Bad a priori reasons rather than good ones.

There's a difference.

The first part is clear enough: you think you have good grounds for disagreeing with humanist ideas, and you think that those ideas are in any case inadequately grounded.

Let me concentrate, for the moment anyway, on the second part. What rather valid a priori reasons have you got ( now, of course) for this belief? And how can they be got across to us?
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#75 Post by Radius » January 28th, 2011, 1:14 am

What that a neural architecture built up ab initio could surpass the human brain?

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#76 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » January 28th, 2011, 1:53 am

Radius wrote:What that a neural architecture built up ab initio could surpass the human brain?
I have certainly found myself surpassed in many ways on many occasions, both by pesky computers and by other humans, who seem to get by very well with their jury-rigged brains. So I have no quarrel with the notion that something equipped with neural architecture built up ab initio might surpass me and indeed others in many ways.

But that isn't what this discussion is about, is it? It is about what we ought to do. And in that context the task of the surpassing creature is not to tell us what to do but to tell us what is likely to happen if we choose one course rather than another. It spares us donkey-work, provided we can trust it to do the donkey-work.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#77 Post by Radius » January 28th, 2011, 1:56 am

Lord Muck oGentry wrote:But that isn't what this discussion is about, is it? It is about what we ought to do. And in that context the task of the surpassing creature is not to tell us what to do but to tell us what is likely to happen if we choose one course rather than another. It spares us donkey-work, provided we can trust it to do the donkey-work.
I'm talking about a fully embodied machine consciousness.

"We ourselves are machines that think, by using great computers in our brains. And someday we will know enough to build machines that do such things, and more."

And of course there are intermediate stages to make things a bit less contentious.

Lord Muck oGentry
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#78 Post by Lord Muck oGentry » January 28th, 2011, 2:18 am

Radius wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:But that isn't what this discussion is about, is it? It is about what we ought to do. And in that context the task of the surpassing creature is not to tell us what to do but to tell us what is likely to happen if we choose one course rather than another. It spares us donkey-work, provided we can trust it to do the donkey-work.
I'm talking about a fully embodied machine consciousness.

"We ourselves are machines that think, by using great computers in our brains. And someday we will know enough to build machines that do such things, and more."

And of course there are intermediate stages to make things a bit less contentious.

I look forward to meeting one of these beasties when they are created. And to asking it to explain and justify its opinions.
What we can't say, we can't say and we can't whistle it either. — Frank Ramsey

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#79 Post by Radius » January 28th, 2011, 4:20 pm

Lord Muck oGentry wrote:
Radius wrote:
Lord Muck oGentry wrote:But that isn't what this discussion is about, is it? It is about what we ought to do. And in that context the task of the surpassing creature is not to tell us what to do but to tell us what is likely to happen if we choose one course rather than another. It spares us donkey-work, provided we can trust it to do the donkey-work.
I'm talking about a fully embodied machine consciousness.

"We ourselves are machines that think, by using great computers in our brains. And someday we will know enough to build machines that do such things, and more."

And of course there are intermediate stages to make things a bit less contentious.

I look forward to meeting one of these beasties when they are created. And to asking it to explain and justify its opinions.
See here:

http://www.darpa.mil/dso/thrusts/bio/bi ... y/synapse/

and here:

http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainsinsilicon/

...for example.

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Paolo
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#80 Post by Paolo » February 4th, 2011, 12:46 am

Radius wrote:What that a neural architecture built up ab initio could surpass the human brain?
When it comes to neural architecture the human brain is pretty good - put enough of them together and you can plan and build the artificial intelligence that exists today.

But this is all presupposing that intelligence is of intrinsic value. For the vast majority of species on the planet for the last 3.6 billion years intelligence has not been of any benefit to survival or the sustained evolution of the taxonomic group that they are a member of. The fact that intelligence is valued at all is a very anthropocentric arbitration.

Humanism works for me because it provides a basic set of rules to live by that promotes the formation of stable social structures. There is a minimum of the unnecessary baggage that accompanies most religions, yet it isn't selfish. The simple fact is that individuals working outside a social framework are at a disadvantage, because the combined efforts of society are more efficient than the efforts of an individual. Humanism provides a sensible way of balancing the need of the individual against the needs of society, without the horse-shit. I don't see any problem with that.

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#81 Post by Radius » February 4th, 2011, 1:06 am

Paolo wrote:
Radius wrote:What that a neural architecture built up ab initio could surpass the human brain?
When it comes to neural architecture the human brain is pretty good - put enough of them together and you can plan and build the artificial intelligence that exists today.
is it sufficient for a sustainable industrial society

that's the important question

would the human physiology be suitable for long-term space exploration? (the term "cyborg" was coined in 1960 by two NASA scientists for a very good reason)
Paolo wrote:The fact that intelligence is valued at all is a very anthropocentric arbitration.
bollocks

most people don't care about thinking

"I am still at Trattenbach, surrounded, as ever, by odiousness and baseness. I know that human beings on the average are not worth much anywhere, but here they are much more good-for-nothing and irresponsible than elsewhere." — Ludwig Wittgenstein, in correspondence with Bertrand Russell

incidentally, Russell, who was far less misanthropic than Wittgenstein, and indeed a quintessential "secular humanist" said: "Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do."

I tend to think of intensive mental development, especially if aided by chemicals and computers, as attaining a kind of nascent superhumanity
Paolo wrote:I don't see any problem with that.
what about how people are dumbshits?

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